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Thread: Vision (PG-13)

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    Default Vision (PG-13)

    Greetings everyone. I'm back with an updated reboot of my first ever fan-fic. This is a Pokemorph story, and it was posted here a while back but got discontinued due to lack of time on my part to continue working on it.

    Well, I've learned from my earlier mistakes thanks to some helpful criticism, so criticism is very much welcome. Without further delay...

    Genre: Pokemorph. Expect action, comedy, suspense, a little bit of everything.

    Rated PG-13 for occasional violence and mature themes.


    ~ Vision ~

    “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”




    ~ Chapter 1 - On the Run ~



    With the sound of frying circuits, the door lock on her cell popped open. Jet looked at the dark expanse of the hall way with equal anticipation and dread. It was her first real shot at freedom, but if she got caught… she didn't want to think about that.

    A figure entered the doorway, a huge hulking shape, and for a moment Jet’s heart caught in her throat. A hand came through the doorway, grabbing Jet by the arm and pulling her out of the white-walled cell.

    “Come on, we have to move.” The man whispered.

    “Static!”

    Jet’s cry was muted, but the man still help up his finger. “No time to explain, we have to go. I still need to free Torch.”

    Jet huddled near the other four figures in the dark hall as Static pressed his hand against the last cell door lock. With a small pop, the lights on the lock went out and the door popped open. Torch exited his cell and Static motioned for the group to move. Hand signals only. The message was clear, be quiet.

    The group made their way around the corner and down the next hall. The silence in the dark hallways was almost suffocating. The only sounds were the faint footsteps of the distant guards, the ones they had to avoid at all costs.

    They came to the next corner and Static help up his hand and tapped under his eye. There was a camera in the next hall. If the camera spotted them, it was all over. The guards would come running and their escape would end before it began.

    Jet could hardly see in the dark, just silhouettes, but she could still recognize the tiny figure Static was motioning to, her sister Sneak. Static had his head to the side of the corner, peeking around. He waited for a moment and gave a small hand sign. Sneak vanished into the darkness.
    A moment later, a small scraping sound was heard and Static led the others around the corner. The camera had been sliced open, completely destroyed, while Sneak stood against the wall, motionless. Without a word, she joined them and the group moved on.

    The next camera was dispatched in the same way. They hurried through the next hall, when a sound stopped them all. Footsteps, and close. They ducked through a side door just in time to avoid being seen by the guards that entered the hall. The guards passed, agonizingly slowly. Each time one of their feet hit the ground, Jet wanted to scream.

    Just when she was sure they were going to throw open the doors and find them, the guards passed. Their footsteps slowly faded, and Static gave the signal to move on. It was only a matter of time before someone noticed the cameras, they had to hurry.

    Finally they found what they were looking for, the roof access. But Jet’s heart sank when she saw the guards. Only one human, but he was flanked by a large shape, a huge red bug whose metal skin shined faintly even in the dim light. The guard was asleep, but his Scizor was not. Its head turned, locking one big golden eye on the corner the group hid behind. Static held up his hand and the group stopped dead. Jet didn't even dare to breathe. One wrong move here and it was over.

    Thankfully, they had planned for this. Static gave another hand signal behind his back, and two other figures sprang into action. Jet recognized her sister Psyche immediately, her long ponytail giver her away even in the darkness. The other melted into the darkness so smoothly and eerily, that it could only be her little brother Dusk.

    Psyche knelt behind Static and put both hands to her head. Suddenly, the Scizor turned around, like it had heard something. It’s attention focused on the opposite hall, it didn't even notice as Dusk materialized out of the shadows behind it. The boy’s eyes lit up red in the darkness and the Scizor’s eyes rolled back as it collapsed limply to the floor. Its metallic body hit the ground with a soft clang, and the guard stirred to life just in time to see Static’s fist come down on his head. He too collapsed, and the group wasted no time in binding and gagging the guard, and a quick frisk revealed the Scizor’s pokeball. They recalled the bug and made their way up the ladder and out onto the roof.

    The stars were the first thing Jet saw of the outside world. The cold night wind chilled her to the bone, the fear of being caught doing nothing to help that, but her heart was racing. One by one, the leaped off of the roof, landing in the forest below, and running off into the night. Jet didn't look back, she didn't dare. One foot in front of the other was all she focused on. She was free.



    ---



    Jet opened her eyes to see the bright blue sky of the early morning. As she awoke, more sensations began to fill her senses. The morning songs of birds rang in her ears, the smell of flowers and dew-dropped grass came with each inhaled breath, and the cool morning air blew past her skin, cooling her off from the pleasant warmth of the sun. It was a beautiful morning. If you were going to pick a morning to experience as your first dawn outside of a white walled cell, this was a good one to pick.

    Deciding that she had spent enough time lying on her back, Jet got up and stretched her arms, feeling the tension melt away from her muscles. A night of sleeping on the ground would do that to you, even if you weren’t exactly used to a soft, comfy bed. And it would mess up your hair too. She realized as much as she tugged a few loose leaves and things from her long blond and pink striped hair.

    Her ears strained to detect any familiar sounds, trying to pick out anything she recognized. It was no use trying to hear things that were unfamiliar, all these sounds out here in the woods sounded strange to her. But, to her relief, the air was serene and calm, with nothing disturbing the peaceful morning. Satisfied that there was no pressing danger, her attention turned towards the rest of her group, the six other bodies scattered around the small clearing that made up everyone she cared about. They were her family, pure and simple, no matter how much blood they actually shared.

    Sitting closest to her was the big guy himself, Static. He was the oldest in their group and thus de facto leader until they were able to sort out things with a proper vote. Though Static wasn't simply the biggest one here, he was also the strongest one here. A man of brute strength and determination, but also a man with a kind heart, he was the closest thing that the group had to a father figure. Considering he was somewhere around seventeen, that wasn't saying much.

    There were a few things about him that made him stand out, besides his height and build though. Static’s hair was always spiked back, always. His blond locks would never budge from their sharp, gelled look. Supposedly, it was a side effect of having a few hundred watts of electricity pumping through your body. Then there was the pattern of thick, haphazard black stripes that marked his upper arms and his back. They were hard to see under the grass-stained white jumpsuit he wore, but they were there nonetheless.

    Curled up on the ground beside Static were the two youngest boys in their group, Blitz and Dusk. Blitz was hyper, brash, and loud; in short, your average fourteen year old boy. Many of the group’s rather unique traits were a tad difficult to hide, and Blitz’s were no exception.

    His unruly shoulder-length mop of black scraggly hair couldn't hide the two canine ears that stuck up from the top of his head, but it did do a fairly good job at hiding the fact that he lacked normal human ears. The nails on his hands and feet were also long and sharp, like the claws of a beast, and when combined with his piercing red eyes and his black furred ears lended a distinctly wolf-like appearance to the young boy that was a bit discerning even with his normally warm smile.

