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Pokémon Broken Things

NebulaDreams

Well-known member
Chapter 13

You feel a purr shake through her and into you. Why? She should be much more panicked. You’re her best kit by far.
Even in flashback, Pix is still the best.

You glance up to Avalanche and give one last mewl pleading for help. For a moment her expression breaks and you see your mother, not a hunter. Then she turns around and slowly starts walking back up as the barrier falls.
:cry:

Chapter 14

Mother opens up a clever barrier from her cave into—Another cave?! Then she walks down the tunnel until she reaches—Another another cave??!! And this one feels weird and has strange sounds. You want to explore it but Mother tightens her grip on you. Then the cave stops and the wall slides open into—Another another another cave???!!! How deep underground were you?
Yes, and into another another another another another another another another another another another another another another another another...

She fumbles with something at her waste
*waist?

Did Mother kill her?!

{No.} Mother messages you. In your mind! How?! {She’s just gone for a moment. I will bring her back later.}

MOTHER CAN RAISE THE DEAD?!?!
I love Coco.

It’s hard to follow the conversation when only Mother makes sense and you can only sort of tell what Nurse means from her tone and actions.
Again, this is where the speech element kind of gets confusing, since it's not filtered out beyond Coco's understanding of Upper Draconic.

Why are their three adults?
*there?

Father nods. “But we can’t.” His face is already very wet but you swear that a little more flows down it. “I can’t take the damn tyrunt. That tells him the debt’s paid and we can go back to the way things were before...” He trails off.

Mother gently lifts herself up and pushes you and Pixie off of her legs. “Hug?”

Father walks across the room and embraces Mother in his very long arms. They stand still for several breaths in the center of the den before Father backs away with a muttered, “Thanks.”
Hmm, as satisfying as this moment was in the story, I felt the impact was a bit dampened by the narration. Having it filtered through the Pokemon's perspective does distance it a bit, but it would've been better if the narration had lingered on the actual hugging for a bit. I mean, this seems like a huge character development moment for the two, so a narrative pause would've really magnified that moment.

You’re a modern non-pokémon mammal and she’s a protobird pokémon from sixty-five million years ago.
I also wonder how they're able to bring ancient Pokemon into the modern times, considering this fic has had a much more grounded setting so far. Then again, it is canon with Sun and Moon, so maybe it's not unheard of.

She negation growls. “Not death. Sleep.”
I mean, Coco isn't wrong. Sleep and death are bedfellows, after all.

--

Well, crap, chapter 13 sure was depressing. I was enthusiastic to learn about Pixie's past for a while, since it's implied she had suffered a streak of abuse through each trainer she was passed down to. While I wasn't expecting to see her past with Avalanche put into focus so soon, I'm glad I got to this point, since it really puts Pixie's character into perspective. Her separation anxiety has been a consistent trait of hers throughout the fic, but to see how it happened, and how Avalanche gave her up to protect her was heartbreaking.

Avalanche was also my favourite part of that chapter from a characterisation point of view. Obviously, she's as tough as you'd expect Pixie's mother to be, but the way the chapter played out really developed her grief nicely while filtering it through Pixie's POV, leaving a lot to the imagination. I mainly got the impression that she gave up Pixie to the human to save her, given her superstitions about the mountain as well as the death of her kits, but there might be a little more to that. Maybe she thought giving her to a trainer was the best thing that could've happened to her?

Aside from that, it was a bit sad to see Ce go, undoubtedly at Cuicatl's expense, but, well, the chapter after that gave us some reprieve from that.

Chapter 14's shift in tone was such a warm welcome. I've picked out the individual moments in the quotes beforehand, but Coco is fucking adorable. Goddamn, why do you keep hitting me with all these cute Pokemon in your story? While she has that same 'fish out of water' aspect that Pixie does when viewing the human world, her innocence and curiosity as well as her bloodlust made her narration such a joy to read. Despite my gripes with one passage, it was still satisfying to see Cuicatl and Kekoa become more friendly with each other.

While I got the gist of the story for the most part, it still felt a bit disjointed this time around, especially since it focused on the Pokemon as POV characters who have much less agency in the story and therefore less of an understanding of what's going on. But in any case, this has been another string of great chapters, and I'm excited to read more, as usual.
 

Persephone

Well-known member
Pronouns
her/hers
References to suicide, U.S. immigration enforcement.
Normal 1.15: The Trainer and The Tower
Lila

Once upon a time a powerful trainer named Lila defended a tower in Hoenn.

*​

{Supūn.} The alakzam stands at attention. You wave a hand over the assembled crowd. {Start evacuating. Ask the pokémart staff in Ever Grande for ethers if you get tired.} He leaves.

“Shida, Hirune.” Your cradily and snorlax look towards you as they materialize. “Shida, use vines to hold the foundation together. Hirune, start shoring up the building with boulders.” You have no idea if that will work. You make sure not to let your pokémon know.

“Den’atsu.” The manectric barks. “Go up the hill and try to draw the bolts towards you.”

Finally you send out Mangurōbu and Opera. Your two first pokémon. “Mangurōbu when you rematerialize push all of the water away from you and off the roof. Opera, I need you to take me up.” Neither object as you withdraw your starter and walk towards Opera. The altaria settles low enough for you to get onto her back before she starts ascending. She’s slower than normal. It takes you a second to realize that altaria wings could get really, really heavy in the rain and you’ve never felt a downpour like this in your life. “Come on, keep going,” you mutter. She gives an adorable war cry and continues to ascend. Slowly ascend. Now she’s not even breaking even. You prime your swampert’s pokéball and lob it onto the roof. A flash of light tells you it was successful and you tell Opera to go down.

