Table Cop: A player who will call and point out violations according to the casino rules during a poker game. Players in a poker match who will call other’s bluffs in order to keep the game “honest” have been called this too. 



“WHAT THE HELL IS THIS SHIT?!” Jennifer Mercury shouted after she finished reading the note. Her face started going red from anger. “Captain...I am NOT going with this man!” 
“You have been ordered, Mercury,” Captain Morrison growled. “Please don’t make this more difficult than it already is.” The Denmother looked at the human tamer, who was still reading the letter. “Mister Holten, are you aware of what the message says?” 
“Oh, I’m aware of what it says,” Joe Trades said. “I’m just keep rereading it and thinking it will be different. I mean, this thing is basically telling me that I’m now an unpaid babysitter.” 
Officer Mercury scowled at Joe and when he saw it, Joe said, “Sorry. I meant pokésitter.” 
Jennifer still continued to glare after Joe made his joke. Captain Morrison ignored the two and asked, “So you both understand what this means, right?” 
“If I say, ‘no,’” Joe asked. “Does she need to follow me around?” Joe nodded his head in the OfficerJenny’s direction when he said “she.” 
“Sorry, Mister Holten,” Captain Morrison said. “But Officer Mercury will be with you at all times. This isn’t your call to make.” 
“Great,” Joe said. He got up from his chair and started towards the door. “Well, I’m gonna be leaving the city today. I’ll meet you outside the Pokécenter in two hours.” 
Joe was about to walk out the door, but he stopped when he heard, “Mister Holten. I am supposed to be with you at all times. I must accompany yo…” 
“Do you really want me at your home, Jen,” Joe asked, still not looking away from the door. “The home you shared with your late hus…tamer? I figured you’d wanna pick up some of your things alone, rather than have me be with you.” Joe opened the door and stood in the doorway. He turned around and said, “Two hours…outside the Pokécenter. Okay?” 
Jennifer looked down at her feet, “Alright.” Joe walked out of the office and started down the hall. The two pokégirls watched Joe leave the office, until the OfficerJenny walked over to the door and shut it. “Do you think that I should have let him go like that? I mean, he could run.” 
“He could,” Captain Morrison responded. “But I don’t think that he will. He doesn’t seem to be stupid enough to try to run. He may not like this situation, but he seems to know when to play by the rules. Anyway, this is your case. You handle it the way you want it. You’ll be on your own from the moment you walk out those doors of the station. Since you will be on a League assignment, I’m going to be paying you the same rate that you get from us now. I know the League government doesn’t like to pay pokégirls, especially if those ‘girls are government property, but I will make a case for you, or at least get someone to. How does that sound?” The Denmother smiled at the OfficerJenny, but Mercury still seemed depressed. 
“Not very good,” Jennifer responded sadly. “But it’ll need to do. I’m sorry, Captain, but I need to pack. Will you excuse me?” 
“Sure,” Captain Morrison said. She stood up and walked over to the pokégirl in her office. Giving her a big, bear hug, she whispered in her ear, “Be careful out there, Jenny. A tamer’s life can be rough and hard. I know that telling you this isn’t going to help change you, but I’ll do it anyway. Don’t compromise your ideals or beliefs for anything…certainly not for this guy. He’ll probably be the one who will be taming you, but don’t let that get it in the way, alright?” 
“Yeah, Captain,” Jennifer said. Morrison let the pokégirl go and Mercury walked out of the office. Captain Morrison stood there for a few seconds, watching the OfficerJenny through the transparent glass that made her door. She turned back toward her desk when she felt tears coming. She did not want any of the other officers to see her crying, but it felt as though one of her children were leaving her. Her son would be leaving to become a tamer in a year or two. I wonder if what I’m feeling now will be worse when he leaves, the Denmother thought. Justine walked over to her desk and sat down in her chair. There was a lot of work for her to do, so she decided that the best way to fight these feelings were to bury them in work. Now then, the first thing I can do will be… 
When Alia looked at her tamer, she could tell something was wrong. He had walked out of the Denmother’s office with a look full of anger. The harem had been sitting on a bench, but got up when they saw him exit. “Master,” Alia questioned Joe as he walked by them. “What is wrong?” 
Joe looked at them and simply said, “Let’s get to the Pokécenter, ladies. We got two hours before we leave.” 
“Why can’t we leave now, Master,” the Firecat asked. 
Joe held up his copy of the message from the CLIB. He started walking again and his harem followed him. “This is why we can’t leave for a while. We’re leaving when our…guest…is ready.” 
Alia wasted no time. When Joe held up the paper, she grabbed it from him and began reading it. Joe was actually impressed when he discovered his Catgirl could both walk and read at the same time. “WHAT!? You agreed to this?” 
Joe stopped walking and turned around. “I didn’t think I had a choice, Alia. What am I supposed to do? Just take off?” 
“Yes,” Alia responded. “Why not?” 
“GPS, for one thing. I’m sure the League would be right on top of us if we even tried to run. If this C.L.I.B. is anything like the government from my dimension, they’d be using this technology like it was going out of style. No, running isn’t an option for us. Our best chance is to just play along.” 
“So…we have two hours until we need to meet with Officer Mercury,” Jade asked. 
“Yeah,” Joe said. “I guess we could take a nap while we waited.” 
“Of course,” Jade said. “Because that’s exactly what I was thinking we could use that time for.” She ended the sentence with a wink. 
“So you guys ready,” Joe asked his harem. They had used their time to do whatever they had liked. Joe used his time to read a chapter on Taming for Dummies online through his Pokédex, but when Alia started teasing him about doing a few things with her that night (it was her turn on the rotation), Joe decided to stop reading and get out a map to where they should head next. Since there had been no reports or sightings on his “dark copy,” he was shooting in the dark. Finally, he decided to head toward Hollyton. It was about a three day journey from Waveland and had a small fraction of its population. It’ll be a good place to relax or a few days and try to get some bearing as to what this guy wants, Joe thought. 
Alia had been right next to Joe, so everything he had been doing, she played some sort of part in it as well. Jade had been taking inventory of all their things, which she had suggested that they buy some more pokéchow when they went back to the pokéshop. Joe still needed to get his boots, so it was not as if they were going out of their way. Besides, it was not as if he was gonna be picking out the food. Jade got out a deck of cards and started playing “strip” Blackjack with Mabella after the inventory was finished. Joe could not decide if Mabella was bad at the game, had bad luck or if she just wanted to get out of her clothes. 
“Of course we are,” Jade said. “It’s not as if we haven’t been ready since this morning.” 
“Good point,” Joe said. 
As they all walked out of the room, carrying their poképacks, Mabella stopped walking and had a look of shock on her face. She quickly turned to Joe and said, “Master Joe! I have something for you.” Joe did not know what she had in mind, but she took off her poképack and started looking through her storage compartment.  It took her a few seconds, but then she found what she was looking for and waited for it to materialize. It appeared in her hand and she quickly handed it to Joe. Joe looked as if he did not understand what had just happened and just looked down at the item he had just received. He had been given a handgun from the Firecat. 
“Mabella,” Joe asked. “Where did you get this?” 
“I…I picked it up. It was the night of the fi…fire.” The pokégirl looked down at the floor of the pokécenter. “I saw it get knocked out of that guy’s hand. I didn’t want him to get it back, and I was afraid the OfficerJenny was gonna take it away if I gave it to you. So…so…I hid it.” She looked up at him with a worried expression. “Are you mad?” 
Joe just looked at her and back down at the gun. He looked back up at her again and very softly, he said, “No. I’m not mad. But I am glad that you remembered this before we left. At least now I can get some supplies for it.” Joe smiled, but was a little surprised when he found himself being squeezed by the Firecat. Joe let her squeeze him for a few seconds and said, “Okay…Ma…bella. They…are…waiting.” Jade and Alia were already down the hall and had were waiting for the two to catch up. They had a look of both impatience and confusion on them. Mabella looked over her shoulder and stopped hugging her master. She picked up her poképack and the two ran up to the two pokégirls. 
