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Thread: Gingerbread Man (PG-15)

  1. #1
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    Default Gingerbread Man (PG-15)

    Gingerbread Man

    Rated PG-15 for Frequent Profanity, Violence, and occasional drug and alcohol references

    Hmm… as for rating, I wasn’t sure where-ish this fit in. Common profanity (mainly only from one character), occasional references to drug and alcohol smuggling, although no actual use happens ‘on-screen’. Some cold-blooded killing. I thought at least PG-15 (hey, the Dark Knight was PG-13.)

    My first time ever writing a fanfic! (Or at least putting one online. Well, except for that hideously cliché Mary-Sue filled one that I posted on FF like five years ago. The one that I can’t even read now. Did I spell a single word right? Do the characters have any meaning whatsoever? Now that was an utter fail.)

    Er… rant over.

    Prologue: 20 years ago

    Chaos. When every single man, woman, and child owned creatures with the power to set forests aflame. When every man, woman, and child could bring dragons to heel…

    This was true chaos. And only some of it was caused by innocents. Crime… what good are locks when a criminal can teleport past doors? What good is a security camera if a criminal can move unseen? What good are the watchdogs, when criminals can carry explosives without question? Anyone could flood a city at a mere whim, anyone could call lightning from the sky, and anyone could kill at a word.

    A world where conflict was solved through combat. This… was our world. Every ten year old wandered the land alone, and most were kidnapped or killed. A world drowning in blood… that was when the SPPP, the SP3, appeared. The Society for the Protection of People and Pokémon.

    New laws were put in place, to control the ownership of Pokémon. The general populace could only carry the weakest species, and only with a license. Those proven trustworthy kept more powerful Pokémon. The ‘Pokémon League’ was abolished. The cruelty of ‘Pokémon Battle’, where the creatures were forced into combat, tearing and ripping at each other’s flesh was banned.

    They kept the peace, and eventually, the SP3 became the government. The discordant government was erased, and the SP3 took power. They made great reforms, founded new laws, and thus the world came to be in peace at last. Crime rates dropped much lower than in years.

    Unova, Sinnoh, Hoenn, Johto, and Kanto all joined together, became one under the P3. A new era of peace and tranquility began.

    But many chafe under the chains of peace … For wherever there are laws… there are lawbreakers.
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  2. #2
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    Default Chapter One: Introductions

    Chapter One: Introductions

    ~Kalyca Stryker~

    My name is Kalyca Stryker. Ridiculous really. The kind of name that sounds as if it’s a pseudonym, of someone who’s trying to sound like a total bad*ss. Well, my dad’s a Stryker. We Strykers are notoriously dramatic people.

    I’m 18 years old. My father was big in the SP3. In fact, he was one of the founding members. I was born two years after the SP3 rose to power. Of course, that meant that I’d have to work in the SP3. Not that it’s a bad thing. SP3 jobs are high-class. They pay well, they’re comfortable, lots of benefits. A nice desk job would be just fine with me.

    But no. Of course not. I had to be bloody talented. I did too well on the aptitude tests. So, instead of a cushy desk job, I’m sitting on a cold grey rooftop. Age 18… my childhood ended two months ago. I’m a working man now.

    Now I’m an SP3 Hunter, Code WT-1024. I hunt Runners.

    ~Aria Isadora Khadija~

    The name’s Aria. Honestly, like I’m a goddamn princess or something. Quite the opposite in fact. I don’t see any princess working her *ss off day and night to deliver alcohol to some moron who’s going to get caught anyway.

    Age 18. I’m a Runner my friend. We sneak all sorts of contraband right under those SP3 bastards’ noses. Whatever you need that’s banned by the SP3 nowadays, we deliver. You pay us, we deliver packages, letters, Pokémon, anything. We ask no questions, need no answers. Just money. Leave one of our Drop Boxes, or just pick up the package in person.

    Not just Running. We also perform assassinations, thefts, and other assorted crimes. We’re all immoral bastards. Remember that. No matter what you want to think, we aren’t heroes, kids. We ain’t people to look up to.

