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Old November 4th, 2017 (11:00 PM).
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Bay Bay is offline
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So, Jackson and Eridian are using remnants of Pokemon to make items and such? That, well, doesn't sound too pleasant of course. I'm mixed with Jackson being the typical take over the world motivation villain, but I'm interested how Eff will fare in that fight.

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Old November 7th, 2017 (5:47 PM).
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Astinus Astinus is offline
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    The sides in this world that Jack's fighting against have all sorts of advantages, don't they? With Jackson using his father's Pokeballs and Eridan's scientific background, there's a lot for Jack to deal with. And he still doesn't have Luppe, leaving him with really no one, unless Eff makes a decision.

    My one thing about this chapter is that Jackson's speech and Jack's reaction to that speech seemed a little...clichéd. Like Jackson was saying the standard "everyone else is insignificant and I'm the only one who's right" speech and Jack's "you're mad" was just the set response that everyone has for it. Not that there's anything wrong with clichés, but you'll want to be careful to not sound like everything else all the time.

    Still, with Eff now out of his Pokeball and ready to fight against the one who made him feel this way, I'm looking forward to the next chapter. And to see what Jack could possibly do, since even Surge (and the rest of the Gym Leaders that are still living?) doesn't seem like much help.
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    Old November 8th, 2017 (1:06 AM).
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    aeternum aeternum is offline
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    Only one more chapter until the end of the first part of this story. Then we'll move on to bigger and better things in this version of the Pokemon world.


    Jackson laughed maniacally as he watched the duo ‘ready’ themselves.

    “What do you think you’re laughing at,” Jack questioned.

    “Hope and believe all that you might, Jack. That Timburr has no chance at beating me. As I said before, he already had his chance. He failed, and because of that, I released him. He fared well enough against the others of his type while under the influence of my dark balls, and he did hold some promise. However, all of that is gone from my mind now. He’s not even worthy of becoming a weapon to me. He’s garbage. A torn and tattered hide that should have been torn apart and ceased to move long ago.”

    “You don’t know the things I’ve been through…” Eff gripped the crowbar tightly in his hands as the veins on his arms bulged. “You don’t know the strength that I have hidden within me. You humans are always the same.” The Timburr turned slightly to look at Jack as he spoke. The Pokemon winced in pain as his eyes met with the boy’s, causing him to quickly spin back around to face Jackson. “I may have lost before, but…”

    “He may have lost before, but you were still running through the forest with the fear of Arceus in your eyes back when I first met him!” Jack stepped forward, taking a knee and placing his hand on the Pokemon’s shoulder. “I know you can do it, Eff. I need you to do it so that I can get my friend back from them. If it comes down to it, I’ll… I’ll…”

    Eff smirked and then brushed away Jack’s hand. “Don’t even try it, kid.” The Pokemon shook its head and then flexed its muscles once more, setting aside its concerns about its capture for the moment. “I already freed a number of the Pokemon that they’d captured with the intention of harvesting. It’s my duty to free Pokemon taken in by humans like them. A task that I accepted from Mewtwo himself! I won’t fail to liberate any Pokemon from an unworthy, uncaring, or cruel human!” The Timburr paused for a moment and then slowly took up a fighting stance as it narrowed its eyes. “I won’t let anyone interfere with my duty - human, or otherwise.”

    Jackson smiled wide as the tufts of hair around the sword in his hand grew longer. “Keldeo, awaken.” As he spoke, the weapon began to glow with a bright blue light. Several seconds passed before the blinding light faded, and when it finally did, it was revealed that the sword had fused with the boy’s arm. The hilt of the weapon had elongated, and grown to cover Jackson’s entire arm up to and including part of his shoulder with red, blue, and purple tufts of hair which had formed in tight and compact layers over his skin, giving off the appearance of a protuberant musculature. The clothes had torn away from his body in the area surrounding the transformation, and the blade of the sword had grown even longer than before - now measuring around three feet in length. “I can feel its power surging through me, Eridian. You were right, modifications were necessary to unleash its full power. Alas, I don’t believe I’ll be needing it for this fight… however..." Jackson gave a toothy grin as he stretched his arm out, pointing the blade at the Timburr. "It is always good to teach a lesson when one is due.”

