Hello, all! Porting over a little something from ... p much everywhere: my foremost WIP, Electric Sheep. Comments are absolutely welcome, and I do hope y'all enjoy~ Warnings: This is a Nuzlocke fic (of Pokémon White), but it won't get that much more intense than a T rating. Still, be prepared for death. Like, a lot of death. I was not that great at Pokémon White. orz Table of Contents: Spoiler * One: Nuvema (You are here.) * Two: The Professor's Laboratory * Three: Route 1 * Four: Accumula * Five: Route 2 Run Info: Spoiler Rules: Spoiler Faint = death. Any fainted Pokémon must be boxed forever. Only the first Pokémon in each location may be caught. No dupes. (No capturing evolved forms of previously caught Pokémon, either.) Gift Pokémon don't count as the first encounter. However, they must be boxed as soon as they're obtained, and they cannot be used on the run. If a second Pokémon must be caught in a location for HM purposes, it must also be boxed as soon as it's no longer needed; it cannot take part in battles. No buying items until the Elite Four—and even then, only one of each item may be bought per Pokémart. The only legendary that may be caught is Zekrom due to canon plot shenanigans. Furthermore, if a wandering legendary is encountered in a route, it counts as your encounter, so pray the gods don't hate you. Team wipeout = game over. Rabbit warren. That was what this kind of city felt like. All tall buildings and dark alleys—winding, twisting paths lined with brick and glass. Deep shadows, cast in part by the dull gray of the sprawling rain clouds overhead, filled spaces between apartments and offices. Murky, brown puddles sat stagnant on streets and sidewalks, and the air felt heavy yet cold and wet. Brown. A flash of brown tore through the maze of streets, feet splashing into muddy puddles haphazardly. He took twists and turns whenever he could in his mad dash to anywhere-but-here. Every so often, he glanced back, his brown eyes wide and panicked. His arms wrapped tighter and tighter around his silver briefcase whenever he caught a glimpse of something other than brick and glass and fog. Black. Streaks of black darted into and out of alleys and vaulted off rooftops. The streak on the ground wore a wide smile and aqua braids. The one in the air wore nothing but darkness. Laughter. The woman with aqua braids cackled despite the run, despite the cold and the effort she put into keeping a steady distance behind her quarry. She was gaining on him. He knew. Turn. Three turns—one left and two right—carried him deeper and deeper into the maze. Each one separated him from Aqua Braids, but he knew that no matter how many turns he took, he had to keep going. She was still behind him. A voice. “Run all you want, you obsolete piece of trash! You can’t shake us!” Aqua Braids shouted. Brick. He stopped abruptly, staring at the wall directly in front of him. Swiveling around, he backed up until his body pressed against it. No doors. No windows. No escape. He glanced up to see the black figure perched on the edge of the high rise to his left. He glanced forward to see the woman with aqua braids rounding a corner and blocking him in. His arms tightened around the case a little more. “That was fun, but I’m tired of running now,” the girl said as she strolled forward. She extended a hand to him. “Hand the case over, or this is gonna be painful.” As if to punctuate that thought, the figure on the roof jumped down. [CHAPTER ONE: NUVEMA] It was raining. Not hard, of course. Softly—the kind of rain that fell as a thin mist, the kind that clung to a person and sank into their bones. It was a gray rain on Nuvema City, and the puddles were shallow beneath the twisting vines and trees that crowded around the walls of colored glass. On the streets of Nuvema, people bustled from building to building, umbrellas formed a colored forest beneath the canopies formed by the trees planted in every spare corner of the city, pokémon—mostly lillipup and other dog-like monsters—ran alongside humans on jeweled leashes, and somewhere just above the canopy of umbrellas, a phone rang. Its owner sat on the edge of a brick wall, one chubby leg dangling over its side. She shoved her pale hands into the pockets of her brown, fleece hoodie, and she bent her face low so the rain would fall onto her clothing instead of her round features. In the pocket of her hoodie, her holo caster buzzed and sang, and when her ringtone looped for the second time, she groaned and pulled the device out. Using one hand to shield the thin, palm-sized piece of glass, she squinted at the screen to read the name: Dad. “Not this again,” she muttered. This was fifteen-year-old Doreen Hornbeam, better known to her friends as Door. Like many of her peers, she was old enough to go on her own journey, but unlike many of her peers, she chose not to go at ten years of age. She had her reasons. Many reasons, but mostly, they involved