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This will be a short fic, with ten chapters at the very most. If you have any questions about anything referenced in the story, feel free to ask! (There are plenty of real world references here, just like with my other story)
HEARTHOME CITY, JULY 6, 2:49 PM
The blue skies over sprawling Hearthome City were clear and bright, without a cloud to be seen. In the northeast side of town stood a large, colorful building. Its multicolored domed ceiling sparkled in the afternoon sunlight. An array of signs and banners outside marked the occasion: “Hearthome City Pokémon Contest Today!” in traffic-stopping letters. The parking lot was full, but quiet. There was nobody milling about outside. Instead, the noise came from within the building - a mix of loud cheering and applause that could be heard all the way across the street.
It was here that the crowd was gathered - a vast, vibrant auditorium where the bleachers graced the sky. Although the walls were bare and no confetti or glitter rained down, nobody seemed to care. The crowd clapped and cheered, their hands flying about wildly. Everyone had their eyes glued on the stage in front of them. It was a magnificent sight, illuminated by thirteen floodlights that stood on the floor. A bright spotlight mounted above cast a bright glow upon the center of the polished wood platform, as a green and yellow Pokémon with a sombrero atop its head disappeared from view in a brilliant red light.
A voice came over the PA speaker system, somehow resonating even over the raucous cheers that filled the arena. “And that concludes the first round! Please give your applause to Miror B. and let’s go to our panel of judges for their thoughts on his performance!” The contestant, a tall, lanky figure dressed in gold and with a gigantic red and white afro atop his head, bowed and turned his attention toward the right as the cheering eventually died down. Now the crowd was waiting in anticipation of the judges’ commentary.
A bright spotlight was now focused on three individuals standing behind podiums. The first, a young woman in a business suit, commented, “The trainer is a very accomplished and skillful dancer, but unfortunately, we’re here to evaluate the Pokémon’s performance, and his was fairly elementary, to say the least.” The numbers 4.6 appeared on the front of the woman’s podium.
“I must concur,” said the next judge, a well-dressed older man with a beard. “The trainer himself would have easily earned a ten for his dancing but as far as his Ludicolo… 5.2, and that’s being generous.”
The final judge, a younger man with red hair, said nothing, but only displayed a 4.1 in front of him. Inexplicably yelling, “My tempo was off! Oh, this won’t do, this won’t do at all! Let’s go! Escape!” Miror B. ran off the stage, disappearing into the thick velvet curtains on the left side.
“Now, please give our judges time to evaluate the scores and decide who moves on to the next round!” The cheers of the crowd eventually quieted into numerous conversations between the spectators, as the lights dimmed and the three judges made their way backstage.
Among the fans was a young girl, nondescript in a white top and lavender skirt. She was sitting comfortably in her seat. Not engaging in conversation, she was instead examining a small case in her lap. Within it were five ribbons that glittered in the faint light.
“It’s a big load off my mind having five Contest ribbons already, she thought to herself. That means I can sit back and enjoy this Contest without having to worry about taking part.” Smiling, she closed the case and slipped it into the red handbag next to her. Now she brushed her black hair away from her face and turned to face the stage.
Back on stage, the lights turned back on and loud fanfare over the PA system brought everyone back to attention. A blonde woman had stepped out from behind the curtains, wearing a frilly pink top and a miniskirt. She basked in the applause for a few moments, then raised her microphone.
“Our judges have completed tallying the scores for the first round and are ready to announce the top eight who will be moving on to the second round! Here is head judge Bruce Fowler with the results!”
A tall, older man emerged from the right side of the stage, wearing a black tuxedo. Rubbing his thick gray beard as he approached the center, he accepted the microphone from the young woman. “Greetings, ladies and gentlemen! We saw a spectacular show of Pokémon moves and maneuvers from all of our contestants. If it was up to me, everyone would move on to the second round, but unfortunately, we have to narrow the field down to eight!”
Unbeknownst to the crowd, a cloaked figure holding a briefcase had made its way to the stands.
“With the highest score in round one, Molly Blackstone!”
Amidst the shouting and clapping, the mysterious figure moved to a position just behind the last row of seats.
“Next, we have Christine Bowman!”
The figure set the briefcase down on the floor and began taking out the long, slender object stored within.
“Also moving on to the second round, Vernon Lee!”
The individual squinted, and through the lens it saw its target. Lock and load. Caught up in the excitement of the Contest, the crowd still had not noticed.
“Please also offer your congratulations to Elizabeth Wilson and Chuck Wheeler!”
A few rows down, the black-haired girl was absorbed in the events onstage. The lights were all so bright, her eyes needed a quick break. She yawned and turned her head to the side, where it was darker. In that split second, she saw the figure take aim. A shiver ran through her body as she stood up and screamed, “Watch out!”
But she was too late.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
The deafening sound of rapid automatic gunfire pierced the entire Contest Hall. Mass panic and chaos ensued as the entire crowd began pushing and shoving in a frenzied free-for-all, trying to escape the building. Amid the screams of horror and frantic yelling, nobody noticed the cloaked figure slip out a back exit. Nor did anyone notice the judge, Bruce Fowler, lying on his back, a pool of crimson liquid surrounding his now lifeless form.
Outside, the police and ambulances were already arriving on scene, the noise of the sirens barely perceptible over the panicked screaming of the crowd, now gathered outside the Contest Hall. It was pure chaos – some people were frantically running about, others were on their knees crying out, while still others just stood in stunned shock. Overhead, as if on cue, dark gray clouds began to invade the skies above town.
Within a minute, the parking lot was filled with blue and white Ford Crown Victoria police cars that attempted to snake their way through the frenzy of frightened people. Police officers stepped out of the vehicles, trying to calm the chaotic crowd down. Through their bullhorns, one officer shouted, “Everyone, please settle down! We are here and equipped to handle the situation. If anyone saw what happened, please come forward now!” Meanwhile other officers had infiltrated the throngs of people, trying to restore order and ease the fears of the still-frightened Contest attendees.
The black-haired girl’s heart was racing. She put her right hand over her chest and her left hand on a van in the parking lot, not caring that its theft alarm was going off. Her knees shaking, she yelled, “Oh my God, what happened? I can’t believe this!”
Halfway around the world, at the exact same moment, another girl also yelled, “Oh my God, what happened? I can’t believe this!”
Hahaha, I've been waiting for this for a while
First off, I love the idea of a contest-related mystery... and the head judge getting shot? dundunduuuunnnnn...
And YAYY! Sadie makes a mini appearance I've read the other chapters of course, so I know you'll handle her well, but it's fun to read it all over again. I like how you switch between the figure and her point of view, by the way. It adds a little... shroud of mystery to the whole thing.
So nice little novella (fanfiction-ella?) you have going on here. I'll be waiting for more!
Like the suprise twist at the end
Thanks for the reviews, and be on the lookout for my next chapter in about a week!
Nice fanfic! It's very descriptive and an interesting piece to read. I like to know more about this murder.
Ash. Dawn. Brock. Irvine. Contest. Gym Battle. Roses. This is...The Prism City Saga
We can make a Pokémon Concert! All we need is Jigglypuff to sing...wait, that would be a bad idea because we would all fall asleep, Jigglypuff would get mad and then it would draw on all of our faces...yeah, let's not do that!
75% of Pokémon gamers use cheats and specially made codes to make their Pokémon battle-worthy.
If you are one of the 25% percent that level their Pokémon up legally, put this in your signature.
A/N: Here's Chapter 1. Once again, I would like to thank Haruka of Hoenn for use of her character Sadie and her help with proofreading the chapter.
Note that all the places Lisa visits in this chapter are all real world locations.
If you have seen fugitive fraud artist Rebecca S. Parrett, who celebrates her 62nd birthday today, please contact authorities. She is a white female, 5 feet tall, 120 pounds, with blue eyes and blond hair, and may be in Mexico.
EDIT: Rebecca Parrett was CAPTURED on October 26, 2010.
Now, on with the chapter
CAROLINA PLACE MALL, PINEVILLE, NC, 3:04 PM
“Oh my God, what happened? I can’t believe this!”
In an expansive mall parking lot filled with cars, a brown haired girl looked in horror at the passenger side door of her beige Buick Electra Estate station wagon, her fingers running along the entire length of a dent on the huge car’s imitation woodgrain trim. “I swear, I can’t go anywhere without some idiot putting a dent in my door! And this was supposed to be my vacation!”
Sighing in exasperation, the girl removed the white wide-brimmed hat she was wearing and put it down in the velour-covered passenger seat. She then unbuttoned her green button-up cardigan and placed it on the seat as well. Now down to her blue floral print dress and a pair of white pantyhose, the teenager made her way around the front of the car and settled in the plush driver’s seat. Turning the ignition key, the Buick’s powerful V-8 engine roared to life. Glancing backward, she backed the car out of her parking space and headed out of the mall parking lot and toward busy Highway 51.
The sun was shining brightly upon this busy commercial suburb, sandwiched between the city of Charlotte and the South Carolina state line. The mall was busy, as were the major thoroughfares surrounding it. The intense summer heat was not keeping shoppers from making their daily rounds at the mall, as cars were constantly pulling in and out of the lot.
Not five minutes later, she arrived at her next destination – a modestly-sized three story building covered in beige stucco. On the front of the building were the words “QUALITY SUITES” in gold, right below a dark green logo bearing a stylized gold “Q.”A large canopy in front of the main building provided shade for those entering the hotel through the lobby. The teenager parked her car in a spot a good distance away from the entrance, and made her way toward the hotel, her white high heels clicking with every step. She held her hat and one hand, her purple handbag in the other, and had tied her cardigan around her waist.
The girl stepped into the lobby. To her right was the check in desk with a rich dark cherry finish. The wall behind the desk read “QUALITY SUITES” in bright gold lettering. To the left was a seating area with couches and padded chairs covered in a dark violet fabric. On the wall opposite the front desk was a long counter used for the morning breakfast buffet, as well as small tables and chairs set up as a breakfast area. A series of decorative columns provided a touch of elegance as well as some division between the lobby and breakfast nook. Overhead, a chandelier provided light to the spacious, open area.
As she headed past the front desk, the well-dressed clerk asked, “Hello, Lisa, welcome back. Is there anything you need?”
Waving back, she answered, “No, I’m doing just fine, thanks!”
A few minutes later, Lisa closed the door to her suite, where she had been staying for the past week on vacation. Once inside, she removed her green cardigan and placed it on the upholstered swivel chair next to the room’s desk. She made her way past the suite’s living space with its couch and flat-screen TV. The girl stopped to take a can of grape soda from the room’s mini-refrigerator situated in the wet bar opposite the bathroom door. Making her way into the bedroom area, she slipped off her white dress shoes and settled down on the room’s king-sized bed. Turning on the second TV situated across from the bed, the young girl stretched out atop the gold-colored duvet. To herself, Lisa said, “Now this is more like it. After my last mission, I need this break! I just hope she doesn’t call again.”
HEARTHOME CITY POLICE HEADQUARTERS, 4:36 PM
“Please state your name.”
“Ashley Smith, Hearthome City Police Department. Pleased to meet you, though I wish it was under better circumstances.”
Inside a brightly lit but bare police interview room, the black-haired girl from the Contest was now seated at a table. Opposite her was a police investigator, a female, in her mid twenties, with long blond hair. She was taking notes as she asked questions.
“Miss Catherwood, you say you saw the individual who committed this crime?”
“I didn’t get a clear view, but yes, I did, ma’am.”
“How would you describe the assailant?”
“They were fairly tall, at least six foot. They weren’t heavy, but not really that thin, either. Whoever it was, they wore this black hooded robe, and I couldn’t see any facial features. After they opened fire, they fled through a back entrance while everyone else was trying to push and shove their way out the front.”
“Could you tell their race, gender, hair color, anything?”
“No, sorry. As I said, their hood covered up the entire face, and I couldn’t see anything else.”
“Well, thank you for your time, Miss Catherwood. We’ll contact you again if we need to, but if you suddenly remember something or you find out anything related to this case, please give me a call.” The inspector reached into her pocket and handed Sadie a business card.
“I will, thank you.”
Detective Ashley Smith stepped out of the room first, followed by Sadie. Once she got outside the concrete-and-brick police station, Sadie nearly collapsed. “Oh, man, that was intense!” She was gripping her skirt tightly, sweat dripping down her forehead.
Back in the station, Ashley approached a young officer with short black hair and glasses who was seated at a desk. “Officer Andrews, any results?”
“Well, we definitely found fingerprints on the doors – hundreds of them. So, obviously, it’s going to be near impossible to test each and every one of them. We did recover shell casings, but the assailant took the weapon and the case when they fled, so we don’t have a weapon to match them to. We couldn’t find any trace evidence other than the usual trash on the ground, and I have a feeling it’s not going to be of much help.”
Ashley let out a sigh. “Damn. With no leads at all, I don’t think our department has the resources to solve this thing. I’m going to have to call the Pokémon League Investigation Unit and see if they can help us.”
Three officers entered the police station lobby.
“Anything at the victim’s house?”
“Nothing that we could find that would help the investigation. But it did seem a bit strange that his computer was gone. I mean, the monitor and printer were at the desk, but the computer itself was gone.”
Ashley scratched her chin. “That certainly does sound odd. Still, it doesn’t make sense. Bruce was a great guy, donated to charities, did a lot of volunteer work helping local kids… I have no idea who would want him dead.”
HARRIS STREET PARK, FORT MILL, SC, 5:19 PM
The sun was bright, casting warmth upon a municipal park in a pleasant suburban area. The blue sky was interrupted only by the scattered white fluffy cloud. Lisa’s Buick Estate Wagon was parked at the edge of a freshly-cut grassy field. The girl herself was seated at a picnic table, listening to an iPod and reading a newspaper. On the ground in front of her were six Pokémon, conversing amongst themselves in their own language.
A yellow Pokémon, with spiked fur and thin black eyes, let out a loud yawn as it stretched out its four legs, completely ignoring the fact that a hefty blue Pokémon with massive tusks and large flippers was stuffing its face into the food dish in front of it. Two more Pokémon were airborne – a large green creature with flat angular wings and red transparent lenses over its eyes, and a purple spherical Pokémon with an indifferent facial expression who released small gray puffs of smoke from craters on its body. Meanwhile, the largest Pokémon of the bunch – a massive chrome-colored mechanical Pokémon with an imposing gold “X” plastered across its face – stood on its four heavy legs as its piercing red eyes continually scanned the entire area.
Lisa’s sixth Pokémon jumped onto the bench next to its owner. This one was a beige cat whose carefully groomed fur gave off a bright, almost reflective sheen in the bright sunlight. The Pokémon let out a soft growl as it inched closer to the girl, who instinctively began petting its head.
“Hey, Persian, are you enjoying this? We’ve been together for almost three years now, and we’ve certainly been through a lot. From the Pokémon League challenge, to wiping out that terrorist organization, and now working as a special agent for the League. Making friends and enemies along the way. But you know? Through all of it, all of you have been by my side, every step of the way. I’m grateful for that. So let’s all enjoy this break, because who knows when we’ll be sent back to the front lines of battle again.”
Persian let out a contented meow and smiled at its trainer.
“Still, has it really been a year and a half since I joined the League Investigation Force? I’ve just been so busy lately, between going on missions and taking classes. Not to mention that online business I still run. It’s good money, and I like the feeling that I get from helping people in need, but the stress has really taken a toll on me. And I’m sure it’s taken a toll on you guys as well. I think this vacation is much needed. For all of us.”
Persian had fallen asleep on the bench next to Lisa. Most of the girl’s other Pokémon were now asleep as well – Walrein and Jolteon had fallen asleep close to each other, with scattered bits of Pokémon food still on the grass nearby. Flygon and Weezing had come in for a landing and were also snoozing contently. Only Metagross remained awake, standing motionless as it continued to stand guard.
Not that there was any danger to be had. Behind Lisa, the park was bustling with the joyous shouts of children playing on the playground or on the basketball courts while their parents looked on. Older folks were out for a jog or walking their pets. A group of girls in green scout uniforms were enjoying a picnic. Lisa looked around and smiled. “If only every day could be like this…” She decided that she would sit and relax in the park for a little bit longer before heading back to her hotel.
LEAGUE INVESTIGATION UNIT CLANDESTINE HEADQUARTERS, 6:29 PM
Deep within the winding corridors of a nondescript steel-clad building located in the Sinnoh wilderness not far from Hearthome, news of the Contest incident was already causing a stir. Seated at a desk, a tall, red-haired woman adjusted her glasses as she pored over the papers in front of her, as well as more documents on her computer monitor.
The woman turned around in her swivel chair to address the others in the room, getting their attention by clapping her hands loudly.
“Victim is Bruce Leroy Fowler, 65. Former Sinnoh Contest head judge, having numerous Contest championships in his youth. Married for forty-one years to Tori Krause-Fowler, with three grown children and seven grandchildren. No records of any marital problems or issues with the family, and wife and children all have solid alibis.
“At the time of the incident, his wife was visiting relatives in the Kanto region. Unfortunately, at the moment, she is grounded at Goldenrod International Airport due to a flight cancellation and inclement weather. I got off the phone with Ms. Krause-Fowler, and she says she may not make it back into town until tomorrow or the day after.
“What baffles me in this case is who would want Mr. Fowler dead. He had no prior arrest record and no outstanding warrants. According to co-workers and family, they don’t know of any enemies he might have had. He was very well-liked, both in his family and among his co-workers in the Sinnoh Contest Administration. Robbery wasn’t a motive; nothing was reported stolen.”
An investigator asked, “Any trace evidence at the scene?”
“Only shell casings from what appears to be an AR-15 assault rifle. The suspect fired the weapon from a distance, and so many people were in and about that Contest Hall, lifting any usable fingerprints would be impossible. We have one witness who caught a glimpse of the perpetrator right before he or she opened fire; the witness is one Sadie Catherwood, age fifteen. She recalls seeing the suspect aim the weapon at Mr. Fowler, but she reports that the suspect was wearing a hooded cloak that concealed the face, so she was unable to give us a description except that the perpetrator was tall with a medium build. Surveillance cameras at the Contest Hall basically provided the same information; they didn’t capture the suspect’s face, either.
