Well, I guess I'm joining in the bandwagon of canon one-shots like Tracer and Umbra. As fair warning, these will probably be fairly anachronistic in order.
The Northern Desert, Seven Years Ago
-My team and I have currently made a makeshift shelter in a cave for the night-
I have to wonder, why here? Ever since that thing happened, nothing's been the same anymore.
Muddy: -Staying in the shadows- <Man, I hate the desert. It's really hot during the day, but at night it's colder than the lower levels of the Shoal Cave.>
If what people say is true, places like this are great for getting a little...perspective. Far away from the cosmopolitan south, this is my land.
Forecaster: -Staying close by the fire- <Hey, at least going out in the sand doesn't scrape you, Steel, or Cobalt up like me, Draca, and Tropius.>
Steel: -With a chunk of iron ore in his hands- <D-Do you guys think that there's anything that could eat us out there? We're so far away from the nearest Route.>
Draca: -Annoyed- <Quit being such a hatchling Steel. How I managed to get caught by you boggles the mind. There's not much that can take all six of us on.>
-Can pick up the gist despite not being a Monese speaker at the time-
Guys, quit fighting.
Cobalt: <Yes, it's quite distracting and wastes valuable energy.>
Not a nice place, this desert. When we first got here I nearly became Drapion food. Then there was that time we had to fend off those Hippowdon and I lost some of our water. I suppose it's a good thing that I have two mons that can make rain on demand.
Tropius: -Can hear what seems like singing- <Can you guys hear that?>
Muddy: -Steps out the cave for a moment- <Yeah, sounds like a Flygon.>
-Looks out towards the horizon at what appears to be a rapidly approaching sandstorm-
Flygon? Shit, that's going to whip up a sandstorm.
Tropius: <Wonderful...Not only do I have to stay in a desert with hardly a speck of rain, but we have to worry about sand stripping the flesh off our bones.>
We need to move, deeper within the cavern. Let's go!
-My mons and I make our way deeper inside just as the outer cavern starts getting covered in sand-
Deeper within the cavern
I think we're safe here.
Muddy: -Notices a bunch of skeletons- <Er, no we're not.>
Steel: <Oh no.>
Drapion: -Comes into view- <Usurpers, in my cave? Get out.>
Okay, he appears to be in classic territorial position, but we can't go out with the sandstorm out there.
Draca: -Bares her very large fangs- <We're not going anywhere, bug.>
-Breathes out a gout of flame-
Muddy: <Perhaps we should try some diplomacy.>
-To the Drapion-
<We didn't mean to intrude, we're simply some travelers looking for shelter.>
Drapion: -Attempts to slash Muddy with a Cross Poison- <Then you can travel down my gullet!>
Muddy: -Barely dodges- <Whoa!>
Well, I suppose that negotiation failed.
Cobalt: -Attempts a Psychic, only to fail- <What?>
Drapion: <Your psychic tricks won't work on me!>
-Bites down on Cobalt with a Fire Fang-
Forecaster: -Angrily- <Oi! Bug!>
-Sends a Thunder Wave his way-
Drapion: -Gets paralyzed- <Argh!>
Steel: -Wraps his tail around the Drapion- <We are not food!>
-And stomps him hard-
Muddy: <Now what was that about? It's not exactly smart to attack when you're outnumbered six to one.>
-Looking at the unconscious Drapion-
This guy looks kind of young. Probably would explain the foolhardy agression.
Cobalt: <The storm appears to have cleared up.>
Oh thank goodness, let's get out of here.
-My team and I leave the cave, being greeting by the sunrise as we come out-
And that's what I love about here. You never know what you'll see next.
Route 202, Sinnoh, four years ago
-A certain Starly is perched on top of a tree-
Starly!Roc: -Looking at the various humans and Pokemon going by- <Boring...boring...boring.>
<Mom said that leaving the nest was dangerous, but this is about as dangerous as a bottom percentage Caterpie.>
-And then nods off-
Shinx: -Waiting nearby the tree- <Perfect, that Starly's as good as mine now.>
Starly!Roc: -Falls out of the tree and onto a certain trainer's head-
[h]At the same time while on the ground[/h]
Sinnoh's pretty, but it's a little too cool for my taste.
Turtwig!Gaia: -Is following close behind with a certain Kricketot-
Kricketot: <If any wilds attack us, I'll play a requiem for their souls.>
Turtwig!Gaia: -Does the equivalent of an eyebrow raise- <You do that, dear. Even if you only know Bide. >_>>
Well Jubilife shouldn't be too far from here s-Has Starly!Roc land right on my head and bounce off-The hell was that?
Starly!Roc: -Still sleeping-
A Starly? And it's still sleeping?
Kricketot: -Jumping up and down- <Let me at him, I can handle this!>
Turtwig!Gaia: -Grabs Kricketot in her mouth before he tries something stupid-
Kricketot: -Struggling- <Hey, let me go! I can totally take him!>
Turtwig!Gaia: -With the tone a mother takes towards a disobedient hatchling- <I think you should calm down.>
Kricketot: -Pouts- <Fine.>
Turtwig!Gaia: -Drops him- <That's better.>
Shinx: -Watching from the bushes- <These guys are ridiculous, and since when did humans come in brown?>
Let me see if the little guy's okay...
Starly!Roc: -Gets woken up and hops up- <Eh? Let's see here....human teenager with skin condition, female Turtwig...>
-Looks at Kricketot-
It's kinda creepy how this guy's staring at me.
-Looks at a Poke Ball-
Maybe I could try capturing him, I do have Starly in my research queue.