There’s a presence in your mind. Something impossibly big is looking right at you. “Protect!” you scream. For a second you think that you’re doomed. For a second the red light stands up against the rain. For a second it stands against a hydro pump. For a second you fly back into the wall as the shield breaks.

You use every bit of telekinesis in your body to slow your fall.

You take stock once you hit the ground. The presence is gone. The titans are focused on each other again. Your quick thinking and Opera’s best efforts mean that only most of your ribs are broken. Opera is—oh. A quick press of a button confirms what her neck already told you.

*​

A blast of staggeringly bright green light strikes the roof. A fissure opens up and swallows your living fossil back into the earth. The cliffs freeze as kyogre grows frustrated with her lightning being redirected.

*​

There’s a knock at the door. You don’t say anything. Don’t move. Barely notice it. The door opens anyway and you see a white man in a suit enter. He walks over and sits down in a chair in front of you, between you and your pokéballs.

“It takes guts to teleport into the midst of fighting gods.”

You don’t know where he’s going with this. You let him continue.

“I should thank you. Two-hundred and thirty-six lives were saved.” And four were lost.

No. Far, far more than four.

“So,” the man leans back and clasps his hands. “What comes next for you?”

You open your mouth but the reply dies in your throat. What does come next? It was going to be the League but with four pokémon down you have no chance. No desire. League matches are controlled but you’d always be scared that two would become one.

He smiles. “Nothing?”

Nothing.

“Then may I offer you a job? I believe the International Police could use a daring hero such as you.”

“Not a hero,” you croak out.

He raises an eyebrow. “You put your life at risk to save others.”

You stare at him. He stares at you. Eventually he gets the hint, slides a business card into your hand, and leaves.

It takes a while. Four months, in fact. But eventually you call the number and say yes.

*​

If you’d known seven years ago what you know now you wouldn’t have accepted. Not because of the danger. Quite the opposite, in fact. You’d much rather be fighting ultra beasts than facing your most dreadful opponent of all: meetings.

The other participants—Gladion, the kahunas, Admiral Wilford, and Governor Fisher—are already present when you and Looker teleport in. Selene was probably invited but since she’s always either very early or not attending at all you’re willing to bet that she’s not coming today.

Once you’re seated the admiral clears his throat. “Good morning and thank you for coming. I would like to begin this month’s meeting by discussing the recent activity of the Skulls.”

“Must we?” Hapu asks. “They’re small time criminals. I would prefer that we stick to the UBs.”

“They were ‘small time,’” the governor says. “That is no longer the case. Now they’re revolutionaries.” You can’t help but roll your eyes at the seriousness with which he says absurd things. “We’ve found pamphlets that say as much”.

“They’re kids who are mad at the government.” Hapu crosses her arms. “Do we need the military, the police, and the kahunas to go after them now?”

Now, of course, is a time when aliens show up in Alola one to three times a month.

“Especially now,” Admiral Wilford answers while puffing himself up a little and glaring down at the teenage kahuna. The latter doesn’t so much as blink. “They’re testing the waters. Burning buildings. Scaring off tourists. Stealing from trucks carrying construction materials. Who knows what they’ll do if we don’t show them that their actions have consequences?”

“I think we can all agree that no one wants a city taken over again,” Governor Fisher adds.

“You’re playing into Plumeria’s hands.” Oh boy. Gladion’s defending Team Skull after you fought so hard to get him and his Silvally onto the council in the first place. You don’t disagree with him. But he really needs to learn to read the room, manage his reputation, something. “You crack down on them. People get hurt. People get killed. That gives her propaganda and reasons to escalate. You want to really piss off the natives? Kill a bunch of their kids because they broke some shit.”

Red and teal flare around the table. Anger and conviction. You should step in. Or watch. They want to talk about the skulls they can talk about the skulls. Yeah. Watching is fine.

“If we let the rebels do whatever they want then we might as well just hurry up and surrender to them.”

Is Plumeria’s approval rating higher than the governor’s? You don’t actually know at this point. Probably not a good idea to ask. But you can quietly look it up under the table. She wins 27 to 23.

The admiral and the governor keep blustering at Gladion and Hapu. The older kahunas stay out of it but from their emotional colors you’re pretty sure that Molayne agrees with the governor and Olivia and Hala side with Hapu. Experience tells you that Looker’s against the skulls. Counting votes leaves you four to four. Time to tiebreak.

“Can we vote on taking direct and coordinated action against Plumeria as a council?” Formal. Maybe too formal for Hapu and Gladion. Glances are shared. Eventually Molayne shrugs and gives you a ‘sure’ of approval.

Four votes for action, as you predicted. Four votes against plus your own. No need to waste time and resources on some kids with middling pokémon and no idea what they’re doing.

“Well then,” the admiral crosses his arms and actually growls. “Anything else we need to talk about?”

“VStar,” Olivia says in her distinctly kind-but-no-nonsense tone.

“What about them?” the governor asks. “And why talk about them here and not at the ecology board?”

Judging by his emotions you’re pretty sure that Rachel has him wrapped around her finger. You’ll need to have another talk with her. She’s not actually a controller and you can’t punish her just for being an effective lobbyist but sooner or later the wrong person will get too paranoid and you’ll be left to clean up the mess.

“Tapu Lele’s taken notice.”

“As has Tapu Koko,” Hala adds.

“And Fini.”

For a long moment no one dares to speak. There’s an interesting mix of anger and solemn acceptance around the table.

“So what,” the governor finally says. “They’re going to throw another hissy fit and destroy a city if our democratically elected government doesn’t bow to their every whim?”

