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Thread: Lost Evolution

  1. #351
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    Okay, That took way longer than it should have. But I think having two people you know die is a pretty solid excuse for not reading fanfiction. Anyway, lets forget about that, and I'll get to praising your Story.

    Since I read all the chapters in one long burst, all the major events and plot-twists that everyone acclimatised too hit me one after another. I'm slightly disoriented, and any well thought out review like comments for the earlier chapters are lost, but heres what I have:


    The last few chapters have been very interesting to read, especially with the inner conflict going on with both Carrie, and her grovyles, and myself. While I am opposed to MemorCorp in general, since you've been portraying them as evil torturers from the get-go, the motives they've so far revealed seem pure, if irrational. So I'm not sure how to think. Carrie has hated them for forcing inhumane treatments on pokemon, most prevalently the forced evolution, but is now not so sure about them, given their promise to resurrect more Archopy's.

    This makes it all the more intriguing that she is the one who is pushing for Archopy to be used as breeding stock for a new race of pokemon. Her own dislike for the Sceptile race is letting her brush over the suffering of Archopy 0_o

    Maybe its because I'm the sort of person to put the individual above the greater good, no matter the consequences, but that in itself has irked me about her.

    Leading on from Carrie, Her flock of Grovyle are something I'm both enjoying and bemoaning. From the very start, up to now, I've considered four to be too many. With just three, like rght now, its so much easier to indentify and bond with the characters. To be honest, I saw Ivyx as completely unnesecary, other than to be Raptola's mother. Foli had a friendship with Kabutops, which was very interesting, and you get to be in his head a few times. Raptola moved the plot a few times, and provided some comic relief on the side. Velotus. Hell, he rules the story.

    But Ivyx didn't seem to do anything. By herself that is. Their interactions as a group, are almost as interesting as their actions as individuals (More so with Ivyx) and that kept them more realistic. Foli, Rappy and Ivyx formed a single unit, Velotus stayed mostly on his own (Which is why we all love him =} ) and that worked really well.

    Crescent is unbelievable, in the few times we've had a bit of insight into his mind. His talk with the Shiny!Skarmory was brilliantly scripted, and his remembered self-doubt was very powerful. The whole mechanic of Perish Song was better than any other I've seen before, especially with it interspaced with Crescent's Thougths.

    I would say something about empathy, but there isn't really much to say.

    But anyway, back on topic. Finally resolving the "Find Archopy" Portion of their adventure couldn't have been done at a better time. The story was just on the brink of the suspense being too much for it to really matter. I've seen several Fics implode from not resolving the story arcs, before people starting to get bored and no longer checking to see if its being updated. As it stands, you timed it sublimely.

    Theo's madness and narcisstic mindset in the most recent chapter was a very unexpected character overhaul for me, but in no means unwelcome. It gets the story moving in a new direction, which is good, and adds more depth to a character who was relatively simple beforehand. Leaving his pokemon to cover his escape was the biggest face-heel turn of the whole thing, though. It firmly cements his change to a Neutral Agent/Antagonist, and thats a very interesting way of developing a main character.

    I'm simply bursting with excitement to see how Kabuto will react (Hooray for having little to no character to base guesses on what the other three will do!), especially since its acting in direct opposition to his new freindship with foli.

    Andrew seems slightly unmemorable to me. Besides threatening to elolve Carrie's pokemon (A strategy that only works on her and no one else. Because of course you have a contingency plan for every single trainer your likely to meet =P) and pretending his Arcanine can smell master balls, his input as a named character is ver limited.

    Taking that train of thought further, I love the name Bad Light for the Gang, expecially the subtext of it (Evolution = Light, Carrie doesn't want them to evolve, dislikes evoluton = Bad Light), espcially since it suits them.

    Thats about all I can think of to say right now, I'm very tired. I might (Dont get your hopes up, though) add a bit more to it later tommorrow
    Quote Originally Posted by Dresden View Post
    Don't you kids read any comic books? Geez. Radiation gives you magical powers. Now go play by the nuclear waste dump.

  2. #352
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    Okay, so it's time for one of my this-is-why-I-haven't-been-writing-I-swear-I'm-not-dead posts. Various distractions such as awesome TV programmes, playing a bunch of games and real life of all things have meant that over the past *coughcough* months, progress on the next chapter has been slow to nonexistent. But I'm getting there. I have marginally fewer real life distractions at the moment, meaning I've been working on this a bit more recently. The next chapter is still only about half done, but I will make sure that Chapter 31 is up at some point before the end of October. That's not just an arbitrary deadline, either; I actually have an LE-related reason why I want it done by then - see the bottom of this post for more details.

    So! It's about time I replied to all you wonderful people who left such long juicy reviews that I've been cruelly neglecting. :3

    All responses to people who have read Chapter 30 are under a spoiler tag. If you haven't read Chapter 30 yet, don't click the spoiler. Just don't.


    adhdguitar - Thanks for reading. Yes, I'm aware that the Sceptile-hatred in the beginning of this fic is out of order, and I'm sorry. Sense was slapped into me by a reviewer at around the Chapter 10 point, which, while not changing the fact that it was still out of order before then, did mean that things got better afterwards and became portrayed more realistically and fairly. Thanks for putting up with it and continuing to read despite that, though.


    Blitzy - I won't comment on anything you said individually, largely because I wrote those chapters such a long time ago that I'd do a lot of the things you commented on completely differently now if I were to write these chapters again. But as for your general perceptions of the characters - yes, you're absolutely right that Carrie isn't the most social person in the world. xP And yes, Velotus does have a bit of an ego, in a sense. That arrogance of his may well prove to be a problem somewhere along the line. Who knows? (Well, okay, I do, as does everyone else who's read the whole fic so far, but shh.)

    Hope you enjoy reading more!



        Spoiler:- Chapter 30-related replies:



    Stuff that will be happening soon:

    - I intend to rewrite a few paragraphs of the Archopy scene in Chapter 30 to fix the nonsensicalness of her thought process. Her actual choice won't change, but, so that it makes more sense, some of her character development will be retconned into something different. As such, I'd recommend people take a quick look at the rewritten part once I get around to doing it (I'll mention it in here when it's done).

    - A while ago, I wrote an extra scene relating to Chapter 30 which Dragonfree thinks I should post in here for people to read. So the next time I post in here (not right now because this post is long enough as it is), I'll post that. It's not required reading - think of it more like bonus material - but you may find it enjoyable.

    - I will get Chapter 31 up at some point before October 31st. This is because...

    - ...I'm planning to take part in NaNoWriMo this November to write a fully fleshed-out version of the Archopy of the past's story. As you can probably tell, I fell rather too much in love with it while expanding on it in Chapter 30, to the point that there's so many more details and scenes from it floating around in my head and I just need to write it. NaNoWriMo seems like the easiest way to just get it all out of my system in one big go. I'm not saying this because I'm going to force you to read it once I finish it and post it or anything; I just thought you might be interested to know. But it does mean I won't be able to write any actual Lost Evolution in November.

    So, uh... stay tuned?
    Last edited by elyvorg; 18th April 2012 at 2:07 AM.
    .: Evolution is a battle .:. Something has to lose :.
    LOST EVOLUTION
    Chapter 33: Inside has been posted.


    Foregone Conclusion
    Spinoff/prequel/backstory/thingy to Lost Evolution, written for NaNoWriMo 2010

    Three Heads Are Better Than One

  3. #353
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    This is beautiful! I only had time to read the first chapter, but I loved it so much that I read the second one anyway! Variations between the looks of Pokemon of the same species? Split evolutions? You do it so well! I also, unknowingly, became a fanfic writer when I was eleven...I mean I suck, but I'm still pushing for it cause I love my idea can I get you to critique my work when I have something worthy of critiquing?
    Lilly

    My Current Team(SoulSilver):

    My fanfic idea: http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthr...3#post11668583

    My fanfic: http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=467795

    I follow Satoshi's Pokémon training philosophy; a balance of love & hard work is needed to overcome adversity. I treat my Pokémon as partners and friends while bringing out their best with EV & moveset building. That's just me ;P Feel free to copy and paste this into your sig if you feel the same way about Pokemon =D (Started by Emperor Empoleon)

  4. #354
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    Well... I know I talked to you throughout my read of chapter 28 and 29 but I felt I should give a crappy review. You did review (quite nicely) my last chapter, soo...

    Yes, it's I... the only reader who is as empathetic towards Velotus as Velotus is himself. xP They were both good chapters in their own right... but I didn't like some of the things that happened to Velotus. xP Apparently I'm in the moral wrong since I agreed with him completely throughout [s]not to mention felt most of what he did[/i]. I still don't really see what the problem was, but...

    Anyways, the description of the battle, setting, characters and all that was really good. Velotus is awesome. And completely fine. It's interesting that they finally met Archopy. Yeah... I need to lie down. Emotional, empathetic rollercoaster those chapters were and-- well, you read the msn convo. xP

    I need to lie down. I'll read next chapter probably when the chapter after is released. Heh... err.
    Claimed: Grovyle - November 10th, 2013
    Chapter 17 is up.

  5. #355
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    Lilly2 - Welcome to the fic, and thanks for taking the time to read the first couple of chapters. :3 I hope you continue reading and enjoying.

    Griff4815 - Oh, you Velotus-person. You really shouldn't be complaining about any of the things that "happened" to Velotus; for these two chapters, at least, everything that he went through emotionally he brought upon himself. =P But yeah, glad you enjoyed it and everything. Do remember to read Chapter 30 sometime soon before you fall ridiculously far behind again, won't you?


    So, uh... I was going to wait until I'd rewritten that Archopy scene in Chapter 30 like I said I would before I posted in here again. Except... it sort of hasn't happened yet. I haven't been in much of a present-Archopy kind of mood recently (I have, admittedly, been in a past-Archopy mood quite a lot thanks to the fact that NaNoWriMo is fast approaching, but that doesn't help much towards getting into present-Archopy's head), so I'm probably not going to get it done by the end of the month. I will do it at some point, of course, but more important to you guys I'm sure is that I get Chapter 31 up sooner rather than later. Which I still intend to do sometime in the coming week, as I've finished writing Chapter 32 at last.

    But, well, you can still have the other thing I said I'd do the next time I posted. Here's a short extra scene relating to the most recent chapter. Be aware that it contains major spoilers for Chapter 30; for the sake of your own enjoyment, if you haven't read that chapter yet, you should not read this.

        Spoiler:- Extra scene - Chapter 30 spoilers!:


    Chapter 31 will be up sometime before the end of the month! Honest!
    Last edited by elyvorg; 3rd January 2011 at 12:32 PM.
    .: Evolution is a battle .:. Something has to lose :.
    LOST EVOLUTION
    Chapter 33: Inside has been posted.


    Foregone Conclusion
    Spinoff/prequel/backstory/thingy to Lost Evolution, written for NaNoWriMo 2010

    Three Heads Are Better Than One

  6. #356
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    Quote Originally Posted by elyvorg View Post
    Griff4815 - Oh, you Velotus-person. You really shouldn't be complaining about any of the things that "happened" to Velotus; for these two chapters, at least, everything that he went through emotionally he brought upon himself. =P But yeah, glad you enjoyed it and everything. Do remember to read Chapter 30 sometime soon before you fall ridiculously far behind again, won't you?
    I know I really shouldn't bother responding since my reply is so short, but I feel it's my duty. xP. Anyways, I wholeheartedly and respectfully disagree with that first statement!

    And yeah, I'll try to get around to reading 30 sometime. I'm still recovering. xD
    Claimed: Grovyle - November 10th, 2013
    Chapter 17 is up.

  7. #357
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    Default Chapter 31: Escape

    (If you haven't already seen my last post, you may be interested in the extra scene relating to Chapter 30 that I wrote.)

    Whoo, it's Chapter 31 at last! Apologies for the long wait, but distractions are distracting.


    Chapter 31: Escape

    A loud, excited squeaking filled the wooden cabin. Vanessa grumbled something untoward, turning over on the mattress and burying her head in the borrowed pillow, hoping to fall straight back to sleep.

    Joy was having none of it. The Togetic zipped across the bed and began poking her trainer energetically, punctuating each poke with a sharp “Tic!”. Vanessa opened her eyes and waved the fairy Pokémon crossly out of her face. “What is it, Joy?” she mumbled, glancing at the window, the sky outside visibly dark through the branches. “It’s the middle of the night.”

    “Tokii!” Joy told her proudly, pointing with a flourish towards the laptop that lay on the floor in the middle of the room, the light of its screen illuminating the wall in front of it.

    Vanessa snapped from groggy to alert in an instant. She’d left the program that tracked her Master Ball running overnight, even though she hadn’t expected anything to happen – the orange dot indicating the two trainers’ location hadn’t moved since the early evening, and she’d assumed it wouldn’t do so again until morning. But apparently, she had been mistaken.

    She scrambled out of the bed and reached for the laptop, turning it towards her while Joy flitted about excitedly in the edges of her vision. A smile made its way onto her face. There it was: the Master Ball’s dot, flashing white, showing that it was now occupied.

    Archopy had been caught.

    Vanessa peered closer at the screen as she zoomed into the program’s map of Hoenn, eager to know exactly where her Archopy had been found. Still on Steel Hill, apparently, less than a mile away from where the trainers had stopped that evening. But it didn’t look to be staying that way for long. The dot was moving.

    * * *

    Theo emerged from the Secret Base, his mind racing. Part of him could scarcely believe that he’d managed to go through with what he’d just done, what he’d always meant to do but never known if he’d have the guts to. But now the ball containing Archopy – his Archopy – was safe inside his pocket; he could feel it lying just above the rapid pounding of his heart.

    And yet, it had all gone wrong. Carrie hadn’t understood. Of course she hadn’t; Theo had always known she wouldn’t. Yet something had possessed him to try and explain it to her, even though he knew she’d never listen to him. He should have just left straight away, then his Pokémon wouldn’t still be inside the base, fighting to stop her just so that he could get away. But if he wanted any chance of enough time with Archopy, Theo had to leave them. His own Pokémon. He was leaving his own Pokémon to fight alone. This had turned into a nightmare.

    He looked frantically, hopelessly, around the near-pitch black forest he found himself in. What with the time he’d spent inside the Secret Base listening to Archopy, he’d practically forgotten that outside was a menacing, unfamiliar woodland in the middle of the night. The place creeped Theo out enough without him having to make some kind of desperate escape through one to find a hiding place. He didn’t even have any idea where to go about hiding in a forest. That was Carrie’s area, not his.

    This had all been such a stupid idea. Carrie was going to burst out of the base and catch him any second. He shouldn’t have left his Pokémon in there on their own. What sort of trainer would do that? Archopy would never trust him.

    Theo took deep breaths and forced himself not to panic. However much part of him desperately wished he could rewind time and never have caught Archopy in the first place, there was no going back now. He’d done this so that he could care for her and make her better – he had to make her better. Even if Carrie was right that Archopy would never trust him, he simply had to try. It wasn’t even as if he had any other option any more.

    Feeling his pocket for Archopy’s Master Ball to reassure himself it was still there, Theo steeled himself, picked a random direction and ran off through the dark.

    * * *

    “Damn it,” Carrie was muttering to herself above Foliano’s head. “Damn it, damn it, damn it.” She paced across the width of the Secret Base, glaring at the line of Theo’s Pokémon blocking the way out. “Why did he have to go and do that? That idiot.”

    Foliano could see where she was coming from. Even though he supposed Archopy was basically a wild Pokémon and so Theo was basically within his rights to capture her, it just seemed wrong somehow. Archopy hadn’t had a choice in the matter. Didn’t wild Pokémon usually decide whether they wanted to approach a trainer and risk capture? Didn’t Archopy, of all Pokémon, deserve that choice?

    But then again, he’d listened to Kabutops talk about the kind of trainer Theo was. Foliano could think of far worse humans that Archopy could have ended up with.

    Master is not,” he heard Cradily hiss under her breath, quietly but fervently, returning Carrie’s glare. “Master is not an idiot.” The sea lily’s tentacles writhed slowly, sinisterly.

    Still pacing, Carrie ignored her gaze, or at least pretended to. “And now we have to battle our way out of here,” she muttered more to herself than anyone else. “Just bloody great. This is going to be such a mess.”

    Damn right it is,” Aerodactyl rasped, grinning a rather too tooth-filled grin. Foliano noticed Kabutops eye the pterosaur warily, almost as if he were about to speak up, but he said nothing.

    Heaving a frustrated breath, Carrie briefly inspected the walls of the base, lined with firmly woven vegetation. “And Secret Base walls can only be broken down from the outside, apparently.” She smacked the wall in question. “Damn it! There has to be an easier way out of this!”

    She spun around and looked down at each of her Pokémon in turn. Her gaze came to a halt on Crescent. A grin spread across her face.

    “Crescent,” she said, her eyes glinting. “You used Perish Song before, didn’t you? I need you to use it again. I know it’ll hurt, but it’s the quickest way out of here.”

    The Absol was shaking his head before she’d even finished, shrinking back as he looked up at her. “I… I can’t,” he mumbled, letting out a soft whine. “I don’t remember how to…

    We cannot let him use that move,” Foliano heard Kabutops warn the other fossil Pokémon behind him. “They’ll get away.

    “Please, Crescent!” Carrie urged. “I can recall you once you’ve sung it; it won’t hurt for long. Just…” She made a frustrated gesture at the Pokémon blocking the way. “I need to get past them!”

    Crescent stared at the ground, clawing at it anxiously. “I… I suppose I’ll try…

    No, you won’t!” came a high-pitched voice; a second later a spinning beige thing cannoned through the air towards the Absol and clonked him in the face. It took Foliano a moment to register that it had been Omanyte, of all Pokémon – she’d always been so shy before. Crescent snarled in indignation and slashed at her shell as it spun around for a return strike, but judging from the squeal of glee from Omanyte as she smashed into her target again, it had barely hurt at all.

    Velotus took the sudden action as his cue and leapt at Aerodactyl, grinning wildly, his blades blazing with green-white light.

    “Oh, fine!” Carrie yelled as Aerodactyl countered a strike from the Grovyle’s leaves with a swipe of his wing. “Attack them! Go, go, go! There’s more of us, anyway!”

    The room promptly became a whole lot noisier. Most of it was down to Cradily, who dropped the threatening glare in an instant in favour of screeching wordlessly at the top of her voice as she flailed wildly in preparation for an attack. Empathy duly jumped forward and wrapped a psychic glow around the sea lily, halting her in her tracks. From the other side of the base, Foliano heard Aerodactyl snarl furiously at Velotus; Omanyte was still squeaking in delight as she ran rings around Crescent.

    That left Kabutops. He hesitated before moving towards Foliano, raising his scythes unsurely, clearly torn. Foliano knew that neither he nor his friend could pretend this was going to be just another of their friendly battles. He grimaced as he lit his blades.

    I’ll take this one,” Ivyx said, stepping in front of him, her own leaves glowing. She spared a meaningful glance back at him; she knew how much this would have hurt Foliano to do. He gave her a smile of wordless thanks.

    With a grin, she flew at Kabutops, but her scythe was swiftly parried by his. Foliano couldn’t help but worry as he watched them trade blows. Kabutops had clearly become better at fighting a Grovyle over the course of their friendly matches.

    “Foli, don’t just stand there – we outnumber them, make use of that!” Carrie called as she watched the melee anxiously, her teeth clenched. “Crescent, Detect that Rollout already! Velotus, what happened to Thunderpunch?”

    Foliano jumped at Cradily, who was still held in place by Psychic, scything at her lower body with a Leaf Blade. The strike was punctuated by a yellow flash from the other side of the room as he heard the crackling of electricity mix in with a primeval screech of pain. Beside him, Ivyx was still going for it against Kabutops; Foliano winced as she was hit with a nasty-looking slash. A burning liquid splashed over him as he was distracted, and he leapt back in surprise away from Cradily, who’d managed to pull off the attack even while immobilised.

    “Empathy, quit trying to lift her or whatever you’re doing and just use Psybeam,” came Carrie’s frustrated command. “Ivyx! Stop duelling – he’s better at it than you. Energy Ball!”

    Foliano felt kind of bad as Empathy began dealing blasts of rainbow light to Cradily while he filled in the gaps with Leaf Blade strikes, not giving the sea lily a moment to stop reeling and fight back. Battles weren’t supposed to be one-sided like this. “You don’t have to fight us, you know,” he said to her, almost apologetically. “We just want to leave.

    No!” Cradily’s voice was vehement despite her pain from the attacks. “Master needs us to do this. Master trusts us.” Another Psybeam shook her, but one yellow eye remained piercing into him from the black cavity on her face. “Master will come back for us, but until then, you will not leave!” At these words, she lurched forwards, spraying more acid right into Foliano’s face.

    He yelped and shook himself wildly, trying to stop the burning, part of him wanting to deliver a counter-strike out of principle – she’d only been able to do that because he’d stopped attacking. But something made him leap away from the sea lily entirely, heading towards another part of the battle. Carrie hadn’t been specific on where she wanted him to make use of their superior numbers, after all.

    He skirted past Ivyx and Kabutops, narrowly leaping over a sparkling green Energy Ball that Kabutops had smoothly ducked underneath moments earlier. Carrie yelled something about Shadow Ball from behind him, and he saw Crescent, his usually silky white fur grey and sodden with water, charge a sphere of dark matter in his mouth and fire it at Omanyte, who swiftly disappeared inside her shell. Black tendrils of energy skittered around the shell as the ball disintegrated on impact, eliciting a squeal of discomfort from the Pokémon inside.

    She promptly reappeared, waving her tiny tentacles vigorously as she sprayed a jet of water at the Absol’s face. “Won’t let you!” she squeaked as Crescent snarled in annoyance, raking his claws at her but missing due to the water in his eyes. “Won’t let you hurt Father!

    Did she mean Theo? Foliano’s first thought was that the human really hadn’t been exaggerating when he said he was like a father to his Pokémon; his second thought was that she kind of reminded him of Raptola. Omanyte seemed to be about as young as Foliano’s son, after all. And he felt sure that his son would fight with all he had if he knew his dad was in danger.

    He watched as Omanyte vanished inside her shell again and launched herself, spinning, at her foe. He didn’t have the heart to start attacking her, even if Crescent looked like he might have needed the help, only dodging by the narrowest of margins as the spiral shell whizzed past his nose. Omanyte’s typing was doubly weak to Grass, anyway. It didn’t seem right, battling her two-on-one with such a large type advantage to boot.

    His head snapped around as he heard a screech of pain from Velotus; Aerodactyl had clamped the Grovyle’s body in his long jaws, crystals of ice glittering around his teeth and sending a wave of cold air washing over Foliano. The pterodactyl flung his foe harshly into the wall of the Secret Base, Velotus unable to cushion the impact as his arms were trapped under a layer of ice.

    Aerodactyl advanced on the wildly struggling Grovyle, more ice forming around his fangs. Carrie yelled at Foliano to get in there and help him, but he hardly needed the order. Ducking momentarily as a wayward Shadow Ball zoomed past, he leapt towards the pterosaur and slammed a Leaf Blade upwards into his chin. Aerodactyl’s jaws snapped shut on thin air with a clack, spraying tiny ice fragments everywhere.

    “Velotus, where’s your fire?” Carrie called. Out of the corner of his eye, Foliano saw the other Grovyle shake his head as he strained to break free of the ice encasing him. A leathery grey wing smashed into Foliano, catching him off guard and sending him sprawling onto his back. “And Foli, didn’t you know Thunderpunch too?” his trainer added as the pterosaur loomed over him, wings spread wide, eyes glaring down at him from above and grinning that wicked, fanged grin.

    Thunderpunch? Foliano vaguely recalled having learnt it from Velotus, but it’d been a while and he couldn’t quite remember how it was done. He peered at his arm, trying to concentrate; a tiny crackle of electricity flickered across it and was gone just as quickly. The next moment, his head was slammed against the ground, stars speckling his vision as Aerodactyl’s wings swiped viciously at him, the ancient Pokémon screeching in triumph. Foliano instinctively lashed out in retaliation, but his bare claws did little against the Rock-type’s thick hide.

    Tie him down!” Velotus hissed from beside him as Foliano tried in vain to channel some energy into his leaves so he could give Aerodactyl a proper strike. “I just need some time!” The ice around the other Grovyle’s body seemed to be cracking – he’d be free in a few moments.

    Foliano forced his head to stop spinning and scrambled out from underneath Aerodactyl, narrowly missing being caught by another Wing Attack as he backed away to give himself space to concentrate. Inside the vegetation-rich Secret Base, it wasn’t hard to coax a twisting, snaking vine to erupt beneath the pterosaur’s feet, tripping him as he lunged towards his target and sending him crashing to the ground.

    Aerodactyl roared in frustration, flailing around on the floor, his efforts hampered by another two grassy ropes that Foliano had managed to call up and entwine around his wings as best he could. He caught Velotus’ eye; the other Grovyle grinned back at him, his ice entrapment now covered in a web of cracks.

    Look at you two,” Aerodactyl hissed, giving up his struggles against the vines in favour of glaring murderously – or was it enviously? – at the two Grovyle. “You have no idea what it’s like. Being the only one. Our leader is the only thing that makes it bearable for us. For me.” He paused to growl softly, and Foliano could see real loneliness behind his savage stare. “Now he wants to do the same for Archopy, and you seek to stop him?

    Damn right we do,” Velotus growled. The ice around him shattered, and he leapt straight at Aerodactyl, his eyes blazing with fire and his arm crackling with sparks. The fist connected and the Flying-type screeched in agony, writhing around in his grassy bonds as electricity coursed through him. The moment it was over, he hissed defiantly back at Velotus, snapping wildly with his jaws even as his body shook from the strain, but the Grovyle just dodged backwards out of reach with a sly grin.

    Foliano backed away from the fight, leaving his Grass Knot loose and easy to tear through. Aerodactyl was weakened enough now that Velotus could doubtless end things on his own – and Foliano couldn’t help but feel sorry for the pterosaur. He didn’t know what it was like to be the only one of his species, after all. Not like Theo’s Pokémon. Not like Archopy.

