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Mindlack

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About Mindlack

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    Math, Pokemon and a few other videogames, reading, piano playing, programming

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  1. @Evi Crystal: Thank you! So I cut down on some text... meaning that a pointless episode was skipped, and you were thus spared about a short chapter's length (and an unjustified appearance of Fern). I suppose that the terribly made screenshots mandate some form of apology -- so please forgive me for their quality, or more accurately total lack thereof. Which also means that the finale of Part 1 is actually nearing! Chapter 22: Double or Nothing
  2. Isn't it dubious? Flora wouldn't have made a deal with a Xen like Madelis, no? I'm paraphrasing, but Madelis says of robotic Amanda: "Nope, the girl is on another level of her own." Amanda mentions that she's opposing "Celine's plan". I don't recall where (to my shame I only watched playthroughs but I like the theory-crafting), but Celine is mentioned in a few other diaries (someplace just before the entrance to Zone Zero, but you need Karen's sidequest done iirc) -- I think Karen (or whoever is the author) writes that she's spoken to Ryland, Damian and Alexandra, but I can't be sure. 14. More like -- why didn't they simply time-travel to a time when the Pyramid was empty? Like, a day before? And how did they expect to keep the Pyramid? 8. They're a calamity of their own, but the Xenpurgis? I'm not convinced. I think (given the names, but it's vague) that it's more linked to GDC's "vaccination" program, and Isha's words "One day, my baby will rise".
  3. Yay! You've taken the plunge! You're one of us the fanfiction writers now! So your character is arriving in Reborn with a full Champion team, about as high-levelled as possible. I'm not sure what to expect... is Lucia in for another devastating loss, will she simply use a "new" team all along and let her faithful companions rest, or will you have to scale every important fight up? Or will the conflict come from elsewhere? (I'll stay tuned to find out -- especially in AU "anything goes").
  4. I really shouldn't be writing this but the opportunity is unmissable. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.
  5. Absolutely fabulous. Otherwise, nice read, quite emotional. To be honest, I am worried that Candy and Vanilla drift away from one another now, because of what's ahead...
  6. Editing being the most important part of the writing, is a well-known piece of advice. Stories have to be cut as short as possible, keeping only what is necessary.

     

    It may be right, but it's heartbreaking! 

  7. That was a very pleasant read. I really like how all your characters ring true, even though you vary the situations they are put through (which is another very good point). Flannery... is as good as ever (I would have enjoyed another "fist of justice", but, alas, that would have been very un-Ambassador-like), while Fern's ambivalence is very well conveyed. I am curious about how you'll make the next episodes look like. At least, there is little doubt that Flannery's previous experiences in fighting terrorist organizations will definitely help!
  8. Mindlack

    LOL random XD

    So that's an affine cipher on Pokedex order and move codes as well? I'm curious, is it actually sufficiently random? Also, did you remember to ban modifier values that aren't coprime to the total number of Pokemon or moves?
  9. I think you forgot some: Solaris: had Grandview Station bombed, killing many people and completely sealing Reborn off its surroundings (ironical when his goal was to get the inhabitants to leave). Arranged for the lake to get hopelessly polluted, leaving (at the very least) thousands to rot slowly of disease, insufficient nutritution and slow poisoning. Tried to get a volcano to erupt to destroy Apophyll to the ground. I'm not sure, but I think he's the one behind the early-game PULSEs as well, who also did quite a toll on the city and the inhabitants. Blake: while in charge for the a small isolated mountain town, arranged to lock all access to the city and withdrew all the food, letting the inhabitants to starve to death. Zero: took of his own free will a deadly sick girl hostage to get her sister to do his bidding (although it's probably what you meant). I do agree with your point about Fern not being evil, although I don't think there is going to be a "safe point" for him to turn back to the good side (not with Lin in control with Sirius as a second-in-command). I used to think his behavior deserved a suitable karmic punishment (something really not-cool, but otherwise harmless) but then I realized that's being petty. Also, Fern as Draco Malfoy? I suppose that's a rather good comparison.
