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Thread: Anima Ex Machina (PG-15)

  1. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmoyes View Post
    But who would arrest her? she's the only cop in town.
    Admittedly, there's a lot wrong with that line, but my excuse is that Veronica's overly stressed. XD

    Thanks for the review!

    Quote Originally Posted by Diddy View Post
    Anyway, I don't pretend to be knowledgeable about American Law but I do know a fair bit about British Law and I do know that Assault is described as putting someone in fear of being attacked. So technically she's committing an assault as she says that. Punching somebody would be a battery, or if it was a little worse, Actual Bodily Harm or Section 20 or 18 Grievous Bodily Harm.
    I have to admit I looked this up, and it's the same in American law. XD; Moreover, assault is still a crime, which means way to go at following the law, Veronica.

    I think I'll switch out "assault" with "battery" but keep the line, though, because I have to say I really enjoyed writing that part of the scene. /terrible excuse

    Aaaaanyway, good job.
    Thank you!

    It seems you and I have almost identical views on how pokémon (or space parasites) see clothing and it's necessity, I've made similar points in a fic I'm writing and in a mad crossover project I even had my murderous Gallade wonder how humans got to be so dominant when they are merely useless fleshbags with no visible defences.
    Okay, seriously, I think I need to sit down and read your work. Everything is better with the word "fleshbag"!

    Lanette was pretty good for what little she did in this chapter, I liked the coldness she showed then, right at the end, she warmed up a little. It was almost heartbreaking to see Bill's confusion, at least, it elicited a pitying aww from me.
    Thanks for this and the rest of the review.

    And yeah. *pats Bill* He'll get a break soon, I assure you. ;D

    Certainly not because Bill x Lanette is my OTP or anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phantom Kat View Post
    Haha, an ixodia in human clothing. The whole mental image was just hilarious despite the fact that the situation was anything but. xD
    Thank you! And yes. Just try to imagine Bill walking around in those boots. XD

    I was agreeing with Adam with the Lanette thing. She all but told Bill she was going to handcuff him in Mauville Gym, but he still assured himself she was the same best friend as before the invasion. Bill is just too trusting for his own good, sometimes, and if it wasn't for Adam he would have been dead long before. At least we know Lanette isn't completely heartless.
    Pretty much. She totally has reasons for being somewhat of a racist, and hopefully, those'll be revealed in a couple of chapters.

    lol at the Veronica quote. xD
    *le bow* XD Thom is extremely fun to write, just because he's such an idiot when it comes to character interactions.

    Fun chapter (fun for us, not Bill, of course). Can't wait for the next.
    Thank you! Hopefully, it won't take another month to write. XD;

    REBOOT: Chapter fifteen now available. | Original: Chapter thirty-one now available.

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  2. #127
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    Great chapter! Unfortunately, I agreed with Adam - that Lanette should not be trusted. Poor Bill! D:
        Spoiler:- boring useless corrections:

    All in all, excellent job. I especially liked the chapter title! We get further insight into the conflict between Adam and Bill, which I really liked. Especially the closing line:
    What did I tell you, Bill?
    Definitely a facepalm sort of situation.
    Excited for the next chapter. Keep up the awesome writing!
    I'll be online on weekends, mostly, and as often as I can.

    Greetings from the asylum of my insanity.
    Chapter 3: Should be up by December 31st.

    Dex: 128 created! ~ My DeviantART link to be posted here...once I actually post something on my DeviantART. =P

  3. #128
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    Poor, poor Bill...Even though he is an awesome character, he really needs to listen to some of Adam's advice. If the world as you know it has changed completely, you have to adapt or you will fall right on your face...or get chained up by your former best friend, whichever comes first.

    I firmly believe, though, that if Bill decided to wear a t-shirt that said "I am a normal human, ignore me!" he would have avoided detection. It is a perfect disguise. XD

    I also get the feeling that Thom will eventually get a (insert beating involving fists, flamethrowers and/or various steel objects) from Veronica. You don't have two characters like Thom and Veronica within a 500 kilometer radius of each other without a fight of some sort.

    Anyway, another great chapter in the story. Keep up the awesome!

    Thanks to Gladeshadow for the trainer card and Felly for the Banner


    'We're casual, why should we put more EFFORT into our games and sacrifice our VALUES?' Come to the Non-Competitive Trainer's Hangout if you agree with this statement.

  4. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by GastlyMan View Post
    Great chapter! Unfortunately, I agreed with Adam - that Lanette should not be trusted. Poor Bill! D:
    I know, right? Poor guy needs to learn how to take some advice.

    I'll admit I found this passage to be just a little bit confusing. If Adam is controlling the left arm, is Bill trying to reach for the scarf to try and stop Adam from reaching towards it to subsuqently remove it? Or does it represent Bill gagging while simultaneously Adam is the one reaching for the scarf while Bill struggles helplessly? (Did my question make any sense at all? :D ) I guess the real issue is: is it the parasite, the host, or both that are reaching for the scarf?
    Sorry about that. It was meant to say that the parasite is reaching for the scarf, hence why Bill ended up choking -- because Adam didn't quite get that pulling on something wrapped around their neck = makeshift noose, yay!

    Totally going to see if I can reword that.

    I may be entirely wrong, but aren't "a" and "while" two separate words? I think "awhile" is similar in a way to "alright" - an informal combination of words that is not grammatically correct. Or I'm just crazy, which may truly be the case...xD
    They're actually homophones. "Awhile" is an adverb meaning "for a time," and "a while" is an article-noun combination meaning "a certain time frame." In light of that, it's still a typo that I somehow managed not to catch, but it's totally okay to use "awhile" in certain situations that aren't this sentence.

    (The more you know!)

    This passage would be fine if Bill was speaking. But since you're voicing his thoughts as the anonymous third-person narrator, "It's" needs to be changed to "It was." Otherwise, you have a tense inconsistency.
    Not sure how I managed to miss this either. Thanks!

    This sentence was good! However, it may have been more emotionally effective if you didn't use "tonelessly" to describe her manner of speaking. Since Bill did say Lanette hadn't seemed like herself, I can see how you'd want to be consistent with that. It's just harder to feel sympathetic towards her because even though her words seem compassionate, her tone (or lack thereof) conveys otherwise.
    I definitely know what you mean here, and I'll check it out. It should be a pretty easy fix, so I'll hopefully get to that as soon as I can.

    All in all, excellent job. I especially liked the chapter title!
    Thanks. XD When in doubt, use old adages, amirite?

    We get further insight into the conflict between Adam and Bill, which I really liked. Especially the closing line:

    Definitely a facepalm sort of situation. :D
    Exactly. ;D Adam most certainly isn't a happy camper about any of this. Too bad it can't just go, "Yeah, okay, your body is now mine. GTFO."

    Excited for the next chapter. Keep up the awesome writing! :)
    Thanks! :D And will do~!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cryptic Blaze View Post
    Poor, poor Bill...Even though he is an awesome character, he really needs to listen to some of Adam's advice. If the world as you know it has changed completely, you have to adapt or you will fall right on your face...or get chained up by your former best friend, whichever comes first.
    Amen to this. Of course, Bill will learn. Eventually. After a few more psychological beatings from Adam. Maybe.

    I firmly believe, though, that if Bill decided to wear a t-shirt that said "I am a normal human, ignore me!" he would have avoided detection. It is a perfect disguise. XD
    Best mental image ever. XD

    I also get the feeling that Thom will eventually get a (insert beating involving fists, flamethrowers and/or various steel objects) from Veronica. You don't have two characters like Thom and Veronica within a 500 kilometer radius of each other without a fight of some sort.
    Oh, he most likely will. We're almost finished with the Mauville arc, and as soon as the gang leaves the city limits, Veronica's going to go, "OH HEY WE LEFT MY PRECINCT ALL BETS ARE OFF. >:D" And Thom's day will just get worse from there.

    Anyway, another great chapter in the story. Keep up the awesome!
    Thank you! :D

    REBOOT: Chapter fifteen now available. | Original: Chapter thirty-one now available.

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  5. #130
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    And then real life punched me in the face. Sorry for the slow updates and the fact that I still haven't edited much (especially the last chapter), guys. Here's to hoping that I might actually have some free time to write now that I may or may not actually not spend ~14 hours working/commuting to and from work a day. (No, seriously.)

    I may or may not also be half-asleep, so chances are, there are still a few things I missed in the proofreading bits. Feel free to point them out.


    Anima Ex Machina: Seventeen
    In the first act, there is a pistol on the wall.


    The security system of Polaris Institute was top-of-the-line. Every second within its halls was on record in some way. Every conversation was taped. Every motion was filmed. Each clip from the countless recorders and cameras was meticulously stored within Polaris's security database, and these were carefully kept by the complex's security forces.

    Of course, with the proper access codes, one could tap into these security records, and John McKenzie had them. Within his locked, darkened office, he sat at the desk and computer, the only two objects that occupied it as of yet. One hand was on the mouse; his other hand held the bulky headphones to his left ear.

    On the screen was a single window. A list of files were queued in a media player, and these, in one of John's most noteworthy moments of professionalism, were blanket-labeled the Adam Files.

    Although his team was expecting him in one laboratory or another, he left them to study XP-650A. He, meanwhile, spent hours poring over each video. Silently, he watched as a team of chansey pinned his son's limbs to a bed while doctors struggled to inject anesthetic after anesthetic into his body. He didn't flinch as he listened to his son's screaming, the babbling, the whimpering, the cracking of bones. He felt nothing as he watched the creature shed his son's skin, use his hands to claw at everything within reach, thrash against the bonds that pinned him to the bed. It should have been horrific, but John tried his best to remain as professional as possible. Even when his heart pounded and the bile rose to the back of his mouth, he sat and forced himself to keep watching. It was in the name of science, after all.

    Yet, one video caught him completely off-guard. It was the second-to-last one. By then, his child was recognizable only by his face; every other part of him was a monster. John had watched hours of the creature barely even pretending to be the human he knew. He had expected nothing else but more footage of the demon lashing out against its bonds, but this time, the last time, Bill simply woke up.

    Intrigued, John watched as Professor Oak had the cuffs taken off. He watched as Oak entered the room and Bill, while crying and shuddering with his hands on his head, struggled to adjust. Minutes marched on, and the creature John watched became steadily calmer. The shivering ceased. His hands drew away from his scalp. He stopped fighting against his own body and eventually came to look into Professor Oak's eyes.

    Then, for the first time in a long time, John McKenzie heard his son's true voice.

    "I don't have much of a choice," he said.

    Professor Oak's expression remained calm through his response. "Of course you do. You know how the ethical codes work these days. If you said you'd be uncomfortable with it, we wouldn't be able to conduct anything on you, not even an interrogation. You'll always have a say, Bill."

    "No," Bill replied, not even missing a beat, "I really don't, and it has nothing to do with what the ethical codes state. Professor, as a researcher, it's my duty to do everything in my power to help this project. While I don't know if you'll let me resume my place on the staff, I can't say no to allowing you to get as much information as possible from me."

    "You're really starting to sound like your old self now."

    John sat back and sighed. "Indeed he is, Sam. Indeed he is. But why?"

    With a flick of the mouse, John moved the cursor to the next video. Clicking on it, he was presented with the image of a hallway. Corpses of security staff littered the sides and corners, and a fainted jynx lay limp on the floor. Standing over her were two sides of a war. On the one side, he immediately recognized Professor Nettle, and by her sides were interns and other scientists, all ready and waiting for her commands. On the other side were a crouched electric-type ixodida and the creature he was studying. Right away, it struck John as strange that the steel-type wasn't crouched like his companion was. Rather, he stood with his hands open, palms facing his would-be attackers. Turning up the volume, John found himself entering a conversation.

    "Wait!" Bill exclaimed. "Just let us go. Professor, he can kill us all, but he won't if—"

    "He's intelligent," Nettle interrupted.

    The blonde to her left smirked. "Mm-hmm. Not at all like Pandora or Abel. Giovanni will adore this."

    John practically threw the headphones onto the keyboard. The video continued to play as he placed his hands on the desk. Bowing his head, he breathed. Outwardly, he showed no other signs of shock; his face wasn't pale, his eyes weren't wide, and his breathing was natural. Inside, he began to feel a creeping sensation crawl under his skin.

    It only got worse when he realized he wasn't the only one in the room.

    "Codename Adam is a remarkable specimen, don't you agree?" a voice drawled.

    He straightened and sat back in his chair. Although he wasn't smiling, he still responded as casually as he would if Professor Oak had made the comment.

    "I don't believe I've met you," he said.

    "I wouldn't be surprised, Professor McKenzie," the red-head said as she stepped forward. "I was promoted long after you left the firm."

    She placed her hands heavily on the back of his chair. As she leaned down to put her mouth close to his ear, he could feel her breath and warmth looming all around him.

    "The famous John McKenzie," she murmured. "They still talk about you. It's not often that one quits Team Rocket, much less someone as important to our operations as you."

    He shrugged. "Forgive me for saying this, but of course I would. I realized a little too belatedly that maintaining a relationship with you wasn't profitable. Mr. di Roketto understands, most likely."

    "Less likely than you assume," Ariana responded. "You're a very difficult man to track down, professor, but Giovanni is an equally patient man. Perhaps you shouldn't have left Goldenrod City."

    "Hm. Of all the times to decide not to bring a drink with me into the laboratory." He clicked the media player closed. "Forgive me, my dear, but even if Mr. di Roketto wanted me that badly, he surely should have realized by now that capturing me would be pointless. It's been almost twenty years. Given that I haven't heard anything noteworthy about your organization in the news, I think it's safe to say that the project was a failure anyway, and besides that, I had twenty years to go to the authorities, didn't I?"

    "It was hardly a failure, and I believe you're a smart enough man to know why going to the authorities would be a foolish move."

    At last, John cracked a grin. "You can't use my family against me, love. My wife can take care of herself, my daughters were raised to be strong, and I'd hardly think you'd waste my son on bait. I wouldn't be stupid or sentimental enough to take it anyway."

    "You have it all wrong this time, Professor McKenzie," Ariana replied. "Perhaps we would have considered all of that earlier, but the circumstances are quite different now. As I've said… Codename Adam is a very fascinating specimen, isn't he?"

    The creeping feeling returned in full force, and the smile faded from John's face. Still, he kept his eyes on the computer, although he forced himself to relax as much as he could.

    "It's a grave mistake to underestimate a McKenzie, least of all William," he said.

    "I'm not underestimating anyone. I'm simply asking you for a favor."

    "Which is?"

    Ariana's hands moved to John's shoulders. He wanted to shrug them off, but he knew the woman would use any indication of emotion against him. She was a member of Team Rocket, after all. They were all the same that way.

    "Study him," she said. "Our operatives are right now attempting to locate him, and we have infiltrated every position possible within this institute. We can give you everything you need to unlock the secret of why Adam is such a unique case."

    "So you can use that to create an army of XP-650."

    Ariana withdrew, allowing her hands to fall to her sides. Exhaling, John shook his head and logged off the computer.

    "Team Rocket never changes," he muttered. "Not even when it was run by that nitwit of a woman. No offense intended, ma'am."

    "Giovanni would agree with you concerning that statement. What about my proposal, professor?"

    John crossed his arms. "Why bother me about it? Why not one of your operatives?"

    Ariana grinned. "Because Bill would trust you the most. You are his father, after all, aren't you?"

    As soon as she finished, John burst into laughter. Ariana took a step back, her expression faltering as she eyed her associate carefully. In the meantime, he stood, wiped tears from his eyes, and gave her a smile.

    "All this time you've been chasing me, you really never learned anything about me?" he asked. "I'm the last person William would trust. We're not exactly on speaking terms, you know. He thinks I'm a lazy, womanizing, drunken git, and I respond with, 'Thank you, and I was hoping you'd be a girl.' We compliment each other all the time like that. Our relationship is the envy of every father and son across Johto."

    He sauntered over to her and leaned in close to her face, forcing her to reel backwards.

    "Here's a lesson you could learn from Giovanni," he told her. "If you're gonna ask someone to do something for you, you'd best be prepared with either something they desperately want or a fine ultimatum. Right now, there's nothing I want, and if I had a choice between working for you again or saving William from the pits of Hell, I'd say I couldn't imagine anyone who would enjoy a place as boring as Heaven anyway."

    Turning, he walked towards the door. Ariana didn't bother to stop him. She simply stared as John unlocked the door and turned the handle.

    "Professor McKenzie," Ariana abruptly said, "what if I told you I could pay you handsomely?"

    John opened the door a crack. "Funny. That's what Giovanni said the first time around."

    Then, he left the room before the executive could say a word.

    ---

    "Bill?"

    He opened his eyes to see sunlight filtering through a lush, green oak tree. Sitting up, he stretched, taking in the warmth of the sun and spring breeze. Turning his head, he caught the red-eyed gaze of his companion. Lanette looked different then. Her hair was shorter, and most of it hung down to her shoulder blades except for a few orange locks clipped to the back of her head by a barrette. Her clothing was neater. No rips, no tears, nothing out-of-place on either the crisp, white blouse, the lab coat, or the green pencil skirt. Most importantly, on her face was a sharp frown, yet Bill knew that a few seconds ago, the softness of her voice betrayed a completely different emotion.

    "What on Earth are you doing out here?" she asked. "You have ten minutes until you speak in front of the most prominent researchers in the nation, and here you are, sleeping under a tree!"

    Bill rubbed his eyes. "I was not sleeping. I was meditating."

    "I thought you didn't like being outside."

    "I don't like speaking in front of large groups of people, either."

    "Too bad. It's in your job description."

    "Where?"

    "Right under writing theses, attending Symposium events, and the thousand other things you say you don't like to do. Why are you a researcher anyway, Bill?"

    He stood and dusted himself off. After a moment of thought, he replied, "The spare moments I spend studying anything at all make it worth it. How do I look?"

    Lanette eyed him carefully. Glancing at her in response to the silence, Bill noticed her press her lips together and fight off a smile. He looked down at himself and then back at Lanette. Then, with a tilt of his head, he gave her a glare.

    "Come on, Lanette. I'm wearing the plainest outfit I own," he said.

    "It's not that. You, uh…" She pointed at his head and lowered the volume of her voice. "You have leaves in your hair."

    "What?"

    He shook his head vigorously and then ran his fingers through his curls. Sure enough, a rain of dead leaves and leaf debris rained down around him. Straightening his gaze, he pulled his bangs out of his eyes.

    "How about now?" he asked.

    Relaxing, Lanette let herself grin sympathetically as she reached up to pluck a twig out of her partner's hair.

    "Better," she replied. "Now, come on. I promised Brigette I wouldn't be long, and I think poor Celio will give himself a heart-attack from waiting for you."

    Bill ran his fingers through his hair one more time. "And Bebe?"

    "If we don't get back soon, she'll think we… well, you know Bebe."

    He sighed. "Indeed I do."

    "Absolutely no refinement," Lanette added dryly. "Why on Earth would we do that kind of in the open anyway?"

    Instantly, Bill shot her a wide-eyed look. His face grew bright red as he snapped, "Or at all, I should hope!"

    She simply looked at him.

    "Or I mean to say… you and I… we're, ah…" Bill hesitated. "I've gotten into a bit of a mess, haven't I?"

    "Once again," Lanette said, "but I forgive you because you're you."

    She turned to walk away. Bill stared at her back for several beats before straightening.

