From: "William Rendfeld" <WARendfeld@aol.com> Subject: [PW!] Birthday Warnings and Departures Date: Friday, April 23, 2004 10:15 AM Birthday Warnings and Departures Right punch. Left punch. Right punch. Left punch. Right jump kick. As the sun began to rise over Rustboro City, a young woman stood in a small park within walking distance of the city's Pokémon Center, silently exercising and practicing her skills in the martial arts. Her long brown hair tied back in a braid and her breathing relaxed and focused, Alexandria Masters silently went through a long series of movements consisting of rapid punches, kicks, and flips, occasionally balancing herself on one hand or foot using a park bench. Upon spending a few short seconds in such a position, her feet pointed skyward, she pushed herself off the bench, flipped about in the air, and landed in a kneeling position. She slowly rose to her feet and asked her two companions, "How was that?" The first of the two, a Combusken dubbed Surtur, held a stopwatch in his right claw. "<You may consider expanding your exercise regiment,>" he noted. "<Your movements seem to be going a little faster. You're up five seconds from the last time.>" "Must be because of Eye," an ebon-winged Murkrow dubbed ShadowWarrior noted. "That Unown's obviously doing more than aiding your telepathy." "Definitely something to consider," Alex noted as she walked over to her equipment, slinging back on her PokéBelt and weapons. Surtur raised an eyebrow and asked his trainer, "<Alexandria?>" "Nothing, just thinking about last night, that's all," Alex replied as she slung her jacket back on. "As it stands right now, everyone in the Search Party is aware of my heritage except for possibly Carol, and most of them believe me." "And they have every reason to," ShadowWarrior replied. "Cass is your sister, so she's known the truth for a while. Aerie, Kitsu, Keaton, Mimic and Bob aren't exactly normal themselves, so they can at least give you the benefit of the doubt. Jeff has Bob for a brother, so he can believe it. Ben believes you because he likes you. John's obviously a little unusual himself, so he's willing to believe. And Derek has Chan with him, and Chan knows you're telling the truth. It's just Nori that doesn't believe you." "Not to mention thinks I'm crazy," Alex noted, picking up her backpack and slinging it on. "I'm not surprised by that, mind you, but I'd rather she didn't look at me like I could kill everyone in the party without a second thought." "<There isn't much you can do to convince her, Alexandria,>" Surtur noted. "<She cannot have memories beamed into her head, and I doubt she has a degree in genetics.>" "At least Rubix seems willing to believe you," ShadowWarrior added. "That counts for something, doesn't it?" "Yeah," Alex replied. "Speaking of, they mentioned something about another alien that they'd met. You think that guy might still be around?" "Based on the description you relayed to us?" ShadowWarrior asked. "If he was, we'd hear about it. It's not often that you see a Gargoyle-wannabe running around." "Point," Alex noted. Her thoughts were quickly interrupted by a light beeping from her bag. Alex quickly opened a small patch, pulled out her cell phone, and answered it, "Hello?" "Nice to hear you're still answering your phone," a familiar voice replied. "Happy birthday, Alex." "Thanks Mom," Alex said with a smile. "How you feeling?" "Decent enough, considering everything," Helen Masters replied from the other end. "Cass did tell you about my condition, right?" "Why wouldn't she?" Alex replied, using one hand to get her hair out of its braid. "I hope you aren't in too much pain." "A little weak from the chemo, but nothing I can't handle," Helen replied. "I gave birth to you and Cass, didn't I?" Alex chuckled. "Yeah, you did." she thought for a couple seconds, then said, "Mom, there's something I need to ask you." "What about?" Helen asked. "Yesterday, I was attacked by a pair of Pokémon, a Tentacruel and a Donphan," Alex explained. "Both equipped with Metal Coats." "How do you know they were after you?" Helen asked. "The Tentacruel nearly choked me into unconsciousness," Alex replied. "I think it's safe to say someone's after me." Silence. "Mom?" "Where are you headed now?" "Dewford, why?" "Keep a low profile," Helen ordered. "Watch your back, and don't go anywhere alone. I'll see what I can do about having someone meet you in Mauville or Slateport. In the meantime, be careful." "Mom, there's something you aren't telling me," Alex replied. "I have every reason not to over the phone," Helen explained. "Right now, just be careful." "I will," Alex assured her. "You be careful too." "Take care Alex," Helen said at last. "Love you." "Love you too, Mom," Alex answered before shutting off the line. The two Pokémon with Alex looked to one another, and ShadowWarrior noted sarcastically, "That sounds supporting." Alex put away her cell phone and said, "C'mon, the others are probably waiting for us by now." - By the time Alex arrived at the Pokémon Center, the rest of the Search Party for Smasher (aside from Carol Ross, who remained absent) stood waiting. "I hope I haven't kept anyone," Alex noted to the group. "No, you're fine," her elder sister replied. "Good luck with your end." "Thanks Cass," Alex replied. Then, to the group, she said, "Well, let's get started." TBC?