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Frontier Town Founder's Square

"Piece of shit!" Andre yelled after the impostor. "We'll fucking get you!" He did feel like it was a bit of a mistake afterwards; he was better off keeping up a friendly reputation.

He closed his eyes and focused. Okay. How do I use Betel's network again...?

[Ch05] Nova & Silver ~ It Takes Mewtwo to Tango
"Psychic powers are like invisible muscles. You train them through repetition."

Gene would always say stuff like that. Nova never cared about it because he'd always been able to be psychic when he wanted. Now, though, the words really sank in. Because his psychic "muscles" had long atrophied from eons of neglect. Even with Forlas' insane strength growing atmosphere or whatever — something which continued to eat away at Nova's insides for reasons he wasn't sure he could realistically bring up to other Wayfarers without sounding like he was ready to go postal — Nova still had to work at it.

He'd started with small pebbles. Simple enough. Lifting them up and down. Left and ride. Forward and back. Walking around with them. It had gone well enough.

And then a tumbleweed came rolling through. After confirming it wasn't actually a bramblin, Nova, in his foolishness, figured it'd be the next best thing to train with. To "walk" it through town, both for the endurance training and to practice actually using psychic abilities in public. After all, he'd be around others in the head of the moment.

So, Nova made his way through town, tugging on his aura to push the tumbleweed along, even as the breeze wanted to carry it the other way. But boy was that tiring him out.
It’s been many hours since the Wayfarers returned triumphant after their successful raid of Terminal Two. With the admins caught and many prisoners released, things were definitely looking up. They were finally making some progress!

And while Silver didn’t want to lower his guard completely, he could at least take that little moment of peace to unwind and decompress. He needed to distract himself and not think too hard about the inhumane way those prisoners had been kept.

Luckily for him, he got his distraction he needed in the form of Nova and a… huh, tumbleweed?

By first impression alone, Silver couldn’t help but raise a brow, utterly mystified. Was Nova having a staredown or something with that rolling vegetable? The chimera seemed particularly focused on it, for reasons Silver couldn’t really fathom.

But then came the second impression, and with it came a greater grasp of the situation. A faint aura flickered around the tumbleweed, barely noticeable under the intense sunlight, and by judging how the tumbleweed defied the desert wind, it was easy to infer what was actually happening.

Oh! Telekinesis, huh? That’s cool! When did he learn that?

“Hey Nova!” he exclaimed after a moment of internal debate, before approaching the Graydan with a tiny smirk. “How’re you doing? Showing the town to your new little friend?
Unfortunately, keeping track of other auras while trying telekinesis was too much for Nova. He hadn't sensed the sneasel coming. The breeze was going to carry the tumbleweed back. Nova quickly stepped in its path and blocked it with a foreleg.

"Something... like that," Nova said, trying to catch his breath. His pink mechanical parts flickered with every breath. "It's helping me train." Somehow he managed to keep a straight face.
Silver nodded in understanding. “Ah, yeah. Moving things around was something that my friend Alakazam used to do as well, after he evolved into a Kadabra.” The now-Sneasel crossed his arms and tilted his head pensively. “Hmm… That’s a good start, yeah. Though once you get used to that, try to intensify the training by moving multiple objects at the same time. Stretching your mind on multiple targets might not be easy at first, but it’ll help you get a better handle on your psychic powers.”

Silver paused, wondering whether giving some tips to a sapient Pokémon was warranted. But heh, Trainer gotta train! He dismissed his own advice with a quick wave of his paw.

“Well, that’s your Training 101 pill for ya! So,” he motioned toward the pink feathers with his head, “I guess your new look has something to do with your new powers, right? And on the theme of look,” he grinned joyfully, “congrats for breaking that mask, by the way! It must feel good to not have that literal weight on your face, huh?”
"It does. Have had some time to get used to it." Nova tilted his head so the sunlight glinted off his right cheek bolt. "It'd been... a real long time since I'd seen my face before now. I'd pretty much forgotten it. That shock's worn off, thankfully. Though I'm still acclimating to some tastes and smells.

"But this..." Nova glanced at his fish tail, which also had a pink tint to its membrane. "I could switch types back home before I was shadowed. Didn't think that was going to happen on Forlas without the right hardware."

His cheek bolts slowly turned. "If it hadn't been clear when we regrouped, we, uh, found that hardware. In their deep lab."
“Switch types? Kinda like a Porygon or a Kecleon?” asked Silver, his eyes widening slightly with intrigue. “That’s a really cool skill! It could offer plenty of options and opportunities! And you said you found the hardware…” He blinked, having fully registered the answer, and his expression turned serious. “Oh. I see. I guess it makes sense to find high-tech stuff in a high-tech lab.

“But I wonder, though… Why did Cipher have such a hardware there? For what purpose?” wondered Silver, tapping his chin with his claws. “I mean, to create something that works with your species without it being sheer coincidence, it would mean…”
Nova supposed Silver must have really been out of it to miss the third chimera amongst the group. Though I guess we did have a big group when you add Rangers and Escarpa...

