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Pokémon Algorhythmic(Oneshot())

Algorhythmic

SparklingEspeon

Back on Her Bullshit
Staff
Location
a Terrace of Indeterminate Location in Snowbelle
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. espurr
  2. fennekin
  3. zoroark
Quick A/N: This oneshot was written for the PMD Writer's Union 2022 oneshot contest, where it won third place. In the interest of keeping it similar to what actually demo'd in the contest, I haven't changed anything structurally - it's still roughly the same thing, just with code that... actually looks like code, and not just a string of hollywood buzzwords. (But with that in mind, I will say that it's not written to make sense or actually be part of a coherent program, cool as that would be, pls do not actually try to read my ape-with-drumsticks attempts at programming, you will experience great pain) This oneshot was written as a concept for something larger I might do down the line, when my programming skills and writing consistency are a little better. But for now, this is what I've got - hope you enjoy!

#include iostream
#include iomanip
#using <h.algorhythm>


int sector 63()
{
call.pelagoMain();


Algorhythmic

I.

The Guild

There’s a rhythm to everything here, like the ticking of a clock. The wind sways through the trees once every minute, each gust identical and exactly 60 seconds apart. The same blades of grass rustle, the same flowers bend, the same autumn leaves blow off the trees. They are like minute hands, each breeze another tick, another notch in the day.

Your life is in integers. 60. 3600. 43200. Every sixty seconds, the wind blows. Every 3600 seconds, the shingle flies away from kecleon’s stall, carried by the breeze. Every 43200 seconds, the day ends, and you cease consciousness.

Every 0 seconds, it comes back to you.

Rising out of bed in the gloomy, wooden, bare confines of your bedroom, you begin your daily morning routine. 240 seconds to brush your thick yellow and white fur, 260 to polish your wand before you store it inside your tail. Another 30 seconds to tie a white piece of fabric around your neck, folded once and wrapped up into a bandanna. 530 seconds is not a multiple of 6.

540 is. 10 more seconds spent staring at the symbol on your scarf, which every scarf in town bears. It is the village guild’s symbol, a sign that this is a scarf of protection. It is very important that you wear your scarf, and that you do not lose it.

Ampharos lost his scarf the other day. He has not been seen since.

540 seconds to finish your morning routine. You open the wooden door of your quarters and venture out into the much sunnier, rustic hallways of the Guild.

“Oh, good morning, Braixen,” Manetric says, trotting up next to you. Her tone wavers strangely, like she’s trying to stay calm. She walks with a noticeable droop in her step, unlike everyone else

Just like everyone else. The Guild is a lively place, after all. You always walk with a cheer in your step and a smile upon your face, just like she does.

Skipping down the hallway until you reach the mess hall, the two of you happily join the line of guild pokemon just as cheery as you. There are several faces in the crowd you recognize. They come to you one by one: Scyther, Lopunny, Leavanny, Marshtomp, And a few new ar

Recruits that you have known forever. Sewaddle, Eevee, Flaafy. It takes a moment for their eyes to light up in recognition, bewildered looks becoming the friendly ones they’ve always had.

“To attention!”

You, the pokemon of the guild, all stiffen up and stare straight ahead. Out of the large double door on the back end of the hall walks a portly old feraligatr. He is the Guildmaster, who has been running things since before you came here.

He clears his throat, the sound rattling within his maw. Then he releases a breath.

“As you all know,” he begins. “We, the members of the Guild, serve a great duty to our little town of Pelago.”

You’ve heard the Guildmaster’s speech before, right down to the word. How many times was it now? It doesn’t matter. A sudden swell of pride in your chest affects you all the same.

Day after day after day, we keep this town safe for all those who live inside it,” he continues. “That won’t stop today. First on the itinerary…”

The rest of the guildmaster’s speech fades out of understanding, meshing into a slur of words that you just don’t understand

Just like it always does. The things you need to do each day are always the same, you all know them by heart. So why do you need to understand the words now? Besides, it’s like his speech just connects with you, on a level deeper than words. You fall into a light trance, just feeling the way his gibberish soothes you.

“And remember…” the words suddenly fade back into something you can understand, snapping you out of your stupor. Just like you do every day, you realize it is time to come back to attention and make the final shout. “SMILES GO FOR MILES!”

You all jump and cheer, fists, claws, blades, and flippers pumping in the air. There’s no reason not to be cheerful when it’s such a good day, even if the start was we—perfectly normal like always.

Even if there’s something in the sky.

But that’s become a part of everyday life here in Pelago. You can see it from any window or glance up at the heavens, a massive, purple tear in the clouds that isn’t a trick of the light no matter how you look. No-one knows how or when the Rip appeared, now that you thin

You don’t think about it. The Rip has always been there, and the Guild of Pelago launches missions up into the Rip’s landscape so you can all better understand it. Even though you have been on the frontlines more times than you can count, you don’t know what you have learned. Or what you went to learn. The Guildmaster keeps that secret to himself, like a good authority figure should.

Pelago itself is a small town. It’s down near the sea, where the sun shines lovingly, the air smells fresh, and the breeze blows in through the town square and affectionately ruffles the flaps of the pokemon-face tents that make up the buildings. There is never a bad day in Pelago, and everyone you know loves it here. And down by the sea also means ships in the harbor, which is just what your team needs right now.

Ships are how you’ll get to the Rip, after all.

The anchor is drawn, the sails are pulled high, and the ship sets out towards the oceans ahead. The sunny day and the breeze are deceptively cheery for where you’ll be going. Previous journeys’ experience has made you worr

ingly excited for what comes next. You can’t wait to perform another mission well done for your Guildmaster and your teammates, like a good guild member should.

As you sail away from the town, the amiable climate of Pelago quickly fades away, like exiting a bubble. The skies darken with clouds, the wind picks up and blows your fur, and the sea becomes choppy, rocking the boat noticeably. The open ocean churns with the roughness of a coming storm, which only means you are getting closer. The Rip sucks everything around it up into the sky,

You pull the ropes along with Leavanny and Marshtomp, the three of you working to close the sails before the strengthening winds can ream them full of holes. The first sprinkles of water hit your coat, and seconds later, more follow. Soon, raindrops hit the deck like bullet hail.

The ship violently rocks, threatening to roll over and capsize. Marshtomp, in his element, navigates the deck like a monkey and draws one of the sails, swinging away on the large rope as the massive piece of cloth unfurls. Catching the wind, it tears slightly—something Leavanny will have to patch later—but the wind catches the ship and slowly, it begins to right itself.

The wind has picked up, blowing with the force of a gale now. It creates a howling like a giant beast concealed by the storm, sending endless torrents of rain into you and your crewmates with the force of bullets. Waves high as the guild crash into the deck, covering you in freezing water and wiping away everything not bolted to the ground. It’s a mercy you haven’t lost your wand yet, even with your tail as limp as a mop. The sky above, though afternoon, is so dark it may as well be night.

You’re barely holding on for dear life, and still you can see it: the Rip, the colossal purple tear up in the sky, devouring even the storm around it. The edges of the night-black storm are being sucked in, as well as everything else. A thin stream of water, wide at the base, rises up into the sky like a waterspout until it thins into nothing and the droplets are sucked away into the tear. Even the rain circles it, and as your ship is pulled in the intensity only increases. Before long it is like being underwater; you can’t take a breath without some water getting in, and you’re practically swimming in rain and waves more than you are in air.

A jolt, and you nearly lose your hold on the ship’s railing from how wet it is. You feel a change in gravity, a tilting of the deck, as the ship goes up, up, up…

You lose your grip and fall back against the ship’s cabin. Along the way your scarf catches on the railing, a single rough spot that none of you have ever been able to completely smooth out. But it’s enough. Your scarf tears on the way down, a great big gash down the front of it but leaving just enough untorn to keep it intact. You gasp in horror; realizing too late the consequences as a mouthful of water enters your mouth.

And then all enters the rip, and for a brief period, you cease to be.

II.

The Rip

#include iostream
#include iomanip
Using <h.algorhythm>


void rip()
{
call.ripmain();
...


You slowly pick yourself up, rising off a ground that you can’t see. In fact, it’s hard to see anything in all this blackness. But somehow, you can see yourself clearly.

Looking around, you see your guildmates around you, all rising to their feet and rubbing their heads in bewilderment too. All of them are perfectly visible, and somehow, none of you are soaked.

What awaits you is a vast expanse you can’t clearly make out no matter how hard you look. But that’s how it always is when you enter the Rip. None of the things sucked in ever make the journey with you, and what lies beyond the hole’s borders never takes shape until you force it to.

You have been told never to force it to.

Scyther is the first to take charge, stepping forward and beckoning you all to join him with a blade. You all do without question, because to be separated in the Rip is to be never seen again.

“Let’s get the job done and get out,” he says, and Right?


You shake the weird feeling off, and just follow the rest of the group before you can be left behind. Straight ahead, the strange, dark green vines of the Beyond have opened up a path for you all. You can still hear the faint sounds of them slithering away.

The path is narrow, and twists and turns. Sometime it splits off into others, like a labyrinth. Scyther seems to know which ones to choose, when to stick to the main corridor and when to go another way. And since he has always been your team leader, it’s no surprise that he does.

So why doesn’t that feel right?

You feel a headache coming on, a splitting ache in your head that forces you to grasp it in your hands as you all walk. You never get headaches, and this one doesn’t feel like a normal headache anyway. It cuts deeper, in the shape of a gash.

