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Thread: Anima Ex Machina (PG-15)

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by JX Valentine View Post
    I'll fix it up when I do an edit sweep. XD I think what I was trying to do was describe the fact that Bill's lighthouse is on a cliff that can only be accessed by going along the road next to the beach. So, while the ocean's beyond the beach if a person goes straight out of the forest, the beach eventually meets the cliff if that someone follows the beach to the south.

    It might just be easier to not mention the cliff at all, so maybe I'll do that.

    lol yeah probably

    And everything else in the universe. XD Bill's other name is "Fate's Whipping Boy."



    Face-to-face (if you can call it that), yep. He's also had a discussion with Adam in Polaris, when Adam told him to get off his tail and do something.

    Or if you meant this is one of the first of many times, oh yes. Adam's going to be back to choke Bill many times in the near future. ;D
    sounds like bill is going to be busy in the future lol

    You know, you're the second person I've encountered who got confused about where they are. O_o Maybe I'm not entirely clear about things.

    Basically, they're headed to Hoenn, as mentioned by Adam in the middle of the chapter. However, to keep Bill calm so he doesn't end up getting dropped into the ocean (because Electric-type XP-494 can't carry weight that well, and Steel-types like Bill are heavy), Adam is keeping Bill asleep by distracting him in his dreams. On top of that, to make Bill feel comfortable talking to it, Adam manipulated Bill's mind so that he's dreaming that he's A) human and B) near his home in Kanto.

    Long story short, they're actually in Hoenn, but the entire first scene is taking place in Bill's mind. As a result, Bill sees a forest in Kanto when that's not actually where he is physically.

    Like I said, because you're not actually the first person who thought they're now in Kanto, I think I might have to do a bit of revision there. ._.
    ah, ok, thanks for clariyfying that
    [/QUOTE]

    lol sorry for the very late review, i've been busy working on my own fic

  2. #52
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    Did I seriously go for two months without posting a chapter?

    Also, I'd like to give everyone a big thanks for the nominations and the awards from the Serebii's 2009 Fanfiction Awards... thing. It's really appreciated, especially since I'm still sort of new here. Also, congrats to all of the people who won as well! You all deserve it. <3

    Furthermore, I finally fixed that double paragraph thing back in chapter four (assuming it goes through, considering Serebii's been loading awkwardly for me for the past few weeks). I know there's other edits to make, but that one's the most embarrassing. I'm planning on going back and editing a few things starting from the prologue either way; I'll let you guys know when changes happen.

    In the meantime, worst excuse for not posting ever: "Look! A four page chapter that took me eight weeks to write!"


    Anima Ex Machina: Eight
    Greater than situation is implication.


    SEARCHING...

    SEARCH RESULTS CLASSIFIED. ENTER PASSWORD.

    TIER 3 ACCESS ACKNOWLEDGED. PLEASE WAIT.

    Polaris Institute Employee Dossier
    ID NO. #025124202 <PENDING UPDATE: TERMINATED. DESIGNATED PROJECT STARDUST SUBJECT 002: CODENAME ADAM. DESIGNATION AWAITING ACKNOWLEDGEMENT FROM NATIONAL DEFENSE FORCES.>
    Name: McKenzie, William H
    Clearance level: <CLEARANCE SUSPENDED. DENY ACCESS ON ALL LEVELS.>
    Notes: Infected with parasite XP-650A. Quarantine level 5. <UPDATE: ESCAPED. RETRIEVAL PRIORITY 1. TIERS 2 THROUGH 5 NOTIFIED; INSTRUCTIONS ACKNOWLEDGED.>

    FURTHER INFORMATION CLASSIFIED. MINIMUM TIER 4 CLEARANCE REQUIRED. ACCESS DENIED.


    The cursor continued to blink on a laptop's screen in Viridian City. It was the second dossier that crossed that screen, but it was the one that made the man staring at it drum his large fingers on the surface of the desk in front of him. His black eyes fixed themselves on the other window on his monitor, the one containing a video conference call with Professor Nettle and the Black Tulip. Nettle wrung her hands nervously; 009 stood beside her, stiff and emotionless. For a long while, the man simply stared at them, ignoring even the persian rubbing herself against one of his legs.

    Suddenly, the man balled his hand into a bulky fist and slammed it into his desk. The persian withdrew, her cream-colored fur standing on end. With a screech, she darted away and hid herself behind a plant in the corner of her master's dimly-lit office. Quietly, she watched the man with one eye while he spoke in a low tone.

    "Do you mean to tell me you let Team Rocket property escape?"

    The Black Tulip lifted her chin. "Giovanni, I know this seems like a disappointment, but it's only a minor complication. We can harvest new specimens."

    "009, normally, I'm very patient with you," he growled, "but you've already failed me one too many times. I thought you were my finest officer."

    In a split second, the agent's face paled, but just as quickly as it happened, she straightened and forced her face to take on its emotionless state again. "Don't worry. I still am. The Polaris Operation isn't over yet."

    "That's where you're sadly mistaken," Giovanni replied. "The situation at Polaris Institute is unrepairable. You've called an attack, and many of our agents' covers have been compromised in the process. I have reason to believe that the authorities are aware of our presence within the facility. Security will be at its highest. Access to XP-650 – either form – will be nearly impossible."

    "Nearly but not completely! I can still get you two more!"

    Giovanni pounded the desk again. "Enough! 009, for the past few years, you have given me nothing but one failure after another for no reason I can understand. I've been growing increasingly tired of your inability to give me results, and now you have the audacity to offer empty promises instead?"

    She clenched her fists in an attempt to keep herself from shaking. "Giovanni, this is only a minor setback! I can do this!"

    "A minor setback would be if you lost only one specimen without being detected. However, you have alerted the entirety of Polaris Institute to our presence while losing two fully-grown XP-650B. Your incompetence doesn't stop there, either. One of the potential weapons you've created and quickly lost would have been better use to us as a human. Or perhaps you didn't think to get the security codes for the Storage and Retrieval System from McKenzie before you let him escape, did you?"

    009 stiffened her body. "Giovanni, I didn't select the targets. I—"

    "Who was given command of the Polaris Operation?!" Giovanni roared. "You, 009, were given very simple instructions: select a single target, ensure his infection, incapacitate him after transformation, and transport him out of the facility. You have done only one of these things correctly, and now, you wish to pass the blame for your inability to lead to someone else?! In light of all of this, I relieve you of your position at Polaris Institute. You are as of now reassigned to a mission even you can't screw up."

    "Giovanni!" she screamed.

    He completely ignored her. "I will be arranging your withdrawal from Polaris Institute under the pretense that you have submitted a request to transfer to the facility in New Bark Town. A transport ship run by one of our operatives will come to pick you up in three days to take you to Hoenn."

    "Hoenn," 009 repeated. Her arms went limp as she began to realize just what this reassignment meant. "Giovanni, you can't..."

    "Your new mission," he continued, "is to locate one specimen each of XP-650A and XP-650B and contain them both. Transport them to a base Team Rocket officers have established in Slateport City before anyone becomes aware of our presence in the region."

    009 didn't respond. Her arms hung at her sides, and she stared at the screen blankly. She couldn't say a word. This was her superior, the man who up until recently, she had wrapped around her finger. Now, he was sending her to a war zone to do a grunt's job. What else could she do?

    "Furthermore," Giovanni said, "if you locate McKenzie, you are to capture him and bring him in addition to the samples you've collected. If we can't use him to take control of his system, we can at least use him as part of our army. Is all of this clear, or do I need to repeat myself in simpler words?"

    "It's clear, sir," 009 said softly.

    "Good. As for you, Professor Nettle..."

    Nettle lifted her chin. For the entirety of the conversation, she was busy steeling herself. Part of her was struggling not to show pleasure at the sight of the Black Tulip being reprimanded while another part knew that the next blow Giovanni would land would be on her.

    "Yes, sir?" she asked.

    "You are to follow her," he told her.

    Although Nettle could feel her face grow hot, she tried her best to remain as calm as possible. "Follow her, sir? But haven't I done a satisfactory job with the operation you've given me?"

    "From what I understand," he snapped, "it was your fault that Codename Abel was created, and if you must ask about your performance before your blatant act of defiance, your so-called leadership skills have only been an embarrassment to the company as a whole. You're lucky enough that I'm not sending you back to the Ellesmere camp where I found you."

    "But sir--!"

    "Do you understand your mission, or would you prefer a colder assignment?"

    At the tone of his voice, Nettle jumped and bowed her head. "I understand completely, sir."

    "Good. Then, prepare yourselves. You have three days." He emphasized the last two words, as if his tone was a hammer that drove each syllable into their skulls like spikes.

    They were about to say something in return when one of his thick fingers hit a button on the computer. The window containing their call immediately closed, and his office fell silent. Cautiously, Persian crept out of her corner and padded back to her master. With a smirk, he reached down and stroked her silky coat, smoothing it down with each touch.

    In front of his desk was a pair of chairs, well out of view of the laptop's webcam. A red-headed woman in white quietly sat in one of them, her legs crossed and her hands folded neatly on her lap. She watched her superior cater to his pokémon until she cleared her throat.

    "Team Rocket has no base in Slateport City," she said.

    Giovanni glanced into the red eyes of his executive. "You're far smarter than they are."

    "I try, sir."

    At her response, Giovanni grinned and stood, turning to face the window behind him. He reached for the blinds and separated two of its plastic bars just enough to peer out into the bright daylight.

