Chapter 4: Battle of Sunyshore Tower

"Cynthia! Wake up!"

"No good, she's still sleeping."

"Wake up, damn it!" A sigh. "This'll get her up."

Cynthia bolted awake as someone slapped her with surprising force. She rubbed her cheek and looked around the dimly lit tent. In the darkness, she could see a faint blue light shaped roughly like a hand. She gritted her teeth, got out of bed and stomped up to the light source.

"Lucian, explain why you felt the need to telekinetically slap me!" she thundered, jabbing a finger at him.

"We're being attacked!" Lucian blurted out.

That did it; Cynthia immediately bolted out of the tent with the two psychics behind her.

"About time!" Andre growled as the trio made their way to the dining area. The hulking longshoreman leaned on large sledgehammer, the seeming nonchalance of his pose a dramatic contrast to the direness of their situation. Several other refugees milled around the area, most of them unarmed but some with improvised weapons like large rocks, pieces of rebar or other such equipment.

"What's going on?" Cynthia asked.

"Kingler invading! Get ready for battle!" an Officer Jenny barked, lowering the visor on her combat helmet and chambering a round in her shotgun.

Cynthia stuck a hand in her pocket and ran a finger over the smooth surface of the pokéball.

"You may want to get a weapon," a man said as he sprinted after another Officer Jenny. A piece of rebar was clutched in his hands.

The Sinnoh champion looked around the dining area for anything she could use as a weapon. As she stepped forward, she stumbled but managed to catch herself. As she laid eyes on the offending object — a triangular steel tent peg, she realized it would make a perfectly serviceable weapon. She grunted as she yanked the object out of the dirt and examined it.

The tent peg itself was a heavy rectangular piece of steel that came to a triangular point. Its weight alone made it an effective bludgeon while the triangular end could serve as a nasty stabbing implement.

A few swings with the ad-hoc weapon later and Cynthia mentally cursed herself from choosing that weapon. She looked at her hands; they were covered in dirt and rust, scratches — some lightly bleeding — crisscrossed her hands. Thinking quickly, she ripped away part of a nearby tablecloth and wrapped it around the fat end of the spike to form a crude handgrip. She gave a few experimental thrusts. The improvised handgrip made it more comfortable to hold but she could do nothing about its poor weight distribution.

"Ya armed yet?" Andre demanded, hefting his sledgehammer.

"Yes, now let's follow Officer Jenny and hold off the Kingler!"

Will nodded as his hands glowed green. Almost immediately, the ropes supporting a nearby tent undid themselves as six tent pegs tore themselves from the ground. He drew a circle in the air and the tent pegs oriented themselves so their points faced outwards and they began to orbit him. He mentally chuckled; it looked like he was about to use Stone Edge.

Lucian's own weapon, a tent peg wrapped in his blue psionic aura, zipped through the air as he did a few practice swings with it.

The battle lines had been drawn at the entrance to Sunyshore Tower. The vehicles that had ferried the refugees there were occupied by shotgun toting police officers. Behind them were the volunteer defenders, equipped with a wide variety of melee weapons. Several lights had been set up to illuminate the battlefield.

Cynthia gulped as she clutched her tent peg tighter. She could see the river of red flowing towards the tower. She silently prayed to Arceus that she wouldn't have to use her pokémon, which could make things even worse.

Andre's face was a stony mask but his tightly clenched hands betrayed his true feelings. Renee clutched a fist sized rock. She knew it would be almost useless against the Kingler except as a distraction.

Lucian took a deep breath. He felt the tendrils of psionic energy flow through him like fire. His tent peg, wrapped in a blue aura whirled around him like a planet around its star. Will stared off into the distance. His six tent pegs girdled him like a ring of steel.

The Sinnoh champion watched as the Kingler came closer. She could now make out the individual pokémon.

And suddenly, before she could process her next thought, the air around her was rent by an almighty roar. The smell of burnt smokeless powder and blood smashed into her nose. Her ears rang.

She looked at the line of Kingler. They continued moving; the Kingler stepping over the dead, their bodies and innards shredded by one ounce chunks of lead. Another roar and more of them felt the wrath of hot lead.

Over the constant chatter of gunfire, Cynthia heard something that sounded like giant fire hose. She whipped her head around to see an Officer Jenny get struck full in the face with a Hydro Pump. The unfortunate officer's head exploded in a shower of gore as the column of water carried bits of tissue and blood into the sky to fall down in a macabre rain.

More gunfire erupted, mowing down the Kingler. But the Kingler were rapidly learning; the ones in the front had learned to use Protect to defend themselves against the gunfire. The heavy lead slugs harmlessly splattered against the green barriers. Those in the rear launched large blobs of concrete-hard mud skyward. The crunch of the blobs smashing apart the vehicles added to the cacophony of dying Kingler, gunfire and screams.

Again and again, the officers moved and fired. And again and again, the Kingler retaliated with their hard-packed mud bombs. But in the end, the Kingler had the advantage in sheer numbers. For all their training and firepower, the Sunyshore PD had lasted just under an hour. The defenders quickly fell back, lest they be butchered by the bloodthirsty pokémon.

Cynthia watched the Kingler shredding the vehicles as they hunted for survivors. She prayed to Arceus that she wouldn't die here; that maybe, just maybe the Kingler would ignore her. "So what are we going to do?" she said as she watched the Kingler demolishing the vehicles.

Sunyshore Tower interior


Broken glass tinkled onto the steel hallway as it rained down from a red box. Volkner threw the hammer aside and reached inside the now shattered emergency box and grabbed the keys.

His four pokémon, Electivire, Luxray, Jolteon and Raichu were lined up before him. Their eyes bored into him as they awaited an order from their trainer.

The Sunyshore gym leader turned to them. "Go help the others get the supplies ready." Without another word, he ran down the sterile metal halls, his booted feet ringing in the cold, white LED lighting.

