From: Karnivax <varanus@nospam.com> Subject: [PW!] [REPOST] A Wrench in the Gears Date: Tuesday, February 29, 2000 1:43 PM Yes, it's true! I'm still here! Deja all but ate this post the first time I put it up...so this time I'm putting it up on a slightly more reliable NG-access service. --A WRENCH IN THE GEARS-- Part 1 by Karnivax "Gworrrph? Grr, grarrr...grrrwaaaaar! <<Now where were we? Oh yes, I remember...down the hatch with you, kiddies!>>" Inferno the Charizard daintily picked up one of the nearby baby Scyther and dangled it just above his open mouth. For a while Inferno simply held the Scyther there. Then all of a sudden he grimaced and put the hatchling back down. "Dit to? <<Something wrong?>>" Proteus the Ditto queried. "Grrroar? <<Didn't you hear it?>>" Inferno asked. "Rrroarrr! Grrr, arrr! <<The little critter called me 'mama!' In plain English, no less!>> Inferno clutched his chest at the thought that human DNA had nearly ended up in his digestive system. His white face turned a pale shade of green. "Grorrr...rrrarrrgh! <<Ugh...when did humans and Pokémon start having kids?!>>" "Dit, to to dit? <<Well, now what're we gonna eat?>>" Proteus wondered. "Grrrargh, grrroooarrr, <<If you're desperate, I guess you can eat Vorge's collection of cryogenically-preserved dead humans,>>" Inferno sadly replied, motioning to a hallway lined with large glass tubes. "Grrrooo. Gworrr... <<I can't eat humans any more. Damn things give me the runs...>>" The Charizard started to pace back and forth. "Grrr, grarrr...grarrr, gworrrph...grrrooo, grrroooarrr! <<We're doomed, Proteus...and it's all because of Panopticon, that miserable sack of scales...if he hadn't ditched us here and split for Vermilion, I'd slag him but good!>>" Suddenly a familiar clanking sound was heard coming closer and closer to the two Pokémon. A large shadowy figure, followed by the floating Starmie known as Regulus, entered Vorge's former subterranean stronghold. "I have returned from K-Mart...I trussst that the two of you did not foul anything up." Inferno's face brightened. "Grrraaar! <<Panop!>>" Inferno announced happily. He rushed up and hugged the cyber- velociraptor. "Grrraaarrrgh! <<Don't scare us like that!>>" "Dit to dit dit? <<What happened to 'slagging him but good?'>>" Proteus said slyly. Inferno quickly tailwhipped the black Ditto. "Come, a new dessstiny awaitsss usss," Panopticon commanded. "I...am an actor." He emphasized the last syllable slightly. Inferno sweatdropped. "Grrror, grrrooolll... <<Well, at least he's not a pimp...>>" Panopticon held three Ultra Balls he had boosted from K-Mart, and he used them to easily catch Inferno, Proteus, and Regulus. Then he grabbed the two full Pokéballs and attached them to the electromagnet on his back. After that, he scooped up the three baby Scyther. The hatchlings looked decidedly famished. Panopticon contemplated what to feed the aqua-colored creatures. Finally he thought of something. The cyber-saur released Proteus again, and allowed the hatchlings to nibble on the gelatinous Ditto. Proteus just shrugged his pseudopods as he sat within Panopticon's claws. Then Panopticon, carrying Proteus, three baby Scyther, three Ultra Balls, a chaingun, a grenade launcher, and a giant barrel full of ammunition, headed back for Vermilion City. Meanwhile, on the northern outskirts of Cerulean City, Espio the flame-jet-propelled Charizard made a flawless landing in the middle of the dirt road leading to Bill's lighthouse laboratory. Kyle and Jessica dismounted from the ivory dragon. Cathode the Pikachu was clinging to Kyle's head like a fur cap. "Now, why is it that you sent out Rampage - that overgrown pile of gravel - in round five instead of me?" Espio immediately asked Kyle. "Like you could have taken out an Onix and a Kingler," Kyle snorted. "Do you have any idea how crappy the Special ratings of Onix and Kingler are?" Espio protested. "Given my experience level, there's a good chance I could've slagged them with one Fire Blast each!" Kyle countered, "I think the real question is, 'do I have any idea what the hell a Special rating is?'" The team headed up the path to the lighthouse, and Kyle knocked on the lighthouse's imposingly-sized door. About thirty seconds later, Bill could be heard inside the lighthouse, shouting, "Who is it?" "It's me! Jessica!" came the response from the light blue Scyther. "Open up!" Moments later, the door swung open, and Bill stood in the doorway. "I don't see..." he started, before realizing the identity of the mantis Pokémon he saw before him. "Oh, my Goddish...!" "Bill...I can't change back," Jessica said, giving Bill the short form of the story. "Well, let's see what we can do," Bill nervously responded. He led the team into his laboratory. Inside the laboratory, the first thing Jessica