|11/18/2007, 04:50 PM||#1|
Outside of Birmingham, Alabama
Sunlight shone through the canopy of the forest, flooding patches of grass and plants with its natural radiance. A young boy, dressed in brown shorts, a blue t-shirt, and a baseball cap, ran excitedly down a path of woodchips, his attention caught by something a short distance away. He burst out of the forest and into a verdant meadow, the smile on his face growing with anticipation. There, in the center of the small clearing, lie his target: a canine with sleek, gray and black hair, gleaming red eyes, and vicious fangs. The creature, whose appearance was somewhere between that of a hyena and that of a wolf, lifted its head slightly and gazed lazily at the boy. It lowered its head once again, obviously perceiving no threat.
"A wild Mightyena!" The boy cheered joyfully as he reached for a red and white sphere attached to his belt, "It must be my lucky day!" He hurled the sphere into the air, and it opened on a small hinge, releasing a burst of red light. As the light hit the ground, it took form and began to materialize. By the time the ball returned to the boy's hand, a small, brown-haired primate with a flame at the tip of its long tail had appeared. It stood steady on its feet, and raised its arms as it formed fists with its hands.
"Monferno, use Mach Punch!" The blonde-haired boy commanded. The fiery-tailed monkey complied, charging towards the dark canine with its right fist raised. Despite its apparent apathy, the wild Pokemon was not oblivious to the oncoming attacker, and slowly rose to its feet. The primate was now within range of its target, and it drew its fist back, preparing to strike the lupine hyena. Suddenly, to the surprise of both the attacking Pokemon and its trainer, the wolf Pokemon lunged forward, taking the monkey by surprise and knocking it to the ground. The wild Pokemon's eyes had changed, now, rather than appearing lazy and uninterested, they seemed to overflow with murderous intent. Its forelegs pinned the primate's arms to the ground, and saliva dripped from its fangs, landing on the predator-turned-prey's cheek. The Mightyena raised its head to look at the Monferno's trainer and let out a fierce growl, signalling its intent.
"Monferno, return!" The boy nervously shouted as he realized what grave danger his Pokemon was in. His arm shook furiously as he lifted the arm that held a Pokeball in it, but unlike him, the wild Pokemon was not slow to make its next move. Without warning, it dashed forward, freeing its previous prey from its grasp as it directed its attention towards its new target. Before he realized what was going on, the trainer was on the ground, stuck in place by sharp claws pinning his shirt down.
"Please don't hurt me!" He screamed in fear. The Mightyena lowered its head until the trainer could feel its warm breath on his fear-stricken face. It opened its jaws.
"You're the worst kind of human," It uttered in a feminine voice, "You're a Pokemon Trainer."
Part One: Pokemon
At first, we knew it only as a video game. A television show. A card game.
Little did we know, it was much, much more than that.
For decades, humans had pondered the concept of intelligent life on other planets.
One human knew the truth.
His name was Satoshi Tajiri.
Tajiri was well known as the creator of the Pokemon franchise.
But he did not create Pokemon. He merely introduced them to us as imaginary characters in a series of video games.
No, Pokemon have existed since long before they were introduced to humans.
They inhabit a planet in a galaxy not far from our own. We call this planet "Monplan" - Monster Planet.
The inhabitants of Monplan, "Pokemon" - Pocket Monsters (as we call them), were aware of our existance for centuries before we were aware of theirs.
It was only in the year 1991 that they decided to contact us. At first, they only contacted one human - Satoshi Tajiri.
Tajiri was chosen by the high council of Monplan for several reasons. He was an aspiring video game designer with a love of nature and a creative mind.
A representative of Monplan - a Pokemon of the species known as "Alakazam" - traveled to Earth to meet with the human that the high council had chosen.
This Alakazam - the "PokeProphet", as he is now known - appeared before Tajiri one day.
While most people would be frightened at the sighting of such a strange creature, Tajiri was intrigued. He conversed with the PokeProphet, who had a thorough understanding of the Japanese language.
The PokeProphet told him about Monplan and its hundreds of different species.
The prophet told Tajiri that he had been chosen to introduce Monplan's creatures to Earth in the form of a video game.
Tajiri was more than eager to comply, and so, after five years of development, Pokemon Red and Green versions were released in Japan.
The Pokemon franchise was a huge success. Soon after the electronic games, a television show and a card game followed.
Every year, the spectrum of the franchise widened.
While the original games included only 151 species, the PokeProphet gradually introduced more and more species to Tajiri - and so, new "generations" of Pokemon were released in 1999, 2002, and 2006.
There were many aspects to the Pokemon franchise, but none was more popular than the Trading Card Game.
After the release of the Diamond and Pearl expansion in 2007, the game's popularity grew exponentially each year. It peaked in the year 2020, and it was officially recognized as the second most popular sport in the world.
I myself was a world-renown player of the Pokemon Trading Card Game, and a seven-time World Champion.
Outside of the Pokemon empire, the Earth continued to turn as normal.
War was more prevalent than ever, and the economy of nearly every country was slowly declining.
Then, in 2022, something happened that changed the face of the Earth forever...
Part Two: Invasion
In 2022, the inhabitants of Monplan decided to travel to Earth, and did so in great numbers.
They came in a single vessel, spherical in shape, and no bigger than the spaceships designed by humans.
Many Pokemon were able to fit in the single ship thanks to the pinnacle of Monplan's technology, a concept that was incorporated into the Pokemon Video Games - Pokeballs.
These wonderful devices convert mass into energy, then store that energy within themselves.
On the voyage to Earth, the majority of the Pokemon were stored in these Pokeballs, though some needed to stay out to maintain the ship.
The spacecraft landed in the United States of America - just outside of San Diego, California.
When it landed, a cloud of dust shrouded the highly populated area. Some say it spread well past the Mexican border.
But when this ship first landed, the dust was the least of people's concerns.
The ship opened, and everyone present at the Town and Country Resort was astonished by the sight of the very creatures printed on the cards in their hands.
The location of the spaceship's landing was no coincidence - it had landed within the grounds of the resort at which the 2022 Pokemon Trading Card Game World Championships was being held.
I know because I, of course, was present.
Before anyone could even begin to comprehend the presence of the otherworldly vessel, the first Pokemon were in the convention hall.
Leading them was none other than the PokeProphet himself.
Every human in the room was still. Even those individuals with the greatest imaginations, the greatest ability to accept what was in front of them, did not so much as turn their heads for several minutes.
When heads did begin to turn, they turned to only one man.
The only man in the room who was not surprised. In fact, on his face, he wore... a smirk.
And he uttered these words:
"I knew you would come."
Select humans - mostly judges and players with high skill - were allowed to board the Monplanian ship and speak with some of the officials.
Meanwhile, the other humans were forced to stay in the convention hall, under the strict supervision of several powerful Pokemon.
Even Tajiri was shocked to see that the number of Pokemon that had traveled to earth was far more than expected - over two billion.
One Pokemon for every three humans on earth.
Part Three: Government / Culture
Surprisingly, the high council of Monplan suggested that the two species - humans and Pokemon - live in peace.
When the countless other species on earth were brought up by one human, the subject was laughed at and dismissed with four words:
"Survival of the Fittest."
The high council informed the humans of their plans - their demands, really, but that term has such a negative connotation.
They would keep out of our political and economic affairs. They set up a fortress in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and stayed there.
The rest of the Pokemon, however, had a different fate.
They would essentially replace our old animals. Many would live in the wild, some would be kept as "pets."
But, of course, there were major differences between Pokemon and earth animals: Pokemon had much more destructive power.
Luckily, Pokemon are naturally peaceful creatures.
Even the most powerful species, if left to grow on their own, do not have an innate desire to destroy.
It is only if corrupted by humans that they will intentionally try to harm people or destroy cities.
It is for this reason that only humans over the age of thirteen, who have acquired a special license, can catch and train Pokemon.
To be issued a license, you must pass several tests, testing not only your intellect, but your intents as well.
Unlike human-administered tests, these tests of character are hard to fake - they are administered by psychic Pokemon with the power of empathy.
This process is not flawless, of course, but those who use Pokemon for evil are almost always found and brought to justice.
Many humans were at first skeptical of how this radical change in the style of life would work, but it proved to work better than expected.
Evil did not exist - at least, not on a large scale. It was as if the mere presence of the powerful Pokemon instilled fear into the hearts of criminals.
Of course, every country's government employed armies of psychic Pokemon to monitor their country, in case crime did take place.
Much to everyone's surprise, the high council's plan worked.
Personally, I do not know how it worked, but I am not complaining.
Crime rates are at an all time low. War is nonexistant. Economies are flourishing in every country.
It was an unbelievable success. The little influence that the Pokemon had over politics had caused a worldwide utopia.
As for Pokemon from a cultural aspect, almost everyone that is old enough has at least one Pokemon.
Older folk do not usually use them for battle - though there are exceptions, of course. They might use them around the house, or just as friends.
In the younger crowd, however, almost everyone uses them for battle.
Many organized tournaments exist, as well as fun battles. And, of course, wild Pokemon can be captured and collected.
Several significant court cases have raised questions about the ethicality of Pokemon, particularly about how some Pokemon rule over us while the others serve us.
There were certainly some points to be made, but questions about Pokemon died down when a new source of mystery appeared:
Part Four: Demi-Pokemon
When the Monplanian ship landed, no one paid any attention to the dust that it brought with it.
Perhaps we should have.
About a year after the landing, once everyone had begun to adapt to the presence of Pokemon, it happened.
People that had been in the area when the ship landed began to develop strange... symptoms.
These people now have the power to transform into Pokemon at will.
Scientists immediately began running diagnostics on people that developed this ability, and found one chemical present in all of their systems.
This same chemical had been found in a sample of the dust that spread when they ship landed.
These people, known as Demi-Pokemon, are dangerous.
Regular Pokemon are not psychologically geared towards intentionally trying to cause harm.
Demi-Pokemon have human consciousness, and as such, may use their powers for evil.
If only those who had been present at the World Championship tournament developed these powers, there would be no problem.
They could easily be tracked down and monitored by the government.
But that is not the case. Every day, more and more Demi-Pokemon are found.
Now, thousands, if not millions, are affected.
I can only wonder what this will mean for the future.
-- Pokemon and Demi-Pokemon, Tsuguyoshi Yamato, 2025
Chapter One: Beginnings
An old woman paced back and forth in front of the clean, green porcelain surface on the wall. She wore a neatly pressed red suit with yellow buttons lining the center. Her thin, wispy gray hair was tied up in a bun above her head, and a pair of blue-framed glasses adorned her face.
“Who can tell me in what year the International Demi-Pokemon Hunting Act was passed?” She asked in a surprisingly firm voice, turning to the two dozen high school students, sitting in perfectly aligned rows and columns of school desks, who faced her. Almost every student had at least one book or binder or sheet of paper on his or her desk, and some even had all three.
The room was quite plain and minimally decorated: the teacher’s desk sat in one corner, bedecked with a desktop computer, a wire-frame tray containing a stack of papers, a small white coffee mug containing various writing utensils, and a stapler. Above it and slightly to the right was a small television screen on the wall. In the opposite corner was another large desk, this one having nothing but a computer on it. The untarnished, dull green chalkboard sat on the wall that connected the teacher’s desk to the door, and the only decorative item on any of the other three walls was a single poster. It depicted a pink and yellow feline creature with a small body, large ears, and a large pink egg shape at the end of its long tail. It wore a yellow crescent pattern on its face, as well as a worried frown. It was hanging by its tail from a tree branch at the top of the picture, and it appeared to be in great danger of falling. At the bottom of the picture, large red letters read “Hang in there!”
Several hands shot up from the block of students to answer the teacher’s question.
“Mr. Dragoo.” The elderly instructor said. Every raised hand fell, and the teacher looked at a brown-haired boy, clothed in a light green t-shirt and tan pants and wearing a green bandana around his left arm, sitting in the row at the back of the classroom. His chair leaned against the nearby wall.
“I-I didn’t have my hand raised.” He said in a surprised tone as his chair fell to its normal position with all four legs on the floor.
“I’m well aware. Please answer the question.”
“Alright then…” The student paused, “That’d be… nineteen eighty-four.” A low level of laughter arose from the majority of the class.
“Mr. Dragoo, Demi-Pokemon did not even begin to appear until the year two thousand and twenty-three.”
“Oh, right, I knew that.” The boy was obviously uninterested in the subject at hand, for he had to use his arm to prop his head up.
“Can anyone else answer the question?” The teacher asked again, "Yes, Ms. Delarose." An incredibly pale-skinned girl with sandy brown hair stood up from her seat in the front row. She wore a baby blue t-shirt with a golden star in the center of the chest area, brown pants, and a necklace made of large, red and blue wooden beads.
"Two thousand and forty-six," The female stood up so that her quiet voice could be heard by the students behind her, "After over twenty years of increasing violence, a group of radical extremist Demi-Pokemon laid seige to Washington, D.C. In response, the Monplanian government stepped in and drafted the I.D.P.H.A. so that the tragedy would not be repeated." The student returned to her seat after completing her answer.
"Very good," The aged educator said, "And who can tell me what branch of international government was created by this treaty?" She paused to allow the students to raise their arms, "Mr. Arnold?"
"The Tracking Branch." Answered a bespectacled boy with curly dark brown hair.
"And what is the purpose of the -" The teacher was interrupted mid-sentence by the electronic ring of the school bell. Students that had been intently watching the clock had anticipated the noise, for they were already out the door by the time it finished ringing.
"I suppose we'll have to finish this lesson tomorrow." The instructor sighed as students eagerly rushed out the door.
"Let's go, Onix!" The brunette boy that the teacher had referred to as Mr. Dragoo threw a small red and white sphere into the air. Red light shot forth from the opening ball, and a large, snake-like creature, almost thirty feet in length, materialized in the wide field of dirt behind the school. The snake's body was composed of large gray boulders that decreased in size from head to tail. A craggy face and a jagged horn marked its head. Several dozen other students were releasing various creatures of their own into the holey field.
"Where's Jimmy?" The girl that had been addressed as Ms. Delarose asked as she tossed a brown satchel that she had been carrying into the air. The rocky creature lowered its head, catching the girl's bag on its horn.
"I don't know, but he'd better get here fast," Her companion replied as he loaded his own bookbag onto the Pokemon, "The Subterra's gonna be heck if we don't leave soon."
The Subterranean Expressway, or Subterra, was one of several relatively new transportation options that the students' generation was only the first or second to experience. The first Subterra was constructed in 2054, shortly after motor vehicles fell out of usage completely.
"Ah, there he is," The female student said as she pulled herself onto one of the boulders in the snake Pokemon's midsection, "Hey! Jimmy! C'mon, we gotta get going!"
"Coming!" Jimmy yelled back and began to run faster. He had very short hair, but the little that he did have was about the same color as Mr. Dragoo's. While his friends simply wore t-shirts, he also wore an unzipped red jacket over his yellow shirt. He wore gray cargo pants and fingerless red gloves, and certainly stood out more in a crowd than his friends. He approached the stony behemoth and quickly hopped aboard its back.
"Everybody hang on!" The creature's owner shouted. The titanic beast slithered over to a large hole in the ground and dove down, disappearing beneath the surface along with its three passengers.
"I'm home!" The door of apartment number 9 swung open, unlocked by a small golden key. A tall man with a silver ponytail and emerald eyes strode into the room, removing his key and closing the door behind him. He wore a black wifebeater, a brown leather bomber's jacket, and blue jeans, and looked to be in his early twenties.
The apartment was fairly simple in design; the door opened up into the kitchen, which contained everything necessary for heating, cooling, and storing food; next to the kitchen was a living room, furnished with a sofa (on which a blanket and pillow had been laid out), a reclining leather chair, a coffee table, a computer desk, and a television screen built into the wall; and a short hallway extended from the living room to a single bedroom, with a bathroom halfway between the two.
The coffee table had been moved to the side of the room, and a teenage boy stood in the center of the room. A sleekly designed metallic helmet adorned his head, and he wore white gloves and boots. Wires ran out of the back of the helmet, the fingertips of the gloves, and the inside of the boots, all connecting to a small silver and green cube in front of the television set. The boy was swinging his arms around as if he held a sword in his hand, but the weapon was nonexistent. The screen of the television was completely white; the game's visual display was shown only on the visor of the helmet that the boy was wearing.
"Playing games again... of course." The older boy sighed as he removed his jacket and placed it on the back of a chair that stood next to the kitchen counter. He walked over to the leather chair, still undetected by the entranced boy. He picked up a small silver bar that had been occupying the chair and pressed a button on it several times.
"Hey! What happened to the sound?" The younger boy asked and began to look around, even though he could not see the room in which he was standing.
"You finish your homework yet, Flint?" His senior asked.
"Oh, Grayson, it's just you," The teenager said with a sigh of relief, "I thought the TV was busted again. Yeah, I finished my - oh, crap!" Instantly, he began to slash once again with his imaginary weapon.
"Dang, didn't hear that thing coming... good thing it was a weakling." The junior boy said after a few moments of vigorous cleaving.
"Anyone call while I was out?" Grayson inquired.
"Yeah, Kayden left a message," Flint replied, "Wanted you to meet him and Rachel at Reunion Tower so you could catch the five thirty light train." Grayson glanced at the clock on the wall.
"It's five fifteen now!" He rushed towards the door and hurriedly grabbed his jacket.
"Hey, it's not my fault you don't have a cell phone... hey, turn the volume back up, will ya?" Flint's request went unheard, for his brother had already left the room.
Reunion Tower, located in downtown Dallas, was one of twelve towers, collectively known as the Re Towers, located within roughly one square mile of each other. It was the original of the towers, constructed in 1978, nearly 60 years before the second tower.
Grayson ran toward the tower, occasionally checking his watch to see what time it was.
"Five twenty-four... I could still make it." Grayson thought as he approached the giant microphone-shaped tower. He began to run across the street just in front of the tower, not paying any attention to the traffic. Cars were no longer used, but many people with fast-moving Pokemon still traveled on the streets of old. He narrowly avoided being hit by a fast, yellow, spiky fox-like Pokemon, and received an unfriendly exclamation from its rider.
"Hey! Grayson! Over here!" Came a female voice as Grayson reached the far side of the street. Standing in front of the tower's front entrance were two figures, one male, one female. The male had short black hair; wore thin-rimmed glasses, a neat white shirt, white pants, and black dress shoes; and was obviously of asian descent. The female was slightly shorter than the male, had blonde pigtails extending to just below her shoulder, and had a plethora of freckles on her face. She wore a blue and white checkered crop top, blue jeans, and brown leather boots. She waved her hand in the air, attempting to attract Grayson's attention.
Grayson nodded his head to acknowledge the wave and jogged over to where his friends stood.
"You're certainly cutting it close." The other boy, Kayden, said, glancing at his watch.
"I didn't get home untill fifteen minutes ago," Grayson explained, "I got here as fast as I could."
