Session 80

Sunset sees the crew reassembled at the docks. Tim tends to the last of the portable pokecenter's patients at this stop, while Sands acts as a bouncer to deter the fortunately few trying to still get in or plead for the machine to stay.
Melo-Skitty is waving goodbye to the students/new friends she made during this stop.
Petri is on her knees toward the back of the wailord, as far from town as she can get. She is looking better thanks to Linnea's care.
[OOC] WC GM: Linnea had the chance to get Petri new clothes, to replace the rags she was in. What did Linnea dress her up in?
[OOC] Linnea: Mostly rugged-ish casual wear for now. Boots, jeans (or canvas pants as close-enough), cotton shirt with a wave pattern, and if necessary a long-sleeved jacket with weather-resistant cloth outside and fleece inside, in case of rougher or colder weather.
[OOC] Linnea: So like an aesthetic somewhere between Ace Trainer and Ranger.
Despite the casual wear, Petri seems formally posed, almost as if praying to the sea.
[OOC] WC GM: What is the party doing?
Linnea smiles at her charge. "Anyone in particular you're reachin' out to?"
Max is dozing again, though he's at least secured some vegetarian wraps for dinner.
Petri looks up at Linnea and smiles. "My daughter. I know she can't hear me, but…I hope she's at peace, and can forgive me."
Esme is sitting up on the wailord, emptying out the sand from her shoes. Sand is another thing on the 'bad' list, right after ghosts.
Petri: "If…I do this again, cloning, no soul. No one to mistreat. I know that now."
Petri smiles lopsidedly. It is unclear if she was trying to joke.
Linnea joins Petri in the formal prayer pose, closing her eyes and commenting. "I believe she has. Grudges are one of the things that bind the dead to this world, and if they've moved on, then… they have found some sort of resolution. That's what I believe, at least. As for redemption… you still have your whole life here to seek and find it. You who were called upon by Arceus for punishment, and remain. There must be some reason for that, even if it's just your life as a gift."
Petri: "I know. I think I was meant to help you find Ho-Oh. At least we have an idea where he is."
Linnea: "Do you know what you will do after that? Where will you go?"
Petri: "If…it's alright, back to Amoda with you. From there, I'm not sure."
Petri: "Team Stormcloud will be hunting me, but I think I can face them now."
Linnea: "You have my vote of confidence, at least."
Petri looks down. "Even if it's a suicide run."
Sam Spade: "Why was Team Stormcloud hunting you?"
Sam Spade: "Is it because of Ho-oh?"
Linnea briefly frowns. "I hope I can see to it that it won't come to that."
Petri shakes her head. "I'm not to blame for Ho-Oh. They probably just heard what I've been up to otherwise."
Sam Spade: "Hmm. Is…do you mind talking to us about that?"
Sam Spade: "We saw your name on the files for the crystal bullets, but I don't really know the context for that."
Petri leans back from prayer to sitting. "Crystal…" She blinks. "I remember working on crystals that could pierce even a MewTwo's defenses. So they made bullets out of them?"
Esme: "…well yeah."
Esme: "What did you think they were going to use them for?"
Petri shrugs. "I didn't think about that. It was just an interesting project."
Sam Spade: "Huh. I'd actually assumed it went the other way around, given what you were working on when we met you."
Max Thorn: "…There weren't any IRB concerns?"
Petri: "Makes sense, though, given what they said."
Petri blinks. "What's an IRB?"
Neither Max nor Sam sense any guile or deceit in her. She really apparently has never heard of Institutional Review Boards.
Sam Spade: "I'm with her on that one. What's an IRB?"
Max Thorn mutters something too soft for anyone to make out.
Esme isn't terribly surprised.
Esme: "Typically when you do research, you have someone supervising you to make sure it's ethical."
Max Thorn: "Institutional review board. Their job's, basically, to ensure any research conducted is ethical and conforms to sound scientific practice."
Esme: "Obviously wasn't the case."
Linnea: "Eheh…"
Max Thorn: "All universities have one, at least in Amoda."
Sam Spade: "So Scale Mount?"
Max Thorn: "Yup."
Sam Spade: "But it seems to me that an institution that was built with badly-interpreted observations might be missing that."
