View Full Version : Operation: Celebi
13th July 2006, 10:44 PM
Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon. I do not own Janera. I did not make up Janera. Janera was created by Obsidian_Blade. Go read her fic Raven. It is REALLY good. The Wings of Council belong to an author named Topaz, on The Pokemon Tower and her own site, The Feathers May Fly. I believe that everything else in this fic is mine.
Kanto—The Indigo League. To most trainers, the two terms are synonymous. Even in Johto, the Indigo League is looked up to because of one solitary thing, and, indeed, after their civil war, they patterned themselves AFTER Kanto. The Indigo League is the only league in the world to have the Elite Four, although there are many rip-offs and cheap imitations. Many other countries may have copies of the Elite Four, such as Johto, yet none match or even come close to the sheer power and prestige of the Elite Four of the Indigo League.
The Elite Four keep their positions by battling trainers, and, if they win, they retain their job. The Elite Four, which actually consists of five trainers, are all masters of their craft. The name is confusing because the Elite Four consists of a Champion and four Elites—Master trainers that have earned the right to be recognized as one of the most powerful in the country, and, often, the world. The champion is, to put it succinctly, the actual Elite of the Elite Four. The actual Elite Four are actually the Elite Second through the Elite Fifth of the Indigo League. If the Champion is defeated, then the new Champion has the choice of keeping the top thre of the Elite Four, and placing the deposed Champion as the Elite Second, or simply choosing their own Elite Four.
For Several Years, the membership of the Elite Four hasn’t changed. However, the positions of those within the Elite Four change regularly. Despite the internal shuffling, for years one Master Trainer has stood above the rest. He is the Dragon Pokémon Elite Master Trainer Lance. He has led the Elite Four, and, because of his position, the Indigo League fairly and honorably for ten stainless years.
The rest of the Elite Four consists of Agatha, a n aging master trainer majoring in Ghost and Poison types; Bruno, the masculine master of Fighting and Rock types; Lorelei, the young master of Ice types; and Karen, a master of Dark Types. While people come close to defeating the Elite Four all the time, Lance stops them all the time, or there would be another Champion in short order.
The Elite Four, or, rather, the Elite of the Indigo League, live on the Indigo Plateau, in a city by the same name. Indigo Plateau is the center of the Kantan Pokémon League. It houses a giant arena where a huge competition is held every year to decide who among the average trainers is the best. This trainer then gets the opportunity to face Lance in a highly publicized match. This is a distinct advantage for the trainer and a direct disadvantage to Lance, or whoever the Champion may be, because the winner of the tournament doesn’t need to go through the Elite Four before he faces Lance, or, if Lance is ever defeated, the Champion of the Indigo League.
However, contrary to popular belief, the Elite Four and the Champion are not the ultimate government in Kanto. After all, if this were the case, a young, headstrong young man or woman could come to power, and squander away everything that Kanto has worked so hard for. Instead, there is a delicate system of checks and balances, which is headed by an elected representative assembly that is the actual power in Kanto. There is a notoriously strong rivalry between the Elite Four and the Representatives, or “Reps” as they are often called by trainers, caused by the sharing of power in the country.
The Elite Four and the Champion live in what could be described as a palace on Indigo Plateau, the center of activity for the Indigo League. The lavishly decorated mansion holds an opulent dining hall, several conference rooms, deluxe suites, offices for each Elite and the Champion, and many other accommodations that are both a necessity or a luxury for Human and Pokémon habitation, including a deluxe training chamber where top-of-the line holography allow Pokémon to keep their edge, or, conversely, for humans to practice their self-defense skills.
The halls of the mansion are lined with thick carpet the color of the sky on a night when the sky is lit up by a full moon’s glow. Tapestries of famous Pokémon and people line the room. From the legendary Gerahid of Tintia who rose up against Stephen the Pillar to every Gym Leader in the history of the Indigo League to the majestic Dratini family to the common Rattata, all manners of people and Pokémon are honored in . Among those on the foremost tapestries are the famous Wings of Council, and the Titan Council, both of which, according to legend, met on Mount Silver about once per decade. The Lati twins, both in their full glory were also displayed. Ho-oh, Lugia, Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres, the legendary birds, were not on a tapestry, but were displayed on intricate ceiling paintings. The legendary beasts Suicuine, Raikou, and Entei were likewise not on tapestries, but instead were benches, carefully carved in exacting detail.
Lance walked through the halls, his Dragonite and Charizard flanking him, and took all this glory in the breadth of a single second—or maybe he ignored it because he had seen it all before. He had examined every inch of every work of art in every room on every floor of the mansion, so there was nothing new for him. He had been here for ten years, except for some holidays and all of his vacations, of course. As he strode through the halls, his cape billowing out behind him he nodded to aides as he passed, most of whom grinned like little kids and performed a mock salute as he passed, to which he returned, doing his best not to laugh, while others ignored him and hurried about their business. If the saluters thought that this was some kind of military organization, he wouldn’t argue with them, but he knew better. Technically, the league did have something of a martial structure, but Lance usually ignored that aspect of the league. This was a bone of contention between Lieutenant Surge, the Gym Leader of Vermillion City, and himself. Surge had served in the Third Altan Defensive War, and insisted on a very martial state of affairs for the Vermillion City Gym, and thought that the League should have be as well. Lance, however, insisted that it was for the children, and should be fun, not overly strict.
Up ahead in a two hallway, right-angle junction, he saw Karen—The Dark Elite—draped over a bench carved in the shape of a Houndoom with her Umbreon and Sneasel on either side of the ends of the bench, waiting for the other Elites to join him for the meeting Lance had called. They both looked bored, as did their master, as usual. Karen looked up at Lance briefly, then her eyes returned to the book she was reading. Karen was early, as usual. Lance smiled slightly. It was rare for Karen not to be there exactly on time, or a little early. He didn’t think that there was even one time since she’d become an Elite that she’d been late for something. To anyone who didn’t know her, it would look like she was ignoring him, but Karen was notorious for being able to multi-task. Lance was pretty sure that she was keeping an eye on everything, taking in every little detail that was going on around her, while still managing to focus most of her attention onto her book, but she might have been focusing all her attention on her book. That was the problem. You never knew with her. She was a bit unsettling, it was true, but there was nobody that Lance would trust more in a battle to watch his back than Karen. While she wasn’t the best Pokémon battler, her personal melee skills and ability to handle firearms were nearly unmatched from anyone Lance had ever known. Her knowledge of strange words helped him greatly in writing speeches, though sometimes he needed a dictionary AND a thesaurus to understand what she was trying to say in a given situation. Karen had always held a special place in Lance’s heart, and recently he had been catching himself sneaking peeks in her direction when he was sure the Dark Elite wasn’t looking.
From the left-hand corridor from his perspective, Lance could hear Agatha huffing and puffing as she plodded along towards the junction where Karen was waiting for everyone. The woman was getting older and older, and it was harder for her to get around to different places, but nobody would ever suggest to her that she was too old to be training anymore. The only time that Lance knew of that happening was at a press conference, and that young man received a stern lecture and a hard caning as a reward. The old woman was a bit eccentric, but she was a good trainer, and Lance often came to her for advice whenever he wasn’t sure how to do something. Her wise counsel and encouragement had kept him from resigning too many times to count. She was an excellent trainer, and the only reason that she wasn’t the Champion herself was because her Pokémon were getting old as well. They had long since left their primes, but were still a force to be reckoned with, as was Agatha herself. The old woman had a sharp mind, and was notorious for picking out solutions to unsolvable situations. She was rarely on time, but she tried to be. No one could fault her there. It was simply that her age prevented her from moving around quickly, though Lance had heard a rumor that late at night she practiced her self-defense skills, but he wasn’t sure of the veracity of the story.
The short, hunch-backed woman emerged from the hallway, huffing and puffing, glanced around the junction, then shuffled over to a chair that was sculpted in the shape of a Fearow, with the Fearow’s head stretching straight up, and the wings serving as the armrests. Agatha’s two escorts, her Gengar and her Misdreavus flanked her. Her Pokémon were special, too. Her Gengar’s gases was tainted a slight purple, and her Misdreavus’ gases was tainted a strong turquoise. This was, of course, not surprising, considering the length of time that Agatha had been training for seventy-five years, she’d seen and sometimes caught a thing or five.
From the left-hand hallway, Lorelei picked her way out of one of the halls, and looked at Lance, smiled. Lance couldn’t help but smile softly in return. She was the youngest of them there, at the age of twenty-six. She had first joined the Elite Four when she was sixteen, by his request. A Johtan Gym leader, and his good friend, Bugsy, had recommended her. She had been in a coma, however, for most of the first month of his reign as Champion, so he had only had three Elites with him until she got better. And then, of course, she had asked him if she could go out and have a journey before she officially joined. Lance acquiesced, and had chosen a temporary replacement for her.
Bugsy had gone with her on her journey, and had helped her very much, from what he had heard. The journey, which lasted nearly four years, covered much of Johto, Hoenn, and Lorelei's home country of Alto. For some reason, she had avoided Kanto altogether. He had heard that she had been rather outgoing, but nothing of what she had been before she had traveled to Nuschantz with Bugsy. When the pair had come back to Indigo Plateau, and Lorelei took her place in the Elite Four, she was rather animated for several days. Then Bugsy went back to Johto, and she lapsed into silence and depression. She had remained this way for six years, save for the times when the Johto gym leaders Falkner or Bugsy came to visit her. Then she was a little more...alive. Other than that, though, she was generally very quiet, and tried to stay out of the way.
That she had lasted so long was a testament to her strength and skill in raising and dueling Pokémon, although recently her wins had been far and few between. Lorelei had, when he had battled her in the beginning, had used elaborate strategies that had nearly overcome him. She was extremely quiet, and didn’t like the press. She found comfort in books, and rarely talked to anyone except Karen. Karen and Lorelei often had long conversations over books they had both read, which were generally long, and had complex plots. They usually debated in quiet tones about a character’s strong points versus his or her weak points after they’d both read it. They were, hands down, the most intelligent people Lance knew. They were great authors too. They often wrote stories about things that were, at least to his mind, exceedingly strange. Lorelei had even hinted that she was working on her very own novel. They generally wrote about a world where there were no Pokémon, where there were substitutes for them, and the substitutes were called “animals.” It was strange, but it was also amusing. Lance was a mediocre author himself, but didn’t have the imagination to make anything quite so out of the ordinary. Lance smiled as Lorelei hurried to sit down next to Karen, where they began to talk in hushed tones, Karen gesturing towards the book that she was reading.
“HAAAAAIIIIIIL,” Lance heard coming from the hall Agatha had come from, and he inwardly winced. It was Bruno, of course, making his usual noisy entrance, “THE CONQUERING HERO!” came Bruno’s booming voice, as he stomped his way through the halls towards Lance and the others. Karen and Lorelei, annoyed at the interruption in their conversation, glanced up slightly in annoyance, then turned back to each other and resumed their hushed conversation, “HE WHO IS MIGHTIEST IN AAALL THE WOORLD!!!!” It wouldn’t be so bad, Lance considered, if Bruno had the slightest semblance of a singing voice. As it was, he sounded worse than a Golem on Pokénip singing through a sewage grate. “HE WHO IS THE GREATEST IN AAAAAALLL THE WOOOORLLLLLDDD!!!!!” And the said Golem was a few miles away from the said sewage grate. Lance resisted the temptation to cover his eyes and his ears as Bruno lumbered around a corner, his Rhyhorn and his Golem were both using Earthquake in tandem to Bruno’s footsteps. Bruno always wore garish clothes, that clashed in the worst way, or only pants, and no shirt at all. Today, fortunately, Bruno DID wear a shirt. Although Lance wasn’t sure that wearing a bright yellow shirt with dark pants, shoes, and dark gray baseball cap with golden chains and other things of that sort weighing him down around his neck was the best fashion choice. But then, it was Bruno’s life, not Lance’s. Although Lance did have to spend many hours a day with Bruno. Bruno would have been almost every girl’s dream, Lance guessed, if he wasn’t so out-spoken and actually learned how to dress. But, once again, it was Bruno’s life, not Lance’s.
