Warnings: One of the main characters swears like a sailor. There's also mild violence, but a lot of it is quite literally censored. Except for one instance in which the aforementioned character describes creative uses for telekinesis. Soooo... squeamish should probably hit the back button.
Author's Note: This was written for Pokécommunity's most recent Small Writing Contest. (Because what is proper productivity on the stories I should be writing?) Or, rather, a version of it was written for the SWC. This is the version that came as a result of one of the judges' reviews, but if anyone is interested in the original, I could put that up too.
In any case, yes, this is the winning entry. Or the edited version of it anyway. The prompt I had to work with was "secrets," and you can blame the existence of this thing on many sleepless nights brought on by The SCP Foundation.
Also, consider this a Halloween gift. You're welcome!
INCIDENT SE-004-03, FILE 4, EXCERPT 1: Transcript of audio message sent from Cinnabar Island Police Department, Precinct 1, dated [REDACTED], recorded by [REDACTED] of Task Force Iota-7.
I hate dealing with children. Adults are predictable, and you don't get attached to them. When they're told about who we are, they only do one thing: panic. When they panic, we deal with them. Simple. But a child is harder. Some get scared, and in those cases, let's just say it's hard to look at myself in a mirror the next morning. The cockier ones try to fight us, and I can pass off what I do as self-defense if tell myself that it was enough times. And then there's the stupid ones who try to join us. We deal with those, but it's easier to do it with them than the other two kinds of kids because I don't have to lie to myself. I'm doing them a favor by not giving them the chance to be someone like me.
Between you and me, when I first met her, I couldn't tell which kind of kid she was going to be. She was already a mess when she came in, and you never can tell what those kids will do if you push them enough. They can fall into any category so abruptly that you can only run on instinct to react. Some get aggressive and try to attack us out of nowhere. Some try to bargain with us by attempting to volunteer themselves. And then you've got the ones who just get messier. But I'm just repeating myself. The point is, she was a mess. You know. Hair in tangles, clothing torn, probably dried blood all over her, that kind of thing. But what I remember most about her were her eyes. She had these huge ones, man. Huge. And although I'm used to seeing wide, terrified eyes, there was just something about hers, you know?
Don't get me wrong. I'm not a pedophile or anything. I'm just—it was creepy, okay? And people like me, we don't really get creeped out so easily. Crisis of consciences? We get those all the time. But not creeped out. You can't get creeped out if you work for the organization.
To be a little more accurate, there was one other thing I remember about her. She only had cuts and bruises. Minor stuff, according to the medics. Yeah, that doesn't sound like a big deal, but she went into the Dungeon. The fucking Dungeon. Not just any part of the Dungeon. No one gives a shit if the champion waltzes around on Level A or Level B. That's why the League's posted that guard. It's a champion's perk. But she was down on Level C. You know. Where that thing was. And that's only one of the things she could've found down there.
So, yeah, she was lucky to be alive. She's a trooper, really. I liked her for that.
That's the problem. If you're in my position, rule number one is never like the ones the retrieval team brings in. They call you the disposal team for a goddamn reason; you don't need to be getting all sentimental.
Anyway, where was I? Right. So they brought her in because no one's supposed to go down to Level C. That should've been sealed off with some of our own on a rotational shift near its entrance. That's how we contain that damn thing because you can't get within fifty feet of it without having it ripping your intestines out through your nostrils telekinetically. We don't know how she managed to do it; the higher ups think it let her. Arranged things for her. Put our guards to sleep or something just so it could meet her. That's part of the reason why she was brought in too, never mind the fact that she was a witness to the containment breach. They were going to ask her about that and about whether or not people knew about SE-004, and… well. Let's just say the entire disposal team was on standby for pretty much the whole fiasco.
So there we were. Plain concrete room, as per standard. Dr. Sage – y'know, the researcher in charge of the files on 004 – Agent [REDACTED], me, and the girl. And the girl looks at me with those big eyes, and I don't blame her for looking at me the way she did because I'm holding the standard-issue plasma cannon, just in case. I'd soil myself too if I saw someone standing in the corner of any room I'm in with that big of a gun.
But anyway, she's just staring, and finally, after thirty times of Agent [REDACTED] asking what her name was, she finally gives us an answer.
What kind of ass hole hippie parents name their kid Leaf? Answer me that one.
