• Welcome to Thousand Roads! You're welcome to view discussions or read our stories without registering, but you'll need an account to join in our events, interact with other members, or post one of your own fics. Why not become a member of our community? We'd love to have you!

    Join now!

Pokémon Outside the Frame (One-Shot) [The Manifold Curiosity]

NebulaDreams

Pokémon Trainer
Partner
luxray
Author’s Notes: Hey, Neb here! It's nice to join a new forum, and to start with, I thought I'd bring one of my recent one-shots here. This takes place in a universe of fics called The Manifold Curiosity, where there are different fics that standalone from each other in story, but overlap in some way in terms of characters and events. This one-shot is a standalone fic, but it also serves as a tie-in to my main fic The Curious and The Shiny, as two characters from that cameo at the end here. Of course, I've yet to post TCATS onto this forum, so this can be enjoyed on its own for now.

Acknowledgements: Thanks, @Namohysip, for beta-reading this! Your input was valuable. Also, @Virgil134 for the suggestions on Discord.

Content Warning: It does touch upon some parts of death, grief and survivor's guilt, with some mild swearing involved, but otherwise, there's not much objectionable stuff here. Still, be forewarned going into it if one of those things are a trigger.

Summary: After a traumatic incident, Gyro the Zangoose turns to the internet for solace. Discovering the chatting app Diancord, he finds a whole network of people to talk to. A chance encounter with a human on the other side of the screen might prove to be the key to expelling his inner demons.

EDIT: Expanded on the ending conversation, since I agreed with @Negrek that the ending part was a bit rushed and resolved stuff too quickly. I've decided to leave it more open ended since I plan on following this up with two more parts, instead of trying to squeeze everything into a one-shot.




A lonely desktop computer sat on a table in a dark, dusty and unused room. While it was pristine, all of the possessions around it lay untouched. The curtains were drawn, drenching the room in darkness except for the sliver of light slipping in from the hallway. Gyro’s red eyes peered inside the opening of the door. The room itself belonged to Gyro’s trainer, whose Mom wouldn’t allow anyone else in the room, except she was asleep downstairs. She didn’t need to know. Gyro considered turning back, but ultimately took a deep breath and entered, closing the door behind him.

His main point of interest was the computer desk. With his usual height, it was impossible for him to even see the monitor, but once he climbed up the chair, he wiggled the mouse and light flooded into the room. He shielded his eyes. It usually took a while for him to adjust, but after a while, he was able to look at the desktop screen.

There was that old background of Ash, Pikachu, and the gang from X and Y enjoying a picnic. The memories of him watching the show with his trainer made his heart ache. Nevertheless, he retracted his claws, held his paws on the mouse and keyboard, and peered at the blue icon of a certain app: Diancord.

His trainer had used it quite frequently. He was only vaguely aware that it was a chatroom app, but with his limited typing and literacy skills, he had never built up the confidence to check it out. But the more Gyro spent the remainder of his days on his own, the more that urge for some sort of connection sparked. Finally, he clicked on it.

It opened, taking him to the Pokemon server, which encouraged discussion on the Pokemon games, anime, manga and more. He was in the Let’s Go channel, where several users chatted.

Lysandre did nothing wrong: they announced sword and shield, at last! finally moving on from let’s go!

Eviolight: What’s wrong with LG?

Lysandre did nothing wrong: lazy reboot. need i say more?

Eviolight: I dunno. I’m fine with the Let’s Go series as is. I felt like it was the next step for Nintendo to go with the success of the Switch.

Lysandre did nothing wrong: yeah, but there are already remakes of gen 1 with lg/fr. why not just skip to sinnoh? or better yet, don’t do remakes at all and expect players to consider it a core game

ChildishAudino: So you think it’s a spin-off, then?

Lysandre did nothing wrong: yeah

orz: lots of peeps would disagree with you on that lol

Chair: I don’t see why it matters. It’s still good in my eyes.

Lysandre did nothing wrong: yeah, if you’re a filthy GO shilling casual

orz: OH, HE SAID IT! GAMERS RISE UP! REEEEEEEEEEE

A picture of an ugly, grinning Greninja popped up.

Chair: We’re really getting into this, are we? You do realise this is a casual server, right? We try to leave it open for everyone. This isn’t Smogon.

Eviolight: I don’t agree with what he’s saying exactly (I’m a Let’s Go hypebeast myself), but I think there’s room for both types of discussion. This channel isn’t specifically casual or competitive.

Lysandre did nothing wrong: @orz crap, set myself up for that one, didn’t i?

Gyro was lost. While he heard of the concepts of core and spin-off entries from some of the streamers, he didn’t entirely know what they meant by that. Still, he wanted to join in the discussion, so he took a deep breath and aimed his meaty paws at the small keys.

A3000: i just liek eevee

Chair: You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t.

orz: smol fluffy boi

Eviolight: So much floof!

He smiled. These strangers seemed to share a fondness for the evolution Pokemon.

Lysandre did nothing wrong: goes a little too far on the internet, lol

A3000: wat u mean?

Lysandre did nothing wrong: you know... rule 34, no exceptions

orz: NOPE NOPE NOPE

Chair: Please don’t listen to him.

uwu: OwO what’s this??

Chair: Or him either.

orz: NOT ON THIS ARCEAN SERVER!!!

Eviolight: Please don’t bring that into this discussion. That was a bit of a stretch.

Lysandre did nothing wrong: okay, okay, sorry. i had to

Eviolight: You didn’t. That was unnecessary.

Chair: Just because you can be an edgelord doesn’t mean you should.

orz: 3edgy5me

He cocked his head at the rapidly scrolling messages.

A3000: wat is that rule? shood i search?

ChildishAudino: By his white ass, no!

orz: no swearing on this arcean server either

Eviolight: If you don’t know, I wouldn’t bother searching it. Please. For your sanity’s sake.

Chair: You might need to pour bleach all over your eyes if you do.

Did the Mom have bleach in the house? Perhaps he shouldn’t have searched, though. Curiosity killed the, er, Skitty, after all. That’s what his trainer always said.

Something beeped, and a red box appeared in the corner with a Charizard icon. Or rather, an icon of a wooden chair that had a fiery tail like Charizard, to be exact. It belonged to Chair. Figures. He put his claw on the mouse and clicked over the notification.

Chair: Just a word of advice, I would be careful around people like him on Diancord, or just Diancord in general. I guess you’re just a kid, so I thought I’d give you a heads up to be safe.

He paused, squinting at the monitor with its dark blue light burning into his eyes. His head throbbed, as it usually did whenever he spent too long looking at electronics. His wildling eyes weren’t adapted for human technology, yet he put his paws back on the keyboard, ready to type, at least for a few more minutes before he took a break.

A3000: no not a kid. i am adult in my years

Chair: Ah, I see. No worries.

A3000: new to diancord, sry

Chair: It’s fine. I don’t wanna seem rude, lol.

A3000: you are fine

Chair: Ha, alright then. Wish I could hear that more often. So you like Eevee, huh?

A3000: yea luv eevee! very fluffy! very cute! the minigame in lets go is cute as well!

Chair: Ha ha, yeah. About time we got something more fleshed out than the Pokemon Amie system.

A3000: seen that! that seems cute as well! especially lucario! you get given them for free! so cute!

Chair: Yeah, you could say that. To be honest, Lucario’s a really overused Pokemon. Gets way too much exposure lol

A3000: y?

Chair: Everyone and their mother has a Lucario in their team. They’re popular IRL as well. I can see why: they’re easy to get along with and all, and also very battle capable, but they’re everywhere.

A3000: aw

Chair: Doesn’t mean they’re bad. They can be very helpful. One of my friends in Sinnoh knows a Lucario that speaks like us, and often teaches other Pokemon the same. They’re very good at listening to their problems with their aura, although tbh, it creeps me out.

A3000: y?

Chair: They can read thoughts once they evolve, right? It’s kind of an invasion of privacy in its own way. If my thoughts were constantly being monitored, I’d be a little on edge.

Gyro took a deep breath. He had met a few Lucario on his journey with other trainers before. They had spikes on their paws, so they always gave him a run for his money whenever they fought. Some were really nice after the battle, however, making sure he was alright whenever he fainted. They were fluffy as well, but not as fluffy as Eevee.

He rubbed his head and stood up again, deciding to send a few last messages to this ‘Chair’ before he retired for the day.

A3000: ones i met were frendly

Chair: Yeah, there’s that. At least they’re aware of what’s going on and seem self-conscious of their powers. Pokemon can be pretty smart, after all.

He frowned. Gyro never considered how smart the average Pokemon was, especially not of his kind. Apparently, those from the wild were less intelligent than those who grew up with trainers or were born with humans. Was he like that? He was in a house, with a guardian to look after him, and in the city, so there was that. But what about his past? Years ago, wouldn’t he have been feral?

A3000: sounds weird but do u think im smart?

Chair: Um, I don’t really know you yet. I don’t want to say you’re dumb. I never wanna call someone an idiot if I don’t know them IRL.

A3000: wat about a edgelord?

Chair: That was different. I was mostly joking. But why did you bring that up?

A3000: can i say who i am?

Chair: Go ahead. Your secret’s safe with me.

A3000: im gyro

Chair: Alright, Gyro, nice to meet you.

A3000: im a zangoose.

Gyro stared at the screen, tapping the desk in anticipation for the next reply, but after a few minutes, it never came. The throbbing had turned into a headache, and he fell back into his chair. It was clear he reached his limit. He headed out of the room and closed it before him, hoping Mom didn’t notice he entered the room after she woke up.

---

Upon waking, Gyro bit his fist. He remembered Chair’s reaction, or rather, non-reaction, and worried about whether or not she was weirded out by the chat.

In the midst of all this, his stomach rumbled. Wearily, he got out of his napping spot on the lounge room chair and grabbed a Chesto berry from the kitchen, trying not to look out the window to the garden. He crept up the stairs, moving slowly to not make any noise, or knock over any of the leftover beer bottles. At least his paws were soft, a trait which paid off during his wildling days. He couldn’t say the same for his sense of smell, as the stink of barley wafted in the air. Once he was up there, he snuck through the corridor and into his trainer’s room again, which was dark like last time. The computer must’ve turned itself off.

