Mina, who was called Phoebe by the Humans who owned her and trained her, lifted her powerful arms and summoned a spark between them. A thin stream of bluish plasma danced and buzzed between her palms, glowing and crackling energetically. With a snap, it vanished again, and the Eelektross looked around. This was the common room for Pokemon to interact undisturbed. She had seen these surroundings many, many times, and though she hated them, they almost always managed to calm her down. That was what the vast chamber was designed to do, and it was designed very cleverly.
The huge hemispherical room was divided irregularly into nine sections, of erratic shape but similar size. Each was made to resemble a biome, a habitat where different Pokemon could feel less imprisoned than they really were. There was the Coast, with it's clear salt water and colourful coralline structures. The Ocean, large and empty, a deep and blue place with space for large Pokemon to swim undisturbed. The Forest, with deciduous trees that felt as though they were centuries old. The Rainforest, where a slow drizzle always fell from the false sky onto a tall, large-leaved canopy, and it's neighbour the mossy, overgrown Swamp. There was a false hill in the Alpine zone, riddled with rocky caves, bordering the Grassland, a flat place with almost no trees. There was the Desert, a dusty, rocky place where the ground was cracked clay, and at the other edge of the room, the frozen sedges of the Polar area. Though all were unmistakable from what the areas were supposed to represent, other than the Gladiator Pokemon, there was not a single living thing under the false sky of the chamber. The coral was a brittle, semi-metallic substance that was dyed and shaped in forms that seemed naturally random, the grasses were soft, elongated weaves of some fiber that mimicked reality, and even the trees were just structures of some synthesized and coloured plastic that were shaped and arranged to resemble a forest, with thick supports placed beneath the false moss in patterns that resembled roots. Even the rocks of the hill were just clumps of a heavy alloy that were placed to make the structure seem more mountainous that it actually was. It was all false; but close enough to give the same feelings as reality.
The room wasn't designed for Gladiators to enjoy themselves, it was designed to keep them sane. And though she would only admit it grudgingly, angrily, Mina couldn't argue that it excelled in it's task. She knew exactly why it was here, but she still felt more relaxed here than in any other part of Faraway Island. The place was elegant in it's practicality, every line and object giving it a peaceful air. And for those who were more sane when alone, well, there was always solitary confinement.
The only part of the chamber not made to appear natural was a circular grey platform in the center. An array of glowing teleportation devices waited there, a few active, most inactive. Mina knew that somewhere in this room there were actual tunnels leading to other places in the complex- There had to be! -, but they were concealed, and for the Pokemon, this was the only way of entry or exit, although teleporters were too short-distance for the other rooms to be far. Keeping them in confusion regarding their exact location was an effective way of preventing escape. One of many effective ways in use.
The reason for Mina's angst was the games she knew were taking place somewhere above them, in the Arena. Pokemon had already been summoned by signals from their collars or armbands to be sent to the Arena, and a few victors had already returned. The injured were being treated, and she knew her Trainer, and many others, were waiting in the training gymnasium in case they were called for a battle. Pokemon and Trainers had to be ready to fight at a moments notice, and though Mina, or Phoebe as the Humans called her, was as ready as she'd ever be, she hated the uncertainty.
Something felt different about the games this day, though. They seemed irregular. All the other games had a kind of subtle pattern to them to get the crowds as excited as possible, but today they seemed cluttered, thrown together at the last minute. Two Free-for-alls so far, and she knew the next was going to be the same. Two unaltered Duels, and a Deathmatch earlier. No matches that required extensive planning, and no matches that seemed to have a specific purpose for the Grand Masters, at least that she could see. That was very uncharacteristic. Nothing the Grand Masters did was ever without planning or purpose. It seemed almost... Sinister.
I can't be the only one who's taking note of... Whatever's going on. I need someone to talk to. Combative Pokemon were selected on the basis of their skills in battle, not as conversationalists. Mina was no different, and though she tried to stay good-natured, she usually wasn't an easy Pokemon to talk to, and that frustrated her greatly. If talk was the appropriate word for Pokemon communication. Still, the lamprey-leech-eel Pokemon knew she needed to discuss this, with anyone. Going into combat while worried over something else was a dangerous idea, and though she didn't yet know whether or not she was in the next battle, she wasn't taking the chance. She glanced around the huge room, hoping to spot someone who she expected would have noticed the irregularity of the events of the day.
