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Arbitrary Execution

Ambyssin

Winter can't come soon enough
And so we've come to the end, at long last. Gotta say, it's very weird for me to actually see a fic I've been able to follow on a week-by-week basis reach the finish line. Also... *sees chapter title* roll credits!

My guess is that we're operating in Glitch City here, at the start. There's not too much described initially, but there's just enough to give me the sense that something is very, very wrong here.

“Cassandra, what the hell are you doing here?”

“The right thing!” Cass yells back, which Artemis thinks is probably the best snap comeback she's ever heard.
It's also the cheesiest snap comeback she's ever heard. :V

And, it's certainly quite the "As God am I," speech that Giovanni manages to give. Trying to frame himself in the most well-intentioned light possible. Saying it's for the good of the whole country. There's even some real world allusions with Unova (the Not America of the Pokémon world) and some paraphrasing of John F. Kennedy, there. Of course, there's this dissonant serenity to all of it, with the gigantic glitch!Gyarados hovering in the background. And all the while, Artemis just totally shuts down as she is struck with the enormity of what she's stumbled on to. Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of good samaritans out there who would leap into the fray in a situation like this. There are also just as many that would react as Artemis would. And, I think you were the one who told me it's harder to be true than good. And this definitely felt quite true.

Meanwhile, Sovereign's bloodbath continues and there's a bit of a metaphorical groin kick with regards to the ROCKETS staff's opinions on Artemis. Other than than, not much to say there. Sovereign gets to Glitch City and bails out Artemis and Cass (which, really, kind of had to happen, and is fine by me) with a bit of snark in tow. Fortune cookie comment made me laugh a bit. And while I'm not always a huge fan of a multiple POV story constantly jumping back and forth, I think it works really well in the finale at ratcheting up the tension. Emilia starts to get to the bottom of things, and then Artemis and Sovereign confront Giovanni. But it's hardly much of a confrontation. In his usual, Giovanni way, he does that cocky shrug of his and makes them go away.

You came to us.
Think you're missing italics here.

Speaking of which, Sovereign continues
And the italics ran too long here. XP

The out of body moment is weird. Which is probably what you going for. It was just a bit hard for me to visualize, especially the bits about her having very little of her left to do much of anything. Not really sure anything could be done about that. Especially b/c, if I'm reading the reviews correctly, this is the stuff that was added in in regards to some feedback that you got. So, I have nothing to compare it to. It's all interesting (especially the matrix stuff, as I state below), but, thinking about it, the shift to the spire is so sudden that it does feel like it suddenly got added in at the last second. I don't really think you need to change it. It's probably more of a me problem. Just thought I'd point it felt super duper abrupt. But that was definitely one heck of a way to snap her back to reality. Socking Giovanni like we're in a round of Punch-Out! Pretty hilarious in some sort of strange, messed up way. I also like the brief consideration Artemis gives to using the breach engine on herself, since both body issues and the abuse of power have been such major themes throughout the story. Possibly it even deserved a bit more attention. But at least it got brought up.

And then we start to get some closure for Emilia. The implications at the end of the scene with Lorelei are rather frightening to think about. That all of this could've had a bigger fish in the picture (or at least that the government was complacent in all of this b/c they might've agreed with the guy). The following scene, I can't quite tell if that's a bit of friendly leaning on the fourth wall, or making acknowledgement to the fact that Pokémon is a fictional entity to begin with. Is this breach entity actually some sort of extended metaphor for us, as the players? I must sound like an idiot. In any case, after all the chaos that's happening, I suppose a quiet conversation with plans to start "fresh," in Johto is about as fitting of an ending you can give to this as I think you could. And then, of course, Sovereign gets their licks in with Giovanni to bring that subplot to a close.