He laid the berry on the desk and turned the screen on again. Once he saw there was a new notification from Chair, his heart skipped a beat.

Chair: Ha. Okay.

He breathed a sigh of relief. Gyro typed again, with one paw on the keyboard and the other digging into the berry.

A3000: wat u mean, okay?

Chair: Well, okay as in, yeah, okay. That’s a bit of a surprise.

A3000: do some pokemon use diancord?

Chair: I don’t know of any personally, but I guess you can’t really tell when everyone’s anonymous.

A3000: anonymous?

Chair: Like when everyone’s unknown. You don’t know their face, their name, or what their lives are like unless they’re the type of person to vent.

A3000: i c

Chair: If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’re just a human roleplaying at a Zangoose.

A3000: dont u beleev me?

Chair: It’s pretty common for people to take on a persona like that, or I guess you could say a PokeSona. I could say I’m a Charizard right now and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

A3000: like ur icon?

Chair: Exactly. But it doesn’t sound too farfetched for you to be an actual Zangoose. You’re a pretty slow typer and your written skills are what I’d expect for a Pokemon.

Gyro looked back at his paws, which were, indeed, very clumsy to do anything with other than knead something. She must’ve been some mind reader if she saw that.

A3000: are u a lucario?

Chair: Nope, just a regular human, fleshy skin and all.

A3000: joking

Chair: I gathered that. ;)

He smiled. He figured he should do an emoticon as well, with extra smilies to one-up her.

A3000: :)))))

Chair:
What’s that supposed to be?

A3000: smiley

Chair: Looks like a guy with four chins.

A3000: dont get it

Chair: Whatever. I’m a little sceptical still, but I’ll play along for now.

A3000: wat do i need 2 do 2 prove myself?

Chair: You could go to video chat right now. That’s one way to find out.

A3000: ok

Chair: Wait I was joking

Gyro didn't notice and clicked on the call screen. The computer beeped, making the poor Zangoose jump from his seat, but he readjusted himself in time for the monitor’s flash to turn on, dowsing the dark room in a brilliant white light. A girl laid in the bed of her tent with a Swirlix stuck in her afro on another screen. Her eyes widened as well as Gyro’s on the video feed, his wild red eyes glinting in the camera flash.

The floorboards creaked from outside. Mom was coming. Gyro hurriedly pushed the off switch on the computer, powering it down with a faint whir, and scurried under the bed. The room was dark again. Hopefully, she wouldn’t notice him lying there.

The door opened. A switch clicked on. Yellow light shone from above. A sigh. A few footsteps shuffled towards the bed. Alcohol and perfume wafted in the air. The mattress creaked. Then, silence, aside from a few sighs from her. This continued for a few minutes. Gyro steadily breathed in and out, hoping she wouldn’t hear him under there. At last, she stood up, dragging her feet over to the door. Gyro shifted forward, trying to confirm she left.

Mom turned back. He scurried further inward. She walked to the desk and gasped, then walked out of the door again, turning the light switch off.

Gyro slid out from underneath, holding his beating chest. That was close. He reached down to turn the computer one once more and grabbed at the Chesto berry, only to grasp at thin air. It wasn’t there any more.

His heart beat twofold. Now THAT was close. He listened out for Mom’s footsteps, making sure she went back to her duties, and sure enough, there was shuffling and sizzling downstairs, along with the aroma of Miltank cooking in oil. Gyro licked his lips. That would be enough to put him in a food coma for the rest of the day. He decided to leave the room and come back the day after when he wasn’t so suspicious.

---

The next day, after he woke up, Gyro went straight for his trainer’s room, with no detours for snacks or anything else. Since he left Chair hanging last time, it would’ve been rude not to reply. He booted up the system, and logged into Diancord once more, greeted by 3 new messages from Chair yesterday.

Chair: You weren’t kidding, lol.

Chair: Hello?

Chair: Sorry, I gotta take this fluffy girl out for a sparring match. She’s getting pretty antsy and keeps messing up my hair. Swirlix cotton takes forever to wash out, lol. I might be back tomorrow or maybe later depending on how busy it gets, so speak to you then. ;)

He smiled and typed as fast as he could.

A3000: hi! sry i left, sumthing happend. r u ok?

She appeared to be offline for now. He shrugged and got back to the Pokemon server, onto the ‘Let’s Go’ channel once more.

Lysandre did nothing wrong: pokemon let’s go pikachu and eevee is a nostalgic cash grab: change my mind

orz: so stunning and brave :kappa:

Congress Of Dunsparces: I don’t see why it matters in particular. The Pokemon franchise is quite the cash Miltank in general, so it doesn’t seem like anything different than what ORAS or HGSS did.

Lysandre did nothing wrong: at least they were competitive. this is babby’s first pokemon game.

Congress Of Dunsparces: Even though the Pokemon series IS for children? You’re gatekeeping a game that’s not for your intended audience.

Lysandre did nothing wrong: yet they already appealed to both camps. why tf would they change the core mechanics???

Guardian of Aura: Coming from someone who loves the deep mechanics of the portable series, I enjoy Let’s Go for what it is. As it stands, it’s a hybrid title, and a great way for Nintendo to test the waters of the Switch before Sword and Shield, which looks fantastic so far. I really don’t see it as something to get salty over.

orz: all these flavours and you choose to be salty

uwu: @orz nuff with the dead memes already

Lysandre did nothing wrong: still not changing my mind

Guardian of Aura: Not asking you to. We’re entitled to our own opinions.

Eviolight: @Lysandre did nothing wrong I don’t mind your opinion either, but I prefer you kept it civil and didn’t make casual players feel unwelcome.

Lysandre did nothing wrong: not trying to.

A3000: im confus, lol

Gyro grumbled. Why couldn’t these humans just get along? He was pleased to even watch LG’s gameplay in the first place, which was a privilege most Pokemon didn’t have, so couldn’t they have been grateful? Never mind. His eyes flitted over to Chair’s icon again when another DM message popped up from a Lucario icon. It came from Guardian of Aura.

Guardian of Aura: Hey, haven’t heard from you in a while! It’s about time I caught you here (been as busy as a Combee lately), but how are you?

Gyro squinted at the screen.

Gyro: ...who r u?

Guardian of Aura: Don’t you remember me? I guess it’s been a long time, but I didn’t think that long. But like I said, how are you? I hope the Zangoose is doing fine.

His jaw dropped. He hadn’t mentioned he was a Zangoose, so who did? Chair wouldn’t have blabbed it over the server, so Gyro scanned a page of the chat log, the last entry being from three months ago. Three months before it all happened.

Of course. He must’ve been one of his trainer’s old friends. Even without his computer, his trainer still used Diancord through the phone.

Guardian of Aura: Hey, is everything alright? You can vent to me if you want; I’m all ears.

Gyro gulped. Of course, he wanted to open up about what he went through, but never had the chance to in the past except to other Pokemon, and all they told him was to stop whining and get over it. But he couldn’t get over it; not when it hurt so much inside. Now that chance presented itself to him, he got cramped up over it. He could’ve told the truth about himself to the Guardian, but that would’ve meant…

He sniffled and scratched at the wooden surface of the desk. Tears welled up, and yet, he wiped them away and grasped the mouse again. He right clicked on the icon and pressed ‘block’, silencing all of the messages Guardian sent. That way, he didn’t have to talk to him about his trainer ever again. Simple as that.

Gyro stared at the screen for a while, waiting in anticipation and dread for Chair’s message. But it never came. Perhaps it was best to leave it for now, and besides, he didn’t feel like talking anymore. If he went on the Pokemon server again with people knowing him, he’d only be pestered with more reminders of his trainer. So, he shut the computer off and curled up onto his spot in the lounge room, drifting off to sleep.

---

He woke up in the middle of a forest. Rain lashed down at him. Flooded water reached his chest. He waded through the muddy water for what seemed like ages. He screamed for help, but nothing came. There was only the pitter patters of the rain and the lapping of the water and the crackling of thunder and the breaking of branches and the hissing of the…

Oh, crap.

He rushed through the flooded woods, swimming as fast as he could. The hissing got louder and louder, until it became a trill against Gyro’s ears. Before he could turn around to see what pursued him, hot, sharp pain spread through his back. All the warmth oozed out of his body. His teeth chattered. His blood dyed the water red. He hit the puddle, and then, the ground underneath. His vision faded, but he still felt the cold seeping out of him to the point his heart started turning into ice. Then, something gnashed at his legs.

Gyro opened his eyes, back in the safety of Mom’s home. He spent the rest of the night staring at the ceiling until dawn.

–-

The following morning, Mom prepared a breakfast of hard boiled, store-brand Chansey Eggs for Gyro in a bowl. The ones she got from the mart never tasted quite like the real thing, but they were still filling and gooey to the Zangoose. It made him feel less groggy, at least. If only he was allowed coffee, now that would’ve woke him up. He ate in the lounge quietly while Mom sat in the kitchen, attending to something. It was usual for them to eat separately, and whenever the two were in the same room, she either ate in silence, watched TV reruns or drank from her never-ending supply of beer bottles. Or maybe all three at the same time.

“Oh, h-hey. Glad you called.”

She was speaking to someone on the phone in there.

“Yeah, I-i-it’s been going fine, I guess.”

Gyro paused mid-bite. He got as close as he could to the door without drawing her attention.

“Yeah, I know. It’s been too long. I don’t know. Perhaps I deserve a night out. I just wanna forget everything that’s been going on, even for a little bit. But Gyro’s still here.”

The way she said that last sentence struck Gyro as off, as if she was sneering at his name. After that, another pause.

“I’ve been trying to find other trainers to send him to, but there’s been no such luck. I know I can’t keep him in this house, but he can’t go back to the wild either. He wouldn’t last a day out there. Well, maybe he would, but whatever.”

Gyro gulped, almost choking on his egg.

“No, he takes care of himself, as far as I know. There’s just the standard amount of mess he leaves, and other than that, he’s quiet and polite, but I don’t know what else he does other than lounge around the house like, well, I dunno, some fat Purugly.