    But wouldn’t bringing back her species as a whole help Archopy more than one human trainer could?

    Foliano was snapped out of his confusing thoughts by his own trainer. “Foli, please!” Carrie said, sounding almost like she was begging. “We’re still nowhere near through – please, you have to help out somehow.” The anger from earlier had left her voice, leaving only desperation. Foliano couldn’t bring himself to ignore her wishes, despite his sympathy with the fossil Pokémon – she was his trainer, after all, and he cared about her just as much as Theo’s Pokémon cared about him.

    There was an explosion of green sparkles to his left as Kabutops deftly slashed at one of Ivyx’s Energy Balls, disintegrating it. Drawing in a breath, Foliano readied his blades and made himself approach his friend. He managed to put on a spurt of speed and slammed a Leaf Blade into Kabutops’ chest, catching him off guard while he was still focused on Ivyx. The shellfish caught his eye, looking almost amused as he raised his scythe to parry Foliano’s next blow.

    Two on one?” he chuckled, a playful edge to his voice. “Surely this isn’t fair?

    No, it isn’t, Foliano silently agreed as Ivyx fired off another Energy Ball from the sidelines which grazed the top of Kabutops’ head as he only just managed to duck it. “You could always just surrender, you know,” he said out loud, keeping up the pretence of friendly banter. “I’m sure our trainer would love you for that.

    Kabutops’ eyes lost their twinkle and became pained as he blocked the next few blows with more force than normal, driving Foliano back. “You know I can’t,” he said quietly. “Just as much as you can’t. Our trainers mean too much to us.

    The two of them stood there, each of their scythes blocked by the other’s, locked in a stalemate. Foliano almost wished his trainer wanted something else of him, just so that he wouldn’t have to fight his friend like this.

    Another Energy Ball flew in from the corner of his vision and struck Kabutops square in the chest. The shellfish gasped in pain and staggered backwards as the green sparkles fizzed over his whole body, their Grass type power seeping into his rocky hide. Foliano shot a glance at Ivyx, not sure if he was angry at her or complimenting her for the nice hit; she returned it with a look of wordless apology.

    Kabutops was still standing. He seemed to have determinedly shaken off the attack even though it must taken a lot out of him. Raising his scythes again, he began to stalk forwards, albeit with more difficulty than before.

    “Grass Knot, Foli!” Carrie called frantically from somewhere behind Foliano. “You know it works on him!”

    Gritting his teeth and feeling horrible for doing so, Foliano called up a pair of twisted vines around his friend’s clawed feet. Kabutops caught his eye in the moment before the knots tightened, his gaze unreadable – and then he suddenly shot vertically upwards faster than Foliano had ever thought he could move. He snapped his gaze up to the ceiling, but Kabutops had already leapt off it, too fast to follow. The next thing he knew, a scything strike slammed into his back, sending him sprawling forwards, almost crashing into Cradily’s bottom half.

    Foliano lay there, dazed, not really taking in the sea lily’s wild threats towards Empathy above him. That attack had hurt a lot more than a normal hit from one of Kabutops’ scythes should have. The pain was reminiscent of Aerodactyl swiping him with his wings; the move must have been Flying type.

    He still couldn’t quite heave himself up off the ground – the attack just now coupled with the lingering aches from Aerodactyl’s Wing Attacks and Cradily’s acidic assaults had taken a lot out of him – but he managed to look over his shoulder back at Kabutops. “You know Aerial Ace?

    The shellfish nodded, not catching his eye. “My trainer taught it to me a long time ago,” he said.

    Foliano frowned, thinking of their friendly battles. “Then why did you never…

    I didn’t want to hurt you that badly,” Kabutops mumbled, his voice plagued with guilt. Turning away from Foliano, he dodged to the side of another Energy Ball that Ivyx sent his way – she seemed to be really straining herself to pull them off now – and then leapt straight upwards. Foliano could only watch helplessly as the same move was used on her: rebounding off the ceiling and then the base’s left and right walls in quick succession, Kabutops caught her from behind with an impossibly fast strike that she could never have avoided. Ivyx screamed as she tumbled forwards, sprawling onto the grassy floor much like Foliano had. Unlike him, she didn’t move again.

    The horror in his trainer’s eyes as she pulled out a Poké Ball matched his own. Carrie gave Foliano an intense look as she recalled Ivyx, and he knew exactly what she wanted him to do. He wanted to do it, too. Kabutops had just taken out his mate. His mate. Some primal urge within Foliano wanted nothing more than to fly at his friend in a rage, to hurt him just as badly – no, twice as badly – as he’d just hurt Ivyx. Suddenly able to ignore the pain of his injuries, he pushed himself up off the ground and rounded on Kabutops.

    And it wouldn’t even be unfair any more. Carrie’s Pokémon no longer outnumbered Theo’s, after all.

    Kabutops backed away from his glare, raising his scythes in what would have been a placating gesture had they not been the same scythes that had just struck Ivyx down. “I’m sorry,” he said desperately.

    Foliano tried to force himself to calm down as he stared into Kabutops’ eyes. Ivyx was only unconscious, after all; she’d be fine. And Kabutops was his friend. The same Pokémon he’d shared playful banter with in the midst of friendly battles. He’d only done this because his loyalty to his trainer was more important to him, and Foliano could understand that.

    But Foliano’s loyalty to his own trainer was just as important. And although it had been subdued somewhat, the instinctive fury within him hadn’t gone away.

    I’m sorry!” Kabutops said again, clearly seeing that he wasn’t about to back down. Foliano took a deep breath to keep a hold of himself as he prepared to take down his friend.

    So am I.

    * * *

    Theo’s feet pounded heavily against the ground as he ran through the darkened forest with only his rapid breathing and Archopy’s Master Ball for company. He tried to focus on the thought of Archopy, to tell himself that everything would be all right once he had time to talk to her and make her trust him, but why on earth would she want to trust someone who’d just grabbed her and run away with her like this?

    Theo was beginning to wish on top of everything else that he hadn’t started running. He could hardly see where he was going in the dark – the tall silhouettes of trees kept looming into his vision so fast that he was barely avoiding smacking headlong into them. And even if he had the first clue what made a good hiding place in a forest, he still wouldn’t be able to see any in this all-consuming blackness. This was getting him nowhere. All he was doing was leaving his Pokémon – the ones that actually trusted him – further and further behind.

    The thought of never being able to find his way back and losing his Pokémon forever crossed Theo’s mind, almost making him stop and turn back then and there.

    But he had to keep running. He’d captured Archopy. He couldn’t go back, not while Carrie was still there. She might even have defeated his Pokémon and be coming after him by now – she could track his footprints, couldn’t she? Theo ran faster; he had to find a safe place where he could send out Archopy, somewhere that Carrie would never find him.

    He was running so fast that he’d barely registered the dark shape in front of him before he crashed into it. The shape in question was knocked backwards, letting out a cry of alarm – and Theo’s heart dropped into his stomach as he realised that he’d just literally run into a member of Bad Light.

    He wheeled around frantically, taking off in the direction he’d been coming from, hoping desperately that the thug hadn’t noticed who he was in the darkness. His hopes were dashed as a flash of light from behind him lit up the forest and the sound of the trainer ordering a Thunder Wave reached his ears. Theo would have sped up even more if he hadn’t already been running at full pelt. He didn’t have any Pokémon to defend himself with any more; he could hardly send out Archopy, and the rest of his Pokémon were…

    No, not all of them, Theo realised, digging into his pocket as he saw a Magneton float up beside him in the corner of his eye, blue sparks crackling around its magnets and reflecting off its steel bodies. He flung out his last occupied Poké Ball at the same moment the Magneton sent a wave of paralysing electricity surging through him. For the second time in two days, Theo felt his limbs seize up painfully, and he slammed into the ground, hard. His head spinning as he stared straight ahead, he saw his Poké Ball bounce and pop open with a flash of light, releasing his last hope of getting out of this situation.

    But Theo knew how ridiculous it was to think he could count on Armaldo. In the intermittent light from the Magneton’s sparks, the fossil Pokémon’s blank gaze passed straight over him. Armaldo wasn’t even looking at the Pokémon that had taken his trainer down.

    Theo could hear footsteps that must have belonged to the Magneton’s trainer approaching through the dark. His mind threw up scenarios of Armaldo helplessly getting fried by electricity, unable to do anything to fight back. Theo’s arms refused to listen to him as he struggled to push himself up; talking was also difficult, but with effort he managed to form recognisable sounds. “Armaldo,” he gasped, “Ancientpow – ow – agh…” He coughed and wheezed desperately as his throat seized up mid-word and he found himself barely able to breathe, let alone speak.

    Without being given the exact name of the attack, Armaldo might as well have heard nothing at all. Still gasping for breath, Theo felt his insides fill with dread for his Pokémon as the crackling of sparks continued, but the Magneton’s trainer didn’t order anything. Instead, the man walked right past the fossil Pokémon into Theo’s field of vision – and bent down to pick up Armaldo’s Poké Ball, which had rolled away in the moment Theo had been struck by the Thunder Wave.

    Theo could only watch helplessly as the thug recalled Armaldo and pocketed the ball as if the Pokémon belonged to him. It hardly bore thinking about what might be done to him now that he was in the Bad Light member’s hands.

    “You two have the Director’s permission to capture Archopy, so long as you give it to one of us straight away,” the man said, a note of annoyance in his voice as he advanced on Theo. “That’s what I remember having to tell every single member of our team on the hill.” With a rough shove from the man’s boot, Theo was rolled over and found himself lying on his back, staring up at a face that seemed vaguely familiar. “So why were you running away with it, hm?”

    Panic hit Theo in a sudden surge as he realised that there was nothing he could do to stop this man taking Archopy. His body still wasn’t listening to his mind’s frantic attempts to get it to move. “No,” he managed to gasp, finding his voice again. “You – can’t –” With a huge effort, he jerked an arm up to try and cover the pocket with Archopy’s Master Ball in a desperate attempt to hold onto her, realising too late that all he’d done was show the thug exactly which pocket he’d find her in.

    Archopy. Theo had dug her up. He had to help her. He couldn’t let them take her back to MemorCorp and make her life hell.

    But his body refused to move. There was nothing he could do but let out an anguished cry of despair as the man working for the Director reached into his pocket and tore his Pokémon away from him.

    * * *

    Carrie ground her teeth in frustration as she stared at the entrance of the Secret Base, still hopelessly out of reach on the other side of the battlers. Theo’s Pokémon were simply refusing to back down.

    It wasn’t for lack of her Pokémon trying, either. The fight just seemed to have set itself up to be as annoying for them as possible. Cradily must have been using Amnesia, because she’d taken countless Psybeams from Empathy and still had enough in her to retaliate with an Energy Ball or a spray of acid. With physical attacks barely able to scratch her shell, Omanyte was proving ridiculously hard for Crescent to hit with a Shadow Ball once she got rolling quickly. Aerodactyl, despite having taken at least two Thunderpunches, was somehow managing to repeatedly flit out of the way of what would likely have been a final one and still find the opportunity to zoom in with a Wing Attack every now and then, leaving Velotus almost as hurt as he was. And since when had Kabutops known Aerial Ace? At least he seemed too tired to use it any more, locked in a scythe-duel with Foliano, who’d given up on Grass Knot after the fossil Pokémon kept avoiding it. Both of them looked exhausted as they traded blows.

    But despite clearly being on their last legs, Theo’s Pokémon were not giving up.

    Carrie almost wanted to tear her hair out. She was sure there had to be some strategic way to go about this, some way to arrange the battle so that her Pokémon had the maximum advantage and could work together to be out in seconds. The Pokémon were all too caught up in their individual battles to be able to stop and think; this was the part she, as a trainer, was meant to be doing. But Carrie had never been too great at overly tactical battling. There was just too much going on at once for her to be able to focus on it, and the ever-present knowledge that Theo was getting further and further away by the second was rendering her unable to think straight.

    Carrie had opened her mouth to call out some kind of order anyway but stopped as the faint smell of a campfire reached her. She frowned, glancing at Velotus, but he showed no signs of having used his Hidden Power; in fact, after their conversation last night and the way he’d shaken his head earlier when she’d ordered it, she wasn’t sure he even could use his fire any more.

    Which meant…

    She looked frantically around the Secret Base, seeing wisps of smoke curling their way in through the weave of vegetation that made up the walls. And now that she thought about it, the room seemed a whole lot warmer than it had a few minutes ago.

    “Stop!” she yelled desperately over the sounds of the battle in front of her. “Seriously, I mean it, stop! This place is on fire!”

    The Pokémon seemed to have been vaguely aware something was wrong, but at this, they all broke off their fighting and began to properly take in their surroundings: the smoke that was already rising to form a layer of grey haze around the ceiling, the sound of crackling flames from outside, the steadily increasing heat. Carrie’s Pokémon backed towards their trainer; Theo’s simply stared around helplessly, at a loss for what to do.

    “Yeah,” Carrie said, trying to keep her mounting panic out of her voice. “We need to get out of here. Um.” She fumbled in her pockets, pulling out Poké Balls rather clumsily thanks to her shaking fingers and recalling her Pokémon to the safety of their balls. Then she looked down at Theo’s Pokémon, all of them showing signs of exhaustion, all of them still guarding their positions in front of the entrance. “Um,” she said again. “You guys. You need to let me out.”

    “Craaay, leee,” warbled Cradily, her bulbous head performing a twisting kind of dance that might have been a headshake. The other three Pokémon glanced at her. All three held their ground.

    Carrie’s back was beginning to feel considerably hotter; she edged forward away from the back wall, in which flickers of orange were beginning to show through the vegetation. “Oh, right,” she said to the fossil Pokémon. “Yeah. You’re all Rock-types; you’ll probably be fine if this place burns down around us, won’t you?” Her usual sarcastic tone seemed to be coming out a lot higher-pitched than normal. “Has it occurred to you that I won’t be?” She pointed wildly at herself. “Human being here. Flesh and blood. Burns easily. You’ve got to let me out.”

    Cradily remained as steadfast as ever, vehemently repeating whatever it was she’d said before. The other three looked less sure; Kabutops in particular seemed to be struggling with himself as he propped his battered body up with one scythe. Around them, the flames grew closer. Parts of the inside walls were beginning to visibly blacken and become engulfed in a flickering orange as the fire made its way in. Carrie felt hotter still.

    “Please!” she said desperately, dropping to her knees as the layer of smoke coating the ceiling descended to be uncomfortably close to her head. “You know Theo wouldn’t have included ‘let her burn to death’ in his orders! He’s not that kind of person – you can’t leave me in here!”

    At this, Kabutops hesitated for a brief moment and then spoke quietly to Omanyte, who was the other Pokémon most directly in front of the entrance alongside him. Carrie’s heart leapt – and then promptly stumbled mid-leap as all Omanyte did was start spewing jets of water at the walls in an attempt to quell the rising flames.

    “Oh, great,” she said, watching the water hiss and turn to steam that rose to join the smoke above her head. “Keep me alive but keep me here, too. Yeah, thanks.” Kabutops ignored her as he joined in the efforts, firing off undulating pulses of water clearly meant to drench the flames, but its effect was somewhat lacklustre given how tired the shellfish was. “You know I’m just going to send out my Pokémon again and carry on beating you once you’ve put it out,” Carrie added huffily.

    Her anxiety began to creep back into her as she crouched low in the very middle of the Secret Base, watching the two Water-types’ efforts to fight the fire. They didn’t seem to be winning. For every flame they doused, two more would spring up elsewhere along the walls, and the sprays of water aimed at them were getting weaker and weaker each time as Kabutops and Omanyte’s energy dwindled further. Carrie had to give them credit; they weren’t giving up, despite their exhaustion and the fact that they were fighting for someone they’d been fighting against only a few minutes ago. But it was looking pretty futile – she was just glad she’d been splashed with cold water several times by now, because the heat was getting intense.

    Never mind the fire-fighting effort – she needed to get the hell out of there, way more urgently than she’d ever needed to earlier. Thinking furiously about her options, she was almost ready to start begging Theo’s Pokémon to just let her out again even though she could barely see them through the steam, but then something she’d said while thinking through this problem earlier came back to her. The walls of a Secret Base could only be broken down from the outside – and that was exactly what was happening.

    Squinting through the haze at the walls around her, Carrie spotted a part off to her left where she could make out a decent-sized hole in the charred vegetation, the flames around which looked to be mostly out. Omanyte and Kabutops were furiously working on the opposite wall and didn’t seem to have noticed through the steam and the smoke and the confusion that they’d left their captive an escape route.

    Trying desperately not to breathe too much in case she started choking, Carrie crawled hurriedly forward, heading for freedom.

    Something snagged on her foot as she was almost through, something that grabbed tight and tugged furiously in an attempt to keep her there. Carrie could hear Cradily screeching indignantly somewhere behind her and lashed out blindly, feeling her foot connect with something round and heavy at the same time as the sea lily let out a yeep of pain. The tentacles around Carrie’s leg loosened for a moment, allowing her to yank herself free and scramble frantically forward, stumbling to her feet and running blindly as fire surrounded her on either side; she was only glad she was soaked through; that seemed to be keeping the flames off her…

    She ran through a shimmering wall of light, and suddenly the world wasn’t on fire any more. Carrie skidded to a confused halt in front of a purple and black pig-like Pokémon that was spreading its arms, the pearls on its body somehow managing to glow with a black light. She stared from the Grumpig back to the Secret Base, seeing flames still gorging on the small mound of grass and the ground around it, but stopping as soon as they reached the wall of energy that the Psychic Pokémon was producing. It finally clicked in Carrie’s head that this was a Light Screen – looking around, she saw that the Grumpig was one of several Pokémon standing around the Secret Base, powering the screen in order to keep the fire contained inside a circle of light.

    But as she looked around, she also realised that there was a further circle outside this one, one that she was still trapped by, and her hopes of freedom were promptly dashed.

    It was a circle of Bad Light members.

    “Hey there, Grovyle-girl,” came an irritatingly familiar voice from one side of the circle that sent the dashed pieces of Carrie’s hopes through the shredder. “Took you long enough. I was beginning to feel all insulted – it almost looked like you’d rather burn to death in there than come out and see us.”

    Resisting the urge to smack her forehead in despairing frustration, Carrie looked towards the man who was standing as part of the circle, directly in front of the Secret Base’s entrance. Andrew was leaning against his Arcanine, completely at ease, looking straight back at her with a way-too-amused gleam in his eyes and the biggest of grins.

    “I’m sure you’ll be glad to know that we’ve apprehended your evil, Archopy-thieving friend,” he went on. “But you’d better come along with us, too. The Director would hate for you to miss the fun.”

    ~~~

    << Previous chapter
    Last edited by elyvorg; 27th March 2013 at 11:15 PM.
    .: Evolution is a battle .:. Something has to lose :.
    LOST EVOLUTION
    Chapter 33: Inside has been posted.


    Foregone Conclusion
    Spinoff/prequel/backstory/thingy to Lost Evolution, written for NaNoWriMo 2010

    Three Heads Are Better Than One

  8. #358
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    I love this chapter, as you may have noticed when I was squeeing over Theo and his Pokémon on Saturday.

    There are no outstanding mistakes that I could see per se, or at least not that I remember right now. I did enjoy that you started with Vanessa, as a fun way to get back to what just happened, but that scene seemed sort of pointless in the grand scheme of things, considering Vanessa doesn't turn out to do anything else in the chapter and even that scene is just her waking up and seeing Archopy has been caught, with no further hint that it's there for any other reason than just being that fun way to get back to what just happened. Again, I enjoyed it, but afterwards it just feels a little out of place.

    I love how everything played out story-wise; Theo getting caught almost immediately was ever so slightly anticlimactic after the whole grand twist in the last chapter, but I can't imagine it would really have been especially entertaining if you'd dragged it out, and it is very nice to see the villains being competent enough to do this, especially when they summarily capture Carrie as well.

    As for the character side of things, Theo is adorable and his Pokémon are all adorable and I still irrationally love Andrew to itty bits and aaaa Foliano and Kabutops! D: I am looking way forward to Kabutops' POV.

    Sorry for the lack of quotes; it's a little harder to speak that specifically when writing the review after reading as opposed to during.

    Chapter 64: Hide and Seek
    The story of an ordinary boy on an impossible quest in a world that isn't as black and white as he always thought it was.
    (rough draft of the remaining chapters finished for NaNoWriMo; to be edited and posted)

    Morphic
    (completed, plus silly extras)
    A few scientists get drunk and start fiddling with gene splicing. Ten years later, they're taking care of eight half-Pokémon kids, each freakier than the next, while a religious fanatic plots to murder them all.

    Lengthy fanfiction reviewing guide / A more condensed version
    Read and I will be very happy for a large number of reasons.

  9. #359
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    You know I always hated the phrase "said nothing." How can you say nothing? 'Say' implies yo said something, 'nothing' is, well, nothing. I'll never grasp the intrinsic arcanum of this oxymoron.

    Easily the greates thing I've ever read:

    "The room promptly became a whole lot noisier. Most of it was down to Cradily, who dropped the threatening glare in an instant in favour of screeching wordlessly at the top of her voice as she flailed wildly in preparation for an attack. "
    This sounds weird to me:
    "The strike was punctuated by a yellow flash from the other side of the room "
    - It makes it sound like the attack was actually interuppted or blocked. Also at this point the word 'punctuated' felt a bit repetitive. I know it wasn't, but being such an uncommon word, it DOES stand out more.

    So. It was a very battle-centric chapter, which is fine by me because I love how you write fight scenes, the decriptions are easy to imagine, and they all flow quite nicely. I'd assume it was a bit of a challenge writing so many different scuffles at once though eh?

    Theo. Oh Theo. I love how indecisive and failtastic you are. Silly Theo. Still seems cruel getting Thunder Waved though...

    To be honest there's not a lot to say about the characters. Carrie reacted as Carrie would, though when she was looking at the Secret Base, why didn't she see Andrew then? Just a note.

    No, can't say I've much to say. Or... Something? It was good, very good. I'd say well worth the wait, but nothing particularily AMAZING happened. I mean, the fight was amazing, but that's all it was, an enjoyable prolonging of the plot. Worth the wait, but not WELL worth the wait.

    Banner credit: Jakotsu.
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    They named a game after me?

  10. #360
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    Hello again, dear fic thread! It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?

    By which I mean it’s been two and a half years oh god that is unforgivable. But! I have not and never had given up on this story, and recently I have been getting at least somewhat back into the swing of writing it again. Thanks to my old one-chapter-ahead-of-posting arrangement for writing, I have also always had Chapter 32 in a nearly-finished state for all this time. So, even though work on Chapter 33 is currently going kind of awkwardly because I’m incredibly rusty (and it’s one of those tricky transitory chapters), I see no reason why I can’t post the next chapter sometime soon.

    Therefore!

    I will try to have Chapter 32 up within a week. There. Now that I’ve said it in here, I can’t be lazy and back out of it.

    This… prior warning, I suppose, also gives anyone who’s still interested in this fic a chance to go back and reread some of the recent chapters if they want to refresh their memories. In particular, I have finally got around to editing in the rewritten version of Chapter 30 that a couple of reviews way back at the time of posting it persuaded me to write. Certain parts of it are significantly changed, and upcoming chapters will refer to these changed parts as if they are what always happened, so if you’re going to reread any of the chapters then I recommend you make sure to include Chapter 30.

    Dragonfree and Darkfall, thank you for your reviews way back when. I’d reply to them, except I’d feel kind of silly since that was two and a half years ago, but they were appreciated nonetheless.

    So, here’s to more Lost Evolution hopefully very soon!
    .: Evolution is a battle .:. Something has to lose :.
    LOST EVOLUTION
    Chapter 33: Inside has been posted.


    Foregone Conclusion
    Spinoff/prequel/backstory/thingy to Lost Evolution, written for NaNoWriMo 2010

    Three Heads Are Better Than One

  11. #361
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    Default Chapter 32: Direction [part 1]

    As promised, Chapter 32!

    Unfortunately, this is a bit of an inconvenient chapter to be posting immediately after a massive hiatus; the writing kind of assumes you at least vaguely remember what's been going on recently. So, again, I recommend at least skimming Chapter 31 to get back up to speed, if you don't remember much.

    Anyway, huge, huge apologies for the wait, and I hope you enjoy.


    Chapter 32: Direction

    Grudgingly, Carrie dropped her Poké Balls into the palm of the huge Bad Light member walking beside her through the nighttime forest. She really didn’t have much choice; with him and the man on her other side no doubt carrying full teams of six each, her five exhausted Pokémon wouldn’t have stood a chance.

    “How did you even manage to find me?” she growled, directing her question at the third Bad Light member whom she could just about make out walking in front of her, his hands held nonchalantly behind his back. “You couldn’t possibly have known I was in that Secret Base.”

    Andrew grinned as he looked back at her over his shoulder. “You’ve got one Vanessa Swift to thank for that,” he said. “After you mentioned her, I asked one of the guys to look into her background, which in his language apparently meant ‘hack into her laptop’. Turns out she’s running a program that shows her – and now us – exactly where that Master Ball is and whether or not it’s occupied. Convenient, eh?” His eyes twinkled slyly. “Aren’t you glad you told us about her now?”

    Carrie ground her teeth in frustration. Both Vanessa and MemorCorp had been tracking her from a distance, had they? That explained why Velotus hadn’t spotted anyone tailing them last night. It also meant that Vanessa knew Archopy had been captured now and would probably be heading this way. Where was Vanessa, anyway? Carrie hadn’t seen her in what felt like ages.

    “Surely it would have been simpler just to follow me directly anyway?” she asked bitterly.

    Andrew shrugged and faced forward again. “More fun this way. Besides, aren’t you glad we stopped your little friend getting away? You two must have so much to catch up on.” There was an inordinate amount of glee in his voice at that last statement, something Carrie couldn’t help but feel apprehensive about.