    "Hey! What do you mean by that?!" he called.

    Without even turning around, she answered, "You're a genius, Bill. Figure it out!"

    He stood rooted to his spot as he watched the distance between the two of them grow larger. Then, he glanced towards the blue sky and clenched his teeth.

    "Adam," he said, "get out of my head."

    Snapping back into reality, Adam let the image in front of it dissolve into what Bill was seeing. Instead of the warm campus, the two of them looked at a bare wall in a cold, dark building. Bill was sitting, not standing, and their hand was still chained to the parapet around the catwalk, not running through soft, curly hair.

    Forgive me, Adam drawled, but Lanette seems too intriguing to resist.

    Bill narrowed his eyes at the wall. "You weren't supposed to see that."

    On the contrary, Bill. We are two halves of a symbiotic pair. So long as you and I coexist within this body, I have every right to know the darkest secrets of your mind. Perhaps one of them could be important. Besides, I would hardly call that particular memory dark.

    "It wasn't," Bill admitted, "but I would still appreciate some sense of privacy when it comes to my memories."

    I have no desire to argue with you this time.

    "Then don't."

    Bill shut his eyes again. His encounter with Lanette left him with a sour taste in his mouth, and because of that, he wasn't in the mood to deal with Adam. Slowing his breathing, he cleared his mind and sat in silence, his hand hanging heavily within the cuff. In that state, only one question floated into his mind. It filled every crevice of his brain, and his lack of an answer to it gave him an uncomfortable, painful feeling in his chest.

    There is something else I learned from your memories besides the depths to which you care for your Lanette, Adam commented.

    At the sound of the parasite's voice, Bill winced. He opened one eye and stared at the ceiling. Although the last thing he wanted at that point was to deal with Adam, he didn't stop the creature right away.

    It is fascinating that humans had so many different languages, but you all distilled it down to one hybrid, it said.

    Bill sighed in exasperation and shut his eye again. "What are you on about now?"

    Your name. What does it mean? William. From an old place – Germany, it was called. Yet your people did not consider themselves German. No, not for nearly a thousand years.

    "It doesn't matter anymore, Adam."

    But it does, the parasite drawled. You search for your purpose, but you need not look any further than your own name. Wil. From the word will, meaning the unwavering inner strength to carry out one's desires. Helm. From the word helmet, a metaphor for protection. Together, they mean "willful protector," he who defends others regardless of the risk. Your purpose is there, Bill. Every moment of your life is pointing you towards protecting your people. Do not give up on them, even if they turn you down.

    For a few moments, Adam waited in silence. Then, when not a word came from his host, it tried to push itself back into his mind to search for his thoughts. It was mildly surprised to feel a division between them. Pressing against the wall around Bill's mind, Adam realized that the human was learning, was actively attempting to keep the parasite out of his head. Amused, Adam withdrew and mentally circled around Bill, searching for a weak point.

    On the other hand, it is curious that you shorten your name. A bastardization of your true purpose. Perhaps you already realized this?

    For a second time, Bill sighed. He opened his eyes and glared at the wall straight ahead of him. "Adam, I'd like to make two comments. First, I have absolutely no problem with my real name. I simply prefer being called Bill because I like the way it sounds. Second, if this is the best you can do with attempting to force me to act, I would like to say that if I hadn't already made up my mind and if my actions would be determined by your charisma, I would almost certainly prefer sitting here to die."

    Adam stopped where it was. Already made up your mind?

    "Yes. I never liked sitting around doing nothing, and I detest the idea of suicide. The only reason why I'm still here is because--" At this point, Bill lifted his arm, allowing the handcuffs to rattle against his wrist and the bars of the parapet. "--there seems to be a minor inconvenience preventing me from escaping. Furthermore, the longer you continue to distract me, the less time I can spend answering the question of how we might be able to resolve this issue."

    Oh. You should have said something. I could have offered assistance.

    Raising an eyebrow, Bill lifted his hand just enough to pull the chain taut between his wrist and the bars behind him. He eyed the few inches of chain carefully, long enough to give Adam a good look.

    "The chain is too short to cut with claws or my tail, Adam, even if I could concentrate enough to execute an attack properly."

    Hm. I would not be so simple as to assume if I were you, Adam replied. Try pulling.

    "Pulling," Bill repeated incredulously.

    Correct.

    "You're serious, aren't you?"

    Gravely.

    Bill looked towards the ceiling and considered Adam's advice. It sounded crazy in his mind, but crazy or not, he couldn't think of many options himself. Knowing this, he humored Adam and pulled his arm until the cuffs resisted. When it did, he snapped his limb forward to make it clear that it wasn't going anywhere.

    No, no. Pull harder.

    "…Harder?"

    Correct.

    Pressing his lips together, Bill pulled. Again, the cuffs held.

    Slower. Put as much force into it as you can. Do not be afraid of damaging your wrist. You will not, I assure you.

    Bill hesitated. He fixed his gaze on the chain, already pulled as far as it would go. What would yanking it harder do?

    Sensing his uncertainty, Adam added, You must learn to trust me, Bill. I need your body to survive. Therefore, everything I tell you will be in your best interests.

    Relaxing just a bit, Bill whispered, "A-all right."

    Then, he pulled at the chain. At first, it continued to resist, but the more he leaned away from the bars, the more it creaked beneath his weight. The metal stretched like flimsy plastic, thinning gradually until at last, it snapped, sending Bill crashing to the floor of the catwalk. At once, he sat up and lifted his wrist. The severed chain dangled from a bent cuff still around his arm.

    "What is this?" he breathed.

    Refined strength, Adam explained. I have taken the liberty of adjusting how well your body is capable of performing physical work. Call it another gift.

    Bill held his head and shakily stood. "How many more gifts did you give me?"

    Enough. Is there a problem?

    He shook his head. "No. I just… it's quite a bit to take in. I wish you would just tell me what you would did to me."

    You would never understand until you learned for yourself. Is that not one of your personal defining traits?

    Bill turned and tilted his head to the side. "What are you implying?"

    Ignoring him, Adam continued, But no matter. You are free now. What is your next move?

    Wrapping his hands around the rail, Bill peered downward. Adam was right in one respect: the need to learn more about himself had to be put off for later. Right then, he had to think of what to do after that. Focusing, he quickly scanned the room for a possible way out. Gazing straight downward, he realized there were at least two stories between himself and the floor of the battlefield, and lying neatly beneath the catwalk was the ladder he had used to follow Lanette and Veronica. He knew exactly what their intentions were, and they had nothing to do with giving him a chance to escape.

    "We need to get down somehow. Do I have a power that would let me survive this far of a drop?"

    Several, but why do we not simply use the way I had entered this place the last time?

    Bill looked around. He had nearly forgotten that this wasn't his first time in the Mauville Gym, but no matter how hard he tried to remember, nothing was coming to mind as to how his partner had broken into the gym. Adam noticed his silence, and in the ensuing beat, Bill could feel the parasite in his head.

    Give me control. I will show you.

    Stopping, Bill considered it with a shudder. At first, he could think of a thousand reasons why Adam's proposal felt wrong. Then again, what choice did he have? Adam knew his body more than he did at that point, and although it was his job to test unknowns, there was a line between scientific curiosity and suicidal levels of crazy. Reluctantly, he closed his eyes and let himself be pulled back into his head. From that point forward, he trained his mind not to think about the possibilities as his eyes opened on their own.

    "It seems you have begun to learn," Adam commented. "You trust me."

    Adam, I'll do whatever needs to be done. Please keep us safe.

    "Did you think I would fail at that much?"

    Adam unwound their tail and snaked it out from under Bill's shirt. The parasite stretched, dropped to all fours, and darted across the catwalk a wall at one end. Bill watched from inside, trying to piece together what his companion was about to do until he noticed the rows of holes dotting the wall. As Adam approached, Bill noticed that they stopped a few feet from the floor of the catwalk but ran straight upwards to just beyond his field of vision. He couldn't imagine where they might have led until he noticed chunks of plaster and dust littering that end of the catwalk. Adam ignored these as he bound over them to the wall, leaving Bill no time to think about them.

    Then, Adam sprang up and latched onto the wall with both hands and feet. For a moment, Bill was left completely speechless, unable to react as Adam scaled the wall. At times, the parasite used the holes as footholds; at others, it created completely new ones by punching its claws into the plaster. Bill struggled to process all of this until, finally, his mind came up with one line.

    Surely you're joking.

    "Why?" Adam asked. "Is this amusing to you?"

    Certainly not! Bill paused. It's just… defiant of… almost everything that I was thinking.

    "I must reiterate, Bill. Stop seeing our body as human. It will be much easier to accept that you no longer have the limitations you once did."

    Bill couldn't think of anything to say to that. Instead, he sat back and watched his body traverse the wall, eventually arriving at the ceiling. There, Adam continued, hooking their tail directly into the tiles as an added anchor. Fixing their eyes on a small hole hidden above one of the gym's lights, Adam skittered quickly upside-down until it climbed through the roof.

    Outside, the sun sat high in the sky, forcing Adam to squint at the sudden, harsh light. Yet, even then it didn't slow down as it darted across the roof to the edge. It peered down over the parapet along the roof to an empty alley behind the gym. Although Bill couldn't think straight, he could tell it was well above a few feet from the ground to where they were.

    That's… that's a long way down, Bill mumbled. Perhaps we should—

    Adam mounted the parapet and launched itself directly downward. It pretended not to hear Bill's screams.

    The fall was short, ending in Adam landing with a bang on the pavement. The cement beneath its hands and knee was cracked and indented, but it showed no signs of pain as it waited until Bill fell quiet. Pushing off the ground with its hands, it slowly rose to its feet. Then, Adam shuttered and retreated, pitching Bill's consciousness forward. Finally in control once more, Bill trembled and breathed. He could feel the adrenaline Adam generated, the tingle of his muscles and bones beneath the parts of him that hit the ground, the ache in his tail from hours of being wound around his waist… but otherwise, he wasn't hurt.

    "Remarkable," he breathed.

    Inside his head, he felt Adam curl up and rest, but he could tell the parasite still had his attention focused on him. He moved a hand and prepared to speak. A thousand questions stumbled over each other in a frantic dash to escape his mouth.

    Before a single one could get out, however, a scream rose from a distance, followed by the sounds of gunshots. Jolting out of his meditations, Bill looked to the sky. The shrieks were uncomfortably familiar to him.

    "Ixodida calls…" His eyes widened. "The Caravan!"

    His feet sprang into a run. He didn't think twice about it. All he could do was imagine what was happening blocks away.

    Bill, Adam said, what are you doing?

    Turning a corner, he forced himself to pick up speed. "They're in danger!"

    And you plan on saving them?

    "Yes!"

    By any means?

    Bill stopped under a streetlamp. His body wasn't built for speed, and because of that, he could tell he would have to take it easy if he wanted energy left over for a possible fight. Placing a hand on the pole beside him, he panted.

    "Yes!" he finally replied.

    Even after they trapped us?

    He nodded and bent over.

    Why?

    Bill lifted his head. Several different faces flashed across his brain, but the one that lingered was Lanette's, fresh from that memory Adam had summoned not too long ago. He felt Adam slide into his thoughts and look.

    Her? You must care deeply for her.

    Bill stood straight and frowned.

    Why do you insist on trying with her when she does not see you as her friend?

    "Because she's her," Bill answered simply.

    Before Adam could argue, he started into another run.

    Behind him, a pair of purple eyes peered out from the alley by the gym. 009 pursed her lips as her hand reached up to press a button on a communicator attached to her ear.

    "This is 009. Target spotted."

    "But not captured?" Nettle hissed over the device.

    "Good things come to those who wait, Professor. Trust me."

    With that, she stalked out into the empty street, taking her time to follow.

    REBOOT: Chapter fifteen now available. | Original: Chapter thirty-one now available.

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  6. #131
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    The security system of Polaris Institute was top-of-the-line.
    This could use some tinkering me thinks. Maybe add a word or two to make it flow better.

    "Absolutely no refinement," Lanette added dryly. "Why on Earth would we do that kind of in the open anyway?"
    Second bit of dialogue is all... bleh, look it back over.

    Hm. I would not be so simple as to assume if I were you, Adam replied. Try pulling.

    "Pulling," Bill repeated incredulously.

    Correct.

    "You're serious, aren't you?"

    Gravely.
    lol. Adam amuses me.


    I applaud the use of Ariana in this chapter. Why? Because she's her, my favourite Rocket Admin, Psychotic Bitch and (at least in my own personal opinion) harbouring latent lesbian tendencies. That's how a story I wrote ended up anyway, these things happen.

    Aaaaanyway, moving far, far away from that tangent...

    I've missed this fic. I was actually thinking about it over the past few days, in the "I wonder where Jax went?" sense. Luckily I've had plenty to read in the mean time, so I haven't been bored.

    Yes, it was kinda dialogue heavy, but I liked it because of that, I really felt like things were moving along in this chapter. The ball is rolling again and the action is back on track, keep up the pace Valentine!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diddy View Post
    This could use some tinkering me thinks. Maybe add a word or two to make it flow better.
    Hmm. Not quite sure what to add here, but I'll read it over a couple more times. I think it might be the ending that's a bit rocky maybe?

    Second bit of dialogue is all... bleh, look it back over.
    Ah, good to see my habit of randomly leaving words out of my sentences hasn't yet been shaken. XD I know exactly what's wrong here, and I think it'll be a quick fix if I just add a "thing" somewhere along the line, right?

    lol. Adam amuses me.
    *le bow* Thank you! Adam amuses me too. ;D That's why you'll be seeing a lot more of him. (Fun fact: Adam somehow managed to play less of a role in the original version of this fic. I have no idea how I managed to do that, especially since, let's face it, Adam is pretty snazzy to work with.)

    I applaud the use of Ariana in this chapter. Why? Because she's her, my favourite Rocket Admin, Psychotic Bitch and (at least in my own personal opinion) harbouring latent lesbian tendencies. That's how a story I wrote ended up anyway, these things happen.
    Thank you! Ariana's quickly becoming my favorite too. (Truth be told, my first choice has been Petrel until as of recent, but oh, I can see where the lesbian tendencies come from. I feel like Ariana's like the Team Rocket dominatrix: just putting anyone in their place, if you know what I mean. Or at least this gives me happy thoughts, so it might just be me.)

    Aaaaanyway, moving far, far away from that tangent...
    But oh, what a fun tangent it is. :D

    I've missed this fic. I was actually thinking about it over the past few days, in the "I wonder where Jax went?" sense.
    Aww, I've missed you too!

    Seriously, hopefully, the next chapter won't take so god-awful long to put out. It's already well on its way in terms of production; I just need to push myself to work on it a bit more.

    but I liked it because of that, I really felt like things were moving along in this chapter. The ball is rolling again and the action is back on track, keep up the pace Valentine!!!
    Thank you! Will do! :D

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  8. #133
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    "Study him," she said. "Our operatives are right now attempting to locate him, and we have infiltrated every position possible within this institute. We can give you everything you need to unlock the secret of why Adam is such a unique case."

    "So you can use that to create an army of XP-650."
    Why is it that all evil organizations have some world domination plan that involves using some insanely overpowered army to forcefully take over the world? There are better ways to achieve world conquest than that...

    Turning a corner, he forced himself to pick up speed. "They're in danger!"

    And you plan on saving them?

    "Yes!"

    By any means?

    Bill stopped under a streetlamp. His body wasn't built for speed, and because of that, he could tell he would have to take it easy if he wanted energy left over for a possible fight. Placing a hand on the pole beside him, he panted.

    "Yes!" he finally replied.

    Even after they trapped us?

    He nodded and bent over.

    Why?

    Bill lifted his head. Several different faces flashed across his brain, but the one that lingered was Lanette's, fresh from that memory Adam had summoned not too long ago. He felt Adam slide into his thoughts and look.

    Her? You must care deeply for her.

    Bill stood straight and frowned.

    Why do you insist on trying with her when she does not see you as her friend?

    "Because she's her," Bill answered simply.
    It looks like Adam still needs to learn a thing or two about humans, doesn't he?


    This chapter was a bit down in the action department, but who says that is a bad thing? It gave more insight into several of the characters, especially John McKenzie, without going completely overboard on the information. I like that. I also get the feeling that in the next chapter (or in the next few chapters) there will be plenty of action with the Caravan, Team Rocket plan, ixodida, and other stuff barreling toward each other. Hopefully Bill and Adam can put aside their differences for once and work together...for science.

    I don't mind how late it you get the chapters done, JX...as long as you don't start going several years between chapters :P.

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    JX, you're back! I hope life's been treating you good.

    I noticed the update late last night, and I couldn't wait to come back from school to read it. And let me tell you I was not disappointed! While action is good to move the plot and the likes all the dialogue was just great. John just took me by surprise, and it only thickens the plot Team Rocket is cooking up behind the scenes. It took me a while to figure out who was Ariana, but I haven't played Soul Silver in quite a while.

    Random typo alert:

    He, meanwhile, spent hours poring over each video.
    Shouldn't it be "pouring?"

    /alert

    Adam is just awesome, hands down. To be honest my favorite part from him was his explanation of Bill's name and how it seems humans no longer know who they are. That and anything that deals with foreign languages and the meaning in them makes me break out into a smile. The "William/name turned Bill/nickname" analogy was very good, and it just goes to show that despite the fact that Adam has a long ways to go to understand why humans do some things, especially when it comes to friends, his kind see things in a way humans can't. Maybe one day humans will gain his keen intelligence but certainly not now.

    The Caravan! It seems like forever ago that I became excited about it, but maybe in the next chapter we'll finally get some interaction? Though I doubt Bill is looking forward for even more humans to gawk at him. Adam will be poking fun at him in the background, no doubt. :P

    If you took years posting a new chapter I don't think the Bill fangirl in me could take it. I'll be like the Ghost at Maiden's Peak, forever checking up on this thread for that lovely update. Tear. D;

    Great job like always, JX! No matter what type of chapter you cook up it always manages to hook me! ^-^

    - Kat
    Last edited by Phantom Kat; 29th April 2011 at 5:31 PM.


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  10. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cryptic Blaze View Post
    Why is it that all evil organizations have some world domination plan that involves using some insanely overpowered army to forcefully take over the world? There are better ways to achieve world conquest than that...
    I classify this as a good question. My guess is that as soon as you decide to become an evil overlord, the first thing you do is lose the ability to resist cliché. The more psychotic you are, the more inclined you will be to become a rather predictable evil villain. (I could say so much about Ghetis. So much.)

    Either that, or Giovanni isn't particularly creative. I mean, in my opinion? He's the coolest and sanest antagonist out of the lot of them, but he is pretty much like a Bond villain.

    It looks like Adam still needs to learn a thing or two about humans, doesn't he?
    Or three. ;D That's assuming if Adam wants to learn at all. It seems content with just picking up a few things here or there to make fun of Bill.

    This chapter was a bit down in the action department, but who says that is a bad thing? It gave more insight into several of the characters, especially John McKenzie, without going completely overboard on the information. I like that.
    Thank you! This is seriously a relief. I was a little afraid that it felt anticlimactic. Just didn't get to the action this time around, unfortunately.

    But you're right. Everything's going to come together and spark a major kerfluffle between humans and Ixodida within the next few chapters.

