Hello people of Serebii.
A few of you may remember when I first posted this story a little while back. At that time, I was more or less new to writing anything that wasn't an RP post, and only ended up making it to chapter 2 before I realized I wanted to take a break, step back, and make sure I can do what I want to do with this story.
This is my first rewrite of my first fanfic, and I'm more than a little bit nervous about it. But at the same time I'm hopeful that some of you readers out there will have as much fun reading this story as I do writing it.
Vision is rated PG-13. Though many scenes and even whole chapters could easily pass as PG, there will come times when it won't, so as a whole the rating stands there.
Any questions, comments, reviews, critiques, praise, and other assorted responses are all welcome. I appreciate constructive criticism above all else, and it really helps me figure out what I can do better to make the next chapters even better than the last.
And so, I present chapter 1 of Vision. I hope you enjoy it.
~ Vision ~
“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”
Chapter 1 - On the Run
Jet opened her eyes to see the bright blue sky of the early morning. As she awoke, more sensations began to fill her senses. The morning songs of birds rang in her ears, the smell of flowers and dew-dropped grass came with each inhaled breath, and the cool morning air blew past her skin, cooling her off from the pleasant warmth of the sun. It was a beautiful morning. If you were going to pick a morning to experience as your first dawn outside of a white walled cell, this was a good one to pick.
Deciding that she had spent enough time lying on her back, Jet got up and stretched her arms, feeling the tension melt away from her muscles. A night of sleeping on the ground would do that to you, even if you weren’t exactly used to a soft, comfy bed. And it would mess up your hair too. She realized as much as she tugged a few loose leaves and things from her long blond and pink striped hair. Her ears strained to detect any familiar sounds, trying to pick out anything she recognized. It was no use trying to hear things that were unfamiliar, all these sounds out here in the woods sounded strange to her.
But, to her relief, the air was serene and calm, with nothing disturbing the peaceful morning. Satisfied that there was no pressing danger, her attention turned towards the rest of her group, the six other bodies scattered around the small clearing that made up everyone she cared about. They were her family, pure and simple, no matter how much blood they actually shared.
Sitting closest to her was the big guy himself, Static. He was the oldest in their group and thus de facto leader until they were able to sort out things with a proper vote. Though Static wasn’t simply the biggest one here, he was also the strongest one here. A man of brute strength and determination, but also a man with a kind heart, he was the closest thing that the group had to a father figure. Considering he was somewhere around seventeen, that wasn’t saying much. There were a few things about him that made him stand out, besides his height and build though. Static’s hair was always spiked back, always. His blond locks would never budge from their sharp, gelled look. Supposedly, it was a side effect of having a few hundred watts of electricity pumping through your body. Then there was the pattern of thick, haphazard black stripes that marked his upper arms and his back. They were hard to see under the grass-stained white jumpsuit he wore, but they were there nonetheless.
Curled up on the ground beside Static was the dynamic duo themselves, the two youngest boys in their group, Blitz and Shade. Blitz was hyper, brash, and loud; in short, your average fourteen year old boy. Many of the group’s rather unique traits were a tad difficult to hide, and Blitz’s were no exception. His unruly shoulder-length mop of black scraggly hair couldn’t hide the two canine ears that stuck up from the top of his head, but it did do a fairly good job at hiding the fact that he lacked normal human ears. The nails on his hands and feet were also long and sharp, like the claws of a beast, and when combined with his piercing red eyes and his black furred ears lended a distinctly wolf-like appearance to the young boy that was a bit discerning even with his normally warm smile. While it was true that you shouldn’t judge someone based on appearances, Blitz was fairly easy to read and his personality was very much like those who shared his canine blood. He even had an occasionally creepy habit of sniffing things.
Then there was Blitz’s battle buddy, Shade. He was not only the youngest boy, but the youngest one in their whole group. To put it bluntly though, he had the most extreme deformations of any of them. The ghostly DNA they had spliced into the poor kid hadn’t mixed well with his much livelier little boy DNA, and the result was quite unsettling. All of the skin on his entire body was stained a cool purple color and his eyes were not only red, but they glowed from within as if backlit by a light bulb. To top it off, his hair was pale, more colorless than white. All of this was hard to see under his thick layer of clothing though. Shade was bundled up from head to toe in the same type of white garbs that they all still wore; gloves, pants, a hoodie; there was hardly any of his skin showing at all.