Petri cocks her head. "You mean, someone to make sure you're not doing stuff they object to?" She visibly struggles not to eyeroll, and only partially succeeds. "I can see someone double-checking to make sure you're sticking to science and not letting your need to prove something getting in the way, but I published my data - while I was still doing it for anyone but me."
Sam Spade: "….And were you part of a university at that point, Professor?"
Petri: "Not really? Surely you've noticed, there's only one university in Gaela. I wasn't there. I mean, I've worked with them from time to time, but not on this."
Sam Spade: "Do you know if they have a board to make sure you aren't doing anything unethical?"
Max Thorn: "Mmm. No, part of the idea of an IRB is that, well. Study participants have informed consent, may leave if they feel uncomfortable, are provided with fair compensation for their participation, and receive medical or psychiatric treatment post-study if they require it."
Petri: "I wouldn't say it's a 'board' so much as they just yell at you if you propose doing something they don't like."
Max Thorn: "We don't want to stand in the way of scientific progress, but we also don't want to exploit people, pokemon or human, in the process, because that creates resentment and hostility."
Petri shrinks a bit at Max's statement. "Well…they definitely don't allow undue exploitation of POKEMON…"
Petri: "…there's a reason I didn't work with them on everything, you know."
Sam Spade: "That said."
Esme: "I mean I'm not part of a university either, but you don't see me publishing a paper on how to shoot beams out of your hands."
Sam Spade: "Is that because of ethics, though?"
Sam Spade: "And at the height of the wars - or even leading up to them - do you think someone would have come up with something to hurt a MewTwo with?"
Petri leans back on her hands, looking up at the darkening sky. "What is ethics, but codifying how you protect you and yours?"
Sam Spade: "I'm far more interested in fixing the problems than haranguing one of the many people who helped lead into our set of problems."
Sam Spade: "Especially since we already have Arceus' will on the matter."
Linnea: "… kind of a point there. Some of it is relative…"
Sam Spade: "Now onto the matter of fixing the repercussions."
Sam Spade: "…Professor, what can you tell me about the crystal? Would it have any long-term effects on someone in contact with one?"
Petri: "Long-term?" She frowns. "We…never tested that…hmm…what sort of 'contact'?"
Max Thorn: "…We already saw the effects from short-term exposure. I'd imagine long-term would be the same but, well, far more so."
Sam Spade: "Um. What were the effects in the short-term, Max?"
Max Thorn: "Moth's had one of those crystals lodged in his skull for years."
Sam Spade: "Yeah, that's not short."
[OOC] Max Thorn: Trying to recall. We encountered the kids in Shady Narrows, right?
[OOC] WC GM: Sandbar Harbor, if you mean the kids I think you mean.
[OOC] Max Thorn: Right, them.
Petri: "Moth? Pff. He's dead. That MewTwo just can't accept facts. He's been using his power to keep Moth's corpse from decaying, like a teddy bear."
Max Thorn: "And, well. The kids in that hospital when we were in Sandbar Harbor, remember? They were all in comas."
Linnea: "Terrifying."
Max Thorn: "Woke up just fine when we took the crystals away."
There is a squeak. At the other end of the wailord, Tim is looking on, paralyzed and jaw dropped.
Linnea: "Oh boy."
Sam Spade: "I…I'm not sure about that."
Sam Spade: "Linnea had a good look."
Max Thorn: "No, Moth is alive. It's…very weird, though. I don't have the expertise here, though, unlike Lin."
Sam Spade: "…And I'm not sure about whose power is doing what, there."
Sam Spade: "I was hoping you could shed some insight, but if all the crystal does is ignore the Mewtwo's ability to stop it…"
Petri's eyes light up. "Oh, I see! You want to know HOW it gets through?"
Sam Spade: "Please!"
Petri: "That's the best part! It's a trap, you see. Specifically aligned to a MewTwo's power but it'll work on most psychics."
Linnea: "That's…interesting."
Linnea: "So would that be applied to any kind of object that does not care about brittleness or hardness?"
Petri: "Any psychic power you use on it, just gets sucked in. That accelerates it toward the target. Being a bullet would just get it there; the stronger the psychic, the faster it's sucked in once it reaches the target. And MewTwos are very strong psychics."
Petri: "Well, it's a crystal. No way around that while keeping the function - not that I saw, anyway."