“That’s possible,” Olivia says in a neutral tone you couldn’t have managed under the circumstances.

“Could they withhold assistance against the UBs?” you ask.

“Also possible.” The Akala kahunas looks towards you with a neutral face masking sadness and anger.

That’s bad. Even with the tapus you’re barely eking out wins and every loss has the potential to snowball if defenders are killed or demoralized. “I think it might be worth appeasing our allies, then.”

“Selene’s beaten Tapu Koko, right?”

“I’ve done what now?” The champion enters the room. Her emotions are a mess and you’re pretty sure she’s got a new scar or two from the last time you saw her. Definitely a little bit paler. Someone else follows her. A woman in a spacesuit with gray skin. You can sort of see her mind’s colors but they’re subtly wrong. Tones you usually don’t see in configurations that don’t make any sense.

The woman outlines a square with her hands. “Alola, people of Alola.”

Selene sits and her guest follows. This is the first time that the champion’s brought someone back from Ultra Space. “Now,” Selene says as she sits down at the head of the table, “I would like to hand off the discussion to my new friend, Soliera.”

Hala starts but gets shut down by a glare from the champ. He takes the message. Whatever was being discussed before can wait for now. Soliera clears her throat. “Good day. I am with the Ultra Recon Squad.” Multiple eyebrows are raised and heads are tiled. No one but Selene seems to actually know what that is. Thankfully the alien gets the hint. “We monitor and police threats in Ultra Space. It gives me no pleasure to inform you that one is heading towards your planet.”

“On top of the ultra beasts?” you ask.

She makes a clicking sound with her tongue. “This is far more serious. There are light-based beings that roam the void. When healthy they are benevolent and freely share their energy with others. They are called necrozma, blinding ones, guiding lights.” She closes her eyes and her voice drops lower. “When they are wounded they seek out new worlds to drain the light from to heal themselves. They can drain countless worlds and still never be content. One took notice of yours after a strange spike in energy four years ago. It should arrive in less than one of your planet’s orbits.”

Of course it would. Because on top of everything else Alola needed a world-ending monster dropped right on top of it. The universe can’t let you keep six pokémon for long.

*​

“Hey! Wait up a sec!” you turn around to see the new Ula’Ula kahuna chasing after you. Smiling on the outside. Smiling a little less on the inside. Molayne runs a hand through his gray hair when he catches up. “Mind if I borrow your Ultra Scanner? There are some improvements I want to install.”

“Please do. Want a ride back to your lab?”

He nods enthusiastically as you hand over the device. “Yes, of course.”

Supūn ferries him over as you consider your schedule.

*​

The North Point Pokémon Center is close enough to your condo that you can just walk. Might as well since it’s a very nice day. Warm with a mild sea breeze. Gives you some time to glance over the files you have on the new girl. Cuicatl Ichtaca. Long green hair, dark skin, cataracts. Kind of gaunt. Citizen of Anahuac. Two pokémon registered. Vulpix, OT Raphiel Brooks. Tyrunt, OT Cuicatl Ihctaca.

Tyrunt? Really? How? Why?

American mother but no citizenship. Arrived on a challenge visa September 20, 2019. No official record of her powers. There are a few documents from Anahuac attached. Strange mix of terrible and stellar grades. Legally emancipated from her living father. Deceased mother and twin—oh shit that was three months ago.

You’ve seen the statistics and the reality enough times to know that surviving psychic twins are more likely than not to die within the next year, often by their own hand. It’s concerning to say the least. You’ll need to do a full scan. You’d need permission but as the semiofficial regulator of the Alolan psychic community you’d be the one to semiofficially grant it so—approved. Full scan is semiofficially legal now.

Your mind bushes against hers well before you reach the center. A quick glance shows that she’s on a bench overlooking a golf course and the ocean. Well, if your mind has found hers she’s probably aware of you so there’s no time to go back into the records.

“Hey, I’m Lila.”

She turns towards you and smiles at an invisible person to your left. “Cuicatl Ichtaca. Good to meet you, ma’am.”

“Sir,” you correct on reflex. Her expression wavers and her feelings, slightly obscured behind anti-telepath defenses, shift to shame. You wave off her concerns. She doesn’t notice.

“Are you trans?” she asks.

“Sort of.” You sit down at the bench and glance at the two white pokémon—wait does that tyrunt have fluffy white down feathers? Anyway. Gender. “Non-binary, I think.” Haven’t had another psychic outright confirm it to you. Not sure what the confirmation would even be worth since minds are internally inconsistent and can change by the minute.

The girl doesn’t say anything. The vulpix on her lap stares at you and the tyrunt behind her on the bench stands up tall to get a better look. Onus is on you to restart the conversation. “Enough about that. You can call me Lila.”

“Cuicatl Ichtaca.” Every time she speaks she sends you a psychic signal. You’d been letting them bounce off your shield but maybe you should actually read one. A few thoughts set up a quarantine. “Both words,” she practically whispers. It sends out a signal for you to translate. ‘Both words.’ In Japanese. No accent. Huh. That’s probably her specialty. You leave up a few mental stopgaps but otherwise let yourself receive the messages. Kid’s not attacking. Looks way more scared of you than you are of her.

Wait, did Rachel tell you about your formal job? Because if she only knew she was talking to a cop, well, in this climate you really couldn’t blame her for being terrified. “What were you told you about me?”

“You watch over the psychics on the islands. That’s all.” She starts ruffling the fur on her vulpix’s head. Nervousness? “Did I do something wrong?”

