EVERYONE: Reverberations of Time

Swimming through the air and sea!
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Here's the review I promised.

Chapters 1, 3, and 5:

Ernest is fine as a character. I've seen characters like him that were portrayed a lot worse (Jungle of Bones comes to mind) and I can see his potential to grow. The plot itself is intriguing. The Pokemon have mysteriously gone extinct. The government doesn't want it to be mentioned. Hmm, why do I get the feeling these events are interconnected? That said, I would like to know how the world is still functioning after a mass extinction of the world's main biodiversity. Are there real world animals that are taking over the abandoned niches like bees and butterflies replacing Combee and Butterfree/Beautifly as pollinators for example? This is an area that should really be explored at some point later on.

Chapters 2, 4, and 6:

Kris is very likable and her side of the story's pretty fun. I love how the backstory you've given her pokes through in her decisions and interactions with other characters. Chica and Cinder are filled with personality. Ethan, Professor Elm and the rest of New Bark Town's residents are characterized well. I'm interested on seeing if Kris will be able to accomplish her goal of not using Poke Balls to carry her Pokemon on her journey. I'm also wondering if she was involved in what happened and/or if she'll meet up with Ernest at all.

Overall:

While some areas are clunky, I'm intrigued on seeing where the story will go. I will be ready to read more when you are able to upload.
 
Not Dead
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@TRNatalie @Athena @smalllady

I had to take a break and find my voice again, as it were. Hopefully I can make gaps smaller again.

Chapter 7

"Ernie, wake up," Mom says sweetly. "You have your club today, right?"

I open my eyes. I must have had quite the dream, since I find it hard to get up. My mind is still reeling, but I don't know what the reason is. It's frustrating not to be able to recall your own dream; knowing me, I guess that Pokémon were involved somehow.

"Yeah, it's Saturday. I need to be there by 10 – what time is it?" I ask after collecting my thoughts.

"A quarter to 9, just about. Grandpa's been waiting for you to join us for breakfast, so hurry up," she says and leaves my room. Grandpa? I'm surprised that they aren't at work by now; I had to take the bus last week around this time because they were too busy. Mom didn't like that at all, but Grandpa told her that she should give me some credit. I didn't combust into flames or anything, and on the way back, I was so busy thinking about the club that I missed my stop and had to correct my mistake by foot. Even that didn't sour my mood, as I had already been delighted to see how many people were still talking about Pokémon online. Old folks, probably, but on the Internet age isn't a factor. Still, the excitement started to wear off after a few days, since there were so many posts and most were just about PBS strategies and tournament organization. There was something else, though…

"Ernie, I'm leaving unless you get down here within a minute," Grandpa says, reminding me that I haven't moved a finger yet. Better get out of my pajamas, then. I get dressed hastily and go downstairs before Grandpa leaves… only to find that he hasn't even finished eating yet, his eyes fixed on the newspaper. That is so like him.

"Good morning," I say to get his attention.

"It may not be morning anymore," he jokes without even raising his eyes. "You're lucky that your mom cooked enough for three, or you'd be out of breakfast." He seems to have made Mom laugh. She's reading a newspaper, too. I sit down and grab a piece of lightly colored marble cake, which is Grandpa's favorite. I look through the window to gauge the weather; it seems like a cloudy November day, but my guess is that there won't be any rain. Suddenly, I spot that.

"Why are the bee drones out today?" I ask.

"Why not? Even in winter, some flowers flourish and it would be a waste if the bee drones weren't around to collect their pollen," Grandpa answers.

"Okay, that makes sense. That reminds me that I've been trying to figure out which Pokémon acted as pollinators back in the day. And more specifically, what are the bee drones based on?" As I say this, Mom stops reading and eyes me.

"The drones are based on a species called Cutiefly – the smallest pollinator to have existed. They were not native to Kanto or Johto, though. Because bigger pollinators were less effective, some folks at Silph came up with the idea of creating the bee drones… around 1998, maybe? There was no real incentive to develop more than a handful of those things before they were truly necessary," Grandpa explains. "We were lucky to have the designs ready when we really needed them, and after a year of cooperation with other companies, the models were made cheap enough to produce in bulk all over the world."

"Yeah, they told us about that in science class a few days ago. The teacher didn't mention anything about natural pollination, though…"

Mom sighs and quickly fills in the blanks for me.

"The pollinators that I know from growing up in Azalea are Butterfree, Beedril and Ledyba. They were much bigger than the flowers, but they could suck out the pollen gently. Zubat and Golbat, on the other hand, would devour the flowers."

