Run For Your Life!
A Shadowrun/Pokégirl World Crossover (AU) by Bosk
Disclaimer: The Pokégirl Multiverse was created by Metroanime and many, many others. Shadowrun the RPG is owned by Catalyst Game Labs and Topps Company. The Shadowrun world was created by many authors too.
Author's note: Mature readers only. If you're not legally old enough in your country or offended by sex, girl-on-girl sex, violence, or swearwords, please read something else. You should be familiar with the Pokégirl World, otherwise you will miss a lot. This is more a raw draft than a full-fledged story. It's fun fiction. Enjoy.
Comments or reviews can be placed at the Pokegirls Pokecenter http://z3.invisionfree.com/PokegirlsPokecenter/index.php?showtopic=4691 or you can send me a mail at Bosk_ldspox(at)spoxyahoo.de (Remove “spox” and use the correct (at). I assume you know the drill.).
It was a good run so far. High risks, high stakes. Until now the information and codes the Johnson had provided were on the level and Sarah's team had infiltrated the hidden lab undiscovered. Sarah felt her ears twitch. A run that smooth always made her nervous. Tim gestured her forward and she inspected the final door. She connected her equipment to the pad beside the door and started her own unlocking routine. 20 seconds later the door clicked open.
While her team entered first, Sarah stowed her equipment. Then she followed. She nearly run into Tim's broad back. Her comrade had stopped and stared at something in the middle of the lab. Sarah looked around. She saw the computers she expected and a complicated looking chemical experiment set up on a long desk on the far left. She took a step to her right to look at the thing that had stopped her comrades.
In the middle of the room hovered a sphere with a diameter of about three feet. Blue and red colors swirled through it, creating everchanging patterns.
“What's that?” she asked.
“No idea,” Tim grunted. “The Johnson didn't say anything about a frakking hologram.” He straightened. “Let's get to work.” He pointed at a workstation. “That's our treasure box. Open it, Sarah. Quickly, please.”
“On it.” Sarah gave the hovering sphere one last look then walked over to the workstation. She pulled her deck out of her backpack.”
The panicked shout made her turn to see the sphere expanding fast. The blue-red light engulfed her as she smelled powerfull magics. Frak-
Ouch! That's how it must feel to be hit by a bus. Sarah groaned. She was on her back on the floor, her deck clutched to her chest, the strap of her backpack on her left elbow, the backpack on the ground beside her. Her eyes were firmly closed. She took a quick inspection. Toes wriggled, fingers moved. Everything hurt, but nothing seemed broken. Sarah opened her eyes and looked up at a grey ceiling. With a groan she sat up and looked around. It looked like the lab, but the room was empty and dust covered the floor. Carefully she stood up, dusted off, and turned. She was alone. Where was her team?
Biting back a curse, she put her deck into her backpack, before shouldering it. Nothing to see here. Time to be gone.
The walk back to the exit was eery. There was nobody. Every equipment had been removed a long time ago, considering the gathered dust. It took her ten minutes to leave the building.
Sarah took a deep breath and coughed. What was wrong with the air? Where was the smell of exhausts and rotting garbage? The air didn't smell like anything. It was too quiet. Where was the roar of a busy industrial sprawl? Where was everybody?
Sarah stepped through a gap in the tall wall around the building, where the door had been through which her team had entered, and stopped. The area was in ruins and had been for a long time considering the vegetation covering most of it. No building taller than three stories had been left standing. What the frakk had happened here and when?
She activated her comm. “Team call. This is Cat. Status?”
Noise was the only answer.
“Prio One. Stop frakking around and answer me!”
Sarah considered her options. She had to get out of these ruins and find out what was going on. The city center might be the best choice. Perhaps she'd find people there. Looking at the sun it should be midday soon. She started walking.
She felt like the last woman on earth. There was no sound apart from the wind. Sarah trudged on.
One hour later she came around a corner and nearly collided with another woman. She jumped back.
“Frakk! You scared me!”
The other woman stared at her. She wore tight pants, combat boots, and a pleather jacket. She stood like a fighter. A similar dressed youngster run up to them and stopped behind the woman.
“What is it, Jean?” he asked
“Not sure, master. It talks.” the woman said looking at Sarah.
“It?” Sarah gasped. “Are you calling me an 'it', Jean?”
The man pointed a gaming console at her.
Sarah slid her right hand to her shoulder holster. Talk first.
“Good day. I'm Sarah. Who are you, mister?”
The man lowered the gaming console, a look of unbelief on his face.
“She's human, Jean. Stand down.” He blinked and looked at Sarah. “Sorry. Good day to you. I'm Paul Archer.”
“What's going on here, Paul” Sarah asked.
“I'll tell you, after you've answered one question: How are you still alive? This area is crawling with pokégirls!”
“To tell you the truth, Paul, I just woke up a few hours ago in an abandoned building. I have no idea what happened here. I was on my way to the city center to look for people. You are the first people I met.”
“There are no people. This city was given up centuries ago.”
“Centuries? What's the year?”
“What does A.S. stand for?”
“After Sukebe. You are not from around here.” Paul stated.
“Can you give me the year in A.D., Anno Domini?” Sarah asked.
Paul scratched his head. “Hm, I guess that might be around 2318.”
Sarah gasped. “Oh, Frakk!”
“My guess is you are a dimensional traveller,” Paul said. “I will take you to my superior, if that's alright with you?”
“Alright.” Sarah agreed.
“Jean, point.” Paul ordered. “Back to camp.”
Jean at once turned around and moved forward. Paul and Sarah followed.
“What were you doing here?” Sarah asked.
“I'm a tamer. We're hunting pokégirls.” Paul answered.
“Tamer? Pokégirls?” Sarah asked.
Then Paul told her the most incredible story. Only to him it was history and the facts of life. Sarah swallowed. 90 percent of the world's population gone in a plague. It was unimaginable.
After two hours they reached the camp. Sarah counted eight tents, big enough for two or three people. There were three man and three woman standing around. One of the woman spotted them first and talked to the man close to her. He turned towards them and waved.
“Hey Paul!” he shouted. “Who do you have there?”
“Hey Simon!” Paul waved back.
He and Sarah walked up to the others. “This is Sarah. I found her in the ruins to the west, about two hours from here. She's a dimensional traveller.”
Sarah waved. “Gentlemen and ladies, hello.”
The man in the middle was older, at least compared to the youngsters. Sarah thought him about thirty. He took a step forward.
“Hello Sarah, welcome to our camp.”
Sarah shook his hand. “Thank you.”
“We have four tamers still roaming the ruins. After they'll return, we'll break camp and return to base. Would you like something to eat?”
Sarah found that the men were eager to please her. The women watched her warily, but didn't take part in the conversation.
The first teleport of her life later, Sarah found her in a town filled with people. No comparison to a lively sprawl, but there were at least folks around.
