Welcome to another exciting installment of Spacemon, the tale of a Pokemon TRPG campaign! This is the third entry in a multi-part anthology series where each entry follows a different character in the Spacemon universe. You can get caught up on our previous adventures here!
Blades of grass tickle my neck as they sway in the warm breeze. Lying in the field, I gaze up at the sky. The pale orange glow of sunset hangs behind the distant mountains, giving way to brilliant shades of violet and indigo in the night sky. It’s so beautiful.
Slowly, a hand moves into my peripheral vision, fingers outstretched to the stars. It’s small and delicate, encased in a purple glove. I look over to see her lying next to me; just seeing her there, gazing up at the night sky, brings a smile to my face.
“Do you ever wonder what’s out there?” she asks suddenly. I look back up to see her hand tracing patterns between the stars.
“Well, it’s all just stars and planets,” I say. “Isn’t it?”
“But, like… those planets are all full of things, right?” She closes her fist like she’s trying to grab one of the stars out of the sky. “There could be all kinds of cool Pokemon and stuff… And lost artifacts no one’s found before.” Her hand drops to the ground.
“You’re thinking about your dad again, aren’t you?” I ask as I turn to face her again.
“Yeah…” she trails off. She lets out a sigh and turns her head to look at me. “One day I’ll get off this planet,” she says. “One day I’ll find him.” Her beautiful brown eyes are so full of hope and determination; I feel like I could just gaze into them forever.
“I wish I could help you find him,” I tell her. “I just don’t know what I could possibly do.”
“Just being here helps,” she says. I feel her fingers brush across the palm of my hand and I wrap mine around them. “You give me the strength to keep going.” She smiles and I feel like I’m going to melt. It’s so obvious how I feel, but I don’t acknowledge it. It’s so obvious how she feels, but I ignore it.
Stop lying to yourself! I’m screaming inside my head, but I don’t hear it. I try to pull her closer to me, but I don’t move. I just want to hold her in my arms. I just want to kiss all her pain away.
That’s not how this night went. The world seems to tremble at my realization. I feel her hand pulling away and I try to hold on tight. It’s no use, though, and she slips through my fingers. My vision starts going fuzzy and I feel like I’m falling away from the moment. Every fiber of my being is fighting to stay here with her, but I know I can’t. My eyes slowly blink open and I’m in my bed again.
It was only a dream.
I lie in bed staring at the wall for minutes, for hours; I can’t tell. I feel so exhausted, but I can’t fall back to sleep. After another long night tormented by dreams and memories, all I want is sleep, but it never comes. As I watch the slivers of sunlight flitting in between the slats of the blinds slowly creep along the wall with the coming dawn, I accept the futility of my struggle.
I roll over onto my back, then let out a long sigh. How long until the memories stop haunting me? I know the answer already. How can I possibly forget those days? How can I possibly forget what I did? My hand slowly creeps up to my chest and grips the silver symbol hanging around my neck. Oh, Alex, I miss you so much.
I stare at the ceiling until I finally work up the energy to sit up. I slowly push myself up with my elbows, then kick my legs over the side of the bed. Matted clumps of green hair fall down into my face, but I don’t care. I wipe my eyes, then stand up, causing Neko’s ears to perk up. He looks up at me from his corner of the bed. I gently scratch behind his ears, then make my way to the bathroom.
As the light flickers on, I come face to face with myself in the mirror. My hair is a mess, hanging loosely down past my shoulders, the strands all tangled together. I can see my eyes peeking out from behind my bangs. I reach up and brush my hair back. I sigh as the strands slip between my fingers and fall back into my face. Now I can see how sleep deprived I look. The dark circles under my bloodshot eyes are obvious. You look like crap, Naomi.
I feel worse. I can’t keep going like this. I bite my lip in frustration and turn away. I reach into the shower and turn the water on, then strip down, letting my clothes fall to the floor. It doesn’t take long for the water to heat up and I step inside. The warm stream of water cascades over my body and washes the pain away.
