Session 66

The dance has gone on and on, and it is now well and truly afternoon - though the sun is not yet touching the horizon. Both sides have been tending their wounded, not backing off the front lines but accepting that conflict has been delayed. The Jaegers have attempted half-hearted mortar fire, which the psychics easily swatted out of the sky. The lack of the same from the psychics seems to have everything to do with lack of indirect fire capability, and nothing to do with lack of will.
But now the tide has begun to recede. The torrent of ghosts is now almost down to eye level, and already second and third story snipers have begun to take aim, though they seem to be waiting for the ground level combat to recommence.
In mid-dance, the skitty traces out a brief flaring pair of runes on the wailord the party is perched upon. The runes look like unown.
Esme, from her recent studies, recognizes these on sight: the G and the O unown.
Sam Spade: "Okay. So pretty soon they're about to start shooting at each other."
Sam Spade: "How can we stop that, given that flooding the entire city with angry ghosts only slowed things down a bit?"
Max Thorn: "If anyone has Light Screen or similar, now is the time to separate them with it."
Esme blinks. "Huh."
Esme: "Well, probably getting into the middle of things like we always do, is a good start."
Linnea: "Like always."
Sam Spade: "Sounds like a plan. Everyone still have their soul shoes?"
Linnea: "Yuuuup."
Max Thorn: "Yeah, but they might be a little damp…"
Sam Spade: "Alright. Let's get out there before they start shooting."
Sam Spade: "The Jaegers think we're practically Jaegers, and hopefully the locals know we're not, but *please* don't get shot!"
Sam Spade looks at each party member and *personally* implores them.
[OOC] Sam Spade: Just to make sure, can we walk back, or would we be washed out to sea?
Tim: "I'll…stay up here, if that's okay. I mean, I AM a Jaeger, so…"
Sam Spade: "Don't worry, Tim, we got you."
[OOC] WC GM: It would be like a fast treadmill, but it's possible. Worst case, you would be washed into the wailord.
Max Thorn hops down, with Antheia's help.
Esme: "I…probably won't get shot."
Linnea cracks her knuckles, and starts getting ready to head out, after returning Lulim, who unfortunately had no soulshoes.
Very little of the ghost sea is washing past the wailord. Almost all of it seems to be going in - and, thanks to the enchantment, going away once inside. It is probably not a good idea to see if living souls could survive in there right now.
[OOC] WC GM: Athletics, Acrobatics, or justify another skill to stay on the ghost treadmill. Survival doesn't apply, unfortunately.
Sam Spade grimaces and leaps off the Wailord, landing awkwardly, then running up into the city, both hands raised in a 'stop' gesture, one to either side.
[OOC] Max Thorn: Focus?
Esme carefully makes her way down, to skirt around hopefully the last of soulsea.
[OOC] WC GM: Hmm…possibly, but at higher difficulty. This is mainly a raw physical task.
Esme rolled up 4d6+1: 17 (5 3 3 5) (Big Stronk?)
Linnea tries to plot a path toward the city, where the border between reality and the ghost sea is at its strongest. (Occult?)
Max Thorn rolled up 2d6: 6 (2 4) (focus)
Sam Spade rolled up 6d6: 17 (4 4 1 4 2 2) (Focus Anyway)
Linnea rolled up 6d6: 20 (2 6 4 4 3 1) (Occult)
[OOC] WC GM: Not Occult.
[OOC] Linnea: oop
[OOC] WC GM: Again: raw physical
Linnea heaves a sigh and just starts trudging.
Linnea rolled up 4d6: 14 (5 4 3 2) (Athletics)
Max is washed back, rammed into the wailord's upper lip. The soulshoes keep him up, and the lip keeps him from sliding back any further.
Linnea is able to move forward, though it is a struggle. Sam and Esme are able to move almost unimpeded.
Max Thorn: "Uhh.. Could I get a little help here, please?"
Linnea grumbles a bit, but does double back to go and assist Max. (( More rolls? ))
Tim tries laying down and extending a hand to Max - but the wailord is too big, and Tim too small, for Tim's hand to get anywhere near Max.
Sam Spade: "Esme, help Max! Please!"
Sands looks for a moment like he is considering burrowing through the wailord to reach Max, until Tim's warning glare stops him.
Esme perks, having been trudging along. She lets herself slide back towards the Wailord to pull Max along.
Sam Spade: "With any luck, if it's the locals you're worried about, they won't shoot you if it hurts Max…!"
