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Pokémon Dark-Clothed Small Human

Oneshot

Shiny Phantump

Through Dream, I Travel
Location
Hallownest
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. sylveon
  2. absol-mega
  3. silvally-psychic
  4. custom/ninetales-phantump
  5. cosmog
Dark-Clothed Small Human:

I am trapped. Alone.

My siblings are gone. They were put into ice. We did not do what they wanted us to, so now they want to freeze us. I am the last one they need to freeze. Once the machine is ready, I will be frozen… indefinitely.

Indefinitely is an odd word. I have never heard it before, but the machine they put into my head knows what it means.

For an unlimited or unspecified period of time.

It means maybe forever.

I am not sure how scared I should be of Indefinitely. I do not want to be frozen forever, but if it is only maybe forever, then maybe it will be okay. I try to take comfort in that, but I am still scared. I do not want to be frozen at all.

Part of me wants to hit the invisible wall with my helmet some more, but I have tried it enough to know that it never breaks. It only ever hurts my head, so I don’t try it anymore. I curl up in the back of the place they keep me, and I wait.

There is nothing else to do. Nothing else I can do. My strong-hearted eldest sibling tried to fight the humans once, but it only made things worse. It made them add the invisible wall.

When they want to do something to us, there is never something else we can do.

I hear footsteps. I expect it to be the end, but it turns out just to be a small human. The small humans are getting close enough to being adults they take them down here sometimes to show them things. The small humans had the strangest look in their eyes when the no-faces first showed them us…

Today, though, something is different. This small human is alone, and he is in dark clothes instead of white ones. He draws a green card from his clothing. The green card is the one that the long-haired cold mother uses. Why does he have it, I wonder…

The dark-clothed small human shows the card to the machine beside the place they keep me. The door gives a pleased trill. The machines that look at cards are always pleased by long-haired cold mother’s card. It is their favorite card.

Since the door liked his card, he is allowed to slide the metal frame that holds the invisible wall out of the way. He looks at me with the funny look in his eyes.

“Hello,” he says, walking up to me. “I’m going to help you. Do you understand me?”

I understood him. I have understood humans ever since they put the machine into my head. I cannot do any talking, and the big helmet wouldn’t even let me nod my head. Instead, I get up and just stand in front of him. I look at his eyes, and he looks at mine.

“Friendly?”

I do not know if I can promise that.

I do not know if I can trust the dark-clothed small human yet. I do not know what the dark-clothed small human wants, or what he will do to me. All I know is that if I stay here, they will freeze me. I decide to cooperate with the dark-clothed small human for now, even if I do not trust him.

I coo to signal my decision to be friendly. He smiles at me. “Yeah, we’re cool. C’mon, let’s get out of here. Our way out is just up the lift.”

He leaves the room, then looks back at me from the doorway. I feel nervous. I have not been past the doorway in years.

What are you doing here, kid?

It was the muffled voice of a no-face. The dark-clothed small human does not look happy with the no-face. That makes sense. No-faces always do unpleasant things.

“You’re going to let me pass.”

No! I don’t know what you think you’re doing down here, but I absolu-

My curiosity exceeds my nervousness, so I poke out from behind the corner. The no-face gives up on their sentence with a little choking noise.

You’re... insane!

“Like I said, you’re going to let me pass now.”

The no-face grumbled, but moved aside. I am surprised that the no-faces listen to the dark-clothed small human. Normally they only listen to the bug-mask hurting man or the long-haired cold mother. “You don’t know what you’re doing. You’ll die before you get anywhere.

The no-face’s voice is quivering. I like how the no-face is scared of the dark-clothed small human. I wonder what it is about him that scares them?

He laughs at the no-face. “I’ll be fine. They were calm before Faba messed with them. Father let us see them back… before, when… y’know.”

He pauses. I can almost feel thoughts moving around in his head. “I’ll figure out how to get them back. Fix whatever damage Faba did to them.”

What damage? What is he talking about? I want to know what they’re talking about!

The no-face makes a coughing noise. “Well, good luck, kid. Maybe if you’re lucky we won’t have to clean up your body. And if not… Well, try not to make a mess as you go down.

The dark-clothed small human laughs, but it doesn’t sound like a happy laugh. “Yeah, sure.”

He gestures for me to follow and heads towards a room I’ve never been in. In the room, there is a triangle platform. He guides me onto it and presses a button on a machine that chirps in response.

Suddenly, rails spring up around the triangle’s edge, trapping us! I screech in protest and prepare to smash them, but I feel the dark-clothed small human put his hand on my side. It is not a forceful touch. It is a gentle touch. “We’re going to be okay,” he tells me. He has calming words and calming touch. We are going to be okay.

I do not attack the rails. The triangle and its rails move up through a hole in the ceiling and up into a room above.

It takes me a moment to process what has happened. There was a secret second ceiling above the ceiling, and we are now walking on the ceiling like it is the floor.

The dark-clothed small human doesn’t even seem surprised by the ceiling being the new floor, or by the second ceiling. He just keeps going, so I start to follow him. I hope he knows his way around on top of the ceiling, because it’s a very big room.

He takes me to a place where water fills a big gap in the floor that used to be the ceiling. Was there always that much water above me, hidden by the ceiling that is now the floor? It is strange to think that all this has always existed, this world above my head, even when I didn’t know about it.

He leads me towards a little vessel floating in the water. The machine in my head supplies the word boat to label it. It also tells me that boats are used to go places. He shows the card in a terminal beside the boat, and it trills happily in return. He gets onto the boat, then looks at me.

It is a dead end. I do not want to get stuck there, so I do not want to get on. I whimper, but he keeps looking at me. He wants me to get on.

I could stop. He hasn’t forced me to do anything else yet, and he hasn’t tried to force me to do this, either. He took me away from the place they were keeping me and brought me up on top of the ceiling where I am not trapped. I could stop and stay here.

I cannot help but be curious, though. When I decided to be friendly towards him, I had never imagined that he could show me all this. If he can take me more places, I want to come. I want to see all the things he can show me.

This time, I trust him for real when I get onto the boat. Not just because I am scared.

He starts doing things to the boat, and it grumbles at him. He looks to me. “Be back in one second,” he tells me, before hopping back off the boat. He reaches something on the wall and pulls it. The building is not happy about the thing being pulled, so it lights up red flashing lights and screeches at him.

The building yells about “lockdown protocols.” It normally only yells about those when my brave-hearted eldest sibling is breaking things. I think this means that we, too, have broken something, in our own way.

He laughs a very happy laugh and runs back to the boat. When he gets to the controls, he makes the boat grumble louder as it begins to move through the water.

An angry-looking running human sees us moving through the water on the boat. This makes her look even angrier, and they run up to the boat nearest them and show that boat’s terminal her card. She shows the terminal her card over and over again.

The building does not let her have the boat. I suppose it is too distracted by shining the red lights and yelling about lockdown protocols to give out any boats.

The dark-clothed small human shows the angry human one of his fingers as our boat speeds away.



As the boat moves through the water, I stare up at the ceiling. It was dark, covered in twinkly little lights, and so high up that I couldn’t imagine how far away it must be. The machine informs me that this ceiling has a special name. It is the sky.

The sky has its own name because it is a special ceiling. It is a ceiling that goes on through space forever, with no other ceilings above it.

It is strange to think that all that information has been in the machine in my head all along, but I was never able to reach it. It is like I am exploring myself as much as I am exploring the world.

Once we are far away from the place we came from, I decide I feel okay to look at it again. The shining metal that used to make up my whole world now looks as small as the room they kept me in. From this distance, it looks like a place someone could feel trapped in.

I wonder if that’s why the dark-clothed small human wanted to steal a boat with me. Maybe he didn't like living there. Maybe he was trapped there.



The world is fascinating and I still like it but it is also very big. Right now it feels too big. I have found a spot called a bathtub in the place we are staying in. It is small, and the room is a familiar white. I think I will stay here for a while until I feel ready to handle more of the world.

My friend comes into the room. He is not wearing the dark clothes from before, but this is okay because there is a word for him that works no matter what he is wearing. The machine does not know the word, but the word for him is Gladion. I can think of him as that when he is not wearing the dark clothes, and also when he is.

He runs his hand along my back. It is another form of nice touch, and I trill. I am glad I have him with me. He makes the world more manageable.

“You like it in there?” He laughs and smiles at me. “You want a bath, or are you just there to relax?”

I am here because the world feels smaller here. However, bath is an interesting word. I have not gotten to be in water for years, not since they put the helmet on. The helmet is heavy, so I can’t swim. The bathtub, though, is small enough that I can touch the bottom. I grab the water nozzle, but it doesn’t react.

My friend turns something beside the nozzle, and it starts making water. I put my talon under the stream. The running water is warm. It feels nice in the way that good touch feels nice. It is comforting.

I try to roll over onto my back, but the tub is too small for me to lie comfortably in that way with the helmet and my plume. I just get back on my chest instead.

