The Facility: Day Two: Honesty
A mightyena trotted her way through the corners of the facility, turning left at a sign hanging from the ceiling with many, many arrows that were labeled with different things, but the only arrow pointing left read ‘Pokemon Cafeteria’.
Unlike most mightyenas, The thick black streams of fur that ran down her back were uncommonly long, hanging down behind her almost to her paws, and the fur was thicker. Her big bushy tail flowed slowly from side to side as she entered, anticipating food but feeling reserved as usual. Many pokemon filled this room. Most didn’t look happy. Many looked like they felt something akin to a dull, pained acceptance.
She knew what that was, she had felt it herself for a while. She wasn’t being experimented on any longer, but hadn’t been released because the diet her body now required couldn’t be found in the wild in full, and the owners of the building had essentially unofficially adopted her.
It meant she couldn’t get a room of her own because she wasn’t ‘officially’ anybody's property, but that meant she could meet pokemon and humans each night. She tried to make the pokemon more cheerful about their situation (a hard pressing task in of itself) and if she was in a human room for the night, she kept her distance and didn’t bother them.
She objected the actions of the humans in the building, but had accepted that stopping them was beyond her. She could help the other pokemon psychologically, but didn’t have to accept what was going on.
Still, they served great food. Something supposedly unheard of for cafeterias in general. This one, like the others in the highly funded, practically self sustaining building, offered a wide variety and excellent food because humans and pokemon alike ate in them, and just like in this mightyena’s case, some of the pokemon had augmented dietary needs as a response to all the testing.
It was true that more testing might make her unstable and that was why she was no longer involved in them, but as long as she followed the rules her body had to abide by, she was perfectly safe. Furthermore, failing to abide by those rules does not endanger her unless she has been completely neglecting those rules for weeks.
Meaning she just had to have certain things in her diet period, which she couldn’t get in the wild in usual mightyena habitats.
Blinking her red eyes, accentuating her vertically slitted pupils, she walked further into the room.
The mightyena, dubbed Spades, looked to her right to see a delphox sitting there. She didn’t want to sit next to the magic user, not this time. Humans had their moments, and what they’ve done and continue doing with that delphox are not one of them.
“Delphox.” she greeted shortly. “I have things to do today, sorry.” She walked by the table to get to the serving area when she felt a pull on her rear, dragging her back to sit next to the fire and psychic type.
“Can’t I ask how a friend is doing?” the female asked teasingly, putting her wand away. Spades grunted and looked her in the eye, her elongated pupils bringing about a shiver in the opposing delphox.
“You say that, but then you act rude, attempt to steer me away from my other friends, and generally act unpleasant.” Spades told the woman flatly. “And every time I point this out, you say:” she gestured to the fire type.
She rolled her eyes. “‘It’s not my fault, they reprogrammed me to enjoy the things I do.’” she quoted herself.
“And I believe that, and I respect that, but my job of being able to be a helping hand to everyone makes hanging out with you basically counterintuitive.” Spades pointed out. “Even you can’t deny that. And you’d sooner cast a magic spell on me to do something to my body if I talk to you for too long, just because you’re programmed to enjoy the helplessness others feel.”
She noticed a tiny shred of hurt in the eyes of the magic pokemon, so she quickly added: “Look, I’m very sorry that your first owner basically brainwashed you and I’m sorry that the scientists don’t give you appropriate therapy with their machines to fix it because they want someone to willingly enchant items to help them with the more painful, invasive experiments.” she said, closing her eyes. “But I can’t do anything about that. And I don’t want some part of me distended like yesterday morning.”
“Hey, I’d spent the last several hours before that making those two berries, and then I watched the footage. It was on my mind that day.” she called after Spades as she went to get her food. “Hey, don’t forget she’s probably going to be free today.”
At this, Spades changed her mind about her seating. She quickly stepped up to the counter to see a friendly espeon floating around and making food fly together with incredible precision and skill.