Linnea: "…So could it be fashioned into a lure or shield?"
Petri: "You could make it into any shape. It kind of was a lure. What sort of shield are you thinking?"
Linnea: "Well, depending on weight, it might work better as an environmental shield for an area where you don't want psychic interference."
Linnea: "Perhaps you could add a layer of crystal into a wall just inside, after the outer walls. No good having that line of defense crumble with the first line should someone decide to go wrecking crew."
Linnea: "Or, perhaps, use it for a containment area."
Esme: "Containment area, dampening field, personal nullification device… Uses."
Petri shakes her head. "It'd be pulled out of position once exposed to psychic influence."
Sam Spade: "Rubber bands?"
Petri: "This trap…it's kind of, well, say you had magnetic repulsors to deflect incoming iron bullets? And then the bullets reversed the field so instead of being repelled they were sucked in."
Max Thorn: "Would it be diminished by having a layer of a different substance overlaying it?"
Petri: "It'd be heavier. And it'd push against or pull the layer, depending on which side the layer was on relative to the psychic energy."
Linnea: "Interesting…"
Esme: "That's…yeah, very bullet-oriented."
Petri: "If you want that sort of defense, I heard Slakes at Gaela's university was working on something like that. Ah…be careful if you seek him out; he thinks getting people drunk is doing them a favor."
Sam Spade: "We noticed."
Petri: "You've met him?"
Max Thorn: "…Hm. Is there a way to craft them to just redirect, rather than drawing the energy toward the crystal?"
Petri: "Hmm…" She closes her eyes. "Maybe, but where would you redirect them to? You're talking building defenses, right? If it spalls over, it might just crack the foundation instead."
Petri: "And sending it up or to the sides - watch out for the ricochet."
Esme: "Is there a way to simply invert it?"
Max Thorn: "I was thinking something like an ablative barrier, actually. Dissipates the energy across the structure in a way that degrades the material."
Max Thorn: "As opposed to simple reflection or refraction."
Petri: "You mean, have the crystal be repelled? Sure, but the energies this was designed to penetrate do that anyway."
Petri: "Ablative? Well…sure, but it'd be expensive ablative. Are you making a tank?"
Petri blinks, then giggles.
Esme: "No."
Petri: "…I don't think I've cared even this much about the application before. You're rubbing off on me. In for a gram, in for a kilo…what DO you want to use this for?"
Linnea: "Well, this was curiosity's sake for me."
Max Thorn: "I…didn't really have anything in particular in mind. But…In general, I prefer to envision peaceful applications."
Esme: "Pretending to be interested, mostly."
Petri curls her arms around her knees. "Oh. And here I thought you were making some kind of superweapon."
Tim: "…can we get back to how you're certain my dad is dead, please?"
Petri looks back at Tim, then to the party. "You've seen Moth more recently than I have, right? Did he LOOK like not-a-corpse?"
Max Thorn: "Looks can be deceiving."
Esme: "Looked like a normal floating fellow with a hole in the frontside of his head."
Melo-Skitty alights on Tim's head, tail flicking. "Let us not distress over matters that worry you so. None here can be sure, oh la~." She looks to the party. "Is that not correct?"
Max Thorn: "Yup."
Linnea: "No joke."
Sam Spade: "Yeah."
Esme: "More or less."
Tim relaxes, even as Melo-Skitty hops off after receiving a warning glare from Sands.
MeloSkitty: "Let us be on our way. Did you know, they notched the mountain to make sunrise at Port of the Sun dazzling? Alas, they grew used to it, but it is still something for visitors to see. And we should arrive just in time."
The wailord begins backing out of port.
[OOC] WC GM: Doing anything during the night, or fast forward to arrival?
[OOC] Sam Spade: fast forward
[OOC] Max Thorn: Max is going to sleep the entire trip.
[OOC] Linnea: Is this a full rest?
[OOC] WC GM: This is indeed a full rest.
Esme sets up a corner on the Wailord as far away from Petri as she can without falling off, and gets back to work on practicing zapping shards into other shards.
Wakefulness comes as the sides of the sky begin to light up. The center is blotted out - squinting, a mountain can be seen, darkness silhouetted against daybreak. Closer by and down at sea level, a few volbeats give dim illumination lighting a harbor; they seem to be just hanging around, and have not noticed the party's approach yet.
