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Thread: Loving with Heart and Soul: A Pearlship

  1. #26
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    Reading about Dawn's withdrawal broke my heart a bit. I love how you had Ash sing for her, even though he doesn't seem like the type of person to particularly like singing in general. The love he had for her really made itself clear in this chapter and I love it.

    One thing that kinda bugged me was how...rushed the second half (starting from the point when they were rescued) seemed to be. It might be just me though, so...yeah.

    Sorry my review isn't really helpful/long this time. I don't have much to say about this chapter that I already haven't. Even so, you're doing a wonderful job. Keep it up!

  2. #27
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    Well, the length doesn't bother me 'cause you made some good points. As far as the rushing bit, yeah, I can see how it seemed like that without chapter ten to read right after. I promise ten continues where nine left off, almost as if there was never a chapter break. That should add some continuity and length to the scene. I can only say ten'll be out by the end of this week, nothing more specific.
    I wonder how many people will take up the song-writing challenge?
    † I am a Christian and proud of it! Copy and paste this if you are too.†
    I support and believe in pearlshipping
    Oh yeah, and I like Darth Vader too.


    Herein lies a great story of love, friendship, betryal,........and generally all the other good stuff a story needs :http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthr...ul-A-Pearlship

    Current team in lvl. 100 training-

  3. #28
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    Hey ,

    Sorry it's taken me so long to do this. I've had a lot to do just recently, including writing my own fic anyway enough about me haha,
    I really like the story its really well written, and you've brought about the character's really well. I like the way Jerda catches all the Ledgendaries. Wonder if there's any more to be caught?
    As you know I'm an Advanceshipper but i do really like this story and i'll keep an eye out on it
    Well done, Keep it up!
    Let's have the Hoenn Region remakes
    May & Ash

    My First and Current FanFic



  4. #29
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    Welcome back, one and all, to chapter ten of this fic. Yes, this is a very long one, but I didn't want to break the flow and leave you all hangin' in a bad spot. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing this will be two posts for one chapter.

    10
    “Stay a second would you Ash,” Jerda said, just as Ash was turning the nob for the access stairs.

    “What?” Ash asked genuinely. “I want to be back with Dawn, even if she’s not gonna wake up till later.”

    “I know that’s the case, but I also know that after my…attempt...in Maximus Town, you’ll be protective of her.”

    “I’m not letting her go down into the Managerie,” Ash replied, refraining from adding the force he wanted. “I hope you didn’t have that in mind.”

    “I’d thought about it,” Jerda admitted, “but as I said, you’re not likely to let that happen. So, I’ve decided to leave it up to you whether you’re going with Paul and Cynthia.”

    “But you just said…” Ash answered, confused and waving at the long departed Consortium members.

    “I know what I said,” Jerda said, appearing rather unconcerned about the situation. “But Izzy told me how you thought about the war, and I couldn’t agree with you more. If you want to leave now, leave my own problems to me, I won’t hold it against you. You have Dawn back, so feel free to leave whenever you choose.”

    “But Zoey….” Ash said, brushing aside the fact that Izzy had passed along their conversation. It did not surprise in the least, giving him more shock that she had had the grace to do it out of his own hearing.

    “Zo’s my responsibility, Dawn is yours,” Jerda said rather convincingly. “I understand if you worry for her, I know she and Dawn are close, but her well-being is my duty, not yours or anyone else’s.”

    “That’s stupid,” Ash said blankly. “Friends take care of one another, no matter who they are. Zoey’s a friend, so I’m staying.”

    “Okay then,” Jerda replied, and Ash turned to leave again when the man’s mechanical voice caught him again. “But before you head back to the infirmary, I’d like to show you something.”

    “Will it take long?” Ash asked, trying his best to sound polite.

    “It shouldn’t,” Jerda answered vaguely. He brushed past Ash and continued the climb up the access stairwell. With little other choice if he wanted his mind at rest that evening, Ash chased him up the stairs. “I understand you a have a considerable collection of Pokémon back at the professor’s ranch,” Jerda commented randomly as they were ascending the final set.

    “Yeah,” Ash said. “From every region I’ve been through.”

    “Have you ever mixed them up for a team?” Jerda asked, his questions gradually becoming more probing, a deeper question hinging on Ash’s answer to the one.

    “Sure,” Ash replied without hesitation. They both flattened against the wall to make way for a crew member carrying a heavy container. As they finished the climb, Ash said, “When I challenged the Hoenn Battle Frontier, I was always mixing and matching. It was a chore to decide sometimes actually.”

    “Well at least you know how to maintain a sense of loyalty among your Pokémon,” Jerda said. “Do you know what I mean?”

    “Not really,” Ash answered truthfully. They were now entering the bridge, the first Ash had ever seen fully active. Even J had run on a skeleton crew, the better to deploy her resources in the field. John was in the command chair, two individuals at monitors turned away from him. Below them, where Ash and Jerda had emerged, the bridge was a bustle of rustling activity. The communications area was the greatest culprit in the noise as the technicians constantly spoke into mikes attached to their personal headsets. The others rarely looked up, instead concentrating on their monitors. Ash could not see how they managed to stay so focused what with the massive viewport before them. The view out the multiple panes of glass would not have been as breathtaking in the clouds, but John had the ship skimming the treetops, possibly as low as was safe. The trees rushed by in blur of green, becoming like an ocean of a verdant color.

    “Commander on deck!” John’s deck officer shouted at the assembled crew. Every Consortium soldier bolted out his chair, standing stiff and straight toward Jerda.

    “At ease people,” Jerda almost chuckled as he eased them down with his hand. “Anyway, Ash,” Jerda continued, as if nothing had interrupted their conversation, “what I mean is that after leaving them for prolonged periods of time, they still remain loyal to you.”

    “Well yeah,” Ash replied, now becoming slightly perplexed. “Why wouldn’t they be.”

    “It’s not something many honest hearted trainers have to deal with,” Jerda explained. “But I’ve seen trainers like yourself, leaving with new Pokémon at the start of every leg of their journeys, return to their originals and those Pokémon barely recognize or what to be with them. You are incredibly rare Ash Ketchum, and for that and another reason, I’d like to give you that…” He waved his hand at the sky beyond the viewport just as John began issuing orders.

    “Revert to HvrEgn,” John said, “ease us into it comfortably.” His crew executed perfectly, Ash only knowing they were stopping from the change of roaring hum from behind him to beneath his feet.

    Ash was beginning to scan for whatever Jerda had meant when an officer reported, “Captain! She’s coming down.” Just as John’s battleship came to a complete stop, another Consortium vessel descended through the clouds, rotating so they faced each other nose to nose. Ash’s eyes nearly exploded from their sockets as he understood what Jerda was giving him.

    “Whoa whoa whoa!” Ash shook his hands. “What do my Pokémon and me have to do with giving me a ship?!”

    “You command respect and loyalty Ash,” Jerda said calmly. “Those are two qualities essential to commanding a ship. And remember, there was something else as well.”

    “And what’s that?” Ash asked, his voice still streaked with disbelief.

    “When Rayquaza missed you, John was right when he said Rayquaza doesn’t miss. Ash, you deflected the attack.”

    “Oh come on,” Ash began laughing. “You don’t seriously believe a person could do that do you?”

    “We can,” John shouted from his perch in the command chair. “Jerda, me, Nova, Saturn, Evans, Zoey… We can all deflect Pokémon attacks to a degree. Our auras are stronger than most.”

    “It’s a trait I look for in Consortium commanders,” Jerda continued. “I had been considering it for a while, and your running across the Azelf’s disintegrating hull and now your escape from Arrow only adds to my certainty.”

    “But I don’t know anything about running a ship!” Ash almost yelled in frustration. Maybe what Jerda was saying was indeed true, but that still did not mean he deserved a ship of all things.

    “Neither do I, I’m a rockstar,” John answered. “I just give a basic command and these officers take care of the specifics. The most you need to know is how to command a battle and how to value life.”

    “I only fulfill the former of those criteria,” Jerda added, a tint of pride in his voice. “That’s why the Anubis was crewed by Zoey from afar through her laptop.”

    “Take the ship Ash,” John said. “That way, you’ll always know Dawn is safe and out of harm’s way.” Only with that last comment did Ash begin to seriously consider the offer. If he took the ship, that would mean his enrollment in the Consortium, permanently. He had no qualms about committing to something, but the idea of working for Jerda for the rest of his life was disconcerting. Then again, Jerda was supposedly sworn to ridding the world of the worst scum. It would not be a bad line of work to be involved in. There was also the opportunity to travel to hundreds of places across the globe, in effect continuing his quest on the Master road. And of course, there was Dawn. What John had said was true. With his own vessel, Jerda would never again be able to manipulate her and him. Well, that was not entirely true, but at least the line of defense and chances of survival rose considerably with a vessel of that size.

    “Let me talk to Dawn about it,” Ash said finally. They would be going into this together obviously, and he wanted to be sure this would be what she wanted. If she wanted to leave as soon as possible, they would. But if she wanted to stay and fight for Zoey’s freedom, they would do that too. “I’ll decide after that.”

    “Be that as it may,” Jerda said. “Alright, you should go get yourself cleaned up before you go see Dawn. Here’s a room access card. And I would scrub myself down religiously. Doctor Dresden doesn’t like dirt of any kind in the patient recovery room.” He spoke in all seriousness, but something about it made Ash grin.

    Just as he was entering the elevator for a trip into the belly of the ship, Ash heard John’s orders to the ship before them, “Tell the people aboard the Kebechet to stand by. She’ll form up behind us until we can say for sure.”