Bruno opened his mouth to begin another verse, when Agatha, who had just reached the junction, held up her hand. “Bruno,” she said in her cracking, English accent, “I think we’ve had enough of your singing for today, thank you.”
Bruno’s face fell, “But I was just getting to the good part of the song!” he whined.
Lance rolled his eyes. Bruno, at age forty-seven, still hadn’t outgrown his adolescence. Lance, at age twenty-nine, was far more mature than the Fighting Elite. Lance opened his mouth, but Karen’s cool voice was there before he could open his mouth, “Bruno,” she said softly in her interesting oriental voice, “I believe that Lance called us together for a reason other than to enjoy your singing. Mellifluous as it may be.” Lance frowned. He hadn’t heard that one before. He made a mental note to look it up.
Bruno shrugged, and his chains jangled together, “Sure, whateva ya say, homeys!” Lance inwardly shrank back. How a grown man of his age could act like this, he had no idea, “I’m down with that!”
Lorelei looked up, “It has something to do with Giovanni, doesn’t it? Or Team Rocket, right?” Giovanni, had fallen on rough time after Lance deposed him as The champion of the Indigo League, and had, several years before, had taken control of an upstart sect of Johto organized crime known as Team Rocket. Since then, he had turned it into something to be feared, even by those that did not live in Johto. Team Rocket had expanded more than a thousandfold than what it had been before Giovani had taken control, and it seemed as if Giovani were specifically targeting Kanto in general, and Lance in particular. To make matters worse, Giovanni had no official ties to Team Rocket, and had taken control of the Viridian City Gym, and had used it as a base for Team Rocket. Lance looked back at Lorelei. She looked worried. “I knew that the Global Police was making a mistake when it targeted Team Rocket.”
She was referring, of course, to the Global Association of Police Agents and Crime Fighters (GAPACF, or Global Police for short), and their recent crack-down on crime. They had targeted kidnappers, murderers, thieves, drug dealers, and others of that ilk, but had specifically targeted Team Rocket, in an effort to force the gang out of Kanto and Johto. The early missions were hugely successful, but lately they had been meeting more and more resistance.
Lance grinned, “Yes, Lorelei, it DOES have to do with Giovanni and Team Rocket.” He looked around, “But I’d prefer to talk about it in the conference room.” He gestured toward a pair of ornate doors with intricately carved designs of an underwater scene. It was the Water Boardroom. An entire room filled with paintings, carvings, sculptures, tapestries, and even an aquarium to show the glory of water. Or something like that. He hadn’t been paying much attention to the people who had designed it when they came to him and asked if they could make it.
Agatha leaned on her cane heavily, “So, it finally came down to the Global Police routing the bloody Rockets out, did it?” she coughed, and Lance wasn’t sure if she could stand on her own without that cane anymore. “Why, in my day, they would have rousted up the local trainers; the local gym leaders; we, the Elite Four;” she glanced at Lance, “And the bloody Champion to help take out bloody Team Rocket.”
Lorelei looked confused, and Bruno’s expression mirrored hers. “Um,” Lorelei said quietly, “What are you guys talkin’ about?”
Lance rolled his eyes, “If we could get into the conference room, I’ll tell you.”
Karen stretched, put her book down, and got up. “I have a feeling I know what this is about.” She said, “I thought you’d be calling us together for something like this ever since that Global Police Agent stopped by your office last night.”
Lance nodded, allowing himself a tight smile. He should have expected that nothing got past the Dark Elite’s attention during the night. He waited as the Elite Four moved into the Aqua Board Room, and took seats around the table. Lance waited until they were all seated, then shut the door and pulled a briefcase out from behind a miniature of a submarine. He placed it on the table and opened it. Inside was a small holographic projector.
Lance took a seat behind the projector. “All right. As you are all aware, the Global Police have essentially declared war on Team Rocket. As I am also sure you are aware of, Team Rocket has shifted its main base of operations from Viridian city back to Goldenrod City, thank goodness.” He activated the holo-projector, and a three-dimensional image of the Viridian City Gym appeared. “However, they haven't completely evacuated their Viridian base, and the Global Police simply don’t have the man-power to eradicate the Rockets in Kanto as well as Johto.” He looked at Agatha, and a triumphant grin appeared on the old woman’s features, “So, the Global Police have asked us to help. Karen and I will handle the Viridian Gym. We’ll be in charge of a commando group of trainers, with orders to confiscate everything in the gym, for the Global Police to look through later.”
Bruno looked up at Lance, a strange expression on his face, “So, what, then. You expect us to sit around here, homey, twiddling our thumbs?”
Lance forced himself not to smile, “Actually, I was coming to your part next.”
He pushed a button, and the diagram of the gym changed to one of a building with garishly bright lights, “This, my friends, is the Game Corner in Celadon City. Among intelligence circles, it's pretty well known that the Rockets run it, and have a base beneath it, but Erika’s let them stay there because of the revenue they provide. However, we can’t let them stay anymore. Not with the atrocities they’ve done, and gone unpunished. Now is the time to punish them. Bruno, Agatha, Lorelei, you three are to rendezvous with Erika, and you four, along with the trainers from the gym and any local trainers who have volunteered to help the Global Police against Team Rocket, are going to go and root out any Rockets from their base below the Game Corner. A Global Police Agent will brief you when you arrive in Celadon. Any questions?”
There weren’t any. Lance nodded, “All right, then. Ladies and Gentleman, we have our assignments, let’s saddle up.”
“Lock ‘n load,” Karen said quietly, but loud enough that everyone could hear her. With that, everyone got up, and moved towards the door. Everyone, Lance noticed, except Lorelei. Lance caught Karen’s eye, and she nodded, and stayed behind in the room. Lance had discussed Lorelei with Karen before, and now, as he had told her, he wanted her to do something to boost her self-esteem. More than likely, she was grateful that she didn’t have to hear Bruno talk about how great he was going to be in the Celadon raid. As for Lance—He had to get going and brief the team that had been assigned to him on their up-coming mission.
Karen returned to her seat, and faced Lorelei, who was still sitting, and was staring at the aquarium blankly. A Goldeen and a Corsola were swimming around each other, and it looked like they were about to fight. “Hey,” Karen said softly, “Are you okay?”
Lorelei jumped, “Hm? Oh, what did ya say, Karen?” she turned around to look at Karen, but the Dark Elite noticed that the other girl’s eyes didn’t quite meet hers.
“I was asking,” Karen said gently, “if you were okay. Is there something bothering you?”
There was a long pause as Lorelei considered this, then she said, “Not really.” There was another pause, “Well,” Lorelei said, “It’s just that…” she hesitated, “I mean, what if it turns out that I’m not really the coun’y champion? That everybody just lets me win ‘cause they feel sorry for me?” Lorelei's eyes slowly came up to meet Karen's, almost begging her to change the subject, or to let her go get ready for her upcoming mission.
Karen stared at Lorelei in disbelief. “THAT’S what’s been bugging you?” she asked incredulously, staring at the Ice Elite in disbelief, “Lorelei, listen to me. you’re in the Elite Four. You’ve beaten all the gym leaders. True, it was after you joined the Elite Four, but you still beat them. Right now, your career average is that you win about half your matches, and most of the matches you lose is because you stop thinking that you can do it! Let’s take, uh, that Trainer who majored in Normal types,” Karen said, referring to a loss the day before that Lorelei should have won easily, “You lost your nerve. You had everything all set up for your win, but you cracked.” The trainer, when he faced Karen, had been defeated easily. But if Karen could say one thing about that trainer, he certainly had resolve.
“He was going to beat me anyway,” Lorelei mumbled, looking at her hands, and shifting uncomfortably, “His Clefairy was tough as an Ursaring. His Chansey was mean as a ‘Doom. I thought it was just better to end quickly than to unneccesarily hurt my Pokémon.” A haunted expression went across her face, and for a split second, there was an expression almost as if she were in real pain. “Nothing should be hurt like that.” she whispered.
For an instant, Karen could only stare at her counterpart in disbelief. Then she started feeling the annoyance beginning to build up within her. She forced it down, though. She forced herself to remain calm. Lorelei was a superb trainer, but the Clefairy she had been referring to had only taken one or two hits from her Umbreon before it went down. The Chansey almost didn’t fight because it was too timid. “Lorelei, there are Chansey nearby. They won't take any permanent damage, you know that! We can stop the fight if it gets out of hand, and heal them almost instantly!” Lorelei stared blankly into the tank, her eyes haunted, and she shuddered. Karen sighed, and forced herself to have a calm voice, “You should have won that fight easily. Look at me.” Lorelei looked about halfway between where she had been looking and at Karen, but didn’t meet the Dark Elite's piercing gaze. “LOOK at me.” Karen repeated, adding a tinge of steel to her voice-allowed her frustration to come through. Lorelei, startled, quickly jerked her head up to look straight into Karen’s gaze, “You are an excellent trainer, one of the best. In fact, I’m pretty sure you could give Lance a run for his money if it came to that. I cannot—WILL not allow you to be like this.” Karen’s glare seemed to shrink Lorelei until Karen was amazed that the girl had even gotten this far. “You sacrificed your life, your hopes, your dreams, your entire teenage life to reach this moment.”
Karen leaned forward, and Lorelei flinched, and looked at the floor, her eyes still haunted, and beginning to be tinged with tears. “It's not worth it,” she whispered. “Nothing is worth it, if you're hurt like that, nothing is worth it.”
Karen stared at her. “Hurt like what?” Lorelei ignored her, and Karen sighed. She'd heard the exact same thing many times, but she could never get the Ice Elite to elaborate. “I looked through your trainer file. You were one of the most ruthless trainers out there. You did whatever you had to do to make ends meet on your four-year journey, and get that one last badge. It said that you battled five trainers at once to get a room at the Indigo Plateau Pokémon Center. That you took on Team Rocket almost daily after Giovanni took over, and almost always won. That you won almost ninety-five percent of your reported battles." What happened to you? Karen added silently to herself.
Lorelei’s gaze wandered, and she seemed to shrink in on herself even more, “Long time ago,” she mumbled, “I haven’t been that person for a long time. Not since...” she trailed off, and she seemed to be genuinely terrified. “Don’t worry about me,” she said in a barely audible tone, “I can take care of myself.”
Finally Karen could stand it no longer, and pounded the hard-wood table with one fist. “THAT’S IT!” She hissed in a loud voice, “I will not see you like this anymore!” Karen stood up, and, with one hand on the table for support, leaped over the entire table. She pulled Lorelei out of her seat with one hand, and snatched one of her Pokéballs off of her belt with the other. “Do you see this, Lorelei?” The girl nodded feebly, “When they became yours, they sacrificed their lives, their goals to help you find yours!” Karen slammed it down onto the table. Hard.
“Hey!” Lorelei said, blinking back tears. “D-d-don't talk to me like that!” she wailed, “You have no idea what I've done for them, and what it did to me!”
Karen glared at Lorelei. “I don't care!” she yelled, “You don't care about them!” she slammed the Pokéball back down onto the table.