    The young scientist quickly retrieved the case which still held the gloves that Jack had refused to wear. “It’d be a shame if these were unnecessarily damaged during the battle… speaking of, Jackson, would you like to show them the Starmie that they refused?”

    Jackson waved his hand at his companion. “Unnecessary.” The boy lifted the arm which had fused with the weapon up against his chest and then extended it back out a number of times. “I need to get the feel for it still… this sensation is strange, to say the least. However, I will beat down this Timburr and then we’ll be on our way. It’d be unfortunate if my father caught up to us at this point, so we’d best make it a hasty encounter.”

    Surge grunted. “So, you really are the kids from that news program then? I’d been in touch with Lorelei a few times since she left the Elite Four, given that for years she had been an advocate for my promotion. Not to mention the fact that the port falls under my jurisdiction… it would be best for me step in now and send you all back to your families, wouldn’t it?” The Gym Leader laughed quietly to himself. “That being said, I don’t much feel like throwing my all into training this other kid as of yet. With only those two green Gym Leaders to vouch for his strength, it’s hard to really determine if he’s worth the energy or not. So go ahead and fight to your heart’s content. Show me what you’re all capable of and then I’ll make up my mind as to whether or not to call the Police, or your parents.”

    “Are you serious?” Jack turned and called out to Surge. “They’ve clearly been doing inhumane and downright horrifying things to innocent and helpless Pokemon for who knows how long now! Hell, they even went so far as to maim a legendary simply for its horn! How can you just sit there and laugh like nothing’s going on?”

    “Kid,” Surge slowly sat on the ground and crossed his legs. “You’ve got a lot to learn. The world of Pokemon as well as the one of adults isn’t all peaches and cream. Sure, you’ve witnessed firsthand the bombing of a couple of cities. You might have even seen a few people die. That’s nothing, compared to the horrors that I went through in the war. The things that these kids are doing? It’s nothing that I haven’t seen before - nothing I haven’t fought to stop at all costs. So forgive me, if I want to wait it out and see if you’ve got enough guts to stand being put through all that I’ve gone through myself. I won’t tolerate any kind of weakness, whether it’s physical, mental, or emotional. If you’re going to fight against the Republic in this next war, and believe me, it is escalating to a war, then you need to at least be able to defeat these few kids here and now with only that wild Pokemon by your side!” The Leader slammed his fist into the ground and scowled.

    Jack turned deathly white and quickly became silent. His eyes fell to the ground as he crouched down towards it, gripping at the hem of his pants as he bit his lip. “Just go… fight, Eff. I believe in you.”

    Jackson smiled a toothy grin and then lifted his sword. “Well then, Timburr, are you ready? I’ll at least give you the chance to focus, not that it’ll account for much.”

    The Pokemon nodded, taking one final look at Jack before lifting the crowbar up like a baseball bat. The Timburr lunged at Jackson, swinging with the rounded end of the weapon which had suddenly grown alive with flames.

    “Ah, but no such luck. You’ll need to be faster than that.”

    Jackson shoved the blade of the sword into the split of the crowbar’s tip and fired off a rapid burst of bubbles from the point of the weapon. The bubbles flew through the air and exploded in Eff’s face, sending the Pokemon flying backwards from the force. Eff skidded to a halt, digging the crowbar into the ground as he rolled back up to his feet. The Pokemon wiped away a trickle of blood which was flowing from its mouth before rushing at Jackson once more.

    “I know all of your moves. There’s nothing you can do to surprise me. You’ve been weighed, measured, and found wanting. You’re not even worth the air that you breathe.” Jackson slapped Eff in the back of his head with the flat of the sword, knocking the Pokemon over before stabbing the weapon through its hand.