    Ash’s room was fastidiously clean. Everything was either a soft glowing white or a subtle light grey. Even the water was not clear, but infused with some sort of revitalizing nutrient that clouded it. Around the intensely monotone of the ship (even though the bridge had flashing screens and lights, it was still only colored in two-tone gray), Ash felt his hair to be something of an abomination. It was so unkempt and strikingly black he felt it was almost his duty to hide it from view. His shower was sorely needed, and while Ash had previously contended he would only stay in long enough to wash himself of grime, the warm water was so soothing, so refreshing, that he let it roll over his body for nearly a half-hour. Upon drying, he found clothes had been laid out for him. They were still giving him maroon T-shirts and suspenders, something he was quickly tiring of, but at least they had had the decency to give him normal denim. But beneath all this was another set of pants and jacket. A note had been left, written in barely legible scribble.
    “Ash, I had these sent to you for the upcoming mission. They’ll be essential, as Arrow would be able to detect any form of mechanical concealment. Keep in mind though, you’re not invisible in these things. Take caution when we get there.”
    Sincerely, John Haley

    The pants and jacket in question were dyed in an impressive jungle camouflage, even including a variety of half-blooming flowers in the mix. The jacket even possessed a hood that could cover his entire face, not just his head. He slid the heavy article on, leaving it unzipped for the time-being and left the pants behind until he needed them. As he walked, now far more ordered and calm than he had been before and even after his and Dawn’s rescue, Ash was able to think seriously on Jerda’s offer. It was so tempting to just run and say yes. Over the many times he had encountered J, it had crossed his mind how different things might have been if they had had a ship of their own. Now he was being given that opportunity, and logic told him he was a fool for even considering passing it up. However, Ash had often thought logic something that could turn even the most thoughtful person cold as the metal paneling beneath his feet. He preferred to think not just with his head, but with his heart.

    And his heart was giving him mixed feelings on the issue. Of course it would be grand to possess a weapon of such power, but that, in and of itself, was an argument against it. It was a weapon, first and foremost. Its purpose was to destroy, and while Pokémon definitely had that within their capability, it was not the sole purpose of their existence. It seemed rather like his wearing a firearm at his hip. And then there was Jerda to add into the whole mix. He no longer hated the man as fervently as he had used to, but neither did he trust him wholeheartedly. He was even unsure if John, Jerda’s supposed close friend, trusted the Consortium leader completely. As he had said before Ash’s departure, Jerda had become unstable. Maybe he was not as insane as Arrow, but he was certainly capable of much the same feats, and willing to sacrifice others for those feats. If he could, he would manipulate and coerce his way into victory over Arrow, and presently, Ash felt like his gift of the Kebechet was just another move in his ultimate goal to have him on his side permanently. He hoped Dawn would be able to help him sort it out when she woke.

    The path to infirmary was relatively easy to find, as it was one of the most important areas aboard the ship. It crossed Ash’s mind to ask Doctor Dresden the name of John’s flagship. At any rate, signs hanging from the ceiling usually had directions to the sick bay, giving Ash no trouble in finding it. When he entered, Dawn was just as peaceful as when he had left her. However, Dresden was leaning over her with an odd device in his hands. “Is she okay?” Ash asked as soon as he was close enough not to shout.

    “Oh, Ash,” Dresden replied, slightly startled. He glanced up at Ash for only the briefest moment before returning his eyes to the medical instrument. It made no noise as he ran it up and down Dawn’s body. “I’m just checking her toxicity levels. She seems to be alright for now, but her body is still under withdrawal. If it weren’t for that, I would let her up to see you.”

    “How can you tell when she’s still in withdrawal when she’s unconscious?” Ash asked, not intending to be pressing and rude, but coming off that way nevertheless. Dresden arched an eyebrow before replying evenly.

    “The toxicity level gives me a good idea what her condition would be were she awake. We’re lucky she was only under the influence of the drug a few days, even if Arrow pushed the limits of dosage. It’s making the transition off it much faster for her.”

    “Thank goodness,” Ash breathed, pulling up a chair beside her and taking her limp, cold hand in his. The feeding tube was working already, because even with her face and general frame still horribly thin, her fingers were at least becoming fingers again rather than bones covered in skin. “Doc?” Ash asked before Dresden sidled away to other patients. “What is the name of John’s ship?”

    “John captains the Sehkmet,” Dresden answered almost wearily. “She is the oldest ship in the Consortium armada.” Ash let him leave then, allowing his thoughts to roam from one subject to the next as he stroked Dawn’s hand. Pikachu jumped off his shoulder after a time, nestling in the crook of Dawn’s thin body. Ash smiled upon seeing this, but said nothing, savoring the moment in blessed silence. As the day carried on, the nurses tried to bring him food, but he did not eat like his usual, constantly famished self. He ate a little PB&J, sipped some water, but put little else into his stomach. That was not to say he was not hungry. The jungle below might have been rich with edible plants, but he had been up almost all night with Dawn. Nothing seemed to sound good though, and for that matter, nothing much seemed to taste decent. He was not quite sure what it was, but he knew that when Dawn was awake, back to her normal self, his lack of appetite would vanish.

    When evening began settling over the pair of ships, Ash only knowing this from the clock embedded in the wall, Dresden came over with a tray of hot, sweet smelling tea. “She might want something warm like this when she comes out. It’ll help her relax in place of the medicine,” he explained. “Is there anything she likes that we might have aboard?”

    “Brock’s soup was always her favorite,” Ash replied. “If you’ve got anything that’s nice n’ creamy with tomatoes in it, I’m sure she’ll like it.”

    “Okay then. MORELY!” Dresden said kindly, then shouted viciously through the whole sick bay. A rather weighty nurse came plodding into the hall soon thereafter.

    “Yes Doctor?” she asked.

    “Go find some of that soup that Nova likes so much,” Dresden ordered. Morely obeyed, although her face was sullen for being sent around like an errand girl. “Okay,” Dresden turned to Ash. “When she comes out, she’s going to be a bit loopy for a few seconds. It’ll take about that long for the counter-agent to eat away the sedative in her system.”

    “How alert will she be?” Ash asked. “I mean after you inject the counter-whatever-it-is.”

    “Counter agent,” Dresden repeated slowly. “And for your answer, she’ll be very tired, but alert enough. Here we go.” He pulled a data pad from inside his lab coat and began tapping purposefully. The lights on the machines surrounding Dawn’s bed began to blink more rapidly, though Ash could not tell if this was a good or bad sign. “Okay, now wait a moment.” Dawn’s eyes blinked open, opening and shutting several times before she even moved her head.

    “Hey Dawn,” Ash said, standing over her so she might see his head. Pikachu inserted himself as well, sitting within in view on her stomach. “You feelin’ any better.” He, under the piercing eye of Doctor Dresden, extracted the feeding tube before she could really feel it.

    “Loads…” she murmured in answer. “Loads better.” Her arms made to stretch, but she yelped as the needles in the crooks of both tugged at her skin. “What the…?” she wondered, already coming back to her normal self. “Am I in the hospital?” Ash smiled, helping her sit up by propping her pillow against the wall.

    “Not really,” Ash said. “We’re on board John Haley’s ship, Sehkmet. You’re in her infirmary.”

    “How did we get rescued?” Dawn asked, shaking her head, attempting to remember. “Everything after Arrow’s ship is all a blur.”

    “I’m not really sure,” Ash said, having honestly never considered how John and Jerda had managed to find them. He had only been relieved that Dawn was going to be well cared for. “They just showed up and picked us out of the jungle.”

    “Well, I’m feeling loads better now,” Dawn said, despite the heavy half-moons beneath her eyes. “I’ll never understand why people do drugs. That stuff was awful.”

    “Tell me about it,” Ash said. “You screamed a lot before we got rescued.”

    “I can only remember that a bit,” Dawn replied, her eyes rolling up to think. “Is this for me?” she asked Dresden upon seeing the steaming tea before her.

    “Yes it is dear,” Dresden replied caringly. “I’ve got some soup coming from the kitchens as well. I’ll leave you two now.” Dawn nodded her thanks as she put the lip of the mug to her mouth, sipping it gently at first. The moment the soothing liquid entered her mouth, she closed her eyes in utter contentment.

    “Oh, that tastes good,” she said. “Have some Ash.”

    “No, that’s yours,” Ash said. “You’ve earned it, after all you’ve been through.”

    “Ash,” Dawn said, becoming serious.

    “Okay,” Ash sighed, cursing his shortsightedness under his breath. He took a small sip of the red, apple spice tea, and his appetite exploded with uncontrolled ferocity. “Hey, that’s pretty darn good!” he said in surprise, having never been a fan of tea, coffee, or any of those sort. “Wonder if I can get some?” he added, looking around for any nurses or aides that might be able to oblige his request. Dawn giggled, lying back comfortably , tea in hand.

    “So are we going to get Zoey and my Pokémon back?” she asked after Ash had turned back around.

    “Yeah,” Ash said without hesitation, “only, there’s something I want to talk to you about.”

    “Okay, no need to worry,” Dawn replied, taking Ash’s look with her usual concern.

    “First, for some reason, I’ve passed all of Jerda’s tests for entrance into the Consortium as a member like John,” Ash said, not sure why it made him so despondent. Perhaps it was the knowledge that acceptance would mean working for Jerda. This was most likely it, but deep down was the vaguest sense that he just wanted to be a normal trainer.

    “What sort of tests?” Dawn asked curiously. “Jerda wouldn’t ask you to do anything without telling you what for.” Ash bit his lip. He had completely forgotten that Jerda had orchestrated Dawn’s capture and that she still knew nothing about it. Ash had come to ignore it, just for the sake of his not tearing Jerda to pieces every time he saw him. He was uncomfortable relaying this revelation to Dawn, but she would find out anyway. Best if she learned about it from him.

    “Dawn…” he paused, uncertain how to make it as painless as possible. “There’s something you should know before we go on.”

    “Like what?” Dawn drew out, apprehension gathering in her voice.

    “Jerda brought us to the Consortium hoping to manipulate me through you. He made Arrow want to attack Maximus Town by making it look weak. And to get me to go after her in vengeance, he had Nova place Saturn near you, knowing Arrow would go after him and likely take you prisoner. He allowed you to be captured.” From then on, Ash relayed all that had happened, first the devastation of Maximus Town, then the revelation he had just revealed to her, Zoey’s capture and Jerda’s guilt over it, the fiasco in SkyTop City, and finally their pursuit of the Miasma. Through it all, Dawn remained stunned, but otherwise impassive. Her eyes never widened farther than they already were and her mouth only opened slightly. “Jerda…he’s so dang complicated. I mean, he apologized an’ all, and I think he meant it, but I don’t think he regretted his plan one bit. I think he was only sorry it didn’t go like he planned.”

    “There’s no need to get upset Ash,” Dawn said quietly. “I’m not upset.”

    “What!?” Ash wondered boisterously. “But, but, you of all people should be angry with him.”

    “You’ve already given him what for, and I’m here and recovering. Plus we’re still going after the others, so, honestly, I’m not angry, per se.”

