Pokemon is a copyright of Nintendo. Pokègirls and Pokèwomen come from the Pokewomon Forum.
"Wild Horses and Pokègirls" is the creation of Metroanime.
The computer screen was the only light in the rather spartan office. The trophies and awards were elsewhere, where everyone could enjoy them and remember their part in earning each one. 'I agree that this particular Alpha-class threat, should be studied. I look forward to reviewing your controlled circumstances, as well as your experts. Be prepared for some additional restrictions and advice on emphasizing the security of the League and its people,' the e-note read. Archibald usually does add a few ruffles and flourishes of his own, and the encrypted text hidden in the message warns us of the real trouble, Tyrone thought, He knows if something really becomes a problem, I'll do a special on it the following week. Not that I ever had to, but I've made the ultimatum a couple of times. I just don't like the warning about 'additional restrictions and advice', he knows I've always valued and followed his requests and suggestions. I suspect that's a seemingly covert way of warning me about the 'daddy's little girl' he has to bringing with him. I guess I'll have to do some research, and wait. I've got to avoid straining my patience, or Julie's. My girls have done the impossible before. They've never let me down.
Julie was walking the courtyard. I've got a soft bed, promise of safety for my son, no matter what happens to me, she thought idly as she walked, Why can't I sleep? I never used to have trouble sleeping when a battle was upcoming. All I have to do is answer some questions, and I'm too nervous to sleep. It doesn't make sense. She looked up at the beginnings of dawn appeared in the sky over the trees. There's little hope of getting back to sleep, she thought, Before I have to wake up again. I just wish I knew what to do, she thought as she walked, The League officials will meet me today. I just wish I could be as calm as everyone is telling me to be. I refuse to allow some pathetic nothing to take my son from me . . . but would Lyn and Babs feel the same?
She heard the noise from the kitchen and she approached, trying to remain silent and hidden in the shadows. Ramonè worked carefully to lay out tortillas and salsa, a bowl of eggs also awaited his attention.
"If you want to help with breakfast, or just talk, you're welcome to come in," Ramonè said, all traces of his accent were missing.
Intrigued, Julie walked inside. "How'd you know?" she asked, "And what happened to RRRRRRRammonè?"
"Not everyone is as they seem. Outside the walls," he said as he gestured at the walls of the compound, "You stay in character. In here," he said and gestured at the walls of the kitchen and mess hall, "We can be who we are. Never forget who you are, but you can draw strength from who you are supposed to be."
Julie pulled up a chair, gazed at what he was doing with the vegetables. "Omelets in burritos? Do we rotate through KP?"
"No senorita, the magnificent RRRamonè makes a meal nearly as magnificent as himself! Your worship will follow when you taste it!" he replied with his accent and a flourish, then his accent was gone again, "I like making breakfast. The quiet mornings and the mind-off- hands-only work helps remind me of who I am, and it gives me time to think. You think you are confused by all of this? I was a mere librarian. Everyone assumed I had to be some Mexican peon or uneducated Latin gentleman, because of my skin and hair. I couldn't possibly be an intellectual. My family wondered when I was going to get 'a real job', despite my earning twice what any of them did, and having a Masters Degree."
"I'm afraid that I don't know too much about your history or exploits," Julie said, "I never watched too much SLUT, or got a chance to read the sports pages."
"As Raymond Flores, I was successful, if extremely dull. As Ramonè Florès, I am the consummate Latin gentleman, the Paladin of the Pampas, defender of good and children, wooer of all beautiful ladies, well-read, I am always quoting philosophy to encourage my Cuadrilla, and military history to devise new and better tactics. And when I am not fighting, I almost always have a book in my hand. Suddenly, when Ramonè tell kids to read, the same kids who ignored Raymond saying the same thing, the books won't stay on the shelves. There's even a series about the glories of being an intellectual and of working with your hands, both. Far too preachy, unless they were about the Magnificio Ramonè. Yes, that's how Tyrone roped me in. He made me a walking literacy program." The man smiled broadly. "Silly huh?"
"I guess." Julie worried about the possibilities of how her future might go, and realized she had no real idea. He could have anything in mind for me, for my son, she thought deperately, I know the others wouldn't let him hurt me, but do I even know all the ways I could be hurt? My Tamer used to do it with words and not Taming me. The Pirates knew how to beat me up, but this is beyond those crude methods. "How can you be a Paladin with that glowering, and all the black with gold brocade?" Julie asked, "Black is usually the color of evil."
"Oh, I've been losing my fans, becoming predictable. So I needed to reinvent myself." He carefully put some of the mix of vegetables and salsa in a small bowl he handed to her. "If you would."
She sampled. "Not bad . . . sorry, I'm really carnivorous. Plant foods . . . I'd rather not."
"But it is the best vegetables you've ever had? Is it not?" Ramonè teased with a charming smile.
I'm beginning to see how you could get away with all this, she thought, You could charm the hardest-hearted Dark Lady. You really have become the character. Maybe that's what he has in mind for me. Julie nodded.
"You're part of Tyrone's master plan. Lenore and I will be the villains, Lenore reluctantly, I will have a demon whispering in my ear, your boy. You will be the source of my redemption."
Julie felt odd, stringing thoughts together, and not believing the conclusions that occurred to her. "That doesn't make sense," she said, "Somebody's gonna find out I'm a Panthress."
"That's part of the foundation he's already laid down. You will appear to be a Tigress masquerading as a Panthress. So anyone who finds out you `really` are a Panthress, will be discounted as someone who fell for the hype. The best defense will be that you love your son," Ramonè countered, "Anyone who sees you together will see that. I don't know how exactly it will spin out, but I trust Tyrone. Once he gets a story line in his head, he will worm and wheedle, bluster and threaten until he gets his way. The smart stable operators know enough to tell him what they want, and he'll weave their requests into his master plan."
"I had a Master like that," Julie said darkly, suppressing a shudder and a wave of rage.
"I doubt that. I know the kind of man required to create a Panthress," he said darkly, then his expression lightened, "Tyrone has a vision. He's a true believer, who will drag any lesser lights along with him on his quest to achieve his vision. All you have to do is remember to always ask. He sees things as one grand vision, and he is the grand architect. If you don't say anything, he'll assume everything is fine with you, but if you must have a door, where he thought a window will go, he'll give you a magnificent -"
"Glass door, with blinds," Julie finished, considering what she'd gotten herself into.
