From: John Willemin ( Subject: [PW!] Mallrattatas Newsgroups: Date: 2001-02-26 14:00:18 PST (OOC: A pox! A pox on all the imbeciles at Google who bought out Deja and are proceeding to run it into the ground!) Kyle and Jessica, along with free-roaming Pokémon Atropos, Espio, and Thanatos, entered the Seafoam Islands Pokécenter, which was currently little more than a tent. (Seafoam had had no need for a Pokécenter before the recent evacuation of Cinnabar Island.) Kyle had Cathode's Pokéball in his hand; Jessica had Ermac's in hers. Together they headed for the brand-new Trade Machine that stood just next to Nurse Joy's makeshift desk. "I noticed you put Cathode in his Pokéball for once," Jessica pointed out as she reached the machine and put Ermac's Pokéball in the left pit. "He's finally mature enough?" Kyle was reminded of the female Pikachu that Cathode had so quickly impregnated. "Or immature," Kyle responded. "Take your pick." He placed Cathode's Pokéball in the right pit. Espio, who was gleefully carrying the spotted egg that Kerrigan the Nidoqueen had yielded, glanced at the Trade Machine's monitor for instructions. "'To start, press any key,'" he read. "Where's the 'any' key?" Kyle pressed one of the red buttons beneath the monitor, and the machine came alive. The Pokéballs were quickly sucked up into the machine by a pair of tubes. The monitor went wild with data and displayed C.G.I. renderings of the two Pokémon being exchanged. Within thirty seconds, the tubes spat the Pokéballs out on opposite sides, and the machine went silent. Ermac's Pokéball was hopping about like a Mexican jumping bean. Jessica quickly picked up and opened the spheroid. A glowing Porygon materialized low in the air before her. "Here we go..." Ermac's evolution was surprisingly uneventful. Its body went from crystalline and pointy to curvy and smooth. The Porygon actually lost a bit of mass in the process. "Porygon?" the upgraded creature meekly chirped. His voice now had a level of emotion surprising for an entity of programming code. "This is the upgraded Porygon?" Espio remarked. "Hah, it looks more like a pool toy!" "Porygon..." Ermac sniffed. He shed pixelated tears and floated into Jessica's arms. Jessica gently stroked the computerized Pokémon's head. "That wasn't nice," Jessica scolded the Charizard. "He's got feelings too, you know." "Artificial ones," Espio snorted. Jessica irritably turned away. She held Ermac up in front of Kyle. "Here, pet him!" she commanded. "He's soft and squishy, like silicone." "But you wouldn't know anything about that, would you, Jessica?" Espio commented while Kyle somewhat hesitantly stroked the elastic Porygon2. Jessica shot the Charizard a vicious scowl. That done, Kyle and Jessica retrieved their Pokéballs and headed over to Nurse Joy's desk. "May I help you?" Nurse Joy asked cheerily. Jessica took a Pokéball off of her belt. "We were wondering if you could identify this Pokémon." The Pokéball was opened, and out came Lotus, the mysterious but thankfully not hostile Pokémon with the leaf poking out of her head. "Chika!" Lotus exclaimed. "Oh, my," said Nurse Joy. "A visitor from Johto. The first one I've seen here." "This...this is a Johto Pokémon?" Jessica said in evident surprise. "Its name is Chikorita," Nurse Joy explained. "It's one of the Pokémon that Johto's Professor Elm hands out to new Pokémon trainers." She scratched the Chikorita's chin. "I'd be happy to update your Pokédex with the Johto species..." "Please do," Jessica requested. She turned her Pokédex over to Joy, and Joy slid the red device into a slot on the side of a rather nondescript, box-shaped machine. The machine emitted standard hard-drive whirring for a few minutes, then a standard microwave *DING!* The machine ejected the Pokédex, and the Pokédex was swiftly returned to its owner. "Have a nice day!" called Joy as the trainers and their Pokémon turned and headed for the exit. "All right, where did we agree we were going next?" Kyle queried as the team stepped outside. Jessica tugged at her replica plug suit, the only clothing she currently had. Kyle smacked his forehead. "Oh, right, the Gap." Kyle and Jessica boarded Espio and took off with Atropos and Thanatos flying close behind. A short flight later, Kyle, Jessica, and their other free-roaming Pokémon were standing before the main entrance to the Seafoam Island Mall. "I think I'll stay out here," Kyle meekly piped up. "Nonsense!" cried Jessica. "I value your opinion." She took