The bathtub fills up very quickly. I suppose it doesn’t need much water to be full, because there is already a lot of me almost filling it. It isn’t long before the warm water covers everything but my head.

I flick the water with my talon. It splashes. I am satisfied. I trill. He laughs.

In this moment, everything is good in the world.



After the water has escaped the bathtub, I stand up and shake the drippiness in my feathers and fur away. Some of the drips fly far enough to hit my friend, he recoils away. Oops. I whimper in apology.

“I should’ve expected that,” he murmurs.

He brings me a towel and begins to dry my wetness with it. It feels very tickly. The sensation makes me shiver, then I sneeze. He dries me with a lighter touch after that. It’s strange, I think, to have him understand me like that. The no-faces either couldn’t tell what I wanted, or they couldn’t care. He can do both.

Eventually, he decides the towel has drank too much of the water in my fur to keep going, so he drapes it over a bar up above the edge of the tub, and he gets a second one to keep drying me with.

Eventually, he is satisfied with how almost-not-wet I am now, and he guides me out of the white room. He goes to the bag that he was wearing when we took the boat, and digs something fluffy out from under all the wads of rolled-up colourful papers.

I like fluffy things. I reach for the fluffy things, but he gently pushes my talon away.

“These aren’t for you,” he says, laughing. “These are for me.”

He retreats back into the white room and the door swings shut behind him! I try to fiddle with the knob that opens it, but it doesn’t move at all.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be out in a second,” he says, seemingly much less concerned about being stuck in the room than I am. Soon, the knob moves without me touching it, and the door opens again.

My friend has changed clothes again! The fluffy things were clothes, and now that he has put them on, he has become fluffy himself.

He walks to the other side of the room and hits a switch, which takes all the light out of the room! It is darker than even the place they used to keep me now. I do not like this darkness. It makes me feel uncomfortable. I whimper.

I hear my friend’s voice. “Relax, I just turned off the lights.”

He does not sound uncomfortable or nervous. He is very good at being calm. It makes me feel safe, because even when I am confused, he knows what is happening. If he is okay, I will probably be okay, too.

I hear his footsteps as he comes closer, then there is a clicking noise and a smaller, yellow light comes on from a lamp on a table. From there, he climbs up into something that the machine in my head tells me is called a bed even though it doesn’t look like anything I’ve ever used as a bed before.

He burrows into the fabric covering it, then he looks at me. I put one talon up on the bed. He smiles. “Yeah, I guess I won’t make you sleep on the floor.”

It takes me a moment to figure out how to get up onto the bed, but I manage to climb up. He slides a pillow under the pointy parts of my mask, then sits up and reaches over me to turn off the lamp.

Soon, everything is dark and silent, aside from my friend's gentle breathing. I tuck him against my stomach.

I can feel him breathing now, too.

When he was awake, he seemed so different. He was brave and strong and he made me feel safer. As he falls asleep, he seems so soft and vulnerable. I feel like I am protecting him and not the other way around.

I want him to feel safe and happy. The same way he made me feel.

Like friends.

Edit: Fixed Typo: Invisible Way -> Invisible Wall
 
Last edited:

Flyg0n

Flygon connoisseur
Pronouns
She/her
Partners
  1. flygon
  2. swampert
  3. ho-oh
  4. crobat
  5. orbeetle
  6. joltik
What a short but delightfully sweet and lovely tale.

I really love the way the narration makes me feel like I am about something that isn't fully like an ordinary pokemon. Yet also something who is the same as any being, who wants friendship, love and understanding.

There's a degree of simplcitiy here thats refreshing, a purity about this tale. I love the way Silvally describes the world around him as well.I feel so sad for him yet happy, because he found a friend.

I have to admit, I did expect this to be a little longer, but I think it works just fine as is! Although I do wish that we could see more of them. It was so sweet!

The door gives a pleased trill
I loved how he describes things like the door being 'pleased' and trilling. Adorable!

slide the metal frame that holds the invisible way out of the way.
Invisible wall?

dark-clothed small human
Rooollll credits ;P

The building yells about “lockdown protocols.”
oh my gosh this is hilarious. The building is yelling.

The dark-clothed small human shows the angry human one of his fingers as our boat speeds away.
This is also hilarious. Made me smile. So innocent!

Eventually, he decides the towel has drank too much of the water in my fur to keep going,
I really enjoyed these oddball little descriptors like the towel 'drinking water'. Really encapsulates an atmosphere!

Anyways thats my thoughts for now! Really liked it, wish it was longer so I could spend more time in this tale!
 

Cresselia92

Gym Leader
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
Partners
  1. ho-oh
  2. custom/sneasel-nyula
  3. custom/rayquaza-cress
Hey there! I've been meaning to check out this story when you talked about it, and now I've got the right push to get to it! coughs points coughs

As such, I'm going with both speedy reactions and general overview of this oneshot.

Let's go!

Dark-Clothed Small Human:

I am trapped. Alone.

My siblings are gone. They were put into ice. We did not do what they wanted us to, so now they want to freeze us. I am the last one they need to freeze. Once the machine is ready, I will be frozen… indefinitely.

Indefinitely is an odd word. I have never heard it before, but the machine they put into my head knows what it means.

[...]

It means maybe forever.

I really dig the way this introduction pulls you right into the perspective of the chimera, as well as illustrate what happened to them in a few words. It helps that this story is narrated in first person.

I am not sure how scared I should be of Indefinitely. I do not want to be frozen forever, but if it is only maybe forever, then maybe it will be okay. I try to take comfort in that, but I am still scared. I do not want to be frozen at all.

So inexperienced, and yet Null already knows the concept of eternity. Come to think of it, it is a quite scary concept.

There is nothing else to do. Nothing else I can do. My strong-hearted eldest sibling tried to fight the humans once, but it only made things worse. It made them add the invisible wall.

When they want to do something to us, there is never something else we can do.

Something I've noticed in future passages that I really appreciated is that Null isn't depicted as an aggressive creature. That is something that I've seen very often in other takes, and it's refreshing to see a more subdued version of Null.

It makes the heart pain more to see what they're going through, but it works.

I hear footsteps. I expect it to be the end, but it turns out just to be a small human. The small humans are getting close enough to being adults they take them down here sometimes to show them things. The small humans had the strangest look in their eyes when the no-faces first showed them us…

Love the term "no-faces". I wonder whether this is a joke at the fact that the Aether crewmates look identical, or if Null never bothered to memorize their faces. Perhaps both.

The dark-clothed small human shows the card to the machine beside the place they keep me. The door gives a pleased trill. The machines that look at cards are always pleased by long-haired cold mother’s card. It is their favorite card.

Oh, gosh! I love the way Null describes things. It's such an endearing take!

“Friendly?”

I do not know if I can promise that.

I do not know if I can trust the dark-clothed small human yet. I do not know what the dark-clothed small human wants, or what he will do to me. All I know is that if I stay here, they will freeze me. I decide to cooperate with the dark-clothed small human for now, even if I do not trust him.

Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place. At least Null chose wisely.

“You’re going to let me pass.”

No! I don’t know what you think you’re doing down here, but I absolu-

My curiosity exceeds my nervousness, so I poke out from behind the corner. The no-face gives up on their sentence with a little choking noise.

You’re... insane!

“Like I said, you’re going to let me pass now.”

The no-face grumbled, but moved aside. I am surprised that the no-faces listen to the dark-clothed small human. Normally they only listen to the bug-mask hurting man or the long-haired cold mother. “You don’t know what you’re doing. You’ll die before you get anywhere.

The no-face’s voice is quivering. I like how the no-face is scared of the dark-clothed small human. I wonder what it is about him that scares them?

Something tells me they're scared of you, Null. I bet Null would find that notion very puzzling or ironic.

He laughs at the no-face. “I’ll be fine. They were calm before Faba messed with them. Father let us see them back… before, when… y’know.”

He pauses. I can almost feel thoughts moving around in his head. “I’ll figure out how to get them back. Fix whatever damage Faba did to them.”

What damage? What is he talking about? I want to know what they’re talking about!

Same here! What did old Faba do? I wanna know!

The no-face makes a coughing noise. “Well, good luck, kid. Maybe if you’re lucky we won’t have to clean up your body. And if not… Well, try not to make a mess as you go down.

The dark-clothed small human laughs, but it doesn’t sound like a happy laugh. “Yeah, sure.”

Gotta love scientists or whatever just letting a "murder beast" walk around the place. I would have expected that no-face to call the security, maybe. :unsure:

Suddenly, rails spring up around the triangle’s edge, trapping us! I screech in protest and prepare to smash them, but I feel the dark-clothed small human put his hand on my side. It is not a forceful touch. It is a gentle touch. “We’re going to be okay,” he tells me. He has calming words and calming touch. We are going to be okay.

I do not attack the rails. The triangle and its rails move up through a hole in the ceiling and up into a room above.

It takes me a moment to process what has happened. There was a secret second ceiling above the ceiling, and we are now walking on the ceiling like it is the floor.

