This was an entry I had for a short writing competition some months back over on PC (prompt of 'Secrets'), which netted third and proved a good excuse to get an old fic idea onto paper in some form. Minor changes/edits have been made to the entry but for the most part it is the same as before.
However! Later on this will have a second part posted after Dragonfree raised the idea of a followup. I took a while to think it through but now I am fairly confident in what will happen in said part. =p It still needs writing, so I guess part of a reason of me posting this is to now give myself more reason to get a move-on with writing that! (Hopefully it will only take a week or two tops, but we shall see). There won't be anything after that, so it's only a two-chapter fic.
Cheers to the judges of the comp on PC in Dragonfree, icomeanon6 and Astinus, and their comments on the story. Enjoy!
A young man sat in a quiet corridor, mindlessly tapping his fingers on the table next to him. He sighed and glanced as his watch. It occurred to him that time moved rather slowly during moments like these. He looked up quickly as the doctor opened the door he had positioned himself in front of. The physician looked at his clipboard and bit his lip.
"So, she's gone?" he ventured as he stood up.
"Uh...yes. Yes, I'm afraid she is," the doctor replied, finally making eye contact.
"Shit," the man said. He pulled out a cigarette from his pocket and lit it.
The doctor opened his mouth and then closed it, remembering that this was not a hospital where he usually was when he tended to patients. He was still 'green' as his colleagues called him, and had not yet become fully accustomed to delivering bad news to people, nor to doing emergency calls to other buildings. The Pokémon he tended to had also upset him somewhat, and he wondered once again if this was the right career choice for him. "So, uh, if you don't mind me asking a few questions..." he said, twitching his nose as the smell of the smoke reached him.
"Oh, sure. Not sure how much I can help you there though. I'm not her trainer," the man replied.
"No? Well, then, who is, Mr..." the doctor replied.
"Just call me Sam," he said. "And you are?"
"Alright then, John," he repeated to himself before clearing his throat. "Anyways, to be honest with you, nobody owned her. That Gardevoir just worked at the institute for us. She appeared one day and wanted some shelter. She's been with our group ever since. I guess we could always run a check for you in case she did belong to anyone, but..." he shrugged. "She was always a bit of a mystery, that one. Hardly ever talked to us."
"No, that'll be alright. We'll try looking into it ourselves and run a check against the PC system," the doctor replied as he wrote down this piece of news. "We have full access and there's an awful lot of information that gets stored... Now, you already told someone what happened beforehand, as I can see," he said, looking through the few papers he held.
"Yeah. Guess it was a heart attack or something? She didn't look right at any rate so we called you guys straight away. I set her up on the table here and tried to keep her breathing until you arrived, as they said how to do so over the phone. Guess it was all for naught though. She was pretty old for a Gardevoir, I thought."
"These things happen," the doctor said with a shrug. He breathed deeply for a moment.
"So, mind if I get that stuff out of the way for you?" Sam offered.
"Ah," John said, shuffling his feet slightly. "About that..."
"Yes?" he said.
"Well, uh," he said, as he walked in. Sam frowned and followed him into the well lit room. "Before she passed away," John continued, "she seemed very interested in one device in the room. She kept motioning to it, so I put it next to her and let her do...well, something with it. It kinda looks like a printer, and it churned out a lot of written paper when she focused her eyes on it. That's when I lost her, and I can't really understand why she would have risked further mental exhaustion in the state she was in..." He stopped talking upon realising Sam had stopped paying much attention to him, and watched him examine the machine.
"So she decided to use this in her last moments, huh," he whispered as he set aside his cigarette, grabbed the paper from the machine and stared at the pages. He shuffled through each one quickly and muttering quietly to himself.
"Uh...sir?" the doctor said after a moment.
"Huh? Oh, sorry, it's just... well, I'll give you a quick explanation for what this is," Sam said, heading over to a cabinet and pulling out some folders. He then handed the doctor one of them and motioned for him to sit down.
"Alright, quick rundown," he said. "We're a small company, basically working on developing various technologies. Taking stuff people start or do and trying to expand on them and see what we come up with. That machine there now was made by a Dr Kaminko-"
"Kaminko?" John interrupted.
"Oh, so you've heard of him then," Sam said. The doctor nodded.