She’s done a few things that weren’t ideal. She should’ve reported her powers right off the bat. Rachel might be able to get things smoothed out but in any event it would look too much like the community protecting its own from otherwise neutral laws. Not a great look. Unfortunately you’re in a position where the best thing for her, you, and the community is for her to just not report it.

“No.” No reason to tell her about all of that. It would scare her and kids can do dumb things when they’re scared. As can adults. “I just like to check in with new psychics on the islands. Welcome them to Alola, talk about options, lay down the rules, the usual.”

She frowns. “Miss Bell said you would talk to me about schools.”

Makes sense. They’d probably be good for her Having a structured, supportive environment is seldom a bad thing.

“Right. There are a few schools on the mainland. Probably one in Anahuac.”

“There is,” she mutters. “They use us as spies.”

Oh. Well. Tiny blind girl might not be the best spy. Too noticeable. But the language filter would help a lot.

“The government doesn’t make psychics do anything here,” you lie. White lie. There’s registration, occasional psych evals, semiofficial supervision, a few laws that Rachel likes to come dangerously close to breaking… and annual talks with CIA and FBI recruiters. The recruitment talks are mandatory but accepting isn’t. The distinction would probably be lost on her anyway.

Wouldn’t matter. She still doesn’t seem to buy it.

“Any particular reason that you aren’t interested?” you ask.

“Money.”

Well. She’ll get along fabulously with Rachel, then. Or they’ll become business rivals and die cordial but mortal enemies.

“School would be free for you.” That one isn’t even a white lie. The government would much rather have psychic kids in one place where they’re easily supervised and sheltered from the worst of poverty during their formative years. Lessons learned from the empath defectors of the Cold War.

“No.” She shakes her head and green locks fall into her face. “I need seven hundred and eighty-one thousand dollars.”

It sounds like a joke but she’s dead serious. You reflexively switch into cop mode. “Why? You on the run from—” Cartels. The government.

Rebels.

American-born mother. Green hair. Language-based telepathy. Hell, you’re pretty sure you heard somewhere that one of his cousins was blind. You take a deep breath. She has far darker skin than you’d expect. You could still be wrong.

“Any of your ancestors Korean?”

The girl blinks. “My grandmother. Why?”

“My former boss might’ve worked with a relative of yours.” Hard to even call that a white lie when ‘worked with’ means ‘hunted.’ Unsuccessfully hunted, but hunted nevertheless. Probably for the best there. You don’t want to imagine his old boltund trying to take down Zekrom. Anyway, time to bring him into this.

[Can I ask you a question about N?]

[Yes.]​

His absurdly prompt responses stopped surprising you years back. He’s probably slightly precognitive. Truth be told you were already typing your next message out.

[He ever contact his birth relatives?]

Something starts beeping incessantly beside you. Supūn is standing there with the new Ultra Scanner in hand, lights blazing and sounds blaring. You snatch it away from the pokémon and shut it off. Supposedly there’s a UB right on top of you. “Excuse me for a second.”

You get up and walk far enough away from the bench that even with the girl’s blindness-enhanced hearing she won’t be able to overhear you. Then you dial the Ula’Ula kahuna. He picks up on the third ring.

“Hello. Any problems?” He sounds cheery enough. Something deep inside of you wants to rip into him even more for it.

“I set it off.”

You can hear the awkward swallow over the line. “Okay. Uh, send it back and I’ll see what I can do.” He clearly wants permission to end the call. You won’t give it to him.

“You know I hate it when this happens, right?”

“…I can imagine how you’re feeling, yeah.”

“No. You can’t.”

The Kahunas lied to you. Looker lied to you. Supūn lied to you.

Everyone lied to your face for years and now he pretends to know how you feel.

*​

On May 7, 2014 a wormhole opened near North Point. Two police officers showed up to investigate, prepared to fight whatever demon game through. They found a young woman covered in bruises. She was asked her who she was. The asker isn’t in the record. The woman answered in Japanese. A few minutes later she would be translated as saying:

“My name is Lila. I come from Hoenn. I was a powerful trainer who defended a tower.”

There were six pokéballs on her belt. Four were broken. One held a snorlax, the other an alakazam.

The alakzam introduced himself as Supūn. He told the men that his trainer was psychic and Ultra Space with its alien minds slowly eroded hers. He only kept his sanity because his trainer decided to keep him in his ball as much as possible and rely only on herself and her other pokémon.

Apparently she found her way out.

The alakzam translated the woman’s words. The words that she continued to mumble to no one in particular while picking up sand and letting it run through her fingers and onto her tattered, blood-stained clothes. He said they were true. He refused to provide more context. He’d lost some of it himself. And he said then as he would say many more times in the future, “Knowing what she had wouldn’t make her any happier now.”

She was taken to Tapu Lele. He made the woman whole by shredding everything that was real and weaving a lie between the words she’d said. A lie that the International Police supported with forged documents and even an actress claiming to be her mother. A lie that conveniently left behind a faller willing to do exactly what the lie’s crafters wanted from a faller.

Convenient how that worked out.

At first you’d accepted their explanation that you’d fought enough UBs that the aura just rubbed off on you and drove more near. As you learned more and more about them you slowly realized that’s not how things worked. Eventually everything fell apart after you really dug into your documentation.

Now you keep living the lie because what else are you going to do? Abandon the people to alien ambushes because their leaders were manipulative? Doesn’t mean you have to be happy about it. Doesn’t mean you’ll take it when a kahuna rubs it in your face.

*​

You end the call to find a text from Looker.

