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MEW-CHILD: Ch.17: Child of Light

by NonAnalogue

NonAnalogue Unfamiliar faces, yet still unsettlingly familiar.
It had taken Mel more effort than she had expected to get out of the room. The doorknob was clearly geared for someone far taller than her, and the room, which up until that point had seemed so small and cramped, took ages to cross. All of the fixtures – the arcane machine, the shelving units, the ductwork across the ceiling – towered above her.

It was wrong. Everything was wrong. When Mel closed her eyes, she could feel something inside her struggling to break out, to take control, but it just wasn't strong enough. Her body was reacting, though; her skin lit up with a tingle, and her limbs, if they could even be called that, twitched unconsciously.

The hallway outside the room was just as monochromatic: gray upon gray upon gray. Even the lights flickering overhead had a faintly gray tint to them. Mel peeked out from behind the door, leaving it open only a crack. Footfalls echoed down the corridor towards her, playing a duet with the admittedly-quieter sounds of wings flapping. One of the humans in the gray uniforms – not the one who'd been in the room with Mel – passed by without paying her a second glance. The human had mulberry-colored hair curling out from under her hat and a face that, though half-covered, still sparked memories in Mel's head. Someone else trailed behind, an insectoid Pokemon with blank, bulbous eyes and pale wings covered in what looked like dust.

She looked important, Mel decided. Something about her caught Mel's eye. Mel slipped out of the door and crept down the hall behind the pair. The human took a right at a fork, and—

"Hey! Can you hear me? You've got to listen!"

The voice spoke directly into her mind, bypassing her ears entirely. It was at once completely silent and earth-shatteringly loud, maddeningly familiar and wholly foreign. Mel clapped her pseudopods to the sides of her face, an instinct that made no sense and perfect sense to her at the same time. "Who— who are—"

"Hmm. You really have lost a bunch of memories – your head's real mixed up. That's no good." The voice clicked their tongue. "What to do, what to do… You're not going to be able to get me free like this. So I guess we need to figure out how to get your memories back before anything else."

"Easier said than done," Mel grumbled.

"You don't need to say that out loud. If you think it, I can pick it up fine. I get your point, though. Look, I'll see what I can do on my end. But you – your goal right now needs to be getting yourself fixed up. Either track down whatever did this to you, or find someone else who can help you do that. Understand?"

Mel rolled her eyes. Yes, I get it, thanks, she thought. Not like I wasn't trying to figure stuff out on my own.

"Yeah, yeah. Now let's get to work."

As soon as the voice faded from her head, Mel heard the telltale noises of destruction from around the corner, where the human she'd been following had disappeared to. She peered down the hallway. The human and the insect were fighting it out with another human and another Pokemon – this human was tanned, lean, and tall, with red-brown hair and wearing athletic clothes that looked easy to move in; her hands cut through the air as she made rapid signs. Mel could pick up some of them – mostly cursing – but the human was just too quick for her to catch everything. The Pokemon was almost as tall, and it had a gaping mouth, outfitted with wide, crushing teeth, and it was covered in pipes that extended out from its body. It physically grabbed the insect, hurled it into a wall, then blasted it with a nearly-visible wave of sound that was heavy on the bass. The insect collapsed to the ground and the human in gray returned it to its Pokeball before fleeing.

Mel watched the human go. The human in gray and the human with red hair were setting off in different directions, and they both registered somewhere in Mel's head as important. After a moment's deliberation, she followed the latter.


"Ah, Miss Izzy. You've returned." Hyacinth looked up from the table they stood in front of. They were in what looked like it was at one point a breakroom, albeit one that was uncomfortably cramped; now, the only remnants of that former life were a pair of ancient chairs, a table with a tattered cloth laid across it, and a countertop bearing nothing but a broken coffeepot. Hyacinth had spread across the table a paper with an intricate diagram drawn across it with tiny, deliberate strokes.

"Yes. Back," Izzy signed as she shut the door behind her, completely oblivious to the Ditto that slipped in with her. Her gestures were as sharp as ever, but her expression was equal parts downtrodden and frustrated. "Not that I'm making much progress. What is our purpose here, anyway?"

"Why, surely that's obvious!" Hyacinth exclaimed. They blew across the diagram, showing the layout of the hideout insofar as the two of them had mapped it out, drying the ink. "Our goal here is, first and foremost, to rescue our imperiled colleague. Following Miss Rylan's extraction, we can then proceed with whatever we determine our next steps to be."

Izzy collapsed in one of the rickety chairs and kicked her feet up onto the table, carefully avoiding the map; her Exploud crouched down beside her and closed its eyes. "All the grunts I found, I crushed. But her Ditto – he's still our only clue so far!" Izzy paused her signing to point at Repeat, who sat on the table, staring down at the map and showing no signs of listening to the conversation.

