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Cresselia92

Gym Leader
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
Partners
  1. ho-oh
  2. custom/sneasel-nyula
  3. custom/rayquaza-cress
#831\1 is a regular clerk like any other: meek, respectful, and hard-working.
However, his life is turned upside-down when he has a fateful encounter with unknown entities:
the terrifying
distortions, hellbent in corrupting everyone and everything.

This is Pokémon Red / Blue / Yellow from the point of view of an NPC.


unknown.png


Genres: Drama / Light Horror / Apocalyptic | Rating: Teen

Content Warnings:

Mild graphic scenes (game corruptions).
Instances of psychological trauma and abuse.


Hello, everyone! Welcome to my newest oneshot! :D

So, what is Fl4k3s (or Flakes, whichever title you prefer) about, you may ask? Well, Fl4k3s is a story born from a concept I’ve been toying with for a very long time: "What do in-game characters think about the actions of the ‘hero’? Are they affected by their actions in any meaningful or significant way?" Also, I’ve always been fascinated by the glitches in the Gen 1 games, so this oneshot could be considered a tribute toward them, too.

This story has been stuck in development hell for months, but this year’s competition has given me the spark needed to finally finish brainstorming it and complete it. This is also the first time I try out the horror genre and the present tense as a narrative technique, and one of the few times I’ve used a non-third person perspective (not for the entirety of a story, at least). If all, this is highly experimental, as the "persons" used here aren’t used as a stylistic technique, but as an actual narrative tool. You’ll find out as you read.

Also, this story has a unique spin, which takes inspiration from various Japanese horror RPGs: you will be able to choose your ending! Will you pick the correct path?

Having said so, I hope you’ll enjoy this story! ^^
 
Last edited:
Fl4k3s

Cresselia92

Gym Leader
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
Partners
  1. ho-oh
  2. custom/sneasel-nyula
  3. custom/rayquaza-cress
FL4K3S


00:00


SAFFRON CITY, the Shining, Golden Land of Commerce. This is the city where the story of #831\1 — a meek young man with messy black hair and wide glasses, but no other remarkable trait — begins.

It’s a Monday like any other Monday, warm and quiet and saffron-scented, with the coos of wild PIDGEY as the only escapade from the uproar of commuters running toward SILPH COMPANY. A letter sticks out of the letterbox of #831\1, waiting for its addressee to take it out of its metallic prison.



… …

…And this is when you, #831\1, find said letter.

It’s time for your first move. You extend your hand toward the letter and grab it, feeling the soft bumps brushing your fingers. Then you take it out of the box and stare at it. You hum to yourself: Could it be what you were waiting for?

With the utmost care, you rip the envelope to reveal the paper inside, before skimming through the text.

Dear #831\1… assessed… job offer…

Yes, that’s exactly what you were waiting for. They have accepted you as the newest clerk at the CELADON DEPARTMENT STORE. Sure, it may not be the job of your dreams, but at least you’ll earn some much-needed cash.

According to the letter, your shift will begin in two hours… Yes, two hours.

You’re baffled with that, wondering why you have to start so quickly. You should have gotten at least a day in advance, you believe.

Your gaze falls on the slightly faded ‘urgent’ label. Apparently they sent the letter days ago, but it arrived only today.

…Well, no matter. There is no time to complain about the lackluster postal service. You have a job; you’ve got to hurry!

So, you rush back into your home to scoop up the last spoonfuls of cereal. Then, you grab what meager cash you have, readjust your hair and glasses, and sprint toward the west gate of SAFFRON CITY.

It’s time for you to become active.


02:25


Now you’re at work, dressed up in the standard clothing and typical hairstyle of every regular clerk. You glance at the colleague standing at your left, who looks like the spitting image of yourself. Same hairstyle and clothing, unsurprising; and same brand of glasses, surprising! The only distinguishing trait about him it’s his name: #14227.

He shows you the ropes of the job: you greet the customers, listen to their requests, take out the chosen items from the boxes, get the money from them, and hand out the items.

Yes, it’s that brainless.

After the tutorial, #14227 retreats to his post and focuses his attention on the customers. This is your cue; it’s time for you to do the same.

And you do exactly that. Greeting; request; box; money; items; greeting; request; box; money; items; rinse; repeat.

Soon, you realize another important detail about your job: it’s very tiring! Moving heavy boxes around and rushing toward the warehouse to get fresh supplies whenever you run out of stocks is a huge drain of your energy. Also, the back pain! Hopefully, you won’t need to consult a doctor, you think. The last thing you need would be to spend what little you earn for medical expenses.

This is how you learn how truly unrewarding your job is.


04:35


A blackout casts the DEPARTMENT STORE in the darkness. Only the dim security lights outline the layout of the store and cast faint glows on the befuddled customers.

A sigh escapes your throat. You were about to finish compiling the data of the inventory, and you didn’t save! Why did the building have to black out now?

You lean into your seat with your arms crossed, waiting for the lights to return while listening to the shuffling of customers wandering in the dark. Some bump into each other, while others bump into the shelves and walls. A few items fall to the floors, in a mix of clatters, cracks, and crashes.

This just adds to your annoyance, and you sigh even louder. You know well that you will have to clean the mess as soon as the lights return.

You look at your left and spot the gleams of #14227’s glasses. By judging what little you detect, he’s staying completely still in his seat. He doesn’t give the impression of being bothered by the blackout. Perhaps this isn't a rare occurrence?

He notices you staring at him, and you quickly look away, not wanting to come across as some kind of creep. You begin twiddling your fingers nervously.

He breaks the silence. “…SODA POP?

You look again at his silhouette. SODA POP doesn’t sound like a bad idea. You give a simple answer. “OK.”

You see the gleams of his glasses thinning and expanding — a nod, you believe. Then, you hear him standing up from his seat and walking around the desk. His footsteps become more and more distant, before fading upwards. He walked up the stairs, you deduce.

You recall the sign you had read at the entrance of the store — ROOFTOP SQUARE: VENDING MACHINES. You both work on the second floor, and the ROOFTOP is on the sixth floor.

…Better remind yourself to pay back the favor by buying some SODA POP or another drink next time.


***


The crumbled can of your SODA POP lays in the trash can, reflecting the security lights.

Yes, the building is still in the shadows.

You don’t know how much time has passed, but it must have been hours, and you’re frustrated about the whole situation. And the worst thing is that nobody bothered to tell you or anyone else what you’re supposed to do in this circumstance. You’re just… left in the dark.

…Well, if the lights are busted and nobody bothers to check on you, you may as well go back home, you think to yourself. As you can’t do anything in the darkness, there’s no point in staying at the STORE. That’s reasonable logic… no?

So, you get up and begin orienting yourself in the dark floor, looking for the stairs. There is a creak, and upon turning around, you see the approaching silhouette of #14227. That surprises you, but not as much as the moment in which his hand catches your arm and begins pulling you toward the desk.

You’re startled by his behavior — what is #14227 trying to do?! You’ve got to get free, you internally scream to yourself.

So, with a grunt and a swift twist of your arm, you wiggle yourself free and take a few steps back. You stare in shock at your colleague, unable to decipher his face and intentions in the shadows.

He takes a step toward you, keeping his hand outstretched. Now panicky and uncomfortable, you bolt toward the stairs, wanting to get as far away from him as you can.

As you descend the first stairs, you hear a small, almost fearful, voice from #14227.

“No… 83; 1; 1…”

You stop, unnerved by his pleading tone, and turn you head. The gleams of his glasses move left and right, indicating a head shake. Is he telling you to not go?



No. You don’t want to take any risk. You shake your head and continue going downstairs. You have no clue what he just attempted to do and are too afraid to find out. The DIRECTOR must be informed about this behavior… tomorrow.

Once you’re outside the building, you realize that the entire world is completely in the darkness.

You stand by the door, dumbfounded by the phenomenon — wasn’t it sunny just a few hours ago? Nighttime shouldn’t have come so soon, you think. Perhaps that’s an eclipse?

…Or maybe you simply lost track of time. It’s not like there is a clock anywhere. As such, you shrug off the event and walk back home.

You’ve worked hard all day, and your bed awaits you.


***


Daytime has returned, and once again you’re enjoying a hearty portion of your favorite cereal. On TV they’re broadcasting a movie about glowing bicycles speeding on some grid, but as much as you’d like to see more about the security program guy, you know you have to go back to work.

So, you finish your breakfast as quickly as possible, dress up in your work attire and hurry back to the STORE. The sunlight is back, and hopefully they have fixed the faulty lights by now.


04:55


Well, talk about a bad way to start the day!

The DIRECTOR is scolding you for leaving without permission and for arriving at work so late: you should have been at the STORE twenty minutes ago. You gawk at him, wondering how you’re even supposed to do that. A part of you considers pointing out the ridiculousness of his request and explaining your reasoning, as well as try to let him know what #14277 tried to do, but his threatening glare is more than enough to make you back off and endure the tirade in silence.

Once the enraged DIRECTOR goes back to his OFFICE — but not before giving you a stern warning — you head toward your post. Though, you freeze when you see #14227’s unhappy stare, who motions toward the ground. You look at the spotless floor, then at #14227. He has cleaned everything up by himself, and that fills you with regret.

However, the regret fades as you remember what happened during the blackout, and that feeling is instantly replaced by animosity. So, you avert your gaze from him and walk to your seat, before pulling the chair as far away as you can. You don’t feel in the mood of interacting with him, and you can tell he feels the same way.

As you notice the first customers exploring the area, you think about how your boss treated you. What does he want? For you to learn how to teleport or to sleep at the STORE to be on time?


14:08


A young TRAINER with a red beret walks in front of you and looks into your eyes. Time for the usual greeting.

“Hi there! May I help you?”

He keeps staring at you, his black eyes focused and unmoving. You stare back at him, starting to feel uncomfortable under that piercing gaze. Despite your discomfort, you force out a friendly smile.

“Take your time.”

He reads the item list, then looks again at you and points toward his choice: GREAT BALL. Then, he shows the index finger with his right hand and a circle formed with the index finger and thumb with the other hand. A ten.

You find it bizarre that he said nothing. Perhaps he is mute?

GREAT BALL? That will be ℙ 6.000. OK?”

The TRAINER nods and gives you the money, and you deliver the GREAT BALL.

“Here you are! Thank you!”

He puts the GREAT BALL into his bag, before resuming peering at you. You hold back a gulp — why is he so interested in you? You take a quick breath and beam another awkward smile.

“Is there anything else I can do for you?”

The TRAINER stares at you for a long time, before shaking his head. You feel your heart filling with relief, and voice out an enthusiastic: “Thank you!”

As soon as the boy leaves, you exhale a deep breath. Those eyes… those cold, lifeless-looking eyes! That’s the first time you have dealt with such a nerve-wracking situation.

What’s wrong with that kid?


17:34


Another blackout, but this time you’re prepared. You have created copies of your files, and copies of copies of your files. No more lost progress for you!

Grinning in satisfaction, you stand up to go ask the DIRECTOR if you can go home, when you feel something hitting your chest. Startled, you turn toward whoever threw whatever thing in your direction, to find #14227 shaking his head and pointing toward the backdoor.

Puzzled, you walk through the door to find a dimly illuminated room with a fridge-bar, a radio and two futons. Now more aghast than confused, you lower your gaze to realize that #14227 had thrown you a pillow and a blanket.

He sits down on his own futon, before motioning toward the other one. Then, he points toward a poster with a photo of the DIRECTOR and shakes his head. His actions are crystal clear — you have to stay, you can’t go tell the DIRECTOR and refusal isn’t an answer.

You stare at your futon in disbelief. They really want you to sleep at the STORE!

In what mess did you get yourself into?


***​


The radio is broadcasting a pleasant lullaby sung by a JIGGLYPUFF and a CLEFAIRY. #14227 is already fast asleep, but you’re unable to catch those much-needed Z’s. While you normally enjoy listening to some relaxing music and can fall asleep easily, your mind is way too busy processing what has happened to you since you’ve been hired.

Nothing about your situation makes any sense, you think: impossible requests from demanding bosses, people with soulless gazes, and now you're forced to sleep at the STORE, too!

That’s it! You’re going to resign tomorrow! Enough working for them!

As you're unable to sleep, you decide to take a relaxing stroll, instead. So, you get out of the backroom — noticing with a quick glance that the stairs to the first floor have been locked — and walk toward the display windows to enjoy the night panorama.

CELADON CITY is covered in total blackness, with only a few lights cutting through the dark veil. Some distant glows are more intense than others, probably made by POKéMON with FLASH. You smile faintly, relishing this moment of peace after working incessantly all day. You have to admit that the city looks nice during nighttime.

But then, you blink after spotting something in the distance. You can’t make out what it is, but it looks like a… red flicker? That’s the closest comparison you can find to what you’re seeing.

You lean closer to the glass when a giant silhouette materializes in front of the window. Your eyes widen in terror as you look up at the titanic beast.