“The local police performed a quick search of the Fowler residence, but couldn’t find anything of evidentiary value. Only thing of note was a missing computer, which might hold vital information if we can recover it. Our forces are too spread out right now for a more thorough search of the house, but we’re going to have to strip-search that place within the next few days.”
“Commander L, permission to speak?” A man with thin, dark tinted shades, dark gray hair, and a light gray lab coat raised his hand, even as he continued to rub his chin with the other.
L replied, “Permission granted. Please tell us your thoughts, Agent E.”
“If I may speculate, the murder of Mr. Fowler is more likely than not connected to his involvement with the Contests. Therefore, may I suggest we deploy an agent or two to go undercover as Contest participants to see if they can uncover any information regarding who may have wanted him killed. I believe that Agents 00158, 00236, and 00479 would be suited for this task.”
“An excellent idea, E, except that 00158 and 00236 are currently on a mission in Orre, and 00479 has recently completed a mission and I told her she was on vacation leave.”
“True, but if we are to solve this case, we will need 00479’s assistance. It would be in our best interest to contact her.”
“Fine, I will contact her.” Under her breath, L muttered, “But I know Lisa won’t be happy with me.”
QUALITY SUITES HOTEL, PINEVILLE, NC, 8:57 PM
As darkness fell, Lisa’s large station wagon pulled into the hotel’s brightly lit parking lot. After shutting the car off, she exited the vehicle, a bag of take-out food in her hand. The teenage girl made her way through the lobby and to the elevators, waving to the desk clerk on her way. Once settled into the room, she kicked off her shoes. Now with only white pantyhose covering her feet, Lisa made her way to the desk, flipped the desk lamp on, moved her laptop aside, and opened her bag. While indulging in a thick hamburger and fries, Lisa began planning her activities for the next day.
“Let’s see, I might want to take another trip to the mall… or I could stop by Grandma’s home in Baxter Village. I think I definitely want to try that restaurant, Harper’s, that I saw at the mall the other day.”
The girl headed into the bathroom, situated between the living room area and the bedroom, for a hot shower. She emerged wearing an oversized red nightgown and black leggings. “All right, time to watch something.”
Lisa had brought a portable DVD player and plugged it into the flat-panel TV in the bedroom. As she watched an anime series featuring a group of high school students, she began to doze off.
Lisa’s cell phone started ringing, bringing her to attention. Picking it up, she began to frown, worried about who might be on the other end. But her fears subsided as a familiar voice came on. “Hey, Lisa, it’s Mom. Is everything going fine?”
“Yeah, Mom, though I’m kinda in the middle of eating dinner.”
“Oh, sorry. You sound kind of nervous. Anything wrong?”
“Not really, aside from the fact that someone dented my car door at the mall yesterday. Once I get back to South Carolina, I’m going to have to take her to the body shop. But, really, when you called, I thought you were... you know, her.”
“No, honey, I’m just calling to check up on you.” Lisa’s mom let out a small laugh. “Everything’s going fine here. Are you and your Pokémon having a good time up there in Charlotte?”
“Pretty good, although I have to head to the park to let my Pokémon out, like I did earlier today. And with it being as hot as it is, I don’t think they even want to be out and about.” The teen let out a sigh.
“Well, can’t you let them out in your room?”
“No, Mom, this hotel has a no-pet policy, and I’m not about to risk paying fees in case they consider Pokémon as pets. Now, I know I have quite a bit of money in the bank, but I’d rather not spend it on stuff like hotel pet fees.” The girl’s fingers were wrapped around the bottom of her nightgown. “Plus, I’m worried Metagross or Walrein might cause the floor to collapse. I don’t think the guests underneath us would appreciate that.” Lisa let out a laugh.
“Yeah, you’re probably right. Even we’ve had to cut back on spending a little. Now Lisa, I have a question for you. As you know, our Mercury Grand Marquis is going on four years old now. We haven’t been able to find any of the really big cars that we prefer, but your father suggested a new Buick LaCrosse. What do you think?”
The daughter took a minute to think, rubbing her chin. “Hmmm… I hear it’s a good car and all, but from what I hear, the trunk’s a bit on the small side and it’s a bit hard to see out of. But I like most everything else about it. It’s roomy and comfortable and performs pretty well, so I say go for it!”
“All right then, sweetie, next time you see us, we’ll have a new car!”
“Sounds good,” Lisa replied. “So, how’s the family doing?”
“Well, your father is at a business dinner with some prospective partners. If this deal goes through, it could get us millions in additional revenue a year.”
“Funny we were just talking about money! Well, if it goes through, maybe we won’t have to worry about money too much. Tell him good luck on that deal!”
“And your sister, well, she told me that her journey through Sinnoh was going just fine. She said called me last night and said she’s having a great time training and battling. It’s like that girl can’t get enough!”
Lisa laughed. “Yeah, but she better not be pushing those Pokémon of hers too hard.”
“No, Lindsay does get excited , but she’s definitely not the type to do that. Oh, but she did mention something pretty major she saw on the news over there.”
“Well, Lindsay told me of a shooting that happened at a Contest Hall. She was in another town at the time, so she’s okay, but it’s all over the news. According to her, it was somebody pretty important within the whole Contest scene that was the victim.”
Lisa’s eyes grew wide and her hands began shaking. “Really? Contests just don’t seem like the place you would expect a brutal murder.”
“Well, it looks like I’ve got an incoming business call, so we’ll have to talk later. Bye! Enjoy the rest of your vacation!”
“Yup, bye!” Lisa began to form a frown on her face. “However much of a vacation I have left…”
As if on cue, her phone went off again, this time indicating a text message.
“Special Agent 00479:
You are needed immediately at Hearthome City Headquarters. Please arrive no later than 0900 hours tomorrow.
The girl let out a sigh. “I knew it… Looks like I’m taking the next flight out of Charlotte.” She began to pack a few changes of clothes in a small suitcase, not happy about having her vacation cut short. Lisa grudgingly put back on her blue dress and white pantyhose, grabbed her hat, bag, and green blouse, and rushed out the door, suitcase in hand.
At the front desk, Lisa explained to the clerk that an emergency had come up, but that she wanted to keep the room because the rest of her belongings were in there. After getting a confirmation that her room would be held, she jumped in her car and headed straight for the airport as the last of the day’s light was swallowed up by the darkness of night. Lisa’s Buick soon became one of thousands of vehicles driving along on the busy south Charlotte freeways.
The name 'Bruce Leroy Fowler' is incredibly funny, but familiar at the same time... idk why :/
And woooo, Sadie makes a comeback. Even though her fanfiction's a long way ahead xD
But yeah, I'm really enjoying this so far. There should be more Pokemon mystery fics, I think. The Pokemon world is just perfect for natural disasters, mysteries, and all sorts of chaotic occurrences I like the ending line, by the way. "Lisa’s Buick soon became one of thousands of vehicles driving along on the busy south Charlotte freeways." For some reason, it's the perfect way to end the chapter.
I'll be waiting for the next one. Peace out.
A/N: Starting this chapter I'm giving this fic a PG-13 rating for non-graphic violence (mostly gunplay and vehicle chases and crashes) and language.
Once again, I would like to thank Haruka of Hoenn for use of her character Sadie and her help with proofreading the chapter. However, depending on how active my beta reader is in the future, updates may take awhile from here on out :/
Fugitive Craig John Oliver, 57, is wanted in Virginia and Maryland for running a fraudulent home improvement operation. He is 6'2", 190 pounds, with blue eyes and balding gray hair. If you have seen him, contact law enforcement.
Now, onto the chapter!
LEAGUE INVESTIGATION UNIT CLANDESTINE HEADQUARTERS, JULY 7, 8:41 AM
Within the cold, steel walls of the command center, Lisa approached the office of her superior, the enigmatic ‘L’ who had ordered her to report. The young girl had obviously not had a chance to change or freshen up; her brown hair was disheveled, her dress was wrinkled, and there were numerous tears in her white pantyhose. But L seemed not to care about her appearance.
“I am truly sorry for calling you here, 00479, but we have quite a murder mystery on our hands.”
“Is it the Contest murder? Because my sister told about it to my mom, who mentioned it to me right before you called.”
“Yes, you are indeed correct.” L adjusted her thick rimmed glasses. “And because it’s a Contest-related crime, we will need someone who can infiltrate the event under the guise of a participant. And since your fellow agents are on another assignment, I need your assistance in this matter, 00479.”
Lisa raised her hand. “If I may… we’ve known each other since the early days of my Pokémon journey, and that was nearly three years ago. Behind closed doors, do you think we can use our real names with each other?”
“I suppose that is acceptable, Lisa.”
“Okay then, Commander Lorelei, what do we know about the case?”
“The victim was Bruce Fowler, head judge for Sinnoh’s Pokémon Contests. We don’t have a clear motive for the attack, and very little trace evidence was collected. His wife was out of town and should be arriving here soon for an interview. Also, we have a witness who will be assisting you in the investigation, and she will be arriving shortly as well. In the meantime, here is a case file I compiled for you to look over. Maybe you can spot something that we didn’t.”
As Lisa took a large manila envelope from Lorelei’s hand and began to open it, the commander continued, “I feel you would be ideally suited to this case, because, not only are you one of the most intelligent agents on our team, but your sense of fashion will actually be an asset instead of a liability in this case. Once you clean yourself up, of course.”
Lisa looked up from her papers and scowled, but Lorelei announced, “Okay, put those away from now, it looks like the victim’s wife has arrived. An older woman with graying blond hair approached the two agents and sat down next to Lisa. Immediately, she took a small object out of her black purse.
“About two weeks ago, my husband gave me this,” she said, handing the device to Lorelei. ‘He told me that if anything happened to him, that he wanted me to give this to the authorities. Oh, my apologies for not introducing myself first, but I needed to get this in your hands right from the start. My name is Tori Krause-Fowler. Pleased to meet you.”
“My name is Lorelei, Commanding Investigator for the Pokémon League Investigation Unit.”
“And my name is Lisa Northwood, Special Agent for the Investigation Unit. Thank you for providing this information to us, and I hope it can help find the perpetrator and get you some justice.”
“First question I have is regarding what you just gave us. Did you happen to see the contents of this flash drive before handing it over to us?”
“No,” the woman answered. “Bruce was adamant about not wanting me to get involved with whatever is on that drive. I have no idea what it is. But my husband was never one to keep secrets from me, so if he wanted to keep this from me, then I know it must be something serious.”
Lisa asked, “So, you don’t know who would want your husband dead?”
“Sorry, but I don’t. He was very liked by everyone in the family, and as far as I know, he didn’t have any issues with anyone at work.”
“So, he was not behaving differently besides giving you that flash drive?”
“Well, in the weeks before his death, I did notice he was up at night a lot, in front of his computer, going over papers, and punching numbers into his calculator.”
Lorelei adjusted her glasses. “I see. Do you know what he was working on?”
“Sorry, I really don’t have a clue, and I don’t think he even knew that I was watching him. I think he assumed that I was sleeping.”
FOWLER RESIDENCE, SOUTHWEST SIDE OF HEARTHOME CITY, 9:06 AM
“This is the place, right?”
“Well, this is the address we were given.”
A small black Toyota SUV pulled up in front of the white two-story ranch home that belonged to the late Contest judge. The upscale suburban subdivision was eerily quiet. Both front windows rolled down. Two figures in the vehicle, both wearing black ski masks, looked at each other.
“I don’t know why the boss needs us to do this. I mean, we already killed the guy.”
Stepping out of the truck, the other man told his partner, “You know the boss. Always meticulous. Never wants to leave any loose ends around.” The man opened the rear hatch and took out a metallic box with a red button atop it, along with a white sheet.
The man in the SUV removed his sunglasses and glanced around nervously. “You sure the cops ain’t been in the house yet?”
“There’s no police tape set up, so I assume they haven’t. Heh, their loss.”
The man walked up to the front door of the house and set the box down on the welcome mat. After pushing the button and draping the cloth over the device, he calmly made his way back to the vehicle.
“All right, in four minutes, that thing goes off. Long enough for us to get the hell outta here.” He climbed into the driver’s seat of the truck and drove off.
“Success! We’ll definitely get a nice fat bonus for this!”
His partner looked more worried. “Yeah, but I hope that’s it. I really want to get out of Dodge before the cops come after us.”
The driver sneered. “What are you worried about? I wore gloves. You stood lookout and nobody came out. How are they gonna trace this back to us?”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right…”
Laughing the man yelled, “Of course I am!”
LEAGUE INVESTIGATION UNIT CLANDESTINE HEADQUARTERS, 9:22 AM
“Thank you, ma’am,” Lorelei replied. “If we have any further questions, we’ll interview you again. For now, however, I want to put you up in protective custody in case the assailants decide to come after you as well.” The elder agent led the widow out of the room before returning to debrief with Lisa.
“Based on that interview, I honestly don’t think she had anything to do with her husband’s murder. But the fact that he was up working late at night leads me to believe he might have been investigating something, and someone felt the need to silence him. As for who or what, I’m not entirely sure at the moment. But whatever is on this flash drive may contain the answer. Now I’ll need you to go talk to E about the gadgets you’ll need for this mission. I need to get a few things taken care of.”
Without saying a word, the teen stood up and left Lorelei’s office and headed down the hall to the research and development wing. She was immediately greeted by E, who had one hand in the pocket of his purple slacks while he rubbed his chin with the other hand.
“Okay, 00479, before I assign you your gadgets, I’m going to ask you to please go easy on them this time. During your last mission, you destroyed a very expensive custom automobile…”
“Hey, I had no control over that! Those guys chased me through the streets of Saffron, firing automatic weapons and trying to ram me off the road! And I don’t know why you issued me a BMW! ‘Ultimate Driving Machine,’ my behind! The thing rode stiff, the seats were as hard as bricks, and I never could figure out the air conditioner controls!”
“Your car preferences aside, it’s time to receive your gadgets. Since you’re going to be possibly entering a Contest, I crafted this.” E motioned toward a dress hanging on a wall. It looked like a typical white Sunday dress, with lace trim and a blue and green floral print.
“Aww, it’s so cute! Thanks!”
“Oh, it’s more than just cute. Underneath that dress are three layers of Kevlar as well as a steel trauma plate over your vital organs, so it should stop most bullets short of automatic gunfire or a shotgun blast. Alongside it, I’ve created this.” He handed the girl a white parasol, folded up. “It’s custom-made to match your dress. If you open it up and press the black button on the handle, it emits a thick black smoke, perfect for a smokescreen.”
“Okay, what else will I need?”
“As usual, take the ‘Oddjob Special.’ I know you’ve been able to put it to good use into the past.” The scientist handed Lisa a hat identical to the one she typically wore – white with a purple ribbon trim and a wide, flat brim. “I swear, if there was ever a new use for a hat with an internal slicer ring, you’ve been the first to discover it.”
Lisa’s face turned slightly red as she let out a laugh. “Yeah, I definitely make good use of that hat! Anything else?”
“Just the standard watch with laser cutter and grappling hook. And as usual, take your .44. You never know when you may need it. There’s a concealed holster on that dress. And as for transportation, just get a rental for now. If you need something with more firepower, I suppose I could get you something, as long as you don’t destroy it.”
“Thank you, E. I need to report back to L so we can begin the investigation.”
Lisa made her way back to Lorelei’s office. There, the commander was waiting with news.
“Lisa, I was planning on dispatching you to Mr. Fowler’s home to collect evidence, but there’s been a complication. While you were being issued your gadgets, I received word that the Fowler residence caught fire. So far, it looks like arson, so for now I think we’ll review the information that Mrs. Fowler gave us. Obviously, someone’s trying to cover something up, and the answer might be on this disk.”
The only file that appeared on the flash drive was a video file. As the agents began to play the video, Bruce Fowler appeared.
“Hello. If you are viewing this, then it is likely too late to save me. You will find no evidence at my residence, as I fear there will be some cover-up. Instead, go to the First Bank of Sinnoh on Fourth Street and open safe deposit box E436 with the combination 29-15-7. You will find further instructions there. And please protect my wife. I do not want to jeopardize her life because of the situation that I have uncovered.”
“Well,” Lorelei said, “it looks like we have our first lead. Lisa, I want to send you out immediately…”
A voice came in over a speaker in the office. “Commander L, the girl who witnessed the murder is here to see you.”
“Hold that thought, Lisa. I think it would be best for you to meet our prime witness to the actual crime first. She has experience in Contests, so she may hold some helpful information.”
A black haired girl entered wearing a red T-shirt and beige shorts. “Wait… Lisa?”
Lisa spun around in surprise. “Wait… Sadie? I haven’t seen you in forever!”
“I know, right?” The two girls ran toward each other and began to hug.
Growing frustrated, Lorelei loudly cleared her throat. “Ladies, there will be plenty of time for happy reunions after the mission. We have a very grave situation on our hands that requires our immediate attention.”
“Well, seeing as how you two already know each other, we’ll skip introductions. Miss Catherwood was the only person in attendance at that Contest who came forward and mentioned she saw the killer, even if only in passing and heavily concealed. As she has told me that she has significant Contest experience, I believe she will be an asset in explaining the inner workings of the Contest, which is why I have asked her to accompany you. Now, Lisa, I have spoken with Contest officials, and they have credited you with five Ribbons, allowing you into the Grand Festival for the sole purpose of investigating. You obviously will not be allowed to win, but you’ll need to be credited with five to get in.”
Sadie replied, “And I’ve already earned five, so I’m good. And if Lisa and I end up facing each other, I’ll make sure she doesn’t win, like last time!” She giggled, followed by Lisa. Lorelei’s face remained stoic, however.
