Eclipsed: The Great Cleansing
Summary: In a world ripped apart by a new lethal pandemic, a totalitarian dystopian civilization arises under the reign of Mewtwo. In an effort to reinstate stability to a broken society, his cruel tactics seem justified to him and to his followers.
Meanwhile, disorder transforms into chaos after the unexpected death of Ho-Oh, the god who represents the bond between humans and pokémon. This causes Mewtwo to question his own existence, mainly if he is indeed a god or something far lower. In addition, he is suffering from a profound, sickening envy for Mew, the Goddess of Light and the one being (aside from Arceus) blessed with the gift of immortality. But is immortality truly a gift, or is it instead a curse, and how does it impact Mew?
Now it is up to Satoshi (Ash), the supposed "savior" of humans and pokémon, to restore balance. He is aided by his friend Hikari (Dawn) and some others from his days long ago as a trainer. Yet as time progresses, everyone comes to realize that this task is not meant for him…
Author's Note: Hello again, dear readers! As you may know, Eclipsed is a novel that has been in my head for years, consuming my daydreams. What you may not know is that "Eclipsed" is actually the second and primary story of a series. Being the person I am – erratic is the best way to put it – I thought of working on the second story before the first one. However, I found that this left many readers confused as the events going on and what lead up to them.
I hope this first story in the series answers all questions.
As you read this story, you will notice that it differs from Eclipsed. First of all, it is overwhelmingly dystopian (picture 1984 or other famous works) with some fantasy, whereas the latter is strictly fantasy. Yet despite these two major differences, both are compatible with each other.
P.S. Please do not beg me to update this story on a frequent basis. I work full-time, and in addition I don't have a computer (I'm serious). As a result, I'm stuck typing everything up at the library when I have the time.
Chapter One: The Plains of Blood
"A proud heart can survive general failure because such a failure does not prick its pride.
It is more difficult and more bitter when a man fails alone."
- Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart, chapter 3
It was a gray, cold day in Ecruteak City. One might have surmised it was sometime in February or March, although the sky always looked morose and dark for months to the present. A select group of individuals suggested it may have been this dark for years, although they restricted their convictions to their minds or trusted company. Momentarily, the sun broke through smog to highlight the once proud city, only to be engulfed behind the pollution as always.
Hikari, her face tucked into a scarf to guard herself from the haze, passed through the doors of a dilapidated building with her dust-covered boots leaving a trail of footprints. She made it her home in the short time she had spent relocating to Johto. Her diaphragm released a deep, guttural cough. Respiratory infection.
The building reeked of mildew, dirt and spoiled rations. Hikari went into into the pantry, only to scan over expired foods. With a sigh, she discarded the white and green bread, and then opened canned asparagus. She pierced a spear with a fork. "Gross," she muttered, as the water-rich slop dangled from the utensil. She forced it into her mouth, cringing as it slid downward. She was somewhat thankful, however. She considered that at least she had some food, unlike the many that fell ill or died from starvation.
Piplup entered the area from another room, his stomach rumbling.
"I didn't forget about your meal," Hikari insisted. "I have it right here – fresh pokéfood!" She presented the box. As she poured the contents into a dish, she explained the food – which was bargained – was a unique treat, thus she wanted to surprise the penguin.
"I know it can't compare to poffins, but with how we live now…" she began, then stopped as memories of a blissful past overcame her. Piplup understood, remembering their travels, contests, and most of all his fellow teammates.
The adolescent sensed what Piplup was musing on. She admitted, "I miss them too, you know that, sweetie. Not a day goes by when I don't think about them. But…" She smiled to break the tension. "I have you. And you are everything to me." She crouched down to stroke the head of her beloved companion. "I will never, never let them take you from me."
After their meal, Piplup climbed onto a storage tub to peer upon the outside world through a shattered-glass window. It was haunting, lifeless, dreary. Gusts of wind tousled newspapers and trash; only a few living souls dared to battle the environment. Everything appeared monochromatic, questioning what was natural versus manmade. The only color shown on the front pages and inserts of every newspaper issue, on the countless issues ornamenting the vista with enormous bold print:
ONE LEADER, ONE GOD.
