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“Pike…”

Her eyes felt heavy under her goggles. She struggled to raise her eyelids.

“Pike…”

“Who is…calling me? Who are you?” Her eyelids moved and a shadowy figure reached for her. It retracted its arm and backed away before touching her. Confused and hazy, Pike tried to reach after it, only for her eyes to snap fully open as her arm refused to move. There was no one standing before her. Realizing she was lying down, she lifted her head to look at her left arm.

Thank goodness, it’s not paralyzed, just tied down.

More troubling was the patch of dried blood at her elbow. She shouldn’t have lost that much blood and still be alive. The right was clean, but just as strapped down as the left. Each was held in place by a brown strap with a bronze-colored buckle. If she strained the straps gave a little, but they were secured to the table and her arms would break before they would. They’d also taken her tool belt.

Pike surveyed the room and found it to be quite empty. To her right was another table with what she assumed was another competitor unconscious upon it. He had short brown hair pulled back in a small ponytail. Two intricate looking prosthetics lay beneath the table, an arm and a leg each. She could see the missing leg’s stump from her vantage, but the missing arm was on his far side. He too had a strap holding his left arm down, but he also had a larger one across his middle to secure him fully.

Beyond the man was a droid. Several of them had come to attend to Pike and Whelk after their race was over, tending small injuries and checking for larger ones. She’d never heard the term before, but the droids themselves had answered her question. They were like people, but fully mechanical and capable of flight.

She desperately wanted to take one apart.

This one seemed to be eying two monitors, each covered in squiggly lines and numbers. Pike had no idea what they were, but she could see her name at the top of the left screen. Something about her and the other guy, she assumed.

Pike returned her gaze back to herself, inspecting her situation once more. She was tired of being held down, and she didn’t think the droid would undo the straps if she asked nicely. They’d taken her tool belt, but hadn’t checked the pockets just within reach of her secured hands. Straining only slightly against her bond, Pike found the screwdriver in her pocket and managed to remove it without dropping it.

Keeping an eye on the floating droid, Pike maneuvered the tool under the buckle’s prong and lifted. She slipped several times before she forced it out of the loop it was in. A moment’s struggle later and her left hand was free! But so was the screwdriver from her grip. It clattered to the ground and drew the attention of the droid.

It spun around at the noise and immediately noticed her escape attempt. A panel folded out from its body and a syringe was produced.

“Please, lie still and relax. You are safe.” Mechanical and patronizing, its voice did not reassure Pike as it approached with the needle held toward her. She managed to undo the second strap and roll to the ground on the side of the table opposite the droid. It paused for a moment, then proceeded around the foot of the table to follow her.

“Please, let me administer this sedative. It is for your own good.”

“Yeah, I doubt that.” Pike moved to keep the table between them, when the droid suddenly lifted over the table to come directly at her. A yelp and a misplaced foot found her tumbled to the ground near the other table. The droid’s approach was menacing, and Pike frantically felt for anything she could use to fend it off.

Something heavy filled her hand. Without taking stock of what it was, she swung the object at the droid. It connected with a loud PING! and the syringe shattered. The droid fell back immediately, staying out of her reach as she stood back up. Pike held the contestant’s prosthetic leg in her hand.

Sudden dizziness washed over her and she put her head in her left palm. Flashes of light and color dance behind her closed eyelids, but nothing with a recognizable form. After the dizziness had passed she opened her eyes and found the dried blood at her elbow again. Looking closer she found a small scab at the center of the crease in her elbow. Noticing the stiffness in her shirt for the first time, Pike slipped her hand under the back of it. There too she found dried blood. A great deal of it had seeped into her shirt, but she wasn’t bleeding still.

How am I alive? I’ve bled from two places and I’m still here? What’s going on?

Her eyes found the broken syringe on the ground and she realized what had happened. Turning, she found the droid retreated into the wall near the monitors, watching her closely. She still had the competitor’s table between them and she could see him better now. He was indeed missing his right arm, but on his left elbow was a familiar pattern of dried blood, dark against his pale skin. Whatever they’d done to her, they’d likely done to him as well.

“Time for some answers.” She stormed around the table and directly for the droid, holding the fake limb threateningly. It cowered against the wall and pleaded with her to lie back down and accept sedation. She placed the foot of the limb against its neck to prove she wasn’t messing around. It paused in its pleading for a moment to look at the limb.

“While I may have a neck, I do not have a throat. Threatening my non-existent air passage is not intimidating.” Her pressure on his neck lessened as she leaned in to look.

“Oh yeah, you’re all machinery. But then why do you even have…never mind. What is this?” She pointed to the blood at her elbow. It hesitated before speaking.

“It appears to dried blood.” Unaffected by his sarcasm (can droids be sarcastic?), she retorted with a shove of the limb.

“Exactly! Why am I not dead? If this much blood came out, it never would have stopped.”
It merely scoffed at her.

“Hemophilia isn’t exactly difficult for us to solve, especially temporarily.”

“Hemo-what?”

“Hemophilia is the genetic disease that causes you to bleed out if you are injured. We administered a short lived coagulant to your system to prevent any…’leaks.’ It will wear off soon.”

“Hemophilia. So that’s what this is called. I wonder if any of the Socratics knew what this was.”

Pike examined her arm, searching for a second puncture wound, but couldn’t find any. They must have only stuck her once then. But that couldn’t be the only reason they’d jabbed her. The other contestant had a puncture mark too.

“You injected something into me, into both of us! Didn’t you? What is it?” The droid was silent.

Before she could interrogate it further, an enormous beast reared up before her, all teeth and claws and sizzling saliva on a frame three times her own. Pike stumbled back quickly as it advanced, bumping into a table with a cry. It reached for her and she held the limb in front of her defensively. Just as it was about to sink knife-like claws into her, the horror vanished without a sound.

She looked around the room frantically, it couldn’t just disappear. Then she saw the droid watching her. She pointed to where the monster had been.

“What was that?” She wasn’t sure droids could sound smug, but this one was when it answered her.

“There was nothing there. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Pike blinked her eyes clear and shook her head before charging at the droid again.

“You did something to me! You made me see that! What was that?” She pointed to the other patient, who showed signs of waking. “Did you do it to him too?”

The droid eyed her for a moment, silent.

“It will be enlightening to see what happens to the both of you.”

It then pushed forward into her, knocking her off balance. It opened the locks of the door by extending an arm from inside its body to a panel on the side of the doorframe. Another touch to the panel slid the door up into the ceiling, but by then Pike had caught up. As it tried to exit the door, Pike was slamming her fist into the same panel.

“You’re not going anywhere!”

The door slammed shut, crushing the droid underneath it. Its eyes flashed to the rhythm of several beeps that echoed from the ruined torso. A final beep as the flashing stopped, though Pike thought that last beep came from somewhere in the hall. She sighed down at the wrecked piece of machinery. There were probably pieces she could salvage, but Pike just felt like getting out of this place.

A confused grunt behind her reminded her she wasn’t suddenly alone in the room. Turning, she saw the man struggling to rise. His arm was still strapped down, so while he could sit up he could not get free. She moved to his side and undid the belt holding his arm down and he immediately swung it at her.

“Back off. I don’t need some stranger’s pity.” Pike held her hands up defensively.

“Just trying to help. I’ve got a son without a leg. It’s not easy.”

“I’ve got my legs, one just happens to be in your hands, for whatever reason. If you want to be helpful so badly, you can hand me my limbs.” She handed them over, flushing lightly as she passed him the leg still in her grasp. She ignored his request to turn around.

“Who made your prosthetics?”

“That’s none of your business.”

“I’m guessing it was a Socratic. That level of workmanship is nearly unheard of outside a machine shop. And I’m fairly certain we’re the only ones with working ones. So, which lazy bum in my community wouldn’t make my son a new leg?”

He didn’t respond, so Pike just watched him attach first his arm and then his leg. He stood unsteadily at first, testing that his leg was attached properly. He then turned about the room, taking in the crushed droid beneath the door, but also seemed like something was missing.