Paul had brought her to the police station and now she was sitting before a blue-haired girl in a blue police uniform. She had a thick black leather collar around her throat. Sarah's prints had been taken, she'd been photographed, and at last they'd taken a bit of her blood.
“Sorry about the procedure and welcome to Yohto,” the girl said with a warm smile. “I'll have to ask you a few questions and then I'll issue you your papers.”
“First name Sarah with an 'h' at the end, right?”
“Berghofer. German ancestors, don't ask.” Sarah answered.
“I'm a computer specialist.” Sarah told her.
“Do you have any children?”
“You're a dimensional traveller?”
“I've been told that.”
“You had no pokégirls in your world?”
“What are your plans now?”
“Getting a job, finding a living, and searching for a way back. Something like that.” Sarah said.
“Will you work as a computer specialist?”
“I plan to. First I have to find out, what systems you are working with here and now.”
“If you are good, you might find your service in high demand.” the police girl said.
“I'm very good, but I don't know your systems yet. I will find out.”
“Thank you. That was the official part.” The blue-haired girl typed competently on her keyboard. “We will provide you with a citizen card. You're an legal alien now. If you are still here in a year and have commited no crimes, you can apply for Yohto citizen status. Your card should be ready in an hour.” She smiled.
“Now, after the official part is over, may I ask you to take a look at our system? I think there's something wrong with communications.” the police girl asked.
“Sure. Will you tell me your name?”
“I'm called 'Fruit', mistress.”
“That's a strange name, no offense.” Sarah said in suprise.
“Non taken. It's better than 'Jenny' though.” Fruit replied.
“Why, if I may ask?”
“Sure, mistress. I'm a pokégirl, an OfficerJenny. Many of my breed are named 'Jenny' by their tamers.” Fruit explained.
“Your tamer named you?”
“No, my training officer did. I'm a civic pokégirl. I have no tamer.”
“Oh, I see. Who does tame you then?”
Fruit blushed. “The male officers, when they are in the mood, or friendly citizens, or other pokégirls.”
“Oh. Thanks for telling me. Show me your system please.”
Sarah took a drink from the tea Fruit had provided. The system was so outdated, it wasn't even funny. It was set up with a simpe user interface for Pokégirls, but it had been easy to get administrator rights. The problem was the shitty programming. The first programmer had been competent, but the many after him or her had been hacks at best. The whole thing belonged in the trash and rebuild from the ground up. Sarah grumbled.
“Hey Fruit, do you have a moment?” she called out.
Fruit appeared ony a moment later. “You called, mistress?”
“Let's talk payment. How much work do you want done and how much are you willing and able to pay?”
“Please explain, mistress.”
“This whole system is crap. It's been reprogrammed and changed so often, that it uses two thirds of its time and power to run through dead ends. That's why it's so slow. I can look only at your communications problems and fix them in a day or two or I can rebuild the whole system in two or three months. That's only a rough guess. You should get the idea.”
“We can't afford a rebuild. We can pay you 50,000 SLC a day.”
“How much is that?”
“For 50,000 SLC you can get a good jacket and a pair of pants. 150,000 SLC will get you one of the most common pokégirls. For 50,000 you can stay for a night in a good hotel. I looked up old currencies. It's about 500 Dollars.”
“500 Dollars, hm. Tell you what, I'm working on communications for two days and you'll pay me 150,000 SLC, bonus excluded.”
“I'm sorry, mistress, but we aren't allowed to pay more than 50,000 SLC a day.”
“Can you at least provide a bed and food? Where are I'm supposed to stay anyway?”
“I have arranged for a room at our Pokécenter. Food will be provided there. You may stay there for six nights.”
“Good. Thank you. I'll work on this today, and tomorrow, agreed?” Sarah asked.
“Agreed, mistress.” Fruit sealed the deal.
Even if it was shitty and antique, working on the program was fun for Sarah. She spent her time streamlining the code and deleting dead ends. Before she knew it, the sun set.
“Mistress, my shift is over. Would you like me to accompany you to the Pokécenter?”
Fruit had such a hopeful look in her eyes, that Sarah couldn't fail to get the hidden meaning.
“You're hoping for a, how do you call it, a taming?” Sarah asked.
Fruit blushed. “Yes, mistress, if you please.”
“Sure. Bring your handcuffs.”
Fruit's eyes widened.
“I'll be using them on you.” Sarah announced with a grin.
Fruit gasped and blushed very hard.
On the way to the Pokécenter Sarah noticed only very few pokégirls out and about. All wore thick collars, some were cuffed, and a few even leashed. Fruit kept very close to her.
At the Pokécenter Fruit talked quietly with the NurseJoy at the front desk. She returned with a key card. They went to the mess hall for dinner. There Sarah saw for the first time tamers with more than one pokégirl out. She tried not to stare, but there was one who looked like an overgrown ant with four arms, a few with real wings, and some with bestial faces. A few tamers were talking quietly, but all the pokégirls were silent, looking down on their plates and eating quietly. Sarah and Fruit collected their meals and the counter and found an empty table to eat. It was some kind of ragout with beans and rice. The taste was okay and it was warm and filling. No one approached Sarah, though quite a few looked at her. Probably the OfficerJenny beside her scared them off.
After their meal they went to Sarah's room. It was simple, bed, chair, table, and shower and toilet in a small, separate room. There was no cupboard, just a board on the wall with three hangers. Sarah locked the door, strode over to the bed and turned around. Fruit stood beside the door and tried her best not to fidget.
Sarah put her backpack under the desk and shrugged out of her jacket. Fruit gasped when she saw Sarah's shoulderholster.
“You'll need a permit for that, mistress.” she told Sarah.
“Then you'll issue one for me tomorrow.” Sarah said with a smile. “Now strip.”
Fruit blushed and obeyed. Sarah hid a grin when Fruit placed her uniform on a hanger and straightened it. She placed her shoes side by side under her uniform. In her underwear she turned to Sarah.
“I said 'strip'. Everything goes.” Sarah told her.
“Hand me your handcuffs.”
Fruit pullet the handcuffs from her belt and brought them to Sarah.
“Turn around. Hands behind your back.”
Sarah cuffed her. She leaned in close to Fruit's left ear and whispered: “How does it feel?”
Sarah gripped Fruit's neck. “Get on your knees.”
Sarah stripped quickly out of the rest of her clothes, putting her back-up piece and her three knives silently into her backpack. Nude she stood behind Fruit. “Turn around and get to work.”
It was too warm. The heat brought Sarah out of her sleep. There was a warm female body cuddled up to her. Sarah remembered the night. Fruit sure had been desperate to please her. After Sarah had tasted her, she knew why this OfficerJenny had been named Fruit. It had been a very satisfying night. Sarah had uncuffed Fruit before they both fell asleep.
