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Thread: Vision (PG-13)

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    Default Vision (PG-13)

    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.”

    “Sir, you…”

    “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.”

    “Understood, sir.”

    “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.
    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
    Watch your step! Sig Under Construction!

  2. #2
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    Sorry readers. Normally, It won't take me quite so long to update. I've had a bit of a busy week lately, but I'm aiming for at least an update every week or so, so I'll keep my fingers crossed that I can keep that schedule.

    Any comments at all are welcome, I don't expect a super detailed review for every post, so don't be afraid to leave a little comment or two. I'll also be willing to put together a PM list if anyone would like.

    Alright, here's chapter two.

    ---


    Chapter 2 – Breaking News


    There were certain times in life where you experience something that you’ve never experienced before. Moments when something you’ve only ever heard about is suddenly right there in front of you and you just don’t know how to react. This was one of those times.

    The group of kids found themselves on a bluff, overlooking the sparkling metropolis that was Jubilife City. The towering broadcast station, the multitude of cars and people, the rows and rows of houses, storefronts, and other places; it was all so much to take in at once that they all just stood there, taking it all in as best that they could.

    “Wow.” Jet finally said. “I mean, just wow.”

    “Yeah, I know.” Blaze said. “I mean, look at it.”

    “Look at all the things!” The small dog-like member of their group was certainly acting the part. Blitz was hopping up and down, his ears turning this way and that. If he had a tail, he’d be wagging it.

    “So… are we going to go down there or… what?” The red head said. Psyche was doing her best to maintain her usual calm façade, but it was impossible for her to hide the glint of excitement in her eyes.

    The quiet one of their group had her arm wrapped tightly around Psyche’s leg. “I don’t know. It’s so noisy and bright…” Sneak’s eyes scanned the city streets below, as if looking for all the places she could hide. “Do we have to?”

    “Well, yeah. I mean we’ve got to get some food.” Jet briefly considered stretching out her wings, but decided against it. It wasn’t the best idea this close to the city.

    “Not so fast guys. I don’t think we can just waltz into town looking like this.” The others turned to see Blaze holding up his scale covered arms, “Looking like this, we’d only freak them out. You saw how some of the lab coats looked at us, now imagine how people who didn’t make us would react.”

    “You… have a good point.” With her wings easily hidden, Jet looked like a normal girl. But Blaze had those arms, and they were a lot harder to hide. Of anyone of them, he would have the most difficulty keeping a low profile.

    Things were going nowhere fast, it was time for the leader to step up and take charge. “Then we will have to split up.” Static said. “Some of us will go into town and get as much food and supplies as they can, and the rest will wait here with me.”

    “But is that really the best idea? We don’t even know how close those goons are behind us.” As if to prove his point, Blitz began sniffing the air, his ears tilting towards the forest.

    “Don’t know, if follow.” Shade practically whispered. He was still riding on Static’s shoulders. “Maybe lost.”

    “I don’t know if I agree with you buddy, but you still might be right. We don’t even know if they are closing in or not.”

    “Look, either way we’re wasting time here.” With her foot tapping and eyes closed, Psyche looked very much like a teacher scorning her students. “I’m going into the city. Anyone who wants to come with me, raise your hand and follow me.”

    Jet threw her hand up. “I’m going. I really want to check this place out. See how normal girls live life and all.”

    “Sneak.” At Psyche’s use of her name, the tiny girl visibly flinched. “You’re coming along too. It’ll be good for you to get out of the shadows for once.”

    “But I like the dark…” She began messing with her fingers again. “I don’t know if- ah.”

    Psyche grabbed her hand, cutting her off. “It’ll be fine. You will be with me and Jet after all. I promise I won’t let anything happen to you.”

    “Then I’ll leave it up to you three.” The big guy said. “The fewer of us who go down there, the better. I’ll wait here with the guys.”

    “Aw, I so wanted to check it out. This bites man.”

    “Easy Blitz, you’ve got those ears, remember?” Static pointed out.

    “It’s okay, I’ll snag you a hat or something.” Jet said. “That way, you can come with us to the next city.”

    “Tch, fine. I guess I’ll wait this one out. But you better not forget my hat. I’ll remember it if you do.”

    “Speaking of clothes,” Blaze chimed in, “Would you mind finding me some gloves or something? Even something that just covered the arms would help.”

    “We’ll see what we can do.” Jet said with a nod.

    Psyche was growing even more impatient. “We’re wasting time here, come on and let’s get moving.”

    The three girls waved a goodbye to their group as they made their way down the bluff. It was a steep, rocky hillside, which made climbing downward difficult. Several times, Jet had to resist the urge to toss out her wings and just glide down the hill. But they were close to a city and the fear of being spotted made her think twice about doing so. Psyche on the other hand made her way nimbly down the hillside, never once tripping or losing her footing. Her knack for keeping herself balanced never ceased to amaze the others. She could walk every bit as well on her hands as she could her feet. Sneak was another matter. The small girl moved so quickly and so softly that not only did she not kick up any dust on her descent, which even Psyche had, but she somehow managed to disappear from sight a few times, even on the rather sparsely decorated hillside.

    Jet took a tumble, her foot catching on a stray rock. Her wings tried to snap out reflexively, but she caught herself and pulled them back in. Unfortunately, that meant she could no longer recover her fall. She rolled on the dirt a few times, hitting a few rocks and bumps but managing to avoid the worst of it until she could stop herself. Shaking her head to clear out some of the dust, Jet pulled herself back up and made her way down the rest of the hill, a bit more carefully this time. No need to risk another tumble like that.

    Psyche and Sneak had beaten her to the bottom, and the two of them looked relatively dirt free. When she took a look at her own suit however, she found that the white material was no longer just grass stained but dirt stained as well, but the material had thankfully been sturdy enough not to tear during her fall.

    “Are you okay?” Psyche asked.

    “I think so. I nearly shot out my wings, I mean… uh.”

    “Yeah, just don’t do that in town and we should be okay.” Her voice was a bit calmer than normal, as if she was trying not to get worked up about anything.

    Jet cast a glance back up to the bluff and found that she couldn’t see the boys from down here. They might have gone back into the woods a bit just to stay hidden. No sooner had the thought crossed her mind than Blitz’s head popped into view over the edge of the bluff. “Nice tumble!” he called. “Try not to land on your face next time.”

    She could see his cheeky grin from here. “Yeah, I wouldn’t want to damage this cute face now would I?”

    However Blitz responded was out of her hearing range. He threw her a wave and ducked back behind the bluff, out of sight.

    “I hope they’ll be okay by themselves.”

    “Don’t worry about them Jet, Static won’t let anything happen to them.” Psyche placed two fingers to her temple again, taking a slow, deep breath as she closed her eyes. “I can’t tell if anyone’s following us or not. There’s too many thoughts are coming in from the city, its… overwhelming.”