All the others seldom look at you, but now look at you out of something mimicking concern. Mimicking. Something mimicking. You can’t even look at them for more than a second, because their faces scare you. They’re the same that they’ve always been, and that scares you. What’s… happening?

“What’s going on?” Loppuny asks, her face unmoving but the voice reaching you the same. She doesn’t even open her mouth, which looks painted on. “Are you okay?”

You want to say that you’re not okay, but you can’t summon the words. What would it even look like? Do you look just like them? You just breathe hard and groan, caught between pain and fear.

But one isn’t like the others. Manetric’s face, spooked as it looks, is the only face that changes.

“You go ahead,” she says. “I’ll talk to Braixen.”

The rest accept that without a question, all at once moving ahead like a toy soldier army. It’s like something compelled them to.

“You’re noticing, right?” Manetric asks.

Still fighting back the urge to groan from the pain in your head, you look over at her with one eye, silently pleading for an explanation. Manetric doesn’t say anything at first, just directing her eyes to the ground by the side for the moment and letting out a little growl. Then, with a grunt, she lunges forward—

You try to shield yourself in fright, but Manetric is too fast. She bounds forward, bolts of electricity surrounding her lightning fast paws, and bowls you over. You fall back in shock and horror, terrified that the only one of your guildmates you could still take comfort in attacked you.

But she didn’t. A few seconds later, you realize that you are unharmed. And missing from your neck is…

Manetric spits out your torn scarf, throwing it to the side. Seconds later, she fries it with an electric attack.

For a split second, your head is bathed in terrible pain, the pain of something missing, the pain of something you need back so you can be free of agony—

And then suddenly, it’s like a cloud has lifted over your mind. It’s an alien feeling, the feeling of clarity. A level of control over your mind that you haven’t felt in such a long time. Motion returns to your face, twisting it out of a bright, unmoving smile that you weren’t aware you’d been wearing until now. The muscles feel sluggish, unused to movement, but you sense they’ll loosen up with time. For now, you just stare at Manetric with befuddled shock.

“It’s the scarfs,” she said. “Yours got torn.”

“The… the.. the scarfs?” you mumble. You’re still coming to grips with everything that’s happened in the last few seconds, your mind all jumbled up.

“You’re gonna feel like that for the next few minutes,” Manetric says. “The scarfs… they do your thinking for you. Everyone has one.”

“…Why… ?” you manage to maneuver your mouth to say. Talking with your tongue feels strange, alien.

“I… I can’t tell you,” Manetric says, casting an ashamed look towards the ground in front of her. “Yours was torn. I helped you. If you’re smart enough, you’ll keep it quiet. Now let’s join the rest of the group.”

You haven’t had enough time to process this. You barely understand, but you want to. And there’s one thing you know for sure you don’t.

“Why… Why can’t we help the others?” you ask, addled.

“No,” Manetric says, her tone steely. “I’ve, I’ve just, we’ve done enough. Just come with me. You’ll understand later.”

You want to protest her, but you haven’t put the pieces of your brain back in order enough to do so. So you follow Manetric’s lead, heading back to join the others before the Rip can enclose you in darkness.

As the group continues onwards, the maze of hallways slowly disintegrates behind you. You can see the first signs of degradation as you go on, a sign that you should not be this far behind. You should be with the others, where it’s safe.

Eventually you join up with the main group. As the walking has gone on, you’ve slowly become less addled, more aware of what’s going on around you. And you can see your guildmates for what they really are. Walking stiffly like toy dolls, their faces are unmoving, as if they were painted on. They don’t even blink. They don’t even notice you’re blinking. You can see them moving their bodies and heads as if making idle chatter, but you can’t hear any of it. It’s like the scarfs do their talking for them. Was this how you were, just a few minutes ago?

Deprived of your guildmates’ voices, your head starts to fill the gaps, rusty cogs beginning to turn. You’re realizing that though you can think now, you don’t have any backlog to refer to. There aren’t any complete memories that bounce around in your head, only fragments you can barely make heads or tails of. And a voice that you distinctly recognize as yours.

“Please!” the voice yells. “Don’t put me in there! I’ll be a good pokemon from now on, it’s unbearable! I can’t do it again…”

Nothing follows, not even an image to accompany the voice. Only an overwhelming, excruciating feeling of being unheard. Everything else is blank.

The group suddenly stops. You don’t even notice until you nearly trip over Eevee from behind. He looks up at you with one of those painted smiles. You don’t know what emotion it’s meant to convey.

Scyther has held one of his blades out, halting the group. You quickly see why: Before you all stands something so large and strange you wouldn’t believe it if you weren’t seeing it in front of you.

And it’s alive.

A giant, blinking, mechanical eye with a red pupil stares down at you all. And strangely, you are the only one who seems scared out of your wits. You glance at Manetric, your eyes brimming with fear. But she just stamps your foot.

“Act. Normal.” She growls. You—wisely—decide to follow her advice.

Manetric steps forward, hanging her head low. It’s like she’s resigned herself to whatever’s coming next. You have the urge to yell out, to try and stop her from sacrificing herself to whatever grisly doom this thing has planned for her, but you lack the bravery.

The eye looks down at Manetric. Its red pupil lights up, and out of nowhere a massive, white beam zaps the pokemon up. And only then do you muster up the courage to act.

“NOOO!” You yell out, running forward, and the massive pupil of the eye, dwarfing you many times over, looks your way.

For just a moment, it fixates on you. Seeing you. Then it shuts, and suddenly everything goes black. You cease to be again.

III.

Pelago

#include iostream
#include iomanip
#using <h.algorhythm>


int sector 63()
{
call.pelagoMain();


You’ve long forgotten why you get up each day. You simply do.

Rising out of bed in the gloomy, wooden, bare confines of the bedroom you’ve been allotted, you begin the daily morning routine for no other reason than habit. Your thick yellow and white fur is groomed to perfection, and the stick of wood you’ve adopted as your new wand is polished and stuck right afterwards in your bushy tail. You tie a white piece of cloth around your neck, folded once and then wrapped up into a bandanna. On the front of the shredded, barely intact fabric is what remains of a symbol all the scarfs in town bear, the village guild’s insignia. It’s very important that you wear your scarf, and that you don’t lose it.

Manetric lost her scarf the other day, after all. She hasn’t been seen since.

But today something feels different. The scarf seems to weigh on your mind, pressing into your thoughts and trying to stamp them out with a ferocity you don’t like. You’re halfway through tying it when you realize you aren’t comfortable wearing it. So despite the voice in your head telling you that you shouldn’t,

While(pelagoMain())
{
call.thoughtstreamManip();
}


that you need your scarf, you rip it off and throw it across the room. The strange compulsions, the need to wear a scarf in the first place, disappears immediately.

You just stare at it for a moment, not sure what to do with it. Then you take out your wand, unwilling to touch it directly, and prod it under your dresser.

Walking out in the halls, no-one greets you today. The rustic corridors look empty, and all of the sudden unfamiliar. You always just knew which way to go before, you never had to think twice. Now you have to figure it out for yourself.

After some trial and error, you reach the guild hall, where everyone but you and Manetric are present. Scyther, Loppuny, Eevee, Leavanny, Marshtomp, Flaafy, Sewaddle. None of them look real. None of them seem to notice you’re different.

bool alluserspresent=true;
bool(guildmaster)
{
if(alluserspresent=1)
{
call.instructions();
}
return 0;
}


You nearly jump at the words as they rattle through your head. What were those? You don’t remember hearing them before.

The other pokemon of the guild all stiffen up and stare straight ahead, as if compelled. Out of the large double door on the back end of the hall walks a portly old feraligatr. He is the Guildmaster, who has been running things since before you came here. Suddenly, you realize that might be by design.

He clears his throat, the sound rattling within his maw. Then he releases a breath.

01000001 01110011 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01101011 01101110 01101111 01110111,” he begins. "01010111 01100101 00101100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01101101 01100101 01101101 01100010 01100101 01110010 01110011 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01000111 01110101 01101001 01101100 01100100 00101100 00100000 01110011 01100101 01110010 01110110 01100101 00100000 01100001 00100000 01100111 01110010 01100101 01100001 01110100 00100000 01100100 01110101 01110100 01111001 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01101111 01110101 01110010 00100000 01101100 01101001 01110100 01110100 01101100 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101111 01110111 01101110 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01010000 01100101 01101100 01100001 01100111 01101111.”

You’ve heard the Guildmaster’s speech before, right down to the word. Which is why it’s strange that you don’t remember any of it. Now, the words fade out of understanding, meshing into a slur of words that you just don’t understand. They’re a strange mix of dual numbers, symbols that you can barely even put to words. But the closer that you listen, the more you seem to gain a wordless understanding of it.

It’s programming. Everything that Scyther or Loppuny or Sewaddle will say or do today, it’s all been scripted. The Guildmaster is giving each and every one of you a complete, thorough rundown of what your day will be.

And you can’t even remember what yours is.

He reaches you. The words pile up in your head but slide off your mind. You have the power now to say no, and damned if you won’t use it.

01000001 01101110d remember…” Suddenly, it’s like everything is out of surreal programming mode and back to normal. Everyone but you jumps up and fist-pumps in the air, a silent declaration you can’t hear. Instead, you hear the ethereal symbols float down from the roof: 01010011 01001101 01001001 01001100 01000101 01010011 00100000 01000111 01001111 00100000 01000110 01001111 01010010 00100000 01001101 01001001 01001100 01000101 01010011 00100001!”

