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TEEN: Tetrix- Second Chapter Up!

Peaceful Giraffe

Dec 7, 2013
Reaction score
The following contains drugs, swearing, regular violence and gun violence. Enjoy!

What if your life was a lie? As if everything you thought you knew was false, and everything you never knew was true? What if you moved through the motions of everyday life as if in a dream, always expecting the wake-up call to come? For Jack Thomas, the call came in the form of a knock on the door.

Jack groaned and dragged himself away from the TV, solely because he expected to see the pizza delivery man when he opened the door. Jack was a typical 20-something single man, living off pizza and frequently going out with friends and getting hammered. He worked part-time at a fast-food restaurant a couple blocks away from his apartment, where they didn't care what their employees were on so long as they showed up for work on time. But when he opened the door, the face greeting him was most definitely not that of Steve the pizza guy.

"Hello!" The young woman chirped. Jack jerked backwards involuntarily, because the girl's clothing and hair were an assault on his television-accustomed eyes. Her hair was pink- bright pink, she must have dyed it- and her eyes and lipstick were startlingly teal. Her tank top was also pink, matching her hair, and she wore jean shorts and sneakers that were the same shade as her eyes.

Jack blinked slowly, making sure the bizarre girl was really there. She was. "Who are you?" he asked cautiously.

She glanced over one shoulder, then the other. "No time. You aren't safe here. Come on!" She said cheerfully, as if discussing the cotton candy her hair appeared to be made of instead of his life.

"What do you mean, I'm not safe here? I've lived here for ten years, I would know if it's unsafe," Jack frowned. "How would you know anything about my house anyways?"

The girl sighed, shaking her head and making a sad clicking sound with her tongue. "They spotted me the moment I entered. They will target you because I made contact with you."

Jack shook his head. "This is crazy. You're crazy! Did you come here from the nearest insane asylum or something?"

The girl groaned, looking worried. "I didn't think you'd be this stubborn. You have to trust me, though. Seriously. They know I'm here and they're coming. All you have to do is trust me, and I'll answer all your questions once we're out."

"Out of where?" Jack asked. "My apartment?

"Just trust me! Do you have a computer? Every single guy has one, right?" She said, barging past him to dash around the apartment in search of the aforementioned computer. She eventually stopped in front of him. "You do have a computer, right?"

Jack shook his head wordlessly. "Can't afford it. I only work part-time." He wasn't sure why he was going along with it all of a sudden. He assumed it was because the situation had gotten so weird it couldn't possibly be real.

"Damn." She looked around. "How many exits to this building?"

"I don't know, there's the main door downstairs..." She was already shaking her head before he was finished talking. "Not an option. We need something unpredictable. Does this building have a fire escape?"

"We have one, technically, but a couple years ago a group of teenagers took fireworks up there and blew a hole in it, and it's really rickety... So it's really unsafe." Jack clarified, as he was unsure the crazy girl even knew the meaning of 'unsafe'.

She just grinned, a blue-lipped smile that terrified Jack with its pure recklessness and promise of risk to life and limb. "Yeah? Well, what I have in mind is even less safe." She said, back in good spirits in a flash. Jack really didn't want to know what she had in mind, but he figured he'd find out soon enough. And as sure as the pope is Catholic...

She grabbed the cord at the base of Jack's floor-to-ceiling window and yanked it up, stinging his eyes with the sudden light. "How far can you jump?" The girl was now eyeing the gap between Jack's building and a neighboring one. "That's only like twenty feet, right?"

That was it. Jack snapped. "Only! Twenty feet is a very big jump woman! I have no clue who or what you are, or even what your name is, or why the hell you are wearing that atrocity, and frankly, I don't care. I just want you out of my life. Right now."

The girl looked a little taken aback, and for a moment, Jack dared hope she would leave. Then she shrugged. "Well, you had to get that out of your system, may as well be sooner rather then later." She promptly gave the big window a roundhouse kick, sending shattered glass raining down on the streets. She then grabbed Jack's shirt and backed up a few steps before launching them into the abyss. Jack snapped his eyes shut, not wanting to see the road fly up at his face, which suddenly felt very fragile.

Oh my God. Jack thought. This is how I'm going to die. Falling from an incredible height because a loony tune threw me out my own window.

He heard glass shatter near his head. Probably a windshield. I'm next, I know it.

Then they landed- not on the hard, deadly asphalt Jack was expecting, but on soft, thick carpeting. Jack gulped air, trying unsuccessfully to slow his heart rate down. He raised his head painfully to see the girl, the same one who had jumped out a window with him, already on her feet, excavating a laptop from a pile of paperwork.

Jack groaned, hauling himself into a sitting position. The girl jerked her head around, looking surprised to see him awake. "Oh good, you're conscious. I was worried that the impact would have made you black out. Hold on, you have a little piece of glass in your hair." She said. Jack blinked. He jerked his head around to confirm his suspicions and sure enough, directly behind him was a shattered window. He automatically scrambled back from the drop, staring across the gap at his own window. They had actually made it.

"You jumped... out of a building." He said slowly.

"Right, explanations, um, shit," she said nervously. "We're almost out. I found a computer, see?" She produced a fancy-looking laptop from behind her back. "It's a nice one, too. 2013 Apple MacBook. 2014 or 15 would be better, but oh well."

"Wait, what?" He grabbed her arm, noticing that her nails were painted to match her painful color scheme. "Did you just say fifteen? As in 2015? As in the 2015 that hasn't happened yet?"

She took the wrist of the arm that was grabbing her, and said, "I promised to answer all of your questions once we're out. Now shut up. I hope you didn't eat a big lunch." Before he could ask what that meant, the computer was on and her fingers were flying across the keyboard. In a matter of milliseconds, an odd computer site was open and the crazy grin was once more painted across her face. The lights began to flicker due to the laptop sucking all the power, and the mad smile was terrifying in that lighting. "Say good-bye to normal, Mister... I'm sorry, what was your name?"

Jack took a moment to reflect on how this girl had thrown him out a window but didn't know his name, before replying, "Jack."

"I'm Zoey! Nice to meet ya!" With that she jammed her finger into the USB port and the world dissolved into a blur of numbers and symbols, and he was falling, and falling... Zoey was with him, but she changed as she fell, becoming less human and more something else. She nodded encouragement to him, and together they shot down, down, down...

Jack shot upward with a gasp, before immediately flopping back down on a bed. Huh. He was on a bed. Last he remembered he was with Zoey. He forced one eye open and winced at the flash of light.

A quiet, feminine voice interrupted his thoughts. "Are you alright?" The voice lowered to a whisper, and Jack could barely hear, "Are you sure you got him out?"

Jack groaned, attempting to force himself upwards, but his body refused to obey. His eyes flickered open again, and just barely managed to stay open longer this time. The second person must have said something that went unheard, because the first person said, "Good."

Another voice, much nearer, sounded like it was diagnosing him. "He'll be fine after he gets some rest, adjusts to his real body. Also, his system is shocked at receiving his mind again. He'll be good as new after some sleep."