Ramonè smiled, nodding at her understanding.
"But he keeps his word?" she asked carefully.
"Scrupulously, and the spirit of the agreement, not just the letter," Ramonè said, "But there will be things you will never expect. I've been a hero for twelve years, when most people can't sustain it for more than three. He came up with little twists and turns to keep things interesting, to keep people attentive. But even he ran out of tricks eventually. So he developed an entirely new plan, and as soon as he heard about you, his plan suddenly expanded and became I don't know how complicated. He's only revealed part of his overall plan to me. My fall from grace will be believable, and my redemption will be spectacular. Thanks to you, of course. Then you'll have a history, and you'll be free to go where you wish. You can remain as a star, or disappear, or some of each. It will all be up to you."
"Thank you," Julie said, "Both for the food and the words. I believe I have some hope for the future . . . finally."
She left and walked back out into the darkness to think.
Julie led . . . My Master, she thought worriedly as she led him towards the - her - bedroom, Shirl must be off somewhere laughing her ass off. Why am I so nervous and so . . . angry . . . about this? I don't even understand if I am angry I'll have to `submit`, or that he isn't even trying to be dominant. She glanced at him and his slightly worried expression. I want to tell him I won't hurt him, she thought, But my throat closes up the instant I try.
She considered the simple dress she wore, easy to get out of, but seemingly simple and demure. What those costumers can do . . . she thought of the unusual idea of eagerly wearing clothes after so long not wearing them. She also thought of all her new responsibilities, that she was surrounded by more skilled and competent fighters than she had been with the Limbec Pirates, yet they weren't a physical danger to her. And the worst I can do is disappoint them, she thought, Like my Master, he is my Master. I don't want to disappoint him either.
"Are you sure you don't want the bed?" she asked. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! she silently railed at herself, Why don't you just keep silent?!
"No, sis's and mine . . . " he said quietly, trying to hide his fear of her. But she could smell it wafting off of him, as obvious as a traffic sign would be to a human.
Ironically, that made her more irritated than a confrontation would have. 'Calm, calm!' she could almost hear Shirl urging. I can't! she wanted to scream, I can't stand here and not do something!
She stepped in front of him, waited for him to pause, the vaguely worried expression on his face both infuriated and pleased her. She wanted to do - something - anything, to change it into something else. She forced her violent emotions back and simply opened her arms, trying to welcome him within them. If this doesn't work, she thought, in embarrassment, I'm never speaking to Shirl again! Her embarrassment gave way to an anger she tried to hide as he seemed surprised, or even stunned, by her stance, her offer. And my patience, which is wearing thin, she thought as she stood there, wishing he'd either step into her arms or run away, I know it's only been a handful of seconds, but it seems like hours. Just do something. Even if you run away, I can tackle you, like I have Kris so many times before. If I play with you that way, I can show you I won't hurt you. But I can't do anything, if you just stand there looking undecided!
She stood and waited, then tried not to shout for joy when he took a tentative step forward. He isn't rejecting me, she wanted to shout, feeling the burden on her soul ease as he came closer, in distance and in acceptance of her.
Finally, she closed her arms around him gently, more gently than she usually did with Kris, who knew she wouldn't hurt him. She felt him stiffen slightly, and then relax, resting his body against hers. She caught a glimpse of Shirl behind him in the hallway. The rewinged Angel took up a bawdy pose, doing a quick `fan-dance` with her brightly colored wings. Then she gave Julie a thumbs-up and withdrew. It was all Julie could do not to transform and take a pot shot at the Angel. Recognized or not, she keeps trying to set me off, Julie thought as she checked her impulse to tighten her grip. They stood there, not doing much of anything, he slowly slipped his arms around her and held her more tightly than she'd been holding him. Every instinct screamed to either rip his clothes off and Tame him to death, or rip his flesh from his bones and feast on it.
I am more than my instincts, I am more than my needs, she thought firmly, remembering her son, her Recognized lover, and all the others around who wanted and needed her.
The moment was broken by a loud crash. She didn't let him pull away, holding him tightly against herself, but transforming into her armored forma and turning to shield him from the source of the noise. "I will protect you," she tried to sound reassuring, and knew she was failing miserably at it.
Eek-O staggered out into the hallway, and was instantly dragged out of sight by Shirl. "Sorry," the Angel told them, sounds of a muffled, all-hands bitch-slapping and lecture came from the corridor.
Part of Julie was angry that so many people were watching her intimate moment with her Master, and her progress in becoming a more tractable Pokègirl. A large part of my anger is the part that is always angry, she thought and examined the rest closely, Another large part is disappointed, that we haven't gone farther. "Would - " Just say it! Who cares if it's stupid! "Would you care to walk with me?" she asked, sounding shy and sheepish even to her own ears, "I have a shift on the walls."
"Yes," he said, taking her hand and walking towards the exit.
Okay, is this a victory or a defeat? Julie considered her own ambivalent feelings and the sense that it was incomplete.
Worry let out a sigh, and extended her hand. Yoko pulled a 5'er out of her `bank` between her massive breasts. Eek-O had been dragged off by Jer for a private, and very angry talking to.
"I know 'scared kids', but it was a near thing," Worry said.
"I think she'll settle in better - after she gets some combat practice," Yoko retorted.
Worry didn't disagree.
"I can't believe you killed it, and then you're eating it . . . uncooked!" Lenore complained as she looked at Julie's breakfast, for once, her sex-kitten act completely forgotten.
Julie glanced up from the corpse of the Wasp. Nikki had walked in with one over each shoulder, and dropped one in front of the Battle Panthress. Then she walked off to enjoy the other one.
"It's a waste to just let it rot," Julie replied, "Besides, I can always say it makes me seem more like a real Panthress." Julie smiled at the Titmouse, who walked away shaking her head.
"It also would be a bad idea to turn down a present from your Harem sister," Worry teased and got a much more angry grin from Julie. Which made the Scarecrow pull back.
"Save some of the shell," Lyn said as she walked through, "There's an old Pokèwoman who does the most amazing art work, like scrimshaw."
"Eeew!" Lenore commented from across the dining hall.
Lyn leaned close to Julie. "You might want to be nicer to Vonny. BuzzQueens aren't known for their combat power or aggressiveness. Who do you think did most of the killing?"
