--WARNING: THE FOLLOWING STORY CONTAINS SCENES OF GRAPHIC VIOLENCE UNSUITABLE FOR YOUNGER READERS. IF NEED BE, THEEEVEEWARRIOR WILL TURN ON THE MATURE FILTER. STILL, IF YOU ARE EASILY SCARED OR HAVE A FEAR OF BLOOD AND GORE, THEN TURN AWAY NOW. BY READING FURTHER, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THEEEVEEWARRIOR IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY TRAUMA OR LOSS OF SANITY THAT MAY RESULT--
--YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED--
Dust to Dust
With a pained gasp, my eyes shot open, the agony of being burned alive by three hyper beams still fresh in my mind. I looked around to see... nothing. Again. I was back in the void.
"Having fun, Peter?" I whirled around to see Nightmare floating in the darkness, her crimson eyes just as carefree and happy as ever, and that enraged me for some reason. Seeing those eyes... it reminded me of... of Daniel, of how he left us to die. Of how he left all of us to die. I couldn't even answer her question, finally breaking down in tears as days of frustration and failure finally boiled over. "Why?" I sobbed, that horrible scene replaying in my mind, of Daniel trying to kill me and murdering an innocent girl for trying to help me, then leaving us all to rot. "Why would he do something like this?"
For a moment, the void was silent. Not even Nightmare's usual giggling filled the darkness, even though I could clearly sense her presence. I just cried and cried and cried, crying for our betrayal, crying for those that had lost their lives, crying for my failure. The last band of survivors left in Marianas, and I couldn't even protect them. Everything that had happened to this point poured itself out in sorrow as I finally let the tears and pain out.
I don't know how long I cried. I don't care how long I cried. It felt like eternity, as if time itself had simply ceased to exist solely to allow me as much time as I needed to let my pain out with my tears. The memories of all those who had given up their lives for nothing, the memories of how far Marianas had fallen, the memories of everything before The Beast rushed back to me and pushed me further into depression. I could see their faces, the faces of everyone that had died over the past few days. I could see the graveyard Maya had built to honor them, only to cry even more as I remember how it had been destroyed when I had come to save her. Everything I had done to save Marianas had failed...
What was the point?
Was I even still alive?
Would I even care?
And it was in that moment that I felt a shadow tentacle rest on my shoulder. Slowly, I turned around to see Nightmare floating there... but, at the same time, it just... wasn't. Normally, the crazy orb of darkness had an aura of madness around her, but now... all of that was gone, replaced by... sympathy?! "I know what it's like to fail, Peter..." She whispered, her voice devoid of all emotion save for sorrow, "More than you could ever know..." I blinked in shock before finally replying "W-what do you mean...?" Nightmare looked at me with a gaze that could not be mistaken for anything less than complete honesty and trust and replied "You are not the first to suffer from Chimera..."
Then, just like that, Nightmare's moment of sanity was over and she was back to her usual, crazy self. "He he! I don't know what came over me just then!" I just blinked in bewilderment at the sudden change in personality and dismissed it as just another of Nightmare's quirks. "Anyway, I think it's time you saw the last little bit of Daniel's story! He he he!" My eyes widened in surprise, following her as she floated around me. "Y-you know about-" "Your visions? Silly Peter, who do you think has been showing you them?" I stared at her in shock for a minute, then finally said "Show me." The crazy orb-girl giggled madly, and then-
She was gone. I was back in Headmistress Luna's office at the Oregon Base. The lights were dimmed slightly, most likely due to it being two in the morning- in the vision, of course. As I watched, Luna glanced up at the digital, glowing red clock on the wall, waited for the time to hit 2:05, then picked up the phone on her desk and dialed a number. For a moment, she just listened to the dial tone, her free hand fidgeting in nervousness and her face wracked with worry. She looked like she hadn't slept for days, with dark bags under her eyes and her frazzled mane. Her eyes seemed to be staring off into the distance and I could've sworn I saw tear streaks running down her muzzle.