The group walked out into the lobby and saw an OfficerJenny in full uniform sitting on a bench with two large suitcases. The harem walked over to her, but when she saw them, she stood up. “Well,” Joe said. “Are you all set, Jennifer?” 
Jennifer Mercury took in a breath, “Yes, Mister Holten. I have everything for the journey.” 
Joe cocked his head and looked at the suitcases. “Sure did. You wouldn’t happen to have a kitchen sink in there too, would ya?” He looked back at the pokégirl and smirked. 
With a serious expression, the officer responded, “No, sir. I do not own a portable stove. I have never been camping or have journeyed anywhere out in the wild. This will be my first time.” 
“We can tell,” Alia smirked at the pokégirl. “What’s with those bags? Do you think we’re gonna be walking on paved roads out there, honey?” 
“I apologize for my equipment,” Mercury said without taking her eyes off of Joe’s face. “I cannot afford a poképack, and I didn’t want to leave anything that I may need behind.” 
Joe continued to look at the pokégirl, now with a little pity. It was kind of funny to him that this woman was clearly not equipped properly for the journey. Now he felt bad that she did not have the equipment because they were not available to her. She got pissed on by her leaders and now they’re making her join up in stuff she has no business doing, Joe thought and snorted lightly to himself. This chick really doesn’t have a clue what’s in store for her out there. “Be completely honest with me, Jennifer; is the league paying you for any of this?” 
Jennifer continued to stare into Joe’s eyes. Taking in a breath, the OfficerJenny said, “The details are still being worked out. But it looks as though it will be a while before I am compensated for this…little endeavor.” 
Joe nodded, “Alright. Then it’s settled. We needed to stop at the pokéshop anyway to pick up some additional supplies. While we are there, you’re gettin’ an overhaul.” 
For the first time since they had left the station, Officer Mercury looked puzzled by what was being said. “What do you mean?” 
“What ‘I mean’ is,” Joe started. “You are not set to be going out there. Let’s start with you. First off, there’s no way in Hell I’m having you tote your uniform around all the damn time. You’re going to get some comfortable clothes that are made for hiking. And speaking of hiking, those dress shoes? No. You’re gonna be getting a decent pair of boots. I’m not gonna hear you bitching about how ‘your feet hurt from walking’ or ‘my shoes have holes in them.’ They might work on a beat in the city, but they sure as hell ain’t gonna work out on the dirt road. 
“And since we’re on the subject, let’s talk about your bags. There’s no way you’re carrying those things on the road with us. They’re crammed full and look heavier than a hundred pound dumbbell. You’re getting a poképack and that’s all there is to it. And before you say anything to object, you can pay me back later. It’ll set us back a little bit, but that’s what that League money is for, right?” Joe looked at the pokégirl, who had been looking at the floor since she was told she would need to pay him back later. Joe just looked at her for a few seconds and said, “Alright, let’s get going.” 
The group made it to the pokéshop without any trouble. Jennifer had been having a little difficulty getting the suitcases to roll properly for long distances, until Joe decided that he had had enough and took one from her. Mercury quietly thanked him, to which he said “no problem.” When they walked in the pokéshop, Joe asked Jade to help Jennifer with clothes and boots. Mabella went to get the pokéchow they needed and Alia waited with her master. Since Joe was still having problems with the accounting and funds, he did not want to look like an idiot in front of the shopkeeper, so he had Alia take care of everything. 
The shopkeeper had the “special” boots ready and took Joe’s thumbprint to program it in the security storage. While Joe was getting his thumb scanned, he asked the shopkeeper for an additional poképack and pulled out the gun, barrel facing toward himself. Calmly, he asked the shopkeeper if he had any cleaning supplies for this model, a holster, three extra clips and if he could have some ammo. The shopkeeper, who was named Pete, suggested that Joe get two different sets of ammunition. The first set would be regular bullets that could be used for target practice and the second set would be for shooting ferals, in case he needed to. “I suggest 200 rounds each,” Pete said. “This won’t do too much damage to them, but it’ll be better than having regular rounds, you know what I mean?” 
“Yeah,” Joe said. “Hopefully I’ll never need to use ‘em.” When everyone was set to go, Alia opened the credit accounts on the portable part of the pokédex and paid the bill. However, she did make a note of how much Jennifer owed the group for her purchases. 
After they bought the poképack, Jennifer started moving her items into it. To Joe’s surprise, everything fit. “Do you want to sell those empty bags, or do they have some sentimental value to you?” 
“Well,” Jennifer said. “I’ve had them for as long as I can remember. I’d like to keep them.” 
“Okay,” Joe said. “We’ll head back to your place and drop them off.” 
“Could I do it alone,” Jennifer asked. “I’d like to do it myself.” 
Joe paused for a while. “Fine. How long will it take?” 
“Fifteen minutes.” 
“We’ll be waiting at the edge of town on the road heading south. Meet us there, okay?” 
“Alright,” Jennifer said. She put her poképack on and carried her suitcases away, jogging all the while. The group watched her leave, and headed for the rendezvous point. 
Jennifer Mercury was not late when she met up with Joe and the harem. It took her exactly fifteen minutes to arrive at the edge of the city. Joe had not noticed what Jennifer was wearing after she had bought her clothes from the pokéshop. Since there was not enough time for her to have changed back at her home, Joe figured she must have changed into an outfit in the business. Jennifer was wearing a plain blue tee shirt and a pair of shorts that stopped halfway up her thighs. She was wearing tan hiking boots that coincidentally matched, what Joe guessed was, a baseball hat. She had her hair in a ponytail and was wearing a pair of sunglasses. When she walked up to them, Joe caught himself staring at her. Trying to shake a few images from his mind, he asked, “You ready to go?” 
Jennifer took in a breath and looked back, “Yeah, I guess so. I mean, I didn’t grow up in this city…but…I guess I’m a little sad to leave it behind.” 
“You’re not ‘leaving it behind,’” Joe remarked. Jennifer turned and faced him. “You’re coming back to everything after this is all over, remember? Because of your stupid League, you need to put your life on hold until this case gets solved.” 
Jennifer felt a little dumb when he explained it like that. “You’re right, I guess. It’s just that…” Jennifer trailed off without finishing her sentence. 
Joe’s heart went out to the pokégirl, “‘It’s just that’ you don’t want to leave everyone behind, huh?”
Officer Mercury looked down at the ground. She seemed to be a little embarrassed, “I guess that’s kind of silly, huh?” 
Joe smiled, “Not really.” He suddenly thought back to his own family. Not of the Beach Bunny that he met in the Pokécenter, but of his real mom; then his dad and sister. He would never see them again. The only thing he had left of them was his memories. Joe did not think that he would get as sentimental about them if he had lost them, but his body was now deciding to debate the fact. Fighting off the tears that were coming to his eyes, he turned away from the pokégirl and looked straight toward the road ahead of them. “Come on, we’re burning daylight.” 
It was an hour or two from sunset when the group decided to camp. Alia and Mabella jumped in different directions to find a clearing that was somewhat close to the trail that they were traveling on. They did this naked, of course. Joe had forgotten that the two “kitties” liked to travel naked in the summertime, and informed the OfficerJenny of this fact after they had taken off their shirts. Mercury was not especially happy with the change, but she knew there was nothing she could do about it. Mabella came back first and said that she had found a good spot and the group decided to use that one, since Alia could not find a clearing fifty meters from the trail. 
The spot itself was pretty decent. It was much like any camping spot that one would find in a state park that Joe used to go to when he was a kid. Joe had wanted to stop in the general area because there was also a small stream nearby. Before the group decided to make camp, they had passed by a small stream that was about seventy meters away from their camp. It was a little bit of a walk, but it was better than rationing their stored water. When they set up their tents, Joe smacked his head for not asking Jennifer if she had a tent to sleep in. His question was answered when she pulled out a tent from her new poképack. She was not exactly sure how to set it up, but Jade walked over and helped her do so. 
