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Thread: [PG-13] Cannons to Heaven

  1. #26
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    Harry


    “James Recognized My Killjoy Octillery’s Crazy Cool Lagoon.”
    -Planetary Mnemonic taught to Hoenn schoolchildren to learn the order of the planets in the Corona System; Jasandax, Ramdyne, Maridia, Kazmar, Olintus, Calmencia, Camashk, and Loranes.

    Capitol Building, Evergrande City
    Hoenn


    Harry Kim’s copy of Candide had been restored to its rightful position at the top of his bookshelf. As an optimist, he knew that idolizing the book was certainly a strange choice. By all interpretations, Candide was a complete rebuke of the philosophy of optimism, or at the very least Leibnizian optimism. Yet, the rather bleak black and white world described by Voltaire contained the mythical utopia of El-Dorado, a post-scarcity society wherein all its people acted rationally. Voltaire designed the city to be impossible (and Kim was well aware of this reality), yet its inclusion in a starkly evil world seemed to show to Kim that Voltaire thought the idea of a light in the darkness to be an attractive one. Considering the less than reasonable foundation that El-Dorado was built on was just as ridiculous as that of the always nefarious outside world, Kim firmly believed that El-Dorado was in fact an ideal to strive for. Even if he didn’t hit the mark, at least it wasn’t as bad as the fictional world called “Earth.”

    If one must live on “Earth” in lieu of El-Dorado, Voltaire recommends at the end of the novella to “till your own garden.” Essentially, solve your own problems, as that’s really that only thing one has control over. Kim, who had studied economics at Mossdeep Point Military Academy, identified Voltaire’s solution to dealing with the world’s evil to be remarkably similar to the solution to the Tragedy of the Commons problem. As had been posed to him in Economics 101, the Tragedy of the Commons is when no one owns a certain resource, so it is used to extinction by all parties involved. The solution to this problem was to privatize said resource. A common example was overfishing of Magikarp in certain parts of Maridia where fishing rights were not regulated. When certain waters were given private ownership, the fishermen were careful to fish only as much as they needed so the Magikarp would breed and replenish the resource. To Voltaire, privatizing one’s “garden” prevented others from doing evil unto their “crops” yet gave them enough incentive to improve their portion of the massive garden that was Maridia.

    The problem, of course, came from the fact that it was impossible to privatize an overarching society or the planet they all lived on. And with humanity’s collective culture—societies, governments, planet, and general way of life—threatened by…

    Harry Kim shuddered at the thought. He couldn’t think about it now… he still had much to do today.

    Regardless, it was for this purpose that Harry Kim saw to it that he himself save the world. He had sacrificed his entire life to the Commons, living as a political ascetic, in hopes that his willpower alone would be enough to direct the aggregate of human activity towards the stars… and more importantly, towards safety. In a way, Kim was the element that the Tragedy of the Commons problem did not account for: an altruistic agent.

    A report from Liberty’s Crusade indicated that the squad had met heavy resistance from the Blades gang in the Pyrite slums. They had lost two squad members, both former DARK commandos. What was more troubling to Kim was that Neo Winterfield had gone missing several days ago. According to Shairii Woldrac’s report, the Crusade had interrogated a captured Blade whom revealed that Winterfield was alive, but had been sold to DyneTech for experimentation. The thug revealed to Woldrac that the Blades had been informed by DyneTech to expect a strike team from Hoenn. Bron Krad immediately put DARK’s current Commander, Liam Saki, on the case to find and plug the leak.

    “Mr. Winterfield, Liberty’s Crusade is doing all they can to locate your son,” Kim reassured Nathaniel Winterfield over the phone. “They have confirmed him to be alive. And, honestly, Neo has gotten himself out of worse scrapes than this one. Worrying isn’t going to do anyone any good right now.”

    “I know you’re right, but I can’t help it. You’ll understand when you’re a father,” the elder statesman told Kim. “Regardless, as far as I’m concerned, I raised him right. I need to put my faith in him.”

    “Good! Anyways, if you need anything, don’t hesitate to call. And I’ll see you at your campaign event in Rustboro tomorrow?” Kim gracefully tried to end the call. The mountain of work building up was becoming daunting.

    “Yes. I look forward to seeing you there (and getting it out of the way).”

    Jonathan Frisby, Kim’s Vice-President burst into the room moments after the call ended. The force of the door would have put a hole in Kim’s wall had it not been for the doorstop. Frisby was a seasoned politician from Oldale. Kim had recruited him when he was seeking election to balance out his ticket and garner votes from the older, more conservative citizens of Hoenn. In their official capacities, the two barely worked together. The Vice-President position, if anything, was primarily ceremonial. He couldn’t afford to waste someone from his inner circle on that position.

    “President Kim, we received a phone call from Raidon Makoto moments ago. He wants to speak to you,” Frisby recounted. “Should I pass him onto DARK?”

    Raidon Makoto was a man that Harry Kim hoped he would never have to speak to again. They had only spoke once during the Sevii Islands Conflict. Never had he met someone so vain and callously unaware of the consequences of his actions. Makoto and his band of pirates were nothing more than agents of chaos whom put existed only to put a wrench into the works that were civilized society. “Put him through to me.”

    “Yes sir,” Frisby said, and scurried out of the room. A light on Kim’s phone began to blink moments later. Makoto had been parked on Line 4. Kim gingerly picked up the phone, put it to his ear and pressed the blinking button.

    “This is President Harris Kim of the Hoenn Council. For what reason do I have the pleasure of speaking to you today, Mr. Makoto?”

    “Oh, I’m so glad to finally be speaking you. That hold music was awful,” Makoto quipped. Kim didn’t even try to fake laughter. “I have a proposition for you, Harry.”

    “What is it?” Kim said. He was fairly certain the answer was going to be no, as he was fairly certain Aqua had nothing to offer him other than blackmail or coercion.

    “We’ve come across an interesting piece of information regarding a terrorist cell in Kanto that would just be overjoyed to see you bite the dust. They call themselves “The New Order,” Makoto explained.

    “DARK is aware of the groups’ actions, yes,” Kim commented.

    “Yes, but do they know the location of their headquarters?” Makoto offered. That is an interesting piece of information. As far as I know, we’ve never been able to track them down to a central location. Kim accessed the Sapiento Network, DARK’s information aggregate, and pulled up the classified file on The New Order to confirm his suspicions. “We’re willing to trade you this information to a battery of cruise missiles for the Deathwing. They’re just so hard to come by on the black market these days.”

    Kim had to laugh at that, “Ha, that’s a good one! No way in hell, Makoto. The last thing I need to deal with right now is a scandal. I can just see the headline: “President Kim sells weapons to rogue PMC. Is Hoenn safe?””

    “No one needs to know,” Makoto tried to negotiate.

    “It doesn’t matter if anyone knows or not. That’s just so morally reprehensible I don’t even want to think about it—you’re just not going to do anything positive for anyone with those missiles.”

    “But—” Makoto began.

    ““But” nothing. Good day, Makoto!” Kim exclaimed.

    “You’ll be sorry,” Makoto threatened before Kim slammed down the phone.

    --

    Evergrande International Airport, Evergrande City
    Hoenn


    The sun was setting in the west as Kim boarded his private jet to Rustboro. He had a very kind endorsement written for Nathaniel Winterfield that he was sure would win him re-election within his district. Besides doing a favor for a very dear friend, Kim needed Winterfield to maintain order in Parliament. Kim needed a legislative body that would behave for him in order to see his plans to fruition.

    His tie flapped in the wind as he ascended the steps when he phone began to buzz. He saw it was Bron Krad. “Harry, DARK has found the leak.”

    “Really? Tell me more.” Kim asked.

    “We traced a message sent to Orre revealing the existence of Liberty’s Crusade back to Orson Barkley. Would you like DARK to take care of him?” Krad inquired.

    “Not yet. Let me think this over.”
    Last edited by rust; 19th March 2014 at 6:18 AM.

  2. #27
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    I have to respectfully disagree and insist that death is worse than being ostracized. There are fates worse than death, but that's not one of them.

    Nice and eventful chapter, explaining how that operation went from the previous one. I look forward to seeing how you use my second character. And now your character is mad. That's never good.

    You put an unnecessary space in But. I think you wanted spelling criticisms.
    Last edited by bronislav84; 18th March 2014 at 1:50 PM.

    Banner by the illustrious Avenger Angel

    Bronislav is my Name and 1984 is my Birth year. If you can't say my name, just call me Bron or Slavik.

  3. #28
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    Great chapter. That's ssooooo like Harry. XD

    Didn't catch any mistakes, and I felt the opening of the chapter was particularly fascinating. Definitely a great opening when it comes to really getting under Harry's perspectives and capturing him as the Lawful Good philosopher.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by bronislav84 View Post
    Nice and eventful chapter, explaining how that operation went from the previous one. I look forward to seeing how you use my second character. And now your character is mad. That's never good.
    Liam only has a cameo for now. He'll come into his own when I introduce Norton Whitehall in the next book.

    You put an unnecessary space in But. I think you wanted spelling criticisms.
    Fixed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Avenger Angel View Post
    Great chapter. That's ssooooo like Harry. XD

    Didn't catch any mistakes, and I felt the opening of the chapter was particularly fascinating. Definitely a great opening when it comes to really getting under Harry's perspectives and capturing him as the Lawful Good philosopher.
    Thanks bro! Glad I have the characterization down. I have to say, Harry Kim has been my favorite character to write so far. I'm actually really attached to him.

  5. #30
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    Chapter 3: Dark Acts of Infamy

    Landon

    “Ditto hybrids are some of the strangest creatures we’ve created. They ostensibly become a Ditto, as they have complete control over their transformative abilities, yet, unlike the Ditto, they are limited by the law of conservation of mass. However much ‘stuff’ each Ditto hybrid has is the amount of ‘stuff’ they’re able to use to transform into. This restriction causes certain large transformations to be scaled down. However, this research could prove useful in two aspects. The first is the military applications of Ditto hybrids—they create the perfect units for espionage. The second is that Ditto hybrids experience the same difficulty that the HRT team is encountering when trying to transform hybrids into full Pokemon: the basic laws of physics.”
    -DyneTech Project Marth Research Journal #347

    Motel 16, Rustboro City Outskirts
    Hoenn


    Landon Torvald felt different. It wasn’t a painful kind of different, but an interesting kind of different. His body felt much more fluid, as if he could move it around in any at any position. As a human, he always felt as though his body’s homeostasis was stable. Now it required effort to ensure he maintained a human form. Moreso, the world around him felt just as fluid as his body. It was almost as if he could pass through anything just as much as anything could pass through him.

    These new experiences caused Torvald to experiment on himself to try and find the limits of his newfound powers. The first thing he found out was that he could no longer feel pain. No matter how many times he stabbed himself, fell down, or jammed his head into the bedpost, he felt nothing. The object would just go straight through his skin and be absorbed by his gelatinous form. He also found that there were limits to his transformations. It seemed that, despite how big he concentrated on being, there was a certain maximum size he could achieve. The maximum size also varied on how complicated the form was. He also found that he could mimic clothes with his powers, but the fabric would feel… fleshy. He liked to think that the clothes he imagined on his body had the same consistency of a human skin wallet.

    In the privacy of the Motel, Torvald ceased concentrating on maintaining a form and let his body assume its natural state. As he found, his natural state was a humanoid form that resembled his original human size, however, his body was pink and gelatinous like a Ditto.

    Torvald had come to Rustboro because he knew Harry Kim would be here. He clutched a magazine with a re-election advertisement for Nathaniel Winterfield, claiming that Harry Kim and Hans Vehlstein would be speaking at his rally tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. He was determined to pay Kim back for the hospitality that his agents in Aqua provided on the Deathwing a little over a week ago.

    The transformation into a Ditto hybrid was absolutely serendipitous for Torvald. It would now require no effort to get close to Kim. All he needed to do was kill someone that was scheduled to be on the stage and take his or her place. He only had a few hours to figure out who would be in Winterfield’s entourage, so he had to get to work.

    Using a good chunk of the New Order’s remaining funds, Torvald purchased himself a laptop computer. It wasn’t anything fancy (in fact, it was the cheapest model he could find that would turn on), but it got the job done. Landon set up an open source social media monitoring channel to sift through all major social media channels about certain subjects. He entered in every keyword and hashtag he could think of that would only give him entries about the rally tomorrow.

    Most were comments expressing excitement over the rally tomorrow or condemning Nathaniel Winterfield and Harry Kim over their reluctance to put boots on the ground in Orre. Other comments were analyzing rumors about a recent outbreak of fighting in Pyrite Town. Some conspiracy theorists were professing that they were a squad of Hoenn soldiers and were pleading with the collective consciousness of the Internet to ask Kim for a comment on it tomorrow. Torvald deleted those comments instantly; he thought that they were crazy.

    And then… bingo. A tweet from Rustboro City comptroller Drahvin Vargas appeared on Torvald’s screen, as if a gift bestowed upon him by Arceus.

    “Excited to have been invited to speak at the Nathaniel Winterfield rally tomorrow! Look for me on stage.”

    Torvald input Drahvin Vargas’ name into a personal information database at paid $10 to get everything available on Vargas, including his home address. He wrote down the address and transformed into the form of a bystander he had seen earlier this morning (what he had designated as his “incognito form”) and exited the motel. He liquefied and broke into the nearest car, squeezing himself through the cracks in the door. From there, hotwiring the car was just like riding a bicycle—you never forget how.

    It was a pleasant fifteen minute drive as Torvald watched the Rustboro houses progressively get nicer as the city transformed from slum into gated community around him. He pulled up to Vargas’ address, parked the car, and broke into his house much in the same way he broke into the car.

    At the top of the stairs and to the left, Vargas was sleeping peacefully next to his wife. Torvald, now in his natural state, crept up to the married couple and put his hands on their mouths and noses, plugging them with his goop. Both of their eyes sprang open as they collectively shot up and tried to fight the pink home invader. Their kicks and punches were futile—they just went right through Torvald.

    After a few minutes of struggling, the two finally stopped moving. Landon threw them to the ground and studied Drahvin Vargas carefully for a moment. Closing his eyes and picturing the now vivid image of Vargas, he assumed his form with one added twist: he replaced Vargas’ fingers with that of the fingers he absorbed from his torturer on the Deathwing. Grabbing a knife from the kitchen, Torvald mutilated the bodies just to make sure they were dead.

    According to the report he purchased, the Vargases had no kids and no pets. Ergo, there were no other witnesses for him to dispose of. Torvald imagined himself in a very nice suit and left the house (this time using the door). Once he re-entered the car, he went over a mental checklist of things left to do. I suppose I should crash the car before I show up to the party.

    He grabbed his bag from the backseat which contained his laptop and one other, very special item. He forced the item into his abdomen. This will be the final experiment on me. Kaede would be impressed by my scientific approach.

    He was ready to finally meet Harry Kim, face-to-face.

  6. #31
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    Ha ha, and yeah, this is why we usually ban Ditto hybrids/Pokémorphs. XD

    Reminds me a lot of the T-1000, but again, this does a great job of gathering up the suspense. Again, checked for spelling/grammar mistakes, but I didn't notice anything that really stood out. But then again, I'm not too good at catching those, I usually get way more engrossed into the story than to be on the lookout for typos...

  7. #32
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    Neo

    “Kate, I love you! I want you to be mine and me to be yours from now until the end of time.”
    -Neo Winterfield proposing to Kate Masters

    DyneTech Labs, Realgem Tower
    Orre


    <Neo! You must awaken!>

    Winterfield woke up in his cell with a cold sweat. The same vision filled his head every time he fell asleep for the past week he spent in captivity. He dreamt himself falling into the sea and descending into its depths. A few minutes in, he would run out of air and try to breathe the water to little effect. He would convulse underwater, trying as hard as he could to reach the surface for a life-saving breath but would never make it. Just as he was on the brink of death, a four-winged dragon that swam like a fish saved him from death, filling him with all the oxygen he could ever need in his life.

    The near death experiences were just as traumatic each time. With every successive dream, Winterfield felt like he was slipping closer and closer into the bony fingers of Death, the shade saving him only after he had abandoned all hope. Each night, Winterfield gave up on life only to have it forced back onto him. The shade would impart to him that he needed to use this gift for the good of the world. Winterfield liked to imagine that it was the voice of Harry Kim telling him this.

    The dreams were the only thing to occupy his mind. His prison cell was a 5x5 concrete room with only one door. They didn’t even have the courtesy to pad the walls. Winterfield had a hunch that DyneTech didn’t particularly care if their captives did themselves in; there was a large, head-shaped blood splatter in the corner of the room. When he wasn’t analyzing and re-analyzing the dreams he was having, he tried to imagine who occupied this cell before him and what it was that caused him to finally snap and end it. Was it the boredom? Or did DyneTech do something to him that was just unimaginably cruel?

    The other thing that disturbed him was that he had become a Pokemon hybrid, but he was unable to tell exactly what he was. The light was too dim and there were no mirrored surfaces within the cell. All he knew was that his arms had become winglike, his skin was much smoother, and he had a tail.

    Winterfield tried to remain hopeful, as Harry would encourage him to do, but with each day it got harder. He was no longer able to walk. The first torture DyneTech put him through was putting a bolt through each of his Achilles’ heels. Crippled for life, Winterfield was only able to move by crawling. How am I going to continue in the military? I suppose they could transition me into Vehlstein’s position early. That, of course, required Vehlstein to retire early. In his delirium, Winterfield had convinced himself that he would be tenable to that option once he saw Winterfield’s condition. Regardless, he held onto the idea that he had some future. Harry Kim would never let him fall on his back without helping him back up. That was the kind of man he was.

    <Fool. Why delude yourself? You’re done. You’re just sitting here waiting for them to inject you with some infernal cocktail of drugs and then to put a bullet behind your eyes. Why lie to yourself? At least be honest in your final moments. They can write that on your epitaph. Neo Winterfield the Honest. Died like a sniveling dog in a foreign country without even the honor of a battle.> Winterfield knew cabin fever was getting to him. It was getting harder and harder to shake the voices, thinking out loud the thoughts he tried to hard to suppress.

    A slat under the door opened and thrust a clay dish full of water and moistened bread particles into Winterfield’s cell. It was his daily alms. Like a rabid dog, he descended upon the “meal” absorbing every calorie he could while soothing his dry, raspy throat. Once it was all gone, he licked the dish clean just to make sure he had gotten everything. It was automatic. He didn’t even think about how to attack the food. He just went for it. DyneTech was turning him into an animal! He threw the clay dish at the concrete wall in disgust with himself, breaking the surface into a few shards.