“So…you – “

“Pike.”

“Right, I’m Lance. Have you seen my bag? Did you take it?” She folded her arms over her chest.

“Where would I be hiding it? My things aren’t here either. I’m not sure if they were left where we were originally sedated or if they stored them somewhere in this place…wherever we are.”

Lance was walking slowly around the room now, pausing at the now blank screens on the wall. He turned to look at her from a distance.

“Any idea why we’re wherever we are? I don’t remember anything but a pain in the back and then I’m waking up to you standing over that thing.” She followed his pointing finger and felt another pang of regret at the destroyed machine. She fingered her elbow as she considered what to say. Finally she pointed at his arm.

“You’ll find a puncture mark at your elbow. I’ve got one too. I’m pretty sure they injected something into us. I have no idea what though, or why.”

He inspected his arm closely and Pike heard him whisper softly to himself.

“’Cause I don’t have enough things to worry about.”

“What was that?” He shook his head.

“Nothing. You got a plan?”

“I’m getting out of here. I’m going to find my stuff and see if I can find out what they did to me on the way. You’re welcome to come along if you want.” She turned to the door and depressed the panel, lifting the door from the destroyed droid with a squelch. His metallic foot clanked lightly as he followed her out through the door.

“I don’t need your permission.” She ignored him and surveyed the length of hall they stepped into.

Spots of light were spread evenly along the length, shed from hanging lamps. Sections of the floor were dark but there was nothing along the walls to cast shadows. The hallway was empty. To the left the hall continued a long distance before turning a sharp left corner. To the right the hallway ended at a wall holding a single window. The doors they could see came off suspicious, being flush with the wall. Their own door had a plaque next to it with a large 9 on it.

Pike eyed the left a long moment before heading to the window. Lance watched her go, confused.

“Shouldn’t we be heading the other way? There’s no exit there.”

“Never hurts to find out where we are before we get there. Keep an eye out for a second, will you?”

The view from the window revealed they were high above the ground, but she couldn’t tell what floor they might be on.

“Well, we’ll need to be on the lookout for stairs. We’re pretty…Are you okay?”

He jumped at her voice and whipped his head around to look at her before turning just as quickly back down the hall.

“Do – do you not see that? Do you not hear them?” She stepped close to him, looking down the mostly dim hallway. There was nothing and she told him so.

“There is something moving down there! Shadowy figures! And they’re…whispering, plotting. I can hear them.” There was still nothing there. Pike could see the far wall clearly, even though it lacked details. But his description sounded familiar to her, and her waking memory flashed into her mind.

“Are they calling your name?”

“What? No! They’re just whispering. It’s creepy!” Pike let out a heavy breath. So it wasn’t exactly the same, but near enough.

“I’ve been seeing some scary things too. I think whatever they put in us is doing it. I saw a shadow figure too when I woke up, and then something truly frightening appeared to me when I was confronting that droid with your leg.”

Lance looked at her and back down the hallway. He didn’t look like he wanted to believe her.

“C’mon Lance, we’ve got to keep moving. Let’s check some of these doors.”

She lead the way to the first door, only to realize she had no idea how to open it. There was no panel to press, and no handle. When she reached out to touch the door, she realized the cool feeling of metal was absent. It felt like the wall next to it. Curious, she leaned in and inhaled through her nose. Lance spoke up behind her, still sounding nervous.

“What is it? Can you get it open?”

“The door isn’t real. It’s painted on!
Hallucinations - Round 2 (Unfinished)
Unfortunately I couldn't finish this in time. I'm beating myself up about this, but this is the best I could do. I don't know why this round kicked me in the teeth this round. Sorry :iconforegoneconclusion: I hope I do better next round.
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Pike stood next to her opponent before the entrance of an old-style funhouse. The wooden archway was painted to resemble the gaping maw of a laughing clown. The once white face paint is now an ashen color. The wood behind one of his eyes has rotted and fallen out, leaving it sunken and hollow looking.

“Funhouse?” scoffed Pike. “How did the people of old see this as anything but terrifying?” She shook her head and rubbed her goosebump covered arms. Whelk tried to appear aloof, but his unwillingness to look directly at the entrance betrayed how disturbed he was. He pointed to the words spelled out across the clown’s teeth.

“Can you read? What does that say?” She squinted to see the words through her lenses.

“It says ‘Uncle Phil’s Funhouse.’ Whose uncle? That’s weird.” He shook his head.

They’d both shown up to this location as they were told, just before dusk. Pike had recoiled at the shadows the building cast and nearly jumped out of her skin when one of them moved toward her. Whelk was dark, so dark he nearly vanished in the dimming sunlight if she didn’t keep an eye on him.

Now they were waiting for the house to open. They’d each approached, only slightly worried that mouth would close on them, and tugged on the door. It was locked tight and wouldn’t budge. They were mostly silent toward each other, though it was agreed it would unlock at either sunset or full dark. Pike didn’t mind. She’d like to be able to take her polarized goggles off. In fact, it was probably dim enough she could do it now without much pain.

She slipped them off and put them into a pocket. Whelk chuckled, “It is a little dark to be wearing sunglasses.” She knew he was trying to lift the mood of that spooky place, but after hearing it repeatedly for the last few years, she was tired of the joke. She shot him a weary smile.

“Need them to see.”

She wasn’t too concerned about her tone, that joke needed to die a slow, painful death. Whelk looked away and she, at least, enjoyed the ensuing silence.

The sky got darker and darker, and Pike was able to make out more details of the funhouse’s entrance. Above the clown’s eyes rose rainbow-colored hair. She squinted. There was something else there, something glinting in the dying light. She was about to inspect it up close when she heard a click and groan from the entrance.

The door had opened!

Pike and Whelk spared just a glance at the other before making a dash for the door. Just before she reached the steps, bright light exploded into being, blinding Pike. Differently colored bulbs were strewn throughout the clown’s hair, illuminating the space before the door.

“Ah, Domer piss!” She spun away, her arm over her eyes, as she tried to retrieve her goggles. By the time she fitted them into place, Whelk had entered and disappeared down the hallway. Pike glared up at the now brilliantly lit up jester.

“Thanks a lot,” she grumbled at it before hurrying to catch up with her opponent. As she went through the open door she rubbed at the skin around her eyewear. She could feel it already. Her skull was going to ache for days.

The floor groaned under her weight and the air seemed to smell of rotten wood. She couldn’t see Whelk, but her line of sight was stopped short by a sharp turn to the left a few feet ahead. She turned it and found a short flight of stairs down. A much longer set of stairs to the left at the landing descended into darkness. She took to them quickly, reminding herself that Whelk could be very far ahead.

Only a few steps down her hurry proved a hindrance. The floor swept out under her foot with a bang, throwing her violently to the side. If not for the banister, Pike would have tumbled downt he rest of the staircase end over end. She hauled herself up and the step shifted under her weight to slam into the wall she clutched.

Pike experimentally shifted her weight back and forth, eliciting loud bangs with each shift. She looked down the stairwell and tried again.

Looks like this is all one piece, just supposed to drop your feet from under you and give you a fright. I don’t see how that’s fun, but it’s not dangerous if I don’t sprint down the steps.

Pike proceeded cautiously, shifting with the stairs until she reached the next landing. She could see even floor beyond a few more steps again to the left. These didn’t move under her weight.

His lead wasn’t that big. Either he’s got magnificent balance or he tumbled to the bottom.

She rounded the next corner and jumped out of her skin. Someone was waiting at the far end of the hall! She quickly ducked back behind the corner. When she poked her head out, the person was no longer there. It took her a moment to find their head sticking out as hers was.

Pike narrowed her eyes. She reached out her hand and watched as the other person mimicked her waving exactly.

“Ah, it’s my reflection! I see now.” She stepped into the hallway and approached herself. Mirrors weren’t uncommon among the Socratics, but new ones weren’t being made and Pike had only used a few. Most of the larger ones had been claimed by the growing fashion industry among the scholars. Pike didn’t understand the allure, but mirrors themselves were rather interesting.

