Marzell and Co. - June Tasks
Three sheets of paper floated in front of Marzell, who was examining them closely. Next to him stood Gilbert, standing as tall as he could to get a good look at the words. But it was difficult to read them as Marzell let them bob about in the air just high enough to strain the Helioptile's eyes.
“C'mon, lemme read 'em! What's the things we can do?” he whined, stretching himself a little taller only to lose his balance and stumble. “We've been sitting around doing nothing! I'm bored!”
“Patience is one of the best traits a true scientist can have, Gilbert,” Marzell casually replied, gently brushing the lizard off. “You can't rush the attainment of knowledge, you have to let it come to you.”
“Just stop hogging the paper! It was on the bulletin board for everyone to read! I wanna read 'em too!”
“No need; these little tasks seem simple enough, I've already read everything. Now, Archimedes—the floating pink and blue fellow in the bowtie—wants some help moving a Snorlax. Seems here though that it's asleep... and attacking in its sleep. And weighs... oh dear, that's a large number. Er, perhaps we shall skip this one? Yes, we will skip it, jolly good...”
Gilbert did not object as Marzell crumpled up one of the papers and tossed it aside. Marzell continued, “Well, this other one sounds fine: Solstice, that Swoobat we saw earlier, needs help with paperwork.”
“Paperwork? But... that's even more boring than doing nothing!”
“Beggars can't be choosers, Gilbert,” Marzell lectured, which only made the Helioptile cross his arms and pout. “Besides, she seems like a perfectly friendly lady—of science. Helping her is good for her and us and the Guild as a whole.”
Gilbert rolled his eyes and huffed, “Fine... but what's the third one?”
“Oh, just something involving fireworks and dangerous substances, I'm sure it's easier than it sounds.”
Despite Gil's protests of the fireworks task sounding much more interesting, Marzell dragged him towards Solstice's offices where their help was needed; a fact that became apparent as soon as they walked into the offices and found piles of paper scattered all over the tables, cabinets, and floors. “Things got a little out of hand quicker than I hoped they would,” Solstice admitted with a hint of sheepishness after the pair found her trying to comb through the mess. “By the time we started trying to organize things, it was a little too late to get back under control with just ourselves. But I'm sure we'll get through this in no time!”
“Of course, of course,” Marzell nodded. “With our minds and Gilbert's... zest, this should be easy.”
For Marzell and Solstice, managing the piles of papers was simple with their ability to levitate the sheets and pens. Marzell in particular was very accustomed to doing menial tasks via telekinesis and was able to fill forms out quickly and accurately—and with good penmanship, even. Gilbert, on the other hand, didn't have anything in the way of psychic abilities, but he was a very fast reader, and a faster writer. Though he complained a lot, the electric lizard was able to scribble in entire sheets of information almost as quickly as a machine could. It wasn't pretty to look at; it may have been almost borderline illegible in some places, but it seemed to be good enough for Solstice, especially since it was apparent he was making the biggest dent in the piles of files just through pure speed. Gilbert was sloppy yet surprisingly energetic, even if he constantly grumbled complaints the entire time. Marzell and Solstice could do multiple forms at the same time but Gil was quicker in filling them out as well as putting them away in their proper places.
By the end of it, the yellow lizard was panting and exhausted, while Marzell and Solstice were both coping with headaches, but the office was cleaned up and ordered at last. “Hopefully we can keep it this way and not have to go through this paperwork blitz again,” the Swoobat sighed.
“Yes, that would be... quite preferable to a redo of today,” Marzell agreed.
When Solstice felt a soft tug at one of her wings, she looked down and found Gilbert holding a textbook. “Uh, I found this in one of the piles of papers. I don't think it goes anywhere around here, so I wanted to ask... can I keep it?” he asked, then bashfully added, “I, uh... I like books...”
Looking over the brown book, it appeared to be some kind of do-it-yourself handbook, a weird thing to end up in the offices. “Hm, I suppose someone must have lost it long ago. It looks like it's been here a while from the dust that's gathered on it. I've no idea who it could belong to. I think we have more copies of it around, so, sure, go ahead and take it as a reward for your help.”
The Helioptile beamed with glee for a moment before opening and reading it right there. He didn't put it down even when he and Marzell left through the door.
Later in the day, after regaining their energy and carefully avoiding Archimedes' requests for help with the Snorlax, Marzell and Gilbert made their way towards the workshop where Chelle was leading the fireworks assembly. The pair found it to be rather crowded with other Pokémon, all eager to play with things that went boom, it seemed. Chelle stood at the front with an assortment of powders and substances on a table, as well as a chalkboard with a list written on it.
“Before we begin our work for the Hunters' fireworks show, I would like to, again, go over the materials that are available, what their properties are, and what you absolutely should not do with them, unless you want to demolish half the building with all of us still inside it. Now, to begin, this blue powder here is called Brightpowder. Its most striking property is the light it exudes when exposed to friction. Temperatures can alter this light, but it is very inflammable, so be careful with heat sources. Unlike the Brightpowder, this next example is more fireproof: Light Clay, named so because...”
