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Counterfeit Badge-10THE COUNTERFEIT BADGE
Chapt. 10 – Epilog
Mike regained consciousness for a few moments in an ambulance. An IV was running into his arm. The ambulance sped across a railroad crossing, jostling him and he blacked out again.
He woke up in a hospital bed, IV’s and monitor wires coming from under the blanket covering him. He sat up and looked at his leg and saw a large bandage over the wound. He looked towards the window and saw Pearl asleep in a chair. He marveled at her new, evolved form. She was large and powerful looking, even in her sleep. She was almost radiant with health and strength. She was a much darker blue color, almost black. Her wings harder, with long, sharp edges, were jointed at the shoulder and what would be the elbow in a human. He’d never been prouder of any Pokémon partner than he was of her.
He looked around at the rest of the room. It was pretty common-looking but at least it was
Counterfeit Badge-09THE COUNTERFEIT BADGE
A drive of a few minutes brought them to a slightly run-down section of town with small apartment buildings. Monica stopped in front of a narrow two-story, red-brick building with a white front door. It stood out from the rest of the neighborhood; it was beautifully restored, the red brick was clean and the trim freshly painted. They went up the front steps and Mike knocked on the door. There was no answer. Trying the door showed that it was locked. He looked around, “The curtains are drawn. That’s a little odd for the middle of the day. Let’s check the back.”
A narrow driveway led them to a garage and a small yard at the back of the building. As they walked towards the back door, Pearl nudged Mike and pointed to the top of the garage. They looked up to see that, in contrast to the well-kept appearance of the rest of the property, the shingles were torn up over a large portion of the roof.
Counterfeit Badge-08THE COUNTERFEIT BADGE
Monica brought the bike to a stop in a clearing just west of town. Mike swung off the back of the bike and helped Pearl down as the bike’s engine shut down. The area was quiet. A few flying-type Pokémon were singing and bug-types were chirping, enjoying the early morning warmth.
“The body was just over here.” She pointed the direction. The clearing was to the north side of the road, surrounded by bushes and trees which thickened into forest as you got further from the road. Walking a few yards into the clearing, she waved her arm at the spot.
Mike would’ve been able to find it on his own. There was a patch of mostly bare ground around a man-sized patch of still growing grass. In the bare section he could still see the remains of clumps of grass, some starting to show new growth. He squatted down by the patch of growing grass … something didn’t
The Counterfeit Badge - Chapt. 07THE COUNTERFEIT BADGE
A buzzing sound jolted both of them awake. Pearl was on her feet in an instant and looking for the source of the harsh sound. Mike had rolled out of bed into a crouch. He sighed and hit the “off” button on the alarm clock. He never had liked being awakened by an alarm clock – they always startled him too much. He’d spent a good deal of money over the years replacing the ones he’d smashed. He restrained from damaging this one, though clearly Pearl was considering it.
He sagged back into the bed he had just bolted out of. Scrubbing at his scalp, he squeezed his eyes shut. Sitting on the edge of the bed he opened his pack and got their breakfast started.
A strong cup of Pu-erh tea and a tin of stew helped to wake him up. Pearl ate daintily at the last of the Pokémon food that Professor Salvia had given them. As she finished, she looked sadly at her empty bowl.
The Counterfeit Badge - Chapt. 06THE COUNTERFEIT BADGE
The sun had set by the time they trudged into Oreburgh City. Mike could tell it was a mining town just from the smell. Vent stacks scattered around the town attested to the fact that the mine itself, at least in part, ran directly under the city. These vents carried air out of the mines, air that was stale and musty and smelled of rock dust, explosives and the sweat of hard-working people and Pokémon. The buildings were built of stone from the mine and the roads were paved with it. It appeared that most of the buildings were roofed with solar panels, though he had seen power lines coming into town – he guessed most of that electricity went to the mine. The streets weren’t exactly dark, but he’d seen better lighting in other places, though a glow to the south showed where the mine and processing plant were.
He stopped as he came to a “T” intersection just inside of town and pull
The Counterfeit Badge - 05THE COUNTERFEIT BADGE
Mike gathered up the few items that were not already in his bag. He shouldered the pack and stepped to the door; “C’mon Pearl. I know it’s been a long night for both of us, but I’m afraid we’ve got to get going.” He pulled open the door, and immediately stepped back, balancing on the balls of his feet.
“No need to worry, detective,” said Lieutenant Dodson. “I’m sorry I startled you.”
Mike relaxed a little; “Dodson. I’m sorry, we were just leaving. I don’t really have time for a sit-down and chat.”
“That’s alright. I’ll walk along with you a little ways. I like it better out in the open, where I can see who’s around.” He stepped back into the hallway and went down the stairs.
Mike looked out into the hallway to make sure there were no
The Counterfeit Badge - Chapt. 04THE COUNTERFEIT BADGE
Mike went back to the tavern to pick up his bag. Then, after a quick stop at the Poké Mart to stock up on some supplies, they headed out of town. As they walked down the road, Mike pulled out his new Pokédex and turned it on. “Let’s see what moves you know, Pearl.” He pointed the lens of the ‘dex at Pearl and tapped the button. The electronic voice said; “Prinplup, the Penguin Pokémon, and the evolved form of …” Mike touched the “Moves” button on the screen and read the display; “Brine, whirlpool, hydro pump and cut. Those will be a big help for us, we’re going up against at least one fire-type. Let’s try out that ‘cut’ move …”
Mike turned off the main path into the trees and underbrush. Pearl effortlessly cut a path through the shrubs. Shortly they ran across a wild Kricketune. “Alright Pea
The Counterfeit Badge - Chapt. 03THE COUNTERFEIT BADGE
The next morning Mike asked for directions to the Lab and learned that Professor Rowan had apparently retired and that his top researcher, Professor Salvia, was now running the lab. He hoped she had at least one strong Pokémon that could help him. He didn’t have time to raise a new one.
He stepped out of the Tavern into a misty, overcast morning. Perversely, this made him feel more chipper than the previous sunny day had. Mike pulled his hat down onto his brow and stuck his hands in the pockets of his long coat and walked up the cobbled street towards the Pokémon Lab. There were other folks about, hurrying to get where they were going and out of the damp morning. As he walked along the fog-shrouded street, he heard the crunch of footsteps following him. As he turned a corner, he glanced back and saw a figure huddled in a hooded sweat-shirt coming up the street. He stepped into the doorway of a
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