As she stepped near the mirror, the ceiling cut away, briefly revealing a large room easily two to three stories tall. The mirror blocked her view as she got closer.

Touching her reflection she saw that the path split to the left and the right, both lined with mirrors. To the right mirrors were cracked and broken, many shattered to the ground, glinting oddly in the low light. The left had pristine mirrors and honestly looked better lit. Pike could see herself at the far end as it turned again.

If I take this path, I’ll be able to see better, but the mirrors might mess with me. The right path has sharp edges and low lighting, but I’ll be able to tell if something’s a mirror or not.

After a moment’s deliberation she turned right to follow the darker path.

She moved briskly, aware of the gap growing between Whelk and herself. Pike wanted to keep a hand on one wall, try to follow advice she had heard once, but the broken glass made her keep her distance. The last time she’d gotten a bad cut she’d almost died. The blood wouldn’t stop flowing. She’d been careful since, and had managed to keep her skin intact, even after joining the Socratics and working with their machines. She wasn’t going to bleed out here.

Pike continued along the right wall until an odd intersection gave her pause. It turned left and right like the others, but straight ahead on the opposing wall rose a sturdy ladder. The lights flickered as she traced it up and up where she could just make out a platform hidden in the gloom.

She looked down both the left and right paths, but they each ended with a sharp turn back in the direction she’d come from.

“I hate to break my pattern now, but I like the idea of being able to look down at the maze.”With a shrug, she started climbing.

She tried to climb quickly, but it was a long ladder. There was no telling how far ahead Whelk could be, but falling now wouldn’t help her chances. The lamps casting their infrequent light came into view and then she was past them. A short minute after that saw her pulling herself onto the waiting platform.

Pike stood and shook her arms out. It really had been a long climb. Looking down over the sides revealed that the details of the maze were difficult to see beyond the lamps. Out in the distance other platforms rose from the twisted path.

“Are those ramps leading up to them? Mine doesn’t have one, does it?” A bright blue glow grabbed her attention before she could investigate. In big, bold letters the word EXIT glowed above a doorway in the far wall. It was the most colorful thing in the room, even if she hadn’t been able to read, it was obvious which way to go.

She was so intent on trying to trace the path back to the base of her ladder she failed to notice the floor dropping out from under her. There was no banister to latch onto this time. She fell solidly onto her butt and started sliding forward. Walls grew around her as the slide hurtled her down at an ever faster speed. She let out a shriek as she entered a tunnel and winced as it echoed around her. Everything was pitch black for a moment and then she was tipped forward as the slide ended to stumble across a new room.

Picking herself off the ground, she looked around the room. One wall featured free standing, oddly shaped mirrors. As she stepped in front of them her image showed up but grossly distorted. This one made her skinny and tall, and the next made her squat and wide. She rolled her eyes at these. There was only one exit unless she wanted to try climbing the slide. Hmph, I suppose that would be fun if I’d known it was there before I was on it.

With nowhere else to go, Pike left the room only to come to a three way intersection. Back into the maze it seemed. She knew choosing a direction was entirely random, but she tried to remember which way the exit had been from the slide. The slide had been straight, right? She shrugged and chose the path directly ahead of her.

Fewer mirrors were broken along this path, but it seemed the walls were getting closer. The path became so narrow for a while she had to turn sideways and pull her bag after her. She was sweating nervously by the time the walls had retreated.

“Stupid sharp edges. Next time I enter a maze of broken mirrors, I’ll bring body armor along.” She continued grumbling to herself as she turned corner after broken corner. She was getting really tired of seeing herself at the end of every corridor. She stopped short when the next turn revealed she wasn’t.

She dashed forward in hopes that, yes, the light from the sign was visible! She was almost out! Her reflection appeared so suddenly that she yelped and tripped over her own feet and smacked into the clear glass plate ahead of her.

She pulled her way up it and glared at the EXIT sign just out of reach. She was so close. She started again as something moved sharply to her left. It was Whelk! How had he gotten on the right path?

Whelk stopped short as he saw Pike through the glass. He placed a hand on the pane and looked it over. He let out a whistle.

“That is the worst thing I’ve ever seen. That’s downright mean putting this here when you’re so close.” His voice echoed oddly over the top. Pike wondered briefly if she could climb over before dismissing the idea. Too much risk she’d break the glass in the process and cut herself to death. She supposed talking to him was the only thing she could do now.

“I’m curious, which way did you choose at the beginning of the maze? There couldn’t have been just one correct path.”

“I chose the path with the unbroken mirrors. I’ve heard all about broken mirrors, I wasn’t going to risk going down that path.” She gave him a confused look, but he didn’t stop to explain. “Anyway, since this is a competition and there’s not much you can do, I’m just going to step through this door and win. Sorry!”

His cheerful grin grinded on her, but there really was nothing she could do about it as he opened the door and stepped through.

“What? There’s more? Don’t tell me that was just the exit from the maze!”

Pike’s eyes widened at his shock from inside the door. It wasn’t over! But what could she do? Turning back would still take too long and climbing still didn’t look any better an option. There was only one option; she’d have to break through.

Hesitantly she hefted her rubber mallet and looked once more at the obstacle in front of her. This is going to suck! She hauled back and brought the hammer down heavily on the pane. The tiniest crack appeared. Disbelief spread across Pike’s face as she swung the hammer again, only to grow the crack imperceptibly. Now fully frustrated she slammed the tool down again and again, slowly widening the crack as well as the lead Whelk had on her.

Suddenly the crack widened significantly, and she could hear it creak as it spread across the whole sheet of glass. This was it. But how could she strike it again without shattering it and being shredded in the process?

She narrowed her eyes at her tool of choice before taking several large steps back. She released a hesitant breath and hurled the hammer with as much force as she could muster. Shards went flying in all directions, causing Pike to cower. She felt several pieces strike her back, but her tough shirt kept them from punching through.

When she looked back only a few shards dangled from the frame. She hurried through the hole and through the exit, stooping to pick up her mallet as she went.

A short corridor led to a larger room, and Whelk wasn’t that far ahead! She could see him halfway across the room. She squinted. He seemed to be having trouble walking? He wasn’t moving very fast in any case.

Pike briefly looked over the room, searching for traps or any reason Whelk might be acting strange. Nothing stood out until she turned back to the entrance. Two grotesque clown statues stood on either side of the doorway, gesturing out to the floor. With a startled yelp, Pike jumped back, thinking they were there to attack her.

They didn’t move, but the floor did. As she stepped onto it the floor groaned as it began to tilt to one side. She nearly lost her balance, but managed to wobble upright. Whelk laughed from across the room.

“That’s why I’m going slowly! The whole place tilts back and forth.”

Her side was still tilting, but not so much she had trouble standing. She could see now that only the floor she stood on was tilted, while Whelk’s section of floor was mostly flat. Small cracks ran width-wise across the room, showing where each part of the floor was separate from each other. A soft thud echoed as the floor came to a stop.

It’s like the stairs from earlier. They can only go so far before being stopped. But since there’s not one huge piece, I wonder if they’re centered differently. She wasn’t far from the center of the room, so she took three large steps, bringing her to the next section. As she stepped up to place her feet on it, the ground tilted heavily and she scrambled upslope trying to find the fulcrum. As it rebalanced and she caught her breath she had to admit to herself, If this wasn’t a competition I think I’m beginning to see how this could be fun. Have some friends with you and giggling over running into dead ends and scrabbling as the room tilts. I can see that.

“Wouldn’t hurt if you didn’t find clowns to be creepy, either.” This she mumbled to herself as she stepped lightly onto the next section, placing only enough weight on it to see where it moved. This time she moved quickly toward it without trouble. The next section was the one Whelk had been standing on when she entered and she had no problem moving to his position.

Looking forward, her opponent was now climbing up a slope on the final section toward the door. He still had a lead on her and Pike needed to fix that. Quickly judging the distance she leapt completely over the section between her and Whelk, landing solidly on the opposite side of the fulcrum. The lever moved violently, bouncing Whelk into the air and sending him sliding down the shifted plane.

