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Past of the future, future of the past...

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by mgrgfan, Aug 15, 2018.

  1. mgrgfan

    mgrgfan Active Member

    (Author's note - this fic is based on a pretty weird alternate universe and includes advanced ancient empire with advanced nuclear industry and arcanotechnology. More data about it can be found in the masterpost on my tumblr, link to which is provided in my signature.)
    Past of the future, future of the past...
    Prologue: Once upon a time…


    The universe is a strange thing. A smallest change in the single chain of events can produce incredible amounts of new timelines.

    In one of them, Ancient Soris Empire never came to be. Worlds from this timeline are the most known ones.

    In other, it came to be and never experienced the Ancient Soris War. It took only a few generations, until the entire world was united, and one more, until the gaze got turned to the stars. When the time, known to us as “present”, came, they’ve already had colony near the another star.

    In yet another, it was completely obliterated during the Ancient Soris War, waged and won by the local Legendaries. For the thousands of years, Soris was pushed back into stone age, where Pokemon reigned supreme.

    In yet another, sorisian people won the war and killed their Legendaries, but at terrible cost. However, even in the horrible, sorry state, life in the Soris continued. In this timeline, Soris gave birth to two megacorporations, which later will (not so) silently oppose the world government and, in the spirit of the Ancient Soris Empire, about which they’ve had no idea until very recently, try to build better and safer future for the humans.

    However, in one of the strangest of them, Soris Legendaries decided to attempt to erase the Ancient Soris Empire from the time itself. No one truly knows, what has happened this day, but the result is known well - the Legendaries disappeared forever and the Empire, along with its creations, were moved 3100 years into future. This is the timeline, which this story will follow…



    Chapter 1: A new day, an old world.

    "What the heck?" asked no one in particular captain of the Space Lab 2, the most advanced space station of the Soris Empire, after the strange flash temporarily blinded sensors.

    "No idea…" the pilot started to respond, but sound of the collision warning siren interrupted his speech. "WHAT?!"

    Quick jump to the maneuvering control console, look at the combined locator screen - and it was apparent, that something has happened, since the orbit now was very densely populated with satellites of unknown origin, in addition to the imperial ones. It wasn’t of their main concern now, though, because emergency automatics aboard satellites had already established a network and began collision avoidance maneuvers. No, the main problem was, that the Space Lab Two was on the collision course with some objects, which they didn’t identify, because of lack of time.

    "Transfer to manual control, surge all power units, emergency thrusters at max," the pilot frantically scrambled through settings, then screamed into intercom. "Everybody hold on - this can get very ugly!"

    Right after these words, both station’s orbit correction thrusters and maneuvering thrusters of some of the docked vehicles fired, barely managing to drive the station away from the collision course with one of the satellites and putting it on the safer orbit, which, however, was almost intersecting with unidentified smaller space station.

    "Crisis, so far, averted," the pilot exhaled, wiping the sweat out of his forehead, switching through cameras and then freezing. "Captain - I think you’d want to see this."

    "What exact…" the commander of the station started to say, but went silent, when he looked at the display, which showed many cities on Earth. This won’t be anything special… if not for the fact, that most of them weren’t located in Soris, but, rather, in primitive regions, such as Kalos or Unova.


    - -


    "What. Is. This?" whispered Anthony Falkis, honoured astronaut of the Pokemon Nation, looking at the locator panel, which showed, how the unknown satellite, which just… appeared out of nowhere, nearly collided with the space station, barely managing to fire small engines and evade.

    "Cupola module here" sounded the station-wide announcement. "We all recommend you to get to your nearest Earth-pointed illuminator and look at it."

    Anthony followed this lead, looked out… and saw the Soris, the region, in which any human colonists just disappeared shortly after arrival, blazing with lights of huge cities.

    "Do you think, that it may be… linked?" asked Sarah Donnager Anthony, who’ve just flown in this part of the station.

    "If you’re about what the Reverse World's just happened - probably…"


    - -


    "What the fu…" voice of one of the radar operators went unnoticed in the Mossdeep Space Centre’s Mission Control Centre, which was drowning in screams of shock and disbelief, as the screens of the orbit monitoring radars got flooded with unidentified signatures, ranging from the brick-sized, to the bus-sized, to the monster, bigger than the Nation’s Space Station.

    "QUIET!!!" ringed from the PA loudspeakers. It didn’t calm down everyone instantly, but, at least, lowered the scream levels to tolerable.

    "Sinnoh observatory confirms, that the unidentified objects are, in fact, present in the space and aren’t just glitches of our tracking systems," said one of the younger operators in the microphone, now routed to the loudspeakers. "And… I think you all need to see this."

    The orbital map on the main screen got replaced with a view from the NSS’ onboard camera, which showed Soris - a dead region… except it wasn’t dead anymore. In fact, some parts of it were shining so bright, one could confuse them with the greatest cities of Unova, if it was duplicated several dozens of times.


    - -


    "This is just crazy," the Emperor mumbled, walking through the FCC’s command room. "You mean, we’ve just kinda teleported into a new world? Like… What, just what?"

    "I don’t think so, Your Majesty," said one of the astronomers.

    "Explain."

    "According to the video from the Space Lab 2, as well as orbital telescope “Barabashov”… time moved roughly 3100 years ahead."

    "… " everyone in the room went silent for a few minutes.


    - -


    Celebi twitched a little, almost waking up from a sleep. It was like if something, which disappeared long ago in the flows of time, has suddenly resurfaced, but without few crucial components, which started it in the first place. It was like timeline was damaged or, at least, irreversibly changed. It was almost like the world was about to stray from the designated chain of events major time…
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
  2. mgrgfan

    mgrgfan Active Member

    Past of the future, future of the past...
    Chapter 2: Handshake above the skies.



    "So, comrades, we are in big clusterheck now," grimly said captain Vasilyev to the cosmonauts, who gathered in the station’s command module. "The ground control, basically, told us “Provide data and do whatever situation calls you to do, until we give you new orders”, the whole world has changed, the orbits are crowded now, and we are not alone up there anymore. Any ideas?"

    "Propulsion is nice now," the pilot started to report. "Of course, we’ve used some propellant for changing orbit, but it wasn’t much. If anything, we can pump dry the cargo pods, along with 3-seated return pods, and use them to load propellant on the Lenticular Return Vehicle, so, even after the orbit’s change, we will be able to return to Earth. We’ll need to modify it first, though, but we have everything for it onboard."

    "Orbit change, you say…" wondered the engineer, who also doubled as psychologist. "Can we join the unidentified space station?"

    "… Well, theoretically, we can - given that we use most of our propellant for maneuvering and will be left with barely enough to deorbit the LRV, but should we?"

    "Why not?" the captain of the station said, answering a question with a question. "It’s not like we have any better ideas at contacting them. We don’t know their frequencies, we don’t know their data encoding, we don’t know a thing!|

    "Whatever you say, guys, I’ll just hover here and watch over the station’s parameters and engines," the pilot mumbled, floating towards the control console.

    "Here goes nothing," suddenly decided the captain. "Join the unidentified space station and keep the distance between us and them in-between 180 and 210 meters."

    "… Aye-aye, comrade captain. I’ll activate the propellant pumps now, to redistribute the propellant. The orbital maneuver will take some time, though."

    "No problem. We’ll prepare the MMUs in the meantime."

    - -


    "The MCC is silent," said Aneeta Gerst, flying away from the computer console. "Apparently, there’s quite a chaos down there."

    "I can understand them," replied Sarah Donnager, who was hovering nearby. "After all, the whole region, which was previously dead and absolutely unwelcome, suddenly becoming inhabited and developed is not something, that happens everyday."

    "Most definitely," mumbled Anthony Falkis, who was monitoring connections. "Wait a second… No, this can’t be… or can it?"

    "What?" - asked him two women.

    "According to the radar data from Mossdeep, unidentified huge space station has just started orbital maneuvering."

    "And?"

    "… It’s going to get near us."

    "How? You sure, that they have enough delta-V?"

    "Of course I am not, but the maneuver is too similar to those, performed by our crew transports and resupply ships."

    "And what the Mossdeep says?"

    "Mossdeep remains silent."

    "How long to rendezvous?"

    "Roughly two days."

    "Two days, you say… enough to commence evacuation in pods several times. Should we do so, though?"

    "Negative," came sudden reply from the Mossdeep. "Perform survey on the unidentified space station and, if possible, contact them."

    "Contact them…" angrily whispered Samuel Franck. "How should we contact them, if we have no idea about their radio frequencies and encryptions? By flying to them on MMUs?"

    - -


    "This thing is huge," commented Sarah, taking another picture of the unidentified space station, which had two contra-rotating centrifugal wheels, a few big parabolic mirrors, aimed at, presumably, some kind of boilers, a big set of heat radiators, an unidentified device, which possessed its own set of heat radiators, a six docked pods and a what looked like a flying half-saucer with steering fins, flaps and, yet again, deployed heat radiators, roughly twelve meters in diameter, docked to the “lowest” part of the station.

    "I’m afraid to even imagine, how many resources were spent on building this thing…" said Gerst, flying closer to Sarah. "By the way, is it just me, or… do you see someone going on EVA?"

    Donnager quickly took a camera again and tried to use zoom on it as an impromptu telescope. Thankfully, Cupola module, in which she was present, was spacious enough for her to aim the camera and see, that someone indeed has exited the unidentified space station and, using some kind of MMU, started to approach the National Space Station. However, roughly on the one-third of trip, the unidentified astronaut performed a deceleration burn and stopped, as if waiting for someone.

    "Hey, girls," started Franck, who drifted to Cupola. "What…"

    Seeing the looks in the eyes of two women and knowing, that current commander of the NSS will support them, Samuel has greatly regretted the words he whispered two days ago.

    - -


    Samuel exited the airlock, preparing to do something inconceivable before. He put the hand on his MMU’s control stick and gently shifted it forward, flying to the unidentified space station, which had appeared less than a day ago. His trusty Reuniclus was in the Pokeball on the suit’s belt, ready to be released, should something happen.

    From what he could see, there was a similar activity on the side of unidentified space station, which showed in the form of humanoid in advanced space suit flying towards him, propelled by the similar maneuvering unit.

    Nearly two minutes after, they were, finally, close enough. For what it looked like, the unidentified humanoid could very well actually be human… but how?

    Sam released his Reuniclus to try to establish the telepathic contact, but, right after that, his “opponent” took a huge, rectangular pistol-like device from the belt, threw a small instrument away, shot it with this device - the shot itself was invisible, save for how a part of the instrument instantly turned yellow-hot from it - and then took aim at Samuel.

    Reuniclus prepared to attack the unknown individual, but Samuel ordered him not to. The alien astronaut pointed at the Reuniclus with a free hand, made a swiping gesture, pointed at the energy pistol and tapped at the belt.

    Samuel, in response, pointed at the Reuniclus, then grabbed the pokeball and tapped at it with his index finger.

    Alien astronaut repeated the gesture, so, Samuel decided to withdraw the Reuniclus, despite how the Multiplying Pokémon was objecting against it. Thankfully, the gesture was understood correctly, so unknown individual switched something on its pistol and put it back on the belt, before grabbing a small container.

    Samuel was ready for another threat display, but, surprisingly, inside the container lied an sketchbook of some sort and several different pens. The unknown astronaut withdrew the sketchbook, took one of the pens and started drawing some strange symbols, adding lines over each of them.

    “So, those are numbers. Nice,” thought Samuel, looking at how many lines correspond to what symbol. “And they use the base ten system. Even better.”

    Right after it, alien astronaut stopped drawing and handed the sketchbook and pen to the Samuel. He wasted no time and drew national numbers right under the alien ones, then gave the sketchbook and pen back to the rightful owner.

    Alien astronaut made a strange - hopefully, approving - gesture, then turned the page and started making new drawings.

    - -


    "Vasya is doing pretty well," said commander of the Space Lab 2, looking at the screen, which displayed direct feed from the helmet cam.

    "Of course he does. Though, comrade captain, I think you’ll have to give him reprimands for threatening unknown cosmonaut with laser multitool."

    "I will, but later. Vasiliy," the captain announced into just-activated mic, "don’t forget, that you are here to get some basic info and then return to Lab!"

    "I know, I know, I’m doing it," cosmonaut replied, who was busy exchanging drawings with cosmonaut from other space station. "It’s not like I have a lot of oxygen left. An hour or so - and I’ll get back… or not."

    "What do you mean?"

    "Look at my cam."


    - -


    The oxygen meter showed, that it was time to return to the station. Samuel pointed at himself, backpack of the space suit, MMU and the National Space Station in succession. Alien astronaut understood it and extended its hand - probably, for the handshake. Franck, deciding, that here goes nothing, responded to this gesture by grasping the extended hand and actually shaking it. Just before the Nation’s astronaut turned away and activated the engines, unknown individual lifted the filter on his helmet, opening the view on the face - an unmistakably human face.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
  3. Namohysip

    Namohysip Dragon Enthusiast

    Well, that's one way to open my first time reviewing something here on the forums. Hello! I'm not usually one to read sci-fi, let alone something this sci-fi, but I'm intrigued enough to take a look at how this is going to go. The first thing that I noticed is the strong human aspect to these first two chapters, with only one Pokemon really having significant page time, and only for one section--aside from that snippet with Celebi, at least.

    This was a hard paragraph to digest. I feel like the commas could be replaced by periods in some places to break it down a little more. As it stands, it's a bit of a run-on.

    This is just one example, but the prologue and first chapter felt like they were a little heavy on the exposition. And it's also so dense! There's a lot of information that I'm taking in all at once about this relatively unfamiliar setting--and as someone less savvy to sci-fi, some of these abbreviations and terminology adds to the information density that I have to catch on to. I'm sure some of that is my fault, but I feel like it could have been broken up a little by having some interaction with, perhaps, named characters, or other small scenes?

    I actually really liked this, and basically this whole section of chapter 2. No dialogue because they think they can't communicate with one another, so they communicate in some other way that they deem universal. It's a classic, from what I'm aware, but I thought it was done pretty well here.

