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Old April 5th, 2018 (3:58 AM). Edited April 11th, 2018 by semi.
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semi semi is offline
the magnificent steiner
     
    Join Date: Apr 2016
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    Technician
    story by Semi

    it is vital that this world become a better place.
    and the people and pokémon chosen to make the world better
    must work tirelessly to achieve this goal.

    ─ Chapter Index ─
    Spoiler:
    #1
    #2
    tba


    #1 - an exposition


    Picture this: a wide research laboratory room occupied by several researchers hard at work. Heavy curtains are drawn against the window, trapping the bright synthetic light produced by ceiling LED strips and confining it to the room. The hum of machinery and the consistent sound of furious typing, which the researchers’ ears are long since accustomed to, creates a backdrop to the more abnormal sounds; the clicking of plugs and wires as they connect with their destined sockets, recurring coughs and sighs of researchers at work, a soft purring of some feline Pokémon nestled in a far corner, the low-volume enthusiastic chattering of a televised broadcaster.

    ─ ✧ ─

    “Hey, check this out! The lab’s on TV!”

    A couple of heads were turned towards Sana, the researcher enjoying the televised broadcast from a compact TV. She increased the volume so as to allow everyone present in the room to hear of the media’s opinion on their laboratory. On-screen, a male broadcaster of cheap attire and oily hair stood at the entrance area of the laboratory facility, frowning sincerely, speaking heatedly into the portable microphone pushed against his chest.

    “-live from the north east end of Jubilife city!”

    Sana scoffed audibly, seeing as how the broadcast was evidently not live. The last of the TV crew was seen at the laboratory facility a few days prior to the broadcast.

    “Here, at the Genetic Engineering Laboratory of Sinnoh, we’ve managed to catch the ever-busy Doctor Huan, head of the facility, for a word. Doctor Huan is a researcher celebrated nationwide, and he has kindly agreed to spare us some time for an interview right in front of his own laboratory!”

    The cameraman focused on a kindly-looking elderly man, dressed in a white lab coat and a solemn expression. Pushing his glasses up against his nose with importance, the doctor allowed a small helpless smile to play at his lips, trying to transmit the air of a man who is being detained against his will. A bulky microphone was being situated beneath his chin by an anonymous hand.

    “So, doctor, what exactly is it that you do in this important-looking laboratory?” (“Must’ve brought him over from the children’s program,” Sana commented.)

    “We, the researchers and scientists of the Genetic Engineering Laboratory, research different possibilities and formulas for improving berry crops region-wide via enetic gengineering-pardon me, I mean, genetic engineering.” (“He’s only human, after all,” Sana mused this time.)

    “Sounds incredible, although I won’t pretend I understood all of that. So, may we hear about some of your latest creations?”

    “We call our laboratory creations ‘genetically modified berries’, or GMBs for short. For example, we’ve recently produced an improved Oran Berry, which contains more nutritious value and may heal a status problem inflicted upon a Pokémon, as well as restore some of its energy. We are now focusing on berries such as the Wiki and Mago berries, to modify the taste-induced reaction to them, and avoid them causing confusion to Pokemon that dislike that taste.”

    “Neat, neat! May I ask, what exactly is the profit that you researchers make of these, err, GNTs?”

    “Oh, no, no. We do not produce these berries for our own personal profit, but to better Sinnoh and improve berry experience for both people and Pokémon!” The look in the doctor’s eyes as he exclaimed in his defense was one of integrity. He truly meant what he had said.

    “Amazing, truly! So, so noble.”

    The interviewer smiled broadly, shaking his head wonderstruck. His oily locks bounced around the frame of his face, most unceremoniously.

    “Well now, thank you, Doctor Huan. That about sums it up for today, folks! Don’t forget, you’re watching Jubilife TV.”

    Before adverts could proceed, Sana switched off the TV. She sighed. “That old fool, he ought to die already.”

    As her comrades hushed her for her controversial input, she chuckled. The young redheaded female was nothing short of unreserved, and was jolly and light-hearted more often than not as she expressed all that she desired. None of her fellow researchers could really stand her, although they could not take the appropriate steps to have her removed from position. After all, it was her wealthy family that was powering their research, and so no one felt they could really afford to upset her too much.

