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System of Variables (Rated: R)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Rediamond, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    PM list:
    GastlyMan
    Sepser
    catzeye
    KindrindraPart Zero: The Board

    "If you look up here, you'll see a few numbers written on the board."

    Oak paced across the length of his office continuously, never ceasing for any cause. The office was his actual home for most purposes, and he had been spending most of his nights here on his office at the island. He had to, because of the incompetence of those beneath him. Three experiments had died in the last week, and he wasn’t happy to say the least. It had all started with that bloody power failure. Oak scoffed; a warning from Zapdos indeed.

    No, Oak doubted that any legendary Pokémon were involved in the accident, and with very good reasons. It was most likely one of those aides he kept running around the place. Some of them were getting restless, annoyed by the total secrecy of the project. Blaine and Pluto just weren’t enough to keep anyone in check anymore. There was always some excuse, a petty trifle that wouldn’t serve as justification in a normal situation, and the administrators just kept caving in. They didn’t seem to realize that lives were at stake here.

    There had been deaths in the project, as was always to be expected. The master project had gotten one recently when some incompetent moron had chosen to ignore its power. He shook his head in disgust. For the best scientists in the world, they were very incompetent. All of them were the same, wasting the government’s money without a second thought. Thier projects cost millions of dollars, and they were just treating them like their average play kit that they used. These men wouldn’t know brilliance if they ran into it.

    That may have been why he had commissioned the Cinnabar project; he was tired of being lonely. Not a single man in the known world could rival Samuel Oak in intelligence, and he knew it. Terra could, but it was different, more ancient: she had given him inspiration. He had been inspired to create something new, something better. He had tried just that on Cinnabar, gathering the best scientists in the world, and creating the best lab in Kanto with the hopes of creating life.

    They had started simple, mere bug Pokémon being cloned, just to test the team under him. The project was pulled off without a hitch, and no major problems surfaced for months. They had moved on to more complex Pokémon, each experiment working spectacularly. Oak’s ambition could be contained no longer: they had tried to create a human.

    The first project was a mere cloning, and it succeeded beyond all expectations, developing into a viable infant and flourishing. That wasn’t enough for Oak; he wanted something on his level. He wanted a superhuman of sorts, something new. The debates had raged for months, but eventually Oak’s power and influence won out, and the project began, with gene splicing projects working around the clock to create a new genetic strand: the first artificially created human. The cell was eventually fertilized, and the cloning process put in place. A suitable mother was selected from among the scientists, and the project had begun, with the pregnancy progressing as expected, with no major flaws.

    Ambition soon became unchecked. Oak wanted something more, something unnatural. He had become fascinated by Terra privately, and wanted something like it. He wanted a Pokémon that could dwarf the mind of any human. He had organized a team of the best hunters to track down the suitable base species. This was eventually determined to be Mew, as it had DNA that could be very easily manipulated and copied; perfect for a cloning project. Among the team were two young trainers, already marked by incredible skill. They had since risen to prominence in the project, joining the elite council of four that reported directly to Oak.

    The DNA was recovered, and the project began to create the ultimate being. The project had been costly, draining millions of dollars from government accounts, but it succeeded in the end, creating a new Pokémon. Oak had been called away by his position, and left the project in the hands of his colleagues.

    Things had started to go wrong about a week ago. A power outage had devastated the island, causing several projects to die off, and the main specimen, the Mew clone, to briefly break free of its restraints. But the human was almost born, and the Pokémon was still alive, and the lab went on, albeit now filled with Oak’s impending wrath about the recent failures.

    A quick knock rang out from the door. Oak glanced back up, "Come in."

    Lance, a respected assistant with the project and one of the commisioned trainers walked in, and bowed awkwardly, a twisted smile on his face evading Oak's detection.

    Oak nodded, and motioned for him to sit down. “Lance, I’m quite busy right now. Is there anything you wanted to talk about, or are you wasting my time?”

    Lance shifted in his seat, “Well, it’s about the project.” Gramps motioned to go on. “A few people here were talking, and we decided that we don’t like it.”

    “They can just get their *** off of the island then. Only the devoted have a place in Operation Dawn," Oak scoffed.

    “Oh no, they’re devoted. Just not to you,” Lance rose to his full, rather impressive height, a cruel smirk on his face.

    Oak banged his fist on the disk, “What the hell is this?” he shouted.

    Lance laughed, a slow and evil laugh, as he gestured towards the doorway. A large upright figure in metallic armor walked in the open doorway, pausing at a hand signal from Lance. Oak gaped in shock, trying to find some sort of a reply. Anything at all. But he couldn't. The creature in the doorway being awake and functioning, much less under Lance's control, was impossible.“This would be a coup.”


    The final battle. This was it. By no means, was it an easy match, with a powerful opponent backed by every piece of intelligence in the system matched upon my relatively weak Pokémon. In reality, that had nothing to do with it. I had a few tricks up my sleeve that gave him absolutely no chance. He had pressure. A lot of pressure. Just about everyone I had ever met was watching, and most of them expected me to fail. I knew I wouldn’t, but at the same time a doubt whispered at the back of my mind. Someone had once told me that the word “nightmare” was subjective. I was starting to believe it. Even if this was every kid’s dream, this wasn’t going to be pleasant. It wasn’t just a Gengar that I was facing. It was a lot more.

    I glanced back up at the battlefield to confirm that everything was in place. My opponent was levitating on the other side of the clearing, waiting for me to start the battle. My Pokémon was fully formed and waiting in front of me, equally ready to go. “Alright Nidorino, let’s start this off on a high note. Go for a Shadow Claw across the chest.” Not nearly loud enough. It needed to be firmer, more commanding.

    Nidorino leapt at his opponent, a cryptic grey aura forming around his claw. Gengar narrowed his eyes. The system was thinking. Right as the claw was about to connect, it seemed to register what to do. The ghost swiftly dodged to the side as the poison-type flew past him. “Again!” Nidorino hit the ground and pounced in the other direction, striking Gengar in the chest and sending him flying back.
    Unfortunately, he was off the ground in a second and it was obvious he hadn’t been badly harmed. Just as expected. No one ever won their last battle by sheer force. Heck, the system probably hadn’t let the attack do any damage.

    “Good, let’s try a different tactic. Use-“ He wasn’t listening. Nidorino was staring into Gengar’s eyes, oblivious to anything I was saying. For all practical purposes, he was dead to the world. I grimaced, realizing exactly what was happening. Every final opponent had some sort of trick. For Machamp, it was the constant confusion from its Dynamic Punch attack. For Clefable it was charming the opponent into not fighting. Charizard abused the sun. I had been almost certain that Gengar was going to try to shut down Nidorino by binding it with Psychic. Apparently it was Hypnosis in this battle. Unexpected, but definitely possible to overcome with just a little thought. Not that I had the time.

    By this, Gengar’s eyes were glowing blue. Nidorino struggled in pain, but was bound in place.I recognized it: Dream Eater “Sleep Talk!” I yelled out, partially for Nidorino’s benefit, partially to make it look like I was in control. Thankfully, it did the trick. Nidorino began repeating its name quietly. I smiled a little for the cameras, but wasn’t exactly sure where this was going. For all I knew, this would just be even more humiliating than losing normally.