Side comment: the overall plot of this fic is super hilarious in a meta way, to me, given the events of Episode Rainbow Rocket. I won't say anything in case you (or anyone reading this) hasn't gotten to experience that yet. But, if you did, I'm just curious if you thought at all about this story and maybe had a chuckle about it. XD

Overall, I enjoyed it quite a lot. It scratched that conspiracy theory itch for me. And, I must say, this goes great with the soundtrack to Edge of Nowhere (a VR paranormal thriller game). Well done! ^^
 

Sike Saner

Peace to the Mountain
Chapter 14:

Looks like Glitch City indeed! :D It's appropriately surreal right from the start. Plus "shrieking pixellated things that are in no way birds" is one of the best sets of words I've had the fortune to read. Also the thought of direction and gravity behaving Not Correctly, and the looming threat that comes with it of suddenly falling a lethal distance, is nice and terrifying.

“zzzNzzellozzz,” says the blurred man, shuddering towards her. “zzzIdzZliketzobaztzzz …”
The fact that his lines there are only just intelligible somehow makes them even more bizarre than if they'd just been utter nonsense.

At this close range, the telepathic shout is enough to stun Nadia; her claws seize up and she almost falls from Emilia's shoulder, catching herself at the last moment on a lock of her hair.

FURRET, she murmurs, climbing unsteadily back into position, and follows it up with some incoherent pictures of goats.
Oh my god what a great reaction. Any significance to the goats, or was that basically just... some sort of regurgitative psychic noise, involuntarily released in reaction to Sovereign being way too effing loud?

There are no buildings here, no stolen pieces of the real world. There is nothing at all except that grey sky, and underneath it a grey land, so exactly like it in colour and texture that Artemis is half convinced she's flying.
Gosh even imagining that is kind of dizzying dfdsjfg...

Artemis is afraid of it still. How could she not be? But she's going to get out there and discover it all the same.
Holy frick I love this line. Well. These lines.

Epilogue:

It's not a dream. Where are they? Giovanni looks, but sees nothing. There's nowhere in the room for them to be hiding, anyway: it's just a concrete box, one window high up, one cot, one toilet. Absolutely nowhere that anyone could hide.
Oh, but what if Sovereign had risen up out of the toilet. What if. That'd add a whole extra level of punishment to whatever they intend to do to him, or have done. Though it would also have punished Sovereign, in a way, and lord knows they've been through enough. :B


Sunflower work, as always. Congrats on completing this, and thanks for sharing it; I've enjoyed the heck out of it from start to finish. :D
 

Cutlerine

Gone. Not coming back.
Whoa, I wasn't actually expecting you to change the ending or anything! I'm just one random internet guy, after all.
Doesn't mean you can't be right! Most of the time, if a reader doesn't like something, they're probably right about it, is how I view it. And you were definitely right about the ending. It didn't do what the story to date had promised that it would, and that needed to be changed.

Anyways, it's perfectly fair to want to write about the specific Gen 1 glitches, and I wasn't trying to say that I thought the fic shouldn't have that element in it. Probably my main issue is that I was expecting the fic to be a different genre than it was - more mystery/horror and less adventure/personal growth. I was expecting Breach to be more threatening and insidious, for there to be more of a sense of uncertainty about whether there'd be a happy ending or not, and for victory to be incredibly difficult or impossible to achieve without sacrifice. Not saying that you should have written that fic, just that my expectations didn't align very well with what it actually was.
Fair enough. That's not really the sort of thing that I write – I like positivity – so I can see how if that's what you were looking for then this story wouldn't have delivered on that for you. At any rate, thank you for your critique of the last chapter; it was very insightful and very useful to me.

And so we've come to the end, at long last. Gotta say, it's very weird for me to actually see a fic I've been able to follow on a week-by-week basis reach the finish line. Also... *sees chapter title* roll credits!
I'm glad to have delivered that to you! I like to maintain a consistent update schedule; it keeps me writing more than I would otherwise, and my philosophy is basically that as long as I'm spending time writing, I'm getting better, so I have a vested interest in writing as much as possible.

It's also the cheesiest snap comeback she's ever heard. :V
I mean, that's Cass for you. Not necessarily original, but very heartfelt.

