A/N: Hey there readers, my apologies for this being so many days late. My Spring Break proved to be my greatest distraction. XD; I think it's funny how I write more while I'm in school than when I'm not. Must be the busy environment...that and the library has no distractions at six in the morning. . Next chapter will be up on Saturday. Hope you look forwards to it. :) Oh and as always, read for your enjoyment, and review at your leisure.
Chapter 15: Mended Connection
A cold gust of wind brushed over Janus, causing him to shift uncomfortably in his sleep. Haunter seeing the boys' strange discomfort floated over and nervously shook him.
"Nnf, nodda school day," He muttered in his sleeping drunkenness, "Lee'me alone."
Haunter frowned and shook the boy again, a little stronger this time.
"What?" He asked opening his eyes and turning to look at the ghost with bleary eyes. He immediately shut them when sunlight flooded into his world and blinded him for a moment. He groaned and sat up with a sigh. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and squinted at Haunter as his eyes adjusted.
"What is it?" He blinked at Haunter for a moment then sighed deeply, "Is it bad that I was hoping to wake up in my own bed?"
Haunter gave the boy a pat on the back and offered him a large goofy smile, the boy laughed despite his disposition and smiled. With a shake of his head he stood up and dusted himself off.
"Well, nice to feel fully rested for once," He looked back out towards the edge of the mesa and walked over to it, looking down, "Long way down, huh?"
He continued to look over the edge, before his gaze slowly slid up to the tower in the distance that pierced the sky like a testament to the world around them. Now that he was closer, he could see it a little more clearly too, and the dawning realization made him frown.
"That's where Diesel City should be..." he pursed his lips and stared down at the landscape, tracing it with his eyes. The tower sat in a crater of land that appeared as if someone had reached down and pulled the it up from the very ground itself. Haunter looked at the boy in confusion and scratched its head trying to figure out how it could be where a city should be. Janus looked at Haunters perplexed expression and smiled.
"It's easy see?" He pointed at the silvery forest at the edge of the crater, "There's the Steel Forest, an artificial habitation created by Diesel for the Cognants to live in."
He felt a brief smile cross his lips.
"You know, Haunter, I can't remember if I ever caught a Cognant..." He closed his eyes thoughtfully and took a deep breath, "I don't even remember most of my journey through Imayou."
Haunter watched Janus for a moment as the boy bowed his head. Janus reached into his pocket and pulled out his trainer case, he popped it open and stared at the glimmering badges inside.
"I don't know what's worse...knowing what I don't remember, or knowing that there's still more I'm forgetting," He looked back at the tower and smirked a little, "Doesn't matter, I'll just have to keep forging ahead and make new memories until I can remember the old ones."
He snapped the case shut and put it away, then set about climbing down the side of the mountain.
DarkFyre watched with her emerald eyes as Cassie rested against Suicune and Latias. Once they had made it a safe distance away from the city and the admin, she suspected the adrenaline had finally eased up off the other girl, since she practically collapsed. That was six hours ago. DarkFyre had since logged on and off to take care of a few things herself. After a moment she felt eyes upon her and looked up to find Suicune staring at her.
"Well, good morning," she smirked playfully, "Did you keep an eye on your master for me?"
Suicune let out a snort and turned her head away from DarkFyre. That made the girl laugh, her eyes dancing playfully at the pokemon.
"Not one to be controlled, are you?" She continued to watch the legendary, pulling her knees up to her chest and resting her chin on them, "You know I always wanted to see what your kind would be like in this world. I'd heard talks that you'd be in the next release, but it was like that with the previous updates too. I guess they didn't want to cause too much of a ruckus, since there's only supposed to be a limited number of your kind. Am I right?"
Suicune turned and looked at the administrator with scrutiny. After a moment the legendary beast laid its head back down next to Cassie, eyes slimming, but never shutting all the way. It was a clear warning from the beast to DarkFyre.
"Such loyalty from a master-less beast," DarkFyre smirked playfully. Suicune let out a sharp huff, kicking up dirt from the ground towards the administrator. She laughed softly, leaning back against one of the trees, looking off down the road.
"Yeah, I'm not one much for following someone else's orders either," She glanced back at Suicune, "Just not in our nature is it?"
