Thread: [Pokémon] System:Reboot (PMD)
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Old January 5th, 2018 (8:43 AM).
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Delirious Absol Delirious Absol is offline
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    Join Date: May 2015
    Location: UK
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    Chapter Twenty Eight

    Several times, Macro had considered turning around and going back. There was no sign of whatever had taken the twins, but he couldn’t shake the ominous feeling that something was very wrong. He’d told himself over and over ‘only look out for number one’ but his feet had kept moving forwards regardless.

    Not much time had passed at all when Anchor’s large feet crept over the near-spotless concrete floor to join him at the end of the alley. A wall stretched across at either end, with only a narrow gap between the row of buildings. Neat little trash cans stood at the back doors to the apartment blocks, but there was almost no space for a large pokemon to squeeze between let alone a waste disposal wagon.

    Anchor sniffed twice then pointed towards Macro’s right. “That way.”

    The mawile looked over his shoulder at the granbull, then spotted the petrified dewott behind him. Macro grit his teeth together and tutted before following Anchor’s indicating paw.

    “You brought her with you?” he scoffed.

    “Yeh,” said Anchor. “Ain’t gonna leave behind a terrified mum, am I?”

    “So long as she can watch her own back. I’m not carrying her.” Macro pressed his back against the cold stone wall and cocked his laser beside his ear.

    The dewott let out a sharp gasp and her black eyes flew to his readied weapon. Macro mentally rolled his eyes and began to crawl along the wall. Cyan City. Yet another place with a weapon ban. Well he wasn’t putting it away. A weapon ban didn’t guarantee anyone that whoever had kidnapped the oshawott twins wouldn’t be carrying any. Even if the kidnappers didn’t carry a weapon, a little ban wasn’t going to stop him shoving his laser right in their nose.

    Keeping all eyes forward, they crept along in silence. Well… save for the dewott’s erratic, rapid breathing. Every gasp grated on him and he felt his fur prickle. Surely she would give them away? He bit back the urge to snap at her and took in a steadying breath, focusing all his attention on the task at hand.

    The narrow passageway spread on towards a dead end, right before it would reach the lake. The building along Macro’s left ended at a low wall, and beyond that were a few berry trees, their branches reaching over the passage. Clearly in dire need of a good cutting back. Splintered twigs stuck out from the spindly branches, a hazard to the eyes for pokemon as tall as Anchor. Fresh pecha berries lay scattered along the ground, many of which had rolled up against the cold wall.

    Macro stepped forwards, unconsciously ducking beneath the branches, but something snapped beneath his feet, jabbing into his pads. He lifted up one paw and beneath it was a broken twig, its leaves still as green as those attached to the branch above him.

    Freshly fallen.

    Why would a tree deposit a living branch? Only strong winds could whip it off, and there’d been no strong winds that day.

    He trailed his eyes over the branch and reached up a paw for a closer look, but it was well out of his reach. He tapped Anchor’s hip with the butt of his gun and pointed up at the branch. The granbull understood immediately and tugged it down towards the mawile effortlessly. Macro grabbed hold of it and trailed a claw over the shattered twigs. Fresh sap was still leaking out of them. It wasn’t often he got a close look at a berry tree. They only grew in selected cities. But he was fairly certain it shouldn’t be freely leaking sap. Further along the branch the pecha berries were crushed and fell away at the slightest brush of a paw.

    “Someone’s been climbing this,” he said quietly.

    Anchor grunted in agreement. “That smell’s pretty strong here, too.”

    “So… that means…” The dewott wrung her paws together.

    “They’re probably on the other side of the wall,” said Macro.

    He shoved the side of his laser into his mouth and grabbed hold of the branch in both paws. Anchor gripped the branch tighter and fixed his wide eyes on the mawile.

    “Hang on, Cap’n,” he said. “Don’t be doin’ anything silly now.”

    Macro frowned and shook his head. He wasn’t going to risk speaking and dropping his laser. He wriggled up the branch, dislodging yet more berries, until his head was over the wall. The other side was nothing more than a berry field. Lush green grass dotted with vibrant trees each sporting its own variety of berry. Amongst the trees were other plants - flowers, small trees - so many he couldn’t even begin to name them. He was certainly no botanist. The wind whipped up and that sickly scent beat at him, and it took everything in his power to not let go and drop back down into the alley.

    The wind carried with it more than a smell, however. Voices reached his ears and he gripped tightly at the branch and strained to hear over the rustle of leaves.

    “… be done with this place before dawn.”

