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MELON LORD

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About MELON LORD

Year 04
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    Inhabitant
  • Birthday 03/12/1993

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    Male
  • Interests
    Roleplay, video games, reading (mostly fantasy and sci-fi) writing, and a few other things.

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    unknownmercury@gmail.com
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  1. Forest Echo "Don't like it," Creighton said gruffly. His rifle was in the ready position as he forged a trail through the hazardous terrain. "One civilian, sure. Plenty of combatants. Two?" He cast a quick glance back at the rest of the unit. The other three soldiers were in positions to form a diamond, their techies safely between them. Except "safe" wasn't quite the right word. "Two makes it harder to defend. Four soldiers, loose formations." "Ah, don't worry too much about it," Langley replied from the back of the group as he adjusted his grip on the case he carried, moving to sling it casually over his shoulder. Creighton bristled. The man's laid-back attitude grated, and the way he hefted that case around. One would think he didn't have a multi-million dollar piece of equipment inside. "Those mooks in HT took out twenty or so of the things, and you and I alone are worth all of them." The sniper gave a casual grin. "'sides, both these techies're ladies. No complaints here." "We're here to protect them, not look at them," Creighton retorted. "Do your job." "Hey, how'm I supposed to protect these lovely gals without lookin'?" One of the "lovely gals" looked up from her device and gave him a severe look. "Don't make me report you to the higher-ups, Langley. I looked at your records before signing onto this squad. One more strike and you'll probably face a court-martial. At the very least, you will be bumped down a rank or two. Maybe dishonorably discharged." Langley paused for a moment, then shrugged. "Don't threaten me with a good time. If you knew my record and still signed on, then you know I'm good." "Yes, you're good, but you run your mouth too much. You're supposed to be watching our rear." "Hey, I'm--" "Don't finish that," the scientist cut in coolly. Langley swallowed, and the group walked in silence for a minute. Finally, he drew his pistol with his free hand and glanced over his shoulder. "Right. Watchin' the rear, Miss Shouken." IC: Jared Winters/Lachina Adaon/Emily Lockwood/Belle LaDonna/Alma Mason/Calem "So that's that, then," Jared said. "Lachina, get some rest here, then get the ferry to Ambrette. Colleen, you and Zoe should probably get some sleep, too. It'll probably take time for Serena to get hold of her flying friends to get you two to Anistar." He glanced at the Champion, who was already on her Holo Caster. "The rest of us will head towards Lumiose. It'll probably be quicker if we stop at Camphrier and pick up a couple of vehicles. Lionel?" "Ah dunno 'bout y'all," Belle said, "but we haven't slept in a while. We'll need at least a power nap if we're gonna go in, and Lumiose ain't all that far." "If we have time," Emily replied, "we can grab a bit of sleep at Shaboneau. The message said midnight tomorrow. With a smaller group and a rush, we should have plenty of time." "Sounds great." Jared nodded. "Any questions, then?"
  2. IC: Jared Winters/Emily Lockwood/Belle LaDonna/Alma Mason/Lachina Adaon Geosenge Cottage, August 13th "Lumiose is where we should send most of our forces," Jared agreed. "Between Sycamore, the detective, and all the government officials there, we'll have our hands full." Emily nodded softly. "Right..." She glanced at Jamie and then down to the egg with a frown. "Here," she said, holding the egg out carefully. "I'm not one-hundred percent sure, but, just going by the weight, I think this is the egg with Tristan's... offspring. I shouldn't hold onto it, I have no claim. It's yours, if you want it." Belle crossed her arms. "So, all the Pokémon clones from that lab are shiny?" she asked. When Amelia nodded, Belle cursed under her breath. "Yeah, that's a good call, though. I have plenty of power on my team, I don't need another Beldum in the future. Jamie, right? I'll be keepin' in touch about that egg." Alma squeezed the woman's hand lightly. "Once we get to Lumiose," she said quietly, "what other targets are there besides the lab?" "Too many," Lachina said softly. "Way too many for the number of people we have. Would it be better for you all to spread yourselves across the city, or to focus all of your attention on one place?" Jared sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose. "That's a tough one. Probably best to focus on the most prominent threats, and send one or two people to the less substantial ones. Sycamore is a soft target, not a lot of security in his lab. The President and the head of the bank and the like, they probably have security in place. We'll send people to double check, of course, but... Sycamore and Matiere should be our priorities, they're the ones at the most risk. Right?" He looked around the room for confirmation.