"Interesting. What about Grass-type Pokémon? Wouldn't some of them have wanted to create more flowers?" I make Mom ponder. Grandpa seems rather clueless at this point.

"Jumpluff is one example. The Pokédex says that it would scatter its cotton spores all over the world," I answer my own question. "But I haven't come across another example."

"I can give you a different example… Vileplume. Those little buggers would scatter poisonous pollen every time they took a step. They probably didn't mean to cause harm most of the time, but they did anyway! And your Mom should know."

"Oh? What happened, Mom?"

She seems to be forcing herself to recall an unpleasant memory.

"I touched a Vileplume in Ilex Forest, that's all. The pollen was the paralyzing kind, so I couldn't move for a few hours. Luckily, Grandpa Kurt found me and took me home, while all I could do was move my eyes. Let me tell you… That was the last time I touched a Vileplume!"

"That must have been awful, but they're so cute… This news is really disappointing," I reply. I read about this behavior pattern but wanted to believe that the Pokédex was exaggerating. Now I can't argue with facts anymore. Why, Vileplume?

"Looks can be deceiving. And well, it doesn't matter now," Grandpa is saddened.

"Let's change the subject, shall we? How do you feel about going to your club again, Ernie?" Mom asks.

"Eh? Ah, it's a better experience than regular classes, that's for sure," I say while pretending it's just a computer programming club. Grandpa knows a little better than Mom does because I only told him about the earring incident. Still, he doesn't know that Pokémon are involved and I should keep it that way. I get to have my own secrets.

"Your teacher… Giselle, I believe? You said that she wanted you to work on a computer game. What is it about?" Grandpa inquires, with Mom nodding. They don't like being left in the dark, but who does? My club activities are absolutely tame compared to whatever they're doing, but it wouldn't be a good idea to tell them that.

"It's a platformer game about a dream traveler that enters other worlds in order to correct some wrongdoing. I'm writing the script, Alan is in charge of all the programming and Giselle handles the graphics," I lie through my teeth. Obviously, I've had time to think about this.

"Really? You should have said so earlier; it sounds wonderful," Mom says with a beam on her face. "I can see why you would associate dreams with exploring other worlds."

"It sounds like a lot of work for just three people. Maybe you'll be done when you graduate in nearly 6 years," Grandpa says skeptically, ignoring Mom's daydreaming.

"What's the rush?" Mom scolds him. "It's a neat side project that should be fun more than anything else."

"I just wonder that Giselle has in mind. She's a teacher, yeah?" he asks me directly.

"Of course. I guess that it's a passion project of hers and she's been looking for the right students for a while. My role is relatively simple." I wish he'd give it a rest, but it's my fault for showing him that earring.

"I hate to cut the conversation short, but both of you need to get going. I'll drive you to school, Ernie," Mom says. Grandpa gets up reluctantly and says goodbye. I can't help but wonder what he thinks I'm really up to. I don't hold a candle to him when it comes to holding secrets.

***​

I'm outside the computer lab again, waiting for Giselle. I wish I had my own set of keys, but no such luck. The gray corridors aren't as empty today as they were a week ago; maybe I was just too fixated on my thoughts to notice anyone around. I'd been worried about that bully and had no idea what to expect from Giselle. Now that I know what the deal is, and I haven't seen him for 8 days, I feel much more relaxed. It doesn't bother me that the other students, who are mostly older, are enjoying themselves with club activities I haven't the faintest of. I don't envy that kind of happiness, but it's still a precious thing. So who am I to judge?

"Ernie? Why aren't you getting inside?" Alan startles me as he opens the lab door from inside. His dirty blond hair and overbite stand out more than they did a week ago. "You know that Giselle and I have been here for a while, right?"

"Can't say that I did," I say and get embarrassed. "I hadn't realized how late I was."

"What is this, the third degree? Get inside, you two," Giselle interferes. "Good morning, Ernie." It's odd to hear her use my nickname, but I don't mind.

"Good morning. What are you working on?"

"Animations. Let me tell you, I think we've gone too far with the number of available Pokémon. I'm struggling with the unique animations," she laments while proceeding to the hidden room.

"There was no choice. PBS fans are greedy and brutal when they don't get their way," Alan explains. Unlike Giselle, he's only been doing this job for a year, but both of them work on the project on a daily basis. The club is just their way to catch up.

"You created the models a long time ago, right?" I ask her.

"I created a handful for the first PBS version, but thanks to my friends we covered most of the Pokémon that were native to Kanto. Ever since you know what, I've been gradually completing the work on my own."