Fruit stirred. Her light-blue hair was tousled from sleep. “Good morning, mistress.”
Sarah stretched. “Good morning, Fruit. Go back to sleep. I'll take a shower, then it's your turn.”
Not waiting for an answer, Sarah got out of bed and walked into the bathroom. She took a shower, dried up with a provided towel, and after rummaging around under the sink, found a toothbrush, and brushed her teeth.
She walked out of the bathroom to find Fruit kneeling on the bed. “Go shower,” Sarah told her with a smile and started to dress.
After breakfast they returned to the police station. Fruit introduced her to the male officer on shift, Joshua Miller, and then left with another male officer for patrol. Another OfficerJenny, introduced as Jenny, held the fort.
Sarah continued to work on the communications program. That's strange, she thought, and inspected the particular code again.
“Hey, Jenny, who's in charge of communications here?” Sarah called out.
“That would be Officer Johannson, mistress.”
“Is he available? I have a few questions.”
“His shift starts in the afternoon. But I could call him, if it's urgent.”
“Some one is pulling information from your comm system. How urgent is that?” Sarah asked.
“I call him at once, mistress.” Jenny left.
Sarah decided to work on another section of the code until she heard from Johannson.
Half an hour later a man stormed into Sarah's room.
“What that's about somebody pulling information from our comms?” he asked.
Sarah turned her chair around and looked at him. “Hello, I'm Sarah Berghofer. And you are?”
The man stared at her for a moment, then answered: “I'm Officer Johannson. Hello.”
He took a deep breath. “Sorry. Jenny sounded panicked. Please explain what made her call me here.”
Sarah turned back to the keyboard and called up the particular code.
“How much do you understand about programming?” she asked. “Just to know how much I have to explain. Look at this code.”
“I don't know much about programming. I'm a field officer, not a code wizard.”
“Okay. This part of the code does archive your communications. That's okay and what it should do.
But this part copies and collects the archived communications and sends them to an extern address at 0.03 am every night. And this part copies the sent message and sends it another extern address. It's quite clever. You have two parties spying on you, is my conclusion. What do you want me to do?”
Johannson thought for a while then asked: “Can you give me the addresses?”
“Sure,” Sarah answered, “they were hidden in the code, but not encrypted. Do you want me to write them down?”
“No,” Johannson pulled a game console from his belt, fiddled with it, and held it towards her. “Just state them out loud, then spell them.”
“Thank you. I'll pass that to my superiors. We'll get back to you soon. Bye now.”
Without waiting for her reply, Johannson left the room.
Sarah shrugged and got back to work. She wanted to finish today.
“Mistress, I'm sorry to interupt, but I need a little bit more of your blood.” Jenny came in holding up a small syringe.
Jenny saved her work and turned around. “Why?” she asked.
“The lab said they made a mistake with your bloodwork. They need more to do it right.”
“Okay then.” Sarah rolled up her left sleeve. “Be quick about it.”
A minute later Jenny was gone.
Three hours later Sarah was done. All left to do was a test run. She'd wait with that until the question of data highjacking was cleared. Or she at least had the answer what to do about that. She saved her work and stood up and stretched. Then she went to look for Jenny about her firearms license.
Fruit hadn't returned so far. Jenny had just handed Sarah her license, when Johannson came back in, followed by four man in black suits, two carrying heavy metal suitcases.
“Hello again, Miss Berghofer.” Johannson greeted her. “These men are our specialists. Would you please show them your findings.”
“Hello again, Officer Johnanson. Certainly. Please follow me.” Sarah answered and led the way.
She returned to her chair and called up the particular code. After her explanation one of the man placed one of the suitcases beside her keyboard.
“Thank you very much, Miss Berghofer”, he said. “we'll take it from here. Please leave the room. Officer Johannson will see to your payment.”
Sarah stood up and gathered her things. “Very well, gentlemen. I'm leaving, but I'm not done. The system needs a final testrun and a last fine tuning.”
“You are staying at the Pokécenter, don't you?” one of the men asked, clearly not expecting an answer. “We'll call you, when we're done.”
“I don't have a phone yet.”
“We'll call the center. They'll get a message to you.”
“Okay. Bye then.”
Sarah returned to the Pokécenter alone, after Johannson had handed her a credit stick and explained how to use it. There were 150,000 SLC on it. For the final testrun tomorrow, the officer told her.
She did a little window shopping, but there wasn't much to see. She did get the impression that things were expensive.
She had an early dinner in the nearly empty mess hall. No one bothered her.
Because she was bored she asked the human looking girl behind the front desk about the game consoles, all the tamers seemed to carry around, and learned about pokédexes. The girl even lent her an older one to look up a few things on her own.
Sarah spent the evening looking through the files on the pokédex. It was fascinating stuff. She browsed the Pokédex, the list of known pokégirls, and looked through the material for the tamer test. Yohto was demanding and the kids really had to study that stuff. She quick-read the whole thing and then returned to a few distinct passages. According to this pokégirls were evil creatures, who needed to be kept in line through strictness and punishment. Sarah thought about Fruit and shook her head. Fruit wasn't evil, just lonely and starving for kindness.
The pokédex device was interesting though. Sarah longed to take it apart. She'd need her own device for that, otherwise the nice pokégirl, who'd lent her the pokédex, might get into trouble. She turned the pokédex off and went to bed.
Sarah ate her breakfast in the mess hall, when one of the black dressed man came to her table.
“Good morning, Miss Berghofer” he greeted her.
“Good morning, Mister?” Sarah returned the greeting.
“Smith, Miss Berghofer. Yes, it's my real name. May I join you.”
Smith sat down opposite her. “We are very impressed with your work, Miss Berghofer. One of my colleagues calls himself a star programmer and even he called your code extraordinary.”
He looked directly into Sarah's eyes. “We want you to work for us.”
Sarah swallowed her last bite and leaned back. “Who is 'we'?” she asked.
“We are ISY, Intelligence Service Yohto. Pay's good, access to rare Pokégirls, and other substantial boni.”
“I'm interested. Get me an offer in writing and I'll get back to you. I'd like to finish my work at the police station today, if that's alright. By the way, were you successful last night?”
“I can't go into detail now, but when you're a member of our team you can get a full debriefing. Yes, we've been successful. One of the data thieves was a minor Team. We've destroyed them tonight. The other is more troubling. That's all I may tell you right now.”
“Thank you for telling me that much.” Sarah said. She gathered her things and stood up. “You can find me either here or at the police station. Otherwise leave a message at the front desk here. Have a good day.”
“You too, Miss Berghofer.”
Fruit wasn't around when Sarah finished her work on the communications system. It ran 400 % faster now or at 94 % of the systems capacity. The particular code had been wiped from the system and an upgraded firewall installed. In contrast to the old system that was professional work.
Sarah told the OfficerJenny on duty that she was finished and left.
