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Rylasasin
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Stars of Iron P5A3: Another Human

stars_of_iron_p5a26_another_human.rtf
Keywords male 909141, female 792107, pokemon 130190, human 78732, lucario 8526, pmd 720, avali 558, starbound 319
Act 26: Another Human

After that bad night of sleep, it was time to get back beam back down and make their way back to sandstone, hopefully these next few days will at least not have some fighting. It appears that the town is still being rebuilt, but it looks like gates are all fixed up.
Though before they can get there though, someone familiar steps on their path, it's that human ninja that was helping around yesterday. "I have been looking for you."
Admittedly, Luca is still feeling sore about yesterday night. "What about that rabbit? Please tell me you took her away from here."
"No, I returned her to her workplace after you left her."

Ranii is both happy, and annoyed at that. Now it means if she wants to see Ara again, she's going to have to encounter her again. "She.... she raped us." Ranii growls. "If I ever see her again, I'm going to give her a piece of my mind."

"How can she be like that?! How does she...function?!" Luca angrily asks.
"Statistically speaking, if it weren't for all she can do, she would already be dead." The human says.
"So this about her mega evolution then? Is it just because of that?"
"No, it's not just the insanity she displayed. When a minor god takes interest in someone, they tend to become exceptional..."
The Lucario is taken aback by this. "W-what?"
"I have said too much. My expertise will no longer help you effectively, politics, management, knowledge of this world...those are not what I do, someone else will take center stage now. Also I believe you left this behind." From his pocket he gets a small sphere, he presses a button on it, causing it to open and release a smash flash of light which made a familiar piece of armor appear out of nowhere, that didn't look all that different from what the Avali's matter manipulator can do. "So please, follow me." He begins walking in the opposite direction from Sandstone.
Luca can recognize what this is...it's his armor, but how did this human stored it in his person? What was that he had in his hand just now?

Ranii on the other hand shows little interest in the ball, assuming it must be some form of their universe's matter manipulator. Although she wants to really argue with Kage, maybe even blame him for brining slutbunny here in the first place, she decides just to follow.

Kage crouched and began swiping away some sand on the ground in front of him, revealing some sort of metal table hidden, it seems to be stuck to a stone buried beneath it. The edges of this metal table are purple, and in the center looks like there are slots for four square-shaped cards. There are already three of them in it, one is blue and depicts a moon in the center while the other two are orange and depict suns.

"Oookay, what is this?" Ranii asks, not having a clue what on earth the human is driving at here.

"It's a keyhole..." The man gets from his pocket the one and square shaped card just like ones in this tablet, it's blue and depicts a moon. "You might want to close your eyes now." He places it on the last slot.

The tablet began to generate an orange glow that began expanding along the smooth surface it is on, causing sand to fly in all directions as it cleared it all up...which must have been why he told them to close their eyes. three red rings, one larger than the last, form around that glow in the middle, one spinning counterclockwise, the other clockwise and then counterclockwise again. The glow in the middle forms into an orange swirling mass of energy, and it looks like...a portal.

"What... what is going on?!" Ranii shouts

The Lucario shakes some sand off of himself before opening his eyes and seeing all of this. "What is that?!"
Unlike them, the human is much calmer about this. "It's a gate to somewhere hidden, this is the fastest way to get there..." He proceeds to walk right to the center of that, surprisingly the center doesn't suck him in, it's still like he is stepping on solid ground. He did that to show them that it's safe. "Please step in."

"Get where?" Ranii demands.

"He calls it a 'hidden computer base'." Who this 'he' is though, he doesn't elaborate about yet. "It's not as grandiose as it sounds."
"Hhhmmm, Alright then..." This human has helped them so far, so Luca trusts him enough. He steps into this 'gate' with him, walking like he is treading on glass.

Ranii, seeing that she's not going to get any more straight answers out of him, decides to simply follow Luca.

The glow overtakes them, and now they find themselves inside some underground cave with a path that leads forward and leads to a more spacious cavern. Under them they see that the gate is still there but it has a different color...

It's blue now.
Kage steps off of it now, and waits for them to do the same.
Still being careful, Luca follows the human's lead and walks away from this weird thing. "...You are not going to tell us where we are, are you?"

"Yeah, I'd like to know that myself" Ranii adds seriously. She can't even get into contact with her ship if things go pear-shaped from here.

"It's still in the land of Sands, under the middle of nowhere." This is the best description he has for it, really. "Just walk with me a little longer."
He leads them into the cavern ahead, where they see a big spherical hologram that's been generated by some sort of metallic structure with glowing lines built into the ground under it. Sitting on the floor in front of it is a human. It's a bit hard to make out much about him, since he is covered a white cloak and has his back turned to them, though his head is exposed and one can see he has long orange hair.
That cloak strikes some familiarity with Luca...but it's not that first human he met, that hair is too different for it to be him. "Another one huh?"
"Whatever questions on inquiries you have, you can take it to him." Kage said before turning around and going back the way he came.

"Wait, where are you going?" Ranii asks Kage

"I'm off to scout out for Wallbreakers, they have been rather restless since yesterday's occurrences..."
"Well, that can be good..." Luca said. "With Sandstone busy recovering it's good to have someone looking out for those things, right?"

"Right." Ranii replies. "Though, that just leaves our current mystery." She looks towards the white cloaked individual.
"Erm... Hello?" She greets the human in the cloak.