The quartet of electric-types quickly jogged down another stairwell that led to the garage where the rest of Sunyshore's workers were busy packing.

The electric-type trainer put his hands on his knees as he desperately sucked air into his burning lungs. In front of him lay a heavy steel door labeled "Central Control Room". Fingers trembling, Volkner grabbed the ID card hanging from a lanyard around his neck and swiped it on the reader. Or tried to.

He took a deep breath to steady his quivering fingers but the warning that he had received from the Sunyshore police rang in his mind.

"The Kingler are approaching the tower. We'll try our best to hold them off but no guarantees. Just get the supplies ready to evacuate."

He pushed that thought out of his head as he swiped the key. He was rewarded with a gentle beep and the thunk of the lock disengaging. Volkner pushed the heavy door open and slammed it shut behind him, taking care to bolt it.

In front of him lay a myriad of control panels and monitors. The cold, sterile lighting and minimalistic steely décor lent the room a disturbingly calm appearance. The monitors showed nothing but black, dead calm — except for one that played footage of the Kingler army overwhelming the defenders. He then looked at the panel in front of him.

No, he thought. There has to be a better way. His gaze settled back on the large monitor. A seemingly endless stream of Kingler flowed into the refugee camp.

He sighed; there was no other way. "Goodbye, Sunyshore Tower," he muttered as his lip quivered. Volkner had planned this building; he was present for the groundbreaking and the opening ceremony. He had thrown the switch that provided Sunyshore with a clean and near limitless supply of power. And he was appointed the building's overseer. To do what he had to do was akin to sacrificing his own child.

Volkner then activated the consoles. A medley of beeps and boops echoed through the room as circuits came to life. A warm glow emanated from the active consoles and monitors.

"Greetings Volkner."The voice was cool, electronic and with the distinct accent of an AI.

"Hello, Volta," Volkner replied. He sighed. Sunyshore Tower's AI with its distinctly accented voice made his next step exponentially harder. But he had to do it; Sunyshore was already a total loss. Might as well sacrifice the city to wipe out the murderous Kingler. "Deploy shields."

"As you wish."

The gym leader watched the monitors intently as the tower's massive "wings" unfolded and began to coruscate with a shimmering green light. Soon, the light began to expand and the tower was wreathed in a softly glowing energy cocoon. He watched as a volley of meter long javelins of ice struck the shield. The javelins practically exploded upon contact with the shield, dusting everything nearby with a light coat of snow.

He then grabbed the microphone and activated the PA system. He gulped as he held the device in front of his mouth. "Attention everyone! My men are preparing supplies for the evacuation; they should be ready in half an hour to an hour. I am currently preparing to set the tower to self-destruct. Once that occurs, a siren will go off. Once you hear it, immediately get into the nearest vehicle! I do not know when the tower will explode; it could be in six hours, it could be in thirty minutes. Do not dally."

He then cut the connection and examined his shaking palms. He gritted his teeth, grabbed his key, inserted it into the appropriate slot and twisted it counterclockwise.

"All safety protocols and devices are deactivated," Volta helpfully informed him.

Volkner sighed. He knew that the tower's energy storage was capable of destroying a large portion of the city if it was overloaded. Luckily, he had installed multiple safeguards to prevent that — ranging from safety cutoffs to special wires hardwired into the energy bank to shunt excess electricity into the ground.

He looked at the capacity readout. The energy bank was a quarter full and draining at a fairly fast rate thanks to the powerful shields. The moonlight that the panels absorbed was nowhere sufficient to compensate for the drain of the shields.

The gym leader pressed another button to activate the emergency generators. He pushed the slider up to the halfway point, which caused the power storage to stabilize.

It was then he realized that the safety drain wires were still connected. With a sigh, he got up and grabbed a helmet and a heavy fireproof jacket and pants from a closet. He donned the garments and closed down the visor on the helmet. He then grabbed a set of insulated bolt cutters and headed to the basement.

Sunyshore Campground

Everyone present was staring at the tower — a sleek, futuristic, glistening edifice of concrete, steel and glass — as the protective veil of pale green energy swaddled it in a protective cocoon. The field was pockmarked with ripples as projectiles from the Kingler harmlessly exploded against the curtain of energy. The glowing object had attracted the attention of all the Kingler present and they had decided to try and destroy it.

Cynthia then broke the silence. She looked at the tower and then back at the group. "Did…Did Volkner just say self-destruct?"

Lucian nodded. "He knows that Sunyshore's a lost cause. At this point, all he can do is take out the Kingler with it."

Cynthia's mouth dropped open. A mud ball embedding itself into the ground near her bought her back to reality. "I did not come this far to get vaporized in a fucking explosion!"

The Sinnoh trainer shook his head. "He has no other choice. You saw what the Kingler did to Sunyshore. They won't stop until all of Sinnoh's cities are rubble. They must be stopped now."

The former Sinnoh champion looked at the tall, spire shaped building behind her. She could see the multiple glass facets of the building gleaming in the moonlight. She listened to the screams of the defenders as the Kingler butchered them and the staccato explosions of projectiles disintegrating against the glowing field. Cynthia sighed; she had three choices, all of them unpleasant: be ripped apart by Kingler, flee and later be killed by wild pokémon or be vaporized in a titanic blast.

Cynthia made her choice. She would die here with the Kingler. She turned to her companions. "Let's do this." She reached in her pocket for her three poké balls and threw them into the fray. Lucian and Will tossed their three poké balls into the fray. Renee pulled out her poké ball and kissed it.

"Good luck," she whispered as she tossed it into the fray.

All of the trainers knew that their pokémon could just as easily choose to kill them. Andre stared grimly into the flashes of white light. He marched forward along with his fellows, his hammer held ready. He could see the other defenders already engaging the Kingler. Scattered gunshots indicated that some of them had picked up the fallen officers' firearms.