The espeon’s tail tips were more bulbous than most, and her resting floating position was like a sitting position, head up and forepaws hanging down on her chest. Her hind paws were bigger than her forepaws, and her fur was a lighter shade of pink.
What happened was, instead of trying to clone Mew, considering the last disaster, they wanted to see how close they could get to a mew by putting the genes in a psychic type. The espeon had already evolved, but took to the genes over time since that evolution. A better result than what happened to the newborn psychic type, strangely. That one, after surviving the sickness it got, developed the attributes of about fourteen other pokemon, implying that the mew genes it got perhaps had something to do with it’s ability to transform, not it’s physical form or psychic power.
“Hey, Neutron! Good morning.” Spades greeted the espeon. Both were roughly the same age and like herself, Neutron had taken to living in the facility after the testing was done with her. She didn’t talk about it, but Spades suspected that it was because they couldn’t afford to let more accessible mew genes into the wild, so it was unlike the augmented mightyena‘s situation in a way. More oppressive.
Nevertheless, Neutron held good spirits. “Good morning, Spades.” she said, curving in place and then sailing over to the other end of the counter to give another pokemon a full tray of food.
She twisted back over to hover before Spades. “It’s tuesday!” she reminded me happily, and I grinned, knowing she knew the meal I usually ordered on tuesdays for breakfast. Within a minute she had prepared me a fresh meal, the tray of which I gratefully took in my mouth and walked carefully over to the table where Delphox sat.
“Subject one?” Spades asked “Do they have a name?”
“She won’t speak, except for angry or pained growls.” Delphox informed the mightyena casually. “So we don’t know her name. She’ll communicate in other ways though. I guess it’s just something she decided to do. It’s your job to make people feel better, so you’ll probably have to go at it today.”
“I’d love to meet her. I’m sure she’s nice when you get to know her.” Spades smiled. “Anything else?”
“You know what they’re doing to her now that she’s awake?”
“Testing…” Spades grumbled. “When they stopped testing on me, on Neutron, on several others in this room, they let them be. With her, they’re testing…”
Delphox grinned a predatory grin. “Testing public fetishes.” she said. “Turns out if it’s on the internet, people assume it’s special effects. So the guy’s sending videos and written renditions of the stuff and putting it online. Said ‘multiple internet platforms’ or some nonsense. Getting better info from the internet, our source, but sometimes he complains about getting nothing from this ‘other souce’ of his.”
“I don’t like you or the grin on your muzzle.” Spades said.
“I get that a lot.” Delphox continued grinning.
Spades huffed and started eating her food up slowly. It was mostly human food with some supplements, and the pork was fantastic. Whenever she heard Delphox moving, the mightyena snapped her head up to make sure the magic wand wasn’t pointed at her for whatever reason. It was like sitting next to a bomb, how dangerous it was.
And she remembered yesterday when she’d lost track of the sorceress and had gotten hit by some spell the fox had prepared while spending so much time on those berries they subjected Subject 1 to. She had no idea what it felt like to be expanded forcefully by something more physical, but having her belly inflate to the point that it looked like she’d swallowed a human sized ditto whole, fearing it would burst, gave her something of an idea what the absol in question must have felt like. It was frightening, painful. And Delphox had used the spell at least three times in that room in that hour.
“Oi, absol alert.” Delphox spoke, gesturing lazily with her wand towards the newcomer. She stood at the entryway, her gaze even as she looked into the eyes of every pokemon watching her. Some looked away, others couldn’t take their eyes off. There was no doubting that she was pretty, Spades reflected. But when their eyes met, Spades got a different vibe from her. ”I don’t trust you. I don’t trust any of you.” the eyes said. This was a normal thought process for most pokemon brought into their new lives in the facility, but they usually expressed it in… Other ways.
Spades supposed the odd life choice not to talk (but to freely communicate anyhow else) left some room for learning how to tell people how you feel through intricate facial expressions. The mightyena got chills from the look she (more likely Delphox) was getting.
Spades stood away from the table, then stopped and looked back, picking her tray up and moving it to a different table because she reckoned Delphox might steal some of it. Then she padded over to the new girl.
