Thread: [Pokémon] System:Reboot (PMD)
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Old December 29th, 2017 (6:30 AM).
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Delirious Absol Delirious Absol is offline
Call me Del
     
    Join Date: May 2015
    Location: UK
    Age: 33
    Gender: Female
    Nature: Quirky
    Posts: 337
    Chapter Twenty Seven


    Macro hadn’t slept again since that dream. He’d been wide awake, even after the sun had set. The dazzling light in his eyes had subsided, although it had taken a while. System Sky was now as dark as it always was at night, dotted with twinkling stars that he couldn’t help but obsess over.

    It was just a dream. He knew it was just a dream. Yet every time a star caught his eye, he stared at it, nearly daring it to flash and dazzle him.

    Just a dream.

    One of the bedroom doors opened and he leapt in his seat, turning his head and straining his ears. Heavy footsteps. Anchor. Yet Macro’s fur was still on end.

    The granbull yawned and strode into the cockpit, and his eyes opened wide when they fell on the mawile.

    “Cap’n?” Anchor seemed to be questioning whether or not he was still asleep.

    “Yeh, it’s me.” Macro turned and leant back in his chair. “I’ve been watching the cockpit. No sense in risking us crashing into a city.”

    “You could always have set it on auto,” said Anchor. “Circle somewhere inconspicuously for a while, you know?”

    “I don’t know how to set that up,” said Macro. “And Matrix had gone to bed before I could even think to ask him.”

    “Coulda woke me, I’d have done it real quick.”

    Macro waved a paw. “That was out of the question.”

    “Anyway. You should get some sleep.” Anchor narrowed his eyes at him. “Otherwise you’ll be nodding off trying to fight off soldiers in Cyan City.”

    That was a very good point.

    Macro slid from his seat, mumbling a thanks to the granbull before marching from the room. He paused in the doorway and looked back over his shoulder.

    “How’re your stitches?” The words surprised him as they left his mouth.

    Anchor gave a belly laugh and shook his head. “I’m fine, Cap’n. I’ll be by your side tomorrow, fists ‘n’ all.”

    Macro smiled and chuckled nervously before leaving the cockpit. He hadn’t even been asking that. For some reason, he’d merely felt the urge to check up on his first in command… without even thinking.

    Was he turning paranoid?

    He ran a paw over his scar and paused by the rest room. Maybe a shower was what he needed to clear his head.

    Tugging off his belt, he strolled into the room and tossed it aside on the unit. Lavender scented water cascaded down, soaking into his fur, and he realised all too late he’d forgotten to remove his scarf. He cursed silently under his breath and wrenched the now-sodden black scarf from his shoulders and launched it across the room.

    What had got into his head?

    Once the shower was off, he collected his discarded garment under one arm and his belt under the other, and made his way to his room. Hopefully he’d remember which one it was.

    Thankfully he did.

    Once the scarf was hanging over the foot of his bed frame, he climbed under the sheets and tried to summon sleep.

    Unfortunately, it didn’t come. His attempt was wrought with racing thoughts and much tossing and turning. After that dream, nothing felt normal. Things felt… different… and he couldn’t place what had changed.

    Paranoia didn’t even seem an appropriate word to use.

    The moment daylight leaked from his window, he abandoned all efforts to sleep and dragged himself out of bed.

    His scarf was still soggy, and had even left a nice pool of lavender scented water on his tiled floor. He opened his draw to search for a spare and let out a groan. The only one left was worn and tattered. His first one, if he remembered correctly, and it smelled of must.

    He looked over at the chair, still sporting the neatly-folded package Switch had given him. Black. With blue squares at either end, drifting away from their black and blue brick-like formation to meet in the middle as though they were being pulled apart by some invisible force.

    Two colours wasn’t that bad.

    He let out a defeated sigh and grabbed the new scarf, tossing it over his shoulders like he always did. It was a little longer than his chosen scarves, but nevertheless, it kept his tiny form neatly disguised.