The Jaeger snipers lower their weapons, and the psychic snipers get out of position to blast, as the party comes between them. Many of those on the ground stop what they are doing to watch, as well.
Sam Spade: "We should….talk!"
Max Thorn: "I'm not going to say things like, 'they're not your enemies'. I *am*, however, going to demand an explanation."
One of the psychics - a lean, wiry type who mildly craters the ground with a punching motion for emphasis - snarls, "Ain't nothing to talk about! They've been keeping us as slaves! They don't deserve to live!"
Sam Spade: "On an unrelated note, we would like to speak with the gym leader. We need badge thirteen!"
One of the Jaegers shoots back, "Sorry, but there is no gym. It was obliterated in the uprising. That is part of the justification for our operations here, for the safety of Amoda."
Linnea: "Oh man. Where would I even begin with this."
Sam Spade raises a suspicious eyebrow.
Esme bites her lip.
[OOC] Sam Spade: About how deep are the ghosts now?
[OOC] WC GM: Still about eye level, relative to those on the ground.
[OOC] WC GM: Slowly receding - it might recede faster later, though.
Sam Spade ignores the burning in her muscles and looks at the psychic who spoke up earlier. "Are you that eager to die to wipe them out?"
Sam Spade turns towards the Jaegers: "And you. Are you willing to kill them all, if it means that no one is left who can save Moth?"
TKThug: "Ha! Let them shoot their…" He sneers. "…bullets."
Linnea is completely out of patience and remarks bitterly - "Why not just level the entire town and end your struggles forever. Idiots."
Sam Spade: "Don't give them any ideas, Linnea, I wouldn't be surprised if someone goes for it."
JaegerOperative: "Of course not. There will be survivors. Not everyone is resorting to violence; some have been quite cooperative."
Esme: "Define 'cooperative'."
JaegerOperative: "Engaging in research. Following orders. Not resisting."
Linnea: "It isn't cooperation if you force it. That's called coercion."
The Jaeger speaker shrugs. "It is far more cooperation than…that." He points to the psychics.
Linnea: "You're all wasting both your time and your lives."
TKThug: "Darn right we're uncooperative! Ain't nothing worth cooperating with!" He looks up at Sam. "What's this about saving a moth?"
Sam Spade: "Oh, there's a man who was shot with a crystal bullet before the invasion. It's still there. In his skull."
TKThug: "Do we look like brain surgeons?" He punches a building next to him - what probably once was a two-story apartment complex, now just a burned-out shell. It partially collapses.
Sam Spade: "Oh, all you're good for is punching things?"
Sam Spade: "I'm sorry."
JaegerOperative: "HEY! You didn't even check for survivors there. See? This is what we have to put up with!"
Esme: "It's almost like people lash out and make bad decisions when they're stressed or held captive."
TKThug: "That's most of what I've ever been good for. And they kept pushing me on it, wanting me to do more and more. Well, here I am!"
Sam Spade: "So you want to just keep doing what they want?"
TKThug: "Of course not! Now I want to destroy THEM, not their 'test articles'!"
Esme: "Their what now?"
Linnea: "Listen - can we all just de-escalate a moment and let us in on exactly what's going on here?"
Linnea: "Other than a bloody ridiculous war?"
The Jaeger operative consults what looks like a pokedex, though ruggedized and forearm-mounted. "Let's see…ah, number 109! Wrecker. Hazardous material disposal. You were supposed to save a lot of lives, make Amoda cleaner and better."
Linnea: "And then, you started wrecking faces?"
TKThug: "Yeah, yeah. 'Clean up the sandbars, make the harbor safe for navigation. Disinfect biochemical and radiation hazards.' I HEARD your goons, you know."
Linnea: "And then what happened? Too much hazard buildup?"
Sam Spade: "Then goons, I think."
Sam Spade: "Doing a good thing for Amoda is one thing."
Sam Spade: "Doing a good thing for Amoda because someone will beat you if you don't is another."
Linnea: "That's technically a hazard buildup…"
JaegerOperative: "Number 109's record shows no sign of corporal punishment."
TKThug: "Ha! As if they could beat ME!"
Sam Spade: "And other prisoners?"
Sam Spade: "What punishments *did* you apply?"
TKThug: "What do you think?"
JaegerOperative: "We attempted to instill discipline."
Linnea: "…I'm gonna be sick."