    And I’m the best in the business. The worst of the lot. Nah, I’m not bragging. I just am. I’ve given a good many SP3 Hunters the slip. And quite a few are resting in watery graves. I don’t take no sh*t from anyone. You wanna mess with me? You’ll end up with a hole in your skull.

    Run, run, run, as fast as you can. You can’t catch me;

    I’m the Gingerbread Man.

    ~Kalyca Stryker~

    Faint daylight filters through the soft white curtains. I roll over, burying my head in my pillow. Something prods my side. I grumble and push it away. I crack open an eye and find that I’m looking into a disapproving red eye, framed by green hair. I close my eyes again.

    Wait… “Sana!” I cry out, before a jolt of electricity courses through my body, tossing me from my bed. “I’m up! I’m up! Don’t electrocute me!” I shout blearily. Sana looks at me disapprovingly. She’s only a bit over five feet tall, but she floats a foot off the ground... and is therefore taller than me… Jerk.

    I crawl over to the kitchen, and fire up the stove, cracking several eggs into a pan. A large crescent-moon shaped rock floats lazily across the ceiling. “Selene, get down from the ceiling. Oh, and Sana, please get Strega out of the walls. She’s terrifying the neighbors again.”

    Sana’s eyes glow blue, and a purple, witchlike Pokémon is sucked from the walls. Well, these are my Pokémon. Being a SP3 Hunter, I get some more freedom with Pokémon. Sana… Selene… and Strega… these are my partners. We live together, we work together, and we Hunt together.

    … Bacon, cheese, English muffin, and voila. A pair of breakfast sandwiches. Lucky for me, only Sana and I actually eat. It’d be a lot more work to have to feed Selene and Strega as well. I glance over at the clock; 8:00 AM. Oh… crap! I’m late!

    “Let’s go guys!” I rush out the door. Strega floats through the wall, and Selene tries to follow her. And crashes into the wall. I walk back, “Selene, this way.”

    Sana locks up. At least we have someone responsible in our makeshift family. I run into the Skyrail Stop, and flash my badge. The line parts grudgingly, and I rush into the train.

    I love riding the Skyrail… it’s an astonishing thing. The railways glide across the cityscape. The entirety of New Castelia is visible here. The morning’s sun glimmers off the skyline. I love this city… I love my home.

    From the railway in the sky, I look down at the populace. A little girl drops her Happiny doll. A pair of boys swordfight with sticks. A harried looking man in a suit drops into a sewer in the alley.

    Wait, what?

    But the short moment of joy is gone all too soon. The huge building looms into view, the emblem of the SP3, a peace sign overlaid onto a large planet earth, visible on top. This is the tallest building in Castelia, and one of the tallest in the world.

    As soon as I walk in, I’m greeted by the familiar voice of co-worker, womanizer, and moron; Nicolas. Code GN-1019. A green sash is tied around his waist, marking his position. Crap, I forgot my sash. “Kal! Get over here! Boss called you in for a meeting!”

    Oh no… when the Boss calls you in for a meeting, that means that he wanted you there yesterday. “When?” I say weakly.

    “Thirty minutes ago,” Nicolas says, with pity in his oddly purple eyes. I am royally screwed. I pray that a rogue Bidoof would pop out of nowhere and bite me, giving me rabies. At least that would give me an excuse for my lateness.

    I poke my head through the doorway to the Boss’s office. A large, heavily muscled man with immaculately styled hair is sitting at a desk that looks at least three sizes too small. He’s chewing on a cigar, which has gone out. Uh oh.

    “Stryker! Get in here!” He says quietly.

    I slip inside, and sit down, feeling like a reprimanded schoolboy. Doesn’t help that the chair is massive, and my feet don’t touch the ground. But Boss doesn’t look extraordinarily furious. I’m not quite sure if that’s a good thing.

    “Stryker… you’re being reassigned.”

    “Wha- what did I do?”

    “Nothing wrong, you actually did well. What is it, eight terminations in the past few weeks? That’s more than the average Hunter gets in a year. So… Castelia is nearly wiped clean. Now… the danger zone is Sinnoh. The entire bloody continent is a hive of Runner activity. There seems to be a gang massing… they’re called ‘Blue Screen’. Like, Blue Screen of Death, that happens when your computer gets all f*cked up. Your job is to take ‘em out.”