    Suddenly, Nidorino stopped talking. His eyes still shut, he lunged forwards towards Gengar, his fist cloaked in poison. The impact sent my opponent flying backwards, and caused eye contact to break. Nidorino opened his eyes, a strange contorted frown on his face that I think represented anger. For everything the system could do, it was never good at showing emotion. Now it was time for the difficult part, the part where all planning stopped. The system never kept up a strategy that had been thwarted. It was moving to a reserve one, and I honestly didn’t know what it was going to be.

    Gengar’s eyes glowed again as the system made its decision. This time, they were a pinkish glow, the color of a psychic aura. Brilliant. “Nidorino, Sucker Punch now!” Nidorino rushed forwards, slamming into Gengar’s gut and pushing him back before the attack could be completed. Everything was going according to plan now.

    “Double Kick.” I made sure the command was clear enough so that it could not be misinterpreted. The system did have some override procedures where it would stop listening to anyone controlling it. However, for final tests the override could be overridden again if it was certain the commander intended it. And I was fairly certain that every override feature in the system was going to be alerted to a fighting attack used on a ghost.

    Nidorino hesitated, the system racing to figure out what to do. And then he jumped. Gengar looked up, the system desperately trying to find anything that it could as to why this would ever be used. At the last moment, Gengar faded a little, becoming. As Nidorino fell through the ghostly outline, I smiled, not even noticing the cameras as I gave the final command of the battle, “Shadow Claw, now!” My opponent was shredded into ghostly essence from the inside out just before the world began to dissolve.

    It was dark. Pure black, no light at all. I was… standing? Floating? I never could tell in that dream. Welcome, abomination. The voice rang out from all around me, as if the entire world was whispering. It has been some time since we could converse freely.

    It seemed to be emphasizing ‘converse.’ That could only mean “You mean, talk?”

    It paused for an unnaturally long period, and I wasn’t sure if it was even still there. I think that’s how mortals treat the word.

    I stood in the silence. It had been years since it had first appeared, and there had been several years after the accident where it hadn’t appeared again. Why was it back now? And why did he want to do more than taunt me? “I don’t want to talk to you,” I stated firmly.

    It sighed, which sounded like the entire universe was breathing out softly, with no wind flowing. Such a shame. I had two important things to tell you, but I think I can settle with the first. The world started to spin around, as light began to glow and form into objects. When it all settled, I was facing an image of my town. Or at least, something that looked like it had once been Pallet Town. The outlines of buildings, and even a few half-charred structures were still there, but the entire town had been destroyed. Ashes burned in the wind, and bodies and collapsed structures littered the ground. Smoke was still rising into the sky from the area that had once housed the lab. Do you want to know the tragic part of this? The second piece of information could have prevented this. It let out a loud, bitter laugh as the world faded once more.
    The lights came back on, and I felt the full weight of the system. I paused for a moment to come to terms with situation. It had just been a dream. It wasn’t real. It hadn’t returned. Part of me lingered on the idea for something, catching that I’d overlooked some detail, but I didn’t care. I tore off the glasses and unhooked some of the cables as I’d done a dozen times before in the earlier tests, while a few of the Professor’s lab assistants took care of the more technical details associated with disconnect. I glanced around the room as they worked, trying not to linger on the dream. Most of the room was occupied in one way or another by the system. A large computer took up the entire backside of the room, humming away as it interpreted various strategies and created the worlds and situations for the tests later in the day. A single technician sat in front of it, busily typing something into the computer. Across the room, various wires and strange metal suits were set up in various patterns. All of them served a purpose, of course. Even with the bulk, expenses, and break downs it was the greatest virtual reality battle simulator in the world, and the system that governed every later exam in the Pallet school system.

    The lab assistant at the computer glanced up at me, “Congratulations on the victory. Please enter the hallway and go left until you reach the main conference room. Wait there until you receive further instructions. Do you have any questions?” I shook my head, and left the room. It wasn’t exactly what I had expected to hear after passing, but I could understand the formality. There were a lot of people to get through today.

    Outside of the room, the line of people waiting for their final exam was as long as when I’d left it. I was only the twelfth to go in the group of roughly 300 students qualified to take their final, so it was going to be a long day, even if the system was processing three people at a time. “How’d it go?” I couldn’t tell who said it, but most of the line had at least looked up to hear the answer. I put my thumb up, and walked away with a mostly fake smile on my face. I doubt I could’ve given a verbal answer if I’d tried. It’s not that I’m bad with people. In all reality, I’m actually fairly good at talking with people one on one. I’m just terrible with groups. Absolutely terrible. Seriously, there’s only one thing that scared me more. Well, at the time anyways. I’ve gotten better with people in the following years, and I’ve found much, much more frightening things. But that all came about later.

    I wasn’t used to the hallway being empty. Normally when I was in the school, large groups of people were everywhere, and I had to push to get through. Today I could hear my footsteps, and the only other noise was the increasingly faint sound of the crowd behind me. I looked at the various rooms as I went by. I’d been in a few of them before as a student. After all, spending eight years in the building and having a wide variety of subjects to match ensured that I’d experienced quite a bit here. But all of that was just about over now.

    Locker cleanout and the main portion of the school year were over. The final exams for those qualified to graduate were today. About one-third of my class, and most of the class above me were eligible this year for graduation. That didn’t mean by any standard that they all would pass the exam. The final exam was a very difficult test by any standard, and it required the skills of a master trainer to get through. To compensate, it wasn’t exactly required to graduate with a high school degree. It was required to graduate with a degree and a license, so most people took it anyways. Having your degree normally meant less than having a license anyways. To further motivate people, the professor himself gave anyone who passed the exam their first Pokémon, which was an enormous help in starting off a trainer’s career.

    About three minutes of walking later, I was standing in front of the conference room doors. I’d never been in the room before, as it was normally only used by teachers, deans, and periodically people from the League or the lab. I paused for a moment, and pushed open the large wooden door, closing it gently behind me. There were only three other people in the large room. The school principle Mr. Venser was busy discussing something with Professor Oak, and another student in my age group was sitting in a chair, her legs crossed and headphones in. The professor looked up from his conversation, and began to walk across the room. “Eli, my boy, I’m so glad to see that you passed. Not that I ever doubted you would,” the Professor chuckled to himself, “I brought a friend with me today to celebrate with you.”

    Professor Oak reached down to his belt, and unclipped a red and white ball from it. He wrapped his fingers around the orb, and clicked the white button on the front. After a short burst of red light, a small blue turtle appeared. “Squir, squirtle,” the Pokémon chimed. I smiled, not the fake smile I’d put on earlier, this one was real. I reached down to him and picked him up in my arms.

    “How are you doing, buddy?” I asked. The Squirtle wiggled a little to gain a better position, but stopped moving and began to talk in his own language. After handling him for three years, I’d learned how to decipher some of it. However mostly I just nodded my head and picked up what I could. Professor Oak smiled, and went back to his conversation with the principle. Let me clarify this: I didn’t own, or train, Squirtle. He was the Professor’s Pokémon; I just cared for him at the lab. If I actually owned him, it would’ve been illegal prior to that day.

    “Glad to see you passed,” the girl beside me mumbled. I looked over at her, to see that she had taken her headphones out and had her Charmander on her lap. She was the second of the three junior aides at the lab, and worked in the fire-type section with her Charmander. We’d had our share of disagreements, but didn’t really dislike each other. Well, I’m not actually sure what she thought about me. We talked sometimes, and it didn’t always break down into fights, but it did often enough. I just liked to imagine we were on better terms to keep her older brother –my supervisor- happy.

