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Frontier Town Traveller's Haus - Guest Rooms


A Murder of 'Krows
Heartache staff
The rooms of the Traveller's Haus could not be described as anything other than cozy.

Though not particularly tiny the rooms were modest in size, leaving it a rather tight squeeze for any larger species of pokémon, and featured little more than a shelf, bedside table, chest and bed. A small, curtainless window greeted the morning sun each and every day, the rays shining right over the bed the moment the sun crawled over the horizon. Clearly, these rooms were not designed for particularly long stays in mind.

If the Haus' bright mornings were not enough to awaken one from slumber, then the noises from the breakfast hall as the maus worked in the kitchen and the maus that filtered in from the square hole in the top corners to provide room service would surely do the trick. The maus chittered in greeting if they ever found the room to be occupied.

Of course, for the offworlders, these rooms served as their lodgings for the foreseeable future. However long that may be.

[Ch01] Dave & Nova ~ Geneticist & Lab Accident
The end of the workday still brought with it soreness. Nova got the sense he was getting stronger just from the simple construction job — he was able to use Aerial Ace to quickly get something up to a higher ledge on site today, which no doubt surprised a coworker or two given his bulky frame — but not by that much. He wanted to lie down. Nova could grab dinner later if he was feeling up to it. Otherwise, there was some jerky and trail mix he'd decided to get from the general store. Decent enough protein... and dried fruit to boot. The others probably gawked at the stuff. But for someone who hadn't eaten in a literal millennium, it was all delightful.

Nova slowly made his way to his room. Stairs were quickly becoming his mortal enemy in this world.
The Traveller's Haus might not have been big, and it was still populated by mice he still wasn't sure weren't secretly conspiring against him, but it was a nice enough place to sleep and to read books from the Archives in peace, and they did have free food - for now.

He put down his book as his stomach was starting to grumble for dinner. The luxury of having a bunch of mice doing your cooking was you didn't even have to ask what was in those fucking sausages.

On the way out, though, he met a familiar creature. That big old chimera from the Nexus. He hadn't seen him when he'd been telling people the news from Gerome, had he...? "Hey," he said. "Nova, right? Got a moment?"
Nova stopped walking. Mostly because the voice sounded like it was practically coming from underneath him, so the null wanted to make sure he didn't squish whoever it belonged do. "Uh, sure."

Nova realized there really wasn't space for him to turn around and see who was talking with him. "Lemme just..." He tromped his way toward the door to his room. Nova opened him up and the doorway granted him a way to awkwardly turn around. Like a car attempting a U-turn but the driver was a teenager who had no idea what they were doing.

Right. The poochyena. What was his name again? Dan? "You need me for something?"
Nova didn't even seem to see him at first. Dave fucking hated being a tiny dog.

After some distinctly clumsy maneuvering that backed Dave into a corner of the corridor, though, the chimera had managed to turn around. Dave tried to imagine someone Gerome's size trying to stay at the Haus and had to assume they'd just refuse them service. Forlasan version of the nativity story: Mary's a fucking Tyranitar, they literally don't have room for her at the guesthouses because they're all run by colonies of goddamn mice.

"Well, I spoke to Gerome at the Wandering Zera, and he told me some shit that I think might be the thing we were summoned here to deal with." He glanced into the room - or what he could see of it in the gap between Nova's legs. "Maybe we should get inside for some privacy?"
"That so? Then sure." Nova backed in, getting close to the wall and his shut window with the closed curtain. "Apparently, the Entropic Crisis is the last issue where an outsider was summoned. One, from the sound of it." So, if it was the Voice of the Desert, they were overcompensating to an extreme degree.
"That one was Jesse Stranger, right? Something involving mystery dungeons?" This guy just kept coming up. Dave followed Nova into the room and pushed the door closed. "It sounds like this one's a lot less supernatural bullshit. Apparently there's this big organization of human bigots out east in the Commonwealth - humans turned Pokémon, I mean - who are convinced humans are the superior race and the sapient Pokémon need to bow down to them. Gerome implied they've got the collective power to level towns, and that they're real interested in recruiting other humans to their cause. And that if we're known to have a bunch of humans among us we might get mistaken for them. Gerome was mostly telling us to stay the hell away and avoid drawing their attention, but there's nothing else going on in this place resembling a big crisis as far as I've heard, and a bunch of human supremacists with superpowers sounds pretty fucking alarming to me."

He watched Nova closely for a reaction, not that he quite expected to glean much from that. The mask covered the guy's face almost completely. Was it part of his body or was he actually stuck with some kind of ridiculously restrictive helmet on his head?
And, for his part, Nova's expression was unreadable. Except for a flicker of... something in those dull gray eyes of his.

"Of course," was all Nova said at first. He could practically hear His voice rattling around in the back of his head. Like the chains around his legs that rubbed together with every step he took back home.

A vacation. That was what Mhynt called it. Nova wasn't home and yet the problems that he knew he needed to put behind him kept trying to sink their fangs into his hide.

I'm in control. I'm in control. I don't care what's similar. It doesn't matter.

"I see where they're coming from," Nova said. "Humans are dangerous. Or, at least, the ones that tend to call the shots are."
Dave raised his eyebrow. "The fuck's that supposed to mean?" There was some kind of story here, wasn't there, based on Nova's distant gaze and lengthy pause. Or at least there better be, if he was going to stand there going 'Actually it's the other entire species that's bad'.
"Look at me." Nova tilted his head down enough to see Dave's expression. And the skepticism, of course. "Humans strive to make up for what they lack in elemental strength with ingenuity. And dexterity." He lifted a foreleg. Curled and uncurled his chitinous talons to show the lack of fine motor skills available to him. "Most of them want to do good. Lead nice, happy lives. But the ones at the top... they never seem to know when to stop. How to stop. And when that ingenuity turns into unchecked ambition... you get things like me. Like my creator."
...Huh. Well, he had been curious about how their group somehow just casually had two of the dubious chimera from back then.

