It's been a long time since I wrote pokemon related fanfiction. I've had stories in mind for years with no time to actually write them and as such they've been lost to the ages. I've missed out on a lot of the growth of pokemon, especially around Ruby/Emerald and X/Y, so excuse possible errors on things pertaining to those pokemon/areas from the game.
Back in the beginning of Pokemon, way back in '98-ish for the USA, I was known as Arti Cuno of Prussian Town / , there's apparently even a BulbaPedia page on me. I used to write all the time about Arti and Gary and had about six different stories before I gave up to no time to keep up with pokemon. Several of these were 75~100K+ word monsters. They've since been archived and removed from FFnet because bad, very old, writing. So, I've decided to reboot the 'series' with them here and give pokemon fanfics another chance.
I had a hard time figuring out where in the story line to begin with so there may be some "info dump" styled sections to try to get out explanations to people not familiar with Arti+ Gary Oak/Prussian Town/the whole story series they came from. In the future most of the insanity will probably be more explained by flashbacks.
Warning, if you're here and do not approve of the "F-word" I caution you about reading. Arti is an f-bomb queen when she's pissed.
A furious sound of small, beating, wings filled the air. The last brood of fletchlings scattered across the rosy sky without looking back for even an instant. Their 'parents' watched with heavy hearts knowing it was time for them to move on as well.
The quiet mountain side where they had made their home together was suffering. Once vibrant, the land was now slowly dying. Trees were crumbling under the usual heatwave the valley had been bombarded with these past two years. The mighty river had slowed to a small stream, and with its diminished ability to support life, the pokemon who called it home fled to the lakes far away.
Now familiar sounds of trees crashing startled the pair back to reality. As they looked on from the deck of their home, the opposite side of the valley gave way to yet another rock slide. Browned trees' lined the entire side of the mountain's landscape. Their roots were dried and rotting, no longer were they able to assist the stressed rocky ledges from falling apart and sliding into the valley of death were many slides had fallen before this one.
"We said after the last rescues were able to escape on their own, we'd leave."
She shot him a stern look. A mix of emotion contorted her face from anger to sadness and back again.
It wasn't that she didn't want to leave. It was knowing any remaining pokemon in the valley wouldn't have human help once they left. They came here as researchers, and were leaving as the last of a ruined village.
The linger rays of light were just enough to see the shapes of broken and crushed structures at the water's former edges. Crumpled buildings, fallen bridges, abandoned cars. All things once well cared for were now looking more like something from a ruined civilization. The only home spared was theirs. The mountain side they'd chosen was mostly unaffected by the tremors and drought. Things were dying slower here, as if the other side of the valley was the cause of the total ecosystem collapse. Despite several attempts to find the source, nothing on the surface offered any insight to the problem.
As the sun slipped behind the crumpled treetops, the sounds of crumbling rocks and mild shaking of the ground intensified. A light from their home was the only source of illumination, their shadows cast eerily along the rocky formations nearby.
The fletchlings were now long out of view, but still she strained to see if they made it to the mouth of the valley where they would be safe.
He cleared his throat to bring her back into focus. "Arti."
"I know." She paused to release a heavy sigh, her deep red eyes fixed onto him. She reached forward, brushing his spiky brown hair to the side then caressed his cheek with her thumb.
"It's been like a knife to my throat for me for the past two years. How am I supposed to adjust to yet another move?" She flicked her long feathered tail as she spoke. "I thought we finally found a home, Gary. I want to find out what's happening. I want to fix it." She fought back tears as she slammed her foot to the wooden deck floor.
He pulled her close and rested his chin on her fluffy blue hair, offering what comfort he could. This had been the one place Arti had fit in. Though advanced in technology, the people of the village had a tribal religion. They saw Arti different than most others viewed her. Her spliced genes made her a symbol to them, they protected her as though she were a sign from their gods that someone had been sent to protect their land. In turn they would protect her.
She welcomed the change from those who treated her more like a pokemon than a person, but as things began to change, she became the source of blame for the failing crops and dusty riverbed. It wasn't much better than how the people outside of the village had treated them.
Many other towns had viewed Arti as something to capture, to exploit. Her articuno features were the result of a lab accident many years ago. Her father's research into pokemon genetics met with a horrible fate when his work became known to the outside world.