    “Hello, Bianca. See you cleared your exam.” I kept it short and neutral. I’ve never known exactly what to say around her to create a conversation that wasn’t likely to break down, and had learned several times over that sarcasm and teasing should be reserved for Gary.

    “Eh, Slowking was more annoying than I had imagined, but it still only took about twenty seconds,” she boasted with a smirk on her face. I was pretty sure she was lying, but didn’t bother pushing it. I later found out it took 26, not that it matters. Anyways, the look on her face told me she was in a decent mood, or at least not any state where she was likely to kill me, so I took a seat next to her and Squirtle jumped to the ground. “How did you scrape by?”

    I ignored the wording, and just gave a straight answer. “Pretty well, actually. I wasn’t prepared, but I passed.” She folded the corner of her lip up in a half-smile of sorts, probably at something I’d said.

    “I guess it’s to be expected that you wouldn’t know what a reasonably smart battler would do. He went for Hypnosis, right?” She was going back to her iPod, just barely paying attention to the conversation.

    “Yeah, how’d you know that?” I asked. Hypnosis had never really occurred to me.

    She glanced back up, and stared at me for a moment as if I’d asked her the stupidest question she’d ever heard. “Well, it’s the best option. Psychic is great for damage, but can be stalled by Substitute and Dark Auras. That, and no final test ever plays that aggressively. Burn is a nice stalling tactic, but Nidorino knows quite a few special attacks as well, so it would be too easy to avoid. Perish Song leads to a tie, which is simply settled by a redo. Hypnosis, on the other hand, has only one good way around it, is unlikely to be predicted by a rookie such as yourself, and shuts down the opponent to later by blasted away by hexes. It’s simple really.” With that, she turned up her iPod to full volume, blocking out the conversation completely. Squirtle hopped back on my lap, and I stroked his shell for the next few hours while waiting for the tests to conclude.

    Thirty people later and the only person I really wanted to see in the room walked in. It honestly didn’t surprise me at all that Gary passed, as he could reliably outscore even Bianca in all of the battling strategy tests. His grandfather didn’t even have to rig his match for an easy test to make sure that he would win. He glanced around the room, and quickly spotted Bianca and I sitting next to each other. He walked over, and started the conversation in his usual manner “Eli, Bianca, what’s up?”

    I gestured towards my ear, and he gave a silent laugh as he reached over and ripped the headphones out of her ears. Bianca immediately shot her face up, and glared daggers at Gary who just smirked. "What was that about?” she demanded.

    Gary held up his hands in a mock defensive gesture. “Hey, I just wanted to talk,” he replied.

    “I, obviously, did not.” She tried to put her headphones back in, but found them in a Bulbasaur’s vines by the time she reached them. She narrowed her eyes even further, but before she could yell at Gary the entire conflict was interrupted.

    “Gary, Bianca, Elisha, it’s nice to see that all of my aides passed.” Oak had walked over to the group, and seemed completely oblivious that one of his junior aides was about to murder his grandson, although I suspect this was purposeful. “After the graduation ceremony is done, could you guys see me at my office.”

    “Of course,” I shot in before Gary or Bianca could protest it on the basis of not wanting to be with each other. “I’ve got some stuff at the dojo to take care of, but after that, I’ll come over.”

    Gary rolled his eyes, “Come on, gramps, I practically live there. I’m sure that all three of us feel the same way,” his eyes drifted over to Bianca.

    She crossed her arms and legs in her ‘I really want you to butt out of my life’ gesture, and huffed out “I guess.”

    “Good, good. We’re about two-thirds of the way through the list, so until we’re done, celebrate with your peers,” the professor glanced between Gary and Bianca, “and try not to kill anyone.” With that, he turned around and went back to his discussion with the principle.

    “Great advice,” Bianca growled as she took her headphones from Gary’s Bulbasaur and put them back on.

    “Well, someone doesn’t want to talk today.”

    “Gary, when has she ever wanted to talk?” I replied.

    He shrugged, “True enough. Anyways, after Oak’s done with his little discussion, let’s have a practice battle tonight.”

    I stared at him blankly, “Practice battle? But neither of us even have-“

    “So what if neither of us have a Pokémon of our own? We have our license now, so we can command anything that’ll listen to us. And that’s assuming that gramps doesn’t give us Squirtle and Charmander, which he probably will. We’ve got nothing to worry about,” he interrupted.

    I paused for a moment, and listened to the buzz of other conversation in the room. He was right. After today, I could legally have a Pokémon battle. That was going to be strange, to put it one way. Simulator fighting was one thing, but actual battles would be another thing entirely. It would be something like the difference between Zelda and actual fencing. “My mom will probably want to talk to me.”

    Gary’s face sunk a little. “Oh, right.” He thought for a moment, and replied, “So, how about we do it at eight or so?”

    “Yeah, that would probably work.” From there the conversation varied dramatically, from sports to battling to television and back, racing across anything we could think of for the next two hours. Eventually, it was time to take the stage. When it was all said and done, only about fifty people would be graduating with a license, diploma, and Pokémon.

    There we were. All forty-eight of us lined up behind the doors leading to the stadium stage, where the principle was giving his address to the crowd. I could hear his voice echo through the stadium, but couldn’t actually make out a word he was saying. That’s when they started calling out names out the names. It was time to go out and face the crowd. “Bianca Aethus,” I decided to focus upon the person being called when it came time to go out. It kept my mind off the crowd before me. Bianca strode out across the stage, her faded jeans brushing against the stadium floor and the sleeves of her brown coat moving with the rhythm of her pace as she walked. “Elisha Ambrose,” I wanted to shut my eyes, but I had to cringe with them open. I hate my full name. It just sounds way too girly. I stare up at a screen as I walk, focusing more on my image than the crowd. It’s always best to stick with the familiar. My muscular arms were covered by my long, grey jacket. My black hair was tucked away under a white baseball cap, and I pulled down the bill a little further in case my composure broke a little. I was grateful to see that it was holding up.

    And so it went, focusing in on the name of a classmate, thinking over the memories of the best to avoid the present. I remembered events from the last seven years, and realized that it was all about to end. For better or worse, this was the last I would see of some of them. Of course, Gary appeared the most confident of any of us, giving a small wave to the crowd as he walked out. He didn’t bother to cover up his brown hair, and probably couldn’t have anyways. It was pretty spiky, and he probably didn’t have a hat that could fit on it anyways. Eventually the names came to an end, and the Professor himself came to the stage to give his address.

    “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Professor Oak, director of the Pallet Laboratory and governor of the town. I have come here for a truly special purpose today, and one of the highlights of my job. These young men and women we are honoring today have worked towards their dream for many, many years and have finally arrived at the end of one path, and the start of one much larger. The journey will be different for all. Some will choose to become researchers, others the workers that keep the nation together, others soldiers in the army.”

    “Regardless, every journey is equally important and difficult in its own way. They will encounter new allies, as well as new rivals. Challenges that we can’t even imagine may arise in the next generation, and they must be prepared to deal with those as well. There will be moments of immense joy and sore misfortune before them, and I wish them all the best. But at the same time, I know they can all succeed if they keep their focus on who they are, where they came from, and where they are going. Everything else is just another variable.”