Turtwig!Gaia: -To Starly!Roc- <What were you doing up there?>
Starly!Roc: -Looking at me- <Body language suggests that he's thinking about invoking the Vow...>
<Well, I was taking my third nap, but then I fell out of my tree.>
-Looks to the bushes-
Turtwig!Gaia: <Third nap? Wow, this mon is really lazy.>
-Sits on a stump-
I think I've decided.
Starly, I challenge you to a battle! Gaia, you're up!
Turtwig!Gaia: -Takes up a battling position-
Starly!Roc: -Yawns- <How troublesome, I wanted to take another nap.>
A wild Starly appeared!↵
Turtwig!Gaia: -Dodges and rams Starly!Roc with a full body Tackle-
-Flies back up and starts sizing up Turtwig!Gaia-
Starly!Roc: <She hits hard, but she's slow.>
-Dives down again, attempting to aim at Gaia's underside-
Shinx: <Now's my chance!>
-Makes a "roar" and attempts to grab Starly!Roc mid-flight-
Starly!Roc: -Notices Shinx and simply rotates himself to avoid his pounce-
Shinx: -Crashes into a tree- <Ow...>
Turtwig!Gaia: -Annoyed- <Don't you see that we're battling here? You know how the Vow works as much as I do!>
Shinx: -Growls and sparks slightly as if to challenge Gaia- <I don't have to take orders from you! I'm doing this for my pride!>
Starly!Roc: -From the safety of a tree- <I knew you were here this whole time, you're way too loud.>
Shinx: <Quiet, bird! At least I didn't fall out my own tree!>
Kricketot: -Tugging on my pants leg- <Come on Tagg, let me fight! I could take down that Shinx in no time!>
-Producing two Poke Balls while watching all the mons fight like the children they were at the time-
...This is getting ridiculous. Well, I suppose two Pokemon are better than one.
-Throws them both at Shinx and Starly!Roc-
Congratulations! You caught a Shinx and Starly! Would you like to give them nicknames?↵
-Picks up the Pokeballs-
Hmm...I can't think of one for the Shinx, but I think I'll name the Starly Roc.
Shinx and Roc joined your party!↵
Well that was just weird.
Now let's get to Jubilife so that we can all get something to eat.
Seven years ago, during a family reunion-Grumbling-
Can't believe I have to go to this darn thing, I want to go back to my exile. Or we could try finding out more about those freaks from Orre who murdered those guys in the Under.
Cobalt: <I'm certain it won't be all that bad.>
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
-At this moment one of my younger cousins is trying to ride on Draca-
Cousin: Richard, how'd you get a big dragon like this one? How does he fly?
Draca: -Annoyed- <Tagg, you had better get your cousin off of me.>
Er, Robert, Draca's a girl...and she wants you off of her. Now. Salamence are not playthings, they can be incredibly dangerous and aren't called "pseudo-legendaries" for nothing. I promise I will take you for a short ride later, if Draca's willing.
Tropius: -Is busy holding his neck up from kids trying to grab at his neckfruit and tugging on his wings- <Tagg, Draca, anyone, help...>
Muddy: -Is currently attempting to get the kids off of Tropius- <This is how people get attacked by mons. >_> >
Maybe I shouldn't bring my mons with me to these things, or at least keep them inside their Poke Balls...
Tagg's Grandmother: Richard, so your parents were telling me that you beat the Hoenn League last year. Your Pokemon definitely look well trained.
Thanks grandmother,this would be about my third by now. Well, technically second if you consider what happened in Johto just me challenging the Indigo League a second time.
Tagg's Grandmother: Have you decided where you'll go next my grandson?
Well, not yet. Perhaps Sinnoh, or even Unova once I get the money, since Xatu's not exactly the greatest when teleporting to places I haven't been to before. Would be nice to see the region my parents went to first before ending up in Kanto. I could also go to Or-Forget that, I didn't say anything.
Tagg's Grandmother: You said Orre. We were most displeased when you told us you went there, especially since you've yet to tell us exactly what happened. Richard, you have to let us in.
Grandmother, can we not talk about this right now? >_>
-Luckily for me, the conversation is derailed due to Steel eating a steel pole holding up an awning-
Steel: <I had to eat something you know.>
-Gets the gist-
Not our awnings!
Family reunions. >_>
Forecaster: -Literally rains on the parade- <I was getting tired of all this sun.>
Tagg's father: Richard, tell your Castform to switch the weather back.
Yes dad... >_<
And now for a genre change.
The LegendariesAh yes, the legendaries, who my friends and I have dealt with in one form or another over the past couple years. Sometimes I wonder if my life could've taken a different turn if I'd decided to throw the Blue Orb into the sea instead of keeping it when Groudon marked me as one of his chosen ones after that card game. (One of the more outlandish parts of my journey, to be sure.) I can honestly say that the legendaries have likely been manipulating our lives for the longest, perhaps even before we were born, but I digress.
As I mentioned to Jane years ago, are we really sure that all the legendaries we've seen are actually taking on their true forms amongst us? I mean, Giratina has that Origin Forme that it takes on in the Distortion World, so for all we know Dialga and Palkia take on similar forms while in their own personal dimensions. Even then I'm still not sure if Giratina's Origin Forme is actually its true form, being a personification of alternate dimensions and antimatter. I've theorized that what we see upon gazing upon the creation trio are forms chosen specifically for communicating with mortals, if not some sort of meat puppet avatar for beings that would make Missingno seem quaint in their utter incomprehensibility. Not to mention Arceus, whose true form is supposed to have 1,000 arms. (As opposed to what I've run into.)