"Well, let's get going then, shall we?" The triad began to walk toward a nearby train station, where a shiny, red metal train was pulling up. While cars and other personal motor vehicles were no longer used, trains and subways were still used for mass transportation. When the Earth's supply of gasoline ran out, they had shifted to electric power, and were now primarily powered by electric Pokemon. As the sliding doors opened, the three entered an empty car near the middle of the train.
"So, where are we going tonight?" Grayson asked his companions.
"Hmm... let's go to the Virtucade!" The female exclaimed enthusiastically. The train doors shut.
"Again?" Kayden asked with a sigh.
"Oh come on, it'll be fun!" The train began to move, headed for its next destination.
An unusually overweight man with short black hair sat on a tatami matted floor, sipping tea from a small gray glass. He wore a simple white t-shirt and black pants. He intently watched the television set in the wall, unable to remove his eyes from the electric box.
Two large men were grappling in the center of a white ring, wearing the traditional kesho-mawashi of a high-ranked sumo wrestler: colorful belts with embroidered aprons in the front. A much lighter man in a purple and white silk uniform, obviously the referee, walked around the arena. The camera occasionally shifted its focus to the crowd watching the match. Suddenly, one of the wrestlers, wearing a dark green apron with brown and gold designs on it, forcefully pushed his opponent, causing the latter to fall to the ground.
"And Koga Ando goes down! Yamaguchi Gousuke is the winner of the tournament!" The crowd of fans went wild with applause and cheering.
"Watching your last match again?" The man with the tea turned to see a lighter man with spiky black hair behind him. The thin man wore a white jujitsu uniform, tied with a black belt.
"Oh, Hayato, I didn't see you there," The heavier man responded, "Yeah, it was on TV, so I thought I'd watch it. See if I did anything wrong."
"You won the tournament, of course you didn't do anything wrong."
"It's like the elder says, learn from your victories as well as your defeats."
"Well, if you keep winning, you're bound to get that promotion to yokozuna soon."
"You think so?"
"Of course! You're way better than all the other ozeki. Just remember to keep up your training, and you'll win the next tournament for sure."
"Thanks, Hayato!" A large, dumb grin grew on Gousuke's face, "Hey, how about you? You had a match yesterday, right?"
"Yeah..." Hayato scratched the back of his head and sighed, "I lost again."
"Don't worry! You're just in a slump! You'll start winning again soon!"
"I don't know..."
"Or, you could start eating more, and become a rikishi like me!"
"Hah, don't count on it," Hayato laughed, "There's no way you'd catch me running around and tackling people in my underwear like that."
"It's not underwear!" Gousuke huffed.
"Well, I've got to get going," Hayato said, "No doubt you're supposed to be training right now, too."
"Oof, probably," Gousuke slowly stood up, "You going to come watch me on Saturday?"
"Of course!" Hayato opened the room's sliding door, "See ya later."
A group of five men in their thirties and forties were gathered around a small wooden table where playing cards and colorful circular chips had been laid out. The room was dimly lit, and the staircase leading to a higher floor combined with the lack of windows made it obvious that it was a basement. Sports memorabilia from the late 20th and early 21st centuries and the heads of animals from the time before Pokemon arrived on Earth lined the walls of the small room, and a musty smell wafted through the air.
"All in." A clean-shaven man in his early thirties pushed the mountain of chips in front of him closer to the center of the table. He was the best dressed of the group, wearing a fancy white dress shirt and light gray pants.
"I fold." Said the man to his left as he turned the two cards in front of him face up and threw them towards the deck. The two men to his right had already forfeited their chance of winning the hand as well.
"I'll call." The fifth man, the oldest in the group, said. He pushed his own pile of chips, slightly smaller than the younger man's, to the center. One of the men that had already given in flipped over the top card of the deck, the king of spades. It joined the other four previously revealed cards on the table; the ten of spades, the nine of spades, the ten of hearts, and the three of hearts.
"Four of a kind." The older man revealed that the two cards he had been holding were the ten of diamonds and the ten of clubs.
"Well, it's hard to beat a hand that good." The younger man said with a chuckle that seemed to admit defeat. The older man reached for the large pile of chips. "Hey, now, I didn't say I couldn't." He revealed his own hand: the jack and queen of spades.
"Son of a...!" The elder man slammed his fist on the table, causing one of the higher stacks in the pile of chips to topple over, "Dangit, Percy, you're going to rob us all blind."
"Now, now, it was a good hand, Johnny," The fancily-dressed man raked in the mountain of chips, "These things just happen sometimes."
"Hmph." The man that had just been eliminated from the game grumbled. "Someone turn on the radio." One of the other men held up a small remote control and aimed it at a silver box resting on a small table nearby.
"You're listening to ninety-six-three, home of the best music from the start of the millenium." The radio announced.
"My god, not that garbage," One of the older men complained, "I can't figure out why these kids like that stuff. It's eighty years old, for god's sake."
"I don't know, I think it's pretty catchy." Percy replied.
"Alright, folks, now it's time for what you've been waiting all week for," The speaker on the radio said, "The chance to go on tour with one of today's hottest century start rock and metal revival bands, Chicago's own Retrograde Darkness! Caller number eighty will get a chance to answer a trivia question about the band, and if they get it right, they'll win the trip! Are you ready? Call three one two, nine six three, five five, five five. The phones are open... now!"
"Are you seriously trying to win this thing, Percy?" One of the men asked. The well-dressed young man had pulled out his cell phone, and was dialing the number that the radio had given. "The chances are one in a million!"
"I'd say they're probably closer to one in eighty," Percy replied, "Now shut up."
"Congratulations!" Came a voice from the other side of the phone line, "You're the eightieth caller! Please stand by!" After a few seconds, Percival gave his name and some other information to the person that had answered his call.
"Alright! Looks like we've got our eightieth caller!" The man on the radio announced about a minute later, "It's Percival Goldman, from right here in Chicago! Say hello, Percival!"
"What's up?" Percy replied.
"Well, it could be your popularity among the ladies, if you answer this question correctly!" The radio personality said cornily, "Alright, we all know that Retrograde Darkness is famous for some of its rock and roll songs from the start of the century, but even some of the most dedicated fans don't know who originally performed those songs! For the chance to go on tour with Retrograde Darkness, who originally sang their song, 'If Everyone Cared'?"
After a short pause, Percy made his guess, "Let's see... I think that would be... Nickelback?"
"That is correct!" The radio host exclaimed in an overly excited tone, "You've won the trip!"
"You are one lucky guy, you know that?" Johnny commented.
Outside of Birmingham, Alabama
It was nearing dusk. A crowd of at least five thousand strong had gathered in a large, grassy clearing. The clearing was surrounded on all sides by a dense forest, and a raised rock platform in the center of the open expanse formed a sort of natural stage. The colorfully dressed masses had gathered around the stage, and roughly a dozen people stood upon it. A troop of purple and yellow, semi-humanoid Pokemon with large mouths and cannon-like appendages were stationed around the edges of the clearing. These were Exploud, and their cannons did not shoot projectiles - they shot sound waves. These Pokemon were being used to create a soundproof barrier around the field, so that the loud sound of the speakers on the stage could not be heard by anyone other than its designated audience.
A dark-skinned woman with long, messy black hair that looked to be in her late twenties had taken to the center of the stage, and held in her hand the microphone that was wirelessly connected to the speaker system. She wore a mostly gray fur coat with black edges around the bottom and sleeves, black pants, and black shoes. Her face was decorated with black paint in the shape of an inverted triangle under each of her eyes.
"My brothers and sisters!" She exclaimed into the microphone, "The age of the oppresive humans is over!" The crowd cheered wildly, eagerly anticipating an elaboration.
"Since the day that Pokemon arrived here on earth, they have been nothing but slaves to the humans! Even before the Monplanians appeared, humans acted as if they were the greatest race on this earth, taming the creatures of the pre-Pokemon world! But Pokemon are equal, if not superior to humans! Has our kind not proved that?! And yet, what have they done to our kind? They hunt us down like monsters! There must be an end to this injustice!" The crowd's cheers and applause grew louder in support of the speaker's message.
"We will rise up, my brethren! With the support of all those that are like us, we can topple the human empire!" The level of applause reached a fever pitch, "And now, let us all join in for the reading of the National Anti-Trainer Union's pledge! Here he is, the official reciter of the pledge, your vice president and my husband, Lucas King!" The strong-voiced female handed the microphone over to a white-skinned man with black hair that extended to roughly his shoulder level. He wore a yellow t-shirt, a zipperless blue jacket, blue shorts, black gloves, black boots, and a blue baseball cap with a black line running down the center of it.
"Thank you, Mikayla. Now, let's all recite the pledge." The man's voice was shakier than his wife's, and it was obvious that he had less experience with public speaking, but the silence of the crowd indicated that he was respected despite this.
"All beings are created equal," He began. As he started the second line, the masses joined in, "Be they human, Pokemon, or both. Our mission, as respectable beings of this planet that we share, is to promote unity and equality for all. Those that believe that they are superior to others must be taught the error of their ways. The world must learn to stop living in fear of our kind. We will strive for a world where humans, Pokemon, and Demi-Pokemon can live in peace. I will do my part by spreading the word to my fellow Demi-Pokemon and by increasing awareness about the evils of trainerhood. I will never lay my hands on the wretched device known as a Pokeball. I will never compromise the safety of this organization by leaking proof of its existance to any humans. If we follow these rules, and work together, we will soon live in a world where our three species live in peace!" As the pledge finished, the crowd began to cheer once again. The tone of the man's speech was much calmer than that of the woman's bold declarations, but both were listened to by the anxious crowd.
"Thank you, Lucas!" The dark-skinned woman said as she took the microphone back from her partner. "Now, my friends, it is time for us to adjourn for today. You will all be informed of the time and location of our next meeting via word of mouth. And please, tell all of your fellow Demi-Pokemon that have not yet fallen to the government about our glorious organization! Peace shall prevail on Earth!" The crowd went wild as Mikayla walked off of the stage, followed by Lucas and the others that had stood there. As she stepped onto the lower ground, a man dressed in white and brown clothes approached her.
"We've identified a spy, ma'am." He said in an official, businessy tone.
"What a surprise." Mikayla replied sarcastically.
"Would you like us to handle it?"
"No... I think I'll take care of this one myself." An evil smile grew on her face, and she licked her lips hungrily. The man guided her down a path through the crowd that had been cleared for her, leading her to where the spy was. He sat on the ground, surrounded by four men with stern, emotionless expressions on their faces. The supposed spy's behavior was not reminiscent of that of a spy; he sat on the ground in an almost feedle position, whimpering to himself.
"This guy is the spy? Are you serious?" She approached him and crouched down to his level. He briefly looked up to meet her gaze, sniveled, then looked back to the ground. "He sure doesn't look like he's working for the government."
"Regardless, we can't let him go after..."
"Oh no, I never said anything about letting him go." She moved her head in closer to the prisoner's, close enough so that he could feel her warm breath on his face. She opened her mouth further to reveal to the man that her teeth were rapidly becoming long and sharp.
"Oh god... please, no!"
Ok. So, as I've said before, this isn't in any way related to EL and ELOA. It's completely new.
Now, as I have done with every chapter of my fanfics, the post-chapter notes:
Note: It's only the first chapter, and already there's been a reference to the book 1984 (this one should be obvious) and to the TV show Heroes (considerably less obvious).
Note: "Re" in the "Re Towers" is pronounced like the japanese letter rather than spelt out - "reh", not "are ee".
Note: Naturally, if this was a real show, the characters in Japan would be speaking Japanese and there'd be subtitles and whatnot. Yknow, like Heroes does it.
Note: All names referenced in Japan, for example, Yamaguchi Gousuke, are in the Japanese order - Family name first, then given name.
Note: Yokozuna is the highest rank a sumo wrestler can attain. Ozeki is the second highest.
Note: Rikishi means sumo wrestler.
Note: The "Kay" in Kayden is pronounced "Ka-i" like in "sky", not like the abbreviated form of "okay"
Note: I know this is set several decades in the future, but there aren't going to be a ton of technological and cultural advancements. Those aren't really the focus of the story. Plus, I think it's pretty common among authors of novels set in the future to not focus much on drastic differences in technology and whatnot - Orwell (1984) hardly mentioned any technological advancements at all (Except, of course, for Telescreens), and Huxley's (Brave New World) ideas were relatively limited considering that his novel was set 600 years in the future.
Last edited by Burninating_Torchic; 11/19/2007 at 04:17 PM.
|11/19/2007, 05:35 AM||#2|
Alright, now I'm confused.
First, outside Brimingham, a kid apparently gets eaten or killed by a Mightyena.
Then, we get a niftly little timeline/explanation thing.
Then we see some high school students in class, and one has an Onix.
Then in Dallas, two brothers fight, one leaves with his friends to a Virtucade.
In Japan, two sumo wrestlers have a conversation.
In Chigcago, some guy wins poker, then wins a trip to somewhere from a band.
Back in Brimingham, Demi-Pokémon gather and rally up, then a Demi-Pokemon (possibly the Mightyena) eats/kills a spy.
Okay, now how do all of those things fit together?
And what is Daieoskail?
|11/19/2007, 11:20 AM||#3|
I'm confused, but intrigued. Let's see where this goes.
|11/19/2007, 12:14 PM||#4|
The format is sort of like that of the show Heroes - several separate storylines that intertwine as the story progresses.
|11/19/2007, 03:43 PM||#5|
Well, it annoys me that the Japanese guys and the Chigcago guy don't ever mention Pokemon...
|11/19/2007, 04:16 PM||#7|
charmander - Well, understand that although Pokemon are a huge part of the world, the world doesn't revolve around them. All of the storylines will tie in Pokemon or Demi-Pokemon eventually.
Spoink - Ah, I caught that license misspelling, but I guess I only changed it on the other forum where I post this. Thanks for that.
Also, Percy had a Straight Flush (9-K of Spades), which beats 4 of a kind.
|11/22/2007, 02:59 PM||#8|
Well, when does the next chapter come?
|11/22/2007, 03:03 PM||#10|
What? Four days?
*checks date of first post*
Wow, feels like so much longer.
|11/25/2007, 09:53 AM||#11|
Chapter Two: Naďvety
The steel elevator doors opened, and Grayson stepped out of them, into the third floor hallway of his apartment building. He sluggishly approached the end of the hallway, contently preoccupied by the earlier events of the day. He was so busy thinking about the fun he had had with his friends earlier that evening that he did not notice the girl exiting his apartment until he was almost on top of her. She looked to be in her mid-teens, and was quite well-endowed for her age.
"Excuse me." She said in a timid voice, quickly sneaking past Grayson as he approached the door. She walked towards the elevators rather quickly, as if hoping to be off of the premises of the building before the man realized she had been there. Grayson inserted his key into the door of the room and opened the door almost as slowly as he had been walking.
"Hey, Grayson." Flint was sitting in the reclining chair, watching the television. Various humanoid Pokemon in bulky uniforms were running around, throwing a small object that was perpetually in the center of the camera's focus. Many human sports had been adapted so that they could be played by Pokemon as well as humans, though, naturally, Pokemon and humans did not play in the same league.
"Hey." Grayson, still in his lethargic state, removed his jacket and draped it over the back of the kitchen chair.
"How was the Virtucade?" Flint asked.
"It was fun... wait, how did you know that's where I was?"
"I just guessed, seeing as how that's where you guys have been going almost every night for the past few weeks."
"Oh, I see..." Suddenly, the older brother perked his head up, finally thinking about what had happened outside of the room, "Hey, wait a minute... who was that girl?"
"The one that was leaving when I came in."
"O-oh, her," Flint said with a hint of nervousness in his voice, "She's from my school. We were doing some homework."
"Homework?" Grayson questioned suspiciously.
"Yes, homework," Flint replied in a confident tone, trying to dispel his brother's suspicion, "I forgot to tell you that she was coming over when you stopped by earlier. And, y'know, since you don't have a cell phone..."
"Yeah, yeah, I believe you," The elder sibling said as he glanced at the clock, "Hey, you should probably be getting to bed soon."
"I will, the game's almost over." The younger responded.
"Alright." Grayson reached into the refrigerator and pulled out a colorful aluminum can. He walked over to the sofa with the pillow and blanket on it and sat down near its midsection. He opened the can, took a sip of its contents, and began to watch the television with his brother.
"What's the score?"
"Thirty-five to twenty-one. Looks like we're gonna lose again."
"That's a shame," Grayson took another swig of his beverage, and after a pause, spoke again, "You know, if you and that girl..."
"We were just doing homework!" Flint exclaimed as his face began to turn red.
A young girl with long, flowing, dirty blonde hair sat up in her bed, having just awoken. She wore a beautiful, pink silk nightgown that matched the silky sheets of the bed in which she sat. The bed was bedecked in a fashion that strongly indicated that its owner must be rich. The entire room added to this stereotype; it was unusually large in terms of area, its floor was coated in expensive-looking rugs, and all of its furniture was made of antique polished wood.
The girl slowly rose from her bed, taking deep breaths and inhaling the crisp morning air. As she walked over to a magnificent wardrobe on the other side of the room, the room's royally golden door opened. The girl initially jumped out of fright, but returned to a relaxed posture upon seeing the man who was entering the room. He had short, curly black hair, brown eyes, and skin slightly darker than her own. He towered half a foot taller than her, and looked to be in his forties. He wore a very professional black suit and red tie, and a gun holster was visible at his waist.
"Oh, Gaspar, it's you." She breathed a sigh of relief.
"I apologize for frightening you, princess," The humble man bowed, "I thought you were still asleep."
"I'm just now waking up," The teenage girl replied, "I'll be out in a few moments." With another bow, the man exited through the door from which he had entered.
The youth was now wore a beautiful white dress and white heels. She walked down an open corridor alongside the man that had briefly entered her room earlier that morning. The outdoor hallway was lined with magnificent ivory columns, each wearing a unique pattern of coiling green ivy.
"What shall I be doing today, Gaspar?" She politely asked the man with the gun.
"Oh, right," The man pulled a small brown notebook out from within his suit and opened it up to a dog-eared page, "You have only one item on your agenda for today."
"That sounds like good news," She said bemusedly, "Why do you seem so somber about it?"
"You're to fill in for your father," He explained, "And address the public on the matter of his growing influence in the government."
"And why should that be a problem?"
"Princess Cristal, I don't know if you've noticed, but the people aren't particularly happy about some of the recent changes. Higher taxes, new reform laws... this is the first time anyone in your family has spoken publicly about the issue. They'll be expecting good news, and if they don't receive it..."
"There will be no riots, Gaspar," The princess interrupted, "The International Federation's Demi-Pokemon that are stationed here will see to that."
"I don't doubt their capabilities," Gaspar said somewhat defensively, "I'm just... I'm concerned for your safety, that's all."
"That's sweet of you, Gaspar." She turned and smiled at her bodyguard. He smiled back, though his was obviously more nervous than hers. They came to the end of the corridor and approached an open door into a small building with a dome-shaped roof. The Spanish flag, as well as several other flags, including the one that represented the International Federation's protection, hung above the doorway. The pair walked in and were greeted by several other men dressed in suits similar to Gaspar's.