    Two men watched a boat fade into the distance from there safe position on top of the island. "Champion, do you really think he's given up?" The shorter of the two asked.

    The taller man, dressed in a red cape and a blue suit almost resembling armor shook his head. "No, he'll try to retake his title eventually. It might not be for years, but we had best be ready."

    A long silence began before the shorter man, dressed in a black trench coat spoke. "I can help you, my resources are yours."

    The taller man turned towards the second one and smiled. "Tell me, Giovanni. Would you mind running Viridian? I need someone there to keep an eye on the old man in case he tries anything."

    The shorter man nodded, and focused his eyes on the ship that was now almost invisible on the horizon.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011
  2. Sepser

    Sepser grass type lover

    That was a good read so far. I'm not much of a rewiever but I'll try.

    Firstly this didn't really seem like a prologue but an actual chapter as a prologue is more often used to set up for the chapters and characters usually isn't introduced. I like the way you did it however. it was kinda strange how we got no description of them before later. And as only a few of them seem to come from canon it was hard to imagine them. You got to that later though and it worked out fine. Another thing i liked was that you didn't make a typical Gary character. This one seemed mor likable and not quite as snobby.

    I think that was a great start and i can't wait for the next chapter given i haven't read Flames of Dawn.

    PS. Can i be on the Pm list please?
     
  3. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    Comments in bold.
     
  4. catzeye

    catzeye Writer's Block

    Glad to see you aren't stressed out anymore! Now onto the review...

    Anyways I enjoyed the prologue a lot. I like how it starts off on a positive note with the students passing their exams and graduation. It set up the fact that our protagonists are starting a new chapter in their lives. A chapter that will be both exciting and terrifying.

    The virtual reality battle system really impressed me. It makes sense to have a simulator for testing kids instead of holding hundreds of Pokemon in a storage room that have to be fed, cleaned and taken care of on a daily basis. With a simulator you can just program every Pokemon you want.

    I agree with Sepser about Gary. I'm glad to see him not portrayed in his usual arrogant, I'm-the-baddest-thing-ever manner.

    At the end of the prologue I noticed how Professor Oak talked about how "Everything else is just another variable". I liked how it linked back to the title of the story. Plus it's a true statement. No matter what you do, you can't control every variable that comes your way.

    Overall good start. I can't wait to see how this turns out. Please add me to the PM list.
     
  5. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    Comments in Bold, which is now my favorite style for this stuff. Anyways, glad to see you came back to read the... I'm not even sure what to call this one. I guess the next version? The project is called NS1.3.0 in my notes, so I guess next version would be appropriate. Anyways, writing Chapter One now, and working out some details. Description and dialogue continue to annoy me greatly, and I'm really in need of some advice on how to improve there. Regardless, all comments are appreciated!
     
  6. Kindrindra

    Kindrindra 大事なのは自分らしいくある事

    After reading the information at the top, I didn't really feel like reading a fan fic (not that the information caused it, of course). I was about to click back... but then your first sentence hooked me.

    I'm so glad I decided to read this. It's really good. Put me on the PM list, please.
     
  7. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    Bold isn't working on my phone today, so I'll just reply down here. Yeah, I was wondering if the preface length was a bit long. I'll try to edit out everything that isn't necessary now. And yay, PM list grows! Thanks for the review.
     
  8. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    Alright, due to staffing at a camp for the next few weeks my posting schedule will be a bit irregular and I'm still trying to figure out how and when I plan on getting chapter two done. Until then, thanks to all who reviewed the last chapter! You guys make writing this worth it.

    Part One: The Equation

    "This is your starting point in solving the system. Everything else will be done by manipulating these two sides until the unkowns are revealed."

    Chapter One: Assignment

    In a hospital bed, a woman lie down, eyes closed, and apparently unconcious. A middle aged man with graying tan hair lie unconcious beside her, his face appearing to be unable to settle on an emotion. Finally he sighed, and breathed out, "Lauren."

    "Mhm," the woman barely opened her mouth and whispered.

    "The child..."

    "Don't worry about him," she said, her voice hoarse.

    "You will take care of him, right?"

    She opened her eyes, and gave the best attempt at a glare she could cast given her momentary weakness and benign personality. "Of course."

    "Alright."

    The brief dialogue concluded, the woman closed her eyes and slipped into sleep.


    I pushed my way through the crowds of people, really just wanting to be out of there. I can normally handle crowds if I’m just a member of the group with nothing to single me out. But that doesn’t mean I like it. There was really only one person here I wanted to talk to anyways, and they would understand if I left now and talked later. Besides, I had to go half-way across town and back in about an hour. You can’t do that if you sit around wasting time.

    Just as I was almost out of the crowd, I heard someone yelling behind me. “Hey, Eli wait up!” I turned around to see Gary pushing his way through the swarm of people behind me, and he paused to catch his breath for a moment before he spoke again. “So, aren’t you heading over to the lab with us?”

    I sighed, and kept walking as he tried to match my pace. “Look, I already said I was going. I just have to stop by the dojo and take care of something before hand,” I replied.

    He shrugged and kept on walking in silence for a minute or so. “Why couldn’t you do it after the meeting at the lab?”

    I smiled a little. “Well, I have two reasons.” Gary nodded to signify I could go on, “One: the professor will probably take a while to get to his lab. Wasting daylight sitting around isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. The second is that while watching you get on Bianca’s nerves can be entertaining, I don’t particularly want to deal with it today.”

    “More like you don’t want to deal with testifying at the murder trial,” Gary responded.

    I smiled. Leave it to Gary to joke about felonies. “That too,” I laughed. We walked on in silence, not talking for the mile-long trip. Talking slows me down, and I really didn’t want to be late to the meeting. Normally being late does nothing to improve the mood of a situation. In Gary’s case, he was just trying to keep up. It’s not that he’s out of shape –he’s not- it’s just that I walk “fast enough to attract all the female Rapidash in Kanto,” as Gary put it. I just see no point in wasting time if I don’t have to. Today I’d already spent a few hours waiting for the tests to get done. I didn’t want to add anything more.

    When we got to the dojo, Gary paused to catch his breath while I went ahead towards the doors. The building itself had a concrete exterior with as little to mark it as possible. All there was to signify the purpose of the building was a simple, wooden sign over the door that read “Pallet Blade Dojo: School of Fencing.” We honestly didn’t want every little kid in town coming over to try to stab something with a sword, so we didn’t make any efforts to advertise. If you cared enough about it, you would probably know someone who would tell you about the place.

    Unfortunately, the door was locked. I hadn’t exactly realized that anyone with a key would’ve been at the graduation tests and would probably be walking slower than I was. As that sat in, I glanced down at my watch. It was already 5:15, and I didn’t have any time at all to wait around in front of the building while the Professor and Mom waited, so I would come back later tonight after my battle with Gary. Unfortunately, the trip had just been a waste of time. I jogged back over to Gary, who was leaning against the concrete walls of the building. “Come on, we’re going to the lab.”

    Gary stood up, and began running to catch up. “Done already?” he asked. I just shook my head and kept walking. I really didn’t want to talk about it.