Interesting. It seems that the machine doesn't know what an elevator is. Though, maybe the scientists never wanted Null to know, since they were supposed to stay locked inside the facility. It's an interesting thought.

He leads me towards a little vessel floating in the water. The machine in my head supplies the word boat to label it. It also tells me that boats are used to go places. He shows the card in a terminal beside the boat, and it trills happily in return. He gets onto the boat, then looks at me.

It is a dead end. I do not want to get stuck there, so I do not want to get on. I whimper, but he keeps looking at me. He wants me to get on.

Remember, boats take people to places. Trust the boat!

He starts doing things to the boat, and it grumbles at him. He looks to me. “Be back in one second,” he tells me, before hopping back off the boat. He reaches something on the wall and pulls it. The building is not happy about the thing being pulled, so it lights up red flashing lights and screeches at him.

The building yells about “lockdown protocols.” It normally only yells about those when my brave-hearted eldest sibling is breaking things. I think this means that we, too, have broken something, in our own way.

Indeed. You're about to break out and break free, so you aren't wrong.

He laughs a very happy laugh and runs back to the boat. When he gets to the controls, he makes the boat grumble louder as it begins to move through the water.

An angry-looking running human sees us moving through the water on the boat. This makes her look even angrier, and they run up to the boat nearest them and show that boat’s terminal her card. She shows the terminal her card over and over again.

I bet that woman is grumbling as well, now...

I wonder if that’s why the dark-clothed small human wanted to steal a boat with me. Maybe he didn't like living there. Maybe he was trapped there.

Ooh! You have no idea!

The world is fascinating and I still like it but it is also very big. Right now it feels too big. I have found a spot called a bathtub in the place we are staying in. It is small, and the room is a familiar white. I think I will stay here for a while until I feel ready to handle more of the world.

My friend comes into the room. He is not wearing the dark clothes from before, but this is okay because there is a word for him that works no matter what he is wearing. The machine does not know the word, but the word for him is Gladion. I can think of him as that when he is not wearing the dark clothes, and also when he is.

Foolproof logic.

He runs his hand along my back. It is another form of nice touch, and I trill. I am glad I have him with me. He makes the world more manageable.

“You like it in there?” He laughs and smiles at me. “You want a bath, or are you just there to relax?”

I am here because the world feels smaller here. However, bath is an interesting word. I have not gotten to be in water for years, not since they put the helmet on. The helmet is heavy, so I can’t swim. The bathtub, though, is small enough that I can touch the bottom. I grab the water nozzle, but it doesn’t react.

My friend turns something beside the nozzle, and it starts making water. I put my talon under the stream. The running water is warm. It feels nice in the way that good touch feels nice. It is comforting.

I try to roll over onto my back, but the tub is too small for me to lie comfortably in that way with the helmet and my plume. I just get back on my chest instead.

The bathtub fills up very quickly. I suppose it doesn’t need much water to be full, because there is already a lot of me almost filling it. It isn’t long before the warm water covers everything but my head.

I flick the water with my talon. It splashes. I am satisfied. I trill. He laughs.

In this moment, everything is good in the world.

This is such a cute moment! I love it! :veelove:

After the water has escaped the bathtub, I stand up and shake the drippiness in my feathers and fur away. Some of the drips fly far enough to hit my friend, he recoils away. Oops. I whimper in apology.

“I should’ve expected that,” he murmurs.

LOL!

Eventually, he decides the towel has drank too much of the water in my fur to keep going, so he drapes it over a bar up above the edge of the tub, and he gets a second one to keep drying me with.

That towel was very thirsty, I can say.

“These aren’t for you,” he says, laughing. “These are for me.”

He retreats back into the white room and the door swings shut behind him! I try to fiddle with the knob that opens it, but it doesn’t move at all.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be out in a second,” he says, seemingly much less concerned about being stuck in the room than I am. Soon, the knob moves without me touching it, and the door opens again.

My friend has changed clothes again! The fluffy things were clothes, and now that he has put them on, he has become fluffy himself.

He entered another room, and when he got out he had other clothes! It's like magic~!

I hear his footsteps as he comes closer, then there is a clicking noise and a smaller, yellow light comes on from a lamp on a table. From there, he climbs up into something that the machine in my head tells me is called a bed even though it doesn’t look like anything I’ve ever used as a bed before.

I guess very few things look bed-like enough to be called beds.

He burrows into the fabric covering it, then he looks at me. I put one talon up on the bed. He smiles. “Yeah, I guess I won’t make you sleep on the floor.”

It takes me a moment to figure out how to get up onto the bed, but I manage to climb up. He slides a pillow under the pointy parts of my mask, then sits up and reaches over me to turn off the lamp.

Soon, everything is dark and silent, aside from my friend's gentle breathing. I tuck him against my stomach.

I can feel him breathing now, too.

When he was awake, he seemed so different. He was brave and strong and he made me feel safer. As he falls asleep, he seems so soft and vulnerable. I feel like I am protecting him and not the other way around.

I want him to feel safe and happy. The same way he made me feel.

Like friends.

;_; Beautiful! And a friendship was born!

----

Alright, time for some general thoughts!

Gotta say that this was a lovely tale with a lovely view of Null's world and their thoughts. It was also really nice to see them explore new things, and the bathtub scene was both adorable and funny.

Now, I know this was done for the competition and time was really tight, but I can't help but wonder how Null's world was before their siblings got immobilized and frozen. Like, what did Faba do to them? How did it come to this point? How was their relationship with Gladion's father? All of these are elements that I'd like to know about, as they are some very fascinating events that are barely referenced. I wish we could see them!

Anyway, all in all, this was a fairly short but lovely story featuring Null and Gladion. Really swell job, I loved it!
 

Ambyssin

Gotta go back. Back to the past.
Location
Etherium
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. silvally-dragon
  2. necrozma-ultra
  3. milotic
  4. custom/zoroark-soda
  5. dreepy
Blitzy New Year!
Disclaimer: This is mostly stream-of-consciousness thoughts. Take it as you will.

-I like the machine in the head (RKS System?) explanation for Null’s (presumably) increased cognitive abilities, while at the same time being sheltered and inexperienced enough that they do things like believe the card reader “likes” certain cards and trills in happiness when presented with one. It’s quite childlike in a good way.
-Also Null thinking the ceiling becomes the floor b/c they don’t know how multiple levels in a building work amused me. It’s like a child learning about object permanence for the first time.
-Aww, thinking the night sky is a big ceiling is very cute.
-I feel like animals taking comfort in small spaces like Null with the bathtub is a real thing that they do when they’re nervous or something, but am not entirely sure. Regardless, the image of Null being loaf in a bathtub is great.
-Again, I like some of the childish incorrect word choices, like the towel drinking the water. It’s that personification of objects that I know I did as a child. Also, water escaping the bathtub.
-I feel like that motel bed would flounder under Null’s weight, but the imagery of him curled around Gladion is cute enough for me to wave it off.

As redundant as it sounds, this is a cute and fluffy piece. You give Null a unique voice that mixes machine with childlike innocence, which I suppose embodies its chimeric origins nicely. Of course I’m incredibly biased when it comes to Silvally, so chances are I was going to like this anyway. Still, I’m left wanting more and wishing there was more, which clearly means you did things right here. :veelove:
 

windskull

Bidoof Fan
Staff
Partners
  1. custom/sneasel-nip
  2. bidoof
  3. absol
  4. kirlia
  5. custom/windskull-bidoof
  6. custom/little-guy-windskull
Hi Phant. I just happened to see this while scrolling the recent list and realized I never read it. Now seems as good of time as any. And I'm glad I did, because it was an absolutely adorable story that made me feel good.

I love the way you describe things through Null's perspective. There are things they understand well, but there are other things that they describe in an unusual way that exemplifies the fact that they are not human and that they think differently. The part that stood out to me in particular was the way Null described the card readers as "liking" a card.

And there are other things that make Null feel… well, sheltered isn't the right word, but inexperienced doesn't quite work right either, and I'm struggling to find the correct word. But the part I'm thinking of that brings this to mind is when Null calls the sky a ceiling. It says a lot about the life Null has lived. There's this deep sadness that comes from knowing how little Null has seen and experienced, despite being several years old.

The ending, once they've escaped and they're just getting a chance to relax, is adorable. Even though the reader knows things are going to work out in the end (as most prequel stories tend to), it still gives a sense of peace and hope.

Overall, I loved the vibe of this story, and it was a short and sweet listen on my commute to work. This was an enjoyable experience, and I'm glad I checked it out.
 

Umbramatic

The Ghost Lord
Location
The Yangverse
Pronouns
Any
Partners
  1. reshiram
Here for Review Blitz! I know I already reviewed this for the contest, but I don't care, I lovved it and I have more to say.

This definitely feeds into your Alola specialty, which is fine by me because Gen. 7 is my second favorite gen, and you double it up by including characters that I have been very interested in myself. Not gonna lie, I was ALSO planning a Gladion and Null/Silvally fic, but I had to scramble and rewrite my notes when I saw this in the contest because you do the premise so goddamn well.