Before Julie could finish her bite and reply, Lyn stood up and walked away. Vonny got her `revenge` by looking both hurt and superior at Julie. By way of apology, Julie acknowledged the look, without reacting, despite her seething anger.
"Next time, bring enough for everybody," Kris complained, as he stared at the oatmeal that was his breakfast, "I even missed Mr. Ramonè's breakfast burritos."
"Get up earlier," came the unsympathetic answer from half the people in the mess hall.
Julie parried the dart, shot two out of the air, and dodged the fourth. Then there were four more, then eight more, then twelve, at that point, a few got through.
"Halt!" the almost human Pokèwoman called, "I think eight is your safe limit."
"I can handle more, Tosela," Julie replied, gulping air and grateful for the break.
"Not with the pyrotechnics we'll add," Tosela replied, "Besides, this is art, not combat. It has to look ferocious. It doesn't have to be ferocious. You've been in enough fights to know that a real fight is often quite plain, not like the stuff shown on TV. We have to be even more spectacular than that. You'll get as ferocious as you wish with Tomasina, your acting coach. Here we want you to stay alive. If you want to prove you are a `real` fighter, you can guest star, or there are `reality` shows. Maybe do a couple of PSAs `out of makeup`, telling kids that we're all superbly trained, so don't try this at home."
"Which means I'll be in orange stripes," Julie managed, as the room quit spinning.
"Of course, we have your image and the protection of you and your son to consider."
At that, Julie stiffened slightly, then forced herself to relax. They are trying to protect me and let me stay in touch with him, she told her anger, quieting it.
"Now you get to be on the throwing end. Remember, as close as possible without hitting. Ready Lenore?" Tosela asked the Titmouse.
"Can I at least get a Taming before I die?"
"Certainly, I'm sure a machine is available," Tosela said as Lenore frowned and pouted.
Julie's first throw just missed Lenore's nose.
Alarms, alarms, alarms, he thought as he rushed to the wall in response to the code, One long, one short, 'Duty Personnel keep doing what you're doing.' He climbed the steps to the wall to see the fuss. A pair of Tamers and a few Pokègirls were retreating from a pack of Ferals. Already the fliers were making sweeps, making passes at the Ferals.
Ramonè was on a headset, quietly giving orders, seemingly unshaken by the display.
"They'll need help calming the Tamers," the Iron maiden said as she took his shoulder, "Human are always better at that." She released him and he followed her down the steps.
The great gates were wide-open. But there are considerable spaces behind them, he remembered, realizing he wasn't standing wide open and unsupported, he was well-guarded bait for a massive ambush, if it was necessary. He glanced at the Iron Maiden, who'd replaced her hand on his shoulder, and then focused back on the approaching men. The Tamers' Harems are in the way, he realized. "I can't get a Pokèdex reading on their pursuers."
"ChiChi and a couple of evolutions," the Iron Maiden told him.
He shook his head. How could you get those riled up enough to chase you straight into a fortress? he wondered, then nearly slapped himself, They stole the kits and left the mothers!
"We've had problems with poachers," another Pokègirl explained as she `just happened` to be walking past.
'Poachers'! his mind raced, Not kidnappers, or Pokègirl thieves, but 'poachers' . . . and they stole the kits! "They - "
"Your girl eats Pokègirls, why wouldn't some humans?" another girl, who `happened to wander by`, commented nonchalantly, "Nothing tough and stringy, and fuckable, just right for an intimate meal with a few friends."
I think I'm gonna be sick! he thought disgustedly, then added angrily, I think I'm gonna kill them!
The group got inside the walls, along with their pursuers. Lines of warriors surrounded and separated both groups. Even through a haze of rage, the Feral Pokègirls could count and reason, they were outnumbered and outmatched.
Tyrone waved him forward and the two human males went to confront the Tamers. Worry and Babs fell in behind Tyrone. Vonny and Lyn were positioned in the circle behind the dirty, ragged men.
"Hey boss, thanks for the save. We don't know what riled them up so, eh?"
He could see the men's eyes darting around, gauging the mood of the Pokègirls around him. Tyrone merely looked regal and in control.
I'd guess bored, but he's as good an actor as any of the girls he's trained, he thought, I wouldn't bet my life I knew what he was really feeling. These guys don't have a clue.
"Pokèballs," Tyrone said with a cold smile and an extended hand, his other hand held a Pokèdex, a good one.
The man, the poacher, drew back. "We caught these fair and square, you got no -"
The blow shocked him and the poachers. The spokesman lay bleeding on the ground, unmoving. Tyrone kept staring at the other man while he relaxed from the fighting stance.
I've seen enough fights to know you can't just cold-cock someone, unless you really know what you're doing, he thought as he watched Tyrone standing there ready, while Tomasina, the Iron Maiden, removed the fallen man's satchel and idly scanned the twenty or so balls within. Some she tossed back to the fallen man, others she handed to Babs or Worry.
All the while, Tyrone kept staring at the other two men. The one still standing already had his satchel out and was offering it to the Iron Maiden, the one Tyrone had knocked down still seemed defiant. The latter spouted a series of gutter-Spanish curses, including Tyrone's parentage, habits and personal appearance. No one seemed to take any notice of this.
Tomasina took the offered satchel, and did the same businesslike scans. Tossing some back to the man, handing others to Worry and Babs. Koko and Cat had taken the loads from Babs and Worry, and vanished back within the surrounding crowd. Jer and Eek-O had moved out of the crowd and were clearly there to protect their Master. The man fell to his belly, thanking Tyrone and begging to be sparred. Tyrone gestured to a human who removed the man. A few Pokègirls reluctantly followed their Master to whatever fate awaited him, others seemed to realize that they might have a chance at a new and different life.
That left the first one. Tyrone looked coldly at him. "Feed him to the Panthress, he deserves no better."
The man's defiance vanished into utter terror. "NO! Please! Take the balls! Take my girls! I'll confess! I've got money! I want -!"
What he wanted was interrupted by the gag Harumi 1 put over his mouth as Cat and Koko led him away. He struggled uselessly against their grip. Tyrone walked towards the other circle, the Pokègirls and humans parting as if he were Moses, and they the Red Sea. The girls with the pails of Pokèballs followed close behind.