    The walk back to the lab took a bit longer than the walk to the dojo, even though the distance was slightly shorter. The gradual release of people from the school was almost over by that time, and cars and pedestrians were everywhere. By the time we got to the lab, it was already 6:00. Despite the fact we were probably late, I couldn’t help but slow down and stare up at the building. Whenever I saw it, which is pretty much daily, I can’t help but feel impressed by it. The Professor’s lab was easily the largest structure in Pallet, and that’s just the main building. The compound behind it stretched out for miles and occupied pretty much the entire north-east corner of the town. If the size alone wasn’t impressive, it was simply the fact that every part of the building’s outside was meant to look impressive. The front wall was covered in shiny stainless steel, with a large black doorway leading into the building.

    However, my attention soon found itself elsewhere. Bianca was outside the doors with a generally murderous look in her brown eyes. She was tapping her foot on the ground, arms crossed across her coat and a scowl on her face. I had a pretty good idea of what she was mad about as well. Gary and I exchanged nervous glances, and then walked towards her. It’s not like we could get in the building any other way. She glared at us as we approached, but didn’t speak until we were within a few feet.

    “Where have you been?” she hissed out, even though it was pretty obvious there wasn’t an answer she would tolerate.

    “We were running an errand at the dojo, but got delayed by the crowds on the way back,” I replied.

    “You do realize that I’ve been waiting here for half an hour, right?” she went on, disregarding my answer.

    At that point, I just walked past her and went inside. Given free rein, we probably would’ve been out there for another hour. Besides, it wasn’t like anyone had died from the incident. And I really didn’t want to go through the rather tiresome process of getting yelled at. Within a few seconds, Gary had followed me through the glass doors, and Bianca reluctantly followed soon after, but made it clear she didn’t want to. At the entrance to the lab, the receptionist nodded at us as we came through, probably aware of where we were going and used to seeing us here anyways. The inside of the lab wasn’t quite as impressive as the inside, and the dominant move was actually chaos. Aides ran through the hallways to and from the various departments, each of them rushing something critical to somewhere else. It wasn’t easy keeping the lab operating, and these people knew that fact all too well.

    The professor’s office wasn’t particularly far from the entrance to the building, and it took us less than a minute to get there. We paused at the doorway, unsure of what the proper way to ask permission to enter the professor’s office was. Being late, we really didn’t want to start this off on a bad note. “We,” referring to Bianca and I. Gary just went up and opened the door, leaving us to follow him in.

    The professor’s office was a smaller room, just large enough to hold a medium-sized bookshelf, the Professor’s desk, and a few chairs on the other side of it. The truly remarkable part was the view behind it. The office opened up to the Plains Area, where a view of wild Pokémon normally only found in the Safari Zone could be seen. It was absolutely beautiful at sunset.

    The Professor glanced up from the report on his desk, and waved his hand to tell us to sit down. The Professor very rarely called us to his office for a meeting. When he did it was always something important. He sat staring at his report for another minute or so, and then typed something into his computer, before he finally turned back to us, and folded his hands in front of him to signify his attention was on us.

    “First off, I want to congratulate you on your success today, but you probably know that is not why I called you here,” he stated. “I called you here for two things. The first you were probably expecting, the second you probably were not.” He paused for a moment as he cleared his throats. “The first item is that I would like to give you these.” He put three Pokéballs on the desk in front of him, making sure to place them in front of the right aide. “These contain the Pokémon you have been taking care of for the past few years that have now become your starters.”

    We each tried to thank him, but he held up his hand to signal that he wasn’t done yet. “As you are receiving these tonight, you will not be receiving them with the rest of the graduating students tomorrow. In order to avoid the uproar from the group that you received your starter a day early, I have an assignment for you for the next day or two to get you out of Pallet and help get your Pokémon training careers started.”

    He shut his eyes and paused for a moment before continuing. “I am expecting a very, very important package to arrive from the Plateau tomorrow in Viridian. I have left the job open to you. Along the way you may catch more Pokémon to add to your team, and bond further with your starters, this time as their trainer. Are there any questions this far?” We all shook our heads no. I did have quite a few questions. However, I didn’t expect to get a brief answer to any of them.

    “Good, I expect you all to be here at six o’clock tomorrow morning with supplies for the day in order to make it Viridian before nightfall. I have already notified your guardians about this, and all legal issues have been cleared up. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.” He paused, and in a tone that broke the formal tone of his address, he continued, “I’m sorry about the short notice, but the League isn’t particularly good with informing leaders when supplies will arrive.”

    With that, we all stood, thanked the Professor, and left the room as he went back to his computer. Once we were all outside, Gary shut the door and we stood there in the hallway. I was still holding the Pokéball in my hand; still in disbelief I was holding it. Gary was tossing his up in the air, staring down the hallway, his mind elsewhere. Bianca had already put hers on her belt and was looking at the two of us. “So, we’re the lucky ones who get to run off and fetch something for the Professor, right?” she asked, her voice half-way between serious and sarcastic. I couldn’t honestly tell what she meant by that, whether she was expressing displeasure or gratitude, so I just nodded my head. Gary caught his Pokéball and stared over at her.

    “I have no idea if that was sarcasm or not, but if it was the universe is in serious trouble,” he stated. Bianca glanced at him with an incredulous look that would have shut me up instantly, but Gary continued, “What? I mean it says in the Book of Endings that when the unpleasant one mocks the world, the heavens will open and the trumpets will-“

    “Alright, I think we get the picture,” Bianca was making an expression that surprised me more than anything else that day. She was almost smiling. Her lip was slightly upturned and wasn’t necessarily a sign of happiness, but it was an actual emotion. “Good night. I’ll see you guys up here in a few hours.” With that, she walked down the hallway towards the door. She certainly wasn’t skipping, but there was some sort of renewed energy in her step.

    As Gary and I stared down the hall, Gary voiced our thoughts perfectly. “Now, I’m scared.”

    It took me a few minutes to get home, but I think I can safely skip over that. I wasn’t particularly worried about Mom freaking out over my absence. I know that makes her sound like a horrible person, but it’s not like neither of us had ever stayed later than intended at the lab. Although to be fair, it was normally her. Right before I opened the door, I remembered someone. I reached down to my belt, and unclipped the Pokéball that held Marine, my new Squirtle. I hit the button in the middle, causing the red and white orb to swell a little.

    I tossed the ball in the air, catching it as it came down. At about the top of the balls ascent, it burst open, with a beam of red light coming from the opening between the halves. As it neared the ground, the light began to take the shape of a Squirtle, and when the light faded the Pokémon was left in its place. I must admit, Squirtle isn’t exactly a common Pokémon outside of the seas between Pallet Town –itself a sleepy supply center for Viridian- and the mostly abandoned Cinnabar Island. In other words, it wasn’t common anywhere.

    Anyways, the blue, upright turtle only came up to my knees, and the curly tail and happy expression on his face just screamed cuteness. I normally don’t care about that kind of stuff, but I smiled. The fact that I was now his trainer and he was my Pokémon was only starting to sink in. I’d only been used to handling the personality-filled reptile as a friend, although I was fairly sure he viewed himself as the boss in the relationship. I had no idea what to do now that I technically owned him? Was I supposed to be his boss or something? Marine settled the issue for now by thumping his tail against the door to signal that he wanted in, and Mom opened it less than a minute later.