    He almost threw himself from his room, and stomped his way towards the cockpit. Anchor raised an eyebrow at him and fixed him with a look of concern.

    “Wow, Cap’n. You’re up early.”

    “Couldn’t sleep.” Macro climbed into his seat and fastened the seatbelt over his waist.

    Anchor shook his head slowly and turned back to his controls. “Well, I sure hope you’re fit for battle. ‘Cos we’re almost at Cyan City.”

    “I’ll be fine.” Macro brushed back a lock of long black fur from his eyes and sighed. “How long?”

    “About an hour. Enough time to grab a quick breakfast, unless you wanna hover over the city for a while. Give us time to prepare.”

    “No. In and out.” Macro leant back in his seat and disguised hugging himself as ‘folding his arms.’

    “You all right, Cap’n?”

    Dang. It hadn’t fooled Anchor in the slightest. Macro sighed again and shook his head.

    “I’m fine. Let’s just get this over with, okay?”

    “Really, Cap’n-”

    “I said I’m fine!” He flashed his canines at the granbull.

    Anchor shook his head and looked back out of the window. “If you say so.”

    Macro couldn’t take much more. He unfastened his seatbelt and dropped from his seat, aggravating his sore shoulder. He’d completely forgotten about that.

    The kitchen was filled with inviting smells and Cookie looked up with a start when he entered. He clutched a ladle in one paw, hovering it over a pan as it dripped melted chocolate back into it. Macro’s stomach rumbled and he grabbed his usual seat at the table.

    “It’ll be a while yet,” said Cookie. “You’re up mad early!”

    “Just serve me whatever’s ready first,” said Macro, slumping over the table with his head in one paw.

    “Okie dokie!” Cookie began to spoon the chocolate sauce into a bowl.

    Macro watched curiously. Was this some kind of new recipe, or a joke at his statement? He couldn’t tell.

    The bowl was popped down before him, complete with a side of cookies.

    The slurpuff beamed. “Chocolate dip with cookies! Bit of an improv, but… the sauce was ready first, so…”

    Macro wasn’t going to complain. He was hungry and the combination sounded oddly tempting. He picked up one cookie - complete with its own chocolate chips - and dipped it into the steaming chocolate. One bite and he practically swooned.

    Cookie let out a sigh of relief. “I was really worried you were gonna throw it back at me!”

    Macro chuckled and waved the slurpuff away. “Get back to your cooking, all’s good here.”

    Cookie waddled back to his stove and continued working away, stirring at something Macro couldn’t identify from the table.

    As he moved onto his second cookie, the door opened and DL looked around, her nose twitching at the different smells. Her eyes fell on Macro and his ‘breakfast’ and she raised an eyebrow.

    “That’s an odd combination,” she said. “Is it one of Cookie’s latest creations?”

    “It is now!” the slurpuff quipped.

    DL pulled up a seat and waved at the chef. “I’d like some too, please.”

    “Coming right up!”

    Macro stared at DL, his chocolate-coated cookie hovering mere millimeters from his lips. His appetite had been shot in the gut, replaced by some fluttery feeling he really didn’t want. He grabbed his bowl and plate of cookies, and headed straight out of the kitchen.

    “Wait! Where are you going?” DL asked.

    “I’ll eat this in the cockpit,” he said. “You stay right there and enjoy your breakfast.”

    He didn’t see the pachirisu’s reaction. He didn’t want to. He just wanted to put as much distance between DL and himself as possible.

    And if that meant spilling chocolate all over the ship’s controls, so be it. He’d explain to Anchor later.

    ...

    Cyan City floated miles below them, its vibrant lakes reflecting the blue of the sky. The lakes were by no means natural, but Cyan City tried to make them look as if they were. Surrounded with stone, they gave the pokemon-made structures a natural feel, and that was also aided by the berry bushes that grew in abundance, maintained by the clean air pumped up and filtered through from System Ground. Wild trees didn’t exist. Everything was cultivated, grown only in areas that had clean air and the pokemon willing to farm them.

