Re: Lillifuture Thread
Sarah: Noted, don't go overboard with the boomy stuff. Got it.
-She takes the helmet off-
Sarah: Anything else? I got one more question but only if you got nothin' else to talk about.
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Sarah: Noted, don't go overboard with the boomy stuff. Got it.
-She takes the helmet off-
Sarah: Anything else? I got one more question but only if you got nothin' else to talk about.
Nereid gives a small shake of her head.
Nereid: If I need to speak to you again in future, I have ways and means of doing so. As of this moment there is nothing urgent enough to warrant further discussion. Ask away.
Sarah: Alrighty then. So... since we both already know my whole tragic story, what with the serial killer ex-husband and neglected and abused daughter that I couldn't help and all, but... what's you're excuse? Why are you here with Neo-Galactic? It's gotta be more than just "things suck", there's gotta be something that hit close to home.
Nereid is silent for a long time. Just when it looks like she refuses to answer the question, she speaks.
Nereid: ...I could have prevented all this. I saw the signs long ago. I had a chance to stop this madness before it reached such a terminal stage, and I failed to do so. What I do now is my atonement, such as it is. I shall erase my mistakes from history and ensure that events proceed as they should have done.
-Sarah listens, nodding idly-
Sarah: ...Fair enough. Ain't gonna bug ya too much about it.
Sarah: So I guess I got no more reason to be here... mind, uh, showin' me the way out? Not particularly good with directions here.
Nereid: This way.
She strides down the corridor at an expeditious pace, navigating her way through the twisting hallways with ease whilst Plotosus follows close behind. Not a single living thing comes into view during the journey. Eventually, they stop at an empty elevator.
Nereid: This elevator will take you to the surface. I doubt you will have cause to visit here again. Should there be the need for further contact, we will come to you.
-Sarah follows through the halls, gazing into any rooms she happens to pass-
Sarah: Right... not too keen on visiting again anyway. One, safety, two, secrecy, three... it's fuckin' creepy here.
-She steps into the elevator-
Sarah: See ya whenever.
Nereid: We will be in touch.
As the doors close and the elevator rises, Nereid turns and begins to walk away.
Plotosus: ~You told her too much.~
Nereid: I told her what I thought was necessary to gain her trust. Given our current state and reputation, we need allies wherever we can find them.
Plotosus: ~Even so, you should have been careful with the information you divulged.~
Nereid: And I was. I told her nothing of our plans - only our intentions. What she extrapolates in her own time is of little consequence. She is just a piece in a grander scheme... and we can sacrifice as many pieces as we need to take the king.
-Noelle cautiously approaches the front door and gives it a tentative knock-
-a young woman with blue pigtails opens-
Noelle: Er, hello. Is this the house of the... "crazy bird lady?"
-the woman giggles-
Young woman: Yep, that's me! Everyone calls me that since I converted my house into a bird sanctuary.
-she opens the door, showing that the room is in fact filled with assorted birdmons, most of which are perched on various branches on the walls; she is holding a Sigilyph in her arms with a Natu and Chatot perched on her shoulders-
Young woman: Are you here to adopt one?
Noelle: Er, no. I'm just here to ask some questions. Are you Fortissimo Morendo?
Fortis: That's me! Fortis for short! But why do you know my name, miss?
Noelle: I used to be a fan of the J-Team in my youth, and there's someone I've always wanted to meet.
-Fortis' expression turns sour for a moment-
Fortis: Oh... I remember those days. I was such a little thing back then. I thought I could do anything, but then...
Fortis: I realized that battling, and traveling with a big group like that... it wasn't what I really wanted to do with my life. But I couldn't leave my birdies behind... that's what inspired me to open this sanctuary, you know. I just want to help as many cute little birds as I can... -hugs her Sigilyph-
Noelle: Ah... that is pretty much what your brother told me.
Fortis: Oh, you met him too? How is he doing?
Noelle: He seemed friendly enough. Anyway, what I'm here for... do you know where your sister is? You see, she's the person I've wanted to meet.
Fortis: Oh my gosh! What good timing! She's here right now!
-Fortis turns around-
Fortis: Piano! Someone's here to see you!
-a Murkrow on the back wall caws in response; Fortis sighs-
Fortis: She might be asleep again, or she's just being lazy. Anyway, she's in the back room. Just head down the hallway over there.
-Fortis hands Noelle a candy bar-
Fortis: Oh, she might get upset if you wake her up, and she'll probably want more candy.
Noelle: Okay then...
-Noelle waves to Fortis, then walks down the hallway to the door at the end-
-she hesitates a moment, then knocks-
-there's no response-
-she knocks again-
-she opens the door a crack-
Noelle: Ms. Morendo?
-a voice from within calls out-
Mezzo: What do you want?
Noelle: Oh, I just wanted to speak to you.
-the door opens all the way, revealing an obese blue-haired woman wearing a loose-fitting black gown; she appears to be wide enough to take up the entire doorway by herself-
Noelle: Ah! You are Mezzopiano Morendo?
Mezzo: Yes, that's me. Let me guess, you're a fan of that show?
Noelle: Well, sort of. See, I've always wanted to meet you in person but I didn't expect you to be so...
Noelle: Er, how do I put this.
Mezzo: Wide? Fat? Morbidly obese? Spit it out already. I've been called worse.
Noelle: If you insist, madam.
Mezzo: So, mademoiselle, are you here to make fun of my weight, or did you have an actual reason for showing up?
Noelle: Er, yes. My name is Noelle Cloutier, and I'm a professor of--
Mezzo: Not interested.
Mezzo: If you're another doctor telling me how unhealthy my lifestyle is, you can get lost. I don't give a damn.
Noelle: No, no, not at all, I'm a math professor. Actually the reason I'm here is because I used to be a fan of the J-Team in my youth, and...
-Noelle blushes a little-
Noelle: Well, you were sort of my childhood crush. That's why I've always wanted to meet you, but seeing you here now is...
Mezzo: Hah. Not what you expected?
Noelle: ...Sort of.
Mezzo: Well, mademoiselle, let me tell you something. Hopes, dreams, ambitions? They're all junk. Absolute trash that people only believe in so they can pretend their lives are less miserable than they already are.
Noelle: I assure you that's not the case, madam. Why if I hadn't worked toward becoming a professor, how could I be where I am now?
Mezzo: You spent how long studying, and all you have to show for it is a "Dr." in front of your name. Doctor Noelle Cloutier, likes numbers a lot. How satisfying.
Noelle: Excuse me, but I did not come here to have my degree attacked.
Mezzo: Too bad. You wanted to meet me, this is what you get. You see, when you get down to it, our society is just a bad joke. "Personal advancement" is the greatest scam in the history of the world. You can't tell me that a title means something just because some people will treat you differently.
-Mezzo notices the candy bar Noelle is holding, and snatches it from her-
Mezzo: You see, there's only one truth in this wretched world, and that is pleasure.
-she starts eating it as she continues talking-
Mezzo: People say they care about other things, friendship, love, duty, justice, whatever, but deep down, it's all the same. They only chase these because they feel good. That's all that matters in life. And that's why it doesn't matter that I weigh more than a Snorlax now, because I still get what I want.
Noelle: I hardly think you can reduce life to something that simple.
Mezzo: Oh, and you think you know better, do you? A lot of people do. They're lying to themselves, all of them. They deny themselves the most basic goods on the principle that it makes them somehow better people, but it doesn't. All it means is they miss out, and they pretend they're better than me.
Noelle: I see...?
Mezzo: So, mademoiselle, if you came to declare your love for me, does it still stand now that you know I'm a Wailord sized fatty? Even if not, I'm not interested.
Noelle: Well, I wasn't exactly planning to propose to you. This was more about an old flame that died out after the show ended. I am glad I had the chance to meet you, though.
Mezzo: I'm sure you have, and if there's anything for me to gain out of this meeting, it's that I've given you something to think about.
Noelle: We'll see. May we meet again, Ms. Morendo.
Mezzo: Yeah, right.
-Mezzo shuts the door, and Noelle wanders off-
-It's raining in Veilstone. And when it rains, it pours.-
-The streets are all but deserted, which is to be expected, considering the awful weather. What might be less expected is the fact that only about half of the city's old townhouses have lights pouring out of their windows - the rest have either gone dark, or are boarded up entirely. What little light remains comes from the few streetlamps that are still powered, and most of those have had a PA speaker attached to them, repeating the following message.-
Speaker: Attention all citizens: Curfew is in effect from the hours of 8pm to 8am. Officers of the International Police will be patrolling the streets regularly during this time. Any individuals found outside their homes within these hours without appropriate documentation may be detained in the interests of public safety. Remain safe; remain vigilant.
-Thankfully, since the city is currently deserted, there's nobody around to gawp at the figure striding through the streets, who would look out of place even for the times. He's wearing a blue overcoat, gold epaulettes, a very tall helmet with golden spikes, and a motherfucking ruff collar as he strides up to the Galactic Veilstone Building - or at least, what used to be the Galactic Veilstone Building.-
-The "G" on the front has been torn off, replaced with a rather crudely-made "I.P.". Other than that, little has changed, save for the two guards in trenchcoats and flak jackets with a Gardevoir hovering at their side aggressively staring down a petitioner.-
Petitioner: P-please, I... I know this isn't normal, but my Chansey's been stolen, and I think they're coming after me next. You have to h-help-
Guard 1: Ma'am, I understand you must be distraught in this situation, but you're in violation of curfew. I'm going to have to ask you to go home and come back in the morning.
Gardevoir: ~Emotional analysis suggests grief, distress, guilt. No malevolent intentions but potential for irrational behaviour exists in-~
Guard A: Good enough for me.
-He steps forward, stun baton extended towards the petitioner.-
Guard A: You're a potential security risk. Which means that if you don't scram in the next five seconds, I'm gonna have to-
-The figure in the blue overcoat, who has scaled the stairs leading up to the building in silence, steps forward and looks between the two guards.-
???: You'll have to take her inside and look into her case, even though she was violating curfew? How very unorthodox of you.
Guard A: What? No, I-
???: I don't care for your excuses. You were in direct violation of your duties, and I expect you to clean up your own mistakes. Therefore, I task you and your partner here with keeping this woman safe and returning her Chansey as soon as possible. Is that understood?
-Guard 1 nervously salutes, while Guard A simply give a resigned grunt-
Guard 1: Y-yes, sir.
Guard A: Ugh, sure thing, "Director".
-The Director nods and leaves the two guards behind him, striding through into the Galactic Veilstone Building itself. Said building is packed - packed full of guards in trenchcoats and flak jackets, and of people dressed in similar uniforms to the Director himself, but both groups are united in staring at him while he marches through the lobby and into one of the elevators. As the doors close, a Beheeyhem materialises behind him.-
Morstan: ~You let him off lightly.~
The Director: Because as of right now, we need every officer we can get.
-Morstan gives no reply, and simply dematerialises as the elevator trundles downwards for about ten seconds before grinding to a halt. The Director steps out into little more than a hollowed-out cave, with huge cells on either side that have... well, let's not focus on that, because he's striding towards the solid steel airlock in front of him. The guard in front, this time dressed in a similar uniform to the Director, salutes.-
IDPD Officer: Director! We weren't sure if you were going to be in today.
The Director: Skip the pleasantries and just open the door, please.
-The IDPD Officer looks momentarily taken aback, before nodding and hitting a button that opens the huge steel door in front of the Director. He steps through, and the door closes behind him - only for him to face another steel door. This one also slides open gradually, giving the Director's coat plenty of opportunity to billow in the artificial wind before he steps out into the room.-
-The scene that greets him seems quite homely, for a prison cell. The room itself is large and spacious, with a bed, bookshelf and desk on one side and amenities on the other. In the middle is a chess table and another writing desk, at which is sat a figure in featureless, fully concealing white armour reading a book. She nods without looking up at her visitor.-
???: Good evening, Director.
The Director: Good evening, Nereid.
-He reaches up and taps something on his helmet, detaching it from the rest of the suit with a faint hiss. What emerges is the dark, lined face of a man seemingly in his forties, with layers of bags beneath his penetrating brown eyes. He places his helmet down on the desk and sits opposite Nereid.-
The Director: ...What are you reading today, if you don't mind me asking?
Nereid: The Handmaid's Tale. One of my favourites, and one of the few that doesn't remind me of you. I come back to it every couple of months and find something new each time.
The Director: Ah.
-There are several long minutes of silence before he speaks again.-
The Director: Would you mind taking off your helmet, please?
The Director: Because I believe this interview would be more bearable if we were able to see each other's faces.
Nereid: Funny, you and I have the exact opposite opinion in that regard.
-She puts down her book and leans forward.-
Nereid: Why are you here?
The Director: I'm supposed to be the one asking who's asking the questi-
Nereid: I'm sure you are, but I can't answer those questions if I don't know where they're coming from to begin with.
-The Director is quiet for several moments, before sighing.-
The Director: ...Look at the advances Neo-Galactic developed under your leadership. Take the improvements upon the YMCA, for example. You built that suit with technology from our timeline, a universe that is currently inching towards catastrophe, and yet instead of using it to better ourselves... you sent it back. Why?
Nereid: I have long since accepted that I can do little to change the course of events. All I can do is make things slightly more bearable for those forced to experience them.
The Director: By which you mean the Cain girl.
-Nereid has no response, save for picking up her book and resuming reading. The silence holds for several seconds until the Director speaks again.-
The Director: Where is she?
Nereid: I thought I made myself clear in our previous interviews. I will freely disclose any and all information about our operations, save for anything that concerns her.
The Director: I know that much. What I'm asking today is why.
Nereid: Because a friend asked me to promise as much.
The Director: Forgive me, but I find it hard to imagine that you have friends.
Nereid: And I find it hard to imagine that someone promoted you to the rank of Director, but here we are.
-The Director stands up and places both of his hands on the desk.-
The Director: You can mouth off as much as you like, but the fact remains that I am a senior officer of the International Police, and you are in my custody. You are not in a position to-
Nereid: Yes, yes, this is the point where you obliquely threaten me with torture or some other similarly horrific fate if I don't continue to comply. Never mind that torture as an interrogation method has scientifically proven to be ineffective, or that it's a damning indictment of our times that such tactics are considered standard practice. The fact is that there are two simple reasons why I won't give you the information you want.
-The Director raises an eyebrow.-
The Director: And what are those?
Nereid: The first is that you can't break me. The second is the fact that I could leave this cell whenever I want.
-That elicits a slight chuckle from the Director.-
The Director: Really now? This is the most secure location in the city. You think you can just walk out? There are officers outside your door 24/7.
Nereid: And half of them are on the take. How long before one of them is on mine?
-The Director doesn't reply to that, and Nereid looks back down at her book.-
Nereid: Please don't mistake my intentions. I have no desire to leave at this moment in time. I am sporting enough to concede that you won. Your gang of wannabe fascists defeated my gang of wannabe demiurges, that much is undeniable truth. Yet winning a battle doesn't win you the war.
The Director: This isn't a war.
Nereid: Oh, but it is. Who is in control of Pastoria at this moment, Director? Or Canalave?
The Director: ...Efforts are underway to restore order in-
Nereid: You say efforts, but you mean campaigns. Campaigns in the war you're waging. Unlike most of your colleagues, I will agree that you are fighting on the most important front of it. But you're campaigning against the byproducts of our times rather than their causes.
-She closes the book.-
Nereid: The truth is, both of us lost the moment we decided to stop following the script.
-The Director looks at Nereid for several seconds, before shaking his head and sighing.-
The Director: ...I should have expected that you'd be uncooperative today.
Nereid: And yet you still keep coming back here. If I didn't know better, I'd say that you enjoyed our regular talks... or that you don't have anything else more important to do.
-Though her blank white helmet is expressionless as always, one can almost feel the smirk beneath it.-
Nereid: It's been good seeing you again, Director.
-The Director glares at her for a few minutes longer, before grabbing his helmet, putting it back on, and stepping out of the airlock. Once he emerges, he looks over at the officer on the door.-
The Director: Get me the Captain. Immediately, if you can.
IDPD Officer: Oh? What has she done this ti-
The Director: Your duty is to obey orders, Private, not question them. I'm not asking because I need to discipline her.
-He glances down at a small, irregularly-shaped device on his belt, with seems to be gleaming with some strange energy.-
The Director: I'm asking because I need a field agent.
A group of Interpol agents have huddled outside a nearby door, discussing amongst themselves who's gonna be the one to go inside the door. The agents themselves are dressed rather unusually, with blue full body suits with badges on their shoulder, white elbow-length gloves and matching white knee-high boots and, probably most unusually, strange, squarish helmets with eye concealing visors and full face apparatuses. Muffling all their voices behind a vocoder
Agent 1: Okay, one of us has to go in and inform her that she's been summoned by the Director.
Another agent quickly raises his arms and crosses them, shaking his head.
Agent 2: No, nooo way in hell am I going in there. I don't want to be on the receiving ends of one of her temper tantrums.
The agent begins wringing his hands.
Agent 2: I-I've seen the Captain bend a steel bar into a pretzel like a kid would play with clay! And, excuse me for saying, but I don't really fancy becoming a human pretzel right about now!
The third agent hisses at him.
Agent 3: Quiet, you idiot! She's right behind the door. If she hears you, she'll-
In-between the bickering and banter about the apparent boogeyman that lieth behind the steel door, a fourth figure appears, dressed in much the same way as the other agents.
Agent 4: You guys are being way too hysterical about this.
She puts her hands on her hips.
Agent 4: The Captain honestly can't be as bad as you are all making her out to be.
The first three agents coalesce into a group opposing the newcomer, with the second one placing his hand on his chin.
Agent 2: Ooooooh~ You must be new here~!
Agent 1: The Captain... she's infamous not just through the ITPD or the IDPD conglomerate, but through Interpol as a whole.
Agent 3: She's a loose cannon to the T. Incredibly focused, insanely strong, an unshakeable belief in her own views of justice and very, very, very easily... "annoyed", so to say.
If there wasn't the black visor in the way, we'd see the fourth agent raise her eyebrow.
Agent 4: Annoyed?
The three other goons exchange looks at each other, before focusing their attention on the newcomer agent.