"Hey!" The man hastily raises a hand as he responds to her greeting, sounding welcoming unlike the last human they just saw who barely showed much emotion. "You are the team that has been making waves out there in Sandstone, aren't ya?"
"...I guess." Luca is not really sure, he doesn't pay much attention to being popular, not to mention he has always been a bit of a workaholic up until recently.
"I really do hope Kage wasn't too much trouble, talking with people was not exactly in his training, just being stealth, secretive and focused on his missions. I know he could be better if he tried but...yeah."

"Yeah, I noticed he... isn't really of the talkative sort." Ranii sighs. "But enough about him, seeing as he isn't here. Who are you?"

Luca walks around to try to get a view of this guy's front, noticing other details on him such as a short beard and brown eyes.
The human turns his head to look at the Lucario, smiling. "I'm Mattias, age 350." For one, he doesn't look as old as one would expect from someone of that age, he still seems to be at his peak in fact. "Currently the brains of 'behind-the-scenes xeno interference assistance'...betternamepending. Campbell family generation number #15-C."

"Behind the scenes xeno interference assistance?" Ranii asks with a raised eyebrow

"Well, yeeeeaaah. You see since you are not from this world but are from this universe this means that you are alien, and you are interfering with this world...not that i'm saying that's a bad thing, and the 'assistance' part is that i'm here to assist with that that with as less native inhabitants of this world knowing of my involvement as possible." He tried to explain as best as he could.

"Ooookaaaayyyy then." Is the only thing Ranii can say to all that in response.

"Right then! So just to be a little more specific with 'behind the scenes l', I'm going to provide support to you and your leader, but I'd rather do this from here. So I wanna ask if there is any way I can use the Nexus here." He points to a hologram globe, which must be some sort of computer he is referring to as 'Nexus'. "To access that drone you gave him."

"That's... something you'd have to ask Khaako. Which... unfortunately means coming out of your ... whatever this place is." She replies truthfully.
Really? Giving Nexus access? That's something they don't just hand out. Unless you become part of a crew or something.

"Hhhhmmm i... can't really leave my hideout but I have a plan B. But before we get to that, since we are working together now, I would like to know some more about you." He boops her snout when saying that last 'you'. "I know your names and species but not much else.
Luca raised a brow when the human touched his partner like that. "I'm an Ace of the sandstone guild."
"Heh, you don't say. So how did you get to where you are?"
"Dangerous Missions, most of them involved going to dangerous places, even deep into dungeons." Luca says to him.

Ranii somewhat recoils from being 'boop'ed. "I suppose I'm up next..." She says after Luca finishes. "Though, it might help you asked more specific things. I mean... I'm not even really sure where to start."

The human audibly hums in thought. "Well, are you a distinguished member of your organization like Luca is to his Guild?"

"There's the Avali Exploratory Fleet, which I'm a part of. There's the Avali Defense Force. The Avali Merchants and Commerce fleets... and a bunch of other smaller organizations beyond that."

"Aaand do you have a noticeable reputation or rank within the...AEF?"

"I am... what Earth militaries might call a 'sergeant'." She replies. She uses this analogy instead of her actual rank title as she believes he might not understand what it actually means, and so uses the old USCM equivalent instead.

"Sergeant...sergeant." He understands after a second. "Oh I see."
Luca doesn't though. "I don't get it..."
"Hhhhhh well you are an Ace rank, correct? So with a rough comparison in mind, she said that she is Silver rank in the AEF." He put it in a way the Lucario could understand.
"Oh? Just that?" With how well Ranii fights he imagined she has a way higher ranking.

"Yeah. I'm afraid so." She sighs. "Why do you think I was assigned under you instead of the other way around?"

"I'm not sure I just... thought you were superior to me all along when I saw how well you can fight."
"Your definition of ranking seems to go mostly by power then." Mattias says.
"It also takes missions done in consideration." While still on this topic, the Lucario has a question. "How about yours, human?"
"Oooooh uuuhhh... it's a little complicated."

"Well, the most prominent rank where I come from is one's capability to fight, which encompasses power for the sake of defending us, and not only that there are classes within those ranks." He explains. "All of us humans are put in these rankings, so technically none of us are civilians or the sort. I myself am around the middle of the lowest class. Class-S is best, Class-C is not. Within a tribe though, it gets a bit more easy to understand. I don't brag when I say this since it's just for comparison, I am above sergeant."
Luca crosses his arms. "And how about Kage?"
"He's a whole class above me."
"Really now? So doesn't this mean he is your superior then?" Luca is a little intrigued...and trying to wrap his head around this.
"Ever since he was made, he was trained to follow orders, it's not like that with ALL of us, mind you. Kage was just the result of an attempt to create good infiltrators." The human tells them.
"What do you mean 'made'? like, born?"
"Hhhhhmmm..." Mattias bites his lips. "Bit of a tricky subject there, you see...me, Kage, the other human that was here before me...we were all purpose-bred."

"Are you guys clones?" Ranii asks. "Or is it 'just' a eugenics thing? I know there was a human faction of the USCM that did that. Keyword: was."

"No no no no!" He shakes his head. "Cloning new life is very illegal where I'm from...however cloning organs or body parts to replace the ones you happen to lose is one thing we do quite a lot. And well...we can't really afford to discriminate against ourselves, our population is barely getting to the half-point of four digit numbers. We are afraid that if we grow too fast we will be seen as a threat by the rest of our world...and that would be a battle that we wouldn't be able to win. And also there is the matter of resources, if we are to suddenly decide to grow indiscriminately."
"I...don't really understand much of those words at the beginning." Luca mumbles. "What is a clone supposed to be? And what threat is that?"
"Pokémon." He raises a hand. "Now don't get me wrong, you are not a threat to me, Luca...neither are other Pokémon here. It's a very long story."

