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Chapter 1 New


Bug Catcher
Hi again! I'm back here with another wildly divergent Scarlet and Violet AU.
So this piece was inspired by a piece of fanart, and got me thinking what would happen if the "incident" in Area Zero happened way earlier in the story, leaving one of the professors in grief and deciding to try and build an AI of their partner in a desperate attempt to get them back, and having to then deal with all this implies. (pretty much the fact that the AI doesn't quite work like they thought it would)
The title is a reference to Alan Turing's many quotes about machines and their possible ability to think (and also the way he called what would become known as "the Turing test"), and felt quite fitting considering the basic idea of the fic.
I have the whole story planned, and it shouldn't be too long, around 4 or 5 chapters at most (watch it explode in size like Timeslip did)
At it's core, it's a story about grief, what makes people "human", and conscience. And robot discovering feelings because aw yeah, I love me my sad robots discovering feelings. But there will also be some fluff!
Because of the premise, there's mention of death, grief and deadly injuries. The injuries are never really described in much detail, just alluded to.

Chapter 1

The eulogies went on and on, other professors and researchers and scientists from all over Paldea, some even from beyond that, taking turns in giving long and elaborated speeches mourning the departure of Professor Armando Turo. "One of the greatest minds of our era", "An incredible loss", "So much potential lost way too soon"... after the third one along those lines, it all faded into a low droning sound to Professor Albora Sada. She couldn't care less about hearing a complete summary of all his accomplishments and research. She knew all of them. Some of those, they had done together. Terastal Energy, the Tera Orb... other things had been their own personal projects, things they worked on separately. Research he had contributed to, ideas he had pioneered in his endless quest for technological progress. None of those things sounded even remotely important right now to her. What was the point of all those things if he wasn't there to share them with her?

The lights were still on in the office they had been using as their research laboratory at Nara-Uva Academy. Sada wondered if she had forgotten to shut them off while leaving the room that evening, only to open the door and find Turo sitting motionless at the desk, eyes fixed on the old television in the corner, tv remote in one hand. The only part of him that's moving is the leg that he is bouncing restlessly up and down, tapping the soft carpet under his feet in a barely audible, feverish rithm. He's always had that nervous tic, a physical manifestation of his mind racing ahead even while he had to sit still. She knew that gesture so well. Had found it irritating at first, hearing the constant tap-tap-tap-tap against the wooden floorboards from the seat beside her during her first lessons at the Academy. It used to distract her while he stared, unflinching and laser-focused, at some problem written on the blackboard.

After a while, it had become somewhat endearing. Even her other classmates had taken note of it. Made jokes about it.

If you heard that tap-tap-tap-tap start up during a test or exam, you knew it was going to be tough.

Now, she knew it was a sign that he was extremely focused on something. Usually also extremely excited, even if that sound was pretty much the only indication you were ever going to get about it. He barely turned in her direction, just his eyes moving a fraction of a second from the press conference on the screen to her, before motioning for her to look at the tv.

« Albora! You have to see this! » he gestured to the screen, where she recognized some of the developers of Pokémon Storage Systems across various regions gesturing excitedly over a map of the whole world.

« They've created a Global Trade System... a way to trade and send Pokémon all over the world through the network! » now there's almost a ghost of a smile on his lips, eyes leaving the screen to look at her, one eyebrow quirked, expecting her to share his enthusiasm.

« People will be able to trade anywhere at any moment now, no more reason to use those clunky single trade machines just to register the new owner of the Pokéball! We'll need to set up some things here in Paldea to make it work. » he shook his head and went back to staring at the screen, where Bill was now busy discussing technological requirements to make this infrastructure available to everyone. Honestly, she often didn't immediately understand his excitement at some new discovery or invention. She was much more interested in the past, in the ripple effect that one thing had on another, in following that almost invisible trail through history like breadcrumbs in a maze.

But Turo? He seemed to have a sixth sense for them. He somehow *knew* when something was really going to be extraordinary; when a new, big change that would completely revolutionise society loomed on the horizon, or if something would just be a temporary fad that wasn't fated to last.

She simply stared ahead after failing to give a speech of her own, a piece of crumpled paper in her hand, Clavell gently supporting her while he walked her back to her seat. She barely heard him clear his throat and start recounting Turo's time at the Academy, little anecdotes of his time there first as a student and then as a researcher. Those too, were all things she knew word for word. She had been there. She had shared almost all of those stories with him. They had been side by side since their very first day at the Academy. First by chance, then by choice, their similar but diametrically opposite interests drawing them to each other.

First as classmates, then friends, then something more... There had been plans, while they were working at the Tera Project. Find a place to live in together - she liked that little lighthouse on Cabo Poco -, get married... they had, just tentatively, even talked about starting a family. A whole life together, ready to be discovered. Like they had always done, side by side.

