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Blackjack Gabbiani

Merely a collector
Pronouns
Them
Partners
  1. shaymin
Cyrus would have thought that returning to Veilstone, or to anywhere, would have taken overcoming the will of the gods themselves to free himself from that shadowy world and its renegade master, but it had been far simpler than that. Giratina had left him there, and didn't seem to care where he went from there. He wondered if this apathy had to do with how it seemed to exist outside of time--perhaps it thought he had served his sentence--or how it seemed to regard that pesky trainer with some sort of odd recognition, even obedience. It had seemed confused by the champion as well; only Cyrus seemed to be unfamiliar to it, if he was reading the situation correctly. Which he almost certainly wasn't. A human, claiming to know the will of the gods? Cynthia would tell him that hubris was what got him into this mess to begin with, and he clenched his fist reflexively at the thought.

Regardless of anything, he had found that the portal it had opened for his two pursuers to leave was still open when he returned to that place. Not that "place" meant the same thing in a world without the expansion of space, and the ground around it had shifted into something it hadn't been before, and Cyrus was positive that the time between had been a far bigger gulf, but any amount of time in that nightmare world was best put behind him.

The time it took for him to reach the portal from seeing it was perhaps longer than he had spent in that world to begin with. But no matter. He was finally free, met with the cold night air of the Spring Path, and from there it was only a short walk to Veilstone. Not that he knew where he was at first; the very existence of a stable flow of time in firm space had knocked him for a loop and he had nearly passed out into what he would later be able to identify as Sendoff Spring. Only his grueling mental grounding had kept him conscious long enough to not topple into the water; that and his Gyarados sensing danger and manifesting into the spring to block his fall. When he woke up, it was night still. Or again, perhaps; he couldn't properly tell.

He had wiped away the remnants of a nosebleed, thinking idly of the concept of depressurization and wondering if that applied in his situation, before deciding it was in his best interests to find his way back to civilization. To rinse his hand in the spring felt oddly like a sacrifice, though he doubted even the most bloodthirsty of gods would be interested in such a small amount.

Emerging from the forest brought the immediate realization of where he was. The route south of Veilstone had a distinctive look to it, broken up by multiple fences for no apparent reason. It figured, he reasoned that the first recognizable thing he saw of the world was completely illogical.

It made things easier to find, at least.

In that shadowy world, he had seen so much. The method Giratina used to watch the world was incomprehensible, but somehow he knew of events happening on the outside. Happening, or perhaps had happened, or had yet to happen. The point, he thought to himself, was that he knew them and otherwise would not, through whatever supernatural means. It was disquieting to ponder the specifics, so he tried not to, at least for the time being. It would be another valuable secret of the world to crack, but thinking of it right then gave him a headache.

Or at least he hoped that's what was causing it. That his nosebleed had dried up by the time it took him to regain consciousness was encouraging.

He would go to the base. They had a medical staff and likely still did, and it would cause less of a disturbance than if he wandered into some public space. The late hour meant the Veilstone streets would be nearly deserted, so he could reach his destination unabated.

One of the things he had learned in that world, from the events he somehow bore witness to through means that only made sense to Giratina, was that Saturn had taken the reigns of the team and was expressing regret for their previous actions. That was fine. That could be dealt with.

The passcode to enter was the same as always. Saturn had an eye for details, so this had to be an intentional choice. Perhaps the commander was hoping, in his sentimental nature, that Mars and Jupiter would return someday as well. Or perhaps other things were simply more important.

Nobody was there to impede his progress, and every code was the same. The medical ward would be closed, but it was all right; he could run the tests himself.

Putting the portal to the lab on the other side of his office meant that his work had been frequently interrupted, but it also ensured that he was kept up to date on all workings of the team, and could keep a stern eye on everyone from top scientists to the lowest grunts.

The office was just as Cyrus had left it. Of course it was; despite Saturn's attempts to guide the remnants of Team Galactic in a new direction, the commander still had the utmost respect for his former leader. Or that was how Cyrus chose to interpret it, anyway. In the back of his mind he suspected it was really closer to that Saturn was still afraid of facing the full reality of what they had done, and what they had nearly done.

Cyrus intended to have an in-depth talk with Saturn about the direction he had taken Galactic and his intentions for it. He didn't intend to permit the younger man to have control over it for much longer, but the public could believe otherwise. It would be a valuable cover to have, he pondered as he continued through to the lab.

Strange vessels still bubbled with something mysterious, even though the room that contained them seemed to be abandoned, with some unknowable liquid pooling on the floor. But that was the state of things towards the end of his own reign as well. There was no need for repairs when the entire building, city, region, world, solar system, galaxy, universe would be wiped out and replaced with something pure and rational. No need to make a fuss over something that wouldn't exist.