    Hopefully Bill and Adam can put aside their differences for once and work together...for science.
    Oh, hopefully. But probably not, what with Bill being, "Y'know, it would've helped if you told me I could do that."

    I don't mind how late it you get the chapters done, JX...as long as you don't start going several years between chapters :P.
    Oh, don't worry about that. XD I'd like to finish this story sometime within this lifetime.

    And thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Phantom Kat View Post
    JX, you're back! :D I hope life's been treating you good. :)
    Weeeellll... it's been busy, let's just say that. I just hope it'll calm down soon because I'd like to get out of at least one spring with all of my sanity intact.

    And let me tell you I was not disappointed! While action is good to move the plot and the likes all the dialogue was just great.
    Thank you!

    It took me a while to figure out who was Ariana, but I haven't played Soul Silver in quite a while.
    Totally okay. I have this weird fondness for using side or otherwise obscure characters.

    Shouldn't it be "pouring?"

    /alert
    Useless fact time! This is actually a lesser-known homophone. "To pore" means "to concentrate," so if you say someone is poring over something, you actually mean someone is studying that something intensely. Meanwhile, if you say that someone is pouring over something, you mean that Second Impact has most likely just happened. [/unnecessary Evangelion reference]

    Adam is just awesome, hands down. To be honest my favorite part from him was his explanation of Bill's name and how it seems humans no longer know who they are.
    Thank you! I have to admit, that was the most fun I had in the chapter, completely because it's always amusing to write the banter between Bill and Adam. They're like a married couple, only about 100 times more wrong. :D

    That and anything that deals with foreign languages and the meaning in them makes me break out into a smile.
    *high five for this* Well, now I know what to add more of into my work. ;D

    his kind see things in a way humans can't. Maybe one day humans will his keen intelligence but certainly now now.
    Oh yes. Or at least hopefully Bill will, especially since a lot of the rest of the fic will probably hinge on that single fact that you just mentioned right now. So, it's really awesome that you managed to pick up on that!

    The Caravan! It seems like forever ago that I became excited about it, but maybe in the next chapter we'll finally get some interaction? Though I doubt Bill is looking forward for even more humans to gawk at him. Adam will be poking fun at him in the background, no doubt. :P
    Oh yes to all of this. ;D There shall be action! Drama! Mass panic!

    As you can tell, I'm having a lot of fun writing the next chapter.

    If you took years posting a new chapter I don't think the Bill fangirl in me could take it. I'll be like the Ghost at Maiden's Peak, forever checking up on this thread for that lovely update. Tear. D;
    ...I love you for this analogy. (One of my favorite episodes right there.)

    So now I definitely can't disappoint you. ;D I'll cook up the next chapter as quickly as I can~! And thank you!

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  11. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by JX Valentine View Post
    Anima Ex Machina: Seventeen
    In the first act, there is a pistol on the wall.
    Oh you, Jax. Oh you.

    The security system of Polaris Institute was top-of-the-line. Every second within its halls was on record in some way. Every conversation was taped. Every motion was filmed. Each clip from the countless recorders and cameras was meticulously stored within Polaris's security database, and these were carefully kept by the complex's security forces.

    Of course, with the proper access codes, one could tap into these security records, and John McKenzie had them. Within his locked, darkened office, he sat at the desk and computer, the only two objects that occupied it as of yet. One hand was on the mouse; his other hand held the bulky headphones to his left ear.

    On the screen was a single window. A list of files were queued in a media player, and these, in one of John's most noteworthy moments of professionalism, were blanket-labeled the Adam Files.
    Beautiful scene setting here. I can picture it, and I like what I see.

    Although his team was expecting him in one laboratory or another, he left them to study XP-650A. He, meanwhile, spent hours poring over each video. Silently, he watched as a team of chansey pinned his son's limbs to a bed while doctors struggled to inject anesthetic after anesthetic into his body. He didn't flinch as he listened to his son's screaming, the babbling, the whimpering, the cracking of bones. He felt nothing as he watched the creature shed his son's skin, use his hands to claw at everything within reach, thrash against the bonds that pinned him to the bed. It should have been horrific, but John tried his best to remain as professional as possible. Even when his heart pounded and the bile rose to the back of his mouth, he sat and forced himself to keep watching. It was in the name of science, after all.

    Yet, one video caught him completely off-guard. It was the second-to-last one. By then, his child was recognizable only by his face; every other part of him was a monster. John had watched hours of the creature barely even pretending to be the human he knew. He had expected nothing else but more footage of the demon lashing out against its bonds, but this time, the last time, Bill simply woke up.
    This part is difficult to swallow at once. That's a good thing; you've exceeded yourself at presenting an utterly horrifying scenario that makes the reader uncomfortable.

    Intrigued, John watched as Professor Oak had the cuffs taken off. He watched as Oak entered the room and Bill, while crying and shuddering with his hands on his head, struggled to adjust. Minutes marched on, and the creature John watched became steadily calmer. The shivering ceased. His hands drew away from his scalp. He stopped fighting against his own body and eventually came to look into Professor Oak's eyes.

    Then, for the first time in a long time, John McKenzie heard his son's true voice.

    "I don't have much of a choice," he said.

    Professor Oak's expression remained calm through his response. "Of course you do. You know how the ethical codes work these days. If you said you'd be uncomfortable with it, we wouldn't be able to conduct anything on you, not even an interrogation. You'll always have a say, Bill."

    "No," Bill replied, not even missing a beat, "I really don't, and it has nothing to do with what the ethical codes state. Professor, as a researcher, it's my duty to do everything in my power to help this project. While I don't know if you'll let me resume my place on the staff, I can't say no to allowing you to get as much information as possible from me."

    "You're really starting to sound like your old self now."

    John sat back and sighed. "Indeed he is, Sam. Indeed he is. But why?"
    Bill's professionalism is astounding. Seriously.

    With a flick of the mouse, John moved the cursor to the next video. Clicking on it, he was presented with the image of a hallway. Corpses of security staff littered the sides and corners, and a fainted jynx lay limp on the floor. Standing over her were two sides of a war. On the one side, he immediately recognized Professor Nettle, and by her sides were interns and other scientists, all ready and waiting for her commands. On the other side were a crouched electric-type ixodida and the creature he was studying. Right away, it struck John as strange that the steel-type wasn't crouched like his companion was. Rather, he stood with his hands open, palms facing his would-be attackers. Turning up the volume, John found himself entering a conversation.

    "Wait!" Bill exclaimed. "Just let us go. Professor, he can kill us all, but he won't if—"

    "He's intelligent," Nettle interrupted.

    The blonde to her left smirked. "Mm-hmm. Not at all like Pandora or Abel. Giovanni will adore this."

    John practically threw the headphones onto the keyboard. The video continued to play as he placed his hands on the desk. Bowing his head, he breathed. Outwardly, he showed no other signs of shock; his face wasn't pale, his eyes weren't wide, and his breathing was natural. Inside, he began to feel a creeping sensation crawl under his skin.
    This is one of those times when the impact of what's really going on suddenly hits you like a truck.

    I wonder what became of Pandora and Abel exactly...

    It only got worse when he realized he wasn't the only one in the room.

    "Codename Adam is a remarkable specimen, don't you agree?" a voice drawled.

    He straightened and sat back in his chair. Although he wasn't smiling, he still responded as casually as he would if Professor Oak had made the comment.

    "I don't believe I've met you," he said.

    "I wouldn't be surprised, Professor McKenzie," the red-head said as she stepped forward. "I was promoted long after you left the firm."

    She placed her hands heavily on the back of his chair. As she leaned down to put her mouth close to his ear, he could feel her breath and warmth looming all around him.

    "The famous John McKenzie," she murmured. "They still talk about you. It's not often that one quits Team Rocket, much less someone as important to our operations as you."

    He shrugged. "Forgive me for saying this, but of course I would. I realized a little too belatedly that maintaining a relationship with you wasn't profitable. Mr. di Roketto understands, most likely."

    "Less likely than you assume," Ariana responded. "You're a very difficult man to track down, professor, but Giovanni is an equally patient man. Perhaps you shouldn't have left Goldenrod City."
    Aw crap. Ariana's here hide your booze.

    I hadn't expected some of the developments in these passages, like Ariana's arrival and the revelation of the McKenzie family's ties to Team Rocket. This could be interesting how you're depicting them, using "the firm."

    "Hm. Of all the times to decide not to bring a drink with me into the laboratory." He clicked the media player closed. "Forgive me, my dear, but even if Mr. di Roketto wanted me that badly, he surely should have realized by now that capturing me would be pointless. It's been almost twenty years. Given that I haven't heard anything noteworthy about your organization in the news, I think it's safe to say that the project was a failure anyway, and besides that, I had twenty years to go to the authorities, didn't I?"

    "It was hardly a failure, and I believe you're a smart enough man to know why going to the authorities would be a foolish move."
    Assuming this is referring to what I think, I never even thought for a second Bill would have had any ties in any way to it, but now that it's in front of me I can't believe I never thought of it.

    At last, John cracked a grin. "You can't use my family against me, love. My wife can take care of herself, my daughters were raised to be strong, and I'd hardly think you'd waste my son on bait. I wouldn't be stupid or sentimental enough to take it anyway."

    "You have it all wrong this time, Professor McKenzie," Ariana replied. "Perhaps we would have considered all of that earlier, but the circumstances are quite different now. As I've said… Codename Adam is a very fascinating specimen, isn't he?"

    The creeping feeling returned in full force, and the smile faded from John's face. Still, he kept his eyes on the computer, although he forced himself to relax as much as he could.

    "It's a grave mistake to underestimate a McKenzie, least of all William," he said.
    Okay, I like this guy. A lot.

    "I'm not underestimating anyone. I'm simply asking you for a favor."

    "Which is?"

    Ariana's hands moved to John's shoulders. He wanted to shrug them off, but he knew the woman would use any indication of emotion against him. She was a member of Team Rocket, after all. They were all the same that way.

    "Study him," she said. "Our operatives are right now attempting to locate him, and we have infiltrated every position possible within this institute. We can give you everything you need to unlock the secret of why Adam is such a unique case."
    Why do I get the feeling Ariana would go further than his shoulders if she had to?

    "So you can use that to create an army of XP-650."

    Ariana withdrew, allowing her hands to fall to her sides. Exhaling, John shook his head and logged off the computer.

    "Team Rocket never changes," he muttered. "Not even when it was run by that nitwit of a woman. No offense intended, ma'am."
    Bill and his family are really good at being champions of the obvious, aren't they?

    Nitwit of a woman. Psssssh.

    "Giovanni would agree with you concerning that statement. What about my proposal, professor?"

    John crossed his arms. "Why bother me about it? Why not one of your operatives?"

    Ariana grinned. "Because Bill would trust you the most. You are his father, after all, aren't you?"

    As soon as she finished, John burst into laughter. Ariana took a step back, her expression faltering as she eyed her associate carefully. In the meantime, he stood, wiped tears from his eyes, and gave her a smile.

    "All this time you've been chasing me, you really never learned anything about me?" he asked. "I'm the last person William would trust. We're not exactly on speaking terms, you know. He thinks I'm a lazy, womanizing, drunken git, and I respond with, 'Thank you, and I was hoping you'd be a girl.' We compliment each other all the time like that. Our relationship is the envy of every father and son across Johto."
    Alright, I take back what I said about liking him. Now I just think he's awesome.

    He sauntered over to her and leaned in close to her face, forcing her to reel backwards.

    "Here's a lesson you could learn from Giovanni," he told her. "If you're gonna ask someone to do something for you, you'd best be prepared with either something they desperately want or a fine ultimatum. Right now, there's nothing I want, and if I had a choice between working for you again or saving William from the pits of Hell, I'd say I couldn't imagine anyone who would enjoy a place as boring as Heaven anyway."

    Turning, he walked towards the door. Ariana didn't bother to stop him. She simply stared as John unlocked the door and turned the handle.

    "Professor McKenzie," Ariana abruptly said, "what if I told you I could pay you handsomely?"

    John opened the door a crack. "Funny. That's what Giovanni said the first time around."

    Then, he left the room before the executive could say a word.
    Alright, THAT was unexpected. Did not see it coming, not one bit.

    ---

    "Bill?"

    He opened his eyes to see sunlight filtering through a lush, green oak tree. Sitting up, he stretched, taking in the warmth of the sun and spring breeze. Turning his head, he caught the red-eyed gaze of his companion. Lanette looked different then. Her hair was shorter, and most of it hung down to her shoulder blades except for a few orange locks clipped to the back of her head by a barrette. Her clothing was neater. No rips, no tears, nothing out-of-place on either the crisp, white blouse, the lab coat, or the green pencil skirt. Most importantly, on her face was a sharp frown, yet Bill knew that a few seconds ago, the softness of her voice betrayed a completely different emotion.

    "What on Earth are you doing out here?" she asked. "You have ten minutes until you speak in front of the most prominent researchers in the nation, and here you are, sleeping under a tree!"

    Bill rubbed his eyes. "I was not sleeping. I was meditating."

    "I thought you didn't like being outside."

    "I don't like speaking in front of large groups of people, either."

    "Too bad. It's in your job description."

    "Where?"

    "Right under writing theses, attending Symposium events, and the thousand other things you say you don't like to do. Why are you a researcher anyway, Bill?"

    He stood and dusted himself off. After a moment of thought, he replied, "The spare moments I spend studying anything at all make it worth it. How do I look?"

    Lanette eyed him carefully. Glancing at her in response to the silence, Bill noticed her press her lips together and fight off a smile. He looked down at himself and then back at Lanette. Then, with a tilt of his head, he gave her a glare.

    "Come on, Lanette. I'm wearing the plainest outfit I own," he said.

    "It's not that. You, uh…" She pointed at his head and lowered the volume of her voice. "You have leaves in your hair."

    "What?"

    He shook his head vigorously and then ran his fingers through his curls. Sure enough, a rain of dead leaves and leaf debris rained down around him. Straightening his gaze, he pulled his bangs out of his eyes.

    "How about now?" he asked.

    Relaxing, Lanette let herself grin sympathetically as she reached up to pluck a twig out of her partner's hair.

    "Better," she replied. "Now, come on. I promised Brigette I wouldn't be long, and I think poor Celio will give himself a heart-attack from waiting for you."

    Bill ran his fingers through his hair one more time. "And Bebe?"

    "If we don't get back soon, she'll think we… well, you know Bebe."

    He sighed. "Indeed I do."

    "Absolutely no refinement," Lanette added dryly. "Why on Earth would we do that kind of in the open anyway?"

    Instantly, Bill shot her a wide-eyed look. His face grew bright red as he snapped, "Or at all, I should hope!"

    She simply looked at him.

    "Or I mean to say… you and I… we're, ah…" Bill hesitated. "I've gotten into a bit of a mess, haven't I?"

    "Once again," Lanette said, "but I forgive you because you're you."

    She turned to walk away. Bill stared at her back for several beats before straightening.

    "Hey! What do you mean by that?!" he called.

    Without even turning around, she answered, "You're a genius, Bill. Figure it out!"

    He stood rooted to his spot as he watched the distance between the two of them grow larger. Then, he glanced towards the blue sky and clenched his teeth.

    "Adam," he said, "get out of my head."
    Okay, that was shaping up to be an awesome flashback scene, then suddenly you threw it for a loop. Stop screwing with me! XD;

    Snapping back into reality, Adam let the image in front of it dissolve into what Bill was seeing. Instead of the warm campus, the two of them looked at a bare wall in a cold, dark building. Bill was sitting, not standing, and their hand was still chained to the parapet around the catwalk, not running through soft, curly hair.

    Forgive me, Adam drawled, but Lanette seems too intriguing to resist.

    Bill narrowed his eyes at the wall. "You weren't supposed to see that."

    On the contrary, Bill. We are two halves of a symbiotic pair. So long as you and I coexist within this body, I have every right to know the darkest secrets of your mind. Perhaps one of them could be important. Besides, I would hardly call that particular memory dark.
    Oh I'm sure Bill has some dark secrets in his mind about Lanette. Methinks Adam's picked up some of them.

    "It wasn't," Bill admitted, "but I would still appreciate some sense of privacy when it comes to my memories."

    I have no desire to argue with you this time.

    "Then don't."
    I hope Adam purchased some Burn Heal before he landed on Earth, because he just got TOLD. That's Bill for you, possessed by an alien virus and mouthing off to it.

    Bill shut his eyes again. His encounter with Lanette left him with a sour taste in his mouth, and because of that, he wasn't in the mood to deal with Adam. Slowing his breathing, he cleared his mind and sat in silence, his hand hanging heavily within the cuff. In that state, only one question floated into his mind. It filled every crevice of his brain, and his lack of an answer to it gave him an uncomfortable, painful feeling in his chest.

    There is something else I learned from your memories besides the depths to which you care for your Lanette, Adam commented.

    At the sound of the parasite's voice, Bill winced. He opened one eye and stared at the ceiling. Although the last thing he wanted at that point was to deal with Adam, he didn't stop the creature right away.

    It is fascinating that humans had so many different languages, but you all distilled it down to one hybrid, it said.

    Bill sighed in exasperation and shut his eye again. "What are you on about now?"

    Your name. What does it mean? William. From an old place – Germany, it was called. Yet your people did not consider themselves German. No, not for nearly a thousand years.
    This could be interesting. Certainly not a thread I would have started at this point...

    "It doesn't matter anymore, Adam."

    But it does, the parasite drawled. You search for your purpose, but you need not look any further than your own name. Wil. From the word will, meaning the unwavering inner strength to carry out one's desires. Helm. From the word helmet, a metaphor for protection. Together, they mean "willful protector," he who defends others regardless of the risk. Your purpose is there, Bill. Every moment of your life is pointing you towards protecting your people. Do not give up on them, even if they turn you down.

    For a few moments, Adam waited in silence. Then, when not a word came from his host, it tried to push itself back into his mind to search for his thoughts. It was mildly surprised to feel a division between them. Pressing against the wall around Bill's mind, Adam realized that the human was learning, was actively attempting to keep the parasite out of his head. Amused, Adam withdrew and mentally circled around Bill, searching for a weak point.

    On the other hand, it is curious that you shorten your name. A bastardization of your true purpose. Perhaps you already realized this?

    For a second time, Bill sighed. He opened his eyes and glared at the wall straight ahead of him. "Adam, I'd like to make two comments. First, I have absolutely no problem with my real name. I simply prefer being called Bill because I like the way it sounds. Second, if this is the best you can do with attempting to force me to act, I would like to say that if I hadn't already made up my mind and if my actions would be determined by your charisma, I would almost certainly prefer sitting here to die."
    Fascinating. Getting such rich scenery and meaning out of such a simple point like his name is unexpected, but it is also fulfilling.

    Adam stopped where it was. Already made up your mind?

    "Yes. I never liked sitting around doing nothing, and I detest the idea of suicide. The only reason why I'm still here is because--" At this point, Bill lifted his arm, allowing the handcuffs to rattle against his wrist and the bars of the parapet. "--there seems to be a minor inconvenience preventing me from escaping. Furthermore, the longer you continue to distract me, the less time I can spend answering the question of how we might be able to resolve this issue."

    Oh. You should have said something. I could have offered assistance.

    Raising an eyebrow, Bill lifted his hand just enough to pull the chain taut between his wrist and the bars behind him. He eyed the few inches of chain carefully, long enough to give Adam a good look.