    Most of the researchers were quite pompous themselves. Too fretful to take part in the concrete experimentation in the practical laboratory a floor below, they would hide behind their computer monitors and act as though their presence was contributing to the lab. Or, as Sana has put it once: “We are not researchers, but adolescent typewriters!” (She was answered with cries of disapproval from her comrades.)

    At least, that was the case with many of them, though there were three exceptions; one researcher had been bumped down for lack of productivity in the laboratory, another for a medical disability that wouldn’t allow them to participate, and the third never seemed to be doing at all what he was supposed to, instead busying himself with various other unrelated occupations. Despite his demotion, he was well-liked and respected. There was simply this unique charm to him that no one could quite put their finger on.

    ─ ✧ ─

    Lysandre pushed aside a sweat-drenched strand of his hair that had stuck to his brow, his palm coming away equally sticky. Bent over a battered computer system unit in concentration, he tugged at a bundle of wires and removed the layer of dust that coated an inside panel with a dry cloth. He had been too focused on the job at hand to pay much attention to the chatter of the television broadcaster, and frankly, he wouldn’t have cared much for it had he been paying attention at all. Attaching each cable to its twinned wire and swapping between some, his fingers moved with the agility of a skilled technician. Finally, when he felt his job was complete, he connected the main power line of the computer with an adaptor plugged into the wall. A disoriented beeping sound that arose suddenly from the previously lifeless machine dissolved any doubt that remained within him, and triggered an exhale of relief.

    “And we are on!” Kaien, his colleague, announced dramatically, wheeling his office chair to Lysandre’s side. He ran a careful finger across the switches and toggles positioned on the computer’s surface, glancing up at the monitor. Spelled out in neon-green pixels was a large “START”.

    Kaien grinned in triumph, revealing two well-defined cheek dimples. “Nice job, Lysandre.” Lysandre was surprised. He was not at all used to receiving praise from Kaien, no matter the deed.

    Lysandre returned a grin, sending Kaien a subtle thumbs-up, as if saying, It was no big deal. In contrast to what he had conveyed, he felt massive fulfillment, a feeling that was foreign to him. He had been working on repairing this old computer for hours and hours, some well into the night. Lysandre wasn’t used to working hard, always getting what he wanted with a snap of his finger and use of slick manipulation, but now that he was working on multiple job positions simultaneously, he had to make due. “You know, they call people like you workaholics,” Sana had told him with disapproval, one time after she’d found him dozing off over a pile of research documents. “Not quite,” he’d replied in a daze, “I’m far more interested in the fruits of my labour.” “Ah, so you’re obsessed with making money? Is that it?” He nodded at that, twisting his features into the most believable expression of vulnerability he could pull off, as if saying, Oops, you got me.

    As the day went on and its hours trickled by, many of the researchers began taking their leave for the day, one by one. Finally, there remained only three: Kaien, who was watching a drawing tutorial video on his computer, Lysandre, who was half-heartedly occupying himself by fiddling with the parts of a broken mechanical watch whilst repeatedly tapping the enter key of his keyboard, and Naomi, who was furiously battling a scientific paper she wished to complete before the hour was up.

    With his finger, Kaien traced the shapes presented in the tutorial on the surface of his desk. Eventually, he became quite fed up and slammed his finger into the power button of the computer, without warning. He stood and stretched his hand towards the curtains that were drawn over the window.

    “It’s getting late,” Kaien said, drawing back heavy curtains to reveal the sun setting over the city skyscrapers. “You should both head home soon." He glanced at Lysandre knowingly before heading into the elevator.

    Some minutes later, Lysandre dragged his chair back and turned to look over at Naomi. The young researcher was typing with great concentration, purely focusing on the completion of the article. The timer Lysandre had set for her was ticking dangerously low, and finally hit its zero-time mark and began to make soft beep-beeping sounds. He gently shut it off. Frustrated, Naomi pulled her fingers away from the keyboard and began gathering the papers scattered around her. Prior to taking her leave, as she was accustomed to, she scanned over the content of her document and heaved an exasperated sigh. “What a mess.”

    “Unfinished, illiterate and perfunctory,” Lysandre offered.

    She nodded her head briskly.

    “I believe you would get better results if you concentrated on what you were typing, rather than trying to finish it within a certain time limit.”