* * *
The Leavanny, identified by the sequence CP-542-SU12, stood motionless, blade-arms folded out of sight, gazing at the Gladiators and their owners assembled in the huge, rectangular room. He had operated on most of the Pokemon at some point or other, and his keen compound eyes, mantis eyes that always seemed to be looking at you no matter what the angle, studied their physical conditions and looked to see how well their injuries from earlier battles had healed. His trained stare picked out every motion and detail, studying through their movements the condition their bones and muscles were in. Vulcanus, Magmortar. Last battle, five days ago. Tenth vertebrae, still in place. Lung damage, recovered but tender, may prove distracting in further battles. Cuts to left arm, fully healed. Potential scarring though. Good fighting condition. Everest, Rampardos. Last battle, sixteen days ago, returned victorious. Reconstruction of cranial dome, successful. Amputated right hand, replaced, nerves seem to have attached correctly. Bladed trauma to tail muscles, not infected and skin grafts apparently accepted by immune system. Recovered, but maybe overconfident from the victory. That was the way the Leavanny's mind worked. Analytical and neutral, without emotion. He was well named as Dr. Knives.
The room around him was for training, a place that paid no attention to elegance, a vast chamber of harsh lines filled with machinery and mechanisms to build on the capabilities of the Gladiators. Illuminated with an ambient bright white light that seemed to come from all directions at once and casted no distracting shadows, the room was a flattened rectangle that was much wider and longer than it was high, but the roof was still tall enough for Pokemon to undertake flying exercises. There were areas designed to test speed, accuracy, power, endurance, stamina, evasiveness, elemental power... All around were mechanisms that were designed to push the limits of Pokemon with little regard to their safety. There were wind tunnels and treadmills, and flooded chambers that created water currents. Targets small and large lay motionless now, but when in use would fly at speed and fire darts at Pokemon until they were struck down. Weighted metal objects for lifting, throwing, wielding and balancing, of all shapes and sizes, hung on hooks on a wall. Climbing and balancing apparatus hung from the roof like cobwebs in an abandoned building. More specialised equipment lay gathered in a corner, machines for testing the amount of power Gladiators could wield with their abilitys- Lightningrods that absorbed electricity, barriers that dampened psychic power, and acid-resistant alloys. Endurance-testing mechanisms could hurl heavy bolts at defensive Pokemon, or strike at their weaknesses with programmed trick walls. Most of the equipment was almost unusable for normal Pokemon, but the Gladiators were made to push their limits there day after day. An array of teleportation devices waited in the center of the room, but Dr. Knives was one of very few who could use the actual tunnel system.
For the moment, though, the majority of the machines lay idle. The room was filled with Pokemon and Trainers, but few were going to wear themselves out in practise when there was a possible Free-for-all fight beginning in just over half an hour. Unlike many other types of match, there was no warning for these battles. It was combat at it's most basic. No restrictions, no distractions, no permanent alliances, just a brawl with one winner. Dr. Knives regularly had to treat severe injuries after Free-for-all. Those who were defeated early had often been set upon by multiple foes, and those who lost later had the culminative wounds of the whole battle. Somehow, he liked that. The complexity of a surgeon-Pokemon's task was the one and only thing he found joy in, even if he was just one part of the healing system the Colosseum used to repair Gladiators.
The Trainers that owned the Gladiators were not allowed to accompany them to this type of battle, and that gave most of them a nervous look. It was in their best interests that their Pokemon won, and most Humans disliked leaving something entirely in a Pokemon's control. Dr. Knives knew that at least some of the losers would be punished. Despite their power, the Gladiators were still completely subject to the will of their owners.
Briefly Knives thought about his own owner. Owner and technological father. A man called Professor Twitch had cloned, raised and conditioned him for the task, and he was not a kindhearted Human. The Bug-type knew though that some of Twitch's coldness and scientific eagerness had rubbed off on him... Dismissing the distracting chain of thought, Dr. Knives stepped with an air of precisely calculated purpose into the throng, inspecting each Pokemon he passed. Nyx, Mismagius. Last battle, one week ago. Third-degree burns, repaired through Pokemon moves. Mental scrambling after Dark Pulse, corrected through therapy though possibly still dormant. Residial venom, neutralised and tissue regrown. These Pokemon were almost all ready to fight. They were Gladiators, after all.
From Know Your Meme.
Originally Posted by Howard Phillips Lovecraft
The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
Originally Posted by The Nexerus
ANTARCTICA IS FOR PENGUINS.
ARE YOU A PENGUIN?
Originally Posted by Discontent
I'll punch you too you know. Just give me a reason.
Friggen Antarctic termites and their damn ability to somehow survive there...
Originally Posted by Codexanother
How did you... type without arms...?
Originally Posted by SkyFairwind
I won't kick you....but I can always spam you, if you'd prefer prodding? Though....I wouldn't want to crush you...how big are antarctic termites anyways?
Originally Posted by The English
BEGONE! FOUL DAEMON!
Originally Posted by xGabrielx
Silly. Termits can't ride skateboards
Originally Posted by Bela
You are sad strange little man, and you have my pity.
Originally Posted by Darkdrago666
Grif, it's termite you're talking to.
He doesn't think like you and I.
Originally Posted by Kill Bones
Fuck your paragraphs, fuck your grey color, fuck your dubstep, and fuck your face in the face, fuckface.
Originally Posted by guster746
You'll be in my heart.
- - - Updated - - -
Nevermind you're an ass.