    Their trek through the forest had brought them to a somewhat flatter, more open area of the hill, where Carrie could make out through the darkness a row of small trucks built for carrying a dozen or so people in the back. Presumably this was how Bad Light had got here; clearly, it was also how she would be leaving here. Andrew led her past the nearest one, and the next nearest, seemingly arbitrarily choosing one further down the row with which to fling the doors to the back open with a dramatic flourish.

    Carrie peered into the gloom; it was dark enough that all she could make out was two low benches on either side. A rough shove at her back from one of the other men prompted her to climb inside and sit on a bench, though not without scowling at the man in the process. Andrew jumped in behind her, shutting the doors with a clang and plunging them into further darkness. From the sounds and the vague shapes she could make out, it looked like Andrew had sat himself down right next to the doors and put his feet up on the opposite bench, forming a barrier between her and freedom with his legs. There didn’t seem much chance of Carrie escaping, then – not with her Pokémon in the hands of one of the other men whom she could hear getting into the front.

    As the truck rumbled to life, faint streaks of light made their way in above and between the doors, presumably from the truck’s headlights, making it marginally easier to see. With a splutter, the vehicle began to move, juddering up and down across the hilly ground.

    “I don’t suppose there’s any point asking where you’re taking me,” Carrie said.

    Andrew perked up from the relaxed posture he’d shifted into. “Of course there is!” he said. “Thought you’d never ask. The Director wants you at MemorCorp.”

    “What?” said Carrie. “Does she want to talk to me in person this time or something?”

    “Nope,” Andrew replied. “I don’t think she really gives a damn about you any more now that she’s got Archopy. She just wants to keep a closer eye on you so you don’t do anything stupid like tell people her plans.” He gave a mock-frown. “Savage got all annoyed because she made it sound like she doesn’t trust us to keep you quiet out here. He wanted to try and accidentally kill you again, you know.” He grinned. “Still, I reckon it’ll be fine. I’m sure we can find some syringes containing something that isn’t water this time once we’re back at MemorCorp, don’t you think?”

    Carrie gritted her teeth, repressing a frustrated groan. As long as they had her Grovyle and some of that evolution serum, she wouldn’t be able to do a thing. She hated the fact that a simple chemical gave them so much control over her.

    Andrew just beamed.

    Folding her arms huffily, Carrie stared at the cloth-covered roof of the truck. MemorCorp was somewhere on the outskirts of Petalburg City – halfway across Hoenn from Steel Hill. And Carrie’s only company on the journey was to be Andrew. Great.

    On second thoughts, Carrie wasn’t entirely sure that they were alone in there. A sort of wheezing sound, like somebody’s laboured breathing, was coming from the opposite corner of the space. Squinting in that direction, she could make out the shape of a person huddled in the shadows now that her eyes were more accustomed to the near-darkness. With what seemed like a great effort, the person in question heaved themselves upright, shifting out of the dark as they did so, and Carrie saw Theo staring back at her through the gloom.

    “You,” she hissed.

    Theo gritted his teeth and didn’t respond. He couldn’t, Carrie realised; she could see him struggling to breathe, his sitting position stiff and awkward. It seemed he was paralysed – that would be the second time for him in about two days.

    It occurred to Carrie that she ought to feel sorry for him, but she wasn’t about to start pitying the man who had tried to capture Archopy for his own selfish gain, who’d been planning to do so all along. Instead, she glared daggers at him across the truck’s interior. Theo jerked his head in what might have been a dismissive headshake and directed his pained gaze down at the floor.

    With a way-too-wide grin, Andrew pulled something out of his pocket, reached towards Theo and sprayed the contents of a small bottle in his face. Theo coughed and spluttered and began to relax, his posture becoming gradually less stiff.

    Carrie recalled the last time their captors had decided to ease Theo’s paralysis for no apparent reason and gave Andrew a quizzical look. “Okay, so I get why you did it the last time,” she said, “but why un-paralyse him this time? It’s not like we’re going to be talking to anyone important anytime soon.”

    “No,” Andrew admitted, “but this would be no fun if only one of you could speak.” He said it as though he was pointing out something obvious.

    Carrie stared, then shook her head dismissively and rounded on Theo. She opened her mouth to fire some kind of scathing comment at him, but he spoke first.

    “I suppose you’re happy now.” Theo’s voice was laced with so much bitterness that it barely sounded like him. Accusing eyes stared out at Carrie from beneath his matted fringe.

    “What?”

    “I suppose you’re happy,” he repeated. “Archopy’s going back to MemorCorp to be put through hell again. But that’s okay, because it means her species comes back and you finally get to vindicate your silly little hatred for Sceptile.”

    Carrie flinched. She’d never heard Theo be this venomous before, nor had he ever hit so uncomfortably close to home.

    “After all, it’s not like you actually care about her wellbeing specifically, is it?” Theo went on. “She’s not your Pokémon. Why should you care?”

    “She’s not yours either,” Carrie snapped back instantly. She really wished he’d stop labouring under the delusion that he somehow deserved to own Archopy.

    “Excuse me?” he replied. “I dug up her fossil. I asked for her to be revived. She was caught with a ball which I threw. Whether you think I deserve her or not – which, by the way, has no bearing on anything – how in the world is she not mine?”

    “If I could just chip in,” Andrew said, “a Pokémon’s trainer is always registered as the one who threw the ball, regardless of where the ball came from. So yes, Theo here does officially own Archopy now.” He grinned infuriatingly at Carrie. “Sorry, Grovyle-girl.”

    Carrie scowled. It was almost plausible to believe that Andrew was lying for the sake of messing with her – except, now that he mentioned it, she remembered Sam saying the exact same thing a few days ago. Which meant that Archopy was technically Theo’s Pokémon now.

    Damn it.

    “That doesn’t change anything!” she snarled. “You had no right to just grab her without giving her a chance!”

    You have no right to just cart her off back to MemorCorp without giving her a chance, either,” Theo shot back, fixing her with a piercing glare. “Didn’t you say that she’d said no?”

    “Well, yes, but…” Carrie broke off and frowned. “Wait, since when did Archopy being brought back to MemorCorp have anything to do with me?” She glared briefly at Andrew. “That’s down to his lot.”

    “True,” Theo admitted, his voice dark and resentful, “but then why aren’t you complaining?”

    “What? As if complaining would…”

    Carrie stopped herself. Theo was right; she hadn’t objected once she’d found out Archopy was headed back to MemorCorp. Did that mean she was okay with it after all, despite it being against Archopy’s wishes? Could she just as easily have been the one to throw the Master Ball and hand it off to Andrew if Theo hadn’t got there first?

    She shook her head savagely. “No, I’ll tell you why I’m not complaining any more. It’s because at least she hasn’t ended up with you.”

    “Wha…?” It took Theo a second try to find the steel in his voice again. “What? In what way exactly would that have been worse for her than MemorCorp?”

    “In the ‘you acted like a crazed, selfish madman back in the Secret Base’ way,” Carrie pointed out. “Trust me, Theo, you didn’t exactly look like the kind of guy Archopy would want to spend the rest of her life with. I mean, what sort of trainer leaves the rest of his Pokémon behind to run off with the one he’s just caught?”

    “I had to do that,” said Theo a little too quickly. His eyes were hidden by the shadows for a moment. “I had no choice.” Abruptly he went back to staring accusingly at Carrie. “You gave me no choice! If you’d actually understood why I needed to do this, then I wouldn’t have had to stop you coming after me!”

    A snickering sound had started up in the other corner of the truck. “Hang on, hang on,” Andrew said, looking between the two of them as if they were in on some big joke he was missing. “So Theo’s Pokémon were in that Secret Base?” He let out a cackle and turned to Carrie. “And that’s why it took you so long to get out even after Arcanine torched it?”

    “Torched it?” came a hoarse whisper from Theo.

    Andrew was still laughing to himself. “Oh, Carrie, why didn’t you tell me?” he giggled. “I could have got some of the guys to go in and grab them before we left. We needed more –”

    “You leave them alone,” Theo hissed, his voice wavering slightly despite the force in it. He whipped around to Carrie, his fixed glare harsher than ever. “This is your fault,” he said. “If you could just get it, if you could even try to understand what goes on in other people’s heads instead of staying in your own little world…”

    Carrie snorted. “Then what? I’d have just happily let you run away with Archopy? I don’t think so.”

    Theo shook his head witheringly. “You really don’t get it,” he muttered.

    “What exactly is there to get?” Carrie asked, staring. “You wanted Archopy, you somehow managed to convince yourself it was because you could ‘help’ her, and here we are.”

    “I can help her!” he insisted, that I-am-in-the-right gleam in his eyes again for a moment, and then it fell. “I could have helped her, if that lot hadn’t…” He turned to glare darkly at Andrew.

    The Bad Light member held up his hands in a placating gesture. “Hey, me and the guys are just doing our jobs here,” he said. “If you want to get all fiery at someone for opposing you on principle –” he indicated Carrie – “point yourself back at her.”

    Theo’s glare didn’t let up. “You did your job by torching the Secret Base?”

    Andrew shrugged. “Had to get her out of it somehow. Hey, I didn’t even know your Pokémon were in there. It was nothing personal.” He waved a hand towards Carrie. “Go on, go back to blaming her for forcing you to send them out in the first place.”

    Theo stared between the two of them, seeming momentarily at a loss.

    Carrie raised an eyebrow. “So apparently I ‘forced’ you to leave your Pokémon in there,” she said. “Because I couldn’t understand how you were going to help Archopy, or something. Well, let’s say I want to try and understand now: how exactly were you going to help Archopy? Honestly, I’m kind of curious here.”

    “I… I was going to talk to her. To gain her trust.” Theo’s voice was a lot smaller and quieter than it had been moments ago. “Then I could help her get over those memories of hers.”

    “And how was that going to work?” Carrie asked. “Even if you did somehow manage to gain her trust, which, let’s face it, is pretty impossible –” she noticed Theo flinch and not meet her eye at those words – “how exactly were you going to help her get over the memories? I mean, you don’t even have a way to understand her language. What on earth were you planning to do?”

    “At least I was going to try!” Theo exclaimed, suddenly defensive again. “That’s more than I saw you offering to do, even though you do have a way to understand her.”

    Carrie was thrown for a second, before she shook her head. “No, this is not about me – you just basically admitted that you had absolutely no idea what you were going to do to ‘help’ Archopy once you’d caught her. Are you still going to pretend you didn’t do this out of some kind of selfish greed?”

    “I didn’t!” he insisted, a hint of pleading in his eyes. “You have to understand; I really did want to help her. I just…” He sighed, drooping. “I just don’t suppose I ever really thought I’d get that far.”

    Carrie almost laughed. “Wait, what?” she said incredulously. “You didn’t even think you’d get that far, but you still went for it? If you knew this would be a gigantic failure, why…?”

    Someone had to try and help her,” Theo said, the desperate insistence in his voice beginning to sound like a broken record. “No-one else seemed to care – you were perfectly fine with her being carted back off to MemorCorp once you heard the Director’s wonderful plan –” he said those last words with a heavy dose of irony, and then jerked his head at Andrew – “and they clearly don’t give a damn about her. Who else was going to help her if not me?”

    “Oh, stop acting like you’re the world’s only goody-two-shoes,” Carrie snapped irritably. Something suddenly occurred to her. “In fact, yeah, you’re really not. Whose fault is it that Archopy even has those memories? Who brought her fossil to MemorCorp in the first place?”

    She smirked as the horrified realisation hit Theo.

    There was a cackle from the opposite corner. “Ouch,” Andrew commented, giving Carrie a grin and a thumbs-up.

    “No,” Theo murmured, staring down at the floor, shaking his head numbly. “I didn’t… I didn’t know they were going to do that to her. It’s not my fault.”

    “Yeah, but it really wouldn’t have taken you that long to find out,” Andrew pointed out. “MemorCorp. Clue’s in the name.”

    “I… it all went so fast.” Theo lifted his head to shift his pleading gaze between the two of them. “Milo had a new job, and I was too excited about discovering the fossil… I didn’t think to ask…”

    “What you basically just said is that it was your fault,” Carrie said.

    Theo grimaced and looked away, hiding his face in the shadows. “I didn’t mean to hurt her,” he mumbled, his voice small and pathetic. “You have to believe me. I would never mean to hurt her.”

    Carrie smirked. “Oh, of course,” she said. “But Archopy isn’t the only Pokémon you completely didn’t mean to screw up, is she?”

    Andrew’s eyes lit up at this. “She isn’t?”

    “Armaldo.” Carrie gave Theo a scrutinising gaze. “You took his fossil to some place that forgot to put his brain in, am I right? And even though you’ve tried to ‘help’ him, that hasn’t exactly got very far over however long you’ve had him, has it?”

    “No…” Theo lifted his head out of the shadows, a ghost of the fierce glare from before back in his eyes. “Leave Armaldo out of this. This has nothing to do with him.”

    Andrew made an exaggerated coughing noise that sounded a lot like “Denial!”

    Carrie glanced at him then back at Theo, a grin spreading across her face. “Wait, it does? You mean this does have something to do with Armaldo?” She laughed. “Oh, but of course! This has everything to do with Armaldo, doesn’t it?”

    Theo winced, his face becoming half-hidden by darkness again.

    “Yeah – you couldn’t fix Armaldo, so you thought that if you could fix Archopy instead, that would make up for it! I’m right, aren’t I?”

    Theo shifted further into the shadows and said nothing.

    Carrie gave a sly grin. “Sooo,” she said, “lemme just confirm this one more time. Are you still going to claim that when you threw the Master Ball at Archopy, you were doing it entirely for her sake?”

    There was a long pause.

    “I don’t know,” came Theo’s voice at last, all the fight utterly drained from it. “Yeah, you’re probably right. I probably am just a selfish madman.” This time, his bitterness was very much directed at himself. “So there you are. You win. Congratulations. I suppose you’re happy now.” He huddled further into his corner until she could barely see him at all through the shadows.

    Carrie stared numbly at him. She’d imagined that she’d get some satisfaction out of making Theo stop pretending and admit everything was his fault, but the feeling just didn’t seem to want to come.

    “So,” Andrew piped up from the other corner, his eyes twinkling with curiosity, “that Armaldo that Archie grabbed off him when he captured him doesn’t have a brain?”

    “Oh, shut up,” Carrie muttered. “I don’t see why you were acting like you were on my side there.”

    He frowned at her, looking genuinely puzzled. “I wasn’t.”

    The ride continued on in silence. With nothing left to occupy her, Carrie’s thoughts drifted to the doubts that the argument with Theo had seeded in her mind. Would she really have ended up giving Archopy to MemorCorp against her will if Theo hadn’t thrown the ball first? Should she be trying to help Archopy get over her memories instead, considering that she did have a way to understand her?

    Carrie shook her head in frustration. There was no point thinking about any of that. Things simply hadn’t happened that way, and that was the end of it.

    But in the dark confines of the truck as they drew ever closer to MemorCorp, there really wasn’t that much else to think about.

    After what felt like a long time but might have only been a few minutes, the shape in the shadows shifted. “My Pokémon,” Theo said, sounding so pitiful and broken that Carrie almost felt sorry for him until she reminded herself who this man was and shoved the feeling aside. “Were they okay?”

    Carrie snorted. “Oh, yeah, first they had a huge battle against my Pokémon – mostly Grass-types, I should point out – and then the place got torched. I’m sure they’re fine.”

    “But…” She caught a glimpse of the dull glint of Theo’s eyes as he looked at her from the shadows. “They will be okay. Won’t they?”

    She shrugged. “How should I know? I got smoked out of the place by him,” she said, nodding at Andrew.

    Andrew wasn’t contributing to this particular discussion. He merely grinned disconcertingly.

    “And anyway,” Carrie went on, “we’re being taken back to MemorCorp. You’re not even going to be able to see them again for ages. So it’s not like it really matters right now, does it?”

    “Of course it matters,” Theo mumbled sadly from the darkness. “It always matters.”

    * * *

    The first thing Kabutops became aware of as he regained consciousness was the smell of burnt vegetation. The next was that he still hurt – the terrible ache of the Grass energy that had seeped into him throughout the battle lingered throughout his exoskeleton, along with the stinging of burns, though that felt tiny by comparison. The pain was such that it took him a moment to clear his head. He wasn’t used to waking up injured; most of the time, his trainer would have –

    His trainer. Everything that Theo had done came flooding back to Kabutops. At the forefront of it all was his order not to let Carrie escape and follow him no matter what happened. Kabutops looked frantically around the blackened interior of the Secret Base, but to no avail. The only others there were Aerodactyl, Omanyte and Cradily, all still unconscious and covered in scorch marks. Carrie and her Pokémon must have escaped in the confusion of the fire.

    Kabutops hung his head. He and the others had let their trainer down.

    He was worried about Theo. It wasn’t the fact that he’d caught Archopy – it went without saying that any Pokémon from a fossil Theo had dug up was his if he wanted – it was the way he’d gone about doing it. Kabutops had known his trainer his whole life, and he knew when Theo didn’t truly believe in something he was saying. If the man had complete conviction that he was right in capturing Archopy, then he wouldn’t have done it like this. He wouldn’t have gone behind Carrie’s back. He wouldn’t have run away and left his Pokémon behind to stop her following. He wouldn’t have sprung it on them all without any warning like this.

    Kabutops wished that Theo had thought to talk to one of them about this beforehand, sometime when Carrie wasn’t around. If he’d just been able to get it off his chest, Kabutops felt sure that he wouldn’t have been so horribly conflicted about it all. They’d have reassured him that what he was doing was right.

    Shaking his head sadly, Kabutops pushed himself to his feet. He needed to talk to the others.

    Aerodactyl had seemingly already come around on his own; his eyes snapped open at the sound of Kabutops’ dragged steps. The pterodactyl pulled his feet under him and stretched his wings out stiffly. “She escaped, then,” he muttered ruefully.

    Kabutops nodded mutely as he walked over to Omanyte and nudged her shell. After a few tries, her round eyes blinked from within the opening, and she squirmed her way out of hiding. “What do we do now?” she asked, glancing nervously around the empty Secret Base.

    Not knowing the answer to that question, Kabutops tried to put it out of mind for now and focus on waking up Cradily – given her part-Grass typing, the fire must have hurt her the most. He tried poking one of her tentacles with the blunt part of his scythe. “Cradily,” he said. The tentacle twitched, but there was no other response. He poked it again, and then the one next to it. “Come on, Cradily, wake up. The green human escaped. We need to figure out what to do now.”

    The tentacles began to undulate slowly, and finally one of her eyes opened a little, a yellow slit within the black groove on her face. “Tried to stop her,” she mumbled. “Couldn’t let her go after Master.” The eye closed again. “Failed.”

    “So what do we do now?” came Aerodactyl’s voice from behind her. “Couldn’t we just go out there and find her before she gets to him?”

    Kabutops shook his head. “I don’t think any of us are capable of chasing a human right now,” he said. “And we were out for a while – she might have already found him. Or…” He closed his eyes, not wanting to think of the other implications. “…someone else might have.”

    “They won’t,” piped up Omanyte, sounding oddly cheery given the circumstances. “No-one will find him. Father can get away from anyone!”

    Kabutops almost shot her a disbelieving look but dropped it and averted his gaze as he realised just how she could say that with such conviction. Omanyte was still young. She still utterly idolised Theo; in her eyes, he was invincible. She hadn’t yet realised that he was as fallible as any other being. The rest of them had been through that when they’d seen him struggle to come to terms with Anorith’s condition. But that had been before he’d dug Omanyte’s fossil up.

    Kabutops grimaced inwardly. This was going to be tough for her.

    “You say that, but what if he hasn’t got away?” Aerodactyl hissed, with a glare that made Omanyte shrink back into her shell. “We should go after the green human right now, never mind how tired we are.” He gave his wings a furious flap and promptly winced in pain.

    “We stay here,” Cradily said forcefully. She heaved her head up from the ground with what looked like a huge effort. “Master promised to come back for us. Master keeps his promises. Even if…” Trailing off, she glanced away, her tentacles twitching in discomfort.

    Omanyte squeaked in agreement. “He will!”

    Aerodactyl growled under his breath but didn’t say anything. Kabutops found himself agreeing with the pterosaur’s sentiments. He wished he could have had Omanyte’s innocent belief that everything would automatically be all right, but he knew it would not be that simple.

    “Okay,” he said, waving a scythe to try and get those thoughts out of his head and think logically. “Assuming he manages to get away from everyone who’s after him and sort things out with Archopy so he can come back for us, how will he know where to find us? We all know he’s not very good with forests.”

    “Master promised,” Cradily insisted, staring down at the ground with fervent resolve. “Master would search forever until he found us.”

    Kabutops had to agree with her there, but even so, he’d been there when they’d entered this Secret Base. The entrance was incredibly easy to overlook; he worried that Theo would struggle to find it again in a huge forest, even if he knew what he was looking for. It would have been bad enough when it was still intact – now that it’d been burned…

    A horrifying thought struck Kabutops. He looked worriedly at the walls of the base. The vegetation had been blackened to a crisp, and there were gaping holes in some places – holes through which he couldn’t actually see the outside. Only a surreal kind of dim light made its way in through them, like starlight but without any stars.

    “We definitely need to get out of here,” he said. He tried to sound urgent, but his voice just came out full of dread. “If we even can.”

    “What does that mean?” hissed Aerodactyl.

    “We’re in what humans call a Secret Base,” Kabutops explained. “It may sound strange, but even though the inside is this big, the outside of this place is just a small mound of grass with a hole in it. Except now, that mound of grass has been burned. I’m not sure anything can get in any more.”

    “Master can’t… get in?” Cradily’s tentacles lost their usual rhythmic wiggle and became very still.

    “Can we get out?” Aerodactyl asked, his eyes flicking towards the holes and the strange light coming through them.

    “I really hope so,” Kabutops said, following his gaze, “because that’s the only way our trainer will ever be able to find us again.” He paused awkwardly. “That decides it, then. We have to leave here, at least. We’ll… work out what to do after that once we get out.”

    He tried to ignore the glare Aerodactyl gave him out of the corner of his eye. Kabutops felt like he’d somehow become the unofficial leader of the group, but he wasn’t sure if he deserved the role. Had Theo been there, leading them all like he always did, he’d know exactly what to do. Without him, Kabutops was afraid that any decision he made would end up being the wrong one.

    But at least he was sure that leaving the Secret Base was a good move, he told himself. That was a start. He warily began to approach one of the holes in the wall, Aerodactyl and Omanyte following behind him.

    “Wait!”

    It was Cradily. She hadn’t moved to follow – because she couldn’t.

    “Can’t leave me…” she muttered feverishly. “I… I have to see Master again. Don’t leave me… please…”

    Kabutops screwed his eyes shut, hating himself. For a moment he couldn’t even bring himself to turn around and face Cradily. She sounded quietly terrified of the thought of being alone in here forever. And he’d almost left her there. Theo would never have forgotten about her.

    “Cradily…” He opened his eyes and turned to her. “I’m sorry. You’re right.” He walked back up to her, beckoning Omanyte and Aerodactyl to do the same. “We’ll have to push you out, then. It might take a while, but we won’t leave you here. I promise.”

    Something in Cradily perked up at those last words. Her tentacles started their slow squirming again.

    Kabutops pressed his broad, flat head up against the back of Cradily’s weighted bottom half, dug his scythes into the ground and began to push as hard as he could with the little energy he still had. Aerodactyl grabbed onto her head with his feet – she didn’t seem to mind – and started flapping his wings backwards in an attempt to pull her along. Beside Kabutops, Omanyte squirmed up to Cradily and pressed her shell valiantly against the sea lily’s body. Kabutops couldn’t imagine her efforts would be helping much, but he appreciated the gesture.

    Bit by bit, they heaved Cradily across the ground towards one of the gaping holes in the wall of the Secret Base. It took an immense effort, but Theo would have done it, so Kabutops and the rest of them had to do it in his stead.

    Finally they managed to push her all the way through the dimly lit gap, and suddenly they found themselves in the outside world. The sudden sight of trees and vegetation disoriented Kabutops – it was easy to forget that they were in a forest while they’d been inside the Secret Base. A faint light could be seen coming through the trees in one direction; dawn was approaching.

    With a sigh of exhaustion, Kabutops let his legs give way beneath him. Letting go of Cradily, Aerodactyl half-landed, half-crashed on the scorched ground.

    “So what now?” the pterosaur demanded, already pushing himself up and staring hungrily off into the trees. “The green human’s getting further away – we need to go after her…”

    Seeing the extent of the burnt undergrowth around the Secret Base, Kabutops shook his head. “It’s not that simple,” he said, indicating the fire damage with one scythe. The area that had been blackened to a crisp formed a perfect circle – outside that, the vegetation was fresh and untouched. “This wasn’t a natural fire. Humans must have done this.” Kabutops only knew one group of humans that would have deliberately set fire to the Secret Base. “Those humans who were after Archopy… oh, no…”

    His voice trailed off as he gazed unseeingly through the trees in horror. It was looking less and less likely that Theo had managed to escape.

    Screeching, Aerodactyl rose into the air with a furious flap of his wings. “If they’ve hurt him again…” he growled, glaring at nothing in particular.

    Omanyte looked worried. “They won’t, will they?” she asked, gazing up at Kabutops with innocent eyes. “He won’t let them catch him.”

    “Oh, Omanyte,” Kabutops said quietly. “I wish that were true.”

    She withdrew a little into her shell, her eyes wide. “It’s not?”

    “Of course it’s not!” roared Aerodactyl, suddenly directly above Omanyte, bearing down on her with huge flaps of his wings. “Of course they’ll have caught him! He had no idea what he was doing and he’s useless in forests, so now they’ll have caught him and taken Archopy from him and they might… they might even have…” Breaking off before he finished that thought, he gave up flying and crashed to the ground, his furious voice growing more and more strained. “And there’s nothing we can do, because we have no idea where he is.” Before Kabutops could respond, he jerked his head away, not looking any of them in the eye.