Agent 1: The Captain has an infamously irate temper that goes off like a fuse box-
Agent 2: She's constantly ending up in disciplinary hearings and probations for her temperamental outbursts-
Agent 3: On multiple occasions she's embedded the Director himself into the floor and walls-
Agent 2: And one time, in the roof-
Agent 1: Not to mention countless of others a countless number of times...
The fourth agent "hmphs".
Agent 4: Sounds like a volatile crazy bitch. Howy'd she end up with such a high ranking position anyway if she's that difficult to work with?
Agent 3: Shhh! Don't say that out loud, she'll hear you!
Agent 1: ...Anyway. The thing about the Captain is... she's really good at what she does. If you got a difficult task to do or need something done as quickly and efficiently as possible, she's your guy... So to speak.
Agent 2: Plus I've heard through the Grepavine that there's some nepotism involved a lil' bit. Apparently she and the Captain go way back. Tends to let her off way too leniently and was kinda always pushing for her promotions.
Agent 4: They go way back? So like, old lovers or something? That'd explain how the Director ended up in the floor so many times.
Agents 1, 2 & 3: Gods no! The Director is almost a full decade older than the Captain!
Agent 2: And apparently the Director first met her when she was a young kid! So that would make things, like, super weird and creepy.
Agent 1: -Scratching her head (which is slightly difficult to do with a helmet on)- And ain't the Director gay? Or is that just a rumour...
Agent 4: Uh huah.
The fourth agent looks at the steel door, before looking back at the group.
Agent 4: So. What does "The Captain" need to be told?
The three mumbling mooks gulp.
Agents 1 & 2: ...She's been summoned by the Director to the Headquarters in Veilstone City.
Agent 3: And surprisingly, not for discipline this time.
The fourth agent looks at the door before approaching it, much to the surprise (and terror) of the three other agents.
Agent 2: W-what are you doing!?
Agent 4:Well, if you three pansies are gonna be all wussy about it, "The Captain" will never get her message now, will she?
She begins to open the door.
Agent 3: G-Good luck in there.
Agent 1: W-We'll hold you a nice funeral afterwards...
The fourth agent disappears behind the steel door, the other three agents shuddering in the wake of it slamming shut.
As the agent closes the door behind her, she immediately notices two things.
The first thing is that the Captain's quarters are... a lot more pleasant than other areas in the same building. It's clean, crisp, has a rather pleasing white minimalist aesthetic that's only broken by the small assortment of potted plants placed in an orderly fashion around the room, the enormous black and gold rimmed desk covered in neatly organised report papers, record books, a speaker device of sorts and a pleasing little coffee mug with a heart on it next to a picture frame, the massive traditional wingback office chair (currently with it's back facing the door) and finally, a sizeable flat screen that is currently not in use.
The other noticeable thing is that, through that previously mentioned speaker device, some old 90s rock song was blaring throughout the office, piercing the poor agent's ears through her helmet.
-They were all in love with dyin'
They were drinking from a fountain
That was pouring like an avalanche
Coming down the mountain
I don't mind the sun sometimes
The images it shows
I can taste you on my lips
And smell you in my clothes-
The Agent winces behind her helmet at the loud droning assaulting her ears.
Agent 4: Eesh. Well, I guess those grunts outside didn't have to worry about the Captain overhearing them talking about her turning people into human pretzels...
The Agent straightens up and salutes at the chair.
Agent 4: Excuse me, Captain! An important message has been sent to you from the Director in Veilstone!
There is no movement. The Agent blinks, thinking that maybe the Captain didn't hear her over all this noise, and starts shouting.
Agent 4: Captain, Ma'am! There's an urgent message from the Director!
Suddenly, a white gloved hand -similar in appearance to the other ITPD Agents gloves - appears from behind the chair and ghosts over towards the speaker.
-Cinnamon and sugary
And softly spoken lies
You never know just how you look
Through other people's ey-
And shuts it off.
The Agent gulps, slightly intimidated by how quiet (at least from the perspective of actual communication), but keeps her form as the chair slowly swivels to reveal the form of the infamous ITPD Captain.
The Captain is rather tall and is on the bulkier side of things, even when sitting down. Her uniform is similar to the standard ITPD uniform, but fancier. Her Helmet is adorned with two golden bars that loop around and stop short of the golden circle in the centre of the forehead and she posses golden shoulder plates that most of the rank-and-file officers lack. The left side of her chest is adorned with some ribbons and medals and in her right hand, she holds a device that appears to be similar to a Holocaster.
Even though the Captain is currently facing the agent, it's quite clear she's looking at her device and not the agent from underneath her helmet.
The Captain: -Bluntly- State your purpose for being here. And make it swift.
The Captain's powerful, booming voice shakes the agent somewhat, even with it's edge muffled by her helmet's vocoder.
Agent 4: I'm... Sorry Captain? Ma'am!
The Captain's icy glare can be felt even through the black visor that obscures her eyes, causing the sorry Agent to shiver slightly. The Captain places the device on the table and begins drumming her gloved fingers over it.
The Captain: I have asked you to tell me your purpose for being here, Officer. Or did I not make my point clearly enough for you? Please don't waste my time, I deal with enough folly as is.
The Agent grits her teeth from under her helmet.
Agent 4: Wow. She's kinda intense. And Rude. I can see where the other three goons are coming from...
The Agent salutes once more.
Agent 4: I-I have an urgent message for you, Ma'am!
The Captain: Well then, spit it out.
The Agent grimaces, thankful the Captain can't see her face from behind the mask.
Agent 4: Sheesh... The Director has summoned you to the Interpol Base in Veilstone City, Ma'am!
One can feel the eyeroll coming from underneath the Captain's helmet as she swivels her chair to the side, linking her fingers together.
The Captain: Inform the Director that I am not interested in going all the way to Veilstone just to get a disciplinary hearing because I called that "inspirational" poster he commissioned of the 1996 film "The Phantom", directed by Simon Wincer that he got 500 poster prints made of it "tacky" and "a waste of our branch's already limited funds and resources". Which it was and still is. Thank you.
The Agent's face falters. She hopes the Captain can't read her body language in lieu of her face being obscured.
Agent 4: ...Ahuawhat?
The Captain flicks her hand idly at the door.
The Captain: Uffa... If that was all you had to say to me then you are free to go, Officer.
The Agent shakes out of her stupor, starting to get frustrated at this whole ordeal and kicking herself into doing this whole farce in the first place. Oh the price of hubris.
Agent 4: N-No! It's not disciplinary action the Director has summoned you for! It's something else, Ma'am!
Much like her other gestures, the feel of the Captain's eyebrow raising permeates the room even though her face is obscured.
The Captain: Oh? And what would that be?
The Agent then realises, in this moment, that she never got from the other Agents what exactly it was the Director summoned her for, and her blood runs ice cold.
The Captain: I'm waiting, Officer.
Agent 4: I... I-I don't know, Captain, Ma'am.
The Captain remains silent for a moment, before getting up from her chair and pacing back and forth across the length of her desk.
The Captain: For a message so "urgent" sent by the Director of the IDPD himself, why then, did he not contact me directly through the various technological methods of communication? Which would have been much faster than sending me a little courier in person.
Agent 4: I-
The Captain: And furthermore, if this message was so important. Why, oh why, then, did he send me a messenger who has no clue as to what the purpose of my summoning is-
People have limits, and Agent 4 over here has reached hers.
Agent 4: I DON'T KNOW! AND I THINK IT'S REALLY UNFAIR FOR YOU TO HAVE ME ANSWER FOR THE THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS OF SOMEONE ELSE! I CAN'T TELL YOU WHAT THE DIRECTOR IS THINKING! IF YOU WANT TO KNOW THAT, JUST ASK HIM YOURSELF!
The Agent places her left hand on her chest.
Agent 4: FURTHERMORE! THE ONLY REASON THAT I DON'T KNOW WHY YOU WERE SUMMONED TO VEILSTONE BY THE DIRECTOR IS THAT THE PEOPLE WHO DO KNOW THE DETAILS WERE TOO SCARED TO ACTUALLY ENTER THIS ROOM AND TELL IT TO YOUR FACE!
At this moment, Agent 4 has realised the horrible, terrible, awful mistake she just made and attempts to course correct at high speed.
Agent 4: -Straightening up and saluting, her voice clearly cracking even through the vocoder- Ma'am!
The room goes silent, with tension so palpable you could cut it with a knife and spread it on a Sunday steak. The lone agent begins trembling as the looming figure of the Captain approaches ever so slowly towards her, her intense gaze never leaving the Agent's figure. The Agent starts breaking down the closer the Captain approaches her.
Agent 4: Aaah, disregard what I just said Captain, Ma'am! I got somewhat caught up in the moment and got carried away! Oh Gods, please don't turn me into a human pretzel!
The Captain stops in front of the the Agent, bending over to match eye level with the sorry officer. Her gaze like piercing knives.
The Captain: Hmm.
And then... the Captain stands up and meanders back towards her desk, leaving the poor Agent who just had her life flash before her very eyes woefully confused.
Agent 4: ...M...M-Ma'am?
The Captain: -Sitting back into her chair- Your honesty, bravery and willingness to stand up for yourself in the face of what you perceive as injustice are characteristics that are sorely missing from most of the sycophants creeping around this broken, harrowed system we function in. So I appreciate it when I come across an agent who actually has a commitment to doing what's right.
The Agent blinks for a moment, before snapping back into an upright position.
Agent 4: Yes Ma'am! Thank you for your pr- compliments, Ma'am!
The Captain: However-
The agent squeaks through her vocoder as the Captain places both of her hands on her desk.
The Captain: If you disrespect me like this again, I will not hesitate to personally discipline you myself. Do I make myself clear?
Agent 4: -Cracking- Yes Captain!
The Captain: -Reclining back into her chair- Good. You are dismissed, officer.
Agent 4: ThankyouforyourtimeCaptainMaamSeeyousoonBYE!
The Agent gets out of the room as quickly as she can, slamming the metal door behind her.
A minute or so after she leaves, the Captain groans and taps her helmet. With a faint hiss, the helmet cracks open at the seams and the Captain pulls it off with ease, revealing the dark, lined and sharp face of a woman in her 30s. Her most eye-catching feature is her undercut sidelocked hair. Stripes of icy silver intermixed with jet black that is made even more unusual by these rounded tufts that pop out on either side of her head.
The Captain pinches the bridge of her nose and sighs, reclining into her office chair as she picks up her "Holocaster" and brings up her message inbox.
The Captain: So it's said that the old bastard has an important mission for me and yet can't be arsed to actually contact me himself and instead has one of these lackeys to do it for him... Or maybe the direct communication lines with the Veilstone HQ are still down, which itself speaks to the utter contempt the high brass have to maintaining a functioning force. Feh.
The Captain lazily moves her hand to grab the mug with the heart on it, but stops to actually look at the photo frame next to it. A pleasant family photo of better times of the Captain, a male figure with a doofy smile, outrageous icy-silver hair complete with the rounded tufts (The Director once compared the style to the singer Mungo Jerry) and in the Captain's arms, a small boy who very much resembles her - down to having silver & black hair with two prodding, rounded tufts.
She smiles at the photo, ghosting her fingers over the frame, before her smile drops and she reaches back for the mug, grabbing it and taking a sip of the black liquid that lies inside. A moment later, she lowers the mug and scowls at its contents.
The Captain: This is cold.
She presses a button underneath the desk and brings up the Intercom Panel, tapping her finger on the edge of the screen.
Voice: Yeah yeah, who i-
The Captain: It's Captain Lombardi-Belluci, Yamamoto.
"Yamamoto": -Sounds of something crashing- Oh, yes! Of course, Captain, Ma'am! What do you req-
The Captain: Get me another coffee. Make it strong.
[spoiler]Thanks to Morph for spagging this with me!
-After a few days of storms, the rain in Veilstone has cleared up. Thin streaks of sunlight are now poking through the clouds, and people are out in the streets once again, talking, shopping, drinking, or just trying to pass the afternoon any way they can. For once, if you didn't know any better, you could almost say that the scene seems quite... normal.-
-The repurposed Galactic Building, however, looks as foreboding as ever. The same two guards stand outside the door as usual, armed with their stun batons and accompanied by their Gardevoir.-
Guard A: ...I'm telling you, man, she was practically throwing herself at your feet with gratitude. You could've asked her to do anything.
-The other officer rolls his eyes.-
Guard 1: What, even get me a transfer away from a pig like you?
Guard A: You missed your chance, that's all I'm saying.
-Suddenly, the loud "splash" of a puddle nearby draw the guard's attention away from each other down towards the stairs, where the unmistakable and looming stature of the ITPD Captain in her ornate decoration swiftly begins scaling the stairs, a Incineroar flanked to her right. The two guards stand to attention as their Gardevoir looks her up and down.-
Gardevoir: ~Subject ID: Captain Lombardi, ITPD. Level 3 access.~
Guard A: Oh, right. One of those fancy spacecop assholes who think they're better than us because we actually work for a living.
-He slouches and turns to the Captain with a smirk.-
Guard A: How can we mere grunts help you, Captain Lombardi?
-As the Captain reaches the top of the flight of stairs, she doesn't even look to the Guard as she addresses him, though her Incineroar does sneer at him-
The Captain: I was called here to meet with the Director, private.
-Despite not turning her head, she extends her hand out to the grunt in the gesture of a welcoming hand shake.-
The Captain: If you can inform me to where he's located, that would be grand.
Guard A: Anything for you, Captain.
-Contemptuous sarcasm drips from his voice as he makes an exaggerated show of taking her hand.-
Guard A: His office is on the top floor. You can't miss it, it's the one with all the posters and- ack!
-As soon as the guard places his hand in the Captain's for a shake, her hand clamps around his like a pair of locking pliers and crushes all of the bones in his right hand.-
The Captain: Thank you, no other information is needed. Though, officer-
-For the first time during this whole exchange, The Captain turns her head to face the hapless guard in her crushing grip, with a paralysing glare only muted by the visor in the way-
The Captain: My full title is Captain Lombardi-Bellucci. Please do try to address me properly next time.
Guard A: -squeaking- Y-yes, ma'am...
-The Captain relinquishes her grasp and then looks over to her Incineroar-
The Captain: Sammartina, let's move.
Sammertina: -To the guard- <Fvvf! Serves your right.>
-The Incineroar gives a mocking grin to the guard before following after her trainer into the building. Inside, the Captain looks very out of place amongst the trenchcoat-clad officers, though none of them get in the way of her and the elevator to the left - in fact, many of them seem to either look away or try to fade into the background the moment they notice her.-
-The Captain doesn't seem to either notice or care either way though, her interest is exclusively in getting to the Director as swiftly as possible and then leave as swiftly as possible. She turns to enter the elevator with haste and presses the button for the highest floor. Thankfully, not breaking it like that time in the Unovan HQ - though the 70s muzak being piped through the speakers does make it a tempting proposition.-
Sammertina: -Leaning against the wall- <Fvvfvfvf! The people around here sure seem to be intimidated by you! Though, that's to be expected. Which makes it it all the funnier when you put the sentient shitstains that Interpol deem as acceptable new hires into their places~>
-The Captain either can't understand her feline companion or doesn't care to address her comments. Instead, she stands with arms folded and teeth gritting underneath her helmet as the elevator advances at a Shellos's pace and the banal droning of the 1976 ""classic"" hit "Get Up and Boogie" by Silver Convention echoes through the speaker.-
The Captain: -Somewhat mockingly- "Get Up and Boogie", please. I thought a good disco song from this time was supposed to make you want to dance. And boy, oh, boy does this make me want to find a nice, comfortable spot on the wall to tear my ears off. Forget repetitive, this doesn't even sound finished-
-Eventually, the elevator grinds to a halt at the top floor, and the doors trundle open. Outside the lift is an ITPD officer with an Espurr at her side, though she's dressed somewhat differently to the Captain and her colleagues - her uniform seems bulkier, and her arms up to the shoulders are covered by segmented grey gauntlets. The rank insignia imprinted upon them marks her as a Private, and she hastily salutes.-
Shield-Private: C-Captain Lombardi! I mean, uh, Captain Bellucci! Er, I m-mean... Captain! You're here to see the Director, r-right?
The Captain: Captain Lombardi-Bellucci, the surnames are hyphenated. And yes, I'm here to see the old bastard. Someone needs to tell him to get better taste in music and that just because something was made and released in the 70s doesn't make it automatically good.
Sammertina: -Chuffing- <Plus I hear there's an actual thing the two need to discuss that is actually related to work and not just the weekly banter of passive-aggressive sniping the two engage in~>
Shield-Private: R-right! Shield-Private Anfisa Smirnov, reporting for duty. That is to say, uh, Anfisa's my f-first name. There's no hyphen there. You don't r-really need to know that, but I just thought it might help if I, er... anyway, I'm the Director's new adjutant!
Shield-Private Smirnov: Same difference!
-There's a couple of seconds of awkward silence, which she decides to fill by saluting again.-
Smirnov: Anyway, uh... he's right down the hall. As you probably, er, already knew.
-She turns and scurries down the corridor.-
Sammertina: <...She seems to at least have good intentions. Unlike one half the recruits we get these days>
The Captain: Mmm. A little wet round the ears, but could be shaped into a commendable officer over time.
-The Captain and her Incineroar follow after the young officer until she stops by one of the doors in the corridor. Like most of the doors in the building, it's a clean, sleek-looking door with a nameplate on it that simply reads "Director Hontou". What looks slightly more out of place is the gigantic motivational poster next to it, with an image of a man heroically posing in purple spandex and the text "THE PHANTOM IS PROTECTING OUR CITY - ARE YOU?". Upon seeing the poster, the Captain's only response is to to bury her face in her palm, which somewhat loses its effect when you have a helmet covering it.-
The Captain: -Groaning- Don't tell me he wasted more of our branch's limited funds in getting ANOTHER version of these fucking things.
Smirnov: Oh, they're not so bad. I think they're kinda c-charming, honestly.
-She knocks timidly upon the door.-
Smirnov: Uh, Director?
-After a few seconds of silence, a brisk reply comes from the other side.-
Director: Come in.
-Smirnov nods excitedly to herself, before sliding open the door. Inside, the Director is sat at his desk, not looking up at his visitors. The office itself is fairly spartan, with just a couple of chairs for visitors - the massive Earth, Wind and Fire and ABBA posters up on the walls notwithstanding, of course. There's not much on his desk save for a few papers and a battered old cap.-
Director: Captain Lombardi. Shield-Private Smirnov.