    “Thank you,” she replied, bowing lightly. She did not appreciate the repetitive advice one bit, but since Lysandre was an individual she looked up to and respected, she made her best efforts not to twist her face into a grimace. She turned and strode away.

    “Well now, good day to you,” Lysandre exclaimed at her. The elevator’s doors shut before she could reply.

    Lysandre slipped the broken watch into his pocket, placed the working stopwatch on a near shelf and began to whistle a soft tune as he set down the aisle between desks, towards the elevator. Once inside it, he scanned over the destination buttons at his disposal. He was currently on F3:RF, the research floor. F2:L would take him to the practical laboratory, while F1:E would take him to the entrance floor. F-1:S was the storage floor, F-2:A was archives, and strangely enough, F-3 was missed out entirely. The button for it simply did not exist.

    Decisively, Lysandre pressed the button for the underground floor marked “F-4: UA”. “The UA stands for undocumented archives,” Kaien had explained to him, on Lysandre’s first trip down to floor -4. “Before Doctor Huan first took over this building, the outskirts of Jubilife city had barely reached it, and the building was completely abandoned, despite it containing so much valuable information. Doctor Huan personally went through it all and whatever knowledge he deemed unworthy of notice, he left it to gather dust on this floor.”

    “That’s not right,” Lysandre said in earnest. “All knowledge in existence is worthy of some notice.”

    Kaien had shrugged at that. “This is where you and I differ. Whichever the case, it conveniently remains deserted at all times of the year. Come, Lysandre, and I will show you what use I have made of this abandoned floor.”

    The elevator doors slid open with a ding, breaking Lysandre’s reverie.
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      #2    
    Old April 7th, 2018 (7:20 PM).
    Bay's Avatar
    Bay Bay is offline
    Darkinium Z
     
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    Hey, you mentioned your Lysandre story back in the plot bunny thread, and I thought I should drop by and leave a few thoughts!

    I admit, I'm amused you have one of the characters named Sana as I'll have a character in my fic with the same name, haha. Otherwise, this is a good set up over Lysandre's work and the type of collegues he works with. Hm, F-4 sounds ominious there, looking forward what lurks there.

    Quote:
    Lysandre returned a grin, sending Kaien a subtle thumbs-up, as if saying, It was no big deal. In contrast to what he had conveyed, he felt massive fulfillment, a feeling that was foreign to him. He had been working on repairing this old computer for hours and hours, some well into the night. Lysandre wasn’t used to working hard, always getting what he wanted with a snap of his finger and use of slick manipulation, but now that he was working on multiple job positions simultaneously, he had to make due. “You know, they call people like you workaholics,” Sana had told him with disapproval, one time after she’d found him dozing off over a pile of research documents. “Not quite,” he’d replied in a daze, “I’m far more interested in the fruits of my labour.” “Ah, so you’re obsessed with making money? Is that it?” He nodded at that, twisting his features into the most believable expression of vulnerability he could pull off, as if saying, Oops, you got me.
    I admit, I got slightly confused that this is where Lysandre reminiscing there. Perhaps you can itcalized Lysandre and Sana's conversation, and in the present Lysandre maybe smiling at the memory or something. Another suggestion is to just summarized how Sana called him a workaholic but Lysandre didn't mind that. You did something similar with Lysandre and F-4, I feel perhaps you can have him remember the conversation/summarized it. Otherwise, looking forward to more!
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      #3    
    Old April 11th, 2018 (2:49 AM). Edited April 15th, 2018 by semi.
    semi's Avatar
    semi semi is offline
    the magnificent steiner
       
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      ─ A/N ─
      Spoiler:
      Warning: the science aspects used here are alternated and simplified. If you are an expert in any of the fields mentioned, I’m truly sorry for my errors and ignorance in these fields. There is only so much I can research for a story set in a world where science logic varies from that of the real world’s.

      Also, I would like you to keep in mind that some things haven’t yet been invented in the electronic field in the Pokémon world, which is fair, since depending on electric-type Pokémon has always been the name of the game.

      In addition, I will point out that this chapter was slightly… all over the place. I tried my very best to wrap it up appropriately.