    At age thirty-five, Mom was fairly young to have a fifteen year-old child, but this wasn’t ever discussed. In fact, I’m still not sure of many of the details concerning my birth at all, aside from the accident. That aside, she always wore the same outfit almost every day; a white shirt that doubled as a lab coat and a pair of dark jeans. There wasn’t much need to be formal at the lab. Other than that, the only thing really worth mentioning would be the eyes. They were silver, and almost seemed to shine abnormally bright in the moonlight. She brushed her black hair over her shoulder shortly after opening the door, and let Marine and I in. Marine immediately rushed forwards. He wanted to greet some of Mom’s Pokémon he’d gotten to know from his occasional trips home. I’m not entirely sure if he realized it yet, but this was his home now, too.

    As Squirtle began to eagerly talk with Lucario, who seemed much less in the conversation than the water-type, Mom and I sat down at the table. There was some food set out that we ate, but forgive me if I can’t exactly remember what after however long it’s been. Regardless, I remember the conversation fairly well.

    “Good job on the exam,” Mom began.

    “Thanks, but it wasn’t too-“

    “No, that was an extremely hard challenge. The professor himself selected possibly the most difficult exam in the system to give to you, and he wanted more than anyone to see you pass. Believe me, I’m serious about the praise,” she interrupted. I just sat back trying to think over that. The professor himself had given me what he considered to be the hardest challenge? I couldn’t think of why he would give it to me of all people. Perhaps he’d wanted me to fail. I decided to ask him later.

    “Yeah, I didn’t really see the Hypnosis and Dream Eater coming,” I confessed. “Not to mention the crowds.”

    My mother nodded, understanding exactly what I was referring to. “Well, it’s been a while since I was a novice trainer, but I don’t remember being thrilled the first time I battled in front of an audience. I still get a little nervous whenever I speak to a crowd. I think I can safely say that no one enjoys the crowds. In fact, some of the greatest men and women in the world will do everything they can to avoid public appearances. Trust me; stage fright is nothing to be ashamed of.”

    Her pep talk reassured me a bit. At the same time, it made things worse. There was a problem with words. They took on the power of what they described. Often nothing at all. There had to be some sort of value behind the letters to make it worth something.

    “Yeah, you’re probably right,” I said. I tried to make it sound convincing, but I’m not entirely sure she fell for it. She was abnormally keen at seeing through things, and I wasn’t the best liar to be honest. Whether she noticed it or not, the concern left her face and she went back to eating. By this time, Marine had already woken up Gloom, and the two were arguing about something. I hoped Marine learned his lesson last time and wouldn’t push it too. It wasn’t fun taking a poisoned Squirtle to the Pokémon Center.

    I wanted to talk to Mom about so many things, but unfortunately time was running out. Gary had wanted to meet me at eight, and it was already seven-thirty. It took me about thirty minutes to get where he would be waiting, so I had to leave soon. When I finally got the food cleared off of my plate, I stood up and thanked Mom for dinner. When she asked where I was going, I told her Gary and I wanted to meet up. She hesitated before approving as if there was something more she wanted to say, but eventually let me walk out the door, Squirtle in tow.

    It was still chilly in the evenings. May isn’t exactly Summer yet in the Pallet area. Temperatures did tend to drop as the sun went down. I didn’t notice very much, but Marine certainly did. Squirtle were native to warmer waters, and their bodies took on the temperature of the air or water around them. Marine ran on ahead of me, occasionally trying to run on two legs, but frequently tripping and falling back down to four. I was walking slower than normal, which was still fast, thinking about things. Mostly I thought about the upcoming battle. Gary’s Bulbasaur had a natural type advantage, not to mention a more skilled trainer. However, Squirtle was a naturally faster Pokémon and better at taking hits. But that wouldn’t save me if I didn’t have a strategy. The problem was, I couldn’t exactly be sure it would work. This wasn’t a simulation where the opponent would always operate by a certain method. This was much more real and unpredictable.

    However, as the walk went on, my thoughts began to drift to the next day. Over the next few days I would be given the chance to encounter and catch some of the first Pokémon on my journey. What would they be? I mentally made a note of every common Pokémon in the Viridian City and Route One areas, and began to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of all of them. I was almost done by the time we reached the hill.

    “The hill” was an elevated area outside of the Professor’s lab. From the top, most of the valley that Pallet Town was in could be seen stretching out. It wasn’t exactly a big city, with a population barely reaching into the thousands, but it was fairly important. The Professor’s lab was arguably the most important in the Republic, only rivaled by the Safari Zone in Fuchsia and Silph Co. in Saffron. Most of the town was connected in one way or another to the massive complex that stretched out just in front of the hill. It was an amazing view of my life; it was unlikely there would be many, if any, major events in the life of anyone born in Pallet that would occur outside of the city. Of course, tonight wasn’t exactly a time to reminisce. I glanced up at the top of the hill, and saw the silhouette of Gary waiting for me.

    “Nice night for a battle isn’t it?” he called down. I nodded, although he probably couldn’t see it in the dark, and ran up to meet him. He had a black jacket on over his normal white shirt, and was tossing his Pokéball up in the air repeatedly. I knew him well enough to know that meant he was nervous, excited, or both. Probably both in this case. “Well, let’s get this started. You lose if you withdraw your Pokémon or it faints. We shouldn’t need a ref.”

    I was a bit more worried. Pokémon battling was a dangerous sport to begin with, and doing it without a ref just increased the risks, I wanted to point that out, but didn’t see a point in doing it. “Yeah, let’s-“

    “Are you two really going to battle without anyone watching?” a familiar voice interrupted. We turned down the hill to see someone walking up, faintly illuminated by a fire beside them.

    “Well, men don’t exactly need all of the sissy rules you do, but if you insist you can watch,” Gary called out, and Bianca frowned as she reached the top of the hill. Whatever had gotten into her earlier had clearly passed.

    “I, personally, wouldn’t want to start my journey by killing my Pokémon, but I guess that’s your choice,” she replied.

    “Gary, just let her ref,” I pleaded. I agreed with Bianca on this one. Battling new Pokémon without anyone reffing it was just an accident waiting to happen.

    Gary shrugged, and Bianca walked over to the halfway point between Gary and I. “Alright, this will be a one on one battle between Gary’s Bulbasaur and Eli’s Squirtle. A Pokémon is considered unable to battle if it doesn’t move for ten seconds or faints. Additionally, if a Pokémon is withdrawn it is considered unable to battle. Are there any questions? If not, you may begin,” Bianca stated.

    “Alright, Ivy let’s go for a Vine whip!” Gary commanded. Bulbasaur raised one of her vines and slammed it into the ground directly in front of Marine, who was barely out of range. As Marine jumped back, I began to think. The chances of Bulbasaur having an attack with much range were low, and that could definitely be used to my advantage.

    “Jump back and use Bubble,” I shouted. Marine immediately jumped back even further.He shot out a steady stream of bubbles from his mouth, which foamed up with air and water. He released the bubbled, and they drifted towards the grass-type on the other side of the field. They weren’t racing there by any means.

    Gary glanced across the battlefield, “Destroy the bubbles with Vine Whip.” Bulbasaur lashed out again. Ivy struck through the bubbles floating over the field, popping them. The ones that did reach the dinosaur did pathetically little. Ranged attacks weren’t going to do much either. “Sorry, Eli but you’re going to have to do better than that. Avoiding my attacks is just wasting my valuable time.”

    I realized he was probably right. I wasn’t going to end this from a distance, so Squirtle was going to have to go into direct fire. “Rapid Spin forwards,” I ordered. Marine looked up at me strangely, not entirely trusting my authority yet. I’m not sure I would either if someone ordered me to rush into a super effective attack. I nodded to signify I was serious, and Marine withdrew into his shell. The Squirtle spun forwards with increasing speed. I wondered if this was really a good idea.

