From: John Willemin ( Subject: [PW!] Making a Withdrawal Newsgroups: Date: 2001-07-23 17:51:04 PST (OOC: Having seen "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within," I firmly believe that I would have liked it a hell of a lot more if it hadn't been prancing around under the Final Fantasy name. And having seen "Jurassic Park III," I have a new idea for a Panopticon story... ^_^) With a triumphant screech, Grendel the Aerodactyl made a perfect landing in front of the opening to the fence which surrounded Doctor Xavier Eckert's sprawling estate. Kyle got off of Grendel, picked up a dime from beneath the Aerodactyl's talons, and praised, "Good stop." He then recalled Grendel and stepped up to the intercom at the main gate. He pressed the call button and waited. "Hello?" eventually came Doctor Eckert's voice. "It's Kyle Richter." "Ah...Bill told me you might be arriving today. Come in." With that, the mechanized fence swung open. As Kyle and Jessica headed up the dirt path to the house, they noticed that little of the scene had changed in five years. There were still Rosetta University students running around studying Kingler at the pond, and a few Pokémon that were evidently Sarah Jane's were busy sparring. Beyond the self-training Pokémon, however, there was a pair of Nidoking having a heated argument, presumably over a nearby Nidoqueen, who had two baby Nidoran cowering behind her. One of the Nidoking was pink...and the other was Daggoth. Kyle and Jessica heard a bit of the exchange as they approached. "You heard Daggoth," the portly Nidoking snarled. "Join Daggoth's hive!" The pink Nidoking just growled something in Poké-ese and crossed his arms defiantly. "That was not a request!" Daggoth roared. "But if you still wish to defy Daggoth, then so be it! Have at you, infidel!" The furious Daggoth lowered his head and charged, in an attempt to give the pink Nidoking a Horn Attack. But the pink one was ready. He brought a fist back and then landed an explosive Dynamic Punch right on Daggoth's snout. Daggoth was sent flying backwards into a tree, in which his horn became stuck. The Nidoqueen cheered. As Daggoth broke free, Kyle thought about intervening...when he remembered that it was Doctor Eckert who had Daggoth's Pokéball. Daggoth lightly jabbed himself in the head a few times, apparently trying to jar himself out of confusion. He pointed to a large rock to the right of the pink Nidoking and thundered, "You think you can fool Daggoth with your silly parlor tricks?!" Then he charged headfirst into the rock and knocked himself out cold. The pink Nidoking had no idea what had just happened, but it resulted in the Nidoqueen rushing up to embrace him, so he was not about to quibble. Suddenly Jessica's Pokédex started to beep loudly. She picked it up, and before she could figure out what was going on, a Pokéball called itself up from cyber-storage. The spheroid opened right in the palm of her hand, and out came Kerrigan the Nidoqueen, fuming mad. "Whoa! Now that's devotion!" Jessica remarked as the little Nidoqueen made a mad rush at Daggoth's assailant. The pink Nidoking let out a hearty laugh before he threw another Dynamic Punch...and missed. Kerrigan gave the pink one a mighty Mega Kick between the legs. Kyle could not help but laugh at the look on the Nidoking's face after that. The pink Nidoking bellowed all sorts of obscenities in Poké-ese as he staggered around. He shouted something at Kerrigan before going into a Thrash attack. Kerrigan blocked the hits from the pink one's flailing fists, then blew the Nidoking away with an Ice Beam. "All right, that's enough sparring with the locals," Jessica said. "Return!" She tried to recall Kerrigan, but the Nidoqueen dodged the Pokéball's beam. From the tip of her horn, Kerrigan shot a small Ice Beam that knocked the ball out of Jessica's grasp and froze her hand solid. "Hey!" Jessica cried. With Kerrigan momentarily distracted, it was an easy task for the pink Nidoking to recover from the Nidoqueen's attack and slam her to the ground with Thrash. But this did not faze the angry Nidoqueen. She jumped up and stomped her feet, creating an Earthquake that knocked the pink one horn over heels. The pink Nidoking slowly got back to his feet. Kerrigan tried to look seductive as she beckoned him onward, inviting him to further pain. It was about that time when Kyle picked up Kerrigan's Pokéball and recalled her by himself. The other Nidoqueen and her babies rushed over to the pink Nidoking to make sure he was all right. It was then that Doctor Eckert came running up. "I see you've met Cuddles and Regis," he said to Kyle and Jessica. "I'm sorry about Daggoth," Kyle said. "It's not your fault," responded the Doctor. "Scientifically speaking...he's a raving lunatic." He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out Daggoth's Pokéball. "After five years, all of the Pokémon psychologists working here have come to the same conclusion: that Daggoth should be permanently institutionalized." He beamed the Nidoking back into his Pokéball. "I hope your prognoses for the rest of my Pokémon are more optimistic," Kyle commented. "Like Espio. Bill said -" "Your Hitmonlee has made great progress," Doctor Eckert interrupted. "We kept him isolated, away from all potential battles. He resorted to exercise and meditation to pass the time. I dare say he's found peace." "And Espio?" Kyle tried again. "Your Dragonite, too, seems to have calmed down," Doctor Eckert went on, ignoring Kyle. "It took much counseling, but we got him to release his pent-up frustration. You would have been surprised at how insecure he really was..." "That's great...but what about -" "Yes...Espio," the Doctor finally said. "What did Bill tell you about him?" "All he said was that we should come talk to you." The Doctor paused for a long while. "Kyle, Espio didn't adapt well at all to being committed. The second he found himself in the University, he believed you had abandoned him. He guessed that his failure to protect someone named 'Atropos' had made him the weakest link, so to speak." Kyle was stunned. "Wha...what? How could he think that? I've got to see him right now...!" "I'm afraid you can't," the Doctor cut him off. "Why not?!" "Espio wasn't even here for three months before he broke out, presumably to look for you. The orderlies weren't able to stop him..." "Oh, great, and now we have to go find him..." Kyle sighed. "That won't be necessary," the Doctor said. "You mean he was found?" Kyle replied, now very confused as to why he could not see Espio. "Yes, he was found," the Doctor answered. He reached again into his coat pocket, and pulled out two Pokéballs. He handed these two, along with Daggoth's, to Kyle. "There's only three..." Kyle said. "Espio was found in Johto, at the Lake of Rage, some six months after his escape," the Doctor explained. "All the reporters wrote that he was attacked by the Gyarados there. But I'm more inclined to believe that he drowned himself..." The Pokéballs fell from Kyle's hand. -------------------------------------- K * A * R * N * I * V * A * X "Your cavalier dismissal of mechanics shows a commendable bravado, from a swashbuckling perspective. But from an academic perspective, it's a real problem." -My English teacher Mr. Hench, commenting on a term paper