No-one greeted Michelle as she entered her apartment, since she was single. The news would be a good use of time while she waited for her microwaved TV dinner to finish.
The anchorwoman spoke of the odd green flash appearing in the sky. She looked out to see more and more of them. Memories of sci-fi and apocalypse movies came back to her, from watching them in college dorms at late-night parties.
As she grabbed the steaming-hot TV dinner and ate, there was nothing to do but wait for "further instructions" from the local authorities. "Further instructions, my ass," she muttered, wondering what exactly the military would do against unexplained phenomena like this. Maybe eggheads would study it, at best, hoping to make a big breakthrough on whatever this was.
There would likely be conspiracy theorists too, screaming about the "end of days" and such. Maybe staying of social media would be for the best for a while.
She dumped the TV dinner tray with utensils in the garbage and left to lie down in bed, hoping to take her mind off the news report. She'd go to work soon, to start the grinding, repetitive work all over again.
Victini came to, hoping to see the tiny room it was confined to for an indeterminate length of time. Instead, it saw the bowls, filled with fresh water and food. Oh. So that was not a dream then.
It ate as it had done so before. Luckily, it didn't see the need to relieve itself.
At midday an odd-looking and unrecognizable human gave it new food and water. That was mostly it. The people here helped clean up after it each time it went to relieve itself on the back lawn under close supervision. Were they afraid of its escape? Clearly they thought it was important in some way.
It reached out to touch one of the men's foreheads gently, trying to see what he was thinking. It was strange,. His experiences were significantly different than anyone it had known.
Flashes of unrecognizable places. Thoughts; fear, uncertainty, excitement. he must have been scared, since the man backed away carefully and slowly before shutting the door behind him.
Todd's mind reeled with strange ideas and creatures. The creature's paw had touched his forehead - and well, all hell had broken loose. Flashes of no known existing landmark. He felt emotions that were clearly not his own; uncertainty, excitement, fear.
And above all, a voice.
"Who are you? Why am I here?"
His mind was a constant jumble and gibberish as he tried to respond. The voice didn't even sound human, like a child's fast babbling.
"You're human. I can tell."
There was the voice again. Yes, he was definitely a human. But that voice, whoever it belonged to, could not be human. He was sure of it.
"I'm Victini. Tell me your name."
Todd? Yes, that was the name his parents gave him. He tried to focus on it, in the hopes it would remind him that this was not happening. Sitting in one of the chairs in the empty break room, he pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Todd? That's a lovely name."
"Uh, thanks?" he said, to no-one in particular.
"No need to thank me," Jenkins replied. "Besides, who are you talking to? A ghost, hah?" He returned to prodding at a plastic container of chicken salad with a fork.
Todd took one breath. Then another. And another.
"Can you hear me?"
"Yes," Todd replied. God, he sounded insane even with no one to see him.
"I'm glad. Here, just think."
He tried to formulate a response. So. He was Todd, of Las Vegas Animal Control. Finding the scared 'Victini' in an alleyway along with a dog corpse had killed the mood for the meeting, whatever this was. It wasn't any ordinary animal. Did Michelle know about this?
"Michelle? The human in blue?"
Yes, that was her. She was... distant to say the least, sparing people a moment's glance before continuing on with her life, acting as if they had never existed.
"She smells awful. I've never met anyone with that sort of overpowering scent."
That was the downside of a coffee addiction. He doubted that this Victini knew what coffee was, so he made a basic mental explanation.
"That stuff keeps you awake? Don't think I can stand it."
Truthfully, Todd was heavy tea drinker. There was a slight mental giggle on the other end.
"Nice to meet you, Todd."
The strange voice in his head disappeared, and Todd was left with his thoughts. Shaking his head, he moved to the front desk.
"You are Michelle. Is that correct?"
Michelle started. "Who the fuck are you?" She glanced around for Todd, but he was currently playing receptionist.
"Do you always greet strangers like this?"
"No! How did you even know my name?"
"Went through your head. It's quite easy to do, for someone as proficient at telepathy as me."
