Eternal Berg, BSTF, Novembre 28th, 2009
The Lystra Centre, Richtog Vale.
“So, you're sure he was from Rocket Logistics?” Wehc said, muffling his voice behind a hand. He was using a pair of small binoculars he carried – he had always carried them, and often forgot he had them. They sat neatly on the edge of his belt, and had helped him many times as a journalist. They were Capsule Solutions branded – as an offshoot of their research into Pokeballs, Capsule Solutions had found easy and cost effective ways of making many other items. Wehc had to hand it to them – they knew what they were doing.
“Positive.” Hari had his eyes closed. Seated cross-legged, his body barely poked out of the tall grass atop the ridge. It was part of a cliff face, the long and ragged path that lead to The Lystra Centre. He remembered his time at Yurgelln – he had never made it to the Lystra Centre. It was intended for the psychics of Richtog Vale who preferred research and study. He had left Yurgelln interested in neither of these things, choosing to become a freelance psychic – a field that could lead to millions or martyrdom.
“Are you scanning the area with some psychic thing?” Max knelt beside Hari and scanned the area, using a hand as a visor. It was growing brighter – the morning clouds had disappated, leaving the group in plain view. He was hesitant, but times were desperate. He had desperately wanted to avoid where this was going. The only reason he chose to remain with 'Team Temporal' was Saffy – he hadn't known her long, but what had happened in Terrut had made him scared.
That was something he didn't often feel.
“Really? I thought it was just too bright for him.” Fuschia sighed and played with her hair. She missed Sepia. He was far more interesting than most of the others here. For some reason, he always wanted to leave her with someone else – if their paths split, he was happy to do it. She had been working for Silph Co. for years, doing what they were doing now – investigating Rocket Logistics. She'd been doing it since she was a kid. Rocket Logistics had been doing what they've been doing since about the same time – it's almost fate.
“Look, over there... Rocket going into Lystra.” Polaris pointed at the centre with a paintbrush. He'd been sketching the building the whole time – but specifically, an air vent on it's eastern side. He had always been fairly perceptive. It was a talent that lent itself very well to his art. He wasn't famous, but he wasn't terrible. As an artist, it was a good middle ground to have. He was growing bored with the big 'mystery' of Rocket Logistics. It was exciting, sure, but it was something he would like to avoid in the future. They had already been stalking him long before Terrut went missing. It was becoming old hat – and if it was an 'old hat', then it was one he didn't want to wear.
He put away his things and trotted on down to the Vent. The others followed, more stealthily than Polaris. He seemed unphased by the situation. To be fair, he was. He had already been imprisoned once. It wouldn't be a new experience.
Max gave Polaris a hand getting in, then Hari, then Fuschia, and lastly Wehc. As Wehc pulled Max up into the vent, Max couldn't help but notice a strength in Wehc's arm. It was one that he didn't quite expect from a journalist. Surprising, and yet somehow nostalgic.
“Everyone, be quiet. There's something coming.” Fuschia was leading the pack, edging slowly along the corridor they found themselves in. It was an odd thing – an air vent, exactly their size, leading to a corridor, without any grating on it. She knew better than to trust it.
“You always know B B-B BB EST T T-T T-T, don'T you?!” Rang out a voice through the hallway. It was stuttered, it was damaged, it was broken. “You're all p-p-P-PERFECT little cariCATureS, aren't YOU?” The voice's owner came into view. It was thin and wiry, but Fuschia could see Hari's face staring back at them from it's yellowed head. It surrounded itself with crescent moon-like shapes, and she was sure that she recognised it from somewhere.
“It's a Cresselia.” Hari said, suddenly. His voice was more measured now, more natural. Still a little stifled, but without his trademark stutter.
“Y-y-y-you know?!” The creature spluttered. It appeared to be degenerating.
“A door, once opened, goes both ways.” Hari took out his cards and held one up. The Weeping Cresselia. “The moon, forever broken.” He replaced the card and drew another. The Waiting Absol. “Death. Or, more specifically, change. Transmutation. That is why we are here. Take us to what you've brought us here for.”