    "The chain is too short to cut with claws or my tail, Adam, even if I could concentrate enough to execute an attack properly."

    Hm. I would not be so simple as to assume if I were you, Adam replied. Try pulling.

    "Pulling," Bill repeated incredulously.

    Correct.

    "You're serious, aren't you?"

    Gravely.

    Bill looked towards the ceiling and considered Adam's advice. It sounded crazy in his mind, but crazy or not, he couldn't think of many options himself. Knowing this, he humored Adam and pulled his arm until the cuffs resisted. When it did, he snapped his limb forward to make it clear that it wasn't going anywhere.

    No, no. Pull harder.

    "…Harder?"

    Correct.

    Pressing his lips together, Bill pulled. Again, the cuffs held.

    Slower. Put as much force into it as you can. Do not be afraid of damaging your wrist. You will not, I assure you.

    Bill hesitated. He fixed his gaze on the chain, already pulled as far as it would go. What would yanking it harder do?

    Sensing his uncertainty, Adam added, You must learn to trust me, Bill. I need your body to survive. Therefore, everything I tell you will be in your best interests.

    Relaxing just a bit, Bill whispered, "A-all right."

    Then, he pulled at the chain. At first, it continued to resist, but the more he leaned away from the bars, the more it creaked beneath his weight. The metal stretched like flimsy plastic, thinning gradually until at last, it snapped, sending Bill crashing to the floor of the catwalk. At once, he sat up and lifted his wrist. The severed chain dangled from a bent cuff still around his arm.
    Well of course it's that simple. It always is, isn't it?

    "We need to get down somehow. Do I have a power that would let me survive this far of a drop?"

    Several, but why do we not simply use the way I had entered this place the last time?

    Bill looked around. He had nearly forgotten that this wasn't his first time in the Mauville Gym, but no matter how hard he tried to remember, nothing was coming to mind as to how his partner had broken into the gym. Adam noticed his silence, and in the ensuing beat, Bill could feel the parasite in his head.

    Give me control. I will show you.

    Stopping, Bill considered it with a shudder. At first, he could think of a thousand reasons why Adam's proposal felt wrong. Then again, what choice did he have? Adam knew his body more than he did at that point, and although it was his job to test unknowns, there was a line between scientific curiosity and suicidal levels of crazy. Reluctantly, he closed his eyes and let himself be pulled back into his head. From that point forward, he trained his mind not to think about the possibilities as his eyes opened on their own.

    "It seems you have begun to learn," Adam commented. "You trust me."

    Adam, I'll do whatever needs to be done. Please keep us safe.
    I got a chill down my spine.

    "Did you think I would fail at that much?"

    Adam unwound their tail and snaked it out from under Bill's shirt. The parasite stretched, dropped to all fours, and darted across the catwalk a wall at one end. Bill watched from inside, trying to piece together what his companion was about to do until he noticed the rows of holes dotting the wall. As Adam approached, Bill noticed that they stopped a few feet from the floor of the catwalk but ran straight upwards to just beyond his field of vision. He couldn't imagine where they might have led until he noticed chunks of plaster and dust littering that end of the catwalk. Adam ignored these as he bound over them to the wall, leaving Bill no time to think about them.

    Then, Adam sprang up and latched onto the wall with both hands and feet. For a moment, Bill was left completely speechless, unable to react as Adam scaled the wall. At times, the parasite used the holes as footholds; at others, it created completely new ones by punching its claws into the plaster. Bill struggled to process all of this until, finally, his mind came up with one line.
    I see what you're saying here, but allow me to say that I was caught off guard by how you're writing the conversion between Bill and Adam. It's largely been that he's been referred to as one singular being thus far, but when Adam came into control, you said "their tail." It's not wrong, and I can see why you did it, but it was a bit jarring.

    Surely you're joking.

    "Why?" Adam asked. "Is this amusing to you?"

    Certainly not! Bill paused. It's just… defiant of… almost everything that I was thinking.

    "I must reiterate, Bill. Stop seeing our body as human. It will be much easier to accept that you no longer have the limitations you once did."

    Bill couldn't think of anything to say to that. Instead, he sat back and watched his body traverse the wall, eventually arriving at the ceiling. There, Adam continued, hooking their tail directly into the tiles as an added anchor. Fixing their eyes on a small hole hidden above one of the gym's lights, Adam skittered quickly upside-down until it climbed through the roof.

    Outside, the sun sat high in the sky, forcing Adam to squint at the sudden, harsh light. Yet, even then it didn't slow down as it darted across the roof to the edge. It peered down over the parapet along the roof to an empty alley behind the gym. Although Bill couldn't think straight, he could tell it was well above a few feet from the ground to where they were.
    Great scenery setting.

    Before a single one could get out, however, a scream rose from a distance, followed by the sounds of gunshots. Jolting out of his meditations, Bill looked to the sky. The shrieks were uncomfortably familiar to him.

    "Ixodida calls…" His eyes widened. "The Caravan!"
    Aw crap.

    His feet sprang into a run. He didn't think twice about it. All he could do was imagine what was happening blocks away.

    Bill, Adam said, what are you doing?

    Turning a corner, he forced himself to pick up speed. "They're in danger!"

    And you plan on saving them?

    "Yes!"

    By any means?

    Bill stopped under a streetlamp. His body wasn't built for speed, and because of that, he could tell he would have to take it easy if he wanted energy left over for a possible fight. Placing a hand on the pole beside him, he panted.

    "Yes!" he finally replied.

    Even after they trapped us?

    He nodded and bent over.

    Why?

    Bill lifted his head. Several different faces flashed across his brain, but the one that lingered was Lanette's, fresh from that memory Adam had summoned not too long ago. He felt Adam slide into his thoughts and look.

    Her? You must care deeply for her.

    Bill stood straight and frowned.

    Why do you insist on trying with her when she does not see you as her friend?

    "Because she's her," Bill answered simply.
    Oh, Bill. Never change.

    Before Adam could argue, he started into another run.

    Behind him, a pair of purple eyes peered out from the alley by the gym. 009 pursed her lips as her hand reached up to press a button on a communicator attached to her ear.

    "This is 009. Target spotted."

    "But not captured?" Nettle hissed over the device.

    "Good things come to those who wait, Professor. Trust me."

    With that, she stalked out into the empty street, taking her time to follow.
    ...aaaaaaaand then everything just got even worse. ****.

    I have to say, while not much technically happened in this chapter, what did happen was written in such a good way that it became substantial in a different way. The surprise revelations surrounding John, Ariana and Team Rocket, and then the cliffhanger ending with the Caravan, were both great plot points this time.
    Last edited by The Great Butler; 30th April 2011 at 9:56 AM.

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  12. #137
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    Ooh! Thanks, Nando! As a side note, I swear I will eventually get to your fic too. When real life stops trying to kill me.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    Oh you, Jax. Oh you.
    *le bow* Also, cookie for being the first person who pointed that out.

    Beautiful scene setting here. I can picture it, and I like what I see.

    This part is difficult to swallow at once. That's a good thing; you've exceeded yourself at presenting an utterly horrifying scenario that makes the reader uncomfortable.
    Thank you! I have to admit, I was having some weird trouble with that first scene you quoted. I don't know why, but I figured out that it's randomly difficult for me to describe someone using a computer.

    As for the other scene, I'm really glad it made you feel uncomfortable. That's pretty much what I was going for there. ;D

    Bill's professionalism is astounding. Seriously.
    Amen to that. It's completely in-character, too. ("Pokémon I spent years trying to contact was enraged and incurred thousands of dollars of property damage on my home before running away? That's okay!")

    I wonder what became of Pandora and Abel exactly...
    Abel actually died a few chapters back. (I think it was around chapter six. Basically, the Mauville citizens surrounded him and shot him through his core, so there's really no chance in a frosty Hell that he'll be coming back. Bill wasn't too pleased to watch that.)

    Pandora, on the other hand...

    Aw crap. Ariana's here hide your booze.
    ;D

    I hadn't expected some of the developments in these passages, like Ariana's arrival and the revelation of the McKenzie family's ties to Team Rocket. This could be interesting how you're depicting them, using "the firm."
    Bwahahahahaaaa... (Or, at least, John uses them. I'll get into this in just a moment.)

    Assuming this is referring to what I think, I never even thought for a second Bill would have had any ties in any way to it, but now that it's in front of me I can't believe I never thought of it.
    Oooh, if it is what I think you think it is (lolwut), then...

        Spoiler:- Headcanon tiems!:


    Okay, I like this guy. A lot.
    It's really hard not to. ;D

    Why do I get the feeling Ariana would go further than his shoulders if she had to?
    Because she totally would. *le nod* It's just that John didn't give her nearly enough time.

    Bill and his family are really good at being champions of the obvious, aren't they?
    Pretty much! Bill, unintentionally so. Everyone else? Mmm, snarkers.

    Nitwit of a woman. Psssssh.
    And this is the only thing John and Giovanni can agree on.

    Alright, I take back what I said about liking him. Now I just think he's awesome.
    XD

    Y'know, I could fit in a your mom joke here, and given John's personality, it would probably be dangerously close to believable. (He really is a drunken, womanizing git.)

    Alright, THAT was unexpected. Did not see it coming, not one bit.
    John McKenzie: Master of the Subverted Trope

    Okay, that was shaping up to be an awesome flashback scene, then suddenly you threw it for a loop. Stop screwing with me! XD;
    Oh, c'mon, bby. You know it's good. ;D *lights up cigarette*

    Oh I'm sure Bill has some dark secrets in his mind about Lanette. Methinks Adam's picked up some of them.
    Oh, most definitely. Even Bill's no stranger to a select number of the Seven Deadlies, if you know what I mean.

    I hope Adam purchased some Burn Heal before he landed on Earth, because he just got TOLD. That's Bill for you, possessed by an alien virus and mouthing off to it.
    Pretty much. XD Bill... just doesn't see things the way normal people would, no. *shakes head*

    This could be interesting. Certainly not a thread I would have started at this point...
    Yep. But when your host has decided to sit there instead of do anything for hours on end (never mind the fact that he might have been sleeping up until now), you gotta cure boredom somehow. Including just rambling on until he cracks.

    Fascinating. Getting such rich scenery and meaning out of such a simple point like his name is unexpected, but it is also fulfilling.
    Thank you!

    Well of course it's that simple. It always is, isn't it?
    Naturally. ;D

    I got a chill down my spine.
    Aaaand my work here is done. \o/

    I see what you're saying here, but allow me to say that I was caught off guard by how you're writing the conversion between Bill and Adam. It's largely been that he's been referred to as one singular being thus far, but when Adam came into control, you said "their tail." It's not wrong, and I can see why you did it, but it was a bit jarring.
    Hmm. I definitely see what you're saying there, and I'll check it out again on the edit blitz I've got planned. You're right. Normally, I see them as separate entities because it makes the division between them clear as day. In this case... I'm not sure why I decided to refer to them together. I vaguely recall wondering whether or not I should keep it that way, and I think I might've dropped the subject after a bit.

    Aw crap.
    ;D

    Oh, Bill. Never change.
    Knowing him, he probably won't. XD Much, anyway. It'll take a bit more beating before he decides to change his strategy at the very least.

    ...aaaaaaaand then everything just got even worse. ****.
    Yep. ;D

    I have to say, while not much technically happened in this chapter, what did happen was written in such a good way that it became substantial in a different way. The surprise revelations surrounding John, Ariana and Team Rocket, and then the cliffhanger ending with the Caravan, were both great plot points this time.
    Thank you! And I hope I'll be able to follow up on that cliffhanger sufficiently enough with something awesome. Y'know. So that entire thing doesn't seem massively anticlimactic and so you don't look at me with a :| face.

    But seriously, thanks for the review~!

    REBOOT: Chapter fifteen now available. | Original: Chapter thirty-one now available.

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  13. #138
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    *dusts off thread* OH HEY, GUYS. MAYBE THIS MONTH, REAL LIFE WON'T EAT ME?

    Yeah, wishful thinking, but hey.



    Anima Ex Machina: Eighteen
    The power is yet unknown.


    A wise man once said that if a normal person pulled a lever and received an electric shock, he wouldn't pull the lever again; if a scientist did it, he'd do it at least twice to see if it would happen again. This was largely true in Bill's world. In terms of common sense, pokémon researchers were generally stupid people. This would also explain why Bill, who had very little battling experience and an equal amount of understanding as to how his powers worked, ran headlong into hurricane force winds.

    Slamming into a telephone pole, Bill grimaced and braced his back against the fixture. As he opened one eye, he cautiously surveyed what he was up against. Before him lay a war zone. The street in front of the pokémon center was, in a sense, just as he left it: crammed with cars, tents, people, and pokémon. Yet, the difference here was that the orderliness of the Caravan was gone. Cars were overturned or in the process of being overturned. Debris – everything from trash to pots and clothing – sailed along strong currents of wind. People, all of whom were to his luck too distracted by the fighting to notice him, were armed and shooting towards the sky if they weren't running or being tossed right along with everything else the gusts picked up. Pokémon turned their limbs towards a spot above them and fired everything from flames to leaves. Glancing towards the sky, Bill caught sight of what was causing the commotion, and that sight alone was enough to stop him right where he was.

    Above the battleground were three white ixodida. All three of them whipped their wings furiously, churning the air into strong gales. Blue feathers of light shot from one harpy's wings to cut through the air and slam into the trainers just beneath her. The second twisted her wings, and the gales she generated picked up every pokémon and person in her path. At the same time, the third held out her hands and turned them in front of her as if to weave the winds around her sisters. All of this happened while they suspended themselves far above their attackers.

    Having had enough of this sight, Bill dashed for a nearby building. The windows had been blown out by the storm, so he had no trouble slipping inside to find the comparatively peaceful interior of a wind-gutted shop. As he scrambled over broken glass and overturned shelves of shirts and clothing, he concentrated on only one thing.

    "Flying," Bill muttered. "Why are they flying?"

    Inside his head, he could feel Adam's presence. Well, Bill, I do believe they would be what your kind call "flying-types."

    "Yes, but…" He shook his head. "I'm not a flying-type! I think."

    Your point?

    "Why are they flying?!"

    Adam sighed. If you are asking why they are of the Wind Clan but you are not, that would be explained by the fact that I hardly care for their kind at all. Bill, you are in the middle of a battle. What is your next move?

    "My next move?"

    Yes. I would assume you are planning on doing something besides run.

    "I-I'm working on it."

    He tore across the store and to the opposite wall. Seemingly at random, he began throwing open every door he could find along it – doors to closets, to bathrooms, to back rooms. Adam watched as its host scrambled into the latter, clamoring over cardboard boxes in search of another door.

    Is that so? Adam asked. And what, may I ask, are you planning on doing exactly?

    "I need to get to the roof," Bill replied, as if it was the simplest question in the world.

    And from there?

    "I haven't the faintest."

    Bill reached a door on the opposite side of the wall. Shoving it open, he slipped outside once again, but this time, he found an alley just behind the store. Just outside, the wind was not much more than a cold breeze carrying the strong scent of garbage. The other ixodida were nowhere to be seen, but Bill could hear them clearly on the other side of the building – a sharp reminder of why he was out there. At the same time, he couldn't see any sign of what he was looking for: a fire escape, a ladder, anything that would help him climb the brick walls surrounding him. Realizing this fact, he raised his claws and examined them.

    "Adam," he said.

    Yes, Bill?

    "When you climbed the gym wall, you didn't need to do anything else but pierce the surface, correct?"

    Correct. If you tried it, our body will know what to do.

    "Is that so?" Bill replied quietly. Then, he gazed at the brick wall of the shop. "Well. Nothing to lose, I suppose."

    He approached the wall and placed a hand on it. Experimentally, he pushed his claws into the brick, feeling their hard tips grind against the solid surface.

    You will need to hit it harder than that, Bill.

    Bill hesitated, hand feeling the solidity of the brick and mind acknowledging that stabbing a wall with one's own fingers would most likely hurt just a bit. Nonetheless, he closed his eyes and tried to follow Adam's advice. His body would know what to do, but how was he supposed to make a connection between what he wanted it to do and what it could do?

    The sound of the birds' shrieks from the other side of the building snapped him out of his meditations. Looking up, he saw a flash of light, and he could hear a crack of thunder. With that, Bill steadied himself and turned his eyes back to the wall. He brought a hand back and let it cut through the air until it slammed into the surface. All five of his claws sank into the material like nails being driven into it with a hammer. His other hand followed, and soon, Bill found himself climbing up the wall without much effort.

    "I can't believe I'm doing this," he murmured.

    You can do much more, Adam replied, but this is a good start.

    Bill briefly thought to ask Adam what he meant, but as he climbed onto the roof, he felt the wind from the ixodida not far away. It served as his anchor, his focus point as he clambered over the edge of the building and onto the roof. Looking up, he caught a glimpse of the three birds, still stirring winds between them above the main street. Jumping to his feet, Bill launched himself forward until he stood on the edge of the roof closest to them. Part of him felt shudders of nervousness; he knew he didn't really think his plan all the way through. The other part, meanwhile, was the one that drove him to lift an arm and wave it at the other ixodida.

    "Hey!" he shouted. "Hey! Over here!"

    While two of the harpies broke formation to dive at the crowd beneath them, the third turned her head to look at Bill. He opened his mouth, prepared to speak and address her, but then, something hot hit him from behind. In the next few seconds, all he could see was green light. He felt as if a sledgehammer slammed into his spine. The ground slipped from beneath his feet, and all of a sudden, his limbs flailed through the air until his fingertips hit brick. His entire body jolted, and right then, Bill realized he was hanging from the wall, back and arms throbbing with a stabbing, hot pain. The other ixodida's shriek filled his ears, and mid-wince, he caught sight of a white blur sailing above him.

    Shakily, he pulled himself upwards and back onto the roof just in time to watch the harpy slam her entire form into Lanette's altaria. Lanette herself leapt into the air to dismount, landing with her back turned towards Bill.

    "Altaria! Blind it with Toxic!" she ordered.

    The bird screeched and enveloped the alien with her wings. As soon as she realized what was about to happen, the harpy thrashed as her enemy craned her slender neck and began hacking and coughing. The bird's beak opened, and a black, viscous mass splattered onto the ixodida's face. Skin hissed beneath a coat of slime as the harpy screamed and violently twisted her body in an effort to get away.

    Across the roof, Lanette pulled her crowbar free from the straps across her back. "Altaria, send her back. DragonBreath!"

    Once more, the altaria whipped her head upwards and opened her beak. This time, sparks of green light gathered in the back of her throat. The glow grew quickly until it filled her entire mouth. Then, she unfolded her wings and exhaled, breathing out the energy in the form of a wide, green beam. Blind and unable to defend herself, Altaria's opponent took the brunt of the attack and sailed backwards, her screams drowning in the roar of the blast. At the same time, Lanette gracefully stepped aside and swung her crowbar into the incoming harpy. Metal met the ixodida's skull with a sickening crack, driving her to flip in the air and fall limply like a ragdoll onto the tar roof. Lanette wasted no time from there: she flipped her crowbar with one hand and stabbed the white-feathered creature through her stomach. Green liquid and blood spurted out from the jewel on the alien's torso.

