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Theta Interlude (WIP) (comments/criticism welcome)

Discussion in 'Creative Zone' started by Absolute Zero, Apr 18, 2015.

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  1. Absolute Zero

    Absolute Zero The second seal

    Level 19
    Mar 17, 2015
    This is just an early-middle chapter of a story I've been meaning to write for maybe a few months now. All you need to know about the story that would be addressed in an earlier chapter is that the Pokémon world is no longer functioning as it does in the games, despite it happening in present day. Something I'm not going into detail on right now happened and instigated a rather complete fall of society as a whole. The main differences because of this are that Pokeballs are rare, so trainers tend to have fewer Pokémon as companions; and Pokecenters as a whole have shut down, leaving no healthcare for Pokémon or safe places for wanderers to stay at night (I always ran with the idea that trainers don't camp in the wilderness literally every day, but that pokecenters serve as free trainer bunkhouses). Also, many of these characters will be right around 22 years old, and for a specific reason that I'll get to when I do a proper start to this series. It's because of a part of the timeline of the Pokémon world, actually.

    This is also a writing style adjustment for me: normally I plan and overplan and wear myself down trying to stick to a blueprint I concreted in my mind or on paper, but with this, I wrote it as I went. My mind was never more than a paragraph ahead of my fingers. Even which Pokémon appeared and people's actual names were pretty much pulled out of thin air as soon as I needed them. It just flowed out of my fingertips last night as I needed to find a way to keep myself awake until midnight for a late/early errand. What you see here is the result of that and literally one proofread that changed maybe eight words throughout. It's a totally new process for me as a writer.

    So without further ado...

    Theta Episode: Interlude

    Cassandra climbed down a sheer rock face of Route 45 with help from partner Zangoose. They were only halfway to New Bark, but she and Butcher Pete were both feeling the fatigue of climbing already. A rising storm whipped cold winds down the river-valley from the north, and night was soon falling.

    The autumn cold was starting to affect Cass as her face and fingers went numb. "Come on, Pete." She said to the Zangoose, out of breath from the constant climb. "We're already half way there. Don't let me beat you to town!" She chose her words to mask her self-doubt, however thinly.

    Pete didn't make a sound in reply, not even heavy breathing, but strain showed in his face. Still clinging to the wall and just turning her head to look at him, Cass couldn't help but to shed a tear at the sight of his pain. We're going to die here. She thought. We're going to freeze to death and never be found.

    Pete turned to her on the wall as they both continued their descent, and his expression changed from exhaustion to concern. "Zan?"

    Cass laughed one surrendered breath. "That's just the cold wind in my eyes, boy." She looked down. Just a few more of her body height down, and--

    Her handhold gave out while adjusting her other grip, and before she knew to gasp or scream, she was face up on the bare ground. Butcher Pete hurried down the remainder of the wall and knelt beside her.

    The watery eyes of self-doubt evolved into a full-blown sob of hopelessness. She didn't bother to talk to Pete about it or contemplate her plight. It was over.

    It may have only been a minute, but soon she opened her eyes and noticed Zangoose was no longer beside her. "Pete?" She craned her neck to either side, and saw him looking at a nearby cave. Is that Dark Cave? I didn't want to go there. Straight to New Bark along the climbing path. There's all sorts of monsters inside there.

    Thunder rumbled in the distance, up the valley to the North. Cass considered taking shelter in the cave, against the odds of what may live inside. A sudden wind squall helped convince her to move forward. She stood, all limbs still functioning, picked up the backpack she tossed down from the top of the wall, and dragged her aching self to the cave entrance several dozen meters away. Some invisible drive pushed her toward the entrance, convincing her it was her best option. Or maybe it was the wind, pushing her into a trap. She hardly cared enough to think any more deeply about it.

    Once inside the cave, Cass and Pete went deep enough inthat they couldn't see the little remaining daylight and hardly felt the wind. Cass retired herself against a rock wall and pulled a squeeze-action dynamo flashlight from the top of her backpack. The noisy device only produced a dim light, but it was enough to show Pete, collapsed similarly against the opposite wall. A light smile crossed her face, knowing she and her partner found shelter.

    "Just until the storm passes." She told Pete. "Let me see if I've got some food in here." She rifled through her bag with one hand while illuminating with the other.

    An echoing snap and rumble caught her attention, and Pete's too. He looked up and around, trying to identify the source of the sound, before he noticed it was the wall behind him. As soon as he realized it was actually a camouflaged Graveler, he sprang into action and position himself between his trainer and the newly revealed monster. Only then did Cass notice that a similar situation was unfolding behind her: they were now trapped by a pair of angry Graveler. She could only run and dodge while throwing advice at Pete, mainly advising Close Combat and Brick Break to ward off the attackers. Her other pokeballs were jammed shut, so she had no choice but to hope Pete could get them both out of the situation.

    For a while, it seemed to work. Pete's opponent Graveler seemed to be almost out of energy, and a brief feeling of hope filled Cass with a will to press on. But it was too good to be true: the Graveler began to glow a faint yellow and emit a whirring sound from within it, telltale signs of a coming Self Destruct. "Pete, run!" She shouted.