A revolt among the townspeople of Prussian resulted in their attempt to free the pokemon within the lab, in the process destroying the lab itself and damaging the equipment within it. A surge from an overly strong electric pokemon caused the gene splicer to overload, sending crazed bolts of lightning into the sky for miles.
At the time of the events, Arti was in the tower rookery with the young flying pokemon. She had developed a bond with the Articuno who had been hatched there years ago. She tried desperately to free him, but the cage's electric controlled lock had become disabled in the attack. As a last ditch effort, she squeezed between the bars to remove the muzzle from the bird allowing it to blast the lock and free itself, Unfortunately, the building collapsed before they were able to escape, leaving them both trapped. Arti had been knocked unconscious by the falling debris leaving her unsure what had happened next. When she awoke, she found herself in a pokemon hospital, chained to the bed. Guards at her door and droves of doctors and nurses looking through a sliding glass wall at her.
Gary's voice interrupted her gruesome thoughts of the past. "We've tried to find the source already…"
The air around them turned from warm summer evening to frigid winter cold. She turned from him and crossed her arms. Moisture in the air began to solidify into glimmering flecks of snow as they fell to the ground.
"We'll talk more in the morning." He sighed and retreated back to the warmed of the inside, it wasn't worth it right now.
The sound of the sliding door clicking shut only irritated her more. "Fine." She grumbled. She knew he couldn't hear her now but it was self comforting to feel like she had the last word of the argument. They never needed many words to understand it was time to give each other space. The wildness of Arti's powers usually indicated when it was time to let things settle.
It was no use talking when she was this emotional. Something Arti had never learned was to control the ice abilities gifted to her from her Articuno. They would manifest in predictable, non aggressive, ways when she was experiencing a normal range of emotions, but anything on the extremes would wreak havoc. As if the Articuno who went missing after the events in Prussian were controlling her and thinking only of self preservation.
She looked through the glass to where Gary packed more of their belongings away. She knew now she'd delayed him as long as she could. Excuses weren't working. It was getting harder for not only the pokemon but for them too to find food sources without traveling over the mountain to the nearest town. People were becoming suspicious that something was odd about them. Arti was reluctant to visit the town but had been forced to when they needed something that required both of them to bring it back home. Wearing sunglasses may be normal for the summer but being dressed in a long cloak - and sweating like a pig under it - to hide her wings and tail was starting to cause people to talk.
She watched Gary seal off the package. The reasonable part of her said to suck it up and go in to apologize while part of her screamed just brood a bit longer. He locked eyes with her as she struggled with her innervoices.
"Come inside." Even though the sound didn't make it past the glass, his expression conveyed the words well.
They had been fighting for weeks, but somehow that look of desperation on his face changed her. She knew it was time to give in. Yet for some reason, every step towards the sliding glass door made her chest grow tighter. That voice screaming in the back of her head was starting to take control of her body now. Her vision blurred as she stumbled into a chair on the deck.
Why don't you listen to me? It wasn't even her voice anymore, it was as though something from the outside was invading. You can't leave. Not yet.
"What…?" She grabbed onto the chair as her legs began to collapse below her. Her distorted vision spun as if the world was crumbling from under her feet. "What the hell is this…?"
Even through the distortion, she could make out Gary running to her as she fell to the floor before everything turned black. The voice was becoming more than a voice. A gentle tug on her arm told her he was there but she was unable to control anything now. Her arms began to move but she wasn't the one in control.
Things around her snapped back into clear view but something was still not quite right. Gary was talking to her, shaking her as she stood up but it was as if her eyes were a TV that someone had turned on and she was unable to control where the camera panned.
"What happened? Arti?"
"I'm fine." that was a lie. It was her voice but it wasn't her lie.
I'll kill him if you leave.
Hearing the voice say those words was enough to make her heart stop. She knew she wasn't the only one unhappy about the intrusion. Something deep inside began to gain power. This time it was familiar. What she had always assumed was her long lost Articuno's conscience was giving a clear indication of 'I'm about done with this shit.'
Unlike the minor chill of the air from Arti's moodiness, Articuno was able to take control of the full powers of a legendary pokemon. Arctic winds stormed down in incredible force. Wood boards from the deck began to crack and swirl into the air like deadly projectiles.
Spiral winds spread outward and dispersed. Arti and Gary were safe within the eye of the storm but their home was not. The ravaged land began to rumble, threatening to break free and tumble into the valley below just like the rock slide from earlier. The roof on the house was already tumbling to the bottom, taking out loose rocks and dying vegetation as it went.