Smirnov: Um, I thought it was Captain Lombardi-Bellu-
Director: Please, sit down, Captain.
-He gestures to the chairs. The Captain rolls her eyes as she enters the room, pressing the button on her helmet to remove it and taking it off before she sits down on the allocated chair, her Incineroar curling up beside her. Smirnov moves to remove her helmet and sit down too, only to be stopped with a wave of his hand.-
The Director: You can go now, Smirnov. You've done more than enough, helping the Captain negotiate ten metres of perfectly straight corridor.
Smirnov: Oh, um... t-thank you, sir.
-She darts out without another word, leaving the Director and the Captain alone with each other. The Captain places her helmet on her lap and begins drumming her fingers over the flat top-
The Captain: -With a slightly mocking tone- Director, please, don't tell me it's you I have to blame for the Privates addressing me by an incomplete title? I had to break some hapless soul's hand earlier for such a transgression, I hope you know that. One of the officers posted at the entrance of this.... Fine establishment.
The Director: The guards are not a part of this department, and therefore none of my concern.
-He stops writing and looks up at the Captain.-
The Director: Besides, I needed a new assistant in a hurry. Smirnov is inexperienced and incompletely trained, but she'll learn with time.
The Captain: -Tone of mocking morphing to a tone of sneering- She seems to be a better caliber of person than the usual type of scum we hire these days.
The Director: She has the potential to be a fine officer one day.
-He takes off his own helmet and places it to the side on the desk.-
The Director: Regardless, I did not call you here to discuss our hiring practices. I called you here to discuss our mission. I have a job for you, Captain.
The Captain's left eyebrow raises... as do the two, rounded, almost "ear-like" tufts of hair on her head. I guess some things really do just run in the family.
The Captain: A mission? What kind of mission do you have in mind, Hontou?
The Director: Your department, in conjunction with the ISPD, has been doing admirable work determining the whereabouts of temporal fugitives. That coupled with intelligence gathered from the fall of Neo-Galactic means that I am now confident we have the information we require to deploy our forces.
-He stands up, folding his arms behind his back and beginning to pace the width of the office.-
The Director: I need you for a retrieval. You're one of the only officers I would trust with a mission like this.
The tufts that just raised now flatten as the Captain's eyes narrow.
The Captain: ...Who.
The Director: You should be aware that the daughter of the man behind the Avenger murders, Lillianna Cain, has been missing for some time. Interpol kept her case file open, since she was considered a person of interest. Now, files recovered from Neo-Galactic suggest that she fled to a point around twenty-five years in the past with an advanced suit of combat armour the group furnished her with.
-He stops and places his hands on the desk.-
The Director: Additionally, we have reason to believe that she may be in contact with a distant relative of hers, also missing. Alexandre Cain. I'm sure I don't need to tell you what that family armed with that kind of technology could do to that time period.
-The Captain snaps her fingers as she begins recalling information.-
The Captain: Ah, yes. I remember coming across their case files a while back. From what I recall those two have been missing for nearly four years now, the case suspended indefinitely due to a lack of new information on them. And now we have good evidence to suggest where they ended up.
-The Captain reclines back in her chair.-
The Captain: There was a third file around the same time that... that-
-Something clicks within The Captain's head, followed almost immediately by a scowl from the Director.-
The Director: That case is being dealt with separately. It is none of your concern. Your mission is the retrieval of Alexandre and that suit. Is that clear?
-The Captain chuffs in annoyance at the Director's response, but sighs and concedes to him-
The Captain: ...Understood, Director. Strange as such a prospect would be that you would have me collect only two out of three, I'm sure you have your... reasons. Or requests. Whatever was brokered behind the scenes.
-She begins drumming her fingers together.-
The Captain: Do we have any exact location on where either Cain child would be located, Hontou?
-For a moment, the Director looks ready to reprimand the Captain for her comments, but he simply sighs and shakes his head instead.-
The Director: Nothing on Alexandre, unfortunately, but our analysis points to a figure using combat armour matching Neo-Galactic's description active in Kalos during that time. If that is Lillianna, I'm sure she'll be able to point you towards her cousin. Even if she might need some... convincing.
-Almost to accentuate the Director's words, the Captain begins cracking her knuckles-
The Captain: Convincing should not be that difficult to accomplish, Director.
-She then rests her chin on her right palm-
The Captain: That being said, with such little information to go on and with multiple targets, this could potentially be a longer mission than usual. I'd have to consider it, and should I accept, I should be given ample time to prepare before I leave. You understand, right Hontou? Some of us do have lives outside of Interpol, collecting model trains and commissioning yet another set of "inspirational" posters of the 1996 film "The Phantom", directed by Simon Wincer on a limited budget.
-She looks around-
The Captain: What did happen to the "The Phantom wants YOU to SLAM EVIL" poster? Get bored of it? Or decided it was a national icon and donated it to a hapless museum somewhere that was really desperate for more tacky garbage? Shame, it was the most charming one in it's own, inept way.
The Director: That set was transferred to the Alola branch headquarters. Their attendance figures at the bi-weekly screenings of the 1996 film "The Phantom" directed by Simon Wincer are simply unacceptable. Something has to get them motivated.
-He sits back down.-
The Director: Also, I should probably clarify something about this mission. It is not a request, Lombardi, or some personal favour, it is an order. I will furnish you with all the time you need to prepare, and though I will be happy to enlist certain officers you may wish to have accompanying you in a support role, nothing we have discussed is to leave this room. I am aware that you cannot be jumping through portals this time tomorrow, but rest assured, provisions will be put in place to accommodate for your absence.
-He's quiet for a moment before the faintest ghost of a smile visits his face.-
The Director: ...How is Orso, by the way?
The Captain returns the Director's faint smile with one of her own.
The Captain: ...Orso's doing great. He got a 10 on his maths homework recently and is currently working on a "pop art" inspired art project using his Pancham as his "subject". He was very happy with the homework results, he studied his two times tables diligently. He's also shot up 5 more centimeters and gained a few more kilos. He's growing faster than a weed.
The Director: Again? Next time I see him that boy will be taller than I am.
The Captain: -Smiling- And to think he's only eight as well!
- The Director gives a chuckle before his expression becomes more somber.-
The Director: ...You'll be compensated for your efforts with additional leave upon your return.
-The Captain herself sombers up in turn.-
The Captain: Thank you, Hontou.
-She thinks back to an earlier thing the Director mentioned-
The Captain: ...You mentioned earlier that you could enlist certain officers to accompany me on this mission, did you not?
The Director: Ah, yes. I would recommend Smirnov, but I need my assistant, and I'd hate for her to die on me so soon.
The Director: Besides, I'd say this is a family matter, wouldn't you?
-The Captain smirks back-
The Captain: You know I work best with Leone, Hontou. But, he's on annual leave at the moment - and currently on holidays. Even if it's a request from his dear twin sister, I feel that you'd have to make the prospect a little more appetizing before he takes the bait on the offer. Just, knowing my brother and all that~
The Director: A request from his sister he can refuse. An order from his superior he cannot.
-He leans back in his chair.-
The Director: And I did say that you'll be granted additional leave upon return, didn't I? I'm sure an extra two weeks in Alola should appeal to him.
-The Captain gives a long, beleaguered and somewhat growly sigh, but concedes-
The Captain: That, he will. Just let me be the "bearer of bad news" so to speak for him. As technically I am his superior as well.
The Director: Who else did you think I was referring to?
-He gives another brief smirk, though this one quickly fades as he looks back down at the files on his desk.-
The Director: I have every faith in the two of you. I'm sure you'll be back before I know it. You're dismissed, Captain.
-The Captain remains silent for a moment, before nodding her head and standing up-
The Captain: Understood. Thank you for your time, Director. Sammertina?
-The Incineroar who had dozed off during the meeting snaps awake and scrambles to her trainer's side. The Captain puts her helmet back on and presses the button, resecuring it to her head-
The Captain: -Now muffled by the vocoder- I shall contact you when we are ready, sir.
-The Captain and her Incineroar start to exit the office, but at the door, the Captain stops and turns around.-
The Captain: One more thing before I part, Director.
-The Director looks up from his desk.-
The Director: Oh?
The Captain: ...The Silver Convention? Really? A band who between their two radio hit songs had 12 words between them and one of their songs routinely make "worst hits of the 70s" lists and sounds like an unfinished demo released to air? That's who you chose to be your elevator music? Do you really hate us that much?
The Director: Would you rather I put on some Disco Ducklett for you all, then?
The Captain: ...Goodbye, Hontou.
The Director: A pleasure as always, Lombardi.
The Captain: -Growling- It's Lombardi-Bellucci, Hontou, and I know you know that!
-The Captain and her Incineroar leave the room, slamming the door behind them and the Captain herself muttering something about "covers" and "the soundboard room"-
The sea breeze blows lazily through the broad fronds of palm trees that dot the shoreline of Heahea Beach as children play in the sand, folks swim in the lapping waves, tourists loitering about the city and giving smiles and greetings to the locals and, among others, a man in an Alolan t-shirt wearing a beer helmet with "thirst aid" stamped on the front affixed with cans of premixed Tequila Sunrise and some visor shades reclines on a beach lounge, sipping at his drinks idly while his loyal Luxray lies belly up on the sand beside him.
Leone: Ah, Alola~ It's nice to know that there are some places in the world that are not only free of the strife and issues affecting other nations, but absolutely thriving in spite of it. Though, one must wonder if there is a sort of blissful ignorance in the zeitgeist of the island nation. Ain't that right, Farna?
The Luxray hums in content as she rolls over to her side, causing Leone to chuckle.
Leone: exactly girl! You got the right idea!
He leans over to scratch Farna underneath the chin, before rolling back and sipping at the beer helmet straws and just enjoying the sun rays...
...Until his visor stars beeping and flashing him with the message of "Incoming Call" on the inside of the lense.
Leone takes off his visor and rubs his eyes, before sliding the shades back on and seeing who has the absolute gall to call him on one of his off days! Especially on his work shades! Sheesh!
Incoming Call From:
La Consigliere (Sor)
Accept Call? Y/N
Leone rolls his eyes and smirks as he taps the right side of his visor, causing a holographic screen to be beamed in front of him and a familiar face appears before him, though she seems to be adjusting whatever screen she's contacting her brother from.
Leone: Boungiorno, Tigre~! What sort of commotion has you calling me on this fine day? Another shitty day at Interpol mostly regarding the IDPD branch? Because you know sor, I called a moratorium on job bitching calls while on holiday~!
Tigre: Is that... Well... Screw it, it's fine how it is. Ciao, Leone. I see the Alolan sun hasn't burnt off your biting wit quite ye-
Tigre then notices the beer helmet.
Tigre: ...What on earth are you wearing?
Leone takes a sipp from his beer helmet, smug grin not leaving his face.
Leone: I am dying, sor'. I've been stuck on this desolate island for at least four hours now and I must nourish my body with some thirst aid.
Tigre audibly groans on the other end as Leone laughs.
Tigre: Ha ha. Laugh it up, funnyman. Anyway, how has your trip to... Alola been so far, Leo?
Leone notices the hesitation in which his sister says the word "Alola", but chooses not to comment on it and instead stretches his arms out and sinks further into the beach lounge.
Leone: It's been pretty fantastic, Tig. There's no meaningful amounts of crime or corruption or curfews or any other negative things that start with the letter "c"! Everyone is just super chilled and nice to everyone and most of the buildings aren't mob fronts or completely gone to shit!
Leone chuckles, before flashing a smile to his sister.
Leone: You should really come down here one of these days sor. Unwind for a few days, maybe manage to not be such a tightass all the time~
Tigre herself rolls her eyes at her brother.
Tigre: Yes, well, anyway. I'm not here to talk about what you think I should do with my off time, I hear to talk to you about-
Leone: Oh! And Orso would love it! The water is lovely, the beaches are fantastic and the local people and Pokemon are so friendly! He'd have a blast!
Leone pauses and looks around what he can see of Tigre's living room with confusion.
Leone: Where is the little polpetto anyway?
Tigre sighs and smiles.
Tigre: Orso is still at school, Leo. Though he should be coming home any-
On the other end of the call, a door can be heard be heard being flung open. Followed by the sound of an excited pitter-patter of feet.
Orso: Mamma! Mamma!
Almost as if on the flip of the dime, Tigre's demeanour shifts entirely from a stoic, gruff hardass to a soft, sweet and kinda mushy parent as her son runs up to her with a big smile on his face and a Scraggy in his arms.
Tigre: -Turning her focus from Leone to her son- Orso! Bambino! There you are! Come here and give your mamma a big hug il mio principino~
Tigre hugs her son and showers him in kisses, who giggles in turn.
Tigre: So! How was your day at school, tesoro?
Orso gives a big, wide smile as he shows his mother the Scraggy he was holding in his arms.
Orso: Great mamma! I got a gold star for my painting in class today! And I found this little guy on my way to school!
The Scraggy wiggles in his hands.
Orso: Can I keep him mamma? Can I? Can I? Caaan I~?
Tigre folds her arms and stares at Orso, who stares at her back with big puppy-dog eyes.
Tigre: ...I can't say no to that face.
Orso smiles and jumps up, kissing his mother on the cheek
Orso: Yaaay! Thanks mamma! I promise I'll take good care of him like I take care of Chammi!
Tigre: -With a chuckle- Oh, you just know how to butter me up.
In between this mother-son bonding moment, a third voice clears his throat over the holophone line.
Leone: Excuse me, are you forgetting someone here?
Orso turns to the hologram screening and smiles when he sees his uncle waving back at him with a silly grin on his face.
Orso: Zietto Leo! Hi Zietto!
Orso waves back at his uncle through the screen.
Leone: Eyy polpetto! What has my favourite little scimmia been up to lately?
Orso opens his mouth and points to where his two front teeth should be, but is currently empty.
Orso: I lost my two front teeth last week, Zietto!
Leone: Aw man, you're growin' up so fast kid! Did you get a visit from the tooth fairy?
Orso: Yeah! I got 500₱ from the tooth fairy! I spent it on candy~
Tigre folds her and gives a Mom Smirk™ to Orso.
Tigre: Orso. If you spend all your change on candy, you're teeth are gonna go missing much faster. And at some point, they won't grow back.
Leone: Your mamma's right Orso. Don't eat too much candy, ya hear?
Orso pouts and huffs.
Orso: You guys are so unfair! I don't get candy unless I buy it or someone gives some to me! Other kids at school have their parents give them candy all the time!
Tigre kneels down and looks at her son.
Tigre: The reason why we don't buy you much candy is because it's a sometimes food. It has a lot of sugar in it and it can hurt your teeth and hurt your insides because all that sugar crowds out the other stuff you need to grow, and that's doubly important for a growing boy like yourself principino - even if it tastes really good.
Orso is still a little pouty, which causes Leone to chuckle.
Leone: Yeah. We're only looking out for you, Orso.
Orso: Okaaay. You're still mean though!
Both Tigre and Leone laugh as Tigre stands up and pets Orso.
Tigre: Now, Leo and I have some very important work stuff to talk about with each other. So you should say goodbye to Zietto for now bambino.
Orso: Aww! But I want to talk to Zietto more...
Tigre: -Smiling- He'll be back from holidays very soon, Orso. And I'm pretty sure you can have a long talk with Zietto and hell can tell you all about the things he did on his his holiday~
Orso: Aww... okay...
Orso waves back to Leone.
Orso: Arrivederci, Zietto Leone! Tell me all about Alola when you get back home, okay!
Leone crosses his heart with this finger.
Leone: Cross my heart and hope to die.
Leone & Orso: Stick a needle in my eye!
The two laugh as Tigre observes with a smile.
Leone: Now run along scamp. Your mamma and I gotta talk important adult stuff now.
Orso looks back at his mother.
Orso: Can I play some video games while you talk to Zietto mamma?
Tigre: Mmm... Oh alright, but only while I talk with your Zietto. Afterwards you have to your homework before you're allowed to play more, capisce?
Orso: Yeah! Capisce mamma!
Orso looks back to his uncle and waves, before running off screen on Leone's end.
Orso: Seeya Zietto!
Leone and Tigre share a chuckle.
Leone: Oh, he's a darling~
Tigre: He is. The light of my life, considering everything else going on in this hell word at the moment.
Leone: He's gotten big lately. How tall is he now?
Tigre: He's about 145 centimetres now, and 37 kilograms in weight.
Leone: Wow, that's like, as big as a 12 year old kid! And he's only 8!
Tigre: Yep. He's got the appetite to match too.
Leone: He's gonna be an absolute brick shithouse when he gets older!
Leone chuckles as his sister stays quiet.
Leone: Ah... It's gonna be fun to watch him grow up.
Once again, Tigre 180's from her kinder demeanour to her usual strict and sour temperament as she flips back into business mode.
Tigre: Regardless, Leone. I have to talk to you about work, it's urgent.
Leone: Aww, sor. We agreed on "no talking about work shit" while I'm on holiday!
Tigre: In the words of our illustrious Director: "This is not a request or some personal favour, it is an order. And and order from his superior you cannot refuse".
Leone laughs at his sister's impersonation of the Director's cadence.
Leone: Aw man, you really captured Shun's bitchiness there! 10 outta 10 impression.
Tigre raises her eyebrow at her brother.
Tigre: I thought you respected Hontou fra.
Leone: I do, Tig, I do~ It's because I respect Il Signore Shun I can call him a bitch! It's just how it works~
Leone laughs and Tigre just gives a resigned sigh.
Leone: Now sor. tell me what's the sitch.
Tigre: We've be assigned a mission to be started ASAP. A mission that involves a travel to twenty six years in the past, Kalos region.
[spoiler]Again, thanks to Morph for spagging this with me!
-A couple of days after their initial meeting, the Captain and the Director are once again sat on opposite sides of the desk in the latter's office. Both have taken their helmets off, setting them to the side, and the Director is tapping his fingers against the desk impatiently and glancing up at the clock on the opposite wall.-
The Director: ...It's been fifteen minutes. I would have hoped that in an organisation dedicated to enforcing temporal consistency, punctuality would be the one thing you could expect.