And, it's certainly quite the "As God am I," speech that Giovanni manages to give. Trying to frame himself in the most well-intentioned light possible. Saying it's for the good of the whole country. There's even some real world allusions with Unova (the Not America of the Pokémon world) and some paraphrasing of John F. Kennedy, there. Of course, there's this dissonant serenity to all of it, with the gigantic glitch!Gyarados hovering in the background. And all the while, Artemis just totally shuts down as she is struck with the enormity of what she's stumbled on to. Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of good samaritans out there who would leap into the fray in a situation like this. There are also just as many that would react as Artemis would. And, I think you were the one who told me it's harder to be true than good. And this definitely felt quite true.
I mean, he believes it all; it's less him framing himself in the best light and him actually convinced that he is doing the right thing, that it's okay for one person to have that much power as long as they intend to pursue a righteous (“righteous”) cause.

Also, I don't remember saying that, but it does sound like something I'd say, yes. I wonder what I said that in relation to? It's probably something that fits here, regardless.

Meanwhile, Sovereign's bloodbath continues and there's a bit of a metaphorical groin kick with regards to the ROCKETS staff's opinions on Artemis. Other than than, not much to say there. Sovereign gets to Glitch City and bails out Artemis and Cass (which, really, kind of had to happen, and is fine by me) with a bit of snark in tow.
I like representing strength through collaboration, I guess; Giovanni stands as if a man were author of himself and knew no other kin, as the guy once wrote, but Artemis wins because she has Cass and Emilia and Sovereign. Lone heroes have their place in myth, but in a story like this, where it's all about power, that kind of just feels weird to me.

Fortune cookie comment made me laugh a bit. And while I'm not always a huge fan of a multiple POV story constantly jumping back and forth, I think it works really well in the finale at ratcheting up the tension. Emilia starts to get to the bottom of things, and then Artemis and Sovereign confront Giovanni. But it's hardly much of a confrontation. In his usual, Giovanni way, he does that cocky shrug of his and makes them go away.
I'm glad you think it works!

The out of body moment is weird. Which is probably what you going for. It was just a bit hard for me to visualize, especially the bits about her having very little of her left to do much of anything. Not really sure anything could be done about that. Especially b/c, if I'm reading the reviews correctly, this is the stuff that was added in in regards to some feedback that you got. So, I have nothing to compare it to. It's all interesting (especially the matrix stuff, as I state below), but, thinking about it, the shift to the spire is so sudden that it does feel like it suddenly got added in at the last second. I don't really think you need to change it. It's probably more of a me problem. Just thought I'd point it felt super duper abrupt.
Basically, I figured that the best way to represent nothingness was with minimal language. Maybe that worked, maybe it didn't; either way, I'm definitely done with this now, and I can't see myself making any further changes at this point.

But that was definitely one heck of a way to snap her back to reality. Socking Giovanni like we're in a round of Punch-Out! Pretty hilarious in some sort of strange, messed up way. I also like the brief consideration Artemis gives to using the breach engine on herself, since both body issues and the abuse of power have been such major themes throughout the story. Possibly it even deserved a bit more attention. But at least it got brought up.
It probably did, yes. But there was so much to bring together at the end there that there just wasn't space to do everything. Could I have done it if I'd paced myself better? Maybe, I guess. But I feel like I'm happy enough with it for now.

And then we start to get some closure for Emilia. The implications at the end of the scene with Lorelei are rather frightening to think about. That all of this could've had a bigger fish in the picture (or at least that the government was complacent in all of this b/c they might've agreed with the guy). The following scene, I can't quite tell if that's a bit of friendly leaning on the fourth wall, or making acknowledgement to the fact that Pokémon is a fictional entity to begin with. Is this breach entity actually some sort of extended metaphor for us, as the players? I must sound like an idiot. In any case, after all the chaos that's happening, I suppose a quiet conversation with plans to start "fresh," in Johto is about as fitting of an ending you can give to this as I think you could. And then, of course, Sovereign gets their licks in with Giovanni to bring that subplot to a close.
Breach isn't anything to do with players, no; it's purely to do with the fact that the reality of their world is rooted in some kind of digital substrate. And like Emilia, I don't think that means it isn't real – it's just that there are underlying processes governing the world that they don't understand yet, which is pretty much true of our world as well. I brought it up because it was mentioned in an earlier review, and also because it was a great fit in terms of the story's themes. What is artificial may be as true as what is natural, after all.