Cynthia gave a bitter laugh as she clutched her tent spike. Never had she thought she would fight alongside her pokémon.

Garchomp looked around the battlefield. She turned to the pokémon trainers behind her. The mandate she had received told her to kill them and join the Kingler.

All she heard from the Kingler was the incessant chant of "Join us and be free! Join us and be free!" She scowled. Cynthia had raised her from an egg and trained her to be one of the strongest pokémon in all of Sinnoh. The Mach pokémon refused to consider such an option.

Twin hoops of blue light crisscrossed her body. Soon, the hoops of blue light materialized into vicious looking daggers of stone.

"Hey, fuck you and your mandate!" she shouted as she unleashed her blast of stone daggers. Most of the daggers were deflected by the smooth, glossy armor of her opponents but a few found weak spots.

The Mach pokémon's jaw dropped as she saw blood oozing around the few Stone Edge projectiles that were stuck in the Kingler. She had never seen her attack cause bleeding before. She looked skyward only to see a spike of ice heading straight for her. She leapt aside but the projectile sliced a neat furrow in her skin.

"What?" she exclaimed as she saw the gash start to weep blood. She leapt to the side as two mud cannonballs impacted the area that she had been standing on before, leaving two deep craters.

Garchomp looked at the bloody gash on her shoulder and then at the scattered body parts that the Kingler had left behind. "'I've given you the power to take back our world from the humans…kill any who stand against you'," she muttered. Her eyes widened in shock as she realized what that meant — and it horrified her. True, she loved the immense power that surged through her veins but she wasn't sure if making her attacks able to maim and kill — in incredibly gruesome ways — was a good tradeoff.

She heard a scream, forcing her to turn around. She was then treated to the sight of one of the defenders — a woman barely in her twenties — being dismembered by one of the Kingler. She had jammed her weapon, a sharpened stick, into one of the Kingler's eyes, completely destroying it but it did nothing to stave off her death.

The Mach pokémon then looked at the Kingler. She had made an unspoken vow to keep her trainer safe; she'd kill so that her trainer could live.

She looked at the stony glares of the pokémon around her. She had figured they had made that vow too. Garchomp recognized them all — except for a slender, lilac mustelid who appeared to be bored.

"And you are?" she asked.

"I'm Mienshao," the pokémon replied in a feminine voice. "My trainer and I were—"

"Shove it."

"Hey, you can't—"

Garchomp glared at the martial artist, instantly silencing her. "How about you shut up and let finish?" she growled.

Mienshao instantly became quiet.

The Mach pokémon then gestured to the Sunyshore Tower, currently under furious bombardment and then to the Kingler who were trying to kill the refugees. "Anyone who knows Barrier, Protect, Light Screen or Reflect, deploy them in front of the refugees. Everyone else, take out as many Kingler as possible. I don't care how you do. But bear in mind that the humans are much more fragile than we are; you must not hit them. Get to it!"

The pokémon dispersed and waded into the battle, adding even more noise to the din. Mienshao, seeing as Garchomp wasn't someone to be trifled with, obeyed.

"Fuck! They just don't stop!" a man shouted as he fired his scavenged shotgun. A Kingler about ten meters out had its face virtually obliterated by the lead slug. He then saw a Mr. Mime and a Bronzong headed towards the line of defenders. He raised his shotgun but his partner gently nudged the barrel down as he saw what the two were preparing to do.

The man gasped as he saw shimmering golden barriers appear out of thin air. The barriers danced and floated as they began constructing fortifications. He closed his eyes as a brilliant flash of gold appeared before his eyes. When the light died down, he and his partner were treated to an astounding sight. Above them was not the night sky but a ceiling of golden tiles. In front of him were bricks of pure psionic energy. There were even loopholes that he could fire from.

He shook his head at the absurdity of it all. The pokémon had built him a bunker! He was then thrown to the ground by an explosion. As he picked himself off the ground, he stuck his shotgun out the nearest loophole and scanned for targets.

Will's Bronzong hovered in the air as she looked at the handiwork of Mr. Mime and herself: shimmering golden fortifications ranging from walls to bunkers. While Bronzong were biologically sexless, Will's Bronzong had taken after its female teammates, preferring the feminine pronoun. "Honestly, is that elaborateness necessary?"

Mr. Mime sat on one of the battlements. He nodded. "Simple walls would not allow the humans to fight back."

Bronzong scoffed as her two "arms" rotated around her body's axis. "They're just signing their own death warrant."

Mr. Mime pointed to a woman shooting a Kingler. "They may not have our powers and durability but their tools compensate."

The Bronze Bell pokémon gave a metallic sigh as a Kingler breached a bunker. She floated down and sealed the breach with a Reflect. Unfortunately for the Kingler, the psionic wall tore its body in half, instantly killing it.

Splat! Crunch! Lucian's Bronzong slowed to a stop as the glow on his arms died down. Around him was a mess of blood, organs and scattered body parts and a jagged furrow that looked like someone had gone crazy with backhoe. Unlike Will's Bronzong, it preferred the masculine pronoun.

"Well, that worked out nicely," he said as he spun his metallic body in place, throwing more gore around.

"'Working nicely' does not mean almost pureeing three refugees!" Garchomp shouted, wiping off some blood from her face. "Do not ever fucking do that again!"

Roserade coughed. "Don't look now, but we've got bigger problems!" She pointed a bouquet at another line of Kingler about thirty meters out; this one was even bigger than the one that Bronzong had literally reduced to shreds and scattered across several square meters. Their mouths dribbled explosive foam that formed into bubbles and lazily drifted towards them. Despite their small size, they contained enough explosive gas to take off a limb or even kill.

Garchomp turned to Roserade and Grumpig. "Keep those explosive bubbles away from me. I have an idea." She then double checked to make sure no humans were attacking the Kingler.

