No Witnesses, Pt1Flip back to Chapter 13?
or, "The Lunchbox and the Sundress"
"Are you alright, mistress?"
Cayna startled from doing her laundry. "Wha? Oh, didn't hear you come in. I get used to hearing you speak in class and all"
"Sorry, er" "Sorry, Cay.” The Gardevoir spoke in a soft, melodious voice. “Human speech doesn’t come as naturally to me as telepathy does, I'm afraid. Are you okay? You seem to be folding jeans rather more forcefully, and you don’t seem to glide about as you have in the past."
Cayna looked up at her Gardevoir. "I'm fine Guinevere, really."
"Your lonely, my mistress. I don't have to be psychic to know that. But are you okay?"
Cayna turned and sat down on the bed, moving the clothes basket so Guin could sit next to her.
"I suppose I'm not. After we got married, I told myself Glover would be in and out, he was much more the trainer than I was, after all. But he didn't. He stayed at home, did everything he could by remote. I got used to having him around. The Hoenn crisis four years ago was his only major outing, and that was at my urging. So when he had to leave, it was rather sudden and not too long after Janie left. It was good seeing her first gym battle, but that was Violet City, so far away from home, and I don't think we'll even be that close to together again for a long, long time." She sniffed a bit and wiped a tear with a tissue from the bedside. "I don't know how he holds up so well."
"I have a feeling, that there's a reason he looked to see if Janie had gotten to Violet City yet.”
"You mean like he was being more active about missing her?"
"Yes, I do. That and he can immerse himself in work."
"But that only leads to wild goose chases to pass the time. I've seen that before in my trainer friends. I just hope there's actually something to this so he isn't burning himself up."
"Maybe. But regardless, there's a new world out there, so even if he is chasing ghosts, hopefully he's enjoying himself." The Gardevoir thought for a moment. "That's not quite what I meant."
"I know what you mean, I think. From a trainer's perspective, twelve years is a long time. New gym leaders, new challenges, new styles of battling. You and Gotѐgrim and I were never really ones for the competitive. We travelled to travel."
"That's the right way to say it, I think." Guinevere held her throat. "Sorry, I need to rest my vocal cords. We were never a species designed for long conversations."
"No problem, you're doing so well though." Cayna sighed, then posed a question. “How do you do it though? You’ve been here, you were practically an aunt to Janie.”
Guin thought for a moment. ”I don’t know. Probably has something to do with being what I am, Pokémon in the wild are used to their young going off unexpectedly, I guess. I’ve always thougt of myself as more a nursemaid and babysitter than family.”
“You know you mean more to us than that, Guin. You and Gotѐgrim both. You’re more than the two Ralts I found in Floaroma under attack from a Starapter, you’re family. And Glover’s accepted you as such too.”
“We know, it’s just a little off from the usual arrangement we’re taught by our elders, is all. And I’ll confess I’ve put a few thought searches out to check on her.” The Gardevoir coughed a bit. "I'll be right back after I get some water. Do you want anything, Mistress?"
"No no, I'll be down in a minute."
"Very well. My brother and I were going to drag you out to the pier for something to eat, get you out of the house and radiant for the Field Trip tomorrow."
"You two are too good to me. Guin?"
The following day, in the late morning lunch time, two shady figures were hunched behind a log. Before them were several large white buildings with glass front lobbies- The Research Labs.
"What'cha lookin’ at Abbott?" one of the two figures stirred.
"Sigilyph. Or trying to. Blasted things are too high up; they're up there with the Sand Hill Altaria."
"Why? What's a Sigilyph doing here anyway?"
"Guarding, what else? Didn't you read the report?"
"Well, maybe. Are they guarding the Lab? Do you think they can see us?"
"Probably, although they are Psychic types, so maybe they can only feel our minds."
"They know what we're thinking? Oh Arceus, we're busted already!"
"Just, just shut up! I told you to think pleasant thoughts. Besides, they haven't attacked us yet."
"But maybe they aren't aggressive, they won’t respond unless there for sure is an attack, they're just waiting for us to screw up."
Abbott held his head and sighed. "Yes, we're going to be defeated by a bunch of psychic guard parrots. You nincompoop, get a hold of yourself!"
"Sorry Abbott." The latter turned and caught the conveniently held out pair of binoculars to his temple.
"Now see, there you are on the ground. Get up. Pick up your hat and come on!"
“But I don’t have a hat.”
“Oh, so you don’t. Then quit dawdling and come on!”