    "You're correct," he said. "There is no base. However, should they be lucky enough to survive and complete their mission, we can send operatives to pick up their results."

    "What about Professor Nettle and 009? Wasn't the infamous Black Tulip your favorite agent?"

    Giovanni nodded. "She was, but as you can see from our conversation just now, she's since become incompetent. Professor Nettle was barely useful at all, even as a mole within the Pokémon Symposium. It would be far better to release them in Hoenn. If they don't succeed, we would at least save ourselves the trouble of disposing of two hindrances to our organization." He looked over his shoulder. "What do you think of this, Ariana?"

    She smiled. "It's a brilliant strategy."

    "Yes," he drawled. "You're far more clever than 009 could ever hope to be. Ariana, I'm reassigning both Professor Nettle's and 009's operations to you. Salvage them, and don't disappoint me."

    At once, she stood and bowed. "You can trust me, sir."

    ---

    Looking at John McKenzie, one would never guess he and Bill were in any way related. They had the same shape of face, but while Bill was short and dark-haired (though the latter was artificial), John was tall, with the only hair on his head being his mouse-brown eyebrows, mustache, and goatee. Bill spoke softly, holding his voice back to morph a thick, Goldenrod dialect into something that could be easily understood, but John's voice boomed through a room, his tongue rolling in what sounded like a thick, Scottish accent.

    So, while Bill would walk down the halls of Polaris without being noticed when he didn't want to be, John's heavy footsteps resounded off the walls as he joyfully greeted several very startled officers in security. It took him several minutes to pass through checkpoints and file paperwork because of this, but at the end of it, beyond a final metal detector in a long, white hallway, he came face-to-face with two people who made him quiet down: Professor Oak and a dark-haired intern.

    "Sam!" John exclaimed as he gave him a firm handshake. "It's been far too long, you arcanine!"

    The aide cringed a little – not enough to be noticed by normal people, but John was just as observant as his son. With a laugh, he clapped a hand roughly on the boy's shoulder.

    "Who's this?" he asked. "Sam, he looks barely old enough to grow hair on his chin!"

    "Tracey Sketchit, sir," the boy croaked under the weight of the hand.

    John laughed, the sound echoing down the hall. "No need to 'sir' me! Call me John! You know, you remind me of my son: not much older than a boy but very eager and even more uptight. Relax! Life is beautiful! Ah, that reminds me."

    He turned to Oak. All of a sudden, his face darkened, and his smile faded. Tracey shivered and took a step back, but Oak set his jaw and waited for the inevitable question.

    "Professor," John said, "where is William?"

    ---

    As soon as Bill opened his eyes, he winced in pain and shut them again. His head felt like someone took a mace to it, and the bright light and stark white ceiling above him weren't helping.

    Why does this feel familiar? he thought.

    He forced an eye open, and one of his hands tried to move to rub his temples. However, before that hand could go far, something snapped at his wrist and stopped his movement with a rattle. Another wave of déjŕ vu hit him hard as he opened both his eyes and tried to sit up.

    Whatever brought him to that room apparently took no risks. He was on a hospital bed as far as he could tell, but that was the most generous thing the people did for him. Beyond that, his wrists were handcuffed to the rails on the sides of the bed, and his hands were wrapped in mittens made of duct tape. A length of chain wound itself over his torso and under the bed to pin him to the mattress. Another chain bound his legs to the bed while duct tape held his ankles together. Then, if it wasn't enough already, his tail was taped to his right side. Helplessly, he twitched the arrowhead, but it could just barely rub against the edge of the tape.

    "You've got to be kidding me," he muttered.
    Last edited by JX Valentine; 1st November 2010 at 11:44 PM.

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  3. #53
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    Can't write a long review because SPP is lagging severely.

    Good work on this chapter, Jax! Everything is well written. I particularly like the scene in Giovanni's office... it gives us a feel for the scope of this plan and how it was being carried out, and some serious character development of Domino and Prof. Nettle.

    ALSO ARIANA FTW.

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  4. #54
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    Can't write a long review because SPP is lagging severely.

    Good work on this chapter, Jax! Everything is well written. I particularly like the scene in Giovanni's office... it gives us a feel for the scope of this plan and how it was being carried out, and some serious character development of Domino and Prof. Nettle.

    ALSO ARIANA FTW.

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  5. #55
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    Sorry for not reviewing in a while! Been getting grounded and having my laptop taken away! Congrats on your placing in the SPPf Fan Fiction awards! Anyway, no grammar or spelling mistakes I could see. If I missed anything then it was probably a small thing that is not of importance.

    Giovanni was characterized beautifully. The way he sounded, his vocabulary, his actions; all on point. Ariana should be an interesting character seeing how she is game only. Do you plan on bringing the other Executives into this? I also love how right when you start a fan fiction about the discovery of a 494 Pokemon they announce the fifth generation :P
    Credit goes to MagicMochi. Check out their shop.

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  6. #56
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    Alright! JX is back with a new chapter! This chapter may be short, but it explains a lot and is very well-written. I'm liking the use of canon. We now have Oak, Giovanni, and Tracey. The only question I have is about Persian. In one sentence you refer to it as "the persian." In other sentences you use the word "Persian" as a name. Is it a persian (as in a species) whose name happens to be Persian?

    On to Giovanni now. When you reviewed my fic, Pokemon: Battle of Battles, you told me Giovanni needs a more aggressive, badass approach to his character. You did very well in this area. I love the scene as a whole (Giovanni yelling and the reaction of the agents.) Since your review of my fic, I changed Giovanni's character to make him less "emo." This scene can only inspire me to make my Giovanni even more brutal. Nice work!

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  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    Can't write a long review because SPP is lagging severely.
    Totally okay. This is the entire reason why I haven't been on for weeks (other than, you know, what's been keeping me from finishing a four-page chapter in two months).

    Good work on this chapter, Jax! Everything is well written. I particularly like the scene in Giovanni's office... it gives us a feel for the scope of this plan and how it was being carried out, and some serious character development of Domino and Prof. Nettle.
    Thank you!

    ALSO ARIANA FTW.
    Amen there. XD The HGSS Rocket executives in general. So much awesome, so little time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow Lucario View Post
    Sorry for not reviewing in a while!
    Also totally okay. I completely understand.

    Congrats on your placing in the SPPf Fan Fiction awards!
    Thanks very much, and thanks for taking the time to review as well (and for the compliments while we're at it).

    Do you plan on bringing the other Executives into this?
    I'm definitely going to try, but I'll have to admit I've only come up with a role for Ariana so far. (You'd think I'd be able to come up with one for Petrel, considering he's a ~*~master of disguise~*~, but.)

    I also love how right when you start a fan fiction about the discovery of a 494 Pokemon they announce the fifth generation :P
    Yeah, I know, right? XD

    I sort of saw this coming, admittedly, just because the Pokémon franchise will not end. But hey, at the very least, I could say, "Yeah, uh, AU."

    Quote Originally Posted by ESPNfanatic35 View Post
    Alright! JX is back with a new chapter!
    *high fives!*

    This chapter may be short, but it explains a lot and is very well-written. I'm liking the use of canon.
    Thank you!

    The only question I have is about Persian. In one sentence you refer to it as "the persian." In other sentences you use the word "Persian" as a name. Is it a persian (as in a species) whose name happens to be Persian?
    Yep. You got it exactly.

    I like to be weird/stick to canon with naming conventions, so most characters in my fics don't actually name their Pokémon. In those cases, they just use the species name as their Pokémon's name, so it gets capitalized when in reference to the name of whatever I'm talking about. (e.g., Giovanni's persian = Persian.)

    On to Giovanni now. When you reviewed my fic, Pokemon: Battle of Battles, you told me Giovanni needs a more aggressive, badass approach to his character. You did very well in this area. I love the scene as a whole (Giovanni yelling and the reaction of the agents.) Since your review of my fic, I changed Giovanni's character to make him less "emo." This scene can only inspire me to make my Giovanni even more brutal. Nice work!
    Thanks and good luck!

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    I said I was going to read this, but I didn't expect to read it all in one sitting. xDD But I could not tear my eyes away and tell myself to take a break. Normally, I'm not a sci-fi fan or a fan of stories that are a bit more gruesome than the ones I normally read, but AEM completely took hold of me.

    First of all, I love Bill, and the fangirl in me has resurfaced after re-reading your Warp series. He's dorky, smart, and you can't help but go "awww" when he's in a tough situation. Sometimes I would just sit there, reading, with a big-o huge smile on my face.

    Second, the aliens/parasite creatures interest me to no end. Adam just seems so smart-aleck while being cool, collected, and dark. He will certainly be interesting to read about, especially when he's conversing with Bill because they are both such polar opposites.

    Plus, your writing style provides me with some laughs here and there. I chuckled when you were describing Bill's luck.

    If there's a PM list, I would like to be on it (or if you prefer for me to ask through VM/PM, I'll do so). I'll await eagerly for the next chapter! :3

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  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phantom Kat View Post
    I said I was going to read this, but I didn't expect to read it all in one sitting. xDD But I could not tear my eyes away and tell myself to take a break. Normally, I'm not a sci-fi fan or a fan of stories that are a bit more gruesome than the ones I normally read, but AEM completely took hold of me.
    Thanks! It really means a lot to me whenever readers say the fic isn't something they'd normally read but that they read it anyway. I honestly can't describe how flattered I feel without sounding incredibly egotistical. XD

    First of all, I love Bill, and the fangirl in me has resurfaced after re-reading your Warp series. He's dorky, smart, and you can't help but go "awww" when he's in a tough situation. Sometimes I would just sit there, reading, with a big-o huge smile on my face.
    *high fives for fangirlism* Also, I have to completely agree, which is why I like talking to other fangirls. He really is this huge dork who's an intellectual, not an adventurer (unlike most of the rest of the franchise), so part of what makes discussions about him so interesting is seeing what people have to say about him and what people do with him. (You know. Keeping in mind the idea that he's not just like Ash or his friends.)