Side comment: the overall plot of this fic is super hilarious in a meta way, to me, given the events of Episode Rainbow Rocket. I won't say anything in case you (or anyone reading this) hasn't gotten to experience that yet. But, if you did, I'm just curious if you thought at all about this story and maybe had a chuckle about it. XD
Yeah, I actually finished the Rainbow Rocket episode not long after finishing the first draft of this, and found my Giovanni was way more canon-compliant than I'd ever anticipated at the start. :p Sometimes, things just work out, I guess.

Overall, I enjoyed it quite a lot. It scratched that conspiracy theory itch for me. And, I must say, this goes great with the soundtrack to Edge of Nowhere (a VR paranormal thriller game). Well done! ^^
Glad you liked it! I had fun writing it, especially Cinnabar and Sovereign's assault on the Rocket. It was a welcome venture into something a little larger-scale than I've written for a few years, and I think I did okay. Thank you for being such a conscientious reviewer!

Chapter 14:

Looks like Glitch City indeed! :D It's appropriately surreal right from the start. Plus "shrieking pixellated things that are in no way birds" is one of the best sets of words I've had the fortune to read. Also the thought of direction and gravity behaving Not Correctly, and the looming threat that comes with it of suddenly falling a lethal distance, is nice and terrifying.
It is intentionally a bit distortion world – given that I've said breach consists of the processes that underwrite the pokémon world, I figured that it would make sense for me to merge it with the distortion world, which is also meant to be a mirror held up to the pokémon world, and in some versions of the canon a world that contains the foundation of the pokémon world. If Giovanni had stuck around, he might just have found a massive antimatter dragon wandering around in there. :p

The fact that his lines there are only just intelligible somehow makes them even more bizarre than if they'd just been utter nonsense.
It's a reference to the ZZAZZ glitch! I felt like since I hadn't used it yet, I'd give it a run out in this last chapter. There's enough other stuff chucked in there that I figured I might as well.

Oh my god what a great reaction. Any significance to the goats, or was that basically just... some sort of regurgitative psychic noise, involuntarily released in reaction to Sovereign being way too effing loud?
Nope, just regurgitative psychic noise.

Holy frick I love this line. Well. These lines.
I'm glad! I wanted to end the story with something that showed how far Artemis has come – and simultaneously, that she always had this within her anyway, no matter how little she thought of herself. Because she did go out and do it all, even if she thought she was afraid of it; she got her name changed, ran away from home, went off on a journey. The place she's arrived at, after everything, is somewhere from which she can look back and recognise how brave she always has been. She's not better, and maybe she never will be – but she will survive anyway.

Oh, but what if Sovereign had risen up out of the toilet. What if. That'd add a whole extra level of punishment to whatever they intend to do to him, or have done. Though it would also have punished Sovereign, in a way, and lord knows they've been through enough. :B
Would've definitely been impressive, that's for sure. I don't know how they would've fitted in there. :p

Sunflower work, as always. Congrats on completing this, and thanks for sharing it; I've enjoyed the heck out of it from start to finish. :D
The pleasure is all mine. Thank you for reviewing!
 
I'm not sure if there's any sort of notification system in the new forums, so it may be a while before you see this, but I couldn't finish this fic without leaving my final thoughts!

The ending was powerful, and although a lot of that is due to the great evil being defeated, I think what's most satisfying for me is that Artemis finally just gets a damn break. Like all of my favorite endings, you didn't leave the world irreparably scarred or life forever changed for our poor heroes. Yes, things are different, and the pieces have fallen into very different places than where they were when the story started. But now that it's over, they're free to go back out into the world and do whatever they want. I love a good sad ending, but there's just nothing like a real victory to close out a story.