"Yes Abbott." The two men got up from the logs. They pulled two lab coats around their white leather bodysuits and the folded up, collapsed helmets on their backs and proceeded to the buildings.
"And remember Costello: No Witnesses. "
"Teachhur! Teachur! Can we play with the Pokémon now? Please?"
"Yeah Ms. Cayna, please?"
"I wanna play with the Pokemans. Pwease Cayna!"
Field trip day. Something every kid looked forward to. The school wasn't far from the labs, and made several such trips like these as their scientific knowledge increased. This would be the kids' first, a simple introduction to a wide variety of species outside of the Pokémon egg they raised in the classroom, or what they might have at home, although most Orre region families didn't have Pokémon, it was easier to avoid trouble that way.
Ms. Cayna looked around the Lab's break room turned cafeteria. "If everyone's done eating, and when Miss Jovi gets back."
"I'll go ahead and collect the lunchboxes then."
"Thanks Guinevere. Timmy, you have peanut butter all over your face." A tubby kid turned away from his teacher's helpful napkin to let his tongue roam freely.
"You missed a spot." Too slow, and she got him. "Much better. Everyone be sure to line up and wash your hands, I'm sure the Pokémon don't want your lunch on their fur."
"Of course they do! I'd want it on my fur if I had fur!"
"Eww, that's gross Bob!"
The Ranch hand Extraordinaire bounded into the break room with all the enthusiasm of the class as Guinevere picked up the crate of lunchboxes to take out to the bus.
"So everyone's done eating then?” Jovi asked them enthusiastically. “Who wants to see some Pokémon?!"
"We do! We do!" The kids cried in unison.
"Not until everyone washes their hands first."
"Aww." The kids chorused and began rushing through the sink, but Cayna wasn't a new teacher, and a line went past her and was immediately turned and reformed back into the hand-washing line. She felt like that Dr. Seuss character herding the Sneeches out of one line and into the next.
“Hey, thanks for sending ‘Grim out to help me set up. I know he likes being around the kids, but with Adon sick, a Gallade is a marvelous extra set of hands to get the Pens ready for the kids.”
“No problem, Jovi.” Cay turned and looked at the latest kid seeking the seal of approval. “Good job, Ava. Looks like you’re the line lead for the girls.”
“Yay!” She bounded to the left side of the door.
"'Ey, Abbott. Do you see that?"
"A Gardevoir wearing a salmon colored Sun Dress taking Lunchboxes out? Yes I do."
"Why do you suppose it's taking a crate of lunchboxes out?"
"Well, is it a witness?"
"Not if you keep your big mouth shut. C'mere and help me get this door open. What the boss told us to grab should be just on the other side of this big safe of a door."
"Ms Jovi, what's that Pokémon?"
Jovi was glad she wasn't a teacher; herding Meowth was easier than getting fourteen juvenile pairs of hands washed. She secretly said an apology to no one for being a bad kid, though she’d never admit anything on record, and after a short struggle, they'd washed up and had two lines. She'd taken them out and started down the main passage, just as she'd done for several classes in previous years.
"Oh, that's one of our Beldum. They protect us inside. Here, watch carefully, this one's going to take his friend's place."
Just as she said, the Beldum bobbed as it floated down the hallway from the back of the facility, counting marks on the wall to find its post. Then it stopped, turned, and faced an occupying Beldum in a small alcove in the wall, hidden well as a decorative column.
The on duty Beldum's eye flickered open. It studied its counterpart for a moment.
'Dum.' It stated, and then the two stared at each other for a while, their eyes flickering in sequence.
"What are they doing now, Ms Jovi?"
"Speaking with their mind. That one that came down the hall is probably being told about you and why you're here."
The Beldum coming off duty at that point turned the round foot on its bottom a partial turn, turning the pedestal it sat on. There was a click, the pedestal let go, and the Beldum straightened his foot and floated up and out of his little corner. Then he and his second shift replacement turned a half circle while facing each other with the efficiency of an Honor Guard. The new Beldum backed into the compartment, turned his foot, sat down and clicked himself into place.
Satisfied his replacement was secure, the other one chirped quickly and floated down the hallway to the back.
"Where's he going?"
"Back to the Beldum room."
"Can we go see the Beldum?"
"Yeah, please? Please?"
"I don't know that the Beldum would be very playful. They tend to be more interested in video games than interaction." Ms. Jovi told the kids.
"We like video games!"
