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February 20th, 2012 (8:29 AM). Edited February 20th, 2012 by Shrike Flamestar.
Welcome to TRINITY. Possibly my most unique setting ever; a sci-fi, cyberpunk Pokemon fanfiction set in the future. The rules are not the same, the game has changed. Indeed, I guess you could say the game is GONE, completely.
I hope you enjoy TRINITY, but just be forewarned right now that I have a habit of taking a long time to post new chapters. Hell, it's been over a year now since I last worked on my fanfics period. If you wish to be easily informed of new updates without needing to constantly keep tabs on the thread I suggest you subscribe to it: at the top of this post click the "thread tools" menu and then "subscribe to this thread" and choose your preferred notification setting. I used to do PM update lists but they're far too much of a hassle.
Anyway, here we go. I've got a lot of wasted time from 2011 to make up now.
Table of Contents and Information
Overall Fanfic Rating: PG-15 (Swearing, violence, occasional gore, and other generally more mature themes)
Genres: Science fiction, cyberpunk, original universe, drama, action
The sky was the color of rust and blood. People walked out on balconies ringing the immeasurably tall spires that populated the island below, gazing up at this curious scene. Ultimately they would shrug it off, turning back to the person they had been talking to and returning to whatever conversation they had been having as they leaned against the balcony's railing. They were fearless of the empty air below the balconies, the ground far below lost amid darkness and an ever-present fog.
To the south of the island, a fire burned.
Deep underground, in what was supposed to be a vacuum tunnel, deactivated magnetic rails lined the sides of the lengthy tube. Screens set along the inner walls of the tunnel displayed bold warnings in red, sirens blazing. The remains of a low orbital shuttle sat at one end of the compromised tunnel, electricity sparking as fire ravaged within it. The shuttle was cleaved in two from the explosion that had set off the fires, that had compromised the tunnel's vacuum and allowed the shuttle to burn at all. Metal curled into rust and people cried in pain, for help, as blood spilled over the stainless steel floor of the passenger deck.
In the center of the city, amid the tall spires that represented in many ways the pinnacle of human development, stood one tower greater than all the others. Rising miles in the air and piercing into the clouds, this central tower was easily recognizable if not for its sheer height alone. Encircling its base was a geodesic dome, triangular plates fitting into hexagons that meshed together with exact precision to form the surface of the dome. Beneath the dome was a city unto itself, housing buildings that were dwarfed by the towers outside yet themselves seemed magnificent as they couched, isolated, around the base of the great tower. Terraces further lined the inside of the geodesic dome, their surfaces filled with sprawling, vertically-stacked cities all their own.
By contrast, the top of the tower was not near as occupied or recognizable. The tower disappeared above clouds that never seemed to vanish, leaving few below with knowledge of what the great tower’s top looked like. Indeed, many would likely find it to be a disappointment. A large penthouse occupied the entirety of the tower’s topmost floors, glass windows encircling around the tower's tip offering a view of the open sky above the clouds. The pinpricks of stars were keenly visible at this altitude without the distraction of clouds or lights, a sight the penthouse’s resident much enjoyed. The interior of the penthouse was decorated simply, with plush white furniture and simple geometrical shapes. A few abstract sculptures rested here and there, while paintings kept the walls busy and visitors lost in thought over their meanings. The penthouse's resident himself saw little meaning in such abstractness, but relished them as decoration.
That resident pulled himself up from the chair he sat in, crossing his arms behind his back. They had an odd sheen to them, a peculiar stiffness to their movements. He walked over to a hanger that stood next to one of his more preferred paintings, pausing to stare at the bold yet ultimately pointless mix of colors and shapes for a moment before picking up a pure white robe from the hanger with his unnatural arms. Draping the robe over his shoulders, the man slowly walked over to the large, encircling window. He observed the peculiar color of the sky, swirls of reddish-brown mixing with bright crimson, the colors of rust an blood.
A groan emitted from below the floor under the man's feet as large motors suddenly powered themselves, the man feeling nothing as the entire penthouse began to rotate. It turned so that he now faced the south, according to a faint compass visible to the man but no one else, projected directly onto his retinal nerves. Reaching a hand out from under his robe, the man placed its palm on the glass, feeling its cool surface through artificial nerves in the surface layer of the fake hand. The clouds below seemed to shimmer as if responding to this motion, nanoscale particles that floated amid the condensed water suddenly aligning themselves, polarizing the very structure of the clouds, rendering them invisible to the man as he stared out the window yet as solid as ever to those below. Without the clouds the entirety of the island was now laid out before the man, he staring down at its breadth with a grim look across his haggard face.
A circle appeared projected between the layers of the glass, rotating around a low building near the southern tip of the island. Windows of information began to pop up around the building, the man scanning his eyes across them, interpreting the information as it scrolled past at an inhuman rate. The building was Helios City Spaceport's mass driver number four's main terminal. Deep below the terminal was the miles long tunnel of the mass driver, stretching far out into the ocean before gradually ramping upwards to electromagnetically catapult low orbital shuttles and freighters into space.
That shuttle was burning, before it even left the station. The sky seemed to sympathize, having turned into its mixture of reddish-brown and crimson, of rust and blood. The people below didn't yet know, but the man in the penthouse, dressed in white and staring down below, had a duty to know of these incidents first. He had seen enough for now though, slowly tuning away. Already profiles of every passenger on the shuttle were flashing up before his eyes, implanted on his retinal nerve. The name, occupation, financial standing, physiological and psychological profile of every passenger. He absorbed the information as it scrolled invisibly before his eyes. It was too soon to know who was alive and who was dead, who was injured beyond recovery and most importantly, those who could recover, yet could not afford to. It wouldn’t be long before first responders would provide that information, but in the mean time he could prepare.