  10. Most impressive, really. Obfuscation like this is pretty good when you think about it, even (especially?) with a simple code. Relatively few are going to take seriously a random post on a public internet forum... Save for those who know they have to. Evidently, when one knows there is a hidden message, deltaFrappuccino's suggestion is a pretty natural idea to have and finding the code isn't too complicated. In addition, using the smileys makes statistics and automatic substitution tedious, if not useless -- one is more willing to assume there is no underlying logic. Still, it seems to me that this flaw impedes decryption. Our decryption capabilities and grammar are flawed, but aren't there a few signs too much in the line before the last one? Linguistically, you also could have shortened that line to five signs. Decrypting has errors though, I may be wrong.
  11. I really don't know if anyone reads this, but I guess I'll still post the chapters anyway. As again, any feedback or comment (even on significantly older chapters if you don't want to read it all in one go) is appreciated. So... as suggested by the status update, I've finally finished my first version of part 1, with 27 chapters. It ends more or less after Corey's Gym. What I am realizing is that this story is becoming, um, huge. I can't give a precise estimate, but it's topping 100 pages without question, maybe in the 130s or even more. So, when you write something this ludicrously long, you need a better title than "the odd one out". To stress the door-stopper characteristics, I was thinking of moderately amusing stupidities such as "Lords of the keys" or "War and Pieces". If you've got better ideas, I'm interested. Also, due to attachment size limits we're hitting, I'll be using imgur from now on. I'm not sure I grasped how it worked, but we'll see... (Final Edit: With proper help, I finally managed to embed the images) This long, plot-relevant (finally) chapter is the first, I think, where I'm adding "Player's notes" for battles, where I explain what happened in-game, which is (for the rest of part 1, at least), far less action-heavy (and uncertain) than the written version. And now, it's far past the time for: Chapter 21: Play Pretend The vine moving had been very intense exercise, of the kind I wasn't accustomed to (I would have to do something about it), and therefore, as we reached the police station, I fell in the nearest armchair and passed out. It reportedly took the chief several minutes to get me awake, so that he could get my account. I told him everything I had encountered, from the Meteors, to the half-artificial plant forteress in the forest, about the ambush, how they had nearly taken me, how I escaped. The other officer supplied the details about how I (well, more Leaf than I) ended up saving him from the Raticate. It was, I argued, strong evidence in favor of the existence of a "PULSE" similar to what had been set up in Obsidia. That knowledge, however theoretically interesting, was of little practical use, because it didn't really impact the actions we could take. The forest, the place we had to investigate, remained impenetrable, and there didn't seem to be any move we could make. We couldn't dig a tunnel, because we would have to break through sturdier vines and roots. There hardly was a way around, and it seemed a very risky gambit to believe the other directions wouldn't be well defended. We didn't have anything that could air-take us to the heart of the forest. Wait a second. "Do you have some sort of camera?" I suggested. "At daybreak, my Swoobat could carry it over the forest, so that we can get pictures, or footage, of what is happening? Maybe it's going to be blurred or out of focus, but we could get something interesting?" I got a round of astonished looks. "We don't have the material for this. Filming gear is too heavy, and we can't develop photographs here." was the consensus, and the discussion went on. Right, so we were low-tech... I missed my more "civilized" phone. What were we going to do? "I think I'm going to sleep for a while." I answered. "I've been awake for long now, and I think I'll get better ideas in the morning." The policemen weren't exactly pleased with my choice, but it was more than late and I was quite exhausted, and not in the mood of listening. When I was waken up with sore muscles, (five hours were generous of them, they said, in such an emergency), it was quite early in the morning, and dawn was barely approaching. The officers that had remained active had monitored the situation around the Ward and had provided alarming news. The plants were heavily developing southwards, towards the still intact parts of Reborn City. Energetic action, it was agreed, was required. While outright arson was still out of the question, it was decided that an entire squadron of policemen (along with me, unfortunately) would make their way in the forest, with the intention of locating and destroying the PULSE. Here was the catch, though: the officers would be in contact, but still dispatched in different parts of the forest, to force the plants split their force and focus. The rationale was that, according to my account and their observations, several people in a compact group would offer a much easier target. Of course, the actual officers had been given weaponry (more like a machete), and fuel and matches, with instructions to "use it responsibly". Of course, I hadn't been given any of these. After all, I hadn't been properly instructed on how to use them. It was, of course, the responsible decision about me on their part. After all, I could set myself on fire, or cut myself. Or worse, cut somebody else up. However, wrestling my way in the forest, I couldn't help but feel I was but bait, contributing little. Or even worse than bait, a sitting duck, waiting to be shot. Whatever "shooting" meant in this case. This suited so much better my still hazy mind and my wish to remain relatively safe. Forcing the tall vines (they had grown to over seven feet) to bend in approximately the way I wanted them to, especially in the darkness preceding dawn, was a straining task, all the more so since they were more antagonistic than in my previous visit. Fortunately, it was more of a passive resistance than attempts to squash me. As I wasn't exactly the cornerstone of the operation, I was satisfied with keeping a low profile. The forest seemed endless. I had lost track of time (not that I really had kept track of it earlier), wrestling my way into the forest. My already dirty and sweaty clothes hadn't improved, and I was feeling quite wet, and lost in a uniform field of vines. I didn't even know where to go, except as a vague direction that probably didn't indicate anything any more. Of course, thinking of what to do, at a time when I was already feeling too weary for anything not nap-related, I started reminiscing. About stories. About characters lost in the wilderness making their way back. But as I recalled them, there usually was some sort of knowledgeable (if not always with good intentions) guide, somebody knowing nature inside out. If not, they usually had a bit of equipment, or transportation available. What would such a person have done? But I couldn't answer that; I would prove myself to be just as knowledgeable as they were if I could. They would have some experience to base themselves on, some overview they could apply... Some overview... I had suddenly found my next short-term objective. I would have to find an actual tree, climb it a bit, and try to see how deep the vine walls were, if I could reasonably go through them. Cheered up by this shift in purpose, I put my bag back on my shoulders, and starting to push my way through the colonizing vines, ignoring my muscles' protests. As I was progressing, the vines were pushing back harder and harder, but I would then manage to slip between them, and not look behind. Indeed, the vines, when returning to their normal position, were so fast they would overdo it and bang together with frightening strength. Anything between them would be squashed to a pulp. Still obsessing over this vision of horror, I finally managed to find a tree after much effort, before even dawn was breaking. Even though it thankfully had low enough branches, it was harder to climb it than I had expected and I managed it. Once sufficiently high up, I found out that I had been lucky. The vines indeed covered the woods as far as I could see, and there only was a large uneven circular area, maybe half a kilometer away, where the forestry looked sparser. It would be pretty easy to miss, if one went in the wrong direction. I had no idea where the other officers were, and the light wasn't sufficient to see them. For all I knew, they could still have been wandering the vines anywhere. I didn't want to jump down from the tree. My gray surroundings were reminding me of existential questions, such as "what was I doing here?", or "what's the point anyway?" or "Arceus I'm tired, I'll nap right there and let the policemen sort it out". That it wasn't my fight. That it might be easier to try and reach Kalos back on foot. Who was I kidding? I'd pretend to see the job through anyway. Just not until dawn, I thought. Let me rest till that. I just sat and watch till the sky became lighter, revealing clouds. If I were sufficiently unlucky, it would be raining, strengthening the plants and weakening me, as well as Leaf. But I forced myself to focus back on my task, as I had exceeded the rest time I had allocated myself. Eyes focused on the clear area, I climbed down from the tree and started muscling my way through the thick vine jungle. It was a harrowing session of over an hour, pushing one plant and then the other, always being watchful, ducking the occasional resentful vine, seldom letting my arms down, but I managed to reach the clearing, at the lower end of a bank. I chided myself for not noting that, but immediately thought up a convenient excuse -- it had been dark. At