ONE GOVERNMENT, ONE RELIGION.
HE LOVES, SAVES, PROTECTS.
Suddenly, the glossy insert of a newspaper, as if summoned by an omnipresent diety, blew against the window so swiftly that Piplup almost lost his footing. It displayed a face known by all in superior quality inks: a sharp face with a thin line for a mouth, triangular ears, and idiosyncratic violet eyes. Even on paper those eyes seemed to gaze through all layers of one's soul.
Piplup gasped. The face always conjured a blend of emotions – reverence and despise, trust and fear, belief and doubt. Its influence upon the pokémon's stare and the stares of all others was too profound to disregard. Indeed, it lasted throughout the day as a commandment of how to live and haunted all in their dreams at night. To ignore the face was not possible; it filled every crevice of the mind.
Piplup jumped off the tub. Looking outside, viewing that face, reminded him that it was still better to be stuck behind closed doors like abused livestock than to be part of the world beyond the window. He was sickened by cabin fever, but he was safe…
At least for now.
Nearby, he listened to Hikari scrubbing the grime from her boots with a rag. She then stripped down to her intimates to cleanse her other only set of clothes on a haphazard washing board. Sweat produced on her forehead as she exerted herself to liberate her outfit of the filth, though stains remained even minutes had passed. She heaved a sigh in defeat, and then dumped the murky water into a drain set in the floor – a drain which once belonged to a shower. Afterwards, she called to Piplup to fill a large basin with a water move.
When alone, she shed her bra and panties. She winced as she lowered her body into the chilly liquid.
In a better time, a different time, Hikari maintained her appearance. Blessed with luxurious hair, she showcased it with mousse and a curling iron for contests. Yet now it was stringy, limp, oily from the lack the inability to afford shampoo and conditioner. Such items she once prized as necessary; only later did she learn her looks meant nothing in the nucleus of war.
She submerged herself completely underwater. Her hair flowed outward like ballet dancers, and in that solitary moment her once-treasured mane was glorious again.
With her eyes shut and holding her breath, she fell into the mantra that life would improve and that the war was only a chapter in the book of her existence. Vulnerable in the nude, Hikari also felt a momentary sense of peace. It was her escape from reality.
However, war had taken its toll on her. Skinny rubs stuck to a bloated abdomen, and trailing downward her hips were nearly the same fullness as her calves – hallmark signs of poor nutrition. Bruises and skin discoloration replaced what was once an ivory complexion, and lanugo marked her extremities in her system's attempt to maintain homeostasis.
Her seventeenth birthday was sometime within the next week. Yet for her, someone on the brink of young womanhood, she appeared far older, sicker, and blemished.
In her meditation and hygiene ritual, she pictured indulging in her mother's homemade cuisines, the aroma so intoxicating in her memory that she could almost taste all the flavors. The tart hint of lemon and raspberry in sync with the sweetness of vanilla and sugar in the form of cupcakes, the warm chocolate being licked from her fingers after finishing a cookie, and the scent of marinara sauce consuming the kitchen as she bit into chicken parmigiana. In addition, she imagined her mother kneading bread with her hands, her blue apron made white by flour, as she conversed with her daughter.
Then she envisioned scenes of the Grand Festival, with the lights on her and her pokémon taking the stage. She imagined the roaring applause from the audience as Cyndaquil and Mamoswine produced a crystal of fire and ice once again.
A smile crossed her face as she laid there in the water, alone with the images.
She thought about everyone she met during her journey years ago to become a Top Coordinator – her acquaintances, mentors, friends, rivals.
And then, from the shadows of her memory came a flash: a boy with dark hair, a determined grin, a pikachu on his shoulder. He laughed, his presence always enough to encourage her when she doubted her skills.
He reached for her with a gloved hand.
"Satoshi…" she whispered aloud. He was the person who meant more to her than all others. "Where are you now?"
Just then, the clamor of something large bashing against the backdoor snapped her out of the mantra. On impulse she bolted from the basin and dressed in her clothes which were still drenched. She sprinted toward the room where Piplup was last located.
Her frail body hit a rickety chair as instinct devoured her. Then her eyes widened into two hollow pools as she entered the scene.
