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Year 14

About Konuju

  • Birthday 08/06/1992

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    The Chronicles of Prydain
    The Westmark Trilogy
    Reading Rise of the Rockets
    Writing Rise of the Rockets
    Updating the wiki for Rise of the Rockets
    Creating throwaway NPCs for Rise of the Rockets and then making them so interesting that I want to keep them

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  1. IC: Dahlia Seaton/Zoe Llyan/Alex Lockwood/Colleen Llyan/Olivia Seaton/Lucia Zyther/Klim Prizak - Cottage, Geosenge Town "Sounds good to me." Alex stifled a yawn. "If we're not well rested we won't fight at our best." "I agree," Colleen said quietly as she looked down at her sleeping sister. The aura wielder remained deep in thought. "I'm sure we can find an incubator at the castle," Lucia said, smiling at Jamie's enthusiasm. Dahlia nodded silently, inwardly wondering if she was really up for this. As Olivia tried to reassure her, Klim walked up to the sisters. "I can give you another quick training session in the morning if you're up for it," the former Hero of Reverse said. "We'll make sure not to overwork your powers too much. You did great tonight, by the way. Our work earlier really paid off." "Thanks." The gardener forced a smile. IC: Rachel Brown/Miles Frost - Streets, Black City Rachel groaned as she picked herself up off the ground. She had rolled several feet away from Sawsbuck, who was stomping his hooves in exasperation. The deer Pokémon had backed away from the point of impact, where amidst shattered glass a zombie sat atop its flailing victim. Time seemed to slow as the man realized he couldn't escape from under the zombie and stopped struggling. For a fleeting moment Rachel considered making a run for it while the zombie was still distracted. Then before she could change her mind, she whistled sharply. With a disgruntled snort, Sawsbuck pranced back toward the creature and jabbed it with his hooves. A sharp crack pierced the air as the zombie skidded across the pavement. It slowly rose to its feet and bared its sharp teeth at the Pokémon that had dared to interrupt it. Rachel was ready for it. She leveled her pistol at the zombie's head and fired. Blood and brains splattered everywhere as the now headless corpse crumpled to the ground. The Plasma agent waited a few seconds before allowing herself a sigh of relief. A scream of rage made her jump as the man she had just saved bolted to his feet, grabbed a metal bar, and began wailing on the zombie's lifeless body. "Come at me, you monster! I'll beat every last one of you freaks into a pulp!" This went on for several seconds before Rachel cleared her throat. "I think it's dead." The man paused long enough to observe the bloody mess of the zombie's remains. "Yep, that's two down." He looked up at his rescuer, recognizing her Plasma uniform. "Listen, ma'am, there's something really weird going on in that hotel. Like some sort of zombie convention where the cosplayers try to kill you. You might need to call for backup." "Not just this hotel," Rachel said as she holstered her pistol and carefully approached her bucking Sawsbuck. "We've got reports of zombies popping up all over the city. Shhh, it's alright. Thank you for helping us out back there." She continued to speak in a soothing voice as she stroked the Sawsbuck's nose. The grass-type briefly pawed at the ground before nuzzling against her. "The whole city?!" The man cried. "Great, getting out of the hotel was hard enough. Any idea what caused this?" The sound of crunching glass drew Rachel's attention to the hotel. Several zombies had started to crawl out of the broken window. A few of them eyed the people fleeing out the revolving door, but most of the creatures were focused on Rachel and the young man. "We need to get out of here." Rachel called Sawsbuck back into his Pokéball and motioned for Minccino to hop back on her shoulder. When the man hesitated, she grabbed him by the arm and pulled him toward the nearest alley. The first few zombies had made it out the window and started to pursue them. These creatures seemed to run faster than the ones Rachel had previously encountered, but the maze-like structure of the alleyways provided plenty of opportunities for them to lose the horde. Even so, both of them were out of breath by the time Rachel allowed them to rest. For the first time, Rachel got a good look at the man she'd rescued. He looked to be in his mid- to late-twenties, no more than a year or two older than her. His business casual shirt remained unbuttoned over a plain undershirt, and even in the low light she could see his slacks had become stained with blood, mud, or some combination of the two. His brown eyes darted left and right, and he held his makeshift weapon, a metal pole, close to his slender frame. "So," Rachel said as she took a seat behind a dumpster. "You got a name?" The man slowly slid down the wall opposite her, still clutching his weapon. "Miles," he said in a quiet voice. "Miles Frost." Although he tried to hide it, Rachel could tell he was scared. And if she was being honest with herself, she was too. "Rachel Brown," the woman answered as she stroked her Minccino's fur. "Listen, Miles. If you want to stay here, that's fine. It'll take the zombies some time to find you back here. But I've got someplace I need to be. If you want to come with me, you can't slow me down. Understand?" Miles hugged his weapon and nodded. "I've taken out two zombies already with this towel rack. I think I can keep up." "I hope you're not counting the one Sawsbuck helped you with," Rachel said wryly. "What Pokémon do you have? We'll need all the help we can get against those creatures." "I don't have any." "Excuse me?" For a second, Rachel thought she misheard. Miles gave a tired smile, as if he was used to such a reaction. "I never needed one," he said in an almost bored tone. Rachel figured he had given this explanation countless times before. "My old man always said I should be strong enough to defend myself without help from others. That includes Pokémon." Rachel wasn't one to judge someone else's life choices, but her expression betrayed her admonishment. Even Minccino stared at the man in disbelief. "Yep, you Plasma chauvinists always seem to take it the hardest." Miles gave an apathetic sigh. "You act like it's some cardinal sin to not associate with Pokémon. Well, I'm perfectly happy by myself. I save a lot of money not having to buy Pokéballs, extra food, and all that other stuff. Plus my world didn't come to an end after that flash of light a few weeks ago." His quick retribution stung her. "I didn't mean to offend you, I've just never met anyone like that before," Rachel said softly. "If you'd rather go on your own, we can part ways here." Miles shook his head. "Like you said, we need all the help we can get. This is my first time in Black City, so I'd just get myself lost on my own." The Plasma agent merely nodded as she pulled up the GPS on her Xtransceiver. She continued to stare at the device long after she had plotted her route. It was the best distraction from