    As Macro dropped down on the neon ladder, the pokemon below came into view. Marill and azurill gathered around the lakes, harvesting berries into the backs of small trucks. Squirtle played in the lake along with froakie and mudkip. Totodile and croconaw basked on the rugged rocks.

    Macro diverted his gaze to the horizon. Tall skyscrapers. A common sight. Above them rotated tall, white windmills, generating the city’s electricity via the air. Fortunately they generated more than the air conditioning used.

    His feet touched the ground, hidden away from the working and playing pokemon. Anchor landed beside him and quickly checked his wrist computer.

    “Location is right nearby,” he said. “It’s stored on the second floor of a storehouse. Usually stores berries and food produce. Bit of an odd location if you ask me.”

    “Maybe Socket was desperate,” said Macro.

    Anchor shrugged. “Maybe she thought it would throw you. Be a good disguise.”

    “Or this place is the red herring.” Macro scratched his scar and sighed. “Oh well, we’re here now. Let’s get it over with.”

    “What’s the rush?” Anchor fell into step behind him, glancing over at the workers beyond the bushes. “You seem rather hasty today.”

    “I’m not hasty, I just want this job done.” Macro grit his teeth together. “Then we can finally get back to a normal life.”

    “You’re talkin’ about DL?” Anchor asked. “Or Switch?”

    “Switch doesn’t need these memories,” said Macro with some venom. “Nevertheless, I’ll be glad when we’ve got him back home, too.”

    “This is all wiggin’ you out, ain’t it?” Anchor scratched at his stitches and his face twisted in a way that said he regretted it.

    “Kind of.”

    “Kind of?”

    “Look, I don’t wanna talk about it.” Macro waved him off. “Forget it. Let’s focus, shall we? We’re gonna end up drawing attention to ourselves.”

    Anchor fell silent, his heavy footsteps the only reassurance Macro had that he hadn’t bailed on him. The mawile clenched his paw beside his gun and looked over at the lake. No one had spotted them. Fortunately.

    “Peaceful, ain’t it?” Anchor asked.

    Macro looked over his shoulder. The granbull’s eyes were on the lake, his paws clasped behind his head.

    “You wouldn’t think they were currently at war,” said Anchor. “Makes one glad it’s only on a small scale.”

    Macro nodded but his paw didn’t leave his laser. If they got caught up in the water type pokemon’s war, he wanted to be prepared. He flexed his claws, keeping his ears and eyes open as they moved silently towards the city’s depths.

    As they reached the end of their cover, he faltered, scanning the streets around the lake. It wasn’t as busy as Binary City. Few places were. But he had to remind himself he was no longer safe in System Sky. His reward had spread. Anyone could turn him in now unless they were a pirate.

    That reminder left a bad taste in his mouth.

    Anchor’s sturdy paw fell onto his back and nudged him forwards. The granbull’s eyes were on a young family across the lake - a mother slowbro ushering her two children along. Even if they spotted Macro they wouldn’t be able to keep up with him.

    He darted from his hiding spot and paused at the corner of the road leading into the city. With his back pressed against the cold stone wall of an apartment block, he searched the road. Windows. Doorways. Only the odd pokemon, most of them heading away from the lake towards the centre of the city. Many of them carried re-usable shopping bags.

    The city centre… that would be where they’d have the hardest time, he could smell it. His paw went to his pouch and he considered strongly adding the electric laser capsule to one of his trusty lasers. Water wasn’t exactly a weakness, but would it be ethical to add it? He didn’t need it. He always had his grass laser to fall back on if need be.

    He cursed under his breath, drawing Anchor’s attention. Macro scratched his neck beneath his scarf. He’d never considered ethics before. Usually if he had a new laser capsule he’d use it, no questions asked. Or sell it.

