Welcome Guest [Log In] [Register]
The Pride Month Create-a-thon has now begun! Don't forget to check out Featured Fan Runs - this run really shouldn't be Lost in the Stream!
Nuzlocke Comics
Viewing Single Post From: Featured Fan Runs
NeonBlack
Member Avatar
Press Enter to continue

Protip: lack of sleep is bad. Be it because your sleep schedule is screwed up beyond repair, because of acute earache (am there, doing that), or because of constant nightmares about towers burning and people dying, lack of sleep is bound to make you inattentive, irritable, and just plain unpleasant to be around. So, in short: don’t be like Elliot. And most importantly, try not to get...

Lost in the Stream by AstroDeath

This week’s featured fan run is of the written persuasion, and it brings us back to a HeartGold-flavored Johto. And yes, the protagonist of Lost in the Stream is a young man with... mild issues when it comes to sleep, a job he's not particularly in love with, and an attitude which at times could make a raging mankey look like charming company in comparison. Well, okay, to be fair to poor Elliot, the nightmares are most likely not his fault to begin with, and neither is that weird voice that keeps talking in his head whenever he dreams. And to be even fairer, his job does suck quite a bit. Because you see, Elliot here happens to be a Rocket grunt, and the story starts with him as part of the latest of Team Rocket's get-rich-quick schemes: slowpoke tails.

Quote:
 
A handful of grunts loitered around a set of cages, prodding slowpokes in and out. A pile of freshly cut tails sat nearby, a gross reminder of how far the criminals had sunk. Everytime any of the grunts looked at it, their faces scrunched up in varying degrees of disgust and frustration.

"Seriously, how come these things don't even move when we saw their tails off?" Anton held down a slowpoke on the 'operating' table, the creature offering no resistance. "Kind've creepy. Doesn't talk, doesn't squeal. Just stares."

Elliot rapped a knuckle on its head. It turned to look up, mouth agape and eyes unblinking. "Empty skull, that's why. Watch your fingers now." He set the saw and pumped his arm, cutting through the meaty flesh. He winced when he hit bone, the crunch bothering him far more than his victim. The tail tore off with a wet slap against the table and he moved it aside.

Bet those "Join Team Rocket! See the region! Steal pokémon!" flyers a much younger Elliot got didn't mention this, huh.

I hope you weren't looking for yet another retread of the usual story about a young trainer taking on the Johto League and beyond, because you're not getting that here. This isn't even a case of perspective switch, putting us in the shoes of the bad guys as the meddling kid du jour comes to stop them from getting away with it. No, there are no heroes in Lost in the Stream, at least so far. The focus here is completely on Elliot, his human and pokémon colleagues and superiors, and the kind of organization (using the word loosely here) that Team Rocket has become since Giovanni decided to book it. And let me tell you, that's one heck of a gigantic mess.

The Rocket side of the plot revolves mainly about the infighting among the Admins and the different missions they send their pawns, namely our grumpy grunt and company, in order to achieve their goals. There's still enough space for Elliot's personal issues to be explored, though, and there's a lot in there to deal with: those weird women dressed fancy who keep popping up spouting religious-sounding nonsense and forcing eggs and stuff onto him, his crush on a certain gym leader, and the donphan in the room of his nightmares and the hints of timey wimey shenanigans contained within, with or without a certain onion fairy's intervention.

Quote:
 
Rain fell in stinging droplets. A hurricane raged around him, wind shrieking in fury. Desperation demanded finding cover, but he remained stuck; fear roiled in the pit of his stomach, convincing him there was none to find.

His knees buckled. Something was different.

Conflict waged above the clouds. Bestial cries roared louder than the storm's thunder. The sky rumbled with power, his significance paling in comparison. What was he to those creatures locked in struggle, their splendor turned black with malice?

Don't think like that!

He felt pressure on his chest, a tiny finger prodding him.

It is in there still, and that is a treasure of its own. It is never lost, no matter how hard time tries to drown it. Stand strong in the stream, let it flow around you.

The place where Lost in the Stream shines the brightest, though, is in its characters. AstroDeath performs constant perspective shifts, allowing us to get into the heads of basically every relevant character in the story, all of them memorable in their own, usually very flawed ways. Special mention to the pokémon, a dysfunctional motley crew who happen to be the perfect match for their trainers and the group they work for. From the energetic and way overeager Celina to the stuck-up Abzu, every single one of them is a treat.

It helps that all those characters have their own distinctive narrative voice, to the point that it's easy to guess who we're piggyback riding with way before their name is stated. Elliot’s narration almost always reads angry and tired, coming in short bursts of sarcastic complaints and defeatist remarks. Meanwhile, Kelsey’s narration is spacey, almost oneiric, yet strangely insightful and warm. Probably the closest any of us will ever be to knowing what goes on inside the head of a slowpoke, at least without hallucinogenic substances being involved.

And then there’s Vivian the misdreavus. The witchiest witch to have ever witched, and this sentence remains true if you replace the w's with b's, too. She's a riot, and she does wonders for team morale, too!

Quote:
 
"See anything, Eliza?"

"I'm blind, Vivian..."

"Open your eyes wider. Maybe you'll see something eventually."

Low hanging fruit was the best!

Vivian laughed as the zubat fluttered away into the treetops with a whine. Eh, she'd grow a spine sooner or later. Or not, maybe. Wouldn't much take away her joy from toying with the bloodsucker, and irritated or not, judging by the intermittent screeching Eliza was doing her job.

"Why do you do that?" Gabriel asked. He floated at her side, shifty eyes never quite meeting hers. "She's one of us too."

She winked out of sight and reappeared on top of him, letting her hair fall in front of his face. "What's a team without a low man on the totem pole? You're above her and Anton if it makes you feel any better."

I'm sure she cares deep down. Almost sure.

So in summary, Lost in the Stream is well written, has a plot that’s different enough from the norm to keep you guessing where it’ll go, and features a bucketload of interesting characters we get to experience both from the outside and from the inside, so to speak. Oh, and it updated, like, two days ago. What more can you ask for? Go read it already!

Oh, and if you know a run you think is good enough for a feature, you can either keep the secret for yourself until the end of days or shoot one of our scouters (BigRedLittleWolf, Bug, Huntress Wizard, Pillowcase, Revenant, or SilverDoe) a PM so we can look at it and share the goodness with everyone. Come ooon, you know you want to...
Offline Profile Quote Post
Featured Fan Runs · Fan Challenge Runs