    Gary looked up curiously, trying to figure out what I was trying to do. “I have no idea what you’re trying to do here, but it was a mistake. Ivy, grab him with Vine Whip to show him how it’s done,” he called. Bulbasaur extended her vines out towards Squirtle, and time seemed to slow down.

    Bulbasaur’s vines made contact with the water-type, and hooked on. To his credit, Marine kept spinning, tearing into the vines that held him. Water and a green liquid scattered across the field as Bulbasaur was wounded. Ivy instinctively retracted his vines, and I almost gagged. There were large tears and scrapes on them from trying to hold the spinning Pokémon; some leaking a strange green substance. Probably blood. While it probably wouldn’t be fatal, it definitely was painful.

    Bianca stood there staring at the carnage, her face momentarily drained of color. She was biting her lip. She seemed to be in shock. Gary almost immediately unclipped his Pokéball from his belt and withdrew the Bulbasaur. Ironically, he was the one who almost succeeded at keeping his composure. “Alright, Eli I guess you took this one. I’ll see you both tomorrow,” he blurted out before sprinting away. I looked back up at Bianca, who still seemed rattled by the incident.

    “Are you going to be alright?” I asked.

    She was still staring at the drops of greenish liquid on the ground. “I-I’m fine. J-Just leave me alone, OK?” she stammered out. For some reason, the injury had rattled her even worse than Gary, but I didn’t want to push the issue.

    “Alright, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then,” I said uneasily. I turned around and started for home, motioning for Marine to follow.

    In the same hospital room, the same people stood, watching over a crying baby. "So, this is it. My third greatest project, still in my possession," the man whispered to himself.

    "No."

    The man looked up, startled by the woman's reply and glare. "He's not your project anymore. He's my son. That is all he is from now on, and all he needs to be." Her face took on a lighter tone, "And wouldn't he at least be our project or your greatest project?"

    The man smiled, but internally sighed. "Fine, I guess you're right. It's only fair."

    The baby stopped crying and opened his eyes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011
  9. catzeye

    catzeye Writer's Block

    Yay! Another chapter. :D

    That part made me laugh. I could easily picture little kids asking "Mommy, can I learn fencing?" much to their parents horror.

    It will be interesting to see how fencing plays into the story. I'm guessing Elisha will show off his skills somewhere down the road.

    I think you meant four right there. :p

    Good description right there. It sounds like we are going to have a Nuzlocke fic on our hands. I sure hope Elisha, Bianca and Gary are ready for this.


    Nice chapter, keep up the great work.
     
  10. Kindrindra

    Kindrindra 大事なのは自分らしいくある事

    Very nice.

    Though I have to agree with Gary and Eli- Whatever made Bianca so happy, it scares me. 0__o

    Also...

    *Eyebrow raise*
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2011
  11. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    Thanks for the reply! I will get to fixing grammar stuff later... when I stop being so la- busy.



    Anyways, my time to write/review will be very limited in the coming weeks due to being in the middle of nowhere on staff at a boy scout camp. My goal is to have the next two chapters done and posted by the 25th, but until then don't expect any updates.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2011
  12. Sepser

    Sepser grass type lover

    The more i see of this fic the more i like it. It seems to be a journey fic right now somehow following the storyline but it's strongly hinted something more will happen.

    The battle was also well done I dont normally like nuzlocke fics but if it's pulled of well it should be good.

    The only critisicm I can give is once again descripting the characters. There was more description with Eli's mom than before but please add more in later chapters it really helps the reader imagening the character and the story flows more well that way.

    Somehow i feel the need to point out the typo about Squirtles legs.
     
  13. Gallyrat

    Gallyrat Active Member

    I'm really liking this fic so far. Your descriptions arent too long that they disrupt the flow of the story, but they don't skimp either. Your narration is also excellent, and though I'm not usually a fan of nuzlocke five I'm very interested in seeing where this is going. The only real criticism I have is that at some points your dialogue feels a little off, but its not a big complaint in any way shape or form. Keep up the good work, and be sure to put me on the PM list
     
  14. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    Well, I did fail to get the update done before I go to camp for 11 days. Well, I could post something, but it's not nearly as long as it should be and I want to go back through it and rewrite some scenes after the recent reviews. Now that I'm rewriting stuff anyways, now would be a great time to give constructive criticism or advice.
     
  15. ShadedSkies

    ShadedSkies Well-Known Member

    Time for me to fulfill my end of the exchange!

    Eh. A review's a review, and who am I to reject someone willing to throw their story to the wolves for training?

    This story is very well written. Descriptions are varied, the spelling's perfect and you're avoiding all the typical traps fanfiction writers usually fall into. If this was an essay, you'd get an A.

    Sadly, it isn't. Reading about this guy I care nothing about training and chatting casually with some friends is a really bad way to start a story. As an introduction it's OK, but this streak of bland characters and dull events continues for way longer than anyone not chained down is going to read.

    Personally I'd catch the reader by surprise right away... Like, say, make the virtual simulator malfunction so that Kyogre suddenly appears, followed by fifty Caterpie that he tries to defeat. Just... Anything interesting!

    The descriptions are very elaborate. In a story where interesting events are few and far between, this actually hurts you more than it helps. Cut them down, or fill the story out with more interesting things to describe.

    Loved the reference to the intro for Red, though. I personally had Blue, but... Yeah, that Jigglypuff stood no chance.

    So, what can I say? Your writing skills are peerless, combine them with a good manuscript and it'll be great!
     
  16. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    System malfunction... *grins evilly*

    Oh, I think I can edit the opening a bit. Now I just need to get back to society and a computer...

    Regardless, thank you so much. I'd gotten some comments on FF.net loosely along those lines, but I couldn't tell what the heck they actually wanted me to do or specifically, what the problem was. Now that I know that, I think I can add something in to the first chapter and prologue. The next two chapters will be decently boring by nature (conventional start of a journey). And then the fun begins. So, thanks for the point. I'll work on that and post when I've added the scene(s?) and killing some of the lab/system description, as neither actually matter outside of their chapter.
     
  17. Draco Malfoy

    Draco Malfoy -REaction

    This is a review exchange review

    This is a review exchange review.
    Fics: "Under the Same Sky", a PG-15 Chaptered Story (Currently at Three Chapters, and 20,000-ish words).

    Summary: A nameless teenager is heralded as the Champion of the Unova League. However, he's not ready to bear that cross. In order to deal with his inner demons, he absconds to Undella Town - and meets a certain blonde Sinnoh Champion.

    Review Wanted: A review similar to mine. I provided quote-by-quote analysis for each chapter. If you don't want to do quote-by-quote, I'd also be happy with general comments separately, for each chapter. Elements I'd also like you to perhaps focus on are description, characterisation, and my dialogue.

    Hope that my review is satisfactory and would help you improve. =)


    Prologue:

    -Commas required for dependent clause.
    -Confusing sentences, such as the highlighted one. I know that you are trying to be enigmatic, but self-contradictory sentences like that seem to have no purpose. There are ways of evoking suspense/mystery, whilst having clear, understandable prose.


