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Old September 2nd, 2017 (3:36 PM).
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Bay Bay is online now
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At the beginning of Lappe and Eff's confrontation I thought you should add a bit more of Jack's reactions there, like through body language. I like though how upset he was when Lappe was pretty beaten up there and he was trying to heal him. Lappe getting away from Jack like that, oh dear that doesn't look good there.

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Old September 2nd, 2017 (4:56 PM).
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Astinus Astinus is offline
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    Hope you enjoy your vacation! :)

    I do agree with Bay that there could have been more of Jack's reactions when Eff was hitting Lappe with the crowbar. It felt like Jack had kind of disappeared during that encounter until he was needed again for the potions. There could have been a little of Jack yelling, or rushing in to stop Eff, or something. Just so it felt like he was still there watching what was going on.

    Things are going to get interesting for Jack. Not only is Lappe running away from him for capturing Eff, but now Jack has to deal with the captured Eff. And I guess that's West that was flying above this whole situation? Jack's gonna have to deal with him on top of everything else, isn't he?
    "Now the trumpet summons us again--
    not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need--
    not as a call to battle, though embattled we are--
    but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out."
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    Old October 9th, 2017 (4:50 AM). Edited October 9th, 2017 by aeternum.
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    aeternum aeternum is offline
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    Lappe sat on one of the numerous benches within the Vermillion City Pokemon Center. It had already been two days since he’d ran away from Jack, but he’d yet to figure out exactly what he was going to do. The Croconaw clenched and un-clenched its hand as it recalled their final moments together.

    “I can’t believe it… he betrayed me… even after all that we’d been through together… just how long had he been holding onto that Pokeball? It’s as if I never even knew him… that Timburr… it could have just as easily had been me... transformed and brainwashed…”

    The Pokemon shuddered at the thought. Lappe quickly shook his head, clearing the idea from his mind as best as he could before slowly shifting his attention up towards the television a few feet ahead of him. A news program was playing, but nothing that seemed to immediately pertain to the Pokemon.

    Some middle aged couple were sitting with teary eyes as they talked about the headlines hovering beneath them - their son had run away from home with a group of friends that all lived on the Sevii Islands. The gentleman seated next to her had a stern look on his face and was staring into - or perhaps, beyond - the camera the entire time that his wife was sobbing. After a few minutes, the man slowly rose from his seat and reached behind the sofa, pulling up an old trunk with some amount of effort before letting it fall onto the table. The man flipped the case open and pulled out an H-shaped vest with six black Pokeballs strapped to the front of it. He looked at the camera one last time before closing his eyes. He then bowed to his wife, pulling a mask out from the case and presenting it to her before holding the position for several seconds. Finally, she rose to embrace him - an action which caused the program to abruptly cut to a commercial.

    Lappe’s eyebrow raised, but then quickly fell as he shook his head. “All that, and still no word on Viridian City or Pallet Town… Just what is going on out there? Surely they can’t stay quiet about it forever...”

    The Pokemon awkwardly rose from its seat, almost falling to the floor as it left its bench. Lappe slowly made his way to an enlarged map of the Kanto region which took up the entirety of one of the walls. Each and every main road as well as some others which were noted as tourist attractions were labeled with numbers denoting the amount of days that a trip along each path would take at a leisurely pace. The Croconaw traced one of its digits across the map as it searched for Vermillion City.

    “There I am…” the Pokemon paused, his finger hovering over the symbol of the Pokemon Center in the city. What were his plans now? Sure, he could keep fighting against the Republic, but what would it earn him in the end? Before the Timburr attacked them, he had even planned to confront Jack about that very thing and now… but what choice did he really have? What else was there to live for now? After so much time had passed, he was sure that the rest of his family had moved on and forgotten about him… all he had left now was Jack… Tears slowly welled in his eyes and then flowed over as they ran down his cheeks and dripped to the floor.

    “My, what a precious Pokemon.” Nurse Joy slowly and carefully approached the Croconaw with a smile upon her face. Her hand was cupped and stretched out with several diced fish held within it. “Tell me, do you have a trainer? Or, did you have a trainer? Are they the ones who did that to your arm? Oh you poor thing, you must be starving just look at you.”

    Lappe looked down at his nub, his eyes lingering for several seconds before meeting Joy’s. “No, I don’t have a trainer. But… I’m not wild either. It’s… it’s both of our faults that this happened to me… we were reckless and… I…” his eyes moved quickly to her cupped hand as his stomach rumbled. It had been two days since he'd eaten anything.

    “Ho, ho! Have no fear Joy, I’ll take care of the boy! He actually belongs to a friend of mine, believe it or not!”

    Lappe’s head slowly turned, somewhat recognizing the voice coming up close behind him. As the Pokemon turned, he was met by a surprisingly strong grip which lifted him up off of the ground by his waist.

    “Matt, I thought it had been made abundantly clear that you could only come into the Center when Nurse Johnny was on duty?”

    Matt chuckled to himself before shaking his one free hand at the Nurse. “No need to worry, I just came in here for the Pokemon. He’s the friend of a friend. I owe favors to both of them actually. Aaaand, now that I’ve gotten what I came for I’ll be on my way. I hope you’ll overlook my trespassing on our agreement.”

    The red-haired Nurse’s eyes seemed to be boring holes into Matt as she stared him down. “Well then, as long as you know this man… Croconaw?” Joy’s gaze turned to Lappe as her head cocked, begging him to disclaim the creepy man.

    The Pokemon scratched at his head as he weighed his possible options. “Uhhh, yeah… I know him… friend of a friend and all that…”

    Nurse Joy sighed and then nodded her head, putting a smile back on her face. “If that’s the case… very well then. I hope you have a great day!” The woman quickly turned on her heels, covering her behind with a clipboard as she walked away, her head tilted slightly over her shoulder as she watched Matt from the corner of her eye.

    “Man, you really have some issues with the ladies don’t you?” Lappe looked up at the man and let out a small ‘hmph’. “Is there anywhere you can go where there’s not at least one woman who can’t stand you?”

    “Well, that is just the way it is I suppose. You come to expect these sorts of things when you’re the leader of such an obsessive group after all. It’s my civil duty to get to know these ladies as best as I can… and since I don’t swing in the other direction, I leave those ones up to my daughter. Now [i]she’s a real go-getter. Better even than I was in my prime, matter of fact.”

    Matt grinned wide as he spoke, but after the word ‘daughter’, Lappe had completely zoned out.

    “D-d-d-daughter? You? I can’t believe it!”

    Matt chuckled as he walked out of the Pokemon Center’s entrance and placed Lappe back on the ground. “But of course. I was in love once upon a time. Although, it never lasted.” His eyes shone as he briefly recalled the woman from his past. “Of course it never could… and it only took a few years... only a few years before my ex got fed up with our daughter and dropped her onto me. I've been raising her as best I could ever since, so of course in the end she took more after me than her mother. We make quite the pair as the chairman and vice-chairman of the Pokemon Fan club.”

    “I’d like to say that I want to meet her, just to make sure she’s not all just a part of your imagination, but at the same time…”

    Matt chuckled and then began to walk ahead of Lappe, leading him down the path to the entrance of the city. “I’d love to show her off to you. She’s the one good thing I’ve made in this life… however, she’s currently not in the city. She’s doing research over in Johto at the moment, and I’ve no real idea when she’ll be coming back home. How unfortunate for us, right?”

    “Yeah… how unfortunate…”

    “Anyways, as I said to the Nurse, I do owe you and Jack. So tell me… why did you run away from him in such a dire situation?”

    Lappe’s eyes widened as he stumbled backwards. Was this all just a setup? He’d finally found out the true, hidden personality behind Jack and now… even this old geezer was here to put the cuffs on him? “H-how do you know about that?”

    Matt’s face remained the same as he pulled a cell phone from his pocket. “I got a call from Kris about a day ago. Jack was pulled into the Pokemon Center by a group of random teenagers after your battle against the Timburr. The nurses said that if any more time had gone by without treating him it could have been…”

    “Well how do you think I felt? I’ve been nursing these wounds all on my own for the past two days, struggling just to make it this far! They just finished healing for the most part, and even now I… even now…” Lappe’s gaze slowly fell to his feet. “I don’t know what to do… I feel… I feel so betrayed and yet… there’s still no other place that I’d rather be… why? Tell me why, Matt? Why did he have that Pokeball in his bag?” Lappe’s eyes filled with tears once more as he clenched at his chest, tearing away the top layers of his skin as he fought against himself.