After they had their “structures” set up, everyone did their assigned tasks. Jade’s was to gather as much water as she could and help gather wood when she got back. Joe’s was originally to stay at the camp and keep watch, but he decided to give that task to Jennifer. Since Joe was technically the least valuable person in the group, he could not hunt, carry large amounts of anything, and could get hurt by any ferals that decided he was a tasty treat. Jennifer’s job was going to be to gather firewood, but since Joe figured she did not know good wood from wet wood, he just had her stay with the camp. 
Alia and Mabella had the jobs of hunting for food. If it were up to them, they would go straight to the stream and catch as much fish as they could get. Joe had told them to hunt as much meat as they could and bring it back before fishing. Joe’s harem took off into the forest, but Joe stayed close to the camp. Even though he did have a handgun now, he did not want to take his chances with any ferals. All he needed was a Naga or something that was bulletproof sneaking up on him and give him a hard bite to the neck and that would be the end of that. He brought back the wood to the camp and set it down in the center of the camp. When the pile looked good for a starting fire, Joe started setting them over by his tent. After he started doing this, Jade came back and started to collect firewood as well. 
Jennifer decided to look around nearby the camp for some stones and put them in a pile. After she had gotten about two dozen, she picked up five big ones and set them near the woodpile. Joe was shocked that someone as thin and slim could lift rocks like they were pales, but then he remembered what world he was living in now. Size doesn’t mean anything anymore, he thought. 
Jennifer looked over at him when he was caught staring at her and she asked, “You need rocks for the fire’s barrier and big rocks for sitting, right? I thought I saw it in an old movie a few years ago. Were they wrong?” 
Snapping out of his trance, Joe responded, “No. They’re right. I was just wondering how you like your meat. Cooked well or rare?” 
“Um, ‘well?’” 
“I’ll inform the cook, then,” Joe said with a smile. 
When the “cats” came back, they had two armfuls of food in their hands. “Look what we found,” Mabella exclaimed excitedly. Alia was holding in her pride with just a smile, but the Firecat could not stop herself from jumping around up and down. 
“Where the HELL did you get all this,” Joe asked in shocked fashion. “I wanted there to be enough for everyone, but I didn’t want you to kill the forest’s whole damn population!” 
“It’s just a few KATTLE, dear,” Alia said soothingly. “The food we don’t eat, we will save for breakfast and we will throw some out for any passing ferals. As long as we put it about 100 meters away, they will not bother us. Now…time to go fishing!” 
“FISHING!” Joe shouted, but before he could say that there was too much food to get extra, the Catgirl and Firecat took off. While Alia had been explaining the “feral plan,” Mabella had set the pile of wood in the center of camp aflame for the cooking. Joe had not noticed the stealth of the Firecat until both pokégirls ran off. Looking at the fire, Joe shook his head, “**Mi Dios.** What am I gonna do with those two?” He continued to talk as if someone was listening to him, but Jade was already cutting up the KATTLE meat with a cooking knife she had from her poképack and was putting it into the cooking pans. Joe had not noticed it, but when the “hunters” came back, Jade had motioned Jennifer over and was now showing her what to do. “They bring us enough food to feed an army and what do they do? They go out and say, ‘we need more!’ Oh Lord have mercy.” 
**Translation: “My God.”**
“Oh my,” Jennifer said. “I can’t eat another bite.” The group had eaten a good portion of the meat and some of the fish were left over. The sun was finally setting over the campsite and no one wanted to leave the warmth of the fire. The sun had given the day heat, but now it was starting to get colder.  Not cold enough to see your breath, but cold enough for the “kitties” to get into their clothes again. 
“In my opinion,” Joe said. “Instant food is overrated. Open fire is the way to go.” Joe pulled out his gun. “Maybe next time, I can help you ‘girls hunt, right?” He ended the sentence with a smile. 
“Yeah,” Mabella said, rolling her eyes. “Riiight.” 
Jennifer saw the gun, “And just where did you get that, Mister Holten?” 
“Mmm…found it?” 
Where did you find it?” 
“On the ground?” 
Jennifer sighed, “Are you going to tell me or not?” 
Joe smiled, “Not.” 
“May I at least see it,” Jennifer asked. 
“Sure,” Joe got up and handed it to her butt first.  
Jennifer started examining it quickly and her face started looking more and more disgusted as she did so. “This thing is in bad condition. It needs to be cleaned soon. When was the last time you cleaned it?” 
“Hmm,” Joe started to think of a quick lie. But the uncertainty was enough for the OfficerJenny
“PLEASE, tell me you have a cleaning kit,” Jennifer said. 
“Now that I do have.” 
She sighed, “Well, thank the Gods for small favors. I’ll clean this up before we leave tomorrow for you, how does that sound?” 
“Really,” Joe said. “It sounds great. Thanks.” 
“Oh, don’t thank me,” she said. “I think that if you’d have gone hunting with this tonight, Jade would have been doing her duties as a nurse for you. I’m shocked all this crap junking up the gun didn’t cause it to explode. My Gods…” 
“I have an idea,” Mabella said. “Let’s tell “ghost stories” tonight!” 
Alia was lying down on the ground, but looked over at the Firecat when she made that suggestion, “Have you read any good ones lately?” 
“I thought of one or two…” 
Good ones?” 
“I guess you’ll just need to listen to find out then, won’t you?” She finished her question with a smile. 
“Well,” Joe said. “I know a few old ones that might interest you all.” 
“Old,” Jennifer asked. 
“I think he means ‘Pre-Sukebe,’” Jade said. “Right Dear?” 
“Uh, yeah,” Joe said. 
“Am I gonna need to remember all my history classes for these,” Alia asked. 
“Maybe one or two,” Joe said with a wink. 
“Tell some now,” Mabella exclaimed. “Tell some now.” 
“Okay,” Joe said. “This one will be a warm up. I had a friend whose ancestor took a job on an old ship…” 
“How long are we gonna be staying out here,” a bunny-type pokégirl whined as sat by the fireplace of a cabin. She and her master had been in the cabin for two weeks and the pokégirl was starting to get fidgety. The couple had “evicted” the previous owners who were just a HeraKunt, a Nymph and their tamer. The Mini-Top and her tamer, who had started calling himself Jack, had waited for the HeraKunt to leave the cabin to collect some food. When she was getting sap from a tree, Babs ran up to the pokégirl and before she knew what happened, the HeraKunt had taken a Mega Punch to the head. Since the damn bug had natural armor, it had to take a few more hits before its brain started to ooze out of her broken skull. “This is boooring!” 
“Well,” Jack told her. “You really shouldn’t have killed off that one bitch last night then. You were having a good time with her for how fucking long?” 
Babs looked at her master with a scowl, “It wasn’t that I lost interest in her…it was because you were starting to like her and tame her whenever you felt like it.” After the HeraKunt was dead, the couple then opened the door of the cabin and walked in. The Nymph was the first to see them, but Babs jumped at her using a bicycle kick. While the two pokégirls were fighting, Jack found the owner in the bedroom. Before the owner, a male that must have been close to thirty, could react, Jack shot him in the gut with his elemental pistol. The electric shot hit him so hard, the owner’s chest was smoking afterwards. Jack grabbed him by his ankles and moved him through the cabin toward the front door. When he got to the living room, which was nothing more than most of the cabin, he saw the Nymph lying on the floor unconscious. Babs was about to use a Mega Punch on her head, but Jack ordered her to tie the pokégirl up. She found out later that it was so they both could have some “entertainment.”   “That dirty little trollop got what she deserved.” 
“Aw,” Jack said to her as he sat at the dining table looking at his pokédex. “Did the wittle bunny-wabbit get a wittle jeal-wous?” 
Babs glared at her master and snarled, “Don’t talk to me like that or…” 
Jack looked up from the pokédex and straight into the Mini-Top’s eyes, “‘Or…’ You’ll what? Huh? You gonna kill me?” 
“The thought crossed my mind.” 
Jack started laughing, “Ha, oh that’s rich. Okay then, Bunny-Wabbit. You kill me and then what? You’re out here in the middle of fucking nowhere. Maybe you’ll get a tamer to fuck you, but what are you gonna do once he finds out who you are? I’ll tell you what…he’s gonna turn you in for a big, fat reward. You’ll be lucky if you get Level Fived and end up being another toy for someone like that one ‘Dildo Queen Doll’ you were with.” 
