Subject: [PW!] Together Until Death, Part 2 Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 04:35:28 GMT From: "J WILLEMIN" <> Organization: Excite@Home - The Leader in Broadband Newsgroups: (OOC: All right, this is the last story! For good! I swear!) "Now there'sss no one left to sssave you, Jessssica," commented Panopticon as Regulus, Serpentor, and Trifecta started to close in on the blue Scyther. "I think it'sss about time we finissshed thisss..." "Scy ther! <<I agree!>>" Jessica said, fury in her voice. With a mighty lunge, she flew over top of Panopticon's three Pokémon and landed at the spot where she had dropped her Pokéball belt. She tapped one of the Pokéballs with the tip of her scythe, opening the spheroid...and releasing the towering Rhydon, Rampage. "RHYYYYY!!!" Rampage bellowed as he pounded his chest with his stone arms. "Ah, it'sss David Bradley'sss Rhydon!" Panopticon noted. "You're quite the thief, Jessssica...what did you do, sssteal the Pokéball off of Bradley'sss rotting corpssse?" He chuckled a bit before commanding, "Regulusss, terminate thisss mindlessss -" CRUNCH. Before Panopticon could finish his order, Regulus was crushed flat by Rampage's Body Slam attack. The Rhydon stood back up and brushed pieces of the Starmie's pulverized core off of his chest. "Don?" Rampage stared down at his pancaked opponent and gave the Starmie a poke with one claw. Regulus responded by waving its tentacles about madly. Rampage, content that his opponent was still alive, daintily picked Regulus up by one tentacle and gently placed the Starmie out of the way of further harm. For once, Panopticon looked surprised. Meanwhile, Cori had retrieved Korova's bottle of Moo Moo Milk and was kneeling next to Kyle. She forced Kyle's mouth open and filled it with milk, but none of the fluid went down Kyle's throat. "Swallow, you idiot!" Cori growled. "Do you want to live or not?" She gave Kyle a slap across the face, but that only succeeded in knocking the milk right out of Kyle's mouth. When Kyle failed to respond to the slap, Cori started to shake him violently. "Wake up!!!" she cried. Finally, she did the inevitable and felt Kyle's neck for a pulse. In a voice that was little more than a whisper, Cori said, "...Oh, no..." "Scy ther? <<How's Kyle?>>" Jessica asked, from where she was watching Rampage now confront the massive Serpentor. Cori guessed accurately at what Jessica had said. "He...he's gone...I was too late...!" Jessica, feeling weak all of a sudden, collapsed against the nearest wall. She looked paralyzed for several seconds as Cori's words sunk in, then tears poured from her Scyther eyes. isn't possible..._ she thought. can't be...he's just passed out, is all...oh God, I'm deluding myself! He died, just like he said he would..._ She doubled over as if the realization were making her ill.'s all my fault...I wasted time attacking Panopticon when I should have been focusing on saving Kyle...! I could've gotten the milk to him myself...I could've...oh God, I can't do anything right..._ "I'm sorry, Kyle..." Cori said, trying to hide the tears that were welling up in her own eyes. She tossed away the quarter-full bottle of Moo Moo Milk, and it hit Lotus the unconscious Chikorita in the head, partially waking her up. "I'm so sorry..." At that point, Cori could hold back no longer. She fell on her side and started sobbing loudly. "Excussse me, am I sssupposssed to be touched by thisss?" snarled Panopticon. "Criminy, at leassst Jessssica can cry quietly..." He tossed a Pokéball toward Cori, and out came Inferno, the battle-scarred white Charizard. "Inferno, end thisss human'sss bawling..." "Gwooorrr? <<Why can't I get a difficult job?>>" Inferno snarled. He stood over Cori and took a deep breath, preparing to incinerate her with a Fire Blast. It mattered little whether Cori wanted to die at that point, as she was too incapacitated by her own crying to do anything. Inferno exhaled, and the building rumbled with the force of his attack. Jessica suddenly snapped out of her profound obliviousness when she felt the explosion. She took her first horrified glance at Inferno. "Scy?! <<Espio?!