    Matt’s face darkened as the smile disappeared from it. “That’s what this is all about then? A Pokeball?”

    Lappe nodded. “He… he pulled it at the last second and forced that Timburr into it… do you know how long he’d been hiding that from me? After he promised? After all the talks and debates that we’d had? All the years we spent together as friends as still… still he just thinks of me as a Pokemon… something that can so easily be crammed into one of those devices… probably so that… so…”

    “It was me.” Matt stared the Pokemon down, his lips pursed and his hands clenched. “I put the ball into his bag without his knowing. Whatever you may be thinking about Jack now, throw it out of your head. I’m sure he had no other choice but to abandon his ideals and promises in that moment. And before you jump to the defensive, know that it was not my intention to have it be used on you. I know just from the short time that I spent with the two of you that neither of you would have had the strength to break down and buy a ball on your own. And believe me, there will come a time when you, Lappe, will not be enough to win the fights. Even in Cerulean you only just barely pulled through. And in the end, look what happened to you.”

    Lappe clenched his teeth, all of the feelings of uncertainty towards Jack quickly fell dead before being replaced with anger at Matt. “How dare you…” the Pokemon whispered beneath his breath. “You had no right… do you have any idea… do you have any idea of what you’ve done?”

    Matt slowly nodded. “Lappe, you must understand what I am saying. I love Pokemon! I love the people who fight alongside them! I love the friendship, the camaraderie, the painstaking battles you partake in and the walls that you overcome together! I love everything to do with this world that we share together and I love the history we’ve grown, and built together! Pokemon are everything to me, and so I… I know… the decision that I made was the right one - regardless of if it was mine to make or not. With that one action, I paid my debt to Jack whether he knows it or not. So please, tell me what I can do to pay my debt to you, Lappe. Let me make amends in any way that I can so that you can continue on!”

    Lappe’s teeth began to show as he emitted a low growling sound. His hand was clenched into a fist and his eyes had been slammed shut. “Just… get out of my way… just… leave me alone… before I do something we’ll both regret.”

    Matt nodded, a dour look upon his face as he backed away from the Pokemon. Lappe began to shake his head as he rushed off in the opposite direction, following the signs for Diglett Cave.
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    Old October 9th, 2017 (5:56 PM).
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    Astinus Astinus is offline
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      So now we have Lappe's point of view on the situation, and to be honest, it's rather...sudden. It's sudden how he turned on Jack, thinking that all of the promises Jack made to Lappe about not capturing Pokemon were all lies, all because Jack had to use a Pokeball to save his life. It's not like Jack caught Eff for no reason. He had to do it to stop the attack.

      A small detail that adds to this being sudden is that Lappe never saw Jack buy a Pokeball. If he had seen Jack buy a Pokeball, that might add to the suspicion. But the Pokeball came from nowhere, so Lappe really had no reason to suspect Jack of wanting to capture him or of thinking that Pokemon are less than human.

      Matt's also a strange character, and he makes me uncomfortable. I'm not a fan of a sexual deviant who violates restraining orders, and yet he comes in as some sort of guide for Lappe. I dunno. It's just weird that Lappe would let Matt go free after he admits to planting the Pokeball in Jack's bag, but Lappe will leave Jack for dead just because he captured a Pokemon to save his life. Lappe has far more history with Jack to know what sort of person he is, but doesn't know who Matt is.

      Here's to hoping that Lappe and Jack find one another and finally have that talk that puts this behind them.
      "Now the trumpet summons us again--
      not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need--
      not as a call to battle, though embattled we are--
      but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out."
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      Old October 20th, 2017 (8:40 AM). Edited October 20th, 2017 by aeternum.
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      aeternum aeternum is offline
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      For being as tired as I am, I think I did a pretty good job with this chapter.


      Jack stumbled into Vermillion City, his bandages were still wrapped tightly around his bruised ribs and the bleeding from the removed IV had finally ceased thanks to several free First Aid kits he managed to nab as he left the Pokemon Center in Cerulean. Eff’s Pokeball was gripped firmly in Jack’s right hand in fear of losing it and condemning the Pokemon to either live in it forever, or fall into someone else’s hands.

      The new trainer wobbled into the center of the city and fell to his knees beside the Poke Mart, taking a moment to gather himself as he racked his brain trying to figure out where Lappe could have gone. For the time being, he decided to buy a few more potions from the convenience store and check up on the news. There always was the possibility that they were finally reporting on the bombing. Maybe… maybe he could finally find out if there were any survivors or not.

      To his surprise however, when he entered the mart and glanced up to the single television in the furthest corner of the room he saw a face which seemed to be vaguely familiar. A title bar flashed against the bottom of the screen with three names which corresponded to the three teenagers displayed.

      “Hey, can you turn that up for me? I think I know those people from somewhere.”

      The store clerk nodded and obliged, pulling a long pole from behind the register which he used to press the volume up button on the control panel a total of six times. “We lost the remote a few months ago. The manager’s just too cheap to buy a new one… or a new TV… this thing is hella dated now.”

      “Following up on our report from yesterday, we’ve seen some amazing and possibly terrifying new information for you all. We’ve learned the identity of the third child who had abandoned his home in the Sevii islands earlier this week; Eridian Haschwalth. The name may be familiar to some as the grandson of Jugo Haschwalth - a scientist who rose to fame in the last five years. This means that we now know all three identities of the runaway children, as well as the families which they belong to. And if you were tuned in to the broadcast last night, you should be aware that one of those families has already publicly taken action.”

      Jack droned out the clerk as he listened in on the reporters, slowly growing closer to the tv as he did so. The longer he stared, the more that he knew for certain that he had met at least two of the people pictured. Jennabel Fue, Jackson Grand, and a third who he’d not been introduced to whose name seemed to be Eridian Haschwalth. Why was the media so caught up on these three kids when so many others had just lost their lives in such an awful act of terrorism? The longer that the cover-up went on, the more aggravated that Jack grew. Just when were the Elite Four going to step up and say something about what happened? Two dots on the map… gone in an instant and not even the slightest peep had come up pertaining to it.

      “For those of you who weren’t with us last night, we’d like to replay what footage we were able to capture in our interview with the parents of Jackson Grand.”

      The screen cut to a segment which had a rotating image in the upper right corner which labeled the footage as a replay. In the footage, a man and woman sat on a sofa across from a female reporter. The man’s eyes were glazed over and he was staring off into the distance in a daze while his wife sobbed, wiping her face every so often with a Lapras-print handkerchief.

      “So tell us, Lorelei; why do you think that your son ran away from home? Do you have any idea where he might be or what he might be getting up to?”

      The woman who was presumably this Lorelei person sniffed several times and then blew her nose in between hiccups as she tried to gather herself. “I-I’m not sure.” She sneezed into the Lapras-print cloth once more before balling it up in her fist. “I never could tell if anything was wrong but I… it’s possible that it’s all our fault for not letting him become a trainer.”

      “I’m sure that a child with parents as well known and powerful as the two of you would only ever have dreams of becoming a trainer themselves. It’s easy to see how he might have gotten upset and run off then.”

      Lorelei nodded her head as a tear streamed down her cheek. “Yes… it’s so plain to see, isn’t it? Me and Garet have just been so busy… sometimes it’s hard, yeah, but… I never thought it would go this far… Jackson he… he even went so far as to take those with him… there’s no telling what he’ll do now… he’s still too naive to take on that heavy a burden.”

      As Lorelei spoke, the man next to her rose to his feet and reached behind the sofa, pulling up an old trunk with a small amount of effort. After lifting it fully over the sofa, he placed the case on the table in front of him and snapped it open, pulling from it an H-shaped vest with six black Pokeballs strapped to the front of it. “If he took those, then there’s nothing else we can do. I never thought I’d have to pull this persona back out, not after you saved me from that life…” The man looked at the camera, closed his eyes, turned, and bowed to Lorelei as he pulled the mask up from its place in the case and held it up to her.