    “There are lots and lots of people? I don’t know about this…”

    “Relax Sneak, we’ll be fine. Just hold onto my hand okay?”

    Sneak nodded and grabbed Psyche’s hand once more, her tiny delicate looking fingers wrapped tightly around the redhead’s the way Jet imagined a child would hold onto their mother.

    “And I’m here too, so don’t worry.” Though she was doing her best to look confidant, the look on Jet’s face ended up being a little sillier than she had wanted it to be and Sneak couldn’t help but laugh. Even the ever-stoic Psyche cracked a smile.

    “What? Why are you guys laughing?”

    “Don’t worry about it.” An annoyed look crossed Jet’s face, and Psyche gave a dismissing wave. “We have a job to do remember? Let’s get to it. We don’t know how much time we’ve got.”

    “Yeah, the sooner we get back, the better.” Resisting the urge to throw her wings out again, Jet took off into the city, Psyche taking off after her as she practically dragged Sneak along. Psyche was trying to get her to slow down, but Jet was too excited to pay her warnings any attention. After a minute or two, she came to a back alley, taking note of the various trash containers and other assorted junk that lay scattered around. The labs had been cleaned to a polish every single day, so seeing garbage just laying around was a first for her. “Check it out, they just leave all this trash and stuff outside. How do you think they get rid of it?”

    Psyche came to a slow behind Jet, her hand still clamped firmly on Sneak’s lest the tiny girl disappear into the city. “Please don’t run off again.”

    “Hey, now, it’s not like I left you guys behind.”

    “It’s not like you tried not to.” Her amber eyes glared into Jet.

    She threw her hands up in front of her. “Relax; I won’t do it again okay?”

    “Good.” Psyche nodded to herself, her long ponytail bobbing in the slight breeze. “No splitting up, we stay together alright?” Jet nodded, doing her best to look apologetic. Psyche knew it was just a ruse, that Jet was just trying to get her to calm down, but now wasn’t the time to press it. “Now, let’s find a place that has some clothes.”

    The three girls emerged from the alleyway, stepping out into the sunlight. Immediately, noise filled their senses. Passing cars, people walking by on the sidewalk, radios and TVs broadcasting all manner of sounds from the storefronts, it was so much to take in that for a moment they just stood there gaping like they had on the bluff. Psyche was the first to snap out of it, and she grabbed Jet by the shoulder and gave her a shake. “Hey, people are starting to stare. Just act normal.” She said in a low voice.

    “What’s normal?” she asked back.

    Psyche opened her mouth to respond, but stopped cold. What was normal? “I… I don’t know. Just, act natural or something. Try not to act like you’ve never seen a city before.”

    “But we haven’t seen a city before.” Was what Jet wanted to say, but she just nodded. There was no point in arguing with Psyche.

    Doing only a reasonable job of looking like they hadn’t just landed from another planet, the trio of girls made their way out into the crowds of Jubilife City. They were getting their fair share of looks, and not just for their expressions. They were still dressed in matching white jumpsuits, still stained with grass and dirt from their overnight hike. And they weren’t exactly properly groomed either, Psyche had her ponytail, but Jet looked like she had just rolled out of bed and Sneak was so stained with various bits of grass and dirt that she looked like she was wearing camouflage.

    Psyche did her usual act of putting two fingers to her temple, her way of focusing her unique talent. “They seem to think we’re some kind of trainers or something. I’m getting a few… insulting comments, but otherwise they think we’re just some oddballs.” She whispered.

    “I can live with that. Not like it’s too far from the truth.”

    “So if anyone asks, we are trainers who had a misfortunate camping experience.”

    “Sounds reasonable, might even garner us some sympathy points.”

    “Don’t go pushing it Jet, we still don’t know how to get by in a place like this.” The way she said it made it seem like the city was an alien place, perhaps even a frightening one. “We still need to- Sneak, stop struggling.”

    “But it’s so bright.” Sneak was pulling her arm, gently trying to slip out of Psyche’s grasp. It was clear that she was not as enthralled as Jet was about this new setting.

    “I’m not letting you run off, not here. So calm down and stop pulling my arm. We’ll be alright.”

    Having seen so few of them out in the forest, Jet couldn’t help but notice all the Pokemon that were wandering around. “Check out the Pokemon. I never thought I’d see so many in the city.”

    “They must all belong to trainers. I’ve never even seen most of these before.”

    “Check out the little pink kitty.” Jet said, pointing out the Skitty that was following closely behind a little girl. The cat’s large fluffy tail bobbed along behind it as it skipped happily along.

    “I like that one…” said Sneak. She was pointing out a small balloon looking one that had one of its legs in a young boy’s hand. At first glance, it looked like lavender colored balloon with a cloud on top bobbing in the wind, but the blinking eyes, the slow breathing, and the fact that it seemed to be leading the boy rather than the other way around gave it away.

    “This must be a big city for trainers.” Psyche said.

    “Hey, is that a clothing place?”

    The other two followed Jet’s outstretched arm to a decent sized storefront. The windows were lined with all sorts of posters and strange looking white statues that all showed off some kind of clothing. The sign above the large glass doors read “Coronet Co.” and people were going in empty handed, and coming out with large paper bags that had to contain clothes since it looked like that’s all they had displayed in the store.

    Psyche frowned. “It certainly looks like it. Though it looks a bit crowded doesn't it? Maybe we should-“

    “Come on, let’s check it out.” Jet said. Ignoring Psyche’s protests once again, Jet took off towards the store leaving her two friends with no choice but to follow after her.


    ---


    “Jeez, what’s taking the girls so long?” Blitz was laid out on the grass, staring up at the passing clouds.

    “They’re probably goofing off in the city.” Blaze said. He was currently sitting cross-legged by a tree, using his claws to carve a small piece of wood into something abstract. “I don’t think even Psyche could keep Jet in line. And if sneak managed to slip out of her grasp…”

    “Never find.” Shade mumbled. The small boy was as lazy as ever, laying draped over a log and staring at something on the ground with vague interest.

    Blitz laughed. “You got that right. I swear she can turn invisible.” He threw his arm out, pointing up at the sky. “Hey, does that cloud look like a steak to you?”

    “Can you please not talk about food right now; I’m seriously considering eating this stick.”

    “I thought you were a carnivore by design.” Static said with a laugh.

    “Oh, what if you carved the stick into a steak? Would that count?” The small hunk of wood came flying at Blitz’s head, bouncing off with a thud. The boy bared his fangs like a wolf. “Hey, watch it man.”

    Blaze game him a look that said “Who, me?” and Shade started chuckling to himself.

    “Even you Shade? Can’t a guy get a break around here?”

    “Well, you did start it.” Static added. The big guy was laying back against a tree, eyes closed and mostly lost in thought.

    The boy put a hand to his heart as though wounded. “Betrayed by my own comrades, to think this is how you repay me for bringing the joy of laughter into your lives.”