the uncomfortable silence that had formed between them. IC - Kyle Eston (Jaeda, Ruj, Kitheus, Daiga, Lyxek)/Sonja Baron (Ares, Athena, Neith, Atum, Neptune)/Chloe Hikari (Ally)/Emmerich Coleman (Hitmonchan, Hitmonlee, Machamp)/Signs Helge (Furfrou, Carracosta)/Shota (Kecleon, Mienshao)/Ayoub (Quagsire, Greninja)/Maryana (Cradily, Octillery)/Jouko (Simipour, Torterra) - Streets, Dendemille Town: “I suggest we jump it while we have surprise on our side.” Sonja nodded. “Only question is, how do we do that?” She looked to Chloe. “Any chance you could . . . I don’t know . . . force it to stop?” Chloe thought for a moment, but nodded after a moment and focused on the truck from the shadows. She focused on making the truck stop in any way she could - specifically by focusing on flattening the tires. With four simultaneous and loud pops, the tires were made as flat as a pancake. With a frown, Chloe inched forward with her hand in her purse, toward the driver's side door. She held her other hand in front of her with a frown, ready for anything as Ally stalked close to her side. The others were moving up at the same time, flanked by their various Pokémon. Simultaneously, the four Signs agents moving ahead of the truck turned at the sound of the tires popping. From her position, Chloe could see what the other three couldn’t, which was the guns rising to face them. Thinking quickly, she and Ally threw a hand forward. All four of the Signs’ rifles telekinetically snapped in half, rendering them useless. With her focus off of the cabin, the driver within took the opportunity to flee, throwing the door open and knocking Chloe back. Helge ducked under the high-risen door, hurrying forward. “Engage!” As the Signs scattered to several different points of cover around the street, they each tossed out several Poké Balls into the air, unleashing a series of white flashes that took form. A Kecleon, Mienshao, Carracosta, Furfrou, Greninja, Quagsire, Cradily, and Octillery materialized, ready and raring to fight. Sonja skidded to a halt at the back of the truck, watching all of this unfold. She flashed a thumbs-up to Chloe. “Nice work,” she said. “Glad they can’t shoot at us or anything. Those are a lot more Pokémon than I was expecting, though.” “Probably more where they came from,” Kyle said. He moved up to an alleyway near the truck, peering out, then glanced up at the sky. “If we can keep them occupied until Jaeda and the others get back, we might be able to take them out in one swing.” “What do you mean?” “Weaken them as much as we can, and then Jaeda and Kitheus can hit them with Electric and Flying attacks,” he said. “Most of their Pokémon are Water-Type. And their powers are still gone.” "Sounds good to me." Chloe nodded, as she thought about something for a moment. "Ally, let's focus especially on that Quagsire then." "That is fine by me." The Gallade said telepathically as she summoned two swords into her hands and walked forward toward the opposing Pokémon. Sonja considered the idea. “Alright.” She nodded to Atum, and then sent out Neptune. “I’ll direct you as best as I can.” The Rhyhorn and Croconaw nodded and hurried to the front end of the truck. “I’ll keep an eye on the passenger side,” Emmerich called, ducking behind the other end of the truck and sending his Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan out into the field. “Machamp, watch our six.” Kyle looked back to the field, considering his options. Finally, he pulled out Lyxek’s Poké Ball, sending out the Fraxure. The Axe Jaw Pokémon looked around, somewhat confused by the situation, before setting his eyes on the enemy group. Huffing, he ran after Daiga into the fray. The Mienshao immediately flipped over Ally, lashing out with her arm-whips to try and knock the Gallade off balance. Atum and Neptune were met by a grinning Quagsire. As the bulky water type attempted to Suplex the Rhyhorn, the Kecleon stuck its long tongue out at Neptune. Ally tracked the Mienshao. The impact of her whips did send the Gallade stumbling a step or two, but she quickly regained her footing and swung back with a sword. The Mienshao wrapped an arm-whip around the hilt of one of the swords and yanked it from Ally's grasp before whirling around to deliver a swift kick. The Gallade reeled, then activated her newly regained psychic abilities. The blade on her free arm glowed green as she lashed out with a Psycho Cut. The Mienshao tried to counter, but the unexpected psychic attack hit hard. Ally struck again, this time bringing her blade down on the Mienshao's head. The fighting-type was down for the count. The Croconaw leaped forward. The Normal-Type’s tongue lashed him in the eye, causing him to grimace. He reacted quickly, however, and responded in kind with a bite . . . right on the Kecleon’s tongue. The chameleon's eyes grew wide as it screamed in pain. Fueled with a sudden rage, it ran toward Neptune and began swiping at it with surprisingly sharp claws. Neptune garbled incoherently back at the Kecleon and responded in kind, their battle quickly devolving into a senseless cat fight of reptilian claws. Atum, meanwhile, felt some sort of strange deja vu at his current predicament, though he could not place when this specific scenario of being flipped had occurred. Nonetheless, there was little he could do to stop himself from being rolled overtop of the Quagsire and straight into the ground. The impact left a sizeable crater in the concrete; he stumbled to his feet, doing his best to shake off the hit, and then lunged back at the Quagsire. The Water Fish Pokémon simply grinned and met Atum head on -- literally. The headbutt was surprisingly strong, and for a moment it looked like the two Pokémon were at a stalemate. In the end the Rhyhorn's will won out, and the Quagsire stumbled back several paces. It took a moment to regain its footing, then charged back at the Rhyhorn from the side, aiming to throw its trajectory off balance. Seeing the renewed attack from Quagsire, Atum planted himself firmly into the ground and roared. As he did so, his body glowed with a white light, and he began to transform. His morphology shifted such that he now stood on his hindlegs, and when the light faded, he towered over his opponent. The newly-evolved Rhydon spun around, slamming his heavy tail into the Water Fish Pokémon. He would have heard Sonja’s excited shout from the sidelines if not for the battle escalating around him. ****** Emmerich's Pokémon were met with the Cradily, Octillery, and Greninja. While the Cradily tried to trip up the Hitmonlee, Octillery's eight tentacles met Machamp's four arms. That left Hitmonchan to deal with the Greninja, who leaped down from the top of the truck and struck a ninja-like pose. Out of all of their opponents, Hitmonchan fully felt that Greninja was the easiest to respond to. Its gratuitous stance left it open to a quick crack from his left fist, striking the Ninja Pokémon with what would have been a Thunder Punch under normal circumstances, but at the moment, was just a very heavy punch to the face. Hitmonlee kicked off of the ground as the Cradily lunged, snakelike, at his leg. With surprising precision, it managed to