For a few short moments, I don’t feel the crushing weight of my mistakes hanging over me and I can relax, if only just a little bit. I breathe in the steam-filled air, sucking it deep into my lungs, then release a drawn-out breath. I need to get moving. I shove my exhaustion aside and get to work washing myself.
When I’m done, I shut the water off, then step out and reach for my towel. I wrap it around myself, then grab another to dry myself off. After working through my hair, I give myself another look in the mirror. Slightly less like crap now. I sigh again. Every day it feels harder to keep going than the one before.
I try to force the negative thoughts away as I head back to my bedroom. Keep going, Naomi, I tell myself. You owe yourself that much. You owe her that. I may be alone, but the thought of Alex is what keeps me on my feet. One day I’ll find her again, but until then I’ll do my best to make a difference on this world.
I walk into my closet and I’m greeted by rows of clothes and shoes. What good is it all anyway? All the clothes, all the money... I’d trade it all away for a chance to see Alex again, a chance to apologize. I don’t even wear most of it anyway.
I throw on a comfortable black dress and a pair of leggings, then grab my favorite pair of boots and head to the bed. I sit down and pull them onto my feet. Neko rubs his head against my leg as I lace them up. I give him a few pets. “Don’t worry, buddy,” I say. “I’ll feed you in a minute.” I stand up, then head back to the bathroom to brush my hair and put on some makeup before I head to the kitchen for breakfast.
Neko’s long tail swishes back and forth eagerly as he follows me down the hallway. At least one of us is happy. As I step into the room, the housekeeping bot flies up to me. “Good morning, Miss Pierce,” it says in its annoying computerized voice. “What would you like for breakfast?”
“I can make it myself, thank you very much,” I grumble as I push it out of the way. The stupid thing never makes anything right. I don’t know why Dad spent so much money on it...
Once the bot flies off, I drop some bread in the toaster, then crack Neko open a can of food and dump it into his bowl. He purrs happily as he digs in. “Now for me…” I pop the toast out and drop it on a plate. I spread some strawberry jam on it, then sit at the table. Such a glamorous breakfast… At least it tastes good. I take a few bites, then pull out my Pokedex to browse the Spacenet while I eat. The news still shows the same old headlines; the politicians are still arguing about everything and nothing’s getting done. Don’t they know people are suffering?
I let out a dissatisfied sigh and stand up. I grab my crumb-covered plate, place it in the sink, then quickly head back to my room. Time to get out of here. I pick up the faux leather jacket draped over my chair and put it on, then sling my bag over my shoulder. Passing back through the kitchen, I pull out Neko’s Pokeball and recall him before heading for the elevator.
It’s a long way down from the penthouse, but the ride is quick at least. I step out of the elevator, then walk across the lobby and through the front door. I take in a breath of air, then step out onto the walkway. The skylane traffic above casts darting shadows across the ground as I hurry off to the skybus stop. I arrive just in time, and slip on just before it departs.
The warming rays of the sun shine down between the towering skyscrapers as I step off the skybus. In the crisp morning air, they feel most welcome upon my skin. As the bus flies off toward its next destination, I begin to make my way across the plaza toward the gathered mass of people. I can hear the chorus of shouting voices grow louder as I approach.
I gaze around as I slip into the crowd of protesters. A tall, balding man holds up a sign that says RAISE UBI NOW in large lettering. A young, curly-haired woman who doesn’t look much older than me holds one that says No jobs No minimum wage. Dad would kill me if he knew I was here.
Moving through the shifting masses of people, I pull out my Pokedex and start recording. This will be great footage for my blog, I think as I pan across the mob. People need to know what this is all about.
For years now there’s been growing unrest over the economy. The universal basic income provided by the Federation just isn’t enough to cover living expenses for the poor anymore with how low wages are. The Liberty Party has argued to reintroduce the old Earth concept of a minimum wage, which sounds like a good idea… in theory.
The Liberty Party and their big business backers like Dad argue that people should have to work for their money, which is, of course, a notion that really speaks to the Alliance people. Now, the issue that people don’t realize is that there just aren’t enough jobs. With all the advancement in automation and bots, jobs in so many industries don’t exist anymore.