A few seconds later, someone on the other end of the telephone picked up. "Hello?" "Have you found him yet, commander?" There was a pause. "Negative, ma'am. His room is completely undisturbed, the base entrance hasn't been accessed in almost 24 hours, and our sensors our picking up nothing. It's like he just... vanished." Luna closed her eyes and sighed. "Keep looking, okay? He couldn't have gone far." Understood, ma'am." "And commander?" There was a pause. "Yes, Headmistress?" "...Try not to hurt him. After everything he's been through, his stress must have boiled over. He's not a bad man, commander, he's just..." "Troubled?" "Exactly." She whispered. "I understand. Just be warned, Headmistress, if he tries to attack us, we will respond with force." "I couldn't ask anything more, commander. Thank you." The zoroark placed the phone down and leaned back in her chair, placing one paw over her face and sighing.
In that instant, the shadows of the room began to pool together silently. I watched as they formed into a puddle directly in front of the Headmistress' desk, churning silently not five feet away from her. Then, in an instant, the shadows shot out of the ground with a sound like heavy wind, startling Luna and causing her to push her chair back with a yelp. The shadows quickly melted into a familiar form before vanishing without a trace, leaving-
Daniel, standing there with a stoic, cold expression on his face, his narrowed eyes glaring daggers at the Headmistress. Luna didn't even have time to react before the bisharp's hand snapped up, firing a bolt of dark energy directly into her chest. The bolt seemed to sink into her form as she was slammed back into her seat, convulsing in agony as dark energy crackled across her form. Daniel just watched in silence as Luna writhed in her chair, watching as her limbs flailed around before finally falling limp. Her eyes glazed over, as if she were in a trance. Slowly, she sat up in her chair and moved forward to her desk, still in a trance-like state.
"Now," Daniel growled, sitting down in a chair that materialized out of the darkness behind him, "you are going to give me access to the Marianas Pokèuman Base and Research Facility. I will be listed as a benefactor for the next batch of Project Chimera. You will remove all records of my transgressions from the pokèumans database and I will be reinstated in the PRT." As he talked, the entranced zoroark was typing on her computer. I could hear the beeps of files being deleted, of databases being accessed, of important information being copied. Then, as I watched, a green keycard slid out a printer on Luna's desk. Daniel's benefactor card. I realized, watching in horror as the bisharp took the card and put it into a pack on his waist- the same one that, if memory serves, held the test vial of Chimera that he gave to me.
He looked back at the entranced headmistress and said "You will not remember my coming here. Five miles outside the base, you will find the corpse of a bisharp, burnt beyond recognition. You will assume it was me. You will not notice the message regarding my entrance to Marianas, and you will deny all records that I had been sent there." Luna nodded, and then promptly collapsed in her seat, dark energy sliding out of her fur as she fell asleep. Daniel's stoic expression never changed as he vanished from the room, his last murmurs echoing through the air: "It will not be long now until you are revived...
"...My Queen of Hearts."
In an instant, the wieght of the world came crashing down on me, forcing me out of the void and back into the waking world. My eyes were shut tight as my thoughts became a maelstrom of rage. My mind was a freaking trainwreck, theories whirling about like mad as I desperately trying to decipher what I had just seen until they finally condensed on the only one that made sense:
Daniel had known. Daniel had fucking known this would happen. He knew The Beast would be created, he knew Nightmare would be returned to life, he fucking KNEW! He knew that Marianas would be destroyed! He knew that thousands of innocent people would lose their lives! He set us up to die and let us sacrifice ourselves for him, only to abandon us at the last minute and leave us to rot in the hell that he created!
I knew I had to get out of Marianas. I had known since the instant I woke up. But now, I wasn't trying to get out simply for survival; I had a different purpose.
I was going to escape this fucking base.
I was going to find Daniel Bryson.
And I was going to make him pay for what he's done.
And with that in my mind, I finally forced myself to open my eyes.