Sam Spade: "Please, clarify. Instill discipline how?"
TKThug: "Oh, is THAT what you called it? All those pain crystals…"
Esme: "Bad answer."
JaegerOperative: "Psychic alignment matricies. Crafted to enhance your potential."
Linnea: "Oh, that's nice."
Linnea: "Since, you know…"
TKThug: "And the drugs?"
Sam Spade is abruptly ten feet back as her feet freeze in place despite the rushing of the ghosts.
Linnea: "You can either boost someone's latent powers…"
Linnea: "Or introduce an unbearable level of feedback…"
JaegerOperative: "Stimulants. Regulators."
Sam Spade mutters to herself.
TKThug: "And those SHOWS! Why'd you have to bombard us with kiddie stuff?"
Sam Spade: "My ethics tell me we need to be here. We need to be in the middle of this. We need to keep the psychics from murdering the Jaegers. And I'm trying to figure out *why*."
JaegerOperative: "Visual and auditory supplements. Those were designed for you, not for children."
Esme: "That /is/ the hard part isn't it?"
Linnea: "Don't ask me."
Esme: "This whole mess is part of the reason I left home in the first place, and I haven't found an answer yet."
Sam Spade: "Okay. I know why."
Max Thorn pinches the bridge of his nose.
Sam Spade: "Because murder is a habit, every time you do it it gets a bit easier."
JaegerOperative: "We did this for you!"
TKThug: "You did it TO us!"
Max Thorn: "ENOUGH."
Sam Spade: "And because Team Jaeger will respond by killing everyone in town with all the wrath of an angry mewtwo."
Linnea: "You did this for them?"
Linnea: "Sounds more like you did it - yes."
Max Thorn points at the Jaeger. "You. Your problem is that you don't understand management. Lead by example, not by force, and so on. You can't just order people around."
JaegerOperative: "But we were FOLLOWING orders, direct from our leader! 'Make them strong enough to help me.'"
Linnea: "Oh. Well there's your problem."
Linnea: "You're just as much a mindless zombie as the people you're trying to buckle down."
Max Thorn: "These people need training of the mind, not the body. And that *necessitates* willing cooperation."
Sam Spade: "And extrapolating from there, doing it in the least effective or efficient way possible, and ensuring that they were both strong enough to help and angry enough to refuse to help."
Max Thorn: "Your job was to *encourage* them. To *help* them, in whatever way they needed, to elicit their cooperation for your purposes. Inflicting pain on them, *punishing* them for disobedience or not improving fast enough? That just makes them resist and unwilling to help."
Max Thorn: "The most dangerous foe is the *absolutely necessary person* whose expertise you can't gain and who you've pissed off."
Esme: "Or just explain, 'our leader got shot with a weird psychic bullet and is floating around, please help'."
Esme: "Rolling up on them with an itinerary and positions they never asked for obviously isn't going to be met with cooperation."
Max Thorn: "You can't just hold a gun to these people-*my* people-and expect them to do what you want when you're asking them to utilize something you can't see."
Linnea: "Even all this aside…"
Linnea: "Clearly, none of this is working - which means the logical thing to do would be do something different."
Linnea: "But no, you've doubled down and opted for the gambler's fallacy."
Max Thorn: "So here's what I propose. Both of you, stand down. Send to us two representatives. One from upper management, one from lower management. We'll talk this situation over like civilized people and *work together* to find a path forward."
JaegerOperative: "I don't think they HAVE management. Look at them! They're an unorganized mob!"
Max Thorn checks his 'dex. "And yet they nearly kicked your rear. Quitcherbitchin'."
[OOC] Max Thorn: Looking for an outdoor dining area nearby.
The telekinetic sneers and smacks fist into open palm. "Did you forget who we're dealing with? Just because we use telepathy instead of radios don't mean we don't have people hanging back and telling us where you are!"
Max Thorn sighs. "And quit egging each other on, or so help me Arceus…"
The mostly-knocked-down apartment building has some benches and greenery - apparently a miniature park in front, to greet those coming to what was its lobby - just outside the rubble.
Max Thorn: "We will sit down over there" -Max points at the miniature park- "and hash this thing out in public. That way, neither side can argue that they were sold out or undermined."
The Jaeger operative looks around his fellows. "I'm willing to talk, if you think that would help. As for upper management…" He gestures to Tim, who frantically waves his hands in a cross pattern and backs away along the wailord.