You just look at the ceiling, searching for the source of the voice.

But there is no ceiling. Only a void that you’ve never noticed before, where the bricks of the building crumble away into nothingness.

Today’s itinerary is full of menial tasks around Pelago, and though you don’t want to do them now that you know what you’re doing, you have to keep up the looks. As you walk around, you notice the strange little details of the town that you didn’t see before. How the chess game between Budew and Phantump has been going on for weeks, both making the same three moves in circles. How the wind blows at timed intervals, always ruffling the huts and grass the exact same way. How the pokemon having picnics out in the fields are spreading out their dishes and food in obscure, rhythmic patterns endlessly. Each townsmon has an unmoving, porceline-like face, and the absence of their laughter and chatter betrays an eerie silence. Pelago has shown its true face.

All of the sudden, like clockwork, everything stops. The grass and huts freeze mid-wind ruffle. The other pokemon stop where they are. Even the big Rip in the sky has stopped swirling, and you can’t feel a hint of breeze. You glance around in the town square, the only thing able to move.

If(interfaceError)
{
call.AI();


Until you aren’t. You notice out of the creepy dark alleyway leading further into town, a figure begins to walk out. As you hesitantly turn to face it, the form of a mienshao emerges from the alley and causally strides towards you. Everything about it is collected, formal. Unnatural.

“User 862=Braixen, /n”;
it says, in a voice that is neither male nor female, neither adult nor child.
“You are disconnected from the mainframe /n.”;
“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable and must be met with responsive action.”
<<endl;
cin>>getline;

“What does that mean? Mainframe?” you ask forcefully, hand on your wand. You didn’t get answers from Manetric, but you’ll get them here.

“Accessing help files. /n”;
“Isolating Pelago sector 63.”
<<endl;void pause{call.pauseFunction();};
cin>>
getline;


The mienshao waves a paw, and suddenly Pelago disintegrates around you. The sunny weather, the ‘mon picnicking, the houses, the guild in the distance, all crumble away and disappear, leaving behind a landscape you have only seen in one place before: The Rip.

You look around, unsure of what to make of it. Your whole town… was in the Rip this whole time?

”Sensing discomfort. I would like to make this an enjoyable experience.”;
void environment(){call.backdrop_midnight();};.


All of the sudden, there’s a moon disrupting the darkness. Little pinprick stars pop up around it, casting a thin illusion of night.

“I am told the night sky is enjoyable for life forms. /n”;
“Y/N? /n”
;
cin>>getline;

You try to figure out what to make of “Y/N”, another one of those terms you have no written reference for. But all the same you can’t deny that having something to fill the space makes you a little less on edge, which the strange mienshao seems to pick up on. It straightens up once again, its arms clasped behind its back.

“Just answer my question,” you sigh, but you keep your wand on the ready just in case. For what little good it’ll do at this point, when your enemy can control the sky.

void backupmanual()
{
“User_862=Braixen, you inhabit the pokemon box mainframe, a system in use for convenient storage of pokemon everywhere, no matter the location. /n”;

“In order to stimulate and prevent code degradation and corruption, function pelagoMain() is run every 43600 seconds. /n”;
“Running of function pelagoMain() requires interface with function thoughtstreamManip(). You have disrupted this interface. /n”;
cin>>getline;

“Please!” the voice yells, echoing in your head, the only thing you can remember. “Don’t put me in there! I’ll be a good pokemon from now on, it’s unbearable! I can’t do it again…”

Box… box…

“You mean someone put me… put everyone in this nightmare?” You ask. Your voice raises despite yourself. You can’t help it, the thought makes you angry.

“Pelago sector 63 is used for intellectual stimulation of approximately 30 pokemon, /n”;
the mienshao tells you.

“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n”;
“Y/N? /n”
;
cin>>getline;

And wear the scarf again? You’d rather not.

“N… N!” you say, pronouncing the strange symbol you have to assume means “No”.

“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n” “Y/N? /n”
cin>>getline;

“No,” you repeat. Didn’t it take the first time?

“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n”; “Y/N? /n”;
cin>>getline;

You quickly realize you’re entering a loop. You decide to try something else.

“What about Manetric?” you ask. “My friend that you took away yesterday. What about her?”

"User875=Manetric was slated for departure through Pelago_Exit_63. You will not be leaving. Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect. /n";
"Y/N /n"
;
cin>>getline;

“But why not?” you plead with the mienshao. “Why can’t I leave? I can’t keep living like this, it’s unbearable!”

"TrainerID_987859609 has not ordered your departure. You will not be leaving. Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect. /n";
"Y/N /n"
;
cin>>getline;

“Please!” You beg. At this point you’re begging. “Don’t put me back in there! I’ll be a good pokemon from now on! I won’t do anything to the others, I won’t make things harder, just please let me out!”

"You will not be leaving. Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n”; “Y/N? /n”;
cin>>getline;

“Please…”

“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n”;
“Y/N? /n”
;
cin>>getline;

By the fiftieth time, you can barely even choke out any words between the cheers. All you can do is keep muttering a hoarse “please”, met with the same response that has grated your ears for the last half hour.

“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n”;
“Y/N? /n”
;
cin>>getline;

You scream. You let out a screech towards the fake night sky, funneling all your rage and pain and frustration towards the moon that doesn’t exist. Then you draw your wand and shoot out a torrent of fire towards the mienshao.

But it does nothing. The ‘mon just stands there, completely unaffected by the blaze.

“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n”
“Y/N? /n”
;
cin>>getline;



“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n”
“Y/N? /n”
;
cin>>getline;



“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n”
“Y/N? /n”
;
cin>>getline;



“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n”
“Y/N? /n”
;
cin>>getline;



“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n”
“Y/N? /n”
;
cin>>getline;

“Y”, you choke out, lying on the ground and covering your ears at this point. You’d dry, but you don’t have tears left to give.

“Your co-operation for the good of Pokemon_Box_Service is appreciated, /n”;
the mienshao says.
“Perms accepted.”<<endl;void restart(){call.pelagoMain();};

You feel the familiar fuzz around your brain, the signal that in just a second, everything you see is about to stop existing, including you. And when you wake up, you’ll be just like you were before.

But you aren’t done yet.

Jumping up from the floor with a feral screech, you run right for the mienshao. And just before the program can shut off, just before everything can disappear and wipe you clean for good, you collide with the computer-generated pokemon. The code fractures, and everything shuts off.

Troubleshoot log: ERROR: exception in main function
if(error)
{
Call.emergencyeject();
cout<<”ejecting ”<<boxnumber<<” pokemon…”<<endl;
}
return 0;

}
 
Last edited:

Spiteful Murkrow

Busy Writing Stories I Want to Read
Pronouns
He/Him/His
Partners
  1. nidoran-f
  2. druddigon
  3. swellow
  4. quilava-fobbie
  5. sneasel-kate
Heya, I’ve had my eye on this one-shot for a while since it’s apparently a PMD one-shot that mixes in a hefty dose of programming theming. Which I’m not really sure what that’s going to entail, but there’s only one way to find out, and now’s as good a time as any to do it:

#include iostream
#include iomanip
#using <h.algorhythm>


int sector_63_main()
{
call.pelagoMain();

Okay, minor nitpick there since you asked the readers to not harp on the code side of things too much for this one-shot, but that prototype for sector 63’s main method would probably look a bit different since “63” is technically the name of the function there which I’m pretty sure wouldn’t be allowed in just about any programming language short of you using lookalike Unicode characters.

There’s a rhythm to everything here, like the ticking of a clock. The wind sways through the trees once every minute, each gust identical and exactly 60 seconds apart. The same blades of grass rustle, the same flowers bend, the same autumn leaves blow off the trees. They are like minute hands, each breeze another tick, another notch in the day.

Ah yes, playing up the whole “you’re on a server, hon” vibe right now with the unnaturalness of the wind.

Your life is in integers. 60. 3600. 43200. Every sixty seconds, the wind blows. Every 3600 seconds, the shingle flies away from kecleon’s stall, carried by the breeze. Every 43200 seconds, the day ends, and you cease consciousness.

Every 0 seconds, it comes back to you.

Technically from a computer side of things, the most discrete unit of time is usually milliseconds, since most computational processes are dealt with in that timeframe. But I’m presuming that this is meant to be parsed from the perspective of someone in this server who can’t necessarily see their simulated world as it is.

Rising out of bed in the gloomy, wooden, bare confines of your bedroom, you begin your daily morning routine. 240 seconds to brush your thick yellow and white fur, 260 to polish your wand before you store it inside your tail. Another 30 seconds to tie a white piece of fabric around your neck, folded once and wrapped up into a bandanna. 530 seconds is not a multiple of 6.

Oh, so the residents themselves of this place are artificial? I kinda am getting that vibe there given how rigid Braixen(?)’s routine is there, since it’s lacking the expected variance one would see of a flesh-and-blood entity.

540 is. 10 more seconds spent staring at the symbol on your scarf, which every scarf in town bears. It is the village guild’s symbol, a sign that this is a scarf of protection. It is very important that you wear your scarf, and that you do not lose it.

… Why, do Pokémon without this get garbage collected or something?
:fearfullaugh~1:


Ampharos lost his scarf the other day. He has not been seen since.

Feeling pretty good about that ‘garbage collection’ system. Though that’s a worrisome lack of failsafes there if so. .-.

540 seconds to finish your morning routine. You open the wooden door of your quarters and venture out into the much sunnier, rustic hallways of the Guild.