He glanced at Julie, who was watching the entire spectacle in amazement, then he followed Tyrone. There's more to this than I'm seeing, he considered.
The circle parted and the fifteen or so furred Pokègirls made no move to leap to the attack. They looked at Tyrone as they would have looked at Moses or another reliable savior.
"Mister Tyrone!" the largest, gray-furred one wailed, "They take our babies!"
Tyrone laid a hand on her shoulders. "Be at ease," Tyrone told her as the girls began releasing the Pokèkits, who ran squealing to their mothers or grandmothers. He watched as the kits were collected by the Pokègirls and Pokèwomen. Several kissed 'Mister Tyrone's' hand before they left with a large escort, led by Ramonè, again in his 'Paladin of the Pampas' persona. Even if the kids were inclined to wander away from momma, they weren't going to miss the chance to be near Ramonè.
He found himself shaking with rage at the thought of those men, what they'd planned to do with those kits, and to their families. Even the Limbecs didn't eat their captives until after they'd slaughtered everybody, he thought as he felt a hand on his shoulder, looked over to see Tyrone. So he's the kind who get really mad, he thought, And he gets calm. They're the most dangerous kind.
"How would you feel about facing the one I belted?" Tyrone asked as he started to walk away, "With a sword in your hand?"
As he followed, he wanted to eagerly say he would, then reality crushed him. "I don't know how to use one well enough," he admitted as he bowed his head.
"That's the correct answer," Tyrone said, "Safety is our watchword. If you don't know how to do something, don't 'do it on the fly'. That's the real difference between SLUT and the amateurs, we don't think we're saving the world with our actions. Don't take yourself too seriously, there's what is real, and what seems real. Never confuse the two. That and, practice, practice, practice until it all becomes second-nature, until you and everyone around you knows exactly what is going to happen. It is the audience we need to astound and entertain, not each other. For us, it should be boring and routine."
"I want to learn the sword," he said, Tyrone nodded.
"Ramonè is the finest human swordsman around. Some of the girls would take him in a fight, but never in the ring," Tyrone said, then glanced over, "Our real test has arrived." Her gestured at the older, balding man in fatigues and the impatient Pokègirl in the thoroughly impractical business suit. Impractical for the heat and dust, and especially impractical for the long walk from the train station. "Archibald will be reasonable, that other, she wants to hurt. We will give her a spectacle of her own," Tyrone said, then turned to him, "Be shocked, stay natural, but do don't interfere," he warned, "There will be a greater game than you can see."
"I understand," he told Tyrone, "I think I'll look up Ramonè when he gets back, and see about those lessons. What's going to happen to those men, and their Pokègirls?"
"What do you think is going to happen? We're going to let him go, at night, without his girls, and with plenty of warning for the villagers."
He shuddered at the man's fate.
"The one who surrendered, he gets turned over to the authorities. All the girls, we keep. There's a little known rule in the Salvage Rights laws. If a Tamer, beats but doesn't kill a criminal Tamer in a fair fight, he gets all the other Tamer's girls, in both balls and storage. A 57-year-old desk jockey against a 35-year-old hard-bitten crook, would you call that a fair fight?" Tyrone asked with a smile.
"I don't think Typhonia could manage a `fair fight` against you," he replied with a chuckle.
"You're learning. Fair fights are for the ring," Tyrone told him, "Or for suckers. If you fight for real, you fight to win."
Tyrone watched the lad go. He's coming around nicely. Having people discipline and instruct him, as well as girls who care for him, have brought him around.
Tyrone headed towards his old friend, while the Pokègirl bustled towards the building where Lyn and Babs were waiting with Julie. Already pissed at being out in the boonies and with such uncultured people, he thought with a smile, Better back in the big cities where you can chat with your friends, and you can all remind yourselves how important you are and how difficult your lives are. You get out here, you have to prove both, and you milady, do not measure up. "Poor girl, she is going to find where she truly stands in the world," Tyrone said as he extended his hand to clasp his old Taming Journey companion, "Is she as much trouble as she seems?"
Archibald shook his head. "I think that's the first Pokègirl in history with parthenomania. She actually prefers the machines," the League man told him, "As much as I personally wish I could get through this with you owing me, I'm afraid I'll end up owing you, again."
"She's that bad?" Tyrone asked in shock, not all of it his excellent acting skill.
"Threshold case of a very powerful family. One not known for their tolerance of Pokègirls. She shuts up about her roots, and they ensure her success. Nepotism. That, and she's disgusted by the entire idea of reproduction and all the processes involved. Hers or anybody elses. I think she hasn't figured out that real life is inherently messy. That white gloves and fresh linens take a lot of work from others who don't mind getting a little dirty."
"If she gives those two a reason -"
"I want to hear," Archibald interupted, "How your band captured a Panthress, an ex-Limbec to boot, and you neither have a new rug, nor your entrails strung all over the place like Christmas lights."
"It's a complicated story."
"If you have some of that excellent Extreme League lager, and a bit of shade, I have the time to listen," Archibald told him.
They headed to the veranda of the mess hall.
"I understand there was a child involved," the Supe-Bra Genius intoned, trying to tower over and intimidate the Panthress with her natural and obvious superiority. While tapping her foot like an impatient child. She looked with disdain at the seated Panthress, her interviewee, and the Psi-A Knight and Megami-sama who'd stayed 'to protect her'. She hadn't realized how vague that sentence truly was.
"He's human," Lyn said, serving tea to all four of them. Her mindless and saccharine grin disturbing everyone.
Julie kept all the times she'd played with her son boldly in her mind, while the others answered questions not directly put to her. Julie was already warring with her dislike for this fragile piece of trash's arrogance. She kept thoughts of hurting or killing her from her mind. Keep your temper, your son is involved, she told herself, and was able to keep control.
"I'll be the judge of that," the Supe-Bra Genius said, she smiled menacingly, "There are . . . tests."
Before Julie could spring, or even frown, Babs handed the Pokègirl a folder. "There's his medical records, and the results of all the tests confirming his human status."
"I want to see him," she said primly, dropping the folder on the floor. Julie watched the papers flutter around, thinking of pouncing on and playing with them, to keep any other thoughts of other pounces from her mind.
"Then I want to see your certificates allowing mindscans of minors," Babs said carefully, "You've already scanned Lyn and myself, without permission, and don't think we won't have you up on charges for that."