“Bottom line, he can’t stay here. It’s no place for a Pokemon; they need to be outside battling, or something, I dunno. He doesn’t deserve to be here. He doesn’t deserve... doesn’t deserve...”

Another pause. Mom was breathing heavily. She sprinted somewhere further away from the living room and a door out of Gyro’s view closed. His ears perked up when he heard the sound of retching far away. He took the bowl and scurried up the stairs and back into his trainer’s room, making sure to close the door behind him.

Gyro jumped on the chair again, trying to cover his ears from the noise downstairs. He just wanted to tune out the rest of the world and escape somewhere else. He wanted to find out what Chair was up to at the same time, though!

A light bulb flashed in his mind. His trainer had a pair of old headphones lying about in his room. If only he knew where it was. He looked around the dark room, on the bed, under it, and on the neatly arranged shelves too. But no headphones. Then what about the drawers?

He pulled out each drawer, one by one, until he found his prize. He brought them over to the computer and plugged them in, jerking both the tiny speakers into his fuzzy ears. They didn’t quite fit, as they were made for the human notches on their own ears, but it did the job. After searching for some ‘lo-fi hip-hop’, the world around him disappeared, and he checked Diancord once more. Chair left 1 new message, and her status was online that time.

Chair: Hey, sorry about that. We also went for a day out after that, so I didn’t find much time to go on the web. But anyways, I’m here. How are you?

Gyro took a deep breath and smiled. His virtual companion was back.

A3000: fine 4 now

Chair: Nice. I think we got a bit off track, but I’m trying to remember what we were talking about before.

A3000: pokesonas?

Chair: Well, now I know you’re the real thing. I have to say, it’s pretty cool that a Pokemon can type here. Your trainer must’ve taught you quite a lot!

He hummed to himself, trying to dodge the question with a half truth.

A3000: self taut

Chair: Hmm, how does that work? You’d need a lot of help with that, I imagine.

A3000: watching Pokemon w/subtitles. i could hear human, but didnt write it. listening and reeding at same time helped. i mostly tipe what i hear in my hed. took weeks. monfs? i get confused w/time lol. rote on paper 2, lol. pensil is hard 2 hold tho

Chair: Oh, that’s awesome! Yeah, I could see where that’s coming from. I didn’t think about that before, lol. Though I guess it’s weird that the Pokemon in that show keep saying their names over and over again? That does lock out half the dialogue for you, doesn’t it?

A3000: yeah, lol

Chair: Then, what’s up? You’re either on a computer or a phone or something. You must be around humans. Like a guardian or a trainer. The last time I saw, there was that room, so you must be living comfortably. It’d be interesting to know the story, if you want to tell it.

Gyro reclined in his seat, remembering the presence of the room he was in. That stagnant air. That stillness of his trainer’s untouched belongings. Those Pokemon movie posters left hung up on the walls, drooping sadly. It was a time capsule of everything his trainer had built up to, all his life before he set off on his quest for good. And then the years after that, until…

Gyro sighed and stood up again, choosing to focus on the screen instead of those suffocating four walls. The ache in his heart grew more and more, yet his paws itched to type. He had to get this out, now or never. The tips of his paws traced the keyboard, as if considering one last time before he pushed the first strokes.

A3000: trainer is dead.

No response. He sighed, and tears welled up again before he rubbed them away.

A3000: dont want 2 say much else. staying w/his mom. shes devistated

A long pause. The background music no longer fitted the vibe. He pulled the headphones out. The downstairs area was silent.

Chair: Wow, jeez. I’m so sorry about that.

A3000: not ur folt. dont have anywear else 2 go. mom cant find an other trainer. she wants me out

Chair: I don’t know what to say to that except damn. That really sucks.

A3000: i no

Chair: Do you have anyone that can help you, or at least have another Pokemon you can speak to? Do you have a team?

A3000: yes. all sent off tho. only 1 left. mom bearly speaks 2 me.

Chair: Ohhhhhhh

Tears streamed down Gyro’s cheeks.

A3000: i dont think she cares

Chair: I don’t wanna suggest anything, but this doesn’t sound healthy for either of you at all. Believe me, I’ve lived with that kind of grief before and it hasn’t done me any good in the past. At this point, you can’t afford to shut out the world. You need to get out there.

A3000: i no. diancord has done a lot

Chair: And that’s great. But staring at the screen all day and doing nothing else can damage you as well. You need real, long lasting connections IRL, not just through fiber tubes (the internet, basically, sry for my jargon)

Gyro stared at the screen in disbelief. Nothing he tried in the real world worked, and the internet was the best thing that happened to him since that incident.

A3000: y? isnt this real?

Chair: Yes, but it doesn’t replace that human or Mon contact.

A3000: we saw each others faces, tho. we made contact. is none of it real? have u been lying all along?

Chair: No, no. Of course not. But what do you really know about me? We’ve only spoken a few times, tops, and I’ve never talked about myself in detail. For all you know, I could be some psycho harvesting Pokemon organs or something.

A3000: i no your not. your too kind

Chair: Well, thanks. But still, we’re complete strangers. All you know is that I’m a trainer.

Gyro took a series of deep breaths. His heart got heavier the further the conversation went, and he was starting to get restless. Nevertheless, he tried to keep himself calm as he typed in his thoughts.

A3000: then y dont you become my trainer? pls. have no 1 else

Chair: You’re asking me to fly possibly all over Kalos just to see a Zangoose I met through a chat server. That’s asking too much. I’m sorry for your loss, but I’m not the doctor here in the end.

He huffed and puffed as he stared at the screen, expecting another reply to undo what she said. But none came. No matter how much he tried to control his nerves, the waiting and the cold silence sent him over the edge.

A3000: then Y?

A3000: Y DO U TALK 2 ME

A3000: U GOT ME THRU THESE DAYS

A3000: DO I MEAN NOTHING 2 U

A3000: AM I JUST A STUPID POKEMON

One paw hovered over the mouse. The other scratched at the desk. Gyro grasped the keyboard instead of the clicker and raised it over his head, ready to strike. In time, though, he stopped. As much as he wanted to bash it over the monitor, in the end, he would’ve just been bashing plastic against plastic. Against something his trainer once loved. He placed the keyboard back on the torn-up desk.

A3000: sry

Chair: No, I’m sorry. You’re going through a lot. I understand that. I went through something similar a few years back. I dunno if I wanna say much right now, but it’s like your soul’s being ripped apart. Is that your pain right now?

He gripped his chest, which felt as if it would burst open.

A3000: yes

Chair: Human or Pokemon, nobody deserves that shit. You need to talk to mom and tell her how you feel.

A3000: i dont speak human

Chair: Then write it out! You’re a step above what most other Pokemon are doing, and all by yourself! Tell her how you feel through that!

A3000: but wat if she doesnt listen? what if she throws me out b4 then? will i tell her then? will i

The door swung open. The Mom stood outside the frame, yellow light enveloping her. It was the first proper look Gyro gave her. Her long hair covered her face, her eyes were baggy and bloodshot, and her clothes were wrinkled and unironed. She leered at Gyro, who stood in shock, trying to think of a way to communicate with her. Before he had any sort of chance, though, her face twisted in rage.

“Get out!” she screamed.

He froze, as stiff as a statue. Why couldn’t he move? Why there, of all places? Before he could react, the Mom stormed over and grabbed him by the furry scruff of his neck. She stormed out of the room and door the stairs, dangling him like a toy.

“Of all the things I tell you not to do, you went in there! Didn’t you listen?! Did you just go in there to ruin my life more, or do you really not understand?! Maybe you’re just as stupid as the rest of the wildlings!”

The more she ranted, the more Gyro lost a part of himself. He just wanted to disappear. That was, until he was brought to the sight of the back garden. There were dark clouds, swaying trees, and thunderous rain. Once she opened the door, he jolted back to life and squirmed in her grasp. He couldn’t go back outside. Not where…

It was too late. She threw him into a patch of grass and locked the backdoor. The Zangoose rushed over to there, pounding at the window, then drew out his claws and struck as he cried for her attention. The glass was reinforced. Of course, it was Poke-proof. It was useless. Mom was in the middle of trashing the kitchen, throwing jars and glasses at the walls and sweeping the tables and counters of all its contents, leaving food and cutlery scattered everywhere. By the time she broke down and fell to her knees, screaming, the dining area was completely totalled.

Gyro kept knocking and pounding at the glass, but to no avail. It didn’t matter. He just wanted to focus on anything else but the outdoors behind him, otherwise, that would’ve meant facing…

Hiss.

Gyro stopped, and time stood still. He took a deep breath and plucked up the courage to look to his side. The rain stopped. The trees no longer rustled with the wind. The world around Gyro had turned into a noiseless vacuum.

Hissss.

Except for the hiss’ trilling. It turned into a crescendo, and each trill became a stab of fear in Gyro’s heart. It came from his side. With nowhere to go, he turned towards the hiss’ source.

There it was: the Seviper in his nightmares. Its tongue vibrated as it hissed again, poison dripped down its red icepick fangs, and its knife-edge tail swayed behind it as it stared down its longtime rival: the Zangoose. Gyro whimpered, shakily raising a claw to the monster.

“W-why? Why did you do it? Why did you kill him?!”

No response, except for more hissing. The Seviper’s red, unblinking eyes were like those Gyro saw back in the wild: indifferent, and yet cruel all the same. It didn’t know compassion. He didn’t know compassion before he met Andre, either.

Gyro wasn’t there when his trainer was suddenly killed by the Seviper. He was in his Pokeball. Andre was a part of his life, and then, he wasn’t there anymore. Just snuffed out like a candle in the wind. Why didn’t Andre use him, or his other Pokemon? He could’ve saved himself. Gyro would’ve been glad to die if it meant protecting him.

Then, was there nothing in the world worth living for? There were the streams and all the shows he liked. He enjoyed watching Ash’s adventures on the screen with Andre before he went on his journey, and he enjoyed it now. Now his trainer was gone, was he still tied to him?

No. That rope was severed long ago. There was no bringing him back. He had to live with his trainer’s death for the rest of his life, and yet, his gut told him to go on. He wanted to watch more of his favourite shows and streamers. He wanted to hear what was going on in the rest of the world. He wanted to chance to talk to others again, in real life or on Diancord, no matter how painful it was sometimes. His trainer wouldn’t have wanted him to die for him or waste away. He wanted him to live on, as well as his other Pokemon. He hoped they were doing fine with other loving trainers.