But it did exist, and Cyrus felt as though it was mocking him by doing so. He would order Saturn to clean it up himself if he had to.

By the time he reached the lab itself, his headache had mostly cleared, but that wasn't enough to stay him. The great machines that had once briefly contained the three lake spirits, those vaunted embodiments of willpower, knowledge, and disgraceful emotion, still stood, but they were covered in dust.

He felt a faint sensation of something he could only term regret--such a wasteful thing!--at the memory of permitting that trainer to release the lake spirits. He should have kept them contained, to forge as many more Red Chains as he needed.

Cyrus never believed he could fail.

To be fair, he rationalized to himself, it took literal divine intervention to stop him. If he created a third chain, could he potentially bind Giratina as well?

He could think of that later. After he'd examined himself and rested for the first time in...he couldn't comprehend how long.

The scanning machine had been made with humans in mind, but its use on the mythical pokémon had come in handy to study the properties of their powers and the all-important gems on their foreheads. Cyrus wondered if he was the first human to use the machine for its intended purpose.

But the scan showed everything to be normal, and so did all other readings he took. Whatever that shadowy world had done to him was temporary, and he could rest well, knowing that his fragile mortal shell would carry him to another day. He shut everything down and headed back. Perhaps he was the first person to have been in the lab at all since that fateful day. Another thing that he knew from exposure to that world was that his lead scientist Charon had been arrested. Something about trying to awaken Heatran, not for the energy such a beast could release, but for money. How petty. How foolish. How utterly arrogant.

Cyrus imagined that Cynthia would say the same about his own goal, but she, too, was petty, foolish, and arrogant.

The portal to his personal quarters was in his office as well, and it was calibrated with an optic scan so that only he could use it. But from the window he could see it was still dark, only the faintest of light rising low over the mountains, almost imperceivable through the streetlights of the city below. Nobody would arrive at the Galactic base, or headquarters, or offices, or whatever softer name Saturn would use to refer to them, for a few more hours.

So instead of heading to his quarters, Cyrus looked around his office. Some things had fallen from his memory. His computerized desk still displayed the same readings it had the day he had left, now burned into the giant monitor, and though someone had closed his personal laptop in the corner, he could see that it was still on.

How wasteful, he thought, and ironic besides, since Saturn was trying to pass the works off as an energy company now. Between the disastrous actions of an energy company in the neighboring Almia region that had been trying to mind control pokémon and the fact that everybody in Sinnoh now knew that Galactic had been trying to destroy the universe, it was a wonder to Cyrus that Saturn or anybody else had been as successful as this.

He sighed, and was immediately disappointed in himself for doing so. But it was late, or early, and he had just been dropped back into the world of his origin after an immeasurable time away, so to not have the strict control over himself and his outward display was, at the very least, understandable. He didn't have to like it.

With another sigh, a far more general one not born from emotion but from the hour, he opened his laptop. Cyrus had never needed a password on it even with as public as his office had been. Nobody would dare go near it while under his piercing glare.

The date showed that only a few months had passed for the outside world. That was good to know. Any attempts Cyrus had made to understand how things still happened in a world where time didn't flow had escaped him.

He would have to return there, he knew, if only to study it, to figure out how to unravel it and wipe it from existence with the rest of creation, and again he felt a pain behind his eyes at the thought. That rancid, illogical world defied him. It was an affront to everything he believed in, to everything he would create, to the perfection he would bring forth, and yet he knew he had to force himself to comprehend everything about it.

Maybe the knowledge would be delivered to him once he ascended to godhood. But he doubted that. He understood the flow of time and the expansion of space and thus was able to wield Dialga and Palkia. However he hadn't been dragged to their worlds. Perhaps a world of pure time or pure space would be equally as incomprehensible to him as whatever Giratina's world was.

He had his suspicions that Giratina was the embodiment of antimatter, but being unable to explain why he thought that was as frustrating as anything else.

Right, time. Somehow he had managed to get distracted simply viewing the inactive screen with only the date and time. He shook his head and wondered if he shouldn't get to bed. If anybody came to investigate the power usage in that part of the building, leaving a note on his laptop made sense in his sleep-addled mind. Saturn would notice that the computer had been opened, for one.

He woke the computer from sleep mode intent on opening a document file, but found that one was already open and facing him. Strange. After a few determined blinks to clear some mental cobwebs, he set on the document.

/I probably shouldn't even be writing this,/ the first line read, and Cyrus had to agree.

/It's not like you're ever going to read it. I guess I just need to get it off my chest. Sir.../ From that, it had to be Saturn, though Cyrus also supposed that was self evident simply from its location in his abandoned office.