    “M-me? No backup? I’m not a freaking one-man army! Do I look like a goddamn video game hero?” I protest.

    “No, you look like a girl. Cut that mop of yours and log some hours in the gym. Anyway, of course you’re not going alone. You’ll have a couple of other Hunters, a demolitions guy, and a technician. We’re not stupid, our expectations of you aren’t that high.”

    I wrap my hands around my head defensively. I like my ‘mop’, thank you. Who cares if it’s a little long. And I feel both relieved and affronted at the same time. Not… that… high…

    I sigh. I could have had a cushy desk job, but no. I’m off to traipse around Sinnoh chasing after Runners. I had better get a raise after this.

    I shamble out of the office, and Nicolas is standing there, reading a stack of papers idly. “Hey, K-man, you’re alive! Well, here, this is your top secret mission report.” He drops the papers back into a large orange envelope, and hands them to me.

    I grab the report, and look at him oddly. Wait… “Why are you reading my top secret mission report again?”

    Nicolas laughs. “I read everything. I haven’t gotten fired yet, have I? Interesting stuff. Kind of dull though. Lots and lots of words there. I don’t envy your job though mate.”

    I shake my head and walk out the door. I look through the file. Inside is a plane ticket, three plane permits for Pokémon, and a large thick stack of papers. I skim through the report, it’s all information on this ‘Blue Screen’ group.

    Wait! This is…! Hmm… interesting. I never would have thought…

    ~Aria Isadora Khadija~

    Daytime. It’s the best time to Run. At night, the Hunters have infrared, night vision, and other tech, while we Runners can barely see a foot in front of our faces. Also, there are no people, so you can’t hide in a crowd.

    Today’s job is simple. Deliver a Pokémon egg to one of the underground battling syndicates. This one involves some of the old gym leaders, who wouldn’t give up their Pokémon, or League. Rebels. And I support rebellion one hundred percent.

    I look over the egg. It’s an odd dark green, kind of like Asparagus. The eggshell is rather rough as well. I tuck the egg safely into my satchel, and begin my run.

    I enter a skyscraper and take the elevator to the top. The elevator opens onto the top floor and I run out, knocking over some guy in a suit. Poor sap.

    The Hearthome City rooftops are deserted for now, especially the skyscraper roofs. Now this is the life. I take a deep breath of the air. It’s so clean up here. Running is more fun if you do it around 30 stories up. Something tugs at me though…

    “Sh*t!” I duck, and a bullet whizzes over my head. I turn, and see the Hunter. He has a luminescent sash around his waist. UV-Class. They’re the best of the best. And he knew I’d be here… dammit!

    I leap off the rooftop, and roll onto the next. He quickly follows. The best Hunters can Run. It takes a Runner to catch a Runner they say. But hell, no one’s ever caught the Gingerbread Man. My feet leave the rooftop, and I fly off the side of a building, my hands scrabbling to grab onto a flagpole. I vault off the flagpole, and kick my way through a window, into a building. My boots have tough metal heels built into them, for breaking windows.

    I dash through the halls, the Hunter nowhere in sight. A doorway catches my eye, and I slip through it. Then come several flights of stairs, and then another window to jump through. I grab onto the sill of the next building over. Luckily, I’m much closer to the ground now. Only ten stories up or so.

    I pull myself up the sill, and climb the brick wall onto the roof. The Hunter is standing right there. Bastard! I lift from my waist a small sphere, bisected into two parts. One half is red, the other is white. A button adorns the black rim between the halves. A Poke-Ball.

    I hit the button, releasing a shapeless blob of energy. The blob forms into a large grey pteranodon. I leap onto the Aerodactyl’s back, and cry; “Ptera! Fly!”

    Aerodactyl flies into the air, and begins a dive, right over the crowded city streets. The Hunter leaps after me easily, and begins to fall. He pulls out his own Poke-Ball and releases a large, gray UFO-shaped Pokémon. Four legs sprout from it, and the legs are tipped with sharp claws. “Metagross, Hyper Beam!” He shouts.