    “Surely you’ve got to feel somethin’?” Ash said, unable to reconcile himself to Dawn not hating Jerda.

    “I don’t trust him, not anymore,” Dawn replied frankly. “But that’s about it. What was it you wanted to talk about in the first place?”

    “I thought you’d be upset. I thought you’d want me to kill him,” Ash said, adding the last bit almost hopefully.

    “Nope,” Dawn said, thanking the nurse for the massive bowl clearly meant for two, as she set it upon Dawn’s tray. Ash immediately began shoveling spoonful after spoonful into his mouth. Dawn chuckled into the air, then continued, “As long as he’s still going after everyone, I’m fine.”

    “Okay,” Ash managed between slurps. Personally, he would hold a grudge against Jerda for a while longer. “Um…about that….Jerda didn’t exactly test me.”

    “Then how would he know you fulfilled the requirements. It can’t be an easy decision Ash, not even if he really really really wants you fighting for him.”

    “He said he’d just been watchin’ me, and been considerin’ it, then I rescued you,” Ash said. “Apparently, I’m like Jerda, John, and all the rest. My aura is apparently more like a pokémon’s than a human’s. It’s why I could withstand a direct hit from Arrow’s Rayquaza and live and why I’ve got such a strong bond with my Pokémon.”

    “I think he’s right,” Dawn replied. “Remember Riolu. You were able to pick up on Riolu’s aura almost instantly.”

    “No, no, that’s not the issue,” Ash said, clearing the air of her confusion. “I know my aura’s strong. It’s just that, Jerda wants to give me one of these ships.”

    Now it was Dawn’s turn to exclaim noisily, “What!?” Her shout was somewhat diminished by the weakness still present in her frame, but it was potent nonetheless. “Seriously! One of these airships?!”

    “Yeah,” Ash replied, a bit taken back by her enthusiasm. “But I’m not sure I want to accept it.”

    “But Ash,” she insisted, “think about the possibilities. After we’re done with Arrow, the ship’s yours anyway. You could turn it into a mobile training center or a neat battle facility like the Battle Pyramid. Plus we’d never have to worry about needing a Pokémon Center again.”

    “Dawn,” Ash said pointedly, “these ships, no matter how much you do to them, are not meant for anything other than war. They’re like guns. Nothing good comes from them. I’m just thinking I won’t want to let go of the power once I feel it.”

    “Ash, stop doubting yourself,” Dawn said swiftly, irritated. “You’re the most moral person I know and you’re worried about being corrupted by a bucket of bolts?”

    “Yeah, I am,” Ash replied honestly. “Just having this gun on my belt drives me crazy.” He unhooked it from the holster and laid it with a deep clatter on her tray. She naturally recoiled from its foreign, shape; its deadly purpose. “See,” Ash said, re-holstering the weapon. “These ships are just like that.”

    “If you’re so decided then,” Dawn replied, overcoming her shock of seeing the gun, “why do you need to talk to me about it?”

    “Because I’m thinkin’ it’d be good to have somethin’ like that to help against Arrow,” Ash replied. “And it’s the perfect way to keep Jerda from hurting you anymore. He wouldn’t be able to separate us except taking you off the ship personally. There’s no way I wouldn’t notice that.”

    “Do you think, Ash Ketchum,” Dawn said fiercely, “that just because I was captured and tortured by the most evil woman on the planet that I’d just cower away from the fight after everything else we’ve been through?” Ash thought it wise to stay silent, as the truth was not exactly on his side at the moment. “I’m still getting back into this fight,” she continued. “Arrow has to be stopped, and I’m gonna make sure that happens.”

    “But what if Jerda tries…” Ash began.

    “But we know how he works now,” Dawn said convincingly. “We won’t fall for the same trick twice.”

    “True, but it’d still be a nice buffer between us and Jerda,” Ash said, unwilling to relent entirely.

    “I agree,” Dawn said gracefully. “Why don’t you go tell him you accept and we can get comfortable aboard it before tomorrow.”

    “Um…sure,” Ash stuttered. “Have the doctors come and get me if anything happens.”

    “I think they’d to that anyway, no need to worry,” Dawn said cheerily.

    “Alright, I’ll be back in a minute with news, c’mon Pikachu,” Ash said. He took a final spoon of soup before walking confidently through the door. Even if everything was not back to normal, he had Dawn back, and that was the largest piece of the broken picture.


    When he arrived back in the bridge, neither Jerda nor John were present, the officers running the ship saying they had taken Giratina to the Kebechet for a brief tour. She was apparently fresh off the assembly line and fully loaded with every available new feature of warfare. Even if the officers respected him in their speech, they glared at him when his back was turned. Now doubt they were resenting his assignment to the command of the Kebechet as every one of them would make a better captain than he. Ash shrugged it aside. He had experienced this sort of resentment from Paul and other rivals, and in truth, Paul’s had been worse for his blatant brevity. With this information, Ash strode over to communications. “Can we help you Captain Ketchum?” one of the techs asked. The words resonated in Ash’s head for several silent moments as he tried to decide if they rang correctly in his head. Inevitably, he settled with it, actually feeling a bit of pride in the process.

    “Yeah,” Ash said, trying to sound as official and technology savvy as possible. “Give me a line to the Kebechet. I need to accept Jerda’s offer.” The man, broken by years of transmitting far more shocking messages, barely even raised an eyebrow. He switched a dial, punched in a series of numbers too fast for Ash to follow, and flicked a switch above his head.

    “You’re live on Jerda’s headset,” the tech whispered to him.

    “Jerda?” Ash asked, hoping for a response.

    “Have you thought it over,” Jerda growled, his tone indicating his usual frustration. Before Ash responded, he heard a man yelp after a solid thump. “Ash?” Jerda asked again.

    “I’ll accept,” Ash said, forcing his ears to block out yet another yelp. “But what the heck are you doin’?” Ash asked, unable to resist.

    “Meeting out punishment,” Jerda growled in answer. “It’s nothing we don’t do normally, you need not worry.”

    “What should I know about being inducted as captain?” Ash asked, eager to get to the most important part of the deal.

    “Nothing much,” Jerda grunted. “You have my word and that is enough in the Consortium. I’ll come back in a sec, just wait for me in the cargo hold.”

    “ ‘kay,” Ash agreed, but, “Jerda, I need to modify the deal.”

    “What deal?” Jerda asked. “You’re taking a position in the Consortium, nothing more.”

    “I know you want me for my…” he struggled to find an alternative, but there was none, almost like Jerda had designed the conversation so that he had to say it, “…power. So I won’t take the Kebechet unless you do several things for me.” There was a pause, even in the thumping and yelping. Ash whipped around, as the silence had come not just from Jerda’s end. Every tech, officer, and even the service boy had their eyes trained on him. “Get back to your work!” Ash hollered angrily. “This is none of your business!” They all obeyed, some carrying frightened looks back to their stations. Either they were afraid of Jerda’s retribution for disobeying his newest confidant, or they had been thrown by Ash’s outburst. Yes, of course he had a dark side, and if that was all that worked on these officers, then that was what he would have to use. In the span of time it took for Ash to turn back to the transponder and Jerda’s voice to come through the device, it dawned upon Ash that the insincere behavior of these trainers was likely the original source of Jerda’s temperament, not Arrow.

    “What are the conditions?” Jerda asked slowly, very nearly threatening.

    “First,” Ash began diplomatically, “Dawn stays aboard my ship unless she wants to leave herself. You can’t call her somewhere.”

    “Of course,” Jerda said, his tone easing in understanding. “Anything else?”

    “Um, yeah,” Ash broke in after a bewildered pause, having thought Jerda might add some qualifier to the deal he would be unable to accept. “When Arrow is finished, I keep the Kebechet and can take her where I please.”

    “Do you take me for a fool,” Jerda replied, his voice becoming merry despite his obvious distaste. “The Kebechet is the first in the new line of warships. What makes you think I would just let you have her?”

    “You can’t trust anyone else not to come against you with her can you?” Ash asked spontaneously. It was not something he would have normally said, but the opportunity and his imagination had collided and Ash had taken his chance. Again, silence reigned, mercifully only on Jerda’s end. Whether this pause was significant or not, Ash would never know, for the transponder was abruptly filled with wind-generated static. Jerda was in the Kebechet’s hangar bay.

    “No, I suppose I can’t when you put it that way,” Jerda replied once the static had died to a minimum. “I’ll still need to be able to call on her when the time comes.”

    “We’ll come,” Ash assured him. “We just don’t want our hands tied to the Consortium all the time.”

    “You have your deal,” Jerda said. “Please tell me you have no more conditions. If you do, I’ll just put some officer over her. It would be worth the risk of desertion.” Several of the officers perked up at this comment, half-hoping Ash did indeed have a third condition.

    “Nope,” Ash replied, nearly doubling over from the looks on the officers’ faces. “I just need to be settled in with Dawn.”

    “That might be difficult,” Jerda said, no longer over the com, but in the bridge itself. “Dawn is currently tied to a medical bay.”

    “We could just land and carry her over, if it’s too risky otherwise,” Ash suggested honestly. Jerda scowled heavily, not answering Ash, but instead ordering a landing beacon be sent to the Kebechet. The decent was smooth, expertly coordinated, and savage. Both vessels, with Jerda both unwilling and unable to find a suitable landing site, were ordered to burn the jungle below to cinders. “What are you doin’?!” Ash broke out, furious, just as the blasts began. “There’s no need to be takin’ out your anger on the jungle.”

    “Who says I’m takin’ my anger out anywhere,” Jerda replied soft and cold. “I just finished doing that over the Kebechet. Back away and maybe you can learn something about war.” Ash did as he was told, but allowed a heavy face of disapproval darken his features permanently. “Okay, we’re down,” Jerda said to no one in particular. “Ash, we’ll meet Dawn on the exit ramp.” He strode from the bridge, Ash walking abreast with him.

    The jungle outside had indeed been vaporized to black nothingness. Not even stumps or lucky sticks had survived. “What did he do?!” Dawn asked in shock as they wheeled her bed down into the outside world. A swarm of nurses accompanied her, so many that Ash could not even come close.

    “I’ll tell you once we’re inside,” Ash yelled to her as the nurses shoved him back with annoyingly high voices. While Dawn’s brigade took her into the gaping, serenely glowing depths of the Kebechet, John exited onto the charred ground between the two vessels.