    Bill had never been so terrified of someone he knew in all his life. He watched her yank her crowbar free from the ixodida's body. In his silence, he rose to his feet once more, but he couldn't force his mind to work enough to say something to her. It was Lanette who had to break the quiet between them, although she never turned to face him.

    "Do you want to die?" she growled.

    "W-what?" Bill murmured.

    Lanette flicked her wrist, shaking blood and the parasite's bodily fluids off her crowbar.

    "I was very clear with the sentence I gave you," she said. "Exile or death. And here you are."

    "Lanette…" Bill forced himself to smile at her. "You-you wouldn't really… would you?"

    She turned her head to look over a shoulder at him. Without warning, she screamed and lunged at him, swinging her crowbar at his head. Instinctively, he ducked, dodging her first strike narrowly. His arms flew in front of his face to defend himself as his entire body began to glow silver. Her crowbar connected with his forearm with a resounding clang, but with Iron Defense reinforcing Bill's armor, Lanette's weapon slid off him harmlessly. For Bill, a dull ache radiated from the spot she hit, but it was nothing compared to the pain he felt when Lanette's crowbar nailed him on the side of the head. His vision flooded with fuzzy spots as he reeled away from her. One of his hands grasped the side of his head, and he closed one eye and gritted his teeth.

    "You're serious!" he yelped. "Lanette, stop!"

    His vision resolved just seconds before he saw another flash of silver headed towards the other side of his head. A gasp caught in his throat as he sidestepped his colleague, but this put him in clear range of a large, round sphere of green light launched by the altaria hovering nearby. For the second time in a span of fifteen minutes, Bill pinwheeled through the air, hot pain lacing through his limbs before he faceplanted into the roof on the opposite side of the building. Groaning, he lifted his head and squinted just enough to see a blue blob hanging several feet away from him. A brown boot came down hard next to him, and, already shaking, he turned his eyes to see Lanette standing above him.

    "Why won't you put up a fight?" she asked.

    Bill coughed. He planted his hands on the roof and pushed until he knelt with his head bowed.

    "Because I'm not your enemy," he replied.

    "No," she said quietly. "That's not what I meant."

    She swung one more time, smacking Bill in the back of the head. He sprawled onto the roof again, but this time, Lanette pushed him onto his back with one of her feet. That same foot planted itself onto his chest, and both of her hands drew in front of her to encircle the crowbar tightly.

    "I mean you're possibly the most pathetic ixodida I've ever met," she told him.

    She raised her crowbar, pointed end aimed at Bill's head. Right when it was raised as high as she could lift it, a white figure swooped down and grabbed the other end. Lanette had no time to defend herself before she was pulled into the air by a pair of white-feathered arms. Altaria shrieked and turned her head, beak open as green light gathered in her beak, but she hesitated as her target held her master close. Bill sat up, eyes wide as he watched both Lanette and the creature rise into the air with altaria trailing far behind. Two other ixodida joined them shortly afterwards.

    It didn't take long for two realizations to hit Bill. First, the obvious – that Lanette was just captured by a bunch of ixodida. The second was a bit more obscure.

    "Adam, weren't there only three ixodida?" Bill asked quickly.

    Without hesitation, Adam replied, Yes, Bill, I do believe there were.

    "One of them is dead."

    Yes, Bill.

    "There's…"

    Bill forced himself to his feet as quickly as his injuries would allow. Yelping, he held his head as the world swam around him.

    "Adam, I need to think. How quickly can my body recover from Lanette's attacks?"

    Luckily, not that long. We should be within fighting condition in a few minutes.

    Grumbling, Bill opened an eye. "I really don't plan on fighting, but I need a way to follow those ixodida. How high can I jump?"

    Not very.

    "Can I draw them to me?"

    I would hardly suggest it.

    "What if I used an attack to launch myself towards them? Perhaps Hyper Beam or something of that nature?"

    I do believe that would be considered a ridiculous idea.

    Bill sighed in exasperation. "Then what can I do?"

    There was a pause as Bill watched the white figures grow more and more distant. He thought for a moment that Adam was simply not going to help him at all, but as he began to rattle his brain for a plan of his own, the parasite responded.

    There is one thing you can do.

    Bill glanced down. "What?"

    Run forward and jump.

    "What?!"

    Do it. You will see.

    Bill fixed his jaw. Glancing around him, he couldn't quite see anything that would help him put together a better idea, and in any case, Adam knew his body best… right? Taking a deep breath, Bill fixed his eyes straight ahead. Once he cleared his mind, he sprinted forward, his every muscle focused on carrying him to the edge of the building as quickly as possible. He had no idea what he was going to do. No combination of powers came to mind. All he thought about was running, as if that would somehow magically bring Lanette down safely.

    Then, he ran out of ground. His body launched over the edge, arms flailing through the air and wind rushing around him. That's when it clicked. A sudden thought – one that he considered simple at that moment, as crazy as it would have sounded if he wasn't free-falling from a three-story building. In preparation for that single plan, Bill's body began to glow with a golden aura. His mouth opened, and without thinking about it, he uttered two short words.

    "Magnet Rise!"

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    YES. This.

    I can safely say that this chapter more than makes up for all the dialogue and character development that lead up to what just happened.

    The action was nicely paced and sensible, the drama was well done and believable. In short, it was probably one of your best chapters yet (even if it was a little short). Even then, the chapter did what it set out to achieve, so it isn't really a complaint, just a want for more AEM ;D

    "I need to get to the roof," Bill replied, as if it was the simplest question in the world.

    And from there?

    "I haven't the faintest."
    I'm not sure it's just a lack of knowledge on my end but I feel that there should be something at the end of this. Like 'I haven't the faintest idea' or 'I haven't the faintest clue'.

    Perhaps if you would have said, 'I haven't the foggiest' it would have worked better in my English brain, but again, I may just have a lack of knowledge.

    Here's hoping Bill will save the day and win the "not-hatred" of Lanette.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diddy View Post
    I can safely say that this chapter more than makes up for all the dialogue and character development that lead up to what just happened.
    Thank you! And next chapter will have bunches of patches where I go back to a lot of that character development and dialogue. Because Adam is a fantastic bastard to write.

    Even then, the chapter did what it set out to achieve, so it isn't really a complaint, just a want for more AEM ;D
    Side note as a fun fact: it was originally going to be longer, but then I realized that if I extended it, you probably wouldn't be seeing a chapter until July. Seriously.

    AAAAND in any case, I just wanted to be an utter jerk and leave you hanging about what Bill is going to be doing with Magnet Rise. ;D

    But there will totally be more fight scenes in the next chapter, so hopefully, that'll make up for the fact that this one (and maybe the next one itself) are short.

    I'm not sure it's just a lack of knowledge on my end but I feel that there should be something at the end of this. Like 'I haven't the faintest idea' or 'I haven't the faintest clue'.
    Y'know, this is actually a bad habit of mine to say it that way. For whatever reason (I'm guessing the fact that I've been immensely tired lately), I've been writing character dialogue all over the place in this thing the way I would speak, rather than the way they would speak. As in, I don't know anyone else besides yours truly who says, "I haven't the faintest." And Bill, meanwhile, would probably say, "I haven't the foggiest" (especially since he's English -- or, well, "English"). So, yep, FANTASTIC JOB AT WRITING AND PROOFREADING DIALOGUE, JAX. HAVE A COOKIE.

    Here's hoping Bill will save the day and win the "not-hatred" of Lanette.
    Or at least not get himself killed, amirite?

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  16. #141
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    Quote Originally Posted by JX Valentine View Post

    Anima Ex Machina: Eighteen
    The power is yet unknown.


    A wise man once said that if a normal person pulled a lever and received an electric shock, he wouldn't pull the lever again; if a scientist did it, he'd do it at least twice to see if it would happen again. This was largely true in Bill's world. In terms of common sense, pokémon researchers were generally stupid people. This would also explain why Bill, who had very little battling experience and an equal amount of understanding as to how his powers worked, ran headlong into hurricane force winds.
    I know this shouldn't be funny. But it is.

    Slamming into a telephone pole, Bill grimaced and braced his back against the fixture. As he opened one eye, he cautiously surveyed what he was up against. Before him lay a war zone. The street in front of the pokémon center was, in a sense, just as he left it: crammed with cars, tents, people, and pokémon. Yet, the difference here was that the orderliness of the Caravan was gone. Cars were overturned or in the process of being overturned. Debris – everything from trash to pots and clothing – sailed along strong currents of wind. People, all of whom were to his luck too distracted by the fighting to notice him, were armed and shooting towards the sky if they weren't running or being tossed right along with everything else the gusts picked up. Pokémon turned their limbs towards a spot above them and fired everything from flames to leaves. Glancing towards the sky, Bill caught sight of what was causing the commotion, and that sight alone was enough to stop him right where he was.

    Above the battleground were three white ixodida. All three of them whipped their wings furiously, churning the air into strong gales. Blue feathers of light shot from one harpy's wings to cut through the air and slam into the trainers just beneath her. The second twisted her wings, and the gales she generated picked up every pokémon and person in her path. At the same time, the third held out her hands and turned them in front of her as if to weave the winds around her sisters. All of this happened while they suspended themselves far above their attackers.
    This is a good little bit of detail here, showing how each of the Ixodida contributes to the attack in their own way. It helps show just how intelligent they are.

    Having had enough of this sight, Bill dashed for a nearby building. The windows had been blown out by the storm, so he had no trouble slipping inside to find the comparatively peaceful interior of a wind-gutted shop. As he scrambled over broken glass and overturned shelves of shirts and clothing, he concentrated on only one thing.

    "Flying," Bill muttered. "Why are they flying?"

    Inside his head, he could feel Adam's presence. Well, Bill, I do believe they would be what your kind call "flying-types."
    Okay Jax, you need to stop being funny when you shouldn't be. The alien apocalypse should not be hilarious!

    "Yes, but…" He shook his head. "I'm not a flying-type! I think."

    Your point?

    "Why are they flying?!"

    Adam sighed. If you are asking why they are of the Wind Clan but you are not, that would be explained by the fact that I hardly care for their kind at all. Bill, you are in the middle of a battle. What is your next move?

    "My next move?"

    Yes. I would assume you are planning on doing something besides run.

    "I-I'm working on it."
    Ah yes, typical Bill. He does live in a world where the choices are always and only Fight, Bag, Pokemon and Run, after all.

    He tore across the store and to the opposite wall. Seemingly at random, he began throwing open every door he could find along it – doors to closets, to bathrooms, to back rooms. Adam watched as its host scrambled into the latter, clamoring over cardboard boxes in search of another door.

    Is that so? Adam asked. And what, may I ask, are you planning on doing exactly?

    "I need to get to the roof," Bill replied, as if it was the simplest question in the world.
    I haven't scrolled down yet. If he's about to jump off the roof onto one of them, I'm going to start laughing again because of how hilariously epic it is.

    And from there?

    "I haven't the faintest."

    Bill reached a door on the opposite side of the wall. Shoving it open, he slipped outside once again, but this time, he found an alley just behind the store. Just outside, the wind was not much more than a cold breeze carrying the strong scent of garbage. The other ixodida were nowhere to be seen, but Bill could hear them clearly on the other side of the building – a sharp reminder of why he was out there. At the same time, he couldn't see any sign of what he was looking for: a fire escape, a ladder, anything that would help him climb the brick walls surrounding him. Realizing this fact, he raised his claws and examined them.

    "Adam," he said.

    Yes, Bill?

    "When you climbed the gym wall, you didn't need to do anything else but pierce the surface, correct?"

    Correct. If you tried it, our body will know what to do.

    "Is that so?" Bill replied quietly. Then, he gazed at the brick wall of the shop. "Well. Nothing to lose, I suppose."

    He approached the wall and placed a hand on it. Experimentally, he pushed his claws into the brick, feeling their hard tips grind against the solid surface.

    You will need to hit it harder than that, Bill.
    Oh, Adam. Always so patronizing.


    Bill hesitated, hand feeling the solidity of the brick and mind acknowledging that stabbing a wall with one's own fingers would most likely hurt just a bit. Nonetheless, he closed his eyes and tried to follow Adam's advice. His body would know what to do, but how was he supposed to make a connection between what he wanted it to do and what it could do?

    The sound of the birds' shrieks from the other side of the building snapped him out of his meditations. Looking up, he saw a flash of light, and he could hear a crack of thunder. With that, Bill steadied himself and turned his eyes back to the wall. He brought a hand back and let it cut through the air until it slammed into the surface. All five of his claws sank into the material like nails being driven into it with a hammer. His other hand followed, and soon, Bill found himself climbing up the wall without much effort.

    "I can't believe I'm doing this," he murmured.

    You can do much more, Adam replied, but this is a good start.

    Bill briefly thought to ask Adam what he meant, but as he climbed onto the roof, he felt the wind from the ixodida not far away. It served as his anchor, his focus point as he clambered over the edge of the building and onto the roof. Looking up, he caught a glimpse of the three birds, still stirring winds between them above the main street. Jumping to his feet, Bill launched himself forward until he stood on the edge of the roof closest to them. Part of him felt shudders of nervousness; he knew he didn't really think his plan all the way through. The other part, meanwhile, was the one that drove him to lift an arm and wave it at the other ixodida.

    "Hey!" he shouted. "Hey! Over here!"
    Oh God. He's gonna do it, isn't he?

    While two of the harpies broke formation to dive at the crowd beneath them, the third turned her head to look at Bill. He opened his mouth, prepared to speak and address her, but then, something hot hit him from behind. In the next few seconds, all he could see was green light. He felt as if a sledgehammer slammed into his spine. The ground slipped from beneath his feet, and all of a sudden, his limbs flailed through the air until his fingertips hit brick. His entire body jolted, and right then, Bill realized he was hanging from the wall, back and arms throbbing with a stabbing, hot pain. The other ixodida's shriek filled his ears, and mid-wince, he caught sight of a white blur sailing above him.

    Shakily, he pulled himself upwards and back onto the roof just in time to watch the harpy slam her entire form into Lanette's altaria. Lanette herself leapt into the air to dismount, landing with her back turned towards Bill.

    "Altaria! Blind it with Toxic!" she ordered.
    Well that was unexpected.

    The bird screeched and enveloped the alien with her wings. As soon as she realized what was about to happen, the harpy thrashed as her enemy craned her slender neck and began hacking and coughing. The bird's beak opened, and a black, viscous mass splattered onto the ixodida's face. Skin hissed beneath a coat of slime as the harpy screamed and violently twisted her body in an effort to get away.
    That's incredible. Seriously. Toxic's not easy to describe either.

    Across the roof, Lanette pulled her crowbar free from the straps across her back. "Altaria, send her back. DragonBreath!"

    Once more, the altaria whipped her head upwards and opened her beak. This time, sparks of green light gathered in the back of her throat. The glow grew quickly until it filled her entire mouth. Then, she unfolded her wings and exhaled, breathing out the energy in the form of a wide, green beam. Blind and unable to defend herself, Altaria's opponent took the brunt of the attack and sailed backwards, her screams drowning in the roar of the blast. At the same time, Lanette gracefully stepped aside and swung her crowbar into the incoming harpy. Metal met the ixodida's skull with a sickening crack, driving her to flip in the air and fall limply like a ragdoll onto the tar roof. Lanette wasted no time from there: she flipped her crowbar with one hand and stabbed the white-feathered creature through her stomach. Green liquid and blood spurted out from the jewel on the alien's torso.
    Holy ****, that's ****ing badass. I love her now.

    Bill had never been so terrified of someone he knew in all his life. He watched her yank her crowbar free from the ixodida's body. In his silence, he rose to his feet once more, but he couldn't force his mind to work enough to say something to her. It was Lanette who had to break the quiet between them, although she never turned to face him.

    "Do you want to die?" she growled.

    "W-what?" Bill murmured.

    Lanette flicked her wrist, shaking blood and the parasite's bodily fluids off her crowbar.

    "I was very clear with the sentence I gave you," she said. "Exile or death. And here you are."

    "Lanette…" Bill forced himself to smile at her. "You-you wouldn't really… would you?"

    She turned her head to look over a shoulder at him. Without warning, she screamed and lunged at him, swinging her crowbar at his head. Instinctively, he ducked, dodging her first strike narrowly. His arms flew in front of his face to defend himself as his entire body began to glow silver. Her crowbar connected with his forearm with a resounding clang, but with Iron Defense reinforcing Bill's armor, Lanette's weapon slid off him harmlessly. For Bill, a dull ache radiated from the spot she hit, but it was nothing compared to the pain he felt when Lanette's crowbar nailed him on the side of the head. His vision flooded with fuzzy spots as he reeled away from her. One of his hands grasped the side of his head, and he closed one eye and gritted his teeth.
    Okay, and now I don't.

    "You're serious!" he yelped. "Lanette, stop!"

    His vision resolved just seconds before he saw another flash of silver headed towards the other side of his head. A gasp caught in his throat as he sidestepped his colleague, but this put him in clear range of a large, round sphere of green light launched by the altaria hovering nearby. For the second time in a span of fifteen minutes, Bill pinwheeled through the air, hot pain lacing through his limbs before he faceplanted into the roof on the opposite side of the building. Groaning, he lifted his head and squinted just enough to see a blue blob hanging several feet away from him. A brown boot came down hard next to him, and, already shaking, he turned his eyes to see Lanette standing above him.

    "Why won't you put up a fight?" she asked.

    Bill coughed. He planted his hands on the roof and pushed until he knelt with his head bowed.

    "Because I'm not your enemy," he replied.

    "No," she said quietly. "That's not what I meant."

    She swung one more time, smacking Bill in the back of the head. He sprawled onto the roof again, but this time, Lanette pushed him onto his back with one of her feet. That same foot planted itself onto his chest, and both of her hands drew in front of her to encircle the crowbar tightly.

    "I mean you're possibly the most pathetic ixodida I've ever met," she told him.

    She raised her crowbar, pointed end aimed at Bill's head. Right when it was raised as high as she could lift it, a white figure swooped down and grabbed the other end. Lanette had no time to defend herself before she was pulled into the air by a pair of white-feathered arms. Altaria shrieked and turned her head, beak open as green light gathered in her beak, but she hesitated as her target held her master close. Bill sat up, eyes wide as he watched both Lanette and the creature rise into the air with altaria trailing far behind. Two other ixodida joined them shortly afterwards.

    It didn't take long for two realizations to hit Bill. First, the obvious – that Lanette was just captured by a bunch of ixodida. The second was a bit more obscure.
    Good riddance.

        Spoiler:- ...:


    "Adam, weren't there only three ixodida?" Bill asked quickly.

    Without hesitation, Adam replied, Yes, Bill, I do believe there were.

    "One of them is dead."

    Yes, Bill.

    "There's…"

    Bill forced himself to his feet as quickly as his injuries would allow. Yelping, he held his head as the world swam around him.

    "Adam, I need to think. How quickly can my body recover from Lanette's attacks?"

    Luckily, not that long. We should be within fighting condition in a few minutes.

    Grumbling, Bill opened an eye. "I really don't plan on fighting, but I need a way to follow those ixodida. How high can I jump?"

    Not very.

    "Can I draw them to me?"

    I would hardly suggest it.

    "What if I used an attack to launch myself towards them? Perhaps Hyper Beam or something of that nature?"

    I do believe that would be considered a ridiculous idea.

    Bill sighed in exasperation. "Then what can I do?"