The man finally cracked a smile as two profiles remained fixated in his vision. A perfect match for his needs, he could only hope they had survived. It was uncertain, but he had a gut feeling they had. Wandering over to his chair, the man sat down again, shrugging off his robe on the chair's back as he crossed one leg over the other, they as equally unnatural as his arms were. His gut feelings had always worked out before. He had made certain that his gut remained one of the few parts of his body left untouched by technology.
His city within a city would be getting new residents soon, he knew. For now, the shuttle burned.
End of Chapter 0
February 20th, 2012 (8:31 AM).
Pokémon and humans, two mutually dominant yet independent beings that inhabit the world which we know as Earth. Together the two have lived since the beginning of time, yet throughout history the relationship between the two sentient forces of our planet has ebbed and flowed almost with the tides. It is possible that once, eons ago, humans and Pokémon may have lived communally together to such an extent that the separation between what is human and what is Pokémon was a matter only of one's appearance, although if such a history were to ever have existed it has long since been lost upon the world.
It is a clear fact that compared to Pokémon and several other species of animals on our planet, humans are physically weak. To make up for this, throughout history humans have banded together to form great and widespread civilizations. Utilizing their intellect and large numbers, humans built great cities and focused on scientific growth, the development of new technologies being the driving force that pushed humanity forward. Meanwhile, Pokémon retained a tribal and in some cases almost feral lifestyle. This separation in the paths that the two species took was compounded by the fact that historically humans and Pokémon have been unable to communicate, leading to the beginnings of a rift between the two species.
Over time, due to their separation, the fact that Pokémon are sentient beings became lost on humans. Humans began to see Pokémon as nothing more than exotic animals with mysterious powers that some believed could only be gifts given to them by a god or, as has been popular through history, multiple gods. While there was never any recorded unanimous belief as to Pokémon’s sentience among humans, the percentage of people who believed Pokémon to be sentient gradually decreased as civilization and science increased. Eventually, science led to a discovery that would become known as “Poké Balls”, devices which could capture and contain a Pokémon through the conversion of mass to a unique energy composition. With this discovery, a new “game” of sorts was born.
At first simply a hobby for the richest of the rich, the activity known as Pokémon Training quickly developed into a full career for people of all ages and lifestyles. Men, women, and even children would travel the breadth of the world on a journey alongside Pokémon they had tamed. Some people traveled to capture more Pokémon, collecting them as if they were action figures. Some people traveled to have their Pokémon do battle with Pokémon owned by other trainers or perhaps even wild, feral Pokémon encountered in their travels. Through these battles, trainers obtained glory and even riches, driving an economy which had adapted to the new craze and by that time relied heavily upon it.
This all ended in the mid twenty-first century, at which time cataclysm befell the world. While many rumors and conspiracies abound the exact cause of the catastrophe is uncertain, but whatever the cause may be the effect remains known: all Poké Balls the world over ceased to function at exactly the same moment. Without Poké Balls to contain Pokémon, Pokémon Trainers soon found themselves unable to continue their hobby. While some Pokémon who were extremely loyal to their Trainers remained by their side even without needing to be carried in a Poké Ball, the inability for a Trainer to capture new Pokémon dealt a swift and harsh blow against the world.
Most affected was an island chain dubbed “The Pokémon Islands” situated in the Pacific Ocean between North America and Japan. It was on those islands of Kanto-Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and so on that the highest concentration of Pokémon and thus Pokémon Trainers lived, their government being the organization known as the Pokémon League. The League, as it was called by many Trainers, regulated Pokémon Training throughout not only the islands but the whole world. One by one, each island fell to riots as Trainers demanded to know what had happened. The Pokémon League was overthrown, and those Trainers with sense fled the islands to escape the panic and mass hysteria. As the Pokémon Islands fell to ruin and the global impact of the cataclysm upon the world’s economies began to be felt, the Earth entered the first dark age it had seen in millennia.
Not long before that cataclysm occurred, a group of scientists made a breakthrough they had hoped would have as much effect on the world as Poké Balls had. The scientists had miraculously completed the first Pokémon translator in the world, with which communication with Pokémon would become possible and prove to the world that Pokémon were sentient and could think just as humans can. Unfortunately, the company those scientists belonged to soon suffered a hostile takeover from an unknown competitor and the translator technology, even while it entered its first small production run, was never made known to the public. After the great cataclysm that company was dissolved and many of its unpublicized technologies sat unknown for years. Eventually human society began to pull itself together again, and like the legendary phoenix humans rose from their own ashes and civilization was reborn after decades of strife.
As civilization adapted to a return of life without Pokémon Training, investigations were made into the several companies and organizations that had fallen apart due to the cataclysm. Eventually the research done for the Pokémon translator was discovered, the world finally exposed to the technology that its creator’s had hoped would change interspecies relations forever. Proof that Pokémon were sentient, having so long been but a toy in the eyes of children, became widespread and irrefutable. Perhaps it was due to the still vulnerable state the world was in after the chaos the cataclysm had caused, but acceptance of Pokémon sentience spread rapidly and almost instantly across the world. It would be centuries before the translator technology was perfected for widespread use and mass production, but the downfall of Trainers proved to be the first step towards the unification of human and Pokémon society.
Excerpt from an article written by Steven Adams for the Joint Central Archive for Pokémon and Human Historians, dated June 12th 2458.