>>" "Grwaaarrr? <<Who the hell's Espio?>>" the white Charizard grunted as the flames from his attack dissipated, revealing two charred human skeletons at his feet. "Grrraaarrr... <<My name's Inferno...>>" "Scy...ther scy...ther scy scy ther? << could could you kill that innocent girl?>>" she cried, sinking further into despair. "Scy ther...scy...scy ther scy scy...? <<You were my friend once...what...what did Panopticon do to you...?>>" "Grrr, arrr, gwaaarrrgh... <<Listen, lady, don't make me kick your ass...>>" While this exchange went on, Rampage grabbed Serpentor by the tail and swung the massive Steelix over his head like a morningstar. "Trifecta, Hidden Power, you idiot!" Panopticon roared, as if the order should have been taken as a given. "Mag ne -" CRUNCH. Serpentor's massive steel head collided with Trifecta, and Magneton pieces went flying every which way. Having succeeded in knocking out two Pokémon already, Rampage flung Serpentor at Inferno to try for two more. But the speedy Charizard was able to leap out of the way. And even when Serpentor crashed through the exit door at the far end of the cathedral, the Steelix was able to get back up. "HAGAAANRRR!" the Steelix roared with fury. Like some giant metal worm, he crawled back down the aisle toward Rampage. Once the Rhydon was within range, Serpentor reared...then wrapped his titanic jaws around Rampage's head, as if he planned to swallow the stone beast whole. But as rays of light started to radiate from the mad Steelix, it became clear that this was not the serpent's plan. A second after the rays of light became blinding, the whole cathedral was rocked by a massive Explosion. The pews in the vicinity of the blast were charred black, and a Steelix-sized impact crater was made in the central aisle. As a dense cloud of smoke hid the combatants from sight, there came the heavy thud of a Steelix passing out. When the dust cleared, Serpentor had gone limp, but Rampage was merely singed. Rampage detached the burnt Serpentor from his head and tossed the giant snake to one side. Then the mighty Rhydon pointed at Inferno to let the Charizard know that he would be the next to fall. Panopticon angrily recalled the three Pokémon of his that were out of commission, then ordered, "Inferno, Earthquake!" Inferno stomped one foot, sending a zig-zagging line of energy over to where Rampage stood and causing the ground to erupt up from beneath him. The stone beast toppled, but managed to remain standing. Rampage looked to Jessica for an order, but the blue Scyther looked as if her soul had been torn from her body. Thus Rampage decided to use Rock Slide, the most obvious attack to use given the situation. He held his hands out like a sorcerer casting a spell, and the chunks of broken earth from Inferno's attack floated into the air at the Rhydon's behest. However, the quick Charizard was able to dodge the stones as they flew his way. "Inferno, keep usssing Earthquake!" Panopticon shouted. Inferno repeated his attack, this time with his other foot. Rampage fell to his knees as the ground broke again. Repeating Rock Slide, Rampage gathered up the newly-made pieces of earth and formed them into a single boulder, which he flung nigh-effortlessly at the Charizard. With a lightning-quick leap, Inferno dodged the boulder and let it become wedged in the exit. "Now, Inferno, ussse Ssswordsss Danccce!" "Graaar? <<What?>>" "I sssaid...ussse Ssswords Danccce...!" "Graarrrarrrgh! Gwooorrr... <<But earlier you said to keep using Earthquake! I can't do both at once...>>" "Imbecccile! Ussse Ssswordsss Danccce firssst, *then* continue with -" There was yet another sickening CRUNCH as Rampage quickly retrieved the boulder from the exit and then smashed it over the distracted Charizard's head. Inferno stood for a moment with bits of gravel all over his face, then he fell like a tree. Rampage stepped over the now-limp Charizard and finally approached Panopticon. Panopticon recalled Inferno and reached for his next Pokéball. "Not ssso fassst, my friend. I ssstill have, I mean Pokémon left!" He tossed the Pokéball down and shouted, "Ssshrapnel, attack!" A scarred female Scizor materialized in front of Rampage and silently stared the much larger Rhydon down. Jessica's head slowly turned to look at the new combatant. "Scy...ther? <<What's...that?