    Omanyte had disappeared completely into her shell, trembling. “That…” came her tiny, muffled voice from inside. “That isn’t… he couldn’t…”

    Kabutops shot Aerodactyl an accusing glare before kneeling down beside Omanyte and tilting her shell up to peer into the opening. He couldn’t see anything but darkness within, but he tried regardless. “Don’t worry, Omanyte,” he said, as kindly as he could given the anxiety that was trying to creep into his voice. “Aerodactyl didn’t mean it; he’s just scared, like the rest of us.” He took a deep breath. “It’s true that our trainer’s probably been caught, but… but he’s going to be okay, because we’re going to make sure he’s okay.”

    Her eyes appeared in the opening, shining with hope. “R-really?”

    “I… Yes, we are,” Kabutops said, trying to silence the doubts at the back of his mind. Omanyte needed to believe that everything would work out.

    “Then what are we waiting for?” growled Aerodactyl, eyeing Kabutops again.

    “What?” he said. “But we… we can’t go now… I mean, we’re exhausted, for one thing, and we don’t even know where he is. We need to think things through so we don’t go blundering in… don’t we?” He looked between the others for support.

    Seeing Cradily, he suddenly realised that she’d been very quiet since they’d left the Secret Base.

    “We stay,” she said slowly, her voice wavering. She wasn’t quite looking anyone in the eye. “Master will find us here.”

    “Cradily,” Kabutops said carefully, “you don’t really believe that he’d have managed to avoid being caught, do you?”

    Her head twisted away from him, tentacles twitching uncomfortably. “Master will escape and come for us,” she insisted. “He has to.”

    Aerodactyl hissed in frustration and rose from the ground again with erratic wingbeats. “Well, I’m not sitting around waiting for that to happen,” he said, making Cradily wince. “I’m going after him. Now.”

    “Wait, Aerodactyl!” Kabutops protested. “You can’t just up and leave! We need to think things through, to work together…”

    “You are not my leader!” Aerodactyl snapped, and with that he turned and shot off on a lopsided but determined flight away through the trees.

    “But…” Kabutops was at a loss. “You don’t even know where he is!” he called out desperately, hoping that Aerodactyl would hear him and see sense.

    “I don’t care!” came the screeched reply as the last sight of leathery wings disappeared into the gloomy forest.

    Kabutops sighed and sat down heavily. He really, really wished Theo were here.

    “Have to stay,” Cradily was muttering to herself, with tiny, jerking shakes of her head. “Can’t leave.”

    It finally dawned on Kabutops why she was being so insistent. “Cradily…” he said, “are you talking about us, or yourself?”

    The sea lily looked down at the ground, her usually writhing tentacles very still. There was no way Kabutops could realistically push her any further than this. However much she might have wanted to help Theo, she was anchored to the spot.

    Kabutops was torn. Part of him wanted to go after Aerodactyl and stop him doing anything reckless. Part of him wanted to stay with Cradily so she wouldn’t be left alone. And then there was Omanyte, who needed someone to keep reassuring her that everything would be okay. This was impossible. How did Theo do this? What would he do, if it were him in this situation?

    “Go,” Cradily said, quietly but firmly. “Master would go. If one of us was in trouble out there and he couldn’t recall me, Master would go anyway and come back for me after.” She suddenly looked directly at Kabutops, a hint of pleading in her plain yellow eye. “Come back for me after, won’t you?”

    Kabutops stood, taken aback. “Are you sure?” he asked.

    She nodded. “Master needs us. Needs you.”

    “Okay, then,” Kabutops said. He nudged Omanyte’s shell; she’d already emerged from it and was looking up at him with worried eyes. “I’m going to find Aerodactyl, then we’re going to find our trainer and help him,” he told her. “Are you coming with me?”

    “Yeah!” Omanyte squeaked, eager despite the nervousness in her voice.

    Kabutops nodded encouragingly at her then turned back to Cradily. “Okay,” he said hesitantly. “You, uh… you keep an eye out here, then. We’ll come back for you once we’ve found him.”

    “Or,” she said, her tentacles beginning to undulate just a little, “Master escapes and finds me, then we find you.”

    Kabutops caught the glint in her eyes and half-smiled, even though they both knew how unlikely that was. “Yeah,” he said. “Or that. See you, Cradily.”

    He began to walk off in the direction Aerodactyl had flown in, Omanyte rolling along beside him. As he took a last look back, he saw Cradily lowering her head sadly, curling her tentacles in around herself. Kabutops felt a pang of guilt for leaving her even though she’d said it was okay; she seemed so lonely already. But if he wanted to help Theo, he had to.

    It occurred to Kabutops that Theo must have felt the same way about leaving him and the rest of his Pokémon in the Secret Base while he escaped with Archopy, only countless times worse. Kabutops sped up his walking despite the aching in his limbs. He really needed to find and help his trainer as soon as possible.

    “How do we find Aerodactyl?” asked Omanyte.

    “If I know him, he’ll have kept flying in a straight line,” Kabutops said. “It should be easy enough.”

    Sure enough, it didn’t take long for them to notice a leathery grey shape sprawled in the undergrowth ahead of them. Kabutops hurried towards it in concern, but Aerodactyl was still conscious, at least. He was staring ruefully forwards, his wings splayed out around him.

    “Are you okay?” Kabutops asked.

    Aerodactyl pushed himself up from the ground as best he could. “Couldn’t… fly… any more,” he rasped, still staring ahead as if he could see Theo through the trees. “But I need to find him. I need to…”

    “We all need to find him,” Kabutops said simply.

    “Yeah,” Omanyte agreed. “We’re going to find Father and help him!”

    Aerodactyl glanced at the two of them and then deflated, looking a little guilty. “You’re right,” he muttered. “Sorry, Omanyte, about back there. I didn’t mean to…” He broke off and went back to staring anxiously through the forest. “But how do we find him? We have no idea where he is,” he said, digging his claws into the ground in frustration.

    “I don’t know,” Kabutops admitted, feeling like this task was becoming more impossible by the minute. “I suppose… I suppose we could try asking some wild Pokémon if they’ve seen anything?” He looked at the other two; neither of them objected. “Okay,” he said, nodding determinedly to try and muster up some confidence. “We’ll do that, then. We can work out what to do once we’ve found him when we get to that point. I don’t quite know how we’re going to do this, but we have to try.” He stood up and began leading Aerodactyl and Omanyte through the forest. “Come on.”

    * * *

    As she approached the Pokémon Centre through the trees of Fortree City, Vanessa was deep in thought. She’d been watching the flashing dot on her screen for several hours now, and one thing seemed clear – Archopy was headed back to MemorCorp. This in itself surprised her. The two trainers she’d encountered who had let slip about Archopy had given every impression that they were intending to catch it for themselves. Indeed, a quick check of her software showed that Archopy was now in the possession of the young man, one Theodore Harcliffe. So why were the two trainers taking it back to the company that had revived it? Had they been agents of the company all along? It didn’t seem likely.

    Nonetheless, Vanessa reasoned as she neared the doors bearing the words ‘Welcome to the Pokémon Centre!’, already having a good idea of Archopy’s destination gave her a head start. MemorCorp was conveniently near a city, too; all she had to do now was secure a way of getting there herself. She’d recalled Joy for the time being so that this would go more smoothly; as much as Vanessa loved her Togetic, Joy did have a habit of chirping cheekily at inopportune moments.

    Vanessa strode through the open doors of the Centre, heading straight for the counter, at which the only person in the building was standing. The silver-haired nurse was exactly the man she was looking for. Sylvester Martin, his name was. She’d had dealings with him before.

    The man’s standard Pokémon-nurse smile of warmth faded as he saw her there. His eyes turned hard. “You,” he said. “I thought I told you last time you were here that ‘we hope to see you again’ doesn’t apply to you.”

    Vanessa ignored his hostility and did her best to put on a charming smile. “Mr. Martin,” she said. “Or rather, Nurse Martin. I was wondering if you’d be interested in another little deal.”

    His expression didn’t waver. “You know I’m not. Please, leave.”

    “Oh, don’t worry, this wouldn’t be as big a deal as before,” she said. “Last time, I couldn’t help but notice you had an Alakazam. I was wondering if it would be so kind as to give me a lift to somewhere I need to go. That’s all.”

    “That’s all?” A little of the coldness left the nurse’s eyes.

    “Indeed,” Vanessa assured him. “Of course, as before, I will pay you as much as you –”

    “No.” Nurse Martin shook his head, placing his hands firmly on the counter. “Not again. Look at me; I don’t need your money any more. If you want a lift from my Alakazam, there’s only one thing I want from you in return, Miss Swift. I want my Tyranitar back.”

    Vanessa narrowed her eyes, mulling his offer over.

    The nurse found a ‘Be Right Back’ sign from somewhere and put in on top of the counter. “Let’s talk about this outside, shall we?”

    * * *

    Last edited by elyvorg; 13th April 2013 at 11:49 AM.
    .: Evolution is a battle .:. Something has to lose :.
    LOST EVOLUTION
    Chapter 33: Inside has been posted.


    Foregone Conclusion
    Spinoff/prequel/backstory/thingy to Lost Evolution, written for NaNoWriMo 2010

    Three Heads Are Better Than One

  12. #362
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    Default Chapter 32: Direction [part 2]

    [...continued]

    * * *

    “Is this really the way to Father?” Omanyte asked anxiously. “Are we really going to find him here?”

    Kabutops slashed at a tangled piece of undergrowth, partly because it was in his way and partly as an outlet for frustration. They’d been searching this area of the forest for a while now – long enough that Omanyte was beginning to lose hope and become distraught again. He took a deep breath and looked down at her.

    “Of course he’s going to be around here,” he said, trying to sound as reassuring as he could. “You heard that Oddish. It seemed pretty sure that our trainer was somewhere in this part of the forest. So we just have to keep looking.”

    Aerodactyl snorted from Kabutops’ other side, walking clumsily along the forest floor to save his energy for flight. “Yeah. It seemed pretty sure about what the friend of a friend of a friend had apparently seen. That’s reliable.”

    Kabutops sighed. “I know. But it’s the only information we’ve got, so we have to believe it’s true. If we don’t, we’ve got nothing.”

    Omanyte let out a quiet whimper. Kabutops didn’t know what to say to her.

    He tried to focus his attention on hacking his way through the undergrowth and keeping a lookout for any sign of where Theo might be. It was so hard to see in the forest with trees everywhere, blocking his view – but far off in the distance, something caught his eye. Something which didn’t fit among the leafy, natural shapes all around. It had the same greenish-brown colours as everything else, but it looked… square.

    “Humans,” Kabutops said, pointing towards it.

    Aerodactyl jolted into life. “Humans?” As soon as he’d seen what Kabutops was pointing at, he leapt from the ground with a sharp flap of his wings and shot off towards the shape in the distance.

    “Wait!” Kabutops called desperately after him. “Don’t go off again!”

    “Not my fault you’re not as fast as me!” the pterosaur called back.

    Kabutops looked despairingly at Omanyte, who seemed confused. “What?” she mumbled.

    “We might have found him,” Kabutops said. He moved behind her and batted her round shell with the blunt side of his scythe, sending it spinning forward over the bumpy ground. “Come on, Omanyte. Roll!”

    He set off running, Omanyte’s shell rolling in front of him as he hit it every now and then with his scythe to keep it moving. It was a good thing he’d had those battles against Foliano and his Grass Knot – without them, he’d never have had enough practice to avoid tripping over in the undergrowth as he raced through it as fast as he could, all the while still aiming at the shell that bobbed along in front. Omanyte got the idea soon enough and began to speed up, powered by her own Rollout attack that sent her cannoning forward far faster than Kabutops could run. The human object was much closer now; it almost looked like Omanyte was going to shoot straight at it without stopping – but then Aerodactyl dropped down into her path and swung a wing at her, sending her careering off-course into a tree.

    Kabutops came running up to the two of them, panting. Omanyte had emerged from her shell, and she squirmed forwards, looking disappointed.

    “Sorry,” Aerodactyl muttered, “but I had to stop her somehow. I doubt crashing into one of those human machines is the best thing to do.”

    Kabutops got a proper look at the squareish human objects he’d seen from a distance. There were two of them, and they looked like the kind of contraptions that humans moved around in: wheels on the bottom and a section in the front from which a human could control it. These particular ones also had a large section at the back that he couldn’t see into.

    “I had a look,” said Aerodactyl. “There’s just big empty spaces in the backs. They probably use them to carry more humans around at once.”

    Kabutops tensed excitedly. The Oddish had supposedly seen a human dragging along something large and brown which might have been another human – which had to be Theo – in this direction. “So they’re going to take –”

    Aerodactyl shook his head. “He’s not here.”

    Kabutops slumped.

    Beside him, Omanyte retreated back into her shell. “So… we came here for nothing,” she said miserably. “We’re never going to find him, are we?”

    His head hung, looking at the ground, Kabutops noticed something which caught his eye. There was a long dent in the soil leading away from where he was standing, with another identical one a short distance to the right of it. He perked up a little, feeling a dash of hope return. “Look at this,” he said, beckoning the other two over and pointing at the marks in the ground. “These are tracks. They’re like… the footprints that those human machines leave behind. Our trainer must have already been taken away in one of those things. If we just…”

    “Follow the tracks,” Aerodactyl put in before he could finish. He gave a fanged grin. “They’ll take us right to him.”

    Kabutops hesitated. “I was thinking we could hide inside one of those,” he said, indicating the two machines that were still there, “and they’ll take us right to him.”

    “What if they don’t?” challenged Aerodactyl. “What if they go a different way?”

    “What if the humans find us while we’re hiding?” Omanyte added.

    “Yes,” said Kabutops, “yes, but – those tracks might not lead us the whole way, either. They’ll only have been made on soft ground. I don’t… I don’t think we should go that way. If we hide in the machine, we can save our energy, then we’ll be able to help our trainer better when we find him. It’s worth the risk.”

    There was a long moment with the other two’s gazes upon him as they considered, but then they both dropped. Aerodactyl nodded, seemingly not about to argue leadership again. “Okay,” he muttered. “We’ll go your way. But if it’s wrong…” He left his words hanging.

    Kabutops couldn’t meet his eye as they approached the nearest contraption. If this turned out to be the wrong decision, he’d be the one to blame. But if they’d gone the other way, followed the tracks with him still leading them, how many more mistakes would he have made?

    He helped Aerodactyl lift Omanyte up into the back section of the metal box, then clambered in himself as quickly and quietly as he could. The sounds of footsteps and human voices drifted in from the forest outside. Sharing a short, panicked glance, Kabutops and the others dashed towards the back corner of the space where the shadows were thickest. Aerodactyl squeezed in with Omanyte underneath the bench that ran along the side, while Kabutops climbed onto it and huddled in the corner, making himself as small as he could in the hope that the darkness would hide him from the approaching humans outside.

    It was a tense, endless moment, none of them daring to move or even breathe as they waited for the humans to approach their hiding place. If they were found, they’d never be able to reach Theo.

    A human walked right up towards the back of the metal box, and, barely even glancing inside it, slammed the doors shut. A moment later, the machine shifted a little from the weight of someone getting in the front, spluttered to life and began moving.

    Kabutops let out a long breath, but he didn’t move from where he was. Despite that the whole box had been plunged into darkness now, this tiny corner at the back where it was darkest still felt the most safe.

    “Are we going to Father now?” came Omanyte’s voice from below him.

    “I hope so,” Kabutops said simply. He didn’t have the strength to pretend in order to keep her happy any more.

    How did he know that this machine was going to take them towards where Theo was, really? The real reason he’d chosen it, he knew, was so that he wouldn’t have to be in charge any more. These last few hours had been so difficult, trying to reassure everyone when he could barely reassure himself, making decisions when he had no idea if they were for the best or not. Here, inside the moving contraption, it felt like someone else was leading, deciding which way to go.

    But if they went the wrong way, it would still be Kabutops’ fault for choosing this option over the other. If he’d opted to follow the tracks, been ready to lead for just a little bit longer, then…

    Kabutops winced and curled in tighter. He wasn’t as strong as Theo; he knew that now. He couldn’t do this, much as he’d tried for the others’ sake. At least here, in the darkness, he didn’t have to keep up the pretence of being confident and in control. In the darkness, the other two couldn’t see just how scared he was.

    Wherever his trainer was right now, and whether he was headed towards him or not, Kabutops really, really hoped that Theo was all right.

    * * *

    “The way I see it, Miss Swift, you have no choice.”

    Sylvester Martin was standing against the back wall of the Pokémon Centre, his Alakazam out and hovering lazily by his side. He was grinning a little.

    “How so?”

    “Cortex here doesn’t have to give you a lift,” he said. “But it sounds like you’re really desperate to get to wherever it is as fast as possible. And if you want to do that, I want my Tyranitar back in return. That’s all there is to it.”

    Vanessa pursed her lips in irritation. She’d paid a fortune to purchase this man’s Tyranitar off him a few years ago, and now he wanted her back for the price of a single Teleport trip? It was ludicrous.

    Then again, it wasn’t like the Tyranitar had ever obeyed her. Vanessa sought out rare Pokémon for the feeling of being unique, of owning something that no-one else did. But she’d never felt like she owned the Tyranitar. The Pokémon’s disobedience had always made it seem more like Vanessa was just borrowing her. It wasn’t the same.

    On the other hand, Archopy really was a creature owned by nobody else in the world. If Vanessa could get her hands on it, it would be bigger than anything else she’d ever found. She imagined the envious looks she’d get from everyone, particularly those two trainers who wanted Archopy themselves.

    But she had to move fast if she wanted a chance of getting her hands on it before it was too late. That was worth the price of one Tyranitar that had never really been hers anyway, wasn’t it?

    She nodded. “Fine. You get your Tyranitar back.”

    The formal air dropped from around Nurse Martin as his eyes lit up with sudden hope. “Really?”

    “Of course,” Vanessa said. “When I say something, I mean it.” Reaching into one of her torn-and-patched-up pockets, she pulled out a Poké Ball, making sure to hold it in the precise way that activated pressure points on the surface of the ball and told it that you wished to release the Pokémon inside. As she threw it, the white light that formed the emerging shape had a bluish tint to it.

    Tyranitar’s usual grumpy roar of arrival was cut short as soon as she saw her original trainer standing in front of her. She gave a brief, confused glance back at Vanessa and then turned to stare at her trainer like she couldn’t believe he was there.

    Sylvester Martin took a wary step forward, as though he were approaching a wild animal, while simultaneously looking like he was fighting not to break out in a huge grin. “Himalaya,” he said carefully. “I didn’t want to sell you. I had no choice. My parents needed the money. You understand that, don’t you?”

    The Tyranitar, Himalaya – Vanessa had forgotten that she’d had a nickname – nodded slowly with a soft growl.

    “I…” The nurse relaxed, his warm smile returning. “Thanks, Himalaya.”

    Vanessa tossed Himalaya’s Poké Ball across to him. “She’s all yours.”

    Himalaya looked between the ball and her trainer in surprise, her face managing to convey utter delight despite her dinosaurian features.

    Beaming, Nurse Martin nodded. “Yep. She’s given you back to me.”

    The Tyranitar threw her head back and roared – not a roar of grumpy disobedience like Vanessa was used to hearing, but one that somehow managed to sound genuinely happy. Her trainer laughed and stroked Himalaya’s forehead as she finished roaring. Something in the gesture made it seem like it was a ritual of affection that they’d done for years.

    Despite herself, part of Vanessa couldn’t help being touched. The two of them reminded her a little of herself and Joy.

    Nurse Martin lowered his hand from Himalaya and turned to his Alakazam, still smiling. “Cortex, would you be so kind as to give this lady a lift?”

    The Alakazam, who’d been watching the whole thing, nodded and walked over to Vanessa.

    The nurse dropped his warmth for a moment to give her a hard look. “One trip,” he said. “That’s all you get. You’re not taking him from me as well.”

    She smiled thinly. “I wouldn’t dream of it.”

    Where would you like to go?

    Vanessa caught herself just before she jumped in surprise. Cortex was standing beside her. The Alakazam’s mental communication was somewhat unsettling.

    She composed herself and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Petalburg City, please,” she said. It would have been quicker to go straight to MemorCorp, but she’d read that, across long distances, Teleporting Pokémon could only pinpoint places that had a significant meaning to them – usually, Pokémon Centres they’d been healed at.

    Cortex nodded. Very well.

    Vanessa took one last look at Sylvester Martin and his Tyranitar, the latter now being absorbed into the red light of her Poké Ball, before the world went fuzzy and disappeared before her eyes.

    << Previous chapter
    Last edited by elyvorg; 24th September 2013 at 6:38 PM.
    .: Evolution is a battle .:. Something has to lose :.
    LOST EVOLUTION
    Chapter 33: Inside has been posted.


    Foregone Conclusion
    Spinoff/prequel/backstory/thingy to Lost Evolution, written for NaNoWriMo 2010

    Three Heads Are Better Than One

  13. #363
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    Default

    Right, review time! Reading the revised version of chapter 30, I found a few things . . .

    “I don’t want that. All that suffering, all that… that[/i] evil… I don’t want to bring that back. Even if it means my kind will stay lost.”
    You should probably fix up that italics tag!

    There was a bitter edge to Carrie’s voice as she translated this. “So… that’s it?” she said. “You’re… not going to come.”

    Archopy shook her head forlornly.
    If that bolded bit is meant to be a statement, then keep it as is, but if it's meant to be a question, then it should probably have a question mark. Considering Archopy kinda answers it, I think it's a question.

    And the latest chapter!

    Kabutops shook his head. “I don’t think any of us are capable of chasing a human right now,” he said. “And we were out for a while – she might have already found him. Or…” He closed his eyes, not wanting to think of the other implications. “…someone else might have.”
    That last sentence should either start with a capital, or the previous sentence should end with a comma. Either works.

    Nonetheless, Vanessa reasoned as she neared the doors bearing the words ‘Welcome to the Pokémon Centre!’, already having a good idea of Archopy’s destination gave her a head start. MemorCorp was conveniently near a city, too;
    all she had to do now was secure a way of getting there herself. She’d recalled Joy for the time being so that this would go more smoothly; as much as Vanessa loved her Togetic, Joy did have a habit of chirping cheekily at inopportune moments.
    And you started a new line in the middle of a paragraph...you maybe shouldn't have done that!

    Right, I read chapter 30-32. Even though I knew it was coming this time, Theo's betrayal really pissed me off. But I really enjoyed Theo and Carrie's conversation in chapter 32. It does a good job of addressing a couple of things that have happened in the story so far. And as I kinda suspected...Theo is trying to make up for what happened to Armaldo, sorta. I'm now curious as to how Theo and Carrie are going to interact though. I imagine they're gonna team up despite what's happened to try and stop MemorCorp.

    And even though he's an antagonist, I kinda love Andrew. I find him to be one of those likable antagonists. But at the same time I'm really looking forward to Carrie smacking him a good one, you know?

    I liked seeing things from Theo's pokemon's perspectives. Especially the part where Omanyte idolizes Theo. And it's also good that Theo's pokemon didn't, you know, die in a fire.

    I don't really have much to say on Vanessa's part in this. Except I like the nickname Himalaya for Tyranitar. I was kinda suspecting that Vanessa would somehow make off with Himalaya at the last moment, but it turns out that she didn't. Oh, and she has a little bit of a heart, thinking of herself and Joy when she sees Sylvester and Himalaya.

    But overall...I feel a bit weird about this latest chapter. Considering the action-packed cliffhanger-ness of the previous chapter (and, you know, the 2.5 year hiatus) I was hoping that a bit more would be resolved. Sure, there was the long awaited conversation between Carrie and Theo, but the other parts were just transitioning between the forest and MemorCorp. I guess I was hoping for a bit more plot development. But you tied both Theo's pokemon's and Vanessa's travels in with some insights to their characters, which was a pretty neat thing to do. I dunno, I guess it just wasn't what I was expecting. That doesn't mean it was bad though!

    And, of course, it's good that you've started back on this!
    ┓┏ 凵 =╱⊿┌┬┐

  14. #364
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    :D

    So, as you know, I've just reread the entirety of the fic. It was lovely; while, yes, obviously your writing has gotten much better since then and the Sceptile-hate near the beginning was silly, it started out already pretty good, and this added opportunity to take in the story as a whole made me notice more than I could the first time around how there is never a dull moment. First there's seeing Archopy, then they're infiltrating the lab, then there's Velotus trying to beat Aiden's Sceptile the first time, then Raptola gets kidnapped, then Foliano might evolve, then Vanessa has a Master Ball, then they're in Northern Canyon and realize Archopy wasn't there at all, then Bad Light has them trapped inside the cave, then Andrew is after them being competent, Velotus is pushed over the edge, they make an agreement with Grace White, Velotus goes to fight Aiden's Sceptile again, finds Archopy and she shakes him out of how obsessive he's been, then they talk to Archopy only for Theo to snatch her and leave his Pokémon, then the Secret Base is on fire... It's a constant stream of intense, memorable events (sure, there are transitional breather chapters between some of the intense, memorable events, but those come one at a time and serve an obvious and necessary purpose of resolution and setup, rather than turning into filler or being simply uninteresting), and it's just gripping throughout. I never properly had the opportunity to notice how tight it is when reading a chapter at a time with months in between, but it was really fun to see now that the standout events from the plot that I remembered vividly were almost literally everything because there isn't anything boring and unexciting happening in between.

    (The least memorable part of the story, by the measure of how-well-does-Dragonfree-remember-this-on-a-reread, was when Carrie and Theo were traveling through the desert - Vanessa having a Master Ball doesn't quite live up to the other events there in terms of impact, the details of how they ended up getting the Master Ball from her had slipped my mind, and the wild Trapinch battle in there was in retrospect kind of random. But that didn't make those three chapters boring, just somewhat less intense than the more emotionally charged happenings the rest of the fic consists of.)

