8 November 2018 at 18:38:00 MST
The sizable tale you can read below, accompanying a wumbo if not wonderful sketch from SolAxe, can be thought of as a continuation to a prior story I wrote for another friend of mine, Hank. He the looming Pokemon Professor and I serving in as a sheepish assistant subjected to his shenanigans.
Hope you enjoy!
Yawning, Hank cupped a hand to his toothy mouth. Eyes half lidded, the reflection of the computer monitor, working its way through start up, set the wolf’s glasses aglow. He grunted when unexpected, and unwanted, system updates cycled through the motions.
Rolling his shoulders with a sigh, the sizeable wolf took to strolling about his lab while he waited for them to complete. Dim twilight filtered in through the windows as his broad paws slapped heavily against the tiled floor. The lack of a lab coat, and pants, prompted a shy smile to crease along Hank’s lips as cool air whisked between his legs while he walked.
The wolf pinched at the bridge of his snout and scraped away at what little sleep had collected overnight. Slumber had proven elusive and the prospect of lying in bed, awaiting something that would never come, didn’t prove all that appealing. “Must not have counted enough sheep…” Hank mused aloud as he came to a halt before a sparsely populated table. Or at least it appeared as such to someone of his sizable stature. Squinting, his vision admittedly still rather blurry, Hank was able to make out a speck of a Pokeball situated atop it.
“One sheep,” the wolf cooed as he swept it off the table into a waiting palm. He smiled at the sensation, however faint, of the Pokeball all but disappearing into the creases lining his padded palm. “Ah!” Hank remarked at the pleasant chime of his workstation finally starting up. Ears perked and at attention, the wolf protectively cupped the captured Mareep to his chest and plodded over to his standing desk.
“Let’s see if this turns out any better than my homebrewed Pokeballs did, shall we?” Hank remarked as muscle memory more than anything guided his fingers across the keyboard. “A Pokeball may prove taxing to keep track of but an entire city, though? One that can fit in the palm of my hand, albeit, but it should prove much more difficult to lose track of.”
The looming lupine carefully rolled the Pokeball housing his assistant onto the desk. It wobbled back and forth as the button at its center, separating the red painted polymers from the white, took on a faint blue glow.
Hank’s computer binged softly as a message popped up on screen. “Setting up a device…”
The Pokeball continued to wobble while a wireless connection was established.
“SILPH CO. POKEBALL has been identified.”
Hank nodded contentedly and clicked away through his Start menu. Natuflix, Hoothootlu, Duskord…
“There we go!” the wolfish professor declared as he clicked on the METANGLAB program. Memory usage immediately spiked while the engineering, and hardware intensive, program struggled to load. The finer nuances, and sheer mathematics, of the application escaped Hank but that proved ultimately irrelevant. So long as he could navigate the menus it would suffice.
Clacks of the keyboard, accompanied by mouse clicks, filled the air of the dimly lit laboratory. “Import New Project…” Hank read aloud as he submitted the files previously pulled off of Geodoogle. The blank white canvas on screen stutteringly found itself populated with the likeness of a city. Colorless skyscrapers, apartments, and immaculately crafted city streets stretched from one side of the monitor to the other.
“Next comes Import Data…” the wolf hummed. A couple of errant clicks later and Hank had deigned the SILPH CO. POKEBALL as his source. The pale glow illuminating the Pokeball faded when a certain Mareep’s data found itself imported into the would-be city. Hank couldn’t help but smile at the blue pixel that now occupied the muted metropolis’ center.
“And finally… Generate!” Hank proudly declared with a click. His jaw, hanging freely as his lips curled into a smile, promptly clamped shut as the automated Rotom CAD assistant asserted itself.
A Rotom, or at least a pixelated approximation of one, held its electrical limbs out to its side and gestured towards the text that populated the remainder of its popup box. “I see you’re trying to digitize a City, Population: ‘1’, into existence! Would you like to scan for a canvas upon which to generate it?”
Rolling his eyes, Hank promptly clicked on the ‘Scan’ button to silence its suggestions. The webcam situated within the wolf’s computer monitor silently flickered to life as it sought it a canvas upon which to construct a city. Its lenses noiselessly zoomed in on the polished white tiles lining the floor of the laboratory.
“Canvas identified! PROF. HANK LABORATORY – FLOOR TILE. Would you like to use this canvas?”
Lips pulled flat, Hank promptly clicked Next. His mouse cursor transitioned into that of a loading icon as METANGLAB chugged. Teeth bared, he clicked repeatedly at the Next button. A crawl of text, line by line, slowly replaced the contents of the current popup.
“What dimensions would you like to generate your City at?” the Rotom inquired as the next screen populated with broken images. A set of radio buttons appeared beneath both the text and a ‘Scaling’ header.
-Fit to Printable area
-Shrink to Printable area
By default, the ‘Shrink’ option was selected. Before Hank could even read, much less react, his backlogged clicks came gushing forth. A flurry of screens passed him by as ‘Next’ after ‘Next’ after ‘Finish’ button were clicked of their own accord.
“Generating City with Population: ‘1’…”
“Finally!” Hank huffed as he impatiently tapped his thick feet against the floor. Lips scrunched, he could do little more than watch the progress bar slowly tick up. Eyes locked on the computer screen, its soft glow captured in the lenses of his glasses, the wolf paid little heed to the pixel sized pinprick of a laser emanating from his webcam. Nor the incomprehensible speck of a speck it conjured into being on the tile behind him.
“Generation complete!” the Rotom assistant declared with a flourish! Both it, and the progress bar, vanished from Hank’s sight upon completion. Chuckling, Hank swiveled about in place. “Good morning to you, sweetest sheep,” his booming baritone decreed. “It’s no Pokeball but I do hope you find your newest lodgings to your lik…ing?”
Brows arched, Hank stared down blankly at the otherwise pristine tiles with nary a city to scale in sight. “Radda?”
“Hmmm?” Mouth dry, Radda sleepily smacked at his lips. The Mareep, freed from the confines of his Pokeball, struggled to remain standing. “Morning Professor…” he yawned with his eyes closed shut.
A cacophonous displacement of air, vibrations more than spoken word, answered him. The Electric Type was instantly sent tumbling backwards along the smooth and polished thoroughfares.
Jolted awake, the Mareep’s wool sparked and crackled with electricity. “W-what the? This isn’t the lab!” Radda’s head snapped to and fro as the alien, yet unsettlingly familiar surroundings, overwhelmed his perception. The towering structures, void of any life, creaked as they struggled to withstand the onslaught of air.
Shockwaves, two of them, buffeted the deserted city in rapid fire succession before the Mareep, or the surrounding structures, could even recover from the prior blast.
“Bahhhhhhh!” Radda bleated in a panic as he stumbled back and braced himself against a bland and lifeless building. Wincing, he turned his gaze skywards and gasped. Far beyond the skyscrapers, stretching past the artificial sky itself, loomed a familiar figure. “Professor?”
The sheep swallowed hard as his incomprehensible everything advanced towards him. The landmass of a lupine, spanning well past the horizon and periphery of his vision, somehow managed to blot out even more than Radda thought fathomable.
Low and deafening creaks carried across the city as Hank’s muscles tensed within his ankles. The colossi’s mere movements, the curling of his toes, the tensing of his tendons, could be heard and felt.
All went dark as Hank approached and a blackened mass, but a fraction of a toe, swallowed up the sky.
“Radda?” Hank called out curiously as he tread cautiously about his lab. All while blissfully unaware of the fate his feet would mete to his sweetest shrunken sheep.