Anyd you Type Null is a GIFT. I love his distinctly nonhuman but still intelligent but also naïve perspective on things, how he phrases even simple interactions as something strange and foreign. It's the kind of xenofiction that delights Me Specifically a fair bit. Also? They're so adorable. They love fuzzy things. I can't.

And you of course do a good job with Gladion too. His standoffish yet ultimately caring personality really shines through here, and sI liked being able to recognize this was huis intial ESCAPE FROM AETHER!!!!.

And of course the main attraction, the peice de resistance, is their FWIENDSHIP. It's so ciute. The fact that Gladion from the start will protect Null no matter what, Null being grateful for Gladion talking him across Alola, THE CUDDLES AT THE END> Hmmmg, my heartt It's all delightful and as I said in the contest I widsh there was more.

Though now I'm curious. DOES this tie into your main Alola fiic? I do hope to see!

Anyway great oneshot, happy to revisit it, please give Null more cuddles.
 

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
Staff
Location
somewhere in spacetime
Pronouns
they/them
Partners
  1. custom/pikachu-chibi
  2. lugia
  3. palkia
  4. custom/lucario-shiny
  5. custom/incineroar-starr
Before I've even begun reading, I just want to say how much I enjoy the title of this fic. There's an interesting jilted effect you get from it being "dark-clothed small human" as opposed to "small, dark-clothed human." It automatically conveys a vibe of childish, unpracticed speech, which is just perfect.

I am not sure how scared I should be of Indefinitely. I do not want to be frozen forever, but if it is only maybe forever, then maybe it will be okay. I try to take comfort in that, but I am still scared. I do not want to be frozen at all.
Such a great opening. Null is scared but clinging to what it can understand, and the small glimmer of hope that things might be okay. The machine gives it knowledge of words, but maybe forever is just such a scary and difficult concept.

Today, though, something is different. This small human is alone, and he is in dark clothes instead of white ones.
I really like the decision to focus on the dark clothing for Gladion, such that it becomes his identifier and the title. It's not just that dark clothing distinguishes him from the other humans, but from his previous appearance as well! For him, discarding his white clothing is discarding his old life.

The dark-clothed small human shows the card to the machine beside the place they keep me. The door gives a pleased trill. The machines that look at cards are always pleased by long-haired cold mother’s card. It is their favorite card.
Null's narration is a constant delight. It knows words, definitions, but still has to make those childish leaps in logic to process its environment. Of course Lusamine's card is their favorite--they always accept it.

The no-face’s voice is quivering. I like how the no-face is scared of the dark-clothed small human. I wonder what it is about him that scares them?
It's you! You're what they're scared of!

“We’re going to be okay,” he tells me. He has calming words and calming touch. We are going to be okay.
Faced with such unfamiliarity and uncertainty, Null using Gladion's judgements as a grounding method is such a good.

I cannot help but be curious, though. When I decided to be friendly towards him, I had never imagined that he could show me all this. If he can take me more places, I want to come. I want to see all the things he can show me.
I was actually surprised that curiosity ended up being the tipping factor between Null just being satisfied at having gotten out of the basement, and deciding to leave with Gladion across the sea. I was expecting them to be chased or something, and Null having to make a snap decision out of gut instinct.

This makes her look even angrier, and they run up to the boat nearest them and show that boat’s terminal her card.
I think there was some pronoun confusion here? Not sure who "they" is referring to here.

The dark-clothed small human shows the angry human one of his fingers as our boat speeds away.
lmao

When he was awake, he seemed so different. He was brave and strong and he made me feel safer. As he falls asleep, he seems so soft and vulnerable. I feel like I am protecting him and not the other way around.
aaaaaa my heart

This was a joy from start to finish. Null's fear, uncertainty, naivety, hesitation, and ultimately, curiosity and trust all come through wonderfully. There were lots of other small details I enjoyed, such as Null relating to Gladion feeling trapped as well when they left the island, and Null finding the outside world to be too big, needing to feel a bit confined, to process things at its own pace. Thanks for writing this, it was a delight~
 

Pen

the cat is mightier than the pen
Staff
Partners
  1. dratini
  2. custom/dratini-pen
  3. custom/dratini-pen2
This was a sweet slice of xeno-POV fic and made for a charming, engaging read. Null's voice comes off as young, naive, and in their own way, brave. One of my favorite aspects of the narration was how alive and unpredictable the world around Null felt. They don't clearly delineate between what's animate and inanimate because they don't know! There are lots of things in their life that move on their own and seem to have feelings. The doors like certain cards, the building is sensitive to being pulled. The personification of these objects had a particular resonance considering how much of Null's sense of self and the world is tied to the machine in their head. I liked the sense of disconnect between how Null sounds inside their head and how they are perceived--namely, the frightened guard. Gladion clearly sees Null more accurately. The scene between them with the bath and later getting into bed was really cute. I find it funny how from any human POV ever Gladion comes off as brooding, sullen, and basically any word that's an antonym to calm, but for Null he's able to be a soothing figure. One thing I would have liked to get a bit more closure on is Null's family. In the initial whirlwind of new things, it makes sense that Null doesn't think about them, but at some point it seems like it would sink in that their family is left behind and frozen. Ultimately, this is fluffy fic, so I see why you chose not to dwell as much on that side of things! Thanks for a cute read.

The small humans are getting close enough to being adults they take them down here sometimes to show them things.
Missing a "that" in here, I think.

The door gives a pleased trill. The machines that look at cards are always pleased by long-haired cold mother’s card. It is their favorite card.
Love the personification of the door here.

The small humans had the strangest look in their eyes when the no-faces first showed them us…
Does Null really have much to compare the look in their eyes with that they'd be able to identify a strange look?

I wonder what it is about him that scares them?
Lmao, yes indeed, it is a mystery what is scaring them right now

He reaches something on the wall and pulls it. The building is not happy about the thing being pulled, so it lights up red flashing lights and screeches at him.
Again, the personification of the building is great.

It is strange to think that all that information has been in the machine in my head all along, but I was never able to reach it. It is like I am exploring myself as much as I am exploring the world.
A really nice observation.

He is very good at being calm.
"Things no one else has ever said about Gladion, for 500"

I want him to feel safe and happy. The same way he made me feel.

Like friends.
I wonder about "friend" being the word Null lands on, when their main positive relationships appear to have been familial ones.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
Location
UK
Pronouns
they/she
Partners
  1. custom/purrloin-salem
  2. custom/sneasel-dusk
  3. custom/luz-companion
  4. custom/brisa-companion
  5. custom/meowth-laura
  6. custom/delphox-jesse
Howdy, Lyn! Excited to be reviewing something of yours for Blitz. I've enjoyed your prose for a long time, but I don't recall reviewing anything of yours for a while, if ever, despite enjoying your snippetposting tremendously. Very hype to read a fic about these two, in particular, even though I've still not played Gen VII. And it's xenofiction, no less! Here goes.

The start is strong for this fic. The definition of indefinitely, as processed by a young mind, really presses the horror of the situation by providing detailed specificity, and the implication of innocence and youth. This is a child-creature that might as well be being killed for all they know and has no agency to speak of. It's awful, and instantly investing. The prose register is excellent for the purpose, very fitting, without being so simple that it's not enjoyable. Nice one.

I am ridiculously pleased by Null's interpretation of the security system as being machines capable of having a favourite card to look at. It's adorable and weirdly heartbreaking. Please protect Null, they are precious.

I didn't know what a no-face was. If I'd played the games, I'd have known instantly you meant an Aether Foundation Employee, and I guessed as much, but there could be a line of description there all the same I think. Pretty sure the idea here is that the scientist dude is scared of Null, not Gladion, but I find myself very emotional that Gladion's confidence and help are giving hope to Null.

Incidentally, the use of the machine in Null's head to provide additional information while keeping them broadly ignorant is a great way to prevent them being either too knowledgeable or too confused. Nicely done.

There's so much about the escape sequence I enjoy. A second, secret ceiling. Null trusting Gladion for real. Lockdown protocols and the building being angry. No boats are being provided. One of Gladion's fingers. It's continually delightful.

Null feeling empathy towards Gladion also being trapped in Paradise is a remarkable perspicacious thought, or perhaps just a very good guess with limited life experience to draw on. Either way, it made me tear up slightly. I feel so many things for this weird bird dog. There's sometihng about the smplicity of Null's narration combined with the continual re-examining of things that makes it a delight to read and highly affecting, at least to me.

And oh, how sweet and kind Null is, at the end, with their human friend.

This was lovely.

Thank you.
 

SparklingEspeon

Up To No Good
Staff
Location
*teleports behind you*
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. espurr
  2. fennekin
  3. zoroark
Hello! I’m here for the BLEC review awards, covering a fic I probably wouldn’t have found otherwise. And it’s a good thing I did, because this was a pleasure to read from beginning to end.

