Edit: http://www.geocities.com/marrilsfics is the location of the archive. I'll sig it when I get around to putting the chapters up. Hope people don't mind .doc format, since that's what it was written in. Yeah, having multiple chapters in different threads makes it eaier to read each individual one, but... yeah, new readers get lost very easily. So I'll throw together an archive or something. I dunno. Plot progresses as normal today. High levels in the upper trainers, with a low-pressure situation just over the climax. Yes I know I sound like a weatherman. Also, the plot is a bit stretched today, but... I needed to formally introduce David to Sam, so whaddyagonnado. --------------------------------------------------------- Tschel again tried to nudge Alex awake. “I said let me sleep,” the other mumbled. “Alex,” Tschel said, “it’s eleven in the morning. I know Team Rocket attacked us last night, but still…” “Marril, Ice Beam him,” Alex said groggily, turning over so his face was further in the pillow. Marril looked between the two, trying to decide if its trainer was serious. Tschel took a step back from the water mouse, held his hands up, and said, “Okay, okay, stay asleep. Don’t see me caring.” Tschel couldn’t help but smile—Marril backed off instantly. Glancing back at Alex, who was asleep again, he walked out of the room to go get an early lunch. If Alex wasn’t up by the time he got back, then there’d be a problem. Sam, who by contrast hadn’t gotten any sleep the previous night, was lost in the forests near Rueni City. Someone had given her a call about a paid job that relied on her knowledge of Pokémon in general. So far she hadn’t been able to find the place. With the nagging feeling that someone was following her, she kept on going in what she thought were circles. “Charizard, Flamethrower!” A brunette boy of about eighteen shouted. The fire dragon spewed a gout of flame at the Sneasel, but the ice Pokémon was faster and dodged it. Juliet threw her hair back with one hand for dramatic effect. “Give up, David.” David glared. “Yeah right. Charizard, Fire Spin!” “Sneasel,” Juliet said, offhandedly wondering why David wasn’t trying to do anything psychic to her, “just use Slash and end this.” Sneasel deftly jumped aside from the flames and slashed Charizard in the neck. The dragon fell down hard, breathing heavily, and didn’t move. David recalled it and threw out another pokéball. “Nidoking, Earthquake!” “Jump it and Blizzard!” Juliet shouted, and she had to struggle to maintain her balance in the ensuing tremor. Sneasel did as it was commanded to, however, and Nidoking was encased in a block of ice. Enough games, Juliet thought. “Sneasel, knock him out.” Sneasel jumped at David and hit the boy hard upside the head. He fell down and didn’t move for a while. Several hours later, after Sam had found the research lab she’d been called to, she was still stumped with what they were trying to do. It looked like they were trying to design a Pokémon, which was of course impossible. Nobody had done it before, aside from coding Porygon, which was completely virtual. The research director—a black-haired woman nobody had referred to by name, simply as Madam Director—looked, again, over Sam’s shoulder. It was quite unnerving. “Your main problem,” Sam explained, “is that you’re trying to do too much at once with this. Psychic abilities on a Dark/Ghost are hard enough to train normally, but you want it to also be capable of elemental attacks? That’s not going to work.” The director nodded, and it looked to Sam as if she didn’t like being told what was and wasn’t possible by a fourteen-year old girl. “Well, you’re actually more intelligent than most of my scientists, so see if you can figure out a way to do it, and if not, at least you tried.” Sam thought that to be simply idle flattery, but she was inclined to believe it. Within minutes she’d been spotting errors in genetic programming, which even she didn’t think she could do. The director walked out of the room, leaving Sam to her work. She headed into another room, and a white-clad Team Rocket member was there. “You sure you know what you’re doing?” Ryan asked. “She’s going to tell her brother about this, you can bet.” Juliet shrugged. “Doesn’t matter, really. Who’d believe them if they told anybody? Besides, that girl’s smart enough to work on genetics, but she hasn’t even asked whom she’s working for. All we had to do was not wear Team Rocket uniforms and she’s doing all the work we ask for.” Ryan nodded. “For someone so smart, she’s really dumb.” A few moments of silence passed, during which time Juliet fiddled around with some of the equipment in the room and analysed some of the data Sam had given her. “So,” Juliet asked after a while. “You told your partner about your promotion yet?” Ryan bit his tongue. “No.” “You should. You and her never really got along very well anyways, and getting promoted to Rocket Elite’s going to be good for you.” “If you say so.” “I know so. You’re a good agent, and we both know it.” Ryan shrugged nonchalantly. “If you’re still worked