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I REPEAT, by purplekecleon I REPEAT, by purplekecleon
As if it wasn’t bad enough to know a time limit was counting down over the heads of everyone on those trams, her mind wandered to the scrolling schedules once again. Trains? Those hadn’t been used in centuries. Those were so far down in Steel City that she rarely even saw them in all her time working as the head engineer..

It was a little disconcerting. According to logs she’d pored over, the trains ran from Steel City to a room far below a temple in the jungle to the north. They made a stop somewhere in the middle, in an underground cavern that once housed a few lava monsters.

But, no, that was all irrelevant. What was relevant now was getting to the place Blaine was probably physically at during this very moment--

“ATTENTION! ATTENTION! REPORT BACK TO FORT NINE NINE NINE NINE NINE NINE ATTENTION! VOLT ORDERS IMMEDIATELY! REPORT TO THE TRAIN STATION! ASSIST TEST SUBJECT TEST TEST TEST NINE NINE!”

Jules fought hard to keep from reeling over in pain and clutching at her ears. She absolutely had to get to the room in time, but that voice--Blaine’s voice-- was so boomingly loud, resonating throughout the whole building... Perhaps the whole city? It couldn’t just have been her building he was speaking to. Not if he was speaking like that.

It continued as she made her way there.

“PLEASE RETRIEVE BELONGINGS FROM TOWER, I REPEAT, PLEASE RETRIEVE BELONGINGS FROM TOWER, I REPEAT, HELLO THERE L’IL LADIES, IT IS A FINE DAY TO TO TO TO--”

A horrible mechanical screech took over where Blaine cut off, and for a moment, Jules distantly wondered if a thousand accidents hadn’t happened at once. Her head was pounding, but she finally made it to the only room with any hope left in it. The biggest screen they had was here (along with a dozen others), and the machine to retrieve lost Porygon was to the side. During those rare instances when Blaine was not inside, himself, sometimes Porygon had trouble rematerializing in the non-digital world. Jules (or another trained assistant) would use the machine to force out Porygon in the network. She had never needed to use it on Blaine before. Not once.

Without stalling for a moment, she ran over and typed in her username and password. This was one of the few protected parts of the city. It wasn’t really needed normally, as Porygon could tell who was officially allowed to program them or not just by scanning appearances, but this was a special circumstance.

Jules was granted access and quickly tapped away at the keys. In her panicked fervor, she mistyped quite a few times, but eventually entered the right information. Within moments, Blaine would be ejected. The MATERIALIZING bar grew from 0% to 19% almost instantly, and then soared to 99%. And then it froze.

It froze, and so did Jules.

It looped back to 0%. Jules felt her mouth go dry and went to lick her lips, not knowing what else to do. Tail quivering, paws twitching, she let out a wail that only half escaped her throat, as if something was caught in it and snatched the scream before it could fully escape. This wasn’t done yet. It couldn’t be. She tried to re-enter the combination, but the screen remained still. It simply did not respond to her efforts. Jules racked her brain, combing through memories of procedures to follow in case of emergency (but not very successfully, as there had never really been any emergencies as a precedent, so it was a chapter that she breezed through when she taught her students).

Time was ticking, seeming to speed up with her accelerated heartbeat which was dully resonating throughout her head. THUMPATHUMPATHUMPA over and over, the death countdown, speeding up and threatening to extinguish many if she didn’t find the right way out of this anomaly.

But then it struck her.

Maybe a manual reset. Maybe that would do the trick. Maybe she could pull the plug on Blaine’s source of power and then things would revert. He’d be pretty pissed off for a while, she knew that, but it was the only chance. She made a break for the heavy duty cord that supplied power to the room, unscrewing the tiny bolts that were simply intended to hold it in place, not keep it in permanently. Bolts off, time to pull... and the plug came free.

It came free, but the screens remained lit. All of them. There had been no change, none at all. It didn’t make sense. It didn’t make any sense at all! It had to draw power from something! She threw the cord to the side and ran to check the biggest monitor once more, to check its status.

It looped, from 0%, all the way up to 99%, then back down again. Several times this repeated. Jules screamed and pounded on the big monitor, knowing it would do no good, trying regardless. There was simply nothing else to be done.

And then there was a crash, a very near crash, not from the speakers. Jules jumped. Two very big objects had just collided within half a mile of where she stood, judging from the terrible shake and the sound of the explosion and the screams and the--

She was too late. She had simply been too late.

The bar reset, went back down to 0% complete. It went through a loop to 99% a few more times, during which another couple accidents occurred across the city. They were lucky, really. If it had happened much later in the day, a giant chunk of the city could have been smashed up, along with a fair percentage of the population. Blaine had reappeared before then, and all of the city’s automated processes came to a halt. When he found Jules, she was sobbing deliriously.