      Bay: I appreciate your input, and have decided to slightly alter my writing style in light of it. In order to experiment and attempt at avoiding unnecessary confusion, I’ve used only present tense for flashbacks, while the story itself is written in past tense. I wonder if this style will work better…


      #2 - comrade


      The dimness of the room’s lighting was the first thing that greeted him, as it did each time. After adjustment, he could easily identify the room’s defining features; there were several dusted bookcases set in narrow rows and lined with stacks of paper and cardboard boxes, a low ceiling dotted with crookedly hanging age-old lightbulbs and indented walls of peeling wallpaper, and directly across the entrance, on the other end of the room, was a wooden door that stood slightly ajar. The thrumming of some contraption filled the air with its mesmerizing rhythm. Lysandre began swaying his head from side to side and walked, as if in a trance, towards the door. The first time he set foot in the aisle between the bookcases, he couldn’t lay his eyes off the titles of the documents and boxes stacked on the shelves. Quickly learning that knowledge of more valid value lay beyond the door ahead, any other no longer interested him enough. Lysandre tapped lightly on the door, which had a small makeshift plaque with the words “GMP Lab” on it, and pushed it open.

      This room was considerably different from the previous. It was small and brightly lit, with various pieces of furniture pushed against the walls. A narrow table lined with scientific equipment was situated on the right hand side, and Kaien’s lab-coat-clad figure stood over it, flipping open a toolkit box. A Lucario was sleeping soundly in the corner by the refrigerator. There was also a sink, a bookcase crammed with papers, a plastic chair with a crack running down the middle and a computer. It was a compact laboratory for all intents and purposes.

      “Ah, there you are.” Kaien remained with his back to Lysandre, continuing in the operation of emptying the content of the toolkit onto the surface of the table.

      Lysandre raised an eyebrow. “There are simply no bounds to the warmth in which you greet your esteemed comrades.”

      “You’re too funny.”

      Lysandre smiled slightly at his comrade’s lackluster behavior that he was all too used to. In fact, he had not changed since the day Lysandre joined the lab. “You’re no biochemist,” Kaien tells him simply, that day. Lysandre can’t tell if he was insulting him, or simply stating a fact. “You’re right,” Lysandre agrees. At that, Kaien scoffs inaudibly and storms off. Lysandre couldn’t quite figure out what he had done wrong, either. Lysandre’s slight smile broadened at the memory.

      ─ ✧ ─

      He receives a phone call one day. “Have I reached Sandy the Technician?”

      Not even a hello, Lysandre derides in his mind. He says: “Hello, speaking.”

      “I’ve been trying to troubleshoot my computer all day,” the voice rings out with indignation from the other end, “but I’ve made no progress. My programs won’t stop crashing or corrupting. What time can I make an appointment for?”

      Lysandre ponders on the question for a moment. “Within the hour, I daresay. What is the address of this computer?”

      “Genetic Engineering Laboratory, on Ninth Street, 4th floor.” The voice sounds somewhat familiar to Lysandre. He reassures that he will be there soon, and pockets his phone. It is his work phone, the one which’s number he prints beneath the various “Sandy the Freelance Computer Repair Technician” ads he tapes on to lampposts situated in scattered corners of Jubilife City. For being the one and only work call he’d gotten that week, it is almost funny to him that it was initiated by a researcher from the floor above him at work. Lysandre messily deposits his lab coat on a rack and heads upstairs via elevator.

      The elevator doors slide open and Lysandre steps over the threshold to 4th floor. “Someone called for a technician?”

      You’re Sandy the Technician?” A tall male is standing by the entrance, carrying a keyboard under his arm. His features are sharp, his frown almost caustic. Nothing about the air around him transmits a shred of fondness or warmth.

      Lysandre addresses him with a small smile, identifying the familiar voice he’d taken note of on the phone. “It’s Kaien, right?”

      Kaien exhales his indignation with a low “hmph”. Lysandre spots an unoccupied computer two meters away, which Kaien motions him over to. He drops the keyboard on the desk, muttering under his breath. “Sandy. Lysandre. Sandy. Lysandre. How… utterly… ridiculous…”

      Lysandre boots up the computer. It is a rather old system, and it signifies its revitalization with a dusty gasp sounding much like a broken motor’s. He lurks about through the various content the system has to offer.

      “You’ve been trying to troubleshoot for hours. You’ve tried various software and malware scanners, though all have crashed on you, or given no decipherable results.”