Arti lungs gasped for air as she tried to regain her bearings. Whatever it was that controlled her caused a flash before her eyes in that instant they separated. It was almost as if she were seeing through its eyes for a moment when the storm struck them down. Gary stared at her dumbfounded, she was pretty sure she had an equally dumbfounded look on her face as she processed what was happening.
"Ar-Articuno?" his voice broke with fear. The last time Articuno had manifested itself so incredibly it nearly leveled the entire town of Prussian.
"Something is trying to control me." Arti quickly looked out into the empty sky searching for any indication of what it had been. "It felt like a pokemon, but it was so strong. I-it told me not to leave."
The deck began to crack under them. Wood splintered and buckled from the stress of the missing supports. Glass that had survived the ice storm now cracked and shattered, raining down on the pair as things escalated faster than they could process.
The only thing Arti could hear between the sounds of falling rocks and trees. "Fly!"
Wild instincts kicked in like throwing a chick from a nest. Her wings spread wide as they clung onto each other. Flying with the additional load of another person was never something she could do from standing on the ground, but the ground decided to give her a hand by disappearing from under their feet as they ran to the edge of the deck. The sofa and other furniture apparently had the same idea of how to escape but was unable to fly, instead slamming into the rocks and tumbling into the darkness.
Roaring cascade of debris downed out any attempt at talking to each other as they glided away. Arti's grip began to weaken as she struggled to keep in the air. With the added weight and strain on her back to keep her wings from giving out it was taking all her effort to keep them from being sucked into the landslide.
The attack on Arti's mind was coming back but this time it was weaker.
So then Mrs Oak, Articuno still controls you.
She didn't know how to respond but apparently thinking was enough. What are you talking about?
While Arti was able to allow Gary to land on the ground on his feet, she tumbled to the ground, scraped her knees and and hands then flopped onto her back panting as she stared into the starry sky. Her heart felt like someone was beating on the outside of her chest.
"What's trying to control you?" Gary finally managed to ask.
The sounds of the landslide were fading. Arti turned to watch the remains their home crumbling. That was one way to force her out of the valley. But whatever the thing her her mind was telling her to stay?
"Arti?" Gary leaned over her and lightly tapped her cheek. "Articuno?"
"It's me." She finally managed to speak. "I-I dunno what it is. He? It sounds male."
She accepted Gary's help to sit up and brushed the dust and wood splinters from her hair.
"Definitely an asshole." she grumbled. "I think.. It wants something from Articuno? It's taunting me, like a second… or third… voice in the back of my mind." She sighed and hung her head. "It fucking sucks."
Gary stifled a chuckle. It'd always been awkward with Articuno being 'there' but not there. It was like having someone in the room that you couldn't ask to leave. Maybe more like that annoying sibling who was always watching everything you did just to judge your choices.
She placed her palm on her forehead and closed her eyes while he embraced her.
Gary sighed. "I guess we don't need to pack anymore."
A shimmer of light burst beside them like a firework, both blinding and knocking them back. A strange person stood before them. Did he just teleport like a pokemon?
Momentary silence was shattered when Arti shrieked as if she'd seen a ghost He was older now but familiar enough to know who it was. A combination of fear and rage erupted within. She stood, intent to go down fighting.
"Am I interr-"
Before Arti could react, Gary did. A quick slug to the face knocked the old man to the ground. Though his hair had thinned and grayed and skin wrinkled with age. Neither of them would forget that face.
Behind the fallen man stood the culprits to Arti's psychic invasion. A male meowstic watched with a typical emotionless face while an alakazam helped its owner struggled to stand back up. His wiry hair now disheveled and glasses askew.
"Stay down or it won't be just me this time." Gary warned.
Umbreon awakened from his pokeball and immediately began to growl at the stranger. Arti's sylveon joined the display of defense releasing itself from its ball on her belt. Together the eeveelutions slowly advanced ahead of their trainers.
"I'm not here to cause trouble!" the man protested while nursing the swollen lump on the side of his face.
"You could have fooled me." Gary snapped. "Our house… You just caused that." He pointed to the landslide's carnage.
"How did you find me, Otis." Arti stepped forward. She forced her rage into the pit of her stomach, and swallowed the sickened feeling swelling in her throat. Sylveon wrapped its ribbon around her arm to comfort her while it continued to stare down Otis.
