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View Full Version : The Siege of Goldenrod (An Engaran Wars Chaptered Short)



Ash_Junior
12th August 2006, 8:56 AM
New version of the thing I posted a few days ago. This time I actually took the time to edit it all, instead of copy/pasting it. this BADLY needed a rewrite. I hope that you enjoy the new characters and the story itself.

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Finele Daigo pushed her purple hair out of her face, and grinned as she sang loudly as she walked through the forest, heading towards Goldenrod. It wouldn't be long now. It had been a long journey, eight full years on the road, but now, finally, she was going home.

She wasn't sure what she was singing—she could switch off her brain and sing songs she had heard before, and not consciously be aware she was doing it—like some people could whistle. It annoyed people around her to no end, but she didn't especially care. Especially since she was going home.

A nice, warm bed to sleep in every night. Food that hadn't been freeze-dried or tasted like dirt. Air conditioning and central heating! No more bugs walking all over her while she was sleeping! Forgetting the fact temporarily that her parents would force her to get a job, Finele continued to sing loudly, frightening off whatever Pokemon flirted with the chance of being captured and roamed close enough to the road to Goldenrod. Finele never traveled on the main roads anymore. Too high of a chance to being challenged to a match—especially with a Ninetails—and, besides, it was often a lot more beautiful travelling parallel to the road rather than on it.

She glanced to her left, and saw Raltsy, her Gardevoir. She had named Raltsy when she was still a Ralts, and kept forgetting to change her name to reflect her current status Raltsy's emerald hair was cut short, as opposed to the breed standard of long hair. Raltsy's long, flowing, dress-like lower body swayed in the wind. Dimly, in the back of her mind somewhere, she remembered someone saying that Gardevoir kept themselves upright by Telekinesis, or lifting themselves up with their mind, as opposed to supporting themselves on their feeble legs.

Raltsy was watching her. She had probably switched off her ears again. Oh well.

Finele turned her russet eyes in the other direction, and cheked on the other two Pokemon she had with her. Ruby and Zag were doing just fine. Ruby was a colored-red Pokemon her great-grandfather had stumbled upon while exploring Cinnabar Island when he was beginning his journey. She had known that colored Pokemon were rare, and she had never seen another colored during her entire journey, nor had her parents. For that reason, Ruby was a family heirloom. Ruby was moving along at a quick pace, keeping pace perfectly with Finele. The small fox's namesakes were held high, waving softly in the slight breeze that flowed through the forest.

On Ruby's back, Zag lay, sprawled out across her back, two legs on either side of the small fox. People were often surprised that Ruby could carry something that weighed almost as much as she did, but when Finele reminded them that Ruby was over five hundred at the best estimation, they didn't say much.

Zag was by far the laziest of her team, but was also her starter. Unlike most Zigzagoon, Zag never stole anything, except for other Pokemons' food. She couldn't bear to let Zag wait for her in a computer storage unit somewhere. However, when he was properly motivated (usually by food), he was the second-strongest Pokemon on her team (second only, of course, to Ruby). Zag had always been too lazy to evolve, and Finele, like most trainers, hadn't the heart to force him to evolve.

Finele had three other Pokemon that she had kept through the last several years, after her initial 50-Pokemon catching spree: a Persian named Norman, a Nidoqueen named Queenie, and an Absol named Losba. She had sent the trio ahead of her via the teleportation abilities of the Ecruteak Pokemon Center, along with a message that she would be there soon.

Finele glanced around, and was happy to see that she recognized where she was. While the tree cover was still pretty dense, it was still pretty dense. She was still looking around when she saw something flicker out of the corner of her eye. She snapped her head forward, and promptly ran into something solid.

She stepped back and rubbed her throbbing nose as she tried to figure out what in the world she had just run into. She didn't see anything, so she raised her hand in preparation for forging ahead again, but stopped when her hand ran into something solid, yet, not there. It had a familiar feel to it. She couldn't quite place it for a second, then it snapped into place. After travelling with a Psychic for six of her eight years on her journey, she OUGHT to know what this was. She glanced over at Raltsy. “Psychic Barrier?” she asked. The Gardevoir nodded, and so did Finele.