    Blaze rolled his eyes. “It’s not our fault you’re such an idiot. Now throw me that stick back, I’m not done carving it yet.”

    Blitz picked up the stick from where it sat on the ground, taking a moment to look it over. It was carved in intricate flowing lines, twisting and curving into all manner of interesting patterns and designs. “Hey, this is actually not bad. Where’d you learn to carve like this?”

    “Just toss it back would you?” The irritation in the older boy’s voice was more apparent this time.

    “How about I get an apology first,” Blitz grinned. “An ‘I’m so sorry, I won’t do it again Blitz. I appreciate your humor.’ should suffice.”

    “How about you toss that stick back and I won’t do to your face what I did to it.”

    “You drive a hard bargain mister. Fine, just a simple apology and you get the stick back unharmed.”

    “Hostage.” Shade said.

    Blaze cast an icy glare at the pair. “So that’s how it’s going to be.” He cleared his throat and began speaking in a mocking, high pitched tone. “I’m so sorry for over-reacting; I promise I’ll laugh every time you intentionally annoy me from now on.”

    “Good, I hope you’re learned to appreciate me.” Blitz tossed the stick back to Blaze, and he carefully picked it out of the air, taking care not to damage it with his claws.

    Static couldn’t help but laugh. “You two are crazy, you know that?”

    “Crazy crazy, or… awesome crazy?” Blitz asked.

    Shade rolled off of the log, performing a lazy summersault and landing in a sitting position. “Crazy.”

    “Hard to argue with that.” Blitz said with a shrug. “Hey, does that cloud look like…” he trailed off.

    “Like what?” Blaze asked absentmindedly, his attention back on the stick.

    “Shut it.” Blaze looked up, ready to snap out a comeback, but the intense look on the wild kid’s face stopped that thought. “Oh crap. Guys, move. Now.”

    Static was up in an instant. He slung Shade over his shoulder and took off after Blitz and Blaze as they dashed into the woods. “What is it?”

    “Voices, footsteps, growls, it’s them, no doubt.” Blitz said.

    Blaze looked back as they ran. “What about the girls?”

    “We’ll have to meet back up with them later.” Static didn’t look happy about that thought. “Hopefully those goons will assume they’re with us.”

    “What if they don’t? What if we don’t see them again?” Blitz was on the edge of tears.

    “See them again.” Shade said. His voice was so calm, so focused, that Blitz just nodded and wiped his tears away.

    “Should we go into the city then, try to find them?” Blaze had pocketed the stick, but his claws were twitching. It was clear what was on his mind.

    “And put them in danger too? No, we don’t even know if they’ll follow them into the city. If we can give them their shot at freedom, then…”

    “Static, as much as I agree with you, we can’t run forever.”

    “No Blaze, we can’t. But when the time comes to fight, I want it to be on our terms. Not theirs. Right now, having the girls on their own is our best chance. Psyche will have a plan, she always does.”

    With a dark expression, Blaze turned his gaze forward again. “For their sake, I hope you’re right.”


    ---


    At the moment, Jet was a kid in a candy store. “Look at all the clothes! There’s so many to choose from.”

    “Calm down, you’re making a scene.” Psyche warned. Sneak had calmed down once they got in the store and she was no longer tugging at Psyche’s arm. She was instead looking at the racks of clothes with a glint in her eye that Psyche knew all too well. But the older girl was tired of holding her hand so tightly. “I’ll let you go if you promise to stay in the store, and to come back if I call you, okay?”

    “You mean it?” Sneak was practically pleading, her voice was all sugar.

    “Of course, you promise me?”

    She nodded quickly, and Psyche let go of her arm. Almost instantly the tiny girl vanished into the clothing racks and disappeared without a trace. Psyche sighed.

    “Don’t worry, she won’t stray too far from us.” Jet picked a pink blouse off of the rack. “This one’s nice.” She stopped suddenly, and turned around. “Hey, umm.”

    “What is it?”

    “How exactly do we get these? Do we just take them?” Jet’s voice was a whisper.

    “I… don’t know.” Psyche answered. How many times had she said that today? It was starting to bother her just how little they knew about these things. “Let me figure it out.” Psyche slinked away for a moment, hand to her head again. She watched the customers carefully, taking not of how they went about their business, picking up any thoughts she could grab out of the jumbled noise of so many active minds. A few munities of that, and she headed back over to where Jet was still browsing the clothes, several articles thrown over her shoulder already. “I think I’ve figured it out.”

    Jet’s eyes lit up, “Really? How does it work?”

    “Well, once people pick out the clothes they want, they go over there to that counter and trade something called ‘money’ for the clothes.”

    “What the heck is money? How do we get some?”

    Psyche looked away, a hand on her shoulder. She was really getting tired of saying this. “I’m still working on that.”

    “Ah. Well, we’re going to need money to get these clothes then. Unless…”

    “Are you suggesting what I think you’re suggesting?”

    Jet cracked a childish grin. “Maybe.” Her expression faltered though. “But you’re right. We can’t take the risk of getting caught.”

    “Nice to see your morals are intact.” The older girl sighed.

    “Hey, we have to survive, by any means necessary if that’s what it takes.” Jet didn’t look too convinced of her own point however, and Psyche rested her hand on her cheek, defeated. Jet followed suit. “Are we going to have to just give up on the clothes? We can’t go back to the boy’s empty handed can we?” Something tapped her leg, and Jet looked down to see Sneak holding out her hand, a huge smile on her face. Resting on her palm was a wad of pale green paper, marked with numbers and some pictures of people Jet didn’t recognize.

    “Is this money?” Jet said, not bothering to keep her voice down. “Where did you… did you ste-”

    Psyche clamped her hand over her loudmouthed friend’s mouth, cutting her off. “A little louder please, I’d like to get caught.” Jet nodded, and Psyche removed her hand.

    “We need money right?” Sneak said. She looked so sad, like a kid who had gotten caught with their hand in the cookie jar. “So I found some.”

    “And where did you ‘find’ this money?” Psyche asked her voice cheerful and honest. Sneak’s mood improved immediately.

    She pointed a delicate finger off towards one customer in particular, a rather large woman who was talking fairly loud and fairly harshly into some sort of small handheld device as though arguing with it. From the sparkling things that adorned her hands and ears, and the number of clothes and accessories she was sporting, it looked like she had plenty of money to spare. “She’s saying lots of mean things.” said Sneak. “So I went looking in her bag and found these. She had lots more in there, but I only took a little bit.”

    “This doesn’t look like a little bit.” Jet said, examining one of the bills. “This thing has three numbers on it. One hundred is a lot right?”

    “Give the money to Jet okay?” Psyche said, and Sneak passed the wad of cash over to the designated money holder. “I don’t feel entirely comfortable with this, but I don’t think we have any other options. As long as we can pay for what we need, then we’ll be okay. I’ll handle Sneak and Shade, you find things for the other boys, okay Jet?”