"Are you ready, princess?" One of them asked. The princess nodded her head in affirmation.
"Remember, we'll be protecting you on all sides," Another man added, "You won't need to worry about any riots."
"I'm not worried." Cristal responded.
"Well then," One of the men glanced at a watch on his wrist, "Let's go."
Jimmy and his friends stood in a large white room, accompanied by slightly less than a dozen other people around their age, as well as one man in his twenties. Every person in the room, save for the red-uniformed man in his twenties, who was obviously a supervisor, was wearing silver helmets and white gloves and boots. Their attire, unlike that used by players at home, lacked wires.
Virtual Arcades, or Virtucades, had sprung up in the late 2060's, a few years after the first home virtual gaming consoles. They were wildly popular among teenagers, mostly because they allowed for interaction with more friends than the home consoles could. Also, it was always a guarantee that they'd have the latest games ready to play the day they came out.
A tall, chicken-like humanoid stood in the center of a light brown clay arena, looking around at its surroundings. Red and yellow feathers covered its body, and it had long white hair, a small tail, and gray bird claws on its arms and feet. Suddenly, it fell to its knees, struck in the back by a burst of psychic energy. After recovering from the attack, it looked back at the source of the assault. A pig-like creature with black and purple skin, a curly pink tail, and small black spheres on its stomach and forehead stood on its hind legs a few feet behind its victim, laughing heartily.
"Rose?" The Blaziken said in Jimmy's voice, "Oh, you little..." He got to his feet and made a small gesture with his hands, conjuring fireballs in his palms. He threw the fiery projectiles at the still-chuckling pig, but it quickly summoned shields of psychic energy to absorb the attack.
The psychic Pokemon prepared to go on the offensive once again, but was suddenly lifted off of its feet by a pair of muscular grayish-blue arms. The culprit was a muscle-bound humanoid Pokemon with four arms that wore only a shiny golden belt and black underwear. Without much effort, it chucked the Grumpig into the air, causing it to land several yards away.
"Thanks, Dart." The Blaziken thanked its rescuer.
"No problem." Replied the Machamp. Suddenly, the arena began to fade into empty white space. The Pokemon looked at their arms, which were quickly dissolving into those of humans. The three friends were back in the empty white room, their virtual fantasy gone.
"Time's up!" The supervisor announced. The teenagers in the room slowly removed their helmets, gloves, and boots, and proceeded to the barely noticeable door on one of the walls.
"Well, that was fun," The girl that had been addressed as Rose remarked, "I totally kicked your butt at the end there, Jimmy."
"Psh, you did not." Jimmy replied.
"I bet I did better than both of you combined." Dart said as he exited the room. The three of them entered a small, tan-wallpapered lobby, in which there were several mostly-full rows of soft red chairs. The group that had just finished their game walked over to a silver, metallic counter, where a man in a red uniform was handing out small pieces of paper.
"Heck yeah!" Rose exclaimed upon looking at her paper, "Third place!"
"Aw, I only got fifth." Jimmy said in an obviously fake tone of sadness.
"Number one!" Dart waved his paper above his head.
"You did not!" Rose ran over to him and grabbed for his results sheet, "Let me see!"
"You must've cheated or something."
"No way, I just have mad skills." The three teens exited the building and walked over to a small dirt lot nearby. The Virtucade's Subterra entrance lot was significantly smaller than their school's, but there was significantly less traffic using it at any given time. Dart released his Onix from its Pokeball, and the three of them boarded the rocky goliath.
"I still think it's amazing how realistic that feels," Rose commented, "It's like they know exactly what it would feel like to be a Pokemon!"
"Maybe it was designed by a team of Demi-Pokemon." Jimmy suggested with a laugh.
"Yeah, right. Virtual gaming wasn't even invented until a few years after the hunting act was passed." She began to laugh, but upon seeing that her friends were not laughing with her, stopped.
"Only a nerd like you would find a history joke like that funny." Jimmy joshingly pushed Rose's shoulder.
"I'm not a nerd!" Rose blushed and returned her friend's shove, "School just comes more easily to me than to some people, that's all."
"If you two are done fighting," Dart called back from his seat near the front of his Pokemon, "We'll get going." Onix slithered over to a nearby hole in the ground and dove down.
Cristal stood on a small balcony, flanked by two men in black suits on either side. Gaspar and several other men stood behind her. Below the balcony, in front of the castle, were thousands upon thousand of citizens that had gathered in the surrounding area. The sea of people stretched almost a mile in any given direction, for this was one of the most anticipated speeches in Spain's post-Pokemon history.
"Greetings, good people of Spain!" Cristal spoke into a small microphone clipped to the top of her dress, "I am Princess Cristal Lopez Ortega, daughter of King Alejandro Lopez and Queen Linda Ortega de Lopez. I know that some of you were looking forward to hearing from my father today, but unfortunately, he has fallen ill, so I will be speaking in his stead." A very audible cry of disappointment could be heard from the crowd, but it was certainly not the loudest that would be heard during the course of the speech.
"Many of you have voiced concern over some of the new policies that have recently gone into effect. It has not so much been that you dislike the policies, but rather that you dislike the process in which they came into being. You suspect that my father may have had a more active role in passing these laws than his predecessors did." The crowd voiced its confirmation of the princess' assumption.
"I assure you that this is not true. The Council of Ministers and the Cortes Generales are, as always, the source of all laws. My father respects the constitution of this great nation, and would never attempt to tip the balance of power to give himself an unfairly powerful role. It is true that he has suggested some of these reforms, but that right is given to him in our constitution. He is not demanding these laws be made, nor is he making them himself. He has every right to propose laws, so long as the executive and legislative branches of our government are the ones creating and enforcing them." The crowd's murmurs rose to shouts, and it was obvious that things were beginning to get rowdy.
"Furthermore, I would also like to dispel the rumors that my father has been corrupted by an outside source. My father is as level-headed as always, and any suggestion that he may make to the government is in the interest of the people!"
"She lies!" In an instant, the entire crowd's attention shifted from the balcony over their heads to a man in their midst. He was speaking into one of the cannon-like appendages of an Exploud, and the volume of his message was being amplified by the Pokemon's vocal powers.
"She's his daughter! Of course she's going to try to cover for her father!" The crowd shouted in agreement, "Why should we listen to her? It's obvious that -" A bubble of green energy appeared out of nowhere and surrounded the speaker, nullifying the sound of his voice. One of the government's Pokemon had created a soundproof barrier to silence the dissenting message.
"What right do you have to silence him?!" Another citizen with an Exploud was now speaking into his Pokemon, "He was merely voicing his opinion!" Another soundproof bubble appeared, this time drowning out the noise of the second protester.
"People, remain calm!" One of the men that stood beside Cristal now spoke into his own mini-microphone, "Please, just listen to what the princess has to say. She speaks the truth! Do not make us use force." Suddenly, a wave of icy projectiles came flying up from out of the crowd, aimed directly at the princess and her guards.
"Well, I suppose it was inevitable." One of the guards shrugged, as if he didn't particularly care that a riot was about to break out. He held his hand out, and a wave of heat shot forth from his palm, melting the incoming icicles before they got within a yard of the balcony. Unfortunately, it was too late; the crowd had already begun to rush towards the castle. Suited men stationed in front of every entrance sent out various Pokemon to combat those of the oncoming crowd.
"No! Everyone, please, stop!" Cristal shouted at the top of her lungs, but her plea was in vain. The rioters had already passed the point of no return: the large-scale fight was already beginning.
"Princess, we have to get you to a safe place." Gaspar grabbed Cristal's arm.
"No!" Cristal turned to face her bodyguard, "Gaspar, please, we have to stop this!"
"The International Federation's troops will do what they can to take care of it," Gaspar replied, "But it's out of our hands now. We have to get you to safety."
"No..." Despite her will to stop the fighting, she knew that Gaspar was right. As they ran into the building behind them, the guards that had been stationed around Cristal continued to fend off projectiles. The princess and her bodyguard sprinted through the building, only running down pathways that did not open up to the outside. After minutes of running, they finally entered a small but well-furnished room in what had to be the basement of the castle. Gaspar closed and locked the reinforced steel door behind them, and they both breathed heavy but relieved sighs.
"I'm sorry, Gaspar."
"It's not your fault, princess. It's not your fault."
A relatively short bespectacled man with light brown hair and hazel eyes stood in front of a small brick building. He wore neatly pressed black clothes, and looked as if he was going to an interview.
"Is this really the place?" He looked at a tiny piece of paper in his hand, confirming that the address that was scribbled on it matched that of the rusty golden plate next to the door. The building was the only one in sight that was made of a material as outdated as bricks, an indication that it was at least sixty years old. The small shack of a building had no windows, and its logo was painted on its black wooden door. Green letters read "Horazio's Pizzeria", and round red tomatoes dotted each of the I's.
The trigenarian cautiously pushed the door open and stepped inside. The door creaked shut behind him, and he found himself in a long, narrow, dimly lit corridor. He warily walked down the hall, approaching the light at the end of the tunnel that grew nearer and nearer with each passing second.
Finally, he emerged out of the darkness, and much to his surprise, found himself in something that looked much more like a casino than a pizzeria. Men sat at small wooden tables, playing and betting on all manner of gambling games; scantily-clad women flirted with greasy men; no less than two bars were visible from where he stood, and several Pokemon battles could be seen taking place in makeshift arenas near the back of the room.
The young man hurriedly turned around, having no intention of getting further involved with whatever he had just walked into. Suddenly, he felt a cold, firm grasp on his shoulder.
"You Cecil?" He turned around and identified the source of the deep voice as a tall, muscular, bald, cigar-smoking man dressed in clothes that looked like they could rip at any moment.
"Y-Yeah..." He answered nervously, "I-I'm sorry, I think I'm in the wrong..."
"You're here to see Niccolo, right?" A surprised look replaced the frightened one formerly occupying Cecil's face upon hearing the familiar name.
"W-What? How do you know..."
"Hey! Get Niccolo out here!" The large man yelled to someone in the back of the room, then turned back to face Cecil, "Don't worry, you're in the right place."
"How is this a..."
"Let's just say we're a bit more technologically advanced here than we look. Psychic Pokemon, you know? Very convenient." The muscle man replied with a smirk. A nearby door opened, and a man in a red suit and black pants walked out. He was slightly older, slightly taller, and slightly heavier than Cecil, and had unnaturally long, unnaturally blonde hair.
"Ey, Cecil!" He shouted, tilting his head up briefly to acknowledge his friend. The large man with the cigar walked away, no longer needed by the newcomer.
"Niccolo!" Cecil exclaimed as he ran over to where his friend stood. Not paying much attention to his feet, he accidentally tripped over a stray leg extending from one of the tables and fell flat onto the ground. The men at the table from which the leg protruded merely laughed and continued their card game.
"You should pay more attention." The man in the red suit crouched down and helped Cecil to his feet.
"What is this place? I thought you said this was a pizzeria!"
"You thought I was serious?" He paused for a reaction and was answered by a vertical nod. Upon seeing the gesture, he let out a small laugh, "You're as bad at picking up tones as ever, kid. Don't you know what this place really is?" Cecil hesitantly shook his head no.
"Oh, boy..." He put his hand to his forehead, rubbed his temples, and sighed, "This is Cosa Nostra, kid."
"The mafia?" Cecil asked under his breath.
"Crap, kid..." Niccolo shook his head in disapproval, "I thought I had made it as clear as possible."
"Niccolo, what is all of this?" Cecil continued to speak in a whisper, "You're involved in the..."
"Let's talk about this somewhere else," His friend interrupted him, "Come by my place later tonight... about ten o'clock," His eyes darted around the room, "Until then, you can't tell anybody about this, you hear?"
"G-Gotcha." Cecil slowly turned to walk out the door. He wore a clearly disappointed look on his face, and Niccolo wore a look of concern on his. Cecil sluggishly walked down the long hallway, opened the pizzeria door, and disappeared into the outside world.
"You think he'll tell?" Asked the cigar smoker, who had walked up behind Niccolo.
"Nah... he's a good kid. I don't think he'll tell. At least, I sure hope he won't," The man in the red suit replied, "I'd hate to have to kill him."
Note: All conversation in Italy is in Italian and in Spain it's Spanish, yada yada yada
Note: Cosa Nostra is the "real name" of the italian mafia. That's what its members refer to it as.
Note: The Council of Ministers (headed by the Prime Minister) is Spain's Executive branch, and the Cortes Generales is its legislative.
|11/25/2007, 10:05 AM||#12|
Wow, now Italy and Spain are involved...
|12/02/2007, 08:17 AM||#13|
Chapter Three: Confrontation
"A riot broke out today when protesters were silenced at Princess Cristal Lopez Ortega's speech on behalf of her father. The speech had been long awaited by many citizens that were eager to hear from the royal family about the issue of the king's involvement in recent governmental affairs. The riot began when..."
The television screen went black, and the face of the young female reporter disappeared along with the cityscape backdrop behind her. Gaspar threw the remote control onto a sofa hastily and began to pace about the relatively small office.
"This is unbelievable," He said, "Was it really necessary for you to use so much force?" He turned to the man sitting in the brown leather rolling chair behind the desk in the center of the office.
"Had we not repelled them, they would have stormed the castle, and may very well have usurped your king or killed your precious princess." The man behind the desk was the man that had repelled the first wave of icy projectiles aimed at Cristal earlier that morning. He still wore his official black suit and tie, and his faced looked as stern and businessy as always. A name plate on his desk revealed that his name was Ińigo Fernández and that he was the International Federation's Deputy Chief of Security in Spain.
"I never said that I am not grateful to you for protecting the princess," Gaspar responded, "But I hardly think that it was necessary to hospitalize over two hundred people!" As he spoke, the level of his voice rose dramatically, and he slammed his one of his fists on the desk at the end of his statement.
"On that point, I disagree with you, Mr. Garcia," Unlike Gaspar's, Ińigo's volume did not increase very noticeably, "I am fully confident in my men, and I know that they would never harm the citizens of this country unless it was absolutely necessary."
"You've seen the news reports! This will bring more negative publicity to the royal family, and that's the last thing we need right now!"
"Mr. Garcia!" The deputy chief's voice rose for the first time over the course of the conversation, "I think you should leave such matters as determining the standing of the royal family amongst the people up to those whose personal feelings do not influence their decision making!" Gaspar could do nothing but grimace.
"Have you no respect for the value of a human life?" Without allowing time for an answer, the angered bodyguard stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him.
The sky was dark with the cloud of night. The hazel-eyed trigenarian wandered down a small side street hesitantly and cautiously, occasionally glancing over his shoulder to ensure that he was not being followed. Except perhaps for the presence of a single, solitary window, there was nothing suspicious about Niccolo's house; before today, there was no reason for there to be. Despite this, Cecil paused at the doorstep for a good five minutes, constantly considering turning around and going back to the relative safety and comfort of his own home.
"No," He told himself, "I have to get to the bottom of this." He knocked upon the metal door, for he was becoming paranoid and was convinced that someone unfriendly would hear if he rung the doorbell. After several more minutes of waiting, he was forced to try to combat his irrational fear by the absence of an answer to his knocking. Just as his finger drew close to the small button, the door swung open.
"Cecil," Niccolo said in a tone that was both relieved and suspicious, "Come on in." Cecil breathed a relaxed sigh, thankful that he had not had to press the small metallic button next to the door. The two of them entered the small living room, closing the door behind them. Niccolo's house was fairly typical of a bachelor in the lower middle class; it had a kitchen, a single bedroom, a bathroom, and a living room. It also had a basement, which was not always present in single person homes, but was certainly not unique to Niccolo's.
"Have a seat." Niccolo made a gesture for Cecil to sit in a cushioned red chair next to a lamp and near the door. He walked into the adjoining kitchen, grabbed a small glass from underneath the counter top, and poured a caramel-colored drink from an unlabeled flask into the glass. He walked over to a red armchair similar to the one in which Cecil was sitting and set the glass down on a short table nearby. He pulled a cigarette out from a white square package on the table and lit it with a red lighter drawn from his pocket.
"You've taken up smoking again?" Cecil asked with a hint of nervousness in his voice.
"Bah, I never really quit," Niccolo answered, "Just said I did to improve my reputation a bit."
Suddenly, a hooting sound pierced the air. Cecil nearly jumped out of his seat from fear.
"Relax, it's just the clock." Niccolo pointed to a clock on his wall shaped like a round, brown, owl-like Pokemon with large red eyes.
"Where did you get that thing?" Cecil looked at it skeptically, "It looks so... out of place."
"It's from America. One of my friends gave it to me when he came over here on vacation."
"I didn't know you had a friend from America."
"Yeah. New York."
"So..." Cecil said after a long pause, finally initiating the conversation that he had come to have, "You're..."
"For how long now?"
"Since high school, kid." This came as a shock to the brunette, and caused him to stand up from his chair.
"Since high school? So then, you mean... the entire time we were working together... you were with the mafia?"
"I wanted to tell you, kid. I really did," Niccolo said in a truly convincing tone of regret, "But I couldn't until I got permission from the capo."
"And what happens now that you've told me?"
"Well, it's a simple choice, kid. You either join us or you don't."
"And what if I don't? You get some hitman to kill me?"
"Kid, you misunderstand how Cosa Nostra works. We don't kill people just because they refuse to join us, or for any other stupid reason like that. We only kill people if they become a threat, or if we get paid for it."
"Niccolo..." Cecil looked down at the floor, "I can't believe this. All of this time, I trusted you... and you were in the mafia?!"
"Come on, kid. It's not that bad," The man in the red suit tried to reassure his friend, "You're just blowing this out of proportion, that's all."
"How is the mafia even still around?" Cecil asked, confused, "Shouldn't the Monplanian government's crackdown have put an end to it?"
"The Monplanians act like they're all high and mighty," Niccolo replied, "But not even they are above corruption and bribery, it seems. That's the explanation the capo gave us." Cecil was silent for several minutes.
"Just tell me why. Why did you do it?"
"I'll admit that I got into it in high school for all the wrong reasons," Niccolo replied, "But now, I can't afford to leave them. I need their protection and their help. They're what's keeping me alive."
"What do you mean?"
"Kid, look at me. I'm a mess. I drink, I smoke, I eat all kinds of trash... at this point, my organs are basically racing to see which one can crap out on me first. Cosa Nostra... they've got drugs that'll let me live for at least twenty more years. I need them, kid."
"Niccolo... I can't believe this. I just can't." Cecil walked to the door and opened it.
"What are you going to do?"
"I... I don't know. I need some time to think about all of this," The man in the doorway replied, "I'll call you when I make up my mind."
"... Alright," Niccolo decided after a pause for consideration, "I'll respect that. Just, please, for my sake... don't tell anyone."
"I won't." Cecil shut the door behind him.