    “Congrats on your own ship Ash,” John said, patting him on the back. “Maybe once we get the rest of them back, we can have an official ceremony for you and Nova receiving your craft.”

    “Nova was getting one too,” Ash asked, astonished. He could not help but think he was a better candidate for a ship than Nova, no matter how horrible it sounded, even in his head.

    “Mm,” John answered. “And one of these.” He uncurled his clenched palm to reveal a Consortium emblem pendant. It was gold, edged in silver, with sapphires in its center. Ash was actually weighing which was more valuable, the pendant or the Kebechet, when John chuckled, saying, “Well put it on.” Ash grinned sheepishly, sliding the metal chain over his exposed skin with a shudder.

    “Good, now that that’s done,” Jerda said impatiently, “get to your bridge and get your ship in formation behind ours. You can familiarize yourself en route.” The abrupt manner in which Jerda turned him loose on the ship ruffled Ash’s hair the wrong way, but he could not deny that he best way to learn was to do. That was his philosophy anyway.

    Despite being a newer vessel than the Sehkmet, the Kebechet was structurally identically to her older sister. Ash had no difficulty finding his way to the bridge, and upon entering, every tech and officer stood straight and stiff like they had for Jerda. “At ease,” Ash said, a bit taken aback by the stark contrast between the respect of the Kebechet’s and Sehkmet’s crews. A tech led him to the command chair, and upon sitting, four holographic screens flared to life in front of his eyes. Even John had nothing this advanced. Ash had little time to observe the data on the holograms as the Sehkmet was now rising before them. “Follow John in the way you were before,” Ash ordered. The crew shouted updates back and forth, creating a true atmosphere of chaos, but the Kebechet rose as if its crew were a well-oiled machine. Ash decided the yelling was part of normal procedure, if a little annoying, and kept his silence. He glanced out the viewport briefly to make sure they were indeed following John, and turned his attention to the holograms. They detailed the entire defensive and offensive capabilities of the Kebechet, down to the last firearm strapped onto the lowest clean-up crew worker. As Ash became immersed in the capabilities of the vessel, no his vessel, he gradually became more and more aware why the crew aboard the Sehkmet had been throwing him dirty looks. It was not so much the idea of someone as young as him captaining the ship as the idea that would not even be able to be on board.

    Defensively, the Kebechet relied on a powerful shield generator and extensive armor plating. It also possessed a counter-measure system capable of scrambling sensors and tracking devices. Additionally, it could, like J’s ship before it, engage a cloaking field. This cloak, Ash was rather displeased to discover, drew power from the shields, effectively rendering them useless. He honestly thought he would rather be shot at and know he would survive, than hope he would not be shot at and hopefully survive.

    As he moved into the vessel’s weapons, small, yet strong hands began massaging his shoulders. “Dawn?” Ash asked, a little too loudly. No one looked to see what he had said, and Ash mentally wiped his forehead in relief. “What’re you doin’ here?” he asked. She was still dressed in her hospital gown, but she walking without any assistance.

    “Doctor Dresden said I could go and see you for a bit,” she said, bending down to see what Ash was perusing. Seeing her attempting to read the files, Ash stood, scooped her into his arms with a small shriek on her part, and sat back down with her in his lap. “Tell me before you do something like that,” she said grinning all the same. She pecked him on the lips, then turned back to the screens. “Is this all stuff on the ship?”

    “Yeah,” Ash replied, “I think Jerda chose the files that were most important for me to know. This is the weapon setup.”

    “She seems pretty heavily loaded,” Dawn remarked. “SA Laser Mines?” she questioned randomly. “What are those?”

    “Let’s take a look huh,” Ash said, tapping on the screen. The file for the mines replaced the previous, detailing a weapon both clever and devastating. “SA Laser Mines are situational weapons designed to be deployed around vital areas for secret air defense,” Ash read aloud. “The mines are deployed via a special hatch in your vessel and set up on the surface below. They then project a sweeping scan for enemy vessels, and upon finding one, emit a high intensity laser beam into the air. The detection of an enemy by one mine triggers the weapon system in all deployed mines, effectively creating a trap for incoming enemy vessels.”

    “Sounds sneaky,” Dawn said. “But why would a ship like this be equipped with a weapon like that?”

    “It’s standard,” Ash replied, “at least that’s what it says here.”

    “I’m sure it’s useful somehow,” Dawn shrugged. Reviewing the Kebechet’s weapons was far more bearable with Dawn present. It was more like a conversation than a reading assignment, as Dawn frequently questioned the purpose of this or that. Ash usually agreed with her, but he could not deny that even with its apparent frilly weapon load, the Kebechet was a fierce beast. Of those weapons that neither Ash nor Dawn questioned were the six forward position laser cannons and the ten racks of missiles concealed in the sides of the vessel. These warheads appealed to Ash, as they could be equipped with pokéballs to send powerful Pokémon over massive distances with very little chance of interception. Dawn was called back to the hospital over the com later in the evening, which was just as well.

    Mere moments after she had left, a tech from communications shouted up, “Incoming message from the Sehkmet. It’s Commander Foks.”

    “Go ahead and put it through,” Ash replied.

    “Ash,” Jerda’s voice echoed through the bridge, “the Menagerie will be in sight by morning, but as Arrow may have commandeered the sensors there, I’m giving you a direct order to engage your cloaking field. We’ve already received information from Paul and Cynthia, and they’ll be on site by tomorrow morning.”

    “We’re engaging our cloaking field now,” Ash answered, though, as Jerda could not see his face, he let his displeasure at Jerda ordering him about so publically show to his fullest extent. In the moments before the coms went dead, Ash witnessed the Sehkmet ripple and fade into invisibility, and in short order, a waving effect appeared outside the Kebechet’s viewport. It however, did not disappear, and Ash assumed that being they were inside, they would see only the field, not its effects. The rippling effect gave the impression they were flying through an invisible ocean, and Ash swore he could have watched the viewport for days and never grown tired of its appearance.

    However, his desire to be with Dawn for a last few moments before the imminent battle drove him to the infirmary. She was even better looking now than she had been, almost indistinguishable from the Dawn he remembered before her abduction. The only reminder of her ordeal was in her eyes, and the dulled brightness therein would likely never disappear. The nurses had finally allowed her to eat food other than soup, and she was eagerly biting into a sandwich with Raichu. “Bedtime snack?” Ash asked, his stomach already beginning to rumble with the thought of more food.

    “Take it while it’s still here,” Dawn said through her sandwich, motioning widely at the tray. As took up a seat by her bed, carefully making his choice, and began eating. They said nothing for a time, both concentrated on consuming the surprisingly good fare. Ash was sure the techs were not treated so well, but it was only a passing thought that vanished upon his next bite. “Have you decided who you’re going to have captain the ship when you have to leave tomorrow?” Dawn asked, rather randomly, as they had been discussing the possibility of berries aboard.

    “Wha…uhh…not really,” Ash replied. “I mean, I didn’t really talk to many of the officers, Jerda had me reading so much.” The moment it left his mouth, Ash realized how lame it sounded. “Sorry, that’s no excuse, but no, I haven’t.”

    “I have,” Dawn said promptly.

    “But you haven’t met any of the officers either,” Ash smiled, amused at what he assumed was a joke. “How would you know who to pick?”

    “This is serious Ash,” she reprimanded him, “stop smiling.” Ash’s face straightened immediately at her tone. “I’ll do it.”

    “Do what?” Ash asked.

    “I’ll captain the Kebechet when you’re gone,” Dawn answered. “And before you insist I’m still recovering, Doctor Dresden has cleared me for tomorrow morning.”

    “I suppose it would be a good idea,” Ash drew out slowly. “At least Jerda wouldn’t be able to abandon us if we needed suppot.”

    “My thoughts exactly,” Dawn said. “If he’s willing to use me as bait, he’ll do the same to you. I can make sure that doesn’t happen.”

    “Well, if you think you’re up for it, go for it,” Ash said. “Who knows, Jerda may make you captain instead of me if you do really well.” They both laughed heartily, their first in far too long a time. “Do you have to stay here tonight?” Ash finally managed to ask once he had regained his composure.

    “Yeah, only one more night,” Dawn winked. “Good night Ash.”

    “Good night Dawn,” Ash said back, exiting for his captain’s quarters.


    Said quarters were sumptuously prepared, room enough for even the largest Pokémon and fine wood and carpet. The furnishings were all made from polished birch, while the walls were formed from the darker mahogany. The carpet was a light tan, soft even beneath Ash’s boots. “Okay guys, time to sleep outside your balls tonight,” Ash said, releasing the grateful Pokémon from the confines of the storage units. They all looked around in awe and appreciation for the grandeur around them. “Get some good sleep, cause it’s not gonna last long,” he said, heading into his bedroom. This room was far smaller than the large communal area outside, but Ash liked it all the same. It reminded of his small room back in Pallet Town, and simply thinking of his home town brought a flood of questions. What would his mother think? Him, her son, barely of age, and already in command of a war vessel rightly feared by most intelligent beings. Would Professor Oak approve? It would seem, from outside eyes, that he had strayed from his Master goal. He knew better, but that still did not change the fact that it would be difficult to explain his actions to the professor. Would Dawn’s mother hate him? Even though he had saved her and could not have known Jerda’s true intentions, that did not excuse him from not fulfilling his promise to protect Dawn. He imagined she would understand once she had heard the whole story, but Ash would still have to wither beneath her while explaining why Dawn looked rather haggard…permanently.

    Unable to sleep with these questions buzzing around in his head, Ash rolled out of bed and slipped into the communal area where his Pokémon snoozed. It was soothing to see them all so quiet and easily at rest. He propped himself against Torterra, Floatzel snuggling with him along with Pikachu. The steady breathing of his Pokémon around him lulled Ash into a deep sleep.

    So deep in fact, that he nearly screamed like a school-girl when someone prodded him awake violently. “Ash!” Dawn’s upset voice echoed in his head. “Ash Ketchum, if you don’t wake up right now I’m going to pinch you again.”