Then again, saying he tanned easily was a massive understatement. Strong sunlight would fry his skin like bacon on a griddle, it was not a pretty sight. To compliment his ghostly nature, Shade probably spoke the least of any of them. Often times he would simply say only a word or two. But with Blitz always at this side, he usually let the older boy do his talking for him and the two of them had a pretty close relationship. Their whole group was a family, but out of all of them, Blitz and Shade acted the most like real siblings would, at least as far as any of them could guess real siblings would act.
Jet took a moment to spread her wings a bit in the sunlight. Yes, her wings. Like the others, Jet wasn’t exactly normal. Her jumpsuit had slits cut into the back, and from those slits slid a pair of large, feathered wings, like the wings of a large bird. They were covered in tan feathers, changing shades from almost white on the inner downy feathers to the long sharp tan of her wingtips. The feathers near her shoulders were of a darker brown color, making them pop a bit against her light skin and the stark white of her lab-approved clothing.
With her wings all the way out, she had a good thirteen foot wingspan. And yet, she could fold them up against her back tight enough that they wouldn’t bulge out her shirt. Of course, she’d cramp up if she didn’t stretch them out every once and a while, and she had to admit, the sunlight felt good on her sore wings.
Now, where was the rest of their group? Looking up, she spotted one of the other girls in their group, sound asleep in the branches of the shady Oak tree. Her name was Psyche, and if Static was the father figure of the group, then she was the motherly one. However, she wasn’t motherly in the supportive and caring sort of way. Rather, Psyche was the strict mother, the rule enforcer, the one who no one wanted on their bad side.
Of all of them save Shade’s unique skin, Psyche’s skin was the darkest. She had the warm, radiant tan of an Arabian princess, with sharp features and a thin, lithe figure. Not only did she have the body of a dancer or a gymnast, but she had the skill to back it up. There was a reason she was sleeping in the tree instead of against it. As if to further difference her from the others, the only outward indication of abnormality she displayed were her rich amber-colored eyes that were just a bit too golden to pass as brown, but close enough that it wasn’t anywhere near as attention grabbing as Blitz’s crimson eyes. Like the rest of the group though, she was sound asleep. With her eyes closed, you’d never know she wasn’t a normal girl like any other.
The next of her kin to catch her eye was the lone wolf of the group, Blaze. As his name suggested, he was a bit of a hothead. His jet black hair and his clear blue eyes combined with his strong features gave him a real handsome side, but his extremely short temper and his dejected attitude diminished it, if only a bit. There was something of a dangerous air about him too and it was both comforting, when he was on watch, and troubling, when he was not on watch.
Like the other six in their rag-tag group, he too had a few odd traits, namely his arms. There were only three fingers on each of his hands, each one ending in a sharp, lizard-like claw. To complete the reptilian look, bright orange scales covered his arms all the way down to his elbows. Much the same as shade or Blitz, his particular abnormalities were hard to disguise. Unlike Shade or Blitz however, he actually let it bother him. He was the only one in their group who looked at himself with a kind of sadness, as though a part of him knew what it had been like to be normal at some point, even though Jet knew for a fact that they had all been born with these traits, even him.
The head count was nearly completed. The only one left was… “Sneak?” Jet asked. No reply, the little girl was nowhere to be seen. Though that wasn’t entirely troubling, her name was Sneak after all.
“You woke up.” a small voice said from behind her. Jet turned around calmly, used to the routine by now, and found Sneak staring up at her from behind a tree, one arm wrapped around the thick plant as though it was providing her with some kind of protection. Though Sneak was a full year older than Shade, she was actually shorter than the boy, and her tiny stature made her the smallest one in the group. She hardly had a presence at all, and her grey eyes and raven hair didn’t help with that, even though her hair was streaked with one small stripe of pink, right above her left ear.