Then there's the Orbs. Adamant, Lustrous, and Gresious, each with their own amazing abilities. I am the Adamant Orb's bearer, the others staying atop the Spear Pillar most of the time. To most of my friends, the Adamant Orb is little more than a glorified diamond paperweight that doubles as Dialga's battery and summoning charm. I've kept it from the group at large for so long, but it's far more than that. The Adamant Orb allows its wielder to manipulate time, which I've mainly used for sleeping, but that's merely the tip of the iceburg in terms of potential. Slowing down time, turning it back, turning it forwards, it's been quite tempting just to use the Orb to solve all my battling problems. We'd likely be invincible if we used it more often, but it would also make us a bigger target and become too much of a crutch.
Of course, I once tried to see into the future using the Orb just to see if I could, but unfortunately I got a view of time in its entirety with all possible outcomes, something that I couldn't describe on this thing I'm using right now. I'd imagine the other two Orbs would have similar effects if used like that (The Gresious Orb especially since I'm certain its holder could freely travel between universes without the help of Palkia or the Entralink), but there's no one to test it out, and I don't trust myself with the whole set. Far too easy to abuse with what I figured out about them. If I ever figured out how to see time without my brain exploding I could use its power to help the world, but the dangers remain that I could go power mad and they'd have to...put an end to me like what happened to the AU's DS when she went mad due to the Lustrous Orb. Would be nice to talk to someone else who knows this burden...
Writing yet another journal entry.
Things I've Discovered About Aura
Aura. Most people think of Aura as merely the Fighting type's answer to Psychic. The truth is a bit more complicated, "Aura" Aura forms a quartet with psychic powers and the two varieties of Obscura, in perhaps a larger family of special powers. Though with how I've observed how all the Obscura users I know use their powers, the exact line of delineation on their end may be a bit murkier than expected. Not to mention how Aura users like myself can do traditionally psychic things like reading minds. There have been multiple arguments about whether to classify them all as Aura due to their similarities or as something different, but I find it to personally be a matter of semantics.
Even before I got informed of my powers thanks to Wulfric during the Gold Conference, it would appear that I've been using my powers unconsciously for quite some time, one of my best abilities being something I’ve dubbed the “Someone Else’s Problem” field. I can use my powers to cause people and mons to pay attention to everything but me, allowing me to remain hidden from both enemies and annoying fans.
My other best ability is Aura Sense, the ability to awaken the Eighth Sense. (The Sixth and Seventh senses being that of balance and spatial awareness respectively.) When I use it I can perceive Auras, but I can also see…bonds. Invisible threads that connect us all, of which the closer you are to someone, the stronger that thread is. It was through those same threads I forged that the Nihilist was able to make thralls out of all my mons, and how my mind got filled with all that info back in the Orange Islands. (Thank Arceus I figured out how to shut that off.)
Then there’s the empathy granted to all Aura users, which I’ve weaponized into Terrifying Presence, which allows me to project fear inside people’s minds. I’d imagine that with proper use I could even drive someone mad with the power, though I doubt I’d ever use it like that.
Finally, there’s shape manipulation, the ability to form any sort of weapon or tool by concentrating. Going by what I saw Sarah, Alois, and Alphonse pull off, it’s a fairly common ability once you’ve achieved the proper training. They didn’t need a medium like I do to form the Aura around after all.
Obscura, on the other hand, deals with emotion up to a point, (Dark Pulses are powered by dark thoughts for instance.) but deals more with illusions. Most of the time it consists of mere parlor tricks, but then you see things such as Annoski’s illusionary wards, which appeared to pull a fast one on reality wherever we saw them. Fool’s capable of creating life with her illusions, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Umbra could pull that off himself. I’m sure the illusions can be used for truly offensive purposes, but I’ve yet to meet anyone gifted in that form of genjutsu. As with everything, this requires far more research.
After a couple journal entries, I've decided to go back to writing canon short stories.
Mossdeep City, age 14-Looking at a map-
Still hasn't been all that long since...that day. Those Cipher guys, what did they want exactly? The Kids Grid and I were starting to learn more about their plans just before they busted me out to tell Silva.
Muddy: <Tagg seems rather intense right now.>
Cobalt: <He's thinking about those guys again.>
Muddy: <Yeah, Cipher...>
Forecaster: <So what else is new?>
-Gets an idea-
<I think I know the perfect way to get Tagg out of his funk. Get him a girlfriend.>
Muddy: -Eyebrow raise equivalent- <Now, I know you have your thing with other mons, but I don't see how that'll help Tagg at all.>
Forecaster: -Slightly annoyed- <It's simple Muddy, he gets a girlfriend, Tagg won't have to think about Cipher anymore.>
Draca: <I'm somewhat skeptical, Cobalt said he seriously wants revenge.>
Forecaster: -Spots a girl walking near me- <Ooh, perfect.>
-Before anyone can take notice, the Castform uses an extremely weak Icy Wind to throw the girl off balance, necessitating me catching her-
Are you okay? She's kinda pretty.
Girl: Y-Yeah, I am now.
-Decides that letting her go would be a good idea before things got really awkward-
S-So are you from here?
Forecaster: -Smugly- <See, my plan is working already.>
Draca: -Snorts- <Call me when this is over.>
Forecaster: -Turns up her nonexistent nose- <What does Draca know anyway, all she does is fly, breathe fire, and speak in some language no one else understands.>
...So you're from Mossdeep then You did kinda sound like it, I'm from Kanto, the names Ric-
No, Richard was forced to run from those thugs. You're Tagg now.
Girl: Nice to meet you Tagg, I'm-Cue flock of loud Wingull-
The pleasure's mine. She seems nice too, maybe I could have a chance with her. Okay Tagg, you've got this, just ask her out like in the movies or on one of those sitcoms.
-With a voice that should be sounding confident...but instead sounds really sleazy-
So-Name drowned out once again, how'd you like to take a ride on my Salamence?
