This is what Door remembered:
Oppenheimer turned and threw something at the dragon. Door couldn't see what, but she could see Oppenheimer capture Reshiram easily. And then, there it was again, its graceful head bending down towards Oppenheimer's outstretched hand. Door found her eyes transfixed to the thing—the storm of feathers and white and fury—as it arced around its new master with blazing-blue fire in its maw. Oppenheimer lifted his head and locked eyes not with her but with Geist. He opened his mouth, but for the life of her, Door couldn't hear what he had said.
And the choir rose. A chorus of voices, both screaming and singing all at once, called out from behind Oppenheimer and his dragon, and Door heard the march of a hundred machines in a metal symphony around her and beneath her. Magdalene walked forward, head held high and eyes a blazing amber beneath her flowing, black veil. Her hydreigon followed, and so did the Matrix agents, and so did the wild druddigon and golett from the shadows of the ruined floor. And for a second, Reshiram's head rose with the flames of the sun curling from its fanged mouth, and Door felt hands on her shoulders…
And then the next thing she knew, she wasn't on the roof of Dragonspiral Tower anymore. She was moving, yet she wasn't. The world around her marched forward, shrouded in the thin and dispersing fog of early morning at the border between swampland and river.
River. Door squinted in the early morning light at the black band of water that stretched before her, shimmering beneath the cresting sun. It wound beneath the old, metal bridge before her, which stretched from the end of a tiled, glassy road on one side all the way to a city she barely recognized, a city crowned in black towers and white rocks. She blinked as the remnants of something—dreamless sleep or pure unconsciousness, she couldn't quite tell—ebbed away and left her foggy-headed and shivering in … a pair of arms.
She looked up, into Geist's face. Geist was carrying her, but he wasn't looking at her. In fact, he didn't look like Geist at all. Not with his face that blank and eyes that…
Slowly but surely, against the biting cold, Door began to put it together. Geist grabbed her. Geist's … his system activated. That was right. That was the last thing she remembered before everything went sideways. His voice, robotic and as cold as the morning air, boomed that something…
Door squirmed, but Geist's grip held her tight against him, arms pinned to her chest and legs pinned together. She shouted, but he didn't flinch. Something was wrong.
She heard pure noise behind him: a thousand footfalls on glass, on pavement, in water. Falling limp in her Companion's arms, she craned her neck back to see what was going on, and there, following Geist like an army following a general, were more machines than Door had ever seen in her life. Matrix agents. Trainer Companions. Fauxkémon from Dragonspiral Tower and the Moor of Icirrus.
Door stiffened. She knew where this was now. She looked back, beyond the army, to the fens and trees still shrouded in fog. She looked forward, at the bridge and the other side, with its little piece of road and its sprawling city. This was the end of the Moor of Icirrus. This was the beginning of Route 9. Straight ahead was Opelucid City.
And for reasons Door couldn't understand, Geist was marching an entire army right to the city's gates.
"Geist!" she shrieked. "Geist, stop!"
She tried to kick him, but he wouldn't react. His eyes remained locked on Opelucid City.
"Geist! I-I order you to stop!" Door wrenched her body, twisting in a desperate attempt to free herself, but he held on tighter. "What's wrong with you?! I said stop! Stop! Let me go!"
Her voice pitched upwards at those last words, then tapered off into a scream. This wasn't happening. This couldn't have been happening. She twisted again, yanking at her hands with the hope that perhaps that would free her, and when it didn't, she bit Geist's shoulder, then thrashed, then settled back into a quiet fit of sobs, face buried in his shoulder. She mumbled his name every so often, willing herself to believe her voice could reach him—that some part of him was still underneath whatever all of this was.
But then … how much of him was left, after everything that happened at the top of Dragonspiral? She rested her cheek on his shoulder and pressed her lips together. That was a question and a half. How much of him was the Geist she knew? Door realized she couldn't answer that. What did Oppenheimer's drive do to him? Had it reverted him to what he was before he wound up with Amanita? Had it erased everything about him and replaced him with some stranger? She didn't know, and she was, as much as she didn't want to admit it right then, downright terrified by the prospects.