    As an aside, the way you format dialogue tags made things a bit hard to follow. I'm not sure why "quotes" aren't used, but it might help. This goes especially for prolonged exchanges (more than 4 back-and-forth lines) because it was a little hard, especially early on when I'm still getting familiar with the characters, to figure out who was talking.
     
  4. mgrgfan

    mgrgfan Active Member

    Well, those chapters were supposed to be mostly about humans - after all, it's the first contact between (not so)ancient(now) empire and today's Pokemon Nation.

    I'll try to fix it in the next chapters (the third and, probably, the fourth should be up soon).

    Thanks. That's what I was going for.
     
  5. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    Welcome to the forums! It's great to see you posting your story here. It's really cool to see a space opera kind of fic, as well; it's been ages since I've seen one of those, and it's always cool to see people kind of run with the gentle sci-fi flavor of the pokémon canon. Plus time shenanigans and mentions of some kind of ancient legendaries messing with history... there's a lot of neat stuff going on here.

    Probably my favorite part of these chapters was the two cosmonauts meeting and trying to work out how to communicate. It was a cute scene and way more interesting than simply having these people from completely different time periods magically able to understand each other, which is what tends to happen in fics where a character is displaced in time/space. Also fun to see how the cosmonaut worked through what the other person was trying to communicate, and how things went from tense to mutual excitement and trying to figure things out.

    Overall I'm really interested in learning more about this empire that got flung forward in time and is now occupying a previously-uninhabited region. And about the whole situation with the legendaries that landed it there in the first place! I don't know if we're going to be seeing fakemon in this story, or much about the culture in the Ancient Soris Empire, but I hope for a bit of culture clash and conflict, at least. There are obviously a ton of consequences, on both a personal and a societal level, for having a totally new culture just pop into existence, and I'm really looking forward to seeing some of those explored in this story. You're doing a nice job of it so far!

    I also thought reuniclus was a clever pokémon choice for a space traveler. Something artificial like porygon, metang, etc. would be my first go-to, but based on the reuniclus family's pokédex entries, it would be an excellent choice for a space-faring pokémon. It's neat to see a pokémon that doesn't show up often in fic and that works so well for this environment.

    One thing I did have a bit of a problem with was the number of different characters/groups of characters introduced here. There are a lot of short scenes, and because we didn't get to spend much time with any particular character, and I had trouble telling them apart. All the jumping around was a bit disorienting! I'm not actually sure which, if any, of these characters, is going to be the main character(s) we'll be following for the majority of the story. Rapid cuts like this can work for early scene-setting, where you're sketching out the full impact of a situation, but as the story goes on I hope we'll get some longer scenes so we can really get to know the various charcters.

    Also, your ideas don't always come through clearly because you have some persistent grammatical problems that can make it hard to follow what you're saying. In particular, the way that you handle dialogue attribution ("he said," "she said," etc.) is a bit funky. For example:

    It is possible to do dialogue attribution the way you have it here, where the verb comes before the subject (for example, "Hi," said the man), but as a rule of thumb you want to have the subject before the verb ("Hi," the man said). When you don't, like here, it often comes off sounding very, very strange.

    Also, the quoted bit illustrates your tendency to drop articles ("the" or "a/an," usually). It should be "the pilot" and "the sound," rather than just "pilot" and "sound" as you've written them here. Ultimately, the correct way to write this would be:

    Some other examples of this kind of construction:

    That should be:

    This is still kind of weird, though, because presumably only person was asking the question, but the question is attributed to both women. Or were they both asking at the same time.

    Or consider this example:

    It should be written something like:

    This one is a little complex. First, it should be "answered a question with a question"--you need articles in front of those nouns. Second, "answered a question with a question" is awkward as a dialouge tag. Usually that should be a single word, not a phrase: something like said, shouted, whispered, whined, etc. I used the generic "said" here and turned "answered a question with a question" into a participial phrase. You could use any verb you liked instead of "said," but it makes a reasonable default.

    And a final example:

    Should be like this:

    What's differnt here is "frantically scrambled through settings..." isn't actually a dialogue attribution. It's a sentence all by itself, and it doesn't relate to how the pilot was saying the opening piece of dialogue. That means the dialogue itself should end with a period, exclamation point, or question mark, not a comma, and the sentence that follows should be capitalized instead of lower case. Again, it should be the pilot, the settings, and the intercom.

    There are a lot of rules to remember about handling dialogue, but it looks like you already have most of them down fine! You usually know when to capitalize or not capitalize, how to use commas with it, and so forth. Change your word order a bit and it should read fine.

    Some other small notes:

    I'm guessing "no one in particular" is a typo? Since you immediately follow up with who it is...

    This sentence doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Best guess at your meaning is, "If you're taling about what just happened in the Reverse World--probably..."

    Also, as Namohysip mentioned, English uses quotation marks rather than dashes to indicate dialogue. So taking a quick example of some dialogue:

    This is the correct way to punctuate it:

    Grammar is something you'll get better with over time, of course. In addition to writing, you'll probably get a lot out of reading other people's stories. It's a great way to get accustomed to the sorts of sentences that "sound" right and really absorb grammar rules on an intuitive level.

    In any case, this is a very interesting start; lots of cool ideas on display here. Alternate timelines/worlds/dimensions have become more prevalent in recent pokémon games, but it's still rare to see people really playing with those concepts in fanfic. I'm really curious to learn more about what exactly caused this crazy time-swap in the first place... and maybe what's going to have to be done to fix it? The way the change is described, it doesn't sound like it was necessarily a good thing. One way or another, though, there's a lot of potential for fun culture clash and conflict as the future-flung people try to integrate into their new place in the timeline.

    Welcome again to the forums, and I hope you enjoy your stay here. Feel free to visit the fanfic forum's Discord server if you'd like to chat with some of the other members in real time, or check out the current writing contest if you're interested in a bit of competition. If you're interested in reading some fanfic while you're here, you might enjoy Sike Saner's The Origin of Storms, which is a futuristic take on the pokémon world after all humans have been wiped out by a mysterious plague. One way or another, good luck with your writing, and I hope to see more of it!
     
  6. mgrgfan

    mgrgfan Active Member

    Thank you! It means a lot for me.

    Thank you for these notes. I'll use them. Honestly, I'm still in search for beta-reader and English not being my first language does not help.

    The "Reverse World" replaces "Hell" here. This way, this sentence means "If you're about what the hell's just happened - probably..."

    The captain wasn't really asking anyone, but the pilot decided to reply anyway.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
  7. mgrgfan

    mgrgfan Active Member

    Past of the future, future of the past...
    Chapter 3: A hard day.



    "Well, those three months were quite something," Anthony said, when the Space Shuttle finally stopped on the runway. "I mean, actual first contact situation, even if with humans!"

    "Falkis, shut it for now," Sarah mumbled. "We'll have to explain this all over again to our superiors, when we return to the Mossdeep."

    "Okay, whatever, miss Born-with-camera-in-hands."

    Several seconds after it, the hatch in the side of the vehicle opened, the astronauts were safely removed from their seats with Psychic of the service Alakazam and put into the wheelchairs on the ground.

    "Don't worry, guys'n'girls, it's just a precaution," sounded voice of professor Takao Cozmo, making Sarah and Samuel slightly cringe. Of course, this man was a genius, especially for someone, who just turned 20, but at times, he was just impossible to be around.

    "We know," all four astronauts, along with the rest of Shuttle's crew, replied in unison. Of course, they wondered, why this mission only took astronauts down and didn't bring fresh crew...


    ----


    "Can you secure this thing now?"

    "Wait… yeah, I'm securing it."

    Captain Vasilyev hovered near the console, monitoring feeds from the helmet cameras of cosmonauts, along with their talks, and wondered, why exactly did it have to be yesterday for the station's backup power source, the nuclear fission reactor, to get stricken with some kind of space debris and get a total coolant leak. Of course, since the reactor wasn't activated for the entire duration of its staying in the station, there wasn't any imminent radiation hazard, but they still had to return it back to Zemlino Space Center for the inspection and repairs.

    Right now, Lozhkin, Migulya and Panasenko were removing the reactor and loading it into the opened payload bay of the Lenticular Return Vehicle. There was some sort of a strange irony - today, the cosmonauts from both space stations were returning back to Earth.

    "Comrade captain, the reactor was safely removed and is now secured in the payload bay of the LRV" sounded the proud voice of Migulya in the comm. "I think we're done here. Let us all pack up and go back home!"

    "As a commander of this station, I give this proposal my complete approval!" announced Vasilyev to everyone. "Since we are all packed up already, I propose to fulfill it as soon as possible. To EVA team - go to station's primary airlock on the "Drum" module. I know, the LRV's backup airlock seems very nice, but we need to leave the MMUs and suits here for the next crew."

    "Aye-aye, comrade captain!" reported the EVA team, firing up their MMUs and flying back to the first module of this great station. Since the airlock wasn't exactly spacious, they'll have to enter one by one - mostly because the MMUs were pretty huge. Of course, was it not for the advanced materials from Imperial Science Facility 9, which allowed creation of the normobaric EVA suits - the entire crew would've had to stay on the station for a few more hours.

    Thankfully, when the EVA team finally got back into station and re-dressed, everyone else was ready.

    "So, comrades, I want to congratulate you with the successful end of the 10th expedition to the Space Lab 2, which also served as a cornerstone for our relationship with… "Nationals", I think. So, anyway, we all served very well. Glory and long live to the Empire!"

    "Glory and long live to the Empire!"

    "Since the rest of our crew returned to Earth in pods already - thank the Emperor for launching that propellant tanker! - we can now return home at leisure pace. All hands - board the LRV and prepare for return."

    "Aye-aye, comrade captain!"


    ----


    "Goodbye, Space Lab 2. We will miss you and try to return soon. Just wait for us," the pilot said, looking in the return vehicle’s main window. The space station, jewel in crown of the Empire’s space program, was left by its crew and switched to full-auto mode, waiting for the next bunch of people to take the residence in it for performing even more science operations and making even more discoveries. "Proceeding as normal, four hours until touchdown."

    "Acknowledged," replied the captain, recollecting the events of past three months - the craziest months in his live so far. Contacts with cosmonauts from other regions of the world after the event, which was later named "The Shift"; nearly inviting them onboard the Space Lab 2 one time and only not doing this because of medic's advice; having to constantly help in writing reports to linguists back on the ground; making sure, that the space station works properly, especially before the propellant tanker gave them some more freedom in maneuvering… those months were most definitely crazy.

    "Comrade captain, I have a small question - why aren't the replacement crew already there?" asked him Grigoriy, who served as a biologist and medic aboard the station.

    "I don't know. Zemlino told me, that there were some hiccups with their launch vehicle, and their LRV is an experimental one, with fuel cells instead of nuclear reactor... they've decided not to rush it. Station can wait, after all, but losing cosmonauts is not an option. They were launched a few hours ago and will dock to the station tomorrow."


    ----


    "Hello there, darling," said man in plain clothes, entering the room. If not for the reaction of the Empress, not many would've thought, that this man was, in fact, the Emperor Ivan the Second himself. "How's your bad?"

    "Like ****," replied Empress Svetlana in tired voice. "Trying to make negotiations through these crude translators, when we are no longer the most advanced country on the planet…"

    "We still kinda are, in some branches."

    "In some, mind it. So, trying to negotiate with what's, apparently, called "Pokemon Nation", process all the data, prevent instabilities within the Empire and so on and so on… It's so tiring. And you?"

    "Not much better," said Ivan, starting to undress. "Since our main advantages are more advanced arcane science, nuclear physics and space technology…"

    "You mean, you want to make orbital weapon platform," finished his wife. "I don't approve this idea. We aren't on exactly good terms with the Nation now and making them even worse isn't going to take us anywhere."

    "Not quite, my dear, not quite. Do you remember the Project Tin Can?"

    "Yes, and what?"

    "Do you remember, what is it?"

    "I don't. Honestly, Vanya, with so much work, I can't keep track of all of your projects."

    "This project, my dear, is a nuclear pulse spaceship, whose wet mass measures 4000 tons. It uses small nuclear explosion devices, constructed to create a directed wave of superhot plasma upon detonation, for propulsion."

    "And?"

    "We've finished assembling the propulsion bus of this ship today. Pusher plate, shock absorbers, plasma deflection cone, gas gun for drive bombs, magazines and so on - this was quite a challenge! Now, we only need to construct the payload part…"

    "Wait, actual nuclear explosion launch?! Dear, let me check your temperature…"

    "No no no, don't be afraid! This thing will be boosted by the NUCLEUS superheavy chemical rocket and will only engage the bomb drive at high enough altitude!"

    "Still, using demolition devices for propulsion… I think it's pretty crazy."

    "Crazy or not, it should work. By the way, some time ago, Knyazev showed me a project of turning the "Red Explorer"..."

    "The what?"

    "The nuclear pulse ship - we've named it "Red Explorer", since it's designed to explore the Fourth Planet. So, he showed me project of turning the "Red Explorer" into warship, with retro-missiles for planetary bombardment, electromagnetic rail mass accelerators, point defence and so on…"

    "Retro-missiles?"

    "Okay, let me explain this for you. Retro-missile is a type of hypothetical space-to-surface weapon, which is launched against the orbital vector and uses its engines to decelerate to slower-than-orbital velocity and fall into gravity well of targeted planet/moon, later correcting direction of fall with smaller maneuvering engines to ensure, that it'll hit the intended target area."

    "And what would be the true purpose of this monster? Considering, that all-out war is the latest thing we want?"

    "I don't know. Knyazev is an already a strange one, always seeking to turn any project into the weapon…"


    ----


    "So, why exactly the next expedition wasn't launched?" Donnager asked in not-quite-slightly angry voice.

    "I'm not supposed to tell it to you… but the reason for it is Rayquaza," half-whispered Cozmo

    "Rayquaza? Isn't it the legend of Draconids?"

    "I wish it was, but, as it recently turned out, it's a completely real Sky High Pokemon, and a very territorial one at that!"

    "So…"

    "Yes, the space stations will get destroyed any moment now. The road to space is now closed by the ruler of skies."

    "..." Samuel clenched his fists in anger. He hoped, that the astronauts from the other station have also returned home.