"That's amazing," I say. "I think that I didn't give you guys enough credit last week. You're making a lot of people happy out there." Giselle smiles, while Alan looks unconvinced.

"But not you, right? You don't care for simulated battles – your cup of tea is history and crying over the past. You don't belong here," he says while avoiding my eyes. Clearly, I touched a nerve last week.

"You don't get to make that call. I invited him to do exactly what he's doing, and he deserves no less respect than you do," she lectures him.

"I'm sorry that I've offended you, Alan. For what it's worth, I'd like to try the PBS soon. The double battle feature sounds cool," I say to pacify him. It's the truth.

"You will? When?" he asks.

"Maybe today. There is something I need to tell Giselle first."

"Fine. I'll go ahead and review the daily bug reports," he says and leaves the hidden room, somewhat agitated. He is definitely a bit impatient.

"What's up, kiddo?" Giselle asks. "Last we met you didn't seem to find the bulletin board too interesting. Any change?"

"Yeah. A few days ago I found a thread on some weird rumor regarding the Celadon sewers. People were chatting about a colony of Grimer living there!"

"What? That can't be right. They may be weird, but Grimer and Muk died along with all the other species."

"No doubt. But Grimer were originally born when sludge in a dirty stream was exposed to the moon's X-rays. Couldn't that happen again?" I make Giselle pause.

"I wouldn't know. Show me that thread and I'll whip out my BS detector."

Fair enough. I approach one of the computers, enter my details and look for the "Grimer still out there?" thread. Giselle is looking intently at the screen.

Celadon Gambler: Grimer. I saw at least three of them when I looked for my daughter's doll in the sewers.

Drill Pecker: Sure you did, old man. Take your pills.

Celadon Gambler: They were so peaceful. They only wanted to be left alone, so I gave up on the doll.

Murkrow's Wrath: Are you for real? Only a sick man would joke about something like this. Die.

Celestic Mage: If you wanted to leave them alone, you wouldn't be telling other people about them! For shame!

There are more posts, but none give the original poster the benefit of the doubt. Giselle looks annoyed.

"It's a rumor with nothing to back it up, I know," I say before she does.

"I think you've given it more thought than anyone else has," she replies.

"At the very least, it's made me think of species with unusual origins. In Kanto alone, you have the three fossil families, Grimer, Voltorb and Poyrgon. Could they be revived?" I ask, only to make Giselle's upper lip quiver.

"You don't know, do you?" She leaves me perplexed. "Obviously, scientists are way ahead of you. Even before you were born, scientists in Pewter Museum tried to resurrect an Aerodactyl. The process had been done several times before, but this was the first time they'd tried it after the wipeout. They failed." The grave meaning of her words takes some time to register.

"What do you mean? They couldn't revive the fossil?"

"They could, but the newborn Aerodactyl died after an hour. They've never tried to reproduce the results since."

I need to think about this. All this time I thought that the plague had worn out after a while, even if it left no survivors. But this is worse! It might be something bigger.

"Basically, there can be no new life for Pokémon even after all this time?" I ask weakly.

"That's what scientists believe, kid. So stories about Grimer coming to life again are considered ridiculous. That's the harsh truth." She eyes me closely, looking worried. "I had no idea what I was getting you into. People on the Internet can be bastards, completely uncaring about the impact of their words. I didn't want to expose you to wacky theories."

"Then what did you want?" I ask honestly.

"There's a void inside you. I could tell the minute I heard you talk with Mrs. Leroy that you were more like me than kids your age. You remind me of myself 19 years ago, and I was older than you then." Her lip quivers again. "When I lost my Pokémon, the world seemed to have rejected me. I was upset, confused and eventually just bored. But life carried on. It had to."

"My family had to move on, too," I explain hesitantly. "My great grandfather had died of a broken heart, as my mom puts it. Every now and then, she cries looking at photos of her life in Azalea with her grandpa and Slowpoke. She never had the chance to become a trainer."

"That's tough. I wonder if maybe she imprinted her unfulfilled dreams onto you. Is that why you feel that you don't quite belong?"

"I guess. It doesn't help that Mom is doing her own thing these days in Silph Co. along with her dad. They have something to do which keeps them going, and I think it involves Pokémon."

"Why do you think that? Silph is alive and well by providing technological alternatives to Pokémon. They've been busy since the beginning."

"I know that!" I exclaim too eagerly, to make a point that she's looking down on me a little too much. "But Mom wouldn't tell me what she's working on, and that is so unlike her. Until recently, she'd only been working at home and had nothing to do with Silph."

