Took me forever to do this, I know. It's the second-to-last chapter.

"You wanted to see me?" asked Ash.

Prof. Hemlock nodded. "Yes. Or more specifically, Midnight. I've completed my preliminary experiments, and the data is - confusing, to say the least. Follow me."

They walked deeper into the laboratory.

The place was clean, with what Ash guessed was sophisticated equipment. Not that he'd know, but it was the feeling he got. The other feeling was a sense of vague unease. There was nothing he could pinpoint, exactly, simply something there. Everything was a dulled white or gray color, and as they walked down the hall they came upon cages.

Not cages in the traditional sense, the way many experimental labs are. They weren't made of steel bars, nor were they stacked one on top of the other from the floor to the ceiling. They were more like enclosures in a zoo, the creatures in sterile rooms with a panel of glass on one wall to allow a person to look in. But of course, the pokemon on the other side were like nothing that could be found in a zoo.

Most of the rooms were empty. Some weren't.

The first was a spotted meowth. Its fur looked like a kaleidoscope of rainbow colors, and beyond that seemed normal at first glance. Yet as Ash walked by, he suddenly realized that it wasn't just lying down - it had no front legs, just paws. But before he could turn and take another look, Prof. Hemlock said irritably "Keep up!" before increasing his own pace.

The next were a pair of espeons - or was that umbreons? On second glance, Ash realized his mistake. One was an all-black espeon, the other a white umbreon with gold bands. One seemed to be trying to get up but wasn't moving its back legs. The other was coughing horribly, looking as if it was dying. Ash couldn't hear through the glass, but its entire body was shuddering. Blood ringed its mouth and flecked its neck and upper chest.

After that Ash saw what seemed to be a beedrill/scyther cross. It was green, with the face, legs and body of a scyther, and the arms and stingers of a beedrill. It had purple patches in the places that the scyther and beedrill parts met, and wasn't moving.

Finally Prof. Hemlock stopped. Peering into the cage, Ash saw a brownish colored version of Midnight. It was emaciated. Its skin was stretched tightly over bone. After the rib cage, the skin simply hugged the underside of its spine. The creature did not seem to have the space for a stomach or intestines. It was shaking, curling into the tightest possible ball. After a moment, Ash realized it must be shivering.

"When I attempt to clone the midnight, I get this thing. It's normal/flying, shows no unusual abilities, and can only use basic moves," he said, sounding slightly annoyed.

"What-what's wrong with it?"

"This one is diabetic, missing a pancreas. It's the only one to survive more then a day. The other clones were more severely damaged, missing lungs or skin or limbs."

"Why aren't you doing anything for it?"

Prof. Hemlock looked at Ash with irritation. "I am, why do you think it's still alive? Feeding it would only kill it faster. By starving the creature, it lives longer."

Ash had no idea what Prof. Hemlock was talking about. "But why don't you just give it insulin?"

"I'm not a paramedic. How would I know the dosage? Besides, there's not a point to keeping it alive indefinitely. It was a failure. It will survive long enough to complete my testing, and beyond that, what really matters?"

"But-"

"The real question is why the clones are always normal-types. I need the original midnight to compare them with."

Ash grabbed the masterball with his hand, but didn't give it to Prof. Hemlock.

"What are you going to do to her?"

"A few tests. What do you care? It won't be injured."

"But-"

Prof. Hemlock scowled at Ash, then grabbed the masterball from his hand. Ash tried to hold on to it, and the button was pressed twice. The ball popped open.

Light formed into Midnight, who lunged for the professor as soon as she formed, then bounded off.

Ash didn't bother to check the man's pulse. He was clearly dead. People don't live long with their guts lying on the floor beside them. He threw up, then stumbled off in the direction Midnight had taken.



I hate labs.

The spotted meowth without front legs has a real-world counterpart. Anyone know what it is?

Starving diabetics does make them live longer. Back before insulin, diabetics would be locked up and fed almost nothing. By doing this they might live one or two years. A lot of them killed themselves despite the best efforts of their keepers.