"We found the machine making shadows for Terminal Two," Nova said. "There was a type: null in it. Forlas' native type: null."
And that explains it, just as suspected. So Cipher can create artificial Pokémon, too? How many prototypes did they work on?

“Ah. So you’ve found a Shadow chimera…”

Silver shot a long, intense stare at Nova; surely he must have noticed the similarities between the Forlasan Null and his former self in his own world. He could only imagine what thoughts must have crossed Nova’s mind at meeting someone like him going through a similar predicament.

“And, huh, how’re they doing? The Type: Null, I mean! Are they… better now?” Silver began twiddling his claws, his gaze softening with a faint gleam of concern. “If they’re fully shadowed… They must be going through a lot of wild emotions. Many fully shadowed prisoners, well… let’s say that they weren’t having a good time, even after calming some of those emotions down with Radiance.”
"They're stable," Nova said. He rolled the tumbleweed back and forth with telekinesis, since the weight from his own claws would crush it. "When I say native, though, I mean Cipher didn't make Ark. The Covenant did. They wanted... an artificial source of radiance. And when Ark couldn't do that, the Coven just... handed them over to Cipher in exchange for old tech from their base.

"The admin we fought down in the lab had turned Ark into a producer of artificial shadows. They were the source."
Silver’s eyes narrowed to slits and his fur bristled, not exactly too thrilled by the news. Nothing sounded more ghastly and chilling than two groups of self-aggrandizing, entitled humans meeting and trading intel and resources, especially when both sides had powerful technology and vast scientific knowledge to back them up.

“Hmph! I guess it’s for the best that those gangs of loons might be on bad terms, then! Considering that those Coven folks seem to have some beef against Shadow Pokémon and humans creating them, whatever negotiation they might have considered working on with Cipher must have gone south.”

Silver gazed quietly at the tumbleweed moving back and forth, his mind slowly connecting the various dots. Past questions finally found some answers, but those answers also led to new questions.

“Though, hmm… Something’s still unclear to me. If the Covenant was looking for a way to create artificial Radiance before they met Cipher…” He momentarily trailed off, trying to make a sense out of his flurry of thoughts. “…Why did they create Ark? Did they want to attain Radiance because they wanted some divine force for their oh-so-great ideals, or were they aiming to deal with… something else?”

Silver shook his head, fully aware that he wouldn’t get the answers in that moment, and locked gazes with Nova. “Maybe it might be worth asking Ark ‘bout that and their biz with Coven? As long as the topic doesn’t upset them, that’s it.”
"I wanted to give them some space," Nova said. "How would you feel if, after you have freedom for the first time in your life, people immediately start pestering you with questions about where you just came from?" Sure, the information was important. But so was the person who could provide it.

"I can hazard guesses, at least. Their codename spells 'Ark.'" Nova stopped moving the tumbleweed and it came to rest against his foreleg again. "This type-changing ability... is RKS System."

Squinting in concentration, Nova drew on that bubbling well of psychic energy inside him. A faint pink wheel projected around his torso.

"It sounds like the Coven cares a lot about legends. And there's... one that's supposed to... stand above them all."
Silver sighed and nodded in agreement. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. Those folks’ve through plenty already, so… yeah. Good call. Better give ‘em the time and space to get their bearings and lives back on track.”

The image of the imprisoned Leona flashed back into his mind. Her voice tinted in shadows, with the Lycanroc showing aggression as a sign of terror, a consequence of her enduring who-knows-what… she definitely wasn’t in the right headspace for an interrogation, and other shadowed folks must be equally in disarray.

Though, the shift of the conversation toward legends piqued Silver’s interest, and that became obvious by the way his ears twitched and swiveled toward Nova.

“Stand above them all… Oh!” He clicked his claws together, emulating a finger snap. “You mean Arceus, the Original One? The one who supposedly can wield every element thanks to their tablets of power or whatever? And who also wrote the first laws of physics and gave shape to time, space and gravity?”

Caught in the new train of thought, Silver crossed his arms and tilted his head pensively. Then, a faint gasp slipped through his lips, just as he focused on one specific detail.

“Hold on! Arceus… RKS…” He gawked at Nova. “You think that those Coven fools were trying to create an artificial god?”
"They're not even the only ones who've tried," Nova scoffed. "Type: fulls exist in Gladion's world. My world, of course." He clicked his tongue and nudged the tumbleweed. "Except, instead of interchangeable disks changing me to one type at a time, I had one disk that let me change my type at will: the Legend Memory. Professor Cynthia said she used data from creation legends in Canalave for that. The idea that the Original One had a 'master plate' in addition to ones that represented the different types.

"Except Arceus never existed in my world. Not until a few weeks before I ended up here. And instead of one... there are at least two."
Silver hummed softly, mulling over Nova’s words. So Cynthia was a professor in the chimera’s world and had knowledge of the creation legends? Well, I guess that’s something our two Cynthia have in common…

“Hmm, yeah, that tracks,” he said, rubbing his chin with his claw while letting his gaze wander to the floor. “I remember a talk I’ve had with a researcher studying the Ruins of Alph, many months ago. He theorized that an Unown’s ability to change the type of their Hidden Power to target an opponent’s weak spot is a reflection of Arceus’ ability to shift their own type and the type of their… catastrophic attack.”