The grass-type smiled. Garchomp's ideas were usually flashy and effective. Nevertheless, she watched as the bubbles lazily drifted towards them. Her red bouquet was swallowed in a whirling black mist as she prepared to launch Shadow Ball. Her blue bouquet burned a brilliant green as she drew on the power of the plants around her.

Grumpig's forehead gem glowed as it launched a diamond shaped burst of energy forward. At the same time, Roserade launched her two projectiles.

Garchomp tuned out the roar of the explosions as she drew on the energy from deep within the Earth. She felt a magma vein. Her body began to emit a slight red aura as she manipulated the searing hot rock. Once she had a grasp on it, she began to imagine rocks falling out of a portal.

She closed her eyes and focused her energy deeper. Neither the pop-pop-pop of Power Gem striking its targets nor the buzzing-hiss of Energy Ball and Shadow Ball being fired nor the din of battle could break her concentration. She then opened her eyes.

A swarm of white dots, shimmering like the stars in the night sky appeared above the line of Kingler. Garchomp smiled.

Almost instantly, the white dots widened into pulsating portals. The Kingler all ceased their attacks as they looked skyward.

It was the last thing they would ever do. Boulder sized blobs of magma dropped from the portals and onto the hostile pokémon. Droplets of molten rock flew skyward as the rocks smashed into the Kingler, leaving meteor-like trails as they fell back to the ground. Many of the Kingler screeched in pain as the molten rock burned through their shells and began to cook them alive. The heat was so intense that some even caught fire. And an unlucky few died gruesome deaths as the moisture in their bodies flashed to steam, instantly tearing them apart and spewing blood and gore in every direction.

Garchomp and her allies instinctively took several steps back as the blast of heat washed over them. Rivulets of molten rock began to flow like lethal rivers, forcing everyone to back away. Grumpig, Roserade and Bronzong all flinched from the blast of heat.

The screams of the Kingler as they were burned alive or crushed by the molten rock sliced through the din of battle.

As soon as it began; it was over. The portals closed, leaving an angrily glowing field of molten rock in the distance. The once lush grass was now an ugly carbonized black mat that disintegrated under the footsteps of the Kingler. The Kingler were understandably reluctant to step over the still hot ground so they milled about, trying to find an alternate route.

"What was that?" Grumpig asked.

"I think that was Earth Power plus Rock Slide," Garchomp said as she blinked at the carnage she unleashed. "It seems that we can actually combine attacks — something that's never been done before."

"My turn!" Roserade exclaimed. She closed her eyes as she felt energy surging from the plants around her and coalescing within her body. She felt the grass near the approaching Kingler respond to her touch. She manipulated them into nearly invisible snares — Grass Knot. That alone would have been effective enough, allowing the pokémon to kill them with ranged attacks or for the human defenders to shoot them. But she added another lethal touch; she combined it with Seed Bomb, attaching hard seedpods filled to the brim with volatile energy. The slightest touch would cause the grass to snare the victim's limb. Immediately after, the seedpod would detonate, mutilating the limb beyond repair or killing the limb's owner.

An unlucky Kingler was the first victim of this devious trap. It stepped forward only to suddenly find itself stuck in place. Before it could process what had happened, the seedpod exploded. Its two left legs were sheared off its body and sent hurtling into the air, eventually landing with a squish as they stuck themselves into the muddy ground. The Kingler frantically flailed about on its remaining limbs, succeeding only in getting them stuck in more snares. Three explosions rent the air as they pulverized its limbs, leaving only a torso that could do nothing but screech in agony. Luckily for it, Grumpig had decided to end its misery with a well placed Power Gem. The bolt of energy completely cored the Kingler, leaving a perfect diamond-shaped hole in the Kingler's face, through which charred organs could be seen.

"I wonder how our trainers are doing?" Grumpig asked as she watched plumes of dirt rise from the ground to tempo of explosions. She suppressed the bile rising in her throat as she saw what her Power Gem did to a living target.

Lucian grunted as he used his tent peg to deflect an Icicle Spear. His head throbbed with the effort of him keeping a telekinetic grip on his weapon. But he refused to falter, lest the group of Kingler in front of him overpower him.

Will said nothing as he watched a Kingler approach a young couple hiding inside a golden bunker that Bronzong and Mr. Mime had created. He pointed a finger at his target. The ring of steel immediately leapt from its orbit and flew towards the Kingler, girding it much as they did the Johto psychic. But there was one difference, the points faced inwards instead of outwards.

The Kingler looked at the floating tent pegs. It stopped its attack, seemingly hypnotized by the tent pegs. It was the last thing that it would ever see. Will clenched his right hand into a fist. The green aura around the pegs flared vividly for a second before they all simultaneously slammed into the Kingler with superhuman force. The Kingler screeched as the steel spikes pierced its armor. It frantically flailed about, trying to dislodge the projectiles.

However, Will was not yet done. He rotated his right fist, causing the steel spikes to twist deeper into their hapless target. The wounds that were caused by the spikes began to widen and weep blood. After a few seconds, he opened his hand and beckoned towards himself. Obeying his command, the spikes tore themselves from the Kingler, leaving it to bleed to death from six new orifices. His eyes were chips of hard ice as he gazed into the distance. The screams, the gunfire, the bits of viscera clinging like morbid banners to the steel spikes that orbited him — or the fact that the unfortunate Kingler was his first kill — had seemingly no effect on him.

Lucario and Gallade were back-to-back to each other. Unlike the other pokémon, the two had weapons in hand. But they weren't cold steel like Andre's hammer or hot lead like the guns of the Sunyshore PD. No, their weapons were forged from the raw energy that all pokémon could harness into lethal attacks.

Gallade held up his weapon, a three foot long leaf green scimitar — Psycho Cut. He scowled at the Kingler, daring them to approach.