The air was hazy with tobacco smoke, its vile scent clinging to every surface inside the dimly lit nightclub. Heavy, thumping, bass-driven dance music played over the loudspeakers installed overhead, orange-tinted lights shining down onto the dance floor below. The club wasn't the largest in the city, but the crowd that packed the place every night didn't seem aware of that or at the least didn't care. Overhead, through a hexagonal opening in the ceiling, the oppressive interior surface of the CYPHER Dome could be seen, blocking out the night sky. A red car suddenly flew past the open ceiling, disappearing out of sight as it descended to a parking platform suspended off the side of the tower. Not more than a minute later, the nightclub's door slid open to let two people through: a human and a Typhlosion.
Tashima, the human, glanced about at the people in the club. He didn't recognize anyone. Gesturing for the Typhlosion named Havoc to follow he walked over to the bar next to the dance floor, sliding onto a seat and motioning the bartender over. The burly man nodded, already familiar with what the young adult usually ordered. Silently Tashima held up two fingers: one for him, one for Havoc. Almost before he put his hand back down, two shot glasses came sliding across the bar, Tashima catching both and passing one to the Typhlosion. Swirling the liquor around in his glass, Tashima frowned before picking it up and downing it in one gulp. As he set the empty glass back down it was then he noticed a girl sitting all by herself just a few empty stools away from him. She was a red-head with curly, frizzy hair. Turned away from him he couldn't see her face.
<Hey, Havoc. Think I can get her?> Tashima asked his friend privately. The speech was transmitted wirelessly on a secure channel, broadcast from Tashima's communicator implant and received by a similar implant within Havoc's head. No one could hear the words verbally and thanks to Tashima's very own encryption design, no one could tune in to the channel either.
<No,> the Typhlosion responded bluntly as he downed his own drink.
<Hah, I'll show you.>
Tashima smoothly slid off his stool and to his feet, straightening his shirt before walking over next to the girl and sitting back down in a seat next to her, putting on an act as if he had just walked in and chosen that seat by chance. Tashima simply glanced at her out of the side of his eyes, waiting for her to make a move first. It took a while, but eventually she gave in and glanced over at him. That was Tashima's cue.
“Hey,” he said, nodding slightly.
“You want something?” she asked, turning to look away again.
“Nah... Just wondering if you're by yourself.”
“For now,” the girl shrugged. “Waiting on a friend.”
“Ah,” Tashima nodded. He had to find out just who this friend was quick. Pointing over at Havoc, he explained, “I have a friend right there. Big, fearsome... Yet cuddly and couldn't harm a fly. Yours?”
“Lithe. Grace.” The girl was still avoiding looking at Tashima, but he could see a smirk form on the corner of her lips. “Could snap your neck with a single thought.”
“Ah, psychic. How'd you meet them?” When the girl remained silent Tashima figured it was time to move on to the next stage, swirling around to face her and holding out a hand. “Name's Tashima, by the way. My friends just call me Tash though.”
The girl continued to ignore Tashima's gaze, and his attempted handshake. As he set his hand back down, she finally answered with, “Hali. My friends call me Hali too.”
“How about Hal?” Tashima smiled. Again he got no verbal response from the girl, she merely smirked again and shook her head disapprovingly. “Okay, Hali it is then. If you're in this dump of a place I assume you work for CYPHER?”
Eyes still on the dance floor, yet seeming to observe nothing in particular, Hali nodded. “Give me your department and I'll give you mine.”
It seemed like Tashima was finally getting somewhere now, no time to hold back on information. “Integrated Software Development,” he answered truthfully. “I program stuff for use in, well, I don't really know. It's all confidential, even from us.”
“Intelligence,” Hali flatly answered.
“Ooh,” Tashima grinned. Now this girl was getting interesting. “That's part of Security isn't it?”
“On paper,” Hali shrugged. “Not in reality.”
Tashima pulled a leg up and crossed it over his other, leaning forward slightly. “Mind telling me more? I've always wanted a position in something security-related.”
“Can't,” Hali shook her head. “I'd be fired on the spot.”
Tashima grinned and leaned forward more, lacing his fingers together and resting his head on them. “I promise I won't tell.”
Hali paused a moment, glancing sideways at Tashima again, narrowing her eyes. “I've counted thirteen bugs in this room alone. They'd know.”
“Thirteen? Really...” Tashima whistled, somewhat impressed. Uncrossing his legs he leaned back again, dropping his arms to his side and clasping them together behind his back. “I've counted fourteen.”
That grabbed Hali's attention finally. While she still didn't turn to actually look at him, her eyes narrowed as she started scanning them over the room. Reaching out to her, Tashima tapped a finger on her shoulder to silently get her attention before pointing up to a neon sign that hung on one of the walls over the dance floor. Tashima couldn't tell for sure, but he imagined she was running all sorts of sensor scans on it to check for even the smallest emissions to signal the presence of the bug. Eventually she started slowly nodding in approval.
“You've got a good eye, and some impressive hardware to pick that up.” Spinning around to face the bar, she motioned over the bartender. “Here, let me buy you a drink.”
“No, no,” Tashima waved it away. “Let me buy you one.”
Hali shrugged, turning back to the dance floor. “Okay, if you insist.”
The sound of Havoc's mental laughter burst out in Tashima's head. <That didn't go as planned, did it?> he mocked.
<She was supposed to insist further on her buying me one...> Tashima sighed silently over the private channel, meanwhile grabbing the bartender's attention and ordering Hali her rather deserved drink.