    In other words, you are seriously awesome, and Bill needs more people like you in his not-so-massive fanbase.

    Second, the aliens/parasite creatures interest me to no end. Adam just seems so smart-aleck while being cool, collected, and dark. He will certainly be interesting to read about, especially when he's conversing with Bill because they are both such polar opposites.
    Thank you. And I hope I keep your interest in the future. I can definitely say that there's going to be a lot more parasite-host shenanigans. ;D (Imagine, for example, Adam bluntly trying to tell Bill how mating works for their species.)

    Plus, your writing style provides me with some laughs here and there. I chuckled when you were describing Bill's luck.
    Ooh, yes, that part was a lot of fun to write.

    If there's a PM list, I would like to be on it
    Absolutely! I'll put you down, and thank you again!

    The next chapter will come soon, I promise. I just have to survive finals first. x_x

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    And by "soon," I apparently mean "today" because I finally got off my rear and wrote up the stuff I've been writing during class for the past couple of weeks.

    Also, chief concern in this chapter is whether or not I cover too much information. x_x Feel free to judge for yourselves.


    Anima Ex Machina: Nine
    What are fears but voices airy?


    Ellen Joy, the chief nurse of Mauville City's pokémon center, was more or less like every other Nurse Joy in existence. Her pink hair was drawn into loops, just like the hair of the Nurse Joys in each of the other centers. She wore the same pressed uniform that was standard issue to all Nurse Joys. Her eyes had the same blue color as all her sisters, and she commanded her chansey companions with the same soft voice as her cousins. It would take the skills of only the particularly observant to tell her apart from any other female member of the Joy family. She couldn't explain why her family was like that. It just was.

    However, she also knew that a whole list of things separated her from her relatives. Most Nurse Joys faced trainers with a sense of compassion and optimism, an expression that told trainers that no matter how badly their pokémon were hurt, the center's staff would do its best to help the injured pull through. Their smiles were genuine and sweet, but Ellen, as a result of spending months watching her city fall bit by bit to the aliens outside of it, had to force herself to smile those days just to boost the survivors' morale. Oftentimes, she would walk down the halls of her empty pokémon center – just one more thing that separated her from the other nurses – not really thinking about anything at all except trying to maintain her hollow grin.

    Beyond that, she had more responsibility than her relatives, having been appointed as not only a caretaker for the sick and injured but also a mother figure to the last inhabitants of Mauville City. People, afraid of being on their own in their almost-empty city, had taken up residence in all of the trainers' dorms, and she was the one to offer food, water, and a listening ear to anyone who needed it. This included whoever they found on the outskirts of town.

    One of these findings was currently chained up in one of the recovery rooms. She was paused at the door beside her chansey, her blue eyes fixed straight ahead in a calm stare. A tray was in her hands, and on it was a covered bowl and a glass of water. Both rattled as she tried to compose herself.

    "Chan," her companion cooed softly.

    She glanced at Chansey. Nodding, she took a deep breath.

    "Right. It's just like any other pokémon."

    The pink pokémon smiled and trilled as she opened the door. Straightening her back, Ellen cautiously stepped inside.

    Less than a day ago, the city's Officer Jenny came back with the fishing party assembled to gather food for the survivors. They weren't carrying fish, as they'd promised. Instead, they carried a metal creature, a thing that looked to her like a lizard with a human's face. Officer Jenny offered no explanation as the party bound it to the bed. Instead, all she said was that when it woke up and was ready to offer any sort of answer, she was to be contacted.

    Right then, Ellen nearly dropped the tray when she realized the creature's dark eyes were open. It turned its head to watch her walk forward. Whimpering softly at the image of its face, Ellen fixed her eyes on the small table next to the bed and tried to avoid thinking about what was in the room. Focusing on the table calmed her just enough to let her approach it and set down the tray without spilling the contents of either containers.

    "It's good to see that you're awake," she said. "I'm sorry for all the chains, but I promise I'm here to help you. Are you hungry? I brought you some food. I could leave it here if you're not ready as well."

    "Thank you."

    And then she screamed.

    When she realized what she had just done, Ellen slapped both of her hands over her mouth. She whirled around to face the occupant of the bed and took a few steps backwards. At the same time, it flinched and turned its head away from her, shivering as it gritted its teeth.

    "If you don't mind, please don't do that again," it told her quietly. "I apparently have sensitive hearing."

    Gradually, she pulled her hands away from her mouth. They were shaking uncontrollably, even as Chansey stepped into the room and put both stubby arms on Ellen's side to comfort her.

    "You... you can talk?" she whispered.

    The metal creature rested its cheek on its pillow and gave her a strange look. Ellen crept closer, her hands moving over her chest. Chansey remained where she was, watching the two of them carefully.

    "M-my name is Ellen. Ellen Joy," she said.

    "It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm Bill."

    Ellen paused. Male. This creature was male. Of course, this wasn't the thing that was currently putting her thought processes on hold. It was mostly the fact that she was holding a conversation with a member of a species that had annihilated most of Mauville City, and apparently, the creature in question believed in polite manners. To her, focusing on that one little fact she had just discovered about his gender made her feel slightly more sane than she was five seconds ago.

    Meanwhile, Bill, was just taking some relief in the fact that he had just spent two minutes in the room with a complete stranger, and that stranger wasn't trying to hurt him yet. This idea gave him enough courage to relax and try communicating with her again.

    "Excuse me. Nurse Joy?" he asked.

    She shook her head. "Huh?"

    "Could I ask you to let me go?"

    "I..."

    Chansey perked up and immediately waddled out of the room. Ellen, meanwhile, looked down at her feet. The nurse couldn't quite figure out what she was supposed to do. After all, it had taken her a couple of hours to get over the shock of having the thing – the same species of creature she had seen rip off children's heads in previous attacks – inside her hospital in the first place, and now he started talking to her like he was just any other human being. Trembling, her knees gave out, and she plopped onto the floor with her legs folded under her.

    Bill lifted his head just enough to look at her. "Are you all right?!"

    She covered her eyes with a hand, and she could feel tears wet the skin of her palm.

    Right then, before Bill could ask her what was wrong, Chansey came back in with a pair of scissors. Hearing the soft cooing of her partner, Ellen removed the hand just in time to see Chansey approach Bill and start cutting off the duct tape around one of his hands.

    "Chansey, no!" she yelled.

    Bill grimaced again, but before he could say a word, Chansey did instead.

    "Chansey chan chan chansey."

    Instantly, Bill sat bolt upright – or at least as close to upright as he could get before the chains hit his torso and caused him to slam back into the mattress. Chansey snapped at him sternly and ripped off the first duct tape mitten while he looked from it to Ellen.

    "Did... can your chansey talk?" he whispered.

    Chansey moved to cut through the duct tape binding his feet and tail. Watching this, Ellen let her hands fall to her sides as something dawned on her. It began as a slow realization that ate its way into her brain before consuming the rest of her thoughts until she focused on it and it alone.

    "Why aren't you attacking?" she whispered.

    Bill, already thoroughly confused by the fact that he could understand the chansey perfectly (both her words of encouragement to Ellen and the order to stay still), stared at her uncomfortably before letting his head drop on the pillow.

    "This is a dream," he muttered to himself. "That's the only way any of this can make sense."

    Ellen rose to her feet. Not a single one of Bill's words registered to her. She approached his side as Chansey walked around the bed to take off the other glove. Bill looked up at the human nurse and squirmed at the blank expression on her face. Then, he felt her hand grasp his, and at that, he tried to pull away.

    "What are you doing?" he demanded.

    "Why aren't you attacking me?" she repeated.

    "Why..." Bill stared at her in curiosity. "I don't want to hurt you."

    She stared at him for a moment while she processed what he just said. "You... you don't want to hurt me?"

    He shook his head. "No. Not at all. Why would you think I would?"

    Her eyes stared into his and studied his expression. Bill squirmed again, but he didn't pull away, not because he physically couldn't but instead because he was starting to see something. There was an explanation behind all this fear she showed him, and the intensity of her stare told him she was very close to letting down her guard a little.

    "You're telling the truth," she said.

    He nodded. "I am."

    She exhaled. Then, after a long pause, she reached over and pressed a button on the side of the bed. Half of it raised, lifting Bill up just enough so that he was, in effect, sitting up.

    "I'm sorry," she told him. "I'm not used to seeing an ixodida up close."

    "What?"

    Stopping, she looked at him.

    "Ixodida," he said. "What do you mean by that?"

    She smiled. "Oh. You must not call yourselves that. Ixodida is what the researchers in Littleroot Town are calling your kind."

    "Littleroot Town," he whispered. "Professor Birch's laboratory must be..."

    Sitting on the edge of the bed, Ellen raised her eyebrows. "You know who Professor Birch is?"

    He nodded. "Yes. I've worked with him before."

    "...You still think like a human?"

    At her question, Bill stopped. He couldn't figure out why she would ask that at first, but the more he thought about Abel, the more he understood. That must have been the only kind of ixodida Ellen had seen, and he must have been an anomaly. It made sense, though. After all, it explained why she was so afraid of him. With his mind lingering on Abel, Bill pictured the creature, how he readily attacked everything in his path, how he communicated in grunts and half-words...