“I’ll let Lisa change and find a rental car and a place to stay, then I want you to head to that bank and check that safe deposit box. You are dismissed. Please find as much information as you can.”
HEARTHOME RENT-A-CAR, 10:35 AM
After Lisa and Sadie got off a city bus, they entered the dusty office of the rental car facility, the only one that the League had a contract with. The place looked plain, with nary a picture in sight. Dirty floor-to-ceiling windows allowed a view of the numerous cars in the lot. Lisa walked up to the splintered wood desk. Sadie took a look at the grimy plastic chairs in the waiting area and decided to stand instead.
“Hello, my name is Lisa Northwood with the Pokémon League. I believe that a superior has already arranged for a rental car for me?”
The disheveled, balding man at the counter told her, “Ah yes. Please, follow me.”
Outside, the attendant showed Lisa a light green hatchback. “You look like a Toyota Prius type of person.”
Lisa scowled. “This tiny piece of junk? I don’t want to drive a tiny deathtrap on wheels! Doesn’t this lot have any nice LeSabres or Roadmasters?” Biting her lower lip, the girl said, as politely as she could, “Sorry, I really don’t think this car suits me. What else do you have?”
The man frowned. “Okay, miss, we do have a nice Kia Rondo over here…”
“This one’s even worse! How can they even make cars this small?” Sighing, she told him, “Ugh… got anything bigger?”
Muttering, “Fussy, aren’t we?” the man led Lisa over to another part of the lot. “Well, we do have a Mercedes S600…”
“Nope, I’ve found my car!” Lisa called out, pointing to a burgundy Buick LaCrosse sedan.
“Finally…” the balding rental car staffer said under his breath. “Well, I’ll need you to come back to the office so I can get you the keys, and there are some forms you have to fill out.”
Sadie waited at the car while Lisa and the man headed back to the office. The girl returned by herself a few minutes later and unlocked the doors.
Settling in, Lisa commented, “Two things I don’t like about these leather seats is that they’re… OW! hot and… Eew! sticky!”
Sadie laughed as she got into the passenger’s seat. Lisa started the engine and began to take off.
“But at least it’s the top trim CXS… We might need its extra horsepower in case we get in hot water.”
Sadie gave Lisa a worried glance. “I don’t like the sound of that…”
Her partner smiled. “Don’t worry, I have extensive driving training under my belt. You should be safe.”
“It’s that ‘should’ that worries me…”
Lisa giggled. “Well, let’s find a good hotel here for our base of operations. There should be a Quality Inn somewhere…”
Turning the radio, loud heavy metal music began blasting through the speakers.
“Ugh,” Lisa scoffed as she searched for another radio station. After some searching she found a suitable radio station and started singing along.
“My mind is spinning 'round and 'round
There's something special I have found
Every time I close my eyes
All I can think of is you and me
Oh baby, can't you see”
Sadie stared at her companion’s impromptu singing session and cracked a smile. “Typical Lisa…”
QUALITY INN AND SUITES, HEARTHOME CITY, 10:57 AM
Lisa’s preferred hotel was a four-story structure of natural brick. Inside room 215, two queen beds with gold duvet covers were situated across from a large cherry credenza, matching desk, and wall-mounted flat-panel television. A small silver-colored microwave and refrigerator rested in a corner near an overstuffed easy chair of navy blue fabric. The hunter green carpet looked brand new.
Lisa was in the bathroom getting changed and freshened up while Sadie relaxed on one of the beds. Soon enough, Lisa emerged, wearing a red blouse, purple frilly skirt, and black leggings. “Alright, ready to go?”
“Yup! Cute outfit, Lisa. I hardly ever saw you wear anything besides your blue dress.”
“Thanks! Well, that outfit is a classic. Unfortunately, it’s also dirty right now. So I kinda have to improvise here!” Lisa let out a laugh. “Alright, let’s see what clues we can find!”
The girls headed out a side exit of the hotel and to their rented Buick LaCrosse in the parking lot. Using a keychain remote, Lisa disarmed the security alarm and unlocked the doors. Soon the girls were on the road again, driving to the bank across town. Lisa once again had the radio playing.
Lisa spoke up over the stereo, “You know, it’s quite ironic. Last night my parents were talking to me about getting this same car for their next new vehicle. I actually like how it rides and handles.”
“Yeah, this is a pretty nice car.”
Lisa’s cell phone began ringing. She flipped off the radio and picked up the phone. “Yes?”
“00479, it’s L. Slight change of plans. Continue to the bank, but when you get there, rendezvous with local detective Ashley Smith. She’ll assist you from here on out.”
“Affirmative. Anything else?”
“No, 00479, that is all.”
“Who was that?” asked Sadie.
“The boss. Looks like we’ll be teaming up with a local police detective for the rest of this case. Well, we could use all the help we can get. I don’t like this case. There are two few clues and I hope this doesn’t turn into a wild goose chase.”
Sadie sighed. “You know, Lisa, I was gonna tell your boss there that I wanted no part of the investigation. But when I learned it was you who was going to be involved, somehow I felt better about it… like I would be safer with you helping out.”
Lisa smiled as her cheeks turned red. “Thanks for that, but remember… you haven’t seen my driving yet!”
Both of the girls laughed as the car continued snaking its way through Hearthome’s busy downtown area, bustling with activity as usual.
LEAGUE INVESTIGATION UNIT CLANDESTINE HEADQUARTERS, 11:22 AM
“Oh, my God, how could they? How could they set fire to the house?”
As one of her agents tried to comfort a hysterical Mrs. Fowler, Lorelei spoke with another agent regarding the fire.
“Among the debris, we did find some wires, ball bearings, nails, some pipe fragments, and remnants of the bomb container, which appears to have been fashioned from cheap sheet metal. We’re having our forensic experts try to reconstruct the bomb, but it looks like a professional job. This might have been an arson-for-hire.”
Lorelei asked, “Did any of the neighbors see anything?”
“Only person was an older gentleman who was doing yard work who was about three houses away. Everyone else we spoke to was inside their homes until the blast occurred. The witness reported a black Toyota RAV4 circling the neighborhood. He only caught the last three digits of the license plate, ‘43T’.”
Lorelei instructed, “Put a region-wide APB out for that truck immediately. I have a feeling they’ve left Hearthome. Focus on Routes 208, 209, and 212 – the routes out of Hearthome. I don’t think they would have made it to any of the surrounding towns yet.”
“Yes, ma’am, we will contact the Sinnoh Highway Patrol immediately.”
Lorelei said, mostly to herself, “If we can catch these guys, it might be the break we need in the case. I hope Sadie, Lisa, and Ashley find out something new as well.”
The League’s resident scientist, E, walked into Lorelei’s office. Adjusting his tinted shades, he told Lorelei, “Commander L, I’ve been doing a bit of thinking about this case, and I have a theory I’d like to throw at you.”
“Very well. At this point, I’m welcome to any speculation.”
Yay, chapter two. Though I'd have liked to see a better Sadie entrance:
Other than that, the chapter was great. Leave it to Lisa to choose a Buick over anything else Nice addition of the bad guys, definitely gives the entire thing more suspense. I'll be looking for more, because I just love mysteries like this. See you next week
Expect to see more of these guys next chapter, which will probably be in less than a week now... because I'll be away at Anime Weekend Atlanta next week
And who doesn't like a good murder mystery - especially when cute girls are on the case xD
Thanks for the comments!
A/N: This chapter is rated a PG-13 for gunplay and vehicle chases and crashes and language.
Once again, I would like to thank Haruka of Hoenn for use of her character Sadie and her help with proofreading the chapter. Next chapter might be delayed because of an upcoming anime convention
Fugitive Leonard Weston Ramey, 64, is wanted for running a Ponzi scheme under the guise of a stock market investment firm to scam his victims. He is approximately 5'11" to 6'2" and weighs between 190 and 220 pounds, with graying hair and brown eyes. He is considered armed and dangerous. If you have seen him, contact law enforcement agents immediately.
Now, onto the chapter!
FIRST BANK OF SINNOH, 4TH STREET, HEARTHOME CITY, 12:05 PM
Lisa and Sadie pulled up to the large box of brick and glass that was the bank that Bruce Fowler had indicated on his video. The plain design didn’t leave much to the imagination and it was out of place among Hearthome’s ornately-styled buildings and landmarks. Nevertheless, it was quite busy, with well-dressed people filing in and out of its automatic sliding doors. Lisa and Sadie followed an older gentleman into the bank. There, a woman with blond hair and wearing a charcoal-colored suit waved to them.
“Ah, Sadie, I see you’ve arrived. And you must be the agent that the League sent, right?”
“Yes. Special Agent 00479. Northwood. Lisa Northwood. Pleased to make your acquaintance.” Lisa shook the woman’s hand.
“Same. My name is Ashley Smith, lead detective for the Hearthome City Police Department. Now, did your commander say she uncovered a clue?”
“Yes.” Lisa took out a piece of paper and unfolded it. “We need to get into safe deposit box E436. Supposedly, our victim left a clue there.”
The three made their way to the bank office. Lisa told the manager, “We need access to the safe deposit boxes.”
The man raised an eyebrow. “Have you rented a box here?”
“No, but we’re with the Pokémon League and Hearthome Police Department. The box in question is registered to the victim of the recent Hearthome Contest murder, and we need to investigate it.” Both Lisa and Ashley presented their badges.
“Okay, ladies, come with me, then.” The bank manager led the trio into one of the vaults, where row upon row of deposit boxes were lined up on a wall.
After a few minutes of searching, Sadie called out, “Found his box!” Lisa and Ashley quickly rushed over. After opening the box, Lisa removed the piece of paper inside. On it was printed a name.
“Morgan Geoff Winston”
Lisa sulked. “All we have is a piece of paper that says ‘Morgan Geoff Winston.’ I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be a street or address or contact person or what…”
Ashley glanced over at Lisa. “Wait, why don’t you try flipping it over? Anything on the back?”
“Just the letters ‘H.S.S.’ In really faded letters, almost like he was trying to erase it. Man, this is cryptic!”
“Hold on, we better get back to the car before we try to guess what it all means.”
The trio left the bank and drove to a nearby parking lot, where Lisa made a phone call to Lorelei. “Hey, L, it’s 00479. Well, I guess we got… something… from that safety deposit box.”
“What was it?”
“Another piece of paper. One side reads, ‘Morgan Geoff Winston’, and on the other there’s ‘H.S.S.’ Do you have any idea what any of that could mean?”
“No, but I’ll look into it. In the meantime, why don’t you return to your hotel or wherever you’re staying. Our leads have completely dried up. As soon as I uncover anything, I’ll send you back out.”
“Affirmative. We will be on standby.”
Sadie asked, “If we’re going to be at your hotel room for awhile, do you think we can swing by the Pokémon Center? I’ve got a room there and I’d like to get my stuff.”
“Sure, we’ll just enter it into the GPS here, and… Got it! Alright, let’s head out.”
As the car took off, Lisa said, “This name, Morgan Geoff Winston… there’s only one connection I can make with it, and I don’t think it’ll help the case.”
“Well, let’s hear it anyway,” said Ashley.
“In the early 1990’s, the top tier of NASCAR auto racing was known as the Winston Cup Series. Two prominent drivers during that time were named Geoff Bodine and Morgan Shepherd. The interesting thing is, at different times, both of them raced for a team called Bud Moore Engineering, driving the #15 car sponsored by Ford Motorcraft Parts.”
“Well, I think you were right. That doesn’t really help us out too much.”
“Yeah, you’re right.” Lisa rubbed the back of her head. “At least you learned some useless NASCAR trivia!”
Once again, Lisa reached for the radio, and began singing along to a late eighties song.
“I’m so glad I found you
I’m not gonna lose you
Whatever it takes, I will stay here with you…”
Ashley whispered to Sadie, “Does she always do this?”
“Yeah, you get used to it, Lisa might be really smart, but she can still be a little kid sometimes!”
ROUTE 209, NEAR LOST TOWER, 12:55 PM
A Highway Patrol officer in an unmarked Ford Crown Victoria was following a black Toyota RAV4 on a rural stretch of highway. Picking up his radio, the trooper behind the wheel radioed in to dispatch.
“Regarding the APB issued by the League Investigation Unit, I have the suspect vehicle in my sights. Vehicle appears to be a 2004 Toyota RAV4, color is black, Sinnoh license number JB7-43T. Requesting backup.”
“Roger. Sending backup. Do not attempt to stop the vehicle until backup arrives. Suspects may be armed. Over.”
The officer continued to follow the SUV as the road passed through tiny Solaceon Town. The small town was surprisingly busy, with people milling about the local historical ruins. The local daycare was also buzzing with activity, as various Pokémon being kept there were running about and playing. The sky directly above town was clear, but thick gray clouds were encroaching from the northeast.
The lone officer was careful not to do anything that would tip off the driver, while still keeping the target vehicle in his sights. His backup had not yet caught up with him and he was not about to endanger the lives of the local citizens. The bustling town of Solaceon soon gave way to the quiet green fields of Route 210, where the road widened to four lanes and farms and unusually tall grass flanked the blacktop.
Finally, the undercover officer noticed two marked Highway Patrol units in his rear view mirror as they moved into position. “Backup has arrived. Initiating traffic stop.” The officer in the unmarked unit activated his car’s lights and sirens, as did the marked cars behind him.
In the Toyota, the driver was slamming his hands on the steering wheel. “Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!”
“What do we do now?”
Stomping on the accelerator, the driver yelled, “I am not going back to prison! You! Grab a gun and kill those sons of bitches!”
The lead officer began to accelerate to keep pace with the truck in front of him. “Suspect is refusing to stop, speeds now up to ninety miles per hour. Requesting additional backup.”
Suddenly, the officer noticed the rear window of the SUV shatter. The barrel of a gun appeared, followed by shotgun blasts. The trooper swerved to the right to avoid the gunfire.
“Shots fired! Shots fired! All units, please be aware. Suspects are armed and opening fire.”
As the assailant continued to fire at his pursuers, the officer in the lead unit grabbed his .357 Magnum and began to return fire. The first shot dislodged the spare tire from the rear door, forcing all pursuing officers to take evasive action. Several more shots shattered the taillight and left bullet holes in the rear, but the truck’s constant swerving kept the officer from getting a clean shot at either the suspect or the tires of the vehicle. After nearly a half minute of gunfire, the suspect unexpectedly stopped firing and the gun barrel retreated into the shattered window. Trading his own weapon for a bullhorn, the officer yelled, “You cannot escape. Pull the vehicle over, now!” But the two men did not heed the warning.
Inside the truck, the driver yelled to his accomplice, “Why the hell did you stop shooting?”
“Damn thing ran out of bullets!”
“Didn’t you think to bring more ammo?”
“No, because we were just supposed to bomb a house, not shoot anybody!”
The driver said nothing in response, but only let out a frustrated groan.
The pursuit passed through more farmland and tall grass, and approached a clearing where the road widened out. Up ahead was a fork in the road. Large signs overhead indicated that the left fork continued north on 210, with a warning: DENSE FOG AHEAD. The right fork led to Route 215 eastbound.
As the vehicles approached the split, the Toyota was in the far left lane.
“Approaching the 210/215 split. Suspect appears to be continuing north on 210.”
Suddenly, the Toyota cut across three lanes and shot onto the exit ramp. The officer swerved right to keep pace. Two wheels skirted onto the grass and his car missed the large green “EXIT TO ROUTE 215” exit gore sign by inches.
“Correction, suspect is now eastbound on Route 215. Any officers from Veilstone with stop sticks?”
“We have officers set up with some stop sticks about two miles ahead of your location.”
As the chase proceeded down Route 215, with its odd grassy plateaus scattered across the landscape, the gray clouds began to thicken and rainfall began to intensify, beating down on everything below. Fearing for their own safety, the officers slowed down. But their suspects did not, and their SUV stretched out the interval between them and their pursuers.
“Hah, looks like the cops are giving up! See, I told you we’d get out of this!”
“No, no, no!” The passenger pointed at the road ahead. Several Veilstone City police cars were partially blocking the road and a black strip was laid out over the entire width of the roadway.
“Dammit! Looks like we’re going off-road! There is no way I’m spending the rest of my life with my ass in jail!”
The man jerked the steering wheel hard to the left, but the truck began to skid out on the rain-slicked blacktop. It swerved hard to the left and hit the embankment, sending the vehicle airborne as it flipped over three times. Large pieces of glass, metal, and plastic, as well as a tire, were sent flying off the wreck as debris scattered all over the road. The officers at the roadblock had to duck into their cars to avoid the shrapnel, and several pieces did some damage to the police units.
The pursuing officer saw the crash unfold in front of him. He warned the officers behind him, “We have a ten-fifty. Repeat, code ten-fifty. Suspect vehicle is overturned approximately two miles east of the 210/215 split.” He and the other pursuing troopers hit the brakes, stopping well short of the carnage. All the officers emerged from their vehicles and began to approach the destroyed vehicle, guns drawn. They were not sure if the suspects were injured or if they were lying in wait, ready to open fire. And they were not going to take any chances.
“Stay on the ground! Do not move!”
Not following orders, the two men began running from the scene.
“Go, Dusknoir! Mean Look!”
A dark gray Pokémon emerged from an officer’s Pokéball. The floating creature raised both arms and emitted a series of black pulses from its single glowing red eye, aimed at the fleeing men. The dark energy quickly closed in on the men before enveloping them. Once the big ghost’s attack connected, both suspects stopped right in their tracks.
“Uh, so what do we do now?”
“Idiot! That thing’s Mean Look will go away as soon as we defeat it! Go, Houndoom!”
The man who was driving the truck took command, sending out a pitch-black canine Pokémon with sinister white curved ears. The creature whipped its pointed tail furiously as it opened its orange maw, unleashing an intense stream of orange fire. Dusknoir moved its hefty body to the left to avoid the onslaught.
The officer called out, “Excellent work! Now use Confuse Ray!”