Cassie shifted awake, her eyes opening slowly and lazily as she moved up into a sitting position.
"Morning sleepy head," DarkFyre smiled brightly. Cassie looked at the other girl, unable to hide disappointment on her face.
"Oh, hi," she looked down at the two pokemon next to her for a moment, "Sorry."
"For what?" DarkFyre looked at Cassie curiously.
"For falling asleep like that. I was just so exhausted," Cassie rubbed her eyes, standing up to stretch. Suicune and Latias stirred at the sudden absence of her warmth.
"Hey no worries, it gave me a chance to take care of my IRL stuff," DarkFyre shrugged and smiled broadly at her, "C'mon we should start making our way towards Meteor Falls."
"Meteor Falls?" Cassie looked curiously at DarkFyre, "Why Meteor Falls?"
"Because, that's where we'll find someone who'll help us," she replied, smiling brightly as she readjusted her pack. Cassie frowned thoughtfully for a moment and sighed, resigning herself to gathering her things, getting ready for their journey.
Shidanki sat on the ruined steps of a PokeMart, idly petting Porygon as it rested in her lap. Her eyebrows had knit themselves into a tricky frown as she stared at Laplace, who was doing his best to be a statue and pretend she wasn't there.
"So, MewTwo deleted them all, and Mew pieced them back together, I wonder why?" She sighed deeply. A sound off to the side caught her attention and she looked up as she watched someone log on above the remains of the PokeCenter. Once the person had formed completely, he let out a startled oath and slid down the rubble to the street below, landing unceremoniously in a cloud of dust.
"Well it looks like our guest has arrived," Porygon left her lap as she stood up and folded her arms. When the dust cleared she smirked a little at the figure still rubbing her sore end.
"Glad you could make it, Jet," She smirked lightly at the blue haired boy. Jet looked up at her and sighed deeply, standing up and dusting himself off.
"Yeah, honestly I almost didn't want to, but I'm worried about Jas-" he caught himself, stopping to readjust the name he was going to use, "Janus. Did you find anything?"
"Not a whole lot honestly," She spread her arms out wide, motioning to the city around them, "Except this."
Jet stopped to stare around himself, regarding his surroundings for the first time. He frowned and shook his head.
"Just where exactly is this?" He finally asked.
"This is Plushtra, or at least what's left of it," she sighed deeply. Jet looked back at her and raised an eyebrow.
"Care to explain?"
"Are you going to listen?" A smirk slid across her face as she looked at him over the rim of her sunglasses. Jet only glared at her.
"Well I'm here, aren't I?" He asked throwing his arms out wide, "You make it sound like I should listen to anything you have to say."
"That's because you need to hear it, alright? Now I'll admit I don't have the best track record, I'm a hacker, I tricked both of you, and I made your lives living hell in regards to the administration, but this is different. People are getting hurt and I'm at fault."
"Yeah I'm sure you're really sorry," Jet fixed a glare on her. After a moment he sighed deeply and looked off shaking his head, "But what choice do I have?"
"None really," Shidanki smirked a little, "You know I'm a hacker, but I'm actually part of a specific guild, you remember which?"
"Yeah you're the head of the Circuit Breakers, right?"
Shidanki shook her head and looked back at the boy.
"Not anymore Jet. Enigma took my position about two years ago, right after he was booted from the servers."
"Was it really him? How're you so sure?" Jet peered at her speculatively. Shidanki just rolled her eyes and sighed deeply.
"The problem with people like Enigma; is that they don't give up. He came in with what little remnants of his old group existed and made a hostile take over of my own guild. I resisted and he forcibly deleted me right out of my seat, next thing I knew my account was frozen and my IP banned."
"Serves you right," he watched her, "What's this have to do with what happened though?"
"Well I came back about a year and a half ago. I don't take people messing with me lightly. I have my pride after all," she took off her sunglasses and hooked them on the collar of her shirt, "I was keeping tabs on him and what he was doing, earlier this week I hacked into his system and found a few interesting files. One of which was a box listing."
"Box listing? What do you mean?" Jet frowned a little, he didn't exactly like where this conversation was heading.