"Do you suppose he'll ever act the same?" the feminine voice asked.

"I really don't know, Boss. If he was under for ten years, the memories might be gone for good." The closer voice said. "Tetrix is a dangerous program, and we still aren't sure exactly what it does."

Jack chose that moment to surrender his grip on reality and sink comfortably into the velvet depths of unconsciousness. His dreams were strange and surreal, full of numbers and computers and teal eyes boring into him.

Jack yawned, stretching his arms out and arching his back. It felt really good, like he hadn't moved for a long time.

"You were asleep for almost two days," the voice from before said softly. "Do you remember anything?"

Jack groaned and opened his eyes, waiting for his vision to come into focus. "I remember a crazy girl throwing me out a window," he muttered. He brushed a couple grains of sand out of his eyes and saw a woman. She was... Jack would put her in her late thirties or early forties if forced to guess, but there was something timeless in her eyes. The woman smiled.

"Welcome back, Champion. You were missed."

Jack shook his head, clearing some of the sleep-induced fog from his thoughts. "Sorry, did you just call me Champion? I'm not Champion of anything. In fact, I don't even know where I am."

In fact, Jack hadn't taken the time to look around before, but he did now. He was in what looked a bit like a control room, or maybe an electronics lab. There were dozens of screens showing shots of his apartment building and the surrounding area, which was rather creepy. These people had been spying on him! And the bed he was lying on, he noticed, wasn't actually a bed. It was a metal lab table with a blanket on it, which was even more creepy. These people had been spying on him and operating on him? He squeaked a little in alarm, checking to see if he had anything missing.

"No worries. You're safe now," the woman said. It was meant to be comforting, but it only raised questions in Jack's mind, all of which he finally voiced. Loudly.

"Safe from what? And who are you people anyways? Where am I? Why were you spying on me, and what the hell is up with Zoey?" he burst, shouting all of the questions that Zoey had promised him answers to. He glared at the woman after he was done, hating the kindly, unfazed expression on her face.

The woman stared at him for a moment longer before speaking. "As for who I am, Jack, I'm a researcher. My name is Fennel, and I'm one of the head researchers here in Unova. And I am so sorry for what I did to you." Sensing the question on Jack's lips, she continued, "Unova is the region where we are now. It is somewhat like the dream world you were living in- yes, you were in a dream world, wait a moment please- except we have much more advanced technology and creatures known as Pokémon." She looked at him anxiously. "Is anything coming back to you now?"

He shook his head silently, still processing the information he had just received. He eventually managed to stutter out, "I was in a dream world?"

She nodded solemnly. "A virtual dream world, to be more precise. You were trapped there for ten years. The world itself was constructed and maintained by computers, but your mind's realistic fantasies are generated by Dream Mist."

He raised his eyebrows, and Fennel could hear the whistling noise as her words flew right over his head. "So, I was high for ten years?" he asked.

Fennel whacked her face. "If it helps you understand, sure," she muttered through her fingers. "As for why we were spying on you, I was actually monitoring your position so Zoey could find the right place to program herself into Tetrix. Tetrix is the name of the virtual world, by the way."

"Hey, speaking of Zoey, what's her deal?" Jack wondered.

Fennel looked uncertain. "Well... Yes, you ought to know. Remember how I told you we had creatures known as Pokémon?"

Jack nodded, unsure where this was going.

"Zoey is a Pokémon." Fennel said bluntly. "She only appeared human to you because that is how she chooses to look in the virtual world. ZOEY!" she called, causing a small pink and teal boxy Pokémon to hesitantly scoot out from behind a wall of screens.

"Jack, this is Porygon 01011010001101010011010011101101010, but you know her as Zoey. One quick thing you should know about Zoey is that Porygon are made out of programming code, and Zoey is glitched. She has both a gender and emotions, things all other Porygon lack." Fennel explained to Jack, whose mouth was now opening and closing in a manner reminiscent of a goldfish.

Zoey nodded shyly, her birdlike head bobbing up and down dipping-duck style. Words started scrolling across one of the screens behind her. (Hello, Jack.)

Jack passed out for the second time in just under three days. Zoey sighed. (Humans can be so closed-minded.)

"I know, right?" Fennel said distractedly. Zoey sniggered. (Fennel, you're a human too, remember?)

Fennel blinked for a moment, and then shook herself awake. "Sorry, Zoey, I'm older now then I once was, and tired. Do you mind if I take a nap now?"

(Not at all, you deserve it. I'll go see what Cheren is up to.) Zoey bobbed away to find the last member of their ragtag crew, soon finding him and bumping into his leg.

"Oh hey, Zoey. What's up?" The young man asked. He was somewhere in his twenties, Zoey remembered, and now served as the doctor, chef, and Fennel's assistant as they tried to fix the catastrophe the aging researcher had accidentally created.

(Fennel was just explaining some stuff to Jack.) Zoey projected onto his laptop. (He passed out and Fennel is taking a nap, so I came to see what you were up to.)

Cheren shrugged sympathetically. "Well, it is a lot to take in, poor guy. No wonder he passed out. And Fennel works around the clock trying to find a solution. She deserves her rest."

(Cheren, I need you to be honest with me here. Do you really think Jack will remember his past life? We don't have any of his Pokémon to show him, or any photos. We have to hope he remembers on his own... But I'm not sure he's going to.)

Cheren patted Zoey on the head. "I honestly don't know, but the day we stop hoping is the day we just let the enemy win. We have to have faith that he'll remember his skills as a Trainer."

(You're right. He must be a very good trainer for us to go to all of this trouble for him.) Zoey thought aloud.

Cheren smiled thoughtfully, thinking back to travels across Unova with Jack. "He's the best. I remember, I was so sure I could beat him. I challenged him many times during his Pokémon journey, but I always lost. I could never figure out why, until the day he told me his secret."

Zoey cocked her angular head in curiosity. (What was it?)

Cheren grinned. "It was the strangest thing. He beat me for the last time after defeating the Pokémon league, and I was shocked. I was sure we should be at the same skill level, or I should be better. I had trained so hard, and we had started our journeys at the same time. My Pokémon, a Serperior, even had a type advantage against his Samurott. But I still lost. It all made sense once he explained his secret, though. It's such a simple idea I couldn't believe I didn't think of it myself."

(But what is the secret? Please stop being all mysterious about it, the suspense is killing me!) Zoey begged.

"Ok, ok. I was trying to build up to it, you know, make it seem cooler. But anyways, the secret is to imagine that you're the one battling. Put yourself in your Pokémon's place. That way, you can anticipate attacks and won't order your Pokémon to do anything you wouldn't do. It's funny, though. He was the only one who ever mastered the art of truly understanding Pokémon. Even after I learned the trick, I couldn't do it," Cheren said.

Zoey blinked her hexagon-shaped eyes in surprise. (That's it? Just putting yourself in your Pokémon's place? But that's so simple!)