His laughter fading away, Havoc went back to being his usual serious self. <Watch yourself with this one. She's good. And don't try anything stupid.>
<Oh, go back to being cuddly will you?>
Time flew by as Tashima continued talking to Hali, trying to find out more about her with little success. Still, she seemed to be opening up more and Tashima knew that just a little hammering in the right spot would crack her right open. If nothing else, the two were certainly becoming quick friends and Tashima knew it was time to pull out his next card. Standing up, Tashima stretched his arms out before saying to Hali, “Hey, want to come back to my place? I don't think there're any bugs there so we should be able to speak freely. Well, no bugs I didn't install at least.”
Hali finally turned to look at Tashima, nodding and grinning as she teased “Sure. Maybe I can spot what you missed this time.”
Tashima glanced over his shoulder at Havoc, pointing to Hali as he said, “Hey, we two will be taking the car back. Mind getting a taxi when you're ready?”
“Oh, he can come too,” Hali slyly interrupted. “It's his house too after all, right? Don't want to strand your big pal.”
<What did I tell you?> Havoc directly said to Tashima, unable to suppress a physical grin that Hali surely noticed.
<Oh shut up. I'm trying to get it on over here and you are not helping in any way.> Switching back to focusing on Hali, Tashima verbally responded, “Well, the thing is, we only have two seats in our car...”
“Not a problem,” Hali interrupted. “I'll just follow you in my own.”
“Well, uh, sure...” Tashima gave in, not seeing any way to shift this back in the direction he had wanted it to go. “In that case, didn't you mention waiting for a friend?”
“She got here a while back but didn't want to interrupt,” Hali shrugged. Tashima noted that this probably meant they too had communicator implants, or the psychic friend was telepathic. “Fae?” Hali spoke up, presumably the friend's name.
Sure enough a glowing light appeared next to Hali, flashing brightly before taking the tall, slender form of a female Gardevoir. The psychic Pokémon was fairly humanoid, looking as if she was dressed in a loose-fitting, flowing gown that surrounded and completely hid her feet. Noticing Tashima, she politely nodded at him.
“This gentleman his offered to entertain us at his house,” Hali explained to Fae, adopting a rather disturbingly aristocratic tone. “Would you like to join us?”
“That would be lovely,” Fae answered in a voice as equally flowing and graceful as her appearance, even through the translator implant Tashima had to allow him to understand verbal Pokémon speech. “I would enjoy it.”
“This is your friend?” Tashima skeptically asked, scratching the back of his neck nervously. Fae wasn't quite what he had been expecting, then again he was suddenly unsure what he had been expecting in the first place.
<She is playing you like a game of chess,> Havoc remarked. <I can see why she's with Intelligence...>
<...Shut up,> Tashima growled mentally, maintaining his composed exterior. As he motioned toward the exit that led to the parking platforms, he added to Havoc, <You ruined everything. It's all your fault.>
<You honestly think you could get her into your bed even if I wasn't here?> Walking along besides Tashima, Havoc shook his head when he saw Fae and Hali grab each other's hands, the human woman glancing back over her shoulder at Tashima and grinning slyly. <You need a reality check...>
The group of two humans and two Pokémon walked through the club's door and into the elevator leading to the parking platforms. As it began to descend the scene seemed to get blurry, dimming out of existence in the mind of the person who was just now realized it for what it was. Tashima slowly opened his eyes, finding himself not in the elevator but rather lying in his bed as light just started to penetrate the curved, tinted window that lined one wall of the room he found himself in. Raising a hand to grasp his forehead, Tashima sat up in his bed and pulled the sheets off him.
Other than for a pair of boxers, Tashima sat in his bed completely naked for a few minutes as he thought over the dream. Without clothes on he had an odd appearance to the left side of his body, an odd metallic sheen glinting off his skin which seemed too taut to be normal. The mechanical prosthetics that composed his left arm and leg and even part of the side of his chest did their best to fit in with the rest of his body but ultimately the synthetic skin just couldn't match Tashima's real skin.
Tashima sighed, dropping the hand from his head and looking at the tinted window, the light bright enough that he could see through it even with the partial tint. His apartment being located fairly high in the building he could see the tops of several of the towers that composed the so-called CYPHER City underneath the dome of steel and glass panels that cut them off from the much larger Helios City outside. Off in the distance he could see the building housing the nightclub he recognized from the dream, or rather memory. Why he had relived it in his sleep he had no clue.
Finally Tashima slid off his bed. As soon as his feet touched the floor, the tint on the window that had blocked out most of the daylight vanished. In an instant the pane of glass turned clear enough to let the light flood in, Tashima wincing and narrowing his eyes despite knowing it was coming.
“Good morning, Tashima!” an annoyingly loud and overenthusiastic voice suddenly rang out through the room, Tashima instinctively raising his hands to cover his ears. It was too early for such an onslaught on his senses.
“I ask again, is it possible to turn you off?” Tashima grumbled as he rubbed his eyes tiredly, looking about his room to gather his bearings now that he had pulled himself out of his thoughts. The room was mostly plain, not much hanging on the walls or laying around. About all of importance in the room was his bed, a desk with a chair, and his dresser next to the closet door. The most striking feature of the room was certainly the large concave window that occupied practically one entire wall, easily drawing attention away from the otherwise spartan bedroom.
“Not likely!” The voice reverberated through the room, somehow managing to be the most irritating sound Tashima had ever heard.
“Stupid AI... You realize how annoying it is to wake up to you every single morning?” Tashima growled, walking over to a hook on the wall from which a blue robe hung. Tashima lifted the robe off the hook and pulled it over himself to conceal his mostly naked, and partially artificial, body.