Reading this was a big pro in my book, since Gladion’s initial escape from Aether Paradise is something I always wanted to see brought to life and I was livid that Generations never got around to animating it before it stopped running. I’ll take this as a healthy substitute, thank you!

I think the biggest pro right off the bat for me is characterization. The characterization really carries everything here, from the way Null tells the story to Gladion being… Gladion. In particular I really liked that we got to see Gladion being more than the edgelord he presents himself as. Not a pov I’ve seen before, and tbh I’d probably do terrible things to see more of these two just being silly together.

But I think the characterization that we see the most of here is Null’s. Everything that we see is filtered through their pov, including what they do and don’t know. That chip in their head tells them enough so that they aren’t oblivious, but it can’t update Null’s perspective, so we get this kind of doglike POV of them being fed information and then filtering it in their own unique way, which is really cute. In particular I really liked how they just matter-of-factly state that they’re getting overwhelmed so they’ve decided to sit in the bathtub until they feel better, and how they refer to the sky as a ‘great ceiling’ and think the towel Gladion dries them off with is ‘drinking’.

I guess my biggest crit is that I want moar pls. There’s only about 3K words of this in total, which is cute but it’s over too fast and there’s not much to chew on. Thought it would have been cool to maybe see some snapshots of them battling the Player, or evolving into Silvally, or watching Gladion take the reins of Aether Paradise for some cyclity, etc. Heck, you could even make some kind of series out of this if you wanted to! For now, though, a oneshot it remains 😔

Overall, really cute! Some lines in particular I really liked and wanted to highlight:

I do not want to be frozen forever, but if it is only maybe forever, then maybe it will be okay. I try to take comfort in that, but I am still scared. I do not want to be frozen at all.
:(

The building is not happy about the thing being pulled, so it lights up red flashing lights and screeches at him.
The building does not let her have the boat. I suppose it is too distracted by shining the red lights and yelling about lockdown protocols to give out any boats.
really like this pov referring to the building as something alive

The dark-clothed small human shows the angry human one of his fingers as our boat speeds away.
this is such a gladion thing to do lol

Once we are far away from the place we came from, I decide I feel okay to look at it again. The shining metal that used to make up my whole world now looks as small as the room they kept me in. From this distance, it looks like a place someone could feel trapped in.

I wonder if that’s why the dark-clothed small human wanted to steal a boat with me. Maybe he didn't like living there. Maybe he was trapped there.
This is one of my favorite segments--I liked the change of them realizing that what was their whole world five minutes ago now looks like a prison. I do wonder if adding 'too' onto the last bit could give it some more punch.

My friend has changed clothes again! The fluffy things were clothes, and now that he has put them on, he has become fluffy himself.
yes good

I want him to feel safe and happy. The same way he made me feel.

Like friends.
:veelove:

~SparklingEspeon
 

Sinderella

Angy Tumbleweed
Staff
Location
In Guzma's Closet
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/sylveon-shiny
  2. gothitelle
  3. froslass
  4. chandelure
  5. mimikyu
AYYEE PHAN! I think this is the first thing I've ever read from you (aside from RPs of course) but I was really excited to read some sort of rendition of your Gladion and SHEEEEESSSSHHH I wasn't disappointed!!! This was such a delightful short little story and I fucking adored it. Truly, I wish it was longer, I am that in love.

I adore the POV of Type:Null (Is this Hazel?? I have to assume it's Hazel, but please correct me if I'm wrong). I just absolutely adore the way they view everything--the machine trills because it likes the card, the building is flashing because it's angry, the sky is a really high ceiling, and little Gladion is "dark clothed small human" until they understand that there is a different way to refer to him and AHHHHHH. The childlike way Hazel(?) views everything is what helps make this little story, on top of the fact that now this poor Pokemon has a friend. I'm sobbing my eyes out bro.

I also really like how Gladion's character also manages to shine through even inside Hazel's POV. He's good at being calm, but he evidently has a way of persuading the no-faces of letting him out (lol). He also just seems to go out of his absolute way to make sure that Hazel(?) is comfy and gods my heart. I love it all.

Thank you for writing this cute little story and PLEASE! GIBE! ME! MOAR! OF! THEM!
 

Spiteful Murkrow

Ace Trainer
Pronouns
He/Him/His
Partners
  1. nidoran-f
  2. druddigon
  3. swellow
  4. custom/quilava-fobbie
Heya, I’d heard good things about this one-shot in the past and that it’d placed well in 2021’s writing contest. Figured that I’d give it a shot since it apparently does some cute things with Type:Null/Silvally, which is a bit of an unusual combo, so might as well see where that goes:

I am trapped. Alone.

My siblings are gone. They were put into ice. We did not do what they wanted us to, so now they want to freeze us. I am the last one they need to freeze. Once the machine is ready, I will be frozen… indefinitely.

Null: “So, as you can see. Life’s going great right now.”
:wincevally:


Indefinitely is an odd word. I have never heard it before, but the machine they put into my head knows what it means.

For an unlimited or unspecified period of time.

It means maybe forever.

Not that this isn’t consistent with Type:Null/Silvally apparently having some sort of integrated data IO abilities, but I’m actually a little curious why this was a priority for the Aether Foundation. I presume to make Null easier to handle as a Pokémon?

I am not sure how scared I should be of Indefinitely. I do not want to be frozen forever, but if it is only maybe forever, then maybe it will be okay. I try to take comfort in that, but I am still scared. I do not want to be frozen at all.

Null:
laughter-worried.gif


Part of me wants to hit the invisible wall with my helmet some more, but I have tried it enough to know that it never breaks. It only ever hurts my head, so I don’t try it anymore. I curl up in the back of the place they keep me, and I wait.

There is nothing else to do. Nothing else I can do. My strong-hearted eldest sibling tried to fight the humans once, but it only made things worse. It made them add the invisible wall.

When they want to do something to us, there is never something else we can do.

Ah yes, learned helplessness. That’s a major ‘oof’ vibe there.

I hear footsteps. I expect it to be the end, but it turns out just to be a small human. The small humans are getting close enough to being adults that they take them down here sometimes to show them things. The small humans had the strangest look in their eyes when the no-faces first showed them to us…

A couple missing words here, though this is the part where Gladion grabs Null and runs, huh?

Today, though, something is different. This small human is alone, and he is in dark clothes instead of white ones. He draws a green card from his clothing. The green card is the one that the long-haired cold mother uses. Why does he have it, I wonder…

Yup, this is the point where Gladion takes off with his bionic chimera fishdog.

The dark-clothed small human shows the card to the machine beside the place they keep me. The door gives a pleased trill. The machines that look at cards are always pleased by long-haired cold mother’s card. It is their favorite card.

I wonder what Null’s frame of reference for happiness is such that he associates a card-key being accepted with “happy noises”. Like it makes sense assuming that “card-key being accepted is affirmation, and that’s a good thing”, though it makes me wonder if he had a handler he used to like such that “card-key go beep” would be associated with that.

Since one would think that if Null’s association with the card reader is “whelp, time for pain”, that he wouldn’t find the sound to be related to “happiness” at all. I dunno, maybe I’m overthinking things.

Since the door liked his card, he is allowed to slide the metal frame that holds the invisible wall out of the way. He looks at me with the a funny look in his eyes.

“Hello,” he says, walking up to me. “I’m going to help you. Do you understand me?”

Null: “*I understand your words, less so your actions right now, human.*” .^.

I understood him. I have understood humans ever since they put the machine into my head. I cannot do any talking, and the big helmet wouldn’t even let me nod my head. Instead, I get up and just stand in front of him. I look at his eyes, and he looks at mine.

“Friendly?”

Oh, so Null has given up on even trying to talk, huh? Or does the helmet literally restrict his mouth’s movements to the point where he can’t get out any meaningful vocalizations at all?

I do not know if I can promise that.

Null: “*I’d just like to point out that I was about to be frozen over. Why am I supposed to trust you again?*” >v>;
- Beat moment -
Null: “*... Right, helmet keeps me from speaking. Knew I shouldn’t have blown off those glyph recognition exercises.*” ·v·;

I do not know if I can trust the dark-clothed small human yet. I do not know what the dark-clothed small human wants, or what he will do to me. All I know is that if I stay here, they will freeze me. I decide to cooperate with the dark-clothed small human for now, even if I do not trust him.

Null: “*... Why does it feel like this is going to wind up coming to bite me in my scaly rear? That’s just paranoia talking, right?*” ·v·;

I coo to signal my decision to be friendly. He smiles at me. “Yeah, we’re cool. C’mon, let’s get out of here. Our way out is just up the lift.”

I feel as if I should be less surprised that Null would coo given that it has bird-like traits, but this still made me double-take. It’s a cute image, though.

He leaves the room, then looks back at me from the doorway. I feel nervous. I have not been past the doorway in years.

What are you doing here, kid?