"Well, the reason it's so hard is because you have to think like a Pokémon, and Jack could do that better then any other person. I sure couldn't do it. Bianca, our best friend, couldn't do it. Even Fennel, with all her knowledge, couldn't do it."

Zoey's cubical feet clicked against the tiles as she scooted closer to Cheren. (But that's it! You can't get a gift like that from studying. You have to be someone who truly loves Pokémon, so much so that you can think like them.)

Cheren nodded, glad that she understood. "Exactly," he said quietly, picking Zoey up and patting her absentmindedly as memories of the joyful journey flashed behind his eyes. "Zoey, I was so dumb," he muttered. "I helped Fennel with Tetrix. Now it might be my fault if my best friend is lost forever."

Zoey had nothing to say to that, only rubbing her head against his chest and hoping to Arceus that Jack remembered. Both man and Pokémon eventually drifted off into dreamland, although it is likely that the latter dreamt only of ones and zeroes.

When they awoke, it happened by degrees. In this way, they heard the yelling from the other room before they actually realized it was in real life, not the dreams they had been vividly living out just moments before. It took even longer for them to realize they may actually be needed, and this particular thought crossed Cheren's mind first.

He jerked upright, grabbing Zoey and taking a moment to work the kinks out of his cramped muscles. He often fell asleep in his chair after having pushed himself past his mental limit, and the cost always came in cramps the next day. He limped down the hall to the laboratory, and the sight that met his eyes almost broke his heart.

Jack was curled up on the floor, crying. Fennel looked like she was trying to soothe him, but he turned away from her every time she attempted to reason with him. "Send me home!" he bawled. "I wanna go home!"

Fennel turned to Cheren, her eyes filled with concern and regret. "I always knew this was a risk, but I honestly didn't think it would happen. He was in the system for too long, and he cannot imagine a life away from it."

Zoey turned her hexagonal glare on Fennel. (You never told us this could happen! You might have destroyed his mind!)

Cheren nodded in agreement with the little Porygon. "How could you not tell us this was a danger?"

Fennel backed away a few steps, nearly tripping over Jack's pitiful form. "Now hold on, I can explain. See, the thing that's causing this reaction is the Dream Mist. It's affects are like a drug, and he grew addicted to it over the course of ten years. The reaction was delayed for a few days because that's how big of a dose he had in him. I didn't tell you because I didn't know Dream Mist was addictive until right before we rescued him, and by then it was too late to turn back."

Zoey buzzed in alarm. (So he might die, because of this stupid mist? There has to be some solution, right?) She was starting to feel genuinely guilty for pulling Jack back into the real world, even though she hadn't known this would happen.

Fennel nodded sadly. "I'm afraid the Dream Mist created a reality so... well... real, that his mind needs to go back to it. The only solution would be to get him a dose of Mist before he dies, but the only surviving Munna is being held captive and used to generate the Tetrix world."

Zoey shook her head as an idea struck her, and the solution was suddenly clear as day. (But Tetrix is made of Dream Mist! If I could program him in real quick before his mind dies, he could get a dose and survive!)

Cheren, who had until then remained quiet, spoke up from where he was crouched by Jack's huddled form. "That might work in theory, but it's way to dangerous. His mind might get even more hooked on the stuff."

(That's a risk I'm willing to take.)

"And have you forgotten that the only entrance to Tetrix we have programmed is Jack's apartment, which they now have under surveillance 24/7?" Cheren continued. "I'd like to save Jack too, but your plan is suicide."

Zoey placed a protective foot on Jack's back, who was now shivering uncontrollably. (For Arceus' sake Cheren, look at him! He's going to die anyways! At least this way he might have a chance! And I don't give a Rattatta's ass if I die, before you even mention it, so long as I died saving someone else.)

Fennel shook her head. "Zoey, there is no way this will work. They could catch you, you and Jack might both die!"

(I know! Bye!) Zoey jammed her foot into a USB port on the server directly beside her, hoping it was one for Tetrix and not just Fennel's computer. Luckily, it was the former and Zoey experienced the tingly pins-and-needles feeling of her programming being coded into a computer. The world disappeared into a tunnel of black and white numbers, and Zoey tried to aim for the light at the end. If Cheren and Fennel were doing their jobs, that should be Jack's apartment building.

She looked to the left with a struggle, as moving was a challenge when you were between computers, and sighed with relief when she saw she had managed to bring Jack with her. It was easier bringing people out of computers because her human form had fingers to hold onto them, which was much more secure then the fingerless flippers her Porygon form had, which were just inconvenient.

Zoey willed her boxy feet to lengthen out into those of her human form, adding her jean shorts and tennis shoes for modesty's sake. As she quickly reconfigured the rest of her body to match, she briefly considered whether Jack could learn the art of digital manipulation before shaking her now-human head, pink hair swinging around her face.

She and Jack got closer to the light... closer... closer... And then they popped out in the alley beside Jack's apartment building. Zoey quickly dragged Jack into the shadows of the alley as he began to regain consciousness, the Dream Mist already doing its job. Zoey looked up at the roof of the building with fear etched across her face. Their enemies were up there. She could sense it.

A groan sounded from behind her, and she turned so quickly she almost hurt her neck. She always forgot that human necks didn't turn all the way around. Jack was sitting up and rubbing his head, looking around with a bewildered expression, and only then did Zoey realize her plan's fatal flaw. Jack wouldn't want to leave. His home was here. There was nothing for him in the real world.

Jack pulled himself upright, using the brick wall as support. Zoey tapped him on the shoulder, and he swung around in surprise. He stared at her for a moment before saying the one thing she was definitely not prepared for.

"Sis? What are you doing here?" he asked in bewilderment. "I thought you were living with Mom and Dad."

"Um, I came here to give you a surprise visit?" Zoey said hopefully, although she was crying inside. Jack's drugged delusions were so sad. The enemy were smart. They'd covered every escape route by sealing off Jack's very mind. Undoubtably he now thought his venture into the real world had been nothing but a dream. Zoey winced at the implications. He would be more entrenched in this world then ever, and his brain had been programmed to think she was his sister. He most likely thought he was mentally ill to account for her odd behavior.

Jack jumped in surprise as she started crying right beside him, tears of despair staining the already-filthy alleyway. We'll never get him out now, Zoey thought miserably. They would keep a tighter watch on him then ever, because he almost discovered the truth. She sat down hard, the real depth of the situation finally striking her. Not only had she lost their best hope, she had likely also doomed herself. Her policy was 'in and out fast', so that there was no way for them to catch her or predict her appearances. She had thrown that out the window to bring Jack back and save his life, and now she was paying for it.

Jack hesitantly knelt beside his sister. He knew when she was younger she had had fantasies about a different world, a world with little creatures people could use to battle. She had grown more hostile over the matter as she grew older, beginning to insist that their world was fake, and they had to escape it. She often acted like this when she was having a fit, and she could get violent. Regardless, he placed a hand on her shoulder. "Zo?" he asked gently. She looked up at him with a tear-streaked face.

Jack was encouraged. "Are you okay, Zoey? Why are you crying?" He wasn't even expecting her to open up to him, just to talk to her and comfort her.

