Veilstone Grand Hotel, Evening
Dreams lead you down forgotten paths...
Mossdeep Space Station 100th launch Gala, Morning (approx 1 year ago)
“Jeffrey!” Callisto let out a tiny yelp as her support suddenly walked away, greeting someone with his one available open arm, the other clutched tightly around his cane. Approaching with equally open arms was another man somewhere between Julien and Astro's ages, maybe early or mid thirties, also wearing a lab coat which was heavily stained a pale bluish-grey all over. Jeffery, she assumed his name was Jeffery, gave Julien a brilliant smile and a quick hug.
“Little Jules!” he said, holding Julien by the shoulders at arm's length, “By Arceus, you've grown!” Jeffery was not very small himself, an above average height, lanky figure with bright, twinkling eyes that crinkled pleasantly at the corners when he smiled, and rather long dark hair, even longer than Julien's, which fell straight and neat down past his shoulders to about his upper back. He chuckled for no apparent reason, then fixed Callisto with the same, curious look that the boy, what was his name?, Alex, had given her. She shrunk back behind a pillar, Jeffrey still watching her with unchecked curiosity, while Astro cleared his throat for attention.
“Well, I see you two have already met.” He watched them expectantly, obviously waiting for an explanation for their cordiality towards each other.
Julien gave his weak timid smile and patted Jeffery on the shoulder. “Jeffrey here has been my mentor and friend ever since I could remember. Oh, Jeffrey, this is my gardevoir, Callisto. Callisto, Jeffrey.”
Jeffrey gave her a bright smile, yet something strange and unreadable seemed to hang in the corners of his eyes that Callisto couldn't quite understand. Nevertheless, she knew there was something she didn't like about this Jeffrey person.
“So little Jules,” the mysterious spark in Jeffrey's eyes melted into his smile lines as he gently placed a hand on Julien's shoulder, starting to lead him down the hallway, “what have you been up to lately? I haven't seen you since your parents...well...”
Julien gave a sigh as quiet as the sun setting. “Since they were alive?”
Jeffrey's shoulders rose and fell as he took a breath. “Yes, I suppose.”
“Callisto, please stay here, alright? Do not trouble anyone.” Julien called back over his shoulder.
Callisto nearly uttered some human words, but thankfully Astro accidentally bumped her shoulder as he hurried to catch up with the two. Callisto turned her remark into a quick scowl, then a fleeting glance at the backs of the three men as they disappeared across the first floor.
“You were still just a young boy then,” Jeffrey was saying to Julien, “How has your health been? Any trouble breathing? Fainting spells?”
Julien limped along slowly beside him. “I have a little trouble every now and then. It is nothing that is concerning...”
Callisto watched the black cane tap, tap, tap away and the subtle swish of Astro's lab coat and Jeffrey's hair until she couldn't see nor hear them anymore. She found herself alone. Not another living thing seemed to be in the terrifyingly huge building. For a long while she stood next to that pillar, listening to the distant noises in the heart of the building and the silence within, as well as the muffled murmurs of the gala, where almost all the population of the building had gone, outside the window-wall beside her. Beyond the faint greyish-brown tint of the long, glass wall, she could feel the eyes staring into the silent heart of the monstrous building, though she didn't know that from their view, they could only gaze at their own expectant faces on smooth, opaque black glass. Rolling gently down the slope of the hill, carpeting it like a field of grass were hundreds of scientists and reporters and thousands upon thousands of citizens, spectators and hopeful trainers, pining for the one chance in a million to fly to the moon.
The feeling of thousands of eyes trained on your spot, even if they weren't looking directly at you or even seeing you, was a chilling one. Piled with the fear of being the last soul left in a building larger than any other you had ever seen, it was enough to make Callisto fell sick. She back away hastily from the window and fled up the iron-railed stairs to the second-floor observation walkway, a long open hall which overlooked the first floor. Looking back down over the railing she simply felt a sense of vertigo, not good for her already spinning head, so, bearing in mind that she had to remain undetected, she retreated further into the building.