    “Sure thing.”

    “And don’t take too long, we’ve wasted enough time as it is.”

    In short order, the girls had found all the requested items, as well as finding outfits for themselves. After asking a rather bemused attendant if it was okay, Jet changed into her outfit, and the other two girls did as well once Jet passed it on that they could.

    Jet had that pink blouse, the same color as the highlights in her hair, worn over a white t-shirt, the double layer necessary to hide her wings, as well as jeans and simple shoes. Psyche was a bit simpler, opting for tan capris and a yellow top. As for Sneak, she was what anyone would have expected, dressed in durable black jeans and a matching black shirt.

    Before too long, the girls found themselves at the counter, ready to pay for everything. The attendant at the register was a cheerful looking young girl, and she smiled at Jet as she led the group up to the counter. She wore a name tag that said “Lacy” and her smile and her frilly clothing matched her name perfectly.

    “Hi there, I like your highlights.” She said as Jet placed the stack of clothes and the handful of tags from their changes of clothing on the counter.

    “Thanks.” Jet said, a bit confused as to what she meant. “The look just came naturally.”

    “Well it certainly suits you.” Lacy said with her trademark smile. This girl seemed a bit too cheerful, almost as if it was a bit forced, but not in a dishonest way. Rather, she gave the impression that she was trying to be nicer than normal. “They match that blouse wonderfully. I was thinking of doing highlights in my hair too, but it’s hard to find a color that goes well with my natural auburn.”

    Jet was getting more and more lost the longer this conversation went on. It was probably best to just keep up the act. “I know what you mean. It took me forever to find a good color.”

    “Oh nonsense, you’re a blond. Lots of things match well with your hair.” A blush came to her cheeks, and Jet started flinching nervously. A curious look came over the cashier's face when she saw that the pile was almost entirely boy clothes. “So, are you guys picking stuff up for your boyfriends or did Mom stick you with the family shopping?”

    What? Jet had a blank. She had no idea what this girl was talking about, even less than the previous sentence. How should she respond? A laugh? Would that be weird?

    “Both actually.” said Psyche as she came to the rescue. “Saves time just to do it all at once.”

    A grin came to Lacy’s ever cheerful face. “Oh, I totally know how it is. It’s so much better to shop with friends you know?" She glanced over the counter at Sneak, who was clutching Jet’s leg like it was a life-line. “She’s so cute, is she your little sister? I totally love the whole matching highlight thing. I’m stuck with two brothers though, and they don’t care for stuff like that, you know?”

    “Yeah, we’ve both got brothers too, so we know how boys can be.” Psyche said with a grin, and they both laughed. Jet was in awe. Psyche was handling this whole thing so easily; it was as if she had done this her whole life. Where was all that charm and ease coming from? Jet had looked like a bumbling fool next to her.

    Lacy scanned the last tag with the small gun like device she had and placed the last item in one of the two large paper bags that they had for all their stuff. “Alright, that brings your total today to two hundred and forty seven dollars and thirteen cents. Will that be cash or credit?”

    Jet looked to Psyche for help and the older girl held her hand out for the money, a look on her face that suggested Jet stop messing around. The bubbly cashier laughed at the two of them. A huge blush on her face, Jet handed the money over to Psyche and almost shrunk back like Sneak. She had never felt this embarrassed. Psyche counted the money out and handed most of it over to Lacy, handing the rest to Sneak. “Keep the rest for being so good today.” She said, and Lacy smiled even wider.

    “Aww, that was sweet.” With all eyes on her, Sneak started blushing too, and she quickly pocketed the money and pulled herself even further behind Jet’s legs.

    The machine on the counter made some loud noises and a drawer popped open. Lacy put the money in, counted out a few extra bits of money as well as some coins that Jet could only assume were the “cents” Lacy had mentioned and handed the money, cents, and a slip of paper to Psyche who thanked her and pocketed the assortment of items. Taking charge like normal, she took one bag and handed the other to Jet who was surprised a bit by the weight. Clothes weren’t light it seemed.

    “Enjoy.” Lacy said. “You guys are pretty cool. You should stop in more often, maybe we could hit the mall together sometime.”

    “That sounds like a plan.” Psyche said happily, “We’ll be sure to ask for you next time we stop by.”

    With a parting wave, the girls left the shop, their haul of clothing in tow. “She was nice.” Psyche said. “If that’s what people are like, I wouldn’t mind talking to them more.”

    “Speaking of which, you were amazing back there! How did you know what to say?”

    An embarrassed look came over the redhead’s face, and Jet started laughing. “You didn’t? You read her mind?”

    “Why not? It seemed like the best thing to do at the time.”

    Jet laughed and tried to keep walking, but something tugged her arm. “What is it Sneak?” Jet’s heart sank when she looked down however. The little girl’s face was pale, even more so than usual, and her eyes were locked on something up above them. Jet followed her gaze to a large screen on a nearby building that was broadcasting something. It didn’t take long for Jet to see why Sneak was so pale. “Um, Psyche. We may want to move.”

    The screen showed a well-dressed woman talking, referring to a series of pictures displayed behind her. To the girl’s horror, they found themselves looking at their own faces. The pictures were of Jet, Psyche, Static, and Blaze, all mug shots from the lab, though the only details you could make out from the pictures was their faces and the collars of their white jumpsuits.

    Though the volume was imperceptible from this far away, the subtitles broadcasted the message loud and clear. “-of teenagers suspected of breaking into a local medical research facility. Reports from the lab say the teenagers are part of an extremist protest group responsible for many attacks on their labs in the past. Though they are still taking account of the damages, GenMed, the parent company that runs the research facility, says the group and their Pokemon are responsible for tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage as well as destroying years of research work on new medications and medical techniques that could have led to life saving breakthroughs.”

    The camera changed to show a sweeping view of the lab, and Jet’s mouth literally dropped when she saw it. The lab was ravished. Several large holes were blown into the side of the stark white building, and rubble and scorched machinery law strewn about. Workers, Team Galactic members, and an assortment of large Pokemon like the burly four-armed Machamps, armored reptilian Aggrons, and more went about cleaning up the wreckage and clearing the rubble.

    There was no way they were responsible for that. The lying crooks at the lab must have done the damage themselves to claim this whole cover up.

    “The four teens pictured here lead the attack on the lab last night.” The woman said. She was droning on as if she spoke the gospel truth, and it made Jet and Psyche sick. “The reformed Team Galactic has made several statements regarding the attack. Their sponsorship of GenMed is well known, and the head of Team Galactic, the man known only as Saturn, has promised that anyone who steps forward with information on the attack will be rewarded.”

