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22 October 2011 @ 01:01 am
Refuge at Sea [Part 1]  
Part One
Looker was at the airport attempting to book a flight out of the country when his cell phone went off. He answered it with only an apologetic shrug at the desk attendant, who had been nothing but sneering about his accented Japanese. He was well aware his accent was heavy, but he would’ve liked to have seen her attempt Greek.
“Hello?” he said, in English.
Looker!” Oh dear. It was his boss, Fred Kinney, and he was sounding cheerful. That didn’t bode well. “Just the man I wanted. Tell me you’re still in Hoenn!”
“Another case?” Looker asked, dismayed. He’d just finished a headache of a self-kidnapping in Slateport and he was ready for a break. Interpol had the most ludicrous timing.
Kinney must have picked up on the tone, because he actually did sound a little apologetic this time. “Sorry, Kokinos, but I need someone on this one yesterday.”
His real name? Kinney only used that when he was really desperate... damn it. Now Looker didn’t have a choice, and the case was bound to be a nightmare. “What has happened?”
“Sailor by the name of Kent Matthews died of cardiac arrest in Vermillion City early this morning. He holds British and American citizenship, and he’s a personal friend of two Gym Leaders.”
That certainly sounded like trouble for the local law enforcement, but not necessarily worthy of Interpol. He grimaced and braced himself for more bad news. “Yes?”
Kinney let out a breath. “And... he’s the estranged son of the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer.”
...That would do it, alright. Looker pinched the bridge of his nose and tried not to sigh. Politics. That was just great. Now not only did he have to solve a case, he had to do it without causing a diplomatic incident. Sometimes those two goals just did not match, which meant Looker might be getting a grilling from Kinney’s superiors and no decent cases for the foreseeable future. Again.
“Look, I know you probably want a break, but I’m being pressured to get something done and I don’t even have an autopsy report yet. Get yourself on the next flight to Vermillion and I’ll email you the particulars when I have them. Hell, you’ll probably know them before I do if you’re there fast enough.”
He really did sigh this time. “Yes, yes, I will get a flight. But I am expecting a break after this.”
“You’ll get one, I promise.”
Looker hung up and turned back to the desk attendant. He was suddenly too exhausted to feel irritated by her attitude or the glares of the other people in line. “Cancel my previous request, please. I must instead be on the next flight to Vermillion City.”
The first thing that Looker did when his plane finally landed in Vermillion City (after cursing the meaningless delays that always accompanied airports) was open his laptop to finally get at the files Kinney had promised him. What he actually had actually been given barely qualified as the basics of the case, but it was still enough to make Looker go from resigned to apprehensive.
Kent Matthews was twenty-seven. Twenty-seven year old men did not just up and die from cardiac arrest.
He was probably looking at a murder case here.
For at least a minute, he just stared at the screen. Every minute counted when it was murder, but... it had been more than two years since he’d had to focus on a murder, and he’d just about been getting used to not thinking about them again.
It was stupid, of course. Human nature was a dark thing; he was lucky it had been that long since the last one. What was he expecting, when Kinney said ‘cardiac arrest’ and ‘get yourself there now’?
It wasn’t even anything like Stacia’s case.
Looker took a deep breath. Stacia was dead, it was his fault, it was about time he got over it and concentrated on stopping a repeat of it, but right now, even those thoughts were a distraction. Laptop. Documents. Current case. That was what he should be focussing on.
Reading a little further told him that, although Kent Matthews had died in Vermillion’s hospital, he’d actually collapsed at some hotel restaurant during dinner with his sister, Veronica. This was the same sister who worked in a pharmaceutical company, had been the only person continually present at the time of the murder, and stood to gain Matthews’ inheritance.
...This basically gave her means, motive and opportunity in one convenient package, and Looker really didn’t like to think that he’d been called in on a murder case just for an idiot. Kinney, though, had decided that the only information he needed about the sister was her name, so he would have to wait to make a judgement on her intelligence.
The only other people in Vermillion with a link to the victim were the crew of the Jamison, the ship on which Kent Matthews had worked as a navigator. Doing honest work for a living seemed out of character for the son of a politician, but there had been a major falling about between Matthews and his parents several years ago, so perhaps he simply had a shred of decency in him.
Looker very much hoped this estrangement was irrelevant to the case, because trying to get something scandalous out of a politician was like trying to squeeze blood from a stone.