"And what the hell do you want." Gary added.
"Ugh, youth." The old man recalled his pokemon to their pokeballs. Presumably it was a sign of trust but neither Arti or Gary shared the sentiment. "It wasn't easy, but someone young'un from the village over the mountain mentioned you. There's a bounty posted for you."
"You put a bounty on her?" Gary's fist was primed to knock the glasses right off of him this time.
"Not exactly," Otis waved his hands in front of him, surrendering. "Others who survived the Prussian Labs explosion did. I'm just their… messenger."
"Others?" Arti snorted. "You're the only one who 'survived' it that I know of. You fucking coward. You set up my father and all your friends!" Sylveon's ribbon grew tighter on her wrist holding her back. "You're the reason I'm like this! YOU sent those people to destroy his work!"
Otis backed away from the patch of frozen ground forming under everyone. As Arti's rage grew the temperature around them dropped to freezing.
"What others?" Gary asked. He assisted Sylveon's attempt to restrain Arti, but her adrenaline fueled rage was looking like Articuno might be making another appearance soon.
"Th-three others survived long term." Otis' voice was beginning to falter. His brow quivered as Arti drew closer. "But they weren't all as lucky as you."
"LUCKY?" The straw that broke the camel's back had just been placed. "You call being thrown into seclusion and being hunted lucky? Having a fucking bounty on my head lucky? Not having any family because YOU killed them all lucky? Having my husband run errands and travel alone because if I'm spotted with him he'll be forever chased down by assholes like you looking for me lucky?
"I'm a fucking person, not a pokemon. But because of YOU… I wish you fu-"
"Arti, Calm down." Gary held her tightly around the waist, restraining her wings between them. He had been to Prussian during the aftermath. Why had he never heard of these survivors? "Why do you- or they- want her?"
The ice covered ground had crept up Otis' leg preventing him from backing up any farther. It didn't stop him from squirming like a frightened child though.
"The others…" he paused, choosing his words more carefully. "Not everyone was killed instantly like people were lead to believe. They were mostly driven insane by the pokemon they were combined with. Someone became two humans fused with one pokemon. One of the personalities became so uncontrollable it killed itself. You were one of two who were... gracefully mutated."
"Someone else… like me?" The ice faded around them. Arti suddenly found herself confused and sympathetic to those who suffered. Like Gary she heard of survivors of any kind. She desperately hoped to find a kindred spirit suffering as she had been all this time.
"I can't tell you the names because of a promise I made to them. I've been trying to help everyone since the night this all happened…" He bowed his head in shame. "I'm... sorry, Arti. for having Alakazam do those things to you. I needed to know if Articuno was in there still of if you had learned to control him. But I see you're still struggling and we might be able to help you."
"He's never acted like this." Gary said. "Something you did to her crossed a line."
"I had to push her hard to see if he was there, I didn't want this to ha-." Otis insisted.
"Enough." Arti pushed Gary away from her then walked until she came nose to nose with Otis. As best she could, at least, for being nearly a foot shorter than him. "Just fucking spit it out why they need me."
"They've been working on rebuilding a lab," Otis waved his hands again, met with looks of death. "...But not for the same purpose as before!. They want to return to normal. To remove their pokemon parts or become more like you. They want to-"
"They want to experiment on her.." Gary interrupted.
"Being more like me isn't going to help them. You've seen the crazy things people've done to try and find me. Articuno… he's killed people. People foolish enough to try to catch me. Who's to say they won't be the same?"
Arti crossed her arm and looked back at her now missing house. "And I'm sure this isn't the first bounty. You did all this just to fucking try to get me to go to another lab… Where was my help back then? Why was I left behind?"
Gary leaned close and whispered. "We don't need to listen to his stories, we need to leave."
Arti shook her head. "I need to see what bullshit he comes up with."
"We mistakenly thought you would be okay." Otis began. "The other like you got away before the crowds descended into the rubble. When we realized what happened, we told the public that it wasn't safe to enter. It didn't last long. You were the first to be found by someone from the outside. That cause the police to start a search and rescue. The cover up came not long after the first disfigured body was found.
"Before I could get to where they were holding you, Articuno had manifested itself and took out half the town. It was too dangerous to track you so I continued to help hide the others. I watched so many suffer and die. And I was responsible, I betrayed them all.