At the door to the Pokécenter she nearly collided with a young tamer who pulled a leashed, cuffed and even gagged girl in a domina outfit behind him.
“Hey, watch were you're going!” Sarah hissed.
The youngster turned around, ready to fight. He stopped, when he noticed she was a woman.
“Sorry, miss. I just want to get rid of Donna here.” he said exasperated.
Sarah took a step back and looked at Donna. “What's wrong with her?” she asked.
“She's a Domina! She's always trying to dominate me!”
“Not very successfully, it looks like. She's the one cuffed, gagged, and leashed.” Sarah told him. “So why get rid of her?”
“She's too much to handle for me,” the youngster admitted. “I want an easier pokégirl. I'm going to put her up for sale.”
“Why isn't she in her pokéball then?”
“She broke it last night.”
Sarah thought for a moment. “She's still your pokégirl. You should give her one more chance.”
“She blew her last three chances. I'm getting rid of her. Do you want her?”
“I'm not a tamer, sorry.” Sarah admitted.
“But you have tamed a pokégirl before?”
“None of your business, buddy.”
“Look, I'm desperate. How about this? Take her to your room and give her a thorough taming. If she behaves better then, I'll give her one final chance. And I will pay you 20,000 SLC to sweeten the deal.” the youngster offered.
“Donna, do you want me to tame you?” Sarah asked the startled pokégirl. “Let me make one thing clear up front. If I'll do that, I'll be top and you'll be bottom. So, do you want it?”
Without hesitation the Domina nodded.
Sarah turned to the youngster and pulled out her cred stick. “35,000 SLC now. Take it or leave it.”
“You drive a hard bargain,” the youngster complained while he pulled out his pokédex and inserted her cred stick.
He handed the stick back a moment later. Sarah checked the small dispay for the new amount.
“35,000 SLC as agreed. Meet me at 10 for breakfast. Now let me get a new ball for her and ball her, before you take her to your room.” the youngster said. “Oh, I should tell you my name. I'm Lewis Green.”
Sarah had removed her weapons, except for one knife, and put everthing in her backpack under the table. Her jacket was on one of the hangers. She'd read the Domina entry in the Pokédex. Now she considered the pokéball in her hand. Fascinating technology.
Sarah pressed the button and watched a beam of light turn into Donna. She was still gagged and bound. The leash dangled between her C-cup breasts.
“Get on your knees, Donna.”
The Domina stared at her for a moment then knelt gracefully.
“I'm going to take of your 'jewelry'. You will remain on your knees and not move until I tell you otherwise.” Sarah told her.
She removed the leash first, then the tight gag. With a key she'd asked Lewis for she opened the heavy handcuffs. Sarah put gag, cuffs, and key on the table and returned to the bed to sit down. Donna hadn't moved.
“I didn't think about providing anything to drink or eat,” Sarah told Donna, “but you may go to the bathroom and drink your fill. Remove your outfit, take a quick shower, don't wash your hair, and return to this spot. You have fifteen minutes. Now you may move.”
Donna was back after a little more than twelve minutes. She knelt down in the same place and crossed her wrists behind her back. “Thank you for the drink and shower, Sarah.” she said in a melodius voice.
“Ts-ts, you will call me mistress, Donna.” Sarah admonished her.
“Yes, mistress.” Was that a slight smile on Donna's face? It was gone so fast.
“Let's talk about rules. They are pretty easy. I command, you'll obey. Summon your whip and hand it to me.” Sarah said.
Donna again didn't hesitate. She summoned her whip and held it in her right hand.
“May I rise to bring it to you, mistress?” Donna asked.
“You may. Move slowly.”
Donna rose and walked slowly over to Sarah. There she held out her whip for Sarah to take.
“Ts-ts, Donna,” Sarah shook her head, “are you really that poorly trained?” Sarah sighted dramatically. “Get down on your knees, hold your whip with both hands, lower your head, then raise your hands slowly above your head to offer your whip to me. Now!”
Donna knelt swiftly and did as Sarah had commanded. Sarah waited for a minute then she took the offered whip. “Empty hands down on your thighs, Donna, palms down.”
Sarah inspected the whip. It was a modified bullwhip made out of soft leather, with some metal strands intertwined. Sarah stood up and walked to her right. She gave the whip a few test swings. Donna had turned her head to watch Sarah.
“I didn't tell you to break position, Donna. Eyes front and down. Straighten your back.” Sarah admonished her.
She brought the whip down on Donna's back with a sharp crack. Donna cried out in surprise and pain. A bloody line appeared across her shoulder blades.
Sarah lowered herself on one knee behind the Domina. “I'm kind, Donna, but I'm not afraid of being cruel. Please me, and I'll reward you. Annoy me, and I'll punish you. Anger me, and you'll spend the rest of this night in your pokéball.”
Sarah looped the whip around Donna's neck and tightened it, putting slight pressure on her throat. She blew softly on Donna's left ear before she asked: “Do we understand each other, Donna?”
A slight shiver run through the kneeling Pokégirl. “Yes, mistress,” she whispered.
“Good. You may recall your whip now. Good. Now stand up and undress me.”
“Mistress, you should cuff me and leash me to the bedpost, if you allow me to sleep in your bed.”
“I'm a Domina. The temptation to tie you up and have my way with you might be too much for me to resist.” Donna admitted.
“We don't want that. You've been so good so far.” Sarah said. “Fetch the cuffs and the leash for me then. You better remember how to offer them to me.”
“I do remember, mistress. Thank you.”
Waking up with a leashed and cuffed pokégirl at her disposal, had been very nice. Donna's squels and wrigging had been nice, too. Who'd known pokégirls were that ticklish? Donna returning the favor, still leashed and cuffed, had been very enjoyable. Sarah had allowed the Domina to kneel on the bed and she had brought off Donna with her hand for a second time.
They had talked during the night. Donna's fate was not enviable. Her master only took her out to fight or to fuck, and he didn't play around doing the latter. Sarah gave Donna a few bits of advice, but there wasn't much she could do for Donna.
They showered one after another and then went down to breakfast at 9:30. Only one female tamer sat at one table, together with her three pokégirls.
“Fetch our food, Donna, and bring it to the table over there.” Sarah asked. Then she whispered with a wink: “No kneeling. You're a Domina and proud to show it.”
She watched Donna sashay off. Not an easy feat in 5 inch heels.
They ate in companionable silence. At 10:15 a tired looking Lewis appeared. He let four Pokégirls out of their balls and stumbled to the chair opposite Sarah.
“Morning,” he mumbled and held up a hand. “Sorry, I'm not really awake yet. Wait until I had my first coffee.”
“Coffee? There's coffee available here?” Sarah asked.
“Sure, you just have to pay for it.” Lewis said.
His Pokégirls approached with trays of food and took seats on each side of their master.