That was it, then. Gyro entered a battle stance, planting his paws firmly into the dirt. The Seviper hissed and whipped its tail at the Zangoose. His instinct kicked in. He rolled out of harm’s way and sprung into a sprint, aiming for the side. The Seviper turned around and struck with its blade again. The Zangoose leapt towards it, barely missing the tail, and climbed up on its back all the way to the top of its head. It thrashed in confusion. The Zangoose raised his claws to strike it with Close Combat.

Swipe. Pound. He threw blow after blow at its tough skull, wailing on it as it shrieked in pain. In desperation, the Seviper rolled out of the way as well, which sent the Zangoose flying. He quickly got to his feet just as the Seviper thrust itself forward in a serpentine motion. The Zangoose tried to roll again, but the force of the scaly mass struck him. It knocked him to the ground, and the coiling monster pinned him down.

It hissed, licking at the Zangoose’s face with its rough tongue, about to close in on its prey. The Zangoose could still move his arms, however. With all the strength left in his body, the Zangoose aimed his claw at the Seviper’s eye, using Revenge. Then, slash. With one swift motion, he plunged his claw into the monster’s eye, making it thrash around in pain. The Zangoose was on his feet again. He pursued the monster, but the Seviper, sadly hissing, slunk away, leaving purple bloodstains on the grass.

The Zangoose, or rather, Gyro, gasped for air. It was gone for now. After facing it head on for the first time in a season, the aching in his heart disappeared. From there, it was safe to retract his claws.

He became unstuck in time. The rain fell on his head again, drenching his fur coat. His ears were all floppy. Thunder crackled. How long had he been out for?

The door unlocked, and there, Andre’s mother waited. Her eyes were red, but the rage in her face was replaced with sorrow.

“Please, come in.” She pointed to Gyro. “I’m sorry. I just want answers now.”

Before Gyro crept back into the house, he took one last glance at the scene before him. The purple bloodstains were gone. He let out a sigh of relief, and hoped that was all in his head. Eventually, he padded back inside. The kitchen was a mess, with the once pristine floor made into a bed of glass shards and disassembled cutlery. Mom acknowledged this and picked Gyro up, carrying him over the mess at the bottom until they were in the living room. She sat him down on the tattered couch, and turned to him.

“Do you understand what I’m saying?” she said, grasping her temple. “P-please, I need to just get this out there.”

Gyro nodded vigorously, making himself clear. She sighed and rested her head on the cushions. For a moment, it seemed like she was about to say something else, but her mouth hung open, hanging on a thread. Gyro breathed in and out, trying not to crack under the pressure of the silence, or her scornful gaze. Finally, her eyebrows knitted together, and she spoke.

“Do you know how much I hate you? All this time, I’ve been trying to piece together what happened, and all I get is silence. They won’t tell me anything. And all I have left from him is you, of all things, and after all that, I just have another mouth to feed.”

She shakily pointed a finger to him.

“Do you know what that feels like? Nothing can replace his love, and yet you’re here! Just give me a sign! Why did he have to die instead of you? Why?”

Gyro gulped, and held his paws behind his back. He was trying to stop himself from drawing out his claws, however badly they shook, but no matter how much he couldn’t stand to listen to her or look at her reddened face, he had to roll with the punches. He couldn’t act like a meek cub in front of her any more. He had to be the tough, hardy Zangoose he was born to be. So instead, he turned to writing instead of fighting. He looked at the table. There was a pen and a pad nearby, waiting to be used. That itching feeling in his paws returned. He grabbed it, and she looked on, puzzled, until he wrote as best as he could.

‘he dIdnT waNt Me to DiE. WANted You to CaRRy on.’

Her eyes widened. Clearly, she must have been shocked at first by his sudden display of literacy skills, but returned to a sorrowful expression. Her mind must’ve been focused on other things.

“H-he did? Were you that close?”

‘he PlAid gAmeS anD woTched shoWS wiTHme. I wAs a FreNd noT juSt hIs pokeMOn. I BecaMe beTter CuZ of His trAinInG.’

She let out a hollow laugh.

“I had the feeling, ever since we adopted you, but he never talked about you. He always kept to himself.”

‘rLy? I nEvEr kNew. I ThauT he SharED a LoT’

“No. I tried to talk to him about how he felt, but he always said he was fine. Don’t you think I tried hard enough?” She clenched her fists. “I was there for him, wasn’t I?”

Gyro just stared at her, trying to put his thoughts to words, but he couldn’t write anything in the end. A lot of what happened went over his head. Mom grasped her sweatpants and turned away from him.

“Oh dear, what am I saying? Why am I asking a Pokemon this?” She sighed. “I should know him well, I raised him for yonks until he set off on his own for the league. That’s what a Mom should do, know everything about their kids, shouldn’t they? Am I right, or am I just talking to myself here?” She sniffled, sinking into the couch. “Maybe I’ve just failed as a mother.”

Tears of his own started to form, but he wouldn’t break there. For all of those things Mom said, Gyro didn’t know the answer, but she never struck him as being incapable, as she fed and clothed Andre while he was still alive, just like any loving human parent would’ve. That’s more than what wild cubs usually got, when all there was necessity, at least from what he heard. Gyro should’ve given her something, at least to prevent her from getting angrier or sadder. He wrote ‘DunnO, nEVEr had a Mom. U Did a gooD Job’ and handed it to her, which she took silently.

“Yeah, did.” Her breath shuddered, trying to say something next, but before she did, she turned around, making the side of her face visible to Gyro. She looked down, turning the slip around in her hand.

“I always wondered about that. I was proud of him. Anyone would be overjoyed if their kid went off to face the world with their Pokemon partner. B-but--” Tears dripped onto the paper. “What s-sort of job did I do if he wouldn’t even talk to me? Did he even love me?”

Gyro frowned. He tried to wrap his head around all of this, as these problems seemed new to him. However, after sifting through the memories of Andre talking to her over the phone after big battles, or looking at the photos of him and her on his tablet, which Gyro was a fly on the wall for, he had no other answer than to write this:

‘nO. hE lOvEd yOu. DiDn’t KnoW how 2 Say it. QuIet 2 otHers 2.’

“But still! If I kept him closer, then maybe he still would’ve-- Oh god, it’s all my fault!”

She shielded her face and sobbed in her hands. Gyro sat still, allowing her to let it all out before she came back to her senses. He needed just as much pause as well, trying not to burst in order to continue writing. He put pencil to pad once more.

‘dOnt blAmE urSeLF. BlaMe me. If I was tHerE 2 protect Him from SeviPer, he woodve’

Gyro tried to find the right words for what to write next, but ended up scribbling all over the page. At that moment, everything came rushing back to him, and it was all too much. He threw the pad to one side and wailed. That snapped her out of her headspace, and after she read the notepad, she cradled him in her arms, despite his blubbering.

“No, no, no,” she cooed, “It’s not your fault, it’s not your fault. I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

She sniffled, looking like she was about to crack again, but kept repeating those words like a lullaby to Gyro. He was trying to process everything: the guilt, the emptiness, the loneliness, the sadness, and the rift between them in those past few months. His face was a waterfall. He didn’t even know if he cried this much in his life, not in the wild or at home after he came back from the incident. But in that moment, Mom held him close to her, stroking his head and letting him get it out of his system. Was this what a mother’s embrace was like? If this was his first time, then it was greatly comforting, even if it was from a human. He sobbed into her chest, drying his face on her shirt, which smelled nice.

Time passed, and Gyro stopped at last. Through all the tears, his heart felt much lighter, though still burdened by all the problems he’d have to face. Eventually, Mom sighed, and with one final pat on the head, she gently put him back on his spot on the couch. She rubbed her eyes, pulling herself together before turning back to the Zangoose.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to heap this all onto you, but--” She shook her head. “Never mind. God.” She dug her nails into her arm. “I’m still trying to wrap my head around all of this. I just need some time alone, okay?”

Gyro sat there, not knowing what to say. He was tempted to pick up the notepad again, but he felt as if that barrier re-emerged between the two. Taking the hint, Gyro sat up and leaned forward to leap off the seat.

“Stop,” she said, releasing the grip on her arm, which started to bleed. “Sorry again. I don’t want you to feel unwelcome here, but it’s just a bit too much for me at the moment. For now though, you’re allowed in Andre’s room. That’s the least I can do.”

He beamed at that, and tried to coax a ‘thank you’ in the human tongue, but all that came out were slurred words vaguely resembling human speech.

“Don’t worry, I get the gist of it, and you’re welcome. If you feel up to it, we can talk more later.” She smiled, for the first time in a season. “I never knew you were such a clever Pokemon.”

Gyro cocked his head, still not knowing how to respond. Truth be told, he didn’t feel like talking to her that much, after all the distance between them, but if it meant he had someone to meet face to face, then that was a good enough promise. He returned the smile, slunk back to his spot in the living room, curled up in his bed, and closed his eyes. He was too mentally exhausted to do anything else, and didn’t feel like sleeping in his trainer’s bed either. He knew once he woke up, he’d have to face another day with that void Andre’s absence left, but deep in his gut, Gyro knew that things would be better from here on out, if only slightly.

---

A day later, while Mom was busy cleaning up the kitchen, Gyro walked over to his trainer’s room once more. The blinds were open, so it let the sunshine in. Andre’s game consoles, plushes and figurines laid neatly arranged as usual, but were polished clean, and felt more homely as opposed to suspended in time. He looked to the computer, which was still on, just on standby. After that conversation with Chair, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to use it as much anymore, but maybe it was worth checking again, just to see if she said anything else.

Gyro sat in his chair again and opened Diancord once more. There were five new messages from Chair left from yesterday, although she was offline.

Chair: Hello?

Chair: Is everything alright?

Chair: I’m sorry about all of that still. I was trying to distance myself from this convo, but the more I thought about it, the more I realise I was talking out of my ass.