All gone now, before it had even started. Sada didn't even bother to hide the silent tears streaking down her face as she stared at the closed coffin covered in flower bouquets. He had always hated flower bouquets.

The priest was blathering something about how loved ones were never truly gone as long as they were remembered.

What a joke. What good did remembering him do now? What good for once would wallowing in the past do? She had just lost her whole future.


The idea didn't come to her all at once. It had been more like a patchwork of little... concepts. Suggestions whispered in one corner of her mind, quickly dismissed. She couldn't do it. It was a crazy idea. What would it even accomplish?

He would be back, that's what it would accomplish.

But that was impossible. The part of her mind that kept telling her that it didn't make her sense, that there was no point, that he wouldn't really be back anyway, got quieter and quieter when she had to go back down in Area Zero to gather his personal effects.

She stopped at what is -was- his desk, staring at the pile of ordinately arranged binders - a surprisingly old fashioned way for him of arranging research notes, one she had never missed an occasion to make fun of.

They are divided by argument: Terastal Energy, Tera Orb development, a slightly damaged one where the only readable part of the title was T----a--s and many more.

Finally, the two smallest one at the end.

One is titled simply "Things to keep track of", and usually contained clipping of articles or hastily scribbled references about arguments that had caught his interest in one way or the other, new developments in one particular field of science or robotics, to look up later.

The very last one simply read "Plans for the future".

Sada couldn't bear to look at it. She knew what was inside; she had caught him looking at pictures of wedding rings once and pretended not to notice when he had "casually" mentioned having to leave the crater just for "a quick trip".

He never proposed to her, didn't get the occasion to before the... incident. They found the wedding rings still in his lab coat's pocket, the heat having half melted them together.

She opened the second to last one, and soon losed herself reading all the gathered materials. The more she read, the more the idea started to slowly take shape in her mind. The more it made sense.

Area Zero seemed to have that effect on people, or at least it had on them. When you were under there, between the towering crystals and almost alien landscape, with the very air glittering and shining with pure energy and power, nothing seemed impossible.

She was Professor Albora Sada, one of the brilliant minds behind the harness of Tera Energy, who's full potential they still had to completely discover, and she is going to do the unthinkable.

She is going to bring him back from the dead, to get back their future together.

In one way or another.


The first thing to do, and maybe the easiest from a technical point of view, is to recreate his voice. The technology is, theoretically, already available. Text to speech had been a thing for decades, even if with a robotic, set voice. Now with the advent of neural networks, even replicating a specific voice is not impossible. You just needed a set amount of voice recordings to give as a trace, and there it was; a recreation of a person's voice.

She didn't lack examples to use: both she and Turo had hours upon hours of footage about them. Conferences, television interviews, public speeches, even some classes held at the Academy.

The problem was in their content. Those recordings would give her a perfect recreation of Professor Turo's voice. The low, calculated baritone of a man who had plotted every single word of his speech long in advance, who hated being interrupted while he was explaining something because no, your silly little question was not worth the breath and wasted time it had just cost him to answer.

What all those recordings were lacking were... Small details. The little short "tsks" he would do almost subconsciously when something didn't go his way; an error in the code, or an unexpected test result, followed by a sharp intake of breath as he approached the new problem.

The warmth that would permeate his voice only when talking to her, and no one else, the side of him that he would never, ever show to the public.

All the little details that didn't belong to Professor Turo, but to the man she had fallen in love with.

She could thing of only one way to give the model examples of that Turo, and it was going to be... Difficult.

Sada took a deep breath, sitting down at her computer in the Zero Lab. Instead of turning on the device, she took out her RotomPhone. The ghost Pokemon looked at her worriedly when she tapped on her contact list, then hovered her finger over Turo's number, stopping there for a moment. His Rotomphone had been shut off permanently, the Pokemon inhabiting it leaving to probably get sent to someone else that needed one. If she tried calling it, it wouldn't even ring.

She shook her head, and accessed their shared media folder.

They had worked together in such close contact in Area Zero that all the stuff they sent to each other was mostly work related in the rare occasion where one or the other had to leave.

Go back "to the surface", like they had started to call it.

Sada scrolled through links, pdfs, the occasional picture - a sunset she had sent him from the top of the lighthouse, "just in case you have forgotten what the sun actually looks like", and one last audio recording.

She hesitated: she hadn't even opened it yet, not after the incident.

His voice crackled to life from the speakers, sent a couple of days before his death.

« ... thought to update you about the latest Tera crystal analysis. I've started to map possible frequency of energy emissions to certain Pokémon types... wait, what hour is it? ... Didn't realize it was this late. Hope I didn't wake you up. Lov-» she stopped the recording with a shaking hand, holding her breath.

