From: Karnivax ( Subject: [PW!] Anime-niacs, Part 1 Newsgroups: Date: 2000/06/23 (OOC: Shard, I hope you're reading this...) Espio the Charizard came to a stop on a wide sidewalk near the center of Saffron City. This particular sidewalk was swarmed over by a crowd of elaborately-costumed folk, no doubt on their way to the otaku convention at the Saffron City Convention Center. Espio, still carrying passengers Kyle and Jessica, quickly joined the flowing swarm. Kyle was in the middle of telling Jessica the story of what had happened to him during her unconsciousness in the Indigo Stadium Pokécenter. "So Enzo...was the were-Scyther that that creepy Starke guy created?" Jessica asked. "It makes sense, given what we know," Kyle told her. Jessica responded with a sigh of relief. As the team walked along, a young man dressed up like Magus from "Chrono Trigger" looked up at Espio and told Kyle, "That's a pretty lame Flammie, man." "Magus" was stunned to hear Espio shoot back, "I got your Flammie right here, punk..." Espio knocked the Squaresoft fan flying with a mighty tailwhip. Kyle slapped his own forehead and sighed to Espio, "You've lapsed back into your 'jerk' persona, I see..." Several feet behind Espio, Halberd the Farfetch'd landed with his passenger Enzo. They, too, blended into the crowd. And several feet behind Enzo, riding Smirker the Aerodactyl, was Shard Fields. Smirker landed off to the side of the crowd, and Shard quickly caught sight of Espio's unmistakable Charizard head. "Cover me, I'm going in!" Shard commanded as he weaved his way through the costumed crowd toward Espio. Smirker shrugged his wings and grunted, "Whatever..." When the quick-moving horde eventually reached the Convention Center, Enzo took a brief detour into an alleyway. He gave Halberd a new language translator to replace his broken one. Halberd exclaimed "Thanks, boss!" shortly before being beamed back into his Pokéball. After that, Enzo threw down a different Pokéball. From this Pokéball came a plain Ditto. Enzo picked up the Ditto and rejoined the crowd just in time to see Kyle and Jessica reach the Convention Center's front gate. "Greetings, Morpha," Enzo told the Ditto. "Yer mission, should ya choose to accept it, is to follow that brown-haired girl over there an' bring her to me." He pointed at Jessica. "Use of extreme subtlety is encouraged." He put Morpha on the sidewalk. "Dittt!" the intelligent Ditto responded. She saluted with one pseudopod. While Enzo found another alley to wait in, Morpha oozed toward the Convention Center's entrance. As she did so, she scanned the crowd for a human form that was to her liking. Eventually she picked up the DNA of a girl who was dressed as Sailor Mars. Morpha slithered next to the girl's feet and Transformed into an exact duplicate of the girl, costume and all. Then, before the girl could scream, Morpha clapped one hand over her mouth and pulled her out of the crowd. The apathetic otaku paid little attention as Morpha knocked the innocent girl out with a roundhouse kick to the face. The security guards at the entrance stopped Kyle and told him that he had to put Espio in a Pokéball. Kyle somewhat hesitantly complied. "Enjoy Manganicon 2000," one of the guards said flatly as he ushered Kyle and Jessica into the building. After recalling Smirker, Shard made a vain attempt to hide the red R on his shirt as he arrived at the entrance. "Hey, you're a Rocket!" one of the guards said. "No, I'm not," Shard countered. "I'm...Ryo, from 'Ronin Warriors.' Hence the R." The guard looked stupefied. "Oh...okay. Go on ahead, then." Shard entered the building. _What an idiot..._ The duo entered the Convention Center's main lobby and went with the flow down an escalator to the gigantic heart of the building. The well-lit area was flooded with anime fans, manga fans, costume players, and vendors peddling their anime- and manga-related wares. Large movie screens hung from the ceiling and displayed scenes from "Akira," "Darkstalkers," "Record of Lodoss War," and other animes Kyle had not yet seen. There was a huge snack bar at the far end of the room, and a stage to the right side of the room where some local techno band was performing. Close to where the escalator ended was a crowded costume shop. Jessica guided Kyle toward it. "When in Otakon," she told him, "do as the otaku do..." They slowly worked their way through the crowd into the costume shop and started to look around. Morpha and Shard were a few mere strides behind them. Kyle was rather put off by the whole costume player concept. _People must be getting lazier...isn't one typically supposed to create their *own* costume for one of these conventions?_ he mentally sighed. He paced about uncertainly until he suddenly came across a costume he liked. The costume was actually somewhat consisted of a heavy green trench coat, a visorless hat, white fingerless gloves, a thick blue vest, and round red sunglasses. It was most of the outfit of Bolt Crank, the star of "Eat-Man." _Hell, I could probably wear some of this stuff in broad daylight,_ he told himself. He gathered up the pieces of the costume and carried them over to the cashier's desk. The detailed costume was, naturally, costly. Kyle gave the cashier a credit card. The long-haired male cashier swiped the card and waited. He stared at the cash register. "Dude...this card's no good," the cashier said dryly. He returned the card to Kyle. It did not take Kyle long to figure out why his credit account was tapped out. "Shard!" He clenched one fist. "I'm going to kill that little - " But then he just let out a sigh and calmed