He asked her what the matter was, why she had called him so, and offered to console her on top of it all.

She looked up at him, not seeing her favorite companion worker, but a horrible...machine, which had taken the lives of many.

And when Jules had meekly asked what ‘error 99’ meant before leaving to perform damage control (before seeing the destruction and casualties at all), he simply responded (with, what... contempt in his voice? Scorn?) that such an error did not exist, and that she ought to refresh her memory of the manuals for further information on standard errors and their causes.

Blaine did not recall the previous nineteen minutes that had transpired (and he was very precise in stating such, searching for a gap in his memory), but regardless found it difficult to believe that he would make such a silly and juvenile mistake as she had described. Even with the evidence, even with the body count (and that there had been a body count, even! There were so seldom accidents in the city, it was unbelievable!), Blaine did not seem to really acknowledge that he had caused it all, accidentally or not.

=====

Final part of "Spiritual Malaise" this part written by me
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:iconshadowyoshigamernerd:
shadowyoshigamernerd Featured By Owner May 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
"final part" WHAT NO
NONONO THIS IS TOO UNCERTAIN AN END.
Reply
:icondutchsteammachine:
dutchsteammachine Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2012
what dit happend to blaine after this ?
i realy want to know
Reply
:iconsaphireshadows:
SaphireShadows Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Something tells me there's somethin' going on at Fort Volt. Some sort of test subject's in Fort Volt? What?

And what about that...Patricia that was mentioned in the previous part? Is she a Porygon-Z? The Pokedex entries for Porygon-Z are...somewhat disconcerting.

Man, I've read through this story a few times, and I always leave with more questions...
Reply
:iconpotatotter:
potatotter Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2012  Student Digital Artist
patricia is Vendetta's full name [link] . shes the porygon Z from the first part of this story
Reply
:iconsaphireshadows:
SaphireShadows Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Ooooh, okay. Thanks for clearing that up for me :)
Reply
:iconfanaticalpokeblack:
fanaticalpokeblack Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Student Artist
"missing no." porygon z must be an error oh no what would happen
Reply
:iconsheebal:
sheebal Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2012
I finally caught up reading all of the stories! I have to say, this one series seemed to have a totally different style, it actually thrill/scared me. Can't wait for missions involving Steel City
Reply
:iconneon-blue-27:
Neon-Blue-27 Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This... This...

I'm shaken...
Reply
:iconmapfreak:
MapFreak Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
Reply
:iconeanbowman:
eanbowman Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2012
I am, agape.
Reply
:iconkitkeys:
kitkeys Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
technology is great, until it doesn't function properly
Reply
:icontwiichii:
twiichii Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2012  Student General Artist
we need to give more love to porygons. they're too cute to be culprits and cruel-hearted. //sobsob
Reply
:iconteavian:
Teavian Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012   Digital Artist
Wow..just wow...it's horrifying that they crashed, and that nothing could be done to stop it. Amazing work again doing the writing and the art...
Reply
:iconsnowkuki:
SnowKuki Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Woah, I was actually expecting an accident between the two trains in the last chapter, but I didn't think there would be several throughout the city! Casualties, even! This was an awesome story to read and mind boggling, too!
Reply
:iconpidgeontoe:
PidgeonToe Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This story was awesome, and a little bit disconcerting, and most of all, intriguing as hell. The way you left it off with a million 'whys' but no solid answers, just a death count and a horrible feeling of helplessness. I mean, with Jules growing slowly more and more frantic, and knowing that if she can't stop it people will really die, and coming up short for all that--I really felt her fear and her desperation during all that, and it was so horrible for it to come to a head in the way it did, though it worked bloody well.

I don't always read the PMD stories, but even the way you illustrated this gave a sense of mystery that I really could not bring myself to ignore. Definitely my favorite story so far. Like all good stories, it's also made me very very curious about what the heck caused these two isolated but otherwise near identical incidents to affect these porygons. I feel like something really awful is going on behind the scenes, which speaks to your talent as a writer to evoke that feeling. I sooo want to know what happens next, or at least what really happened, guh! I also wonder about the other porygon you mentioned (who I assume is a porygonZ) named Patricia. Where is she, if she's not involved in the workings of the city? And does she have anything to do with this?