"This is true," Hyacinth said, their hand to their chin. "Though I'm naturally quite relieved to see him in one piece, I had rather hoped that finding Repeat would have yielded more… helpful results. Perhaps the recent events that he has been forced to undergo have traumatized him. After Dozer got knocked out, my thoughts were that perhaps Repeat could transform into her and keep up the fight, but I'm afraid that did not pan out. Even worse, he might have fallen victim to the power of the Sinnoh guardians, but without Miss Rylan, we have no way of finding out. That said, if you keep up the pressure on the Neo Rockets, we're certain to come out ahead. After all, there can only be so many of them in this place."

"The Neo Rockets. They have a healing machine here. You saw it. The grunts can keep coming. Eventually, we will be worn down. Don't trust using it myself. Who knows what it does?"

Hyacinth slowly turned to face Izzy, their eyes narrowing. "What are you suggesting, Miss Izzy?"

"We will be forced to retreat. Either now or later. The smart move is to leave now. Regroup. Come back with reinforcements. Smash them once and for all."

"Miss Izzy!" Hyacinth's eyes lit up with flames. "You cannot seriously be suggesting that we abandon Miss Rylan to her fate here. We scarcely know what's happened to her now, much less what could happen to her by the time we've marshaled our forces and returned. Why, we could be greeted with the visage of a brand new Neo Rocket grunt!"

"If we get beaten, then it'll be worse." Izzy let out a ragged breath and rolled her wrists, giving her hands a moment of rest. "Nobody saves Rylan. Nobody saves us. We fall into their trap too. Bad time all around."

"Go if you like, then. I refuse to leave this facility until Miss Rylan has been safely rescued."

Izzy lowered her feet from the table and stood up, stretching her arms above her head. "I'll be back as quick as possible. Keep yourself safe until then." Flanked by her Exploud, she bolted out of the room, slamming the door shut after her. As when she had entered, she didn't see the Ditto escape out behind her.

They're both looking for someone named Rylan, Mel thought as she watched the human disappear. I don't know who that is, but they sound familiar… I guess there's nothing for it. I'll keep on this human's tail for now.

Meanwhile, in the breakroom, the moment of calm that followed Izzy's departure was short-lived. As Hyacinth pored over the map, jotting in quick notes here and there, a figure materialized out of the shadows in the corner of the room, where nobody had seen her. She was small, with an elfin frame and a face to match, and she dressed like she'd heard about the concept of owning clothes that looked nice and fit well and decided that she wanted nothing to do with that. "Hiya, gumshoe," she said. "How's tricks?"

Hyacinth jumped, then held their hand to their heart when they placed the voice. "Ah, Miss Nia, it's just you. I do wish you would announce your presence a little less suddenly. I fear that you'll give me a heart attack. What can I do for you?"

"I just wanna check on my favorite private eye," Nia purred, craning her head over Hyacinth's shoulder to examine the map. "How's it going with sneaking around the base? Finding out lots of juicy gossip?"

Hyacinth gently pushed Nia off. "Miss Nia, I am aware that you are my client, but surely by this point you understand that I do not wish to comment on the information I gather until I have concluded my investigation. As I recall, we have had this conversation multiple times."

"Can I help it if I'm curious?" Nia said with a wide grin.

"Miss Nia." Hyacinth let out a long-suffering sigh. "Is there or is there not something I can help you with right now? As you may have surmised, circumstances are presently rather dire, and I would recommend you leave through whichever avenues you took to get in here in the first place."

"Okay, okay, fine, I get your point," Nia said. She clapped Hyacinth on the back hard enough to knock their glasses loose. "I'll get gone. I just wanted to say I think you made the right choice sticking around even when your friend took off."

"Really?" asked Hyacinth after a confused pause.

"Mm hm! You see, Mel is here, and she's in trouble, just like you were saying. She's going to need help, and quick-like, when she comes to, so to speak. Best to have someone like you on the ground who can give her a hand. Plus, after that, I get the feeling there's gonna be a big fight coming up, and, well, Mel's not great at the whole battling thing, is she?"

Hyacinth nodded absently. "You're not incorrect, I suppose. This does bring up something I've wondered about for some time, Miss Nia. You clearly have a way of gathering information on your own. Every time I see you, you have something new for me. That, and you always seem to know where to find Miss Rylan. So why is it that you needed to hire me to gather information on Neo Rocket and Genesis?"

No answer came. Nia had already disappeared from the room.

"I wish she'd stop doing that," Hyacinth muttered. "I didn't even hear the door open."


It didn't take long for Mel to lose track of the human she was following. Her body felt like it couldn't move fast enough to keep with up with her thoughts. I dunno how Repeat does it, Mel thought.

Wait. Who's Repeat, again?