correct course, tracking and biting into his shin as he flipped forward. It was painful, but Hitmonlee had suffered worse injuries. He twisted and brought his other knee down into a hard strike against the back of the Barnacle Pokémon’s head. This put the Cradily in a bit of a bind, its head now pinned by the fighting-type. Summoning its strength, the Barnacle Pokémon swung its head like a pendulum, carrying its opponent with it and slamming Hitmonlee into the ground. Hitmonlee growled in frustration. He twisted his body, yanking his legs free, and rolled backward. After taking a moment to breathe, he dived forward and launched a kick into Cradily’s neck. Amidst the whirlwind of tentacles grabbing and grappling his fists and arms, Machamp struggled to maintain his footing. Finally, however, he slammed his foot into the concrete, forcibly creating a foothold for himself. He pulled back against the Jet Pokémon, twisting its tentacles like rope and gripping them tightly before spinning on the spot and slamming the Water-Type first into the ground, and then, like a flail, toward Greninja. The Greninja reeled back from Hitmonchan's punch. Narrowing its eyes, it prepared to counter with one of its many secret ninja arts. Then a flailing octopus slammed into the back of its head. Tongue met suction cup and for a brief moment the two allied Pokémon rolled on the ground struggling against each other. "Hey!" one of the Signs agents called out. "You're supposed to be on the same team!" Octillery and Greninja pulled away from each other and traded opponents. The ninja frog leapt toward Machamp, hurling a shuriken at it with lightning speed, while the Octillery sprayed a blast of ink at the Hitmonchan. Machamp raised an arm, aiming to block it, though ended up with a shuriken buried in his forearm. With a roar of anger, Machamp rushed forward to meet Greninja’s leap, using two of his arms to try and catch the Ninja Pokémon and a third to throw a heavy punch at it. Hitmonchan, meanwhile, raised his arms to cover his face, protecting his eyes. Octillery would be better at tanking hits than Greninja, given its body type, but nonetheless, he aimed an low-flying uppercut straight at it. ***** Daiga found himself facing a barking Furfrou. As the vicious poodle leapt toward the Sandslash, Lyxek tried to assist but was blocked by the Carracosta. The giant turtle roared a bellowing challenge to the comparatively small dragon. Dealing with the Furfrou was relatively simple: Daiga curled up. He couldn’t do much to actively attack, but his spiny shell would at least ensure that the Furfrou could do little to actually harm him. It would be a stalemate until it went after a different target or changed its approach. Lyxek could not deal with the Carracosta so easily. Undeterred by its roar, the Fraxure roared in kind, matching the volume of the Prototurtle Pokémon. Then he charged, pushing with all of his might into a tackle against the larger, more heavily-armored Water-Type. Lyxek might as well have been running into a brick wall. The Carracosta stood its ground and laughed before swatting the Fraxure away with a large flipper. The Dragon-Type rolled to a stop, righted himself and charged again, meeting the same result. By the third time, he was grimacing from the impact of slamming into a brick wall. Kyle ducked out from his place, seeing the situation. As he started forward, however, Lyxek’s form turned white, and he began to transform, much like Atum had mere seconds ago. The Fraxure’s body elongated into a more slender form, and the blades at his mouth shifted into large axe blades. His scales grew into thick armor, which turned black as the light faded around him. Lyxek the Haxorus pushed himself to his feet, roaring with renewed strength and leaning into a charge at the Carracosta. The momentum proved enough for his blades to sink into the armor on Carracosta’s underbelly, leaving bleeding wounds when he pulled back. The Carracosta swung at him; Lyxek ducked, then tackled the Prototurtle Pokémon to the ground. All the while, Kyle stared, stunned. The Furfrou, meanwhile, found out the hard way that spiky balls hurt. Backing away with a growl, it considered its options. "Hold tight, Furfrou," Helge said, producing a card from her pocket. "Shift gave us the perfect weapon for this exact situation." In one swift action the Signs agent threw down the card and stomped her foot on it. What happened next took everyone by surprise. Helge might as well have stepped on a giant water balloon. A tidal wave of water splashed out in all directions, catching the Signs and Vorhut alike in its wake. "What the heck was that?!" Shota sputtered, rubbing the spot where his head hit the side of the truck. "Some shoddy card that was." “I’ll say,” said a voice from above. When he looked up, Emmerich’s foot came down on his face, knocking him to the ground, where the gas mask cracked against the pavement. It didn’t seem to matter though, as the hit had knocked Shota unconscious already. Emmerich stooped down, cuffing his hands and pulling him into an alley out of the way. “Good, that’s one down,” Sonja said. She looked up as several shadows passed over their position. As expected, their Flying-Types were returning. She couldn’t help but smile, glancing between Kitheus and the water around the field. “Let’s take care of the rest! Everyone, return your Pokémon!” She didn’t have to give the order twice. Acting quickly, Emmerich, Sonja, Chloe, and Kyle pulled their drenched Pokémon back, leaving several very confused opponents on the field. Kyle whistled, and in a flurry, Jaeda, Ruj, and Kitheus descended along with Ares, Neith, and Athena. The flying Pokémon struck with several pointed attacks to ground the enemy team, before Kitheus, on Kyle’s order, unleashed a Zap Cannon. The water from Helge’s card helped the attack spread, jumping from target to target and leaving an entire squad of unconscious Signs agents and their Pokémon lying in the street. The only remaining opponent was Quagsire, but it, too, fell with a final psychic hit from Chloe that sent it crashing face-first into the nearest wall. And just like that, the street fell silent again. “Good work,” Emmerich said. “That could have gone a lot worse.” “Yeah,” Kyle agreed. “I didn’t realize they would have something like that . . .” “The water thing?” Sonja asked. Kyle nodded. “Well, let’s just keep that in mind from now on.” She looked back at the truck, which had continued to spew out the toxic cloud through the entire engagement. “Now, how do we shut this thing off?” The group moved to the back door, which Emmerich lifted open. The machinery inside was complex; none of them could quite pick a place where they could start to dismantle it. Finally, though, Chloe raised a hand, focusing. “I think I’ve got this.” With some careful application of her telekinesis, she picked several spots on the machine. They buckled, grinding into metallic scraps. The machine began to whine. “We should probably get away,” Kyle said, already moving backward. “Yep!” They turned and ran back down the street, taking cover just as the entire truck erupted into flames with a loud, explosive bang.
