"I'm browsing through some of the artifacts I've collected in the museums, reminiscing my glory days as a freelance archaeologist. Then a man in a nice suit, apparently incapable of making a fluid sentence, asks me if I'm interested in more work! I asked him, 'What kind of work?' and he answers, slowly, 'What it is you specialize in, Ms. Croft.' He's got my ear, so I ask him for a few details. He tells me I'll be working in some sort of team the government's bringing together, collecting and keeping safe 'objects of considerable power'. I haven't done a bloody thing for months, and I was in the mood for action, so I agreed. I'm meeting with this 'team' tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it."
Link wasn't certain exactly what he was going into with these two strangers. The woman, Lara, told him that he would be part of a group sponsored by something called a 'coalition of government'. He guessed that this coalition was the people who were in command of their countries, working together. He had never left Hyrule, but had learned from his ruler and friend Zelda that there were other places over the mountains and through the rough seas. He didn't know what they were like, but instinctively knew they were different from Hyrule. Very different.
And now he was going to an unknown with these two people.
After accepting Lara's offer, he packed his tools and told everyone he was going. They asked when he would be back, and he was honest. He didn't know. Douglas was honest as well: He didn't know either. Then they all asked why.
The best answer he had? "I think it's something I should do."
Link reflected on why he answered that, as the three headed towards Hyrule field. Lara hadn't presented him with a divine duty like the spirits of the forest had, the day he set out to save his friends when they were kidnapped by the Bulbins. She had presented it as a job, like the duty of a merchant in the market, and something he had the option of turning down and going back to his work as a shepherd.
But something stopped him from saying 'no'. What was it?
It wasn't as though he was worried about going into a mysterious adventure. He had done that before, that fateful day. He didn't know what would happen when he chased after his kidnapped friends out of the woods and into Hyrule. What had begun as a rescue mission for his loved ones spiraled into a journey that took him across the country of Hyrule, from the mountains to the lake to the desert to the grotto where had taken up the Master Sword.
Link touched the scabbard on his back that held the sword. The blade of evil's bane. What he had taken up when he accepted his destiny as hero. He had used the majestic blade to end the usurper king Zant's reign of terror over Hyrule, and then fell the true evil, Ganondorf, immortal king of evil. When that monster had died in the middle of the field, his duty was done…wasn't it? Then why had he held onto the blade?
Maybe he had been waiting for this day. Maybe a part of him felt he would need it again. Maybe it was the will of the goddesses.
Or maybe he simply wanted adventure again. After all the things he had seen and done, it was…strange for him to go back to his life as a shepherd in Ordon. He was grateful for the peace at first, but it had been weeks…and he was, for lack of a better word, restless now.
But now he had accepted Lara's offer, and there was no turning back. What would happen? He had never worked in a group before. What would become of this?
He supposed he would find out.
"Timmy was in an accident, and now he's in a hospital back at my hometown! I have to drop everything and go there… How could this happen so quickly? Thank goodness I found someone to watch the shop while I'm away…or, rather someone found me. It's only for a day or two, but I'm concerned about how the customers will…react to this man. I told him this, and he smiles and tells me 'Don't worry, I once owned a mask shop, I know how to make a sale'… anyway, I better get going."
A car horn trying to drive away the early morning traffic woke Casey up. She found that Jimi had curled up in his pillow after eating his fill. The Pikachu was still snoring. Casey imagined that missing ear took a good portion of his hearing with it.
She got up and stretched quickly. As far as she knew, there were no booked concerts today. The day was entirely hers. What to do…
Well, the first thing to do was make breakfast. Cereal did the job fine. She was still eating it when Jimi finally roused up. Casey smiled wanly.
"Day's all ours, Jimi. Whaddaya wanna do first?"
Jimi rubbed the sleep from his eyes, and then smirked. He knew what he wanted to do.
"Oh right, of course. Lemme finish breakfast."
Breakfast was finished quickly, and Casey dug in her cupboard for a can. Among the Mace canisters was the last spray-paint can. Purple. Casey smirked.
"Ok, Jimi, one last can. Only half full, I think. Up close n' personal, or target practice?"
Jimi put his paw under his chin, furrowing his brow and looking far to the left like he was thinking hard. Then he got an inspiration, pointing his claw up in the air. Jimi curled his paw into a fist with one finger outstretched, like a gun, pointing into the distance.
"Target practice? Sure. Sidewalk could use a little color." Casey opened the window. From it they could see an empty sidewalk and the fence that they walked by last night. The one with the clean PETP poster. Jimi hopped onto the windowsill and snarled at the distant image.
Casey checked quickly to see if anyone was on the sidewalk…protest or not, she had to have limits. Upon seeing no-one there, Casey chucked the can onto the sidewalk, being careful to have it land and stop near the target poster. It did.