"Geist?" she croaked. "Please … if you can hear me … you gotta fight it, okay? Please wake up. Please, just let me go. Please let me go. Please—"
Something glowing and green clubbed Geist in the back of the head. He stumbled, and before he could catch himself, an object jammed into one of his hands. Sparks flew, a machine whirred, and Geist's grip on Door loosened just enough for someone to pull her out of his arms. As her rescuer dragged her backwards, she watched as her Companion stopped dead in his tracks and stared down at her with a cold, mechanical glare. The army behind him stopped too, and the Moor of Icirrus fell silent.
And that's when Door realized that the person who pulled her away from Geist was none other than Belle. Or more specifically, a Belle that apparently held both a screwdriver and Starr's arm in one hand and Door's arm in the other. Monkshood—the thing that had clubbed Geist from behind, apparently—slithered through the crowds and quickly joined their side.
"C'mon," Belle said gruffly. "On your feet, kid."
Door complied, if only because she was too jarred not to. As soon as Door was stable, Belle gave her a curt nod, then turned sharply towards Geist.
"Okay, asshole," she said. "I'm all for mayhem and chaos and a big fuckin' army marching onto the city and all, but you puppeteer my Companion, and you get your ass handed to you. I'm giving you five seconds to let Starr go, or I'm gonna have Monkshood go old school on your face."
Monkshood hissed and lowered his head and lashed his tongue out into the morning air.
"W-what?!" Door grabbed Belle's arm. "Wait! You can't—"
"Door, I swear to God," Belle growled. "I barely know what's going on beyond the fact that Haunty McHauntface dragged my ass to Dragonspiral, embarrassed me in front of the dude who's paying me nicely, and jacked my Companion—the only thing I've got—but the way I see it, your robopet jacked a ton of other Companions and is having them march onto a city. So your options are this: you can help me get my Companion back because I told you to, you can side with me because it's morally right, or you can stay the fuck out of my way and get your teeth kicked in by whoever's left standing. Take your pick, but I really suggest picking one of the choices where you summon your freaky murder-rabbit to go medieval on some roboass. And with that said, time's up, motherfucker. Monkshood, Leaf Blade!"
Monkshood leapt at Belle's command and dove into a fast slide towards the army with a glowing tail trailing behind him. With the distance closed between them, Monkshood twisted and swung his tail at Geist, but suddenly, an emboar burst from the crowd and barreled into the serperior. It grabbed his tail with both meaty hands and swung him away from the Companion and into the road. Monkshood hissed and twisted within the emboar's grasp, and Belle growled, yanked something free from her pocket, and tossed it to Door. Instinctively, Door caught it, then looked down to see a small, golden box with HM03 stenciled onto one side.
"Take this and use it on your audino. We'll need the coverage," Belle said. "Monkshood, Slam the fucker!"
As Monkshood flung his full body into the emboar's side, three more pokémon appeared from the crowd: a stoutland, a musharna, and a simisage. Door took a step back, recognizing this tactic instantly. It was Blair's team, member for member, only … as robots.
"Hey! That's my MO, asshole!" Belle shouted. "Door, get your head in the game and help me!"
"R-right." Door fumbled for her poké balls, then pulled all three out in one go. "Okay, guys! Let's go!"
"What?! Fuck! No!"
With three small pops, Pyro, Tsunami, and Knives instantly materialized before Door. Door sighed with relief and took a step forward with the HM clutched in her hands … just as Pyro and Tsunami turned on her with glassier eyes than normal. Knives trilled quizzically, then barked and scrambled to stand in front of Door, arms outstretched protectively.
"Godammit! Monkshood! Drive 'em off!"
A green blur shot out in front of Door and drove Pyro and Tsunami back. They hummed simultaneously, then shot streams of fire and water at Monkshood. The serperior growled and swerved out of the way of the flames and into the jet of water, then glanced back for further instructions.
"Coil, then Slam! Keep them back, but don't go too hard! Those are the only shots Door's got!" Belle shouted. Then, turning on Door, she glared. "Hurry up and give that to your audino! Your Companion's not gonna wait!"