In fact, he was just generally hoping this case had nothing to do with politics. It came dangerously close to sympathising with the victim - a mistake Looker would not allow - but if Kent Matthews had been a decent man killed for knowing the wrong thing, it would be a lot easier to keep this from erupting into a diplomatic incident.
As far as Looker was concerned, his job was to preserve the peace, and letting a murderer go free meant the exact opposite.
But that sort of thing could spark yet more hostilities across the Pacific if it got out of hand, and might actually get him fired; his superiors had a rather different interpretation of the role of an Interpol Agent. Looker would just have to hope it didn’t come up. He liked this job.
Looker sighed, closed his laptop, and stood up to leave. The case would only be a little less of a headache even if he was lucky enough that politics stayed out of it.  
Trepidation was no reason to delay, though. That would help nobody.
Vermillion City’s police station certainly looked impressive, Looker had to admit. Like most of the port city, it was a relatively recent build - the windows curved impossibly just so there wouldn’t be a single right angle in the design. The only part of it that looked out of place was the original building, or what was left of it: now just a small reception in conspicuous brick. Looker had always taken for granted the sense of character that old buildings seemed to radiate, at least until he’d started travelling out of Greece. Now it gave him a strange feeling of displacement to have to get along without it. The joys of modernism.
There were at least six floors to Vermillion’s police station. Looker had to wonder if they even made proper use of all that space, or whether they were just doing it to show off. Either way, it was impressive, but didn’t make Looker feel any better about being here. At least he had the ‘listen to me if you want to avoid a diplomatic incident’ card to play. It wasn’t encouraging that this was the only positive he could list, but there was no need to be quite that cynical this early in a case. Probably. Why was he handling this? He couldn’t have been the only available Japanese-speaking agent, surely.
Well, Kinney had given it to him anyway, so there was no point in complaining.
Looker pushed open the doors to reception. He flashed his ID when the woman behind the desk asked for it, the one with his real name on it. He didn’t feel comfortable using it, but he couldn’t think of an excuse not to this time and Kinney was always complaining about having to tell people that yes, he did have an agent who called himself Looker.
He was waved through to a meeting room of sorts, though his badge was scrutinised quite thoroughly beforehand, so at least they were taking this somewhat seriously. As he entered, a man - detective - in a suit and tie rose out of his chair to meet him, followed a little more reluctantly by another with startlingly blond hair and a vaguely military uniform.
Wait, this was Lt. Surge’s city? He could have sworn it was Viridian... damn it, if he’d realised he’d have to deal with one of Gym Leader “friends” of all things, he would have read that part of the file closer. Maybe if he’d read it closer to begin with he’d know where Surge’s Gym was. Ugh, what a headache already.
“You’re the Interpol agent?” Surge asked, giving him a critical once-over. As ex-military, he probably didn’t find Looker too impressive. That was fine by him; you never knew who you would need to surprise.
“Yes,” was all he said. He showed off his badge again, because Americans always seemed to find it reassuring. “Agent Kokinos. However, I do prefer to go as Looker. It is a codename.”
Lt. Surge was a good five inches taller than Looker and used it to good advantage to frown at him. “Looker? Are you serious?”
He let the insult go with only a shrug. “It is what they called me. I did not choose.”
Surge’s frown deepened, as Looker had suspected it might. A non-reaction could often provoke more anger than any argument could. Vermillion’s Gym Leader was no exception - no surprises there. More important than his faults, though, was why Lt. Surge was doing all of the talking when the detective for the case was standing right there.
“I’m Detective Yamato,” the man in question offered, when Looker raised his eyebrows at him questioningly. “I hope you will be satisfied with the cooperation of our police department; I assure you--”
“Forgiving me the interruption, I have no time to waste for chit-chat here. I only need an autopsy report and the particulars of the case, as fast as is possible.”
“Of course,” Yamato said, barely blinking at Looker’s abruptness while Surge bristled. “We’ve set up a temporary office for you upstairs. I’ll have copies of all the relevant files sent over. The Chief of Police has decided to place my team under your leadership for the duration of the investigation. We’re right next door. I’m sure you want to begin, so if you could--”
This detective must have worked with Interpol agents under pressure before. No one could go from inane babble to the immediate necessities that quickly. Now that Looker was going to snap at him again, he felt a little guilty. He held up a hand to stop Yamato. “Ah, please, one thing before all that: what is your Gym Leader doing here?”
Surge snarled immediately. “Kent was my friend.”