    ----


    "... Nose gear touchdown!" the pilot of the LRV happily commented. "Deploying the drag chute…"

    The pretty big machine, measuring 12 meters in diameter and looking somewhat like the flying saucer, deployed small fabric cupola behind itself, along with moving all control surfaces into positions for aerobraking, in order to lower the current velocity and prevent rolling off the runway.

    Roughly twenty-five seconds later, the chute got detached and the machine soon ground to halt.

    "Welcome back!" sounded from comm. "Guys - hang in there for a few more…"

    "Zemlino, you're not clear, repeat, you're not clear!" said the pilot, trying to find the reason for the sudden cut-out in the words of flight control officer.

    "... Guys, you don't even know, how lucky you were," finally replied the officer in flat and shaky voice. "Right now, the Space Lab 2 was destroyed by the Pokemon of Legendary power, known by hoennians as "Rayquaza", along with LRV-03. Second space station was also destroyed. The 11th expedition to the Space Lab 2… is no more."

    "..." all cosmonauts froze. If not for this lucky early return, mostly forced by the need to return the reactor to Earth - they all would've been dead now. And their comrades weren't so lucky...


    ----


    "Dear, what's with you?" asked her husband the Empress. The Emperor, indeed, did not look good - he was pale in face, shaking and still staring at the screen of his portable computer.

    "... Nothing too bad. Wait a second," said he, getting the portable telephone out of his case and calling someone. "Knyazev? I know you knew this, you bastard! Does not matter right now. Consult the medics, I guess, Psychics with ability to predict the future aren't abundant. Anyway, your altered version of the Project Tin Can has just got my total and complete approval. Consult the ISF 5 and 9 for required equipment. Yes. Does not matter, but make sure, that it'll be able to withstand hits with Hyper Beam without getting holes - at least not at the first hit."

    Empress thought, that, whatever has happened, if it was enough to instantly convince her husband to turn the exploration ship, about which he dreamed for a very long time (at least as long as he was together with her), into the machine of war - it must be really bad… and yes, she saw the notification on her own computer - the notification, that the Rayquaza has just destroyed the LRV with the new expedition, measuring 12 cosmonauts total, and the Space Lab 2 along with the space station of the Pokemon Nation. Thankfully, all nuclear-powered satellites executed their contingency protocols flawlessly and moved onto graveyard orbits before this Pokemon would be able to destroy them and spill the nuclear fuel from their reactors.

    "... Yes. No. Of course. Yes. Goodbye," Emperor ended his phone call and turned back to his wife. "Sorry, dear…"

    "I know already. You know… I approve of it too. It'll help me rally the people of Soris together and lower the level of internal instabilities, as well as allow our people up here to protect themselves from attacks of this monster. So, you say, that this ship needs lots of nuclear materials?"

    "Yes. At first, they were needed just for the drive bombs and reactor, but now, they'll also be needed for the weapons - shells for railguns, missiles and so on. We can remake some of our already-existing demolition devices into weapons, but that won't be enough."

    "I understand. I think I can tailor this campaign as a sort of posthumous reverence for our cosmonauts. It'll really help us in keeping the Empire stable."

    "Do it, if you want to do so. But we need to get this son-of-a-Red Spirit flying, lest the road to space be closed forever for us all."

    "... Wait, nearly forgot - what about the political effect? Because, you know, getting something like this in orbit would be even worse, than actual weapon platforms!"

    "I don't know. I'm sure you can deal with this, my dear." Emperor smiled gently after saying those words. Empress hated it, because she could never resist this smile. "Besides, once everything settles down, we can use this ship as it was originally intended - for exploring the Fourth Planet! The amounts of drive bombs and supplies should be sufficient for this and replacing the landers won't be a problem at all…"


    Notes:

    ISF - Imperial Science Facility.

    Worldbuilding mini-note #1: Red Spirit - mystical being in the sorisian mythology, not directly linked to any of Legendaries. It's a somewhat malevolent entity, which, however, patrons those, who fight to avenge their comrades. Some sorisian warriors pray to the Red Spirit before battle to help them in the quest for revenge and, if they fall - make sure that their comrades will avenge their deaths.

    Worldbuilding mini-note #2: Emperor Ivan Yevgeniyevich Bazarenko the Second is a very shitty ruler (hence why his wife rules the Soris Empire - he gave his throne to her as soon as he was able to), but is an awesome constructor of pretty much anything that flies. Because of that, he spends most of his time in the Imperial Aeronautics Institute, returning to the palace only on special occasions.

    Worldbuilding mini-note #3: The Project Tin Can is based on the real Project Orion.

    Worldbuilding mini-note #4: The Rayquaza's aggression and territorial tendencies are based on its depiction in the anime. The Shift may also have something to do with it.

    Author's note: those three months will, eventually, get expanded upon in the small series of drabbles. Also, the next chapter will have much more action.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018
  8. mgrgfan

    mgrgfan Active Member

    Past of the future, future of the past...
    Interlude. Different Points.



    Soris Region, near Chernoholmsk, Imperial Rocket Factory #2.

    Nikolai walked along the assembly line, checking the sounding rockets, before they'll get packed up, loaded into containers and delivered to the Zemlino Space Center.

    Three months ago, the Rayquaza has destroyed both of the space stations in orbit, killed twelve cosmonauts and reduced the satellite groups of both Soris Empire and the Pokemon Nation to pretty much nothing. And that's not counting the destruction of anything, that goes higher than troposphere, such as research drones or high-altitude planes.

    Since then, the Imperial Space Program took a hit, but, thanks to the personal support of the Empress, stayed strong. Right now, their primary priority was set to the atmospheric research, so, they've commissioned several hundreds of the modified A-100 sounding rockets - the fastest rockets in the world, capable of 100g of acceleration!

    Speaking of which...

    "... Why are those sounding rockets like this?" the worker thought, doing a check on the hull. "No ablative protection, which is very strange, considering their accelerations and resulting ram heating in the atmosphere, unusual science payload adapter, attitude jets instead of steering fins and, for what it looks like, radio command flight guidance system…"

    "Surprised by how those rockets look?" asked him superior, who approached the worker undetected. "I'm also surprised by this order. It'll make sense, if they'll be used in space…"

    "But what for?"

    "... I don't know. And I think we better keep low and silent about it. They didn't double the payment and order me to increase your salaries for nothing."



    Hoenn Region, Sootopolis.

    "...And for the ending of the "Zap Rangers", we've planned…" TV fell silent.

    "Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers. Over and over again," said Valencia, switching the set off via button on the device itself and walking to the kitchen.

    Ever since the Rayquaza got crazy and destroyed most of the stuff in orbit, then began a stratospheric blockade, pure chaos ensued.

    In a lot of places cults sprung to life, calling, that the end of the world was near. Some of them had committed mass suicides, some - went into riots, allowing the looters of all sorts to flourish, some went into self-constructed shelters… it was true insanity.

    And, as a Cheri Berry on top of that cake, many book and comic writers, along with producers of TV shows and so on, decided to tell everyone their plans on ending their works. The newspapers and networks were pretty much flooded with them. Valencia was even afraid to imagine, how much money they were getting from those exclusive interviews.

    "Still nothing good?" a question sounded from the kitchen.

    "Still nothing good," responded the woman, entering the room. In one of the chairs, a young man sat. If not for a slightly ragged look of his face, it would've been impossible to tell, that he was, actually, a Draconid.

    "Damn. Gonna lay low for a few more weeks, I guess?" said Damien. His name was quite unusual for a member of this tribe… but it really helped him to get to his Sootopolian friend for a safe hiding, when the pogroms started. Even though, officially, Hoenn government had nothing against the Draconids, the fact, that those people worshipped Rayquaza, was enough of a trigger to allow humans, driven to hysterical paranoia by the acts of recently-resurfaced Sky High Pokemon and some medias, which were happily exploiting those events, to near-instantly resort to the unprovoked and indiscriminate violence. Even though most of the Draconids had powerful Pokemon with them, it often just made crazed people to switch to the swarming tactics, mixed with dirty fighting. Even great Draconid combatants weren't able to stand against fifty normal trainers and some more non-trainers at once, especially, when those people were specifically targeting the Draconid in question and going for the injuries at least.

    "Of course," replied Valencia. She wondered, why the news networks weren't showing anything about Soris now and how they, with their different culture, reacted to what has happened several months ago.



    Soris Region, near Zemlino, VAB #3

    "Contact zone reached," said the computer system in the cabin of the overhead crane. The slightly aged man threw a quick look at the screen in cabin, at the payload, at the destination, then gently shifted the left control stick, activating the hoist and lowering the turret with railgun, suspended on the crane's hook, to the workers below. Right now, the air conditioning system of the Vertical Assembly Building was being repaired and the clouds started to build up inside. It wasn't raining yet and most of the equipment was water-proofed for this very reason, but the condensation on the glass windows of the cabin was getting annoying for the operator, since it forced him to mostly rely on the instruments.

    "Klim, the break is starting about now! Get down here!" sounded from the comm system. Klim Goncharenko, a very experienced crane operator - probably, the best one in the entire Empire, since the Emperor himself called him for participating in this operation - frowned a little.

    "Okay, guys, but you know - I'm not into smoking. And know, if you've touched sandwiches, brought here by my wife… well, the unexpected bowel movements should start in roughly a minute or so!"

    For a thirty seconds, there was an uneasy silence, soon followed by "Sanyuch, you fraggin' bastard!" and a sound of at least three men sprinting towards the restroom. Klim smiled and started to drive the crane back to the parking position, thinking about his son and sort-of-a-granddaughter, who stayed in the Imperial Science Facility 9.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
  9. mgrgfan

    mgrgfan Active Member

    Past of the future, future of the past...
    Chapter 4. Breaking the blockade.


    "Finally," said the Emperor, looking at the monumental machine, placed in the largest temporary sort-of-a-VAB built so far. "Finally! FINALLY!!!"

    Officers, which were standing not too far away from this genius, but a crazy one at that, exchanged looks of understanding. After all, this was his dream made real, even if forced to be remade for destruction… and protection.

    The ship itself - the first real, atomic explo-flyer, envisioned long ago, but built only recently - was truly a masterpiece of technology. Massing 4000 tons fully loaded, equipped with the most advanced sensors, protected by the arcanotech-enhanced composite armor, armed with railguns, howitzers, rotary cannons, space combat missiles and retro-missiles for planetary bombardment, this was the most powerful warmachine of the Soris Empire... so far.

    The nuclear fission reactor of this ship was built with inclusions of components from the reactor of Space Lab 2, as a way to drive the point of revenge and attract the blessing from the Red Spirit (though barely anyone believed in this one). After all, according to the mythology, this spirit gave its blessing to anyone, who was fighting to avenge the fallen comrades.

    Right now, the giant rocket was quietly sitting on the launchpad (built specifically for it) and receiving final checks. The first stage - the NUCLEUS booster - had simple, but pretty efficient chemfuel engines, which used liquid hydrogen as fuel and liquid oxygen as oxidizer. A titanic tank of fuel in center of rocket, a sectionalized torus-like oxidizer tank around it, a monstrous plug-cluster aerospike engine right in the middle of bottom and several blocks of control engines near the edges - all of that could lift two thousand tons to orbit just by itself and then safely come back and land. However, that was not needed - it only needed to raise the payload roughly halfway to the space...

    The payload - the first manned interplanetary spaceship in the history of the world, remade into first space warship - had the nuclear pulse engine. When the separation happens, the shock absorbers, collapsed for the duration of the first phase of launch to make the rocket more compact, will first extend to full length, then the shaped-blast charge will be launched from gas gun between them and fly through the trapdoor in the pusher plate, before exploding and launching a wave of superheated nuclear plasma, which will impact the plate, protected by the layer of graphite, and transfer the momentum to the ship through two stages of shock absorbers. Then the auto-sprayers will apply the new layer of graphite, the new bomb will be launched and explode, and then it will repeat again and again...

    "Comrades, I think those nine months of accelerated work weren't for naught!" the Emperor finally stopped laughing like maniac and got himself together. "Prepare to remove the building shell. Prepare to fuel the NUCLEUS booster. All cosmonauts - prepare to board the ship. Begin the launch countdown."

    "Aye-aye, Your Majesty. Countdown begins, T-72 hours and counting. Beginning the launch pad preparations. Beginning the VAB final disassembly."

    Most of the stuff in the giant building was already removed in the preparation for launch. Now, the only thing they've needed to do was to activate fast-disassembly mechanisms, which will safely collapse the roof and walls outwards, without damaging the launch pad and the monstrous ship on it.


    ----


    Empress knew, that her husband was crazy.

    She knew, that this launch can - and, likely, will - worsen the already-far-from-good terms, on which the Soris Empire now was with the Pokemon Nation (culture clash did not help, especially with the whole thing about decent amounts of nationals worshipping Legendaries and Mythicals).

    She knew, that Nation can see it as an act of war.

    But for some strange reason, she was nearly as excited to see this launch, as her husband was.

    Or, actually, like the most of sorisians will be very, very soon, when the "Red Explorer" gets finally unveiled. After all, her internal political campaign about honoring the memory of 11th expedition to the Space Lab 2 really helped. The sheer growth of the metal processing and nuclear, chemical, arcanotechnological and many other industries, amongst other developments… it was wonderful.

    Besides, this launch, should the ship survive the upcoming battle, will majorly lift her support. Even after all those years (The Shift not included), "Bread And Shows" still worked great time - both for the Soris Empire (some parts of the space program, along with most entertainment) and Pokemon Nation (League and Contests).

    And if the Nation decides to try to attack them… well, that's what for the ship has several "Lightning" retro-missiles with city-buster warheads!


    ----


    "Look at this," said one of the operators in the Mossdeep Space Center, showing the director, who was walking nearby, transmission from the kantonian research plane, which was flying near the Soris. Right now, the biggest building in the complex of Zemlino Space Center has just… fallen apart, slightly reminding them of a flower, and revealed a giant rocket inside.

    This rocket was roughly comparable to those, which Pokemon Nation used for the Moon missions… except much, much thicker.

    "Are you even sure, that this is a rocket?" wondered director. "It's so huge… How would it even take off?"

    "No idea," replied the operator. "I suggest we get some Cornn Berries and watch the fireworks, when the Rayquaza destroys this thing!"