    D*mn. “Get as high as possible,” I say to Ptera. I stand on Ptera’s back, the wind buffeting my face, hair, and clothes. I leap towards the Hunter and manage to grab onto the metal X on the Pokémon’s face. I draw my fist back and punch one of the red eyes. Luckily, my gloves have built in brass knuckles. It still hurts like h*ll though.

    Nevertheless, the Hyper Beam is thrown off course, a ray of orange light fading into the sky. I strain my arms, and throw myself upwards, kicking the Hunter in the gut. He grunts, and backhands me away. Hitting a lady, how rude. Ptera comes rushing in, and carves a gash in the Hunter’s arm with a vicious claw. Blood splatters across my coat, and I use the distraction to lash out with a foot, kicking him between the legs. He goes down! H*ll yeah!

    “Psychic…” he moans, clutching both his arm and his balls. I grin, baring my teeth, as I watch. He looks like he’s in pain. What fun.

    Suddenly, a blue aura glows around me, and I lose control of my body. “F*ck!” I shout, before even my mouth is held in place by Psychic energy. The Hunter holds out his gun, and fires three shots into my torso.

    I try to scream, but only a muffled moan escapes me. The bullets were stopped by the Kevlar I was wearing, but Kevlar only stops the bullet. I probably have broken ribs now. The only reason I’m alive is because it would be impossible to shoot my head mid-flight, especially with his arm all f*cked up. We’re heading towards a rooftop. The bastard’s going to finish the job.

    We land, and the Hunter raises his now reloaded gun to my head. I would smirk if I was able to, but I wasn’t. Just as well too, if I smirked, he might have suspected.

    The Metagross notices. It whips around just in time to take a burst of flame right to the face. Ptera comes flying down, spewing fire onto the rooftop. The psychic energy gone, I rush forward, and my knife tears through the Hunter’s throat. He fires several more shots, but luckily, only one hits, and that just breaks another rib. *sshole. But a determined one all the same.

    This is Pokémon Battle. There are no rules anymore. Only survivors. “Take the Metagross out, Ptera,” I say quietly. The Metagross is shaking off the fire, and looks up just in time to be blasted with another gout of flame, and again, and again, until Ptera looks exhausted and Metagross is nothing more than a burnt metal shell.

    I groan, clutching my chest. Well, at least there aren’t going to be any more Hunters. If a UV was assigned to this shift, there won’t be any other Hunters for at least an hour, until the next shift begins. The SP3 are too short staffed to have an army at every hour of the day.

    I can’t Run the rest of the job. I’d prefer to, since it’s almost impossible to notice a Runner across the rooftops, while very easy to spot someone riding a dinosaur. But I run into no more trouble before reaching the drop zone. I find the box, drop the egg in, and stick my PCard in. 100,000 P. Not bad, that’s like 1,000 dollars. Not that anyone except the street folk use dollars anymore. Everyone uses Points, the official currency of the SP3.

    Too bad most of that 100k will go towards medical bills. Not that I can go to an official doctor. There are Runner doctors, but they charge an arm and a leg. Quite literally, since if you can’t pay, they take your organs.

    I limp off to the alleyways, sometimes riding Ptera, sometimes literally crawling, and knock the ‘code’ onto a door. Like that’ll do any good. If they find this place, the SP3 bastards will just blow the door in.

    The door opens, and I get rushed to a doctor. They know me; they know I can pay well. I get bandaged up nice, and lose most of my commission for the Run. Not worth it… I’m never taking a job when there’s a UV wanderin’ about. My Pokémon are kept in a separate room. No roughhousing in this joint.

    At least it wasn’t a White. The WT-class Hunters… those guys are total monsters. I sit in the hospital bed, in a grimy room. The door opens, and a man walks in. The man has an ominous feel about him. He has a wiry build, comfortable clothing, tough fingerless gloves, and shoes with excellent traction. Generally means a Runner. A fedora with a large eagle’s feather is perched on his head. Looks to me like he’s in his early twenties.

    “Well hello there, ‘Gingerbread Man’. I have to say, I wasn’t expecting someone quite so stunning,” he says smoothly.

