Brenda checked the safety on her gun. She didn't holster it when she got out of the car. She could lock the car with one hand, and close the door. She needed her gun out for her peace of mind.

Giovanni Rocketto, Viridian City's gym leader, had asked the police for a favor. He had a lab- it studied potions and their effect on pokemon, or some such thing, Brenda didn't really care- and people hadn't been coming out of it for a week. They had gone in, of course. Currently, his entire lab staff was missing inside the building. According to the blueprints he had offered and Brenda had studied, three hallways and one small basement did not a labyrinth make.

Brenda entered the building with her gun drawn, against regulations or not. She scanned the small lobby. It was maybe ten by fifteen feet, with one wall taken up by coat hooks. There were no coats hanging, but Brenda hadn't expected any. It had been a dry summer. No one had needed a coat.

The lights were on. Brenda looked around for the light switch. It was by the small desk that must have been for the receptionist. The computer on the desk was on, but the screen was shattered. The tower had been left alone. The speakers were emitting a continuous beeping sound.

She looked around the room again. No disturbances, except for the computer monitor. Brenda turned off the speakers. The beeping was getting on her nerves. It was probably only an error message, not that she cared at the moment.

She checked the entire room a third time, just in case. Lights on, smashed monitor, nothing that jumped out at her. Nothing that nagged at her either, like a spot of blood on the floor.

She checked the door handle. On the lobby's side, nothing. On the other side…

Bingo, she thought. Blood smeared over the door. There was a single handprint just above the door knob. Obviously, no one had gotten out into the lobby.

Brenda paused, closed her eyes. She closed the door, left the lab, went to her car. She had a radio on her hip but it was a piece of crap. She only used it in emergencies. The radio in her car was much, much better.

"Dispatch, this is Johnson, Detective Brenda."

"Dispatch acknowledges. What's you're problem, Detective?"

"I'm on call, at scene. There's a hell of a lot of blood just past the lobby. Requesting backup."

"Negative. All units currently available are busy dealing with the fallout of a trainer's temper tantrum. One venusaur vs. buildings and cars. You're on your own. Besides, aren't you supposed to be a gold shield? Can't you handle this yourself?"

Brenda scowled. "Acknowledged. Johnson out." Damn dispatch jackass. Sure she could handle it. The question was did she want to handle it alone? She did not, thanks very much.

She got out of the car, kicked the nearest tire. Checked her gun again, entered the lab. Opened the door and started down the bloody hallway.

There were other blood splatters, down the hall. Brenda kept to the side, out of most of the mess. Down the middle of the hall was what looked like drag marks, in blood. Brenda kept her eyes moving, but couldn't help the thought that it was a lot of blood.

She checked each room she came across. They all had- what looked like to her- the typical lab junk. In one room, there were small pens for pokemon. The pokemon were all dead, without a mark on them. Brenda frowned at the lack of smell, and went on.

She hesitated, halfway down the hall. There was a hole in the floor. The far side was a good seven feet away. She was three feet from the edge, and unable to see anything from her angle. She walked closer, to see what could be seen in the pitch black pit.

Whatever held up the floor broke. She fell.

When she woke up, her head hurt. She groaned, remembered where she was and what had happened. She jerked into something resembling a sitting position and scrabbled for her gun. Once it was in her hand, she relaxed the slightest bit. She was the best shot in the station, and could shoot with her eyes closed, if desperate.

She rather thought she might be desperate.

She looked up, even if that meant exposing her neck. She thought the hole was a good eight feet above her head. She was stuck.

Brenda reached for her radio. She wanted to ream Dispatch, get someone to the scene with a rope. She cursed. She had fallen on the radio, and she was just starting to feel the sting at her hip. The cheap shit had shattered. Her hip was scratched, and would be an interesting color once she was able to see it.

She checked her flashlight. It had been on the opposite hip, and turned on when she pressed a button. She held the light in one hand, the gun in the other, and lurched to her feet. She began to scan the area.

She was in a hallway, almost like the one above ground. The one above had been painted a clinical white; the one below was made of metal. No attempt had been made to disguise that fact.

The hair on the back of Brenda's neck began to prickle. The way ahead of her was clear. She jumped forward, rolled on her shoulder, and shot the moment she was facing back.

The bullet ricocheted off a psychic shield, hit a wall, and fell to the ground.

Brenda kept her gun pointed at the shield. It glowed a faint blue, and was just transparent enough for her to see a vaguely humanoid form behind it. "Lower the shield," she said.