the fact that she knew that almost all of the pokémon on the street weren’t real. None of the ones in the region were real—or, at least, very few of them were. After decades of human development, there just wasn’t enough space for them anymore, and that was why the Unovan government, inspired by the gardens of Kalos, started experimenting with green programs and eco-friendly urban development five years ago. That was why there was a fledgling forest in every space of Nuvema City now. That was why the government was developing fauna reintroduction programs. And most importantly, that was why all trainers were restricted to a set track, on which they could only catch and train android pokémon. It was all fake, all for show, all to placate the people. And Door would have exactly none of that. Just as she was highly reluctant to have whatever it was her father was going to dump on her this time. Tapping the glass, she held the holo caster out and let a miniature image of her father materialize before her. She gave it the most bored expression she could muster, knowing full well that her father would be unlikely to notice. “Door!” he exclaimed. “Door, where are you?” “Running errands for Professor Ironwood. I’m working today, remember?” she answered. It was a blatant lie. The errands part, at least. Door did have to work that day, but Professor Ironwood hardly noticed the absences of her assistant’s assistant. Still, on occasion, the excuse made her father get off the line quicker than he would normally … but unfortunately, this was not one of those times. Fortunately, however, it was one of those times when her father didn’t care about her work schedule to begin with. “Well, tell Bianca I need you back home ASAP,” he said. “It’s super-important, pumpkaboo! I’ve figured it out!” Without another word, his image blinked out of existence, and the glass dimmed. Door screwed her face up in frustration and tapped on the glass. It flared to life, presenting her with a list of her recent calls, and she had half a mind to call her father back and tell him off. But she didn’t. Instead, she shoved the holo caster back into her pocket and hopped off the brick wall. She hit the ground with both feet, and the wetness of the puddle she had landed in seeped through her gray sneakers. With a curse, she shoved her hands into the pockets of her cargo pants and started for home. The truth was that Door didn’t mind Nuvema City. Nine years had passed since she moved from Hoenn, and because of that, she had only vague memories of what it was like living halfway across the world. But the few parts of it she could remember made her restless: the sun, the smell of fresh-cut grass, real pokémon flying overhead. Unova wasn’t as dirty as it had been five years ago, but it didn’t feel right. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but she felt like she didn’t belong there—like she was meant to do something else and be somewhere else. And that nagging feeling grew into a thirst for adventure, which in turn grew into a need to go on a journey. But it wouldn’t be the same. That was the problem. It would never be the same because everywhere one went in Unova, there were barriers, artificial forests, fake pokémon. All of it was just pretend—one giant theme park for the self-proclaimed eco-friendly hipsters and rich kids to indulge in. And maybe Door was a little self-righteous about that; even she admitted that she might be. But the idea of giving in and going on a journey through an amusement park? To her, it wouldn’t be a journey. Never mind the nanny. As Door rounded the corner and let that thought sink in, she shuddered. The pokémon and the routes weren’t the only things that were fake in that region. Looking up at the crowds, she understood she wouldn’t be able to spot them at first glance. But she knew they were there. She knew because the things she dreaded were exactly what put food on the table for her family. They were why her mother was in Castelia City, hammering out details for a new operating system. And besides the Pokémon Bank and Hoenn storage system, they were why anyone knew her family at all. They were the Companions. Androids, to be precise. Designed to look human in almost every way—even act like them, in the newer models’ cases. Rumor had it that one in five people owned one, and Door knew that at least in Nuvema City, hotbed of trainer activity, that rumor might as well have been true. Everyone who wanted to be a trainer had to have a Companion, not by law but by practice. The safe zones, the crime-free routes between cities where artificial pokémon “lived,” were far, far easier to navigate with a Companion’s built-in map system. Besides, Companions were equipped with a whole range of bells and whistles that made life easier for a trainer. Or, in Door’s opinion, they were equipped with a range of bells and whistles that kept trainers reined in at all times. After