I was lying in a pool of blood, crimson red and gleaming in what little light was shining down from the shattered sunlamps above me. Slowly, I forced myself up, not even bothering to wonder about how my body was breaking down the blood I was covered in into dark energy. Bodies were littered everywhere, not a single one intact. The machamp that had the dual PLRs had had all four arms ripped out of their sockets before having his face mauled off. The espeon whose USP Daniel had given me was a few feet away, his entire underbelly shredded and slashed, allowing me a gruesome view of his ruptured organs and exposed rib cage. Even the second Hydra, a monster of titanic proportions, was dead, two heads cut off by unknown means, the third split in half by a broken katana, and three spikes from its back ripped off and driven through its heart. Nothing escaped a brutal death here. Nothing but me.
And that's when I heard it- a ragged, pained breath being inhaled near the far end of the lobby. Pain and suffering seemed to emanate from that breath, perfectly capturing the hell that had been unleashed here. I didn't think twice about leaping to my feet and rushing over to the source, only to stop in shock as I saw who it was.
Amy the grovyle, covered in thick, red blood and a slick, black substance that I recognized as liquid darkness, her limp body propped up against a wall. Her left arm was completely gone, leaving only a ragged stump of torn muscles, severed tendons, and a few pale splinters of bone. Blood was streaming down her left side from the greivous wound, as well as from her numerous other, thankfully less serious cuts. Her breathing was slow, labored, and erratic, likely due to her clearly crushed ribcage, pulverized to the point where I considered it a miracle that the bone hadn't punctured a lung. And yet still she clung fast to her one remaining machete with her right hand, as if prepared to fight off the reaper itself.
"Holy shit..." I whispered, rushing over to examine her wound. The arm hadn't been cut off, like with a blade or a claw- no, the arm had literally been torn off, leaving a mess of torn and ruined flesh behind. Oh shit... what can I do to fix this? Her arm is fucking gone! And that's when I got an idea. Without thinking twice, I placed a hand on a dying Lurker, draining what little energy it had left and focusing it into Amy's stump of an arm, using my body as a conduit to purify the energy. As I watched, the dark energy encased the wound, slowly regrowing over the destroyed limb until the thing was healed. She would never have her arm again, I couldn't ever fix something like that, but at least the bleeding was stopped. Carefully, I directed a bit more energy over her ribs and repaired them as well, watching the skin on her chest turn a slightly darker color as the bones and organs beneath healed before finally stopping.
Slowly, groggily, she opened her eyes, staring at me through a trauma-induced haze. "P-Peter...? Is that you...?" I nodded as she tried to get to her feet, only to collapse back against the wall. "H-how...? How am I still...?" She was cut off by a coughing fit so bad that I half expected her to vomit up a lung. When that died down, the grovyle blinked a few times before finally looking around. "Shit..." She whispered, seeing the carnage of the lobby firsthand, "how the fuck did I survive this?" "You tell me." I said, walking back over to where I had been laying and looking around for my pistols. Sure enough, I found them, but they weren't exactly in good condition: the USP's barrel was warped and bent to the point where it would explode in my hand if I fired it, and the Sig-Sauer was little more than a melted puddle of assorted metals. Sighing, I tossed both of the irrecoverable weapons away before making my way back to Amy.
I had barely moved five feet towards her when she finally looked down at her left arm and recoiled in shock, jumping to her feet in an instant and collapsing as her legs gave way. "Wha- how- when-?!" She stammered, her eyes fixed on her missing arm in sheer horror. "Yeah... about that." I said, helping her back to her feet, "That was missing when I found you. You would've bled out if I hadn't done anything." She did a double take and looked at me with a mixture of shock, fear, and awe. "You healed me?! How?! You're a ghost-type!" "Ghost/dark, actually." I replied, grabbing my bloodsoaked messenger bag from where it had landed a few feet away. "And as for how I healed you, let's just say it involved a dying Lurker, me using my body as a dark energy siphon, and a hell of a lot of luck." Amy looked back at her stump of an arm, then back to me, and finally whispered "T-thank you..." Whether the stutter was from gratitude or fear, I will never know.