"A box as in what you use to store your pokemon. Unfortunately, it was a jumble of encryptions, and I wasn't exactly in the mood to break through them all. So I just did the next best thing and well..." she trailed off and looked at the city around her. Jet watched and waited for her finish, before realization dawned on him. In that instant she would have sworn his eyes would have popped out of his skull.
"You opened it? In game!?" Jet was flabbergasted. He paced a few times in place trying to form words before finally giving up and just outright gawking at her.
"I'm sorry, alright? It was the easiest way to open the file without taking days to decrypt it by hand," She tugged at her hair, "I was just so furious, I wanted something I could pin on him, something I could use to get him caught again. The box opened, and chaos ensued. The listing held all the legendaries, it overloaded the system, and they broke loose."
"So it really is your fault that this happened...it's your fault that Jason's in a coma right now!" He pointed at her accusingly.
"In the roundabout way yes, but there are more important things than laying blame right now," Shidanki hissed back at him, "I need your help to find him."
"What do you mean find him!? He's in a coma, in a hospital bed!"
"Jason, yes, but not Janus!" Those words stopped Jet cold and he looked at her with some confusion, "I don't know what happened to him Jet, but he's still here, and he's still online."
"How do you know that?" Jet asked. Shidanki looked him dead in the eyes, the lightning bolt shaped pupils she bore burrowing in and making him uneasy.
"I pieced the residual data that was in this area back together and had Laplace replay the event for me," She nodded to the pokemon that was still standing there like a living statue of data. When Jet turned to look at it, the pokemons' head turned and its gaze met his.
"A program you wrote?" Jet finally asked.
"Sort of...Laplace was one of the programs I lifted from Enigma," She looked at the pokemon almost proudly, "It wasn't really complete when I found it, but after a year of coding I finished it. It's like a magic camera, able to relive a moment in digital space and replay it for us as if we were there. There was another subroutine that I found out about later on, but I honestly blame the merging with the emotions programming for that."
"So, he can show me what happened then?" Jet kept his eyes locked with the pokemons. Shidanki merely smirked at him.
"In a word, yes, but it's a bit disorienting the first time," She nodded slightly as the pokemon opened its wings wide, and its eyes began to glow brightly. A bright flash of light filled their vision. When the light finally faded from their vision, what stood before them was a bustling town full of people and pokemon.
Janus let out a cry as he slid down, digging his fingers into the rocky face of the cliff to stop his quick descent. His fingers burned from being dragged against the hard rocky surface and he was getting a headache from mentally kicking himself.
"You know, maybe I should have started climbing when I was more awake, Haunter," He grunted and slid a little more, wincing as it rubbed his fingers raw, "Have I mentioned I hate how real this game can be sometimes?"
Haunter swirled around him worriedly.
"Yeah, I should have had Blaze come out to help me I know..." He let out a grunt as he did his best to make it to the next outcropping without falling. Haunter kept close by in case the boy needed his help. When Janus reached the small ledge he fell back onto his rear-end and looked at his hands, rubbing the feeling back into them gently. He looked up at Haunter who kept looking at him worriedly.
"Hey no worries, I can handle this," He stretched, "Maybe I should get Blaze out huh?"
Haunter nodded enthusiastically. Janus laughed softly and pulled up Blaze's pokeball.
"Hey, c'mon out Blaze~" He tossed the ball next to himself, and the dragon spilled out with a joyful roar as it stretched his wings, "Sorry I didn't call you our sooner pal."
Blaze looked down at Janus and nudged him. The boy laughed softly and reached up, rubbing the dragon snout softly with a smile.
"Hey, no worries now, I'm just a little tired," He smiled weakly at the dragon as he gave him an affectionate rub. Blaze smiled at his trainer and looked down over the ledge. After a moment he looked over his shoulder back at Janus and motioned for him to get on his back. Janus smiled and crawled up onto his back and motioned for Haunter to follow them.
"Alright Blaze," He, pat the dragons neck then pointed ahead, "On to Diesel, Blaze."
Blaze roared in response, a burst of flames leaving its mouth before it spread its wings wider before taking off over the edge of the cliff, flying off towards the tower. Haunter watched them for a moment, its gaze switching back to the tower. With another look back at the boy and his dragon, it took off after them.