Our next mission has arrived! Kind of! Well, no-one has actually hired us, or for that matter even inquired about hiring us, but there’s been a break-in and some vandalism at the Lumiose Art Museum, and Looker has decided to investigate. Considering how massively strapped for cash he apparently is, Looker is mighty keen on spontaneous pro bono work. Anyway, he sends me to the museum, conveniently just around the corner, to force our services on the unsuspecting staff. I find the vandalised painting on the third floor, covered by a broad squiggle of sky-blue spray paint.
…well, it looks like a perfectly fine piece of modern art to me. Maybe that’s just my disdain for the blandness of Kalosian art, though. I say as much to the director, and find to my surprise that he agrees with me. Something about a statement of rebellion against authority. He even muses that the defacement has drawn publicity for the museum, but is concerned that trying to restore the painting could even make things worse (he’s absolutely right, by the way). Though mystified at how the tagger got inside, he makes no indication of wishing to hire an investigator. Oh, well. I’m sure Looker will find some bat-s#!t reason to take the case on anyway.
…but no. By the time I get back to the office, Looker’s attention has been caught by a completely different crime: a string of Pokéball thefts in Lumiose City’s alleyways, the thief normally striking in the moment of inattentiveness after a battle ends. They are thought to be the work of a single individual, but apparently there are no consistent reports of what this person looks like, or even whether it’s a man or a woman. Um… wait, what exactly is making us think it’s a single individual, then? Oh, whatever. Looker, as always, has a cunning plan: he suggests that, since I have plenty of enticing Pokémon, I can act as bait for our mysterious bandit. Yes. As the famous destroyer of Team Flare and the most powerful trainer in the Kalos region, I am an ideal choice to be the bait for these criminals who prey on the weak and helpless. Looker, immune as always to my perennial sarcasm, is delighted at my assent to the plan, which we set into motion at once. Entering the nearest alley, I am quickly challenged to a battle by an elegant middle-aged woman with a Jellicent and a Volcarona – clearly a skilled trainer, but nothing exceptional… until the end of a battle when, with a flash of blinding light, she turns into a lithe, inscrutable figure completely concealed by some kind of black jumpsuit and an orange perspex visor, speaking with a harsh, synthetic sounding voice, almost like a robot.
…Viscountess Julia the robot maid, is that you?
Looker bursts into the alleyway to confront my assailant before she (he? it?) has a chance to make a grab for my Pokéballs. “OBSTRUCTION DETECTED. PROCESS JEOPARDIZED. RELOCATE HUNTING GROUND,” the figure decides, before springing with lighting speed onto the roof of a nearby building and dashing away across the rooftops. Okay. The keen detecting skills I have learned from Looker are suggesting to me that I might not be dealing with a typical Pokémon rustler here. Looker seems to think that trying our plan again in a different alleyway may get us another shot at apprehending the rogue, and despite my habitual scepticism I agree to give it a shot – this time coming up against a little girl with a Whimsicott, a Mawile, and a Granbull. She too appears to be only another face of the robot ninja we are hunting, who is again chased off pretty quickly by Looker’s intervention. A third alleyway yields not another of our enemy’s guises, but one of her victims – a young Black Belt who was enthralled by her beauty and had his Pokémon snatched away. He does manage to give Looker enough information to point us towards another alley, though, sending me dashing across the city once again to put my life and Pokémon on the line in the pursuit of… *shudder*… justice.
…if this robo-chick is Emma using a personal holo-field and a voice synthesiser I am going to be so pissed.