“I am aware of this.” A flash of discomfort crossed Surge’s face. Good. “That does not explain why you are interfering with a thing that is nothing to do with you.”
“Nothing to do with--?! This is my city!
Gym Leaders were all the same. They thought a title and handing out badges made them the life point of ‘their’ cities. They looked down on the places that didn’t have a Gym. They were all useless and complacent, wrapped up in pokemon battles and power politics. The cities were no more theirs than they were his.
“It’s not yours,” Looker said coldly. “What do you do for it? You do nothing, except interfere in things you can not understand.”
Surge did not answer this with anything other than gritted teeth and a furious, narrow-eyed stare. Looker had to admit that he was impressed by this uncharacteristic display of self-control, but he doubted it would last. He’d almost forgotten about the detective, but now he caught a glimpse of him in his peripheral vision. Probably best to get rid of him now, before ‘his’ Gym Leader could embarrass him further.
“Yamato,” he said, very carefully, without taking his eyes off Surge. “Maybe it would be for the better if you get everything together upstairs as this is being sorted.”
“I think I could do that,” Yamato agreed with some forced cheer and more than a little trepidation. He left quickly and closed the door softly.
As soon as he heard the ‘click’, Surge pounced. “I’m not dropping this.”
Looker folded his arms and spat out, “Why,” so roughly that it wasn’t really a question. The one time a Gym Leader involved themselves with their city and it was when it was better off without them. He couldn’t put into words how frustrating it was, to be met with indifference time and time again, and then... this.
“I know how politics works. I know who his mother was. If it’s better for ‘the peace’, or whatever-the-fuck you guys use to justify these things, the police here would let his killer go free.” Surge met his glare without flinching, arms held behind his back, spine rigid. “I know these people and I know they still do shit like that. What the hell makes you think I should trust you not to do the same?”
Of course. The one time Surge noticed his city, and it was so his friend wouldn’t go without justice. Of course he was trying to do his job for the most selfish reasons imaginable. Of course.
“I have jurisdiction,” Surge continued. “You can look it up. It’s in the law books.”
Looker’s arms loosened for a moment as he eyed Surge carefully. He wasn’t bluffing. If Surge had done his research that well, he was probably determined enough that he’d ignore whatever legal loopholes Looker tried to throw at him. He could get him off the case that way, but... it would take time. Time that he didn’t really have. Quite apart from the pressure on Interpol, Vermillion was a port city. The longer Looker spent solving the case, the more chance there was of any perpetrators getting away.
Fine,” he snapped.
Surge relaxed his posture and let out an unchecked sigh of relief, but Looker wasn’t finished. He closed the distance between them with a few strides. Surge drew his chin back slightly in surprise but held his ground.
“You are remaining because it is too much trouble to be rid of you,” he growled. “But I am in charge - do you understand? If you are preventing the case from being solved, I will arrest you.
“On what charges?” Surge asked, relaxing again. He only sounded curious now.
Looker pulled back, frowning at the sudden change in tone. “...I do not know,” he admitted. “Wasting police time? Littering, if necessary.”
Surge seemed to consider this for a few moments. “I can deal with that,” he said eventually, to Looker’s relief. “You’re the expert, after all. I’m only here to make sure you do your job.”
Looker rolled his eyes. “I do not need the watching, I assure you.”
He shrugged. “Yeah, well, if that turns out to be true I’ll know better for the future, won’t I?”
Even though his words were dismissive, there was something in his tone and speculative look that said Looker might have gone up in his estimations. Well, as long as Surge let him do his job properly, he could think what he liked. Looker wasn’t going to worry about a Gym Leader’s opinion of him.
His opinion of Detective Yamato was certainly higher than that of ‘his’ Gym Leader. As Looker headed for the lift, Surge in tow, he saw a young woman waiting to meet them. She must have been a recent promotion, because she couldn’t quite hide how self-conscious she felt in the more casual dress suits of detectives.
“I’m junior Detective Mihara, under Detective Yamato,” she said, at least sounding convincingly confident. “If you could follow me sirs, we’re just on the floor above this one...”
It turned out that Yamato did indeed have everything ready for Looker at his temporary desk. Everything they had on the case turned out to be a fairly pitiful amount, but Looker supposed that it was inevitable, what with the panic of finding that your victim was related to a powerful politician and then having to call Interpol in. Looker could say from experience that local jurisdiction was always reluctant to call Interpol in.