    -Choppy action sequence. Your description is solid, but your execution could be tightened. The best way to do that is to use less long sentences and more fragments. Also, space out the sequences. The original “blob” paragraph was a swift way of killing an action-junkie erection; readers will get lost in the swathes of text and daze a little. I suggested some spacing to divide that paragraph, but ultimately you have the final curtain call.

    -Sucker Punch should be capitalized, since it’s a Move.
    -Again, the long paragraph drags the action sequence. Think of paragraphs and sentences as a camera; when you want to slow down a scene, you focus on the details. The camera zooms in on the atmospheric details and stops to notice all the little intricacies. Sentences become longer with the lengthening descriptions. When you want to fast-forward a scene, you forgo the details; the camera becomes “bumpy” or “blurry” as its lens only stops to glimpse at the scenery for a mere second, before moving on. Sentences and paragraphs become shorter, with the terser descriptions.

    Solution? Space out those paragraphs. Divide them. Food for thought.

    -Substitute and Dark Aura should be capitalized.

    -Bianca. Ah, what a stimulating name in the Pokemon Fandom. In the preceding years, that name was thrown around when discussing Altoshipping and Latias. Now, the name is tossed around in reverence to the beauty of B/W. =)
    -Is this Bianca one of the canon characters, or is she a mere tribute? Either way, my fanboy senses are tingling.

    -Comma splice. I would use a period instead.
    -You use the transition “Then” eight times in this chapter only. It’s been overused. Perhaps, the use of other transitions, such as “After” or “Proceeding”, would be suitable alternatives. At any rate, beware of overusing any single word; I always like to use Ctrl+F to check my “danger” words (e.g. vague, gaze, stare, and smile). You could do the same.
    -Missing punctuation. A period or even a comma might suffice.

    Overall, the Prologue has room for improvement. The writing drags quite a bit, because of those enormous paragraphs. Moreover, the length of your sentences does not vary as often as would be optimal. These factors can make the prose seem monotonous to precursory glances, which is all some readers would give you. I would make a greater effort to separate some of those sections into more readable chunks. It’s too hard; use the Space Bar more often.

    Judging from your summary, the premise itself appears decent. Political intrigue fits into the Pokemon World, when you consider the pseudo-political rhetoric spouted by Team Magma/Aqua and Team Plasma. You win some points there.

    Chapter One:

    -Despite their awesome prowess, Trainers cannot “smile” words. Substitute the comma for a period.

    -Self-evident. You forgot to press the ENTER key one more time. No biggie. =)

    -Long sentence. You could easily correct it by creating a new sentence after “to sit down”.
    -Missing comma for the dependent clause.

    -Always use words instead of numbers, especially if the number concerned is below one hundred. This mistake is a little odd, since you did the right thing for the proceeding independent clause. o_O;; Perhaps you were a little tired when you were typing?
    -Also, “fifteen year-old”. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to grammar, but I’m pretty sure that the concerned phrase doesn’t involve two consecutive hyphens.

    -In many YA books, the First Person Narrator tends to refer to their mother as “Mother”, “Mom”, “Mum”, and any permutation thereof. Not “my mom”, at least if they’re not stilted and/or excessively formal. Unless you’re trying to make a point of the MC’s personality, try to mix it up with a few “Moms”. The excessive possessive pronouns can bog down the narrative flow.

    -I would capitalize “Summer”.

    -Cheers for using the accent in Pokémon, unlike what some people do. Those little attentions to detail are what make a good fic good. =D

    -Capitalize the second ‘j’.
    -Bianca’s interplay with Gary seems rather combative, doesn’t it? It certainly adds drama to the story, which creates conflict. Which tends to be a plus in my book. Beware that making a character overly antagonistic to the point of being unpleasant is possible, though.

    Generally, your writing could be improved through more judicious pruning. Don’t be afraid to cut down those sentences! Paragraphs don’t have to be large, and sentences don’t have to be long in order to sound “impressive”. Shorter, choppier prose isn’t always a sign of incompetent writing. Look at some of the better specialists in Thrillers: they will use fragments and five word sentences to convey their scenes. I’ll quote one of my favourite authors for clarification: “In writing, you must kill your darlings”, by William Faulkner.

    Essentially, don’t be afraid to cut down your prose! Sometimes, slashing can improve flow.

    I still find your premise interesting; a Political!League is always one of the better Indigo Leagues which one can depict. However, the execution can be improved. Don’t give up hope, though. Continue writing, and your dreams can come true. Keep on dreaming, and everything will turn out for the best.
     
  18. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    First off, that was the best review I have ever received, and I can only try to match it. Second off, I've never had my work seriously analyzed in that way. I'm definately shocked at how far I have to go, but I'm motivated now that I know where I have a problem. Anyways, the core concept will take a while to get to the forefront, but I've decided to speed it up and bring in that plotline next chapter... which will take about two weeks to get out now that I get to do so many revisions. Anyways, please be understanding if my review style isn't as good as you might've hoped and if it will take a while to get through 20K words on a phone and do quote by quote reviewing. I should have it done by the end of the week though, but my free time at the moment is somewhat limited. Anyways, onto your fic, and thanks for the review.

    EDIT: I think Faulkner was probably reffering more to his characters, but I get the point.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
  19. Draco Malfoy

    Draco Malfoy -REaction

    Well, I feel honoured that my review was the best one you've received. I still think that I don't quite hold a torch to the reviewing skills of Psychic and Sike Saner, but I appreciate the compliment. The sad truth is that some people simply don't choose to review, even after reading and perhaps enjoying the story. We're all rather lazy at times, which is why the Review Exchange is a good idea, imo. It provides an incentive to review. xD

    I'm glad that you could receive my criticism in a positive way! Some people can't take critique in any way except negative; I'm happy that you could use it as a means to improve. Just don't give up. I remember when I was a younger writer, I felt really down over the quality of my writing. Perhaps I was too self-deprecating, but I trashed my own writing over and over again, criticising my own self too much. We are our worst critics, I think. Writing is a hard slog, but if you have a good attitude and a decent idea, things are possible.

    Writing isn't a "talent", imo; it's a skill that comes from working hard.

    And you don't need to do quote-by-quote if you're too busy. Like I said, I'd also be fine with just general comments separately, for each chapter. =)

    Cheers, and I hope that the Review Exchange helped you out.
     
  20. Rediamond

    Rediamond Middle of nowhere

    It is very rare that I get any experienced writer to comment on what I write. I'm glad that the review exchange can possibly help with that.

    I do that all of the time if I get too critical, so I generally try to avoid it. Decent idea I (hopefully) have. Good attitude is being worked on. Now to see if I have the experience and work ethic to get the idea of the ground

    Yeah, I'm sure that I'll get better with time and practice. And reviews. I didn't comment too much on why I take criticism better than most, but I've realized that other people criticizing with specifics is a much better ending to a story than myself hating it for reasons that I can't pin down and disregarding it. And the Review Exchange is a brilliant concept. Also, how could I not give an attempt at an in-depth review after that thing. Edited in the last review response, but the Faulkner quote is likely reffering to killing off characters, but same thing.

    Regardless, I am done editing the above stories based on the advice recieved from ShadedSkies and Draco Malfoy. Nothing major got added except for changes in flow, except for one sequence. A brief scene was added after the exam's conclusion, but it will be covered in more detail later anyways. Now, I feel like I have to start over with Chapter Two, but I should have it done for next Monday. With that, I'm out.
     

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