"So, she gave you the slip, eh?" Alena grinned.

"She did not!" Garnet's protesting voice called out. "Jade and I traveled together for a while before she decided that she had better get back to see her father at the Gym, and-"

"She hates her father. She refuses to talk to him. They had a huge fight because she beat him and he found out that she had cheated. She had taken a Fighting-type away from some little kid on the street and was probably not going to give it back. Her father refused to give her the badge, and so she refuses to talk to him…"

"Alena!" Garnet snapped in a rather un-Garnet-like fashion. "Don't say such things about her! She's a perfectly polite, kind woman! You're just jealous because she's so pretty and mild-natured!"

"You only say that she's so great because she's got enormous-!"

CALL ENDED the screen announced. Alena swore and threw a nearby pen at the computer screen. Garnet was… infuriating. Most people were, actually. Alletto was one of the few people who didn't make Alena want to punt him into the wall every five seconds. Granted, she still wanted to punt him into the wall some of the time, but not as much as normal.

All right, screw Garnet. She had better things to do anyway. She had to find that Steven guy and ask him for… what, exactly? Information, probably, but it would be nice to have someone else on their side, fighting against Team Thunder – especially against someone who wasn't another child. But what exactly was she supposed to do until she found the guy? Skip around merrily? That wasn't going to do anything. Team Thunder was watching her. They wanted her for some strange reason. They didn't just take her away like most of the people they were after – they played around with her, let her sneak out of their grasp at the last second. What was this game that they were at? Did they want to scare her? Weaken her? Make her confused? If so, they had succeeded at two out of three. She was exhausted, had an enormous gash on her leg, and she hadn't eaten very much in the past two days apart from apples and bread. She was incredible confused, as everything seemed to connect in places that they shouldn't connect in, and the things that should be connecting together weren't.

Scared, though? Nope. She had no fear of them. She had some sort of value, she knew – they had recruited her when they discovered her power! But… they let her go even after she had refused to help them in their insane goals. There must be something else, some other reason why they would leave her alone…

A tiny little thought came up in the back of her mind, but Alena shoved it aside. She wasn't going to think of that, not ever again. No. She refused. It… it was too much for her to take in.

Oh crap… it was coming back. She needed to get her mind off of that. It wasn't healthy for her to feel this bad over seemingly nothing. She had to do something else. She should battle someone! There had to be someone to fight! She looked around the room wildly, as though expecting a trainer to fall into her lap. Nothing. Of course – it was the middle of the day, and she was in one of the smaller rooms in the center where all of the computers were housed. If she wanted to find a trainer to fight, she would have to go outside where the rest of the trainers were undoubtedly traveling.

Just as she was about to log off of the computer and find some poor n00bs to beat up on, a new message popped up on the screen. MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM ALLETTO R.

And now Alletto was bothering her. Oh well. She was used to it by now. He probably had some super important task for her to do that would eat up more of her time and make her even more tired, and then…

"It's no good to focus on the negative, child." Alena jerked her head towards the sound of the noise only to find a tiny little Abra floating in midair next to one of the terminals.

"How long have you been floating there?" Alena asked cautiously. The Pokémon didn't look very strong – the only move that Abra could learn without the help of a TM was Teleport, the last time she had checked. However, it was still a Psychic-type, and if it belonged to one of Team Thunder's members…

"I am not one of them," the Pokémon spoke into her head. "I know who they are though. They took my trainer and friends. I'm the only one who escaped, because he told me to Teleport away… but the others… I wasn't strong enough to take them with me…"

Alena was still wary. "If that's the case… then why were you watching me like that?"

"I heard you thinking. You think…"

Alena spat it out before the Abra could say it. She felt that it was something she had to face on her own. "Yeah, that the leader of the whole thing is related to me somehow. 'A. Novol.' That's my mother's maiden name. But she never told me that she had any siblings! But then again, if your sister is evil, you probably don't want anyone to find out. And then…" A strange look came over Alena's face.

"Aha! Just figured something out, haven't you?"

"My ability… the ability to understand all Pokémon… it's not very well documented, but a ton of people think that it's genetic. That would mean that other people in my family would have a higher chance of having the same thing! And, from my own experiences, if you can understand your Pokémon, your bond with them grows amazingly fast, and… you sometimes feel closer to them than you do to people." Alena blushed. "That's my problem, I guess… I don't like people. They're too noisy and dirty, and…"

"Humans can be very mean," the Abra finished. "I know. My trainer had to run away from home in order to train me. His father was a very cruel man and did not want him to leave…"

The two sat in silence for a moment. Alena thought about breaking the silence the entire time, but it took her at least ten minutes to think of something fitting to say.