He was willing to forgive them, anyway, because he finally had that damned autopsy report. It was time-stamped several hours ago, so he sent a brief text message off to Kinney, because it was his job to yell at people about these things and Looker didn’t have the time.
Not that having it a few hours earlier would have helped Looker much. It was pretty clear cut: Kent Matthews had died of cardiac arrest following a large dose of potassium cyanide - much more than the amount actually required to kill him.
There was a brief report from the first officer on the scene, which Looker had seen before, but he read again anyway. It was basically the same thing as last time - Matthews had entered the hotel restaurant about 8.30pm the previous evening, and been taken straight to the private room hired by his sister. They ordered, everything was fine, until Matthews passed out some time into dessert. The hotel staff had called the hospital after his sister’s failed attempts at waking him, but he still died within the hour.
Well, that was no wonder. Cyanide was a potent poison at the best of times; that much would have killed him very quickly. At least it wasn’t a particularly painful way to go.
The hotel staff had been interviewed, although the sister had yet to be - but she was still staying at that same hotel, so she would be easy to find at least - and the Jamison had been held in port (although it wasn’t due to leave for five days yet anyway) and some basic statements had been taken. Yamato had ruled out suicide from the comments of the crew, and from Lt. Surge’s statement. Cyanide was quite popular for suicides, but normally they didn’t make such a big production about it.
The only odd thing was that they’d analysed the scene, as well as the hotel kitchen, and still couldn’t tell how the poison had entered his system.
Looker spread the documents in front of him on the desk and frowned at them.
He started violently, almost knocking himself out of his chair. Surge was still standing by the door connecting this office to Yamato’s, grinning at his reaction. Looker bit back his instinctive snarl and tried to force his heartbeat back to normal. “What are you still doing here?”
Surge just shrugged. “I can’t make sure you’re doing your job properly from the next room, now, can I?”
Looker closed his eyes for a moment and tried not to grind his teeth. He couldn’t, unfortunately, make him leave. Well, probably not. But it would most definitely be unwise to try.
Surge had a point, Looker reminded himself. If he accepted a Gym Leader staying on the investigation to make sure he ‘did his job properly’, he couldn’t really complain when Surge decided to actually do that. No matter how much he wanted to.
Finally, he just sighed, and decided to answer the original question: “It does not make sense.”
“What doesn’t make sense?” Surge didn’t mention the sudden change of topic.
Should he tell him? There was really no reason not to, apart from the fact Looker didn’t want to talk to him, and if he didn’t tell him then Surge would probably just demand to know anyway. That would get very irritating very fast.
“Matthews died of cyanide poisoning,” Looker said, eventually. He leaned back in his chair and tried to pretend that Surge was one of those idiot detectives he had to explain every detail to. It helped a little. “It is a fast-acting poison, so he must have ingested it at the hotel where he died. But also they could not find cyanide traces at the scene, so we do not know how it came to be in his system.”
Surge frowned. “Do you need to know? If it’s that fast acting, doesn’t that narrow the suspect list down anyway?”
“Indeed, it does so,” Looker replied dryly. “It is narrowed to the thirty hotel staff who might have come into contact with Matthews’ food, and also his sister.”
“She’d be the only one with motive,” Surge muttered. “Kent never did like her much.”
Looker wasn’t sure if he was supposed to have heard this last bit, but he rolled his eyes anyway. “I cannot arrest someone just because the victim did not like them.”
“I didn’t say that, did I?” Surge snapped, eyes narrowed. “Come on, who else could’ve done it?”
Looker resisted the frustrated urge to hit something. It was a bad habit to get in to. Of course Surge wouldn’t think around things like this, he was a Gym Leader for God’s sake. The knowledge didn’t make him feel better. “That is the problem!
This drew Surge up short - though, judging by his furrowed brow, it was more due to confusion than realisation. Thank God he wasn’t a detective. “What?”
Looker smirked. “Do you not understand? It is not so hard.” Surge gritted his teeth and scowled, just as Looker had suspected he might. Rubbing it in was unprofessional, but hell, all the Gym Leaders needed to be taken down a peg or two - Surge was no exception. “No one is stupid enough to commit murder when they are going to be the only suspect, yes? Even you must understand that.”
Now that it had been spelled out to him, he seemed to think about it. “Maybe it wasn’t premeditated?”
“Ah, because it is common to always carry around potassium cyanide!” Looker scoffed. “That is even more stupid. And, still, there is the matter of how Matthews ingested it. Until that can be discovered, it is impossible to arrest anyone. Such a case would not stand up for an arrest warrant, not even considering a trial.”