"Once the few of us who knew of the survivors started rebuilding the lab, we realized you had been gone entirely off the radar for a few years. We thought you had been killed and the hopes of sequencing your genome to find out what made you an enhanced human rather than an abomination would have died with you.
"Not long after, someone pointed out Gary had also gone missing around the same time. We put two and two together assumed you had met with him and he was hiding you. Unfortunately we couldn't get Professor Oak to give up his location so they resorted to putting a bounty on you both."
"...And my last trip over the mountain a few days ago triggered the kid to report me." Gary groaned. "I knew something was up. We should have been out of here as soon as I thought something was up."
"It's not your fault." Arti held his hand. "At least it's not an army after me this time."
Sylveon extended her ribbon around Gary's arm as well offering a sympathetic whimper.
"Who else knows we're here?" Gary asked.
"Only the people at the lab and I'd assume the people in Goldenrod over the mountain might know with the sudden… monetary windfall that kid received."
"So, you've essentially set us up to agree to go with you or risk being caught by anyone who he's told about us if we try to escape." Arti stretched out her wings and flicked her tail. "The next town is days away. At least everything we own is now crushed under tons of rocks in the valley so we can travel light."
"I'd rather take our chances out in the woods tonight than trust him." Gary recalled his umbreon and tugged Arti's arm. "Even if he's telling the truth, we're not interested in helping."
"I'm telling you as much truth as I can." Otis insisted. "Arti, you were like a niece to me, I wouldn't do anything to-"
"But you did do something. You betrayed my family once, I'm with Gary on this, you are up to something with a bullshit story."
She turned to walk away with Gary. Sylveon refused to be recalled, instead walking with her trainer's arm still tightly bound by her ribbon. It was unusual for her to be this protective of Arti. The pokemon knew something bad was going on but didn't know how to help..
Still frosty rocks made for a hard time walking as they left Otis behind. Once they passed into the trees things became better. The compacted dirt holding the trees into the mountain side was much easier to walk on. The unfortunate side effect of improved walking was losing their light source. Gary reach to his belt to summon a pokemon capable of lighting their path when a rustling in the bushes caught everyone's attention.
A dark figure appeared before them, blocking their path. Another and another, five total surrounded them now. Each looked the same. Even in the dark their armour shimmered just a little. They carried some sort of rifle-like weapon but it was hard to make out exactly what against the background of tree branches.. Every barrel was pointed at them.
"Been a long time lookin' for this one." One of the men spoke up. "Guess talkin' didn't work too well, it's my turn."
He raised his weapon, taking Arti in the sight. Gary pushed her aside as the shot fired and took the hit to his shoulder instead. He crumbled to the ground, electricity shot through him from the projectile rendering him paralyzed. Arti's screams shook the mountain side. Articuno's defensive nature reared its head again. Her eyes glowed red with fury. The entire mountain side became clouded, neither the moon nor a single star was visible through the storm brewing above them.
This was the most Articuno had manifested itself since the days after their merging. The sudden control was taking a toll on Arti's mind and body both. Normally she was able to at least watch and acknowledge what was happening during the events, but this time she was nearly blacked out from the force of Articuno coming into control.
A crackling voice, barely audible, chirped through the ear pieces the soldiers wore. "Shoot her before the articuno takes control!" Otis ordered.
While most shots were being deflected by the stirring winds, Articuno wasn't able to stop them all. Sylveon tried valiantly to rope and pull away two of the rifles with its ribbons before being shot with the paralyzing round from another soldier. Finally, one landed square in Arti's back, between her wings. She reached back trying to rip the device off but the surge quickly overpowered her and she fell to the ground with the others.
Another person approached. The sound of snapping twigs and muffled voices called to her to stay conscious long enough to see what was coming. A voice she never expected to hear again spoke as she spent her last energy struggling to listen.
"You found her… finally."
The world stopped. Every move felt normal speed but no one else moved. Articuno exerted every ounce of power it had remaining in one icy blast, flattening the mountain side with an expanding glacier like it had done to Prussian Town years ago.
Only Gary, Sylveon and Arti were left unfrozen. Everyone else was encased inside the ice, their faces frozen with expressions of fear and panic.
Arti fell to the ground as Articuno's power faded. The chance to escape looked as though it may have been in vain as she fell unconscious.