INCIDENT SE-004-03, FILE 3, EXCERPT 1: Recording of witness, subject LEAF GREEN, as conducted by DR. SAGE and AGENT [REDACTED].
Leaf? All right. My name is Agent [REDACTED]. This is Dr. Sage and our associate [REDACTED]. We'd like to help you, okay?
GREEN (voice low)
That's a good girl. Dr. Sage?
Thank you. Hello, Leaf. I'd like to ask you something that might be hard for you right now, but we need to know to help you. Is that okay?
Good. Now, think back. Can you remember what happened right before we found you?
I can't tell you. I need to show you.
It's okay, Leaf. You can talk to me in front of my friends. We won't hurt you.
Not you. Not worried about you.
Who are you worried about, Leaf?
It can hear us through the wires.
INCIDENT SE-004-03, FILE 4, EXCERPT 2: Transcript of audio message sent from Cinnabar Island Police Department, Precinct 1, dated [REDACTED], recorded by [REDACTED] of Task Force Iota-7.
You know how I'd like to die? By volcano. Now hear me out. You've heard of Pompeii, right? It's this little island off the coast of Italy or something. Something Mediterranean.
Anyway, hundreds of years ago, this little island was part of this huge empire you hear about all the time, right? And they just lived completely ordinary lives for God knows how long. But see, the thing is that the town on Pompeii had this volcano looming over it, right? And then one day, out of nowhere, the volcano just erupts. Just like that. Erupts out of nowhere. And there's ash and mud everywhere.
So the people there didn't have a chance to get away because the majority of the island was covered in mud and ash or whatever within minutes, and only a handful of Pompeiians went, "Oh shit, there's a lava flow coming."
Fast forward a few hundred years, and some archaeologist goes to Pompeii and digs a little, and under all that hardened mud and ash and whatever, he finds the entire town perfectly preserved. Like, the people there? Perfect casts of them. It must've been creepy as hell to see the Roman Empire or whatever right there.
And I started thinking about it, and I realized that either way, volcanoes are a good way to go. Either you burn up until nothing's left of you, or you leave behind this perfect mold of your entire body for some poor bastard to dig up centuries from now. It's like if you don't die quickly, you're immortal, like a piece of art hidden away for whatever generation comes along and finds you.
INCIDENT SE-004-03, FILE 3, EXCERPT 2: Recording of witness, subject LEAF GREEN, as conducted by DR. SAGE and AGENT [REDACTED].
Leaf, I'd like for you to meet my good friend Xatu. He's going to help you show us what happened.
(XATU calls briefly.)
Will that be okay, Leaf?
(Pause. AGENT [REDACTED]'s notes indicate that she nods at this point.)
Good. Xatu, use Psychic, please.
(Due to XATU's psychic abilities, the recording distorts for 37 seconds. This span actually represents a period of 16 minutes of the actual interrogation according to AGENT [REDACTED]'s accompanying notes.)
DR. SAGE (voice low)
I see. Is that all that you can remember?
Now, Leaf, if you want us to help you, you'll need to be completely honest with us.
Will Red be okay?
INCIDENT SE-004-03, FILE 4, EXCERPT 3: Transcript of audio message sent from Cinnabar Island Police Department, Precinct 1, dated [REDACTED], recorded by [REDACTED] of Task Force Iota-7.
She wasn't alone down there, by the way. That's as much as I could glean from the reports. She had a brother. You ever heard of Red? The League crowned him champion when we rearranged everyone's memories to make people forget about Leaf. Red wasn't that bad either, but he wasn't incredible.
Anyway, yeah, she convinced the League to let her take him down to the Dungeon. It was supposed to be some kind of brother-sister bonding thing where they went to the depths of that place to train and explore and maybe – I don't know – roast marshmallows over a campfire or whatever. But then they went to Level C, and something supposedly happened down there.
What am I saying? Of course something happened because 004 escaped. Or nearly did. Not to mention that when the retrieval team found Leaf, there was no trace of Red.
They eventually found the kid. Red, I mean. He's on Mt. Silver. I say he is because we haven't bothered to move him or anything. We don't really deal with mute people, after all. They don't do much talking, you know?
In any case, he'll probably be the only one besides us who will remember the girl. Leaf's getting erased from public memory. It's a safety precaution, really, so no one else tries to bother 004 again.