Chair: The internet can be a scary place sometimes. You don’t know what the person on the other side is thinking. But there’s also a lot of good in its as well. It’s a tool, just like anything else, really. Not exactly a replacement for real life, but just a way to support it. If you wanna vent, I’m always here. If I’m getting on your nerves tho, you can always open up on the Pokemon Diancord. There’s a vent channel filled with peeps that want to listen to your troubles. If you ever feel lonely or desperate (story of my life), go on there. You might find you’ll like it.

Chair: One more thing. I might be away for another day or two, sorry for being a pain in the ass, but are you still looking for a new trainer? If so, I’m currently in Lumiose at the moment. If it’s not too far off, I’d be happy for you to join our team. Only if his Mom lets you. I don’t wanna separate you two.

He grinned from ear to ear. If he remembered the map correctly, that didn’t sound too far off from where he was.

A3000: campfreer town. id love to join u

A3000: dunno a bout mom. will think on it.

It appeared she wouldn’t be able to reply for at least another day, so he took her word and went on the vent channel. There was a past log of people who opened up about their troubles, such as trainer troubles, rent (whatever that meant to Gyro) and loneliness. The last one, he could relate to. Taking a deep breath, he started to type in his thoughts.

A3000: hi. i dunno if others will listen but here i am. im a pokemon. a zangoose. my trainer died a season ago cuz of a wild encounter. tryin to deal w/it atm. its like ive lost a brother. its loneli. diancord helps a lot. i dunno if you beleev me if i say im a pokemon. i dunno how many pokemon use diancord. r there many out there? feel like the only one lol.

He waited for a response. Multiple users were typing in to reply at once.

Lysandre did nothing wrong: jeez, man, mon??? that blows.

Eviolight: :hug:

Congress of Dunspaces: I’m sorry to hear that. It can be quite lonely if you don’t have many others to turn to. I experience that daily.

Lysandre did nothing wrong: i’ve had to deal with a bro dying to, so i know what that’s like. seriously, mon, heart goes out to you. sorry if i come across as a dick sometimes.

A3000: no thats fine, lol. thx everyone

Lysandre did nothing wrong: its rare to see pokemon on this server, lol (even though pokemon on a pokemon server would seem obvious). but if any of you peeps want to come forward and come clean, speak up.

ChildishAudino: Yup! Gligar here!

Lysandre did nothing wrong: wow, that was fast. but holy s

orz: what a tweest!

ChildishAudino: @Congress of Dunsparces If I’m doing it, then you have to as well!

Congress of Dunsparces: Alright, perhaps I should. I’m a Luxray.

orz: double tweest

A3000: rly? its hard enuff typing w/my paws. how do u do it w/out hands?

ChildishAudino: We’re able to speak human. The computer transcribes for us.

Lysandre did nothing wrong: no way. never would’ve thot of that.

orz: BEGONE THOT!!!

Lysandre did nothing wrong: did i seriously mistype thought? that wasn’t even intentional lol

Congress of Dunsparces: There are more of us out there than you realise. It’s hard to tell because of the magic of the internet, but it’s becoming more of a thing since trainer numbers are decreasing. There’s less of a need to become one, so Pokemon are becoming more domesticated.

ChildishAudino: I’m a city rat myself. Or city bat, you could say.

A3000: lol

ChildishAudino: @Eviolight I know advertising isn’t encouraged, but I feel like this is relevant for our new friend here. Can I plug my own server for Pokemon users?

Eviolight: I’ll make an exception this time. :)

ChildishAudino: Here!

A link to the Pokespeaker’s Extravaganza server popped up.

ChildishAudino: If you ever want to improve your typing skills or want to learn to speak human, and have any Pokemon related troubles to talk about, feel free to join! We’d love to have you on there!

Perhaps this would be good for him. Gyro always had a vague interest in learning to speak human, but never knew how to break into it. Now there was the possibility of being with a trainer again, he wanted to be able to talk face to face with them. He wanted to do it for Chair. He smiled and clicked on the link.

To be continued in Outside the Box...
 
Last edited:

DeliriousAbsol

*Crazy Absol Noises*
Staff
Location
Behind a laptop, most likely with tea
Pronouns
She/Her
Oh man, this PUNCHED me in the feels! So well written and lovely. Argh!

I love the different names of the Diancord users. They were fun and imaginative. Gyro's struggles were well written, too. And I loved the interactions between him and Chair. (Also, swirlix?! Adorable! Fairy types ftw!)

It was a nice surprise to see a nod to Shine and the gligar character in this little one-shot, tying it nicely into the universe! It would be lovely to see them meet Gyro at some point. Especially now he's part of the Pokespeakers group! XD (I know it's a one-shot, but it's nice to think about.)

Like Gyro, I'm wondering if the seviper was real or a hallucination? That was a pretty intense moment, and I genuinely wondered what his fate might be! I'm really happy he made peace with The Mom. I'm wondering how she's going to feel with him leaving to be with another trainer after that, though? She might need Gyro around? If my memory serves, he said they could stay in contact. But how? It would be interesting to read a follow-on to this. If the story takes you in that direction. Speculation to an open ended story is very nice indeed =)
 

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
Staff
Location
somewhere in spacetime
Pronouns
they/them
Partner
pikachu-chibi
Ahh, there's so much to love here. For starters, the online interactions felt very genuine (Gyro's "im confus lol" is a Big Mood, haha) and it was easy to get a feel for what each of the chat members were like despite having nothing to go off but the chat. I also like how indirect a lot of the storytelling in this is, as we slowly get a feel for what this household is like without being told outright. The beer bottles, the dusty room, the way Gyro jolts at noises and slinks around, all great ways to paint the tone so that the reader knows what happened long before it's 'revealed.' One of the most heartbreaking bits for me was actually the way that Gyro panic-blocked his trainer's old friend to avoid having to explain what was going on. D:

The fight with the Seviper felt a bit weird, as at first I thought it was a hallucination, but then as the fight went on, it seemed more like it was actually happening, which seemed... odd. (Not that a Seviper needs an excuse to pick a fight with a Zangoose, haha, but rather that this specific Seviper would somehow be around at this exact moment.) But then, upon reflection, I think it still might have been intended as a hallucination? I assume you meant it to be open-ended, in any case. (Edit: I missed the line that made this less ambiguous, haha.) That said, I really enjoyed the followup to the fight, and the way that Gyro and the mom slowly come to an understanding through all the grief.

Shine and Barley showing up at the end was a nice nod to TCATS btw! (I'd totally forgotten their usernames, haha.)
 
Last edited:

StellarWind

Biomechanical Abomination
"Pokémon on the internet? What will they think of next?"

This is actually the first time I see this sort of premise and it's quite surprising it hasn't been done more often, particularly with certain Pokémon being presented as being able to communicate with humans in their language in a more direct sense in 'dex entries. The choice of species was fairly interesting because... Yeah. Typing with three fingered hands on devices designed for five-fingered ones is... difficult, at best. Having the typing/writing level/speed of a child actually carried over very nicely! If I were to attempt to imagine a cat trying to type and actually having a better grasp of keyboards than "mm;lm", that's how I'd have imagined it, to boot.

Probably my favourite scene was the bit where Gyro finally talks to (or writes at) his late trainer's mother. I was rather engrossed in Gyro as the viewpoint character and as such I found myself utterly detesting that woman throughout most of the fic for the things she said and the way she behaved (especially when Gyro had some crippling survivor's guilt of his own and that shit was INCREDIBLY uncalled for!)... And then that scene happened and it honestly just hit me all at once that this woman lost her son, she has NOT been dealing at all, and she's been pushing it out of her mind and out of her sight and putting all that misplaced blame on a creature that in theory should have protected him. The reality of it all hits quite hard - grief really fucks some people up, and even if quite frankly I still don't think that excuses her behaviour, not really... It is... certainly a thing that happens. And I'm certainly glad they finally got to talk it over and there was closure of some sort. They both needed that.

The whole thing was quite well written - and the incidental bit characters certainly felt like the sort of individuals you might run into on certain internet communities. Some of these conversations ENTIRELY feel like they could have happened in some IRC channel or another - Almost too much so, to the point of coming off as being a parody of such (Lysandredidnothingwrong in particular is such an obvious /vp/ moron it's kind of hilarious)... but that brings me to my only real gripe with this story. It's not a major gripe - and it has less to do with what the story was about and more with how it was framed - but here goes.

I personally always find it supremely weird to see exact references to real-world brands and video games and internet communities within a fictional setting that does not take place in the real world. The notion that in an actual living, breathing Pokémon world - where living, breathing Pokémon actually exist and would have indubitably had major effects on how society functions as a whole - you'd still have the exact same Pokémon games in the exact format they have in the real world, complete with the same names, release intervals and even some adjacent online communities and their particular attitudes to things (the idea of Pokémon GO being a thing in a world full of living, breathing Pokémon in particular, let alone of people arguing about the Let's Go games pandering to 'filthy GO shilling casuals' is what in particular) just... does a number on my suspension of disbelief, personally.

(Of course, I am aware that Nintendo, being self-indulgent corporate buggers who just couldn't help advertising their own products in a blatant fourth-wall leaning way, canonized their consoles into the games, but still.)

This of course is relevant mostly to Real World Product Placement and less so to in-universe analogues that could be reasonable - I have no doubt there WOULD be video games featuring Pokémon in the Pokémon world, for instance (although I'd imagine they'd be quite different to what we have!) or analogues for commonly-used internet applications (after all, even with all the social changes introduced by the presence of Pokémon in the world, humans will probably find similar ways to be human at each other) However, even with those - I feel that names that would run on a similar logic to their real-world analogue but still make sense in-universe would be preferable to the "take a real world brand and mash it with a Pokémon that sounds similar because it's a pun the readers in the real world would get". That, however, is just a particular preference of mine and isn't really here nor there. ^^

But really - aside from these minor gripes this was a fun story and I am rather curious to see additional shenanigans in this universe.
 
Last edited:

Negrek

Rise Toward Descent
Staff
All right, let's finally get to this! It'll be nice to ease into this continuity with a one-shot, although I know your main story is multichapter. The concept of a pokémon using the internet (where that isn't already a common an expected thing) is a lot of fun, so I'm excited to see where you take it.