After taking a few minutes to allow our thoughts to calm, I asked "So... I don't suppose you have any more ideas about how to get out of here?" Amy flinched as I said that, no doubt still hurt over Daniel's betrayal. "Y-yeah. Before we learned about the last sub," another coughing fit hit her, albeit a less serious one. After a few seconds, she took a deep, ragged breath and continued "We were trying to fix up an old radio transmitter we found in the town hall." "Yeah, I remember hearing something about that back at the safehouse." I decided to leave out that fact that it was Daniel that had told me- reminding Amy of that twisted bastard just seemed like a bad idea in general. "You were trying to get a message out to... the Deep Pacific Base, was it?" She nodded. "Right... okay as of right now, getting that transmitter online is more important than anything else. The oxygen recyclers will fail in under a week and we don't have any more Itonium to fuel the things."
Amy nodded and hefted her machete in her right hand. "And then we get the hell out of here, find Daniel, and kick his ass." "Exactly." I managed with a slight smirk. She chuckled and did a few practice slashes with the blade, stumbling a bit on the second strike. "Off balance?" I asked as she righted herself. "Yeah... fuck, this is weird." "Remember who you're talking to." I replied without missing a beat. She laughed and shook her head. "You know, maybe I was wrong about you." About damn time. I thought, giving her a grin as we walked back into Marianas proper.
Honestly, I didn't think it was even possible for Marianas to get worse, but it had. The entire city was almost completely ablaze now, and the buildings that had been ignited first were now little more than burnt, charred husks, looking so fragile that it seemed like a single touch would be enough to make one crumble to the ground. The shrieks and roars of hybrids were everywhere, a constant, haunting ambience to a dead city and its dying population. The air was filled with faint traces of ash and embers, swirling around in artificial wind and actual thermal currents caused by the all-consuming fires around us.
It looked like the end of the world.
"Damn..." Amy muttered, watching a piece of glowing orange dust fall onto the blade of her machete, gleaming with the fires of damnation before slowly cooling and dying off. "Just when I think the city's hit its worst..." I could do little more than nod as we walked down Main Street, watching as our home, far-fallen from its former glory, slowly reduced itself to a blackened, condemned corpse. It hurt to watch in ways that I never thought imaginable, even after everything that had happened since I first woke up. Watching people die, killing people, being betrayed by those you called friends... those are bad enough. But watching someplace you called home be destroyed by forces you are helpless to stop... that is a different kind of pain that tops them all.
Just as we prepared to round the corner to the town hall of what once was Marianas, I spotted a very familiar sign on a very familiar building. It was still standing, a tower of gleaming obsidian in all its shadowed glory, completely untouched by the flames that had consumed the rest of the city around it. "Amy...?" She stopped and wandered back to where I was standing, staring at the sign in... I don't even know what. Shock? Fear? Loss? Remembrance? I didn't know. Even today, I don't know. The sign read "Phantom Apartments: Building Five."
My apartment building.
"Peter, what is this?" Amy asked, trying to connect the significance of the sign and my unusual behavior. I took a deep breath, then turned to the grovyle and asked in a soft voice "I don't suppose we could take a short detour?" She looked back at the sign, then at me, then her eyes widened as she realized why I found this important. "O-oh! Was this your...?" "Home?" I muttered, walking through the gaping hole in the wall where two now-demolished doors had once stood. "Yeah... this used to be home." I looked around the lobby, taking in the sight of what such a familiar place had become. The concierge desk, where I had so frequently lodged complaints about the plumbing with a clearly tired sableye, was now smashed in two, a thick crack running down the polished granite surface all the way down to the base of the wooden supports below. To my right, there were a trio of chairs, each one torn and coated with blood, dust, and a number of other things where the triplets of an old, widowed mismagius had once played cards. To my left was a shattered glass wall, behind which lay a small conference room where the owners had once discussed certain... problems with their clients or staff in relative calm, but was now nothing more than a pile of shattered wood and broken office chairs.
