Penny Lepiter; Trainer Ranking — Unranked
June 9th. Azalea Town.
Amused by the concept of a special
Slowpoke, wondering if any
kind of Slowpoke was special at all to begin with, Penny set about slowly getting herself ready for the day; a perpetual night-time shower-taker, she combed and brushed her hair wondering if she should take an early one just for the sake of cleanliness. Eventually she decided the Well would just get her all covered with muck and dust anyway, so she could take one before heading over to the Gym to meet with Reina.
Her routine carried her from the bathroom back beside her bed with a thoughtless pacing maneuver, a toothbrush poking out the corner of her mouth even as she carried her to-go cup coffee in one hand and dug through her bag for this or that. Reina's question surprised Penny enough for her to audibly gasp, only to choke in bits of toothpaste and the brush itself; standing frantically, she rushed over to the bathroom sink to rinse her mouth with cold water and gather herself.
"I see people here and there," Penny called back casually, as if she'd reacted to the question normally in the first place. "Only boyfriend
I had was back in Unova. We...haven't spoken for a while, though."
Penny wanted to shoot back some sort of quip, but it got caught in her throat. It'd been a while since she'd thought about Cade at all — and for good reason.
Cobel Timpinia; Trainer Ranking — Unranked.
June 8th. RKT Johto Distribution Warehouse.
The whole warehouse was about as clean as a fresh-dug grave. Nothing Cobel's sharp eyes could discern stood out of place as potentially illicit or incriminating. Of course, that was always the most suspicious thing — warehouses weren't
meant to be squeaky clean down to the last drop of dirt, with duly dedicated workers. Aside from the infrequent smoke break the docking receivers stepped out for, Cobel hardly even saw a wandering eye or a bored yawn, let alone slacking off or committing an egregious error. He couldn't smell smoke, but he could taste the ash of burnt evidence.
Any attempt to speak to the workers was as listless as he'd expected: they gave their names, how long they worked at RKT, job descriptions, etc. Some of the longer-tenured employees complained that they hadn't gotten a raise or Christmas bonus in two years. Younger, newer employees complained about inflexible hours and harsh tardiness policies. Helpful as Foreman Poole had been, his slip of the tongue had left Cobel without a ladder to climb up; instead he clung to a fraying rope, slipping further down an answerless chasm. A lead was a lead, but his gut told him that lead was directly into a concrete wall.
Looking up toward the office Poole had been recalled to, Cobel cupped his bearded chin in his hand and sighed, wondering which direction to follow the thin thread laid out before him. Olivine seemed the safe bet; as clean as RKT could keep their warehouses and even docks, the closer he could bring himself to the source, the harder the mess became to mop. However...
Knock, knock, knock!
Having made sure to pass by the large, office windows overlooking the warehouse floor as he crossed over to the door and delivered a thunderous knock, Cobel ignored all attempts of the well-dressed manager to intimidate through eye contact. All he could see, however, was that the man was alone — Avram Poole had been taken away, and quietly.
"Come in." The man's voice slipped under the door with a frustrated tone attached like a kidnapper's ransom note.
Turning the handle and pushing the door open, Cobel stepped just a short foot past the doorway, hands coolly in the pockets of his coat as he did so.
," The warehouse manager's voice was pleasant, but his face twitched into an annoyed snarl for the briefest of moments. "Mr. Timpinia is it? Working...with
the State of Johto, so we're led to believe? Then please, take a seat, sir. I'd love to help however I can."
"I shouldn't get to comfortable," Cobel hand waved away the offer to sit. "Mr-?"
"Yadier Alimar," He replied, smiling like one would expect from an introduction. "Please, please, sit. No one follows a schedule better than I. If you've a place to be, I won't hold you up. I would like us to meet...on the same level, yes? And I must
sit! A working man can never escape his fate, whether it be to work on foot or ass. At least, that's what my father taught me."
"Is Mr. Poole okay?" Cobel asked, cutting their early pleasantries short. To punctuate, he relented, sitting in the uncomfortable, metal chair sat directly in front of Yadier Alimar's fancy, wooden desk and cushioned, computer chair.
"He was feeling unwell," The warehouse manager's face twisted into a grieving frown. "We sent him home to rest and make an appointment with a professional. Full day's pay, of course. For today, and whenever he gets the help he needs."
"I wasn't aware he needed help." Cobel crossed one leg over the other, folding his hands into his lap.
"I'm aware he told you of the...incident here at our warehouse," Yadier's frown turned to one of pure, sinking despair. "We've had a dozen HR meetings and we've paid for hours of therapy and other forms of mental wellness. Some of our employees are doing great. Avram...Avram was close
"How long ago was this incident?"
"Almost a year and a half ago now," Alimar shook his head. "Amazing, in a way."
"Why did the police never report on it?"
"I ask myself that quite often, you know," Yadier sighed, looking out his office window down to the warehouse. "We all thought it was an isolated incident. The...perpetrator
...his work had dipped for quite some time, you see. He was an employee of mine almost five years, but he was dealing with marriage issues, kid issues, alcohol issues, the works. We helped as much we could, but it affected his work. And we let him go. The police
said they suspected...further radicalization
. They considered it, well, a true-blue terrorist threat. So they decided to keep the details confidential."
"What about the news? Didn't they try to report on it?"
"They did," Alimar sighed again, shaking his head. Like he felt some real sort of guilt about the whole thing. "We reported it as an equipment malfunction-"
"An equipment malfunction that claimed the life of an employee," Cobel nodded, finally remembering the official report as it had come out at the time. "RKT claimed liability and offered full-pension payments to the family of the deceased if I remember correctly."
"That was at my insisting," Yadier pointed out, as if he were proud of something
amidst the whole, dirty affair. "He was only fired
for a day or two at that point. It was simple enough to just...make that disappear. It made it easier for his wife and kids at least."
"Ecruteak Police were all okay with this?" He asked to follow up, all the pieces not quite fitting together to form a pretty puzzle just yet.
"What the police are okay with and what they're willing to tolerate
aren't always the same," Yadier Alimar pointed out, his gaze returning to Cobel with a devious, furrowed brow and grin. "Isn't that true, detective
"You get the positive PR of looking like you didn't
just have an ex-employee suicide bomb your warehouse, and the police get the added advantage of their investigation being kept under wraps," The pieces fit together, but he needed glue to get them to stick. Things felt...odd. "Avram told me it wasn't exactly isolated
, however. He said you've had problems with ex-employees before?"
"Vandalism, thievery, even attempted assaults — these aren't the same thing as trying to blow up my warehouse
, detective." Alimar said through grit, frustrated teeth.
"True enough," Cobel nodded. "But this wasn't out of nowhere. Just because this person escalated the situation doesn't mean it's not connected to those who came before."
"I'd have said the same thing a year ago, detective, but if the police want to call it terrorism I'm not going to argue with it — even if they drag their damn feet with the investigation." Alimar waved both of his hands, as if Cobel's prodding were getting under his skin.
Standing from his seat, Cobel took hold of his trench coat's collar and tugged on it, as if the action set his affairs in order.
"Last thing: I presume RKT had every employee sign an NDA?" He asked.
"Of course," Yadier confirmed with a nod. "I know you're concerned for Mr. Poole. Don't worry — he's been an employee here for almost a decade. We know he needs help, and he'll get it. Nothing he said here today will be held against him."
With a skeptical scoff, Cobel turned face and left the office, the swath of information buzzing about his head like flies around a roadside carcass.