Whelp, time to bring out the relevant gif:

dis-gon-b-gud-lawn-chair.gif


It was the muffled voice of a no-face. The dark-clothed small human does not look happy with the no-face. That makes sense. No-faces always do unpleasant things.

Kinda wonder if this bit would’ve had a bit more impact if Null either had concrete anecdotes associated with those ‘unpleasant things’ or else given how much he was giving off a “learned helplessness” vibe a bit earlier, if he got a bit more obviously anxious/frightened here after hearing the ‘no-face’.

“You’re going to let me pass.”

No! I don’t know what you think you’re doing down here, but I absolu-

Cue this guy getting socked.

My curiosity exceeds my nervousness, so I poke out from behind the corner. The no-face gives up on their sentence with a little choking noise.

You’re... insane!

Gladion: “Never said I wasn’t.”
:gardeshrug:


“Like I said, you’re going to let me pass now.”

The no-face grumbled, but moved aside. I am surprised that the no-faces listen to the dark-clothed small human. Normally they only listen to the bug-mask hurting man or the long-haired cold mother. “You don’t know what you’re doing. You’ll die before you get anywhere.

I’d question how Null isn’t picking up signs of fear from the ‘no-face’, though I suppose that not having a face to see a reaction on would get in the way of things.

The no-face’s voice is quivering. I like how the no-face is scared of the dark-clothed small human. I wonder what it is about him that scares them?

Because he’s got you at his side and you’re seemingly obedient to him.

He laughs at the no-face. “I’ll be fine. They were calm before Faba messed with them. Father let us see them back… before, when… y’know.”

Ah yes, falling off the face of the planet, getting mind-wiped, and showing up again to run PokéPelago. Not that Gladion knows that right now. [copyka2]

He pauses. I can almost feel thoughts moving around in his head. “I’ll figure out how to get them back. Fix whatever damage Faba did to them.”

What damage? What is he talking about? I want to know what they’re talking about!

Oh boy is that ominous. .-.

The no-face makes a coughing noise. “Well, good luck, kid. Maybe if you’re lucky we won’t have to clean up your body. And if not… Well, try not to make a mess as you go down.

The dark-clothed small human laughs, but it doesn’t sound like a happy laugh. “Yeah, sure.”

Null: “*Seriously, what is this kid on to just get him to back down like that?*” ·v·

He gestures for me to follow and heads towards a room I’ve never been in. In the room, there is a triangle platform. He guides me onto it and presses a button on a machine that chirps in response.

Suddenly, rails spring up around the triangle’s edge, trapping us! I screech in protest and prepare to smash them, but I feel the dark-clothed small human put his hand on my side. It is not a forceful touch. It is a gentle touch.

We’re going to be okay,” he tells me. He has calming words and a calming touch. We are going to be okay.

It might be worth splitting up this dialogue such that it’s separate from the rest of the descriptive part of the paragraph here.

I do not attack the rails. The triangle and its rails move up through a hole in the ceiling and up into a room above.

It takes me a moment to process what has happened. There was a secret second ceiling above the ceiling, and we are now walking on the ceiling like it is the floor.

This is the first time that Null has ever left the basement of the Aether Foundation in his life, isn’t it?

The dark-clothed small human doesn’t even seem surprised by the ceiling being the new floor, or by the second ceiling. He just keeps going, so I start to follow him. I hope he knows his way around on top of the ceiling, because it’s a very big room.

Null: “*It just keeps going on and on…*”
:shookvally:


He takes me to a place where water fills a big gap in the floor that used to be the ceiling. Was there always that much water above me, hidden by the ceiling that is now the floor? It is strange to think that all this has always existed, this world above my head, even when I didn’t know about it.

So wait, what is Null’s reaction to seeing the sky for the first time going to be like? Does he even have a conception of it from his onboard computer?

He leads me towards a little vessel floating in the water. The machine in my head supplies the word boat to label it. It also tells me that boats are used to go places. He shows the card in a terminal beside the boat, and it trills happily in return. He gets onto the boat, then looks at me.

It is a dead end. I do not want to get stuck there, so I do not want to get on. I whimper, but he keeps looking at me. He wants me to get on.

That actually makes me curious if Null has a Pokéball at this point in time, or if he makes this boat ride looking kinda like:

117.jpg


I could stop. He hasn’t forced me to do anything else yet, and he hasn’t tried to force me to do this, either. He took me away from the place they were keeping me and brought me up on top of the ceiling where I am not trapped. I could stop and stay here.

bender-laughing.gif


Though I suppose it makes sense from Null’s perspective since he has no conception that he’s in a broader facility run by the people who were keeping him penned up and about to freeze him.

I cannot help but be curious, though. When I decided to be friendly towards him, I had never imagined that he could show me all this. If he can take me more places, I want to come. I want to see all the things he can show me.

Null: “*Especially since for all I know, if I don’t, I’m going to wind up getting frozen.*”
:fearfullaugh~1:


This time, I trust him for real when I get onto the boat. Not just because I am scared.

He starts doing things to the boat, and it grumbles at him. He looks to me. “Be back in one second,” he tells me, before hopping back off the boat. He reaches something on the wall and pulls it. The building is not happy about the thing being pulled, so it lights up red flashing lights and screeches at him.

The building yells about “lockdown protocols.” It normally only yells about those when my brave-hearted eldest sibling is breaking things. I think this means that we, too, have broken something, in our own way.

Clever stunt of Gladion’s there given that that’ll buy him some time to break away.

He laughs a very happy laugh and runs back to the boat. When he gets to the controls, he makes the boat grumble louder as it begins to move through the water.

An angry-looking running human sees us moving through the water on the boat. This makes her look even angrier, and they run up to the boat nearest them and show that boat’s terminal her card. She shows the terminal her card over and over again.

Ohai, Lusamine. Or at least I think that’s supposed to be Lusamine.

The building does not let her have the boat. I suppose it is too distracted by shining the red lights and yelling about lockdown protocols to give out any boats.

The dark-clothed small human shows the angry human one of his fingers as our boat speeds away.

Whelp, I don’t think Gladion’s getting Christmas gifts for a while.
:silvlully:


As the boat moves through the water, I stare up at the ceiling. It was dark, covered in twinkly little lights, and so high up that I couldn’t imagine how far away it must be. The machine informs me that this ceiling has a special name. It is the sky.

Null: “*... Wait, how have you known this all the time without ever telling me?*”
Machine:
You never asked.

The sky has its own name because it is a special ceiling. It is a ceiling that goes on through space forever, with no other ceilings above it.

“Something something, edge of spacetime” but I suppose that’s technically not a “ceiling” there.

It is strange to think that all that information has been in the machine in my head all along, but I was never able to reach it. It is like I am exploring myself as much as I am exploring the world.

Boy is that all sorts of messed up that AF basically created a living weapon of a puppy with a built-in encyclopedia of sorts and just saw fit to let him go his whole life up to this point just thinking the whole world was the AF basement. .-.

Once we are far away from the place we came from, I decide I feel okay to look at it again. The shining metal that used to make up my whole world now looks as small as the room they kept me in. From this distance, it looks like a place someone could feel trapped in.

I wonder if that’s why the dark-clothed small human wanted to steal a boat with me. Maybe he didn't like living there. Maybe he was trapped there.

That’s at once adorable and [sadwott] at how Null just doesn’t realize that he was the one who was trapped up until like 15 minutes ago.
The world is fascinating and I still like it but it is also very big. Right now it feels too big. I have found a spot called a bathtub in the place we are staying in. It is small, and the room is a familiar white. I think I will stay here for a while until I feel ready to handle more of the world.

That’s at once adorable and [eltycrying]-tier. Guess life as a sin against nature built in a lab does a thing or two with developing warped standards of normality.

My friend comes into the room. He is not wearing the dark clothes from before, but this is okay because there is a word for him that works no matter what he is wearing. The machine does not know the word, but the word for him is Gladion. I can think of him as that when he is not wearing the dark clothes, and also when he is.

Small nitpick, but when bringing up quotes within quotes, it’s usually convention to quote it in some capacity. Though I guess this means that Gladion never took off a jacket or something in front of Null in the past given that he has no conception of human clothes being detachable from their wearers until this point.

He runs his hand along my back. It is another form of nice touch, and I trill. I am glad I have him with me. He makes the world more manageable.

“You like it in there?” He laughs and smiles at me. “You want a bath, or are you just there to relax?”

Null: “*... What’s a ‘bath’ again?*” ^v^;

I am here because the world feels smaller here. However, bath is an interesting word. I have not gotten to be in water for years, not since they put the helmet on. The helmet is heavy, so I can’t swim. The bathtub, though, is small enough that I can touch the bottom. I grab the water nozzle, but it doesn’t react.

My friend turns something beside the nozzle, and it starts making water. I put my talon under the stream. The running water is warm. It feels nice in the way that good touches feels nice. It is comforting.

So I guess that Null in this continuity would be a fan of Water Memory, huh?

I try to roll over onto my back, but the tub is too small for me to lie comfortably in that way with the helmet and my plume. I just get back on my chest instead.