The yellow zigzag pattern on Dusknoir’s torso began to separate into two as it opened up its body like a jaw. From the dark abyss within, it fired a small black sphere that encircled Houndoom’s head. The dog’s angry snarls turned into confused whimpers as it looked around apprehensively.
“What are you doing, you dumb mutt? Crunch!”
The Fire-type opened its jaws wide and rushed in at its ghostly opponent, but it stopped in its tracks and snapped its jaws shut a few feet short of its target. This gave Dusknoir ample time to slug Houndoom in the face with a fist crackling with yellow sparks.
“Dammit! Do something, you incompetent piece of crap!”
Houndoom reacted by launching a searing Flamethrower from its mouth. But its aim was off by quite a bit, as it only succeeded in setting the wrecked Toyota on fire.
One of the officers radioed in to dispatch, “Requesting fire and rescue to the site of the ten-fifty suspect vehicle crash on Route 215. The vehicle has caught fire as a result of a Pokémon battle with the perpetrators.” Meanwhile, the battle continued to rage on.
The suspect cackled viciously. “Nail it with Dark Pulse! This will finish you!”
“Use Focus Blast!”
Meanwhile, Dusknoir got blasted with rippling black pulses and was knocked backward, as Houndoom had shaken off its confusion. The large Ghost-type countered by forming a blue sphere of energy in its hands before heaving it at its opponent. The powerful Focus Blast knocked the black canine Pokémon off of its thin legs, and the Pokémon was visibly struggling to get back up.
Seizing the opportunity, the officer called out, “Earthquake for the finisher!”
Somehow, while levitating, Dusknoir triggered a massive tremor that knocked its shaking and wobbling opponent down once again. Officers and suspects alike both felt the rumbling quake as well, and braced themselves against trees, their cars, or each other to remain standing.
The man coughed and began to stomp his foot on the grass. “You stupid… get up, you! Hey, what the hell!”
During the commotion of the battle, a few officers had managed to sneak behind the two men, and wasted no time slipping the handcuffs on. An officer instructed the driver to recall his fallen Houndoom. Others were trying in vain to contain the car fire with their small extinguishers. Meanwhile, another officer radioed in to dispatch.
“Code Four, both suspects in custody.”
As a bright red fire truck arrived on the scene to deal with the flaming Toyota, the two men were led to a waiting cruiser. “You have the right to remain silent…”
“Yeah, yeah, we know the drill!” snapped the ‘leader’ of the two suspects. “Besides, we ain’t got nothing to say to the likes of you! So don’t waste your damn time!”
“Fine then,” said the officer. “Then get your ass in that car.”
The belligerent thug took a moment to spit in the officer’s face before he was shoved into the back of the cruiser.
The officer who was spit upon wiped the mess from his face. “I’m charging that one with assault on a police officer.”
HEARTHOME CITY POKÉMON CENTER, 2:03 PM
As Lisa pulled up to the Pokémon Center, she noticed that workers were replacing the familiar red roof with a light brown one. “Wait, what’s going on?”
Sadie explained, “I heard about this on the news. The Red Roof Inn hotel chain is expanding into the region, and apparently they’ve won some sort of court order to force the Pokémon Centers to change roof colors, to avoid confusion. I really don’t understand the reasoning behind it, but...”
“Weird copyright regulations. It happens all the time. Best Western got a couple chains to change their name because of the word ‘Best,’ and McDonald’s sued when Quality Inn wanted to call their Sleep Inn brand, ‘McSleep’. Just something that goes on in the world of business, I suppose.”
“Well, anyway,” Ashley said, “why don’t you get your stuff while we wait in the car.”
Sadie nodded before opening her door. After she left the car, Ashley turned to Lisa.
“So, how long have you been with the League?”
“About, um. a year and a half ago. I’m kinda juggling college and League investigations, but I was on a nice vacation before coming here.”
“Yeah, sorry about that.”
“Nah, it’s nothing you, or the League, had any control over. We’ve always got to be on call in case something comes up. Even if I did have to catch an express flight from America to get here.”
“Really? That’s quite far away!” Ashley’s eyes had grown quite wide. “What were you doing over there?”
Lisa chuckled. “Well, I was actually born in South Carolina, and I was there to see some family members and just relax and unwind. I wouldn’t even have discovered Pokémon if not for my parents.”
“Well, they’re the chief officers of Northwood Industries International, and for a year they had business in another region, so we were living there for awhile. During that time, my dad and mom forced me to start training Pokémon, and I went through the whole ‘Pokémon journey to collect all the badges’ thing.
“I just so happened to take down a major criminal organization while journeying, and that attracted the attention of the League. After the big championship tournament, I took a year off, went back to school, but somehow the allure of Pokémon drew me back, and so here I am!”
“That sounds like quite an interesting story, Lisa. And I didn’t know that your parents were head of the Northwood company. They’ve even got operations in Sinnoh now. As for me, I was born and raised right here in Hearthome. Both my parents were in law enforcement, and I just followed their lead. But I always did find crime and detective work interesting, even as a girl.”
“Strangely enough, so did I. Even though I focused most of my time on math and science in school, in the back of my mind, I’ve been fascinated with how criminal investigations work. I read quite a bit about the subject when I was younger, and I think it’s helping me in my current line of work.”
“Well, this is certainly a good challenging case for you to tackle.” Ashley glanced out the window. “Oh, wait, it looks like Sadie’s back. Can you pop the trunk for her?”
“Sure thing.” Lisa pressed the trunk release button on the keychain remote.
Once Sadie loaded her suitcase into the car, she returned to the passenger seat.
“Yeah, let’s get back to the hotel and wait for my boss to call. Maybe we can brainstorm what these clues could mean.”
As the girls headed back to the hotel, thick gray clouds could be seen in the eastern sky.
Really interesting about the 'Morgal Geoff Winston' and the H.S.S. stuff... And it would make sense for cops in the pokemon world to actually use pokemon to help them catch criminals. And it's pretty nasty that the criminal spat in the officer's face :/
The only thing I'd suggest is to bypass the swear filter so those little asterisks don't show up in the dialogue. It's a bit distracting, and sometimes (yes) I have trouble figuring out what the character is trying to say...xD
And ooooh, eerie ending with the storm. I love storms, especially in stories. They add a really nice feel to everything, and may even stall events to make the story seem epic and slow-paced >:0
So, great job! I'll be waiting for the next one. dundunduun.
Spitting is quite nasty, but then again so was the guy who did it :/
Next chapter's coming sometime... Anime Weekend Atlanta might put a hold on it, depending on how much I end up doing there and how wiped out I am when I come back...
A/N: This chapter is rated a PG-13 for language.
Once again, I would like to thank Haruka of Hoenn for use of her character Sadie and her help with proofreading the chapter.
Fugitive Darin Vance DeVoe, 47, is wanted for securities fraud stemming from a fake investment firm he operated out of Colorado. He is 6'5", 240 pounds, with greasy blond hair and blue eyes. He is considered armed and dangerous. If you know of his whereabouts, contact law enforcement agents immediately.
QUALITY INN AND SUITES, HEARTHOME CITY, ROOM 215, 3:55 PM
Inside the hotel room, Lisa and Sadie were seated on each of the room’s two queen beds while Ashley sat in the room’s office chair. Ashley brushed some of her long blond hair away from her face as she thumbed through the local white pages. Her younger colleague had the yellow pages and Sadie looked on, with a pen and the hotel stationery in her hands, ready to take notes.
“Well,” the older detective said, setting down her phone book, “I can’t find a Morgan Winston, Geoff Winston, Winston Morgan, or anybody with that combination of names listed in the phone book. Any luck on your end, Lisa?”
“A little. I’ve found a few businesses in Hearthome with the initials ‘H.S.S.’ Ready, Sadie? I need you to make a note of each of these.”
The black-haired girl nodded. “But I don’t think there’s enough room on this for both names and addresses.”
“Well, I’ll just read off the names then, and hopefully the GPS in the car will recognize them. Okay, we have Hardware Specialists of Sinnoh; Hearthome Software Store, Hunter’s Self Storage; Hitmonlee Sparring Studio, Harper’s Subaru Superstore…”
Lisa cringed at the name of the next business. “…Happy Sunshine Strip Club… ugh…”
Regaining her composure, she continued to read off names. “Hollins’ Surf ‘N’ Spa; Holly’s Sweets Store; Holmes, Salisbury, and Sanchez, Attorneys At Law; and finally, Harold Sorensen’s Subs. Before we head out, I want to make a call.”
The brown-haired teenager slid across the bed to the hotel room’s phone and began dialing.
“Hello, you have reached the law offices of Holmes, Salisbury, and Sanchez,” came the voice of a young female receptionist.
“Hello, I have some legal and financial issues to be cleared up regarding a client of yours, Bruce Leroy Fowler.”
“Well, ma’am, I regret to inform you that Mr. Fowler has recently been the victim of a murder. And I’ll check our database, but I don’t think he was ever a client of our firm.”
After a few moments, the secretary came back on the line. “No, ma’am, I just went through our system and we do not have Mr. Fowler registered with us.”
“That’s weird, because I was told that it was your firm that represented him. Guess I got some bad information. Sorry for taking your time. Have a nice day.”
“No problem, ma’am. You have a good day, too.”
After hanging up the phone, Lisa said, “I’m putting that law office at the bottom of the list of places to check. I don’t think the lady I spoke with was lying or trying to cover anything up.”
“Well, where should we check first?” asked Sadie.
“Remember back at headquarters that they had said that the victim’s computer was missing from his house – during the initial search, before the arson. I want to check out that software store first, followed by that self storage place. Let me make a call to my supervisor, then we’ll be heading out.”
This time, Lisa made her call using her own cell phone. “L, it’s 00479. We’ve debriefed at the hotel and gone over a few things. Right now we want to investigate a few leads to see if they pan out.”
“All right. I haven’t got any headway on deciphering that clue, and I probably won’t get to it for awhile. We’ve taken the suspected arsonists into custody and I want to question them personally.”
“Understood. We will be heading out now.”
Clicking her phone shut, Lisa said to her companions, “Let’s hit the road again.”
LEAGUE INVESTIGATION UNIT CLANDESTINE HEADQUARTERS, 4:26 PM
“Listen, we’re trying to cut you a deal here. Tell me who gave out the order to set that house on fire, and we might be willing to negotiate with you for a lesser sentence.” Lorelei slammed her hand down on the table in an interrogation room. Opposite her sat one of the arrested men, the de-facto leader of the pair, with an angry, defiant look on his face. Behind her stood two officers who watched over the proceedings.
“You know what, I ain’t saying shit. You can waste your entire damn day here and I won’t say a word to you about it, bitch. So stop wasting your time and my time and get the hell out of my sight.”
“Look. You’re only hurting yourself by being defiant. Given your situation, the best thing you can do right now is to cooperate with us and tell me who else was involved in this arson. I’m sure you are well aware that the owner of the house that you torched was the victim of a murder. Now, unless you want to be implicated on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, you would be well advised to tell us everything you know. Now, are you going to cooperate with our investigation?”
“Hell, no! I’m through talking to you until I speak with my attorney.”
Lorelei sighed. “Fine, if you want to do things the hard way… Gentlemen, please escort this young man back to the jail. I suppose we’re done here.” The two officers came forward and led the suspect out of the room.
“I hope they’re having better luck with the other guy…”
In the next room over, Agent E was interviewing the other man. Unlike his partner, this man appeared exhausted and flustered. His head was resting on the table as sweat trickled down his forehead.
“Are you sure you don’t know who set you two up to commit this arson?”
The man let out a deep sigh, Clutching his damp forehead, he answered, “I told you, I don’t. John’s the one who always went in to talk with them. He always made me wait out in the car or at the motel while he met with them. If I knew anything, I’d tell you. I know the guy whose house we set on fire was killed.”
“Then you are aware that you could be facing murder conspiracy charges. If you know anything, anything at all, you need to tell us.”
“Okay, look. I don’t know who hired us to do the arson. As I said, John was the one who made all the deals. But I don’t know if this helps, but one of our acquaintances said he had a job in Hearthome the day before the judge guy was killed. I don’t know if he was involved, but I can give you his name: Tim Redmond.”
“Do you know what kinds of firearms Mr. Redmond owned?”
“I know he liked automatic assault rifles. He has a couple AK-47’s as well as an AR-15, I think.”
Agent E began rubbing his chin, deep in thought. After a minute, he told the man, “I believe that’s all the questions we have right now. If we need to ask you any further questions, we’ll contact you. Understood?”
As the suspect was led out of the room, Lorelei entered to ask E about the interview.
“Well, we don’t have a name for the leader, but we have a potential name for the trigger man: Tim Redmond. I believe we need to run a background check on this guy and locate him. The guy I interviewed even told me that Mr. Redmond owned the same type of gun used in the murder – an AR-15.”
“Excellent,” replied Lorelei. “If this Tim Redmond lead pans out, we might finally be able to move ahead in this investigation.”
HEARTHOME SOFTWARE STORE, 6:53 PM
The small store was located in the middle of a strip mall, sandwiched between a Target and a Harris Teeter grocery store. The exterior façade of brick and white stucco looked modern, with two large windows flanking a pair of entrance doors. A banner over the entrance read, “COMPUTER REPAIRS HERE! Lowest Prices in Town!” A neon sign in the right window read “OPEN” in bright red letters.
Ashley whispered, “If this place does computer repairs, there is a chance that the missing PC from his house might be here.”
As it was getting late in the afternoon, there were no customers in the store. The three young ladies waked in and approached the clerk.
“Hello, we’re preparing to close,” said the young man behind the counter. “Perhaps if you come back tomorrow…”
“My name is Northwood. Lisa Northwood,” the teen replied, showing the man her badge. “Special Agent for the Pokémon League Investigation Unit. I’m sorry for coming in so close to closing time, but I need to ask you a couple questions. You are aware of the murder of Bruce Fowler, correct?”
The clerk nodded. “Of course, it’s the talk of the town.”
“Well, police conducted a quick search of his house before arsonists struck, and they noted that his computer was missing. We’ve received a lead that a business with the initials H.S.S. might hold some clues, perhaps the missing computer. So I want to ask you something.”
Lisa pulled out a photo of Bruce Fowler and his family and showed it to the man. “Do you recall anyone resembling any of these persons dropping off a PC here? No monitor, no peripherals, just the CPU box?”
“No, they don’t look familiar to me.”
“Can you check your records and see if anyone from the Fowler family is in your database? Also check for the name “Morgan Geoff Winston,” which is a possible name he might have used.”
After doing a quick check on his computer, the man shook his head. “Sorry, we don’t have any record of a Fowler or a Morgan Winston or a Geoff Winston in our system.”
“Well, thank you for your time. It was most appreciated. Have a nice day.”
As soon as the trio had gotten back in their car, Lisa’s cell phone began ringing.
“00479, it’s L. Any news?”
“Our first lead was a bust and I’m too tired to do any more business-hopping today. Would it be acceptable if we returned to the hotel and continued the investigation tomorrow?”
“I was just about to advise you to do exactly that. As for the interrogation… remember that Fred guy from two and a half years ago?”
Lisa cracked a smile. “Yeah, I remember. Crazy person he was.”
“Interviewing this guy was a lot like my interview with Fred, except with less barking and howling. But E interviewed his partner and got a possible name for the gunman: Tim Redmond.”
Lisa began to scratch her chin. “Tim Redmond… Remember that mission that took place in May of last year? When 00158, 00236 and myself were sent to Hoenn to stop that Team Magma uprising? I seem to recall that Tim Redmond was the name of one of the grunts involved in that incident. Check the records from that incident, they may yield some clues.”
“Thank you, Lisa. You are dismissed.”
Turning to her companions, Lisa said, “I’m going to drive back to the hotel, but first I want to cruise by that self storage place to see what it looks like. It could be hard now that it’s after dusk.”
The Buick’s automatic headlights switched on as the car drove out of the strip mall. The streetlights flanking the city streets were turning on as the sky overhead was awash in hues of orange, red, and violet. Neon lights advertising businesses were also illuminated, basking the city in artificial light as the natural light from the day continued to fade. The streets themselves were filled with evening traffic, creating rows upon rows of slow-moving white and red lights in front of the girls’ car.
As she drove out to the location, Lisa was observing the neighborhood, taking a mental snapshot of the surrounding area, despite the reduced visibility. Approaching the address of Hunter’s Self Storage, the three girls could barely make out anything in the approaching twilight.
“Well ladies, here’s where we’ll be headed first thing in the morning.”
Ashley asked, “Could you drop me off by the bank we were at earlier today? My car’s been parked there all day. I’ll head home and meet you at nine in the morning tomorrow. Is that okay?”
“Sure thing.” A cell phone began ringing. This time it was Sadie’s.
“Hold on, I got a text message here… What? No way!”
“What is it?”
With a panicked look, Sadie shouted, “I just got a text from the Contest Commission. Apparently they’re bumping up the time of the Grand Festival to the day after tomorrow! And I’m still involved in this investigation! How am I ever gonna prepare in time?”
Lisa, meanwhile, was deep in thought. “Why would they suddenly move the date of the Contest so close?”
QUALITY INN AND SUITES, HEARTHOME CITY, ROOM 215, 9:43 PM
Inside the hotel room, the thick velvet curtains were pulled over the windows. Sadie was frantically going through her suitcase. “Man, what should I wear to the Contest? I can’t believe they moved it so close!”
“Um, Sadie?” Lisa was holding up a pastel green dress with a blue floral print and ribbon trim. “Since I’m going to be here, why don’t you wear this? After all, don’t forget who bought you that dress.”
“Oh, of course! How could I forget the dress you gave me? Yeah, I’ve definitely gotta wear that to the Contest!”
“And don’t forget a pair of these,” Lisa said, reaching into her suitcase and pulling out a six pack of white pantyhose. “You need to look your very best!”
“But what about you, Lisa? You’ll need something to wear to the Contest. As cute as your blue dress is, you’ll want something fancier.”