"Yeah... he's kinda made himself infamous in my field after all of those botched inventions he made. And all the people who got medical conditions from-"
"Yeah, his track record is...well, pretty poor," Sam admitted. "However this thing here actually does work. Well, kinda. Basically it prints out written versions of a Pokémon's memories."
John blinked. "Oh. That's... quite something."
"Yeah, could be huge stuff. Pity it doesn't work in the way we want to just yet," he said, motioning to the folder the doctor was holding. He glanced through it and looked at one paper labelled 'Caterpie'. He skim read it before looking at Sam.
"A story about a Caterpie eating a leaf in great detail?"
"Beats me," he shrugged. "That's the memory it apparently thought about the most or something. Truth be told we only got it a couple days ago and so we don't yet know how it works, exactly. We're trying to construct our own version in fact... Nonetheless it's darn remarkable." He set the machine aside. "Anyways, that Gardevoir helped us transferring memories from Pokémon to the device, so she would have known the gist of it. So hence these papers here," he said, pushing them into a paper scanner and opening a program on the computer in the room, "must be her own memories. Well, some."
"Some?" the doctor breathed, leaning forward. The text appeared on the screen, but large parts of pages appeared to be the kind of gibberish a two year old might have made if they bashed their head on a keyboard a few times.
"Yeah, we got an awful lot of rubbish as usual, and usually we only manage to transfer one bit of a Pokémon's life too in one session. She may have given us more since she was just doing it herself, but I guess it didn't help that she was, you know, dying. At least this set seems to be in narrative form... There, got rid of most of the scramble," he said as he ran the program and the majority of the gabble disappeared.
"Wrote this code up myself," he added with a hint of pride in his voice. "Still have to do some manual cleaning myself though." He drummed his fingers on the desk and examined the text. "Huh, doesn't seem we got much useful here at all; maybe a few pages of something intelligible at best."
"Should...should we, uh, read it?" John asked.
"Well sure, why not? She wanted to get the stuff off her mind after all, so it'd be a waste not to do so. Maybe there's something useful here for some Pokémon researcher too, and I wouldn't mind knowing something about that Gardevoir. She was an enigma, she was." The doctor glanced at the dead Gardevoir and decided maybe moving her body could wait a moment, and looked at the screen. The two began reading slowly as Sam slowly added some spacing to the writing and corrected some of the incorrect sentence structure.
...What's that...I think I will push out don't want to be cramped any more ah so much light so much must keep pushing
Sam looked at the first line with puzzlement. "This seems fairly separate from the next part given there was a large gap of garble between them, and it didn't come with much punctuation. But what happened there?" John merely shrugged as they continued reading on.
I can tell he is upset. She was gone, although how or why I do not know. What I do know is that it hurts a lot, and I barely know her at all. Father's hurt however is huge, immense, and it's making me feel upset too. I wish he would cheer up a bit. He's making me feel heavy and slow.
"Puzzling," Sam muttered. "Well, they are emotional creatures... I guess?"
"Correct," John said.
I sit in a bush as Father crouches next to me, carefully glancing around us constantly.
"What are we doing here?" I complain. He simply lowers an arm to gesture to keep quiet before he speaks to me mind to mind.
[I'm here to show you what it is like being caught by a trainer. If it ever happens I think you should know at least something.]
[What is a trainer?] I ask. [I mean...what do they do besides train Pokémon and look silly?]
[That's the thing, some do not train us,] he replies. [Some just want a companion, or do studies. Others want to have partners for battle. It depends on if you're rather live away from people or with them, and generally that way means regular meals and some sort of safety. But not all are good, and so we're going to practise sensing what trainers are like from afar. You need to be able to sense their emotions, and from that
"Bah, it cuts off there," Sam said as he glanced onwards. He mumbled some more to himself as he added a bit more punctuation to the previous scene before examining the next part.
"It reads like a story, certainly. Wonder why the Gardevoir chose to convey it that way?" the doctor asked. "Maybe that's how she recalls memories..."
"It seems the next part goes into more detail," said the other.
I breathe in deeply, letting the sun warm my body as I twirl about. I am surely getting better and better with my dances. Now I can now perform my three-step-jump move without falling over. It makes me look very pretty indeed, I think.
I hear a loud sound to my left and turn to look. A human is looking right back at me with an ugly Pokémon next to her which is about my size. I quickly think back to what Father said and focus my mind on her. I can sense the warmth of happiness in her glee of seeing me, and her eyes betray her inquisitiveness.