    Then there was Blitz’s battle buddy, Dusk. He was not only the youngest boy, but the youngest one in their whole group. To put it bluntly though, he had the most extreme deformations of any of them. The ghostly DNA they had spliced into the poor kid hadn't mixed well with his much livelier little boy DNA, and the result was quite unsettling. All of the skin on his entire body was stained a cool purple color and his eyes were not only red, but they glowed from within as if back-lit by a light bulb. To top it off, his hair was pale, more colorless than white.

    All of this was hard to see under his thick layer of clothing though. Dusk was bundled up from head to toe in the same type of white garbs that they all still wore; gloves, pants, a hoodie; there was hardly any of his skin showing at all. Then again, saying he tanned easily was a massive understatement. Strong sunlight would fry his skin like bacon on a griddle, it was not a pretty sight. Still, underneath all the creepy ghastly things, he was still just a cute little boy.

    Jet took a moment to spread her wings a bit in the sunlight. Yes, her wings. Like the others, Jet wasn't exactly normal. Her jumpsuit had slits cut into the back, and from those slits slid a pair of large, feathered wings, like the wings of a large bird. They were covered in tan feathers, changing hues from almost white on the inner downy feathers to the long sharp tan of her wingtips. The feathers near her shoulders were of a darker brown color, making them pop a bit against her light skin and the stark white of her lab-approved clothing.

    With her wings all the way out, she had a good thirteen foot wingspan. And yet, she could fold them up against her back tight enough that they wouldn't bulge out her shirt. Of course, she’d cramp up if she didn't stretch them out every once and a while, and she had to admit, the sunlight felt good on her sore wings.

    Now, where was the rest of their group? Looking up, she spotted one of the other girls in their group, sound asleep in the branches of the shady Oak tree. Her name was Psyche, and of all of them save Dusk’s unique skin, Psyche’s skin was the darkest. She had the warm, radiant tan of an Arabian princess, with sharp features and a thin, lithe figure. Not only did she have the body of a dancer or a gymnast, but she had the skill to back it up. There was a reason she was sleeping in the tree instead of against it.

    As if to further difference her from the others, the only outward indication of abnormality she displayed were her rich amber-colored eyes that were just a bit too golden to pass as brown, but close enough that it wasn't anywhere near as attention grabbing as Blitz’s crimson eyes. Like the rest of the group though, she was sound asleep. With her eyes closed, you’d never know she wasn't a normal girl like any other.

    The next of her kin to catch her eye was the lone wolf of the group, Torch. His jet black hair and his clear blue eyes combined with his strong features gave him a real handsome side, but his extremely short temper and his dejected attitude diminished it, if only a bit. There was something of a dangerous air about him too and it was both comforting, when he was on watch, and troubling, when he was not on watch.

    Like the other six in their rag-tag group, he too had a few odd traits, namely his arms. There were only three fingers on each of his hands, each one ending in a sharp, lizard-like claw. To complete the reptilian look, bright orange scales covered his arms all the way down to his elbows. Much the same as Dusk or Blitz, his particular abnormalities were hard to disguise. Unlike Dusk or Blitz however, he actually let it bother him. He was the only one in their group who looked at himself with a kind of sadness, as though a part of him knew what it had been like to be normal at some point, even though Jet knew for a fact that they had all been born with these traits, even him.

    The head count was nearly completed. The only one left was… “Sneak?” Jet asked. No reply, the little girl was nowhere to be seen. Though that wasn't entirely troubling, her name was Sneak after all.

    “You woke up.” a small voice said from behind her. Jet turned around calmly, used to the routine by now, and found Sneak staring up at her from behind a tree, one arm wrapped around the thick plant as though it was providing her with some kind of protection.

    Though Sneak was a full year older than Dusk, she was actually shorter than the boy, and her tiny stature made her the smallest one in the group. She hardly had a presence at all, and her grey eyes and raven hair didn't help with that, even though her hair was streaked with one small stripe of pink, right above her left ear.

    “Yeah, I’m up.” Jet nodded and placed a hand on her hip, her wings still swaying gently in the soft wind. “You’re up early, as usual.”

    Sneak smiled, “I don’t sleep much, so I waited.” The young girl began messing with a strand of her hair, as though nervous. That was standard routine for her.

    “Think we should wake the others?” Jet cast a glance to where the other five kids were still sleeping soundly. “We should probably get moving. Its already been a few hours since we got out, so I’m sure they’re already tearing that place apart looking for us.”

    Sneak said nothing; she simply nodded in agreement and shrunk a bit further behind the tree.

    “So… are you going to help me or what? You know how they get when you shake them awake.”

    “I’d rather watch…” Sneak nudged her head into the distance, indicating that she meant she’d rather watch out for goons from that wretched place then dare to wake up her siblings.

    A sigh was the only response Jet could give. “Fine, why don’t you go look for a safe way out of here then? That way, at least you’ll be spared.”

    “Don’t worry about it, I’m already up.” The two girls turned around simultaneously to see Blitz pulling himself to his feet. The young boy scratched behind his dog-like ears and shook some grass out of his hair before turning back to them. “No way I could sleep with a conversation going on right beside me.” Blitz’s ears weren't just for show; he really did have wolf-level radar dishes on his head. He could hear a Krikitune chirp clear across the forest.

    “Yeah, yeah, we don’t have time to sleep anyway, go get the others up. We need to keep moving.” The more Jet thought about the goons catching up to them, the more anxious she felt. There was no way she was going to let them get carted back to that place, especially not after a few short hours of freedom.

    “You just didn't want to do it yourself, you scaredy-bird.” Despite his words, Blitz got right to business, shaking Dusk and Static awake. Dusk was up instantly, immediately full of energy. The little guy ran on a few hours of sleep a week. Who knows how long he had even slept last night?

    Static on the other hand woke up groggy, moving his arms like he was swatting something away. Then, he snapped awake, giving Blitz a static shock in the process. “Ouch, watch it big guy.”

    “Sorry, sorry. I can’t help it.” Static immediately began scanning the group, doing a head count as Jet already had. “Where’s Sneak?”

    “She’s right here…” Jet trailed off as she realized that the tiny girl was no longer behind the tree. “Well, she was right here.”

    “Didn't you tell her to take a look ahead?” Blitz added. He was forever the smart-alec.

    “In that case, I wouldn't be surprised if she’s already scouting.” The big guy stood up, and gave a clap, a sparking sound accompanying it. It was as good an alarm clock as any, and a second later Psyche leapt nimbly to the ground, her long red pony tail trailing in the air behind her.

    “Are we moving out?” she asked.

