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Robert's life hadn't changed much since being stuck in the center with his colleagues. Save for everyone having to sleep in the staff room and washing up after themselves, it was fairly routine. He gripped a handle on the foosball table and spun it idly. Michelle and Todd were watching the sky.
"Maybe we should shoot one of the giant pigeons - Pidgeots, I think they're called - down and roast it. See how it tastes." Todd said, drumming his fingers on the table impatiently.
"Someone might have already tried that," Jenkins replied.
"You up for a game of foosball?" Robert asked. He saw Victini levitating puzzle pieces via telekinesis. The Pokemon had caught onto the idea of piecing together the edge pieces first, and was well underway to completing the puzzle.
"Hell, I don't see why not. Get Sarah and Linda down here. We'll play in pairs," Jenkins replied.
Sarah came in clutching a stapled-together report detailing what was no doubt the capture of Victini. She placed the report on a prominent spot, where Andrew would see it, before taking up her place at the table without a word.
Linda's scritches caused VIctini to drop the puzzle piece it was levitating, squealing in protest. Only a psychic barrier and a strongly worded telepathic message dissuaded her. "I've never met an animal that didn't like being scratched like that."
"I think you mean, you haven't met any animal that told you in such clear terms to stop," Sarah replied. "Hell, my parents' dog would snap at you if you touched him for too long. The difference is," she continued, nodding, "that Victini over there is able to make his desires easily understood with speech. Linda?"
Linda stared at Victini, before sheepishly replying, "Alright, It'll ask you next time I want to touch you! I'm sorry!"
"We've talked long enough as is." The animal control personnel set up the game and started playing.
Jenkins was the first to speak. "So, Todd, anyone in your family involved in hunting?"
"What? No. Though someone did say, 'Don't matter if it can peck ya or claw ya apart - if it's got wings it's fair game for buckshot.' That's what I remember at least."
"I prefer hunting Spearow myself. They've quite the habit of harassing Pokemon every time someone comes near their territory."
"Have you ever seen some aggressive Earth birds? Look up the Canadian Geese sometime. Ugly monsters that will claw and peck at you, and they don't fly very far. Can't set you on fire though." Sarah gave a grin.
Todd grinned. "Earth birds are way more hardcore than Pokemon birds."
"Can any creature from your world eat twice its body mass in metal each day?"
"No, Victini. Why ask?"
"That settles it then."
"Who wants to give Victini the middle finger? No takers? Let's keep playing, then." Sarah deflected a ball punted by Jenkins, slamming it into the goal. "And that's one point for me and Todd."
"Hah. You're all too scared to see what being set on fire feels like. A shame, since you'll be warm the rest of your lives if I did that."E
"C'mon. It's not that cold."
"Haven't shot anything in a while. Might be a good time to go down to the local range." Jenkins added, looking at Victini. "Unless this little bugger can conjure targets with his mind, it's back to pointing the pistol threateningly at inanimate objects."
"I'm not gonna be surprised if someone in the last few days haven't shot down a Pidgeot."
"No, spearow are where it's at. They're aggressive, so you shouldn't feel bad about fighting back."
"What do these 'spearow' look like?" Robert asked.
"Like a bird from your world, but larger and intelligent than your creatures could ever be. When old enough, they become fearow - huge things that are large enough to rival a small tree in size."
"I-" Jenkins looked around, drawing his gun. "Guys? We've got these, we'll be fine. Just need to ground it and keep shooting."
"We have net-guns," Todd added. "Tangling it up would make for a fairly easy capture. We're not supposed to use them in that way, but I feel that if there's no other choice it should be allowed."
"I have my fire and mind. Shattering its bones with a thought, or incinerating it will be second nature to me."
"You couldn't resist a tranquilizer dart when I fired one at you," Todd replied. "Now, I half-expected you to burn me to death on the spot instead of running away."
"I woke up alone and afraid, nothing familiar to me at all, before incinerating that human and their beast."
Todd's mind drifted back to the day he captured Victini. "What did you do to my partner?"
"Many psychic attacks - like what I did to Nicole - wear off in a few hours to a day. She will be fine."
"Have I introduced myself to you before?" Robert asked. He paused for a moment, before replying, "Nice to meet you, Victini. I think I'll leave to-"
Andrew tapped his foot. "Todd asked me to organize a meet-up with Victini today, so it'll know everyone in the animal control center.
"I only know Todd and Jenkins. The rest of you - I have no idea except the surface thoughts I gleaned."
Linda opened up Bulbapedia on her phone and showed it to Michelle, who nodded in response.
"Alright, everyone!" Andrew began, far too cheerfully. "We'll get Robert up first. Then I'll do myself."
Nicole stared at the television screen in her apartment, half-listening. The haggard face of President Satingo was replaced by a scientist in a white lab-coat, speaking about the biological needs of Pokemon.
"... Take it up, Dr. Werini," the anchorwoman said.
"The safest bet is fruits," Werini replied. "From the games, there are about eight hundred of these species. Each has unique abilities with their own needs - but there are patterns that may be followed. For example, a hot environment would be more suited for Fire-types."
"I will advise the population to use Bulbapedia - while that site contains many exaggerations, it is the best bet we have right now, considering the circumstances."
"Yes, of course. If you are wondering; no, Pokemon do not like pet food."
"Anything else the public should know?"