[Sounds like something he would do. Why?]​

Deep breath. You didn’t come here for N. You didn’t come here for your own demons. You came here to do a wellness check on a child. Everything else can wait a few minutes. {Supūn, I need help doing a silent scan.}

Silent scans are one where the target doesn’t notice. On a trained psychic they’re next to impossible, even with pokémon help. She’s not trained. Rather than smooth walls her defenses are ever moving chainsaws. Most of it will hurt if touched. It’s good combat form. Not good standing form. Leaves holes. You point out one you’d noticed to your alakazam and he forms the link. Alright time to look.

While you have some telepathic power you’re fundamentally an empath. You don’t look directly at the structure of her mind, just the impressions that things have left. Easiest to do for connections to other people.

It’s immediately obvious what parts used to directly connect to her twin. Apparently a functional relationship. Differentiated personalities. That’s good. Means they shared less. Makes it easier to cope. Not easy—it still looks like her mind was messily sawed in half and error reports stack up every minute when an old routine doesn’t work. Could’ve been worse, though. Whatever consolation that is.

A few slightly atrophied connections. A father figure, an older sister(s?), and a younger one. A mother figure grouped separately from that cluster. That one is particularly strange. Almost like hero worship. Very few meaningful connections but a very clearly felt absence. Only been frayed for a few weeks, though. That one might require a deeper file review. Maybe even some document requests to Anahuac.

Then someone who was probably her actual father. Solid links to her and a bunch of the twin’s old emotional pathways seem to lead there. Oh boy. Some love, a lot of distance, fair bit of pain, and a very serious break around the time of the twin’s death. Then spite. It’s new but it already deeply stains her perception of him.

A few minor ones. Casual friends, teachers, distant pets, maybe a crush. None truly defining in her mental architecture. None terribly missed.

New connections. Ones formed entirely after the loss of the other ones. None that span both periods. Strange. Not calling home at all? Two fairly advanced links to other minds. Her pokémon. Complicated but satisfactory relationships. They give her headaches but probably also cuddles. Good, but not enough to anchor a person with. There’s a third recently broken link. More positive. Fewer headaches. Almost as much love as her starter. Relationship severed against her will. Connection’s become linked to the parent-sister figure clusters. Loss. Less hope of recovery. Were the other three pokémon? Possible with her powers.

Two main human links. One has deep rings of annoyance and pain with a sheen of reliance and hope on top. Other is the opposite. Mostly positive with a level of fear and distrust at the surface. Neither is really deep enough to be sustaining.

Rachel. Her mind signature mixes in a little bit. Fear, disappointment, some feelings similar to her parental figures. Authority. Authority that’s failed her a little and helped her a little.

Well. That’s all the new ones. Now for the biggest one. Her impressions of Cuicatl Ichtaca.

Bad. Deeply, horribly bad. Years long trails of hate, disgust, disappointment. Small threads and spots of love. Of hope. Recently blunted. Feelings turned decidedly darker and dimmer with her twins death. A step away from ending things, which is a half-step further away than she’d been only a few weeks ago. Slight progress. Not enough progress. You’re not comfortable adding her to the list of the dead yet but if you were a betting woman, well, you wouldn’t bet against it. You’ve seen happy people destroyed by their mind being shattered. She wasn’t happy to begin with.

You close the link and hand the scanner back to your alakazam. He teleports off without a word and you walk back to the bench. Kid’s a little paranoid. Probably because a cop walked off to make a long call after a very odd exchange.

“Hey, sorry, work called. Anyway, I have one last thing to take care of.”

“Okay…”

You really need to stop saying cryptic things and cutting off. Kid’s going to be justifiably terrified of you.

“Tapu Lele,” fuck him, “gives new psychics on the island a z-bracelet. Can I put it on you?”

She smiles a little. Inside and outside. “Okay.”

Fits perfectly without adjustment. That’s rare. Maybe the tapu had already scouted his new subject out himself. Wouldn’t be the first time. “Now, want to try it out?”

“I have a Normalium-Z,” she answers. “Pixie knows roar.”

Of course she already had a plan. Got her first Z-crystal and immediately thought about how she’d use it if she could. Roar’s a good testing move, too. Don’t need to put a pokémon in the way of it. Might piss off some golfers and you’d have to investigate yourself for a noise complaint. Nothing too serious.

“Alright, put the crystal in.” She takes out a smooth black case with one white crystal and seventeen empty spots. Heh. They’re really giving kids full cases. Encouraging them to seek out the hard ones, too.

You guide her hands through the (relatively simple) motions for the normal crystal. Her vulpix lights up and an instant later an ear-piercing shriek rumbles down the cliff. Some people start below. Let them. You remember the first time you used a crystal. Good memory. One of your first fond ones that was actually—Cuicatl collapses to her knees. Right. Shit. Rough on first time users.

You kneel down to help her and when you take her wrist you notice that her pulse is going crazy, her eyes and wide open and. And she bends over and pukes. Her tyrunt rushes over but you push her aside. Bit rougher than your first time. She got vomit in her hair so you go behind her and hold it back in case she has to throw up again. She does and—seriously what is it with this dinosaur and vomit? At one point her arms give out and you catch her and oh wow you can really feel all of her ribs. Her heart is still trying to shake itself free of its constraints.

Extreme thinness. Self-hatred. Possible poverty? Cause doesn’t matter. You really shouldn’t have given her a Z-crystal. Damn it. Should have noticed.

“Mind if my snorlax carries you?” A weak nod. You send her out and gives the order.

Right after Cuicatl’s safely in the bear’s arms you feel her slip into unconsciousness.

Fuck.

*​

Her heart was still beating and she’d regained consciousness when you dropped her off. A few hours of watching your police scanner and the Center’s called for neither an ambulance nor the police. She’s probably fine.

