The Warehouse’s computer warning system beeped ominously. And repeatedly, Claudia thought darkly. It was not to the point were Mrs. Frederic’s voice came on line, but close enough that Claudia was starting to get worried. “Come on, Dvorak,” she said to the small green and yellow pokemon beside her. Dvorak was an Electrike, around level thirty or so, Claudia had given him an everstone when he was just out of his egg and away the breeder and had no intention of ever allowing him to evolve. Manectrics were, in general, rather uncontrollable and bad tempered pets, and Claudia had no need for one of those to be running around the Warehouse.
Dvorak followed Claudia dutifully down through the stacks, past the screaming pictures and cameras that did more than steal your soul. She was looking for the source of the disturbance, hoping that Trailer, Artie’s Herdier, would turn up sooner rather than later, to provide some extra back up. Sometimes, if you weren't careful, you encountered things in the Warehouse that required more than Claudia's team of pokemon to deal with.
She was pretty sure she knew what she was going to encounter when she found the source of the disturbance. There were two possibilities, actually. Things were never really that cut and dry at the Warehouse.
The first was that somebody was using the Warehouse floor as a training ground. Pete and Steve sometimes did that. Or Pete and Myka. They would go to the wide open space by the ruined and burnt-out shells of some ruined tanks from World War Two and duke it out. Myka always won, she had this mad crazy battle strategy that involved defense and status moves. Plus she favored grass-type pokemon that were fast and hell and generally unfair.
(And, although she wouldn’t admit it, Claudia knew that both Myka and H.G. totally E.V. trained their pokemon just to be extra annoying. There was no way a pokemon raised normally would be that fucking difficult to knock out.)
The other option was far more sinister, a rogue pokemon or artifact in the Warehouse. Dvorak followed her closely, whining low as he skirted around a rusty bicycle, his tail sparking dangerously.
Claudia hoped they didn’t have another infestation. Joltik, while completely adorable, where about as helpful as black flies when it came to mucking up the Warehouse’s inner wiring. They'd eaten half of the wiring that Tesla and Edison had installed in the place and Claudia had spent the better part of two months upside down hanging from the ceiling replacing it. She frowned and stared down towards Beta Quadrant. No, it wasn’t coming from there.
A washing machine gurgled ominously just to her right and Claudia pulled a second pokeball off of her belt and let it expand to full size in her palm. “Gunna need some back up,” she muttered, watching as her Growlithe (what, she liked dogs, alright?) appeared and bounded forward to lick her fingers happily. “Blaze,” Claudia said seriously. “Something’s up.”
Her Farnsworth rang and she tucked Blaze’s pokeball back into her belt and pulled it out of her back pocket. She opened it, wondering who could be calling her.
Myka’s face was pressed close to the screen and she was speaking in a low whisper, “Claud?’” she said quietly, her voice barely audible over the feedback on the Farnsworth. “Do we have any um… lawnmower artifacts?”
There were a few that Claudia could think of off the top of her head but nothing that would make Myka look so nervous. Regardless, Myka's knowledge of the Warehouse's inventory rivaled Artie's, Claudia's wasn't that good. Something else was up. “A few, why?”
“I think one’s following Helena and I,” Myka whispered, slowly moving the Farnsworth to show Charlie, H.G.’s Wobbuffet and H.G. herself peering around an aisle near the Dark Vault looking nervous. In the background, Claudia could hear an ominous rumbling.
“There’s a disturbance on the floor somewhere, I thought you guys might be battling,” Claudia’s brow narrowed as the washer next to her sloshed threateningly again. Blaze barked a breath of fire at it, and then it changed, shifting to something orange and then neon blue before Claudia found herself fact to face with … was that a pokemon?
“I’ll call you back, Myka,” Claudia said, closing the Farnsworth with a snap and shoving it back into her pants. Her pokedex was back on her desk in the office, no use to her here.
Shit shit shit shit.
“Raaaaa,” the little orange pokemon said, and charged forward, electricity crackling around it. Claudia dropped and rolled to one side, Dvorak covering her as she shouted for Blaze to use a (controlled) Flame Wheel. Blaze did so and soon the creature was trapped in a vortex of flame.
“I wonder what it is,” Claudia muttered, getting to her feet and reaching for the spare pokeball she always carried on her belt. She tossed it into the inferno and soon the flames dissipated into nothingness and just the ball remained. It sparked once more before Claudia leaned down to pick it up.
“Gottcha,” she said triumphantly, turning and heading back to the office. She was pretty sure she knew what they were dealing with now.
“Rotom, electric ghost pokemon.” Her pokedex confirmed in clipped tones as Claudia scanned her newly acquired ball, “Annoyance pokemon, likes to cause trouble and eat electrical cording.”
Sounded like Claudia’s kind of creature, except when it was probably eating through the century old wiring that kept the Warehouse running. Again. Claudia hated replacing wiring.
Trailer came bounding into the room, followed by Steve’s Sandshrew Betty and Pete’s Mankey (who didn’t have a name because Pete just called his entire team 'Buster'). He barked excitedly and Pete’s Mankey moved to punch him before Pete came into the room, sparking pokeball in his hand. “I think,” he announced with far too much grandiose, “That we have a Rotom infestation.”
Claudia burried her head in her hands. “Not again,” she sighed. The Joltiks had been a pain in the ass to get rid of. She'd kept one though, named him Tesla, and had started to work with him. He was actually a pretty decent pokemon, as far as those things were concerned.
“Mine looked like a fan, what did yours look like,” Pete continued as Steve came into the room, a great ball and two regular pokeballs in his hands.
Steve set them down on Artie’s desk and ticked off on his fingers, “Two stoves and a washing machine.”
“Mine was a washing machine too,” Claudia laughed, raising her hand to high five him, “‘Sup washing machine bro!”
Steve slapped her hand and they both grinned at each other.
Claudia’s Farnsworth began to ring again and she flipped it open to see Myka, now accompanied by the fucking monstrosity that was her Venusaur (and Claudia thought she could make out Joyce, Myka’s whimsicott just behind them). “Hi,” she said, as Myka ducked low, dodging a bolt of lightning. “I see you’ve encountered a Rotom.”
Myka ducked again and said curtly, “Yes, I have. Neither of us have any pokeballs and I really don’t want to K.O. it, so uh… requesting back up?” She shouted for her whimisicott to use another round of Cotton Guard.
Claudia raised an eyebrow at Steve, who shrugged, “On our way, Myka.” she said with a smart salute.
“Thanks Claudia,” Myka grinned as H.G. shouted something in the background that sounded a lot like ‘Blast,’ but even H.G. wasn’t that adorably dated. “You’re the best."
As they hurried down into the Warehouse again and into the stacks, Claudia sang quietly to herself, “To beat all the rest, yeah, that’s my cause.”
One day, when there were no artifacts to be found, she’d finally take the time to challenge some gyms and actually get some badges under her belt. She could go all the way. To catch them was the real challenge, but Claudia knew her cause truly was to train them.
“Claudia!” Pete shouted and they threw themselves into battle once again. Such was life for a Warehouse agent.