Sam Spade: "Someone local, please."
Max Thorn: "He's not involved in this idiocy."
Sam Spade: "While Tim could definitely be considered 'senior,' but given the conversation we heard between you and him on the radio…"
The ghost sea recedes more, now down to waist level. While several combatants are in position to shoot, no one is taking the first shot yet.
Tim: "Y-yeah! They need people who were here! Not me!"
Max Thorn: "Hey, Tim! Who's the senior officer on duty? This fella?"
Tim: "Umm, let me check…"
JaegerOperative: "It's a tie - they got our executive - but if it'll get the job done…Tim, do we trust these people?"
Tim blinks. "Yes! They are MY trainers. They've saved my life more than once. I trust them."
JaegerOperative: "Good enough for me. Our other agents will stand back."
TKThug: "Heh. Being cautious? Alright, our coordinators have agreed to speak through me. If this's a trap, I can tough it out better'n they can."
Linnea: "About damn time things started making sense."
Max Thorn makes his way for the park, then, and enlists Antheia's aid in arranging the benches and so on so that there are six seats total, one on each end and two each on the remaining sides. He gestures his fellow trainers toward the two-seaters.
Sam Spade sits next to Esme.
Max Thorn pauses, though, to take a good, hard look at the TK goon.
Linnea plunks down at Sam's other side.
[OOC] WC GM: Perception check, Max
Max Thorn rolled up 3d6: 10 (6 2 2)
[OOC] Sam Spade: Haha, that means three of us on one side
…that goon is…a she, not a he. And looks familiar…
Max Thorn sits opposite Sam, once everything's arranged.
Esme crosses her arms and leans back in her seat. She's totally keeping her cool, totally!
Max Thorn: "Before we begin, let's introduce ourselves. I'm Max Thorn, a professor-in-training on a field assignment. And you are…?" He gestures to his right, where one or the other goon's seated.
Max Thorn taps a quick note to Sam and Esme, which reads: "The telekinetic seems familiar…something about a two-handed sword, I think? Any thoughts?"
Linnea: "Anything to do with that other two-handed sword we, uh, experienced?"
Sam Spade pulls out her own pokedex and frustratedly works her way through the memos.
Sam Spade then types out a reply: "Remember girl sent to dojoholm"
Sam Spade looks over the goon herself.
Sam Spade rolled up 5d6: 16 (1 1 6 5 3) (Perception. Ha!)
Sam Spade: "You remind me of a girl we met working at the Pokemart in Dojoholm."
The ghost sea recedes a bit further, now down to knee level. The park is on the psychics' side, so the goon can just walk up - which she does, until Sam's question freezes her in her tracks.
TKThug: "C…come again?"
Esme: "Oh!"
Linnea: "Eh?"
Sam Spade: "That was the first time we met Moth, too, wasn't it?"
The Jaegers simply roll out an armored personnel carrier, which fords the river and deposits the designated operative at the parkette before returning. It seems a bit makeshift, and dented from assaults, but it keeps the ghosts out well enough.
TKThug: "You met Monica? Is she alright?"
Sam Spade: "She was the last time we saw her, yes. She had…some problems, with the ghosts, I think. But I think we got her a respite for a time."
The tomboy goon relaxes. "Oh thank goodness. I haven't heard from her in…"
Esme: "She was doing pretty alright when we left! Did she always have that sword?"
TKThug: "What sword?"
Esme: "Guess not."
TKThug: "She was studying telekinetic fencing when she…" She shakes her head. "I tried talking her out of it. A proper lady crushes things with her mind directly! Or her fists, if needed."
TKThug: "But I can't control what ideas her father puts in her head, I guess."
Esme: "Oh trust me, I'm right with you there."
The goon smiles and nods to Esme. "I see that. My name is Nikki."
"One oh-" , the operative interrupts, then sighs. "Right, right, try to avoid anything they take unwarranted offense to. Call me Abbas."
Nikki and Abbas sit on opposite sides of Max.
Max Thorn: "I'm Max, and across from me are my friends, Lin, Sam, and Esme." He gestures to each of the three ladies in turn. "So. Let's start with a briefing. Without justifications or recriminations, please tell us what led to this frank exchange of views from your perspective. Abbas, you first."
It is quite easy to envision imaginary daggers, ice, and other such going between Nikki and Abbas through the space Max occupies.
Linnea: "… Is this an improvement? It seems to be, but I'm not sure…"
Sam Spade: "Yes."