Door shot forward and held the HM over Knives. Her hands shook, fingers slipped on the plastic casing, yet despite everything that gripped her in that moment, she somehow managed to pry apart the HM and pour its golden sparks onto her pokémon. Knives hummed and lifted her face to the sun, then smirked and raised a paw. Behind her, the river roared, and a pillar of water burst from its black surface, then surged forward at the twist of Knives's hand. The wave crashed into the four pokémon Geist had summoned and drove them back into the crowds.
Belle was suddenly by her side again, gripping her elbow.
"God, your audino's stupidly strong," Belle muttered. "Listen. You're gonna have to get close to—"
"W-what happened to Pyro and Tsunami?" Door asked.
"Seriously?!" Belle shot her a look. "Your Companion controls robots, idiot! That includes fauxkémon! Speaking of—Monkshood! Coil again, then Giga Drain the seismitoad into submission!"
"No!" Door shrieked. "She's—"
Belle snapped her arms around Door to keep her from running towards her pokémon. "Weak. I know. Monkshood knows what he's doing. I'm just making sure they stay out of your way."
"Door, would you shut up?! I'm serious right now!" Belle grabbed her face and forced Door to look her in the eyes. As she turned her head, she saw the four pokémon—and several others—slowly climb out of the crowd. Belle shot a finger towards Knives.
"No one told you to stop!" she said. "Do whatever you want; just keep Geist busy!"
Knives chirped and instantly leapt into the fray, pink light surrounding her pudgy body. With Knives occupied and Monkshood holding Door's other pokémon back, Belle turned her attention back to Door herself.
"Listen to me," she said. "What did you do to make Zero-One's defense system activate?"
"How do you know—"
Belle closed her eyes and exhaled slowly. "We know more than you think, okay? Tell me what happened."
"I … I just gave him the drive Oppenheimer gave me," Door said.
"Ah, fuck." Belle massaged her forehead. "I knew that thing was a stupid idea."
Door straightened. A spike of courage suddenly drove her to her feet. "What was on that thing? What did I give him?!"
"Okay, look." Belle locked eyes with Door again. "I'm gonna get technical, but you're a smart girl, so suck it up. The only thing on that drive was a program designed to brute-force the locks on your Companion's LFA core so that it could be readable by Zero-One's entire system. Matrix thought that's where Bill's memories—"
"You knew about him too?!"
"Follow along, Door. Everyone who's working with Team Matrix knew about him. He's the point of our mission." Belle sighed. "Matrix thought that's where Bill's memories were stored, so they thought modifying that drive to be accessible will make Zero-One remember who he's supposed to be. The problem is that no one on the team but me has enough fucking common sense to realize the inventor of Companions herself would probably arm the LFA core of her special Companion with a security system the likes of which no one has ever seen, and sure enough, she did. So probably, jamming a program meant to hack into a core might be a bad idea if that core was rigged with a super-advanced security system. Hence the robot uprising your best friend is currently trying to stage."
"A robot—isn't that what they wanted him to do?" Door said softly.
Belle sighed. "Please. First off, Companions aren't getting to decide here, so this isn't even close to freeing Companions or whatever. Second, Oppenheimer doesn't believe his own bullshit in the first place. You think he'd be so obsessed with a human if he actually cared about Companions? Anyway, shut up and focus. Is the drive still jammed in his wrist?"
"I-I guess?" Door frowned. "You didn't see it?"
"I was too busy saving your ass to notice. Sue me." Belle took another calming breath. "Okay. I'm gonna make sure your audino and my Monkshood keep your Companion's army occupied. You sneak in there and grab the drive. Yank it out and pray he freezes."
Door started. "W-what?! Why me?!"
"Because he'll snap my neck if I try to get close," Belle replied. "Ultimately, you're still his user, and some of the Laws are bound to apply, right?"
Door fell silent. She had to admit, the murderous kidnapper who had chased her around half a region kinda had a point right then. Not about the Three Laws because she wasn't about to tell Belle about Geist's loose relationship with them. No, Belle had a point about Geist. Door could trust him. If he was in there, he wouldn't hurt her. He just wouldn't.