"Finally, it's the weekend!" Dart exclaimed, stretching his arms into the air and yawning. He reached down to his belt and pulled off Onix's Pokeball, then proceeded to hurl it into the air. The giant stone snake appeared in the dirty field outside of the school as it did every day, letting out a mighty roar and looking to the sky. Many winged Pokemon were taking flight nearby, and something in the subterranean traveler's eyes looked like it envied them.
"You know, one of you needs to get a great big flying Pokemon, like a Salamence, or a Dragonite," Dart said after looking at the sky for himself, "That way I won't always have to take you guys places."
"Hey, we have single-passenger riding Pokemon," Jimmy replied, "If you want, we can just meet you there."
"Nah, it's fine, the Subterra's faster. I'm just saying, it would be cool to be able to fly for a change." The three students boarded the serpentine titan, and it descended into the ground. Today, its destination was not the students' homes or the Virtucade; it was the Milwaukee Amateur Level Arena Complex, where Pokemon tournaments among teenage and college-age students were conducted.
Anyone that wanted to have any shot at ever becoming a professional trainer was expected to begin their career by doing well at annual tournaments organized by the American Pokemon Trainer's Union, and that's exactly what Dart had been doing. Every year, nationwide tournaments took place, starting in late February and ending some time during the summer. Today was the semi-final round of the Wisconsin State Championship, a thee week long tournament whose winner would be granted an invitation to the National Championship Tournament in San Diego, California. Dart had made it to the semi-finals, and Jimmy and Rose, as well as a few dozen other kids from their school, were going to the match to cheer for him.
"Oooonix!" The rocky Pokemon let out a screech as it shot out of one of the many holes in the incredibly large lot outside of the arena complex. It was evident that it was very excited about the match because it had traveled much faster and more vigorously than usual on its way to the arena. Its passengers held tightly onto its stony body as it slithered across the ground, gradually slowing itself down.
"Easy, buddy!" Dart exclaimed as his Pokemon came to a stop, "Save some of that energy for the match!" The three trainers dismounted the vehicular creature, and its owner returned it to its Pokeball.
It was barely dusk, but already bright strobe lights were flashing high in the sky above the stadium. A large crowd of people congregated outside each of the giant silver dome's entrances, waiting for the doors to open, and, in some cases, for last-minute tickets to go on sale. Countless creatures emerged from the Subterra every minute, and flying Pokemon poured in from all directions.
"How are we going to get to the stadium? This traffic's a mess." Jimmy said.
"Don't worry about it," Rose pulled a small red and white sphere off of her belt, "This'll be the perfect time to use the Pokemon I traded for the other day." She hurled the ball into the air, and a tall green bird resembling a totem pole with white wings and red, yellow, and black designs appeared in the air.
"A Xatu? Couldn't we have just used that to teleport here from school?" Dart asked.
"It's pretty low level," Rose answered, "It can only teleport to places that it can see."
"Alright, fair enough. Let's see... we probably want the entrance up on that hill over there." Dart pointed to an area of elevated ground that peaked at roughly the same level as the second floor of the building. There were some people standing outside of the entrance, but not nearly as many as the crowds outside of the lower doorways.
"Alright, Xatu!" Rose exclaimed, "Teleport us to that hill!"
"Xaaa..." The avian Pokemon let out a dull cry, and it and the three students began to glow with a faint blue light. Suddenly, they were no longer in the busy Subterra lot; instead, they were standing just outside of the second floor entrance to the arena. There weren't many people on the hill at all, in fact, it was only a couple of security guards and some trainers that had accidentally arrived at the wrong entrance.
"Good job, Xatu!" Rose commended her Pokemon and returned it to its Pokeball. She and her two male friends approached the open doors, and the guards stepped to the side.
"Good luck today, Mr. Dragoo." One of the guards tipped his head in recognition. The triad entered the door, and the smells of various snack foods filled their nostrils. The small antechamber that they had entered was actually a little higher than the main portion of the second floor, but the glass walls did not keep out the smells of the vendors below cooking their food and preparing for the upcoming rush of spectators. In front of them was an elevator that could take them down to the main floors, and to the left was a winding hallway. Another security guard stood in front of the hallway to ensure that only Dart went through.
"You two will have to take the elevator and find your seats." The guard said.
"I'll meet up with you guys after the match." Dart said as he walked past the guard.
"Good luck!" Jimmy and Rose both encouraged their friend as the latter pushed the elevator's button. The doors opened instantly, and they stepped inside.
Percy Goldman walked down the narrow white-wallpapered hallway, passing by several doors with various radio station labels on them. He was inside the Chicago Central Broadcasting building, where all of the area's radio and television programs were broadcast from. A small laminated card marked by the letters "VIP" hung from his neck by a green lanyard. He approached a door near the end of the hallway and looked at the sign on it to confirm that he was in the right place.
"Ninety-six point three, conference room. This is the place." He turned the small golden knob of the door and entered the room. It certainly lived up to its title, for it was as boring as any conference room: a large gray table, comfortable-looking red rolling chairs, and a white board on one of the walls. While some of the nation's higher-end companies were equipped with the relatively new technology of the hologram display, many of corporations still used white boards and projectors.
Sitting on the end of the table opposite the door was a man around Percy's age. He wore all black clothes, and his hair was just as black as his garments. He faced away from the man that had just entered the room; he was talking to an older, more official looking man in a bluish-gray suit. The man in the suit quickly noticed Percy's badge, and immediately pointed the blonde-haired man out.
"You must be Mr. Goldman." He said. This caught the attention of the person sitting on the table, who turned around to reveal that a portion of his hair that partially covered his right eye was dyed red.
"So you're the contest winner, eh?" He spoke in a noticeable Canadian accent that contradicted the fact that his skin tone hinted more at Asian ancestry.
"Yeah, that's me. Percy's the name." Percy began to walk towards the darkly-clad man, but he suddenly jumped up from his position with his hand resting on his knee and walked quickly towards the awe-struck contest winner while still on top of the table. Percy stopped moving out of shock, allowing the unusual man to jump off of the table in front of him without accidentally causing a collision.
"I'm Wes, the bass player for Retrodark. But, you probably already knew that, eh?" Retrodark was the shortened form of Retrograde Darkness, but it was usually only used by teenage fans.
"Nice to meet you." Percy replied in a tone so casual that even the band member was caught off guard.
"Well then, the other members of the band are in here." The man in the suit opened the door that he stood in front of, and a scent vaguely resembling burnt sugar instantly poured into the conference room.
"Oh, my, what is that?" The older man asked, waving his hand in front of his nose to try and divert the smell.
"Relax, it's just chalk." Wes explained. Chalk was one of the most common street names among celebrities for a recently discovered psychoactive stimulant more commonly known by the general populous as hypercaffeine. The name chalk came from its white powdery appearance, and the name hypercaffeine came from the fact that it was basically a highly concentrated form of pure caffeine. It was legal, but it was so scarce that it was virtually impossible to have enough in one's possession at any given time that it might pose a threat to consume all of it.
"Well, I'll let you meet the band, then," The man had pinched his nose with two fingers and hastily walked towards the door that led to the hallway, "If you need anything else, just let me know."
"Thanks," Wes walked towards the source of the odor, and Percy followed him, "Hey, you don't mind the smell, do you?"
"Not at all," Percy answered, "I've actually tried the stuff before. Not bad."
"Yeah, it totally gets your mind in gear. We don't have to use it to write song lyrics like some other bands do, but it's a totally sweet rush." The room where the smell was coming from looked like a dressing room of sorts; there were several makeup stations with mirrors attached and an assortment of various comfortable-looking seats.
In the center of a purple sofa sat a man with spiky black hair an pitch-black irises. He wore baggy black pants with chains hanging from their top, black shoes, a small microphone shaped necklace, and a black shirt displaying Retrodark's logo: a dim gray circle with the letters "RD" written in a jagged black font in the center. Dark red, green, and blue each outlined one third of the circumference of the circle. To either side of the man was a tan-skinned, bleach-blonde-haired, young woman in skimpy clothing.
Sitting on the arm of a white armchair was a man with curly black hair that extended to his waist. He wore incredibly darkly tinted sunglasses, black cargo pants, and a black t-shirt with a repeating pattern of a skull and crossbones. In each of his hands he held a white drumstick resembling a bone, and was using them to bang on an imaginary drum.
Leaning against the wall in the back corner of the room was the source of the burnt sugar smell. A thin girl with emerald eyes and short hair that was dyed hot pink in the front, neon green in the left side of the back, and bright aqua in right side of the back was smoking a thin white cigarette. Instead of the normal wispy gray smoke, she exhaled a chalky white smoke that was charactaristic of Hypercaffeine. She wore a relatively short pair of black shorts and a sleeveless, black, midriff-exposing t-shirt that depicted the round head of a light brown and yellow-furred, big-eared bear with a pale yellow crescent moon on its forehead. Her ears were decorated with earings shaped like small, spiky, forest green spheres.
"That the contest winner?" The man with the drumsticks asked.
"Yeah, this is him. Name's Percy," Wes answered the long-haired man's question then turned back to face Percy, "And of course, you already know, but this is Howard, Caroline, and Damian." Without actually pointing a finger, he motioned his hand to indicate the drummer, then the female, and lastly the man on the couch.
"Sup." The man on the arm of the armchair nodded his head upwards slightly. The girl in the back corner said nothing, but tilted her head in a similar manner.
"So, you'll be touring with us, huh?" The man that had been addressed as Damian jumped off of the sofa and walked over to the newcomer, only stopping when he was within a foot of the blonde.
"That's right." Percy didn't seem at all intimidated by the glare of the band member.
"You're a bit older than most of our fans."
"My granddad was a teenager when most of the music you sing originally came out. He used to play the CD's all the time when I was young."
"Uh-huh..." Damian seemed somewhat skeptical, "You dress pretty fancy for someone that's into rock n' roll... what do you do for a living?"
"Hey, you can't just ask him that, man." Howard said, though he had an aloof smile on his face that indicated that he didn't really care very much.
"Technically, I'm unemployed."
"I make about three hundred dollars a night playing online poker."
"Damn!" Both Howard and Wes were obviously impressed. Damian, on the other hand, did not seem to be fazed.
"So, you're pretty good at poker, then?" He asked the neatly-dressed man.
"I'd say so." Percy replied in a tone that was anything but humble.
"Why don't we play a game, then? Just for fun. We've got another two days to kill before the bus leaves."
"Sure," Percy agreed, "Why not?"
Somewhere between thirty minutes and an hour had passed, and the sky was now a constantly darkening shade of orange. The masses of people that had been waiting outside had found their way to the rows upon rows of cushioned deep blue seats that surrounded the oval-shaped center of the building. Eight arenas were marked by bright white border lines on the black pavement, but only one near the middle was being used. Thanks to Dart, all of the students from his school that wanted to watch were sitting in front row seats right behind the position where he would be standing for the battle. Walls of some durable, transparent material, reinforced by psychic energy that gave them a slight green tint, lined the edge of the arena so that no spectators would be hurt by stray attacks. Vendors walked up and down the aisles selling refreshments, and the referees in a small room suspended from the ceiling in the center of the stadium were checking their microphones' sound levels. The holes in the asphalt of the arena signified that the platforms on which the competitors would be ascending had sunk below the arena and would soon be returning with their passengers.
Jimmy sucked on the translucent green straw of his large soft drink and looked up to the staircase that was only a few seats to his right. A teenage girl with black hair roughly as long as Rose's, dressed in blue jeans and a red sweatshirt, was walking down the stairs and looked to be heading for the row in which he sat.
"Jimmy! Luna! Hi!" The girl waved her hand in the air and increased the pace at which she was descending down the staircase. Upon hearing the greeting, Rose's eyebrow twitched. Luna was her birth name, but not even her parents called her by that name anymore.
"Oh, hey, Sabrina!" Jimmy responded. When the girl reached the lowest level of seats, she sat down beside Jimmy on the opposite side of where Rose was sitting. Sabrina was in eleventh grade; a freshman at the high school and two years below Jimmy, Rose, and Dart.
"Hello." Rose smiled politely and greeted her schoolmate, trying to conceal the fact that she was annoyed about being addressed as she had been.
"Looks like I got here just in time," The newcomer noticed that the final preparations were being made for the battles, "I had to drop my sister off at a friend's house on the way here." Almost on cue, the speakers began to boom with the announcer's voice.
"Alright, ladies and gentlemen! We're ready to begin! As you all know, this is the second match of the semi-final round of the annual amateur trainer circuit's Wisconsin State Championship Tournament, sponsored by the American Pokemon Trainer's Union! Earlier this week, the first semi-final match was won by Raven Miliard, the femme fatale from Green Bay! She defeated all six of her opponent's Pokemon without losing a single one of her own!" A good portion of the crowd cheered; obviously the female trainer from Green Bay had fans.
"Now, here come today's semifinalists!" A second announcer informed the crowd that the battlers were ascending to the field, "First, in the blue corner, from the state capital of Madison, it's the lean, green, fighting machine, Iggy Derve!" The platform on the far side of the arena rose, and along with it came a thin boy that looked to be a year or two younger than Sabrina. He wore an aviator's cap, a vest, cargo pants, and a set of gloves, all of which were a dull forest green. His hair was invisible under his cap, and the camera zoomed in to show that his eyes' color matched that of his ensemble. Cheers could be heard from the crowd, mostly on the side of the stadium behind where he stood.
"And in the red corner," The first announcer began to speak again, "From Milwaukee, Dartanian "Dart" Dragoo!" Dart emerged from beneath the ground already holding a Pokeball in his right hand, raised above his head. The crowd cheered just as loud, if not louder, than they had for his opponent.
"And he's already decided his first Pokemon! That's confidence, folks!"
"Without further ado, let the match begin!" Gargantuan television screens stationed at each end of the long stadium turned on, and displayed a variety of information. In the center was a clock that began to count down from an hour, and on either side of it was the portrait of one of the competitors. Six blank white circles, representing Pokemon that had not yet been revealed, were located under each picture. As dart threw his Pokeball into the air, his opponent reached for and cast out a Pokeball of his own. Red light shone forth from the spheres and began to solidify into two distinct shapes.
In front of Dart, a four-foot tall, semi-humanoid creature appeared. It had a green mushroom cap, a tan head and neck, a green body, and a long tan tail with small green mushrooms at the end of it. It had short arms and legs with red claws. His opponent's choice was an odd looking floating creature with a light green head resembling a man-eating plant, a round yellow body, leafy green arms, and red and green tentacle-like vines hanging from the bottom of its body.
"Both contestants have started with grass-type Pokemon! From the blue corner, it's Carnivine, and from the red, Breloom! We'll see who will win in this single-typed battle!"
"Breloom, use Mach Punch!" Dart commanded. His stout Pokemon ran forward, and its arm extended, allowing it to punch at its target even though it was still halfway across the arena.
"Carnivine, Vine Whip!" Iggy commanded. Two of the vines that dangled from his Pokemon's body extended and shot forth, wrapping around the extending arm. It then spun around, pulling Breloom off of the ground and slamming it back down. Surprisingly, Dart and his Pokemon both smirked.
"Breloom, Counter!" The fighting-type grabbed onto the vine that it had previously been struggling with and pulled forcefully, bringing the vine's source closer. When Carnivine was within a few yards, Breloom extended its other arm, powerfully punching its opponent in the head.
"This battle's off to an exciting start, folks!" The announcer shouted excitedly, "We're sure to be in for an exciting hour!"
Note: Capo (Shortened form of Caporegime) means boss in Italian; it's what the heads of the small groups of mafia members are called. Not by any means the highest rank; there are several of them in each crime family and there are two ranks above it within a crime family.
Note: When doing research for fanfics, wikipedia is your friend. Who cares if the information might be totally wrong? It knows EVERYTHING.
Note: Timeframe for reference so far: Chapter 1 was Wednesday, Chapter 2 was Wednesday Night - Thursday Evening, Chapter 3 was Thursday Night - Friday. If you're confused about why the 10:00 meeting of niccolo and cecil took place before the tournament battle at dusk, consider time zones.
Note: There wasn't really any way to convey it well without going off on a tangent, but american school systems now go up to 14th grade - Elementary is K-6, Middle school/Junior High is 7-10, and High school is 11-14.
|12/03/2007, 05:13 PM||#14|
Ouch! 14th grade!
|12/03/2007, 05:58 PM||#16|
|12/03/2007, 07:29 PM||#17|
You said that the TCG was the world's second most popular sport...
Who's number 1?
|12/09/2007, 09:41 AM||#18|
charmander rox - Soccer, of course. It's the world's most popular sport now, and will continue to be for a very long time, I'm sure.
Chapter 4: Arlington
"And Ludicolo goes down!" A large, sombrero-wearing, yellow and green Pokemon that appeared to be a mix between a pineapple and a duck collapsed on the ground in front of Iggy. A thin, brown humanoid in a purple tunic and red boxing gloves stood in front of Dart, perpetually in a combative stance.
"Derve has only two Pokemon left now, while Dragoo has three! This match could still go either way!"
"Ludicolo, return!" Iggy held out the defeated Pokemon's Pokeball, and the creature turned into energy and was absorbed back into the sphere, "Let's see how you like this! Yanmega!" From his new Pokeball, an enormous green dragonfly covered in red spots and black spikes appeared. The six-foot long bug towered over the four and a half-foot boxer, trying in vain to intimidate it.
"It's Yanmega! Derve has sent out a flying type Pokemon to try to exploit Hitmonchan's weakness!"
"Yanmega, hit it with an Air Slash!" The large dragonfly flew forward and flapped its wings, generating blades of high-speed winds directed at Hitmonchan.
"You'll have to do better than that! Hitmonchan, Vacuum Wave!" The lavender-clad Pokemon merely punched the air directly in front of itself. Spectators' questions about the attack were quickly answered when the incoming blades of wind fizzled away into nothing before hitting their target.
"Unbelievable! Hitmonchan's punch generated a vacuum that completely negated the speed of the wind! It's hard to find mastery of techniques like that!"
"Now, follow up with a Fire Punch!" Dart did not allow his opponent any time to attack again, instead, Hitmonchan dashed towards its attacker, and its fist began to glow with a fiery blaze. It jumped into the air and punched straight up, delivering a flaming punch to the bug's underside. It was not finished, however; it let loose a barrage of regular punches afterwards to add to the damage. The combination of attacks was too much for Yanmega, and it fell to the ground, defeated.
"He must have scored a critical hit or two in there, for Yanmega to go down already!" The announcer guessed as Iggy returned the defeated Pokemon to its Pokeball, "Now Derve has only one Pokemon left!"
"That's fine! I've saved my strongest Pokemon for last!" Iggy exclaimed confidently, "Let's go, Kecleon!" The trainer's final Pokeball opened to reveal a small, green, chameleon-like Pokemon with yellow designs on its face and a red zigzag stripe on its stomach. Upon noticing its surroundings, it immediately changed the color of its skin to match the black asphalt.