Lorelei glared at her, and suddenly Karen found herself on her back, Lorelei's hand on her throat, cutting off her air, and Lorelei's face glaring down at her like Moltres out of a nightmare. For the first time in a long time, Karen was actually scared. Where had this Lorelei come from? “I told you,” Lorelei told her coldly, “Be careful with that. And I don't want to hear you say anything like that ever again. I very nearly died for my Pokémon.” Karen nodded, and Lorelei released her. Karen rubbed at her throat, and stared in fear and awe at Lorelei. Was this what Lorelei had been like? If so, then she was truly a force to be reckoned with. Then, abruptly, Lorelei blinked, and suddenly she was the frightned young woman that she had been mere minutes before. She picked up her Pokéball and caressed it lovingly. “But the Normal trainer was too difficult.”
Karen blinked, startled by the transformation. She felt her resolve harden. Somewhere in there was the strong young woman that Lorelei had once been. She had just seen it. She just had to draw it out, and make sure that it stayed. Karen let loose a small grin that she hoped looked genuine, and something in Lorelei's face changed. Karen couldn't quite read what it meant.“They gave you their trust,” Karen said harshly. “Trust that you would train them to the best that you could! Instead, you allow yourself to backslide!”
Lorelei seemed to crumble visibly underneath Karen’s verbal assault. Karen internally winced. She had seen the old Lorelei, but this didn't seem to be going anywhere. How in the world could she draw her back out? She had been so close. “Maybe-maybe you’re right. Maybe I should quit.” She mumbled.
Karen saw her chance, and seized it with both hands. Or, in actuality, two handfuls of Lorelei’s ice-blue tunic. She pulled the Ice Elite up to her face, and began talking again. “I’m right!” she hissed into Lorelei’s face, which was barely an inch from hers, “And you know it! You let your Pokémon down!” Lorelei seemed on the verge of tears, “But it’s not too late!” Karen said, and shoved the girl back down into her chair, “Reclaim what you once had, Lorelei. Fight with all your heart and all your soul when you go to Celadon, and see if you can remember what it was like, being on the road, back when you were merely another trainer! Fighting for what you believed in, to make a difference in the world.” Lorelei said nothing, and seemed to cower before Karen. Karen internally grimaced. That hadn't worked. If anything, Lorelei seemed about ready to resign.
Karen decided to use one last tactic, one which being the Dark-type Elite certainly enhanced her abilities for. “You disgust me!” Karen said, speaking, to her regret, truthfully. Lorelei’s head shot up, the old fire in her eyes, “You have so much potential, but you don’t use it! Instead, you settle for mediocre, when you should be trying to be superb!” Karen saw something in Lorelei's eyes click, much as it had when she was the Ice Queen she had been moments before. Hopefully this would work. “If you’re going to continue to be like this, then you really should just go home.” The fire in Lorelei's eyes was returning in greater force than before, and Karen inwardly grinned. She knew that Lorelei had a pretty bad relationship with her parents, and that she didn't really ever want to see them. “You don’t belong here.” That last bit might have overdone it, actually, Karen thought to herself, but she hadn't been able to stop herself.
Karen turned and stalked out, but saw the Ice Elite out of the corner of her left eye jump out of her chair with balled fists. As soon as she was out of view, she began to saunter away, past Lance, who obviously had been listening. “She’d give ME a run for MY money?” he asked, amusedly in his distinctly Kantan accent.
Karen looked up at him and grinned, “Don’t underestimate her, Lance. She’s a powerhouse, yet so little of her potential has been tapped.”
Back in the Aqua Board Room, Lorelei stood, clenching and unclenching her fists. She hadn't felt like this for a long time. Not for six years, since...She shuddered, but forced herself not to withdraw back into her shell. “You want me to go home, Karen?” she said to thin air through gritted teeth, “You wish. I’ll show you that I belong here. Then we’ll see who’s so smug!” Lorelei stalked out of the room, and looked over to her left, where Karen and Lance were just turning around a corner and out of her sight.
“I'm staying, Karen,” she growled, “And I'm not going anywhere. I am BACK!”With that, she strode down the corridor with fresh confidence in her steps, a sense of surety to her stride. She had a mission to prepare for. She’d show them. She’d show them all. Lorelei was BACK. And she was here to stay. And nobody, not even Karen, was going to make her go home. There was no way she'd go back there.
14th July 2006, 9:16 AM
You reposted this, and that just made my day. I loved this, and I still do. Every once in a while, I just remember little lines or parts from this. That's how great it was/is.
So, are you going to finally finish this now? Please tell me yes, because I will be very disappointed if you don't.
Oh, and because I just find these in your fics:
Bruno opened his mouth to begin another verse, when Agatha, who had just reached the junction, held up his hand. “Bruno,” she said in her cracking, English accent, “I think we’ve had enough of your singing for today, thank you.”
That thar bolded "his" should possibly be a "her". You and your gender confusion. XD
14th July 2006, 7:42 PM
and actually, I finished it before. then I went back to repost HHNF.....:D
so this should go a little bit faster than before.
btw, I'll fix that right now
15th July 2006, 6:37 AM
I don't really care how fast this goes, just as long as I can find out exactly what happens. XD
And it is a good thing that you reposted HHNF first, so you could get new fans. Sorry that I just kind of...stopped...reviewing that. But I did read that before, and was really waiting for O:C.
Now I'm happy. And I feel I should appoint myself your official Gender Confusion Finder. XD
15th July 2006, 7:06 AM
Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon. I do not own Janera. I did not make up Janera. Janera was created by Obsidian_Blade. Go read her fic Raven. It is REALLY good. The Wings of Council belong to an author named Topaz, on The Pokemon Tower and her own site, The Feathers May Fly. I believe that everything else in this fic is mine.
It was just another day in the life of Team Rocket for Giovanni. Butch and Cassidy brought home thousands of dollar’s worth of merchandise from various Pokémarts around Kanto and Johto, Jessie and James reported in with yet another screw-up, and there was yet another dire threat for them to face. Giovanni was almost bored by the sheer monotony of it all. Almost. This Global Police thing had started out as a minor irritation, but now, it was becoming a far more serious problem. They had already managed to thwart his plans to steal the Pokemon from the breedery just outside of Goldenrod—a plan that would have gone off without a hitch, but now five of his men were dead, and another seven injured, not to mention the three Rockets that were captured—His plan to raid the warehouse of the Goldenrod Pokemart—He had lost another seven rockets there, ten injured, but thankfully no one was captured. And all they had to show for it was a handful of ordinary Pokeballs. Empty, of course. Both of the strikes had taken weeks of preparation, and no one was supposed to be hurt. Now, because the GP had barged in, twelve of the Global Police, three Rockets, and four innocent civilians as well.
That would all change, and it would change soon. He had just finished briefing Butch and Cassidy via holo-phone on the problem, and they had just left the Viridian Gym with a contingent of Rockets to wipe out a strike force of the Global Police. He was currently inspecting the base underneath the Celadon Game Corner, and from what he saw, he had nothing to worry about. The Global Police, or anyone, for that matter, would have a hard time getting into the base without taking heavy losses. This was, of course, assuming that they even tried to, considering that in the day, there were dozens of civilians all around. And during the night, constant watches were kept, and the entire base was on a state of heightened security. Nevertheless, he had insisted on issuing hand guns to all Rockets in Kanto and Johto, just as a precaution. The operatives in other countries didn’t need guns, yet. After the Game Corner inspection, he was due to leave for the Orange Islands, to check up on the third largest cell of Rockets on the planet.
As he looked over yet another piece of machinery, he couldn’t help but be annoyed by the incessant whining. Stopping his examination of the machinery, he turned and glared at Jessie and James. “Shut up!” he hissed, “You two are NOT getting guns! I made my decision, and that’s final!” The morons would probably just shoot each other before they figured out how the guns worked.
“But, boss!” James whined, “How are we supposed to be as good as the other Rockets if we don’t have guns and they do!” Of course, that might not be such a bad thing.
Giovanni leveled his glare on the boy, but the idiot just stood there and blinked, probably not even realizing that his boss was mad at him. “How many times do I have to tell you? The guns are for emergencies ONLY!” he bellowed, and slammed his fist down hard onto the machinery next to him. “Besides, I gave you a chance to be as good as everyone else BEFORE I issued guns. For NINE STINKING YEARS! But were you good? No!” to say that he was getting really annoyed now would probably have been the understatement of the century, “No,” he repeated, “You screwed up assignment after assignment! Whenever I gave you an assignment as easy as delivering a suitcase to a Rocket, you gave it to an Officer Jenny!” His fist whipped out, and caught James on the side of the head. It was a lucky thing that it was only Butch’s shipment of jelly beans that James had bungled, or they would have been in very serious trouble. Of course, Butch was still pretty mad at James.
He turned to Jessie, “And YOU!” he roared. If any Rockets had to come close to Giovanni, they tried to give him a wide berth. They ALL knew not to interrupt him when he was talking to Jessie, James, or Meowth, And to stay way back if he was talking to all three of them. The other rockets were liable to have their heads handed back to them if they so much as got Giovanni’s attention, unless they were Butch or Cassidy, the undisputed Boss’s pets. “YOU’RE the BRAINS of the outfit, or, at least, you’re supposed to be! If anything, your plans are even more stupid than James’!” Another fist whipped out and caught Jessie on the side of the head.
“You’re both failures, you know that? Why couldn’t you be more like Meowth here?” Giovannia demanded, and glared at the humans, not speaking to each other for several seconds—stewing.
Jessie and James looked at each other sheepishly, then looked down at Meowth, who was preening himself. “AND YOU!” Giovanni grabbed Meowth by the neck, “WHY COULDN’T YOU BE MORE LIKE PERSIAN!” He threw Meowth into James, who caught him, but stumbled back into Jessie. Just that quickly, they became nothing more than three objects taking up space on the floor.
Giovanni glared down at them. “Get out of my sight,” he snarled, turned and stalked out of the room.
Jessie looked at James, and James looked back. They were in trouble again. They had better lay low for a few days, Jessie decided, or—
“Hey!” James exclaimed, “I’ve got an idea!”
“Wonderful,” Meowth complained, “Da Human scatterbrain has yet anotha idea ta get us inta trouble.”
“No, no no!” James said, “Let’s think about this for a minute. You guys have heard of Professor Oak, right?”
Jessie stared at James, “Heard of him, how can we not? He’s on the news almost every night. He’s always got something or other going on.”
James brightened, “Exactly! He’s usually got a few Global Police guys with him, right?”
Jessie stared at James, not sure if she should jump into the idea right away or not. “Go on,” she said cautiously.
“Well, since the Global Police People are all in Johto now, there’s no one to stop us from helping ourselves to Oak’s research and Pokémon. It’ll get Giovanni into a better mood, won’t it?” James asked, looking around for support.
Jessie stared at James in shock, “James. That might be the best Idea I’ve ever heard from you in…” she trailed off, and thought about it, “Well, that’s the only idea you’ve ever had, but it’s still good! Let’s go tell Giovanni, and we’ll get going.”
“Whoa, whoa whoa!” Meowth said, “yous are gonna tell Giovanni about dis? He’s in a bad enough mood already. If I could tell yous what to do, I’d tell yous to surprise ‘im.”
James looked at Jessie, “He’s got a point. I mean, wouldn’t Giovanni just get mad again and fire us?”
Jessie shrugged, “Good point. Let’s go.”
The three of them hurried towards the door, with James in the lead. James only tripped twice on the way out.
Lorelei, Erika, Agatha, and Bruno sat in a diner across from the Game Corner, discussing tactics. Restaurant was a nice place, with cobble-stone flooring, stone tables, and the best part was that the eating area was outside. The pastoral restaurant was in stark contrast to the Game Corner across the street, with it loud, boisterous music; bright, glaring neon lights; and even had people out front yelling out the latest number the lottery had gotten up to. “I don’t know what they’re doing,” Erika said in a quiet voice, “But Rockets have been coming and going more often than usual the last few weeks.”