  3. IC: Jared Winters/Lachina Adaon/Emily Lockwood/Belle LaDonna/Alma Mason/Calem Geosenge Cottage, Kalos, August 13, 1:29 AM "That all sounds good," Jared agreed. "The question is who goes where?" "I'll go to Ambrette," Lachina said. "There's only one place they're targeting there, and only a few names on the list. I should be able to hold off whatever Flare sends their way." "Ah go where Amelia goes," Belle said. "And Alma comes with me, so we'll hit Lumiose." "That's where the bulk of the group should go," he agreed. "More targets over a larger area." Emily had a look of consternation on her face. "Colleen..." She swallowed. "Colleen, you're from Anistar, aren't you? There's only three people that are possible targets there. You and Zoe can go and it should be easy enough for an Aura Mistress to handle that." "Which just leaves the group heading for the League once we get to Lumiose. Calem, Serena, they're going after the Elite Four?" At their nods, Jared continued. "You'll want to go with a few people, then. They'll be showing up in numbers to take on the strongest trainers in Kalos." "I'll go with them," Emily volunteered. "I'm not a great combatant, but with power being mostly out, my team should be at a pretty even match." "Alright. Who else is going where?"
  4. IC: Jared Winters/Lachina Adaon/Emily Lockwood/Belle LaDonna/Alma Mason/Calem - Geosenge Cottage, 1:14 AM August 12 2017 While Dahlia and Alex Lockwood talked Zoe down, Jared gave a quick recap of their investigation in the lab -- leaving out unnecessary details like the cloned eggs -- and Calem pulled up the list on his Holo Caster, having gotten pictures before leaving. "In short, Flare's making their move in less than 24 hours, and there are too many people spread across too many locations for us to defend even with the addition of our new friends." He hooked a thumb at Alex and company. "A lot are in Lumiose, but a lot aren't and we need to figure out who's going where to minimize damages." IC: Isabella Fontaine/Sylph Isa hadn't even known that there was a cafe nestled in the bowels of the Alamo. The normal cafeteria had cheap coffee that was meant more to wake you up than to bring any joy to your taste buds, and the break room coffee in the working areas was much the same. But here was an actual cafe with a wide variety of options and flavors. As the two sat down with their drinks -- iced chai for Isa, a Tapu Cocoa for Sylph -- Isa smiled. "So, what's up? I noticed you got your psychic mojo back back there--" She stopped, her eyes widening. "Wait, Sylph, did you--" "Yes," Sylph said softly. Then, mentally, I... "Mega Evolved" the night Xander was arrested. Not a pleasant experience, but the return of my powers is a good thing. I'm actually staying with someone who also has achieved the phenomenon, one of the Power Suit pilots from One Island. She and I are looking into the ability together, trying to determine what the exact triggers are for it. Thus far, I haven't been able to Mega Evolve with her, and the working theory is that we are not close enough, emotionally. If that's the case, then she and I may never achieve it between ourselves. She is... distant, and her emotions are tightly contained when she does not have her Magnezone out to calm her. "Okay," Isa said slowly. "That's an info dump I wasn't expecting, but I think I see where this is going." Quite, Sylph replied. I know you and I are not the best of friends, but we have gotten along well in the past. If I need a trainer I am close to in order to perform the Mega Evolution for whatever reason, then I must ask for your assistance; everyone else I could ask is away on missions or vacation. Isa rubbed at her temples, feeling a headache starting to build there. "Right. I mean, I have to be on call while it's day in Kalos, and I still have to tend to my normal duties--" As well as Octavyn's. Sylph sighed, and Isa felt a twinge of sadness. "But, I think I can find time to help a friend," she finished, and Sylph's eyes darted up from her drink. A moment later, the Gardevoir was next to her, giving her a 1.5-armed hug. Isa chuckled, patting Sylph's arm. "C'mon, I'm not the type to say no when someone needs my help, you know that." Sylph giggled. "Of course." She moved to sit again. "Why don't we catch up for a bit before I take you to meet Miss Zarth?" Isa nodded, and the two began talking about what they had missed in the years since Kalos.
