Hey all. I'm your friendly neighborhood Cyberhamon. As you can see, I'm a recent addition to this forum. I've been a fan of Pokemon ever since the original fad over ten years ago. I mostly came here to post this fanfic, though I'll probably branch out to the rest of this forum.
But enough about me. I have to introduce this fanfic. This is something that I've been working on for over a year, in various forms. I've spent months intricately planning out this fic. It's my magnum opus, if you will. This fic is also posted on FFN, but I figured I'd post it here too.
About the content rating: On FFN, I rated this fic an M, to play it safe. However, I always saw it as about halfway between a T and M rating. And since this site has a rating which is literally halfway between those two, I went with that.
This fic will contain violence, language, some amount of blood and gore (not graphic enough for an R rating), and a few minor sexual references (which are mostly confined to one chapter later in the fic; no explicit sexual content is shown).
About this fic: This fic is a mystery fic, in a similar vein to the TV show Lost (no, I am not copying Lost; I merely drew some amount of inspiration from it). What this means is there will be many mysterious happenings, with few answers, at least in the short term. I will personally guarantee, however, that all plot-relevant mysteries and questions will be answered.
I am NOT making this up as I go along. I have the entire fic planned out in advance. There are 121 chapters (remember that number, as it's very important to the mythology of the story), divided into 6 parts (essentially, story arcs).
This is a Pokemon-centric fic, told from a first-person viewpoint. In Part 1, there are 13 main characters who will receive centric-chapters, as well as flashbacks of their backstories (yeah, I borrowed that idea from Lost. So sue me. Actually, please don't sue me, Darlton). Also, I've picked orchestral themes for many characters. I'll find a way to provide links to said music, and let you know how I'm doing it.
Alright, enough of that. Let's get down to it. Remember to pay close attention to detail in this story. Nothing is ever what it seems. Reviews are appreciated. This first chapter contains sections written during different time periods, so it's not the greatest. I'm still happy with it though, but the chapters coming up after this one are better.
DISCLAIMER: If I owned Pokemon, why the hell would I be writing fanfiction?
Web of Deception
Part One: Potential
Chapter One: A Bad Feeling
I awoke with a start. I had no idea what woke me, since there was nothing in my immediate vicinity that could have done so. I immediately took notice, however, that I wasn't in the same place that I had gone to sleep last night. I wasn't even in the same type of terrain at all. Instead of the cool Johto woodland where I usually lived, I was in a hot tropical jungle-type area. Like the kind you'd find on an island. I stood up, trying to get my bearings. Where was I? How could I have gotten here?
I turned on the spot where I was standing, trying to find a way out of the jungle. Sure enough, I saw an area where the trees seemed to thin out a bit, and more sunlight was streaming through. I started running towards that area, though I didn't seem to be moving at the full speed I knew I was capable of running at. There seemed to be something wrong with my right leg. Still, I pressed onward, hoping that if I could get out of the jungle, I might find some form of civilization, where I'd be able to figure out how I'd gotten here in the first place.
Finally, I broke through the tree barrier. I had to shield my eyes from the sudden, intense glare of sunlight. Though I couldn't see yet, I could feel sand under my feet. Consistent with my initial theory of where I was. Once my eyes had adjusted, I took a look around this new area.
I was standing on a beach, overlooking some ocean or another. It wasn't a very big beach. It seemed to be a fairly narrow, but fairly long strip of land bordering the ocean. I couldn't see any signs of civilization. Well, actually, that wasn't quite true. I couldn't see any signs of a living civilization.
What I could see were corpses. Dozens, if not hundreds, of them, from various species of Pokemon, as well as a number of humans. I spun around on the spot. There were dead bodies everywhere! On both sides of the beach, and even floating in the water. Suddenly, I heard laughter coming from behind me.
I whirled around to see something standing in the middle of all of the corpses, which hadn't been there just a few seconds ago. Or rather, sitting in the middle of the corpses. It was a human, with gray hair and a slight gray beard, dressed in all black. He was sitting in a high-backed wooden chair, in front a small, squarish collapsible wooden table. The table was covered by a black-and-white checkered pattern tablecloth. The man was obviously the source of the laughter; his laugh was a laugh of pure mirth. Which was not to say that it was a pleasant laugh. It wasn't pleasant at all. The man raised a glass of blood-red wine (or possibly blood itself) towards me in a toasting gesture.
A loud thunderclap startled me. I looked up to see that the sky had gone completely black, and that a torrential downpour had started. Which made no sense, as the sky had been sunny and cloudless less than fifteen seconds ago. When I looked back down, the man and his table were gone.