    It was also amusing to compare my current reaction to the chapters to how I reacted to them in my reviews at the time. I don't know if I'm going soft or something, but several times past-me was complaining about something that didn't bother current-me in the least, or I was really impressed with something that I was then surprised to find my review didn't mention at all. And sometimes past-me liked something current-me thought was kind of awkward, or current-me thought something was strange that past-me didn't bring up at all even though current-me's train of thought seems really obvious to me now. Also, I'm sorry (again) for being a mean sarcastic grump in my first review which was completely unnecessarily snarky about everything. D:

    I also think I've gotten better at fangirling. "Velotuuuuuuus" really isn't a very insightful comment, is it? D: I should have rambled a lot more about why all those bits were delightful.

    Well, so that was fun! I will reread Foregone Conclusion (again) next. Thank you for writing your lovely fanfics with your lovely characters.


    Anyway, chapter 32, which I already read but it will be fun to reread it anyway.

    I love Andrew here. He's just so much fun every time he says or does anything. The glee that Andrew inspires in me is definitely not one of those things that have changed since I originally read this.

    How did Andrew find the Secret Base in particular, though? I mean, they could track the Master Ball to where Theo was, but even if they had marked precisely where the ball was on a map at the moment when Archopy was caught, how could they have known to go back to that location to look for Carrie just because Theo was alone when they caught him? I mean, normally one would presume they just found Archopy out in the open there, Theo caught her, and then for one reason or another they went their separate ways, instead of figuring there was a Secret Base and that Carrie might still be there. For that matter, how did Andrew know Theo had betrayed Carrie when he took Archopy? They could have conspired to have Theo take Archopy and then split up in the hope that Carrie would act as a distraction, for instance, but when Carrie comes out in chapter 31 Andrew is already referring to Theo as her "evil Archopy-thieving friend" as if he'd been watching the whole time and knew exactly what went on between them.

    As the truck rumbled to life, faint streaks of light made their way in above and between the doors, presumably from the truck’s headlights, making it marginally easier to see.
    But wouldn't the headlights be pointing forward while the doors are at the back of the truck...? Unless I'm picturing all of this way wrong somehow. I'm pretty sure headlights are designed to focus their beam pretty specifically forwards, so any light getting in above and between doors at the back of the truck would have to have been reflected twice off some trees or something first - I can't really picture that providing any discernible change in illumination at all.

    I suppose the reason Bad Light keeps threatening Carrie's Grovyle with the evolution serum instead of just threatening to kill them is that 1) threatening Pokémon with evolution, or actually evolving them, isn't nearly as blatantly illegal as threatening death or actual murder, and 2) Andrew thinks Carrie's horror at Grovyle evolving is the most hilarious thing ever?

    She’d never heard Theo be this venomous before; nor had he ever hit so uncomfortably close to home.
    I'm pretty sure that semicolon is incorrect - "Nor had he ever hit so uncomfortably close to home" would often be written as a separate sentence for effect, but grammatically it can't actually stand on its own since with the "nor", it has to be a continuation of something.

    Hee, Andrew's infuriating grins.

    Carrie stopped herself. Theo was right; she hadn’t objected once she’d found out Archopy was headed back to MemorCorp. Did that mean she was okay with it after all, despite it being against Archopy’s wishes? Could she just as easily have been the one to throw the Master Ball and hand it off to Andrew if Theo hadn’t got there first?

    She shook her head savagely. “No, I’ll tell you why I’m not complaining any more. It’s because at least she hasn’t ended up with you.”
    I love this - Carrie has a moment of self-doubt and then deflects it into this spiteful, nonsensical venom to divert the subject from whether she would actually have taken Archopy against her will. She never quite decided what she would do in that event, did she?

    “Wha…?” It took Theo a second try to find the steel in his voice again.
    Love this too. His own self-doubt really shines through here with just this small, seemingly innocuous line: for a moment he does wonder if he's worse than MemorCorp.

    Also love Theo being protective of his Pokémon and still guilty about leaving them behind.

    Seriously, this is a really good conversation. They're all subtly showing their doubts and insecurities without anything being stated explicitly, and I also really like how it plays out like arguments actually play out - they're not actually addressing what they other is saying, accusing each other of not getting it without actually articulating 'it' well or at all, interpreting each other uncharitably... It's painfully realistic, in a heartbreaking way. Oh, Carrie and Theo. You were becoming such good friends just a few chapters ago. (Another nice thing about rereading: having a fresh memory of how the character arcs have been developing. While one can generally keep track of what the state of things is like at the moment, that big picture of the momentum of things gets a bit lost when you're reading one chapter at a time with months in between.)

    The Bad Light member held up his hands in a placating gesture. “Hey, me and the guys are just doing our jobs here,” he said. “If you want to get all fiery at someone for opposing you on principle –” he indicated Carrie – “point yourself back at her.”

    [...]

    Andrew shrugged. “Had to get her out of it somehow. Hey, I didn’t even know your Pokémon were in there. It was nothing personal.” He waved a hand towards Carrie. “Go on, go back to blaming her for forcing you to send them out in the first place.”
    I love how Andrew is playing argument matchmaker here.

    (Also, that dash inside the first quote should be outside the quote. That or you put both dashes inside and make "He indicated Carrie" into a capitalized and punctuated sentence separate from the quotes. The former seems to be more common in published works, but the latter is more consistent with how dialogue punctuation generally works. You do the same thing a few more times in the chapter.)

    Carrie smirked. “Oh, of course,” she said. “But Archopy isn’t the only Pokémon you completely didn’t mean to screw up, is she?”

    Andrew’s eyes lit up at this. “She isn’t?”

    “Armaldo.” Carrie gave Theo with a scrutinising gaze. “You took his fossil to some place that forgot to put his brain in, am I right? And even though you’ve tried to ‘help’ him, that hasn’t exactly got very far over however long you’ve had him, has it?”

    “No…” Theo lifted his head out of the shadows, a ghost of the fierce glare from before back in his eyes. “Leave Armaldo out of this. This has nothing to do with him.”

    Andrew made an exaggerated coughing noise that sounded a lot like “Denial!”
    Ouch. Low blow, Carrie. And Andrew still finding their interpersonal drama hilarious and Theo being sensitive about Armaldo and aaa.

    “I don’t know,” came Theo’s voice at last, all the fight utterly drained from it. “Yeah, you’re probably right. I probably am just a selfish madman.” This time, his bitterness was very much directed at himself. “So there you are. You win. Congratulations. I suppose you’re happy now.” He huddled further into his corner until she could barely see him at all through the shadows.

    Carrie stared numbly at him. She’d imagined that she’d get some satisfaction out of making Theo stop pretending and admit everything was his fault, but the feeling just didn’t seem to want to come.
    Heartbreaking, I say. Theo can't keep up the fight against his self-loathing anymore, and Carrie really did want to be friends with him.

    The ride continued on in silence. With nothing left to occupy her, Carrie’s thoughts drifted to the doubts that the argument with Theo had seeded in her mind. Would she really have ended up giving Archopy to MemorCorp against her will if Theo hadn’t thrown the ball first? Should she be trying to help Archopy get over her memories instead, considering that she did have a way to understand her?

    Carrie shook her head in frustration. There was no point thinking about any of that. Things simply hadn’t happened that way, and that was the end of it.
    Oh, Carrie, you really don't want to think about this, do you? I wonder what would happen if somebody presented her with the trolley problem.

    After what felt like a long time but might have only been a few minutes, the shape in the shadows shifted. “My Pokémon,” Theo said, sounding so pitiful and broken that Carrie almost felt sorry for him until she reminded herself who this man was and shoved the feeling aside. “Were they okay?”
    This is so, so wonderfully Theo - after all the arguing and concluding he's a horrible person, he still cares about his Pokémon more than anything.

    He was worried about Theo. It wasn’t the fact that he’d caught Archopy – it went without saying that any Pokémon from a fossil Theo had dug up was his if he wanted – it was the way he’d gone about doing it. Kabutops had known his trainer his whole life, and he knew when Theo didn’t truly believe in something he was saying. If the man had complete conviction that he was right in capturing Archopy, then he wouldn’t have done it like this. He wouldn’t have gone behind Carrie’s back. He wouldn’t have run away and left his Pokémon behind to stop her following. He wouldn’t have sprung it on them all without any warning like this.
    Aww. I love that in all this he's worried about Theo - he recognizes the inner conflict going on within him and is sad he ended up doing something like this, where Carrie's brain can only go to "THEO WENT EVIL WTF".

    Kabutops wished that Theo had thought to talk to one of them about this beforehand, sometime when Carrie wasn’t around. If he’d just been able to get it off his chest, Kabutops felt sure that he wouldn’t have been so horribly conflicted about it all. They’d have reassured him that what he was doing was right.
    Oh, Kabutops, you're closer to the truth than you think. He just couldn't face someone who could actually judge him for it.

    I also like that after the previous scene where Carrie came out on top in the argument, Kabutops believes without even thinking about it that Theo did have the right to catch Archopy. Yay for good guys disagreeing completely on things.

    I don't think my previous reviews ever mentioned how much I enjoy that the Pokémon always call Carrie/Theo (whichever one is not their trainer) the "green human" and the "brown human". So, very late, I'm going to mention now that I do really like that (and did then, but I don't think I ever said it).

    “They won’t,” piped up Omanyte, sounding oddly cheery given the circumstances. “No-one will find him. Father can get away from anyone!”
    Omanyte is the adorablest.

    “We stay here,” Cradily said forcefully. She heaved her head up from the ground with what looked like a huge effort. “Master promised to come back for us. Master keeps his promises. Even if…” Trailing off, she glanced away, her tentacles twitching in discomfort.
    Cradily is the heartrendingly loyalest.

    “Master promised,” Cradily insisted, staring down at the ground with fervent resolve. “Master would search forever until he found us.”
    He would. Oh, Theo.

    And Kabutops is all doubting his leadership skills without Theo and have I mentioned Theo's Pokémon are adorable enough lately?

    “Wait!”

    It was Cradily. She hadn’t moved to follow – because she couldn’t.

    “Can’t leave me…” she muttered feverishly. “I… I have to see Master again. Don’t leave me… please…”

    Kabutops screwed his eyes shut, hating himself. For a moment he couldn’t even bring himself to turn around and face Cradily. She sounded quietly terrified of the thought of being alone in here forever. And he’d almost left her there. Theo would never have forgotten about her.

    “Cradily…” He opened his eyes and turned to her. “I’m sorry. You’re right.” He walked back up to her, beckoning Omanyte and Aerodactyl to do the same. “We’ll have to push you out, then. It might take a while, but we won’t leave you here. I promise.”

    Something in Cradily perked up at those last words. Her tentacles started their slow squirming again.
    They all need a hug and I'd forgotten quite how adorable they all were in this chapter and Cradilyyyyy. (Sorry, I'm lapsing back into not-very-insightful repeat-vowels-in-characters'-names way of fangirling again.)

    It took such an immense effort, but Theo would have done it, so Kabutops and the rest of them had to do it in his stead.
    The "such" seems a bit off - it seems to imply there's a comparison coming ("such an immense effort that...") but there isn't. I'd just leave it out.

    “Go,” Cradily said, quietly but firmly. “Master would go. If one of us was in trouble out there and he couldn’t recall me, Master would go anyway and come back for me after.” She suddenly looked directly at Kabutops, a hint of pleading in her plain yellow eye. “Come back for me after, won’t you?”

    Kabutops stood, taken aback. “Are you sure?” he asked.

    She nodded. “Master needs us. Needs you.”
    “Or,” she said, her tentacles beginning to undulate just a little, “Master escapes and finds me, then we find you.”

    Kabutops caught the glint in her eyes and half-smiled, even though they both knew how unlikely that was. “Yeah,” he said. “Or that. See you, Cradily.”
    Cradily. ;_; How do you even do this.

    It occurred to Kabutops that Theo must have felt the same way about leaving him and the rest of his Pokémon in the Secret Base while he escaped with Archopy, only countless times worse. Kabutops sped up his walking despite the aching in his limbs.
    He really needed to find and help his trainer as soon as possible.
    I love, love that Kabutops is constantly thinking about Theo all throughout this scene. Also, that line break should presumably either not be there or be two line breaks.

    “Couldn’t… fly… any more,” he rasped, still staring ahead as if he could see Theo through the trees.
    Constantly.

    The man’s standard Pokémon-nurse smile of warmth faded as he saw her there. His eyes turned hard. “You,” he said. “I thought I told you last time you were here that ‘we hope to see you again’ doesn’t apply to you.”
    “No.” Nurse Martin shook his head, placing his hands firmly on the counter. “Not again. Look at me; I don’t need your money any more. If you want a lift from my Alakazam, there’s only one thing I want from you in return, Miss Swift. I want my Tyranitar back.”
    Oh, silver-haired nurse! And here I thought you were an undercover Bad Light member. Instead you are adorable.

    Kabutops slashed at a tangled piece of undergrowth, partly because it was in his way and partly as an outlet for frustration.
    He and Velotus aren't quite as different as he thought. :P

    Kabutops couldn’t meet his eye as they approached the nearest contraption. If this turned out to be the wrong decision, he’d be the one to blame. But if they’d gone the other way, followed the tracks with him still leading them, how many more mistakes would he have made?
    Aww! He's insecure enough that he just wants to take things out of his hands for a bit even if it could be risky. Poor Kabutops. You're a bit too dependent on your trainer.

    For a while in the Kabutops scenes, I forgot it was still dark out - might maybe want to work in some more reminders of that. You did a very good job of just that in Carrie's scene at the beginning.

    Kabutops winced and curled in tighter. He wasn’t as strong as Theo; he knew that now. He couldn’t do this, much as he’d tried for the others’ sake. At least here, in the darkness, he didn’t have to keep up the pretence of being confident and in control. In the darkness, the other two couldn’t see just how scared he was.
    Ha. He and Velotus really aren't quite as different as he thought. (I mean, they're still very different, obviously, but this in particular is really reminiscent of chapter 26.)

    Wherever his trainer was right now, and whether he was headed towards him or not, Kabutops really, really hoped that Theo was all right.
    D: Poor Kabutops.

    Reaching into one of her torn-and-patched-up pockets, she pulled out a Poké Ball, making sure to hold it in the precise way that activated pressure points on the surface of the ball and told it that you wished to release the Pokémon inside.
    That seems a bit funny - if you can release a Pokémon just by holding the ball in a particular way, it seems it would be all too easy to do it accidentally. There aren't that many ways to hold a ball, after all.

    Her trainer laughed and stroked Himalaya’s forehead as she finished roaring.
    The "as she finished roaring" seems a bit awkward to me; maybe reword it somehow.

    Despite herself, part of Vanessa couldn’t help being touched. The two of them reminded her a little of herself and Joy.
    Awww! I always liked Vanessa and Joy's relationship - it's always been clear through that that she isn't entirely heartless - and this just confirms it. :3

    And yaaaay Himalaya gets to go back to her trainer and it's all heartwarming and ee. :D

    So that was the most adorable chapter ever and this is a ridiculously long review. Hope it reminded you of how awesome it feels to write LE and have me squeeing over everything!
    Last edited by Dragonfree; 6th April 2013 at 6:35 AM.

    Chapter 64: Hide and Seek
    The story of an ordinary boy on an impossible quest in a world that isn't as black and white as he always thought it was.
    (rough draft of the remaining chapters finished for NaNoWriMo; to be edited and posted)

    Morphic
    (completed, plus silly extras)
    A few scientists get drunk and start fiddling with gene splicing. Ten years later, they're taking care of eight half-Pokémon kids, each freakier than the next, while a religious fanatic plots to murder them all.

    Lengthy fanfiction reviewing guide / A more condensed version
    Read and I will be very happy for a large number of reasons.

  15. #365
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    So, here's a review! What a massively late time to start reading. You haven't posted anything for a while, but since you vanquished a 2.5 year old hiatus, I'll gamble the fic is still going.

    I'm just posting tiny paragraphs I typed out while reading the chapters, and then a more general summary at the end. Not incredibly insightful -- I haven't written a review in three years, man. I wrote a few paragraphs about the first ten chapters, then read the review by Dragonfree and realized all that was water under the bridge.

    Chapter 12: I felt happy sitting there with the pokemon cast in the cave, learning to know them better, knowing everybody well and liking them well too. You have that comfortable position with your characters. One of the few things anyone actually needs in writing.

    At the end of chapter 13, sudden realization: BLAH! Shouldn't a baby grovyle be a treecko!

    It’s the highest hill in Hoenn that isn’t Mount Chimney,
    WHAT ABOUT Mt. Pyre?

    The humans are the most reticent about being friendly with each other -- some humans even like talking to each other and making friends, but that's not what you write about. The real relationships are with pokemon. I realize this is like the ideal situation in trainer fic; the trainers and their pokemon should form a close-knit party that is everything to them, and see nothing beyond it, and stick all other humans in the back with knives. My fic needs more of this.

    Dragonfree said it -- one of my favourite things in this fic is the power balance. Two amateur heroes cannot count for that much in the face of an unethical organisation. A teenager and a geologist against the inspired, resourceful chief of a corporation, many many adults. The heroes are being flogged by wilderness, the boss is sitting in her office contracting services. if/when they do win, it'll be in a really good way, like they've earned it.

    The negotiation in Ch26 was nicely done. Looking at this kind of temptation in Pokemon Adventures ("Ruby, would you like to join us?"), one realizes how seriously important it is to make the temptation meaningful and convincing. Here you managed to permanently grey out the motives of Grace White for all of us, which were previously by default considered black.

    I'll say that, BUT. MemorCorp is aiming to commit multiple genocide, and there's no way around that. The fic hasn't come around to that point and I wondered if you're anticipating it yet. You said she was going to modify habitats to house the ancient pokemon -- this, dispossessing the species that already live in them. And for the survival of a species, MemorCorp has to do something about its natural predators and competitors. (Which you've already come across in Archopy's dilemma: the sceptile are very likely to quash them again. I think sceptile are always dangerous to archopy rehabilitation simply because of the interbreeding thing.) In any case there will be lots of other ancient species that'll face much greater dangers from modern species. Segregate them? Wipe them out? It's all looking highly Nazi to me.

    Ch28: I loved the end, which no one commented too much. Caught red-handed in the sight of the creature you're fighting for.

    Well, by this time I'm pretty much sold on the characters, most of the causes, and the plot. Your fic has enormous moral murkiness and the things that actually inspire credibility are the small, individual characters: Archopy is worth caring about, Theo's team, Carrie's pokemon's love. It's a lovely frugalness: the main heroes never do a really heroic thing, the villains are lovable, the world is genuinely uncertain, and you have all these little characters that no reader could possibly brush aside. I also watched your prose change over 32 chapters: very consistent in spirit, the way it matured was really subtle. Your prologue was already as florid as you were going to get. After that the narration got more fluid, more confident, and more realistic to how action actually happens. Your fic is all utilitarian about prose, doesn't bother about it beyond streamlining it around the things that matter; I just have an unhealthy obsession with that part of writing.

    So... yeah? Hopefully this bump review doesn't feel too much out of left field. And of course I hope the fic keeps begetting lots of chapters. You've still got a big story to tell, it looks like!

  16. #366
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    Becoming - Thanks for reading! I'm happy to have you along as a new reviewer of this fic.

    If that bolded bit is meant to be a statement, then keep it as is, but if it's meant to be a question, then it should probably have a question mark. Considering Archopy kinda answers it, I think it's a question.
    It is meant as a statement. Archopy just kind of... confirms it.

    Kabutops shook his head. “I don’t think any of us are capable of chasing a human right now,” he said. “And we were out for a while – she might have already found him. Or…” He closed his eyes, not wanting to think of the other implications. “…someone else might have.”
    That last sentence should either start with a capital, or the previous sentence should end with a comma. Either works.
    I left that uncapitalised because it's technically a continuation of Kabutops's sentence that started with "Or..." earlier in that paragraph. I don't know if the rules of dialogue tags mean I have to capitalise it anyway even though it's not really actually the start of a sentence. Argh. Punctuating dialogue tags broken by action in the middle is confusing.

    Even though I knew it was coming this time, Theo's betrayal really pissed me off.
    Heh. I assume you mean in an in-universe way? It's interesting how different readers can have completely different reactions to what Theo did.

    And as I kinda suspected...Theo is trying to make up for what happened to Armaldo, sorta.
    Indeed he is! Did you read the extra scene relating to Chapter 30 that I posted (which can be found higher up on this page of the thread)? That goes into a bit more detail regarding Theo's issues about Armaldo; you might find it interesting if you haven't already read it.

    And even though he's an antagonist, I kinda love Andrew. I find him to be one of those likable antagonists. But at the same time I'm really looking forward to Carrie smacking him a good one, you know?
    Yay, likable antagonists that you nonetheless kind of want to smack in the face! That's Andrew all over. :3

    Especially the part where Omanyte idolizes Theo.
    Oh, Omanyte. There's a reason she calls him "Father"; younger kids have a tendency to believe their parents are invincible, and Omanyte's view of Theo is very much like that.

    I don't really have much to say on Vanessa's part in this. Except I like the nickname Himalaya for Tyranitar. I was kinda suspecting that Vanessa would somehow make off with Himalaya at the last moment, but it turns out that she didn't. Oh, and she has a little bit of a heart, thinking of herself and Joy when she sees Sylvester and Himalaya.
    Yeah, Vanessa's part here doesn't serve much ultimate purpose other than setting up her presence in Petalburg for stuff later down the line. These scenes did at least give me a chance to both give Himalaya some closure and show that Vanessa still does have a bit of a heart. :3

    But overall...I feel a bit weird about this latest chapter. Considering the action-packed cliffhanger-ness of the previous chapter (and, you know, the 2.5 year hiatus) I was hoping that a bit more would be resolved. Sure, there was the long awaited conversation between Carrie and Theo, but the other parts were just transitioning between the forest and MemorCorp. I guess I was hoping for a bit more plot development. But you tied both Theo's pokemon's and Vanessa's travels in with some insights to their characters, which was a pretty neat thing to do. I dunno, I guess it just wasn't what I was expecting. That doesn't mean it was bad though!
    Indeed, coming off a huge hiatus like this is always going to make the next chapter seem kind of awkward when it mostly just continues on from exactly the same situation they were in before. It'd probably have worked better if Chapter 33 had been the one posted immediately after the gap, since there's such a huge change of situation between 32 and 33 that it wouldn't have been as jarring. (At least, due to my one-chapter-ahead way of writing things, Chapter 33 was the one I started writing after my huge hiatus, which definitely was helpful for getting back into it.)

    But yeah, this was largely a charactery chapter, and I'm glad to hear that you seemingly enjoyed those aspects of it, at least.



    Dragonfree - Thanks for a lovely review! It's interesting to hear your thoughts on rereading the whole thing through in one go. I'm happy to know how action-packed you find the fic to be; filling the plot with lots of exciting events rather than just boring travelling and talking was always something I'd strived for even right at the beginning of writing this. (This is probably also why the travelling is so badly-paced in that it takes Carrie and Theo only a handful of days to walk halfway across Hoenn. But shush.)

    I love Andrew here. He's just so much fun every time he says or does anything. The glee that Andrew inspires in me is definitely not one of those things that have changed since I originally read this.
    Hee, Andrew. He was so much fun to write in this chapter. There isn't even really a reason for him to be in this scene other than because I thought it'd be fun.

    How did Andrew find the Secret Base in particular, though? I mean, they could track the Master Ball to where Theo was, but even if they had marked precisely where the ball was on a map at the moment when Archopy was caught, how could they have known to go back to that location to look for Carrie just because Theo was alone when they caught him? I mean, normally one would presume they just found Archopy out in the open there, Theo caught her, and then for one reason or another they went their separate ways, instead of figuring there was a Secret Base and that Carrie might still be there. For that matter, how did Andrew know Theo had betrayed Carrie when he took Archopy? They could have conspired to have Theo take Archopy and then split up in the hope that Carrie would act as a distraction, for instance, but when Carrie comes out in chapter 31 Andrew is already referring to Theo as her "evil Archopy-thieving friend" as if he'd been watching the whole time and knew exactly what went on between them.
    ...That is a very good point, and something I don't have an answer to. The quickest way to fix this would just be to edit the previous chapter to remove Andrew's last line, which I obviously don't want to do (because, you know, Andrew), so I'll have to just leave this in as a logicfail, but thanks for pointing it out.

    But wouldn't the headlights be pointing forward while the doors are at the back of the truck...? Unless I'm picturing all of this way wrong somehow. I'm pretty sure headlights are designed to focus their beam pretty specifically forwards, so any light getting in above and between doors at the back of the truck would have to have been reflected twice off some trees or something first - I can't really picture that providing any discernible change in illumination at all.
    ...yeah, I basically just wanted an excuse for them to be able to see each other's faces in the ensuing conversation, since I am the worst person ever at remembering when it's supposed to be dark. I could rewrite that so that there's a truck behind them as well with its headlights on, or something.

    I suppose the reason Bad Light keeps threatening Carrie's Grovyle with the evolution serum instead of just threatening to kill them is that 1) threatening Pokémon with evolution, or actually evolving them, isn't nearly as blatantly illegal as threatening death or actual murder, and 2) Andrew thinks Carrie's horror at Grovyle evolving is the most hilarious thing ever?
    Correct. xP I can't say I ever really consciously thought about it that much until you said this, but yes, those are exactly Andrew's reasons for doing that.

    Love this too. His own self-doubt really shines through here with just this small, seemingly innocuous line: for a moment he does wonder if he's worse than MemorCorp.
    Yes! You noticed. Yay. :3

    I also really like how it plays out like arguments actually play out - they're not actually addressing what they other is saying, accusing each other of not getting it without actually articulating 'it' well or at all, interpreting each other uncharitably... It's painfully realistic, in a heartbreaking way.
    I'm happy to hear that! Although I've seen you talk about how people in arguments frequently misinterpret each other which only makes things worse and such, that wasn't ever something I consciously had in mind while writing this scene. But apparently it still happened between Carrie and Theo anyway! Yay.

    (Then again, Carrie is exactly the kind of person who'd interpret someone else uncharitably given half an excuse, so maybe it's not such a surprise that she ended up doing it here without me telling her to.)

