A Smell of Petroleum Pervades Throughout
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February 24th, 2013 (5:50 AM).
Gone. May or may not return.
The Misspelled Cyrpt
> You seem down, definitely go roll in the flowers to boost your moral. Also you need to be limber just in case you get attacked, do some squats
> Take a little time to relax, go smell the flowers. Then go loot the Pokemon Center and see if you can access Bill's PC
FLOWERS OHMAHGERD FLOWERZ
The sight of so much beauty after the horror of New Bark drives you mildly insane for a few minutes. When you come to your senses, you are lying (minus most of your clothing) in one of the Cherrygrove flowerbeds, flowers woven into your hair and a deeply contented smile on your face.
Much refreshed and slightly embarrassed, you put your clothes back on and get up. You leave the flowers on your head, though. The bright colours and the soft scents it emanates are a decent morale-booster.
Othodox found one Flowery Wreath! Othodox put the Flowery Wreath on his head.
So energetic do you now feel that you engage in a few squats, which a stabbing pain in your foot swiftly informs you is a bad idea. This reminder of the holes in your foot is somewhat disheartening, but a quick sniff of the fragrant perfumes of the Flowery Wreath soon puts paid to that.
Feeling happy once more, you wander into the Pokémon Centre – which is, unsurprisingly, deserted – and sit down before the PC. You boot it up, access Bill's PC and wait for the Boxes to load.
At last, you think. At last, I've got a break.
Then the Boxes load, and you stare in horror.
Your team is gone.
In fact, most of the Pokémon you've collected are gone. In their place are strange, blocky lumps of data that don't make any sense – their names random collocations of letters and numbers, their movesets picked according to no logic you've ever heard of. Grey squares criss-crossed with blue and pink lines, orbs of static with peculiar red faces – it all seems to be gone.
The unthinkable must have happened.
The Box Network, the most heavily-protected computer system in the entire
, has crashed.
There are entire
dedicated to making this thing run, you know. There are people the world over – Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, even the freaking Sevii Islands – working eighteen hours a day to keep the system running and free from corruption and hackers.
Then it hits you: they've all disappeared. It stands to reason; everyone else has. Everyone who was keeping the Box Network running has disappeared, and without them...
The whole damn thing has crashed.
You stare at the screen for a while. Gone. They're gone. Nearly seventy levels, eight Gym Leaders, four Elites and half the Championship battle together, and now...
Gone. All of them.
Chompy. Teddy. Morbo. Bertram. Voltz. Bugsy.
It's some time before you're able to carry on; you're not sure how long, exactly, but the digital clock on the PC screen tells you it's now 2.43. You wipe away the tears, offer a brief and clumsy prayer to the Players, those strange and capricious gods, to ask that your friends go on to a better place, and take another look at the PC screen.
The blocks of bad data don't seem to be interactable – you can't even click on them; the cursor just judders and slows whenever it goes near them. You leave them alone and keep scrolling.
Box 1, nothing. Box 2, nothing. Box 3, nothing. Box 4, noth—
It looks like an Egg, but not like any you've seen before. The surface is a dark, smoky grey, shot through with ash-coloured swirls that crawl across its surface like sluggish clouds. You squint, and can just about make out the faint shaking that shows it's viable.
You try to click on it, and to your surprise you can.
Its name is 'Bad Egg'.
A slow smile of incredulity creeps across your face.
You've heard of these. When the Players meddle in the affairs of mortals, they often create these: eggs belonging to no known species, which are capable of hatching into any known species of Pokémon – and occasionally other things, rumoured creatures that stalk the cracks in reality. Did the Players hear your prayer and take pity on you? Or did the scrambling of the Box Network somehow generate one at random?
You aren't certain, but you are certain you're taking that Egg before the broken Box destroys it.
Othodox received one B4d 3gg!
Holding the Bad Egg up to the light, you see that it warps reality around it; it reaches deep into the underlying code of the universe and twists it, twisting the fabric of space and time with every pulse of its unseen occupant's heart. With this thing in your hands, you feel
You frown. Maybe you shouldn't be waving it around too much. You don't want your h4nd5 w4Rp1ng.
The baD eG9 was sent to a Poké Ball.
A search through the rest of the Boxes turns up precisely nothing, but you don't mind so much now. You own a freaking Bad Egg. That's more luck than you've ever seen in one go in your entire life.
Othodox will periodically check the status of the b4D EgG without being asked.
> YOu know who we hven't visited in a while? Mr. Pokemon. So, after withdrawing your pokemon, head to go see him.
You don't feel comfortable leaving Cherrygrove unlooted, but you resolve to go investigate his house when you next pass by. Elm always said he used to collect weird stuff. Maybe some of it will be useful now.
> Check the Pokemon Center to see if you can access your Pokemon, then loot the houses. Maybe you can find a new pair of Running Shoes...?
Feeling jauntier, you take a deep sniff of your Flowery Wreath and head out into town. First up is the Guide Gent's house, since he usually has a stockpile of items to hand out to new Trainers; inside, you find a cupboard filled with hundreds and hundreds of shoeboxes, each of which contains a brand-new pair of Running Shoes.
You consider taking some, but it's not like you can't run without them, and you're really beginning to enjoy the feeling of cotton fluff beneath your feet. In fact, if you can find another stuffed animal, you'd seriously consider replacing your other shoe.
The voices in your head may be starting to get to you.
The next house, a carbon-copy of the Guide Gent's and every other house in Johto, contains nothing living, but you obtain a sizeable haul of random crap. Huzzah!
Othodox found some Lithium Batteries! Othodox put the Lithium Batteries in the Electrical Goods Pocket.
Othodox found one Stylish Dress! Othodox put the Stylish Dress in the Eveningwear Pocket.
Othodox found one Stale Baguette! Othodox put the Stale Baguette in the Baked Comestibles Pocket.
Othodox found one Boxed Wine! Othodox put the Boxed Wine in the Booze Pocket.
Othodox found some Machine Pistol Magazines! Othodox put the Machine Pistol Magazines in the Ammo Pocket.
Othodox found one Beauteous Ring! Othodox put the Beauteous Ring in the Jewellery Pocket.
Try as you might (and try you do; it would be very, very useful), you can't find the gun that goes with those bullets. Perhaps it's somewhere else.
As you step out onto the streets of Cherrygrove, you hear something scream on Route 29. It's not human, thankfully; you'd hazard a guess at a Sentret or Furret, although it sounds far too loud to come from such a small animal. You shiver and move on, heading for the westernmost house, the one on the beach.
A plume of sickly smoke is rising from Route 29.
It looks like someone's already been through here: the table and chairs are smashed and piled up against the windows, and the stuffing has been torn out of the sofas and strewn across the floor. The paintings lie scattered and torn on the ripped-up carpet, and a puddle of water is growing around the broken sink.
Perhaps you could find something if you searched through the junk, but you're a little alarmed at the savage nature of the redecoration here. It looks like the work of some kind of animal – and every animal you've met today has been huge, mutant and intent on murdering you.
The Thinking Man's Guide to Destroying the World
The Rocket Case
The Rocket Revival
Neither Here Nor There
Coriolanus Rowland's Guide to Pokémon Husbandry
Robin Goodfellow's Christmas Carol
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
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