The Supe-Bra Genius sneered. "You can try."
Julie watched Babs's face while she verbally fenced with the Supe-Bra Genius. In the meantime, Lyn seemed calm and composed, the perfect hostess, and a soothing influence on Julie.
Within limits, Julie thought as she shook her head, reminding Lyn for the third time she didn't want lemon in her tea.
"You should be aware, I'll be surveying all treatment of children in the area," the League Pokègirl informed them.
"Oh good," Lyn said, a veritable fountain of hope and smiles, "There were some evil men who tried to steal some children for a cannibal cult. I'm sure you want to interview them, get to the bottom of who's hiring them, and see those evildoers punished."
If I didn't know better. I'd swear she was channeling a BunnyGirl, Julie thought, glancing between Lyn with her eyes a sparkle and hands clasped cutely, and the sneering Supe-Bra Genius who looked like she'd simultaneously sat on and bit into something you'd normally scrape off your shoes, I don't understand why that would help, isn't it the League's job to investigate such things? Oh, I see, she isn't going to, she doesn't care and you've got proof. I think she knows where that investigation will lead. Julie truly smiled at that, and realized the pair, experts than they were, had maneuvered the girl over a barrel. She sat composed, waiting for the official questioning, ignoring the teaparty barbs as best she could. Wincing at the girl's, smiling at Bab's.
"That's wild," Archibald said as he took a pull from the bottle of beer, "So that's your plan? Any hitches?"
"We'll find out. If the self-important bitch pushes all the buttons we're both expecting her to push," Tyrone replied, "We should see that she can control herself, and let someone else operate. There's an old book where the war cat tactic of scream and leap -"
The door to the residence hall exploded outward, the League Pokègirl flying out amid the debris like a cannon ball.
"Ah, drama," Archibald said as he removed his notebook and noted all the cameras now turning to catch the action. "Now I shall begin observing," he said with a smile to the camera that just `happened` to be turning his way.
Babs came out of the smoking doorway, dragging both Lyn and Julie with her. The petite Pokègirl seemed inadequate to drag the two amazonian Pokègirls across the dirt, but both of them were digging in their heels and failing to even slow her down.
"Give that pendè-whore a weapon and let her stand to!" Babs bellowed as she dragged the two others to the edge of the arena where the League Pokègirl had rolled to a stop.
The Supe-Bra Genius retreated to the far edge of the arena, but stopped as she pressed against the stone walls. She seemed to try to summon her mental powers, then grimaced as the Megami-sama's pure hatred hammered at her mind. "This is insane!"
A karate chop by the Megami-sama split the 8" x 8"s that formed the rails of the arena. She immediately stepped through, into the ring, and towards her foe. Lyn kept Julie from following Babs into the battle zone.
"You - threatened - my - children!" the Megami-sama shouted to the Heavens. No other alarm call was necessary. Every human and Pokègirl in the compound ran from wherever they had been, from whatever they had been doing, to surround the arena. Ramonè, dressed in white this time, walked regally into the arena, bearing a cape and sword. He interposed himself between the two girls and stared at Babs, forcing her to the edge of the arena by pure force of personality. The Supe-Bra genius looked so grateful, until Ramonè unrolled the cape, and presented her with the sword and cape.
He raised his hands for silence, which was immediately granted. "Challenge has been given," he announced for all to hear, "And lawfully accepted. The challenged has accepted the Toro's role. Honor and Glory."
"Honor and Glory!" trumpeted from every voice in the place.
"This contest is to exile," Ramonè continued, "The loser must leave and ne'er return. Standard awards for grace and artistry apply." He stared at Babs. "As a Cuadrilla of the gold-rank, more will be expected of you." He walked out of the arena to cries of 'Honor and Glory' and 'ne'er return' from all those assembled.
Babs grimly nodded, while the Supe-Bra clawed at the shields that now surrounded the arena proper. She turned to face the advancing Megami-sama. Her own terror was deepened by the look of murder on the Megami-sama's face. Despite the orders that this was to exile, the smaller Pokèwoman clearly intended an unfortunate accident. The Supe-Bra Genius turned from her opponent to look at Archibald, who showed no signs of being willing to intervene. She looked back to Babs, threw down the cape and sword, and drew herself up in all her grandeur. "I am an Official of the League."
"Then die well," Archibald called down to her, "You've challenged, now you must prove why it isn't trivially done."
The poor girl was completely stunned. She was realizing neither her bought and paid for position, nor her born-into life was going to get her out of a real situation. Her face spoke of her horror as the Megami-sama charged, even a non-telepath knew her intent was to tear her apart with her bare hands. The telepath saw it happening over and over in Babs' mind.
The Supe-Bra fainted before Babs could lay a hand on her. A cheer went out from all assembled. Babs held up her empty hands with the fingers outstretched, the signal she'd defeated her opponent without ever touching her, and received a thunderous cheer.
As the cheering died down, Mariene, the one-winged Armsmistress, Dennisina, the prim Matron, Kam, an older Herolee, notable for her long leggings, and Tomasina, the Iron Maiden broke from their conclave. Ramonè and Lenore waited to receive the word of the judges. They whispered to him and stepped away. Ramonè stepped into the arena.
"The Judges award . . . both ears and the tail!" Ramonè announced to thunderous cheers.
"Which translates into?" Archibald quietly asked Tyrone.
"You'll see," Tyrone answered as the Megami-sama's fist sprouted a knife of pure mystic power. She plunged it into the girl's head. The pain instantly revived her, but she fell unconscious again before she could scream.
"Her psychic powers," Tyrone said, "She'll regain them, eventually, but . . . "
"She'll have to work for a living to get them back. Psychic therapy sessions, which are no more fun that physical therapy. Well played. I also noticed that Ramonè did talk Babs down from killing her, which was the fate of the last person to threaten her children. A Widow wasn't it?"
"She and Lyn had some particular fun dispatching that one, although they were more angry and frightened during the chase. They also had quite a bit of help from the others. I still think you'd better get that girl out of here," Tyrone said, "Or she will be permanently hurt."
"Agreed," Archibald had been watching the Battle Panthress during the battle, "She seems both tractable, and she was disturbed about leaving the girl to Babs' dubious mercy."
"I take that as a tentative recommendation to keep her for observations?" Tyrone asked carefully.