  2. IC: Rachel Brown - Streets, Black City 11:18 PM A young woman raced through the dark streets. The city had become enveloped in a rapidly spreading panic. Screams echoed across the towering rooftops and the alleys had become a dark maze of life and death. It was this panic that spurred Rachel Brown through a sketchy neighborhood she would have avoided under normal circumstances. A small group stumbled out of some sort of bar or club up ahead, forcing Rachel to duck into the nearest alley. In the darkness she couldn't tell if these people were zombies or simply drunks, but she didn't want to take a chance either way. She crouched behind a dumpster and listened for approaching footsteps. Her Minccino clung to her shoulder, regarding the grimy alley in disgust. Rachel held her breath, pulling her Plasma-issued hat over her eyes in a desperate attempt to blend in with her surroundings. The Plasma uniform was not designed for camouflage, but the relative darkness was enough to keep her hidden. That is, until her Xtransceiver rang. Cursing herself for her negligence, Rachel quickly silenced the device. She looked up to see five zombies standing at the alley entrance, each gazing at her with soulless eyes. Then as one, the horde closed in on her. She'd heard about them from other Plasma agents, but it was the first time Rachel had seen the creatures up close. Rotting skin, mouths slightly agape, it was like they had been pulled straight out of a horror movie. Rachel found herself unable to move, her eyes drawn to the zombies' slow, arrhythmic movements as her heart pounded faster and faster. Realizing her trainer was too terrified to run, Minccino leapt off Rachel's shoulder and smacked the nearest zombie with her tail. The undead creature stopped in its tracks and blinked in surprise before taking a swipe at the Pokémon and slamming her against the wall. This shocked Rachel out of her trance. Running out from behind the dumpster, she met the nearest zombie with her shoulder as she scooped up Minccino in her arms. The zombie took a moment to react to this turn of events before reaching out to ensnare the Plasma agent in a bear hug. A swift kick between the legs knocked the zombie off balance enough for Rachel to escape deeper into the alley. She had only gone a few paces before a chain link fence came into view, spanning the width of the alley. Rachel turned around to see the zombies ambling after her. Even at their slow pace, it wouldn't take long for them to catch up. Minccino scrambled up to the top of the fence and beckoned for Rachel to follow. "Alright," the Plasma agent whispered to herself. "I can do this." Taking a deep breath, she planted one foot in the fence and hoisted herself up. Her foot slipped and she fell to the ground, much to Minccino's dismay. The zombies were closing in now, five pairs of hands grasping at their soon-to-be victim. "Sawsbuck, I need your help!" Rachel hurled a Pokéball at the horde. A large deer emerged, bucked, and back-kicked the two closest zombies with enough force to send the entire group to the ground. Before they had a chance to get up, Rachel had swung onto her Sawsbuck's back. The Season Pokémon took a running start and vaulted over the fence. Minccino hopped down onto Rachel's shoulder, and the trio took off into the night. No one dared to look back. After making sure to silence her Xtransceiver, Rachel pulled up the devices GPS function to navigate her way through the unfamiliar streets from atop Sawsbuck's back. Everywhere she looked she found more of the zombie creatures gathering while the un-zombified populace ran off in terror. The situation was getting worse by the minute. "We have to hurry," she urged her Pokémon. "I don't know how long--" A large window exploded next to her, sending shards of glass flying everywhere. Amidst the fragments, a body slammed into her with enough force to send her tumbling to the ground. IC: Miles Frost - Hotel, Black City The pulses had woken him up, but it was the fire alarm that spurred him into action. Groggy and still half-asleep, Miles Frost stepped out of his hotel room to see what was going on. Up and down the hall, the hotel's other patrons responded in a similar confusion. The hotel's courtyard style architecture allowed each patron a view of the lobby, decorated with a pristine marble fountain of Unova's twin legendary dragons. And so when the scream pierced the air, everyone was able to see a twisted figure fall from a floor up above and strike the fountain with a resounding crack. Whoever the unfortunate victim was, everyone assumed they were dead. That was when the victim staggered to their feet and began to walk in a slow, erratic fashion. Miles was sure he was hallucinating -- a byproduct of the stress, no doubt. A single word echoed throughout the courtyard from one of the upper floors; a word that provided a succinct yet outrageous definition for the strange phenomenon: "Zombies!" The dam had broken. As one the hotel's hundreds of patrons flew into a mass panic. Now that the adrenaline had woken him up, Miles retreated back into his room to grab what he could before making his escape. The sounds of shattering glass reached his ears, and he saw a number of people had escaped out their windows on flying Pokémon. Shaking his head, Miles quickly pulled on the button-down shirt and suit pants he had laying out, then grabbed his briefcase. He barely made it out the door when someone slammed into him with enough force to push him back into the hotel room. The two of them fell back on the couch and Miles's vision became obscured by a headful of long, unkempt hair and a torn nightgown. "Are . . . are you alright, ma'am?" he asked as he tried to gently push the woman off of him. The woman gave a feeble groan in response, and when she lifted her head, Miles saw something out of a nightmare. Her eyes had sunken into their sockets, her mouth hung askew, and her teeth had grown jagged like an