“Yeah, I’m up.” Jet nodded and placed a hand on her hip, her wings still swaying gently in the soft wind. “You’re up early, as usual.”
Sneak smiled, “I don’t sleep much, so I waited.” The young girl began messing with a strand of her hair, as though nervous. That was standard routine for her.
“Think we should wake the others?” Jet cast a glance to where the other five kids were still sleeping soundly. “We should probably get moving. Its already been a few hours since we got out, so I’m sure they’re already tearing that place apart looking for us.”
Sneak said nothing; she simply nodded in agreement and shrunk a bit further behind the tree.
“So… are you going to help me or what? You know how they get when you shake them awake.”
“I’d rather watch…” Sneak nudged her head into the distance, indicating that she meant she’d rather watch out for goons from that wretched place then dare to wake up her siblings.
A sigh was the only response Jet could give. “Fine, why don’t you go look for a safe way out of here then? That way, at least you’ll be spared.”
“Don’t worry about it, I’m already up.” The two girls turned around simultaneously to see Blitz pulling himself to his feet. The young boy scratched behind his dog-like ears and shook some grass out of his hair before turning back to them. “No way I could sleep with a conversation going on right beside me.” Blitz’s ears weren’t just for show; he really did have wolf-level radar dishes on his head. He could hear a Krikitune chirp clear across the forest.
“Yeah, yeah, we don’t have time to sleep anyway, go get the others up. We need to keep moving.” The more she thought about the goons catching up to them, the more anxious she felt. There was no way she was going to let them get carted back to that place, especially not after a mere four hours of freedom.
“You just didn’t want to do it yourself, you scaredy-bird.” Despite his words, Blitz got right to business, shaking Shade and Static awake. Shade was up instantly, immediately full of energy. The little guy ran on a few hours of sleep a week. Who knows how long he had even slept last night? Static on the other hand woke up groggy, moving his arms like he was swatting something away. Then, he snapped awake, giving Blitz a static shock in the process. “Ouch, watch it big guy.”
“Sorry, sorry. I can’t help it.” Static immediately began scanning the group, doing a head count as Jet already had. “Where’s Sneak?”
“She’s right here…” Jet trailed off as she realized that the tiny girl was no longer behind the tree. “Well, she was right here.”
“Didn’t you tell her to take a look ahead?” Blitz added. He was forever the smart-alec.
“In that case, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s already scouting.” The big guy stood up, and gave a clap, a sparking sound accompanying it. It was as good an alarm clock as any, and a second later Psyche leapt nimbly to the ground, her long red pony tail trailing in the air behind her.
“Are we moving out?” she asked.
Static nodded. “We’ve already wasted enough time I think. I’d be shocked if they haven’t discovered by now that we’re not in our cell anymore.”
“Now the question is how much time we still have.” Psyche brushed a long lock of her red hair out of her eyes and placed two fingers to her temple. “I’m not picking anything up, they must still be some distance away from us, or they are on the wrong track.”
“Or they have Dark types on patrol.” Jet added.
Psyche’s eyes narrowed a bit. “That still wouldn’t hide their trainers. Unless they’re just letting them roam free.”
“Hey Blitz, wake Blaze up will you?” Static pointed over to where Blaze was still asleep against his tree. “We need to move.”
“You got it boss-man.” In a flash, Blitz was right up beside Blaze. No one could cross open ground like he could. The young boy reached out and shook Blaze’s arm gently and then, when that failed to get a response, a bit stronger. Blaze snapped awake, lashing out at the air in front of him and nearly sending Blitz falling over as he dodged Blaze’s sharp claws. “Whoa, friendly fire! Get a grip man.”
It took a moment for Blaze to realize where he was and who it was that had woken him up, and when he did, he leaned back against the tree and sighed. “I’m not used to being shaken awake.”
“Yeah, I can see that. You just about took my ears off you hot-head.”
“Then maybe I should aim a bit lower next time.” He tapped a clawed hand against his mouth.