“All right,” she muttered. “I'll just go around.” She moved her left hand up to join her right and ran them over the barrier, trying to find an opening. A noise from Raltsy cut her off. Finele glanced over her shoulder to see Raltsy shaking her head. The Psychic made a wide, sweeping gesture with one of its hands, then shook her head again.

Crap. So there wasn't an opening anywhere near her. Might as well head to the main road and see if the same problem was there, too.

+++++

Laira Kocho sat on the bench of the Pokemon Center, waiting for her Pokemon to be healed from her last match with Whitney. The Gym Leader had beaten her handily, learning from her previous matches with Laira, and had used overwhelming force to deal with the sneak attacks that Laira always used. Whitney had creamed her.

But she had expected that. She had wanted to see Whitney's all-out fighting style, and now she'd be able to formulate a way to respond to that. After all, that WAS the best way to deal with an opponent—take his or her punches, roll with them, and counter-attack after you learned all their moves. Laira brushed a strand of her purple hair out of her face as she studied the screen of her laptop, which held the match, as recorded by the studio that filmed all of Whitney's matches, then aired the best on “Gym Leaders Unleashed!!!!” It was a stupid show, but it sure was handy for trainers to be able to see what they did wrong.

“Miss Kocho?” an energetic voice announced. “Miss Kocho, your Pokemon are fully healed.” Laira glanced up at the Nurse Joy, and then down at the screen. She sighed and closed the lid of the laptop and stuck it in the bag she always carried with her. The bag that carried her....special supplies.

Laira got up, walked over to Nurse Joy, and accepted her Pokeballs gratefully, and declined the woman's offer to let her stay in the Pokemon Center. Laira smiled tightly and wondered what the woman behind the desk would say if she found out that she was a thief. Former thief. And a darn good one at that.

She hadn't been one of those obsessive-compulsive thieves that stole anything that wasn't bolted down, and definitely wasn't one of the insane Rockets, who stole Pokemon for profit, and had actually had the nerve to raze New Bark Town less than a week before. She had chosen her targets as carefully as she had chosen her team—with careful consideration.

She had finally gotten caught when she tried to get out of Elm's lab with a multi-billion dollar Pokeball that at least twenty Pokemon Profs had been working on for years named the Master Ball. It hadn't been her fault, either. One of the aides showed up early, and had cornered her, since she hadn't kept any of her Pokemon with her so she could sneak through the lab more easily.

While she had been waiting for a lawyer in a jail cell, she had been approached by Bugsy, the Gym Leader that had been closest to New Bark Town at the time. He had explained to her that he had been following his career for some time, after she had stolen his collection of hive Badges right out of his office while she had been carrying on a conversation with him.

He had explained that he hadn't been too mad about that, since he had managed to buy all the badges back before anyone else got their hands on one illegally, but that hadn't been the reason that he had come to her cell.

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Bugsy had looked through the bars at the unrepentant convict. “You have a lot of skill at stealth. I don't understand why you have to devote it to a life of crime.”

Her name back then had been Susan Schmidt. It was....a different lifetime ago. She had looked at him and grinned, her red eyes twinkling. “Well, dahlin', what else am ah supposed to do with all mah skills? Ah don't see y'all givin' me any alternatives.”

Bugsy's gaze had met hers. “Oh,” he had said quietly. “But I am.” He had walked down the length of the bars for a moment, then looked back in at her. “You're going to be fined at least a million dollars, you know, and you'll have to pay back at least twice that much in damages. Susan, I'm offering you a chance to wipe that out. Officially, you'll be in jail for the rest of your life. Unofficially, you'll work for the Johto League, and do the dirty business against the Rockets and the Aquans and the Magmans that we can't afford to leak out.”