    There was a pause as Bill watched the white figures grow more and more distant. He thought for a moment that Adam was simply not going to help him at all, but as he began to rattle his brain for a plan of his own, the parasite responded.

    There is one thing you can do.

    Bill glanced down. "What?"

    Run forward and jump.

    "What?!"

    Do it. You will see.

    Bill fixed his jaw. Glancing around him, he couldn't quite see anything that would help him put together a better idea, and in any case, Adam knew his body best… right? Taking a deep breath, Bill fixed his eyes straight ahead. Once he cleared his mind, he sprinted forward, his every muscle focused on carrying him to the edge of the building as quickly as possible. He had no idea what he was going to do. No combination of powers came to mind. All he thought about was running, as if that would somehow magically bring Lanette down safely.

    Then, he ran out of ground. His body launched over the edge, arms flailing through the air and wind rushing around him. That's when it clicked. A sudden thought – one that he considered simple at that moment, as crazy as it would have sounded if he wasn't free-falling from a three-story building. In preparation for that single plan, Bill's body began to glow with a golden aura. His mouth opened, and without thinking about it, he uttered two short words.

    "Magnet Rise!"
    Oh you, Jax. You and your friggin cliffhangers. I don't think Lanette is going to appreciate him saving her even if he does, though.

    It's impressive how much you managed to pack in for a chapter in which not much happened on the surface. I think the plot should begin moving a bit more quickly now that Bill's on the move, and if he fights those Ixodida that kidnapped Lanette, there's some big action coming too.

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  17. #142
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    I know this shouldn't be funny. But it is.
    Oh, it should totally be funny. 'Cause it's true. ;D

    After all...

    Professor Ivy: "Who needs garbage cans when you have the floor?"

    Professor Elm: "SORRY, I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE SOUND OF THIS THING I'M STUDYING."

    Professor Birch: "I'm going to piss off this Poochyena and use my l33t researcher skills to determine that it's pissed off! And then I'm going to climb a tree and rely on a newbie trainer to rescue me!"

    Professor Westwood V gets no witty lines from me because canon takes care of itself.

    And then you have Bill, who once accidentally trapped himself in a Kabuto costume (and then, in the original, tried to pass it off as completely intentional). He'll make a great researcher yet. *nods*

    This is a good little bit of detail here, showing how each of the Ixodida contributes to the attack in their own way. It helps show just how intelligent they are.
    Thank you!

        Spoiler:- Orrrr...:


    Okay Jax, you need to stop being funny when you shouldn't be. The alien apocalypse should not be hilarious!
    NOT ACCORDING TO MEN IN BLACK. :V

    Ah yes, typical Bill. He does live in a world where the choices are always and only Fight, Bag, Pokemon and Run, after all.
    Pretty much. And you know that in his mind, it's going like this:

    FIGHT BAG
    PKMN RUN


    I haven't scrolled down yet. If he's about to jump off the roof onto one of them, I'm going to start laughing again because of how hilariously epic it is.
    Y'know, I thought about that idea too, but he totally would've missed and hit the pavement.

    Oh, Adam. Always so patronizing.
    Naturally. ;D It's probably regretting choosing Bill to be its host throughout this chapter.

    Oh God. He's gonna do it, isn't he?
    ;D

    That's incredible. Seriously. Toxic's not easy to describe either.
    Thank you!

    It helps that I did a lot of work for a couple of Anime-Style Battling leagues in the past. It's just not a real battle in those kinds of games unless someone uses Toxic at some point, so I've had a lot of practice.

    Holy ****, that's ****ing badass. I love her now.

    Okay, and now I don't.
    I love your reactions. XD

        Spoiler:- ...:
        Spoiler:- TMI.:


    Oh you, Jax. You and your friggin cliffhangers. I don't think Lanette is going to appreciate him saving her even if he does, though.
    Oh, she definitely won't. ;D

    It's impressive how much you managed to pack in for a chapter in which not much happened on the surface. I think the plot should begin moving a bit more quickly now that Bill's on the move, and if he fights those Ixodida that kidnapped Lanette, there's some big action coming too.
    Thank you! And I hope I won't disappoint when it comes to the next chapter because, yes, there totally will be awesome battle scenes not too long from now.

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  18. #143
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    So then I decided it was totally a great idea to speed-write the crap out of sixteen pages. Y halo thar, longest chapter this fic has had so far.



    Anima Ex Machina: Nineteen
    In the third act, the pistol is shot.


    At the time of the attack, the children of the Caravan, save for the capable trainers, were herded into the pokémon center. Most of them were huddled away from the windows in tight, whispering groups of three or four. Ellen and Chansey hovered from cluster to cluster holding trays of mugs filled with steaming hot cocoa. Across the room was a young, purple-haired girl with a furret close behind her. Ellen had nothing to say to her, to this girl she knew as Julie, for a long time. After all, her priority was keeping the children calm and inside the center where it was safe.

    But then, something caught her eye. It was a flash of dark green passing by her, so low it nearly knocked the tray out of her hands. Stepping out of the way, she saw the back of a girl; the flash of green, as it turned out, was her pigtails bouncing with each step her sneaker-clad feet made across the floor. She held something close to her chest, something Ellen couldn't see until the girl approached the window. Once she did, the object jumped out of her arms and perched itself on the windowsill. The blue turtle leaned out of the broken front window of the center, peering almost hungrily at the battle outside.

    Ellen stepped towards her, reaching for her shoulder with a hand, but before she could touch the girl, Julie appeared by her side.

    "Oh, that's Hope," she said. "Don't worry about it. I can take care of her."

    Swiftly, she approached the girl and took her hand. Hope looked over her shoulder, revealing a heart-shaped face and large, brown eyes. At once, Ellen stopped. Something about that face struck her – something she couldn't she couldn't place.

    "Come on, Hope," Julie cooed, as if she was speaking to a young child. "It's too dangerous to stand by the window like this. Let's go back with the others, okay?"

    Julie's hand slid to Hope's wrist, but the girl wasn't about to let herself be led away without a fight. She squealed and twisted, wrenching her arm away from Julie. Her squirtle trilled and jumped out of the open window, followed closely by the trainer herself.

    "Hey!" Julie called. "Hope! Wait! Don't go out there! Furret!"

    The ferret's ears twitched as he turned. He didn't even need instructions. Furret simply bound across the room, weaving his way between clusters of children until he reached the open window where Julie was already climbing onto the sill. Within seconds, the both of them were outside, leaving Ellen to stand dumbfounded in the room. Chansey approached and gazed at her partner with an inquisitive glance.

    "Chansey," Ellen finally said, "take these and keep an eye on the children. I'll be back in a moment."

    Obediently, Chansey nodded, took Ellen's tray in her free paw, and watched as the nurse mounted the windowsill and bounded outside with the others.

    She didn't get very far. The fighting had ceased, but everyone was frozen in place. Julie stood in the middle of the street with her arms wrapped loosely around Hope, and both of them were turned in the same direction as the others: facing a spot in the sky over the building next to the center. With a blink, Ellen followed their gaze and stopped as dead in her tracks as they had in theirs.

    Hanging in the air was what looked like a person -- at least, in terms of size and general shape and the fact that the figure was fully clothed. Beyond that, Ellen could see the tail curled around his form, the claws clutching at the hat on his head, the golden aura surrounding his body, and most importantly, the two pairs of gold, translucent insect wings jutting from his shoulder blades, an addition she knew he didn't have not too long ago.

    Ellen's mouth moved, but her voice couldn't connect to it. All she could do was watch as the figure uncurled himself slowly and glance at where he was. Bill looked down and then over his shoulder. He murmured something, but what, Ellen couldn't hear, even with the quiet of the street. Seconds later, he winced and grabbed his head again before looking towards the western horizon. His hands dug into his pockets and pulled out his gloves. Afterwards, the rest of him bent, arms flailing and tail thrashing in an attempt to stabilize himself in the air until, finally, he started off in a wild, zig-zagging path down the street.

    The nurse stood there for a few seconds, watching the ixodida bolt for parts unknown. What snapped her out of it was a sharp cry. Something bumped into her, and Ellen realized just a second too late that Hope had broken away from Julie once again. This time, the girl stumbled away from the rancher before bolting in the same direction Bill had followed.

    "Hope! Don't!" Julie paused to cast a frantic glance towards Ellen. "Nurse Joy, stay here! I'll go get her! Furret, come on!"

    Before Ellen could react, Julie sprinted after the girl, the ferret in tow. The nurse was, once again, left behind in utter, stunned silence.

    ---

    A year ago, Lanette would have screamed bloody murder at being carried high into the air by three alien monsters. She never liked heights, much less flying. Now, she had her knife in hand, her arm swinging in a frantic effort to gut her captor. Eventually, one lucky swing planted the blade between the bird's ribs. The ixodida screamed and snapped her arms apart, releasing her victim mid-flight. Lanette slipped through the air, freefalling until she landed on something soft and warm. Sitting up, she sheathed her knife and patted her altaria on the back.

    "Good job, Altaria. Now, finish it! Flamethrower!"

    The dragon chirped and swiveled her head towards the ixodida. Opening her beak, she spewed a jet of flames at the injured harpy. The fire engulfed the creature, scorching her feathers and sending her to the ground in a fireball. She hit the cement with a crack, and there, she lay burning in a mess of feathers and limbs.

    Suddenly, something slammed into Altaria. Rider and mount flew in opposite directions. The second ixodida latched onto Altaria and drove her into a nearby rooftop. At the same time, Lanette fell, her hands grasping desperately for something to break her fall.

    Luckily, another hand grabbed hers. Her body jerked to a halt, and in the pause, she looked up to see a gloved hand. Above it, Lanette spotted a familiar face.

    "You!" she snapped.

    "Good to see you're safe, Lanette," Bill said.

    He glanced towards the rooftop where the other ixodida pinned Altaria. The harpy lifted her head, turning her blank eyes to Bill and Lanette.

    "That's not good," Bill muttered. "I'm sorry, Lanette, but it looks like we'll need to have this conversation later. Hold on!"

    Lanette yelped as Bill pulled her into the air and circled his arms around her waist. When he was sure he had a good grip on her, he darted back towards the pokémon center.

    He didn't get far. As soon as the shock wore off, Lanette began thrashing in his arms, pushing her hands against her colleague's chest in an attempt to get away. Bill held her tighter, but this diverted his concentration away from flying. As a result, the two of them began to bob and dart through the air uncontrollably.

    "Lanette, hold still!" Bill cried. "I can't—"

    She slapped him. Because of that, Bill's concentration completely snapped, driving him to swerve directly into a nearby shop wall. His aura vanished immediately, and both ixodida and human plummeted to a blue awning between the ground and them. Lanette bounced once on the canvas, but Bill, considerably heavier and sharper in a literal sense, ripped straight through and hit the sidewalk with a bang. He groaned and squirmed on his aching back until he propped himself up on his elbows. Then, Lanette slipped through the hole in the awning and landed squarely on Bill's torso. The blow forced the breath out of his lungs all at once as he smacked into the pavement again.

    Sitting up, Lanette glanced towards the street. She noticed how quiet it was. How still.

    Her lips moved as her voice spilled across them in a low mumble. "Altaria… Altaria! I'm coming!"

    She twisted and began to stand, but before she could, a hand grabbed her wrist. Looking down, she found the eyes of her partner.

    "Lanette, wait," he pleaded, hoarsely at first until he paused to clear his throat. "Altaria is a very strong pokémon, isn't she? Once we can convince the ixodida that we mean them no harm, we can get her to Nurse Joy, but please, don't hurt them."

    "'Don't hurt them'?!" Lanette wrenched her wrist free from her former partner's grasp. "Are you an idiot?! Bill, do you even know what you eat?!"

    He looked at her confusion. "I'm not sure how that's relevant, but raw meat."

    "It's perfectly relevant!" she snapped. "Where do you think that raw meat comes from?!"

    "I…" Bill stood. "Isn't it the same as what humans eat?"

    "No!" She huffed. "Bill, ixodida like you eat other pokémon!"

    "…What?"

    He fell quiet as he placed a hand over his stomach. All of a sudden, he felt queasy while the memory of his first meal as an ixodida surfaced in his mind. His mouth tasted acidic, and for a second, he thought he was going to throw up. In the meantime, Lanette drew her crowbar from the straps on her back and pointed it at Bill.

    "That altaria evolved from Brigette's swablu. If something happened to her…"

    "Lanette…"

    Bill shook his head and gave her a half-sick, half-sympathetic glance. Then, he caught a glimpse of something beyond her, and his expression completely dissolved into one of surprise. As quickly as he could, he lunged at her and shoved her out of the way of a stream of blue, disc-shaped lights. As soon as she hit the road, Lanette looked up, eyes darting back towards the storefront where she watched her partner get knocked clean off his feet. He crashed onto the sidewalk not far away, and through a wince, he looked up to see a white-feathered creature. This one stepped forward, folding a set of wings as he offered a hand to Bill.

    "My intent was to prevent her from harming you, not doing so myself. I apologize," he said.

    Bill smiled and reached for the other ixodida's hand, but before he could grasp it, it fell numb.

    Be wary, Adam hissed. Do not let your guard down.

    As quickly as it happened, Bill could feel his hand again, and with a sigh of relief, he grasped the ixodida's. The creature pulled him to his feet and looked him over carefully.

    "No harm done," Bill said. "She really wasn't going to harm me, you know. Lanette is just a bit cautious around ixodida like us. I promise you, if we can show her that we have no intent to fight any human, we can—"

    The flying-type's tail twitched. "Are you a rogue?"

    Bill released the ixodida's hand and blinked. "A… what?"

    Adam sighed. Bill. When someone asks if you are a rogue, the proper answer is no.

    "What?" he murmured. "Why?"

    Do you not remember the last time someone found out we were a rogue?

    The other ixodida narrowed his eyes. "A rogue of the Iron Clan. My empress would be most interested in you. Please come with me."

    Bill looked up. Adam?

    The proper answer would be no again, Bill.

    With a nod, Bill took a deep breath, straightened his back, and replied, "I'm afraid I can't. But please—"

    Without warning, Lanette's scream cut through their conversation. The feathered ixodida turned and extended his wings. He flapped them furiously, churning the air into a gale that met Lanette halfway through her lunge towards them, and before she could change direction, she was blasted back into the street. She landed on her side with a thud and skidded for several more inches before coming to a stop.

    "Lanette!" Bill shouted.

    A shadow cast over her, and she looked up to see the second harpy flying high overhead. The female extended her wings, readying them for one more attack. Lanette sat up, struggling to force her body into moving quickly, but the ixodida was faster. Her wings flapped rapidly, shaking blue arcs of energy free from her feathers. They cut through the air towards the human as the latter closed her eyes and braced herself for impact.

    That impact never came. Before it could, something warm hit her and held her tightly. Opening her eyes once more, she first took notice of a green barrier of light standing between her and the arcs. Each strike drummed off the surface of the translucent wall, causing it to flare brightly. Then, she realized the warm something was more of a warm someone – someone embracing her with his own eyes closed.

    "Bill…" she whispered. "You can use Protect?"

    Opening one eye, Bill gazed at the barrier. "So that's what he meant…" Then, with a grunt, he held Lanette a little tighter. "Lanette, I can't keep this up forever. What are we going to do?"

    Lanette regained her composure and frowned. "Listen. I won't ask you to kill anyone, but without Altaria, I won't be able to fight these monsters by myself. I need your help."

    The attack stopped, and with it, Bill's barrier faded. He relaxed his hold on her as he pulled away just enough to look at her face.

    "What are you saying?" he asked. "Wait, you don't mean… Lanette, the ixodida are just like me! They're people inside! We can't hurt them! Please, just let me—"

    Lanette, whose eyes remained on the other ixodida in the sky, abruptly gasped. She threw her arms around her partner and embraced him as tightly as she could.

    "Use Protect now!" she yelled.

    Without even thinking about it, Bill held her and closed his eyes again. Another dome of green light surrounded the two of them, blocking a stream of high-speed wind generated by the female. Lanette's fingers clenched fistfuls of cotton cloth from her partner's shirt as she tightened her hold just slightly.

    "If we don't act against them, they'll hurt someone," she told him. "If it's not us, then it will be the people of the Caravan. We don't have time for diplomacy. They won't fight fairly, and if we show them we won't fight back, they'll take that as an opportunity. Bill, I'm not asking you to kill anyone, but I have to do whatever it takes to protect the others. If you'll help me, I'll know I can trust you, but if you won't, then don't protect me. Do you understand?"

    The wind died down, allowing Bill to let the barrier fade. He relaxed just enough to look at Lanette once again.

    "All right," he said quietly. "What can I do?"

    Lanette pushed herself away from him. "You can fly. Distract the other one and try to lure it into landing. I'll handle the one on the ground. Go!"

    She shoved him away and bolted to her own feet. Nodding, Bill rose and cleared his mind until his body regained its golden aura. His feet left the ground, and the gold insect wings burst from his back. Looking up, he cast a glance towards the female.

    "Let's hope I can do this," he murmured to himself.

    Lanette didn't spend much time watching her partner; she only waited until he slapped his tail against the ground and rose quickly into the air. Once he did, she whirled around and plucked a ball from one of the pouches on the belts across her chest. Her feet stepped forward in wide, graceful arcs as her hand swept downward, fingers clicking the button on the ball to enlarge it before she let it slip from her grasp.

    "Spinda, go! Teeter Dance!" she cried.

    The ball opened with a pop, spewing out a brilliant, white light onto the pavement. In seconds, the light formed the shape of a small, red-and-white bear, and from there, the spinda leapt immediately into action – literally. She hopped from one foot to the other, bounding in a half-stagger towards the male ixodida. Blue light outlined her body as her paws rose in drunken waves, adding to the stumbling dance. With a growl, he responded by flicking his wings up and over his head, shielding his face from the bear and her dance.

    "Take the opening," Lanette ordered. "Water Pulse! Now!"

    Spinda stopped where she was and lifted an arm. The blue light around her body pulled upwards, swirling into a glowing ball the size of her head. She jerked her paw backwards and threw it down, slamming it into the pavement as her momentum pitched the ball towards the ixodida. The sphere of light splashed against Spinda's opponent seconds later, and once it made contact, it expanded until the feathered creature was completely engulfed in water.

    Lanette clenched her hand around her crowbar and barked one last order. "Finish it! Shock Wave!"

    At her master's order, Spinda let loose a cry and raised her arm once more. Blue electricity crackled off her body before rushing up to a point of light at her paw's tip. She twirled once, bringing her arms down until she pointed them, paws out, at the ixodida. The ball of white light bobbed in front of them and burst into a beam of electricity that sliced through the air and slammed into the water surrounding Spinda's opponent. Instantly, the attack exploded, sending electricity and steam arcing into the air. For the next few moments, the battlefield on the ground was shrouded in smoke until, finally, it cleared enough for Lanette to peer at what was left.

    The ixodida's feathered wings were still clamped around it, but his coat was no longer snow-white. Rather, patches of feathers were colored black, curled with burns and still slick with moisture. Part of the wall of feathers fell, tilting the whole thing to an angle as if the bird within it fell to one knee.

    Lanette took that to be her cue. Her voice ripped from her throat in a yell as she raised her crowbar above her head and stormed forward. Just as she was within a foot of her intended victim, the ixodida spread his wings, knocking her back onto the pavement. He glared at her, eyes narrow and teeth bared as his chest heaved with one breath after another.