"Yeah I'm not really understanding it much from my end either." Ranii scratches the back of her ears.

The man tilts his head. "Is there any part in particular I can go into more detail to help with that?"

"Well for starters, why would you be seen as a threat to your world?" Ranii asks.

"Because they can become afraid of us, afraid that we will take away their free will." He now realized that he might have to explain too, but he will try to keep it brief. "Pokémon, the ones where i'm from, weren't always capable of free will, and by nature were incapable of anything 'evil' unless influenced by humans to do so. One day that wasn't the case, they they began having free will, and the humans at the time relied on pokémon to be the way they were for everything, so they tried 'fix' this and the Pokémon almost wiped them...the Pokémon didn't want their free will gone, and who can blame them?"

"Hmmm... yeah when you put it that way, you can't really blame them." Ranii shrugs. "From what I've heard, at one time we avali thought humans did the same to us thousands of years ago. Raised us to be slaves for easy exploitation back on our home world. Then we rebelled, and overthrew the 'humans', and avalonian culture has held a grudge against them ever since..."
She pauses a bit for effect before continuing.
"... And then we found out that it wasn't actually humans, but the race we now call 'Apex' that went and turned themselves into the asshole gorillas they are now. As for the actual humans of this universe, well, a large chunk of them were wiped out by a giant tentacle planet... thing. I don't know the details of it. But it did destroy the earth, and apparently a few other planets. But then got destroyed by an earth survivor. Most of the rest of humanity got wiped out in the Occasus Wars and USCM Civil Wars that followed."
She sighs sadly.
"As for myself... yeah, I lost my tribe to humans before I could become bonded with a pack. Those Occassus whackos specifically. I know not all the humans were like that, but still..."

"Yeah, I understand. I am sorry that you had to go through that." He gives a solemn nod. "There was a group of humans that still tried to remove pokémon free will, they remained active as cabals for a long time, trying to get the world back the way it was...i do not understand how people could be so determined for something that died two millennia ago. They did some horrible experiments on pokémon to try to bring them under their control." He shakes his head. "When we came into the picture, one of the first orders of business was going after them to stop them from further damaging the reputation of humanity. The high classes fought them as if they were any other enemy and well...i guess we ourselves experienced how fragile humans that have not bettered themselves like we did. There were some that were wise to surrender, but the most devoted of their upper ranks were shown no mercy."
To Luca this sounds morbid. "So you killed your own species?"
"It wasn't something we wanted to do, but it had to be done, if we couldn't let their ideas fester so we pulled the problem by the roots."

"Yeah, humans have this odd tendency of killing their own species. " Ranii comments. To her, this is just another in a long line of human-human conflicts.

"We figured that it would be better if we dealt with our own problems before they became the problem of someone else." He rubs his chin. "So what was your worst enemy?"
"What do you mean?" The Lucario asked.
"You know, your worst enemy? someone that you remember going up against in the past and hate the most?"

"Oh, that's easy." Ranii says without a hint of hesitation. "That would be the Miniknog."

"I assume you are meaning something more personal." Luca said before continuing. "I know you might think it's nobles, yes i hate them all but...There was this Mightyena how prowled through the streets of Sandstone years ago, being responsible for the disappearance of citizens, he always left a mess behind when he raped and killed...and left clues behind as a trail for us to follow him. When we did manage to get to him he was already getting to another victim which was a...Riolu. He had a dagger to her neck." He sighs. "It was just me and Aceo We though he was using her as a hostage, even as he using her right in front of our eyes for his sick perverted pleasure...then he began punctuating his last thrusts with driving that iron into her side more than once...she died pretty quickly. Then we fought..."
"One of those huh...?" The man mumbles there for a minute. "Well you are here, which means you won that fight..."
"...Yes." He might not want to talk about it anymore, he thought he would be strong enough to relieve that memory but...yeah he can't.

Hearing Luca recall this memory reminds Ranii of the Snivy they 'fought' who was holding the sandshrew hostage in that house. Now she has a fairly good idea how that might have ended had she not bounced Gungnir off the wall.
She puts a hand on Luca's shoulder and pats him reassuringly.

Luca looks to Ranii and gives her a nod, acknowledging her reassurance and being thankful for it. "And you, human...have anything to add to your own question?"
"Hhhmm...yeah actually but mine is not very personal to me, statistically speaking, but still something me and all other humans can agree on one thing...the things that are forbidden should stay that way." He frowns a little. "And well, some humans who were once with us, but they began researching forbidden sciences, such as immortality or outright trans-species...cross-specism too. They are...more resilient than the previous group of our own kin who we had to fight against."
"Okay I don't get what that...'trans' thing is." Luca said. "And how is it bad for them to try to pursue immortality? Don't you already live long?"
"It means that they take two species and mix them together, or mix themselves with other species...or even aim to be another species entirely." He explains to him. "As for the immortality thing, yes, we do live long...the same can be said for them. But they wish to avoid death so they can recklessly research dangerous things, they often want to be their own test subjects."

Ranii was just about to explain what 'transhumanism' meant, but the human already did it for her.
Truth be told, all but the most far flung Avali are TransAvali, even she was. Her nanites and implants were a little dated when she returned to avali space after growing up with Alpaca parents, but even there, her Avali parents had still given her basic nanites and implants.
Though the way that human described it comes closer to the Miniknog than the Reborn Illuminate.

"Okay so uuuh, a question." Mattias raises a hand. "Miss Ranii, I remember hearing that your kind lives...very long as well. How is it that you accomplish that? Is it these 'nanites'?"