    “Alright, alright!” Ash insisted, flailing his hands before his face to ward off any further attack. When he was finally able to look up at Dawn, his mouth fell open slightly at her drastically altered appearance. For starters, she had braided her back in a tight ponytail, though her bangs and some of the hair on the sides of her head still hung free. Unlike her other tails, this one was laid down against her back. However her dress was the most unorthodox, at least for Dawn. She wore a simple pink sleeveless top, a necklace like Ash’s draped over her neck. For pants, she wore simple girl’s jeans, black with pink rising suns stitched onto the knees. Slung over her shoulder to her other side was a simple metal tube. “Whoa…Dawn, you look….awesome,” Ash said, for there was no other way to describe her determined look.

    “Really?” Dawn asked, self-consciously looking at her new clothes. “I didn’t want to be caught out in a fight with a nice dress, so I just went with what you usually wear.”

    “Well, you look great,” Ash said, “as always.”

    “Why can’t I be mad at you for longer than ten seconds?” she asked, sweetly kissing him.

    “Oh yes you can,” Ash replied falsely fearful. “I’ll be out in a sec.” He went back to his bedroom, throwing his night clothes off and donning a fresh set of what he had worn yesterday, albeit with the new pants. Upon coming back into the communal room, Dawn had already recalled his Pokémon and laid their balls neatly out on the table. “Thanks,” he said to her, attaching them to his suspenders before throwing on his camo coat to match his pants. “Do you have a com with you?”

    “Uh-huh,” Dawn replied, pulling one of the small ear devices from her pocket. “You need to tell them you’re ready?” she guessed correctly. Ash nodded, testing his connection.

    “Captain, we’re ready and waiting,” an officer on the other end spoke officially. “Commander Foks has already selected the drop point and your fellow operatives have reported in. A MPTV is ready and waiting in the drop bay.”

    “Got that,” Ash said, zipping his coat, “Captain Berilitz will be up in a sec to assume command.” He winked at Dawn upon saying this, imagining the reaction of the officers.

    “Excuse me sir?” the officer replied more swiftly than Ash had anticipated.

    “I said, Captain Berilitz’ll be my replacement during this mission,” Ash said, this time more commanding. “Is that hard to understand or somethin’?”

    “Give me that…” a harsh tone said to the officer, and Jerda’s voice echoed in the com next. “Are you sure you want Dawn in command of this ship Ash? Has she even been cleared medically?”

    “Yes and yes,” Ash said, now becoming irritated. “And Jerda, why are you on my ship?”

    “Watch your tone with me Ketchum,” Jerda’s voice growled coldly. “This may be your ship, but it’s part of my fleet. I’ll be where I choose.”

    “I’m not leaving you alone with her,” Ash said, equally cold. “Nothin’ to it.” Dawn, by now having caught onto the general direction of the conversation, began to scowl heavily.

    “What could I do Ash?” Jerda asked. “Answer me, what good would it do to have Dawn taken once again?”

    “It would keep me on your side even if I hated you,” Ash said replied, “which I still do.”

    “Hate me all you want Ketchum, but I will do as I please in my fleet,” Jerda answered.

    “I’ll take care of him,” Dawn hissed to Ash, as the conversation was going nowhere. “I’ve got an idea, no need to worry.”

    “Fine!” Ash yelled into the com, hoping Jerda might think he had won. “Okay,” he breathed, exiting the room with Dawn. “I’ll you see when it’s over. I love you.”

    “I love you, Ash,” Dawn said, and they turned separate ways for the necessity of war.
    Last edited by Jerda Foks; 11th July 2012 at 10:07 PM.
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  5. #30
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    Oh hey, look, I was right, this chapter does need two posts....

    The MPTVs were the same sort of vehicle J had used for her ground recon, six off-road wheels and sweeping canopy, with one singular exception. They were equipped with a vertical rocket system rather than custom capture devices. Two drivers were waiting for him beside the vehicle, situated in the middle of the bay. “Captain!” they saluted upon his entrance.

    “Let’s get this done,” Ash said eagerly. “No need to be waiting around.”

    “ ‘course sir,” the senior driver said. “Just climb in the back here.” He opened an armored hatch in the side, revealing two rows of two seats.

    “How long till the rendezvous with Paul and Cynthia,” Ash asked, buckling himself and Pikachu in.

    “Two minutes from the drop. We’ll be putting you as close to the facility as we can without bein’ detected,” the driver said, slamming the door upon Ash and encasing him in complete darkness. The only illumination came in the form of a digital countdown timer, mounted above pairs of seats.

    “Okay, Ash, here we go,” Dawn’s voice came over the com, bright and clear. In the darkness, he smiled. “Releasing you in five, four, three, two, one….” And Ash could feel the floor give way beneath the MPTV. Even within the confines of the troop area, he could hear the wind whistling past the vehicle, his harness pulling on his chest as it fought to keep him in his seat. The sensations of falling lasted for but a few seconds, phasing out with a scream and blast from hover jets beneath the vehicle. The moment they touched down heavily on the jungle floor, Ash was thrown backward against his seat. How the drivers were navigating the thick trees at such speeds was beyond him, especially as he could not hear weapons fire indicating they were blasting their way through. At exactly two minutes from the drop, the vehicle skidded to a stop, the harness shoving the wind from Ash’s chest. He panted to regain the unexpectedly lost air, only absently unbuckling the belts. When the compartment was opened up again, it was not the driver, but Paul, who was standing before him. He was dressed identically to Ash.

    “Hurry up and get out,” Paul greeted him brusquely. “We’ve got something of a walk ahead of us.” Ash shook his head to clear it of slight dizziness, jumping down onto the soft earthen ground.

    “Where’s Cynthia?” Ash asked, rubbing his eyes at the light.

    “Right here Ash,” she replied, stepping out from around the mud and vegetation splattered vehicle. She too sported camouflage, though her hair and gray teardrop pearls were still visible. Beside her was her faithful Garchomp, glaring at the vehicle with increasing suspicion. “The Menagerie is a few miles out, so we need to move.”

    “What about you guys?” Ash asked the drivers. They had opened the canopy and were now taking tool boxes underneath the vehicle.

    “We’re stayin’ behind until Kebechet picks us up,” the subordinate replied. “We need to do a check-up on ‘er for now, so if you don’t mind…” He slid after his superior, and the chinking of metal on metal began.

    “Come on, we’re wasting time,” Paul said, striding off in the lead. Ash and Cynthia followed, staying next to one another.

    “Jerda told us about your history with him,” Ash said when no one had spoken for a while. The greatest happening up until then had been Paul’s Weavile jumping from the trees to join him. “I didn’t know you worked with Charon at first.”

    “I was young, naďve, and greedy,” Cynthia reacted, uncharacteristically defensive. “And Charon played on that. I’m not proud of what I helped Jerda do either.”

    “But he said you forgave him,” Ash replied, confused.

    “I forgave him for capturing Giratina yes, but that doesn’t mean he should have, nor that I’m absolved of blame for helping it happen.”

    “You don’t think Jerda should be Giratina’s trainer?” Ash asked.

    “No, I don’t,” Cynthia said plainly. “Giratina was banished for violence for a reason. Jerda has no qualms for violence, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, so it’s not exactly a good idea to pair them together.”

    “Giratina needs a trainer that will control him,” Ash concluded. “But I’ve not actually seen Jerda use Giratina except to fly around. If he’s so powerful, why doesn’t he use him more often?”

    “Because he hasn’t had to be in a serious battle against Arrow,” Paul said pointedly from the front, never looking behind. “There isn’t a need to bring out that kind of power against weaklings.”

    “He’s right,” Cynthia said. “Jerda usually reserves Giratina for only the most intense fights.” Ash nodded, though he still did not entirely understand Jerda’s restraint. He did not show any in other areas of his life.

    “What do you two think of this idea?” he asked, just as the trees began to thin out.

    “It’ll do,” Paul said shortly. “But Arrow might not even try to escape.”

    “And if that be the case, then our job will be to assist in taking her down,” Cynthia added.

    “That’s not what I meant,” Ash replied. “I mean, do you think luring Arrow to the Menagerie was a good idea?”

    “Again, it’ll do given the circumstances,” Paul said once more.

    “Could you at least try to elaborate,” Ash said, irritated.

    “Why? There’s no need. I said what I wanted to say. Now be quiet, we’re here,” he stopped, crouching behind a massive frond. He slowly and carefully pulled it aside while Ash, Cynthia, and the Pokémon ducked down with him. There beyond the forest was the Botanical Menagerie, and Ash found it far more imposing than even SkyTop City. It was organized to perfection, all of its buildings arranged at exact distances from each other in a distinct oval shape. These buildings were all painted identically, a combination of subtle blue and gray that gave them the appearance of being in constant moonlight. The rows of said buildings were all topped with dome-style double battery turrets. Currently, they were inactive, pointing straight in the air, but their size made them imposing nonetheless. And yet, despite the eerie design of the Menagerie exterior, Ash was more fascinated by its center. A massive transparent dome, braced by steel supports on its outside, dominated the area within the moonlight structures. A few smaller buildings were present, but they were so small and sparse they completely escaped his notice. Inside the dome was the Miasma, its injuries appearing far more severe now that fire and smoke could no longer conceal them. Ash had long thought the damage Jerda had done with the Azelf was the worst of the it had received, but he was easily proved wrong. The strafing attacks he had performed in Maximus Town were far more lethal, having penetrated one end of the ship and blowing holes out the other side. Ash’s head darted up as a mechanical whirring began filling the air with unwanted vibration. The source, Ash discovered, were massive bay doors that were a part of the dome when closed, but offered access for the largest of craft when open.

    “Go!” Cynthia hissed to them, both she and Paul retracting their Pokémon and racing into the narrow alleys formed by the towers. Pikachu leapt onto Ash’s shoulder and he sped after them. Once in the alley, the grinding of the bay doors ceased, and gargantuan mechanized arms fitted with dozens of attachments began flowing over the Miasma.

    “Is she repairing it?” Ash whispered as loudly as he dared. Now that they were inside the Menagerie proper, he could see the Arrow soldiers wandering around the paved base paths. A plethora of Pokémon patrolled with them, but the odd thing was, none of the Pokémon appeared to belong to the soldiers. However, that did not reduce their chances of being spotted.

    “Of course she is,” Paul grunted at Ash’s rhetorical question. “I just don’t see why. She’s got to know this place can’t repair all that damage.”

    “But she has been running on nothing but angled hover engines,” Cynthia spoke lowly. “Any repairs are good at this point.”