Meloetta - not even Skitty form - is perched on the wailord's front, eyes fixed on the top of the mountain.
Linnea stretches and yawns, following Melo's gaze.
Max Thorn rises and, perhaps automatically at this point, fixes breakfast. More wraps, though these are obviously a breakfast blend.
Finally light begins to filter through, as the sun rises. Sure enough, tunnels in the mountaintop - filled with colored glass to diffuse the sunlight and make it safe to look at - sparkle and twinkle in achingly slow progress, as the sun moves up behind them.
The party is bathed in a solar disco. The dockhands finally notice the party and begin moving about in preparation.
Esme rolls off her Gervais-pillow, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. "That time already?"
Linnea: "Oh, wow…"
It takes fully half an hour for the display to work through its full cycle. There is enough mountain above the lens-tunnels to block the sun and give time for watchers to avert their eyes before the unfiltered sun emerges.
That is about the time the wailord finally coasts up to a long pier that has been extended. A small crew - 10 pokemon - line up to watch the docking. Some have ropes to tether, but hold them when they see no posts to tether to.
Linnea: "Hello, folks!"
One of the volbeats waves. "Hello, travelers! Welcome to Port of the Sun! What is your business here?"
Sam Spade: "We need to speak with the Temple about that."
Volbeat: "The…Weather Temple? Are you the repair crew, then?"
Sam Spade: "Is something broken?"
Linnea: "…I guess you could call us that."
Sam Spade: "Because we have quite a few experts."
Sam Spade: "…Yeah, that one is so very, very true."
Volbeat: "The trains. They've been stopped for a few days; we're worried the Temple's running out of supplies."
Sam Spade: "Oh, no!"
Linnea: "Oh sheesh…"
Volbeat: "If you'd care to have a look…" He gestures into town. "I can lead you right to them."
Max Thorn: "Lead on."
Linnea: "Cool, take us there, please."
Esme: "That's us, the fixer uppers."
The volbeat leads the way. In the early morning light, the party gets two strong impressions:
First, this place is still waking up. The streets are obviously meant to accommodate much more traffic than is visible.
Second, this is a City(TM).
Linnea lets out a low whistle. She didn't know what to expect but it wasn't this.
Urban architecture sprawls in every horizontal direction to the limits of vision. Industrial districts are clearly visible in the distance; the party passes what is clearly meant to be an elementary school, then a high school; and while the city hall is less impressive than Port of the Shop's, it is still a city hall.
What looked like near extensions of the mountain turn out to be small towers, 6-10 stories tall.
Scents of breakfast-type food begin to waft over the area, and the volbeat's stomach rumbles. "Aheh…err, would you mind if we stopped for breakfast? My treat, if you're here to fix the trains."
Esme: "Hum. The other ports weren't as…urban. Wasn't sure we'd see something like this."
Sam Spade: "Sure!"
Max Thorn quietly packs up the wraps he made for later, then. Just in case.
Linnea: "Hell yeah."
The volbeat smiles and heads down a side street, which quickly leads to a mall-style food court, with 20 food-stand-like operations encircling a common seating area. Different seats accommodate different-sized pokemon, while the restaurants have a variety of fares - roughly one quarter each carnivore, herbivore, mixed, and other diets. Only about half are open at this hour; the Toasted Grounds terravore stand has a line forming as its chef hurriedly prepares to open, grumbling about a coworker not showing up.
The stands each have a large, prominent symbol, such as a green leaf or red steak, that - matching apparent product to symbol - is soon deduced to acknowledge what type of diet that stand caters to.
Max Thorn gets a carnivore meal for Ammy, an herbivore one for Antheia, and a human-oriented omnivore meal for himself, then has a seat at one of the mixed-species tables that can accommodate the party.
Linnea will just roll on up to someplace that can make omelettes with everything. Well, human-standpoint everything.
The volbeat picks up a hayburger with lettuce, tomato, and a basil-based sauce.
None of the stands specifically cater to humans, but the few local humans go only to the mixed-diet/omnivore stands. One of them does indeed make omelettes; Linnea can identify bacon, onion, leek, ham, and cheese in its picture of "The Works" .
Esme just lines up with Alexis at Gerv at the carnivore stand, since that'll cover all of them.