      “Garet… I…” Lorelei paused, clenching her fist as the color drained from her face. “I never thought you’d have to pull it out again either… but if it’s for the sake of stopping our son, then it must be done. What he has now is much too powerful for the level of skill that he possesses.” The woman quickly rose to her feet and wrapped her arms around Garet. “Become the iron ma-”

      As she spoke those final words the broadcast was promptly cut off and returned to the reporter who’d been speaking before the video went up. “There’s still no information as to what is in the possession of Jackson Grand, but by the actions of his parents - ex-Elite Four member Lorelei, and ex-Team Rocket Executive Garet Grand - it seems to be quite dangerous. Authorities are urging anyone who comes in contact with any of the three children to be extremely cautious and to report sightings immediately to the nearest Officer Jenny. Alerts have also started going out regarding the ‘revival’ of ex-Rocket Executive Garet Grand. Despite his numerous crimes having been waived in the past due to his help in locating Giovanni and shutting down the last remnants of Team Rocket, police are warning anyone who comes across him to be extremely wary and to not engage with him no matter wh-”

      The broadcast was cut short as the screen turned to static before promptly being replaced with the FKPR logo and a shadowy image of Mewtwo. It was the same call to arms that always appeared at random intervals, but its sudden appearance caused anger to instantly surge through Jack. It was if the Republic were taunting him, saying that even though they’d done something so horrible they could continue on with their agenda regardless. It was sickening, to say the least.

      Jack quickly rushed out the door, ignoring the clerk as he wished him a good evening. The boy was so angry, that he’d just been staring at his feet intently as he trudged along, paying no attention to his surroundings whatsoever. He was so set on staring at his feet in fact, that when he bumped into the elderly gentleman who was frankly built like a brick wall, he played it off as if he had actually just run into a building instead of a building.

      “You serious, kid?”

      Jack waved his hand at the man and continued on his merry way. Or, he would have… if it weren’t for the fact that the elderly man who was quite frankly built like a brick wall, also had a grip like a Kingler. In an instant, the boy was pinned to the ground and had been put into an extremely tight arm lock.

      “You gonna say you’re sorry, or what? Have some manners, kid.”

      “The psyduck are you? Get the hell off of me you geezer! I’ve had enough of you old psyduckers here lately! Just let me go! Get off my psyduckin’ arm!”

      “Watch your mouth, worm.” The elderly man tensed his legs and pulled slightly on Jack’s arm, causing the boy to scream out in agonizing pain.

      “Stop! Stop! Stop! You’re going to rip it out! Please! I’m sorry! Please don’t do this!”

      “Tch.” The elderly man released his grip and turned around before doing a kip-up. “All you kids these days just really lack any spunk. Pushovers. The lot of you. That’s what peacetime will do to you though, I suppose.”

      Jack rolled over, holding his shoulder as he fought back tears. “Who the hell do you think you are old man?”

      “Me? I don’t want to be that guy, but surely you know who I am? I mean, you are in my city after all.”

      “Then you’re-”

      “Lieutenant Surge.” The man smiled, holding out a hand to Jack. “I heard a lot about you from the other leaders before me, but I almost didn’t recognize you without your friend. Sounds like you’ve been giving the kids a run for their money… but don’t think your cheap tricks and tactics will work against me. I actually fought in a war. I hardened my mind and my body on the battlefield. All of my tactics and Pokemon are at the highest of levels… of course, they had to be. Otherwise, I’d not be here now. That’s war, after all. Pokemon are the only thing that really got me through that war… so I know a little bit about what you’re going through now… but…”

      Jack looked up the towering man and then back at his own feet. “...Lappe is… he’s… well… we had a falling out and now I don’t really know where he is...”

      “Huh, well that kind of sucks but at least you’ve got another one there in your hand, right?”

      Jack looked down at Eff’s Pokeball and shuddered. “No, he’s not… it’s not what you’re thinking is what I want to say…”

      “So… it’s not your Pokemon? You didn’t capture or trade for it?”

      Jack shook his head. “No, I mean… I did catch it, but… Jack is the only one I want to fight for me… I don’t want to involve others in what we have to do.”

      “Hmm. Very noble. Let me tell you something, Jack. Family is-”

      “Spare me.” A new voice came from some ways behind Jack and Surge. The two slowly turned to face the newcomer as they closed the distance between them. “Family is nothing. All that matters is strong Pokemon and stronger trainers. Pokemon are just tools to do our bidding, and family is just an excuse to have and accept your own weaknesses. Pokemon were created to be used by us humans by a Pokemon God. Even that God has been restrained, captured and used throughout history to do the bidding of man. Pokemon are an existence so far beneath us that it sickens me to hear you say such things.”

      “And you… you are?” Surge slowly crossed his arms and stared down the new boy in front of him.

      “Nobody that’ll matter to you… but Jack… I have a sort of grudge with him, I suppose. See, he stole something from me that he shouldn’t have. And so now, I’ve stolen something from him that I shouldn’t have.” A smile spread across the boy’s face as he came into Jack’s line of sight.

      “J-Jackson. You… what are you talking about?”

      “Well, Jack… why don’t you just take a look?”

      -- meanwhile --

      Diglett’s Cave

      Roughly Ten Minutes Prior

      “I have to get stronger!” Lappe panted as the Diglett and Dugtrio relentlessly circled around and attacked him, popping in and out of view as they dug more tunnels. The Croconaw fired off a lazy water attack, striking, and knocking out one of the Diglett as it resurfaced. Lappe started leaping from side-to-side as more and more clones of himself appeared. The opposing Pokemon were all completely caught off guard, and were even more so confused when each apparition formed a long chunk of ice out of seemingly nothing. “I’ll just smash you all with one strike!” Lappe grabbed the pole of ice and dug his claw into it before swinging it around his body, causing it to smash against a number of the Diglett which sent them flying back off into their holes.

      Lappe breathed heavily as he fell to a knee, his eyes surveying the tunnel. It seemed that for now, every enemy had been dealt with. At long last, he was getting used to his new body. It had seemed weird at first, but now he was getting back to the speed that he used to know - meanwhile, his power continued to grow at an incredible rate.

      “This can’t be it though… that Timburr… it was too strong, much too powerful for me… even now I…”

      “Heyyy, don’t worry about it my man! You’re plenty strong as you are now!”

      Lappe’s eyes widened as he spun around to face the direction that the voice was coming from, only to be met with a black ball to his face. A black light shot forth from it, blinding him completely and knocking him unconscious.

      “Or, at least as strong as you’ll be able to get on your own. But don’t worry, with these you’ll feel so much more powerful than you ever thought possible. Just you wait and see…”
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      Old October 20th, 2017 (4:10 PM).
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      Astinus Astinus is offline
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        I agree. For being as tired as you are, you did a great job with this chapter! It was really enjoyable to read, with some excitement and explanations going on.

        It's a little strange to see Lorelei take a backseat and to sit on a couch crying. I'm used to her being a stern woman. But maybe the story has to have her be that way to allow the Iron Maruder to come into the story. I'll admit to only seeing the 4th Pokemon movie once (in Japanese) so I'm not knowledgeable on his character. Interesting to see where he goes.

        So his son having Dark Balls and using them on Lappe will take the story on a...darker...path. I wonder if Lappe has the ability to break out of the spell on his own, or if Jack's going to have to prove himself to help his friend.

        One grammar thing:
        Jack droned out the clerk as he listened in on the reporters
        Should be "drowned out."
        "Now the trumpet summons us again--
        not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need--
        not as a call to battle, though embattled we are--
        but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out."
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        Old October 20th, 2017 (8:43 PM).
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        Bay Bay is online now
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        Yeah I too feel mixed over Lorelei here. Granted, this takes place many years later so Lorelei can be capable of having some motherly instincts, but I also would think she would do something about it. I also think Garet announcing how he'll get his son is somewhat weird, at least for a news program/interview. Otherwise, older Lt Surge I'm looking forward to more of heh.