all, the other function a Companion had was to enforce those physical boundaries the League set on each route by way of offering helpful advice and strong coaxing. They were electric babysitters, in other words. To top it all off, the latest models of Companion were virtually indistinguishable from their human users except in one minor detail: their eyes. The irises were all wrong. Reflective sometimes. Glowing at others. And obviously glass and metal upon closer inspection. But unless one stood close to a Companion, even that detail was difficult to spot. And that was the problem. How could a person trust someone if they didn’t even know whether or not that someone was real? So, looking at the countless people on the streets, Door squinted at the people she passed. Which were real? Which were fake? She knew that it shouldn’t have mattered, but it bothered her to no end. Just the thought of someone—something—staring at her, recording her, storing her image in some kind of internal database … it sent shivers up her spine. Because of that, she did what anyone in her situation would do: she took the next right into a warren of emptier side streets. Door stuffed her hands deeper into her pockets and fixed her eyes straight ahead. There were, as she had hoped, fewer people on the streets she took. Fewer people to look at. Fewer people to play guessing games with. Sighing, Door pulled out the flat pane of glass again. Her thumb poked at a few options, searching for some music or a distraction, but before she could choose one, a cry caught her attention. Looking up, Door stopped. By that point, she had wandered into a deserted alley, but the scream didn’t come from there. There was no one around her to be its source. She listened carefully, straining her ears over the light patter of rain to catch any hint of where the noise came from. And then, she got it. Another cry to her left, followed by a pair of shouts. Without thinking, she turned and bolted down another alley, following the voices through narrow side streets. It was a stupid idea, considering she had nothing to defend herself with, but she was running on instinct by that point. That first voice sounded pained, as if it was coming from someone in trouble, and Door would be damned if she was about to let some innocent person go without help. The moment she rounded the last corner, Door was almost run over by two figures. Slamming herself against the wall in an awkward dodge, Door looked up to see their backs. One was a young woman with twin aqua braids flowing behind her. With each step, this woman slammed her black military boots into the pavement, and her slender arms swung a heavy-looking silver briefcase at her side. Running beside her was a taller, broader figure—a man, Door guessed—in a black trench coat. She didn’t have much time to think about the two figures because in the next second, a third, this time brown and frazzled, rushed past her. “Stop!” the third one cried. Another man, judging by the depth of his voice. “Please, stop!” The victim. Door recognized his voice, and once she realized who the man in brown was, she pushed off the brick wall and darted after him. Although Door was by no means out-of-shape thanks to months of working for Professor Ironwood’s assistant, it was still tough work catching up with all three figures, and because of that, for the first five minutes, she merely trailed behind them as they dove deeper into the warren of alleys and side streets until at last, she was able to choke out her first few words to the victim. “H-hey! Hey!” she called. He stumbled slightly, throwing a glance over his shoulder. “Sorry! I can’t stop!” “Need help?!” she asked. She wasn’t expecting him to say yes, and in fact, rather than answer her, he turned his gaze away and picked up speed. However, a few steps later, one of his hands lashed out to grab the lid of a nearby trashcan, and he skidded to a stop, twisted his body, and threw the lid like a disc. With a crack, the lid cut through the air and smashed into the back of the girl’s legs, sending her tumbling into the pavement. The case she carried crashed into the road, and with the force of impact, it burst open to send three orbs sailing through the air. None of them struck the ground right away. Instead, they split and filled the alley with light. When the light cleared, three tiny figures stood between the man and the couple. One was a green, snake-like creature; another was a squat, red pig; and the third was a bulbous, blue-and-white otter. Door recognized all three right away. She had, after all, spent enough time in Professor Ironwood’s lab to know how to spot starter pokémon when she saw them. The man whirled around to face her, and soon, she found herself staring into his wide, brown eyes. “Help me grab the poké balls! Quickly!” he shouted. She nodded and lunged for the nearest orb, one that had rolled within a few feet of her reach. As soon as her hand clasped around it, the otter swiveled around and trilled, as if to encourage her to keep going. