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.
Maybe she thinks she can find someone multilingual or good at charades, though given Margaret's luck today she's not going to count on it. She keeps trying to communicate with pictures, and by pointing at herself and saying "Margaret".
Some of the pictures get more of a concerned reaction from the remaining teenagers than others but they do not seem to recognize the flag, the question mark, or the globe.
The most concerned of the teenagers returns with an additional teenager whose hair does not seem to obey the law of universal gravitation, and Margaret hears a voice in her head.
Hello, can you hear me?
Okay, if boys can be telepathic she's a lot more lost than she thought. "Yes! I'm very lost, magical accident, where am I?" She tries to mentally broadcast the meaning of this utterance, in case that's how this works.
Yes, that was me talking (what else would it have been?). I mean I was attacked by a giant snake with a mirror for a head (mental image) (did the mental image work?) and was suddenly here instead of my home city.
Turns out keeping a linear train of thought is harder when she isn't speaking aloud.
I don't know what a Pokemon is. I'm a modified human, probably not from this planet. I need to learn the local language.
Does anyone respond in a way that sounds like they might be volunteering for language help?
Okay. Anything else you need to know? And what was that ball thing that knocked me out?
Bella might be!
That was a Pokéball. Some people still think you're a Pokémon, since humans can't be caught in them, and the guy who caught you is annoyed about the possibility of not getting to keep you.
Keep me? What does he want to do with me?!
It does not require a psychic to notice the sudden terror and hostility in her body language.
Calm down! If he has to put you in the ball again you're not gonna be able to learn the language, says the psychic.
Right, yes, language now freaking out later. Has anyone said they're willing to teach me?
Bella's going to try. Larry's agreed to leave you out of the ball for now as long as you don't attack anybody or anything.
Larry's either paranoid or obnoxious or both, but she nods. I won't attack anybody. So, language? Maybe start with basic grammar if we don't have much time, vocabulary will be easier to do by pointing at things.
I'm just about out of steam, Bella thinks she can make some headway without me, says the psychic. I'm going to go take a nap.
He leaves. Bella motions Margaret away from the thinning cluster of curious teenagers.
Bella's followed by one of the monsters, which docilely sits beside her when she plops down on an armchair. She holds up a finger. "One," she says.
Margaret doesn't see any point in teaching Bella any English, since nobody else here speaks it, so she repeats back "one", and solicits two through ten with similar finger-gestures. Does this language in fact use base ten?
"My name is Bella. Your name is -?"
"My name is Margaret. Your name is Bella."
"Your name isn't 'hello'?"
Margaret chuckles but does not have the vocabulary to explain. "My name is Margaret. Hello isn't name."
Having an alphabet will help a lot. Margaret's arm acquires a scroll with a copy of the alphabet, annotated with English pronunciations. Then she tries spelling "Bella" in it.