least, while I was climbing the bank, my arms could get a well-deserved rest. Of course, it came as a shock when a young man in casual clothes, looking much more confident than I was, seemed to appear out of thin air before me as I was walking up the last part of the slope. Who was he? Had he been somehow expecting me? But how? "Gabriel, right?" he asked, tone casual, almost friendly. "How do you know?" I asked, shaken. "I figured you'd end up around here." "Why me? I'm hardly the only one searching the forest." I answered, trying nonsensically to nitpick the other's certainties rather than ask the interesting questions about who he were, and how he knew me. "No," he answered, "but you're not the one facing unexpected plant resistance, and, I suppose, Bug Pokemon webs. My name's Taka, by the way." This alarmed me even more. How could he have known about that, unless... And in that case, the best thing to do was to let him talk, watch my back and watch my mouth. "Would you mind following me? There's something I would like to show you." "Sure, why not?" I answered mechanically, even though it felt ominous. He had been polite enough and the request seemed harmless. We walked very little until I saw it. It was a PULSE Tangrowth, just like in Obsidia. Except that it was more twisted. It was bulkier, but even more difform, and frankly uglier. And terrifying. The other one had come so close to killing me. "So yes, that's the PULSE. This single machine is behind all of the destruction in the Jasper Ward. But you wouldn't be impressed, as you destroyed the one in Obsidia." "You know," I answered uneasily, not knowing what he was driving at, "it really was luck. And this one looks even more developed, more dangerous." "It is." Taka confirmed. "It has had more time to grow, and it's more powerful. There's a drawback, though." "Is there?" "You're not familiar with the PULSE project." Taka answered. So it was a "project", not, like, the literal greatest bioengineering achievement of all time. "PULSE stands for Pokemon Ultimation Link-System Exaggerata. A silly acronym, in my opinion, but..." he had a self-mocking smile. "Anyway, as you saw, it morphs the Pokemon and amplifies to some 'supercharge' point its powers. The supplement is theoretically unbounded, but... here's the catch. Oh," he added in a reassuring tone, "stop looking so tense. I know, I'm with Team Meteor, but we can have a civilized conversation, can't we? I'll warn you with plenty of advance when the truce is over." "If you wish." I answered, not knowing what to say. I couldn't sneak attack him, and I gained information. Net win if I behaved as he desired. As long as I didn't let myself get surrounded. I had to keep being wary. "So, where was I. Yes, the catch. Unsurprisingly, it's very hard on a Pokemon's body to destroy a entire city. It's a physical wrestle against the machine to keep itself alive, or functional. That's why, as I heard, the Obsidia Tangrowth died shortly after fainting." That was the reason, then. "I suppose that poisoning the ground under its core roots did help as well." he added, almost a compliment. How on Earth did he knew so much? "Long story short, this Tangrowth's exhausted, worse than Beryl's. I suppose it's because of the fortifications. One of my ideas, I'm afraid. I'm assuming you're here to end it anyway?" "Yes," I answered, not bothering to lie. Or otherwise complicate the situation by explaining my actual goal, which was leaving Reborn as fast as possible. "You know, I'm almost tempted to do it myself. It's been responsible for loss of lives, limbs and homes. But... " he stopped abruptly, his eyes avoiding me. There was a short break, and I didn't want the situation to escalate. I -- warily, uneasily -- let him do his thinking. He sighed. "Pity you ruined entirely Obsidia undergrowth structures. Team Meteor as a whole, and most of all the bosses, are quite upset. If I were you, I'd prepare invitations." "Invitations?" I asked, more and more disturbed. Taka, or so he called himself, hadn't made much sense in these last sentences. Was he about to go loony on me? Was he simply mad? "Yes, invitations. There are people to invite to your funeral watch, and pyre. Us." Taka was saying the sentence very strangely. Not to mention the weird grammar. He then took a deep breath. "Or, you know, I could abide by my orders. Disarm you, bring you in." I shivered at the thought. Or maybe it was just the cool morning and the tiredness. "Stop the infodumping and slightly cryptic monologue. Battle you." He seemed to think about it for a second, then added, still as if it was all an idle game. "Of course, you, the true hero, would probably win against villanous me, but I wouldn't mind." What? I wanted to run. I wanted so badly to run. But I knew I was surrounded by a very thick ring of plants. I would never manage to flee. I didn't have any other choice than battle Taka. Or burn the entire forest, which really wasn't better. Taka's first Pokemon was a frail Exeggcute, which