"Calm down, kid. You should lighten up a bit," she says with a sigh. "I think you've played detective enough this week, so why don't you play with Alan as you promised?"

"Okay. Sorry for raising my voice, but you've given me a lot to think about and it's a bit.."

"Overwhelming? I know what you mean, kid," she says and pets my head. "Just take your mind off of it… for a bit. I know better than to think you're going to let it go."

I laugh. How come she understands me so well after barely a week?

"Okay. I'll go use the PBS for the first time. I'm sure that your work will blow me away." She smiles and so I leave the hidden room and wave to Alan, who is deep in thought. I don't think he's a heard word of the conversation, which is a good thing.

"Come check this out," he says. "I'm watching two of my beta testers duke it out."

I look at the big computer screen, where the scenery is an ancient-looking colosseum. On the arena are four creatures participating in a double battle: Vaporeon and Heracross, versus Houndoom and… Vileplume! A funny coincidence.

"Which side is going to win?" he asks me.

"Well, based on types alone, Vileplume is the only one not at a disadvantage. It should be able to take Vaporeon down and keep Houndoom prepared for Heracross."

"Aren't you forgetting something? The game changes entirely depending on the speed of the combatants. Vileplume is the slowest and least likely to dodge moves." As he says this, Houndoom summons harsh sunlight.

"Well, I have no idea how those aspects even work here, but you shouldn't underestimate Vileplume," I smirk. It almost feels as if we are the ones battling; I'm rooting for Team Vileplume despite what Mom told me today. Sure enough, the moving flower basks in the sunlight and manages to bounce and rotate around its center, throwing off its virtual foes. It then unleashes a solar beam right toward poor Vaporeon, who doesn't seem to enjoy the heat. Meanwhile, Heracross is dodging Houndoom's flamethrower, but isn't fast enough to land one of its punches on the fiery canine. Vaporeon survives one solar beam and aims a hydro pump at Houndoom, who holds on only to fall to Heracross.

"Brutal ambush. You had the right idea, but it barely made a difference," Alan laughs.

"So? Vileplume is still a speed demon on the loose." It quickly takes its revenge on Vaporeon, leaving Heracross without an obvious strategy. The herculean beetle attempts to slow Vileplume down with its massive horn, but the petals are too sturdy and the naughty flower is practically running in circles. Once it sends Heracross to sleep, a few sludge bombs finish the job.

"It's over. I told you that Vileplume would win, so pay up," I say calmly. We both laugh when we stop pretending to take any of this seriously.

"Lucky guess, newbie. Now help me find the bug because that Vileplume shouldn't be going that fast even under the sun."

"Yeah, I guess so. I'm sure that it would have won, anyway."

If Pokémon had been data to begin with, fixing them would have been easy. But they died for unknown reasons, and there is no proof that they can be brought back. Still, what can I do to find out what Mom and Grandpa are onto?
 
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shame personified
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Hi, there!

The prologue is overall quick, effective, and intriguing. I think my only suggestion would be to avoid passive voice (which is a thing all across the fic but mostly prevalent in the prologue).

Example from the first paragraph of the prologue:

I am in a field, taking a rest from a long run.
"I am" is passive tense. You could replace the "to be" verb with something stronger like "I stand in a field" or "I lay down on a field" or whatever you think is applicable.

The creatures around me are playing happily; particularly endearing are a Pichu and Wooper, who are too focused on each other to notice my presence.
This example is as simple as getting rid of the "to be" verbs, which weaken the impact of the other verbs you're using. "The creatures around me play happily" is more engaging, and so is "who focus too much on each other to notice my presence".

It's that dream again. I keep having it only to be disappointed when I wake up. Why is my mind subjecting me to this cruelty?
I've seen the Professor Oak opening scene in the games portrayed as a dream before, but I always like it, to be honest. It fits very well in a story that's meant to delve into the thoughts of its characters like this one.

As I came to learn two years ago, it wasn't just Pokémon that died, but also the likes of the late Oak who lost the will to live. That also goes for great grandfather Kurt, who was a friend of Samuel's.
This is sad but makes sense given how their lives are said here to be dedicated to pokemon. I know you don't go a lot in depth with how pokemon dying off effected people because people generally ignore it ever happened and keep it a secret, but there's details like this that give a good glimpse into how some people reacted.

"The only thing he lived for was creating Poké Balls, which he considered pivotal to shaping the relationship between a trainer and their Pokémon."
I'll be interested to see your take on pokeballs. That's one canon topic I think has a lot of potential in fanfic, I think. At any rate, there's a nice parallel between here and Kris's part since she doesn't want to use pokeballs under any circumstance since she thinks the same as Kurt did here.