“Do you think that the Global Police thing has something to do with it?” Agatha asked.
Erika shook her head, “I don’t think so. The Rockets had been lying low, trying not to draw attention to themselves. But recently you’ve been able to tell a Rocket by whether or not he’s wearing a sidearm.” Erika was a small woman, petite, and had a tan that suggested that she spent long hours in the sun. Truth be told, she didn’t train her Pokemon very hard—they trained themselves. Her green eyes glanced around, warily, and she shoved a strand of her amber hair back over her shoulder. “Don’t keep an eye out for them, though, and if you see one, don’t stare at ‘em.” She said quietly.
Lorelei gaped at Erika, “You’re kidding me. They’re using guns?”
Erika glared at Lorelei, “Not so loud. Rockets have spies all over this city. You want one of their sleeper snipers to come out of hiding just for us?” Lorelei quieted down, and Erika relaxed somewhat, “Sorry. You live in Celadon, or Viridian, I hear, for long enough, and certain precautions become second-nature. Anyway, they’ve been wearing side-arms, and a large group recently headed out of here. It looked like they were heading for Johto.”
Agatha leaned forwards, “ We’ll pass that along. What can you tell us about the Game Corner?” the old woman asked, then coughed several times until she took a drink of water.
A waiter approached with their food, and Erika waited until the man had retreated back to the kitchens, “If you’re expecting a fight, it’s not good. They’ve got people every twenty feet or so, it’s crowded in there, and movement is hampered at best—impossible at worst. There are rumors that there are as many as thirty levels to the place, but if there is more than one level, I’ve only seen the top one. Slot machines, craps tables, you name a gambling thing, it’s there. At the back left corner as you come in, there’s a bar, and directly in front of it is a dance floor, with a band stage off to one side. I’ve got some of my trainers in as the band for today, to cut down on that risk. There’s not much to the stage…just a raised bit of ground with outlets, spotlights—stuff like that.” Erika looked up, as if to draw inspiration out of the sky, “Let’s see here, what else is there? Oh! There’s a bookcase in the rear right corner, and behind that is a narrow corridor to the restrooms. If there really is an entrance to lower levels, I’d bet that it’s there. At any one time, there are probably a couple hundred people, with a maximum capacity of about a thousand, but that’s a really crowded place, if there’s that many.”
Agatha bit her lip, “This doesn’t sound very promising. We need to time it so that we have a minimum of civilian casualties.”
“Plus, they could have sleepers,” Erika pointed out, and leaned forward, “Look, I don’t think that this is a very good idea. Ever. Are you guys willing to wait until dark? Rumor has it that they have a barracks down there in the alleged lower levels.” She shrugged, “I would imagine that we’d be able to capture quite a few Rockets.”
Lorelei shook her head, “No, that’s not a good idea.”
“Why not?” Erika demanded, “It’s better than any I’ve heard you come up with.”
“Because in five minutes, the Global Police are attacking in Goldenrod, Lance and Karen area attacking in Viridian, and we are supposed to attack in five minutes.” Lorelei pointed out. “Didn’t you read the memo? We’re supposed to execute a three-pronged strike, so that no Rockets will be able to escape.”
Erika sighed, “I know,” she said quietly, “It’s just that I don’t see this working as well as a night strike.”
Lorelei leaned forward, “If we do a night strike, It’ll prove to the Rockets that we’re cowards, and can’t do anything overtly.”
Agatha smiled, and laughed in her cracking voice, “I agree with Lorelei. I have to admit, It’s good to hear what I was about to say coming from someone that’s less than half my age.”
Lorelei looked at Agatha, “Thanks,” she mumbled falling back into her laconic ways for a brief instant, “I think.”
Bruno nodded, “I agree,” he said, food spilling out of his mouth.
The three women all looked away. “Then it’s settled,” Lorelei said quietly, “We go in as soon as we finish eating.”
Erika looked around the table, saw everyone nodding and sighed, “All right. If that’s what you want. But believe me. It would be better if you had waited.”
The three women, and Bruno finished eating in silence, pausing only occasionally to glare at Bruno when he belched loudly, and got to their feet, Agatha insisted on paying, and after she had done so, the four casually made their way into the game corner. Instantly, every sense was under attack.
The smell of sweat, smoke, alcohol, and too many bodies too close together for too long was overpowering; the sound of raucous music and screamed lyrics assaulted their ears; and the strobe lights hurt their eyes. Bruno seemed to like the music, but the surprising thing was that Agatha was the only one who seemed fully comfortable. Lorelei glanced around curiously and fearlessly, as if no one could touch her, but looked extremely out of place. Erika glanced around as if she might be under attack any second. Bruno, easily distracted as he was, started bobbing his head in time to the music and would have gone over to the dance floor if Agatha hadn’t grabbed his arm.
The women eyed him warily, then they too split up, moving out to scope out the Game Corner. Lorelei wandered around the various gambling venues, occasionally taking part in one or two of them. Bruno, of course, was immediately gyrating on the dance floor, oblivious to everyone around him except for those immediately around him, the mission all but forgotten. Agatha hurried towards the hallway that Erika said held the restrooms, and entered the restroom immediately. Erika, bored because she had seen it before, wandered over to the bar and ordered a Root Beer. Everyone kept an eye out for Rockets, guns, or anything else that could pose a threat. Numerous trainers and other sorts of people wandered about, several wearing Rocket uniforms, but Erika recognized several more Rockets by their pictures.
Erika glanced around, and spotted Lorelei looking at one of the latest gambling machines. She wasn’t sure what it was called, but all she knew was that it was big, had digital screens, and had a whole lot of bells and whistles. Literally. She glanced over towards the hallway where Agatha had gone. It had been about three minutes, and, Erika was mildly surprised to see the old woman coming back out.
That meant it was time. Reaching into the small green purse she carried with her, her hand settled around the small pistol with its silencer, and pulled it out. The barkeep saw it, and his eyes widened as he bent down to get something from underneath the bar. Erika’s left hand grabbed the handle of her glass mug, and she swung it up into the barkeep‘s face as her right hand came out of her purse, pistol in hand. Without a second thought, she aimed for the nearest Rocket and fired, while her left hand was releasing her Pokemon. The bullet slammed into the rocket, though the detonation wasn’t heard due to the muffler and the noise that already enveloped the room. It struck him several inches to the left of his lung, and he fell over backwards, over a table with his fellow Rockets. One of them glanced up at her, startled, and abruptly he reached for his belt. Erika’s aim shifted slightly, and he was down too, wounded, but not mortally so. Then her Pokemon’s Vine Whips came into effect, and she was suddenly on a chandelier above the room. It gave her partial cover, and a superb firing position. Agatha, Lorelei, Bruno, and the band were beginning to fight as well. Her trainers pulled their own silenced guns and began firing nonlethal shots.
Hysterical crowds ran for the door, and they would be intercepted by gym trainers, just to be sure that no Rockets escaped. No one would be able to get to where she assumed the door to the lower levels was, but that wouldn’t keep people from below coming up. Except that she saw one of her trainers taking up a position behind the Ghost Elite.
She spotted another Rocket, aimed, fired. His hand yanked away from the gun he was reaching for, and shrieked in pain. Then everything went down the tubes. Some Rocket somewhere got a gun out, and let out a shot. And it was Lorelei that screamed bloody murder. Erika whirled around, and fired. Not having time to take proper aim, she feared that he would die, but there was no time to worry about it, because another shot rang out, and someone else screamed, and Erika didn’t recognize the voice, and feared it was a civilian. Pokemon’s attacks flew all over the place, and a stray Flamethrower snapped the chain holding the chandelier up, and suddenly Erika was thrown back into the fray of battle. With a snarl, she put the gun into her belt and pulled out the two small knives she kept in hidden compartments of her sleeves for just this sort of occasion, and began fighting in some very messy close quarters combat. She made a mental note to change the clips on the gun before she had to do ranged combat again. Most of the people in the Game Corner now were Rockets, and a few were running towards the door.
Lorelei had made her way towards Agatha, and was leading three of Erika’s Gym Trainers in a charge towards the stairs to the lower levels, which had revealed themselves, and Rockets were boiling up them. Erika didn’t have time to keep track of her, and turned back to her own battles.
Bruno wasn’t taking down many Rockets, but what Rockets he did bring down looked like high ranking Rockets. Erika looked around for the nearest group of Rockets and charged, waving her tiny knives in a threatening manner.
A dark figure slinked through the dark streets of Celadon City. It was night, but few of the lights were still on. The attack on the Rocket Game Corner had damaged power lines to most of the city, leaving vast portions of the metropolis without power. Team Rocket had taken a lot of damage, and it would take them a long time to rebuild. There were rumors floating around from those who still had electrical power that the Elite Four had attack the Game Corner, with the help of the local Gym Leader, and the Viridian Gym had also been attacked by Lance, the Champion of the Indigo League, Karen, the Dark-type Elite of the Elite Four, and a collection of local trainers that had volunteered to help with the raid had helped in both raids.
According to some sources, the main fighter in the Celadon raid was Lorelei, who had broken through her losing streak, and managed to become the focal point in what some were beginning to call the Celadon Slaughter. Team Rocket, caught totally by surprise, had been routed in two hours, which was surprisingly short, considering how much ground the Elites had to cover. The Elites, Erika, and Erika’s gym trainers swept through the building like wild-fire, encountering real resistance only on the lowest floors.
However, there had been numerous civilian casualties, but as of yet no deaths, however, approximately fifteen were in the hospital, however. Only two Rockets had died in the raid, an impressive statistic, although approximately three hundred of the four hundred fifty Rockets that were captured were wounded. The figure knew that, and she also knew that if she didn’t get back to her retrieval point in the next five minutes, she would be stuck in Kanto for a very long time. She had gathered valuable intelligence about Kanto in general, and the individual cities and leaders in particular.
For instance, she hadn’t known certain things about the various gym leaders that were stationed all over the country. However, she had known that the rulers of the said towns were the gym leaders. She hadt known that the gym leader was decided not by election, but by whoever was the gym leader at that particular time. She had known that the process by which a gym leader became a gym leader was actually a “Survival of the Fittest” type of succession, in which the gym had many different trainers, all vying for supremacy, and, ultimately, the gym leadership. The person who had been a gym leader for years had no guarantee that he would remain a gym leader in a week.
She had also managed to gather a lot of information about Professor Oak and his research projects. It hadn’t all been published, as her masters had assumed, and the populace of Kanto, she knew, would not accept all of them with open arms if they were exposed. He had known this, and yet he had continued his experiments. Because of this small fact, the Pokémon Prof had given her and her masters a valuable piece of blackmail that they could use against him.
Who was she? She was quick, and she was silent. She was deadly, and she was prolific with all types of equipment. She was fast, and she had an eidetic memory. She wore a loose-fitting black garment that fit her to her exact standards, made by the finest tailors in her home country. Not an inch of skin was exposed. She was stealthy. She was the best in Special Operations that her country had ever made in its entire history. They needed her now more than ever, as they prepared to execute their greatest land grab in history, with the most men in history, with more at stake than anybody else in history, period and full stop. She had scouted this route when she had first come to the country five years before, and she had scouted it many times since. There was rarely anyone along this particular course she chose through the city that had come to a stale-mate so suddenly.