"Go attack it," she shouts as she points an arm at me, and the grey Pokémon charges at me. A battle! I must deal with that now. I thrust my arm out and send a pulse of energy at the Pokémon. It cries out and clutches its head. I tilt my head and feel a bit disappointed that it was stopped so easily by what was a pretty light attack. Shrugging, I turn away and continue my dance.
Then something hits me from the other side. I cry out. Another Pokémon has hit me. I glance up and notice it is purple in colour unlike the other but is nonetheless also unattractive in appearance. It runs at me again and pulls back a fist. I shout a bit and quickly send another attack at the Pokémon. It stops the punch but now the first one has caught up and is hitting me again. This isn't fair! I spin around and flail my arms, hitting them somewhat but doing little. Another punch hits me. Can't breathe very well. I'm gasping for air and kneel down.
Then something hits me on the head. I shout loudly before I get sucked in
"So she did belong to a trainer," Sam muttered. "Assuming she was caught, I guess?"
This place doesn't feel quite right. Nothing it chasing me anymore, but it feels very small. I can feel the invisible boundary of this environment around me just by sensing out. It's like my first home but it is very boring. No fresh air for starters. It smells wrong. Not bad, but not right either.
I miss Father. Why did he not mention this thing was like this? It's safe all right, but it is weird. And lonely.
The strange feeling happens again and I am outside. I jump a bit, startled by the surroundings. There's no trees or grass or anything normal here now. This place is even more boring than before! Just blue and square and also closed, and the floor feels...soft. Softer than grass. How odd.
I look around. That girl trainer is sitting on some rectangular thing and looking at me. I quickly touch my horns and stare at her. She feels calmer than before now, but there is still some excitement bubbling under the surface there. If she is my trainer then she is livelier than the other people I have seen before. I never did see a human up so close before, and their hair is somewhat intriguing.
"Hello!" she says. "Welcome to my team!" Or well, I think she says that. I'm fairly sure that is what she was thinking to say when she opened her mouth and made that strange shouting noise.
[Hello,] I say a bit quieter to her head.
"Wow, you speak straight to me like a...Imagine me finding you!" she continues. "I did not expect to see your species about – apparently you are rare!" She continues to gush as she looks at me from head to toe.
[I am rare?] I ask, confused. I don't feel rare. I know of a lot of other Kirlia since I was born. The trainer just nods instead.
"Well, I think so," she coos. "I guess I need to find a Dawn Stone for you so you can evolve into a super cool Gallade, and then we'll beat up everyone!"
I frown a little. [That won't work. I am a girl! Only boy Kirlia can evolve that way,] I rebut. I feel a bit annoyed that she assumed I was a boy and she bites her lip.
"Are you sure?" she says. I frown some more. She does not seem very smart.
[I was female this morning,] I say pointedly.
"Okay, okay," she says, scratching her head. "Well, maybe you will just be my first non-Fighting type Pokémon then," she mutters.
[But I would have already been that,] I say. Sally feels a bit disappointed now, and I feel a bit sad as well, and further annoyed by that fact.
"Yes, but I mean...ah, never mind," she says. "Anyways
I send a burst of energy at the Machop and it falls over yet again. It seems so weak, as does that Tyrogue Pokémon.
"Well, good work again!" Sally says to me. She goes to her Machop and talks to it. I sigh and walk back to the grass and sit down for a moment. I do not understand why she would keep using pure Fighting type Pokémon. It is so easy to make them fall over with a small squeeze of the mind. At least Pokémon like Father would not be so weak to a simple Confusion. And Sally keeps trying to jump about like them and trains with them in punching things as well! I thought Father said people only help us train and do not fight.
Humans are weird sometimes, especially as they are not very good at fighting either. But Sally is stranger than most. At least she is energetic?
I am watching the fight between my trainer's Machop and the other person's Pidgeotto. It flies about just out of its reach and then swoops down to hit with its large wings. Machop shouts a lot and staggers about before again falling face first.
"Oh no..." Sally says. A wash of disappointment and sinking of hope hits me for a moment. I may need to train more in sensing her feelings like Father said as it keeps making me feel the same. Or was that possible?
"Go beat up that bird, Kirlia," she says to me suddenly. I look at the big mess of feathers and then look at Sally.