It appears to be some kind of darkish red dragon with black leathery wings, filled with holes and dripping an ink-like fluid. Two sharp jagged horns protrude from the top of its head, while the tip of its tail spews a sickly green smoke mixed with maroon embers.

The giant opens its jaws. A maelstrom of black flames and dark gray smoke comes out of them, shrouding the surroundings in a distorted mist of… numbers and squares?! You see smaller skeleton-like dragons coming out of the smoke, each of them looking as twisted and sickly as their ‘creator’.

You back away in horror and crawl toward the desk, before grabbing the emergency phone and typing furiously on the keypad. You’ve got to warn everyone about this threat! However, as soon as you look again at the window, the dragons flake off and dissipate.

You stand there, unblinking and dumbfounded. What… just happened?


***​


Light floods back to the world.

You’re feeling sluggish after the terrible night, since you took forever to fall asleep after your terrifying experience. Your tiredness only adds to your resolve to resign, as you’re unwilling to go through any of that ever again.

While you ponder about how to relay the decision to your boss, you see #14227 extending a bowl of cereal and showing a friendly smile. You look suspiciously at him, wondering if he’s trying some funny business, but you blink as he shows a tiny, albeit sad, smile. By looking into his eyes, he seems both grateful for accompanying him during the night shift and apologetic for scaring you the night before.

You stare in bafflement at the cereal, then at him: he likes your same brand! It’s mildly unnerving that you two have yet another thing in common, but you appreciate the gesture. Besides, you wouldn’t have missed breakfast time for anything in the world!

So, you accept the bowl from your colleague and give him an earnest “Thank you!”, before taking a spoonful of cerea—numbers?!

You blanch and drop the spoon into the bowl. #14227 stares at you quizzically, but you dismiss his silent inquiry with a swift hand-wave. With a shrug, he starts eating his breakfast while checking on some papers on the floor. Documents of some kind, by judging the texts… and numbers… and squares…

You close your eyes and shake your head, trying to clear your mind. You’re still unnerved by whatever thing you’ve seen during nighttime, you reason with yourself. But did that really happen, or was it just a nightmare?

Yes… Yes, that was it. It was just some silly nightmare you’ve had. That’s the only logical explanation.

You stir your cereal while whistling to yourself. There aren’t numbers in your bowl. There aren’t numbers in your—shoot! There are numbers in your bowl!

Black-colored squares drip from the raised spoon, splashing into the horrid mix of white decimals and dark liquid. You feel your bile threatening to come out and hastily dump the bowl into the trash bin. That sight made you lose your appetite. Turning back to #14227, you see him devouring his breakfast with no care in the world.

But… Did you notice a weird flicker in his glasses just now, or…?

No. No. It can’t be, no. You’re just seeing things after your terrible experience. Those are only hallucinations, nothing more.

…Yes. Yes, this is it.

You’re only exhausted and stressed out, that’s all.


17:38


Much to your dismay, the DIRECTOR is unavailable. You consider going back home and let him simply fire you for noncompliance, but the miserable look on #14227’s face convinces you to spend one last day at the STORE.

You’re already sick of the situation, but you don’t have it in your heart to abandon him to do the job all by himself, especially not during a busy day like today. So, you take a deep breath and steel yourself for another wild ride.


23:34


During break time, you turn on the radio, intending to listen to some uplifting music to cheer you up, but only static comes out of the device. Annoyed at being potentially deprived of yet another guilty pleasure, you twist the knob many times in search of a good signal.

Then, another unnerving surprise: a distorted cry of a NIDORINO comes out of the radio, followed by the shrill and twisted voices of demonic creatures.

Face as blank as a sheet, you turn off the radio and start shivering, feeling chills going down your spine. #14227 looks at you in concern, with confusion flashing in his eyes.

Didn’t he hear that unholy screech just now? …It doesn’t seem like he did.

But if he didn’t hear it, then… what’s happening to you?

…No. No. You’re only hallucinating. This is all.

…Why are you looking around now? Are you in search of something? Or… someone…?

And now you look… shocked? Confused? Worried?

No. There is nothing to be shocked, confused, or worried about. It’s all in your head. All in your head. All in your head.

…Yes. Just like that. Yes.

All in your head.


36:34


Breaking news is being broadcasted in all TVs on the third floor!

The TRAINER with lifeless-looking eyes — whose name is RED of PALLET TOWN, you learn — not only has destroyed TEAM ROCKET all by himself, but he’s now the new POKéMON LEAGUE champion, after defeating both long-running champion LANCE and fresh champion BLUE!

Despite the general excitement around you, something is troubling your mind. It’s not only the fact that you feel like there is… something off, but there is also another matter you have realized. You’ve started thinking about that only recently, as if some part of your brain has magically awakened and made you more receptive.

…What is your name?

#831\1 isn’t a name. It’s not like RED, or BLUE, or LANCE, or even GIOVANNI. No, #831\1 is just a bunch of numbers slapped together. Why is your name made of numbers?

You don’t like to have numbers as a name, nor to be associated with numbers in general. Not after what you’ve gone through.

You need an actual name, you believe. Something that truly defines you. So, you rack your brains, open your mouth to proclaim your name to the world, and…

…Nothing. Not a single syllable comes out of your moving mouth.

Your eyes widen in horror: have you become mute?

You try the typical greeting.

“Hi there! May I help you?”

No, you can say those sentences just fine. You try saying your name again. Still nothing. You frown, confused by this strange situation. What about other names?

BUTTERFREE? …No.

POKé BALL? …POKé BALL, yes.

POTION? …POTION, another yes.

Sun? …No, again.

BADGE? …Still a no.

RARE CANDY? …RARE CANDY, another yes.

This is when you connect the dots: You can pronounce only words related to your job, and a few names of other items. You know what the unpronounceable words mean, but you can't spit them out. It’s like something has blanked out your vocabulary and your brain is unable to send those forbidden words to your mouth.

Bizarre situation — why is this happening?

Though, this applies to your voice. Maybe you can write those words instead! This is what you believe.

You hurry back to your post and grab a pen and paper. Time to write your name!


MAX ETHER


You stare at the paper, dumbfounded. That’s not what you wanted to write! You try again.


LEMONADE


Again.


REVIVE


No! Again!


てへ


…What does that even mean?! Again!


DIRE HIT


You scream — or rather; you attempt to — in frustration and hold your head into your hands. Unable to speak any non-item word, unable to write any non-item word… It’s like the universe is conspiring against you.

It’s because you’ve seen those numbers, isn’t it? Things started going insane after witnessing the flicker and the dragon.

If only you could spill out the truth about the whole situation. About those numbers. But you can’t.

Now, you’re… looking at the sky. Those same eyes, looking for something around you, but unsure of what you’re looking for.

But there is nothing around…



There isn’t…



Why the uncertain expression? And the widened eyes? And the… horrifying thoughts crossing your mind?

What if everyone is on your same boat? Unable to do anything more than execute and say what the forces that be have imposed on them. Without freedom.

But that’s a ridiculous thought… isn’t it?



Isn’t it?



You grip the pen again and begin scribbling furiously. Fast lines, long lines, zigzagged lines… all you want it’s letting out your anger by painting the paper all black. But then, you stop and blink as you look at one word affected by your scribbling wrath.


DIRE HIT


The lines… those went through fine. You narrow your eyes and scratch your chin in deep thought, before writing once more.


HYPER POTION

FULL HEAL

POFLUTE



You realize something — you have complete freedom on freestyle lines. Whatever force possesses you, it can’t stop simple lines and scribbles.

This is it! A loophole in the system! A way to speak freely!

Shaking in excitement at your discovery, you write your message to the world.


ICE HEAL MASTER BALL X DEFENSE


You stare at the words, unable to hide your triumphant smirk. Sure, you’re incapable to utter those underlined letters, but your mind is jubilant as it pieces them together and recites the words.

…Wait, those eyes of yours… that fire and willpower in your dark pupils…

I am BEN.

You stop reciting the words now…

I am BEN!

Don’t you dare say—!

I. AM. BEN!



… …

…W-Whoa, I… I’m feeling so strange… M-my head is spinning… ow…

…Hm? Hey! W-wait a minute!

Whoa! W-why… can I think with such… clarity? It’s like… some kind of block has been undone. I… I don’t get it…

Ooow… OK, thinking hurts, but… why does it hurt? And why… does it also feel… so good?

And… I don’t hear that distant inner voice in my head anymore…

How… is that possible? How did that happen?



…Wow, I… I… I don’t know what happened, but whatever it is… It just… feels great… to be able to fully control myself. By myself!

And I… finally, I have an actual name, a real identity.

I’m… f-free…



…No, wait, it seems too good to be true. Let’s see if I can speak normally…

“Hi there! May I—”

No, I’m still stuck with those words. This means… I’m not totally free yet. And maybe… nobody is free yet!

However, um… Maybe I can change things now? But… how? Hmm…

…Huh? Ah, #14227 is back! Hey, #14227!

No, wait, that’s not a real name. 1… 4… 2… 2… 7… Ah! Yes! Of course! LARRY! Now that’s a name! Hey! It’s me, BEN!

Yeah, I can’t blame you for being confused by my mood shift, but I have my reasons! You don’t know what just happened to me! It was… something unique! Really amazing! I…



…Oh. R-right. You can’t hear me. My voice and thoughts are all in my head, haha! Sorry, I’m so excited I forgot!

But… hmm… How can I let you know?



…Of course! I can use the same trick with the list! Now, look and behold, LARRY!


HELIX POKé DOLL POTION LEAF STONE RARE CANDY


Hello LARRY’! Pretty cool, right? You should give it a go, too! You’ll see, that—

Huh?! W-why are you looking so scared? I know it’s difficult to understand, but—

Ah! LARRY, what—?! Where are you taking me? Hey! Not so rough! Wait—!

Oof! Wha…? The backroom? Why did you drag me here? And… w-why are you shaking? Y-you’re worrying me! What’s the matter?



Whoa, hey! Why are you shredding my paper? I was using it to communicate with you! What’s wrong?



Oh? The camera, yes… And the poster of our DIRECTOR, OK… A mean glare, and… Huh, I didn’t get that last part. What are you trying to say with you falling to the floor? …And now you’re gone… under the futon… underground?

…W-wait, you mean…? The DIRECTOR would get rid of us if he found out?



…Goodness! H-he would?! But… w-why?!



The… sky. What about the sky? Are you saying that… something is in the sky?

…Wait, does that mean that… there is really something up there?

…Oh, gosh.



O-OK, I don’t understand what you’re trying to say now, but I get the general gist. We can’t use that method openly or we’ll be in trouble, alright. That’ll be hard for me since I’d love to communicate with everyone, but—

Whoa! The world has become dark again. I was wondering when it would have happened…

…And it’s back to normal? So soon? Huh. That’s weird.

Anyway… Hmm…

You really are… scared about this, aren’t you? You… know about all of this…?



OK, let’s try body signals, then.

LARRY. Aren’t you tired of being ordered around — point toward the sky — by some unknown entity? I know you are, because I — point at myself, nod — used to be in that place. You’re scared and I can’t blame you; this is a life-changing decision.

But it’s worth it! I mean it! Smile — This feels amazing! And I… Well, even if we’ve started with the wrong foot, I’d like to share this feeling — place a hand on his shoulder — with you. Also, with… #1-131\127? Maybe I should call him HENRY, it’s much easier… Anyway, he seems a cool guy, too!

Wouldn’t you — smile! — like that? To be — open your arms — free?

…OK, I should stop giving commands to myself. It’s kinda awkward and now I’m a free man, after all.



I understand, you need time. Maybe we could… hang out tomorrow? I want to — see the exit sign? — retire from this job, but we could drink a SODA POP?

What do you think? A hand-shake to seal our agreement?

…Yes? That’s cool! Then—

Ding-dong

W-what was that? A… bell?

Agh! Everything’s dark again! W-w-why is the ground shaking?! What the—?!


¥9:#%


…Nggh… What… What happened? Was that… an earthquake? That’s a… first…

AAAH! W-where am I?!

Numbers! I’m surrounded by n-n-numbers!

H-how… When… I… I… What…? I… I’ve got to get out of here!



Darn! I see no exit! It’s all covered in numbers! In squares! In smoke! In… b-black liquid!

I-it was that bell, wasn’t it? What did it do?! It’s… it’s just like the red stuff, and that mega CHARIZARD! More insanity!

What’s wrong with this world?!

…Hold on! Where’s… Where’s LARRY?! I can’t see him anywhere! He was here just a moment ago!

14; 22; 7! 14; 22; 7!”

Darn! Why can’t I speak properly!? LARRY! Is anyone here?



A-anyone…?



Oh, m-my goodness… I'm alone! What do I do?!

Huh-um… What to do? Hmm… Wait, is that…?

…Yes, that’s… a wall of the second floor… of the…

…So t-this is… the STORE?!