As fine as a suicidal teenager living in the path of a wanted terrorist and a light-stealing abomination can be, anyway. No. Don’t think about necrozma. Not now. Problem for future Lila. Focus. Good things.

When Supūn brought back the scanner back it didn’t instantly flag you.

That’ll have to do for today.

End of Mission One: Normal

Broken Things will return in 2020. The Alola Pokedex will continue to update weekly in the meantime. Thank you to everyone who's reviewed for their support!
 

GrayGriffin

Active member
Pronouns
any
Oooh, nice to get some more information about what's going on in the whole background of the fic. Also that bit about Tapu Lele is definitely slightly ominous. Wonder when he started stalking Cuicatl and if it has anything to do with her relation to N.

Also even though we only met Lila in this chapter the scene with them losing their first team was still really painful to read. And the bit where they make it out of Ultra Space with only their last two Pokemon.
 

NebulaDreams

Well-known member
I don't have too much to say about this chapter, except that it served as a nice cap-off to Part 1 of the fic. It's nice seeing Cuicatl from another psychic's eyes (well, as nice as seeing into someone as self-loathing as her can get), and I especially enjoyed how the Alakazam was used in this chapter. Very clever way of connecting that Pokemon to the plot. This gave off a much wider scope of the plot than I originally would've anticipated at the start of this fic. While I was somewhat lost on some of the names, not having caught up on Unova and Alola's games, I got the gist of it just fine.

As for this fic overall? It's honestly become one of my favourites, and for a trainer fic to do that when it's not usually my cup of tea is a feat. There's that sense of verisimilitude you achieve with this fic with how much the narration gets inside the characters' heads and how it uses a more grounded setting. While you don't shy away from the really tough issues, you also have a great character-based sense of humour, as well as some really cute moments with the Pokemon, that keeps things from being too harrowing.

In any case, I'm really looking forward to your return when that comes, and again, thanks for sharing this with us. It's been an absolute treat so far.
 

windskull

Bidoof Fan
Oh, second person, it has been far too long since I last read you. This should be fun. Originally, I was going to go through chapters 1.1-4 for this first review, but since chapter 1.5 rounds out the pov chapters for the (current?) main cast, I went ahead and read through to that.

1
Well, that was a pretty interesting opening scene. I wonder if it’ll have something to do with the upcoming plot, or if it’s just meant to establish Rachel’s powers. I find it hard to believe it would be the former since so much time is spent on it, but I’ll have to wait and see.

Seems like Rachel’s got something some other things going on in the present that may or may not relate to her powers. I’ll have to wait and see how things go next time she gets a pov chapter before I say anything else on that though.

Has a tendency to talk a little too much when he’s lonely and just a little bit tipsy and thinks he can trust *.
Is the asterisk there for a reason? Or is this a typo?

Probably wool Might be handmade.
Missing period between Wool and Might.

2
Pixie. Pixie. Pixie. I love her. She’s obviously got her own issues that we’ll have to learn about at some point. Those injuries didn’t come from nowhere, after all.

Hm… I wonder if “Firemane” was just called in to help, or if something happened to her. It’s not totally clear to me, but I kind of feel like that was the point.

After that last scene, I’m looking forward to seeing how Pixie and Cuicatl interact as they get to know each other and what-not.

3
Genesis comes across as the kind of person who tries to convince themselves that they’re Not Racist… but they kind of are. I think I’ll have to give it a little more time before I can figure that out though.

I’d probably be more annoyed by Kekoa using a different name for Cuicatl if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s doing it to Genesis too. But I’ll talk about him more later.

4
And now I get to talk about Kekoa’s chapter. The narriative so far suggests he’s had it kind of rough, though whether that has something to do with being trans or other things (or some combination of the two) is yet to be determined. Regardless, he feels like he has a lot of bitterness in him. That last bit at the end of the chapter in particular was rough to read.

5
You’re a shitty trainer, but you didn’t break anyone forever. Not this time.
Not this time? Oh no.

Oof, that was a pretty heavy chapter to read. Cuicatl’s got a lot of self-confidence and mental health issues in general, and it hurts to see that. Guess that shows that I’ve gotten attatched to her pretty fast. From what I can gather, her mom and brother are both dead, and she’s not got a great relationship with her dad. I kind of get the feeling there might be more to her being in Alola instead of elsewhere than she lets on. At least she’s not being an ass about Kekoa being trans now that she knows, as far as I can tell.


To breifely gather my thoughts, this definitely feels like it’s going to be long. Five chapters in and we haven’t got very far into the story, and we’ve mostly just been introduced to the main cast. Though maybe things will pick up now that everyone’s been introduced? I’ll have to see.

As for characters, you’ve done a great job of making every character feel unique. But not just unique: flawed. This early on and I can already get a good read of what each character’s flaws are, which is something I don’t see very often. And that’s something I can appreciate.

I’ll be back to say more at some later date.
 
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windskull

Bidoof Fan
Ooh, another Pixie chapter. This should be fun!

Once again, I can’t help but love all the names that Pixie has come up with for the humans around her. A special shoutout to Growlsleep, which really got a kick out of me.

Skysong’s hand and she moves to cross her legs under you, forcing you to move to the edge of the seat before she abruptly stops.
This sentence is worded a bit oddly. And as a result it kind of took me out of the flow while I tried to figure out what it meant.

I like that Pixie picks up on all the little ways people are reacting around her, namely by scent. It’s one of those traits that helps her feel just a bit more like an animal.

So why is she acting like she doesn’t get it.
I think this should end with a question mark?