    “F*ck off. The h*ll do you want?” I’m not in my best mood right now. And I’m never polite anyway.

    “Well, you’re the best Runner in Sinnoh. And your exploits today have proved that. But you aren’t the best Runner. There are few, just a few, but a few that are better. But seeing as you have more skill than most… we’d like you to join us.”

    “Right. This sounds like utter BS to me. Flattery is worthless, and you should know it.”

    “Heh. We’re Blue Screen. We’re not bullsh*t. And you should know it.”

    Blue Screen? That’s impossible. This guy must be some crazy fool trying to ride on the coattails of Blue Screen. “Blue Screen. Sounds like BS to me, eh? But you fool… you want me to join Blue Screen? That just proves you don’t know anything.” I smoothly draw a pistol from a hidden compartment of the bed. “I’m already in Blue Screen.”

    The man falls to the ground with a hole in his chest. I snuggle down into the covers. Might as well get some sleep… And hopefully someone will move the dead body. It’s an eyesore.

    ---

    So... whaddya think?
    Last edited by Niihyl; 26th July 2011 at 2:46 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Needs more gumdrops.

    It’s you! heh, hi! Interesting story you have; I’ve seen quite a few modern-day fairy tale and nursery rhyme retellings, but I don’t think I’ve seen the Gingerbread Man used as a main idea (seen him as a secondary…). This is very trope-y and I see lots of references to those, plus edging around obvious ones (like the one-man-army). I loved Kalyca’s scene with his Pokémon at breakfast, because life with Pokémon would definitely be different even in domestic ways. And the prologue makes good points.

    I don’t think Kalyca’s name is a good one, though. I thought he was a woman until his boss said that he looks like a girl. An ‘a’ at the end of the name usually marks it as a girl’s name, especially in gendered languages like Spanish, I think French and Greek too. An ‘o’ at the end would mark it as a boy’s name. Like Martina/Martino or Seraphina/Seraphino (those are just two pairs I pulled out of a name book as examples). But it is nice that he doesn’t really want to be a Hunter even though he’s good at it. His intro part was funny for that.

    Aria’s running sequence is nice, although I don’t think she has any grounds to call herself a lady… I find it a little unbelievable that the egg would remain unharmed after all that. Eggs are pretty tough things, but to survive all those jumps (especially onto the Metagross) and not get hit by the bullet is lucky. She’s a really cool villainess, but it’s going to be hard earning any sympathy for her after that last paragraph.

    ‘Honestly, like I’m a goddamn princess or something.’ That sentence is missing some words…

    I also think it’s lacking physical descriptions. It is good that what is there is sprinkled around instead of lumped together, but the reader has no idea what the places look like other then a generic ‘this is a really tall building’.

    Still interesting, though. Nice work. But why oh why does that well-dressed guy jump in the sewer? I had the exact same reaction as Kalyca and now it's bugging me.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ysavvryl View Post
    Needs more gumdrops.

    Gum... drops?

    It’s you! heh, hi! Interesting story you have; I’ve seen quite a few modern-day fairy tale and nursery rhyme retellings, but I don’t think I’ve seen the Gingerbread Man used as a main idea (seen him as a secondary…). This is very trope-y and I see lots of references to those, plus edging around obvious ones (like the one-man-army). I loved Kalyca’s scene with his Pokémon at breakfast, because life with Pokémon would definitely be different even in domestic ways. And the prologue makes good points.

    ... Gah, TVTropes! I spend so much time on there (usually to check out one page. And then click on a link. And another one. With tabbed browsing.) so it kind of leaks into everything I do. I'll have to reduce the level of troping.

    I don’t think Kalyca’s name is a good one, though. I thought he was a woman until his boss said that he looks like a girl. An ‘a’ at the end of the name usually marks it as a girl’s name, especially in gendered languages like Spanish, I think French and Greek too. An ‘o’ at the end would mark it as a boy’s name. Like Martina/Martino or Seraphina/Seraphino (those are just two pairs I pulled out of a name book as examples). But it is nice that he doesn’t really want to be a Hunter even though he’s good at it. His intro part was funny for that.