“I apologize, but I am merely acting upon my programming,” the AI voice said in a more serious tone as various displays showcasing the day’s news seemed to literally pop up over the window’s surface, in actuality being holograms projected within the panes of glass. “If you were wondering, the weather today outside CYPHER Dome is a pleasant seventy-five degrees with no sign of rain in the foreseeable future. The temperature under CYPHER Dome is maintained at a constant seventy-two degrees with today being no exception.” The voice was losing the annoying edge it had just moments before, which pleased Tashima. He remembered how when the AI was first activated a few months ago it was so constantly annoying he wanted to tear his ears off. Ever since then, with each passing day and berating in the morning, it was gradually becoming more bearable.
Tashima ignored the weather report as he walked over to the window and looked over the news postings, moving them around and scrolling through the articles with quick brushes of his fingers over the surface of the glass. Noticing that he had received some messages over the night, Tashima pulled over his inbox and began to read through them.
“Hey! It’s Saturday, you don’t have to work today!” the AI suddenly exclaimed, its serious and informative tone immediately lost as the AI reverted back to the over-excitement that grated Tashima’s nerves each and every time he heard it.
“I know that. I have a clock in my head, thank you very much.” Tashima angrily hissed, grumbling under his breath as he quietly cursed at the AI.
“I am sorry, this is my programmed personality and while I am trying to adapt to your taste, I wish only to please you,” the AI said, actually managing to sound disappointed.
“Yeah, well, why don’t you disable yourself then...” Tashima mumbled, grabbing masses of junk mail at once and flicking them off to the side into the waiting icon of a garbage bin. Leaning back against his bed, he looked up at the small camera in the corner of the room that functioned as an eye for the AI. Of course CYPHER would like it very much if they could use the cameras to spy on their employees, however Tashima had taken the liberty of ensuring all the cameras in the apartment were wired solely on a local network with no outside access. “Hey, if you want to please me, how about you tell me where Havoc is?” Tashima asked as he looked at the camera.
“He is downstairs, I believe he wishes to speak to you,” the AI responded, actually proving helpful.
“Well then I better go see him.” Tashima walked around his bed and passed through the automatically opening door that led into the hallway outside his room. Walking down the short hallway, past the doors leading to Havoc’s bedroom and a shared bathroom, Tashima turned and descended the staircase leading to the first floor of the apartment he shared with his non-human roommate.
At the bottom of the stairs Tashima stepped out into a moderately sized room which was, like his own bedroom, decorated rather sparsely. On the wall across from the stairs a clear panel of glass was set into the wall with a couch and chair that sat in the middle of the room facing it, a small coffee table separating the couch and the wall. To his right was a window like the one in Tashima’s room, a door next to it leading off onto a balcony. Next to the stairs a door led into the garage, while to the left an arch led into the kitchen and dining area. The apartment wasn't much, but it was enough for its two occupants.
Sitting on the couch was a large creature with cream-colored fur over its belly and blue fur on its back, a line of red spots ringing the back of its neck. It was a Pokémon, or to be specific a Typhlosion, and as unlikely as it may have seemed he was indeed Tashima's friend and roommate. They had met when they were both young and ever since had lived together and been companions, protecting and helping the other whenever possible. As Tashima stepped into the living room, Havoc turned around to look at him with his fiery red eyes.
<You've got a letter,> Havoc said through his wireless communicator, one of the few standalone implants he had. His enhancements weren't near as comprehensive as Tashima's were. As he mentally spoke Havoc raised a paw, holding in it a paper envelope which he waved in the air.
While not the only form of communication between humans and Pokémon, wireless communicators proved useful for the creation of secure channels, allowing one's “voice” to only be received by people the speaker designated. Additionally, the speech was automatically translated to whatever language the recipient had set without the need to use a separate translator. Of course this did require the recipient to have a communicator implant as well, which due to somewhat high prices prevented them from becoming too popular. Much more common were simple translator devices and implants which let humans understand the native speech of Pokémon, while Pokémon were able to naturally understand humans so long as they learned the language. While Tashima along with all but the poorest of the poor had a translator of some sort, Havoc still preferred to talk using his thoughts. Tashima, on the other hand, quite liked the sound of his own voice.
“A letter?” Tashima was clearly surprised. “On paper and everything?”
<Yep,> Havoc nodded, waving the envelope some more.
“Who the hell sends letters anymore?” Tashima said incredulously, walking over to the couch and grabbing the letter before sitting down in a chair off to the side.
<Hali, apparently,> Havoc said what Tashima had already noticed. Her name was scrawled in the corner of the envelope, with Tashima's full name, Tashima Navara, written in the middle. There was no address, not like there was any postal service that could have delivered it either.
“What, she just slide it under the garage door over night or something?” Tashima asked as he held the envelope up to the light from the window. All that seemed to be inside was a folded piece of paper, and the sensor array built into his head wasn't picking anything suspicious up from it.
<Dropped it on the balcony, actually,> Havoc clarified as he shrugged. <Same concept, though.>
Tashima frowned and slid a finger under the corner of the envelope flap and worked at tearing it open, pulling out the letter within when he was able. Unfolding it, he scanned over the hastily scrawled contents before reading it out loud. “Electronic communications unsafe. Something important's come up. Come by my house ASAP, we need to talk,” Tashima read before throwing the letter down on the coffee table.
<What is it this time...> Havoc murmured.
With a shrug Tashima said, “No idea. It sounds pretty urgent though.”