A group of three police officers were in her small living room. They were all ugly and nearly identical with crew cuts, and even in their uniforms and polished shoes nothing could flatter their beetle-like faces. A trio of bronze moons shined on their chests, each marked with their names: Henderson, Yamamoto, and Campbell.
Hikari was well-aware of these people. Not them personally, but what they represented. Every civilian did. A jolt of adrenaline rushed through her insides.
"Summon us your registration card," the one named Henderson stated.
She challenged to ask, "Why are you here?"
He only repeated, "Summon us your registration card."
She walked to the table to retrieve the bag with her stare fixed on them. Then another man snatched it from her with such power that she nearly fell backward. He released all of the contents – coins, a dollar or two, emergency food, the laminated registration card with her identification number, photograph, and other features about herself.
"SNNH-582-8063-49717," he read aloud in an authoritarian manner that he rarely affected. The card was passed to Henderson, the supervisor.
"SNNH. So you're from Sinnoh. Why are you here in Ecruteak, a city of Johto?"
She was at a loss for words. The young woman traveled to Ecuteak City after overhearing it was rumored to be a safe zone from the Sinnoh influenza, a new but lethal strain of plague that was rapidly spreading across the globe.
"I am not infected," she stammered, coughing from the grit in her neglected home.
Again she asked why they had entered her domain, this time declaring they lacked a warrant. Yet despite her fierce tone, the adolescent was shaking. Campbell said that warrants were irrelevant during an era of crisis.
Just then, the four people heard the sound of opening a door on light steps.
"Piplup!" Hikari thought.
Henderson and Yamamoto followed the sound without hesitation. Hikari attempted to as well, only for a set of brawny arms to grasp her petite frame. "Let go of me!" she shouted, trying to break free. Yet with the man a exceeding a hundred or more pounds than her in weight, escape was impossible.
"Keep resisting, keep fighting. Just let the charges add up. Can't you tell you're under arrest?"
"Arrest? But my rights…"
"Consider them having already been read. We are in a war. We don't have time for you to be uncooperative."
Just then, Yamamoto cried a profane word as he was cast back by an immense jet of water into the next room. His spine slammed against the wall, although he remained conscious. It took a minute for everyone to process that a water-type pokémon had concealed itself in the cabinet of what was once a television stand, bracing himself with an impressive attack.
"There is… a piplup…" the injured man announced with labored breaths.
The other officers made no effort to assist their colleague. In fact, from the other room Henderson simply commanded for him to get off the floor.
Hikari shouted to Piplup to flight or flee, whatever be necessary to preserve freedom, while she continued to struggle against Campbell's weight. The officer had to readjust himself, and in that mere second made his body defenseless: he flipped his arm over. Hikari seized the opportunity. With ferocity like a rabid animal she sunk her teeth into the exposed flesh, piercing down on the medial nerve. He fell to his knees on the brink of paralysis, cradling the bitten wrist with his own hand. Hikari fled to defend her only pokémon.
The surroundings of Campbell boiled into white fire. The pain, such pain! It was extraordinary that a bite could make a grown man writhe with such pain! He rolled on the floor, continuing to hold his arm while hot tears rolled down his cheeks.
"You fucking bitch!" he roared loud enough for his voice to echo off the walls of the building.
Meanwhile, Hikari discovered Piplup. She brought the small creature to her chest, and then began to dash toward an exit. Yet Henderson had predicted what the civilian would do, as he was a man trained in the art of bringing order to combat pandemonium. From his pocket came a highly sophisticated weapon, somewhat of a hybrid between a gun and a taser. His finger pulled on the trigger…
A torrent of electricity burst forth. It surged across the room and met its targets. The teenager collapsed in a way similar to Campbell, with the pokémon falling beside her like a ragdoll. Then the world closed in on them. Everything became cloudy, distant, amorphous, until it all faded into blackness.
Henderson watched with no anger, no satisfaction, no emotion at all. Only apathy.