She huddled into his arms, tears soaking both of their shirts. "I can't save you, Jack. We're trapped here, and I can't save you."

Jack patted her back, murmuring consolingly, until her sobs died down. Jack looked at her sadly. She may not be perfect, but he wouldn't trade his little sister for anything. He waited until she was finished crying and had begun sleeping lightly in his arms, then picked her up gently and carried her up to his apartment. A noise of satisfaction, unheard by either of them, sounded across the street from the apartment Zoey and Jack had first escaped through. This was too perfect to be true.

Zoey woke up groggily, rubbing away the salt that had been sealing her eyes shut. Her sleep had been uneasy, filled with terrifying images and a pink mist that for some reason was even more scary. She noticed with surprise as the sleep filtered out of her head that she could smell bacon... Mmmmm. Bacon. That was another advantage to being a human. They had mouths, and could eat such wonderful foods. The best ones she had tried so far were cinnamon rolls and caramel.

Zoey rolled off of the ragged green couch she had been sleeping on and set out in search of the heavenly meat. She didn't have to look for long, as she found Jack frying up the bacon in his little kitchenette, half-obscured by the dirty dishes that were the signature of a single guy.

Jack swung around with bacon pan in hand, forcing Zoey to duck as it flew past her head. "Woah there, Nelly," she said, reaching up to push the pan away from her head. It sizzled against her skin and Jack hurriedly jerked it away.

"Are you okay?" he yelped, voice skipping an octave. "Hold on, I think I have a first aid kit somewhere."

Zoey looked at him in glee for a moment before she started to feel bad and let him off the hook. "My hand isn't hurt, Jack." she admitted, flipping her hand over to show flawless skin.

Jack was at her side in a moment. "Wha? That pan was straight off the oven... It should have been burning hot."

Zoey was suddenly aware of how to convince him of the truth. "Guess again, Jack. That pan isn't straight off the oven. It doesn't even exist. It's just lines of code."

Jack opened his mouth but no words came out. He reached for the pan hesitantly, but Zoey smacked his hand away. "Well, it is to me because I can see this world as it truly is." She blinked and a green glow briefly appeared behind her eyes.

"Jack, you and I are trapped in a computer program. It's called Tetrix. I got you out once, but you probably dismissed it as a dream, am I right?" Zoey plowed on. Her words were getting to him, she could tell.

"Why are we here? In a computer?" Jack finally managed. Zoey sighed in relief. It had worked- being presented with evidence had forced him to accept the truth. It was also probably easier because this was his second time.

She answered honestly, "Because other Porygon, that's what I am except I'm glitched, trapped you in here ten years ago when they took over the league. Fennel's group of pet Porygon rebelled and she barely escaped. You and the Elite Four, the Gym Leaders too, were seen as threats and needed to be put somewhere where you wouldn't do any harm. So they devised the ultimate prison. A prison you wouldn't even know you were in."

Jack looked a bit like he was drowning under the flood of new information. "What's a Porygon?" he asked.

"A Pokémon, a manmade one. Pokémon are animals native to the real world, but Porygon are computer Pokémon. We're just programming. That's why I can come into the computer to rescue you, because I'm made of code. And in case you didn't guess by know, I'm not really your sister. Nor am I crazy." Zoey finished in a rush. She looked out the window worryingly.

"And now it's time to run, because they will be very pissed I managed to convince you of the truth. You said the first time this building has a fire escape, right?" Zoey said hopefully.

Jack nodded, then shook his head. "No, no, no. Wait. This is too insane. No way. You're just having one of your fits."

Zoey groaned and dragged him out the door. "I was sure I had you. Oh well, come on, doesn't mean we don't have to run, move it. Which way is the fire escape?"

"Left, but I stand by the fact that you're having a breakdown. Besides, that thing has a huge gaping hole in it, remember?" Jack slapped a hand over his mouth as memories his memories all rushed back in a moment, the moment he said remember. He slumped against the wall for a moment, dazed, before Zoey pulled him to his feet. "Okey-dokey, left it is."

And then they ran, feet slapping the hard linoleum floor. Down at the end of the hall, they started climbing stairs until two flights up they reached the window with the fire escape. They were both panting, and Zoey muttered, "They really should make these easier to access. What if there was a fire between your apartment and here? You'd be screwed."

She was the first out the window, beckoning Jack forwards up the rickety metal steps. He hesitantly stuck one foot out the window, gripping the rusty rail so hard his knuckles turned white. A gust of wind rattled the structure, and he shrank back to the safety of the window.

Zoey shook her head. "This won't do at all. You don't believe, actually believe, that this is a fake world. The rules of physics don't apply. You have to let go."

"Let go of what?" Jack shouted over the wind, pressing himself against the apartment wall.

"Everything! Everything is just lines of code, and they can be rewritten just like that. Law of gravity?" Zoey hopped up into the air, landing on the rail. Flakes of metal drifted down to the street from the impact. "Please."

Jack nodded slowly, taking a small step forward onto the steps. Then another and another. A gust of wind blew and he shrunk back a moment, but then Zoey rolled her eyes and pointed to the half-inch piece of metal she was balancing on, and his confidence was rekindled. His balance regained, he took larger steps until he was equal with Zoey, who was beaming with pride. "Great! Come on now, we need to reach the roof!" she said hurriedly, glancing behind and below them to see black cars gathering at the entrance of the building.

Zoey swung down gracefully from the rail. "Great! Now faster, pretty please, those cars are not here to deliver pizza."

She pivoted on her heel and dashed up the fire escape, metal clanging and rattling under her feet. Jack followed for fear of being dragged again, and Zoey sighed in relief internally that he was finally keeping up.

Near the top was the final obstacle- the hole blown in the fire escape years ago. It had probably started out around three or four feet wide, not that bad, but the weakened metal's constant exposure to the elements had worn at least another two feet and the rails had eroded away. The now six-foot wide gap loomed threateningly before them, but Zoey didn't even slow down.

She jumped with more momentum then should have been possible for someone running up a steep circular staircase, grabbing a metal pole above her head midway across the gap and swinging to the other side.

The impact of her landing sent red flakes spiraling down to the street, both paint and rust. She beckoned urgently to Jack, who was edging back from a gap, despite the fact that he had just seen her jump it. "I'm scared, Zoey. The fact that you can do this stuff doesn't mean that I can," he said. "Even if you're some sort of digital thing, I'm not! Why would I be able to jump that?"

"You don't need to be!" Zoey called from the other side of the gap. "The fact that I can do this has nothing to do with me being a Porygon! I just know the truth of this world! It isn't real, and neither are its rules!"

Below them, men were starting to get out of the black cars. They looked odd, but it took Jack a moment to realized why. They shared Zoey's color scheme, with teal hair and pink suits. Zoey obviously noticed this too, because a squeak emerged from her throat and she shouted frantically to Jack, "Now! You have to come now! Forget everything you think you know and jump! Please!"