    Noticing the edges on the clay, he briefly flirted with ending it all. An image of Kate flitted through his mind. No matter what future he imagined, bright or dark, Kate was there, by his side. She was his rock, just as much as he was hers. He put the piece of clay down and the door was yanked open. Two very tough-looking men in all black pseudo-military garb had opened the door. They were flanked by a blonde woman in a lab coat. The nametag read “Dr. Amy Anderson.”

    “Prisoner ZZ-456,” Dr. Anderson read off of a chart. “Come with us.” One of the bodyguards clipped a chain to Winterfield’s collar and they walked him down the hall like a dog and to the left. Having two automatic rifles pointed at him, Winterfield had no choice but to comply. Once he was in the room, he saw two things: a large, green vat and a metal cross.

    “Dr. Massadar, here is the next test subject for the HRT vaccine,” Dr. Anderson told the bald, bespectacled man. He bent over and checked Winterfield out, holding open his eyes and putting his finger in his mouth to inspect his gums. It took all of his willpower to not bite down on Massadar’s finger, despite the immediate hatred he felt for the man.

    “He will do. String him up, boys,” Dr. Massadar said. The two bodyguards dragged Winterfield the remaining five feet and lifted him onto the cross, tying him into place. One of them tore off his remaining clothes, revealing his nudity to the entire room. There was a mirror directly facing Winterfield now. He took a quick look and was instantly able to recognize the Pokemon he had forever fused with: Lugia.

    “A Lugia hybrid. This one will be interesting for sure. I imagine we’ll be able to do great things with you in our private army,” Massadar taunted Winterfield. “After we transform you, all we need to do is close off your heart to the world, and you’ll be a brainless killing machine. Harry Kim will be too afraid to question our rule of Orre a second time.”

    “You know?” Winterfield spat out.

    “Oh, of course we knew. Lieutenant General Winterfield. Or do you prefer being called Neo?” Massadar asked. “Regardless, yes, we knew. Our cashflow runs deep in your country.”

    “What are you going to do to me?” Winterfield asked, eyeing the vat.

    “That right there is a vat full of liquefied stem cells extracted from Mew DNA. Basically, they’re wildcard biological matter. It can turn into anything. We’re going to put you in there, inject you with a drug we call the Hypo-retroviral Transformation, or HRT for short, and see what happens.”

    It was sick. Massadar smiled. It was as if he was completely aware of the fact that he no longer had any scruples. “What ever happened to the patient’s consent, Doctor?”

    “Science must march on, Neo,” Massadar said. He pushed a red button on a computer console and a winch began to whir behind Winterfield. “Now, don’t worry about the stem cells. They’re oxygenated. Just breathe deeply when you go for a dip and let it fill your lungs.” The cross was lifted up into the air and then put into the vat. Winterfield held his breath, but was unable to keep it held for long. He inhaled the green liquid. It was uncomfortable for a minute, but Massadar was right. The goop was breathable.

    {Insert Song: Signal to Noise by Peter Gabriel (Starts at 6:50)}

    Two needles descended upon Neo from each side and directly pierced his arms, straight into the bone. The payload from the needles burned like razor blades. Winterfield screamed. His body began to hurt all over, as if he was melting into a pile of ash. His heart raced faster than it ever had in his entire life. He wanted to upchuck the contents of his stomach despite the fact that there was none. He felt like he was gaining weight rapidly. On a panel across the way, he saw that his heart rate had elevated to 300 beats.

    “This is the point wherein the previous experiments died of heart attacks. Let’s see how this one goes,” Massadar said to Anderson.

    <Stay strong, Neo.>

    He tensed his muscles. As he tensed, he felt them enlarge as well. The length of his neck expanded as his head poked above water. Winterfield let out a mighty roar of pain. His wingspan had lengthened significantly. They curled around the spherical surface of the vat, desperately trying to fit. His feet, now with only two toes and a dew toe, were placed firmly on the ground. The rope keeping him on the cross had broken. Sensing his opportunity, Winterfield roared again and spun around rapidly.

    He was now a full Lugia.

    He leapt out of the vat, charging at the equipment, destroying it in one blow. The soldiers immediately opened fire. Winterfield batted them away with such force that they died upon impact with the wall. He roared again! Massadar slammed down on a button and fled the room with Dr. Anderson. Several metallic walls began to close around the experiment zone, but they meant nothing to the demigod that Winterfield had become. He flapped his wings with such a fury that the metal sheared from the wall and flew through the wall separating the lab from the prison.

    He sling-shot himself down the hall, bursting open the doors of each of the captives’ prisons along the way. He was their guardian angel, freeing them from their undue punishment. Winterfield was harrowing hell and no one could stop him.

    He continued his rampage into the next room, bursting through the walls until he was able to find a window. He cracked it open and emerged, feeling the sun upon his body for the first time in a week. The warmth felt good. He began to flap his wings once again at one of the struts keeping Realgem Tower in place. Scientists and businessmen alike were fleeing in the pneumatic tube system set up in front of Realgem. Let them flee! Someone must know what I did on this day. Their hearts will shudder with fear the moment someone suggests further experiments on people.

    He pierced through the second strut, knocking the whole building over. Winterfield focused hard on the collapsing tower of smoke, gently guiding it down with only his mind. He didn’t want to unnecessarily kill the prisoners he had just freed. Once the tower touched down, the adrenaline wore off. Winterfield fell to the ground in an instant.

    He briefly closed his eyes, and then re-opened them. Shairii Woldrac and Patrick Costello were standing next to him, holding his wing. The other members of Liberty’s Crusade were seeing to Winterfield’s wounds. “Shairii… Patrick…” Winterfield mumbled before passing out.
    Last edited by rust; 20th March 2014 at 12:27 PM.

  8. #33
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    Oh sweet, I have a new favorite chapter.

    Very, very different from how this event happened in the RP, but I love this take on it and it's packed to the brim with incredible, fascinating themes. Neo's grasp on mortality, questioning his humanity, his humility, and dozens of others. Compared to what happened in the RP, this makes a heck of a bigger statement and does it in a much more interesting way. And at the end, it really does make you wonder about Neo's future and what kind of impact becoming a Lugia is going to have on his mind. As a Pokémon that typically withdraws into seclusion because of the kind of accidental collateral damage it can do, that definitely puts a whole new spin on the way he will behave as a military operative for sure.

    I also thought the dream he has before the incident was a nice touch. I already know what it alludes to, but... I'm keeping that little tidbit under wraps.

    However, I did catch one slight flaw. Not a biggie, and I'm sure it could be fixed with a quick correction.

    This:

    The first torture DyneTech put him through was putting a bolt through each of his Achilles’ heels. Crippled for life, Winterfield was only able to move by crawling.
    And this:

    “Prisoner ZZ-456,” Dr. Anderson read off of a chart. “Come with us.” One of the bodyguards clipped a chain to Winterfield’s collar and they walked him down the hall and to the left.
    With the second part, they'd probably have to be either dragging him or strapping him to some kind of stretcher to get him to the experiment room. But that's just a minor observation. Everything else is really good and the way Neo goes nuts as a Lugia... I enjoyed that very, very much. Many thanks.

  9. #34
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    A/N: 1 of 3.

    Harry

    “Orders? –BK”
    -Message received by Harry Kim after arriving in Rustboro City

    Rustboro Conference Center, Rustboro City
    Hoenn


    Rustboro was the largest city on the eastern seaboard. In recent years, it’s become the home of several large tech development companies. The largest of these was Samkat & Trevor, a private engineering lab. They made everything from plastic strips to guns to spaceship fuselages. Kim had seen a bill through the Parliament last year giving certain companies like Samkat & Trevor extensive tax breaks in order to reward them for the good work they were doing on the Hoenn space program.

    Upon waking up in the penthouse suite of the Rustboro Conference Center, he had received a message from Bron Krad regarding the first crucial thrust of Hoenn’s space program: the Daisi Voyager. According to Krad, the Daisi satellite filed another report this morning and Kim needed to be briefed on the news upon his return home. Kim texted Krad back and thanked him for the update. Krad instantly replied: “What about that other pain in your ass?”

    “Still unsure,” Kim sent back. He then hauled his ass out of bed, noting how much better he felt in the morning with five hours of sleep instead of the usual four. He went into the hotel bathroom to make himself decent and put on his black suit and red tie. He finished the ensemble off by inserting a Hoenn flag pin in his suit jacket flap. He looked at his neatly-preened dressings, a holdover habit from the Hoenn military, and saluted himself in the mirror.

    He heard a knock at the door. Kim looked through the hole to see that the familiar suit-and-sunglassed form of his bodyguard, Jimmy Bends. He opened the door to let Bends in. “Morning sir. I’ve brought you some coffee and the morning paper.” Kim snatched the coffee out of Bends hands and quickly gulped down the life-saving liquid. He then sat down on the couch and unfurled the paper.

    “You know what’s funny about the newspaper, Jimmy?” he asked.

    “The funny pages?” Bends made his best attempt at verbal repartee.

    “First of all, don’t quit your dayjob. You have no future in stand-up comedy. Second of all, no. The headlines are always about some conflict or tragedy in the world.” Kim pointed to the current headline “Bombing at Realgem!” “It makes you think that there’s nothing out there beyond Hoenn’s borders besides suffering, killing and hate. The headline is never “Peace Breaks Out In Maridia for the 1,134th day in a row.” Kim explained referencing the armistice agreement made with the Sevii Islands more than three years ago. “Which, by the way, speaking of this headline, have I received a report from Orre yet?”

    “General Vehlstein wanted to brief you himself when he saw you downstairs,” Bends explained. Kim’s heart dropped. Something like that never meant anything good. He was afraid that Vehlstein was going to be the bearer of bad news. Instantly, his mind turned to the subject of Neo Winterfield. Don’t be dead. You can’t be dead. We still have so much work left to do. Kim shot straight up, dropped the paper, and trashed the disposable coffee cup.

    Kim and Bends took the elevator down the conference center, wherein the media and guests were already beginning to gather for the campaign rally. Kim was immediately swarmed by hungry journalists, looking for the next big story: “President Kim, do you have any comments on the bombing of Reaglem Tower this morning?” “President Kim, what do you say to rumors that the Realgem incident was performed a Hoenn commando squad?” “Eyewitness accounts say that a legendary Pokemon destroyed Realgem. Does this match your intel?”

    Kim opened the door to the main conference room and said to the reporters, “I have no comments right now. I am literally right about to be briefed about it.” The pair entered the empty conference room. Nathaniel Winterfield was at the podium practicing his speech. General Vehlstein was sitting behind him, checking his cell phone. “Nathaniel, Hans, it’s fantastic to see the both of you this morning.”

    “Harry, thank you so much for coming out to the event and supporting me. I’m pretty sure I’ll win re-election, but it’s good to remind the people of Rustboro who their elected representatives are once and again,” the elder statesman said.

    “And I’m quite surprised you showed up to this, Hans,” Kim teased. “This isn’t your kind of thing.” Vehlstein scornfully stared at Kim, crossing his arms.

    “Well, I couldn’t have my son come out here to stand next to me, so I made sure I had the next best thing,” Winterfield laughed, patting Vehlstein on the back. Vehlstein snarled at Winterfield.

    “Anyways, I heard that there’s a report from Liberty’s Crusade?” Kim said.

    “A report? You didn’t say anything about this, Hans,” Winterfield said to him.

    “That’s because it’s classified, President Kim,” Vehlstein explained.

    “I mean, I was going to tell Nathaniel anyways, since it pertains to his son,” Kim explained.

    “I’ll give you the full debrief after the event. The reporters are making me uneasy and we’re really going to need to masterfully craft our response to this one. They fucked up. Big time.”

    “Please at least tell me Neo’s alright?” Kim pressed.

    “…he’s… alive.”

    “Oh, that’s fantastic news!” Winterfield cheered. Tears were visible in the corners of his eyes. Kim had the feeling that he had been worrying about his son a lot more than he had previously let on.

    Kim ascended the stairs and took a seat between Vehlstein and Winterfield. The local delegation that was to fill out the rest of the stage started petering in. Kim greeted and shook hands with each one of them. Mayor Ryan Vander, Secretary Max Rayner, Comptroller Drahvin Vargas, and several local trustees were the first to file in. “President Kim, it’s fantastic to see you again,” Vander said to Kim.

    “Likewise Mayor…” Kim looked down at the nametag on the mayor’s lapel, “Vander.”

    “And Mr. Kim, let me say, I am so happy to finally be able to lay eyes on you. My real eyes on the real you,” Vargas said while shaking Kim’s hand. He’s a little… off. I’ll just smile and nod. He’s probably just nervous. Once security gave the room an A-OK, reporters and guests started to permeate the doors of the room, occupying the hundreds of seats in the audience. The room was packed in only a few minutes. Reporters had set up their equipment on the edges of the aisles. The stage-dwellers were bathed in the light of camera flashes. Camera flashes were on of the few things Kim still could not stand since the war. Each time he saw one, his first though was that it was a flashlight-wielding guard from the prison camp coming for him at night. Luckily, Kim was able to keep this impulse in check in public.

    The mayor got up and stood at the podium, thanking the audience for their presence and telling a heartwarming city about how Nathaniel Winterfield had once helped him help out the city. Vander went into his personal appeal for why Winterfield deserved re-election and then introduced Harry Kim to the audience.

    The flashes intensified as Kim got up to the podium. He wiped sweat from his brow and put his hands on each end of the podium. Kim had no need for notes; he had memorized his entire speech on the plane ride to Rustboro.

    “Nathaniel Winterfield is one of my absolute favorite men to work with in Evergrande,” Kim began. “Never have I met a more jovial person than him. Whenever he comes into my office, it’s always with the biggest smile you could imagine plastered on his face. Even when the prognosis was grim during the darkest days of the Almia Crisis last year, Winterfield brought an air of levity and relief to the room. I would have not made it through the Crisis had it not been for his good spirits. Evergrande would truly lose its most valuable asset were Winterfield to not win re-election.

    Besides his personable nature, Winterfield has been instrumental in the creation of some of Hoenn’s most important pieces of legislation in his last term. The recent Space Program, which created more than a thousand new jobs for Hoenn, everywhere from janitors up to rocket scientists, is thanks to the tireless efforts of Nathaniel Wintefield. I tell you, Winterfield isn’t just a politician. The man is a statesman, and one of rare breed these days.”

    Kim paused to take a breath. Immediately, one of the members of the audience shouted “WARMONGER! YOU ATTACKED REALGEM!” Another person on the other side of the room butted in “DON’T TAKE US TO WAR, MR. PRESIDENT.” A third heckler concurred, shouting “WARMONGER!” Security tried to remove the harassing individuals from the room, but they resisted, screaming and shouting all along the way.

    Kim stopped his speech, looked at the rogue members of the audience and said “As long as I am breathing, this world will not go to war!”

    {Insert Song: Going Home by Paul Robeson (Starts at 0:17)}

    Kim blinked. The next thing he knew, he was lying on the floor at the foot of the podium. He couldn’t feel his arms and legs. His chest was covered in blood. His ears rang. He looked over to see what was once a stage was now a smoldering hole in the ground. People were running around screaming. He opened his mouth to yell for help from Bends, but he choked on smoke before he could say anything.

    Standing above Kim was the specter that watched him every night as he tried to sleep. The black, bony demon that Harry Kim saw at the bottom of the Nasmar Temple in the Sevii Islands after he had escaped the prison camp the first time haunted him in all his moments of weakness since. It put a claw up and stroked Kim’s cheek, insanely smiling all the while. This creature was what he worked to fight every single day. After Kim laid eyes on its corpse-like body, he rededicated is life to saving humanity from it. The election, the space program… It was all a carefully crafted measure to keep another world war from awakening this beast. <Oh, poor Harry. You really thought you could save the world from little old me? Peace? That’s quite the joke. I’m coming back, and there’s nothing you or Arceus can do to stop me!>

    Kim looked at the nightmare with an intense hatred solely reserved for the creature. He raised his hand in an effort to wring the creature’s neck, but everything faded to black before he reached its pipe-like neck.

    HARRY KIM exits stage right.

  10. #35
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    A/N: 2 of 3.

    Landon

    “Ever since Landon’s parents died, he’s just been… off. He inherited their entire fortune and decided to waste it trying to destroy the world’s political systems. It’s kind of sad. He keeps talking to me about all his “followers” even though I know the truth: he’s the only one.”
    -Private Journal of Kaede Kuyokisaka, childhood friend of Landon Torvald

    Rustboro Conference Center, Rustboro City
    Hoenn


    Infiltrating the conference center was easy. Once Mayor Vander saw him in the form of Drahvin Vargas, he waved him over to his group of local politicians. “Vinnie! How are you and the wife?”

    Torvald almost had to suppress a laugh, “Oh, we’re fine. The wife is home today watching me on TV.”

    “I was wondering why you didn’t have her in tow,” Vander observed. “Well, anyways, let’s get through security and get our seats. Today should be good. Oh, Vinnie, how are the finance reports going? Do you think we’ll be able to put them up on the city’s website next week?”

    “Pfft, next week? They’ll be ready tomorrow,” Torvald lied.

    “Oh that’s fantastic! Remind me to buy you a drink when they open up the bar,” Vander promised. They walked over to the line to get into the conference room. Torvald presented the stolen Drahvin Vargas’ stolen ID to the security guard. He waved the metal detection wand over Landon’s abdomen to check for any foreign objects. Unsurprisingly, it started beeping.

    “Sir, do you have something metal in your pockets?” the guard asked.

    “No, I have a… hip plate,” Torvald explained. He couldn’t have the security guard find the bomb before he delivered the payload.

    “When did you get a hip plate, Vinnie?” Mayor Vander asked.

    “I’ve always had it, don’t you remember?” Torvald tried to lie his way out of the situation. The guard waved over a Growlithe to the line. The anarchist assumed that it was a bomb-sniffing Growlithe. Alright, don’t panic. If they find the bomb, all I need to do is detonate it early. Cut my losses and run. The fire Pokemon sniffed around Torvald a few times and then walked away.

    “Checks out,” the guard said. Torvald pushed through the door, eager to get as far away from the police as possible. Vander led him up the stairs to the seats on the stage. To Landon, it felt weird to see so many people below him… watching him. His every move was being evaluated by hundreds of people in a room and millions more watching from home.

    Harry Kim came up and shook Mayor Vander’s hand first. He then moved on to some of the other city officials. Finally, he came to me. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Vinnie. The mayor here tells me you’re one hell of a comptroller. We need to get you working for Isaiah in the Treasury.”