"Let's see you beat what you can't see! Kecleon, use Slash!" Even though Hitmonchan could not see its opponent coming, it closed its eyes, and seemed relatively relaxed. Suddenly, it punched a seemingly random spot in front of it with a quick jab, and the chameleon Pokemon appeared out of thin air. It continued to let loose a barrage of punches, sending the revealed chameleon flying back towards its trainer.
"No matter! Just finish it now! Use Psybeam, Kecleon!" The chameleon disappeared once again, but this time, it had no intention of getting within range of the boxer Pokemon's fists. Hitmonchan held up its arms to guard its face, but it was unprepared when a beam of multicolored energy struck it from behind. Already weakened from its battles with Ludicolo and Yanmega, it fell to the ground, defeated.
"Don't worry, Hitmonchan! You did great!" Dart returned his Pokemon to its Pokeball and threw another Pokeball into the air, "Now let's finish this! I choose you, Mr. Mime!" The new Pokeball contained a slightly plump red and white humanoid that resembled a mime with long, frizzy black hair and black shoes.
"Kecleon, use Shadow Sneak!" On its trainer's command, the chameleon Pokemon disappeared once again.
"Mr. Mime, use Confusion!" Mr. Mime closed its eyes and concentrated, then opened them suddenly, causing a blast of multicolored psychic energy to radiate forth from it. Even though its target was invisible, the range of the attack was broad enough that the chameleon was hit. It appeared a few feet away from Mr. Mime and collapsed, defeated.
"How? How did my Kecleon go down so easily?!"
"There's a disadvantage to Kecleon's color changing, too," Dart explained, "It changes its type to whatever type of move hit it last. I carefully chose the types of punches Hitmonchan threw at it to increase the damage potential."
"And that's the match, folks!" The announcer was ecstatic, "Dart Dragoo is the winner!"
"Woohoo! Go Dart!" Dart's friends' cheers were lost among the roar of the crowd, but they yelled out their congratulations anyways.
"That concludes the semi-finals! I hope you'll all come next week to watch the final match between Raven Miliard and Dart Dragoo!" As the announcers made their closing remarks, the crowds began to file out of the stadiums en masse. The platforms on which the two battlers stood descended back into the ground so that their passengers could depart through the special entrances from which they had come.
About thirty minutes after the conclusion of the match, some of the students from the victor's school met up in the Subterra lot to congratulate their classmate.
"Way to go, Dart!" Various kids congratulated the boy.
"Thanks, guys." Most of the crowd began to disperse, but a few of Dart's better friends remained.
"So, who's up for a trip to the Virtucade, on me?" Dart asked.
"Woohoo!" Jimmy exclaimed. Dart released Onix, who had not participated in the fight, from its Pokeball, and several upperclassmen boarded it.
"Hey, could I come with you guys?" Sabrina asked.
"Sure, hop on!" Jimmy exclaimed, pointing at a vacant spot on the Pokemon's rocky backside. The Pokemon slithered across the ground and entered one of the many holes, disappearing into the subterranean tunnels below.
Gousuke stood near the center of the arena, staring down his opponent. The two wrestlers had been in a deadlock for several minutes, and neither one had been able to take down the other in any of their spontaneous clashes. Hayato sat in farthest back of ten rows of spectator seating. He sat next to a very shady-looking man dressed in a suit and dark sunglasses.
"You know, these single-day tournaments don't officially count towards the rankings," The man spoke for the first time since he had sat down next to Hayato, "But there's members of the Sumo Association here. It's a rare event when an ozeki is promoted who hasn't done well at a few of these. They test endurance, and that's something that sponsors are looking for more and more these days."
"Yes, I agree." Hayato was somewhat shocked that the man had randomly engaged him in conversation, but he politely acknowledged the statement.
"You here cheering for any of the rikishi in particular?"
"My friend, Yamaguchi Gousuke. He's wrestling right now." Hayato pointed to Gousuke, who had begun to grapple his opponent once again.
"Ah, Yamaguchi. He's a strong one. Doesn't seem like the sharpest tool in the shed, though."
"I'm not arguing that," Hayato said with a laugh, "But he's the nicest guy I've ever met, by far. A gentle giant, you could say."
"Yeah, I'm sure he is," The man didn't sound particularly interested, "Listen, do you know if he's got a sponsor?"
"A sponsor? No, he doesn't. He doesn't believe in that sort of thing."
"Doesn't believe in it? He could be making more than double what he is now if he had a good sponsor."
"Look, he doesn't want one. Dozens of people have already approached him about it, and he's refused them all. I don't know who you are or who you represent, but Gousuke doesn't want anything to do with you."
"That's quite a shame," The man pulled a small square of paper out of his pocket, "Here's my card, if Yamaguchi changes his mind. You'll notice that on the back I've written an amount. I'll be at the tournament in Ryogoku next week. Yamaguchi has a good chance at becoming a yokozuna if he wins that... and, well, let's just say that that transition could go a lot more smoothly for him if he had a sponsor."
"Are you threatening him?"
"No, no, not at all, don't misunderstand. I'm just saying that... financially... it could be quite beneficial." The man with the glasses handed Hayato the business card, stood up from his seat, and began to walk down the stairs of the tiered seating stands.
"Ito Hideki, Chief Executive of Marketing... Tokyo Burger? A big food chain like that... I'm surprised they're not already sponsoring someone," Hayato turned the card over, and his eyes widened at the sight of the number that the man had written down. He quickly tucked the card into his pocket and began to watch the match, as if he didn't want anyone else sitting near him that may have overheard his conversation with the marketing executive to ask any questions about the number. Just as he looked to the ring, Gousuke pushed his opponent out of it, winning the match.
"Yamaguchi Gousuke is the winner!" The referee declared. The crowd cheered, but Hayato was unable to pay attention what was going on, as he was still focused on the business card that he had just put away.
It was early in the evening, and the sky was a darkening pale blue. A cool breeze blew through the air as two bicycles moved down the typical suburban neighborhood street, passing by rows of nearly identical white and brown houses.
Bicycles, being more of a recreational mode of transportation thatn automobiles, had survived the transportation reforms that had taken place since Pokemon arrived on Earth. They were mostly used by young children who could not yet become Pokemon trainers, but there was still a percentage of older youth that enjoyed the leisurely solitude that they could provide.
These particular cycles were silvery chrome in color and very simplistic in design, and were being ridden by an eighteen year old boy and a fifteen year old girl. Both of the riders had brown eyes and white skin, but their hair color differed. The girl's was strawberry blonde and extended to her shoulder, and the boy's was short, spiky, and brown with a hint of red that was obviously unnatural. They wore very average teenage clothing: blue jeans, tennis shoes, and shirts with graphics on them. For the girl, this meant a light green t-shirt on which a pink heart was drawn and the word "Princess" was written in it's center. For the boy, it was a tan t-shirt with the dark brown outline of a bearded face wearing a cowboy hat and the text "Guns don't kill people. Chuck Norris kills people."
The two riders continued to pedal, passing by all cross streets and heading for the end of the road that they were on. While the female kept both of her hands on the bicycle's handlebars, the male removed his right hand and swung his arm off to the side. He stretched his arm downwards and outwards as far as it could go, so that his hand was a little farther out and a few inches above his foot. He waved his hand around in a circular motion for several seconds and then pointed at the ground with his pointer and index fingers. The tips of his fingers began to glow with a faint orange light, and the pavement at which he was pointing began to crack. As he rode down the street, the crack grew in length, following his finger.
The pair finally reached the end of the road and dismounted their bicycles. They had arrived at a large mansion with vines crawling up its sides and an ominous air about it. As they walked up the tortuous cobblestone path leading to the house's front door, the boy waved his hand again, and his fingers ceased glowing. They stepped onto the porch, and the girl looked back, discovering the trail that her partner had left.
"What the heck is that?" She asked in a strict voice.
"What? Just having a little fun, that's all." The boy's tone was much more relaxed and carefree.
"We're not here to have fun," The girl replied as she rung the doorbell of the manor, "We're here to do a job."
"There's no reason we can't do both." As the boy finished his sentence, the door of the mansion creaked open, and a short, balding, middle-aged man came into view.
"Can I help you?"
"Yes, I believe you can," The girl replied, "You can help us by surrendering all information you have regarding the Northeastern Texas branch of the National Anti-Trainer Union."
"Wha-" Before the man could finish his question, the girl spun around, and he was flung back into his home as if by an invisible tail. His assailant followed him in, though her partner merely stood at the door, sighing. She approached the man and pulled him up off of the floor by his collar.
"We know that you're the union's record keeper for this branch," She said sternly, "And we've come to take you and any information you have regarding your fellow members."
"Who the heck are you?" The man asked, making no attempt at playing innocent.
"Who the heck do you think we are?" The girl replied sarcastically.
"You've got to be kidding me. They're recruiting them as young as you, now?"
"Enough talk," The girl turned slightly, and the man felt a powerful impact in his side, hit once again by his attacker's invisible tail, "Where are the records?"
"As if I'd ever tell you." The man's fist began to crackle with electricity, and without warning, he punched the girl in the face, catching her off guard and causing her to drop him. He quickly got to his feet and punched her once again, this time with more power than before. The attacker had become the attacked, and the girl was sent skidding across the carpeted floor and back towards the house's door.
"Obstruction of the law... that one's going to cost you." The elder teen sighed, but he was speaking in a serious manner for the first time. He walked past his fallen comrade and approached the man, who tried another electrically charged punch. The boy caught the punch, and the electric energy surrounding the homeowner's hand fizzled out. The younger man delivered a punch to the older's gut with his other hand, sending the man flying back against the wall with more force than any previous attack had.
"It's too bad," Said the girl, who had gotten to her feet and showed absolutely no signs of injury where she had been punched, "We were going to offer you a chance to live." She walked up beside her companion, and the two of them stared at the man that lay crumpled on the floor. The boy's punch had killed the man instantly.
"You search upstairs, I'll search this floor," The girl ordered, "We need to find anything here that pertains the the N.A.T.U."
"Right." The boy agreed, and the two split up to search the house.
Grayson stood in the small kitchen of his apartment, pouring milk from a plastic container into a drinking glass. He twisted the top back onto the large container and returned it to its place in the refrigerator. When he turned back around, Flint was sitting up on the sofa, rubbing his eyes.
"Mornin'." Grayson walked over to the armchair and picked up the small metal bar that controlled the television screen. The screen flickered on, and a professional-looking woman in a neatly pressed suit was facing the camera and talking. Text scrolled across the bottom of the screen, making it even more obvious that what they were watching was a news program.
"Last night, an Arlington man was found dead in his home by a neighbor. The neighbor told us that she had walked over to get a couple of eggs, noticed that the front door was unlocked, and walked in to discover the body. It was later discovered that the home had practically been turned upside down, as if whoever broke in was looking for something. The victim, Randall Gottenski, had been under police suspect as a member of the National Anti-Trainer Union, a radical group of undiscovered Demi-Pokemon, for several months. Local police think that someone else may have suspected this as well and killed Gottenski in an attempt to act as a vigilante. Another theory, supported by an unexplainable crack in the pavement of the road leading up to Gottenski's house, is that a fellow N.A.T.U. member killed him for some personal reason. The body has been sent to forensics for evaluation, but so far, neither a suspect nor a cause of death has been determined. I'm Lucy Dawson. Back to you, Bob."
"Unbelievable." Grayson said.
"What?" Flint awaited an elaboration.
"These people, acting as vigilantes. The government always finds the Demi-Pokemon, why do they think they're helping by killing those they suspect? That kind of paranoia could fuel another Red Scare."
"Well, you heard her. She said it might've been another guy from NATU."
"I doubt it," Grayson replied, "That crack in the pavement doesn't mean anything. It was probably just a regular Pokemon. Heck, it might not have even been related to the murderer at all."
"I guess." The younger brother shrugged his shoulders and walked over to the kitchen, opening the refrigerator door.
"Oh, that reminds me," Grayson stood up and turned the television off, "Kayden's Police Academy entrance exam was yesterday, and he probably got his results back in the mail today. I should call him and find out how it went." He walked over to the small, black, wireless telephone sitting on the kitchen counter and dialed a number on its number pad. It rang several times, and finally, the other end was picked up.
"Hey, Kayden, it's me."
"Oh, hello, Grayson. What's up?"
"I was just calling to see if you got your exam results yet."
"I just opened them, actually."
"And? How'd you do?" There was a pause for several seconds, and Grayson held his breath.
"Top of the class." Grayson let out his breath in a sigh of relief upon hearing his friend's good news.
"That's great!" He exclaimed, "We should celebrate today."
"Oh, that's alright, you don't have to do anything."
"You deserve it! I'll call Rachel, and we'll meet you at Troupe's in fifteen minutes. Come on, I'll pay." Troupe's was a popular chain of family restaurants, the closest of which was no more than ten minutes from any of the three friends' houses.
"Alright," Kayden conceded, "I'll see you there." Grayson pressed the "End Call" button on the phone and set it back down on the counter.
"Hey, I'm going to Troupe's to meet Kayden and Rachel for brunch. You got any plans today?"
"I think I'm gonna meet some friends later and go to the Virtucade or something." The younger brother replied.
"Alright, well, call Kayden's cell phone if you figure anything out." Grayson put on his leather jacket and exited the apartment. Shortly after he left, Flint walked over to the telephone and began to dial a number himself.
"Hello?" A female voice answered his call.
"Hey, Victoria," Flint spoke into the phone, "Did you see the news this morning?"
"Yeah, I did," The female replied in a timid voice, "What do you think about it?"
"I don't know. I'd rather talk about it in person." Flint's tone was playful, making it obvious that the real reason that he wanted to see the girl had nothing to do with the news.
"Yeah, I would too." The girl on the other end replied with a giggle.
"You wanna go out to lunch today?"
"Yeah, that sounds like fun."
"Great. I'll come by your house to pick you up?"
"Sounds good." Flint hung up the phone, returning it to its place on the counter just as his brother had. He took his wallet off of the counter, put it into his pocket, and walked out the door, making sure it was locked behind him.
Gaspar sluggishly entered the castle's grand study, a large room with a magnificent green carpet floor and bookshelves lining its walls. Several comfortable-looking, cushioned red arm chairs sat in front of a fireplace, and Princess Cristal sat in one of them, her nose buried in a black-covered book.
"What are you reading, princess?" He asked as he made his way to a chair several feet away from the princess'.
"Oh, hello, Gaspar," She replied, looking up from her tome and smiling at her bodyguard, "I'm just reading about the history of the International Federation, that's all."
"Why are you doing that?" A genuine look of surprise surfaced on the middle-aged man's face.
"What happened on Thursday got me thinking... perhaps there is some suspicious activity being engaged in by our government."
"Wh-Whatever do you mean?" Gaspar was caught off guard even more so than before.
"Well, it's just a hunch, but... well, I'm doing some research on the Federation's involvement in our political affairs."
"Why? Do you think that the Federation is influencing our government?"
"As I said, it's just a hunch. Please don't get worked up over nothing."
"Well, if you need any help, I'm more than willing to provide it."
"I know, Gaspar. Thank you." Cristal closed the volume in her hands, and her eyes shut along with it. She breathed in and out deeply, taking time to collect her thoughts.
"I think I'll be retiring for the night." She stood up from her chair, returned the book to its position on one of the nearby shelves, and began to head out the door that would lead to her bedroom. Gaspar quickly rose from his own seat, springing to escort the princess.
Several men wearing suits and small headphones sat in rolling chairs, watching rows of dully colored monitors and carefully avoiding accidentally pressing buttons on the keyboards below them. The screens displayed various rooms of the castle, one of which was the study that Gaspar and Cristal had just been in.
"Hey, boss, what do you think about this?" One of the men turned his head and spoke over his shoulder, "You think we need to do anything about it?" He tore off a piece of paper that had shot up from a hole next to the keyboard in front of him and held it up. The man standing behind him walked up beside him, took the paper, and began to read it.
"Well, this is... interesting. No... we shouldn't take any rash actions. I doubt that the two of them could ever pose a threat. For now... let's just keep an eye on them." Ińigo stared at the screens, his solemn face barely reflecting off of them.
Note: Oh yes, folks, that's right. Chuck Norris jokes are still around in the 2080's.
Note: The Red Scare was in the 1940s or 50s... it was when a group of people led by Senator Mccarthy accused a buttload of people of being communist. Look it up on wikipedia or something, and don't ask me how Grayson knows about it. US History classes go far back, I guess.
Note: Well, I had kinda hoped the chapters of this thing would be closer to 4000 words on average, but they're still in the 3000-4000 range. That's partly because I'm deliberately trying to drag stuff out a little bit, since I haven't completely thought out the plot yet and am currently thinking it won't fill up my intended chapter number goal (~25). Perhaps the chapters will get longer as the story progresses.
Note: Reference Timeframe for this chapter: Milwaukee=Friday Night, Dallas=Saturday Morning, Osaka=Saturday Afternoon, Arlington=Saturday Night, Dallas=Sunday Morning, Madrid=Sunday Night
|12/12/2007, 08:08 PM||#19|
Calling the association NATU seems to be an insult to Natu...
|12/15/2007, 05:18 PM||#20|
Just a suggestion, but if you want to make it seem like the Japanese people are talking in japanese, You can make their names be suffixed. Like "Gousuke-san". Though if you don't know them and are too lazy to look them up, I guess you don't have to.
Signature? I'm far too cool to have one of those.
|12/16/2007, 08:33 AM||#21|
Charizardian: No. One of my pet peeves is writers who mix commonplace Japanese words like "Konnichiwa", "Arigatou", "San", and, worst of all, "Desu", into English writing. It shows a total lack of understanding and respect for Japanese culture and language, especially when the words are used incorrectly (as they most often are).
Chapter Five: Organizations
Playing cards and poker chips were strewn across the black wooden table. Damian layed on the sofa, asleep with an alcoholic beverage in his hand and accompanied by his groupies. Several empty cans of similar beverages were scattered on the floor, as were some stray chips that had fallen from the table. Percy had fallen asleep as well, in one of several folding chairs that had been pulled up to the table. The two men had been playing poker all weekend, and had continued to play into the early hours of the morning. The other members of the band had played a few hands as well, but none of them had the endurance nor the will to win of the contest winner or the lead guitarist.
Wes opened the door to the room, quietly closing it behind him as he entered. He carried a black plastic garbage bag in his hand. He took in the scene, and the look on his face showed that he was not at all surprised by what he was seeing. He creeped up to the table and picked up the cans on the floor, trying not to disturb the sleeping people. He carefully removed the final can from Damian's hand, adding it to the collection that had accumulated in the large plastic bag. As he headed back towards the door, a short man in a beige suit walked in and met him halfway. The man had a face that made him appear nervous at all times, an image that was added to by his fidgety mannerisms. He glanced over the bass player's shoulder, noticing the two men at the poker table.
"Oh, hey, Shawn," Wes whispered, "They're still sleeping. What's up?"
"Still sleeping?" The fidgety man asked in a relatively high voice, "How can they still be sleeping? We have to get going!"