Lucario maintained a grip on his five foot bone staff — Bone Rush. He watched the Kingler milling around them.

And then it happened, the whump of Mud Bomb being launched. Gallade reacted with lightning speed; a point of blue light appeared and materialized into a single sharp rock. A blue streak rocketed into the sky and towards the incoming projectile. The rock embedded itself in the mud ball; moments later, the mud ball exploded, showering everyone present with dust and debris. Normally, Gallade could not learn Aura Sphere but with the dampeners off, it was an easy task; all he had to do was tap into the chi that flowed through his body and then he could manipulate it anyway he saw fit — whether it was launching the chi itself as an explosive projectile or charging a physical object to give it an explosive punch. Another whump; this time it was Lucario who reacted, flinging an explosive Aura Sphere into the projectile with much the same results as Gallade's charged Stone Edge attack.

The Kingler blinked their eyes once and then they rushed.

Gallade immediately used Agility, a blue aura wrapping around himself as he used his psionic powers to heighten his reflexes and speed. He then charged into the mass of Kingler. While their claws were capable of shredding steel and concrete, they were ponderously slow compared to Gallade's lethal blade.

He leapt atop a Kingler, dodging its comically slow Vicegrip attack and drove his sword into its brain. The green energy blade sliced through the armor as if it were no more resistant than tissue paper. The Kingler convulsed once and Gallade backflipped off its corpse. As he pirouetted in the air, dodging the Kingler's attacks and hacking off their limbs with his lethal blade, one could imagine that he was dancing.

The green swordsmaster landed on a patch of burnt ground. He held his sword out in front of him as he glared at the Kingler who turned their baleful gaze towards him. Gallade smiled and waited for them to approach.

Approach they did, their razored claws clicking in anticipation of the hunt. Gallade charged in. He ducked, twisted, bobbed and weaved away from their clumsy blows. As he dodged, he retaliated with smooth slashes of his blade, instantly removing the Kingler's limbs with the precision of a surgeon.

Lucario used his now-metallic hands (courtesy of Iron Defense) to fend off an enormous Kingler that had pinned him and was now bent on tearing him in two. His muscles burned as he tried to keep the claws from reaching his head or neck. He muttered some curses under his breath as his muscles began to give way.

As if struck by a bolt of lightning he had an idea. He relaxed his arms, letting the Kingler get close. At the same time, he used Iron Head, turning his forehead turning into a solid plate of steel. When the Kingler got close enough, he slammed his metallic forehead into the Kingler as hard as he could.

The satisfying crunch of the armored carapace breaking told him that he had scored a direct hit. He felt the burn in his arms lessen as the Kingler weakened from the carapace-crushing blow. But he was not free yet. Again, he slammed his metallic forehead into the Kingler. Another crunch and his arms were finally free.

He wasted no time in flinging an Aura Sphere at the Kingler. With a thunderous boom, the Kingler was reduced to a fine pink mist and hunks of meat and organs that were now scattered across a few square feet.

Lucario used Bone Rush, producing the bone staff. He looked at the blunt end and pondered something. He reached out with his aura, bending the weapon to his will. Sure enough, before his very eyes, the blunt head of his staff transformed into the leaf-shaped head of a short spear. He smirked as he searched for more Kingler to butcher.

In his journey, he saw a rather large amount of Kingler limbs and body parts stacked up around someone wielding a glowing green blade. Lucario felt a twinge of envy as he saw the swordsmaster effortlessly dodge a blow, retaliate with a slash that cleanly removed an enemy's limb — or completely bisect it. It was like watching a lethal dance.

Andre, Renee, Cynthia and a man with a stolen shotgun were guarding one of the "bunkers" that Mr. Mime and Bronzong had created.

Cynthia flinched as the man blasted one of the many Kingler approaching the bunker. He said nothing as he racked his shotgun, sending the smoking shell onto the bloody ground.

The longshoreman charged a Kingler trying to rip away one of the glowing panels to get at two children inside and their parents. With an earsplitting war cry, he lifted his hammer overhead and brought it down upon the Kingler's crowned body.

The Kingler barely had time to react as twelve pounds of steel driven by muscles forged from decades of manual labor smashed through its red carapace, reducing its organs to a meaty paste.

Andre used his free hand to wipe some blood off his face. The Kingler twitched feebly as the last bits of strength left its mangled body.

The longshoreman looked at the glowing walls and saw the children. Their tear streaked faces and horrified expressions told him all he needed to know. It was then he became acutely aware of the Kingler blood and shell fragments that matted his hair, clothes and skin.

He picked up his hammer and with head hung low, silently turned away from the children as he headed to another spot. It was a moment he'd never forget for the rest of his life: the time when he first killed a pokémon.

Renee yelped as a massive force knocked her to the ground, sending her rock sliding along the dirty ground. She skittered backwards on her hands, narrowly avoiding a Kingler's lethal claws.

As she frantically backpedaled, her hands struck a long metal object. Heart pounding, she groped for it. Immediately realizing what it was, she grabbed the dropped shotgun and swung it around to face the Kingler.

The coordinator's trembling fingers wrapped themselves around the forend and trigger. She raised the weapon to her shoulder and aimed. Of course, anyone who had a modicum of shooting experience would have noticed that her form was atrocious — no cheek weld, odd shooting stance; in short, everything that could be done wrong with firearms.

She closed her eyes and squeezed the trigger. The gun bucked against her shoulder, slamming her supine onto the filthy ground as a blast of noise assaulted her senses. Warm matter splashed all over her. When she opened her eyes, she gasped at what she saw.

The Kingler twitched feebly in a pool of its own blood. A fist sized hole adorned its face, through which its ruined organs could be seen. Crimson gore decorated her body and her weapon. Renee swallowed the bile rising in her throat as the metallic odor of blood rammed into her nostrils. She looked at her hands, trembling as if with an electric shock.