And that’s why I’m here today. Just like all these people, I’m here to show my support for the Unity Party’s proposed solution: to raise UBI to cover living expenses. That requires more Federation involvement, however, so the Liberty Party is adamantly against it. Just like always, the two parties can’t agree and people like Dad are benefitting from the deadlock.
A vote in the Alliance senate is drawing near, though, and Harmonia’s Liberty Party senator, Martin Summers, isn’t gonna go for raising UBI. There’s no way he’d go against his big business buddies’ interests. He and Dad go way back, and his daughter Blake and I used to… No. Don’t think about her.
I reflexively shake my head as I try to clear the thoughts away. Focus, Naomi. I keep moving through the crowd to get some more footage. I really hope we can make a difference here today, and hopefully I can reach even more people when I can get home and write about this.
As I reach the other side of the mass of protesters, a loud bang rings out. What the heck was that? People start screaming. The protesters are scattering. I frantically look around to figure out what’s going on. The police are moving in and some protesters are getting confrontational.
I need to get out of here. I try to follow the crowd but people are running every which way and bumping into me from all sides. Suddenly, a large man stumbles by, tripping over another protester and knocking me off my feet with his flailing arm. I fall backward and crash into someone.
“Hey! What do you think you’re doing!” a voice shouts. A uniformed arm grabs onto me as I try to move away. Oh, no.
“Let go of me!” I scream in protest. “I didn’t do anything!” I try to struggle, but it’s no use. The officer begins leading me away from the crowd, toward a group of protesters they’ve already arrested.
He hold my hands behind my back and attempts to put them in binders. This can’t be happening. “Let me go!” I shout as I try to squirm free. He slams me down hard over the hood of a skycar. “I didn’t freaking do anything!” The officer secures the binders and sits me down next to the other protesters.
Dad is gonna kill me...
I sit on an uncomfortable bench in the police precinct, watching the officers go about their business. They let me go, just like all the other protesters; we didn’t break any laws, after all. Despite that, I still feel full of dread. I’m not afraid of the police, nor the media. Those are things I can deal with. No, it’s Dad that I’m afraid of. I don’t know what he’ll do...
As if on cue, I see him approaching down the hallway. I feel myself retreating inward as my eyes lock with his cold stare. He stops in front of the bench and looks down at me. “You have a lot of explaining to do young lady,” he says calmly, but I can see the anger burning in his eyes. I can’t bear to look at them. I stare down at my feet as I mumble some sort of explanation, but nothing coherent comes out of my mouth.
“Save it,” he says sternly, putting an end to my stuttering. “We’re not having this conversation here.” He grabs my arm and pulls me to my feet. With his vice-like grip, he drags me down the hall toward the door. I don’t try to put up a fight.
Outside, he practically shoves me into the back of his waiting skycar, then he steps in behind me. “Take us home,” he instructs the chauffeur.
“You got it, Mr. Pierce,” the man responds. The vehicle lifts off and we start flying off, back toward home.
We spend the ride in dead silence. I stare down at my hands in my lap, nervously alternating between fiddling with my rings and picking at the chipped black polish on my nails. I steal the occasional glance upward to see him glaring at me. I know there’s a lecture coming as soon as we get home.
I’m not wrong. Almost the second the apartment door closes, he starts yelling. “What the hell were you thinking?” he demands.
“There’s video of you on national news openly opposing the policy I support,” he cuts me off before I can get the words out.
“So what?!” I shout back, working up some courage.
“Do you have any idea how much trouble this will cause me?”
“I don’t care,” I tell him coldly as I stare defiantly back at him.
“Well, young lady, you had better start caring,” he responds. “Your actions have been very damaging to my reputation.”
His eye twitches in irritation. “Don’t you get sassy with me,” he warns.
“Or what?” I snap back.
“You are really trying my patience,” he says calmly. He’s holding back his anger. “What has gotten into you? First the attitude, then those disgusting rumours, and now-”
“I already told you those weren’t true!” I shout. “It was Blake-”
“It doesn’t matter if they are true or not, what matters is that people believe they are true. You may not care about your image, but it reflects poorly on me. You are the future of this family, so act like it.”