animal's. A discolored hand reached out and closed around his neck. Eyes bulging, Miles rolled himself and the zombie woman off the couch. The impact of hitting the floor loosened the woman's grip enough for Miles to pull back and stare in a mixture of shock and horror. "This can't be real," he muttered. The zombie rose to her feet and lunged at him. Miles easily dodged and tried to grab a lamp to use as a weapon, but the furnishing had been fastened to the wall. When the woman lunged a second time, Miles swung his briefcase. His heart sank as the sound of ripping leather filled the room. The woman's nails -- more akin to claws -- had torn through the briefcase like a knife through butter. Papers flew everywhere as the ruined briefcase fell to the floor. As the woman lunged yet again, Miles ducked into the bathroom, eyes scanning the room for any potential weapon. He settled on the towel rack, a long metal beam fastened to the wall by two ends. He grabbed the shaft and pulled as hard as he could. It didn't budge. The zombie stumbled into the bathroom, and Miles had to hop onto the counter to avoid her attack. She struck the wall with enough force to loosen the towel rack. With one last burst of strength Miles managed to yank the beam free and swung it in a wide arc. The metal connected with the woman's head, splattering the walls with blood. He reeled back, the weapon clattering to the floor as he caught his breath. The woman lay still, slumped against the shower door in a bloodied mess. Miles closed his eyes and fought back the sickly feeling rising in his stomach. Muffled screams reached his ears, mixed with the continuous blaring of the fire alarm. With shaking legs, Miles slowly rose to his feet. Grabbing the towel rack, he staggered out into the hallway. People ran past him in both directions -- some headed for the fire exit to the left, others to the trio of glass elevators to the right. Some tried to drag heavy suitcases along with them, others had their hands full with children. Already, Miles could see the small stairwell to his left was over capacity. Trying to get through there would be like trying to squeeze through a can of sardines. Brandishing his weapon, Miles headed toward the elevators. At the sight of the bloody metal bar, people gave Miles a wide berth. He was on the third floor, so the elevators were jam packed with people from all of the higher floors. After what felt like an eternity, Miles managed to squeeze onto one of the lifts. When they reached the lobby, the elevator's occupants dispersed in a mad mob, racing for safety. Unfortunately it looked like more than a few people had gotten the idea to throw the zombies over the balcony into the courtyard -- the lobby was teeming with the undead creatures. About half of the people from the elevator found themselves mauled by the horde. Miles would have been one of those unfortunate victims were it not for his trusty towel rack. He swung wildly as he made his way toward the door, and for a fleeting moment it looked like freedom was within his grasp. Then one of the zombies tackled him from behind, sending him crashing through the enormous stained glass window. His momentum sent him crashing into a Sawsbuck, dislodging its rider. Miles lay dazed on the pavement, his towel rack clattering several feet away. A foul, acidic saliva drooled from the zombie's mouth as it leaned over him. This zombie was much larger than the woman in his hotel room, and Miles didn't have the strength to push himself free. He shut his eyes and braced himself for the inevitable end.
  3. EDIT: OOC: I will be temporarily taking over for Colleen, Olivia, and Lucia in order to ease the burden on Blade. A small Lucia bit has been added to this post. IC: Dahlia Seaton/Zoe Llyan/Alex Lockwood/Colleen Llyan/Olivia Seaton/Lucia Zyther - Cottage, Geosenge Town Zoe remained blissfully ignorant of Jamie's pointed glare, for she had dozed off on Colleen's shoulder, the unmarked egg nestled snugly in the backpack at her feet. Dahlia nodded in affirmation to Jared's question. She wasn't sure she was the best person to vote on such a decision, given her limited knowledge of Lumiose's various targets, but Jared's reasoning seemed sound. "I'll cover Miss Matiere," she said. "Flare got to her once before, and she was clearly still shaken by the experience when we talked to her. I'll make sure they don't lay a finger on her this time." "I'll go to Lumiose with you." Lucia placed a hand on Jamie's shoulder, although the Heroine of Time still seemed to be focused on her maybe-maybe-not-baby-brother. "If Dahlia's got Matiere, then perhaps we should check on Sycamore. What do you think, Jamie?"
  4. IC: Dahlia Seaton/Zoe Llyan/Alex Lockwood - Cottage, Geosenge Town - August 13th, Ungodly Hour of the Night "You mean Em's not going with us?" Zoe seemed visibly disappointed at this. Or perhaps her lack of sleep had finally caught up with her. For as energetic as the girl had been up until this point, it was now way past her bedtime and it was beginning to show. "That's okay . . . Collie and I can meet up with Lucina. She'll beat Flare for good. Just give me five more minutes . . ." It was as if a switch had suddenly been flipped off. Zoe rested her head against Colleen's shoulder and was out like a light. Alex looked at the sisters in concern. "You sure you can handle it on your own?" he asked Colleen. The aura wielder glanced down at Zoe and nodded. Her stoic expression masked any worries she might have had, and her silence deterred any further questions. "I should head to Lumiose," Dahlia said with a hint of nervousness. "With my powers, it's best to put me in the middle of the action. Klim, you'll probably want to come with me, right?" "I'll go with ya too, sis." Olivia placed a hand on Dahlia's shoulder. "I still need to pick up Bree, anyway." Alex looked over at Emily. "I'll go with you to the League, then. After all, family's got to stick together, right?"