    Static nodded. “We've already wasted enough time I think. I’d be shocked if they haven’t discovered by now that we’re not in our cell anymore.”

    “Now the question is how much time we still have.” Psyche brushed a long lock of her red hair out of her eyes and placed two fingers to her temple. “I’m not picking anything up, they must still be some distance away from us, or they are on the wrong track.”

    “Or they have Dark-types on patrol.” Jet added.

    Psyche’s eyes narrowed a bit. “That still wouldn't hide their trainers. Unless they’re just letting them roam free.”

    “Hey Blitz, wake Torch up will you?” Static pointed over to where Torch was still asleep against his tree. “We need to move.”

    “You got it boss-man.” In a flash, Blitz was right up beside Torch. No one could cross open ground like he could. The young boy reached out and shook Torch’s arm gently and then, when that failed to get a response, a bit stronger. Torch snapped awake, lashing out at the air in front of him and nearly sending Blitz falling over as he dodged Torch’s sharp claws. “Whoa, friendly fire! Get a grip man.”

    It took a moment for Torch to realize where he was and who it was that had woken him up, and when he did, he leaned back against the tree and sighed. “I’m not used to being shaken awake.”

    “Yeah, I can see that. You just about took my ears off you hot-head.”

    “Then maybe I should aim a bit lower next time.” He tapped a clawed hand against his mouth.

    “That is so uncalled for. I’m the victim here!”

    “That’s enough.” Psyche was tapping her foot impatiently, a scowl starting to form on her face. “Cut it out, we have bigger things to worry about right now. As soon as Sneak gets back, we need to move.”

    “Already here.” came Sneak’s whisper like voice. The whole group turned at the same time to see her standing right there behind Static, as if she had been there the whole time. She shrunk back a bit at all the sudden attention and began fiddling with her fingers.

    “Great, what did you find?” Jet asked.

    The little girl pointed off into the woods. “There’s a road over there that heads towards the city.”

    Torch frowned. “A road? That leaves us a bit too open doesn't it?”

    A nod. “Un-huh, but there’s a grove of berry tress down that way,” she changed the direction she was pointing, “and a small trail that goes about the same direction as the road.”

    “Well done.” Static said. He reached down and rubbed Sneak’s head, and she smiled in response.

    “Then what are we waiting for?” Jet gave her wings a few more flaps before tucking them back against her back. “Let’s get rolling.”

    A chorus of agreements sounded out across the group, and a few movements later, the clearing was empty again as the kids set out on their way towards their first day of freedom, if they could keep it.

    ---


    Darkness filled the room. The small space was lit only by the pale, artificial glow of the various monitors and devices that were scattered around the room. Pipes, wires, and other mechanisms filled the rest of the space, filling the room like the inner workings of some larger machine.

    In the pale blue glow, a single figure could be seen, typing commands away on the keyboard. The monitors ahead of him were shifting through various security camera recordings, several of them showing glimpses of figures moving quickly through shadows and around corners. As he watched, Static entered the frame for a spilt second before a flash of light crossed the screen. The recording went out, and a new one took its place, this one showing an obscured figure disappear around the corner. All the while, the hunched figure typed away at his tablet computer, updating data, documenting observations, and making notes of the new developments with his project.

    The camera recordings were from late last night, or early this morning depending on how you looked at it. His subjects had escaped. They had actually done it. There was a part of him that had always wondered just how far his experiment would run and with last night’s escape all expectations had been shattered. Not only had the subjects actually developed strong wills and ideas, but they had initiative and intelligence! They had acted of their own accord and defied his authority. It was truly fascinating. Their mental powers had reached that of the average human teenager, perhaps even surpassed it. To think that they were not mere animals, but something human, something more than human, the very idea of it filled his cold heart with anticipation.

    A sudden sound pierced over the dull hum that filled the room as a new figure entered, the red emergency light from the hall practically being swallowed up by the small room’s shadows. The figure, a tired looking man in a lab coat, took a moment to carefully choose his words. “Dr. Orfeo, we've completed the search of the facility. It appears that the subjects have managed to completely bypass our security systems.” He paused. “They… are no longer in the facility. They have escaped to the outside.”

    “I’m very aware of that.” Orfeo said a twinge of what could only be called annoyance on his voice. “The footage from our security cameras has proven to be most interesting.”

    “If you knew they had already escaped, then why didn't you call off the search?” the scientist asked.

    “Patience, there is too much that needs to be studied for trivial distractions. This is an absolute breakthrough for the project, a truly unforeseen turn of events. I must record everything as it is before any of the evidence is tarnished by those imbeciles.”

    “Sir, you…”

    “Quiet, I will have no distractions.” As if an afterthought, he added, “Go and prep the search teams. I want them-“

    A new image suddenly popped up on the large overhead monitor, showing a rather displeased looking young man. His blue hair was perfectly styled, not a hair out of place, and he wore a wrinkle-less black suit. Judging by his nearly emotionless expression, he was every bit as business oriented as his attire. “Dr. Orfeo, I believe you owe me an explanation.”

    “Ah, Saturn. I was wondering when the fallout would reach all the way to you.”

    “And yet I was the one who had to contact you, once again. I’m growing tired of this Orfeo. I want them found, now. If you fail me again, I will see to it that I place Project Helix in the hands of a more loyal subject. Do you understand?”

    “Of course, don’t take me for a fool Saturn. The search teams are already on their way out.” He gave a glance to the scientist behind him, “aren't they?”

    “Yes, of course.” He threw a hasty salute before leaving the room in a rush. It wasn't his place to eavesdrop on a meeting of the higher-ups.

    Saturn didn't seem convinced. “I won’t repeat myself again Orfeo, this is your last chance. I expect results by tomorrow.” And with that, the signal cut, and Saturn vanished from the monitor.

    A grin crossed Orfeo’s face. “You talk a big game Saturn, but you’re no Cyrus. I wonder how far your ambitions will take you?” he laughed, a harsh cackling sound, “I look forward to recording the results of your grand experiment.”

    ---


    With the sun now clearly on its way up in the sky, the heat of the day was starting to become a factor for the group of kids who found themselves hiking through the woods. Though it looked like Blitz was leading the group, the young boy was simply following a scent trail left by Sneak.

    The little girl was so adept at, well, sneaking, that Blitz’s nose was the only way to track her. And because of her Sneasel blood, not even Psyche’s mental abilities could get a read on her. But, that same knack for invisibility also made her the perfect one of the group to run point. With her up front, they would never just run into something. She would see whatever it was before they saw her, guaranteed.

    Though it offered a pleasant atmosphere to walk in, the berry grove was also filled with shorter trees. The warm sunlight shone down with an intensity that was only increasing the closer they got to high noon.