        "Meowth are all right. They don't care who you are or anything."
        Foul Play [Chapter Four up!]
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        Old October 21st, 2017 (6:48 AM).
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        aeternum aeternum is offline
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        Out of curiosity, how would you all feel about eventually having a post from the pov of Garet on the search for Jackson? Would you find it interesting to see the character's interactions with his family, or would you rather them just show up at some point during a regular post and summarize what they've been doing while they were off screen?
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        Old January 5th, 2018 (2:05 AM).
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        23. End of Part 1

        Dialga stomped its foot, causing a visible ripple to emanate from it. The ripple spread slowly from the impact, grower in speed the farther that it traveled until it passed through Jack’s body, leaving him with a tingling sensation that lingered for several seconds.

        “What was that?”

        The Pokemon nodded its head and lifted gently off the ground before floating over to Eff. The ripple which came from Dialga’s foot continued on its omni-directional path, passing quickly through everything with a gentle shake. Far off in the distance, somewhere over the sea a Pokemon’s roar could be heard echoing back through the silence of this frozen world.

        “That should slow him down for now, even if I’m not quite as powerful as she is. Regardless, the main reason for that stomp was this. Look, Jack.”

        The Pokemon bowed its head, rolling Eff over so that Jack could see the Timburr’s face. The boy stared down at the Pokemon and then looked over his shoulder for a moment, wondering what the cry that he’d heard had been. Jack stared at the still ocean for a second, letting his eyes scan slowly over the horizon before returning his attention to Eff and Dialga.

        “W-what is this?”

        “Well, being so young I’ve hardly had time to practice with my powers, so this is the best I could do. You’ll… eventually tell me about it, once you finally remember. I’m not a healing Pokemon, that’s not really my thing. However, by reversing something or someone’s time, I can undo the damage that they’d incurred from recent actions. I’m sure that in time I’ll be able to do more with this ability, but for now this is it.”

        Jack kneeled down over the Timburr and lifted him up into his arms, rubbing his hand over the Pokemon’s injuries as they slowly disappeared. As the last of the injuries disappeared, the Pokemon’s eyes peeled open and a quiet breath escaped his mouth.

        “W-where am I? What… did you… what about that other boy? The one that I was fighting?”

        Tears filled Jack’s eyes as an overwhelming warm feeling flooded his body. The boy pulled the Pokemon into his chest and then fell on his heels.

        “Oh I’m so glad that you’re okay, Eff. If something happened to you too I don’t know what I’d do.”

        “Hey kid, why’re you getting so emotional?” The Pokemon chuckled lightly, but didn’t push Jack away. “It’s not like we’re friends or anything. We just had a common enemy for a moment.”

        Dialga landed on the ground with a thud and then began to survey the horizon. The Pokemon’s mouth opened as if it wanted to say something, but then decided not to as it struggled to find a comfortable position in which to lay.

        “Is… is that-”

        “Yeah, it’s Dialga. I guess we have some kind of history together, though I don’t know what it could be.”

        Eff’s eyes grew wide as he stared at the legendary Pokemon. “I never would have imagined that I’d meet one of the creation trio. Here I thought I was lucky enough just to have been personally welcomed to the Republic by Mewtwo.”

        Dialga grunted and then laid its head on the ground, its eyes fixed on Jack. “So, what’s your plan then?”

        “Plan?” Jack looked over at the legendary Pokemon. “What do you mean?”

        “Well, as of right now our time is running short. Lappe is still stuck within the dark ball and remains under its influence. It’s such a powerful piece of technology that even I cannot undo its influence… the same unfortunately goes for the other devices which that group is currently utilizing. Keldeo’s body has long since deteriorated, to the point that its horn is all that remains of its existence, and the same goes for the plethora of other tools which they’re currently carrying.”

        The veins on Eff’s body bulged as it struggled to roll over in Jack’s arms. The Pokemon struggled to find Jackson and Eridian after crawling out of the boy’s arms. This frozen point in time was the perfect opportunity to get in a few good whacks while they were vulnerable.

        “Don’t worry, Eff. You’ll have your chance eventually. There’s more to do in the here and now though. Revenge must wait until you’ve grown stronger. As you are now, you could hardly handle a single tool from a man who doesn’t even consider you to be the same to him as the insects crushed by his boots. How do you think you’d fare if he put his mind into it? How do you think you’d fare if the entirety of his organization came down on you?”

        Eff froze in place, appearing visibly shaken.

        “Eff, maybe it’s better if we do just let them leave this time. I mean… what they’ve done here…” Jack clenched his fist and began to violently shake. “What they’ve been doing to Pokemon all this time is wrong… it’s unforgivable. I can’t stand to think of what they’ll do if they’re given the chance to get away, but… we really don’t stand a chance right now. Even if we did have Lappe by our side-”

        “Yes, speaking of Lappe.” Dialga slowly rose back to its feet. “As I said before, you’re running low on time. I’ve tried my best to extend your short window as far as I could, but there’s only so much I can do as I am now. We all have training to do before we meet next, that much is for certain. However, in order to meet again you’ll need to rescue Lappe. And like I said, he’s still under the influence of the dark balls and there’s nothing I can do to free him. It has to be the two of you to bring him back, otherwise your hope will be lost.”

        “Then… what are we to do?” Jack ran his hand through his hair and then clenched a clump of it as he thought.

        “As I recall, Eff once had a habit of breaking Pokemon free from a similar form of captivity.” Dialga walked towards Jack and then craned its head so that the boy could see the dark ball on its back. “Let him do what he is best at, with the time that you have left.”

        Jack nodded, taking the dark pokeball in his hand. “Lappe… Eff, are you ready for this? I don’t know what these dark Pokemon are like exactly, but if worst comes to worst, I think we’ll have to beat the manipulation out of him.”

        The Timburr stared at Jack and then at the ball. “I’ll do what I have to do. It is my duty to free Pokemon. This is the job given to me by Mewtwo himself. I will not fail, no matter what.” Eff clenched the crowbar in his hands as if it were a baseball bat.

        Jack nodded and then took several steps back before spiking the pokeball. A spiraling beam of black and red shot forth as a discolored Croconaw with a missing arm sprung forth from within. The Pokemon’s eyes were bloodshot and its mouth had filled with razor sharp teeth. The Pokemon let out a menacing, animalistic scream as it shot forth a torrent of water into the air.

        “Lappe…” Jack whispered as he took a step forward, only to take it back as the Pokemon’s head twisted around to glare at him.

        Eff twisted the crowbar in his hands and then coated the weapon in electricity, wasting no time in rushing towards the former ally. “I’m sorry…”

        “Cro-Cro-Croco- n-n-n…. J-Jack…” Lappe pressed its hand against its head as it swung its body around violently, fighting against the darkness within its head. “Jack!”

        Just as Lappe screamed out his friend’s name, Eff whacked him in the back of the head, sending the Croconaw crumbling to the ground. “Well muk… I hope I didn’t paralyze the guy…”

        Jack looked down at his friend and rubbed his hand against his forehead. The boy looked to his other hand, which still held the dark ball which the Croconaw had just been held in. Small cracks began to form across the ball, and in seconds it had broken open and was in the process of turning to dust.

        “A small enough target to practice with.” Dialga stepped forward and then motioned towards the brainwashing pokeball. “Without an inhabitant, this piece of technology is useless and no more resistant to my powers than a regular stone. However, there’s nothing much else I can do at this moment. I wish I could tell you more of the times to come for the both of us, but I cannot. For me, the future has yet to start, and for you, it is only just beginning to end.”

        “I still don’t understand…” as Jack spoke, the cry of a Pokemon came once more from over the ocean. “What… what is that?”

        “That is… something that I should not yet meet. It is unfortunate, but for you, this is an opportunity that shouldn’t be passed upon. For now, Jack, take from my chest a shard of the crystal. You shan’t use it when next we meet, nor the time after. When the time comes to present it to me, I’m sure we will both be certain.”

        Jack’s eyebrows raised as he pressed his hand against the Pokemon’s chest. The crystal split surprisingly easy, forming an ‘x’ shaped crack in it as Jack pulled a piece from its center.

        “Now don’t go thinking this is just some useless piece of gem. This item holds some part of my power that I even I do not yet know of. I will tell you, you’ll find a use for this crystal before you meet me here last. You mustn’t miss that opportunity, or the entire timeline will be thrown off and all that we will have prepared for shall be lost.” The Pokemon stared out over the ocean and then nodded. “My power over the time here is up.”