(Or you will what, shoot again? That worked so well last time.)

Brenda swore under her breath. Psychics. Uppity mind readers that didn't mind their own business. She really hated psychics.

(And I'm sure psychics love you. Or at least, they love the headaches you cause. Do you need to shout like that?)

Brenda growled and focused on a little trick she had taught herself. Find something that irritated her, and concentrate on only that.

The psychic lasted a minute. Brenda had worked herself into an unreasonable mood at that point, but the shield was down. She got her first good look at the psychic.

"Great," she said. "A mutated persian with a bad dye job." She narrowed her eyes.

The pokemon mimicked the expression. Brenda assumed that the purple tail was lashing in irritation, not thought.

(Correct,) the pokemon said. (You should not be here. I will teleport you to your car.)

"Now hold on a minute, Vahan," Brenda said. She spoke quickly enough that the pokemon hadn't even started whatever mental ritual it went through to teleport cranky murder cops to their beat up rides. "I don't know who you are, but you're the one that shouldn't be here."

(Vahan?) the pokemon asked. It lifted what might be an eyebrow at her. (Never mind. This is none of your concern, human.)

Brenda snorted. "I was called in. Trust me, it's my concern."

The pokemon smirked. (Ah, but you wish to call for backup. Now, you can.)

She shot before the blue glow had taken over her sight completely. The good side was that the pokemon had caught the bullet. The bad side was that suddenly, she couldn't move.

(I should kill you for that, human.) The pokemon walked towards Brenda, eyes glowing. (However, I won't.)

Brenda made a strangled sound. She couldn't open her mouth. The pokemon blinked, and the glow in its eyes died down a little.

She could open her mouth, but nothing below the neck responded. "Look, jackass, this is just getting personal," she said. "If you're a psychic, you should know that I don't back off when I'm on the job. Now let me go!"

The pokemon's tail lashed the air a little faster. (You do not know the details,) it said.

"So tell me. And let me go while you're at it!" Brenda was starting to get pissed, and a little scared. The fear just made her even more pissed. The pokemon rubbed one paw against its forehead. Brenda supposed that her being pissed off wasn't a picnic for it.

(Have you had experience with psychics, before? I do not wish to pry.)

Brenda grunted when mobility was returned. "A little," she said, flexed her fingers. "Alright, spill."

The pokemon eyed her, eyed the gun in her hand. (Put that away, and I would suppose you have a deal. For now.)

Brenda holstered the gun. "Like I said, Vahan. Spill."

(I assume you will, eventually, explain just what 'Vahan' is. Never the less, I will keep my end of the bargain.) The pokemon smirked. Brenda glared- she'd put the gun away, hadn't she? (Of course you did, but you seem a little eager to use it. Now, where do I start? Long explanations, or the details that matter at the moment?)

"Tell me the part that sticks with my investigation," Brenda suggested, keeping a few phrases hidden beneath the simmering anger she used as a mental shield.

(Very well. This lab, however it may seem on the outside, is really a laboratory for Team Rocket. I assume you've heard of them? Good. They are… experimenting, on pokemon. I only found out myself just recently, but I do find the practice despicable and came here with the intention of stopping them, by whatever means necessary.)

Brenda tensed. "I'd say you're a good week late, at that," she said. She pulled at the anger, reveled in it. From the pokemon's grimace, it wasn't going to poke around in her mind. "Boss of this place, or of the above ground part anyways, called the police. People've been going in for a week, but not coming out."

She had a sudden, absurd- or, not so absurd- mental image of digging her own grave. The pokemon stared at her, before laughing.

'Listening' to mental laughter was one of the weirdest things, Brenda decided. She refrained from shooting at the pokemon, but only just.

(I am not here to kill anyone,) the pokemon said. (By any means necessary might mean wiping memories, or contacting the police, but I don't kill. Too messy, you see.)

Brenda looked up, where a trail of blood led to a hole. "Tell me about it," she said. "Look, it seems to me that we've got similar interests." She decoded a skeptical glance, shrugged it off. "I don't give a flying fuck what you are, or look like. Just stay out of my mind. For all I know, the human's killer is the receptionist upstairs, who just so happened to snap, and whatever pokemon they're doing experiments on are in danger. Whatever, so long as I get answers."

Brenda folded her arms, dangling the flashlight by the tips of her fingers. She'd talked more in this conversation with the pokemon then she normally did in a week. Weird.