    “Man, I never thought I’d miss that place, but I could really go for some air conditioning right about now.” Blitz said. His nose was working furiously, tracking the invisible member of their team as she made her progress further ahead in the tall grass.

    “Yeah, cool air, free food, and a nice cell door to keep you safe at night.” Torch said. “What else could a guy ask for?”

    “How about a sense of humor?” The smile Jet cast Torch’s way was met with only a look of irritation, but she did garner a chuckle from the rest of the group. In the end Torch couldn’t help but smile, if only just a bit.

    “Point taken, but I still think it’s a bit early to be cracking jokes about that place. We don’t even know how long it’ll be before they find us.”

    “And just what makes you so sure they’ll find us?” Jet asked. She was leaned in, facing her dark-haired friend as she asked it, even as she continued to walk forward.

    “You don’t think they can find us?” All eyes turned to Static as he said that, some with shock, others concern. The big guy looked back with a look of surprise. “What, you think they’re just going to let us go? They’ll be looking for us for sure, and we don’t exactly have a plan.”

    “Not to mention we don’t even know what they’re going to send after us.” Up until now, Psyche had been silent. But when she did speak, her words went right to the point. “We are literally clueless as to how to avoid capture.”

    For a moment, everything was silent. “You know, you’re right.” Static placed a hand on her shoulder. He was the only one Psyche would let do that without good reason. “But you really don’t have to be so harsh.”

    Her eyes pierced into Static’s calm expression. “I’m only stating the truth. Like it or not, we are little more than stray sheep on the run from our shepherd.”

    “Point.” Dusk said. The little boy was riding on Static’s shoulders, and had so far still been napping, or at least appearing to be.

    “Yeah,” Blitz added, “She does have a point.”

    “Look, I don’t like this any more than the rest of you.” Static cast his gaze around the others, “But the last thing we need to do right now is wonder when they’ll catch us. We need to be focusing on what we’re going to do, where we’re going to go, how we’re going to get there, not how long we have before we’re locked up again.”

    Torch nodded to himself. “I agree. It does us no good to worry about escaping if we don’t think we’ll make it anyway.”

    With a roll of her eyes, Psyche shook Static’s hand off of her shoulder and turned away from the others, something akin to a pout on her face. “I was simply giving an accurate observation of our situation, nothing more. You all know I wouldn't want any of us to be taken back.”

    “Yeah, we know.” Jet smiled. “We’re just giving you a hard time. I think we’re all still a little worn out.”

    “Hey now, don’t sweat it, we’re…” Blitz stopped mid-sentence, his canine ears twitching furiously. “Everyone, get down!”

    The group broke apart instantly, each individual diving for their own cover like a group of wild Pokemon startled by a passing trainer. A few risked a curious glance out, but the moment the sound of the helicopter became apparent, all heads vanished into the brush. A moment later, the helicopter came flying over the berry grove. It was white, and unmarked, a clear trademark of the labs. The machine hovered menacingly for a moment, before changing directions and flying off once more. Once the sound started to die, the group emerged from the undergrowth one by one.

    “They’ve already got the choppers on us?” Blitz was clearly flustered, his ears were still scanning the air wildly and even his nose was twitching. “Maybe Psyche is right.”

    “Of course I’m right.” Psyche closed her eyes. “But I never said to give up. We’re outgunned, outnumbered, and they have the home field advantage, but I don’t think we’re out done just yet.”

    Jet sighed to herself. “Well, when you put it that way…”

    “Are we taking a break?” All eyes turned towards the source of the soft voice to see Sneak edging her head out from behind a nearby tree, a curious look on her face. “You all stopped following me.”

    “Yeah, we were just taking a break.” Static said. He motioned for the others to fall back into line. “Come on. We need to hit Jubilife City before that chopper comes back. Or worse.”

    “You don’t have to tell me twice.” Blitz added. He turned back around to find Sneak had already vanished back into the forest. “Jeez, could she cut me a break every one and a while? My nose is getting all worn out…”

    ---


    The so called Grunts of Team Galactic were gathered outside the labs. The stark white, industrial looking building clashed not only with the forest around it, but even with the worn unpaved road that led away, down the side of the mountain and towards the main highway. The Grunts gathered outside were all in the new standard Team Galactic uniform.

    Ever since Cyrus’s disappearance, Saturn had lead the Team in a new direction and as a symbol of that had given them a new uniform. They all wore black and blue uniform-like suits with silver trimmings. The large iconic “G” of Team Galactic was now a crisp white. They now more closely resembled law enforcement officers than the rouges and miscreants of the past, but a new coat of paint does little to change the rust on the inside.

    “Listen up.” The leader was saying. He wasn't a commander or anything, he was still a Team Galactic Grunt, but he led this little team, and he still asked for some respect from his followers. “There’s been an incident at the labs, and a few of the test subjects have escaped. I've been told by the lab officials that these subjects are to be considered unstable and extremely dangerous, so I’m issuing a shoot on sight order. Be sure to use only tranq rounds, they want them re-captured alive. That is not optional, do you understand?”

    “Yes sir!” The Grunts saluted, each standing in line. There were twelve of them in all, men and women.

    “Good, then let’s spread out and find them before they reach a nearby city. This operation is considered a Level Four security risk. Failure will not be tolerated.”

    “Understood, sir.”

    “Dismissed, spread out and find them.”

    A series of bright flashes lit up the area as the Grunts all released a Pokemon. There were many canine and feline Pokemon; the black wolf-like Mightyena, a large, scruffy Skuntank, a tan lean Persian, a fierce dog-like Granbull, and a single spiky-tailed Zigzagoon. The last of which got a few laughs from a few of the other Grunts.

    “A Zigzagoon, really?” one of them said. That Grunt was standing next to the rather fierce looking Granbull and even the large bipedal dog seemed to be grinning.

    “Hey, he knows Oder Sleuth too, It’s not like this is a battle.” The small raccoon’s trainer said. Besides, I’ll bet he can outrun that fat bulldog of yours.”

    “Heh, we’ll see about that. You won’t be so smug when your little pet gets taken out by those freaks.” He turned to his Granbull and placed a hand on its short, lavender fur. “Come on Granbull, let’s get to it. Use Oder Sleuth.”

    The big dog brought his nose to the ground, and began sniffing around for any strange scent trails it could find. A moment later, it’s stubby round ears perked up and it started to growl excitedly. The Granbull’s owner gave a mock salute. “See ya.” And the pair took off into the forest. The Zigzagoon’s owner couldn't help but grin.

    “Yeah, we’ll see alright. Let’s go Rocky.” The Zigzagoon shook its spiked out fur and began sniffing the ground eagerly. A moment later, he had the trail and his bushy tail began twitching with excitement. And the two of them shot off into the woods as well, hot on the trail of the escapees.
    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
    Watch your step! Sig Under Construction!