  5. IC: Dahlia Seaton/Zoe Llyan/Alex Lockwood - Cottage, Geosenge Town "Do we even know where we're supposed to be going?" Dahlia asked. "It sounds to me like these Flare agents could be literally anywhere in Kalos. We don't have nearly enough manpower to search the whole region, and even if we did, I don't think it's a wise idea to split up too much." "We should check the local news," Alex suggested. "If there really is an uprising, it's bound to make headlines." "By the time that happens, it'll be too late," Dahlia argued. "If we wait for a report and then have to run halfway across the region, Kalos will be up in flames before we get there." "I have an idea!" Zoe declared. "All we have to do is go outside and call ask all Flare members to meet up in the city square for a super secret meeting. Then once they're there, we kill them!" Dahlia wasn't sure how to respond to a twelve-year-old suggesting murder. It was a childish notion of black-and-white morality, but if Flare really was as cold and ruthless as everyone said they were . . . would slaughtering them be the right course of action here? They had been stopped once before, but evidently they'd continued to grow from the shadows. The idea didn't sit well with her, but it would probably be the only way to ensure Flare was completely eradicated. The only question was, when it came down to it, would Dahlia be able to follow through on that resolve? She glanced at Klim for a moment before looking at Jared. "What do you think we should do?"
  6. IC: Zoe Llyan/Dahlia Seaton/Alex Lockwood - Cottage, Geosenge Town "We know who you really are!" Zoe said, reaching for a Pokéball. "You're--!" "Yes, we've been travelling with Dr. Alderson and Mr. Zyther for the past few days," Alex hastily interrupted. "We know who they are, but our new friends don't. Well . . . not all of them, anyway." He glanced at the other Alex, adopted son of Lionel Zyther, before continuing in a hushed whisper. "If you don't learn to keep your big mouth shut, kid, you're going to singlehandedly doom us all." Zoe rolled her eyes. "Didn't we just get done saying we couldn't--?" "Listen, Zoe." Dahlia pulled the two of them to the back of the group while the adults made their introductions. "I appreciate your enthusiasm here, but these are families we're talking about here. Emily's aunt, and Alex's -- Other Alex's -- father. We can't just make wild accusations until we're one-hundred percent certain. Otherwise, we'll just end up making things worse. How would you feel if someone suddenly accused your sister of being part of Flare?" "Well I'd start by beating them up for saying something so ridiculous," Zoe retorted. "Exactly my point," Dahlia said firmly. "We're still trying to figure out what exactly is going on here, so we can't play all our cards until we've seen the whole board." "I think what Dahlia's trying to say," Alex offered. "Is that patience is a virtue, and it's not worth burning bridges over."
  7. IC: Zoe Llyan/Dahlia Seaton/Alex Lockwood - Flare Lab, Geosenge Town An uncomfortable silence permeated through the group. Dahlia stepped back to give the others a chance to read the list. While Jared stepped aside to make a call, the gardener looked at the pair of Kalos Champions. "What does that list mean?" she asked softly. "And why are your names on it?" Before either of them could answer, Zoe strode up to Calem and Serena with a scowl on her face. "Do you mean to tell us that the two of you have just been a couple of hot-headed Flare Fanatics this whole time?" she asked in a loud voice. "It all makes sense now! You appeared out of nowhere in that restaurant because you knew we were getting too close to Flare's secrets. Then you insisted on following us down here, knowing full well the cloning machine was still active. You're planning to replace us all with evil clones of ourselves, aren't you?! Well, you'll never take us alive!" Zoe grabbed a Pokéball from her bag and reared back as if to throw it straight at the Champions. She might have actually hit one of them in the face if Alex hadn't grabbed her arm and pulled her back. "What do you think you're doing?" the Liberty agent cried in disbelief. "Didn't we just get over a big misunderstanding from assuming people were Flare agents?" "Yeah, well that was before we found Flare's Membership List!" Zoe retorted as she struggled against Alex's grip. "Everyone on that list is a twisted Flare Freak trying to rise from the ashes and it's our duty to arrest them all in the name of the law!" "Do you really believe all those people are working for Flare?" Alex asked as he managed to wrest the Pokéball out of Zoe's hand. "Calem and Serena helped stop Team Flare all those years ago! Besides, if they really were Flare, why would they be so eager to access such an incriminating file?" "Will both of you just calm down?!" Dahlia's eyes flashed as she forced Alex and Zoe apart. "I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation for all of this. Zoe, why don't we give Calem and Serena a chance to speak? And Alex, I know Zoe's jumping the gun, but you don't have to manhandle her." A wave of dizziness started to come over the Heroine of Reverse, but she pushed past it with a grimace and looked over at the two Champions. "The list was titled 'Means of Assistance.' What does that mean?"
  8. IC: Dahlia Seaton - Flare Lab, Geosenge Town Dahlia wasn't anywhere near tech-savvy enough to be of any help. Nevertheless she approached the computer alongside everyone else. Or more accurately, she approached Alex Zyther, who had approached the computer alongside Amelia and Tristan. She didn't want to distract the trainer from getting the computer running, but she felt this needed to be said. "Hey," she tapped Alex on the shoulder before she could convince herself to back down. "About what you said just now . . . it's not your fault. You may have been the result of this lab's final experiment, but the blame lies solely on your creator. A sapling isn't responsible for where it gets planted. So don't blame yourself for all this."