  5. -==IC: Serena/Calem==- The Champion shook her head. “Not much. There’s some technical data on the whole cloning thing, but most of the files here are corrupted. The only other thing I can think to check would be--” She cut herself off suddenly, as she noticed an alert notification on the system’s messaging client. Moving on autopilot, she opened the program and was greeted by an audio message. “Hello, my loyal friends,” a man’s deep voice said. “I know it has been a while, but it is time for our plans to come to fruition. At the next stroke of midnight, we must enact our plans. You all have your orders, but do not feel compelled to carry them out if doing so would endanger yourself or your brothers and sisters in Flare. For those of you who are able to act, you know where to strike, and whom to strike. Any of our targets who will not comply to us must be purged. By the time the sun rises over Kalos on the thirteenth, we will stand victorious. Go, friends, and help shape the future of the world.” Serena could only stare at the screen in horror, Kalos’ most powerful Trainer reduced nearly to tears. She was only able to let out a single, horrified word: “No…” Calem spat a word that probably shouldn’t have been said in front of Lachina, let alone Zoe and Alma. “Let’s go,” he said sternly, addressing the entire room. “We have time, we can stop him, let’s go.” IC: Isabella Fontaine - Alamo, Four Island, August Isa made her way through the compound quickly, grumbling as she tried to sort out the notes and files she had. Between Xander being arrested, Cameron being a Flare spy, and Octavyn currently being a wreck, she was struggling to keep all of her files and such organized. Notes on the mission, notes on each person in the mission, notes on things happening here that could affect the mission… Not to mention her regular duties on top of that! It was enough to drive a girl crazy. As she started to round a corner, part of her twinged, the intuition she had warning her only a second before she bumped into somebody and the folders she held scattered across the floor. She grumbled and groused as she tried to pick them up, more at herself than the other person -- as the saying went, it took two to tango, and she had been far more focused on her papers than on where she'd been going. As she reached, though, the folders and papers lifted into the air and stacked themselves before moving to deposit themselves in her hands. She blinked and looked up to see a one-armed figure smiling softly at her. "Hello, Isa," Sylph said. "Sylph," Isa replied, stunned. She hadn't seen the Gardevoir since the ill-fated trip to Keturi City. "Hello," she added lamely. "Are you doing anything vital?" Sylph asked. The technician looked down at the papers and sighed as she shook her head. "Not particularly. I was trying to get info for the situation over in Kalos, but there's not much I can tell them that they won't already know." "Then would you like to go get some coffee and catch up?" Isa paused, weighing the offer before nodding. "Yeah, I think that sounds like a good idea."
  6. IC: Lachina Adaon/Emily Lockwood/Jared Winters/Belle LaDonna/Alma Mason/Calem Geosenge Lab, April 13th "Relax, everyone," Lachina said sternly, though without the same steel in her voice that Jared could produce with Mercury. "Calem and Serena clearly aren't with Flare. Think critically, Zoe. That list isn't titled 'Team Flare Members,' it's titled..." "Means of Assistance," Emily finished, crossing her arms and sighing. "It's very clearly a list of what Lysandre believes to be possible assets to himself -- written, probably, before his first attempted grab at power, judging by the state the computer is in and some of the names on the list. He probably had his followers even before Flare, and those would be on the list, and then what he thought of as possible other allies he could coerce into helping. Sycamore definitely wouldn't help him now, after seeing what he'd done a decade ago, and--" Jared closed his Holo Caster and frowned. "Enough," he said wearily. "I just got some important information from Agent Fontaine." He swallowed, weighing his words in front of people who weren't technically part of the mission. "Xander's detainment on the night of the eighth was due to a break-in he performed at headquarters. He was caught along with another agent after trying to free a confined dangerous Pokémon." He sighed, rubbing at his eyes with one hand. "He was, at the time of his arrest, wearing a Team Flare uniform. That, along with the Cruize name being on the list, spells some bad things for him. Fontaine told me that she believed in his innocence, but we need to draw our own conclusions from what we know of him. "For now, though, we have other things at hand. Let's finish searching the lab, then head back to the cottage to plan our next move. Whether or not that list is an old one, I think it's pretty clear that Team Flare is out there, somewhere, and it's our mission to find them." "You've got our help," Belle said solemnly. "I dunno who any of those other people are, but... we've dealt with Flare, and none of us wanna see them running loose." Alma nodded. "I quite agree." Calem nodded. "Right. Serena, is there anything else on that computer?"