[It's very big,] I say back.
"Don't worry, you can do it." She nods as if to make herself believe it better, but I can feel some confidence from her as well and that reassures me. I walk forward and sense a wave of energy at the bird. It squawks and tries to fly away. I smile and try sending another, and another. It is flying backwards and forwards and is evading some attacks, but not all! I try again but miss this time, and suddenly the bird is coming straight at me. Before I can move it bonks me on the head with its beak. I shout loudly and fall over. Where did it go? I send a wave but know it is far away from my target. I do not know where it is! I stand up and look around and see it coming again. I am breathing too quickly! I try to focus
Sam breathed for a moment. "It is...interesting to read of battles from that perspective," he mused. He glanced at the mess of text that followed.
"Maybe. Also I think the next part is soon after that scene, perhaps?" the doctor suggested.
I can feel my body recovering. The sensation is always weird, and I do not understand how the humans did it in the first place. It bothers me somewhat that they can do it so well.
I still feel disappointed though. I don't get it; why did I have to lose? I thought I was going to win, but that Pidgeotto smashed me. Some battler I am.
I am suddenly called out of the ball again. I rub my eyes as they adjust to the light and see Sally in front of me.
"Hey, just seeing how you are," she said.
[Fine,] I lie, looking at my feet.
"I don't say I believe you," she teases. "But don't worry about it. We'll get back at that stupid bird!"
I look up. Her positivity is a bit puzzling given all her Pokémon, myself included, got beaten easily. [And how would we do that?] I ask.
"I'll teach you how to deal with getting hit like that," she says with a grin. "Meanwhile, if you'd like you can help Machop and Tyrogue with timing their attacks. I think I need to work on that with them, but you're better with the long ranged attacks than them so I think you three can help each other out!"
I have to admit; at least she is a good thinker. And very upbeat too. I smile and nod to show my agreement.
Sally looks at me in puzzlement as I dance happily on the grass. I do not mind it. And after all she kept jumping around when I won as well. "How did you know though?" she says.
[Know about what?] I ask.
"Know that the Gyarados would have done that," she explains. "You seemed to aim your attack at where it moved."
I smile a bit. [I saw it happen, in a dream, ]I think to her. [I can sometimes see the future, now. It's proving very useful at times.]
"That's sort of like cheating, isn't it?" Sally says in mock anger.
[I knew you would say that,] I reply, and stick out my tongue at her. We both laugh.
I don't like that new Pokémon she got. She keeps gushing about it too much, and it doesn't seem all that great. It just sits there and sometimes farts every so often, and then tries to punch something. And it's too fat. Even Machoke is not that large.
Wait, am I getting jealous now?
"Huh, here's a longer bit now..." Sam said quietly, still typing away.
I emerge from my ball and instantly take in my surroundings. A large blue toad is in front of me. It is breathing heavily and feels quite tired. A loud crowd is around us shouting at us. I did not realise it was so loud in the middle.
I quickly communicate with Sally.
[You're the last one. You've got to beat what's left of this bugger, and then one more after it,] she informs me with her thoughts. I nod slightly so that only she would see. [Watch out for its skin by the way, I think it's poisonous.]
[Oh?] I think. I then notice the toad open its mouth and shoot mud towards me. I smile slightly and focus on the spot behind it. A moment later I fly through the air and reappear at my new location, just behind my opponent. It seems confused by my disappearance. I then focus upon it and unleash my own attack, a Psychic straight at its head. It turns around and swipes out with its arms, but I quickly fly back and let it chase me a bit. The toad then tries to hit me with another mud attack, so I Teleport again and repeat my Psychic. This time it falls down and stays still until the trainer on the other side grumbles and recalls it. I delight a bit in his annoyance and Sally's glee, using her warm joy to excite myself.
"Nice work!" she says as the crowd roars. "One more to go and we've got this!"
The trainer throws out a Poké Ball and I steel myself to expect anything, breathing deeply to slow my heart rate. I can hear the crowd gasp a bit as it reveals itself to be another Gardevoir. I have to admit I did not expect that sort of opponent. She straightaway tries to pry at my mind, and I respond by concentrating and sending a gust of air at her. It races at her but she raises an arm and a small barrier appears which blocks my attack. Then a pulse of thoughts hit my mind. I quickly reply with my own as we grapple mentally. I try to keep my breathing slow and continue to try to distract her as she does the same.