    Don’t blow it. Just act natural. It isn’t time yet. “And Mr. Kim, let me say, I am so happy to finally be able to lay eyes on you. My real eyes on the real you.” Fuck! That was totally stupid.

    Kim smiled at him, blow air out of his nose like he thought my greeting was funny, and then retreated back to his seat. He exchanged a few comments with Hans Vehlstein while waiting for Mayor Vander to start the show. Once a few people nodded at Vander, including Harry Kim himself, the local politicians rose from his seat and began speaking. His speech was mostly fluff. It was just some inspirational story about Nathaniel Winterfield. The man was a pencil pusher, not an orator, and it showed. Badly. Kim tried hard to keep his composure and not laugh out loud. At least, that’s what Torvald thought.

    Kim then got up to say a few words about Nathaniel Winterfield. However, in the middle of the speech, the audience started to heckle him, calling him a “WARMONGER.” The irony was not lost on Torvald. Kim didn’t want war—he was the world’s secret leader after all. Why would he destroy his own property and his own underlings’ lives? Regardless, Torvald was waiting for just the right moment to blow the roof off of the party. “As long as I am breathing, this world will not go to war!” Kim declared. Time to stop breathing, Torvald thought.

    He concentrated on separating each individual cell in his body, yet remaining a singular sense of one-ness. He then activated the bomb inside of his stomach, sending pieces of himself flying all over the room and reducing the stage to ash. The city politicians and Hans Vehlstein died instantly from the shrapnel. Nathaniel Winterfield was blown to the other side of the room and slammed into a wall. Kim, however, laid in the area between the audience and the stage. People, understandably, were screaming their heads off. Many of the people in the first row caught shrapnel with their faces. Those that survived were trying to get the attention of someone that could help them seek urgent medical help.

    The reporters though swarmed on Kim’s body like vultures to a corpse. Kim reached up to the sky with his hand in a vain attempt to right himself. The muscles in the arm failed and the arm dropped. He rolled over. The political paparazzi committed every moment to celluloid, but not one went over to help him until he stopped moving.

    One of them finally gathered the courage to go up to the corpse and put his fingers on the body’s neck. He felt it for a few seconds and said “He’s dead!”

    Those that surrounded the body gasped in shock. Several people started crying. Others immediately started filming stories with Kim’s lifeless corpus merely a background prop. Many, for generations to come, would ask “Where were you on the day Harry Kim died?” Torvald would always have the best answer: right in the middle of it.

    He started to think about becoming one entity again. The Ditto goop started to centralize around ground zero of the impact. Once he was sure he had most of himself together, he moved himself towards a nearby air duct and out the back door of the conference center. Waiting for him was his bag with laptop and a disposable cell phone. He flipped out the phone and punched Kaede’s number into the keypad.

    “Oh my god, Landon, where you? It’s awful. Someone killed Harry Kim!”

    “Kaede! I did it! The puppetmaster is dead!” Torvald exclaimed. “The New Order is back in business. Anarchy will spread like wildfire with the one world leader dead and buried.”

    “You did what?” Kaede said, shocked. “Landon… this is serious! I never thought you meant it when you said you were going to… oh my God. It’s my fault. I enabled you.”

    “What are you talking about, Kaede?” Torvald replied. At least, he would have replied had Kaede not hung up the phone. Torvald was alone again, a ringing dial tone the only thing keeping him company. Alone? Haven’t I always been alone?


    Scoreboard
    Hoenn Council - 0 Points
    Aqua PMC - 0 Points
    The New Order - 1 Point
    Cult of Ketsuban - 0 Points
    [LOCKED]
    [LOCKED]
    [LOCKED]
    [LOCKED]
    [LOCKED]
    Last edited by rust; 22nd March 2014 at 9:19 PM.

  11. #36
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    A/N: 3 of 3.

    Mike

    Here’s to you, President Kim.
    Let your seeds unite to fight ‘im.
    At last this final moment is yours.
    Through agony you triumph!

    -“Here’s To You” by Ennio Morricone & Joan Baez, rewritten for Harry Kim’s funeral

    Slateport Superdome, Slateport City
    Hoenn


    It all happened so fast after the Rustboro bombing. In an instant, Harry Kim’s life was snuffed out of existence. Kim’s death left a void not just in Hoenn, but in the world. And like any void, all of the mass around it is trying its damndest to fill in the space.

    Kim, Vehlstein, and Winterfield all had their bodies taken to a local mortuary in Rustboro for their families to pick-up and make arrangements for a funeral. Winterfield’s was the first to be taken by his wife. Vehlstein’s was picked up by his grandchildren. Harry Kim’s sat there for two days before it was claimed by a DARK Officer named Jason Kiev. As it turned out, Kim had no living family, no romantic flames, and no other non-political connections. He lived his entire life in the public’s eye as a political ascetic so that nothing could be used against him; or, as Mike Anone mused, so nothing petty could stand between him and world peace.

    Kiev had been educated in anthropology and archaeology. He was an archaeologist by trade and made his living working for DARK analyzing and protecting objects of historical significance worldwide. He had been sent on a reconnaissance to the Sevii Islands to mark objects that needed to be protected from the horrors of war, but was discovered and captured by the Seviicks. He was then thrown into the prison camp on Birth Island where he met Harry Kim and another DARK agent whom was so deeply undercover that Kiev could only identify him as “BK.” The group spent three years confined together and, according to Kiev, he was instrumental in helping Kim plan the revolt. As per Kiev, the three of them remained very close after the war. Even Harry Kim had a private life, as much as he worked to eradicate it from public scrutiny.

    Unsurprisingly, at the public funeral held for Kim by the Hoenn Council, Kiev was asked to deliver the eulogy as “the person that knew him best.”

    The archaeologist ascended the stairs of the huge stage that had been constructed in the Slateport Superdome only the night before to speak to a crowd of 100,000 people. On the field itself, foreign leaders and dignitaries sat in folding-chairs that functioned as VIP seating. Behind Kiev was a black marble coffin and a sixty foot portrait of Harry Kim above it. A torch burned on top of the casket.

    {Insert Song: Here's to You by Ennio Morricone & Joan Baez}

    “Thank you all for coming out on this black, black day,” Kiev began. Several of the foreign leaders nodded. Marlene Spiro, Chairwoman of the Sevii Islands Coalition, sat in the front row smiling like a lunatic. She hated Kim and couldn’t have been happier to hear of his death. Anone sat in the front row of the VIP seating next to the new Secretary of War and the new Vice-President.

    (A/N: Indented and italicized sections are flashbacks to the day before the funeral that Mike is remembering as Kiev speaks)

    “I am calling the first meeting of the Hoenn Council under the newly sworn-in President Jonathon Frisby to order,” Vice-President Bron Krad said. To Anone, the meeting room just did not feel the same without Harry Kim’s energy. There was no longer and unspoken “head” of the round table that they sat at. As the conversation bounced across the room, so did the social control. No one in the room had the same energy or charisma as Kim. He had been replaced with a pack of politicians.

    “Our first order of business is replacing General Vehlstein,” the new Secretary of War Norton “Norb” Whitehall said. Whitehall was a Fallarbor man who had been drafted from the Parliament to run the War Department. Under Orson Barkley and Nathaniel Winterfield, he was the senior-most Parliament member. “President Frisby and I have talked it over, and we would like you to become to the new General of the Hoenn Army, Mike.”

    “Me?” Anone asked, flabberghasted. “What about Neo Winterfield?”

    “Have you
    seen Neo?” Frisby ejaculated. “They did some pretty twisted experiments on him in the DyneTech Lab. He’s not even human anymore… He’s a god damn Pokemon. We cannot let an animal be in charge of Harry Kim’s army! Mike, you’re the only person with the experience that we can let run the show here.”

    “The world could not have ever had a greater loss than that of Harris J. Kim. At only 28 years old, he still had lifetime ahead of him to make new strides in world peace and the betterment of the human condition,” Kiev detailed. The archaeologist frequently stuttered while talking, pausing to wipe the beginnings of tears from the corners of his eyes. Anone wouldn’t be surprised if he started straight-up bawling on stage. “I met Harry under less than ideal conditions. The two of us had been selected for invasive interrogation at Camp Alpha on Birth Island six years ago. From there, the shared trauma we experienced in… hell on Maridia… forged a friendship that I hoped would last my lifetime. I am proud to call Harry Kim my best friend.”

    “Well then, I humbly accept this honor you have bestow-” Anone began.

    “Cut the PC crap, we’re in private and we don’t have time for it, General,” Frisby barked. Anone immediately stopped talking.
    Harry never would have said that… he thought.

    “The next thing we need to deal with is cleaning up Neo Winterfield’s mess. How are we going to respond to Realgem?” Frisby asked. “Needless to say, it’s going to cause an international incident if we don’t handle this delicately. We never officially declared war on DyneTech Inc. or their land holdings. They’re not Kirvestä, thus, we have no politically justified reason to launch a commando strike on Orre.”

    “I’m sorry, did you just recognize DyneTech as the legitimate political leaders of Orre?” Bron Krad asked. “Because it sounded like you just did.”

    “Yes. They have the strongest claim to legitimacy right now and the last thing we need is a god damn PHT Missile in the middle of Evergrande,” Frisby replied. “I talked to Norb and Orson Barkley about this yesterday, and they think that this is the best course of action.”

    “Orson Barkley?” Krad almost yelled. “The man is a traitor and should have been hanging in the gallows
    yesterday. He sold Neo out to Orre and DARK has proof-”

    “Yes, that sounds like a great idea! The president dies and we go out and issue proscriptions to kill his enemies in the streets for “treason.” Do you have any other fantastic ideas, Julius?” Whitehall fired back, referencing the Shakespeare play
    The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.

    “This is a non-issue right now. Let’s deal with the problem at hand. All we need to do is deny, deny, deny. Liberty’s Crusade were unmarked soldiers. We just say that they weren’t ours. They’ve got no proof it was us other than hearsay. Any leftover issues can be smoothed over with the right investments here and there.” Isaiah Carnegie finally contributed his two cents.

    “We were fortunate to have been exposed to him during his brief stay on Maridia. Although his dreams were not allowed to reach fruition during his lifetime, Harry planted the seeds of something even greater than himself in his two years of public service. Hoenn’s space program looks to be a resounding success. We could see ourselves exploring Maridia’s moon within the year and sending rovers to Ramdyne and Kazmar within the decade,” Kiev continued.

    “We can always count on Isaiah to make sense,” Krad said. “The final issue we need to figure out today is our response to Kim’s assassination. The forensics department in DARK has reviewed media footage and determined that Drahvin Vargas was not the actual bomber, it was someone in disguise. We sent agents to the Vargas household and found that both Vargas and his wife had been murdered. Fingerprint analysis shows that these murders had been committed by an escaped prisoner from Mauville Penitentiary that now associates with Aqua PMC named Leigh Reynolds. He also goes by the name of “Finch.” Raidon Makoto has already denied these claims, saying that Finch Reynolds was with him in Fiore when the incident happened. However, considering that Makoto called Kim on the phone only a few days ago to threaten him, they have both the motive and the resources to carry it out.”

    “The answer is obvious: we send the Hoenn Allegiance Navy after the boat that they stole and send them to Kyogre’s lair. They’re just a bunch of mercenaries,” Anone said.

    “Yes, but Aqua also serves as the official army of Fiore. Declaring war on Aqua is declaring war on Fiore and the Sevii Islands by proxy and perhaps extension,” Krad replied. “It might just be better, particularly in memory of Harry Kim, if we just let this one go.” Anone hadn’t realized the systemic connection Aqua had with other world powers. Krad was right; it would bring on a war over the death of Harry Kim. It wasn’t the way he wanted to be remembered.

    “Before we waste time discussing this, let’s just put it to a vote. How many people think we should annihilate Aqua?” Frisby suggested. Everyone in the room, save Anone, Krad, and Carnegie, raised their hands. “Mike, a sudden change of heart? We can’t have a pacifist general.”

    “I was abstaining,” Anone explained. “In this room, I follow orders. I don’t make them.”

    “Vehlstein wouldn’t have abstained,” Frisby replied.

    “I’m not Vehlstein.”

    “Regardless, it looks like its decided. We will declare war on Aqua to avenge Harry Kim.”

    Kiev was wrapping his eulogy up. He finished with, “O God, please give Harry Kim back! I shall keep asking of you!” The waterworks then began to flow as Kiev exited the stage. Anone then sat through several more hours of speakers; most were foreign leaders trying to commiserate with Hoenn’s loss. Finally, Kim’s pallbearers rose to walk the casket to the hearse outside the stadium. Kiev, Krad, Anone, and a fourth man wearing a trenchcoat dutifully walked the casket down the aisle, bathing it in the eyes of the thousands of present spectators and millions of spectators watching at home. Kim was a man that lived, died, and was buried in front of the entire world.

    Once the casket was placed in the hearse, Anone put his hands in his pockets. He fumbled with a vial in his left pocket containing Kim’s final gift, left to him in Kim’s will.

    “Mike:

    I was happy to finally sway you over to my side in our debate on optimism. In the event of my passing, which I was reminded of after I spoke to Raidon Makoto recently, I need you to use this for the good of Hoenn. While I love Neo, he’s still a bit too green to fully realize the magnitude of this gift. It is a Crystal of Power, much like the Crystal of Energy that Richard Morgan discovered in Orre.

    “This one, however, is the Crystal of Weather. I was given this when I found myself in the ruins of a Nasmar Temple following my initial escape from the POW camp on Birth Island and it was what I used to spark the revolt in my final escape. As the name describes, it has the power to control the weather of the area around you. This area of effect increases depending on the strength of your willpower.

    “Do not, under any circumstances, touch the Crystal with your bare hands. In fact, try your best to not even look at it. When one is directly exposed to a Crystal, it destroys their mind. This is the true reason Pahaa Kirvestä was so hellbent on capturing this Crystal and why I ultimately had to have him killed. As a weak-willed person, the mere
    thought of a Crystal was enough to drive him over the deep end.

    “Do not become like Kirvestä, Mike. Keep it safe and use it only for the good of man. And whatever you do, do not give the Crystal to anyone. These Crystals have the power to end reality as we know it.

    -Harry Kim”

    Yes, Harry, Anone thought. I shall accept this final wish and carry your burden. The trust you placed in me shall not be misguided. I will save the world for you.


    Crystals of Power
    Crystal of Vision - Aqua PMC [Kanto]
    LOCKED [Johto]
    LOCKED [Hoenn]
    Crystal of Weather - Hoenn Council [Sevii Islands]
    Crystal of Energy - Hoenn Council [Orre]
    LOCKED [Fiore]
    LOCKED [???]
    Last edited by rust; 22nd March 2014 at 9:16 PM.

  12. #37
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    ^ MASSIVE 3-POST UPDATE ABOVE THIS POST. ^

    Quote Originally Posted by Avenger Angel View Post
    Ha ha, and yeah, this is why we usually ban Ditto hybrids/Pokémorphs. XD

    Reminds me a lot of the T-1000, but again, this does a great job of gathering up the suspense. Again, checked for spelling/grammar mistakes, but I didn't notice anything that really stood out. But then again, I'm not too good at catching those, I usually get way more engrossed into the story than to be on the lookout for typos...
    Honestly, I think with the limits I set on Landon, it'd be fair game for a RP.
    Quote Originally Posted by Avenger Angel View Post
    Oh sweet, I have a new favorite chapter.

    Very, very different from how this event happened in the RP, but I love this take on it and it's packed to the brim with incredible, fascinating themes. Neo's grasp on mortality, questioning his humanity, his humility, and dozens of others. Compared to what happened in the RP, this makes a heck of a bigger statement and does it in a much more interesting way. And at the end, it really does make you wonder about Neo's future and what kind of impact becoming a Lugia is going to have on his mind. As a Pokémon that typically withdraws into seclusion because of the kind of accidental collateral damage it can do, that definitely puts a whole new spin on the way he will behave as a military operative for sure.

    I also thought the dream he has before the incident was a nice touch. I already know what it alludes to, but... I'm keeping that little tidbit under wraps.

    However, I did catch one slight flaw. Not a biggie, and I'm sure it could be fixed with a quick correction.

    This:



    And this:



    With the second part, they'd probably have to be either dragging him or strapping him to some kind of stretcher to get him to the experiment room. But that's just a minor observation. Everything else is really good and the way Neo goes nuts as a Lugia... I enjoyed that very, very much. Many thanks.
    I'm glad you enjoyed it. I fixed the part you mentioned. I had intended for it to mean "walked like a dog" as in, on all fours. There was some dissonance between the image in my head and what I had described.

    --

    So killing off Harry Kim was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in writing so far because I honestly really liked the character. I know I revealed a lot of plot twists in the last three chapters. Let me know if they need to be clarified.

  13. #38
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    First off, I think these latest additions were definitely great. It's interesting, your style reminds me quite a bit of the way Tom Clancy wrote stuff like the Sum of All Fears and novels like that as a great mix of combat, suspense, and political aspects as well.

    And yeah, some of the best moments are in those few lines that leave a powerful punch. Like this one:

    Quote Originally Posted by rust View Post
    Regardless, Torvald was waiting for just the right moment to blow the roof off of the party. “As long as I am breathing, this world will not go to war!” Kim declared. Time to stop breathing, Torvald thought.
    And this:

    Quote Originally Posted by rust View Post
    “This is a non-issue right now. Let’s deal with the problem at hand. All we need to do is deny, deny, deny. Liberty’s Crusade were unmarked soldiers. We just say that they weren’t ours. They’ve got no proof it was us other than hearsay. Any leftover issues can be smoothed over with the right investments here and there.” Isaiah Carnegie finally contributed his two cents.
    Can't help but say, the way you turn up the political fire with this stuff... it's very sweet and spicy.

    As for mistakes, didn't really catch any this time. Keep up the good work.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avenger Angel View Post
    First off, I think these latest additions were definitely great. It's interesting, your style reminds me quite a bit of the way Tom Clancy wrote stuff like the Sum of All Fears and novels like that as a great mix of combat, suspense, and political aspects as well.

    And yeah, some of the best moments are in those few lines that leave a powerful punch. Like this one:



    And this:



    Can't help but say, the way you turn up the political fire with this stuff... it's very sweet and spicy.

    As for mistakes, didn't really catch any this time. Keep up the good work.
    It's kind of funny you commented on both of those lines. I sort of wrote those off the cuff. Those weren't the few lines I spent a while crafting XD. Goes to show that the first try is sometimes the best.