The last stretch….yet she did not run. The figure was content to continue her stealthy approach to the door. She achieved the door, opened it quietly, and slipped through. Ducking through a small entry-way, the figure darted into a broom closet, and emerged in a form-fitting black suit that she had been wearing outside, but now her face was exposed and her long red hair flowed over her shoulders, down her back, and almost down to her waist. Her turquoise eyes impaled anyone that crossed her path, and they instinctively moved out of her path. Her stride, no longer the short, stealthy movements of one not wishing to be seen, was now a strong, long march as she walked through the halls. The rhythm of her feet never slowed nor sped, but maintained an even tempo, even as she climbed the stairs.
Her muscled arms and legs kept anyone from staying in her way for longer than it took to catch sight of her. If anyone had ventured a guess as to her profession, they likely would have said that she was an acrobat. Her real job—that of a spy—was not outside of the realm of imagination as a person looked upon her. After walking a certain number of steps, she stopped, turned crisply at a right angle to her left, unlocked the door, opened it, and stepped through all in one smooth motion.
Inside the room, it was dark, but thanks to the low-light contact lenses that she wore, she could see perfectly. As had been arranged, and Alakazam was waiting for her in her room. She nodded to it, and it nodded back. Through an assortment of hand gestures, she motioned to the things that she had labeled for remote teleportation. The Alakazam nodded once, and a bright light seemed to enfold them. If anyone had slowed down a tape slow enough, it would have looked like a bright silver light forming over their heads, then moving down at an alarming rate that enveloped them both. It was, in fact, the technique known simply as Teleport, which is exactly what it did. In the blink of an eye, the two stood on top of a platform inside a facility with brightly polished walls that gave no clue that this location was actually thousands of miles away from Celadon City.
No one spoke as she strode off the platform and out of the room, but there seemed to be a collective sigh of relief as she left the room. She strode into a room, and, after exactly one minute, emerged in an entirely different uniform. The uniform was completely black, except for a bright red stripe that ran down the exact middle of the side of the uniform. She walked—no, it was more like she stalked—down the hall, and entered a room labeled only as “Debriefing.” It would take days for her masters to extract all of the information she had gained from her, but she was willing to take as much time as was needed.
She was, after all, the best spy in the infamous Engaran spy league. And her previous mission had been, after all, vitally important to the continuing supremacy over the rest of the world.
And once the campaign began, there would be no stopping for Engara, or for the world. It would be a one-time ordeal. If it failed, then Engara would cease to exist. If it succeeded, the entire world would be under Engaran control. When it was all boiled away, that was what it came down to.
Either glorious success…or a pitiful failure.
Special Agent Anne Peters was willing to sacrifice her life to ensure that her country had success. Her country, her master, and her religion demanded it. As she demanded for herself as well. And when she set her mind to something, there were few that could have stood before her.
And most of those were dead.
18th July 2006, 9:37 AM
Duck, Lance’s instincts screamed at him! Without thinking, he dropped to the ground, and a Scyther’s sharp scythe claw swung through where his neck had been seconds before. He rolled backwards, and the Scyther's other arm scythe struck the ground where he had just been. He came up with a left punch that hit the Scyther on its left torso, and rolled away is the Scyther's right scythe came up and nearly sliced him in half. Suddenly, Lance heard a roar and he dropped to the ground moments before flames shot by overhead, and struck the Scyther, who cried out in pain before collapsing to the arena floor. Lance looked up at his Charizard, and nodded his thanks. He got up and dusted himself off, and looked around. He and Karen had come in alone, and were meeting stiff resistance. Karen was working her way over to the living area of the gym, her Pokemon going in front of her as a sort of buffer while he and his Pokemon were trying to keep the Rockets busy.
Then he didn’t have time for anything else. Three Rockets were charging towards him and his Pokemon—their Pokemon deployed in front of them. He had his Charizard with him, but the rest were elsewhere. Somewhere he heard his Dragonite roar out in pain, but he couldn’t allow himself to be distracted. In came an Umbreon, and he rolled to the side, grabbed its tail, and threw it into a Rocket, who tumbled over backwards. One Pokemon temporarily down, seventeen in this group to go, and still two more trainers. Then a Raticate was launching itself at his leg, and a roll and a swift kick knocked it aside. He felt rough hands grab him, and he knew that he was out of time. The humans had arrived. Poor Charizard was overwhelmed, when suddenly, with a screech like some feral bird of prey, his Aveamon swooped in, grabbed the Raticate and an Espeon, darted up high into the gym with its powerful cerulean wings, and hurled them into the ceiling of the gym before coming back down for another pass.
Lance didn't get a glimpse of the beautiful Flying/Dragon type, but he knew that it would never give up until it either Aveamon had freed him, or the dragon-type was dead. Most trainers had never seen an Aveamon before. He certainly hadn’t, when he had visited Alto for the first time. This particular Aveamon was one of the youngest of the species to ever leave the island.
Suddenly, the Aveamon slammed into the Rocket holding him, and Lance was momentarily disoriented by the black tail feathers before he managed to fall forward, and roll to the left. It was a move that saved his life. The Umbreon had returned and had leaped towards him. He glanced up at his Charizard, and saw it on the ground, panting. From somewhere, another Scyther was coming in, its arm raised for a killing blow against the Charizard. Lance pulled a ball from his belt and held it towards the fire type, “RETURN!” he called out loudly.
One of his Pokemon was down, but he still had five left. Draman, his tiny Psychic Dragon came barreling out of nowhere and knocked aside the Umbreon, who responded by sinking its teeth into its attacker’s golden tail. Howling in pain, Draman flew into the air and dislodged the Umbreon by smashing it into a Rocket’s head, then flew off, its golden body glittering in the bright light of the Viridian Gym.
Lance was fighting hand to hand now, and he had to watch it. He didn’t know how many people the Rockets had in reserve, so he couldn’t afford to get too beat up.
Left, right, block. He dodged another punch, then brought up his left foot and slammed it into his opponent’s knee. As the Rocket instinctively bent down, Lance’s foot came up, and the man groaned his protest at what Lance had chosen for its target. With a final sucker punch to the gut, the man went down.
Lance had no time for victory, as he was immediately grabbed again from behind. Acting on pure instinct, the Champion of the Indigo League grabbed the man’s head, and hauled him over his shoulder, and onto the ground. The Dragon Trainer reached for one of the Rocket’s hands, and jerked it behind the man’s back, while keeping a knee on the man’s back. With his left hand, he reached into a pocket for some handcuffs, and put it onto the man’s hand, and reached for the other one. He had just grabbed it when a Charmeleon dropped onto his back, slamming him onto the ground. Lance rolled over, and raised a hand to punch the fire type, when a burst of water spread over him. It was from his water dragon, Draqua, who, not very good at battling, had been circling the top airspace of the gym with its enormous twenty-five foot wingspan, and lending a hand wherever she could.
Lance rolled to his left, content to let his dragon handle it, and rolled right into his Tundramon. An ice dragon, it was a Pokemon he had captured in the Ski Resort country of Nuschantz. Its light blue scales glittered as it turned to confront a threat to Lance, he took cover under her silver-white wings for just a moment. This particular Tundramon had brown feet, not Blue or Black, which meant that while it may have been a superbly strong battler, it would never have been accepted by any of its own species. Tundramon have looked down upon the blue and black-footed Tundramon of Nuschantz, and he doubted anything would change that.
Lance darted away, and tackled a Rocket who was about to fire his gun at Lance’s Arachnadrago, a prize he had captured on a trip in the dense forests north of Pewter City. The Bug Dragon was very small, like all Arachnadrago., and was hued a very bright red, and speckled with brown and black spots. Its purple head head came up, and its dull green topknot whipped around. It spotted something behind Lance, and leaped into the air. Lance dropped to the ground, knowing that something was coming after him, and a Tri-attack missed him by inches. Arachnadrago's small tail whipped over Lance’s head a second after he was down, and slammed into the Fearow that had fired at Lance.
From elsewhere came frightened screams, and as Lance punched the Rocket in the jaw, he heard many of them calling for surrender, a cry that was soon taken up by all the Rockets in the gym. Lance stood up and dusted himself off, and looked at Karen, who was grinning stupidly at him. he gave her a mock salute, which she returned. Exhausted, bruised, and bleeding in a half dozen places, he looked around as his team landed. It was odd, he thought to himself, that only two of his Pokemon would be recognized by the average Kantan trainer, but his edge of type advantages he wouldn’t otherwise would have had was what kept him in business, and was why he was still the champion.
Lance stood behind the cameras in Goldenrod City's main Television Studio, the rest of the Elite Four flanking him, looking at a news reporter who was looking decidedly excited, and more than a little flustered. And why shouldn’t she be? Not only was this her first real broadcast, she was about to announce the biggest news that she would probably ever report in her life. Plus the Elite Four, the five most famous people in the region, were watching her.
Out of the corner of his eye on his left, he could see Lorelei, standing with a firmness in her posture that he had never seen before. He had been impressed with Erika’s report on the battle, and Lorelei’s effectiveness. Lance wondered exactly how the shy young woman had given way to this new Lorelei.
Behind him he could smell Karen’s perfume behind him and slightly to his right. She was the only one that hadn’t told him about her battle. He had been there, of course, but she had been out of his sight for most of the time. Still, she didn't really like talking about her battles.
Bruno, he could barely see on his right, was still wearing his garish outfit from before, and looked very much the worse for wear. According to Erika, he had tried taking on three powerful rockets by himself, and had lost miserably.
Agatha’s raspy breathing could be heard from behind him, and slightly to his left. Erika had said that she had, to quote the Celadon Gym Leader, “Kicked a lot of Rocket derriere with that cane of hers.”
The young woman anchor looked at Lance again, as if for assurance that she’d do a good job, and Lance smiled and nodded encouragingly. She took a deep breath and smiled at him, then composed herself for the upcoming news report.
Lance had traveled all the way to Goldenrod for this announcement, but felt that it would be worth it. He was going to watch JNN, or the Johto News Network, broadcast the first mention of the capture. JNN was one of the most widely viewed TV networks anywhere, and Lance had let them in on the secret first.
“This is JNN breaking news,” the recorded voice that Lance had come to know so well said, along with the musical chime. The woman took a deep breath, then smiled as the red light on top of the camera indicating that the camera was recording turned on. “Ladies and Gentlemen.” She opened her mouth to continue, then looked down at the desk, where she had her hands folded in front of her. She looked up, a jubilant grin on her face, “We are pleased to announce that Giovanni, former head of Team Rocket was caught just hours ago by Agatha, Lorelei, and Bruno of the Elite Four, and Erika, gym leader of Celadon City.”
Lance smiled, and knew that it wouldn’t be long before the rest of the news networks got this information, and knew that even now his press secretary was calling a press conference to confirm JNN’s story. It was the way of the press to flock to anything that smelled even remotely like a story, and chase it until it bore fruit. Still, there wasn’t anything left for him to do here. Lance turned and caught the eyes of his fellow Elites. He nodded and gestured towards the door, and they all left the studio.
“Well,” Karen said as soon as the door shut behind them, “Now the world knows.”
Lorelei nodded, “Now they know.”
Agatha coughed, and said, “Lance, sonny, you better organize a Kantan militia.”
Bruno looked at the old woman in shock, “Agatha, why would he want to do that? We just beat Team Rocket, both here and in Johto. Their power base is completely gone, and I doubt that there are many members left in the world at large.”
Agatha shuffled along beside Lance, using her cane for support. “How little you know of the way things are,” she muttered, then spoke louder. “Team Rocket is but one face of many. Besides, once the other Rocket groups hear once we’ve done, they’ll come back here to Kanto to try and wreak revenge on us. It would only be prudent to have a little something waiting for them.”
Bruno digested this, then a thought occurred to him. He looked at Agatha, who was walking ahead of him, with a puzzled expression on his face, “Huh? What do you mean, Team Rocket is one of many?”