"Yes and no. But mostly yes." Ranii answers. "We Avali are already long lived without them, about 200 of your years naturally without aid of technology typically, but no so far no Avali with the nanites have died from old ages."

"Oooh."
"Okay now, serious question." The Lucario approaches him, giving him a serious look. "What the hell is wrong with that Fluffybuns rabbit? Why did you bring her?"
"Huh...? Fluffybuns?" That name doesn't seem familiar to the human.
Just getting on the topic of that rabbit is really getting on Luca's nerves. "The Lopunny. That. Raped. Us."
"Ooh...that's what Jocelyn is calling herself here huh?"

"You can call her 'fuckbunny' or 'bitchbunny' for all I care. Just answer his damn question!" Ranii almost shouts at him. "Like he said, she raped us. Not 'almost raped us.' but DID rape us. So tell us why you people brought her here, and why we shouldn't put her down like a rabid dog?!"
She looks to Luca once she mentions the last part.
"Er... no offense regarding the dog part, Luca."

He sighs. "Right, we didn't bring her here ourselves, we brought here to a space where she could hide, yes but it's back in our universe. But as me and Kage were coming through she followed us..." He shakes head. "That is really bad, she believes this world is as easy to live in as our own, she believes her strength is everything but with Iron that becomes very debatable. Wait...was she mega evolved?"
"Yes..." The Lucario growls.
"Well, it is no excuse for what she has done still, but when she gets like that whatever sense she has goes right out the window, to put it simply...she becomes a beast of her own desires." He says. "I don't expect you to forgive her, i don't, neither does everyone she wronged. But personally...her death should brought by the one who spawned her, you shouldn't try to kill her either if you can help it."
Frankly, Luca is trying to see a reason for not killing her. "Okay...then tell me, did she do all she did on purpose?"
"Hhmmm, that is hard to say, she must have mega evolved for a reason. But beyond that from there it was her her instincts and desires driving her to do whatever else she wanted to. She loses her 'self' so much that she forgets who she is."
"Hhhmmm..." Luca thinks for a moment, this would mean that Lopunny went very far to protect Ara from danger that day. ".....I'm still punching her for it."

"Best do it when Ara isn't around, or you might get an earful. At least, without proper explanation. Then again, she might also throw her out if she hears what happened, which will likely cause even more problems." Ranii thinks upon this. "But if we get that opportunity, yeah, I'd give her at least a good kick too."

Luca nods to that. "So Mega Evolution...is it always that dangerous?"
"Yes, of course. Why do you ask that? You should probably already know after what we have spoken just now."
Luca looks away for a moment before questioning again. "And how...did she got it?"
The human blinks for a moment, then frowns. "You want it too huh?"
The Lucario stares at him in silence, the human saw right through why he was asking those things.
"You should forget about it, honestly. But the answer here is that yes, you mega evolving is a possibility too. Believe me, you would become more dangerous than her so forget about it."
He glares at the human, how he can become more dangerous than a rapist? "What do you mean...?"
Mattias keeps looking Lucas in the eye. "How you saw how she was acting, it was because she wanted to feel good, and make others feel good, you saw what mega evolution twisted that into. You want to be a better fighter, I can understand that...but can you imagine what mega evolution will twist those desires of yours into?"

"You're saying he'd basically become a berserker. Unable to differentiate friend or foe. Turning on people who he cares about as soon as he runs out of real enemies to fight." She frowns at this, not wanting to imagine fighting Luca at all on principle, let alone a souped up version of him that she'd be forced to kill just to stop him from killing innocent lives.

Luca sighs and rubs his temple. "Alright, I get it...I get it..." He is gonna have to stop thinking about this topic now.
"I know you must have felt humiliated and powerless before. But remember." The Man points a finger to the Lucario's chest, the tip of it touching the spike's point. "In a world where death can so easily occur thanks to Iron, you are still alive, and you are the ace of a guild. You are already getting stronger, especially with your partner." He gives him encouragement.
This does help cheer him up. "...Thank you." And honestly feeling a little bit emotional from this, Luca gives Ranii a hug.

"Oof" Ranii grunts lightly from the unexpected hug. Nonetheless once the initial surprise wears off in less than a second, she wraps her own feathery arms around her partner. "Aww, come 'ere ya big lug you!" She chuckles as she hugs him tightly against her, making sure to avoid that blunt, but still painful chest spike.

Luca kept hugging her for a bit more. "I'm sorry, I just really needed that." He smiles at her. Then he looks at the man once more. "Soooo going back to business, what was your 'plan B'?"
"Oh, yes about that. Well I'm gonna follow Khaako's example of 'long distance speaking'." He rummages something under that cloak of his, his hand comes out from under there holding some sort of medallion that has colored orbs on the edges.



"Oh? Is that a holoprojector?" Ranii inquires, guessing it's either that or something smiliar to that. Or some sort of voice thing or something.

"It looks pretty small compared to the drone..." Luca comments.
"That's kind of the idea with this thing, yeah." Mattias says to Ranii. He then uses his index finger to push the blue orb, which makes it 'click' like something connecting, and the device lights up in his hand.

See?"

"Okay?" Ranii watches, wondering what exactly he's going to do with said thing.

"So this..." He points to the device. "Is connected to this here, it's called the Nexus." He points to the big hologram computer. "So you give it to your leader, his name is Stic right? And I will be able to talk to him through this like Khaako is doing."
Luca has something to comment about all this technological stuff. "These things you humans build are... pretty bright." He means in the sense of how much light it generates.
"Oh, well, we didn't design it but I guess that is something you can say, this is pretty much lighting up this whole cavern."
"You didn't design it?"