Amy didn't say a word as we walked part the destroyed elevator towards the stairwell on the far right side of the lobby. Neither of us had the words to do this situation justice. I had called this place home for a while- granted, that while was only a few months, but still... this place had been more of a home to me in that time than my dorm room in college had ever been. To see it in this state, abandoned, desolate, and broken was just... heartbreaking. Any attempts to describe it could never fully capture the feeling of crushing loss that had consumed me at that moment. Slowly, we climbed the stairwell, the only sounds from either of us being that of muffled steps on ragged, torn carpet. We climbed, and we climbed, and we climbed, all the way to the ninth floor, where I walked out into the hallway and continued down past five separate doors to the one that I knew best.
"Room B-906." I read silently from the plaque next to the door. "Peter Cohen (Gengar) and Owen Williams (Zoroark)." I closed my eyes for a moment, taking deep breaths to calm myself before finally reaching forward and placing my hand on the scanner. The scanner whirred for a moment, a faint blue light flashing out of the surface for a second, followed by: "A-a-acces-cess d-denied-d-d." The AI's voice was stuttered, varying in pitch, tone, and speed as if someone had hacked the stupid thing. Dammit... I thought, closing my eyes again as tears threatened to escape them. This close to the end... and I still can't catch a break- My thoughts were cut off by the scanner sparking for a few seconds, the sudden surprise making me and Amy both leap back. A few seconds later, we heard a light double-beep from the scanner, followed by "A-acc-cess gra-a-a-nte-e-d-d-d-d." We both looked at each other for a second, then I walked forward and placed my hand on the doorknob, hesitiating for a second, then finally turning it and pushing the door open.
The room looked exactly how I had left it that fateful morning, save for a slight layer of dust. Unlike most pokeumans at Marianas, who were random novelty visitors, our room was more like a small apartment than a college dorm. Our beds in the corner were still unmade (neither me nor Owen cared enough to bother unless the sheets started to smell), there was a now-rancid pot of coffee on the counter- even Owen's random air fresheners were still there, doing a magnificent job of removing that smell of blood and death that had fallen over the base. On the wall opposite the kitchen was a full home entertainment system that Owen had built himself- well, most of it. I chipped in a fair share of my own money to get a 42-inch plasma TV for the place, letting us play violent video games in glorious HD.
I allowed a sad smile to spread across my face as the memories of this apartment came back to me. Owen had always been a bit of a prankster, especially after I showed up. The first time Gavin had come over, we had hidden in a small alcove below the kitchen counter and used remote-controlled nerf turrets to pelt him with foam darts. Of course, Gavin had then recruited David into the prank war and they responded by coating the tiled floor with vaseline a few days later, leaving me and Owen to try to clean it up without sliding all over the place. No matter how many times we pranked each other- and there were many, many times- we were all still friends at the end of the day, laughing as we tried to clean up whatever mess our pranks had created.
Amy was over by the game center, looking at a framed picture on the wall. I didn't even have to look to know what it was- a photo of me, Owen, David, and Gavin on Halloween night, ready to prank some unlucky kids and hopefully not get arrested for it. And now... Owen was dead, Gavin was somewhere in Marianas, and David... well, I hadn't seen or heard anything from him since this all began. Out of our merry band of pranksters, I was the only one that I knew wasn't dead... or worse. Amy knew it, too, from the way she kept staring at that picture. Whatever she had thought I had done, that belief was now absolutely and completely broken if it hadn't been already. "You were friends?" She asked in a soft voice, fraught with so many emotions that I couldn't even name them. I nodded silently as my heart leapt into my throat. She didn't need any more of an answer, having lost one of her own friends not even hours earlier. "I'm sorry..." She whispered as I walked by to check my bed-
In an instant, we both whirled around as a blast of violent energy lashed out from the alcove under the counter and knocked us off our feet. I slammed into the wall and collapsed, even as my body began to change, shifting, reverting. The dark energy in my veins was forced down once again, but there was so much, too much energy to contain. My blood was on fire as the darkness began to react- only to subside as I finally got it under control. Slowly, I opened my eyes to see my hands- my human hands below me. I looked over to the side to see an albino girl with dirty blond hair and a ragged, rebellious black outfit, her left arm missing while the right was gripped so tightly around the hilt of a machete that I thought it would break. She never got the chance to use it, though- in an instant, a figure almost as pale as her grabbed the girl by the throat and slammed her into wall so hard that it shook the floor. I could see and hear a chainsaw held in his off hand, its vicious rumble almost as terrifying as The Beast itself. "You thought you could save him, huh? Huh?!" I could only watch as she was thrown to the side, landing unbalanced on her feet and spinning around in an attempt to counter-
Only for the chainsaw to come down across her body, slashing her chest open from shoulder to hip. "NO!" I yelled out, trying and failing to force myself to my feet as Amy collapsed, her body hitting the ground with a wet thump. The crimson puddle was already spreading across the floor, too much, too fast. I could only watch as the life faded from her eyes and her one hand fell limp around the hilt of her machete. Time seemed to freeze as I stared into her cold, lifeless eyes. She was dead. The one person that had chosen to trust me. To actually trust me as a friend, and not just an ally. The one person who had survived everything else... and her body was laid before me, the red liquid of her life flowing out of her like a river.