Kyle by the arm and dragged him toward the entrance. The Pokémon had no idea if they were allowed in the mall, but they followed their trainers in anyway. Right away they stared at the mall directory just beyond the main entrance. Jessica pointed to a small spot on the map. "The Gap's on the second floor." "Have fun. Thanatos and I are going to the food court," Espio declared. Jessica cut in, "Hold on, let me give you..." She turned, and Espio and Thanatos were already gone. "...some money..." Kyle, Jessica, and Atropos rode escalators to the second floor while Espio and Thanatos flew straight up to the third. Mallgoers ran screaming from the scene as the white Charizard and the black Gengar soared into the food court and landed next to McDonald's. "Hey!" the McDonald's manager bellowed. "You! Pokémon!" He pointed across the food court. "Burger King's over *there*!" "No, no, this is what we want," Espio reassured him. He leaned on the counter. "The number three, if you please. Twelve of them. Large. With Coke. No ice." He paused while the cashier frantically rang up sixteen large Quarter Pounder Value Meals. "Thanatos, do *you* want anything?" "Gar," Thanatos responded, shaking his head (a.k.a. his whole body). When the price came up on the cash register screen, Espio reached into his tail-flame and pulled a glowing metal cylinder off of the tip of his tail. He shook the cylinder, and out came a wad of slightly singed cash. The cashier took the money and gave Espio his change. Fifteen minutes passed as the McDonald's staff struggled to fill the gargantuan order. Espio mused about his affinity for Pepsi and his chagrin at McDonald's deal with Coke. Five more minutes passed. Twelve Cokes and twelve large orders of fries were brought to the counter. The McDonald's workers formed a huddle and tried to decide who would be the unlucky one to tell the Charizard that there were not enough Quarter Pounders to complete the order. Espio pounded one fist on the counter and growled, "Is this what passes for 'fast' food nowadays?!" The group of workers jumped back a foot. "We need more meat and fast!" the manager stammered. "Where are we gonna get it?" said a cashier. "You expect us to borrow from Burger King?" And suddenly, as if cued to do so, something small and yellow crawled out of a chewed-up cardboard box in the back of the restaurant. "Pika chu," said the creature as it groomed itself. The right corner of the manager's mouth twitched oddly. Thirty minutes later, the order was complete. Espio wondered how he was going to carry the large order around. He looked up at the Gengar. "Thanatos, you got anything in that personal dimension of yours to carry this?" "Gen gar." Thanatos reached over his shoulder. From the depths of the netherworld, Thanatos called forth his guitar, a spare tire, a lava lamp, and a kitchen sink before finally finding a large bucket. Espio dumped all of his fries into the bucket, then carefully unwrapped all of the burgers and put them in the bucket next. With his psychic power, Thanatos picked up the twelve sodas. Espio and Thanatos then walked away from McDonald's. The workers heaved a collective sigh of relief. The two Pokémon had no sooner left the food court than Kyle, Jessica, and Atropos came ascending the escalator to meet them. Jessica was still wearing her plug suit, but she was carrying two large bags, one from the Gap and one from Foot Locker. Kyle's face was bruised, evidently from repeated slappings. Espio offered the two humans some fries, but they politely refused. Something glinted on Jessica's right ring finger. Espio pointed in its general direction. "Is that -?" Jessica held up her hand so that Espio could see the extravagant engagement ring she was now wearing. "Kyle bought me this at Bailey, Banks, and Biddle," she noted. "Better late than never," Espio remarked. Kyle said nothing. It was technically Jessica's money that had bought it, since she had paid off the debts that had been run up with Kyle's credit card by Shard Fields. Together the trainers and the three Pokémon descended two escalators and returned to the entrance from whence they came. On the way out of the mall, Espio bit into one of the burgers. He winced and cried, "This burger just shocked me!" (OOC: OK, I'm a-windin' down now...) -------------------------------- K * A * R * N * I * V * A * X "Kicking a kitten...a grown man punting a kitten who was looking the other was the bravest thing I've ever seen." --Torg, Sluggy Freelance