Pike managed to hold her stance as the swearing man slid past her and moved surely to the door. She had to maneuver around the raised floor, but was finally ahead! She jogged down the hallway, not sure what to expect next.

The hall emptied out into a suspiciously empty room. There weren’t even the creepy clowns to greet her as they had before. She took a cautious step out onto the floor. It didn’t shift, or lean, or sprout demonic vines she’d have to fight.

That last one’s probably a little unrealistic, but I don’t know what to expect.

Two more steps revealed nothing more. She paused and raised her hand to her chin in thought. Whelk entered behind her and stopped short when he saw her motionless.

“Are you okay? What’s wrong?” Quite frankly she was surprised by the concern in his voice, but she tried to keep it from her own.

“I’m fine. It’s this room that’s got me concerned. All the other rooms have had gimmicks, but nothing has happened in this one. It’s too empty, if that makes any sense.” She turned on the spot to look at him. He just waved his hand dismissively.

“Sometimes it’s just an empty room.” He took two steps and a loud click echoed in the room as his foot depressed into the floor. Pike could see his eyes widen as he looked at his foot. She almost missed his frightened whisper.

“Booby trap.”

Her own eyes widened at that and she turned to dive to the ground, followed closely by Whelk. She covered her head and waited. When nothing happened, she looked around. The room hadn’t changed. No opened panels on the walls, no knives or darts thrown about. She looked back at the spot he’d stepped on.

“Are you sure about that booby trap? Now that I think about it, this is supposed to be for fun. I doubt you’d have many repeat visitors if this room killed whoever came into it.” She rose to her feet to examine the depression. Whelk rolled over to look at her.

“Maybe they enjoyed near death experiences back then. It could be a dud.”

Pike shook her head, sure of herself now. She reached a hand out and pressed on the floor. It clicked again and retreated to floor level.

“No, look. I think this was just to make you stumble, feel like the floor is falling out from under you, like a lot of the other tricks here. I don’t think they actually wanted to hurt anyone here.”

Fascinated as she was with the mechanics of the device, Pike failed to notice Whelk get to his feet behind her.

“Well, if you’re sure, then…bye!” She whirled as he took off, stepping high to avoid the indents as he created them. She moved to dash after him and promptly tripped over her own dropped floor, landing flat on her face. She rose onto her elbows and watched Whelk disappeared down the next hallway.

She pounded a fist on the floor. She just couldn’t seem to keep up, and this time it had been her own fault. She sulkily dragged herself to the nearest wall and pulled herself to a standing position. She sighed as the mental scolding began. Will my curiosity always get in the way? Will I never learn to stay focused? Will I…what is that?

The tirade ended as quickly as it began as she reoriented herself on a crack in the wall in front of her. She felt along it with her fingers and could feel a small draft. A light tap revealed a section of wall that was different from the rest. Further down she found another crack, though this one wasn’t as visible. She reexamined the first crack and found it jutted from the while just a tiny bit.

A door? Maybe? But why would there be a door here?

Her drive to know had taken over and she found a flathead screwdriver in her hand. She wedged it into the crack and jimmied it back and forth. The door became more defined until she could get a grip with her fingers. She yanked it open and found a narrow passage beyond.

Immediately to the right was a ladder leading under the floor. The hole extended out into the previous room as well as under the false trap room. Confused, Pike took the left path leaving the door to swing softly shut behind her. There was just enough light to make her way. The floor was solid and nothing attempted to move on her.

A small room opened up and she saw a metallic box sitting on a desk. Approaching it she found  an image of another room on a display, words written underneath. The text seemed to be referring to a disk that made up the floor of the room on the screen.
Rotation: Inactive


“Is this…an active computer? I didn’t know there could be such a thing outside the Dome! This is incredible! I should – no! Stay focused! These have to be maintenance tunnels. That means they’ll bypass all the obstacles. I’ve got to keep going!”

Despite her fingers itching to disassemble the lost technology, Pike swept out of the room into the next narrow corridor. The next room was a little larger and had a vast work bench shoved against one wall. Several stools suggested this was for many people to work at once. Lying on a section of table was a mechanism she hadn’t seen before. This time she couldn’t help picking it up to examine it, but she kept moving. As long as she didn’t stop, it wouldn’t impede her progress, right?

Before she could step through the door Pike heard a shout. She looked around the room, maybe Whelk had found a way back here too? But the next shout sounded muffled and she realized it was from beyond the wall. He was in the room adjacent to her. Was there a way she could see him?

Searching along the wall revealed a sort of peephole. The view was a little hazy, so there must be something covering it to give the illusion of a whole wall. She could see Whelk near the entrance pacing back and forth. He looked frustrated. Pike watched him walk forward a step only to flail his arms about and quickly jump back.

She couldn’t help watching him try again, this time hearing a soft pfft before he filled the silence with cursing at spirits for holding him back. She could tell it wasn’t spirits, there was something under the floor. The voice that had told her to ignore the computer failed to speak up as she looked for some way under the floor.

There! A trapdoor lead underneath the room, revealing several devices like the one Pike had found upstairs. Each had its nozzle stuck up to cracks through the floorboards of the room Whelk was in. A circle of larger ones in the center of the room drew her attention. All of the devices had hoses attached that connected them to a large tank in the corner. Each device seemed to be anchored to the ground above them with a pressure plate. As she watched, Whelk attempted to move forward again, depressing a pressure plate and the device under him made that same pfft sound she’d heard before.

He stepped back once more and Pike’s eyes widened.

“They’re air jets! That’s so interesting!”

“…Pike? Was that you? Where are you? Air jets? You mean…”

Oh, poop.

Pike turned and bolted for the ladder. Whelk was clever enough he’d figure out the room didn’t actually have any obstacles for him to overcome in just a moment. She had to move! Her hands automatically latched onto the air jet on the table and slipped it into her tool belt as she moved to the door.

She nearly sprinted down the hallway, bruising her shoulders heavily on protruding support beams in her haste. The path ended at a wall and she looked around frantically. She could hear Whelk thumping up stairs outside her walls. There had to be a way up.

Then she spotted it. A ladder was hanging out the darkness above. She jumped to reach it and with the sound of metal scraping the ladder dropped to her level. She scaled the ladder and found herself in a room more the size of a closet. There was a rather well marked door on one side with a peephole, but she didn’t bother with it. Pushing at the door accomplished only a shift in the door. Pike narrowed her eyes and stood at the far wall before throwing herself against the stuck door.

It slammed open and she hurtled out, narrowly missing Whelk who took two surprised steps back down the steps he was ascending. Pike caught herself on the far wall and got a good look down the corridor around the corner. Another blue exit sign. This one had to be the end!

She locked eyes with Whelk for just a moment before pushing herself up and toward the exit. She could hear Whelk right behind her. They were both so focused on the exit ahead they failed to realize there was still an obstacle left.

Hearing the groan just a moment too late, Pike lost her footing and fell to the ground, Whelk falling nearly on top of her as well. There was a long tunnel and it was spinning! Pike struggled to get to her feet and keep her balance, briefly considered just crawling the remaining distance, but moved forward.

She couldn’t be sure if he’d pushed her or used her to retain his own balance, but Whelk was suddenly in front of her and she was leaning against one wall as it rotated, her goggles scraping noisily. Once again he was too far ahead for her to catch.

“I can’t lose this close to the end.” Without thinking for more than a breath, Pike hefted her hammer again and threw it after the escaping Whelk. She’d never been good at long range…anything, but this time her aim was spot on. The mallet struck him in nearly the center of his back, knocking him to the floor. She ran after him and paused only to pick up her hammer.

He wheezed as he tried to grab at her legs, but she managed to avoid his grasping. The pouch on his waist squirmed, as if something was trying to get out, but he was almost laying on it.

“Ooh, knocked the wind out of you. Uh, sorry. You’ll be fine…yeah…” She turned and staggered the remaining way out of the tumbling tunnel and nearly fell through the exit door. Down two rickety, grated steps and she was on solid earth again.