>>" she said sullenly. "Come now, Jessssica, you don't even recognize your own evolved form?" Panopticon laughed. Rampage wasted no time in getting the battle started. He lowered one shoulder and charged, hammering Shrapnel with a Body Slam that sent her flying into the back wall. As the Scizor tried to get to her feet, Rampage levitated much of the stone debris in the room and barraged Shrapnel with it, burying her completely. The Rhydon raised his hands and bellowed a triumphant roar. Suddenly, Shrapnel flew straight up out of the hill of stone, scattering debris everywhere. She twirled around in midair in a frenzied Swords Dance, then dived at the surprised Rhydon and gave him a powerful Slash across the muzzle, sending him stumbling back. Rampage raised one hand to his nose and was stunned to find that it was actually bleeding. Shrapnel did another quick Swords Dance while the Rhydon pawed the ground and snorted like a mad Tauros. Before Rampage could try another Body Slam, Shrapnel finished her Swords Dance and gave Rampage another Slash, this one stronger than the first. Rampage staggered even further back and fell over. "RHYYYYY!!!" Rampage thundered as he noticed the deep Slash wound that was now in his chest. Infuriated that a miserable insect could cause so much pain, Rampage stood up, lowered his head, and rushed at Shrapnel with his drill-horn spinning. Shrapnel simply braced herself. With Shrapnel making no attempt to dodge it, Rampage's Horn Drill attack connected with the Scizor's thorax. For a few seconds there were sparks, then the bloodcurdling screech of grinding metal, then finally an anguished cry from Rampage. The Rhydon stepped back, and Panopticon laughed heartily as he saw that not only was Shrapnel still standing, but Rampage's drill-horn was now mangled beyond recognition. "Rhyyyyydon...!!!" As a final act of desperation, Rampage quickly lunged forward and tried to flatten Shrapnel just as he had flattened Regulus. But with her physical power maxed out by the two Swords Dances, Shrapnel easily sunk one pincer deep into Rampage's chest and lifted the giant Rhydon above her head with one incredibly thin but deceptively powerful arm. She then pointed her Steel Wings directly up at the helpless Rampage and relentlessly riddled his body with bullet-like wing scales until he finally stopped struggling. "Bravo, my dear!" Panopticon congratulated Shrapnel as she dropped the unconscious Rampage at her side and then Slashed his horn off out of spite. "Now come to the altar and claim your trophy...Jessssica's head!" Shrapnel approached the altar and walked very slowly up to where Jessica knelt, crying loudly now. Shrapnel, having never taken a life before, hesitantly took hold of Jessica's neck with one uneasy pincer and debated in her mind whether she felt right about what she was about to do. Jessica, noticing Shrapnel's hesitation, urged her on: "<<Panopticon killed my husband...he enslaved my Charizard friend...he probably even killed my children...I...I'm alone...I have no one, nothing now...nothing to live for...! Just...end it!>>" Shrapnel immediately let go of Jessica. "What did you say?" Jessica was shocked to have to repeat herself. "End it! Quickly!!!" "No, before that! About your children..." "A valiant effort, Jessssica," said Panopticon slyly. "But you're not fooling anyone. You had dozens of husssbandsss! And you left your children in a ravine to die!" "<<What are you talking about, you scaly bastard?>>" Jessica angrily cried. "<<My husband's burnt skeleton is right over there...and I still have nightmares about your boss's machine ripping the eggs out of my womb! And you're the only one of his flunkies who's still around...why, I'd bet my life you *ate* those eggs, you monster...!