    Maybe he should sell it.

    Flicking his right laser to grass, he marched down the road, keeping his eyes ahead but his ears open to his surroundings. The quicker they got to the facility the faster they could get the memory disk and leave.

    Childlike laughter reached his ears, accompanied by the irregular hollow thud of a ball bouncing off walls. He glanced down a wide alley, spotted the culprits. A pair of oshawott twins chasing after an orange ball designed to look like a giant sitrus berry. Keeping an air of nonchalance, he crossed the road and put the giggling children behind him.

    Then a sweet smell reached his nostrils.

    His nose twitched and he raised his head to follow the smell. It was oddly irresistible, yet he couldn’t place it. Every building along the road was an apartment block. No bakeries in sight. No restaurants. His only assumption was that it was coming from a window or air vent. He tried to ignore it, but his nose kept going back to the air and his head turned almost involuntarily.

    Anchor was in no better state. He’d turned a full one-eighty and stared back towards the alleyway.

    “We should have packed snacks,” said Macro.

    “It ain’t food, Cap’n.”

    Macro licked his watering lips and returned to the granbull’s side. “What is it then?”

    “You know when Cookie is in a real bad mood and starts to sweat?”

    It wasn’t the most attractive image, but Macro nodded anyway.

    “Well, it’s like that,” said Anchor.

    “So someone’s baking pokepuffs. Let’s get a move on.”

    It was easier said than done. All Macro wanted to do was retrace his steps to find the source of that smell.

    “It ain’t pokepuffs,” said Anchor. “Like I said, it ain’t food.”

    Macro looked up at him with a start. He hadn’t noticed earlier, but Anchor wasn’t all that interested in the smell itself. It hadn’t pulled him in like it had Macro. Anchor’s brow was furrowed as he stared back at the alleyway. He wanted to know what was causing it. No… he knew.

    It was blindingly obvious now.

    Macro’s paw shot to his laser and he pushed past the granbull.

    “Wait, Cap’n.” Anchor grabbed his shoulder. “I’ll go help the kids. You go and get that disk.”

    Macro looked from the alley to Anchor, then towards the city. A space pirate looks out for number one. He wasn’t going to get caught up in the water pokemon’s war. Besides, what would a grass type want with a pair of oshawott barely out of their eggs?

    Yet he refused to relinquish his laser.

    Anchor met his eyes and his jaw set in place. “Look. I know it ain’t what we usually do, but I can’t ignore kids in trouble, Cap’n. And I know-”

    “We don’t look out for others,” Macro said, emotionless. “It only comes back to bite you in the ***.”

    His eyes drifted again to the alley. To the source of that smell. Then he rolled his eyes and struck Anchor in the hip with his laser.

    “Come on,” he said.

    If he’d looked away fast enough he’d have missed the look of surprise that flashed across the granbull’s eyes. The larger pokemon followed him closely back towards the alley, keeping up with Macro’s brisk trot.

    No more laughing. No more bouncing ball. Instead, the sitrus-like sphere lay motionless in the middle of the road. The scene was like something from a horror movie. As he stood staring at it, their laughter echoed in his head and sent shivers down his spine.

    Whoever had taken them had either been incredibly stealthy, or invisible.

    Then he realised that smell had gone. His spine stiffened and he looked up, fixing wide eyes on the back of the alley.

    That smell had been a lure, like it had almost lured him in. Yet it had had little to no effect on Anchor. Targeted. The kids were targeted.

    He grit his teeth together, letting out a low growl, and cocked his laser beside his head.

    It was like the Analogue Isles all over again. A lone kid drawn in by an irresistible signal. A cry for help that had ended three lives and almost claimed two children.

    Almost claimed his own.

    He shoved the thought aside and focused on following the non-existent trail through the alley, being careful not to nudge the ball. Any sound would be detrimental, and he needed complete silence if he was going to pinpoint the kids’ invisible abductor.