There, just a few paces away was a pedestal, sleek blue lines drawing her eyes to the top. There a screen overlaid with a grid waited. When Pike approached the pillar beeped at her and the outline of a hand formed on the screen.

With a hesitant look at her hand she placed it down on the outline, covering it completely. She let out a small chuckle. Her hand was bigger than the hand provided. But the machine did its job and moment later beeped to let her know it was done. Pulling her hand away revealed a single line of text:
Handprint Accepted


Pike let out a sigh as she turned to see Whelk burst out the door. Seeing her standing next to the scanner he could only drop to sit on the metal stairs to try and catch his breath.
Pike's Fun(?)house - Round 1
Well...that took forever. Pike and Whelk enjoy an amusing jaunt through an only slightly abandoned Funhouse, with all the tricks and turns two post-apocalyptic citizens could never find 'fun.' How will it turn out? Take a read and find out!
Doing research about the original funhouses was both exhausting and really interesting for this. And I hope I got the abandoned amusement house, Scooby-Doo feel right.

For :iconlet-me-in-oct:

Whelk belongs to :iconbistreblack:

App: longshotlink.deviantart.com/ar…
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Character’s Name: Pike


Age: 32
Gender:  Female

Clan:  She grew up with her family among the Nomads, but joined the Socratics at 19 when she became fascinated by machines.

Genetic Deficiency or Mutation:  Pike has had a growing sensitivity to light all her life. Bright light, which for her is almost all light, causes her great pain. She either must find something to cover her eyes or a dark place to hide. At first she could handle being in broad daylight without protection, but then needed at least a head covering. Now she’s downgraded to having some sort of shades over her eyes in any kind of light. She wears goggles with lenses made from a welding mask. Unfortunately, goggles being what they are, means that Pike has no peripheral vision in light. At night she’s just fine though if not around torches or fires.

She also has hemophilia, causing her great issue if she begins to bleed. Since an incident in her childhood where she nearly bled to death, she has avoided getting cut at all costs. Because it has not occurred in the vicinity of any of the Socratics, she has never learned what it is called, doesn’t know there is a name for it.

Physical Appearance: Pike is a large woman with broad, brown shoulders that lead into muscular arms. She has short black hair pulled back tight against her head, a small tail keeping it from covering her brown eyes. She wears sturdy, black boots below a pair of loose tan pants. A thick grey shirt protects her from small debris and sparks, though heavier objects or sustained flame would cause issues. It isn’t armor, after all. The shirt covers her girth well. Having carried twins and having a slower metabolism than some has left her with a round belly, though it’s never gotten in her way when she works. A decent size tool belt graces her waist, bristling with the tools of deconstruction and tinkering.

Major Skills: Climbing, hiding, running. You’d think someone used to living off the land would be able to swim, but she hates any water that’s too deep to stand in. She’ll try to find another way around, thank you very much. She’s good at mechanics, can disassemble machinery and put it back together, with modifications or not. Due to this she’s also rather adept at basic construction, knowing how things go together and how to build structures sturdily.

Tools: Has a tool belt with various tools. Screwdrivers, a few wrenches, mostly things she’s found while wandering around because the Socratics didn’t want to spare their tools for her ‘adventures’.  She also has a big rubber hammer she uses to smack things into or out of place. They’re basically enough to get her into messes, but for her, they’re also enough to get back out again. Black tinted goggles she uses to cover her eyes in any amount of light. She carries a length of rope in her pack, about 15m of it, along with any supplies she thinks she may need on any individual trip.

Family: Her mother and father are still traveling with the Nomads. She’d gladly participate just to get them inside, but they’re likely to refuse the offer. They’re comfortable with the life they have. She has no siblings, not by birth anyway. She considers four of her friends to be her adopted siblings, though Pike worries the Domers won’t take that.

She’s also married with two children of her own. Her husband, Nick, had helped her conceive twins, one boy and one girl. Toby and Jessica were too young to really know what their mother was getting into, but they seemed enthusiastic about her doing anything.

Personality: Pike is above all else, curious. She wants to know how everything works. She didn’t really understand this impulse until she joined the Socratics. Before then she’d had to fight down the urge, because wandering in to explore something could get you killed. So, she learned to be cautious when things seemed too good to be true, to notice the small details.  She’s quick to forgive those who sincerely regret their actions, but will remain wary of anyone with a half-hearted apology, even over something minor. She is often hyper-focused on whatever she’s interested in, and can forget the people around her, even if she’s been talking to them for a while. She hates being interrupted when working on a project. Just let her get her work done, or she’s going to be grumpy at you until you leave. While she has her small group of friends, she prefers to spend a lot of her time alone. If she spends too long with any one person, she will desperately want to leave the situation.

History: Pike is a 32 year-old woman living on the outside. She was born to the Nomads, and grew up learning how to survive on little and using the world around her to her advantage. Can’t reach something? Is there anything you can move and climb on top of? If you’re attacked, what can you use as shelter or a make-shift weapon?

She was raised more or less non-violent. Fighting only when all other options had been exhausted, including running. That being said, she has an eye for details, and has learned a lot from watching fights. Some fights were between humans, but they were not the only combatants. Intimidation, feinting, taunting, even dirty tricks could be used to ensure survival.

Though she’s never been in a real fight, muscles have built up over the many years interacting with her environment. She’s skilled at climbing hiding, running. She’d list parkour among her skills, if she had any idea it existed. But she hardly counts these as skills. These came from growing as she did. The abilities she’s most proud of come from a different culture.

At 19, Pike was part of a Nomad group hired to bring certain equipment to the Socratics. She had no idea what any of it was, but she was immensely curious what it might do if it weren’t broken. She asked so many questions of the people on the receiving end, they were almost desperate to get rid of her.

Pike was rescued from rejection by an elderly Socratic who took interest in her curiosity. She had been asking intuitive questions about things she should have no knowledge of, being a Nomad. He invited her into their library and answered many of her questions with the help of old manuals.

She couldn’t read the words, written language hadn’t been important to her survival, but she understood what he explained to her. The hour grew late and the man invited her to join in meal with him, where they could keep talking.

While hesitant at the offer (food from unknown people usually meant a trap), she couldn’t deny she wanted to learn more. Pike followed the man to his home and shared a meal and a curious evening talking about machines. She’d never been so interested in anything before.
It was late when they retired, and by morning Pike had decided. She wasn’t leaving with the other Nomads. Some ridiculed her, believing she was abandoning their way of life. This was somewhat true. Pike would be staying in one place for an extending period of time.

But others accepted this as another Nomad trait. Sometimes you leave the group to travel your own path. This was true too. These Nomads worried about her, knowing her often overwhelming desire to be alone. She would be joining a large, stationary group.
She was a little worried about that herself, but Pike reassured them and sent them on their way with a message for her parents. So began several years of teaching. She had an eye for detail and could understand concepts easily, though reading, writing, and mathematics were difficult.

She persevered, however, and became quite adept with machinery. She prefers the simple machines, but can also reassemble complicated machines she’s taken apart with ease.
Pike had a difficult time adjusting to the Socratic community. Most people were smarter than her (though she later learned the difference between inherent intelligence and education) and many looked down on her at first. Her questions were persistent and often seen as annoying.

But she found allies. The first Socratic to answer her questions, the elderly Onion. That wasn’t his real name, but it was what everyone called him, an affectionate nickname from his youth. A small group of friends near her age also took her unknowingly into their circle. They showed her around and answered questions when they could. Pike quickly found herself more attached to them than anyone else before them.

Nick, Sophia, Lucy, Bryan and Emma were the people she went to when she wanted comfort or just company. They helped each other study, and do chores. Working on projects was a breeze when the six of them were together. Pike was romantically involved with Emma for a few years, but split up when a rough argument convinced the both of them they didn’t work as lovers.