Nothing shall get in the way now. I cannot even hear the crowd. I slowly poke at her defences, while subconsciously admiring her battle techniques and skills.
...No, something is not right. Something too... familiar about her. What is it? I feel her uneasiness as well. She suddenly lowers her arms, as if giving a truce. I warily do so too and think a little, as the world around me comes back like a flood; the noise, the arena, everything. I try to ignore it as one question forms in my mind. She couldn't be, right?
"Wait..." the doctor says quietly. "Uh... she met her...?" He did not finish the sentence however as the two men continue to read on.
I send the thought to her, ignoring Sally question me for the moment, and people shouting for the battle to continue. The other Gardevoir responds almost instantly.
I am not sure what to think. How is she here? I do know however that battling wouldn't make any sense now. She floats forward, arms open, and I accept the hug and trill happily. I then turn my head and see an utterly confused Sally, and a silent crowd. I shrug slightly.
[She's my mother,] I explain.
"She's what?" she says back.
Are you sure you are okay with me going for a while? I ask Sally.
"Yes, I am," she says. "It's okay. I understand you want to spend time with your family and all." She gives me a hug and I return it. "I will see you sometime soon!"
I nod. [Yes, that is true. Good luck to you and the others.] I pass on my thoughts to the other Pokémon as well who nod back. Machoke salutes.
I then turn and slowly float out the door to join Mother and
"Aw, it cut out again in the middle of that scene," Sam complained.
It is calm and peaceful, to walk with her through the forest. So quiet and nice. I had not felt this warm inside for a good while.
"I need to go back," I say to Mother. "I must."
She sighs wearily. "How many times do I have to tell you? People are no good for you. They pull you out from the wild without a second thought! They don't listen! Why else do you think I'm not keeping my promise to that excuse for a trainer?" She frowns as she recalls whatever she doesn't want to think about any more or tell me about.
I shake my head. "Not true. Some may, but not everyone. Not Sally. And I fear that if I don't go then something bad will happen."
"Something bad?" she queries suddenly. "Well, that should be none of your concern."
"What do you mean?" I say back quietly.
"Why, you think you can change the future now?" she says coldly.
"Again? And there's not much left," the doctor pointed out as Sam scrolled down.
I watch her sleeping quietly and glance around. The night is still and there's no wind, and nobody else around. I sigh a bit and then breathe deeply, preparing
I float through the trees quickly. The grass
chase her through
Hard to breathe. Hurts so much. How could she do that?! My ow...
I hope she is okay. Machoke looks at...I tell them I don't mean harm...
Heartbeat is so fast I cannot slow it down must help h
Those were the most painful words. Said so quietly, so inn...
What to do?
Sam swore quietly as they failed to find nothing more than more garbled text blocking out the rest of the remaining paragraphs.
"Uh...I guess that is it," said the doctor, leaning back in his chair. "Pity, I enjoyed reading all that."
Silence followed, save for the low hum of the computer. "I knowthere's more to it than that. I bet you anything there is." He looked back at the device, perhaps hoping there were more papers there he had not yet taken from it.
"Do you think you learnt much about her, then?" John asked.
"I think I only have more questions," Sam said quietly. "I think she just gave out in the end, so basically everything else she may have wanted to say we'll quite possibly never know."
"Well...maybe it's for the best?" the other said. "After all, that Sally trainer isn't about with her, right? That bit at the end sounded, uh, ominous as well. Something went wrong."
Sam walked over to the Gardevoir and gazed at her. He quietly felt her cold hand to confirm to himself that she was really dead. "Well, maybe it was," he said at length. "Guess we'll never know, eh? All we can do is guess what else happened although I'll give the program another shot later... Anyways, feel like moving her now?"
"I suppose," John replied. He got up from his seat, privately making a note to keep the place in mind and see if it would be possible to try testing the machine out on his own Pokémon. He then bit his lip as he recalled that he was planning to run that trainer search on the Gardevoir.
Maybe there was more to her story to uncover yet.
As said, another part to follow, hopefully soonish.
Side note, but Kaminko is a character from Pokemon XD. Basically a strange scientist that makes odd inventions that rarely work, such as a Pokemon translator. I figured he would be a good choice of an inventor for the device in the story.