/What am I so nervous about? I'd never say this to your face. But I hate you./

That was a bit surprising, but not entirely unexpected. Saturn had been left behind while Mars and Jupiter had overseen the final mission, been entrusted with the role of divine bodyguard while Saturn was to stay at the base. To stay and die, of course. Not as though being attendant to Cyrus's ascension would have changed that, but it spoke volumes of their intended roles in the next world. If Cyrus bothered to recreate them, anyway.

/I hate you. I hate you. I hate you./

This was overdoing it, Cyrus thought. Expressing something as virulent as hatred already crossed a line for the stoic boss, but the repetition was bordering on mindless.

/And yet I know that I'd just step back in line and kiss your damn shoes if you told me to. I'm a gutless coward and you've got me wound around your finger and I know you KNOW this./

Cyrus blinked a few more times. It was true, he was very aware of Saturn's dependency on him, and on Galactic in general. That was why the commander was so desperate to keep it going, Cyrus knew. But it would return to his own guiding hand.

/Everything seems like it's happening at once. I don't know how much longer I can keep this going. Everyone looks to me with the same bright eyes they used to look to you with and I'm not you and I never will be./

Well of course not. That was just basic logic. He shook his head, but instead of continuing to read, he glanced up at the file name.

New Text Document.

Saturn hadn't even saved the file.

/If you came back I feel like I'd just give everything back to you and I hate that. I hate you. And I hate myself more than anything because I/

The lights turned on, and Cyrus knew immediately the one person it had to be. It simply couldn't be anybody else.

The light footfalls, uniform shoes against the sleek floor, indicated that the person was standing behind him. "...sir." The word tumbled out in a raspy whisper, a tone of disbelief and disappointment and frustration conveyed in the single syllable.

Cyrus closed the document without saving, destroying anything else Saturn had written, and stepped away from the computer. They could talk later. Or they could ignore it and act as though nothing had changed. Or either of them could walk away from the headquarters and act as though they hadn't both tried to destroy all of creation.

He knew exactly what Saturn wanted from him, but he was in no mood to oblige. Instead, he turned past him without so much as a glance.

Cyrus wasn't going to play on Saturn's terms. He was going to think about everything he had read, everything he had seen, and bide his time carefully. "As you were, commander," he said as he headed to the portal to his own quarters.
 

IFBench

Rescue Team Member
Location
Pokemon Paradise
Partners
  1. custom/chikorita-saltriv
  2. custom/bench-gen
  3. charmander
  4. snivy
  5. treecko
Wow. Just wow. That was amazing.

You excellently captured the emotionlessness of Cyrus in this. I felt almost nothing from him, save for brief flashes of emotion, and subsequent anger at himself feeling those emotions. He was just...completely empty. A shell. There's just...nothing there. Completely cold, uncaring, unfeeling. Not even the text document got a reaction out of him. Wow.

And the document itself...I know very little about D/P/PT/BD/SP, nor the Diamond and Pearl Adventure! manga, but I could really feel Saturn's frustration, anger, and hate, not just at Cyrus but at himself, for following Cyrus so closely and being unable to let go. It felt very realistic, and it was amazingly written. The emotion, in comparison to Cyrus' narration, oozed out of the text, it was such a complete contrast and it was so well done.

The prose was great even aside from the emotion, too. The part with the lab was very striking, all abandoned and left to rot, everything just a complete mess because it wouldn't have mattered if Cyrus' plan succeeded. The bit about the laptop being in sleep mode all that time, and the references to the Ranger games. The final bit, where Saturn is just completely defeated by Cyrus' return. It's all fantastic.

Thank you for writing this.
 

Blackjack Gabbiani

Merely a collector
Pronouns
Them
Partners
  1. shaymin
Oh goodness, thank you for reading!

This is just in Platinum verse, though I've written DP and DPA fics before (and I got an idea for a BDSP fic too, since something interesting happens with Galactic in the postgame).

Haha I couldn't resist the Almia reference. If the places they're based on in the real world line up then Almia is directly next to Sinnoh. Idk maybe it's something in the water.

Gosh, this is such a glowing review! I love it! Thank you again for reading!
 

K_S

Pokémon Trainer
I could have sworn I wrote a review for this already... I can't find the original I thought I emailed so I'll take another go at this...


So post canon game Cyrus returns... less than triumphant... but it's stil a return.

Even if it feels like Giratina simply gave Cyrus a long look, realized "it" wasn't leaving, and took Cyrus out with about as much pompt as you'd take the trash out... Even if that "taking out" was poping open a portal and subliminally encouraging Cyrus to leave...

Winces, I feel Cyrus' overstimulation... going from alternate reality to mundane must be a huge culture shock with all sorts of "fun" physical complications...