noticed was that there were two Telepods. "After that green-haired Rocket blew up my first set of Telepods, I spent pretty much every waking hour rebuilding them from memory," Bill explained. "But so many things keep going wrong! I can't explain it!" "Rebuilding them 'from memory?' Don't you have the blueprints?" Kyle queried. "Somewhere on my computer," came the reply. "But I made the blueprints so top-secret that even *I* can't find them!" Bill sweatdropped. "Do these new Telepods work even in the least?" Jessica hoped. By this time she had uneasily pulled her clothes out of Kyle's backpack and were trying to put them on. She felt awful walking around naked, but she felt even worse doing so among friends. "As far as I can tell, if we put you in there, you might come out in human form...or you might come out as a great green glob of greasy grime and Scyther guts," Bill answered. "Every time I'm about to test the pods out, something else goes wrong. It's like I'm the victim of sabotage..." Suddenly sparks shot from one of the Telepods. "See?" _Okay, Telepods are down,_ Kyle mentally noted. _Plan A is down the tubes. On to Plan B..._ Shortly after Kyle said this, Cathode jumped off of Kyle's head and then scurried with some trepidation behind the left Telepod. The tiny Pikachu smelled something. Kyle took no notice. "Listen, Bill, the reason Jess got stuck like this is that she used whatever that thing was you gave her...some kind of 'synthesizer'...and it got blown up in battle," Kyle pointed out. "Do you have another one of those synthesizer thingies?" "It wouldn't be that simple, I'm afraid," Bill responded. "I'd need to isolate her human DNA and synthesize a batch of it before I could build an adrenal synthesizer that could change her back. Tell me, Jessica, how far did you turn up the synthesizer before it got destroyed?" "To ninety-something percent," Jessica remembered. "Ninety-four? Ninety-five? Something like that." "That leaves you with, at most, ten percent of your human DNA," Bill noted, running his fingers through his hair. "And with my current technology, ten percent is just not enough for me to work with." _There goes Plan B,_ Kyle mentally sighed. _I hoped it wouldn't come to this..._ Bill paced back and forth a bit, then sighed, "I'm afraid that all I can do for you until I get the Telepods working is make you into a different Pokémon. You know, maybe one that's a little more...dexterous? It's going to be hell trying to toss out a Pokéball with Scyther blades." Jessica pondered this deeply. Her first choice - Charizard - came to her quickly. She had had a long-running fascination with dragons, and she was intrigued by the concept of flight at an altitude much higher than Scyther could reach. She also felt Espio could use someone of his own species to cheer him up...and, as she suddenly realized, therein lied the problem. She wanted to help out Espio's emotional status, but she did not want to risk any more unwanted pregnancies. Her second choice - Nidoqueen - was defeated for the same reason. Jessica turned away. "No...if I'm going to be stuck as a Pokémon for the rest of my life, I might as well be the one I'm most familiar with..." Kyle noticed Jessica trying to hold back tears. Kyle, being the opportunist he was, went immediately to try and comfort her. However, Kyle was not even able to get a word out before Espio said, "I hate to cut in...but there's something that's bothering me. Bill, what is the deal with this lab assistant of yours?" Bill raised one eyebrow. "I...don't have a lab assistant." "Well then, who's the weird dude in the bear suit?" Espio asked as he pointed toward the left Telepod. Sure enough, a lanky man in a bear suit was there, and he was being attacked by Cathode. The man held a large wrench in his hands. --A WRENCH IN THE GEARS-- Part 2 by Karnivax "Damn it, get off me, you little blue turd!" the lanky man growled, trying to hit the swift Cathode with the wrench. "You're ruining everything!" Cathode straddled the man's face like an alien facehugger and then unleashed a Thunderbolt. Thoroughly burnt, the man keeled over and hit the floor with a muted THUD. Kyle started, "Where the hell..." Jessica finished, "...did that guy come from?" Bill responded redundantly, "I've never seen him before in my life." The mystery man pried Cathode loose from his face by using the wrench as a crowbar. The man stood up and dusted himself off as best he could. "Greetings to all of you," he said coldly. "My name...is Imakuni?." "What, you mean you don't know what your name is?" Kyle said, dumbfounded. "I said...my name...is Imakuni?." "Stop asking me that!" Kyle snapped. "I'm not asking you anything, dumbass! My name is Imakuni?! With a question mark!!!" Kyle sweatdropped. "...Oh..." The man calmed himself