Casey patted her pet. "Ok, Jimi. Let's see some fireworks. Thunderbolt."
Before Casey had finished the word Thunderbolt, Jimi had fired. A blast of yellow lightning charged straight for the spray can. When it connected (Jimi's aim was dead-on) the can exploded. In a millisecond, the sidewalk, fence and most importantly the PETP poster was covered in thick purple paint. The manager would call the street cleaners to remove the paint from the sidewalk, but not bother with the fence. Like every other time.
Jimi and Casey shared a high-five.
"Hello. My name is Dawn Harris, and I am the founder of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Pokemon. The PETP, if you will. The express purpose of this group is the abolishment of situations where Pokemon are abused and mistreated, namely, the battles trainers force these creatures to endure for their own entertainment. This is cruel and inhumane, and we will do everything in our power to make these brutal battles what they should be. Illegal."
With nothing else to do today, Casey decided to pop by to see her friend Mindy. Green Pipes Point was a fair walk from her apartment. Casey took her time…it was a glorious day. Casey shook the dust out of her jean jacket as she and Jimi browsed the attempt at a wholesome suburbia in Las Venturas. Beer cans on the lawns betrayed how 'wholesome' it really was.
Casey looked onto the roofs of the houses. Running on top of them was the same cat she had shooed off last night. It was difficult to see with the sun in her eyes, but that emaciated frame was unmistakable. Was it following her? Casey drove that ridiculous notion out of her head just as she saw two children on the sidewalk, forcing two Pokemon dolls into each other.
"Rarrr! Raarr! Raaar!"
"Giga Drain! It's super effective!"
"Rhydon don't use Giga Drain!"
"This one can!"
Casey put on her best glowering expression. "Well, what have we here?" The kids looked up in surprise. "Didn't ya hear? Battling's illegal now! If the PETP catch you fighin', yer in for a MASSIVE fine!"
The kids looked ashamed. Casey smirked and tossed them a 10-dollar bill. "Pay it off wit' this. And keep it up. Only thing worth protestin' nowadays."
The kids were silent as Casey walked off, but then started their make-believe battle again $10 richer. Casey chuckled. That was money to a good cause.
"The only reason those PETPricks got that stupid law passed is 'cause that Dawn's got friends in the courts. Unbeleivable. Next to nobody that has any brains supports that ban, but it still gets passed because they can speak all nice and money changes hands so easy. Ugh. I'm putting together a group of my own. Down wit' the PETPricks. DWTP…ah whatever."
Green Pipes point was a skateboard park, the best in Las Venturas. For a few dollars at the entrance, any aspiring boarder could play for an hour. Of course, as a friend to the co-owner and an awesome guitarist, Casey was allowed straight in.
There was very little organized equipment in the point, it was mostly boards and random objects scattered around the area, arranged in way that led for awesome combos for a skilled boarder…and spectacular failures for everyone else.
Mindy was easy to find. She was sitting on her usual bench drawing her comic book, American Wasteland. Mindy had short purple hair and a t-shirt with a stylized 'RIOT' on it. A Lucario with pierced ears and nose was beside her, leaning on the bench. They matched his mistress's piercings perfectly.
Mindy looked up to see Casey and Jimi. "'Sup?"
"No concerts today. Thought we'd come by to see the wipeouts." Casey sat herself down by Mindy. Jimi hopped off her shoulder onto the bench as well. "How's Tony?"
Mindy looked at her Lucario. "Just fine. Stir-crazy as hell, though." She stroked Tony's fur. "We'll get you playing sooner or later, Tony." The Lucario smiled.
Casey had to ask. "Jimi's getting restless too. How's the DTWP thing going?"
"Good and bad. We got a lotta supporters…still trying t'come up with a better name, plenty are insisting on it. But we still can't get out foot in the door. As far as the PETPricks are telling the gov, we're just a bunch of violent lunatics lookin' to 'abuse' again. What was abusive 'bout those old fights? 'Specially with what's happening now…" Mindy couldn't help but look at the ravaged Jimi when she spoke.
Jimi gave her a silent snarl. "Don't remind him." Casey warned.
Mindy groaned. "I'm sorry. But seriously, we could use 'im for a reason…"
Casey interrupted her. "Tried that. They think I gave him those scars like I did wit' the tattoos. I've got threats in my mail."
"Yep. They make good kindling." Casey decided to change the subject. "By the way, we've got at 18 posters today."
"That rocks. Keep it up."
"We will." Jimi and Casey smiled.
SMASH! Some amateur had figured he could do a grind he couldn't do. Casey, Mindy and their Pokemon turned to watch the others.