“Good morning.” she greeted her respectfully. Subject 1 was reserved, guarded. Spades looked into that expression and the posture and everything, and read that the absol would no doubt want her to be straightforward, honest. Although she didn’t see any pride in those eyes. She clearly wanted to be anywhere but the facility, but she wasn’t carrying herself as someone high and mighty.
Subject 1 just gazed back at her with a critical eye, before turning and analyzing the room. She noted Neutron peeking at her as she kept one eye on the food and dishes flying around her in an organized manner. She took a long, hard look at Delphox, who waved. Looking from her left to her right now, she saw all the eyes on her, seeming to recognize right away that most of the pokemon here knew her.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat this.” Spades told her, and the absol’s gaze whipped into her eyes. “Like all of us, you’re stuck here. But.” she held out a paw “That doesn’t mean it has to be all painful. Let’s start with finding people you trust.”
Subject 1 narrowed her eyes at the paw, and then at Spades. She made a nasty look at Delphox, which caused Spades to flinch. She had seen the two of them talking, and had apparently known at least a delphox was involved in her torment. Now Spades was associated with the cruel delphox.
Spades wanted to salvage this. The look in Subject 1’s eyes whispered of vulnerability hidden under the forcibly cold exterior. “My job is to try and bring people into better spirits… As much as is possible.” I continued. “I don’t like lying to people, and there’s some people I don’t like here, but my job includes people I have to talk to… and people I get to talk to. Which is why I would like to start…” she extended her paw again “By being your friend.”
There was a genuine pause where Spades worried that the absol would blow her off. Instead, the look she gave practically spelled out ‘I’ll give you a chance, but be careful, I’m paranoid’. The absol looked around for a bit, as if unsure of what to do.
“Well, do you want me to call you by Absol or Subject 1 for now?” Spades asked, and the immediate response was a single tap of the other girl’s claw on the floor. “The first? Okay. Well, I know you’ve been through a lot. And… I don’t mean to be insensitive, but it’s relevant, a lot of it has to do with your stomach, right?”
Spades nodded. “Do you think you will be able to think about eating?”
Spades smiled, closing her eyes for a moment. “It’s settled then. Neutron, Absol needs food stat!
“On it!” came the cheerful reply.
Spades turned. “As I think I said, all of the pokemon in this room have been or are being experimented on by humans… We’re all in the same boat as you. Or have been. And I think you can find real friends here. And no matter what…” she smiled “I think we can make this bearable for you.”
There was a long pause, and whether Absol(?) trusted Spades or not, a genuine, small smile emerged on her face at the thought. She nodded and padded over to where Neutron was ready with her food right away.
Spades sat at her new spot at the empty table, which given the potential alone time, drove the other dark type to join her. Spades took note of how she walked with confidence, barely missing a beat and showing that she was not afraid… Even if she was.
Eyeing her food critically, she tried it after a few moments, and couldn’t stop her eyes from widening.
“I know!” Spades piped up cheerfully. “Wouldn’t you believe it, the humans have this incompatible but fitting blend of being scum sucking bottom feeder-food and having enough decency to supply us with good and tasty foodstuffs!”
Absol(?) just gave her a skeptical look for her optimism and continued eating, prompting Spades to start finishing her own meal. She made sure to eat it swiftly enough so that she had time to continue speaking with Subject 1. “Everyone’s schedule’s pretty different.” she told Absol. “The pokemon that deal with testing and stuff have that, but the rest of us either have jobs to do to keep this place running like Neutron up there, or if you’re like me, the jobs are basically self appointed.”
Then she smiled. “Someday, you’ll be free enough to do just the same, Absol, I know it.”
Absol(?) stopped eating for a bit. She didn’t believe Spades, and the mightyena could tell from a single look at her new friend’s face. The subject thought she was going to be tortured forever. That no matter what, they would find more uses for her.