  9. IC: Ryan Sanders - Streets, Dendemille Town Ryan couldn't help but laugh at the blast of heat emitted from the Rotom's oven. "Quil, why don't you show them a real--" A flurry of bullets cut off Ryan's quip, forcing him back behind cover. Pokémon powers might give them an advantage, but it didn't make them bulletproof. Quil evidently got the message, for even as Ryan hid he heard the telltale sound of a Flamethrower spewing forth from the Typhlosion's mouth. Like the old saying goes, fight fire with bigger fire. Unfortunately the presence of firearms meant Ryan couldn't get a clear view of the battlefield. As he leaned against the now bullet-strewn car, he fingered through the Pokéballs on his belt. The only Pokémon he had that could withstand the force of a bullet was Jake's Aggron, but he had left the Steel-type back at the Alamo. Samurott's armor would provide a little protection, Ryan realized he had a better option. Dark purple wisps of smoke surrounded the Mismagius' ethereal body as she materialized before Ryan, cackling at the goofy mask he wore. "Missy, I need you to take out the snipers," Ryan said. "I know you don't have your powers back, but bullets will still go right through you. Do you think you can do this?" With a tip of her witch's hat, Missy floated out from behind the car. True to Ryan's word, the bullets flew straight through her ghostly body. Even as Quil tried to snatch the Oven-Rotom out of the air, the Misdreavus sped towards the Signs woman with the Solrock. Cackling madly, she reached out to try and snatch the gun away from her. Once Missy left, Ryan chanced a peek through the car's cracked windows. His eyes widened as he saw the white smoke billowing towards the battlefield. Within moments they would all be engulfed in Shift's chemical. Anyone with a gas mask would be fine, but the Pokémon had no such protection. "Togie!" he cried desperately. The Togekiss flew away from the Armaldo it had been scuffling with and flapped his wings at the encroaching smoke. He might as well have been trying to stop a storm with a leaf blower. Still, none of the Signs agents seemed to show any signs of concern for their Pokémon about to be hit with the drug. Sure, the wild Pokémon back at the warehouse had been severely abused, but this was an entirely new level of cruelty. Ryan couldn't take it any longer. "Fall back!" he cried to his Pokémon. The next instant, the billowing smoke consumed them all. OOC: Typhlosion: Flamethrower > Heat Rotom Togekiss: Untyped Whirlwind > Shift's Smoke Mismagius: Untyped Snatch > Esther's Weapon
  10. IC: Dahlia Seaton/Alex Lockwood/Zoe Llyan - Flare Lab, Geosenge Town "There are a lot of us, but there's also a lot of lab," Dahlia offered. "It might help to split up to search for clues, although we definitely want to use the buddy system." "Collie's my buddy!" Zoe announced. "The debris has been cleared, yes," Alex said with a frown. "But that doesn't necessarily mean the people who cleared it were Flare." He nodded at Belle. "We followed your tracks, thinking you were Flare. If our meeting has taught us anything, it's that we shouldn't jump to conclusions." "Um, Emmy can be our buddy, too." Zoe smiled at the older girl. "Alex does have a point," Dahlia said carefully. "But we still have to investigate under the assumption that someone was looking into this stuff for nefarious reasons." She pointed back to the cloning room. "From the sounds of it, this lab was still in use long after the Old Flare fell." Zoe looked around. "Anyone else want to join?"
  11. IC: Ryan Sanders - Outside Pokémon Center, Dendemille Town As the agents opened fire, Quil spat out a Smokescreen and pulled back. "Well, we got their attention," Ryan muttered as he took cover behind a car. The gunshots stopped as the dark smoke quickly dissipated. When Ryan poked his head out to assess the situation, the Signs agents hurled four Pokéballs in his direction. Four flashes of light erupted in the street, and four Pokémon stood to oppose the fiery Typhlosion: A Solrock, pivoting around on its jagged rays; a Crustle, peering out from beneath its stone fortress; a Rotom, floating in the form of the toaster oven it had possessed; towering above the other three stood an Armaldo, brandishing its forelegs like swords. Whether or not they had powers, Ryan couldn't tell. But he knew that they didn't need powers to resist Quil's fire attacks. Ryan was still assessing the situation when Ray approached with his Zangoose and Bisharp. The two rushed towards the Crustle and Armaldo, respectively. Ryan met Ray's eye. "They know Quil has powers," he murmured. "They don't know which of our other Pokémon do. We might be able to use that to our advantage somehow." He gave a sharp whistle -- as sharp as he could while wearing a gas mask -- and Togie dove down from above, careening toward the Armaldo. "Alright, Quil." Ryan glanced between their two remaining opponents. "Time to Rollout." The Typhlosion curled up into a ball and sped toward the Heat Rotom. He couldn't remember if Rotom took on the type of whatever appliance it possessed, but he did know that a kitchen appliance would be a lot less durable than a bundle of rock. OOC: Typhlosion: Rollout > Heat Rotom Togekiss: Untyped Dive Bomb > Armaldo
  12. IC: Zoe Llyan/Dahlia Seaton/Alex Lockwood - Flare Lab, Geosenge Town Zoe found herself thoroughly defeated by her sister's logic. ". . . I knew that," she muttered as she turned her eyes to the ground. "I was just testing you." IC: Ryan Sanders - Pokémon Center, Dendemille Town "I'm beginning to think the two of us are bad luck," Ryan muttered. "At least we don't have to worry about finding Shift anymore." A few moments later the nurse came back with an armful of gas masks. By now even more people had taken refuge inside the Pokémon Center. A quick glance out the window showed the smoke had started to drift over the Center due to the wind, despite Togie's best efforts. The streets were clear for now, but there was no way everyone in the Pokémon Center would make it out in time. "Alright, new plan," Ryan said as he and Ray each took a gas mask. "Everyone will need to hide out here. Don't open any doors or windows, this place needs to go on complete lockdown." "This place isn't completely airtight," the nurse said. "Depending on the nature of the smoke it could still seep in." "That's a chance you're going to have to take," Ryan said. "At the rate this smoke is spreading there's no way to outrun it. Use the gas masks if it starts seeping in. Ray and I will try and clear it from the outside." He took two additional masks to help any stragglers before affixing his own mask and heading outside. That was when they saw it. A freight truck stood at the end of the road, slowly rolling toward them, flanked on either side by a small army. Each person wore a gas mask and was armed with some sort of weapon. Thick smoke spewed forth from the truck, covering their surroundings in a thick cloud. Ryan saw a young girl try and outrun the smoke, only to trip and disappear into its white depths. Her screams mingled with that of an old man who had similarly been caught in the cloud. The sound of the victims' screams made Ryan's blood boil. Shift was exactly what he had always imagined The Shadowed Man to be: a cruel, loathsome terrorist who took sick pleasure in others' suffering. It was unforgivable. In that moment, all the hatred he'd had for Ford up until the revelation of the Missing Zero became redirected toward Shift. "Quil!" he shouted, hurling a Pokéball toward the convoy. "It's time to transform!" The Typhlosion burst out of his Pokéball and glanced back at Ryan, tilting his head at the unfamiliar command. "Um . . . I mean that thing you did against Gluttony." Ryan scratched his head. "You know, big shiny lights? Sleek new form? Our bonds give us strength?" Quil tensed up as he tried to activate the transformation. Flames erupted on his back, but there was no hint of the rainbow glow. After a few moments the Typhlosion gave up with a sheepish shrug. Behind his gas mask, Ryan frowned. "Alright, guess we're doing it old school style. Quil, use Flamethrower!" It felt surreal to call out an actual attack name. After not having powers for so long, it was even cooler to see the Typhlosion hunch down on all fours and expel a steady stream of fire at the truck's wheels. With any luck, the attack would melt the rubber and halt the Signs' progress.