Linnea gleefully orders one and waits expectantly for the food. This is the stuff of morning dreams.
The omelette chef looks askance at the volbeat, especially as he cuts the line to stand next to her, until he produces a card and says, "I'm paying for her." The same scene repeats for each of the party members.
Esme manages to find a stand offering pizza-sized steaks, with spices, for a small group.
[OOC] WC GM: Esme: Tech Ed check.
Esme rolled up 6d6+1: 22 (2 5 2 4 5 3) (Science Food?)
[OOC] Linnea: is this ~lab meat~
This texture…smooth, uniform, and the steak is a perfect circle. Even if she could not see where the steak came from, this is obviously cloned and cultured. It smells and tastes just fine, though maybe slightly more well done than she is used to.
Esme is more of a Medium person, but stall food is stall food. Should be good enough for the other two, at least.
[OOC] WC GM: Sam gets something too?
[OOC] Sam Spade: Yeah, probably
[OOC] Sam Spade: Sam never admits to having eaten food
Max manages to find a meal set from two stands apparently under common ownership, with similar packaging and even a somewhat shared kitchen, though actual food prep is done at either end of a long counter inside the kitchen to avoid getting meat juice on the herbivore meals and vice versa.
Once everyone has their food and is seated, the volbeat begins nomming happily. Tim and Sands are sharing a pasta bowl, while Meloetta - by now back in skitty guise - wanders the crowd, apparently intent on observing each of the stands in turn.
Volbeat: "So which port are you from?"
Esme: "Here we go."
Sam Spade: "Oh, we came from Port of the Sands."
Sam Spade: "Though Tim and Sands are actually from Dojji, if you believe that."
Volbeat: "Oh?" He looks at the two, at the far end of the table. "They seem young and old. Did Sands adopt Tim?"
Sam Spade: "Pretty much, I think. Tim's father is still around, but…"
The volbeat holds up a hand. "I heard what happened to Dojji. Such a shame. I hear it's getting better."
Sam Spade: "Yeah, Lugia is back and the rains are falling."
Sam Spade: "…I still want to know who exactly it was that bound her out, though…"
The volbeat sits up at that. "Lugia? How is she?"
Max Thorn: "Doing well, last I heard."
Volbeat: "Do you think she'll stop her Temper Tantrum soon?"
Esme: "We were looking into that. Should be cleared up relatively soon. Probably."
Volbeat: "I hope so. My kids are trapped down there. My wife and I haven't seen them ever since…"
The volbeat sighs. "And my wife's at the temple."
Sam Spade: "Well, we're heading there to talk to them about it."
Volbeat: "Sorry. I don't mean to bother you with my personal problems."
Esme: "It's no big deal."
Max Thorn: "We're professional troubleshooters, at this point, so what she said."
Sam Spade: "And we always like information."
Linnea: "Pret-ty much! We'd be jerks if we didn't listen, where we traveled."
Volbeat: "Thank you." He gulps down the last of his burger. "I had worried the repair crew would be all high and mighty. I'm surprised you're from Port of the Sand, though. I mean, I thought the only technical type down there was Karen, and she's a bit…" He swirls his paw around a temple. "…after her parents fled. Poor thing, I think she thinks they died."
Linnea: "Oh boy…"
The volbeat looks at Linnea and cocks his head. "You look kind of like her. Did she have a sister or something?"
Linnea: "N…I don't know. Do you know anyone named Saya?"
The volbeat blinks. "Saya? Yeah, that was her-"
Naturally, this is when an explosion sounds, from the direction the volbeat had been leading the party before breakfast break.
Sam Spade: "Naturally. Come on!"
Volbeat: "…" He sighs. "Ooof course. C'mon." He hops down and begins fast-walking back to the train.
Linnea: "Wrr… I don't like where this is going…"
Max Thorn and his pokemon allies have, by now, finished their meals, and the three of them follow the volbeat.
Linnea gets up and follows, Lulim and Mia following closely.
Esme hustles along.
Up ahead - that there is a train station, with a large train (oversized by Amodan standards, but fitting large pokemon), the rear end of which is smoking. A smattering of pokemon - mainly psyducks - lie scattered around, Melo-Skitty (apparently having gone ahead) checking on each one in turn.