    The Tom Clancy comparison is quite generous. I appreciate it.

  15. #40
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    Kent

    “The Church of Ketsuban deeply mourns the death of President Harris Kim. However, its tremors have made the world a very dangerous place. We, as children of Ketsuban, have no choice but to arm ourselves in order to protect our right to worship as we choose.”
    -Statement made by the Church of Ketsuban following Harry Kim’s assassination

    Ketsubian Compound, Blackthorn City
    Johto


    The High Flaafies of the Church decided to fly Kent Tousaka out to their compound in the mountains of Blackthorn City. As the car that brought Tousaka from the airport to the compound pulled up to the gate, he saw hundreds of fires being maintained around the compound. Tousaka found it strange – the PHT Virus would still be able to blow into the compound despite the fires “purifying” the air. They must have been purely for create a false sense of security for the denizens of the religious building.

    The bespectacled driver showed Tousaka through the main entrance of the building and into the lobby. He was amazed at just how much the room shined. The marble floors were spotlessly clean and all the gold leaf accents were polished to a sparkle. He saw a monk bent over on the other side of the room, cleaning the floor with only a toothbrush. “The labor is an exercise of faith. Sometimes, Ketsuban places irksome yet necessary tasks upon us. Performing this labor with a smile on one’s face demonstrates the principle of reverence to Ketsuban,” the driver explained.

    Tousaka took another look at the deathly-thin monk and said under his breath, “PokeGod, I choose you.”

    From the top of the spiral staircase emerged a man in a highly ornate brown robe. Depictions of various Pokemon, particularly Mareep, had been sewn into the very fabric of the robe. He removed the hood as he descended the staircase to meet the preacher. “Kent Tousaka, our star preacher in the field. I hear that no one can electrify a sermon like you.”

    “I suppose my reputation precedes me,” Tousaka replied good-naturedly. He shook hands with the holy man. Tousaka had never met him face-to-face before, but everyone in the church knew Ampharos Davion Bardem. The plump man shook Tousaka’s hand and then enveloped him in a great big bear hug.

    “Well, the churches you preach at all have received a huge bump in donations from their flocks. I’d say the numbers speak for themselves,” Bardem said. Tousaka wanted to slap the arrogant smile off of his face. This is the man that stole my memories.

    “I live to serve the One True PokeGod,” Tousaka said.

    “PokeGod, I choose you,” Bardem replied with a laugh. He put his hand on the small of Tousaka’s back and led him into through the house into a dining room. A long table stood in the middle surrounded by expertly crafted chairs. There wasn’t a single straight line in the room. Every piece of wood had been carefully curled with a lathe. He ran his hand across the table. Mahogany, he thought. Bardem plopped himself down into the seat at the head of the table and a servant brought out a bowl of soup and a fresh bread crust. “Anything for you, my boy? Soup? Meat? Meade?”

    “Oh, milord, all these things are far too decadent for my pious palette. A stale bread crust will do,” Tousaka replied in a show of faux-humbleness. I woke up one day two years ago, unable to remember a damn thing from the three years prior and found myself to suddenly be married to an expecting wife and a respected preacher within the Church of Ketsuban. It didn’t add up to Tousaka. The Church did something to me in those three years. If I can find a way to replace Bardem, I’ll have access to all of the Church’s records. I’ll be able to find out exactly what happened.

    “How is Nayuki?” Bardem asked, soup dripping from the corners of his mouth. “I said that right, right? You Sinnohese have such complicated names. Whatever happened to the Jims and Bobs, eh?”

    Tousaka suppressed the urge to slap Bardem across the face in response to his blatant show of racist tendencies and lied, “Nayuki is fine.”

    “Fantastic!” he cried out. The servant brought out Tousaka a crust of bread, however, it smelled fresh. They don’t have a damn piece of stale bread here. “Now, you’re probably wondering why I flew you out here today, eh? You see, Kenny—Can I call you Kenny?—anyways, the world is becoming a very, very dangerous place to survive. Maridia’s most respected political leader and one of Ketsuban’s chosen ones, Harry Kim, was just up and killed by some rogue army with an aircraft carrier.”

    “An aircraft carrier?” Tousaka asked. He hadn’t heard much about Aqua PMC, the mercenary troupe that killed Harry Kim.

    “Yes, a nuclear fission-powered aircraft carrier. Can you believe that?” Bardem scarfed down another mouthful of soup. He wiped his mouth off with a linen napkin and continued, “It’s obvious the world is going to go to war. As you’re unfortunately aware, we’re not well… understood by people of “mainstream” faiths. And well, you know that war and genocide go hand-in-hand.” Tousaka nodded along with Bardem’s narration. “Basically, Kenny, we need you on the homefront here at the compound. We, no I, need you to teach our traveling preachers how to grab an audience like you do so we can convince our flocks to arm themselves in self-defense. The only way we’re going to survive this war is if we protect ourselves from outside influence.” Tousaka remained silent. Bardem, nervous, continued to blather on, “Of course, this would mean a promotion to the rank of High Flaafy.”

    Tousaka put the piece of bread he was working on back down onto the plate. High Flaafy, eh? This would make me eligible to be elected Ampharos upon Bardem’s demise. “I can see the trouble we’re in. I agree with you, milord, that this is an important mission I must embark on. I am ecstatic to be able to serve our PokeGod in such an instrumental fashion.”

    “Excellent!” Bardem emoted. In his excitement, he had knocked his soup bowl over, spilling soup everywhere and breaking the artistically designed ceramic. “Oh no. I suppose we’ll have to get another one.”

    “One question, though, milord,” Tousaka said, interrupting Bardem’s celebration. “The PHT virus is spreading all across Kanto. It is bound to pass through the Indigo Pass into Johto within the week. Those fires outside just aren’t going to be enough to prevent infection. Will we evacuate the compound when that comes to pass?”

    Bardem laughed for a moment, “Oh, Kenny. If it’s the will of our PokeGod for us to be merged with his beautiful creations, then it is His will. There’s nothing we can do about it.”

    Tousaka’s face froze. Serving here would guarantee the end of his humanity. He pondered for a second and then replied, “PokeGod, I choose you.”

  16. #41
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    A/N: 2/2

    This chapter contains some sexual content. It's a story that one of the characters tells that exposes a lot of who he is as a character. I tried to write it so it was much more suggestive than explicit. Mods, if you're reading this, please let me know if it's too much and I'll remove it post-haste.

    Part B: Warcry
    Chapter 4: Beyond the Threshold


    Finch

    “Why do you insist on calling me “Finch?” I have a real name, you know.”
    “Oh, I know. I call you “Finch” to remind you of the promise you made me. You’re going to fight eagles for me, my friend.”

    -Finch Reynolds and Raidon Makoto

    AMS Deathwing, Fall City
    Fiore


    <It’s all your fault, buddy. You dragged Raidon and all of Aqua into this mess. Some life debt, eh? The whole world is going to war because of you and it’s just too god damn funny!> the demonic entity haunting Reynolds’ dream taunted the soldier. The twin ghouls had been haunting Reynolds dreams for the past week—ever since a little before Harry Kim was assassinated.

    <AhAHahaHahAHaHAha!> the second voice let out a crazed laughter in response to the first’s indictment of Reynolds. Reynolds shut his ears. He didn’t want to hear any more of the nightmare’s taunts. It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t my fault! he thought. I didn’t kill Harry Kim! I was on the Deathwing when it happened! I saw it on the news as it happened! It couldn’t have been me!

    Reynolds’ thoughts then morphed into the voice of Reg Lando: “No, Finch, it wasn’t your fault. I failed you. I failed Raidon. I failed my mission.”

    Leigh Reynolds awoke in a cold sweat. He had rolled over onto the hard, metal floor of the Deathwing while he slept. He stood up, wiped the sweat from his forehead and neck onto his shirt and looked around the room. It was smaller than the average college dorm (and he had one of the larger rooms). The desk next to his bed had several books on the shelf, a laptop computer, and a photo of Reynolds’ parents in the photo frame. He briefly contemplated putting something on the walls to make the room more interesting, like band posters, but then decided that it would be too much effort for a room he barely used.

    He put his head back onto the pillow and shut his eyes tight, hoping he could slip back into sleep. After twenty minutes passed, Reynolds was still awake. Looks I’m up for the day. He looked at his clock and saw the blaring red LCD digits: 4:32. At least it wasn’t unreasonably early. He awoke and dressed himself. He wasn’t expecting combat today, so he put on a cut-off tee that said “Aqua Athletics” and a pair of sweat pants. I suppose I can beat the crowd at the Deathwing gym this morning..

    He stumbled down the stairs and into the cafeteria where Raidon Makoto and a small group of soldiers were huddled around a table. Only the room’s emergency lights were on—power had been cut to the room hours ago. Reynolds wasn’t surprise to see Makoto there. The commander had been fighting a war on sleep as long as Reynolds had known him. Consistently, Makoto was the last to sleep and the first one to awake. As he fit it into his pseudo-philosophy: “There’s just so much of the world to see and experience, Finch, that I’d rather not spend a third of my life lying in the same spot.”

    Reynolds had caught Makoto in the middle of a dirty story to the rest of the crew. “So there I am, her and I are going at it. We’re in the middle of the act and I feel this sort of burning sensation. I just figured that I was on fire that night, so I kept at it. About ten or fifteen minutes later, it starts to hurt… like really bad. Like… have you ever been shot, Jennings?” Makoto asked the sniper next to him. Jennings shook his head yes. “It felt like that… but at least three times worse.”

    “So like getting shot three times?” one of the slower soldiers at the Commander’s pow-wow asked.

    “Yeah, sure Chuck, whatever. Exactly like that,” Makoto replied flippantly. “Anyways, I finish and what do you know, my tool looks like someone mistook it for sidewalk chalk and was ground into the asphalt. I look at the girl absolutely dumbfounded and it turns out that she left her freaking tampon in!” The soldiers around Makoto laughed uproariously at the crude joke. Reynolds rolled his eyes. Not only was it at least the sixth time he had heard that patently misogynistic story, but he knew for a fact that it wasn’t true in the slightest. The Commander had read it in a book and decided to pretend it happened to him. He didn’t have nearly as much “game” as he liked to say he had.

    Peter Jennings looked at his watch, finished his beer, and said, “Well, gentlemen, it’s about that time. It was an honor serving with you this evening.” As groups are wont to do when one finally breaks the silence about the hour, they went their separate ways to their various dormitories. All but Raidon Makoto. He kept his ass planted in the cafeteria seat.

    Reynolds had raided the cafeteria and scrounged himself together a cold breakfast. He plopped his tray in front of Raidon and took the seat directly facing him. “Shouldn’t you be going to bed too?” Reynolds asked with a mouthful of grapefruit.

    “I’m not tired yet,” Makoto said and cracked another beer open. He offered Reynolds a beer and was quickly rebuffed. “What about you? Why are you up?”

    “I had a nightmare and couldn’t fall back asleep. I figured I could just start my day a little early,” Reynolds explained.

    “Same one?” Makoto asked.

    “Yeah.”

    “Rough. I promise you, this whole war business isn’t your fault. I don’t know why, but someone framed us. When I get to the bottom of it, they’re going to be a greasy stain on the floor,” Makoto promised. He punctuated it with a drunken hiccup. “The voices though… I don’t know. Think they’re like your conscience or something?”

    “No… they’re not mine. They’re… evil. I just know that they’re from somewhere worse than Hell,” he described. “Though, Reg Lando keeps appearing in the dream too.”

    “You seem obsessed with this Lando guy. Every time we talk, it’s “Reg this. Reg that.” I’m drunk so I’m going to ask—what’s the deal?” Makoto slurred, pointing his drink at Reynolds as he finished his thought. He finished the can and then crushed it under his boot.

    “I don’t know, man. He just… weirds me out for some reason. I don’t know what it is about him,” Reynolds explained. He finished the grapefruit and moved on to the sugary-mess that passed for “cereal” in the Deathwing cafeteria. He was sure that if he ate this crap every morning moving forward he’d have diabetes by age 40.

    “I’ll tell you, Finch, maybe it’s just solidarity, but I had a weird dream last night too,” Makoto explained. Reynolds looked at him, opened his eyes, and mumbled with his mouth full to go on. “I’m in this dark room surrounded by fire. It just keeps getting hotter and hotter. After I take my jacket off and get comfortable, the hairs on the back of my neck prick up. I draw my two Katana and then this giant, four-winged bird swoops down and hovers above me. I stare at it almost in awe for a moment and then I wake up.”

    “Weird.” They were both silent for a moment. Reynolds didn’t really have anything to say in reply to Makoto’s dream. He actually really wanted the conversation to end so he could go to the gym.

    Makoto rose from his seat and stretched out. “I suppose I should go catch some Zs… Yo, Finch, do you still have that crystal?” Reynolds dug through his pocket and pulled out the sparkling purple jewel fragment from his pocket. Just holding it now was enough to keep the constant headaches at bay, so Reynolds made sure he had it on his person at all times.

    “Good. I think we should make a concerted effort to check in on the Hoenn government every now and again so we can find out what they’re planning against us,” the less-than-sober commander detailed. His eyes widened, as if he remembered something, and pivoted towards Reynolds on his left heel, sticking his pointer finger in the sober soldier’s face. “Oh! Tomorrow (well, I guess it’s today now) I have a meeting with Darman Fulier and Marlene Spiro in Fall City. We’re either going to get fired or praised… I’m not sure yet. I’d like you to join us, since you’re the toast of the town in the Sevii Islands right now.”

    Reynolds looked away, unhappy at that prospect. “Right…” After his sigh hung for a moment, Reynolds saluted and said, “Yes sir, Admiral Makoto, sir!”

    For as much as he despised the commander for his foibles, he still owed the man a life debt. Raidon Makoto saved him from a life of slavery to the Hoenn disciplinary system and gave him the freedom he always craved. It was because of the commander’s protection that Reynolds wasn’t hanging in the gallows in Evergrande, both many years ago and now.

    I will fight your eagles for you, Raidon. You can count on me.

    --

    Diet Building, Fall City
    Fiore


    Darman Fulier and Marlene Spiro were already seated at the head of the conference table. Makoto sauntered into the room first and took a load off in the decadently padded office chairs opposite the world leaders. Reynolds was much more conservative with his entrance. “Raidon Makoto, a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance,” Spiro said to him.

    “Back at you, Ms. Spiro,” Makoto replied undiplomatically and shook her hand.

    The two leaders focused their attention on Reynolds next. “Ah, and this is the Finch Reynolds we’ve heard so much about!” Reynolds glared at Makoto. It seems like no one is going to call me by my real name, he thought. He shook Fulier and Spiro’s hands.

    “So did you do it?” Spiro asked Reynolds, a gleam of bloodlust in her eye. “Did you kill Harry Kim?”

    “No!” Reynolds ejaculated, tired of the question. He then took a quick moment to recollect his composure and said, “No, I was framed.”

    “Pity. I’d love to meet the man that did it,” Spiro whined.

    “Regardless, the whole damn world thinks that you’re to blame, and thus, Fiore is to blame. You know that Hoenn has declared war on Aqua PMC and Fiore by association?” Fulier asked, obviously stressed.

    “Yeah, that’s what I’ve heard,” Makoto replied.

    “I was this close to cutting our contract, Raidon. That was until Marlene here offered us more money than I had ever seen in foreign aid after the declaration of war. Despite my best judgment, it looks like we’re going to war,” Fulier sighed.

    “We want to see Hoenn ground into the dirt,” Spiro told the pair of mercenaries. “We understand that your militia is small right now, but the Sevii Islands Navy will happily stand by as support. The SIN Pride and her fleet will be sortie to Fiore very soon.”

    “Well then… Aqua PMC stands ready to fight your war,” Raidon Makoto declared.
    Last edited by rust; 3rd April 2014 at 4:47 AM.

  17. #42
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    Neo

    “You need to fight on in my stead. You and Mike are the seeds of peace that I have sown. Do not lose heart. Do not lose will. But most importantly: don’t lose your way. I see so much greatness in you Neo. I am honored to call you friend.”
    -Excerpt of a message left to Neo Winterfield in Harry Kim’s will

    Barracks Basement, Evergrande City
    Hoenn


    Winterfield shifted over to laying on his left side. The right was becoming sore from laying on the thinly dispersed piles of hay that had been laid on the ground of the basement floor. The room was small (at least, for a Lugia), only thirty feet by thirty feet. The newborn legend could barely fit himself within its confines. Unfortunately, according to the Hoenn Corps of Engineers, it was the only room on the island that could accommodate him for now.

    Originally, the room had been empty save for a television set. However, Winterfield had accidently knocked over the television set with his tail in the middle of a nightmare. He awoke laying in a pile of his own waste. There was no way for him to use a human bathroom anymore. It was after this incident that the Hoenn Corps had brought the hay into the room. He had become a god damn animal, just like DyneTech wanted. They just been unable to turn off his mind as the mad scientists had originally intended, cursing Neo Winterfield to this living hell.

    The first piece of news he learned after he awoke from several days of being passed out (due to the injuries he sustained whilst razing Realgem Tower) was the triple assassination of Harry Kim, Hans Vehlstein, and his father. He couldn’t tell which one hurt the most—his boss, his father, or his mentor? Combined with his less-than-human living conditions, Winterfield was trying hard to not feel. If he allowed himself to become truly numb, then these tragedies would be insignificant. Everything would be insignificant. He would become like a Buddhist monk and live life worshipping the zero. No ups or downs in life—only the constancy of suffering.

    Mike Anone had been promoted to General of the Hoenn Army, the position that Harry Kim had been grooming Winterfield for prior to his death. Winterfield asked one of the Hoenn Corps members who checked on him periodically if he could see the new general, but he had yet to hear a response from Anone. Winterfield had more than a sneaking suspicion that his current state was the reason for Anone’s promotion.

    And then… there was Kate…

    Winterfield’s fiancé was led into the dark, dank basement room by the two DARK agents assigned to Winterfield’s protection. “Ms. Masters, I must warn you… Neo is very different. He was experimented on by DyneTech Labs and may not resemble anything he previously did,” the agent attempted to warn the soldier’s lover.

    “It doesn’t matter. Love is more than just superficial looks,” Masters said to the DARK agent. “It’s about the hear—oh my God!” Masters stared at the Lugia cramped into the basement room. Her hand cupped over her mouth as the legend tried to stand but bumped his head against the sheetrock wall. He leaned back onto his backside and tail and used his wing to rub the bump on his head. “What the hell? Where’s Neo?”