She couldn't hear his voice saying those words. Not right now. She wordlessly sent the files to her computer and turned it on, a quiet determination coming to her face as she started to work. Those weren't going to be the last words she would hear from him.


The voice reproduction seemed to be working well. After training the model, Sada prompted it to read some random text. Nothing personal. Papers, old articles... the voice is impossible to distinguish from his. It almost unnerved her, how she could have made his voice say anything she ever wanted now just by giving it a string of text to read. But that wasn't what she had created it for. There was no conscience behind it, no thought. That would be the most difficult step. But first... the body.


They had received some new supplies at the Zero Gate, and since they were addressed to Turo, she hadn't looked at the content but simply brought them inside, leaving him to sort through them. When he hadn't come back to the Research Stations after several hours, she had tried to contact him through the intercom. No answer. What was he even doing?

Sada stepped on the teleporting pad of Research Station 4 and went back to the Zero Gate, walking through the bulkhead near the entrance to a little laboratory built right on the edge of the crater. She wasn't even sure what she expected to see.

Certaintly not her research and life partner examining what looked like a disembodied human arm.

« ... what.» was her only comment.

Turo raised his head from the hand he was holding and turning up and down, his eyes shining, before slowly looking back down to the arm - yes, definitely an arm-, realizing how the entire scene had to look from someone else's point of view, and quirking a single eyebrow.

« ... c'mon. This isn't even the weirdest thing you've seen me doing.» he scoffed with half a smile.

Saddest and most worrying thing was, he was right.

« Sure... please tell me why you're playing with what I hope are pieces of a mannequin.»

« Not a mannequin. New robotic prostethics.» he answered curtly, examining the joints of the robotic hand by opening and closing each finger, completely fascinated.

« I was in contact with a research team in Unova, they were developing new artificial tissues. I helped with the programming of the nerve interface, so they sent me a prototype-» he trailed off in a low voice, lost in his own little world.

She sighed -he looked like a kid playing with construction blocks right now- and sat down near him, examining the fake arm the hand had been connected to. It was actually impressive, how realistic it looked. She touched the arm, and cringed a bit with discomfort at feeling what had to be the metal skeleton just under the artificial skin.

« It's... a bit creepy when you touch it. »

« Tsk.» an amused chuckle, as he looked her way.

« It works. Functionality comes first, aesthetic later. This can and will help... so many people.» he answered, waving the hand around, now with all fingers open and raised.

She had to stifle a little laugh; he looked so serious, she was sure he had absolutely no idea how ridiculous he looked at that moment. And that hand was pretty much begging her to do just one thing.


« Did you just... high five an extremely expensive and experimental piece of new technology?»


Sada found the prosthetic still in its box, exactly where they had left it. On the side of box are the contacts of the University in Unova that developed it.

Perfect. That will do.

She needed to do a couple of calls.


At first, she kept going back and fort between Area Zero and Paldea, but the time she spent inside the crater grew longer and longer as she worked, the closer she got to her objective.

The voice had been programmed, the body... the body was taking shape. The greatest difficulty was... programming the mind. Capturing all that made him, him.


« A... brain scan? »

« Yes! Like a record, a snapshot, if you will, of a person's mind at a specific point in time. Think about it. Someone's memories are shaped by synapses and neurons firing in a certain order through the brain. New memory create new orders, new tracks. It's literally an electrical circuit! If you could perfectly record that circuit, all those interconnected neurons... you could have a perfect copy of that memory. »

« Sounds... dystopian. And your colleagues want us to do that? »

« Just as an experiment. They are asking for volunteers all around the world. It's just a bunch of data at this point anyway. The greatest supercomputer in the world isn't powerfull enough right now to elaborate all that data... to read what's encoded in those circuits. But maybe... in the future-»

Ah, there they were. Turo's favorite magic words. "Maybe, in the future", something he could only dream about today was actually possible. Maybe, in the future, lived Pokémon like in that book they loved so much.

She smiled and shook her head.

« All right. Sure, let's do it. The great Professors Sada and Turo's minds, captured at a single moment in time... sitting on a hard drive somewhere near cute Skitty pictures and memes.»

His expression lost a bit of his enthusiasm.

« I... that's not what-»

« You know that's exactly what's going to happen, yes?»


She didn't have the greatest supercomputer in the world... but she did have Tera Crystals, their wondrous power able to amplify the power output and capabilities of machines.

Getting the data had been easy enough. More difficult was deciding how to program a model that would use those memories.

To be exactly like Turo... having a copy of his memories -even if only to a certain time, missing the last couple of months- wouldn't be enough. It needed to think like him. She had... to give what would be his mind a series of instructions. Concepts it would use as the basis on how to think and act, coupled with the memories to give his thoughts context.