The curtains were drawn, casting the room in a dark haze except for the slither of light slipping from the hallway. Red eyes peered inside the opening of the door, belonging to Gyro.
There are a couple things that seem off to me here. "Casting the room in a dark haze" doesn't quite ring true to me to describe a room darkened by drawn curtains (there being no mist or haze involved), and while "slither" is kind of a cool way to describe the hallway light, I wonder if you meant "sliver?" The second sentence just sounds odd to me the way it's constructed as "Red eyes belonging to Gyro" as opposed to "Gyro's red eyes."

The Mom had fallen asleep downstairs, so he could’ve easily sneaked in that time, and he used the opportunity to go to the computer desk.
This sentence is a bit strange. Maybe it used to be multiple sentences that didn't get combined just right? The end of the sentence makes it sound like Gyro was successful in sneaking to the computer desk, while the earlier "he could've easily sneaked" makes it sound hypothetical. My hunch would be to just delete the "so he could've easily sneaked..." clause, but I'm not sure if what's left is actually what you were going for.

He shielded his eyes. It usually took a while for him to adjust, but after a while, he was able to look at the desktop screen.
Heh, I really like this little detail. It's too real.

At least his paws were soft; a trait which paid off during his wildling days.
Should be a comma after "soft," not a semicolon, because "a trait which paid off during his wildling days" isn't a sentence.

Hopefully, she wouldn’t have noticed him lying there.
At times, your tenses get a little funky. Her it should be "hadn't noticed" him lying there, since "wouldn't have" indicates a potential outcome that didn't happen, as in the sentence, "I wouldn't have gone that way if I had known about the seviper." Since Gyro's hoping Mom *definitely did not* notice him, you want to use "hadn't" rather than a hypothetical.

He was pleased to even watch LG’s gameplay in the first place; a privilege most Pokemon didn’t have, so couldn’t they just have been grateful? Never mind. His eyes glazed over to Chair’s icon again when another DM message popped up from a Lucario icon.
It should be a comma after "place," not a semicolon, and I don't think "glazed" is the verb you want in that last sentence. It's usually used to describe the eyes on someone who's kind of checked out mentally, because they're bored or disassociating or whatever, rather than movement. Something like "flicked" or "flitted" or similar is what you'd normally see.

With one swift motion, he plunged his claw into the monster’s eye, staggering it long enough for it to double over in pain.
The way this is phrased is a bit odd--having its eye put out somehow gives the seviper enough time to double over in pain. But the seviper being injured and therefore staggered would have given *Gyro* enough time to do something, I should think.

Andre’s Mom picked Gyro up, leading him through the mess at the bottom until they were in the living room.
If she picked him up, I think she'd be carrying him, not leading him, yeah?

It was both out of our control.
I'm not seeing a simple and elegant way to reword this sentence, but I think you were going for something like, "It was out of the control of both of us."

The two sat together for a while, hugging each other while letting all their emotions out. It went on for a while until the two pulled away from one another, trying to grasp what to do next.
I think it would be great to get a little more specific detail on what went on here. "Letting all their emotions out," "it went on for a while," "trying to grasp what to do next" are kind of vague and generic descriptions of what went on. I think more concrete details about what they were *doing* in order to let their emotions out, for example, would make this bit feel more concrete and affecting--more idiosyncratic details help to make this kind of scene feel specific to the characters in it, I think, rather than a generic "they were sad and did sad stuff."

Overall, I felt like this story kind of unfolded a bit too fast. There are several elements here--Gyro's experiments with Diancord, his reconciliation with what happened to his trainer, and also his reconciliation with the Mom, which is a lot to juggle for a short story! I don't know that it all worked out for the best here. At times I felt like some of the work that would have to go into solving Gyro's issues has been elided, or that the character work seen on-screen doesn't quite add up to the revelations that result.

For example, although this is a story about a zangoose taking refuge in the internet to get over his grief, Gyro doesn't actually find all that much of a refuge! By the time he's facing down the imaginary seviper and marking out Diancord as one of his major reasons for wanting to keep living, it doesn't seem like he's really had... all that positive of an experience with the web? Like, we've only seen him pop into the general Pokémon chat a couple of times, where he mostly seemed confused by the LGPE discussion, and then Guardian of Aura messaged him, which was really distressing. Chair had been nice to him, obviously, but as she herself pointed out they'd barely talked at that point, and their last conversation hadn't gone well, to say the least. So the experience he'd had on the internet up to that point hadn't struck me as particularly life-changing, at least not in a positive way. Obviously Gyro was curious about it and really excited to be talking to Chair, but to have it portrayed as such a large force in his life all of a sudden seemed kind of abrupt to me. Then to have a single conversation with the Moms resolve their problems struck me as a little too neat. She's clearly super messed up about her son's death and angry over Gyro's disobedience, and in that state it's hard for me to imagine that even the most gentle (and surprising, with the whole writing thing) conversation would be enough to send her from there into "I'll try to help you from now on."

It's rough, because obviously this is a short story and you don't want to spend tens of thousands of words on all this, and if you're going for a happy ending then you do need to resolve this all in a positive manner somehow. For me what might help is a little more sense of time passing, that the scenes we're seeing aren't everything that was going on and that some of these character relationships are developing a bit more off screen. For example, a sentence or two along the lines of, "Gyro had been sneaking in to use the internet almost every day for the past week, and he was beginning to be able to follow the strange discussions on the Pokémon server a bit better. He knew he shouldn't but couldn't help himself," or whatever, would show more of a progression from him not really knowing/understanding these internet people to growing more attached to them and maybe even starting to rely on them a bit.

I did think you did a good job of crafting all those internet personas and making Gyro's experience learning to navigate Diancord feel real. It was a bit weird for me to think of a world in which pokémon exist but also things like Let's Go Pikachu! exist and are basically the same as they are in our world, and that the internet arguments people have about them are the same as in our world (rather than there being a different perspective on them since they're so much closer to real life). However, from the perspective of capturing the kind of cantankerous pokémon fan discussion as it happens in our world, it was very true-to-life and brought some welcome lighthearted, humorous elements to what's otherwise a pretty heavy story. I also liked the fact that you had one of Gyro's trainer's old friends DM him and try to chat--it felt a little odd to me that no one in the Pokémon server noticed that A3000 had suddenly reappeared without the ability to type, so I felt having someone actually mistake Gyro for his trainer added a nice touch of realism. Also good for the angst, of course. :)

Probably what I found most intriguing about this story was the worldbuilding. Which perhaps makes it a good entry point for your series, since I'm certainly curious whether the themes touched on here get explored more in your other stories! The idea of pokémon being less civilized/intelligent when wild but able to develop differently around humans is a really cool one and has a lot of fascinating implications for how human/pokémon relationships work. Moreso here because the impression I got was that this is still something that's in flux, either humans hadn't previously realized how sophisticated pokémon could become or this is only a recent development, which means that there's likely to be a lot for the characters to work out as well. It felt a little weird to see Gyro say that he liked eevee, but on the other hand, there's no particular reason pokémon wouldn't find other species of pokémon cool or cute or whatever, or have favorites, is there? It's a strange world that has more than just one species able to chat things up on the internet! It's little "huh" moments like that that I enjoy finding in stories with nonhuman characters.

The bit about other members of the Pokémon Diancord being literal pokémon was also really cute. Another cool thing to see, the way that technology that had been invented to help humans with disabilities interact with technology could also be hijacked by pokémon wanting to try out the whole "internet" thing for themselves.

In any case, this ended up being a heavier one-shot than I expected, but it presented a really interesting take on the pokémon world, up to and including some of its internet culture. I think you nailed the voices of the various characters, too, and based on the other comments, some of them appear in your other stories as well? It definitely looks like you're building an interesting world here.
 

NebulaDreams

Pokémon Trainer
Partner
luxray
Hiya, @Negrek! Thanks a lot for the detailed review! I won’t respond to every point about the wording/phrasing of some parts, although I will take it into consideration if I decide to do another edit, but I’ll go over some of the bigger points with you about the story.

I agree about the pacing. Sometimes, I have problems with trying to fit a lot of concepts as well as plot and characterization into a short story. It’s also why I prefer writing longer works, since the length gives me much more to work with in terms of developing characters over time. It’s difficult for me to show that sense of time passing while also showing some of that off-screen development in something much shorter.

One thing in particular I don’t think I got across very well was the ‘life-changing’ aspect of it, since what happens at the end doesn’t exactly solve all of Gyro’s problems, or Mom’s problems for that matter. In fact, there’d still be a lot of baggage and stuff to deal with afterwards. I think it would just be a small breakthrough after such a rough period for the both of them, and that the small decisions Gyro made like talking with other people on the net forced him to confront the harsh reality that looms above him. It wouldn’t have fixed much in his life, but at least it would’ve given him the first steps to deal with that trauma.

Like you said, in the context of a one-shot, some of the plot points seem a bit too neatly wrapped up, and originally, I was just going to leave it there. I didn’t want to keep it running for too long after it had run its course.

However, I think if I had extended it, or planned it as a two-shot instead of a one-shot, I could’ve possibly fixed some of its pacing problems. What I plan to do in response to what some people have said is write a continuation of this story to tie up some of the loose ends. Particularly, in terms of the trauma Gyro went through, how that would still affect him even after hitting that first breakthrough, and how Andre’s Mom would possibly have to cope without him. Even though they reconciled, there would still be tension between them, particularly with Gyro towards Mom since her treatment of him was rather inconsiderate. I think it would also be good to do a follow-up so I could explore what happens when Gyro and Chair finally meet up in real life.

Rocky elements aside, I’m glad you enjoyed the rest. The Diancord conversations were fun to write, especially since I lurk on Discord a lot and have become familiar with the sort of chat format. If it wasn’t for those, I think the story would’ve been a bit too tough to swallow on its own.

I’m also glad you found the worldbuilding interesting. Since every story is connected to each other in some way, I wanted to make the world consistent, and I can confirm that element of Pokemon developing differently around humans carries over to the other stories. It’s actually one of the primary conflicts of my longfic, The Curious and the Shiny, since the big theme of that is trying to rebuild the connection between humans and Pokemon in a world that’s still trying to get to grips with their growing intelligence.