        Dialga stomped its foot against the ground once more, letting loose a roar which caused a ringing in Eff and Jack’s ears. The ring which had been spreading from the Pokemon’s foot initially, now surged back into its body at a rate that was thousands of times faster than that which it had first spread. As the ring was absorbed back into the Pokemon’s body, time resumed its natural course.

        “D-Dialga! I can’t believe it!” Eridian took several steps forward and then fell to his knees. “Oh the tools that I could make with a Pokemon such as you! Won’t you join us and change this world in a way which time and space could never hope to alone?”

        “No. My hopes side with only one human. Jack is both the future and the past of this world. He and his allies shall rewrite this timeline and defeat the darkness which lurks beyond the boundaries of your lifetimes.”

        Jackson flew forward, his whole body covered in tufts of fur reminiscent of Keldeo’s mane. “If you won’t side with us, then I’ll just have to defeat you and take your power by force!”

        Dialga wrenched its head back and then slammed it down on Jackson as the boy closed in on him. The boy crashed into the ground, but quickly began to fly back up towards the legendary Pokemon.

        “Don’t you have bigger things to worry about, boy? Do you not hear the cries over the seas? They’re coming for you.

        “Be that as it may! They’ll never catch us, so long as we have our tools!”

        “Then perhaps it is time for me to step in?” Surge took several steps forward and pulled over a dozen pokeballs from his pockets.

        The gym leader stopped, however, when a much louder cry came from over the ocean. Whatever the Pokemon making that sound was, it was drawing consistently closer.


        Jackson’s eyes widened and he quickly ripped open one of the bags that he’d brought with him, revealing a honeycomb structure which he pressed against his chest and quickly activated, revealing a small set of wings which lifted him off the ground. The boy took off too the North in an instant, not saying a single word as he did so.

        Eridian and Jen quickly gathered up the rest of their things and took off, following their leader. Eridian turned to face the group as he ran, a smirk upon his face. “Whatever may come, know that you’ll be too late to stop the advancements that Zoeae Rocket will continue to make!”

        Surge quickly let loose a Magnemite from one of his pokeballs and pointed off in the direction of the troublemakers. “Follow them. Find out where their base is.”

        “Did he say… Zoeae Rocket?” Jack recalled Team Rocket, but couldn’t for the life of him remember why it would be relevant now.

        “It seems so. There’d been some reports of humans and Pokemon alike with tattoos of ‘ZR’ on them, but until now we’ve not known what it could be.”

        “ZR… I… I remember seeing something like that in the mountains around Mount Moon only a little bit after the bombings happened.”

        “I see… so then you know where one of their bases are as well.”

        “As well? What do you mean?”

        Surge sighed and then rubbed the back of his head. “Look, kid. A lot has happened today. What do you say we call it and pick this up after you’ve had some rest and we figured up a training regime for you and your Pokemon?”

        Jack clenched his fist, hating the thought of having something being hidden from him. “Fine,” he said, reluctant to actually trust Surge after all that he’d done. He did need the training from him however, so this was all that he could do for now. Jackson was completely out of his league at the moment, so all that he could do for now was prepare for what was to come.

        “Brii, brii!” The cry came from only a short distance away as Jack slowly turned to face the little green Pokemon which hovered around his body. “Brii!”

        “Celebi, that’s enough.” A man who was roughly the same age as Surge walked up to the Pokemon and waved his hand at it. Celebi looked at the man and then spun around Jack a few more times before going back to sitting on the mysterious man’s shoulder.

        “So, Garet, seems like you finally showed up. Saw you on the news last night.” Surge grunted as he took a few steps toward the mysterious man.

        Jack looked up and down the man’s body taking in his attire which appeared to be ancient. Garet? Where had he heard that name before?

        “Looks like I just missed my son. Celebi wanted to stop in though, said it sensed something familiar but all it wanted to see was that kid. Suppose I should get back on the road though. It took surprisingly longer than expected to get here, but I can’t figure out why.”

        Jack pocketed the piece of Dialga’s crystal which he’d been clenching in his hand the whole time. There was an aura around this Garet that made the boy weary of him… perhaps it was due in part to the fact that he’d just referred to one of those three as his kid.

        “Well, don’t suppose you’d want to catch up, eh?” Surge placed his hand on Garet’s shoulder, only to have it shoved off.

        “You know as well as I that there are more important things to be done right now than ‘catch up’. The letter came just before Jackson disappeared. Whatever he’s up to, it needs to be stopped before it affects anything else.”

        “Well I suppose you’d best be off then.” Surge brushed past the man and grabbed Jack by the shoulder, herding him in to the gym. “I’ve got training to do, myself. I’ll be seeing you when the time comes I suppose.”

        Garet stood, motionless and staring at Jack as he disappeared into the gym alongside Surge. “Yeah, be seein’ you.”
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        Old January 10th, 2018 (2:54 AM).
        aeternum's Avatar
        aeternum aeternum is offline
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        24. Part 2 Begins - The Militant Elite Four and The Pokerus Virus

        “Today marks the fourth week of the assault on the Freed Kanto Pokemon Republic’s base of operations in Saffron City.”

        Jack pulled his shirt over his shoulders and used it to wipe the sweat from his forehead as he looked up at the small television in the corner of the room. He leaned over to pick up a water bottle and winced in pain as the movement aggrevated the sore, newly gained muscles which had taken over his once stick-like figure. The boy’s body had completely transformed in the time under Surge's tutelage, but the extent to which his actual abilities had actually increased was uncertain.

        “One month ago today, the Elite Four revealed that the Republic had weaponized Pokemon under their control, in order to bomb a total of three cities over a single night. Following the reveal of the attack, informational bounties were set for the three fingers of Mewtwo, as well as the mastermind itself. The first of the fingers, Ho-Oh, the rainbow Pokemon whose flames still burn around Pallet Town, Viridian City and Pewter City, hasn’t been seen since the attacks were announced, whereas West the Pidgeot and Dara the Sableye have been reported as fighting on the front lines. Any information regarding these three fingers as well as anything pertaining to their leader, Mewtwo should be sent to...”

        Jack tuned out as the reporter continued on to tell where information on the noteworthy Pokemon should be sent. Jack clenched the shirt in his fist, causing the veins on his arms to bulge with his irritation. During his time under Surge, the boy had spent hours upon hours honing his own body alongside his Pokemon. The Gym Leader pit his own collection of Pokemon against Jack’s two in hopes of expediting their leveling. Due to Surge's training, Jack's body wasn't the only one to go through a transformation. The once small Timburr had evolved into a much taller than average Gurdurr, and had departed with his signature crowbar in favor of a street lamp which he’d said felt more natural to his new body than the much smaller weapon he’d previously been using.

        “What do you think you’re doing?” Surge walked into the room with his right arm in a sling. “I didn't say for you to stop, did I? You know as well as I that you’re nowhere near ready yet. A month of simple muscle building isn't the same as learning actual combat.”

        “Yeah? And what about you? You already had the opportunity to go off to that battle. Just because you’re scared doesn’t mean that you should hold me back too.” Jack shifted on his feet, wrapping the shirt around his neck and holding tightly onto each end as he tried his best to look intimidating.

        “Jack. Listen.” The gym leader walked slowly over to a bench that he’d put across from where Jack had been doing his daily training. “You’ve toned your muscles up a bit, but that’s not enough. Jackson is still out there somewhere, even if he has kept his head down since we encountered him last. His tools… they’re not something you can beat the way that you are now. Besides him, there’s all different types of Pokemon in the Republic, the likes of which include legendary and mythical Pokemon. You, a Croconaw, and a Gurdurr aren’t going to be enough to stop them. Not now, and likely not ever. My Pokemon were seasoned veterans - ones that I’d kept with me ever since the Great Kanto War. They knew how to fight humans. They knew how to fight other Pokemon. The fact that…” The leader stopped and stared off into the distance. Surge gripped his pants with his left hand with such intensity that his whole body began to shake. “The fact that they were killed out there… it should make it more than apparent that you’re no match for what’s going on in the real world. This, here, this place, it’s your whole world right now. You wake up, you train, you eat, you train and you sleep. Out there, there’s no schedule. There’s no eating or sleeping sometimes. There’s a surplus of uncertainty and danger.”