"Hey you stole our computer network's name!" Ranii says with fake indignation.
"But wait, you didn't build or design this? Then who did?"

"Huh?" Mattias looks at her, his eyes wide. "You trademarked the word 'Nexus'?! I'm sorry!" He is half-joking here, he didn't know about the Avali or some other computer thing called Nexus. "The design is not mine, our from us humans that you know. In fact, this design comes from a world much like this one."
"You mean another world as in...?" Luca asked. Given that there are some varying definitions of 'other world' that he saw.
"Another universe of course, in which case I mean there are pokémon and mystery dungeons there too. But anyways there was a computer system exactly like this one there used by a group called Expedition Society, you could say they were a rather sizable guild. Aaaand before you ask, nope, they did not build it either, rather it was already there and they built their guild around it." The man explains to him.
"So it was already there? Do you know exactly who made it?"
"I'm afraid not, the Expedition Society didn't knew either, but the technology of it was mostly beyond their capacity to manufacture, but they learned to use it for their own ends. It also would break quite easily because someone would accidently run into it or handle it too roughly, and then only way they could hope to fix it was with Jirachi."

"Who or what is Jirachi?!" Ranii asks. In her time here, she hasn't heard anything about Jirachi. Only 'The Drought' or 'The Maze' or 'Lost Ways' or 'Warm Days'. With the occasional sprinkle of 'Arcaus.' or whoever. Nothing about a Jirachi.

"You don't know?" The humans asks the Lucario.
"No, is it a pokémon?" Luca doesn't know either.
"Ok, calm down, I can explain. Jirachi is a powerful pokémon that can grant wishes. You can consider it a minor Pokémon deity."
"So they got a god to fix their things?" Luca finds such a thing hard to believe.
"Yeah." He shrugs. "Also that there that i'm giving to you..." He means this medallion-shaped device that he now offers to Ranii. "It's not our design either."
This makes the Lucario wonder about other things. "Why though? You have technologies of your own, right?"
"Of course." He nods and continues. "But for the sake of keeping things from spiraling out of control since i'm not going to handle it directly, i decided that to do this i was going to use technology that pokémon used, and even then i would keep it out of sight. It was because of human introducing things to your kind that your world ended up the way it did...so this is why I go as far as to hide here. However, whatever technology the Avali introduces your kind to, I will try to keep up with it. Like, say...you used gunpowder, so Kage said he was considering bringing his gunsticks."

Ranii takes a look over the device, and pockets it.
"Seems part of the problem is that the humans introduced these things haphazardly, with no oversight, and when they died or left, things spiraled out of control." Ranii comments. "We don't intend to make that mistake..."

"Yeah, you should definitely do that!" Mattias gives a thumbs up to what Ranii said just now. "Alright, for now that's all I can say to you. But before I forget, when you walk back through that Magnagate, that portal you came in through I mean."
"So that's what it's called?" Luca more committed than asked that.
He continues. "You can pick one of those small cards on that metal tablet, that way the Magnagate won't open to just anyone, just you when you slot it back into place." He smiles "That way you can come here whenever you want!"

"Okay. I'll... do that." Ranii says awkwardly.

"Alright then, I hope we meet again!" The human gives them a little 'bye' wave with his hand.
"Right then. Ready to get going, Ranii?" Luca asked.

"Yeah... Let's get out of here." She says to Luca.

"Let's go then."
Now Luca and Ranii make their way back, going into that portal with the blue circles, which leads them back to the desert not too far from Sandstone. After they stepped off red magnagate, the circles began to shrink to the center and it closes, leaving only that metal tabled with the square cards in the center, and spiraling patterns in the sand around it.

Ranii plucks the small card from the metal tablet as the human told her to, and hands it to Luca for safekeeping.
"Well, that certainly was... something." She says to him.

"Yeah, it's always weird with these humans." Luca sighs. "Well, let's go to Sandstone now then, we have to give Stic these news."

"Right.... let's hope we don't run into her again though." Ranii growls that last part under her breath.

Now they made it to Sandstone without interruption. the town has mostly recovered from the the attack, the mons that live in it are going about their lives, things are certainly much better than yesterday. On their way through the center of Sandstone though, they see the usual place their friend works at, it's Ara's 'Bothol'.
Luca thinks it's not open right now, but he wonders if they should pay her a visit. He leaves that decision to Ranii though.

Ranii wonders about it right now. On one hand, she really wants to go see Ara again. Have a chat with her. Maybe a drink. Maybe even a quickie if she needs one.
On the other hand... SHE might be there too.  And that's the last person she wants to see. Plus, they have information to give stic

Straight to the mansion it is then. They can see that the front doors are wide open for anyone to come if they have business in the Four Eyes' new HQ. That Lairon from yesterday is still there too, still with the guard duty of watching the mansions' front entrance, it seems.

"Hey there." Ranii greats the Lairon, in an attempt to make some minor small talk. "You doing okay?"

Seems like he was just with his thoughts there until she spoke. "Oh, warm days!" He greets her. "You two I see. I am doing alright, all things considered..."

Ranii sighs. "It... could be better." She says sorrowfully, yet evasively. "anyway, how're you?"

"I'm alright, just still doing my job of guarding. Stic let most of the manor's residents keep their jobs." He says.

"Well, that's good." Ranii says. "Wait... 'most' of you?"

The big pokemon nods. "Yeah, not that I'm saying that he kicked them out or anything but there were a few who did not take the noble's deaths very well, nor did they like the Four Eyes taking over leadership of Sandstone."

"So they just... quit? Or what?"