Chelle's lecture, while detailed and informative, went on for a while. But Gil sat and listened, eyes wide in concentration. Sometimes Marzell was perplexed by how eager the Helioptile was to listen to any lesson, when he was normally impatient and easily bored. When Chelle wrapped up her presentation, Gilbert quietly made his way towards the rack of materials and carefully picked out a few containers with confident intent, then returned to Marzell.
“I think I know what I want to make, Mr. Marzell,” he said with a determined look in his eyes. “But I don't know anything about alka chemistry.”
“It's 'alchemistry,' Gilbert. But you needn't worry, because I... well, to be honest, alchemistry was never one of my specialties either. But I think we'll pull through and put something together something quite splendid. Now, let us fetch the casings and fuses and whatnot.”
It took a long time to assemble the firework as Gilbert envisioned it. Between Marzell having to explain measuring spoons to him, as well as handling the materials as gently as newborn children, they seemed to be one of the last groups to finish their construction. Gilbert had creative ideas, but they had to take a few detours out of the workshop to procure the materials he wanted. Marzell was especially confused when the Helioptile requested clear marbles, but shrugged and went along with it.
Brightpowder, Light Clay, and Flarevine Extract were the ingredients picked out. Taking a somewhat large firework tube, they carefully coated the inside of the bottom with the Flarevine sap, then poured in the propellant. Adding in a second, smaller and separated chamber above that, they gently poured in a mixture of the Brightpowder and glass marbles covered with thin layers of the Light Clay, then a thin layer of explosive in the narrow sides. Gilbert's idea was that the rocket would leave a red smoke trail, then ignite the explosive to break the tube containing the Brightpowder and Light Clay-coated marbles, which would rub off on each other. The powder would emit light, and the marbles would refract it wildly through the clay, creating a radiating effect that would fall back down to earth.
“Do you think this will actually work, Mr. Marzell?” Gil asked concernedly as he looked over the instructions they had written out for the umpteenth time. The further they'd gotten into construction, the more the lizard's confidence waned.
“Gilbert, I know next to nothing about fireworks. I don't know if it will work the way we intend it to. But it's packed full of things that glow and explode, so I know it'll do something when launched into the air and blown up. Try not to worry about it; it's bound to entertain someone, so long as it doesn't accidentally kill anyone.”
“...What if the marbles break? And start raining glass on everyone?”
After that prudent question, Marzell and Gilbert began the tedious task of disassembling their firework, removing the Brightpowder and marbles, and replacing with marbles with wooden buttons coated with the Light Clay, then reassembling the firework and pretending they never came close to accidentally dropping a cloud of broken glass upon the future audience the firework was designed for. The buttons wouldn't be as grand in effect as the marbles would have been, but at least they were definitely safer. By the time they were finished, they were the last group in the workshop.
“Here you are, Miss Chelle!” Marzell greeted as he psychically handed the rocket off to the amoeba Pokemon. “One specially made firework rocket, for the viewing pleasure of... whoever wanted these things in the first place.”
“That would be the Hunters Guild,” Chelle dryly responded as she rotated the rocket around in front of her, checking for any holes, leaks, and other risky surface damage. “Thank you. I hope that with all the time it took you that this will be an especially well-made piece. Have you test-fired it yet?”
“Ahh... well, no, but it is of simplistic enough design that I'm quite sure it—“
“Yes, yes, it's fine. For a younger team, I'd demand at least one test, but it's clear enough you know what you're doing with these,” Chelle cut Marzell off as she put the rocket away with the colorful collection of others. “We have a professional who'll be examining them regardless. Thank you for your contribution; you may take the instructions you made with you for safe-keeping. Let me sign them, so that you'll be allowed to take the listed materials from the storeroom with minimum difficulty.”
After a quick ink signature from Chelle, who immediately resumed organizing the fireworks for the incoming show, Marzell and Gilbert were out of the workshop and returning to their meager quarters in the Guild.
“I have to say, Gilbert, I'm rather impressed at how passionate you were with that firework project,” Marzell remarked as they walked. “I didn't take you to be a big fan of flashy explosions, nor an alchemist.”
“Well... uh...” Gil stammered, suddenly looking bashful and embarrassed. “I just... liked being able to do stuff for once. Real... science stuff.”
“Hm, hm, no need to be shy about it, Gilbert. We all have our passions, some more worthy of merit than others. As your mentor and guardian, I encourage you to follow whatever captures your heart and mind! That's how I lived my younger days, and I believe I'm quite well-off now!”
Gilbert cringed a bit at the implication he'd grow up to be like Marzell, using flowery language, waving his hands around all the time, being condescending... It wasn't an enjoyable mental image. He settled on simply being as smart as Marzell in whatever field he wanted to be. With his D.I.Y. manual and firework plans in his aching hands, and barely any energy left in his body, he felt that today was a day well spent.
He didn't even notice passing a battered and bruised Archimedes in the hallway, grumbling about someone named “Bob.”