Nick would later romance her with machinery and honey drops, her favorite sweet. They shared a lot of interests, and after only a few years decided to join together. Six months later she gave birth to twins and named them Toby and Jessica. Toby was born with only one leg, and Jessica fell ill easily. The medical advances of the Socratics helped her through these obstacles, but life seemed determined to make her new life difficult.
Before the twins could turn a year old, their father had an accident that permanently crippled the limbs on the left side of his body. There were very few jobs he could physically do. Their friends helped him find a place in the library, but it was still a devastating blow to his pride. Pike did what she could to make their lives flow smoothly, but never felt she was doing enough.

When news of the tournament reached the community, Pike only had to think of her family to push her to enter. Many of the elder Socratics claimed the Domers had medical technology even more advanced than what was available to those on the outside. If she could win, maybe their lives could turn around again. She also wouldn’t mind a look at the technology they were hiding away. What could she do with it if she could get her hands on it? Probably take it apart, first.

Pike arranged for Emma and her girlfriend to watch after her family while she was gone, and asked her and their friends to help out if she didn’t come back. She left the settlement just after sunset, brushing the dust off her old Nomad skills.
Let Me In - Pike
This is my profile of Pike for :iconlet-me-in-oct:
Thanks to :iconleafquill: for giving me a shot at being a late entry. Let me know if this works or if I need to change anything.

Update 01/10/2016: Fixed her appearance, and added some things forgotten in my haste to get this last minute profile up in time.

Round 1: longshotlink.deviantart.com/ar…
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Jack had been preparing for his next match when Celebi’s message hit him on a psychic wavelength. His mind reeled at the implications and he fell to the ground from both shock and the mental intrusion.

Dory pulled him upright as he realized the murder they’d done, for nothing. There had never been a reason for everyone here to struggle and lose so much. Dialga had ruined their lives for his own sick purposes.

He turned to his Pokémon, who were all looking expectantly.

“Did all of you hear that?” A nod from each. “Then how about we go show Dialga what it’s like to be in a fight you didn’t want? Let’s make him fight for his life.” He turned and ran for the arena, his friends behind him.

He entered from the stadium seats, the battleground below him. The other trainers and their Pokémon were charging in too. Everyone wanted a piece of their tormentor. With a small army arrayed against him, Dialga started looking small himself.

This should be easy with us all united against him. But as Jack watched, Dialga tilted his head back and loosed a roar Jack could feel in his bones. His joints ached as he watched most of the assembled families disappear.

Jack ran down the stadium steps, Ayessel on his shoulder and Portent just behind him. He jumped down the arena wall and made to stand by the only remaining trainer on the field. Her Pokémon were already out. Five, no, four Pokémon surrounded her, she’d returned one. When Jack went to meet her he was tackled from behind.

Portent knocked him to the ground as a boulder the size of Jack flew over their heads. The other trainer had also dodged the attack. Crap, he’s trying to kill us trainers off directly this time. Jack released the other three team members from their Pokéballs, having recalled them when they weren’t able to keep up.

All but Aegis and two of his ally’s Pokémon disappeared in the tall grass swishing about Jack’s abdomen. Morse code foot taps sent Dory underground, safely hidden from the Legendary’s view. Aegis took a shot with Hydro Pump, not waiting for orders. The move struck, but only caused Dialga’s leg to lift momentarily in annoyance.

Two dark shapes zipped up Dialga’s huge body, taking advantage of his attention on Aegis. One Sneasel dropped icicles on his back while another breathed freezing air into his face. Dialga merely gave a great shake, scattering them from his body, not affected by the Ice-type moves. Great glowing boulders formed mid-air and hurtled down on the field.

Jack called for the other trainer to come to him and she hesitated only a moment before joining him and Ayessel behind Aegis’s Protect-enhanced shell. The Sneasels and Zoroark dodged the attack, Lumi used Psychic to smash her boulder into the ground just before it could hit her, and the Gothitelle seemed to redirect the rock with Psychoshock to bounce off Dialga’s steely scales.

Portent glowed with Future Sight and dodged just as deftly as the other Dark-types. Peering around Aegis, Jack saw her bark at them and receive a bark in return. Without pausing, the four shot off at Dialga. The Temporal Pokémon reacted much too slowly as they dashed between his legs, delivering four simultaneous Night Slashes to the back of his legs. Unable to ward against so many attacks at once the god dropped heavily to his knees.

He made to regain his footing as flame filled his mouth to scorch the Pokémon beneath him.

..-. .- .-.. .-..

Fall

Right on cue, the previously burrowed Dory burst from the ground, his fist streaming water. The uppercut parted the infant firestorm and slammed into Dialga’s jaw, shutting it. Jack cheered. It turned to a groan as Dialga flung a leg out, trying to rebalance after his head snapped back, kicking the falling Poliwrath. Dory tumbled into the grass, vanishing among the multicolored blades.

“Dory, are you okay?” A weary thumbs-up shot up out of the grass before sinking back down.
Dialga shook his head and glared in their direction. He rose into the air, hovering well out of a Digger’s reach. A smirk settled on his face before it was blown off by a purple blast of Psychic energy. Portent’s Future Sight had arrived. Dialga rocked to the side, only for a second Future Sight to slam into him from the other side. Jack whipped his head around to see the purple glow fade from the other trainer’s Gothitelle.

In answer though, purple smoke poured from the sides of Dialga’s mouth and a beam of energy cut across the field. In its wake explosions ripped the ground apart. Jack cowered with his ally behind Aegis, who had thrown up a late Protect. Jack felt his heart slow down as he watched the explosions, thankful Dory had been far underground. At the edges of the explosion he saw grass growing old and dying, while in other places it seemed to be un-growing, shrinking back into the dirt.

He knows a technique that distorts time? Of course he does. How are we supposed to stand against that? The other trainer was shouting commands to her Pokémon. How could she want to go on fighting this monster? Then Jack saw, Dialga wasn’t moving. His mouth hadn’t even closed. Whatever the attack was, it seemed to paralyze him after. A heavy cost that we’ll gladly take advantage of.

“Ayessel, use Tailwind to get everyone moving a little faster!” The Chatot hopped up into the air and began beating his wings furiously. The wind swirled around them and Jack could see the Dark-types taking advantage of the speed boost. Ayessel looked relieved. Jack could hardly blame him for not wanting to take on the Steel-type directly. None of his attacks were going to be helpful at all. He looked glad to be able to do this much.

Luminaire floated off to a side, looking unsure. Jack told her to use her Fire-type move and received a shake of her head (body?) in response. She pointed at the field with one of her arms and when Jack looked, he understood. There were a lot of allies milling around trying to attack their opponent and Lumi’s Inferno had never been the most accurate attack. She didn’t want to hit anyone else and hurt their chances of defeating Dialga.

Jack looked around for a solution. They needed all the help they could get and Lumi would definitely be that help. He watched as Dialga managed to kick the Zoroark in a glancing blow, while Portent and the Sneasels dodged a Flash Cannon. He could tell them all to clear out, but that would draw Dialga’s attention to Lumi, and Ancient Power was a problem. Telekinesis would hold him in place for Inferno…but he could still attack in retaliation…Oh!

.-. . .- -.. -.-- / -.. -.-- -. .- -- .. -.-.

Ready Dynamic

“Lumi, use Telekinesis to slam him to the ground and hold him there!”

Finally with something to do, Lumi surrounded herself and Dialga with fuchsia energy. The Lampent was concentrating hard, actually being jostled around in the air by the effort. But Dialga would not come down without great effort, an effort Lumi did not seem capable of. With a toss of his head and a roar, the fuchsia energy shattered and Luminaire was sent tumbling. Immediate retribution came in the form of Ancient Power. Boulders formed in the air and flung at the Lampent.

“Lumi!” She managed to dodge two on her own, but the third slammed into one of her arms, bending it painfully. But she was not the only target. Jack turned at the other trainer’s pointing finger. Two boulders were being slung at them!