Agatha turned around, and rolled her eyes. “Team Rocket, Team Magma, Team Aqua. Those were the three major gangs in the world, at least last week. Would you agree?”
Bruno nodded cautiously, “Go on,” he said, her gaze fixed on Agatha.
“Team Rocket is not the criminal mastermind that you thought it was.” Agatha said, then paused to cough and catch her breath again. “I’m old, but I’ve seen a thing or two in my time. And one of those things was that when I traveled around the world, even farther than Lance here, there was always a gang that oppressed people, or warred against each other. Wherever I went, there was always something more. Something,” she coughed again, “Something that oppressed people. There were many teams, but there can only be one root. One parent that all the gangs around the world cling to. Whether it’s Team Magma, Team Rocket, Team Blizzard, Team Geo or whatever their name is, there will always be another gang to take the place of another.”
Lance was already calculating what to say in his speech when he asked for a Kantan Militia, and who to ask to lead it. Surge could be a commander of the Vermillion Militia, but Erika, Misty, and Brock probably wouldn't know the first thing about warfare. Sabrina and Koga, however, were other matters entirely. Blaine could help a little, but he was getting a little old.
Lance bit his lip. What Agatha said was confirming his worst fears. He had noticed the discrepancy in his travels as well, and by Karen’s downcast head, he was pretty sure that she had as well. Only Bruno and Lorelei, who hadn’t traveled that much in their lifetime, and were still relatively young, had no idea that this was coming.
Lorelei frowned. “Didn't Bugsy beat 'em all when they tried to take over Johto?” she demanded.
Agatha laughed. “He defeated their overt faces, child, but they've still got their covert side. And besides, with their defeat, it's unlikely that they're just going to sit down and die. We've injured their pride, now. They're in it for the long haul.”
”There’s a bit of poetry about this kind of thing I read a while back,” Karen said quietly, and Lance could just imagine Bruno rolling his eyes, as he knew he was. “It went something like this. “Raiders of darkness,” Karen began to recite,
“Marauders of light.
There are those that make a big mess,
With the opposition worsening the blight.
War never solved anything
That couldn’t have been solved
By hearing love sing
That all their differences could have been absolved.
Instead forever and always they shall clash,
yet never above the other rise.
Over this world they eternally shall hash,
until once more the Titans shall rise.”
Lance looked at her, stunned that she knew that poem. “That was written by Devon Harding,” Lorelei spoke, as if reading Lance's mind. “Can't believe she was such a moron,” he thought he heard her say. “Can't believe she completely ignored me.”
Lance looked at her, and she smiled sweetly at him. He shook his head and turned back towards Karen, but his hand brushed Karen's. Whatever he was going to say completely evaporated. Karen smiled at him, and her smile gave him butterflies in his stomach.
“It was a poem called ‘The Time of the Titans.’” Karen said, shifting her focus to Lorelei. Lance shook her head, and forced himself to concentrate on something other than Karen. “Devon Harding had been an Altan warrior in the Gerahid era,” Karen explained, turning to Bruno and Lance, “but most people didn’t realize that she also wrote poetry, mainly with a love theme. Most concerned a guy named Gerahid. This is one of her more popular non-love poems, and tells of the struggle between good and evil. I think I've heard it read at military academy graduations.”
“That’s….” Lance stared at her, “I didn’t realize you dabbled in Altan poetry.”
Karen shrugged, “They wrote the best poems, histories, and other things of that sort of most eras. Why shouldn’t I read their poems? Their best work is from the Gerahiddian era, mainly from Harding.” Lance’s gaze met Karen’s and for a moment, Lance was captivated by her eyes. They were brown, he noticed, with flecks of brown in them. They were….beautiful.
“PLEASE!” Bruno shouted, getting glares from various people working in the lobby of the studio, and Lance looked away from Karen, blushing slightly. Only Agatha caught this small movement, and she smiled slyly, “You can’t tell me,” Bruno continued. “that some girl that lived a long time ago knew anything about the end of the world! I mean, what could she know about that sort of thing?”
“She was one of the brightest minds in that time,” Lorelei offered quietly, “She studied mythology, history, languages of the world, science—you name it, she studied it.” Her face brightened, and Lance could tell that this was one of her favorite subjects, “Of course, she also loved to write. Up to about a year before her mysterious death in a strange battle in Tintia, she kept a very detailed diary about her life.”
“Right,” Agatha put in, pushing open the door and walking out into the bustling street of Goldenrod City, “One of the focal points of her books was her crush on Gerahid.”
Bruno rolled his eyes, “Okay, okay, so some chick—“ the three women in the group glared at him, but he didn’t seem to notice, “That wrote love poems knows so much about the end of the world?” he shook his head, “Sorry, man, but I’m not buying it.”
Lance put his arm around Bruno and grinned, “Ah, don’t worry about it, Bruno, you don’t have to buy it, you’re just buying us dinner!”
Bruno groaned, “Is it too late to say that I buy the chick’s poem now?”
Agatha laughed, a harsh, cruel laugh, “Yes, Bruno. It is indeed too late.” Suddenly Bruno found the top of his head hurting, and he raised his hands to his head, “And always remember,” she said in her scratchy tone, “I am NOT a chick.” She chuckled dryly, “I’m more like an old hen by now.”
Lorelei, Lance, and Karen laughed, but Bruno looked uncomfortable. “Oh, come on, Bruno, it can’t be that bad.” Lorelei said in a light tone, “I mean, you get to make it up to her by buying us ALL dinner at the most expensive place we can find.”
Bruno groaned again, “Somehow that doesn’t make me feel any better.”
Karen grinned, “Excuse me, did my ears deceive me?” she chuckled, “I believe that my colleague said that it was to make up to Agatha, not make you feel better.”
Lance put his arm around Bruno, “Come on, man,” he said, “It’s not that bad. I’ll tell you what. You take Agatha, and I’ll take Lorelei and Karen.”
He was only half serious, and saw that Karen looked startled for a second, before she realized he wasn’t serious, and he heard Bruno complaining, apparently not having realized that he was joking.. Lance felt a lump in his throat as he looked at Karen. He looked away, and in his peripheral vision, he saw Karen do the same. No. Now was not the time to be thinking thoughts like that.
Lorelei, Bruno, and Agatha walked ahead of them, and Lance and Karen fell behind them. For one brief moment, they looked at each other. Really looked at each other. Lance looked into her eyes. It was like looking into the eye of a hurricane. Her emotions seemed to swirl around in her eyes. And as they held each other’s gaze, it seemed as though a part of her that had been closed for a long time was being opened up for fresh air.
“Hey!” it was Bruno’s voice, “You guys coming or what?” his head was poked out the doorway of one of Goldenrod’s most prestigious restaurants, “If you don’t come in soon, I’m not paying for you!”
Then, suddenly, whatever had opened inside of Karen slammed back shut, just that quickly. Karen blushed, and turned away, “I’m coming!” she called, hurrying towards the restaurant, “We were just, uh, talking.”
Lance’s gaze followed her after she entered the diner. Yes. They had been talking. But not with their mouths. It was as if some sort of telepathy had taken place. But they would talk in the normal fashion. And soon. For a long time. Lance would make sure of it.
Engara. If you asked a random person on the streets of Celadon City, they wouldn’t know where to begin to look for it on an unlabeled map. Seven out of ten people in Kanto and Johto haven’t even heard the slightest hint of any suggestion of Engara’s name in their life. Yet it is the second most powerful nation in terms of military strength in the world, just ahead of Neragosh, and just behind Tintia. Its corporations and organizations span the entire globe. There isn’t a major city in the world that Engara doesn’t have active or passive operatives inside its borders. There’s not a country in the world that some gang of Engaran origin isn’t operating in. Whether you’re talking about Team Rocket, Team Aqua, Team Magma, Team Geo, Team Terra, Team Blizzard, Team Psi, or Team Vengeance, the Engaran Special Forces Corps, or even some of the other gangs that populate the world, most have an Engaran origin or at least Engaran financial backing.
While the Engaran military machine is second only to Tintia’s, but Engara’s spy net and Special Operations are second to none. From simple espionage to the most complex sabotage, the Engarans are the best, toughest, meanest bunch of bullies ever to have come out to the sand box of life. The only thing that’s keeping them from bullying around the comparatively weaker countries is the country of Tintia. To understand the blood feud between Engara and Tintia, it is necessary to go back to the beginning of both countries.
Hundreds of years ago, the North-western hemisphere of this world of Pokémon was controlled by a ruthless leader known only to history as Stephen the Pillar, although Pokémon and Tintians call him Stephen the Butcher. Stephen had a religious dislike of Pokémon, and instituted a crusade against them, with the sole intent of wiping them out. Forever.
The inhabitants of an island chain west of the focal point of Stephen the Pillar’s rule backed him whole-heartedly, and provided the bulk of the troops for the invasion. As a result, Stephen treated them well, and gave them the tart in life they needed by receiving the bulk of the new manufacturing facilities, as well as playing home base to Stephen’s mighty fleet of warships.
Back on the mainland, however, the crusade, though some might call it a Jihad, was not going so well. What began as a small band of peasants revolting against Stephen because of his crusade had erupted like wild fire to a full-blown civil war after he butcherred ten thousand Pokemon in a single day, in the mainland's capitol city of Elentar, known today as the Indigo Plateau after the bloodbath. Pokémon and humans fought side by side against a human only army. Towns were torn apart as Stephen demanded religious subjugation of Pokemon, but many refused. And those that refused faced the wrath of Stephen the Pillar.
For one hundred years, the war raged, until Stephen the Pillar and all of his sons were finally killed. The rebels, who came to be known as Tintians, splintered into four groups, and each group claimed one fourth of the territory they had taken from Stephen the Pillar, who had come to be known as Stephen the Butcher because of massacres he instituted to rid himself of rebels and Pokemon. The first group, the true Tintians, claimed an out-of-the way corner of the continent where the legendary grass type Gratomere held sway over the entire region. Gratomere made the proud dragons work for him, and fight in his armies. With the armies that were still mustered from their part of the old Pillaric territory, they marched in and conquered Gratomere, but never managed to defeat him. Instead, he was banished to what became known as the Dank Forest—a large forest, then much larger then than it is now.
Tintians freed the dragons, and, in return, the Dragons offered their support and the advice to never, under any circumstances, to land on Dark Isle. Dark Isle was a dark, forbidding place. A former volcano, it is a barren and desolate place, where only the strong survive to find food, never mind survive indefinitely. Making the best of what they had, the Tintians knew and believed that the best defense is the best offense. Their military grew to be the largest in the world. Yet they decided to stay out of world politics, and concentrate on their own beeswax.
The other three territories, which came to be Janera, Johto, and Kanto, fought amongst themselves in petty squabbles, until Kanto and Johto allied together and fought against Janera. Finally, after too many of their men were dying in battle, Johto, Kanto, and Janera agreed on a system of war that was both civilized, and minimized the losses of life. One person, in command of a miniature army of Pokémon, would fight another person, who was in command of another miniature army of Pokémon. Whoever won the battle would receive prestige, and his country more honor, and influence, because when he won, he won for his country. This is where the ancient art of Pokémon training has its roots.
The Engarans, however, already had an elaborate spy net set up, and was watching all these events with greater and greater anticipation. Unbeknownst to most history scholars, just when the fighting between Janera, Johto, and Kanto was the fiercest, the Engarans launched an assault on them, citing religious reasons. It would have worked, if they hadn’t overlooked one tiny problem. As a landing point, they chose Tintia.
