Tom sat against a tree, alone in the darkness of a forest. He had no idea where he was this time, but after his experience in Resident Evil he just wanted to rest. Technically he didn’t need it, being without a physical body, but old habits die hard and he struggled to close his eyes and forget about his troubles in slumber for just a few minutes. It didn’t work; sleep was something he was no longer privileged to, and he was left only with his thoughts.
Tom was afraid. The game system, I.D.E.A.S., seemed to be sentient and was now actively testing him. He had no idea if it actually wanted to hurt him or was merely playing with him, or whether it knew the difference. Either way, his recent victory over it seemed to have earned him a much-needed respite. He sat for another minute, collected his thoughts, then rose and set out to explore the area around him. A second later he was back on the ground, having slipped on something small and hard.
“Ow ow ow,” Tom muttered to himself. “Stupid rock…stupid game…wait a sec.” Tom took a closer look at the object he had slipped on. It was perfectly round, half red and half white, with a switch on the top. “Oh no. Oh no no no no no. No no no no no. Pleeeeeease no.” Tom reached over and picked up the sphere, and felt his heart sink as his worst fears proved true. He was holding a Pokéball.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Any game but this! Computer! I know you’re out there! Can we skip this game? Please? Pretty please? I will play any other game, just let me out of this one!” His entreaties were met only by the occasional rustle of leaves. “Goddammit answer me!”
“Whoah, don’t get all bent out of shape. I’m here.” Rick was back.
“I wasn’t talking to you, I was talking to the game.”
“The game?” Rick asked skeptically.
“Long story. After you left, the computer came alive and tried to kill me. I beat it, and now I’m in Pokémon.”
“Back up. What do you mean by ‘the computer came alive?’”
“After you left the Tyrant Zombie attacked me without provocation, then started talking about testing me. I don’t know what’s going on, but after all the other weird stuff like you being locked out, I have come to the conclusion that the computer is probably trying to kill me and possibly take over the world.”
“Why is it trying to take over the world?”
“I don’t know, but in these situations the computer is usually trying to take over the world, no matter how unfeasible it may actually be.”
“Oh right. Well, after everything that’s happened I suppose we are in the realm of a bad sci-fi/thriller movie, so we might as well count on that being true.”
“And to make matters worse, I’m in a Pokémon game.”
“How…uhhh….how are you feeling, buddy?”
“I’m fine, I’m guess. More annoyed than anything.”
“Not shaky or nervous?”
“Listen, I know I’ve had…problems…in the past with these games. But I’m OK now.”
“Dude, you once played the game for five days straight. After that you were so out of it that you ran down the streets challenging people to battles and throwing painted ping pong balls at them.”
“OK, we don’t need to go into specifics here….”
“Then when the cops were called you announced that you were ‘the very best, the best there ever was’ and began talking about the power of friendship and hope.”
“Enough! Yes, I had a problem with Pokémon. But I got better. And I’m OK.”
“All right. But I’m going to keep an eye on you while you’re in this game.”
“Rick, I really don’t think that’s necessary….”
“Oh, my mistake. You’re right. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go drop some heroine off to my junkie friend and trust HIM to behave as well.”
“All right, fine, point taken. But hey, look at the upside. I mean, I won’t need you to walk me through this one, right?”
“Yeah. I wasn’t able to find much on my back-up copy, so I can get some more research done on the system. While watching you, of course.”
“Yes, yes. All right. Now let’s see what I have here.” Tom grasped the Pokéball in his hand. “Pokéball GO!” he shouted, before he could catch himself. He swore he could feel Rick’s icy gaze on him. The ball flew through the air and hit the ground with a flash. In its place was a small blue fish-creature smiling happily at him and wagging its tail.
“Awesome,” said Tom. “I like Mudkips.”