        Jack stared at his feet, knowing full well that what his mentor was saying was true. The boy clenched his hands into fists and bit his lip.

        “What of the barrier?” Lappe waddled up, clearing himself a path through the Magneton and Electrode that he’d managed to defeat. “Have they made any progress on it?”

        The Lieutenant shook his head. “The leader of Saffron City is nowhere to be found, and the Psychic types at our disposal right now are no match for the legion of Alakazam that they’ve got fueling that thing. The news says that we’re all fighting to control the front lines, but that’s a lie. There is no front line. Every day, that front line changes as the forces of the Republic grow stronger and their barrier grows larger.”

        The Croconaw fell onto its butt and looked at the front windows of the gym, all of which had been boarded up in case of a bombing. “Then what’s the point? If the barrier is only growing larger each day, wouldn’t it be just as beneficial to us at this point to up and leave? What good will another month of training do us, if we even have that much time? Do they know exactly how fast it’s expanding?”

        Surge shook his head. “When I was out there, we'd go to bed one night, only to wake up the next morning with anywhere from a handful to over a dozen troops missing. Entire tents were overtaken by the barrier at times, whereas at others only a few inches had been gained. It’s incredibly inconsistent, and nobody is sure why. Professor Oak and Professor Elm have both been looking into it, searching for any weak spots. If Gary Oak were around, he’d be a massive help… but…”

        “He was in Viridian… alongside Brock…” Jack shook his head. “Damn. They got the drop on us, didn’t they?” The boy choked back a laugh. “I can’t believe this muk…”

        Surge sighed and then looked up to the television. “Well, they’re speaking some truth at least.”

        Jack’s gaze rose to the small screen in the corner. His eyes took several seconds to adjust to the small picture, but he was still in a daze, wondering just what he should do.

        “Reports have also started trickling in concerning the Pokerus virus. While the virus was once considered to be harmless, new activity surrounding Pokerus has quickly shifted the public and scientific perspective on it. Across the Kanto region, Pokemon infected with the Pokerus virus have been ‘melting,’ for lack of a better word. We now go live to our reporter in the field, Po Kackman. Po, what can you tell us about these melting symptoms that Pokemon are starting to experience?”

        The image cut to a dark-skinned man whose eyes were bloodshot. The field reporter's eyes continuously darted from side to side as if he were warily searching for something. “Th-thank you Trish. I’m out here on route… what... what route are we on again?” The camera shook slightly as the reporter squinted his eyes, looking somewhere off beyond the lens and what the viewers could see. “R-right! Route Nine! We’re out here on Route Nine, observing these Pokemon which have been infected with the Pokerus virus. R-reports have been coming in for over a month now about an abnormally increased infection rate in wild Pokemon, however due to the virus’ benign nature scientists had ignored it. However, those same scientists are quickly coming to regret their decisions to neglect the virus, as Pokemon infected with it have begun to melt.”

        The reporter nodded his head, causing the camera to drop gently to the ground. The cameraman walked out from behind it, holding a glass jar which contained a yellow-ish mud-like liquid within it. It continuously moved, even after the cameraman had come to a stop next to Po.

        “In this jar, we have captured a Pokemon which was in the process of melting. We say that these Pokemon are melting because, well… they melt.” The reporter laughed anxiously, his eyes never leaving the jar. “These Pokemon start out like any other, but quickly turn into this liquid-like form and will, in fact, actually end up fusing together with other Pokemon which have been exposed to the virus, as well as others who have not. Some of these Pokemon have been puddling up around the region, waiting for their chance to latch on to an unsuspecting solid Pokemon or trainer. The Pokemon then fuses together in apparently whatever way it finds to be most comfortable. There are others, however, who have actively been searching out people and Pokemon to fuse with prior to turning into this form. Now... we're not sure exactly how long these symptoms have been active, but the first reported case was actually brought to us by the Elite Four as they fell back from the front lines.”

        The reporter’s eyes quickly darted off to the side as he wrapped up his sentence. The man’s eyes widened as he leaped forward, pushing the cameraman next to him to the ground. Po ran directly towards the camera, knocking it over as he passed it. As the camera fell to the ground, it picked up what appeared to be a Pokemon, though it was like none Jack had ever seen before. The monstrosity somewhat resembled a Nidoking, but seemed to be covered in the pelts of other Pokemon. However, as the figure drew closer, numerous autonomously moving eyes and mouths could be seen upon the Pokemon’s body as it fell over in the direction of the cameraman.

        “Reaea!” The Pokemon called out as it clawed its way closer to the man, causing him to scream out before being silenced. The jar which the man had been holding rolled out into the view of the camera, followed only seconds later by the abomination which had crashed the filming. The Pokemon - if it could even be called that at this point - reached out for the jar and broke it open with a needle covered fist. The yellow liquid quickly grabbed on to the hand which had freed it and began to inch up the monster’s arm, all the way to its face. The monster lurched forward across the ground, screaming out with every inch that it gained. “Reaea! Reaea! Reeeaaaeaaaaa!” Eventually the monster’s face came into view, and revealed that the Nidoking, which was the base of the fusion, was quickly being taken over by the newly added Pokemon. The Nidoking’s face was covered in the yellow-ish liquid, before hardening into the tough outer shell of a Sandshrew.

        As the grotesque fusion sequence ended, the broadcast cut back to the main reporter, Trish, whose face had gone completely white. The female reporter’s hand was shaking over her mouth, and as her face moved back towards the camera, vomit spewed forth from between her fingers.

        "I... I'm sorry." Chunks of whatever the woman had eaten earlier that day dripped from her chin as an aide slid into view and began to wipe the woman's face clean. Trish waved the man away, slightly shaking her head. "I have to finish," she whispered before straightening herself up. "The police have been putting out notices these past few days, warning residents of the cities surrounding Saffron to either stay in their homes or to flee South to Fuschia City. The police and military forces have banded together in a joint operation to tackle these mutated Pokemon, in hopes of eradicating it before the damage spreads too far. However, due to the manpower currently being delegated to the front against the Republic, it's uncertain just how much progress they'll make with these Pokerus mutations. I'm Trish Takaki, and I need to go clean myself up."

        Jack’s entire body was numb after having watched the entirety of what had just transpired. His gaze shakily fell to Surge, who was sitting with his legs crossed and his eyes sealed shut. The man’s body was shaking and tears were running down his face.

        “S-surge… I… what was that…”

        “The truth.” The leader shook his head and then took in a deep breath before opening his eyes again. “The Republic has something. Something dark and powerful. Something that nobody should have ever found, or created in the first place. Somehow, those monsters are transforming every single Pokemon which has refused to side with them into those abominations. It’s happening all across the region, including on the front line. The first time that any of saw one of them was... it was... right before I'd been dismissed... it... well...”

        The Lieutenant fell silent for a few seconds as tears fell from his eyes and his face twitched. Jack stared at the floor for a while, recalling the things which he’d seen before it all finally clicked together in his head. “Surge… oh my god… I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize.”

        The man held out his hand and shook his head. “They were… they were my best friends… and they… I couldn’t handle it any longer… I have nothing left anymore.”

        Jack walked slowly over to the Lieutenant and placed his hand on the man’s shoulder in an attempt to comfort him. “I understand. I really do. I’ve lost…” As Jack started to speak, Surge turned and buried his head into the boy’s naked stomach. The man began to openly sob, allowing tears and snot to spew freely from both his nose and mouth as he’d given up on choking it all back. “We’ve all lost so much already.” Jack placed his hands on the man’s head and back, holding onto him tightly.

        Several minutes passed before Surge had finally regained his composure. The man leaned his back against the wall, relaxing for what seemed like the first time in a very, very long time. The Lieutenant took several deep breaths, his eyes fixated on the ceiling as he triedt o control himself. “I think I need a cig. Would you… come outside with me?”

        Jack looked down at Lappe, who nodded eagerly. It’d been almost two whole months now since they’d had their last smoke, and the thought of getting even a single puff off of one was intoxicating. “Sure thing.”

        Surge bobbed his head, smiling as he stood up. Lappe had already ran for the door, ready for both the fresh evening air and the promised cigarette. The Pokemon came to a halt as soon as it had opened the door however, and opted to simply stop and stare off to the North.