“Family? What family? Look around, it’s just me and you! It’s no wonder Mom left you! You don’t care about anything but your stupid legacy, not even your own fucking daughter!”
His hand moves so fast I don’t even have time to react before it strikes me on the cheek. “Don’t you talk to me like that!” he shouts in anger. “I have sacrificed so much for you!”
“You haven’t sacrificed anything!” I scream, ignoring the pain. “You don’t even know anything about me! I hate you!” And with that, I turn and storm off to my room. I collapse into a sobbing mess on the bed. I wish I could be anywhere but here.
I don’t know how much time passes as I lie on the bed. Hours probably. I don’t feel like moving, so I just stay here, curled up and motionless. I feel so alone again. Darkness creeps in as the last traces of sunlight shift across the floor, but still I lie here.
Eventually, I become aware of an acute sense of hunger filling me. It’s been hours since I last ate, I realize. All I had today was some toast. Now, all I can think of is food. It overwhelms my feeling of sadness and I finally work up the strength to move. I stretch out my arms and legs, then roll over onto my back. I stare up at the ceiling for just a few moments before I sit myself up.
I grab my Pokedex and see a message from Dad from hours ago. Have to work through dinner since you pulled me out of an important meeting. Just order something to eat and stay out of trouble. Of course he would blame me… It’s not like he works late every day already or anything.
I let out a long sigh, then let Neko out of his ball. I could use the company. “Okay, what should we order?” I ask him as he stretches himself out even though I know he can’t answer. He looks up at me expectantly. “I guess you want food too, huh? Well, hold on. Lemme order mine first.”
I pull up the browser on my Dex and bring up the site for my favorite pizza place. Like I was gonna order anything else. I place an order for my usual pizza— veggies with no meat, of course— then hop to my feet. Neko excitedly follows me to the kitchen where I dump another can of food in his bowl. He immediately starts chowing down, so I leave him to it and head to the TV.
As soon as I turn it on, the news springs up on the screen. “We turn now to Harmonia, where earlier today a protest in support of the Unity party’s initiative to raise universal basic income turned violent,” the anchor says. “ANN correspondent Mike Jones is live on the scene. Mike, what can you tell us about this protest?”
The program cuts to a young reporter standing in Government Plaza where the protest was earlier. “Yes, Rachel,” he says. “I’m just across the way from Harmonia capitol building where earlier today demonstrators in support of raising universal basic income clashed with local police.” The reporter motions toward the plaza. “Now, most of the protesters were non-violent, but the police did end up arresting several. What’s really interesting is that among those arrested was Naomi Pierce, daughter of ASI Consolidated CEO Jonathan Pierce, one of Harmonia’s most prolific businessmen.” Video of me being arrested over the hood of a skycar flashes onto the screen. “Pierce is a very public opponent of raising UBI and is one of the biggest campaign financiers for Harmonia’s Liberty Party senator, Martin Summers, so it’s quite surprising that his daughter is actively protesting against the party’s platform. It remains unclear how this will affect the upcoming vote, or Senator Summers’s re-election campaign.”
“Alright, thank you, Mike,” the anchor cuts back in. “And for our final story tonight, members of the Unity Party in the senate are railing against a new bill introduced by the Liberty Party that will expand anti-discrimination protections in the workplace for people with cybernetic augmentations, arguing that augmentations are an unfair advantage-”
“Ugh… I can’t watch anymore of this.” I shut off the news and begin to flip through the channels. I’d rather be watching anything else until what I want to watch comes on. Politicians are the worst. The Unity Party may be right on the issue of UBI, but they’re just as bad as the Liberty party. Their stance on cybernetics is disgusting.
Eventually I find the channel I’m looking for and set the remote down. An advertisement is playing, but it’s better than listening to the news. A man in full formal naval uniform crashes in on a giant pink Wailord. I instantly recognize him as the leader of the Water Gym. “Hey kids!” he shouts out in a jolly tone as he holds out a box of cereal. “Have you tried Captain Benz’s Whale Crunch?”