  2. #2
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    ~ Chapter 2 – Breaking News ~



    There were certain times in life where you experience something that you’ve never experienced before. Moments when something you’ve only ever heard about is suddenly right there in front of you and you just don’t know how to react. This was one of those times.

    The group of kids found themselves on a bluff, overlooking the sparkling metropolis that was Jubilife City. The towering broadcast station, the multitude of cars and people, the rows and rows of houses, storefronts, and other places; it was all so much to take in at once that they all just stood there, taking it all in as best that they could.

    “Wow.” Jet finally said. “I mean, just wow.”

    “Yeah, I know.” Torch said. “I mean, look at it.”

    “Look at all the things!” The small dog-like member of their group was certainly acting the part. Blitz was hopping up and down, his ears turning this way and that. If he had a tail, he’d be wagging it.

    “So… are we going to go down there or… what?” The red head said. Psyche was doing her best to maintain her usual calm façade, but it was impossible for her to hide the glint of excitement in her eyes.

    Sneak wrapped her arm tightly around Psyche’s leg. “I don’t know. It’s so noisy and bright…” her eyes scanned the city streets below, as if looking for all the places she could hide. “Do we have to?”

    “Well, yeah. I mean we’ve got to get some food.” Jet briefly considered stretching out her wings, but decided against it. It wasn’t the best idea this close to the city.

    “Not so fast guys. I don’t think we can just waltz into town looking like this.” The others turned to see Torch holding up his scale covered arms, “Looking like this, we’d only freak them out. You saw how some of the lab coats looked at us, now imagine how people who didn’t make us would react.”

    “You… have a good point.” With her wings easily hidden, Jet looked like a normal girl. But Torch had those arms, and they were a lot harder to hide. Of anyone of them, he would have the most difficulty keeping a low profile.

    “Then we will have to split up.” Static said. “Some of us will go into town and get as much food and supplies as they can, and the rest will wait here with me.”

    “But is that really the best idea? We don’t even know how close those goons are behind us.” As if to prove his point, Blitz began sniffing the air, his ears tilting towards the forest.

    “Don’t know, if follow.” Dusk practically whispered. He was still riding on Static’s shoulders. “Maybe lost.”

    “I don’t know if I agree with you buddy, but you still might be right. We don’t even know if they are closing in or not.”

    “Look, either way we’re wasting time here.” With her foot tapping and eyes closed, Psyche looked very much like a teacher scorning her students. “I’m going into the city. Anyone who wants to come with me, raise your hand and follow me.”

    Jet threw her hand up. “I’m going. I really want to check this place out. See how normal girls live life and all.”

    “Sneak.” At Psyche’s use of her name, the tiny girl visibly flinched. “You’re coming along too. It’ll be good for you to get out of the shadows for once.”

    “But I like the dark…” She began messing with her fingers again. “I don’t know if- ah.”

    Psyche grabbed her hand, cutting her off. “It’ll be fine. You will be with me and Jet after all. I promise I won’t let anything happen to you.”

    “Then I’ll leave it up to you three.” Static said. “The fewer of us who go down there, the better. I’ll wait here with the guys.”

    Blitz practically deflated. “Aw, I so wanted to check it out. This bites man.”

    “Easy Blitz, you’ve got those ears, remember?” Static pointed out.

    “It’s okay, I’ll snag you a hat or something.” Jet said. “That way, you can come with us to the next city.”

    “Tch, fine. I guess I’ll wait this one out. But you better not forget my hat. I’ll remember it if you do.”

    “Speaking of clothes,” Torch chimed in, “Would you mind finding me some gloves or something? Even something that just covered the arms would help.”

    “We’ll see what we can do.” Jet said with a nod.

    Psyche was growing even more impatient. “We’re wasting time here, come on and let’s get moving.”

    The three girls waved a goodbye to their group as they made their way down the bluff. It was a steep, rocky hillside, which made climbing downward difficult. Several times, Jet had to resist the urge to toss out her wings and just glide down the hill. But they were close to a city and the fear of being spotted made her think twice about doing so. Psyche on the other hand made her way nimbly down the hillside, never once tripping or losing her footing. Her knack for keeping herself balanced never ceased to amaze the others. She could walk every bit as well on her hands as she could her feet. Sneak was another matter. The small girl moved so quickly and so softly that not only did she not kick up any dust on her descent, which even Psyche had, but she somehow managed to disappear from sight a few times, even on the rather sparsely decorated hillside.

    Jet took a tumble, her foot catching on a stray rock. Her wings tried to snap out reflexively, but she caught herself and pulled them back in. Unfortunately, that meant she could no longer recover her fall. She rolled on the dirt a few times, hitting a few rocks and bumps but managing to avoid the worst of it until she could stop herself. Shaking her head to clear out some of the dust, Jet pulled herself back up and made her way down the rest of the hill, a bit more carefully this time. No need to risk another tumble like that.

    Psyche and Sneak had beaten her to the bottom, and the two of them looked relatively dirt free. When she took a look at her own suit however, she found that the white material was no longer just grass stained but dirt stained as well. But at least the material had been sturdy enough not to tear during her fall.

    “Are you okay?” Psyche asked.

    “I think so. I nearly shot out my wings, I mean… uh.”

    “Yeah, just don’t do that in town and we should be okay.” Her voice was a bit calmer than normal, as if she was trying not to get worked up about anything.

    Jet cast a glance back up to the bluff and found that she couldn't see the boys from down here. They might have gone back into the woods a bit just to stay hidden. No sooner had the thought crossed her mind than Blitz’s head popped into view over the edge of the bluff. “Nice tumble!” he called. “Try not to land on your face next time.”

    She could see his cheeky grin from here. “Yeah, I wouldn't want to damage this cute face now would I?” However Blitz responded was out of her hearing range. He stuck out his tongue and ducked back behind the bluff, out of sight. “I hope they’ll be okay by themselves.”

    “Don’t worry about them Jet, Static won’t let anything happen to them.” Psyche placed two fingers to her temple again, taking a slow, deep breath as she closed her eyes. “I can’t tell if anyone’s following us or not. There’s too many thoughts coming in from the city, its… overwhelming.”

    “There are lots and lots of people? I don’t know about this…”

    “Relax Sneak, we’ll be fine. Just hold onto my hand okay?”

    Sneak nodded and grabbed Psyche’s hand once more, her tiny delicate looking fingers wrapped tightly around the redhead’s the way Jet imagined a child would hold onto their mother.

    “And I’m here too, so don’t worry.” Though she was doing her best to look confidant, the look on Jet’s face ended up being a little sillier than she had wanted it to be and Sneak couldn't help but laugh. Even the ever-stoic Psyche cracked a smile.