So wait, what does happen if Braixen times out one of her parts of her routine anyways?

“Oh, good morning, Braixen,” Manetric says, trotting up next to you. Her tone wavers strangely, like she’s trying to stay calm. She walks with a noticeable droop in her step, unlike everyone else.

Oh, so the Pokémon here in this server are constructs. Since I can see that while call for Braixen thinking while watching Manectric drift off. Though I think that you’re missing a period there.

Just like everyone else. The Guild is a lively place, after all. You always walk with a cheer in your step and a smile upon your face, just like she does.

I suppose that would also be an answer to the question of whether or not Braixen is a construct of some sort. Even if I’m curious as to the ‘why’ behind why this is happening.

Skipping down the hallway until you reach the mess hall, the two of you happily join the line of guild pokemon just as cheery as you. There are several faces in the crowd you recognize. They come to you one by one: Scyther, Lopunny, Leavanny, Marshtomp, And a few new ar

You have “arrivals” abruptly cut off there. I can’t tell if that’s meant to be on purpose or not, but if it is, consider telegraphing some sign that it’s getting interrupted or cut off like an ellipses, an emdash, or if getting more computery, some mimicking of a terminal cursor like a █ character.

Recruits that you have known forever. Sewaddle, Eevee, Flaafy. It takes a moment for their eyes to light up in recognition, bewildered looks becoming the friendly ones they’ve always had.

oreally.jpg


Though that makes me wonder if Braixen’s going to abruptly forget about Ampharos given a cycle or two, since one would think that if a Pokémon is “garbage collected”, that lingering references to them as objects would be as well at some point.

“To attention!”

You, the pokemon of the guild, all stiffen up and stare straight ahead. Out of the large double door on the back end of the hall walks a portly old feraligatr. He is the Guildmaster, who has been running things since before you came here.

… What on earth does a fat Feraligatr look like anyways? And how awkward is his walking given that the Pokédex seems to indicate that Feraligatr by default are a bit clumsy when bipedal? ^^

He clears his throat, the sound rattling within his maw. Then he releases a breath.

“As you all know,” he begins. “We, the members of the Guild, serve a great duty to our little town of Pelago.”

… Is this an experimental server for PokéPelago from Gen 7? Since that naming can’t be an accident… right?

You’ve heard the Guildmaster’s speech before, right down to the word. How many times was it now? It doesn’t matter. A sudden swell of pride in your chest affects you all the same.

Day after day after day, we keep this town safe for all those who live inside it,” he continues. “That won’t stop today. First on the itinerary…”

The plug is going to get pulled on this server sometime before the end of the one-shot, isn’t it?

The rest of the guildmaster’s speech fades out of understanding, meshing into a slur of words that you just don’t understand

Okay, trying not to nitpick every line of code here, but in most programming languages, you need two equals signs to check for equality, while one equals sign does assignment, which in this context would be a fast way to repeat the events of Context Switch Part 5 get “alluserspresent” stuck in an unexpectedly true state.

I mean, granted this server could be buggy and that’s deliberate, but it’s something that stood out to me.

Just like it always does. The things you need to do each day are always the same, you all know them by heart. So why do you need to understand the words now? Besides, it’s like his speech just connects with you, on a level deeper than words. You fall into a light trance, just feeling the way his gibberish soothes you.

“And remember…” the words suddenly fade back into something you can understand, snapping you out of your stupor. Just like you do every day, you realize it is time to come back to attention and make the final shout. “SMILES GO FOR MILES!”

Oh, so Pelago / Sector 63 uses the Explorers Guild as its template. Duly noted, though that now makes me wonder if Explorers in general is merely another server on whatever farm this is.

You all jump and cheer, fists, claws, blades, and flippers pumping in the air. There’s no reason not to be cheerful when it’s such a good day, even if the start was we—perfectly normal like always.

Braixen: “Boy, that never gets old.” ^^

Even if there’s something in the sky.

:fearfullaugh:


Boy is that an ominous sign for this server and everyone’s long-term existence in it.

But that’s become a part of everyday life here in Pelago. You can see it from any window or glance up at the heavens, a massive, purple tear in the clouds that isn’t a trick of the light no matter how you look. No-one knows how or when the Rip appeared, now that you thin

Yeah, see the prior suggestion about the abruptly terminating line of narration there.

You don’t think about it. The Rip has always been there, and the Guild of Pelago launches missions up into the Rip’s landscape so you can all better understand it. Even though you have been on the frontlines more times than you can count, you don’t know what you have learned. Or what you went to learn. The Guildmaster keeps that secret to himself, like a good authority figure should.

794.png


Though I’m wondering if those interrupted thoughts are meant to be the server abruptly cutting off unexpected processes / ones that timed out. Since it just keeps happening over and over again in the story, and “process took too long, abort and relaunch” as an exit condition is something that’s a common feature of server applets in general.

Pelago itself is a small town. It’s down near the sea, where the sun shines lovingly, the air smells fresh, and the breeze blows in through the town square and affectionately ruffles the flaps of the pokemon-face tents that make up the buildings. There is never a bad day in Pelago, and everyone you know loves it here. And down by the sea also means ships in the harbor, which is just what your team needs right now.

Could’ve fooled me with the obvious strain and discomfort that Manectric was in or Ampharos disappearing, though I suppose that we’ll get there in short order.

Ships are how you’ll get to the Rip, after all.

The anchor is drawn, the sails are pulled high, and the ship sets out towards the oceans ahead. The sunny day and the breeze are deceptively cheery for where you’ll be going. Previous journeys’ experience has made you worr

ingly excited for what comes next. You can’t wait to perform another mission well done for your Guildmaster and your teammates, like a good guild member should.

Okay, I’m convinced that those cut-off bits of narration are meant to simulate processes that hang or are abruptly terminated now. Though why do I get the sneaking suspicion that this is going to wind up with Braixen getting slated for garbage collection towards the end of the one-shot?

As you sail away from the town, the amiable climate of Pelago quickly fades away, like exiting a bubble. The skies darken with clouds, the wind picks up and blows your fur, and the sea becomes choppy, rocking the boat noticeably. The open ocean churns with the roughness of a coming storm, which only means you are getting closer. The Rip sucks everything around it up into the sky.

Narrator: “That’s because Braixen was exiting a bubble.”

You pull the ropes along with Leavanny and Marshtomp, the three of you working to close the sails before the strengthening winds can ream them full of holes. The first sprinkles of water hit your coat, and seconds later, more follow. Soon, raindrops hit the deck like bullet a hail of bullets.

… Wait, Braixen has a conception of what bullets are? Wouldn’t have expected that one. Though I’m pretty sure that ‘bullet hail’ is meant to be ‘hail of bullets’, since I don’t think I’ve ever heard it phrased in the former’s terms.

The ship violently rocks, threatening to roll over and capsize. Marshtomp, in his element, navigates the deck like a monkey and draws one of the sails, swinging away on the large rope as the massive piece of cloth unfurls. Catching the wind, it tears slightly—something Leavanny will have to patch later—but the wind catches the ship and slowly, it begins to right itself.

I… would have never pegged Marshtomp as being anywhere near that dextrous, but I suppose this is all on a computer server right now.

The wind has picked up, blowing with the force of a gale now. It creates a howling like a giant beast concealed by the storm, sending endless torrents of rain into you and your crewmates with the force of bullets. Waves high as the guild crash into the deck, covering you in freezing water and wiping away everything not bolted to the ground. It’s a mercy you haven’t lost your wand yet, even with your tail as limp as a mop. The sky above, though afternoon, is so dark it may as well be night.

… How has nobody been washed overboard during all of this? Or is SOP for the guild just to ignore everyone who falls off the boats and continue on? .-.

You’re barely holding on for dear life, and still you can see it: the Rip, the colossal purple tear up in the sky, devouring even the storm around it. The edges of the night-black storm are being sucked in, as well as everything else. A thin stream of water, wide at the base, rises up into the sky like a waterspout until it thins into nothing and the droplets are sucked away into the tear. Even the rain circles it, and as your ship is pulled in the intensity only increases. Before long it is like being underwater; you can’t take a breath without some water getting in, and you’re practically swimming in rain and waves more than you are in air.

Braixen: “I’m sorry, but why are we here again?” ._.
Marshtomp: “Part of our routine!” ^^
Braixen: “... I think we need to consider changing that sometime, really.”
:grohno~1:


A jolt, and you nearly lose your hold on the ship’s railing from how wet it is. You feel a change in gravity, a tilting of the deck, as the ship goes up, up, up…

You lose your grip and fall back against the ship’s cabin. Along the way your scarf catches on the railing, a single rough spot that none of you have ever been able to completely smooth out. But it’s enough. Your scarf tears on the way down, a great big gash down the front of it but leaving just enough untorn to keep it intact. You gasp in horror; realizing too late the consequences as a mouthful of water enters your mouth.

Oh, so Braixen is going to get garbage collected in this story.

And then all enters the rip, and for a brief period, you cease to be.

Braixen: “Did- Did I just die?!
:sevidazed:



II.

The Rip

#include iostream
#include iomanip
Using <h.algorhythm>


void rip()
{
call.ripmain();
...

I’m a little surprised that you didn’t opt to make the outer method “rip_main” or something like that and the call something like “explorationRoutine()” along those lines. Something to consider since unless this is meant to be a method from a instance of a rip, it looks very much like a main method already minus the call to main there.

You slowly pick yourself up, rising off a ground that you can’t see. In fact, it’s hard to see anything in all this blackness. But somehow, you can see yourself clearly.