    I eschew standard naming/spelling conventions. Stereotypes are for other people! Names can be anything! Although Kalyco sounds interesting. Like Calico. Eh. I liked the name Kalyca. Kalyca, from Kalyx "Rosebud". I guess it is usually a girl's name... hm.

    Aria’s running sequence is nice, although I don’t think she has any grounds to call herself a lady… I find it a little unbelievable that the egg would remain unharmed after all that. Eggs are pretty tough things, but to survive all those jumps (especially onto the Metagross) and not get hit by the bullet is lucky. She’s a really cool villainess, but it’s going to be hard earning any sympathy for her after that last paragraph.

    Maybe it's a really tough egg. 'Rocky' even. And I don't write 'good' characters very often on principle. Usually you'll see a lot of gray vs. black. A tyrannical rule vs. murderous criminals. Who are we rooting for again...?

    ‘Honestly, like I’m a goddamn princess or something.’ That sentence is missing some words…

    Perhaps it should have been 'Honestly, it's like I'm a goddamn princess or something.'?

    I also think it’s lacking physical descriptions. It is good that what is there is sprinkled around instead of lumped together, but the reader has no idea what the places look like other then a generic ‘this is a really tall building’.

    I don't like sticking massive paragraphs of description right in the middle of things. It just feels uncomfortable. Also, it's in first-person POV, so who really goes around thinking in their head long tracts of description? I suppose I could fit in more description, and I'll try from now on. One of my teachers was obsessed with 'Show don't Tell', so I was really pushed away from telling the readers what stuff looks like. I haven't hit a good balance yet.

    Still interesting, though. Nice work. But why oh why does that well-dressed guy jump in the sewer? I had the exact same reaction as Kalyca and now it's bugging me.

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  5. #5
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    Chapter 2

    ~Kalyca Stryker~

    Ahh, plane trips. They’re so wonderful… Right. Long plane trips are the bane of my existence. Eighteen hours of boredom, sore muscles, and nasty food. That and they have a disturbing habit of shaking around a bit too much. Pokémon shake about, but at least a Pokémon will catch you if you fall…

    For eighteen long hours, I’m subjected to this psychological and physical torture. I can’t sleep on airplanes, so by the time I get off, I’m a zombie. One of the ravenous undead. I’m actually really hungry on that note…

    Baggage claim. Get my three Poke-Balls. I release them experimentally to make sure there weren’t any mix-ups. Sana, Selene, and Strega appear before me, looking fresh and rested. Poke-Balls are amazing, no? I wish there were Poke-Balls for people.

    I pick up a bag of croissants and some coffee, and have breakfast/lunch/dinner. Strega amuses herself by stealing people’s passports, coffee, and baggage. An airport security guard runs over, waving his baton.

    “Hey, you! Sir, keep control of your Pokémon, or we’ll have to escort you out-“ I look up at him, and he goes pale. “I-I-I’m sorry sir. Just a polite request…”

    “No, it’s my fault. Strega, come here and stop causing havoc.” Strega floats over glumly, dropping a mug of coffee on the way. The checkered tile floor is now covered in shards of glass and puddles of coffee. I take my leave, not wanting to cause any more trouble. That poor security man. I see my reputation precedes me…

    Anyway, I’m still not quite sure what time it is. Jet-lag is tiring. I finish quickly, toss the trash into a bin, and check my papers for my hotel assignment. I return my Pokémon, hail a taxi, and leave Hearthome Airport. The taxi is bright yellow, and has a Pikachu painted on the hood. How… cute?

    Apparently it’s nighttime here. The stars twinkle merrily in the sky. I lean against the window, my breath fogging up the glass. I’m looking forward to sleeping… but no doubt my ‘co-workers’ will already be there, ready to hit me with more information than I can handle. Hearthome City is beautiful in the night, with lights everywhere, the cobbled roads reflecting the streetlamps’ light into the air. It used to be a city of shows, much like our Nimbasa City. Now, without Pokémon, it’s quiet, and lonely.