Susan had lifted an eyebrow at Bugsy. “And if ah fail, y'all'll deny any and all contact with me?” she asked, suddenly intrigued.

Bugsy grinned down at her. “You got it. All that super-spy crap. But you'll have to get out of sight. You HAVE to dissapear. You WOULD become someone else. Your speech patterns, your clothing style, your hair style and color, even your thought patterns if we can manage it. You WILL be someone else. Are you interested?”

Susan grinned. “Wahl,” she drawled at him. “Life in this here joint as a birdie, or ah go on out there with y'all and do all the fun stuff.” She raised another eyebrow. “Not much of a choice, ah'd say. Did y'all bring a sign-up sheet with y'all?

+++++

Laira smield as she walked out the door. She had gotten her team back together and had gone through the hardest year of her life as she had been reprogrammed into Laira Kocho, no longer Susan Schmidt. It had been hard, but the next four years had been among the most exciting the twenty-one year old had ever experienced. She wouldn't trade her experiences for anything. Not many people knew about her. Bugsy, of course, and a couple other Gym leaders. The Johto Elites did, obviously, and a few people in the Security department. Not many others.

Laira paused at the glass door and breathed in the slightly gasoline-flavored fresh air and sighed. It didn't get any better than this. An explosion rocked the city, shattering the glass door and sending Laira into an instinctualy flying roll that sent her lying down on the ground face down, which had been protected from the glass already on the ground by her arms over her face.

It was good to see that all that training the Johtans had given her on top of what she had picked up on the streets had gone to good use. Laira carefully picked herself up and brushed herself off, ignoring everyone else. She opened her bag and checked on her stuff. Her camera and its lenses had been in their padded case, so they'd be fine. Her laptop was a little scratched, but that was fine. And the rest of her equipment had been wrapped in her black work clothes.

Laira shook her head. She'd been lucky not to fall on top of the bag. THEN she would have been in trouble. But what had caused the explosion? She glanced around for the Pokeballs containing her team that she had dropped when she fell, and was thankful that she and an old woman with a Persian had been the only ones in the Pokemon Center besides the Nurse Joy.

The lights flickered as Laira, still ignoring the hsysterical Nurse Joy and the screaming old lady, grabbed the last of her Pokeballs. Okay, so the power was iffy—that meant that someone was interrupting the power flow to this area of town. Laira dashed out the back door to the alley behind the Pokemon Center, knowing that the duo had pretty much forgotten her, and closed the door softly behind her.

She released her quick-response trio, and fumbled around in her bag for her work clothes.Alakazam, Gengar, and Scyther appeared as she started pulling out the clothing. “Alakazam,” she muttered, trying to catch her breath. “Find out what's happening.”

The yellow and brown humanoid closed its eyes, extending its senses around the city, sorting through the various psionic profiles, discarding those who obviously didn't know anything about what was going on, and attempted to put together a clear picture of what was happening, while at the same time erecting an opaque barrier so Laira could change with privacy.

Scyther flew up of his own accord, his blades at the ready, his insectoid wings fluttering quickly, almost blurring his mantilian features. The green Bug-type's eyes flashed near and far, looking for potential threats, coordinating its efforts with Alakazam via the Psionic link that all four and Laira's other Pokemon, her Kecleon and Dewgong, shared.

Gengar, for his part, closed his eyes and allowed himself to fade away from normal view, and move to the shadows. Gengar, for some reason, was not as powerful a battler as other Gengar, and thus resorted to sneak attacks from the shadows, much like she would do if she had any martial training. Stealth was Gengar's specialty, as was hers, a trait that had served them both well during her kleptomania—especially because he had somehow inherited the Dark-type ability to be immune from nearly all psionic energy.

Finally able to breath again, Laira spat her dark purple ponytail out of her mouth. Glancing to her left, she reached out and put her black beanie back on, glanced down to make sure her boots were still on alright, then staggered to her feet. Scyther was immediately at her side, helping her up.