    “Psyduck!” Eff screamed out as Jackson twisted the blade and pushed it deeper.

    The Pokemon’s hand was gripped tightly around the crowbar he so cherished, but it meant nothing in the face of a weapon of such caliber. With nary a grunt, Jackson pressed the blade clean through Eff’s hand and shattered the item in the Pokemon’s hand before the blade breached the earth beneath him.

    The boy pressed the blade deeper into the ground until the hilt was flush against the top of Eff’s hand. Jackson put his knee in the Pokemon’s back and held down its other arm with his free hand as he lowered his head down to its ear. “Do you see now, Timburr? You mean nothing to me. No matter how you tried to play yourself up, you were never going to be a match for our power. You’re just another wild Pokemon.”

    Jackson twisted the Pokemon’s arm which he had been holding down with his free hand, causing it to snap out of place. Eff screamed out in pain as the boy continued to twist on his arm and then began to pull at it, tugging it further from its socket. Jen quickly strode up to Jackson, who had only just begun to acknowledge her presence before he was slapped across the face.

    The boy released Eff, rising from his position as he gently rubbed his reddened cheek. “What the hell do you think you’re doing, Jen?”

    “That’s... that’s enough, Jackson!” The girl’s face was covered in tears and her cheeks were flushed. “There’s no need to go that far… is there? You proved your point, so just move on with what you were doing.”

    Jack stared at the girl who had just slapped sense into the monster in front of him. His jaw hung open as he wondered what was going to happen now. His whole body was shaking in fear now, having lost the only thing that was possibly capable of defending him. The boy fell backwards until he was sitting on his heels and then placed one hand over his mouth, and the other over his stomach as he saw the trail of blood inching towards him from the hole in Eff's hand..

    Jackson scowled and then turned to stare at Jack. “I still don’t understand you, Jen. You’re too particular for my tastes. Honestly. You’re the scariest one out of all of us. Even I couldn’t have done what you did, but still you... in the three months since my parents took you in, I haven't been able to figure you out.” the boy shook his head.

    Jack slowly rose to his feet, his whole body shaking as he did so. The boy looked over to the Gym Leader who sat only a few feet away from him. The man’s eyes were fixed on the Timburr, laying helpless on the ground, but his body remained stiff and still. “Aren’t you going to do something? These people are out of control! Isn’t it your duty to do something here?”

    Surge slowly turned his gaze to Jack before rising to his feet and brushing off his camouflage pants. The leader slowly walked over to the boy and briefly turned his gaze towards Jackson who was wiping the blood off of his sword. “Do you see that Timburr over there? You might as well have been told the exact same words as it was. You’re not worth the time or the energy necessary.”

    Jack’s eyes widened as he watched Surge quickly turn his back and walk away. “So then you’re just going to let me die? Let this innocent Pokemon die?”

    “Innocent?" The Lieutenant scoffed. "Isn’t that Pokemon part of the Republic that destroyed your home? I would expect you to be happy with this outcome. It is a sort of revenge, after all. A short reprieve; a little light given to you from Arceus before you too are beaten down and pass on to the next life. Only the strong survive in this world, Jack. Reflect on that for what little time you have left before that boy flays you.”

    Jackson smiled wickedly as he watched the tears begin to stream down Jack’s face. “How does it feel Jack, to have your one, final chance at salvation just up and walk away from you?” The boy laughed maniacally before squeezing the shoulder which had been fused with the sword, causing the weapon to revert to its original form. “Slumber, my weapon. I can’t wait to take my time with you. I can only imagine what it’ll sound like when you squeal.”

    “Hmph, this is exactly why I only take interest in the ladies of this region. You men are all too harsh for my tastes.” Matt stepped in front of Surge, stopping him from abandoning Jack. “What would compel you to walk away from such a situation? Weren’t you once set to be promoted to Elite Four status? Surely this isn’t something that they would condone, is it? As Jack said, it is your duty to stop this Lieutenant.”