    (Also, that dash inside the first quote should be outside the quote. That or you put both dashes inside and make "He indicated Carrie" into a capitalized and punctuated sentence separate from the quotes. The former seems to be more common in published works, but the latter is more consistent with how dialogue punctuation generally works. You do the same thing a few more times in the chapter.)
    Should it? I've never been that sure of how to punctuate instances like this in speech. The way I've done it here (and several times before in my fics, I'm sure) just follows what I understand to be the main rules of thumb of punctuating dialogue: that you basically just write it like a normal sentence that happens to have dialogue tags around part of it (hence separating the extra clause with dashes), and that there always needs to be some kind of punctuation just before the end of dialogue tags (hence the first dash being inside them). Am I wrong about this?

    Ouch. Low blow, Carrie. And Andrew still finding their interpersonal drama hilarious and Theo being sensitive about Armaldo and aaa.
    The fun thing is, if Andrew hadn't pointed it out, then Carrie would never have realised Theo was in denial about this, because as you mentioned, Carrie is far too wrapped up in her own thoughts right now to interpret what's actually going on in Theo's head.

    I also like that after the previous scene where Carrie came out on top in the argument, Kabutops believes without even thinking about it that Theo did have the right to catch Archopy.
    Kabutops doesn't even think about it because Theo digging up fossils and making the resulting Pokémon his is just the way the world works, to him. There's never been any question of what the Pokémon itself wants in the previous instances, so Kabutops doesn't even register that Archopy's wishes might actually be relevant here. If he realised that and were to think about it, maybe he wouldn't be quite so sure.

    (I'm pretty sure there'll be more focus on how the way Theo's Pokémon's lives utterly revolve around him has kind of screwed up their worldview coming up soon.)

    I don't think my previous reviews ever mentioned how much I enjoy that the Pokémon always call Carrie/Theo (whichever one is not their trainer) the "green human" and the "brown human". So, very late, I'm going to mention now that I do really like that (and did then, but I don't think I ever said it).
    I'm glad you like that. I always wondered if it was kind of unnecessary, so it's good to hear you don't think so. You've also probably noticed that, although the prose of their POV sections don't do this because it'd get clunky, they never refer to their own trainer by name in their speech, either.

    Cradily is the heartrendingly loyalest.
    The heartrending thing about Cradily is that she has to be that loyal. She has to believe that Theo will always come back and find her because she physically can't go looking for him. There's no other way she'd ever see him again.

    I love, love that Kabutops is constantly thinking about Theo all throughout this scene.

    Constantly.
    Hee, this is one of those times where I completely didn't consciously do that. I'm happy you pointed it out to me!

    Oh, silver-haired nurse! And here I thought you were an undercover Bad Light member. Instead you are adorable.
    Heehee. The whole time you and SlowCrow were speculating over the silver-haired nurse's possible role, I was quietly giggling to myself about how you were on completely the wrong track. I did always hope the truth about him would be something you'd find adorable.

    He and Velotus aren't quite as different as he thought. :P

    ...

    Ha. He and Velotus really aren't quite as different as he thought. (I mean, they're still very different, obviously, but this in particular is really reminiscent of chapter 26.)
    Again, something I totally didn't put in deliberately but that's kind of interesting now that you've pointed it out.

    For a while in the Kabutops scenes, I forgot it was still dark out - might maybe want to work in some more reminders of that. You did a very good job of just that in Carrie's scene at the beginning.
    Though it's dark in the first scene of the chapter, by the time Kabutops and the others have woken up, the sun has started to rise, so it's actually not meant to be particularly dark out in these scenes. I dunno if this means I should put in any specific mentions of it not being dark, though?

    That seems a bit funny - if you can release a Pokémon just by holding the ball in a particular way, it seems it would be all too easy to do it accidentally. There aren't that many ways to hold a ball, after all.
    You're probably right. I think I mostly did it this way for the sake of consistency with that one bit in Chapter 16 where Sam releases Raptola from the ball he'd caught him in; he was just described as holding the ball in a strange way, with no trip to the PC to unregister it or anything like that. If I ever do rewrite this fic, that's something I'll change to be more sensible.



    Luphinid Silnaek - Whoa. I remember you, from way back in the early days when I was relatively new to the fanfiction scene. I don't think I ever personally read or commented on any of your work, but I do recall seeing you around quite a bit back then. Kinda crazy to see someone from that long ago reviewing my equally-old fic. Thanks so much!

    (And yes, of course this fic is still going. There's just likely to still be gaps of a few months in between chapters because real life and distractions and stuff. I've somehow ended up becoming an adult during the long time since this fic started how on earth did that happen. D: )

    It's also a lucky coincidence that you happened to review exactly now-ish, because I was hoping to do some writing in the next couple of weeks before another distraction comes my way, so your review is the perfect catalyst to get me in the mood to do that! So hopefully the next chapter can be up in a couple of weeks. Now that I've made a big bolded promise like that, I have extra incentive to try and stick to it.

    At the end of chapter 13, sudden realization: BLAH! Shouldn't a baby grovyle be a treecko!
    Heh, yeah, he probably should be. That's a product of my inexperienced beginning-writer self just wanting to write an extra-cute Grovyle and not thinking too hard about the fact that he should therefore really still be a Treecko. I do now have vague plans to possibly make something interesting out of the fact that Raptola is so ridiculously mentally young for an evolved Pokémon, so keep an eye out for that in future.

    (Taking badly-written elements from your younger self and turning them into something more interesting that makes it look like you planned it all along: definitely the best way to write stories!)

    WHAT ABOUT Mt. Pyre?
    Heh, I think another reviewer might have brought that up at some point, too. But I believe that according to the in-game map of Hoenn and its contour shades that presumably indicate the height of hills/mountains, the hill on the map between routes 119 and 120 that I decided to call Steel Hill really is taller than Mt. Pyre.

    The humans are the most reticent about being friendly with each other -- some humans even like talking to each other and making friends, but that's not what you write about. The real relationships are with pokemon. I realize this is like the ideal situation in trainer fic; the trainers and their pokemon should form a close-knit party that is everything to them, and see nothing beyond it, and stick all other humans in the back with knives. My fic needs more of this.
    I can't speak for the back-stabbing, but trainers forming a close-knit group of epic friends with their Pokémon is definitely something that every fic should have more of. :3 I'm happy to hear that you see Lost Evolution as one such fic.

    I'll say that, BUT. MemorCorp is aiming to commit multiple genocide, and there's no way around that. The fic hasn't come around to that point and I wondered if you're anticipating it yet. You said she was going to modify habitats to house the ancient pokemon -- this, dispossessing the species that already live in them. And for the survival of a species, MemorCorp has to do something about its natural predators and competitors. (Which you've already come across in Archopy's dilemma: the sceptile are very likely to quash them again. I think sceptile are always dangerous to archopy rehabilitation simply because of the interbreeding thing.) In any case there will be lots of other ancient species that'll face much greater dangers from modern species. Segregate them? Wipe them out? It's all looking highly Nazi to me.
    Interesting. You're the only person I've seen who's read that much into Grace's plans to "modify existing habitats". You certainly do seem to have a point regarding the Sceptile potentially just outbreeding Archopy again.

    </totally not being deliberately vague or anything>

    So... yeah? Hopefully this bump review doesn't feel too much out of left field. And of course I hope the fic keeps begetting lots of chapters. You've still got a big story to tell, it looks like!
    Not at all! Like I said, it was perfect timing. =D And though there's still a good bit more, I mentioned somewhere way back in this thread that this fic is estimated to be around 40 chapters in total, and that hasn't changed, so we're getting kind of near the end by now. I feel like the plot's begun to enter its "endgame" phase, so to speak. Though at this rate, with my speed of producing chapters, it'll still be around for a while yet.
    .: Evolution is a battle .:. Something has to lose :.
    LOST EVOLUTION
    Chapter 33: Inside has been posted.


    Foregone Conclusion
    Spinoff/prequel/backstory/thingy to Lost Evolution, written for NaNoWriMo 2010

    Three Heads Are Better Than One

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    Default Chapter 33: Inside [part 1]

    So, that bolded promise I made last post... didn't quite happen. Oops. But the chapter is here now, at least. In actuality I still haven't finished writing Chapter 34, as per my one-chapter-ahead pattern, but I decided to post Chapter 33 now anyway, in the hopes that any reviews for it will act as further motivation for me to continue and finish the next chapter faster than I would have done otherwise. I'll see how well it works.

    Chapter 33 is ridiculously long, at least, so hopefully that somewhat makes up for the months since the last chapter and the long wait there may also be (knowing me) until the next one. In the planning of it, I worried this'd be one of those boring transitory chapters, but now that it's written, I actually like quite a few things about it. I hope you enjoy.


    Chapter 33: Inside


    She remembered this place. Clearer and crisper than any of the one from the past’s life, she remembered this plain box, closing her in, the thorn in her arm, the discs attached to her head. Archopy was back where her own life had begun.

    Her first thought had been to escape, just as she had done the last time. Not everything here was how she remembered it from before, however. This time, there was no shaft of sunlight falling inside to give her the power to break out. Even if there had been, she wasn’t sure she’d have been able to. Her limbs felt heavy and sluggish, far more overwhelmingly so than she remembered, and it was all she could do to sit, slumped, against the wall of this tiny square nest. The humans who had brought her to life and watched her escape this place once before clearly did not want it happening again. Archopy could do nothing but sit there and think.

    So, she thought. She had a lot to think about. She knew why she was here now, after all: the humans who had given her life wanted to do the same to more of her kind, to bring the Archopy species back into the world. The two humans whom she’d talked to in her hiding place had made it clear that she was vital for this, somehow. They’d also given every impression that it was to be her choice, however, and her choice had been no. Why was she here?

    That wasn’t difficult to answer – those two humans must have simply decided it was no longer her choice and taken her anyway. Perhaps they hadn’t ever meant for her to have a choice in the first place and had only claimed she did so that she would trust them.

    It didn’t really matter, one way or another. What mattered was that she was here, and she didn’t want to be.

    She couldn’t let her kind be brought back. She couldn’t let the fear and heartbreak from the memories happen all over again. Unbidden, as if it had been eagerly awaiting its moment, a memory rose to the front of her mind. It was one of the worst, one she’d tried hard to never think about again. Here, though, somehow she couldn’t help but be drawn in, re-experiencing the jolt of pure horror as They had snatched her (not her) out of the air just above the canopy, the anguish and guilt as she’d watched her mate (someone else’s mate, but that didn’t make him any less important) drop down to save her and doom himself in the process, the utter despair as she’d recognised –

    No. Archopy forced herself to think of something else and found an earlier memory. This one filled her with an indescribable thrill as she and her mate escaped Their clutches thanks to the trickery and cunning she so loved about him. He’d always made her feel alive. But Archopy dragged herself out of that memory, too, despite the joy it brought – it only served to highlight how terrible it was for him to have been murdered in the end.

    As she only just caught herself before she started thinking about her childhood friend instead, Archopy realised that something wasn’t right here. She stared firmly at the plain, dull wall of her box, trying not to think of the memories. For some reason they were flowing more easily than they should have been; she didn’t remember ever getting so helplessly absorbed in them back in her hiding place on the hill. Thinking of that place, even the disturbing false Treecko and the humans that must have deceived her, helped to block out the other memories, the ones that weren’t hers. And in recalling the conversation with the two humans and their Pokémon, she realised why her false memories might have been coming to her more readily here – hadn’t the humans in this place wanted to watch those memories to help them bring her kind back?

    Then what would they do if she refused to remember?

    Archopy felt the corners of her mouth curl up into a smile. For the first time in her own life, despite being trapped in this box and barely able to move, she felt like she had control of something. Perhaps her idea wouldn’t work – she had no idea how the humans managed to watch her memories, after all – but it was definitely worth trying.

    Closing her eyes, Archopy began to remember everything she could, not from the bequeathed memories of a stranger’s life, but from her own life. She remembered blasting her way out of the last box they’d kept her in, knowing she’d had nothing to lose in throwing herself out into the unknown world. She remembered taking flight for the first time in her life and the elation of freedom it had brought her. She remembered that joy fading and turning to unease as it began to sink in that this world was alien and she was alone. She’d been hoping so much that the place which had been home in the memories – don’t think about those memories – would give her answers, give her company, and it had been such a disappointment when she’d reached the place and everything had continued to make no sense.

    An indescribable jerking, fizzing kind of sensation was beginning to occur somewhere around or even within her head as she remembered all these things. It was almost as if something was objecting to her doing it, but she pressed on regardless. She recalled her first encounter with a square-dweller, a human, and it had brought along one of Them – not one of Them, just a Sceptile – she’d been so terrified that he would kill her. Almost worse than the Sceptile had been that Pokémon of dreadful, overwhelming cold; it had been a relief to succumb to the hazy red nothingness that first time. Somehow, it had shattered and set her free, and the Sceptile had almost managed to kill her – that still doesn’t make him one of Them – before she’d escaped.

    That strange feeling hadn’t gone away. It was as if her memories were being dragged through a bush as she remembered hiding in the impossible space with only the not-dead Treecko’s glassy gaze for company. She thought of that Grovyle, Velotus, his battle with the Sceptile, how disturbingly prejudiced he’d been when she’d first spoke to him and how curiously subdued he’d seemed the second time – and the thoughts juddered awkwardly through her head. Recalling the conversation with the humans and their Pokémon, how much it had explained and how adamant she’d been to never again let anyone suffer like they had before, felt like claws scraping across rough bark in her mind.

    It was such an odd sensation. It wasn’t even particularly unpleasant – though it gave her the impression that something, somewhere, was not happy – but even if it had been, Archopy wouldn’t have wanted to stop remembering. This was more than just defiance; until now, she’d never realised just how many memories of her own she’d built up, just how much she’d experienced for herself. She shouldn’t be defined by the fact that she shared someone else’s memories. Her life was her own, and it would be defined by what she chose to do with the knowledge those memories had given her. Nobody else understood like she did just how much of a risk bringing her kind back might be, so she had to be the one to do something about it.

    She remembered how much she’d panicked as she’d tried to fight the second, impenetrable red haze of nothingness, thinking that she would be helpless to avoid giving them what they wanted from her – but now she knew that quite possibly wasn’t the case after all.

    Archopy remembered – but she remembered everything except what the humans wanted her to.

    * * *

    Carrie gently thumped her head against the wall for what must have been the umpteenth time today alone. Aside from everything else that was bothering her in here, she was bored.

    The Director of MemorCorp had seen fit to lock her – and Theo, she assumed, though she hadn’t seen him since they’d got out of the truck and been taken separate ways – in one of the lab’s holding rooms usually reserved for their fossil Pokémon test subjects. The room was tiny, hardly long enough for her to lie down in, and almost entirely bare. The only furniture it had was a blanket, as if that would provide some semblance of the idea that MemorCorp was looking after its “guests”.

    Not that her being a guest here would ever have been easy to swallow, given that Andrew still had her Pokémon and had gleefully informed her that he’d forcibly evolve her Grovyle one by one – starting with Velotus – should she try anything that the Director might not want her to do. Indeed, it seemed that Andrew had been the one assigned to be in charge of guarding her, as it had been him who’d come regularly to provide her with the most pathetic excuse for meals she could imagine. At least, it had been Andrew for a while; in recent days, some other thug whose name she didn’t know had taken over the task. Carrie suspected that Andrew had got bored of her, as she’d finally got the hint about what motivated him and stopped rising to his taunts.

    She’d been here for several days now. In all honesty she’d lost count, but it must have been at least a week. That or her sense of time had been completely screwed up, which wouldn’t have surprised her given that all she had to go by was a dim lightbulb on the ceiling that no-one ever turned off. The whole time, she’d had absolutely nothing to do with herself but think. It was driving her up the wall.

    It wasn’t as if she even usually minded just sitting and thinking. She’d done a lot of it in her carefree life in the forests with her Pokémon, after all. The reason it bothered her so much this time, she knew, was that so many things had happened recently that she would really rather not think about at all.

    There was the talk they’d had with Archopy, for one thing. Specifically, there was the part of it where Archopy had stressed that Carrie mustn’t be prejudiced against Sceptile as a species, even knowing of the atrocities some of them had committed in the past. She recalled how hesitant Velotus had seemed to translate those parts of Archopy’s speech to her – heck, she’d felt stupidly awkward and hypocritical when she’d had to say those words aloud herself for Theo’s sake. Because, even disregarding any knowledge of the past genocide, it summed her up, didn’t it? Ever since that incident when she was eight, Carrie had spent her whole life prejudiced against Sceptile due to something one individual did.

    It felt awfully stupid that it had taken someone who had every reason to hate the species of Sceptile far more than Carrie ever had to make her realise that.

    Or perhaps Carrie had slowly begun to realise that herself, what with everything that had happened lately. The conversation she’d had with Velotus just before they met Archopy had definitely helped her realise a few things and put into perspective that little accident eight years ago. Not only that, but there were the times her Grovyle had been threatened with forced evolution during their search for Archopy. She’d tried desperately not to think about it at the time, but the question had always been there: what would she have done if one of her Grovyle had become a Sceptile? She couldn’t have just given up on them. They’d still have been the same person inside, Sceptile or not. Perhaps that had gone some way towards having her realise that, hey, Sceptile are people too. Which sounded so stupid and cheesy when she put it that way, and made her feel even more foolish for never having even remotely noticed it until recently.

    But maybe the biggest reason, the one thing that had really started Carrie off down the road to not being so much of an idiot, had been the simple existence of Archopy. Suddenly, with the prospect that perhaps one day Grovyle – not hers, admittedly, but others – could evolve into a form that she truly liked instead of only ever becoming Sceptile, there had just been less need for her to harbour such a silly hatred for Sceptile in the first place.

    All in all, although it bothered her to realise that she’d been such an idiot in the past, Carrie supposed she felt all right about how this had turned out for her. She only hoped she’d get a chance to talk to Velotus about this sometime in the future. He seemed to have realised similar things to her, judging by that last conversation of theirs, but she could tell he was still horribly conflicted and confused about the whole deal.

    Really, it was stupid that the Director wouldn’t let her have her Pokémon in here, just so she’d have someone to talk to. It wasn’t as if Carrie even particularly wanted to escape – or, well, if she did, it was only because she was bored out of her mind, not because she actually had anything against MemorCorp’s intentions. She’d have been fine with going back to her old life in the forests and happily waiting for the day when wild Archopy appeared.

    At least, she was mostly happy with that. She certainly wasn’t unhappy enough about it to want to do anything stupid and risky like trying to break Archopy out of here.

    And yet…

    Carrie hadn’t done anything to stop Archopy being brought here. It wasn’t like there was realistically anything she could have done, but even so, she hadn’t even tried. That thought, that knowledge, just wouldn’t let her go. It mean that she was okay with Archopy – the Archopy, the one individual she’d been chasing after all that time, all for the sake of protecting her – being locked up in here against her will, used for a purpose she wanted nothing to do with.

    Carrie wanted a world filled with Archopy. Archopy didn’t.

    Despite what she’d accused Theo of after he’d tried to run off with Archopy, maybe Carrie was the one who was greedy and selfish after all.

    She thumped the wall in frustration and sighed. There she’d been going again – thinking about precisely the things she didn’t want to think about because there was nothing else to do in here. She could easily go on to justify her thoughts by convincing herself there was no way there’d ever be another genocide if the Archopy were reintroduced, that Archopy was just mistaken and it’d all be fine – she’d entertained that train of thought countless times over already. It wouldn’t change the way she felt about this.

    Carrie didn’t want to break Archopy out of here. She’d never have wanted to, even if her Pokémon weren’t being threatened over it. Yet she hated that Archopy was here, all the same.

    Fidgeting irritably, Carrie tried to stop thinking. She really hoped the Director would hurry up and complete her reintroduction project soon, so that this could all be over and these thoughts would leave her alone.

    * * *

    Theo sat slumped in the corner of his cell. It felt like he’d barely moved from this spot since he’d been brought here. How long ago had that been? He couldn’t remember. It wasn’t like it was important, anyway – it only mattered in that it meant he’d left his Pokémon behind at Steel Hill for that long.

    He didn’t know why he kept feeling the need to get back to them, though. They were probably better off without him.

    And even if he had wanted to escape to find them regardless, Zack had made it clear that Armaldo would be killed if Theo tried anything. It was stupid that it mattered to Theo – Armaldo was barely alive in the first place – but letting him die still wasn’t right. Theo would just be failing him yet again, once and for all. He couldn’t let that happen. It was all he had left.

    In the end, Theo had no problems with staying exactly where he was.

    He was still there in the corner when he heard Zack unlocking the door to his cell. This was a regular enough occurrence, but Theo could sense something wasn’t right this time. The guard was empty-handed, and his demeanour as he stood in the doorway was different somehow.

    “I’ll put this simply,” Zack said. “We have your Cradily.”

    Theo’s blood ran cold.

    “This will work exactly like it currently does with your Armaldo,” Zack went on. “If you try to escape, to reach Archopy, or to do anything that the Director might not want you to do, your Cradily will be killed.”

    He felt sick. This couldn’t be happening. Cradily and the others were supposed to be safe, somewhere on Steel Hill, far away from this mess Theo had created. Armaldo was one thing, but Cradily – to think that she was here, in the thugs’ clutches, in danger because of him

    “Leave her alone,” he mumbled. He wasn’t sure if he expected to be heard or not.

    Zack looked puzzled. “Excuse me?”

    “Leave Cradily out of this. Let her go. She has nothing to do with this.”

    Why was she even here in the first place? How had they found her?

    “Of course we’re not going to let her go,” Zack said. “She’s too useful as leverage against you. Ever since Andrew told me about your Armaldo, I’d always been worried that threatening him wouldn’t be enough to make you behave. But your Cradily seemed perfectly lively when they brought her in, so I’m sure she’ll work.”

    Oh. Andrew. Hadn’t he implied he was going to get some men to search the hill for the rest of Theo’s Pokémon? And since Cradily couldn’t flee…

    He pictured her struggling, screeching wildly as she was beaten down and dragged off by countless thugs’ faceless Pokémon. It hurt to even think about. He’d done this to her. If he hadn’t left her there…

    “Please,” he said. “I’ve never done anything in all the time you’ve had just Armaldo. Let Cradily go. You don’t need her. It isn’t fair.”

    It wasn’t fair on Cradily that she couldn’t move anywhere on her own. He’d always tried his best to make sure that her immobility never affected her life as his Pokémon. Then he’d just gone and left her in the middle of nowhere, knowing full well she’d be trapped, helpless.

    It wasn’t fair that Cradily had no choice but to depend on him.

    “If I did let her go free, she might try and break you out of here,” Zack said. “I know how loyal Pokémon can be. I’m not risking that.”

    “She can’t move, for goodness’ sake!”

    And even if she could, why would she want to help him get out of here, after everything he’d done?

    “Just release her somewhere far away, somewhere that’s like her natural habitat,” Theo pleaded. “That’s what the scientists here have been trying to find, isn’t it?” That was what Cradily deserved – a normal, wild life, without him. “She doesn’t deserve this. Please.”

    Zack was frowning. “I don’t even know why we’re having this discussion,” he said. “You are not in a position to negotiate. Your Cradily is staying here. She’s much better leverage than your Armaldo could ever be; you’ve just confirmed that for me.”

    Those last words made Theo wince. He’d just made things worse for her, yet again.

    “That was all I came here to tell you,” Zack said. It took Theo a moment to realise that Zack already considered the conversation over and was leaving.

    “Wait!” he called feebly after him. “Don’t – !”

    He was too late; the door had already closed and locked with a click.

    Theo slumped back against the wall, still numb with what he’d been told. Cradily. They had Cradily and it was all his fault.

    It was ridiculous, too, that now that Cradily was under threat, Theo actually had a reason to possibly try and escape, if only to save her. But if he failed, then… That didn’t bear thinking about. He couldn’t risk it, ever. She’d just have to stay trapped here, wherever they were keeping her – where was that, anyway? Zack had never been clear on that, even with Armaldo. He hoped she was in her Poké Ball, at least. That way it’d be like she was just sleeping, unaware of what Theo was putting her through.

    What about his other Pokémon? Were they okay? Zack seemed the type of person who would have mentioned it if they’d been captured too, so that had to mean they were safe. At least, Theo really, really hoped so.

    If that was true, they must still have been on Steel Hill somewhere, having fled when the thugs had come for Cradily. Maybe in time they’d wander further, find habitats like those where their species used to live. It was the best he could hope for, for their sake. Fossil Pokémon living in the wild. Exactly what the Director of MemorCorp was trying to achieve.

    Unless they were still expecting Theo to come back for them. Hadn’t he promised, back when he’d left them in the Secret Base, that he would come back for them as soon as he could? That felt like an age ago. Would they really still be waiting for him?

    They shouldn’t be. It wasn’t right that they depended on him so much.

    But if he was ever released – that would happen once the Director finished her project, wouldn’t it? – he’d have to go back to them. There was nothing else left for him. If he could keep that last promise he’d made to them, that’d be something, at least, and then maybe if he was lucky they’d forgive him, and… He didn’t know what would happen. He couldn’t think that far ahead.

    Theo found himself hoping that Grace White took as long as possible to reintroduce fossil Pokémon into the wild.

    * * *

    Kabutops crouched, hidden, in the bushes at the forest’s edge, watching Aerodactyl as he flew out towards the huge white building. This was the place Archopy had been born in and had escaped from. He recognised it from a glimpse he’d caught of it, back when he’d helped Theo and Carrie break into it to get more information about Archopy.

    The memory of his and Foliano’s part in the break-in plan wasn’t one Kabutops was fond of. He could still picture the terror on the face of the human guard he’d threatened with his scythes. Then again, now that he knew what kind of humans these guards were, with everything the other humans in the same group had put Theo through… No. It still wasn’t right to think that they had deserved it. That was the kind of thing Velotus would say, not him.