    “Do you think we could get closer before John and Dawn attack?” Ash asked. He had already seen several weak points in the patrol; several blind spots they could exploit. His concern rested in the power of the explosions the battleships would pound into the base.

    “Best not to,” Cynthia. “It may look like some of those Pokémon are patrolling out of sync, but remember, hundreds of Pokémon have far better senses than humans. They would know we were there even if they couldn’t see us.”

    “I can be patient,” Paul said, tapping the com in his ear. “Foks, we’re in position, but have no confirmation on the target.”

    “That’s fine Paul, she’ll show herself once the fireworks start,” Jerda’s voice crackled in all their ears. “We’re about to reveal ourselves, get your Pokémon ready.” Each of them chose a pokéball, watching specific points of interest on the soon-to-be battlefield.
    Last edited by Jerda Foks; 11th July 2012 at 10:12 PM.
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    Herein lies a great story of love, friendship, betryal,........and generally all the other good stuff a story needs :http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthr...ul-A-Pearlship

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  6. #31
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    Just got your VM and I subscribed to the thread.

    Once again, I enjoyed reading the new chapters. I got worried for Dawn and I thought the scene where she wanted Ash to sing for her was really touching because it was cute. I know not many people can imagine Ash being a singer, but I imagine the lyrics and his vocals would be very fragile. Another scene that I also found interesting was when I think that Ash was trying to convince Cynthia that Jerda would be a good trainer for Giratina, it seemed to have a good sense of realism because I believed in the emotions in the fic. I liked how some of the moments in there was fast paced.


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  7. #32
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    Actually, Ash is agreeing with Cynthia that Jerda might have less control, being that Jerda is also violent and does not see it as something to be hindered.
    In regards to Ash singing, music is beautiful, and one of the driving forces behind my life and writing. Music has always been used to convey deep feeling, and I want to continue that tradition.
    Thanks for reading and reviewing and thanks for subscribing too.
    † I am a Christian and proud of it! Copy and paste this if you are too.†
    I support and believe in pearlshipping
    Oh yeah, and I like Darth Vader too.


    Herein lies a great story of love, friendship, betryal,........and generally all the other good stuff a story needs :http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthr...ul-A-Pearlship

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  8. #33
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    I love all of the the dialogue scenes between Ash, Paul, and Cynthia. The way they talk and treat each other is just so in-character and believable.

    Quote Originally Posted by C.Gholy View Post
    I know not many people can imagine Ash being a singer, but I imagine the lyrics and his vocals would be very fragile.
    I just remember High Touch when I think of Ash singing. The results are absolutely lovely, haha. =P

  9. #34
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    Okay, number eleven people. I'm jammin' right now, and the greatest twist and most horrible event takes place here. Be prepared for moaning for more at chapter's end.

    11
    Dawn sat in the command seat of the Kebechet, shaking from nerves despite her best efforts to the contrary. Even though Doctor Dresden had cleared her and she was confident in her ability, it did not detract from the fact that she was still rather weak. “Paul, Cynthia, and Ash are in position,” Dawn’s open com from the Sehkmet blared John’s voice throughout the bridge.

    “Our troops are ready,” Dawn said after a confirming nod from an officer. “We have four platforms ready for release.”

    “You should take manual control now Captain Berilitz,” John said formally.

    “Could we skip the official stuff,” Dawn said weakly. “I’m nervous enough as it is.”

    “Alright Dawn,” John said, his carefree personality now resonating in his voice. “But I meant what I said.”

    “Okay,” Dawn replied, then to her bridge, “Give me manual control of flight and primary guns.” Several techs below scurried about, flicking switches until an officer gave her a thumbs up. She gripped the horizontal controls at the arms of the chair, her fingers accustoming themselves to the feel of the metal. It truth, it was no different from the feel of a pokéball. With that thought, Dawn began to view this whole battle as a contest. Silly perhaps, but it was the only way she was going to survive and win. This ship was her Pokémon, as were the trainers below, the Menagerie was the stage, and Arrow and her Miasma were the opponents.

    “Dawn, your crew has exactly three seconds to lock targets around the Menagerie. After that, it becomes too dangerous for us to attack until the disks are on the ground,” Jerda’s voice came up. “I’m beginning the countdown.” She laid her head back in the command chair, watching as the timer appeared as a part of her holograms. Thirty seconds and counting. Twenty seconds and she was releasing the emergency clamps on the descent disks. Ten seconds and she was ordering shields be brought up and the cloak lowered. Five seconds and the disk commanders were reporting a successful drop. Zero.
    Dawn clamped her left hand on the control, jamming it forward to tip the nose of the Kebechet forward. In the same moment, target locks for her six cannons appeared, and her finger promptly crushed the fire control.

    She had been given the first move in the match, and she watched as her amazing blasts impacting separated places around the Menagerie. Her tag partner, John, added to the general chaos, already beginning to surge the Sehkmet toward the dome. So her first move had been a little sloppy, but there was still time to gain those points back. She veered away from John, taking an alternate route around the central dome. “Give me four missiles on the dome,” she ordered, much like she would command her Pokémon. She could see the racks extend and the rockets fire in pairs of two. These were truly beautiful, and the massive explosive damage they did to the dome gave her the edge in this contest. But now it was her opponent’s turn to attack.

    “Incoming Arrow fighters!” a tech bellowed loud enough for even the noisy bridge to hear clearly. A quick tap on her command console gave Dawn the radar she asked for. Arrow was now playing her first hand, three formations of fighters bearing down on her. However, she was determined to avoid damage if at all possible. Plus, she would do it elegantly. That ought to through Arrow off.

    “Bring us up to the highest speed setting we have,” Dawn barked, gripping the controls even tighter than before. She grimaced as the fighters came ever closer, and almost squinted her eyes shut when the Kebechet burst forward. But she was the only one in command of the ship, and besides, where was a Pokémon contest without a coordinator. She put up a wall of overconfidence Ash had taught her was the surest defense against fear. In the last seconds before she would have impacted the small ships, Dawn pulled her vessel onto its side, and finally completely upside down. The gravity projection kept them all rooted in place despite the vertigo and the engines screamed from the intense power required for the maneuver. The moment her radar confirmed the ships were behind her, Dawn flipped the Kebechet upright, dropping those odd laser mines in the process. Good luck following me now, she smirked, that forced confidence not feeling so forced any longer.

    She was now wheeling around the dome, where John was pounding away with his laser beams. They failed to even make a dent in its clear surface and all the while, the Miasma continued to receive repairs. She was about to contact John about their next course of action when a jolting impact shook the ship. “Boys!?” she reprimanded the crew below, demanding an explanation. A real-time hologram of the Menagerie appeared, its various turret defenses highlighted. Hundreds were red, but steadily, they were changing to green.

    “Evasive maneuvers Dawn!” John’s voice bellowed over the com. His ship ignited its Fire Burst, boosting away from a potentially lethal barrage of AA fire. Dawn swerved and dived low, dodging an equally withering spray.

    “Give me missiles on those guns!” Dawn shouted to her crew. While they complied, she skimmed the edges of the dome, knowing that if she were not hit, the shots would at least weaken the dome. She was cresting the apparently impenetrable glass, ordering a Fire Burst to take them over the downgrade faster, when a warning light signaled someone entering the bridge. It was not long before Dawn recognized her, her and her crazy red hair. Mars, or Izzy Loraine as Ash now called her, sprinted around the techs and officers, clearly attempting to make her way to the command dais. She was panting upon reaching Dawn, but she could not pay her much mind, as the lock system had finally acquired the maximum target number. “Deploy racks and fire!” Dawn screamed, now fully in this rush of battle. The missiles flew true, decimating the turrets and buildings upon which they sat.

    “Dawn, you need to get everyone off this ship,” Izzy said ugently. “It’s been wired to detonate in less than seven minutes.”

    “Izzy would you hold on I’m trying to….” she pulled her vessel nearly vertical, climbing up before rotating them all around completely to drop back into the frenzied fight. Her speech was stopped as the implications of what Izzy was saying sank in. “What?” she asked. “How did Arrow put a bomb on board?”

    “It’s not…Shoot that gun!” Izzy began, but ended yelling in Dawn’s ear as she pointed to a rotating turret. Dawn obliged her, lighting the air with laser fire. “It’s not one of Arrow’s designs, and it’s not where she would place it.”

    “How do you know that?” Dawn asked.

    “I’ve seen Arrow’s bombs. They’re usually sloppy and easy to disarm. This thing is impossible to remove and fastidiously crafted,” Izzy replied. “Dawn, it’s in the fuel nexus.”

    “Can you prove it?” Dawn asked, unleashing more laser fire at the dome, still to no external effect.

    “Here,” Izzy said, leaning over the command chair brusquely to access the hologram controls. She knew what she was looking for, as she had opened a file within seconds. It was a routine scan of the ship, and true to Izzy’s word, explosives were detected in the fuel nexus.

    “But why didn’t we see them before? And who did it if it wasn’t Arrow?” Dawn asked, real fear beginning to creep into her voice.

    “It just showed up a few seconds ago, probably teleported by a psychic Pokémon,” Izzy replied. “But that’s not the point. We need to evacuate everyone now!” Dawn did not like being ordered about by anyone, least of all Izzy, but if she felt this strongly about a bomb, it was Dawn’s duty to save everyone. She flipped open a case guarding a large red button and slammed her fist onto it. Nothing happened. The auto-pilot did not engage, the blaring warning sirens did not sound throughout the vessel, the alert lights did not begin to strobe. Nothing happened. “Dawn,” Izzy said slowly, looking cautiously around the bridge, full of techs and officers that had not even noticed Dawn’s attempted evacuation order. “Dawn, I think Jerda Foks wants you dead.”


    Ash waited. He hated waiting, more because Paul was so good at it than anything else. But still, he had to wait; wait for that perfect moment when the platforms would drop and they could enter the fight, all the while keeping an eye out for Arrow. Cynthia heard it first, her head flying up the heavens. Ash and Paul followed her lead, and one of the Consortium battleships materialized over the Menagerie, a second joining it moments later. Ash tensed himself, preparing for that dart out into the Menagerie. As they watched, the circular drop disks detached, bringing countless trainers down into the Menagerie. Arrow’s soldiers and Pokémon reacted, and the fight was on. Both vessels unleashed their full laser ordinance, and Paul barked, “Go!” They sprinted into the smoking frenzy of hundreds of battles, bringing out two Pokémon each: Ash with Staraptor and Pikachu, Paul with Honchkrow and Magmortar, and Cynthia with Garchomp and Gastrodon. Their goal was the dome, but the path there was blocked almost immediately. Four TA soldiers turned and ordered their Pokémon on the attack.