    ...How he looked when an entire hunting party shot volleys of bullets through him.

    Shuddering, Bill nodded and spoke softer than he meant. "Yes, I do."

    "You poor thing!" Ellen breathed as she reached up to brush his forehead. "I'm so sorry. I wish I could do something to help you, but..."

    She shook her head, reached over to the table, and removed the lid on the bowl. Immediately, the room filled up with a smell Bill couldn't place. It wasn't entirely unpleasant to him, but something about it seemed wrong. Whatever it was, it was a metallic scent, almost like copper, and that overlaid the smell of something sweet. His stomach rumbled as soon as he picked up on the odor, and he curled his toes and clenched his teeth through the hunger pangs that suddenly hit him. All at once, he came to the realization that he hadn't eaten anything since he awoke in Polaris, and he wondered if anyone tried to feed him during his transformation.

    "Let me take care of you at the very least. I can tell you're hungry," Ellen said softly. "Here. Eat this."

    She picked up the spoon and brought part of the bowl's contents to Bill's mouth. He glanced at it, noticing it was something red in an equally red broth. Yet he was too hungry to ask what it was. Instead, he just opened his mouth and took the bite.

    Only then did he realize four things. First, the soup was actually stone cold, as if it had been chilled instead of cooked. Second, the broth was actually salty and viscous, and it had the distinct taste of something bloody. Third, the red chunk was chewy and tough. It took him a few more seconds to come to the fourth and final realization: he was eating raw meat.

    He would have choked on it right then if he hadn't felt his jaw and throat go numb. At that point, he felt the alien's presence in his head, forcing him to swallow the morsel instead of spit it back up.

    What are you doing? its voice drawled. Do not be so rude as to refuse the kindness of a stranger, especially if she so kindly gave us exactly what our body needs.

    Bill stared straight ahead, unable to look at the jewel in his chest. We... what?!

    Yes. My kind consumes the flesh of the recently dead. What else did you think we eat? Is it not your specialty to analyze the body structure of a pokémon and understand from that how it behaves? Think, Bill! Claws! Fangs! A tongue specially designed to be inserted into small wounds! What else is our body built for other than the hunt?

    "Is something wrong?"

    Bill snapped out of his daze to look at the nurse. She already had another spoonful ready.

    "Are you all right?" she asked.

    He tried to force himself to speak, but instead, he nodded and took the next spoonful. Inside, he felt Adam watching him carefully.

    This is wrong, he thought.

    How different is it to what a human normally eats? Adam asked. We need to recover our strength. Eat.

    There was a variety of things Bill wanted to do: struggle, scream, cry, plead Ellen to stop. No matter how much he tried, however, Adam kept him quiet and compliant. Yet, at the same time, he felt strange. With each bite, he felt a sense of satisfaction, like he was eating the most fulfilling stew he ever had. He wanted so much to shudder at the thought, but he was trapped. Adam was in his head, and as a result, although the parasite didn't think of anything coherent right at that moment, it held every part of his body like a puppeteer.

    Oh gods! he thought. What's happening to me?

    He could feel himself slip inward, recoiling at the weight of what had been dumped on him for the past two days. It wasn't enough to wake up as something other than a human. Oh, no. He was sharing a body with an alien, that alien could invade his mind whenever it felt like it, he was transported to Hoenn, people kept attacking him, he was being force-fed raw meat, and to top it all off, he almost liked it. His body started to go numb. All he wanted to do was sink down into himself for awhile, if only to figure out how to process everything. Yet, part of him didn't want it, didn't want to process it or let it be his life.

    No!

    Bill felt something wrap around his mind, like an invisible hand seized it and pulled it back to the surface. The numb feeling gave way to small, stabbing pains all over his body.

    You will not, Adam hissed. Did you already forget our deal? This is our life now. You must be strong and embrace it. You have no choice.

    I can't, he replied. I just can't.

    It will only be too much for you to handle if you let it be. Remember, I know your memories. You studied the monsters you call pokémon by donning their skins, did you not? This is a new skin for you to wear. Let your mind adapt to fit your form. You can, Bill. You have done so before.

    Bill closed his eyes. It was hard to force him to want this. The experience felt too natural, as if at any second, he'd slip away from being human and right into becoming an alien. In his heart, the possibility of forgetting himself felt cold and dark, and when he imagined it, he could only think of a hole. He wasn't sure if he would be able to climb back out and come back to being human if he fell into something like that.

    Then again, although the things Adam said didn't remotely quell his fear of losing his humanity, the parasite had a point. Bill had done this before. He could maintain control of himself if he tried. All he had to do was treat it like his experiences wearing costumes for his research: see the world through Adam's eyes but always remain conscious of what was under the synthetic frame. After all, what was the difference between wearing a pokémon costume and this other than the fact that the costumes had a switch or a button to press to turn him back into a human? Wasn't this just a costume he had to wear for a while longer? If there was a way to turn him into that monster, there must have been a way to turn him back.

    Either way, Bill was, in his heart, always a human, and no matter what he had to do, that truth was still there. That was the last realization to dawn on him, and it lingered in his mind for awhile as he mulled it over. He was always a human inside. With any changes that happened to his physical body, he would just have to adapt. He didn't have a choice right now, did he? If he was transformed into a pidgey, he would still have to eat insects to sustain himself, and he would be perfectly all right with that idea. Besides that, he would have gladly eaten raw fish and shrimp in the kabuto costume for the sake of realism. What made this any different?

    Somehow, that thought, as crazy as part of him knew it was, made him relax a little more. It was then that he realized Adam had given him control of his body again, and more importantly, he remembered Ellen was trying to feed him. Currently, his mouth was clamped tightly onto the spoon, and Ellen was tugging gently with a shaking hand.

    "Um," she murmured.

    He released and gasped. Quickly, Ellen withdrew and put the spoon back in the half-empty bowl.

    "I'm terribly sorry," he said.

    As if she didn't hear him, she continued, "Maybe we should try this again later. It's clear that you're not entirely comfortable with this."

    Bill looked away and tugged on the handcuffs. He wanted to say something to reassure her he was harmless, but he had a feeling that it wouldn't stop her from shaking. Not to mention the handcuffs and chains blocked any plans he might have had.

    "Could you let me go?" he asked quietly.

    Ellen put the cover on the bowl. "I'm sorry. I can't."

    "I promise you I won't hurt you."

    She smiled weakly at him. "I believe you, but I don't have the keys."

    "Oh. That... that would be a problem."

    Gently, Ellen reached down to place a hand on the side of his face. Looking into his eyes, she tried to think of a way to tell him she would do everything she could to free him, but before she could get a word out of her mouth, something else caught her attention. Her hand nudged the side of his face until Bill shifted his head.

    "What?" he asked.

    "Your bruise is gone," she told him.

    "My bruise?"

    She nodded. "When Officer Jenny brought you in, there was a large bruise on the side of your face. It's not there anymore."

    He blinked, struggling to remember why he would have a bruise in the first place, let alone how one might have disappeared apparently overnight.

    The circumstances are inconsequential, Adam told him. The results, meanwhile, are those of another gift I have given you.

    Bill tried to process those words. He was about to ask Adam about the gift, but as quickly as the parasite spoke, it retreated, skirting around Bill's mental grasp. All he could do was stare at Ellen as she sat on the edge of the bed. Her eyes remained steady on Bill's tail as she gathered her thoughts.

    "I'm sorry about all of this," she said. "I'm sure if they knew you were human inside..." Her eyes trailed to his face. "You must have gone through a lot. The people here are good. It's just... it's really what the other ixodida did to this city."

    Bill hesitated. The memory of Abel flashed in his mind again, but this time, he tried not to think about the part where his fellow victim was killed. Instead, he tried to think of the way the electric-type acted. Sure, Abel was feral, but all he was doing was trying to escape... right? He had every right to lash out at his attackers because he was a prisoner.

    Even then, it occurred to Bill at that point that he couldn't quite understand what Project Stardust was for, despite all those months at Polaris. Why was there a quarantine? Why was Ellen so afraid of him? Why did the people of Mauville attack him? Could there have been something else the ixodida had done besides transform humans and try to escape? It didn't make sense to Bill. There was something missing in the equation.

    Finally, he asked, "What happened?"

    "They destroyed our city and killed most of our people," a new voice replied.

    Ellen jumped to her feet and swiveled around on her heels to face the door. Only a few feet away, Officer Jenny leaned against the door frame with her arms crossed.

    "The guard's spotted several poison-types trying to cross the city from the west. Hunters are dealing with them, but we lost track of two. Be alert," she said, just before looking at her prisoner. "And who the hell took off the tape?!"

    Chansey happily waved the scissors above her head and trilled.

    Scowling, Jenny took one look at her and growled, "Great. You're lucky that thing hasn't stabbed you both yet."

    Ellen stiffened. "He hasn't. What does that tell you?"

    "That it's plotting something."

    "I beg your pardon?!" Bill snapped. He couldn't really help it. Being chained to the bed put him in a less-than-comfortable mood as it was, and being talked about as if he was pure evil really didn't help matters. "Officer, I assure you--"

    She glared at him. "So, I wasn't dreaming before."

    Swiftly, she stepped forward until she stood beside the bed. Bill's indignant expression gave way to wide, frightened eyes as the police officer's hand grasped his neck. Right away, Ellen darted to Jenny's side and grabbed her arm.

    "Veronica!" she screamed.