    "Be careful with your words!" notified him superior, then quietly added, "I agree. If they didn't get yet, that as soon as it flies to strato - it dies, then we can have some good views. Though I wonder, what they are overcompensating for…"


    ----


    "T-10 minutes and counting," announced one of the operators in Zemlino. After several very hard days of final workings and pre-flight checks, the "Red Explorer" was finally preparing to leave the ground. The nuclear reactor of the ship was now working at minimal capacity, cooling through external loop, the NUCLEUS booster was checking the thrust vectoring and aerodynamic control surfaces, the cosmonauts were getting more comfortable in their chairs… The final launch poll resulted in "go" and now there was only one way - the way up.


    ----


    "… Seventeen, sixteen, water suppression system online, twelve, eleven, ten, nine, ignition sequence start, six, we have ignition, four, three, two, all engines are running!" reported the announcer. "Liftoff! We have a liftoff, thirty-two minutes past the hour, liftoff on "Red Explorer"!"

    With a horrifying roar, the giant rocket started to slowly, but surely rise above the launchpad and accelerate, shock diamonds visible in the exhaust flames of working plug-cluster aerospike engine, rest of the launchpad clouded in steam, created by evaporating water from the water suppression system.

    "Tower cleared!" happily screamed Emperor Ivan the Second, tearing the microphone from the hands of announcer, when the giant machine passed the tower - the last remain of VAB's scaffolding. "T plus ten seconds, tower cleared, speed increasing as planned! The roar is terrific! The building is shaking! Look at that beauty go!"

    People, who were in this room, saw the Emperor going flat-out childish, jumping around while laughing like a madman and crying tears of joy. The last time he was like that was during the launch of Imperial Moon Mission on the Water Dragon rocket.


    ----


    "Holy crap," mumbled one of the telescope operators in the Mossdeep Space Center. "Josh - do you see what I see?"

    "If you're about the unreasonably giant rocket finally going up - yep, I do. Honestly, what in the name of Ray… sorry, but still, what is this thing?"

    "No idea."

    Image from kantonian observatory was quickly routed to the main screen, allowing everyone to have a nice view on the rocket.

    Finally, the main engine in the first stage has gone silent.

    "The stages separate… Wait, what? The first stage is actively decelerating, and the second… What it this? I don't even…"

    The second stage indeed looked weirdly. Instead of the usual great bell of the rocket engine or the cluster of smaller engines, there was a thick plate with some kind of a tube in the middle of it, installed on several shock absorbers, a cone between the shock absorbers - and that's all.

    On the screen, suddenly, something was launched from the cone, flew through the plate, and…

    "Feed from O7 is dark. No idea, what the Reverse World was that, but the telescope's matrix is dead."

    "Routing the SolOb6 to screen… Arceus the Original One, what the frak?"

    "..." entire room got speechless, as the telescope camera, designed for studying the Sun, showed ship steadily accelerating on what seemed to be huge explosions - probably, nuclear in nature. Thick plate (which, for some reason, was varying in thickness as the explosions were going - probably, serving as an another shock absorber) and long piston-based shock absorbers served well to protect the giant ship from explosions and soften the acceleration. Blast after blast, the giant ship was surely rising higher and higher...


    ----


    "Separation commencing," reported the pilot, looking at the screen, which displayed the data of active autopilot. "Separation complete. Booster is out of the danger zone. Initiating nuclear pulse propulsion. Stand by for acceleration. Bomb drive now firing."

    Entire ship shook, when the drive bomb, launched from the gas gun, detonated behind the ship's aft.

    Wave of superhot tungsten plasma, along with aerial overpressure wave, struck the plate, but thin layer of graphite worked well, ablating, but protecting the arcane-enhanced steel alloy underneath from getting damaged.

    Under normal conditions, the sheer acceleration would've instantly killed the cosmonauts and collapsed the hull of the ship. However, thanks to the gas bags right behind the plate and heavy, two-staged hydropneumatic shock absorbers, the fraction of second of acceleration got elongated, proportionally lowering the loads on the machine and men inside it.

    Milliseconds after the plasma from the detonation of the drive bomb dispersed, auto-sprayers deployed themselves and created a new layer of graphite on the plate, then retracted back, right before the new bomb was launched and exploded.

    And then it repeated again, and again, and again, and again...


    ----


    "So, if I'm understanding even remotely right, the first and, so far, only launch table for ultra-heavy rockets got destroyed by the exhaust?" Empress Svetlana asked her husband.

    "Yep," replied Ivan in surprisingly jolly voice. "Launch Table ST-1 has partially melted now due to insufficient power of water suppression system, but the ship is in space and there is barely any radiation trail in the atmosphere! By the way, launch stage recovered successfully."

    "That's good to know, but still, we've lost our only launch table for this kind of rockets and it'll take a long time to repair it."

    "I know. It's not like the Sea Launch Platform was an option for us at that time, though…"

    "On the topic of the sea launch - are you planning to use the Water Dragon rocket for building the replacement space station, since the Space Lab Two was destroyed by the Rayquaza? I've seen some suspicious increases in funding…"

    "Yep. The NUCLEUS rocket will remain for launching explo-flyers mostly, while the Water Dragons take lesser operations. One of them is getting prepared right now for launching the supply block to the "Red Explorer", when it gets to the orbit."

    "Uh-huh. And what about your spaceplane project?"

    "The Project BLUEBIRD? So far, so good, tests of the final version should begin in a week or so. I must admit, the hypersonic hybrid air-breathing nuclear rocket engines are still somewhat problematic, but we are very close to ironing those problems out."

    "Range?"

    "Unmanned - all the way to the Red Planet. Manned - to the Moon in a reasonable amount of time."

    "Docking to the "Red Explorer"?"

    "Possible through the expandable top adapter, but the spaceplane won't be able to fit into the docking bay."


    ----


    "We are on the action orbit now, comrade captain," said pilot, getting himself more comfortable in the acceleration chair. "Drive bomb magazines and propellant storages for the reaction control system are at optimal level after orbital injection, we can go to the Moon and back on those reserves in just a day!"

    "Nuclear ordinance for anti-space engagements and planetary bombardment is nominal, awaiting codes and targets," reported weapons operator, scrolling through the lists and making some mental notes. "Point defense rotary cannons ready, main caliber railguns ready, Lance Howitzers ready."

    "Targeting telescopes nominal, thermal scopes nominal, radars nominal," sounded the report from the sensors operator, who was already switching through the feeds, monitoring the surroundings.

    "Radiators deployed, cooling system nominal, reactor nominal," said the engineer, feeling proud of his participation in creating power plant of this ship. "Shock absorbers are fine, pusher plate is fine, drive bomb launcher, graphite sprayers and plasma deflection cone are fine, RCS nominal. Oh, nearly forgot - life support is also nominal and will be in this condition for at least a year. We'll run out of food much earlier. And landers, along with space workpods, are also fine and ready."

    "All comm systems are ready and tuned," added the comm officer, fiddling with headset, then suddenly turning pale. "Uh-oh. Comrade captain, FCC just told us, that Rayquaza is exiting the atmo and will engage us in few minutes, arrives from the east."

    "Then all hands to battle stations!" ordered captain, feeling shivers. Of course, their ship was the technologies of tomorrow embodied, a state-of-art space warship, armed with the most advanced, yet reliable and efficient weaponry Empire has created, but their opponent was no less than the Sky High Pokemon itself, who was once considered by less developed humans to be god of the skies and even now, it remained a great force to be reckoned with. However, this battle was a decisive one. There can be only one winner… and all of the humans aboard the "Red Explorer" will do their best to make sure, that the Rayquaza won't be it.

    "Aye-aye, comrade captain! Retracting the radiators, reactor output set to combat levels," reported the engineer, trying to keep his confidence in the great machine.

    "Railguns and point defence are deployed, the capacitors are charging up, anti-space missiles are armed, Lance Howitzers are loaded," calmly stated the weapons officer. Among the fellow crew members, he was the calmest and most confident one - mainly because dozens of nuclear missiles and howitzer-launched shaped-blast bombs, along with electromagnetic railguns (with nuclear and canister shots) and rotary cannons, were now under his control.

    "RCS and bomb drive are ready," said the somewhat unnerved, but slightly cocky pilot. The drive bomb counter and RCS propellant storages indicators told him, that the battle can go on for a decent amount of time - the NUCLEUS chemfuel booster allowed them to save a lot of bombs during the ascent.

    "Radars located bandit retrograde-breaking the atmo west and a little south, but no definitive lock so…" began the sensor operator, suppressing his nervousness with deep focus on work. Calling the Rayquaza "bandit" helped all of the officers to distance themselves from the fact, that they were fighting an actual Legendary now. "Yeah, telescopes acquired it! Locked on!"

    "SCMs away, 3 "Firestorms", 4 "Firelances"!" nearly screamed weapons operator, pressing the launch trigger.

    On the ship's hull, several round armored hatches opened, revealing missile silos. Right after it, seven of the streamlined machines of death were ejected by small explosive charges, turned around and engaged their solid-fuel engines, accelerating at 100 g and doing their best to track and intercept the designated target. Even with remote guidance from the ship, sensors of which were far superior to those, which could be installed on space combat missiles, it was not an easy task.

    The Sky High Pokemon, seeing several dots leave the more massive target, started to perform the evasion maneuver, as uneasy as it was during the already-ongoing Dragon Ascent. It was a wise decision and, probably, would've helped… were it not for the missiles with Lance warheads.

    When four of the missiles, armed with shaped-blast charges, reached the optimal distance, the "Red Explorer" sent a very simple command to them - "detonate". Under normal circumstances, this command would have served only for performing self-destruct… but the circumstances now were anything but normal.

    The small stars of exploding 10kt thermonuclear warheads grew for a split-second in space. It would've been a nearly-harmless firework for the Rayquaza… but, unfortunately for it, for each of the "stars", more than 80% of the thermonuclear power got channeled and concentrated onto a small tungsten disk. Even this metal could not withstand such a magnitude of energy, so, it turned into plasma and, shaped and accelerated by the still undergoing fury of the fusion reaction into a tight stream, flew in the desired direction at the recognizable fraction of the speed of light.

    Four jets of very hot relativistic plasma impacted Rayquaza. Even with the energy of Dragon Ascent surrounding the Legendary, it still hurt major time… and then the rest of the missiles came.

    When the Sky High Pokemon was distracted with the pain from the nuclear lances, warship directed the last three small machines of destruction to come in-close and detonate the neutron warheads. Even though the effects of fireballs were negligible (as it was with most of the nuclear detonations in space), the neutron flux from explosions was pretty decent, especially with overlapping irradiation areas. Now that the Rayquaza's body was irradiated like this, the combat capability of this Legendary will be lowering and lowering as the time goes, until the radiation poisoning takes the max effect and turns it into the agonizing wreck, before the death finally comes. As a nice bonus, those explosions have also caused enough of a shock to the Rayquaza to cancel out the Dragon Ascent.

    "All hits scored. I think the battle has started pretty good, comrade captain," cheerfully reported the weapons operator.

    "Don't get too cocky," warned them all commander of this ship, silently reminding, that they were still fighting a being of incredible power, which held the atmospheric and orbital superiority undisputed for who-knows-how-many years, only occasionally leaving its position and allowing a few travels up there.

    "Bandit has recovered from the shock and prepares to use the Hyper Beam," grimly stated the sensors operator.

    "Acknowledged, stand by for rotation. RCS now firing," warned everyone the pilot, slightly smiling to himself.

    The relatively small attitude control jets expelled streams of superhot hydrogen, turning the massive ship around.

    The Hyper Beam is a powerful move. Really powerful. But it has some drawbacks - the first one being exhausting user and forcing it to spend some time recovering and the second being relatively low velocity of the energy beam itself.

    The space is big. Really big. Even in low Earth orbit, dozens of kilometers are still considered pretty small distances.

    Between Rayquaza firing the Hyper Beam and it getting to the "Red Explorer", a pretty long time has passed. Long enough for the ship to turn and take the stream of destruction not the nose- or side-first, but on the pusher plate, built to withstand close nuclear explosions and covered by ablative layer of graphite.

    "Attack over, no damage to drive. Graphite layer restored. Stand by for acceleration. Bomb drive now firing," reported pilot, smiling even wider.

    Wham. Wham. Wham. Only the crew of the ship, who got pressed into acceleration chairs upon the drive's operation, heard those sounds, as the vessel began to change its trajectory.

    "Railguns charged, #2 locked on, "Firecracker" loaded. Firing," said the weapons officer with a slight smirk, as he pressed the trigger.

    Deep inside the ship, a one of three groups of electric capacitors of tremendous, well, capacity, already charged by the energy from ship's nuclear power plant, discharged all at once, transferring the power to the two parallel rails of one of the simplest electrodynamic mass drivers.

    The railgun spat out a projectile with barely any fireworks (save for plasmified remains of launch assist armature). In the vacuum of space, there wasn't even a characteristic "crack" of sonic boom… and the projectile experienced no aerodynamic drag, keeping the velocity at constant level with no need for active propulsion. And since this velocity equaled more than 2503 meters per second, and the projectile carried a small nuclear warhead…


    ----


    ""Red Explorer" is firing "Thunderlance" railgun, "Firecracker" 1kt nuclear shell"- emotionlessly said one of the operators in the Zemlino's FCC. "Hostile Rayquaza's biological armor is being damaged."

    "Is she always like this?" whispered Emperor to the FCC's director.

    "Sometimes."

    "Huh. You know, I'm still unpleased, that we weren't able to make guidance system being capable of directing more than seven space combat missiles and two howitzer charges at once before the ship was launched…"


    ----


    "Bandit is temporarily inoperable, trajectory - full retrograde orbital, roughly similar to ours," reported the sensors operator. "The respite will be brief, assume re-intercept in 45 minutes."

    "Acknowledged," said the engineer. "Deploying the radiators, beginning cooling."

    Several small square hatches opened on the hull of the ship, allowing the thin metallic structures to unfold from them and start barely noticeably glowing dull-red, allowing the waste heat to leave the heat accumulators and prepare the machine for the new round of combat. Combat, which will need a lot of energy and leave a lot of waste heat.