    “What? Why are you guys laughing?”

    “Don’t worry about it.” An annoyed look crossed Jet’s face, and Psyche gave a dismissing wave. “We have a job to do remember? Let’s get to it. We don’t know how much time we've got.”

    “Yeah, the sooner we get back, the better.” Resisting the urge to throw her wings out again, Jet took off into the city, Psyche taking off after her as she practically dragged Sneak along. Psyche was trying to get her to slow down, but Jet was too excited to pay her warnings any attention. After a minute or two, she came to a back alley, taking note of the various trash containers and other assorted junk that lay scattered around. The labs had been cleaned to a polish every single day, so seeing garbage just laying around was a first for her. “Check it out, they just leave all this trash and stuff outside. How do you think they get rid of it?”

    Psyche came to a slow behind Jet, her hand still clamped firmly on Sneak’s lest the tiny girl disappear into the city. “Please don’t run off again.”

    “Hey, now, it’s not like I left you guys behind.”

    “It’s not like you tried not to.” Her amber eyes glared into Jet.

    She threw her hands up in front of her. “Relax; I won’t do it again okay?”

    “Good.” Psyche nodded to herself, her long ponytail bobbing in the slight breeze. “No splitting up, we stay together alright?” Jet nodded, doing her best to look apologetic. Psyche knew it was just a ruse, that Jet was just trying to get her to calm down, but now wasn't the time to press it. “Now, let’s find a place that has some clothes.”

    The three girls emerged from the alleyway, stepping out into the sunlight. Immediately, noise filled their senses. Passing cars, people walking by on the sidewalk, radios and TVs broadcasting all manner of sounds from the storefronts, it was so much to take in that for a moment they just stood there gaping like they had on the bluff. Psyche was the first to snap out of it, and she grabbed Jet by the shoulder and gave her a shake. “Hey, people are starting to stare. Just act normal.” She said in a low voice.

    “What’s normal?” she asked back.

    Psyche opened her mouth to respond, but stopped cold. What was normal? “I… I don’t know. Just, act natural or something. Try not to act like you've never seen a city before.”

    But we haven’t seen a city before. Was what Jet wanted to say, but she just nodded. There was no point in arguing with Psyche.

    Doing only a reasonable job of looking like they hadn't just landed from another planet, the trio of girls made their way out into the crowds of Jubilife City. They were getting their fair share of looks, and not just for their expressions. They were still dressed in matching white jumpsuits, still stained with grass and dirt from their overnight hike. And they weren't exactly properly groomed either, Psyche had her ponytail, but Jet looked like she had just rolled out of bed and Sneak was so stained with various bits of grass and dirt that she looked like she was wearing camouflage.

    Psyche did her usual act of putting two fingers to her temple, her way of focusing her unique talent. “They seem to think we’re some kind of trainers or something. I’m getting a few… insulting comments, but otherwise they think we’re just some oddballs.” She whispered.

    “I can live with that. Not like it’s too far from the truth.”

    “So if anyone asks, we are trainers who had a misfortunate camping experience.”

    “Sounds reasonable, might even garner us some sympathy points.”

    “Don’t go pushing it Jet, we still don’t know how to get by in a place like this.” The way she said it made it seem like the city was an alien place, perhaps even a frightening one. “We still need to- Sneak, stop struggling.”

    “But it’s so bright.” Sneak whined as she pulled on Psyche's arm, gently trying to slip out of her grasp. It was clear that she was not as enthralled as Jet was about this new setting.

    “I’m not letting you run off, not here. So calm down and stop pulling my arm. We’ll be alright.”

    Even with all the crowds and characters of every sort milling about, Jet couldn't help but notice all the non-humans that were around. “Check out the Pokemon. I never thought I’d see so many in the city.”

    “They must all belong to trainers. I've never even seen most of these before.”

    “Check out the little pink kitty.” Jet said, pointing out the Skitty that was following closely behind a little girl. The cat’s large fluffy tail bobbed along behind it as it skipped happily along.

    “I like that one…” said Sneak. She was pointing out a small balloon looking one that had one of its legs in a young boy’s hand. At first glance, it looked like lavender colored balloon with a cloud on top bobbing in the wind, but the blinking eyes, the slow breathing, and the fact that it seemed to be leading the boy rather than the other way around gave it away.

    “This must be a big city for trainers.” Psyche said.

    “Hey, is that a clothing place?” The other two followed Jet’s outstretched arm to a decent sized storefront. The windows were lined with all sorts of posters and strange looking white statues that all showed off some kind of clothing. The sign above the large glass doors read “Coronet Co.” and people were going in empty handed, and coming out with large paper bags that had to contain clothes since it looked like that’s all they had displayed in the store.

    Psyche frowned. “It certainly looks like it. Though it looks a bit crowded doesn't it? Maybe we should-“

    “Come on, let’s check it out.” Jet said. Ignoring Psyche’s protests once again, Jet took off towards the store leaving her two friends with no choice but to follow after her.


    ---


    “Jeez, what’s taking the girls so long?” Blitz was laid out on the grass, staring up at the passing clouds.

    “They’re probably goofing off in the city.” Torch said. He was currently sitting cross-legged by a tree, using his claws to carve a small piece of wood into something abstract. “I don’t think even Psyche could keep Jet in line. And if sneak managed to slip out of her grasp…”

    “Never find.” Dusk mumbled. The small boy was as lazy as ever, laying draped over a log and staring at something on the ground with vague interest.

    Blitz laughed. “You got that right. I swear she can turn invisible.” He threw his arm out, pointing up at the sky. “Hey, does that cloud look like a steak to you?”

    “Can you please not talk about food right now; I’m seriously considering eating this stick.”

    “I thought you were a carnivore by design.” Static said with a laugh.

    “Oh, what if you carved the stick into a steak? Would that count?” The small hunk of wood came flying at Blitz’s head, bouncing off with a thud. The boy bared his fangs like a wolf. “Hey, watch it man.”

    Torch game him a look that said “Who, me?” and Dusk started chuckling to himself.

    “Even you Dusk? Can’t a guy get a break around here?”

    “Well, you did start it.” Static added. The big guy was laying back against a tree, eyes closed and mostly lost in thought.

    The boy put a hand to his heart as though wounded. “Betrayed by my own comrades, to think this is how you repay me for bringing the joy of laughter into your lives.”

    Torch rolled his eyes. “It’s not our fault you’re such an idiot. Now throw me that stick back, I’m not done carving it yet.”

    Blitz picked up the stick from where it sat on the ground, taking a moment to look it over. It was carved in intricate flowing lines, twisting and curving into all manner of interesting patterns and designs. “Hey, this is actually not bad. Where’d you learn to carve like this?”