    “Is Aerodactyl going to find Father this time?” Omanyte asked from beside him, snapping him out of his thoughts.

    Kabutops looked uneasily back over at the building, seeing the distant grey shape that was Aerodactyl flitting around it. “Maybe,” he told Omanyte. “Remember, he has to be careful not to be seen, so it won’t be easy for him to search.”

    With a whimper, Omanyte slid further back into her shell.

    Kabutops sighed, still watching the building. Despite what he’d just told Omanyte, by this point he wasn’t sure if there was any chance of finding Theo here at all. Their trainer could have been anywhere in the world by now. It was true that this was where Archopy must have ended up and that the human contraption had brought them here, but Theo himself could have been taken somewhere else entirely for all they knew. And even if Theo was in here, how likely was Aerodactyl to find him by peering through windows, really?

    In truth, Kabutops had only been having Aerodactyl search the outside of the building whenever there weren’t many guards about because he didn’t know what else to do.

    He didn’t like to admit it to himself, but he was beginning to fear that he might never see Theo again. On the off chance their trainer was somewhere in this building, they’d be lucky to locate him and get him out without being caught by the guards. If he wasn’t here at all, on the other hand, then Kabutops had long since ruined any chance of ever finding him when he’d chosen the easy way out rather than following the tracks that would have led straight to him. He’d been doing this leader thing for several days now, but he still wasn’t any better at making the right decisions.

    The one thing he had grown better at was not letting the other two see this.

    “Still not found him yet?” came a high-pitched voice from behind him.

    Kabutops sighed and turned to look up at the Togetic fluttering above the bush. “Hello, Joy,” he said. “Why are you here?”

    “I got bored,” said Joy. “All my mistress does all day is watch that building. But then it looks like that’s all you do, too.”

    Ever since learning from Joy that Vanessa was hiding out somewhere nearby in these woods, Kabutops had done his best to stay well out of her way. “You haven’t let your trainer know we’re here, have you?” he asked the Togetic.

    “Of course not,” she replied. “I promised, didn’t I? But it isn’t my fault if she notices Aerodactyl flying around that building.”

    Kabutops glanced back towards the structure, where Aerodactyl now seemed to be clinging to a wall, resting his head against it. It was true that he was hard to miss, but then this building really didn’t give anywhere to hide. There were no guards around at the moment, but to think that somewhere nearby, Vanessa was watching intently – it was worrying.

    “If she does,” he said to Joy, “please, could you try and convince her to leave us be?” It was asking a lot of the Togetic – she was essentially their enemy – but he didn’t know what else to do. “We just want to find and protect our trainer, that’s all.”

    “Ah!” said Joy, waving a tiny arm, “but, your trainer is the one who caught Archopy. If you help your trainer, you might also help him get Archopy back. My mistress can’t allow that.”

    Kabutops hesitated. “We won’t,” he said. “We don’t care about Archopy any more. We just want him to be safe.”

    And that was so, so true. All Kabutops wanted right now was to know Theo was all right. Yet, for him to be truly all right, didn’t he need to have found Archopy and taken her away from here? Kabutops still wanted to help Theo realise that there had never been anything wrong with him capturing Archopy, despite what he seemed to think. He hated the idea of her falling into Vanessa’s hands when she could have been Theo’s. Archopy would be best off with Theo; Kabutops was certain of that.

    Even he knew it wouldn’t be a good idea to tell that to Joy, though.

    Joy was still thinking about it, fluttering around in little circles above his head. It didn’t look like she was about to decide to help them, but Kabutops miserably told himself it probably didn’t matter anyway because Theo probably wasn’t even here.

    “I hope Father is okay…” Omanyte murmured from beside him. Kabutops’s gut twisted even more. Someday soon he wouldn’t be able to keep lying to her, and he didn’t know what it would do to her when that day came.

    Omanyte’s words had been quiet, but apparently Joy had heard them. Her face scrunched up and she twirled even faster before abruptly stopping and facing Kabutops. “Fine!” she said to him. “If she notices you, I might see if I can get her to leave you alone. Might! But when my mistress wants something, she gets it.” The Togetic huffed and flitted a little further away. “I’m only helping you because I’d want you to do the same if my mistress were ever in trouble.”

    Kabutops felt a small weight lift from him. One victory earned, at least, even if it was only a small one. “Thank you,” he told her.

    “But really,” Joy said, now hovering even higher up than before with a coy air about her, “I’d do a better job of protecting my mistress in the first place. You must have been careless to let your trainer get in danger like this.”

    Kabutops’s mouth opened, but no words came out. Before he could think of anything to say to that, Joy had already left, zipping away into the forest.

    Was it his fault Theo was in trouble? He didn’t know anymore.

    Miserably, he turned back around to the building, only to see Aerodactyl speeding towards them as Omanyte squeaked “Look!” in excitement at his approach.

    A tiny part of Kabutops’s spirits lifted in hope, too, even though he knew how foolish it was of him to think that Theo might have been found. Aerodactyl was probably only moving so fast because he’d spotted a guard and was hurrying out of sight.

    The pterosaur landed in a skidding halt in their hiding place, sending the bush’s leaves flying everywhere. Despite being out of breath, he was grinning.

    “I could hear his voice,” he said. “He’s in there.”

    The relief was overwhelming. A choked gasp escaped Kabutops as his legs buckled underneath him. All that constant worry and doubt that he’d grown so used to he’d almost stopped noticing it – gone. Theo was here after all. He hadn’t messed everything up.

    “You’re… you’re sure?” he managed to ask Aerodactyl. Part of him still couldn’t believe it, couldn’t help but think this was too good to be true.

    “Of course I’m sure,” Aerodactyl said. “You think I can’t recognise our leader’s voice when I hear it?” He frowned and cocked his head accusingly at Kabutops. “You seem almost surprised we found him.”

    “No! I’m not,” he said, too quickly. “I’m just… relieved he’s okay, that’s all. He is okay, right? What did you hear him saying?”

    Aerodactyl let out a soft growl and shifted his gaze away. “I couldn’t make out his words through the wall,” he muttered. “But from the tone of his voice, he sounded… upset.”

    Something jerked painfully inside Kabutops. He’d always known that Theo wouldn’t be happy wherever he’d been taken, of course, but it still hurt to hear that for sure.

    “Poor Father…” Omanyte mumbled.

    He took a deep breath, steeling himself. One last push. “Okay,” he said slowly. “He needs us. We’re going to go to him, right now.” Looking towards the building, he pinpointed the part of the wall he’d seen Aerodactyl clinging to. “That wall you were on, he’s behind there?” he asked.

    “Obviously,” Aerodactyl said.

    Nodding, Kabutops fixed his gaze even more closely on that very spot on the wall. It was a good thing his species had been predators back in the past, as Theo had told him once; apparently that made him good at judging exactly how far away things were. He was going to need to judge this as precisely as possible if his plan was going to work.

    It wasn’t much of a plan, really. Omanyte had asked at one point what they’d do when they discovered Theo’s location. This was just what he’d come up with on the spot to placate her. He’d told her that he could dig a tunnel into the building; digging was something Theo had taught him to do long ago to help excavate fossils. The idea was simple enough in principle to keep Omanyte happy, but Kabutops had always known it wouldn’t be so easy.

    He should have tried to think of something better. He hadn’t because he’d never truly believed he would need to.

    It was too late to think of anything new now, though. There were probably so many flaws in this tunnel plan, but Kabutops didn’t care anymore. He just wanted to see Theo again, as soon as possible. Aerodactyl was right to call Theo their leader; Kabutops had never truly been in control here.

    “Omanyte, you follow right behind me,” he told the others, “and Aerodactyl, you bring up the rear, and try to stop the tunnel from collapsing behind us. Okay?”

    Both of them nodded. Even Aerodactyl didn’t seem in the mood to dispute him right now – perhaps it didn’t matter to him now they were finally headed for Theo.

    There seemed no reason not to start the tunnel right by the bush they were hiding in; hopefully it would keep the entrance a little more concealed than otherwise. Kabutops took one last look at the building, fixing Theo’s position firmly in his mind, then began to dig.

    * * *

    Last edited by elyvorg; 24th September 2013 at 6:37 PM.
    .: Evolution is a battle .:. Something has to lose :.
    LOST EVOLUTION
    Chapter 33: Inside has been posted.


    Foregone Conclusion
    Spinoff/prequel/backstory/thingy to Lost Evolution, written for NaNoWriMo 2010

    Three Heads Are Better Than One

  18. #368
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    Default Chapter 33: Inside [part 2]

    [...continued]

    * * *

    “Sorry…” Milo mumbled as he bumped into another scientist heading the opposite way along the corridor. He’d been walking with his head down, not watching where he was going. Not that it mattered – the other person, whoever it was, had apparently just gone on their way without acknowledging him. Milo would have looked over his shoulder to see, except he hated looking over his shoulder these days.

    Rodrigo, the Bad Light guard assigned to him by the Director, was always there, barely two steps behind him.

    Milo suppressed a wince and kept walking, faster, his head at least vaguely up this time so he wouldn’t bump into anyone else. The corridor up ahead turned the corner – in fact, this particular corner of corridor was especially familiar to Milo, albeit for reasons he felt ashamed to think about. This was one of the few blind spots for cameras in the whole facility, so it was where he’d always used to phone Theo in order to give him information, back when he’d thought of himself as a whistleblower.

    Theo. Milo really didn’t want to think about him right now. If the rumours he’d heard going around the other scientists were true, Theo and the girl he’d been with had been captured and locked up in the test subjects’ cells, for reasons that got more wild and implausible every time he heard it talked about. It was at least true that there were two cells that were mysteriously locked, even though as far as anyone knew there were no test subjects in them – though that could easily have been because the Director was carrying out her own experiments and didn’t want anyone else interfering. It didn’t prove that Theo was here.

    But if he was, Milo couldn’t help feeling guilty about it. He knew that was stupid; he knew there was absolutely nothing he could have done to prevent it and it really had very little to do with him. He’d already let Theo down enough – he didn’t need to give himself a reason to feel like he’d done so yet again.

    Milo sighed quietly and tried to shake off those thoughts. He had to get back to the lab and resume his work, fiddly and tedious though it was. Stuffing his hands into his lab coat pockets in an attempt to feel businesslike, Milo found that there was something in one of the pockets that he hadn’t noticed before. He didn’t take it out in case it made Rodrigo suspicious, but it felt like… a feather? Quite a long and glossy one; he was sure he’d have remembered if this had been in his pocket earlier. As he was puzzling this over, Milo reached the corridor’s corner and turned, with Rodrigo following two steps behind him, as ever.

    In that moment, the world vanished.

    Milo yelped and stumbled out of sheer disorientation, landing flat on a floor that was grey with gridlines running across it. The same gridlines extended off into the distance for as far as he could see. This was definitely not the corridor. He didn’t move for a moment, not quite able to process what had just happened to him.

    “…an Armaldo whose memory feed they’ve been told to stop recording, for some reason.” This was a voice from somewhere behind Milo, though he could barely focus on what it was saying. “Recently one of the Cradily, too. Dunno if that might be connected to the glitches the memory network’s been having…”

    “Hey. Milo,” came a voice from closer by, a female one if Milo’s brain was working correctly. “Don’t freak out. You’re fine. You’re not hallucinating, you haven’t been kidnapped – well, actually, I guess we technically did just kidnap you, but it’s all for a good cause, honest.”

    Blearily, Milo looked up at the figure that had appeared in front of him. It was a red-haired woman in a lab coat; she seemed vaguely familiar. She was another of the geneticists from MemorCorp, if he remembered correctly. Her name was… Dr. Carter? That sounded right.

    It dimly registered that she was extending a hand to him, and he let her help him to his feet. “Hello, Milo,” she said in an encouraging voice. “It’s nice to meet you. I’m Valerie.” She was grinning.

    Milo stared. “What just happened?” he managed to ask.

    “You were Teleported. You’re in our… I suppose you could call it our hideout.”

    Hideout? That sounded like something from a TV show, not something that really –

    A jolt of panic suddenly made Milo tense and twist around. If Rodrigo saw him here, he’d…

    There was no sign of Rodrigo behind him, only the grey and the gridlines extending on forever. That and two more people, presumably the ones he’d heard talking earlier, one of them a lab-coated man Milo was fairly sure was also a geneticist, and the other a man in plain clothes whom Milo didn’t recognise. Then there was also a Xatu, staring at him intently with one of its great eyes.

    Milo frowned and turned back to Valerie, sensing that she’d be the one with the answers. “I was Teleported here? But won’t people have noticed me vanish?”

    Even though Rodrigo wasn’t here right now, if Milo ever went anywhere near him again… it didn’t bear thinking about.

    Valerie still hadn’t lost that encouraging grin of hers. “Nope! That’s the genius of this place,” she said. She gestured widely with her arms. “This is the Trick Room. Time runs differently in here; it’s like another dimension. And Eterna here –” Milo followed her as she moved around to the Xatu and patted it affectionately – “can see through time with her eyes – a little bit, anyway. She’ll Teleport you back to exactly the moment you left. No-one will notice a thing.”

    “Okay,” Milo said slowly. It made a certain amount of sense, he supposed. “Wait, are you sure? I’m not going to be standing in the exact same position as I was when I came here. Won’t there be a sort of… jump, if anyone’s looking at me?”

    It surprised Milo how quickly he’d accepted this and was noticing flaws in her explanation. Maybe it was just because he’d always been a fan of science fiction stories – he’d had plenty of practice reasoning through the logistics of these kinds of situations. It felt surreal to actually be in one, though.

    “Yeah, probably,” said one of the men, the one Milo vaguely recognised. “But Eterna should have taken you from a moment when you were briefly out of your guard’s sight. You did, didn’t you?” He addressed the last part to the Xatu.

    “Tuuu tuuu,” she trilled, an indignant tone to her voice.

    Milo remembered being Teleported at the exact moment he’d turned the corner – the corner that was a camera blind spot, no less. That made sense. Eterna was obviously good at this.

    “But I didn’t see her there in the corridor. How did she…?” He trailed off as he realised he already had the answer, or at least could make a good guess at it. “Oh. The feather.” Milo pulled it out of his pocket to take a proper look at it for the first time. Just as he expected, it was almost entirely white, but with red and black at the tip.

    Eterna looked at it pointedly and then preened one of her wings. “Zaa.”

    Valerie nodded. “You noticed. Sorry about bumping into you earlier.” There was a twinkle in her eye. “Turns out Eterna can Teleport anything that’s in contact with a part of her. Pretty useful, don’t you think?”

    Milo couldn’t do anything but nod appreciatively. “It really is.”

    Valerie smiled fondly down at her Xatu. “None of this would be possible without her. I’m lucky to have her.” Abruptly her gaze snapped back up to Milo. “Right,” she said. “To business. We’ve already used up a chunk of our time here – Eterna can’t keep using Trick Room indefinitely; she gets tired. And knowing how is all very well, but you probably also want to know why you’re here.”

    Milo nodded again; he’d been wondering that since he’d arrived but had assumed she’d explain eventually.

    “Well, let me introduce you,” Valerie said, gesturing to the two other men there. “That’s Simon –” the other geneticist gave Milo a little wave, even though he’d been standing there the whole time – “and that’s his brother Adam.” The man Milo didn’t recognise nodded in acknowledgement. Valerie grinned widely. “Together, we’re whistleblowers.”

    Milo was dumbfounded. This had to be a joke.

    “She does it this dramatically just to see the look on your face,” Simon told Milo, chuckling. “She’s been looking forward to your inauguration for a while now.”

    “Valerie, I’m still not quite sure how much use this guy is going to be,” said Adam, not seeming quite as amused. “I mean, look at him.”

    Amongst his confusion, some part of Milo’s brain latched onto what Adam had said and agreed wholeheartedly. He wasn’t any use, and certainly not as a whistleblower. Was that really why they’d brought him here?

    “Wait,” Milo said; something was beginning to click together in his head. He looked at Valerie and then Simon. “You two – you’re the other people who…”

    He couldn’t believe he hadn’t made the connection until now. He’d often noticed, fleetingly off on the other side of the lab or briefly in the corridors, a couple of other geneticists who also had guards hovering constantly over their shoulders. The Director had even mentioned it – there’d been other people who’d tried to blow the whistle, and she’d had them dealt with, the same as Milo.

    “Don’t forget Adam,” Simon piped up. “Just because he’s on ‘the other side’ doesn’t mean he isn’t also rebel enough to have got himself in trouble with the Director.”

    But despite that the Director thought she’d quashed these threats to her entirely, here they were, still doing their thing in the most perfect hiding place Milo could ever imagine.

    “Whoa.” Milo found himself taking a step backwards, shaking his head. “But… Adam’s right. You can’t possibly want me. I’m useless as a whistleblower.”

    Valerie stepped forward encouragingly. “Ah!” she said. “That may be true. But – aside from the fact that you have at least tried to be a whistleblower so we know you’re on our side – you also have something no-one else in MemorCorp has. You know those two intruders. You even talked to them, didn’t you?”

    Milo nodded slowly. “One of them’s my friend,” he said – although he didn’t really know why he was saying that, because it wasn’t as if he’d been much of a good friend to Theo recently. “The other one was just sort of with him when he came.”

    “And since those two are now locked up in the holding area, right under the Director’s nose, I have a feeling they might be useful assets to us somewhere along the line,” Valerie continued. “Since you know more about them than anyone else, that makes you an asset too, Milo.”

    So they were being held in MemorCorp. Milo tried not to let that confirmation make him feel any worse about things; he’d already suspected it, after all. “But… I don’t know that much about them,” he mumbled, almost as if he was making excuses.

    “If one of them’s your friend, you must know him pretty well, surely,” Adam pointed out. “And at least you spoke to the other one; that must have told you something about her.”

    “Well, I suppose,” Milo said. He could barely believe he was being accepted by these people. He was actually going to get to fight back, just like he’d foolishly thought he’d been doing before, but this time for real. “Do you want me to tell you what I can remember?”

    “At some point, yes,” Valerie said. She glanced briefly at Eterna. “But probably not right now. We brought you here to introduce you and everything, but the intruders aren’t a pressing issue at the moment. It can wait until later if need be. Adam,” she said, turning to him, her playful air replaced with urgency. “You said you’d found something important.”

    Adam nodded. Simon’s cheeriness also seemed to fade. “Oh, that,” he muttered.

    “Yes,” Adam said. “I finally got into the Director’s encrypted files on her server, and –” Milo must have been staring at Adam, as the other man broke off and glanced at him. “Don’t look so surprised,” he said evenly. “Not everyone in the memory department is an ecologist. Some of us have to have designed the memory network and check it’s running smoothly. Of course I’m good with computers.”

    Milo realised that this really should have occurred to him before. Maybe it was because both departments were kept so separate, but he’d always harboured a sort of resentment for the other side and their seemingly far easier jobs. On reflection, that had been a rather childish thing for him to think.

    “Anyway, so I’ve been trying to hack into the Director’s files without her noticing,” Adam continued, “and last night I found something. Some kind of plans.” He reached into his pocket for a piece of paper and unfolded it for Milo and Valerie to see. “Simon tells me that this is the genome of a virus.”

    “What?” Valerie said instantly, snatching the paper off him to get a closer look. “What kind of virus?”

    Milo peered over her shoulder at the printout of the genome sequence and all its annotated genes. It certainly looked viral: it was definitely too small to be the full genome of a cellular organism, and, judging by the genes he recognised, it seemed to have everything a virus needed.

    “That’s the thing,” said Simon. “I don’t think it’s any natural kind of virus. You see it too, right? It’s got a combination of different viral genes I’ve never seen together before.”

    “I think you’re right,” Valerie said. She took her eyes off the paper to look at Simon for a moment. “But what does that mean? She’s been designing her own virus? That doesn’t make any sense. I thought she wanted to bring more Pokémon into the world, not kill some.”

    Milo checked the diagram again to see if Valerie was right to assume it was a Pokémon virus. Of course she was; he could spot several genes he recognised as being specifically to overcome a Pokémon’s innate defences. He should have noticed that himself to begin with.

    “Wait,” he said, pointing at one particular gene, innocuous in its presence among a cluster of much bigger, more easily-recognisable genes. “Here.” Milo had seen that gene’s acronym before in a paper he’d read once, a while ago. “I think this is a… specificity factor?”

    Valerie glanced at and immediately nodded. “You’re right,” she said. “Good find.”

    Simon was also coming around to get a look at where Milo was pointing. “Huh,” he muttered. “Didn’t notice that.”

    Adam was the only one not bothering to see. “And what might a specificity factor be?”

    Simon grinned at his brother. “Can’t you guess from the name? It’s a protein that makes the virus’s infection specific to one evolution line of Pokémon.”

    “I’m not sure which one this is for, though,” Milo put in. After the acronym was a string of numbers, but there was no way for him to match them to the evolution line they might have referred to. “I’d have to look it up in the literature.”

    “Even that might not help,” Valerie said. “Think about it – if she’s designed this entire virus herself, she probably also engineered the specificity factor to get it specific to whichever evolution line she wanted, even one it doesn’t happen naturally for. Chances are those numbers are her own code, not a standard label.”

    “Right,” said Adam, “but even if you can’t work it out from the numbers, surely there’s other ways to figure out which species the Director might be going for here. It must have something to with her repopulation plan, mustn’t it?”

    “Yes, but like I said, she shouldn’t have to kill…” Valerie trailed off thoughtfully.

    Milo thought too – and then realised. It was obvious.

    “Treecko.” It came out as only a hoarse mumble; somehow, knowing the target of it made this whole virus thing far more worryingly real.

    Valerie turned to him in a flash. “Of course! Milo, that’s another reason why you’re here. Archopy. We all read your report on it, obviously –”

    “Well, Adam tried to, at least,” Simon put in.

    “– but you’re the one who actually did the analysis, so you know it best. That recessiveness that Archopy has – do you think it’s possible to counteract it?”

    Milo shrank as he realised everyone was suddenly depending on him for answers. “I don’t know!” he squeaked. “Everything you saw in the report is everything I understand about it – that is, not very much. All I can tell is that something in the Sceptile DNA silences the Archopy genes permanently at fertilisation. The mechanism it uses is completely unknown right now. There’d have to be way more experiments to work out how it’s done before we know if it can even be avoided at all.”

    Valerie nodded. “Exactly. So, given that it would take years of study to only potentially figure out how to prevent Sceptile and Archopy interbreeding from invariably producing a Sceptile…” She paused grimly. “Well, it looks like the Director can’t be bothered to wait that long. She’s dealing with the problem the easy way, by killing all the Sceptile instead.”

    A cold silence descended over the Trick Room.

    “That’s kind of insane,” Adam said after a moment. “No, literally; that’s messed-up.”

    “As if we didn’t already know the Director was messed-up,” Simon put in, his voice subdued. “I mean, who the hell hires professional thugs to keep secrets from leaking out of their research laboratory, crazy project to repopulate the world with fossil Pokémon or not?”

    Milo had never thought about it like that before. To him, the Director had always been this huge figure of authority, to be respected and feared. It had never occurred to him to think that there might be something wrong with her.

    “All right,” Valerie said in a carefully levelled tone. “We should keep in mind that we don’t know for sure if this is what she’s doing. All we have so far is conjecture, based on this.” She tapped the sheet with the viral genome that she was still holding, before passing it back to Adam.

    He folded it and slipped it back in his pocket. “One thing,” he said. “Let’s assume we are right about the virus’s purpose. This specificity thing – will it work to keep it specific to Sceptile but not Archopy? What about Treecko and Grovyle?”

    “Hm,” said Valerie. “Good question, actually. Specificity factors always apply to entire evolution lines, which as far as I know includes branched ones. But then, Grovyle’s branched evolution is different from most, because there’s no choice involved – it’s set genetically from birth. The only previously known Pokémon that works like that is Wurmple, and I don’t think anyone’s investigated how specificity factors act on it. So… I don’t know.” She looked between the other two geneticists present. Simon shook his head; Milo shrugged. “What is she going to do if she can’t get it specific to just Sceptile?” Valerie murmured, almost to herself, before brightening. “Well, anyway, we’d need to know more about this specificity factor to know for sure. Adam, keep digging; see if you can find anything more about it – protein structure, experimental data, that kind of thing.”

    Adam nodded somewhat hesitantly. Milo supposed the man wasn’t sure how to find anything like that if he didn’t properly understand what he was looking for.

    Simon smirked and nudged him with his elbow. “Don’t worry, big brother. I can help you look.”

    Adam rolled his eyes and kept his mouth shut.

    “Okay,” Valerie said, “I guess that’s about all we’ve got time for today. Eterna?” She turned to her Xatu, who had been watching silently this whole time and was beginning to look fatigued. Eterna let out a soft trill of agreement. “We’ll have another meeting… probably quite soon, actually, seeing as there might be more updates on the virus,” Valerie went on. “And you can tell us about those intruders, Milo. Try and remember as much as you can in the meantime.” Milo nodded.

    “All right. See you soon, then,” said Adam, and he and Simon turned and began walking away. Milo was puzzled for a moment – there was nowhere to go in the endless gridlines – until he remembered that everyone had probably been Teleported here while in mid-step, so it must have helped to be in motion when they were sent back.

    Eterna’s eyes glowed blue, and Simon vanished into nothing. Adam followed suit soon after.

    “Um,” Milo muttered. “I was turning the corner when I came here – should I… walk in a circle, to make it fit better?”

    Valerie shrugged. “It might help, for your first time. You get used to the transition pretty quickly, though.”

    Milo nodded and began to do so.

    “Valerie?” he found himself saying as soon as he’d started, before Eterna had a chance to Teleport him. Something about the other two not being here made him find it easier to talk to her. “Are you… are you really sure you want me? You know, joining you?”

    He caught what might have been a small smile from her before he turned around and she left his field of vision. “Why wouldn’t I?”

    “You know why,” Milo said, not stopping his circling. “You even said it yourself. I’m useless as a whistleblower.”

    “You can’t have been that bad,” Valerie said evenly. “You were the last of us to get caught for it.”