“You mean, something like this?” Lisa reached into the closet and pulled out the white Sunday dress that she had been issued at the start of the investigation. “This is a custom made dress. It has a special feature that I hope I don’t have to end up using.”
Sadie said, “I have a theory, and I hate to admit it since I love Contests so much, but… Compared with the Sinnoh Contest circuit last year, this one feels… different. They’ve kept the same judges, but many of those in upper management and in the offices were new this year. They tripled the entry fee to participate, claiming the ‘current financial situation’ according to a letter they sent out to everybody. Prize money given out to winners has decreased as well. The Contest Halls aren’t as lavishly decorated as they have been in the past, and even the ribbons feel like they’re cheaper than last year’s… they feel lighter and some of mine from this year are already starting to unravel.”
Sadie reached into her handbag and took out two cases. “The one on the left is last year’s Contest ribbons, and the one on the right is from this year. I won the Sunyshore Contest both years.” She took one ribbon from each case. At first glance they looked identical – a gold star at the center flanked by red and purple cloth that made up the actual ribbon portion.
“Take them. One in each hand. Doesn’t the one from this year feel lighter?”
Lisa held both ribbons. She nodded. “Yeah, this one on the right definitely feels lighter.”
“And take a closer look at this part of the ribbon. I just won this three months ago, but do you see how these edges here are already starting to unravel?” She pointed out a frayed edge on the bottom of the ribbon.
“Yeah, I see it. These new ribbons are definitely made cheaper than last year.”
“And that’s what I don’t understand. We’re paying more to enter the Contests, but the prizes have been reduced, the ribbons made cheaper, and even the decorations aren’t what they’ve used to be. I know there’s problems with the economy, but it doesn’t account for all the cost-cutting. That extra money we’re paying has got to be going somewhere…”
Lisa agreed. “This whole thing… something smells very fishy, like a Goldeen out of water. The murder, followed by the arson, and the whole ‘cheaper Contests’ thing. What is going on?”
STREETS OF HEARTHOME CITY, JULY 8, 8:55 AM
Under the bright sunlight of a new day, a Buick LaCrosse snaked its way through the city streets. Inside, Lisa was once again behind the wheel, wearing her trademark blue floral dress, green blouse, and white pantyhose. Sadie was seated in the front seat, wearing a green T-shirt and blue ruffled skirt. Police Detective Ashley Smith rode in the rear, wearing a maroon-colored business suit.
The car suddenly slowed down in front of a small two-story house covered with beige vinyl siding. Out front was a car covered in a blue tarp. A portion of the bottom of the vehicle was visible, indicating it was colored red and rode very close to the ground.
“Wait, Lisa, why are we stopping here?” asked Ashley. “I thought we were headed to that storage place.”
“I noticed this place last night as we scoped out the area. There’s something I want to check out.”
As Lisa stepped out of the car, the man who lived in the house noticed and came out to confront her. “Excuse me, ma’am, can I help you?”
Lisa presented her badge. “I am Special Agent Lisa Northwood, Pokémon League Investigation Unit. May I see what is under that tarp?”
“All right, as long as it’s for police business. But please don’t touch it.”
The muscular, red-haired man revealed his car. It was an old NASCAR stock racing car, colored bright red. A large white number “15” was plastered on the sides and on the roof, and the words “Motorcraft,” also in white, were printed on the hood and both rear fenders.
“This here is a full-scale replica of a race car I used to follow in my younger years…”
“Bud Moore’s number 15 Motorcraft Ford Thunderbird. Driven by Morgan Shepherd in 1991 and Geoff Bodine in 1992 and part of 1993 for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series,” Lisa shouted, emphasizing the words ‘Morgan,’ ‘Geoff,’ and ‘Winston.’
“Why yes, that’s correct,” the man said, taken aback. “Is something wrong?”
Lisa told him, “You can cover up your car now. But, may I ask you for your full name?”
“Howard Stephen Seaver.”
“Bingo!” Lisa continued, “I have a few questions I’d like to ask you. Can we step inside?”
“Sure, though I might have a feeling what this is about now.”
Inside his house, Howard brought out a computer and a manila folder into the modestly decorated living room where the three girls were seated. “I assume you’re here because of the Bruce Fowler murder?”
Lisa, Ashley, and Sadie all nodded.
“Bruce was a very good friend of mine. A couple days before he was killed, he came to my house with his computer and this folder. He told me that he wanted me to hang on to them, and that if something happened to him, to turn them over to the authorities if they came knocking.”
Ashley asked, “But why didn’t you just turn them over to us when you first heard of the murder? Why did you wait until we came to you?”
“I apologize. I know I should have come forward. But I was scared they’d come after me next if they linked me to him. And Bruce always was a fan of riddles and mind games. He said that it would be interesting to see if the cops could figure it out.”
“Well, in any event, this will help further our investigation. Mr. Seaver, we’re going to ask you to come to headquarters. We do have a few more questions to ask you.”
“All right. Let me lock up the house first.”
Ashley set the computer in the center of the rear seat before getting in the car. Howard also sat in the rear with Sadie and Lisa up front.
Lisa called up Lorelei with an update. “L, it’s 00479. We may have found a major break in the case. We have a witness and the computer evidence, and we’re headed to base now.”
“Excellent work. I also have some news to share with you regarding the next phase of our investigation. Please report immediately.”
Ah, so the plot thickens... Though I already know what happens, it's interesting to see everything build up.
Very interesting development about the contests. It most likely has something to do with the murder, but let's pretend I forgot what it was. (The 'Goldeen out of water' thing made me laugh, by the way.)
The only little thing I don't like is this. I don't think I mentioned it to you before, but now it stands out to me particularly.
The only plausible reason someone would write in code like that would be to prevent anyone who wasn't meant to read it from understanding it. Just a minor nitpick I have. Everything else looks fine.
I'm looking forward to more
And you (actually whoever else may or may not be reading this) will find out soon enough whether or not there is that connection
Good to hear you're enjoying the story and the rapidly unfolding mystery, though And look for more of the mystery to be uncovered in the next chapter!
A/N: This chapter is rated a PG-13 for language.
Once again, I would like to thank Haruka of Hoenn for use of her character Sadie and her help with proofreading the chapter.
Fugitive Farhad "Fred" Monem, 52, is wanted for bribery and racketeering charges related to his operation of the Oregon prison food purchasing division. He is 5'10", 210 pounds, with short cropped black hair and brown eyes. He is considered armed and dangerous. If you know of his whereabouts, contact law enforcement agents immediately.
LEAGUE INVESTIGATION UNIT CLANDESTINE HEADQUARTERS, 9:46 AM
After dropping off the recovered computer in the evidence room and leaving their witness, Howard Seaver, with some local police investigators, Lisa and her colleagues reported to Lorelei. In the commander’s hands was the file folder that had been recovered along with the computer.
“We still need to search that computer, but this folder here is basically Mr. Fowler’s summary of what he found out and what’s going to be of importance on that hard drive. The papers on the left, according to Mr. Fowler’s notes, show the actual income and expenditures of the Sinnoh Contest Commission over the past fiscal year. And the packet on the right is the actual annual report they issued, which would include the amount that was reported to the tax bureau.”
Lisa picked up the two documents and began looking over both. The set of ‘actual’ numbers was a simple computer print-out, while the ‘reported’ numbers were contained in an official-looking annual report, complete with the Contest Commission’s logos, letters from the executives, and the voting proxy for the board of directors. Lorelei continued her explanation.
“Look at the circled numbers on the bottom of the last page of each packet. That number is the net income earned by the commission. Notice how the actual income made is much higher than that reported officially. Now, normally a company would want to over-report their earnings and profits to increase stock prices…”
“…but the Contest Commission isn’t a company and they don’t issue stocks,” replied Lisa.
“Correct. All these guys care about is minimizing the amount of tax they have to pay, and they do that by making their profit margin look smaller than it really is. Comparing the numbers, I’ve seen that they’ve overstated their business expenditures while underreporting their income. The classic cash skimming scheme…”
“I knew it!” Sadie called out. “I thought there was something wrong when the Contests started costing more to enter and yet, at the same time, the prizes were decreasing, the decorations were being skimped on, and even the ribbons were of a cheaper quality!”
“Hmmm… That means they probably switched to cheaper vendors but still reported the prices as those they paid for the more expensive, higher-quality ones they used previously. In any event, we still need to go over the data on that computer. I have another lead for you to follow up on.”
“What is it?” asked Ashley.
“Remember how Tim Redmond was a name that came up as the possible trigger man? We’ve done some investigation on his end and contacted his live-in girlfriend. She corroborated the story that Tim was not at their home in Pastoria on the day of the murder. She also tipped us off that Tim had just left the house and is returning to Hearthome today. We also found out that Mr. Redmond started working for the Contest Commission as an Operations Director soon after current president Jack Tinsley assumed his position. Sadie, it was after Mr. Tinsley took over that you noticed those changes, correct?”
“Yes, ma’am. He took over right after the last Grand Festival and I noticed the changes at my very first Contest of this season. And I just got notification that the Grand Festival has been bumped up to tomorrow.”
“Most likely so they can wrap up business here and get out of Dodge before the dragnet traps them. They probably panicked after we arrested the two arsonists, fearing that we were getting closer to implicating them. Unfortunately, we had already collected all the evidence from the scene of the murder and started allowing them to set up for the Grand Festival.”
“Yeah,” Ashley said. “Even if they hadn’t moved the date up, wasn’t it supposed to take place the weekend after next?”
“I think so.” Sadie nodded. “And under normal circumstances they would have needed that much time to set up for an event as big as the Grand Festival. Then again, these guys do things on the cheap, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to get everything set up in a day.”
Lorelei adjusted her glasses and continued. “Whatever the reason for the date change, there is little doubt that Mr. Redmond will be headed to the Contest Hall when he gets into town. I need you to wait for him at the Route 212 exit to town and tail him. According to records he drives a black 2010 Lexus GS350, license TIM R 1.”
Ashley folded her arms across her chest and frowned. “Very modest, huh? Well, I think we know where some of that missing Contest money got off to.”
“Head out now. I just hope he hasn’t already made it into town. But since the Contest Commission knows about you, Lisa, E will have to hack into their computer system and give you a new alias. I’ll call later with the name you’ll have to use at the Grand Festival.”
“Understood. We will be heading out now.”
HESS EXPRESS MART, ROUTE 212, 10:25 AM
Lisa’s rented Buick LaCrosse was parked at this gas station just beyond the Hearthome city limits. The building and canopy over the gas pumps were colored in white and green. On this morning, the place was doing a pretty steady business, with cars pulling in and out regularly.
But the people inside the Buick were not pumping gas or getting a cup of coffee from the convenience store. All three passengers were busy observing the traffic whizzing by.
Sadie noticed a black car rounding a curve off in the distance. “Hey, is that the car?”
Lisa craned her neck forward for a closer look. “Well, it looks to me like a Lexus. Let’s follow it until we can make a positive identification.”
The brown-haired girl pulled onto the highway just as the black car zoomed past. She was careful not to follow too closely for the time being. Entering the city, the streets became more congested, but the Buick remained directly behind the black sedan, albeit a few car-lengths back. At a red light, Lisa was able to pull directly behind the target vehicle, and noted the car’s “L” logo as well as the license plate – ‘TIM R 1.’
“That’s our car.”
Having positively identified the car, Lisa let a small hatchback ease in between her car and the Lexus, so as not to tip off the driver that he was being tailed. All was going well until they approached the traffic light at the intersection of Mill Street and Dalton Boulevard. The light changed to yellow just as the target vehicle crossed the intersection. But the Hyundai in front slowed to a stop. Lisa began pounding the steering wheel with her hands.
“Come on, move! I gotta make this light!”
Thinking quickly, the girl pulled out and around the stopped car, making her way through the intersection just as the light turned red. Fortunately nobody had honked their horn, so the driver of the black Lexus was still oblivious to the fact that he was being tailed.
“Man, that was too close!” Lisa let out a loud sigh. Sadie looked at her apprehensively.
“Well anyway, let’s keep going.”
HEARTHOME CONTEST HALL BACK OFFICE, 10:53 AM
Inside the main administrative office of the Contest Hall, stacks of papers and empty cardboard boxes were scattered in a disorganized fashion. Two men were seated opposite each other. The one behind the desk was balding and wore a white button-up shirt. The other was taller and wearing a white tank top and black denim jeans.
“Mr. Redmond, I do apologize for calling you here on such short notice, but I have received word that the guys we sent to bomb Bruce’s house, John and Chet, have been arrested. I don’t know if they would have told anything to the cops, but I’m not taking any chances. That’s why I moved the Grand Festival up to tomorrow, so we can finish up and get the hell out of town. As you can see, we’ve already started cleaning out, and our guys with the truck should be arriving later tonight.”
“Why risk it at all? Why not just skip town now?”
“It would draw even more attention if we were to cancel the event entirely. Right now I’ve used the excuse that we moved it on the request of several coordinators who needed it because of various family emergencies.”
“Look, the point is, I don’t want to be anywhere near Hearthome tomorrow. I don’t need to be thrown in jail…”
The balding man interrupted Tim by holding up his right hand. “Then let me make a proposal to you. You see, I have a feeling that yet another one of our judges is snooping into our financial affairs. I even have her on surveillance cameras skulking about the Contest Hall and my office after dark. Take action to make sure her investigation ends today, and after your job is done, you can go back home to prepare for an ‘extended vacation.’ You won’t have to be anywhere near Hearthome come Grand Festival day tomorrow.”
“All right, I’m listening. Sounds like a fair deal to me.”
“Excellent. Let me get you her information, then I’ll let you know the details of what we plan to do after we wrap up the Grand Festival…”
WALGREEN’S PHARMACY, 12:05 PM
“If we knew he’d come straight here, we would’ve just waited for him here!”
The burgundy Buick LaCrosse was now sitting in a Walgreen’s Pharmacy parking lot directly across from the Contest Hall. Despite numerous workers outside putting up signs, banners, and balloons for the upcoming Grand Festival, only two cars were parked in its lot – the car that the girls had been tailing, as well as a black Mercedes that had been parked there since before they arrived. The man had been inside the building for over an hour. Sadie’s stomach began rumbling.
“Maybe we should’ve stopped at a fast food place or something if we knew it would take this long…”
“Sorry,” Lisa replied, “but that’s the thing about stakeouts… you never know when something’s going down, and if it happens to go down while you’re not there… Speaking of which, here they come now.”
Two men emerged from the dome-like building. One of the men ushered the workers inside. Once alone, the other man pulled a long, slender object from the back seat of the Lexus. After a few more minutes of talking, the man set the object in the front passenger seat and entered the car.
Lisa quickly grabbed her phone and started dialing. “L, it’s 00479. I have the feeling that this Tim Redmond guy is about to go kill someone else. I saw him remove a gun from the back seat of his car, show it to his partner, then put it in the front seat.”
“Dammit. Abort the tailing mission and stop that car! We cannot afford to have another murder on our case.”
Lisa once again began tailing the Lexus, but when they were a comfortable distance away from the Contest Hall, she flipped on a portable siren and flashing light unit and used the magnets on the bottom to attach it to the Buick’s roof. Immediately, the driver of the black sedan began to accelerate and his driving became more frantic.
Lisa grabbed the microphone to a portable police radio. “Attention all Hearthome City Police Units. This is a Pokémon League Special Agent currently in a vehicle pursuit. Suspect vehicle is a Lexus GS350, black, tag ‘TIM R 1.’ I am pursuing in an unmarked Buick LaCrosse. Requesting backup. I am currently on Blue Rock Road westbound… now turning southbound on Vinehurst.” she reported as she jerked the wheel to the left. “Repeat, requesting backup, currently south on Vinehurst.”
Sadie looked over at Lisa, a worried look on her face. “Lisa? This is really starting to scare me!”
“Sorry, but you’ll just have to hold on until I can stop this guy. There is no way he’s gonna murder anyone else.”
Inside the Lexus, the man was steering with one hand while fumbling for his cell phone with the other.
“What the hell? Don’t tell me I forgot to charge the battery! And of course my charger would be in my suitcase… in the damn trunk!” He threw his cell phone down onto the passenger seat.
The chase continued with both cars swerving to avoid obstacles, missing other vehicles and pedestrians by only inches. Soon enough, Lisa was joined by a fleet of three city police units.
The Lexus hopped a curb and bounced up and down violently as the driver tried to negotiate a turn. White sparks could be seen emanating from the car’s suspension as the vehicle made a loud metallic clanging noise. Lisa and her backup officers stuck on him like glue, without curb-hopping and messing up their shocks.
The piercing sounds of police sirens ripped through the city’s bustling historic district, forcing shoppers and tourists to run for cover as the pursuit blasted by. Even above her siren, their screams could be heard. As Lisa focused on her driving, Sadie and Ashley called out “Sorry!” to the pedestrians, not sure if anyone heard them. Without warning, the suspect slammed on his brakes.
“What! Arrgh!” Lisa had to stomp on her brakes too, but she also had to divert the car toward the sidewalk to avoid rear-ending the Lexus. After his failed attempt to wreck his pursuers, the man took off again like a shot, slaloming his way around stunned motorists. The girls and the officers behind them had to run the gauntlet as well, but they kept their target in their sights.
At the next intersection, the Lexus made a right turn but went wide and hit a car trying to turn left. The glancing blow wasn’t nearly enough to stop him, and he simply shoved the other car out of the way before continuing his getaway.
Approaching another intersection, all lanes of traffic were stopped for a red light. The suspect vehicle hopped the concrete center median and sliced its way through oncoming vehicles. Stunned motorists honked their horns as they swerved out of his path as he parted the northbound lanes like the Red Sea. The pursuers had no choice but to follow suit, dancing with death at every close call and near miss.
Finally the Lexus emerged on a busy thoroughfare, and began picking up speed as he blitzed by trucks and buses on the right shoulder. Lisa and the backup officers played it safer, passing those same vehicles on the left and actually gaining ground on their target vehicle.