"I will return later," Archibald said, "To do a proper interview of her, her Angel and her son, as well as the boy and his Harem. Then I should be able to officially give you carte blanche."
"I won't bet the ranch on it," Tyrone said, "I think you'll find her quite shy and accommodating, once you get over her initial hostility."
"Understood." He shook his friend's hand before he departed.
Julie was shaking like a leaf as Lyn lead her back to her room, where Kris waited. Julie hugged her son tightly as soon as she could get him in her arms.
"You're safe, we're safe," Julie told him, fearfully, trying to drink up his scent.
"No completely, the real interviews will still have to be done, with all of you, including Kris," Lyn told her, then to placate the alarmed Panthress she added, "The interviews will be private, but we can trust Archibald. Listen to him, he still believes he's serving the people of the League." She left the two together.
"I told you," he teased her, earning a slight squeeze and a playful lick on the back of his head.
"I'm angry," Julie admitted as she paced the room, her tail lashing, "All the time, at everything!"
"How do you feel about being angry?" Archibald asked, the League official seemed unaffected by being in the same room with an agitated Battle Panthress.
"That's the worst part," Julie admitted as she clenched and unclenched her fists, "It makes me feel helpless, like when I was back with my former Master. Or like the anger is more real than I am. Do you have any idea how helpless that makes me feel?"
"When they kidnaped my and Tyrone's kids . . . to make someone in his stable throw a match, and me to certify the win . . . yes, I know exactly how helpless that feeling is. To be so strong and powerful, yet so weak at the same time. I had dozens of agents and Pokègirls at my beck and call. I should have had all the force necessary to keep my kids safe, but I didn't. So I had to wait while the cops were telling me one thing, and every instinct I had was telling me something else."
"What happened?" Julie asked, no longer pacing, just staring at the man.
"Wondering what happens if they take your son? I was held incommunicado, so were my Pokèwives. Koko, Eek-O, Panomore, and a few dozen others you'll be fortunate if you never meet, found the location, rescued the kids, and that's the end of the story."
"What happened to the kidnappers?" Julie asked in horrified fascination.
"That was the end of the story," Archibald reminded her.
Julie got the implications, and was disturbed by them. "I thought Pokegirls weren't allowed to kill humans."
"Depends on the circumstances, they can, if they were defending another human, and if reasonable force is used. This isn't Johto, this League assumes that a Pokègirl is human enough to understand that 'danger invites rescue' and to be reasonable in her response. Some punk is robbing a little old lady, you might be able to get away with flicking him with your finger. Although, you'd be better off tripping him with your tail or just sitting on him. Some sniper in a tree with a rocket launcher is lining up on a packed school, you could probably justify blowing him off his perch with a shot from your main gun. In both cases there would still be an inquest and poss - probably a trial, but in the courtroom you'd have a lawyer to advocate for you. SLUT has a whole legal department, you might want to contact them about the differences between what you're used to, and what you are in now."
"Has anyone else ever tried?" Julie asked, "To go after your kids, I mean."
"Not mine or Tyrone's, but another official's." Archibald smiled. "They were a special the very next week on Tyrone's show, with them playing the bulls. Ter adjusted the feed so they looked like vampires. A stake through the heart works on more than undead. It was all legal. They signed the contracts, and their estates got the proceeds, but there was never any question in the Cuadrillas' minds that this was to the death."
Julia gulped. "You people don't play nice."
"The Officer Jennies with their faithful Growlie companions makes a good kids' show, but as you saw, the League works more on bluff than real force. This is very much the frontier, with privateers from Johto, agents of other powers, not counting nonaligned smugglers . . . and pirates of various stripes. Some from outside, some home-grown. Once one of the spawn of the `Magnificent Five` had been pushing hard on the people around here. When he came out here himself, he discovered just how powerful Mumsey and Daddy's money really was, in comparison to a pack of Manti and the indifference of his watchers to his fate. The law doesn't require people to commit suicide to rescue a idiot from his fate."
"You let the Manti kill him?" Julie asked, stunned.
"His whole party, then the Manti got the chop. The man and his partners were using an assassin whose speciality was sabotaging Pokèballs and the transport system. You'd release your girl, only to watch her agonizingly die right before your eyes. That's one reason SLUT prohibits transport, and frowns on balling Pokègirl members. Again, we caught up with the clever young `lady`, a six-pack with a grudge. We got the info on her clients before she was officially turned over to the League. Then we sent out a complete list of who'd hired her to do what to whom, and let the chips fall where they may."
"I thought the Limbec Pirates were bad."
He let the shock fade from Julie's face. "This isn't Johto with all the `benefits` and all the limits on the population. In the Sunshine League, you're expected to act like an adult, and you'll pay the price if you don't. The League doesn't monitor and `adjust` people, the huge Feral population requires an individual response, one that varies from town to town, location to location. 'Kill'em all, let the gods argue over their Pokèsouls' works in some places, like Windy Shores. In Caesar's Prank, it's suicide to even talk like that. You happen to have landed in a place where fighting and self-control are taught with equal thoroughness. The Pirates treat everybody viciously. We don't, if you're polite, or even if you're useful but irritating, you'll be treated evenhandedly. Be nice and most of the people will be as nice as you are. The examples I gave are people who decided 'Laws are for the Weak and Stupid', you'll find out how dispassionately professionals play by that same set of rules."
"So if I play nice, you play nice and protect me?" Julie asked worriedly.
"And vice versa, don't ever assume you can't go to Lyn, Babs or Tyrone about any problem. The same goes for me, if you have problems with the League or its bureaucracy, I'm the one you should call. Day or night. As a Senior Special Investigator, I can overrule anyone except an Assemblyman or Senator, for a little while."
"You said they teach 'self-control'."
"That's what they teach all newbies: control. Everyone needs it when some offensive set of poofy hair with allegedly a human brain stuffed under it starts calling you a slut and faker to your face. No matter how justified you are, and no matter how much the audience at home would love for you to do it, you cannot rip off it's heavily made-up face," Archibald told her.
Julie grimaced at that. "Not even a little?" she asked with a shy smile.
He shook his head. "Not even a little. You can calmly break off the edge of its desk, and while still sweetly and smilingly answering its questions, grind said piece of desk into powder in your bare hands. Babs did that once, all sweetness and 'I'm a happy pixie', while she was reducing a 2 inch thick piece of granite to dust, on international television. She dumped the handful of dust in the host's coffee cup and told him he really shouldn't drink on the air."