>>" Shrapnel glared at Panopticon. "Don't tell me you *believe* thisss nonsssenssse?!" Panopticon snarled. "I don't know, it makes quite a bit of sense to me," Shrapnel replied. "Except for that last part, of course..." Panopticon bared his teeth. His cybernetically-jointed tail curled up over his back like a scorpion's, and tied to the tip of his tail was his grenade launcher. He ripped the grenade launcher loose, rapidly loaded it, and pointed it at the Scizor. "Ssshrapnel, kill her...or die." "<<Do it!>>" Jessica pleaded. "<<I'm not worth getting killed over...>>" "That'sss it, right from Jessssica'sss mouth..." Panopticon hissed as Shrapnel laboriously grabbed on to Jessica's neck again. The blue Scyther shut her eyes tight. "Chiiiiikaaaaa!!!" "...Eh?" Panopticon whirled, wondering where the cry had just come from. A spinning green ball bounced up on to the altar and rammed into Panopticon's grenade launcher, knocking the weapon from his reptilian hands. The green ball rebounded and unfurled in midair, revealing a furious Lotus. The Chikorita landed at Panopticon's feet and nibbled madly on the cyber-saur's ankle. "Missserable little wretch!" Panopticon roared as he savagely kicked Lotus away. CLANG! That moment of diversion was all Shrapnel needed to rush up and bash Panopticon across the head with one steel claw. Panopticon flinched, but he managed to duck under Shrapnel's second swing. Shrapnel spun around and went for a third swing, but Panopticon leaned back on his tail to dodge, then sprung forward and attacked Shrapnel with a mad flurry of kangaroo-like kicks to the face. Without missing a beat, Panopticon headbutted the reeling Shrapnel in the thorax, then gave her a powerful slap with his tail, knocking her into one of the apsidal chapels. Meanwhile, Lotus ran back down to where she had drunk some of the remaining Moo Moo Milk and finally finished off the bottle before jumping back up on to the altar, bracing herself, and starting to glow with a greenish light. But Panopticon paid no mind. He charged after Shrapnel with his head tilted and his jaws open, intending to reach down and bite the fallen Scizor in half. However, Shrapnel was prepared. She kicked Panopticon in the muzzle as he approached, then did a quick kip-up, lunged, and grabbed the astonished Panopticon's neck. And with one twist of a pincer, Panopticon went limp. Shrapnel stood for a few seconds, looking into Panopticon's eyes, which stared back at her with amazement even in death. Then she recoiled in terror, allowing Panopticon to slump lifelessly to the floor. Sparks and blood sprayed from the massive break in Panopticon's neck. "'s over..." Shrapnel gasped. "He's...dead..." "Thank you," sniffled Jessica. " you can finish what you came here to do..." "Kill you? But...but I can't now...!" Shrapnel said, starting to cry a bit herself. "Knowing I've been lied to all these years... about you...I'd suspected it, but now there's proof...I can't kill you, Mother! Not now, not ever!" Jessica stopped sobbing for just a moment. "What...did you call me?" Shrapnel looked stunned. "Mother, didn't you know...? Panopticon told me you abandoned me and my siblings...but I'm positive now that it wasn't true..." "My children...are alive?" Jessica realized. "I am, at least," Shrapnel sighed. "My brother was traded away five years ago...and...I don't know what happened to my sister..." "Ssshe'sss dead, you fool! Asss you ssshall be, in a moment!" Shrapnel jumped back when she heard that sibilant voice. "It...can't be...!!!" Shrapnel and Jessica watched with profound horror as Panopticon, with much mechanical whirring, gradually came back to life. Sparks continued to pour from his neck. A savage grin crossed his twisted face. His eyes were glowing with a demonic red light. "Honessstly," he laughed, "when wasss the lassst time you heard of a killer cccyborg dying of a broken neck?" He took hold of his own head and, much to Shrapnel's revulsion, snapped his neck back into place, cutting off the flow of sparks. Then, taking advantage of the fact that his enemies were paralyzed with fear, the undead Panopticon made a mad dash at Shrapnel with claws outstretched. "Now join your sssissster in HELL!!!" With a lightning-quick