Spades watched this for a minute before ordering the absol to continue eating her food because she’d need her energy. Then she thought. A grim thought lurked in her mind as she mentally reminded herself of one of humanity’s most powerful ‘bad’ trait: Nostalgia. Granted, it was a universal concept, but it seemed unusually strong in the weak but technologically advanced bipeds
And Subject 1 was… Well, Subject number one. It was possible that they wouldn’t let up on her because of that. And she realized that the absol had reached that conclusion herself at some point, so there was no use vocalizing it.
So Spades kept an eye on her to make sure that her fellow dark type did not do something like vanish into thin air. Spades was uncertain as to how exactly she had been altered, although she had heard plenty of various details from passing conversations from the humans. She could smell the difference between the absol before her and a normal absol. Aside from the vague differences, the scent was also muted. Built for survival. Not even predators could get her by tracking her down.
Their trays lay empty before them, and Spades looked Absol in the eye. “...Even if the humans keep coming back to you for experiments, you still have to take care of yourself. Okay? Don’t just lie down and take it… Make life livable for yourself whenever they’re not experimenting on you, okay?”
She gave Spades a long look.
“And try to make some more friends.” Spades added quietly.
She could tell the other girl was trying to say ”We’ll see.” from her seemingly blank expression. Without another word, the augmented mightyena turned and looked around the room to see who was staring at the absol. Lots of them were giving passing glances to her, and some more were outright staring at her. Staring like that, they were unlikely to be people Subject 1 would trust. Most of the others were dutifully ignoring her, going back to their meals and assuming she was just like everyone else.
The two extremes of society, and she couldn't see a single person who adequately performed the neutral path with her eyes alone. Her lips tightened. Her absol friend wasn’t likely to call into any of the cliques that formed society around here, even if most of these pokemon were experiments in progress or living here post-experiment. They dealt with grief and trauma similarly, but it seems nothing stands in the way of singling someone out for their differences.
“...Please at least try.” Spades added a little glumly. “Neutron’s great.”
Her new acquaintance gave her a sidelong glance as she stepped up to Spades’ side, a glance that well implied ”Why, because she gives us food?”
“Oh, you’re cynical…” Spades sighed. “She does the job she does because she cares. Because someone else might just serve you generic slop. She believes in making things as tolerable and even enjoyable as she can manage by the method she thinks is the most likely to access someone’s heart.”
A roll of the eyes. Spades imagined her thinking ”Through their stomachs.”
And that’s exactly what Absol did think. Regardless, the primary subject glanced at the floating espeon/mew hybrid with a calculating look. She busied herself doing her work, flitting about with food being prepared all around her using her powerful psychic abilities. But she glanced up and caught Absol’s eye, waving happily at her with a smile that was beyond genuine.
But Absol was set on not trusting a single one of them until they proved that it was worth it, and that she would not take anymore damage from the world around her. There were things she had no control over. She would at least have control over this.
Spades gave her a troubled look. “I’ll show you around the facility.” she decided. “The places we can go that the humans don’t use for their experiments… Courtyards, an exercise room, and some other places. They were meant for the humans, but… They let us use them. Probably because after… Uh… You, actually, money was thrown at this place as if fired from a gatling gun for… Everything.
Absol was visibly unhappy that she’d gone from the absol hit by a sleeping dart in the woods to the unwilling bringer of what she considered a pokemon torture facility. She’d taken note of Spades’ irregularities, and the odd looks most people wore in her eyes and on their faces, most of them pointed at her.
No, it didn’t look like she had many friends in the making.
Absol turned to appraise Spades as the augmented mightyena turned and scanned the crowd again as she had done. Judging who was looking at her in what ways, Absol realized. Much like Absol had just done. But despite making an admittedly marginal effort to keep an open mind as Spades had kind of requested, only Spades’ raw honesty gave Absol the smallest thread of trust in her.
She allowed Spades to take the lead to tour her around. They hadn’t gotten out of the door before Spades stiffened and whirled, grabbing the first grabbable part of Absol, her horn, and pulling her down. Subject 1 was about to just kill her until her danger senses went off too little too late. She was pulled down to the ground as the projectile of light whizzed over them. And after her flare of rage, Spades’ trustworthiness spiked.