Muddy: <Did he just?>
Forecaster: -Nervous laughter- <I might've miscalculated on that.>
Muddy: -Glares at Forecaster-
Girl: -Looks very unamused- "Ride on your Salamence"? You couldn't even wait until the third date? Typical.
-Upon realizing things have gone horribly wrong-
N-No seriously, I do have a Salamence, she's right over th-Notices that Draca's moved-Shit.
Girl: -Looks like she's going to smack me, but decides to just glare at me instead- I think I'll go.
-Yelling until she's out of earshot-
Wait, I really do have a Salamence, I wasn't lying, she's right-Draca shows up-Oh, there you are. Too late now though. >_>
Draca: <Messed it up already? Smooth move Tagg...and Forecaster.>
Forecaster: -Glares at Draca, before looking sad upon seeing the look of utter disappointment on my face- <Tagg, I know you can't understand me but I'm sor-
Come on guys, let's go. Should've known this would go to shit, like everything else in my life that doesn't deal with battling.
-And so we head back for our hotel-
[spoiler]And now, back to journals.[/spoiler]
Other CivilizationsIn our arrogance as humans we would believe that we're the only species on this planet to have ever invented civilization. As my travels across space, time, and reality have taught me, those assumptions are very wrong.
I suppose I should first start with the most well-known of these civilizations, the Alakagross Civilization. People have often wondered, why, despite their massive intellect matching and in some cases surpassing even the most intelligent of humans, that the Abra and Beldum Lines never formed anything resembling civilization. Thing is, they did.
Long ago, back when humanity was in its infancy, Alakazam and Metagross united to form the Alakagross Civilization. Their combined intellect was enough to create wonders that surpassed anything else existing at the time, and some that surpass anything existing in the present as well. One of those artifacts was the golem known as Numidium, its mere activation being able to mess with the timestream, its most recent known activation being in the universe we dubbed PMD-B during the event known as the Warp in the South. When Numidium was activated, several timelines were created and then smashed together, a phenomenon known as a Dragon Break, and felt across the multiverse in the form of Adamant Orbs cracking.
Unfortunately, as you could imagine, with their technological prowess came an extreme amount of arrogance. The Alakagross as a whole appeared to have what could be best described as a callous disregard for other species, especially in their wars. Many mons in their local lore appear to have described them with the sort of fear and awe reserved for beings such as fairies in human lore, with stories to match. In one of these wars, one of the factions purposely activated the Mt. Pyre caldera, threatening the entire region from Hoenn to Sinnoh from being blown off the face of the earth, and the weather trio were forced to sacrifice their lives in order to deactivate the supervolcano. The other legendaries were livid at the deaths of their brethren and the callous disregard of the Alakagross for those they’d end up hurting, including humanity, and decided the best thing to do would be to wipe the Alakagross civilization off the face of the earth for their arrogance. So most of their cities were basically nuked by the legendaries, who then killed whoever didn’t manage to evacuate in time.
By the present day, all that’s left of their once mighty civilization are numerous ruins all over the world, and some remnants that managed to avoid the legendary's slaughter, such as Lina’s Metagross Chrome. The Alakagross remnants ended up being responsible for Umbra and Lina’s immortality and powers through genetic experimentation in the womb, and I can’t help but wonder if their tampering is responsible for the Auric quartet even existing in humans in the first place. If not them or a random quirk of nature, the Latii might’ve had something to do with it.
Latios and Latias, the legendary dragons, managed to create civilization on two separate occasions in the form of the Celestial and Moon Tribes. The former was the more spiritual and peaceful and appeared to be located on the Celestial Plain, a pocket dimension that the people of my part of the world would refer to as Takamagahara, or the High Plain of Heaven. The latter colonized the moon, and appeared to be the more technologically inclined of the two civilizations, creating the Fire Tablet and the prison airship known as the Ark of Yamato, among many other wonders. Unfortunately, that was not enough to save them. The Moon Tribe ended up being destroyed in an unknown cataclysm with only two known survivors, while the Celestials were wiped out entirely between Orochi and Yami’s attack on the Celestial Plain, and the genocide by their forces within the Ark itself. Meeting their souls on the Ark during my adventure in 15th Century Ransei was probably one of the saddest things I’ve ever had to witness.
Another civilization would include the numerous Cubone tribes all over the world. Of all the species I’ve observed in this particular universe (though they’re a bit more in Tracer’s area of expertise), they appear to be the most like us in terms of culture, even having a concept of wedding dowries and marriage, as well as a complex code of laws. Some of them also happen to be masters of necromancy using the Dream World, and through some negotiations the Sevault tribe was willing to teach my mons and I their techniques for summoning the dead.
From my observations of PMD-A and PMD-B, both universes appear to have sharply delineated lines between “civilized” and "feral" mons. The civilized mons primarily live in settlements and are identified by the scarves, bows, or in the case of aquatic mons belts on their bodies. These articles of clothing mark them as being off-limits to the feral mons, who live much like their ancestors did before making civilizations in humanity’s wake. (At least in PMD-B’s case, I’m not quite sure if humans in PMD-A are completely extinct or if like in PMD-B’s case there’s just enough around to keep a viable gene pool due to what the Lieutenant called the "legendary’s protection.") The civilized mons also appear to look down on ferals, often considering themselves superior despite a fair amount of them sharing ancestry.
Are there other such civilizations in existence that we simply don’t know about? Almost certainly, but with all things it requires more research.
[spoiler]And tonight, another journal entry[/spoiler]
The VowThe Vow is an ancient pact that serves as the cornerstone of our world, from time immemorial. Little is known about how it came to be, though two myths may hold the keys. In the first:
Long ago, when Sinnoh had just been
made, Pokémon and humans led
That is not to say they did not help
each other. No, indeed they did.