    When I reach my hotel room, it’s unexpectedly empty. No black-suited individuals ready to brief me. Just a very luxurious room, with a large flat-screen TV, two beds, and a chandelier of all things. There’s a note on the bed; ‘Finish reading the contents of the file you were given. Read every detail, memorize all key information, and then dispose of it.

    Well, this is better than having to listen to some agent talk for hours on end. I collapse on the bed, and release my Pokémon again. Sana sits on the edge of one of the two king-sized beds, Selene decides to float up onto the ceiling again, and Strega once again enters the walls to terrorize the neighbors. No matter where we are, routine is routine.

    I read the files, noting all the information. Blue Screen… if the truth got out about what they were and what they were trying to do, there would be an outrage, potentially mass hysteria. To think that they’d actually do that…

    I toss the file to Sana. She catches it, and begins to read as well. Afterward, her hand glows, and fire rises from her fist, incinerating the file.

    The phone rings, and I pick it up. “Hello?”

    “Mr. Stryker. I am your co-worker in this assignment. My name is Michael Gardea. Code VT-1002. The other Hunter assigned is my twin, Gabriel Gardea, Code VT-1003. I trust your room is satisfactory?”

    The guy sounds so… prim. It’s kind of off putting. “Er… yeah, it’s great.”

    “Excellent. Well, our plan of action,” Wow, they have a plan of action already. I love working with Violets. The VT class guys are just one cut below the best. They’re the crazy workaholics that do everything efficiently, trying to get bumped up to UV. The UV guys are more skilled, by a wide margin, but are all arrogant though, “is to hire one of the Blue Screen members. One who is less loyal to their cause. I trust you know what their goal is, after reading the notes?”

    “Yes, I know the purpose of Blue Screen.”

    “Good. We have already decided on a Runner, one who is very skilled, but not a high-ranking member. This is likely due to lack of loyalty. Her name is… Aria.”

    “So we hire her to Run a package? What’ll that achieve?” I ask, already thinking.

    “No, we’re hiring her to Run you.”

    “Excuse me? I’m not a package…”

    “No, you’re an important member in an undercurrent political movement. A Runner in a gang war between rival Runner factions. Luckily, there’s a war going on, so there shouldn’t be much suspicion. Also, she won’t be surprised when she sees that you are capable of Running. Her job is to keep you alive. A bodyguard of sorts. We’ll be shooting at you, to add credibility to your story.”

    I sigh. Oh how I love being shot at. “Wonderful. I do enjoy being shot at. Do Runners do that? I thought they only ran packages.”

    “You’re from Unova. The seat of the SP3. You get all the easy jobs there, sir.”

    Hmm… he sounds kind of bitter. Maybe it’s because I outrank him, and he thinks that we Unova guys don’t have to work as hard. It’s probably true, as a matter of fact. “Alright then. How do we contact this ‘Aria’? And on that note, you know who I am and what I look like, even here in Sinnoh I’d probably be recognized.”

    “We already have sir. And yes, you’ll need to disguise yourself. There’s black hair dye, a pair of scissors, and some contacts available in the bathroom.”

    ~Aria Isadora Khadija~

    Looks like I have a job. They asked specifically for me… that’s different. Usually orders are made, and we just pick up whatever we can take. But this offer is lucrative. Lots of cash, for a fairly simple request.

    Take some kid through town, and make sure he gets to his location alive. Probably the kid of one of the Runner gang bosses, if he’s that important. Hopefully he’ll be able to Run. Otherwise, I’ll have to drag him through the sewers, and I doubt he’d like that. Not that I’d like it either.

    D*mmit, this isn’t a good day though. I noticed a pair of Violets out. And not just any Violets, they’re the Twins. I have a bad feeling about this…

    Early morning in Hearthome. I’m waiting at the rendezvous spot, waiting for the package to arrive. And looky here, there’s the brat.

    The guy’s pretty slight, with short, roughly cut black hair, brown eyes, and a real pretty face. At least he’s got Runner gear on, that might count for something. Frayed gloves, tank top, and basketball shorts. The look on his face though… it pisses me off. He looks so godd*mn innocent. What kind of gang kid looks like that? He looks like he belongs in a castle, being spoon fed fancy puddings.