“Get me a coffee, Donna. Your master just invited me.” Sarah demanded.
“Yes, mistress.” Donna got up and swiped her master's pokédex out of a muscular pokégirl's hand, before she hurried off.
Lewis had drained the first of the two cups of coffee in front of him. He started to look more awake.
“Impressive. Donna obeyed without grumbling.” he stated.
“Oh, she's a sweetie. I only had to whip her twice last night.” Sarah told him.
Lewis managed not to spew out the coffee in his mouth. Only a small trickle ran down out of his nose. He coughed and wiped his nose.
“You whipped her only twice?” he asked in disbelief. Even his pokégirls stared at Sarah.
“Don't worry. I had her run through a healing cycle before breakfast. There are no scars from her whip.”
“You whipped her twice and you used her whip?” Lewis asked again.
“Yes and yes. What's the big deal?”
“You told me twice and I still can't believe it.”
Donna returned and placed a cup of coffee before Sarah. “Here, mistress.”
“Thank you, Donna. Take a seat and eat.”
“Thank you, mistress.” Donna sat down.
“How much is a cup of coffee anyway here?” Sarah asked.
“10,000 SLC. It's rare here. A good cup of tea costs 1,000 SLC.” Donna told her.
“I'd say!” Sarah exclaimed.
“How was your night, Donna?” Lewis asked.
“Great, master. Thank you very much for arranging it.” Donna answered.
“You're welcome,” Lewis answered, his eyes wide again.
“How did you do it?” he asked Sarah. “Donna's behaviour changed completely. Before she wouldn't follow the simplest order without grumbling.”
“I told her the rules: Be good and get rewarded or misbehave and get punished.” Sarah reached over and caressed Donna's neck. “Donna needs a firm hand, but she's a quick learner. And - she's ticklish.”
Sarah reached for her cup and took a drink. Ah! Heaven.
Sarah looked up and found all others exept Donna staring at her. Donna did look a little smug instead.
“What?” Sarah asked.
Lewis took a drink and set down his empty cup. “Two more, Donna. And one for the lady.”
“Yes, master.” Donna left at once.
“You seem to have a talent to handle difficult pokégirls,” Lewis said, “you should take the tamer test.”
“Thanks, but I'm a computer specialist, not an adventurer.” Sarah told him.
“Why not take the test? You don't have to go on a tamer journey, but the license may come in handy at a later time.”
“I'll give it some thought. Thanks for the coffee.”
They talked for a while longer and Lewis told her a little about his tamer career. He was eighteen, a tamer since sixteen, and he had seen his share of troubles. With two years experience he considered himself a veteran and hoped to make master tamer in three years. Sarah saw a kid out of his depths with more luck than brains. At least he was a well-mannered kid. She hoped his luck held.
At last they finished their meal.
“Time to say good-bye, Donna.” her master told her.
“Thank you so much for everything, mistress. I'll always treasure the memory of our time together.” Donna told Sarah.
“You're welcome, Donna. I will remember you, too.” Sarah said.
“Good-bye, Donna. Be good.”
Donna disappeared into her pokéball. Lewis recalled all of his girls except the muscular one.
“Clear the table, Sandy.”
Sandy quickly stacked the trays and dishes, collected the empty cups, and brought everything to the counter.
“I'll need my stuff back now, please.” Lewis asked Sarah.
“Of course.” Sarah pulled the bondage stuff out of her backback and finally put the key for the handcuffs on the table.
Lewis put the gag and the key into his bag. When Sandy returned, he held up the handcuffs. She turned around and he cuffed her hands behind her back. Sandy turned around and Lewis clipped the leash to her thick collar.
“Is that really necessary?” Sarah asked.
“Combat pokégirls have to be cuffed and leashed within city limits. It's the law.” Lewis told her.
“I didn't know that. What about magic pokégirls?”
“Magic pokégirls have to be balled within city limits. They are only allowed out in case of emergency. The only exeptions are Megamis, Megami-samas, and all Angel breeds exept the Fallen Angel.”
“Thanks for telling me.”
“You're welcome. Thank you for handling Donna. I have to go now.”
“Have a good journey. Good-bye.”
With a final wave and a tuck on Sandy's leash Lewis walked out of the mess hall.
After talking to the NurseJoy at the front desk and learning that a starting tamer received a pokédex, six empty pokéballs, a starter pokégirl and a stipend of 100,000 SLC, Sarah decided to take the test. Her citizen card allowed her to pass another blood test. She met a haggard looking Angel, who gave her a nod of approval, before being returned to her pokéball.
The written test was set for three hours. Sarah was given a special pad and a stylus and guided to a room with a bored looking man and a row of desks and chairs, enough for thirty people. The man showed her to the desk in the front row closest to the window and unlocked the pad with his thumbprint.
“Fill out the personal information, then press 'Start'. The first question will appear and a clock on the upper right counting down three hours.”
Sarah had to ask how to recalculate her birthday and filled in the Pokécenter as her address.
Then she started her test.
Most questions were mutiple choice, but about a third demanded longer written answers. Sarah could answer most, had to guess at a few, and went with the official line that pokégirls were evil and needed harsh treatments and strict punishments to be kept in line. The questions about magic surprised her, but she muddled through. After she was done, she found out, that she couldn't browse back to her earlier answers. She asked the man about that.
“That's part of the test,” he told her. “In real life you can't go back and change an earlier decision.”
Sarah inspected the last visible page. The question was if all feral pokégirls should be killed or tamed. She had answered tamed, because tamed pokégirls could be used to decimate the feral population and serve humanity better than feral corpses. If a feral couldn't be captured or was too dangerous, it could still be killed.
Sarah signed her name on the dotted line and pressed “Done”. The clock showed 22 minutes left.
“I'm done,” she told the man.
He took the pad and stylus from her and placed them on the desk before him.
“Now we wait,” he said, “it shouldn't be long.”
Interesting. That meant wirefree access to their system. Sarah leaned back and looked out of the window.
It was close to an hour, when the door finally opened and an OfficerJenny entered, that Sarah hadn't seen before.
“Are you Sarah Berghofer?” she asked without introducing herself.
“Who wants to know?” Sarah replied.
“If an OfficerJenny asks you a question, you answer at once.”
“If a civic pokégirl annoys you, you have the right to complain to her commanding officer and demand suitable punishment.” Sarah shot back. “Tell me who you are and what you want or call your commanding officer.”
The pokégirl took a step back involuntarily. Then she straightened her back. “Are you Sarah Berghofer?” she asked again.
Sarah looked at the man. “Call security, please. We have a bad mannered pokégirl here, making a bad attempt at passing her off as an OfficerJenny. The real OfficerJennys I've met had better manners.”
“That won't be necessary,” the man answered, “that's Monica. Her commanding officer is Officer Johannson.”