    The picture changed back to the woman, and once again the head shots of four of their group were displayed next to her smiling face. Compared to her charming face, the nearly expressionless shots of the four of them certainly looked like people who might go around causing trouble. “This is the most recent and most costly attack so far on GenMed laboratories by this protest group whose leaders so far remain at large. If you have any information about last night’s attack or the whereabouts of these four teenagers, please contact your local law enforcement immediately.”
    Last edited by TheSequelReturns; 25th December 2011 at 8:55 AM. Reason: Fixing typos :D
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  3. #3
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    So I'll post a review of Chapter 1 first:

    As an idea, I like the concept of the ensemble cast; the differing and clashing personalities makes things very interesting. The problem I saw here was with how many people you had...It might have gone over better with me if they had been introduced more organically, but it didn't quite flow as well as I would like it. It read like "here's the cast, the main character, and more cast." It was a big block of description and character outline before we even really had a chance to get hooked into the story. Also, I'm not quite sure what labeling them as "the lone wolf", "the big guy", "the dynamic duo", or "the group mother" really adds. I think you'd be better off showing us these traits first, rather than hitting us with them right off the bat. I know your writing style, so I knew that if I trucked through there would be something worth reading, but usually you need to instantly hook the reader within the first few paragraphs, and yours didn't quite accomplish that.

    I find that there's two ways to go about it; either the intensely physical, or the intensely cerebral; but most important is the "intensity" of the beginning. You had physical and cerebral, but not enough intensity of language or action to really catalyze and hook the story. Something like that would have allowed you to introduce and develop your main protagonist first so we readers would have a clearer understanding of Jet from the onset. Then you could have had a slower, more gradual introduction of the other characters rather than just listing them.

    Speaking of the other characters, while I did like them and was able to differentiate between them by the second chapter, the first chapter was much more difficult. Blitz and Blaze. Sneak, Shade, Static, and (to a lesser extent) Psyche. A lot of similar looking/sounding names. I had a hard time getting Blitz and Blaze separated in my head, and an even harder time with Sneak and Shade. And then, strangely enough, with Blitz and Static (possibly because of the electric-themed naming). I could outline the characters quite well by the end of the second chapter, but some of the names were hard to match to my imagined faces.

    Finally, until pretty well-into the first chapter, I had absolutely no idea this had anything to do with Pokemon! I had a vague sense of it, and I remembered you mentioning a Pokemorph fanfiction idea, but there was not a lot in-context to put that out there right away. And it took me a good while to get situated with that idea.

    ===

    Now, Chapter 2:

    Once I was aware of who and what the characters were things came easier. I think you did a very smart and clever thing by splitting up the group by gender. It let me focus on half the characters at a time, I knew right away that one group was males and the other was females; and the tricky Shade/Sneak problems I had were made a little easier to deal with once you began characterizing them separately.

    I have a much better understanding of who the characters are after the second chapter, and that's a good thing. I think you did a much better job with the girls than the guys, however. Jet and Psyche seem much more original and fleshed out (Sneak too, to a lesser extent) than the guys. I haven't quite pinned down their personalities yet (other than Shade). Maybe it's because of the similar names. Blitz~Blaze and Blitz~Static. It all still runs together a bit.

    My suggestion for remedying this problem: split the guy's group up again, if only for half a chapter. Blitz with Shade and Blaze with Static. And then really nail down their personalities the way you did with the girls.



    I also kinda want to know what Pokemon they were "morphed" with.

    "You can call yourself whatever you want.
    Soldier. Leader. Patriot. Revolutionary. It doesn't matter.
    At our core we're all the same thing.
    Monsters."

  4. #4
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    Thank you for reviewing, I really do appreciate it.

    Part of my problem last time I attempted this story was getting that characterization right, especially at the beginning where all the characters sort of blended together. It looks like I overcompensated for that a bit by just laying all out this time. I think part of it stems from the fact that I'm doing a rewrite, while still trying to keep the original intact. It does start off a bit slowly, not too much tension or intensity just yet...

    I also see your point on the names. When I was naming the characters, I ran down a list of everything I could think of, and I thought those fit them the best. I didn't take into account how similar they look to other readers though. I hope that doesn't stay as too much of an issue in the long run, I'm kind of stuck on the names as they are.

    Yeah, I'm trying not to be too overt about it. This isn't a trainer fic by any means, its probably more accurate to call it a sci-fi story with a Pokemon world setting than a straight up Pokemon story. If that makes sense. I'm aiming to something a little outside the mold of what the usual Pokemon fic is like.

    Good, that was my plan. With seven protagonists, I wanted to get just a general idea of who they all were out there, and then really hammer down their personalities group by group before I delve into the plot too much. Chapter two was focused on the girls, while chapter three will be focused on the guys. I hadn't initially planned to split them up, but if you think it will help clarify the name issue a bit more, I may be able to work with it.

    And I left the pokemon they were morphed with unnamed, but I did throw some clues in there with the descriptions. Gen 5 hadn't yet been announced when work first began on this story, so none of them are spliced with Unova pokemon.

        Spoiler:- The List:


    Thanks again for the review and the advice. I'm always trying to improve my writing, even from chapter to chapter, and my aim is to make each chapter better than the last. I hope you enjoyed the story so far, and chapter three will be on the way shortly.
    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
    Watch your step! Sig Under Construction!

  5. #5
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    Merry Christmas Serebii!

    In the spirit of gift giving, I've prepared the next chapter of my story.

    So, here's chapter 3. Enjoy.

    ---


    Chapter 3 – First Blood


    The bushes rustled, and a large lavender dog burst from the tree line, the huge fangs that protruded from its jaws dripping with drool as it eagerly sniffed the ground. A moment later, and the Granbull’s trainer, a Team Galactic Grunt, appeared behind him. Several more Grunts, each with their own Pokemon in tow followed close behind. Soon, there were eight of them gathered in the clearing, their Pokemon sniffing around eagerly at the concentration of scents from their prey.

    “Looks like we’re closing in.” said the Grunt with the Granbull. His canine companion growled in anticipation.

    “Liepard wants to run off into the city.” A female Grunt said. Liepard, a sleek and slender purple cat, had its ears trained on the city as its whiskers twitched with each sniff of its small nose.

    “Looks like Caesar wants to head into the forest.” Another Grunt said. He was attempting to hold back a wicked looking Persian, but the large tan cat was far too excited about the strong scent and the fresh trail to completely comply with its trainer.

    “So which way did they go?” asked the Liepard’s owner, “They can’t have gone both ways.”

    “They split up.” said the Grunt in the rear. He was the one with the Zigzagoon, and the little raccoon was just waiting patiently beside him, not bothering with the theatrics of the other, more intimidating Pokemon.

    “Then we split up.” The man who stepped forward had a large flame-colored dog next to him, a powerful Fire type called an Arcanine. The regal, tiger-striped canine was easily as tall as he was and he was by no means a man of small stature. “Serra, Nathan, Trevor, you three go into town. The rest with me, we’re going into the woods. Clear?”