  13. IC: Zoe Llyan/Dahlia Seaton/Alex Lockwood - Flare Lab, Geosenge Town "So . . ." Alex's head spun. "Those two are clones of your other cousin, who in turn looks like your half-brother Xander?" "And I thought Chloe's family was complicated," Dahlia muttered to her sister. "Excuse me!" Zoe, who had kept mostly quiet throughout the battle and explanation, suddenly glared at Jared. "Did you just imply Emmy's untrustworthy? She doesn't have to prove anything to anyone! She's a part of this team just as much as you or me!" IC: Ryan Sanders - Pokémon Center, Dendemille Town "Mr. Sanders, your Pokémon are ready for you." Ryan was used to just picking up his Pokémon and leaving, but the nurse insisted on going over the Litleo and Amarua's conditions. She explained how they would both need time to adjust to life with a trainer and how the Litleo especially should be kept on a specific diet until he was back to a normal weight. And so Ryan was still at the counter when the power went out. It kicked back on seconds later thanks to the backup generator. Amidst the mechanical whir of the PCs rebooting and the murmurs of surprise by the Pokémon Center's patrons, the nurse calmly insisted there was nothing to worry about. By the time Ryan had finished retrieving the Litleo and Amaura, everyone seemed to have calmed down. When Ryan and Ray turned to leave, a man came rushing through the sliding doors. "H-help!" he cried desperately as he ran up to the front desk. "My friends . . . th-they're . . . they just . . . y-you have to help them!" While the nurse tried to calm the man down enough to speak in intelligible sentences, a woman came rushing in with a similar story. "M-my son . . . he was caught in the cloud . . . my husband tried to help him, and . . ." Ryan and Ray exchanged a look before they both raced outside. If the people in the Pokémon Center were starting to worry, the people on the streets were in full panic. A massive cloud of white smoke had started to flood the town like a fog bank rolling in. Terrified screams echoed as people ran in the opposite direction like a mob; more than one person found themselves trampled under someone else's frantic attempts to escape. The cloud hadn't reached this street yet, but it was traveling towards them at an alarming rate. Twenty-four hours ago this might have looked like a very unusual weather pattern, but Ryan had a sinking feeling he knew exactly what was going on. He immediately threw a Pokéball into the air. "Togie, I need you to keep that smoke at bay as best you can! Don't let it touch you!" The Togekiss balked slightly when he saw his opponent was literally a shapeless cloud. With his best attempt at a shrug, he took off into the air and began flapping his wings at the smoke. There was no way he'd be able to stop something so enormous, but maybe he could buy them just a few seconds. Ryan had already run back into the Pokémon Center. "The city's under attack with chemical warfare! We need to evacuate everyone immediately." He looked over at the nurse. "Do you have any gas masks?" She nodded meekly. "Distribute them to as many people as you can. If that smoke is what I think it is, the last thing you want to do is breathe it in." As the nurse ran back to retrieve the masks, Ryan pulled out his Pokégear. He scrolled through his contacts to Kyle Eston and hesitated, his thumb hovering over the call button. The closer they'd gotten to Shift, the worse Kyle seemed to feel. The last thing he needed right now was to hear that an entire town was being hit with Shift's hallucinogen. Maybe it was best if he sat this one out. He scrolled down to Chloe Hikari.
  14. IC: Ryan Sanders - Pokémon Center, Dendemille Town "Hey, the past is in the past," Ryan said in a serious tone. "Worrying about what you could have done different won't get you anywhere. That's a lesson I've learned all too well." His mouth tightened for a moment, his lips forming a thin line. "If you'd turned McKinley down, he would've just found someone else, like what happened with the Fifth Child. Besides, you were trying to do the right thing. No one blames you for taking that clown's offer. You did it for Sonja . . . and if we're being honest, I probably would have done the same in your shoes."
  15. IC: Zoe Llyan/Dahlia Seaton/Alex Lockwood - Flare Lab, Geosenge Town "Which one's which . . .?" Zoe looked over at Emily for clarification. "Um . . . which one is which?" "Wait a second." Dahlia regarded Jamie in confusion. "Brother? Does that mean your father is . . . a Metagross?" She didn't mean to come off as rude, although being raised by a Pokémon would explain some of Jamie's more . . . eccentric quirks.
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