The pokemon eventually nodded in agreement. (I suppose, while our interests are the same, we might work together. I am Mewtwo.)

"Detective Johnson."

(Then, Detective, might you decide on a direction?)

Brenda scowled, but scanned her flashlight over the floor. She cursed.

(I don't think that's physically possible, even if it is an interesting idea.) Mewtwo narrowed its eyes at the blood, pooled on the floor. (How unfortunate for you. You rolled in it.)

"And this is my good jacket, too," Brenda said. "Shit. I guess I'll have to shoot the bastard responsible, then."

Mewtwo gave her an odd look. Brenda glared. "I meant the murderer, asshole. So long as you're not the murderer, you're good. You go first."

(I take it you'd like to keep an eye on me?) Mewtwo started walking, keeping to the edge of the hallway. Brenda grunted in response, followed behind with gun drawn.

She kept the flashlight beam on the blood trail. Mewtwo's large, purple tail waved in and out of her sight, like some annoying bug she couldn't swat.

He jerked his tail to the side, until it brushed the wall. She looked up at his back with no little surprise, and then frowned.

Her private thoughts were private, damn it.

"Whoa, hold up." Brenda hopped over the worst of the blood, and crouched down. "Well, well, what have we here? Looks a claw mark, to me."

Mewtwo snorted. It was a surprisingly audible sound. It got Brenda's attention the way a mental sound wouldn't have. (That means nothing,) he said.

"It means something. Can't decide what, yet, but damn. Big claw."

Brenda stood up. "Keep walking. We'll get to the end, one way or the other."

They weren't walking long when they had to stop. A door- the remains of a door- lay on the floor in front of them. Brenda shined the flashlight on the dips, cracks, and slash marks in the metal.

"Still say that claw mark means nothing?" she murmured. She didn't get an answer, but she hadn't been expecting one.

She kept quiet, more for Mewtwo then anything else. She believed- damn her, she knew- that Mewtwo had nothing to do with the blood, with the death they'd find at the end of the trail. He'd wipe minds, sure. She was reasonably certain he'd hurt people, to a certain point. Killing was beyond him. She knew it, and it pissed her off.

It was probably why she was working with Mewtwo, instead of shooting him in the back.

She looked up at Mewtwo's face. She figured the look in his eyes would be described by most people as 'bleak', or 'hopeless', but then, most people would miss the steel beneath the surface.

Brenda wasn't most people. She'd gotten over it, a long time ago.

"Let's go," she said, after she counted seventy-two seconds.

Mewtwo blinked, looked at her. Nodded. (Yes. There is blood, on the door. Did you see?)

"Yeah, I saw." Deep in the slash marks.

Mewtwo levitated them over the mess. Brenda hated being out of control, but it was only four seconds. She counted them, was way too relieved when her feet touched the floor again.

They kept walking.

Brenda scanned the flashlight up, stared at the torn hinges. "They tore like tissue paper," she said, amazed her voice didn't shake.

The strength pokemon had scared her. She didn't bother denying it.

Mewtwo made a sound she would have called a whimper, if she'd thought about it. (Look.)

She looked.

"Oh holy fucking shit…"

She wondered why she hadn't noticed the smell.


She hated it.

End of shift, no more lines to tug for the day. She had to wait for the coroner, and if that didn't beat all, the sweepers were working in shifts so they could cover everything. By everything, Brenda assumed, they meant everything. Including the damn ceiling.

It would've pissed her off, except she was too tired for that.

She had an idea of a line to tug, but there weren't any scientists on the departmental payroll.

There were computers, in the underground lab, still in working order. The sweepers had told her they'd be available for study once they'd finished. As if she knew anything past the most basic science!

Brenda glared at her piece of crap phone. She'd just finished a conversation with one of Giovanni's people. She would get the employee files, sometime tomorrow afternoon. That was if her shit computer worked. If not, she'd been assured, she'd get the information by delivery, in two or three days.

She was a murder cop. She was responsible for finding justice for the dead. If the higher ups were to be believed, she was also responsible for not pissing people off in the course of an investigation. Brenda usually ignored that part.

She leaned back in her chair, glowered at her computer. Piss for parts, she thought, without heat. She hadn't had a hit of real coffee since she'd left the station. She hadn't had the stomach for anything, after the blood bath.

She closed her eyes. A loose end, she thought. Mewtwo had teleported her to her car, then vanished before she could say… what? She wasn't sure if she should thank him, or…

She had to talk to him. Brenda sighed, and glanced at the clock. She'd find him later, since it was getting close to eight at night.