-The Captain, meanwhile is leaning her cheek on the back of her hand, clearly bored by the proceedings.-
The Captain: I mean. First of all, you expected my brother to be on time, which he never is. Second... Arceus I still can't believe I have to address her like this Captain Axiom tends to get incredibly distracted at the most simple of things. So she's probably sidetracked at the moment. I still don't know why you considered her of all people Captain material but here we are, anyway.
-There is a pause.-
The Captain: ...As for Captain Harlock, I have no idea. It's strange, he's usually pretty punctual about these things.
The Director: That he is, whenever I can find him. As for the process by which I selected my Captains, I would suggest that you of all people should not me questioning th-
-Suddenly, the door flies open, and the room goes cold. Stood in the doorway is a looming figure, clad in a jet-black IDPD uniform with the insignia of an eye and two outstretched hands embossed upon their helmet. They stare at the two figures in the room for a moment from behind their opaque visor, letting out a long, hissing breath, before the crackling of speech begins to emit from their vocoder...-
Captain Axiom: Hiya~!
-...and the illusion is instantly destroyed.-
Captain Axiom: Oh man, I'm so sorry I'm late, but you have no idea what it was like down in the cells today. It was, like, all go, all the time, 24/7. I dunno how I- oh, whoops, helmet!
-She presses the button on her helmet and it detaches with a hiss, revealing a young woman with full, rosy cheeks and a brown bob haircut that's currently plastered to her cheeks.-
Captain Axiom: Sorry about that! It's like, you wear these uniforms for long enough and you kinda forget you have them on, right?
-The Captain has a look on her face that best approximates to "X: Doubt" but doesn't make any comments or even look in the direction of Captain Axiom.-
The Director: Just... take a seat, Axiom.
Captain Axiom: Can do, bossman!
-She salutes before taking a seat opposite of the Director.-
Captain Axiom: Man, am I glad to be able to just sit down for a bit. I've been wearing these stilts all day to look tall and scare the rookies and after a while they're just a pain, y'know?
-She grins, and pulls off her boot to reveal a wooden platform stilt. Without it, the looming figure in the doorway probably wouldn't have exceeded five feet.-
Captain Axiom: So, what's the sitch, Commander? I mean, Director?
-The Director sighs.-
The Director: We still need every officer to be in attendance before this meeting can begin.
The Captain: Now we're just waiting on-
-The door Captain Axiom left open is closed from the other side, before suddenly being kicked open by a lanky figure wearing a uniform similar in design to Captain Axiom, though less ornate and with the colours and patterns of The Captain's uniform.-
Inspector Belluci: Thank you! FUCK you! The star hath arrived!
-After the silly and somewhat destructive entrance, the Inspector laughs through his vocoder and takes up a more casual and relaxed position, with sparks of static energy bouncing off him like a tesla coil.-
Inspector Belluci: Anyway, how are all you fine folks doin' today? -Nodding- Signore. Axiom.
-He walks over to his sister and places his his hands and chin on her head.-
Inspector Belluci: Sor~
The Captain: -Flatly- Hello Leone.
-Leone whines in an overdramatic fashion.-
Inspector Belluci: Awww. How come everyone else gets to refer to themselves as either "The Captain" or "Captain Lombardi" (with the occasional "Belluci" addition) but I am always delegated to regular, old Leone? At least call me "Inspector" or "Sergeant" Leone/Belluci, or better yet "Komisario" (considering it's my actual rank and all)~
-The Director's expression has not changed.-
The Director: Inspector-Sergeant Belluci. Please sit down, and do be aware that the door will be coming out of your vacation pay.
Inspector Belluci: Must you be a stick in the mud, Director Signore~? I know you can be more fun than this. But alright.
-Inspector Belluci gives his sister a noogie, who doesn't really react to the action outside of a blunt reply.-
The Captain: Please, control yourself for just this short while Inspector.
-Inspector Belluci throws himself onto the empty chair and starts the process of removing his helmet. Look all standar gear, it unlocks with a hiss and Belluci takes it off, revealing the face of a man in his 30s with wide silver eyes and matching coloured afro (plus mutton chops) that has currently been pushed in the shape of a square by his helmet. Through it quickly pops back into its normal shape.-
Inspector Belluci: I'll behave for the purposes of this meeting~
-Inspector Belluci places his helmet in his lap and gives a cheeky grin The Director's way. For a moment, the edge of the Director's mouth seems to twitch, before he simply nods.-
The Director: Thank you. Though I will remind you that my title is "Director Hontou", or simply "Director" if you must be so informal.
-Captain Axiom turns around to look at Inspector Belluci with a smile on her face.-
Captain Axiom: Hey, what're you doing here, handsome? I thought this was supposed to be a Captains' meeting, not a cuties' meeting~
-The Inspector winks and finger guns at the short Captain.-
Inspector Belluci: Well dollface, I'm here because I am the Captain's brother and thus, I get a little more special treatment. Nepotism, ain't it great~?
-He pauses to stick his tongue out.-
Inspector Belluci: Plus I'm also tagging along with Tigre on a Very Important Mission. As we tend to do for these kinds of special requests~
-The Captain groans and rubs her forehead.-
The Captain: Inspector Belluci. Please take this seriously.
Inspector Belluci: I am taking this seriously! Look~
-The Inspector closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, raising his arms as he does so before opening them and dropping his arms at a 90 degree angle.-
Inspector Belluci: Serious Belluci activated!
-The Captain's main reaction is the smack her forehead onto The Director's desk. Which inadvertently causes the wood to split and forms a rather deep dent into the thing.-
The Director: ...You'll be paying for that too.
The Director: Now we just need Harold to show his face.
-Almost on cue, a deep (yet rather soft and meek) baritone voice with a noticeable southern drawl piques up from the "empty", rickety seat to The Captain's left.-
Captain Harlock: Um... sir.
-As if appearing out of thin air, an absolutely gigantic man (around 7ft in height, with the frame to match) wearing a gaudy and bulky pink/purple uniform similar in style to the Shield Agents is sitting in said rickety chair. His wavy, unruly brown hair flops over both his eyes like some herding breeds of Stoutland, obscuring most of his brown face.-
Captain Harlock: I-I've been sitting here for two hours, sir. And it's "Harlock", not Harold...
-The Captain blinks in surprise at her coworker who was apparently sitting next to her the entire time-.-
The Captain: Oh! I didn't see you there Harlock.
Captain Harlock: Didn't you notice me when I spoke up earlier after you wondered where I was?
The Captain: Huh. Must have escaped my notice. Apologies Harlock, though you don't tend to stick out much so you just kinda creep up on us. No offence.
Captain Harlock: None taken...
-The Director merely blinks in surprise at Harlock's sudden appearance.-
The Director: Ah, thank you for joining us, Haversham.
Captain Harlock: "Harloc"-
The Director: Now we can get started.
-Harlock sighs. The Director meanwhile clears his throat and looks over at the Captain and Captain Axiom.-
The Director: I've briefed all of you individually, of course, but we need to coordinate our efforts between departments - especially since one of our commanding officers will be absent for an unforeseeable amount of time.
-He directs his gaze on the Captain specifically.-
The Director: Though I imagine she will get the job done quickly and efficiently, as always.
-The Captain nods at the director with a "hmm" of acknowledgement-
The Captain: -Placing her right arm on her chest- I promise to do my best to finish this as quickly and efficiently as possible, sir. For the betterment of the IDPD and Interpol as a whole.
She then looks over to her brother, who is currently picking his teeth at the moment.
The Captain: Though I will have Inspector Belluci at my side to assist me as always.
-The Inspector stops his tooth picking to nod in agreement.-
Inspector Belluci: Yep! We are the dream team after all~! 100% success rate AKA the main reason you haven't fired the both of us yet despite causing at least 98% of the department's damage costs between us. Rough estimate, of course~
-Captain Harlock leans over slightly to look at Inspector Belluci (even with the wall of hair over his eyes)-
Captain Harlock: I ain't sure that's something to be proud of, Sarge...
-The Director glares at Inspector Belluci for a moment, before glancing over to the side and not necessarily at Captain Harlock.-
The Director: Hamon, you're responsible for keeping a line of communication open. If they need reinforcements, then we need to be able to bring them in quickly.
-Captain Harlock turns his attention back to the Director (and has given up on correcting his name for now) and nods at him.-
Captain Harlock: I'll do m'best sir. I'll git m'top agents on the job to make sure everythin' goes as smoothly as possible, sir.
The Director: Excellent.
-He turns to Captain Axiom.-
The Director: Axiom, you already have your orders. Though I want you to keep some agents on standby, in case Captain Lombardi and Inspector-Sergeant Belluci encounter obstacles that fall outside their department's remit.
-Axiom salutes once again.-
Captain Axiom: Yes sirree! I can promise that they'll have boatloads of backup, chief!
The Director: Good.
-He goes back to addressing the room as a whole.-
The Director: I cannot stress the urgency of this task enough. The longer we let rogue agents run free in a past iteration of this timeline, the likelier it is that said timeline will meet a similar fate to our own. We need to stand strong against the forces of chaos, to prevent others from making the same mistakes as we did. We are the only ones willing to take up this cause, and they will not thank us for it, because they cannot see the number of potential catastrophes that we have helped avert. But it is a necessary task. We need the Cain children's tech returned here to limit the damage that they can inflict. Is that clear?
-The Captain salutes the Director-
The Captain: I'll do my best as always, sir.
-Belluci, on the other hand, goes back to picking his teeth.-
Inspector Belluci: Heard ya' loud and clear boss.
Captain Harlock: -Nods- Understood.
Captain Axiom: Sure thing, pal!
-The Director sighs.-
The Director: Director Hontou, please.
-He leans forward.-
The Director: My door is always open - in no small part thanks to Inspector-Sergeant Belluci-
Inspector Belluci -Fingerguns- Eyy~!
The Director: -but should you need any further orders or resources, I believe you all understand your given tasks and how to coordinate them between yourselves. The ITPD and IDPD will be standing by if additional manpower is needed, but I hope that we can get this retrieval done quickly and with a minimum of interference. Does that sound feasible to the rest of you?
The Captain: Of course, sir.
Inspector Belluci: You got it~
Captain Harlock: Eyup.
Captain Axiom: It's on like Donkey Kong, boss!
-The Director nods.-
The Director: Excellent. Axiom, Harmony, you're dismissed.
Captain Harlock: Harmony? That's new... Again, it's Harlock, sir...
Captain Axiom: Aww, man, I don't get to stick around for the super-special private briefing? Ah well, there's still plenty to be getting on with downstairs anyway, and I've got a lot of very important jobs to do anyway~ Seeya, then!
-She puts her helmet back on and skips out of the office, leaving the Captain and Inspector Belluci alone with the Director, who looks between the two of them.-
The Director: ...Tigre. Leone. I hope I already stressed the importance of your assigned duties, but I also want to wish you both good luck. Long expeditions to different dimensions or periods of time are never easy, so I hope that this will be a short, simple mission, and that the two of you will be able to return to Orso and Alola shortly.
-The Captain looks to the side with a sad and almost worried expression, before looking back to the Director with a small smile.-
The Captain: Thank you, Shun.
Inspector Belluci: If you're wondering. Tig here has organised for Orso to stay at Franca's place for the time being~
The Captain: I know you offered to help, Shun. But I think it's better for him if he's cared for by our family. It's more familiar to him, after all.
-The Director nods.-
The Director: Of course. I can't think of safer hands.
-He allows himself a brief smile before picking up his helmet once again.-
The Director: I just wanted to make sure that everything was taken care of on your ends. Now that I know it is, the two of you are dismissed.
-The two nod and put their helmets back on, with Leone struggling due to his hair.-
Inspector Belluci: Uffa, this thing is a bitch to get on.
-Eventually, it slides on and he locks it back into place, with the both of them taking leave through the now broken door.-
Inspector Belluci: -Fuzzed through the vocoder- Later boss!
The Captain: We shall talk later about this mission.
-And now they're gone... but there is still one figure remaining here.-
Captain Harlock: -Strangely polite about it all- ...I assume I've been dismissed as well, Director?
-The Director starts as Harlock speaks up.-
The Director: When did you come back in, Harambe? I thought I dismissed you earlier.
-Captain Harlock facepalms and groans-
Captain Harlock: ...No sir, and it's Har-
The Director: Well, you're dismissed now. I'm sure you have very important duties that I can't quite remember right now to be getting on with.
-Harlock sighs, resigning himself to his fate as the ignored, beleaguered one.-
Captain Harlock: Yessir. I'll get back to working on the coordinates for the mission.
-Harlock nods as he puts back on his helmet and makes his exit from The Director's office. The Director barely acknowledges him as he leaves, instead pulling up another casefile and looking over it with an almost uncharacteristic scowl of anger.-
The Director: Soon... soon enough...
[spoiler]Again, thanks to Morph for spagging this!
-Once again, Shun is making one of his regular trips down to the holding cells, striding out of the elevator while ITPD guards stand aside and salute him as he passes. Instead of heading to the thick vault entrance at the end of the corridor, however, he stops about halfway and raps on one of the metal cell doors off to the side.-
The Director: Open up.
-After a slight pause, the metal door of the cell whirrs and clicks open. Inside the cell are three figures; The ITPD Captain, the ITPD Sergeant-Inspector and an unknown third party in a completely different set of armour from her two captors. The aforementioned third figure has since had their helmet removed, revealing the face of a young woman in her early 20s with medium length brown hair and slightly gaunt facial features staring at her captors morosely.-
-Currently, said 20-year-old is being berated by the Captain.-
The Captain: -Glaring at Lillianna- Stand up straight, girl. We are in the presence of the Director himself.
-The Inspector, however, takes umbrage with his sister's rather authoritarian approach.-
Inspector Belluci: Oh, give the poor kid a break sor'! Hasn't she gone through enough today? Being punched in the gut and arrested and all-
-The Director cuts the Inspector off by clearing his throat and addressing the two officers in [Finnish].-
The Director: Captain Lombardi. You seem to be missing a Cain.
-The Captain furrows her brow at the Director from behind her helmet.-
The Captain: Alexandre Cain was not accompanying Lillianna Cain when we honed in on her signal.
Inspector Belluci: We found out through... Ehehe... a friend of hers from the time, that Lex is being restrained in a high security facility, though!
The Captain: It's called "PEFE HQ". From our "source", it's somewhere in the oceans nearby Hoenn, but its exact coordinates are - at the moment - unbeknownst to us.
Inspector Belluci: It could be why we couldn't pick up any trace of the guy when we were looking for it, Director.
The Captain: It seems more planning and strategising is needed before we can retrieve the Cain boy, sir. But for now-
-She shoves Lillianna forwards, quite roughly too.-
The Captain: -Be happy with the one we did get.
-The Inspector scowls at his sister, but doesn't say a word. The Director, meanwhile, merely tilts his head.-
The Director: "PEFE HQ", did you say? That... complicates things.
-He shakes his head.-
The Director: I will speak to Captains Axiom and Heathers over the next couple of days about coordinating detection efforts between your departments, but your objective has not changed. We need to find and retrieve Alexandre, no matter how many resources such efforts may demand. Is that clear?
-The Captain nods.-
The Captain: Understood.
-Inspector Belluci gives an exaggerated salute.-
Inspector Belluci: Clear as a crystal day, Bossman!
The Director: Excellent. The two of you are on standby for the next couple of days. I'll be speaking to you again after I'm finished with this interrogation and have formulated a plan for Alexandre's retrieval. Until then, you're both dismissed.
-As they turn to leave, he holds up a finger to stop them.-
The Director: Oh, and good work. Both of you.
Inspector Belluci: Aw shucks, thank ya' Boss! I swear you're getting softer lately, dishing out all these compliments~! But we should be on our way, toodles~
-The Captain merely smiles at the Director, before following her brother out of the cell, leaving the Director and Lillianna alone with one another. The Director waves a hand at Lillianna, switching back to [Japanese] as he does.-
The Director: Sit down.
Lillianna: But your Captain told me to-
The Director: Yes, Captain Lombardi can be rather... excessive at times. I apologise if she was somewhat heavy-handed during your arrest.
Lillianna: That isn't much of a consolation.
The Director: I'm aware.
-He sits down on the solitary stool in the cell, and Lillianna rather uneasily sits down on her cot directly opposite him.-
The Director: You may call me the Director. I have some questions for you, Lillianna Cain.
Lillianna: Forgive me for not immediately trusting a man who had me kidnapped and calls himself "the Director".
The Director: You were not kidnapped, you were arrested. The distinction is important.
Lillianna: Arrested on what charges?
The Director: Possession of illegal weaponry, affiliation with known terrorists and terrorist groups, illegal vigilantism, disruption of timeline continuity, and resisting arrest. Shall I go on?
-Lillianna glares at the Director.-
Lillianna: ...You don't look like any police officers I've ever seen.
The Director: Because we're not. We are the Inter-Temporal Police Department, responsible for investigating temporal anomalies such as yourself.
Lillianna: So I'm an "anomaly" to you?
The Director: You were not native to the time period you chose to inhabit, therefore you are anomalous. Now if you don't mind, I'd appreciate some answers to my questions.
-He produces a tablet-like device.-
The Director: Do you happen to know one Alexandre Cain?
Lillianna: I'll tell you what I told your Captain. I've never heard the name before in my life.
The Director: Forgive me if I find that hard to believe.
-He leans forward.-
The Director: The two of you are relatives, however distant, both of whom found themselves in the same period of history armed with weapons and equipment derived from Cipher tech. What is your connection to him? Were you partners? Did you travel together and then go your separate ways?
-Lillianna's usual monotone takes on a bitter edge.-
Lillianna: I told you, I don't know him. I barely know any of my relatives, let alone the distant ones, because for the better part of my life my father kept me as a prisoner in my own house. All I knew of the outside world was what I could glimpse on the news or piece together from his ravings before I finally managed to escape. And now you've dragged me back here, to his world, to keep me locked up once again.
The Director: This isn't his world. You're safe from him here.
Lillianna: Maybe. But I still hope he finds you.
-The Director is silent for a long moment.-
The Director: We're doing everything in our power to stop him.
Lillianna: And yet you still can't understand why someone like me would want to run as far away from him as possible.