“Brought us here?” Polaris paused for a moment, to think it over. “Wait – Cresselia? In the Lystra CENTRE? And its based on Hari? It must be Psychic, right?”
Wehc narrowed his eyes. He was concerned. “He must have drawn your attention to the vent, having already opened it.”
“And has anyone else noticed...” Max turned immediately to his left, placing the vent behind him. “That we're standing next to a door marked 'Restricted'?”
He didn't bother to check if it was locked. The door simply fell under the force of his foot.
It fell into a clean, sterilised room. There was a table, surrounded by a multitude of medical items, and a single opening in the wall that Max surmised fell into some form of waste disposal unit. As they stepped in, their guide began to speak.
“Like everything that entTTTERS this room, I am BBBrokkkKKKen. These things thaTTT enTER are then fixXXxed.” Hari walked over to the table and placed a hand on it. It was cold and reminded him of death.
“Fixed? Broken? I don't understand... all The Lystra Centre does – supposedly – is Psychic Research. What use would they have for a surgical... ward...” Wehc rubbed his eyes, as if worn out. The realisation was too much for him to bear. “I had heard rumors. It was something nobody cared about, really. No one ever saw what came into this room, other than the people.”
Hari was leaning on the table now. His breathing was slow. Not calm, but measured. He was maintaining control. He would maintain control. He had to maintain control.
“So, this is the chop shop.” Max folded his arms, disgusted. “When I was young, looking for work... nearly starved... I escorted a truckload of Drowzee here. I assumed they were for the psychics...”
“Now do you SSSSEEEE?” Their guide seemed almost malicious in his tone.
“See WHAT?” Hari turned his head to face the guide. His hair wasn't quite standing on end, instead choosing to waft in the air as if he was standing above a fan. His ponytail had since separated out, breaking the bonds of it's tie and instead forming a strange funnel-shape in the air as it danced. Hari's eyes glowed bright purple, a color not of rage, not of anger, a color that Max couldn't place. “I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS PLACE! WHY ARE YOU SHOWING ME THIS?!”
“Be-be-because you were HEEEEEEERE.” The creature wailed with it's final word, clasping it's head and screaming loudly. Hari began pacing towards it, slowly.
“Haria, the Broken. Aged Three Days. Born in the Western Section of Mount Attara, also known as the Cyren Pokemon League. No friends, no family, no lovers, just one sad little 'brother' and a need to be fixed but TONIGHT!...” Hari was shouting now. Wehc found it interesting – in the presence of the Aspect, Hari was fine, if not better. It was as if unlike the others, whose aspects seemed to increase their quirks, Hari's drained it from him. Wehc wasn't sure if he liked the 'fixed' Hari. “TONIGHT, HARIA! I'M GOING TO FIX YOUR PROBLEM! YOU'LL NEVER NEED TO BE FIXED AGAIN!”
Max jumped out of the way as a part of the wall came flying past. The entire room was slowly dismantling itself and, as far as he could tell, the rest of the building was too. This was bad, and he needed to do something... but Hari was in a rage that no one could stop.
If only he could...
“Saffy!” Vermil shouted loudly, before rushing over to hug her intensely. She did not respond, nor did she react. When he let go, she simply returned to where she was before: standing aside, looking away into the distance. “Saffy?”
“So, if I am to assume our visitor is this missing young girl we're after, that leaves one question: Who is her friend?” Sepia was the only one who did not seem phased by the appearance of the twins. Although Saffy seemed the same as ever, her twin suffered from some notable differences. Firstly, she lacked a face. If it was for identical posture, clothing and such, Sepia would not have made the connection. Secondly, she was monochrome. There was no color to the twin, simply a few shades of grey. “My first inclination was to say it was a shadow. But, as Fujitsu has just proven, shadows will manifest themselves much differently...” Sepia turned to Fujitsu. It was odd that he had assumed the aspect into himself. More importantly, it was as if doing so was – technically – the group's first true victory over an aspect. It seemed to him to be the first sign that the 'owners' of each aspect could control and, if necessary, subdue their counterparts. This, he thought, was excellent news. Darkitsu should have been the turning point. The other aspects Sepia had been made aware of were very much beyond the control of Team Temporal, but none were exceptionally aggressive.