"Well, yes, but the Beldum cheat."
"Besides kids, Ms. Jovi has picked out a lot of Pokémon who are excited to see you."
"Yes there are. So come on!"
Quickly forgetting about Beldum, Jovi challenged the kids to a race to the front desk, which they immediately took her up on, much to Cayna's stricter organization.
Jovi faked panting, coming up behind them. "Good job you guys.” She was actually in much better shape, than she let on, what with wrestling the Fighting types and in general working with the trainer Pokémon that come back to the lab for keeping, but kids were like Wookies; you let them win, or your day turns miserable. “Now let's go..." She turned and saw two researchers trying to get into the Purifying Room at the front of the Lab across the Hall from the Receptionist's Desk.
"May I help you?"
"Sorry to bother you. We're fine, really."
"Yeah, Crane told us to get a folder he left in here is all."
"That room's sealed." She told him point blank.
“You ninny! I told you to ask for a key."
"I can open it, here. She reached for the keypad when a little voice whispered in her ear. Normally, Jovi wasn't one to listen to anyone's voice, let alone a subconscious one, but she chose this one time to do so.
"Hold on, let me see your badges please. Mom would kill me if anything happened.”
"Oh, yes. Here." The taller, fitter of the two reached out with a piece of plastic. Just as Jovi grasped it, his hand shot out, he grabbed her wrist and spun her into his knee, doubling the ranch hand over.
"Abbott, you said "No Witnesses!"
"That's what I'm doing you dumbklopf. Now after those children!"
Cayna began herding the kids back down the hall. Abbot released a Breloom, who on command Spored Jovi so she wouldn't get back up. Then he opened two more Pokéballs, revealing two Houndoom.
"Brymstone," Abbott commanded. “Stop the Gardevoir outside, the one in the sun dress with the lunchboxes."
The addressed Houndoom looked at his trainer with its head cocked. "No, I don't know why it's carrying lunchboxes; just don't let it in here. Hellfire, get that Beldum to open some doors for us!"
But the Beldum weren't stupid, and already they’d begun a security drill. The lobby Beldum twisted in its stand and a shatterproof barrier closed around its compartment, blocking flames from the Houndoom. With a few more twists, some tapping of its claws and a few psychokinetic pulses, the Beldum closed off the corridor from the main lobby, blocking Abbott from Costello and the kids. It slammed the emergency shutters on the main door closed, trapping the Houndoom known as Brymstone outside, and it put an eight inch steel plate down on both sides of the Purifying Chamber vault door. If it had arms and a tongue, it probably would have also said "Nyah Nyah" behind its little blast shield, at least until the Breloom raced over and began Mach Punching the shield trying to break it.
Along the Hallway were a number of Beldum, all telepathically aware of what was going on. They closed down the hallway, and sounded the break-in alert to the offices and side labs, playing musical blast walls separating the children and Cayna from Costello, who was only marginally interested in causing them mischief but had his orders.
"What's happening Teacher?" One of the kids panted.
"I, I don't know."
"Are we in trouble?"
"No, Ava, we're fine. There's just some bad people out there. We're okay now though."
Which was the cue for a muffled crash, something roared loudly, and then something began pounding intensely at the blast wall Cayna was leaning against. She jumped nearly out of her skin. One of the Beldum started calling frantically, and the humans rushed into a side corridor. No sooner though did the Beldum seal them into the next segment though did a Rhyperior burst through.
"I told you to deal with them."
"But they're just kids Abbott."
"You said there weren't going to be any witnesses."
"No, I said there weren't to be any."
"That's what I said."
"Then why aren't you dealing with the witnesses?!" a short fused Abbott roared.
"Because there aren't supposed to be any witnesses! You told me that. Now there are witnesses. I wish you'd make up your mind!"
"I know what I said! I said "No witnesses!”
“And now there are witnesses”
“Of course there are witnesses! There are always witnesses!”
“You said NO WITNESSES!”
“And there are witnesses.”
“THEN WHY DID YOU SAY THERE’D BE NO WITNESSES?”
“I did not say there’d be none. Just, go back and try to get into the Purifying system somehow. The boss wants that data. I'LL get rid of the witnesses." Costello gulped with clarity, and did as he was told, ignoring the great black beast that had blasted its way through three walls now.