        “It’s… it’s beautiful… but frightening…”

        Surge nodded his head. “I know where you’re coming from. It looks like a massive sun, just out of arm’s reach. But you’re right, it is frightening… it grew today… roughly two inches. I've been keeping measure ever since I first got to the front lines. Since the, it's nearly doubled in diameter.”

        Lappe turned to face Surge. The Pokemon’s eyes widened and its mouth quivered, as if it wanted to say something. The Croconaw held its tongue, however, and waited patiently for Jack and Surge to come join it outside the building.

        Jack walked through the front door and immediately looked off to the North as he shielded his eyes. It had been about three weeks since they’d last been outside after all. After Surge had boarded up the windows and left for the battlefield, Jack, Lappe and Eff all fell into their own rigorous training routine. They’d no idea what things were like outside, minus what the news had brought to them. Nothing prepared them for the reality of it though.

        The Northern sky seemed to be completely consumed by a massive dome which pulsated with hews of purple and pink. Every building in the city had been closed down, their windows boarded up and signs out front stating their closure.

        “Everyone’s left already. Nobody wants to be stuck here once the dome takes the place over.” Surge muttered to himself as he leaned up against the outside wall of the gym. "It's like this in almost every city now. Everyone's running, but to where, they don't know."

        Jack slowly looked up to Surge, a puzzled look on his face. “Wait, if this dome is moving and growing at such a rate, then how in the hell did you expect to keep us here training for another month?”

        The man chuckled lightly and then pulled a box of Abra 100’s from his pants’ pocket. “Here. Take some.”

        Jack looked slowly between the cigs and the man several times before finally accepting the bribe. The boy handed one of the cigs over to Lappe before lighting it for the one-armed Pokemon.

        “Thanks, Jack, Surge.” Lappe nodded his head and held the cigarette delicately between its thumb and middle finger. The Croconaw put the cig up to the side of its mouth and took a long, heavy drag on it before exhaling the smoke through its nose. “Aaahh, that’s the good stuff.”

        Jack lit up the cigarette and took a couple of puffs on it before letting it flow out of his mouth. “Yeah. Just like what Mom used to buy.”

        Surge lit up his own cigarette, but didn’t take any hits off of it. The three of them stood in relative silence for several minutes, with only their own breathing and the sound of the cherry crawling its way up their cigs with each puff to break it.

        “Jack… Lappe… I know that I can’t keep you here any longer.” Surge pressed the cig up to his lips and took a hit, having let nearly half of it burn away before he’d actually even had a chance to smoke it. “I know what I said earlier, and I meant it. I need you to stay, but it's unrealistic of me. Your training isn’t anywhere near complete, but with that dome closing in, it’s only a matter of time. I’d like to say that I could keep you here and let you run around inside of it once it finally does hit us, but… the truth is, nobody knows what’s really going on in there. That Pidgeot flies circles around the perimeter several times a day, but never leaves the safety of the dome while that Sableye General just keeps mocking us and throwing up defensive buffs at every point that we attack. We’ll never make it through, I’m afraid. At this rate… it might just be better if you left for Johto while you still can.”

        Jack looked over to his teacher and then shook his head. “No. We have to make a stand here, in Kanto. We can’t let them have it all, and we can’t let them spread out to other regions.”

        Surge nodded his head knowingly. “Yeah, I figured as much.” The man took another hit off of his cig and then tossed it to the ground beside him. “Here, let me give you something. I’d say that you could consider it a gift, but given who it’s coming from that may be hard to fathom.” The Lieutenant dug around in his pocket and then pulled free two pokeballs before holding them out towards Jack.

        “What’re these?” The boy grabbed both balls and then held them up to the light. One of the balls seemed to be holding a Pokemon already, but the other was completely empty. “A gift from… who?”


        Jack nodded his head. “Should have figured. We haven’t seen the old man since we took up residence at your place.”

        “Yeah, well… he took off with Garet so it’s unlikely that you’ll see him for a while.”

        “What’s the deal with that guy anyways? Garet? I didn’t realize it at the time, but I’d seen him on t.v. before.”

        “The Iron-Masked Marauder. He used to be a real high up guy in Team Rocket before they fell apart. Around the time that Giovanni was taken out by the legendary trainer Red, Garet led an attack on one of the Sevii islands in order to obtain some powerful Pokemon for the organization. When he got there, Lorelei confronted him. The two duked it out, but the woman beat the tar out of him. See, that was her home. And the Pokemon that they were trying to steal were ones that she’d raised on her own.”

        “So then… why did she marry him? It doesn’t really make sense to me to be honest.”

        “Well… there’s a lot to it… probably more than I should explain personally. Just let it be known that Lorelei changed his mind as well as his heart, and because of it they fell for each other. A lot of things happened back then that I’d… I’d rather just not remember.”

        “I… I understand.” Jack couldn’t help but wonder if something had gone on between Surge and Garet. Things had been tense between the two of them when Garet came riding in on that day, but he wasn’t sure what it could have been. Perhaps it had something to do with Lorelei… whatever it was, now wasn’t the time to worry about it. “Anyways, why did the old man go off with him?”

        Surge shook his head. “That’s just the way that he is. He’s gone through a lot in his life, and there’s much about him that I don’t even know. Despite his behaviour, he’s a good man. He gets in more than his fair share of trouble, and it’s hard to defend him at times, but in the end he means well. He has a knack for being at the right place at the right time too so whatever he’s off doing with Garet… well, I’m sure it’s for the best.”

        Jack nodded his head. “And… these pokeballs?”

        Surge turned to face the boy and took a knee, bringing himself almost to eye level with Jack. “I understand that you don’t like the devices because of what they do, but just hear me out…”

        “I’ll do it.” Eff slowly pushed open the door to the gym and stepped out into the middle of the two men.

        “You don’t even know what I’m about to say,” Surge said, irritated.

        “No, but I can guess. The old man gave Jack the ball I was put in to begin with. I’m a member of the Republic, through and through, it doesn’t matter what happens between us. For now, I’m travelling with you so that I can get revenge on that Jackson boy. Since the ball is coming from Matt, I’ll get in it. It’ll just make things easier for all of us, right? I won't have to worry about anyone else trying to pick me off, and you won't have to worry about me running off to the dome.”

        Surge nodded his head. “Alright then. I’m glad you’re so understanding.”

        Jack turned to face the Gurdurr and held out his hand with the empty pokeball. “I guess… whenever you’re ready, bud.”

        Eff looked up at Jack and then back down at the ball. “I swear, if I start thinkin’ funny ‘cause of this…” The Pokemon tapped its hand against the center of the ball twice, causing it to first enlarge and then to capture it.

        Jack looked down at the ball and smiled. The boy put Eff’s ball into his pocket and then held the other pokeball up to the light. “So then, what about this one?”

        Surge stood and took in a deep breath. “Well, it seems that the particular Pokemon in that ball is a family member of a high-ranking member of the Republic. However, the Pokemon’s father has vowed that it’ll withdraw its troops from the battle if this little guy is returned to it safely. Matt picked it up, obviously, so it's still like a wild Pokemon. The number of things that he's doing behind the scenes probably matches up or exceeds that of every other group we're trying to fight right now. That old man can be scary at times, especially if he's left unchecked.”

        Jack looked at the pokeball and then tapped its center button twice, releasing the Pokemon from its captivity. The Pokemon shot out in a beam of red light, revealing itself to be a Teddiursa.

        “It’s name is Sal. Doesn’t speak our language, so try not to scare it too bad. Luckily, you’ve got Eff and Lappe so translating what you want to say shouldn’t be too hard. Just… make sure the thing doesn’t get hurt on your way, alright?”

        Jack looked down at the tiny, scared looking bear and then up at Surge. “So you’re letting us go off on an adventure, just like that?”

        The leader nodded slowly. “Not much choice in the matter, is there? It’s best you get going now, otherwise there’s the possibility that you’ll get caught up in the dome. With a Pokemon like Dialga on your side, it’s hard to imagine that you’d run into much trouble. So much is happening already that it wouldn't be strange for more things to be going on below the surface. You should know one thing though. About the Pokerus fusions… they’re all incredibly powerful, much more so than the sum of their parts. The police are running around, eliminating them as best they can with the aid of two members of the Elite Four. However, there are some fusions out there that just can’t be touched as they are now. If you run into anything like this… promise me, Jack. Promise me that you’ll run as fast as you can. There’s no need for you to die on a pointless mission like this.”