    Jenny's eyes narrowed. "I'm just coaxing it to tell us what we need to know. You! Ixodida! Did you lead them here?"

    Unable to force his tongue to work, Bill stared at Jenny for awhile. When several seconds passed, he felt her hand tighten around his neck.

    "Answer me!" she barked.

    His head turned. He intended on shaking it in response, but as soon as he moved, Jenny recoiled with a shriek. Bill cringed at both the sound and the sharp, metallic scent of blood. Opening an eye, he watched Jenny show her shaking hands to Ellen.

    "It cut me!" she yelled. "The bastard cut me!"

    "You were choking him. Didn't you see the plates on the sides of his neck?" She sighed and examined her friend's hand. "Chansey, go get disinfectant, lidocaine, and a clean suture kit. This looks deep."

    The pink pokémon saluted and waddled towards the door. Before she could get there, however, a chubby, blond man skidded to a halt in front of her.

    "Officer!" he yelled. "Just heard over the radio! The guards got wiped out by the two missing ixodida! They're headed this way!"
    Last edited by JX Valentine; 3rd October 2011 at 4:14 AM.

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  11. #61
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    Ixodida hmm?

    It's a pretty all right name, I think as a race of creatures, the 'x' suits them for some reason. The other way round it spells Adidoxi, which (in my opinion) sounds cooler :P

    It was interesting to see what these creatures have done to Hoenn, and how powerful they are (if two Poison types can take out a group of hunters I wonder what better types could do xD) not to be discriminatory against Poison types, they're actually my third favourites behind Dark and Psychic, but they aren't exactly the best in terms of power or defense.

    Please don't mistake me for a competitive battle guy, those people annoy me, I jut pick things up now and then.

    It was interesting to how big this thing has gotten.

    Yay for zombie apocalypse scenario!
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    Another great chapter. Don't worry, you didn't give too much information. I think it was just the right amount. I found the inner conversation with Adam to be interesting and the raw meat eating scene very amusing.

    "It cut me!" she shrieked. "The ******* cut me!"
    Haha, Officer Jenny swore!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diddy View Post
    It's a pretty all right name, I think as a race of creatures, the 'x' suits them for some reason.
    Thanks! I'll have to admit I was sort of inspired by Elfen Lied here. As in, the name comes from the Latin name of a not-so-random real-life animal.

    The other way round it spells Adidoxi, which (in my opinion) sounds cooler :P
    For some reason, this makes me think of Mexico (probably because, in my half-awake stupor, I misread this as "Axolotl," that one Mexican salamander thing Wooper's supposed to be based off of)... which is either pretty awesome or something that makes me think of Bill in a sombrero. Which, actually, would also be pretty awesome. Especially if there's Mexican beer involved somewhere in here.

    ...What was I talking about again?

    not to be discriminatory against Poison types, they're actually my third favourites behind Dark and Psychic, but they aren't exactly the best in terms of power or defense.

    Please don't mistake me for a competitive battle guy, those people annoy me, I jut pick things up now and then.
    Totally okay. I'm the same way. Poison-types are cool, but they're not that strong -- something that's definitely going to come into play soon. As for how strong they are compared to people, you definitely hit on something there. Or, at least, these ones are fast.

    Also, word to the bit about competitive battling. XD

    Yay for zombie apocalypse scenario!
    Seriously, everything is better with zombies. No exceptions. Think about it. Serebii would be probably ten times cooler if the staff had to fight off a zombie apocalypse. Psychic with a crowbar. That's all I'm saying.

    Quote Originally Posted by ESPNfanatic35 View Post
    Another great chapter. Don't worry, you didn't give too much information. I think it was just the right amount.
    Thank you!

    Haha, Officer Jenny swore!
    Oh yes. This Officer Jenny is like a sailor soldier. The kind that drink and swear, not the kind that dance around in skimpy suits of armor and sparkle.

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  14. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by JX Valentine View Post
    Thanks! I'll have to admit I was sort of inspired by Elfen Lied here. As in, the name comes from the Latin name of a not-so-random real-life animal.
    I watched Elfen Lied on the recommendation of a friend, needless to say I enjoyed the gratuitous mutilation. Lucy ftw!



    For some reason, this makes me think of Mexico (probably because, in my half-awake stupor, I misread this as "Axolotl," that one Mexican salamander thing Wooper's supposed to be based off of)... which is either pretty awesome or something that makes me think of Bill in a sombrero. Which, actually, would also be pretty awesome. Especially if there's Mexican beer involved somewhere in here.

    ...What was I talking about again?
    I thought of Axolotl when I turned it backwards. Did you know they "evolve" if you inject them with iodine, although it has serious health risks and it shortens their life spans dramatically. I read an article on them... for some reason.

    Totally okay. I'm the same way. Poison-types are cool, but they're not that strong -- something that's definitely going to come into play soon. As for how strong they are compared to people, you definitely hit on something there. Or, at least, these ones are fast.

    Also, word to the bit about competitive battling. XD
    Accidental plot point figuring out ftw :P

    Seriously, everything is better with zombies. No exceptions. Think about it. Serebii would be probably ten times cooler if the staff had to fight off a zombie apocalypse. Psychic with a crowbar. That's all I'm saying.
    That makes me think of Half-Life, the crowbar anyway. Zombies not so much xD
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    Oh yes. This Officer Jenny is like a sailor soldier. The kind that drink and swear, not the kind that dance around in skimpy suits of armor and sparkle.
    Nice, I prefer that. Btw I don't think I'm on your PM list for this fic yet. You got me hooked on it so I was wondering if you could add me.

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    I just got through reading your fic JX Valentine, and it is awesome! I like how you used Bill as the main character. He really can be an excellent character if used right and you are doing just that.

    Anyway, I like the name "ixodida" as well. It fits with them.

    Also,

    Swiftly, she stepped forward. Bill's indignant expression gave way to wide, frightened eyes as the police officer's hand grasped his neck. Right afterwards, Ellen darted to Jenny's side and grabbed her arm.

    "Veronica!" she screamed.

    Jenny's eyes narrowed. "I'm just coaxing it to tell us what we need to know. You! Ixodida! Did you lead them here?"

    Unable to force his tongue to work, Bill stared at Jenny for awhile. When a minute passed, he felt her hand tighten around his neck.

    "Answer me!" she demanded.
    Real smart to "coax" someone who could easily rip you limb from limb in a heartbeat.

    "It cut me!" she shrieked. "The ******* cut me!"
    Need I say more.

    "Officer!" he yelled. "Just heard over the radio! Guards just got wiped out by the two missing ixodida! They're headed this way!"
    I smell a battle coming...

    And,

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diddy View Post
    I watched Elfen Lied on the recommendation of a friend, needless to say I enjoyed the gratuitous mutilation. Lucy ftw!
    Your friend is amazing.

    Also, amen to Lucy FTW. Personally, I have to say Nana's up there on my list too, just because PROSTHETIC LIMB ROCKET PUNCH. Lucy's pretty badass, but when you're an amputee who uses your own prosthetic limbs as weapons, you kinda redefine badass, no matter how cutesy you are otherwise.

    I thought of Axolotl when I turned it backwards. Did you know they "evolve" if you inject them with iodine, although it has serious health risks and it shortens their life spans dramatically.
    I didn't know this. O_o Well, now I'm off to find pics and/or YouTube vids. XD

    Accidental plot point figuring out ftw :P
    *high fives!*

    That makes me think of Half-Life, the crowbar anyway. Zombies not so much xD
    While you should be thinking of Half-Life, for some reason, this reminds me of Half-Life Full Life Consequences. Specifically: BECAUSE YOU ARE HEADCRAB ZOMBIE.

    Also, yes, that game made me realize that every action hero needs a crowbar.

    Quote Originally Posted by ESPNfanatic35 View Post
    Btw I don't think I'm on your PM list for this fic yet. You got me hooked on it so I was wondering if you could add me.
    No problem. And I will actually put up the PM/VM list on the first post eventually, just because I keep losing the doc that has all of your names on it... because I love failing at life, apparently.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cryptic Blaze View Post
    I just got through reading your fic JX Valentine, and it is awesome!
    Thanks!

    I like how you used Bill as the main character. He really can be an excellent character if used right and you are doing just that.
    Thanks. I really try. He's my favorite in the series, and I agree he can be a pretty cool character to work with.

    Real smart to "coax" someone who could easily rip you limb from limb in a heartbeat.
    XD Yeah, I'd say she could be a smarter cop, but this one really isn't. She's somewhat street-smart (compared to the rest of the cast, at least), but that's about it.

    I smell a battle coming...
    As you should. ;D

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    Ahh! What better way to unwind after three days of nothing but state exams than to read your latest chapter?

    Finally! Bill meets a human who doesn't want to kill him or run away in the opposite direction. xD I like your portrayals of Jenny and Joy. They're so different from their anime counterparts because really, in the anime, no matter how many you meet, they act very similiar to each other. I especially love Jenny's bad-*** "I can control this monster 'cause I'm a cop" attitude. It was definitely unexpected. Here I thought that Bill would wake up, talk with Jenny, and she would calmly ask him questions while keeping him handcuffed. *snorts*

    And Bill, despite his situation, is still his polite self. Bless his heart. x3 The way he looked at his situation with Adam is so totally Bill. What better way for a researcher to cope with this than by seeing it as just one big experiment that will just take longer than expected to complete?

    "Ixodida" sounds cool, like some kind of exotic medical drug. Kudos for the people in Hoenn that thought of that, rather than call them something stupid like "Pokémon aliens". :P (And of course, kudos to you for coming up with it!)