Linnea: "I'm hoping it holds, then."
Abbas: "Flooding of the combat zone with a large quantity of ghost energy, rendering further operations temporarily impossible, created an opening for negotiations before hostilities could resume, which opportunity you seized."
Sam Spade coughs in surprise and amusement.
Max Thorn , dryly: "Before that, if you please."
Nikki: "Ha! You were running scared and this was just an excuse to talk."
Abbas: "We would have welcomed constructive feedback. None was offered."
Nikki: "None was HEARD, you mean. You made it clear you weren't listening."
Max Thorn: "Do I need to put you two in timeout? Cos we're not here to continue the war with words."
Abbas: "The experiments and exercises were being monitored, including audio recordings. Dream state and other irrelevant exclamations were filtered out."
Nikki: "Yeah? 'Cause I know darn well some of my friends who ain't here no more clearly said, 'Stop!'"
Abbas: "Do you take as conversation, what people say when they are asleep?"
Nikki: "There's a world of difference between BEING asleep and being PUT TO sleep!"
Max Thorn reaches behind both of them and simultaneously slaps them upside the head.
Abbas and Nikki glare at Max.
Sam Spade: "Max, why are we here?"
Max Thorn: "Again. We're trying to resolve this peacefully. Stop accusing each other of shit, stop trying to argue with each other over what was going on."
Sam Spade: "We're trying to resolve the problems."
Sam Spade: "That means we need to let them state the problems."
Sam Spade: "Don't hit them. Ask for clarification."
Abbas: "Indeed. And please stop falsification. We have no record of fatalities before this…violence."
Sam Spade holds up a warning finger towards Nikki.
Sam Spade: "Let us handle this."
Max Thorn: "Now. One at a time, please. I know you're going to want to interject, but the four of us newcomers need to hear the story from each of you, without interjections."
Nikki was about to reply, but closes her mouth at Sam's admonition.
Sam Spade: "Abbas. When you say, 'we have no record of fatalities,' what specifically do you mean?"
Sam Spade: "Do you mean that none of your records end with 'subject died as a result of procedure?"
Sam Spade: "Do you mean that every resident who you selected for your procedures is still alive?"
Abbas: "According to the information I have available, no humans died within the city limits of Sandbar Harbor between the final establishment of our occupation and the beginning of the uprising."
Nikki glares and growls, shivering with open anger, but does not speak yet.
Sam Spade blinks.
Sam Spade: "That sounds extremely unlikely."
Esme: "Also oddly specific of the city limits."
Sam Spade: "Nikki, could you help me understand what I'm missing?"
Nikki: "Okay, yeah, their BODIES are still there, but their MINDS…"
Max Thorn: "And, um. How many residents are permanently incapacitated?"
Nikki sweeps her gaze along the party. "We can feel them. There's a difference between a living, breathing human being, and a living, breathing corpse."
Abbas blinks.
Linnea just pales.
Sam Spade: "I see, thank you."
Sam Spade: "Abbas, how many humans are now nonresponsive?"
Abbas checks his notes. "Umm. Thirty are in persistent vegetative states with biological signs similar to Moth…except, Moth is able to move about, speak, and interact. Apparently the process was attempted to be replicated on these subjects."
Linnea: "It took you thirty times to figure this wasn't working?"
Max Thorn: "…"
Sam Spade takes a deep breath, then releases it slowly.
Linnea: "Or was it that there was a lack of care?"
Abbas: "The experiment was not officially concluded."
Sam Spade: "You do realize that Moth is able to move about, speak, and interact because he is bonded to a MewTwo, yes?"
Abbas: "…our orders are to ignore that."
Sam Spade: "Wait."
Esme: "What?!"
Max Thorn: "Orders from whom?"
Abbas: "Moth, of course."
Sam Spade: "Were you specifically told to try to try to duplicate the circumstances while ignoring the influence of the MewTwo?"
Max Thorn pinches the bridge of his nose.
Abbas taps, examining further. "…yes. That appears to be the substance of Moth's order to our researchers."
Max Thorn: "And how many of these individuals had strong ties to an individual-owned psychic pokemon?"
Esme: "I mean, that sounds like something Moth would say. That said, it's ridiculous."
Sam Spade: "Can you send that order over to me?"
Sam Spade: "I'd like to read it."
Sam Spade bites her lip.
Abbas: "Hmm…none." He continues to tap away, then holds up his wrist and the 'dex on it.