        Jack nodded his head. “Don’t be foolhardy and try not to die. Got it.”

        Surge nodded his head. “Well. Guess it’s that time then. You’d best get going. I need to take the Pokemon that Eff and Lappe beat to the Pokemon Center and get them healed up so that… so that I can make… my… my final stand…” The gym leader’s eyes started to gloss over as he turned to head back into the gym.

        Jack reached out, grabbing Surge’s arm as firmly as he could. “Hey. Don’t you go dying on me, alright? Worst comes to worst, I’ll meet you in Fuschia, alright?”

        “Yeah, I hear you. Good luck, kid.”

        The Lieutenant disappeared into the building, never meeting the boy's eyes and leaving Jack alone with Lappe and Sal, the latter of which was now sitting on the ground with its eyes beginning to water.

        Jack squatted down and inched closer to the Teddiursa, his face contorted with concern. “Hey, hey, hey, what’s wrong little guy? You upset?”

        “T-t-t-teddiiiii!” The Pokemon cried out, tears now streaming down its face.

        Jack put the Pokemon back on the ground and covered his mouth, wondering what to do. The boy looked down at Lappe, who simply averted the gaze. Jack scratched the top of his head as we wondered whether or not he should just put the Pokemon back in its ball.

        “Jack, remember back when we first met?” Lappe sat on the ground across from the Teddiursa.

        “Yeah, kinda. Why?” Jack thought back to their first meeting as he took a seat on the ground as well. “That was a long time ago, so some of it’s kind of fuzzy for me, y’know?”

        Lappe nodded his head. “In my eyes, you were just the same as Sal here.”

        Jack scoffed. “Was not! I’d never cry like that for no reason!”

        “No reason? Really? As best as I can recall, you were so scared of me that you shat yourself crying.”

        Jack leaned forward, grabbing on to the tips of his shoes. “Is that right?” The boy looked around him, just to make sure nobody else had heard what Lappe had said.

        The Croconaw nodded its head. “Your parents had found me out on the street and decided to bring me home. Your father said that when he was growing up he’d had a Totodile just like me so he thought it’d be perfect for you to have one too. Little did they know, right?”

        Jack nodded his head. “Yeah…”

        Both boys fell quiet for several seconds. They’d not talked about his father in quite some time. Every time the subject came up, it'd turn out the exact same. The two would fall deathly silent, trying their best to flush out the memories and find something new to talk about.

        “I hate that son of a rattata.”

        Lappe looked up at Jack. “Yeah, I know.”

        “But I miss him… I wish I knew where he’d gone… maybe we could go to him for help now...” Jack’s body moved as if he were laughing, but no sound came out. “Wishful thinking I suppose…”

        Lappe nodded his head. “Hey, Sal stopped crying.”

        Jack looked up at the Teddiursa which was sitting there across from the both of them, quietly chewing on the pokeball which it had come out of. Tears were still trickling down from its eyes, but at least now it had stopped audibly crying.

        “Why don’t you try talking to it, Lappe? I certainly can’t, since I don’t know how to speak Pokemon.”

        The Croconaw nodded its head. “Yeah, I suppose I could give it a go.” Lappe leaned forward and waved his hand in front of the Teddiursa’s face. ‘Ey. Whatcha up to? Chewin’ on a ball are ya?’

        Sal stared at Lappe with empty eyes and then looked up to Jack before dropping the pokeball from its mouth and reaching its arms out to the boy. ‘Da.’

        Lappe looked over at Jack and then back at Sal. ‘That’s not your Pa. That’s my friend, Jack.’


        Lappe rubbed the side of his mouth with his hand and then shook his head. “The kid thinks you’re his dad.”

        Jack looked at Lappe, confusion written across his face. “That doesn’t even make sense. Just a few seconds ago the thing was crying because I tried to pick it up.”

        Lappe shook his head. “That’s what he’s saying at least. Don’t ask me.”

        Jack sighed and then rose to his feet. “Do we really have time for this?”

        ‘Da. Da da. Da. Lav da.’

        “Lav da?” Lappe shook his head and then looked up to Jack. “Lav da?”

        “Lavender maybe? That’s to the East. Y’know… Surge never told us where to take the kid, so maybe Sal just knows where to go already?”

        “Sounds as good a lead as any.” Lappe rose to his feet and then looked between Sal and Jack. “Well? You gonna pick him up?”

        Jack shot a glance at Lappe and then over to Sal. “I guess it’s worth a shot. If I can’t carry him, maybe he can ride in my backpack like you used to do.”

        “That might be the best thing to start with to be honest. It’s pretty cozy in there once you move all the junk around into a little makeshift bed.”

        “Tch. It seems like it's been forever since you’ve been small enough to fit in there.”

        “Yeah, I kinda miss it sometimes… but I wouldn’t have been able to beat Kris if I hadn’t evolved, so it’s for the best.”

        “Is it really though? What about your arm and the muk we went through with each other after it?”

        Lappe shrugged his shoulders. “All in the past now, I guess. I’m kind of used to the arm thing now. Besides, I might get it back when I evolve again. I don’t know if those types of things fix themselves through that or not, but throughout time Pokemon have used evolution to heal other wounds so I don’t see why it just outright couldn’t.”

        “So you’re staying hopeful then?”

        “What other choice do I got? I made amends with it already. Now it’s just like… if it happens, that’d be cool. But if not it’s not like it’ll ruin my day or anything.”

        Jack shook his head. “Hey, whatever you say man.”

        The boy held out his hands towards Sal, waiting for the Pokemon to climb into them at its leisure. Sal wobbly rose to its feet before falling back down. The Teddiursa rolled over and started crawling in the direction opposite of Jack and Lappe, softly calling out with every few feet that it gained.

        ‘Da. Da. Da.’

        “Well, guess that’s just the way it is.” Lappe shrugged his shoulders and then looked up at Jack. “We’ll just have to follow behind until he gets tired otherwise he’ll throw another fit.”

        “Is that what he said?”

        “Eh, more or less. C’mon. We got muk to do.”
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        Old January 10th, 2018 (6:08 PM).
        Bay's Avatar
        Bay Bay is online now
        Darkinium Z
        Join Date: May 2006
        Location: Dani California
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        The chapter with Dialga there I agree with a lot of revelations throwing at us there with mentions of timelines, ZR, and Celebi's appearance. You said how Dialga's inexperience using time powers will be important, so I'm interested in that. I feel like there should be some extra dialog with Lappe and Jack since the two were recently reunited.

        Surge I'm mixed in next chapter. He acknowledges Jack is still far from ready dealing with what's ahead, and nice you relate his military background with the loss of the Pokemon. On the other hand, him later telling Jack and his Pokemon they can leave threw me off a bit.

        The mentions of Pokerus there, well that doesn't sound too good. The mention of Garet and Lorelei does make me wonder the history between them and Surge.

        There's the mention of Jack's father again, which makes me think he'll make an appearance or has some role later on. And aw, Sal. Looking forward to see how he'll develop there.

        "Meowth are all right. They don't care who you are or anything."
        Foul Play [Chapter Four up!]
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        Old January 26th, 2018 (5:00 PM).
        Astinus's Avatar
        Astinus Astinus is offline
          Join Date: May 2006
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          Gender: Male
          Posts: 10,107
          Oh man, what a lot to take in. I do agree with the others that the Dialga chapter had a lot of information in it that needed time (heh) to process. There were a lot of revelations and little bits of stuff that was dropped, and I might have to go back to reread that chapter for anything I might have missed.

          The next chapter is a good way to show the time skip. I do wonder how Jack's physical training is going to help him with everything. The Pokemon getting some training in makes sense. And I'll miss the adorable form of Eff the Timburr. Also, I agree that Surge's change of heart came out of nowhere in this chapter, but I trust in the "sticky note system" and look forward to how that's explained!

          Sal is adorable. He's quite a character already. I can only imagine how long the journey is going to take with him leading the way!
          "Now the trumpet summons us again--
          not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need--
          not as a call to battle, though embattled we are--
          but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out."
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