And yes, the Pokemon characters with the Luxray and Gligar are from TCATS as well, who were also shown to use the internet in that story. The Luxray in particular (Shine) is one of the main protagonists, so he has a pretty big role in that.

But yeah, thanks for reviewing! I’ll see you around the forums or even Discord, if you want to talk more about it.
 
Last edited:

Tanuki

Friend of All Chu
Location
Rhyme City
Pronouns
He/him/his
I loved this so much. You went with a really interesting mesh of the real world and the pokémon world that I've not seen before and it's just so interesting to think about in its own right. The games and anime (is it still an anime? or is it live action?) existing in a world with real pokémon, even going so far to have pokémon play Pokémon. It's just great.

Gyro is just precious. I love him. Admittedly, zangoose is one of my favorite pokémon, but still the way you write him makes me want to snuggle up, hug him, and let him know everything's gonna be okay.

I'm impressed how well you managed to display grief here. I could really feel for everyone involved here, even the mom taking it out on Gyro. It really felt authentic.

I think you could play with the prose of the dream sequence a bit more to really bring out the horror of it. What you describe there is frantic, but it's just clause period, clause period, clause period. That works well in the seviper fight for building suspense, but here it just slows down the action. I hope that made sense, I'm not great at explaining this kind of thing, haha.

The discord Diancord chat format you went with works really well, and even felt pretty realistic (I refuse to believe you made up the LG debate, it's too real). And that r34 bit had me giggling. It was an interesting format of story-telling, and it took a bit of getting used to at the beginning, but you made it work. Then that last "tweest" that Gyro's not the only 'mon on the server just has me so much more invested in this world.

I'll definitely be looking for the sequel you mentioned. (And give Gyro a hug for me, if you could.)
 

windskull

Bidoof Fan
Staff
Partner
sneasel-nip
Alright, It’s about time I got around to this. Let’s just jump right in!

Adding this retroactively to the beginning of my thoughts. At first, I thought maybe it was an office that he was sneaking into. Oh how wrong I was.

The room itself belonged to Gyro’s trainer, whose Mom wouldn’t allow anyone else in the room, except she was asleep downstairs.
Even though this is grammatically correct, the end of this sentence reads a bit oddly in my opinion, since I’m used to “except” being used as a new thought.

Had, as in past tense? Oh no. Oh no.

It opened, taking him to the Pokemon server, which encouraged discussion on the Pokemon games, anime, manga and more. He was in the Let’s Go channel, where several users chatted.
Maybe it’s just me, but these two lines feel a bit… monotonous? I’m trying to figure out how to describe it, but it just falls a bit flat to me. Since it just reads as “It x’ed, which y. He was x, which y.” I think it’s the similar structure and length back to back that just makes the lines feel a bit off to me. It’s really a minor thing in the grand scheme of things, it just stood out.

By the way, I love Chair. Also every single one of the usernames have been great. I’m particularly fond of the “Lysandre did nothing wrong.”

Did the Mom have bleach in the house? Perhaps he shouldn’t have searched, though.
Was this meant to be past tense? It feels like it either wants to say "Perhaps he shouldn't search, though." or "Perhaps he should have searched, though." Not sure.

I like that everything that needs to be known in the context of the story is brought up naturally, instead of just being info-dumped. Even without reading your main fic, I was able to get an idea for the relevant parts of your world without feeling lost.

Beer bottles… and several of them? Curious, sounds like someone might be a heavy drinker...

After that, I got so intensely into the story that I forgot to write anything down, lol. So let me gather some final thoughts.

I’ve never participated in a big chatroom - the one for this forum is the biggest one I’m in - but you did a good job of capturing the tone and mood of a discord server or any chat like that.

Personal preference, but the quality of your fight scene fell kind of middle of the road for me. On the better side of things, but short of great. I tend to like dynamic fight scenes, which you did decently, not relying just on move names, but it felt almost like it happened too fast. I’m not sure if it’s because the action only really encompassed 3 paragraphs, while the buildup was about twice as long.

That said, I really liked the tense build up to the fight.

Finally I think you did a great job at capturing the theme of grief, and the idea of trying to move on from it. I particularly liked the scene between Gyro and Andre’s mom at the end, and the idea that while things weren’t perfect and totally mended, they were at least ready to try and move forward.

Overall, despite the few nitpicks I brought up, I really enjoyed this fic, and it does make me want to check out your main story at some point.
 

myuma

I still think about y%#'()_*{\\"'&36)%("'$&''&(15y
This was originally for Treat and Treat, but since it was so long Negrek asked me to post it on this thread instead. Hopefully you find it useful!

Outside the Frame was one of the first Pokemon fanfic I remember genuinely enjoying, instead of pushing myself to get through it. Heck, it may be the piece that convinced me fanfic wasn't all cringe-inducing wish fufillment, bad smut and sappy shipping, and made me want to write my own Pokemon-inspired stories.

The premise is a Zangoose going on a chat room, living with the mother of his deceased trainer. It's not the kind of setting you see often, but that made it all the more interesting. The attention you put into the way the world works also shines through this story. The hints about the room being messy and alcohol cans/bottles everywhere seriously drove home the point that something wasn't quite right with The Mom. You also recreated the Discord - whoops, er, Diancord - chatroom atmosphere very accurately, and Gyro's clumsy interactions with the chat members were funny, believable, and moving.

We don't have any hints that Gyro's trainer was killed instead of dying a natural death, so the Seviper scene is a bit of an "Andre didn't die - they were killed!" moment. Introducing Seviper and the idea that Andre was killed at the same time felt like a little too much to take in at once. The dream which Zangoose has earlier on doesn't clearly show Seviper, only that he was attacked by a hissing thing with fangs. This may be intentional, but it also means that the dream doesn't foreshadow Seviper's appearance.

The scene with the Seviper attacking was a little out of the blue - if this was the Seviper which killed Andre, why did it come to attack Gyro, too? How did it find Gyro and Andre's house? Has it been tracking Gyro with some kind of vendetta? Why is it staying silent? Actually, if Gyro is a Zangoose, why didn't Gyro get killed? I think more explanation would be good there.

Well, I read it on Serebii a while back and didn't see that you're going to add some more chapters. I was sad that it was just a oneshot, and at the end I wanted to see more of Gyro's life with his new trainer. Looking forward to reading more of this one day!
 

NebulaDreams

Pokémon Trainer
Partner
luxray
Well, thanks a lot for reading, @myuma!

Outside the Frame was one of the first Pokemon fanfic I remember genuinely enjoying, instead of pushing myself to get through it. Heck, it may be the piece that convinced me fanfic wasn't all cringe-inducing wish fufillment, bad smut and sappy shipping, and made me want to write my own Pokemon-inspired stories.
Huh, I thought you were a bit more involved in the Pokemon fanfic scene before that, but if that wasn't the case, then I'm really flattered. I'm glad to know that this one-shot convinced you to write more Pokemon stories.

The scene with the Seviper attacking was a little out of the blue - if this was the Seviper which killed Andre, why did it come to attack Gyro, too? How did it find Gyro and Andre's house? Has it been tracking Gyro with some kind of vendetta? Why is it staying silent? Actually, if Gyro is a Zangoose, why didn't Gyro get killed? I think more explanation would be good there.
If you did check out the first version of Serebii, that's where it was a little unclear. Since then, I've changed it so the reality of the scene is a bit more unclear, with time stopping and this passage at the end of the fight.

Before Gyro crept back into the house, he took one last glance at the scene before him. The purple bloodstains were gone. He let out a sigh of relief, and hoped that was all in his head.
I've also extended the conversation between Gyro and the Mom since then, since Negrek pointed out it went a bit too fast before.

Well, I read it on Serebii a while back and didn't see that you're going to add some more chapters. I was sad that it was just a oneshot, and at the end I wanted to see more of Gyro's life with his new trainer. Looking forward to reading more of this one day!
I have ideas for two follow-ups and I really would like to do them at some point, but I've still declared it as a one-shot for now since there isn't a definite date for the sequel fics in the pipeline. This was intended to be standalone at first, but then I heard that people were interested in me continuing the story, so it would be nice to give Gyro a more definitive conclusion.

Thanks again!
 

zion of arcadia

Bug Catcher
Pronouns
she
A lonely desktop computer sat on a table in a dark, dusty and unused room. While it was pristine, all of the possessions around it lay untouched. The curtains were drawn, drenching the room in darkness except for the sliver of light slipping in from the hallway. Gyro’s red eyes peered inside the opening of the door. The room itself belonged to Gyro’s trainer, whose Mom wouldn’t allow anyone else in the room, except she was asleep downstairs. She didn’t need to know. Gyro considered turning back, but ultimately took a deep breath and entered, closing the door behind him.
You describe the computer as lonely, but in the next sentence, you say there are possessions all around it. You also describe the room as dusty but the computer (pretty sure it's the computer anyway; the way the sentences flow into each other there's a bit of an unclear antecedent going on here) as pristine. I can sort of buy that the computer is clean because Gyro has been using it, except the implication is that this is the first time. I like the alliteration of "... drenching the room in darkness" followed by "sliver of light slipping...", that was a nice touch (as well as the repetition of r's and then l's in each phrase).

The opening paragraph struck me as slightly out-of-order temporally, with the way it started on the computer and then shifted to Gyro at the door (who has apparently been there for who knows how long). I might've adjusted it like this:

"A lonely desktop computer sat on a table in a dark, dusty and unused room. While it was pristine, all of the possessions around it lay untouched. The curtains were drawn, drenching the room in darkness. A sliver of light appeared, slipping in from the hallway, encroaching upon the darkness.

Gyro's red eyes peered inside from the opening of the door..."

The use of the word 'darkness' is a touch repetitive, but you get the gist of my point, I imagine. You could've also described Gyro as an intruder creeping into a tomb or something along those lines, to further emphasize that he's not supposed to be there (and also further emphasize the death of his trainer).