    "How weak do you think I am?" he snarled. "Do you know who I am? I..." He slowly stood, his legs shaking in an effort to support his body. "I am a monarch. I am one of the empress's chosen guardians. I am not only one of the Wind Clan. I am its lord, the Lord of the Skies. I am not one you should underestimate!"

    He held his hands together as a golden orb grew between them. His hands separated, allowing the ball to grow to the size of a basketball as he pulled his arms back, reading an attack. Lanette simply stood and narrowed her eyes at her opponent, waiting for the strike. She didn't move. She didn't speak. She merely watched as the ixodida threw his hands forward and released his pent-up energy in the form of a hot, wide beam of light.

    It sailed right through what he thought was Lanette and blew a massive hole in the side of the building across the street.

    "And I am three feet to your right," Lanette told him matter-of-factly.

    The ixodida froze, his arms shaking as he suddenly became aware that Lanette was very close to his side. A stabbing pain racked his body, and he threw his head back and screamed. His hands flew to his side where Lanette had wedged her knife into the parasitic core sitting on top of his ribs. Looking to his side, his mind finally cleared, and his vision focused until he could see the real Lanette at last.

    "Confusion is an inconvenience, isn't it?" she purred. "So would being a member of a species with a fatal Achilles' heel."

    She pulled her knife free from the ixodida's body and sheathed it once more. Then, she turned and began walking away.

    "Spinda, put it out of its misery. Rock Tomb."

    With a grin, Spinda held one of her paws up. Then, she twisted it as she spun around wildly, kicking one of her legs up as she turned. She paused at the end of her rotation, fixing her spiral-shaped eyes on her target before swinging herself around. Her body gained speed as it lowered closer to the ground until, finally, she stopped on her knees with one paw rising in the air and the other slamming into the ground. The pavement beneath her rumbled as a crack rushed from beneath her paw to the ixodida. Once it reached the bird's feet, the ground split open, sending him falling into a hole as the cement rose and slammed together to swallow him completely.

    In the ensuing silence, Lanette huffed and looked to the sky.

    "That was almost too easy," she muttered. "Now, if only Bill would stop fooling around and pull down the other one."

    A cry from Spinda snapped her attention away from the sky. Casting a glance Spinda's way, Lanette immediately froze as her lips parted slightly. The reason why was staggering towards her with a nose smashed into the skull, two arms hanging limply, a leg dragging behind it, a back crooked, and what appeared to be burns all over its body.

    "You've got to be kidding," Lanette sneered as she watched the half-dead female stagger towards her. "Fine. If you want to play like that…" She raised her crowbar. "…Come get me, then."

    Meanwhile, Bill was literally flying circles around the other female – with good reason, too. Every moment he hesitated, she extended her wings and flapped them to launch another attack: another gale, another stream of blue lights, another rain of feathers. He bobbed and darted through the air in an attempt to dodge each one. One blast of wind caught him, driving him towards the ground again. The golden aura around him flickered and nearly faded before flaring up brightly just before he could smack into the ground. As a result, he glided just a few inches from the cement and launched himself into the air to analyze the situation again.

    Protect becomes less effective the more times I use it in a row, he thought. I've already used it twice so far; using it a third time would be too risky. And she's using distance attacks, so Iron Defense won't be effective. What does that leave me?

    Actually attacking?
    Adam inquired.

    "I can't, Adam," Bill replied as he dodged another stream of wind. "She's too fast, and I'm not ready to fight an ixodida yet. I can barely fight a normal Pokémon!"

    Then you propose doing nothing at all?

    Bill opened his mouth, but a cry prevented him for responding. He glanced down to see Lanette and a spinda freeze in their tracks. Ambling towards them was an ixodida, limping and flopping like a walking, half-burnt ragdoll.

    "Oh no," he whispered.

    Suddenly, something collided into him, and the next thing he knew, the harpy latched onto him and dragged him close to the ground where she threw him into the pavement. She sped away after that, pulling up and out of her Aerial Ace with a cackle. Groaning in effort, Bill sat up.

    Bill, we cannot simply sit here and do nothing, Adam barked at him. One female is attacking us, and the other is threatening your friend. What will you do?

    "I can't kill anyone," Bill said. "Isn't there another way? Can't I just convince them to stop attacking?"

    That will not work with my kind. They only know war. Why will you not understand this?

    Bill felt the wind pick up slightly. His nerves prickled as he cautiously cast a glance towards the female in the sky. She held her hands in front of her as a blue sphere of light swirled between them. Pulling her hands back, she aimed her palms at Bill and pushed on the ball, sending it flying right at him. He snapped his arms in front of his face and summoned another bright, green barrier to block the attack. The orb exploded on impact, flashing with a brilliant blue light as the energy contained within it rippled across the emerald wall. It took a few seconds for the dome to fade completely, and Bill took that as his cue to stand.

    However, his opponent wasn't finished. With another flap of her wings, she pulled her hands in front of her once again to generate another ball of blue light. For a second time, Bill cringed, holding up his hands and drawing yet another barrier around him. Once again, the female sent the ball flying just a second too late, and the attack smacked against the steel-type's force field and exploded harmlessly across its surface. This time around, as soon as it faded, Bill let his arms hang limply. They felt heavy and numb, as if they had been tied to weights for the past hour.

    Bill, you must fight back, Adam instructed. Only defending yourself will get you nowhere.

    "I know! I know!" Bill answered. "I just need time to think!"

    You will need to think faster than that.

    For a third time, the harpy drew her hands in front of her body. Wind swirled around her as another blue ball of energy formed in her hands. Bill, ignoring the numb feeling in his arms, forced himself to raise them one more time and summon one last barrier. This one glowed with a fainter light than his first one, however, and his arms shook as he held it up. As a result, when the ball flew at the barrier, it didn't strike it. It passed right through.

    Bill had no time to react. The ball slammed into his arms and chest, tearing him off his feet and sending him flying backwards. He landed in a heap a few feet from where he started with a loud bang.

    Seconds before that moment, Lanette had directed Spinda into another attack, one that was in the process of being executed. Spinda opened her mouth and inhaled deeply as her spiral-shaped eyes filled with tears. Then, she bellowed, her voice rising in volume to the point where the shop windows around her shattered. Blue ripples of light ebbed from her mouth and struck the ixodida, causing her to screech and flail her arms wildly until one of them struck and swept Spinda. The feathered alien sent the panda flying at an angle into a shop wall while the other struck Lanette just as she darted in to deliver a blow with her crowbar. Lanette was flung backwards, crashing onto the ground with a cry just after Bill landed. The steel-type's attention was drawn to her again at once.

    "Lanette! No!" he cried.

    Now do you see? Adam asked. If you refuse to act, you will not fulfill your true purpose.

    Bill lowered his head. "Adam, I can't do this by myself. I need to help Lanette, and I need your assistance to do it."

    Then what do you propose to do?

    Bill stood and held his arm. Above him, a screech sounded. He looked up to see the other harpy diving at him, her entire body glowing with a neon, teal color. That's when he tensed.

    "I have an idea," he said.

    Several feet away, Lanette picked her head up and shook it. A shadow loomed over her, and realizing that the injured ixodida was just above her, she reached for her crowbar, only to notice she had dropped it exactly where she had started. She sat up and pushed herself backwards, her eyes steadying on her opponent. The alien's lips parted, jaw unhinging to stretch her mouth wider than a human's could ever open. Yet, Lanette didn't scream. She didn't make a sudden move. She didn't even make a sound.

    That is, until she let loose an involuntary yelp when the second feathered ixodida crashed into the first. Bill skidded to a halt in front of her, shielding himself with his arms as he stood between the ixodida and her.

    "Are you okay?" he asked.

    She raised an eyebrow. "Fine."

    "Good. Don't move."

    The two harpies untangled themselves, snarling at one another before the healthy one spread her wings. With a flap, she was airborne again, but she wasn't that far from the ground before Bill rushed at her and grabbed her tail. He yanked her down roughly, ignoring the high-pitched screams that tore from her throat. Once she was down, one of his hands grabbed a wing while the claws of the other hand began to glow white. His fingers slashed across the base of the wing, severing it from the rest of the harpy's body with a crack. Her shrieks grew louder, and still, Bill didn't react to them. He simply focused on channeling the energy in his hand into his tail, and once it began to glow white, he turned quickly and swung it into the female. The metal cut through her body easily, sending her torso falling to the ground with a wet thump as her waist and legs dropped to the ground like a puppet cut from its strings.

    Bill raised his claws, ready to finish her off when the other ixodida grabbed him from behind. Her jaw unhinged again, releasing a hot breath of air that smelled strongly of fish. Shuddering, her prey wrinkled his nose and reached up to grasp her forehead.

    "You lot need to learn new tricks," he stated.

    With that, he sank his claws into his skull and flipped her up and over his head. As soon as she hit the pavement, her screaming stopped, and her head snapped clean off her body. Her arms flailed, grabbing onto Bill's feet as a red glow flashed in her back. He stooped down, his claws digging into the glow until he felt the smooth, glass-like surface of the parasite's body against his palm. Then, with a yank upwards, he ripped the ixodida's core free from her back. The rest of her body fell still as Bill stood over her, examining the parasite closely. At last, he clenched his fist, crushing the squealing pokémon in a burst of green liquid.

    "One down," he murmured.

    A scraping noise drew his attention to something crawling behind him. He lifted his tail, once again channeling energy into it until it began to glow white. Then, he turned, gliding his tail clean through the other female's neck. Her head dropped to the pavement and bounced until it rolled for a few feet, but the rest of the body continued towards him.

    "Where is your core?" he muttered.

    Suddenly, as if to answer his question, a crowbar jammed into the female's hand. Green liquid spurted out of the wound, and the headless torso collapsed. Lanette pulled her crowbar from the ixodida's body and flicked it to shake off the parasite's fluids, but she kept her gaze on the ground as she did it.

    Sighing with relief, Bill grinned at Lanette and walked to the middle of the street where the flying-type's blast forced him to drop his hat. Scooping it up, he fitted it back over his horns as he spoke to his partner.

    "That's quite enough excitement for one day, don't you think? Thank you for your help, by the way. You did spec—"

    He turned, only to come a mere inches from letting the pointed end of Lanette's crowbar stab through his scarf and into the flesh on the front of his neck.

    "Okay," she growled, "who are you?"

    He blinked. "What? Lanette, it-it's me."

    "********," she said. "It might have been Bill who saved me the first two times, but you're not him. Who are you, and what did you do to him?"

    Instantly, his expression blanked, and the creature that was controlling him reached up to grasp the end of Lanette's crowbar. She was about to slide it out of the ixodida's grip when it forcefully pulled her close.

    "My kind normally do not give one another names, but you may call me Adam," it said. "I assure you, Bill is safe. Watching this, even. Our hosts are fully conscious for everything we do – even when we get them killed."

    "If you're trying to force me to feel sympathy for monsters like you, you failed. Now, let Bill go," Lanette snapped.

    "Or what? You will hurt me with this little thing?" Adam narrowed its eyes. "Do you realize how easy it would be to kill you right now? I could stab you with my free hand. Decapitate you with my tail. Pull you high into the air, drop you, and watch you crack on the pavement like an egg. And those are just the possibilities Bill is aware of. He has no idea of half the weapons I have given him."

    Lanette released her crowbar and drew her knife from her belt. "Don't underestimate me. I know all about your weakness. The parasite body. If it's destroyed—"

    "Then you will live with the knowledge that you killed one of your closest friends," Adam finished. "Little girl, not that I happen to be proud of this fact, but I have killed far more of my kind than you could ever hope to eliminate yourself. Your threats do not scare me. And another thing."

    The creature stepped forward. Lanette flicked her knife downward, pointing it at Adam. It twitched its tail and grabbed onto the blade with a bare hand.

    "Bill can feel everything right now. Pain. Excitement. The heat of your body. It was his idea, you know. To help him learn about this body, just for this battle, he can feel everything I am experiencing. So, if you drive that knife into me, he will feel every second of blinding, excruciating pain until he and I finally die together. Do you really want to inflict that upon him?"

    Lanette's skin paled just a shade. Her red eyes glanced to the side, unwilling to peer into those of her colleague.

    "And do you want to know something else?" Adam asked.

    "What?" she snapped.

    It grabbed her chin and turned her head slowly – gently, even. "The reason why I have not attempted to kill you right now is because you entertain me. Your insistence on pretending to be a warrior. Your harshness. And most importantly, all the things Bill is saying about you right now, right inside my mind."

    Against her better judgment, Lanette stared into the alien's eyes. Outwardly, they were the same eyes as the ones she knew her partner to have, but somehow, these seemed dead. Cold. Unfeeling.

    "What is he saying?" she asked as firmly as she could.

    "'Don't you dare,'" Adam replied, mimicking Bill's voice perfectly.

    Lanette stiffened. "What's that supposed to mean?"

    If the creature could smile, Lanette knew exactly what kind would be on its face right then. It wasn't one she would have wanted to see.

    "This," it said.

    And then, its arms wrapped around her, drew her close, and kissed her forcefully.

    For the first time since she joined the Caravan, Lanette Chastain was completely stunned. Her fingers loosened until her knife slipped from her hand and clattered onto the pavement. Although it wasn't the best kiss she had ever experienced, she still felt her eyes widen and her body tingle. Her arms twitched, rejecting her every command to push the ixodida away. Instead, she stared directly at the closed eyes of the all-too-human face in front of her.

    Finally, the face pulled away, and its eyes opened. The dead eyes studied her carefully until they flicked to something over her shoulder. Abruptly, the creature's expression cracked. Its face paled, and its lips parted. Something returned to its wide eyes – a spark of emotion that signaled to Lanette that Adam was no longer the being in front of her. She was about to snap something when her partner let loose a soft whisper.

    "Hope?"

    Lanette looked over her shoulder sharply, and sure enough, behind her stood an alarmed, purple-haired woman holding a young girl close. They had the same eyes -- the alien in front of her and the young girl behind her, but this girl stared at her with a steady, serious expression.

    At the sight of that, Lanette's hands tightened into fists. Gradually, she glanced back at Bill, her mind struggling to form the words she wanted to tell him. She didn't want to explain to him why she was there. He wasn't supposed to know at all. But now…

    Luckily, before she had a chance to say a word to him, something clocked him in the back of the head. The ball split open, and right away, a red light surrounded him. Lanette backed away, watching as her former colleague and friend was pulled into a purple-and-silver poke ball. It dropped to the road, twitching and swaying violently as the button on its face blinked. All three of the humans stared at it, waiting for something to happen.

    And then it stopped. The button turned from red to an unlit gray.

    Gingerly, Lanette stooped, her hand reaching out to grab it. Before she could touch it, something struck the ground between her fingers and its plastic surface. She pulled her hand away, rubbing it gingerly as she studied the black tulip that was now planted in the cement. Its blossom crackled with white electricity before it exploded, spewing a thick cloud of smoke into the air. Lanette, Hope, and Julie all began to cough violently as the adults waved their arms in the air in an attempt to clear the cloud.

    It took a long while, but eventually, the screen cleared, allowing all three of them the ability to see and breathe. Lanette looked to her feet for the ball that contained the steel-type, and her heart began to pound when she realized the only thing on the ground was the broken stem of the flower. The ball was nowhere to be seen.

    "What was that all about?" Julie asked hoarsely.

    Lanette turned to her. "Julie."

    At once, she straightened and held Hope close. "Whoa, Lanette. Wait! I can explain!"

    "Take Hope back to the Caravan and tell them to leave immediately. Don't let Vito try to convince anyone to stay."

    Julie hesitated. On the one hand, she felt relieved that Lanette wasn't about to tell her off about letting Hope wander so far from camp. On the other, something was most definitely wrong if Lanette was telling her to order everyone to pack up and leave immediately.

    "What about you?" she asked softly.

    "There's something I have to do," Lanette replied. "Just do it, Julie."

    Before the rancher could object, she pulled out Spinda's poké ball to recall the bear and then yanked another one free from one of her pouches. Her feet began pounding the pavement as her hand worked to enlarge this ball and toss it into the air.

    "Solrock, I need you!" she called.

    The ball cracked open and released a flash of light into the air. Lanette snatched the orb as soon as it shut and continued to run forward as the ball of light followed until a red, sun-shaped rock burst from it and followed close behind its master.

    She didn't know how or why, but Lanette knew two things at that point. First, that Bill was an idiot. Second, that she had to get him back.

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  19. #144
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    xD <-- My face, right now.

    The end scene was probably one of the most surreal things I've ever read on this forum, without a doubt. At the same time though, there was a distinct rightness about it which made me feel all warm and tingly inside. Leave it to Jax to make human/Alien parasite feel right :P

    One thing I like about Bill in this fic, is how he is constantly being wrong-footed in everything he does. Which I suppose is part of why his character is so interesting to read, he's the scientist who's constantly in the dark and being put into a situation where his intelligence counts for very little.

    I do have to say though, I thought the Lord of the Skies would put up a little bit more of a fight, but as you said, 'Confusion is a bitch'

    Returning once more to the end scene, I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation between Adam and Lanette (and the stunning evisceration courtesy of Adam) but mainly the conversation. Adam came off as so goddamn creepy and Lanette played the part of 'Oh god, a murdering space alien is making conversation with me' rather well. And then Adam kissed her and I had to laugh, I'd go as far as saying that I giggled when I read that.

    Yes, Jax, you've reduced me to giggling.

    I hope you're happy with yourself.
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  20. #145
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diddy View Post
    The end scene was probably one of the most surreal things I've ever read on this forum, without a doubt.
    I win! \o/

    I mean, what?

    At the same time though, there was a distinct rightness about it which made me feel all warm and tingly inside. Leave it to Jax to make human/Alien parasite feel right :P
    Well, either yours truly or the Japanese. *le nod* Iiin any case, I'm glad to see the little bit of inter-species lovin' got someone's approval. :D

    One thing I like about Bill in this fic, is how he is constantly being wrong-footed in everything he does. Which I suppose is part of why his character is so interesting to read, he's the scientist who's constantly in the dark and being put into a situation where his intelligence counts for very little.
    Thank you! It's what makes writing him really fun. I mean, seriously, I love his character, so naturally, I would want to write him as an overglorified Stu of some sort. Hence the lean towards the opposite end of the spectrum: 'cause who really would want to read about a super-genius who can solve every problem when they can read about a super-genius who has somehow been deemed the universe's personal butt-monkey? And I manage to avoid becoming one of those creepy kind of fangirls who fawn over over-sexualized can-do-no-wrong character-rapified versions of their favorites, so that's a win for me, too, and that's besides the fact that writing a character failing at life is a lot more fun than someone who always knows what to do.

    I'm sorry. What were we talking about again?

    I do have to say though, I thought the Lord of the Skies would put up a little bit more of a fight, but as you said, 'Confusion is a bitch'
    That I actually have to agree with you on. When I wrote it, I intended the Lord of the Skies to be basically like the Brock of the Ixodida hierarchy: higher than most other folks but still so laughably weak you beat his Onix with a level 10 Butterfree and go, "No, seriously, how the **** did he get to be a gym leader, Pokémon League?" But he ended up being more along the lines of comic relief here because it was almost too easy for Lanette to the point where the drones were actually harder to beat. I'm playing with the idea of rewriting that so that he actually survives, but there's a scene that I'm working on for the twentieth chapter that should decide which way I should go there. (One version has the next lord laughing at Lord of the Skies for being hilariously weak. The other has the Lord of the Skies limping back to the empress.) I'm still going back and forth about which version of the scene to put in, so I'm totally open for suggestions here about whether or not the fight scene between Lanette and the monarch looked (more than) a little weird.