"Yes, already! Wake them up, we have to go!"
"Alright, fine, fine, don't freak out." As Shawn left the room, Wes walked over to Percy, shaking him lightly.
"Wh-what?" Percy woke up instantly and began to look around.
"We have to get on the road," Wes explained, "Get all your stuff together." He then walked behind the sofa, and without warning, pushed his fellow band member off of it.
"Ow! What the heck?!" Damian exclaimed, waking up even faster than Percy had.
"Time to go, lazy." Wes was considerably less friendly about the second awakening, and Percy could not tell whether or not he had done what he did as a joke. The two groupies that had been at the foot of the sofa woke up shortly after Damian, startled by the commotion. As Wes left the room, Damian stood up and rubbed the back of his head where he had hit the floor. Percy pulled a silver case out from underneath his chair and began to fill it with the poker chips and cards from the table.
"So, that was a long game last night," Damian said after fully orientating himself and recovering from his rude awakening, "Who won, anyways?"
"I was up by 500," Percy answered as he shut his metallic case, "It was pretty close. I didn't expect you to be so good."
"Same to you," The guitarist replied in a slightly stuck-up tone, "I guess you won because that's all you do for a living."
"Yeah, I guess." The contest winner was caught off guard by the statement, but knew better than to reply with equal rudeness.
"Are you guys coming or not?" Wes had returned to the door, "Shawn's freaking out. We have to go."
"Alright, alright," Damian waved his hand as if swatting a fly, "Tell him we'll be right there." Wes left the room, and the four people remaining in it looked around to ensure that they weren't forgetting anything. Confident that they had everything they needed, Damian and Percy slowly made their way to the door and exited the room, followed by the former's groupies.
Flint walked through the concrete path that bisected his school's open courtyard, dressed in his typical weekday attire: a brown and red shirt with long sleeves, brown pants, and a light tan backpack. Beside him walked another boy of about the same height as he, dressed in similar but mostly blue and white attire. This boy had blonde hair and blue eyes, in contrast to Flint's brown and black. All around them, children of their age and younger were eating lunch at long white picnic tables or on the grassy ground. They were in tenth grade; the highest grade at Covington Junior High.
"So, did you see the news yesterday?" Flint asked his peer.
"What, about the NATU guy? I didn't see it, but everybody's been talking about it nonstop." The other boy replied.
"They have?" Flint asked in an interested tone, "What've they been saying?"
"Well, a lot of people are saying it must've been another member," The boy explained, "Personally, I agree with them. I wouldn't be surprised if that disorganized bunch of criminals started killing each other left and right for no reason whatsoever."
"Yeah, you're pretty anti-NATU, aren't you?"
"What can I say? My mom's a hardcore Christian. And between you and me, she's a full-blown whistle-blower for CAPE, too. Can't say I agree with her on some of CAPE's more radical ideas, but I definitely agree with her that Demi-Pokemon are dangerous."
"CAPE? What's that?" Flint hadn't heard the term before.
"Don't you ever pay attention in history class? It stands for Christians Against Pokemon and Evolution. They're a pretty extreme group of Christians that are completely against Pokemon. They advocate the illegalization of Pokemon training, but of course, that never works, so they tend to focus more on turning in Demi-Pokemon instead. Come to think of it, it could've been CAPE members that broke into that guy's house, but I doubt it. They don't usually kill Demi-Pokemon, they just turn 'em into the government."
"And that's the part of their philosophy that you agree with?"
"To an extent, yeah. I don't go so far as to use the slurs my mom does, but I'd certainly turn one in in a heartbeat if I ever had proof that they were one. That's why I've been trying to figure out if this rumor of a NATU Club here at Covington is real or not."
"A NATU Club?"
"Geez, man, you don't keep up with gossip, either?"
"Not really. I'm not a member of five different clubs like you are, Uriel."
"Well, there's a rumor going around that there's at least a dozen members of NATU at our school, and they've formed a secret club together. They're keeping it really well hidden, though, since nobody has any idea who they are. Sure, there are some guesses that people have, but there isn't really any proof against anybody."
"Or maybe it's just a rumor, and there really isn't a secret club."
"Maybe, but I don't know. The hottest gossip usually turns out to be true." They reached the end of the courtyard, and Flint opened the door that led into one of the school's main hallways.
"Well, I've got to get to class," Uriel said as he walked through the door, "I'll talk to you later."
"Later." The door close behind his friend, and Flint walked back down the path from which he had come. As he passed by a large oak tree, a small black-haired girl in a red shirt and blue jeans jumped out from it. It was the girl that had been at his apartment several nights ago, and the girl that he had met up with for lunch even more recently.
"Hey, Victoria." The boy said with a smile as the girl latched onto his arm.
"Heyy!" She exclaimed, "What's up?"
"Nothin' much, I was just talking to Uriel."
"Ooh, and what did he have to say?"
"I dunno... he said that there's a rumor going around that there's a NATU club here at school."
"Oh, really? A rumor?" Victoria detached herself from her companion, and her tone shifted from playful to serious, "What do you think we should do?"
"It's up to you," Flint shrugged and spoke as if he was trying to revert the mood to its previously unserious tone, "You're the one that likes to gossip."
"Hmm... I'll get right on it!" Victoria ran off of the path and began to weave around tables where various groups of students were sitting.
"I swear, she has so much energy, sometimes I think she's five, not fifteen." Flint said to himself with an affectionate smile.
Hayato sat on the tatami matted floor, staring at the empty blackness of the television screen. The conversation that he had had with the marketing executive had been weighing heavily on his mind, and he had come to Gousuke's training stable to discuss the matter with his friend. The wall behind Hayato parted, and Gousuke walked in through the unusual doorway.
"Hey, Hayato!" Gousuke exclaimed, happy to see his friend.
"Hey, you had a jujitsu match yesterday, right? How'd you do?"
"I lost... but that's alright. That's not what I'm here to talk about."
"Oh yeah, one of the elder's assistants said you wanted to talk to me. What's up?"
"Well... at your tournament on Saturday..."
"I did good, right?" Gousuke interrupted his friend.
"Yeah, you did good," Hayato said with a soft smile, trying to conceal his anguish, "It's just... someone approached me there."
"A marketing executive for Tokyo Burger."
"Don't tell me, he wanted to sponsor me." Gousuke had become accustomed to such offers, and as such, was not surprised.
"Well, you told him I wasn't interested, right?"
"So then what's the problem?"
"Even though I told him that, he gave me his card, and... he wrote a number on the back of it. The amount of money you'd get."
"Hayato, we've talked about this. I don't care how much money they offer. There weren't sponsors in sumo until recently, and I don't approve of the fact that there are now."
"I know, but... it was so much money... maybe you could just..."
"Hayato," Gousuke's voice was stern and authoritative, "I said no. Don't push this. I don't want to get into a fight with you about something this stupid."
"... Yeah," Hayato was struck speechless by his friend's surprisingly insightful statement, "You're right. If he tries to bring it up at the tournament this weekend, I'll ignore him." A confident look grew on the skinnier man's face.
"Right," The larger man nodded his head to reinforce his friend's confidence, "Was that all you wanted to talk about?"
"Yeah, it was," Hayato replied, "You can get back to training now. I'll see you this weekend."
"See you then." Gousuke's voice was already returning to its usual innocent and naďve tone. Hayato couldn't help but smile at the fact that even the most serious of subjects couldn't cause his friend's childlike innocence to fade for very long.
"A gentle giant indeed." Hayato said to himself.
Grayson's armchair had been moved, and was now set up next to his kitchen counter. He sat on it, Rachel sat on the counter itself, and Kayden stood next to them. Flint stood in the center of the living room, playing his virtual reality game as he did in much of his free time.
"So, you just got accepted to the academy, and they're already having you cover a high-profile case that's been all over the news?" Rachel asked in disbelief.
"Yeah," Kayden replied, "They're having all of the new recruits help try to solve the Gottenski case. They want as many people covering it as possible, because if it really is connected to NATU, it could be key in catching dozens of members. So, tomorrow, we're going to be searching the Arlington area and trying to find clues as to what happened."
"Wow." Grayson was awestruck.
"I don't really know anyone else from the academy," Kayden said, "Would you guys like to come with me to check it out?"
"Really?" Rachel asked, even more disbelieving than before.
"Yeah," Kayden replied, "I'm sure the captain wouldn't mind a few extra hands."
"I'd love to go! That sounds fun!" Rachel exclaimed.
"What about you, Grayson?"
"Sure, I'm not busy," He looked over his shoulder, "Hey, Flint, you want to come?"
"To what?" Flint hadn't been paying attention to the conversation, as he was too busy combating virtual monsters.
"We're going out to Arlington to investigate the murder from last weekend."
"Nah, that's okay," Flint replied, still focused on his game, "I'm doing something with some friends anyways."
"Alright, suit yourself."
"Well, I've got to get going," Rachel said, glancing at the clock, "Dad needs some help on the ranch tonight."
"I'll be leaving as well, then." Kayden chimed in.
"Alright, I'll see you guys tomorrow. Where are we going to meet?"
"The light train station at Reflection Tower," Kayden answered, "That's where the rest of the academy trainees are meeting. The train leaves at ten o' clock." Reflection Tower was one of the Re Towers, and was the second in terms of the order in which they had been built.
"Right," Grayson opened the door for his friends, "See you then."
Jimmy, Rose, and Dart sat next to each other at one of several tall black tables in the room. At one end of the table was a sink, and at the other was a line of four electrical plugs. Other than the special tables, the room was a fairly ordinary classroom, although there was a door next to the teacher's desk marked with a sign that read "Supply Closet".
In front of the large white board at the head of the classroom was a relatively young, tan-skinned man. In one of his hands he held a stack of papers.
"Alright, I got your tests graded last night, so I'm going to pass those back now." He said as he walked towards the table nearest to him. As he made his way through the room, he placed papers at each of the tables, which students eagerly grabbed to see how they had done on the test. He eventually reached the table at which the trio of friends was sitting, and set three pieces of paper in front of them.
"Woohoo! Sixty-one percent!" Dart exclaimed.
"You know that's a D minus, right?" Rose looked at the boy as if he was crazy.
"But it's not an E!" He replied. Rose rolled her eyes and turned to her other friend.
"How'd you do, Jimmy?"
"That's not too bad. You did better than Dart, at least."
"Yeah," Jimmy said with a small chuckle, "And let's see... I bet you got... a hundred and five."
"Hundred and six." Rose stuck out her tongue and held the piece of paper up.
"Geez, you're like a genius." Dart said, impressed.
"Alright, class, your homework for tonight is to read chapter six point two," The teacher announced after returning to his desk at the front of the room, "Take notes, there might be a reading quiz tomorrow." As he finished speaking, the bell rang, and students hurriedly jumped out of their seats and bolted for the door. Jimmy and Dart stood by their table, waiting for Rose to put her book back into her brown satchel bag. They then left the room and walked down the crowded hallway that led to the cafeteria.
"Yknow what I don't get?" Jimmy asked Rose.
"How you can never do your homework and still do so well on the tests."
"I dunno. It just comes easy to me, that's all."
"Yeah, I guess so. I wish it came more easily to me..."
"I could tutor you, if you want. That might help."
"Hey, you never offered to tutor me!" Dart chimed in.
"You never asked," Rose replied with a smile, "And even if I did, I don't think it'd make a difference. You're just hopeless."
"Hey!" Jimmy and Rose both laughed at their friend's reaction.
The three of them entered the single-file line in the spacious cafeteria, quickly progressing down a buffet line of various foods. After covering their plastic red trays with food, they walked over to a cash register, where they took turns swiping small plastic cards into a machine. The old, apron-wearing woman at the register pressed a few buttons on the machine's keyboard and dismissed them. They continued on to the school's courtyard, where they sat at the peak of a small, grassy hill. As they sat down to eat, they heard a female voice calling their names.
"Hey! Jimmy! Luna! Dart!" They turned to see the raven-haired freshman girl walking towards them, waving one of her hands in the air while balancing a lunch tray with her other.
"Hey, Sabrina!" Jimmy replied, waving one of his own hands to signal that he had seen her.
"Mind if I join you?" Rather than waiting for an answer, she immediately sat down upon reaching the top of the hill.
"Oh, sure." Rose said. She was still annoyed that the freshman was addressing her by her birth name, but she had no desire to bring the matter to the other girl's attention.
"Hey, yknow, she doesn't like people calling her Luna," Jimmy said, much to Rose's surprise, "Most people call her Rose."
"N-No, it's alright." Rose looked down at her food, trying to conceal the fact that she was blushing slightly. Dart was the only one of the other three students that noticed this, but did not say anything, and merely let out a small chuckle instead.
"Oh, I'm so sorry!" Sabrina apologized, "Rose it is, then." She smiled warmly, then began to eat her food.
"Hey, I almost forgot," She said after a few minutes, "Your final match is tonight, right, Dart?"
"Yeah, it is!" Dart's face lit up; he was always eager to talk about his Pokemon battles.
"You guys are both going to watch him, right?"
"Of course!" Jimmy answered.
"Could I go with you guys? I was planning on going with some friends, but they're all busy tonight."
"Sure! The more people come watch, the better!" Dart exclaimed.
"Yeah, we're meeting at the Subterra lot after school." Jimmy said.
"Cool," Sabrina responded, "I'll see you guys there, then?"
"Sounds good." As Jimmy spoke, the warning bell rung, telling the students that they had five minutes to get to their next classes. The four students stood up and walked to a large plastic trash bin at the bottom of the hill, depositing their leftover food crumbs and placing their trays on top of it.
"I've got to go, my class is on the other side of the school," Sabrina said as she began to walk towards the far side of the courtyard, "See you guys tonight!"
Cecil sat in a brown leather armchair, reading the job advertisements in a newspaper. The room was completely quiet, except for the faint buzz given off by the neon light that lit up the small cylindrical fish tank in the corner. In the fish tank was a white and orange fish Pokemon with a small horn on its head.
Suddenly, the quiet atmosphere was disturbed by a knocking on the door.
"Coming." Cecil set his newspaper down on the arm of the chair and walked over to the door. As he pulled it open, Niccolo came rushing in.
"Close the door!" He exclaimed. Cecil did nothing, as he was somewhat dumbstruck by his friend's abrupt entrance. Seeing that Cecil was not doing what he had asked, Niccolo ran back to the door and slammed it closed.
"Niccolo? What are you..."
"Somebody turned me in, kid. Somebody told the police about me an Cosa Nostra."
"If the police catch me... they've got mind readers. They'll gain access to all of my information about Cosa Nostra. The Don knows this... so he sent hitmen to silence me, so that information doesn't get out."
"Wh... what? Are... are you serious?"
"I'm serious, kid," Niccolo began to pace around the room frantically, "They're after me."
"So why did you come here?" Upon hearing the question, Niccolo stopped dead in his tracks.
"Because... I know it was you." Without warning, Niccolo pulled a small handgun out from his pocket and aimed it at Cecil.
"What?! N-Niccolo, what are you talking about?!"
"You're the only one I told about Cosa Nostra. You're the only one outside of the organization that knew."
"But... I didn't tell anyone! Niccolo, please!" Cecil was shaking from fright.
"Kid, I have to do this. They know it was you, too. They know that you know about them. If they find us here, they're going to kill you anyways. So please... let me do this. I know where to aim so that it'll be quick and painless. It won't hurt at all."
"Niccolo, listen to yourself!" Cecil pleaded, "This isn't like you!"
"I'm sorry, kid." Niccolo held up the gun and prepared to fire.
"Freeze!" The door flew open. Both of the men turned, and their eyes widened out of shock. The bald muscle man that had greeted Cecil when he had first set foot in the "Pizzeria" was standing at the door, his arm extended and ending in a fist. Behind him was a smaller, rat-faced man in a fedora.
"Quite literally, I might add." The rat-faced man stepped in front of the cigar smoker and extended his own arm. A flurry of snow shot from the palm of his hand, and before Niccolo had time to react, he was frozen in a solid block of ice.
"Y-You!" Cecil exclaimed, recognizing the muscle man.
"Looks like we were right," The muscle man said to his friend, "He did come here."
"Even though this is the same kid that he knew ratted him out," His companion added, "What a trusting fool."
"I didn't rat him out!"
"Well, whether you ratted him out or not, that should be the least of your concerns, now," The man in the fedora snickered, "Because you're about to die!"
Note: Timeframe: Chicago=Monday morning, Dallas=Monday, Osaka=Tuesday or Wednesday, Dallas=Thursday, Milwaukee=Friday, Sicily=Friday night. Yeah, it's progressing a bit faster now.
Note: I hinted at it in chapter 1, but I didn't specifically say it; Hayato is a practitioner of Jujitsu. Some people were a little confused and some even thought he was a sumo wrestler. I should've made it more clear in chapter one, but I cleared it up now.
Note: You may have been thrown off a little by "training stable", sumo wrestlers actually live in "training stables" (so to speak) with other sumo wrestlers. And, guess what they do there? They train.
Note: The Don is the crime boss; the head of a crime family.
|12/23/2007, 09:36 AM||#22|
Nobody posted all week? I hope the doublepost merger doesn't merge this.
Chapter Six: Appearances
Cecil and Niccolo stood in the former's house, facing each other. Niccolo had drawn a gun, and was pointing it at Cecil.
"I'm sorry, kid." Niccolo apologized as he prepared to fire.
"Freeze!" Suddenly, the house's main door flew open, felled by a punch from the bald, cigar-smoking man that had greeted Cecil at the "Pizzeria" where Niccolo worked. Next to him was a rat-faced man in a fedora, who walked into the house and held out his arm.
"Quite literally, I might add." A flurry of snow burst forth from the fedora wearing man's hand, instantly freezing Niccolo in a block of ice.
"Y-You!" Cecil exclaimed.
"Looks like we were right," The bald man said to his companion, "He did come here."
"Even though this is the same kid that he knew ratted him out," The rat-faced man walked closer to Cecil, "What a trusting fool."
"I didn't rat him out!"
"Well, whether you ratted him out or not, that should be the least of your concerns, now," The man in the fedora said, "Because you're about to die!" He extended his arm, as if preparing to launch another icy blast. Cecil stepped back, cowering in fear and unable to defend himself.
Suddenly, the rat-faced man fell to his knees. His shirt was on fire.
"What?!" Cecil looked behind the burning man to see Niccolo standing there, unfrozen. His skin was covered in blonde hair from head to toe, and he was standing on all fours. His face and body structure was shifting by the second, and he was quickly taking on a fox-like appearance. His unusually long hair grew longer and formed nine long tails at the his rear.
"Sorry, kid, but Cosa Nostra wasn't the only thing I was hiding from you." His voice became raspy and sharp as his body completed its transformation.
"So... you're one too, eh?" The rat-faced man had shed his burning garments and returned to his feet, "A rogue Demi-Pokemon... and to think, even the Don didn't know about it." He waved his hands around, and balls of ice began to form in his palms, constantly growing larger.