Originally Posted by Jorick
What's this, something about you that isn't awful? I am utterly shocked.
Originally Posted by Herzinth
AT, the fact that you're called Antarctic Termite, your user title says you're a Jumping Spider, and your avatar is an anteater all combines to gradually make me more and more uncomfortable.
Originally Posted by SebasChan
Originally Posted by Elendra
Originally Posted by Cpt Toellner
Originally Posted by KnightShade
Solution. We place a pot of boiling water in front of Termite. His death wish makes him jump in. We devour his corpse. He respawns. Repeat.
This theory has some merit.
Unfortunate that upon death the body despawns immediately.
We could eat him alive.
Originally Posted by Lucian Heart
You've been alone in the cheese cave all your life, Termite. Time to wake up and face reality.
Ferdinand had been standing in the Grassland, attempting to relive his memories. Memories of leading his herd. Memories of fighting off inferior Tauros. But then, when Harka heard his human-given name, Ferdinand, the only memory that would enter his mind was the darkness, the sound of the click, and the feeling of hopelessness that overcame him when he was captured by his trainer, Robert.
Robert wasn't a considerate human, at least not when dealing with Ferdinand. He tried to minimize the time Harka had to himself, especially time in the common room. Robert was obsessed with winning and thought the best way would be to push Harka/Ferdinand to the limit. All the time. Harka had been in the training room more than he'd care to remember and knew the feeling of a whip better than any other touch. Because of this, Harka decided to pretend to not hear Robert, although he knew this would lead to a punishment later.
Harka wasn't stupid, and he realized there was a free-for-all match in 30 minutes. That would postpone his punishment at least. "Funny," Harka said to no one in particular, "there sure have been a lot more of these free-for-alls today. Nothing anyone really has to plan for." Although Harka noticed this, he didn't think long on it. Harka wasn't the type to over think anything, more often than not, he under thought things.
After a few more minutes of padding around the grassland, Harka decided to try and at least lessen his punishment by heading towards his trainer. He stepped on a teleporter, taking him to the training room. Robert stood there with a disgusted look on his face.
"Let's go get a warm-up in, just in case you have to fight in 30 minutes." Robert lead the way to one of the uphill treadmills and pointed. Reluctantly but obediently, Harka climbed onto the treadmill, starting at a jog.
Cleft sat in a tree in the common room's Forest, unfettered by the concerns that plagued so many of his peers. The influence of his implant had left his mind blank and emotionless, but still he had been sent here to meditate on the upcoming battle he may have to face. Though he didn't prefer any of the biomes to the humans' cold, steel environment, it was quieter here, devoid of the sounds of machines and angry trainers, and Pierce had been prudent enough to realize that training at this point would probably just be a waste of energy for Cleft. The Gallade had spent the past several weeks in that room, and for now, keeping him ready to fight was more important than any improvement they could make on the margin. They would most likely continue training should the rest of the day's matches pass without Cleft being called down.
For now, though, he did his best to prepare himself however he could mentally. He reviewed his strategies and move combinations, planning how he would respond to various styles of combatants. He thought back on past matches, determining what he did right and wrong. He focused on the only thing he had ever wanted to do- win. Cleft had gone through this process a thousand times before, but he never tired of it. He didn't understand the exasperation of the other Pokemon any more than they understood his lack thereof. Some of them called him a freak, but he didn't care. He decided that they probably just didn't want him to beat them. Sure he was still weak compared to many of the more experienced gladiators, and even some of his fellow trainees, but he would eventually bring them down as well. He didn't know why, but he had to.
Pierce had told him he was born to be the best, and although he didn't remember anything before the beginning of his training, he believed everything the man said. Cleft didn't "like" his trainer per se, but he respected him and knew he had to cooperate with him in order to become stronger. He viewed the discord between some of the other Pokemon and their trainers as a weakness, and one he had never faced for himself. Of course, he never understood the sinister implications of such an advantage.
On the other hand, William Pierce knew full well why Cleft never needed discipline, but was completely oblivious to his losses and his weaknesses in battle. The genetic sample was immaculate, as was the training. This Pokemon was perfect- any shortcomings were simply "growing pains", difficulties getting adjusted to the Arena environment. He remembered the day he registered for the Arena, how his Gallade's behavior had impressed the staff and other trainers. Of course, he had restrained Cleft so as to avoid attracting attention, but while other Pokemon struggled and were punished, Cleft remained calm and perfectly still.
Unlike his Pokemon, Pierce stood in the training room, watching the other trainers and their own Pokemon, analyzing them, trying to find any weaknesses that could be exploited should they become opponents. By spending most of his free time here, the former researcher could get a good feel for the strategies that were currently the most common, and had adapted his own style to fit them. As he watched the goings-on in the training room, he was confident they were prepared.
The upcoming match would be a free-for-all, meaning he wouldn't be able to contact Cleft, but somehow he was sure the Pokemon would know exactly what he was expected to do.