There's always the question of whether or not an ending lives up to what came before it, and I think you mostly succeeded here. The emotional beats were pitch perfect as always, and as I said before, where you left the characters was just what I had hoped would happen. I would say the one trip-up is the odd way the sense of intrigue and conspiracy had sort of dissipated by the final act. Although we learn the specifics of Giovanni's plan, it doesn't exactly feel like the answer to a burning question or a bright light on a till-then-dark piece of the story. We know the breach mechanics are powerful and can bend reality, and then we learn that Giovanni will use that power to bend reality. It's the next logical step, but it's not exactly a surprise (I did like the speech about exactly how he would bend reality, though). After all the mysteries and questioning and being kept in the dark, it felt like the ending needed just one more wrinkle, something unexpected to show us we hadn't quite gotten it all worked out before the finale.

However, like other criticisms I've had in the past, despite small stumbles you succeed greatly in the big pictures. Throughout the whole fic but especially here, your messaging about identity is really gripping. Whatever mask Artemis (or anyone) puts on for the world, and however the world chooses to perceive that mask, there's still a bare truth beneath it all. And what we saw in the ending was that that truth, the core of what Artie is, is a pretty decent person who can't stop herself from extending to others the kind of compassion she wishes more of the world would extend to her. The spire scene coming right before her fight with Giovanni, wherein she uses to great effect the body she doesn't want but is stuck with, was a great one-two punch, heh.

I also appreciate that you kind of sidestepped an "I'm beautiful the way I am!" moral at the end. I'm sure Artie would love to change the way she looks, and maybe she always will, and maybe she eventually does, but the ability to do that could expose that core of truth, the most important part of her, to corruption, so she just can't, at least right now. It gets a somewhat cheesy message across without being cheesy in execution, which is no small feat.

I could go on about how satisfying it is to see Emilia accept that Lorelei is not the kind of friend she needs or how relieved I was when Cass turned out to not be a triple agent (or quadruple agent, I guess?), but that would mostly just be me rambling even more. So instead I'll just say that I enjoyed this fic a heck of a lot. I'm so glad I was able to follow along, however haltingly.
 
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diamondpearl876

→ follow your fire.
Right, and I owe you a review here, too - for chapters 13 and 14, plus the epilogue. I'll note I read the revised version of the ending, not the original at all, if it matters. Can't compare the two, just can offer one perspective.

I don't know if I've said this before, but you have a knack for balancing plot and characters, even if the latter takes precedence most of the time. It seems all too easy for plots as grand as this to make the author lose control of the story, where it's going, and how it all unravels. But not here. By the time we reach the climax here, the characters are all fully established and fleshed out (even Sovereign, who was most recently introduced) to the point where I was so devoted to them all you had to do was focus on the plot aspects for the climax. And I think it had to work that way, given all the action, all the traversing into the breach world stuff and confronting Giovanni, the driving force in the background since the very beginning.

One highlight for me? Cass telling her goddamn aunt to **** off. Amazing. Never change, Cass. Never change. It really was sweet to see Cass never seriously doubted leaving Artemis's side at any point and in fact had felt guilty about being a double agent, essentially, from the start. I know Artemis's views were clouded by all the betrayal she's faced in the past, but I think that says a lot about just how far truly loyal friends will go for you if they love you. Sovereign, at least, must have seen their bond if he broke his years and years of solitude to help them - especially Emilia - after all.

The scene with Giovanni's plans being foiled did seem to deflate the tension that led up to it a little, but for me, it fits. Though Giovanni obviously was the big villain, he had a small dedicated team helping him the whole way through, with others coming and going along the way. Only a few normal humans was all it took to open breach permanently and threaten to destroy the world. Only a few normal humans were enough to send Kanto into a frenzy and a wild goose chase. Then you get Artemis, just another girl in the world, and Cass and Emilia, just some other girls in the world, all of whom wanted to live normal quiet peaceful lives, and they end all that breach work in a matter of minutes. People are far, far stronger than they ever give themselves credit for, no matter how insurmountable big obstacles seem to them, and I think the climax emphasizes that for me.