    Jack’s body shook and his mouth quivered, changing between a frown and a smile with each shake. Another lifeline appeared before him, and a seemingly more sensible one at that. Despite the way that he acted around others and what he’d put him through, the boy couldn’t help but feel grateful for Matt's sudden appearance.

    Surge scowled. “Kris and Forrest both contacted me about this boy, saying that he was one of the strongest that they’d ever seen and that I needed to nurture and protect him like some sort of child, chosen by destiny. It’s goddamn ridiculous. He can’t even hold his own in a fight, and you expect me to take him under my wing and pretend to like him? Look at him! He damn near pissed himself already and that other kid hasn’t even approached him yet!”

    “Did you not see what that child did to Eff? What he’s done to Lappe? Surely you haven’t forgotten the Iron-Masked Marauder's arsenal? What these kids are packing goes far beyond that. You can’t possibly expect him to go up alone against something like that, with only a single Pokemon that couldn’t care less about him!”

    “He captured that Timburr. It even said that Jack had started to grow on him. There’s no denying that they formed a connection through… through the you know what…”

    “No. I don’t know, because that’s not possible.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “The ball that captured Eff was one of my own designs. I love Pokemon, Surge. You should know this since we served in the war together! You should know that I haven't changed since then, seeing as how I run the fan club in your very own city. You’ve even come in on several occasions to raise the orphaned! Why would I knowingly give Jack something that could potentially brainwash a Pokemon to do his bidding? Every Pokeball that I own now, I’ve made with my own hands. Each Pokemon I’ve captured, has been of its own desire. I lost every one of my friends in that war, and swore to never take advantage of another Pokemon for so long as I lived!”

    “Then that would mean that… that Timburr…”

    “Dammit Surge! You need to help that child! We can argue about all of this later. Right now, your electric types are our best option to end this battle before something even worse happens!”

    Jack was completely stunned by what Matt had said. He knew that the man had snuck a ball into his bag, but for it to be free of the brainwashing function that he’d been worried about… that could potentially change everything. The boy’s gaze slowly shifted to meet with Eff’s. The Pokemon had pursed its lips and closed its eyes. For a moment, the entire city had fallen silent, and everyone had heard what Matt had said.

    Eff hit his head against the ground and laughed. “Muk, I must be growing soft. Thinking that I actually had grown to like a human? What a psyducking joke. To think there wasn’t even a brainwashing mechanism in that ball he forced me into… I must’ve made a mockery of myself.” The Pokemon slowly rose to its feet, blood trailing from its mouth down its chest and onto the ground below it, mixing with the drops which continued to fall from his hand.

    Jackson looked over his shoulder, staring down the Timburr as he watched it struggle to its feet. The Pokemon was breathing heavily, and its movements were slow and lethargic. “You’re done. Just go to sleep and stay out of my way.”

    Eff wiped his cheek against his shoulder and then shook off the jacket on his back. The Pokemon slowly wrapped the leather around his wounded hand, and then dug its teeth into its dislocated arm. The Timburr raised its head, bringing the arm in his mouth with it. “I’m not done yet,” he said, his voice muffled by the limb clenched between his teeth. His fists sparked with electricity as he stumbled forward. “I have to… defend… my… honor… even if it means that I… that I…”

    Jackson quickly turned, his eyes filled with hate and anger as he slammed his fist into the Pokemon’s face. The Timburr tumbled backwards without any resistance, falling unconscious the second that its head touched the ground.

    Jack clenched his fists and became filled with anger. Sure, they hadn’t been travelling for long. Sure, Eff had put him in the hospital. Sure, they’d both done wrong to the other… but Eff had just been ready to risk its life to fight on behalf of himself, Jack, and Lappe for no reason other than it's own desire to. It only seemed right that Jack do the same, or at least tried his best to. The boy rushed at Jackson before he’d even begun to turn around. Jack pulled his fist back and had grit his teeth, ready to throw everything he had into this one punch in the hope that it would knock Jackson out.