Her starter, Scyther had proved to be a very loyal Pokemon, and a terrific fighter, yet always had a heart for others, and rarely for itself. She smiled at him and he carefully removed his bladed claws. Laira pulled two of the last three Pokeballs from her belt and released the indwelt Pokemon. Her Kecleon and Venemoth sprang into existence, each instantly scanning for opponents out of habit.

The barrier lowered and Laira was dressed in her tactical black jumpsuit, just pulling on her matte-black boots. Alakazam opened her eyes, and spoke telepathically to her trainer. Laira, they’ve destroyed the Cell terminal. Your cell phones is useless. They’ve also cut all outside lines of communication to the city. Transmissions to satellite dishes are blocked by a Psionic barrier, which prevents trainers and Pokemon from leaving or entering the city. This has also cut the power to the entire city. What power’s still up is because of either Electric types, Generators, or batteries.

Laira growled, “Terrific,” she muttered, and pulled her goggles over her head. In addition to being a flashlight, they were also night-vision, thermal, or a mode that allowed her to control which MP3 was being played in the specially designed music player she had insisted be installed in the headpiece. The headpiece also functioned as a mask, hiding her identiy in the case that she screwed up to the point where somebody spotted her. “Scyther, Gengar, stay with Alakazam. I'll be able to move faster on my own. Alakazam, stay here and guide me to the edge of this force field. I'll see what I can find out.” She shoved her bag underneath a nearby dumpster. “Don't let anybody find that,” she cautioned them.

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Finele sighed as she stepped out of the woods and into the clearing around the road. Great. Nobody around. And Raltsy was motioning that the barrier or whatever it was extended for quite a ways.

Without warning, Finele was slammed into the barrier by a massive wave of water. As she was slammed agains the barrier, spread-eagled, she thought about how stupid she must look if anyone was watching from the other side. Physically lifted off the ground, she looked like a bug that had hit somebody's windshield.

She wasn't sure how long the water lasted, but just when she was about to give up the last of her air, she was suddenly dropped to the ground. She heard movement behind her but all she could do was lie here on her back, coughing and hoping that she'd survive whatever hit her. She could hear battling behind her, but she couldn't move. When the sounds of battle had stopped, she forced herself to roll over onto her stomach and look to see what had happened.

She nearly cried.

Standing over each of her team was a Pokemon whose type would allow it easy victory. Over Ruby, who, along with Zag, looked little better than a drowned rat, stood a pair of Blastoise, one still watching Ruby, the other watching Finele closely.

Over the soaked form of Zag, a Machop stood threateningly. Almost. It was breathing a little too hard for that. Finele smiled through the pain of whatever was broken. Raltsy must have given it a run for its money.

She looked over to where Raltsy had been, and tears sprang to her eyes. Raltsy's once-flowing dress-like flesh was now a torn, bloody, and tattered mess. In fact, she couldn't see much of Raltsy because of the blood that covered her, and was expanding rapidly in a pool around her.

And over her stood a Mightyena, whose fangs dripped with the blood of her Pokemon.

It was only then that Finele noticed the other party that was nearby. A human, wearing a black costume, aiming something that looked like a gun at her. Almost, but not quite. She had just enough time to see the red “R” emblazoned across his chest before he pulled the trigger. She saw the needles a split second before they struck her, and sent ten thousand volts searing through her veins.

She had only a moment of sheer agony before she succumbed to the darkness that beckoned to her so invitingly.

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YES, Laira's outfit in the end IS inspired by Splinter Cell. :D

King of the Munchlax
12th August 2006, 5:51 PM
I hate cliffhangers...Well that was very good. Nice description, characters, and a cliffhanger.

I noticed a few grammar errors, but nothing major. Keep up the great work!

Ash_Junior
12th August 2006, 8:00 PM
thanks. the last one had little to no description, the characters were flat, but it did have a cliffie.....:D

glad you liked it.

because I'm not gonna be able to post the next chapter until next WEdnesday/Thursday :(

I'm gonna be helping out at a camp...

btw, is your avvie from Splinter Cell or....