    Serra, the woman with the Liepard, cast a salute. “Yes sir.” She led the rest of her group down the bluff, leaving the remaining five Grunts to head into the woods, after the larger group of freaks if the tracks were any indication. There were two sets of tracks going down the hill, three going into the woods, and no return tracks from either direction. They had the freaks right where they wanted them, separated and lost. They would be back in custody soon.

    The man with the Arcanine tore into the woods alongside his partner, as if he too could smell the scent of the escapees, leading the rest along behind him, including the two Grunts with the Granbull and the Zigzagoon. And the clearing was empty again.


    ---



    “Oh crap, I think they’re catching up.” Blitz said between panting breaths. They weren’t used to running, not like this, and to make matters worse they had to find or make a trail as they went. All their pursuers had to do was follow their handiwork and their footprints.

    “Keep moving, it’s all we can do right now.” For the first time, the others could hear the fear in Static’s voice.

    Blaze was not happy with that answer. “No, that’s not all that we can do, and you know it.”

    “I’m not going to argue with you now Blaze.”

    “No, you won’t, because you know I’m right.” Blaze was practically seething. “This is crap and you know it. I’m sick of running, I’m sick of acting like a weakling. We can take them, you know we can.”

    Static’s eyes locked with his brother’s as best they could, lest he trip on the uneven ground. “Blaze, I’m not going to tell you again, this isn’t the time.”

    “Then when is the time huh? Next time? Face it, with you in charge that time will never come. We can’t keep running forever Static.”

    “Will you both just shut up and run!” Blitz yelled. “At this rate, they’re gonna catch up to us. We’ve gotta move faster!”

    Blaze seemed to consider this for a moment, but the fire in his eyes only burned brighter. “Screw this, I’m not running like an animal anymore.” He stopped cold, and turned around, his clawed hands open and ready to attack the first thing that came out of the row of bushes behind them. The others had no choice but to stop.

    “What the hell are you doing?” Static grabbed Blaze’s shoulder, but the hot-head only tossed it off with a grunt. “Blaze. Blaze!”

    “I’m done running Static. If they want to take me back to that place, they can come and try it.”

    “Are you even listening to yourself?” Blitz yelled. “They have Pokemon, and weapons, and all sorts of evil stuff up their sleeves. We can’t beat them like this, we have to run.”

    From his spot on Static’s shoulder, Shade looked up and stared right at Blaze. “Need.” was all he said.

    “Shade… are you agreeing with him?” Blitz asked.

    The hooded boy shook his head. “Fight. Need. No running.”

    Static sighed as the boy’s meaning sunk in. Blaze wasn’t going to run anymore, because he couldn’t run anymore. That need to stay and fight, to prove himself against his enemies, it wasn’t a choice he was making, it was in his blood. His very body drove him to it. It was not a question of want, but a question of need.

    “Blitz, take Shade and keep running.”

    The young boy’s jaw dropped. “Static, you can’t be serious. You’ve gotta convince him. There’s gotta be some-“

    “Blitz.” His voice was firmer now, stronger, commanding. “Take Shade and keep moving. We’ll catch up to you.”

    “No! I’m not leaving you. We already left the girls. We should’ve never split up, we should’ve gone back for them, we should’ve stayed together!” Blitz was on the edge of tears again, his crimson eyes glaring intently at the two older boys, his clawed hands held up and ready.

    It was Shade’s small hand grabbing his that snapped him out of it. The small boy’s face was almost entirely hidden by his full body covering of clothes, but the pain in his eyes and the intensity of his stare was more than enough. “We go. It’s okay.”

    Torn and defeated, Blitz nearly collapsed to his knees. Only Shade’s hand kept him aloft. His brother’s hand was his anchor, his support, the only thing keeping him going right now. He would protect Shade, no matter what. They would never take him again, he had promised him that a long time ago. Now, with everything he had hoped for falling apart around him, and his family disintegrating before his eyes, Blitz would at least see to it that that promise would not be broken. He looked up at Static, unable to form the words, and nodded grimly. His hand clenched Shade’s tight, with all the strength he could muster.

    “Go, we’ll be alright.” Static said again.

    Blitz didn’t stop to look back. He didn’t hesitate again. He just took off into the woods, Shade in tow behind him as they vanished into the underbrush. Luckily, the woods were thick around here.

    “I’m surprised Static.” Blaze said, his eyes still locked on the brush. The sounds of their enemies approach could now be heard. Barks, yelps, a broken limb, a shouted order, it wouldn’t be long now.

    “I’m not going to let you face them alone.” Sparks were starting to fly from his clenched fists, and an electric crackling sound could be heard as he popped his knuckles.

    Blaze simply sat twitching his claws. Static had his electric tricks, but Blaze had yet to figure out his fire, if he could even use it. All he had to rely on was his claws and any strength his anger could provide. “That’s certainly noble of you. You should have gone with him.”

    “No, if this is something you have to do, then we’ll face it together. We’re a family, that’s what brothers do; they look out for each other.”

    “You’re not my brother, not really.” There was a hint of sadness as he said it, but his posture never relaxed, his gaze never faltering from the bushes.

    “I’ve known you your entire life. I looked after you since before you could even talk right. I’ve been there for you for as long as either of us remember, and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to be there for you now. If that’s not a brother, I don’t know what is.” Static wasn’t looking at Blaze either, his full attention seemed to be ahead on the now rustling bushes as well.

    “Static, thank you.”

    They both nodded at each other, a single motion that said so much more than either of their words could have alone. They turned back to face their enemy together, each more steeled and determined than they had ever been. A large form broke from the bushes, a massive blur of orange fur and gleaming claws. Other’s followed, and Blaze and Static threw themselves into the fray as all hell broke loose.


    ---



    “Psyche, what do we do now?” Jet was walking alongside the others, each of them keeping as fast a pace as they dared without breaking into an outright sprint. Ever since the news broadcast earlier, they were trying their best not to attract attention as they made their way out of the city. Psyche had even let her hair down and lent Jet her hair tie, the sensation of having her hair in a ponytail totally new to her.

    “We keep moving, and we get out of this city. We don’t know if that was just a local broadcast or if it went across the whole region, but either way, we can’t stay here.” Psyche looked equally uncomfortable with her hair down, and she kept brushing it off of her shoulders.

    Thankfully, Sneak hadn’t been shown on the broadcast so perhaps her presence and the slightly altered hair would keep them from being recognized until they managed to get away from all these people.

    “We need food too right? We can’t go back empty handed after all this.”

    “Then what do you propose we do Jet? We have the clothes, so we’re not totally empty handed. Besides, if we get caught…”

    “We run.” The voice hadn’t come from Jet, but from Sneak. The small girl was doing her best to keep a determined face, but her worry showed through nonetheless. “We get caught, we run. But we need food too.”