    “Kate! You’re a sight for sore eyes,” the Lugia said. Winterfield had noticed that his vocal chords had become much stronger and more precise, allowing for the ability to speak flawlessly without lips. “They… uhh… they did a number on me in Orre. But I’m back. I’m here. We can work past this.” Winterfield tried to muster a disarming smile but the look of shock had yet to evaporate from his fiancé’s face.

    She stood there wide-eyed for another moment and then ran up the stairs sobbing.

    Winterfield had found out later that day that Kate Masters had jumped from the top of Evergrande Falls and died on impact.

    There was nothing left for him now. His mother had put in a request with DARK to see her son, but Winterfield told her to stay away. He couldn’t have the only person he had left in the world seeing the state he was in. The Lugia was just content to lay there until the Reaper came for him and rot.

    At least Liberty’s Crusade had been successful. Shairii and Patrick were able to obtain a sample of the PHT virus amongst the ruins of Realgem Tower and brought it back to Hoenn for processing. According to Myron Asch, it was almost too late. The PHT Virus was airborne and spread via the winds. All of Kanto and Orre had been infected, with Johto, the Sevii Islands, and Almia only weeks from initial infection. According to top climatologists working at VRI, it would only be a few months before the viral winds hit Hoenn.

    Regardless of the silver lining, his thoughts would often turn to those responsible for his misery: Dr. Massadar and Dr. Anderson who turned him into the monster and driving his fiancé away; Raidon Makoto and Finch Reynolds for killing all those close to him. He no longer dreamt of the angelic four-winged dragon with Harry Kim’s voice. Now his dreams consisted solely of Makoto’s and Reynolds’ smug smiles and a sick demonic laugh track. He had never even met these people before, yet they completely ruined his life.

    Winterfield wondered what it would be like if he were a normal human and not a Lugia. Would the losses be easier to handle? He’d still have Kate, his rock. He could show his face to his remaining family. He would be General of the Hoenn Military and be able to avenge their deaths. He could only be entertained by this fantasy for so long until he remembered that he had become a pariah within the military and within society.

    How could he expect to ever find love again? People who loved Pokemon romantically were treated as a sick joke by society, like pedophiles or incestual relationships. He had absolutely no hope. Despite the human inside, people were bound to ignore it for superficial reasons.

    “You have a visitor,” one of the DARK soldiers outside his pen said to him.

    “I’m not interested,” Winterfield groaned, motioning with wing as if he were shoving the stranger away.

    “You don’t have that option. Orders from the higher-ups,” the soldier replied. Has Mike finally come to visit me? No, it couldn’t be him, or they’d say so. He was the higher-ups now, after all. It was probably some agent of Mike’s, trying to square away some bullshi debrief or something. Winterfield was surprised when he saw the petite form of Shairii Woldrac emerged from the stairwell. She took one of the folding chairs from the guards and brought it into the pen to sit down. As the pen’s air hit her nostrils, she reeled her head back in repulsion for a moment before adjusting to the smell.

    “Shairii? I haven’t seen you since… Orre, come to think of it,” Winterfield attempted to make conversation. Even though Liberty’s Crusade’s hit on Orre was only a few weeks ago, the sheer chasm in terms of life experiences between the soldiers in the past few weeks felt too divisive. To Winterfield, she almost felt like a stranger. And I know for a fact that she thinks I’m a stranger too.

    “What’s wrong, Neo?” Woldrac began. “You used to be so determined and optimistic. Now you’re just laying here, brooding.”

    “What’s the point, Shai?” Winterfield drooped his long neck back onto a pile of hay behind him and closed his eyes, wishing it would all go away. “I’ve got nothing left. NOTHING.”

    “How do you think Harry felt after he escaped from the prison camp?” the veteran asked the legend. “He literally had nothing and no one. Yet he became the god damn president in only a year. The man was driven by more than just those around him, Neo. He did it for himself, he did it for the planet, and he did it for the species. You can’t even muster the motivation to go outside.” Woldrac spit on the ground next to her.

    “And look where that put him—six feet under!” Winterfield told her. “That should be me! I was the fucking soldier! That was the deal we made! I’d die for him so he could save the world…” Tears began to well up in the corners of Winterfield’s almond shaped eyes. “Where’s the justice?”

    “There is no justice!” Woldrac exclaimed. “If there was justice in this world Raidon Makoto would be hanging from the gallows in Evergrande, Harry Kim would still be president, and you’d be a human! But that’s not how things are, Neo. We need to play with the cards we’re dealt. Look at yourself, Neo, you’re a god damn Lugia! You could be a fucking god if you wanted to be. And you squander your potential… your possibility, wallowing down here.” She paused, collecting her thoughts for a moment. “You know, Neo, there are poems that say that the unicorn is the ‘beast of possibility.’ But that’s just not true, Neo. The beast of possibility is a Lugia.”

    The tears immediately stopped. Winterfield picked up his head and looked at Woldrac dumbfounded. She was entirely right. Winterfield was too busy wallowing in his self-pity to realize the gift that had been given to him. Kim sowed the seeds of peace within him. It was time for the legend to reap what Harry Kim had sown. “You’re right.”

    “Good!” Woldrac said, satisfied her reality check had gotten through to Winterfield. “Now that that’s out of the way, we can talk about what I really want to talk about. In a few days, the HAN Tidebreaker is going to sortie and attack the Deathwing. I’ve been asked to join the crew as the only surviving member of Liberty’s Crusade not on assignment currently, but I’d like you to come with too.”

    “And do what?”

    “Neo, my friend, Mike Anone is prepared to transfer myself, Patrick, and you to Hoenn’s Special Forces unit,” Shairii explained. “This is the same unit that was formed by Harry Kim, Jason Kiev, and BK during the Sevii Island Conflict. With BK apparently deeply undercover and Kiev investigating another Nasmar Temple right now, the three of us would completely take their place,” Woldrac explained.

    “Hell yes. Let’s bring the hurt to Raidon Makoto,” Winterfield howled.

    “Excellent. Welcome to Operation Kim’s Fury.”
    Last edited by rust; 5th April 2014 at 7:40 AM.

  18. #43
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    A/N: At this point, I need to point out that Cannons to Heaven is now longer than my original attempt at a fan fiction adaptation of this universe, The Forged Alliance.

    Landon

    “Based on samples from ground zero and cleaned-up footage from various media sources, we’ve discovered that (forgive me if this sounds a bit off the wall but) Harry Kim’s assailant was a shapeshifter. Somehow, he was able to deconstruct and reconstruct his very body into some kind of… pink blob. Perhaps Aqua and DyneTech had a covert alliance? That would be the only way to explain Finch Reynolds’ shapeshifting ‘abilities.’”
    -DARK Lab Technician to Liam Saki, Commander of DARK

    Evergrande City
    Hoenn


    Kaede wasn’t returning his calls. She had betrayed him; left him truly alone in this world. Just like his parents did. Landon Torvald, leader and sole member of The New Order, now had nothing to return to and no one to fight for except himself. He needed to find out what Harry Kim knew about him and why he sent a man after him. How could the puppetmaster know about the Crystal he found in those ruins? He was sure to tell no one, not even Kaede. Kim must have seen him as a threat, even from the very beginning, and had him tailed. That was clearly the only explanation.

    Torvald decided that the only way he would find his answer now would be to break into Kim’s apartment and steal his notes. He had no doubt that it would be heavily guarded in light of his recent death, but Torvald was certain he would be able to enter undetected.

    It was interesting to see that Kim’s successors were blaming Aqua PMC for his assassination. He wondered how they could go from Kim’s employ to heated enemies so fast. Perhaps Kim’s long game was to use them as a proxy to initiate war on the Sevii Islands? To Torvald, that explanation made the most sense.

    Assuming the form of a pedestrian, Torvald came onto the complex building that Harry Kim used to live at. He entered the building and asked to use the bathroom. The receptionist pointed him down the hall and to the left. Once guarded by the privacy of the less-than-clean restroom, Torvald dropped his form and slithered along the ground as a pink sludge. He forced himself through a grate and into the ventilation system. First, he would need to figure out exactly where Kim lived. He first break into the complex’s office and review the leases on file to find Harry Kim’s.

    He oozed down from the vent above the executive office and assumed his default form, that of a pink humanoid. He inserted his goo into a nearby file cabinet’s lock and broke it, unlocking the steel record holder. As he thumbed through files, an intrusive thought popped into his head: what if Kaede betrayed me? It would explain her whoring around Aqua PMC. She could have been reporting on my activities the whole time and found the Crystal while I was sleeping. Yes… That makes sense. It would certainly be a long game for Kim, but he certainly had enough money and influence to make the closest person to him a turncoat. That would explain why the old man said that she was “only in it for the money.”

    Under K, he pulled up Harry Kim’s lease. Apartment 323. Oh, poor Kaede. What if they coerced her into doing something? What if they threatened to kill me? What if she was doing this all for me, despite me?

    Torvald found himself in the ventilation system once again, pushing himself up the shafts for several yards. He popped out to check the room numbers around him. Ah, 400s. One floor too far. He rode the vents back down a little bit and emerged on the third floor.

    Regardless, if I’m estranged from Kaede, at least she’s safe. Perhaps killing Kim was the best option. She no longer had someone coercing her and the ensuing war would destabilize all of Maridia’s civil society. I may have killed two birds with one stone here. Torvald found himself in a hallway and heard several guards at the end. He retreated back into the vents and found his way to the other side of the floor. Kim’s apartment had to be over there.

    He found himself in the middle of a stark, impeccably clean room. The only feature that delineated the room from the stock model was the litany of books and bookshelves stacked in every possible spot. Torvald was amazed by the amount of books. The entire apartment was functionally a library. Based on Kim’s rather public worship at the altar of literature, Torvald was certain that this was Harry Kim’s apartment.

    If Kim had a diary, it wouldn’t be something he so brazenly kept in his living room. Torvald wandered around the apartment, looking for a study or an office of some sorts. He imagined Kim had to bring his work home with him. An oak desk stood in the middle of an uncharacteristically messy room. Paydirt, Torvald thought. He rifled through the desk, trying to find some kind of set of notes. Nothing was in Kim’s handwriting – it was all political philosophy or great speeches.

    Frustrated, Torvald kicked the oak desk over. The bottom of the desk fell out, revealing a red leather-bound notebook. Torvald hungrily picked up the book and flipped through all the pages, attempting to absorb the entire tome’s contents in one go. What surprised him was that he couldn’t. It was certainly handwritten, but it was in an entirely different language. In fact… This looks just like the symbols in the temple I found the Crystal in!

    That would explain how Kim knew about the Crystal he had. Kim was privy to the secret of the Crystals. Perhaps he was trying to track down the power of the Crystals for himself?

    Near the end of the book was full-page illustration of some kind of creature. It looked like a bony corpse, reinforced by a twisted dark armor. It had fangs and matted spindly hair that protruded from its demonic, helmet-like skull. The spindly sinew that composed the beast’s arms and legs ended in massive red claws, dripping in blod.

    “I heard a noise!” one of the guards shouted. The door to the room flung open and the anarchist was face-to-face with two DARK soldiers, semi-automatic rifles in hand. The soldiers opened fire. Torvalds slammed the book closed, absorbing it into his body, and threw himself into the nearby window, shattering the glass and diving blob-first to the ground. The crystal shards of glass covered the ground like sleet, as Torvald, now too distracted to maintain any form other than his default, pink humanoid state, ran from Hoenn soldiers now pursuing him.
    Last edited by rust; 8th April 2014 at 4:07 AM.

  19. #44
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    A/N: I got so much catharsis out of writing this chapter. Easily the best one yet that I've written.

    Mike

    “Mr. Barkley, I know that you have been treasonously supplying DyneTech with information about Hoenn’s military movements.”
    “What can I do to make this go away?”
    “I want your absolute, unquestioning loyalty.”

    -Secretary Norb Whitehall to The Honorable Orson Barkley

    Evergrande City
    Hoenn


    When it was reported that there was a break-in at Harry Kim’s apartment, General Anone grabbed his coat and personally saw to a sortie of his best soldiers to track down the burglar. No looter was going to graverob from Harry Kim on Mike Anone’s watch. With few on the roads during the dead of night, the police van carrying Anone, Patrick Costello, and ten additional DARK commandos roared down the streets responding to the All Points Bulletin from the governmental complex Harry Kim once lived in. Anone was impressed that he could get DARK to respond as quick as they did in the dead of night.

    “All units, be advised. The target is some kind of shapeshifter, likely the same one that assassinated Harry Kim,” one of the DARK soldiers at the scene said into the radio.

    When the sound of the words emanating from the radio was processed by his eardrum and converted into meaning by his auditory cortex, Anone grabbed the radio as quickly as he could. He began to feel a headache boring its way deep into his skull. Did I just give myself an aneurysm? Anone wondered as he prepared to yell into the radio. “This is General Mike Anone of the Hoenn Military. The situation is being raised from a Code Red to a Code Black. All units on the island are ordered to pursue the target. This scumbag is going down.”

    A virtual map of the city on Anone’s smartphone had been updated with the last known position of the pink blob that had broken into Kim’s apartment. Using the Sapiento Network, DARK was able to tap into every security camera and recording device on the island. The result was seamless, up-to-the-second reports on the position of Kim’s assailant. The neophyte general furrowed his brows and angrily named the assassin under his breath, “Finch Reynolds.”

    The van left turn so hard that some of the soldiers bounced from one side to another. Patrick Costello had managed to stay in place by holding onto the crash webbing in the back of the van for dear life. Using the locational map, Anone commanded several other vehicles to take different positions circuitous to the rogue shapeshifter in hopes of trapping it in an alley on Iguana Street. Once the target looked as if he was going to fall for Anone’s trap, the general gave the order to pull up to the alley and block off the other end. He could feel the pin pricks of anxiety nattering at his chest. Anone now had to trust in the success of his own gambit.

    The team unloaded from Anone’s van on one side of the alley. Once they emerged, they saw that another van and DARK team was blocking off the other side of the alley. Several helicopters and soldiers with flying Pokemon patrolled the skies with giant searchlights, bathing a square mile radius in a light brighter than the sun. Shairii Woldrac flew down from one of the helicopters riding her trusty Scyther, Shiko. The green lizard-bug let Woldrac off and sharpened its two sword-like claws against each other, excited to take a stab at the target.

    At a cursory glance, there was nothing between the two squads save for trash bins and rubbish piles. A flashlight was pointed at one of the dumpster and Shiko went over to flip it over. The pink blob jumped up from the dumpster like a spider from behind a bookshelf and enveloped Shiko’s face. Shiko clawed at its face in order to cut through the foreign substance and breathe. The blob was formidable and reshaped at each point that it had been cut.

    “Shiko!” Woldrac cried. She ran over to the Pokemon and tried to pull the solution off its face. Every soldier’s flashlight was pointed at the two, blinding Woldrac and enraging Shiko. Shiko’s face bled from the self-inflicted injuries profusely until it finally passed out from a combination of blood loss and asphyxiation. The blob, thinking its prey was dead, leapt away behind another dumpster.

    Anone had an idea. “Alright, someone give me their flask.” The soldiers looked at each other and then at their commanding officer sheepishly. Drinking on duty was an offense punishable by court martial. No one would be caught dead with a flash on them. Anone looked at them expectantly and reaffirmed his position, “Come on. Cough it up. I promise I’ll overlook it just this once.”

    Patrick Costello sighed and dug into his coat pocket, retrieving a silver flask. He handed over the half-full container to Anone and said, “I hardly think now’s the time.”

    Anone ripped off a piece of his uniform and shoved it down the flask’s lip. He then grabbed his Zippo lighter and set the makeshift fuse ablaze. After ensuring that Woldrac had dragged herself and Shiko to safety, he hurled the Molotov Cocktail behind the garbage can. The flask exploded, setting a good chunk of the alley ablaze. Anone put his hand over his face to protect it from the heat and watched the pink blob emerge from the dumpster entirely ablaze. The shapeshifter was freaking the fuck out trying to find some way to put itself out, but to no avail. The blob transformed into as many things as it could think of. At one point, it even assumed the form of Harry Kim himself. After a few tense minutes (with more guns than the HAN Tidebreaker had pointed at the creature), it finally stopped moving, finally succumbing to the flames.

    Patrick Costello’s mouth was agape in surprise. Anone looked at him and said “What? It’s not like you can shapeshift your way out of burning to death.”

    The soldiers then began to clap for Anone. He had slain the beast that killed Harry Kim. Finch Reynolds is dead. God, I hope they’ll let me collect the bounty, Anone thought.

    --

    Capitol Building, Evergrande City
    Hoenn


    “So it looks like you killed Aqua PMC’s first officer,” President Frisby congratulated Anone at the next meeting of the Hoenn Council. “However, this isn’t going to stymie the war. They still have a rather powerful aircraft carrier at their disposal and funding from both Fiore and the Sevii Islands.”

    “And if their first officer was… whatever abomination that so blighted Arceus’ green earth… I bet you that DyneTech had a hand in it as well,” Norb Whitehall pontificated. “Gentleman, I think this was a grand conspiracy against Harry Kim from the very start. We, as the inheritors of Harry Kim’s legacy, cannot allow this to stand! We must wipe out Aqua!”

    A hearty “here, here” came from all those around the table, save Krad, Carnegie, and Anone.

    “Norb, will you share the details of Operation Kim’s Fury?” Frisby asked his yes-man.

    The old man replied, “I’d be glad to. The HAN Tidebreaker will sortie from Slateport City tomorrow at 0800 hours and head northwest toward Fiore and engage the AMS Deathwing. On board the Tidebreaker will be two members of Hoenn’s new Special Forces unit as has been established by General Anone. Those two members are Shairii Woldrac and the legendary Lugia himself Neo Winterfield.”

    The table erupted into erratic conversation once Whitehall namedropped the enlisted legend. “Secretary Whitehall, is Winterfield in any condition to fight? And do we even know if we can trust him?”

    “Yes and yes,” Anone reported dutifully. If I can’t stop the war, I can at least help out Neo. “Shairii Woldrac and Patrick Costello vetted him themselves. Not only is Neo perfectly healthy, but he is in peak fighting condition. We fully expect take advantage of his legendary powers to swiftly sink the Deathwing.”