Babs turned her attention back towards the fire with a growing anger within her. She had forgotten about Julius, the tamer who had done all those things to her. The one who made her the way she was now: a Mini-Top, “The Excessively Violent Pokégirl.” The pokégirl’s throat started to get choked up at the memory of what Julius liked to do with that whip. The bunny-type crossed her arms over her chest from the chills she started getting. 
The Dark Haired Man saw her reaction to his comment and smiled. Now to move in with the charm and love, he thought. He stood up and walked over to his pokégirl. Sitting down directly behind her, he put his arms around her in a hug. Rubbing her arms, he whispered, “You see, Bah-Bee. You can’t kill or hurt me. You need me. You also owe me big for saving you from that piece of shit.” 
Babs continued to let her master rub her arms. Putting her head back against his chest, she closed her eyes; attempting to forget about everything that had just occurred. After five minutes, Babs opened her eyes and looked up at Jack. “Can we go to bed early tonight,” she asked. 
Jack looked down at the pokégirl and smiled, “Why not, I was kinda hoping for soft sex tonight anyway.” 
“Oh Christ,” Joe stretched in the tent. “I’ve gotten too used to sleeping in a bed. Ouch…where are those pills?” 
Alia opened her eyes and started rubbing them. “There in your poképack. Do you need me to get it out for you?” 
“No,” Joe said. “I think that I can figure out how to work this thing.” Joe opened up his pokédex accessory device and started looking through the items in the poképack’s inventory for his pills. After a few seconds, he found them and had his pokédex materialize them. Taking two of them and putting them back, he turned and looked back at the Catgirl. She was combing her hair, using fingers and claws as comb teeth, from the night her and Joe had that night. The pokégirl had been snuggling him more than she usually did. Maybe it had something to do with those stories last night, Joe thought. She was very affectionate last night.  
“You’re up awfully early, Dear,” Alia said. “Did you get enough sleep last night?” 
“Yeah,” he said. “You saw to that, remember?” 
The Catgirl started blushing a little bit at the question and started to giggle. She looked for her poképack and grabbed it. Alia stood up in the tent and walked over to the door. Turning around, she announced, “Well, I’ll go and set up the firewood and wake the ‘girls up. After that, we’ll all have breakfast together, ‘kay?” She winked at her master and walked out into the campsite. 
Joe went to the corner of the tent and grabbed his clothes. Putting them on, he thought about the day they would be having on the road.  Who knows if we’ll see any ferals out on the trail or if we will need to deal with any cocky tamers, Joe thought. It should be a lot easier with the OfficerJenny. She should keep those fucking tamers at bay. 
He had just gotten his belt buckled when he heard a female voice shouting his name, “JOE…JOE! GET OVER HERE!” 
Joe opened up the tent’s door and stepped out into the camp. “‘GIRLS,” Joe shouted. He looked around to see where they were, with his mind racing with all the scenarios that could have happened. Did a feral get in the camp, Joe thought. Are the ‘girls hurt…or…? Joe turned to his left, towards Jennifer’s tent and saw his harem standing outside the entrance. Joe began walking toward the tent and thought, Jennifer…Jennifer! Although he did not like the idea of a “babysitter” following him around, he still did not want anything to happen to the pokégirl. After a few steps he turned it into a jog and made it to the tent. Feeling something sharp in his stomach as looked into Jade’s eyes. “What happened?” 
Jade looked into the tent. Without changing the slightly stern expression on her face, she said, “Why don’t you take a look?” 
Joe peeked into the tent, with his mind still thinking of the horrors of a feral attack. When he looked in the tent, he did not understand what he saw. Jennifer Mercury was lying on the ground with only a large shirt on. Her hands were above her head and, somehow, got handcuffed to her poképack and part of the tent. She seemed to be trying to move her hands over her head and to her chest, but since she was restrained, she could not do so. Every once and awhile, her legs and her knees would curl up to her chest. This, of course, would expose her little, pink labia. Every few seconds, the pokégirl would let out a small, high pitched whine. 
“Um,” Joe started to ask. “What exactly is going on?” 
“Feralism,” Jade responded, in a matter-of-fact tone. “Or at least the first stages of it. I’m not sure how much longer she will have before she goes completely feral, so you better get started on her.” 
Joe looked back at Jade, “What? You want…me…to…” Joe pointed at the OfficerJenny, who had just let out a whine of frustration. 
When Joe had trailed off, Jade gave him a blank stare, “…Tame her? Yes, I do. I don’t know why she hasn’t been tamed for a week, but she needs to be out of her ‘ball the entire time we are out here. That’s what the orders are, and we can’t have her running around with us feral. That means you gotta tame her, Stud.” 
“But,” Joe replied. “She hates me. If I tame her, she’s gonna scream ‘rape!’ What if I get in troub…?” 
“YOU CAN’T GET IN TROUBLE,” Jade screamed at him. It was so loud; Officer Mercury looked up at them and actually seemed to notice them standing there. The NurseJoy took in a breath and explained, “She has a responsibility to be sane and competent. When she allowed herself to go feral, she endangered everyone here. She would get in trouble for neglecting her duties and you’d be doing your job as a tamer. So…GET…TAMING!” 
Joe tried to swallow the lump in his throat when Jade walked away. He asked a little loud, “Don’t you think I should have some help? This will be my first feral.” 
Jade turned around and asked him sarcastically, “What do you want, Joe? Me to grab your dick and stick it in her?! She handcuffed herself, so she’s restrained. All you need to do is spread her legs and…how did they say it back in your day…‘go to town?’” She turned around and walked back to the fire-pit, which the flames had been extinguished since the night before. “Mabella,” she called to the Firecat who was still standing next to the OfficerJenny’s tent entrance along with Alia. “Will you help me with the fire? Alia, can you get out the breakfast, please?” 
“Aw,” Mabella whined. “But I wanna stay and watch them tame!” 
The Firecat’s ears went down and she frowned, “Okay,” she whimpered out. She walked towards the fire-pit with her head down. Alia walked back to the tent that she shared with her master to get her poképack and her Joe’s. It would probably be enough for a meal, but she and Mabella would go fishing later. That left Joe standing at the entrance of the tent, staring at an almost completely feral and half naked pokégirl. 
Okay, Joe thought. Time to do my job. He walked into the tent and stared down at the pokégirl. When he had entered, Jennifer stopped struggling with her restraints and looked up at him. She had a worried look in her eyes when he knelt down next to her. “Hey Jennifer,” he said in the most comforting tone he could. “It looks like you got yourself in a tight situation.” 
“‘Jenny stuck,” Jennifer whined. “Let ‘Jenny go!” 
“I can’t do that, Jennifer,” Joe explained. “I…I need to…tame…you, first.” 
“NO!” the OfficerJenny screamed. “‘Jenny DON’T want!” She started to pull on her restraints with a little more force and quicker intervals. 
“I ‘don’t want’ either,” Joe tried to explain to the almost feral pokégirl. “But I need to. You’re turning feral, Jennifer.” 
“I’m really sorry, Jennifer,” Joe put his hand Officer Mercury’s cheek. She whined when he touched her. “But we both really don’t have a choice.” 
“NOOO!” Jennifer screamed and started kicking her legs in the air. A few seconds later, she started rolling from side to side, letting out small, high pitched whines as she did so. 
Joe grabbed her arms and tried to stop her from thrashing about to the best of his abilities. After about a minute, she stopped moving about. He noticed that the pokégirl had started to cry. “Jennifer, it’s getting harder to think, isn’t it?” Jennifer frowned and looked away from him, tears still in her eyes. “It’s okay, Jennifer. After this, you’ll be smart again; just like you were before. Please, don’t struggle anymore.” 
Tears began rolling down her cheeks when she closed her eyes. She turned her face away from him and opened her legs. “No be bad,” Jennifer said. “No hurt. Be nice.” 