When Surge didn’t answer immediately, Looker decided that he must have run out of things to say, and turned back to review the documents Yamato had given him. He’d barely read a sentence when:
“Are you going to call him Matthews all the time?”
“Hm?” Looker glanced up at him again.
“He was a person, you know,” Surge said. His voice was calm and his face expressionless, but the words were clipped and every muscle was tensed. Looker was, once again, impressed by this unusual display of self-control. “Kent wasn’t perfect, nobody is, but he was more than a surname and an autopsy report.”
It seemed he had hit a nerve without even meaning to.
“I am a professional,” Looker said, after a moment of careful thought. He didn’t want to pander to Surge’s tender feelings, but if he pushed him on this, Looker had the feeling Surge might actually punch him. “To me, that is all he can be.”
“So what, this is just a puzzle for you? Just... nine-to-five?” Surge demanded, watching him carefully for a reaction.
This time, there was something of a snarl to his tone which Looker didn’t like at all. He kept his expression blank. Let the Gym Leader draw what conclusions he liked. It didn’t matter.
“You don’t actually care about justice at all, do you?” Surge was shaking with anger now. Looker hadn’t seen anyone that angry with him in a long time. It occurred to him that, if he wanted, Surge could do some serious damage. And he was blocking one of the two escape routes. “Is it just for the thrill of the chase? Is that it? Do you actually care that a human being has died here?”
Looker watched him carefully, rigid in his chair but trying not to show it, reminding himself of the other escape route and mentally cataloguing what he might be able to use as a weapon. Some of his nervousness must have shown in his face, though, because after a few seconds of glaring at him Surge closed his eyes and let out a slow breath. It seemed to calm him. When he opened them again, his posture had relaxed.
“...I am a professional,” Looker repeated, once satisfied that he wasn’t about to be hit. He wouldn’t let himself relax yet, though. “The victim does not matter, only what was done to them, and by what person. That is my job. If you do not like it, you may leave at any time.”
He had a feeling that he may have lost whatever respect he had somehow gained from their argument downstairs. Lt. Surge was proving to be even more bewildering than the other Leaders he’d met, something he’d thought impossible. Trust an American to prove him wrong.
Leave? Really?” Surge sneered. “You expect me to do that now?
“No, I suppose not.” Looker shook his head, returning to the papers. “That would be wholly too much to ask for.”
He did his best to ignore the tense silence that followed, although he wasn’t very successful, as he now realised that Surge was basically standing in his blind spot. On purpose or not? Of course, Looker didn’t believe that even a Gym Leader would be arrogant enough to attack him - but the thought still made him nervous, especially considering Surge’s military past. He was probably one of the few people in the region who could confidently take on a fully-trained Interpol agent bare handed, and with how close he’d just come to flying off the handle...
Looker realised he had been reading the same sentence over and over for the past several seconds, and frowned. Then he sighed, gathered the papers together, and shoved them into a convenient folder on the desk. He never did very well reading from these reports. Besides, it seemed like there might be more answers to be found if he did the investigation himself. He glared at the folder anyway for a satisfying amount of time and then, upon consideration, decided it would probably be wise to take it with him. He folded it up and slipped it into one of his huge pockets, mentally cursing that it was actually small enough to fit.
Surge raised his eyebrows as he headed for the door to Yamato’s office. “Oh, so you’re doing some work now?”
Looker bit back his retort and settled for offering the Leader an unimpressed look as he opened the door. Yamato looked up from another file - so he was still working on other cases? Just as well that Looker had been planning to do the legwork himself on this one. “Agent Looker?”
“Ah, yes - I was intending to visit the crime scene and speak to Ms. Matthews, and assumed that you would like to know.”
Yamato nodded and glanced around his room. Looker guessed that he’d “borrowed” Yamato’s own office from him, because it was quite cramped with five detectives in there. Mihara was the only female. She was busy typing something on her computer that Looker couldn’t see, and looked up at the sound of her name.
“Mihara, you go with Agent Looker and - I assume that Lt. Surge is accompanying you too?”
“I assume so,” Looker said flatly.
“He is,” Surge’s voice clarified from behind him. He resisted the urge to turn around, but he couldn’t stop his shoulders from tensing. He hoped Surge hadn’t noticed.