fainted to one hit by Wolfgang, even as the former had to duck the PULSE's attacks. Taka's other Pokemon was a Chatot, a Pokemon which, so far, I hadn't given much thought about, except about it being basically useless. I was, at about the worst possible moment, proven wrong. Taka's Chatot was fast and powerful, and downed Wolfgang without taking a hit. I didn't have anyone matching its capacities, so I would need a Pokemon that could tank the punishment it dished out. Hex, the Swalot, was my best shot, and Batley was there as support. The Swoobat was directing Air Cutters at the vines that got too close, and sending low-power Psychic attacks to keep the Chatot away. But they couldn't hold on. Somebody had to be put in timeout. "Hex, Yawn at the Tangrowth!" I shouted. That would take care of it for a while. In the meantime, I instructed Batley to start hitting harder at the Chatot. The two bird Pokemon got closer, and a subtle dance followed, as they both dodged the moves of their opponents, while trying to outsmart them. The Confusions were fortunately tiring Taka's Pokemon out, but Batley got outthought and took a fully-powered Chatter attack from below, as she was maneuvering above the Chatot. The sheer power of the move quite literally stunned her in mid-air, and, lacking anything to sustain her, she started falling from maybe thirty feet. I started running towards it, but I knew it wouldn't work out. Luckily, Taka got greedy, and instructed his Pokemon to throw a similar attack to put her out for good. There was my chance. That made the Chatot's moves predictable. Meaning... "Hex, Acid Spray on the Chatot!" The Swalot was much slower... But he could grasp enough of the Chatot's future move to hurl the acid at the right spot. Again, the bird didn't react properly and lost its flight. Upon my command, Hex, in a huge effort, propelled herself towards the falling parrot, and hit it with considerable momentum (as I checked out later, she was at least thirty times heavier). The Chatot fell motionless to the ground barely a second after Batley, who also had fainted. Taka would not send any more Pokemon at me. Instead, he sat on his bag, took out some candy of his, and started to eat it as I was fighting the wakening Tangrowth. It was a relief, as I would hardly have been able to deal with it otherwise. The bad news, obviously, was that he could use the PULSE's horrific capabilities to defeat me. But if he gave orders to the Tangrowth, I couldn't hear them. The Pokemon (was it even one at this point?) had not appreciated its short rest, and thrashed around. It threw many of its already existing vines at me, and made up for lost time by forcing new ones to grow at most alarming rates. It barely missed Batley as I recalled her, but it hammered mercilessly at Hex, who couldn't answer but throw weakening Acid Sprays at it, as her health was under siege. I went all out for this fight. Mouse the Herdier, Leaf, Baby the Loudred -- my remaining healthy Pokemon -- went into battle, making Taka glee and cheer and pick another candy bar. Despite Mouse's bravery, she was knocked out about immediately by the thrashing of a PULSE-controlled angry plant that Leaf had just set ablaze. Due to her typing, Leaf put up a better fight, but the Tangrowth's Mega Drains and plain vine hits were tiring her out fast, while her Flame Wheels weren't causing the Tangrowth any serious damage. At least, they were painful and diverted resources away from Baby, who was actually doing the work. As in the previous PULSE fight, Baby did most of the damage. Her Echoed Voice, which she had practised, and whose power increased with repetition, was actually hurting the Tangrowth. The best part probably was that it and Leaf's fiery attacks were distracting the living weapon from trying to beat me to a pulp. After what seemed like an eternity of anguish, of me avoiding comparatively small vine attacks, of Baby screaming her vocal power off, when my back, knees, elbows were begging me to stop, when Baby looked barely able to stand on her own, the Tangrowth wavered, moaned softly, and fell over. It was the end. Finally. "Well, then. What a shame." was Taka's comment as he stood up, still grinning. "I tried my damnedest, and I failed. This is, I think, the part where I laugh maniacally saying that it was for nought, that my evil plan is still in motion, starting from the Beryl Ward PULSE, and that when we come back, you meddling kid will regret it." He paused, expecting my reaction. "Why?" was my panting answer. Why was he behaving this way? Why was Team Meteor savaging Reborn City seemingly without reason? Why... "Why is Team Meteor doing this?" "Isn't it obvious?" he drew his arm, pointing at the invaded forest, and towards the Jasper Ward, a reminder of the destructive power he had wielded. "Peace." he grabbed his Pokeballs, called something on his walkie-talkie, and left just like that. It had been very, very close. So unbelievably close. It only would have taken one more blow, one more