Joe moved in front of the pokégirl. Putting his hands on her inner thighs, he spread her legs a little wider. He looked up at Jennifer’s face, which she was now watching him with a look of worry. “I’ll be good,” Joe said. “Joe will ‘be nice.’” 
Jennifer’s head was swimming when she started coming to. It felt like she had been given a Psywave Attack by that Ding-Ho she helped put away three years ago. Damn, the OfficerJenny thought. I wonder what brought this on… She tried to move her hands to rub her eyes from the light that was coming in through her eyelids, but found she could not move them. Despite the pain caused by the light, the pokégirl opened her eyes to see what was happening. She saw a browned-haired person lying on top of her (why she did not feel this person until she saw them, completely evaded her) naked body. She tried to move her hands so she could push this person off her and beat them until she got some answers to her questions, but found her hands were bound above her head. When she found she could not escape, she screamed. 
Joe heard a painful, high pitched scream coming from somewhere very close to him and jumped to the other side of the tent. He had no idea what had happened, where he was, or what was happening now. He looked to where the sound was coming from and saw a young and beautiful naked woman. She had long blue hair and was handcuffed to a large backpack. Wait, Joe thought. Blue hair? Who has…? Then everything started coming back to him. After he had successfully tamed Officer Mercury, he had passed out. 
Joe was about to ask Jennifer if she was alright, but before he could she screamed, “WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO?! UNTIE ‘JENNY NOW!” 
Joe moved to do as she ordered, but hesitated. “Are you gonna hurt me if I do?” 
“Untie…me…now,” she growled at him. “If you do it right now, ‘Je…I…promise it will hurt only a few days and…I won’t turn you in for raping an officer.” 
“RAPE!” Joe shouted. “You were minutes away from going feral! If I didn’t tame you, you could have hurt everyone in this camp! Hell, you were the one who ‘cuffed yourself up to that ‘pack. What if you had went for your gun, huh?” 
Jennifer scowled at him, “…I was NOT going feral!” 
“Oh really,” Joe asked. “When was the last time you were tamed, besides me doing it right now?” Jennifer continued to stare at him, counting the days mentally in her head. Joe guessed that she must have figured out that almost a week had went by, because she turned away from him and faced the blank wall of the tent. “It’s been almost a complete week, hasn’t it?” 
“Shut up,” Mercury squeaked out. “…I want you to untie…‘Jen…right now.” Joe was not too sure but it sounded like she was about to cry. 
He moved to the pokégirl, but when he saw the handcuffs, he felt stupid. “Um, Jennifer, where are the keys?” 
“They’re…*sniff*…in my belt. It should be…over by my ‘pack somewhere.” 
Joe looked around her poképack for the belt and found it. He started checking the pouches of the belt and eventually found the keys. He unlocked the OfficerJenny from the handcuffs. He closed his eyes, expecting the pokégirl to beat him down. He did this for about half a minute before he slowly opened his eyes. When they opened, the pokégirl was still lying on the floor. She had taken one of her blankets and covered herself up with it. He leaned down next her and said, “Uh…Jennifer…” 
“Just go,” she choked out. 
Joe watched her for the next few seconds, trying to think of something nice he could say, but nothing came to his mind. He stood up, got dressed quickly, and walked out of the tent, zipping the door up behind him. Joe looked around the campsite and saw this harem. Alia was sitting down on one of the stones around the campfire, using the handheld device of the pokédex. Mabella and Jade were reading a book together, but Joe was not sure which book they would be reading. I never thought about what books the ‘girls would like. Joe walked over to Jade and Mabella and stood next to them. Mabella smiled when she saw him, but Jade gave him an expression Joe could not read. “What ‘cha readin’?” 
“A murder mystery novel,” Mabella said. “I never learned to read very well, but I can read. Jade helps me when I don’t understand words.  It's illegal to teach pokégirls how to read here.” 
“I see,” Joe said. “And do you read these one’s because you like them?” 
Joe looked at Jade, “I was wondering if I could ask you something. Well, two things somewhere else.” 
Jade looked at him for a few seconds, “Alright.” She stood up and followed Joe over to the other side of the campsite. “What is it that you want to talk to me about?” 
Joe took in a breath, “I want us to give Jennifer a day to rest.” 
Jade narrowed her eyes at the tamer, “You think you were that good with her?” 
“She needs time to rest and get herself together,” Joe said coldly. “I think she’s going through acute taming shock too.” 
“What she needs is kick in her ass,” Jade said. Joe gave her a questioning look. “I don’t know if you realize the gravity of the situation, Joe,” Jade explained. “But she needed to tell you that she was about to go feral. She could’ve potentially killed herself with that gun of hers, or worse. She put everyone in jeopardy.” 
“It’s not as simple as that, Jade. You know that.” 
Jade looked away from him. “What was the other question?” 
“Well,” Joe said. “I guess I have another question too. Will you be able to keep her company, as well as the other ‘girls?”
Jade sneered at him, “Only because tonight is our night. You’ll need to ask the others though.” 
“Okay,” Joe said as he gave her a hug. “Thank you, Jade.” 
Accepting his hug, she asked in his ear, “What is your other question?” 
Still holding on to her, he whispered in her ear and smiled, “Where’s breakfast?” 
Jade had been with the OfficerJenny for over an hour. Joe had been helping Mabella read her story, but was having problems following the plot. It was named Twin Hill’s Pokécenter and was written after the Revenge War, so it was completely a Pokégirl's World story. It did not help that the two had started halfway through the book, so Joe was completely lost. After Alia had gotten done using the ‘Dex, she came by the two and started rubbing her master’s back. Joe was acting as though it was having no effect on him and continued to read with the Firecat. The Catgirl started to get more ambitious and started rubbing both her tamer’s neck with her tail and rubbing his lap with her hand. Finding it hard to keep concentrating, he started to fidget around. As the Catgirl started to reach down into his pants, Joe stood up and suggested that the two show him how they fished. The two cat pokégirls jumped up and agreed. Joe walked over to the OfficerJenny’s tent and told them where they were going to be. Jade responded that it was fine and the three went down to the stream. 
It was a lot easier from what Joe was used to doing. When Joe went fishing, he had a fishing pole or two and used a few worms. Then he would sit all day and not catch anything worth keeping. The two cat-types would sit near the stream and suddenly jump in water when they saw anything. In a half hour, they had enough fish to feed the group. They returned with the fish and began cleaning them. After the cleaning was done, Mabella stored the fish in one of the poképacks and Alia threw the remains out into the woods away from the trail. 
“Well,” Joe said. “I’m going to check up on those two and see what’s what.” Joe turned towards the OfficerJenny’s tent and began walking. Joe got to the tent and stopped outside of the door, trying to hear into it for any hint of what was going on. He did not hear anything coming from the tent, so he unzipped it and put his head in. 
The NurseJoy was holding the OfficerJenny underneath a blanket. Jade was using Mercury’s poképack to keep her head up while Jennifer rested on Jade’s chest. They were both facing the entrance, but only Jade had her eyes open. She looked at Joe, but when he did not say anything she asked, “What do you need?” 
Joe was thinking about asking her what they were doing, but he decided that now would not be the appropriate time. Jennifer’s eyes were also closed and he did not want to wake her if she was sleeping. “I was wondering how you two were doing in here,” Joe started. “I guess things are going okay, huh?” 
“I had a talk with her. She cried herself to sleep and I really don’t want to wake her. Is there anything that you want in particular?” Jade looked at him with the same tired and blank expression. 
“The other ‘girls went fishing and caught everyone some lunch,” Joe explained. “I was wondering when a good time would be when we could start cooking it for everyone.” 
“We should take about two more hours,” Jade said. “I want her to rest a little bit longer. So probably start cooking the fish and some of the leftovers twenty minutes before that.” 
“Alright,” Joe said. He pulled his head out of the tent and zipped the door back up. He walked back to the cat-types, who had disappeared. Where did those two go to now, Joe thought as he walked back to the center of the camp. He looked around but could not see any trace to where they had gone. He then heard a small giggle coming from the tent that he had slept in last night and looked into that tent. Joe failed to hold back a smile when he saw the two pokégirls playfully snuggling one another. “So what is this all about?” 