down, as he did not want to ruin this experience for Jessica. He paid for the costume with cash just to avoid looking like a broke schmuck. "Clothing lockers and dressing rooms are over there, dude," the cashier said, pointing Kyle in the right direction. Kyle walked over and leaned next to one of the dressing room doors to wait for Jessica. Jessica emerged from the costume shop a few minutes later. In one hand, she had on a coat hanger an incredibly accurate replica of Asuka Langley Soryu's red plug suit from "Neon Genesis Evangelion". In the other hand, she held the red hairpins that went with the suit. She had a wide grin on her face which quickly disappeared when she saw Kyle's expression. "What's with the gloom and doom?" she wondered. Kyle responded simply, "You remember when Shard Fields stole my credit card?" Jessica's grin returned. "Oh, don't give that another thought," she told Kyle. "I'll pay off your credit card debts." Kyle stammered, "'s not *your* debt..." "Relax, I'll take care of it!" Jessica assured him. "It'll barely put a dent in my wealth." She cheerily headed into one of the dressing rooms. "See you in a few..." Kyle sweatdropped. _How could a family like hers produce a girl like her?_ he asked himself. _It really makes me wonder about something..._ He took a cellular phone out of his backpack. _...enough to actually disprove it._ He dialed Bill's phone number and waited. After two rings, Bill answered the phone. "Hello?" "Hi, Bill, this is Kyle." "Is anything wrong?" Bill nervously responded. "Don't tell me you're not totally cured..." "No, it's not that at all; I'm fine. I'm just wondering about something my dad told me about. Something that happened about five years ago." "...Okay..." "My dad told me the whole thing about how that guy Diedrich Starke held your family hostage. How he demanded that you find the person his scientists had created and turn that person back into the Scyther they had started out as. But I want to hear your version of the story. I want the details." There was a pause as Bill dredged up old memories. "Well, let's see here...I remember Starke called me, told me who he was, said he was holding my family. He said if I ever wanted to see them again, I had to find his almost fifteen-year-old lab experiment in Cerulean and then wait for further instructions...he told me that the experiment - some sort of test-tube baby - had been adopted by some very rich family near me, and that I should look for the wealthiest close-to-fifteen-year-old kids I could find. "I told him I knew two kids who closely fit that criteria - Enzo and Jessica, of course - and that he would have to tell me the gender of the person he was looking for. He said he didn't know that. He said only his scientists had specific information about the test-tube baby, and he had fired all of them. He told me that he himself had only caught a mere glimpse of the baby. He described the little hair the baby had as 'umber-colored.' "And that clinched it. I knew it had to be Enzo. So for reasons I wasn't aware of at the time, Starke told me to use my Telepods to turn Enzo into a Scyther. It seemed like he knew more about my Telepods than even I did. "I hesitantly followed his instructions. I brought Enzo to my lab, subtly dropped a Scyther scale into one of the Telepods, and sent him through. I informed Starke that the Telepods had only made Enzo into a were-Scyther, not a full Scyther like he had wanted. So he told me to scan Enzo's Scyther form to gauge his attack power and other statistics. I did so, and I told him the results. He sounded all disappointed when I did. Told me to just forget about it. Apparently, somewhere along the line, Enzo's Scyther DNA had lost whatever enhancements Starke's team had made to it. In his alternate form, Enzo was no stronger than an average Scyther. Starke left me alone, and Enzo got stuck as a were-Scyther, because, well, I didn't have the technology to cure him back then. And he was frustrated by that. As soon as he found out that I knew Jessica, he threatened to gut me unless I turned his 'fiancée' Jessica into a were-Scyther too. And, well, I guess you know the rest. Weird, though, how Enzo no longer wants to be cured..." There was a lengthy period of silence. "Hello?" Bill repeated. "Bill," Kyle piped up, "Enzo has *black* hair." "Yes, I know that," Bill answered. "'Umber' is black." "No," Kyle explained, "'umbra' is black. 'Umber' is reddish- brown..." A realization slowly came to him. "" His whole body felt weaker all of a sudden. "...Thanks...thanks for your time, Bill. Sorry if I bothered you. I'll be going now..." "Bye, then," a confused Bill said. He had not yet reached the same realization. Kyle turned the phone off and returned it to his backpack. While Kyle was mired in upsetting thought, Jessica emerged from the dressing room wearing her new plug suit and carrying the rest of her clothing (save for her belt, which she still had on tightly around her waist). She looked at the seemingly catatonic Kyle and waved one hand in front of his face. "Something wrong?" she asked. With a joking grin she added, "Normally you'd be drooling by now." "Eh?" Kyle very suddenly broke out of his respite. "Oh, no, no, nothing's wrong." Forcing a smile, he added, "Your costume's awesome!" As he strode into the dressing room, he told Jessica, "Wait right here." Jessica stood next to the dressing room door and waited. She wondered, _Jeez, do I really look *that* bad?_ --K * A * R * N * I * V * A * X-- "Some have said there is no subtlety to destruction. You know what? They're dead." --Jaya Ballard, task mage