    “Excellent. The next order of business is to approve this year’s defense budget,” Whitehall transitioned. “Orson Barkley took the charge and ensured it passed through Parliament no problem. All that’s left is a vote by the Council and the budget is ratified.” That’s weird. Barkley cooperating with defense spending? What happened to him? Anone had flipped through the report. Besides increasing the budget in all sectors, the R&D team formerly assigned to the Daisi Voyager was being reappropriated to work on a new orbital weapon called the Gullcannon. The Gullcannon, as planned, was able to fire an incredibly powerful Superlaser from space to anywhere on Maridia’s surface with only an hour’s notice. However, due to the solar battery, it took a week for the satellite to recharge in between bursts of energy.

    The second, and far more interesting, pork barrel project was Ultima City, spearheaded by Bron Krad. Krad hoped to create the ultimate fortress. It would be a city operated on an experimental basis by DARK. Surrounded by 100-foot thick lead walls, its own air & water purification system, its own food sources, and a centrally planned civilian community for soldiers’ families, Ultima stood to be more than just a weapon. The lead ball of Ultima City was proposed to float on Hoenn’s shores, serving as a mobile command and governmental center. It also contained a ridiculously large arsenal of weapons, enabling it to defend the homeland in the event of an invasion. It was a mobile super defense fortress and utopic community wrapped into one. As Bron Krad put it, “It will be El-Dorado. Harry Kim’s vision will be fully realized with Ultima City.” With Kim’s name attached to the project, it was impossible to vote against it.

    With the defense budget passed unanimously, Bron Krad brought forward one more item of business. “The Hoenn Council received this distress signal several hours ago. Once you hear it, you’ll understand why this is of Code Red importance.”

    Krad tapped a few buttons at the console in front of him. The speakers in the room crackled as the voice of a middle-aged woman filled the room. Panicked, she quickly said, “This is Dr. Heather Fisher of the Morgan Company. I am under heavy fire at Meteor Falls after undertaking an independent research mission to find a Crystal of Power our team believed to be located in Hoenn. Please send assistance immediately. OH GOD!” The message fizzled out.

    All eyes on the room fell on Mike Anone. “I will put my top available men on the mission.” Anone then grabbed his phone and called Patrick Costello…

    Scoreboard
    Hoenn Council - 1 Points
    Aqua PMC - 0 Points
    The New Order - 1 Point
    Cult of Ketsuban - 0 Points
    [LOCKED]
    [LOCKED]
    [LOCKED]
    [LOCKED]
    [LOCKED]
    Last edited by rust; 8th April 2014 at 5:28 AM.

  20. #45
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    Patrick

    “Please, Richard, just stop touching the god damn Crystal.”
    -Harry Kim to Richard Morgan shortly before Pahaa Kirvestä’s assassination

    Meteor Falls
    Hoenn


    Patrick Costello was getting too old for this shit.

    45 was on the upper-end of soldiers that still see action in the field. His commanders continued to insist that “age hadn’t slowed him down one bit,” but Costello could feel it. The microsecond longer reaction time, the few seconds less he could run, and the random aches and pains consistent with aging were all present. In fact, Costello even got his first gray hairs only a few years ago. He was surprised his body had held out for so long (he did take meticulous care of himself). For Chrissakes, I’m older than Bron Krad. I should be sitting in some cushy desk at Evergrande counting the days until my pension.

    Unfortunately, Costello did not find himself behind a cushy desk in a climate-controlled office in the Capitol Building, but instead hunched over in a cave, hiding behind a stalagmite. His mission was to infiltrate Meteor Falls, track down Dr. Heather Fisher and the Crystal she claimed was here and get out before any harm could come to either. General Anone had furnished him with a containment unit for the Crystal. As he had warned, “It’s not safe to touch.”

    The old soldier had the option of storming the Falls with a team of men under his command, but that wasn’t his style. Infiltration and espionage were the name of the game for him. Before the Sevii Islands Conflict, he had served as a reconnaissance agent for DARK. However, the war called for experienced soldiers to step up to the plate of command and Costello heeded the call. He was put in charge of the 561st Division and was fortunate enough to meet Neo Winterfield during the conflict because of it. He never begrudged having to work with others, but he much preferred to work alone.

    For Costello, it was certainly ironic to be put onto Hoenn’s Special Forces division. Of its three founding members, BK was briefly one of his students. To replace one of his students was certainly weird for him, but Costello knew that there was no beating the classics. To Costello, BK was, on one hand, a lucky bastard. He answered directly to Harry Kim and no other. Because of this, he was able to sortie as he pleased. On the other, he had a constant desire to punch the arrogant grin off of his face. Costello liked to refer to him as the “Chesire Cunt.” The only time he had seen him without his trademark smirk was at Harry Kim’s funeral when he served as Kim’s fourth pallbearer.

    Costello flipped down his night-vision goggles and took a look out into the cave’s chamber. It was pitch black. Several Zubat slept on the top of the cave as the sound of the titular waterfall hummed in the background. He flipped out his smartphone and accessed the Sapiento Network, pulling up a detailed map of Meteor Falls’ many winding caves and then attempted to triangulate the origin of the original radio message. Radio waves were an inexact science. The range was way too large for Costello’s liking, covering several pathways. However, if it were too easy they’d replace me for someone half my age, the agent reassured himself.

    He ascended the rock face in front of him careful to not make noise as he climbed. Once he reached the top, he gingerly walked down the first cave opening, gun drawn and hunched over. He heard a noise behind him and turned around quickly, aligning the laser-sight on the gun with the sound’s origin. Once he realized that it was only a wild Rattata, he dropped the gun and did his best to calm his nerves. No matter how much he reassured himself, the initial startle didn’t just go away. He was now on edge.

    The pathway led him into another anteroom of sorts. It had an expansive area and was bisected by a river that was a feeder for the Falls. Costello crouched down and zoomed in his night-vision goggles to look at the maze of stalagmites. He saw one human body hiding in between two pillars of rock. It was difficult to tell his or her sex because he or she was huddled into a ball. He then moved his head around the room to see if he could find anyone else. There was one more person who was brazenly walking through the labyrinth. Is that a mullet? Costello wondered. He zoomed in closer. Despite the grain, a gun was clearly identifiable in the mullet-man’s hands. If he had to guess, the person that was hiding was Heather Fisher.

    Lacking a rifle with the kind of range needed to take the aggressor out in a single shot, Costello went for the next best option. He carefully climbed down the rock face, careful to not dislodge any stones. Just as he reached the bottom, he slipped. He landed straight on his ass and caught several falling stones of decent size with his stomach. Luckily, he was able to muffle the sound despite the pain. He focused in on the form of Dr. Fisher and drew a plan of attack on his smartphone using the Sapiento Network. Now’s time for the cool part. Costello grabbed a small iron ball from one of his pouches and pressed the red button. He hurled it into the air and it silently dissolved into millions of pieces. The dust from the iron ball rained across the entire anteroom. Each particle was a miniature sound, light, and heat detector connected to the Sapiento Network. The main server would be able to discern anything alive in the room, what species it was, and where it was up to the second. I’m living in an excellent time to be alive.

    He crawled across the labyrinth at a snail’s pace, hoping to not alert the mullet-man hunting Dr. Fisher. Following the lines he drew on Sapiento’s map, he honed in on the heat signature of Dr. Fisher. He kept the movement of the other individual in the corner of his eye, ready to take emergency action if necessary.

    He reached Dr. Fisher within ten minutes. He snuck up on her, put his hand over her mouth and said “Shh… I’m Patrick Costello from Hoenn Special Forces. Don’t make a sound – I’m here to get you out.”

    He let go of her mouth and slowly dropped his hand. The scientist looked at Costello, saw the Hoenn military patch on his left shoulder, and nodded.

    “Where is the Crystal?” Costello asked. He grabbed the containment unit that Anone had given him. Fisher immediately handed over the Crystal like it was a hot potato. When Costello grabbed it with his gloved hand, he suddenly felt a lot better. His stomach and ass no longer hurt. In fact, the aches and pains in his knees and lower back immediately disappeared. Wisely deciding to not get greedy, he dropped the Crystal into the lead tube and put it into another pouch.

    Just as Costello was ready to give Fisher further directions, he felt a pistol butt on the back of his head. It wasn’t hard enough to knock him out, but it smarted. He stood up and knocked the mullet-man across the jaw. “Who the hell is this?”

    “That’s my husband, Richard Morgan,” Dr. Fisher said.

    Crystals of Power
    Crystal of Vision - Aqua PMC [Kanto]
    LOCKED [Johto]
    Crystal of Life - Hoenn Council [Hoenn]
    Crystal of Weather - Hoenn Council [Sevii Islands]
    Crystal of Energy - Hoenn Council [Orre]
    LOCKED [Fiore]
    LOCKED [???]

  21. #46
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    Chapter 4: A Vile Blaze of Glory

    Finch
    Battle of the Tidebreaker Part1


    Crystal of Vision—The Crystal of Vision allows the user to see anything in the world as long as the user knows what to look for in the first place (Just the name of a place, person, or event will do). It will also allow the user to see the area as if the user was actually there, with full audio, visual, and feeling, though no harm will come to the user. However, the user cannot interact with what they’re seeing. Think of it as the ultimate surveillance camera.”
    -Excerpt from Harry Kim’s Diary, translated from its original Nasmar inscription

    AMS Deathwing
    High Seas


    The Crystal of Vision was a handy tool. Because of it, Aqua had been unknowingly present every step of the way in planning Operation Kim’s Fury. Every meeting of the Hoenn Council had an invisible additional member, safe within the confines of the [i]Deathwing]/i]: Leigh Reynolds. He was there when they decided to add a Lugia to the team and when the battleship Tidebreaker took off from the Slateport Docks. What he had found to be strange, however, was when the Council held a meeting to celebrate the death of “Finch Reynolds.” First he was blamed by them for the death of Harry Kim and now he was being touted by the Hoenn Council to be deceased. To Reynolds, the only explanation for this was that the person who had initially framed Reynolds was tracked down and killed. Despite being a member of the “walking dead,” Reynolds was relieved at the news. No one could tarnish what was left of his good name any more.

    Regardless, the Tidebreaker was headed to Fiore to meet the Deathwing in combat. Raidon Makoto decided to head them off in the middle of the ocean in order to prevent casualties in the Fiore mainland and to get the jump on the Hoenn Allegiance Navy ship. As such, the Deathwing was sailing full speed ahead to meet with the Tidebreaker.

    Makoto sat in the Captain’s Chair in the Navigations Room, gripping the cushioned armrests. This would be first blood for his precious ship, and as much as he didn’t want to admit it, Makoto knew that he had no experience as a naval commander. Whoever was commanding the Tidebreaker would likely have more experience than him by a magnitude of years. To the rest of the crew, Makoto seemed confident and calm. It was only because Reynolds had known him for so long that he could see Makoto’s underlying nervousness.

    One of the navigations crew members said, “HAN Tidebreaker is just ahead. They know we’re coming.”

    “Fantastic!” Makoto replied. He stood up and pointed his katana straight ahead. “Prepare all cannons and fire on my command.” The Tidebreaker quickly appeared on the horizon. Once it was confirmed that the cannons were prepped and aimed, Makoto yelled, “FIRE!” The entire ship reeled from the force of the blasts. The shells from the Deathwing’s main cannons impacted the Tidebreaker. Smoke was visible from the ship’s bow.

    The Tidebreaker initially did not reply. For a moment, Makoto had thought he had killed their commander. However, only a moment later, the entire ship rocked back and forth. Reynolds went tumbling over the guardrail onto the lower floor of the Navigations Room. “Damage on the starboard side of the ship! We’re starting to take in water. We cannot take another hit like that!” one of the crewmen yelled.

    “What the hell was that?” he yelled at Makoto.

    “That was a railgun,” Tyrus Hale said over the radio. “Would this be an appropriate time to say “you magnificent bastard! I read your book!”? Well… research paper…” the scientist paused for a moment realizing the reference to Patton was lost on the commander. “I read the paper published by the Hoenn Corps of Engineers a few years ago about a railgun and its uses. I didn’t think for a moment that they had equipped the Tidebreaker with it though.”

    “How long do we have until they can fire again, Tiantus?” Makoto yelled over the radio.

    “The railgun takes a significant amount of energy to fire. If they only have a nuclear fission battery on there, it would take at least 20 minutes to prepare another salvo. That’s, of course, if they don’t move forward,” Hale replied.

    Makoto stroked his chin, “So they’re sitting ducks for 20 minutes?” He paused for a moment. “Take the Deathwing up next to the Tidebreaker. We’re going to board.” Not a bad move, Raidon, Reynolds thought. If you keep the Deathwing close to the Tidebreaker, neither of you can fire on each other. It also plays to Aqua’s strength: the footsoldier.

    The Deathwing brought itself up right next to the Tidebreaker. The cannon fire stopped on both ends and the boarding parties started crossing ships. As Reynolds was prepping his boarding party for attack, Makoto received a message from one of the crewmen. “Sir, something is attacking the Deathwing’s engines from below.” The crewman brought up the underwater cameras on the Deathwing’s hull to get a visual on the thing damaging its hull. “That looks like the Lugia we were expecting.”

    Makoto shot up from his chair. “I’ma kill it!” he excitedly announced. “Jennings, come with me. Grab a net gun.”

    “We don’t have any net guns, sir,” Peter Jennings replied.

    “Then first tell Tiantus to make us some net guns and then grab a harpoon gun and come on!” Makoto rushed the sniper out of the Navigations Room. This left Reynolds alone with Reg Lando. Reynolds stared down the old geezer a moment, trying to assess what it exactly was about Lando that bothered him. The migraine that the Crystal kept at bay returned with great force as he looked at him.

    “Something wrong Captain Finch?” he asked.

    “Why do you call me that?” Reynolds replied. “Only Raidon calls me that. Raidon… and you.”

    “I was… told that’s what you prefer to be called,” Lando replied earnestly. It couldn’t have been Ty that told him that. He would have told me if he did. Was it another soldier?

    “Tell me, Reg, do you know how I acquired the name “Finch?”” Reynolds asked.

    “You picked it yourself, did you not?”

    “No. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Raidon thrust it upon me. He owns my life, which means he owns my name too,” Reynolds explained. “I will fight eagles for him. That was my promise. And so he gave me the name Finch.”

    “Would you prefer I call you Captain Reynolds then?” Lando asked.

    “Immensely,” Reynolds said. Reynolds and Lando exited the Navigations Room and went onto the Deathwing’s tarmac, where the final boarding party was assembling. This was Reynolds’ party. He would lead them to take the Tidebreaker’s bridge while the other teams secured other valuable parts of the ship and put down any possible resistance. The sounds of gunshots were carried almost effortlessly by the air like the songs of the mockingbird. Gunpowder, smoke, and sweat filled Reynolds’ nostrils. This… is combat.

    There was only a few foot gap between the decks of the ships. Reynolds was the first to jump the gap. His men followed him onto the deck. Looking up, he followed the radio towers on the battleship’s deck towards their origin: a cabin on the other side of the ship.

    An explosion rocked the Tidebreaker knocking Aqua’s first officer forward. He looked up to see a cloud of smoke billowing from the back battery of cannons. Frank Bueller and his demolitions squad had been assigned to immobilize the Tidebreaker’s cannons in the event that the Deathwing needed to make a quick escape. Tyrus Hale had requested that the railgun only be destroyed as a last resort—he wanted to get his mitts on a working railgun for Project ZEPHYR.

    The party advanced forward and was ambushed by a few soldiers hiding behind a cargo barrel. Reynolds felt the barrel of a gun pointed at the back of his head. “Alright, scum, drop your weapons.”

    Reg Lando was the first to put down his gun, almost enthusiastically. As he got up, in one swift motion, he unsheathed his Dao blade and stabbed it straight through the soldier threatening Reynolds. He looked at the other two enemy soldiers in the group and barked “You drop your weapons.” It seemed to Reynolds as if Lando’s eyes flashed purple for a moment as he gave the order. It was, of course, an empty threat. Reynolds never expected…

    The soldiers dropped their weapons.

    Reynolds was amazed. Why would they do that? They could have easily killed Lando and himself. Perplexed but unabated, Reynolds pointed his Mk. 22 at the two unarmed soldiers and knocked each of them out with a tranquilizer dart. Another member of his squad, Miles Kieron, asked “Why not take them out? If they wake up, they could threaten us once again.”

    “Not my style,” Reynolds replied. He holstered the tranquilizer gun and then took cover near the metal stairs to the Bridge. Several snipers were posted on the Bridge’s deck picking off random Aqua soldiers on the surface of the Tidebreaker. “Alright troops, new mission: take out the snipers before they take out our comrades.”

    Kieron removed the pin from a grenade with his teeth and tossed it at the gaggle of busy snipers. Naturally, they heard the explosive rattle against the metal ground and kicked it back at Reynolds’ squad. “Miles, you idiot,” Lando mumbled. “Take cover!” he ordered immediately thereafter. Why is Reg giving orders? Reynolds wondered, disenfranchised with his subordinate’s behavior. Regardless, he had said exactly what Reynolds was planning on saying a half a second earlier. At this point, there was no reason to recover already covered ground.

    Reynolds dove behind a barrel, grabbing Kieron and another soldier. Lando made sure the other soldiers got to safety. The grenade popped, causing Reynolds’ ears to ring. He put his hand up to the earlobe and noticed some blood. That’s annoying, he thought. A bullet whizzed past his cheek and buried itself into the barrel behind Reynolds. Great, now the snipers know where we are.

    He tapped the radio piece in his good ear and said, “Lando, you’re closer to the Bridge’s deck. Can you take the shot?”

    “On it, sir,” he said. A few seconds later, one of the snipers’ heads exploded like a pińata. The others with him were immediately startled and took cover.

    “Alright, now rush the deck!” Reynolds ordered. Reynolds’ squad charged their way up the stairs. The snipers, whose rifles’ sights had been calibrated to fire at a great distance, were put in a tight fix. They attempted to no-scope the invading Aqua soldiers with their rifles, but they were remarkably inaccurate. It wasn’t until they had a point blank shot at one of Reynolds’ soldiers that he took the shot. Reynolds jumped over said recently deceased Aqua and pushed the Hoenn sniper over the edge of the Bridge’s deck. Lando and Kieron took down the other two snipers shortly afterwards.

    The vice-admiral dusted himself off and threw open the door to the Bridge. The Captain of the ship sat on a chair in the middle, protected by several crewman, a female officer, and her Scyther. “Nope,” Reynolds said, slamming the door as quickly as he opened it. He dived to the side as the door immediately filled with bullet holes. He grabbed a smoke grenade from his belt and showed it to his remaining squadmates, implying that they would breach after it set off. He pushed open the door gently and threw the grenade inside. A loud POP was heard as the squad rushed in guns-a-blazing. Reynolds tagged the Captain with his Mk. 22 whilst Kieron and Lando took out several guards.