She looked at the dead pokémon. Then back at her hands. Then at the shotgun laying in the dirt. Renee fell to her knees and emptied what little was in her stomach.

Sunyshore Tower interior – garage

The garage inside the technological tower was abuzz with activity as men loaded everything from food to tools and survival gear into the "Grotle" off-road cargo trucks. The tension in the air was palpable as the burly laborers pushed and heaved crates into the ramps that descended from the vehicles' rear. Of course, there had to be enough space to allow the refugees to fit in as well.

The vehicles themselves were so heavily modified that they could barely be called trucks. For starters, they were enormous, standing nearly three meters tall on six massive run-flat tires. The front of the vehicle was not flat like as it would be on a normal truck — instead it was shaped like a wedge and reinforced, allowing it to plow through obstacles that would stop most vehicles. Foot thick ad-hoc composite armor composed of concrete sandwiched between two pieces of high strength steel rendered the behemoth almost impossible to damage. The drivers were protected by nearly three inches of transparent corundum armor, making the windows no less impervious than the rest of the vehicle.

When all was said and done, the drivers climbed into the vehicles and started them up. The laborers scrambled aboard the vehicles as the distinctive note of 645 kilowatt electric motors spooling up rang through the garage.

Sunyshore Tower interior – control room

Volkner quickly blinked his eyes in an attempt to clear the white spots from his vision. Even through the helmet's tinted visor, the flash of light from a severing an energized cable left remnants on his vision.

He shed the bulky garments and took his place in his seat. He ignored the scenes of battle that played on the monitors as he examined the dials, gauges and other instruments that covered the control panel. He saw that the laborers had loaded all the supplies. He looked at this notepad with the calculations that gave a rough estimate of how long everyone had to flee. It was time.

The Sunyshore gym leader shut down the shield generators and prayed that the combatants kept the Kingler occupied. His hopes were dashed when he heard the sound of glass and concrete cracking.

Swearing profusely, he flipped open the molly-guard that covered a large red button and slammed his fist onto it. Immediately, a klaxon sounded as red lights began to flash.

The Sunyshore gym leader then rammed the slider for the auxiliary generators to their max output and grabbed his portable radio as he sprinted out of the room. The power indicator began to climb.

Volkner charged down the reinforced emergency stairwell. Even though the stairwells were reinforced and pressurized to allow a safe exit, they weren't indestructible. The groaning of stressed concrete contrasted with the ringing of his booted feet on the metal stairs.

"I hope I didn't fuck this up," he muttered.

When he reached the third floor landing, he stopped and bent over, hands on knees as he gulped the cool, sterile air to soothe his burning lungs. His legs felt like they had been run over by one of his own Grotle cargo trucks. He grabbed hold of the railing to keep from falling as the building shuddered again.

"Arceus, I could use a rest!" he muttered. The building shuddered again. "No! I must not give in!"

With adrenaline surging through his veins, he thundered down the remaining steps.

Sunyshore Campground

Andre leaned on his sledgehammer. His great chest heaved as he sucked in air, heedless of the metallic tang of blood. He cursed as the siren rang out, signaling that the self-destruct sequence had been started. "Well, this is it," he muttered. He then gave the finger to the endless swarm of Kingler.

The shotgunner next to him sighed as he leaned against the bunker that held the two children. Distant explosions signaled that Cynthia's pokémon still battling the Kingler. "Fucking ridiculous!"

"Language," Cynthia reminded him. Her clothing was filthy and she stank of sweat, blood and other more repulsive substances. Her tent peg was gone, lost somewhere in the melee.

Renee staggered back to the group. A battered shotgun dangled from her left hand and she was covered in blood. Her trembling hands and dead eyes said it all. No one spoke.

Sunyshore Tower interior – stairwell

Volkner's heart threatened to burst from his chest as he continued running down the stairs. By now, he was at the second floor. The lights flickered as the concrete above him ominously groaned and rumbled. Pieces of concrete rained down in the stairwell, signaling that Volkner's time was running short. Adding to the cacophony was the wailing of the siren.

Suddenly, Volkner stopped. Before him was a large gap in the landing. He looked up; the landing above him was missing as well.

He looked over the railing. It was still a ten foot drop onto concrete. He'd break his leg if he jumped. He made his choice. He backed up as far as possible and sprinted. Gritting his teeth, he pushed off with all his might just as he reached the edge. Soaring through the air, he only hoped he had cleared the gap.

The Sunyshore gym leader grunted as he slammed into the broken edge of the concrete landing. His lungs burned as he breathed in — he had definitely broken a rib. Fingers frantically scrabbling for purchase, he managed to haul himself up onto the unbroken section. Mindful of the debris that continued to fall, he continued his run.

And found that much to his infinite dismay, the remains of the landing had blocked off the exit. He then headed to the other exit and pushed. It was jammed.

Volkner swore profusely. He looked above him; he could see the door on the second landing taunting him. Not only was it on a section that had collapsed, it was designed to swing inward. He considered leaping across the gap again. He quickly dismissed that as fantasy; he barely made the leap the first time. If he were to repeat it, he more than likely lose his grip and fall to his death.

He looked around the stairwell with pieces of concrete raining down on him. It was only a matter of time before a piece fell on him. Volker looked at the concrete walls and pondered his options. One of the modifications on the Grotle trucks were the addition of three arms hidden behind armored panels on the front of the vehicle: two heavy manipulator arms each capable of hoisting a car twenty feet in the air or battering through concrete; another manipulator arm equipped with a diamond impregnated vibroblade capable of slicing through heavy steel structural supports. And of course, there was the reinforced bow that turned the vehicle into a twenty ton battering ram.

The vehicles were more than capable of rescuing him — at the potential cost of everyone's lives. He didn't know exactly when the energy storage bank's shielding would finally fail. To order the trucks to try and save him under such circumstances was incredibly selfish. He looked at the stairwell turned tomb and listened to the muffled wailing of the klaxon and rumbling groans of failing concrete.