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the man move quickly to grab the second ball, but before he could reach the third, the taller figure in black kicked him squarely in the chest. The second orb arced out of the man’s hand and clattered to the ground as he went sailing into the trash cans behind him. The figure in black had come out of nowhere, but Door should have seen him coming. She even kicked herself a little because she didn’t. It was as if one moment, she and her new partner were scrambling for the poké balls, and the next, the giant in black chose that exact moment to remind them that he was still there. As soon as the man in brown had been kicked out of the way, the figure in black reached down to grab the second orb. Then the third. He straightened, turning a blank glare towards Door, and she realized at once that she wasn’t looking at a human. It was that lack of expression, that uncanny likeness that looked too plastic to be real, the way his eyes glinted that told her the truth. This man was a Companion. Wordlessly, he held up the balls and let them fall open in his massive hands. Red light engulfed the tepig and snivy, and within seconds, they both vanished into their respective orbs. After passing one of them to the woman with aqua braids—whose icy glare told Door she was perfectly human—he moved his hand until he held it palm up to Door. “The poké ball,” he droned. Door took a step back, lifting her eyes to see the man’s face far above her. His eyes were dark and glowing with an internal light. His face was square and set in a way that made it look like it was wired together with metal. His mouth, molded into a neutral expression. Everything about him seemed towering and cold and wrong. Yet Door held the ball to her chest, suddenly unable to find the bravado she felt a moment ago. “The poké ball,” he repeated in the exact same tone he had used the first time around. Still, she said nothing. The Companion slowly turned his hand until it was palm side down. Then, he lifted his arm, reaching not for Door’s wrists but instead her head. She took another step back and cringed. And then, a blue and white blur slammed into the man’s shoulder. Door blinked, and the blur resolved, flipping itself backwards as it sailed back to the ground. The oshawott barked, bared its fangs in a jagged snarl, and launched itself once more at the thieves, this time particularly at the girl with aqua braids. Her eyes widened, and half of a curse escaped her lips just before the oshawott smashed into her stomach and sent her crashing down onto her back. As the ball the thief held slipped from her fingers, Door reached out to snatch it without a second thought. But the second she did, her ankle caught on something, and her body spilled onto the road. Looking up, she caught sight of the woman lying on her side, with one hand wrapped tightly around Door’s foot. In response, Door screamed and lashed out, kicking at the woman desperately. “You think you’re clever,” the woman growled as she snatched Door’s other foot. Then, she pushed herself onto her knees. “You don’t know what you’re dealing with, do y—” “Oshawott, Tackle!” Door shrieked. Truth be told, had Door been in her right mindset, she probably would have come up with a better plan than ordering a pokémon that wasn’t even hers to attack one of two bandits from behind. Yet somehow, it worked. One moment, she was staring wide-eyed at the woman, and the next, the otter slammed its entire body into the back of the thief’s head and landed gracefully by Door’s side. The woman’s violet eyes rolled back into her skull, and her grip on Door’s feet slackened. Finally, her entire body gave way, slumping over sideways onto the ground. For a long while, everything was quiet. But then, the man in black looked down at his partner. “Belle deemed incapacitated,” he rumbled. “Mission incomplete. Aborting.” He reached down and plucked the woman from the ground with the hand that was not holding one of the poké balls. With rigid movements, he rose, turned, and began marching towards the mouth of the alley. Door struggled to her knees, turning her wide eyes to the Companion. “H-hey! Drop that ball!” She flicked a glance towards the pokémon beside her. “Oshawott! Stop him!” It nodded and barked once, then readied itself for another Tackle. In the next second, it pitched itself at the man, throwing its entire body at his back. The Companion turned, staring blankly at Door as Oshawott bounced off his chest harmlessly. As soon as Oshawott landed, the man turned back to the street. “You are not ready,” he intoned. “Do not follow.” He crouched, craned his face to the sky, and did one thing Door wasn’t expecting at all from a Companion: leapt. His feet bounced back and forth, connecting with the brick wall on