The Beldum had routed Cayna and the kids down into a series of cubicles, which lead outside to a patio for taking breaks in. The kids were tired, worn out, and didn't want to go outside. Not that they wanted to be inside with whatever terrible monster that could smash through walls was after them either. In fact, most of them wanted to go to their mommies and daddies. Cayna said a prayer that she could get them there. Then she bit her lip, opened the door, and the kids shuffled out. 8
Then a Houndoom howled. Cay looked down, and at the corner of the building was the Houndoom that went after Guinevere.
"Look out Mistress!" Cayna turned, and a Gallade in a work shirt and pants burst through their midst. "Get into the forest!" He called. His fist lit up, and with blinding speed he disappeared, slamming his hands into the Houndoom and launching it back, but a crashing sound alerted Cayna that the monster was in the room behind them. The Beldum blast wall was against the exterior wall. She hoped whatever creature was in there was tired, and that the double wall would withstand it for a while, but the door they came through was also a weak point, and if the creature hit it just right...
Cay had no plans to stick around for that.
"More running? A red headed glasses wearing boy looked at his teacher.
"Man, I thought he'd never shut up. Seriously, that boy went on like someone dumped Lake Verity on him. I was half tempted to battle right there just to shut him up."
"Me too Dad, I liked your "let's go watch the sunset and see a movie in hopes he’s hoarse by tonight” idea better though. Not that watching my old man cream him wouldn't be fun."
"You’d probably have to listen to him go on about me then, and you would never be rid of him."
Janie looked off sheepishly. "I know that look, what did you do?"
"Alright. Cassie was goofing off. She'd never seen a roof like those and wanted to watch the water run down it. None of us had a chance to stop her, and she didn't expect it to divert over the door like that, so she says..."
"Janie, if he finds out it was your Castform..."
"He'll be after my throat for a long time. I always wanted a rival. Though I'm sure Jovi still has some of that itching powder she spiked the classroom seats with..."
"No Janie, she doesn't. I threw it out, gave it to my Muk with some old tractor oil."
"You're no fun."
"I know. And don't try asking for the sneezing powders either, and her account is disabled from owning any Shuckle."
"I'm pretty sure that's abusing League power, Dad."
"That, or I'm pre-empting a national security threat."
Janie and I laughed a bit, until my P*DA went off.
"Something wrong dear?"
"YES! I'm running from my life!"
"I thought you had a field trip today?"
"I do! And now we're running from YOUR Lab!"
Janie was looking at me inquisitively, so I did what any father would do and turned away so she wasn't able to hear about this kind of trouble.
"Two goons broke in, were trying to get into the Purifying Chamber! We're out in the forest somewhere-- I always get turned around in this God forsaken reserve -- trying to avoid their Pokémon."
"Alright, listen. Find a wind chime, there should be one at each trail crossing. Take a stick and whack out the old NBC tone."
"The NBC tone. You know, Dum-bim-bum. It's the best I can do for you until I get back to the Orre region, just trust me."
"Alright. You hurry mister, this is your fault!"
She hung up on me. Note to all males, never argue with an over-protective pissed off crazy lady.
"Gotta go Dad?"
"I'm sorry, but yes. Guess Breakfast is off then. Your mother is probably going to kill me, so I'm glad the last thing I saw was my daughter win her first gym battle."
"Thanks, Dad. I love you."
"Love you too. Good night." And at that, Ditto was released from his ball. He jet-packed me up high enough into the air, then transformed around me into an F18. My Rotom Moto slipped into a Ditto-based radio and began broadcasting an Emergency League tone to air-space controllers. Though we were unfiled, it would cover ourselves with the FAA for now. I called the Goldenrod dock and left a messege to go ahead and ship my crate. Once away from town, Gizmo opened the afterburners and we raced for the Orre region.
Deep in the reserve, a Blaziken was running through the forest, crying loudly out to anyone and everyone. It stopped and bellowed up into a tree, drawing the attention of a Surperior whose sleeping eyes blinked twice before it snapped back to consciousness. The snake slithered down and out a ways to a pond, slapping at the water until an Empoleon came up. The Surperior passed on the same note the Blaziken told it. It swam madly down to another part of the lake, drawing the attention of a Blastoise and a Feraligatr, as well as an Elektross.
High above, a Charizard was circling as an Aerodactyl climbed high into the air. It called out to one specific Sigilyph, who rounded up a portion of the guard. Then the flyers, soon joined by a Pidgeot and a Braviary swooped towards The Chime.