"Right." Belle patted Door's shoulders. "Off you go, then."
She pulled away from Door and twirled the screwdriver in her hand. And then, she dove into the crowd, slashing at everything within arm's reach. The Companions and fauxkémon scattered, then converged on her, and Door stiffened. Belle was helping her. Knives and Monkshood too. And there were so many others who had helped her throughout her journey, and she couldn't do a thing to help them back.
What was she doing? Waiting around for something to happen? That was like her, wasn't it? Just waiting around for something to change. Even back in Nuvema, when she swore she was better than the entire city, she was only waiting.
But who said she had to keep waiting? She could help someone. She could help so many someones. She just had to…
She looked at Knives, who was summoning Surf and Secret Power, one after another, to drive back the four fauxkémon Geist had brought out of the crowds. She looked at Monkshood, who coiled around Tsunami and lashed out at Pyro. She looked at Belle, who leapt deftly from the shoulders of one Companion to the next, like she was born to ride robots.
And then she looked at Geist, who looked back at her with those empty eyes.
And with a deep breath, she lifted her head and started forward. As soon as she took her first step, he took his, and they walked towards one another in two unwavering paths.
"Geist," Door said as soon as she thought she was within earshot. "If you're in there…"
She held out her hand, as if extending it to shake his. He continued forward and grabbed it and didn't stop, but Door was anticipating this. She twisted around and walked beside him as he adjusted his hold on her wrist.
"Geist, please," she said. "Please wake up."
He said nothing. They walked onto the bridge together. Behind them, the crowds pushed Belle, Knives, and Monkshood onto it too.
"Geist, you're leading them into a city," Door said. "You're gonna hurt people. Please, you gotta wake up!"
Still nothing. Door's hand reached for his, and with a mechanical whir, his hand tightened around her wrist. It was like … it was like…
Route 3. The time Door nearly threw her pokémon into a death match just to prove a point. She was such an idiot. Geist taught her that. He taught her so many things, and she was on the verge of losing him—if not because of this, because he wasn't Geist anymore, was he? She chewed the inside of her cheek to keep herself calm.
"Geist, I'm sorry," Door said. "I'm sorry I was such a jerk to you for so long. You were right about everything, and I didn't know, and I'm sorry. Just please—you're my best friend. Please wake up."
Nothing. The Tubeline Bridge was long, at least. They had time. Her hand crept to his wrist, curled around to feel the drive.
And then Geist's hand tightened more.
"Geist?" Door's eyes drifted down to his wrist. "You're hurting me."
Geist continued walking forward, his eyes level and his grip tightening. A spark of panic flickered across Door's brain. Something was wrong. She knew Geist could ignore the Three Laws, but he always stopped on his own when he realized he was hurting her. And this hurt.
"H-hey!" Door leaned away from Geist while her other hand grasped the drive. "Geist! We're good! S-stop!"
He didn't. His grip tightened.
"Geist! My … my wrist! Let go!"
He didn't. His grip tightened.
He didn't. His grip tightened.
And then something cracked. Door shrieked and jerked her hands and dropped to her knees. Pain spiked up her arm and stabbed into her shoulder as her entire body hung from Geist's grip. Her free hand opened, and something slipped out, clattering to her feet. Through the blur of her tears, she could see it: something small, black, and familiar.
She did it. She pulled it out. Now this could be over.
Somewhere above her, she could feel blazing heat. She didn't need to look up to know Reshiram was there. She was wondering, in fact, when Oppenheimer would come. She covered her eyes with a hand and began crying. Her wrist was in so much pain.
There were footsteps—right, the crowd had gone silent—and the edge of Magdalene's dress swept into the edge of Door's field of vision.
"My lord?" Magdalene's voice sounded so distant then. "Why have you stopped? Is everything all right?"
Geist's grip on her wrist slackened, and somehow, that hurt more. She forced her head to tilt up, and when it did, she found herself locking eyes with Geist. He stared back, wide-eyed, horrified. His eyes flickered from her face onto her wrist, and he let go, stepping away from her in horror.
"Door," he murmured. "What did I do?"