    Anchor snuffled and lifted his head.

    “Keep going,” he whispered.

    “You can smell it?” Macro replied.

    Anchor nodded. “Trail’s faint, but it’s there.”

    Macro gave a curt nod and pressed on, daring not to breathe. The end of the alley seemed oddly ominous, when just moments before it had been a place of fun. He half expected to see blood on the walls or hear a whimper coming from a trash can.

    “Giga! Gigi!”

    Macro leapt out of his skin, spinning on the spot to aim his gun towards the alleyway mouth. A dewott stood with her back to them, shouting into the streets. Great. The mother. He grimaced. Any chance they had of catching the culprit had been shot in the foot.

    Anchor groaned and slammed a paw into his head.

    “You deal with it,” Macro spat. “I’m gonna find those kids.”

    Anchor pointed a thick claw at the dewott and his eyes widened. “You want me to go and talk to her?”

    “Yeh. Use your words.” Macro turned his back on him and crept further into the alley.

    “Okay.” Anchor was hesitant and he cleared his throat. “I’ll think of something to say. Shout if you need me.”

    “You come straight back,” Macro hissed. “I ain’t doin’ this alone.”

    ...

    The young dewott looked close to tears, her paw clasped at her mouth as her black eyes searched the empty road. Anchor had no idea what to say to her. He moved slowly, keeping one paw raised as he reached her.

    “Excuse me, ma’am.”

    The dewott span on the spot and her eyes bulged. Clearly she wasn’t expecting to see a fairy type in Cyan City, let alone a space pirate. Her jaw dropped and her scream died in her throat as Anchor hushed her, waving his paws in a desperate bid to calm her down.

    “Are you lookin’ for two kids?” he blurted out.

    Her mouth snapped shut and she nodded, eying him suspiciously. Then she looked past him and her cold look melted as tears filled her eyes.

    “That’s their ball…” Her voice choked. “Where are they?”

    “That’s the thing,” said Anchor. “We don’t know.”

    “We?”

    Anchor waved her question away. “They were right there, playin’ as we passed. Then there was this smell. Almost drew my Cap’n away until I told him it weren’t food.”

    “A smell?” The dewott looked up at him again and blinked her tears back. There was that look of suspicion again. “What kind of smell?”

    “I dunno. A sweet one?”

    Her eyes widened and she pushed past him, but he reached around and grabbed her by the arm.

    “Let me go!” she barked.

    “You go after them, you might ruin everything! Calm down! I’m tryin’ to help you here!”

    “Help me?” Her eyes went from his face to his gauntlets and back. “Aren’t you a pirate?”

    “I admit, ma’am, I ain’t exactly here with good intentions. But I ain’t heartless enough to ignore a pair of missing kids.” He paused, watching her eyes go from cold to tearful again. “Now. You gonna accept our help or not?”

    “They’re my babies…” She glanced back down the alley and her voice croaked. “I guess I don’t have much choice. But who is this other mysterious pirate?”

    “You know him as Hunter.”

    Anchor raised an eyebrow as a look of fury flashed across her eyes, but it was quickly replaced by tears again as she fidgeted her paws together, looking back down the alley.

    “He… he’s gone after them?” Her voice was hesitant.

    “Yeh.” Anchor paused and cleared his throat. “You still want his help? ‘Cos I can nearly guarantee you those kids will come out of this alive.”

    “How? He’s dangerous.”

    “That’s exactly why. He might be crazy and take a lot of risks, but he gets the job done.” Anchor folded his arms and smiled. “You want our help or not? ‘Cos I need to get back in there. He’s relyin’ on my nose.”
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    A Fanfiction Author Who Dares to be Different
    A glimmer of hope in a war-torn world - The End
    Cyberpunk fantasy meets Pokemon Mystery Dungeon - Glitched
    Fancy some Cyberpunk PMD action with space pirates? System:Reboot
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