There were plenty of places to hide; nooks behind garbage cans and pillars and potted plants. She wandered down the cool, deserted hall ducking behind every place she could find, looking for a good permanent spot she could hide and wait for Julien's stupid appearance-speech-thingy-whatever to be over and done so they could leave. She could've found a good hiding spot easily, if not for the other presences who were obviously trying to remain as hidden as she. Down the hall in front of her, slipping carefully but rather noisily through a side doorway was a group of three or so humans, obviously not scientists or anyone who would be allowed in the depths of the space centre.
For a moment she debated, crouched behind a potted plant beside a column in the wall. At last she shook her head. “Either way I may regret this, but if I don't follow I may never know.” As you may probably have already guessed, she will regret this very much in the future.
Expecting to peer into a room full of more computers and blueprints, her eyes widened with awe at the sight the door revealed. Spanning out at least four stories deep behind the guardrail inside was the subject of the gala itself; the Mossdeep Rocket, Deoxys 13.
“Wow,” Callisto breathed, forgetting for a moment what she was doing, letting the door slide open with her weight. “Wow,” she breathed again for lack of anything else to say. Unfortunately there was not much time to say anything else, as it suddenly seemed as if the entire building was collapsing around her.
She saw the three human boys shout and shove each other to scramble to the exit as the support beams buckled and cracked, saw them pull short, eyes wide with panic when they saw her, and she could see Alex's eyes widen in realization just before the beam came crashing down on all of them.
Veilstone Outskirts, Evening
Dreams can take your breath away...
Acuity City (Route 217), Late Afternoon (Many years ago)
“Umm, hello? Please? Please?” The snow covered his legs up to his knees as he gingerly tapped the girl's shoulder. She was fast disappearing into the white blanket that was trying to swallow the city. Her eyes were wide open and glazed over with the dull emptiness of death. Julien was shaking violently, but not from the cold of course. He'd never seen eyes so barren and empty before.
Reaching out cautiously with a gloved hand, he gently touched the girl's eyes, like he had seen humans do to the deceased, only he didn't know they were doing so to close their eyes. Her eyes were frozen open, and smooth and hard like cold glass marbles.
The wind around the thin alleyway sounded like it was screaming, and Julien realized too late where the screaming was actually coming from. He looked up in time to see the hatchet bury deep into the side of his head.
Johto Medical Research Centre, Late Afternoon
Blip. Blip. Blip. Blip...
Aspen growled as he walked into the room. He rubbed his temples at the noise. “What?”
He grumbled to no one.
Blip. Blip. Blip. Blip...whined the radar from Sinnoh. For a moment Aspen perked up. Had that lazy good-for-nothing Larch finally caught the Dubois boy on one of his sweeps? As he checked the data, he found that the blip split inot two as he zoomed in on Veilstone. Aspen frowned. “That lazy good-for-nothing Larch still hasn't caught him...”
One red blip was coming from the heart of the weapons building. That one had to have been where Lucian's boy was hiding. The other was coming from that hotel...
Aspen ran through the stats. He frowned. It wasn't what he had expected, but it was something nevertheless. “He must've taken it out of whatever case he was storing it in for the sweep to have detected it...”
he muttered while he jabbed at a single key on the phone. “Get Larch on the line. Don't ask why, just do it.”
New Mauville Generator Room, Afternoon
Desmond clapped the pokenav shut, enjoying a moment for himself to gloat about Tori's reaction to the picture he sent. “That was rich,”
he smirked, while his larion carried on munching away the excess debris left over from the fight. The generator room itself was beginning to look good as new, thanks to larion's metal-munching might, it was the charred corpse that Desmond was most concerned with, as he knelt beside it, trying to pick what was left of it's pockets for anything useful.
he grumbled when the trainer's trainer card came out as a melted, molten-looking sticky wad, fused over some jumbled pKe coins and an electrically-scorched wallet. “There goes ID-ing this sucker,”
Des grumbled as he peeled the clinging, sticky bits of plastic from his fingers. He stood up and sighed, rolling his shoulders. Staring up at him was the blackened, smoking face of an unknown and unidentifiable trainer, which he was supposed to identify and then come up with some sort of cover for this death. It wouldn't be too difficult; a short-circuited wire that caught the unfortunate trainer, or a stupid kid sticking a finger into a crack in the generator casing to fish out a fallen pKe coin. The difficult part was standing around with the smell of burnt flesh while his larion munched it's way through the extra trash lying around.