"You don't have to transform to use your powers..." Niccolo realized, "Tch. It doesn't matter... I'm still at an advantage here." His tails flicked around, and small flames flew forward. Some missed their target and singed the carpet and furniture, but others were aimed perfectly. The targeted man held his palm out, and the sphere of ice spread out, becoming a shield with a large surface area. The embers hit the shield and began to melt it, but its wielder was unharmed.
"I may be at a disadvantage against you..." The ice wielder said, "But not against your little friend!" His other arm shot out, and the sphere forming in it faced Cecil.
"Kid, get out of here!" Niccolo's tails whipped rapidly, but this time, flames did not shoot from their tips. Instead, a glowing red circle appeared on the floor beneath the rat-face, and fire shot up from it, surrounding him. He launched the sphere of ice, but it melted upon contact with the fiery ring.
"Wh-where am I supposed to go?!" Cecil asked as he carefully walked around the circle of fire.
"Forgetting about someone?!" The bald man threw a punch at Niccolo, but one of the fox's tails extended and grasped his hand.
"My house, in the basement," Niccolo struggled to tell his friend as he maintained his control over the ring of fire and his grasp on the cigar smoker's hand, "There's a Pokeball on the work bench. Release the Pokemon inside it and tell it to find my friend in America. It's smart... it'll know what happened to me."
"But Niccolo, what about..."
"Go!" The fox shouted in a commanding tone. Cecil hesitated, but after a few moments, ran out the door.
"How nice," Came the fedora wearer's voice from within the fiery circle, "You're going to sacrifice yourself for him. Too bad it's all in vain! As soon as we kill you, we'll go after him!"
"My organs may be failing, but my combat skills aren't," Niccolo replied, "Bring it on!"
Rose and Jimmy stood in the middle of the dotted lot, next to one of the many holes. There were hardly any other people or Pokemon in sight; school had ended over a half an hour ago.
"Where is Dart?" Rose wondered aloud, "At this rate, he's going to be late for his own match!"
"This is just like him," Jimmy said, carefully lowering himself into a sitting position, "But I'm surprised that Sabrina isn't here yet, either."
"Oh yeah, you're right." Rose tried to conceal the fact that she had forgotten completely that the other girl was coming.
"There he is." Jimmy pointed to the nearby school building. Dart ran out from around the corner of the building, a Pokeball already in his hand.
"Sorry I'm late!" He shouted. As he entered the Subterra lot, he threw the Pokeball into the air, but it returned to his hand without opening.
"What's wrong now?" Rose asked worriedly.
"Oh, crap!" Dart exclaimed, "Onix got knocked out in class today! I forgot to heal him!"
"Great! Now how are we going to get to the arena?" Rose's tone had shifted from worried to annoyed.
"Can't we use your Xatu?"
"I told you last week, it can only teleport short distances!"
"Ugh, I told you you should've gotten a big flying Pokemon."
"Guys, fighting isn't going to get us anywhere," Jimmy intervened, "What we need is a ride."
"Sal!" A loud roar came from above. The three students looked up to see a large, long-tailed blue dragon with a white belly and red wings flying above them. It swooped down, landing between two large holes. It lowered its back, as if asking them to get on.
"Really?" Rose was skeptical, "Right when we need a ride, a Salamence comes out of nowhere and offers to give us one? Sounds like a poor excuse for a deus ex machina..."
"Who cares if it's a day of extra macaroni, or whatever you said? It's going to give us a ride!" Dart was significantly more trusting than his companion.
"We're going to the Milwaukee Amateur Level Arena Complex," Jimmy walked up and said to the creature's face, "Do you know where that is?" The beast nodded, then motioned towards its back.
"Well, it said it knows where we're going," He turned and said to his friends, "I say we trust it. It's not like we have a lot of other options right now."
"Yeah, exactly!" Dart agreed.
"Alright, fine," Rose conceded, "But it's not my fault if we wind up in a cave somewhere." After all three trainers had boarded, the Pokemon flapped its wings, taking to the sky.
"Hey, where's Sabrina?" Dart noticed that the fourth person that was supposed to be riding with them was missing.
"We don't know." Jimmy answered.
"Maybe she decided to go with some other friends and forgot to tell us," Rose suggested, "I mean, if she was thirty minutes late, she probably wasn't coming."
"Yeah, I guess." Jimmy said in a concerned voice.
Cecil ran down the paved black street, glancing back over his shoulder every few seconds to ensure that he was not being followed. As he approached his friend's house, he noticed that a flock of black crow Pokemon with feathery crests resembling witch's hats and tails resembling broom ends had gathered on the steps leading up to the door.
"Shoo!" He shouted, waving his arms around in an attempt to scare the birds off. Not a single one moved, and instead, they all turned to face him, gazing at him with their eerie red eyes.
"Argh... go, Rhyhorn!" Frustrated, he threw a Pokeball into the air. The energy emitted from the ball materialized into a small, spiky, rhinoceros-like Pokemon made of rock. Upon being released from its ball, it immediately charged towards the staircase. Even faced with the oncoming threat, the bird Pokemon did not move, and as a result, some of them were sent flying off of the stairs by a powerful blow from the rocky Pokemon's horn. Cecil ran after his Rhyhorn, ignoring the crow Pokemon's wails, taking advantage of the path that had been cleared and reaching the door. He quickly pulled a small silver key from his pocket and unlocked the door. As he entered the building, he returned his Pokemon to its Pokeball, then promptly shut the door behind him so that the crow Pokemon could not follow him inside.
He dashed down the stairs and into the basement, which was painted gray from ceiling to floor and was relatively empty. A few feet away from the stairs was the wooden work bench Niccolo had mentioned, and on top of it was a solitary red and white sphere. Cecil quickly grabbed the sphere and threw it into the air. The Pokemon that appeared was a small, golden and brown, slightly vulpine humanoid that floated in the air in a sitting position. Even though it was floating in the air, its eyes were closed, and it was making snoring sounds that indicated that it was asleep. No sooner had he released the Pokemon than he heard the door upstairs being broken down.
"He told the kid to come in here! Find him!" Cecil could recognize the rat-faced man's voice.
"Oh no... does that mean they..." Cecil's worrying for his friend was cut short when he saw the bald man at the top of the stairs. The basement's ceiling was designed so that he could see up the stairs while people at the top of the stairs could not see down, but he knew that the man would be at the foot of the staircase in a matter of seconds.
"We have to get out of here!" Cecil turned to the floating psychic Pokemon, "Niccolo told me to tell you to take me to his friend in America. He said you'd know..." Before he could finish his sentence, he and the small Pokemon disappeared from the basement in a flash of bright blue light. The bald man reached the bottom of the stairs to find the basement empty.
"He's not down here!" He yelled up the stairs to his companion.
"Damn... he must've escaped. Call the underboss. We're going to New York."
The dragon Pokemon had successfully and swiftly delivered the three trainers to their destination, leaving plenty of time for Dart to go where he needed to go and for Rose and Jimmy to be seated. They sat in the same front row seats that they had last week, surrounded by their fellow schoolmates. Dart stood on the field below, facing away from them. Across the field from him was a dark-skinned, black-haired girl clothed in a plain blue sweatshirt and gray sweatpants.
"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls!" The announcer's voice boomed, "It's time for the final match of the Wisconsin Amateur Level State Championship tournament! Here are our finalists, Raven Miliard and Dartanian "Dart" Dragoo!" The crowd cheered.
"Sabrina still isn't here," Jimmy noticed, tuning out the announcer's voice, "I'm worried."
"I'm sure she's fine." Rose said reassuringly.
"Let the match begin!" The announcer exclaimed.
"Go, Crobat!" Dart's first Pokeball opened to reveal a purple bat-like Pokemon with two sets of thin wings.
"Come on, Cloyster!" The female trainer's first Pokemon resembled a bivalve with a spiky purple shell. Its shell opened briefly to reveal a darkly colored face, but quickly closed, hiding its contents from view once more.
"The first Pokemon are out! It's Crobat from the red corner and Cloyster from the blue! This is going to be an exciting match!"
"There's one of Sabrina's friends, I'm going to go ask her if she knows where Sabrina is." Jimmy stood up from his seat and walked up a few stairs.
"Hm? Oh, hi there, Jimmy." A blonde girl sitting at the end of the row said.
"Hey, have you seen Sabrina?"
"I thought she was coming with you?"
"I did too, but she didn't meet up with us after school. I'm worried."
"Hey! Jimmy!" Jimmy looked up. Walking down the stairs was the very girl he had been talking about.
"There you are!" Jimmy exclaimed as she drew closer, "You didn't show up after school, and your friends said they didn't know where you were."
"Oh, man, I forgot to tell you," Sabrina explained, "I had some errands to run before I came here. I'm sorry."
"Couldn't you have at least called? I was worried that something might've happened."
"Y-You were?" Sabrina became flustered, but quickly regained her composure, "I-I'm sorry to have worried you."
"Well, at least you're okay. Come on, we saved a seat for you."
"Thanks." Sabrina followed the older boy down the stairs, taking her seat and greeting Rose. They watched the match, cheering for their friend along with everyone else around them.
Manhattan, New York
Trees surrounded a small rectangular clearing on three sides, and a shallow babbling creek ran along its fourth. Bird and bug Pokemon flew through the trees, and all was quiet, save for their occasional buzzes and chirps. Suddenly, in an instant, the hazel-eyed Italian man and the tiny sleeping Pokemon appeared in the center of the clearing, a few feet above the ground. While the Pokemon merely continued to float in the air, the human succumbed to gravity, and fell face first onto the ground.
"Where am I?" He asked as he got to his knees.
"You're in Central Park." He looked to the nearby river and saw a bearded middle-aged man in ripped clothing propped up against a post at the near end of an ornate bridge that crossed the brook.
"Central Park... New York?"
"No, Central Park in Mexico," The dirty man rolled his eyes, "Yes, New York."
"So, I am in the right place," Cecil stood up, "Wait a minute... you speak Italian?" For the first time, he realized that he had been conversing with the man in a language that was not native to their location.
"Some," The man replied, "But it would be a lot easier if you spoke English."
"I do," Cecil replied in English, "Who are you, anyways?"
"A bum." The poorly dressed man shifted his own speech from Italian to English.
"You know, a hobo," Cecil still looked at him in confusion, "A homeless guy. I live here, in the park. Does that make sense?"
"Oh!" Cecil finally understood, "A homeless man? Really?"
"Can't you tell by my clothes?"
"I didn't want to assume..."
"Oh, yes, of course. Appearances can be deceiving."
"Um..." Cecil paused, "Aren't homeless people usually... drunkards? And unfriendly?"
"Oh, so now you're going to start making assumptions." The homeless man was starting to show that he obviously had an unusually expansive vocabulary, "That's a common misconception. People tend to assume that the only reason anyone ever becomes a hobo is because they lose their house, and can't get a job, and hate the world, and all that. Completely untrue." Using his hands to help push himself up, he stood.
"Then, why are you here?"
"Well, now, no offense to you, but I make it a general policy not to divulge my life story to people that appear out of nowhere, asking me where they are."
"Oh, I'm sorry." Cecil apologized.
"You don't need to be," The man responded, "But what I'm more interested in is why you're here. It's not every day that people teleport into this clearing and start speaking Italian at me."
"No offense to you, but I don't think it's safe for me to be sharing my life story with strangers, either," Cecil said, "And I'm not really sure why I'm here, specifically. I was told that this Abra would take me to New York to find someone... I don't suppose it's you, is it?"
"Probably not, I can't imagine why anyone would want to find me," The hobo answered, "Who are you looking for?"
"A friend of my friend Niccolo... I don't really know anything more about the person."
"Hmm... well, that's going to be hard to find, then. While Niccolo is quite an uncommon name, statistics would say that there's probably a fair few people here in New York that know someone that goes by it."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, New York's one of the most populous cities in the world. Finding this friend of yours with that little information is going to be like finding a needle in a haystack. But, I suppose that with enough dedication, we can do it."
"You sound as if you're going to help me." Cecil was surprised.
"Sure, why not? I'm bored, and this sounds like fun." The homeless man shrugged.
"I couldn't possibly expect you to -"
"Don't worry about it! Like I said, this'll be fun. By the way, the name's Murray."
"Well then, Cecil, the first place for us to start should be the information booth, right here in Central Park," Murphy began to cross the bridge that he had previously been using for support, "Come on, follow me."
"O-okay." Cecil stared at the man in confused amusement; he was certainly odd, but he seemed trustworthy. Cecil shrugged and shook his head, then hurried to catch up with his newfound companion.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Hundreds of people, mostly teenagers, stood on the floor of the domed stadium, and thousands more sat in the tiered seats surrounding the oval-shaped floor. At one end of the stadium, a stage was set up, flanked on either side by large speakers. Television screens suspended from the ceiling displayed a zoomed-in view of the band on the stage. Damian stood at the front of the stage, playing a guitar and singing into a microphone clipped to his shirt. Wes and Caroline stood behind him, the former playing a bass guitar and the latter contributing occasional vocals. At the back of the stage was Howard, who was banging on several drums with a pair of pitch-black drumsticks. The only lighting in the dome was provided by a row of powerful spotlights at the top of the stage and several colorful strobe lights positioned throughout the stadium.
Behind the curtain at the back of the stage, a circular white table had been set up. Percy, a large-muscled man who appeared to be a bouncer, and a thin bespectacled man sat around the table. Each of them had a stack of colorful chips in front of them, and several cards were laid out on the table.
"I'll call." Percy removed two blue chips from his stack and put them in the center of the table.
"I'll raise you a hundred." The bouncer sitting to his left put two green and two blue chips into the center.
"Hmm..." The thin man rubbed his chin, "I'll..."
"What the heck is going on here?" Shawn walked up to the table and glared at Percy.
"Just playing some poker to pass the time." Percy replied.
"With the head bouncer and the technical supervisor?"
"They're the only ones that wanted to play." Percy shrugged.
"Get back to your positions!" The fidgety man exclaimed, waving his arms around in the air. The two men that had been sitting at the table with Percy quickly got up and walked away from the table.
"Hey, what was that for?"
"Are you kidding me? That's totally inappropriate behavior! You can't just take these men away from their jobs to play a hand of poker with you because you're bored!"
"As the manager for this band, I will not stand for this! If I catch you doing something like this one more time, you can bet your sorry butt that you won't be getting back on that tour bus."
"Alright, alright, I won't gamble with the stage crew."
"Gamble?! You shouldn't be gambling at all! If the police caught you, we'd all be screwed! Who knows what would happen to Retrograde Darkness' image? The media would tear us apart!"
"Okay, okay, whatever you say. No more gambling."
"There had better not be." The band's manager walked away from the table, heading in the direction that the technical supervisor had gone.
In the center of the ring, a slightly humanoid blue stag beetle stood on two legs, swiping at the air with its two arms. Above it, an equally humanoid ladybug with four arms flew in circles, taunting its groundbound opponent. On the television screens, next to the video feed of the battle itself, small circles indicated that either trainer was down to their final Pokemon.
"Ledian, hit it with Swift!" The dark-skinned female commanded. The ladybug flew higher into the air and flapped its wings, generating star-shaped rays of light that struck its opponent.
"Heracross, Aerial Ace!" Dart ordered. The stag beetle jumped into the air and slashed with its horn, sending forth a wave of wind that slashed at Ledian.
"This is going to be a close match!" The speakers boomed with the announcer's voice, "The next attack could decide it!"
"Ledian, Comet Punch!" Ledian dove down, thrusting its four fists rapidly.
"Heracross, Horn Attack!" Heracross met its foe's attack head-on, ramming its horn into the smaller bug Pokemon. The two attacks collided with great force and sent both Pokemon reeling. Dizzied by the clash, Ledian fell to the ground, but Heracross regained its balance after several seconds.
"Ledian goes down!" The announcer shouted enthusiastically, "Dartanian Dragoo is the winner of this year's State Championship!" The crowd roared with excitement.
"Woohoo! Go Dart!" Rose cheered.
"Yeah! Way to go!" Jimmy shouted.
"Congratulations Mr. Dragoo! The invitation and travel award to the National Championships in California, as well as the five thousand dollar cash reward, is yours! In addition, courtesy of our sponsors, we've got backstage passes for you and your friends to see Retrograde Darkness, live in concert, next week!"
"Sweet!" Jimmy was excited to hear about the tickets, as he knew that he would be one of the friends to go with Dart to the concert.
"Let's here it for him again, folks! Your state champion, Dartanian "Dart" Dragoo!" The crowd went wild once more. Dart waved his headband-adorned arm in the air, cheering along with the crowd.
"Wow... I can't believe we're actually walking through the scene of a murder." Rachel said in amazement as she and Grayson followed Kayden into the house. Excessive amounts of bright yellow caution tape marked the area where the body had been found, but the rest of the house was being freely explored by a team of police cadets.
"Is the chief here?" Kayden asked a young man with a police badge that stood just inside the doorway.
"Nope," The young man replied, "He said he was going to be, but so far, it's just us. We don't really know what to do without him, though... hey, you were at the top of the class, you know anything about investigating crime scenes?"
"No more than you do," Kayden answered, "Have we found any links to the National Anti-Trainer Union?"
"I dunno, you should go ask the guys upstairs. I just got here."
"Thanks." Kayden nodded his head and passed the man. Grayson and Rachel followed him past the taped-off area, up a dark staircase, and into the upper floor of the house. The upper floor was more of an attic, for it was only one large room with no wallpaper or insulation on the walls, but a bed and dresser had been set up in it nonetheless. Two more police cadets were in the room, rumagging through various cardboard boxes on the floor.
"Hey, Kayden." A lean man with shaggy blonde hair greeted the Asian cadet.
"Who are these guys?" The other trainee, a slightly overweight man with short black hair, asked.
"My friends, Grayson and Rachel. Guys, I'd like you to meet Arthur Colby and Bob Granger."
"Nice to meet you." Rachel shook the lean man's hand.
"The pleasure's all mine." He replied. Grayson and the overweight man merely nodded their heads to acknowledge the people they were being introduced to.
"So, did you guys find anything that links Gottenski to the National Anti-Trainer Union?" Kayden asked.
"Nothing," Arthur, the man with shaggy blonde hair, replied, "If there was anything, the murderers cleaned him out."
"Hey... what's this?" Grayson had been pacing around the room, picking things up and setting them back down. The other four people walked over to where he was. A small metal circle resembling the handle of a door was attached to one of the floorboards.
"I found it under one of the empty boxes." Grayson explained.
"Let's see what it does." Kayden reached down and pulled on the circular handle. A square section of the floor lifted up like a trap door.
"Well, can't say I was expecting that." Arthur said in a surprised tone. A ladder led down from the door into pitch-black darkness.
"Anyone want to volunteer to go down there?" He asked. After a minute of silence, Bob spoke up.
"Fine, if all of you are too chicken to do it, I will." He lumbered over to the hole in the floor and descended down the ladder.