The Panthress laughed with Archibald. She smiled at that option.
"But for you -" Archibald continued, "It would be best to simply dissolve in tears with the saddest, most piteous face you can imagine."
"That's disgusting! Could you -?" Julie froze as she looked at the man, hands clasped in his lap, eyes shining with unshed tears, his lips quivering.
"How could you be so cruuueee-el?!" he shouted before bursting into tears.
Julie didn't know what to do, if she should apologize or be disgusted. Then the man suddenly sobered.
"I think that's the best tactic for you. I mean who has ever heard of a weeping Panthress?"
Julie began laughing at that. Then a thought occurred to her. "Why are you trying to help me? I would think you would want me monitored and destroyed at the first sign of trouble."
"If you're worried about that," Archibald said, "You will be destroyed at the first sign of trouble that Tyrone and his people can handle with gentler means."
"You did ask," Archibald said, "Julie, you have to understand, it isn't my job to oversee your destruction. My proposal is to document a cure for the Panthress condition. Most of the Panthresses and other abused Pokègirls, are abused to the point they explode or collapse. Then some take out their rage on the whole world, until the world hits back and kills them. What Tyrone and I are hoping to accomplish here, with you, is a way to understand and then cure the rage that seems to be the core of the Panthress' condition. If what you've told us is true for all Panthresses, then the previous attempts have failed because we haven't adequately addressed the helplessness and the - disconnect of yourself from reality - that are part of your condition. If we can fine tune your recovery, we can save others."
"Oh," Julie said nervously.
Archibald patted her shoulder, and she didn't have the faintest desire to tear his arm off. "Don't worry, all you have to do is tell Lyn, or Babs or your support team how you are feeling, anything strange happening, no mater how silly or trivial. We have to be aware of any side effects and change the treatments. No one will laugh at a little hypochondria on your part. We'll handle the documentation and the technical aspects. You just concentrate on getting well."
Tyrone walked to greet Julie. "I know, it's confusing and it hurts, but you'll slowly get over it."
"Actually, talking about it made me feel better," the Panthress admitted, "I can better understand why I'm angry all the time. If I can master that, I can master not being angry. Maybe I'm not the only Panthress who will survive." She gave a throaty laugh. "Although I can't see the Leagues wanting Panthresses to reproduce."
"Maybe your offspring, if they are Panthresses, won't be saddled by the anger that was necessary to create you," Tyrone said. That would pay Archibald back for sticking his neck out. A cure for Panthress's, although expensive and initially dangerous, it would offer some hope. To the Humans and the Panthress's. It also proves they can be redeemed, he thought happily.
"You wanted to see me about something?" Julie asked.
"Oh, yes, your new director," Tyrone said.
"Director?" Julie asked.
"Yes, he'll be working to keep the visual action going, seeing your best camera angles, what moves make you look like what and to keep you and the others remembering the choreography of the fight," Tyrone explained, "Alan."
A small, rather bookish man bustled up to them. He pushed his glasses up his nose and smiled at both. He extended his hand to Julie. "Alan, Alan Smithee."
"I think you've been stepped on once too often," she joked, shaking his hand carefully,"You're the first person around here I have heard of. Some of your movies are - ah . . . "
"Not as good as they could have been," Alan said with a vague smile, "Yes, I, my father Alan, my grandfather Alan, et cetera, all got called in when some director threw the script in the air and decided he wanted no more to do with a project. We had to go in and finish or fix the job. Sometimes there wasn't much we could do. I don't take it personally. Tyrone keeps me for the projects that others either don't want or think they can't handle. This one juggles so many variables, everybody else wanted nothing to do with it."
"Am I that formidable a presence?" Julie asked carefully, trying not to scare the man.
Alan wasn't the easily scared type. "My dear, I have to turn you from an ingenue, to an avenger, to a monster, and finally into a purified and redeemed soul. I have to do the same with Lenore, Ramonè, your friend the kid - why won't he tell anyone his name? He keeps that up, I'll start calling him 'Manco' or 'Yojimbo'. Anyway, I have to synchronize all the elements and make sure you're all believable, in your descent, and all the clues for your redemption. I also have to see to your education in charm school, keep your son safe and schooled to keep the League officials happy, and manage all of that under budget. It will be a wild ride, but I'm sure I can do it."
"I hate to add to your woes . . . but I never got much of an education either. I can barely read, and making change taxes my math skills. If I'm going to be doing all these interviews, and endorsements, I think I need to be able to do both."
Tyrone sighed. "Yes, we'll have one of the girls tutor you - "
"Ramonè! Shall tutor the beauteous lady," the ex-librarian said, "We have to go over the scripts together anyway."
"Problem, if not solved, at least on its way to a solution," Tyrone said, "You'll have a few days before things really start to happen. Remember Julie, if you have problems with anyone, including me, come see me, Lyn or Worry. Our job here is to tell a story, we can't do that if people are all pulling in ten different directions."
"So, Julie, do you want to go the 'hot-blooded Tigress' route, or try something that will challenge your acting muscles, the mousy-type who begins as a reluctant warrior?" Alan asked.
"Considering I was a mousy-type, even for a Tigress, I think I'll start of that route," Julie said, "And thank you Ramonè."
"Thank you, my soon to be fierce rival. Like I told you, teaching literacy was what got me into this in the first place."
"Someday I'd like to hear about that."
"The magnificent Ramonè shall tell you." He bowed and kissed her hand. "Although he truly does not love to hear himself speak as much as others claim he does."
"Because nobody loves to talk that much," Alan commented.