Suddenly, my Pokedex buzzes, pulling my attention away from the TV. Looks like the pizza’s here. I check my Dex to confirm, then walk out onto the balcony. The delivery drone swoops overhead, then doubles back and comes to a halt just in front of me. I hold my Dex up and transfer the credits over. The drone dispenses the box containing my pizza into my arms in kind, then it flies off to make its next delivery.
I step back inside, then settle onto the couch with my pizza as the commercial break ends and the program starts up. Just in time.
“Welcome to Siogern VI, where the roughest, toughest trainers in the Outer Rim come to RUMBLE!” The announcer’s voice blares out. The camera swoops overhead as a lineup of teams enter the arena before the cheering crowd. “These competitive combatants are here today to test their mettle and pit themselves against the Fearsome Fighting Gym Leader himself, Jerome MacJabber! But will they take home the prize?”
I take a bite out of my pizza slice as I eagerly watch the first two teams step up. I wonder if anyone will win the belt this time. I take another bite, savoring the delicious taste. Pizza and watching the televised Fighting Gym matches, two of the few things that still bring me joy. It’s the small things in life.
She stands on the ledge, arms extended, her figure silhouetted against the warm glow that bathes the city in gold. Her long hair flows in the wind as she looks at me with tear-filled eyes. “Without you, I have nothing!” she screams. “You’re the only thing I have left to live for!”
“What are you doing!?” I shout. Don’t you know already?
“If I can’t have you, then I might as well jump! You’ve seen my scars, you know I’ll do it!”
“Alex, don’t do this… Please… You need help.” And you have to help her. Don’t you see?
“The only thing I need is you!” Please. You belong with her.
“Is this all just some desperate attempt to somehow make me love you? I told you that’s not how this works… I… I can’t do this…” Don’t you see that you do love her? I turn away and move toward the stairs but I’m screaming at myself to go back. What are you doing?! Go to her! She needs you!
I expect her to come running after me, but she doesn’t. I turn back to see her still standing on the ledge. Why is she still on the ledge?
“Goodbye, Naomi.” She takes a step back, and falls away.
“Alex!” I scream as I bolt upright in bed.
Neko dives from the bed, causing a loud thud as he lands on the floor. I can see his green eyes open wide in the faint pre-dawn light. I look around, breathing heavily as I take in my surroundings. It was only a dream, I tell myself. My breathing slows, but my heart is still pounding. I’m covered in sweat and tears are starting to pour down my cheeks. It was only a dream…
I fall back onto my pillow and just stare at the ceiling. I know it was just another nightmare, but I can’t get the image out of my mind. I hope she’s okay. The tears start flowing faster and I break down into sobs. Why did I have to leave her behind? Why couldn’t I see?
The light of dawn floats in through the window, but I’ve already been up for hours. There was no falling back to sleep after that nightmare… I sit in my chair with my knees pulled up against my chest, pouring over old Spacenet articles. I know it only happened in my dream, but I have to make sure.
I look over every local news site for Vandia, but I find no mention of any deaths that match my dream. No deaths of anyone matching Alex’s description. She’s obviously still alive, I tell myself. What are you doing? Maybe I’m just trying to relieve my guilt…
“Let’s at least be productive about this,” I mumble. I pull up the video I shot yesterday and start editing it. I need to cut out the parts that can be used to identify me before I upload it. I need to maintain my online anonymity if I want to keep this fight going.
Once the video is ready, I upload it to my blog and start writing something up. I need to explain why raising UBI is the right choice. Hopefully I can make people understand… I type up a rather long post— much longer than intended— then publish it.
“Alright, let’s get moving,” I say to no one in particular. I stand up quickly, causing my chair to roll away. I’ve got a lot of research to do today, so I might as well make the most of the fact that I’m up so early. I take a quick shower, throw on some clothes, and quickly finish up the rest of my morning routine, then I’m off.
The bright light of the rising sun radiates out from behind the tall skyscrapers, filling the skyline with a warm gold glow as I step out into the early morning air. I walk past a few people on the edge of the walkway who are gazing off toward the horizon as I make my way to my destination. Soon that sun will be much higher in the sky and they’ll lose that beautiful view.