"Good luck." Arthur said. Bob disappeared into the darkness, and the other four could do nothing but wait.
"Oh my..." His voice came from the darkness, "Guys, you need to come see this."
Note: Deus ex machina, literally "God from a Machine", is an old term derived from Latin. It refers to something or someone totally unexpected coming to save the characters from a tough situation.
Note: As you may have guessed, the underboss is second in command in a crime family.
Note: Reference timeframe: Sicily, Milwaukee, New York, and Charlotte - Friday night, Arlington - Saturday
|12/23/2007, 09:11 PM||#23|
Good chapter. Love the Numb3rs reference in the last section :D
|12/29/2007, 09:19 AM||#24|
So, now Dart and Percy will probably end up in the same place...
Any chance we can get more info on Birmingham, Alabama?
|12/30/2007, 09:55 AM||#25|
Chapter Seven: Government
"Oh my..." Bob's voice came from the darkness, "Guys, you need to come see this."
One after the other, Arthur, Kayden, Grayson, and Rachel quickly climbed down the ladder and into the dark depths below. The ladder seemed to be multiple stories long, as if the room beneath it was below the surface of the ground. At the base of the ladder was a darkroom, barely illuminated by the glow of a large cylindrical black light hanging from the ceiling. A table beneath the blacklight was covered in tubs full of chemicals, and developed photographs hung from the ceiling on a string.
"Look at these," Bob said, pointing to the photographs, "They're from N.A.T.U. rallies." Some of the photographs showed crowds of people, while others were zoomed in to the stages where the rally leaders stood.
"It's not just photographs," Kayden walked over to several file cabinets on the wall and opened one that was unlocked, "It's records, too."
"This is unreal..." Rachel marveled at the scene.
"Excuse me for a moment," Arthur said abruptly, "I need to make a phone call." He stepped back onto the ladder and ascended back into the attic.
"Who's he calling?" Grayson asked.
"Probably the chief." Bob guessed. Suddenly, a buzzing noise began to emit from Kayden's pocket. He pulled out a small silver cellular phone.
"It's for you." After reading the named that had appeared on the screen of the phone, he handed the device to Grayson, who pressed a green button marked "Talk".
"Hey, Grayson." Flint's voice came through the phone.
"Oh, hey, Flint. What's up?"
"Not much, just chillin'. What about you? You find anything?"
"Actually, yeah. We discovered a secret room full of records and photographs in the house's basement."
"Yeah, I'm sure you did." Flint said in a sarcastic tone.
"I'm serious. Here, I'll send you a picture." Without ending the call, Grayson extended his arm and pressed a button near the center of the phone's keypad. A flash went off, and Grayson returned the phone to his ear. The line was silent. "You get it?"
"... Holy crap." Flint said after moments of speechlessness.
"I told you."
"That's insane, dude. Kayden must be psyched, having found something like that on his first day of real police work."
"Yeah, I'm sure he is."
"Oh, hey, I almost forgot the reason why I called you. I'm gonna go hang out with some friends, is that okay?"
"Yeah, that's fine."
"Alright, see you later tonight."
"Bye." Grayson pressed the red "End Call" button and handed the phone back to Kayden.
"This is incredible..." Kayden was looking through the file folders in the cabinets against the wall, "There's records here for what must be every meeting they've had in the past ten years, if not longer. Time tables, guest speakers... some of them even have lists of attendees!"
"Hey, what'd I miss?" Arthur came back down the ladder.
"Were you calling the chief?" Bob asked.
"Hm? Oh, no, I was just calling one of the other cadets."
"Oh, uh," He hesitated, "Reeves."
"Ah, yeah, she said she couldn't come out today 'cause of her kid." Bob recalled.
"Well, if Arthur didn't already call the chief, let's do that now," Kayden suggested, "He'll definitely want to hear about this."
Los Lunas, New Mexico
A bright red pickup truck was parked in front of an old, rusty, abandoned gas station. Some of the gas pumps were still standing, but most of them had either been removed or broken down by physical impact. When all of Earth's gasoline had run out, the United States of America was in an economic crisis, and there was not enough money or need to demolish all of the now useless gas stations.
On the hood of the truck, a beautiful woman that looked like she was in her twenties sat with her legs crossed. She had long, wavy blonde hair, green eyes, and well-tanned skin. She wore a light green tank top, a matching miniskirt, a pair of stylish sunglasses with pink lenses, and a pair of sandals as bright red as the car. In her hand she held a transparent plastic cup with a dome lid that contained a bright green slushy substance. She occasionally took a sip from the drink.
"Where is she?" The woman said out loud even though no one else was nearby, "This heat is killing my hair." She looked around, eventually fixing her gaze on the horizon directly in front of her. There was nothing but dry, arid desert as far as she could see.
Suddenly, a cold wind blew through the gas station, nearly blowing the woman off of her perch. She turned to her right to seek the source of the wind. Standing in the center of the street adjacent to the abandoned station was another woman, dressed in a light blue snow jacket, blue snow pants and mittens, and black snow boots. She removed the jacket's hood from her head to reveal her short, wispy gray hair, blue eyes, and fairly wrinkly face.
"Hey, you!" The blonde jumped off of the hood of the truck, "What are you doing wearing those heavy clothes here in the middle of the desert? It's over a hundred and ten degrees here!"
"For me, the weather is always cold." The older woman, who upon closer inspection looked like she was at least 70, replied.
"Oh, yeah? So, you're who I blame for nearly freezing me to death, then?"
"You were just complaining about the heat."
"Yeah, well I didn't mean I wanted to be turned into an ice cube!" The two women approached each other at the edge of the gas station's property.
"If you're all the way out here, in the middle of nowhere..." The younger woman said, "Are you my new partner?"
"Unfortunately, it appears that way."
"Hey! What do you mean, unfortunately?"
"Never mind," The elder woman shook her head, "We don't have time for idle chatter. Our assignment is crossing the border into Texas as we speak."
"Are you serious? Let's get going, then!" The senior citizen merely nodded her head in agreement.
"Oh, by the way, I'm Beverly." The young woman introduced herself.
"Gloria." After the introduction, the blonde woman walked over to the pickup truck, followed by the gray-haired woman.
"You can get in the front if you want to," Beverly said, "I'm riding in the back." She walked right past the car's doors, the thought of opening them for her senior not even crossing her mind. Gloria opened the truck's door herself and sat in the driver's seat. Beverly hopped into the back of the truck, where a red sphere with a spike sticking out of it, a bump opposite the spike, and a face floated in the air. It was surrounded by a bluish white glow that extended into two lightning bolt shapes that looked like they acted as the Pokemon's appendages.
"Alright, Rotom, hit the gas!" She exclaimed. The small Pokemon seemingly faded away into the bed of the truck, and several seconds later, the vehicle's headlights turned on. The truck pulled out of the gas station's parking lot and onto the road, zooming off into the distance.
A tall African American man that looked like he was in his early forties stood at the top of a rackety-looking staircase on the side of a steel building. He was dressed in black pants and a partially unbuttoned suit that revealed a light blue collared shirt and a black and blue tie beneath it. He was completely bald, and a pair of horn-rimmed glasses magnified the pitch blackness of his irises. He looked down to the ground below, where he saw a white-haired horse with a horn on its head. Fire streamed out from its lower back, its ankles, and the back of its head, giving off the image of a mane and tail. It rose its formerly bowed head and stiffened its formerly bent knees. It quickly began to dash down the narrow alleyway between the building where the dark-skinned man stood and a similar building.
"He had to be a Rapidash." The man in the horn-rimmed glasses shook his head in disappointment, and, without warning, leaped over the fire escape's guard rail. He landed perfectly on the ground below, creating a loud booming sound and leaving a shallow crater in the dirt. He immediately began to chase after the escaping horse, but it was quickly pulling away from him.
"The target is escaping. Block the southern exit to the alley between 29th and 30th avenues." The man lifted his arm and spoke into the end of his sleeve as he continued to run through the alley. A busy street at the end of the narrow passage came into his view, and the equine Pokemon was within ten yards of it. Suddenly, a large, round, blue and white feline with short, stubby legs, large purple ears, a springy tail, and crooked whiskers came barreling from around the corner. The two Pokemon collided near the end of the alleyway, and the fiery horse was knocked back by the cat's immense girth. The dark-skinned man had arrived at the scene of the collision to see that the equine creature had been knocked unconscious.
"Good work." The man said to the feline, who nodded its head and closed its eyes in response. Its hair, tail, ears, and the majority of its body mass began to fade away as its legs grew longer and the front pair turned into a set of arms. Pale skin emerged as its figure became that of a human male in his late thirties. He had short brown hair and brown eyes, and a pair of round glasses adorned his face. He wore a futuristic gray cloth robe with velvety light blue edges.
"This kid was a fast runner. Let's take him back and see what they want to do with him." The former cat merely nodded his head once again. The man in the horn-rimmed glasses closed his eyes, and he, too, began to transform. He grew both in height and in heft, and his skin gave way to black steel-like scales. A thick tail shot out of his back, and he began to resemble a humanoid lizard that stood on its hind legs. Silver plating covered his knees, elbows, back, and pointy-jawed head, and two horns protruded from his forehead. He lifted the fallen horse Pokemon with his powerful arms and began to walk back in the direction he had come from. The other man walked alongside him, staying in his human form.
Fort Worth, Texas
Several thousand people had gathered in a large clearing surrounded by trees on three sides. On the fourth side was a relatively small mountain that dwarfed in comparison to the other mountains nearby. At the base of the mountain, speakers had been set up, and Mikayla, Lucas, and several other officials of the National Anti-Trainer Union stood there. A dome of faint green energy, created by psychic Pokemon stationed around the edges of the field, covered the clearing like a blanket.
"Some of you are probably wondering why we've taken the extra security precautions today," Mikayla spoke into a microphone, "As many of you know, brother Randall Gottenski, our chief records keeper for northeastern Texas, was murdered in his home last weekend." The crowd booed.
"But... he was the records keeper! He knew all of our names!" A man in one of the front rows of people yelled out in a fearful tone, "What if his killers... what if they found his lists?!"
"That is a good point," Mikayla responded, "For those of you in the back that couldn't hear, our brother suggested that brother Gottenski's murderers may have found is records," The level of murmurs from the crowd rose, "I assure you that you have nothing to worry about. One of our brothers checked on the house this past wednesday and informed us without a doubt that brother Gottenski's records room was not discovered." So many people in the crowd sighed in relief that the collective sigh was audible to all.
"Mikayla," Lucas tapped his wife on the shoulder, "One of the branch presidents told me that the local police were going to investigate the house today. What if they found the room?"
"Ah, yes, the local police," Mikayla relayed Lucas' words into the microphone, "They investigated brother Gottenski's house today. I understand that one of our brothers or sisters has a contact in the police force that was investigating the house, am I correct?"
"You are!" Came a shout from the crowd. Out of the crowd stepped two teenagers, one male and one female. The male wore a light green t-shirt, striped light and dark green pants, a pair of semitransparent red goggles, and a dark green wig over his brown hair. The female wore a yellow dress with green spots, tied around her waist by a large green ribbon that resembled two leaves. She, too, wore a green wig to cover her naturally black hair, but to her wig she had tied a thick brown rope that ended with a yellow tassel near her waistline. The two teenagers walked up to where Mikayla stood.
"What are your names, good brother and sister?" She handed the microphone to the female.
"Victoria James." The female stated her name, then passed the microphone to the male.
"Flint Quinn." The male returned the sound amplifier to its owner.
"And what news do you have to report?" She began to hand the device to Victoria, but the young girl indicated with an arm motion that Flint would be the one to speak.
"Brothers and sisters," Flint faced the crowd, "I regret to inform you that the police force discovered Randall Gottenski's secret room." The crowd gasped in surprise and fear.
"T-They did?" Even Mikayla was caught off guard. Flint nodded his head.
"I have photographic confirmation," He informed his elder, "I'm sorry."
"What will we do now?!" Many similar cries came from the crowd, "My name was on one of his lists! Are they going to find us?!"
"Brothers and sisters, remain calm!" Mikayla spoke once more in her charismatic and leaderlike voice, "This situation can be remedied!" She turned to Flint. "Brother Quinn, if you will tell us the names of the police officers that investigated the house, we can take care of this swiftly and without problems."
"Tell you their names?" Flint was hesitant, "I... I can't do that."
"Brother Quinn, this is vital to the safety and wellbeing of our family. The quicker we do this, the easier it will be for us to come out of this unscathed."
"With all due respect, President King, some of them are my friends. I can't just let you..."
"Flint!" Victoria worriedly grabbed her friend's shoulder.
"Brother Quinn, do you not understand the magnitude of this dillema? If the information contained in those records is leaked out, it could mean death for all of the people standing in front of you. Are you really willing to have their deaths be on your hands?"
"President King, I..." Flint was interrupted by a sharp tug on his shoulder. Victoria stared at him with wide, concerned eyes.
"Flint, please..." She begged, "... For me?"
"Fine," Flint turned back to face Mikayla, "I can give you the names of everyone on the police team except my friends. Please allow me to handle them myself." Mikayla glared at the boy intensely, but the expression on his face remained stoic.
"Very well," Mikayla conceded, "Just ensure that it is taken care of in a timely fashion."
"Thank you, President King," Flint reached into a pocket in his pants and pulled out a piece of paper, "I thought that this might happen, so I already prepared the list of the other officer's names." He handed the list to Mikayla, who glanced at it briefly and handed it off to a man in sunglasses.
"We'll take care of it." The man said with a slight nod.
"I have to finish this rally," Mikayla said, "You two should go. There can't be any risk of the information contained in those files being leaked to the public."
"Right." Flint turned and walked until he was several yards away from any other people. Suddenly, a pair of diamond-shaped green wings with red outlines sprouted from his back, and his body grew larger. His clothes seemingly melted into his skin, and although its color did not change much from that of the clothes, its texture became scaly. As his form shifted from humanoid to draconic, a large striped light and dark green tail shot out of his back. Once the transformation from man to dragon was complete, Victoria climbed onto his back, and he flapped his wings, ascending into the sky. He flew through the faint energy barrier and quickly disappeared into the distance, flying in the direction of Dallas.
"And now for our main story today: taxes have gone up... again!" A charismatic male news anchor on the television said, "The prime minister has just announced that the general sales tax will be rising from eight percent to nine. This change will be effective starting at the beginning of the month, so if you've been thinking about buying a new television set, buy it now, before the new tax rate takes effect!"
"You know, Carlos, the prime minister may have announced the tax hike," A female anchor sitting next to him at the news desk added, "But I think we all know who's doing it is. It's obvious that King Lopez is behind this, just as he's been behind all of the other recent changes."
"I couldn't agree with you more, Soledad." The male anchor replied. As he finished his sentence, the television screen went black.
"This is unbelievable," Gaspar stood in a richly decorated office, pacing in front of a mahogany desk, "Do you hear what they're saying about you, your highness?"
"I heard it, Gaspar." A fat man that appeared to be nearing age sixty replied. He wore a gray suit, and the only hair on his head was a thin gray strip above either of his ears. Despite his unseemly appearance, he had a sort of regal feel about him.
"It's not true, is it?"
"Of course not. They're just making up rumors. The press always does."
"These aren't just rumors!" Gaspar exclaimed, "You remember what happened, don't you? These 'rumors' caused a riot, right out in front of this palace! Hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent civilians were killed!"
"That was not my doing."
"It may as well have been! None of this would have happened if the people weren't blaming all of the government's actions on you!" Gaspar was losing his temper.
"And what exactly do you suggest I do about that?" The king asked somewhat sarcastically.
"You could..." Gaspar stumbled on his words, "I don't know. Something needs to be done. Could you talk to the International Federation, or something? They'll actually listen to you." Gaspar began to calm down, though he seemed to be doing so out of desperation.
"I will talk to them," King Lopez said, "And see if we can't resolve all of this peacefully. After all, my top priority is still the good of the people."
"Thank you, your highness." Gaspar bowed his head and exited the room. Once the door shut behind him, the king pressed a red button on a silver device on his desk. Next to the button was a flat, gridded square, obviously a speaker of some kind.
"Ińigo." He spoke into the grid while keeping the button pressed down.
"My daughter's bodyguard was just in here. He wanted me to talk to you about how the nation is pointing their fingers at me for everything that's happened recently."
"And what did you tell him?"
"Exactly what he wanted to hear, of course. That 'my top priority is still the good of the people.'"
"Good man. Is that all?"
"While I have you, how is your search going? Has the International Federation found what it needs?"
"Not yet, but we're drawing closer by the day."
"Good to hear."
"Indeed. If there's nothing else, I must be going now."
"Very well. I'll talk to you later, Ińigo."
"Have a good evening, your highness."
The two brothers sat in the living room of their apartment; Grayson in the reclining chair and Flint on the couch. The television screen displayed a group of Pokemon running across the field, chasing after a ball flying through the air. In Flint's hand was a silver metallic can on which the word "Pepsi" was printed, and in Grayson's was a narrow-necked brown glass bottle whose label read "Bud Light".
"So, you know what I did today," Grayson said, "What did you do?"
"Nothing special," Flint answered, "Just hung out with some friends over at Uriel's place."
"Cool, cool. You guys weren't smoking or drinking or anything, were you?"
"No way. Y'know, though, you aren't really in a position to say that." Flint pointed at the bottle in his older brother's hand.
"Hey, I'm old enough to drink this, you're not."
"Yeah, yeah. Hey, so, did you get to like, bring any of the evidence from that guy's house home with you?"
"Are you kidding?" Grayson said with a laugh, "No way. Kayden said that the Dallas police chief took everything. Chief... what's his name. I don't remember."
"Oh, yeah, him. Hey, how do you know his name?"
"Oh, you know. You hear random bits of information here and there."
"Hm," Grayson glanced at the clock, "Well, it's getting late. I'm gonna hit the hay." He stood up from the chair, walked over to the kitchen counter, and placed the empty glass bottle on its surface. He then walked into the hallway that led to the apartment's single bedroom.
"Night." Flint said as his brother closed the bedroom door.
"Night." After the older brother had been in the room for roughly five minutes, the younger took his cell phone out of his pocket and began to dial a number into it.
"Hello?" Victoria's voice answered.
"Hey, Victoria, it's me," Flint spoke into the phone, "You've got the branch president's phone number, right?"
"Could you call him and tell him that I know who's got all of the files from Gottenski's room?"
"You do?" Victoria's voice rose with excitement.
"Yeah. It's the Dallas police chief, Alan Eppes."
"I'll call him right away."
"Thanks. Talk to you later." Before Flint could finish saying goodbye, the girl on the other end of the line had already hung up.
"Someone's excited." With a smirk on his face, Flint hung up his own phone and returned it to his pocket.
Note: Reference Timeframe: Everything happens on Saturday.
Note: The Aggron morph (Whose name wasn't revealed this chapter) is my inevitable homage character to Noah Bennet of Heroes. Actually, he can really be described as a fusion of Noah and DL... though I suppose more about that'll be revealed later.