    “But what about these two?”

    “Keep ‘em. We’ll need something to make a getaway if we get caught first.”

    Laughter. Sobbing. At least… he thought it was sobbing.

    One of the larger plants moved and his eyes flew to it, then widened. He’d been very wrong. All the plants around the trees weren’t cultivated plants at all. They were pokemon. Each and every one of them. And the one that had moved was an ivysaur. He trailed his eyes over the orchard once more. A perfect hideout for a grass type army. Torterra and grotle; a herd of bulbasaur; bayleef; tangrowth and tangela. In the trees he spotted something else moving. A carnivine. Twigs snapped and fell down into the long grass and it dropped down so it was hanging upside down to say something to one of the bayleef. Macro grit his teeth so tight over his gun it hurt. He’d have bet his ship that was what had snatched the kids.

    He loosened his grip on the branch and shimmied back down it, then let go and landed in a crouch beside Anchor.

    “Anything?” the granbull whispered.

    “Oh yeh,” said Macro. “Think I found the twins.”

    The dewott let out a yelp and rushed towards the wall. Macro’s heart lurched into his throat and he grabbed her by the scruff, throwing her behind him. Before she could scream, his paw was over her mouth. He fixed a violet glare on her terrified eyes and spoke in a hiss.

    “Fool! There’s a whole army of grass pokemon on the other side of that wall! You leap over there, you’ll only get all of us killed!”

    Her eyes widened slowly as tears filled them. A choked sob came out of her throat, muffled by his paw.

    “So are you gonna be quiet?” he asked.

    She nodded.

    He pulled his paw back and wiped it down his scarf. “Right. What’s your name, dewott?”

    “It’s Lossy,” she choked.

    “All right, Lossy,” he said. “We’ve got quite a predicament in our paws. We can do one of two things. One - we alert whoever’s in charge here, which is my least favourite option since… you know… I’m a wanted ‘mon. Two - you co-operate with me and we rescue your kids safely with a few paw-picked friends of yours. Which one will it be?”

    The dewott stared at him for an uncomfortable amount of time. It didn’t help matters that he was already jumpy. Both he and Anchor were straining their ears to figure out what was going on beyond the wall. Finally, the dewott nodded.

    “Okay,” she said. “I’ll co-operate on one condition.”

    Macro visibly grimaced. “And what will that be?”

    “You get those grass types out of Cyan City.”

    Macro’s brows knitted together and he pulled the corner of his mouth back, flashing a sharp canine. She wasn’t serious? Two pirates chasing out an army of grass type pokemon? She had to have a screw loose!

    He waved his laser and turned away, marching back down the alley. “Not on your life.”

    “You’re just going to walk away?” Her whisper came out as a squeak and Macro jerked his head around to the wall. “You can’t just leave them! They’re kids!”

    Anchor stood over her, waving his paws to calm the seething otter down. It took everything in Macro’s power to not point his gun at her. It wouldn’t be remotely gentlemonly at all. Instead, he forced himself to stick it back into its holster and folded his arms.

    “Look, Lossy,” he spat. “What you’re askin’ is borderline impossible.”

    “Exactly. Borderline,” she said.

    He shrugged his paws. “I was being generous. It’s absolutely impossible.”

    “Then we take it to the authorities,” she whispered. “They’ll know what to do.”

    “Okay, I’ll make a deal with you.” Macro leant against the door frame of an apartment block and kept one eye on the spot by the overhanging branch. “We’ll swoop in there and rescue your tiny kids, then we’ll swoop off. You can alert the authorities and deal with your leafy invasion. All right? ‘Cos I ain’t playin’ no part in your little war.”

    “Except for a small rescue mission,” said Anchor.

    Macro nodded. “Except for a small rescue mission.”

    Lossy sighed and shook her head. “All right, fine. But if you helped get rid of them, then they might think-”

    “That you’d ganged up with some other type and got yourself a little back up?” Macro smirked and let out a chuckle. “Then what? The grass types on System Ground rise up and retaliate against Seed City ‘cos they think the fairy type has turned on them? That’s how full-blown wars start, Lossy. I ain’t playin’ no part in it. I’m already worth forty thousand credits. You think I really wanna crank that up?”

    He kicked away from the wall and began walking back towards the mouth of the larger alley. After a few steps, he looked back at the dewott. She still stood by the low hanging branch, rubbing her paws together while staring at the wall.

    Macro sighed and waved his laser at Anchor. “Grab her.”