I heard a loud, animalistic roar coming from behind me. I whirled around to see that a creature had appeared down the beach from me. I could see that it was reptilian in nature. Its skin was a pure ebon black. It looked almost like a living shadow; a shadow lizard if you will. The creature roared again, and began charging toward me, opening a mouth full of razor sharp teeth, and extending wicked looking claws towards me. Panic set in, and I tried to back away from the creature in pure terror. However, I slipped and fell, and the creature began getting very close. As it started coming closer and closer to me, however, a brilliant azure blue light filled the area, and a low hum (which sounded almost electrical in nature) began nearby. As the creature drew near enough to strike, the light intensified, and the hum increased in both pitch and volume until it was deafening. And then–
I woke up. This time, I was fairly certain that I was actually awake, given that I was in the same place I had fallen asleep. I was sweating heavily. That...was a weird dream. It wasn't my usual type of nightmare, either. Usually, my nightmares involved my father ruining my life in some way, like he always did in real life. And the last time I had checked (which was actually just a few days ago), my father was not a shadow lizard.
It was probably just a really bizarre nightmare, brought about by a combination of a lack of good sleep (you'd think finally having some closure with my father would help me get better sleep), and the stress of having to meet with some clients tomorrow morning to discuss a new mission. Speaking of which, I'd need to be rested for that. Hopefully, I'd be able to go back to sleep without having any more dreams like that one. I laid back down on the ground and shut my eyes.
What I was being asked to do wasn't my usual kind of job. I was not at all opposed to taking risks in my ventures, especially for the greater good of all, but this one seemed especially dangerous. I had a bad feeling about this operation. Maybe it was my natural Lucario ability to read Aura, and some higher power was telling me that this was a bad idea. Or maybe it was an aftereffect of the dream I had had last night. Or maybe my clients were in over their heads and I knew it.
It's well known among Pokemon living in the Johto region that I make it my business to help individuals. I don't profit off of it; I consider it my duty to help those in need. Over the last few years I have done many good deeds on demand: I've helped Pokemon to escape from abusive trainers and mates, I've helped Pokemon to find homes. And yes, on occasion, I have fought Team Rocket. In case you don't know who they are, they're a human criminal organization based in the Kanto and Johto regions dedicated to making money by misusing Pokemon. But this mission was different.
My clients, a female “shiny” Lucario named Kris, a male Delibird named Santos, and a male Raichu named Bolt, all known to have previously struck at Rocket operations, wished me to assist them in liberating the captives held at a TR research facility, and to subsequently destroy the facility. This facility was one of the largest in the region. Destroying it would harm Team Rocket greatly. Logically speaking, I could not refuse.
So what was my problem? I had gotten such feelings before, but this one felt different. It felt to me that if I went to that facility, I would not come back.
Then again, my feelings had been wrong before. And whether I lived or died, I would do so in service to life and the Aura.
There was only one answer I could give.
“Oh, yeah!” the Raichu exclaimed for the thirteenth time. “When we get there, we are gonna beat the bloody hell outta those Rockets!”
The Raichu, Bolt, had an interesting accent, as well as a wide variety of expressions which seemed to be unusual variations on normal profanity. I believe that accent came from one of the many former colonial powers on the other side of the planet. I can't remember which one. Santos, the Delibird was much more focused on our quest, which I could appreciate. Of course, I knew that he was a much more straightforward mercenary, who hadn't been previously involved with the other two until they'd hired his services, so it's possible that that focus was more out of a desire to profit than anything else. As for Kris...the female Lucario was hard to read. Most likely, she was actively blocking my empathic probes. I could respect this. I don't much like telepaths myself. I had had a run-in with an Espeon once...I never want to meet him again, and I believe the feeling is mutual.
“Maybe we should worry about getting to the facility first, and then worry about 'beating the bloody hell outta those Rockets,'” I suggested.
“Alright, cool,” the Raichu said. “Yeah, we'll worry about it once we get there. We'll just keep walking on and on through the creepy woods for the time being. Terrific.”
The path we were taking to the facility was overgrown with all sorts of vegetation. It seemed to be one of the myriad roadways across the area that had been established by human explorers in the previous century, and then abandoned once the current governments had established laws protecting Pokemon habitats. I guess that's one thing humans had going for them. Most seemed to be truly decent beings. It's just that small number of bad people caused big problems.