-The Director doesn't reply, instead glancing down at Lillianna's Avenger suit.-
The Director: Your suit. It was designed by Neo-Galactic, correct?
-Lillianna resolutely refuses to answer, so the Director continues.-
The Director: It's in your best interests to collaborate, Lillianna. We already know who designed the suit, as well as who provided it to you. If you don't cooperate-
-He is interrupted by Lillianna standing up suddenly.-
Lillianna: Don't you dare hurt her.
The Director: I never insinuated that I would. Even if I did, you are in no position to be making threats. If your mother is working with what remains of Neo-Galactic, then that is a separate issue, but anything you can tell us would encourage leniency.
-Lillianna glares at the Director with burning fury in her eyes.-
Lillianna: ...I'm not telling you anything.
The Director: Then we have nothing more to say to one another.
-He also stands up, looming almost a full head taller than Lillianna.-
The Director: You clearly have no intention of making things easier for yourself. Perhaps a few days in the cells here will convince you of the error of your ways. In the meantime, I will have the guards confiscate your armour for further research. I will be speaking to you again, Lillianna Cain.
-He turns and walks out of the cell, gesturing to the guards at the door.-
The Director: Take her suit and provide her with some standard-issue overalls. Have it brought to the ISPD at the earliest convenience.
-The guards nod and enter the cell, the door swinging shut behind the Director as he strides away.-
[spoiler]Thanks to Herb for spagging this with me!
-The break room is positively bursting with folks at the moment, with both Interpol and IDPD conglomerate agents taking a break, eating their lunch and bantering with each other about their days, their families and this or that silly thing.-
-On the back wall, two figures lean back beside a water cooler. The much taller one is standing in a somewhat closed off position, arms drawn close to his person and both hands curled around the styrofoam cup of water he periodically sips from (his vocodered filtration mouthpiece has since been unclipped from his helmet and is now hanging off his belt). The shorter one has taken her helmet off entirely, and is looking up at her compatriot with bright, eager eyes.-
Captain Axiom: So, Harlock, I hear tell that your department has been working on something real special~ Care to share?
-Harlock doesn't even bother to make eye contact with Axiom. He just grunts and takes a sip from his cup of water-
Captain Harlock: That's classified, Axiom. Authorised ISPD Agents only.
Captain Axiom: I mean, you don't have to tell me if you don't wanna. Loose lips sink ships and all that! It's just that every time I hear that there's some big breakthrough on the horizon that we're working on, I get so excited I feel like I'm gonna burst! You know that feeling, right?
Captain Harlock: -In a complete monotone- Then burst.
-Axiom lets out a long groan.-
Captain Axiom: Aaaaaaaaagh, you're such a tease, Harlock! I thought we were buds!
-Captain Harlock tenses up and leans a slight bit away from Axiom when she calls him a "tease"-
Captain Harlock: "Buds" or not, classified information is classified information Axiom.
Captain Axiom: By Giratina, you're such a square! I bet you never stuck your hands out of any roller coasters or tore the tags off of any mattresses when you were a kid either.
-Before Harlock can retort to Axiom, he is cut off by the sound of a throat clearing-
The Captain: Greetings.
Inspector Bellucci: -Mock saluting- Hey y'all~!
-Harlock makes a short exclamation of surprise and fumbles with his cup, almost dropping it and spilling what was left of it on the ground-
Captain Harlock: Ah! H-Hello Captain Lombardi-Bellucci...
-Harlock raises the cup closer to his mouth, almost as if he's trying to hide what little of his face is showing. Inspector Bellucci, however, makes chummy with everyone-
Inspector Bellucci: -Giving Harlock a hearty pat on the shoulder- Howsit hanging, big guy?
He then winks and finger guns at Axiom. Though the winking isn't as effective as it'd usually be with his helmet still on.
Inspector Bellucci: And Axiom! Lookin' sharp! As usual~.
Captain Axiom: Speak for yourself, Inspector~
-She looks between Leone and Harlock with wide, puppy-dog eyes.-
Captain Axiom: Can you believe that the Captain here is deliberately keeping me in the dark? And I thought we were buds, too...
Inspector Bellucci: I can believe, sweetcheeks~
-The Captain sighs at her brother's antics and begins to remove her helmet, tucking it under her arm once it's removed. While the Inspector and Captain Axiom are distracted, Harlock nervously questions Captain Lombardi.-
Captain Harlock: So... How did the mission go...? I-If you don't mind me asking, that is.
-The Captain groans and begins rubbing her temple.-
The Captain: Well, one half of the mission went well. We got the Cain girl without too much trouble. The Cain boy, on the other hand, is a bit more of a tricky situation. In fact, we came up here to-
-The Captain is cut off by the distracting sight of Inspector Bellucci getting himself a cup of water from the cooler.-
Inspector Bellucci: Ahh, chilled watered~
-And then pouring it into his mouth. Without taking off his helmet.-
-Or even his filter.-
-The Captain and Harlock just stare at Leone with utter bewilderment (with frustration mixed in in the case of the Captain). Axiom, however, just giggles.-
Captain Axiom: Oh, don't look at him like that, those filters are waterproof!
-She then turns to the Captain.-
Captain Axiom: Anyway, did you really get the Cain girl? Oh man, that's great! How did the questioning go? What did she tell you? Aaah, I just wish I could've been there, I love talking to temporal refugees! They always have such great stories to tell!
-The Captain furrows her brow at Axiom-
The Captain: Yes, we got the Cain girl. Yes, questioning is going fine - the Director is handling it at the moment. No, your assistance isn't required in this case, Axiom.
Captain Axiom: Awww...
-Captain Harlock coughs in order to divert attention away from Axiom-
Captain Harlock: As you were saying, Captain Lombardi-Bellucci...
-The Captain turns back to face Harlock. Her facial expressions softening somewhat.-
The Captain: Anyway, the Director has called us for a meeting soon once he's finished with the Cain girl. It turns out that the reason why we weren't getting any signals from the Cain boy is because he's currently being contained in a high security facility with evidently the technological capabilities to cloud his signal.
-The Inspector wipes the water off his helmet and butts in-
Inspector Bellucci: 'Parently the place is called "PEFE HQ" and it's somewhere off Hoenn. That's all we know for now~
-Harlock hums, scratching his chin.-
Captain Harlock: "PEFE HQ", huh...? I-I think I've heard that name come up once or twice in the past... or at least something similar to it...
Captain Axiom: Never heard of it~ Though if it's a high-security facility which had access to that kind of technology three decades ago, then we're probably not gonna be able to get our boy outta there with a single undercover Inspector. Shame, that woulda made my job a lot easier...
-The Captain nods-
The Captain: Indeed, this is going to be a rather complex undertaking, to say the least. And it will require all three of our departments to collaborate with each other so the process is as swift and painless as possible.
-She turns her attention to Harlock-
The Captain: Harlock, your department will have to focus a good portion of their efforts on scouting out any signals or anomalies around the Hoennese oceans to hone in on a plausible location.
Captain Harlock: -Nodding- Can do, Cap'n.
The Captain: Good. The Director will also send you the power suit retrieved from the Cain girl for analysis and potential reverse engineering efforts when the chance arises.
-She then looks to Axiom, her face more stern than when talking to Harlock-
The Captain: As for you, Axiom. Once the ISPD have probable coordinates, our teams will collaborate scouting missions to the location to get as much info on the place as possible.
Captain Axiom: The IDPD's finest are at your beck and call, ma'am!
-She glances over at Harlock with a slight smirk.-
Captain Axiom: Though I don't know if they'll ever be as motivated as the ISPD agents who're making this possible in the first place. They're the real heroes here, in my opinion~
-Even behind his large hands and styrofoam cup, Harlock grimaces.-
Captain Harlock: -Viscerally uncomfortable with Axiom's whole schitck- Thank you for your compliment, Axiom. I'll have Vera make a notice for the department for the sake of positive reinforcement for all ISPD agents.
-The Captain gives a small, barely noticeable smile to Harlock-
The Captain: Your department does do a lot of good work for us that goes unnoticed, Harlock.
Captain Harlock: -More genuinely this time- T-Thank you.
-There is a period of awkward silence between The Captain and Harlock before both cough and look away-
The Captain: Yes. Well. The Director will talk to us in greater detail later, but for now we shall continue on with our allotted breaks.
-The Captain turns around.-
The Captain: See you all at the meeting.
-And leaves the break room.-
Captain Axiom: Huh. Turns out the big bad Captain has a soft side! Who would've guessed~
-She pauses for a moment.-
Captain Axiom: ...Now that I think about it, you would've, Inspector. But you don't count! That's an unfair advantage!
-The Inspector gives a big old hearty laugh-
Inspector Bellucci: I've got the home field advantage indeed in this regard. But yeah, sor' is really mushy on the inside~ Like a very charred marshmallow! Or a rather cranky cat~
-Harlock hums and looks down at his now empty cup. Relieved that he's now being ignored by Axiom in particular now that Captain Lombardi has left the room, but also thinking to himself and smiling.-
Inspector Bellucci: -Stretching- Aaaaaannnyway~ I gotta be gettin' on my way too. M'boys have just gotten back from their any percent, glitchless run to Pizza Yurt, and there's no way I'm missing out of free pizza! No matter HOW shitty it is~
-The Inspector turns around and leaves the break room with a rather jaunty swing in his step-
Inspector Bellucci: Later Feraligatrs~!
Captain Axiom: Aww man, you're gonna leave me all on my lonesome? That's not very nice!
-She pouts, but quickly reverts back to her usual cheery self.-
Captain Axiom: Ah well, I should probably go talk to Sergeant Johnson and make sure our boys are ready for anything~
-She skips off without a word of farewell to Harlock. Who merely sighs, disposes of his cup and takes his own leave without saying another word-
[spoiler]This was spagged with Morp! Enjoy!
-After the events by the break room cooler around two minutes ago, ISPD Captain Harlock makes his way to his office, with people constantly bumping into him along the way due to his uncanny ability to not be seen or noticed until pointed out.-
-But eventually he does get to his office, sighing and opening the door to reveal a rather quaint broom of wooden panels and bookshelves that give a rustic, homely appearance compared to the sleek, sterile look of the rest of the building's rooms. And especially at odds with the ISPD reputation of being the high tech science folks.-
-The contrast is especially marked by the young woman midway through devouring a large WcDonalds burger, a Hydreigon curled up on the ground behind her desk. While her general presentation is fairly neat-- long brown hair tied back in a tight bun, and a disturbingly immaculate outfit...she’s still devouring a burger with approximately the grace of the Hydreigon behind her-
Captain Harlock: Hey Vera, enjoying your lunch there?
-Harlock removes the rest of his helmet, revealing that even without it - most of his face is still covered by a mass of hair-
Captain Harlock: They say you shouldn't be eating too many burgers, y'know.
-Harlock flops down on the couch opposite of Vera's desk
-At the sound of Harlock’s voice, the woman evidently named Vera snaps her head up, setting the burger down fast enough that a pickle makes a bid for freedom (regrettably only making it as far as the Hydreigon, who snaps it up with a head-hand).-
Vera: Forgive me if I am skeptical of the dietary advice of a man whose preferred lunch is multiple grilled steaks.
Captain Harlock: -Shrugs- Eh, that's fair.
-Vera picks up a pen-
Vera: Do you need something, Captain?
Captain Harlock: Few thing here 'n there. First, Captains Axiom and Lombardi-Bellucci send their regards to our department, saying we don't git enough recognition for the work we do.
-Harlock somewhat shivers at mentioning Axiom's name.-
Captain Harlock: I tell ya' Vera. Something just ain't right about that girl.
-Vera nods, taking notes at a truly shocking speed-
Vera: I’ll pass on the commendations. Would you like me to include your own comments on Captain Axiom?
-A barely perceptible smirk crosses her face.-
Captain Harlock: Nah. If you did that I'd get grilled by the Boss for publishin' slander of one of m' own coworkers. Wouldn't be a good look for the department.
-Despite seemingly unable to perceive anything with a mass of hair in front of his eyes. He, in fact, does notice Vera's ever-so-slight smirk.-
Captain Harlock: I know that look on yer face, Vera. What'chu smiling about?
Vera: Nothing. Merely observing that you seem rather--
-She’s cut off by a loud clatter from behind her.-
Hydreigon: <Rattatatrap! Yes!>
Vera: ...Rather worked up. I take it your conversation with the Captain went pleasantly?
-It’s not a very disguised smirk at this point. Harlock, meanwhile, freezes for a moment. His cheeks flushing a very distinct shade of pink.-
Captain Harlock: T-The conversation with Captain Lombardi went r-rather w-well.
-He tries to pivot the conversation as quickly as possible before Vera could exploit one of his achilles heels further.-
Captain Harlock: I-In fact, some of the points brought up in th' conversation I do need to talk ta' yah about. Important orders from the Bossman to be started ASAP.
Vera: Well, that’s a shame. I was looking forward to seeing you finally admit that little crush of yours. What needs doing?
-There’s another loud clatter from behind her. She turns her head to stare at the Hydreigon-
Vera: Ifrit, what are you doing?
Ifrit the Hydreigon: <Speedrunning.>
Vera: (turning back to Harlock) If I could understand her, I imagine many mysteries of the world could be solved.
Captain Harlock: -Pointing at Vera- First of all. Why do ya keep exploiting the holes of my heart like this, Vera? Do your limits have no bounds? Second of all. Maybe we could funnel some funds in makin' translation collars for our 'Mons so we finally can understand the many strange mysteries of this lil' ol' world we inhabit.
-Harlock sits up on the couch-
Captain Harlock: 'nyway. We ready to talk about the actually important stuff now?
Vera: I can process the request for translation collars if you like, but I must imagine you’d prefer we focus on the actual orders we’ve been given, yes. Have to impress the Captain, after all.
-Harlock leers at his Deputy, but continues on nonetheless.-
Captain Harlock: 'nyway, we got some coordinates to scout out. 'Parently the mission the Director sent Lombardi and her brother on only came back wit' one of the two kids they were s'pposed to nab.
Vera: A 50% success rate? That won’t do. Where should we be looking?
-She puts down her pen and pulls a tablet over, already tapping commands into it.-
Captain Harlock: The Hoennese oceans, for any strange anomalies. Accordin' to Cap'n Lombardi and Inspector Bellucci, the Cain boy is bein' housed at some high tech, high security facility called "PEFE HQ".
-At the mention of PEFE HQ, Vera stops very still.-
-Very, very still.-
-In a manner that brings to mind someone Harlock has no specific reason to know.-
Vera: ….PEFE...HQ, you say?
Captain Harlock: Eyup.
-This time, it is Harlock who has the higher ground.-
Captain Harlock: The name sounded kinda familiar ta' me because I'm preeetty sure I've heard ya' mutter that name under yer breath. Often paired with a seethin', drawn out murmurin' of "Motheeeerrrr".
Vera: (as if on cue) Mother.
Vera: (Rapidly turning a bright red) I can get the coordinates for you no trouble. Their security is a joke; I was hacking it by the time I was seven. I imagine it shouldn’t be different in an alternate universe.
-She continues typing-
I take it you intend to send a team to retrieve the Cain?
Captain Harlock: Eyup. After the coordinates are sent t' the IDPD and ITPD departments, Axiom and Lombardi are gunna send out a scoutin' troop to get a lay for the land. After that... I dunno what gunna happen, but knowin' the boss. It's probably gunna be somethin' big.
Vera: ...Captain Harlock. Permission to join this…”something big”?
-Harlock scratches his head-
Captain Harlock: Well, I-
-Before he can continue on, his attention is grabbed by the tweeting coming from the direction of the door to his own office. In the door frame, a Pom-Pom Oricorio hops and flits about.-
-Harlock immediately perks up, grinning like a fool at the electrical cheer bird-
Captain Harlock: Coco! How have ya' been girl? Git lonely here wit'out me~?
-The Oricorio tweets happily and hops towards her trainer. Fluttering up towards her trainer and rubbing her own cheek onto his-
Captain Harlock: Aww~ You're a big ol' sweetiepie, you are~ Who's a good girl~
-Harlock scritches Coco's neck as he turns his attention back to Vera-
Captain Harlock: 'nyway, you were sayin' Vera?
-Ifrit, at some point during Harlock’s conversation with Coco, has quietly slipped into his office. Vera seems unaware of this, focused entirely on Harlock.-
Vera: Captain, sir, I would like to accompany the ITPD mission to retrieve the Cain from PEFE HQ. While I am a science officer, as you are aware I am a fair hand in a fight, and in addition my…personal experience with the HQ building will be an asset to any mission therein.
-Harlock rubs his chin as he ponders. Coco mirrors his action with her Pom-Pom feathers-
Captain Harlock: I dunno. It's gunna be a hard sell to the Bossman…
Vera: I didn’t want to do this, Captain, sir. But you leave me no choice.
Aand she sends out a Milotic.-
Vera: Maritime’s been sooooo bored lately, and I just know she’d want the chance to stretch her fins~
Maritime: <Oh! Are we admiring me? I’ll help~>
-She strikes a pose, sparkling slightly. Harlock stares at Maritime, intently, for what feels like two whole minutes, before looking back over to Vera.-
Captain Harlock: Deputy Captain Vera Memito. How dare you try to exploit me so blatantly.
Vera: Is it working?
Captain Harlock: Yes.
-Harlock sighs in defeat and stands up, walking over to the Milotic and giving her lots of attention and pats-
Maritime: <Excellent~ Mmm, make sure you get behind the fins~>
Captain Harlock: -Sighing- I'll attempt to convince the boss the sign you off on the mission. That is, if he even remembers who I am and hears what I have to say.
-Harlock then focuses on Maritime almost exclusively. Indeed, scritching behind the ears-
Captain Harlock: And who's a pretty girl~? You are~
Maritime: <Yes I am~>
-Coco gives a sad tweet, which diverts Harlock's attention away from Maritime and to his Oricorio-
Captain Harlock: Don't worry Coco, you are also very pretty~
Maritime: <Well, we could go on all day about who’s pretty, but such an endeavor seems misplaced.>
-Meanwhile, Ifrit slinks back into the room, toting an odd contraption. It looks somewhat like a jetpack made of white metal, with glass bubbles on the top and sides that pulse with a glowing blue liquid.-
-Which she promptly hooks up to her Rattatatrap board, putting a hand to her mouth in a shushing gesture when Maritime gives her a confused look.-
-Vera huffs slightly to try and refocus the conversation-
Vera: Thank you, Captain. I won’t let you down.