“Suspect is currently eastbound on the 208/209 connector, approaching Trade. Permission to utilize the Pursuit Intervention Technique?”
Police dispatch radioed back, “Permission granted. PIT him. Get him stopped.”
With that command issued, Lisa pulled up alongside the fleeing car’s left flank. Turning the wheel ever so slightly to the right, her car’s bumper made contact with the rear fender of the Lexus… little more than a tap. But that tap was enough to partially shear off the bumper and send the car skidding in a cloud of white smoke. The sound of screeching tires seemed to indicate that the chase was over, but when the smoke cleared, the black sedan took off again – albeit now with the rear bumper hanging by a thread.
Seeing an opportunity. the suspect swerved violently from left to right across the four lanes of the freeway, attempting to dislodge the bumper and leave it as an obstacle for his pursuers. After a few more jerks of the wheel, the bumper did come off the rear of the Lexus, but Lisa was prepared, maneuvering around the obstacle, and glancing in her rear view mirror to make sure her backup officers also cleared the debris.
A Hearthome City police unit took the lead in the pursuit, zooming past Lisa on the left and getting right on the back of the suspect. Soon, the sound of crunching metal could be heard as the lead officer rammed hard into the back of the Lexus, shattering a taillight and forcing the trunk open, which sent the car’s license plate flying through the air like a Frisbee. But the impact had also wrinkled the hood on the officer’s unit, and the tactic had done nothing to slow the chase down.
Undeterred, the officer stuck right with his target, trying to fake him out by constantly swerving from lane to lane. When the opportunity presented itself, the patrol car zipped past the Lexus and immediately cut in front of it. With the suspect blocked from the front, Lisa moved in closer to sandwich him in from the rear. Not to be outdone, the suspect began slamming into the rear of the car in front of him, and the repeated impacts soon became too much for the officer to handle. One particularly hard hit sent his car spinning out of control, as Lisa and the other officers were forced to take evasive action to avoid the unlucky cop who was doing doughnuts on the highway.
“Suspect just wrecked a Hearthome unit on the 208/209 connector, between Trade and 15th.”
Now with nothing in front of him but clear freeway, the suspect began to pick up speed. But the girls noticed chunks of black rubber flying from the right front tire of the car in front of them. Jerking the steering wheel violently to maintain control, the man veered off the highway and blasted up an exit ramp. But with his tire going flat, his Lexus wasn’t as agile as it used to be. At the top of the ramp, the driver tried to make a right turn, but his car skidded and jumped onto the curb and ran directly over a stop sign.
Lisa radioed, “Suspect’s right front tire is going flat. Exiting the connector onto Cherry Road northbound. Speeds now down to sixty.”
Bright yellow sparks began shooting out of the wheel well of the Lexus as more slabs of rubber came flying off. The car plowed and swerved violently from side to side, sending other motorists scattering amongst the sounds of blaring horns and police sirens. Seeing that the Lexus was crippled, Lisa moved in to attempt another PIT Maneuver, this time closing in on the target’s right flank. Once again, a slight tap was all that was needed to send the black sedan skidding out of control, and this time he was sent head-first into a lamppost. Smoke began pouring from the crumpled front end.
“Ten-fifty, pursuit has ended at the 2600 block of Cherry Road.”
Lisa and the other officers came to a stop, blocking the car on all sides. The girl’s hand was wrapped around the handle of her .44, knowing the suspect had a powerful assault rifle with him and not knowing whether he would use it. With baited breath, Lisa and the others waited as the standoff continued. After a few more tense moments, she decided it was time to take action. Still gripping her gun, Lisa reached into her bag and pulled out a Pokéball.
“Weezing, use Smog! Aim for that black car!”
The girl called forth a purple Pokémon consisting of two heads, one noticeably larger than the other. Weezing began shrinking and expanding its heads alternately, spewing forth a thick gray cloud that enveloped the Lexus. Lisa and her partners watched intently as the interior of the wrecked car began to fill with the smoke.
“That gas has got to draw that guy out sooner or later.”
Not being able to tolerate the putrid gas any longer, the driver’s door of the Lexus flew open and the man broke into a full sprint down the road.
“Metagross, use Psychic!” the teen yelled, throwing out another Pokéball. From the small sphere emerged a massive chrome machine-like creature, with piercing red eyes flanked by an imposing gold ‘X.’ Metagross began emitting invisible energy waves aimed at the fleeing man, stopping him in his tracks. With the suspect unable to move, the backup officers quickly approached him, still with guns drawn. But the man wasn’t going anywhere, not with Metagross using its powerful psychic energy to hold him in place. Before he knew it, the handcuffs were around his wrists.
“Excellent work, Weezing, Metagross,” Lisa said as she returned both Pokémon back into their respective containment devices. The girl made her way toward the wrecked car where officers had recovered the gun and removed the man’s cell phone and suitcase.
Slipping on a pair of latex gloves, Lisa took the items and placed them in her car. “I’m taking these back to the League. I’m sure my superior officer would be interested in seeing them.”
Lisa inspected her car and smiled. Aside from a few scuffs on the corners of both front bumpers, her car had emerged unscathed – more than she could say for the Lexus, which now had no rear bumper and which had its front end wrapped around a pole.
As the girl got back into her car and started the engine, she turned to face her companions. Ashley looked calm and reserved, but Sadie was still shaking a bit.
“I… I never want to go through something like that again… but at least we’re safe…” She attempted a smile.
Lisa returned a smile of her own. “Hey, I told you, I’ve been trained by the best. I told you we’d be safe. Anyway, you know those ‘May The Best Car Win’ ads comparing the Buick to the Lexus? Granted, I like the old ‘The Great American Road Belongs to Buick’ ads more, but I think today we proved which of the two is the better car.”
LEAGUE INVESTIGATION UNIT CLANDESTINE HEADQUARTERS, 2:26 PM
“Excellent work, 00479. We collected some valuable evidence and we may have stopped a murder in the process. Our forensic experts are examining the gun for evidence and attempting to match the bullets from the murder scene to it. However… we do not want to tip off Jack Tinsley that we’ve captured Tim Redmond. If we do, he might panic and pack up before we can raid his office. We need to make sure he doesn’t suspect a thing until we pounce. I have the cell phone we recovered from Mr. Redmond here and it’s hooked up to a voice recording device while we let it recharge. I’ve also got agents doing surveillance on Mr. Tinsley in case he tries to bolt, though I want to wait until the Grand Festival to raid his office in order to catch him off guard.”
Suddenly, the phone on the desk rang. The team waited until it went to voice mail, listening intently.
“Tim, it’s Jack. Have you done it yet?” After a brief pause, the caller continued. “Look, I wish you wouldn’t do this. You always have a bad habit of not calling me once a job is completed. Are you there? I’m getting a bit paranoid. Ugh… All I can say is, I don’t want to see that Judge Banks there tomorrow, so you better have done your job.”
As the caller hung up, Lorelei turned to Sadie. “Do you know this Judge Banks?”
“Yes, it’s Kimberly Banks, one of the Contest judges.”
“I’m going to have to contact her and tell her not to come in to the Grand Festival tomorrow – at least not until after we strike. Now Lisa, I have a few things for you. When entering the Contest, you will go in under the alias, ‘Cassie Warner.’ Here is your badge case and your coordinator’s identification card. Now, unless I tell you otherwise, the plan is to enter the Grand Festival tomorrow and create a ruse during the event and raid Mr. Tinsley’s office in the confusion. We will meet here early tomorrow morning to debrief before heading to the Contest Hall. In the meantime, I suggest that the three of you rest up and prepare for tomorrow. I understand that neither of you have had any time to practice your moves for the Contest, but… with the date changed so suddenly, I don’t think anyone would have gotten much practice.”
“Yeah,” Sadie said. “This Grand Festival isn’t going to be as epic as past ones…”
“Well, it might be epic, but for a totally different reason,” Lisa told her.
QUALITY INN AND SUITES, HEARTHOME CITY, ROOM 215, 7:38 PM
Lisa and Sadie were in their rented hotel room, trying to relax the best they could… but not having much luck at it.
“This feels so weird… The Grand Festival’s tomorrow and I’m not even practicing. And even though I know I’m not going to win, I’m still a nervous wreck!”
“Me too,” agreed Lisa. “I mean, somehow we need to slip in there undetected, and then we need to find some way to create a distraction to get into the back office during the event. And then we won’t know what’ll be waiting for us once we get back there. Hey, remember our first Contest together, back on that cruise ship when we first met?”
“Yeah, and don’t forget that I beat you!”
“I know, I know,” said Lisa, laughing. “But I think Lorelei’s going to try to set it up so we face off against each other in the second round, like we did that time.”
“Wait, how is she going to do that?”
“My guess is that our chief engineer is gonna hack into their computers, just like he did to get my name changed to ‘Cassie Warner’ and get me five ribbons.”
“The only thing is, we both have to do well enough to make it to the second round. I mean, you can hack who faces who in the second round, but you can’t hack into the judges’ brains to manipulate their scores.”
“True, but at least everyone is on a level playing ground since nobody likely got much practice
“You’re right. Well, we better get some sleep. It’s going to be a long day tomorrow.” Sadie looked over at Lisa who was still wearing her blue dress, green blouse, and white pantyhose. “Are you sleeping in your clothes?”
Lisa noticed Sadie was still wearing her green T-shirt and blue skirt. “Well it looks like you are as well. Anyway, I figured that we’ll be wearing our Contest dresses tomorrow and I’m too tired to change now, so why not?”
“You have a point there. Well, good night, Lisa.”
“Thanks. You too, Sadie.”
Haha... nothing like using Pokemon attacks to catch a criminal. I'm beginning to think that policemen would do a lot better if they had a Weezing on their team. Seriously.
Well, congrats on another great chapter Even for a short fic, the story's still satisfying enough to be a mystery.
One little thing:
And another thing:
Wait, sorry, another:
"Metagross began emitting invisible energy waves aimed at the fleeing man, stopping him in his tracks. The man collapsed instantly, and the backup officers swarmed around him. Though he lay twitching in the dirt, obviously unable to break free of the bonds, the officers still pointed their guns down at him."
It's not the best example, but what I mean to say is that you should elaborate more.
Well, other than those things I pointed out, the chapter looks pretty good! I can't wait to read the next one. (Again.) I jumped a bit back-and-forth in this review, since that's just how I was reading the chapter at the time. Don't worry, that didin't take anything away from the action. I still liked it.
See you next time!
Thanks for the review, and sorry, I didn't have enough time to properly reply to it because.... Chapter 6 is ready!
A/N: This chapter is rated a PG-13 for language.
Once again, I would like to thank Haruka of Hoenn for use of her character Sadie and her help with proofreading the chapter.
Fugitive Lerron Carlton Heslop, 46, is wanted for defrauding churches by soliciting church members to invest in a fictitious religious organization. He is 5'8" and 200 pounds. If you know of his whereabouts, contact law enforcement agents immediately.
LEAGUE INVESTIGATION UNIT CLANDESTINE HEADQUARTERS, JULY 9, 8:49 AM
Agent E, Ashley, Sadie, and Lisa all sat in Lorelei’s office. The commander said, “Before we head out to the Contest Hall, I figured I’d update you on our investigation. We’re still looking on his computer, but so far everything on there has backed up his claim that they were running a fraud with the Contests.”
Sadie noticeably scowled at this news.
“We’ve recovered invoices, online orders, and bank deposit records which all show solid evidence of the embezzlement and their ‘cooking the books.’ We’ve come to the conclusion that Fowler somehow learned of this fraud, wanted nothing to do with it, and was killed before he could report his findings to authorities. I spoke with that other judge that Redmond had tried to kill, Ms. Banks, and she said she was also going to report evidence of fraud to authorities. Seems the judges weren’t a part of the scheme, or at the very least those two weren’t.
“We’ve also done forensic toolmark analysis with the shells at the murder site and the gun recovered from Tim Redmond’s car. Our tests show that his was the weapon used in the murder of Bruce Fowler. All the lands and grooves matched up perfectly. And cell phone records place Mr. Redmond in the vicinity of Hearthome at the time of the murder and also implicate Jack Tinsley – Redmond made numerous calls to Tinsley on the day of the murder and yesterday morning when he returned to Hearthome.”
“Excellent, then we have a warrant issued and we can arrest Tinsley?” Lisa asked.
“Yes, we can make our arrest today. Okay, now we need to discuss our plans for the Grand Festival. If at all possible, we need both Sadie and Lisa to make it past the first round. Then E will hack their computer system so that the two of them will face off against each other in the second round. Sometime during that battle, we’ll need the two of you to create some kind of explosion that blankets the entire stage in smoke. While the veil is up, rush backstage and head for the main office. We will also move in during the confusion. Sadie, you know where that office is, correct?”
“Yes, I do.”
“In the event only one of you makes it in, you’ll have to study your opponent’s moves and somehow trigger that explosion during the match. I don’t like that idea since it involves a third party. And in the event that neither of you moves on, slip out of the room backstage and make your way to the office from there. Hopefully nobody will see you leave. The problem I have with this plan is that you’ll be without backup as we won’t have any idea when you make your move.”
“Okay, we’ll do our best to make it into the second round because that appears to be our safest and most effective option.”
“All right, let’s move out.”
Lisa added, “Okay, gang, we’ll need all of our amazing cunning and stealth for this mission. Let’s get dangerous.”
At the Contest Hall, they had indeed finished decorating the outside of the Contest Hall in a single day. A huge banner reading “GRAND FESTIVAL TODAY!” hung over the entrance, with colorful balloons and signs all over the property. Out front, vendors had tents and booths set up with games, snacks, and souvenirs, and many folks were making some last minute purchases before heading to their seats. Absent, however, were the participants themselves, as they had already been ushered into the waiting room backstage. To avoid arousing suspicion, the group from the Pokémon League had arrived in Lorelei’s ice blue GMC Yukon.
Lorelei, E, and Ashley got seats in the bleachers while Lisa and Sadie went to check in. Lisa was first, wearing the white, frilly dress issued to her by E, along with a pair of her own white pantyhose. A well-dressed young man waited for them.
In a monotone, robotic voice, he said, “You’re just barely on time. Please state your name.”
“May I see your Coordinator’s ID card and your badge case, please?”
“Sure thing.” As Lisa reached for the items, she wrapped her other hand around the gun concealed in the dress’s built-in holster.
Fortunately, the man accepted Lisa’s fake credentials and let her inside. Sadie was next, her light green dress unusually bulky and the blue ribbon just barely fitting around her waist. She had also borrowed a pair of Lisa’s white pantyhose.
Once again, the man was emotionless as he greeted Sadie. “Please try to be on time next time. State your name.”
“Sorry. Name is Sadie Catherwood. Here is my case and my ID.”
Only taking a second to glance at them, he let her in. “Fine, enjoy the Contest.”
Lisa whispered, “No metal detectors, even after Mr. Fowler was killed? I mean, I’m glad they weren’t there to detect my gun, but still…”
Sadie answered, “If they had them, every single person with a ribbon or a League badge would set them off.”
Lisa’s face turned red. “Oh, right. Forgot about that.”
Inside the expansive Contest Hall’s main stage, the crowd was cheering feverishly, with some chanting the names of their favorite coordinator while holding up huge signs. As the event had not begun, the main spotlights were off, and the stage was only illuminated by the multicolor track lights overhead. A countdown appeared on the white screen above the stage along with video clips of previous Contests. The excited crowd seemed not to care that aside from the multitude of balloons scattered about, not much effort had been made to decorate the main hall. Even some of the trash from the previous Contest remained on the floor.
The waiting area for the coordinators was modestly decorated with streamers, posters, banners, and the ever-popular balloons, but Sadie figured that nobody had taken down the decorations from the last event a few days ago – several of the posters and streamers were ripped in places.
While most of the coordinator were chatting with each other and showing off their Pokémon, Sadie and Lisa were off in a corner keeping to themselves.
“Li – I mean, Cassie, this thing is uncomfortable…”
“Sorry, but I needed some way to protect you, and this is the best way I knew how.”
“Yeah, I know. But have you decided what you’re going to do for the first round?”
“I’ll probably use Persian and a variation of what I did for that ship contest when we first met – perhaps without the math equation since that might give me away…” Lisa chuckled and began rubbing the back of her head.
“Yeah, you’re probably right. As for the second round, I have an idea of what could work since I’ve seen it done before…”
CONTEST HALL MAIN STAGE, 9:47 AM
“Please welcome contestant number fifteen, Sadie Catherwood!”
As the crowd erupted in loud cheering, the young dark-haired girl made her way to the stage, waving to the fans as she took her place on the left side.
“Luxio, let’s start this!” she yelled out, pitching her Pokéball in a graceful underhand sweep. From the sphere emerged a creature of medium size, vaguely resembling a lion. Yellow sparks began shooting off the surface of its blue and black fur as it let out a low growl.
“Let’s start this show with a Rain Dance!”
The Pokémon began stepping elegantly from side to side, with its tail moving in unison. The crowd seemed to be fixated on the yellow star on the tail’s tip. Soon clouds began forming near the ceiling above the stage as a heavy downpour started. The spectators watched silently, not knowing what was coming next.
“Discharge!” Sadie yelled.
With this command, Luxio began glowing a bright yellow color, creating a blinding light at the center of the stage. It let all its energy loose in multiple small blasts of electricity that scattered in all directions, with many of them bursting the raindrops that were still falling upon the stage. Under the combined lighting of the overhead spotlights and the yellow electric bolts, the exploding water droplets gave off a faint rainbow effect, to which the crowd applauded loudly.
“All right, so far so good! Ring of Electricity time! Spark!”
Once again, the Pokémon began shrouding itself in an intense yellow glow. But this time, it began running about the stage in a large loop, creating the illusion of being swallowed up by a massive ring of crackling electricity. As the technique continued, Luxio’s laps around the arena became smaller and more concentrated, now appearing as a spiral of yellow that closed in on the very center of the performance floor. Much of the audience tried to follow Luxio’s dizzying movements with their eyes, but had to shield their faces as the technique became almost as blinding as the sun itself.