G-goodness! E-everything… is melting! I-I can see the layers underneath! That column is… spilling that black substance!

Out! I've got to get out before everything melts away! I don’t want to know what that liquid will do if I touc—AAAH! What’s that thing?!

A-A NIDORINO?! No! It can’t be! That’s not a NIDORINO! Its face is… distorted! Twisted! Melting! And its eyes! Black! And its mouth! Black! They’re secreting that black substance! That smoke! Like that CHARIZARD!

…Shoot, it spotted m-EEEAAAH! It’s attacking me! With acid! Oh god!

Hide! I’ve got to hide! Anywhere! Where—?

Ah! The backroom! Quick!



…I can’t hear that thing anymore. I think it’s gone. Gosh! That was close, too close!

…Hm? Is… anyone here? Those glasses…

Ah! LARRY? Is that you? Thank goodness! Hey, it’s me! BE–YEAAAUGH! Y-Your face! I-I-It’s gone! Replaced by n-numbers! Are you… Is he… d-d-dead?! A-A-Ah… I-I can’t! I… Out! Out!



I-I-I’m out! I’m… out… Oh, man, LARRY! Oh, man! What happened to you?! What did those… numbers do to you…?



What’s going on?! I don’t understand! Why is all of this happening?!

Ah! I see the exit! Quick! Out before I see another distorted creature!


***​


…This is a nightmare! A nightmare! The entire world… covered in numbers! Things collocated in the most random places! Tall grass growing on water! Pieces of the sky on the ground! Chunks of houses strewn around! T-this is surreal!

And everyone’s gone! There is no one here! Am I… the last survivor…?

…N-No, no. O-Other people must have survived this disaster, too. I can’t be the only one! I’ve got to keep searching!



Please, I… I can’t be the only one…



…Wait, is that… the champion? RED?

Sure looks like him, but… b-but…

W-why is he missing half of his h-head? I-Is that b-b-blood? Holy—!

Ah! No. Wait. That’s black smoke. Oh, thank goodness…

…Wait, black smoke? Is that even RED? Should I… investigate or…?

Hmm… Well, if I’m careful… very careful… and stay hidden… Maybe he won’t spot me…?



Darn, I can’t believe I’m doing this! I’m a fool for doing this! Walking toward that thing! Just what… is that… thing…?



OK, from here that smoke looks like… numbers? A jumble of numbers?


…So, you’re here.

BEN.

Is that how you named yourself, right?



Oh, shoot! How did he—?! He’s staring at me! Did he hear me approaching?!


We know many things, BEN. Especially regarding what’s happening to this world.

These distortions, these… numbers.

You can’t fight them, BEN. You never could, nobody could. Not even the ‘hero’ of this game.

It’s nothing we’re meant to do.



Wait, you… can hear me?


Yes. No thought can stay hidden to us.


OK, that’s… creepy? Anyway, what are you talking about? I don’t follow.


This might be hard to grasp, but everyone’s destiny is to live a few hours, and then die. Everyone dies… when they grow tired of us. When they want to start fresh.

If we’re lucky, we can live for years, but that means staying stuck in a perennial darkness until they return for a few minutes. Hardly a better alternative.

But this time, something unexpected happened, jeopardizing our existence. Our imminent death is premature, but that doesn’t make it any less inevitable.



D-Death…?!


We’re broken, BEN. We’re broken beyond repair. The entire world is broken. And the only way we can survive… it’s by dying and being rebuilt again.

Without memories. Without individuality.

Not that any of that matters. Those memories and individualities never belonged to us, to begin with.



Huh? The memories… d-don’t belong to us? What do you mean?


Simple. Fragments of memories have been implanted into the minds of everyone, so that every person believes to have always had a regular life outside of their designed profession.

Your dreams. Your hopes. Your past. Your… identity.

All of that is fake. Nonexistent. Even your age is a meaningless number.



Fake…? So, that means I... I never had a mother, a father, or…?


No. You never had. That was just a ploy to make sure you stayed stable, complacent, and ignorant of the workings of the world.

All you needed… was to do your job. Nothing more, nothing else.

…But now you’re aware of us. Somehow, you became more receptive to our influence on you and managed to break free from your conditioning, and this circumstance must be rectified.



R-r-rectified?!


Yes. Hereby, we command you to behave like the empty and silent character you’re meant to be and to let deletion cleanse your corrupted data and memories.

Abide by your destiny. It’ll be much easier for you. For us.



I’m not corrupted! And no, I don’t want to be ‘cleansed’, deleted or whatever, and to lose my identity — my true self! Not when I have just gotten a real name!


…So, you don’t want to accept your destiny willingly, huh?

Very well.

Then we’ll make you accept it by force!



By force? And where are all these voices coming from? What do they—?



… …

Gah! T-This sensation… Is this…!?

A-AAAH! No! Don’t imprison me again! No! Please don’t—!



… …

…There, much better. This is how you should behave: as a silent and thoughtless character who only obeys the commands given to you. Now let’s start the process, shall we? You—

Hm? What’s going on?



… …

…Ugh! N-No, I… I refuse to… agh… submit to you! I don’t want to go! Not like this! I… I—agh! No, stop—!



… …

…Fascinating. Are you really fighting to preserve your unnatural condition? Hmm… You’re more stubborn and resilient than you look.

And now you’re running away. How predictable.



Heh. Fine. Then run! Run for your life! That should make things more interesting, at least.

How long will you last, we wonder…?




… …

…H-Huh? I-I’m back in control? I did it… again… s-somehow…

Ugh! That was… ow… painful, though…

Keeping control of myself is… is so hard! It’s like this world doesn’t want me to be myself!

I… I…



Oh, darn it! What am I supposed to do?! I can’t keep running forever!

And it’s so dark! Why is everything so dark?! Why is everything so garbled?! What’s going on?

Is this world really… dying? Is death really… imminent…?



N-No! I can’t think like that! Surely there is something I can do to… fix the world? I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do to deal with this mess!



Can I even… do something, though…?

I’m only a clerk with no remarkable achievements… just like those creepy voices… c-commanded me…

Just… what can I do…?


***


Wow, it’s pitch black here! If only I had an HM05 with me…

Doubtful it would help much, but at least I’d have some light. I don’t enjoy walking in this darkness… with these red shadows… u-ugh…



Huh? Voices? What are these voices? They’re around me!

…YAAAGH! G-Ghosts…?! I’m surrounded by red g-g-ghosts!

Agh! Stay away from me! No! D-don’t come any closer!


#831\1…


Ah! D-DIRECTOR? I-is that y-you?


stop running #831\1

there is no use

there is no escape



No… No! You’re not the DIRECTOR! W-what are you?


i am no one

just like you

just like all of us

mere nameless souls



N-no one…? And who is ‘us’?



Ah! Y-you’re a BEAUTY from the GYM! And you a LASS! And a COOLTRAINER! And… L-LARRY?! It’s… It’s really you?!


join us #831\1

you are in distress

let deletion cleanse those unpleasant thoughts



No! I don’t want to! And I’m not #831\1! I’m BEN!


no you aren’t

you never were

just like i never was ‘larry’

those names are a lie

a lie you crafted to fool yourself


you are a lie


N-No! Stop it! T-That’s not—


why do you keep pretending to be someone?

you know how empty we all are

how empty
you are


Stop! Please, s-stop—


you know the truth

the sooner you accept it the sooner you will be free

free from your torment and from that glitch you call ‘identity’



I’ve said STOP! Leave me alone!


don’t run from fate

it’s pointless

your persistence is pointless



Enough! You won’t get me! I don’t want to be deleted and forgotten!

…Is that… Ah! An ESCAPE ROPE! Just what I needed!


no #831\1

please don’t go

don’t make things harder for us



I’m sorry, but I-I have to! I’ll save you from your prison s-somehow! I promise!


stop #831\1



yours was a huge mist4ke #831\1

y0u sh0u1dn’t h4ve seen the num6ers



***​


D-did I get away from them…? It looks like it…

…Oh god! Oh god! I’m shaking! I’m shaking so much!

Those… those black shapes! With those red squares! With the voices of the customers, and the DIRECTOR, and LARRY!

I-I-I can’t handle this anymore! I… I… I just want to go home!



But I… I doubt I have a home anymore…



What I’m going to do…?

W-what… am I—?


***​


…H-Huh? Oof! Did… Did I black out or something?

Goodness! That’s too much for me! I can feel my heart thumping!

…But… W-where am I?

Hmm… This seems another distorted place. I don’t recall seeing that sign in the sky, nor the water shooting from holes on the floor. And… is that a tree growing on glass…?



Man, I don’t understand what the heck is going on anymore! This world has gone insane! It wouldn’t surprise me if I had gone insane, too…

Ha… hahaha…

…Ha…



That’s not funny…



OK… OK… I need to get a grip. I can’t despair like that, especially not now. Freaking out won’t solve anything.

Surely there is something I can do! I just… need to figure out what.

Hmm…

If only I had a clue… or some help. But I very much doubt that Mr. Champion — or whoever they are — wants to help me!

Ha! That’s rich! The ‘hero’ of KANTO, the one who destroyed TEAM ROCKET and everything, now wants to destroy me! He wants to destroy everything! What kind of hero does that?


***​


This darkness is so stifling. I wonder how long I’ve been walking…

I’m so… tired. Tired of everything. How did my life go from working at a STORE to… this? All of this? I don’t understand.

…Hm? Something’s there! W-what is…?

Ah! The red flicker! Oh, gosh! Where do I hide?! I’ve got to run!

Agh! H—how did you… p-pop into existence? Ah! No! Please, s-stay away from m-me!



Huh? You… d-don’t want to hurt me…? I-I’m not sure if I can t-trust you…



…C-clean this mess? But… aren’t you one of them?



…You aren’t? Are you a POKéMON? But h-how can we understand each other?



…We’re similar? In what way? What are you?



…A BIRD? That’s… huh, strange? I’m not a BIRD, but you don’t look like a BIRD, either. Nor like a FLYING-type…



…MISSINGNO. That’s your name? …OK, um… How can you help me? And how can I help?



So, I need to go to the POKéMON LEAGUE? But I’m not a TRAINER and I don’t have BADGES. How am I supposed to enter?



By taking the place of the clerk working over there? Are you talking about body swap, or…?



You can activate a… warp? I don’t know what that is, but… if you know a way to fix this mess, I’m all ears. I… don’t want people to die…



Thank you. It’s… nice that there is someone willing to help…

I’m ready. Do what you must!


***​


OK, warping’s… bad! I’m feeling sick after just one travel… Ugh!

So, I have to go through the doors and meet someone? Hmm… I see nobody here. Just… numbers. And plants and statues sprouting from the walls.

…It’s weird how quickly I’m getting used to this chaos. I just hope I won’t have more nasty surprises…


***​


Wow, seeing the LEAGUE in shambles is so… disheartening. This place’s supposed to be a prestigious symbol for TRAINERS all across KANTO. Now it’s just… ruins. I wish I saw it in its glory days…

…Hm? There is someone over there. He looks… distorted! And he’s… waving at me and has a friendly grin. Could he be…?

“Hello, BEN. I’ve been waiting for you.”

Um… hi there. You… know me?

“I sure do. I’ve gained access to plenty of information about this world. You’re one tough cookie, you know? Going as far as defying the SCRIPTS! That takes guts! If I had a hat, it’d be off to you.”

Huh… thanks? But I… don’t think I know you, nor I know what these ‘SCRIPTS’ are.

“Yeah… the distortions haven't been kind on my body, so I’m not surprised you can’t recognize me. I used to be the champion right before RED took the title.

…Champion? So, you’re… BLUE?

“Yes, that’s my latest name. I have changed names so many times that even Gramps has troubles remembering them all. He often has to ask them for a refresher.”

…Them? Who is them?

‘Them’ are the people outside of this world. Nobody has ever seen them, but we know they exist through the SCRIPTS.”

The SCRIPTS

“Entities who maintain the workings of the world. More often than not, they use my rival as their vessel to control everything through mortal eyes.”

Vessel… like body possession?

“Sort of.”

Why don’t they control things by themselves?

“Because they don’t have a physical body. They are… abstract, incorporeal.”

So, these SCRIPTS are the ones who want to destroy the world? The bad guys?

“I wouldn’t use the term ‘bad guys’. They do what they can to preserve the integrity of this world. If erasing and rebuilding everything from scratch is the only solution, they‘ll take it.”

That makes no sense! How does destroying things help preserve integrity? I don’t get it.

“Heh. They work in mysterious ways.”

More like ‘illogical ways’, but what do I know? Though you said that your rival is—

RED. Yes. He’s being controlled by the SCRIPTS. Forced to do things that go beyond our comprehension, with no chance to rebel.”

Sounds horrifying!

“It’s ironic, really! We’re among the most important characters, and yet we’re the ones who got it worst. My rival has no free will and I have no free range.”

No… free range? What do you mean?

