Margaret is on her way to work at the CDC, walking instead of flying today so she can drink her coffee without spilling it, when she sees the cryptid. She's a truly far-out one, no limbs to speak of, just a long snaky body with a mirror for a face. Margaret smiles at her and goes to walk on by, but the cryptid slithers right at her all of a sudden and--hits?--Margaret with the giant mirror. Except she doesn't experience getting whacked with a sheet of glass.
"The swarms I mentioned. Magical girls fight them, some with magic, some with, I don't know the word--" she makes a picture of a stardarter firing one of its darts. "Magical girls can feel swarms, and I could tell where they would be before they started. For fires and weather and things, normal people respond with special equipment."
"Some kind of dart gun," Bella identifies, scrutinizing the picture. "Huh. That sounds harder than doing it with Pokémon but if it works."
"Some animals can be trained to do emergency work, and other work--dogs and a couple others." Pictures of some dogs. "But we don't have Pokéballs, and I think maybe Pokémon are easier to train? So it's people and machines for most things."
"What makes dogs hard to train?"
"Sometimes they don't understand what you want, or are thinking about something else, or are too scared to do things."
"Those happen to Pokémon sometimes too..."
"Then maybe you just use them more than dogs because there are more kinds. Dogs can help blind people or rescue people from accidents or pull loads or guard things but they can't fly or make fire or be psychic."
"Maybe. I'd need to try training a dog before I knew if it was a lot harder. I don't even know much about training the species I've never happened to have."
"How different are the ones you have from each other? Dogs are different from each other but I think Pokémon would be more so."
"They're different but I think a lot of it is individual personality. I've read a book or two on each species but found a lot of the advice just wrong for mine."
"That makes sense. What are your Pokémon's personalities like?"
"I traded away my Sawsbuck for you, he was a sweetheart but really not bright. Zag's my smartest, he's curious about stuff and figures out what I mean faster than the others. Dusk's really affectionate and sometimes skittish, and Fireflower's proud and dignified and bitchy, and Juu's sort of - professional? - and Rachis is really food-motivated and sometimes acts up for attention."
"They sound pretty great. I'm sorry about your Sawsbuck. I'd be happy to help you get him back if you know a way I could."
"Six is as many as anyone can hold, somebody'd wind up in the computer anyway."
"Oh. What stops you from holding more? Is it a law or you just can't?"
"Just can't. Some people can't even hold six. They test you with rentals when you're a kid, it's usually more like four."
"I wonder if I could hold one. Probably not, but it would be interesting to try."
"Probably not, since you seem to count as one."
"I'll still like to try it sometime. Maybe Pokémon could hold each other if they knew how to try. Science, yeah?"
"Maybe! I can let you try to borrow one of mine but I'm not sure if I'd have to release you first or not, and if I would, I might need a new ball afterwards to get you back so nobody else catches you - sometimes they don't re-use."
"Try doing it without releasing me, and wait on trying it with?"
"Yeah, all right." She hands Margaret a Pokéball.
"Am I supposed to do something with it?"
"Try to like... accept the 'mon as a gift? It's Juu, if that helps you conceptualize it."
This is Juu, she has gotten it as a present, what a nice present. "It doesn't feel like anything?"