Anyway, awesome story, awesome illustrations.
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:iconkelsyjones:
Kelsyjones Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is my favorite PMD-E story so far. It kind of creeped me out, actually...
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:iconroryrrules123:
roryrrules123 Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
OMG D:
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:iconwolfie-forever:
Wolfie-Forever Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
No... I can't believe there were actually casualties... ;^;
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:icontenko72:
tenko72 Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012
That was sad. Poor Jules.
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:iconchibiphlosion:
chibiphlosion Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This should be a CreepyPasta. @__@ I had chills going down my spine.
Reply
:iconmajor-link-fan:
Major-Link-fan Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh goodness. And this is the final part?! What a sad ending! All the casualties from Sorbet's attack, and now this...
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:iconmonymaii:
Monymaii Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012
Amazing :)
Reply
:iconpryojackal:
PryoJackal Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This series is so spooky.
Reply
:icondragonairomega:
DragonairOmega Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Student General Artist
wow... this story was composed with great quality, along with the other parts of the story. I might add all of this story to my favorites.
Reply
:iconluckysweep:
Luckysweep Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012
Error 19. Error 99. 0%, 19%, 99%, memory blanked out for exactly 19 minutes. There is something evil going on. What Really worries me is the use of the words "test subject" in the error messages. Who or what were they, and who were the messages really for?

The town relies to much on the machines.
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:iconmisterbleck:
MisterBleck Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012
Error 19. Error 99. Blaine being out of whack for nineteen minutes. Something tells me we have a very, VERY evil Hacker on the loose. And I know that a certain Zoroark MUST be involved somehow.
Reply
:iconsouth-fur:
South-Fur Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2012  Student Digital Artist
When she's all the way at Tao village? How do you figure?
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:iconmisterbleck:
MisterBleck Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2012
._. .... the OTHER Zoroark. You know, the one responsible for the Kyurem incident? Shade and her cubs?
Reply
:iconsouth-fur:
South-Fur Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I AM talking about that same Zoruark. Shade is an illusionist, I don't think she'd know how to hack a computer system even if she was forced to do so. I think this goes even deeper than Shade, its possible someone made HER cause the Kyurem incident, and is the same one who made someone else hack the system. Its even possible that the hacker is not someone outside the computer system. But I'm just speculating as much as you are.
Reply
:iconkemonoapocalypse:
KemonoApocalypse Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Student Digital Artist
God my heart was pounding as much as hers by the end of this...
Reply
:iconalexpichupii:
AlexPichuPii Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
;w; So Cool
Reply
:iconsuperhurricane:
SuperHurricane Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012
If it does become a mission, it'll be a pain to draw all those oddly shaped porygon...still, at least Jules kept her job, despite losing her best friend.

Also, curious that they would add train tracks into Trivoli's jungle, as well as a track into the underground caverns where Heatran lives.
Reply
:iconchoco566:
choco566 Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Poor Blaine. Poor Vendetta. Something must really be messing up their hardware for them to react like that. Rotom ARE known for pulling pranks. So a Rotom messing with a casino machine would seem to make a lot of sense. But a Rotom finding humor in killing a ton of innocent Pokemon in a train crash? We'd have one sadistic Rotom on our hands. o_o
Reply
:iconstraviios:
Straviios Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012
and shit happens. Damn.
Reply
:iconartisticminccino:
ArtisticMinccino Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Student Writer
I think Blaine and Vendetta had been possessed by a Rotom. D: And poor Jules, I'd freak out too if I were her.
Reply
:iconclariktheking:
clariktheking Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
i think a rotom is doing this
Reply
:iconuruboros:
Uruboros Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Professional Writer
I really love the tension in both the picture and writing. This story has been amazing and the conclusion to it was one of my favorite story parts so far.
Reply
:iconlyndsey96:
lyndsey96 Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
D':
Reply
:iconcyndersalmondeyes:
CyndersAlmondEyes Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
...Looking forward to this if it turns out to be a misssion o:
Reply
:iconleo-artemio:
Leo-Artemio Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012
Most curious turn of events indeed. And we finally see a mention of the mysterious Fort Volt as well.
Reply
:iconsouth-fur:
South-Fur Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Oh man...
Reply
:iconbalisk:
Balisk Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Student Writer
I feel bad for Jules and all the pokemon hurt by the crash. I have a feeling that this may relate to a future event.
Reply
:iconhviten:
Hviten Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Jesus H. christ this is turning out to be a scary Mission, indeed! Can't wait for more!
Reply
:iconpmde-miles:
PMDE-Miles Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012
Oh yeah... this is going to be a good Mission I can tell.
Reply
:iconvertical-rows:
Vertical-Rows Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
I'd hug you but we're probably in different countries at the moment, so...
LONG-DISTANCE HUG!?!
Reply
:iconscarlet-pikachu:
scarlet-pikachu Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012
Oh snap, loving the colours here.
Reply
:iconangeliiy:
angeliIy Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012   Artist
O_O Stunning.
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