« First of all, it will have to think of itself as human... this way... this way he will... it will be like he's never been gone.» she stopped, having walked feverishly up and down the Zero Lab. Propped up against the wall near her bed -their bed-, held suspended by a web of cables, was the mechanical frame she had spent the last days, weeks, months (was it really months?) working on. She rested one hand on the figure's cheek, lifting it up. Its eyes are closed, the fake eyelids covering mechanical cameras, the artificial skin soft under her fingers.

It looked so peaceful, asleep, his face perfect and exactly like she remembered it, just a bit of stubble on his chin.

Not marred with electrical burns, like... like after the incident.

« Wait just a bit more.» she whispered, and left to go back to work.


Sada didn''t notice that this time she hadn't stepped outside of the Zero Lab for entire weeks, at least until the growing list of email and missed calls, all from Clavell and increasingly desperate in tone, got too big to ignore.

Sada called him back, and reassured him that she's well, she just got lost reading old papers, working. No, she wasn't coming back to the surface, she wanted to spend a couple more days here. Clavell didn''t look convinced.

« Sada, you are still grieving. We all are. It was so sudden... I'm not sure that spending time under there alone is the best thing for you now.»

« I won't be alone, don't worry. » it slipped out with a smile before she realized, and she pretended not to notice Clavell's perplexed stare as she closed the call. Slowly, she turned around towards where the frame... where Turo was resting, dressed in a perfect reproduction of his favourite bodysuit and lab coat. Clothes he was used to, clothes he would be familiar with, clothes he would expect to be wearing.

The originals had been almost completely burned.

It's done. It's finished. Everything was ready. All joints and parts of the body tested. The program itself, it's mind, has been loaded into memory. The only thing that's left is... activating it.

Her hand trembled as she hovered her finger over the switch, the little, simple button that would push everything into motion. A part of her almost didn't dare to hope that it would actually work, convinced that it was useless. She silenced it quickly, and pushed the button.

Current surged through the cables, sending a jolt of energy through the machine. For a long moment, nothing happened. And then it moved.

She didn't dare to breath or move a muscle, as it... no, as Turo slowly stood up from his halfcrouched position, a light whirring noise accompaying the rising motion.

It was more... noisy that she had thought. But it didn't matter. She could easily ignore that. She just had to get used to it, that was all.

He was moving. On his own. She watched as it disconnected the cables with a little tug, eyes still closed, suddenly nervous. She had kind of... programmed the model to ignore everything that conflicted with the idea that it was a human, but wasn't sure if it would have worked.

To her relief, it seemed to ignore the cables completely.

The two boots touched the floor with a little clank, harder and with more perfectly calculated precision that would be required for someone that was simply standing up.

« Armando... »

He turned to look at her, opening his eyes for the first time as he stood up completely.

He stared, and she noticed the faintest flash of cyan behind his eyes as the mechanical iris contracted and focused. After a couple of seconds, a blink, slow and methodical.

« ... why are you crying? » he asked.

Was she? Of course she was, how could she not now that he was finally right in front of her again, now that she could actually hear his voice, and not just recorded messages. Moving, talking, thinking.

« I... I just got back from the surface. » she managed to get out after a moment.

« I missed you so much.» she didn't bother hiding a sob now as she approached him, desperate for his contact.

« Just for a couple of... days... ?» his voice trails off as she hugs him, and his arms encircle her after a moment. She rests her head on his chest, like she had done so many times, only to freeze up after a moment.

The bodysuit isn't enough to cover the fact that there is no methodical, reassuring heartbeat there.

Blackjack Gabbiani

Merely a collector
  1. shaymin
  2. dusknoir
I love this so much and I'm glad you're continuing it. Read it a while ago on Ao3 and thought that wasn't going to happen, so good to know I should expect to get my heart broken again haha.

I think my favorite part was the line about the wedding rings being melted together. You hint at the utter brutality of what happened to him but it's most stark right there.

God, he has no idea he's mechanical yet. He doesn't know he's not the original yet. And he's going to realize that...

By the way, there's a few fics that use "Albora" as Sada's given name and I've never been able to find where it comes from. Would you know?


Bug Catcher
Thanks for the reply!
I intentionally kept what happened to Turo vague both because it's not really the focus of the fic and also because except for brief flashes Sada really doesn't want to think about it, so I'm glad you liked that image of the wedding rings!

By the way, there's a few fics that use "Albora" as Sada's given name and I've never been able to find where it comes from. Would you know?
It's actually just Sada's name in the Spanish translation! It comes from "albor" and is Spanish for "beginning", I like to give them different given names in different fics to make it clear it's different versions of the characters.
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