    “Er… hi. You’re the ‘Gingerbread Man’, right?” he says.

    “No. I don’t tell you anything. My job is to get you from point A to point B alive, and then I get paid a large sum of money. Your people hired me, which means your people know my people. There’s no need for you to know me. I would quite like to know you, because that could mean further profit for me, capisce? I am a heartless b*tch, and you should know it,” I say roughly. “Now, you can Run?”

    The kid looks taken aback, but nods.

    “Alright then. Let’s go. Follow me. I saw Violets, and two of them. This isn’t going to be pretty.” I leap off the side of the brick building, probably some apartment, and roll onto the next, identical building. I look back, and he’s right there. Well, at least he isn’t going to drag me down too much.

    I vault over the side of the building, into an open window. No coincidences here, I opened that window on the way up. The apartment is shoddy, and my feet toss up puffs of dust as they hit the carpet. I run through a short hallway, toss open the front door, and enter a hall of doors. The hall is actually a sort of balcony, lined with doors to different equally cheap living quarters. I hate balconies, too exposed.

    “Keep your head low,” I mutter tersely. I’ve had a bad feeling about this entire thing. Call it intuition or instinct if you will, but years of working the trade train you to sense everything, even if it’s subconscious.

    My suspicions are answered when a bullet whizzes over my head. I grab the kid and toss him into the ground, ducking low. “They won’t miss twice. Go! Crawl!” He obeys, crawling forward. I draw my gun. Something akin to the old Glocks, made of a handy synthetic polymer. Light, durable, and undetectable by metal detectors.

    As soon as I stick my head up, there’ll be a bullet in it. No doubt they’ve sent one man in to check it out, while a sniper keeps an eye on our position. I wave my hand at the kid, pointing to one of the apartment rooms, fairly far off. He understands, which proves he’s not an utter imbecile, and kicks a window in, sending a shatter of glass into the apartment. I immediately stand, scan the nearby rooftops, and catch a glint. Thank god for the sun. I point my gun and fire every single bullet I have in the magazine, except for one. I doubt I’ve hit anything, the distance is too far. Still, the sniper should be taking cover now. Or there’s a very scared guy who was drinking a shiny beer bottle on the roof.

    I crawl over to the kid, and drag him through another doorway, to the stairs. Too bad there’s a guy with a gun standing right there. A fairly young Hunter, with a red sash. Red… the newbies. I can take a Red just fine… if only I didn’t have to protect the brat.

    The kid is cowering in a corner, looking over at the Hunter. Useless little b*stard. The Hunter levels the gun at me. Obviously, I seem more dangerous. “Don’t move! You are under arrest, by the authority of the SP3.”

    D@mmit. My gun is empty. I have nothing to fight him with… The Hunter is looking carefully at the kid. Probably checking for weapons or something like that…

    ~Kalyca Stryker~

    Well, Aria’s certainly capable. Smarter than a lot of the Runners I’ve caught. I’m sure that if I wasn’t here, she could perfectly well outdo the Gardea Twins. I wince as I shatter the window. I’ll... fix that later. Somehow… yeah.

    When Aria kicks the door open, I see… oh hell. It’s Miki. He’s my friend from when we were in school. We’ve been attending the same school since the second grade. He’s certain to recognize me, even with the brown contacts covering my normally red eyes, and short black hair rather than my natural white. He’s looking at me carefully now, gun leveled at Aria. Oh hell… this is bad. Recognition lights in his eyes, and I see his lips part, almost in slow motion. He’s going to say something…

    I shoot him through the head. The gun comes to my hand quickly, naturally, the way I’ve been trained. Shock is painted on his face, blood dyeing his friendly face and blond hair. He falls down the stairs, sickening cracks and squelches emanating from his corpse.

    Aria looks over at me and grins. “Well kid, looks like you’re not useless after all.”

    I speak, getting to my feet; “I’m just as heartless as you. I’m just nicer about it.”

    She laughs. “I like you kid. Remind me to buy you dinner or something. Maybe using some of the profit from this job.”
    Friend Code: 0404-6904-4521
    Ghost Friend Safari: Shuppet, Phantump, Spiritomb


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