vine, a couple of wilder moves, an aerial feint from the Chatot, maybe a gambit from Taka, sacrificing his Chatot to let the Tangrowth rampage longer... Or plain squash me, just like it had done to the faster Beedrill. How? How could I have conceivably lived through the ordeal? And who was that Taka anyway? He was undoubtedly a Meteor member, he had said so himself, but he was unlike any I had met. He wasn't wearing a uniform. He had almost been volunteering information to me, with full awareness of it. But he was in charge of the PULSE, in some way or another, which hinted at him being yet some sort of authority in Team Meteor. What was he up to? What did his parting mean? It looked like anything but genuine... Definitely eerie regardless. A roar of wind and a heavy impact near me pulled me out of my thoughts. I still hadn't been learning. I could still completely forget about the necessary wariness. A Salamence had landed quite brutally very near me. It was an extremely muscular Pokemon, overflowing with power and confidence. There was no question about where I stood in comparison. Any of my Pokemon, or my very body, would be blown away without a sweat. How typical, I thought. I had survived the unnatural abomination, but would be devoured by a perfectly natural dragon. But I didn't. Instead, I heard a seriously annoyed little girl's voice. "Just what do you even think you're doing?" she shouted at me, hopping from the Salamence. She was small. I was easily one head and a half taller than her. But she could afford to not care, because she had the Salamence. She had bright red hair, a child's face (leading me to assess she couldn't be older than twelve -- talk about taking risky estimates, my inner self-deprecator pointed out) and was wearing absolutely normal clothes, instead of some flight gear one might have been expecting. My eyes were itching, and I was already very weary. I decided there would be no point in making a two-sided confrontation of it. Better hear what she wanted said anyway. Her Salamence was an excellent ambassador in that respect. "I was gonna mess up these Meteor jerks myself!" What. "It's not even fair. I finally got away from my dad again so I could go stop the bad guys..." she cut herself off, before her storm of indignation blew again. "And he doesn't even let me do that! He doesn't let me go anywhere! What kind of father doesn't let his daughter go out to beat up bad guys?" That was a mess which I really didn't want to get involved in. I simply answered, keeping nervous eyes on the Salamence, with as even and adult a voice as I could. You're the adult, Gabriel, she's just a whiny child with too much power ranting at you: "No parent I know would do that. I mean, let their daughter go out and beat up people. Because, when you try it out, they get smart, and they know to fight back." "Shut up, you don't understand anything." she retorted. Wow. Most parents I knew wouldn't let for their child to verbally abuse a complete adult stranger. Or any stranger, in fact. But no point in mentioning that either. "Sometimes, I think he's trying to punish me because I remind him of Mom." No, no, I wasn't having that conversation and I was definitely not getting involved with that. "But the joke's on him because not only did I steal Mom's ring but I snuck out to beat people up too." And he's now aware of it and he would take measures. "But, to go back to the point," she said, pointing at the decaying cyborg Tangrowth, "there's another of these machines up in the Beryl Ward, where I live. I'm gonna blow that one up, and don't you dare try and stop me." her tone was dead serious. "Salamence." she ordered. "We're taking off." The dragon, of course, took off with their powerful body and large wings, and the gush of wind was enough to make me lose balance. Who was that? That insufferable, annoying, entitled, tiny, stupid child? I definitely wouldn't mind her doing the job in my stead, though. Character ratings:
  12. These are rather villainous, no? Take away a Pokemon's free will and such? Although, it would solve the level cap issues.
  13. The issue when you plan climactic endings to your story arcs is that they often end up way longer than you would like. The end of Part 1 may well take some 30 pages... 

  14. Oops. Looks like there's going to be one OC death upcoming. Or maybe Jasmin feels "cruel mercy" instead. Jasmin is pretty bad in this episode. To all her drawbacks (especially being opposed to the protagonist, that hardly ever serves a character), you added some portion of sadism, a tendancy to gossip about state secrets to about anyone (Aladdin wasn't a police officer, was he?), a cutthroat vision of the world and a very shady moral compass. Very nice chapter, I like different viewpoints!
  15. Wish carefully... I'm not sure you realize just how gruesome it would get. In soft mode, you would unleash two armies' worth of Siriii (plural of Reborn Sirius?) on one another.
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