#10 Identity Crisis, pt 1
Writer of Episode Cowbeb


Nathaniel, pretending to be Cynn, faked a smile as he played with a baby shuckle. In truth, he barely even noticed the shuckle was there. He was deep in thought.
The rogue ditto, Harter, was undoubtedly coming after him. Harter had long nursed a grudge against Nathaniel. Unlike him, Harter was a firm believer in peaceful co-existence with humans, which had led him to take on a job as a gym leader while in human form.
Harter, having maintained a friendship with several members of the ditto council for years, had probably found out by now that the real Cynn was in ditto custody, and that Nathaniel was impersonating him.
He would have to kill Harter. But how?

Being a Team Volt apprentice was not exactly what Natalie had had in mind as a career choice.
For one, it was morally questionable. Sending hundreds of voltorb to their deaths was not exactly heroic. And second, it she had really wanted to be a doctor, not a terrorist.
But it wasn’t as if she really had a choice in the matter. Most of her family was committed to the cause, and they didn’t take no for an answer.
“Natalie, they’re just animals,” her father had said when she admitted to him that she had an attachment to one of the voltorb and did not want to see the creature obliterated in a suicide bomb. “They’re not intelligent.”
All the same, she had set the voltorb free before its turn came to be blown up.
So Natalie, tired of her role as the eternally hated daddy’s girl in a team of psychotic murderers, started looking for a way out.
She found her way out in the form of Harold.
He was part of a group that hunted down evil ditto that impersonated human beings. She’d been fascinated by him. He was brave, smart, and loyal to her- things that Team Volt members never were.
He was frightening sometimes, when he lost his temper. But it was worth it, she thought. It was worth it.

Harold had always prided himself on his ability to manipulate people. Natalie was, in this sense, his masterpiece. She was his inside link to Team Volt, and she was far too madly in love with him to realize that she was being used.
She was a smart girl, though. Rather nerdy, frankly. Harold sometimes chuckled to himself at the idea of him ever falling in love with someone like her. She wasn’t blonde, for one thing, and those glasses she wore were practically goggles. She was at home in a laboratory, mixing fizzy chemicals.
Whenever Harold felt a twinge of guilt, he reminded himself that he was using her for the greater good. She’d lured many ditto into his traps, allowing him to summarily execute them for their crimes. The only way to kill ditto was to incinerate them, and this was a fact not known to most ditto. They believed themselves invulnerable to fire. But Harold knew they could be killed by fire, because every single ditto he’d captured had been easily torched. They screamed and pleaded and pretended to look like humans, but Harold knew what they really were. He knew.

What worried him was that someday Natalie would realize that she was being lied to and manipulated. Maybe she’d see him with one of his real girlfriends. Maybe she’d decide that a ditto was innocent, or something stupid like that.
He was contemplating how to deal with this, when he realized something that should have been obvious: she was a ditto the whole time! She was pretending to be on his side, but was secretly feeding information to the other ditto!

Besides, Harold was almost done rooting out the ditto that Natalie had access to. He no longer had need for a link to Team Volt- what he needed was a link into that Zangoose rebellion group. So he carefully planned out how he was going to dispose of Natalie and get a link into the rebellion.
It was very simple: He would send Natalie into the Pokemon Daycare Center where he knew a horde of ditto were hiding. The most powerful ditto there was named Cynn. It had been captured by the Elite Four, but it escaped, committing an awful crime in the process: it had murdered Nathaniel, one of Harold’s greatest allies in the anti-ditto war. It was personal for Harold now.

…But by now Harold had lost his train of thought. Where was he? Oh, yes: He would send Natalie into the daycare. She would lure Cynn out into the woods behind the daycare. Harold and his gang would be waiting. They would capture Cynn and force him to watch as they sent Natalie back into the daycare, then torch the place, killing Natalie and all of the ditto. Then, when Cynn was in tears, begging for his life, Harold would torch him.

There was only one person in the Daycare that was not a ditto: a member of the rebellion, a girl named Jennifer. He would arrange for her to be lured out of the daycare as well by a member of his gang. In her gratitude for being saved from the tragic fire, Harold had no doubt, she would happily join him, and thus she would become his next pawn.
Women. They were all the same, he thought, smiling.

The doorbell rang.
William opened the door to the daycare. Standing outside was a girl with odd-shaped glasses.
“Um, hi,” she said awkwardly. “I’m Natalie. Is Cynn here?”
“Yeah,” said William. “Why do you ask?”
“I need to speak with him. It’s really important,” she said urgently.
“All right,” said William, bemused. “He’s in the back yard.”
Natalie hurried through the living room and through the back door. Nathaniel, AKA ‘Cynn’ was sitting beneath a tree, playing with a baby shuckle.
“Cynn!” she said, running over to him.
“Yes? Who are you?” Nathaniel asked.
“I’ve, uh, been sent by the ditto leaders,” she lied. “We need to talk to you about a dangerous anti-ditto organization.”
“Really?” Nathaniel said, surprised. “What organization is this?”
“Um. I’ll tell you all about it when we get to the meeting-place,” she said.
“I have to maintain my disguise, you know,” Nathaniel snapped. “I can’t just go running off.”
“But everyone else here is a ditto, too,” she said.
“Natalie, I’m afraid you’ve been mislead,” said Nathaniel. “I’m the only one here.”
Natalie looked confused. “But I was told… look, this is important, we don’t have time to dawdle. They’re waiting in the forest behind the daycare.”
“All right,” said Nathaniel coolly. “I’d better be back before they notice I’m gone, though.”

Nathaniel quickly morphed into a gelatinous blob and slid through the railing in the fence. Natalie climbed over it.

As soon as the two were some way into the forest, Nathaniel stopped.
“What is it?” asked Natalie, heart pounding.
Harold was emerging from behind a tree, followed by his gang.
“Ah,” said Nathaniel calmly. “Hello, Harold.”

To be continued in the next episode.

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