Sam Spade: "Although I can see a reason for him to ask you to do it…."
Max Thorn: "Did you specifically choose individuals without psychic pokemon, then?"
Note From Moth: "Of course I am alive. If you believe that you can replicate my state, then do it."
Max Thorn facepalms.
Sam Spade looks at Max, frustration and despair in her eyes.
Max Thorn: "I…see. I suppose that could be interpreted as an order. Did you not confirm that that was actually an order and not, say, hyperbole or a poorly-phrased attempt at humor?"
Abbas: "It does not say." He looks to the party. "I'm sorry, this is outside my field of expertise. Would any of you have experience in these investigations?"
Linnea: "… …"
Esme: "YES."
Abbas: "Moth is not known for hyperbole or humor."
Max Thorn gestures to Sam. "She's the detective here."
Sam Spade: "Moth is not entirely known for comprehensibility, either."
Max Thorn mouths to Sam, "(I'll follow your lead.)"
Sam Spade looks at Max with wide eyes.
Abbas: "Here." He unclips his wrist bracer, 'dex included, and hands it to Sam. "I trust you not to get into unrelated confidential information."
Max Thorn: "For the duration of Sam's investigation, can we expect cooperation and nonaggression from both sides, please?"
Sam Spade blinks
Sam Spade: "I appreciate your trust."
Nikki folds her arms and leans back, not quite smiling but certainly a bit more relaxed. "Now you've got me curious. Sure, I'll refrain from punching his guts out for now, so I can see where this is going."
Sam Spade looks at the dex, trying to fiddle with the database.
Sam Spade: "Out of curiosity, do you have any idea how to reverse what you did to these test subjects?"
Sam easily calls up lists of test subjects - ordered primarily by number, though it does not take long to find out how to sort by status, desired objective, psychic specialization, and other criteria.
Abbas: "Me? No, I'm just security. I believe the researchers were trying to find out how to undo it, though: that was the point of the experiments."
Sam Spade: "Yeah, I'd…kinda been hoping that was the point, it's the least monstrous possibility."
Sam Spade glances up at Nikki and adds "As opposed to straight revenge, which would manage to be worse. This is 'just' unconscionable."
Esme is not-very-subtly staring over Sam's shoulder and looking at records.
Sam Spade: "Um. I'm not very good at working with tech, my specialty is people. Esme, can you help?"
Esme: "Oh!"
Sam Spade hands the bracer to Esme.
Linnea snorts out a little laugh.
Linnea: "Thought that'd never happen."
Sam Spade: "What?"
Linnea: "Havin' the tech expert look at the tech."
Max Thorn: "It was her or me, and Esme's already right there."
Esme takes the bracer and starts sorting through all the subjects.
Sam Spade: "Anyway! The investigation."
Linnea pulls up her own 'dex and sends a quiet message to Esme. "Make backup in case of meddling."
Most of the subjects were put through other procedures. Only 30 were involved in trying to replicate Moth's condition.
Esme pulls up those 30, sorting by status and specialization.
The 30…have no specialization. They were identified as ordinary. All of them are between the ages of 8 and 13.
Esme: "…Why kids?"
Max Thorn: "…"
Linnea: "…Wha?"
Sam Spade: "Kid-"
Sam Spade: "Oh."
Sam Spade: "Because Moth was a kid, I assume."
Max Thorn: "Please tell me you had no knowledge of the researchers' activities beyond that they were conducting research, Abbas."
Linnea: "That's a remarkable level of detachment if you did have knowledge."
Abbas: "Some, but not much. I did not know there was any focus on children."
Esme: "…But they're also non-psychics?"
Esme: "Or at least unspecialized."
Abbas eye-quirks. "That…wait, you're saying they were selected for non-psychic children?"
Max Thorn: "What /were/ you aware of, then? And how much do you want to learn?"
Sam Spade: "The age of starting trainers."
Sam Spade: "Esme, can you see if any of them had pokemon of their own?"
Abbas: "…who would select for such a thing? Did Moth give that order too?"
Esme: "They were the only ones select for the procedure. How do you not notice something that obvious in trials?"
Abbas: "Because I wasn't selecting them? This is the first I'm hearing of it."
Max Thorn: "All right, so I guess what we're /all/ going to be doing is looking in to just what the *fuck* the researchers have been up to. Pardon my Gaelan."
