From: John Willemin ( Subject: [PW!] A Tale of Two Continents Newsgroups: Date: 2001-05-14 17:35:38 PST (OOC: *pluggypluggy* *pluggypluggy*) "Are you sure you're okay?" Kyle asked of Jessica as he was escorting her back to their Seafoam home from the hospital the morning after Diedrich Starke had broken into their apartment. "You did get hit with a door..." "I'm all right," Jessica said softly as she leaned a tired head on Kyle's shoulder. Kyle let out a barely audible sigh and put one arm around Jessica as the couple headed back along the fifth-floor hallway. He had explained to Jessica most of what had happened during her period of unconsciousness...except for the things that he had lacked the heart to tell her at the time. When Kyle and Jessica re-entered their apartment, Thanatos the black Gengar was there to greet them. He was holding the spotted Nidoran egg that Espio had previously been taking care of. Jessica lifted her head and looked around, as if something were not right with this picture. Kyle knew what was coming. _Not now, not now..._ he mentally pleaded. "Where's Atropos?" Jessica wondered. "And Espio?" Kyle's sigh this time was clearly heard. Jessica turned to look at him. "Espio's going to be with Nurse Joy for a while; he got stabbed by Starke's Scyther," Kyle explained. That was the easy part. "And Atropos..." He paused, in his mind wishing that Jessica had been awake to witness what he was about to explain for the sole reason that he hated to have to explain it. "...she took a bullet trying to save you, and she...she didn't..." Kyle did not even have to finish his sentence before Jessica got the point. She looked at Kyle with a kind of astonishment, then she collapsed on to the living-room couch and buried her face in her hands. Kyle sat down next to her. Thanatos, unfazed as he was by death, shrugged and sat down in the Italian leather recliner in front of the television to watch MTV. With his ghostly powers, he levitated the Nidoran egg softly into a nearby armchair. Kyle waited out Jessica's weeping, and eventually Jessica spoke up again: "At least...she's with Torrasque now..." As Kyle embraced Jessica, he thought about when he had had to cope with Torrasque's death. Jessica had done everything in her power to console Kyle then. Now the roles were reversed, and Kyle could not muster a word. Jessica resumed weeping. Kyle merely remained silent, internally cursing himself. While this non-exchange was going on, Thanatos shot a quick glance at the egg to his right. He swore he had just seen it move... Meanwhile, in distant Goldenrod City... "Cut!" a guttural voice bellowed. "That's a wrap!" "Do you hear that?" said the voice of cyber-raptor Panopticon to his young Pokémon pupils. "The melodiousss sssound of closssure! And you know what that meansss..." "The hunt is almost on," Shrapnel the Scizor responded, idly clapping her steel claws together. "Yay," said Shrapnel's unevolved sister Bombshell, without a hint of enthusiasm. Ransack, the male Scyther sibling, just let out an angry snort. The corpulent Stevon Schpielbunk, he of the guttural voice, came waddling up to Panopticon. "You're all done, Panop!" he announced cheerily. "You too, Persian!" he added, addressing Blizzard the Persian, who was half-asleep in a crate stuffed with styrofoam peanuts. "The rest is up to the editors and the special-effects guys." Schpielbunk reached into his pocket, then deposited a massive paycheck into the cyber-saur's scaly hand. "You're really a natural in this business, Panop! Expect to hear from me again when we're ready to do 'Blade Sprinter II!'" Panopticon looked down at his paycheck as Schpielbunk trundled back to where his crew was starting to put moviemaking things away. "An impressssive sssum," Panopticon commented. "Perhapsss I will buy two more Metal Coatsss..." He scowled at Bombshell and Ransack. "Not that you two ssslackersss really *dessserve* to evolve..." Ransack could contain his anger no longer. "Evolved or not, I'm still going to kick your tin-plated ass for what you've been doing to Shrapnel all this time!" The cyber-saur's left eye twitched. "What...did you sssay?" "I've seen the slash marks on her back!" Ransack snarled. "You know, seeing how readily she obeyed you, I initially thought she was just a mindless follower...but that's not it at all, is it? You've just been beating the hell out of her to get her to obey!" There was a seemingly long pause. Shrapnel turned away, fearing for herself and her siblings now that Ransack was taking a stand. Panopticon's nares flared. "Thisss...thisss...insssolence!" he growled. For a moment he contemplated decapitating Ransack right then and there, but he quickly decided that that would not be prudent in such a crowded city scene as it was. For now, Panopticon plucked one of the Pokéballs from the electromagnet on his back and beamed Ransack into it. He placed the Pokéball back on top of the magnet, then he glared at Bombshell. "For your sssake, I hope