I'm glad Emilia and Lorelei got a calm sort of closure as well. Related to the above, it takes a lot to stand up to do the right thing instead of just following the status quo. And I mean, Emilia did for a while. But then it went too far. Then she took a stand, and not only that, she found some like-minded individuals along the way and won the stand they took together.

I guess this all sounds super sappy and feelsy, but, well, I'm sticking to it. Now I'm gonna reiterate what everyone else said and say thanks for writing and sharing this. <3
 

Psychic

Really and truly
So you wrote up this really lovely response to my review from ages ago, and I have rudely been completely unable to just sit down and respond to it! It feels wrong reviewing again without responding to every single thing we were talking about, but doing so just feels a bit overwhelming right now. So while I will try to respond eventually, this is just going to be my review of the rest of this fic!

I finished reading this months ago at this point – I got back into it and just devoured the rest of this within a few days, and it was a wild and wonderful ride. My memory is a bit hazy, so I did some rereading here and there.

First off, I still just adore your headcanon, and have pretty much adopted it entirely. Nothing else has quite tickled my fancy the way your world has, and I love it. The way you show relationships between humans and Pokemon, the way training and battling works, the thought and care put into strategizing, campsites accommodating all kinds of trainers, I just love it all so very much.

I freaking love that you have two trans women in this story as the main characters, and I love the things they’re able to discuss and share as a result. Having a positive role model is so vital for Artemis right now, and while Emilia clearly isn’t perfect, I don’t think Artie would connect with her quite as well if she was. It was tough to read her feeling betrayed by Emilia, but it all felt completely in-character, plus it was just such juicy conflict.

Your characters all around are just so dang strong and great. The Pokemon all have so much personality, and they never stop feeling like important, present characters. Seeing Artie and Cass interact with them, and the ways they show their humans affection is just always such a delight. You even manage to make give so much personality to Pokemon who appear briefly, like the Rattata in chapter 7.

Sovereign also obviously gets their own paragraph, because they were just such a delight. Obviously I am biased because Mewtwo, but I really like the way you portray them here. That’s a really cool take on Mewtwo, and I love this idea of them becoming the monarch of their small world of junk, holed up in a cave and repelling everything. I also love how we see the artifice get slowly striped away when they first meet, and Cass accurately calls them out on just being a scared and lonely child. Also hell yeah for they/them pronouns – I’ve been feeling more and more lately like it’s a perfect pronoun for legendary Pokemon, but I think it’s especially the case for Sovereign.

I absolutely loved how you portrayed training and Pokemon battles. I really love the ways you show how different Pokemon have more strengths and weaknesses than just their typings, and the strategizing it necessitates as a result. The training at Blaine’s gym was especially interesting – this is more of that Cutlerine world-building I just love! It’s great for trainers to practice and learn on their own and all, but being able to go to a gym and learn new things under seasoned trainers makes so much sense, and is exactly the thing I love about Pokemon fan fiction.

The story is just great from beginning to end. The conspiracy stuff is good, if perhaps not as deep and complex as I might have expected. The League feels big and complicated, and ROCKETS feels properly intimidating. Getting Sovereign is the exact sort of trump card the small ragtag team needs (while also being ragtag themselves). I really liked that they eventually go to Glitch City, and the way you describe it. And I love the way Artie manages to resolve things, digging inside herself to find her own inner strength, and then using her physical strength. Everything was wrapped up really nicely and satisfactorily, from the trainers getting Oddish to Giovanni getting his just desserts. I really just loved it all.

I did note down a few things as I read, both things I liked as well as nitpicks. Let’s get into it!