"At least it looks like that." He looks to the side a little. "You probably weren't there to see it but they were quite the vocal minority when Stic was addressing what was going to be changing. They accused him of having conspired with the Grove."
"Hmph... they must be crazy." Luca comments on that.

"That doesn't even begin to make sense." Ranii says. "Next thing you know, they'll say they're conspiring with little green men from the sky."

The Lairon chuckles. "Yeah, that sounds like something they might end up saying to themselves too."

"Heh. Ain't that the truth." Ranii chuckles out loud. "Well, anyway, you take care, bud."
She follows and catches up with Luca.

They find themselves in the main hall again, and Luca didn't went too far, he was both waiting for her and on top of that Shrewn came along and is talking a bit with him right now.

"Oh! Hello ... uh, Shrewn was it? Yeah, pretty sure it was Shrewn." Ranii greets the little ex-slave Sandshrew.

"Oh, hello Ranii." Shrewn waves to her.
"He has been asking me about that 'thing' you said you would do." Luca says to his partner, he is referring to her promise to give this Sandshrew a penis of course.

"Yes. it is still being made. Should be done later today, and then I'll have to call you up for your operation" Ranii informs him. "So other than that, how've you been doing? I see you've more or less been able to keep your 'job'?" She enquiries.

"Yes, I have been doing well. I had a long talk with Stic yesterday and...I think sandstone will truly change for the better with you guys." He smiles at the two of them. "And yeah, I still wanted to work here, mostly because I don't have anywhere else to go otherwise, most of us wouldn't either. But Stic isn't forcing us and he promises that we will get paid fairly."

"Well, that sounds good, sounds like things are working out for you, Shrewn." Ranii says as she pats his head lightly.

The parts are much appreciated by Shrewn. "Heh. Thank you for caring about Sandstone and promising to help me." Sound like he has faith in the Avali's intention to help this world.
Luca is waiting for Ranii by one of the stairs. "You know if Stic is around here?" He asks the ground-type.
"Yes, one the rooms got refurbished into a war room, he has been there most of the day with some of his other high-ranking mons. Aceo and Alec i think they are called?" He points up, gesturing to the second floor. "You know where it is right? you just go up the stairs and take the door on the right.

"Well, we only were here a couple of times. One of which was the battle. If you could show us..." Ranii smiles, a closed-lipped smile as to not scare him with her rows of teeth.

Shrewn smiles back to her. "Yes of course! Just this way." He goes ahead of Luca and goes up the stairs to the second floor.
"What about your friends? They are still here, right?" The Lucario asks.
"Yes, all of us are still living here together. Although they are having to get used to working as something else since they aren't part of someone's 'collection' anymore, but they are doing alright." He says.
And Speaking of which they come across that Vaporeon, Vaper, doing some cleaning with a broom near the door three of them are going towards. She spots them coming. "Hey Shrewn, and Luca, and Ranii! Are they visiting?" She gives the Sandshrew a little kiss on the cheek when he gets close.
He blushes and rubs the cheek that she kissed. "Vaper." Shrewn is always happy to see her, even more so now that they are more free to be together under the new management. "They came to see Stic so i guess they are here on some important business."
"Yeah I guess you can say that." Luca confirms. "Just have something for him, and he might want to give us some assignments, people need all the help they can get these days."

"Awww" Ranii coos and smiles at the sight of Vaper kissing Shrewn. "That's cute."
For just one moment, Ranii reflects on her own relationship with Luca...
Before quickly returning to the topic at hand.
"Well good to see you guys are doing well after... well, you know what." She says. "But yes, we do have important business with the guild leader."

Luca is still pretty sympathetic to Shrewn's misfortune of not having a genital, and having someone he likes, he really hopes that when it comes time for him to receive his own he is going to have a lot of fun too.
"I see, well don't let me keep you then, go on Shrewn, show them the way." The Vaporeon says before focusing on her cleaning duty again.
Shrewn nods. "Alright, see you later. Luca, Ranii. Let's continue shall we?" He pushes the doors open and keeps going down the hallway, showing them the way to the war room. They take another right turn here and...
Up ahead they see another double door, one of them slowly gets pushed open and from in there comes the former Flareon slave. She is holding an empty tray.
"Flare, how are you doing?" Shrewn greets her too. "Are you...able to get used to being a maid?" He asks her.
She nods. "Yeah, of course! Don't need to worry, it's just some cleaning there and some serving food there, still might be a long way to learn how to cook though..."
"It's okay i'm sure you will get it, you can already light a fire easily so you got that step done." Being a good friend, the Sandshrew offers some words of encouragement to her, and a pad on the shoulder too.

"Looks like they all stayed." Ranii notes to herself. Part of her thought that at least one of them might have had a family or something to go back to. But she guesses not. Or at least, from what she has seen so far.

"Thanks Shrewn! I have to get going now though, i'm kind of a bit busy right now." Flare says before walking past her friend, and also the two guild members. "Hey! sorry gotta go." She gave them a quick greeting before passing by.
"Of course." Shrewn stepped aside for her to go, then pulled the door open. "It's right in here."
From here they can see what's up in there, it's a big room with a round table in the middle. On the round table there is Aceo, Elec and a Combusken looking at a big map of the region that it's on the table, they are discussing something there. Meanwhile at one end of the room there is Stic sitting at a smaller table, he appears to be doing some paperwork, getting Sandstone back on its feet requires some active management after all, but he has the Avali Drone near him in case he needs some help.

"Stic." Ranii greets her boss. "Sorry to interrupt whatever you were doing, but... We have news. Another human... yeah, they seem to be showing up out of the woodwork as of late."