    “Just toss it back would you?” The irritation in the older boy’s voice was more apparent this time.

    “How about I get an apology first,” Blitz grinned. “An ‘I’m so sorry, I won’t do it again Blitz. I appreciate your humor.’ should suffice.”

    “How about you toss that stick back and I won’t do to your face what I did to it.”

    “You drive a hard bargain mister. Fine, just a simple apology and you get the stick back unharmed.”

    “Hostage.” Dusk said.

    Torch cast an icy glare at the pair. “So that’s how it’s going to be.” He cleared his throat and began speaking in a mocking, high pitched tone. “I’m so sorry for over-reacting; I promise I’ll laugh every time you intentionally annoy me from now on.”

    “Good, I hope you’re learned to appreciate me.” Blitz tossed the stick back to Torch, and he carefully picked it out of the air, taking care not to damage it with his claws.

    Static couldn't help but laugh. “You two are crazy, you know that?”

    “Crazy crazy, or… awesome crazy?” Blitz asked.

    Dusk rolled off of the log, performing a lazy somersault and landing in a sitting position. “Crazy.”

    “Hard to argue with that.” Blitz said with a shrug. “Hey, does that cloud look like…” he trailed off.

    “Like what?” Torch asked absentmindedly, his attention back on the stick.

    “Shut it.” Torch looked up, ready to snap out a comeback, but the intense look on the wild kid’s face stopped that thought. “Oh crap. Guys, move. Now.”

    Static was up in an instant. He slung Dusk over his shoulder and took off after Blitz and Torch as they dashed into the woods. “What is it?”

    “Voices, footsteps, growls, it’s them, no doubt.” Blitz said.

    Torch looked back as they ran. “What about the girls?”

    “We’ll have to meet back up with them later.” Static didn't look happy about that thought. “Hopefully those goons will assume they’re with us.”

    “What if they don’t? What if we don’t see them again?” Blitz was on the edge of tears.

    “See them again.” Dusk said. His voice was so calm, so focused, that Blitz just nodded and wiped his tears away.

    “Should we go into the city then, try to find them?” Torch had pocketed the stick, but his claws were twitching. It was clear what was on his mind.

    “And put them in danger too? No, we don’t even know if they’ll follow them into the city. If we can give them their shot at freedom, then…”

    “Static, as much as I agree with you, we can’t run forever.”

    “No Torch, we can’t. But when the time comes to fight, I want it to be on our terms. Not theirs. Right now, having the girls on their own is our best chance. Psyche will have a plan, she always does.”

    Torch turned his gaze forward again. “For their sake, I hope you’re right.”


    ---


    At the moment, Jet was a kid in a candy store. “Look at all the clothes! There’s so many to choose from.”

    “Calm down, you’re making a scene.” Psyche warned. Sneak had calmed down once they got in the store and she was no longer tugging at Psyche’s arm. She was instead looking at the racks of clothes with a glint in her eye that Psyche knew all too well. But the older girl was tired of holding her hand so tightly. “I’ll let you go if you promise to stay in the store, and to come back if I call you, okay?”

    “You mean it?” Sneak was practically pleading, her voice was all sugar.

    “Of course, you promise me?”

    She nodded quickly, and Psyche let go of her arm. Almost instantly the tiny girl vanished into the clothing racks and disappeared without a trace. Psyche sighed.

    “Don’t worry, she won’t stray too far from us.” Jet picked a pink blouse off of the rack. “This one’s nice.” She stopped suddenly, and turned around. “Hey, umm.”

    “What is it?”

    “How exactly do we get these? Do we just take them?” Jet’s voice was a whisper.

    “I… don’t know.” Psyche answered. How many times had she said that today? It was starting to bother her just how little they knew about these things. “Let me figure it out.” Psyche slipped away for a moment, hand to her head again. She watched the customers carefully, taking note of how they went about their business, picking up any thoughts she could grab out of the jumbled noise of so many active minds. A few minutes of that, and she headed back over to where Jet was still browsing the clothes, several articles thrown over her shoulder already. “I think I've figured it out.”

    Jet’s eyes lit up, “Really? How does it work?”

    “Well, once people pick out the clothes they want, they go over there to that counter and trade something called ‘money’ for the clothes.”

    “What the heck is money? How do we get some?”

    Psyche looked away, a hand on her shoulder. She was really getting tired of saying this. “I’m still working on that.”

    “Ah. Well, we’re going to need money to get these clothes then. Unless…”

    “Are you suggesting what I think you’re suggesting?”

    Jet cracked a childish grin. “Maybe.” Her expression faltered though. “But you’re right. We can’t take the risk of getting caught.”

    “Nice to see your morals are intact.” The older girl sighed.

    “Hey, we have to survive, by any means necessary if that’s what it takes.” Jet didn't look too convinced of her own point however, and Psyche rested her hand on her cheek, defeated. Jet followed suit. “Are we going to have to just give up on the clothes? We can’t go back to the boys empty handed can we?” Something tapped her leg, and Jet looked down to see Sneak holding out her hand, a huge smile on her face. Resting on her palm was a wad of pale green paper, marked with numbers and some pictures of people Jet didn't recognize.

    “Is this money?” Jet said, not bothering to keep her voice down. “Where did you… did you ste-”

    Psyche clamped her hand over her loudmouthed friend’s mouth, cutting her off. “A little louder please, I’d like to get caught.” Jet nodded, and Psyche removed her hand.

    “We need money right?” Sneak said. She looked so sad, like a kid who had gotten caught with her hand in the cookie jar. “So I found some.”

    “And where did you ‘find’ this money?” Psyche asked her voice cheerful and honest. Sneak’s mood improved immediately.

    She pointed a delicate finger off towards one customer in particular, a rather large woman who was talking fairly loud and fairly harshly into some sort of small handheld device as though arguing with it. From the sparkling things that adorned her hands and ears, and the number of clothes and accessories she was sporting, it looked like she had plenty of money to spare. “She’s saying lots of mean things.” said Sneak. “So I went looking in her bag and found these. She had lots more in there, but I only took a little bit.”

    “This doesn't look like a little bit.” Jet said, examining one of the bills. “This thing has three numbers on it. One hundred is a lot right?”

    “Give the money to Jet okay?” Psyche said, and Sneak passed the wad of cash over to the designated money holder. “I don’t feel entirely comfortable with this, but I don’t think we have any other options. As long as we can pay for what we need, then we’ll be okay. I’ll handle Sneak and Dusk, you find things for the other boys, okay Jet?”

    “Sure thing.”

    “And don’t take too long, we've wasted enough time as it is.”