    ----


    The big digital timer above the main screens in the "rubber room" of the Zemlino Space Center ticked off the seconds since the launch of the "Red Explorer". When it passed half-hour, Emperor said, “Try it now.” He put on his own headset.

    Far outside of the armored launch bunker, across the entire Empire, both on the ground and on the sea ships, many giant parabolic antennas started turning around, trying to lock onto signature of the first space warship and establish connection.

    "Routing through the Grey Sea fleet… link established!" happily reported the comm operator.

    "Dancer, this is Pothouse, report!" said the Emperor, deciding to use codenames of both ship and flight control center for some reason. Sometimes, it was really hard to understand this man.

    "Pothouse, this is Dancer. No big scratches so far, re-intercepting bandit in five minutes or so. Radiators are now retracted, cooling is internal, preparing to launch SCMs."

    "Dancer, this is Pothouse, acknowledged. Be careful - bandit is likely to employ new tactics, don't let it hit the shock absorbers!"

    "Pothouse, this is Dancer, understood."

    "That's good. May the Red and Green Spirits bless you, guys!"

    "Thanks. Warning, bandit is in range, engaging!"

    The link cut off, as the ship resumed the combat.


    ----


    "Go, Dragon Lord, blast this thing!" young Draconid cheered, looking at the TV screen. An hour or so ago, the live broadcast of telescope and radar surveillance of the Imperial warship started and, less than an hour ago, Rayquaza started the battle with it. So far, the battle was going… strange.

    The giant weaponized spaceship of the Soris Empire was constantly turning around, engaging her explosion drive from time to time and attempting to take beam and projectile attacks on the aft plate, which was more than capable of withstanding them without getting scratched, since the nuclear explosions were the primary method of propulsion for this ship. In addition to this, most weapons of this warship, as the TV commenter pointed out, were also using nuclear explosions to cause damage. Few Draconids knew about nuclear technology enough to understand full ramifications of it, but those, who did, were really worried. If the sorisians have harnessed the power of atom and truly mastered it, then even the mighty Lord Rayquaza was in danger.


    ----


    "Bandit now re-engaging!" warned everyone sensors operator. "Ancient Power, two seconds!"

    "Incoming projectile attack," noted weaponry operator, who was obviously enjoying this battle. "Point defence firing… Attack neutralized. Seven "Firelances" away… Hits scored."

    "Warning, damage to the lander bay #2 armor!" reported engineer in somewhat worried voice, then eased up. "No penetration, no damage to contents."

    "Stand by for acceleration and rotation," said pilot in steel voice, while his eyes were burning with excitement of being among those, who fought the Rayquaza itself. "RCS and bomb drive now firing."

    Hiss. Hiss. Wham. Wham. Wham. Wham.

    The whole battle turned into series of reports and memorized actions, which happened a dozens of times on the ground simulator already, combined with sounds of propulsion and reaction control systems, weaponry and occasional hits to other places, than the pusher plate. Rayquaza was a formidable opponent… but the ship, originally intended for peaceful space exploration, then remade into warship, was designed to be capable to take on even the most powerful opponents and be victorious.

    Entire nuclear industry of Soris was recently redirected to supply the ship with enough propulsion bombs and weapons.

    Hundreds of millions were watching their battle right now.

    They've had no right to fail, lest the humanity forever become prisoners of this planet, with insanely territorial feral dragon ruling the skies and killing everyone, who dares to try to break free of gravity's hard embrace and turn their eyes towards the distant stars. Not to say anything about the Pokemon Nation, which, probably, will consider starting the war with Soris Empire, if the ship goes down, along with all the nuclear armament.

    "Bandit prepares Dra-Met, five seconds," noted the sensors operator, monitoring feeds from targeting telescopes, radars and thermal scopes at the same time.

    "Acknowledged, railguns charged, #1 locked on, "Dustbin" loaded. Firing…" half-reported, half-mumbled the weaponry operator, looking at his screens. "Draco Meteor dispersed and denied."

    Indeed, shooting a canister shell, loaded with tiny pellets of depleted uranium - byproduct of nuclear industry - right in the direction of Rayquaza's mouth was not a bad way to prevent the dangerous attack from being performed. As a nice bonus, several pellets hit eyes of the Legendary, causing it great pain and making it squirm.

    "Stand by for acceleration. Bomb drive now firing."

    Wham. Wham. Wham.


    ----


    The old dragon was hurt.

    Really hurt.

    For thousands upon thousands of years, it ruled sky undisputed. It showed the inferior beings their places. Even the Eon Duos were rightfully afraid of it.

    A few… days? Weeks? Months? ago the Sky High Pokemon has destroyed the human constructions, which violated its territory. It thought, that this time, they'll learn, that higher skies and space are not meant for them… but they didn't.

    They've decided, that they can force their point.

    They've built a giant machine, far beyond any previous constructions. It wasn't like old ones, which were frail, sacrificing everything to save the weight - no, this one was huge and sturdy, capable of taking hits and unleashing inferno in return.

    More than just capable, in fact.

    The battle was going on for a several hours already, filled with constant flybys and intercepts, where the combatants did their best to injure the opponent as much as possible and don't get killed at the same time.

    The whole body of the Legendary was either in pain, like from fire (even though the dragon's body should've been resistant to it), or slowly going numb. The machine, however, was still kicking with no visible major problems and unleashing attacks like no tomorrow.

    In fact, for one of the combatants, there indeed will be no tomorrow. Someone will remain victorious and hold the control over skies, someone will be destroyed and burned upon re-entry.

    The old dragon prepared for the final, death-or-glory attack… and suddenly the entire world for it turned blinding-white for less than a split-second, before everything disappeared and the complete abyss came.


    ----


    "All nine hits with Lances scored - seven SCMs, two Howitzers with "Matchsticks"."

    "Bandit… completely inoperable and will re-enter atmo in two hours," reported the shocked sensors operator. "Guys… did we just... win?"

    "I hope so," replied the engineer. "I really hope so, since the heat accumulators are nearing critical and if it goes on like this for another dozen minutes or so - it's either scramming the reactor, dumping a decent amount of our hydrogen for open-cycle cooling or deploying radiators mid-battle!"

    "Deploy the radiators," gave an order the captain. "Power down the weapon systems and retract the weapons. Set reactor output to non-combat level. Return the ship to patrol orbit. Activate the habitation centrifuge. Report to the ground… that we've secured this frontier and avenged the 11th expedition to the Space Lab 2. Red Spirit should be proud of us now."

    "Aye-aye, comrade captain!" replied all officers in unison, before the attitude control jets hissed again, the pulse engine thumped a few more times and commlink received happy screams from the FCC.

    Captain of the "Red Explorer" barely cared about all of that. He was just happy, that this battle ended with them as victors… and he also hoped, that, whatever this dragon was doing to keep the balance on this boulder, humans will be able to do just as fine.

    "Comrade captain, FCC congratulates us! They say, that, when we return to the ground, Emperor and Empress themselves will give us the Medal of Skies!" happily screamed the comm officer, who still could barely believe, that they've done what was considered to be next to impossible - they've successfully defeated the higher-grade Legendary!

    "Yeah? Okay then. And what shall we do now?"

    "... Emperor told me, that we should just… "Soar over space"? What does that mean?"

    "It means, pals, that we did fine and we can take a break. A well-deserved break. Tell the service team to start total damage evaluation and repair."


    Author's notes:


    Green Spirit - yet another mystical being in Sorisian mythology, which patrons those, who protect and help others.

    Launch configuration of the "Red Explorer" and the "Red Explorer" itself were based on the data about the Orion Battleship, gained from here.

    SCM-1 "Firestorm" - mid-range solid-chemfuel space combat missile with TD-ENF-10K-1 enhanced radiation thermonuclear warhead (a.k.a. "neutron warhead"), 10kt yield. Radio command guidance.

    SCM-2 "Firelance" - mid-range solid-chemfuel space combat missile with TD-SB-10K-1 shaped-blast thermonuclear warhead (a.k.a. "Lance warhead", based on the real Casaba Howitzer project), 10kt yield. Radio command guidance.

    PBRM-1 "Lightning" - planetary bombardment retro-missile with liquid-chemfuel engines, armed with TD-CB-25M-1 heavy "city buster" thermonuclear warhead, 25 megaton yield, or six TD-CB-1M-1 1mt yield "city buster" multiple independently targetable maneuverable reentry vehicles. Combined radio command/inertial/active terminal homing guidance.

    Lance Howitzer - simple auto-loading mortar for firing "Matchstick" shaped-blast thermonuclear warheads.

    STW-10K-1 "Matchstick" - shaped-blast 10kt thermonuclear warhead with basic radio command guidance system and some tiny attitude jets, launched from Lance Howitzer and detonated shortly after.

    ERMA-2-S "Thunderlance" - 127mm electromagnetic rail mass accelerator (a.k.a. "railgun"), adapted for space and capable of accelerating shells up to 2506 m/s.

    NRS-1K "Firecracker" - nuclear shell for the ERMA-2-S, 1kt yield. Contact/remote/timer detonation.

    CRS-3 "Dustbin" - canister shot for the ERMA-2-S, depleted uranium pellets.

    RC-6-20-S "Chestnut" - 6-barrelled 20mm rotary cannon, adapted for space and used in the PD-1-20-S "Sweeper" space-adapted point defence system.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2019
  10. Blackjack Gabbiani

    Blackjack Gabbiani Clearly we're great!

    I think everyone else has pointed out what the primary issues are. Density, the language barrier leading to unusual (for an English reader) grammar, and so on.

    But I like your novel take on the world, and the shifting focuses on different parts of the world and how they react. That the rest of the world thinks that nuclear war is imminent so they react accordingly including writers telling fans how their stories would end is well told.

    Just, yeah, you need a beta reader but your core is solid.

    Actually disclaimer, I've been helping this author over on tumblr and I honestly can't beta read since technical stuff tends to go over my head and my spelling is pretty bad anyway. So please, someone help this author. He's a nice guy and as you can see he's got the beginnings of a great writer, but he needs help.
     
  11. Namohysip

    Namohysip Dragon Enthusiast

    [For the review game!]

    Wait, so we aren’t going to do any more interactions with those humans for a while? I feel like it was incredibly significant! I thought this next chapter was going to be all about trying to communicate with the extraterrestrial human and see what happened, but… ah, well, I suppose I’ll see where it goes from here.

    Okay, so I think this is intended to be some form of conflict coming up, or something like that, in this tiny scene. Rayquaza is causing some trouble, though it’s still a little difficult to follow. I’m also not sure where this conversation is taking place, and as someone mentioned before—it’s incredibly dense. So much is going on between so many characters, and due to the dialogue being packed with even more information, it’s hard to figure out what’s where beyond just the basics. It’s hard to zero in on just one character.

    Here’s another spot that I feel you could slow down to actually think about that. They probably were familiar with a lot of the people on the staff, right? Perhaps more time for the crew to think about this, so we’d actually get a feel for their personalities—or at the very least, one of them. I think this story could do well to focus on just one character’s path and experiences instead of many in this omnipresent perspective, jumping from scene to scene so quickly, and so on.

    Oddly enough, I’m getting more personality from the Emperor and Empress, whom I have barely known and don’t even know the true names of, than anybody else in the story so far. I don’t really know why, but it seems like there’s just more narration, and this scene, in general, is more slowed down than everything else. If there were more scenes like this, I feel like I would have an easier time following what the characters were actually like, instead of just being nebulous clouds of dialogue.

    __

    I see at the end of this post you have yourself some author’s notes-esque world building trivia. I feel like a lot of these could have actually been integrated (or implied) in the chapter itself without a problem. For example, Emperor Ivan—well, there’s his name, but giving away that he isn’t a good ruler could have been done in narration instead. Demonstrate that he isn’t a good ruler, rather than say it outright—show, don’t tell and all that.


    And finally your actual author’s note addresses my concern at the very beginning about exploring those three months, but I’m not really sure about why it’s being ignored up until now. After all, since the crew already know what that interaction was like, shouldn’t that knowledge also be known to the reader at this point? It’s an odd disconnect between the reader and the characters, unless that crew for the first few chapters is actually no longer important—which would be another unorthodox narrative choice, I think.


    Overall, some key words about this chapter for the review:

    I already went over how the characters need a bit of focus so we can actually relate to them—the Emperor was the best example of this so far, since I have a better feel for him than anyone else despite how little time he has spent on screen. The Dialogue is very heavy, but I do appreciate that it now follows normal dialogue conventions so it’s easier to read. The writing in general is, as I mentioned, very information-heavy, and it wouldn’t hurt to slow things down for the sake of character reactions, emotions, and things like that, for sure. As of now, the pace is incredibly fast—so fast that it’s a bit hard to follow, though I at least understand (I think) that the plot is going to circle around Rayquaza causing trouble, but everything else still needs more time to set in place, I think, or I missed it simply due to how information-dense it all is.

    In terms of grammer, I do have something new to add, and that’s likely due to the language barrier that I’ve read about. Some small words like “the” or “a” sometimes are missing from sentences. It doesn’t happen so often that it’s in every other line, but it happens frequently enough that I think it might be a barrier problem, and not a matter of typos and the like. I’m not really sure how to fix that beyond practice and consultation with a fluent speaker, though.


    It’s interesting, and I see a lot of potential for an interesting plot with a unique “astronaut” feel—it just has to slow down and actually focus on some characters to look over the shoulders of, instead of hopping this way and that.
     
    mgrgfan likes this.
  12. mgrgfan

    mgrgfan Active Member

    First - thank you for reviewing my story. It means a lot to me.

    It's just... I barely have any ideas for this plotline. Some notes - yes, but not enough for a full chapter.

    I agree with you. I'll try to expand on that in the Chapter 5.

    And that's why I'm desperately searching for beta. Besides, the further chapters are going to deal with the aftermaths of this battle.

    Again, thank you for the review. It's really hard to write without them, not knowing, whether readers are pleased or not, and what should I fix.
     
  13. Umbramatic

    Umbramatic The Ghost Lord

    Oooh, a sci-fi fic! And one with a cool premise at that!

    I really like the worldbuilding and premise you've set up here - there's a weird temporal anomally and everything's going to [BLEEP], and the sense of chaos is wonderfully apparent. I also like the switching of perspectives between diffrent parts of the conflict. The descriptions of the advanced tech and procedures are really nice as well, and there's a wonderful emphasis on worldbuilding.