Aegis tried to throw up a Protect, only for it to fizzle after a moment in existence. He’d used it too often! Instead, he aimed his water cannons and blasted the first one away with a Hydro Pump. The second boulder was coming from a different angle, and was too close for Aegis to blast. He turned left to meet it, pushing both trainers to the ground with an arm. The rock slammed into his cannon, crushing it, but deflecting the attack.

Jack saw Aegis bellow in pain, and even though he couldn’t hear the cry, his heart filled with fury at the sound he knew was there. The cannon was cracked in several places and completely crushed. The Blastoise was still trying to provide cover for them, despite the pain on his face. Jack stood and placed a reassuring hand on Aegis’s shell.

“Thank you. Just a little more, I promise. Then you can rest.” Aegis nodded and turned his attention back to the battle.

Jack called Lumi over to him. He wordlessly examined the bent arm before asking if she could keep fighting. She nodded exuberantly.

“Would you agree that we need a boost in strength here?” A slightly sarcastic nod this time. Jack laughed and pulled a small pouch from his pocket. “Alright, then if you’re okay with this, are you ready to evolve?” He removed and held up the item in front of her.

Her eyes widened at the sight of the Dusk Stone before locking eyes with Jack. The light from a Future Sight illuminated her as she nodded solemnly and the plate atop her head opened. He hesitated a moment before dropping the Dusk Stone into her inner fire. The stone caught and was consumed like charcoal, and Jack considered that this was not how evolutionary stones were usually applied.

Luminaire’s flame grew bright enough it was difficult to look at. The light spread over her body and the changes came quickly. Her previously animated arms stiffened and curled up and in on themselves. The damaged arm came out slightly warped by the previous damage. Two protrusions grew from each arm, their tips igniting with a dark purple flame. Her body (face?) rounded out and the cover on top all but disappeared, leaving only a small crown. A spike shot out beneath her to balance around. Finally her body filled with that dark purple fire and a long tongue of it erupted from the crown on her head.
She made her flames grow and fall, ‘flexing’ her new muscles.

“All right, enough showboating. Go flex on Dialga!” Jack implored, pointing at the god who hadn’t paused his assault against the Dark-types to watch the now Chandelure’s evolution. How rude.

She turned, her small mouth curled up in a gleeful grin. The light of Telekinesis swallowed her and Dialga, and with a massive ground shaking the Temporal Pokémon was slammed to the arena floor.

“Quickly now, use Inferno!” The other Pokémon on the field wisely cleared the area. The flame was purple-blue as it erupted from Lumi’s torches, much hotter than the red-orange of her under-evolved form. The fire washed over the struggling Dialga, leaving nasty looking burns along his steel-plating. He reared his head back in rage.

-. --- .--

Now

In another spray of dirt Dory emerged from the ground, fist covered not in water, but a dangerous light. With an immobile target, the Poliwrath had no trouble connecting with Dynamic Punch. Explosions erupted where Dory struck, throwing the god’s head back again and again.

When his head came back down, his eyes were unfocused, angry. More of the same purple smoke from earlier began to issue from his mouth, a lot more. Realizing the scope of this attack, the Pokémon on the field began to scatter. The Zoroark made a beeline for his trainer, quickly picking her up and throwing her on his back before dashing off. A quick look at Aegis and Jack recalled the Blastoise to follow their lead.

Jack was much too big to ride on any of his Pokémon’s backs without slowing them down. So he sprinted after the Zoroark as well as he could. He was still far from cover when the attack launched. The beam split like water from a hose with a thumb over the opening. Where the beams hit grass withered, stone crumbled, even plastic seats broke down. Jack managed to leap into cover just as an explosion ripped behind him.

Jack tried to roll as he landed, but instead just collided with the ground with his arm painfully dragging underneath. He grunted as he stood and clasped his shoulder with his still good hand. Probably dislocated, brilliant. The other trainer and her Zoroark stood nearby in the shadow of the tunnel’s wall. Both were looking out on the field and Jack joined them.

The battlefield was a mess. Dirt and grass was strewn everywhere, and so were Pokémon. It didn’t look like any of the beams had hit them directly, but the explosions had sent many of them flying. The Sneasels were slowly helping each other to stand, and the Gothitelle just lay on the ground, barely moving. Lumi had been smashed into a wall, looking depleted. Small holes in her body let out guttering flames. The glow of Telekinesis had been shattered.

Portent was slowly getting to her feet, and even though she’d had Future Sight to guide her, she’d been caught heavily in an explosion. An attack that distorts time probably couldn’t be effectively predicted against. She managed to rise and the glow surrounding her faded. The Psychic attack slammed into the back of the immobile Pokémon’s head.

“Despite everything we’ve hit him with, he still doesn’t look the worse for wear. Just pissed off. What’s it going to take?” Jack turned to the other trainer and extended his hand.

“I’m Jack. I’m deaf, so please look directly at me if you need to say something to me.” She looked confused for a moment, a are we really doing this now? look on her face, before shaking his hand.

“Call me Fangs.”

At that moment the world seemed to fill with static. They both looked to the field and saw a freezing beam and a huge bolt of electricity slam into Dialga.

“Where did that come from?” They followed the path of the attacks to a point on the field. Just barely in view were two Pokémon and a trainer. A Porygon-Z and a Heliolisk stood on either side of a female trainer. Brown hair pulled back, she wore a red shirt and what looked like a lab coat tied around her waist.

Before they could call out to her, Dialga threw his head back in another roar and she vanished in the same static from before. Jack turned to the girl called Fangs.

“Was that one of the other trainers? I thought Dialga had made them disappear!” Remembering to look directly at him, Fangs responded.

“The sound he just made is the one he makes when he uses that beam attack. I think he’s put everyone in their own time bubbles, maybe? And he’s fighting them all too?”

That was possible, Jack admitted. With Dialga’s powers, who knew what he was capable of.

“Even if that’s true, we’ve still got to deal with him now. Looks like our Pokémon are mostly recovered, let’s go –“

The floor lurched suddenly, throwing the trainers to the ground. Fangs pointed and Jack could see the grass on the field disappearing. Well, in some places. A jagged iceberg erupted from the soil, freezing the area around it. Half the field became an enormous sand dune, while two platforms floated aimlessly over a deep but narrow pit. Dead center of the field emerged a climbing frame, covering the center of the field like a cage.

A hand tapped Jack on the shoulder, and he turned to see Fangs trying to speak to him.

“– must have damaged the battlefield controls with his last attack. Are you sure you want to go back out there?” Jack nodded as he saw past her to his Chandelure weakly floating away from the wall. Portent was back on her feet, and that he couldn’t see Dory was probably a good sign.

“Aegis can’t fight anymore, I won’t let him. But I won’t abandon them to fight alone. They’re fighting for me too.” With that he strode out to stand next to his gathering Pokémon. Ayessel floated down onto his shoulder, having been dislodged during the run for cover. Dialga still seemed to be frozen, or at least slow to recover from his larger effort. They’d take every moment of rest they could get.

Jack stood next to Portent and gave her what he hoped was a reassuring smile. He reached down and placed a gentle hand on her horn.

“Portent, let’s start with Future Sight.”

The Absol covered herself in the purple light. Jack saw her eyes widen and she shook her head violently before the light disappeared.

“Portent? What’s wrong?” She merely shook her head again, frightened. Dialga began to move on the far side of the field. By this point they’d maneuvered so they were aligned on the long sides of the field. Dialga narrowed his eyes at Jack, locking on to his next target.

“Shit.”

-.. --- .-. -.-- / .-- .- - . .-. ..-. .- .-.. .-..

Dory, Waterfall

The Poliwrath once more burst from the ground, a current of water following his fist, but Dialga must have seen this coming. He craned his neck, moving just out of the way of the attack only to blast him with a close range Flash Cannon. Dory was hurtled away, bouncing across the field and painfully across the top of the climbing frame. By the time he reached Jack he was slow enough for the trainer to catch and stop his movement.

“Dory? Please tell me you’re okay.” A sigh escaped his lips as the Poliwrath slowly opened his eyes and raised another tired thumb. He helped Dory to his feet in time to see the flare of psychic energy surround Portent once again.