    The granbull obliged, scooping up the dewott and placing a paw over her mouth to stifle her scream. He hushed her and trotted after Macro, keeping one eye on the orchard wall.

    Once they were back in the alley, Macro stopped again and holstered his gun.

    “Do you have a map of this city?” he asked Lossy.

    Anchor set her back down and stood between her and the route to the orchard. She looked up at him with a feeble whine and turned back to Macro, fixing him with a leer.

    “A map? What for?”

    “To scout out every route to and from the orchard, what else would I want one for?” Macro waved his arms in exasperation.

    “Well you are a pirate. Anyway, no. I don’t have a map.”

    “Then where can I get one?”

    Macro pulled out his computer and did a quick internet search for Cyan City. None of them were as detailed as he’d have liked. Just as he’d expected. This was going to be impossible.

    It was at times like this he wished he could fly to get a clear aerial view. If Switch wasn’t recovering from a splintered wing, he’d have messaged him to get his feathered tail down into the city and scout out the vicinity.

    He folded his arms and leant back against the wall. “Know any flying types who can help us?”

    Lossy shook her head and stared weakly at the road. “I… don’t have many friends.”

    “Huh.” He scratched his scar. “No one who can help us?”

    She shook her head again.

    Macro tutted. He found that hard to believe. But he wasn’t going to force her. They were just going to have to do this alone.

    Or he was, at least.

    “Anchor, get her back home,” he said. “Keep her sane. I’ll go and find a way into that orchard without being seen. See what they’re up to, and take it from there.”

    “You serious?” the granbull scoffed.

    “Deathly.” Macro met his frown with a leer. “I don’t want her doing anything foolish. Leave this to me. I’ll message you if anything goes wrong.”

    Anchor groaned and pushed back his mohawk. “Seriously, Cap’n. Don’t do anything crazy, all right?” He placed a paw on the dewott’s shoulders. “Come along, ma’am. Let’s get you a hot cup of tea or something, yeah?”

    Macro watched them go, feeling a cold chill wash over his body. Do this alone… why did it suddenly feel like a bad idea?

    ...

    Annie turned in her new outfit, trying to catch it in the right light. The waistcoat jacket came down to her hips. A little shorter than she would have liked, but it had belonged to a skuntank and they were a bit smaller than a human even on their hind legs. Somehow, Web had managed to acquire a pair of trousers. When Annie had asked, all the skuntank had said was that she’d just looked in the right place. The thread and needle lying on her bedside table told Annie that Web had been patching things up, and going off the colour of the thread it had been the trousers. They were baggy, which she liked.

    No shoes, however. She was walking around bare foot. She’d need to do something about that.

    The white robe had been fashioned into a frilly white shirt. She certainly had to admire Web’s sewing skills. The poor skuntank hadn’t slept a wink and kept yawning as Annie turned before the full-length wall mirror.

    “Not bad,” she said finally.

    Web paused mid-yawn and frowned slightly, but she hid whatever she had to say behind a nod.

    “I’m just glad it fits,” said Web. “I was a bit concerned the trousers would be too big, or too small to be honest. I’ve never made clothes to fit a human before.”

    “You’re good at it,” said Annie.

    That elicited a smile from the skuntank and she drew closer to Annie to look in the mirror.

    “I can’t sew to save my life,” said Annie. “Well done, Web. I might make you my personal tailor.”

    The skuntank laughed and turned back to her night stand. She gathered her sewing equipment up noisily into its tin container.

    “It’ll keep you warmer than that robe,” she said. “Just be careful not to tear it. I don’t think I could afford the fabric to make you anything new. I was fortunate enough to find the stuff to make the trousers.”

    Annie spun on the spot, wafting up the smell of dust and skunk. Her nose crinkled slightly but she forced a smile.

    “Don’t worry. I won’t go snagging it on any wire or anything,” she said. “Now. Is Waveform back yet?”

    “I’ve not seen him all morning,” said Web. “I don’t think he came back last night, either. He might still be trying to make some money to buy all the stuff to build your ship.”

    Web’s voice was thick with disapproval that Annie chose to ignore. She folded her arms and puffed out her chest.

    “Ah yes. My pyukumuku ship. Maybe I should go and look for him.”

    “I wouldn’t go out like that, dear,” said Web. “Not many pokemon would be quite as accepting as we are. You might cause quite the fright.”

    Annie waved a hand. “Fright schmight. I’m gonna go have a look for him. Rebellions can’t dither around forever.”

    “They also don’t happen overnight,” said Web. “They take time to plan.” She narrowed her eyes. “Carefully.”