  7. IC: Geosenge Lab Group A few minutes later, everyone was gathered around the computer’s monitor as Serena tried to find anything interesting. It only took a minute before she found a text document and opened it. "Means of Assistance": *Xerosic *Aliana *Bryony *Celosia *Mable *Adricson *Masson *Cruize Jared frowned and crossed his arms. The list of Flare members went on into the completely unfamiliar, but eventually transitioned to more recognizable names near the end. *De Villepin “That’s… the President of Kalos!” Serena exclaimed. *Chalmers “What?!” Alex Zyther shouted. Serena made to comment, but was distracted by the names immediately after. *Marcal *Compere *Toussaint *Parfum “President of the Senate, heads of the CRE, Banque de Kalos, AMF… just how far does this go?” *Malva *Wikstrom *Drasna *Siebold “There’s no way.” Calem scowled at the list. “There’s no way the Elite Four would be in Lysandre’s pocket. Some of these have to be only potential recruits “ “Or targets,” Amelia said. “If he wanted Kalos t’go down in flames, he’d want ‘em outta the way one way or another, right? ‘Join or die’?” *Matiere “That’s the detective in Lumiose, right?” Lachina asked. Jared nodded. “She’s a good kid,” Calem said with a smile. “Flare targeted her before, though. We still don’t know everything Xerosic did to her back in the day.” “If at first you don’t succeed…” Alma mused quietly. *Sycamore *Clemont *Bonnie *Olympia *Korrina “There’s names missing from this list,” Alex said, frowning. “Where’s Grant? Viola? Valerie?” “Too tough and too moral to take on?” Belle suggested. “This has to only be people they’re already in position to take in or take down.” “They can’t take down Ramos?” Calem laughed at Alex. “Don’t underestimate the old guy. He’s a lot tougher than you’d think.” *Maitre *De Saint-Pierre “I recognize these names,” Emily said. “Elaine talks about them sometime when she’s remembering her fossil days.” *Steel “The chocolate shop owners?” Colleen asked. “They’re nothing but trouble,” Serena said with a scowl. “If Clemont and Bonnie hadn’t convinced us to go easy on them…” Calem shrugged. “The chocolate’s good, at least.” *Serena *Calem “…” “…” IC: Isabella Fontaine/Cameron Morrill August 8th The storm raged on, finding its way outside the cell of another prisoner of Team Liberty. The guards gave Isa a nod as she stepped up to the door of the cell. “Cameron, hey,” she said. “I…sa…?” Isa winced. “Geeze, Cam, what happened to you?” She looked to the guard. “What, can a prisoner not get a glass of water around here?” “Punched… in… throat…” “By Xander?” At Cameron’s nod, she slammed her fist against the wall. “He’s going to pay for this, Cameron, just wait. We’re gonna get you out of here.” “Where… am… I… be-ing… ta-ken…?” “What? No, Cam, I’m going to work to get you out. You won’t be wrongfully imprisoned anymore.” Cameron gave Isa a stare of confusion. “Why… would… you… help… a… spy…?” Isa sighed. “Don’t worry, Cameron, I know you’re not a spy.” The spy’s stare only deepened, the edges of his sanity visibly beginning to fray as he -- quite possibly for the first time -- tried to understand Isa’s perspective. “Oct--Oc-ta-vi-an… told… me… I… would… die… if… I… lie.” It took a second for everything to click. Isabella’s brow furrowed. “Wait. So you are the spy? Xander wasn’t lying?” “I… am… the spy.” “I see.” Isa nodded. “Alright then.” She turned to go, then paused. “There’s one more thing I need to know…” --- August 13 After the call-in (unscheduled, meaning something big had come up, and, indeed, something big had come up) Isabella Fontaine made her way quietly down to the Alamo holding cells. She was wondering how to explain to Xander -- how to tell him gently -- what even emotion she should feel -- what emotion would he feel when he heard?" So, confusedly, did Isabella Fontaine step into the visitation area -- not the room with the benches and the picnic tables, the guards had said that an almost-violent outburst forced them to keep his visitations separated -- and Isa sat down to observe... what? A Team Flare spy? It was possible, and Isa had said as much to Monsieur Winters when he had brought up the list, though, she had pointed out, Xander's father had been a Flare operative, but it was still worth mentioning to them, then, why Xander had been detained. No. The person sat before her was not Flare. Isa knew that as surely as she knew the sky was blue and that water was wet. Xander Cruize could no more be a Team Flare operative than he could have stopped breathing and gone on living. The hatred he carried in his heart had oft darkened his visage, and had caused him to nearly kill one of his childhood companions in fury at the revelation that Cameron Morrill was, in fact, a Team Flare spy. "Xander..." she began, though she did not know how she would finish. There was a lot to cover, and she wasn't even sure where to start. Finally, she pressed her hand to the glass, blinking against the tears suddenly in her eyes. "Xander, I am so, so sorry..." --- It took almost an hour for her to explain everything, to tell him that he had a sister and more, that his family was so much bigger than he had thought, all those years growing up thinking he was alone in the world. And so it was that Isa left Xander, having given him the necklace she wore, the necklace that she had been told needed to be earned in some way, and she felt that Xander Cruize had earned it through his loyalty and the hardship she had put him through, that necklace with the pinkish stone at the end. And she made her way back up to the command center, though her shift was over and she shouldn't need to be there until it was time for the morning check-in from the team in Kalos. She knew that the night would hold more surprises, and she needed to be prepared to coordinate her squad.