They supplied each other with goods,
and supported each other.
A Pokémon proposed to the others
to always be ready to help humans.
It asked that Pokémon be ready to
appear before humans always.
Thus, to this day, Pokémon appear
to us if we venture into tall grass.
As for the second, an old one held by Veilstone City:
A young man, callow and foolish in
innocence, came to own a sword.
With it, he smote Pokémon, which gave
sustenance, with carefree abandon.
Those not taken as food, he
discarded, with no afterthought.
The following year, no Pokémon
appeared. Larders grew bare.
The young man, seeking the missing
Pokémon, journeyed afar.
Long did he search. And far and wide,
too, until one he did find.
Asked he, "Why do you hide?"
To which the Pokémon replied...
"If you bear your sword to bring
harm upon us, with claws and
fangs, we will exact a toll.
"From your kind we will take our
toll, for it must be done.
"Done it must be to guard ourselves
and for it, I apologize."
To the skies, the young man shouted
"In having found the sword, I have
lost so much.
"Gorged with power, I grew blind
to Pokémon being alive.
"I will never fall savage again.
This sword I denounce and forsake.
"I plead for forgiveness,
for I was but a fool."
So saying, the young man hurled the
sword to the ground, snapping it.
Seeing this, the Pokémon disappeared
to a place beyond seeing...
Humans and Pokémon didn't always share the relationship we do now. Before the Vow, humans were considered perfectly legitimate prey by mons for the most part, while we had a more or less adversarial relationship with most mons. We know that at some point around 10 to 12,000 years ago after untold millennia of violence between both groups, likely facilitated by species such as the Mareep and Skiddo lines and sealed by the legendaries themselves, what we now know as the Vow took root.
As for the rules of the Vow itself, they are simple. A trainer has full right to attempt to capture any Pokémon he or she encounters if they're approached, challenge them, and win in the ensuing fight. In return for being taken care of, the mon enters an equal partnership with the trainer and both will stay together until the bond is somehow broken, by death, release, or otherwise. Why would a mon enter a partnership with a species whose only real advantages over most mons are the ability to properly throw well and nearly unbeatable endurance? While a mon can get strong without humans, even without the power limiter created by Poké Balls it takes much longer than it would if they were a trained mon. A trained mon can also live longer, as access to regular medical care lessens the chance of them falling to diseases that would easily fell them in the wild, and has access to consistent meals.
The Vow also serves a defensive purpose, as both groups are also prohibited from waging wars of extermination against one another. Any Pokémon that would break this vow, particularly if they purposely harmed their trainer without due cause, is termed a "Vow Breaker" and runs the risk of being killed by other mons hoping to avoid reprisals from humans. Of course, there are some weaknesses to the Vow. While it does dictate human-Pokémon conduct, it unfortunately doesn't govern mon-mon relations apart from outright genocide, which is what the dragons used in the other timeline in order to turn humans into Pokémon without invoking the retribution of the legendaries. (Note to self: Talk to legendaries about closing that loophole the next time I talk with them.)
Even amongst human cultures, the Vow is interpreted differently. Its greatest perversion is the belief amongst some like Team Rocket and Galactic that mons are merely tools to be used as they see fit, and nothing else. Perhaps its greatest expression would be Mega Evolution, in which the bond between trainer and mon allows the latter to reach levels of power that it couldn't otherwise. While I've noted that in the regions under the auspices of the Pokémon League we tend to think of it as more or less permanent, in the regions under the Ranger Union often only one mon is considered truly permanently Vow-bound, and others must be released once their services are done.
The two Pokémon-only universes also appear to have a variant of the Vow. In PMD-A and PMD-B, a feral Pokémon has a chance of joining a team if they happen to be defeated in combat, which I suspect is likely a leftover from when humans were common in both universes. It would probably be worth it to try making another trip over there so that I could learn more...
[spoiler]Another canon short story.[/spoiler]
Of Cathedrals and AuraThe Cathedral didn't get many visitors, at least, not many human visitors. Of course, this was how Tagg preferred things, as he preferred the sort of quiet that was hard to get on an airship of more than 30 people, not counting their Pokémon. Due to ancient magic, the Cathedral's location was obscured to all but those willing to bet their very lives to reach it, and as such the paparazzi that plagued the J-Team could not follow him here. Of course, just in case he'd placed everyone under an SEP Field before they struck out on their own and until the Battle Zone was firmly on the other side of the mountains. The mons that inhabited the area rarely saw humans, and especially not ones of Tagg's dark complexion, so those not immediately concerned with survival in the harsh taiga often stared at him and his mons as they made the arduous several hour trek to the site.
The Cathedral, as Tagg had learnt nearly three years ago, was built atop an area of great power known as an Aura Nexus. It was here that he and his companions defeated the great Obscura sorcerer Annoski, and brought peace to Sinnoh once again. But at the moment, that was irrelevant. The building's wide halls were despite being well lit, extremely foreboding, and for that reason Tagg tended to prefer to meditate at the very top.
Sometimes the Aura Guardians would come from the Spirit World, the barriers being far weaker than elsewhere, and they would tell him and his mons stories. Stories of Aura Guardians long past, of their battles against Annoski a millenium prior, and of training. Tagg had shared the knowledge he'd obtained from the Yveltalic priest Salvador about the Gates, which Alphonse had noted he was aware of in the past, but it wasn't particularly well known outside of the southern portion of what those of another Earth would call "Asia." Ana's skepticism about such things, in Tagg's opinion rather arbitrary, tended to be laid low rather quickly.
This time, however, Tagg and his mons had the area to themselves. His current team was of the more diurnal variety, save for Aaron, and as such they were at the most high activity at times other than evening. Tagg was pretty sure that the Cathedral had not been built by the Alakagross Civilization, though it was indeed ancient. With that, he took up his normal meditation position, and focused.