    In short order, the girls had found all the requested items, as well as finding outfits for themselves. After asking a rather bemused attendant if it was okay, Jet changed into her outfit, and the other two girls did as well once Jet passed it on that they could. Jet had that pink blouse, the same color as the highlights in her hair, worn over a white t-shirt, the double layer necessary to hide her wings, as well as jeans and simple shoes. Psyche was a bit simpler, opting for tan capris and a yellow top. As for Sneak, she was what anyone would have expected, dressed in durable black jeans and a matching black shirt. Before too long, the girls found themselves at the counter, ready to pay for everything. The attendant at the register was a cheerful looking young girl, and she smiled at Jet as she led the group up to the counter. She wore a name-tag that said “Lacy” and her smile and her frilly clothing matched her name perfectly.

    “Hi there, I like your highlights.” She said as Jet placed the stack of clothes and the handful of tags from their changes of clothing on the counter.

    “Thanks.” Jet said, a bit confused as to what she meant. “The look just came naturally.”

    “Well it certainly suits you.” Lacy said with a trademark smile. This girl seemed a bit too cheerful, almost as if it was a bit forced, but not in a dishonest way. Rather, she gave the impression that she was trying to be nicer than normal. “They match that blouse wonderfully. I was thinking of doing highlights in my hair too, but it’s hard to find a color that goes well with my natural auburn.”

    Jet was getting more and more lost the longer this conversation went on. It was probably best to just keep up the act. “I know what you mean. It took me forever to find a good color.”

    “Oh nonsense, you’re a blond. Lots of things match well with your hair.” A blush came to her cheeks, and Jet started flinching nervously. A curious look came over her face when she saw that the pile was almost entirely boy clothes. “So, are you guys picking stuff up for your boyfriends or did Mom stick you with the family shopping?”

    What? Jet had a blank. She had no idea what this girl was talking about, even less than the previous sentence. How should she respond? A laugh? Would that be weird?

    “Both actually.” said Psyche as she came to the rescue. “Saves time just to do it all at once.”

    A grin came to Lacy’s ever cheerful face. “Oh, I totally know how it is. It’s so much better to shop with friends you know? She glanced over the counter at Sneak, who was clutching Jet’s leg like it was a life-line. “She’s so cute, is she your little sister? I totally love the whole matching highlight thing. I’m stuck with two brothers though, and they don’t care for stuff like that, you know?”

    “Yeah, we've both got brothers too, so we know how boys can be.” Psyche said with a grin, and they both laughed. Jet was in awe. Psyche was handling this whole thing so easily; it was as if she had done this her whole life. Where was all that charm and ease coming from? Jet had looked like a bumbling fool next to her.

    Lacy scanned the last tag with the small gun like device she had and placed the last item in one of the two large paper bags that they had for all their stuff. “Alright, that brings your total today to two hundred and forty seven dollars and thirteen cents. Will that be cash or credit?”

    Jet looked to Psyche for help and the older girl held her hand out for the money, a look on her face that suggested Jet stop messing around. The bubbly cashier laughed at the two of them. A huge blush on her face, Jet handed the money over to Psyche and almost shrunk back like Sneak. She had never felt this embarrassed. Psyche counted the money out and handed most of it over to Lacy, handing the rest to Sneak. “Keep the rest for being so good today.” She said, and Lacy smiled even wider.

    “Aww, that was sweet.” With all eyes on her, Sneak started blushing too, and she quickly pocketed the money and pulled herself even further behind Jet’s legs.

    The machine on the counter made some loud noises and a drawer popped open. Lacy put the money in, counted out a few extra bits of money as well as some coins that Jet could only assume were the “cents” Lacy had mentioned and handed the money, cents, and a slip of paper to Psyche who thanked her and pocketed the assortment of items. Taking charge like normal, she took one bag and handed the other to Jet who was surprised a bit by the weight. Clothes weren't light it seemed.

    “Enjoy.” Lacy said. “You guys are pretty cool. You should stop in more often, maybe we could hit the mall together sometime.”

    “That sounds like a plan.” Psyche said happily, “We’ll be sure to ask for you next time we stop by.”

    With a parting wave, the girls left the shop, their haul of clothing in tow. “She was nice.” Psyche said. “If that’s what people are like, I wouldn't mind talking to them more.”

    “Speaking of which, you were amazing back there? How did you know what to say?”

    An embarrassed look came over the redhead’s face, and Jet started laughing. “You didn't? You read her mind?”

    “Why not? It seemed like the best thing to do at the time.”

    Jet laughed and tried to keep walking, but something tugged her arm. “What is it Sneak?” Jet’s heart sank when she looked down however. The little girl’s face was pale, even more so than usual, and her eyes were locked on something up above them. Jet followed her gaze to a large screen on a nearby building that was broadcasting something. It didn't take long for Jet to see why Sneak was so pale. “Um, Psyche. We may want to move.”

    The screen showed a well-dressed woman talking, referring to a series of pictures displayed behind her. To the girl’s horror, they found themselves looking at their own faces. The pictures were of Jet, Psyche, Static, and Torch, all mug shots from the lab, though the only details you could make out from the pictures was their faces and the collars of their white jumpsuits. Though the volume was imperceptible from this far away, the subtitles broadcasted the message loud and clear.

    “-of teenagers suspected of breaking into a local medical research facility. Reports from the lab say the teenagers are part of an extremist protest group responsible for many attacks on their labs in the past. Though they are still taking account of the damages, GenMed, the parent company that runs the research facility says the group and their Pokemon are responsible for tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage as well as destroying years of research work on new medications and medical techniques that could have led to life saving breakthroughs.”

    The camera changed to show a sweeping view of the lab, and Jet’s mouth literally dropped when she saw it. The lab was ravished. Several large holes were blown into the side of the stark white building, and rubble and scorched machinery law strewn about. Workers, Team Galactic members, and an assortment of large Pokemon like the burly four-armed Machamps, armored reptilian Aggrons, and more went about cleaning up the wreckage and clearing the rubble.

    There was no way they were responsible for that. The lying crooks at the lab must have done the damage themselves to claim this whole cover up.

    “The four teens pictured here lead the attack on the lab last night.” The woman said. She was droning on as if she spoke the gospel truth, and it made Jet and Psyche sick. “The reformed Team Galactic has made several statements regarding the attack. Their sponsorship of GenMed is well known, and the head of Team Galactic, the man known only as Saturn, has promised that anyone who steps forward with information on the attack will be rewarded.”

    The picture changed back to the woman, and once again the head shots of four of their group were displayed next to her smiling face. “This is the most recent and most costly attack so far on GenMed laboratories by this protest group whose leaders so far remain at large. If you have any information about last night’s attack or the whereabouts of these four teenagers, please contact your local law enforcement immediately.”
    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
    Watch your step! Sig Under Construction!

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