Captain Harlock: I know y'won't, Vera.
-Harlock smiles at his Deputy.-
-And a loud whirring from behind Vera marks the activation of the strange, jetpack-like machine.Harlock jumps in surprise, hair almost standing on ends as the machine chugs along like an obnoxiously loud washing machine-
Captain Harlock: H-HEY! Be careful with that!
-Harlock rushes towards (causing Coco to fall off his shoulder with a squawk) Ifrit and grabs the strange device (knocking over her board game in the process) before switching it off-
Ifrit: <Ack! Wait!>
Captain Harlock: -Leering at Ifrit, though the effect is somewhat muted by his eyes being obscured- T-This is a one of a kind Prototype! With years of development time poured into it! W-We're underfunded as is! We wouldn't be able to make something like this again for years it breaks!
-Harlock then turns to Vera with a slight scowl on his face.-
Captain Harlock: Vera, please inform your Hydreigon that the GUARDIAN Prototype is not for playing 4th-dimensional Rattata Trap with.
Vera: ...Right. (to Ifrit) The GUARDIAN Prototype is not for playing 4th-dimensional Rattata Trap with.
Ifrit: <I think you’re failing to understand just how incredibly goddamn sick it would’ve been.>
Vera: ...My apologies on Ifrit’s behalf.
-Harlock sighs as he clutches the device closer to his person-
Captain Harlock: ...'nyway, thankfully it didn't fully activate before it could be switched off. I still have to work out a few more kinks from this thing.
Captain Harlock: ...If I can stabilize it before the "somethin' big" happens. That might be the perfect opportunity to see how this baby performs in the field.
-Harlock whistles to his Oricorio, who twitters and flies back onto his shoulder as he begins walking towards his office.-
Captain Harlock: I actually will continue workin' on this baby. In the meantime, you will do the orders as requested, yeh?
Vera: Absolutely. I’ll have the coordinates for you by the end of the day.
Captain Harlock: Thank you, Vera.
Captain Harlock: Oh, don't forget to enjoy the rest of your WcDonalds Burger.
-Harlock enters his office and closes the door behind him.-
-Vera quickly finishes her burger, takes a deep breath, and…-
[spoiler]Thanks to Morp for spagging this with me!
-In one of the subterranean cells of the HQ, Lilllianna is sat leaning morosely against one wall, occasionally taking a stone from a small pile gathered next to her and tossing it at the cell door.-
-Suddenly, there seems to be some commotion on the other side of the door, a commotion that isn't just the quiet thud of pebbles against steel. A guard making idle chatter with another, perhaps? Whatever, it's probably no big deal, maybe a shift rotation or something to that effect. Whatever the case, Lillianna doesn't look up, or even react. She just takes another stone from the pile and throws it against the door, seemingly with slightly more force this time. Though this time, once the pebble ricochets off the door, it slowly swings open and a familiar figure enters the room.-
-It's the "Inspector" from earlier, the one that assisted in abducting her back to the wretched future which she escaped from. He's still wearing most of his uniform, minus the filtration system on his helmet, because he's currently eating some donuts from a box in his right hand. Underneath his left arm seems to be some sort of puce coloured folder. The Inspector brushes the crumbs and sugar from his mouth, before waving at Lillianna.-
Inspector Bellucci: Ah, buongiorno carcerata! I would attempt to be cordial and say "So! How are we doing today?" or "What have you been up to?" or even "Are things going better?", but both of us know that those sorts of questions have blatantly obvious answers so it's just condescending to ask them in the first place.
-Bellucci stuffs another cinnamon donut into his mouth, scarfing it down and being less than dignified while he does so.-
Inspector Bellucci: -Looking around her rather barren cell- Y'mind if I sit down 'ere?
-Lillianna doesn't reply. Instead, she takes another stone from her pile and aims it at Bellucci's helmet. Though, the stone is flicked out of the way by a wisp of electrified Obscura before it could connect to his head.-
Inspector Bellucci: Sheesh. Not much of a talker, are ya bella? Not that I blame you, it's been a bumpy ride for you over the last few weeks.
-He looks at her rock pile.-
Inspector Bellucci: You know, wouldn't something like a baseball or one of those super colourful rubber bouncy balls that you could easily bite in half with your teeth be more economical for this type of tableau? It means you wouldn't have to get up and gather all your rocks again once you've depleted your pile.
-Feeling somewhat brave, or knowing she can't do much to harm him in this state, the Inspector sits down besides Lillianna and holds out the box of doughy treats in front of her.-
Inspector Bellucci: Donut? There's quite a lot to choose from, you got the strawberry glaze, vanilla and Razz Berry, chocolate and sprinkles, regular glazed, cake batter, lemon cream, you name it. Most of these are for m'boys, but I'm could definitely spare you a bunch~
Lillianna: ...I'm alright, thank you.
-The Inspector hums and tilts his head to the side, facing slightly away from Lillianna.-
Inspector Bellucci: You sure? Shame. They're Krispy Kreme donuts, after all. My only recommendation is that you don't take too many of the cinnamon dusted ones - those are my faves~ - or take any of the salted double dipped dark chocolate ones, as those are sor's favourites. And she can be... well...
-The Inspector takes another bite out of a donut.-
Inspector Bellucci: ...testy.
Lillianna: I noticed.
-She tosses another rock at the cell door.-
Lillianna: In any case, I am quite used to making do without sustenance for prolonged periods of time.
Inspector Bellucci: That's all the more reason you should at least have one. We're humans, after all, not Beartics. We weren't made for hibernation. Plus who doesn't like a good, sweet donut every now and then, ey?
Lillianna: ...Very well, so long as taking one will make you leave sooner.
-She takes a donut from the box, seemingly at random, and holds back from taking a bite of it.-
Inspector Bellucci: Ooh! The Cake Batter Donut! Good choice! That one is fairly rich, bit too much for me, but the boys in my department swear by it. It does taste like actual cake.
-There is a period of awkward silence, causing Bellucci to sigh. He clicks the button at the back of his helmet, opening the latches and allowing him to remove the device from his head, revealing his face.-
-The officer is rather striking in appearance. Dark skin and sharp facial features framed by contrasting and attention grabbing icy hair, with even more attention grabbing matching icy eyes - with slitted pupils no less. To a fair number of people, he'd probably be considered handsome. Beautiful, even.-
-...If it wasn't for the fact that his hair was styled into and absolutely ridiculous looking afro with equally-as-stupid looking mutton chops. It's a hairstyle that, by this point in time, looks 70 years out of style, and was probably mocked back when it was in style. Not helping it's utter ridiculousness is the fact that his hair was pushed into a square shape by his equally dumb helmet, and the fact it bounces back into its regular shape a moment later. Lillianna simply raises an eyebrow.-
Lillianna: ...You look absurd.
-The officer's only reaction is to laugh.-
Inspector Bellucci: I get that often, kid. Sor gets on my ass about looking like a clown. Most folks say I'd look better with literally any other hairstyle. In fact, Director Hontou is the only one who appreciates my chosen hair-fixing habits, as he not only understands but agrees with cultural importance and legacy of Ray Dorset and his band, Mungo Jerry. It's my favourite band at least.
-Bellucci pulls a fork comb from his pocket and begins fixing his hair-
Inspector Bellucci: What can I say? I'm kind of a huge sucker for 70s cheese and he's kind of a big reason why.
-Lillianna, meanwhile, only seems to have caught one of Bellucci's name drops.-
Lillianna: Wait, did you say Director Hontou?
Inspector Bellucci: Yeah. Director Shun Hontou, both the Head Jefe of the IDPD Conglomerate of Interpol and a long time family friend of me and my sis'. It's part of the reason why us two could get away with murder and only have to go to the time out corner for it.
-He continues to preen himself-
Inspector Bellucci: It was kinda awkward having to assist in roughing him up when we came to swipe you. Well, slightly awkward for me, I get the feeling that Tigre got some enjoyment in intimidating him and dressing him down.
-Bellucci puts away his comb and pulls out a harmonica from his pocket, giving it a quick blow.-
Inspector Bellucci: You don't mind, do you?
Lillianna: No, I... I'm just a little overwhelmed.
-She puts a hand to her head.-
Lillianna: I understand that the past versions of people are often very different to their present incarnations, but... why? What threat do I possibly pose to him?
Inspector Bellucci: Oh. You weren't the threat. You were just the byproduct of the threat. In other words, Shun was more interested in that fancy suit of power armour than he was of you, personally.
-The Inspector plays a few more notes on his harmonica-
Inspector Bellucci: The other Cain kid we need to nab, the dude called "Lex", is more of a threat as a person than you are on your own. He's not particularly strong, ambitious or charismatic from the papers we got on him, but his inventing skills are off the charts. He'd be able to whip up suits like the one you had and then some. Combining that future supergenius levels of technological ingenuity and probably having the typical Cain trait of a complete lack of moral integrity, having that person in the past could cause some huge problems for us. You understand?
-Inspector Bellucci starts playing a song on his harmonica.-
Lillianna: ...I see.
Lillianna: I keep telling you, I have no affiliation to this Lex. In all honesty he sounds like the sort of man I would usually oppose in my line of work. I am not even all that concerned about my armour. I just want to be out of this timeframe, and as far away from my father as possible.
Inspector Bellucci: -Cutting off his ditty- Oh, I believe you squirt. To be honest, I don't know why we're still keeping y'here. You're not even too much of an interest to us, not as much as the other two, anyway.
-The Inspector finally pulls out the puce folder from underneath his arm.-
Inspector Bellucci: Let's take a look at your files now, shall we?
-Bellucci opens up the folder and begins reading the documentation Interpol has gathered on young Lillianna Cain-
Inspector Bellucci:Let's see... I can see why you wanna get away from your dad. That Cain lack of moral integrity really shone through in him, huh? Yeesh... thirty-two victims in two weeks? Well then... ooof, I would not wanna be the coroner on that case...
-He grimaces and puts the file down.-
Inspector Bellucci: Other than that, separated parents, alcoholic mother, sheltered childhood, nothing much to report... until you show up twenty-six years ago with a suit based on modern Cipher tech.
-Officer Bellucci puts the remaining file down, sighs, and runs his hand through his hair.-
Lillianna: You have the suit. You can do what you want with it. I'm not saying anything more to you.
-The officer merely replies with a dark chuckle and shakes his head-
Inspector Bellucci: You really got nowhere to go here. Do ya', kid?
Lillianna: ...No. No, I don't. Unless you want me joining up with Neo-Galactic.
-The officer doesn't reply to Lillianna's quip and instead, quietly stands up. Contemplating for a moment before looking back to her with those stark powder snow coloured eyes.-
Inspector Bellucci: ...I'll return in a few minutes. While I'm gone, why don't you help yourself to that donut there? Maybe a few more, I don't mind. Treat yourself, kid. You sound like you need it.
-With that, the officer exits Lillianna's cell, with the slam of the steel door once again leaving Lillianna on her silent lonesome. She stares down at the donut in her hands, before rather morosely taking a bite. It takes her about three minutes to finish it off.-
-Suddenly, there is more chatter outside the room. Some of the voices sound... excited? Happy? Weird, it seems pretty hard to be happy having to monitor a miserable place like this. There's a bit of commotion, and the rush of stamping feet, before everything goes silent again.-
-Not long after that, Inspector Bellucci returns. Tucked under his left arm is a folded up blue suit like thing, some gloves & boots and a helmet that looks like his, if less fancy. Tucked away in his right arm seem to be an assortment of different tech items.-
-Bellucci moves over to the paltry table and dumps his haul there, before throwing the blue suit at Lillianna's face.-
-It's the same type of uniform suit that he's currently wearing, though - once again - less fancy-
Inspector Bellucci: Quick. Put this on. From the measurements and proportions reported in your file, this should fit you fine.
-Lillianna manages to catch the uniform before it hits her in the face, but takes a moment to simply stare at it in disbelief.-
Lillianna: ...I am not wearing this.
Inspector Bellucci: -Flatly- Do you want to stay in this cell? Be sent back to your deadbeat, alcoholic mother? Join Neo-Galactic? Be potentially hunted down by your crazed father?
Lillianna: ...Point taken. But what are you doing, exactly? Why are you helping me like this?
Inspector Bellucci: 'Cus you don't belong here, kid. You got nothin' for ya here, nothin' but fear and misery. You seemed to have something more for ya' in the past than you ever did in the future.
-The Inspector inspects the equipment-
Inspector Bellucci: There's that old sayin' that the next generation should be better off than the last generation. More opportunities, more content and all that stuff. In your particular case, what better opportunity do ya got here?
-He looks back to her, arms akimbo.-
Inspector Bellucci: It seems like you had a pretty decent thing goin' on back in the past. So if that's the best place for ya', then it should be our duty to send you back.
-Leone smirks at Lillianna-
Inspector Bellucci: We're bustin' you outta here, kid.
[spoiler]Thanks to Morph for spagging this with me!
Right after where the last post left off, Inspector Bellucci leans outside the cell door, bouncing a bouncy ball repeated on the dingy walls of the prison complex waiting for Lillianna to get changed. This goes on for quite some time, before staring at the wall for a split second with an expression that roughly translates out to "Am I being treated like a chump?" then knocking on the cell door.
Inspector Bellucci: You done in there kid or are you just stalling me out? We are on borrowed time, yannow~ You don't want sor' to throw you the hell back in a second time just after getting out.
A voice muffled by a vocoder replies from behind the door.
Lillianna: I look ridiculous...
Taking this as indication that the prisoner has finally finished redressing herself, he lets himself back into the cell to see that Lillianna has, indeed, finished dressing herself in the rank-and-file Inspector uniform.
Inspector Bellucci: Ah, va bene! It fits! I was worried that I might have grabbed a size to small or too big.
The officer chuckles.
Inspector Bellucci: Besides, it's only a temporary measure if you find it that embarrassing.
He makes an exaggerated pout.
Inspector Bellucci: My little sister worked hard on those uniforms, I'll have you know. Those kind of hi-tech fabrics don't just grow on trees. They have to be designed whole cloth! Art and scientific engineering knowledge.
Lillianna: I just hope it proves to be more practical than it looks.
Inspector Bellucci: Oh it is. Don't worry about that~
Lillianna: If you say so. So how do we get out of here? And once we manage that, how am I supposed to get back to the past?
The officer tuts and waggles his finger.
Inspector Bellucci: One step at a time signorina. First, there's someone in this jailhouse who I'd think would like to speak with you. So you can take off the helmet, you won't be needing it just yet~
Lillianna looks curiously at the Inspector, but obliges, reaching up and removing the helmet of her disguise with a faint hiss.
Lillianna: What do you mean?
Inspector Bellucci walks over to his own helmet and picks it up along with the box of donuts, then answers Lillianna's question.
Inspector Bellucci: Oh, you know~
He winks at Lillianna, being deliberately obtuse seemingly for the sole purpose of being frustrating and annoying. Lillianna sighs in response.
Lillianna: No, I don't know. Care to inform me?
Inspector Bellucci: No, but you'll see~
The officer puts his (still filterless) helmet back on and approaches Lillianna and the exit.
Inspector Bellucci: So come, it'll all make sense in due time.
Bellucci exits the cell door and begins walking down the hall, approaching the cell door at the end that seems even more high security than the one Lillianna was locked in. For once, there is no guard on duty by the door, and so Inspector Bellucci is free to punch a code into the keypad next to the door while Lillianna watches with confusion.
Inspector Bellucci: -While idly punching in the code- Yannow, only a few officers are trusted with the code to this cell.
He smirks at Lillianna as the door creeps open, a gust of artificial wind billowing through as the airlock is disturbed, revealing a rather spacious looking cell with a curious figure inside.
Inspector Bellucci: Guess the Director trusted the wrong people.
He begins walking in, turning around to addressed the still bemused Lillianna.
Inspector Bellucci: Come! The person in here would enjoy your company...
Lillianna follows behind, bemused, as the figure inside the cell looks up curiously at their guests.
Nereid: What is it, Inspector? I wasn't expecting visitors today, much less one of the Director's own bloodhounds.
The Inspector responds to Nereid's accusation with mocking offence.
Inspector Bellucci: Hound!? My name is Leone, toots! You should at least call me one of the Director's own cats or something~
Nereid: Ah, forgive me, it's an easy mistake to make. At least the other one has claws. You are aware that your facade of affability comes across as nothing less than insufferable considering the nature of the organisation you willingly enlisted with, correct?
The officer places his hands on his hips and gives Nereid a lax smile.
Inspector Bellucci: This world's a veil of tears, toots. A time out of joint. If I'm gonna participate in this mess of an organization, I can at least make it less of a shithole for others. You accept that, then how can it disappoint?
Nereid: You accept that. I do not.
Her monotonous voice raises a hint as she notices Lillianna standing behind the Inspector.
Nereid: Ah, Lillianna. Just the person I was hoping to see. I was wondering how long they were going to keep you in that damp cell before I had to personally intervene.
Inspector Bellucci: -Shrugging, and moving over to lean on the cell wall- Call it the kindness - or weakness - still in my insufferably faux affable, rotten heart. But I'm bustin' her out. She's got no place here anyway.
Nereid: On that, we can agree.
She stands up and takes a step towards Lillianna, who is still eyeing her warily.
Nereid: You can call me Nereid. I'm an associate of your mother's.
Lillianna: I know who you are. You're the leader of Neo-Galactic.
Nereid: Then you know that we were responsible for the suit that your companion here so rudely confiscated. And that I made a promise to you return safely to a place where you belong.
Inspector Bellucci: -Piping up from the wall- She ain't gettin' back that suit toots. There's only so much I can do, and that tech is currently being examined and disassembled by the ISPD. The pink guys. Not my department. I can tell you this whole little breakout plan is gonna be busted immediately if I try to ask or nick that suit. Plus, Harlock certainly won't be pleased~
Nereid looks over at Inspector Bellucci.
Nereid: Oh, I know that. That particular suit is a write-off at this point. We have other means of getting materiel into the field.
She turns back to Lillianna, whose wary expression hasn't faded.