Her mind turned into a confused swirl. This sort of phenomena didn't exist. It definitely didn't. Maybe it was the stress of the job. "Just what are you?"
"I'm a Pokemon. You may call me Victini."
She paused, eyes widening. No. That... that was only a franchise. It definitely wasn't real.
"Just GET OUT OF MY HEAD!" She screwed her eyes shut and gritted her teeth, partly in shock and the pounding headache that followed.
The silence that followed seemed to last his whole lifetime. Todd peeked into the break room, concern al over his face.
"You were shouting. Everything OK?"
"That was fucking weird, man," she said at last. "I don't really know what's going on anymore."
"What do you mean?"
Michelle rubbed her eyes. "I'm hearing voices."
"Maybe you should go see a doctor. You work the night shift like me. Speaking of which, have you seen what we brought in?"
"Sure. Maybe that will take my mind off things..."
Michelle entered the small back room with Todd, empty save for the pen now containing a rather energetic Victini.
"I can tell by the scent of the air that this isn't Unova. Where am I?"
"You're on Earth. Specifically, the city of Las Vegas, one of the many cities in the state of Nevada," Todd said. "Oh, and Nevada is just one of many as fifty states in the nation called America."
There was a long pause between them. Finally, VIctini spoke.
"Look at me, Michelle."
She obeyed, head swiveling, still only half-believing what she saw.
"What-" she began.
"This is the only way we can understand each other. Get used to this; we'll be speaking to each other with this method from now on."
"I - yes." Her eyes flicked around for a moment. "Holy hell, this is insane..."
"What was that?"
"Play it straight with me next time; else I'll have to probe your mind."
Her eyes narrowed slightly.
"I'm going to lie down take a few deep breaths, and pretend this whole ordeal never happened," she said to Victini. Through the window, she could see Todd sitting at the receptionist desk, nose in a magazine. Neither of the humans registered the click of a lock.
"Hey! I'm not finished! Come back!"
"Fuck you!" She attempted to open the door. It held fast. That was not the case when she and Todd came in - and her colleague had absolutely not engaged it when he left. She hammered on it with her fists. Agony exploded in her head like a drill boring into her skull, until all she could do was lie on the floor, clutching her head.
"Come back. This is your last warning."
Michelle moved back, hands trembling and reaching for her pistol.
"Keep your hands off that thing."
Despite her terrified state, Jenkins managed to do what he was told.
"This will be the only way for all of you to communicate with me. Do not make this harder for yourself, Michelle."
The voice seemed a little... softer? That was a relief for him. The last thing he wanted to deal with right now was an angry telepathic creature.
Something clicked behind her, and she dared a glance behind her. The heavy door was surrounded by a cyan glow, swinging open of its own accord. Telekinesis? That was one more thing she had thought as being relegated to fiction.
What felt like hours to Michelle was in reality only twenty minutes as she glanced at her watch. Her head spun far more than ever before, which was not helping matters. Todd had come around to check on her, finding the poor woman gasping and sweating.
A glass of cold water helped calm her down a little, before Todd finally spoke.
"How was your conversation?"
"Fine," she replied.
"Just - tell me what happened. You were pounding on the door."
"Nothing! Just, nothing. Please, leave me alone. I got something to do." She groaned. "Go play receptionist. I'm not interested in what's happening out front unless it's another damn call-out."
"OK." The lack of conviction in Todd's face and tone was naked. It was the sort of thing that said, "I know something is wrong, but I won't press you further."
With that, she was left alone in the break room.
Todd was expecting the news to update any minute now. He idly flipped through channels, watching the chaos unfold as Pokemon appeared all over the world. President Satingo was speaking over the broadcasts, describing the events that had unfolded the night before. The date was prominently displayed on the lower right hand corner of the screen: April 12, 2035.
The broadcast ended with a "God bless you all. God bless the United States of-" before he shut off the TV mid-sentence, rubbing his eyes.
This is the remastered second chapter, with Victini being introduced as a proper character and a fleshed-out conversation. More to come.