I gaze around the coffee shop as I wait in line for yet another coffee. It’s been a long day and I’ve been here for most of it. I feel safer here doing my research than at home. If Dad ever finds out what I’ve been doing, I don’t know what I’ll do… what he’ll do…
“The usual, Naomi?”
I nearly jump at the mention of my name. The barista is smiling at me. “Oh, uh… yeah…” I feel myself blush a bit. “You remembered my name, uh…” I glance down at her nametag. “Chloe?”
She laughs as she rings up my order. “Of course I remember, you’re here almost every day. You drink a lot of coffee, you know.”
I let out a halfhearted laugh and smile sheepishly. “Yeah, I guess I do.”
“Alright, your coffee will be ready in a moment.”
She turns away to start preparing the drink. I can’t help but watch. She’s really cute. Definitely my type... I just don’t think I can see anyone else again, not when I’m still dreaming of Alex… Not after Blake… She probably doesn’t even like girls anyway.
I sigh as I pay for my coffee, then head back to my seat. Time to get back to work. I take a sip, then pull out my Dex and start going over the files the Red Suns collected again. I need to connect all the dots.
Dad and his company have been doing some really bad things— I’ve known that for a long time, but I found the worst one yet. They’ve been using the senators in their pocket to push law changes and obtaining lands for the Outer Colony mining operations they’re invested in using insider knowledge to edge out all competition. That seems sketchy enough on its own, but the real kicker is that they’ve been cutting corners by putting the operations into effect before the law changes they’ve pushed for make it actually legal to do so.
I still don’t know who all the players are, so I can’t do anything else until I do. Since the corporations run everything, I need to have a solid case before I can make any moves. There’s no protection for people doing what I’m doing in the Alliance. The hardest part is going to be making contact with someone in the Federation who can help me. But, for now…
I take another sip of my coffee. It’s gonna be a long night.
The brisk night time breeze blows through my hair as I make my way back home. I sweep it back, out of my eyes, and look around. It’s dark now and only the lights lining the edges of the now-empty walkway illuminate my walk home. I shiver as I’m blasted with another rush of cool air. I wish I went home before the sun went down. It gets so chilly on this part of Harmonia this late at night.
I zip my jacket up a bit more, then shove my hands in my pockets, but it does little to alleviate my discomfort. I should’ve dressed warmer. The wind goes right through my leggings like they aren’t even there and I can feel the cold nipping at my skin through the piercings in my ears and nose. I pick up the pace, hoping I can get home just a bit quicker.
I just need to tough it out a little longer. I can see my building only one more block down. I can’t wait to get inside. As I approach, I remove my hands from my pockets and start fishing around in my bag for my Pokedex so I can get in.
“I was wondering when you’d show up.” I freeze at the sound of that voice. Not her. I slowly look up to confirm my fear. Anyone but her. She’s leaning against the side of the building looking at me with that fake smile on her face. I look back at her with disgust.
“What are you doing here, Blake?” I ask. She’s the last person I want to see tonight.
Her boots clunk along the walkway as she approaches. “I was in the neighborhood and thought I’d drop by.” Her bleach blonde hair seems to glow as she passes the streetlight.
I let out an annoyed sigh. I’m not dealing with this. “Yeah, well you can leave now,” I tell her. “I told you, I don’t wanna see you anymore.” I move to walk past her, but she grabs my arm.
“You don’t get to walk away that easily,” she says, pulling me toward her. She towers over me in her heels. “I saw you on the news yesterday, getting yourself in trouble again.”
“So what?” I ask, giving her a cold look. “When have you ever cared about me getting in trouble?”
“I’ve always cared about you.”
“That’s rich coming from you,” I snap back at her, yanking my arm out of her grasp. I start backing away but she takes another step toward me.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” she asks, flashing an expression of feigned hurt. “You’re the one who left me, remember?” She leans in closer and I can feel her warm breath on my skin; it reeks with the stench of cigarettes.