The 'please' was what did it. Jack nodded slowly, emptying his mind of all thoughts and trying to accept the truth. I'm in a computer, he thought as he backed up and prepared to jump. Gravity doesn't exist here. I can jump that easily. He nodded, growing in confidence, and ran at the gap, jumping up and forwards in the same fashion Zoey had. He grasped the metal above his head like she had, swinging forwards and landing with considerably less finesse then the female Porygon.

He groaned and peeled himself off the grating of the steps to see Zoey's face split open so wide it should have broken in half. "You did it!" she squealed, grabbing his hand and pulling him to his feet. "Now time to run, and we need to find a computer to get the hell out of here."

They dashed up the stairs to the top floor, where they were faced by another problem. "Well shit," Zoey grumbled. The steps, being a fire escape, were designed to go down, and they didn't reach directly to the roof. They only went as high as the highest window, where they were now. It was a good eighteen feet to the roof, including the window, the remainder of the floor above it, and a windowless maintenance floor above that.

Zoey did what lunatics do in such situations. She reached for the upper sill of the window. Her fingers locked around it and she pulled herself up, pushing the tip of one shoe into a gap between two bricks. Jack started shaking his head, reaching up to try and pull her down.

"Okay, the jumping thing, that I can live with. Maybe," he added after a moment. "But this is nuts. I mean, this is just nuts! You aren't a spider, you can't climb up a surface with no hand or footholds! Even if this is a computer program, I can't see how that would work."

Zoey smirked, reaching up and drawing a hand back. "You're right, climbing an eighteen foot wall with nothing to hold would be pretty hard. But making handholds?" Her fist flew forwards, drilling a hole in the wall. "Like everything else in Tetrix, this wall is just code, Jack. It can be as soft as dough or as hard as cement, depending on how you think about it. This whole thing is mind over matter."

Jack nodded hesitantly. "Mind over matter... So if I punch the wall, it'll be the wall, and not my hand, that breaks?"

Zoey smiled. "Yup, but I'll do all the work this time because we really only need one path to the top."

She placed her hand in the hole she had made earlier, hauling herself up without any apparent effort and using her other hand to punch a parallel hole. Jack watched with admiration as she worked her way up, placing her feet in former handholds, crawling up little by little. She glanced down to look at him and called, "Come on! Remember, gravity can suck it." This was phased a bit less eloquently then previous encouragements, because the blue-haired men had by now entered the building and would soon climb to where they were.

Jack reached up to grab the first handhold, scuffed shoe rubbing against the bottom windowsill as his left leg swung up to the top of the sill. Zoey grinned down at him and continued to forge a path upwards, punching and grabbing, over and over. They were about halfway up, nine feet, when a bullet sliced through the air above Zoey's head, sending a lock of bubblegum pink hair fluttering into the air.

Zoey swore, attempting unsuccessfully to swivel from her sprawled-out position on the wall. "Hey Jack, can you tell me who the hell is shooting at us and where they're shooting from?" she hissed with her teeth clenched together as she attempted to defy gravity faster, pummeling the brick wall harder and faster.

Jack released one hand to shade his eyes from the midday sun. He missed the shooters at first glance, but noticed them when one leaned out of a window to loose a shot. He froze for a moment, the world going still around him as he watched the bullet propel itself straight through the air toward his forehead. The shot was good, and she eyes crossed slightly focusing on the bullet. He wondered idly why it hadn't hit him yet, there was no way he could duck that. It was going too fast, far too fast, but so slow at the same time.

Zoey glanced down to check on him, concerned by the lack of a report, and yelped at the sight of Jack mesmerized by a bullet whizzing through the air. She made a split second decision and rammed his head down, the bullet burying itself instead in the soft flesh and small bones of her wrist. She screamed in agony, so loudly that Jack snapped out of his daze to feel a trickle of blood pour onto his head. He grasped the situation quickly and panicked, as Zoey's injured hand had released the wall to save him, but her other was starting to go limp from pain and shock, and if she fell she would take him down with her.

Jack looked back down at the fire escape. It was about a nine-foot drop, not that far of a drop, and he pulled everything Zoey had taught him to the front of his mind as he released the wall and relaxed. He plummeted immediately, landing on the balls of his feet easily. The fire escape shifted beneath his feet, but he paid it no mind, looking instead for the gunmen. They were still in the same place but had not yet registered that their prey had disappeared. Jack snickered. Adrenaline was starting to kick in, and he was loving the danger. Then a yelp sounded from above him and Zoey, who looked like she was losing a lot of blood, landed directly behind him with a thud. Her eyes were glazed over and Jack worried she also might have been hurt by the fall.

A gunshot sounded and Jack gulped. The gunmen had gotten wise and figured out where they were. He stared down the gap between the fire escape and a neighboring building before realizing that was the wrong thing to do. It was a matter of believing. Mind over matter. He picked up Zoey's limp form, eliciting nothing but a weak groan, and draped her over his back. "You saved my life, Zoey. Now it's my turn," he said softly in her ear before backing up the small amount of space the fire escape allowed.

He set his sights on a window across the street and suddenly flashed back to when Zoey had saved him by doing the exact same thing. Now, he would save her. He charged forward and jumped, landing first on the railing, then pushing himself off of that. He stared down at the cars below him as he flew, keeping a tight grip on Zoey's alarmingly cold hands. He blinked, and all of a sudden the cars were composed entirely of code. He lost his concentration for a moment and started to fall before he realized that this was what Zoey had been talking about!

He looked around again and suddenly the whole world was made of code. He wondered absently if this was what Zoey saw all the time as he was flooded with realization. The air he was falling through wasn't air, it was just programming! He focused his mind and the 'air' beneath his feet solidified, hardening as the code rewrote itself. He grinned jumped again, pushing off from his pad of frozen air, crashing through a window across the street. He gently set Zoey on the floor and spotted a laptop on a nearby table.

He quickly unplugged the laptop from the wall and looked down at Zoey, who smiled up at him faintly. "I guess crazy is contagious," she whispered.

He smiled back and held her undamaged wrist tight as she jammed her finger into the USB drive and the world dissolved into a whirl of code.

They materialized on the grated floor belonging to Fennel's lab and promptly passed out.

This started as a story I wrote on the URPG, but I have some ideas for future segments so I'll keep it going here.

Please feel free to comment!
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Re: Tetrix- First Chapter Up!

"You take the blue pill: the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.

You take the red pill: you stay in wonderland... and I show you how deep the buneary hole goes."

Great first chapter, well done! I liked how you reversed the roles of the worlds, how Pokemon is the "real world" and the normal world is just a figment of imagination. You have neat writing style that flows smoothly and is easy to understand, yet complex enough to keep attention. There are some issues though, so bear with me.

Zoey was suddenly aware of how to convince him of the truth. "Guess again, Jack. That pan isn't straight off the oven. It doesn't even exist. It's just lines of code."

Jack opened his mouth but no words came out. He reached for the pan hesitantly, but Zoey smacked his hand away. "Well, it is to me because I can see this world as it truly is." She blinked and a green glow briefly appeared behind her eyes.