motion, Jessica leapt up in between Shrapnel and Panopticon. And all of a sudden, for no reason known to Jessica, Shrapnel, or Panopticon, the entire cathedral exploded in blinding green light. And immediately after that, the world went black. * * * "Fenris...stop that...stop licking my face..." Jessica opened her eyes and found that it was not Fenris the Arcanine who had been licking her face, but a Pokémon she had never seen before. It looked like a pony-sized green apatosaurus, with a ring of leaf buds around its neck and a broad leaf growing from its head. "Bayyyyy!" the green Pokémon crowed, evidently pleased to see Jessica awaken. "...Lotus?" Jessica wondered when she noticed the leaf on the creature's head. She held one hand up, and saw that she was in human form once again, wearing only a thin layer of black ash. She sat up and noticed that she was in a large field of the stuff. She then flinched as a bright flash of light went off nearby, and as she took a quick glance around, she noticed that there was a crowd of people looking at her, a few even taking pictures. Jessica let out a shriek of humiliation and rolled over to hide her chest from the public. As she rolled over, she saw an ash-covered Shrapnel nearby, holding a pair of Pokéball belts and digging through the ash. Once Shrapnel noticed that Jessica was awake, she ran over to her. "Mother! Are you all right?!" "...Where am I?!" Jessica cried. "Calm down..." Shrapnel said. "You're in the same place you were before we both blacked out... Jessica remembered what she had done right before the flash of green light. "...I don't get it..." she said as she noticed that her only wounds were a few bruises. "I tried to save you from Panopticon...I should be...oh God! Panopticon!!! Where -" "He's gone," Shrapnel replied. " he finally..." "No," answered Shrapnel. "Just...gone. Without a trace. Your Bayleef's Solarbeam pretty much disintegrated this whole place, but you and I survived in pretty good condition, so it stands to reason that he did too...but I really don't think he'll be messing with you any more, personally..." Jessica blinked. "My...bay leaf? What are you -" "Bayyyyy!" the green Pokémon sung again. "...Oh..." "It evolved after Panopticon kicked it," Shrapnel explained. "I'd heard rumors about Pokémon evolving that way...I'd always thought it was nonsense. Though I also didn't believe Panopticon when he said you could take human what do I know?" The Scizor then dropped the two Pokéball belts in front of Jessica's face. "I was able to retrieve your Pokémon...even the Rhydon. He's hurt badly though...partly from the Solarbeam, but mostly because of me...I'm sorry...Mother..." Jessica looked at her belt with its labeled Pokéballs, then Kyle's, with the unlabeled ones. She started to cry again. "I...I said I was sorry!" Shrapnel stammered. "It's not that," Jessica said, with a slight smile. "It's've reminded me I do have a few things to live for..." Jessica could still see that there were flashbulbs going off behind her, but she no longer cared. She scooped up the two belts, got to her feet, took Shrapnel by her ash-covered pincer, and started off for home. (OOC: Well, that's it. Jessica and Panopticon are NPCs now, for anyone who wants to decide their respective fates...Adrian, I'm looking in your direction. ^_^; I'd make more final comments about how much fun I've had and how much stuff I've learned these past two-plus years, but Rob is getting impatient as I'm typing this, so I won't keep him in any further suspense. Bye, all! I leave you with this sig, featuring another potential ending written by Rob and I! ^^;;;) --------------------------------- K * A * R * N * I * V * A * X ME: "Ending is hard." ROB: "You could always just put someone yelling out a deceased person's name. If it turns out that no one dies (which seems unlikely for a dramatic Karnivax story), you could have Kyle climb up to his knees and call out, 'THANAAATOOOSSSSS!!!'" ME: Kyle: "THANAAATOOOSSSSS!!!.....get me a soda?" ROB: Thanatos: "Gen gar?" Kyle: "Wild Cherry Pepsi, in honor of Espio." ME: FIN. ROB: It's beautiful. Sniff.