Havoc stood up and stretched out, yawning with a sound that seemed more like a roar. The fangs that lined his large mouth were visible for a moment, but only briefly before Havoc closed his mouth again, looking over at Tashima. Not moving his mouth, he again spoke up through his more preferred method. <If she wants us there ASAP we should probably leave soon.>
“I dreamed about her last night, you know,” Tashima frowned, staring at the blank panel along the far wall wall. “It was the first time we met, over at the Hive nightclub...” Tashima shook his head as he stood up, walking across the living room to the doorway leading into the kitchen while grumbling, “We'll leave soon, when I'm ready.”
<You might want to hurry,> Havoc said, turning his eyes to look out the window that lined one wall of the living room. The window provided a perfect frame for the giant tower off in the distance that the entirety of CYPHER City was focused around. Even with its full height not visible due to the dome the miniature city was enclosed in the tower was still just as large and overbearing as ever, seeming to press down on and dominate all below it.
<I have a bad feeling about this...>
It didn't take long for Tashima to get ready, hastily downing his usual morning coffee and changing into real clothes. As Tashima walked down the stairs back to the living room, he adjusted the black leather trench coat he wore pretty much everywhere before pulling a single fingerless glove out of a pocket and sliding it over his prosthetic left hand, masking just about any sign that he wasn't entirely organic. Ready, he nodded to Havoc and opened the door leading to their garage, the Typhlosion standing up and following him. The small, red, two-seat aerocar Tashima was so proud of sat in the middle of the garage, overhead lights automatically turning on to illuminate it as the man and his Pokémon roommate walked over to it. The car came to life as Tashima mentally commanded it using an implant, the top canopy lifting open to allow the two access.
They quickly leaped into the car, Tashima sitting in the front driver seat and Havoc in the rear passenger seat, Tashima closing the canopy behind them. Once they were sealed in, he hit a holographic button on the dashboard of the aerocar to open the garage door built into the side of the tower their apartment was located in. The segmented metal door slid up, exposing the open air outside. It was still early in the morning, the lights built into the inner surface of the dome dimmed down while the natural light coming through the regularly placed transparent segments of the dome cast a dim orange light over the inner CYPHER City. Deftly, Tashima manipulated the aerocar's controls, powering up the fixed lift thrusters that sent the sleek red vehicle rising into the air. At the same time the thrust vectoring nozzles at both the front and rear of the car kicked in, helping to provide some vertical lift at first before swiveling upwards to provide horizontal thrust. At that moment the aerocar shot out of the garage, flying off between the towers of CYPHER City amid the rather sparse traffic.
Hali didn't live far from Tashima and Havoc's apartment, merely a few blocks away. Rather than bother flying between the towers for the whole way, however, Tashima instead rose up into the empty space above the tops of the majority of CYPHER City's towers. As most traffic was concentrated down below, Tashima was literally able to sail right over both other cars and buildings in a straight line to Hali's place. Locking the aerocar's steering, Tashima relaxed his hands and looked down at the city below. Labels appeared overlaying his vision through his retinal implants to provide a virtual heads up display, pointing out various buildings and the businesses they contained. None of them were of interest to Tashima, though.
It wasn't long before the duo within their red aerocar were close to their destination. The building Hali lived in was fairly unremarkable, a cylindrical tower with balconies running around the lower levels and wedges cut out of the side of the building at seemingly random intervals. Hali's apartment itself, however, was certainly interesting. Due to her high rank within CYPHER and its intelligence division she had managed to afford a penthouse on the top floor of the building. The penthouse was a perfect glass cube that almost seemed to float above the roof of the building thanks to hidden stilts. Around the cube, covering the roof of the building which Hali also owned was a sprawling garden in which Hali grew both decorative and edible plants.
In a clearing amid the garden at the front of the penthouse were two circles on the roof, marking out landing pads for Hali and guests. One of the circles was occupied by Hali's own aerocar, a silver model that was about the same size as Tashima's, while the other was empty. Tashima maneuvered their aerocar over the empty circle, hovering in place as the vectoring nozzles on the front and rear of the aerocar swung downwards. With both the vectoring nozzles and fixed lift thrusters pointing down, Tashima slowly eased the power off them and allowed the aerocar to slowly drop down and land without any damage.
No one came to great them as Tashima and Havoc jumped over the side of the car and onto the building's roof. Tashima scanned his eyes around as the aerocar's canopy closed behind them, looking for the girl that had summoned them there. She was nowhere to be seen as the two walked up the stairs leading to the penthouse's porch, Tashima pressing a doorbell next to the roof-access door before turning to look down at the aisles of plants Hali was so fond of growing. While Tashima stood by the door waiting, Havoc wandered off on his own, silently looking over the various flowers. Spotting a cluster of small purple flowers, Havoc suddenly stopped, reaching down and lifting one of the clusters up with a paw while being careful to avoid hurting it with his claws. Bending down, the Typhlosion gave the purple flowers a sharp sniff, ears perking up as he took in the fragrance.
“They're called lilacs,” a female voice said behind Havoc. Gently releasing the flower, Havoc turned around to face Hali herself. “They don't grow very well here on this island. No plants do,” Hali said as she walked over to the lilacs, her red, frizzy hair bouncing slightly as she walked. “Fortunately for me, this dome acts kind of like a greenhouse by regulating the climate within. Out in Helios City at large, though... Well, I would need special equipment there.” Gently, Hali brushed a finger along the lilacs as if they were a living thing before again speaking up to the silent Typhlosion. “You come from out there, right? Born in the Pokémon Ghettos? Did you have flowers out there?”