    However, nothing ever goes according to plan. Jackson’s head turned, and with it, the sword in his hand was raised to meet Jack’s fist. The weapon slid into Jack’s hand as if it were butter. The weapon split the boy’s arm in half, starting between his ring and middle finger and running all the way up to his elbow before it slipped out of his flesh. Jack stumbled forward after his attack failed and he screamed out in pain, wrapping his uninjured arm around the split one as best as he could.

    The boy clawed at the skin on his arm as he wished for it to simply grow back together and the pain to fade away. He’d psyducked up, that much was for sure. And now, he was completely out of options. He’d effectively cut Surge and Matt off from himself, putting the much faster Jackson in between them all. No Pokemon, regardless of how fast could have intervened in time to save him now. Jack stared up at Jackson as the boy flung his arm outwards, sending the blood flying from his blade.

    Surge and Matt watched on with eyes wide open and mouths ajar. Surge felt around inside of his pockets for his Pokeballs, but even if the electric types at his disposal were fast, there wouldn’t have been enough time for them to act after coming free of their confinement. The Gym Leader watched helplessly at Jackson raised the weapon above his head. Matt put his hand on Surge’s shoulder and squeezed at tightly as he could.

    “This could have all been avoided, Surge… do you see what you’ve done? You old fool…”

    Jackson smiled wildly as the weapon rose above his head. The boy looked up the blade’s length and then down at Jack. “Don’t worry, Jack. I’ll take good care of your Croconaw once we turn him into a headpiece. And hey, who knows… maybe we’ll figure out how to harvest humans in a similar way and make use of your body at some point?”

    Jack stared up, helplessly as the blade slowly made its descent. It seemed as though time had slowed hundreds of times over. Everything he’d ever done and had ever hoped to do flashed before his eyes. He bit down into his lip, causing it to bleed and trickle down his face as he searched for any way out of the situation.

    But there was nothing. Jack accepted his fate, closed his eyes and awaited the fall of the blade.

    He waited, and waited. Several seconds passed, but there was nothing save for the pain of his lip and his arm which had been split in half. The boy slowly opened his eyes and saw the weapon, frozen in time. Jack’s eyes quickly switched between the sword, Jackson, Surge, Matt, Eridian, Jen and Eff. Everyone, and everything had stopped in its tracks, leaving only him aware of what was now going on. The boy slowly pushed himself away from the path of the weapon and continued to clench his arm as he surveyed his surroundings.

    “Hello? Is… is there anyone out there? I need help… please… it hurts so bad…”

    Jack bit his lip again and fought back the burning sensation that came with tears. He didn’t know what this was, but he did know he shouldn’t be wasting time with crying. Jack attempted to stand, but as soon as he had risen to a single knee he became too lightheaded and dizzy to continue. Jack lazily fell over and then started to scoot his way over to Eff since the Timburr was the closest thing to him. As the boy reached the Pokemon, he placed his good hand over the Pokemon’s chest and felt for a pulse.

    “Nothing… absolutely nothing… what the hell is this… is this… hell? What’s going on?” Jack started to panic, slowly rolling from side to side as he searched for anyone or anything else that could help him. The boy clenched his fist and pressed his eyes close before pounding against the Timburr beside him. “What the psyduck! Psyduck! Psyduck! Psyduck! Muk! Psyduck! Dammit!” Jack rolled over and quickly rose to his feet, closing his eyes as he felt the familiar dizziness. “Psyduck you,” he screamed out as he started running blindly through the city. “Please! Anyone! I need help! Please!”