I don't get why we don't just kill the damn thing.
INCIDENT SE-004-03, FILE 3, EXCERPT 3: Recording of witness, subject LEAF GREEN, as conducted by DR. SAGE and AGENT [REDACTED].
Leaf, I have one last question for you.
The journals that were in your backpack when we picked you up. Where did you find them?
Cinnabar. Old place. The fire pokémon live there.
Did anyone other than you know where they were?
(Pause. AGENT [REDACTED]'s notes indicate that she nods at this point.)
Who, Leaf? Please tell me.
Thank you, Leaf.
[REDACTED]. Cinnabar Island.
Burn it all.
INCIDENT SE-004-03, FILE 4, EXCERPT 4: Transcript of audio message sent from Cinnabar Island Police Department, Precinct 1, dated [REDACTED], recorded by [REDACTED] of Task Force Iota-7.
So finally getting to the point, I put the charges in the volcano and dosed most of the island with my butterfree's Stun Spore, just like you asked, Agent [REDACTED]. It's like you said: quick and simple. Just press a button, and in five seconds, everyone who knows about 004's going to be blown to Hell. Except for the mute kid, those dicks at Team Rocket, and you, of course. Hope you ass holes are happy. And yeah, I said you, not us. I'm sending you this message from Cinnabar's police department to let you know that I'll be going with the rest of the island.
Guess what I'm trying to say is I regret to inform you that I will be resigning from my position at your organization, effective immediately. My reasons are largely on moral grounds, although I will always appreciate my time working with you.
Not really, but I figured you wouldn't process this properly if I didn't sound professional for five seconds. Either that, or you'll reanimate my corpse because I'm still technically part of the organization. I know some of the other SE's can do that shit, and let me tell you right now that I will go George Romero on your ass if you try it.
Anyway, yeah. Tell her brother I'm sorry. That's all I ask.
INCIDENT SE-004-01: Psychic imprint of subject LEAF GREEN'S memory as conveyed to DR. SAGE.
(GREEN kneels behind a boulder beside a boy – RED, according to accompanying materials concerning this incident. The only lights in their location comes from a pair of flashlights they hold between them and a blue glow on a slope several meters away from them. Not much else is visible. The glow does not illuminate anything, and the flashlights only illuminate part of the children's legs and the slope back to the underground river they used to access this area. XATU does not relay any other sensations to add to this imprint except cold air and distant pokémon calls.
ADDENDUM FROM DR. SAGE: This location has been identified by Task Force Beta-15 as the southeast corner of [REDACTED], level C.)
It's like it's waiting for us.
RED (speech is broken and faltering)
GREEN (looks towards RED)
Yeah. It's just standing there staring at us.
I'm gonna catch it.
(GREEN laughs but keeps her voice low. She leans her entire body away from RED so she can look around the boulder to locate the blue glow. One of her hands reaches into her backpack to pull out a round, plastic object the size of her palm.)
Relax. I've got a Master Ball, remember? It'll take three seconds, tops. Promise.
I don't think that's a good idea.
Oh really? And why not?
I don't know! I just think we really, really need to leave it alone and get out of here.
Red, this could be the strongest pokémon of all time. The strongest pokémon! There is literally no entry in the pokédex for it. Do you get what that means?
Besides, I'm the champion. It's not like it's gonna hurt me or anything. If something bad happens, I've got six strong pokémon who can deal with it, okay?
C'mon. You've got nothing to be worried about. I've got a Master Ball. I earned the Earth Badge. Three seconds, it'll obey our every command.
Leaf, I really don't think we should—
Seriously, Red, if you're that scared, let out Charizard or something.
(GREEN moves away from the boulder and starts up the rest of the slope to the blue light. Twenty-seven seconds later, she hears a pop and a growl. She looks over her shoulder to see RED and a charizard partially hidden behind the boulder; the charizard's tail flame adds additional light to the area. Both RED and the charizard lean to the left just enough to stare at GREEN. GREEN's body shudders and turns back to the blue glow, and she notices that it has reacted to charizard's presence. It appears brighter to her, and now, she can see the silhouette of a tall, thin, humanoid figure whose eyes are the sources of the blue light. At this point, XATU relays the adrenaline spike associated with fear.)
Why isn't it moving?