I've been dreading this moment. True enough, she has far less time for me these days. But isn't it cruel to send me out there all of a sudden?
I'd say so. There's certainly a lack of sympathy on her part, at any rate. You write her dialogue and expressions well to show that.

And I can't stand it when she puts on the secretive act. That is not the mom I know.

"Then I am not going to any school for boring kids."

She is staring at me now, her eyes widened. Quite carefully at that.

"I don't recall asking for your permission."
You also put a good amount of monologue in coversations so as to not break the flow of the scene but still give an even better glimpse of how Ernest is reaction to things.

"A hypocrite? That's alarmingly disrespectful and shows how little you really know. My primary job is to be your mom and your way of showing gratitude leaves a lot to be desired."
Yeah, this is a common thought parents tend to think... "I raised you, so you owe me!" Okay, but it's the parent's choice to have kids and not the child's to be born. And when parent's choose to have kids, they should know all the work that goes into raising, so...

Basically, I feel for Ernest here.

"It is your own bloody fault that I lost her. It was you that should have died, but your mom paid the price for your worthless self. She died knowing that there was no point to your life."

No, no… I could never believe something so crazy. I did not ask to be born; mom wanted me to live. I… will let her exist through me, and believe that I can make her proud.
Kris has a lot of willpower, I must say. At her age she's so prone to believing her dad and feeling more guilt/self-loathing than anything else. D:

Evolution is a gradual process, and according to experts such as Prof. Elm, forced evolution could result in a disease.

"Kris, are you with me?"

"What? Oh, yes. Let's go."
Both Ernest and Kris seem prone to getting lost in thought. I suppose that's not surprising, given you preface that this is a character-driven piece, but you do a good job to show that in-fic as well without things feeling disjointed.

Also, the "disease" thing for evolution sounds interesting. I won't go into other worldbuilding stuff since Athena's pointed out most of it, though I do agree there's some lacking in general, particularly in Ernest's bits. I'd probably favor Ernest's POV over Kris's if the worldbuilding were there, honestly. You have a lot set out for you with Ernest's storyline, though, and I wonder if you'd have an easier time with it if Ernest were able to access information about pokemon dying off rather than it all being secretive, and then have him struggle with making anyone actually care and learn about things.

How amazing that someone so young could be so accomplished… I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous.
Kris's narration feels slightly more childish than Ernest's, I noticed in this chapter, but overall their narrations come across as largely the same. You're already halfway there with them having different personalities, different goals, etc. But their voices in the first person narration could differ a tad more, I think! I could envision Ernest being a lot more pessimistic and having him ask a lot more questions, while Kris's would continue to be a little more childish but also filled with a sense of wonder.

I just want to get away from dad, and maybe, just maybe, understand Pokémon a little better.

And that means never letting Poké Balls separate us.
This is a strong chapter ending. Again, I like the parallelism to Ernest's story. I get the feeling Kris wants to get to know pokemon a bit better so she's not lonely like she is at home, unlike Ernest, who seems to want to know more solely for the sake of knowing and learning.

"I said that we were going to look for a school, but really, this is the best choice. I want you to have the best academic experience."
It said in chapter 1 that this school had basically been decided for a "just in case" scenario a long time ago. The quoted part implies that the mom's just now deciding it's the best school and is showing up to make a 100% final decision. Or am I misunderstanding something? O:

What exactly was I supposed to do with this information? The world I know is a shadow of its former self and people are just pretending that it's all okay. All I can think about is what if I had lived before this ugly change.
Ernest's emotions come across well here. From my experience, this is also a realistic reaction to loss. People don't want to talk about, so they move on even if they're hurting inside.

She leaves something in my hand, and it is the last thing I would expect: a Cubone earring.
I like this Giselle character already. We haven't seen her too much yet even though I'm caught up at this point, so I hope we get to see more of her. She's just the kind of person that Ernest wants and needs right now.

"Chica? You mean Chikorita? I am actually not sure which starter is the best choice for me."

"There is no choice! Cinder and Toto aren't around anymore. Ethan picked Cinder, and that thief stole Toto."

"What thief?"

The boy just shrugs his shoulders. Obviously, he doesn't know anything about the thief's identity.

"Poor Toto. We all miss him."

"I'm sorry to hear that. Maybe… Toto will come back someday."
I like this convo a lot. You do a good job differentiating the voices of different characters.