down. "The writer's a busy guy," Imakuni? started to explain. "He can't handle all the lame, ridiculous plot complications all at once. So he's enlisted my help." "So you're the one who's been messing with the Telepods!" Bill declared, seeing Imakuni?'s wrench. "Damn straight," Imakuni? said proudly. "You see, normally I'm just a guy in a bear suit who dances around singing the Pokérap and contributing to really crappy promo cards." He briefly went off on another tangent to add, "By the way, if for some reason you ever want to Confuse your Active Pokémon, just give me a call..." He went back on the subject. "However, here in the PokéWars world, the only writer idiotic enough to use me in his stories - perhaps you've met him already - is a notorious power-gamer. So I can go around causing drastic plot complications without ever being seen. Sure, you'd think someone like me would stick out like a sore thumb...but in the hands of a power-gamer, I'm nigh-invisible! Ha ha ha ha!!!" Imakuni? doubled over with laughter. "The guy's such a choade! He uses Spirit of the Night, Teeka's Dragon, and Crimson Hellkite in his Magic decks even though he almost never lives long enough to summon them!" Kyle grunted, "I'm not buying this." "Anyway, I was sent here to make sure Bill's Telepods stay inoperative," Imakuni? went on. "And I would've gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling kids and your darn electric rat." "Jessica could be back to normal now if it weren't for you!" Kyle snarled. "Espio, make a rug out of bear-boy here!" Espio got between Kyle and Imakuni? and took a fighting stance. "Not so fast. Even I, Imakuni?, have Pokémon!" Imakuni? reached into a pocket on his suit, then pulled out a Pokéball. "Doduo, I choose you!" From Imakuni?'s Pokéball came a two-headed ostrich-like Pokémon. Suddenly Bill jumped in between the two Pokémon. "Could you take this outside, please?" Both trainers grudgingly put their match on hold to relocate it to just outside the lighthouse laboratory. The Pokémon battle quickly got underway. Jessica just stood in the doorway and tried to hide her tears. "Doduo, Drill Peck!" Imakuni? quickly commanded. The twin bird let out a triumphant squawk and dashed madly toward Espio. Before Espio could move his large frame out of Doduo's path, he felt Doduo's beaks pounding him like twin jackhammers. When the assault ceased, Espio's scaly body was covered in scrapes and cuts, but there were no serious injuries. "Flamethrower!" Kyle shouted. Espio pointed both index fingers at Doduo and lambasted each of the ostrich's heads with a blue, low- power fireball. Doduo ran around madly before finally rolling on the ground and putting the flames out. The feathers were completely burned off of Doduo's heads. "Now, Slash!" Kyle added. Espio went for a double claw swipe, but he missed as Doduo deftly jumped back. "Keep on Slashing!" "Counter with Agility!" Imakuni? ordered. Both of Doduo's heads screeched loudly as the whole bird started glowing green. As Espio tried again and again to Slash Doduo to no avail, Doduo leapt back and forth so fast that he appeared to be in three places at once. Espio stopped trying to spaghettify the ostrich. "To hell with it," the white dragon snorted. He stood in one place and took a deep breath as Doduo frenetically jumped around. "Uh...Fly attack!" Imakuni? commanded. But it was too late. The cliff rumbled as Espio opened his gaping jaws and unleashed a breathtakingly large Fire Blast. Doduo was able to dodge the stick-figure-shaped flame, but he was not so lucky dodging the blinding blue explosion that resulted from it. Both Espio and Doduo disappeared into a giant dome of sky-blue fire. When the flames cleared and both trainers were once again able to see, Espio was standing comfortably within the smoke...and Doduo was staggering back and forth. As the smoke subsided, Espio casually walked over to the teetering Doduo and pushed it over with one talon. Doduo's eyes were spinning around inside its heads. "Grrr..." Imakuni? growled. "Looks like I underestimated just how much of a power-gamer the writer really is." He beamed Doduo back into its Pokéball. "But I won't make that mistake a second time!" He started to run away. "You haven't seen the last of me!!!" "You're not getting away!" Kyle exclaimed. "Espio, grab 'im!" "Uh-uh. I'm not touching that thing," Espio responded, turning up his muzzle. Kyle tossed his backpack on the ground and took out the first Pokéball his hand touched. _I *think* this is Leviathan's Pokéball..._ Kyle told himself. He tossed the Pokéball after the fleeing Imakuni?. From the Pokéball came a flying Pokémon all right, but it was not Leviathan. It was Atropos. The light red Scyther shook her head dizzily. "Where...where are we?" she weakly queried. By the