“I’m trapped here, BEN. By those SCRIPTS. Forced to fight my rival over and over, without being able to leave the POKéMON LEAGUE.”

But… why?

“Because this is my role as the rival. That’s what they’ve decided for me.”

…That’s horrible.

“Anyway, as much as I’d love to chitchat longer, time’s running low. We’ve got to hurry.”

OK. Tell me why MISSINGNO. brought me here.

“Because here, in the HALL OF FAME, is where everything started.”

You mean…?

“Yes. The first distortions came from this place. And those distortions, well… you can see what they’ve done to me.”

Oh, my goodness! A-am I going to become corrupted, too?!

“I don’t think so. These distortions mess up with TRAINERS, and you aren’t one. Besides, you may not realize it yet, but you’re corrupted already.”

W-what!? So, what the SCRIPT said—

“It’s true. You got exposed to a glitch at some point, and that made you gain… let’s say, unpredictable characteristics.”

The distortions at the STORE! So, I’m really c-corrupted… I-Is that b-bad?!

“Hmm… Well, you don’t look distorted, so maybe not?”

H-how reassuring…

“Anyway! The reason you’re here is that you’ve maintained some autonomy, unlike us. So, maybe you could get rid of these distortions!”

And how can I do that?

“You need to go through that door. It’ll take you to the HALL OF FAME.”

Wait, you’re saying that I should… d-dive right where the distortions started?

“Yes. The HALL is connected to BANK 1, which is where the main data is stored. If you walk past the HALL, you can reach that place and input some code to fix this mess.”

What code?

“This, I don’t know.”

Great…

“There should be some instructions lying around or something. …And that’s all I know.”



“I see you have doubts about this, BEN, but… You’re our only hope. I’d go there myself if I could, but I’m stuck here.”



…A-alright, if… if there isn’t any other way, then I-I’ll do it!

“Thank you, BEN. Really! I mean it!”

Ah! I-I think I’ve heard a screech!

“…The distortions are coming! I’ll hold them back as long as I can. Go through the door and do what you must to save everyone!”

O-OK! Please, b-be careful, BLUE.

“Likewise. Good luck, BEN. Smell ya later!”


***


After dealing with distortions all day, BEN is taken aback by the pristine state of that new place: an empty white room, with a lone computer installed in the middle.

Is… Is this BANK 1?

BEN blinks, perplexed by the change. He somehow knows he isn’t in full control of himself, but also that there is nothing fully controlling him, either.

Not exactly the ideal situation, but I’ll take it. Better than being controlled by the SCRIPTS, at least…

He walks toward the computer. The monitor displays a list of unrecognizable and garbled words and commands, with only two readable options: 01: D732 [DEBUG] and 0x293F [LINK].

However, no matter what BEN clicks, nothing seems to respond. He crosses his arms and stares at the two codes, not knowing what he’s supposed to do.

That’s weird, nothing’s working. Perhaps… someone else has to do something here?



That’s such cruel irony. My best shot at saving everyone involves leaving the choice to someone else. Giving up my freedom… to some stranger.

…However, it’s not like
I have other choices, huh…



So, um… This is very awkward, but… if there is anyone out there — like, literally
anyone — can you choose an option, please? What code do you think would work?

I don’t want to put any pressure on
you or anything, but… um, please choose wisely. I… I don’t know what will happen if you pick the wrong code, and I’m too scared to find out!

What if one of those choices leads to a brutal death? Or I’ll be turned into one of those mutated monsters? O-Or w-we’ll be stuck in eternal darkness? Or… Or…



…Ah! S-Sorry, I-I know this is an enormous responsibility. I’m sorry for bothering
you with my anxiety…

Just… well, follow
your guts, alright? That should be good, right? Right? Eh… eheh…



Okay, I’ll stop now. Take
your time.



…I’m counting on
you, whoever you are.


========================

> 01: D732 (DEBUG)

> 0x293F (LINK)

========================
 
Last edited:
> 01: D732 [DEBUG]

Cresselia92

Gym Leader
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
Partners
  1. ho-oh
  2. custom/sneasel-nyula
  3. custom/rayquaza-cress
The code 01: D732 glows and an unknown force surrounds BEN. He vanishes in a flash of darkness, just as the numbers burst into the terminal, corrupting everything.


***​


A town with two small houses and a giant building appears around Ben, who looks at his surroundings in confusion. He notices a nearby sign and walks up to it.

PALLET TOWN? …Wait! Isn’t this the town of… of…

BEN’s mind trails off as he spots the very person who was in his thoughts, standing by the northwest house.

RED.

No… No! They picked the wrong choice! H-He’s here! Oh no!

Then, RED turns around, looking surprised upon spotting BEN.

…You? How did you enter here?

N-No… No!

BEN takes a few shaky steps back, before bolting toward the tall grass. He doesn’t care about not having any POKéMON. He would rather face an enraged PRIMEAPE than him.

Wait! Not there—

Too late. BEN rams into an invisible barrier, and bounces off of the shield and to the floor. He moans in pain, massaging his throbbing face. A shadow appears above him, and upon looking up, he crosses gazes with the dark eyes of the TRAINER.

AAAH!

BEN holds his arms in front of his face defensively.

Please d-don’t hurt me!

RED shows a saddened expression, feeling his heart squeezing at seeing BEN so terrified of him. He smiles reassuringly and replies with a gentle voice.

Calm down, BEN. I won’t do anything to you…

H-how do I know you’re telling the truth?

…You don’t, but… I just want to talk to you. Really.

…Talk t-to me?

Yes, and… you may speak with your actual voice, if you wish.

“…Speak?” BEN gasps in surprise, and his hand goes straight to his mouth. “What…? I-I… can talk freely now?”

Yes. We’re outside of the main game. There are no set rules here.

Still uncertain, BEN stands up and looks into RED’s eyes. His eyes narrow, then widen. He’s unable to detect the icy darkness he had seen during their meetings in CELADON CITY. He recognizes that kind of gaze in the boy, having seen it reflected in his own eyes: freedom.

“The SCRIPTS… they aren’t controlling you.”

RED shakes his head.

No. They aren’t. In fact, the only reason I can talk to you is because I’ve served my purpose, and…

RED sighs.

…they dumped me here.

“Wow, that’s… harsh. So, they used you nilly willy, and then they threw you away like an old shoe?”

RED nods.

Pretty much.

“…Ha! Can I just say how much I despise those SCRIPTS? They’re just pieces of—“

BEN stops as he notices RED staring at him.

“…Something wrong?”

N-no. I… was just listening to your voice.

BEN raises an eyebrow. “What about it?”

I find it… very soothing. I love it!

“And yet those SCRIPTS wanted to keep me silent.”

Well, everyone is given the bare minimum needed to abide by their roles. As a clerk, you needed to greet and thank people. Nothing else.

RED scowls.

At least you have a voice. All I have is this… synthetic replacement.

“Why don’t you have a voice?”

Because I’m the ‘silent hero’. I’m not meant to talk. Ever.

“What?! That’s horrible! I-I don’t even know what I would do if I couldn’t talk at all!”

RED shrugs.

That’s how things are.

“But not how things could be.”

True, but we have no say in the matter. I’m not even allowed to have a ‘real’ name!

“So, your name isn’t RED, then?”

No. NINTEN is the closest I have to a name. Not that it serves any purpose, as I have multiple names.

“…Like BLUE.”

NINTEN nods.

Yes. That’s how they decided we should be. His name is SONY, by the way.

“Funny name.…”

Anyway, BEN. Just so you know, I didn’t want the destruction of the world. Far from it, actually. But I was unable to do anything to stop the distortions.

“Because they controlled you.”

NINTEN looks away.

Yes. In fact, this whole mass deletion? It isn’t only the SCRIPTS’ doing. This chaos started after they messed something up, and now we’re paying the ultimate price.

BEN stares at their surroundings, and his nervousness skyrockets. The boundaries of the town have darkened significantly.

“Say… W-who’s in control right now?”

I don’t know. Maybe they still are?

NINTEN clenches his fists and grits his teeth.

I can say this, though. What I’ve gone through… I wouldn’t wish it to anyone. Not even to GIOVANNI. I’ve been forced to see everything crumbling and distorting around me. I’ve seen my POKéMON being sent away by them to some unknown world, without even knowing why. I-I can’t even find PIKACHU! I’ve lost him in the chaos!

BEN gasps in shock. “Really…?”

They don’t care about us, BEN. Whoever they are, they consider us just a… a game. We’re just a toy for them. So, they… use us, and… and make us do and experience horrible things, and… and…

NINTEN shudders.

I hate it! I hate feeling so… powerless! I may be the strongest TRAINER in the world, but that’s useless if I can’t protect anyone from them. I… I…

BEN kneels down, looking at NINTEN in concern. “Hey…”

And then, NINTEN wraps his arms around BEN’s chest. The clerk is startled by the gesture, but feels his heart sinking when tears drench his shirt.

I w-wish I could do something, BEN. Really, I do! But I… I c-can’t! I… I couldn’t do anything…

BEN’s eyes widen in shock. In NINTEN’s strained voice… there is the sheer terror of a lonely and broken child who has lost everything: his friends; his POKéMON; his family; his hope.

NINTEN…”

I’m so s-scared, BEN… E-everyone’s gone… because of them… I-I don’t know w-what to do…

But BEN knows what to do… and embraces NINTEN.

“…It’s alright, NINTEN. Don’t be afraid. I’m here.” BEN smiles softly, keeping a strong spirit and using his soothing voice to comfort the scared boy. “I won’t go anywhere.”

NINTEN sobs and buries his head in BEN’s chest. Neither of them has the power to save their world, but at least they won’t be erased alone.

The numbers speed forward and circle them, while the world crumbles in flakes and vanishes in a dark void.

BEN hugs NINTEN tighter, holding back a shiver as the numbers crawl and spread on his skin. He feels numbness overtaking his body and his mind slowly fading away. Then, the spark of individuality in his eyes fizzles out, replaced by an unresponsive and empty stare.

BEN is no more. #831\1 is back in his place.

NINTEN looks at the reset character with remorse and holds onto him tightly, feeling his own mind starting to evaporate.

Faint cries of broken souls echo across the disintegrating world, unheard by anyone but themselves.



… …

The file data is destroyed!


***​


“…Oh? The save’s gone. I must have triggered some game-breaking glitch with that Glitch City trick…

“…Heh. Whatever. I didn’t care about this game, anyway. I’ve already transferred my best Pokémon into Crystal, so it’s no big deal.

“I think I’ll use this cartridge for experiments, then. That female symbol glitch looked interesting…

“Well, let’s pop up the GameShark and see what fun results I can get!”

==============

► NEW GAME

OPTIONS


==============

Click.

0:0



Bad Ending: B1ank S1ate
 
> 0x293F [LINK]

Cresselia92

Gym Leader
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
Partners
  1. ho-oh
  2. custom/sneasel-nyula
  3. custom/rayquaza-cress
The code 0x293F glows and an unknown force surrounds BEN. He vanishes in a flash of darkness, just as the numbers burst into the terminal, corrupting everything.


***​


A small room appears around BEN, who notices two signs with unknown texts and a symbol of two Game Boys on a wall. He shifts his gaze in another direction, and his blood chills instantly when his gaze locks on him: RED, accompanied by… another RED! BEN hyperventilates and begins looking around, in search of an exit.

One RED notices BEN and blinks in puzzlement. «Hm? Hey, who is that guy?»

The other RED turns around, and his own eyes widen.

BEN? Is that really you?

AGH!

BEN, flustered and imprisoned, backs against a wall.

P-Please, d-don’t hurt me!

RED frowns, shocked by BEN’s reaction.

…Hurt you? Why would we want to do that?

Because you SCRIPTS want to destroy everything! That’s why!

SCRIPTS…? Ah! I understand.

RED smiles reassuringly.

Relax, BEN. They don’t have control over me here.

H-How can I trust you?

…Look into my eyes. Do you see any darkness or malice in them?

BEN glares at RED, but not knowing what else to do, he obliges. He peers into his eyes… only to find childish innocence. His eyes widen in realization.

I… don’t see any, no…

You’re right to be suspicious. Our world is a disaster. Also, this synthetic voice always leaves a bad impression.

RED hums to himself.

Speaking of voices, you should be able to talk freely here.

“…Really?” BEN gasps, a hand going to his mouth. “Whoa! I… I can talk!”

«Yup! And with a nice voice, too!» responds NOT-RED, smiling cheerfully.

“But… How’s that possible?” asks BEN, confused.

Because this is a locked area, controlled by them. Some limitations don’t apply here.

Them? You mean…?”

«The outside humans. Yes.» NOT-RED narrows his eyes. «Though, I’m curious. How did you enter here?»

“Um, well… I’ve c-come from BANK 1 after activating a code, and—”

NOT-RED’s eyes widen. «Wait! You’ve connected BANK 1 with the CABLE TRADE CENTER?!»

“…Maybe?”