The bathtub fills up very quickly. I suppose it doesn’t need much water to be full, because there is already a lot of me almost filling it. It isn’t long before the warm water covers everything but my head.

You really need to get a commission of this one day, since this sounds absolutely adorable here.

I flick the water with my talon. It splashes. I am satisfied. I trill. He laughs.

In this moment, everything is good in the world.

See above, really. Once again, cute moment.
:nerOWO:


After the water has escaped the bathtub, I stand up and shake the drippiness in my feathers and fur away. Some of the drips fly far enough to hit my friend, he recoils away. Oops. I whimper in apology.

I wonder how much of that is reflex by Null and how much of that is informed by worries about ‘humans get mean when they’re upset’ from past experience. Could honestly buy it going either way.
“I should’ve expected that,” he murmurs.

He brings me a towel and begins to dry my wetness with it. It feels very tickly. The sensation makes me shiver, then I sneeze. He dries me with a lighter touch after that. It’s strange, I think, to have him understand me like that. The no-faces either couldn’t tell what I wanted, or they couldn’t care. He can do both.

Null’s tail is wagging up a storm right now, isn’t it? Though it’s at once cute and sad to see this dawning realization from Null that “wait, humans can actually know what I want and want to give it to me?” play out in live-time.

Eventually, he decides the towel has drank too much of the water in my fur to keep going, so he drapes it over a bar up above the edge of the tub, and he gets a second one to keep drying me with.

Eventually, he is satisfied with how almost-not-wet I am now, and he guides me out of the white room. He goes to the bag that he was wearing when we took the boat, and digs something fluffy out from under all the wads of rolled-up colourful papers.

I like fluffy things. I reach for the fluffy things, but he gently pushes my talon away.

“These aren’t for you,” he says, laughing. “These are for me.”

Oh, it’s his clothes, huh? Though that makes me wonder what Null wearing Gladion’s hoodie would look like.

He retreats back into the white room and the door swings shut behind him! I try to fiddle with the knob that opens it, but it doesn’t move at all.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be out in a second,” he says, seemingly much less concerned about being stuck in the room than I am. Soon, the knob moves without me touching it, and the door opens again.

My friend has changed clothes again! The fluffy things were clothes, and now that he has put them on, he has become fluffy himself.

Wait, is that his black and red outfit from the games? Or is it meant to be a different set of clothes from sometime prior to the events of Gen 7?

He walks to the other side of the room and hits a switch, which takes all the light out of the room! It is darker than even the place they used to keep me now. I do not like this darkness. It makes me feel uncomfortable. I whimper.

So they just never turned off the lights at AF for the Nulls, huh? Not even when it was time to sleep?

I hear my friend’s voice. “Relax, I just turned off the lights.”

He does not sound uncomfortable or nervous. He is very good at being calm. It makes me feel safe, because even when I am confused, he knows what is happening. If he is okay, I will probably be okay, too.

inb4 Gladion winds up having to invest in a night light for his fishdog.

I hear his footsteps as he comes closer, then there is a clicking noise and a smaller, yellow light comes on from a lamp on a table. From there, he climbs up into something that the machine in my head tells me is called a bed even though it doesn’t look like anything I’ve ever used as a bed before.

He burrows into the fabric covering it, then he looks at me. I put one talon up on the bed. He smiles. “Yeah, I guess I won’t make you sleep on the floor.”

de7.png


Not that this isn’t adorable and totally worth the risk of accidentally getting poked or scratched in your sleep.

It takes me a moment to figure out how to get up onto the bed, but I manage to climb up. He slides a pillow under the pointy parts of my mask, then sits up and reaches over me to turn off the lamp.

Soon, everything is dark and silent, aside from my friend's gentle breathing. I tuck him against my stomach.

I can feel him breathing now, too.

Null: “*Could… we maybe have just a little bit of light right now? You know, for comfort purposes?*” ^v^;

When he was awake, he seemed so different. He was brave and strong and he made me feel safer. As he falls asleep, he seems so soft and vulnerable. I feel like I am protecting him and not the other way around.

No, it was always like that, Null. Your learned helplessness is just wearing off.

I want him to feel safe and happy. The same way he made me feel.

Like friends.

:silvgrin:


Well, that was a cute read, and I suppose now’s as good a time as any to launch into my thoughts about things:

I thought that the way that the story handled Null’s perspective was very well done, it has an almost child-like curiosity to it while still not reading as ‘human’, or even full ‘natural’ with the way that the computer cuts in. Which I suppose accurately describes Null since he functionally is a child with an onboard computer. At the same time, it’s a nice change of pace from ‘lab-grown ‘mon is a monster that needs to be quelled’ that most other stories revolving around synthetic Pokémon like Mewtwo or Genesect involve, so seeing that tack taken with a Pokémon that would be very easy to just cut straight from the same mold given its canonical lore while still feeling plausible was a breath of fresh air. I also liked the way that you showed off familiar things through unfamiliar eyes and thought the story got a lot of mileage out of it. The bit with Gladion flipping off Lusamine on the way out of AF was a particularly memorable moment in general, since we know what’s happening, but Null, being the cute bean that’s lived his entire life in a close-to-literal basement would of course be innocent of its meaning.

There aren’t too many weaknesses in this one shot for me to gripe about. I noticed a bit of awkward wording here and there that could probably be smoothed out in a second pass. The closest thing to a systemic issue would be that there were points when I wanted to get more into Null’s head in terms of how he felt at different moments that weren’t fully communicated, but those were a small handful of moments and in general, the story covers those bases fairly well.

Altogether, good work, @Shiny Phantump . I’d heard some rave reviews of this piece in the past, and honestly, it lived up to the hype. I’ll need to poke my head into some of your other writings sometime, especially since you’re now working on a different story where Gladion and Null leg it from their mother, just with a lot more screentime involved. Since hey, if they’re the same Gladion and Null as in this one-shot, I can already tell that they’ll be fun to follow.

Kudos, and best of luck with Review Blitz. ^^
 

Arukona

Bug Catcher
Location
Ireland
Pronouns
He/him
Partners
  1. aggron
Since this week’s theme in the 2022 Blitz is oneshots, I might try my hand at reviewing this one.

The opening certainly paints a grim picture of the Type: Null in captivity. It’s a sad feeling of submission being instilled into them, and moreso when they realise it’s useless to fight back because the humans froze the other Nulls who lashed out against them. Other things too, like the ‘no-faces’ painting a cold picture devoid of emotion. Also, the fact that Null speaks without contractions contributes to their robotic feel. It almost feels innocent, I think, of a creature that knows little of the world outside Aether Paradise.
I do not know if I can trust the dark-clothed small human yet. I do not know what the dark-clothed small human wants, or what he will do to me. All I know is that if I stay here, they will freeze me. I decide to cooperate with the dark-clothed small human for now, even if I do not trust him.
This line, and a number of other lines in this oneshot feel slightly stilted. But while I would normally criticise this, I feel that this, if anything, contributes to Type: Null’s nature as a laboratory experiment who knows nothing of the world outside.

I’m surprised the no-faces would allow Gladion to escape with Null so easily, though. Would they not put up a fight at least?

The personification of the building as a living thing is a nice touch, adding to how little Null knows about the world. Similarly too, with the night sky. It’s an almost child-like innocence that I find touching.

The interactions with the bath are also cute, showing Null off to be a bit of a clumsy sort. Almost like a big dog. That’s quite a cosy image to imagine.

And then it goes into fluffy fluff territory (more than just the pyjamas Gladion puts on) near the end of the fic, showing Type: Null and Gladion. It ends with an even cosier image of the two of them falling asleep together next to one another. Null’s definitely showing more dog-like tendencies with wanting to guard Gladion. A firm friendship’s been formed between the two, and it’s very heartwarming indeed.

I loved this oneshot! Great job with it!
 

Torchic W. Pip

~ Utterly glorious ~
Location
Sootopolis City
Pronouns
they/he
Partners
  1. torchic
  2. custom/torchic-blue
  3. custom/torchic-mikuri
  4. custom/torchic-daigo
Hello, Phantump! Hope you've been well.

I am so happy to finally be reading your stuff!!!! From what I've seen in RPs, I get the feeling I could really vibe with your stuff. Okay time to read...

I expect it to be the end, but it turns out just to be a small human.
*gasp* Could it be...
dark-clothed small human
It is!!! It is a dark-clothed small human!!!
Since the door liked his card, he is allowed to slide the metal frame that holds the invisible wall out of the way.
Ohhhhhh so the invisible wall is a window. I like that.
I understood him. I have understood humans ever since they put the machine into my head. I cannot do any talking, and the big helmet wouldn’t even let me nod my head.
"Wouldn't" should be "won't" and "understood" should be "understand".
The dark-clothed small human shows the angry human one of his fingers as our boat speeds away.
Lol which one
It was dark, covered in twinkly little lights, and so high up that I couldn’t imagine how far away it must be.
This sentence also switches to past tense here
In this moment, everything is good in the world.
: ) Such a good line
I like fluffy things.
I do too!!! Fluffy things are the best!
The fluffy things were clothes, and now that he has put them on, he has become fluffy himself.
Gladion is fluffy now!!!! All is well in the world!!!!