Rage. That's all I felt as time slowed down around me. I heard the chainsaw rev above me as my arm shot out, fingers wrapping around the machete with a death-grip. In an instant, her last weapon was above me, grinding against the heavy blade of the chainsaw, spraying hot sparks across the floor as the jagged triangular teeth slowly cut through it. I lashed out with both feet, catching the the murderer clean in the gut and sending him stumbling back into a coffee table. I was on my feet before I even knew it, the machete still dripping red from lying in the pool of Amy's blood.
And that's when I froze. Time didn't just slow down at that moment- it stopped. Before me was a figure wearing a white dress stained with blood of many colors, both fresh and old. Its edges were torn and ragged from abuse, just like the dull pink horn in his chest. A bandolier with a futuristic, experimental weapon, its wide barrel still smoking, was slung across his back, leaving the chainsaw to occupy his idle hands. His hair was a dirtied green, its once-vibrant color dulled from the ash and dust that had collected there. Wrapped around the left side of his face was a bandage, saturated with blood in a pattern like tears, covering the place where his left eye used to be. In his right eye gleamed a vicious, merciless inferno of madness, as if every demon to ever live had chosen him as their host. But that was not what scared me- no, that was something else. If you took away the experimental weapon and the chainsaw, if you removed the bandage and healed the eye, if you cleaned the hair and fixed the dress, then he bore an uncanny resemblance to a certain gardevoir in the framed photo not ten feet to his right.
My eyes widened as I took an involuntary step back, in shock over his twisted transformation. He let out a bark of laughter, as if he found the situation amusing. "And so you finally recognize me, you bastard!" I took another step back, comparing the two with every last ounce of focus I could muster. It couldn't be. He wouldn't do this. But no matter how much I tried to deny it, I could not ignore the face, the similarities.
I barely had time to roll to the right as he darted forward, the blood-soaked chainsaw slashing through the air that I had occupied only a moment earlier. My mind was about to shut down from complete and utter shock as he raised the brutal weapon once again. "Do you like what I've become, Peter?!" He vanished in a burst of pink light, leaving me with a millisecond to spin out of the way of a vicious stab at my spine, only to be hit by a high-powered Psychic and slammed into the frame of my old bed. Gavin hadn't been like this... ever! Even when he was angry, he always sought out a peaceful solution! Groaning, I blinked the stars out of my eyes- and promptly rolled to the right as the chainsaw came down, cutting the bedframe in half with a mechanical roar.
"Do you see what you did to me?! DO YOU?!" A pink aura snapped into position around me as Gavin pulled a quick telekinesis, and then I was flying through the air, my back hitting the door with enough force to knock it clean off its hinges- the wrong way. I hit the ground in agony, my spine feeling as if an aggron had stepped on it. Worse yet, my right leg had taken the brunt of the blow and was hurting even worse at the moment- I wouldn't be walking anytime soon. With a demonic grin on his face, Gavin walked through the empty doorway as I blinked the tears of pain out of my eyes and forced myself to my feet-
Only to pause as the chainsaw's engine cut out with a sputter. "Piece of fucking-" He swore as he revved the engine, leaving me with enough time to limp over to the stairwell access. I stumbled through the door with a cry of pain as my injured leg took my full weight, collapsing against the metal handrails as a gasoline engine was spurred back to life. "GET BACK HERE, YOU SON OF A BITCH!" The gardevoir screamed, his voice echoing through the stairwell as I limped down as quickly as possible. Eight floor... seventh floor... come on, come on-! I tripped head over heels as a tremor struck the stairwell in the form of a pink shockwave, sending me falling down a full flight of steps. A loud crack echoed through the building as I landed on my right leg, followed almost instantly by a scream of agony from me.