Door pulled her wrist to her chest and whimpered. She didn't want to look at it. She didn't want to know whether or not it was broken. Knives squeaked and rushed to her side, wrapping a pair of soft feelers around her wrist. Door didn't know what to say. She wanted to say something, but her brain couldn't put it together.
In their silence, the crowd was dispersing. Fauxkémon retreated into the bushes. Trainer Companions turned on their heels and followed internal maps back towards Icirrus. Matrix agents gathered and stood at attention at the edge of the bridge, as if waiting for a new set of instructions. And Belle, Tsunami, and Monkshood approached, with a one-armed Starr in tow. Belle was breathing hard but was, shockingly, unscathed. Tsunami was beaten and battered and carrying Pyro, with a cracked bulb, in her arms. Monkshood looked exhausted and glassy-eyed but perhaps the best out of the entire group. Belle knelt down and looked at Door's wrist, cursing under her breath. Then, standing up, she narrowed her eyes at Reshiram.
"Oppenheimer!" she shouted. "You're not paying me to put up with this shit!"
Reshiram landed and allowed its master to dismount. Oppenheimer's black robes swirled around him, and he swept past Belle while sweet-toned words spilled out of his mouth.
"I've been paying you to make sure the child paired to Zero-One stayed on task, and you've done exceptionally well so far," Oppenheimer said. "Don't concern yourself with the rest. Those are matters for other parts of our organization. As for you…"
He pulled a glass bulb from the folds of his robes and pressed a button on its face. A cane extended from its bottom surface and tapped on the metal bridge.
"I hope you can forgive me," he said, slowly making his way towards Geist. "It's clear that this ordeal was quite distressing for you. I should have anticipated that forcing open the LFA system in that manner could be quite traumatic. Ah, but I promise you, I can make this right." He extended a hand. "Please. Come with me. We'll fix your memories and restore you to the person you once were."
Geist looked at that hand, then at Oppenheimer's face. He shook his head and took a step back.
"No?" Oppenheimer's smile faltered. "Come now. Everything will be all right. I promise."
He walked forward, step by step, and Door could do nothing but watch. Her wrist was on fire, and her tongue was firmly between her teeth to prevent her from screaming. She felt too weak to stop Oppenheimer and too deep in pain to order her pokémon to do it, not that any of them were ready to face a legendary dragon. So she could only cry as she watched Oppenheimer approach Geist and Geist backing away, damaged hand pinned to his chest, with every step the other man took.
Suddenly, the ground exploded. Or, rather, there was a bang, followed by the twisting of the bridge, followed by a split in the road that rushed towards Reshiram and yawned beneath its feet. Reshiram bellowed as the metal beneath its great claws twisted and rose, as the ground beneath it shook and bucked until it threw it into the air and slammed it back down, as the bridge swallowed half its legs. A golden streak fell from the sky, trailing violet fire after it, and as soon as it slammed into Reshiram's face, Door could see it for what it was: a haxorus, gripping the sides of Reshiram's head. It dug its axe-like tusks into its flesh over and over again.
Door swung her eyes forward, looking for her savior, and there, halfway across the bridge, she saw a woman. Small, gray-haired, and dark-skinned with a round face etched with wrinkles. The woman drew her robes—the golden robes of a dragon master—around her plump body and strode forward confidently, lifting her hand to command her haxorus. The haxorus shrieked and took on a red glow, then clawed Reshiram's face. Reshiram reared back and breathed blazing fire into the sky, and the air rippled with heat and light.
Oppenheimer whirled around at this roar. He opened his mouth to speak, but Door could barely hear him. She couldn't tell if it was because of the noise or the pain. Her vision began to grow hazy at the edges, and Oppenheimer's movements looked like they swam in the air. At the edge of her field of vision, she saw Zekrom and another Reshiram descend from the skies and a mega absol racing towards her on land. She heard Blair's voice screaming her name and felt Belle's hands leave her. And there, at the very corner of her eye, she saw Geist turn and run.