Silver stared at the tumbleweed for a moment — okay, that was getting kinda distracting! — before focusing once more on the topic at hand.

“Still, it seems like no matter the world, there’re always people doing whatever it takes to claim ultimate power. And what kinda power meets that criteria if not the power of a god?” He sighed and shook his head, bothered about something. “And… I know of a similar genetically engineered creature, armed with powers that rival, if not outright surpass, those of the most powerful legends that ever existed.”

The content of that classified video resurfaced like a haunting specter. An invisible force ripping apart the Cinnabar laboratory, as if it were a simple house of paper. That entity floating above the burning wreckage, almost as if admiring its own handiwork. And then, with nothing to restrain it anymore, it vanished in a purple flash.

Nothing more than an unfortunate accident, claimed the news, but the ones responsible for running aground the entire ordeal through their shady ways knew much better.

Silver’s gaze hardened, shelving the memories once more in the back of his mind. “And that creature is none other than… Mewtwo.”
"Yeah, I'm aware." Nova sat down, as if he was about to flip through some trashy magazine. "I shadowed him to save his life. He yelled at me. I told him I thought he deserved a second chance at life. He learned to wield a giant spoon. I made fun of the giant spoon. He kicked my ass. We formed a resistance and destroyed my creator.

"... Y'know, typical boyfriend things."

After a beat, he nudged the tumbleweed forward and back. Forward and back. "Come to think of it, you seemed pretty hot and bothered about Mewtwo when we were trying to figure out what the deal was with Gerome's son. Something we oughta know?"
Silver merely blinked in wonder as Nova recounted his tale. The idea of Nova and a spoon-wielding Mewtwo dating sounded so bizarre and difficult to imagine! And Nova shadowed Mewtwo to save his life? How did that even work?

But before Silver could inquire about that, Nova shifted the conversation toward a more recent Mewtwo — the not-so-Forlasan Mewtwo. Silver flinched, finding himself unprepared despite knowing well that such a topic would have surfaced soon.

“Oh. Right. That. I, huh, have personal reasons for being interested in that Mewtwo, y’see…”

Silver breathed out a long and deep sigh, making his red tuft wave. It’s not like he would have been able to keep that secret for long. Besides, he could reveal that on his own terms during a quiet moment, or potentially have the truth leaked during the future encounter with Mewtwo and with very few ways to keep his temper in check. He picked the former.

“…D’you remember when I said that I knew Giovanni for as long as I lived?” He paused, still feeling uneasy about that topic, but he forced himself to take the dreaded step. “That wasn’t some rhetorical wordplay or anything like that, no. I meant that literally.”

He lowered his gaze and rubbed his claws together, almost as if he were some prisoner waiting by the gallows.

“Because I know Giovanni since the day I was born… as his son.”
Well, that certainly added up. Nova never knew the Giovanni of his world directly. Gene was practically the closest thing Gio had to a kid. The idea of him actually having a son was hard for Nova to grasp. It... certainly explained Silver's desire to prove himself.

Still, Betel thought Silver's soul good enough to bring to Forlas. Which must've said more than some family tree.

"I take it... you're not exactly chummy with the old man?"
Silver snorted loudly and gnashed his fangs, his initial unease instantly replaced by his flaring spite. “Tch! Far from it! I’ve got a lotsa stuff I need to bring up with that sonofa—”

He paused, realizing that his Shadows were mixing with his unfiltered emotions, and took a deep breath to release the building stress. The angry scowl didn’t leave his face, however.

“A case of family drama, you might say? Maybe, but when said family is one of the most dreaded yakuza families in the entire region and everyone looks at you like you’re some… scum that doesn’t deserve to share oxygen with ‘em, then it’s just…”

He shuddered, unwilling to dredge up painful memories of his troubled childhood, and waved his paw in front of his face. The stony expression meant that he wouldn’t talk further about that matter for the time being.

“But… whatever! That’s mostly in the past now, and there’s no guarantee that the Mewtwo here is my old man, anyway!” Silver shrugged with faux dismissiveness, before his expression defaulted to his serious glare. “But if he truly is a Giovanni… oh, that could spell bad news for everyone, and I wanna make sure he doesn’t fulfill whatever master plan he’s plotting!”
"Team Rocket, yeah." Nova shrugged. "They're a chapter in the history books where I'm from. My version of Gio flew too close to the sun." A beat. "Perhaps literally. Tried to catch Necrozma. Didn't end well."

He opened his satchel and, with some of that psychic power, levitated out the luxury ball. "Thing is... Mewtwo did this stuff for me. Helping to give me friendship power to break out of the mask. It'd be... a strange long con to supply us with tools to help us in general. Because we'll reach a point where we outmuscle on top of outnumbering him, so he'd stand no chance of trying to take control."
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