    Overall, awesome chapter, JX!

    *waits for epic battle*

    - Kat
    Last edited by Phantom Kat; 1st May 2010 at 5:48 PM.


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    her chansey companions
    Chansey.

    Nice touch with noting how even a Joy can't tell why all Joys look the same.

    not to take care of the sick and injured but instead to serve as the mother to the last inhabitants of Mauville City. People, afraid of being on their own in their almost-empty city, had taken up residence in all of the trainers' dorms, and she was the one to offer food, water, and a listening ear to anyone who needed it. This included whoever they found on the outskirts of town.
    Chilling...

    Ellen paused. Male. This creature was male. Of course, this wasn't the thing that was currently putting her thought processes on hold. It was mostly the fact that she was holding a conversation with a member of a species that had annihilated most of Mauville City, and apparently, the creature in question believed in polite manners
    My second thought was how amusing Bill's ever polite attitude is.

    You don't wanna know what the first thought was.

    the same kind of creature she had seen rip off a little girl's head
    ...I think it was the other one that did this. Bill wouldn't do it...

    "I'm sorry," she told him. "We've had so many ixodida attacks that–"

    "What?"

    Stopping, she looked at him.

    "Ixodida," he said. "What do you mean by that?"
    Ixodida is a great name, but you missed capitalizing it the first time you used it. That's important to fix.

    At her question, Bill stopped. Although he couldn't figure out why she would ask that at first, his mind thought back to Abel and understood. That must have been the only kind of ixodida Ellen had seen. He must have been an anomaly. It made sense, though. If anything, it explained why she was so afraid of him. With his mind lingering on Abel, Bill pictured the creature, how he readily attacked everything in his path, how he communicated in grunts and half-words...
    You missed "Ixodida" again. Other than that, this is a great paragraph, conveying stuff I thought earlier.

    "You poor thing!" Ellen breathed.

    She reached over and removed the lid on the bowl. Immediately, the room filled up with a smell Bill couldn't place. It wasn't entirely unpleasant to him, but something about it seemed wrong. Whatever it was, it had a metallic scent, almost like copper, and that overlaid the scent of something sweet. His stomach rumbled as soon as he picked up on the odor, and he curled his toes and clenched his teeth through the hunger pangs that suddenly hit him. All at once, he came to the realization that he hadn't eaten anything since he first woke up as the creature he was now, and he wondered if anyone tried to feed him during his transformation.

    "Let me take care of you at the very least. I can tell you're hungry," Ellen said softly. "Here. Eat this."
    Oddly adorable.

    Only then did he realize four things. First, the soup was actually cold – stone cold, as if it had been chilled instead of cooked. Second, the first reason why was because the broth was actually salty and viscous and had the distinct taste of something bloody. Third, the other reason why was because the red chunk was chewy and tough. It took him a few more seconds to come to the final realization: he was eating raw meat.
    I actually guessed he was eating blood soup the moment you pointed out how red it was, yet I still had an OH **** moment at the end.

    There was a variety of things Bill wanted to do: struggle, scream, cry, plead Ellen to stop. No matter how much he tried, however, Adam kept him quiet and compliant. Yet, at the same time, he felt strange. With each bite, he felt a sense of satisfaction, like he was eating the most fulfilling warm stew he ever had. He wanted so much to shudder at the thought and force himself to dispel the notion, but he was trapped. Adam was in his head, and as a result, although the parasite didn't think of anything coherent right at that moment, it held every part of his body like a puppeteer.

    Oh God! he thought. What's happening to me?
    I can totally understand the conflicting emotions here... very nice paragraph, creepy and yet fascinating.

    Bill felt something wrap around his mind, like an invisible hand seized his mind and pulled it back to the surface. The numb feeling gave way to small, stabbing pains all over his body.

    You will not, Adam hissed. Do you already forget our deal? This is our life now. You must be strong and embrace it. You have no choice.

    I-I can't, he replied. It's too much.

    It will only be too much if you let it be. Remember, I know your memories. You studied the monsters you call pokémon by donning their skins, did you not? This is a new skin for you to wear. Let your mind adapt to fit your form. You can, Bill. You have done so before.
    This is so ****ing creepy I can't even describe it.

    "The guard's spotted several poison-types trying to cross the city from the west.
    guards

    "Officer!" he yelled. "Just heard over the radio! Guards just got wiped out by the two missing ixodida! They're headed this way!"
    And you end a massive OH **** chapter with the biggest OH **** of them all. Good job.

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  20. #70
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    her chansey companions
    Chansey.

    Nice touch with noting how even a Joy can't tell why all Joys look the same.

    not to take care of the sick and injured but instead to serve as the mother to the last inhabitants of Mauville City. People, afraid of being on their own in their almost-empty city, had taken up residence in all of the trainers' dorms, and she was the one to offer food, water, and a listening ear to anyone who needed it. This included whoever they found on the outskirts of town.
    Chilling...

    Ellen paused. Male. This creature was male. Of course, this wasn't the thing that was currently putting her thought processes on hold. It was mostly the fact that she was holding a conversation with a member of a species that had annihilated most of Mauville City, and apparently, the creature in question believed in polite manners
    My second thought was how amusing Bill's ever polite attitude is.

    You don't wanna know what the first thought was.

    the same kind of creature she had seen rip off a little girl's head
    ...I think it was the other one that did this. Bill wouldn't do it...

    "I'm sorry," she told him. "We've had so many ixodida attacks that–"

    "What?"

    Stopping, she looked at him.

    "Ixodida," he said. "What do you mean by that?"
    Ixodida is a great name, but you missed capitalizing it the first time you used it. That's important to fix.

    At her question, Bill stopped. Although he couldn't figure out why she would ask that at first, his mind thought back to Abel and understood. That must have been the only kind of ixodida Ellen had seen. He must have been an anomaly. It made sense, though. If anything, it explained why she was so afraid of him. With his mind lingering on Abel, Bill pictured the creature, how he readily attacked everything in his path, how he communicated in grunts and half-words...
    You missed "Ixodida" again. Other than that, this is a great paragraph, conveying stuff I thought earlier.

    "You poor thing!" Ellen breathed.

    She reached over and removed the lid on the bowl. Immediately, the room filled up with a smell Bill couldn't place. It wasn't entirely unpleasant to him, but something about it seemed wrong. Whatever it was, it had a metallic scent, almost like copper, and that overlaid the scent of something sweet. His stomach rumbled as soon as he picked up on the odor, and he curled his toes and clenched his teeth through the hunger pangs that suddenly hit him. All at once, he came to the realization that he hadn't eaten anything since he first woke up as the creature he was now, and he wondered if anyone tried to feed him during his transformation.

    "Let me take care of you at the very least. I can tell you're hungry," Ellen said softly. "Here. Eat this."
    Oddly adorable.

    Only then did he realize four things. First, the soup was actually cold – stone cold, as if it had been chilled instead of cooked. Second, the first reason why was because the broth was actually salty and viscous and had the distinct taste of something bloody. Third, the other reason why was because the red chunk was chewy and tough. It took him a few more seconds to come to the final realization: he was eating raw meat.
    I actually guessed he was eating blood soup the moment you pointed out how red it was, yet I still had an OH **** moment at the end.

    There was a variety of things Bill wanted to do: struggle, scream, cry, plead Ellen to stop. No matter how much he tried, however, Adam kept him quiet and compliant. Yet, at the same time, he felt strange. With each bite, he felt a sense of satisfaction, like he was eating the most fulfilling warm stew he ever had. He wanted so much to shudder at the thought and force himself to dispel the notion, but he was trapped. Adam was in his head, and as a result, although the parasite didn't think of anything coherent right at that moment, it held every part of his body like a puppeteer.

    Oh God! he thought. What's happening to me?
    I can totally understand the conflicting emotions here... very nice paragraph, creepy and yet fascinating.

    Bill felt something wrap around his mind, like an invisible hand seized his mind and pulled it back to the surface. The numb feeling gave way to small, stabbing pains all over his body.

    You will not, Adam hissed. Do you already forget our deal? This is our life now. You must be strong and embrace it. You have no choice.

    I-I can't, he replied. It's too much.

    It will only be too much if you let it be. Remember, I know your memories. You studied the monsters you call pokémon by donning their skins, did you not? This is a new skin for you to wear. Let your mind adapt to fit your form. You can, Bill. You have done so before.
    This is so ****ing creepy I can't even describe it.

    "The guard's spotted several poison-types trying to cross the city from the west.
    guards

    "Officer!" he yelled. "Just heard over the radio! Guards just got wiped out by the two missing ixodida! They're headed this way!"
    And you end a massive OH **** chapter with the biggest OH **** of them all. Good job.

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  21. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phantom Kat View Post
    Ahh! What better way to unwind after three days of nothing but state exams than to read your latest chapter?
    *high fives for getting through exams*

    Finally! Bill meets a human who doesn't want to kill him or run away in the opposite direction. xD
    I know, right? XD Poor guy. The universe just hates him.

    And by "the universe," I mean "I," and by "hates him," I mean "love to torment him because he makes funny noises when I do."

    They're so different from their anime counterparts because really, in the anime, no matter how many you meet, they act very similiar to each other.
    First off, thanks! Second off, yeah, I see what you mean. I mean, I know it's supposed to be part of this running gag that's literally older than parts of the audience, but still. Officer Jenny, at least, has the potential to be awesome when she's not being a bumbling cop. >_>

    Here I thought that Bill would wake up, talk with Jenny, and she would calmly ask him questions while keeping him handcuffed.
    Yeah, apparently, Jenny took lessons from crime drama movies when it comes to interrogation. (However, for anyone who might be wondering, there is a reason why she had him chained to the bed other than to take out her anger.)