    Milo hung his head. “That was only because I never did anything, so they didn’t even bother to stop me.”

    “Then why did they stop you in the end?”

    If Milo could have hung his head even further, he would have done. “I… I tried to tell the Director that I’d reveal everything. She just laughed at me, more or less. As if I could’ve –”

    He broke off as he came around for another circle and saw that Valerie was grinning widely. “You told her you were a whistleblower to her face?” She laughed, too, but without a trace of derision. “Oh, I wish I could have been there. Milo, that takes guts.”

    Really? Milo tried to make himself small as he resumed his circling. It hadn’t felt like guts.

    “There’s no reason you shouldn’t be here,” Valerie continued. “I didn’t just do this for our sake – I did it for yours, too. Why wouldn’t I want to let a fellow whistleblower have another chance at fighting back?” She clapped him on the shoulder as he came around again. “We’re all in this together. Don’t ever go thinking you’re not really a part of us.”

    At those words, something inside Milo lifted. Valerie really sounded like she meant it. Opposing the Director – especially now he knew the true extent of her plans – didn’t feel quite so daunting if he wasn’t in it alone.

    “See you soon, Milo,” was the last thing he heard before Valerie, Eterna and the whole Trick Room around him vanished.

    * * *

    Grace White ran her eyes over the virus’s genome yet again and smiled to herself. She’d made this. She’d put it together, piece by piece, gene by gene, all on her own. No-one else she knew of had ever done something like this.

    And it worked. She’d tested that plenty of times now. Her virus did exactly what it was supposed to do. The thought that she’d figured this out, succeeded in this, always filled her with pride, even if it was only a means to a greater end. It had taken her years; she’d begun preparing it soon after she’d decided how she was going to change the world, just in case she’d ever needed to make more drastic alterations to an existing habitat in order for a species to be reintroduced smoothly.

    Grace was almost glad that Archopy’s recessive nature had given her a reason to use the virus. It would have been a shame to waste all of her hard work otherwise.

    Of course, there could always have been a way to modify Archopy’s genes so that they were not recessive, and then there would have been no need for the virus. But that really wasn’t an option for Grace. Walsh’s report had made it clear that the mechanisms underlying it were wholly unknown as of now. Perhaps someone would have been able to elucidate what was going on and figure out a way to fix it in barely any time at all. Grace herself, however, had no idea where to start. It would have taken a genius.

    Grace White was not a genius; she’d always known that. But she didn’t need to be. She would still change the world, her own way.

    There wasn’t even anything that wrong with the fact that she was planning to wipe out the modern Sceptile version of the Treecko line, not if she thought about it a certain way. Species went extinct all the time; anyone who studied prehistoric Pokémon was more than aware of that. It was a natural part of competition – the losers died out while the winners evolved and survived. All Grace was going to do was give evolution a little push to allow Archopy to win this time.

    There was still a problem, though. There was always something getting in her way. The specificity factor: she’d been able to engineer it to become specific to the Treecko line – but no further. As it stood, her virus would kill an Archopy, too.

    That obviously had to be rectified, but no matter how hard she tried, Grace could not get the specificity factor to become any more specific. The modern and ancient versions of the Treecko genome were just too similar. She was sure there had to be some kind of neat, ingenious way of utilising the difference between Archopy and Sceptile so that the virus could distinguish even the two different varieties of unevolved Treecko. But she was almost equally sure that she herself would never be able to figure that out.

    That didn’t matter. She’d find another way around this, like she’d done before. She had to. This was her only chance to make an impact. Her project was too far in for her to back out now – if she did, by the time she’d started a new project, information would have got out about all the things she’d been doing here, and she’d never be allowed control of her own lab again. She couldn’t lose this chance – she couldn’t let herself fade into obscurity, just another mediocre academic whom no-one had ever heard of.

    Grace White had to change the world.

    << Previous chapter
    .: Evolution is a battle .:. Something has to lose :.
    LOST EVOLUTION
    Chapter 33: Inside has been posted.


    Foregone Conclusion
    Spinoff/prequel/backstory/thingy to Lost Evolution, written for NaNoWriMo 2010

    Three Heads Are Better Than One

  19. #369
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Amano-Iwato.
    Posts
    1,149

    Default

    Intrepid, there's a new chapter! A typo right off the bat:

    Clearer and crisper than any of the one from from the past's life, she remembered the plain box, closing her in, the thorn in her arm, the discs attached to her head.
    If 'one' refers to 'places', it should be plural, right?

    As she only just caught herself before she started thinking about her childhood friend instead, Archopy realized that something wasn't right here.
    This sentence is really... nonstandard. It feels quite off, though I don't know what to think about it. It's probably the format of that sentence you're using; the clause attached to "As she... " is more long and convoluted than you expect in this kind of situation. Maybe if you just rephrase it to, "As she pulled herself back from..." "As she reined in..." you know, put a verb right at the start, and probably make the rest of that part a lot shorter, which certainly seems possible. The full details of the meaning you're trying to convey can be preserved, though it'll take some tweaking.

    It's kind of grimly awesome that Archopy's fugitive life as a clone is giving her all the self-definition she can get -- all these troubles that the company thrust on her, she's taking for her own.

    Did I ever say I admire the moral situation esp. Carrie is in now, how much it refuses to give obvious answers about good and evil, make half the characters completely savvy to the answers and the other half also savvy, but diametrically opposed for no reason? Your hero is in a genuine moral quagmire. That's considered one of the most heroic narratives out there. I'm gonna watch how it develops and turns out.

    Your narration style is a very unusual hybrid between first person and third limited. It rejects a certain objectivity that third person has, because it sometimes goes directly (verbatim) into the thought processes of the characters and behaves exactly like their thoughts would. That's common enough, but the unusual thing is that it seems to go the other way, too. I mean it's still kind of third person because it feels like it's from the perspective of a narrator who's working out all the characters in a narrative way, and because of this, the narration itself somewhat goes down and affects the characters' thoughts:

    Or perhaps Carrie had slowly begun to realize that herself, what with everything that had happened lately. The conversation she'd had with Velotus just before they met Archopy had definitely helped her realize a few things and put into perspective that little accident eight years ago. Not only that, but there were the times her Grovyle had been threatened with forced evolution during their search for Archopy. She'd tried desperately not to think about it at the time, but the question had always been there: what would she have done if one of her Grovyle had become a Sceptile? She couldn't have just given up on them. They'd still have been the same person inside, Sceptile or not. Perhaps that had gone some way towards having her realize that, hey, Sceptile are people too.
    I realize that in all these scenes you do make it clear that the characters are introspecting, during these moments, trying to figure themselves out as characters, which is nice. But the shape of the sentences, at the very least, is so suggestive -- of somebody outside the story thinking about the characters, some external narrator kind of person, maybe even like you writing an author's note or trying to sketch out your character in a character sheet. What you did in the previous scene, with Archopy straight-out reminiscing in the most natural manner for a few paragraphs before anyone realizes that it's being coaxed by the scientists, is a movement closer to the character's own frame of mind. But I think you could make a lot more intensive effort to get down there and stay there, try to imagine, completely separate from your intentions or the story's intentions, how a character would spontaneously feel if these experiences were attacking them. Especially if you are describing, nonstandard, science-fiction experiences like the life of a prehistoric animal or a clone or both.

    Like a paragraph like this:

    It wasn't as if she even usually minded just sitting and thinking. She'd done a lot of it in her carefree life in the forests with her pokemon, after all. The reason it bothered her so much this time, she knew, was that so many things had happened recently that she would really rather not think about at all.
    I don't know that it would ever occur to an imprisoned character to view her situation in this way (of course, that it does is a very interesting statement about Carrie). That is, to take aside one thing about her situation -- that she's sitting around with nothing to do -- and view it in isolation, wonder why it's so bad, justify it with an abstract modifier. Personally the last time I was in a berth of about that size (not imprisoned, of course) my thoughts were pretty badly blackened by the basic situation of it, that I'm in a tiny box and the ****ing lights won't go out. Not that Carrie's state of mind would be anything like Archopy's, but do you see what I mean, the cell would still strike her as something she's physically locked inside, and not as an abstract life situation.

    Though when I read all these scenes again, what you do does seem to make sense, a middle line between narrator and character, your own personal writing voice. (Horror -- what if this is a well-established way to do third person limited, and I'm so used to first person that I literally don't see it? That woud make all these huge paragraphs I've written just awful. Should I delete them?)

    I like that Kabutops just doesn't have the will anymore to bide his time and think of another plan.The Kabutops bit is pretty tragic, especially when you think of the other side, the trainer who believes he's failed his pokemon. I wonder if Carrie's team is even as completely dependent on their trainer as Theo's is; it's these pokemon that view him as their father, that would feel this lost without him to tell them what to do. There are different pokemon/trainer relationships. (I'm also interested in Joy/Vanessa, particularly. What history they'd have. Wouldn't every human-pokemon friendship have to have a reason (even if it's just years of companionship, perhaps)?)

    The whistleblower development was cool! I definitely didn't see it coming. I approve of the genetics in this chapter, you must have been reading up a lot. The specificity factor gene reminds me of the receptors of antibodies, particularly, that match to a specific antigen protein situation. I do wonder if you mean by acronym what I think you mean -- the actual base pair sequence of the gene -- which might be hard even for a grizzled scientist to identify at a glance, just because it's so long and compounded only of four letters. Hmm, though you follow the acronym with a string of digits, and the base-pair alphabet definitely doesn't go into the ordinal numbers... Maybe acronym refers to something I don't know about. Anyway I also like the consideration that Grace would have her own code system. In these conditions there are circles within circles of languages and ideas. I'm being pretty anal about the science, I guess this fic is going intensively enough into the biotechnology involved. And --

    Cool! My paragraph about Grace White being genocidal was right?

    I also appreciate all the whistleblowers getting together and comparing notes about life. Your fic has a lot of situations where people are too alone to know what's good for them -- Theo thinking he doesn't deserve to be a dad, Carrie agonizing over what to think about Sceptile, Archopy... literally, completely alone. It's nice when you cut them a break, sometimes.

    Eterna looked at it pointedly and then preened one of her wings. "Zaa."
    Cute! This is one of those things I never seem to learn from you (or anyone else). Eterna is the non-English-speaking pokemon of the one explaining and she's already more than one-third the conversation, which of course is right, because she was the one who did everything. How do you do it so naturally? Is it you genuinely love pokemon where I only love the idea of loving pokemon? Probably.

    How nice it is, when these updates come around. They're slow, but you always seem to make sure they come.

  20. #370
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    Hmmm. I feel like I really ought to like this chapter more than I do. I mean, it's an EVERYONE FEELS BAD chapter, which is usually a winner with me. But... there's a lot of stuff that seems weird or off to me, and it doesn't seem like very much actually happens - it's mostly the characters sitting around calmly thinking about stuff, and not really coming to any major realizations either. Where the last chapter had really delightful interactions between all the characters, they're much more each doing their own thing here, and it's less interesting, especially because emotions aren't running very high for the most part. We do have some interesting revelations at the end, but overall I'm sad to say I wasn't terribly enamoured with this chapter. (Which is why it's been taking so long to review, because instead of just fangirling in delight at everything I ended up picking on everything and having to try to explain why it bugs me and ugh this is probably not the best review to get for the purposes of encouraging you to write the next chapter, is it? D: Sorryyyy.)

    Clearer and crisper than any of the one from the past’s life
    ones, presumably.

    But Archopy dragged herself out of that memory, too, despite the joy it brought – it only served to highlight how terrible it was for him to have been murdered in the end.
    The how terrible it was for him to have been murdered in the end bit seems a bit overly wordy to me, and just literally calling it terrible kind of reduces the emotional impact. I'd word this differently if I were you.

    As she only just caught herself before she started thinking about her childhood friend instead
    This similarly feels awkward and wordy, trying to stuff information that you couldn't fit into the above paragraph into an "as ..." clause in a sentence where it's not really relevant.

    I enjoy her attempt to fight back, but it was a bit disappointing to me how, after dramatically posing the question of what the humans would do if she refused to remember Forsira's memories, there is no real followup on that - there's vague talk of glitches in the memory network but nobody talking about what that means or how much that's affecting the research or otherwise giving an idea of just what her resistance actually means for the plot. I presume you're going to follow up on it in the next chapter (or some later chapter, at any rate), and being that this scene is otherwise basically unconnected to the rest of the chapter, I can't help but think it would work better as the introduction to that chapter rather than this one. (Or at least the latter half of it - Forsira thinking about why Carrie and Theo captured her despite their words connects to their bits, and the transition from her thoughts on that to the memories seems rather abrupt anyway, so perhaps the first part would work in this chapter, maybe expanded upon slightly.)

    It feels a bit needlessly recap-ish, too, when you describe all the memories she's recalling from her own life - sometimes you add something new with her perception of the memory, but other times you're just describing again something we've already read about, to the point where it feels amusingly like some kind of a "Previously on Lost Evolution" thing. (Actually, this chapter has a noticeable lot of characters reminding themselves of events that happened earlier in the fic - I can't help wondering if it's you subconsciously or deliberately making the characters recap stuff because by the point you wrote this chapter it had been so long since you'd written LE.)

    It doesn't feel much like Carrie doesn't want to think about the Sceptile issue, because she goes on to dwell on it for a while and think explicitly about how she has now realized she was an idiot about it in the past. The way the narration talks about it seems quite self-aware, with basically no attempt to justify her previous behaviour, make excuses for it, insist something else makes up for it, or any other pattern of trying to avoid the conclusion. It sounds like she's completely accepted she was wrong and narrow-minded, which doesn't seem to quite match up with the insistence that she's still trying not to think about it. If it felt like she was coming properly to the realization now, as opposed to explaining that she came to it at some point in the past, it might work better.

    The bit where she thinks about Archopy is a lot better, I feel - she's struggling with her thoughts in "real-time" and hasn't concluded anything yet, which causes it to make a lot more sense to say that she hates thinking about it.

    It mean that she was okay with Archopy
    meant, I assume.

    In other news, Theo is adorable. Theo's scene is probably my favorite in this chapter - not much may be happening, but he's just so broken and defeated and self-deprecating. ;_;

    He didn’t know why he kept feeling the need to get back to them, though. They were probably better off without him.
    He did promise, though. The thought they'd probably be better off without him definitely works, but acting like there's not actually any reason why he'd need to go back to them doesn't seem to fit.

    “Of course we’re not going to let her go,” Zack said. “She’s too useful as leverage against you. Ever since Andrew told me about your Armaldo, I’d always been worried that threatening him wouldn’t be enough to make you behave. But your Cradily seemed perfectly lively when they brought her in, so I’m sure she’ll work.”
    Seems a bit overly explainy - there doesn't seem to be any reason for him to mention half of this, just "Well, if Cradily is more important to you than Armaldo, all the more reason for you to behave now that we have her too."

    It wasn’t fair that Cradily had no choice but to depend on him.
    D: Theo!

    And it's not just Cradily, either. They all depend on him and have no idea what to do without him and he thinks they'll be better off without him eagh. D:

    “That was all I came here to tell you,” Zack said.
    This seems pretty weird and unnecessary to me - why didn't he just turn to leave when he'd made it clear they were not letting Cradily go? Explaining first that he was not going to say anything else comes off like some kind of a random display of politeness that I don't really get. It sounds almost as if he wanted Theo to say something more, which doesn't match up with how he then walks away even as Theo is asking him to wait.

    Kabutops's disbelief at finding out Theo really is there seems a little excessive - it was definitely a depressing possibility that he wasn't, and it makes sense for him, insecure as he is in his leadership skills, to be fixated on that possibility beforehand, but this is the place where it made the most sense for him to be, so it's a little odd that he's quite this surprised it turns out to be the case.

    Some lines of Milo internally reacting to things in the Milo scene seem kind of unnecessary and don't really add anything, like the second line here:

    Milo frowned and turned back to Valerie, sensing that she’d be the one with the answers. “I was Teleported here? But won’t people have noticed me vanish?”

    Even though Rodrigo wasn’t here right now, if Milo ever went anywhere near him again… it didn’t bear thinking about.
    I think it would keep the pace of the conversation better if you left that out, and all it really conveys is that Milo is afraid of Rodrigo who is supposed to be guarding him, something we already know.

    It seems a bit unnatural that Milo is worrying about the logistics of how he got there before worrying about why these people have elaborately 'kidnapped' him - he talks about liking science fiction, but on the other hand he has also been established to be quite paranoid what with Rodrigo and all. For all he knows Valerie and company teleported him there so they could discreetly murder him on the Director's orders. That seems like a considerably more pressing issue than "Ooh, science fiction-y stuff."

    Valerie smiled fondly down at her Xatu. “None of this would be possible without her. I’m lucky to have her.” Abruptly her gaze snapped back up to Milo. “Right,” she said.
    This transition just seems weird - why would someone get distracted saying two sentences complimenting their Pokémon, then abruptly snap out of it and continue with what they were saying? Rambling lengthily about her, then realizing she's gone way off topic and has to get to the point, sure (if it's a very absent-minded person); saying a couple of sentences of appreciation and then continuing naturally, fine; but with this you're making it sound almost as if Eterna was hypnotizing her somehow for a few seconds, and I highly doubt that's what you were going for.

    (Seriously, the fact Milo is even casually participating in complimenting the Xatu that brought him here before thinking to ask what the hell is going on or feeling any fear or apprehension about being whisked away into a freaky subspace with people working for his scary boss who has a thug bodyguard after him is really conspicuously odd. The way he's just accepting everything that's going on in perfect calmness is not just weird but disappointing - of all golden opportunities to write about a character being terrified, why would you let this one slip by?)

    “That’s Simon –” the other geneticist gave Milo a little wave, even though he’d been standing there the whole time – “and that’s his brother Adam.”
    There's that incorrect punctuation with the dash dialogue tags again. I know this is how all other punctuation works with dialogue, but it's not how it's ever done with dashes.

    It seems pretty flimsy to me that Valerie thinks Milo will be useful to them simply because he knows Theo and Carrie, while seemingly agreeing that he's otherwise no use - she "has a feeling" they'll be assets somehow? I can't really see how, except maybe as witnesses to the fact MemorCorp has been illegally detaining people or something, and any way I can see them being assets I can't possibly see it being important for the whistleblowers to know anything about them beforehand. Maybe you have something planned where that does become important, but in that case the characters are being weirdly omniscient by foreseeing it. Why not just have Valerie want to recruit Milo to show solidarity because they know he defied the Director, and because more people who can be trusted to be on board with the cause is always nice without there having to be some special justification for each one being particularly useful?

    “What is she going to do if she can’t get it specific to just Sceptile?” Valerie murmured, almost to herself, before brightening. “Well, anyway, we’d need to know more about this specificity factor to know for sure. Adam, keep digging; see if you can find anything more about it – protein structure, experimental data, that kind of thing.”
    Weird transition again - after ominously raising the question of genocide against a species of Pokémon, Valerie just "brightens" and shrugs it off to give further instructions, no added urgency or anything.

    I'm thinking Grace White's entire longing to reintroduce ancient extinct species is largely a rationalization - her real obsession seems to just be with making an impact and changing the world in some permanent, irrevocable way, what with how she's "almost glad" she's found a kind-of-legitimate reason to use the genocidal virus that she'd started to develop long before she knew there was such a reason. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

    Gah, I feel so horrendously nitpicky. :< Hope this was in some way helpful.

    Chapter 64: Hide and Seek
    The story of an ordinary boy on an impossible quest in a world that isn't as black and white as he always thought it was.
    (rough draft of the remaining chapters finished for NaNoWriMo; to be edited and posted)

    Morphic
    (completed, plus silly extras)
    A few scientists get drunk and start fiddling with gene splicing. Ten years later, they're taking care of eight half-Pokémon kids, each freakier than the next, while a religious fanatic plots to murder them all.

    Lengthy fanfiction reviewing guide / A more condensed version
    Read and I will be very happy for a large number of reasons.

  21. #371
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    I haven't checked the forums in weeks so I'm a bit late to review! I like all that went on in this chapter. You're doing a good job with juggling all these different perspectives and characters. Especially with Carrie and Theo locked away, it's nice to see what's going on with the other characters. But I am hoping that Carrie and Theo will escape soon...

    I'm loving these references to Forgone Conclusion. And by that I mean they hurt a lot more knowing the story behind them. *cries* But truly, I like the idea that Archopy wants to be her own person (or Pokemon?). Especially liked this line: "She shouldn’t be defined by the fact that she shared someone else’s memories. Her life was her own, and it would be defined by what she chose to do with the knowledge those memories had given her." I'm curious as to what Archopy will ultimately choose to do...

    I like your interpretation of Trick Room, and also the idea of Xatu being able to teleport people that touch its feathers. And finally something good happens for the good guys! Hopefully the whistleblowers will be able to turn things around for Theo and Carrie.

    I find Grace's motive quite interesting. Seems she cares more about changing the world than how she changes the world. She wants the fame and attention even if she has to use, let's be real, evil means to achieve it. She makes an interesting villain!

    I'm also loving what the stakes are. For Theo it's killing his Pokemon but for Carrie it's simply evolving them. Although now there's a Sceptile genocide. Unless Carrie's Grovyle somehow have the Archopy gene - or if the virus gets released as it is - then the stakes really have been raised for Carrie.

    All in all this was an awesome chapter. Also 10,000 words...not that I'm complaining! I'm turning on PM notifications so I'll know as soon as the next chapter's up!
    ┓┏ 凵 =╱⊿┌┬┐

  22. #372
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    I just found this after years of Dragonfree mentioning it and help I'm really angry it's not finished yet

    I would offer something more constructive except I just pulled an all-nighter reading it and have got to sleep now ok

    (also is this bumping??? i don't Serebii customs)

    ok now that i've gotten some sleep and am unlikely to get any more with a cat splayed across my chest, let's get into this.

    I started with Foregone Conclusion, so having finished that and having seen from the introduction that this was a prequel fic whose ending was supposed to signal something about the introduction to Lost Evolution, and from Dragonfree's post on tumblr describing Foregone Conclusion as a prehistoric setting and Lost Evolution as a modern one, I was naturally interested in seeing just how the hell the two things related, so it was kind of a foregone conclusion, if you will, that Lost Evolution was going to immediately follow.

    Maybe it's just that I prefer Pokémon based fanfics, or worldbuilding, or the Archopy species, but I preferred Foregone Conclusion - that's not saying anything about the relative quality of the fanfics, since they're both amazing, but more about my individual tastes. But, nonetheless, this is not the place to be discussing Foregone Conclusion in any greater detail.

    So. Lost Evolution. First off I want to say that the premise is absolutely fabulous. I don't read Pokémon fanfics a whole lot but nonetheless this is the first one I've come across exploring Fossil Pokémon. It's more than that, even - the plot of the fanfic is centered around Carrie and Theo's chase of Archopy but despite that the fanfic still manages to be about fossil Pokémon as a whole and the ethics involved with that whole venture by way of Theo, as well as his Pokémon, Milo, and MemorCorp's plans for Archopy. Can you really justify bringing back a Pokémon into a world where it simply no longer has an evolutionary niche? The whole fuss with Cradily after Carrie and Theo are captured later on does an excellent job of expressing to the viewer that fossil Pokémon really aren't as easy to integrate as it would seem, without ever once stating that fact during the time Theo's four Pokémon are struggling to get out of the Secret Base. I find that to be some impressive writing. And then there's Armaldo! Is it ethically right to revive Fossils when a single screw-up can rob a Pokémon - what once was a Pokémon, rather - of its personality and anything except its immediate drive to follow its trainer's orders? Is it ethically right to keep such a Pokémon on the team when it can't tell you for itself if it wants to be there - but does it even want anything at all? I find it fascinating how these issues are not covered by the fanfic expressly - not the ethical questions, at least - and yet the viewer is left wondering them after so much else goes wrong.

    Carrie's very interesting in that her love for her Grovyle friends and her hatred of Sceptile gets her in trouble numerous times throughout the fanfic, and near the end of what's posted it's interesting that she really starts to question why. After all she's been through, her pursuit of Archopy is stopped in its tracks by the threat of evolution on one of her Grovyle. It just goes to go show the incredibly deep love Carrie has for her Grovyle and the fact that they want to remain Grovyle that she's willing to just drop everything to ensure they're not harmed - harmed here meaning evolved. It's also interesting that none of her Grovyle want to use these situations and give Carrie the upper hand by taking one of the team - the thought doesn't even occur to any of them, because first off they don't want it in the slightest and second Carrie doesn't want it and third Carrie wouldn't make them do that anyway. I think it speaks leagues about their relationships and their shared hatred of Sceptile that they don't take this action. I mean, I know that you as the author would never make that happen regardless, but... I dunno. It's just something that at least occurred to me but it's never even mentioned in the story, not by one of the Grovyle and not by Carrie. But at the end she still finds herself kind of questioning her logic - and so, too, does Velotus - which makes me interested to see how their Sceptile issues are going to resolve by the time all is said and done.

    Grace White's motivation... I was so not expecting "repopulating Hoenn with Fossil Pokémon". I mean, it just seems like something that nobody would really do, and given the fact that she lacks attachment to a single living specimen like Theo does you're left to wonder why. The virus thing - that had to predate Archopy, didn't it, because if Theo had never excavated Archopy's fossil then where would they be? But as far as I can tell, MemorCorp was still doing their weird **** even before Theo turned in the new fossil. So I'm intrigued as to how this all ties together and very interested to see how it ties out.

    Unfortunately, I don't really have any outright criticism to give. I mean, I read this all in one go, and I wasn't stopping to think about things that sucked anywhere down the line, haha. So you'll have to settle with my meager discussion of the good aspects, I suppose. I haven't really responded to fanfiction like this in a long time.

    And, uh, put me on the PM list.
    Last edited by Altissimo; 17th June 2014 at 7:57 PM.

  23. #373
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    I'm not the best at reviewing things, but I just want to say how amazing this fic is. I have enjoyed it so much. Put me on the PM list please .

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