    The two minor problems I can think of:

    -I'll piggyback off another reviewer in saying that actual characters are hard to keep track of and I don't really know who's who except for the Empress. It's cool if this isn't a character-focused fic, but you might want to make it easier to get attached.

    -I would admittedly like a tad more Pokemon presence. You have refrences to the Pokemon world and Celebi and Rayquaza are great, but in a lot of respects you could file the serial numbers off and make this an original story more easily than normal. Which is fine as a story - many were born that way - but to keep things rooted in Pokemon to stand out as a fanfic you might want to go the extra mile. It's mainly a personal "thing" of mine to point this out but it's still worth considering.

    But yeah, despite the longer griping segment this is a really fun fun fic with a really cool concept. Good luck with it!
     
    mgrgfan likes this.
  14. mgrgfan

    mgrgfan Active Member

    Past of the future, future of the past...
    Chapter 5. Soarin' over the space...


    A small speck plunged through the atmosphere of Earth, burning pretty bright yellow. Dozens of radars and telescopes were tracking it. It's really ironic, but the Sky High Pokemon, who was supposed to rule the skies and above, was now helplessly falling to the ground, mercilessly dragged by gravity and burned by atmospheric ram pressure.


    All Draconids, who were now watching TV, could not believe their eyes. The Dragon Lord, the great Rayquaza… got destroyed by the titanic machine, constructed by sorisians. The machine, which was crammed full of nuclear weapons, capable of obliterating cities, should they start flying to Earth.


    In fact, the same thing could be said for most of other TV watchers… bar sorisians. For them, what little re-entry of the serpentine dragon they've seen, marked a beginning of a new age - an age of open skies, when people can turn their gazes towards the stars and not be afraid, that someone territorial and feral will stop their journey before it even starts.


    While the rest of the world was either shocked, horrified or furious, Soris was celebrating the first victory of their first space warship. Now the other regions will know, that the Empire is not something to be tampered with!



    ----



    On the Grey Sea, a decent fleet, consisting exclusively of nuclear-powered ships, was underway, towing a giant floating unusually-looking rocket in the middle of the formation. Several ships with "buzzers" - arcanotechnological devices, designed to drive off the Pokemon before the launch - and depth charge launchers, a tanker with kerosene, an electrolyzer-equipped ship for creating liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen on site, four deep space communication ships, several frigates with anti-air weapons and a single launch control ship - all of those machines were preparing for something great. A personal tiltjet of the Emperor, which was speeding to the landing pad of the launch control ship, only confirmed this further.


    A long distance from it, a research plane from Kanto was flying, trying to get a decent picture of what the heck was even happening. If the reports of astronauts from a nearly year ago were to be believed, imperials claimed, that their Moon mission was launched by the similar rocket 3000 years ago… but how? And what was their reason for this launch, not even ten hours after the launch of their space warship? And what was the payload of this giant rocket?



    ----



    Young Draconid could not believe, what she was seeing. She once saw the Lord Rayquaza with her own eyes - a long, majestic serpentine dragon of incredible power.


    What lied before her… wasn't like it. This one was thoroughly burned, up to the point when the originally green skin wasn't recognizable, some of the mug-fins were completely destroyed, eye sockets were empty and scorched, the horny ridges of mouth were chipped, one of the fangs was missing…


    The strange crackling sound interrupted her thoughts and, less than a second after, someone rudely yanked her away and started to mercilessly drag her.


    "What the Reverse World?"


    "The less we spend time near the corpse, the better," the assailant replied, revealing himself to be Damien. "The Geiger counter is going crazy near it, as you've heard. When we are back at the Meteor Village, we'll need to throw away our clothes, shave all the hair on our bodies and wash ourselves thoroughly, lest the radiation poisoning get much worse."


    "Radiation poisoning?"


    "Valencia works on the nuclear power project, she knows a lot about it and lended me a Geiger counter. Let's go faster, since the sooner we decontaminate ourselves - the better."



    ----



    "Fueling of the Water Dragon is now finished. The rocket is ready to be set into launch position," said one of the launch control officers.


    "Fill the cap's ballast tanks and set the rocket into launch position," gave an order the Emperor, who was just delighted to see one of his creations being ready to go flight pretty soon.


    "Executing, Your Majesty."


    Giant rocket started to slowly sink and, after several hours, stabilized itself half-submerged and vertical.


    "The rocket is now in the launch position, Your Majesty. Buzzers working good, no Bedolangs or other Pokemon for several kilometers, all systems good."


    "Excellent. Resume the launch countdown."


    "Aye-aye."



    ----



    "Much better," said Damien, who has just finished thoroughly washing himself with soap, having already shaved everywhere he was able to. To his left, Helian sat, also washed and completely shaved.


    "Now can you tell me, what is the meaning of all this?" asked them Renza, who was clearly not happy.


    "We've seen Rayquaza's corpse. It's so radioactive, the Geiger counter near it goes crazy and, apparently, the corpse itself glows in the dark slightly."


    "... Wait, what did you just say? Rayquaza's… corpse?"


    "Yes. As much as it's shocking to us all, apparently, sorisian nuclear weaponry was able to kill the Dragon Lord. And no, you better don't go there, since, as I've already said, it's radioactive as heck. I think we've got a small radiation poisoning by merely standing near it. Good thing wind was blowing away from us too..."


    "Damien, Renza, I don't feel so we…" started Helian, then fell to her knees and started vomiting.


    "Uh-oh," murmured the shaved Draconid, carefully helping her to get back up. "Well, it's been six hours already, so, it shouldn't be so bad. Does your head ache?"


    "Barely, but… yes," Helian said, trying to not throw up again.


    "Well, Renza, now you see, what the radiation poisoning is. Bury the bag with our old clothing somewhere and get us a new ones. Oh, and also - call the Elder!"


    "Will do," replied the scared Renza, sprinting out of the building.


    "Don't worry, Helian, the worst part will be over in less than a 24 hours and all of it will be over in a month or so," murmured Damien, trying to calm the girl down.



    ----



    "... Ignition sequence start, four, three, ballast detached, all engines are running! Liftoff! We have a liftoff! Fifty-four minutes past the hour, liftoff on the Water Dragon!"


    As those words were being said, the rocket, which was calmly floating in the sea, shuddered, the water around it started to rise from the giant bubble of exhaust gases, but the rocket was already lifting off and setting the course for beyond the sky, propelled by titanic aerospike engine in the aft and four smaller assist engines on top of the first stage.


    "Never gets old," the Emperor said with a nearly childish glee on his face. "Ah, I remember, how hard it was to fit an aerospike in there… At least it works and is pretty cheap to manufacture and use, as well as recoverable."


    "The combustion instability for the big bell was even bigger of a bastard to get rid of, though," noted one of the engineers, who worked on this project. "No wonder we've ditched it after a single launch and placed an aerospike engine instead."


    "Yeah. Arcanics for stabilizing combustion in engine of this grade aren't cheap and aerospike is just better overall."


    "Not for non-atmo conditions, though."


    "Of course."



    ----



    "Zemlino has just reported launch of the Water Dragon, crammed full with cargo," happily reported the comm operator. "A hundred-something of drive nukes, a few tons of liquid hydrogen, two retro-missiles and, what's really important - repair supplies!"


    "Cool!" whistled the engineer. "It's pretty much a miracle, that we not just survived yesterday, not just achieved victory, but also made it with no serious damage to the ship."


    "Yeah, but this very un-lucky Hyper Beam, which passed right between the second-stage shock absorbers, was… unnerving," the pilot replied. "Even though they are armored, if the shock absorbers got damaged and stuck - we would've been left with no primary propulsion and, as you can guess, majorly screwed."


    "To speak truthfully, you are the real hero of yesterday battle," noted the weapons operator. "I don't know, how you've managed to do it, but to take the most powerful attacks on the well-armored pusher plate or, at least, make them just scratch the hull's surface - it's more than something. If not for it, our ship would've got a few "unplanned ventilation ducts" - maybe, even through the drive bomb magazines or reactor!"


    "Me? How about you? After all, it's you, who was constantly scoring the hits on this dragon and not letting it get a metaphorical breath!" retorted the pilot.


    "Gah, I was just deciding targeting and launch priorities for the offensive weapons, while the fire control system did all the aiming and shooting!"


    "Comrades, let me just say, that we were all heroes yesterday," interrupted them the captain, who was trying to prevent discussion from getting out of hand. "We all did our part in taking out the tyrant of the sky, so, no need to get hesitant about your achievements. By the way, it's time for us to go rest and allow second shift to take the stations."


    "Aye-aye, comrade captain!"



    ----



    Deep under the Lumiose City, inside the War Room, quite a few people sat.


    "So, basically, now we have a giant militarized spaceship above our heads," one of them said. If his badge was to be believed, he was the current Secretary-General of the Pokemon Nation. "As scientists from Unova told me, it uses nuclear explosions for propulsion and for weaponry."


    "Nuclear explosions? Isn't that just a theory?" said a woman from Kanto.


    "As you can see, not anymore," unovan president replied, slightly irritated from having to state something so obvious.


    "By the way, Mr. President, I must note again, that cancelling the Castelia Project was a very, very big mistake," one of the nuclear scientists decided to put a word.


    "Castelia Project? You mean, weaponizing Forces of Nature and using them against us during this war was not enough?!" the Hoenn delegate responded with a great fury in voice.


    "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!" the Secretary-General decided to take a measure before the actual battle could've ensued. Even if no one had a Pokemon here, all-out physical pummeling was still not entirely out of the question.


    "Anyway, I will stand on that cancelling the Castelia Project was a great mistake," scientist resumed his talk. "Since, apparently, Soris Empire had no moral or other restrictions in performing their own version of it, which resulted in what we see today - they've got nuclear explosives of many kinds, while we've never ever performed a single test, making the nuclear explosions pure theory until the recent events! We have absolutely nothing, that can even scratch their ship! And it is loaded to brim with nukes, probably, ready to turn entire regions into scorched wastelands! Even the Rayquaza itself fell before this horrible weaponry - by the way, we still have no idea, where should we dispose of this corpse, which is so radioactive, it glows in the dark..."


    "Loaded to brim? Are you so sure about that? It's entirely possible, that they've exhausted their armament during the fight - there were quite a lot of explosions!"


    "Not anymore," said a director of the Mossdeep Space Center, getting off the phone. "Just a few minutes ago, a superheavy rocket was launched from the sea. Of course, it's not the same kind of monster, but still something. For what it looks like, it's a cargo mission, designed to resupply their space warship. I'm sure, that there'll be a lot of nukes to replenish the storages."


    "Arceus damn it," representative from Sinnoh mumbled, grabbing his head. "Can you contact the rulers of the Soris Empire?"


    "The Emperor is now onboard one of the ships in the fleet, which launched this superheavy rocket. The Empress… we are trying to contact her, but she is not available right now and representative refuses to give any comments."


    "And those damn journalists are on it again…" stated grimly the Kanto's representative, looking at the TV screen.



    ----



    "Workpods deployed, set to meet the cargo carrier," reported Pyotr Petrov, who was working as an engineer in the second shift.


    On the outside, one of the lander bays opened, allowing two small, mostly-cylindrical crafts with several manipulators and chemfuel engines, to detach from the space warship and enter the interception course to meet the "Hauler" superheavy cargo spacecraft and ensure, that it safely arrives to the "Red Explorer" for resupplying the massive nuclear pulse-propelled vessel with drive bombs, hydrogen, spare parts and like this.


    Right now, the pods were working in the automated mode, even though each of them was able to house a single human operator, should the situation require it.


    As Pyotr looked on the flying pods through the secondary cameras, he thought, that, probably, Pokemon Nation would have used a Reuniclus or something for operation like this.


    He still could not understand, how did it come, that they were in so close with Pokemon. Of course, cosmonauts of the Nation were using some kind of spherical containment devices, as the crew of the Space Lab 2 reported, and scientists of Soris Empire were going just crazy about them, but… how did it come, that they've relied on Pokemon so much?



    ----



    "Zhorik, how long do we have to wait?" asked the captain in slightly irritated voice. Right now, the entirety of this shift of bridge crew gathered in the mess hall in the outermost level of the habitation centrifuge, which was pretty cozy, with a big display on the wall, several stands with books and magazines (mostly the "Human Will Conquer Space Soon!" and "Human Conquers Space!", because someone in the ground crew had a strange sense of humor), a few tables with comfortable chairs and a galley with mini-bar.


    "Not much… Here!" happily exclaimed the engineer, who has just managed to reconfigure one of the backup comm antennas into a TV signal receiver and jury-rig a decryption program for the broadcast standards of Pokemon Nation, before running the decrypted signal to the display. "Let us try to tune to one of their channels…"


    A few minutes of fiddling with settings later, they were greeted by some kind of a news broadcast about their recent battle with, how the hoennians called it, Sky High Pokemon. None of the cosmonauts knew the general language of Pokemon Nation well (though no one from Soris did as for now, even the linguists - the language barrier is not an easy thing to overcome!), but they could get a basic outline.


    "Taras Grigorievich, do they really think, that we sleep and dream of nuking their cities to ashes?" asked the perplexed sensors operator.


    "Apparently, yes. Just like we are afraid of them using their Pokemon - especially Ghosts and Psychics - to wage a war on us. Teleport raids, guerrilla warfare and so on… In short, this'll be really bloody, should it happen. I don't know, if the people of Soris would be able to win."


    "And they are afraid of us razing their cities from orbit, where nothing of their origin can reach our ship without getting intercepted. Makes sense… and parity - if they try to attack Soris, we blow their homes up with nukes and vice versa."



    ----



    "Drive bomb magazines reloaded, RCS tanks full of propellant, retro-missiles loaded into silos, damaged armor plates replaced. I must say, our ship is now almost as good as new", reported engineer Petrov, looking at screens. He was very happy, that there were no heavily-damaged parts, which would've required more repair than removing a damaged armored plate and slapping a fresh one in place, as well as the fact, that most plates were designed to be easily interchangeable. After the trainwreck of a repairability the Project 21A Space Ferry was, no one wanted to go through the same nightmare, except for Pokemon Nation with their Space Shuttle (though even this was debatable).