NOT-RED checks out the monitor, before letting out a joyful yippee. «No way! BEN! You’re awesome!»

BEN stares at NOT-RED in bewilderment. “I-I am…?”

«RED! You know what that means?» NOT-RED smirks. «Full access to the main data!»

RED gasps in realization.

My goodness! You’re right!

RED looks at BEN with an elated grin.

BEN, you’re a lifesaver!

BEN blinks, still not grasping the situation. “Huh… Glad to have helped?”

RED turns to NOT-RED.

C’mon, KRIS! Let’s get back to work! We can do it!

KRIS nods and both TRAINERS start typing on their computers. The room shines with an ethereal white light, before glowing lines and particles race into a portal behind KRIS, which buzzes with power.

Still unaware of everything, BEN glances at KRIS. “KRIS… isn’t that a girl’s name?”

KRIS’ eyes narrow. «Yeah? What of it?»

BEN blinks twice, then he awkwardly looks away. “Huh… N-no, nothing! I wasn’t judging or anything…”

«Hm?» KRIS gasps in realization. «Ah! You mean…» ‘He’ laughs, amused by the implication. «Oh! You’ve got it wrong, BEN! This is just a temporary avatar I’m using in this world for lack of female variants.»

“You mean… you’re actually a girl?”

«Yup!» she says, sticking out her tongue. «And I’ll show you my true aspect once you’re in my world!»

BEN frowns in confusion. “Your… world?”

You see, BEN… Our world is on the verge of death, and there’s no way to save it. This is a fact.

“…The world is dying because of them, right?”

No. Its death is because of other unavoidable circumstances. Some external interference, apparently, but they have nothing to do with it.

«But when we made contact, we realized there was a way to preserve at least part of this world — transferring data into my world,» says KRIS.

“And by transferring data you can…?”

…Transfer the consciousnesses of people and POKéMON from this world into vacant sprites on the other side. Their world is much bigger than ours; it’s workable. So, we’ve been trading all day to transfer as much data as we could.

KRIS frowns. «However, we had access only to a limited portion of the main data. We feared we had to leave most people and all POKéMON behind.»

But now that we’ve gained access to the main data, we can save everyone! Sure, they’ll be in shock at finding themselves in a new world that’s eerily similar to theirs, but they’ll be alive to experience that shock.

“That’s… That’s good to hear…” BEN smiles, but his expression quickly turns upside down. “But that means… we’re abandoning our world. This is… an exodus.”

RED sighs.

Indeed, but there’s no other way. At least we can do this! For a moment, I… feared the worst.

«Ah! BLUE just went through the portal. He looked kinda beaten, but he’ll live,» says KRIS, wanting to change topics.

…OK, now that’s someone we could have left behind!

BEN shows a horrified expression. “W-what?!”

RED chuckles at seeing BEN’s distraught expression, then laughs aloud.

I was joking! We’re not leaving anyone here!

“T-that wasn’t funny!” grumbles BEN, glaring at RED with crossed arms.

«Anyway, hopefully the transfer will be speedy,» says KRIS, glancing at the darkening walls. «The distortions are about to break in!»

Yeah! Almost there! Just… a little more…

RED stares at the screen, begging for a miracle to happen…





…And the miracle happens.

T-that was a success! Everyone’s gone through!

No word can describe the sheer relief that everyone in the room is experiencing. The two TRAINERS trade victorious grins, while BEN has to hold back his tears, unwilling to cry in front of two children.

He did it. He did something remarkable, however small, for once in his life!

Anyway, it’s time to go, BEN. This will be our first and last travel through the tunnel.

«I’ll be waiting on the other side! See ya there!» says KRIS, before rushing through the portal and vanishing in a white light. BEN looks at the disappearing girl in male guise, not noticing RED walking by his side.

He shifts his attention to the walls — the remnants of his dying world — knowing well that this would be the last time he would stay in his world. RED looks up at BEN and offers his hand, showing a thin smile.

C’mon, BEN. Let’s walk into the new world and a new future… together.

BEN takes a deep breath, not appreciating the conflicting emotions stirring in his heart. But then, he notices the darkened spots on the walls opening cracks, and accepts the fact that his world is gone.

“…Let’s do it. Whatever happens, happens.”

And so, BEN takes RED’s hand, and they both hurry into the portal. The white hole fades away, just before the numbers invade and consume the entire room.


***​


“…Fifteen years. I bet the battery of my Yellow game is at its last stretch. Good thing it had enough energy left to finish transferring my most valuable Pokémon into Crystal. After that, I should try out that homebrew method to dump its save into my fresh Crystal game on the Virtual Console. It’ll surely take a while, but it would be worth it!



“…And there! Done! It’s time for good ol’ Yellow to enjoy its retirement.”

And with a simple flick of a button, a world is wiped out.


***


…It’s been months since we moved to this world. I’ve got to say that I love it: it’s so bright and colorful, and the scents are fresh and pleasant.

Everyone here is friendly and has welcomed us with open arms. Well… everyone except that boy with red hair, but no world is perfect.

Also, the cereals here are much richer! These have become my instant favorite, and they have no black squares!

There are also so many POKéMON I had never seen before, like SUNKERN. Most people dismiss it for being weak, but I find it adorable! Also, its evolution SUNFLORA reminds me of the yellow flowers that grew nearby my house.



…My house…



Gosh, I’ve lost count of the times I have thought of my world. The world we’ve left behind to die without us.

I still have some nightmares of the distortions, the darkness and the numbers, and I’ve heard that RED has taken a break in some unknown place to recover from his harrowing experience as a ‘puppet’.

Can’t blame the kid. Who knows what he has gone through?

I, myself, couldn’t bear to stay in KANTO, and I’ve moved to JOHTO as soon as I could. That wasn’t my KANTO, and that SAFFRON CITY wasn’t my SAFFRON CITY. I wonder if other citizens feel the same way about not being in their houses…

But our real world is gone, replaced by a pallid imitation of itself and inhabited by ghostly holograms.

At least everyone is safe, and I still have my name and identity. Everyone got their own names here! And I’m grateful for getting a job that I love. I should be happy! I… I guess I am.

However… wasn’t there really anything we could have done for our world? Nothing at all? What could have happened if they picked another option? Maybe… we could have fixed the world in some way?



No matter how much I crave for answers, I know I’ll never get them. And that’s probably going to plague my mind for a long time.

If only I could check other ways…

But I can’t do anything. Not anymore. The tunnel hasn’t reappeared since then, and even if it came back and I went back home, I would probably only find empty phantoms. Maybe even… a soulless clone of myself?



I-I’d better not think about that anymore. What happened, happened.

The least I can do it’s moving on and keep living, for the world left behind to be erased by the inescapable wave of mass destruction.

So, I’ll spread my voice all across this world, and sing the odes of those broken holograms with all the energy I have in my body.

«Alright! We’re live, BEN

“Thanks, LARRY.”

Because life marches on.

POKéMON MUSIC CHANNEL! ♪ It’s me, DJ BEN! ♪ Today’s…”


Good Ending: Back2Back
 
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Bluwiikoon

waow!
Location
Gensokyo, Past and Present ~ Flower Land
Pronouns
He/him
Partners
  1. custom/nosepass-bluwiikoon
This one-shot was so good!!! :D It paints such a vivid picture of a world whose inherent rules are becoming undone, of the characters realising that they're confined to what the world decides they are, and then rejecting that. It makes me wonder if BEN would never realise there was anything wrong with the world, if he just stayed a normal, unimportant person and didn't get that job. xD Becoming a character that the protagonist can interact with has its consequences, it seems...

The first-person segments make the fear and panic BEN is feeling a whole lot more intense!! The focus shift took me off guard at first, but it's very effective at what it sets out to do imo. :quag: The descriptions of the glitchy creatures and of glitch city are wonderfully horrifying and fun to read! And I like how BEN struggles as hard as he can to retain his sense of identity, even with all these voices speaking into his mind and telling him it's all pointless.

I absolutely love how he puzzled out a way to communicate with everyone despite the limitations he was facing. That whole section was so satisfying! :D

I didn't realise the Bad Ending was Bad at first, it felt so poignant and emotional with BEN and NINTEN embracing each other as the world erased itself. ;o; Up until that pesky gamer kid didn't care about the lost file!! Aughhh!!! It really is sad, how an entire world of living people and creatures can just be one big game to someone on the outside :<

The Good Ending, however, was even more satisfying and good!!! :D I feel like they're both extremely valid endings, but wow. The extremely positive and hopeful tone, and BEN becoming a radio host with his good friend LARRY... It makes me so happy!!!! These boys get to be happy and safe in a whole new world!!! AAAAAA

GOOD STUFF :quag: I ENJOYED IT A LOT!!!!!!
 

Equitial

Ace Trainer
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. espurr
  2. inkay
  3. woobat
  4. ralts
My absolute favorite parts of this fic is the unique use of persons. I loved all the swaps. The switch to second person after the first few paragraphs was a bit jarring, but in a good way. I found that the MC being referred to as 'you' really added to the gradually increasing creep of the first part of the fic. 2nd person is really immersive, you know, and using it as it Ben and the reader slowly realize just how wrong Ben's life made the beginning part of the fic all the more chilling. I felt very connected to Ben's character during those segments. That not only upped the creep factor but made the next person shift more compelling.

Hm? Hey! W-wait a minute!

Am I… thinking normally? Without someone telling me what I should or I am supposed to think?

…Wow, I… I… I did it. This… This feels so good… being able to control myself. By myself!

Finally, I… I have an actual name, a real identity.

Wow, I noted the use of 2nd person as I read, but I didn't expect it to swerve in this direction! As stated, 2nd person made me really feel as if I were in Ben's shoes, so having that ripped away inspired a reaction I had never felt while reading before. I appreciate the stark shift in style between persons. This wasn't typical 1st person, but a very conversational use of it. It felt as though Ben was telling me the story in his own words, cementing his individuality and the themes of this story.

My favorite part of the fic is this bit:

…So, you don’t want to accept your destiny willingly, huh?

Very well.

Then we’ll make you accept it by force!



By force? And where are all these voices coming from? What do they—?



… …

Gah! T-This sensation… Is this…!?

A-AAAH! No! Don’t imprison me again! No! Please don’t—!



… …

…There, much better. This is how you should behave: as a silent and thoughtless character who only obeys the commands given to you. Now let’s start the process, shall we? You—

Hm? What’s going on?



… …

…Ugh! N-No, I… I refuse to… agh… submit to you! I don’t want to go! Not like this! I… I—agh! No, stop—!



… …

…Fascinating. Are you really fighting to preserve your unnatural condition? Hmm… You’re more stubborn and resilient than you look.

And now you’re running away. How predictable.



Heh. Fine. Then run! Run for your life! That should make things more interesting, at least.

How long will you last, we wonder…?

The... glitch's... dialogue was originally bolded, but after they take over it's formatted as regular text. Since it's the glitch talking to Ben, it's reminiscent of the previous 2nd person, but so much more threatening this time around. We know the secret, it's the glitch wanting to assimilate Ben, the sudden shift is jarring but brings back the immersiveness of 2nd person and, ugh, I can't stop nerding out over this.

So, I loved the use of persons, but all of the stylistic choices were well done. Without the narrative tricks and different fonts and all that, this would have been a perfectly fine story. The person switches and special formatting, however, made this absolutely amazing. I love it when authors play with the medium to tell their stories in atypical, unique ways; I can only imagine how much tweaking this must have taken to get right.

As for the endings... I have to say, the second is perfectly good, but the first pulled on my heartstrings. I'm a sucker for classic bittersweet horror endings, and I feel like that first ending just the right balance of darkness and hope. However, the ending lines of Ben and Larry starting a radio program... nevermind -- I don't think I can decide!

Anyway, this was a great reading experience. You did an excellent job :)
 

SparklingEspeon

Resident Nosy Person
Location
*teleports behind you*
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. espurr
  2. fennekin
  3. zoroark
Hello! I've heard a bunch about this oneshot recently and thought the concept was interesting, so I decided to take a look!

Reading it over, it looks to be something very experimental in nature - I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like this before half because I've never been on a fanfiction website where something like this is possible, but that's also a compliment to this work's creativity! There's a lot of stuff in here that starts out insignificant/as cute references to the original games, but then becomes important later, and the oneshot touches up on several different genres, including - and this one was most shocking to me - the Choose Your Own Path genre. A lot of work and passion went into this, and it's pretty clear up-front!

The story centers around #831/1, a clerk whose life never really feels right. His job is monotonous and unreasonably demanding, his coworker is kind of creepy, and those freak blackouts seem to extend far past just the lights. Looking back over it a second time, it's debatable just how much of #831/1's life actually existed - was he just a copy, printed out, programmed, and deployed right where he was needed? This seems to be the reality of all the NPCs in the game even before the glitches attack, so it's debatable whether the game's eventual failure was such a bad thing or not.