The two cats looked up at him and grinned. “How long are they gonna be in there, Joe,” Mabella asked. 
“Another two hours. Jade suggested that we start cooking lunch twenty minutes before then.” 
“How will we pass the time,” Alia asked coyly. Before Joe could react, two hands had grabbed him and he was pulled into the tent. 
It was much more fun than he had originally planned before he looked inside the tent, but Joe was satisfied with the chain of events that had followed to “pass the time.” The two pokégirls were able to have enough energy to get started on the cooking, but Joe was a little reluctant to get up. When the food was ready, he was actually the last one to join everyone. Jennifer had changed from her oversized shirt to a small robe and was sitting next to Jade. When she saw him, she looked a little surprised to see him, but Jennifer tried to smile at him. Joe smiled back weakly, but knew that if he tried anything more, he would probably just make the whole situation a lot worse. 
Everyone was eating, but they could feel the tension. Mabella tried to talk to Jennifer to make her feel welcome and wanted, but Jennifer did not want to make any conversation. The Firecat talked about what kind of books and television she liked, but also reminded herself that she could not watch television anymore. Jennifer said that she did not watch any television, but did read some books. Joe tried to listen to what they were, but they were all Pokégirl World titles and he did not recognize any one of them. 
After they had finished their lunch, Jade had stated that everyone will be moving out of the camp very shortly. Joe looked at Jennifer and asked if she was okay to travel. Mercury looked at him at first, but looked down at the ground and nodded her head. As everyone started to pack up everything, Jennifer looked back at the group. “Mister Holten,” she called out to Joe. “May I have a word with you, please?” 
Joe had been helping Alia take down the tent they had both slept in, but asked Alia to continue on without him. He walked over to the OfficerJenny’s tent, but was surprised that she had gone back inside her tent. A little confused, Joe followed her into her tent. Jennifer sat down next to her poképack and stared up at Joe. Still in her robe, she asked, “I was wondering something.” 
“Yeah,” Joe responded. “Anything important?” 
“Maybe,” she said. “I…I was wondering why your harem calls you ‘Joe.’” 
When she asked that, Joe’s heart stopped. How…how did…she… “Where did you hear that?” 
“When I was with Jade,” Jennifer started. “I heard your ‘girls talking outside with you. They called you that…why?” 
“It’s…just…a name,” Joe stammered. Christ, he thought. This is bad…this is bad…THIS IS BAD! He looked away from her. “We…all have fun little names for each other.” 
“Mister Holten,” Jennifer called out. She waited until Joe looked at her again. When he did, she had a sad look in her face. “I know that you are lying. Please, please tell me what it is.” 
“It’s nothing, really,” Joe said. “You’re just making a mountain out of an anthill. Try not to think about it.” 
Jennifer frowned and looked down at the ground. Before Joe could ask her anything, she asked him, “Why can’t you just tell me! Is it some secret that you are hiding? Does it have to do with why that…guy who looks like you? I just…I just…” Jennifer tried to swallow, but her throat has getting choked up. “It's just that I feel so alone…and now you won’t even tell me why you have a second name!” Jennifer started to sniffle, but she turned away from Joe all together. “I…I need to change. I’ll take down the tent and we can be on our way.” 
Feeling guilty, Joe walked next to her and sat down. He put his hands on the pokégirl's shoulders. After she relaxed, he moved his arms around her and gave her a small hug. “Alright,” he said. “I’ll tell you why, but you must promise me one thing first.” Jennifer turned and faced him, showing him that her eyes had started to water a little bit. “You must not breathe a word of this to anyone…I have no clue what people will do if they find this out.” Jennifer nodded her head. “Den-Mar Holten has been dead for some time now. I’m…kind of his ‘double.’” 
For the next half hour or so, Joe explained what had happened to him on the night he arrived into the Pokégirl World. He told the OfficerJenny how he knew about the world that she lived in her entire life was just seen as literature in his world. He even explained to her how he thought his own “dark copy” got created. Jennifer Mercury did not interrupt him when he talked. After he stopped talking she replied, “Joe, I know this is something that you don’t want to do, but you need to report that you are not of this world.” 
“I can’t do that, Mercury.” 
“You must. There are rules and laws that you must follow…”
“And what of Den-Mar’s ‘girls; what will happen to them? And what of those Teams and league agencies who’d love to get their hands on my…‘pure genes.’” Jennifer looked away, so Joe continued. “You know registering would just cause more problems than what it is worth. No…we continue as planned and catch this guy. Don’t forget that you promised me you would not tell anyone either.” 
Jennifer looked back at him. “I haven’t forgotten, Mister Ho…Joe. By the way, what am I supposed to be calling you from now on?” 
“‘Joe,’ when we are in private. ‘Den-Mar’ when we are in public. Although…” Joe trailed off. 
“‘Although…’ what?” 
“Well, I have been thinking about using my name until we catch this guy,” Joe explained. “I don’t want this guy come after Den-Mar’s parents or have any backlash, so I was thinking about using my name to protect them. You wouldn’t know how to do anything like that, would you Jennifer?” 
“I might know a few people who could set you up with an alternate identity, yes. But Joe, I must stress to you that I am truly against this idea.” 
“So you are in favor of having innocent peoples’ lives that could be put in harm’s way because you ‘don’t feel that it would be a good idea,’ huh?” 
Jennifer scowled, “Fine. I will only do it to help innocent people, but that is it. I will not tell anyone your secret because I promised and it isn’t hurting anyone, but it goes against my better judgment.” 
“Thanks Mercury,” Joe smiled at her. “Now, we’d better get this tent ready after you get dressed. I’m sure the ‘girls are gonna be pissed that we have been in here for so long.” He got up and left the tent. 
The half day of traveling was not very tough for the group. Jennifer was getting along very well and was not lagging behind at all. Joe was not sure if he should take the pills for his body or not, until he started gradually moving slower due to the aches and pains. Jade got the pills from his pokédex and gave them to him. In a few minutes, Joe was back at his pace as if nothing had happened. 
The group continued to hike the trail they had been going on since yesterday until they had only one hour of daylight left. Alia and Mabella did what they had done the day before to search for a campsite. Alia found a good spot this time, which was about the same distance away from the trail as the last one. The team did not have a stream this time to refill their canteens, but they had enough water in their storage to last them another day or so. They also did not need to go hunting for food either, since they had enough from yesterday and that morning. 
After pitching the tents, the group collected firewood and built the pit. Joe was so happy that Mabella could start a blazing fire without even trying. Jennifer had told the group that she would be out when the food was finished cooking. “I need to take care of something first,” she had said. The group thought nothing of it, but when the food was ready and they called her, Jennifer did not respond back. 
Joe decided that he would take a quick look in her tent and she what she was doing. Joe walked over to it and zipped the door down. He poked his head in and asked, “Jennifer…what ar…” He did not finish his sentence from what he saw. Jennifer was talking into her S.C.D. Joe walked in and with a hostile voice, he asked, “What are you doing?! Who are you talking to?!” Jennifer looked a little surprised at the change in his voice. “I asked you who?!” 
“No one,” she replied. 
She scowled, “Why do you care?” 
“You were talkin’ to your dog commander, weren’t you?! You told her everything that I told you, didn’t you!?” 
“No, I wasn’t.” 
“MY MOM, OKAY!”Jennifer screamed at him. “I WAS TALKING TO MY MOM!” 
Joe stood there, looking dumbfounded. “Your…mom?” 
Jennifer continued to scowl at him, but her eyes looked as though she had suffered a painful blow. “Yeah, I was talking to my mom. After everything that has happened to me lately, especially today, I wanted someone to talk to. I always talked to my mom when something happened and I really needed to talk to her. What…are you one of them controlling tamers who won’t even let your ‘girls talk to anyone?” 
Joe continued to look at her. Finally, he replied, “No…I never really thought about it. I mean, from what I knew about this world, ‘girls usually don’t have contact with their parents once they are sold.” 