“Really, Monica? Where's the fire? Why are you so rude?” he asked the pokégirl.
“Sorry, Mr. Brunner, I didn't notice you. There's an emergency at the station! Officer Johannson told me to find the computer specialist Sarah Berghofer and bring her over asap!”
“You didn't notice me? Things must be really bad. Miss Berghofer can't leave yet. We're waiting for the results for her tamer test. It's taking longer than expected.”
That was the moment Mr. Smith walked in. “Hello, Miss Berghofer. Good to see you again.”
“Hello, Mr. Smith. Nice to see you again. What brings you here?” Sarah asked.
“Three things. First, let me congratulate you on passing your tamer test. You flunked on magic; though you managed an amazing 78 %. That's far about average. You need 51 % to pass. Second, the offer we talked about.”
Smith put a rugged looking shiny new pokédex on the desk before Sarah. “Here's your pokédex. It's the upgraded military version. You find the first draft of our contract offer there. We can negotiate the whole thing later.” He placed a belt with five empty pokéballs on the desk next to the pokédex. “Here's your tamer belt. We will get the rest of your stuff later.”
“Third and most urgent: We have a problem at the police station and want your help. Since you're a tamer now, we could just order you to help. Instead we offer 50,000 just to show up, and a 250,000 bonus, when you solve the problem. Take your things and let's go now. Please.”
“Alright.” Sarah stuffed her new pokédex into her backback and buckled the tamer belt around her waist. “Lead on.”
There was no uproar at the police center. Smith guided Sarah to her earlier workplace. The heavy suitcase was open on the floor and Smith's three colleagues stood in the room debating with a woman in a skintight rubbersuit. The suit was bright green.
“There's something terribly wrong with the communications codes,” Smith told her. “Please take a seat and have a look for yourself.”
Sarah sat down. Somebody had already opened the code. That was strange. The code was gibberish now. There were numbers strewn throughout the code without any rhyme and reason. And the numbers moved.
“Somehow the code was corrupted,” Sarah told Smith. “How did they get in? Your new firewall should have kept them out.”
“Ahem, that's not an attack from the outside.” one of the men admitted.
“You did corrupt the code? Why?” Sarah asked.
“It wasn't our intention to corrupt the code. It's more a byproduct of our activities last night.”
“The best thing would be to wipe the code from the system and install the program anew.” Sarah suggested.
“No! You can't do that! Bytesnapper is trapped in there!” the bright green woman exclaimed.
“There's somebody trapped in there? How?” Sarah asked in disbelief.
“Codeviper here is a VideoGirl,” Smith explained, “like Bytesnapper she can enter digital systems and follow the data trails left there. That's how we found the Team last night. After that we found out where the other address led to. Bytesnapper must have been careless and got trapped and fragmented to use an analogy. Is there a way to separate her bytes from the original code? If you get enough of her together, she should be able to defragment and reform?”
“I need two more workstations to build a sandbox and a sieve, to use your analogy.” Sarah said. “I have an idea that should work. And seal off the system, so no new information can get in.”
It would be so much easier, if Sarah could use her deck. But she didn't dare to show her treasure to the men in black. So it took two hours to set up the system and build her sandbox. She'd be ashamed if a fellow decker saw the crude box, but it had to do. The hastily compiled system wasn't capable of more. Unseen by the men her code created a simple virtual white room with the words “Keep calm and wait for orders.” on every surface. Then the sieving started. Sarah had decrypted her hidden backup and ran a compare and seperate routine through the whole gibberish code. It took hours.
One of the men had provided snacks and drinks. Tea again.
A ping told Sarah that 95 % completion had been reached. She watched until the counter reached 98 %. She typed in a short command. The words in the virtual room changed. “You've been trapped and defragmented. 98 % of de-defragmention reached.” Another short command. The words changed again. “Run a selfdiagnostic. Then reform if able.” There was activity in the box. Sarah typed her last command. The lid of the box opened.
A second later a woman in a bright orange rubber suit appeared over Sarah's workstation and drifted to the ground.
“Whoo! What a rush!” she called out, before Codeviper barreled into her and hugged her close.
“You're back! I was so afraid!” Codeviper cried out.
“Those murderous bitches! They had a magic trap waiting for me!” the other Videogirl complained.
“Ladies, cut the chatter! Bytesnapper, report!” Smith commanded.
“Sir, yes, sir! I followed the stolen message to the Dark Continent, but when I closed in on their location, I was hit by a magic trap. I can react in a fraction of a petasecond, but that magic trap was instant. I was gone until I found myself in the white room with the message on the wall.”
Sarah had purged her code from the system while the others were talking.
“White room?” Smith asked the VideoGirl.
“Yes, it was really cool, sir. How come, I didn't know we have that kind of code available. Why didn't you tell me?” Bytesnapper asked.
“I didn't tell you, because we don't have that kind of code. Miss Berghofer, an explanation, please?” Smith answered and asked.
“It's just a little bit of code I dabbled with. I provided a closed virtual room for your VideoGirl to wait for the de-defragmention to complete.” Sarah told him.
“You wrote that on the go?” Smith asked.
“Yes,” Sarah shrugged, “I told you I'm good at coding.”
“We really want you to work for us.” Smith told her after a moment.
A ping distracted Sarah. She had been busy wiping the corrupted code and installing the clean program. Sarah looked at the screen. Her virtual box had been rebuild somehow and the word “heLp” written on one wall. The counter showed 26 %.”
“Has somebody opened the system to the outside again?” Sarah asked.
“I did,” one of the man said. “After Bytesnapper returned I saw no reason to stay offline. But the system isn't working.”
“It's not working, because it's still installing.” Sarah told him. “We have a capable surprise guest.”
“What?” “Why?” “How?” Questions rained down from all sides.
“Silence!” Smith shouted.
He turned to Sarah. “Please explain.”
“There's a new guest in my virtual box. I have no idea who it is or how they got there. I can only guess that opening the system to the outside was taken as an invitation.” Sarah told him. “It's filling up faster than before. 54 % already.”
“Options?” Smith asked.
“Wait and see. Or cutting off online access. Or wait until the box is full, then go offline and destroy the machine.” Sarah suggested. “I'm for wait and see.”
“I agree,” Smith said, “but let's becareful. Combat stations, gents.”
The men moved to one side of the room and pulled their sidearms. The VideoGirls stood beside them.
Ping! 95 %. Sarah typed a short command demanding a selfdiagnostic. The text on the wall changed to “complete”. Sarah typed “reform and stand down” then opened the lid.
A new Pokégirl reformed beside Sarah. She looked similar to the VideoGirls, but she was a deep lapislazuli blue with threads of gold all over her nude body.
The new girl looked around and took in the situation.
“ISY,” she muttered softly for only Sarah to hear, “I'm in fucking Yohto.”