    The Scyther started to flap its wings and clear out the smoke. The woman, who had the name “Woldrac” sewn above her right uniform pocket, opened fire at Reynolds. Reynolds dived to the ground, but he took at least four gunshot wounds to the upper body. Smooth, Leigh. Now I’m going to bleed to death. I’m a big goddam hero, aren’t I? His chest began to hurt like the devil as he tripped Woldrac and tossed her rifle to the side. The Scyther tried to bring its blade-arm down execution style onto Reynolds’ neck, but it stopped just in the nick of time by Lando’s Dao blade.

    “You’re not dying on my watch,” he said. Surprised but not immobilized, Reynolds kicked the fallen Woldrac in the face with the steel toe of his boot. The Scyther tried as hard as he could to protect its master, but Lando was successful in distracting the loyal Pokemon. Woldrac reached to her left to grab her sidearm, but Reynolds was too quick for her. He shot her in the neck with his Mk. 22, knocking her out.

    He wasn’t capable of any more—he’d lost too much blood. Reynolds’ vision started to darken in the corners. The tunnel-vision tightened its grip on the bleeding officer quickly until finally Reynolds could see no more.
    Last edited by rust; 12th April 2014 at 4:54 AM.

  22. #47
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    Neo
    Battle of the Tidebreaker Part 2

    “Kieron, take Finch back to the Deathwing’s Med Bay. He’s banged up pretty bad. Bueller, take those from the Tidebreaker’s crew that have surrendered and cast them off in the life boats with their injured and their dead. The last thing we need right now is POWs.”
    -Reg Lando

    AMS Deathwing
    Underwater


    Winterfield’s mission was simple: sneak under the Deathwing and raise holy hell, sinking it from below. He was ostensibly a one-legend-submarine, but instead of torpedoes he had a plethora of new legendary powers he was eager to finally try in action. Once he made it to what he thought was the engine room (based on the humming), Winterfield crossed his two white wings over his chest and began to focus. His eyes glowed blue and finally he thrust his two arms forward, launching a mighty Aeroblast at the hull of the Deathwing. The ship rocked back and forth as the humming stopped.

    “Bingo,” he said to himself. He charged another Aeroblast and hurled it at the ship, ripping its hull open. A few soldiers fell out as water started to slowly equalize with the inside of the stolen aircraft carrier. Just as Winterfield was reveling in his victory, he felt something sharp stab him in the back. He adjusted his neck to look at it and saw that there was a harpoon sticking out of his flap. He tried to grab the foreign object and pull it out, but his wing-arms did not offer him the kind of flexibility that human arms did. “What the hell…?”

    A Starmie hybrid swam up in front of him wearing a bandana, black tank top, and dive pants, exposing the musculature of his body. In his left hand he brandished a harpoon gun and in his right another harpoon. “I’m sorry, Neo, but I can’t let you do that to my ship.”

    “You know my name?” Winterfield bleated.

    The man smiled. “Well, yeah, duh. We’ve pretty much known everything about this mission from the start. Our spies are very thorough.” He loaded the second harpoon in the gun and shot it at the legend, wounding his wing. “Raidon Makoto, pleased to make your acquaintance.” Another harpoon pierced Winterfield’s back. The legend howled in pain. Memories of his father and of Harry Kim filled his head. With each pang from the harpoon, Winterfield saw the footage from the Rustboro bombing play over and over in his head. As Kim reached to the sky to touch the face of Arceus in a final act of optimism, Winterfield outstretched his wing to wring Makoto’s neck.

    A much less distracted Raidon Makoto easily avoided the grab. Another harpoon tagged Winterfield in the back. I’m never going to win if its two against one. The legend flexed all the muscles in his body and physically rejected the two harpoons from his back. It was tough work and filled the water around him with gallons of blood, but he was able to manage.

    “RAIDON MAKOTO!” Winterfield’s eyes started to glow again. He focused his mind on Makoto’s body and unleashed a cannon of psychic energy at the mercenary. “PSYCHO BOOST!” Makoto was struck by the energy—hard—and flung against the hull of his ship. The metal around him was sheared through with the psychic energy. Winterfield had broken Makoto’s calm demeanor. The degenerate’s face had contorted to a far angrier expression. Winterfield took this moment to strike him with his tail. Makoto dodged. “WHY DID YOU DO IT, MAKOTO? WHY DID YOU KILL HARRY KIM? WHY DID YOU KILL MY FATHER?”

    Makoto grabbed a knife from a holster on his boot and plunged it into Winterfield’s neck, missing the jugular. Winterfield roared and attempted to bite off the mercenary’s head to end it quickly. Makoto, however, was quicker. In an instant, his katana blade had been drawn and held up. The Lugia’s teeth clashed with the blade—enamel vs. steel. The sword was particularly strong, both in composition and grip from Makoto. It was enough to stymie Winterfield’s attempt to eat his enemy. The look of focus on the mercenary’s face was obvious. To Makoto, there was only the two of them. It was almost as if he had phased the Deathwing and Tidebreaker out of mind.

    Another harpoon shot came over an undersea hill straight for Winterfield. Makoto grabbed the harpoon by the shaft mid-water and commanded into his earpiece, “This one is mine.”

    Winterfield took the moment of distraction as a time to strike, giving Makoto no slack despite briefly preventing him further harm. He charged another Aeroblast and fired it at Makoto. Makoto took the full force of the attack, screaming almost in ecstasy. “Yes! This is rapture of combat. Can you feel it, Neo?” A smile had returned to the mercenary’s face, but instead of the confident and saccharine smile that was full of bravado he sported before, Makoto was reveling in bloodlust. The mercenary was baring his fangs.

    “This is how you get off?” Winterfield replied, confused. Makoto attempted to stab Winterfield through the chest with the sword, but Winterfield rammed him in the stomach with his tail before the metal could make contact with his skin, knocking him back. That had to have cracked several ribs. “You’re a sick fuck, you know that?”

    “This is what it means to be alive!” almost as if he was controlling the water around him, the mercenary thrust himself forward at a high speed and slashed Winterfield straight across the chest in an X-formation. He’s taking full advantage of being a Starmie hybrid, Winterfield thought. Unable to touch Makoto due to how close he was, Makoto stabbed Winterfield again, this time straight through the gut and out the other side. Winterfield wailed in pain. “When it’s just you and me here, Neo, fighting for our very lives, it’s almost enough possible to forget that we’re both just pawns being used to fight someone else’s war.” He pulled the blade from Winterfield’s belly and brought his mouth up to Winterfield’s ear. He whispered: “I didn’t kill Harry Kim.”

    “LIAR!” Winterfield focused the water around him for a Hydro Pump attack, shooting Makoto off of him at a high velocity. Using all of his extremities—arms, leg, neck, and tail—the enraged Winterfield attempted to hurt Makoto. The Dragon Rush attack was intended to pound the murderer into the dust.

    Winterfield, however, was angry. Makoto had achieved a sense of battle-serenity. Each blow was dodged almost effortlessly by the mercenary. Sensing the advantage, Makoto replied, “You know that people shit themselves when they die? Not something you read about in the storybooks when a hero dies a glorious death. Trust me, though, I know. I’ve been in the business of killing since before you even understood the concept of death. You know what? I’m sure Harry-kins and daddy-dearest were full of shit when they died! I feel bad for the poor mortuary that had to change their pants.”

    “DON’T YOU DARE—” Winterfield began.

    Makoto punched him across the face, “Dare what? Speak ill of the dead? I’ll do as I please.” He balled his two hands together and brought them down onto Winterfield’s forehead hard. The mercenary then followed it up with a knee to the chin and a slash at the nose. Winterfield was losing blood fast. Makoto paused and put his finger to his ear for a moment. “Well, that was Reg. Looks like Aqua’s captured the Tidebreaker. Thanks for the ship, bro. I think it’s time to finish this up.”

    Makoto pulled the blade back to strike the delirious Winterfield across the throat. {I’ve got you, Neo,} a psychic voice said into Winterfield’s head. It wasn’t the four-winged dragon this time. It was something else entirely. Letting go to the voice, Winterfield closed his eyes and passed out.

    Scoreboard
    Hoenn Council - 1 Point
    Aqua PMC - 1 Point
    The New Order - 1 Point
    Cult of Ketsuban - 0 Points
    [LOCKED]
    [LOCKED]
    [LOCKED]
    [LOCKED]
    [LOCKED]

  23. #48
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    Patrick

    Crystal of Life—The Crystal of Life can be used to heal any living being from simple cuts and scratches to life threatening wounds such as the loss of a limb. It can be used to resurrect the recently deceased, though they will have no memory of any afterlife prior to being revived. Essentially, it returns a being to the fittest possible state of health for its age.

    ADDENDUM: It remains to be seen if the Crystal of Life can cure the PHT virus. I will need to have Jason Kiev reprioritize his research to find the Crystal.”

    -Excerpt from Harry Kim’s Diary, translated from its original Nasmar inscription

    Meteor Falls
    Hoenn


    It didn’t take long for Patrick Costello to recognize Richard Morgan from the Crystal of Energy press conference in Slateport City. This was the famous archaeologist for which the Morgan Reactor was named. What could possibly have caused him to end up here and in this state? Morgan rose from the ground about as quick as he fell down. Costello, whose head still hurt like a bitch, grabbed Dr. Fisher by the arm and said “Run!”

    “Don’t need to tell me that twice,” the middle-aged academic replied. Costello turned to take one last look at Morgan. The two locked eyes. Morgan looked absolutely crazed as if he hadn’t eaten in weeks and had finally decided to resort to cannibalism. Nonetheless, Costello couldn’t just kill him. He was way too valuable to Slateport University and to Harry Kim’s legacy. What kind of nation kills the man who discovered free energy? His only option was to get Dr. Fisher to a safe place, knock Morgan out, and bring him back unconscious.

    Costello and Fisher followed the riverbank through the anteroom. Morgan trailed a few feet behind, howling like a cat in heat. Every few feet, he’d stop, bend over, and grab increasingly large rocks to throw at the pair. Costello was able to keep Dr. Fisher out of harm’s way and his frequent stops allowed the soldier to gain several yards on the crazed assailant.

    “If you don’t mind me asking, Dr. Fisher,” Costello began mid-stride. He had incredible lung strength—he could run miles while still holding a conversation. “What the hell happened?”

    Fisher tried to catch her breath to answer. Costello saw another rock out of the corner of his eye, grabbed Dr. Fisher’s hand, and pulled her out of the projectile’s range. “Ever since we discovered…” she was breathing heavily in between each declamation. “…the Crystal of… Energy… in Orre… he was different. Obsessed with the Crystals… Harry… told him to stop thinking about it… translated a Nasmar… tablet that said there… was a temple in Meteor Falls… Found a Crystal… He tried to kill me… when I was holding it. How… how the hell are you not… out of breath?”

    “I run five miles every morning,” Costello replied effortlessly. When he noticed that Fisher’s fatigue was getting the better of her, he flung her over his shoulders in a single motion and continued to run forward. “Is he the only one or are there others?”

    “It was just us,” Dr. Fisher said.

    “Your message made it sound like you were under siege from a larger armed force,” Costello replied disappointed.

    “I wanted to make sure you sent me help fast,” Dr. Fisher explained. Costello shrugged it off. He was beginning to approach the waterfall into the main cavern of Meteor Falls. Crap. I’m going to be cornered. This isn’t good. Costello heard a gunshot. Before he could react, he felt a burning sensation as a hot bullet burrowed its way into his thigh. Costello figured he had about six seconds of run time left before the pain would become unbearable. He had even less ground left.

    The waterfall roared. Costello turned to face Richard Morgan who had pointed the handgun at him. The soldier set Dr. Fisher down and shifted his balance to his right leg. Morgan cocked the handgun, “Give me the Crystal.”

    “Richard, what’s going on? Harry spoke so highly of you,” Costello tried to reason with him. The archaeologist fired a warning shot next to Dr. Fisher. Her face went ghost white. “Alright, Richard. I’m going to put the Crystal down nice and easy. No need to shoot.” Costello reached into his pouch to grab the containment unit for the Crystal and placed it on the ground in front of him and Dr. Fisher. His leg was really starting to bother him.

    Morgan motioned his gun to the left, “Now step away. I’m not going to let you fuck me over.” Costello and Fisher backed to the right as Morgan approached the vial containing the Crystal. He bent over to grab the Crystal, but Dr. Fisher kicked it away. Enraged, Morgan pointed the gun at Fisher. Costello attempted to act faster, pushing Morgan off of the cliff with all 233 pounds of muscle in his body. Morgan’s body went flying before it began to descend. Unfortunately, he was able to fire off two shots. The first hit Costello’s shoulder. The second tagged Fisher in the throat.

    “Oh god, no!” Costello cried when he assessed the damage. He limped over to the Crystal as fast as he could and removed it from the containment unit. This is an emergency. Sorry, Mike. He pressed the Crystal to the wound on Dr. Fisher. He neck was enveloped in a purple light as the wound closed up before his eyes. Confident that Fisher was fully healed, he then turned the Crystal on himself. The Crystal worked the two bullets inside of him out of his body whilst mending the muscles and nerves torn by the bullet wounds. He returned the Crystal back to the containment unit and put it back in his pouch.

    Fisher was speechless. Costello figured that there was nothing he could say to make what had just happened alright. He husband of at least a decade just tried to murder her, he had murdered her husband, and then brought her back to life using an ancient implement that defies all known science. After a moment, the academic began to cry. Costello sat down next to her and put his arm on her shoulder.

    “I’m so sorry,” Costello said.

  24. #49
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    Neo


    “I could have sworn I’ve heard of Nathaniel Winterfield somewhere before (and I don’t mean his father). Regardless, I’m pretty sure that Lugia is dead. Pity—I’d have loved to have stuffed the body.”
    -Raidon Makoto to Tyrus “Tiantus” Hale

    Navel Rock
    Sevii Islands


    The neophyte legend came to what felt like only moments later. He yawned, trying to expel the grogginess. Looking around, Winterfield noticed that he was no longer underwater. Instead, he was lying on the stone floor of a cave illuminated by blue rock formations. The turquoise light revealed a large pool on the other side of the cave’s main anteroom. He tried to get up, but he was beyond sore. The muscles around the areas that Makoto had stabbed him burnt at Winterfield put pressure on them to stretch. He knew that he’d have to keep using them so they’d knit back up, despite the immense pain. Each wound had what seemed like a seaweed bandage over the opening. Who did this? Winterfield wondered.

    Winterfield lied in wait, unable and unwilling to move. Within the hour, the pool spat up another creature. He looked the creature in the eyes and realized that it was another Lugia. This Lugia, however, looked very different from himself. Its skin was much rougher and wrinkled like a prune. The colored accents on its draconic body were fading to gray. Most strikingly, the Lugia had an ashen beard as long as its body. It spit out a large cache of fish that it had been holding in its mouth onto the cavern’s floor. Winterfield asked point blank: “Who are you?”

    “I am the Lugia of the Sea,” the Lugia said. “I was the one that saved you from Raidon Makoto.”

    “Thanks,” was all that Winterfield could muster. “But how?”

    “Before he was able to strike the killing blow, I was able to use the tides and the ocean’s undercurrents to pull you away. Thanks for passing out – it made it a lot easier to not have you fighting it,” it explained. “I also treated your injuries. I did as much as I could; however, they were incredibly severe. You’ve been unconscious for about a week now, and unfortunately, you’re going to need to work despite them.”

    Winterfield was confused. “Work?”

    “I didn’t bring you here on a social call. You’re here to train,” the geriatric Lugia explained. It limped over to a firepit near Winterfield and created a roaring flame with only a thought. It then put several fish onto sticks lying around the cavern and began to roast them. “That was pyrokinesis. That’s not the kind of training I’m talking about, however. You got your ass kicked by one man with a harpoon gun. I can’t let you waltz around looking like me disgracing the good name that is “Lugia.””

    Winterfield was taken aback by the directness of the ancient legend’s criticism. “You’re right. I was trounced. I would happily accept your help in getting my revenge.”

    “There’s your first problem,” the Lugia said, adjusting the fish roasting over the fire. It then stood straight up to look Winterfield in the eye. As it straightened itself, he could hear each individual vertebrae in the Lugia’s back crack. The ancient legend stared Winterfield straight in the eye and exhorted: “Do not seek revenge. Not only will it distract you, but it will consume you. As long as you are seeking revenge against Raidon Makoto, he will always be able to win.”

    “Why?” Winterfield asked. “He killed my father and my friend! Justice needs to be done.”

    The Lugia sighed and returned to his fish. “No doubt Makoto is a despicable man. However, Makoto does not care about you. He is able to look at the battlefield analytically because he’s not distracted. His apathy and his confidence in his abilities are his strength. Unlike yourself—you have no confidence in your new body and you’re trying too hard to make up for that. You’re overreaching the goal and losing your balance in the process.”

    Angered, he replied, “You’re telling me I have to stop caring about my father? About Harry Kim? The two men who made me who I am today? How the hell am I supposed to do that?”

    “I am not asking you to become a psychopath. I’m asking you to believe in yourself. You need to fight because it is right,” Lugia clarified. Winterfield shut up. He’s right, the neophyte legend thought. He had lost his way.

    “Let’s get started then,” Winterfield said. His thoughts briefly flickered back to Hoenn and to Shairii Woldrac. “But wait, how long will this take? I’m sure that my comrades are worried sick about me in Hoenn.”

    “Then that shall be your first lesson: harnessing your psychic abilities,” Lugia said. “You’re going to send a psychic message to your friends.”

    “How do I do that? I can barely manage a Psycho Boost,” Winterfield asked.

    Lugia took the fish off of the fire and ate several off of the stick. He then motioned to Winterfield to take some as well. Realizing that he was in fact starving, he bent over and began to eat without abandon. “First, you need to clear your mind and focus on the person that you wish to communicate with.”

    Winterfield put down the charred roasting sticks and sat cross-legged on the ground. He closed his eyes and began to picture Shairii Woldrac. He first heard his voice in her head, replaying conversations that they’ve had in the past. He then saw her face and her long, flowing brown hair. Suddenly, he felt a tug on his mind, as if he had caught a fish. Woldrac’s thoughts started to pour into Winterfield’s head.

    “A mind meld on your first try? I’m impressed,” the Lugia commented. “However, you took it a bit too far. There’s a fine line between a mere mental link and a complete merging of minds, however temporarily. Draw back a bit.”