  8. IC: Calem The ex-Champion swallowed and shook his head. "The opposite, actually. I went down to where we battled Lysandre, where he was when the lab collapsed. A lot of rubble that had obviously been moved, a lot of blood, but..." "No body," Serena supplied grimly, and Calem nodded. "What all have you guys found here?" "Where to even begin?" IC: Emily Lockwood/Jared Winters/Lachina Adaon/Belle LaDonna/Alma Mason - Geosenge Lab Emily smiled softly and reached out a hand for Zoe. "Thanks for the vote of confidence, kiddo," she said. "So, now what?" Lachina asked the room in general. They had found a secret cloning facility and the results thereof, and had determined that everyone currently in said facility was against Flare. "We start looking for clues as to what Flare might be up to," Jared said. "I think we can say for certain that they're not only alive but active, given the clearing of debris and the like." Emily sighed and shook her head skeptically. Belle crossed her arms. "Kinda a lot of people to all be scouring this place, ain't it... Mercury, was it?" Jared flinched a bit. "It's Jared, actually. But you're right, there are a lot of us here." "Serena did mention a computer. Anybody here tech-savvy enough to get into it?" Emily said.
  9. IC: Belle LaDonna/Emily Lockwood/Lachina Adaon/Jared Winters/Alma Mason - Geosenge Lab "Makes sense to me," Belle said with a shrug. "Hemlock was more like a sister t' me, but I get it. Hopefully you picked up better habits'n me." "I think this one's the Beldum," Emily said as she hefted the egg. "It feels a bit heavier than the other one did." Lachina looked over at the Performer and frowned. Everything was going so quickly, and attention was spread thin. "Right. Don't think we've forgotten about what you just said, either." Jared nodded. "We'll have questions for you when this is all over, Emily. For now, you've proven yourself trustworthy with all the help you've given us, and Xander is a good person even if he did somehow get arrested." Alma tapped her chin in thought. "So... If not this Xander person, then who would Amelia and Alex be cloned from?" "The only other person I could think of would be our cousin," Emily quietly replied. "He died when he was only eight, though, I'm not sure how Flare would have gotten DNA from him--" She stopped short, and her eyes widened. "Ezekiel," she spat. At the confused looks, she elaborated. "Elaine's ex-husband, Alain's father--" "Wait, wait," Lachina interjected. "Your aunt Elaine named her son Alain?" "Kinda not the point right now," Belle said. "Ezekiel was a Team Flare member," Emily continued. "I never met him, but from what I've heard, he'd be just the kind of guy to clone his dead son as a science experiment." Alma nodded thoughtfully. "In that case, it would not be a stretch to say that Alex and Amelia are also your cousins, would it?" "What's your obsession with them having family, kid?" Belle asked. "Alex was adopted, but Amelia hasn't had a family until now." Emily shrugged. "I don't mind either way, really."