Looking around, you see your guildmates around you, all rising to their feet and rubbing their heads in bewilderment too. All of them are perfectly visible, and somehow, none of you are soaked.

Braixen: “Wait, wha-? B-But we just got wiped out at sea and-!” O_O;

What awaits you is a vast expanse you can’t clearly make out no matter how hard you look. But that’s how it always is when you enter the Rip. None of the things sucked in ever make the journey with you, and what lies beyond the hole’s borders never takes shape until you force it to.

You have been told never to force it to.

… How many times have these guys gotten yeeted to this place anyways? .-.

Scyther is the first to take charge, stepping forward and beckoning you all to join him with a blade. You all do without question, because to be separated in the Rip is to be never seen again.

:copyka~1:


Boy, it’s sure a good thing that you all keep going to this place over and over again, huh?

“Let’s get the job done and get out,” he says, and you get a strange sense of déjà vu from i

Because that is what the mission leader has always said. You came in here knowing Scyther would be leading you through, so it only makes sense he’d say it.

Okay, yeah. Braixen’s absolutely getting “out-of-bounds” thoughts prematurely cut off by the server, which I suppose would explain why the method’s name is a clipping of ‘thoughtstream manipulation’ that I’m just noticing now. Boy is that creepy to think about.


… Wait, interface error how? Like is this meant to be an IO Exception where there was a failed or interrupted flow of data while calling thoughtstreamManip()?

You shake the weird feeling off, and just follow the rest of the group before you can be left behind. Straight ahead, the strange, dark green vines of the Beyond have opened up a path for you all. You can still hear the faint sounds of them slithering away.

‘The Beyond’, huh? That’s new. Wonder what that’s going to entail.

The path is narrow, and twists and turns. Sometime it splits off into others, like a labyrinth. Scyther seems to know which ones to choose, when to stick to the main corridor and when to go another way. And since he has always been your team leader, it’s no surprise that he does.

So why doesn’t that feel right?

Ampharos used to be the team leader before he got garbage collected, huh? Since it would be pretty on brand for an Ampharos to be an exploration leader given this story’s shtick of “like the games, but different” that it had going on with Feraligatr.

You feel a headache coming on, a splitting ache in your head that forces you to grasp it in your hands as you all walk. You never get headaches, and this one doesn’t feel like a normal headache anyway. It cuts deeper, in the shape of a gash.

:wtfuckle:


Well that’s ever-so-concerning right now.

All the others seldom look at you, but now look at you out of something mimicking concern. Mimicking. Something mimicking. You can’t even look at them for more than a second, because their faces scare you. They’re the same that they’ve always been, and that scares you. What’s… happening?

You’re starting to see your world for what it really is, Braixen.

“What’s going on?” Loppuny asks, her face unmoving but the voice reaching you the same. She doesn’t even open her mouth, which looks painted on. “Are you okay?”

Ah yes, the matrix is glitching in live-time right now.

You want to say that you’re not okay, but you can’t summon the words. What would it even look like? Do you look just like them? You just breathe hard and groan, caught between pain and fear.

:blobyes:


But one isn’t like the others. Manetric’s face, spooked as it looks, is the only face that changes.

“You go ahead,” she says. “I’ll talk to Braixen.”

Oh, so she too has glitched out of the matrix or whatever this is, huh?

The rest accept that without a question, all at once moving ahead like a toy soldier army. It’s like something compelled them to.

Server routines, son. Gotta love ‘em.

“You’re noticing, right?” Manetric asks.

Still fighting back the urge to groan from the pain in your head, you look over at her with one eye, silently pleading for an explanation. Manetric doesn’t say anything at first, just directing her eyes to the ground by the side for the moment and letting out a little growl. Then, with a grunt, she lunges forward—

Braixen: “A-AAH! I NOTICE IT! I NOTICE IT!” O.O

You try to shield yourself in fright, but Manetric is too fast. She bounds forward, bolts of electricity surrounding her lightning fast paws, and bowls you over. You fall back in shock and horror, terrified that the only one of your guildmates you could still take comfort in attacked you.

But she didn’t. A few seconds later, you realize that you are unharmed. And missing from your neck is…

Manetric spits out your torn scarf, throwing it to the side. Seconds later, she fries it with an electric attack.

Braixen: “M-Manectric?! Why would you do that?!”
:eltyscared:


For a split second, your head is bathed in terrible pain, the pain of something missing, the pain of something you need back so you can be free of agony—

fetchimage


This would’ve been a decent place to drop in one of the dreaded Null Pointer Exceptions, since if the scarf is the “reference” that thoughtstreamManip() is pointing at to interact with Braixen, that’s gone now and it’s attempting to interact with nothing. That’s more or less one of the textbook ways to generate a Null Pointer Exception in programming languages.

And then suddenly, it’s like a cloud has lifted over your mind. It’s an alien feeling, the feeling of clarity. A level of control over your mind that you haven’t felt in such a long time. Motion returns to your face, twisting it out of a bright, unmoving smile that you weren’t aware you’d been wearing until now. The muscles feel sluggish, unused to movement, but you sense they’ll loosen up with time. For now, you just stare at Manetric with befuddled shock.

“It’s the scarves,” she said. “Yours got torn.”

Braixen: “Wait, what on earth did that thing do to me? ._.;

“The… the.. the scarves?” you mumble. You’re still coming to grips with everything that’s happened in the last few seconds, your mind all jumbled up.

“You’re gonna feel like that for the next few minutes,” Manetric says. “The scarves… they do your thinking for you. Everyone has one.”

Braixen: “... Wait, but aren’t you wearing one, Manectric? How on earth are you?” .-.

“…Why… ?” you manage to maneuver your mouth to say. Talking with your tongue feels strange, alien.

“I… I can’t tell you,” Manetric says, casting an ashamed look towards the ground in front of her. “Yours was torn. I helped you. If you’re smart enough, you’ll keep it quiet. Now let’s join the rest of the group.”

Braixen: “Manectric, my scarf doesn’t exist because of you right now! How on earth am I supposed to keep that-?!”
:grohno~1:

Manectric: “Never said it’d be easy. But seriously. Keep quiet about it.”

You haven’t had enough time to process this. You barely understand, but you want to. And there’s one thing you know for sure you don’t.

“Why… Why can’t we help the others?” you ask, addled.

Manectric: “Braixen, have you ever considered that the others might not even be real?
:AlviseUnamused:

Braixen: “I… didn’t, actually.”
:uhhh:


“No,” Manetric says, her tone steely. “I’ve, I’ve just, we’ve done enough. Just come with me. You’ll understand later.”

You want to protest her, but you haven’t put the pieces of your brain back in order enough to do so. So you follow Manetric’s lead, heading back to join the others before the Rip can enclose you in darkness.

Braixen: “Wait, but I’m just going after them without my-” ._.;
Manectric: “Braixen. Stop. Talking.
:AlviseDumbfounded:


As the group continues onwards, the maze of hallways slowly disintegrates behind you. You can see the first signs of degradation as you go on, a sign that you should not be this far behind. You should be with the others, where it’s safe.

Braixen: “Oh yeah, that’s not gonna linger in my nightmares for a while.”
:eltyscared:


Eventually you join up with the main group. As the walking has gone on, you’ve slowly become less addled, more aware of what’s going on around you. And you can see your guildmates for what they really are. Walking stiffly like toy dolls, their faces are unmoving, as if they were painted on. They don’t even blink. They don’t even notice you’re blinking. You can see them moving their bodies and heads as if making idle chatter, but you can’t hear any of it. It’s like the scarves do their talking for them. Was this how you were, just a few minutes ago?

Manectric: “... Do you want the polite answer or the honest answer?” ^^;
Braixen: “Okay, so I really was like that just a few minutes ago.”
:grohno~1:


Deprived of your guildmates’ voices, your head starts to fill the gaps, rusty cogs beginning to turn. You’re realizing that though you can think now, you don’t have any backlog to refer to. There aren’t any complete memories that bounce around in your head, only fragments you can barely make heads or tails of. And a voice that you distinctly recognize as yours.

“Please!” the voice yells. “Don’t put me in there! I’ll be a good pokemon from now on, it’s unbearable! I can’t do it again…”

:wtfuckle:


Oh, so this place is a prison. Boy did that get really dark really quickly.

Nothing follows, not even an image to accompany the voice. Only an overwhelming, excruciating feeling of being unheard. Everything else is blank.

The group suddenly stops. You don’t even notice until you nearly trip over Eevee from behind. He looks up at you with one of those painted smiles. You don’t know what emotion it’s meant to convey.

Braixen: “Wh-What on earth is-?” O_O;
Manectric: “Okay, so if you have any lingering memories of The Matrix, we’re basically in that but for some reason they set us up in cutesy talking animal-style villages. That, and I’m pretty sure that they severely cut server resources a while back, so everyone just looks kinda like… that, when they’re supposed to emote.”
:AlviseConfused:

Braixen: “Why do I get the feeling as if that was supposed to be the punchline to a joke?”
Manectric: “Because it was one in some edgier cartoon. Don’t feel too bad about it, those scarves really do a number on the Pokémon that wear ‘em.”

Scyther has held one of his blades out, halting the group. You quickly see why: Before you all stands something so large and strange you wouldn’t believe it if you weren’t seeing it in front of you.

And it’s alive.

Wasn’t expecting that one. What are we dealing with here?