    The Zangoose sprinted deeper into the cave, dropping all attempts to fight back. Graveler followed, and in a few heartbeats, exploded, throwing earthen shrapnel in all directions, pelting Cass with rocks and stunning the Graveler that was chasing her, but Pete was too deep in the cave to tell. The trainer ran in his direction, and found the Zangoose motionless in a small dead-end. She knelt beside him and rubbed his head, but got no response. "Pete? Pete!"

    Cassandra realized there was no hope for Butcher Pete, and as she heard the rumbling footsteps of a now-angrier Graveler approaching, she did nothing to resist. The troubles were too much for her, and after ten years of living in this mess, she gave in. She heard the self-destruct whirring and just knelt lower over Pete's body.

    "Prospero! Energy Ball!"

    The Graveler groaned a low bass, and the internal whirring slowed to silence. Seconds later, its massive stone body fell behind Cass and Pete.

    Cass' chest was tense and her eyes were wet. In this moment of loss, she accepted death and release, only to have that cold comfort ripped from her by an interloper. Not bothering to wipe the tears from her eyes, she looked over her shoulder to see who slew the Graveler. A woman accompanied by a Flash-illuminated Roserade, standing strong and stoic in her partner's light.

    "You're safe now." The woman said. "The way is clear."

    Cass just turned back to Pete, and a tear dropped onto his fur. She reached to wipe it away, then hesitated and pulled back, hand shaking, not wanting to interfere with her friend's final resting place.

    The woman stepped around Cass and took a closer look at Butcher Pete. "There's nothing we can do for him. He's gone." She placed a hand on Cass' shoulder, but the younger trainer was unaffected by the gesture.

    The stranger decided there was nothing she could do for Cass in this moment, and so let her be. "I'm setting up camp in the next chamber. Come if you want." She exited the chamber at that time, leaving behind an illuminated flashlight aiming away from the scene.


    It was an hour or more before the girl showed herself in Naomi's campsite. Even in the dim light of the fire, she could see that the girls eyes were bloodshot. It wasn't until maybe half an hour ago that she heard the sobbing stop.

    Naomi spooned some heated vegetable soup into a metal camp bowl and held it out for her guest. "You've been through a lot. Have this, and try to regain yourself."

    The girl just sat on the cave floor in front of the fire, staring deeply though her wet eyes. She made no move to accept the offer, and reluctantly Naomi redacted it, helping herself to a second serving.

    "We can't escape loss in this world." Naomi said. "Even before the impact. The only difference is that now we've lost so much that now we have less to hold on to, and it's all that much more precious. I've been where you are many times before." Naomi anticipated an angry outburst from her guest, insisting that she knew nothing of her pain. Thankfully, it never came.

    "He was my oldest friend." The girl said. "We've been together since before the impact. Back when I lived in Hoenn. We've been together over twelve years." Naomi didn't interrupt with a commentary, just let the girl talk. "I thought we would stick through it all the way. But to have it end so suddenly like this."

    Naomi could see the girl trying to distract herself. She watched her eyes follow the campfire's smoke column up and out of the cave through a skylight hole, through which rainwater was dripping down and into a bowl Naomi set up for freshwater collection. Soon enough though, her eyes were back on the fire, almost unblinking.

    "Tell me about him." Naomi said.

    A couple of deep breaths later, she started. "We met one morning when I was on my way to visit Lanette..."


    Cassandra let it all out, falling back to tears several times in her story. Naomi let her go almost uninterrupted. When she got to present day, Naomi gave the girl a small reflection and some words of encouragement to carry on. She set out a sleeping grass mat beside the fire for the girl and loaned her a jacket as a blanket.

    Naomi slept leaning against her backpack on the opposite side of the fire, occasionally waking to an unexpected sound. When morning came and Cassandra was still asleep by the ashes of what was once a fire, Naomi ventured to the near exit on the Blackthorn side of Dark Cave. The storm had passed, so she decided to encourage Cassandra forward once she woke. On the way back in, however, her attention was caught by Butcher Pete's resting place. At some time in her grieving, Cassandra set a bed of sparse flowers from outside the cave about her fallen ally. "You must have been quite a friend." She whispered, then continued back to the camp.


    Several hours later, Cass had woken and the two trainers proceeded to the New Bark side exit of Dark Cave, uninterrupted, but escorted by Naomi's companion Prospero. They traveled mostly in silence, but once they saw daylight, Cassandra spoke. "Thank you, Naomi. For everything."

    "Don't mention it, kid." She said, despite there actually being only about two years of age between them.

    "If you don't mind me prying," Cassandra asked, "Where are you headed? I was just going to New Bark, but I feel I've lost my destination."

    Naomi hesitated before answering. "Saffron. I have business at the Silph building."

    "Can I come with you?" Cass asked. "I don't want to impose, but there is so much I could learn from you. I may even be able to help you, somehow."

    Again, Naomi hesitated. "Sure." She said with a somewhat-forced smile. I know someone who can fix your pokeballs too. We'll have you back on your feet in no time." She started walking at that point, with Cass trailing somewhat behind her.

    "... Thank you." Cassandra whispered, perhaps inaudibly.
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