  10. IC: Jared Winters/Belle LaDonna/Emily Lockwood/Lachina Adaon/Calem - Team Flare Lab, Geosenge, August 12, 12:07 AM "'04?" Jared asked. "Xander's pretty young, sixteen or seventeen. I doubt you're cloned from him." Belle looked over at Zoe. "Eggs? Wait-- Did you guys finish the samples that got taken from my Pokémon?" Emily shrugged. "I guess so? They were taken from Tristan and Dracos here." The purple-haired collector rushed forward. "C'n I see? Which one's which?" Lachina raised an eyebrow at the older woman's excitement. "Anyways, I doubt that Xander knew about the cloning, or he would have told us about it." As everyone was talking, Calem entered the room, his face pale. "Serena?" he said. "Can I talk to you in private?"
  11. IC: Emily Lockwood//Jared Winters/Lachina Adaon/Alma Mason/Belle LaDonna Emily paused, eyes wide as she looked over at Colleen. "Oh, um... That is to say..." She sighed, crossing her arms. "He's my half-brother. I've met him once before, but I know his face mostly from pictures and the like." Jared frowned. A lot was happening, and he was trying to figure out what to focus on: the clones, with their auras that shifted through the color spectrum; Emily and her confession at knowing Xander -- a confession that could have come much sooner; or the white-haired girl with the ghostly white aura that had purple veins shooting through it. He took a deep breath, and Lachina placed a hand on his arm. "I think we all need to take a minute to wrap our heads around everything," she said quietly, and he nodded his agreement. Alma hummed. "So, if Lucia is Alex's sister, and Alex and Amelia are both clones of the same person... Would that make Lucia and Amelia sisters as well?" "Not sure that's how that works, kid."
  12. IC: Jared Winters/Emily Lcokwood/Belle LaDonna/Alma Mason/LachinaAdaon Jared frowned. "I see... I'm sorry to hear all that. Would you mind all stepping out here? It's a bit crowded, but I like to see who I'm talking to." The other group trickled out into the crowded living area. Belle and Alma came first. Amelia followed, and Emily blinked as they locked eyes and the older girl flinched. What was that about?" Finally, Alex stepped into the room, and silence pervaded. Lachina swallowed. "Um... Am I crazy or does he look exactly like Xander?" she asked. Emily took a hesitant step forward. "Yeah. Yeah, he does."
  13. IC: Amelia Zann/Belle LaDonna/Alma Mason/Alex Zyther (Collapsed Team Flare Secret Lab, Geosenge Town, Kalos, August 12, 2017) The next room the group entered was very different from the previous two. It was a bedroom, walls painted a pale orange and the floor replaced with cheap gray carpet tile more suited to an office than a home. The windowpane-arrangement of four computer screens sat dark upon the wall, the only homey touch to an otherwise-antiseptic space. Two barren metal bed frames bore two firm mattresses topped with thin, rough sheets and nothing more, the closest hint towards personal belongings the tiny shelves topped with a broken lamp and burned-out alarm clock each. The beds sat parallel in opposite corners of the room, a symmetry linked by a small half-rotted bookcase and mirrored across the rusted frame of a now-empty folding paper room divider. Of course, despite the intention for symmetry, the reality did not match the plan. One bed was messy and rumpled, its occupant having thrown off the covers and not bothered to re-make the bed before whatever disaster had befallen the facility. The bookcase on that side also held a few volumes besides the two identical to each side, a few notable children’s literary classics covering up the covers of the two books emblazoned with an emblem of flame. Amelia moved automatically to this bed, reaching for the lamp pull by reflex and knocking the item onto the bed in the process of stopping herself. A glimmer of gold caught Belle’s eye. “What’s that?” she asked. While Alex and Alma rummaged curiously through the drawers (the women’s Flare outfits on Amelia’s side running a size shorter than their counterparts on the other), Amelia picked up the small, square-shaped trinket and examined it with Belle. Upon turning it over, the two gasped. It was a picture frame, a tiny thing perhaps three centimeters square -- based on its hiding place, most likely contraband. The contraband in question, however, was the truly shocking thing: a teenage boy with black hair and blue eyes wrapping an arm around a black-haired blue-eyed sister just a couple years younger. There was just one problem: the boy was unmistakably a young Alex… or it would have been, if he hadn’t been blatantly older than the palette-swapped young Amelia next to him. “What the hay, Pond?” “I… honestly don’t know.” Amelia’s brow furrowed in concentration. “I’ve… never seen this photo in my life. The resemblance is disturbing, though.” Her tone summoned the other two for a closer look. Alma hummed. “Perhaps it’s labeled on the back?” She passed her knife over and Belle started prying at the frame. Once finally prized from its frame, however, the picture only revealed an extremely short message: Thoroughly unnerved, Alex backed away toward what they had thought was a matte-black wall but was in fact the frame of some sort of shattered floor-to-ceiling glass pane. They stumbled backwards, mirrored fragments crunching softly underfoot, until they came to rest against something made of glass and metal that came just up to their mid-back. They turned around and gasped. “Uh… guys?” they whispered. “I think you should see this.”