At the precise moment when it was at the very center of the loop, Luxio leaped high into the air and launched one final electric blast at the center of the ring, triggering a small explosion and scattering small sparks in all directions. The Pokémon itself fell back to earth and was swallowed up in the smoke caused by its last attack, causing the crowd to grow silent with worried looks on their faces. When the smoke finally cleared, Luxio could be seen, having landed perfectly on all fours.
Sadie smiled and winked. “And now for the finisher! Shock Wave!”
Once again, Luxio’s fur began giving off electricity. But in a move completely opposite to the last one, this time the Pokémon fired off circular waves of electricity that spread outward, one right after the other. As it continued, its trainer issued another command.
While continuing the onslaught of Shock Waves, Luxio began creating copies of itself which stretched across the entire width of the stage. The stunned crowd was now faced with a wall of identical Luxio, each one staring into the audience with their piercing eyes, while each duplicate continued to give off outward-spreading rings of electricity. After a few more moments, the attacks let up and the copies faded into a single Pokémon standing at the center of the stage.
The fan burst into loud cheering and clapping as Sadie bowed, smiling.
In the stands, Lorelei turned to Ashley. “Interesting use of light and movement for a spectacular show. I just hope her over-reliance on electric attacks doesn’t hurt her score. And hopefully Lisa’s turn comes up soon.”
In the backstage reception area, Sadie took a few minutes to talk with the other contestants about her performance before making her way back to Lisa.
“Great job out there, Sadie! That should get you into the next round for sure!”
“You really think so? That was something I envisioned last night in my sleep, and it looked impressive in my dream, so I decided to go with it today. I’m just glad Luxio was able to go along with the plan, otherwise I would’ve been sunk!”
“No, I was very impressed by it. Unfortunately, I’m number forty-nine, so I won’t be going out there for awhile…”
CONTEST HALL MAIN STAGE, 10:35 AM
A woman’s voice came over the PA system. “Well, we’re getting down to the last few contestants! Please welcome entrant number forty-nine, Cassie Warner!”
Quickly adjusting the decorative green bow on her dress and straightening the blue trim on the hem, Lisa made her way to the right side of the stage, her white parasol opened. In her right hand she held a black Luxury Ball. Gathering her nerves, and trying not to let the loud excited crowd affect her concentration, the teen prepared for her contest appeal.
“Sine and tangent and then cosine, victory will soon be mine! Persian, let’s solve this equation!”
The girl’s beige cat appeared in a brilliant flash of red, with the overhead spotlights casting a bright glow on the Pokémon’s well-groomed fur. The light reflected off the red jewel on its forehead was almost blinding. Persian straightened out its tail, crouched on all fours, and prepared for action.
“Okay, let’s begin with a Shadow Ball! Follow up with Aerial Ace!”
Still laying close to the wooden floor, the cat opened up its mouth and launched a black energy sphere across the stage. Immediately, Persian leaped high into the air, extending its front claws while in flight. As gravity began to take control, it squinted its eyes and focused on the dark projectile that had come a bit more than halfway across the platform. Letting out a howl, the cat descended upon its own attack, slashing the Shadow Ball and landing perfectly on all fours as particles of black began scattering and raining down. The crowd began applauding loudly as the last of the Shadow Ball remnants descended onto the stage.
“Okay, now let’s do our ‘Loose Change’ combo!” Lisa shouted.
As electricity began to crackle on the surface of its fur, Persian began to hurl shiny gold coins into the air, one after another. After about four coins had been tossed, the cat began to blast them with weak electric shocks even as it continued to add more coins into the mix. Once struck, the golden projectiles would fall back to the ground, giving off sparks as they descended. As Persian ended this stage of the show, the shimmering, crackling coins could be seen littered in front of it.
“Like that?” the girl asked. “Then how about our ‘Water Dome’? Let’s show ‘em how it’s done, Persian!”
Once again positioning itself low to the ground, Persian pointed its head straight upward, unleashing a huge stream of rippling, cascading water straight upward. The intense Water Pulse created a blue pillar in motion as it rushed up toward the domed ceiling, just falling short of making contact with it. As the water began descending back down, Persian continued to watch the fruits of its labor closely, seemingly oblivious to the fact that it would be soaked momentarily.
The crowd sat stunned. Murmurs could be heard, such as “Her Persian’s gonna get soaked! Is this part of her plan?”
A translucent green sphere began to form around Persian just as the water came crashing down upon it. Soon the cat was completely enveloped by a large blue dome of liquid as the water flowed down the sides of the Protect sphere and off the front of the stage. As the water dissipated, so did the green barrier surrounding the Pokémon, who emerged unscathed and mostly still dry. The audience seemed to breathe a collected sigh of relief, as there was a slight pause before they broke out into cheering and clapping.
“Now, let’s go for the finisher! Protocol Number 479!”
Combining its attacks, Persian once again began creating yellow sparks on the surface of its body even as it launched another stream of pulsating blue liquid. The cat released its built-up electric energy and directed it at its previous attack. As the stream of blue liquid, ringed with crackling yellow sparks, began to succumb to gravity, Lisa’s Pokémon fired a final Shadow Ball into the mix. Then the feline sat back and watched its handiwork as its black projectile split the electrified Water Pulse, causing water drops and yellow sparks to rain down onto the stage amid uproarious applause and shouting. As her show finished, Lisa smiled and took a bow, before calling back Persian back.
“And that was Cassie Warner and her Persian, putting on a fabulous show of many different types of moves! Now, up next is contestant number fifty…”
In the stands, Lorelei was nodding.
Ashley turned to her partner, looking a bit worried. “Think that was good enough to get her into the second round? I liked all the various types of moves she used, but is that going to impress the judges?”
The bespectacled young woman smiled. “I’m not completely sure, but I was impressed. I think she has a pretty good chance here.”
The brown haired girl wiped some sweat from her forehead as she made her way back to the reception area, having folded up her parasol.
“Wow, that was really good!” Sadie called out as she ran up and hugged Lisa.
“Yeah but I’m wiped. Hopefully it’ll be good enough to get me into the second round. Otherwise my boss is gonna have a fit…”
“You better get yourself rested up quick, because with a performance like that, you’re practically a shoo-in for the next round!”
“Do you really think so? All right, time for one of my patented ‘Really-Quick-Power-Naps!’ Let’s do our best in the second round too!”
Both girls laughed as they took their seats on a small couch.
CONTEST HALL BACK OFFICE, 10:52 AM
Inside the office, cardboard boxes were piled up in a disorganized array. There were no pictures or books left out; everything in the office except the furniture and a TV monitor was packed up and ready to be moved out. A bald man in a black business suit and red tie sat at a large wooden desk. “So, Nancy, Lisa Northwood did not register this morning?”
“No, Jack, she did not,” replied Nancy, a woman with short brown hair and wearing a white halter top and blue jeans.
“Excellent. I assume this means the league did not feel the need to investigate us. And fortunately Ms. Banks isn’t here, either. She was snooping into our finances just like Fowler was. I hated to have to eliminate her, just like I didn’t want to off Fowler, but their snooping left me with no other option. Such a shame, too… they were quite good at their jobs. But business is business.
“I was a little worried since Tim never called me back, but apparently he did get the job done. I still wish he would have called, though. I almost called this Grand Festival off. But it was a good thing I didn’t. All is going well. According to our attendance estimates, we made a huge profit from this! By the time this Contest is over, we will be ready to move out and start our new lives – living it up in Hawaii!”
The pair laughed as two muscular, scruffy-looking men wheeling hand trucks came into the office.
“Jose, you keep loading those boxes into that van! Tyson, go to the front lobby and fetch the money out of the register. Bring it back here to me.”
With the two workers out of the room, Jack and Nancy continued to observe the events unfolding. “I wish we hadn’t already packed away the wine; this would have been the perfect time for a toast to our success!”
“Don’t worry, Jack dear, there’ll be plenty of time for celebration… like the rest of our lives!” As the couple shared a laugh, they noticed something on the monitor.
“Looks like it’s time for the first round results to be announced. I can’t wait for this.”
CONTEST HALL AUDITORIUM, 10:58 AM
A blond woman with a flowing red gown came out onto the stage, the spotlights focused on her.
“Okay, everybody, first round appeals have been judged! Here are the eight that will move on to the second round!”
The crowd grew silent in anticipation. In the waiting room, all was silent as well. Lisa and Sadie both held their breaths as they looked on nervously.
Upon hearing her name, the dark-haired girl took in a deep breath as she could hear the crowd applauding and chanting her name. She glanced over at Lisa, who was still shaking.
After each name was called, cheers and clapping could be heard from the auditorium, and the coordinator whose name was called would jump up and shout in jubilation. But Lisa waited with baited breath, as did everyone else, as the woman paused before announcing the last winner.
“And finally, we have… Cassie Warner!”
Lisa finally had a chance to catch her breath, as Sadie patted her on the back and others in the room offered their congratulations to all the winners.
“We… we both made it! Yes!”
Meanwhile, in the men’s restroom, monitors mounted on the walls had also displayed the results. Seeing his cue, E began typing on his laptop feverishly as the lineups for the second round were being decided.
Back out in the main auditorium, Lorelei and Ashley looked on. “I hope E can hack in and get these matches set up the way we need them…” The two agents were brought to attention by the hostess onstage.
“Now, I am pleased to announce the matchups for the second round Contest battles! First up will be Sadie Catherwood against Cassie Warner! Remember our Grand Festival-exclusive rule: Contestants must use the same Pokémon they did during their first round appeal! So get ready to welcome Sadie’s Luxio and Cassie’s Persian once again!”
Lisa turned to Sadie and whispered, “At least we’re up first. I really want to get this taken care of.”
“Yeah, the sooner the better, so hopefully nobody gets hurt. Alright, let’s do this.”
Back out on stage, the two girls approached the center from opposite directions, appearing from behind the thick velvet curtains. Lisa once again had her parasol opened. She knew that this was the battle when she would need it at the ready.
“And here we have our first match! Cassie versus Sadie! Again, each of you have five minutes to defeat the other’s Pokémon or reduce their points to zero! Start!”
“Persian, go!” Lisa yelled out, as her well-groomed beige cat made its appearance once again.
“Okay, Luxio, you’re up!” Sadie’s electric Pokémon emerged opposite its opponent, growling and sparking with electricity. “I hope you don’t think I’ll go easy on you, Cassie!”
“Hah, that thought never crossed my mind! Pay Day!”
“Blast that money out of the sky! Thunderbolt!”
Squinting its bright yellow eyes, the lion-like creature carefully aimed its electric blasts, successfully taking down every gold coin that hurtled its way. After disposing of the loose change, Luxio fired another shot of electricity, this time aimed at its opponent itself. But the wily Persian fired out a brilliant red beam from the jewel on its forehead, which pierced through the nexus of the Thunderbolt and caused its path to arc to either side, deflecting it from Persian itself.
The announcer shouted, “Neither Pokémon has dealt any damage yet, but we’ve already seen an impressive use of moves to deflect attacks from the foe! It’s still a dead heat!” On the display above the battlefield, the point bars for both girls had fell slightly.
“Not bad, not bad at all! But here’s something that you didn’t see last time – a move that’s gonna knock you over! Seed Bomb!”
Persian began launching a barrage of small green spheres from its mouth, with the projectiles spreading out over a wide area. Several of them hit Luxio directly, triggering small explosions upon contact. A cloud of thick gray smoke soon enveloped the Electric-type, and Lisa began smiling as the audience’s eyes were glued toward the foggy area where Luxio once stood. But when the cloud dissipated, Luxio had vanished.
Everyone, including Lisa, had been so focused on the cloud that they failed to notice Luxio leap skyward in the confusion. Though wearing a few bruises from the Seed Bomb onslaught, the Electric-type wasted no time in baring its fangs, encrusted in chilling blue ice, and sinking them directly into the left side of Persian’s body.
“Cloud of smoke and Luxio appears, the master of surprise!” Sadie taunted as the crowd applauded.
“Wow! After being struck down, Luxio makes a dramatic surprise attack on Persian! We’ve still got a dead heat here, folks!”
Gritting her teeth, Lisa yelled, “Okay, the gloves come off! Time to factor this equation! Water Pulse!”
A rippling stream of blue water met a concentrated blast of electricity mid-field as both attacks collided, sending sparking drops of water scattering in all directions.
Lisa began rubbing her chin. “Hmmm… Attacking from a distance isn’t working… I don’t want to get in close, but that may be the only way…” The brown haired teen suddenly heard her opponent’s next command.
“All right, Faint Attack!”
As Luxio began a running charge with its fur crackling with sparks, Persian disappeared from view. Sadie’s Pokémon stopped in its tracks and looked around, not noticing Persian appearing from behind and slashing it right across the body. Completely taken by surprise, Luxio instinctively released its built-up electric energy in one huge blast, striking Persian and causing the cat to leap backward to avoid further pain and damage.
“Direct hit on both sides! This is becoming one intense match!” The crowd applauded before settling back in, waiting for both Pokémon’s next move.
“Headbutt!” yelled Lisa.
As the beige feline came rushing headlong at its opponent, the Electric-type watched carefully. Seconds before impact, Luxio’s body began giving off a blinding yellow glow. As the audience shielded their eyes, Persian ran right past its opponent, skidding to a stop seconds before hitting the wall on the far side of the stage.
“And with that impressive use of Flash, Sadie now begins to open up a slight lead in the points! And with less than a minute left, Cassie needs to make up ground fast!”
“I’ve been so wrapped up in this battle that I had completely forgotten about our real job here!” Lisa sulked as she saw the countdown timer read “0:49.” The girl turned to face Sadie. “It’s go time!”
Looking at her opponent, Sadie saw Lisa lift the skirt of her dress a couple inches and wink, then yell, “Persian, Shadow Ball!”
“That’s the signal!” Pointing at the incoming black energy sphere, she yelled, “Fire Fang!”
The crowd watched in anticipation as the Electric-type's teeth began dripping with small orange flames. Luxio jumped in at the Shadow Ball, clamping down on it with its jaws. With a deafening boom that grabbed the attention of all those watching, the projectile attack exploded into a million small shards of black as flying orange embers and thick gray clouds engulfed the entire stage. The battlers had disappeared completely from sight.
Behind the veil, Lisa and Sadie both called back their Pokémon. The brown-haired girl also pressed the black button on her parasol’s handle, creating more smoke – an attempt to buy the girls a few more seconds to make their move. As the pair ran back behind the curtain amidst the confused murmurs of the crowd, Lorelei and Ashley got up from their seats and headed backstage as well.
The stage was obscured by a growing black cloud. The audience leaned forward, expecting some sort of loud comeback. But the stage was silent.
The announcer paused for a moment. “Wait… I don’t see either battler anywhere, or their Pokémon! I… I guess this is a double knockout and both Sadie and Cassie are eliminated!”
Some people clapped, but others continued to watch in confusion. The smoke finally cleared, and the crowd gasped in unison. The stage was devoid of life, showing only the scars of battle and an opened white parasol.
Hoo boy, nothing like a contest infiltration to start my day. My only problem... the chapter is purple :O
EDIT: Sorry, was. Haha.
Anyways. I saw nothing wrong with the contest appeals. You did well with the description. It's not necessary to go overboard, especially in your situation, where the main focus should be the plot and the impending explosion.
This made me laugh:
The final battle between her and Sadie was entertaining as well. And yes, the ending looks much better. So, this little fanfiction is almost over... Well, it was fun following it! Can't wait to see how it all ends
Thanks for stopping by and commenting, and be sure to stay tuned for the final chapter, What awaits Lisa and Sadie behind that curtain? How will this investigation end? Find out next time!
And on a semi related note, I am happy to report that one of my most wanted fraud artist fugitives, Rebecca S. Parrett, has finally been captured after two and a half years on the run. Now this Ponzi-scheming grandma gets to spend the next 25 years in jail, instead of the ballroom dancing she enjoyed so much
A/N: This chapter is rated a PG-13 for language and gunplay.
Once again, I would like to thank Haruka of Hoenn for use of her character Sadie and her help with proofreading the chapter.
Fugitive Joseph Wayne McCool, 63, is wanted for a Ponzi scheme involving an investment firm created by him and his co-conspirators. He is 6'2" and 230 pounds. If you know of his whereabouts, contact law enforcement agents immediately.
CONTEST HALL BACK OFFICE, 11:05 AM
“No!” Nancy screamed as she watched the events unfold on the monitor.
“What the hell? Don’t tell me… that Cassie girl was that agent from the League? Dammit! Jose, Tyson!”
The two men burst back into the room.
Jack shouted, “You two! Forget moving the stuff! Just burn these boxes and let’s get the hell out of here!” As the two men reached for some matches in their pockets, a couple of female voices startled them.
“Why the rush?”
The four of them spun around to see Lisa and Sadie, still in their Contest dresses, blocking the door. Both girls were smirking, hands on their sides.
Jack hollered, “What are you two waiting for? Shoot those bitches!”
The two men pulled out handguns and began to open fire. Both girls jumped out of the way as Lisa reached for her own weapon. As gunplay erupted, Jack and Nancy took cover behind their desk. The two teens knocked over a large coffee table and hid behind it. Lisa continued to exchange gunfire with the thugs, ducking behind the table as shots came her way. Both pieces of furniture were soon riddled with bullet holes, but nobody had been hit with gunfire.
After several more seconds, the firing ceased as the room became eerily silent. Both parties had their guns at the ready, not knowing what the other would do. Without warning, Jack and Nancy took advantage of the lull, vaulting over the desk and sprinting for the door. Lisa dived across the floor to block them, but they jumped over her before she could stand up. Sadie chased the pair out of the office, kicking off her white high heels and holding the bottom of her dress out a bit so she could run faster.
With their bosses gone, Jose and Tyson resumed gunfire, and Lisa had to quickly take cover again to avoid being hit. The girl quickly picked up her gun and returned fire.