    Returning once more to the end scene, I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation between Adam and Lanette (and the stunning evisceration courtesy of Adam) but mainly the conversation. Adam came off as so goddamn creepy and Lanette played the part of 'Oh god, a murdering space alien is making conversation with me' rather well.
    Thank you! As always, Adam was loads of fun to write, just because, as I've recently learned, I really like writing creepy characters.

    ...And that came out on all kinds of levels of wrong.

    (But then again, so did a lot of this chapter, amirite?)

    And then Adam kissed her and I had to laugh, I'd go as far as saying that I giggled when I read that.

    Yes, Jax, you've reduced me to giggling.

    I hope you're happy with yourself.
    ...You know, there's pretty much no way I can respond to this part of your review without having whatever I say sound incredibly wrong.

    Which is to say yes. Yes, I am. ;D

    And thanks again for stopping by and putting my mind back in the gutter where it apparently lives now! :D

    REBOOT: Chapter fifteen now available. | Original: Chapter thirty-one now available.

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  21. #146
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    OH HO HO THIS IS DELICIOUS!

    I love this fic for its intense amounts of gore and campiness. For all the beautiful drama and destruction caused by the Deoxys, the cheesiness accentuates its luscious, wonderful..... *FAPFAPFAP*

    Oh, sorry.

    Excuse me for writing such a short review, but I've had big, douchey, technical problems and this is all I could do.

  22. #147
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sgeckledorf Spoongeblorb View Post
    OH HO HO THIS IS DELICIOUS!
    *le bow*

    It's simmered for quite some time, believe me. ;D

    I love this fic for its intense amounts of gore and campiness. For all the beautiful drama and destruction caused by the Deoxys, the cheesiness accentuates its luscious, wonderful..... *FAPFAPFAP*
    Y'know, if I had a penny for every time that happened, I'd be rich just from the conversations with Diddy.

    Seriously, though, thanks! Gotta have to say that it's not Deoxys, and you're not the first one who thought it was. I mean, given the story's plot, that would actually be even more epic than what I'm doing with it (although I'd probably be banned due to the things I'd do if I gave the main character psychokinesis, tentacles, and a dirty/sociopathic second personality), but yeah, once you get into the fic a bit more, you'll find out what it really is.

    ...But now I want to write a fic all about the things Bill would do if he suddenly had tentacles.

    (Probably nothing, given this is Bill we're talking about, but still.)

    Oh, sorry.
    It's okay. Just clean up your monitor and dispose of those tissues properly, plzkthnx. >:|

    Excuse me for writing such a short review, but I've had big, douchey, technical problems and this is all I could do.
    Ouch. Totally A-OK. It's cool that you're reviewing at all around here, and I've got to thank you for agreeing to drop dropping on by. Hope those issues get cleared up soon!

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  23. #148
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    I'm not feeling well today, but I don't want to delay this review anymore. I'm going to do running commentary on it instead of quoting everything this time.


    Really liking this description at the beginning. It's certainly vivid without going into PURPLE ALERT territory.

    And then Lanette became an even bigger badass. Seriously, knifing the Ixodida that kidnapped her in midair, then burning it alive?

    On the other hand, I'm getting a little tired of her being completely ungrateful and not-understanding-at-all towards Bill. I'm trying to be understanding of what happened to her, which was pretty horrible, just... I kind of wish there would be more to it, you know?

    ...Well I guess I kind of got what I wished for, didn't I?

    ...Spinda?!! There's something I haven't even thought about in years. Nice surprise.

    And now I like crazy-axe-murderer Lanette again. Stop ****ing with my emotions, Jax.

    With that, he sank his claws into his skull and flipped her up
    Isn't something off about this? Shouldn't that say that Bill sank his claws into *her* head?

    And so it looks like that Master Ball thing from earlier came true already, and yet, I can't stop laughing that those Ixodida+Lanette hybrids still might happen. XD;

    I liked the chapter, but I can't help but feel as if it ended a bit abruptly. Certainly, even if it did, that doesn't offset the character development in this, though.

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    *hangs head in shame* I'm sorry that I haven't been reading recently. Once school got out I immediately jumped into some moderation duties I left off at another forum that I had neglected this past semester. School was hardly easy this time around.

    In a way, though, this is great because I had two chapters to read instead of one! Since I don't like reading a bulk of chapters and then reviewing, I'll edit my post as I finish each chapter. Reviewing two chapters at once, I think, would mix my reactions and the thoughts I'm left with at the end.

    This one is for Chapter Eighteen.

    As mentioned earlier, the action in this chapter made up for the dialogue and character development that, while they were great fun to read, didn't satisfy the need for action. I wasn't surprised in the least that Lanette attacked Bill and that she only stopped because some harpies kidnapped her. As you wrote in the beginning, it doesn't seem scientists have much common sense because Bill didn't believe her. Maybe now he won't go near her without being prepared.

    Bill had never been so terrified of someone he knew in all his life.
    And I feel bad for admitting this but I laughed, loudly, when I read this. I just had this image of Lanette straightening from her attack pose, bloody, and Bill in the sidelines just petrified. Poor, poor Bill. xD

    Coming back to something before that, I think Bill took a big step in accepting his powers as an ixodia when he climbed that wall, and then later when he used Magnet Rise. Throughout the whole story up until this point, Bill seemed to keep his mind and his new body separate, and what supernatural things he did were mostly done by Adam. I don't know, but it just seemed like a big turning point in Bill that it made the chapter that much more thrilling. As for what else he can do, as Adam hinted, I'll be looking forward to it, though I'm not sure if Bill is.

    This is the chapter I've been waiting for. I was not disappointed! You did a fantastic job, JX!

    I'm off to read Chapter Nineteen~ I'll update this post with those comments.

    - Kat

    EDIT: I have read Chapter Nineteen~

    So much action happened here, so many things, that I don't know where to start. First of all, two mistakes I saw:

    Something about that face struck her – something she couldn't she couldn't place.
    Yeah, just delete that bit. Reminds me of myself when I stutter sometimes and repeat the word like, twice in a row.

    The proper answer would be no again, Bill.
    Forgot italics for Adam's thought-speech.

    Okay, once again, there was so much action in this that I felt myself gritting my teeth with each paragraph. Yay for Bill acquiring Protect! Not so much yay for him being forced to dodge instead of attacking head-on. Then again, the harpy was just pushing him back with her energy balls and gales, hardly a fair fight. Down on the ground with Lanette and the Lord of the Skies, more of a title he applied on himself than by the monarch he's a guardian for, I think, the playing field was more even. I love how Lanette throws in another NU Pokemon into the spin, Spinda, to show this ixodia who's boss. Lanette throughout the entire battle was just hilarious. She always keeps her composure, except for a split-second facial expression. The fact that the ixodia kept coming back for more just made it all the better. I don't doubt he's powerful, but Lanette is much more cunning and resourceful.

    The moment I saw/read Bill throwing the harpy over his head and ripping her wings off, I assume, I knew something was off. When he went for her core and had no qualms about decapitating her, I knew this wasn't Bill. In a way, I'm relieved Lanette caught the change. Whether she likes to admit it or not, she knows Bill better than most people. Then, when Adam began to talk to her, the creepiness set it in. Adam is just so in control of the situation and talks like he's just someone that hopped in for the ride like a spectator that it's unnerving. He's the only character I've encountered so far, barring Bill's dad, that seems to know exactly what he's doing. The sureness is just scary. However, unlike Bill's dad, Adam isn't human. He's a cold, unfeeling monster.

    And then, its arms wrapped around her, drew her close, and kissed her forcefully.
    After I read that line, I stopped reading, buried my face in my hands, and tried to stop the smile from completely forming on my face (and now it's coming back as I'm typing this). Out of all the things I expected Adam to do, this wasn't it. Though in hindsight, it's just like him, teasing Bill with something he knows humans cherish and reserve only for their mates or mates-to-be. I can just imagine Bill either screaming bloody murder or losing consciousness right then and there, if such a thing is possible in his state.

    Although it wasn't the best kiss she had ever experienced,
    xD Wait until Adam hears. Maybe Bill can do better? /shot

    And then after that, everything went to Hell. Hope and Julie saw them. Bill was captured by the Black Tulip. Lanette is off to rescue him. I absolutely can't wait to see what happens next; such suspense! This is one of my favorite chapters. Magnificent job, JX! You made me cringe, laugh, smile, and gasp all in this chapter! xD I cannot wait to read more!

    (Oh my God, this gave me so much inspiration for something I'm writing that I'll probably read this again tomorrow to have everything fresh on my mind.)

    - Kat
    Last edited by Phantom Kat; 27th June 2011 at 8:44 AM.


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  25. #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    I'm not feeling well today,
    O_o I hope you get well soon. Sorry I haven't been around lately, m'dear; otherwise, I'd send you good vibes as frequently as possible. Also, I'd probably smack you into doing healthy things, depending on what's ailing you.

    But in any case, it's totally okay, and I hope you've been resting otherwise. ♥

    Really liking this description at the beginning. It's certainly vivid without going into PURPLE ALERT territory.
    Thank you!

    …Although this now makes me want to write a fic intentionally in PURPLE ALERT territory, just for lulz.

    And then Lanette became an even bigger badass. Seriously, knifing the Ixodida that kidnapped her in midair, then burning it alive?
    Inorite? Lanette may or may not have been inspired by Chuck Norris Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    On the other hand, I'm getting a little tired of her being completely ungrateful and not-understanding-at-all towards Bill. I'm trying to be understanding of what happened to her, which was pretty horrible, just... I kind of wish there would be more to it, you know?
    Oh yeah. There definitely is, don't worry about that. I've got that scene all planned out, in fact.

        Spoiler:- Buuuut…:


    ...Spinda?!! There's something I haven't even thought about in years. Nice surprise.
    Thank you!

    Honestly, I've always wanted to use Spinda in a fic. It's not among my top ten favorite Pokémon, but it's adorable and, according to my own strange sense of humor, pretty hilarious. (Just the Spinda-related missions in the first Mystery Dungeon games. That's all I'm saying.)

    Also, it's equipped with a WTF-worthy movepool. Seriously, its stats may suck, but it learns a crapload of TMs and interesting moves. Figures, right?

    And now I like crazy-axe-murderer Lanette again. Stop ****ing with my emotions, Jax.
    Aww, but your emotions are so much fun to play with. :(

    Isn't something off about this? Shouldn't that say that Bill sank his claws into *her* head?
    Haha, yes. XD Good eye there. I'll get that cleaned up on my next edit spree (which should hopefully be sooner than later because I may or may not be whoring this fic out to yet another community).

    And so it looks like that Master Ball thing from earlier came true already, and yet, I can't stop laughing that those Ixodida+Lanette hybrids still might happen. XD;
    I like how these two thoughts are in the same sentence. XD

    But seriously, oh yes. The next chapter(s) are going to be a lot of fun to write, let me tell you.

    In the meantime, I'd imagine sex with Bill at this point would be pretty painful. Just saying. (Just think about where he'd have to put his claws. *shot repeatedly*)

    I liked the chapter, but I can't help but feel as if it ended a bit abruptly. Certainly, even if it did, that doesn't offset the character development in this, though.
    Hmm. I think I get what you're saying. I couldn't quite think of how to end the chapter after the Master Ball was used. Basically, I knew I had to keep writing and take it to the point where Lanette ran off to chase after Domino, but I couldn't quite figure out how to have that happen. So, I do have to admit (and agree) that the ending isn't quite as strong as what it really should be. I'll check it out later and see if I can come up with something that works a little bit better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phantom Kat View Post
    *hangs head in shame* I'm sorry that I haven't been reading recently. Once school got out I immediately jumped into some moderation duties I left off at another forum that I had neglected this past semester.
    :O Ooh, where do you mod? Because I'm totally not going to join and stalk the crap out of you, oh no.

    School was hardly easy this time around.
    *brofist* I hear that. Seems like every year of school gets harder than the last, and then you graduate and go, "Well, what now?" But it's good to hear that you got through it all right! Here's to hoping next year is better for you? X_x

    Since I don't like reading a bulk of chapters and then reviewing, I'll edit my post as I finish each chapter.
    That is probably a saner idea than what I usually do (basically, copy all of the chapters I need to read in Word documents and review slowly but surely), and I think I may just steal it later on.

    As mentioned earlier, the action in this chapter made up for the dialogue and character development that, while they were great fun to read, didn't satisfy the need for action.
    Totally understood, and I do have to apologize for taking so long to get to the action. How many chapters were we expecting this battle? XD

    I wasn't surprised in the least that Lanette attacked Bill and that she only stopped because some harpies kidnapped her. As you wrote in the beginning, it doesn't seem scientists have much common sense because Bill didn't believe her. Maybe now he won't go near her without being prepared.
    Haha, or maybe not. Poor guy is too much of an optimist (even if he doesn't like to admit it). This is why I love messing with anime canon. If you preserve that happy-go-lucky feel the anime has but throw dark fic-style crap at it, you get this hilarious clash that leaves its universe's denizens completely confounded. (This is also why I go lolrite at kids who think the anime needs to be ~*~dark and edgy~*~ in canon. That's what fanfic is for, guys! /rant)

    And I feel bad for admitting this but I laughed, loudly, when I read this. I just had this image of Lanette straightening from her attack pose, bloody, and Bill in the sidelines just petrified. Poor, poor Bill. xD
    *le nod* Poor guy just doesn't get a break. ;D The universe even goes out of its way to make sure of that.

    Coming back to something before that, I think Bill took a big step in accepting his powers as an ixodia when he climbed that wall, and then later when he used Magnet Rise. Throughout the whole story up until this point, Bill seemed to keep his mind and his new body separate, and what supernatural things he did were mostly done by Adam. I don't know, but it just seemed like a big turning point in Bill that it made the chapter that much more thrilling. As for what else he can do, as Adam hinted, I'll be looking forward to it, though I'm not sure if Bill is.
    Good analysis there! And that's exactly what's going on. Bill's slowly getting used to the idea that he's going to be stuck as an Ixodida for a long while, and he knows he has a choice between standing by and dying or reluctantly adapting. Buuuut it's still going to be baby steps for him because fully accepting everything means his world does a little somersault.

    As for whether or not he's looking forward to it, hard to say. XD On one level, absolutely not because that = more fighting. On the other, there's totally a part of him going, "I'm a Pokémon now. THAT IS SO AWESOME."

    Yeah, just delete that bit. Reminds me of myself when I stutter sometimes and repeat the word like, twice in a row.
    Wow. I have absolutely no idea how I managed to repeat two whole words. O_o That's like an entirely new level of special beyond what I've been doing (i.e., the whole "lol let's forget a word here or there").

    …Although it's still luckily not the same level of special I experienced when I repeated a whole paragraph in one of the earlier chapters. That was pretty awesome. (On the other hand, that time was due to a copy-paste error. For this one, I'd have to consciously type the words twice in a row, so it's hard to say which slip-up is the more entertaining one.)

    Uh, on the serious side, thanks for the catch! I'll get it edited when I get the chance!

    Forgot italics for Adam's thought-speech.
    Ooh, yeah, one of the bad things about letting Adam and Bill have conversations is that I'd eventually have the code the blasted thing. Fun fact: This usually happens once a chapter. I just manage to catch it within five minutes of posting usually, but this time, looks like I let one get away. XD; (Lesson learned: Preview button, guys! It's awesome!)

    Seriously, thanks for catching that! I'll get that one fixed up too. :D

    Yay for Bill acquiring Protect! Not so much yay for him being forced to dodge instead of attacking head-on. Then again, the harpy was just pushing him back with her energy balls and gales, hardly a fair fight.
    Inorite? You will be seeing that move used frequently (because it's totally not a play on Bill's name or anything).

    Also, yes to the harpy. Eventually, Bill's going to do some real fighting on his own. Eventually. Maybe.

    Or maybe he'll attempt to take a Doctor route and solve everything with ~*~negotiations~*~. Attempt being the key word there.

    I love how Lanette throws in another NU Pokemon into the spin, Spinda, to show this ixodia who's boss.
    It's official. You will be seeing a lot more of that Spinda.

    Lanette throughout the entire battle was just hilarious. She always keeps her composure, except for a split-second facial expression. The fact that the ixodia kept coming back for more just made it all the better. I don't doubt he's powerful, but Lanette is much more cunning and resourceful.
    Indeed she is. ;D Which is why she now scares the crap out of Bill.

    The moment I saw/read Bill throwing the harpy over his head and ripping her wings off, I assume, I knew something was off. When he went for her core and had no qualms about decapitating her, I knew this wasn't Bill. In a way, I'm relieved Lanette caught the change. Whether she likes to admit it or not, she knows Bill better than most people. Then, when Adam began to talk to her, the creepiness set it in. Adam is just so in control of the situation and talks like he's just someone that hopped in for the ride like a spectator that it's unnerving. He's the only character I've encountered so far, barring Bill's dad, that seems to know exactly what he's doing. The sureness is just scary. However, unlike Bill's dad, Adam isn't human. He's a cold, unfeeling monster.
    I do have to say I love hearing about the vibes you're getting from these characters because it means that I'm getting across exactly what I want to have get across. In this case, I'm really glad Adam comes off as creepy because it is, and I'm glad that feeling isn't over-the-top, if that makes sense.

    (Also! Side note! It's always fun to see what kind of comments I get about Bill's father. He's a character who's been bouncing around my headcanon for years, and I just don't get the chance to use him that often. This is the first fic I've been able to write with him in it in which he isn't a complete and utter jerk. So, any comments I get regarding him are fantastic because I like to see people's reactions to his caliber of suave *** hole.)

    After I read that line, I stopped reading, buried my face in my hands, and tried to stop the smile from completely forming on my face (and now it's coming back as I'm typing this). Out of all the things I expected Adam to do, this wasn't it. Though in hindsight, it's just like him, teasing Bill with something he knows humans cherish and reserve only for their mates or mates-to-be. I can just imagine Bill either screaming bloody murder or losing consciousness right then and there, if such a thing is possible in his state.
    ;D Thank you! I am really having more fun writing about Adam's "fascination" with Lanette than I really should. Also, most likely, Bill is currently petrified, mentally going, "SHE IS GOING TO KILL ME."

    xD Wait until Adam hears. Maybe Bill can do better? /shot
    According to my headcanon/the Word-Of-God-so-far background to this fic, he has done better. ;D *also shot*

    This is one of my favorite chapters. Magnificent job, JX! You made me cringe, laugh, smile, and gasp all in this chapter! xD I cannot wait to read more!
    Thank you! I'm really glad you enjoyed both chapters, and I hope I won't disappoint you with the next one. :D

    (Oh my God, this gave me so much inspiration for something I'm writing that I'll probably read this again tomorrow to have everything fresh on my mind.)
    And I am totally keeping a sharp eye out for anything you post in this forum from now onwards because now I'm curious to see what kinds of ideas you got here. XD
    Last edited by JX Valentine; 29th June 2011 at 6:08 AM.

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