Louder the girl said: “I'm Byte One and I request asylum. Contact the Sunshine League embassy and tell them you have me. They will negotiate a finder's fee or ransom.”
She looked around and spotted Sarah's tamer belt.
“I'm spend,” the strange Pokégirl said. “I need to rest. Run me through a healing and cleaning cycle, please.”
Before anybody could react, she had grabbed one of Sarah's pokéballs and hit herself in the head with it. She disappeared into the red light and the capture tone sounded, without even the slightest wobble from the ball.
“Wow! Byte One!” Bytesnapper whispered. “She' a legend.”
“A legend that disappeared about 50 years ago.” Smith said. “Where the hell did she come from?”
Sarah had disconnected the other computers, turned of the online access, wiped the whole system and formated the hard drives.
“I've cleaned the whole system,” she told Smith. “If you want to be extra sure, you should trash the workstation.”
“I think you've done enough, Miss Berghofer.” Smith said. “We'll take that thing apart later.”
“Then I'm done. I'm hungry and I need my beauty sleep.” Sarah said with a smile.
“Of course, Miss Berghofer,” Smith said and picked up the pokéball from the floor. “I will keep that.”
“Sure. I'll return to the Pokécenter than, after you pay me.” Sarah held out her cred stick.
“You can use your pokédex to hold money, too. This stick will be full at 500,000 SLC.”
“Then there will be a little bit of room for more.” Sarah grinned.
Smith pulled out his pokédex and transferred the money. He handed the stick back to Sarah.
“You can double the salary offered in the contract on your pokédex, Miss Berghofer. We really, really want you to work for us.”
“I'll keep that in mind, Mr. Smith.”
Sarah returned to the Pokécenter, ate a late dinner without tasting anything, and went straight to bed. Alone.
The next morning Sarah decided to go shopping. Her clothes started to smell. Breakfast first.
After breakfast she talked to the NurseJoy at the front desk. She learned that the center offered a cleaning service for a fee. The NurseJoy told her about a shop with a Seamstress. The NurseJoy handed Sarah her copy of “Taming for Dummies” and transferred 100,000 SLC to Sarah's pokédex. Since business was slow early in the morning, the NurseJoy showed Sarah the main uses of the pokédex. She told Sarah, that they had a few starters on hand or she could visit one of the two ranches on the outskirts of town. Sarah declined to choose one now and went shopping. She spent close to 200,000 SLC on shirts, pants, and underwear. The Seamstress's owner promised to have her new clothes delivered to the Pokécenter in the evening.
When Sarah returned to the Pokécenter, she found Mr. Smith waiting for her. He invited her to lunch. They walked the short distance to a posh hotel. Sarah felt out of place in her grungy clothes. She ignored the feeling.
The meal was very good and the pokégirl waitresses very discrete.
“Now,” Mr. Smith said after a waitress had placed cups of coffee before each of them and retreated, “have you read the contract yet?”
“Sorry, I haven't read it yet.” Sarah answered. “I plan to do it this afternoon.”
Smith looked disappointed. “No problem, though I would like your answer tomorrow.”
“You'll get it.”
“I want to ask you for a favor,” Smith said, “we'll be meeting the Sunny's ambassador this afternoon. I'd like you to attend that meeting.”
“He's coming here today? That's fast.” Sarah said.
“He'll be teleporting in with his security team.” Smith told her. “He will bring two other man with him. One will be SLIS, the other will be from their VideoGirl-Center. VideoGirls are extremely rare and treasured even more.”
They talked for a while about the Sunshine League, “insane pokégirl lovers and abusers there”, the SLIS, “tough bunch of SOBs”, and VideoGirls.
Then Sarah announced: “I will need better clothes for the meeting. My new threads will be delivered this evening.”
Smith thought for a minute. “I could get you a suit like mine for female colleagues within half an hour.”
“Okay, but I will wear my jacket instead of yours.”
Smith shrugged. “That doesn't matter to me.”
“Then you're on.”
The conference room was very stylish and felt off.
“What's wrong with this room? It makes my head hurt.” Sarah asked Smith.
“It's heavily shielded and there's a magic suppression field here. Some mages claim it hurts their heads like a starting migraine. Don't tell me you're a mage, too?” Smith explained and asked.
“No, coding and magic don't mix.” Sarah answered. “I have no interest in magic.”
There was a pair of Yohto League diplomats in the room, a man and a woman in expensive looking suits. Two tough looking armed pokégirls stood close to them, thick collars around there necks.
The door opened on the dot at 15:00 and two uniformed Pokégirls stepped in, looking around. They wore no collars, but they wore vests with the big letters “CD” on the front.
“Neo-Iczels,” Smith whispered to Sarah, “they are showing off.”
Three men entered, one obviously the ambassador, one in uniform, and one in a rumpled suit. Another Neo-Iczel followed them in.
The male Yohto diplomat greeted them, offered seats and refreshment. After a round of greetings and introductions the ambassador came straight to the point:
“The data you sent us, showed you have one of our pokégirls. It's hard to believe she's the real Byte One.” he said.
“Why don't you ask her yourself?” Smith asked, pulled out a pokéball and pressed the release switch.
Byte One appeared, a thick silver collar around her neck.
“The suppression collar is just a precaution.” Smith said. “Why don't you introduce yourself to the gentlemen from Sunshine, Byte One?” he asked.
Byte One took in the room with one look.
“I am Byte One,” she told the men. “I doubt my codes are still useful.”
“Humor us,” the man in the rumpled suit said. “What was the passwort on the day of your last mission?”
“Correct. And the name of your last mission?”
“My last mission was called Dark Sting.”
“Correct. You seem to be Byte One. What happened to you?”
“On my last mission I ran into a magical trap close to target, like the ISY's VideoGirl did yesterday. I could partially retreat, but I was severely disrupted. I couldn't reform, but I stayed aware. A very long time later another VideoGirl ran into a similar magical trap. It desolved her and bound her to the comm program she came from. I followed her and tried to contact her with no avail. Having nowhere to go, I lingered. Then this woman came along,” Byte One pointed at Sarah, “and wrote a code from scratch to put her back together. I could hardly believe it worked. Then I used the same technique to put myself together with her help, reformed, found myself in Yohto in the hands of ISY, asked for asylum, and for you to be contacted. Then I balled myself to finally get some rest.”
“So, we assume she is Byte One,” the ambassador said. “What do you want for her?”
“That's a good question, sir.” the female diplomat said. “In exchange for Byte One we'd like access to Mr. Choice. We're hoping for a personal introduction.”
“Impossible.” the uniformed SLIS agent sneered. “Granny said no.”
“At least ask him and put in a good word for us,” the male diplomat said, “that's not too much to ask for a VideoGirl like Byte One.”
The three Sunnies confered quietly.