    And Bill, despite his situation, is still his polite self. Bless his heart. x3
    He really tries. XD *pats him on the head*

    Kudos for the people in Hoenn that thought of that, rather than call them something stupid like "Pokémon aliens". :P (And of course, kudos to you for coming up with it!)
    Thank you!

    I have to admit, though, it's probably slightly out-of-character, considering this is the same region that thought "Metagross" was a perfectly awesome name for one of their most alien-looking Pokémon.

    Overall, awesome chapter, JX!
    Thanks! And don't worry. That epic battle shouldn't be too far away.

    ...Just as soon as I can get this last paper done.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    Nice touch with noting how even a Joy can't tell why all Joys look the same.
    Thanks! Yeah, I'd imagine that if anyone else was in a family like that, they'd respond to that kind of question with, "IDK, genetics?"

    My second thought was how amusing Bill's ever polite attitude is.

    You don't wanna know what the first thought was.
    Oh, feel free to share. ;D

    ...I think it was the other one that did this. Bill wouldn't do it...
    XD Oh, you're right. He wouldn't. Unfortunately, he has to tell that to someone who was thoroughly traumatized by other members of his current species. (Yay thinly-veiled racism theme?)

    Ixodida is a great name, but you missed capitalizing it the first time you used it. That's important to fix.
    Thanks for the compliment.

    As for capitalization, there's actually a reason why I didn't. Outside of fanfic, I'm writing from a fan's perspective, so I capitalize everything to respect trademarks. Within fanfic, I'm writing from the perspective of a narrator (who's assumed to be a third-party, invisible, omniscient entity within that universe), so I don't capitalize species names, the word "Pokémon," and things like that because I assume all of them to be common nouns. (There are, of course, exceptions. I capitalize move names, "Pokémon" and similar words if they're the beginning of a sentence, and those words if they also function as the actual name of an individual. So, I'd capitalize "Water Gun," "Ixodida" at the start of a sentence, and "Chansey" if I'm using it as the name of a specific Chansey. And, well, everything when I'm not writing fanfiction.)

    It's a bit confusing, but it just boils down to whether or not I'm using those words as common nouns. Still, good eye.

    guards
    You know, I'm not actually sure how I managed that one. Thanks.

    And you end a massive OH **** chapter with the biggest OH **** of them all. Good job.
    Thanks! I'm glad to have broken your brain a couple of times. XD

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  22. #72
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    O hai gais. :V Long time no chat, right? I'd like to apologize for randomly disappearing (and there's a long list of reasons why, but that's neither here nor there), but I'm finally back. Hopefully, the servers will cooperate with me here because let me tell you, editing all of the chapter (barring the prologue) that are here was a nice little endeavor. Nice like KITTENS. ON FIRE. [/rant]

    But yep. I'm back, and there's been a lot of changes to all of the chapters here. For example, I've upgraded the alien's number from 494 to 650 so people don't go, "lol your fic is about Victini." Unfortunately, this will probably be the only explicit BW reference until translation names come out because I'm anal about that kind of thing. Also, the plot's been fixed up, so hopefully, the entire shebang actually makes sense this time. (I'm serious there. Like, looking back at the first version, I have no idea what I was smoking.)

    Now, I have no idea who's still around, so I'd like to say hi to all of the awesome people who were patient with me and/or who would like to pop up right at this point. To the rest of you, I'm restarting the PM list, so feel free to ask to be added or say, "Oh hey! Sure, I'd like to keep up with this fic again!"

    Um, rambling aside, how about that chapter that's over a half a year overdue?


    Warning!
    This chapter is rated R for graphic scenes of character death and violence (that may be edited out later, as noted 12/3/11).


    Anima Ex Machina: Ten
    Violence is a last resort.


    Bill was hard-pressed to recall any situation that was more awkward than the one he was in right then. It had been some time since Officer Jenny ordered the pudgy man at the door – who never did reveal his name – to unchain Bill and lead him downtown for negotiations. This involved unchaining Bill, naturally, but it also involved using the chains as a collar and leash to lead him down the empty streets of Mauville City.

    Needless to say, Bill tried to focus more on the fact that the streets were empty than his current state.

    Mauville reminded him a little of Goldenrod City. It looked modern on the surface, but it had a sort of old-city charm underneath that. Both sides of each wide street were lined with brick buildings. Some of these were apartments with revolving, glass doors shaded by weather-beaten awnings. Others were stores with windows full of colorful displays.

    However, the difference between this place and where Bill grew up – a difference that made his heart feel chilled – was that this place was practically a ghost town. Technically, it wasn't completely empty; Bill could catch the scraping sound of people moving on rooftops around him. It was just that the only soul on the street at that moment besides himself was the man leading him down the road, and even he subsequently dashed for a hiding spot as soon as the end of the chain was securely locked around a lamp post.

    Ignoring this form of company, Bill could tell that there hadn't been crowds on that street for some time. On closer inspection along the way, he had noticed that all of the store displays were coated with thick dust that gave every color a grayish tint. The garbage cans didn't even smell like something was rotting in them – as if there wasn't anything left to rot at all. Most of all, the place was quiet: extremely quiet, like the entire city block was gone. He couldn't even hear the buzz of electricity or the hum of traffic in the distance.

    Leaning against the lamp post, he waited. He couldn't quite tell what time it was, but the sun hung halfway between the earth and its zenith. For awhile, he watched the shadows by his feet elongate while he wondered what the humans wanted him to do.

    How boring. I hope you were not planning on remaining here for much longer, Bill.

    At the voice, Bill jolted back into reality. "Adam!"

    Did you expect anyone else? Tell me, human, what is your plan?

    "Plan?"

    To escape, of course. We have things to do. We cannot be chained here forever.

    "Are you insane?" Bill whispered. "We can't escape!"

    Why? Are you concerned about breaking the chain? I could give you the ability to do so.

    "That isn't the problem."

    Then what is?

    Bill looked up, scanning the rooftops. Catching sight of the corner of a shadow, he turned towards it and leaned back a little.

    "Do you see that figure on the roof?"

    I can see it through your eyes.

    Shaking off the creeping shiver he got from that statement, Bill frowned. "That man is carrying a gun."

    A gun?

    Balling his hand into a fist, Bill carefully used the back of his wrist to rub the bridge of his nose. He was starting to get a headache, but the last thing he wanted was to put out his own eyes.

    "Guns," he said. "They're weapons that can kill us both from a distance by firing lead projectiles at us at high velocities."

    How primitive.

    It occurred to Bill right then that he knew next to nothing about Adam or the rest of his species. He knew that they apparently began appearing around the crater outside of Fortree City in Hoenn, and from that, he guessed that they were extraterrestrial in origin. Other than that and what little data Project Stardust gathered about the way they functioned, he knew nothing. He didn't know where they actually came from, let alone how they lived before coming to Earth or what they could do or, if they were as sapient as Adam was implying, what kind of technology they used. Adam's comment right then sent an electric shock to his brain – a shock that made him realize he was dealing with something that most likely was far more advanced than he had originally believed.

    "Adam," he said, "what did--"

    Suddenly, a howl rose in the air. He felt his nerves prickle under his metal armor, and instinctively, he crouched.

    "What was that?" he whispered.

    One of us, I should think, Adam replied. Prepare yourself, Bill. We will need to treat this delicately.

    "What do you mean by that?" Bill asked.

    Before the parasite could say a word, the howling grew close. In front of him, Bill could see a pair of purple blurs streak towards him. Yelping, he scrambled to run away, but he got no further than a few feet from the post before the chain yanked at his neck. He choked and grabbed it, holding it taut. Although he knew it was locked, he still pulled at it, hoping it would somehow come undone.

    A purple hand grasped the chain. Stopping short, Bill felt his breath catch in his throat. Cautiously, he turned his head to find that the purple blurs had stopped, and both of them were standing uncomfortably close to him.

    As far as he could tell, both of the creatures must have been teenagers when they transformed. They looked about as young as he was, with smooth, round faces and wide eyes. The long, purple quills all over their bodies rose and fell as they leaned in to study him, and their tails, both ending in spike-studded balls, waved like the tails of two content dogs. One of them – female, as far as Bill could tell from the chest – ran long fingers along his tail to find the arrowhead. The other, a male, looked down but kept his own hand on the chain.

    "Monarch," she whispered. "Tail. Look."

    She pulled Bill's tail closer to the male. He blinked and glanced at the tip between her fingers. Then, before Bill could struggle to get away, the male put his hands on Bill's shoulders and gently pushed him downward.

    "H-hey!" Bill cried. "What are you--"

    He couldn't finish. His mouth immediately closed, and he could only watch as the male touched his nose to one of Bill's horns.

    Stay calm, Adam said. This is how the drones of my species identify a monarch.

    Bill glanced upward, as if Adam was above him. Monarch?

    I have no time to explain it to you now. Listen very carefully, Bill. These drones will free you. Once they do, follow my instructions exactly, and do not question me. Understood?

    The female growled, "Chain."

    With a grunt, the male lifted a hand. His claws began to glow bright violet, and with a quick swipe, it sliced cleanly through the metal links. The ends of the chain clattered against two metallic surfaces.

    Right then, Bill found he could speak again.

    "Thank you," he said.