"What are you going to do? You can't just let your trainer stay with Team Thunder. They're mad. They have a Salamance guy on their side! Who knows what they'll do to him if you don't get him back!"

"I am too weak," Abra sighed. "There is nothing I can do alone to help him. The people that were in that building were terrifying. I don't think that there's any one person who could possibly take them down. Even if all of the Elite Four guys that my trainer told me about came to the bad place and attacked them, they'd still have a hard time. There's nothing I can do, so I'm just waiting for the chance to do something about it that won't end with me stuffed on one of their goon's desks."

Alena winced. "I'm so sorry… I wish I could help you, but I just saw how powerful they are firsthand. My Pokémon and I were beaten up by a hologram of one of their guys…"

Abra gave her a strange look.

"It's true! I'm not entirely sure how they managed to make a huge hologram like that and broadcast it where they did, but I know it happened! I thought that they were going to turn me into a Pokémon the whole time, and-"

Abra suddenly covered her ears with her paws and curled up into a ball. "No more, please… I saw the ideas going through the heads of the people there… the Thunders wanted to turn my trainer into an Eevee, I think. They kept typing things into this huge machine, and then my trainer was put into a huge room with a bunch of other humans. I escaped before anything else could happen, but I was still afraid that something terrible was going to happen… but I ran away, so if it did, it's all my fault…" Tears were beginning to form at the corners of the Psychic-type's eyes.

"It's not your fault," Alena told her. "You couldn't have done anything to them. I promise, I'm going to get your trainer back to you. I just need to find a way to reverse what they're doing, and then everything will go back to normal…"

Abra sniffed and uncurled her body. "Are you sure that you can reverse it? What if they did turn Tim into an Eevee? Will he remember me? What if they eat him?"

"They won't eat him," Alena told her. "That much is certain. Because the leader (if they do have the same power as me) would be turning people into Pokémon for some other reason. Maybe she thinks that doing so would make the world a better place…"

The tiny yellow Pokémon looked at Alena with a heartbroken look on her face. "I don't think it would be a good place. I think there need to be people…"

"You know what? I think you're right. And that's quite funny, really – a tiny Pokémon having a great deal more sense than a whole team of people…"

"I'm going back to my hidden place. It's the place where my trainer and I played together. I think that he'll go back there if he gets out somehow."

"Good luck…" Alena started to say – but the tiny Pokémon had already disappeared.

Weird… the way that had just happened. Alena felt as though she were still being watched by someone. She glanced back at the screen, which was still cheerfully announcing the fact that Alletto had sent her a message. There was something in the air, something that smelled like Team Thunder. Alena hurried to log off of the computer despite its protests and unplugged her Pokédex from the terminal. As she headed out of the room, she looked around at every person in the general area, carefully scanning them to see if they were a member of Team Thunder. There was no way for her to tell, of course, but it comforted her to think of the Thunder members as having enormous, obvious T's on their clothing.

She opened the door to her room to find the place empty. All of her Pokémon were probably in their Poké Balls, sleeping. Well, besides Electrinz, because he hated sleeping in his ball. Then where was he? That mystery was solved when Alena walked into the adjacent bedroom and found the Pikachu sleeping on top of her pillow. He was drooling on it too. Figures.

He didn't even twitch when she sat down on the end of the bed, so she took that as he cue to get everything done right away. She flipped open the Pokédex, let it load up the message, and pulled a chocolate bar out of her bag.


FROM: ALLETTO RUTILLUS

SUBJECT: THUNDER

Can't write much. Looking over the plans you found. Figured out how the thing works. There are two sets of DNA and they're held together in such a way that one is dominant over the other in certain spots. I think I've told you this before though. But there's something new – I found a hidden part of the document that talks about the things they've already done. There are four of these "Pokémorphs" – Zane, with Salamance is the first, of course. The other three are Zapdos, Moltres, and Articuno. These three are immensely powerful, but they were mostly failed experiments. It's not that they don't do their job of battling well, it's just that their human intelligence is nearly gone. They don't think like Pokémon either. They're just stupid, but still very powerful.

I'm worried about you. Don't let your guard down.

Finally, there are a few people in the area that work for me. Look for the guy with the huge hat – you can't miss it. Find them and ask them what they've found. I haven't been in contact with them for a while.

Good luck, Alena. You're going to need it.