Like during the previous Contest shooting, everyone and everything was in chaos as people fled for the exits. Jack and Nancy were fleeing down the corridor connecting to the main auditorium. They could see the frenzied mass of people in front of them.
“If we can make it into the crowd, we can disappear and… oh, shit.”
Ashley, Lorelei, and E stood in front of them, blocking their path. All three had their guns drawn. Behind the criminals stood Sadie, her hands stretched out The girl was panting and sweating, but an enraged look was on her face. Her pantyhose-covered feet approached the couple, step by step, as she addressed them in a low, almost snarling voice.
“You two… I love Contests… I have since I was a little girl. But what you two have done is a disgrace to Contests and everyone who lovingly participates in them. How dare you use our beloved Contests as merely a means to make money illegally. Do you even realize how much work and effort goes into a single Contest routine? No. No you don’t. Because all you two think about is the bottom line. I will be happy beyond belief when you two are locked up for good!”
Jack and Nancy said nothing, completely frozen in their tracks. Even the investigators were taken aback by Sadie’s reaction.
“All right, you guys, let’s cuff them!”
“Um, right!” Ashley replied as she and Lorelei took the criminal duo into custody.
Meanwhile, the office gun battle showed little signs of letting up. The bullets had made Swiss cheese of both hiding spots, and neither looked like it would hold up much longer. Needing a way to end it, Lisa removed both shoes from her feet. When Jose and Tyson raised their guns in preparation to fire, Lisa answered by throwing her white high heels at them. The shoes hit their targets, knocking the guns out of both of their hands. Before they could recover their weapons, the girl leaped over the table and stuck her gun in their faces. At the same time, Ashley and Lorelei arrived in the room, also pointing their weapons at the two men.
Seeing that it was all over, the two men put their hands in the air and offered no further resistance. As the suspects were being detained, Lisa asked, “What about those other two?”
“Sadie and E have taken care of them. Oh, and a quick word of advice. Don’t get Sadie angry. She can be absolutely terrifying.”
QUALITY INN & SUITES, HEARTHOME CITY, ROOM 215, 5:03 PM
The large flat-screen TV mounted on the wall of the hotel room was showing the news. Lisa, Lorelei, Ashley, and Sadie were standing outside the Contest Hall along with a female news reporter. Behind them, the parking lot was filled with city police cars.
“For the second time in a row, gunfire disrupts a Contest in Hearthome City. Only this time, no lives were lost and arrests were made as the story of a massive conspiracy is starting to unfold. Here are Pokémon League Special Agent Lorelei and Hearthome Police Detective Ashley Smith.”
“Thank you, Becky,” said Ashley. Our departments teamed up to investigate the Bruce Fowler murder, but in the process discovered a major cover-up. We have reason to believe that Bruce Fowler was murdered because he knew of a massive fraud occurring within the Contests and the architects of this embezzlement scheme murdered him to keep him quiet.”
Lorelei added, “But thanks to some investigation, we recovered his computer which contained enough evidence to indict. We also have arrested the gunman responsible for killing Mr. Fowler.”
“And what about the gunfire today?” asked Becky.
“Better let us answer this one,” said Sadie.
“Okay. Here are Sadie Catherwood and Lisa Northwood, two teenagers who helped in the investigation. Lisa works as a Special Agent with the League, while Sadie is a Contest aficionado who happened to be a witness to a couple of the crimes.”
Sadie answered, “First, I need to say that I am so disappointed that someone would use our Contests for such a thing. I felt I needed to do something about it. Lisa and I entered the Grand Festival today to create a diversion where we could rush in and take down the suspects.”
Lisa continued, “But they must have been waiting for us or something, because they had two of their assistants attempt to shoot us. I engaged in an extended gun battle with them while Sadie chased down the bosses. I was just fortunate that we ended it without anyone getting hurt.”
Lorelei said, “And we recovered quite a bit of evidence from their office, which they were in the process of moving and/or destroying. We’re currently looking through that to see what we can find.”
Becky continued, “Among the people arrested during the course of this investigation were Jack Tinsley, former President of the Sinnoh Contest Commission; Nancy Tinsley, Jack’s wife and the Commission’s Financial Director; Timothy Redmond, Operations Director; and several others hired as grunt workers. The investigation continues and more arrests are pending. For News 4, I’m Becky Harris.”
The television switched off. “Wow, it’s bit embarrassing to see yourself on television like that!” Sadie said to Lisa, her face red.
“I know! I mean, they definitely didn’t catch our good side! Both of us had messed up hair and our dresses were all wrinkled! At least they didn’t show our ripped pantyhose or the fact that neither of us had shoes! But at least that’s the worst that happened to us.”
“Yeah, when those guys started firing their guns, I was terrified! Even more than with your driving yesterday! Good thing you gave me that bulletproof vest to wear under my dress, even if we never actually got hit.”
“I told you, Sadie. It’s my duty as a League Special Agent to protect my cooperating witness. But as Lisa Northwood, it’s also my obligation to protect my close friends. You’re a great person and a really good friend. And a big help to us during this mission. I couldn’t live with myself if something happened to you.”
“Aww, thanks!” The two girls hugged each other. “You’re a great friend, too!”
“Yup, and ace detectives Lisa and Sadie solve another mystery!” The brown-haired teen pumped her fist in the air as she struck a pose.
Sadie laughed loudly. “Oh, Lisa, you never change, do you? So, what’s your plans from here on out?”
Lisa sat back down on her bed, closed her eyes and began thinking. “Well, after this mission, I’m supposed to be off-duty for a month. I think I want to go back to the States and finish off my vacation. After all, I’ve got a hotel room back there that I’m still paying for, for them to hold the rest of my stuff! What about you?”
“I know that after they find someone honest to run it, they want to hold a proper Grand Festival for all of us coordinators who were cheated this time. I hope it’s soon because I’ll have to stay in the Pokémon Center here in Hearthome until then. Yeah, I know this place is nicer, but I don’t have the money like you!”
Lisa put her arm around her friend. “Well, I’ll tell you what. If it happens to be while I’m still on break, you call me and I’ll see about coming. I think it would be nice to attend a Contest without worrying about gunfire.”
The two girls laughed. “Ain’t that the truth! But yeah, once I find out, I’ll let you know! Well, I guess tomorrow is goodbye again. It was good seeing you again, Lisa.”
“Same here. Hopefully next time we get together, it’ll just be for fun and relaxation.”
“You said it!”
QUALITY SUITES HOTEL, PINEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA, JULY 15, 6:04 PM
Back closer to home, Lisa stretched herself out on her king bed, wearing a light green sundress, blue blouse, and black leggings. She hit the power button on the TV remote control, then hit play on the remote to her own portable DVD player.
As the big LCD TV was flooded with anime girls in school uniforms, the girl’s cell phone began ringing. She hit pause and flipped open her phone.
“Hey, honey,” said a male voice over the phone.
“Oh, hello, Dad. What’s up?”
“Oh, nothing, just checking up. So, how’s everything going? Do anything interesting?”
“No, just the same old. Things going okay with you?”
“Well, we took your advice and bought a new LaCrosse. And you were right. Other than the tiny trunk and the fact that it’s a little hard to see out of, we love it! Thanks for the advice, you really are becoming a car expert!”
“Well, you could say I’ve got a lot of experience with that.”
“And I have great news! That business deal we’ve been working on… it finally got the green light! We’re now an official supplier as well as the official hospitality provider of one of the world’s top technology companies. We’re looking at an additional fifteen million in revenue a year because of this deal!
Lisa sat bolt upright on her bed. “Wow, Dad, that’s awesome! Remember to share the wealth a little, huh? There’s this cute ’72 Oldsmobile I’ve been looking at… the 75th anniversary Ninety Eight Regency edition, all original, 41,000 miles, for only $58,000.”
The girl’s father laughed. “Come on now, Lisa, you know you don’t need our money. You already earn six figures a year from your own online business ventures. If you want it, just go ahead and buy it! Just make sure you have a place to keep it – our garage is already full with two of your cars and two of ours!”
Lisa rubbed the back of her head. “Yeah, sorry, I know…But you know, when I see a really nice car, I just can’t help myself! And maybe I will go out and buy it. You just never know. Anyway, how’s Mom?”
“She’s doing pretty good. We’re headed out to dinner soon to celebrate this business deal.”
“Well, that’s good to hear. And Lindsay?”
“Funny you should bring her up… She told us she saw you on the news. Something about solving some murder and fraud case?”
The teen gulped. “I didn’t want them to find out about the mission!”
Her father continued. “So, nothing much happened, huh? That certainly doesn’t sound like ‘nothing,’ now does it?”
Lisa chuckled nervously. “No, I guess not. But I didn’t figure it was anything important…”
“Lisa Kimberly Northwood, you took a trip to Sinnoh and you didn’t even pay your little sister a visit? I’m very disappointed in you, young lady.”
“I… I’m sorry! But I was so focused on the mission and…” Lisa could hear her father laughing in the background. “Huh?”
“Oh, don’t worry, Lisa, I was just kidding! I knew you were busy on your mission and probably didn’t have time to visit her. But you know, she does miss you.”
“Jeez, Dad, don’t scare me like that! But I might be headed back there for part of my vacation, and I’ll definitely see her then! Well, I need to get myself some dinner, and I’m sure you need to get some too! We’ll talk later, bye!”
As Lisa ended her call, she noticed that she had gotten a new text message:
New Grand Festival Date: July 25, 11:00 AM
Hope to see you there!
“Well, that gives me a week and a half at least. Now to get dinner and later, watch some Pretty Cure!”
The girl switched her phone and the TV off. Grabbing her bag, she skipped out of her hotel room with a big smile on her face.
HEARTHOME CONTEST HALL, JULY 25, 12:45 PM
The hall was definitely decorated more lavishly this time, with cutouts of Contest trophies and ribbons plastered on the walls, long streamers running from corner to corner, decorative luminaries lining the edge of the stage, and large, bright banners proclaiming “GRAND FESTIVAL!” hanging over the doors. Overhead, large inflatable balloons shaped like popular Pokémon like Buneary and Pachirisu looked down on the event, smiling. Even the floor was littered with confetti that had rained down as the Contest first began. But the crowd was silent, focusing on the event unfolding in front of them.
On stage, under the bright spotlights, stood two trainers. On the left was Sadie in her green floral Contest dress and white pantyhose, her Roselia in front of her. Facing her was a blond haired girl in a blue dress and black pantyhose, who had a large, smiling red and white sphere in front of her. Both Pokémon wore battle scars, and were panting heavily out of exhaustion. On the monitor above the girls, the countdown timer read 0:49. The bars that indicated both girls’ points were dead even – and almost completely empty.
Among the fans watching the Contest were two brown-haired girls sitting next to each other. The older one wore a blue floral dress, white pantyhose, and a green blouse, with a white brimmed hat with purple bow atop her head. The other girl wore a dark purple floral print dress. The younger girl asked, “Lisa, why aren’t they making a move?”
She answered, “This is probably the turn that the Contest is going to be decided, Lindsay. They’re both trying to see what the other will do.” Lisa’s attention then turned back to center stage.
As the clock ticked down, both opponents looked at each other intently, trying to anticipate the other’s next move. Finally the girl in the blue yelled, “Let’s end this! Hyper Beam!”
Her Electrode fired off a golden energy ray, aimed at Sadie’s small green Pokémon.
“Roselia, Petal Dance!”
Waving the red and blue roses at the ends of its arms, Roselia began to summon a flurry of pink leaves . The small projectiles moved in an almost rhythmical fashion as they began to engulf the Hyper Beam, slowing it down long enough for Roselia to step to the left. The beam of flower petals struck the curtain on the far side, exploding into a storm of pink confetti that rained down on both the stage and the first few rows of bleachers as the audience looked on in awe. On the overhead monitor, the last of the girl’s point meter disappeared. A loud buzzer sounded and the announcer came in over the PA.
“And that’s it! Alyssa’s points are now at zero! Your winner and Grand Festival champion is Sadie Catherwood!
As the crowd erupted into a uproar of clapping and cheering, Sadie smiled and waved to the crowd as Alyssa fell to her knees, sobbing. Sadie ran over to her opponent and tried to comfort her.
“I… I worked so hard… but I couldn’t win… my mom’s going to be so disappointed in me…”
“No, no she isn’t. You worked very hard to get this far and gave me a battle I’ll never forget! Come on, you did great!”
“Oh… okay…” the girl said as Sadie helped her to her feet.
Among those cheering were Lisa and her sister Lindsay. “All right, Sadie, you won! Way to go, girl!” Lisa shouted, jumping up and down. Lindsay looked at her sister, a frown beginning to form on her bright red face.
“Come on, sis, you’re embarrassing me!”
QUALITY INN AND SUITES, HEARTHOME CITY, 4:27 PM
The lobby of the hotel featured rich dark cherry furniture and a polished granite floor. Plush upholstered recliners and a couch surrounded a large brick fireplace, above which was mounted a flat screen TV. Thick, heavy burgundy velvet curtains flanked the windows. Seated in two of the chairs were the Northwood siblings, still wearing the same clothes that they had during the Contest. Two girls entered through the lobby’s automatic doors, one in a green dress, the other in a blue dress, smiling and chatting with each other.
“Oh, man, those interviews were brutal!”
“I know! But Sadie, what are we doing in this hotel?”
“Come on, I have a couple friends I want you to meet.” The pair came over and sat down across from Lisa and Lindsay. “Hey, I want you to meet Alyssa Emerson, who, as you know, was my opponent in the championship match. Alyssa, meet Lisa and Lindsay Northwood, two very good friends of mine.”
“I remember you, Lisa! You were on the news when they arrested the old Contest director! I just wanted to thank you for helping save the Contests, and you’ll be glad to hear that they’re back to their former glory, now that Judge Fowler’s wife is the director.”
“Actually, I saw. I was there watching the whole thing. And I want to say congratulations to the both of you for a really great performance!”
“Well, I wasn’t that good,” said Alyssa as she looked down.
“What are you talking about? You were great!” Sadie said.
“But, I was so nervous! I mean, look what I did!” Alyssa pulled up the hem of her blue dress a little to show a large hole in her black pantyhose.
“You mean, like this?” Sadie showed her a similar hole in her white hosiery. “During that final battle, you really almost had me, and I was a nervous wreck!”
“Hey, wait a minute! Y’all are copying me!” Lisa called out as she showed off her ripped pantyhose. “And I wasn’t even participating, just watching!” The three older girls laughed while Lindsay rolled her eyes.
“Hey, Linds,” Lisa said, handing her sister her digital camera. “How about getting a picture of the three of us, the ‘Ripped Pantyhose Crew?’ All right girls, in front of the fireplace, and… big smile!”
After the photo shoot, the girls returned to their seats. “So anyway,” Lisa asked, “how were the interviews after your big win?”
“Exhausting!” said Sadie with a big sigh. “It went on for hours, with me standing in that hot dress and those itchy, ripped pantyhose for what seemed like forever, answering the same questions half a dozen times!”
“Yeah,” Alyssa added as she slumped in her chair. “They interviewed the two of us together since we came out of the Contest Hall at the same time and… standing in heels for two hours in the hot sunlight and on hot blacktop is not something I want to do again!” She kicked off her shoes, and Sadie and Lisa followed suit.
“Well, at least you weren’t wearing a bulletproof vest under your dress. That would have been brutal!” Lisa and Sadie laughed, while Alyssa and Lindsay looked on in confusion.
“Bulletproof vests?” Alyssa’s eyes were huge and almost perfectly circular.
“Yeah,” Lisa said. “During the investigation, we wore bulletproof vests under our dresses for the fake Grand Festival. And believe me, we almost needed them! If not for the gunmen’s bad aim…”
“Gunfire?” exclaimed Alyssa. “I mean, I heard about it on the news but was it really that serious? I couldn’t make it to that first Grand Festival because they moved the date so close…”
“Well, be glad you missed out on that one,” said Sadie. “Contests and gun battles should not mix.”
Lindsay stood up and declared, “I’ve decided! Next year I’m doing Contests instead of training! Y’all looked like you were having so much fun out there!”
The two coordinators giggled. Alyssa said, “Yep, it’s certainly a lot of fun! It’s a lot of hard work too, but I wouldn’t want to do anything else in the world!”
Sadie added, “Hey, maybe during the off season, we can teach you a few of the basics, just like I did when you started training. And on the way over here, Alyssa and I were talking about perhaps traveling together and participating in Contests in the Kanto region. You know, since my good friend Rena left to tackle the Pokémon League. Would you be interested in traveling with us, Lindsay?”
“Really? That would be awesome! Thanks a lot, you two!”
“Alright now, Lindsay, you have two very good coaches here, so I want to see you become a top tier coordinator by the next time I come visit, okay? Looks like I have three coordinators to root for now!” said Lisa.
“Yeah, alright sis.”
“Sounds like a plan!”
As the four girls left the lobby for the parking lot, the sun was still bright and intense, despite hanging lower in the sky. As soon as they had gotten into a rented Buick LaCrosse – the same one Lisa rented during the investigation – Lisa’s cell phone received a new text message.
New operation in Orre requires your assistance. Meet me at HQ by 0900 hours tomorrow.
Lisa sighed. “Perfect timing, just what I would expect…”
One thing. Here:
I loved Sadie's little speech there, but it could have used some more exclamations. I didn't get the feeling that she was yelling at them... unless you meant it to be that way.
Well, here ends the mini-fic. (All the fun of a regular fic, only shorter!) Did I ever mention how it was endlessly entertaining to see how the frilly pink world of the contests could mix in with a murder? The ending was satisfying as well, and I especially liked how you closed it off with Lisa receiving yet another mission request from Lorelei. It keeps things moving, in a way.
It's been fun reviewing! Now I'm off to work on my own See you... next fic.
As for my next one... don't expect it too soon, as I need to come up with some ideas... Thanks again for reviewing, and I officially bring this one to a close