    Jet nodded. “She’s right; we won’t make it far without food you know.”

    Even Psyche had to admit, her companions had a point. They were already at risk, may as well get the entire mission done. “Okay, but we have to make it quick. We take the first place we find, get in, get out, and find the boys.”

    “No arguments here.” Jet’s eyes started to scan the streets for a place to get some food. It didn’t take long. “There, that place should work.”

    The group headed up to the place, a brightly colored dinner of some kind, before sopping cold. The TV inside was broadcasting a repeat of the earlier broadcast. Their pictures were right there over the counter; no way would they not get spotted by someone. But the back alley that led to the bluff was right around the corner, and this was the closest place. It was here or nowhere.

    Lowering herself to Sneak’s eye level, Psyche kneeled down and took Sneak’s hand in her’s. “Sneak, this might be hard for you, but I need you to go in and buy the food on your own.”

    By the tiny girl’s reaction, you’d have think Psyche suggested she commit suicide. “But! But! I can’t! I just can’t!” Though she was talking as loud as Jet had heard her talk before, her voice was still soft and squeaky.

    “Listen Sneak, I need you to be strong for me alright? You can do this. All you have to do is walk up there, hand over the money, and get as much food as you can.”

    “We’re all counting on you Sneak,” Jet added, “This is a really important job, and you’re the only one who can do it.”

    “Please Sneak, for us and the boys?”

    She looked at Psyche’s unbreakable expression, at Jet’s unwavering smile, and she couldn’t resist any longer. Nervously, she gave a nod. “O-okay. I think I can do it.” She went to move, and found that her hand was still clasped firmly on Psyche’s, refusing to let go. She looked back at the redhead, pleading, but her eyes met Psyche’s again and she slowly, carefully, let go. Like a blur, Sneak was gone. The door to the restaurant already closing by the time Jet was able to track her.

    “Think she’ll be alright?” Jet asked.

    “Please, this is Sneak.” Psyche said. “Even if she doesn’t actually make it to the counter, she’ll make it out the door with some food, even if she has to leave the money in the freezer.”

    Meanwhile, only one street over, a Liepard slinked through the street, making its way to a certain clothing store, its trainer and her fellow Grunts not far behind.


    ---



    The forest clearing erupted into chaos the instant the Arcanine cleared the tree line. The massive Pokemon was all teeth and claws and rage, but so was Blaze. He threw himself at the Fire type with just as much ferocity as it came at him with. They met with a crash, the massive beast’s weight plowing into Blaze like a rolling boulder. The Arcanine had brute strength, but Blaze had a plan. And he had his anger. Powerful claws slashed at him, each strike narrowly missing him as they gouged deep scars in the forest floor. The canine’s maw tore at his face, his throat, his arms, hungry for a bite, and Blaze could feel the unnatural warmth of the beast’s breath. The fierce Pokemon was larger than he was, and that may very well have been the only reason he was still breathing. Blaze was small enough and fast enough to dodge the predictable, feral strikes of the Arcanine’s claws, and with each missed bite, he tore back, marring the Arcanine’s face with bleeding scars, drops of the beast’s blood dotting his face.

    Static lost Blaze as soon as his fight with the Arcanine began, but he didn’t have time to worry about finding his brother in the twisting mass of orange fur and dirt right now. The tiger-striped canine was followed from the bushes by a particularly cruel looking Persian, the lean cougar like cat baring its fangs and hissing at him. It was followed by a Granbull, the muscular bipedal bulldog looking just as eager to rip out his throat. Statc didn’t wait to see what else was going to come out of the forest at him, he just followed Blaze’s example and charged in. The Persian pounced, a sharp hiss tearing from its mouth, but Static held his ground. He took aim, and just before the Persian struck he thrust out his hand, the crack of electricity clearly audible even over the hissing of the cat and the sounds of Blaze’s fight. Static’s palm stuck the Persian’s chest with as much force as he could muster; the electric current that accompanied the strike was strong enough to set the cat’s fur on end. Its hiss ended in a whimper and it crashed to the ground twitching as it struggled to overcome its paralysis.

    One down, he thought, how many left?

    The Granbull was joined by a glaring Skuntank, a feral Mightyena, and a happy looking Zigzagoon of all things. What was more worrying however was that the trainers of these Pokemon were out of the woods now, and they were all dressed in terribly familiar uniforms. Team Galactic, these guys were from the labs. There was no doubt about that now.

    A sharp yelp came from his right, and Static spared a glance to see the Arcanine backing off of Blaze, its face covered in cuts and lacerations, its orange fur stained with blood. Blaze’s once clean jumpsuit was torn and filthy, marked with grass and dirt and blood. Fresh blood ran down his arm, and there was enough blood on his face that it was hard for Static to tell if he had a head wound or not. Things weren’t looking good right now.

    He turned back to face the Grunts, two of them were seething. One had his eyes locked on the Persian, no doubt thinking about going after it. The other, a frightening looking man who had to be the Arcanine’s owner, had his murderous gaze locked on Blaze as his Arcanine retreated to his side. For the moment, they all just glared at each other. Blaze’s breathing was heavy, but he wasn’t backing down. He walked right back up to Static’s side.

    “Give it up. You have nowhere left to run.” The large Grunt said. His voice was every bit as intimidating as his stature.

    Blaze threw his bloody arm to the side, a few drops escaping into the air. “Don’t even try that crap with me. Let me make one thing clear for you right now, we will never go back to that place.”

    “We were ordered to take you alive.” Another one said. He was the Zigzagoon’s partner.

    “Well that’s too bad,” Static said, “Because if you want us to go anywhere with you, you’ll have to kill us.” He could have sworn he saw the Grunt grin at his remark.

    The big Grunt took charge again. “If that’s what it takes. Arcanine.” The huge dog turned from where it was licking its wounds to face its trainer. “Flamethrower.” The Arcanine took a breath and loosed a stream of fire from its maw, setting the nearby woods ablaze. A few stray Bug and Flying types tore from the trees as they ran from the rapidly growing fire. Arcanine paused to spew flames on the other side of the arena as well, trapping Static and Blaze between the Grunts and a wall of fire. And then, it turned towards the two kids. “Last chance.” the Grunt said. He took a weapon of some kind, a type of gun by the looks of it, and leveled it at the two kids.

    “For the last time” Blaze said, “Go to hell.”

    A cruel smile came to the man’s lips, and a loud pop sounded. Static and Blaze both braced for the impact of the round they knew was coming, yet they felt nothing. Instead, they watched in shock as the big Grunt’s eyes widened. He reached for his neck, feeling the tranquilizer dart that lay embedded there before he collapsed to the ground. To his right, the Grunt who had the Zigzagoon at his side held his own weapon out. With another pair of pops, he took out two more Grunts before the one with the Granbull, the last Grunt standing, managed to turn his weapon on him. However, he had forgotten about Blaze and Static.