    Annie gave another dismissive wave and strolled from the room, wafting away a cloud of musty skunk that she was convinced she could see. Oh well. Some fresh air might make it dissipate.

    As she strolled through the front door, she walked smack into a thick wall of putrid air. Her nose almost retreated into her face. Great, she’d almost forgotten about that. She wafted a hand before her nose and looked up at the sky.

    Daylight.

    Weren’t decidueye nocturnal?

    She shrugged and marched on, keeping her ears open and her wits about her. There was no sense in being careless.

    The cold concrete floor felt wet on her feet, but she trudged along regardless. Slight movements in passing windows drew her eye ever so fleetingly, meeting the retreating baffled faces of various colourful pokemon. She thrust her hands into her pockets and looked up at the passing buildings. Worn out. Boarded up. Covered in heavy graffiti and posters. Some leapt out at her, depicting the faded faces of various grumpy-looking pokemon beneath a red ‘wanted’ sign. Most of them rewarded a hefty price.

    Maybe that would be her one day?

    ...

    Tracer’s computer lit up with a bright dancing telephone as it rang away at him. One flick of his paw across the screen and the image expanded out into an anonymous black window. The voice that came out of it was hoarse and scratchy, and he pulled his ears back to reduce some of the awful grating.

    “Is this the detective office?” the voice asked.

    “Yes, you’ve reached Tracer.” They could have given him time to announce himself, he thought.

    “Oh good. ‘Cos I’ve just seen a terrifying thing walking around Spool City.”

    His ears flicked up again, and Widget leapt up to place both paws on his desk, straining to see the anonymous black box. Did he think they were going to show it? And wait… was his tail wagging?

    Tracer fired the eevee a disapproving look from the corner of his eye then turned back to the screen. He couldn’t see them, but there was always the chance they could see him.

    “What was it?” he asked. “A crime?”

    “A thing!” the voice replied. “Walked on two legs like some pokemon, but it looked like none I ever saw. Just strolled right past my house.”

    Tracer frowned and took a long drag on his cigar. Was this the human Socket had told him about? He couldn’t see it being anything else, unless there was a sudden invasion of humans.

    “About how long ago was this?” Tracer asked.

    “About five minutes ago,” said the voice. “If that.”

    “Please tell me your address? I’ll investigate.”

    “No chance I’m givin’ my address out to the fuzz,” said the voice. “But it was on Proxy Boulevard.”

    The delphox let out a stream of smoke and reached across to the screen. “I’m on it. Take care if you go outside.”

    “Ain’t goin’ outside with that walkin’ around!” The voice cut off, leaving behind nothing more than Tracer’s desktop wallpaper.

    Defrag turned her head to look at him and pushed back one of her long ears.

    “Do you need me to go with you?” she asked, somewhat hopeful.

    Tracer stood up fast, almost knocking his chair over.

    “No,” he said. “There might be more sightings. Take as many messages as you can, and search message boards and news sites to map this creature’s route to narrow down its whereabouts. There’s every chance we might not find it this time.”

    Tracer turned to the door and grabbed his trench coat and mask from the wall hooks. Widget, however, was almost out of the door.

    “Widget!” he barked. “Mask.”

    The eevee moaned loudly and turned to grab his mask from Tracer’s offered paw. Once they were outside, the delphox made a pointed effort to check Widget had put his on properly.

    “I’ve told you a billion times,” Widget whined. “I’m immune.”

    Tracer looked up at the roof of his office as they moved away from it. “I refuse to believe you until I have hard, scientific evidence.”

    Widget spread one paw. “I am ‘hard, scientific evidence’!”

    “Keep your voice down,” Tracer told him. “We’ve got a human to find.”

    Widget mumbled under his breath and trotted to keep up with Tracer’s long strides. His paw steps were deceptively loud for his small frame. Both a blessing and a curse depending on the situation, and right now they gave away any indication that at least one pokemon was about to turn the corner.

    Proxy Boulevard stretched out on either side, curving around the bend to their left where it would inevitably end in Proxy City, where it also began. The once spectacular road linked all three outskirt towns of Meta City, but despite its presence it was rarely active. Very little transport passed through, mainly because most of the pokemon couldn’t afford it, and those that could avoided the outskirts like the plague. As such, it had sadly fallen into disrepair.

    “So this is the place it was spotted?” Widget asked, looking back and forth.

    “Allegedly.”

    Tracer reached around his back to check his stick was still properly stored within the thick fur of his tail. Then he pressed on, moving slowly along the boulevard.