Yamato nodded absently at this, either oblivious to the tension or ignoring it. Looker wasn’t sure which he preferred, but neither said great things about Vermillion’s detectives. “Well, if the Lieutenant is going, I don’t expect you’ll need Ken, Mihara, but... take him along to be on the safe side.”
“Yes, sir,” she answered.
Looker had no idea who ‘Ken’ was supposed to be until Mihara opened one of her drawers and took out a pokeball. Ah. A police pokemon... was it growlithe they used in Kanto? Not houndoor; that was Sinnoh... must be a growlithe, then. It would probably have been a good idea to mix up the types somewhat in a port city -- but he’d never been given a pokemon when working for the law, so maybe he should just be grateful that Mihara had some form of defence at all.
It was probably better than what protection he had now.
“What do you normally do?” Surge asked Mihara as they were leaving the building. “Just out of curiosity. Five detectives on the same team seems a little... overboard.”
“It’s really not!” Mihara retorted, with a surprisingly stern glower. “You shouldn’t underestimate the workload involved!” Pedestrians gave her odd looks at her volume at the same time as she realised who she’d just told off, resulting in a truly astonishing blush. Looker might have been disappointed by the embarrassment, but it was really rather endearing. Quieter, she added: “I normally take notes and do research on the computers, when necessary. And... fetch coffee.”
Surge raised an eyebrow. “Seriously? Coffee? And they get away with that?”
Looker intervened before Surge could share more opinions on office initiation rituals. “I would not worry about it. I was doing precisely the same things when I was a rookie. Now, I should ask--”
“When you were a rookie?” Mihara blurted. Then she seemed to grow aware of the fact that she’d interrupted him, and coloured again. “Uh, I’m sorry, I- I didn’t mean... I just didn’t know that Interpol had the same sort of...”
“Ah, no, you are mistaking,” Looker reassured her, holding his hands up in a placating manner. He regretted the elaboration - he should’ve just stuck to interrupting Surge. “Interpol is a little different, but I was referring to, ah, my time as an Officer when I was younger.”
“You worked local before you worked international?” Surge asked. There was a little bit of incredulity in his tone, but there was a smirk twitching at the corners of his lips because this was apparently amusing.
“Yes, yes.” Looker scowled. This was the last thing he wanted to talk about, especially on a case. The last thing he needed was to be distracted on a murder case. He pushed all the memories of Ioanna and Stacia to the back of his mind. “Anyway, to be discussing more important things - this ‘Lanturn Hotel’, is it close enough to be walked, or...?”
“Oh. Um...” Mihara thought for a moment. “I don’t think it’s too far from here. Lt. Surge? Close enough to walk?”
“I’d say so.”
She nodded. “Hm. Well, Ken will appreciate the exercise.”
It turned out that Ken was, in fact, a growlithe. He started wagging his tail almost before he’d fully materialised, barking at Mihara’s heels, although she calmed him with a few platitudes.
The three of them (plus Ken) probably seemed an odd group, but nobody paid them much attention. Vermillion City was used to a host of colourful characters from all corners of the globe - there was a reason, after all, that they were the first city in Japan to ever accept a Gym Leader who wasn’t a native. This atmosphere was even more pronounced as they approached the docklands, where most of the city’s entertainment could be found.
At night some parts of it might be considered a little... unsavoury. It was the middle of the day, however, and people less protected than Looker still felt safe roaming the streets. Souvenir stalls and food stands had been set up all along Harbour Avenue, the long, wide street that stretched from one side of Vermillion’s docks to the other. It was only a stone’s throw away from the sea, and the air had a sharp salty tang to it as a result. Wingull could be seen circling above, and if you did buy anything, you’d have to be careful to hold on to it.
Despite the crowds, Looker liked the place. It was open and friendly now, as all tourist spots were, but it was quite obviously part of city life as well. Occasionally pedestrians would have to make way for pokemon or small lorries bearing heavy loads, and even above the noise of the crowds, the yells of the fishermen and sailors who made their living here echoed loud and clear.
Maybe that sense of vibrancy was what gave it the charm that, somehow, cheered Looker up considerably. If he hadn’t been in the middle of working, he would have liked to have spent more time here. As it was, passing through, he was reminded of the primary reason why he enjoyed travelling: even if it wasn’t ‘home’, there were places like this all over the globe that, regardless of who or what you were, would welcome you with open arms.
Looker had to admit that Lt. Surge was right to be proud of being a part of this city, even if he had no right to stake a claim to it.

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