“That is so uncalled for. I’m the victim here!”
“That’s enough.” Psyche was tapping her foot impatiently, a scowl starting to form on her face. “Cut it out, we have bigger things to worry about right now. As soon as Sneak gets back, we need to move.”
“Already here.” came Sneak’s whisper like voice. The whole group turned at the same time to see her standing right there behind Static, as if she had been there the whole time. She shrunk back a bit at all the sudden attention and began fiddling with her fingers.
“Great, what did you find?” Jet asked.
The little girl pointed off into the woods. “There’s a road over there that heads towards the city.”
Blaze frowned. “A road? That leaves us a bit too open doesn’t it?”
A nod. “Un-huh, but there’s a grove of berry tress down that way,” she changed the direction she was pointing, “and a small trail that goes about the same direction as the road.”
“Well done.” Static said. He reached down and rubbed Sneak’s head, and she smiled in response. She was the type who really enjoyed acknowledgement for a job well done, even if she was often times unwilling to take credit for it.
“Then what are we waiting for?” Jet gave her wings a few more flaps before tucking them back against her back. “Let’s get rolling.”
A chorus of agreements sounded out across the group, and a few movements later, the clearing was empty again as the kids set out on their way towards their first day of freedom, if they could keep it.
Darkness filled the room. The small space was lit only by the pale, artificial glow of the various monitors and devices that were scattered around the room. Pipes, wires, and other mechanisms filled the rest of the space, filling the room like the inner workings of some larger machine. In the pale blue glow, a single figure could be seen, typing commands away on the keyboard. The monitors ahead of him were shifting through various security camera recordings, several of them showing glimpses of figures moving quickly through shadows and around corners. As he watched, Static entered the frame for a spilt second before a flash of light crossed the screen. The recording went out, and a new one took its place, this one showing an obscured figure disappear around the corner, the lights blown out. All the while, the hunched figure typed away at his tablet computer, updating data, documenting observations, and making notes of the new developments with his project.
The camera recordings were from late last night, or early this morning depending on how you looked at it. His subjects had escaped. They had actually done it. There was a part of him that had always wondered just how far his experiment would run and with last night’s escape all expectations had been shattered. Not only had the subjects actually developed strong wills and ideas, but they had initiative and intelligence! They had acted of their own accord and defied his authority. It was truly fascinating. Their mental powers had reached that of the average human teenager, perhaps even surpassed it. To think that they were not mere animals, but something human, something more than human, the very idea of it filled his cold heart with anticipation.
A sudden sound pierced over the dull hum that filled the room as a new figure entered, the red emergency light from the hall practically being swallowed up by the small room’s shadows. The figure, a tired looking man in a lab coat, took a moment to carefully choose his words. “Dr. Orfeo, we’ve completed the search of the facility. It appears that the subjects have managed to completely bypass our security systems.” He paused. “They… are no longer in the facility. They have escaped to the outside.”
“I’m very aware of that.” Orfeo said a twinge of what could only be called annoyance on his voice. “The footage from our security cameras has proven to be most interesting.”
“If you knew they had already escaped, then why didn’t you call off the search?” the scientist asked.
“Patience, there is too much that needs to be studied for trivial distractions. This is an absolute breakthrough for the project, a truly unforeseen turn of events. I must record everything as it is before any of the evidence is tarnished by those imbeciles.”
“Quiet, I will have no distractions.” As if an afterthought, he added, “Go and prep the search teams. I want them-“
A new image suddenly popped up on the large overhead monitor, showing a rather displeased looking young man. His blue hair was perfectly styled, not a hair out of place, and he worse a wrinkleless black suit. Judging by his nearly emotionless expression, he was every bit as business oriented as his attire. “Dr. Orfeo, I believe you owe me an explanation.”
“Ah, Saturn. I was wondering when the fallout would reach all the way to you.”
“And yet I was the one who had to contact you, once again. I’m growing tired of this Orfeo. I want them found, now. If you fail me again, I will see to it that I place Project Helix in the hands of a more loyal subject. Do you understand?”