I tried to move my leg, only to give up as fire lanced up the respective nerves. Broken. Definitely broken. I thought through a haze of pain. With a gasp of agony, I crawled through the door to floor six- the Health and Fitness Center. I could hear Gavin screaming curses at me as I forced myself to stand, using the wall to keep the pain off my right leg. Frantically, I grabbed a first-aid kit off the wall and pried it open, grabbing an oran berry from inside and swallowing it without hesitation.
Little-known fact about oran berries; they're not exactly meant for humans. Don't get me wrong, they still heal just the same regardless of species, but there are... side effects of human use. You see, the proteins that usually control an oran berry's taste for pokèmon are completely incompatible with the human digestive system. They're only toxic in large amounts (more than one berry for every 60 lbs of body weight), but eating one as a human does cause a bit of nausea. And dizziness. Did I mention the dizziness? Long story short, I was on the ground almost instantly as the oran berry did its job, partly from the fire lancing up my leg as the bone was re-set without pain meds and partly from my sudden inability to tell which way was up. After about ten seconds of complete disorientation, the side effects finally wore off, allowing me to slowly get to my feet- without having to lean on a wall. My leg was still sore, mind you, but I could walk again. O Pokèmon physics, where would I be without you? Probably dea-
That thought was cut off by a chainsaw revving five feet behind me. I barely had enough time to dive forward as the sawtooth blade slashed overhead with unbelievable speed. The instant I hit the ground, I allowed my pokèmon training to take over, rolling to preserve momentum and twisting when I bounced slightly to land perfectly on my feet facing the opposite direction. Gavin was standing there, his chainsaw rumbling and a mad grin on his face. "Well, Peter?! What do you think of your work?!" He charged again, slashing at my chest as I spun away, keeping a firm grip on Amy's damaged machete. "Look, Gavin-" I ducked behind a treadmill as he made another manic charge, cutting the thing clean in half with a single, precise movement, "I don't know what you're talking about-"
"BULL!" He grabbed me with telekinesis and threw me into a mirror on the far side of the room, smashing it into pieces and causing a number of fragments to dig into my back. "FUCKING!" I was flying again, this time into a stack of weights. With a thunderous crash, the weights were sent flying as I writhed on the ground in agony, clutching my now-injured back. "SHIT!" Once more, I was in the air, flying straight towards the window. The sixth-story window. FuuuuuuuuuUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK! I thought as my body smashed through the glass, sending me into free-fall for a grand total of five feet before I landed on a window-cleaning gurney. Slowly, through blurred vision, I rolled over, each ragged cough of pain bringing up a worrying amount of crimson liquid. What worried me more was the flecks of black and purple I saw in my blood, particularly the fact that they were spreading-
In an instant, my worry turned to glee as my body began to shift, shrinking and changing as raw power, pure dark/ethereal energy flooded my veins and fueled my muscles, returning me to my natural state and reasserting my nature as a subject of Project Chimera. The pain had completely vanished, replaced by power, raw power beyond anything anyone could've hoped to wield in their lifetime. Sure, my arms were a gruesome silvery color again, and sure, my left ear was just about deaf again, but meh. I was back. And I was ready for one hell of a fight.