Casually, he wrote into a notebook:
ASSAULT ON A POLICE OFFICER
POSSESSION OF A POKÉMON
ILLEGAL RESIDENCY/ALIEN STATUS
Hikari awoke on what felt like hardwood flooring, but it was elevated off the ground and she was restricted in a way so she could not move. Bright fluorescent lights pooled over her, making her blind several times. She could only twist her head.
She noticed the room consisted of white cement walls, a metal water foundation combined with a toilet, and was absent of windows. A poorly regulated ventilation system left the air dry, triggering her usual cough.
At the far end of the room was a steel door without a knob and what seemed to be an indestructible mirror. What she did not know was that the mirror was indeed a one-sided window, making her observable by another party.
The adolescent lacked the knowledge of how long she had been there. Minutes, hours, perhaps even days. She had not felt the breeze on her skin since her encounter with the three police officers. There were episodic seconds when she had gained consciousness, only for the gun-taser weapon to shoot through her again.
The incidents were only the beginning to what was to come, an interrogation that was given to all prisoners for every crime: pokémon owner or pokémon thief, manslaughter or murderer, harasser or rapist, desperate person or larcenist, they were all the same.
Just then the door slightly opened from the outside, its sheer heaviness screeching across the floor. Henderson entered; the sight of him churned Hikari's insides. She wanted to speak or scream, but her throat was parched. It felt as if sandpaper scratched in her esophagus. With effort she could only release a guttural rasp.
"Surely you must realize why you are here," the man stated in his typical flat tone. He stood before her with crossed arms. His badge blinded her in the lighting. "If not…"
He went on with his banter, except in Hikari's state in was impossible to decipher. Something was very wrong, she realized. Paralysis should not have overtaken her, sounds should not have come across as incoherent and muffled. Perhaps even the dry air was unaccountable for her muteness.
A nurse came in with medical supplies. She conversed with the officer. Then Henderson moved behind Hikari to immobilize her head with his enormous hands. The nurse bent down to carefully study her eyes, placed a stethoscope upon her chest, tapped around, and checked her pulse. After that, she reached into her pocket to reveal a needle.
Due to her weakened state, Hikari came across as numb as the needle drew blood.
Then the nurse finished the procedure and left.
Henderson walked to a corner of the tiny cell with Hikari gazing at him with blurred vision. His fingers rested over the holster at his waist, caressing the various weapons which helped distinguish him from the common person.
Although he presented a roughened demeanor, deep within him was appreciation for the teenager who was only a few feet away. She was a fighter with the burning spirit of a pokémon coordinator. It was shocking, almost admirable, that she injured Campbell with such a ferocious bite. Indeed, she would perhaps make a fine officer a couple years in the future, but only if she could be made apathetic and indifferent.
Intellectually, the pair was alike. However, emotionally they differed like night and day: Hikari still possessed all emotions. She was still human. Conversely, Henderson had it leeched out of him. He was a monster, perhaps.
Or perhaps not. When alone in the darkness, the man sometimes cried.
Far away from the jail, separated by mountains and water, lied vast plains. The sun began to sink below the horizon as a great red disk to contrast against the blue-pink of twilight. It was silent but for a gentle breeze that rustled on the grasses.
The moon was eerie: half-full, it resembled an eye peering down from the celestial heavens.
The location was so still. Peaceful or odd, depending on one's mindset. Yet upon closer examination something was far from right. Something was sick, disgusting, and malicious.
Bodies polluted the landscape. Dozens. Perhaps hundreds.
The bodies of men, women and children were becoming cold and had taken on a bluish tint. Streams of liquids – bile, blood – spilled onto the earth below like a massive canvas.
Sinnoh influenza had stolen the lives of individuals, families, communities. It spread so rapidly that demands for proper quarantine had failed.
Intestines extended outward like tentacles. Hearts, brains, and other vital organs scattered all over the ground.
The people were transported there by train, crammed in like chickens, literally thrown and piled on each other. Those who survived the barbaric trip, despite their bones being crushed by the pure weight of others on top of them, were dragged out to the plains.
Axes, machetes, guns, branches, rocks – virtually anything that could serve as a lethal weapon was utilized to exterminate the ill people. The guards had no pity for the wailing children, the grieving parents, the dissociated lovers. A small band of men and women fought back their enemies with knives drawn, meeting blade with blade. But they were easy prey in their weakened states.