one side of the alley and then the wall on the other until he mounted one of their roofs. Within moments, he was gone, vanishing above the edge of the rooftop. As she watched the Companion go, Door tensed, balling her hands into fists. There was no way she would be able to catch up with that—not with her human legs and human limitations. Anger burned within her until a soft cry made her look down. At her feet, the otter held aloft one of the poké balls. “Hey,” she said quietly. She stooped down and laid a heavy hand on Oshawott’s slick-furred head. “Good job, kid.” The oshawott trilled its name once again and pressed the ball into Door’s leg. She picked it up, testing its weight, only to notice a tiny flame icon on the red hemisphere. “That’s Tepig’s.” Door swiveled her head up to see the man in brown. He sighed, ran his fingers through his wavy, brown hair, and crouched down to kneel beside Door. Holding out his other hand, he showed her the other poké ball the thieves had missed: one with an icon of a water droplet etched onto its surface. “This is Oshawott’s,” he said. “Keep it, but I’ll need Tepig back.” Door hastily traded one poké ball for another, and as soon as Oshawott’s ball was in her hand, she felt the otter nuzzle her side. “Thanks for your help,” the man said. “One chosen and another stolen. This isn’t good.” She blinked at him. “Hey, if you need Oshawott back—” He shook his head. “No. That’s all right. He looks like he likes you.” He. The otter had a gender. Looking down, Door examined Oshawott. Her palm stroked its back, feeling his silky fur beneath her skin. The pokémon certainly looked real, but she knew he had to be fake. He was too young-looking, and no real starter had been born in Unova since … well, she didn’t know how long it had been. She just knew they were gone. So whoever designed this one must have been a master. “Yeah,” she said slowly, “but … I’m not a trainer. You can have him back.” “Not a trainer?” Door looked back to see that the stranger’s eyebrows were raised. “Y-yeah,” she stammered. “I know. It’s weird, but I’m not! Honest! So, look, take him back.” She shoved the ball into the man’s hand. “Sorry I couldn’t get Snivy back too. Do you need help finding the police station or something?” He shook his head again. “No. No, that won’t be necessary.” Pushing his hands against his knees, he stood and dusted himself off. “Oh.” Door rose to her feet as well and shoved her hands back into her pockets. “I guess you’re not from around here. Dunno which town you’re from, but Nuvema’s actually got a decent police force. You sure you don’t want to talk to a Jenny?” “No, I just mean I’ll be fine,” he said. His voice sounded distant, and because of that, Door didn’t take it as an insult. “But I would appreciate it if you guided me to Professor Ironwood’s laboratory.” At that, Door felt her blood chill. “Uh. Professor Ironwood?” He gave her a sideways glance. “Yes. I was on my way to delivering those starters to her when I was robbed. She’s the leading authority on pokémon research in this region, isn’t she?” “Y-yeah,” Door stuttered. Her eyes drifted from the stranger, and her thoughts were occupied completely on the job she wasn’t at right at that moment. “Oh,” the man said. “I’m terribly sorry. This city is big. I shouldn’t have expected you to know—” “You … you just want to be led to her door, right?” Door said. “Yes,” he replied slowly. “Just to her door?” “Yes…?” Door breathed a sigh of relief and extended her hand. “Fine. I can take you there. I’m Door, by the way.” “Door.” The man smiled and grasped her outstretched hand. “Nice to meet you. I’m Geist.” Shaking his hand vigorously, she gave him the most confident forced smile she could muster. “Right! Good to meet you! Now let’s go! Just to Professor Ironwood’s door!” Whipping around, she broke contact with Geist and began marching forward. Because of that, she couldn’t see the curious expression on his face. “Uh, Door?” he asked. “Yeah, Geist?” she responded. “There isn’t anything I should … know about Professor Ironwood, is there?” “Nope!” Door answered. “Are you sure? You seem to be—” “Nope!” She flashed a wide grin over her shoulder. “Professor Ironwood would in no way be pissed off at me for any reason whatsoever! She and I are on absolutely great terms!” He stood there, staring at her with a strange expression, just long enough for Oshawott to climb up to his shoulder. Door, meanwhile, whirled back around and marched the rest of the way out of the alley. “Come on, guys! Lots o’ walkin’ to do! Lots. O’. Walkin’!” And as Geist followed her, Door continued to smile, going over her plan again and again in her head. She would drop off Geist at the gate and run. No questions. No lectures. Just run. Of course, this would have been a perfect plan, if her boss wasn’t waiting for her at the gate. Thus, a half an hour later, Doreen Hornbeam’s journey began with her almost getting fired.