    Winterfield distanced his mind from Woldrac’s by obscuring his focus on his mental image. He still felt connected, but her thoughts were drowned out by his own. {Shairii, it’s me, Neo.}

    {Neo?} she asked. {I can hear your voice but I can’t see you. Where are you?}

    {I survived the battle, but I’m going to be gone for a while. I’m receiving training from a real Lugia. Please make sure that everyone knows I am, in fact, not dead,} he tried to explain as concisely as he could.

    {I’ll do that,} she promised. {Are you ok-} Shairii began before the link started to fade. It had become too mentally stressful for the neophyte legend to hold on to the mental conversation with Woldrac. It felt almost as if he was lifting a weight with his mind. At the absolute peak of the pain, Winterfield had to drop the weight and end the conversation.

    “Excellent,” Lugia said, clapping his two wings together. “You’re off to a strong start. Now come with me for a swim.”

    --

    “Battle meditation,” was the name of the practice that Lugia imparted upon Winterfield. According to the ancient legend, it was the art of maintaining a serene state of mind, even in the midst of battle. A master of battle meditation would remain undistracted by external factors such as multiple enemies, feint attacks, torture, or wounds and internal factors like emotions and pain in order to focus on twin goals of self-preservation and protection of others.

    The two Lugia swam together throughout the oceans at breakneck speeds as the ancient Lugia would attack Winterfield all the while hurling insults at the neophyte legend. The ancient was surprisingly quick for his age. Every attack that Winterfield threw at it would narrowly miss the deft Guardian of the Sea. It would then turn around and deliver an attack that was just a hair faster. Clumsily, Winterfield found himself unable to evade the onslaught. The Lugia of the Sea’s thousands of years of experience shined in battle. How the hell am I supposed to stay calm in the middle of this? I can’t even put a scratch on him!

    “Too slow, maggot!” the Lugia cried. “Raidon Makoto’s going to put your head on his wall and turn your skin into a wallet.”

    That insult hit too close to home for Winterfield. Enraged, he began to focus a Hydro Pump at the legend and recklessly fired. As he expected, the Lugia of the Sea evaded the attack. However, what he didn’t realize was that the Lugia had lured his fire to a rock formation behind it, causing a rock slide. The ancient legend, having planned the natural disaster, remained safe off to the side. Winterfield wasn’t so lucky—he was bombarded by an avalanche of underwater rocks.

    “And that’s what happens when you get angry. You get tunnel vision and ignore your surroundings. Makoto will take advantage of this. He’s a shark—he can smell blood in the water. One tiny whiff and he’ll be able to play you like a damn fiddle,” the Lugia instructed. Winterfield found himself unable to move from unable the pile. The Lugia used its psychic abilities to lift the rocks off of the neophyte legend and then a Heal Bell to restore Winterfield to perfect health. He could feel his bones knitting and muscle sinew restoring as the immense capabilities of the legend instantly brought Winterfield from the brink of death to the icon of health.

    They continued the dance each day. As Winterfield observed the legends movements, he became a smidge faster each time. He still took a hell of a beating, but each day it was less and less severe. He wasn’t sure if it was from becoming intimately familiar with the ancient legend’s movements or the intense practice, but Winterfield he could tell he was improving. With each defeat, the worst case scenario became increasingly comfortable and commonplace for Winterfield. The once omnipresent anxiety did an about face. The nattering thought What if I lose? slowly, but surely, transformed into But what if I win today?

    With the intense desire to perform exorcised from the neophyte legend, Winterfield now focused on excelling. His newfound confidence allowed him to take risks. At one point, he was able to corner the Lugia of the Sea in an underwater cave. However, before Winterfield could finally put the hurt onto it, the Lugia had called a school of Sharpedo to brutally attack Winterfield.

    And with the despair gone, Winterfield was able to focus. He could close his eyes and reach out around him with only his mind. He could feel the heartbeats of every living creature in a mile and a half radius. He could see the contours of the underwater terrain. He could follow the path that the Lugia of the Sea took, predict where he would go next, and plan five moves ahead all the while keeping the entire area in the back of his mind. This was battle meditation. Winterfield had achieved a sense of true serenity.

    Just as Winterfield smiled at his achievement, he lost the entire connection, almost like he had slipped off of a ledge. Behind him, the Lugia of the Sea emerged and gave him a thrashing, running his head down the side of a cliff. The resulting scrape from the friction caused half of Winterfield’s face to look him he had taken a sandblaster to himself. He knew that the normally grave injuries were only temporary. The ancient legend would heal him at the end of the day.

    --

    At the end of a day of harsh training, the two Lugia sat beside a fire within the elder’s cave, cooking several octopi that they had caught that day. The two had sat for some time in silence as the meat roasted over the open fire. Out of the blue, Winterfield asked, “Lugia, I’ve been having strange dreams lately.”

    “Oh?” the Lugia of the Sea replied, mocking an inquisitive nature. Winterfield ignored the sarcasm.

    “In my dreams, I’m a human again and I keep drowning. Each time, it takes longer and longer for me to drown. But finally, when I have given all hope and I am on the cusp of death, a four-winged white dragon saves me from the underwater tomb,” Winterfield tried to explain. The Lugia’s eyes widened almost in shock for a split second before the ancient legend regained its composure. “I’ve been having them since I was turned into a Lugia hybrid, and they’ve only gotten more intense since I’ve started training with you.”

    The Lugia of the Sea nodded its head and said, “Yes, yes. That confirms it for me.” Winterfield hopefully looked up at the Lugia. Will I finally have an answer? “I had suspected as much when I first found you. Neo, my boy, Qinglong has chosen you.” Winterfield didn’t know which to inquire about first—Qinglong or his status as a Chosen One. “It’s time for you to become my Quista.”

    “Woah, woah, woah, back-up there, buddy. You’re going to have to explain a couple of key terms there,” Winterfield interjected.

    “Right, right, yes,” the Lugia said, removing some of the octopi from the fire. It ate one of them off of the stick whole. After gumming out the chewy pieces of octopus from between his teeth, the Lugia took a deep breath. Its eyes glowed blue and the area around Winterfield transformed from a cave to the outer reaches of space before his very eyes. He was quite familiar with this power—psychic projection. Winterfield was seeing the imagery within mind’s eye of the ancient legend. “Long ago, Arceus created the universe out of nothing.”

    {Insert Song: Alpha by Vangelis} (Starts at 2:28)

    The four-legged deity sat in the middle of the universe—the czar of zilch—and created a massive explosion. The multicolored, elliptical rush spread out all around the quadruped and into the deeper reaches of space. Stars experienced their first spark and began to serve their true purpose as Arceus had envisioned: forge the materials for Her new universe within the heart of their furnace-like cores. The universe was filled with planets, asteroids, and all sorts of astronomic anomalies. The deity sat alone on a stray meteor, unmoving.

    The Lugia of the Sea appeared next to Winterfield to narrate the next part of the story. “And so Arceus saw fit to populate the universe with life. Its first five creations were Archdeities of immense power—the Saint Beasts.”

    Arceus’ asteroid was surrounded by five distinct puffs of smoke. Within them, Arceus’ creative energies were heated and morphed into each of the five gods that Arceus dreamed of. The brown puff of smoke was the first to be given form. A massive, four-legged dragon, at least four times the size of Arceus, emerged. Its body was covered in scales that looked like earth but were as tough as diamonds. Once it fully escaped the smoky womb, Arceus’ first creation roared. Lugia explained: “Arceus saw fit to create a balance. As Arceus was a female, She created a male counterpart in Her image. So was born Huanlong, the Father of All Legends.”

    The next womb glowed green. A set of four limbs popped out from the top and bottom, each one bearing a perfect musculature. The smoke faded and a green humanoid creature the size of Winterfield but built like a Machamp appeared. Each limb ended in red claws and its hair-like head tails extended down to its knees. “Arceus then saw fit to create the passage of time. However, each passing moment sparked an infinite amount of new realities and dimensions. To manage these, Arceus created Xuanwu, the Primoridal Chronarch.”

    The third womb was white as a snow. A mouth with a set of teeth bit its way through the dermal surface of Arceus’ creative energy. The smoke cleared, revealing a massive white tiger that dwarfed even Huanlong in size. Each stripe lining its back like a gash was a deep blue—richer than any nebulae in all of Arceus’ creation. The beast howled, much like Huanlong, “With the introduction of time came the inevitability of entropy. The engine of movement would ultimately become the catalyst of final death for Creation. Arceus needed to create a force that existed to rage against entropy and maintain stability amidst the chaos. Thus, it created the Progenitor of Consciousness, Baihu to elevate the simple lifeforms of its universe to sentience.”

    The fourth and fifth wombs developed concurrently, almost as like twins. Four wings emerged from both, however, one set was scaly silver and the other was feathered blood red. The two beasts quickened simultaneously and erupted from the balls of smoke at the same time. The silver one was a four-winged dragon that bared a striking resemblance to the Lugia of the Sea whilst the other was a four-winged red phoenix. “Finally, Arceus created the feuding brothers Qinglong of the Azure Sky and Zhu-Quiao the Crimson Suzaku. Zhu-Quiao represented the forces of creative destruction whilst my father, Qinglong, represented the forces of Evolving Stability. Both forces were utilized to help evolve the beings of the universe that were newly gifted with consciousness by Baihu.”

    “So Qinglong was your father?” Winterfield asked.

    “In a way,” Lugia said. Millions of years passed in a blink of the eye. The Saint Beasts who had been youthful and full of vitality at their birth were now feeble and old, like the Lugia of the Sea. They were surrounded by their own wombs of smoke. “Following the Psychic Wars, the Saint Beasts had expended all but a small amount of their life force. As opposed to continuing to limp through existence, they invested their life force into their own children as Arceus had done for them many years ago. These children, their Quista, carried on the torch and protected the Creation that Arceus held so dear.” Hundreds of legends emerged from the wombs of light surrounding the Saint Beasts. Winterfield was able to easily pick out a couple. From Xuanwu, Celebi emerged. From Zhu-Quiao, Ho-Oh emerged. And from Qinglong, the Lugia of the Sea was created.

    Once Winterfield spotted the young Lugia of the Sea, the projection shattered. They returned to the Lugia of the Sea’s cavernous home. “And so you see, Neo, like my father before me, I have also become moribund. I need to pass on my energies to the next generation. Neo, if the spirit of Qinglong has appeared before you, then my choice has already been made. I want you to become my Quista.”

    Winterfield was taken aback at the responsibility suddenly thrust upon him. He managed to eke out “what… do I need to do?” His skin started to glow a bright white. He could feel a new power coursing through his veins. Very quickly, it became too much. His muscles tensed and expanded to their limits. Winterfield began to scream, “What the hell!?!?”

    “You’re going to need to hold on, Neo. This is only the beginning of my power.”
    Pronunciation Guide
    Huanlong - /Hwan Long/
    Baihu - /Buy Hew/
    Xuanwu - /Shawn Wu/
    Qinglong - /Ching Long/
    Zhu-Quiao - /Zhew Chow/
    Last edited by rust; 27th April 2014 at 9:15 AM.

  25. #50
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    A/N: We're back in business.

    Kent

    “And what of Kent Tousaka? It’s clear that his aim is to replace you.”
    “Tousaka has his uses. For now, leave him be.”

    -High Flaafy Hardy Suchman to Ampharos Davion Bardem

    Ketsubian Compound, Blackthorn City
    Johto


    Kent Tousaka sat at the head of a roundtable in the middle of a vast ballroom. Several Flaafies and High Flaafies sat around him, hanging on his every word, hoping to absorb as much as they could from the traveling preacher. The holy man stroked his, admittedly shaggy, beard, pondering how he should best go about sharing his “wisdom” with them. For Tousaka, capturing an audience was something he just did. He didn’t have to think about it that hard. “Ampharos Bardem has asked me to help you execute your priestly duties more effectively. As you may have heard, the death of Ketsuban’s chosen son, Harry Kim, has sparked a war between the world powers. We need to protect ourselves from the crossfire. It is up to us to ensure that our flock is not trampled.” The admittedly poetric speech gripped those in the room. Again, Tousaka had just come up with it on the spot. No heuristics or techniques. He played off thinking of the next thing to say as a thoughtful pause. “We should start with a prayer,” he stalled.

    The group bowed their heads and Tousaka led the holy men in prayer, “Oh Ketsuban, our PokeGod in the sky, we beseech you to bring us good health and good fortune in all of our endeavors.”

    “PokeGod, I choose you,” the group echoed. Tousaka’s lack of an “amen” at the end of the prayer created an awkward vacuum. He was nowhere near finished. Not until he thought of something to say.

    “Ketsuban, you give us strength to fight the demons of society with our morality alone. You give us wisdom in dealing with others. You grant us intelligence in dealing with the world…” Tousaka could feel the pulse of the crowd. They were getting antsy. He was going to lose them. “PokeGod, we thank you for all of these gifts. Amen.”

    “PokeGod, I choose you.”

    “Let’s see what I’m working with here. There’s… thirty of you, right?” Tousaka quickly counted by hand and yielded 32. “Would anyone like to volunteer to lead a short sermon?”

    Flaafy Santos raised his hand. Tousaka pointed to him. The older gentleman stood up and adjusted his reading glasses, carefully balanced on the edge of his nose. He flipped through his copy of The Book of Ketsuban and found a dog-eared page. The moment the old man opened his mouth, Tousaka was able to assess two things: first, the father was too old and set in his ways—he’d never listen to a word Tousaka had to say; second, he was a terrible Flaafy. It was not surprising at all to the wandering preacher that he was sent to the Compound for retraining.

    It took all of Tousaka’s energy to not nod off during the practice sermon. After five minutes (that felt more like an eternity to Tousaka), the elderly man closed his book and sat down. “Alright,” Tousaka started. “That was… good…” As Tousaka thought of the next thing to say, he started to feel an itch almost on the back of his neck. However, it wasn’t any itch he could just scratch. He was craving a smoke. Tousaka had to say something profound so that he could excuse himself for a smoke. “No, who am I kidding? That was terrible. That was just so… dry! You couldn’t find a pulse in your sermon even if you had…” Tousaka paused, thinking of the word… “even if you had one of those machines that went ping.” The old man was taken aback by Tousaka’s brutal honesty. The rest were watching it almost like one would watch a car wreck in progress. ****ing rubberneckers, Tousaka thought. He looked at the rest of his flock, “In this room, we’re going to be brutally honest. Our very way of life is at risk—there’s no room for sugar coating it any more. Either we thrive or die. We are better off facing our problems than avoiding them. I need a cigarette. I want you to break up into small groups and discuss why you thought Flaafy Santos’ speech was god-awful.”

    The wandering preacher rose from his seat and briskly walked out a nearby door to the balcony. The veranda overlooked a deep chasm with a river flowing through it. The river came from a reservoir deep within Mt. Silver and flowed all the way down to the ocean near New Bark Town. Tousaka reached for his pack of smokes and thoughtlessly put one in his mouth. He held the paper tube with his lips as he fumbled around for his lighter. Immediately, he began to cough, losing grip of the cigarette. He wasn’t expecting his mouth to fill with smoke. Tousaka picked up the cigarette, and to his surprise, saw that it was lit. That’s weird. I don’t remember lighting that.

    Rolling with the punches, Tousaka put the cigarette back into his mouth and sucked in the smoke. Immediately, he felt a buzz of relief. He took the cigarette out of his mouth and went to put the pack away in his jacket, but noticed that it was really hot. He took out one of the cigarettes from the container and realized that it was also lit. “What?” Fearful that his pack was about to go up in smoke, he turned it over and dumped all the cigarettes on the ground. Each one of them was lit. “What the hell…?”

    {Those aren’t good for you,} he heard a voice say.

    “I’ve earned the right to choose how I die,” Tousaka retorted automatically as he turned around to try and find the source of the voice. He assumed one of the preachers had come outside. However, no one was there. He looked over the edge of the balcony, yielding similar findings.

    {I’m projecting my voice into your head, Kent. You’ll never find me,} the voice informed him. The voice wasn’t deep, but it had an air of authority to it. Slightly androgynous, yet for some reason Tousaka felt compelled to ascribe a gender to it. It sounds like a male… but I can’t tell. He took another drag of his cigarette and leaned on the balcony, gazing at the rushing river below.

    “I must be going insane,” he said to himself. “First they take my memory, now they’re taking my mind.”

    {It’s hardly that simple,} the voice said. {I am the Ho-Oh of the Burned Tower.}

    “Ho-Oh? I thought all the Pokemon were dead, legends included,” he replied to the air, blowing a ring of smoke in front of him.

    {Some of us still cling to life like survivors of a shipwreck to floating planks. However, we don’t have much longer. I am looking for a successor,} Ho-Oh explained. {The Lugia of the Sea has forced my hand. In order to maintain the balance, I need to invest my power in a Quista. Kent, I believe you would be the perfect specimen to inherit my legacy.}

    “What?” was all the wandering preacher could muster. “What the hell did you just say? Why me?”

    {The significance of the responsibility that has been thrust upon you will make itself clear to you soon enough. To answer your second question, it’s because I admire your ambition,} Ho-Oh explained. {I’ve been following your machinations since you joined the Church of Ketsuban and I admire your plans to take Bardem’s place. You see, unlike the Lugia of the Sea, a fool who has always admired antiquated and quixotic ideals like chivalry, my interest is piqued by ambition.}

    “I see,” Tousaka said, trying to wrap his mind around the gravity of the situation. He was still unsure if the conversation he was having with nothing was real or not. He decided to go with it until something told him otherwise. “What’s in it for me?”

    {Power, obviously. Enough power to seize the reins of the Church for yourself,} Ho-Oh tempted.

    “I’m interested,” Tousaka said with a slight smirk. He flicked the cigarette butt into the river below.

    {Excellent. However, I am only able to imbue you with a portion of my power right now. You’ll be able to conjure a fireball or two, maybe light those cigarettes of yours with your fingertips. To get the full monty, I need your mind to be complete. I need you to regain your memories,} the legend explained.

    “How am I to do that without the power you just offered me? It will take years of waiting for Bardem to croak in order to even have a shot at leadership,” Tousaka tried to explain.

    {It’s much simpler than that. What you seek is currently in the Ruins of Alph. You better hurry, though, because he won’t be there for long.} Tousaka felt the voice fade from his head after it delivered its instructions.

    He grabbed a cigarette from the pile he had dumped onto the ground. It had since gone out. Tousaka put it to his lips and sucked it, touching the end with his fingertips. To his surprise, the cigarette lit. Looks like it’s time to head to the Ruins of Alph.

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