Sam Spade: "Funny. I can see…"
Sam Spade leans forward and thinks.
Sam Spade: "So this could be a result of Moth's orders. If they are - can you verify that note, Esme?"
Max Thorn: "Abbas, I presume you're willing to help arrange for criminal proceedings?"
Sam Spade: "Because the note did sound like something he said, but somehow I can't help but think of Professor Petri."
Esme shakes her hand off a moment, apparently gripping this thing a bit too hard. "Can certainly try." She attempts a query for direct orders they received for trials…
Abbas: "Petri? Pe…oh! You mean that offsite research coordinator? I heard she was back in Dojji, but helping organize things remotely."
Sam Spade punches the bench she's sitting on.
Esme: "Went to space. Off in Gaela somewhere now."
Max Thorn: "She's now on, ah, temporary assignment in Gaela."
Sam Spade: "So she was involved."
Sam Spade: "Yeah, this sounds like her."
Almost at that same moment, Esme finds the emails ordering the selection of subjects. Sure enough, they go through Petri.
Max Thorn: "I think we're going to want to ask for a liaison from Interpol when we head to Gaela…"
Esme: "…Yeah, all of these weren't orders from Moth, but from Petri."
Linnea: "Figures."
Sam Spade is visibly angry.
Sam Spade chokes it back.
Esme: "Let it be known, it is taking a phenomenal amount of willpower not to bean you in the head with this."
Max Thorn: "Ah. Pardon me. I'll be right back…"
Esme: "Luckily, it is full of useful data!"
Linnea: "Heh."
Sam Spade: "Well."
Sam Spade: "We should speak with the researchers."
Esme pulls out her pokedex. "Let's just cross reference this." By cross reference, she means make a copy. So she can reference it later, of course.
Max Thorn stands up, then *runs* around the side of the building. A few seconds later, a torrent of invective can be heard in the distance.
Nikki: "You mean the ones who actually put them under? Good luck with that."
Linnea: "I mean."
Sam Spade: "Ahhhh."
Linnea: "There's more than one way to talk."
Sam Spade: "You mean what's left of them is currently washing out to the Wailord as we speak?"
Nikki: "No. I mean, they were our first targets."
Sam Spade: "Having been killed and turned into ghosts and- yeah."
Sam Spade: "Understandable, especially since that madwoman either had no comprehension that people might revolt, or she was deliberately engineering it."
Sam Spade: "Well, the only thing we'd want to do is find some way to reverse the process."
Sam Spade: "Who would stand the best chance of that?"
Max Thorn returns.
Linnea: "Divine intervention?"
Max Thorn: "I suppose I could see if Shaymin can help, assuming their souls are still around."
Max Thorn: "If he can, then that tells me I can help Moth too."
Sam Spade: "Well, Moth has a bullet that we still need to remove, and by 'we' I mean real brain surgeons."
Max Thorn: "This is true."
Max Thorn: "All right. Can you get me access to the affected children, please?"
Sam Spade: "Perhaps Melo can help, Linnea?"
Linnea: "I…maybe."
Linnea: "If their souls are intact or muted, song and dance could be a way to restore one's spark, as it were."
Nikki stands up. "We've all been listening, and it's agreed." She glares at Abbas. "No more funny stuff. No more 'procedures'. Heck, we wouldn't mind if you'd just GET OUTTA TOWN. But don't mess with us and we'll let you stay and help clean up this mess if you want." Then, facing the party, "This way." She turns and begins to float off.
Linnea: "…Ok we're leaving?"
Max Thorn follows Nikki.
Abbas: "…I'll have the Jaegers stand down. For now."
Sam Spade follows.
Esme: "Looks like."
Linnea trails after.
The walk takes several minutes, but soon Nikki leads the party into an office building. Immediately upon entry, it is obvious this has been converted into a hospital: a stack of stretchers, and a bundle of IVs, lie to one side; the personnel here are all in white and pink (and cower at Nikki's approach); and the scent of antiseptic and iodine washes over the party as they pass through the double doorway.
Nikki gives a pitying glance at the medics. "I shouldn't go any further. This isn't a place for people like me. You go on ahead. Second floor, theater C, I think."
Sam Spade: "Second floor, theater C."
Sam Spade leads the group to the stairwell.
Tim and Sands have not accompanied the party.
Max Thorn follows along, eyes slightly unfocused as he psychs himself up for this…
[OOC] Max Thorn: Pun entirely intended.