Her hand makes contact with my leg, then starts sliding up toward the bottom of my skirt. I quickly push her away and take another step away. “Back off,” I warn her as I back up against the wall. “We’re not doing this again.”
“Aww. You used to love it when I did that.” Her tone sounds almost playful, but I can tell she’s annoyed. “You’ve changed, Naomi.”
“And you haven’t,” I snap back at her. “The only thing that changed is that I realized who you really are. You’re just a selfish bitch who doesn’t care about anyone other than yourself. You think that after the way you treated me that I’d ever want to-”
“Oh please, Naomi,” she interrupts. “Nobody actually cares what you want. Why don’t you get that?” She steps toward me again and grabs me as I try to slip past her, pressing me up against the wall. “In this life you have to take what you want, otherwise you’ll just let people take what they want from you. And you know exactly what I want.” She brushes her neatly manicured fingertips across my cheek as she breathes out the last few words, practically whispered into my ear, “We could be so good together, you know.”
I throw my arms up to hold her back. “Get off of me!” I shout as I push against her with all my strength. She staggers backward with a surprised look on her face. All I feel is anger as I stare her down. “After everything that you’ve done, how dare you just show up here expecting me to just come crawling back to you? We are never getting back together! Choosing you was the worst decision I’ve ever made!”
She looks at me for a moment before her lips form into a smug smirk. “Hmph. I see how it is. You’re still pining over that stupid Sinai tramp, aren’t you? Get real, Naomi. You’re never gonna see that bitch again, so you might as well just-”
Her words are cut short by the sound of my open palm striking her cheek. My hand tingles in pain, but I’m too angry to notice. “Don’t you ever talk about her that way!” I scream at her as she stares at me in stunned silence.
Finally, her shock dissipates, only to be replaced with a look of actual anger. “What the hell is wrong with you?” she demands as she rubs the bright red mark on her face.
“Me?!” I scream, tears starting to pour down my cheeks. “What’s wrong with you?! You need to just go! I never wanna see your face again!” Before she gets the chance to say anything, I storm away toward my building.
As fast as I can, I swipe in and enter the elevator. I brace myself against the handrail as the elevator climbs. My knees feel so weak.
When the doors slide open, I slowly walk to my apartment door. As soon as it closes behind me, my legs give out and a slump to the floor against it. I break down into tears, clutching the silver chain around my neck.
I’m so sorry, Alex… I should have picked you…
I should have picked you...
When I’m done feeling sorry for myself, I manage to pick myself back up again and drag myself to the kitchen. I need to eat something. With Dad working late again, I set my leftover pizza from last night to reheat in the oven, then give Neko his own dinner. While I wait, I tune the TV to the Fighting Gym broadcast, hoping I didn’t miss too much. It’s on a commercial break, so I head back to the kitchen.
“Welcome back to Siogern VI!” I hear from the other room as I retrieve my pizza. “Ladies and gentlemen! The fight you’ve all been waiting for!” It’s the championship match! I pick up the pace and rush back and settle onto the couch as the camera pans across the challenging team: a Haunter, a Sigilyph, and a Lampent. “The Spooky Sky Squad of Team Helix, the challengers! VERSUS! The Fantastic Fighting Fuh-reak, Jerome MacJabber, in the battle for the belt!”
I watch with eager anticipation as the camera cuts to MacJabber. The gym leader tosses his Pokeballs up into the air and punches them out into the ring. This time, his team is Scrafty, Blaziken, and, of course, his golden Hitmonchan. Then the broadcast cuts back to the opposing team, the camera pans back from the Pokemon to show their trainers. There’s a dark-haired guy with glasses, a guy with shocking blue hair, and…
My jaw drops and the pizza slice in my hand falls back to the plate. I can’t believe what my eyes are seeing. I blink, but the picture doesn’t change. Can it be?
The bell rings and the fight commences. My eyes are glued to the screen. It’s unmistakable, the way she commands her Pokemon. It’s her.
The fight rages on and only her Lampent remains. I’m on the edge of my seat. “Hang in there, Alex,” I say to the TV. The ghostly Pokemon takes out the Hitmonchan and now it’s one-on-one. She’s unleashing attack after attack and dodging the hits.