Delphox shrugged guiltily. “Hey, it was entertaining. Just wanted to see if it would work here.”
“With nothing to heal her?” Spades stood tall, looking cross. “Consider the consequences!”
“I did. Worth it.”
Absol was going to attack her, but Spades blocked her path, confusing her. “Delphox’s situation is… Unique.” she said quietly. “I’ll explain some other time. It’s hard to fault her for being sadistic.”
Absol decided to set a date for the fire type’s timely demise with or without the mightyena‘s explanation.
Neutron got a point in Absol’s eyes as she noted the danger and started distracting Delphox, giving Spades a chance to lead Absol away.
Absol kept her head turned as she walked alongside the curious mightyena, Keeping the other girl’s face in her line of sight. Spades looked ahead. She didn’t constantly glance at her absol companion as if she were an object to be studied. She didn’t walk as if trying to conform to Subject 1’s pace. She didn’t press her to speak.
What she had done was selflessly protect Subject 1 from a bolt of magic that would have forced her to relive the inflation torment she had experienced yesterday. What she had also done was shown that she had some level of understanding of the absol’s thoughts and feelings. It was her job, even, to try and understand and help everyone.
The only reason that didn’t detract from everything else was that it was evidently self-appointed.
Spades felt the primary subject’s eyes on her, but forced herself not to meet them. There was no need to stress the girl out. Coaxing a relaxed and happy expression from someone took patience. And time. Especially in an environment such as this.
Unless of course the absol latched onto the only person she considered trustworthy in the building quickly just to hold on to some medium of safety and sanity. Spades considered that too.
“To our right is a gym. Humans use it mostly, but there are really heavy weights for fighting types and some other pokemon too.” Spades commented, breaking her train of thought and butting it open with her head while smiling. “I occasionally come in here myself. You’d probably do better, an absol’s muscles naturally growing tougher, but I’ve got my own personal record.”
“That isn’t much, girl.” Subject 1 heard, and she turned to the side to see a sawk rubbing a towel along his arm. “Everybody’s got a personal record, even if it’s zero because they’re too lazy.”
Spades sweatdropped. “Shh, I’m trying to sound impressive.” she chided the sawk jokingly. “This is my friend. She hasn’t given me her name yet, but she’s all right.”
“Well, it’s nice to meet you. Name’s Clash.” he gave Absol a polite gesture.
Absol looked at Clash carefully. He didn’t look like he was augmented in any way, but she put nothing past humans. Maybe they just kept him in this room. Well, that would be possible if Spades hadn’t been able to manhandle the door open with her natural dark-type-thick skull.
“Woman of a few words?”
“Apparently it has something to do with trust. But she’ll communicate in other ways. Apparently.” Spades walked further into the room to distract Subject 1. “Anyways, look how big this place is! Well, wide and long. Not tall. The biggest rooms in this place have entire obstacle courses that go all over the place with separate tracks for different kinds of pokemon. They were meant for training and exercise, but I personally find those a hell of a lot of fun.”
Absol noted that Spades had a habit of getting off track and then jumping right back on again. But it was relatively seamless and generally easy to absorb information from her. Spades just struck her as an extremely likable person, and she was becoming exponentially more impressed that someone like this actually existed in a human laboratory.
She followed the mightyena through the maze of metal, looking at all the equipment. The arrangement of the equipment were relatively simple. Human machines in the front on the right, bipedal pokemon machines on the front to the left, and the rest were layered from front to back in order of who was most likely to use the gym; The quadrupeds were behind the bipeds.
Spades had little to comment on, so she swiveled around after mentioning some basic functions, and started going back. But then, she hopped into the area with some weights that had bars with odd curved centers to fit on a quadruped’s back. She started replacing the weights on it with surprising precision for someone with her mouth alone to back her up. Once she’d put on enough, using many small ones rather than some big ones because she had to do each manually, and demonstrated her ability to go from almost lying down to standing for twenty repetitions with sixty extra pounds on her back.