Go in work early, get out late. Brenda couldn't make sense of it.

She picked up the paper sack that held her bloody clothes. She was wearing her track suit, which she kept at the station for just such emergencies. She hoped the blood would come out of her jacket; it was leather.

She trudged down to her car. She figured she was coming down with something, to be so tired. Normally she could start her shift early, leave late, and still have enough energy to swear at the Officer Jenny who always parked too close to her car.

As it was, she just wanted to get home, sleep. If she was lucky, the images of the dead wouldn't follow her into her dreams.

She was rarely lucky.

She drove home, channeling the reserves of her energy into the drive. She didn't want to be one of those unlucky people who crashed.

She got home in one piece, sat in her car to think.

Something important. Something she half thought she remembered.

Rocketto. Team Rocket.

Somehow, the two things were connected. She just couldn't quite figure out how.

Brenda got out of the car, locked up, and stumbled through her front door.

She didn't manage to get to her bedroom, but once she pulled off her weapon harness, the couch was pretty comfortable.


"Johnson. Captain wants to talk to you."

Brenda looked up from her computer screen. "Yeah? Thanks."

The officer- new enough to shine- nodded and smiled. Brenda predicted an end to that within the week.

She took the stairs, using the time to sort through her mental files. The Dobinson case was done, waiting for a court date. Denison was in jail as of last month. The appeal wouldn't go through.

Brenda felt her heart sink. The only reason Captain Dallas would call her in was over the lab case. She had nothing thanks to all the fuck ups. Morgue was overfull so all twelve cadavers of her case hadn't been looked at. Her computer hadn't allowed any e-mails. All she had was what she had seen and vague promises.

She put away her anger and irritation. Dallas would want a clear, concise report. Emotions didn't factor into that.

Brenda knocked on the captain's door. The conspicuous lack of Peabody, Dallas's aid, had Brenda's stomach in knots.

"Come in."

Brenda eased through the door. Dallas gestured at a chair. "Take a seat," he said.

Brenda would have preferred to remain standing. It was the effect of the entire room, she knew- the large windows looking out over Viridian City, the tan walls, the large, mahogany desk, and the chairs, a dark wine color that were just comfortable enough to get the tensest officer to relax.

Brenda sat down, folded her hands in her lap. Dallas would tell her why he'd called her up.

Dallas leaned back in his own chair, smiled. "Why don't you tell me about your investigation." It was not a question.

Brenda took a deep breath. "As of this morning, my investigation is stalled," she said. "The sweepers are still looking over the crime scene and predict to be finished in two days. I have spoken with Mr. Rocketto's representative over the lack of employee reports. She attempted to send them via e-mail, but was unable to. The reports are being sent through the mail, and will be here within a day. When the reports arrive, identification of the victims may begin."

Dallas folded his hands on the desk. "So you have nothing?"

"I have my preliminary observations," Brenda said. "Not much I can work with."

"Tell me what you think, then."

"Yes sir. From the amount of decay on some of the bodies, I think that the first murder was sometime early this past week, perhaps Monday. The destruction to the floor and the door in the basement lab, along with the various claw marks, were most likely caused by two or more pokemon. Whether they were ordered to do so, or acting on their own, remains to be seen."

Dallas nodded. "Considering your lack of information, a reasonable hypothesis. Anything else?"

Brenda hesitated. "Sir, I find it suspicious that, once again, Team Rocket and Giovanni Rocketto's businesses are… joined, if you will."

"Drop that avenue of investigation now, Johnson." Dallas' cheeks flushed. "We have been over this. Mr. Rocketto is being unfortunately preyed upon for his name. Add to that how many businesses he owns and you will find it hardly surprising that he's often, unknowingly, funding Team Rocket."

Brenda sighed. "Yes, sir," she said. She made up her mind. "May I be dismissed, sir? I might have a snitch to talk to, about the investigation."

Dallas frowned. "Solve the case, Johnson, but leave Giovanni Rocketto alone."

Once the door was safely closed behind her, Brenda scowled. 'Solve the case' and 'leave Rocketto out of it' were hardly the same thing.

End Notes

I do not own Pokemon. I am merely availing myself of that world and a few of the characters. Any and all characters that do not show up in the TV show, in the game, or in the comics, books, and movies, belong to me. That includes Detective Brenda Johnson.

One more thing- the police in this story act both as police and as the humane society.