"Jack, you and I are trapped in a computer program. It's called Tetrix. I got you out once, but you probably dismissed it as a dream, am I right?" Zoey plowed on. Her words were getting to him, she could tell.

"Why are we here? In a computer?" Jack finally managed. Zoey sighed in relief. It had worked- being presented with evidence had forced him to accept the truth. It was also probably easier because this was his second time.

Even though your reasoning is that he's being confronted with evidence, it still seems kind of odd that Jack just completely surrenders to her idea with hardly any convincing at all. It just seems like he's so easily convinced the second time around, and it's a bit out of place. "Your hand didn't burn!" "This world isn't real" "Oh, okay."

I know he is still skeptical throughout, but this particular scene just seems kind of odd to me.

My other concern is the story's drawing heavily from the plot of The Matrix. While there's nothing wrong with that in itself, I feel like it needs something to make it stand apart, especially if you plan on continuing the story.

Regardless, I really liked it, and I'm eager to see what happens next. :D
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Re: Tetrix- First Chapter Up!

@GastlyGibus; the rest of the story will depart from the plot of the Matrix. And I realized that part you mentioned would be kinda blocky, but it was necessary.

Besides, I'm mostly writing this as a vent for my Matrix and Pokémon fangirling in one blow.

And I loved the red-pill blue-pill quote.
Re: Tetrix- First Chapter Up!

Fennel wrapped up Zoey's injured leg carefully. Since she had been shot in Tetrix, the wound had stayed with her into the real world. That was the real danger of Tetrix, Fennel thought grimly. If you die in the virtual world, you die in the real world too. Cheren was kneeling beside her, compressing Jack's chest to make sure he didn't suffocate. It was possible for someone to be so unconscious their mind forgets to breathe, and it would be bad if, after all they went through to save Jack, he would be lost to such a minor thing.

Fennel looked at the unconscious Porygon and a tear ran down her cheek. "Cheren," she whispered, breaking the industrious silence, "Do you think they will ever forgive me? I'll have to tell them the whole story eventually." More tears dripped down onto Zoey's boxy form as she continued, "This is all my fault... All my fault."

Cheren reached one up from Jack's chest to pull Fennel into a one-armed hug. "Hey, don't worry. They're both good people. They already love you. What you did was an accident, and they'll understand that." He waited for her to nod meekly in acknowledgement before releasing her shoulders and resuming his rhythmic chest compressions.

Zoey and Jack both jerked awake at the same time, Jack's chest suddenly heaving on its own. They had tears in their eyes and shook Fennel and Cheren away to embrace each other, Zoey bouncing up into Jack's arms and almost purring.

Fennel smiled as she watched the touching reunion, but she had to wonder what kind of hell they had gone through together in Tetrix in order to form that deep a bond instantaneously. Zoey had evidently been hurt by something, but until the two recovered and slept for a while, they would be practically mute, Jack in particular since it had been his first time recognizing the truth of Tetrix.

Cheren guided the two of them to Jack's room. He had attempted to separate them, but Jack had only clutched the Porygon tighter. Cheren suspected that Zoey's injury had nearly been a lot worse, and both had likely suffered some degree of trauma from the incident. Cheren sighed and put Jack, still clutching Zoey, in his bed. He made one last attempt to rescue the duck-like Pokémon, but she glared at him and made it clear that she didn't want to be rescued.

Cheren trotted back to Fennel's main lab, where the researcher was monitoring Tetrix on several huge screens. "I think we have a little problem," he said, causing her to jump in surprise. "Jack won't let Zoey out of his sight, and Zoey is exactly the same. I think they might have developed codependency after relying on each other in Tetrix."

Fennel's face twisted in surprise. "Codependency? You think?"

"I think. I don't know for sure, but they show all the symptoms. They refuse to be separated, and Zoey got angry when I suggested it. It is something that frequently happens when two people... Does Zoey count as a person?" Cheren asked.

Fennel nodded. "She has a human mind, that's enough." She motioned for him to continue.

"Anyways, it frequently happens when two people rely on each other through a traumatic experience. We don't know what happened to those two in Tetrix, because the screens shorted out when Zoey used all of their energy to jack in." Cheren explained, looking increasingly worried.

"Seems likely, but we can't jump to that conclusion without testing them for it, and the only way to do that is to separate them. If they really are codependent, that could devastate them." Fennel swore quietly under her breath.

"Should we risk it?" Cheren asked, clearly worried about Jack's and Zoey's well being.

Fennel looked torn before nodding slowly. "It's a risk we have to take."

Jack's dreams were troubled. He vividly remembered seeing the bullet that had nearly killed him shooting towards his head, then Zoey shoving his head down and feeling her arm go limp as the bullet shattered her wrist. He shot awake, trying to calm his heart rate. He sighed in relief when he felt Zoey's small boxy shape safe against his chest.

She had apparently been disturbed when he woke, because a single hexagonal eye blinked open and a screen mounted on the wall lit up. (Hey Jack, what's up?) Zoey asked sleepily, leaving one eye closed and the other only half open.

"I just had a scary dream," Jack muttered, rubbing some of the sleep from his eyes. He wondered if Zoey slept or powered off.

(Oh? What was it about?) Zoey asked. Although her words were just scrolling down a screen, the way she cocked her head gave Jack the feeling she was both curious and concerned.

"It was about what happened in Tetrix, when you saved my life by pushing my head down. I- I honestly can't thank you enough for what you did, Zoey. You saved me!" Jack glanced down at her bandaged leg and immediately felt bad. "You got hurt because of it too..."

Zoey shook it off. (It was your life or my wrist, really an easy decision. You are more important then you know, Jack. You're the Champion. If anyone can help us, it's you.)

Jack sighed, suddenly feeling utterly powerless. "Zoey, I don't remember any of that. I don't think I can help you. I mean, I'll try my best, of course I will, but I'm no Champion."

Zoey felt bad. She had forgotten that his mind had been wiped by years in Tetrix, and couldn't even imagine what it would be like to only remember a false life. She suddenly felt an overwhelming wave of guilt for pulling him out of his other life. It was all he had, and thanks to her he could never go back. (I'm sorry,) scrolled down the screen, with smaller letters then usual.

"What for?" Jack asked, patting her on the head.

(For, well, ruining your life. I took you away from your home, and you can never go back now... I'm sorry.)

"No way, Zoey. That wasn't my real life or my real home. I'll find those one day, I'm sure of it. I should thank you for showing me the truth, otherwise I'd still be trapped and nowhere near that goal. So, thanks."

The little Porygon yawned, and Jack realized in shock that he had never seen her open her mouth before- her real mouth, not the one she had in Tetrix. He noticed she didn't have a tongue, or anything really. Her mouth was as simple and boxy as the rest of her, just two near-useless wedges.

Jack smiled to himself. "I guess you don't need much of a mouth if you don't eat or talk, huh? No offense," he added quickly.