"Hey, are you still there?" It was the voice in her head, its identity still on the tip of her tongue. "I think I have an idea."

Well, go ahead. Not like I got anything better.

"There's a door ahead and to your right. There's psychic power coming off of it. I bet there's something big in there. Something important. Might be worth checking out."

Sounds good to me.

The door in question was ajar, and Mel could feel a pressure coming out of it, just like the voice said. The presence of a powerful mind—no, Mel corrected herself, more than just one. The room beyond the door was some sort of surveillance booth; a bank of monitors against the far wall displayed scenes from all throughout the building. Before Mel could look over them in any detail, she found the source of the psychic presence – or, more accurately, they found her.

They were superficially similar, with the same pixie-like bodies and long, slender tails, and they converged on Mel from opposite sides of the room. Nobody else here, Mel thought, so they must be coming for me. They look familiar, but…

Then the two Pokemon fired on her, twin beams of sickly green energy. In the split-second that Mel had to look at their faces before she jumped out of the way, she could tell that they almost looked… regretful.

The attacks kept coming, alternating back and forth between energy beams, orbs of inky darkness, and psychic bludgeons that plowed through the air. It was all Mel could do to compress and twist her body this way and that, narrowly avoiding every strike that she could. Even the ones that just barely grazed her hurt more than anything she could remember feeling, making her head spin and her whole body scream in pain.

Then Mel saw them.

On the desk below the rows and rows of monitors, there were two Pokeballs, colored in various shades of gray. A pair of shattered memories drifting through Mel's head abruptly connected, and she realized what she needed to do. They're being controlled, she thought, ducking under another ray. They've been given commands by the people in gray. And it's because of those Pokeballs. So that means…

Mel clambered across the room and pulled herself up onto the desk. The Pokeballs were too large for her to be able to handle, but… She smiled. For the first time since she'd woken up, she'd come up with a plan that wasn't 'wander around until something happens,' and it lit a fire inside her. She slid around behind the Pokeballs and ducked as far down as she could.

The two Pokemon took the bait, just as she'd hoped. They both shot at her, one with a psychic wave, the other with one of those dark spheres that felt bone-chillingly-cold to the touch – and the Pokeballs took the brunt of them. Mel still took the rest of the blows, but the important part was that the Pokeballs weren't as resilient as she was, and they shattered into bits under the stress of the attacks.

Mel pumped a pseudopod into the air. "Yes!" she squeaked, her heart soaring in her chest-analogue. She slunk off of the desk, trying to ignore how much everything hurt, and stared up at her two attackers. "Hey," she called. "You two okay? Are we about to start brawling again or not?"

They both looked at her. One of them had had its eyes closed for the entire fight, but now… now its eyes opened, slowly, inexorably. Mel couldn't stop herself from watching, and when she could see its eyes in their entirety, an explosion in her mind sent shock waves through her.

Her name was Mel Rylan, and she remembered everything.

Mel let a relieved breath hiss out of her mouth. "That was a trip," she said. "I take it we're good, then?"

Uxie and Mesprit both watched her with identical faint smiles on their faces. "Yes," said Uxie, "we are 'good.' We owe you our thanks, human, both of us. A moment's weakness on our parts cost us our freedom, and since then we have been drawn into these humans' terrible schemes. You have returned our liberty to us."

"Think nothing of it," Mel said, waving a pseudopod in the air. "Though, uh, gotta admit, the Ditto thing is throwing me. What happened while I was out?"

"A simple thing to explain," Uxie continued. "While the human who calls herself No.2 was traversing your memories, some other humans, ones associated with the Genesis organization, launched a surprise attack, intending to abduct you. They used a psychic Pokemon to attack you, and that, combined with the memory manipulation No.2 had me performing on you, overloaded your own psychic powers and kickstarted your latent abilities."

"My latent…? Never mind. Look, can you change me back? I dunno how Repeat handles not having arms."

"Oh, surely you don't need us to do that," Mesprit said, its eyes bright and shining. "You've had the capability to do that all this time! And not just because you we wearing the guise of a Ditto, either!"

Mel frowned. "Okay, can one of you explain what's going on a bit better? Because I get the feeling I'm missing something pretty important here."

"Certainly. As I said, your latent abilities were brought to the foreground by the psychic assault you endured," said Uxie. "From what I understand, the seal on those abilities were already weakened by a set of items that the Unown tasked you with collecting – items that all bore relation to transformation."

"Wait, wait." Mel held up a hand. "Those items were just so I could talk to the Mew-child."

Mesprit shook its head, an oddly human gesture on a Pokemon only vaguely human-shaped. "Oh, no, that's not it at all."

"Correct. You had no need to do so," Uxie said. "After all…" It paused for a moment.

Mel craned her face up.

"You are the Mew-child."