Ash_Junior
23rd August 2006, 10:44 PM
w00tage! Splinter Cell-ish Chapter 2!

and the intro of a Hathor situation (Stargate SG-1 Season 2 Finale, Season 3 premiere) :D

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Laira paused for a moment to examine her surroundings. She was in an alley, not far from the barrier now. She could hear excited babble coming from one end of the alley opposite the side that she had entered. Unfortunately, that was the side that the barrier was on.

However, she did have other alternatives. According to Alakazam, there was only one building between her and the heavy underbrush that was near this area of the barrier. Laira glanced up and spott3d an open window. Laira glanced at both sides of the alley, then leaped up and caught the bottom edge of the windowsill and pulled herself up and into the building.

She was on the outskirts of Goldenrod now, too far for her Alakazam to tell her if there was anyone around her. She was on her own. Just her, her senses, and her equipment. She peered around the corner, and then began creeping through the building. The enhanced hearing her headgear provided her didn't pick up sounds of any life within the building, but she could never be too careful. Her existence was a carefully guarded secret, and she didn't want anyone to spot her.

After what seemed like hours, Laira reached the other side of the building. Laira peered through the door, and smiled to herself. It was a bathroom, not big, with just a sink, a toilet, and a window. Perfect. She silently flipped the switch that would turn her goggles into thermal mode, and did a quick scan of her surroundings. Good, no heat signatures.

Flipping off the thermal vision, she crept into the bathroom, being sure to stay below the window and closed the door behind her, and locked it. Judging by the light, the sun was just beginning to set, and she knew that the shadows were stretching out away from her side of the building.

After carefully opening the window slightly, she reached into the small, matte-black combat vest that had come standard-issue with her suit and equipment when she had accepted Bugsy's offer, she pulled out her small optic cable, and, attached one end to her goggles and moved the other end slowly up over the windowsill. And there it was, the slight hint of blue that marred an otherwise transparent view giving itself away as a Psychic barrier. It had loomed far overhead while she had been traveling to the edge of town. Now it was almost thirty yards from the building she was in. In some parts, it had actually cut her off from other parts of the building. Whoever had built what she assumed to be a giant dome obviously hadn't taken into account the sprawl factor of Goldenrod and many other large cities.

Laira turned the optic cable down and saw a small knot of trainers standing over a small hole. So they were trying to dig underneath the barrier. Fascinating. Would that work? She couldn't hear their words, but she could tell that they were all impatient. One of them, a kid twice the size of the others in the group, looked like one of those bully types who got his own self-satisfaction from beating weaker trainers and didn't like not getting his way.

Laira watched patiently for five minutes, waiting for something to happen, and finally something did. A Sandslash popped up out of the hole and looked up at the large boy and the Pokemon shook its head. The large boy hauled back his fist and slammed his fist into the Pokemon.

Laira bristled, but forced herself to remain absolutely still. If she had been in any other situation, she would have gone over there and taught the boy a lesson. But all she could now was watch. The group had an argument amongst themselves after the large boy returned the Sandslash to its Pokeball, and the group split up and walked away. Laira performed a sweep of the outside with the optic cable and then pulled it back in and held it in one hand, ready for more use.

Laira tapped the sub-dermal transceiver on the side of her neck. “Alakazam, this is Laira,” she said slowly, performing another scan with the thermal goggles, finding nothing but the retreating children. “I need you to teleport to my location, and tell Gengar to get his gassy little butt over here too.” she tapped the sub-dermal again, and she knew the transmission cut off.

Now she just had to wait until they got here and she could go down the hole herself and there, away from prying eyes, she could perform some tests on it while Gengar and Alakazam guarded her stuff. Since it would be a tight squeeze down there, even without most of her equipment.

And then there was her other theory.

Laira grinned. This operation would be a challenge, but she had never ever ever backed down from a challenge.