A nurse - not quite a Nurse Joy, but possibly related, certainly with the same shade of hair even if she wears it long and straight - steps out in front of the party as they reach the top of the stairs to the second floor. "Hey. Has the fighting stopped?"
Sam Spade: "Yes. There's a bit of a cease-fire."
Nurse: "Phew. Thank goodness." She heads to an intercom. "All clear. Repeat, all clear. Resume patient care."
Sam Spade: "Also, if you get a message from Professor Petri, please forward it to me - Sam Malakawski in the registry - and don't do what she tells you."
The nurse stops at Sam's order, nervously craning her neck to look at Sam. "Err. Don't?"
Linnea: "Yeah, don't."
Sam Spade: "Um. Why? What did she tell you to do?"
The nurse SLAMS the intercom button. "Abort! Abort! REAL patient care! Not that bitch's orders! We're free!"
Max Thorn: "Under most circumstances, I wouldn't even say this, but…Please consider Professor Petri to be a war criminal."
Esme: "Oh."
Esme: "Good."
Cheers soon erupt from down the hall.
Sam Spade: "Huh."
Linnea: "…"
Sam Spade: "Well."
The nurse slumps against the wall, that task done. "Oh praise Arceus!"
Sam Spade: "Well, he was the last person we know she spoke with."
Nurse: "…I'm not even going to ask."
Sam Spade: "That's fine, that's fine."
Sam Spade glances from Max to Esme to Linnea.
Nurse: "Huu. Anyway." She stands back up. "Now we need to figure out what to do with those kids."
Sam Spade: "Yeah."
Max Thorn: "My concern, at present, is with the nonresponsive kids. I *think* I might be able to help them, but…"
Max Thorn shakes himself. "Pray to Shaymin for me. All of you."
Nurse: "Oh?" She looks at Max. "You're here for them?" Her face lights up and she grabs Max's hand. "Thenc'monthere'snotimetolose!" She runs off down the hall, attempting to tow Max.
Sam Spade: "I believe in you, Max!"
Linnea: "Ack-"
Esme: "At the very least we're going to need to use some…unconventional treatment methods."
Max Thorn is quite willingly dragged on.
Linnea: "With the way things are going…can we really still call them unconventional anymore?"
Esme: "I mean as far as 'normal' people are usually concerned."
Linnea: "Suppose so."
Esme: "But, that's something I'm going to fix eventually!"
Theater C was once a small auditorium. Now the seats have been stripped out (though metal bumps on the floor show where they were riveted) and beds are lined up, crammed in. 30 in total, each with an unconscious girl or boy with identical white bed sheets, IV drip, breath mask, and machine stack.
The main sound in the theater is their heartbeat monitors, beeping slowly in perfect sync.
No flowers or cards are present, nor any other sign of recent family visitation.
Linnea: "…For some reason, this is even creepier than the ghosts."
Sam Spade: "Because this was deliberate."
Sam Spade: "This was intended."
Max Thorn: "What she said."
Some of the children have metal bands around their foreheads holding crystals not unlike the bullet. A few just have crystals resting on their foreheads - glued, but none piercing the flesh. The rest have no such thing.
Max Thorn walks to the center of the room and looks around, then turns to the other three. "All right. I don't know how long this is going to take, so…why not talk with the other staff about what the researchers've been up to?"
Nurse: "Do you want the gun?"
Max Thorn: "Don't need it, unless I can shoot Petri from here with it."
Sam Spade: "Max, if you don't want it, let's have Esme examine it."
Sam Spade: "And we can't shoot Petri until we get to Gaela, so let's get on with it."
The nurse walks over to one corner and picks up a pistol, holding it by thumb and finger tip as if having to handle a biohazard without appropriate gear. "This is what started it."
Nurse: "The researchers weren't having results with limited simulation, so…they were about to do exactly what I think they said happened to this 'Moth' person?"
Nurse: "We managed to get them to take the fighting outside, then we all took cover in here."
Max Thorn nods, then takes a seat and begins to meditate…
Sam Spade raises a finger and turns to look slowly at the Nurse.
The nurse eyes the party with wet eyes. "…sorry. I think we caused a war."
Sam Spade: "Well."
Sam Spade hugs the nurse.
Max Thorn: "Don't apologize. They were about to kill a child for research purposes. If that had been permitted to happen, I'd have one less person to attempt to save."
Esme: "I'll take a look at that…"

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