She lifted the bar back onto it’s holding place and looked at her absol companion. “Want to give it a shot?”
Subject 1 couldn’t help it. Spades had been so polite and courteous that she felt obligated to comply. She moved in, and watched Spades reel up the bar holder to just under the height of her back, slightly taller than Spades’ back. Directing the primary subject into position, she stood before her and smiled. “You’re an absol, and considering the other things, like your augmentations, you should have a good capacity for weights, but you were asleep for a while, yeah? So your muscles might have atrophied… Marginally.”
She didn’t feel too weak, but she pushed up with her legs to stand properly now. She grunted involuntarily, finding the weights more than she anticipated, but tolerable. She stepped away from the rack and started to bend her knees, feeling the weights help her drag herself down. She crouched as low as she dared, and then fought to push back up. It wasn’t enormously difficult, but it would be effective weight training with this weight.
“Come on, let’s do a few cycles, get you back into exercising regularly.” Spades encouraged her as she worked. “Are you doing all right?”
A direct question. Absol looked her in the eyes and nodded quietly. Not enough trust. She believed Spades would consistently prod her and tempt her to speak. But something gave her the distinct impression that Spades was more asking to know whether she trusted her rather than trick her into speaking.
Spades nodded back. Not hiding her slight disappointment, but understanding and accepting Subject 1’s choice. Said subject was having trouble believing that someone could seem more and more trustworthy every minute so genuinely. Had the humans accidentally eradicated that need for personal gain everyone had from this mightyena, perhaps? She didn’t know.
Obediently, understanding the need to gather strength (perhaps it would allow her escape someday), Subject 1 did the reps that Spades encouraged her to do like a proper spotting partner. She was sweating and tired by the time Spades helped her back up and put the weight bar back on the rack.
And she went to the effort to bound off and grab a towel for her too, including helping to wipe her down quickly so that she could get back to the tour. Clash bid them farewell politely as they left.
“Next up, closest courtyard.” Spades noted as she pushed a mostly glass double door open by herself, stepping out into a rather nice place. Four stone benches were on the edge of the stone brick circle that made up most of the open space, and and in between each bench, there was a path to another door back inside, making four. In the open corners that the circle did not include was essentially a garden, flowers and tall plants weaving in the wind. A scyther, or it was supposed to be a scyther, but it was white and had serrated blades and red eyes, was trimming some of the plants carefully.
“Hello, Whirlwind!” Spades cheerfully waved a paw, causing Absol to suddenly think her friend was nuts. Especially when the scyther stopped and glanced at them out of the corner of her eye, with an intimidating look. It started stalking towards the two, eventually standing right before them with its red eyes gleaming in the light above. Absol decided that death wasn’t the answer, and prepared the attack.
A smile broke on the scyther’s face. “Hello, dears. Out for a walk?”
She sounded too nice for someone with blood red eyes and serrated blades.
“Absol, this is Whirlwind. She might be even nicer than me.” Spades said as if this was a perfectly normal thing. “Don’t let her appearance fool you.”
“Test tube larva, pretty much.” Whirlwind nodded. “So your new friend, hmm? Her name… Oh, I see.”
“Whirlwind, my friend here would like to keep her name secret for now.” Spades chided the scyther. “Why are you eyeing me like that?”
“I so love the future sight technique. I will do nothing to change what I just saw.” Whirlwind walked back and started trimming the plants again. “It’s lovely to see you, Spades. You too, Absol.”
“Perhaps a touch weird.” Spades commented in addition after she saw the questioning and somewhat fearful look on her companion’s face. “But she’s kind. She won’t let any secrets she sees get out ever.”
Absol didn’t trust that for a moment. Secrets always got out, didn’t they? Why would this be any different, because the odd scyther could see the future? Because she was nice?