A giant, blinking, mechanical eye with a red pupil stares down at you all. And strangely, you are the only one who seems scared out of your wits. You glance at Manetric, your eyes brimming with fear. But she just stamps your foot.

Oh, so they have to go before HAL 9000 every now and then. That’s just… lovely. .-.

“Act. Normal.” She growls. You—wisely—decide to follow her advice.

Manetric steps forward, hanging her head low. It’s like she’s resigned herself to whatever’s coming next. You have the urge to yell out, to try and stop her from sacrificing herself to whatever grisly doom this thing has planned for her, but you lack the bravery.

Braixen: “Wait, b-but do I know for sure that she’s going to-”

The eye looks down at Manetric. Its red pupil lights up, and out of nowhere a massive, white beam zaps the pokemon up. And only then do you muster up the courage to act.

Braixen: “Okay, never mind, she’s sacrificing herself! Manectric, wait!” O.O

“NOOO!” You yell out, running forward, and the massive pupil of the eye, dwarfing you many times over, looks your way.

For just a moment, it fixates on you. Seeing you. Then it shuts, and suddenly everything goes black. You cease to be again.

:copyka2:


Whelp. Guess that’s one way to end a-

- looks down -

Oh, a part three, huh? Let’s see where on earth Braixen winds up here.

III.

Pelago

#include iostream
#include iomanip
#using <h.algorhythm>


int sector 63()
{
call.pelagoMain();

Oh, so we’re back in Sector 63, huh? Something something, see opening note about Sector 63’s main method name.

You’ve long forgotten why you get up each day. You simply do.

Rising out of bed in the gloomy, wooden, bare confines of the bedroom you’ve been allotted, you begin the daily morning routine for no other reason than habit. Your thick yellow and white fur is groomed to perfection, and the stick of wood you’ve adopted as your new wand is polished and stuck right afterwards in your bushy tail. You tie a white piece of cloth around your neck, folded once and then wrapped up into a bandanna. On the front of the shredded, barely intact fabric is what remains of a symbol all the scarfs in town bear, the village guild’s insignia. It’s very important that you wear your scarf, and that you don’t lose it.

487.jpg


Manetric lost her scarf the other day, after all. She hasn’t been seen since.

:copyber:


Oh, so I was right about Ampharos, huh?

But today something feels different. The scarf seems to weigh on your mind, pressing into your thoughts and trying to stamp them out with a ferocity you don’t like. You’re halfway through tying it when you realize you aren’t comfortable wearing it. So despite the voice in your head telling you that you shouldn’t.

Braixen: “Why do I get the distinct situation that I should be curled up in bed and crying right now?” ._.

while(pelagoMain())
{
call.thoughtstreamManip();
}

You have a typo in ‘while’ there, which in every programming language I can think of and in C derivatives is always all-lowercase. Remember to keep it consistent with other instances in this story where ‘while’ was rendered in the correct fashion.

that you need your scarf, you rip it off and throw it across the room. The strange compulsions, the need to wear a scarf in the first place, disappears immediately.

Oh, so Braixen’s going to get HAL’ed herself too, huh?

You just stare at it for a moment, not sure what to do with it. Then you take out your wand, unwilling to touch it directly, and prod it under your dresser.

Walking out in the halls, no-one greets you today. The rustic corridors look empty, and all of the sudden unfamiliar. You always just knew which way to go before, you never had to think twice. Now you have to figure it out for yourself.

Wait, is this really Sector 63 or did Braixen get yeeted to some holding server or something like that?

After some trial and error, you reach the guild hall, where everyone but you and Manetric are present. Scyther, Loppuny, Eevee, Leavanny, Marshtomp, Flaaffy, Sewaddle. None of them look real. None of them seem to notice you’re different.

Never mind, we really are in Sector 63 after all.

bool alluserspresent=true;
bool isMeetingRoutineReady (guildmaster)
{
if(alluserspresent=1)
{
call.instructions();
}
return 0;
}

For the record, you’re missing a name for the function that’s using the “guildmaster” input to kick it off and then deciding either to call “instructions()” or exit and do nothing. I assume that the intended name was something along the suggested lines, but yeah, some wiggle room there.

You nearly jump at the words as they rattle through your head. What were those? You don’t remember hearing them before.

The other pokemon of the guild all stiffen up and stare straight ahead, as if compelled. Out of the large double door on the back end of the hall walks a portly old feraligatr. He is the Guildmaster, who has been running things since before you came here. Suddenly, you realize that might be by design.

Oh, so Guildmaster Feraligatr really is fake, huh?

He clears his throat, the sound rattling within his maw. Then he releases a breath.

[As you all know],” he begins. "[We, the members of the Guild, serve a great duty to our little town of Pelago].”

Boy is that suddenly a lot creepier right now.
:eltyscared:


Though if wanting to lean into play into the Guildmaster’s text being some sort of bitstream, it might make sense to hint at that in the name of the method called in whatever method that’s being called by Pelago right before this like “loadBitstream()” or something like that.

You’ve heard the Guildmaster’s speech before, right down to the word. Which is why it’s strange that you don’t remember any of it. Now, the words fade out of understanding, meshing into a slur of words that you just don’t understand. They’re a strange mix of dual numbers, symbols that you can barely even put to words. But the closer that you listen, the more you seem to gain a wordless understanding of it.

I mean, having a binary to text generator helps a bit with that, yeah.

It’s programming. Everything that Scyther or Loppuny or Sewaddle will say or do today, it’s all been scripted. The Guildmaster is giving each and every one of you a complete, thorough rundown of what your day will be.

And you can’t even remember what yours is.

Braixen: “... I suddenly feel a lot more scared for my well-being.”
:uhhh:


He reaches you. The words pile up in your head but slide off your mind. You have the power now to say no, and damned if you won’t use it.

[An]d remember…” Suddenly, it’s like everything is out of surreal programming mode and back to normal. Everyone but you jumps up and fist-pumps in the air, a silent declaration you can’t hear. Instead, you hear the ethereal symbols float down from the roof: [SMILES GO FOR MILES]!”

You just look at the ceiling, searching for the source of the voice.

I feel as if the fact that Feraligatr’s “speech” suddenly was intelligible for a brief moment is probably a sign that something’s really, really wrong right now.

But there is no ceiling. Only a void that you’ve never noticed before, where the bricks of the building crumble away into nothingness.

Wow, maybe the people who run this server really are doing that whole Rick and Morty joke about running the Matrix on reduced system resources.

Today’s itinerary is full of menial tasks around Pelago, and though you don’t want to do them now that you know what you’re doing, you have to keep up the looks. As you walk around, you notice the strange little details of the town that you didn’t see before. How the chess game between Budew and Phantump has been going on for weeks, both making the same three moves in circles. How the wind blows at timed intervals, always ruffling the huts and grass the exact same way. How the pokemon having picnics out in the fields are spreading out their dishes and food in obscure, rhythmic patterns endlessly. Each townsmon has an unmoving, porceline-like face, and the absence of their laughter and chatter betrays an eerie silence. Pelago has shown its true face.

Braixen: “... Starting to feel like I should go back to being blissfully ignorant, really.”
:grohno~1:


All of the sudden, like clockwork, everything stops. The grass and huts freeze mid-wind ruffle. The other pokemon stop where they are. Even the big Rip in the sky has stopped swirling, and you can’t feel a hint of breeze. You glance around in the town square, the only thing able to move.

Oh, so the server really is going to get its plug pulled and reset, huh?

if(interfaceError)
{
call.AI();

I feel as if it might make sense to be a bit more descriptive of what this ‘AI’ is, e.x. if wanting to turn up the ‘creepy’ factor a bit, something like ‘daemon’ or ‘sectorDaemon’ might make sense, since that’s basically what this AI would be for the creators of this server.

Until you aren’t. You notice out of the creepy dark alleyway leading further into town, a figure begins to walk out. As you hesitantly turn to face it, the form of a mienshao emerges from the alley and causally strides towards you. Everything about it is collected, formal. Unnatural.

Braixen: “I’m just going to turn around and run away really quickly right now.” O.O
AI: “Bold of you to assume that’s just going to happen.”

“User 862=Braixen, /n”;
it says, in a voice that is neither male nor female, neither adult nor child.
“You are disconnected from the mainframe /n.”;
“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable and must be met with responsive action.”
<<endl;
cin>>getline;

Not sure if “mainframe” would be the right choice of words there since that’s bare hardware, but it gets the point across. I think you have a formatting error for the part that’s “it says [...]” though, since I gather that that was supposed to be in normal text.

“What does that mean? Mainframe?” you ask forcefully, hand on your wand. You didn’t get answers from Manetric, but you’ll get them here.

AI:
bender-laughing.gif

Braixen: “Look, the story’s almost over right now, so stop beating around the bush already!” >.<

“Accessing help files. /n”;
“Isolating Pelago sector 63.”
<<endl;void pause{call.pauseFunction();};
cin>>
getline;

… Wait, but hasn’t the server already been paused? Shouldn’t this have happened earlier-?

The mienshao waves a paw, and suddenly Pelago disintegrates around you. The sunny weather, the ‘mon picnicking, the houses, the guild in the distance, all crumble away and disappear, leaving behind a landscape you have only seen in one place before: The Rip.

Oh, so that’s what it does. That’s… quite a pause there.
:uhhh:


You look around, unsure of what to make of it. Your whole town… was in the Rip this whole time?

AI:
:blobyes:

Braixen: “How are you doing that anyways?” ._.
AI: “Look, do you want me to render every load call explicitly here, or what?”