The Blaziken had more allies now, a Scizor, a wide smattering of Fighting types from the Hitmons to a Throh and a Sawk, a Donphan, a Sceptile, and a Golem joined them. An Electivire came up another path shortly followed by a Pikachu, an Emolga, and a Zebstrika.
All of them, heading loyally to The Chime.
"Now I've got you! Finish them Rhyperior!"
The Ground type balled itself up and began its rolling charge. Cay looked at the stick in her hand and the wind chime and cursed quietly at my existence, until a green blur bolted across the ground. It flicked its long tail, and the Rhyperior soared over the party of humans and crashed to the ground.
"Vin?" Cay asked, surprised. The Surperior nodded quickly and then dove to circle the group protectively.
The Rhyperior was crawling up onto its hands and feet to attack again, when a water missile of an Aqua Jet shattered its way through the trees and into the Rhyperior. A primordial shriek drew everyone's attention when a leathery creature dove at Abbott and Costello, all fangs and claws.
Abbott cracked open another Pokéball, a big Drapion caught the Aerodactyl's plummet and flung it, but the assembled flight of Sigilyph behind began blasting the great monster with Air Cutters, flanked by a powerful flamethrower attack. Abbott's only useable Houndoom opened its mouth and let out a massive flame, but it struck into a several ton ball of granite that bowled through the trees, turned, and just kept on rolling.
"Are these your Pokémon, Ms Cay? They look scary."
"No." She said, shedding tears of joy. "They're Glover's. You remember him; he had you sing Happy Birthday to me."
Very quickly, Abbott dove off to the side between two thick trees, avoiding the peril, but found himself outnumbered by angry Pokémon. In the confusion, he turned to leave, and found something cold, round, and steel like pressed against the back of his head.
And it clicked, as the hammer cocked back.
"No no, don't move."
"How are you awake so soon?"
"Please, it's called playing dead. I've been gassed by worse than a Breloom."
"You wouldn't shoot me in front of the kids now..."
"I'd think about it. They can’t see the barrel, it’s a small caliber, so it’ll most likely bury itself in your head and make you suffer for quite some time."
And then, before Jovi could shove her shoulder angel out of the way of the trigger, a Gallade teleported in front of him. In one arm, it held a Gardevoir in a torn dress against it, sore but awake from being attacked by a Houndoom. It took its free hand though, and sucker punched Abbott in the gut, then more lightly did Costello, who hadn't actually harmed anyone but at this point, the Gallade was just extremely angry and Costello was guilty by association.
The Police constable was along shortly after. He rode up on one of the Ranch jeeps to arrest them on guidance of a Lab aide. The assembled Pokémon all dispersed with the same elegance as a gentleman's club meeting and went back to their retirement, slowly, and in clusters of creatures who meant to catch up and hadn’t crossed paths, leaving the Blaziken and the Electivire to lead Cayna back to her own house on back of the property. The school brought out another bus to our driveway, since Cay had driven, and took everyone home.
I arrived several hours later; Gizmo was dog tired and had hurried as best he could with some cartoonishly large jet engines.
"Is everyone alright?" She was on the porch.
"What do you think?" She snapped. "Where were you? You said you would make the world safe! That's not the world of Pokémon I wanted to introduce them too, Glover! You were supposed to make it safe! Now they were in the middle of it! My own Daughter is in the middle of this world! You were supposed to make it safe and it's not safe!" She stood up, fell into my arms, sobbing and pounding my chest, pounding out her anger.
I let her cry. Through the sobs, I made out that Guin had been hurt, that a few kids may have pulled muscles, and I knew they were terrified, probably petrified. After a while, we went back to the porch swing. There was nothing to say; nothing I could say. She was right. I fell for a red herring, and something happened here. So I did the only thing I could do:
I let her cry.
To the Reader: Two quicky notes, in hopes I can squash two comments. Yes, I know "Talking Pokemon" are cliche' and somewhat awkward outside of PMD stories. Yes, I do have a motive, no I could not find a logical place to put a motive or explanation for it into this chapter. From the looks of things, Guin & 'Grim won't be making a serious re-appearence until No Witnesses, Pt 2, which will not be for sometime, look for it to be about when Janie gets to Goldenrod City.
In that same vein, There is a motivation for Guinivere to be in a sundress. If you can make a guess as to why she's talking, then the sundres follows the same logic. I should be able to square that away in a much shorter time though, potentially between chapters 17-20. I'm not done with 16 yet, but that's my projected timeframe. In the meantime, I hoped you enjoyed the red-herring humor that si Lunchboxes and Sundresses.