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Finele woke slowly, to a dull ache in her muscles. What had happened to her? She had been on her way home when....She couldn't remember. Not right now, anyway.

“She's awake!” she heard someone exclaim. “I can't believe that she's awake! She took quite a beating!”

Finele opened her eyes to see a white wall in front of her, but that was almost immediately extinguished by a bright light entering her right eye. A flashlight? It went away, then came back, then went away again.

“How are you doing?” somebody asked. Finele looked to her left, where the voice came from. There stood someone in a brown and gray military uniform. “You had us all scared there for a second.” It was a middle-aged man with graying hair. She couldn't quite place his face but it seemed somehow familiar.

Finele squinted at the man. “Who are you?” she asked, glancing round. This was definitely a hospital or some variant of it. The white walls, green floors, and horrible hospital gown that they had put her in confirmed that. There were four people in the room. The person who had a small pen-light in her hand who she guessed was a doctor, the middle-aged man, a woman that looked about her age, and a young man that was probably about eighteen. All but the doctor were dressed in the same brown and gray uniform as the middle-aged man.

“Do you remember your name?” the woman she guessed was the doctor asked, ignoring her.

Finele squinted at her, focusing in on her. The woman was probably in her late forties, and had her red hair drawn back in a bun that suggested to her a military cut. “My name is Finele Daigo.” She glanced around, and a question dawned on her. “Where are my clothes?

One again the doctor ignored her. “When is your birthday?”

Finelle rolled her eyes. “July 30th. I'm twenty years old. Now where are my clothes?”

Nobody said anything, and the doctor glanced at the middle-aged man. “I was afraid of this,” she said. “I'll need to run some more tests, but I'm pretty sure that she's got amnesia.”

Finele sat up, and instantly regretted it as every muscle in her body screamed out against her. Ignoring them, she repeated herself. “Where are my flippin' clothes?” she screamed.

She felt four pairs of hands pushing her back. “Easy, Captain. Just relax.” it was the woman, this time. “Everything's gonna be okay. You just went out before us all and the Rockets handed your butt to you, that's all.”

Finele fought against them, then relaxed, realizing that it was futile to resist. Cautiously, they released her. “I'm not a Captain. I'm just Finele Daigo, Johto trainer, retired.”

“She really doesn't remember,” the young man said, shaking his head sadly.

Finele had a sudden thought. “Hey, where are my Pokemon?” she demanded. “Where's Ruby? Where's Zag? Where's Raltsy?”

Everyone looked down at the floor for a moment, then the middle-aged man looked up. “Finele, this is going to be hard for you to accept, but you're not twenty, and your team has been dead for five years, ever since the Rockets captured Goldenrod.” Finele shook her head. That wasn't true. It couldn't be. “We're what's left of the Johto Defense Corps. The war against the Rockets is going well on all fronts, but we don't have many men left to take Goldenrod. It's a fortress, and the Rockets will defend it to their death.”

Finele shook her head. “Wait, what war? What's the Johto Defense Corps?”

The middle-aged man sighed. “Let's start from the beginning. I'm Colonel Gregory Schmitt. I'm the commander of our little unit here, the Loggerheads. I can see that we have a lot to talk about.”

+++++

Administrator Carl Johnson watched the surveillance footage of the Daigo girl. If all went well, she would be another pawn in Team Rocket's conquest of Goldenrod. Giovanni's plan had been brilliant. Bottle up Goldenrod, then capture the trainers that had been left outside.

Then those trainers would be convinced—some would say brainwashed—to think that the people in Goldenrod were Rockets, and the attacking Rockets were actually members of a Johto military organization. The trainers would be the first wave of the attack, and would soak up most of the heavy damage while the Rockets stayed behind and attacked in the second wave to mop up whatever was left of the defenses of Goldenrod. It was a brilliant strategem.