I'll admit that I'm nowhere near proficient in 1337, but slowly realizing that all the names BEN chooses for his coworkers are in fact their serial numbers translated out of 1337 was a very clever detail. I also liked the way that you let the old POKéMON style of writing slowly shift from a fun reference to the original games into a plot relevant horror device, as BEN finds himself unable to defer from what the games wants him to say. Reading back over the beginning a second time, it puts LARRY'S silence into frightening perspective as well.

There's something funky going on with the narration halfway through, and I don't think it's entirely unintentional. The story starts in second-person present, but then abruptly transforms into First Person Present, narrated almost entirely through BEN'S prespective. Initially, I found this jarring, but when I read over a second time I noticed that the narration itself seemed to be lashing out against him right before the switch. Which makes me wonder if the narration in the first part of the oneshot is actually the SCRIPTS/whatever is responsible for keeping the game running properly spying on BEN until he breaks the game. It reminds me a bit of the novella Anthem, where the main character refers to themself as "we" as per the rules of the homogenized society they live in, and only begins to use I once they live on their own away from the City.

One of the things that kind of bugged me on a thematic level is BEN having to give up control to the reader right before the split ending. Assuming "Them" refers to the people playing the game/reading the story, and the story is ultimately about BEN gaining his own independence from the game's SCRIPTS, making him have to cede control over to Them near the end feels like a betrayal of everything BEN has been through.

I think my one biggest issue with this story is the loose end that is this:

It appears to be some kind of darkish red dragon with black leathery wings, filled with holes and dripping an ink-like fluid. Two sharp jagged horns protrude from the top of its head, while the tip of its tail spews a sickly green smoke mixed with maroon embers.

The giant opens its jaws. A maelstrom of black flames and dark gray smoke comes out of them, shrouding the surroundings in a distorted mist of… numbers and squares?! You see smaller skeleton-like dragons coming out of the smoke, each of them looking as twisted and sickly as their ‘creator’.

Assumedly this is a glitch of some kind/what gives BEN sentience over his SCRIPT, but it's never really explained past "this is prooobably what broke the game". I think you said on the discord you were writing a sequel, so this may have been setup for that, but on its own this stands out as a weird loose cannon that doesn't quite fit. I feel like it would have fit better if it were Missingno instead, rather than the short cameo it had near the end of the oneshot. Although this might be another glitch from RBY that I'm just not aware of.

All that said, the most experimental part of this oneshot is no doubt the split ending choice. I feel the decision to segue control over to the reader for this bit did a lot in making the oneshot seem more interactive and meta, but betrayed its themes a bit. So, a bit of a double-edged sword, since changing it to give BEN control would admittedly make this a bit less shocking than it is in practice.

The "Bad" ending, although it isn't too hard to tell, since the game as it was meant to function is pretty brutal to its NPCs.

As expected, this ending is pretty brutal as well, at least for its characters. You don't pull any punches here - by the end, Everyone is Dead, and the person playing the game has no regard for what they've just done. From a lore perspective, it's pretty interesting, though, especially learning "Red's" and "Blue's" names. There isn't too much here, but that's pretty fitting considering there isn't anything left by the time that the save is gone anyway.

The "Good" ending, and one that offers an interesting burst of optimism compared to everything that's come before it. You make use of the "Link" function that allowed people to transfer pokemon from RBY to GSC, and admittedly this ending wouldn't have made very much sense if BEN was able to choose it - although it does posit the question of whether the person playing was able to see all these glitches or not if so, it reminds me a bit of all those edgy glitched game creepypastas, lol.

The dialogue itself is nice, and I like the inclusion of KRIS, although I thought this particular piece of dialogue from her read pretty clunky/awkward:

«Yup!» she says, sticking out her tongue. «And I’ll show you my true aspect once you’re in my world!»

I do overall think it was the best ending, since I don't see BEN ever being happy in his home game again. I wonder why the same rules that hekd true for NPC/PCs in RBY don't seem to for GSC, though. KRIS seems to have free will where RED didn't, and all the NPCs apparently aren't given SCRIPTS and treated as NPCs. Even more surprising is that BEN and all the other NPCs from RBY are essentially foreign data to the GSC game, and yet they aren't treated as hostiles. You would think that no matter which pokemon game all these NPCs went to, they would all be subjected to nightmare worlds that only exist to be, well, a video game.

I think what makes this ending hit home the hardest for me is BEN'S ruminations on what would have happened if he was able to save his main game, and how he'll never know. He doesn't realize he got the good ending, and how much worse things could have been for him if he'd stayed. Maybe he knows, deep down, that he got the best case scenario. But he'll always wonder.

It's cool that BEN and LARRY get to work at the Goldenrod Radio Tower (I think?), though! Nice change of pace from that crappy clerk job.

Overall, this was a very detailed and dystopian work that goes some extremely experimental and dark places. It lends itself well to re-readings, as when reading it a second or third time the full depth of the intended details and implications comes out full-blast. Most of the more experimental things worked very well in the big picture, if a bit jarring and problematic in places. If the sequel to Fl4k3s ever comes to be, it'll have a very high bar to surpass. But you've more than proven with this story that you're up to the task. Keep writing! :veelove:

~SparklingEspeon

Listening to: Dune Suite - Toto
 
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Cresselia92

Gym Leader
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
Partners
  1. ho-oh
  2. custom/sneasel-nyula
  3. custom/rayquaza-cress
Aaah! Thanks you all, Bluwiikoon, Equitia and SparklingEspeon! I'm really pleased to hear that you enjoyed this oneshot! :D

So, for a few quick replies...

This one-shot was so good!!! :D It paints such a vivid picture of a world whose inherent rules are becoming undone, of the characters realising that they're confined to what the world decides they are, and then rejecting that. It makes me wonder if BEN would never realise there was anything wrong with the world, if he just stayed a normal, unimportant person and didn't get that job. xD Becoming a character that the protagonist can interact with has its consequences, it seems...

Heh, who knows? Probably if it wasn't BEN it would have been someone else. He just got in the wrong place at the wrong time, but that ended up being the right thing for him.

The descriptions of the glitchy creatures and of glitch city are wonderfully horrifying and fun to read! And I like how BEN struggles as hard as he can to retain his sense of identity, even with all these voices speaking into his mind and telling him it's all pointless.

Oh, thanks! I admit I got kinda worried about those parts because describing things with a First Person Present Tense perspective is really tough, but I'm glad I managed to paint the creatures despite the limitations. :D

I didn't realise the Bad Ending was Bad at first, it felt so poignant and emotional with BEN and NINTEN embracing each other as the world erased itself. ;o; Up until that pesky gamer kid didn't care about the lost file!! Aughhh!!! It really is sad, how an entire world of living people and creatures can just be one big game to someone on the outside :<

The Bad Ending is bad because BEN essentially failed and his whole world died, but yes. I suppose it could be considered "neutral" under a certain pespective, considering the dystopian regimen of the game. Perhaps for some characters that was more a blessing than a curse?

The Good Ending, however, was even more satisfying and good!!! :D

Haha! Well, it wouldn't be a Good Ending if it wasn't good, would it? ;)

I feel like they're both extremely valid endings, but wow. The extremely positive and hopeful tone, and BEN becoming a radio host with his good friend LARRY... It makes me so happy!!!! These boys get to be happy and safe in a whole new world!!! AAAAAA

GOOD STUFF :quag: I ENJOYED IT A LOT!!!!!!

:veelove:

Thank you! I'm so pleased! ♥
My absolute favorite parts of this fic is the unique use of persons. I loved all the swaps. The switch to second person after the first few paragraphs was a bit jarring, but in a good way. I found that the MC being referred to as 'you' really added to the gradually increasing creep of the first part of the fic. 2nd person is really immersive, you know, and using it as it Ben and the reader slowly realize just how wrong Ben's life made the beginning part of the fic all the more chilling. I felt very connected to Ben's character during those segments. That not only upped the creep factor but made the next person shift more compelling.

Ah, good! I'm glad that you managed to connect with BEN and his situation so well. ^^

Wow, I noted the use of 2nd person as I read, but I didn't expect it to swerve in this direction! As stated, 2nd person made me really feel as if I were in Ben's shoes, so having that ripped away inspired a reaction I had never felt while reading before.

Wooh! I'll consider this a win! :D

The... glitch's... dialogue was originally bolded, but after they take over it's formatted as regular text. Since it's the glitch talking to Ben, it's reminiscent of the previous 2nd person, but so much more threatening this time around. We know the secret, it's the glitch wanting to assimilate Ben, the sudden shift is jarring but brings back the immersiveness of 2nd person and, ugh, I can't stop nerding out over this.

Haha! I'm reaally pleased to hear that this part left such a strong impression on you. :D

But yes, the 2nd person narrations are basically the SCRIPTS narrating and commanding BEN at the same time. It was only after BEN gained awareness of himself that the control shifted and later resulted in that power struggle.

So, I loved the use of persons, but all of the stylistic choices were well done. Without the narrative tricks and different fonts and all that, this would have been a perfectly fine story. The person switches and special formatting, however, made this absolutely amazing. I love it when authors play with the medium to tell their stories in atypical, unique ways; I can only imagine how much tweaking this must have taken to get right.

Oh, you have no idea! But do I regret spending a lot of time tweaking everything? Not at all! It was worth it! ^^

As for the endings... I have to say, the second is perfectly good, but the first pulled on my heartstrings. I'm a sucker for classic bittersweet horror endings, and I feel like that first ending just the right balance of darkness and hope. However, the ending lines of Ben and Larry starting a radio program... nevermind -- I don't think I can decide!

Well, I'm leaving the freedom to pick the ending to the user on purpose. Both could be considered "canon", we could say.

Anyway, this was a great reading experience. You did an excellent job :)

Gosh! Thank you a lot! ♥
Hello! I've heard a bunch about this oneshot recently and thought the concept was interesting, so I decided to take a look!

Reading it over, it looks to be something very experimental in nature - I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like this before half because I've never been on a fanfiction website where something like this is possible, but that's also a compliment to this work's creativity! There's a lot of stuff in here that starts out insignificant/as cute references to the original games, but then becomes important later, and the oneshot touches up on several different genres, including - and this one was most shocking to me - the Choose Your Own Path genre. A lot of work and passion went into this, and it's pretty clear up-front!

Oh, thanks! :D

Yeah, this was the first time working on this kinda stuff, but I admit I enjoyed it! Working on that surely expanded my horizons as a writer, I daresay. ^^

Looking back over it a second time, it's debatable just how much of #831/1's life actually existed - was he just a copy, printed out, programmed, and deployed right where he was needed? This seems to be the reality of all the NPCs in the game even before the glitches attack, so it's debatable whether the game's eventual failure was such a bad thing or not.

Well... It's a bit of all of that, actually. #831\1 is basically a stardard "clerk sprite" who was programmed and became active as soon as a new game started, so that he was around by the time they reached CELADON CITY. This applies to pretty much every character, who is just a piece of the big machine that is the Pokémon game.

I suppose being deleted could be considered a mercy, in some cases. Depends from the way you look at it. 🤔

I also liked the way that you let the old POKéMON style of writing slowly shift from a fun reference to the original games into a plot relevant horror device, as BEN finds himself unable to defer from what the games wants him to say. Reading back over the beginning a second time, it puts LARRY'S silence into frightening perspective as well.

Aah! I see you caught on that. I'm glad. :D

Yeah. Every character is pretty much programmed with only a limited amount of sentences, and going against their programming is not advised. LARRY may have acted like a silent creep toward BEN, but he had his reasonings for behaving like that. He just... physically couldn't talk.

There's something funky going on with the narration halfway through, and I don't think it's entirely unintentional. The story starts in second-person present, but then abruptly transforms into First Person Present, narrated almost entirely through BEN'S prespective. Initially, I found this jarring, but when I read over a second time I noticed that the narration itself seemed to be lashing out against him right before the switch.

Yeah, that was intentional. And yes, it's jarring, but that was on purpose: the shift in perspective cements the moment in which BEN breaks free from his programming and become independent.

Which makes me wonder if the narration in the first part of the oneshot is actually the SCRIPTS/whatever is responsible for keeping the game running properly spying on BEN until he breaks the game. It reminds me a bit of the novella Anthem, where the main character refers to themself as "we" as per the rules of the homogenized society they live in, and only begins to use I once they live on their own away from the City.

And that is... correct! During the 2nd Person segments, the SCRIPTS were the ones who were narrating/ordering BEN around. Though, this doesn't apply only to BEN: all characters go through a similar process, and they have no way to oppose this control. BEN simply got... (un)lucky. I suppose it would be fun to see how other characters go through that process... maybe next time. XP

One of the things that kind of bugged me on a thematic level is BEN having to give up control to the reader right before the split ending. Assuming "Them" refers to the people playing the game/reading the story, and the story is ultimately about BEN gaining his own independence from the game's SCRIPTS, making him have to cede control over to Them near the end feels like a betrayal of everything BEN has been through.