“I think its my turn,” Krystal said with a bizarre look of joy on her face, “Its my turn to do the exposition. Our new friend here must be Origin! The murderer of Terrut!”
The air around them suddenly began to flash brightly, as a siren sounded overhead. Origin laughed, an echoed sound that seemed to come from nowhere specific. Vermil squinted for a moment as everything returned to normal, attempting to properly examine Origin. He was beginning to notice that it's face wasn't missing – it was almost as though it had sealed over, like a wound. The outline of a nose, and dimples where the eyes should be became apparent in the light. He laughed slightly and interrupted.
“Oh wow, I think I've worked it out.” He was certain he was wrong, but nothing here was right so it wasn't worth arguing with impulse. “You possessed Saffy. The reason why? Because she was the most similar to you.”
“I don't believe it...” Sepia reached for his wrist, and for the first time Vermil noticed the odd watch he was wearing. It looked futuristic – more importantly, it was like nothing he'd ever seen before. Sepia was pressing buttons on it wildly, with a method that Vermil thought seemed erratic at best.
“This makes things very different, doesn't it?” Sepia paused briefly to ponder what he had just learned. “Should I tell them?”
“No.” An echo rang through the room. Once again, it came from no specific place. Krystal mused that it was probably psychic.
“Alright then. I ask just one thing, then, of you. Origin, what happened in Terrut?” Sepia stood boldly, knowing that he was asking a lot of someone who quite possibly committed genocide.
“It was The Hound.” Origin began to glow brightly, and around him appeared the image of a Purple and Gold Dog-Like Pokemon, with a long neck and almost claw-like feet.
“Arceus...” Krystal was awestruck. Reverential. “My fellow Pokegod...” Vermil laughed for a moment, and the image glared at him. He recoiled, which made Origin laugh again. It was not a normal laugh, however. It was more strained. More as though it was an act than an actual laugh.
“I thought Arceus was White?” Sepia pressed a few more buttons on his watch, and a white image of Arceus appeared as a small hologram above it.
“Ooooh! Now that's neat! I should invent that.” Krystal smiled and returned to her reverence.
“Your images are but faded replicas. The true Arceus has never been seen by eyes other than those of the Gods.”
“And mine.” A voice appeared that was new. It sounded vaguely familiar, but Vermil couldn't quite place it. “Although, YOU knew I was here.”
A woman appeared before the group. Her head was three-pronged, and her face covered by a piece of paper that Sepia recognised as a Japanese demon-warding icon. The woman was naked, but her skin appeared to be a yellow-and-flesh leotard.
“And you must be what brought us here. The aspect of Jirachi.” Sepia was fairly certain it would be the case. Jirachi were traditionally associated with wishes, but minor documentation had been produced regarding the possibility that they granted wishes through dreams. “Whose aspect are you?”
“I am Jiriss, the Schemer.” It smiled a smile that Vermil only noticed due to a distortion in the paper. “My mother is a lady you have yet to meet.” It laughed a little, before moving over to Origin. “I think we should be friends...” I laughed again before keeling over. It fell to it's knees, and grasped it's chest. All around it, Stars began to emerge. Small lights, Sepia noticed, that in the darkness were made to seem like distant celestial bodies.
“You must all leave. I have the capability. You are already at your destination. You must now simply awake.” Origin placed a Light Screen around himself and Jiriss, leaving everyone else outside of the star field that had emerged. “Now, go. You must all do yourself a favour... and awake. I'm afraid I can't let Saffy go yet, but trust me when I say that she is in no danger.”
Vermil felt a sudden rushing sensation, and his last sight was of the stars converging on Origin.
Hari held Haria out of the window, dangling it over the Lystra Centre's entryway. The fall would certainly kill it – the window sat on the fifth story of the building. Hari had long since stopped using his psychic powers. Their influence was now primarily being used to boost his own strength. He had always been a fast learner, and the haze of anger was proving a more than apt mentor. He had worked for years to get to the Lystra Centre. It had been his goal. His raison d'etre. Now, he realised it was all for nothing. It had all be hopeless.