    The whole scene erupted into a frenzy of motion. Static tore in, dispatching the Skuntank in much the same way he had the Persian, leaving the Granbull and Mightyena confused and hesitant. Blaze went after the Grunt, knocking him to the ground with a harsh tackle, and wrestling the gun from his grip. He put the barrel of the gun to the man’s chest and fired not once, but three times. The Grunt’s eyes rolled back as he lost consciousness, his body twitching randomly. Static turned on the Mightyena next, ignoring how much it reminded him of Blitz, and took a harsh bite to the arm before he could deliver his knockout blow. The rouge Grunt turned his weapon on the charging Arcanine, firing dart after dart into the beast, emptying the entire clip. Finally, it crashed to the ground in front of him. He didn’t even flinch. Statc and Blaze turned to take out the Granbull only to see the Zigzagoon delivering strike after strike to the Granbull, each hit doing what looked like impossible damage to the much larger dog. Trainerless and confused, it could put up little resistance before it too finally collapsed.

    Blaze leveled the gun at the rouge Grunt, who actually tossed his aside. Static, bleeding as well from the ragged wound on his arm, walked up weakly to join him. “Start talking before I shoot.” Blaze said.

    “If you want to shoot me, go ahead.” The rouge said. He tossed the prim, stiff hat to the side, revealing short, wavy green hair the color of pine needles.

    “Why did you save us?” Static asked. He tried to lower Blaze’s gun with his arm, but Blaze wasn’t budging.

    Of all things, the “Grunt” laughed. “Why indeed? I suppose you could say that I was ordered to.”

    “Ordered? By who?” The gun was still trained firmly on the rouge, though if he showed any fear of Blaze’s weapon he gave no sign of it. Instead, he called his Zigzagoon over and began stroking its rough and spikey fur.

    “Does it matter?” he asked back. Blaze tightened his finger on the trigger, and the rouge threw his arms up. “Alright, alright. You can put the gun down you know, if I wanted you two unconscious I’d have shot you first.”

    Static tried once more to get Blaze to calm down, and this time met with some success as the hothead lowered his gun just a bit. It was still ready to fire, but at least now it wasn’t pointed at the man’s chest.

    The growing fire from the Arcanine’s flamethrower was spreading to the nearby tress now, and smoke was starting to fill the air. It wouldn’t be long now before someone came to see what was going on. Across the clearing, the Persian finally managed to pull itself to its feet. It wobbled over to where its trainer lay unconscious and tried to rouse him from his tranquilizer induced sleep.

    “We need to move.” The rouge said.

    Blaze almost raised his gun again, but Static held his arm down. “Agreed, but you’re not coming with us.”

    “Blaze, listen. He knows something and I’m not going to just let him run off. We need to know what he knows. Besides, he saved our lives.”

    “How did he ever know about us in the first place? This is all too suspicious.”

    “Calm down and listen.”

    “Enough, both of you.” The rouge said. “Please, let’s just get away from the fire and I’ll tell you everything, I promise.”

    Static nodded. “Okay. Right Blaze?”

    Blaze didn’t respond. Still keeping a tight grip on the gun, he walked off into the woods, leaving the others behind. Static had no choice but to follow after. “What about them?" he asked the rouge.

    “Leave them. They aren’t our problem anymore.”


    ---



    Blitz had peeled off of his course almost as soon as he and shade broke the tree line. He heard the start of the battle. He managed to catch the aftermath even from his distance away, so he knew that Static and Blaze were safe, for now. He could easily track them down later, if he stayed in the woods, and he was confident that if their new friend tried anything, Statc and Blaze could take him. Right now, his priority was finding the girls.

    Dragging Shade along behind him was slowing him significantly, but they could still move fast enough that they had reached the bluff before too long had passed. Judging by the fresh tracks and the variety of new scents, the Team Galactic Grunts that had pursued them had found their little camp here as well. Not only that, but his suspicions were confirmed when he saw the tracks leading down into the city. The enemy had split up. The girls were in danger.

    “Looks like I was right buddy. It’s a good thing we came back.” The young boy’s nose was working furiously, his shaggy black hair getting tossed from side to side as he tried to identify any of the scent trails, his ears scanning for anything at all.

    Shade wasn’t even breathing hard. Heck, it was hard to tell if he was breathing at all. “Time short.”

    The group had known Shade long enough by now to know that no matter what the boy said, it was always accurate. How Shade knew what he knew was never questioned, but when he spoke, the rest of the group listened.

    “If you’re right, then we really did make the right choice. Static won’t be happy.” The din of the city made it all but impossible for him to get a read by sound, but his nose had finally picked up not just the girl’s scent, but their pursuers as well.

    “Blaze.” A grin. Shade’s tell that it was a joke. His voice was so flat, that it was needed.

    Blitz laughed. “You’re right, Blaze might be proud of me.” His eyes found a path down the slope. “I don’t think the girls are going to like us going in there, especially without my hat. But darn it we don’t have a choice. We’ve gotta warn them.”

    “Important mission.” Shade grinned. He held out his hand again and Blitz took it. “Ready?”

    “Ready buddy. Let’s rock.” Blitz and Shade made their way down the slope, both rather clumsily, but neither managing to tumble like Jet had earlier. No doubt the two of them would make a scene when they hit the city, but this time, they couldn’t afford to wait around.

    “Stay with me Shade.” Blitz said. “Because I’m not stopping long enough to let anyone catch a glimpse of my ears.”

    The younger boy smiled, a different look than his usual toothy grin. “Vroom vroom.”

    Grinning like a madman, Blitz tore into the city streets, following the girl’s scents, Shade in tow, ready for whatever the city would throw at them.
    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
    Watch your step! Sig Under Construction!

  6. #6
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    Haha! Cool, you took my advice! And you did it in a highly plausible and convincing way. Kudos. Good chapter, with some very nice pacing and twists to keep my attention. I'm wondering if I'm supposed to know the traitor-grunt from somewhere in the canon, but I'm happy enough to keep guessing and reading.

    I particularly liked the way you handled the battles. There's very little need for the Galactic grunts to call out attacks like bite/scratch/slash/etc and order things like "dodge it!" when in a setting like this. It just doesn't make sense that a Pokemon wouldn't instinctively try to dodge (which is one part of the anime that annoyed me, but I digress), like the command "dodge it" is a magical attack-evader. Anyway...that you saved the trainer-commands for tactical decisions like trying to keep the characters trapped was a nice touch, and it served to set up how you were conducting battles in this fic.

    All in all, nice development in both characters and plot. I'm looking forward to the next chapter.

    "You can call yourself whatever you want.
    Soldier. Leader. Patriot. Revolutionary. It doesn't matter.
    At our core we're all the same thing.
    Monsters."

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