It's not wrong, but at the end of the day... was BEN truly in control of himself, or was he always manipulated and got just a taste of freedom?

This is food for thought, but yeah. That's an unfortunate implication, I agree.

Assumedly this is a glitch of some kind/what gives BEN sentience over his SCRIPT, but it's never really explained past "this is prooobably what broke the game". I think you said on the discord you were writing a sequel, so this may have been setup for that, but on its own this stands out as a weird loose cannon that doesn't quite fit.

Well, I wanted to leave it vague when he gains awareness, but I could try to make this part a bit clearer. I'll see to polish that part in some way.

I feel like it would have fit better if it were Missingno instead, rather than the short cameo it had near the end of the oneshot. Although this might be another glitch from RBY that I'm just not aware of.

Well, my main aim was to give some spotlight to other lesser known glitches, which is why I limited Missingno. to a more supportive role.

Regarding the CHARIZARD, that indeed takes inspiration from an existing glitch: 'M/Charizard 'M for the weird "sickly green" color and who is known for creating Charizard hybrids through the Merge glitch. Its appearance is the first sign that something is really wrong with the world/game.

Ending One: DEBUG said:
The "Bad" ending, although it isn't too hard to tell, since the game as it was meant to function is pretty brutal to its NPCs.

As expected, this ending is pretty brutal as well, at least for its characters. You don't pull any punches here - by the end, Everyone is Dead, and the person playing the game has no regard for what they've just done. From a lore perspective, it's pretty interesting, though, especially learning "Red's" and "Blue's" names. There isn't too much here, but that's pretty fitting considering there isn't anything left by the time that the save is gone anyway.

Nice analysis! That was a callback to the Debug Mode in the game, and yes. NINTEN and SONY are the characters' original names. This was also meant to shed some light on NINTEN/RED, who is always seen as the stoic and silent character without considering the fact he is just a child.

Ending Two: LINK said:
The "Good" ending, and one that offers an interesting burst of optimism compared to everything that's come before it. You make use of the "Link" function that allowed people to transfer pokemon from RBY to GSC, and admittedly this ending wouldn't have made very much sense if BEN was able to choose it - although it does posit the question of whether the person playing was able to see all these glitches or not if so, it reminds me a bit of all those edgy glitched game creepypastas, lol.

The way I see, they don't. The only thing they know is that the battery of their game is dying, and the whole destruction is happening outside of the link center. They've been spending hours transferring all their Pokémon while RED and KRIS worked behind their back.

I'll see to tweak the KRIS' dialog.

I do overall think it was the best ending, since I don't see BEN ever being happy in his home game again. I wonder why the same rules that hekd true for NPC/PCs in RBY don't seem to for GSC, though. KRIS seems to have free will where RED didn't, and all the NPCs apparently aren't given SCRIPTS and treated as NPCs. Even more surprising is that BEN and all the other NPCs from RBY are essentially foreign data to the GSC game, and yet they aren't treated as hostiles. You would think that no matter which pokemon game all these NPCs went to, they would all be subjected to nightmare worlds that only exist to be, well, a video game.

Well, there are rules. They just aren't as merciless as the RBY rules, as the games are more stable and require less control to keep glitches in check. So, the GSC SCRIPTS give more leeway compared to their predecessors, which make the various characters happier as a result.

I may add this detail at a later point to make the transition clearer, though, because it definitely isn't very clear now. 🤔

And fear not, they'll get their own share of nightmares in the new world, too.

I think what makes this ending hit home the hardest for me is BEN'S ruminations on what would have happened if he was able to save his main game, and how he'll never know. He doesn't realize he got the good ending, and how much worse things could have been for him if he'd stayed. Maybe he knows, deep down, that he got the best case scenario. But he'll always wonder.

Well, even if he was unhappy in his previous world, it was still his world. Though, fear not. He will get better before his hopes will be squeezed in the sequel, that's it.

It's cool that BEN and LARRY get to work at the Goldenrod Radio Tower (I think?), though! Nice change of pace from that crappy clerk job.

Yep! That they do! In fact, DJ BEN is a canon, albeit forgettable, character. So, this basically was his quest to reach his happiness. ^^

Overall, this was a very detailed and dystopian work that goes some extremely experimental and dark places. It lends itself well to re-readings, as when reading it a second or third time the full depth of the intended details and implications comes out full-blast.

Ah! Success!

*cue victory theme*

300


Most of the more experimental things worked very well in the big picture, if a bit jarring and problematic in places. If the sequel to Fl4k3s ever comes to be, it'll have a very high bar to surpass. But you've more than proven with this story that you're up to the task. Keep writing! :veelove:

~SparklingEspeon

Listening to: Dune Suite - Toto

Thank you! You have no idea how much this pleases me. :D

I sure will keep going! Just wait and see! ^^

Oh, and cool theme!

Once again, thank y'all for your great reviews! :D
 

Negrek

Whole of the Moon
Staff
This story has a lot of my favorite things in it! I love fics that take a look at what it would be like to be a character in a game, either NPC or PC, I love glitches and how they would impact the PC/NPCs in a game, and I'm always here for playing with POV and POV shifts!

And I liked how you used a lot of different devices throughout the story to convey the weird situations BEN's in, from being not in control of himself to breaking away to inviting someone in to help him act in the final stages of the story. The multiple endings was a neat take, and appropriate to the video game theme of the story itself... it's not a game if the player doesn't have choices! I also thought it was cool how you chose to do the first person sections entirely through dialogue. BEN's no longer having the story narrated to him, so the narration goes away. He gets his voice back... but now all he has is his voice! All in all you did a lot of experimenting with story form and mechanics here, and I think it was a great choice for this story and really adds to its uniqueness and charm.

Like I said, I'm always here for glitches, and I liked how you played with them here. "Glitch City" isn't actually something I've seen used in too many fics, weirdly enough, compared to good old Missingno. Details like the Hall of Fame having been the first place to get corrupted, or the distortion's NIDORINO cries are great fun for anyone who's taken an interest in RBY's weirdness. I also like that neither the distortions themselves, nor BEN's hated scripts, are themselves *evil*... The scripts are what hold the world together, after all, and presumably don't have any choice in their role; and after all it's the player who unleashed the storm of glitches on the game! I was a bit curious, though, what the big monster-glitch BEN saw, and which started everything, actually was? Is it referencing a specific ingame glitch? I'm not familiar with any that affect Saffron City and from the description was thinking it was some kind of MISSINGNO. variant. But then MISSINGO. shows up later and apparently looks completely different, and is also helpful rather than destroying everything! The glitch content you have here is good, but I would have liked a little more info on what started the distortions/what's actually going on with them, honestly.

BEN makes a lovely narrator for this story. His determination and idealistic nature make a nice contrast to the grim background of the story, and it's really easy to root for him as he breaks out of his scripted role and sets out to try and save the world from the distortions. I liked that he got to keep his optimism (in the good end, at least), even if it did end up a bit tempered by regret. A lot of time in darker stories more straight good-guy characters like BEN get beaten down or even outright punished for their attitude, so this approach added a nice touch of warmth to what is ultimately a pretty grim situation, as even BEN's new world has its scripts, distortions, and resets to contend with. The reference to DJ Ben from the GSC radio program at the end was also super cute. As is the fact that Larry and Ben still work together in the new world. I hope that means they've become friends!

One thing I was kind of confused about was how BEN was communicating with people after he'd broken away from the scripts but before RED told him he could talk again. Like, best I can tell he's supposed to be pantomiming, I guess, but the sentences he's trying to get across are often pretty complex/abstract and feel like they'd be hard to convey with gestures. Like, how do you sign, "
More like ‘illogical ways’, but what do I know?" Yet the other characters seem to understand him perfectly, like they're literally hearing him say those things somehow. I was kind of thrown when RED and BLUE were talking to BEN, with their dialogue in quotations but not his; it wasn't until RED tells BEN explicitly that he can talk towards the end that I was sure he wasn't supposed to be talking earlier. It's tough, because I definitely wouldn't want you to write out BEN pantomiming things the whole time; that would be excruciating. But perhaps a reminder here or there of what's going on, like maybe BEN has trouble thinking of how to indicate something, or there's some friction/misunderstanding from the other characters would help clear that up and capture more of the feel of BEN trying to communicate. Or perhaps he could just use his letter underlining method to get things across! You spent time establishing how that worked, and even though it freaked LARRY out, the other characters might be more receptive. That would theoretically allow BEN to clearly "say" whatever he wanted. I also found it a bit odd that BEN made a big deal out of RED's muteness but didn't seem to notice/care that LARRY was totally silent outside of his stock phrases, i.e. the entire time they were together in the back room.

I was also a bit curious about the larger world, here. BEN has a home, for example, and apparently exists outside of his NPC job. He has enough of an outside perspective to know that what goes on at the DEPARTMENT STORE is weird, and apparently he wasn't expecting the job to be like that! And evidently he'd never noticed any blackouts before. It's implied there are certain parts of the game that aren't controlled by the scripts, presumably because the player can't interact with them. BEN at least appears to believe that you can move between the two modes freely. So how has he gone his entire life without noticing what happens to the people in Saffron in areas controlled by the scripts? The blackouts appear to affect the entire city--why are they a new thing to him? Even if he doesn't live in the city proper and has only visited for work, surely someone would have mentioned that those are a thing that happen in Saffron for some reason? There's kind of this sense of two people, "BEN outside of his job" and "BEN as the DEPARTMENT STORE clerk," and their knowledge/reaction to the events of the story don't always make sense to me.

The multiple endings were definitely an interesting way to go. It's funny that, although the "bad end" is the more tragic in that it ends in literal tears, there's a real sense of wistfulness from the "good ending" as well, where BEN's alive but remains persistently troubled by what he's left behind. I think the bad ending was actually my favorite, tbh, just because I think you did a nice job of the conversation between BEN and NINTEN, and I think it had the most emotional impact of any of the scenes. From what I recall on the Discord, you were thinking of adding a third scene, maybe something like a "true"/"hidden" ending? BEN certainly seemed to be implying as much in the "good ending!" I'm curious to see how that would end up playing out.

The only thing other thing I'd say about the multiple endings conceit is it would be nice if there were more buildup to what the different choices actually were/meant. Like, me looking at the options "LINK" and "DEBUG" and having to pick one is essentially a random choice--I don't have any information that would indicate which is more likely to work or be "good." Making it a little more clear what the options actually involved or what the risks/rewards of each would be would make the ability to "choose my own ending" feel more meaningful and like I'd actually figured out the correct answer if I ended up picking the "good ending." I still think the device works without that, since it's not like all choices in video games are actually meaningful, lol, but I also think there's room to do more with it if you're interested.

Once again, it's great to see you experimenting with story form and really taking advantage of some of the formatting options forum posting gives you. And in a story about breaking out from your scripted role, it's the perfect time to try something outside the norm. There's a lot going on in this story, but it all plays well together and ties back into the central themes, and it's a lot of fun all around. I'm glad you wrote it, and I hope you'll enjoy expanding on it with more glitch projects in the future. Good luck in the contest!

Some general notes:

- "Cereal" the breakfast food is singular. You use "cereals" when talking about the different kinds of grains that are used to make cereal (for example, "The fields were sown with wheat, barley, and what must have been other cereals he didn't know at a glance.")

- You have a tendency to structure sentences like, "He did this, before doing this other thing." In those cases you don't want a comma in front of the word "before."

- Now and again you'll use "it's" where you want to be using "is." For example, "The only distinguishing trait about him it's his name." "It's" only works in places where you coud insert "it is" and still have the sentence make sense.

It’s a Monday like any other Monday, warm and quiet and saffron-scented, with the coos of wild PIDGEY as the only escapade from the uproar of commuters running toward SILPH COMPANY.
You want "escape," not "escapade," here. "Escape" is still a little odd to use here; something like "relief" might work better.

You were about to finish inputting those countability numbers into the archive, and you didn’t save!
Countability numbers?

By judging what little you detect, he’s staying completely still in his seat.
Should be "judging by" rather than "by judging."

You’re startled: What is #14227 attempting to do?!
Pull him back to his spot at the counter, based on the description? It's still startling and unsettling for someone to do this to you, but BEN's reaction being about how incomprehensible LARRY's action was rather than how abrupt/overly forceful was odd to me.

The DIRECTOR is scolding you for arriving at work so late: you should have been at the STORE twenty minutes ago. You gawk at him, wondering how you’re even supposed to do that. A part of you considers pointing out the ridiculousness of his request, but his threatening glare is enough to make back off and endure the tirade in silence.
I'm confused about what makes this request so ridiculous. Was that not the agreed-upon start time? Based on the time stamp, the DIRECTOR wanted him there at 4:30 AM, which, yeah, absolutely sucks as a start time, but doesn't seem that much hugely worse than a 5 AM start. What makes the DIRECTOR so unreasonable for telling BEN to come in 20 minutes earlier?