Tintians had always been a very xenophobic country after the defeat of The Pillar, but the appearance of thousands of Engaran troops sent their army into motion. In less than a single day, the Engaran invasion force had been destroyed. The entire fleet was sunk by aquatic and avian Pokémon. The entire invasion force wiped out by a combination of human ingenuity and Pokémon power. It didn’t take long for the Engarans to see the light and start deploying Pokémon along with their men, despite some religious leaders' contentions to the contrary. Engarans are famous for holding grudges. This is one grudge that they have never forgotten. It is unlikely they ever will.
To this day the conflict still stands. Engara versus Tintia, man against Pokemon. It is almost amusing in a way. Two huge military powers, each with enormous armies, yet neither of them will commit to a slugging match. With one large exception. The single case of what anyone would call war happened at the end of the Gerahiddian era. They mounted a titanic offensive and invaded Tintia. The battle raged for a week, but the Tintians finally won, after a tremendous loss of life. Historians of that time period are not clear about the details of that battle, but it is widely known that Gerahid, the greatest general Tintia ever knew died that day, along with Devon Harding, a well-known Altan warrior, poet, and amateur historian. Ever since then, Engara has been content to take pot shots at Tintia through raids every few months, more to test their defenses than anything else. Although historians warn that Engara is due to try something major soon, most people either ignore the news or pretend they didn’t hear.
But in the near future, they would wish they had. Deep in the bowels of the Engaran archipelago lies the Engaran Central Military Command building. Inside the building, down two levels, and east to Gamma sector lies the headquarters of the Engaran Special Forces Unit, the back-bone of the Engaran Army’s power.
The director, who never gives out his name, wears only a simple black suit, and only appears to brief the top agents on the most important missions. He sits behind a simple wooden desk with thin sheets of paper on top of it. Nobody that worked in Gamma Sector was quite sure what he really did, and no one had the courage to ask him.
“Peters,” he was saying to one of his agents who had just come from three days of exhaustive debriefing, “I’m sure you understand the security risks that Giovanni places to Engara. He knows too much about us. I want him eliminated before he causes us trouble. Is that clear?” he asked, looking at the agent in front of him.
“Crystal, sir.” The woman said, staring straight ahead, with military precise posture.
“Also, The Elite Four are getting to be a problem. They’ll be able to break our plans down if they’re still around. While you’re there, will you also activate the sleeper Elite? I would really appreciate it.”
Other than a slight glimmer of eagerness in the woman’s eyes, there was no change in her expression. “Sir, yes sir, it will be done sir.” She said with military efficiency.
“Then what is your mission?” he asked, “Repeat it to me.”
“Eliminate Giovanni, activate Sleeper Elite. Avoid being detected, sir.” The woman said smoothly, emotionlessly.
The man nodded, “You have it.” He leaned forwards, “I want this to be clear, Peters, we can have no mistakes.”
The woman nodded slightly, “I understand. There will be none. Giovanni will be dead within seventy-two hours. The sleeper will be activated shortly after that.”
The man nodded, “Very good, then. We have just over a month before Operation: Celebi begins in earnest.” He leaned forwards again, “The invasion of Kanto must take place in exactly one month, or all our plans will be for naught.”
The Engaran Special Agent looked him in the eye, “Everything will be ready by then, sir. I stake my life on it.”
The man in the black suit smiles faintly, “Oh, you are, Peters, make no mistake of that. You most certainly are. Remember, everything is running on a very tight schedule. There is no time for playing cowboy this time. Dismissed.”
With a curt nod, the woman got up, and sauntered out of the room, on a mission that no other could perform. Behind her, The Director had pulled a cigar from his shirt pocket, and was now puffing on it, smiling softly to himself. He knew as well as she did that she was the only real choice for the mission. There was only one who could activate the sleeper Elite. There were few who imagined the power held within the Elite. There were few, indeed, that knew that the Elite was a sleeper. A sleeper that held sheer, raw power. No one else could imagine it. No one else had embraced it as she had. No one else…could control the sheer power of a near legendary Pokémon genetically engineered for its power.
Nobody. And that went doubly for Kantan scum who had no idea of what a real fight was like. The woman’s features turned into a smile, but it was more like an evil grimace than anything else. No one would know, no one would expect what would come next. It would come out of nowhere and throw them into disarray.
Soon, very soon, the Engarans could finally begin wreaking revenge upon their age-old enemies. Soon, very soon, many things in this world would change. Forever.
Infinite Master Sceptile
18th July 2006, 10:23 AM
Wow. This is entirely unlike any other fic I've read here. Geopolitics and war are fun subjects, but they get no coverage in other fics, so kudos. It's also engaging, and exciting. Though the motives of the Engarans are still unclear. I suppose that must be intentional. I hope you fully elaborate on the Engarans' mindset, and on their system of government. The characterizations for the E4 are well done. But why Karen and not Will? Will he play a role later?
And is Hoenn totally out of this scheme of things?
Anyway, good job, and even if nobody else is reading, I am. Though you might want to be a tad more descriptive of the Pokemon. I really couldn't visualize the fan-created Pokemon Lance used.
18th July 2006, 10:25 PM
Thanks, Sceptile. There's a LOT more backstory to the Engarans (and the Tintians) coming up in the next chapter. It basically lays out the entire history of Tintia/Engara.
I don't elaborate on the Engaran government, but that's because I don't want people to know everything about them. Not in this fic, anyway. Engara is a shadowy, dangerous organization.
I chose Karen because I wanted someone from every E4. Now, I realize that this E4 doesn't have a Hoenn person in it, but Steven will be coming into the E4 later on in the fic.
And yes, Hoenn is out. I'm concentrating on Kanto/Johto. Concentrated, since this is a repost. When I first wrote this, I had never played R/S/E (as it is, I barely have at all). My fav game remains Crystal (although I lost my cartridge *cries*). But for this fic, Hoenn will pretty much be non-existent. It's there, just...nothing about it is in this fic.
heh....yeah, it may be hard to visualize the Pokes I made up, but I suck at drawing, lol....
sorry about that.
thanks for the review! my reviews are generally few and far between....:D
oh, and btw....
This is entirely unlike any other fic I've read here.
that made my day. my aim is to be COMPLETELY original (within the boundaries of the canon set by the game, and whichever canon of the anime I pick and choose to put in, as well as my custom content.... :D )
next chapter....with a Jessie/James cameo!!!
Years ago, when humanity was just finding itself in the world, a race of beings known as the Titans ruled the earth. They knew that in time, humanity would become too powerful, and would either wipe themselves out, or be wiped out by Pokemon. To prevent this, they created extremely powerful Pokemon, which they called Protectors, but came to be known as Legendaries. If humans or Pokemon ever got too powerful, the Legendaries would step in, and prevent one or the other from killing themselves or the other. At least, that was the plan.
One of the Titans by the name of Lokrye became tired of sharing power, and secretly raised up an army of Pokemon and humans against them. He created powerful devices that would allow him to be more powerful than any of the other Titans. He held off from using them, however, as once he used them, he would never be able to negate their effects.
Then, Lokrye was betrayed, and the Titans were swift in their retribution. Lokrye, driven to nearly the point of defeat, used his devices, and became more powerful than any thing the world has ever seen. To prevent anyone from using his devices and becoming as powerful as him, he destroyed them, and then began a counter-offensive against the Titans.
The other Titans could not hope to ever defeat him on their own, they knew, so they asked the Protectors, the Pokemon, and the humans to assist them in their war on Lokrye. The Protectors and Pokemon quickly agreed to help, but the humans, who were at that time mostly settled in one area, were wary of the Titans, and refused.
The Titans, undeterred, began one of the bloodiest wars ever fought. For a time, it looked as if Lokrye would be defeated, but then the Dark Titan himself entered the fray. Thousands of Protectors were killed that day, as well as millions of Pokemon and nearly half of the Titans.
Then, when all hope seemed lost, a charge by the humans, led by a warrior named Gerahid, broke the rear ranks of Lokrye, and fought their way to him. Unfortunately, human weapons of that time were of no match to the sheer power of the Dark Titan. In desperation, Gerahid picked up a weapon of a Human Titan, and stabbed Lokrye with it. No one is quite sure what happened next, but when it was over, Lokrye was gone, as well as the other Titans.
Time passed, but the island on which the battle took place never recovered. To this day, it is a black, barren island to which few go, and even fewer return. Its active volcano occasionally spews lava, and covers over everything that is on the island.
Millennia passed, and mankind spread out over the earth. The vivid memories of the battle became a story that was passed from one generation to the next, growing less believable with each telling. Eventually, the battle became a thing of myth and legend, and was no longer believed to actually have happened.
But that was not the end of Lokrye. He had grown too powerful for that. Somehow, from wherever he was, he reached back to this world, and talked to a young man by the name of Tadorae while he was sleeping. Lokrye told him that his name was Lont, and that he had been unfairly imprisoned. He gave Tadorae instructions, and gave him specific tasks to complete. He told Tadorae that once the tasks were complete, he would be free, and that Tadorae and his followers would have power beyond their wildest imaginings.
Tadorae knew that he could not complete the tasks of Lokrye on his own, and began recruiting others to his cause, calling Lont a god, and himself a prophet. Before long, he had an army, and he set about conquering the world, one of Lokrye's first tasks.
Within seven years, Tadorae conquered most of the known world, and the rest of the known world was living in fear of his armies. He ordered the construction of a magnificent temple to Lont on Dark Isle, as the island on which the finaly battle with Lokrye had begun to be called. Tadorae, for his part, was a fair ruler, and treated his subjects fairly. Unfortunately, not all of his family did the same.
His first-born son and heir, Stephen, was appointed as ruler over what is today Kanto, Johto, Janera, and Tintia. At first, he was called Stephen the Pillar, because he cracked down on crimes being committed within his territory. Stephen's lands quickly became the safest places to live. Then there were no more robbers to kill, and, because his now aging father had assigned him a large piece of land in the very heart of the empire, there were no more enemies to fight. His soldiers began to grumble against him, and Stephen knew he had to do something.
Then his father died, but not before proclaiming Stephen the next prophet of Lont. But the bloody legacy of Stephen, who became known as the Butcher, is written of elsewhere, and needs not be repeated here.
Hundreds of years passed, and somehow, Lokrye was able to escape from whatever prison the Titans had put him into. It was only through the skill and daring of the Tintians that he was put back into wherever it was that he came from.
Tintia—The very name evokes a feeling of dread and unease. It is a country unlike any other. The very name is enough to make those who share a border with the xenophobic country be quiet for hours on end. For Gym Leaders to close up for the rest of the day, and the Elite Four to shiver in their very boots. Tintia is an enigma, and it is a certainty. It is reality, but also myth. It inspires fear, and it inspires courage. But most of all, it is powerful.
The most powerful nation on the face of the planet, Tintia has kept evil at bay for hundreds of years. The fanatical religion known as Lonticism is their enemy. Lonticism believes that somewhere within Tintia lies an extremely powerful being named Lont that will some day come to judge the world, and grant ultimate power to his followers. Anyone on the streets of any League country probably would not have heard of Lonticism, as it is generally considered a dead religion.
Tintians know better.
Tintia is a small country, but rich in both rare flora and fauna. It is regarded as the Elite of the Elite for Pokemon Trainers, its warriors who are partnered with Pokemon second to no one. Tintia does not have a League, and instead trains its humans to battle with and against Pokemon. These Pokemon receive training from both Pokemon and human from an extremely young age. This combination makes Tintians extremely dangerous people to cross.