time Atropos shook off the disorientation of being released after having been stuck in a Pokéball for months, Imakuni? slipped out of sight. "Crap," Kyle remarked. Atropos looked at herself. Kyle's denim jacket was still duct- taped around her thorax, where she had been stabbed by David Bradley. Atropos sliced away the duct tape, and underneath the makeshift bandage was a fairly large scar. The scar reminded her of the fight against David Bradley...and that in turn reminded her of Torrasque. She took a quick look around, then asked the inevitable: "Where's Torrasque?" Kyle sighed as he knew he had to finally fill Atropos in. But Espio waved Kyle off. "I'll handle it this time," Espio told Kyle. "I'm a living, breathing outlet of bad news..." Kyle went over to Jessica. "Jess, you gonna be all right?" "I'll be fine," Jessica feebly replied. "This can't be as bad as it seems...I'll find some way to get used to it and go on living..." And almost instantly, she broke down. "Oh, who am I kidding? I'm doomed to die alone...I can barely even hug you for fear of cutting your arms off or something, and I bet the male Scyther out there wouldn't touch me with a ten-foot pole...!" "No...it won't be like that," Kyle swore. "It won't end like this..." _All right, it's time for Plan C._ Kyle went to subtly converse with Bill. As Kyle had hoped, Jessica was paying no attention as he did so. Seconds after Kyle explained Plan C to Bill, Bill turned aside and said, "I can't condone such a thing. It's just too risky." "Just...do this," Kyle pleaded. "For her." Bill let out a long sigh. "Come on, we'll see what I can do..." he grudgingly commanded. He led Kyle into a small room in the back of the laboratory. By that time, Espio had finished his explanation of Torrasque's fate to Atropos. Atropos's whole world seemed to be crumbling by that point. She had not even been given the chance to say goodbye... The crimson Scyther's emotions got the best of her. Very suddenly she fell into Espio's arms and started sobbing. "There, there...just let it all out...just - OW! That stings!" Espio cried, as Atropos's teardrops touched his skin. Trying to maintain her dignity, Atropos apologized and then stood up once again, wiping away tears with the backs of her scythes. Kyle and Bill came out of the back room. Kyle picked up Cathode, then went to talk to Jessica. "I guess we're done here," he said. "Back to Cinnabar. No more detours this time, I promise." Jessica did not even look up as she said, "Yeah...all right." Kyle, figuring Atropos could use a little more fresh air, left the red Scyther outside of her Pokéball. Then Kyle, Cathode, and Jessica got on Espio's back. "To Cinnabar," Kyle commanded. Espio saluted and then took off vertically before flattening himself out and starting his flame-jet-boosted flight to Cinnabar Island. Atropos flew in Espio's wake. "So...did we actually accomplish anything on that trip?" Jessica sadly asked as the team was out of Cerulean City limits. "I'd say so," Kyle responded. Just then Jessica felt arms wrapping gently around her body. She was startled until she realized Kyle was simply hugging her. But then she was startled again when she realized that she was not being hugged by human arms. "Oh, Goddish...you didn't..." she gasped. Kyle grinned smugly. "You said you wished there were some way to close the species gap between us," he pointed out. "And I did just that." As he said these words, four large insectoid wings sprouted from his back. His skin started turning scaly and green. "You...you could get stuck as a bug forever...!" Jessica said. "So we'll be stuck that way together!" Kyle told her. Tears welled up in Jessica's eyes, but this time for a different reason. "Kyle...I..." She cut herself off when she realized her words would not have done her emotions justice. The two humans-turned- Scyther embraced tightly and shared a kiss on the lips that seemed to last for several minutes. Cathode was nearly squashed inside Jessica's reptilian cleavage. "Could you guys please not sit up?" Espio pleaded. "This wind resistance is killing me...!" The time has come, folks. That was my last PokéWars story until G/S comes along. See y'all later! ^_^ --K * A * R * N * I * V * A * X-- "You don't know what it's like, Marge. You're not the one out there every day putting his ass on the line. And I'm not out of order! *You're* out of order! The whole freakin' system's out of order! You want the truth? You want the truth?! You can't handle the truth!!! 'Cause when you reach over and put your hand into a pile o' goo that used to be your best friend's face, *you'll* know what to do!!! Forget it, Marge, it's Chinatown!!!" --Homer Simpson -- Free audio & video emails, greeting cards and forums Talkway - http://www.talkway.com - Talk more ways (sm)