Zoey shook her head. (No, you're right. My programmer could have made me a lot more detailed if she had tried, but remember how I told you I was glitched?) She waited for Jack to nod confirmation before continuing, (Porygon are programmed not to do a lot of the things I do. They are cold, logical, and mean. They don't even notice their shape, they don't care. Such things don't matter to them.)

Jack stared in the semidarkness. Zoey had never opened up like this to him before, not even when he thought she was his crazy sister in Tetrix. Then he saw the strangest thing. A pixel below Zoey's eye turned from pink to light blue, then another, in a straight line down. It took Jack a moment to realize what it meant. Zoey was crying.

(Do you know why I take human form in Tetrix?) she asked miserably, a good portion of her cheeks stained blue. (It's so that I don't have to feel so close to those... those monsters. I'm one of them, Jack, and that scares me. What if I become like that?)

Jack clutched her tight, rocking her gently back and forth as her body shook with sobs. The screen turned off, and they sat there in the darkness, Jack murmuring kind words to her so she didn't feel so bad, didn't feel alone. Eventually both of them fell into deep sleep.

When Zoey woke up, she felt oddly detached, as though she had been separated from reality. It was a feeling she frequently got after traveling in and out of Tetrix, and she wondered if this was the aftermath of her earlier trip before realizing how much more intense this was. She felt alone and utterly abandoned, and began to cry softly. She wasn't even sure why she was crying, but she felt like she had been doing it a lot recently.

Cheren and Fennel were watching her reaction on a monitor. "Definitely a negative reaction. We should let her back with Jack now. This is hurting her, Fennel," Cheren said in growing alarm as Zoey wailed.

Fennel was shaking her head when the screen, along with all the others in the room, blacked out and large words were projected onto it in all capitals. (JACK WHERE ARE YOU. JACK I NEED YOU I'M LONELY. DON'T ABANDON ME JACK I NEED YOU PLEASE.)

Fennel suddenly changed her mind. "Yeah, putting them back together is probably best," she told Cheren's empty chair. He was already dashing down the hallway to Zoey's room, and she scrambled to catch up with him, lab coat flapping against her legs.

A harsh light was glowing from behind the door, and they exchanged glances before barging in and stopping abruptly. Zoey was crying silently as the computer she usually used to communicate flashed images of her and Jack's time in Tetrix. Cheren and Fennel leaned in closer and watched with astonishment as they learned what had actually happened to the two.

Zoey jumps across a gap in a fire escape, urging Jack to follow her.

Zoey is mistaken for Jack's unstable sister by Jack himself.

Zoey pushes Jack's head down and is shot in the wrist, nearly losing her grip and falling.

Jack scoops up a semi-conscious and saves her life by finally accepting the laws of Tetrix.

Fennel and Cheren sat, shocked, at the influx of information, until Cheren finally broke the silence. "Well, now we know they aren't codependent at least."

Fennel jerked her head away from the screen, where images were now flashing mind-numbingly fast. "How do you know that?"

"They just became great friends very quickly. They saved each others lives; that leaves a mark," Cheren explained, casting a concerned glance at Zoey before finally taking pity on her and taking her to the one person he knew would cheer her up. Jack.

Jack had slept in, and was not yet awake when the door opened and Zoey's blue-stained face immediately turned pink again and she bounced out of his arms and directly onto Jack, who woke up with a gasp. Fennel joined Cheren at the doorway to watch Jack attempt to calm the hyper Porygon down with no luck. Fennel grinned broadly at the sight, age appearing to leave her face as she saw Jack surrender to Zoey's playfulness and chase her around the room. Zoey's limp was obvious, but she appeared to be winning regardless.

She enjoyed the comical sight of a twenty-year old pursuing a little duck Pokémon a bit longer before dragging Cheren outside. He looked at her with bewilderment etched across his paper-white face. "What?"

"We finally get to start training Jack with Tetrix!" Fennel squealed excitedly, bouncing on the balls of her feet.

Cheren grinned. "Hey, should we start him in the actual Tetrix or just a training program?"

Fennel thought it over for a moment. "Probably a training program, though we don't have to tell him that."

Cheren nodded in agreement before posing another question. "And do we send Zoey in with him?"

Fennel looked clearly torn. "Well, if she was there, she could help him out... Do we want him to learn on his own or not?"

"He already grasped the basics on his own. It definitely wouldn't hurt if she was there," Cheren said, before hesitating and adding, "Probably. She might distract him."

Fennel shrugged. "Well, if he has a handle on the basics, that's really all you need to learn on your own. Besides, if we're putting them in a training program, they won't really be in any danger if she is a distraction."

She opened the door to see that the two had long since grown tired of tag and progressed to hide-and-seek, something that appeared to be quite difficult in such a small and sparsely furnished room. Jack was having a noticeably harder time with the hiding then Zoey, although his ability to see straight ahead helped him with the seeking. Fennel interrupted the bizarre game by clearing her throat and asking the two to please follow her to the lab.

Zoey apparently thought it was a ploy by Jack to get her to leave her hiding spot, because the two had to enlist the help of Cheren in order to find find her. Even then, it took a good fifteen minutes until an exasperated Jack flopped down on his bed and nearly cracked his skull on his pillow, which was not actually his pillow.

Once that was done with, much to everyone's relief, they adjourned to Fennel's lab. While lab is probably the most accurate word, being a place where a scientist does their work, the images of beakers and microscopes are not at all accurate. Fennel's lab was a computer lab, every spare inch coated with wiring and screens. The group had to tiptoe as they entered for fear of breaking something incredibly expensive. Fennel worked long hours attempting to set this disaster right, and her desk was covered in old food and a pillow at Cheren's insistence, evidence that she basically lived there.

Fennel took a seat in her leather chair and looked directly at the assembled trio. "Jack, since you have finally recognized the truth of Tetrix, congratulations by the way, we will now begin your training."

"Training?" Jack asked, sounding understandably confused.

"Anyone in this room, Zoey most of all, is quite skilled in what we call digital manipulation. If you're going to save us, you'll need to know at least the basics. We're sending Zoey in with you so she can teach you," Fennel explained.

"Wait, save you? I don't remember any of that stuff. I told you that," Jack groaned for what seemed like the umpteenth time, when really it was only like the second. He only had their word to go on that he had, indeed, been some sort of Pokémon master in a past life that he didn't remember. They also conveniently had no physical evidence of this fact, and Jack thought he had plenty of rights to be skeptical.

(You'll remember eventually Jack, no worries!) Zoey bounced excitedly and scurried over to the computer terminal, waiting for her tag rival to catch up with her. Fennel, meanwhile, clicked open a training program on her computer and opened it, getting it running. This was a program she had designed to be identical to Tetrix, but without any of the dangers. They would be there, of course, because the whole goal was to train against them, but they couldn't actually hurt you.

Jack joined Zoey at the terminal, waiting quite a bit more patiently then the hyperactive Porygon. He was quite a laid-back person by nature, and although recent events had been rough, he was still the same person at heart. You can't really change who you are. He resolved to tell Zoey that, recalling their late-night heart-to-heart when she had confessed her fear of becoming a heartless machine like all other Porygon.