The sky was rather gloomy and overcast. Come to think of it, it had been for the last couple days. A thought went through the back of my head: what if the dark sky was an omen of bad things to come? And maybe the dream was, too? I pondered the thought for a second, then dismissed it. I didn't really believe in the supernatural. I believed in the physical world, and the ties that bound it together.
After about a half-hour's walk from the clearing where we began, we arrived at the facility. It was odd to me that the facility was built rather close to Ecruteak City. You would think that a criminal enterprise would not want their presence to be known to everyone else. Then again, if they were smart, they wouldn't mistreat Pokemon at all.
Eventually, we reached the base. To my surprise, the front gate was open. That didn't seem like a good way to manage the security of the base. Of course, it was beneficial for us. And that's what really mattered. Yet this new sight only seemed to increase my feeling that something was very wrong here.
Two months ago...
I had just completed another assignment. This time, I had been tasked with dealing with a pack of hostile Houndour in the Ilex Forest. It wasn't hard for me to drive them off. The trick was to make sure they wouldn't come back later, while still trying to avoid killing them, if possible. I had managed to do this by defeating the Alpha in a fair fight, and then claiming dominance and using it to order the pack to leave and never return. The great thing about it was that if they ever caused trouble again, I'd be able to use my position of power to stop them again. That worked out rather nicely. And the person who had hired me, a Weepinbell named Adam, seemed pretty pleased too.
“I can't thank you enough for everything you've done!” Adam exclaimed.
“There's no need to thank me,” I said again. “Helping people is my duty.”
“Yes, but still,” he said. “Just because someone has a duty, doesn't always mean they'll fulfill that duty.”
I shrugged. “Maybe that says more about those people than it does about me,” Modesty is a virtue I always try to uphold.
“No, I think it says a lot about you,” he said. “I really think you have a lot of potential.”
Okay, that part didn't make sense. “Potential?” I repeated.
“Indeed,” he said. “I think you're very...special.”
Okay...either he was coming on to me, or there was more to this Weepinbell than meets the eye. “I'm not sure I'm following you,” I said carefully.
“What I'm saying is, you're gifted with great power, and you are the type of person who would use it for the right reasons.”
“What power? What are you talking about?”
“What I'm saying is, I represent a...school...for very special people. People like yourself. If you choose to come with me, I can give you answers to questions you've never even dreamed of asking. All you have to do is come with me.”
By this point, I was pretty sure that my client was completely crazy. “Come with you where?” I asked.
“I can't tell you that. At least, not yet,” he said.
“Well, then I guess this is goodbye,” I said brusquely, getting ready to leave as fast as I could. I turned my back and prepared to put as much distance between him and I as possible.
“You can leave if you want,” he called after me. “But one day very soon, you're going to be called to serve whether you're ready or not. And at that time, 'no' will not be an acceptable answer.”
I pretty much ignored him as I walked quickly towards the edge of the woods. But what he said lingered in my mind as I left. I couldn't shake the feeling that what he had said wasn't the rant of someone insane, but had real meaning. I couldn't wait for someone to hire me again so that I could push this conversation from my head. That Weepinbell was just too weird.
My sense that something was wrong only intensified upon entering the base. The base was lit only with red lights along some walls, which I believed to be emergency lights. That meant the base's power had been knocked out. I looked over to Kris, who nodded.
“I can't sense anyone,” she whispered.
“Great,” the Delibird said wryly. “A dark, gloomy, abandoned, creepy building. Now all we need is thunder and lightning.”
“I could help with that, mate,” Bolt replied mischievously.
“Don't,” I said warningly. I needed time to be able to focus on my feelings without distractions. I guess I wasn't exactly being personable, but I've never been great at getting along with others. You can thank my father for most of that.
We continued on into the base, though very cautiously. The feeling I had had all day was only getting stronger. Something was wrong at this base. But what? What could have happened here that was so terrible that I could sense it from a great distance away, long before I arrived here?
This question was partially answered when we arrived at a central room filled with computers. There, it became very apparent why we had detected no living beings.
Scattered around the room were dead Rocket grunts. Each appeared to have been killed the same way. They had each been impaled by something very precisely so as to quickly kill them. Many had pulled out Pokeballs but had died before being able to throw them. All of the Pokeballs that they had had seemed to be broken. I didn't know what that meant for the Pokemon inside. Some had drawn guns, and had been similarly killed. The thing that struck me, though, is that each grunt had a look of terror on his or her face. Like they had been facing the most terrifying sight imaginable. Judging by the injuries, that could very well have been the case.