  14. IC: Amelia Zann/Alma Mason/Belle LaDonna/Alex Zyther (Collapsed Team Flare Secret Lab, Geosenge Town, Kalos, August 12, 2017) The most notable difference between Xerneas’ containment room and its counterpart in the Flare-controlled universe was the twin squares of light streaming in on opposite sides of the room. The hole in the right wall was too small to pass through, so the quartet investigated the left side first. The room they found was littered with shards of shattered glass that crunched softly underfoot, the remnants of what was once a tall glass room isolated in the center of the space, as well as some sort of emitter above that was now so blackened it had warped outward and then started curling backward upon itself. Most of the computer banks along the wall were similarly scorched, but a few in the corners seemed partially intact -- perhaps a single usable unit amongst all of them combined. Amelia made to move forward, but Belle held out an arm to stop her. “Look,” she said, pointing to the floor. Trailing through the shattered shards on the floor, a path of suspiciously shoe-shaped disturbances crossed several times between the consoles and the ex-chamber from which the shards had started, the glass in those patches crushed even smaller than the rest of the chamber’s debris. “Someone has clearly been here before us,” Alma said quietly as she drew a knife from her apron. “We should be cautious. Perhaps the people following us are Team Flare.” Something ticked loudly in Amelia’s mind, but the pieces wouldn’t quite fit together. Shaking her head, she led the group onward toward the collapsed right-hand wall, quietly picking their way past the glass as they stayed to the edges of the room.
  15. IC: Amelia Zann/Belle LaDonna/Alma Mason/Alex Zyther (Collapsed Team Flare Lab, Geosenge Town, Kalos, August 11, 2017, 11:52 P.M.) The sound of footsteps echoed through the empty halls as the group of Trainers and their Pokémon shuffled through the abandoned space. As soon as they’d heard what Alex and Alma had found, Belle and Amelia had raced to the hidden door, their companions in tow, heedless of anything else. Amelia felt a nameless dread curdling within her stomach, the whole place having “bad time” written all over it. The place was an utter wreck. A lot of rooms were full of rubble, but Belle didn’t need to see the full layout to recognize prison cells. Flare, she thought bitterly. Just like in that mirror world where the evil organization had won, this place had once been their hideout. Ahead of them, Amelia froze. A missing door revealed a room full of white tile. Inside were tables with buckles and straps attached, as well as a rack full of sharp, wicked instruments. Belle gently took Amelia’s hand and squeezed. “They ain’t here, Pond,” she said quietly. “Lex and his cronies are long gone.” Turning their head to avoid seeing any more sites of torture, Alex spotted several splashes of dried blood near the caved-in end of a collapsed corridor. Several of the boulders seemed to have been shifted from where they’d fallen, leaving a small passage just large enough for a small Pokémon or a sufficiently determined (and incautious) human to pass through. “Hey,” they called, “I think I found a way through.” “Hm?” The sudden stop highlighted a series of echoing sounds, lasting far longer than they should have. “It would appear we have company,” Alma said quietly. “Given where we are, we may wish to find a hiding place.” “Ooh! Pick me!” a woman’s voice called from down the hall at the top of her lungs. “Jamie, wait!” called a man’s voice. “Through there!” Amelia ordered. Alex scuffled through first, with Alma and Amelia quickly following. Belle followed quietly, wincing at the tight space. Once she was through, she summoned Cyanide. “Close these rocks up, a bit,” she ordered the Metang. It quickly did so, moving the boulders with a grating and crashing sound. A man’s voice cursed. "Now what?" a woman asked. "Is this where you guys were stopped?" “Hurry!” Amelia insisted. Belle returned her Pokémon and turned to follow Amelia.
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