Linnea is just heading right to the damaged car, if possible.
There is a very clear path.
Melo-Skitty looks up as the party approaches. "Hello! They were attempting to dynamite the train's engines into restarting."
Linnea: "…Beg pardon?"
Sam Spade: "And that explains why everything is now so much worse."
Linnea: "Why would you-"
MeloSkitty: "I, ah, took the liberty of doing what I knew you would do, my champion."
Max Thorn: "…"
Sam Spade: "Berate them?"
Esme skips trying to figure out why, and just moves to assess the damage.
MeloSkitty: "Save them."
Max Thorn: "It's /far/ too early for psyduck impressions."
Sam Spade: "That's much more logical. Alright. Captain, do you know who I could talk to here?"
MeloSkitty: "You may berate them. You do it better than I."
Volbeat: "Why…what…DYNAMITE?!? I said to wait, we had a repair team inbound!"
Max Thorn pauses at each of the pokemon to ascertain that nobody's in mortal peril, though he knows Meloetta wouldn't have allowed anyone to be.
Indeed, none of the pokemon are more than singed.
Sam Spade sticks with the Volbeat, then.
One of the psyducks raises a hand. "Repair team…reporting in…"
Max Thorn moves on to inspect the train's engines.
The volbeat facepaws.
The engine is on the far side of the train, fortunately. It takes a few minutes for Max to determine this was an attempted kickstart - a sudden jolt of motion to make the generators start working.
[OOC] WC GM: Tech Ed to diagnose the train's problem.
Max Thorn rolled up 5d6: 18 (6 5 2 4 1) (Tech Ed)
The encrustations around the train's battery give it away. The battery has worn down to salt, useless for storing or conducting charge.
Max Thorn: "…I think I need a drink."
Max Thorn passes word on to the others.
Esme goes ahead and starts clearing that out. "Let's just get a replacement set up."
[OOC] WC GM: Making a new battery on the spot?
[OOC] Max Thorn: Not unless they don't have any replacements.
[OOC] Esme: Sure
Not only do they not have replacements, there are no signs of electrical testing tools - as if they did not know batteries could wear down.
[OOC] Esme: Yeeup
[OOC] WC GM: Let me guess: shard-based replacement battery?
Max Thorn bangs his head on a wall, gently, then gets to work building a battery with Esme.
Esme: "Luc, gimme a hand and hop in here and report back diagnostics, while I get my tools out."
[OOC] Max Thorn: If Esme's in charge, most likely yes.
[OOC] Esme: Could also jimmy something out of this Electric Magazine she's still carrying around; most of her scrap is psychic-based so prolly though.
[OOC] WC GM: That would work too. Actually a little better.
[OOC] Linnea: heh. in charge.
[OOC] Linnea: HEH.
[OOC] WC GM: Tech Ed to covert Electric Magazine into a replacement train battery.
Esme remembers those magazines she got back in Fort Blaston…She begins reconfiguring the old Electric one into a temp battery. Should be stable enough. Probably.
Esme rolled up 6d6+1: 18 (2 1 1 6 1 6) (Train Science?)
The result is a bit small - the train will not be able to go at top speed, but it can at least move under its own power. Fortunately, the dynamite only marred the rear wall of the rearmost car, and did not damage the track or wheels.
It takes about an hour of work to get the train running again.
In the mean time, the other repair crew inspects the dead battery.
The lead psyduck wanders up to Linnea. "So…it's salt now? Do we lick it?"
Esme wipes the sweat off her brow, and the dust off her hands. "Works!"
Linnea: "No, please…"
Max Thorn: "No. It's not table salt."
The psyduck looks back at his crew, two of which have tongues extended, a centimeter from the battery. "They said DON'T lick it!"
Sam Spade sighs.
Volbeat: "…if it's working, can we go to the temple? Just because I want to see my wife, not because I want to get away from them, honest."
Sam Spade: "That sounds like a very, very good reason."
Linnea: "By all means, let's go."
Esme closes it back up within the paneling, then quickly moves to just take the dead one from the 'repair crew' before they do Arceus-knows-what. "Yeah, just give me that, and I'll dispose of it."
[OOC] WC GM: It's about time, so anyone mind if I wrap here and we open next time at the Weather Temple?
[OOC] Linnea: go ahead~

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