A familiar, detached, crinkling noise in the air made him whip around with his screwdriver clenched tightly in his fist. Standing in the hall leading back out of New Mauville, was Tori's abra. Des slumped with relief. “Abra, **** man you nearly made me tag you with this puppy,”
he waved the tip of the screwdriver in front of abra's face teasingly. Laughing he tucked the screwdriver back into his belt and crouched down beside the charred corpse. Rolling up his sleeves he prepared to heave the corps closer to the generator so he could figure out some way to stage a large-scale electrocution. He grunted with a satisfied smirk at the small victory of lifting the dead weight, then smirked over towards the ever impassive abra. “So squinty, what'd the lab think of those rolling poke-bombs Tori had ya poof over-”
Des froze. Abra was holding a letter in his hand. Without needing the instructions to do so abra walked over to Desmond's side and held the letter beneath his nose. The corpse fell to the ground with a meaty thwump. Des' eyes bugged as the oppressively sweet smell radiating from the letter flooded the tiny generator room and pressed against his nose and throat.
Route 110 (beneath Bike Road), Afternoon
Tori's linoone glided like a silk ribbon through the waters, carrying her steadily up and down the route. She didn't worry about watching the path, not with her faithful linoone doing the task for her. Instead she kept her eye on the hidden screen of her modified pokenav, watching for the information streaming from the Sector headquarters about any new developments. Everything was silent, the water, the grass, the road up ahead, even the wingull seemed to have disappeared into some alternate world. That was how still it was when the grass rustled with lumbering, approaching footfalls.
Tori didn't bother looking up. She knew it was Des from the location change on her pokenav. She sighed and closed her eyes as she flipped her pokenav shut. “Des, for Arceus' sake what the **** took you so long? That morph might be halfway to Fortree by now no thanks to-”
Tori stopped mid-sentence, struck by the appearance of her recon partner. He was slumped over, zombie-like, with his eyes wide and staring and frame trembling ridiculously. She forced a cynical laugh. “What's the matter, *****?”
her voice crackled uncharacteristically, “Purrloin stole your tongue? Ghost pokemon caught your back? Come on, you look pathetic on your best days but this is just-”
Suddenly Des' forlorn expression was explained as he held a clumsily torn-open envelope to her. Her breath caught in her throat when it hit her, that smell, the sickeningly sweet smell of honey and peppermint.
“Your abra came back.”
He said with a slight drawl. His eyes didn't seem to register anything as Tori snatched the envelop and fumbled with the letter, which had been crumpled slightly in Des' haste to replace it.
The message, written with neat flowing print on a small sheet of paper was only a few lines;
“The office is closing early tonight for the dinner party at 5. I hope you remembered; please don't be late! Sincerely, Pine.”
Tori swallowed the lump in her throat, holding the note at arm's length to keep the oppressively sweet smell as far away as possible. She was shaking all over as she slowly turned her head, to find Des shaking as much as she, arms clutching his sides as if he had a terrible belly-ache. They wide, panic-stricken eyes met.
“What do we do?”
Tori for once had no answer and no snappy come-back to fill in as one. The letter, of course, was in a very precise code. They both knew, there was no dinner party waiting for them back at the Lab...
North Veilstone (inside weapons laboratory), Evening
Riley approached the computer, hand hovering over the gun to snatch it once it was complete. So close, so close. Then he heard it, the doors sliding open behind him. Footsteps, the panting of Arcanine and gun barrels being cocked. They were approaching fast.
Riley sighed with disappointment, closing his eyes and grabbing the gun off the computer. The transparent film folded into its compartment and the main computer whined and went blank. As he tucked the gun back into his pocket, he turned to face a wall of policemen and women, with various police pokemon and staff from the weapons company, forming a semicircle some distance from him, walling off the only exit. They held their guns at eye level, barrels trained on him.
One shouted. He readily complied, raising his empty palms to them. They started approaching, unable to read his emotions from behind his mirrored sunglasses. "What were you doing in this laboratory?"
Riley's face and voice were cold and stoic. "Accomplishing something no ordinary human can ever comprehend, or is ever meant to."