insssubordination doesss not run in the family..." Panopticon motioned to Inferno the Charizard, Regulus the Starmie, and Proteus the Ditto, all of whom were busy devouring the last of the catering. "Come! We're leaving." At that, all three of the hungry Pokémon ate faster. They were not about to leave any leftovers. A snarl from Panopticon finally brought an end to their binge. Once he was sure the three Pokémon were following him, Panopticon turned to leave. "Wait! Hold up there!" said an unfamiliar voice. A young boy in shorts, a T-shirt, and a backwards cap came running up to Panopticon. Panopticon gaped at this human, who did not seem the least bit intimidated. "Explain yourssself! Who are you? What do you want?" The boy took a Pokéball from his pocket. "I'm Billy! And I want what any Shorts Kid wants: a Pokémon battle!" Panopticon turned his head away. "Bah! Find yourssself another trainer to fight! I have pressssing busssinessss elsssewhere..." "That's loser talk!" Billy taunted. "What's the matter, am I too scary for you?" Panopticon bared his teeth at the very suggestion. "Panopticon fearsss no one!" he roared. "You'll have your battle! We ssshall ussse one Pokémon each!" "Great!" Billy said with a wide grin. He jumped back several feet to make room for a fight. "Go, Serpentor!" From the boy's Pokéball came a coiled Onix, which lifted its head and let out a thunderous cry of "IWAAARRR!!!" It was Panopticon's turn to grin. He looked up at the towering stone snake. Ideas formed in his head. But first, he had to deal with the battle. The cyber-saur pointed to his Starmie. "Regulusss, assssume combat mode!" "Heyah!" Regulus floated up into the air and spun like a throwing star toward Serpentor. The echinoderm stopped just short of the Onix's snout and floated down to the ground. "Begin with Psssychic!" Panopticon hissed. "Heyah!" Regulus's core glowed brightly for several seconds before unleashing a massive star-shaped psionic blast. Serpentor took the mighty blast on the chin and was knocked back so far that Billy had to jump to one side to avoid getting crushed by his own Pokémon. As Serpentor recovered, Billy commanded, "Don't let this bottom-feeder beat you! Give it your Slam attack!" "IWAAARK!" Serpentor raised the end of his segmented tail and smashed it down on top of Regulus, leaving sizable cracks not only in Regulus's core but also in the ground. Regulus got back up, infuriated that its precious core had been damaged. Steam spouted from the starfish's tendrils. Without even waiting for its trainer's command, Regulus went into a Surf attack. A swirling column of water burst up from the ground, launching Regulus into the air. The rotating tower of water leaned and then finally came crashing down on top of the Onix. As the water subsided, Serpentor pointed his head skyward and roared in pain before keeling over and passing out. "Why?" Billy cried as he withdrew Serpentor. "Why did I lose?" Panopticon's eyes sparkled. He had a plan. "Dessspite itsss great sssize, Onix isss a relative weakling," Panopticon explained. "All data indicatesss that itsss physssical attack rating can go no higher than a blissstering 188. What you need isss a Pokémon with physssical ssstrength worth ssspeaking of. What you need...isss a Ssscyther." Bombshell and Shrapnel perked up upon hearing this. "And asss it ssso happensss, I have more Ssscyther than I know what to do with! I sssuggessst we trade." Billy pondered this. "Gee, I don't know..." "You would be the envy of all other Ssshortsss Kidsss!" Panopticon persisted. Billy ruminated some more, then finally said, "I'll do it!" "You've made the right choice," Panopticon said with a sly smile. He took Ransack's Pokéball off of his back and held it out for Billy to take. "Gee, don't we need to go to a Pokécenter to trade?" Billy wondered. "It'sss a common misssconception," Panopticon told him. "One goesss to a Pokécenter to trade only if they care about regissstering their Pokémon with the Pokémon League. The Pokémon League doesssn't have to know everything, do they?" Billy somewhat hesitantly tossed Serpentor's Pokéball to Panopticon, and the cyber-saur handed Ransack's Pokéball to the youth. Stunned, Bombshell and Shrapnel watched the transaction. The exchange complete, Billy ran off to show his peers his new Pokémon. Panopticon attached Serpentor's Pokéball to his back and chuckled to himself, "Now I have a Pokémon more dessserving of a Metal Coat..." Bombshell just gave Ransack a feeble wave goodbye. (OOC: Can you tell I'm...*cough*...cutting back on the Scyther? ^_^) -------------------------------------- K * A * R * N * I * V * A * X Vaarok, mecha artist, on one of my drawings: "I don't particularly like that style of anime, but the chick is great. The dragon, on the other hand, looks unthreatening, alien, and stupid. There's no snout, no impression of anything other than starving apathy. The dragon has no menace." Me: "Sounds like my dragons and your mecha have a lot in common... =P"