We get to see some of Pixie’s insecurities here, and I like that. The reason she’s insecure is still to be determined, but it definitely feels like abandonment issues, which I figure feed back to some of the stuff that was hinted at back in chapter 2.

You didn’t think you wanted falsefur, but the harness is sky blue with white curvy lettering and it matches your eyes and fur and it is perfect. You will wear it until it breaks and then scream until you are given one that is just as good.
This is adorable, but pray for everyone that it doesn’t break.

I hope Pixie doesn’t get sick from all that ice cream, but somehow I’m amused by the idea that she has eaten vanilite (or the vanilite line in general at least) before.

No. You will wait and then make your grievances known. Probably by hiding her white stick while she’s asleep. She hates it when you do that.
Pixie no.

It kind of feels weird to see Pixie use the word “patriarchal.” It doesn’t feel like something that would be in her vocabulary, based the way her narration usually goes, and it makes me wonder if there might have been a better way to express her understanding. Then again, she expresses understanding of what a refrigerator is down the line, so maybe she picked up the word somewhere? I don’t know, it just seems a bit odd to me.

Sounds like things might have gotten a bit heated while Pixie was hanging out in her pokeball - not that they weren’t already tense right beforehand.

All in all, that was a fun chapter to read. Pixie chapters in general are always a treat. Things ares till moving slow, but it sounds like the journey should be finally kicking off pretty soon? Looking forward to seeing that, and how it compares to how the trials go in game, based on the little world-building aspects you’ve introduced along the way.
 

Persephone

Well-known member
Pronouns
her/hers
gonna do some quick in-thread review responses for once because this got kicked off the front page.

@GrayGriffin i think a god taking interest in you is inherently ominous. especially in a world where the gods are capable of spectacular destruction. It also has the bonus of bringing this fic up on the mary sue tests. I see sue-ness as a competition and i plan to win.

i'm glad that the emotional beats worked for you. the problem with interlude narrators is that i have to skip a lot of development and go right to payoff and i'm never sure if any of it works or not.

n actually wasn't going to show up in the very first drafts but multiple people commented on it and, hey, she's half-american (sort of) and doesn't have contact with that side of the family so going with it didn't even require changing anything in her backstory.

@NebulaDreams ty very much for the praise. as for the comments, alakazam was one of the more lore-heavy entries of the alola dex. i tried to import about half of that into bt because their doesn't actually seem to be much reader overlap. as for the particular individual i just tried to imagine a situation where a trainer and their pokemon genuinely don't like each other anymore but still have reasons to leave. if only the unease around charting a new path.

@windskull i'm kind of going to gloss over a bit because some things are answered in later chapters (that are already posted).

firemane is the female protagonist from (ultra-ish) moon. in the game there's a quest where you have to cheer up a vulpix. but then you don't keep the vulpix. i imagine it's very stressed when the bigshot champion never comes back. of course as a nameless, minor npc there's no chance it has feelings or a future... right?

i've heard enough sorta complaints about the opening scene that it might get axed at some point. it is followed up on in 2.1. i can say that much.

while there are sort of recurring narrators who haven't showed up by the end of 1.5, the four who get by far the most screen time (pix / genesis / kekoa / cuicatl) have already been introduced.
 

windskull

Bidoof Fan
1.7 here we go.

The more little tidbits we see about Genesis’ religion, the more I get a feeling that “Genesis” is a very religious name and relates back to the belief system of Xerneas followers. On that note, I have a feeling we’ll get more information about that sooner or later.

No. time to push your limits
Capitalization error here.

The mantine scene in general was a treat to read. It was kind of nice, seeing Kekoa and Genesis have a genuine moment of peace and fun. I doubt it will last for long, but it’s still nice.

I also appreciate that we’re starting to get a bit of a hint of Genesis’ reason for going on the journey. Sounds like she’s had a pretty nasty falling-out with her parents. Or her mom, at least. What it was over is to be seen though.

I love that Pixie’s personality shines through even when she’s not the perspective character.

Exodus. I spy theme naming here, assuming Exodus is a sibling.

And it’s not manly like basketball or corrupting like cheerleading so Mom shouldn’t have a problem with it.
Yikes.

Team Skull is just as wonderful as I remember them being. Though, considering the timeline of events, I’m wondering who’s in charge. Were they never disbanded in this timeline? Are they just a disorganized mess? Guess I’ll have to keep reading to find out!

Hm… Wonder when that plot thread with Pixe will pick up.

Oof, I definitely understand the idea of wanting to see the best in people, but it doesn’t really feel like it was a bit more bad-faith than that, even if she doesn’t realize it. Especially with the preceding line. Wonder if we’ll learn more about your interpretation of Lusamine a bit more directly later.

And then Genesis had go and open her mouth and say something really insulting. Come on, girl, at least apologize. Things wouldn’t be as bad for you if you apologize. You obviously recognize that what you said was racist and shitty. You could just own up to it.

Maybe it’s just me, but with what the reader knows about Cuicatl’s own struggles, it makes it feel even harsher, even if Genesis has no way of knowing it.

Well, here we are! The kids haven’t accomplished much yet outside of upsetting each other. But we did learn some interesting tidbits. I’m particularly interested in the fact that there are still ultra beasts running amok. I can’t remember if you mentioned how much time has passed between the events of the game and the story, but I’d imagine it’s been a couple years. Regardless, I like that we’re still seeing the repercussions of Lusamine opening the ultra wormholes.

As for Genesis. Man, she makes me uncomfortable. But for some reason, I feel like I’m a bit softer on her than I should be. I kind of get the feeling it’s because I can see a younger version of myself in her, in a way. She hits a bit close to home to how I was as a teenager (except, minus the rich part. Lol.) That's not something I'm proud of, but that also means that I can see how much room she has to grow in her journey, I guess? I’m really excited to see how she develops, to be honest.