This girl in particular was fascinating. She had somehow gained the respect of a 400-year old Ninetails to the point that she actually was able to train with it. Most trained Ninetails were newly evolved, and had been with their masters for some time. The older Ninetails mostly went rogue, went off into a forest somewhere, or stayed with the descendants of its original trainer, but usually never battled. That this girl was able to battle with such an old Ninetails....it was fascinating. She would bear watching, even if the Ninetails, the Zigzagoon, and the Gardevoir would be sold. Well, if anyone would want an overweight Zigzagoon.

What had the girl done to it? It never battled, and all it did was eat. Continuously. Generally Johnson liked to give the Pokemon as much food as they wanted before they were sold, at least in his sphere of influence, but he had had to cut the Zigzagoon off. He'd be lucky to break even with the Zigzagoon, considering how much it had eaten already.

+++++

Laira stared intently at the Psychic barrier for a few moments, waiting for Gengar to arrive. A Psychic shield of the size and magnitude that Alakazam had relayed to her would take a lot of power to operate. That meant that it was likely powered by dozens of Psychic types operating in concert. What's more, it had resisted a massive amount of energy inflicted against it at a small point, so that meant that it wasn't just big, it was strong.

That meant that the Psychics powering the shield were practically helpless, most likely, considering the amount of energy it would take to keep a shield like this activated. Then that would mean that a lot of food and supplies related to giving Pokemon energy would have to be stockpiled in one place. Laira closed her eyes. Finally, she had a starting point. While she was cut off from the outside world, she could still perform searches with what information was already in Goldenrod, and she would start with the major Pokemon manufacturers and food producers and retailers. If she could find a major correlation, she would at least know where they were on the outside.

And if her theory was correct, she'd be able to relay the information to others on the outside. A mental nudge from Alakazam caused her to scan the area for Gengar. So the Ghost-type was in the area, was he? She frowned, unable to spot him. She felt a tap on her shoulder, and she sighed, knowing that it was Gengar. She glanced over her shoulder to be sure, then said quietly. “All right, Gengar, this is what we do. I want you to try to pass through the barrier. If it IS a Psychic barrier, then as a ghost you should have some immunity to Psychic energy like this, but nothing like a Dark type would.”

The Gengar nodded and appraoched the barrier, and stood still for a moment. In the throes of twilight, she almost couldn't see him, except for his profile against the lightly glowing barrier. His shoulders rose, and his shoulder fell, and then he stepped through. Laira's hopes soared. She had been right. He was ableto pass through. She saw him turn around and step back through, slower this time, and he was struggling. Then, halfway through, he stopped. He turned his eyes to her and let out a scream of pain so horrendous that she almost couldn't bear it.

Her hand stopped halfway to Gengar's Pokeball. If she returned him like this, she'd only get the half of him on this side. She had to get him the rest of the way through. She ran forward, Alakazam right behind her, and, bracing her feet against the barrier, physically lifted herself up off the ground, and pulled Gengar the rest of the way through.

Gengar moaned, and Laira patted him where his shoulder would have been if he wasn't composed entirely of some kind of strange gas. “You did good, Gengar,” she said quietly. “Let's get you to the Pokemon Center.” Her tests would have to wait, but she had gotten a good piece of intelligence here. If any ghosts did pass through the barrier, it would be a one-way trip. After seeing how much Gengar had been drained by the barrier, she doubted that a less experienced ghost could have survived the experience.

But she couldn't think about that right now. Right now she had to get out of here before anyone showed up and saw her dressed like this. She returned Gengar to his Pokeball and handed it to Alakazam. “Get back to Scyther, wait for me there.” Alakazam nodded and teleported away.

Laira glanced around and spotted a drain pipe that would lead close enough to a window to allow her entry. She ran for the drain pipe and began climbing as fast as she could. Speed was mandatory. She could not allow herself to be detected. Already, she could hear people shouting and feet running towards her former location. When they didn't see anyone on the ground, their next course of action would be to look up. She had to be out of sight by then.

She had to be.