Chapter 7:
Later, in the afternoon, a very persistent rattata turns up: Brauron drives it back easily enough, with her range and burgeoning strength, but it won't run, keeps darting back and forth between her fireballs, looking up at Artemis herself. It's the weirdest damn thing. She's heard of this, of certain pokémon that aren't just trying to test their strength and maybe consent to partnership but are determined from the get-go to find someone to attach themselves to. It's kind of flattering, but more than that, it's intimidating. Artemis isn't ready for a second pokémon, and the rattata's persistence makes her nervous. Eventually, it seems to pick up on this, and with one last hopeful glance at her scampers away into the grass.
There is just something I love so dang much about this moment. Not only is it more of that wonderful world-building, and a lovely explanation for a big aspect of the Pokemon world. Artie being nervous and convinced she can’t handle another Pokemon is just so emblematic of her lack of confidence of her lack of confidence. It feels like this Rattata (and the reader) can see something in her that she doesn’t. That last line also manages to make me feel bad for both Artie and this random Rattata we’ll never see again – there was a dramatic irony for me, being sure Artie could take on a second Pokemon, and knowing that they both miss out as a result.

Cass is over her shock: Ringo slams into the back of the scyther's head, bill first, and the its face makes sudden vicious contact with the ground, body pivoting around its pincer-arm like a pendulum.
The phrase “and the its face” seems to be missing something?


Chapter 8:
By the time she got there, Stella would be gone, and making stay late on top of helping her break into the system would definitely be asking too much of her.
Missing the “her” in “making her stay late.”

“Oh, it's no problem,” says Cass. “I mean, we are trainers. Lotta free time.”
I think the “are” should be italicized rather than “we” here.


Chapter 9:
Fountains, a clock tower carved with legends, a thousand-year-old synagogue with a battered plaque proclaiming in Old Kantan that the King of Cinnabar has permitted the Jewish community to live by their own law in their quarter of the town.
As a Jewish person, I never expect any Pokemon fan fiction to mention synagogues or Jewish people at all, and as someone whose family likes to find old synagogues when we’ve been on vacations, this really brought that feeling of finding Jewish communities in the most unusual of places. Not only am I seeing this Cinnabar synagogue, but that it’s also in a fan fic is such an extra layer of delight. Thank you for this.


Chapter OA:
“But you …” But you what? But you're beautiful? But you're still alive at the tail end of your thirties? But you're a successful professional? How deep does your hatred go, Artie, that you can think any of that? There is nothing strange about a trans woman being any of these things. And yet, choked by her own self-image, by the hate that she knows is out there waiting for her, Artemis cannot help but be shocked.
Soooo this paragraph made me full-on burst into tears. The depression and reality of it hit really hard and made me think of people I love. Well-done.


“Think so. At least, there's this Vine I saw once of a guy who goes today is the day … that I finally kill the sun and then in the next shot he's being carried away by a fearow while he fires like a water pistol at the sky.”
Jumping on the bandwagon in that this made me laugh out loud. Because 1) Vine, 2) a world where both Pokemon and Vines exist, 3) I would watch this Vine so many times.

Chapter 0C
Artemis is shocked to hear the words coming out of their mouth, how clear and bitter they are. Like a mouthful of broken glass.
I think it should be "her mouth."


Chapter 0D
“Yes?”
“They were, uh, spying on me. Giovanni's people, I mean. The girl I'm travelling with, Cass, she – her aunt asked her to find me in Viridian Forest and report anything weird that happened.”
Missing a line break between paragraphs here.


Chapter 0F
Cass is nodding, and a second or two later Artemis sees it too, feeling vaguely embarrassed to have got it after her. She shouldn't – Cass got the scholarship, remember? She's smart – but she feels it anyway.
“Uh huh,” Cass says. “Allegorical biology, right?”
Need a space between paragraphs.