“Agreed,” the ambassador said, “Mr. Black from SLIS will visit Mr. Choice personally and put in good word for you. If, and only if Mr. Choice agrees and is interested, we will arrange a meeting. There will be severe security precautions to take, which you will have to accept.”
“We have a deal.” the male diplomat stated. He rolled the pokéball over towards the ambassador slowly. “Take your girl.”
The man in the rumpled suit picked up the ball and recalled Byte One. He cradled the pokéball carefully in both hands.
A round of good-byes and handshaking followed then the Sunshine delegation left.
“You didn't put anything down in writing. Are you that trustful?” Sarah asked Smith.
“We recorded the conversation, as they did without a doubt too.” Smith told her. “So their word is binding.”
“Then we're done here? I still have to read your contract and I have to get my starter.”
Smith thought for a moment, then he grinned and said: “Read the contract first, please. You'll be distracted when you break in your starter.”
Sarah laughed and said good-bye.
Sarah did read the contract first. The doubled salary looked nice. She thought Smith might be willing to triple it and changed the numbers. She changed some other things, offering her exclusive services as a free agent, inserted a six months probation time, a slight raise after probation, and a termination clause after a two week announcement. Sarah checked the spelling then she sent the changed contract off to Smith for further negotiation.
Then she browsed the Pokédex on her pokédex and looked for interesting pokégirls. Nearly all of them were combat-oriented and that wasn't what Sarah needed. After some consideration she walked down to the front desk. A NurseJoy greeted her there.
“Hello,” Sarah said, “may I ask for your name?”
“My name is Doris, mistress.”
“Doris, I should pick up my starter pokégirl.” Sarah handed her activated pokédex to the Nursejoy. “I am a computer specialist and the common starters are not useful there. Is it possible to get a Byte Bitch instead?”
“I have to look, mistress. Please wait a moment.”
“Sure. Take your time. I'm not in a hurry.” Sarah said with a smile.
It took the NurseJoy less then five minutes to find something. She smiled at Sarah.
“You're in luck, mistress. There's indeed one Byte Bitch available. Since she's an uncommon type and you have only the rights for a common type, you'd have to pay the difference though. 250,000 SLC.” Doris told Sarah.
“Oh, I'm happy that you have one. Is it possible to meet her before I buy her?”
“I can make it possible. No taming though before you own her.” Doris told her. “Let me call Mr. Brunner.”
A short time later Sarah was in a small conference room. Mr. Brunner handed her the ball.
“Here's the Byte Bitch.” he said. “I' ll be in the back.”
“Thank you, Mr. Brunner,” Sarah said.
She waited until Mr. Brunner leaned against the backwall then she pressed the release button.
A slim Pokégirl with long honey-blond hair appeared. She was about 5.5”, not counting her ears. She was nude and her tail twitched. She looked at Sarah with a sneer.
“Are you my new mistress?” the Byte Bitch asked.
“Not yet,” Sarah told her, “this is your job interview.”
“A job interview? That's new.”
“My name is Sarah and I am a computer specialist. I passed the tamer test and I am looking for specific talents.” Sarah explained and pointed to the chair next to her. “Please sit down.”
The Byte Bitch and Sarah sat down.
“According to the Pokédex your breed has these attacks: Bite, Snarl, Shield, Psi-Blast, Teleport, Thunder Shock, Thunder Wave. Which do you have?” Sarah asked.
“All exept Psi-Blast and Thunder Wave,” the Byte Bitch answered.
“Interesting,” Sarah commented. “Any knowledge about programming?”
“I'm quite decent at programming.” the Byte Bitch stated smugly.
“Are you more a Hacker or more a Generalist?” Sarah asked.
“I'm a good Generalist and a very good Hacker.”
“How good as a Hacker are you?” Sarah asked.
“I can crack anything within a minute.” the Byte Bitch boasted.
“Really?” Sarah asked.
She pulled her pokédex out of her backpack, activated it and called up a little program she had written earlier. She typed a short line into it.
“Let's test your claim. Decrypt this. You have one minute.” Sarah activated the program and handed the Pokédex over.
The Byte Bitch looked exasperated, then intrigued, then she started typing.
After 60 seconds a ping sounded.
“Are you done?” Sarah said.
“Hand the pokédex back, please.”
The Byte Bitch did.
Sarah looked at the screen and typed in a command.
“40 % decripted,” Sarah read. “That's good. But not nearly as good as you claimed.”
The Byte Bitch said nothing.
Sarah held up her pokédex.
“Could you take that thing apart and improve it?” Sarah asked.
“I can take it apart and reassemble it, but I'm not sure, if I could improve it. I'd have to analyse it first.”
“Your first good answer.” Sarah looked directly in the Byte Bitch's eyes. “You're rude, arrogant, and overconfident. Why should I bother with you?”
The Byte Bitch looked down. Her ears dropped and her shoulder's slumped.
“Mr. Brunner, what do you think?” Sarah asked.
Brunner looked surprised to be asked his opinion, but he answered without hesitation:
“I agree with your judgement. She's a dog-type though. Those can be trained well.”
“Thank you. I'll keep that in mind.” Sarah thanked him.
She looked at the pokégirl.
“Now, what do you want?”
The Byte Bitch looked up.
“I'd like a chance to do better, mistress, please.” the pokégirl said.
“You can be polite. That's good. I'll keep that in mind too.” Sarah said and recalled the pokégirl.
“I will take her,” Sarah told the NurseJoy at the front desk, “though she's overpriced. Is there a chance to lower her price?”
“I'm sorry, mistress,” Doris answered, “as a civic pokégirl I'm not allowed to bargain. The prices are fixed. I can offer you a collar and a leash for her instead free of charge.”
“Why would I need a leash, Doris?”
“Because of her canine quirks, mistress. If she chases after a cat-type, you'll be responible for the damage.”
“Yes, I read about that in the Pokédex. Thank you, Doris. I'll take the leash, the collar, and the girl.”
Sarah handed over her cred stick and her pokédex. After the trade she had about 90,000 SLC left.
“I just realised, I will need clothes for her. Any idea where to find some cheap ones?” Sarah asked.
“There's a thrift store around the corner. They have a used clothes section.”
“Thank you very much, Doris.”
In the evening Sarah's new clothes were delivered. Sarah gave her worn clothes gratefully to the center's cleaning service, took a shower, and dressed in her new, tailored clothes.
Then she spent the rest of the evening taming her new Byte Bitch and breaking the Pokégirl now named Cindy in.
Author's note: To clarify: Kelvins Choice was mentioned to show that events happen past the Authors' insertion into this Pokéverse. There was no timeframe mentioned and Mr. Black will have an officially fatal accident before ever getting close to Mr. Choice. Most likely he will never learn of the Yohtos' wish for a personal introduction. Of course it's a possible story hook. There may be more story hooks hidden in this chapter than cups of coffee mentioned. Did you find them all?