”Sensing discomfort. I would like to make this an enjoyable experience.”;
void environment(){call.backdrop_midnight();};.


All of the sudden, there’s a moon disrupting the darkness. Little pinprick stars pop up around it, casting a thin illusion of night.

For reference, given what this method does, it’s probably a bit more plausible that you’d call this method something along the lines of “changeEnvironment()” as opposed to “environment()”, since “environment” feels more like an “object” or “instance” name.

Braixen: “You were trying to control my thoughts! Like hell you want this to be a comfortable experience!” O.O;
AI: “Interrupting unwanted thoughts is part of a comfortable experience.”

“I am told the night sky is enjoyable for life forms. /n”;
“Y/N? /n”
;
cin>>getline;

Braixen: “Can you possibly make this any creepier right now?”
:uhhh:

AI: “Y/N /n”; >:|

You try to figure out what to make of “Y/N”, another one of those terms you have no written reference for. But all the same you can’t deny that having something to fill the space makes you a little less on edge, which the strange mienshao seems to pick up on. It straightens up once again, its arms clasped behind its back.

“Just answer my question,” you sigh, but you keep your wand on the ready just in case. For what little good it’ll do at this point, when your enemy can control the sky.

Braixen: “In terms I can understand, please.” ._.;

void backupmanual()
{
“User_862=Braixen, you inhabit the pokemon box mainframe, a system in use for convenient storage of pokemon everywhere, no matter the location. /n”;

“In order to stimulate and prevent code degradation and corruption, function pelagoMain() is run every 43600 seconds. /n”;
“Running of function pelagoMain() requires interface with function thoughtstreamManip(). You have disrupted this interface. /n”;
cin>>getline;

Oh, so Bebe or whoever the sysadmin is of this Box system set up a PMD-themed Box environment, huh? That now makes me curious as to if this was ever alluded to in a mainline game, or if it was created wholesale for this story.

“Please!” the voice yells, echoing in your head, the only thing you can remember. “Don’t put me in there! I’ll be a good pokemon from now on, it’s unbearable! I can’t do it again…”

:copyber:


Boy does that make the workings of Pokémon Boxes in this setting all the more creepier now. So wait, does that mean that there’s always a cap of like 30 residents regardless of the environment and the puppeteering is to keep them from doing things like picking fights with each other?

Box… box…

“You mean someone put me… put everyone in this nightmare?” You ask. Your voice raises despite yourself. You can’t help it, the thought makes you angry.

AI: “You didn’t think it was a nightmare until approximately 43200 seconds ago.”
:joltyshrug~1:

Braixen: “You. Were. Controlling. My. THOUGHTS!
:hisssssss:


“Pelago sector 63 is used for intellectual stimulation of approximately 30 pokemon, /n”;
the mienshao tells you.

“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n”;
“Y/N? /n”
;
cin>>getline;

Oh, so these environments really do put 30 Pokémon at a time in this freaky Matrix mode. Though you seem to have a text formatting error again on “the Mienshao tells you”.

And wear the scarf again? You’d rather not.

Braixen’s going to get drug kicking and screaming into doing this again or else get hard-ejected from the Box, isn’t she?

“N… N!” you say, pronouncing the strange symbol you have to assume means “No”.

“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n” “Y/N? /n”
cin>>getline;

Oh boy, so the box just does the same thing as mainline games when you try to give ‘No’ for an answer, huh?
:fearfullaugh~1:


“No,” you repeat. Didn’t it take the first time?

“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n”; “Y/N? /n”;
cin>>getline;

You quickly realize you’re entering a loop. You decide to try something else.

Yup, I called it.

“What about Manetric?” you ask. “My friend that you took away yesterday. What about her?”

"User875=Manetric was slated for departure through Pelago_Exit_63. You will not be leaving. Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect. /n";
"Y/N /n"
;
cin>>getline;

This is going to end with Braixen being forced to put on the scarf again against her will, isn’t it?

“But why not?” you plead with the mienshao. “Why can’t I leave? I can’t keep living like this, it’s unbearable!”

"TrainerID_987859609 has not ordered your departure. You will not be leaving. Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect. /n";
"Y/N /n"
;
cin>>getline;

“Please!” You beg. At this point you’re begging. “Don’t put me back in there! I’ll be a good pokemon from now on! I won’t do anything to the others, I won’t make things harder, just please let me out!”

:copyber:


Ah yes, punish your Pokémon over something that was probably accidentally singing some couch cushions by scarring them for life when they see the true form of the Matrix. 10/10 training there. Bravo.

"You will not be leaving. Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n”; “Y/N? /n”;
cin>>getline;

“Please…”

AI:
fetchimage


“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n”;
“Y/N? /n”
;
cin>>getline;

By the fiftieth time, you can barely even choke out any words between the cheers. All you can do is keep muttering a hoarse “please”, met with the same response that has grated your ears for the last half hour.

Braixen is going to need counseling after leaving this Box eventually, isn’t she? If she ever leaves it.

“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n”;
“Y/N? /n”
;
cin>>getline;

You scream. You let out a screech towards the fake night sky, funneling all your rage and pain and frustration towards the moon that doesn’t exist. Then you draw your wand and shoot out a torrent of fire towards the mienshao.

But it does nothing. The ‘mon just stands there, completely unaffected by the blaze.

AI: “I would like to point out that your physical body is in stasis right now and this is an interface for your thought processes-”
Braixen: “Oh my gods, why would anyone make something like this?!”
:uhhh:


“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n”
“Y/N? /n”
;
cin>>getline;



“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n”
“Y/N? /n”
;
cin>>getline;

AI: “Seriously, give up so we can wind this story down already.” >:|



“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n”
“Y/N? /n”
;
cin>>getline;



“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n”
“Y/N? /n”
;
cin>>getline;

I kinda wonder if there is a way to indicate that AI is repeating this over and over again without making it too repetitive. Like maybe it’d have made sense to describe Braixen trying to do stuff like run away only for AI to teleport in front of her.



“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n”
“Y/N? /n”
;
cin>>getline;

“Y”, you choke out, lying on the ground and covering your ears at this point. You’d dry, but you don’t have tears left to give.

:sadwott~2:


Though boy is this effective anti-advertisement for whatever setting’s Box network this is in.

“Your co-operation for the good of Pokemon_Box_Service is appreciated, /n”;
the mienshao says.
“Perms accepted.”<<endl;void restart(){call.pelagoMain();};

You feel the familiar fuzz around your brain, the signal that in just a second, everything you see is about to stop existing, including you. And when you wake up, you’ll be just like you were before.

But you aren’t done yet.

AI: “Are you serious, Braixen? What on earth do you think you can do right now?” :|

Jumping up from the floor with a feral screech, you run right for the mienshao. And just before the program can shut off, just before everything can disappear and wipe you clean for good, you collide with the computer-generated pokemon. The code fractures, and everything shuts off.

Technically, wouldn’t it not be the code but whatever Braixen is seeing as its representation glitching out there? Though how on earth did Braixen even get the idea to try this, since it wasn’t really built up much beforehand.

Troubleshoot log: ERROR: exception in main function
if(error)
{
call.emergencyeject();
cout<<”ejecting ”<<boxnumber<<” pokemon…”<<endl;
}
return 0;

}

D’aww, so she got what she wanted… unless if Bebe or whoever built this thing was thoughtful enough to maintain recovery boxes in the event that different sectors went down and needed to not yeet out 30+ Pokémon into meatspace at once.

Since, you know, system redundancy / disaster recovery is a major component of designing server networks IRL…
:copyka:

I liked it. I mean, some of the code veered a bit towards the technobabble side of things, but that’s extremely common in storytelling since A: not every writer is a programmer, B: the reality of programming is often a lot less sexy than as shown on TV. But there will be time to talk about that later, for now, let’s talk about the strengths of this one-shot.

For one, it’s imaginative and unsettling read, especially since I don’t think there’s any other PMD story, one-shot or not, that’s taken a tack like this before. There are so many questions about the state of ethics of Pokémon training in this setting’s world, but hey, it worked for the Matrix and it works pretty well here too. Not too many people have tried to imagine what a Box might look like if it functioned as a definitive server where Pokémon just chilled on constantly and I myself haven’t wrapped my head around firmly of how I see that system working in my own headcanon, but it’s a pretty interesting if chilling take.

I also thought your story made good use of “familiar, but different” in terms of its trappings along with the rigid stiffness of the routines, which helps to promote the sense that something isn’t adding up. And when the mask comes off, boy is it an
:uhhh:
moment. I do kinda wonder if the net result of Braixen’s stunt assuming she actually made it out of the PC network is just going to be that Bill/Bebe/whoever runs this thing is going to move onto Looplets as the thought-suppressant device by virtue of them being harder to break. Since, you know, that’s a hell of a bug she triggered, and every programmer worth their salt would be trying hunt down the source of whatever exploit was done to trigger it and try to fix it.

As for flaws… well, okay, so it won’t apply to like 90% of your readers, and you did ask to not harp on it too hard, but some of the terminology used for the workings of Pelago and the PC Box kinda took me out of things since it was a bit on the technobabble side of things. I feel that if you went the extra mile to try and tighten things up on that front, it’d go a long ways to selling that creepy feeling of “I’m in the Matrix” a bit harder. And hey, you’re not exactly wanting for choice here if you decide you want to do take that extra step, since a number of the regulars here on this site do this as their day jobs or else have programming experience.