      Kaien nods. Lysandre sets to work as Kaien watches over him. At one point, he tries to access a file titled "GMP", but Kaien slaps his hand away from the keyboard protectively, saying it was the one thing he wouldn’t allow access to. Lysandre accepts this. A few minutes pass before he is able to conclude: “Your computer’s been possessed by a Rotom.”

      “What?”

      “Rotom may pervade all sorts of electronic devices, but since it has never been known to successfully manifest itself in a computer system, it does not stay for long. A particularly mischievous Rotom will leave signs to let you know it was there.”

      Kaien looks away, uncomfortable. “Yeah, I knew that.”

      “Do you know why a Rotom might be attacking your computer, or where it might’ve come from?” Lysandre asks calmly.

      Kaien sighs. He glances up again at Lysandre, a look of deep sorrow reflected on his otherwise sharp facial features. “The Rotom was mine, and I asked it to possess my computer.”

      Lysandre is dumbfounded. “Why on earth would you do that?”

      “It was the quickest means of transferring data,” Kaien replies, in earnest this time.

      “But that didn’t work,” Lysandre perceives. “Your Rotom must not like you very much.”

      Kaien scoffs at Lysandre’s nerve.

      “That being said, it probably found your file too heavy to carry out,” Lysandre adds, scrambling over to the monitor and finding his way back to the file Kaien hadn’t let him open, before he could be stopped. “That would be this file.”

      Kaien pushes Lysandre away from the monitor with a powerful wrench, sending the younger man backwards by several steps.

      “I’d be glad if you can fix the problem,” Kaien retorts, “rather than invade my privacy.”

      Lysandre, slightly shaken, nods.

      Sometime later, as Lysandre sets about completing the clearing of Rotom’s remains, Kaien attempts at making conversation. “A computer technician and a biochemist, huh? I’ll say, Lysandre, that’s pretty impressive.” Kaien is calmer now, and rather impressed with Lysandre’s swift and efficient troubleshooting.

      Lysandre feels he has finished the task, and reboots the computer. It does not make the same broken motor sound it had the previous time, and Lysandre understands that the sound was a Rotom’s cry. He checks over his completed work, and is satisfied with the results.

      He eventually replies: “That’s funny. Someone once told me that I was no biochemist.”

      ─ ✧ ─

      Lysandre took a seat on the fractured plastic chair and watched as Kaien went about his preparations. One by one, the practiced biochemist placed the tools in an orderly fashion, first forceps, then scissors, then various funnels and a number of other lab utensils Lysandre couldn’t remember the names of. A micropipette too, perhaps? Ever since he’d been introduced to the micro-liquid-transferring-syringe, Lysandre would nickname every complex laboratory tool after the one close-to-complex laboratory tool’s name he could recall. He found it almost amusing, which Kaien, of course, found disagreeable.

      All tools, he knew, were “borrowed” from the upstairs labs by Kaien a few months ago, before Lysandre was exposed to GMP Lab’s existence. “GMP Lab?” Lysandre repeats the words on the makeshift plaque as a question, upon his first time coming across it. “Genetic Modification of Pokémon Lab,” Kaien explains. Lysandre clenches his jaw at that. It sounds to him like the title of a freakish science fiction project. But instead of expressing this, he simply purses his lips and chooses not to say a word.

      Kaien began depositing items from the refrigerator; microwell plate, test tube rack and flask were placed in a neat line by the tools, all filled with substances variating in colour and amount. He tilted his head, still purposefully avoiding Lysandre’s gaze.

      “Well, are you just going to sit and watch,” he said, his voice edged with annoyance, “or are you going to get some work done?”

      Lysandre snickered. He had waited for him to say that.

      ─ ✧ ─

      Eventually, Lysandre’s side job as well as his disinterest in being a biochemist was uncovered by Doctor Huan, and he too was demoted to floor 4. He took the unoccupied desk next to Kaien (much to Kaien’s mixed dismay and joy), and showed even less devotion to his job from that day onwards.

      Some weeks later, Kaien returns from a short visit to the restroom, only to find Lysandre gazing intently at the content presented on Kaien’s monitor.

      “Hey, Kaien!” he calls him over. “I think I can solve this logic you’ve been working on.”

      Kaien rushes over, knowing all-too-well that anything presented on his monitor is certainly not for his nosy comrade’s eyes. His expression freezes when he recalls just what it was he’d left on.