In the fourth alley, I am challenged by a beautiful young woman, perhaps the same visage who appeared to the Black Belt. She now seems to have all but abandoned her pretence of being an innocent member of the public, and challenges me right away with a powerful Persian. When she loses, she again reveals her true form and attacks, and again is confronted by Looker. This time, though, she seems to have decided that any risk involved in engaging him is worth being rid of us, and threatens to “eradicate” him. Looker, plucky and clueless as he is, threatens her right back with his skill as a fist-fighter. I quietly suggest to him, my hand slowly reaching for Xerneas’ Pokéball, that anyone using the verb “eradicate” is probably thinking of a slightly more sophisticated level of combat than fisticuffs. Before we can get down to eradication, though, Mimi the Espurr rushes into the alley… and jumps enthusiastically to greet the robot ninja, smiling as she smiles for only one person…
Wha- THAT WAS A F$#%ING JOKE! How am I supposed to make jokes when the plot is just as crazy as anything I can come up with!?
…WHAT KIND OF BAT-F#$% INSANE PART-TIME JOB DID SHE APPLY FOR!?
…then again, I gotta say; I’m not normally into chicks but the whole shapeshifting cyborg assassin thing is kinda hot.
The robot ninja denies that she has any familiarity with Mimi, or that she is Emma, calling herself “Essentia.” She tries to “eradicate” Mimi, but Looker heroically causes the screen to fade to black so he can absorb the attack, and tries to get through to Emma, presumably reasoning that she is under some kind of compulsion (or she could be doing this entirely of her own will… I mean, she was a gang leader, and as backstabs go, I have to admit this one has me in awe). This only causes Essentia to go haywire, give an unholy robotic screech, and retreat to the rooftops. Well. That certainly happened. Looker tells me he means to check into hospital to sort his injury, but secretly reveals to Mimi in a cutscene that he is leaving on an especially dangerous mission. A few hours later, I get a call on my holo-caster from Emma, and hurry to the office to find her. She gives no indication of awareness that anything is the slightest bit unusual, other than concern for Looker, and dashes off to get back to her “job” before I can tell her she’s grounded. What’s more, before I can pursue her, I am interrupted by a butler who seems to be interested in hiring us, but wants to check out my strength first… despite apparently knowing that I am the Champion. I punish him and his Braviary for their insolence, and he reveals that he is a former member of Team Flare, like the mistress who sent him – one of the scientists, I can only assume, maybe Aliana? She is waiting for me in the penthouse suite of the famed Hotel Richissime. I am told to hurry, since the man’s mistress does not like to be kept waiting… so, naturally, I go for a walk, get some fresh air, buy some Lumiose Galettes for my Pokémon, and stay a while at the Café Triste for a light afternoon meal. For members of an organisation I destroyed, these two have a frightfully poor notion of the respect I am due. Once I feel appropriately rested, I head for the penthouse…
…and come face to face with the Elite Four’s Fire Pokémon Master, Malva.
Furious at being kept waiting, Malva demands a one-on-one battle before she will even speak to me. I indulge her and destroy her Pyroar with Orion’s Aura Sphere, leaving her smouldering but prepared to talk. Malva confirms that Essentia is Emma, wearing a special suit invented by none other than Xerosic, Team Flare’s chief scientist. Malva wants me to get rid of Xerosic for tarnishing the honour of Team Flare with petty crimes – she claims that, despite our disagreements, they were always doing what they believed was right, while Xerosic is just plain evil. In exchange for this service, she offers to lead me to the secret level in Lysandre Labs where he does his work. As I turn to leave, she warns me, almost as an afterthought, “be prepared to face death if you go.”
…WOW. Interesting tone for a Pokémon game, don’t you think, Malva?
Remind me to fire her (pun most maliciously intended). Anyone who still believes in the rightness of Lysandre’s insane self-aggrandising mission will not be serving on my Elite Four, nor can anyone so recklessly insubordinate be trusted with an important role in my insane self-aggrandising mission. Perhaps Serena could replace her; she does have a Fire-type partner, after all…
Ridiculous quote log:
“Museum staff said that security is very tight and breaking into the museum is impossible.”
…much as I try to refrain from telling random Kalosians how to do their jobs, if your security team is telling you that a break-in is impossible in the aftermath of a break-in, it’s time to find a new security team.
“She’s no Pokémon, yet she can use Transform!”
As always, Looker, your observational skills are second to none.