    "Wonderful," replied the current commander of the ship.


    "Incoming transmission!" said the comm officer. "Patching through."



    Author's notes:


    "Human Will Conquer Space Soon!" (10.05.400 AFE - 18.05.425 AFE) and "Human Conquers Space!" (18.06.425 AFE and ongoing) - monthly magazines in Soris Empire, which are mostly centered around the Imperial Space Program, but also host some comics and stories. Even though, originally, they weren't selling well, they've managed to rack up a really decent fanbase over time, especially after the Sergiy Vyugenko started to write his stories for those journals.

    AFE - After Foundation of the Empire.

    Water Dragon rocket is based on the real Sea Dragon, except with aerospike engine in the first stage (second version of Water Dragon).

    Bedolang - the Pack Hunting Pokemon, very dangerous aquatic predator, native to Soris. During the Shift, for the reasons yet unknown, most of the Bedolang population got time-shifted as well, while the rest slowly died out from inbreeding. At the current day, the shifted population is sufficient to safely breed and starts to become a sea hazard to rival Gyarados again (in fact, before the Shift, packs of Bedolangs were known to hunt and kill Gyarados without much problems). However, due to the actions of Soris Empire, they prefer to avoid the ships.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
  15. mgrgfan

    mgrgfan Active Member

    Past of the future, future of the past...
    Chapter 6. On the brink.



    "Do you think it's time already?" the Empress asked her husband.


    "I do," replied the Emperor, who has arrived to the palace via his own supersonic tiltjet not even ten minutes ago. "Look, dear, with this machine in orbit, we can declare pretty much whatever we want."


    "I don't really think so… but yeah, this allows us for much more freedom. Okay, tuning up to Nation's comm."


    The Empress opened the communications app on her computer and initiated call to her delegates, which were supposed to participate in talks with Pokemon Nation. Right now, one of the primary priorities will be what to deal with the corpse of Rayquaza - a pretty big radiological hazard...



    ----



    "We're the guardians of heavens / Protectors of the skies / We'll fulfill our duties / We've been born to fly…" the pilot was quietly singing, to, surprisingly, no annoyance of the rest of the crew in the CIC.


    "About that - it's about time we rotate the shifts. The first shift will take the stations in a few minutes." said the XO.


    "Aye-aye," replied the rest of the officers. When the first shift came back, the rotation went without problems… but the captain was slightly unnerved by the contents of the transmission, which came to the ship in the meantime.


    Apparently, there was a possibility, that they'll have to deploy the retro-missiles today…



    ----



    In the Meteor Village, things weren't easy.


    Right now, Damien and Elder were talking. Even though the head of the man was still somewhat aching, he could work through it.


    Because of how the Rayquaza was brought dead by the sorisian space warfare ship, the prophecy was rendered nil, and the sheer radioactiveness of the corpse of the Sky High Pokemon made any attempts to recover it equal to the suicide.


    And, as if to humiliate them even further, right now, there was an announcement on TV about how Soris Empire sent their giant nuclear-powered dirigible to recover the remains of Rayquaza for burial in the radioactive waste storage facility, as well as quite a few government agents, sent to oversee the extraction and make sure, that everything will go smooth.


    Even though most of the Draconids were against it, Damien has managed to convince the Elder that it was still the best thing to do, since sorisians, given their proficiency with nuclear tech, must have a great experience with decontamination too. Several especially head-strong Draconids, who decided to not listen to his words, got to look at Rayquaza's corpse and got radiation poisoning, only made the talks with Elder easier..


    Of course, it was not normal for Draconid to be like this… but Damien was not a normal Draconid. Besides, having a girlfriend, who was a nuclear physicist and, as he recently learned, was involved in Castelia Project, helped to understand full ramifications of nuclear technology involved major time.


    The only thing Damien was really worried about was how, thanks to the actions of Soris Empire, now there wasn't anyone to stop the Groudon and Kyogre, should the awaken and rage again...



    ----



    Not too far away from Zemlino, the giant launch assist sled track was, after many years of disuse since the pause of the "WHITEBIRD" project, finally repaired and prepared to be used once again.


    The hypersonic spaceplane for it - the "Dreamwing" - was already loaded with everything and almost refueled with liquid hydrogen and oxygen, awaiting the load on the sled and launch.


    This machine, unlike the Space Shuttle of the Pokemon Nation or Project 21A Space Ferry, was long, sleek and even somewhat ominous, resembling unovan SR-71 strategic reconnaissance aircraft. It had two short, somewhat angular vertical stabilizers near the the tail, alongside with two similar horizontal stabilizers. However, the most unusual thing about this human creation were three long, boxy engines, suspended beneath the fuselage.


    The engines of the spaceplane were hybrids between usual scramjets and pure rocket engines. They've needed the spaceplane to be pre-accelerated to more than 1320 km/h before they could be started, but once they were up and running, they would accelerate the spaceplane to more than 7 times the speed of sound and get it to the edge of atmosphere, where it'll switch to internal oxygen supply and finish the orbital insertion.


    As big as this spaceplane was, there wasn't too much place for payload bay, crew cabin or like this - the machine mostly consisted of giant fuel tanks for the liquid hydrogen, because such was a price of being an SSTO. Because of this, the crew was forced to live in conditions somewhat harsher, than aboard the 12-meter LRV, though they didn't really mind it too much.



    ----



    "Your Majesty, the "Dreamwing" is fully loaded and installed on the launch assist sled. T-1 hour and counting," said one of the technicians in Zemlino.


    "The "Red Explorer" is ready to receive the cargo," continued the other one.


    "Wonderful, just wonderful…" the Emperor replied to them via videolink, looking beyond merely pleased with how events were unfolding. "Notify me of any anomalies or mishaps. I'm sure our guys up there'll like this little present…"



    ----



    "Vanya, please, can you explain to me - what's up with all those launches in such a short time?" Empress Svetlana asked her husband.


    "First - we need to make sure, that our big ship is supplied with everything they need, and there wasn't really too much of a place on the "Water Dragon" to cram everything we needed. Second - we need to get our launch infrastructure up and running again, if we want to continue to hold our advantage in space over the Pokemon Nation."


    "And the third one? I feel, that there's a third reason for it."


    "... Yeah, there's one - it's a chance for me to challenge the Pokemon Nation to a space race."


    "And why do we need it?"


    "Because it's the future!" the Emperor snapped in all sudden. "Space exploration and exploitation is the answer to almost all questions! The medical researches on both Space Lab stations showed amazing results, but the special drugs, developed during those researches, can only be manufactured in microgravity, as well as some of the ultrapure materials! The orbital solar power plants can easily supply us with enough energy to start rerouting our nuclear fuel production from being used for powering planetary grids to be used in space for engines of long-distance interplanetary ships. With heavy spaceships out there, we can easily deal with any asteroid! And with colonies out there, even if something happens to Earth, humanity will persist!"


    The Empress was taken aback with the sheer fervor in the voice of her husband. She was always worried about his intense desire for space exploration, but he never got that excited and angry.


    "However," Ivan calmed down no less suddenly, "we must not forget, how challenging them to the space race will also allow us to subtly steer them in directions we desire."


    "But they can try to do it to us too."


    "Yeah, but it doesn't mean, that we shouldn't try. Oh, by the way, the "Dreamwing" will be launched in one minute! Gonna watch it…"


    "Nearly forgot to ask - why did you resurrect the WHITEBIRD? I've thought you'd rather go with the BLUEBIRD…"


    "I'd really like to do it, but the BLUEBIRD nuclear spaceplanes are still in process of development, even if nearing the final stages, "Water Dragon", while reusable, takes decent time to prepare for launch again, so, the cheap WHITEBIRD, with pretty short turnaround time and non-extensive refurbishment, is our current best ground-to-orbit ferry."


    "I guess I can see that."



    ----



    "...Three, two, one, launch!" sounded words of the operator in comm. Crew of the "Dreamwing", trained as they were, still were somewhat surprised by abrupt acceleration.


    On the outside, the sled, loaded with huge spaceplane and propelled by both electromagnetic forces and hydrolox engines, started to move and gain speed almost as fast as an adult Garchomp.


    In less than a second, the sled passed the 100 km/h mark and continued to accelerate, soon entering the "ramp" portion of the track, which was going on for several kilometers both in length and in height.


    The engine ignition on the spaceplane happened mere moments before the sled with it passed the highest point on the ramp and performed the separation. After that, one human-created machine stopped on accelerating and continued to slide down the rails - now towards the depot, where it'll be prepared for another launch assist procedure, while the second one steadily accelerated and climbed into the skies, continuing to squash its own pilots with g-forces in the desperate attempt to pass the atmosphere, the horrible thief of velocity and heat-giver, as soon as possible.


    A few minutes after, the airflow through the scramjets thinned out to the point, when it was no longer sufficient to sustain the engine operation.


    The supersonic combustion ramjet engines went silent for several moments, as the air intakes were closed, injectors were reconfigured and nozzle extensions were deployed, before starting again - this time, as pure rocket engines.



    ----



    "Another launch detected from the Soris Empire," noted one of the operators in the Mossdeep Space Center. "Apparently, this time, it's some kind of spaceplane, if we go by the trajectory and acceleration."


    "They sure do a lot of launches these days," grimly replied one of the generals of Hoenn Self-Defense Forces, who got recently transferred here because of the actions of Soris Empire. "Let me guess - another supply mission to their space battleship?"


    "We don't know for sure, since the plane is still in the atmospheric phase and yet to begin the actual orbital insertion…"


    "Whatever. Still, they've decided to bet on their space tech… and Arceus-damn it, they now have a space battleship with WMDs above our heads! And I'm sure, that they're now stuffing even more weapons in there… Can't wait, until usage of Legendaries for warfare is decriminalized again…"


    Most of personnel, present there, paid no attention (or, at least, played paying no attention) to a horrible, bloodlusty smile, that has appeared on general's face.



    ----



    Several hours after the launch, the "Dreamwing" spaceplane was finally docked to the "Red Explorer". Even though this was mostly a cargo mission, with three retro-missiles for reloading the ship's storages and some provisional supplies, the cosmonauts from both vessels still've had a small chat about the events both on Earth and in space. Pilots of the "Dreamwing" were astonished by the deeds of the crew of the battleship, while their colleagues from the "Red Explorer" were pretty surprised to hear the rumors from the ground.


    Alas, all good things come to an eventual end, so, after four hours in docked state, the "Dreamwing" separated from the battleship and began the deorbiting burn, with resulting trajectory ending right on the airfield of Zemlino, while the ship continued silently orbiting the planet.


    Inside the ship's CIC, the things were pretty professional and quiet. The thrill of battle and victory was gone, the tension of the diplomatic talks on the ground (which, apparently, weren't going exactly good, if a few whispers from the crew of "Dreamwing" were to be believed) was in the air and… the very fact, that they've manned a humongous weapon platform was pretty unsettling by itself.


    Suddenly, the comm came to life and the words from it made the blood of the officers chill:


    "Zemlino to "Red Explorer" - this is the Emperor speaking. Prepare to perform the Operation D-2."


    "Acknowledged," said the commander, concentrating and trying to stop his panic, then gave an order to the weapons officer. "Prepare the nuclear ordinance for planetary bombardment."


    "Aye-aye. Nuclear ordinance is now ready for planetary bombardment," replied the officer, who held himself only so well.


    "Arm the retro-missile #6."


    "Retro-missile in silo 3-25 is now armed."


    "Enter the confirmation code: 12-342-24-553."


    "Confirmation code entered. Retro-missile is now ready for launch. Key it, captain."


    "Zemlino to "Red Explorer" - the launch permission is granted, I repeat, the launch permission is granted!"


    "Acknowledged. Three, two, one, retro-missile away."


    As those words were being said, both the commander and the weapons officer inserted their respective keys into locks and turned them at once, sending the final confirmation signal to the ship's ordinance systems.


    On the outside of the ship, one of the round hatches opened again, much like back in the battle with Rayquaza or recent resupplying procedure… but this time, it was different.


    A small explosive charge ejected retro-missile, shaped like a short cigar, out of the ship. After clearing some distance from the ship, it turned around, received a final package of guidance data from the ship, then activated powerful chemfuel engine, decelerating from the orbital speed and preparing to drop down the gravity well. Onboard microcomputer calculated the burn with great precision to deorbit the retro-missile at designated coordinates.


    A few minutes later, heat started to build up on the retro-missile, which prompted for separation.


    The now-empty and useless propulsion bus got detached, while the front cover fell apart, allowing all individual warheads to leave their nestings and enter the terminal phase.


    The atmospheric ram pressure burned the fronts of conic machines, but arcanotech-enhanced ceramic held well, allowing the vessels of death, now engulfed in plasma, to continue accelerating towards their targets. Tiny steering flaps helped the warheads to constantly correct their trajectories, all of which were converging on the island, placed between Soris and Sinnoh.


    Roughly 40 seconds later, all warheads reached their target points. In each of the machines, altitude triggers sent signals for the airburst detonation... but there was nothing to respond to it - the thermonuclear devices inside were replaced with mockups, since this retro-missile was a dummy one, loaded on ship purely for demonstrational purposes.


    All six warheads impacted the ground not even a second later, vaporizing in the bright kinetic explosions.


    "Wonderful," came voice of the Emperor from the comm. "Great job, guys. We've filmed it. Stand by for additional orders… and deactivate the habitation centrifuge for now. I feel like you'll have to do some maneuvering soon."


    "Aye-aye, sir," replied everyone in the CIC, relaxing. Of course, the fact, that they've had to launch a dummy retro-missile instead of live one, helped them to get through it, but the possibility of actually using nukes for attacking the targets on the surface of Earth still persisted.


    A few more stressful hours passed, before the comm received another transmission from the Empire:


    "Zemlino to "Red Explorer" - this is the Emperor speaking. Perform the trans-lunar injection and enter the Moon orbit ASAP, I repeat, perform the trans-lunar injection and enter the Moon orbit ASAP!"


    "It will be done, Your Majesty, but… why?" the captain decided to go slightly off-protocol.