“I'm afraid so,” he says bitterly. “The League won't help you. I wonder if Giovanni really has gone rogue, or if they're just saying that to distance themselves from what he's doing. Wouldn't put it past them.”
It had occurred to Artemis, but so far she had been doing a decent job of pushing the thought away, squashing it down into the back of her head with the ghost people and the other dark ideas that haunt her.
Need a space between paragraphs.


Chapter 10
It hurts to hear her like this. Why do these things always happen to the most vulnerable people?Because they're vulnerable, she answers herself, but it's not a very satisfying answer.
Need a space after the question mark.

“I try not to forget faces,” she says, which is mostly not a lie. “Talk me through what we've got here.”
Whiting gestures towards a spot up against someone's garden wall that looks no different to any other.
Need a space between paragraphs.


Chapter 11
Is she? For one long, dizzying second Artemis almost thinks she is, that this is all in her head, that nobody has irradiated her or arranged her life or ground down her will with quiet condescension until she has no more space for dreams left in her; that there is nothing wrong and she isn't a girl and she isn't even here, she's a shade camped out in the husk of a body that belongs to Giovanni, parents, ghost people, League, law, cops with eyes like broken glass and fingers like the leathery tails of subway rats. It boils in her, the old fear, foaming over into dissolution, turning her to ash in her borrowed skin―
I just love this section so much. It’s a great instance of how well you write trains of thought, and we see it so well with the subjects changing and the pace and the mounting emotions. Brauron sensing this and comforting her is also such an emblematic moment of that bond between human and Pokemon that so many people try to write, but you show it so perfectly.

She glances at him for a moment, then hisses and flares her fins – actually flares her fins at Sovereign, at Mew-2, at a legendary pokémon hovering before her like an angel of death.
Pronoun should be “them” instead of “him.”


Chapter 12
I do not, they begin, but Cass interrupts.
Missing italics here for Sovereign’s speech.


Chapter 13
Cass notices at about the same time, and turns the torch back in with some relief.
I think it should be “on” instead of “in.” (Maybe there is a difference in how we talk about flashlights versus torches, I’m not really sure.)


Chapter 14
Artemis finds her feet on the side of what looks like the wall of the Pokémon Centre, fragments of road rising at oblique angles up into the sky before her; slices of building are piled up on either side, the end of the old kiln turned upside-down on top of a church tower sandwiched between half a block of terraced houses and a set of balconies from which grow the trees of the Celadon Public Gardens.
I just really love how you portray Glitch City.

In a sense, Giovanni has done her a favour. She could never have said that if she had her brain weighing her down, poisoning her thoughts with the certain knowledge that she was born to fail. But now – now she's fearless, everything-less in fact, and as it turns out the thing that's left when you drain Artemis Apanchomene down to her dregs is compassion.
Excuse you, but can you please not make me cry.

It isn't even a contest. She's strong. She is. She might have spent her life running away from it but she's strong, and it's not a problem, not at all. It's a solution. Because when you get right down to it, when you strip away wealth and race and class, when you take away his pokémon and his allies and put him in the middle of nowhere, he's just some guy. Some guy who thought that his cleverness put him above kindness, and guess what, Artemis has two fists and opinions about that kind of behaviour.
I love that this fic has two moments where Artie’s physical strength, a part of her she wants to hide, becomes a solution. If it was any other character, punching a guy wouldn’t be particularly of note, and yet here, it’s meaningful because of the character, and because of Giovanni’s cruel misgendering of her this entire time. It’s so perfect.


Epilogue:
You and I, Giovanni, we are not good people. I am sure you understand.
I know good people are not supposed to want revenge. Rather, we should be satisfied with whatever the justice system decides, and jail time should be enough for us, right? And yet, I can’t say I’m displeased that Sovereign does what I so wish someone would do, and get a more…visceral revenge.


I just really loved this fic. The characters, the world, the story, are all unique and interesting, and clearly have a lot of love and thought put into them. This is the kind of story that inspires me and makes me want to hone my writing and build my story worlds. Thank you for taking me on this journey, and now I have to choose another one of your fics to read!

~Psychic
 
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