    “Pikachu, Thunderbolt!” Ash bellowed, having his small Pokémon meet a Swanna head on. “Paul, mix a Flamethrower with Staraptor’s Aerial Ace on that Breloom.”

    “With pleasure,” Paul growled, having his Honchkrow finish a Gengar with Dark Pulse. “Magmortar! Spin a Flamethrower around Staraptor!”

    “Staraptor, Aerial Ace on Breloom!” Ash commanded. The combination was a beautiful sight to behold, and gratifying when both trainer and Pokémon were sent flying across the battlefield.

    “Garchomp, Outrage!” Cynthia yelled, and Ash and Paul turned to see the lone Pokémon beating on five opponents at once without the least need for assistance. Nevertheless, speed was key, and they could not let Garchomp take too long with the opponents.

    “Go Pikachu, Iron Tail!” Ash said, having Pikachu push the opponents back into Garchomp’s Outrage.

    “Honchkrow, come around them from behind and use Sky Attack!” Paul ordered, his Pokémon glowing white as it circled the fray. Garchomp was hurling the last Pokémon away when Honchkrow smashed into it, a perfectly timed and executed move.

    “Keep moving,” Cynthia said, recalling Garchomp. They ran through the battle, dodging moves that missed their target and were now detonating on the ground. Rocks, fire, water, bladed leaves, electricity, metaphysical energy: all were at play and all were hurled throughout the battlefield. Ash and Paul began to frequently rely on Pikachu and Magmortar’s ranged attacks to keep them safe, countering moves that would have incinerated them if not stopped. The closer they ran to the dome, the more hazardous the battle became. Ash figured his amplified aura saved them all several times, though he made no mention of it. But even with five Pokémon out to run interception, they could not block everything. At only fifty feet from the dome’s lower entrance, they were surrounded by ten trainers, all wielding guns as well as pokéballs.

    “Surrender,” one of them said gruffly. “We don’t have to go through this if you just play along.”

    “Play along!” Ash bellowed angrily. “Why would we do that? Tor…Mph!” Paul jabbed him in the gut, effectively silencing him. An explosion behind them drowned out anything Paul might have said, but his mouth did not move until the sounds of combat had returned to their normal height.

    “What do you mean, play along?” he asked quiet, but forceful.

    “You must watch, nothing more,” the soldier said, smirking. “Something has been prepared for all of you, and it is the wish of our leader you see it.”

    “Seeing the Miasma raised from the dead is not something worth watching,” Cynthia said. “I would rather see her dead for good.”

    “But that is not what I want you to see,” Arrow’s voice giggled as she shoved her way into the circle surrounding them. “Though I do suppose seeing her rise again will be a beautiful sight indeed.” Her voice hardened when she spoke next. “No, I have something far more spectacular for you to witness today.”

    “Are you preparing them for the first of the Doomed?” asked a garbled voice from behind. Ash and Paul spun around as the rear soldiers parted, while Cynthia remained forward, controlling her breathing. Their enemies stood aside to reveal Jerda Foks, striding up with Consortium soldiers perfectly at ease around Arrow and her goons. Now that Ash looked around, the sounds he had interpreted as those of battle were only the turreted buildings chasing the two Consortium battleships with their AA fire. It was too much to process. Sure Jerda was conniving and uncaring, but he hated Arrow. That much was certain. Yet here he was, speaking calmly, even happily, to her. “Hello, Ash, Paul, Cynthia. I’m surprised you made it so close to the dome. Kudos for that achievement.”

    “Explain yourself Jerda,” Cynthia breathed, still refusing to turn to see him.

    “That would take a while, so before I do that, why don’t you three look up toward the Kebechet,” he said mildly, watching the skies himself. Paul and Ash looked as well, unsure what was about to occur. “Three, two, one…” Jerda whispered, and Ash and Paul flinched. The air around the Kebechet screamed like a person scraping a chalkboard, gathering in pitch as the air around it began to warp. For less than a second, silence reigned, and a shock wave was released from the craft as she was annihilated. A massive explosion with enough force to push Ash and Paul onto the ground wracked the vessel, blossoming into more and more detonations of incorporeal fire and smoke. A final explosion ended her destruction, disintegrating any parts that would have fallen to the earth. And Ash could only scream Dawn’s name, oblivious to everything else. Paul was in shock, his eyes locked onto the slowly fading spot of flame that had been the Kebechet. The Sehkmet was only hovering now, no need to dodge attacks that were no longer incoming. “Now I will answer your question Cynthia,” Jerda said plainly. “You have all fallen into a carefully laid and executed plan to destroy the few trainers the world over who possess auras of strength beyond the norm. I credit Arrow with the initial idea.”

    “You. Killed. Her,” Ash quietly raged, standing to face Jerda. “You murdered her.”

    “Yes,” Jerda said, not an iota of remorse in his voice. “What do you think will happen to all of you?”

    “Cynthia, help me,” Paul said, grabbing Ash to keep him from charging Jerda. “You’ll be slaughtered Ash!” he screamed at him. “What do you think you can do against him!? Huh?! Think!” Cynthia placed her gentle but firm hands on Ash’s shoulders.

    “Paul is right Ash,” she said gently. “He’s all yours later, but we can’t do anything right now.”

    “What do you mean, ‘we can’t do anything right now?’?” Arrow laughed insanely. “We are going to kill you all. There won’t be a ‘later’.”

    “Shut your trap Arrow,” Paul snapped. “We’re not talking to you.” Turning to Jerda, he said lowly, “Why would you want to align yourself with her and kill us all?” His tone was so even, so calm, and Ash could not understand why he was not full of the fury that coursed through his body, even if Dawn had not been aboard the battleship.

    “I’ve always been aligned with Arrow idiot,” Jerda spat. “But as why I want all of you out of my way, it is simple. Only we can kill one another, be it with weapons of our own making or Pokémon battling on our orders. If my end design is to succeed, I cannot have such driven threats wandering about freely. And, Ash, if you’re wondering why Rayquaza didn’t kill you that time, Arrow knew better than to have him attack at full power when you were all not gathered together.”

    “So you lured us all into one place so you didn’t have to hunt us down one at a time,” Paul scoffed. “Coward.”

    “Tactician,” Jerda scolded. “I knew I would eventually fall to one of you if I hunted you individually. Why endanger myself when I could make you come to me?” He laughed then, stepping into the circle proper and coming sickeningly close to each of them. “The world will much easier to conquer without your meddling to worry about. So now that I’ve explained, it is time we got down to business.” He threw out two pokéballs, Arrow having one join them. When they opened, Giratina and two Rayquaza were revealed. All three hovered vertically above them presenting an imposing image of power. “You should be honored, “Jerda said, stepping away with Arrow. “I have given you a warrior’s death.” The worm-like Pokémon above them began gathering power in their maws, the Rayquaza forming Hyper Beam and Dragon Pulse and Giratina gathering a Shadow Force.

    “OI! Jerda! Arrow! Screw you!” a loud speaker blared. Everyone turned their heads to see John’s ship hovering just above the ground, its laser cannons primed for attack. Hovering next to them was Izzy on her Hydreigon, Dawn and Raichu as passengers. Elation surged through Ash, giving him not only strength but resolve. He clenched his fist, imagined the closest soldier to be Jerda, and smashed him in the gut. The man reeled, but Pikachu blasted him with a Thunderbolt before he could recover. Paul took the initiative as well, having Magmortar use both arms to Flamethrower a massive gap in the circle.

    “KILL THEM!” Jerda screamed, and the dragons blasted the area with their combined powers. Ash ducked and rolled out of the way of the Hyper Beam, it cratering the area he had just been in, Paul had Honchkrow counter the Shadow Force with Dark Pulse just long enough for both of them to jump away, and Izzy’s Hydreigon blasted Arrow’s Raquaza with its own Dragon Pulse before it could attack.

    “Come on Pikachu!” Ash shouted, jumping atop Staraptor to escape the battlefield.

    “Rock Tomb Magmortar!” Paul called out, burying three trainers and their Pokémon under a mini-mountain of rock. “Return!” He allowed Honchkrow to take him in its talons, lifting him to Ash’s height.

    “Where’s Cynthia?” Ash asked him.

    “Still below,” Paul answered, “I think she’s fighting Arrow.” Ash eased Staraptor around, and Paul was right. Cynthia had a Togekiss out against Arrow’s Seviper, and both women were battling fiercely. The Consortium and TA soldiers had joined Jerda in attempting to bring down the oddly unmoving Sehkmet, blasting its shielded hull with unprecedented power.

    “Ash?” his com buzzed, John’s tight voice reaching his ear. “Can you have that Gliscor of yours get Cynthia out of that fight? We can take a bit more of Jerda’s army pounding us, but we need to regroup before goin’ on the offensive again The Sehkmet’s spent. I was just bluffin’ earlier, but Jerda knows that now.”

    “Sure John,” Ash replied, “just give us a few secs and we’ll all be outa here.”

    Paul, having heard the message as well, turned to him and asked, “So, plan?”

    “Weavile’d be a good choice for a diversion,” Ash instantly replied. “His speed’ll keep him outa trouble after the diversion works.”

    “I’ll send both Ursaring and Weavile,” Paul replied, back to his cold self again. “It ought to confuse Arrow. On my count…” They both urged their birds toward the ground, Ash appearing to take point against Arrow, Paul moving to retrieve Cynthia. “Switch now!” Paul ordered, and Staraptor barrel rolled over Honchkrow, Ash clinging on for his life. “Release!” Paul ordered again, and their Pokémon were in the fight. Gliscor unceremoniously grabbed Cynthia, she yelping in surprise and barely recalling Togekiss in time. Paul’s Weavile and Ursaring attacked Seviper, but even in the few seconds they were engaged, it was clear Seviper would have no trouble taking them both down. Luckily, Paul needed only to have them in the fray for an instant, and he recalled them as Honchkrow, Staraptor, and Gliscor pulled the three of them up and away from Arrow. Izzy and Dawn joined them, and Ash could see Dawn’s look of determination. Hydreigon and Honchkrow became their primary line of defense, blasting Dark Pulse at any soldiers intelligent enough to look into the air. John’s ship was now firing its hover engines, gaining height and speed. But despite its incredible prowess as a battleship, it had three legendary dragons bearing down on it.