    Boarded up buildings and tatty houses spread on either side in typical outskirts fashion, but just because they were boarded up didn’t mean they were uninhabited. That meant whichever house it was that had spotted the human was impossible to say.

    The wind picked up, followed by a noise like a cracking whip. Tracer leapt to the side and instinctively reached for his stick, then berated himself. It was only a torn poster flapping in the wind.

    Widget chuckled, which the delphox returned with a glare through the green glass of his goggles. It wasn’t like him to be jumpy at all. This human nonsense had got to his head. He placed his stick back in his tail and continued his way down the boulevard with an air of nonchalance.

    On the other side of the road, two small scraggy bolted around the corner from a side road. The front one stopped with his back pressed against the building and waited for his friend to catch up, before they turned and raced along the boulevard. The look of sheer terror on their faces was enough to twig Tracer in.

    “I think we’ve found our human,” he told Widget quietly.

    Guess he needed his stick after all.

    He considered reaching for it, then decided against it. He might just need both paws free.

    The two detectives ran across the road, but neither scraggy looked up. He spotted the two children run into an alley where he greatly hoped they actually lived and wouldn’t end up trapped if the human gave chase. Who knew what this creature was capable of?

    He retraced their footsteps and slowed down when he reached the side road. A quick glance down it solidified his fears. There stood the human, but not in the white robe it had previously been wearing. Now it was kitted out to look like a space pirate.

    His muzzle creased with confusion and he watched curiously as the gangly creature strutted along the road, eying up the various posters, most notably the ‘wanted’ ones. Dressed as a pirate… checking out the wanted posters. Regretting a life decision? Or just plain curious? Or… like Surge… masquerading?

    He shook his head and motioned to Widget to wait. Carefully he crept along, keeping both eyes on the human. With his long strides, he soon caught up with them. Reaching out, he grabbed it by the arm and reached behind him with the other paw for his stick.

    “Sorry,” he said. “But I’m afraid you’re coming with me.”

    Before he’d finished his sentence, the human snapped its head around and fixed him with a pair of baffled green eyes. Then it shouted in a feminine voice;

    “Stranger danger!”

    One large furless paw swung around, clasped into a fist, and struck him in the side of the jaw. Spit flew from his lips and coated the inside of his mask, and he flew sideways into the wall. Pain radiated through his shoulder, and his stick clattered to the floor where he’d been standing.

    “Wretched human!” Widget roared.

    The eevee launched himself full throttle at the retreating ape-like creature. All Tracer could do was watch as he nursed his sore jaw. The impact had fractured the filter on his mask, and putrid air flowed through it like a faucet.

    Something flashed through the sky and Widget dropped his haunches as he desperately tried to break.

    “Whoa!” he shouted. “I’m immune to disease, but not arrows! Who’s throwin’ stuff?”

    The eevee looked up and Tracer followed his eyes. A decidueye shot down towards him, talons bared, but instead he grabbed the human and whisked her away out of Widget’s reach.

    Waveform… Tracer shook his head. He knew that pokemon. He was a mercenary. Tracer had reached out to him before he found Surge, but the decidueye blatantly refused to help him.

    “Hold on,” Waveform told the human.

    She reached up one slender paw to fasten around the owl pokemon’s leg, then with the other… she gestured something by her face right at Tracer. Something juvenile. And stuck out her tongue.

    After that, they were gone.

    Tracer pushed himself to his feet, keeping his paw fastened firmly over the broken filter on his mask. His eyes never left the spot the decidueye had appeared.

    Widget rejoined his side and looked back at the still quivering arrow.

    “Almost hit me he did,” he said. He looked up at Tracer and raised an eyebrow. “You all right?”

    “Yes, fine. She broke my mask is all.” He sighed and turned on the spot. “Let’s get back to the office.”

    “Want to borrow my mask?” Widget asked. “Unlike you, I don’t need it.”

    “Thanks for the offer, but yours might be a little small, my friend.”

    “All right.” Widget paused and glanced back at the silver weapon. “I might grab that arrow. Consider it evidence.”

    “Evidence?”

    “Yeh!” said Widget. “He tried to assault a long arm of the law!”

    “I don’t think you’re using that right. But whatever. Take it.” Tracer looked back over his shoulder at the silent street. He was still rather dazed, but one thing was seriously bugging him and he wasn’t going to dispute the eevee’s interest in the arrow. “I am wondering, though, what on earth Waveform wants with a human.”
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