I vote Saturn is missing his companions and perhaps is stupid busy keeping everyone out of a jail cell... Works for Cyrus but makes me feel for poor Saturn who is clearly missing his friends...

So Cyrus is mentally setting Saturn up to be a puppet king... though what clout the team would have with them turning a new leaf would be... questinable at best...

And as he's crawling towards medical care you can hear the gears of polt number five kicking in in he back of Cyrus' head...

Even as he alternates between "too untidy" from the ah slime seepage... and makes plans to make Galactics newest head get knocked down to porter duty to "too sentimental" as he sees his stuff was basically left as is.

If he were to find a self sustaining black hole would that be the man's "just right?" he's really lucky he's not coming "home" to a crater or a ton of police tape. Really, Saturn must have the silver tongue of a saint to keep them all out of the gaols... and how Cyrus hasn't thought of that is rather fitting as the important of social skills skates over this versions head....

And we get to Saturns venting letter, a reasonable psychological defense/venting method... but of all the people to read it... yeesh this is not good or rather it's only good for passing the void lover free hooks to twist in your psyche... Poor Saturn.

Winces, of course Saturn came in... his lack of repsone makes sense to Cyrus and Cyrus' own apathetic dismissal makes a ton of sense even if it's a wince to read it sort of moment....

And thsoe were my thoughts... Out of curiousity any plans to continue this tale/setting? Or were you going to keep this as a stand alone fic?
 

Blackjack Gabbiani

Merely a collector
Pronouns
Them
Partners
  1. shaymin
Nah I think it works best as a stand alone. But if someone else wanted to explore the consequences of Cyrus's return, go right ahead.

Yeah I really got no clue as to how Saturn stays out of prison or how Galactic remains open. I feel like the legal system in the Pokemon world is incredibly lax. But I'm gonna work with what I've got, even if it doesn't make much realistic sense.

Thank you for reading!
 
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Flyg0n

Flygon connoisseur
Pronouns
She/her
Partners
  1. flygon
  2. swampert
  3. ho-oh
  4. crobat
  5. orbeetle
Cyrus would have thought that returning to Veilstone, or to anywhere, would have taken overcoming the will of the gods themselves to free himself from that shadowy world and its renegade master, but it had been far simpler than that.
What a stunning opening line! It perfectly sets up the character, time and circumstance. It also frames everything very well through Cyru's viewpoints and is basically perfection. Love it.

The great machines that had once briefly contained the three lake spirits, those vaunted embodiments of willpower, knowledge, and disgraceful emotion, still stood, but they were covered in dust.
Love the detail here that he refers to emotion as disgraceful.

He felt a faint sensation of something he could only term regret--such a wasteful thing!--at the memory of permitting that trainer to release the lake spirits.
Love all the little moments of Cyrus almost having -gasp!- an emotion, and quickly being disdainful and pushing it aside.

Whatever that shadowy world had done to him was temporary, and he could rest well, knowing that his fragile mortal shell would carry him to another day.
Also love that he refers to his body as a fragile mortal shell.

Between the disastrous actions of an energy company in the neighboring Almia region that had been trying to mind control pokémon and the fact that everybody in Sinnoh now knew that Galactic had been trying to destroy the universe, it was a wonder to Cyrus that Saturn or anybody else had been as successful as this.
Seriously though, lol. Maybe don't trust the organization responsible for trying to rewrite the universe, Sinnoh? But somehow I buy it, Unova forgave Team Plasma after all, sort of. Also the pokemon rangers reference is fun!

All in all, I found this one shot(?) extremely solid. Cyrus is my favorite villain, so getting to read this was a treat. I think you captured the character of Cyrus very well here. He feels driven, calculating and logical, yet I also get the sense that buried way deep he has vague flashes of emotion. You keep everything grounded in his viewpoint very well, from what you choose to describe as well as the choice of specific vocabulary and his internal narration.

You also craft Saturn very well near the end, even with the short time available. It actually makes me very curious about your take on Saturn an why he's so dedicated to Cyrus, even after being left behind. Was he raised in Galactic, perhaps? Or just deeply dedicated to the cause and devastated to be left behind? Either you end on an enticing line that could stand well as either a true end or a hook for a series of one-shots.

I don't have any real critique for you, as I read it twice and didn't notice anything super jarring, and was quite engaged by the prose and concept. Excellent work!
 

Blackjack Gabbiani

Merely a collector
Pronouns
Them
Partners
  1. shaymin
Aww shucks thank you. I don't really have anything solid for Saturn, basically just that he was directionless and Galactic gave him some purpose in life. I get that feeling about most of the members, that Cyrus seeks out people with specific traits and gives them some reason to exist...while all the while planning to eliminate most of them.
 
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