“Bloody hell,” Bolt muttered. “In...pretty much every sense, actually.”
“Has anyone ever seen anything like before?” the Delibird asked, looking as if he were about to throw up. Had I eaten lunch, I could honestly have considered joining him.
“No,” I replied. “Whoever did this had no empathy. I haven't seen many murderers, but of the few I have seen, even the most violent and hardened showed some hesitation in committing their acts. This perpetrator knew exactly what they were doing, and simply did not care.”
“There's more to it, though,” Kris said. “Whoever did this did not spare any, which means they specifically wanted all dead. They didn't touch any computers, which means they weren't interested in any information. The corpses weren't moved, and the Pokeballs were left broken, which means they weren't interested in stealing money or Pokemon. Add to that the fact that I don't know of any living creature that can impale a dozen humans in only a few seconds all while leaving perfectly straight wounds, and these murder make no sense.”
“Okay look, stop,” the Delibird said somewhat frantically. “I signed up for this whole thing because I thought we could make a difference, and it would come without much risk. I didn't come to hunt down some axe murderer!”
“Axes don't make that kind of wound,” Kris replied.
“That's even worse! We don't have a clue what's going on! I came here because-”
“Because destiny told you to,” a calm voice came from behind us.
Whirling around, I saw a Scyther, a green bug Pokemon with arms tipped with curved blades. Obviously, the first thought that jumped into my mind was that he had used those blades to murder the Rockets. Already, my compatriots were readying attacks to defend themselves if necessary. I was more than capable of defending myself, but I have always preferred to act with a calm mind, and resort to force only when absolutely necessary.
I stretched out my Aura-sense to find the Scyther's Aura. What I sensed was...unusual. A sense of purpose, coupled with self-doubt. A seeming paradox, for someone to simultaneously believe in themselves and to doubt themselves. What I did not sense, though, was any echo of pain or death around the Scyther. Whoever he was, he was unconnected with the murders.
“Wait,” I said aside to the others. I did not want them to injure a potential friend. “Who are you?” I asked of the Scyther.
“My name's Scimitar,” he replied. He smiled. “I'm here to find you.”
The Scyther, Scimitar, maintained that he had been led to the facility by a dream. In the dream, he claimed that he had seen that this facility was the point on which the future turned, and that he, I and the others were the ones who would decide that future. He did not elaborate further.
I, personally, was doubtful. I had sensed that he was telling the truth, or at least what he believed was the truth. But it all seemed a bit too convenient. I know that some Psychic and Ghost Pokemon can reach a level of connection with Aura that allows them to glimpse the future. I have even heard that some can see more than brief glimpses, though I have never encountered such a thing. But I have never heard of any Psychic events of this magnitude coming to a Scyther, and unsought at that.
I am a great advocate of free will, so I scrutinize the whole concept of a predetermined destiny. But this Scyther was the opposite. He seemed to genuinely believe that there was some higher order pulling the strings of every living being, at least in terms of major, future-altering events. He was a bit of an enigma to me.
My companions seemed to have their own doubts.
“Strange bugger,” said Bolt. “I wonder if he could dream me up a weather forecast?”
“Maybe he could go to the Goldenrod Game Corner with me?” joked Santos.
“You know, it's not real money they give out there,” Bolt said.
I pulled Kris aside. “What do you make of him?” I asked her.
“He's...strange,” she replied. “I don't know what his deal is, but the reading I got suggests that he's conflicted, even if his words say otherwise.”
“That was my inference as well,” I agreed. The female Lucario was a bit of a mystery herself. While the Raichu and Delibird did not seem to stop talking, Kris had barely spoken during the whole trip. She was...attractive though, with her gold fur and everything. I pushed that thought aside. It would only lead to trouble.
My thoughts were interrupted when a very loud roar came in the distance. The roar was very startling, for two reasons. One, it came very suddenly, and caught me off guard. But the other, far more important reason was that it was nearly identical to the roar that shadow creature made in my dream. Now, it's possible I was imagining it, but I highly doubted it. Perhaps my dream wasn't entirely random after all. Whatever the roar had come from, I had to assume it was connected with the mysterious deaths of the Rockets.
Everyone shot to their feet. “What the bloody hell was that?!” exclaimed Bolt.
“That's what we're gonna find out,” replied the Scyther.
“Now hold on!” Bolt protested. “You've been here five sodding minutes! What makes you think you can decide what we do? And if you use any variation on the words 'fate' or 'destiny' in your response, I will murder you!”