At that moment Aura flowed through his veins, as his eyes glowed blue and his vision swam with the light blue of his Aura Sense. Threads. A simple saying, but as the words exited his lips, in his mother tongue spoken by the Unovans as opposed to the language spoken in his birth homeland, threads appeared. The strongest in the general area belonged to his mons, as their bonds were perhaps the dearest he could have next to that of his beloved.
The threads connected to the great Aura Nexus underneath the Cathedral, its raw power blinding to those gifted with the Sight. Tagg could send out threads to the mons outside, such as the Stantler herd passing through, or even the plants they were eating. His Sight stretched farther from the Battle Zone island, to even Sinnoh proper. He could sense DS, who was still hard at work trying to keep them all safe in her own way. His Sight stretched out to the rest of the archipelago, where he could see the rest of the J-Team within the Stormchaser and elsewhere. A disparate bunch if there ever was one, but united in its own way all the same. Even those long gone from their group still had threads, albeit much weaker than when they'd started.
Tagg could even sense his old foe Tokarev, as a bond of hatred is a bond all the same, but could not triangulate his exact location. The universe in his experience demanded narrative causality, and as such Tagg knew Tokarev had survived their last encounter that had left the latter missing an eye, hand, and leg. Screw shock and blood loss, the universe had a story to tell, and it would tell it.
Zrone, in all his arrogance and paranoia, was also similarly evasive from his Sight. Tagg also knew that their next confrontation was an inevitability as sure as the fact that for most death would claim them. He then found himself distracted by a certain presence that sometimes was close to the J-Team, and other times very far indeed. Echo wasn't quite a foe anymore, but calling her more than an ally was perhaps too soon in his estimation. Tagg would admit that despite their ideological clash they were both very much alike in some ways. Both were of Eastern descent (Albeit Tagg's was removed by about three generations), both had observed some of the worst humanity and mons could visit on others and on themselves. Shit, they even had similar tastes in downplaying themselves through clothing, though he'd admit the height and racial differences made that a bit harder for him.
The difference was in how they chose to handle the truth of world conflict. Echo had decided that difference was the problem, that in order for there to be peace difference must come to an end. Whereas as far as he was concerned, differences were what made the world he'd fallen in love with traveling in worth living.
HIs Sight threads connecting with the Aura Nexus boosted his powers even more, and even the regions of the West were within his Sight. Perhaps doing this at the Entralink would even allow him to peer into other universes, he wondered, as he wouldn't be surprised if the Entree Forest itself had a Nexus somewhere within its depths. It felt like nowhere else on this rock after all.
Of course, focusing his Sight back on the archipelago brought him to Sol, who Tagg honestly thought would never happen to him. Warrior researchers tend not to live very long, but somehow he'd managed to beat the odds, reach his 21st birthday, and meet her beforehand. Tagg had always meant to bring her over to the Cathedral, share his discoveries, but he was always cursed with the fault of a certain absent-mindedness.
And then there was Schneider. Maggie was perhaps an even bigger surprise to him, considering the fact that she came from a group that he loathed. (Tagg wouldn't say hated, as that was reserved for the Cipher syndicate.) Honestly, she seemed to possess a loyalty to him that he'd never expected out of something other than the regiment that was his team without the ancient Vow attached, which sometimes frightened him as she could always have attached to someone far more willing to abuse that loyalty. Perhaps his only real regret was that Maggie was as far as he could tell Aura-blind, so she could never really share in this ability as he could.
Memito was also loyal, though not quite in Tagg's estimation as loyal as Maggie, but also just as Aura-blind. Perhaps he could try getting them to spend more time together, as each exhibited half of his non-Auric abilities. Maggie could fight, Ever could move. They'd perhaps learn more from each other that way. Though if anything went wrong Mezzo would probably kill him dead, likely while Tagg was sleeping.
Tagg was then brought from his musings from his Chesnaught companion, who noted that perhaps it was time to head back. The world seemed to shrink, until his Sight could only sense the immediate area around. With a nod, he got his backpack and waved for Xatu as they decided to head back to the people they called family. Perhaps not a family forged by blood (Distant relatives aside), but a family definitely forged through experience.
[spoiler]My first canon short story not dealing with RP!Tagg directly.[/spoiler]
Of Aquatic Mice and Sea MonkeysIt was merely yet another day within the confines of the facility known as PEFE HQ. Within its cavernous maw a certain Azumarill was sitting on a convenient rock without a module meant to resemble the sort of ponds common in her home area of the Unova region. Azumarill normally had others with her, but today she decided it would be best to be on her own.
It was this way with the majority of Tagg's mons, who either spent time alone or in groups during their time away from their trainer, depending on their mood. For Azumarill, this was an alone day. As the rodent looked upon the waters of the pond she could see a few Krabby by the rocks and could feel her stomach rumbling.
She had to admit, the Vow was really something. Mons who would normally be wary of each other at best if not having an outright rivalry or predator-prey relationship could live together as teammates. Azumarill would have to admit she'd probably be a little leery of Anguis had they met in a more "natural" setting, since after all, snakes eat rodents. Kinda like how Aya and Lepi were friends despite the fact that as far as she knew Talonflame actually ate Vivillon if they got the chance.
It was then that her ears twitched and Azumarill realized that she wasn't exactly alone. Turning around she was greeted by none other than her friend and fellow teammate Artemia. Thinking back to last year with that crazy adventure they had while Tagg and the J-Team were off fighting the Illusion Project, she had to admit they'd made a pretty good team. Which was another reason why she preferred PEFE HQ to the confines of a Box, they all could have adventures if they wished without having to wait for Tagg to do a switchover.