Earlier in the heart of the massacre, a boy of nine or ten years was running from the killers, only for a soldier to strike him at the knees with a torch. An athletic man struck him a harsh blow at the knees with a torch. He wailed and fell, but in a haze lifted himself to his feet. Caked in blood and the putrid odor of seared flesh, he fled on quicker than before from his predator. The soldier only stared in disbelief.
When he made it to the hills, his eyes became mirrors for the scene below him: his family – parents, siblings, relatives – attempting to flee from the carnage, only for their screams to pierce the sky as they fell onto the cold ground. He could not comprehend what was occurring; he did not want to comprehend. His posture stiffened, his hands clenched into tight fists, his heart beat at a rapid pace.
There was nothing he could do. Torn between fighting and risking his own life versus self-perseverance, he had made his choice: with his eyes red from the fumes and his own burning tears, he turned away. He decided to live.
After the massacre, the bodies were not buried or burned. Not even a communal prayer was granted. It was as if they were never humans at all.
Those murdered were left to rot like meat.
Suddenly, there was a figure that appeared from over a hill. It hovered slowly, but it was no ghost. The phantom edged closer, only to pause when the moon became enshrouded by clouds. If the moon was a living being, it was now so distraught that it could gaze no longer gaze upon the scene.
The figure moved again. It appeared as tiny, beginning to take on a form, with a long tail and perked ears.
It floated above the carnage, memorializing every human as if it knew them all – and in a way, it did.
It was Mew - Goddess of Life, Lady of a Thousand Names, Queen of the Gods, Mother of All, Incarnation of Light - perhaps the greatest deity of them all. She was eternal, having come far before the dawn of mankind or anything that could be understood. Unquestionably she was ancient, but had appeared juvenile in the form of a cat. Yet within her was something profoundly great. She carried a radiance which set her apart from all others, like the birth of the universe in the primordial chaos. She was the brightest of all lights.
She controlled fertility and the harvest, aided in pregnancy through childrearing, could even cure the sick of any disease.
…But even she, despite all these abilities, could not liberate so many from the pandemic.
As the sun vanished, Mew knew even gods were limited in their powers.
Then unexpectedly, a masculine voice distracted her. She was not alone. The voice spoke lowly with a hint of mockery: So the Goddess of Life enters the killing fields. I notice you refuse to touch the ground as if you fear death; fear even the acceptance of it as your polar opposite.
She turned, only to look upon the amethyst-colored eyes of a being almost as majestic as herself.
The being added, After all you have witnessed here, after all the deaths you have witnessed throughout your history, do you still fail to understand the cycle of mortality? Are you still perplexed by the unavoidable truth that becomes of almost all of us?
You have come here in search of answers. You will not find them, Mew.
1) The Multiregional Identification Card (MID or identification card for short) is like a cross between a state-issued ID, Social Security card, and other vital identification documents. Everyone, from civilians all the way up to the highest officials, is required to carry one at all times or can be subjected to serious consequences.
All MID codes begin with the person's region of birth (SNN = Sinnoh, JHT = Johto, etc.) and/or region of residency, whichever is current at when the cards were issued. This said, leaving one's region can also lead to criminal charges unless the person has authorization to travel or move (most people are denied this privilege).
However, what is most disturbing about the MID is that all are equipped with microchips that act like a GPS. Such microchips enable officials to track civilians. Mutilating or destroying the microchip is punishable by death.
The MID is just one way to control people in a totalitarian society.
2) The Sinnoh influenza is what it sounds like – a new, deadly pandemic with its first cases reported in Sinnoh. At present in the story, it has killed millions (yes, millions!) of people as it has rapidly spread throughout the regions. Obviously though, it has killed more people in Sinnoh.
In addition, the influenza is zoonotic, but statistics are unavailable. Just know that a gigantic number of pokémon are ill or dead.
3) Pokémon training and similar activities have been outlawed (future chapters explain the many reasons why in lengthy detail). It is also illegal for someone to "possess" (have) a pokémon, even if they have a deep friendship that goes back many years.