“Of course, don’t take me for a fool Saturn. The search teams are already on their way out.” He gave a glance to the scientist behind him, “aren’t they?”
“Yes, of course.” He threw a hasty salute before leaving the room in a rush. It wasn’t his place to eavesdrop on a meeting of the higher-ups.
Saturn didn’t seem convinced. “I won’t repeat myself again Orfeo, this is your last chance. I expect results by tomorrow.” And with that, the signal cut, and Saturn vanished from the monitor.
A grin crossed Orfeo’s face. “You talk a big game Saturn, but you’re no Cyrus. I wonder how far your ambitions will take you?” he laughed, a harsh cackling sound, “I look forward to recording the results of your grand experiment.”
With the sun now clearly on its way up in the sky, the heat of the day was starting to become a factor for the group of kids who found themselves hiking through the woods. Though it looked like Blitz was leading the group, the young boy was simply following a scent trail left by Sneak. The little girl was so adept at, well, sneaking, that Blitz’s nose was the only way to track her. And because of her Sneasel blood, not even Psyche’s mental abilities could get a read on her. But, that same knack for invisibility also made her the perfect one of the group to run point. With her up front, they would never just run into something. She would see whatever it was before they saw her, guaranteed.
Though it offered a pleasant atmosphere to walk in, the berry grove was also filled with shorter trees. The warm sunlight shone down with an intensity that was only increasing the closer they got to high noon.
“Man, I never thought I’d miss that place, but I could really go for some air conditioning right about now.” Blitz said. His nose was working furiously, tracking the invisible member of their team as she made her progress further ahead in the tall grass.
“Yeah, cool air, free food, and a nice cell door to keep you safe at night.” Blaze said. “What else could a guy ask for?”
“How about a sense of humor?” The smile Jet cast Blaze’s way was met with only a look of irritation, but she did garner a chuckle from the rest of the group. In the end Blaze couldn’t help but smile, if only just a bit.
“Point taken, but I still think it’s a bit early to be cracking jokes about that place. We don’t even know how long it’ll be before they find us.”
“And just what makes you so sure they’ll find us?” Jet asked. She was leaned in, facing her dark-haired friend as she asked it, even as she continued to walk forward.
“You don’t think they can find us?” All eyes turned to Static as he said that, some with shock, others concern. The big guy looked back with a look of surprise. “What, you think they’re just going to let us go? They’ll be looking for us for sure, and we don’t exactly have a plan.”
“Not to mention we don’t even know what they’re going to send after us.” Up until now, Psyche had been silent. But when she did speak, her words went right to the point. “We are literally clueless as to how to avoid capture.”
For a moment, everything was silent. “You know, you’re right.” Static placed a hand on her shoulder. He was the only one Psyche would let do that without good reason. “But you really don’t have to be so harsh.”
Her eyes pierced into Static’s calm expression. “I’m only stating the truth. Like it or not, we are little more than stray sheep on the run from our shepherd.”
“Point.” Shade said. The little boy was riding on Static’s shoulders, and had so far still been napping, or at least appearing to be. He rarely spoke up, but like Psyche he usually had something to say when he did.
“Yeah,” Blitz added, “She does have a point.”
“Look, I don’t like this any more than the rest of you.” Static cast his gaze around the others, “But the last thing we need to do right now is wonder when they’ll catch us. We need to be focusing on what we’re going to do, where we’re going to go, how we’re going to get there, not how long we have before we’re locked up again.”
Blaze nodded to himself. “I agree. It does us no good to worry about escaping if we don’t think we’ll make it anyway.”
With a roll of her eyes, Psyche shook Static’s hand off of her shoulder and turned away from the others, something akin to a pout on her face. “I was simply giving an accurate observation of our situation, nothing more. You all know I wouldn’t want any of us to be taken back.”
“Yeah, we know.” Jet smiled. “We’re just giving you a hard time. I think we’re all still a little worn out.”
“Hey now, don’t sweat it, we’re…” Blitz stopped mid-sentence, his canine ears twitching furiously. “Everyone, get down!”