Spades saw the look in her eye. “I mean it, Absol.” she insisted. “She keeps many secrets because of her future sight, unless she feels she needs to change the future by revealing them. The future, after all, is pretty darn fragile. She said she didn’t want that to change, so she confirmed that she wouldn’t reveal the secret.”
Subject 1 analyzed the expression the mightyena was wearing. At least she believed she was telling the truth. And if Whirlwind could see the future, whether they came or not didn’t really matter. Absol tilted her head somewhat, trying to figure out what was in her new companion’s head. Probably that, if she learned that Whirlwind could see the future, it was better for her to know now than later.
Spades sat down in the middle of the courtyard. “Absol…” She said, trailing off. “I thought you would be very anxious to see the beautiful blue sky once more.”
That had entirely skipped her mind because of all the prior nonsense. Her head snapped up as she registered the feeling of sunlight on her skin again. Because of the torment, the last day and a half had felt like a year. Being naturally warmed like this was something she realized she might have never felt again if the humans had been so callous as to just run their immoral experiments on her twenty-four-seven.
This confused her. What about humans made them act moral and immoral at the same time?
Then she frowned. Moral wasn’t the right word. Not at all. There wasn’t a question to even consider. They were acting immoral, but feigning trying to make up for it, feigning guilt. It was a farce to try and keep her content as they do whatever they please with her.
It disgusted her to be a tool of mankind.
“Hey.” Spades at some point had slunk up behind her and bumped her deliberately. “You shouldn't be so negative when you’re in the sunlight. It’ll take away the few good things you have left.”
How on earth had the mightyena known that she was thinking the way she was? Her gaze whipped around to see the innocent smile on her face, glaring accusingly.
“Anyone can see a frown.” she defended herself without missing a beat. “I know what it looks like when people are angry or sad, or depressed. It’s my job. Or part of it.”
Absol let up the glare quickly. She believed her tour guide. She wasn’t sure how she felt about someone being able to read her so well, as much as it had bothered her when the human had told her his helmet displayed her thoughts. She was not against communications, but her thoughts were meant to be private. If she wanted it to stay that way, she would have to keep her expression more clear, free of emotion.
The tour didn’t last too long. According to Spades, there were different wings of the building with the same available activities, even if the things done by the humans in each were entirely different. She turned to Absol as she stopped in the middle of the courtyard. Whirlwind was nowhere to be seen this time. Still, the sun remained warm, with few clouds in the sky. It was a nice place to try and unwind, emphasis on ‘try’.
“I know in your case it wouldn’t be proper to ask what you’ll do after this.” Spades said softly as she faced Absol, who turned her full attention to the augmented mightyena. Spades blinked, accentuating her line-like pupils, and continued. “Before I let you go to do whatever you like, there are some pokemon I have to tell you to avoid at all costs.”
She had Absol’s attention, so she continued. “The first and most obviously is Delphox. She was put under extreme emotional stress and trauma by her first owner and, to put it bluntly, brainwashed. A sadist with magic. The humans bring her in to do whatever they need if it’s magical in nature, and she’ll do it as long as she gets to witness the pain she causes. She’s also become well known in the facility because she’ll do something to another pokemon if someone, anyone asks her to, because seeing them in pain or helpless is her reward. In other words, she’s dangerous. But she’s not the only one.”
Absol tightened her lips. Why wasn’t she surprised?
“There’s a dragonite. He’sa bully, and quite literally a really big one. They tried to make him mutate into a shiny while he was an adult. They succeeded, but something about one of their failed earlier tests made him really short tempered and unreasonable. He was already a nuisance to begin with. He won’t attack ruthlessly… But he won’t hesitate to smash someone once to hurt them really bad or just knock them out. He’s a couple of facility wings over. His name’s Crush.
Great. Now there were two similar ‘C’ names.
“Another one you have to worry about is Adeline.” Spades added. “She… Used to be a sylveon. The humans tried to add a bunch of different eeveelutions to her general phenotype… She didn’t acquire any of the traits properly, and now she looks like a mess… To put it kindly. She’s very quick to anger as well. But she’s gone for the kill before, even if she’s not very strong. After Adeline and Crush, they phased out splicing genes into adult pokemon, and went for… Different methods of adding features to pokemon.”