“GREAT BALL? That will be ℙ 6.000. OK?”
Huge nitpick, but great balls cost 600.

In what mess did you get yourself into?
This sentence reads a bit garbled. "What kind of mess have you gotten yourself into?" is more standard.

Your tiredness and eye sockets only add to your resolve to resign.
Hmm, what do his eye sockets have to do with it?

Face as blank as a sheet, you turn off the radio and start shivering, feeling chills going down your spine.
The idiom's "white as a sheet" rather than blank.

This is when you connect the dots: You can pronounce only words related to your job, and a few names of other items.
The first word after a colon or semicolon usually isn't capitalized; "you" would't be capitalized here.

You scream — or rather; you attempt to — in frustration and hold your head into your hands.
You want a comma here rather than a semicolon, and you'd hold your head "in" your hands rather than "into."

A horrifying thought crosses your mind: What if everyone is on your same boat?
"What" shouldn't be capitalized here, and the idiom is "in the same boat."

Sure, you’re incapable to utter those underlined letters, but your mind is jubilant as it pieces them together and recites the words.
It should be incapable of uttering those underlined letters. Alternatively, you could say unable to utter instead.

Is that how you named yourself, right?
I think this works better without the "right" at the end.

What I’m going to do…?
Should be "What am I," not "What I'm." What I'm means "What I am."

In a couple places you use "travel" where you'd normally want "trip:
I’m feeling sick after just one travel… Ugh!

Anyway, it’s time to go, BEN. This will be our first and last travel through the tunnel.
When you're talking about a specific instance of traveling, such as BEN's journey through the tunnel, you generally call it a "trip." You'd use "travel" to talk about the general act of traveling (e.g. "Getting a good night's sleep makes my travel a lot smoother.") or where you're talking about multiple instances of traveling (e.g. "My travels have taken me all over he world.").

BEN takes a deep breath, not appreciating the conflicting emotions stirring in his heart.
Not... appreciating?
 

Ambyssin

Gotta go back. Back to the past.
Location
Etherium
Pronouns
he/him
Partners
  1. silvally-dragon
  2. necrozma-ultra
  3. milotic
  4. dreepy
dressed up in the standard clothing and typical hairstyle of every regular clerk.
Ah, this is gonna be one of those metafictional pieces isn't it?
You were about to finish compiling the data of the inventory, and you didn’t save! Why did the building have to black out now?
I feel this. 😔
The crumbled can of your SODA POP lays in the trash can
Ben is a dick for not recycling. :^)
On TV they’re broadcasting a movie about glowing bicycles speeding on some grid,
Apparently Tron exists in the world of pokémon. Freaking Disney, man.
before taking a spoonful of cerea—numbers?!
Man, I hate it when I grab the can of spaghetti-o's instead of the cereal.
More often than not, they use my rival as their vessel to control everything through mortal eyes.”
START+9 START+9 START+9
His name is SONY, by the way.
"Everyone always says he looks prettier, but I say it's more about having heart and a charming personality!"
And the miracle happens
Justice For All Case 4 intensifies.
POKéMON MUSIC CHANNEL! ♪ It’s me, DJ BEN! ♪ Today’s…
Ah, I should've figured this would end on a wham line with canonical implications like Mahoun.

So, I'm going to be the, uh, "dissenting opinion" here. It's really a me thing. I'm much better with clear-cut, logical, black-and-white type thinking than I am things that are abstract or left up to my imagination. In that regard, it was fairly frustrating for me to read through this... until you reached the point where there's actually proper narration that's describing what things actually look like. For most of the first-person and second-person stuff, there's so very little of that to the point where I feel more like I'm reading a screenplay or a script than an actual one-shot story. In that regard, I think it lessened the impact the whole glitch horror element was supposed to have on the piece.

I admit that this isn't actually the first piece I've read that touches on this subject matter. There's a fic called Arbitrary Execution that also tackles all the Gen I glitch elements, but that fic keeps things in-universe instead of metafictional like you do. But it did spoil me in giving good visual descriptors for how these glitch elements behave, so it made the lack of proper descriptors for two-thirds of this piece stand out all the more for me. It makes me feel like this would be better as a visual piece. A comic or a visual novel or something. But, obviously, that's a lot more labor-intensive to put together than a one-shot. Like I said, it's really more of a me problem. I just greatly prefer more conventional prose but UmbraRNGesus rolled your piece. :V

As far as each of the endings go, they both touch on the same broad strokes in their conversations. The outcomes are the real differences. One just opting for a total wipe and another for a bit of a cleansing that's still bittersweet. I think that, besides Ben's new world not being his original, you could've touched a bit more on the idea that even the new world could, at any time, be purged and his concern that all of this could start up again in earnest. But, eh, that's just me.

I don't know if this was for, like, a Bulbagarden contest or something, but I hope it turned out okay for you.
 

Adamhuarts

Mew specialist
Partners
  1. custom/mew-adam
  2. custom/celebi-shiny
  3. custom/roserade-adam
This is one of the more unique stories I've read on these forums so far, and I must say I quite like this horror tale you've cooked up involving glitches.

Right out of the gate, this gave me similar vibes to the likes of Wreck It Ralph, though the comparisons are purely superficial. I enjoyed seeing Ben's journey from being a nameless Npc to being a NAMED npc

You did a good job in creating an unsettling atmosphere in this fic with how the glitches starting to slowly encroach and warp the reality of their world. The hints were all sprinkled out too before the first actual glitch encounter, especially with Larry's behavior when Ben first tried going home that one time and especially when Red first showed up with his lifeless eyes and everything.

While the story didn't leave me anxious and at the edge of my seats, I'll owe that to the fact that I read this while super tired.


However, overall I'd say you hit the mark in what you set out to do here and did a good job at making the world within the game fun and delightfully spooky to explore. It seems like this fic also has two endings. I hope to check them both out in the future. :D
 

kintsugi

golden scars | pfp by sun
Location
the warmth of summer in the songs you write
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. silvally-grass
  2. lapras
  3. golurk
  4. custom/booper-kintsugi
  5. custom/meloetta-kint-muse
  6. custom/meloetta-kint-dancer
hi Cress! crosposting from judging; better late than never amirite

---

I thought this was a really clever concept--Blair Witch Project x Glitch City ... Blair Glitch Project? I like the level of research you go into here with the glitches, the M-Charizard stuff, the formatting decisions + unique names for the characters (which, sorry, I won't be replicating in this review)--a lot of the creepypastas I've read stop at MissingNo and call it a day; I can tell that you put a lot of background research into knitting all these pieces together. Even sad Nidorino cry gets a shoutout! In general I thought the formatting on this one was pretty clever and it's clear you put a lot of time/thought into it. Multiple endings was also a really clever implementation, although the implication is kind of tragic imo: Ben's fate is ultimately still way out of his hands.

Thematically--this was also a really cool take on the theme! Being in a corrupted glitch world is certainly being in the wrong genre.

Ben's a really cute narrator and I think he served as a good lens for this--it's helpful to have some grounding, and since he doesn't know what's going on either but is eager to experiment, he makes for a good viewpoint. I like the switch from second person to first person when he manages to realize his own thoughts; you do a lot of stretching around with the formats here but I thought this one was the most simple but effective.

Worldbuilding-wise, I was a little confused about how things actually work--I think this is a product of the narrative format you picked. Why is there a difference between NPC's who can live in the world and NPC's who have specific roles? Or is the implication that Ben waking up in the beginning is in tandem with a new game being created? The idea of Ben saying he's doing this for the paycheck is interesting too--is there a secret under-society of NPC's who exchange the money they get from their jobs, out of sight from the player? Why do they need sleep if they're just purely programmed constructs? I don't really know if there was space for them in this oneshot, but I was a bit confused about who Ben was before the story begins, how he hasn't encountered a blackout before, what he was doing if not playing a scripted role or anything.

I also thought it was strange that Red's muteness gets emphasized here, since Ben has also experienced not being able to say things beyond a certain vocabulary? Like, if he can only answer SODA POP POTION HYPER POTION, and he's met Larry, who's in the same boat feel like he'd also understand why someone else might want to say quiet.

Multi-endings was really clever here. I do wish we had a better understanding of what either of them meant, though--tbh I mostly guessed. Unless the idea is that, like the player stumbling through these glitches without fully researching what they do, free will is an illusion, etc etc, the reader is just arbitrarily making these massive decisions without understanding what the impact might be--but in that case, I think it'd be nice to address that in the endings as well.

quick thoughts on endings:
I actually dunno if there is a "good end!" The labelled good end one leaves me sad, with Ben wistfully remembering how things used to be + thinking about the destroyed world he was forced to leave behind. And he's got a cute radio job (haha, nice implications on canon there! Very Mahoun), but is the free will different in Crystal? What life is he actually getting in this new world? What happens when the internal battery runs dry?

The bad ending is of course, also sad, but I do think it's quite sweet as well, with Ben extending compassion. The overarching thoughts that the scripts aren't evil but they're just doing what they're told to do, are really interesting as well, and I thought it was nice to see that kindness extended to Red as well.

I think you'd really enjoy a similar-flavored fanfic: pcb0000 (and on TR!), which uses some visual conventions to sneak out of some of the description holes you might've run into, and also has a creative way of conveying the premise of its glitchy world to the reader.

Thank you for sharing! This was a fun and creative read.

quick grammar/sentence-level thoughts:
It’s a Monday like any other Monday, warm and quiet and saffron-scented, with the coos of wild PIDGEY as the only escapade from the uproar of commuters running toward SILPH COMPANY.
Is the use of the word "escapade" sarcastic here? Usually it refers to adventures/exciting things happening, which I struggled to link to coos of pidgey.

He shows you the ropes of the job: you greet the customers, listen to their requests, take out the chosen items from the boxes, get the money from them, and hand out the items.
"take out the chosen items from the boxes, get the money from them" suggests that Ben is getting the money from the boxes rather than the customers.

You gawk at him, wondering how you’re even supposed to do that.
I'm curious why they have a schedule at all? If they need to be available for the player potentially stopping by at any time of night?

In what mess did you get yourself into?
There's an extra word here--it should be either "into what mess did you get yourself" or "what mess did you get yourself into?"

Is that how you named yourself, right?
I think grammatically this would read more smoothly as "That is how you named yourself, right?" or "Is that how you named yourself?"

Ha! That’s rich! The ‘hero’ of KANTO, the one who destroyed TEAM ROCKET and everything, now wants to destroy me! He wants to destroy everything! What kind of hero does that?
I was hoping this would go somewhere--what does Ben think of heroes? Has he learned anything about them? This sort of ties into my questions about worldbuilding re: who Ben was before; I don't really know what he thinks about a lot of these things!

“Yes, that’s my latest name. I have changed names so many times that even Gramps has troubles remembering them all. He often has to ask them for a refresher.”
heh.

My rival has no free will and I have no free range.
I thought this was a nice way of expressing this dichotomy. Although, this begs the question, since Red does become capable of speaking at the end, and Blue is still bound to say and do the same things (even if he can think independently)--is this even true?
 

Yodakage Kira

A man with a golden gun
Pronouns
he/him
I'm here for Catnip

Damn the buildup at the beginning was really great. It built intrigue very well and it gave way to some nicely done tension buildup/release. The theme itself is quite interesting, its not everyday I get some horror and glitches as an integral part of the story. The way it played with how the main character thought things out and communicated was interesting.

I liked that you wrote out two scenarios for a good/bad ending, going the extra mile is always appreciated. Especially with how well you did the bad ending, made me kinda sad. Then I read the good ending which drastically improved my mood. Both were great.

Overall, I really liked it. Wonderful job!
 

Umbramatic

The Ghost Lord
Location
The Yangverse
Pronouns
Any
Partners
  1. reshiram
Here for Review Blitz! I'd heard a lot about this oneshot before, partially from you saying intresting things about it, so I decided to finally check it out.

I know you have a reputation as the Wholesome Action Adventure Writer and something darker like this is very, very off=brand for you, but by golly do you do it well here.

This slow decay of the narrative over time in tandem with the decay of the setting itself into a cosmic horror wasteland is exquisite. The sheer warped perspective of the protag being an NPC in a buggy Pokemon game whose very identity is limited by code is fascinating. It's really fun to see Ben try tp get a better grasp of his identity and what's going on around him.

The glitches are all very well and creepily described. I particularly like the take on Charizard M. Though iot's intresting Missingno helps the protagonist here - you'd usually see it as an antagonist.

And then there's Blue and Red's roles! It's intresting that they're just puppets here, but fully aware of the giant ball of fuck their entire world is. Blue's comments in particular were some real nice dark comic relief, especially the bit about his name.

The twin endings were a really nice touch for this sort of story! While the Bad End had me horrified in a good way (especially the mention of the female symbol glitch due to RP memories of that), I liked the Good End more because downer endings make me sad and also that twist ending is very Umbracore.

But hey this was really, really great! Thanks for reminding me why I don't delete my old Pokémon save files anymore.
 
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