Jennifer huffed, “That is because of rotten tamers who think that us ‘girls are property, and not living things. Jerry…” Jennifer paused, as if remembering something that was slightly painful. “Jerry never treated me like that. He always saw me as his equal, and he never held it against me that I was a pokégirl.” The OfficerJenny looked as though she was about to cry, but before any tears formed in her eyes, she turned her head away from Joe and said, “And I’d like for you to leave. I’ll be out in a minute or two.” 
Joe walked over to Jennifer and knelt down behind her. Putting his right hand on her right shoulder, he leaned into her back and whispered in her ear, “I’m sorry, Jennifer. I should have trusted you, but I didn’t. I guess I didn’t see you as a person and was afraid that you wouldn’t keep your promise to me. I’m sorry, Jennifer. Do you forgive me?” 
Jennifer did not say anything for a few seconds. She just acted as though she did not hear him. Joe, saddened that his apology was not accepted, was about to get up and leave the tent. He was surprised, however, when he felt something softly grab his hand that sat on the pokégirl’s shoulder. “It’s alright. I guess it did look like I was acting a little suspicious coming in here without any explanation.” She turned and looked at him. “You were also worried about what would happen to your ‘girls too, weren’t you? Do you really think the League would take them?” 
“Yes, you are only seen as property, remember? It doesn’t really matter if they would be much happier with someone who looks like their former tamer, does it? It’s just another way for them to get more.” 
“Just like my situation, huh,” Jennifer asked. “I’m property of the League now. After this is all over, I’ll get assigned wherever and whoever they choose…‘cause I’m property.” She tried to give Joe a smile, but it was weak and heartbreaking. Joe opened his mouth to say that he was “sorry,” but Jennifer spoke first. “Anyway, we’d better go and eat our supper. The food will be getting cold and I don’t think your harem will be too happy that we’re spending sooo much time together in my tent.” The two laughed at Mercury’s comment and stood up. Grinning, they both walked out of the tent and into the campsite for their meals. 
“You two sure were friendly when you came out of her tent,” Jade said as she removed her hiking boots. The meal was still warm when Joe and Jennifer came out from the tent, so no one had to reheat it over the fire. The group did not spend any time around the fire after they ate; everyone wanted to go to bed early and be able to travel tomorrow. 
Mabella asked Jennifer if she wanted to join her and Alia that night, but the OfficerJenny declined. “Thank you for the offer,” she said. “But I was going to clean a gun or two tonight.” She looked at Joe with an expression that she wanted something from him. It took Joe a few seconds before he realized what that “something” was. He got his pistol cleaning kit out of his poképack and handed it to the pokégirl, along with his gun. 
“We just talked to each other,” Joe said as he removed his own boots. “Nothing happened.” 
“Oh really,” Jade asked as she slowly unbuttoned her uniform, starting at the top. Joe had noticed that Jade had different styles of nurse uniforms packed with her. He remembered that the NurseJoy had been wearing a “zip up” uniform when he had first met her, but now she was wearing a “button up” uniform. “You two were shouting at each other before. I thought I was gonna need to do some healing on someone. Then you two just came out, smiling and happy. I just seemed a little strange is all.” Jade was down to her naval, and was still taking her time to undress. She was also making sure that she had her master’s attention as well as she was undressing. 
“Well,” Joe confessed. “I thought that she was making a report.” He removed his shirt and began unbuckling his belt. He was stopped when a pair of soft, smooth hands grabbed his. He looked up and saw Jade was holding his hands. 
“Just wait a few moments, Dear,” she whispered. “I’ll get that for you.” As she began to unbuckle his belt and loosen his pants, Jade asked, “Why would you care if she was making a report anyway? She is a service ‘girl after all…it’s her job.” 
Joe was feeling a few “butterflies” in his stomach as Jade kept “accidentally” brushing up against his genitals. He wondered how long it would be before he started to feel comfortable having someone else arouse him. “Well…I was worried that she would tell that Denmother who I really am.” 
Jade stopped what she was doing and looked straight up at Joe. “And how would she know that…DEAR?” 
Joe could not make out exactly what her facial expression was, but it was a mix of anger and fear. “Well…I kinda told her…” 
Jade just stared up at him, not saying anything. After what seemed like an hour, she finally screamed, “WHY DID YOU DO THAT!” 
“She had heard the other ‘girls calling me ‘Joe,’ what was I supposed to say, Jade?” At that point, both of them started talking at the same time, arguing about what should have been done. “Oh, nothing Jennifer…” 
“I mean that…” 
“…they just have…”
“…was completely…” 
“…a fun pet name…”
“…stupid. Oh my Gods…”
“…for me that sounds…”
“…were you even…” 
“…nothing like my…” 
The two of them continued to stare at each other without saying a word. Jade sighed a few seconds later. “I suppose it can’t be helped now, can it?” 
“No, it can’t.” 
“Can we not talk about this anymore tonight? I only have you all to myself once every thr…well…four days now.” Jade wrapped her arms around Joe’s waist and placed her cheek into his groin. “I just want us to be happy tonight. Will you do that for me, please?” 
Fighting the “butterflies” in his stomach, he reached down and placed his hands on Jade’s head. “I’ll do my best,” he softly whispered to the NurseJoy. Jade looked up at her master and smiled. 
“Well, we made it everyone,” Joe said as they walked into Hollyton’s town limits in the afternoon. After the group had their “drama” with Jennifer being tamed, nothing interesting happened for the next three days. Joe’s harem, including Joe himself, had been starting to accept the new “addition,” but they were still a little uncomfortable with having an “outsider” with them; especially an outsider that could separate them from each other.  “Are we all set to relax for a day or two?” 
“I know I am,” Jennifer answered in a happy tone. “I miss sleeping on a bed.” 
Joe looked at her, “I don’t mean to take the wind out of your sails, but you do realize that you will be sharing it with everyone, right?” 
Mercury looked a little disappointed when Joe told her that revelation. “Well, I guess that a bed is still better than sleeping on the ground.” 
“We may haveta do that, you know,” Jade mentioned. “If there are not enough rooms, the late tamers are forced to sleep in rooms that weren’t made for privacy.” 
Mabella looked at Jade with a worried expression, “Really? They would do that?” The cat-types had changed back into their clothes and Jade had changed into some regular street clothes. Jennifer decided that she should change back into her uniform so she could help out anyone that needed her assistance. 
Chuckling, Joe said, “Well, if we don’t register at the ‘Center as fast as we can, we’ll be finding out how hard those cafeteria tables are to sleep on.” 
“Oh, Joe,” Jennifer said. “I was wondering if I could register at the police station here first before we checked in. That way, the OfficerJennies in this town will know about our situation and not try to arrest you.” 
Joe looked at Officer Mercury for a few seconds and said, “That would be a good idea. There’s no telling how many people are on the lookout for that guy. It’ll be safer to register ourselves right away than wait for problems to occur.” 
As the group passed by the buildings of the town, they kept looking in the windows. They were trying to remember the places that they could go after they registered at the station, got any bounty list they might have, and getting a room at the Pokécenter. The group was having a good and carefree time on their way to the station, but that soon changed. Someone, a male, ordered, “HEY! YOU! TURN AROUND!” 
They all turned around and found themselves looking at a young kid, about 16 years old or so, wearing a pokébelt and an angry look on his face. Joe thought that he looked familiar, but was not sure where he saw him from. Could he be a double from my home dimension? “Um, do I know you?” 
That question seemed to get the kid even more angry. “YOU DON’T EVEN REMEMBER!” After taking in a few breathes to calm down, the young tamer continued, “You sucker-punched me back in Bristol, you son of a Whorizard.” 
“Oh yeah,” Joe said. “Now I remember. So…have you got beat up anymore since then?” 
Joe’s insult worked and the kid’s face turned as red as a ripe tomato. “YOU FUCKER! I WANT TO ‘BATTLE YOU, NOW!” 
“Sorry kid,” Joe said. “But I really don’t have time to be screwing off with you.” 
“I said, ‘I want to ‘battle you,’ you dirty Dildoran! Now c’mon!” 