    Jack ran through the city frozen in time, and then made his way out into the route which lead into it. The world had gone silent, and all that moved or breathed in it now was him. Tears streamed down his face as he slowly lost hope. His eyes fluttered open every so often, but all that he could see when they did were the vague shapes of other trainers, Pokemon, grass and buildings.

    ‘Where are you going, Jack?’ The voice echoed within his head, throwing his head into a vicious throb. ‘I’m back the other way, aren’t you going to come see me? I just barely made it, didn’t I? I know you’re not dead yet. This is the time you sent me to, after all. Why don’t you come back, old friend.’

    The voice slowly disappeared, and with its dispersal his vision slowly cleared. Jack crawled back to his feet and looked all around him. “Who’s there? Where are you?”

    ‘Here. Back here. Come to where I stopped it all so that we can meet. You can’t be dying just yet, you know. There's a destiny to fulfill still.’

    “Who are you?” Jack screamed as he wobbled back into the city he’d just escaped from. “Where are you? Why won’t you answer me?”

    ‘Because, Jack, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. You’d have to see to believe. After all, from your point of view this is the first time that we've had the pleasure of meeting.’

    “What do you mean? Where are you?”

    ‘The clearing. Come to the clearing.’

    Jack stumbled, crawled, and ran all the way back to where he’d started. His eyes scanned the area, but found that nothing was different from when he’d last been there. He stumbled over to a few of the houses which were nearby and peered through the drawn curtains, wondering if the voice was coming from someone within. Most of the buildings completely empty, but one which had been directly behind where he was when he first awoke in this frozen world had a woman clasping her hand over her mouth as she presumably watched the battle unfold.

    ‘There, now, Jack, what say you we fix up that arm of yours? Oh, and I can’t forget Eff either, can I? He still has to grow big and strong before next we meet.’

    “Who are you? Where? I thought you said I could see you if I came back here?”

    ‘You’re right, I believe I did say that. I thought I’d try and keep being mysterious, seeing as how I only have this one chance to make a first impression. Look, up above you.’

    Jack’s eyes slowly rose to the sky. In this world, even the sun had been frozen in place, its rays falling to the Earth like pillars. From between these radiant pillars, a Pokemon began to descend.


    ‘Yes, Jack. I am, am.’ The voice chuckled as it landed in front of the boy. ‘I am Dialga, the ruler of Time. Also, it just so happens that I am, or shall be a close acquaintance of yours in times to come. Now, what say you I make good on that promise?’
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    Old November 9th, 2017 (5:51 PM).
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    Astinus Astinus is offline
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      Well, that was an intense chapter!

      Not just the fight between Jackson and Eff, but also everything that came after that. Especially that ending there. It looks like this fic has more to explore when it comes to destiny, and I hope that Jack will wonder if he'll even have a choice anymore, or if everything he does is predetermined because he's done it before.

      I have to say that even though I didn't like Surge for what he decided to do, it made sense when you think about why he wouldn't help Jack. Like Surge has a point that Jack won't always have someone there to help rescue him. There will be times when it's just Jack and some random Pokemon, or even less. So even though Surge came off as some jerk (to put it very lightly), he did have a point.
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      Old November 10th, 2017 (7:26 PM).
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      Bay Bay is offline
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      I'm with Astinus that while Lt Surge did make a point not everyone will helip him, Jack and Eff was having a hard time going against Jackson and him mostly standing there did make him a coward. It makes sense for Matt and Surge to know one another with the both of them residing in Vermillion City, but I'm still mixed with Matt sneaking in the pokeball even if it doesn't have brainwash capabilities.

      To be honest, atm Dialga's appearance seems to be in the left field for me. Maybe I missed some hints of something bigger besides a revolution/resistance going on, so I'll wait and see the importance of Dialga saving Jack there.

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      Old January 5th, 2018 (2:05 AM).
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      aeternum aeternum is offline
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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 offline
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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."
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      Old January 26th, 2018 (5:00 PM).
      Astinus's Avatar
      Astinus Astinus is offline
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        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!
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