For actual story flaws beyond that, I don’t have too many to bring up. Though I do feel that Braixen’s descent into despair and desperation gambit could’ve been built up a bit more, and it’d also have resolved a bit of a quibble that I had with the ending note where it felt repetitive. While AI’s repetition of the same Y/N prompt is indeed how things would work for a computer and through an input terminal, it doesn’t fully translate to prose. It might have made sense in some of the parts where Braixen is just at a loss for words to play up her internal thoughts or something more as she both starts to lose faith in being able to ever get out, as well as the gears turning in her head that steers her down the path of her desperate Hail Mary to break free.

Altogether, even if I had some nitpicks to throw around, I had fun with this piece. I can see how this one-shot did so well in the contest you entered it, since I don’t think I’ve ever seen another PMD work attempt this sort of tack before, and boy was it a journey. Good work @SparklingEspeon , and I’ll be looking forward to reading more of your stories sometime soon.
 
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K_S

Unrepentent Giovanni and Rocket fan
I have to admit my fear of coding kept me away for a bit... Lets see if i can nip it in the tail...

I wonder how important that paligo call is goi g to be...

And rhythm that nailed down... That percise makes me think we arent in the real world... Vr perhaps like the alola mon storage system via aether?

So either ever 0 means every moment. As in unending. Or every 10 seconds. 10.20.30. So on and so forth. Either way its a lot of realizations.

And this is either an artificial intellegence or wildly out of control ocd a la stranger than fiction.

And an ominous one with hintings of body snatching per the scarf segment but still.. Love how blase everyone is about the rip. Its like... Expectation centre with the pep talk meeting... Familiar faces.. What not then... Yeah something out of appocolyptic playbook.

Weird doesnt begin to scratch.the surface.

Lovely benign seeming authoritarian vibe.. Like a good leader should indee.led.

So we get sucked in and things get worse... And i would say proirities but considering what happpened to the last soul who lost thier scarf ovee the top worry seems fair.

Its interest how descisions are scripted. Yes scyther is lead and its said but its coded as well... Makes one wonder where free will is going to be in all of this...

And the fact scythers.more beingnlead then leading is ominous ditto for the headache...

And thats why the scarfs are mandated...compulsatory.. They're reinforcing the compulsions. Nice touch.

And the facade crumbles down to reveal a few frightening memories and... Nothing... As they literally explore through nothing and the freed mon realizes theres nothing upstairs.

How it esculates... To the veiwing of the eye and the disolving of the manetric to the deja vu of starting again but lower down the status level....

I think theyre stuck in a loop that strips them of poeple. Experiences. And lives each time. Really puts a spin on the "daily grind" idea...

So is our protag seeing the code in action.. Well hearing it? That muat be bizare considering how weird reading it is.

And the guildmaster speech really freaked out my phones screen. So no bianariey to english text to me i guess... If theres a site.

But pov's response shinned through. We are bucking the system by not signing the contract at the dotted line. Wonder what reaction is going to be?

Ah ai sent inforcer thats gunna go well...

So this what a long term storage box? Looks fuiltily at stuffed s.s. file with breeding iv training... Well thats not a guilt trip right there... And so organic is worn down.. Joy... Granted it was a fient and a well plotted one.. Killing the power during save load is catastrophic for electronics as a rule of thumb therefore giving our pov mon an out...

But per the tales ending gotta wonder at what cost?

Well thanks for sharing it was a fun read.
 

Namohysip

Dragon Enthusiast
Staff
Partners
  1. flygon
  2. charizard
  3. milotic
  4. zoroark-soda
  5. sceptile
  6. marowak
  7. jirachi
This is an interesting sort of semi sci-fi existential horror sort of fic being written here. I don't really know how else to properly describe it, but it does have that typical Espy feel with messing with the interface while crafting the story. These are one of those kinds of works where there's definitely no way to read it with text to speech.

The mystery at the start to immediately establish how weird everything is gives the impression of being a simulation of some kind. Then the Rip would be some kind of flaw in the simulation that they're trying to fix from within. The immediate rewriting is a good way to depict that. When the scarf is torn, that's when things make a change and for how short the story is, it's a nice shift in paradigm for what had once been pretty repetitive, by design.

The ending was bittersweet at least in the sense that the simulation was ended at least temporarily to eject the pokemon in the box, but it's definitely a strong darkfic departure from how the boxes would typically be depicted. That kind of trauma would certainly lead to some kind of rebellion, wouldn't it? Or glitches in the functioning in that way... It all seems strange with the implications of the settings and how it's all set up. Unfortunately as a programmer, "code degradation" is also not a thing in this context. In fact, as it's literally demonstrated in the fic itself, constantly repeating things leads to a greater likelihood of things going wrong in the first place.

From a logistical standpoint, it kind of comes off as one of those fanfics where it tries to make something dark and mysterious without actual thought put into what those implications would mean to the world at large or the logic behind it and, in the end, how it all breaks down. A scary story with a happy ending, but I can't see how something like that could possibly fit and still make sense in a world at large without entering needless darkfic territory.

Still, it was fun to look through a programmer-lite depiction of a simulation that wasn't completely one, I suppose. And it was suspenseful even if the major payoff didn't quite deliver. In that way, I'd call it successful overall!
 

Venia Silente

For your ills, I prescribe a cat.
Location
At the 0-divisor point of the Riemann AU Earth
Pronouns
Él/Su
Partners
  1. nidorino
  2. blaziken

And *this* is why I cross-check the code I get from StackOverflow very carefully! :p

Anyway, this was a quickie written for RB2022, I originally intended to review the story mch earlier but life was not kind in that path so, well, I hope I managed to do in time. Also this is one of 2 stories for which I really tried hard to push that review within the event's deadline. Because it deserves it.

This was quite the story. Well structured (unlike real world programs! :p), dangerous, with eerie stakes threatening the characters from various fronts, with quite the interesting take of what the PC Storage system means and of what is a Box — I take it the Pelago comes from Archipelago refering to the S/M minigames for boxed mons taking place in "islands", right? Because if so, wow. Just wow.

I'm not going to say anything about the code other than if you ever want a rewrite, or some continuation or future story as you mention that could use such elements, feel free to hmu for Free Consulting on how to make your code look like it's valid but instead actually hide crafty malware abominations from the Land of the Kernel. Just kidding! I can try to help you for more real-looking code.

There are so many things about the story that lead to double-takes, as someone who does programming for a hobby and who also understands more or less how the Pokémon and the Box data structures are built into the games (at least up to around Gen5). Time transcurs in seconds, and every X seconds there is an event, always the same event, because it's part of a loop. But there's also various categories of loops, each running on their own timer, so we see different events with different periodicity, all wrapped nicely in the 43200 seconds Adventure Loop. Welcome to Aperture Science, truly! We hope you enjoy testing.

And then come stuff like this:

Every 0 seconds, it comes back to you.

This is cosmic horror on various levels. It could be indicative of an overflow-and-reflow, and it suggests the more horrors the larger the counter is. For the main processor loop of the NDS games IIRC the counters overflow at 2 to the power of 32 or about 4294 million seconds - or even half that depending on how and why are you counting. That feels like a lot of time, but isn't, to the point it's threatening to bring some of our infrastructure to ruin! And if that was not enough, some of the older games such as G/S have by this point their internal batteries, responsible for keeping the clock counter up, die, essentially dooming their internal clocks to reset to the exact same time counter on boot.


Or it can simply mean that, as any such timer counter would mark completion instantly, there is no escape. Once awake, there is no escape, no rest from the consciousness that means being in the Pelago, that means being Not Yourself.

Wow... this does is a meta hell.

And then whenever our lil Braixen character feels something is off... the Code tries to right itself, to right her. It's creepy in more ways than one, for it feels the code is so simple, for a task theoretically complicated. And it seems to always work. No exceptions. (Which, if you know about some programming languages, chuckles). On that front, congratulations on the typographical effect of using the highlights to indicate that something underlying is going on, and on the extra horror effect that you achieve by going to the unterminated line and then

everything is fine thank you o3o

Characters whose scarves are lost then disappear and are not seen again. What can that mean in a world like this? There are so many answers... like at least 9 (or 19 or 29 or 39 depending on how many Pokémon you capture on your run lol...) And none of those are good even.

Then we discover the Rip and with it we discover, what does seems to be the purpose and nature of the scarves. Because of it is "code injection" as it seems to be, then that also speaks grimly of the natural state of our Pokémons' minds. A little code injection and everything is alright. Everything is Managed. Everything is Handled. You are now in a Safe language. Welcome to the Blockchain.


Until you aren't. You aren't safe if you take the scarves off. Because doing so goes against the System. And the System has control of this space and, apparently, of this time. System is god, it runs with Ring-0 privileges, whereas you? You are just a Guest Login, not even a renter...

So, as a good landlord, System will try to Assuming Direct Control. The environment must be preserved, and the daily tasks executed. What can but a Braixen, who at this point is by all intents and purposes a blob of code to be manipulated, do?

“Disconnection from the mainframe is unacceptable. You must reconnect /n” “Y/N? /n”
cin>>getline;
CTRL-Z o3o [walks away, whistling]

Oh of only that worked for our little Braixen. May she be reformatted in peace.

Truly, an horrific story. Congratulations on a good work, and I have a horrified interest to see if you follow on with those plans! o3o


Also from now on, I'm calling my 'Mon boxes various variants of Pelago if I ever play mainline games again o3o

What? I'm a writer. My job is to make characters suffer.
 
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