I do wonder about the timeline. Why have there been no new trainers or starters since Ethan set out and since Toto was kidnapped? That's said elsewhere to have been about a year ago or longer, if I read things right. I feel like there was a missed opportunity for worldbuilding here. Regardless, the homage to the games here is a nice one.

She shows me a small smile, as if to say that she is giving me a chance, but I'm on close watch. Fair enough!
All right, Chica's won my heart already. Their interactions together are adorable.

"She wouldn't be alone. The Poké Ball system allows Pokémon to be together in cyberspace."

"Cyberspace? What's that?"

"A virtual simulation where Pokémon play with each other. It is better than wild life because they don't have to live in fear of predator Pokémon. The system is designed to create each Pokémon's ideal habitat."

"But… that isn't the real world. Isn't an imaginary world a little sad?"

"Oh, Kris… You're a stubborn one, if you don't mind my saying. I think that you may have gotten the wrong impression from my papers."

Okay, I expected this attitude… But I can still hold my own.
So Kris isn't a fan of many of the mainstream pokemon training things, including "catching" them, eh? I'll be interested to see how that plays out. At any rate, I wonder if this is why the 6 pokemon team limit was placed in your world, though it's implied in this convo that that doesn't seem manageable, either, from a bonding standpoint.

"All I'm saying is that the smart thing for Kris to do is take Chica's Poké Ball just in case. And in fact, she should take a supply of Poké Balls for her journey."
I like Kris's thought process, but I agree with Professor Elm, here. XD I guess this would be a good way to create conflict down the road - ie., Kris runs into a situation where she doesn't have a pokeball and regrets it - but I suspect at some point she'll be glad she was given one for "just in case" reasons.

That last line was poignant, for reasons he couldn't know.
Ayyy, you do a good job portraying Kris's hatred for her dad without explicitly saying it. There is the explanation of her dad's reasoning for hating her, but I think that was necessary to show Kris's willpower and also to show right off the bat why she wants to go on a journey. I kinda wanna see a scene with Kris saying goodbye to him before she really gets going on her journey, though. I think that'd make a big impact.

Hopefully, I can truly start anew and forget about the past.
Totally the opposite of Ernest's POV, eh? I can't wait to see how these two end up intertwining.

"It seemed much more powerful than you'd expect from its species. That gave me the idea that walking might have a positive effect on a Pokémon's potential, hence the Pokéwalker project which I created to collect data on Pokémon trained this way. However…"
Can't say I've ever seen the Pokewalker used as a thing in fanfic. I like it. It works well here for what Kris wants to accomplish during her journey.

"These two really loved each other and still do," the professor explains for my benefit.

"And I'm the bastard that separated them," Ethan laughs again.
Lol, Ethan sounds awfully smug about it. He seems to have a good heart, though. It's Lyra who seems to be the more troublesome one for Kris.

Enough on her plate? What the hell are they working on? It's clear that neither one of them will tell me.
Ernest didn't push the topic here as much as I thought he would. I guess he's pretty good at deciding which battles are worth pursuing in the moment and which aren't.

"A world where Pokémon control people. Their leader is a Ledian of all things. Sounds cool, right?"

He chuckles and gives me a smile.

"Where do you come up with this stuff? Not that I mind. I'm looking forward to the Ledian overlords."

I smile back, but the casual feeling doesn't last long as I ponder if a movie like that is fitting for the era we live in.
This convo made me smile, haha. The Ledian bit in particular is cute.

I have no idea if I can learn anything from a bulletin board, but I'm excited to have something to do that I care about. It stands to reason that someone is going to use a secret forum to speak up about what happened, right? I can only hope so.
I mean, it certainly seems as good a place as many because it's the only place out there. I do find the intense degree of censorship a bit unrealistic as well, but I do see how it adds conflict for Ernest when he's just trying to find answers.

"Hey, I'm just a kid still. Don't put pressure on me," he says with a note of frustration.
Yeah, you're just a kid who is also the champion and took down Team Rocket. No big deal. :p

Old folks, probably, but on the Internet age isn't a factor.
Haha, I guess it depends on where you go. :p But yeah, on a forum, it doesn't. The messages you showed were pretty reminiscent of the internet, I think, however sad they are.

I read about this behavior pattern but wanted to believe that the Pokédex was exaggerating. Now I can't argue with facts anymore. Why, Vileplume?
This makes me wonder if Ernest will just end up disappointed with his discoveries about pokemon somehow...

Overall, characterization and dialogue are your strong suits here, the worldbuilding less so. But there's still time to delve into that if you plan to. EDIT: You updated chapter 7 before I got to post this. Chapter 7 went a long way to establish some of that. I enjoyed how Ernest's mom and grandpa were actually willing to tell some stories this time around, albeit with some reservations. Looking forward to future chapters!
 