(She hesitates. [Memory vague on exact time frame. Accurate transcription impossible.] Then, she runs forward and throws the object she retrieved from her backpack. The object, the aforementioned "Master Ball," connects with the figure's shoulder and activates by splitting open and emitting a white light that engulfs its target. After this point, the light is drawn back into the ball, which shuts and drops to the ground. Once it lands, it rolls on its own back to GREEN's feet. She reaches for it.
At this point, the psychic imprint failed to record approximately 6 minutes of GREEN's memory. It has been classified as lost time.
GREEN stands at the bottom of the hill. She looks behind her at the peak and finds it completely empty. Then, she turns back to face forward just before taking a step backwards. In her hand, she holds a flashlight nearly broken in half. It is coated with something she realizes is warm and sticky. At her feet is RED, who is kneeling in front of her as he whimpers and visibly shakes. In the light of the charizard's tail flame, GREEN can see that his hat is off and that a laceration runs from the lower temple to the chin.)
Red! Oh God!
(GREEN drops the flashlight and reaches for him. Before she can touch him, the charizard roars and grabs its trainer with its claws. RED begins screaming incoherently, causing GREEN to scramble backwards.)
Red! Oh my God! Red!
(The charizard draws the still-screaming RED into its arms. GREEN attempts to run forward and grab RED, but the pokémon swings its wing at her. At this point, GREEN's vision blurs as her body is knocked into the side of the hill. XATU's psychic imprint registers acute pain in the upper back, matching a bruise noted on the staff's initial physical examination of GREEN upon arrival to Facility [REDACTED]. By the time GREEN's vision resolves itself – once she sits up – the charizard and RED have disappeared. GREEN sits and pants for 4 minutes in darkness.)
Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God, what did I do?
(She stands and starts pacing in circles on the riverbank.)
Oh God! What did I do? What did I do?
(Abruptly, she stops. Her head drops slightly, and she stands completely silent and still for an additional 6 minutes. At the end of this time period, an object contacts the side of her left foot. She reaches down to pick it up, and as she holds it at arm's length, her vision registers it as the Master Ball. It emits a blue light from its core.)
Trainer. Take me outside.
GREEN (voice low)
ADDENDUM: INCIDENT SE-004-01, FILE 1: Journal entries recovered by LEAF GREEN from wreckage of [REDACTED] on Cinnabar Island.
(NOTE FROM DR. SAGE: The following journal entries chronicle portions, but not all, of the discovery of SE-005, the creation of SE-004, and Incident SE-004-01. Much of the journal has been severely damaged in the destruction of [REDACTED] and cannot be replicated. As such, this document is only a partially complete record, with replications based on editorial conclusions as to what the original text might have said.)
Guyana, South America
A new pokémon was discovered deep in the jungle.
We christened the newly discovered pokémon, [SE-005].
[SE-005] gave birth. We named the newborn [SE-004].
[SE-004] is far too powerful. We have failed to curb its vicious tendencies…
Dr. [REDACTED] has disappeared. According to claims made by several members of our peers, [SE-004] is responsible. We do not yet have the data to explain this.
Pieces of Dr. [REDACTED] has been found. We have made arrangements to cremate him. All efforts to contain [SE-004] have failed.
Several members of our team claim to hear [SE-004] constantly, despite the fact that it is contained in [REDACTED]. It is difficult to sleep…
Nurse [REDACTED] has died. She walked into [SE-004]'s containment cell and [DATA EXPUNGED]. Her body has been removed, and we [DATA EXPUNGED].
Six others have died. We have attempted to prevent three others from succumbing to [SE-004], but that has provoked [SE-004] itself. The rest of us have barricaded ourselves as deeply in the laboratory as possible, but it will be no use. [SE-004] has sent [REDACTED] to find us. They have already cut our communication lines.
Every night, we hear them. They're coming for us. [SE-004] talks to me too now. We have not slept for three days.
The others are coming. They want to cut us open. They say Im [sic] the last one. [SE-004] shows me things when im [sic] awake now. We didn't know that (The entry ends here.)
He hears us through the wires that's how he (The entry ends here.)
The banging has gotten louder and [SE-004] is still here Always here
im so sorry
burn it all burn it all burn it all burn it all (This repeats for three pages. The third ends abruptly, implying that there may have been other pages at some point.)
He has asked us to open the door and look into the light, and we have. There is no god there but [DATA EXPUNGED].