Havoc remained silent for a moment, not comfortable with the question. Something wasn't right here, the Typhlosion slowly speaking in his natural voice, “Fae is not here. Where is she?”
Hali wouldn't be dissuaded so easily though, merely repeating her own question again as she stooped over her flowers, “Did you have flowers in the Pokémon Ghettos?”
Havoc turned around, looking away from Hali as he bowed his head. “...My mother used to grow them. We had a garden of our own. She loved lilacs.”
“...I see.” Hali stood up, looking at Havoc even while he did not look back. “Fae is gone. I'll explain more inside. Tashima's waiting by the door, is he?”
“He doesn't seem to appreciate nature... Come on.”
Hali motioned for Havoc to follow as she turned and walked down the aisle of flowers. Silently the Typhlosion walked behind her, nodding to Tashima as he came back within view. The young adult raised an eyebrow as he crossed his arms, leaning against the wall of the penthouse. <What were you two up to back there?>
<Nothing important,> Havoc responded.
“So you got my letter then,” Hali said as she pressed a hand against the palm scanner next to the penthouse door to unlock it.
“Yeah, about that, why a letter?” Tashima asked, keeping his arms crossed. “Why not just send an email or something?”
“As I wrote, electronic communication is unsafe,” Hali shrugged as the door slid open, she stepping up into her house and motioning for her two guests to follow. “I couldn't risk it being intercepted. I don't want you two to be linked to me now, this meeting is unsafe enough as it is.”
Tashima stepped up into Hali's apartment, glancing around as he stepped to the side to allow Havoc to enter. He had been there before and it looked pretty much the same as every other time. The roof entrance opened into a main living room which was connected to the kitchen and dining room, with a hallway leading off to the bedrooms. The elevator leading down into the building below was connected to the hallway by a small foyer, a closed and locked door hiding it from view. All the exterior walls of the penthouse were g lass, allowing people inside to have a clear outside although an adjustable tint meant that the reverse wasn't always possible. Hali sat down on a couch in the middle of the room, Tashima and Havoc following and lowering themselves into separate chairs.
Tashima rested his elbows on his legs, leaning forward and resting his chin on top of his clasped hands. “So, I give up. What's going on that's so secretive?”
“And where's Fae?” Havoc said, still worried about the Gardevoir's absence. She rarely left Hali's side.
“That too,” Tashima added, trying to cover the fact that he hadn't noticed she was even gone.
Hali furrowed her brows, looking at her lap before standing up again and walking over to one of the glass walls. As she stared out it, she quietly said, “I don't know what happened to Fae. I had sent her out to... Dig up some information. She hasn't returned.”
Chills began to run up Tashima's spine. He clasped his fingers tighter, raising his head up and looking straight at Hali. “Where did you send her?”
“It was a stroke of luck,” Hali softly spoke, off in her own world now it seemed. “I was doing my job as usual, hacking into the corporate network of a weapons manufacturer called Mako Ballistics. My boss, she said that they suspected Mako to be allocating a reserve of money for something. It was my job to find out just how much money Mako had set aside in this private reserve. I found the number they wanted, but it wasn't quite what I had been expecting. I thought they meant maybe a couple thousand a million at most, but no. It was in the billions.”
Tashima gagged, almost unable to comprehend that much money. “B—billions? What the hell are they saving that for? Yes, weapons research is expensive but there's no need to hold that many funds for just another research project, unless...”
“Unless the research they are conducting isn't exactly legal, or is for a customer that could get in trouble if it was known had hired out for weapons development,” Hali finished. “Needless to say, I was instructed not to investigate further, that the case would be handed over to someone else.”
“Like that would stop you,” Tashima smirked.
“It didn't. On my own time, I resumed my digging. It took a while, but I ended up finding the company who had contracted Mako for R&D. Turns out the money I found wasn't a reserve from Mako's own profits after all, it was a transfer from the customer. That customer? CYPHER.”
“Wait,” Tashima stopped Hali from continuing. Havoc flicked his eyes over to his friend, silently observing and taking in the situation. “Why would CYPHER need someone to find out how much money they themselves transferred to Mako?”
“You don't believe me?”
“I do, it's just suspicious.”
“Most likely it was to ensure Mako hadn't 'reallocated' any of the funds CYPHER had given them,” Hali theorized. “Whatever this is for, it must be very important for CYPHER that it continue as planned.”
“Did you find out what the contract's for?” Tashima asked, keeping his eyes on Hali as she stood and peered out the glass wall. Havoc also turned his attention back to her, concerned about where this was going.
“No. Not entirely. I stopped short because I found something much more important.” Hali raised a hand up to the glass, holographic panels inside the glass flying out of nowhere. Entering a passcode to unlock the computer interface, Hali began browsing through it for something as she continued. “Naturally I wanted to know what the contract was for, so I began looking for that. This time, I looked through not only Mako's network but also CYPHER's. Turns out that was unneeded; in time I managed to find a memo in Mako's financial server confirming they had received the transfer. The memo itself is rather interesting...”
On the glass wall appeared the file Hali had found, Hali adjusting it so that only the relevant part was visible and stretching it large enough that Tashima and Havoc could read it from where they sat. Narrowing his eyes, Tashima read it out loud, “The acceptance of this transfer has been approved by the Mako Ballistics Accounting Department as per research and development contract numbered 05869. All records of the transfer and the funds themselves are to be kept confidential and disclosed only to persons with an authorization level of T/Tau or higher. Funds are to be used solely for our contract with the Cybernetic Pokémon and Human Enhancement Research Corporation for the development of energy-based weaponry powered off the newly developed TRINITY power core.”