Gyro's struggles to adapt to the Internet was quite fun. There were a lot of little details that made the idea as a whole really shine. He's too short to even use the chair properly! A lot of the chat logs early on were cute, too (curse you for that 'I liek mudkipz' reference). That said, I found the discussions of Let's Go as well as Sword and Shield jarring. They don't particularly fit into the overall themes of the story and mostly distract rather than add. They seem to exist entirely for the sake of comedy and also because 'haha the Internet is weird and people argue over silly things' which... again, I'm not sure what that adds to the story exactly or why it plays into Gyro feeling so captivated by Diancord. I also wish you'd italicized the chat log dialogue or something because when it switched back to prose I'd need a moment to adjust.

Also, people seemed to really hate that Lysandre dude haha. It came off as a touch overboard. Think you needed to make him more douchey or tone down their reactions to him a little.

Perhaps he shouldn’t have searched, though. Curiosity killed the, er, Skitty, after all. That’s what his trainer always said.
The rule 34 bit was amusing, but then this confused me because it implies Gyro looked up what rule 34 was. But nothing in the prose actually indicates that's the case.

Gyro's chat dialogue was great. We also get introduced to Chair (lol), who I wasn't that crazy about, to be honest. She felt underbaked as a character, and a lot of her dialogue had this weirdly patronizing tone to it. Which, again, isn't bad, and makes sense in a lot of ways since Gyro types like a child, but... hmmm, here, let me pull up an example:

Chair: Yeah, you could say that. To be honest, Lucario’s a really overused Pokemon. Gets way too much exposure lol

A3000: y?

Chair: Everyone and their mother has a Lucario in their team. They’re popular IRL as well. I can see why: they’re easy to get along with and all, and also very battle capable, but they’re everywhere.

A3000: aw

Chair: Doesn’t mean they’re bad. They can be very helpful. One of my friends in Sinnoh knows a Lucario that speaks like us, and often teaches other Pokemon the same. They’re very good at listening to their problems with their aura, although tbh, it creeps me out.

A3000: y?

Chair: They can read thoughts once they evolve, right? It’s kind of an invasion of privacy in its own way. If my thoughts were constantly being monitored, I’d be a little on edge.
This exchange feels like empty dialogue to me, at least on Chair's end, because it's exposition about lucario and the world, instead of any specific details relating back to Chair as a character. It just came off as broad strokes and impersonal. And I do get the why behind it--it's meant to demonstrate how a lot of humans view pokémon--but considering the end goal of this one-shot is for Chair and Gyro to join up as partners, we needed a scene where they're more intimate together. Even in the climactic emotional scene where Gyro asks to join her team and the aftermath of that argument, Chair is evasive in terms of her own past traumas. Hell, Lysandre, a random one-off character who mostly spits out one-liners and is the 'haha funny Internet meme guy' came off as more emotionally vulnerable (and specific in his vulnerability, that's a key point) than Chair by the end.

I get that you probably didn't want them opening up to each other right away. But without proper emotional build-up, it's hard for me to feel anything when Gyro winds up joining Chair's team. Other than relief since he seems to be stuck in a rough situation, I suppose, but that's all a result of events on Gyro's end and have nothing to do with Chair.

The floorboards creaked from outside. Mom was coming. Gyro hurriedly pushed the off switch on the computer, powering it down with a faint whir, and scurried under the bed. The room was dark again. Hopefully, she wouldn’t notice him lying there.

The door opened. A switch clicked on. Yellow light shone from above. A sigh. A few footsteps shuffled towards the bed. Alcohol and perfume wafted in the air. The mattress creaked. Then, silence, aside from a few sighs from her. This continued for a few minutes. Gyro steadily breathed in and out, hoping she wouldn’t hear him under there. At last, she stood up, dragging her feet over to the door. Gyro shifted forward, trying to confirm she left.
The relationship between Gyro and Mom fascinated me. I really liked the tension in this scene, the way the short, abrupt sentences conveyed Gyro's terror at being caught. There's almost no summary, it's all detail, and yet more references to Mom's struggle with alcoholism in the wake of her son's death. I do wish she hadn't interrupted Chair and Gyro's video call so quickly, as that was a great moment to forge an actual, genuine connection between the two, but otherwise, this scene was perfect. Had me on the edge of my seat.

I liked the way the chats would start and stop over the course of the next few days. It felt real and true to Internet culture in general. Also, Gyro ghosting his trainer's old friend was both sad and funny in a morbid way. it was little moments like that, where the use of Diancord tied into Gyro's grief over the death of his trainer, that worked best for in terms of what the one-shot was trying to achieve.

The dialogue between Chair and Gyro where he admits to his situation and begs to join her party was a nicely written climax. I especially liked how it starts off with Chair saying he needs more human contact and other bland generalizations, but then shifted into a more defensive and distant stance when Gyro asked to join her team. His eruption into all-caps also was a heartbreaking and poignant moment, with the eventual sorry underscoring the breakdown.

Again, Chair not detailing her own problems wasn't my favorite thing, and 'soul ripping out of your chest' feels really generic and open-ended in this scenario. But I've already discussed that.

“Of all the things I tell you not to do, you went in there! Didn’t you listen?! Did you just go in there to ruin my life more, or do you really not understand?! Maybe you’re just as stupid as the rest of the wildlings!”
This isn't something I've touched on much, but the repetition of Gyro asking if he's stupid, only for it to be paid off here, makes for some excellent emotional catharsis. Although for someone both drunk and in pain, the way Mom just breaks into an eloquent soliloquy felt slightly on the nose. Needs more broken up, nonsensical sentences here, I think.

The fight with the seviper is conceptually great, as it involves Gyro fighting the embodiment of his fears. But the execution is a bit lacking.

No response, except for more hissing. The Seviper’s red, unblinking eyes were like those Gyro saw back in the wild: indifferent, and yet cruel all the same. It didn’t know compassion. He didn’t know compassion before he met Andre, either.

Gyro wasn’t there when his trainer was suddenly killed by the Seviper. He was in his Pokeball. Andre was a part of his life, and then, he wasn’t there anymore. Just snuffed out like a candle in the wind. Why didn’t Andre use him, or his other Pokemon? He could’ve saved himself. Gyro would’ve been glad to die if it meant protecting him.

Then, was there nothing in the world worth living for? There were the streams and all the shows he liked. He enjoyed watching Ash’s adventures on the screen with Andre before he went on his journey, and he enjoyed it now. Now his trainer was gone, was he still tied to him?

No. That rope was severed long ago. There was no bringing him back. He had to live with his trainer’s death for the rest of his life, and yet, his gut told him to go on. He wanted to watch more of his favourite shows and streamers. He wanted to hear what was going on in the rest of the world. He wanted to chance to talk to others again, in real life or on Diancord, no matter how painful it was sometimes. His trainer wouldn’t have wanted him to die for him or waste away. He wanted him to live on, as well as his other Pokemon. He hoped they were doing fine with other loving trainers.
The four solid paragraphs of introspection kill the tension in the scene. I get the seviper is a hallucination so it can theoretically attack whenever Gyro wants, but we the audience are introduced to this threat and then it's pushed to the side. I also think there's a lot of summary here when there should've been detail, and that a lot of Gyro's thoughts are about what happened with his trainer while failing to take into consideration the events of the one-shot. You should've played up Gyro's loneliness and abandonment, the sense that no one wants him anymore, that he's just a stupid zangoose, and interspersed that with the fight (perhaps Gyro just lays there, paralyzed by his own insecurities and grief, and the seviper coils around him and begins to tighten until he at last fights back). I also think this would've been a good point for a hallucination of Andre to appear and help Gyro break out of his funk in some capacity. It would've given the scene more direction, clarity, and tension, in my humble opinion.

He sobbed into her chest, drying his face on her shirt, which smelled nice.
Hasn't she spent most of the past few days drunk? Haha. In all seriousness, the follow-up scene between Gyro and Mom was touching. The dialogue still struck me as slightly on-the-nose, especially on Mom's end (needed more detail and subtext, like maybe she reminisces about a memory of Andre as a child or something), but seeing them begin to sort through their issues warmed the cockles of my cold, dead heart. I also liked that even though they finally addressed their issues, they aren't fully resolved, and after everything that happened, the wounds they inflicted on each other may never truly heal.

Felt pretty ambivalent on Chair and Gyro making up. Still not sure the text justifies how excited he is to meet her. I did love the scene where he talks in the vent channel about his loss and all the pokémon that show up to support him. I can't help but wonder if that should've happened earlier though, to cement how the Internet is helping Gyro cope, instead of being tacked onto the end. Although it also shows how he's progressed and processed his grief further, so it's a minor quibble.

Others have mentioned this, but the one-shot seemed a bit overpacked to be a one-shot. There were a lot of disparate elements thrown out there, and perhaps far more emphasis on world-building than needed. One-shots are usually at their best when they're contained and personal, and the fact that you feel the need to make a sequel demonstrates that more than anything (in the biz, short stories very rarely need sequels due to their inherent natures as short stories).

Here's a reading and analysis of The Cask of Amontillado:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oBdP9aZkU8&t=4s


Poe was a master of the short story, but even if you don't have time to watch, the most important thing to take from it is the idea of narrative focus. We need fewer characters and a simpler premise for this to work as a short story, while at times you seem more preoccupied with the grander details (hence why I mention the over-reliance on world-building).

Hope this was helpful. Have a nice day!
 

Umbramatic

The Ghost Lord
Location
The Yangverse
Pronouns
Any
Well. Here is another one that just has me go:


FIRST OFF the nature of the protagonist as not having much going for him IRL relationship-wise and turning to the Internet to compensate. That's... relateable, is all i'll say.

Speaking of said protagonist Gyro is adorable and sweet and I want to hug him and pet him and feed him jelly beans

But yeah there is some heavy shit. Gyro's Trainer's recent death, said trainer's mom turning to alcoholism and shit to cope, Gyro facing the Seviper that killed his Trainer, one of his Trainer's old friends not knowing he's dead... jesus i need a drink and a long navel-staring session

the chatroom shenanigans add some much-much-MUCH needed levity to the whole thing and are deliciously authentic. Shout out to resident edgelord dudebro Lysandre Did Nothing Wrong. The chatroom adds well to the themes of the fic, what with the fact Gyro is a Pokemon that can communicate with -joker voice- society and all the implications of that you go into.

But this was a wonderful feels session and I hope to read more Curious and Shiny for context on the chars and world.
 
Top