The kid was starting to annoy Joe. Leering at the young tamer, he growled, “Look you little punk…” 
“Excuse me, Sir,” Jennifer cut in. “If Mister Holten does not wish to ‘battle you, you must stop harassing him.” The young tamer looked at the OfficerJenny with the same expression he was giving Joe. As he did so, Joe just had an idea. He turned to Mabella and Alia and started to whisper to them as the kid started to argue with Mercury. 
“Listen Officer, I don’t need some pokégirl telling me what to do. This guy attacked me back in Bristol. He’s the one that harassed me first.” 
Officer Mercury looked at Joe, who had just finished talking to his pokégirls and faced her, “Mister Holten, is this true?” 
“Well,” Joe started. “Yeah…but he grabbed Jade and was gonna hold her hostage until I fought him. That’s gotta be illegal, in which case,” Joe pointed at the young tamer. “He did wrong first.” 
“Look,” Jennifer said to both of the tamers, turning her head back and forth as she spoke. “Continuing to do wrong to each other is not the right thing to do. Can’t we just put the past behind us?” Officer Mercury turned to Joe has finished her proposition. 
Suddenly, the young tamer let out a small cry. When everyone turned and faced him, they saw Mabella holding him in a **full nelson.** “I got him! Go Alia!” Before anyone could say anything or react, Alia jumped in front of the young tamer and removed his pokébelt. After the Catgirl secured the pokébelt, the two pokégirls jumped away. 
**A full nelson is a move where the holder wraps their arms under another person’s arms. At the same time, the holder places their hands behind the same person’s head. This way, the person being held will feel pain if they try to move while in this submission.**
“WHAT THE HELL,” the young tamer screamed. “GIVE ME MY HAREM BACK, YOU DIRTY LITTLE…” 
“Hold on,” Joe said. “You wanted to ‘battle me, right? Well now’s your chance.” 
The young tamer glared at him, “I can’t ‘battle without a harem. Do you have the intelligence of a Bunnygirl or somethin’?” 
“You and I don’t need harems,” Joe explained. “You said that you ‘wanted to ‘battle me.’ Battle me, jackass. A one-on-one **‘Gentlemen’s Duel.’** Or do you need a ‘girl to fight your battles for you…?” Joe ended that question with a smile. 
**A Gentlemen’s Duel, at least the version of what Joe Trade’s is talking about, is a fight with no profit. In other words, there is no prize for winning and there is no penalty for losing.**
Do you think that will get him, Joe asked himself. 
It should, the voice responded. This kid is only starting a fight with you because of his ego. Calling him a coward that depends on his ‘girls for everything would be an additional kick to the groin.  He’ll accept. 
That was a pretty good plan you came up with, Joe thanked the voice. 
Don’t mention it. 
The young tamer scowled. “There’s no way that you can beat me if you fight fair. And that’s without your weak little trainer ‘girls or anything!”  
“Oh, I’ll fight fair,” Joe assured the young boy. “In fact, the ‘Jenny will be the judge.” 
Jennifer looked shocked as Joe announced this. “Mister Holten! This is
an illegal match! And you want me to referee it! NO! Absolutely NOT!” 
“If you don’t, there’s gonna be problems,” Joe explained. “Plus, I don’t think junior here is gonna be able to wait for or accept anything else.” 
Joe’s last comment got the young tamer to turn another shade of red. “DO YOUR JOB…YOU…YOU BLUE HAIRED, TRAMP!” 
Jennifer Mercury tightened her jaw. In the calmest voice she could gather, she said, “If there is no stopping this, then I guess that I will try to keep it as legal as possible. I’ll try to keep everything fair and just, but I do NOT agree with this.” 
Joe smiled at the young tamer and said, “Your move, feral fodder.” 
The young tamer rushed at Joe. When the young tamer was about twenty feet away from him, the young tamer put his hands out in front of him. Joe was not sure if the kid was planning to jump on him and choke him, or if the kid had ever fought an actual fight in his life.   Joe was not about to find out either. As the young tamer was almost upon him, Joe lifted up his right foot and extended his leg so it was just under the young tamer’s chest. Momentum was against the young tamer, and he ran straight into Joe’s foot. 
Holding his stomach, the tamer wheezed for a few seconds. Joe smiled and asked, “You wanna try that again…or…?” 
The tamer’s face turned red again and stopped wheezing. He stood up, but was unsure about how to proceed. Joe put his fists up to his face and assumed the boxing position. In a few seconds, the young tamer followed suit. The two moved in close to each other and slowly began to circle one another. Joe started the match with a quick left jab to the young tamer’s face, hitting only the tamer’s right fist. He was slightly shaken by it, but kept his fists up. Joe continued this a few more times, testing the tamer to see if he would do anything to advance. When he did not, Joe said, “Good form. Now…how about…this?” 
Joe left jabbed his opponent twice, but then quickly threw him a right hook. When Joe’s right fist hit the kid’s left, it smacked the young tamer’s face. Joe could see the kid got hurt from that because he moved his hand away from his face, leaving his left side wide open. 
Dumb move, Joe thought. Since Joe could not move his right hand up again quick enough to uppercut the tamer, he did the next best thing. Turning his body left about 90 degrees, he pointed his right elbow upwards toward the tamer’s face. Placing his left hand over his right fist, he jerked his right elbow upwards using both his arms. The elbow connected with the tamer’s left cheek, just under his eye and to the side of his nose.  
The young tamer’s head whipped backward and he grabbed his face. The young tamer was clearly in pain and was not thinking about anything else. Joe saw this opportunity and decided to go for it. He turned his body again, facing the tamer and hit him as hard as he could in the stomach with his left fist. He knew that it was not going to be as hard as his right, but Joe needed that for something else. As Joe expected, the young tamer exhaled all his breath and doubled over. He moved his hands down to his now aching stomach. Good night, Sally, Joe thought. Putting his right fist up, he tried to line up the route his fist would need to take to hit the kid’s jaw. He had heard that if you hit someone in the jaw with a lot of force, you could knock them out. 
(Joe Trades is referring to what is known as a “Glass Jaw.” This is when a fighter is unable to take a lot of force or hits to the face and head, which causes them to be knocked out a lot quicker than the average fighter.) 
Taking in a breath, he hammered the tamer with all his might. After his fist made contact, he exhaled and the young tamer fell over. Holy shit, Joe thought. That actually worked?! 
No, the voice in his head observed. He’s still conscious. The voice was right; the kid was slowly squirming on the ground, but was making almost no effort to get up. Joe took in a breath and said, “This fight is over. Alia, throw the kid back his ‘belt. We’re done here.” 
Joe turned and began walking in the direction the group had originally been going before the tamer showed up. Alia did as she was told and followed her master, along with Mabella, who was giggling and skipping to catch up. The only ones who remained not moving were Jade and Jennifer. 
“Den-Mar,” Jade called. “I should heal him before we go.” 
“Fuck ‘em,” Joe called back. “He’s not our responsibly.” 
Jade frowned and Jennifer suggested, “I’ll call for a NurseJoy to come out with my S.C.D.” 
“Fuck ‘em.” 
The two pokégirls looked at each other, then at the young man who their tamer had fought. No, Jennifer thought. That wasn’t a fight; that was a public humiliation. I guess that…that…thing we are tracking and Joe really are connected. 
The two pokégirls jogged to catch up to the group. “Joe,” Jennifer said. “I really don’t think that was the best course of action.”
“Was it illegal,” Joe asked. 
“No…it wasn’t…not really…since you both agreed to it.” 
“Then you did what you were supposed to do. You kept everyone honest in that little duel.” 
Before Jennifer could say anything else, Jade growled to Joe, “When we get to the ‘Center…you and I are going to have a talk.” 
Joe pretended not to hear her and just kept walking. It was not as if he was thrilled about the fight, but it just needed to be done. If he had not done it, who knows what that kid could have done to try to get back at him for that humiliating beating back in Bristol. However, there was something else that he was feeling, something that was slowly overtaking Joe emotionally. He knew that it was wrong and tried to fight it, but he could not help himself from being overpowered by it. The feeling that Joe had gotten from beating that kid, was joy.