And so the two Water types started chatting, the subject switching to the events of Orre. They both had to admit that they felt a bit... cheated almost, that Tagg had deemed them not ready to fight Cipher and as such they were stuck on the sidelines while Muddy's group got to go and take the fight to those horrid slavers. She had to concede, if all trainers were like Cipher and other Teams she'd seriously start believing Scolemis and the Seven Jerks honeyed words about Pokémon being way better off without humans. All the same, Azumarill was forced to concede that she didn't think she would've been able to do something like the Very Bad Thing if put in their position, as Muddy and the others were far more hardened than she was. That, and the looks on their faces when they returned following Tagg's defeat of Tokarev told her ultimately she wanted no part in that.
Even Artemia and Pica were more hardened than her despite being of similar age, she'd heard them tell stories about what they'd seen in Angela, about the Unity's plot to turn everyone into Super Mutants, and their group deciding that the only way to stop their madness was to kill them. Artemia was only a couple months old, and she'd seen Ana throw a cyborg Conkeldurr into a forcefield to be vaporized. Unsurprising by her count, as Azumarill was sure those of the group who came from the wild had similarly gruesome stories before joining up with with Tagg, but still kinda gross to think about. Xatu was there too if what Coulomb said was true, and as always that bird probably knew way more than he let on.
Her on the other hand? Nastiest thing she'd seen since joining the group was that multityping thing plus that time Every's (Or should she say Ever's) former Toxicroak and his cronies tried tricking them. Darner hatched in the middle of that incident with the Pokefutures cyborgs and had even casually mentioned watching them blow the abominations up within her first few weeks of life. After what they did to them, death was truly a mercy in her opinion.
Azumarill was then knocked from her thoughts by the Simipour in question asking if she wanted to spar. She was quick to answer with a yes, and they swiftly went to work. Yeah, Artemia might've been faster and more suited to taking down other Water types, but she was way stronger and could take a hit far better. (As a lot of the Unova Elite Four could testify. Now if only the Fairy type was released back when she was fighting Iris, then she really could've shown that axeface something.) Eventually their spar ended with a draw, and the two mons ended up collapsing and laughing towards the sky visible out of the module, delirious with mirth. Azumarill had to admit, despite how dangerous the world was (And as all Tagg's mons knew, for them it went even moreso.), it was enjoyable all the same. (Maybe next time she could try sparring with Fenrir, though admittedly he could get a little...overzealous.)
Hedge AuricHedge Auric. A term referring to Aurics who’d never had or had very little formal training, those who learned their craft only through the pain of trial and error, likely created by the Aura Guardians to denote those who weren’t part of their group. Tagg noted that while the J-Team, both Auric and non-Auric members alike, made Vierr the butt of their jokes as the “terrible wizard”, in the end they were no different than he was in the greater scheme of things.
Save for Umbra and Lina (At least as far as he knew, Tagg had never bothered to ask them how they learned how to use their powers, and in Lina’s case more than 600 years of experience would likely make up for any issues caused by lack of formal training by his estimate.), they were mostly limited to the equivalent of banging rocks together and hoping it would make a spark. Or in the case of Vierr, actually blow up more than once. (While powers could be granted in life-threatening situations, that was obviously more than a little impractical as a teaching method.)
Sure, Tagg had scrolls he’d managed to pick up in his travels, especially during the month following their return from the alternate timeline, but he knew that it was a poor man’s equivalent of the things he’d seen An-noski’s old partners pull off during their duels with them. He could teach the other Aurics what he’d managed to figure out, the basics being accessible to anyone on the Spectrum regardless of aspect, but in his heart Tagg knew he was just as much in the nursery as they were. Luckily for the J-Team, most of their enemies with Auric abilities would be classified as Hedge Aurics all the same, so the deficiencies in their training ultimately didn’t matter quite as much.
The very first human Aurics, Tagg figured, would probably count as hedge Aurics too. Only learning their powers through trial and error, perhaps some getting by on the mercy of mons who felt like teaching them on a lark. The vast majority of Auric techniques were likely passed down through humans either observing or being directly tutored by mons. Psyche being raised by the Gothitelle of the Lostlorn Forest was one of the biggest proofs of that. (Though one of Tagg’s darker theories for the existence of Auric power in humans was the Alakagross and other precursor civilizations like the Shadowlanders either directly granting the power, or bringing it out in humans for the sake of bloodsport. The fight or flight response granting surprise powers would likely make a good show in their eyes at least, he figured.) Of course, not every Pokémon would necessarily be a good teacher just because they had powers, much like humans, and not everyone had the privilege of translators.
What of other human groups? Besides the few Aura Guardian monasteries remaining, through his searches through the less traveled parts of the Internet Tagg knew of Obscuric covens. While all Aurics often suffered discrimination from those who believed their powers were an affront against nature, humans and sometimes Pokémon whose powers went against the boundaries thought immutable, the Obscurics got it the most consistently. Some of these covens were little more than young adults and teenagers with maybe a little more knowledge than the J-Team, others were likely centuries old and contained knowledge he could only dream of. While he’d managed to figure out enough to suss out coven members, he knew that most of them would rather keep to themselves, their knowledge given only to those who swore to secrecy.
Tagg understood why, there were still those who hunted Obscurics, either out of fear or for... even more nefarious purposes. (Tagg kept on hearing rumors about Aurics being murdered out of the belief that their parts would grant increased vitality, or even their own Auric powers. He still hadn’t figured out if these beliefs were actually true or not, and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to find out.) But there was still the part of him that felt that knowledge ought to be spread, provided it didn’t endanger the world. (He certainly wasn’t teaching the whole world how to use legendary artifacts, that was for sure.) They could probably help those like Elise, Crewe, or Vierr better than Tagg could in some aspects, where their powers and his couldn’t quite meet, but he respected their right to privacy.