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@diamondpearl876

Thanks for your thorough review. Let me touch upon some of your points:

1. I'll make sure not to overuse the passive voice. I'll probably edit the prologue.

2. Kris and Kurt actually don't share the same perspective, as she doesn't believe that Poke Balls are the way to bond with Pokemon. Expect these two to meet not too long from now.

3. Ernest and Kris sounding alike is something I try to avoid, but hopefully I will get better at it. I think that their interaction styles are completely different, at least.

4. The idea with the schools was that Mayson had had an eye on Saffron Academy for a while, but she told Ernest that they were just going to take a look to ease the transition. Honestly, she handled the situation really badly, but there's a reason for that. Her parenting skills are questionable, but she loves her son tremendously.

5. Regarding Chica being in the lab for a year, I subscribe to the games where there is no mention of professors handing out starters on a regular basis. I'll explain my interpretation of the average trainer's life soon.

Also consider that Chica tested Kris before she gave her consent to be with her. Maybe I should have referenced Chica not wanting to be with Lyra...
 
Don't Look Away
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Okay so, right off the bat I'll be honest and say that I actually think the context behind this fic's main idea is actually pretty interesting and one with a lot of room for exploration and a look at different concepts...however, you don't really do the best with this concept.

Prologue

Don't really have much to say about this one aside from it being your typical introductory prologue to give us kind of a hint of what'll happen in the story, I can't tell if it's Ernest who it's focusing on or not but either way there's not much to talk about here aside from the nature of the mysterious voice. But hey, it's all foreshadowing so it's sure to come back later.

Chapter 1

We're introduced to Ernest in this chapter and it's where we also get our first look at what makes this story tick. Starting off the chapter with Oak's speech is a good way to drop us in, especially with the twist that comes soon after.

Unfortunately, I have a lot of issues with the way in which you presented the fact that Pokemon no longer exist. Mainly it's the fact that Ernest's mom, and apparently the whole world, has been trying to hide any and all information about Pokemon as much as possible. It seems really unrealistic to me that people would just try to sweep such a catastrophe as what's essentially the animal population being wiped out under the rug.

I mean, wouldn't it make sense for them to keep looking into this or at least teach the new generation about what happened? this is human history after all.

Ernest himself...kind of leaves a lot to be desired. I like the fact that he's a bit spoiled and has a big chip on his shoulder, but this guy is surprisingly adept for a 12 year old. My main issue with him and the adults in this chapter though is the fact that their interactions were pretty dull, I can't really feel like there's any personality behind them.

Chapter 2

I originally did a double take when I started reading chapter 2, mostly because the change of focus to Kris felt a bit sudden. However, I think this is another interesting concept. Showing us the story of another character from before Pokemon became extinct and maybe letting us see what happened can help shed some light on things. At the same time, I think Kris here is an interesting character and considering the information we get I can see that you're grabbing from different elements such as the manga for her name and the place she's from.

Chapter 2 overall suffers from not much happening in it, we only really get to see Kris in the bus as she heads for Newbark and then to Elm's lab. It helps that we get to know more about her character and her motivations sure, but it's not like we learn too much to compensate the fact that nothing of note really happens in the chapter besides us being introduced to her.

I also have to say that I didn't expect to see Lyra here, but at the same time I kind of feel like she's a bit...different to say the least, it's a bit hard to get a hang of her personality when one moment she's overly friendly and the next she seems kind of hesitant about Kris. Also the dialogue continues to be very matter of factly, which causes it to come off as awkward and unnatural.

Chapter 3

The academy Ernest is attending feels more like any normal school if you ask me. Overall I wonder what role it'll play in the story as a whole since Ernest himself doesn't want to be there and there doesn't seem to be anything specific it's leaning towards. Gisele, on the other hand, is an interesting callback to the anime, as is the whole Mew being from Guyana reference that you threw in there. I actually think that it's interesting that Ernest is knowledgeable about the world because of his obsession with Pokemon.

However, the subject of Pokemon disappearance being ignored is still an odd thing that jumps out from the chapter, really unless they are specifically mentioned it doesn't seem like this takes place anywhere outside of our world, especially since you're adding real-world locations into the mix.

It's also interesting to see how people have managed to make up for the absence of Pokemon but...wouldn't having machines that essentially do what Pokemon did kind of go against the whole keeping it a secret thing?

Chapter 4 and 6

I'll knock the remaining four chapters out in the order of the character that appears, mostly because I have similar comments for both chapters.