"If those PETPricks could see what's happening in the alleys now…what, they pass a law banning Pokemon battles and assume everybody's gonna follow it? Haven't these twerps heard of Prohibition? With a choice of those dorky contests or sitting around and having your Pokemon become totally stir-crazy, no wonder so many of these kids head to the back alleys for a good old-fashioned battle. But wit' the crooks runnin' the shows and no regulations, 'to the death' becomes the order of the day. Tearing each other's friends into pieces, blood everywhere…and yet the kids still come 'cause there's no way to get a legal fight anywheres! 'Support Ethical Treatment of Pokemon'. Bullshit. It only got bad AFTER that law got passed."
At noon, Casey had walked back home. It had been an entertaining show at Green Pipes Point…the successful tricks were just as fun to watch as the wipeouts. But now for lunch.
Casey opened the cupboard in her home and exclaimed 'WHAT THE –"
Jimi's food was gone. The entire bag had disappeared. Casey dug around the kitchen/bedroom, but sure enough, there was no food for her pet anywhere.
Casey scratched her head. The door had been locked, and the window was closed. Besides, what self-respecting thief would steal Poke-food? Casey groaned and put on her shirt, trying to look as 'respectable' as she could. She was going to have to go back to Nookington's.
"Lara insisted she come with me to pick up this Link…guess she figures an old man like me needs protection in the woods. Heh. Says she wants to see this 'hero' firsthand, sum him up, give him the invitation all nice-like. Fine with me. I ain't got nothing against havin' a companion like her in these woods. Wonder what it's like…only time I see woods is in the city parks."
Douglas, Link and Lara walked out into Hyrule Field. It was a large, grassy plain, with a few fences scattered about for seemingly no use. Hyrule Castle was in the distance, a five-peaked built mountain presiding over the land.
Link was about to keep going, but Lara stopped him. "Wait just a second."
Link was a little puzzled. There was no-one here…why did they bring him here? But he said nothing.
Douglas put his hand to his ear and muttered something to the black thing he carried in his palm. Link looked at him oddly. Douglas finished talking, and then everything began to rumble.
A loud roar erupted over the field that forced Link to cover his ears. Lara and Douglas barely seemed to notice it. Link forced himself to look at what was making that noise, and could not believe his eyes.
It was the size of Castle Town itself, and its shape reminded Link of a huge whale. It was a deep purple color, made of some metal Link could not name, and strangest of all, was hovering high over the ground without wings! It slowly descended towards Hyrule Field, towards the three.
Link could not contain his curiosity. "What IS that?"
"Its name's The Master Chief". Lara answered. "That is our ride."
"I just got word of who the commander's going to be in this team. It's one of the veterans from the Halo wars. And not one of the humans! This might be even more interesting than I thought."
Casey had put on a blank T-shirt and her jean jacket. She figured that was 'respectable' enough not to get Nook into a fit. She planned to get in, pay for the food, and get out in time for Jimi's lunch.
That didn't happen.
When Casey walked into the store, a voice from the counter told her "I'm afraid you'll have to leave." It wasn't Tom Nook. Casey glanced at the man behind the counter.
He was gangly, and wore a purple coat that draped heavily over him. His eyes were in a permanent squint, and a strange forced smile that sent shivers down Casey's spine.
"Where's Nook?" She demanded.
"Visiting his son. He left me in charge, and I'm to uphold the respectability of this place, so go away."
Casey wasn't pleased. She stormed up to the counter to confront this rude creep. "Look bucko, I got money. Nook was never stupid enough to turn down a sale to me. I gotta get food for my pet."
"That's not the point, punk." The replacement salesman looked smug. "The fact is, your presence here soils the place."
"What-did-you-say?" Casey demanded, enraged.
"I said GO AWAY, trash. I won't say it again."
That was the last straw for Casey. She grabbed the salesman by the collar and dragged him over the counter. "NO ONE CALLS ME TRASH, CREEP!", she screamed, eyes red.
"Get your hands off me." The salesman replied calmly.
Two burly bodyguards dragged the furious Casey away from the salesman and threw her out onto the sidewalk in an undignified heap. Casey clambered up to her feet and snarled at the smug salesman on the other side. She didn't shout at him though, and simply stormed off back to her home, plotting revenge.
That salesman couldn't have made her angrier if he had tried.
Jimi was waiting for her back at the apartment. Casey related what had happened. "Sorry, Jimi, couldn't get yer food. Nook's gone, and some creep was there, wouldn't sell me anything, threw me out, and called me trash! The damned creep…" She fumed, and then got an idea. Casey grabbed her cell phone from her jean pocket.
Casey smiled deviously. "Gimme a charge, Jimi. I'm calling Mindy, we're borrowing her car tonight. I got something for us to do…and that salesman's gonna be sorry he ever messed with Casey Lynch."