She didn't know how he managed to get past the dragon master on the bridge. She just knew he did. And she knew that because the next thing she could remember, she was sitting in a hospital bed with a cast on her arm, Blair and Opal by her side, and the dragon master seated at the foot.
"Well," said Iris Drago, "that was exciting."
AUTHOR: Bebe Larson
NOTES: Transcript of a video file recovered from Series Alpha Zero-One's memory banks. Video is located in archive 20.
[INTERIOR. Video begins with a shot of ZERO-ONE's hands on a piano. He is playing "DAISY BELL" and humming along until a small hand reaches up to tap a key right next to ZERO-ONE's left hand. The camera shifts and settles onto DOREEN HORNBEAM standing behind the bench.]
ZERO-ONE: Oh! Hello. I didn't notice you there. Where did you come from?
[DOREEN points to a spot outside of frame. Camera pans up to reveal the staircase leading out of the basement laboratory of the SEA COTTAGE.]
ZERO-ONE: Upstairs, huh? Won't anyone be missing you?
[DOREEN shakes her head and climbs onto the bench next to ZERO-ONE.]
ZERO-ONE, laughing: Okay. Okay. What's your name?
[DOREEN strikes the same key over and over again.]
ZERO-ONE: Doreen … how old are you, Doreen?
DOREEN: Four and a half.
ZERO-ONE, slowly: I see. Do you know whose house this is?
DOREEN, nodding: Auntie Lani's.
ZERO-ONE: That's right. And do you know who I am?
[DOREEN shakes her head.]
ZERO-ONE: It's all right. My name is Bill. I'm—I was a very close friend of Aunt Lani's.
ZERO-ONE: Do you want to learn how to play?
[DOREEN nods vigorously.]
ZERO-ONE: Okay. Watch closely, then. Sit up straight. Keep your elbows in front of you but your arms relaxed like this. Now, put your fingertips on the keys with your hands arched, just like you're holding a pair of poké balls. You'll be playing with all ten fingers, got it?
[DOREEN puts her hands on the keyboard. He grasps her elbow and adjusts it.]
ZERO-ONE: Relax. That's right. Now, all the notes go from A to G. The black keys are notes that are slightly higher or lower than all the others on the scale. This one, which your thumb should be on whenever you start, is the C key. Listen closely while I show you the others, okay?
[He plays a scale for her, naming the notes along with it. She mimics his movements.]
ZERO-ONE: That's right. Now, what song would you like me to teach you first? "Mary Had a Little 'Reep"? "The Durants Go Marching In"?
DOREEN: "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"!
ZERO-ONE: Oh? All right.
[He begins to play, slowly.]
ZERO-ONE: See how my fingers are moving? If you can get the patterns down, you'll be able to play it too, on any scale you want. Understand?
[DOREEN nods and follows his motions.]
DOREEN: I like this song because it's about stars.
ZERO-ONE: Is that so?
DOREEN: Uh huh. I want to be an astronaut when I grow up. I want to go see the stars and meet an alien! Or go to Jupiter! Or see the Milky Way way up close!
ZERO-ONE: All of those places sound really far away. Are you sure you won't get lonely on your journey?
DOREEN: Nope! I'm going with my pokémon. I'll be fine! And the spaceship will go really fast, so I'll go out to the stars and come back no problem.
ZERO-ONE: Ah, I see. Well, I suppose I can't stop another scientist. I hope you do get to the stars. I've heard they're quite beautiful.
DOREEN: Uh huh! The most beautiful things ever!
LINUS: Pumpkaboo! There you are!
[Camera pans up to catch LINUS HORNBEAM in a full, black suit approaching the bench. Behind him, at the foot of the stairs, is BRIGETTE HAMILTON, likewise dressed in black. DOREEN gives ZERO-ONE a last look and then climbs off the bench to take her father's hand.]
LINUS: You know you shouldn't be wandering off like that! You don't know what—oh. Hey, Bill. You okay? Sorry if she was bothering you. You know how kids are. Take your eyes off them for a second, and—
ZERO-ONE: It's all right. She wasn't a bother at all. In fact, she was just serving as my first real student. Incidentally, I can tell she's a natural. Perhaps you should look into lessons for her.