The Meowstic stops writing on the paper in front of him and looks at them. "Another you say...? Been wondering where the last one went. This human then..." He places his paws together. "They are here to help, right?"
Luca nods. "Yes, he is." He steps forward, taking out that Medallion Mattias gave him and putting it on top of the table.
Stic looks at it, raising a brow.
"He said he would speak to you with this."
"Is that so?"

"Yes, yes it is. Though, I must warn you. He is a bit... eccentric." Ranii groans as she says the last part to him.

"Eccentric? how?" Stic turns to the drone for a moment. "Khaako, are you there?"
"I can't put a paw exactly on how he is but...at least he is more talkative and seems like he knows what he is doing." Luca said.

The little holographic image of Khaako appears in front of the drone. "Yes, Stic, how can I help you? Is the grove about to make another move? Food shortages? material shortages? Or something else?"

"Not exactly any of those...yet, but i though about telling you that we are getting another 'outsider' into our table." The Meowstic said before poking at the medallion. "Just as soon as figure out how this works-"
The medallion 'turns on' all the sudden, generating it's holographic displays for a moment before they all come together to form the little holographic image of Mattias 'standing' on the medallion like it's a small platform. "I riiiiiise!" He said, arms raising and fingers wiggling.
Stic stares at this, blinking for a moment. So it's...another hologram thing, just like Khaakos, that's alright he can get used to another one. "Yes, hello...?"
"Hello." From where he is standing, Mattias looks around, spotting the other hologram and the drone...which makes him seem a bit jealous for a moment. "Soooo you are Khaako?"

"That is correct." Khaako confirms. "So you are a human, correct?" Khaako asks. "Please Identify yourself through name and faction."

"Oh, alright. Good thing I got this memorized. I'm Mattias, age 350. Campbell family generation number #15-C." He says. "As for faction...if it's a must, it's called Humanity's Revival, or HR."

"'Humanity's Revival?' I'm... afraid I'm not familiar with that group, Mattias." Khaako says. "And believe me, there have been quite a few 'humanity revival/resurrection/etc' type factions and clubs after the Ocassasus Wars. Some of them benign, some of them... not so much. Mind telling me a little bit about it?"

Stic and Luca are watching the two holograms talk.
"Ah, the Ocassasus...didn't hear of them at all until Ranii told me of them. And I promise that we have no intention of being like that. Anyways, back in our world we were almost wiped out because we relied too much on others to do things for us, so we didn't really have much in a way of defending ourselves. But now we are far more independent. But uuuh, frankly as far as HR goes around here, it's just me and the other human you might have seen. One of our top members came to this world before and told us some things, particularly how you are trying to settle in a 'problematic' world of pokémon...that's why I decided to come here! to help you! I have knowledge of the basics of worlds like these so i have qualification to help you help them!"

"Hmmmm alright. More knowledge could always be more helpful. I will have to eventually question you on what exactly you mean by 'worlds like these'. And the fact that you are from another universe... The fact that you have no idea who the Occassus were speaks of that much. But that can wait for another time. For now, do you have any information you'd like to share? "

The human's hologram looks to the Avali's hologram as she speaks, he keeps his smile going. "Alright, when that time comes i will answer it to the best of my ability. Well, about the dungeon nearby, Dynamo sands i think it's called? Do you have any plans for it?'"

"Well, I was going to bring this up later, we were planning on putting a camp/base in it. Maybe an artillery battery as an in-case measure when it comes to the grove. ... Why?"

"Hhmmm i see..." Mattias rubs his chin. "Well how much do any of you know about the dungeon."
"It's a mysterious place that seems to change and is worshipped by those that live inside of it, they believe the place has a will of its own. Sometimes you can find valuables in it." Stic says what he knows about the dungeons.
"Yes exactly, and you plan to put a base in there? Hhhmmm, i'm not sure what might happen but it is interesting. On one hand you might be able to exploit the place's mysterious qualities. But then again there are the locals, how do you plan to go about that?"

"Yes, you heard that right. A small base there." Khaako confirms.  "As for the locals, here's the standing orders. Besides having an artillery battery for bombarding incoming grove or other threats to Sandstone, it's also meant for research, and 'hearts in minds' to the local, erhem, 'savage' population. You asked how we plan on dealing with the locals? The standing orders are as such:
1. If approached by a 'savage', act friendly, try to gain their friendship through various methods. Conversation. Food. Medical care if they're injured.
2. Do not open fire unless directly attacked. If attacked, attempt warning shots to drive them off. If that fails, non-lethal injuries only. Lethal force is strictly prohibited bar the mortal danger.
3. All citizens and guild members found inside of the maze are to be redirected away from the camp. To help with this, units will have matter manipulators to help shape the rock around the base, and a shield generator to help keep its cohesion. It shouldn't be possible to enter the base without special means.
From previous brain scans, we believe one of the guild's long-term goals was to give the dungeon dwellers a chance of citizenship. That will be one goal of this operation... even if that 'citizenship' applies to a civilization other than the one they intended."
Khaako lays their proposition out on the table.

Mattias raises a brow at that last one. "Oh? Some guide tried that? Which was it? That one who made that committee that can't do anything?"
"No no, i heard of that one..." Stic says. "It was an incident that happened in a dungeon near Drywell, some of the dungeon dwellers were forming a community outside their dungeon, just at the entrance, a guild did tried to give them a chance at citizenship but a representative Drywell's nobility brought iron and drove the dungeon dwellers back into their dungeon...and the guild that tried to help them was 'disposed off'."
"Wow, you are pretty well informed." The human compliments the Meowstic.
"Yes, some of our guild members are members of that previous guild who managed to escape with their lives, they told us what happened that day. It was long ago however."