“This is troubling,” Tashima sighed after he finished reading that. “One, why does CYPHER need weapons? Two, why does CYPHER need to keep their desire for weapons secret? Three, what the hell kind of weapons are these if they're spending so much? Four, what's this TRINITY thing?”
“I can't answer those first three, at least not without guessing,” Hali said. “Either they simply want to patent new weapons derived from their new technology, or they're secretly militarizing. And for that, either they want to expand into the security business or they're expecting a fight.”
“Or planning to start one themselves,” Tashima grumbled. “Not sure which is worse: underhanded corporate politics or your own employer wanting a gun to shove down your throat. So, what about four?”
“That's what I was most interested in,” Hali said as she closed the file she had brought up. “Obviously, TRINITY is some secret project CYPHER's been working on. Secret enough that as far as I can tell, it's been carried out exclusively in the basement labs which of course have their own private network. I can't access anything on there without actually going into CYPHER's most secure laboratories in person.”
Suddenly, it all clicked for the two visitors. Havoc let out a low growl and lowered his ears against the back of his head, while Tashima narrowed his eyes and gripped the arms of his chair, finally saying, “So, you sent Fae down there in your place.”
Hali fell silent. When she finally spoke up, her voice had once again fallen silent. “Fae could teleport past several layers of security. A displacement field surrounding the labs themselves would block her from directly teleporting in, but being able to teleport right outside the labs gave her a better chance than if I had to penetrate several initial layers of security myself. She agreed she was better suited for this task. ...She's a day overdue now.”
“They probably caught her!” Tashima exclaimed, leaping out of the chair he had been sitting in and storming over to Hali. “She may be dead!”
“The risk... Was acceptable,” Hali whispered. “It was too important that we find out what this is, before it's too late...”
“So you threw away your... Your...” Tashima struggled to come up with a word that could adequately describe Hali and Fae's relationship. Glancing over at Havoc, he saw that the Typhlosion was not taking kindly to the news. He seemed to be forcing himself to remain sitting instead of running over and beating some sense into Hali. “You throw away your partner's life just to find out what this TRINITY thing is,” Tashima sighed. “Something that may not even be as interesting as you think.”
“Something that's going to be used to take other lives.” Hali looked up at Tashima. He could see tears in the corners of her dark eyes. “If this thing can be used to power weapons, it's dangerous and certainly interesting. We had to find out before it was too late.”
Tashima's shoulders sagged and he rubbed his forehead with his fingertips out of frustration. “But in the end, it was useless. Nothing even came of Fae's sacrifice.”
Tashima looked up at Hali. Her head was bowed, curly hair falling over and obscuring her face. Silently she reached into a pocket in her pants, retrieving out of it a small data card. “Last night, a data packet came through a few hours past when she should have returned to me. It was broadcast from the basement labs in CYPHER Tower. In the packet was a file, one single file, outlining this TRINITY power core and, perhaps most importantly, the energy source that powers it.”
“Fae's alive?” Tashima said breathlessly as he eyed the data card.
“I don't know. I can't feel her,” Hali flatly said. “But she didn't fail, she sent me this, but... CYPHER can and did track the signal. In sending me this, CYPHER now knows I have this information. They're on their way here. Right now.”
End of Chapter 1
February 21st, 2012 (2:42 AM).
Ooh, cyberpunk! Anything that ends in -punk is good enough for me: cyberpunk, steampunk, biopunk, superpunk... Mm. Anyway, the point is that I now have to review this, so let's get started.
Overall this is pretty good, and very cyberpunk. It's got all the right themes and motifs - and that's a bonus in my book. I like my cyberpunk raw and undiluted. You've got an intriguing set-up here, which hooks the reader nicely - although I would say that it perhaps happens a little too quickly; it might be more effective if Tashima's faith in CYPHER was called into question more slowly. I'd have thought that his reaction to discovering it was involved in questionable practices would be slightly more dramatic, but future chapters might reveal more about his beliefs that'd prove me wrong.
The main problem I have with this story is that it quite often gets bogged down in an awkward amount of detail.
That's my main gripe, but I have to say that it wasn't bad enough to stop me reading - not by a long shot - so it wasn't that much of a problem. Now I'll address a few grammatical and other relatively minor issues.
On another note, I'm really not sure about the whole 'preface the story with an article that explains everything' idea. I'd be more keen to learn about things as we go along through the story, to gain the feeling of learning about a new world and therefore be much more capable of enjoying and believing the world you're building, rather than have it forced on me at the start in one lump. It's not as satisfactory to read, and it's not the most effective writing technique.
Wow. I just looked back up, and I seem to have written a lot of criticism, which is making me feel quite bad now. I'd like to assure you that despite all I've said, I do genuinely think this is a good story. It's engaging, interesting and best of all, it's different. I haven't come across a cyberpunk Pokémon fanfiction before, and I'm pretty excited to see where you take it. (The only thing I've ever seen that was even remotely similar was my supremely weird and never-posted story about a biopunk Pokémon dystopia.) I hope you continue to write and improve, and I look forward to future chapters.
The Thinking Man's Guide to Destroying the World * The Rocket Case * The Rocket Revival
Neither Here Nor There * The Beastman * Coriolanus Rowland's Guide to Pokémon Husbandry
Robin Goodfellow's Christmas Carol * Snow * Stranger Than Fiction
My Trip to the End of Time, by Pearl Gideon * A Smell of Petroleum Pervades Throughout
For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click here.