up about that loss to Tschel yesterday, don’t be. As far as I’m concerned, you went in blind. We didn’t have any information at all about the other trainer he was with.” Ryan sighed. “Pride, mainly.” Juliet nodded. “Yeah, I get it.” David was currently very desperate. He’d waken up and found himself in a holding cell. He’d had to risk using his psychic abilities—and therefore risk losing control of himself again—in order to get out. He’d had to fight every conscious second he was in the place. Needless to say, he wasn’t happy. He ran down another corridor. Having no idea where any of the exits were, he had to guess. He’d guessed wrong a lot so far. Security was minimal, he noted. Idly he wondered why. He found a room marked “Genetic Lab—Project Tribo.” That piqued his interest. Sam turned to see who had entered the room. Tall boy, roughly six feet, only a few years older than herself. Tanned skin, brunette hair. She knew she recognised him from somewhere but she couldn’t remember where. He seemed to remember her though. “You work for Team Rocket now?” Sam blinked. “What?” “I’ll take that as a no,” he said, looking around the room quickly. “We should get out of here. Fast.” Sam blinked. The boy groaned. He raised his hand, palm outwards, and concentrated. Instantly, Sam knew what was going on. “Don’t make me do that again,” David warned. “Door’s right there,” Sam said, as if she hadn’t heard him. David blinked this time. Sam was acting quite calm about everything, especially to someone who had before went crazy and tried to kill her. David looked at the small “in case of fire or earthquake” evacuation map near the door that Sam was pointing to. Lo and behold, the exit was clearly marked, as was the most direct path there. Juliet watched the security monitors. She smirked. “Nice. He didn’t question at all the fact that he met no security.” Ryan, who had only just been told the plan, was less enthusiastic. “You captured him only to let him go?” Juliet smiled. “I’ve read up on him. Using his psychic powers unbalances him mentally. I was trying to see why.” Ryan bit his tongue, literally, before continuing. “You could have collected the data some other way.” Juliet nodded sharply. “But this was the best method. Mewtwo very nearly had that same defect, and now we have direct, physical data to help Tribo overcome it. Human psychics and Pokémon psychics are of course different, but the basic similarities in both mental control and in psychic defects between David and Mewtwo are similar enough for us to get an idea of what we need to do. “But the fact remains that it was still a bit early for their escape. I so wanted Sam to solve the elemental errors she was working on,” Juliet concluded. “But c’est la vie. We still came out very much ahead of our initial projections.” Ryan, who knew Juliet was in a superior mood, simply stood there like he had before, not wanting to break any procedures. “You’re dismissed,” Juliet said nonchalantly. Ryan silently left. He’d lost a lot of faith in the Executive he was soon to outrank since he first met her. There was a fine line between genius and stupidity, and as far as he was concerned, Juliet was on the wrong side of that line. Tschel and Alex (who was indeed awake before Tschel returned) had spent the day trying to find out more about the Gym in the city. There wasn’t much to be learned. The leaders battled two-on-two, they were good trainers, and nothing Tschel couldn’t have already told Alex. “Marril-mar, Marril,” Marril, who was riding on Alex’s shoulder, said. “You just ate,” Alex said. “You can’t still be hungry.” “Mar…” Marril said. Tschel smiled. It was simultaneously interesting and odd that Alex could carry on a conversation with a Pokémon. The same was true for that Pokémon’s personality. “So when do you think they’ll be ready?” Alex asked, glancing over to Tschel. “Dunno,” Tschel said, opening the can of pop he’d just gotten from the vending machine, and sitting down on the bench beside Alex. “Weeks, months, years.” The waiting was beginning to get to Alex. He’d wondered, both mentally and verbally, why they had to wait for their gym battle. Tschel finished off his pop and tried to throw it across the room and into the trashcan. He missed and had to get up, walk across the room, and put it in. “Mar, mar, marmarmar, mar…” Marril muttered. “Bored, bored, boredboredbored, bored…” Alex said. Tschel wouldn’t have gotten it as a translation for Marril except that Alex’s vocal inflections exactly matched Marril’s as he complained. Truth be told, Tschel was starting to get irritated as well. The wait time so far had been two hours. He considered simply leaving. A man of about thirty, dressed in military fatigues, stepped out of the arena doors. “All right,” he said. “We’re ready for you.” “About bloody time,” Tschel muttered under his breath as he, Alex, and Marril followed the man in. --------------------------------------------------------- Yep, ther's about it. Gym battle next chapter, and it's a doozie (always wanted to use that word). Next chapter goes up when it goes up.