The group broke apart instantly, each individual diving for their own cover like a group of wild Pokemon startled by a passing trainer. A few risked a curious glance out, but the moment the sound of the helicopter became apparent, all heads vanished into the brush. A moment later, the helicopter came flying over the berry grove. It was white, and unmarked, a clear trademark of the labs. The machine hovered menacingly for a moment, before changing directions and flying off once more. Once the sound started to die, the group emerged from the undergrowth one by one.
“They’ve already got the choppers on us?” Blitz was clearly flustered, his ears were still scanning the air wildly and even his nose was twitching. “Maybe Psyche is right.”
“Of course I’m right.” Psyche closed her eyes. “But I never said to give up. We’re outgunned, outnumbered, and they have the home field advantage, but I don’t think we’re out done just yet.”
Jet sighed to herself. “Well, when you put it that way…”
“Are we taking a break?” All eyes turned towards the source of the soft voice to see Sneak edging her head out from behind a nearby tree, a curious look on her face. “You all stopped following me.”
“Yeah, we were just taking a break.” Static said. He motioned for the others to fall back into line. “Come on. We need to hit Jubilife City before that chopper comes back. Or worse.”
“You don’t have to tell me twice.” Blitz added. “He turned back around to find Sneak had already vanished back into the forest. “Jeez, could she cut me a break every one and a while? My nose is getting all worn out…”
The so called Grunts of Team Galactic were gathered outside the labs. The stark white, industrial looking building clashed not only with the forest around it, but even with the worn unpaved road that led away, down the side of the mountain and towards the main highway. The Grunts gathered outside were all in the new standard Team Galactic uniform. Ever since Cyrus’s disappearance, Saturn had lead the Team in a new direction and as a symbol of that had given them a new uniform. They all wore black and blue uniform-like suits with silver trimmings. The large iconic “G” of Team Galactic was now a crisp white. They now more closely resembled law enforcement officers than the rouges and miscreants of the past, but a new coat of paint does little to change the rust on the inside.
“Listen up.” The leader was saying. He wasn’t a commander or anything, he was still a Team Galactic Grunt, but he led this little team, and he still asked for some respect from his followers. “There’s been an incident at the labs, and a few f the test subjects have escaped. I’ve been told by the lab officials that these subjects are to be considered unstable and extremely dangerous, so I’m issuing a shoot on sight order. Be sure to use only tranq rounds, they want them re-captured alive. That is not optional, do you understand?”
“Yes sir!” The Grunts saluted, each standing in line. There were twelve of them in all, men and women.
“Good, then let’s spread out and find them before they reach a nearby city. This operation is considered a Level Four security risk. Failure will not be tolerated.”
“Dismissed, spread out and find them.”
A series of bright flashes lit up the area as the Grunts all released a Pokemon. There were many canine and feline Pokemon; Mightyena, Skuntank, Persian, Granbull, and even a single Zigzagoon. The last of which got a few laughs from a few of the other Grunts.
“A Zigzagoon, really?” one of them said. That Grunt was standing next to a rather fierce looking Granbull and even the large bipedal dog seemed to be grinning.
“Hey, he knows Oder Sleuth too, It’s not like this is a battle.” The small raccoon’s trainer said. Besides, I’ll bet he can outrun that fat bulldog of yours.”
“Heh, we’ll see about that. You won’t be so smug when your little pet gets taken out by those freaks.” He turned to his Granbull and placed a hand on its short, lavender fur. “Come on Granbull, let’s get to it. Use Oder Sleuth.”
The big dog brought his nose to the ground, and began sniffing around for any strange scents trails it could find. A moment later, it’s stubby round ears perked up and it started to growl excitedly. The Granbull’s owner gave a mock salute. “See ya.” And the pair took off into the forest. The Zigzagoon’s owner couldn’t help but grin.
“Yeah, we’ll see alright. Let’s go Rocky.” The Zigzagoon shook its spiked out fur and began sniffing the ground eagerly. A moment later, he had the trail and his bushy tail began twitching with excitement. And the two of them shot off into the woods as well, hot on the trail of the escapees.