Omg this was adorable!!!!!!!!! Gladion is such a good kid, and so is Type: Null/Hazel. I loved Hazel's perspective on all of the news things in the building and the larger world. Even the mundane—bathtubs, pajamas, boats—are painted in a wondrous new light through her eyes. The world starts out small and scary, but as Gladion escapes with her, everything opens up I love it when stories do that! You're really good at xeno POV.

And I love this lesser-seen side of Gladion that we get to see: strict but kind, not a memetic edgelord as we usually see him in canon or fanon. Something something ~complexity good~

And I must say again how much I love the bath and pajama scene. It's got such fuzzy vibes. I love it a lot.

Very good stuff, Phantump. Very wholesome and sweet. Can't wait to read your other stuff.
 

Starlight Aurate

Ad Jesum per Mariam
Location
Route 123
Partners
  1. mightyena
Hello! I don't think I've read any of your works before, but I'd heard of this one-shot and wanted to give it a read!

The dark-clothed small human shows the angry human one of his fingers as our boat speeds away.
Ha! I don't have to guess which finger that is :P

My friend comes into the room.
Aw! He has graduated from being "human" to being called "friend"!

He burrows into the fabric covering it, then he looks at me. I put one talon up on the bed. He smiles. “Yeah, I guess I won’t make you sleep on the floor.”
Oh man, even after being towel-dried twice, I imagine that he's still quite wet from his bath. The human might end up being more wet than dry when he wakes up XD

Soon, everything is dark and silent, aside from my friend's gentle breathing. I tuck him against my stomach.
Aw, it's like Gladion is a teddy bear for Type:Null!

I know others have said this, but just to reiterate: this is a fluffy, feel-good oneshot. Of course, the backstory to it is heartwrenching, and it starts off really daunting as Null considers being frozen forever. I find "forever" to be a terrifying concept most of the time, and poor Null's only prospects of eternity is to be frozen and immobilized for it! The style of narration and speech definitely makes it come across as a wounded child. It's someone who has been deeply hurt and has had their innocence taken away, but they don't understand most of what's happening around them, and largely doesn't understand what happened to them (or at least doesn't seem to be processing it at all). It definitely gives the atmosphere of someone who has been traumatized and is still largely in shock from it.

Mentioning "the helmet" not only makes me think of Type:Null, but also Mewtwo and the metal suit that Giovanni put him into in the first Pokemon movie. And with the feelings of isolation and terror, I do think they give similar vibes. Just like how Gladion/Lusamine mirror Silver/Giovanni, Null's treatment here feels reminiscent of Mewtwo's (albeit Null is a lot less destructive lol). Given that, by the end of the piece, Null considers Gladion to be his friend is warming up to him, it looks like he has a way to start healing from the abuse he's sustained so far. What a heartwarming ending to a short and sweet piece!

In general, I like pieces that explore the backstories of canon characters, so I thought that this was a neat look at Null being rescued by Gladion from Null's perspective! Your prose was very captivating--the simplistic vocabulary and lack of commas give it the feel of a child speaking, but you manage to do so without making it feel run-on, and I thought it conveyed the overall feel of the story perfectly. Thanks for sharing this!
 

Phoenixsong

smell ya later.
Partners
  1. custom/skiddo-steplively
  2. custom/skiddo-phoenixsong2
  3. custom/skiddo-phoenixsong3
  4. custom/skiddo-iametrine
  5. custom/skiddo-coolshades
  6. custom/skiddo-rudolph
  7. custom/skiddo-sleepytime
  8. custom/snowskiddo-friend-iametrine
aw, OG Hazel and Gladion time :D :(

Interesting that the machines can provide them with things like dictionary definitions. You wouldn't think that'd be relevant to the nulls' purpose, but at the same time it makes sense enough that at least some knowledge would need to come from somewhere, and Aether would probably prefer to focus on testing their creation's ability to actually perform the tasks they intended it to perform. Getting all that boilerplate "learning basics" out of the way with a computer seems pretty sensible, I guess!

Love the way Hazel views the world. On the surface it seems very simple, description-based vocabulary, not knowing the words for things, but she's incredibly observant and intelligent and that's reflected really well.

Today, though, something is different. This small human is alone, and he is in dark clothes instead of white ones.

Kinda interesting to wonder whether the white clothes she remembers were actual uniforms/safety suits of some kind (similar to what the no-faces wear, or just Lusamine gussying him up in her pretty pure white finery, heh.

"Long-haired cold mother" is so chilling, ugh. Like, it doesn't seem like Hazel recognizes Lusamine as Gladion/Lillie's mother, so the "mother" term has to come from her and the other nulls thinking (or being expected to think) of her as their mother. Terrible. Gross. I love it. (Also, love that the machines have "favorite cards".)

Gladion's confidence (in spite of how nervous he must be feeling inside) as he just straight-up walks them out of Aether and onto the boat was great. We don't really need to worry about how nervous he might be because this is Hazel's POV anyway and it'd probably just slow things down; all that matters is that he's buckling down and doing this, and giving Hazel a solid anchor to (learn to) trust and hang onto as things change for her so quickly and dramatically.

I also really love the observation that Hazel is only "discovering" these new words that are in her head now that her experience is changing. It might otherwise have felt briefly awkward that the machine only seems to supply her with some words and she has to invent others, but when you have such a tiny world and you're pretty confident you already understand how much of it works, how many new things do you really need to define? What you already assume you know is good enough, right? It's a good way to work around a situation like that.

The bath was just too adorable, help. And also still a little sad when you think about how stifled and awful a life has to be when one little talon-flick causing a little splash is satisfying, oh, bby ;-;

(is Gladion sleeping in super fluffy pajamas lol)

All in all a very hopeful and adorable look at the beginning of Null/Silvally and Gladion's relationship, and extremely well-written to boot. There might've been some minor tense slips here and there (a few "was"es that should've been "is"es, not much), but nothing at all that got in the way of reading. I really enjoyed this, and I'm just sorry it took me this long to get around to reading some actual non-RP Good Birb and Gladion content! How nice that now there'll be a bunch more from Irreflections, too... :eyes:
 

canisaries

you should've known the price of evil
Location
Stovokor
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. custom/inkay-shirlee
  2. custom/houndoom-elliot
  3. custom/yamask-joanna
  4. shuppet
Oh, I loved this. Thank you so much for the recommendation, it was very much worth it.

The small humans are getting close enough to being adults they take them down here sometimes to show them things.
It was a bit strange to have the word "adult" used when children are just known as "small humans". I also can't really parse this sentence right? Was it meant to be two separate ones?

The dark-clothed small human shows the card to the machine beside the place they keep me. The door gives a pleased trill. The machines that look at cards are always pleased by long-haired cold mother’s card. It is their favorite card.
Oh, this is adorable. I wonder if part of this machine-personalization comes from the Type: Null being part machine? Then again, we all like to personalize machines, and we're not part machine. It's understandable for an animal to do it, too.

Normally they only listen to the bug-mask hurting man or the long-haired cold mother.
I like "bug-mask hurting man" for Faba. Dude really do be lookin like a bug.

Suddenly, rails spring up around the triangle’s edge, trapping us! I screech in protest and prepare to smash them, but I feel the dark-clothed small human put his hand on my side. It is not a forceful touch. It is a gentle touch. “We’re going to be okay,” he tells me. He has calming words and calming touch. We are going to be okay.
I really, really love the voice in this story. It's the voice of a creature that doesn't know a lot about things but is still curious and open-minded. Everything's very simple, and this includes explanations of the narrator's mental states, which are bluntly stated rather than hidden or filtered the way humans do it.

I do not attack the rails. The triangle and its rails move up through a hole in the ceiling and up into a room above.

It takes me a moment to process what has happened. There was a secret second ceiling above the ceiling, and we are now walking on the ceiling like it is the floor.
mind utterly DESTROYED by elevator

The dark-clothed small human shows the angry human one of his fingers as our boat speeds away.
lol

As the boat moves through the water, I stare up at the ceiling. It was dark, covered in twinkly little lights, and so high up that I couldn’t imagine how far away it must be. The machine informs me that this ceiling has a special name. It is the sky.

The sky has its own name because it is a special ceiling. It is a ceiling that goes on through space forever, with no other ceilings above it.
This is like a gut punch covered in caramel. I'm so happy this creature finally gets to see the sky and so sad they haven't been able to before this. I love how they think of it as a special kind of ceiling since they've only ever been in enclosed spaces before - it makes sense.

I never knew a story about a genetically engineered Pokemon being broken out of a facility could be this wholesome, but here we are. I really liked this. It's extremely cute, to the point where I feel like I'd accuse someone of not having a soul if they read this and claimed it did nothing to their heartstrings.
 
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