I jump to my feet as the Blaziken leaps into the Lampent and they fly off into the stands. C’mon... C’mon… I can’t see through the dust cloud on the screen.
“AND THEY’RE BOTH DOWN! IT’S A DRAW!” the announcer shouts. “Ladies and gentlemen, in all my years I have never seen a fight like this one!”
“HELIX! HELIX! HELIX! HELIX!” the crowd cheers wildly as the refs deliberate. MacJabber crosses the ring and hands the belt to Alex.
“Yes!” I shout. I’m so happy for her, but I wish I could be there with her. I wish she knew that I was here watching. Just seeing her gives me hope. She finally made it off Vandia to chase her dreams. I need to do the same. I’ll finish what I started here, and then I’ll find her.
I promise you, Alex, we’ll see each other again.
Author’s Notes: This thing is finally done! This was actually the first idea I had for Profiles and was part of what inspired me to do this anthology series in the first place. Now, after months of on and off work, I am happy to say that it’s done. I had a lot of disjointed ideas of what I wanted it to be, and I wasn’t sure that I could tie them all together in a coherent way, but I am super happy with the way it turned out.
There’s a lot going on here, so I’ll try to break it down. The two main things I wanted to focus on initially were Naomi’s guilt over leaving Alex behind and her mission to bring down her father’s company, but it definitely evolved beyond that. I really wanted to focus on the psychological aspect, hence the two dream scenes. The first I felt was a good way to open up the story and is more or less just a memory of some interaction Naomi had with Alex. The second is taken directly from the third part of Alex’s origin story, but I turned it on its head and have Alex jump off the building in the dream to represent Naomi’s guilt. Then we see Naomi’s emotional/psychological struggle continue in her waking hours, especially with the getting out of bed/getting ready scene.
The protest wasn’t in my initial vision for this Profile, but I needed something to incite an argument between Naomi and her father and DragonStorm suggested that we could explore Alliance politics a bit. I think it adds a really nice touch since it shows Naomi standing up for an issue she might not have cared about if not for Alex and I’m really proud with how it turned out.
Then there’s the scene that shows Naomi actually working to bring down her father’s company. It’s really only a small part of the story since I approached this Profile as just a slice of Naomi’s life and not a complete story arc unto itself. The coffee shop angle was something I sort of came up with on the spot and I think it worked really well for the scene.
The TV scenes were actually the earliest ones I came up with. Volume 3 had barely started when I first thought of them. I always had this headcanon that Naomi saw Alex take on the Fighting Gym on TV so I knew I had to show that in here. From there it made sense to show some news to elaborate on the protest and to give another taste of Alliance society. It was also DragonStorm’s idea to include the hilarious Captain Benz cameo.
Lastly, we finally get to see Naomi’s failed relationship. From the glimpses given in Alex’s origin and in Seeing Red Part 3, it’s revealed that Naomi didn’t get with Alex because she thought she loved someone else, but then when she went back to Harmonia she realized she didn’t because of how Alex had changed her entire worldview. Well now you’ve met Blake Summers. I teased her a bit throughout the series but we only get to see her near the end. It turns out it was kind of an abusive relationship. They were definitely together for a while after Naomi returned from Vandia, but Naomi broke it off once she realized how awful Blake was. However, she probably wouldn’t have broken it off if she hadn’t met Alex.
I am really proud of this Profile and I think it gives Naomi the character development that she deserved. While it doesn’t stand as well on its own as the previous two profiles, I think it’s a fantastic addition to Naomi’s overall story throughout Spacemon.
That does it for this chapter. As always the Spacemon gang and I will be monitoring the comments to foster discussion and answer any questions. Feel free to give feedback and critiques of the writing so I can improve it for the future, or just leave a comment with what you think about what went down in this chapter or what you think might happen next! You can also revisit past chapters, check out the Spacemon Appendix which is a repository of information on all the lore and characters of Spacemon, or like our Facebook page to stay updated on all things Spacemon! Click here for the next exciting installment of Spacemon!