    Both of the creatures bowed. The female took several steps and lifted her eyes to the sky. Bill wondered if she already knew about the people on the rooftops. He opened his mouth to ask her a question when all of a sudden, a shot rang out. There was a burst of blood, and the female fell onto her back with blood spurting out of a gunshot wound in the side of her head.

    Bill felt his throat constrict, not just from the shock of the site but also from the gravity of the realization that just hit him.

    Bait. They were using me as bait!

    Adam stirred. Bill, the other one!

    Looking up, Bill watched as the male dashed for one of the buildings. Bounding upwards, the poison-type sank his claws into the structure's brick facade and began climbing towards the roof.

    "No!" Bill yelled. "Wait!"

    More shots filled the air, forcing Bill to duck and take cover in a the building's doorway. Glancing back towards the street, he froze.

    What he thought was the corpse of the female sat up. Bullets hit her, biting off parts of her body little by little. Her shoulder was ripped open. Several holes went right through her torso. Parts of her brain were exposed to the open air, and some parts of it were ripped completely out of her skull. Yet, she still stared at Bill with the same expressionless face, and keeping her wide, blank eyes on him, she stood without a problem.

    Sinking to the ground, Bill felt his mind go completely blank. He couldn't think of a single thing right then except for the thought that he really wanted to scream.

    Change your expression.

    He kept his eyes on the female. His entire body felt numb, not because he was losing control but instead because he couldn't sense anything else but the image of the girl with her brains in full view. He had no idea Adam was trying to communicate with him.

    Bill. I gave you an order. Change your expression.

    Closing his mouth, Bill tried to push himself backwards. His body shook as the girl knelt in front of him and stared with her wide eyes.

    Bill. Listen to me. Humans express their emotions on their faces. My kind does it by other means. A human who has recently become a drone struggles with transitioning from one mode of expression to another, but a monarch is in control of their body language at all times.

    "What?" The word stumbled out of Bill's mouth so softly he almost believed he had imagined he said it.

    You are putting us in danger by staring at her the way you are! Change your expression!

    Although Bill heard him, he couldn't comply. All he could do was continue to stare at the girl as she reached down and grabbed his chin. He felt her slick, cold fingers grasp his face tightly. Her claws stung his skin.

    "Rogue," she rasped.

    She knows.

    Bill couldn't make sense of either voice – the girl's or Adam's. His eyes fell on the female's free hand as she drew it back. She pressed her fingers together, each one glowing with a bright, violet glow. Then, her arm shot forward, aiming directly for the red jewel in Bill's chest.

    Acting on its own orders, Bill's hand reached up to grab the drone's wrist just before the strike connected. Suddenly, Bill's expression blanked, and at the same time, he felt himself slip backwards and his entire body go numb.

    "Bill," Adam said, using his mouth, "I want you to watch what I do. Let this be a learning experience."

    Then, the parasite bent the girl's arm until it snapped. It kicked her backwards into the street, and as soon as she landed, she shrieked and grasped her broken arm frantically. Adam rose from where it sat and walked forward. It extended one of its hands, spreading its claws to prepare for a strike. Each finger took on a white glow as the muscles tensed to the point where it felt like all that existed in that appendage was pure steel.

    Above them, Bill could hear the male's shriek, but whereas he would have reacted a second too late, Adam twisted and thrust the glowing hand upwards. The male fell, intending on ambushing Adam, but before he could so much as plant a claw on the steel-type, its glowing claws stabbed into his stomach. Turning, Adam threw its victim back into the street, letting him slam into the pavement. The female bent over him and whimpered as he curled on his side.

    "Lesson one," Adam said. "When engaged in battle, always be aware of your surroundings."

    The shots stopped abruptly. At the edges of its field of vision, Adam could see the humans on the rooftops lowering their guns and stepping closer to the edge, their faces frozen in wide-eyed wonder. Right then, the female rose and lifted her arms in front of her. Each quill that ran along her forearms stood and pointed themselves at Adam. Calmly, it turned its head back towards her and shielded its face with its own arms. For a second time, Bill sensed that the muscles of his body tensed as his skin began to glow with a white light. Pins shot from the female's arms and struck Adam's with a volley of clinks; not a single one of them pierced its armor.

    Behind it, Adam's tail stiffened and began to glow. As soon as the attack finished, it lunged forward, crouched, and spun. Its tail whipped around it and sliced cleanly through the girl's legs halfway down her thighs. The rest of her body smacked back into the pavement and fell still, her mouth open in death. Meanwhile, one of her amputated legs twitched. Adam bent down to pick it up.

    "Lesson two," it said, "locate and destroy the core. The core is our source of life. Our host may be decapitated, and we can still control its body to fulfill our needs. However, if the core is broken, we die."

    It turned the leg over and found the female's crimson jewel embedded in her heel. Adam's fingers dug into the flesh surrounding it, cutting through the spindly threads that anchored the parasite to its host. With a rip, Adam yanked the creature free from the leg. The parasite squealed and thrashed its tentacles as the rest of the leg was tossed onto the girl's body. Adam held it up, studying it for a few seconds. Then, metal fingers gripped the parasite in a palm until its exoskeleton cracked. The squealing abruptly stopped, and the red body flashed several times before bursting in a splash of blood and acid. Opening its hand, Adam licked the liquid off its palm.

    Without warning, a purple arm wrapped around his shoulders. Another hand lashed forward, its claws ripping across the exposed flesh of Adam's throat. The steel-type rasped, feeling the blood run from its neck and the cut in his windpipe.

    Taking advantage of my distraction. Using Slash instead of a venomous move, Adam thought. This one is intelligent. However...

    It reached over its shoulder. The five claws on its hand began to glow white again. Taking notice, the male grabbed Adam's hand and wrapped his tail around its waist. Adam struggled to free its wrist, but the male held on with a crushing grip. For that reason, the glow faded before Adam could do anything with his second Metal Claw.

    But then, it stabbed the male through the shoulder with the arrowhead tip of its glowing tail. Instantly, the parasite on the poison-type's back burst, and the creature shuttered. Withdrawing its tail, Adam pulled itself free from the man's weakened grip. It looked at the infected human as he dropped to his knees. Bringing a hand to its throat, Adam felt the wound across it heal, and with that, it coughed.

    If he wanted to cripple me, he would have broken my horns, Adam continued.

    It finished its victim off by whipping its tail through his neck. The man's head fell off his shoulders with a thud, and the rest of the body collapsed sideways.

    Walking into the middle of the street, Adam looked towards the rooftops. Every single human stood there, still as people in a photograph. A few of them still held guns, but these remained at their sides. Adam had nothing to say to them.

    "No contest."

    Turning its head towards the whisper, Adam caught sight of three familiar faces. The first was the chubby man who had led Bill to that spot, and the second and third were Officer Jenny and Ellen. All three of them were standing at a street corner several feet away, but although Jenny whispered, the place was silent enough for Adam to hear her voice.

    "Two ixodida in less than ten minutes. I... I don't believe it."

    Bill, take over, Adam thought. They do not intend on attacking us, and I have spent too long outside as it is.

    There was no answer.

    Bill?

    Still, there was silence.

    Jenny started forward. Her face was pale, and her movements were sluggish, as if someone had sapped all her energy. Without a word to her, Adam turned away, dropped to all fours, and started running.
    Last edited by JX Valentine; 4th December 2011 at 3:13 AM.

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  23. #73
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    Lol, you're back

    This was certainly unexpected. Not bad unexpected, very good unexpected, because there has been a severe lack of "people-that-used-to-be-around"

    Not as friendly a place as it used to be.

    The chapter was pretty good, Adam showcasing his skills in a, quite frankly, all too unnecessarily gruesome way. Poor poison types *wipes away tear*
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  24. #74
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    Thanks for the welcome. XD Also, really? I have to admit, I haven't really taken a good look around the forum yet, so I haven't noticed yet. I have noticed that there seems to be a lack of discussion in the Author's Cafe and reviews in general compared to back in May, though. (Or maybe that's just me.)

    And thanks for the review. Yes, Adam is a bit of a sadist. ;D

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

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  25. #75
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    Apr 2010
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    You're back, and with a new chapter!

    The two poison ixodida shrugging off being practically torn apart by bullets like it was just a minor inconvenience surprised me, but it also made me think of the necromorphs from Dead Space for some reason. What really took the cake though was that Adam just wiped them out like they were the inconvenience. You made him into a tank!

    What he thought was the corpse of the female sat up. Bullets hit her, biting off parts of her body little by little. Her shoulder was ripped open. Several holes went right through her torso. Parts of her brain were exposed to the open air, and some parts of it were ripped completely out of her skull. Yet, she still stared at Bill with the same expressionless face, and keeping her wide, blank eyes on him, she stood without a problem.
    O_o Very descriptive...

    It turned the leg over and found the female's crimson jewel embedded in her heel. Adam's fingers dug into the flesh surrounding it, cutting through the spindly threads that anchored the parasite to its host. With a rip, Adam yanked the creature free from the leg. The parasite squealed and thrashed its tentacles as the rest of the leg was tossed onto the girl's body. Adam held it up, studying it for a few seconds. Then, metal fingers gripped the parasite in a palm until its exoskeleton cracked. The squealing abruptly stopped, and the red body flashed several times before bursting in a splash of blood and acid.
    Talk about an Achilles heel, but I like how you made it so that the ixodida can only be killed by destroying the "jewel" that they have.

    Anyway, this was a very well-written chapter. I can't wait for the next one.

    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.

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