He could understand why she was so jumpy and cheerful. She lived each moment like it might be her last, because she genuinely thought it would be. Her cheerfulness was a nice trait, but it really wasn't worth it, knowing it was all a lie put on to hide the fact that she was terrified. At any moment, to lose your own identity, your ability to feel and understand... there are worse things then death.

Jack was jerked out of his thoughts when Zoey herself placed one foot on his leg and inserted the other into the terminal. He felt the odd, fuzzy-headed feeling of leaving himself behind and traveling into the computer. It was a feeling he vaguely remembered from when Zoey had dragged his half-dead and drugged body back in to stop him from dying. It was way more intense this time, because he not been exactly paying attention to... anything, really, at that point. Everything until he got into Tetrix was a scrambled blur.

The world around them was a rush of numbers and symbols, and Jack almost lost his grip on Zoey when he felt her hard paw soften under his hand, and almost melt. She was efficiently changing into her human form, and didn't notice him staring until she was fully changed.

"Hi!" she shouted over what sounded like radio static and an irritating feedback noise. "You know, you should get a new look too," she added loudly, eyeing his dirty t-shirt and sweatpants with disapproval. "How long have you been wearing those?"

He shrugged with some difficulty, noticing that moving while one was traveling through digital wormholes was rather hard. Zoey was opening her mouth, likely to give him more fashion advice, when the vortex of code abruptly vanished and cement appeared under his feet. He swayed backwards, utterly sickened by the sudden transition, and was only narrowly saved from falling when Zoey grabbed him.

She pulled him upright and held him still until he had regained his senses, and then he promptly spun and glared at her. "For the record, I don't think there is anything wrong with my- hey!" He had happened to glance down while speaking, and had noticed that the clothes he was wearing were definitely not the ones he had just been defending.

His sweatpants, in which he had watched many an hour of TV, were gone, and replaced with dark blue jeans. His old red t-shirt had been replaced with a new one advertising a band he had never heard of, and his shoes had transformed into fancy red and black tennis shoes. He groaned, putting his head in his hands, while Zoey appeared oblivious. "What?"

"I liked those clothes," Jack muttered through his fingers. "And why the all-black theme, anyways?"

"Hey, this getup is way better for running and jumping. You should thank me. As for the black, for one, it looks awesome. And for two, you kind of want to remain inconspicuous, you know? Otherwise you attract unwanted attention."

Jack stared at Zoey's blinding pink and teal outfit, complete with colored hair, and could honestly find nothing to say to that except, "Hypocrite."

She didn't even hear, due to having turned to survey the area they were in. Jack looked around for the first time too, and saw that they were in a massive plaza, with a fancy fountain shooting spurts of mist into the air. A crowd milled around them, laughing and taking pictures as the water curled into spirals and hung suspended in the air for just a moment before falling into the abyss. Jack blinked a couple times. The scene was so real, so much more regular and human then any of the things he had gone through the previous days.

"That's one of the dangers of Tetrix," Zoey said, reading his thoughts. She looked sadly at the crowd, focusing on one group of girls that were putting their heads together for a picture. "It's like a poisonous flower. You want to get close to it, and smell it, because its appealing and looks nice. When you get close enough, you notice little things like dead bugs lying around it, but you don't care because that flower is so pretty. Not only is it pretty, you can smell it now, and it just smells so good, so delicious, that it clouds your judgement. You want to stick your face right in that flower and smell the full force of that wonderful aroma, and when you do..." She clapped her hands together, startling Jack. "Snap."

Jack swallowed hard, looking around at the scene with new eyes. Now it wasn't an average day-in, day-out picture of human life. Now it was a trap. Everything suddenly looked engineered to lure people in and keep them, just like the flower in Zoey's metaphor.

Zoey took him by the hand, dragging him away from the transfixing scene. "Okay, we've learned our lesson from there. There's something else I need you to see."

Jack shot one last glance over his shoulder at the people who didn't know they were trapped before following in her tracks. He wondered who those people had been in real life. Maybe some of them were honor role students reincarnated as dunces, or loving fathers made into heroin addicts. From what he had seen so far, Tetrix was an evil place. It wiped your mind and made you think other things entirely.

Zoey pulled at him as he slowed, wincing a little bit. He noticed the bandage on her wrist, where she had been shot yesterday. Had it been just yesterday? Anyways, he jerked back, not wanting to hurt her anymore, at the same time she pulled forward again, causing even greater strain on her injured wrist. She just grinned savagely, bringing a question to Jack's lips.

"What the hell? You just got shot there. Now that I think about it, you just got shot period! Why are you smiling?" he demanded.

Zoey's grip loosened and her gaze fell, as though she was ashamed of something. She sat down on the curb, patting the spot beside her to indicate that Jack should sit too. He did, and Zoey sighed, staring at her bandage.

"The thing is, I like being hurt, Jack. I like any sort of feeling because it reminds me of what sets me apart from the others. That includes pain. So you might say I'm a masochist, in a way," she explained. "That was why I wanted to play tag with you earlier, when I was limping. It hurt, but it reminded me."

She sighed and slumped backwards onto the sidewalk. "I bet you think I'm a lunatic now."

Jack shook his head vigorously. "No, I thought you were a lunatic the moment you walked in my door," he said, causing Zoey to giggle. "Seriously though, you're awesome. Everyone has flaws. But! I don't want to see you, like, stabbing yourself or whatever. That's just moronic," he finished, turning to see Zoey smiling broadly at him.

"Thank you," she whispered, wrapping him up in a tight hug. "Thank you so much."
My Awards feedback:

I will say first of all only the first chapter was read as it was the only one eligible for judgment, but I shall read the second one once I get the chance. Also as we were judging the character, my comments are more about Zoey than the story itself.

Zoey is definitely an original character in an original story, and I think you deserve high praise for your ingenuity with her with the whole Dream World twist. She started off rather amusing and I think that was a key part to the character early on in the chapter, and she definitely kickstarts the main action with the plot and such.

My main criticisms were that a lot of her emotions/feelings got repeated quite a few times throughout the story. I understand this was an URPG story originally, and I will say from experience how that is not the best environment for writing - word limits are not my fortay and the first chapter would have been excellent had it not had to be dragged out a bit, and her original humour disappeared by the end. Also, as you entered Zoey in Best Pokemon, I had to mark down for the fact she spent most of her time as a human when her development came out - she was technically still a Pokemon, but it would have been better had she been in full Porygon form when we saw this development.

For next time I would recommended mostly entering her in the Protagonist category where she would be able to get scored higher, but if you want her to be considered a Pokemon character you will need to show us more of her Porygon side. But the story is intriguing and interesting, and Zoey has bundles of potential, and I would definitely recommend sticking to it.
Please note: The thread is from 10 years ago.
Please take the age of this thread into consideration in writing your reply. Depending on what exactly you wanted to say, you may want to consider if it would be better to post a new thread instead.
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