    “Izzy!” Ash shouted. “You with me?!”

    “What do you have in mind?” she shouted back, apprehensive.

    “We’re all gonna die if John isn’t able to get away, and to do that, we have to stop the Rayquaza and Giratina!”

    “Oh, okay,” Izzy said falsely cheery. “I thought it was going to be somethin’ hard.”

    “Ash’s right!” Dawn bellowed in her ear. “If you don’t want to do it, I will!”

    “Chill,” Izzy hissed at her. “Hydreigon can take them.”

    “Garchomp!” Cynthia suddenly called out, leaping off Gliscor and onto her own Pokémon. “You’re going to need more dragon power if you want to take on those three.”

    “Gliscor, go over and get Dawn!” Ash commanded his Pokémon. He swooped over, narrowly dodging an Ice Beam as the rest pulled away from other moves aimed in their direction. Dawn jumped expertly to him, winking at Ash for assurance. He winked back, but his eyes were yanked away from her by Paul’s voice.

    “Dawn and I can run interference against the soldiers on the ground,” he said firmly. “Arrow and Jerda are on Giratina and Rayquaza now, get them if you can.”

    “Agreed,” Izzy replied, “let’s go.” Ash, Cynthia, Dawn, Paul, and Izzy split into their two parties, breaking around the retreating hull of the Sehkmet. Cynthia urged her dragon against Arrow, Ash and Izzy taking the fight to Jerda.

    “Fools!” Jerda bellowed out at them, his voice now mechanically heightened. “You cannot hope to fight against destiny! Dragon Claw!” Giratina’s tentacle arms slashed at them, lit with the power of the move.

    “Use your size to your advantage!” Ash yelled at Izzy, he and Staraptor swerving sharply to avoid a blow.

    “No duh Ketchum!” Izzy hissed back, “Now Hydreigon, Dark Pulse!” Her dragon gathered the energy, releasing the burst of black power at Giratina’s body. But before it impacted, Jerda’s Rayquaza intercepted, using Extremespeed to knock Hydreigon away. It followed up the attack with a devastating Hyper Beam.

    “Now bring John back here,” Jerda ordered it. “She won’t be bothering us again.”

    “In the words of a very correct man,” Izzy shouted, having retracted Hydreigon and using Purugly to grip the accelerating Rayquaza, “screw you!” At these words, Purugly’s tail lit up in an Iron Tail and she smashed it against Rayquaza’s snake-like form. Rayquaza howled in pain, coiling as it fell from the sky.
    “He’s distracted!” Ash said to Staratptor, urging his Pokémon on. “Use Brave Bird!” It was even riskier with Ash aboard, but he was now trusting his aura would protect him, at least to a degree. Staraptor exploded first into orange, then flaring blue power, it parting away where Ash sat. They were dead on, Jerda still occupied with recalling his injured Rayquaza. Instants before they would have connected, Giratina opened a hole in the fabric of the universe, dragging Jerda, Arrow, and all their soldiers inside. Staraptor curled up sharply to break his move and to avoid flying straight into the Distortion World, and when Ash glanced back at his companions, they were all injured, but not terribly so. Dawn was safe, so Ash’s only thoughts were of Jerda. He could not, now that he was out of death’s sight, reconcile with the idea that Jerda and Arrow were on the same side. His love for Zoey alone proved that much. Something had happened to him, and either Arrow or someone else was responsible. Whatever the reason, Ash was determined to find a way to reverse the drastic change in Jerda’s persona. By wordless consent, they flew on to the Sehkmet, knowing it was their only safe haven, and knowing too, that the greatest war in the history of the world was about to take place.


    Ash was with everyone around Zoey. She was crying, crying horribly. It was the first time Ash had seen Zoey emotional, positive or negative, and the sight disturbed him greatly. Dawn was on the bed with her, doing her best to comfort her, but it did little good. All she could mumble over and over was, “He couldn’t…He couldn’t…” With him in the room was Paul, Izzy, of course Dawn, John, a severely traumatized but alive Nova, and Cynthia. A team of John’s, one of the few he had not executed to take back control of the Sehkmet, had found them moved to a prison in one of the buildings. They had been brought aboard the Sehkmet just moments before the Kebechet’s destruction, along with Dawn’s lost pokémon. Saturn had been curiously absent from their group.

    “We’ll leave you to her,” John said gravely, mirroring the general mood and atmosphere of everyone present. “Come find us in the bridge when she’s fallen asleep.” Everyone turned and walked out, making their way to bridge silently as the grave.

    “That’s not him. That’s not Jerda,” Ash said once they had all taken the empty seats before the consoles. John had had to kill most of the crew, as they were loyal to Jerda to the death.

    “Are you sure?” Paul asked pessimistically. “I didn’t feel anthing odd in his speech.”

    “You wouldn’t be able to feel the emotion in a room of mourners Griffin,” Nova shot at him. “That doesn’t seem in his character.”

    “Yes it does,” Cynthia spoke up. “Jerda has always been ambitious, greedy, and rather cold. I thought Zoey had changed him for the better. That was clearly the wrong assumption.”

    “I agree with Ash,” John said. “I don’t think it was him. Somethin’ got in his brain.”

    “Could’ve been a psychic type,” Nova replied. “I’ve seen them plant words in people’s mouths.”

    “That’s a robotic speech pattern though,” Paul insisted. “He flowed too easily. He was too passionate.”

    “Arrow’s not psychic like him is she?” Ash asked curiously.

    “No,” Cynthia said firmly. “That much I know for certain. She’s too malicious to have held back all this time if she had the gift.”

    “What about split personalities?” Ash asked. “That wouldn’t surprise me. Arrow would have to know though….dang that wouldn’t work.”

    “No I think you’re on to something Ash,” Cynthia replied, sitting up straight in her chair. “I remember, very clearly, when I first met him after all those years, he was so different I hardly recognized him. I just took it to mean he had changed over time, but what if he hadn’t?”

    “But what could trigger a sudden resurface of this personality if that is what it is?” Paul asked, ever the skeptic.

    “It could be any number of things,” John answered, his voice intrigued by the idea. “He’s psychic, so he could’ve blocked a portion of personality away and set it to be taken down if certain events were fulfilled. But…dang, that would mean he would have to know the future.”

    “Or have a perfect plan in place,” Nova suggested. “I mean, Arrow could always have been ordered to steer events in the right direction. If we’re considering the multiple personality angle, that would make the most sense.”

    “But what’s the trigger?” Ash asked. “There was so much happening in the battle, what if his mind missed the trigger. That’s not exactly perfect if you ask me.”

    “Ash has a point,” Cynthia said. “If his plan is as diabolical as we think, he would never have left any variables open.”

    “What about Giratina?” Dawn asked. She stepped down into operating pit, taking a seat by Ash. “She’s asleep now, but I’ve never seen her like this. It could be a while before she’s back to normal.”

    “What did you mean about Giratina?” Paul pressured, ignoring Zoey’s plight. “What does he have to do with it?”

    “Cynthia,” Dawn asked, “could Giratina hide away a portion of someone’s soul in the Distortion World?”

    “Well I…” Cynthia stuttered, and her face became dark. “It’s not impossible. Giratina governs the Distortion World, so I imagine whatever rules he wanted in place there he could create.”

    “I would be a safer bet than relying on your own skill, as prone to errors as we humans are,” Nova added. “And, the trigger for Giratina giving him back his persona would have to be much simpler for him to identify. The battle itself may have the trigger.”

    “That still means that Jerda’s true goal was to take over the world with Arrow,” Ash said. “It’s kinda depressing.”

    “Kinda…” Dawn scolded. “Look at Zoey, that’s more than depressing.”

    “But the fact that he was so normal without it points to one inescapable fact,” Izzy butted in. “Evil is not something we need to live. He had love and was functioning perfectly.”

    “Your point…” Paul and Nova asked exasperatedly. They glanced at one another before offering each a scowl.

    “That evil in him can be taken out again,” Izzy said promptly. “We’ll just need a Pokémon as strong as Giratina to do it.”

    “Anyone have a legendary Pokémon on hand?” Nova asked sarcastically.

    “No…” Ash answered regardless. “But I know where we can find two that will help us, plus a battleship that’ll have no problem standin’ up to the Miasma.”

    “What?” Dawn said, eyeing him with confusion and shock.

    “Whatever you can tell us, we’ll be willin’ to listen,” John said.

    “Okay, there’s a place called the Vale in Unova…” Ash began, but was interrupted brusquely by Nova.

    “The Sword of the Vale is ancient, made of stone, and requires torturing a pokémon to power it,” she insisted. “And that aside, if the ship is removed, an energy well will contanmite the land around the city.”

    “I know, I know,” Ash said, breaking Nova off before she could shoot down his idea completely. “So all we need do is find substitues for all those things. I’m sure the Consortium has the means.”

    “Yeah, it probably does,” Paul said cynically, “but, remember, the Consortium is now no better than Arrow.”

    “I might be able to scrape some things together,” John said. “At the very least, we can get Reshiram and Zekrom from there.”

    “How’d you know about that?” Ash asked, having not even mentioned the two dragons.

    “The Consortium kept a careful watch on that whole situation while it happened,” John smiled. “We were goin’ to intervene only seconds before the Sword turned back around.”

    “Ash, this is nuts,” Dawn said as the others took stations below John in his command seat. “I mean, I know you survived meeting those two the first time, but that doesn’t mean…”

    “What choice do we have Dawn?” Ash asked her, earnestly and sincerely. “We have to bring Jerda back, for Zoey.”

    “And the world?” Dawn asked, though she took a position without further stalling.

    “Love means more to me now than the world ever could,” Ash said, kissing her before reporting to John that the course for the Vale had been plotted.
    Last edited by Jerda Foks; 15th July 2012 at 4:27 AM.
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  10. #35
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    That was shocking and almost cruel. I didn't see that coming at all, but I thought it was great character development for Jerda. The chapter reminded me of one of my favourite novels, Battle Royale because of the action in it.


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