“But it is your destiny, Bolt,” It was slightly unnerving to hear the ease with which the Scyther spoke, as well as his use of Bolt's name as if he had known him for years. “Everything happens for a reason. Now, I don't know why you think you're here, but the truth is, you're here to write the future. And to know the future, one must understand the past. And if you want to do that, you're gonna need to find out what killed these men, which is probably what just roared at the top of its lungs. You can stay here if you want, but it won't make a difference. What will be, will be.”
“I doubt it. I'm very good at staying out of trouble,” Bolt sneered.
“'If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow, and which will not, speak,'” the Scyther said slowly.
“Huh?” Bolt said with a confused look on his face. I recognized the quote as coming from an old human theatrical production, though I could not remember which one.
“If you've got a better idea, or some knowledge of the future, let's hear it,” the Scyther explained. “Otherwise, I'm going to investigate.”
No one could come up with a good objection, so we followed him. We decided to break into groups. Bolt and Santos went to a lower level of the base, where the labs were. Scimitar, Kris, and I went to explore the upper levels, where the command areas would most likely be found.
As we walked, we passed by an increasing number of Rocket corpses, all identically killed. It worried me that such an efficient killing machine might be on the loose. Most likely, it was some Rocket experiment gone horribly wrong, as I knew of no Pokemon capable of doing this.
We arrived at the command center of the Rocket base soon enough. Many corpses were lying around here, too. Interestingly, however, some had appeared to have been able to open fire on the entity with heavy caliber rifles, though they only succeeded in shattering the windows of the chamber. There were many bullets and shell casings lying all over the ground. The Rockets must have been so terrified of whatever they saw, that they weren't able to properly aim. Or, the killer was so fast that it simply dodged every bullet fired at it. I considered the possibility of the bullets merely bouncing off the killer, remembering the black armored scales of the creature in my dream. But that couldn't have been the case, since none of the bullets were deformed as they would have been if they had impacted on a hard surface.
Or, there was the possibility that the Rockets were simply such bad shots that they couldn't have hit the killer no matter how much they tried. That was the way the standard soldiers for villainous groups always behaved in movies. Then again, movies were not reality.
The computers appeared to be intact, however. I called the others' attention to them, intending to use them to get information on the experiments being done here, hoping that might shed some light on these violent acts. As I did this, however, each screen simultaneously flashed on, and white writing appeared on the black background. The writing read:
Joseph loves you. Joseph needs you.
I stared between the others and the monitors, confused. The writing vanished as suddenly as it had appeared, and the monitors switched off again.
The words meant nothing to me, and clearly the others had no insight either.
“Hey guys!” Bolt called from down the hall. He must have come back upstairs. We went out into the hallway to meet him. He came running towards us. “We found some prisoners in stasis cages; you know where they're kept sedated by some electromagnetic thingy. We also found a computer, so we went on it, but we couldn't find anything about any creepy monsters.”
“We found computers too,” I replied slowly. “Did you happen to get a message about someone named Joseph loving and needing you?”
Bolt looked at me as if I was crazy. “No. I got a phone call from Tyler telling me we should see other people, and that he needs me to move my stuff out of his place.”
“Yeah, that's funny,” said Scimitar seriously. “Is the Delibird still downstairs?”
Bolt looked shocked. “I thought he was here. I could have sworn he was right behind me coming up the stairs!”
The question was seemingly answered when a bloodcurdling scream came from somewhere downstairs. I ran as fast as I could to the stairs. The screams kept coming. Not wanting to waste time, I took a reckless route and vaulted over the guardrail, and let myself drop all the way to the bottom of the stairwell. Had I not been part Steel type, I probably would have broken many bones.
The screams had stopped, which I took as a bad sign. Cautiously, I peered in each room as I walked past. I knew immediately when I had found the right room.
Santos's corpse was laying on the floor by the far wall of the room. He was badly mangled, and was barely recognizable. Rather than the neat, precise wounds of the Rocket victims, Santos's assailant had set upon him viciously and torn him to pieces. But that wasn't the worst part.
The worst part was that someone had taken a fair amount of Santos's spilled blood, and used it to scrawl a message on the wall in huge block letters. By far the most chilling part was the message itself. It read simply:
Next chapter – Chapter Two: There's No Such Things As Monsters - Bolt
The group encounters a number of other Pokemon who have been held captive by Team Rocket. Meanwhile, someone from Kris's past reappears, a deadly creature appears, and an even greater mystery is discovered. Flashbacks center on the event that led Kris and Bolt to attack the Rocket base.