Volkner swallowed the lump in his throat. The Sinnoh gym leader's hands trembled as he grabbed the radio than hung from his belt and pressed the transmit button. He had made his decision: he would die so others would live.

He took out his radio. "Transports, this is Volkner, I'm trapped in the building. There's nothing you can do! Get the refugees to safety and get away from this tower as fast as possible!"

Without bothering to wait for a reply, he hurled his radio against the concrete where it shattered into pieces. This is it, he thought. I'm gonna die. He shuddered as he began to softly weep.

Sunyshore Tower interior – garage

The drivers of the Grotle cargo trucks frantically tried to reestablish the connection as soon as they heard static. An agonizing minute later, they decided that there was nothing they could do. Nothing except obey his last order.

Two by two, the heavy vehicles rumbled as they began to move. Their powerful lights slashed through the darkness as they headed into hell.

Sunyshore Campground

Mienshao's eyes narrowed as she watched a Kingler. The two circled each other, daring the other to strike. Then it happened, a jet of water with the power to rend steel carved up the muddy ground. The martial artist rocketed into the air. She flicked her wrists. The long "sleeves" on her arms glowed purple as they extended and slashed through the air.

The Kingler raised its massive claw to block the attack but it was no use. The strands of hair that made up the whip were moving so fast that they acted more like thousands of nearly invisible razors.

There was horrendous tearing squish as the whip carved through the Kingler's claw and body, rending organs and flesh into a bloody pulp. Mienshao landed on the ground as just as the Kingler toppled over, twitching as the last of its lifeblood flowed from the gaping wound.

Mienshao smiled as she executed the perfect landing — just like Renee had taught her. She bowed to an invisible audience. Her fantasy was shattered by Garchomp's rough voice.

"Hey! This ain't no contest! Keep fighting!" Garchomp backhanded a Kingler, breaking off one of its claws. She quickly followed up with a Poison Jab. The Kingler twitched as a vile purple liquid composed of venom and liquefied flesh wept from the puncture.

Lucian and Will ducked behind the transparent golden barriers that their pokémon had erected. Explosions harmlessly played across the barriers as the Kingler tried to breach them with their explosive bubbles.

The Sinnoh psychic saw movement from the corner of his eye. His hands flared with a bright blue light as he caught a spike of ice in his telekinetic grasp. He smirked as he sent it rocketing towards the offending Kingler, who could do no more than panic as the spike pierced its brain and protruded from its back like a macabre headpiece.

Will pointed to a Kingler chasing a young man. He gritted his teeth as a green aura appeared around the Kingler. He had found its vitals and was trying to crush them into paste but the pokémon's inherent energy made it like feel like he was trying to crush coal into diamond.

Luckily for the man, Cynthia's Lucario sprinted up and slammed his glowing spear into the stunned Kingler. The allied pokémon then scooped up the man and carried him to safety.

The driver of one of the Grotle trucks scanned the battlefield. He saw dead bodies everywhere along with glowing bunkers and walls. He spotted a group of Kingler trying to break into a bunker that held two men with shotguns and a group of children.

He nodded and set the vehicle in motion. The Kingler immediately stopped trying to get into the bunker and focused their attention on the speeding behemoth. Mud balls and spikes of ice bombarded the Grotle truck but its heavy armor held firm. Some charged the vehicle in an attempt to attack it in melee combat but they were crushed into a fine paste underneath its six massive wheels. The wiser ones, seeing as they couldn't harm the vehicle, fled.

The driver lowered the boarding ramp. The two men stood watch as they ushered the children into the compartment. They then boarded and the driver closed up the vehicle and sped off to get more survivors per his orders.

Cynthia flagged down one of the trucks. A boarding ramp lowered from its rear as came to a stop. "Get in!" one of the laborers shouted from the compartment.

Cynthia quickly recalled all her pokémon; thankfully they were fighting within her line of sight. Renee recalled her Mienshao.

Andre watched as the Kingler turned their eyes to the vehicle. He turned to look at the bunker he and the others had guarded. There was a large hole in the side. He turned away; he didn't want to see the remains of the children after the Kingler had gotten to them.

The trio then boarded the vehicle. With the whirring of electric motors, the cargo compartment was plunged into darkness. Dim lights flickered on, revealing crates of various supplies securely fastened to the walls and floors. Refugees sat on the crates or on the ground. Some stood, grasping handholds welded to the ceiling or walls. A small passageway connected the rear cargo compartment to the bridge. Rungs leading to a hatch on the roof of the vehicle could be seen. Volkner's Raichu was perched on one of the crates.

Cynthia sniffed the air and gagged. The putrid scent of blood, sweat and other, more disgusting bodily fluids was oppressive in the humid compartment. She shifted uncomfortably as her stained clothing chafed her. She sighed; her clothes would probably have to be burnt.

Renee stared at the featureless hatch through which she and her companions had boarded. Her shotgun lay across her lap. She showed no response as the vehicle shivered from the impact of a Mud Shot projectile. Andre leaned his bloodied hammer against one of the walls and took a seat on a crate. He clasped both hands to his face as tears ran through his bloodied hands.

Cynthia ran up to the longshoreman and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Andre, is there something wrong?"

The man gave a bitter humorless laugh that set everyone's teeth on edge. "Something wrong? Something wrong!?" he screamed, causing everyone to step back. "Sunyshore's gone to pot; we're fighting homicidal Kingler and Sunyshore Tower's about to blow! Every-fucking-thing has gone wrong!" He continued to rant as the emotions he had bottled up for the past day finally poured out of him like a lake surging through a breached dam.

"Andre, I know the past day has been hard on you — it's been hard on all of us. But you can't let it take you over."