Picking up Kris' story again, chapter 4 and 6 don't really do much to advance her journey. She obstains Chica in chapter 4 and we get a little more information on the Poke Walker project, which I also think is an interesting angle to take the story through even if Kris' insistence on not using pokeballs feels a tad odd. We get to see Kris and Chica bond somewhat and see more of Lyra and the like.

However, there's this odd feeling that I got from both of these chapters and that comes from the over-reliance on elements from the games. We'd already seen Elm and Lyra but then Ethan (or I guess Gold) comes in and the chapters kind of go into this weird route where Ethan starts talking about his journey and the like and while it's interesting to see you play with elements from the games...it also kind of causes the story to drag somewhat and overall feels unnecessary, at least at this point.

Also while I said that I liked how you mixed aspects from different Pokemon media, I think you're starting to overdo it a bit. It's different when you implement an element that doesn't get touched on in its original source and when you start literally having to explain which character is which and the like. I don't think it's necessary for us to discuss Red at all, much less the fact that he's actually named Ash and the same thing can be said for Ethan/Gold, in a way you might say it's like worldbuilding but it doesn't actually accomplish anything of importance to the story and feels unnecessary.

That's without mentioning the fact that, at this point, Kris still hasn't actually set out on her journey. Journey stories tend to take a while to actually set out sure, but here it feels like Kris is getting delayed for reasons that aren't important and it's all made even worse when you remember that we only get a Kris chapter once every two chapters, so it feels like it's taken a lot longer.

Chapter 5 and 7

This round of Ernest chapters also feel a bit off in retrospect, the Pokemon Stadium homage with the simulator actually fits better and feels like it's more important than all the character and game references in the Kris chapters, but it's still a bit weird that Gisele would recruit Ernest for it. Originally I thought that she would tell him more about the world and how it was, especially since she was a trainer herself, but she keeps things a secret just like everyone else. I get that she wanted to help him since he took an interest in Pokemon stuff but A. it's weird that she'd recruit him for a game development project when he has no such skill, experience or interest in that area and B. that she'd have him look over chats and the like.

Similarly, the chapters feel really weak in regards to the characters. Ernest social awkwardness and the fact that he's homeschooled explains the way he acts, but it doesn't really make him likeable or interesting especially when he's kind of just really bland outside of those aspects.

Bland is a word that describes a lot of what happened in these chapters as well, from our typical high school bully who's just a big musclehead that picks on the protagonist for no reason, to our nerdy and socially awkward character who only cares about his own nerdy stuff, it makes your characters come off as one-dimensional, especially when the conflict that does happen during these chapters ends up feeling inconsequential and like it happens out of the blue.


And this takes me to my main discussion with this fic. It's all just really boring. There's no weight to anything and it doesn't feel like the story's progressed a lot in 7 chapters, this wouldn't be an issue if the characters were at least interesting or fun to see but their personalities are almost nonexistent and what little there is ends up being cliched.

The dialogue between them also leaves a lot to be desired, it's long, unnatural and dull to summarize it. Normally you can have your characters' personalities come off through their dialogue but most of them speak in the same way at all times and they usually talk a lot even though they're saying little. You can make it more natural by adding slangs, verbal ticks or just have them use different wording that can help convey what they think. Another issue here is how literal everyone is, they're literally saying what they think or feel at times as well.

Description and set up is also pretty average, you don't really go into much detail about anything, neither the surroundings around the characters or their feelings. You do go into Ernest's a bit from time to time but it's not too much and we don't really go into too much detail and this hinders the story because it causes its world to come off as empty and, again, dull to the reader. This would be all right if it weren't a story exploring what a Pokemon world without Pokemon is like but as it is it just ends up feeling like our world.

That leads me to my biggest problem with the story. Again, the fact that people would just choose to ignore and move on with Pokemon gone is...unrealistic. This is the whole anime population that's gone extinct and the fact that everyone just agree to forget about it and not tell anyone about it is just weird, like what's the point of not telling newer generations about what happened? Something like "oh we don't want them to get sad because they won't be able to see them" but that's kind of stupid because again, it's all history.

You can say that it was an event that shook the whole world and that they wanted people to move on but...that's the case for all the wars that have occurred in life. Heck, it's the same for 911, this is as if people decided that the best course of action was to ignore that 911 ever happened and not tell anyone about it, hell this is what historians are supposed to do. I can understand if doing things this way was the best way for you to realize your story but...it's not the best way and shrugging off people's concerns with it by giving out that excuse doesn't make it any better because it just makes it all seem even less thought out.
 
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