Hopefully, he thought, one day the Aurics of the world would no longer have to hide from those who wished to do them harm. And not just the "acceptable" ones like himself and the psychics. But in the meantime, even if they could use more training, some things the world at large was better off not knowing.
…of Castelia, 27 years old, was shot by police while resisting arrest-
Once again, Tagg thought while watching the Pokémon Center’s television, yet another black person on the western continent had gotten murdered by police. But that wasn’t even the worst part, he thought.
The worst part was all the excuses he had to hear people say to excuse this bad behavior.
“They were resisting arrest.”
“The police were just doing their job.”
“If black people weren’t so predisposed towards criminality, this stuff wouldn’t happen to them.”
The thought alone made him seethe with barely concealed rage. Sure, it wasn’t exactly like he and the rest of the J-Team had done things over the years that were quasi-legal at best, but they didn’t hide behind the authority of a badge while beating people half to death. Or in a lot of cases, actually to death.
If they could easily subdue foes with a minimum amount of injury if at all, why couldn’t they? There was no need to strangle them to death, (And somehow get away with it despite live video) or shoot them with about as much thought about as Tokarev and his goons had murdered those trainers all those years ago.
Tagg’s parents had told him about such events growing up in Kanto, but it wasn’t until his first visits to Orre, Unova, and Kalos that he really got a chance to understand what his parents meant. Sure Constantin, racist as he was, served as a particularly poignant example, but the only difference between him and a lot of non-black people was the lengths he was willing to go to prove his perceived superiority.
Tagg was reminded every time he went for a walk and he could feel the eyes of people judging him, either as an “obvious foreigner” (As was the case growing up) or as some sort of thug. They didn’t know what he’d done in Orre, but it wasn’t like Tagg carried some sort of aura of danger around him. It didn’t matter how many Halls of Fame Tagg and his mons managed to conquer, or how many contributions he’d made to the PEFE, they’d only see him as an obvious threat as a black person.
Rage then turned to frustration. Frustration that while the J-Team could easily defeat any and every Team or other villain that sprouted up, they couldn’t beat a systemic issue like this one. It was mainly because while the Teams were, like them, outsiders, these views were deeply ingrained in the fabric of their society. And it was a truly uphill if not outright Sisyphean task to fight against society.
It wasn’t like Tagg could really talk to most of the others about it, they simply wouldn’t be able to understand. Sure, they’d be sympathetic, but it wasn’t like it was their lives on the line. Frankly, as far as Tagg was concerned most police (Certain ones like Lilith exempted, and even then he was admittedly afraid about her becoming like them if she fell in with the wrong crowd.) were merely Teams with legal sanction. It was why he worried for Hajime for when the J-Team managed to end up in the West again, Tagg was sure he’d probably be nearly as ill-prepared to deal with it as he was.
Which was why he planned to do everything in his power to make sure his few fellow black people on the J-Team wouldn’t end up as statistics in an unfeeling system. But overall, Tagg just felt… tired.
Decided to try my hand at this second-person thing as a pseudo-companion piece to Meta's oneshot.
You finally told Channah how you felt, after dealing with Muddy and Ever and you suspect even Echo waiting around.
You've potentially ruined your friendship for selfish feelings. You already *have* a girlfriend, and only a word prevents you from gaining a second. And now you've mentioned this, and you'll be short one less friend when this is over.
Really, you? For some reason she sticks around you, even after you've admitted to things that you didn't turn yourself in for just because you know they'd hardly stop at just jailing you, there were and are many people in government who care little for the J-Team.
Just focus on battling, unlike many other things in your life, that remains simple. A dance of blades and claws and beams until something falls, possibly lethally. Or from the bridge of an airship, fire raining down on all who'd oppose the J-Team and hurt the innocent. Mobius had proven how dangerous it was today, but they'd eventually fall like everyone else you'd faced, it was only a matter of time.
And on the off chance she decides she wants to date you instead of rejection or thinking on it? Her brother. (The one that isn't dead, though there have been times you've wondered if he might still live in some form) Her parents. Your parents, who you're not sure how they'd feel about you having at least two to three girlfriends. While you might be an adult and you're pretty sure they won't disown you over this, you'd rather not have things get uncomfortable at home.
Channah remains one of the hardest people you've met to read that doesn't have a Jammer on them 24/7 like Echo, even though after your trip to her mindscape you find her much more understandable. You'd rather not describe her physically in a desiring sort of way, not because you think she's ugly or anything (You'd even think Truth was attractive despite the humiliations suffered on you by her in Channah's Mindscape) but because that sort of thinking made you uncomfortable even before finding out your asexuality. You don't even talk about *Sol* that way.
You wish she'd give herself a bit more credit, that she could see herself the way you see her, and that she'd make friends amongst the J-Team apart from you so that you wouldn't have that constant question buzzing in your head.
"What if I die?"
You do not want her to revert to the way she was back when you first met again last winter, it in many ways reminds you of you in the years long before the J-Team, even a bit before the PEFE. Depressed, only your mons for company… (That hasn't changed all that much admittedly) Had some things been different, would it have been you in the middle of the woods of your teenagerdom while Channah ran the J-Team? (Okay, maybe not, her memories showed an ego in her old days that probably wouldn't have lent itself well to leadership of humans as opposed to mons, and maybe she might've been that way a little bit even if *Garrett* hadn't been her brother and poisoned her mentally if meeting her Inner Child was any indication, if not as jerkish and you're rambling again how do people even handle that)
Anyway, point is, you were a fool for mentioning it, and you'll likely be dealing with the aftermath shortly the moment you're out of immediate danger.