Nereid: I'm aware that you aren't particularly inclined to trust me, or anyone for that matter. That's sensible. Just know that wherever - or whenever - you go, you have family looking out for you. We'll be in touch.
Lillianna: ...I see.
An awkward silence hangs in the air for a moment. The Inspector coughs specifically to break said silence.
Inspector Bellucci: So. We done here girls?
Lillianna: Don't call me "girl".
Nereid: I think so, yes. I do owe you some thanks, Inspector, for allowing me to have this brief conversation and sparing me the trouble of getting Lillianna home on my own.
Inspector Bellucci: -Giving a lazy shrug- Makes it easy sailing for the both of us. Less likely for 'sor to wreck this place with collateral damage at least. Don't wanna lose more funding on repairs~
Nereid: Nonetheless, the gesture will not be forgotten.
She seats herself back down at her desk.
Nereid: Well, I shan't keep you any longer. It's not as if I have anywhere to be for a while yet. Safe travels, Lilli.
Lillianna: ...Thank you.
She turns to leave, Inspector Bellucci following behind. Bellucci clicks his fingers and waves his hands idly as he leaves.
Inspector Bellucci: Ciao toots~ And put that helmet back on, ragazza. You're gonna need it.
And the pair leave. Steel door sealing behind them.
After the events down in the cell complex, the pair has headed into the main body of the Interpol HQ, weaving and maneuvering through the complex. While the Inspector is being as affable as ever, greeting various folk with his usual cordiality and making some idle chit-chat, his ""new recruit""" remains as silent as ever.
Lillianna: So where are we going, exactly?
The Inspector looks back at Lillianna, before returning to his previous position.
Inspector Bellucci: Oh, we're just heading back to my department's lounge room for a bit.
Lillianna: What? Why? The longer we stay here, the greater the chance of me being found out becomes, particularly if we linger in the common areas.
Inspector Bellucci: Because signorina, I have to procure you a Shunter before I can send you back in time.
The Inspector continues.
Inspector Bellucci: The pretty lil' Blaster and Sword you now have are property of the Inspector branch of the ITPD. AKA, my department. The Shunters, however, they're under the jurisdiction of the ISPD, the pink guys who look even sillier than we do (at least in my opinion). The Shunters are what actually allow you to travel back in time, so I have to sneaky-sneak one out of the department while I can. Plus I hear Captain Harlock, the head honcho of the ISPD, is currently doing a tech demo of one of his latest inventions, so it's a better time than ever to actually get one to you.
Inspector Bellucci looks back and smiles at Lillianna.
Inspector Bellucci: My guys are good. They'll take care of you while I'm gone. Trust me~
Lillianna: How reassuring to know that my fate rests in such trustworthy hands.
The Inspector decides to ignore his companion's sass and flings open the door.
The room inside is probably not what one would be inspecting for a police department lunch room. For one, it seems horribly dated. Kinda dimly lit with rather "miami lights" pulsing through the area, couches and lounges that look 50 years out of style by this point and what appears on the surface to be a bar but is actually just a series of countertops that give off the impression of a bar and some chairs and tables that also fit the aesthetic. Not only that, but there are even foosball tables and a pool table, among others (and currently occupied by Bellucci's junior officers.
It looks like a lounge bar from the 70's more than anything from the modern day of 2044. How Bellucci was able to customise his department's lunch room to such a degree is unknown, but the nepotism and shared affinity for the 70s with his boss probably had some part in it.
The Inspector gives and elaborate gesture to his subordinates as he enters the room, speaking in the foreign tongue he was speaking in when he confronted Lillianna in the mesa.
Inspector Bellucci: 'Ei kaikki! Mitä olette kaikki tekemässä~?
Suddenly, everyone stops what they're doing and looks towards their boss. All wearing the same uniform (though some with fancier accoutrements) as their boss, with the exception of one. Who is wearing the black, Giratina themed Inspector uniform of the IDPD. Most of the officers have either removed their helmets or at least the filters, but some still have their whole helmet in tact.
Nevertheless, his subordinates seem happy to see him, and some flock to their commander. And all speak with the strange tongue that Bellucci spoke in.
Inspector #1: Pomo! Olet palannut!
Inspector #2: Jumalat pomo! Mikä sinulla kesti niin kauan?
The Inspector laughs and waves off his officer's comments.
Inspector Bellucci: Ah! Vain vähän ongelmia minxin kanssa kellarissa~ Tässä! Anna minun tehdä se sinulle...
Bellucci places the donuts on the "bar" countertop.
Inspector Bellucci: Donitsi! Talon tarjoama! Minun kohtelin~
The inspectors celebrate as they all crowd around to grab one of the donuts.
Inspector #2: Kiitos pomo!
Inspector #3: Kyllä! Olet numero yksi~
Bellucci laughs with his men before waving to settle them down, switching his tongue back to the [English] language.
Inspector Bellucci: Now settle down everyone! I'm here to introduce you to our latest recruit~!
The Inspector gestures to Lillianna, who raises a hand awkwardly in greeting.
Inspector Bellucci: This is Officer Freeman! As you can tell, they're wet behind the ears and haven't completed the language course yet, but make them feel welcome! I've gotta duck out and get the last pieces to set them up proper.
The is a resounding "aww" of disappointment emerging from the crowd. Officer Bellucci really seems to be held with high regard amongst his men.
Inspector #3: Aww, why'd you gotta leave so soon boss?
Inspector #2: At least stay for a minute or so!
The Inspector raises his hand.
Inspector Bellucci: I'd love to, but I'm on a strict time limit at the moment. In the meantime, make Freeman here feel at home. Inteso?
The Inspectors: Ymmärsi boss!
Inspector Bellucci: Va bene! Anyway, I must be off~ Be nice to Freeman as y'all get acquainted, alright?
There various sounds of agreement as Bellucci laughs and take his leave. While most of the officers go back to what they're doing, some of them gather around the curious new recruit.
Inspector #1: So. New recruit, huh?
Lillianna: Erm, yes. First day in uniform, in fact.
Inspector #2: Ooooh~ So we got some real fresh meat here~ What made you wanna join this place - of all occupations - anyway?
Lillianna is quiet for a moment before answering.
Lillianna: ...Family trouble. I wanted to get as far away from my father as possible. That's how I ended up here.
Inspector #3: An understandable reason among many!
The inspector gives Lillianna a hearty pat on the back, causing her to flinch.
Inspector #3: Don't worry here, youngblood! You're lucky enough to land yourself in by far the best department in this joint!
Inspector #1: Indeed you have! The boss will take good care of you, like he does for everyone. He's a good guy.
Inspector #2: You got the best lunch room in the whole place. The chillest boss. A buffer from his tyrannical sister who runs this department.
Inspector #3: All in all, pretty good! Dontcha think~?
Lillianna: ...Sure. Pretty good.
The three laugh.
Inspector #1: So! What are you? Auric? Psychic? Obscuric?
Lillianna: Erm... Auric. Both my parents were. I suppose it runs in the family.
Inspector #2: Ah, family bloodlines~ The boss is similar you know.
Inspector #1: One of his fathers was one of those rare elemental Dark Obscurics. Ice powers particularly. Guess that's where the boss get his powers, though he's more electric than chilly.
Inspector #2: Yeah. His old man was a former Interpol agent of rather high renown and respect.
Inspector #3: The Director won't hear a bad word against his name at the very least...
During this infodump of family history, the one IDPD agent in the lunchroom approaches the posse, pool cue in hand. While he still wears the Giratinaesque helmet, the filter has been removed, showing off the blueish, corpse like pallor of his skin.
IDPD Inspector: Scuse. May I. Talk here?
The agent speaks in a strange, slightly disjointed manner, like human tongues are somewhat foreign to him. Lillianna blinks in surprise behind her helmet, but nods after a moment.
Lillianna: Er, certainly. I don't see why not.
The other agents move out of the way of the strange man.
Inspector #3: Oh! Sure Cytiss.
Inspector #2: -Smiling and looping their arm around the officer's neck- Ah! This here is agent Cytiss Pyferi! He's ostensibly one of Axiom's IDPD droogs, but he's kind of unofficially one of us~
The agent "Cytiss Pyferi" unloops the other Inspector's arm from his neck.
Cytiss: -Handing the first inspector the pool cue.- Here. Go nuts.
Inspector #1: -Smiling with glee- Alright! Thanks Cytiss, you're the best~ C'mon guys!
The three inspectors high five as they head towards the pool table. Cytiss, meanwhile, just stares at Lillianna.
Cytiss: Rowdy. Aren't they?
Lillianna: ...That's one word for it.
Unlike the others who would smile and laugh, Cytiss remains stony faced as he sits down on the empty couch nearby.
Cytiss: Come sit. Or not. Whatever you're comfortable. With.
Lillianna hesitates for a second, but then sits down next to Cytiss, keeping a wary eye on the other three Inspectors.
Lillianna: I take it you also have some difficulties with this language they insist everyone here speaks?
Cytiss: Surprising to you. Not much. I understand what is said. Articulation? Difficult. Same as all languages here. For me at least. It's [Finnish]. If you must know.
She shifts awkwardly in her seat.
Lillianna: Forgive my ignorance, but you're from Ultra Space, aren't you? What brings you here?
The agent remains silent for a moment, before answering Lillianna's question.
Cytiss: Yes. I am. From Ultra Space. One day.
Cytiss makes a slight whistling sound as he gestures his hand downwards.
Cytiss: Fell. Through space. Was found by this place. Had nowhere else to go. So joined. You.
Cytiss looks directly at Lillianna.
Cytiss: You the one from the basement. Aren't you?
Thankfully, Lillianna's helmet hides her startled reaction.
Lillianna: ...I have no idea what you're talking about.
Cytiss doesn't seem to believe her answer.
Cytiss: No lie. Know. These people?
He gestures to the rest of the agents.
Cytiss: Know too. Probably. Why else he spend so much time. Down there?
Cytiss: Very him action. To do. You know?
He taps his chest.
Cytiss: Deep down. Good heart. Maybe he wants. To do right. In a bad place. Make it better for some. You know?
Lillianna seems to be weighing up retorts in her mind, but eventually answers Cytiss with a small nod.
Lillianna: ...I think I might.
Cytiss looks back to his colleagues who are all making merry in the lunchroom.
Cytiss: Don't worry about them. Not loyal to place. Just him. Won't betray you.
Cytiss: Deep down. Think all of them good people. Him. His sister. Director. But...
Cytiss: What good. Is deep down? When all that is on top. Is hurt for others? You know? Maybe all you are. Is the things that you do. No matter what is. Deep down. Maybe that's why. He does good. To you.
She shakes her head.
Lillianna: I can't do good here. I wouldn't even know where to start.
Cytiss: Probably why. He wants you to go. Back. That is.
During this riveting conversation, the head honcho Inspector himself bursts right in, causing Cytiss to look over in his direction.
Inspector Bellucci: I'm back y'all!
The Inspectors: -In unison- Boss!
Inspector #2 -From the pool table, accentuated by striking the cue ball- You actually gonna stay this time?
Inspector Bellucci: -Chuckling.- I'd love ta', Anderson, but I still got some of Freeman's paperwork to file out.
He looks around.
Inspector Bellucci: Where is Freeman anyway?
Cytiss: -Piping up- Here.
Cytiss waves to the officer in a slightly static and janky fashion. Bellucci makes a slight "ah!" as he heads over to Cytiss and Lillianna.
Inspector Bellucci: There you are!
He looks between the two and smiles.
Inspector Bellucci: I see you're getting acquainted with our token IDPD guy here! You two gettin' along?
Cytiss: Much so.
Lillianna: I think so, yes.
Inspector Bellucci: That's swell~
He smiles at the pair.
Inspector Bellucci: Sorry to break your conversation short, you two. But Freeman and I got to fill out more paperwork.
Cytiss: Understood. Yes.
Bellucci gestures at "Freeman"
Inspector Bellucci: Come Freeman! We best get ya' set up ASAP.
Lillianna nods and stands up, though not without looking back at Cytiss.
Lillianna: ...Thank you.
Cytiss waves back in the same mechanical fashion as before.
Cytiss: You too. Goodbye. Now at least.
Lillianna blinks at his choice of words, but doesn't let it show, instead following Inspector Bellucci out of the lounge.
Lillianna: Is everything sorted?
Inspector Bellucci: You betcha kid, we're gonna send you back to where you belong.
After the events in the ITPD Inspector lunchroom. The pair have finally moved out of the Interpol controlled complex and out to the wilds surrounding Veilstone City. When arriving to a place that was secluded, yet somewhat open, he turned to his compatriot and and nodded.
Inspector Bellucci: Here. This is where we'll start.
Lillianna: Very well.
She takes a deep breath through the vocoder.
Lillianna: I am... unfamiliar with these devices, and I would rather not rely on guesswork when it comes to temporal travel. Would you be willing to make the necessary adjustments?
The officer merely chuckles at Lillianna's request.
Inspector Bellucci: Way ahead of ya', ragazza. I preloaded the coordinates for you while you were talking to Cytiss. My own Shunter has similar settings at the moment, so it wasn't hard for me to change it for you.
Inspector Bellucci: If you want me to activate it, I can do that too. Something tells me you're not gonna be making many return trips here.
Lillianna: I don't plan to, no.
She's quiet for a few moments before speaking again.
Lillianna: ...Thank you. For helping me, I mean. You didn't have to, and yet...
Inspector Bellucci: Think nothing of it kid.There's nothing to be gained on either side by keeping you here, and you'd be better off in a place where you'd be happy, right? I wouldn't wish it on my nephew to be in such a position, why should you have to suffer for no reason?
Lillianna: Still, it means a lot to me. Knowing that there is still some good in people, even in a time like this.
She takes off her helmet and gives a wan smile.
Lillianna: ...I suppose this is goodbye, then.
Inspector Bellucci: Guess so. Hope we don't run into each other again~
The officer takes the glowing icosahedron belt from Lillianna and fiddles with it, as a portal opens in no time at all.
Inspector Bellucci: There ya go signorina. -Hands back the Shunter- I'd recommend putting that helmet back on, though. Otherwise it's gonna be a rough ride from here to 2018.
She puts her helmet back on and gives one final nod to Inspector Bellucci.
Lillianna: Again... thank you.
With that, she steps into the portal, and it disappears in an instant, taking Lillianna with it. As it closes, Leone looks up to the sky, and chuckles to himself.
Leone: I'm way too soft on these kids.
He looks down.
Leone: Guess that's another unfortunate trait I get from you, Papa.
And with that, he leaves the secluded place. Heading away from the wilderness and back towards the gray slate of Veilstone City.
Note: This post takes place before and concurrently with the above two parter.
The halls of the Veilstone Interpol HQ were rather barren at this hour. Most of the agents were either in their department's respective lunchrooms, out on missions or slogging through the absolute doldrums of paperwork, sacrificing the allure of lunch to perform arduous tasks that would probably be a form of workplace violation if not for the absolutely cracked system in place.
But Harlock was in neither of those three situations. Certainly, he was eating into his break time, but was on his own accord as opposed to a corporate mandate. No, he had a very specific objective in mind.
And for that very specific objective, he needed a very specific person.
Harlock lumbered his way through the Veilstone HQ. Despite his intimidating height and frame, his uncanny ability to not be noticed by anyone followed him through even outside of the Director's office. Constantly bumping into people and apologising profusely, cutting into the precious time he had to complete his objective, but nevertheless he got to his destination eventually.
Harlock stared at the steel door in front of him for a few moments, gulping and idly wringing his hands. He always got nervous when it came to having to confront or talk Captain Lombardi-Bellucci about things. Though, not for the same reasons most of the other IDPD members have to be nervous around the iron-fisted leader of the ITPD branch.
Harlock came here for a purpose, however, he couldn't let his hang-ups get in the way of his mission. So he steeled himself, straightened up and knocked on the door very politely.
Captain Harlock: Captain Lombardi-Bellucci, are ya' in there?
There's a slight sound inside, a sound that seems slightly bemused and not-so-slightly annoyed.
The Captain: ...Who wishes to speak with me during my lunch break?
Captain Harlock: ...It's Capt'n Harlock, ma'am.
There is a slight pause, before the ITPD Captain slowly opens her steel door to greet the ISPD Captain. Her helmet, like his, has been removed - her facial expression much softer than her usual strict, stony expression.
The Captain: Oh, Harlock. I... Apologise for my curtness, I didn't know it was you.
Captain Harlock: -Shrugging- Dun' worry. Happens all the time.
The Captain: -Looking away, slightly embarrassed- Yes, well. It's still rather unbecoming of me to speak to a fellow Captain like I would with one of my subordinates.
Captain Harlock: I dun' really mind, honestly.
The Captain blinks at Harlock's choice of words. Realising on rumination his particular choice of words, he scratches the back of his head in a sheepish fashion. Forever thankful that his sheepdog bangs hide his now-rosy cheeks.
Captain Harlock: Er, Sorry. I ain't no good with words. I dun' hold it against ya', 's all.
The Captain: Yes, well-
The Captain straightens her own posture, resuming her usual on-duty form.
The Captain: What do you wish to speak to me about, Captain Harlock? Surely it must be important considering this cuts into our lunch breaks.
Captain Harlock: Short of th' matter is, I got somethin' ta show ya. Somethin' big.
The Captain blinks again, this time it's her turn to go rosy.
The Captain: ...Che?
Harlock groans and pinches the bridge of his nose
Captain Harlock: Again, I'm bad with words. I am so, so sorry.
He looks back up at the ITPD Captain.
Captain Harlock: It's the project I've been workin' on on-and-off fer the past few years. Somethin' I think will help you out a fair deal durin' this whole upcomin' raid business.
The Captain recovers from being blindsided earlier to raise an eyebrow in curiosity.
The Captain: That confidential project you've mentioned offhandedly for a while now?
Captain Harlock: Yep, that's th' one. I've got it to the stage where I think it's ready to roll. And this upcomin' raid is the perfect opportunity to test it in th' field.
Harlock pulls one of his bangs out of the way with his index finger and tucks it behind his ear, revealing part of his (rather ruggedly handsome) face.
Captain Harlock: -Looking slightly away and rubbing the back of his head- And yer kinda the best person to be testin' it out. So I just wanted to know if you'd... like ta give it a test run or somethin' before we decide if it's ready to use on th' job.