"You didn't have to kill a pokémon with your own hands in front of two terrified children!" His exclamation was broken with the sounds of sobbing.

"It's true; I didn't kill. But I had to watch my Garchomp kill a fellow trainer. There's nothing like watching someone die and you not being able to do anything about it." She tried to fight back the tears that threatened to spring forth as her mind replayed the image of Flint transfixed by her Garchomp's Stone Edge.

Andre then took a deep breath as he tried to wipe the tears from his eyes. His massive hands slowly clenched and unclenched as he tried to calm himself down. "Look, it's just that… I don't want to talk about the things I just did."

Cynthia nodded and left Andre alone.

The inside of the vehicle was silent save for the constant whine of the electric motor and the occasional impact of a projectile.

The driver of the vehicle watched from her high perch as Kingler scrambled over the dilapidated ground to get out of the way. A spear of ice crashed into the windshield and shattered into snow. Around her, the stark white beams of the other trucks' headlights illuminated the utter carnage the battle had left — burnt out hulks of vehicles, spent shell casings, personal effects, craters and body parts were scattered all over the muddy battlefield. Off to the side was the ravaged shell of what had once been the gleaming steel and glass crown of Sunyshore. The "Jewel of Sunyshore" was now Volkner's mausoleum and the soon-to-be destroyer of the once peaceful seaside city. She let her mind wander to Volkner's fates — all of them unpleasant. "No focus!" she muttered as she pulled one of the steering levers, causing the vehicle to avoid a still burning carcass of a truck.

The woman grabbed the radio as she steered around wreckage and craters. "Lightning units, this is Lightning Actual. Comm check," she said. Technically, the term "actual" would be used by Volkner himself but since he was trapped, she became the highest ranked employee.

She waited a moment and then staticky voices came through the radio.

"Lightning One reporting."

"Lightning Two reporting."

"Lightning Three reporting."

"Thank you, Lightning Actual out."

After another tug on the steering levers to avoid another crater, she realized that she needed a radioman. "Hey! Anyone who can operate a radio! Get up here!" she barked.

Cynthia was soon the subject of several stares. She wiped her forehead as her eyes darted back and forth. "Wait, you're expecting me to operate a radio?"

"Hey, none of us know how to," one of the laborers replied. "Besides, you're the league champion."

Like that matters for shit now, Cynthia thought as she locked eyes with everyone. "Wait, but—"

It was no use; several pairs of hands shoved Cynthia through the passageway. The Sinnoh champion soon found herself in the extra seat. She buckled the five point harness and made herself comfortable in the sparsely cushioned seat. "So exactly what am I supposed to do?"

The driver tossed her a manual without taking her eyes off the path. "Read this and then get back to me," she replied.

Cynthia flinched back as a mud projectile impacted the windshield. Luckily, the projectile wasn't able to penetrate, despite leaving a filigree of cracks. She saw a Kingler caught in the vehicle's high beams as it scrambled to avoid getting crushed. Cynthia took a deep breath to calm her racing heart as she opened the pages. She looked out and saw that the ravaged battlefield had given way to a grassy plain. The white beams of the other trucks lit up the trees surrounding the plain.

Sunyshore Tower interior

Volkner sat cross-legged as he closed his eyes and took a deep breath to calm his frantic heart. He had spent the past few hours reminiscing. Photograph-sharp memories flashed in his head as he fought back tears.

The shrieking klaxon gave way to childish laughter as he recalled how he met Flint so many years ago. A smile crossed his face as memories of the friendly battles he had with his childhood friend came surging back.

Flint's voice faded out and was replaced by Volta's warm, feminine voice as the AI greeted him on his first day at work. He swallowed a lump in his throat. Volta was an AI but she was more than "just a machine". She was just as real as his fellow coworkers. He almost wished he could bring her along with the survivors but it was impossible; her processor core was simply too large and bulky.

His eyes snapped open when he heard Volta speak. "WARNING! CONTAIMENT BREACH IMMENIENT!" The voice was eerily calm; the AI announced her own destruction with the calmness of announcing the weather.

The Sunyshore gym leader smiled as he heard the announcement. "See you on the other side, Flint," he whispered as he closed his eyes.

No sooner had he said that, the overloaded energy storage finally failed in an intense flash of the brightest white light. Temperatures near the bank soared to millions of degrees, producing a blast of superheated wind and a shockwave that quite literally disintegrated Sunyshore tower and everything within a four mile radius. Further out, the blast leveled buildings and set everything flammable aflame. The vast majority of the Kingler died horrible deaths, being unlucky enough to be within the blast radius of the tower; those that weren't reduced to their elemental constituents by the blast of intense heat were broiled alive as the superheated gust washed over them. Those that somehow survived the heat had their organs pulped by the concussive force of the resultant shockwave.

Sunyshore City entrance to Route 222

Cynthia grunted as the shockwave from the tower's explosion slammed into the truck like the fist of an angry giant. The driver unleashed a torrent of profanity as she wrestled with the steering levers, acceleration and brakes in an attempt to keep the truck from either spinning out or worse, rolling over. Even twenty miles away, the blast still had enough power to rattle the multi-ton armored vehicle.

She looked at the entrance to Route 222. The trees surrounding the road gave the trailhead the look of an eldritch beast's mouth.

The former Sinnoh champion looked at the driver who seemed to be feeling the same way. The driver took a deep breath. There was no turning back.

All that remained of Sunyshore Tower was mushroom cloud of debris rising high into the night sky and a massive crater, surrounded by patch of glass, glowing dull red in the night. The beloved gym leader of Sunyshore was no more than puffs of vapor, wafting up from the smoking crater.

Sunyshore itself became little more than heaps of rubble scattered across ravaged streets. Fires ignited by the explosion and fueled by flammable debris and gas lines rampaged across the ruined city like the Kingler had previously done.

It was a high price to pay, but the Kingler would never trouble anyone ever again.