Tyrone MacGonigal's Harem
Harumi 2 - Armsmistress
Lyn - Battle Angel [Psychic](Pokèwoman)
Cat - Cheshire
Eek-O - Demon-goddess
Miko - Herolee
Ter - Ka-d-bra
Babs - Megami-sama (Pokèwoman)
Jer - Mercury (Eek-O's Partner)
Koko - Mistoffeles
Worry - Scarecrow (Alpha)
Yoko - Venuswhore
Harumi 1 - Wigglymuff
Shirl - Angel
Vonny - Battle Angel [Dark]
Julie - Battle Panthress
Nikki - BuzzQueen
Tosela - Fighting Coach
Catherine - Dance Coach
Ferrella - Charm School Coach
Tomasina - Acting Coach - Iron Maiden
Mariene (Fight Choreographer) - Armsmistress
Dennisina (Dance Choreographer) - Matron
Kam (Make-Up Coordinator) - Herolee
SUPE-BRA GENIUS, "I Am The Greatest!" Intellectual Pokégirl
Type: Very Near Human
Element: varies between (Normal, Magic, Psychic, including combination of the two; same as pre-evolved form's)
Frequency: Rare (never wild)
Diet: eats human style food
Role: filling some role in Research and development, labs, Pokécenters, corporations
Libido: varies from Pokégirl to Pokégirl
Strong Vs: varies by element(s)
Weak Vs: varies by element(s)
Attacks: varies, common are Shield and Teleport
Enhancements: Enhanced Stamina (x4), Very Near Human (some have almost no distinguishing traits), improved flexibility, Super-intellect, Knowledge Specialty, Quirk, Perfect Memory
Disadvantages: Typically have little in the way of HTH ability, though many find a way around this. Physical skills are usually on par with normal humans (if not just below), unique fear(phobia), Fetish, Quirk, Research Focus
Evolves From: G-Poindexter (normal)
Supe-bra Geniuses, or Geniuses for short, are nearly as varied as Megami in both appearance and abilities. Though there are many common traits. They all have a vast knowledge of academic topics, but like Megami each have a tendency to specialize in a couple of areas. Due to their lack of physical impressive combat abilities, and limited Psychic abilities (which are normally defensive in nature) Geniuses are normally not found in a Tamers Harem. Most find work in the Academic circles, as research aides or even as professors. Due to intellect of these Pokégirls those that are found will generally be in League controlled or monitored areas. Nearly all Geniuses have these (dis)advantages.
Knowledge Specialty: A field(s) of knowledge that the Genius knows everything about. They can be almost any field. Combat, History, Chemistry, etc. All Geniuses usually have one that combines several distinct fields. Like archaeology. (History, Cartography, Metallurgy, Chemistry, etc.)
Unique fear: A phobia of sort that generally causes the Pokégirl to freak out in some manner. Reaction is as varied as the phobia. Anything from attacking randomly to fainting. To clutching desperately at a tamer. Some phobias are more problematic than others
Fetish: These like phobias can be problematic or not. Some known ones are for crabs, mechanical devices, explosives, chocolate, tuna, etc. The reaction to these are varied and are something of a minor nuisance to Tamers.
Quirk: Some unique ability and or flaw. Some geniuses have quirks that allows them to change to an alternate form or produce items from an alternate dimension known as 'Hammerspace'. The quirks usually have a connection to either the geniuses knowledge specialty or fetish. A common one is hormone overload to the point where the Pokégirl is catatonic. And like many aspects of the genius these quirks can be helpful, harmful, or just plan annoying.
Mystery Obsession: Some may not consider this a disadvantage, but a Genius can become quite obsessed with 'mystery' of sorts and will not rest until they've discovered its secrets. Geniuses do not believe that they can't discovery the secret to anything. It's usually connected to their specialty knowledge. And will change if they ever discover it, they'll just find anew one they always do.
BATTLE ANGEL, the Psi-a-Knight Of Steel Pokégirl
Type: Very Near Human, Metamorph
Frequency: somewhat Rare
Diet: varies, but mainly human-type food
Role: armored warriors
Libido: varies from Low to High
Strong Vs: Bug, Dragon, Electric, Fighting, Flying, Ghost, Ice, Normal, Plant, Poison, Psychic, Rock, Steel
Weak Vs: Fire, Ground
Attacks: Cry, Aura Of Cute, Teleport, Backstab, Flash, Hypnotic Gaze, Dominate, Double Team, Agility, Quick, Foresight, Armor, Fade, Psi-Blade, Psi-Blade Mark II, Heal, Aura Barrier, Confusion, Disable, Performance, Cheer, Roar, Call Me Queen, Slice n' Dice, Rage, Slash, Cut, Carve, Parry, Deflect, Bonk, Harden, Kick, Punch, Quickturn, and Cuddle
Enhancements: Minimum of Speed (x4), Armor (x4), Strength (x4), Endurance (x2)
Evolves: none known at this time, speculated to evolve to Berserker in unknown conditions
Evolves From: Ingenue with a Steel Coat (Trade Item)
A Battle Angel is the ultimate in armored Pokégirls in terms of speed, firepower and cuteness, once they are equipped with an item and they start down their development path, it is nearly impossible to change their secondary element.
A Battle Angel has two forms: armored, in which she looks like an armored knight in form-fitting armor; her second form is her naked body, the form she is tamed in. With concentration, the Pokégirl's armor folds and retracts into her body, where upon she looks exactly like a normal human girl. Most keep their hair long, interestingly, when they are armored, their hair is as tough as their armor. They are not restricted to being fully armored or naked, but with practice can select what portions are armored and which aren't, allowing them to appear as if wearing a bikini, shorts and a shirt, or merely showing their face, or anything in-between. If surprised, attacked or distracted they instantly revert to their fully armored form. Generally, their Libidos vary from individual to individual, and often depend on their attitude towards their Tamer. Most Battle Angels have a favored type of hand-to-hand weapon that they seek to be armed with, some extend this to a particular weapon that has special meaning to them.
After transformation from an Ingenue into a Battle Angel, she has to be equipped with an Evolution Stone or she'll become a Steel/Normal type. Once equipped, she'll undergo a secondary 'evolution' path, much like an Eva. Their Feral state is relatively mild, merely intensifying their dominant personality characteristics, Steel/Ghost types become more timid, Steel/Fighting types become even more aggressive, etc. Evolvution with a Psi Crystal creates the Psi-a-Knight
Their armor can be of any style or color, often it is a scintillating pattern that confuses and dazzles the viewer. Likewise, their hair can be any color, often several colors. With the styling of both their hair and armor, flamboyant is an understatement. They would call it battlemented, and others call it brassy or tacky. They are extremely confident of their abilities, often seeking to overwhelm opponents without having to actually fight them. They are very intent on making a name for themselves on their grand crusade, which varies with the individual. They will greatly favor a Tamer and harem who follow their morals and supports their crusading style.