      “There’s a logical consistency here,” his comrade continues. “Here, I’ll show you.”

      Slowly, unwillingly, Kaien looks over Lysandre’s shoulder, as Lysandre goes about explaining the logical consistency he has found in the wall of letters, sounding much like the technician that he is. Kaien hides his awe with the disdain he feels in light of the fact that his comrade solved something he had been working on a while to solve.

      Lysandre narrows his eyes at Kaien. “This looks like the kind of decoded DNA I used to deal with downstairs, except much more complicated.”

      Kaien bites his lip.

      “But you were demoted from the labs for lack of performance,” Lysandre points out.

      “I was,” Kaien says, avoiding Lysandre’s gaze.

      This scenario repeats itself over the next few weeks. Lysandre begins to think that Kaien is purposely leaving his hush-hush-top-secret files open on purpose, so that Lysandre may solve the logical consistencies for him. Of course, his comrade would never admit to it.

      On the other hand, Lysandre finds it most enjoyable. Doing what he was best at, while acting as his same prying self, and simultaneously defeating Kaien Huan by miles? It sounds too good to be true, frankly. He once expresses this in front of his comrade, and the latter twists his face into a grimace upon hearing his full name. He utterly despises being identified as the Doctor’s son.

      “What are these for, Kaien?” Lysandre asks him one day, after solving yet another wall of letters for his comrade. “You never say.”

      Kaien purses his lips. “It’s a personal project.”

      Lysandre is highly dissatisfied with his reply.

      “I’ll tell you about it sometime,” Kaien murmurs, somewhat against his will.

      “No,” Lysandre states, “you’ll tell me about it now.”

      Kaien doesn’t argue. Sharing classified information with Lysandre no longer seems like a bad idea to him as it did when they first became acquainted. And so, that evening, Kaien finds himself going down to F-4, accompanied by an ecstatic Lysandre who wouldn’t shut up about his different theories on what Kaien might be hiding.

      ─ ✧ ─

      Lysandre studied the wall of letters that had been scanned from the DNA of a Staravia. His eyes hunted for a consistency, and his mind thought over all the possible consistencies that he’d previously discovered. If one was tangent to Staravia’s, it would create a situation where enzyme snipping could be done to remove and replace sections of DNA, the rest of which was a matter of a concept Lysandre couldn’t really grasp, and thus he left it all for Kaien to understand.

      He recalled the first time Kaien had explained the technicalities of it, as well as how he had come about starting the lab, and how he began his earlier experimentation, and how his father was furious when he’d discovered the project and so on. Now, Lysandre may be skilled at identifying logical consistencies, but he certainly couldn’t find any in Kaien’s long-winded lecture on his project. The one thing Lysandre registers, “genetic engineering in Pokémon”, is enough to kindle a flame of strong curiosity within him. His mind expands on the ideas that Kaien presents: using DNA snipping to modify a Pokémon’s DNA and allow one species to harbor the abilities and moves of another. Lysandre considers it, and a creeping infatuation with the idea seizes his mind and soul.

      ─ ✧ ─

      A thought strikes Kaien’s mind. He faces Lysandre with sincerity.

      “I need you on my team, Lysandre,” he says. “I need your technician eyes.”

      Lysandre asks: “What’s in it for me?”

      But he doesn’t hear what Kaien replies to that. His mind is racing, his eyes shining. He has been waiting for an opportunity like this for a long, long time; an opportunity to take part in creating something grand.
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        #4    
      Old April 11th, 2018 (5:20 PM).
      Venia Silente's Avatar
      Venia Silente Venia Silente is offline
      Worrisome, but also Charming
       
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      Okay, one: interesting story. The title and the early mentions of laboratories were an instant grab for me. But what did even more was exactly where and when did you place Lysandre in the story. I mean a computer Technician, come on. In a genetic lab. Being approached on a project for hacking Pokémon, and Technician is also an Ability. Not to mention the other characters.

      It would be pure comedy goldmine, if it wasn't because it's going on for a more serious plot.

      Oh, a good note on the mention on the Rotom-infested computer. I take it the laboratory is not up to date on their antivirus licenses.

      (How much is too much file size for a Rotom to carry around anyway? I mean I do still have about 6 GB of data from a meteorological simulation I was once part of...)
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