"Well, I can agree that the people in power tend to be slimy fuckers," he said. "Where I come from they give less funding to actual scientific research than they should, though, unless you believe the conspiracy theories." Which you shouldn't. "What exactly happened in yours? We had something like you at one point, but it died within a couple years from complications."
We? What was this “we” business? And this guy actually knew about what had happened to it?

“So did the three versions that came first,” Nova said, though he couldn’t get those other thoughts out of his head. “Eterna Peacekeeper Unit, version zero, number four. Designated N-0-V-4.” His tone was more rigid, like he was following some unseen command prompt. “Previous three builds did not meet expectations and so their built in Explosions were triggered.” His gaze fell to the floor.

“Humans didn’t build me. But they built the program that believed my existence was necessary.” He slowly lifted his head. “The one that adapted to the previous failures to make sure I wouldn’t turn out the same. And the one I went on to destroy, because I truly believed it was what was best for everyone.”

Nova’s gray eyes were heavy. “You don’t seem familiar with me in the same way as Gladion.” He looked past the poochyena and toward the door. “You’re not a natural ‘mon. Or a trainer. I could take an educated guess about your background. Or you could say it. Sorry in advance if it makes me tense up.”
Dave blinked. Jesus. So Nova was... basically from a grim sci-fi movie? The sort where the evil scientists create monstrous sapient Pokémon with their enviably infinite funding, casually kill the prototypes for not being strong enough, and then inevitably get murdered in return when the final perfect specimen escapes? Was everyone here except him a fictional character, and it just happened he hadn't seen all their particular movies?

Nova apologizing for possibly tensing up didn't sound great. Dave glanced back toward the closed door, uncomfortably aware of the fur on his back standing on end. "Look, yeah, I'm a scientist, but the shit you're talking about only happens in movies, in my world. What I used to do all day is just work out how genes function so that a decade later someone can use that knowledge to invent better fucking medication. And just to be clear, the similar chimera in my world wasn't me, I was a kid when that happened."
Nova tensed up anyway. It wasn’t the scientist part, though. “Gene therapy.” He could’ve made a bad joke. He knew a guy named Gene. “Yeah. That… could’ve very easily been another case of unchecked ambition. Except the one who perfected it where I’m from is the emperor. And he’s a pokémon. Another of the program’s creations.”

He paused. “Maybe it still counts.”
Dave squinted warily at Nova. It was hard to tell what the guy was talking about at times, but at least he didn't seem to be about to take it out on him. "So... the people that created you also created some Pokémon who then became emperor of the country? Is he the same kind of chimera as you?" It sounded like Nova was from a universe that had humans and Pokémon, and where humans were smarter than Pokémon, but an experimental Pokémon suddenly becoming emperor sounded... unlikely in a universe that was anything like Dave's own. "I'm guessing he wasn't exactly democratically elected."
Nova sighed. "Not a country. And not a chimera. He's a deoxys, and he's the emperor of the universe." He paused. "Because we've got more than just one planet with life. Which I guess would also be like your movies, huh?" His mask muffled the clicking of his tongue. "Who better to put humans in their place than the very DNA that serves as their building blocks?"
Emperor of the universe? Jesus Christ. "I mean, probably there are other planets with life somewhere out there, but in my universe somebody declaring themselves emperor of the universe would mean they're delusional." He tilted his head. "Well, I'm guessing even in your world, declaring themselves emperor of the fucking universe would be a pretty big red flag for any ruler. I'm, uh, guessing this is an evil empire sort of deal?"
"Well, it's not that blatantly obvious. To the people living there, anyway." Nova looked down. "After all, the emperor provided medical miracles. Any disease you could think of curable. You want to replace aging organs and extend your lifespan up to centuries? You can do that. Want to augment yourself with pokémon parts? You can do that, too. The empire offers limitless possibilities." He sighed. "Limitless possibilities backed by an army of mechanized humans and pokémon."
Augment yourself with Pokémon parts, huh. Dave guessed whatever 'Deoxys' was doing (wasn't that some kind of movie alien?) was pretty different from actual genetic engineering, even if Deoxys apparently had something to do with DNA, if he understood Nova's cryptic words correctly.

"Well, if you ask me, anyone with the power to be emperor of the universe is pretty shady by default, especially if they actually call themselves that. Sure, cool if you can heal the sick, but if one guy chooses not to like you, you're just fucked. And then he's got an enforcing army." He frowned. "Sounds like a deeply shitty world to me. With some deeply shitty scientists."
"I believe it can be a good world," Nova said. His voice was heavy. "It just needs a solid push in the right direction. And I'm not in a position to do that anymore." Another sigh. "But I'm here now. So, what happens there doesn't matter."

He sat down. "At first I was tempted to think whoever summoned us was over in the Commonwealth. There's a bit more technology there and stuff." Nova leaned over a bit, his mask casting a shadow over Dave. "But then Lucien brought up something called the Voice of the Desert. Everyone thinks they're the one who summoned the guy to help with the Entropic Crisis."

Nova glanced at his legs. "And, well, someone with the knowledge to replicate this in a place like this?" He shook his head. "Gotta be divine. No other way. And given that they botched the arrival, I'm wondering if, perhaps, they're 'new' to the job, so to speak. That this Voice is a title that gets passed down or something."
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