And that goes for all the main cast. They all feel real. They all feel flawed and human. And that makes me excited to see how they might grow and develop as the story progresses.
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
(Chapter 2)

Coming back to this, I'm kind of surprised that we're only one chapter in and we've already switched perspectives... in a story that's in second person. I still hold by the fact that this is an extraordinarily weird design choice. I guess that's all I can really say about it since this is an ingrained part of the story, but it's definitely jarring.

Moving into the actual content beyond that, looks like we have Pixie as another one of the titular characters, though it's kept vague exactly what happened to her and her past. I think Negrek alluded to the fact that what she went through used to be more explicit, so I wonder if that's being saved for later, or if it's going to be kept vague; as of now, as a blind reader, though, I'm hoping we get more hints so I have a better picture of what's going on, at least slightly. Probably not worth it to go into full detail if it bogs down the story, but allusions here and there would definitely help.

I was wondering while looking through exactly what it would be that would get through to Pixie. After all, if she had already burned through so many trainers, what exactly would make this one so different? Oh, being a psychic, of course! That actually made a lot of sense, and that makes me wonder if there's some service out there for psychics to be on-call for communicating with Pokemon in that way. It seems like extraordinary utility, after all, even if it's perhaps done on the down-low.

I think the fact that Pixie isn't really the nicest Pokemon is an interesting gray area, and I'm curious where that'll take things going forward. She sees humans with animal-related nouns, is generally selfish and uncaring and egoistical, and while that doesn't really score many points for me in terms of enjoying reading her, I do wonder how that will change and develop as the story progresses. In particular, I think the final few passages were touching in their little, selfish way, where Pixie ended up giving a name to her new trainer. I think that was a good way to end off this chapter.

Guess we'll see what new perspective we'll be switching to, again, in the next one?
 

Adamhuarts

Well-known member
Pronouns
He/Him
So, I finally got to the chapter Pixie gets introduced, and I can already understand why a lot of people seem to like her. She surprisingly has a lot of personality as well as an ego for a pokemon. Her conceited nature reminds me of a stuck up princess that's actually better than everyone but no one acknowledges her talent due to how the society she's in works lol.

Cuicatl was also written pretty well in this chapter. I especially liked how she was quick to understand Pixie's nature and play along with the vulpix to gain her trust. Sometimes if you meet someone stubborn, it's better to just play by their rhythms after all lol. I wonder who Pixie was calling Firemane though, and whether we'll see her again. I was expecting she'd be the one to end up as Pixie's trainer, but I was only mildly disappointed that didn't turn out to be the case.
 

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
Staff
Location
somewhere in spacetime
Pronouns
they/them
Leaving some long-overdue thoughts on 14 and 15!

So first of all… Coco. omg Coco.



The funny thing is, I was actually wondering if the egg might be a dragon (given Cuicatl’s dragon-affinity) but I definitely wasn’t expecting Tyrunt! And I was wondering how Cuicatl would wind up in possession of the egg--I can't believe I never considered that it would just... imprint on her lol. And then I was like "oh crap how's Kekoa gonna react" but he was... actually relieved! And yeah, I can see how he wouldn't feel comfortable raising a Pokemon given to him by his brother, and this is kinda right up Cuicatl's alley anyway, so hey, win-win. (Except... I'm sure we haven't heard the last from Pixie on this.

Oh, and I basically lost it at “MOTHER CAN RAISE THE DEAD?!?!”

I was a little surprised that Coco came out of the egg so... cognizant! Not that it would have been fun to go through the chapter with her being a literal infant, but it was still surprising. Maybe dragon eggs take a lot time to develop and they can absorb language from within the egg.

And then hooo boy, Chapter 15 just went and dropped the plot on us, huh? Going into this story, I kinda expected it to be a down-to-earth, small stakes kinda deal. But then on discord you alluded to just how long this fic's gonna be. And then Groudon and Kyogre were in it. And then the foreshadowing with the ongoing Ultra Beast attacks. This is gonna be a hell of a ride, isn't it?
 

windskull

Bidoof Fan
Gonna squeeze one more review in before the week is over, and figured I’d do it on 1.8, since Broken Things really has been a highlight of what I’ve read the last few weeks. Let’s jump right in!

{Allow me to properly introduce myself. I am Renfield. Your mother captured and raised me. Your… escort is Alice. I’m sorry that she startled you but I assure you that she’s harmless.
Dropped off a bracket at the end here.

Now that was a juicy little flashback. Not only did it introduce the fact that Cuicatl didn’t grow up with her mom’s pokemon and that they instead they met up with her later, it also sets the stage for bigger things going on. It also kind of shows just how far back her… I think the term is suicidal ideation? It gives us an idea of how long she’s had that particular problem.

It’s also interesting that she tries not to say her brother’s name. Hm…

Hmmm… sounds like she might have been separated from her mother’s pokemon? I have a feeling it has something to do with the trainer class licenses.

It’s good to see that the journey has finally started to really take off. Seems like we got a good bit of traveling done today, though there’s still a long way to go. Ooof, these kids can be absolutely horrible to each other at times. Good thing Pixie’s there to help lighten the mood and reminds us of the evils of eevee. I do kind of wonder if there’s more to her grudge than just jealousy. Like perhaps she was replaced by an eevee in the past? Or at least feels like she was. Or perhaps there’s something more…

Regardless, another enjoyable chapter, and I look forward to reading on hopefully soon!
 
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