This time it didn’t vanish and she only turned a sad glance in his direction. She returned her gaze to the field before her where Dialga looked to be readying another attack. One of the Sneasels and the Zoroark had reentered the melee and a Flamethrower was to be their welcome. Portent threw her head back to let out a howl that snapped Dialga’s attention to her. The flames died in his mouth as she barked at him, moving forward.

When she reached the climbing frame she crawled inside and sat in the center facing Dialga. A sickly red-black aura surrounded the Disaster Pokémon and she began to sing.

Jack knew she was singing, there was only one move of hers that looked anything like this. This was different though. He’d never heard her song the few times she’d sung it, but he felt this resonate through his body. She’d changed it to something much more threatening. Is this what you saw, Portent?

Dialga’s eyes narrowed and the flames returned to his mouth.

Faster than Jack could direct her, Luminaire darted in the way of the attack, her own Inferno meeting the Flamethrower. The attacks ended, but it was clear the Chandelure was struggling. Flames still seeped from her wounds.

Dory moved stiffly to stand beside the Ghost-type, defiantly glaring at their enemy. A flash from the Pokéball at Jack’s side and Aegis was making his way to stand on the other side of Luminaire. Even Ayessel left Jack’s shoulder to perch atop the climbing frame. Together they stood between Dialga and his target.

Fangs drew Jack’s attention.

“What’s going on?”

“Perish Song. Portent has made it deadly. Every Pokémon that can hear it will die, or at least be severely weakened. Even Dialga can sense it, so he’s going to throw everything he’s got against her to end her song. We’re going to keep him from doing that.”

“We?”

“I can’t let them stand alone. But you should recall your Pokémon and get out of here. I can’t guarantee it won’t work against you too. I don’t want to be the only living thing left standing when this is over.”

Jack turned without waiting for a response and strode to take his place in front of and below Luminaire.

I won’t let anything through.

Enraged, Dialga formed Ancient Power and sent several boulders hurtling at them. To his left Aegis stopped a boulder with Protect, to his right an Ice Punch from Dory. Luminaire slammed one to the ground with Psychic, but two still came at Jack. He held his ground, determined despite the fear filling his guts.

Before they could hit, one was blasted to the side by a psychic blast while the other crumbled by twin Night Slashes. Jack turned his head to find Fangs standing next to him, guiding her Pokémon. She shot him a challenging look, and he smiled in gratitude.

Together, they turned to stare down the face of time.
NOCT2 R5 With the Fanged Spirit vs Dialga
A hopeful smack down on the tormentor keeping the trainers prisoner turns into a desperate fight for their lives, Trainer and Pokemon alike. Can Jack and his ally manage to take down this godly foe?

For :iconnuzlocke-challenge:'s NOCT2 Finale.

Fangs and all her Pokemon belong to :iconplutonian-frostmonky:
Small cameo by Bijou Palomer with her Heliolisk and Porygon-Z, and they belong to :icondemonicsugarcube:


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Jack was back in his empty vendor’s hallway, digging through his bag. His Pokémon were resting nearby, Portent and Dory recovering from their last battle. It had taken three hours, but three hours well spent to massage the lingering electricity from Portent’s muscles.

The Absol was relaxing now, but Jack had seen the sorrow in her eyes after she’d killed a second time. A second friendship she’d ended with her horn. The Night Slash had only meant to be a warning to push the Froslass back so she and Dory could focus on the Lopunny. However, the Icy-type had bravely stood her ground, determined to help her teammate. Such courage had cost her life.

Watching a Ghost-type die was haunting. There’s no blood, no corpse. They just sort of…fade away. This one faded from the wound outward, disappearing slowly from her chest up and down. That there was not even a body that could be buried had left Jack feeling hollow. Detached, he hardly noticed when his opponent attacked him.

Stunning the Pokémon on the field to stillness, Aki had leapt onto the airborne platforms herself. Her arms blazed, bandages burning to nothing as she hurtled across the battlefield. As she went to bridge the gap from the last platform to Jack, who was only now realizing the danger he was in, a blue glow enveloped her.

A matching glow surrounded a humanoid Pokémon at the far end of the field. Aki tried to flail in the Psychic’s grasp, but couldn’t move, save to scream at Jack. Though mostly wordless, Jack managed to read one sentence on her anguished lips.

“She was only a child!”

His head dropped to his chest. His apology ghosted past his lips, empty. He recalled his Pokémon, and for the first time, was the first combatant to leave. Jack left Aki suspended, probably still screaming in rage.

 

Shaking himself back to the present (though he wondered if that term meant anything in this frozen landscape), he finally pulled out his TM case. Used only a handful of times, it contained more moves than he’d ever known what to do with. On his journey he’d collected them from several different regions and they varied in their formats and durability. By the time he’d visited Unova they were only just coming out with reusable copies.

There was the disc he’d used to teach Luminaire Telekinesis. Waterfall sat near the back with other field moves, the first discs to retain use more than once. Dory had found that one for Jack, so it had seemed right to give him the move.  That was the only organization to be found though. The rest of the case was a mess, discs in any order regardless of number or the move’s type. But he eventually found the one he was looking for. Jack had found it in a thrift store, traveling in Johto. An earlier model that would break, he’d never used it, but now seemed like a good time.

“Dory, I want you to change your move set. If we’re going to keep doing this, I want you to be ready. Circle Throw is great for opponents similar in size to you, but some of these trainers have much larger Pokémon. Let’s trade it out for something harder hitting, huh?”

The Poliwrath got up and took the disc from Jack to read the move. TM02 DynamicPunch. Dory nodded and took the disc and the case to start learning it. Jack watched him go before turning to shove his things back in his backpack. As he shoved a pair of socks in, his hand hit something hard he hadn’t noticed before.

He withdrew a small velvet pouch tied with a drawstring. Oh yeah, I’d forgotten about purchasing this. While she could use the boost in strength, I’m not going to force it on her. He slid the pouch into his pocket. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t give us any advantage we can get. I’ll hold onto it for now.

Jack finished repacking before turning to feed his friends. No matter what came next, they’d have to be ready for anything.

Post R4 Extra
Jack's not sure how to continue with the consequences of the tournament.


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deviantID

LongshotLink
Joshua
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
Current Residence: Ft. Collins, CO
Personal Quote: Character is who you are in the dark.
Interests
Woo! Writing down all my notes for how I want things to pan out for my character in the first few rounds of :iconnuzlocke-challenge:'s NOCT tournament is brutal. Writing down the possibility of characters dying is rough on the emotions. Both Jack and I are going to be a mess when this is over.
  • Mood: Gloomy
  • Listening to: Indigo Girls
  • Reading: Martyr by A.R. Kahler
  • Playing: Pokemon White 2
  • Drinking: Water, Lots of It

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:iconawakingdormancy:
awakingdormancy Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2015
Thanks so much for the watch! :)
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:iconlongshotlink:
LongshotLink Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for writing Wonderwall, it's really fun so far.
Reply
:iconumbreongal:
UmbreonGal Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Thanks for the :+devwatch:
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:iconplutonian-frostmonky:
Plutonian-Frostmonky Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2015  Student Writer
  Hey, been meaning to say this to you in skype but I guess we're just never on at the same time. Congrats on the win man, you deserve. Was tons of fun trying to surmount you, and hey I may have loss but I lost o the guy in first place so that works for me. 

 Thanks for helping me kill a god. Highfive fella (Reactions) 
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:iconlongshotlink:
LongshotLink Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks! Glad to fight alongside you! You did a great job!
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:iconalex-namn:
Alex-namn Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for the watch!!! :icondragonlick:
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:iconlongshotlink:
LongshotLink Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome. I'm sorry it took this long to read your awesome nuzlocke.
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:iconalex-namn:
Alex-namn Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hahah :XD: awsomeness take some time ;P
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:iconphyllocactus:
Phyllocactus Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2015
thank you for the watch Blush 
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:iconlongshotlink:
LongshotLink Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Your nuzlocke looks to be interesting. I'm in
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