LINUS: Oh yeah? Well! Doreen's always been a smart cookie. But lessons? Huh. Yeah, I guess that sounds like a good idea. They do say the best thing to do to nurture a kid's intellect is to teach them an instrument. I'll run it by Ginny and see what she thinks. Thanks. And, uh, thanks for keeping an eye on her too.
ZERO-ONE: Of course.
LINUS: And Pumpkaboo, what do you say?
DOREEN, curtsying: Thank you!
LINUS: 'Atta girl. Anyway, we'd better head back up. You know. See the family. Will you be up later?
ZERO-ONE: No, I'm afraid not, but thank you for the invitation.
LINUS: Sure. Uh, good seeing you again. C'mon, Pumpkaboo. Your mom's worried sick.
[They climb the staircase. BRIGETTE waits until they're gone before approaching the bench.]
BRIGETTE: Poor girl. She must be bored stiff. Normally, she sticks to the sort of breaking and entering that doesn't involve bothering near strangers.
[ZERO-ONE resumes playing, this time opting for "La Vie en Rose" instead of "Daisy Bell."]
ZERO-ONE: Is Doreen your granddaughter?
BRIGETTE: Yes. What do you think of her?
ZERO-ONE: A little quieter than I'd expected for a Hamilton.
BRIGETTE: Yes, well. She's normally shy around strangers. You should see her at home. Climbing like she's an aipom and shouting like she's an exploud. She takes after Martin, I think. Looks like Linus, though. Apparently none of Virginia's side got into her.
ZERO-ONE: I thought so. She has your face, just like Linus when he was that young. [pauses] Gods above, has it really been that long since Linus was little?
BRIGETTE: Sadly, yes.
ZERO-ONE: Ah. Does Doreen have any siblings?
BRIGETTE: No. Virginia doesn't want any. Linus wants to respect that.
ZERO-ONE: I suppose I'll be Doreen's next, then, won't I?
BRIGETTE: Doreen's … what?
BRIGETTE: Ah. I wanted to talk to you about that.
[ZERO-ONE resumes playing. BRIGETTE comes to sit down beside him.]
ZERO-ONE: There's not really anything to talk about, is there? You're right. We're playing with technology that can be extremely dangerous in the wrong hands. I can't just walk out there and say I've been alive all this time, right?
BRIGETTE: Bill, listen—
ZERO-ONE: It's fine, Brigette. I understand. So tell me. Will she be my next partner?
BRIGETTE: Bill, we're doing everything we can to find a solution for you. You know that, right?
ZERO-ONE: I know. You've been trying for—
[The music grows louder and faster for a few measures before it settles back down again.]
ZERO-ONE: Sorry. That was the grief talking.
[BRIGETTE rests a hand on his arm.]
ZERO-ONE: I trust you, Brigette. Don't get me wrong about that. It's just not easy. I get why it has to be done this way. I know; believe me. I remember Team Rocket and all the others as much as you do. It's just—I really wanted to be able to hold her hand, you know? Properly.
[BRIGETTE shifts her hand to his back.]
ZERO-ONE: So. Doreen.
BRIGETTE: Yes. She'll be your next partner. She doesn't know about you. We're waiting until she's old enough to undergo the training Virginia's proposed. Virginia's plan is very thorough, really. Training. Pokémon handling. Mechanical work. Everything needed to maintain your chassis and protect you to boot, Doreen will be trained in it. Then we'll introduce you to her and see how things go from there.
ZERO-ONE: She seems nice.
BRIGETTE: She is. [beat] You know, I really hope it won't have to come to giving you to her, but we're all—
ZERO-ONE: Getting older. I know.
BRIGETTE: You should come upstairs. It'll help to be surrounded by other people.
ZERO-ONE: Thank you, Brigette, but I can't right now.
BRIGETTE: All right. It's your decision. But let us know if you need anything, okay?
ZERO-ONE: Of course. Thank you.
[BRIGETTE walks to the staircase. She gives ZERO-ONE one last look, then ascends. ZERO-ONE continues playing for a while.]
ZERO-ONE: Doreen. She's just a kid. I couldn't…