I didn't have to wait long as Gavin's screams of rage filled my working ear, followed instantly by him diving down from the floor above and slashing through the gurney floor. I wasn't hurt, though- I was already moving, diving off the gurney through the fifth floor window into an abandoned conference room. In an instant, I lashed out with a pair of shadow tentacles, smashing both sets of overhead lights and plunging the room into darkness. A grim smile spread across my face as Gavin leapt down after me, his chainsaw still revving in the darkness. "I know you're there, Peter!" He yelled, cutting through an office chair in frustration. "Show yourself!" I just chuckled and used shadow sneak to move around the room, occasionally leaving a glimpse or two of movement for him to track. "Gavin, listen-" "NO!" He screamed, lashing out with a psychic pulse in the direction of my voice, forgetting that psychic attacks do exactly nothing to me. "I DON'T WANT TO FUCKING HEAR IT, PETER!" I gave another test glimpse and he teleported forward, slashing apart a widescreen TV on the left wall. I ignored him and continued "I have no idea why you seem to hate me, Gavin, but-"
I was cut off by a scream of rage from Gavin, his chainsaw suddenly glowing with a pink aura as it slashed the wide table in the center of the room clean in half. "YOU DON'T FUCKING GET IT, DO YOU?!" In an instant, that glow enveloped the room, wiping away the shadows and exposing me. I collapsed as the sudden lack of shadows drained my energy reserves significantly. I could only look up and watch as Gavin stalked over, chainsaw in hand. "YOU DID THIS TO ME!" He yelled, an all-consuming rage emanating from his voice as he raised the brutal weapon to finish me off-
Only to be hit in the back by a shadow ball. The gardevoir staggered forward from the blast, whirling around to face his attacker and barely blocking the vicious shadow claw that followed. Even through the blur of pain, I knew who it was that saved me, and I was in shock over it. The Beast, yes, The fucking Beast was standing there, grasping the still-spinning blade of the chainsaw with one hand. Its other claw lashed upward before either of us could react, gouging out Gavin's one good eye in a cloud of crimson blood. He screamed and whirled around, clutching the gaping wound as The Beast ripped the chainsaw out of his hands. He spun around with a psycho-cut in hand, The Beast swung downward with the chainsaw, and I barely had time to scream "NO!" before the spinning blades smashed through the psychic attack, buried themselves in Gavin's shoulder, and kept going. With a final, gurgling scream, Gavin fell to the ground- first one half, then the other.
It was official now.
I was the last person left in Marianas.
Just me... me and that fucking thing not five feet away.
"You twisted bastard..." I growled, trying to get to my feet, only for a force heavier than the average bus to crash down on my shoulders each time and force me back to my knees. The Beast just shook its head in disgust and tossed the blood-soaked chainsaw out the window. "Even after all this time... you still don't understand." It rasped, pacing back and forth across the room, its demonic eyes glowing in the darkness. "What the fuck are you talking about?" I spat, pushing myself up and collapsing again. My vision was really blurry now, and the only thing I could truly make out around me was The Beast. "We are all that is left of Marianas, Peter. Just the two of us."
A deep rumbling growl escaped its muzzle, a sound that I could've almost mistaken for a chuckle. "But two is one too many." It stopped pacing and faced me, looking me right in the eye. "Only one of us will leave this base alive, Peter. And there," It gestured out the window at the Town hall only a few blocks away, "There is our salvation. I have the transmitter, and you have the message. But only one will survive to use both." "You think I'm gonna work with you?" I growled, partly in rage, partly in shock that it was even bothering to give me an offer. It chuckled again, a chuckle that quickly developed into demonic, monstrous laughter. "No, Peter."</i> It answered, shaking its head as if talking to a child, "The answer is right in front of you, just as it always has been. You're just too blind to see it."
And with that, The Beast leapt out the window. "HEY!" I yelled, crawling over to the edge and watching as the demonic zoroark landed perfectly and bounded off towards the town hall, leaving me alone in the destroyed conference room. For a minute, I just laid there, staring off into the distance, trying to figure out what it meant. Finally, I just gave up. "Screw this..." I muttered, grabbing Amy's machete and running a finger across the blade, tracing it even down the notch that the chainsaw had created. "Even if I'm the last survivor left in Marianas, I'm not letting you out." And with that, I made my way towards the staircase, prepared for the fight of my life.
Completely ignorant to the shadowy figure watching from afar.