"I would advise everyone to avoid interaction with Pokemon. They are rather... unpredictable right now. Wait for assistance from FEMA, the National Guard or similar disaster relief agencies."
"I just do basic cleaning duties at night while everyone's gone home," Robert said. "That's all I'm going to say - I don't know how to start a conversation about myself. Hell, I'm expecting you to just probe me anyway, so why bother even speaking?"
"You really want to avoid talking to me, don't you? Andrew ?"
"If ya don't wanna do this, Robert? I'll do myself. Hello, Victini." He paused then continued, "Is it alright if I call you that?"
"I have no issue being addressed by my species name, Andrew.."
"I'm the chief of animal control in this center - that means I'm the boss here, if you didn't know already. Each center has a different chief associated with it," Andrew began.
"Can you tell me about your job?"
"Unless it's something personal, I'll be happy to answer."
"How long will I be staying here?"
"We have a limit of holding whatever we bring in for a week. After that... we'll be sending them off. It's mainly to get them adopted. We only release them into the wilds if they're already wild animals. As for you - that's a special case that I'll have to decide on.."
"Can one of you adopt me then?"
The entire staff body erupted into arguments.
"Quiet down, all of you!" Everyone turned to look at him. "While that may be a viable course of action, it can wait. In the meantime, I am willing to bend the rules and allow VIctini to stay here for an extended period of time, until help arrives. Secondly-"
"How about working for you?"
"That- that is not a question I am qualified to answer. I believe we will not be allowing Pokemon into the job for a long time, if ever."
Victini shifted on the crate where it was sitting, causing it to creak. "Then what will you do with me? Please, don't leave me alone."
Andrew looked to his subordinates, then at himself. No one dared answer.
"I know what you're thinking, Andrew. I know what is on the minds of everyone in this room. Just say what you think."
"Even if the truth hurts?"
"Yes. I'm getting impatient. Speak."
Andrew's head snapped up of its own accord. His mouth moved as if controlled by puppet strings. "Victini. We will not leave you alone in our world. You deserve someone to aid you. I took on this job because I wanted to help others - we all did. It doesn't matter what species or world they come from."
"Chief! You OK?" Todd asked. "He just zoned out completely for a few seconds before speaking!"
"The hell..." Jenkins began. Was that actual mind control? It was just one of an uncountable number of things to be afraid of in this world, now.
Before long, Robert left to pick up food from the emergency supplies cabinet. He returned with a box of museli bars and cans of food.
"Please don't give me bean soup again. I'll get stomach cramps."
"You sure it wasn't excessive flatulence?" Jenkins piped up.
"No!" Victini tore apart the wrapper telekinetically, glaring at him. "Don't you dare mention that again."
Upon seeing everyone look at him, Jenkins immediately shut up. The meal was made more awkward, but he didn't really care. "Enjoy your meal, guys," he said after a short pause. "I'd rather not deal with an angry Pokemon right now."
"Can someone go check up on Jenkins are we eat? Just to make sure he's alright," Todd said. Linda got up and followed the path Jenkins had taken.
"Keep Victini away from him," Todd said. "I swear, if our chief of security gets incinerated-"
"You'll what? Shoot me? Or maybe throw me out?"
"If you ever injure or kill one of us... I rarely swear or threaten others, Victini. Listen. If you ever attack us... when this is all over, I will swear to FUCKING kill every single Pokemon that this center brings in, so that Earth will be safe. I don't care how, I'm going to find a way to get the military on my side for this. Do you understand me?"
A long, terrifying pause followed. "Victini? You alright?"
"I completely understand you."
Todd nodded. "Good." He noticed the remaining staff, wide-eyed, sitting behind him. "What?"
"You just-" Sarah began. "That was quite dangerous. I truly thought we were about to die!"
"Todd." His head snapped up to meet Andrew's gaze. "What you did was beyond irresponsible. We do not treat the animals we bring in with threats of injury or abandonment, let alone an intelligent being with its own desires and ideas. I am ordering you to apologize to Victini after you have eaten. Are we clear on this?"
"Yes, boss," Todd stared at the ground for the rest of the meal, not daring to speak a word. The immense amount of resentment and smouldering anger from Victini did not help matters.
"What exactly possessed you to treat me in such a way?"
"That was just an outburst. You really should let it slide - I have a damn duty to protect other humans as well. In a disaster such as this, I have known the other officers in this center for about three years. You have only been with us for about three days. It is a good thing for you that our protocol forbids killing of any animals we bring in."
"You mean I am only alive because of your rules?"
"We didn't even know what you were until a few days later. By then we've also noticed you have no identifying information pertaining to past owners. No medical records, nothing. When we realized you were capable of communication - we decided to let you stay. I told you already. You are of great value to us."
"So, you only see me as a tool instead of a being that deserves respect?"
"No. I only distrust you because of what you did to Nicole."
"Did you ever truly think I or any other being would let themselves stand there and be captured?"
Todd stood there, refusing to answer.
"I'll take your silence as a no, then." The door swung open freely under telekinetic force. "Leave me in peace."
This chapter is possibly the longest I've ever done in any fic, and for good reason - it builds up on the characters somewhat and provides a break and set up for the next few Pokemon as dangerous/scary, especially one that is quite non-threatening in appearance, is quite difficult for me. I tried to convey it through dialogue and/or actions if possible.