After an ever so slight bit of staring The Captain raises a finger to her lip and hums.
The Captain: Well, your ingenuity is unmatched within this organization of ours, Harlock. And I must admit, I've been intrigued by this confidential project of yours for a while now. So yes, Harlock, I shall take you up on your offer.
Harlock looks surprised for a moment, before giving a small smile to the Captain.
Captain Harlock: Well, thank ya' fer humorin' me, Lombardi-Bellucci.
Despite her atypical cordiality during this conversation, she straightens back into her no-nonsense business mode quite quickly.
The Captain: Yes. But let's get this done as timely as possible. After all, there's only so much time in both of our lunchbreaks, and I would like some respite from the planning of the upcoming raid.
Captain Harlock: Understood Cap'n. It shouldn't take much time though.
Captain Lombardi gives Harlock a small smile.
The Captain: I have great faith in your punctuality, Harlock.
Captain Harlock: Yeh flatter me so, Cap'n. Anyway, lets git goin', since the device is contained within my private laboratories, we'll head there for testin'.
The Captain: Lead the way.
The make their ways through the halls in a somewhat awkward silence, broken when Captain Lombardi postulates a question.
The Captain: Will Deputy Captain Memito be in?
Harlock shakes his head
Captain Harlock: Nah. Vera's busing git'n prepared for the raid. She's been all fussed about it for the last few weeks now.
The Captain: Memito is going on the raid?
Captain Harlock: Eyup. Got the clear on it from the boss too, though it took a fair bit considering he, uh, tends to lose my paperwork. Is Yamamoto going on the raid?
Now Lombardi shakes her own head.
The Captain: No. I am going to need someone at base who I can trust to handle the paperwork and keep some of my more unruly subordinates at bay. When you've got people like Lieutenant Cross absolutely chomping at my heels all day, it gets tiresome.
Captain Harlock: Ah, I see. Well, I'll also be stickin' at the homebase. You and Axiom can have all the fun out on the field, I'll stay back and support y'all from the . Jus' promise me you'll keep Memito in good shape, I'll need her back in one place. She's a brilliant gal, but she can be a bit foolhardy at times - and I git the feelin' she's gonna be way in over her head here...
The Captain: -With a soft smile- I'll make sure she keeps in line, Harlock.
Captain Harlock: -Smiling back- Thanks, Lombardi-Bellucci-
Harlock is cut off when he suddenly crashes into a ITPD Inspector, knocking the other one down to the floor because running into Harlock is like running into a brick wall.
Captain Harlock: -Slightly winded- O-oh! Excuse me! I'm s-so sorry.
The IDPD Agent rubs his head, a familiar voice suddenly filling the area.
Inspector Bellucci: Don't sweat it, Harlock...
The Captain is immediately piqued by the presence of her brother, raising an eyebrow and responding with a somewhat incredulous tone.
The Captain: Leone? What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be hanging out with your men in that bar that you call the IDPD Inspector's Breakroom?
The Captain rubs her forehead.
The Captain: I still can't believe Hontou signed off on that. Your shared appreciation for tackiness really does know no bounds...
The Inspector stands up and dusts himself off, responding to his sister with a similar curt attitude.
Inspector Bellucci: Hey, the Director and I merely have impeccable taste, sor'. Don't get jealous because I know how to have a little fun around here.
He straightens up.
Inspector Bellucci: Anyway, I'm out here because I'm the one on the donut run today. Nothin' more, nothin' less.
The Captain: Aren't trivial things like donut runs are what your men are for.
Inspector Bellucci: Hey! I do like to get out of the joint for fresh air every now and again. Plus, unlike you two, I don't have the luxury of a glorified secretary to go out on menial tasks for me.
The Captain says nothing in response to her brother, but Harlock gets uncharacteristically testy at the Inspector's remarks.
Captain Harlock: -Folding his arms- Vera ain't my "glorified secretary", Leone. And I don't like the insinuation that that's all she is t' me an' my department.
More than a slight bit unnerved in Harlock's change in demeanour, the Inspector decides not to push anymore buttons where that's concerned.
Inspector Bellucci: Right, yeah. Sorry, was just a little bit of humour. Anyway, that's what I'm up to.
Bellucci gives a cocky smirk to the pair. A cocky smirk that his sister knows is an expression of mischief.
Inspector Bellucci: What are you two doing during lunch hours~?
The Captain runs, meticulously, over every possibly response to her brother's cheeky and insinuating question in her mind to come up with one answer that leaves her brother with the least amount of material he could work with. But before she can respond, Harlock speaks up for the two of them.
Captain Harlock: The Classified Prototype I have been working on-and-off for the past few years is finally in at the stage where we can field test the device, and this upcoming raid provides the perfect opportunity to observe it in the field. Captain Lombardi-Bellucci here is just the one person that the Director can trust with testing such an expensive device, and right now is the perfect time to give it an initial test run. On the Director's orders, of course.
Inspector Bellucci had so many responses in store, but the fact that Harlock decided to stress the connection with the Director, plus souring Harlock's usually amicable nature with his comment on the Deputy Captains made him bearish on the idea of actually saying the, so for once, he didn't torment his sister with his teasing.
Inspector Bellucci: Right, well, I better be on my way. Don't want m'boys to start gettin' all jittery due to the lack of fried, sugary treats. You want anything sor'?
The Captain: You know which Donuts I like, Leone.
Inspector Bellucci: So the salted double dipped dark chocolate ones. Got it.
He looks over to Harlock.
Inspector Bellucci: You want anything, big guy?
Harlock shakes his head and waves his hand.
Captain Harlock: Nothin' fer me, thanks. But thanks fer the offer anyway. I'm more of a savoury guy than a sweet guy, meself.
Inspector Bellucci: Yes I can see that~
Harlock blinks at the Inspector who nods before heading off on his way.
Inspector Bellucci: Anyway, it was nice to run into both of ya' - quite literally in your case, Harlock - but I gotta go get those Donuts now so bye~
He idly waves to the two.
Inspector Bellucci: Have fun with your tech demo~
When the Inspector walks out of site, his twin sister groans and pinches the bridge of her nose.
The Captain: Mamma mia, he is such a pain sometimes.
Captain Harlock: He certainly can be, and I don't like th' fact he implicitly slandered Vera there, but at least he's a good guy deep down who cares deeply for his men.
The Captain hums as Harlock gestures to her.
Captain Harlock: Now let's git on with it. We got a "tech demo" to do.
After a bit more idle conversation and meandering, the pair have finally made it Harlock's personal laboratory quarters, of which Captain Lombardi is leaning against the wall and drumming her fingers on her arm.
The Captain: So Harlock, where's this coveted "classified prototype" of yours.
Captain Harlock: -Raising a hand- Be patient, Cap'n.
The Captain rolls her eyes as Harlock goes through the checks and opens what seems to be a high security containment facility, entering inside and then coming out with a rather unassuming and yet strange device. A metallic, white jetpack or backpack looking thing with glass bubbles on the top and sides that pulsate with a strange, glowing blue liquid.
Captain Harlock: This right 'ere, Cap'n, is the GUARDIAN Prototype, and it's been my passion project for the last few years.
The Captain tilts her head and examines the device curiously.
The Captain: That's your ace in the hole, Harlock?
Harlock winces at the Captain's blunt choice of phrasing, but continues.
Captain Harlock: Er, yup. I know it doesn't really look all that impressive or fancy. But yannow, things are more than what they appear right?
The Captain: I suppose that is true. So how does it work well you see-
Harlock gently hands the device to Lombardi.
Captain Harlock: Well, first you secure it on your back with th' side-strap there. Afterwards, you can activate it wit' th' press-switch on the back.
The Captain examines the device meticulously, taking in every single little detail she can notice and committing it to memory.
The Captain: And what happens when it's activated?
Captain Harlock: Let's turn it on first before we git to that.
The Captain leers at Captain Harlock, but nevertheless goes through with his request and switches on the GUARDIAN Prototype.
The machine begins to whirr loudly and ominously as the liquid inside begins to glow and crackle. Before long, the device begins to cause The Captain to float, before a blinding flash pours over the lab, revealing the true nature of the tech.
A mass of Dark Blue energy now surrounds Captain Lombardi, with a black, swirling void in the center of it where the the pack itself lays. Two, arm-like formations protrude from the sides. Slamming onto the floor of the facility and forming very basic, claw-like structures. The Captain is left in stunned awe at the device, while Harlock smirks at his hard work paying off.
Captain Harlock: This 'ere is the true beauty of the GUARDIAN Prototype. Based on analysin' and deconstructin' th' properties of the IDPD and ITPD Shunters. It's a High Density and Malleable Energy Shield that absorbs or reflects almost all kinds of projectiles, can shoot them back energy projectiles, enables both levitation and short-ranged flash dashing an' even has teleportation abilities.
Harlock hums at the last part.
Captain Harlock: Th; teleportation aspects are a lil' threadbare at th' moment. Th' actual teleportation itself activates a bit on th' slow side, and the range of teleportation destinations ain't nothin to write home about. But it's still a feature that can be utilised in a combat situation and isn't so slow that it's a liability.
Harlock smirks with accomplishment.
Captain Harlock: Go on! Give it a test whirl.
After a while of just getting a hang of moving around with the thing, The Captain begins testing out it's features.
First by testing out the flash-dashing.
Then testing the projectiles, swinging the massive energy arm and watching as it thins while quills of energy hammer into the leftmost wall (which, thankfully, Harlock hard fortified for this purpose.
Then by testing out the warp teleportation.
After toying around with the device for some time, the Captain deactivates it as the machine slowly whirrs to a stop, dropping her back to the ground slowly and gently.
Captain Harlock: -Smirking- So, whaddya' think, Cap'n?
The ITPD Captain remains silent for a moment, before flashing Harlock a slightly inisdious smirk back at him.
The Captain: It's perfect
Almost immediately after the events of the last two posts, Shield-Private Smirnov is hurrying behind the Director as he strides down the corridor towards the elevators, barking questions as he goes.
The Director: She did what, exactly?
Smirnov: E-escaped, sir. The security system went offline while the guards were being changed, and she disappeared during that window. We think she m-might've had help from inside, someone who c-could-
The Director: Yes, I agree. And I think I know who.
He strides into the elevator and slams the button for the cells, constantly talking to himself all the while.
The Director: I knew Nereid had an interest in the Cain girl. We should've figured it was only a matter of time before she tried a stunt like this. Time to ask her some more questions, only without the niceties this time. I trust she's still where we left her, at least?
Smirnov: Yes, sir. Airlock's still sealed and the t-thermal scans are showing normal readings.
The Director: Good. Tell Axiom to have her men double security around the building. I don't want us taking any chances.
The moment the elevator reaches the basement, he strides out, gliding past rows of cells until he comes to the massive airlock door at the end of the corridor. The officer on guard hastily salutes as she sees the Director approach, her Houndoom mimicking her movements.
ITPD Officer: Sir!
The Director: Get this door open. I need to speak with the prisoner. Now.
The officer nods, and taps out a code on the keypad. The massive airlock doors slowly grind open with a low hiss, revealing...
...A perfectly empty cell. Empty, that is, save for the shell of Neo-Galactic armour sitting behind the desk, its power cell still humming with heat.
The Director and Smirnow simply stare at the scene for a few moments until the former breaks the silence.
The Director: Smirnov?
Smirnov: ...Y-yes, sir?
The Director: ...Bring me everyone.
Smirnov: Erm... what do you mean, everyo-
The Director wheels around to face her.
The Director: EVERYONE!
Elsewhere in the building, the PA system crackles to life.
Interpol Intercom: All personnel, this is Overwatch Command. Report to your designated rendezvous points for Extradimensional Deployment and await further instructions. This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill.
Still in the labs, the machine has since been deactivated. And the Captains Lombardi and Harlock are still chatting with each other about the raid and the GUARDIAN Prototype.
The Captain: Once again, Harlock, I am ever so thankful for getting to be the on to test out the Prototype. I can see why Axiom was so curious that she was trying to pry all that information out of you for the last few months.
Captain Harlock: Yeah, well. Th' further this thing is from Axiom's c-conniving hands, th' better.
The Captain: Agreed. Honestly, I don't trust that girl with a ten foot pole and I don't know what the Director sees in her in the first place. I guess she's a powerful Psychic, but my brother is a powerful Obscuric and I certainly wouldn't trust him in the position of Captain. He's barely fit for his position as Sergeant!
Captain Harlock: That's another thing we can agree upon, then.
The Captain: Yeah, I guess it is...
Before the tension between these two could get any worse, the relative quiet of the facility is broken by the announcement on the crackling PA system.
Captain Harlock: What...?
He looks down on some nearby papers.
Captain Harlock: Deployment? Now? This seems a little early, my memos said there should have been a briefing before heading to the Deployment Points. Did something happen for th' Director t' wanna kick it into high gear already?
The Captain goes dark, Harlock gets a bit concerned.
Captain Harlock: C-Captain Lombardi-Bellucci?
Then the Captain begins moving out of Harlock's laboratories with a rather ferocious pace.
The Captain: Sorry Harlock, I need to speak with the Director. Immediately.
The Captain shuts the steel door of the facility with a (for her) light slam. Leaving Harlock alone and slightly worried in his facilities.
An Inspector is whistling his way through the halls when his whistling is disrupted by the announcement on the PA.
Interpol Intercom: All personnel, this is Overwatch Command. Report to your designated rendezvous points for Extradimensional Deployment and await further instructions. This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill.
As the message crackles out, the Inspector looks down and chuckles. Shaking his head.
Inspector Bellucci: Così inizia...
He looks back up.
Inspector Bellucci: Guess they musta found out by now, toots. I gotta hand it to ya' for keepin' my hide in tact while rattling their cages.
He begins sauntering over in the direction of his divisions' Lunchroom.
Inspector Bellucci: But for now, I've got a raid to prepare for.
He begins picking up the pace towards his lunchroom. Mainly so he can grab his weapons and filtration system before heading to the Rendezvous Point.
Clad in a private's jumpsuit, Dave was about to eat a pastrami-on-rye with a yonut for dessert when all of a sudden—
Intercom: All personnel, this is Overwatch Command. Report to your designated rendezvous points for Extradimensional Deployment and await further instructions. This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill.
Dave, whose artificial heart is still whirring loudly from the even louder intercom announcement, dons an angry face and slowly puts his sandwich and doughnut back into a lunchbox while muttering Orange Islander and Alto Marean curse words under his breath.
Dave: Of all the f—king times.
Jonathan, from Dave's pockets: Someone needs to calibrate that thing. And Dave, there's no need for that kind of language. You're becoming your father.
Dave: Don't remind me.
Jonathan: It must be that high-profile arrest we're due to attend. I mean, we did see it coming. So what disguise should I don this time? Random J-Teamer? PEFE assistant? Captain Memito's mother?
Dave: How about "decoy IDPD grunt"?
Jonathan: Awww, I'm always the decoy IDPD grunt.
Dave: You say it as if it's a bad thing.
I wanna thank Every for spagging this with me~!
-A certain ISPD officer, after hearing the call from the Director, is arming herself for battle-
Vera: Well, mother, maybe it's not the you who raised me, but unlike you, I'm not so picky…
-She fiddles awkwardly with some of the straps on her uniform. She's not really a field agent, and this was awfully short-notice-
Vera: ...Could've sworn I had my helmet. Must have left it in the office…
-she heads into the office, moving towards her desk to grab the helmet she left near her computer. As she enters, the familiar looming figure of her boss is sitting down on the office lounge, looking somewhat forlornly at his own helmet.-
-He sighs, putting his helmet to the side and standing up to address Vera-
Captain Harlock: I see yer ready for the raid there, Ver'...
Vera: Captain Harlock. I am about to join the others, yes.
-She picks up her helmet, and is about to put it on, when…-
Vera: ...Captain, sir, forgive the intrusion, but are you alright? You're not looking well.
-He stares for a moment at Vera, tucking all of his sheepdog bangs behind his ears so both of his eyes are uncovered. A thing he doesn't do very often.-
Captain Harlock: 't's jus'... I'm worried about yer Vera. 'N the Cap'n Lombardi-Bellucci too. 'm jus' afraid that you two are gunna git so wrapped up in this raid wit' yer laser focused objective n' all that yer gonna do some darned fool thing and wind up gittin' yerself hurt. Is all.
Captain Harlock: It's not that I dun' trust ya'. It's that I know ya', Ver.
-He gives a slightly melancholic smirk to Vera.-
Captain Harlock: After all. I dun' wanna lose the best darned Agent in the whole darned place.
-Vera blinks a couple times, going a bit rosy-
Vera: ...Yes. What you'd do without the Captain is nothing I like to think about.
-She frowns, looking down at the helmet-
You needn't worry, sir. If mother taught me anything, it's the necessity of survival. I'll be quite alright.
Captain Harlock: Alright. I trust yer judgement, Ver. Just come back in one piece, got it?
-He chuckles slightly before opening up his arms-
Captain Harlock: Hug?
Vera: Captain Harlock. Next thing you know, people will start saying you have emotions.
-She's silent for a second, before accepting the hug-
Vera: You have my word, sir. I'll return unharmed.
-He chuckles again as he gives his Deputy a slight pat on the back before breaking the hug-
Captain Harlock: Now go an' git to the Rendezvous Point before yer too late. Ya' dun' wanna miss out on all that fun, after all. Also, I have plenty of emotions. Ain't my fault no-one notices me...
-He gets slightly concerned again-
Captain Harlock: Remember, unlike Cap'n Lombardi-Bellucci n' Cap'n Axiom. I'm gonna be here at the homebase managin' y'all from afar. If you git in a spot a' trouble, dun' hesitate to send out the SOS an' I'll git' ya' outta there ASAP. Got it, Ver?
Vera: Of course. See you soon, sir.
-And she puts on the helmet, before running out of the room. Harlock gives one last sigh as he shakes his head, heading over to his desk to finish up the last bits of paperwork before the raid officially starts-
Captain Harlock: She's certainly got the gutsump, bless 'er heart...
-He begins shuffling through the papers-
Captain Harlock: Still, I can't shake the feelin' that somethin ain't gonna go right with this whole "raid" ordeal.
-After musing for the bit, he begins to examine the papers and filling out the crucial documents for the PEFE HQ raid.-