    "We've shown them the power of our weapons. We now need to show, that they'll only be used for self-defence - after all, you'll need several hours to travel from the Moon to Earth. If something really bad happens down there, you are authorized to open the code packages and perform the global thermonuclear bombardment - the hundred PBRM-1 retro-missiles with MIRVs and another hundred with big booms should be more than sufficient."


    "I don't quite follow that logic, but okay, we are already preparing and will activate the bomb drive in three minutes."


    "Acknowledged. Good luck to you, guys, and thank you for all of your deeds."


    Soon after those words were said, the pulse engine started thumping once more, setting the ship on the transit trajectory to the Moon.



    ----



    Young Latias looked in the skies, seeing small white flashes. Even if she didn't know about that, those flashes, which belonged to the working nuclear pulse engine, marked the definite end of the usual flow of destiny, the true beginning of the new age and the new fate of this world - fate, which was not shaped yet. Now, it was up to the inhabitants of this world to create their own fate.



    ----



    "Ram heating has reached threshold #2. Atmospheric ionization detected, blackout imminent," reported the pilot of the "Dreamwing", looking at the MFD.


    "Acknowledged, "Dreamwing", we're tracking you, return safe," replied the flight control center shortly before the radiolink got drowned in static.


    "Aaand we're deaf again," noted the commander. "Well, good to fly our birdie again!"


    "Uh-huh," mumbled engineer, looking at his own MFD. "Wow!"


    "What's that?" immediately asked him both pilot and commander.


    "Some kind of a directed flash of arcane energy - draconic one, of Legendary level... or was it? Most likely, just interference from ionization hitting the sensors, like back during the third test flight..."


    "Draconic, you say? Let us really hope, that those were merely interferences..." grimly said the commander, turning his gaze towards the window. "Because if it's not - we're in the world of trouble..."



    Author's notes:

    The launch sequence of the "Dreamwing" is partially inspired by the Silbervogel project and the launch of "America" hypersonic spaceplane from the "Silver Tower" by Dale Brown.


    SSTO - Single Stage To Orbit.

    MFD - Multi-Function Display.

    Hydrolox - a type of binary rocket fuel composed of liquid oxygen (lox) oxidizer and liquid hydrogen combustible.

    The next chapter will finally have more Pokemon action.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
  16. Randy Bonnette

    Randy Bonnette New Member

    I really enjoyed the story and it's such a rare gift to be able to write. I also finished Ancient Soris Empire fics and ISF 9 Chronicles (followed on Tumblr). In any case I could recommend a couple of beta readers (I know them well, cause they reviewed my gothic stories too).
     
  17. mgrgfan

    mgrgfan Active Member

    Thank you! Didn't see your review before. And I think I'd like to hear your recommendations.
     
  18. mgrgfan

    mgrgfan Active Member

    Past of the future, future of the past...
    Chapter 7. Never the same.




    "Entering Hoenn airspace!" announced the navigator. "Current speed - 100 km/h, altitude - 10 km."

    "Coolant temperature… normal," added mechanic. "Reactor’s working at optimal capacity. Main propellers rotating at 300 rpm, blades angle set at position 4."

    "Good," responded the captain, looking in the front window. "Rad-scans?"

    "I think directed rad-scanners are picking up something in the Meteor Falls… looks like our target," said the radiation safety officer. "Pilot - drop us down to 3 kms and lower the speed to 30 km/h. When we'll be directly above the Meteor Falls - shut down the primary propulsion and deploy the auxiliary thrusters, then transfer the control to me."

    "Acknowledged, commencing corrections," replied the pilot, slightly shifting joystick and thrust control rudder.

    "Good," noted the captain, then relaxed a bit. Right now, they were escorted by a few of military helicopters, tiltjets and some Hoennian military Pokemon, just in case anyone gets the wrong idea upon seeing such a great airship. After all, it was equipped with a nuclear reactor for power source and, should the rest of the airship be destroyed and the ultra-durable protective shell breached, will cause a lot of contamination…


    ----


    "Your Majesty… your Majesty..." a scientist in Zemlino carefully tried to wake up the Emperor, who was sitting asleep in the chair near the ORBCOM station, after all those crazy events of yesterday.

    "Hm?.. If there's a third moon around the Red Planet - notify the Team 37, especially if it turns out to be an… eyed balloon or something…" the Emperor replied without actually awakening, being, apparently, in the midst of some bizarre and adventurous dream.

    "Again…" the Empress, who has just recently arrived to the flight control center, sighed, knowing a bit too well, just how enthusiastic her husband could get about anything aerospace-related. Especially after the first manned flight, when he has, somehow, managed to get into the SP-04 "Black Bird" spaceplane and, therefore, become the first human in space...

    "Anyway… now with the "Red Explorer" around the Moon, "Hauler" preparing to deorbit and "Dreamwing" back in hangar… we need to decide, how to direct the space program," said director of Zemlino FCC. "During the last nine months, it was directed solely towards building and launching the nuclear pulse battleship to open the road towards the skies again, with a few resupply vessels for it, but now, once we did it and made our intentions on keeping it open clear… what do we do?"

    "Honestly…" Empress started, in uneasy voice, "... I don't know. I mean, yes, we've opened the road to space again and people of the Empire are very happy about that, as well as showing Nation, that we're no jokes, but… I'm not really sure, what kind of directions are to be made of greater priority."

    "Orbital factories," Emperor replied, waking up upon hearing it at once.

    "Factories? Well… yes, they can be of use, but…" began director, only for the Emperor to interrupt him:

    "No buts. Even though I'm not big at ruling, I think we should capitalize on our success and get the info about the materials, which can be produced only in microgravity, and how they can help to improve the lives on the ground. I think info about the orbital hospitals can also help, since they are something everyday human can understand. If they start telling, that it'll be only available to aristocracy and rich - we should capitalize on grandiosity of our new Integrated Program Plan. It's finally time to put it back into action and make it reality."

    "... I guess," sighed Empress, thinking about words of her husband.

    "No time for guessing. We must make them realize, that the only way for them to get access to all the cool space stuff is to support the space program and help it grow as never before. We're on the verge of greatness now and we must achieve it."

    "Hopefully, you succeed at this," said director of the FCC, "because I'd hate the program falling apart, after all we've done..."

    "We all would," replied the Emperor and the Empress at the same time.


    ----


    "So… that's it," murmured Damien, seeing gigantic nuclear-powered airship soar through the skies back to Soris, carrying highly radioactive corpse of Rayquaza inside the shielded cargo section. For all of the Draconid People, it was one heck of a blow - not only the Dragon Lord was killed, but they could not even bury it properly, having to allow sorisians to stuff it into an underground nuclear waste dump. And, what's worse, none of them could do anything about it - not only Rayquaza's corpse was radioactive enough to be able to give human a fatal radiation poisoning in matter of a few minutes, burying it in classic way would've allowed the leaking isotopes to, eventually, contaminate the groundwater and cause a big ecological catastrophe.

    "Grannie…" started Helian, "... What will happen now? With no Dragon Lord?"

    "I don't know," said the Elder, looking at the airship too. "But I think, that the world will never be the same…"


    ----


    "So, we're done with preliminary checks," sighed mechanic, who was servicing the "Dreamwing" in the hangar #2 of Zemlino Space Center. "So far, everything looks fine."

    "Great," replied commander of the spaceplane. "Hopefully, our birdie will stay fine in the future too."

    "Hopefully… but it may get replaced with the new nuclear-powered spaceplane soon, when they iron out the hiccups of nuclear turboramjets and aerodynamics of the aft. I've heard Emperor got opposed to the idea of jettisonable aerodynamic tail cone and they're busy developing something, which will allow everything to come up and down in one piece."

    "Cool. Almost like our machine."

    "Yeah. From what I've heard, test flights of the SPN-01 "Blizzard", the first BLUEBIRD spaceplane, should start pretty soon. And with no Rayquaza around, they should be safe enough."

    "Safe, you say… the debris is still in place, though. And I don't think, that this spaceplane can be as armored as the battleship we've launched recently."

    "Well… yeah. Still, we've managed to take a flight to the "Red Explorer" and spend some time up there, so, maybe it won't be as bad. Besides, I've heard some rumors about how there are plans for dual-purpose weaponized satellites, which can both destroy targets in space and use their weapons for clearing space junk."

    "Hm… Interesting and kinda makes sense. I guess those laser researches in the ISFs 5 and 9 will be put to good use, after all."

    "I guess."

    "Hi, guys," said the engineer of the "Dreamwing", approaching the two men on this catwalk. "Anything wrong with sensors?"

    "No, nothing is wrong with them," replied mechanic and was a bit surprised upon seeing, how crewmembers of the "Dreamwing" suddenly got grimier and exchanged looks of understanding.

    "I guess we may have another dragon problem soon enough…" stated the commander, looking at the machine. "And who knows, if we'll have to resort to warships again…"


    ----


    Awake.

    Alive.

    Those were the first thoughts of the young dragon.

    Right now, it did not understand the situation yet, but some strange memories, belonging both to the dragon and not to it at the same time, were flooding its mind.

    It was slowly to understand some things, but not too fast.

    It understood, that its name was Rayquaza, the Sky High Pokemon.

    It understood, that it exists to protect the skies and deal with Groudon and Kyogre.

    It understood, that something must've happened to its predecessor, if it was awakened right now.

    With those thoughts, young dragon has struck the hard shell of the egg and broke it apart, freeing itself. As it has just remembered, despite most of the Legendaries, like itself, being near-immortal, there were still contingency protocols in events of something exceptional happening.

    And, apparently, something exceptional it was.

    The young dragon has remembered the last moments of the old dragon, when it fought some huge cone-cylindrical metallic construct and, somehow, was struck down by it.

    Whatever moves this construct was using, they've had near-infernal power. And young dragon could not allow itself to suffer the fate of its predecessor.

    For now, it will lay low and explore, as it grows back to the power level of a full Legendary. Then… it will depend on circumstances.

    With those thoughts, young pitch-black serpentine dragon took off, flew past the obstacles and left the cave, well-hidden in the mountain range. Right now, it had to, first and foremost, survive and grow up.


    ----


    Inside the bridge of the huge sorisian airship, there was not much action now. Rayquaza's highly-radioactive corpse was now in the reinforced storage, they were en route home, everything on the airship worked perfectly… honestly, it was kind of boring.

    "Guys…" started the navigator, "Do you remember our first assignment? The aerial expedition to Alola?"

    "Oh, I sure do!" replied the pilot, shifting in the chair a bit. "How we all have flown to it, how we've spent a decent amount of hydrogen burnfuel for our recon plane and heavy-lift helicopter, how technicians were able to assemble the mooring masts in just three days… that was the time!"

    "Especially with how we've managed to bring some Flygon eggs to Soris. Who knew, that those insect-dragons will become so popular at our home!"

    "Well… they did become popular with our colonists, didn't they? I mean, by the end of our stay there, quite a few people liked their partner 'Spirits of Change'. Including you."

    "... Yeah. Also…"

    With those words said, pilot reached out for one of his MFDs, quickly selected "security camera feeds" options and looked at the feed from the top hangar a bit. In it, an insect-dragon was quietly sleeping, curled near the tandem-rotor helicopter - much like during their return from the expedition.

    "... Nah, she's fine. Took Sunny form for some reason, though."

    "I would've said because of our cargo, but it'd be stupid. By the way… strangely enough, but native Alolan Flygon seem to be extinct nowadays, with Hoennian subspecies, somehow, having replaced them."

    "Hoopa's shenanigans again?"

    "Likely. May also be combined with the fact, that Hoennian Flygon, while lacking the sheer versatility of its Alolan progenitor, is better adapted to the desert conditions. I guess they've just lost the competition there."

    "And our region has preserved those dragon-bugs. Cool."

    "I guess. I've heard from some of my friends in ISF 4, that some scientists from Hoenn and Alola would be really happy to get more data about the extinct-for-them Alolan Flygon."

    "Likely."



    Author's notes:

    ISF - Imperial Science Facility.

    ORBCOM - Orbiter Communicator.

    MFD - Multi-Function Display.

    Sorisian nuclear airship is based on that.

    BLUEBIRD spaceplane is based on the real M(G)-19 "Gurkolyot".

    Alolan Flygons are based on that wonderful picture.

    The event crew of the airship mentions will soon get its own mini-fic.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
  19. shoz999

    shoz999 IT WAS ME! SETETH!

    My review

    Here's my second review here. Checked out the Prologue and Ch. 1. For some reason, it kind of reminds me of the book, City of Ember. Not sure why to be honest but the setup is really interesting. So from what I've understand an entire empire basically found themselves moved forward in time several years later in a more modernized Pokemon world. The title makes sense but I'm not gonna sugar-coat it. Sounds too much like an original science fiction story than a Pokemon fanfic in this first chapter. I saw mentions of some regions, the anime's reverse-world and Celebi but in the first chapter there was a larger focus on the more original content. I'm not saying it's a bad thing that there's so much original content early on, the story starts out really good giving the readers a compelling mystery of the world-building that the characters find themselves in, hooking the readers into wanting them to learn more about the world. I'm just saying this feels more like an original story early on than a work inspired by Pokemon as strange as that sounds. Perhaps later on it'll feel more like a Pokemon fanfic as you dive deeper in your take on the Pokemon world.

    To sum it up, the first chapter is a good hook to grab the audience's attention, a good compelling mystery of ZA WARUDO the characters find themselves. Although if I did had one criticism, this is more of a nitpick but I kind of saw the characters in Ch. 1 not as these named characters with personalities and more like the captain, the emperor, the pilot but I assume that'll change in future chapters. I assume that's a creative choice as you want to introduce the world-building first before diving into the core of the main characters.
     
    mgrgfan likes this.
  20. mgrgfan

    mgrgfan Active Member


    First of all, thank you greatly. Reviews mean a lot to me.

    Second, not just several years - several thousands of years, in fact.

    Third, a decent part of it all is because this whole arc is still, basically, a set-up for the upcoming main storyline, so yes, you are right. Right now, I'm describing and showing, what did make the entire world change and how exactly, before I get onto the more Pokemon-centered chapters. I think the second arc will start 20-something years later, roughly when the anime picks up, and show, just what result has unfolded from the events of the previous arc...
     
    shoz999 likes this.

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