“Enough.” A hand placed itself on Hari's shoulder. Roy's cheery face came into view, and alongside him stood everyone else who had gone to Getan. Hari suddenly felt a weight lifted from him, as Haria broke free of his grasp. It began to float away, onward and upward, as if it knew it was not yet it's time.
“I... I'm s-s-so...” Hari began to tremble. The anger shifted inside him shifted, forcing it's way back down. “S-s-s-sorry...” He had been the one to fight Haria. He had to. Or so he thought. He caught sight of Max who had just reached the Office. He and the others were surprised to find the Getan Gang already there, and as they traded comments of astonishment, Hari suddenly felt as though he wasn't alone. He had the others, and with them, he didn't need his anger.
“Oh, but you are alone.”
The reunion was cut short by a new visitor. The voice was, to Vermil, once again familiar. Yet, somehow, he couldn't place it. The new arrival floated in through the hole in the window that Hari had made in his fury. Her strawberry red hair was long and flowing, and it consumed her entire head as if it were a seperate entity.
“A hidden face. You must be Jiriss' other half.” It was Fujitsu's turn to be perceptive. His head billowed slightly in the wind through the window, casting a flame-shadow on the wall.
“Is that what she's calling herself these days? She has another name, you know. Jiroid or Jiratwo. Something like that. I've lost track.” She began to laugh. It was a menacing laugh, one that Roy could tell was backed by joy, but had a legitimate menace to it. Roy began to walk over to the woman, using the opportunity to grab her.
“You...” He breathed deep, and grabbed her hair with one hand, while keeping one hand clutched tightly on her arm. She cried out in protest. “YOU'RE. NOT. DAEMON!” Roy pulled her hair apart, and in the scuffle the outline of Daetwo's face was clearly apparent. Daemon was the only one not shocked.
“You must be my second aspect. They had plenty of time to toy with me while I was in that building.” Krystal floated over and looked her doppelganger in the eye. Daetwo adjusted her hair so that it was more normal, and showed her entire face.
“You're wrong.” Daetwo sneered at Daeone. “I am not YOUR aspect. I am myself. I am a living thing. And look, I brought a present.” Daetwo clicked her fingers and the closet on the wall opened. Out of it fell a corpse. Everyone recoiled in fear. Vermil reached over for a rubbish bin and retched into it.
“What have you done?” Sepia growled. It was menacing, as if he was about to strike her.
“Me? No, that was... oh, you know what?” Daetwo floated up to the ceiling and sat on it, upside down. She crossed her arms and looked distressed. “You know, this is all too much. I was going to sow some seeds of doubt in you all by making you think it was Hari that did it. I mean, he was certainly capable of it – if any of you fools actually turned around, you'd notice he'd ripped a giant hole in this building in the last half hour. And I've doctored the camera footage to make it look like he killed him, but it's just so boring to be so... typical. So here's the basics: That was Dr. Alabastar Schwarz, the head of the Lystra Centre. You all – that's 'Team Temporal' – are going to be blamed for his death. Another mark on your checklist of horrible deeds. But, I think I've worked out something much more interesting to do with all this. So, here's where I'd like to strike a little bargain. All of you go down that massive hole Hari made, and I promise to tell you why Rocket Logistics has it in for you.” She laughed, leaving Sepia dubious.
“So, you're going to help us? You killed a man to frame us, and we're to believe that you'd have this sudden change of heart?” Sepia was once more hitting some buttons on his watch.
“Look, if it helps, I'll tell you BEFORE you go down that hole. Ok?” She returned to a normal rotation and smiled. “You're all going to destroy the world. That's why Rocket Logistics wants you out of the way. You can argue all you want, but it's going to happen.”
Daetwo began to rise into the air, and the ceiling above her gave way to allow her exit. The doors and windows around the group began to seal themselves shut with metal, leaving the hole was the only possible escape route. In the shaft of light that was trailing down from Daetwo's escape path, Roy thought she looked almost angelic in her escape.
“You all think you know... what's to come, what you're really fighting for... None of you are prepared for what's coming, and you're going to have to face it alone.”
Daetwo's exit sealed up, leaving only the flickering lights of the office remaining.
Vermil felt an unnecessary amount of dread.