The grim tone she had throughout that sentence prompted Absol to gesture towards her with a raised brow.
“Me? No. They messed with my genes when I was still an embryo.” Spades laughed suddenly. “But they had to try and make me regrow my eyes by messing with my genes a little bit when I was like two years old, because what they did gave me some different physical features, but accidentally removed the genes that would cause my body to build eyes.”
Absol couldn’t help but shiver at the thought of a lively puppy with nothing but empty eye sockets. Looking at her very strange eyes, it didn’t look like it was a flawless success. She pointed at her own eyes and gestured around at things. Spades got the question immediately, which was starting to impress Absol.
Spades shook her head. “No, I can see just fine. It’s a little weird, my visible color spectrum is… Skewed, but it’s not enough to cause color blindness. Just makes me see some other colors besides normal stuff. I grew up with it except for the first two years, so it’s as natural to me as normal eyesight is to you.”
Absol suddenly frowned, thinking. Wasn’t she subject number one? Spades looked to be as old as she was, but she wasn’t out of commission for long enough for that to make sense, because she said they messed with her genes when she was an embryo. What did Spades leave out that would fit that puzzle piece into the puzzle? She scowled and gestured to Spades again, narrowing her eyes.
Spades looked confused, tilting her head at Absol for a while, but eventually put two and two together. “...Yes, that was before you were captured. Crush, Adeline, me, Whirlind, and some others, were… Well... Kind of a rough story actually. Whirlwind was given some sort of… Serum or something that made her grow to adulthood very quickly, but thankfully she stabilized. Otherwise she would have gone from old age by now. I wasn’t like that… I started off as some other guy’s experiment, like most of the older people here. You’d be surprised how many humans are running unauthorized tests on pokemon, trying to have the best of the best, or the prettiest, or whatever. He was old, mine, but once people started getting picked up for the job, collecting scientists and other people, he was hired, and I was a part of it all. Then he got a heart attack. Old, remember? Still, I was a pet project, and completed, pretty much. They judged I wasn’t stable enough to be experimented on further without serious risk.”
Absol nodded at her honesty, and drooped her eyelids. She probably hadn’t needed to go into that much detail, Absol realized, considering how she had basically pressed for irrelevant information. Why had she one that?
”It’s because I’m a paranoid and cynical kit, that’s why.” she thought to herself bitterly. She had felt the need to make absolutely sure of Spades’ honesty. Wasn't she grown up enough to come up with more subtle and less harsh ways to test people? Surely she was.
She couldn’t meet Spades eyes. The mightyena had done nothing but help her and be kind to her and she’d been paranoid and rude in response. She wasn’t supposed to be heartless.
Absol gave Spades a long look with drooped eyelids and rubbed a paw slowly on the ground. She didn’t know what to try and convey, but it sounded like the tour was over. She trusted Spades. Not enough to decide to speak to her, but enough that she would seek her out later. She finally nodded politely and turned to walk towards the door inside.
“Of course, there is one place I forgot to show you.” Spades suddenly called out, her tone extremely mischievous. Absol turned, her conflicting emotions clearing as she registered the words.
Ten minutes later, Absol was staring at a pool, with a hot tub alongside. There were a lot of pokemon in here, some swimming and racing, others just relaxing.
Spades had a smirk on her face. “I hope you like water.” she mused. “Seriously, this place houses a lot of humans, and, like, gives them places to live and work. There’s no way they’d get by without swimming pools. Pokemon just kind of took over this one, and the humans didn’t bother to clear us out, so they go use a different one. Convenient that it’s near the border between two wings of this place. I’m rambling.”
“C’mon, Absol.” she started to pad over to the hot tub, which had enough empty space for the both of them and more, as it was relatively large; A whole third of the size of the swimming pool. “I’m gonna show you what it feels like to be in a hot tub.”