"Well, I actually was referring to the 'useless guild', and I haven't heard of that 'Drywell incident'." Khaako admits. "That's something else to consider too, though."
She turns to Mattias
"Though, you see what we have to deal with here, now?" She asks.

He nods. "Yes, I am aware, I am painfully aware. Since you are going to the dungeon I would like any data you might find, particularly on what they 'worship' there. By that I mean...other than whatever 'faithful words' they have, I mean symbols or something, anything i can cross reference."
"Master Stic." Luca says. "I don't want to interrupt but...what about me and Ranii? do you have anything for us?"
"Oh." The Meowstic looks to them. "There are things we could use your help with here, go see Aceo, Elec and Ken at the round table, they are looking for ways to tackle the raising problems that have been cropping up because of yesterday's attack."

"Rising problems?" Ranii asks.
"Yes, I would be interested in learning of these as well." Khaako adds. "I presume they have to do with either the Grove and/or the 'Wallbreakers'? After all, I would not exact the former at least to simply roll over from one single defeat. And the fact that they haven't sent any sort of envoy indicates that they intend to continue this until you capitulate. Something that is... obviously not an option."

"First thing's first is that, yes, the Grove is not likely to back down, so there is the suspicion of spies going around...but the problem is we don't know who can it be, Sandstone has some resident grass-types, and all you need to get in the village is a badge...something not very hard to go around. Regardless if there are actual spies or not, grass-types have started having a hard time because the other citizens think they might be spies. And that's just one of the problems." Stic explains. "Some of the residents of the mansion that are unhappy with the current state of things are also there, and I have had someone keep an eye on them. And finally...with the focus being the city itself, we are spread too thin and that's making it difficult to plan a good effort to catch the former Sandstone Guild pokémon and their slaves. We know where they are going exactly, and which route they plan on taking thanks to Vantu."

"Well, the best way to deal with suspected spies that you don't know for certain is to restrict their access. Not outright call attention to them. Not do anything drastic. Just make sure that on the off chance they are spies they don't learn anything." Khaako advises Stic.
"As for the unhappy residents, care to elaborate? And as for the slaves, I might have something to help with that. I'll have to call in some... favors. But one thing at a time. Back to the 'unhappy residents' for the time being. I mean, it's kind of to be expected. Still..."

The Meowstic nods to Khaako's suggestion. "Alright, thank you. As for the unhappy residents, it was those that lived in this man, a few guards and few slaves. I asked Shrewn a little more about then, he said that they were the most privileged ones that lived within this mansion, which my that i mean they had more luxury than the others...the way i see it we can say those were Gar's 'friends'" He explained. "We are keeping an eye on them because if there really are spies from the Grove, they might try conspire with them for some sort of vengeance against us."
"You planned for every possibility didn't you?" Mattias asks.
"I try to...we have a delicate foundation here and I don't want any possible risks."

"And that's what I like about you, Stic." Khaako adds. "Makes our job so much easier. And yes, you will always have reactionaries in any revolution. It's to be expected. The high end guards will need to be kept an eye on, and you may need to employ... harsh methods if they start doing suspicious things. I am surprised a few of the 'slaves' are among the unhappy few."

"Yes, it is surprising..." Stic rubs his chin as he ponders if it's really possible for some 'prune' to be among the problematic mons that dislike his occupation of Sandstone.
"Stockholms are one hell of a thing!" Mattias' hologram says.
The doors suddenly swing open, causing the trio at the roundtable to stop their discussion and look at a Numel running into the war room, he looks like he is in a big hurry...

Both Ranii and Khaako's attention shifts to the Numel.

Luca also watches on, wondering what could be up.
The fire-type almost trips as he stops in front of the Meowstic's desk. "Stic! There is pokémon in the city's gate claiming that she is from the Grove!"
"Say what now?" "Really?" Some surprised voices on the round table spoke.
Stic gets up from his chair, getting serious. "What? For what reason? Does she look dangerous?"
"She is alone, and she said she just wants to talk to the leader of Sandstone, which...means you, Stic."
"A 'she' from the Grove..." Luca mumbles to himself, wondering just who could that be.

"10 gold says it's that Dec-ee-du-eye from the battle." Ranii grumbles to herself.
"Well, if you're going to meet with her now, then I'm just going to go out of sight. Drone!" She turns to the device projecting her image. "Conceal."
Upon that order, the drone seemingly vanishes to the naked eye, with only the faintest shimmer of light around it giving any hint of its continued presence within the room.
"Don't worry." The Councilor's voice rings from the now hidden drone. "I'm not gone, I'm still listening."

"Oh, oooh..." Mattias looks around like he is looking for somewhere to hide. "Stic grab me and put me somewhere if you are going to bring her in."
"I understand." The Meowstic grabs the device generating the human's hologram and just places it upon his chair, he plans to remain standing for now so that's a good place to hide it. "...Luca, Ranii. I need you two to escort this Grove pokémon here, keep a close eye on her to make sure she doesn't try anything."
The Lucario nods. "Alright then. Ranii, shall we go?"

"Let's get this over with." Ranii signs. She heads out the door, with Luca in tow...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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First in pool
Last in pool
Well that was an earful, wasn't it?

For those who don't mind reading ahead, the rest of part 5 can be found here. This act in particular has a lot of images in it.

Also, obligatory link to the comic itself to which this is a fanfiction of.

Keywords
male 909,141, female 792,107, pokemon 130,190, human 78,732, lucario 8,526, pmd 720, avali 558, starbound 319
Details
Type: Writing - Document
Published: 2 weeks, 6 days ago
Rating: General

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