Expect nothing that actually related to the serious plot—that's the next chapter. Instead, expect fun stuff involving a certain Super-Legendary, an underfunded lab, and cardboard marketed as health food. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Alex woke up quite late in the morning, since the sun was rather bright in his eyes as he woke up. Blinking a few times, groggily wondering if he’d gone blind, he slowly regained some form of conscious thought. Marril had obviously gotten up at some point in the night, or it had gotten up at a completely reasonable hour and had simply went back to sleep, or it had been hit over the head by something again. Alex had no way of knowing which, except that Marril was in the exact opposite corner of the room than he’d put it on. Alex stretched, then got up and looked in the mirror above the dresser. He was still in the clothes he’d been wearing the previous day, he noted. He’d have to do something about that. Digging a capsule out of his backpack, he hit the button on the top of it and a fresh change of clothes popped out. Changing quickly and praying that Marril wouldn’t wake up in the middle of his changing, Alex stuffed his previous attire into the capsule. Alex checked Marril. Good, the water mouse hadn’t woken up or if it had, it was playing possum (playing Sentret?) very well. Alex went downstairs to get himself some breakfast. His mom wasn’t anywhere to be seen, and it took him a few minutes of looking around before he saw the note on the table. “I’m off at work,” the note said, “so just help yourself to anything you’d like. Let me know before you set off again. Love, Mom.” “Well,” Alex thought, “I’ll be danged. Mom’s actually taking things a lot better than I thought.” Since nothing in the fridge appeared at all appetizing, Alex helped himself to some bar from the cupboard. It tasted like it was made of flavoured cardboard, and he had no idea how his mom ate them, but he gnawed at it anyways. “Ah,” he thought after about five minutes of gnawing but never actually seeming to eat, the revelation of it all hitting him like a sack of potatoes. Or a quarterback sack. Whichever. “I think this thing’s actually supposed to be fruit flavoured.” “Look,” the lab assistant said firmly again, which wasn’t all that firm considering he didn’t have a proverbial backbone at all, “You can look at that virus all you like, but you can’t go messing with sensitive lab equipment without…” “…Prior written permission by a head technician or professor,” Sam said, finishing the man’s sentence for him. “I know, I know. You’ve only told me twenty times. And I’ve only told you twenty times that I know what the heck I’m doing.” The assistant sighed and slumped his shoulders. Sam noted for the first time that it said Joseph on the man’s nametag. “I guess we can make this the twenty-first time then. Come back in five minutes before the twenty-second, okay? I’m exhausted.” An old grey-haired man walked near Sam in the general direction of the cafeteria. Sam felt a clap at her shoulder and the shoving of a slip of paper into her hand, but the man hadn’t even slowed down. Weird. She glanced at the paper. “I, Director Hana, give this girl written permission to enter the specimen research facilities.” At the end was a short but messy signature. Sam blinked. “Uh, Joseph?” The assistant looked over the slip of paper for a minute but in the end decided it was genuine. “Dang. Director Hana actually lets anybody in who wants it. Well, regulations are regulations after all, I guess. Go on in.” Sam walked into the lab. It was pretty well equipped actually. A microscope was set up in the center of the room with a sample of the virus underneath it. She glanced in it. “Oh my Oddish,” Sam gasped to herself. Obviously nobody had been in that day, since what she was simply wasn’t possible. Doing the only thing she could think of doing, she called the highest authority she knew of in the Space Center. “Director Hana! DIRECTOR HANA!” She shouted across the rooms. The man coughed out his mouthful of food in surprise. Getting up, obviously annoyed that he was going to miss his lunch break, he walked briskly over to Sam, a look of stern annoyance on his face. “Director,” Sam said, “Are viruses generally considered protists?" “Small multi-celled organisms?” Director Hana said. “I should say not, why?” “Sir,” Sam continued, “look in that microscope.” He glanced at the clipboard he was carrying, then looked into the microscope. The clipboard hit the floor at roughly the same time a visible chill swept over the Director. Even in nearby Mossdeep City, you could not tell no matter how hard you looked that a full medical quarantine had been established for a breakout of Class A Lethally-Radioactive Foreign Organisms. Hana paced in his office. What choice did he have? He’d have to completely sterilize the lab, which meant torching it to a fine cinder, and then torching it again. Sam had theorized that the virus brought back by the space shuttles was indeed a strange strand of DNA that was growing now that it was exposed to oxygen. Hana hated to agree with a fourteen-year old girl about something that had slipped by even the head of the Mossdeep Space Research Center, but she was indeed correct. In further embarrassment to Hana, Sam correctly theorized the DNA to actually be a Pokémon, and projections weren’t looking good for if the thing was allowed to grow. It would have untold psychic abilities. The few details from Team Rocket on the Mewtwo Project paled in comparison. “Well, there’s no denying it,” Hana said. “That thing has to go.” He walked over to his desk and pressed the intercom. “This is Director Hana, ordering a full sterilization of all DNA compounds of the new Pokémon Deokishisu.” “Roger that, Director,” a female voice said back to him. The intercom fell silent after that. “Well,” Hana thought to himself, “I’ll have to find some award that girl must be eligible for. With the rate of growth of Deokishisu, and the fact that nobody was scheduled to research further for weeks now due to budget cutbacks, we could be facing something far more serious.” Sam, however, was more worried about simply getting out of the building sometime that month. Medical examinations to make sure she wasn’t contaminated with anything weren’t going to be her idea of a fun time. So when Hana called her and told her that they’d skip all checks from the seventh one on, she was understandably grateful. The Pelliper that ate the Tentacool only the previous night had a very, very bad case of food poisoning. This relates to absolutely nothing but it does go to show you what happens when you eat any random Tentacool. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Oh well, that wasn't much corrected at all from the first draft, but that's okay—never got around to doing anything anyways. Next chapter is when things get interesting, I promise. A new League, two new characters, and more of Marril.