Indeed, the Tintians have gained a reputation for their fighting, and it is said, though never to a Tintian’s face, that Tintia is run by thieves and gangs, which is pure nonsense. Tintia is ruled by a republic, but a republic careful to preserve its heritage, and, as such, has allowed only a limited number people into the country each year, of which a large number are Professors. The fact that few outsiders travel to the country each year is the reason that the rumors of Tintia's mob government began. While only about two thousand people are allowed into the country each year, there are two professions that are permanently banned from Tintia. Lawyers, and Pokemon Trainers. While it might seem odd that Pokemon Trainers are not allowed into the country, it does make sense when one takes into account that Pokemon are held in such high esteem that they are considered equal to humans.
Elections are held every five years, and every President rules for five years, but is accompanied by a Legislative branch of the government. This lower house, consisting of Pokemon affixed with translators, who were elected by the Pokemon from around the country, and an upper house, consisting of human beings who are elected by the citizens of Tintia, and another, mid-house, which consists of a mix of human and Pokemon representatives.
Another interesting characteristic of Tintia is that Pokemon and men live as equals, not as owner and pet or trainer and battler, and that the Pokemon are actually given a vote in elections.. Because of this, Tintia has become a refuge for many Pokemon, who in many other countries are nearly extinct, and became a haven, protecting entire species from annihilation, though it may have been incidental.
The Justice system in Tintia differs much from the rest of the world. As every Tintian citizen is a member of the Tintian Army, nearly every Tintian has someone that has a higher rank than they do. The main difference between justice in Tintia and everywhere else in the world is that there are no juries, and each case has four judges. These four judges are all Psychic types, and can tell instantly who is at fault, or who is guilty. This elegant, yet simple plan has saved Tintia hundreds of hours of time.
Tintia is also home to the famous Beech laboratory-of which Silph Company is a subsidiary, and has researched many things, including the famous Pokemon Storage System. The famous inventor Bill Dugan actually lived in Tintia for several years, but has a summer cottage in Kanto.
Geographically, it is settled over the northern borders of Kanto, and is the closest country on the planet to the island country of Alto. It has two major islands-the Dark and Dragon Isles.
Dark Isle is the shattered remnant of the island on which Lokrye was long ago defeated. It has never recovered from that battle. The now-extinct volcano stands as a vanguard over the barren, volcanic plain. The flowers that spring up in the Spring were either choked out by the brambles that seemed to thrive on Dark Isle, or die because of adistinct lack of soil. Dark Pokemon have flourished here for centuries, eating the massive fish populations that live just off-shore, taking advantage of few people or Pokemon that are foolish enough to step foot onto the island. The few early, hardy settlers that set out to colonize the island were found ripped to shreds—massacred.
In modern times, only powerful trainers go to the island, and then only for a short time, and always live in fear of the legend of the Lokrye. The legend is now whispered fearfully from one to another in dark alleyways, the storyteller and the listener alike glancing around fearfully. It is one thing to scoff at the legend of the Titans sitting at home or in a restaurant somewhere, where the very temperature of the air can be adjusted, but it is much harder to disbelieve the legend while you were on the island, solidified lava under your feet, a perpetual darkness brought on by ash still in the air from the volcano’s many eruptions, and dark Pokemon jumping out from on all sides.
To the south of Dark Isle looms an overgrown forest that few dare to enter. On a map, it looks like some kind of Pokemon’s head opening its mouth wide to swallow Dragon Isle, and at what would be, if you thought of it as a head, its neck appeared to be a thin collar on a map. What looks like a collar on the map is actually an extremely tall wall that prevents any of the extremely dangerous grass Pokemon that resided in the forest to escape. Armed sentries, along with their Pokemon, are posted at half-mile increments along the whole of the wall, which stretches a full ten miles.
The sentries often report wild scrabblings on the other side of the wall, and strange wailings that very often have brought stout sentries to their knees, sobbing in fear. Many thought that these scrabblings were because of the legend of Gratomere, the Legendary Grass Type. Very few people or Pokemon have passed the gate, and fewer have returned alive. Most of the travelers through the forest were found washed up, torn to pieces, along Dragon Isle’s eastern shoreline.
Situated due south of the distant island country Alto, Dragon Isle is one of the last hideaways of the noble Dragonkind. Mankind and dragons have lived side by side, as a mutual agreement of don’t-catch-don’t-kill. Majestic spires and eyries abound on Dragon Isle, and it was there that the dragons prefer to make their home, though some actually began to live in the town. Some Dragons, such as the tiny Wenhirs, the wind type Dragons, live there, but are extinct everywhere else.
There is always a glorious celebration whenever a new dragon was born, whether in the city or miles away atop some lonely peak. Some dragons have volunteered to leave the island, but no dragon has ever been forced to leave the island with a trainer without there being swift and terrible retribution on the citizens of Dragon Town, as the city on the island was called. There was actually a war when the young Team Rocket attempted to do such a thing, and it took three hundred years to rebuild the town to its former glory-such was the wrath of the dragon-kind.
The countryside is studded with mountains, of which, the small mountain chain in the Northwest is the most prominent example. It is said that beyond that point, Pokemon stronger than imagination roam, and from there, powerful Pokemon such as Auroura and Borealis first appeared. In legend that was too far back to be fully remembered, it is said that there was a portal to another world somewhere in the middle of that landmass, which, if one had an imagination, looks rather like Mew.
The River Rainbow flows through the country like a ribbon, nearly cutting the country in half with its shimmering flow. The main waterway for the country, it runs from Rubyville, a town that is situated on Ruby Mountain, all the way to the Dark Sea. Both Dragon and Dark Isles are in the Dark Sea, and, beyond Dark Isle, the Dread Sea begins.
The Dread Sea was named in ages past, when mankind and Pokemon lived harmoniously side by side, yet both were too afraid of venturing through the sea. It is said that some travelers actually did cross the sea, and return back to the mainland telling of the marvels of Alto Island. Most were laughed into silence, and never brought the subject up again. Yet others left the mainland after being laughed at, and never returned. Everyone hushed this up as much as possible; After all, no one wanted to hear about people disappearing all the time, though some latter day historians believed that those travelers went back to Alto.
Children in Tintia, unlike most Leagues are not allowed to get Pokemon licenses. Instead, they are drafted into the Tintian Army. They then go around the country, studying at the assorted gyms, and gathering the certificates of completion that are received after every gym is complete, and grants them a promotion. Once an army grunt has completed every gym, they are promoted to officer-ship. Only officers are allowed to have Pokemon as travelling companions. Unlike many leagues, the Tinted Army founders decided that they wanted children to remember information, rather than rely on technology to have information on Pokemon. Potential officers, unless they had completed another league, are required to study under Professor Beech for a year before they could have their officer apprenticeship. In the country, there are seven gyms.
Very few people knew what lived in the long, mountainous stretch between Pewter City and Stratatown. Only two trainers have ever successfully made the entire journey on foot, though dozens had set out. Those two trainers were the current President and Vice President of the Tintia-Mitchell and Katrina Jordan. They married just after they graduated from the Tinted League, in a record nine months.
The Tintian Army Headquarters on Dragon Isle, where the mainstay type of the army is largely based on its name-sake island, are a collection of buildings that consisted largely of arches and porticos, with a small plaza-like opening in the center of each building. In these plazas, type specific training takes place. In the largest plaza in the central building, Tintians are trained as commanders of armies in strategic exercises, and, sometimes, paint-ball matches. Sometimes Pokemon are promoted over humans, and sometimes it is the other way around. Tintians have no qualms about using guns, unlike the majority of the world.
In this headquarters, in the Western sector, Intelligence division, there lies the offices of Major Redd Thompson. He is in charge of Tinted Army Intelligence, and has a fair amount of say in the military itself.
A military man at heart, Thompson thrived on rigidity and discipline, as evidenced by his immaculate desk, and tidy office. A few pictures of his family were all the comforts he allowed himself. The walls of his office were bare, and he often criticized others for having things on their walls that “distracted them from their work.”
Thompson never quite fit into the computer age, and still used hard copies, paper, and copier machines to do all his work. He decried computers as “a worthless waste of money that is evidenced when the electricity goes out,” and that he’d “rather have something that can be read after an Electro-Magnetic pulse hits.” As a result, it is often assumed that he has a messy desk, but he keeps up with the paperwork easily, and is often finished with his scheduled work before his workday is over. But then, there was usually more than scheduled paperwork to do on any average day.
Thompson wasn’t happy. Things in Kanto were coming to a head. The Indigo League couldn’t possibly know that. They couldn’t possible know how many Engaran agents had been implanted into the league, and into the populace in general. They couldn’t know that with Giovanni gone, the responsibilities of the entire team would fall to Engaran agents, who went by the aliases of Butch and Cassidy.
His phone rang, and his finger punched the speaker button instantly, “Yes?” he demanded abruptly. He was never one to not answer calls, but he didn’t take well to trivial calls. Everyone in the Intelligence sector, probably a major portion of the military knew that.
“Sir, I thought you’d want to know that the Engarans pulled an agent out. Agent Peters, we believe.” Came the voice of his Jynx receptionist. There was some slight crackling, but Thompson, as always, attributed that to the translator.
“Where was the extraction point?” he demanded instantly.
“Celadon City.” Was the crisp, immediate response.
Thompson sat, considering that for a moment. “Very well. I expect a report on my desk in half an hour.”
“The Intel team thought you’d say that, and they’ve got one prepared for you, sir.”
Thompson chuckled. Seven years of playing hardball finally paid off. People were starting to anticipate him. “Very well, bring it in, and the meeting of the intelligence heads is still on, correct?”
His door opened, and the Jynx who preferred to be called Darya waded through, “That’s right, sir,” she said, plopping a thick report down on his desk. “Is there anything else?”
Thompson looked at the report hungrily. He wasn’t sure what the Engarans were up to, pulling Peters out just now. She was their best agent, and had the best cover. He was going to make sure he found out. “That’ll be all for now, Darya.” He attacked the report before the Jynx even had a chance to turn and leave.
“I still say it doesn’t make any sense!” Thompson insisted, rubbing the bridge of his nose. He had been arguing with the other Intelligence chiefs for half an hour, and they had all seemed to agree to disagree.
“Why doesn’t it make any sense?” Ruffles, a heavy-set man, he was the director of Tinted Army, Special Operations Training, but was required to attend the meeting in case one of the others were eliminated. His three yellow crests usually became inflamed when he was annoyed or angry, and they were inflamed to about the average point that they usually got to. Ruffles was standing up, waving his four arms about as he argued again and again over this issue. Ruffles was a Machamp, but a Machamp who was very sensitive about his name, and his hobby, raising goldfish. He placed his lower right hand on the back of his chair and demanded, “They’ve had her in Kanto for a couple of years, now. Surely she’s gathered some good intel by now!”
“I agree with Thompson,” Sandra, a petite, woman, with a sharp tongue countered. Her long body, short feet, and long tail may have made her out of place in other countries, but right here, the Furret fit right in. “They’d have a shot at even more intel now that Giovanni is captured.” she said, her light brown fur ringed with dark brown rippling.
“Not if Butch and Cassidy succeed him,” Ruffles shot back, waving his upper two arms in the air as his lower two grasped the back of his chair, “They’re trained Engaran agents. If they’re in charge of Team Rocket, they’ll have the Rocket spy net as well as the Engaran Spy net. It makes sense to bring her back.”
"Yes, but the Engaran Spy Net is far superior to Team Rocket's Spy Net!" Thompson retorted shortly. Mentally he sighed. Why did meetings always have to become shooting matches like this, he wondered.
“Please,” Old Faithful, one of the oldest Intelligence Chiefs at the table said quietly. Old Faithful was the smallest at the table, and had a turquoise skin that was beginning to turn dark blue. a large shell over his back, combined with his baby-like features gave away his species. He was a Squirtle, but at the same time, he was beginning to form Wartortle-like features. Small ears were beginning to form on the sides of its face, and his tail was beginning to lengthen. It had been his hypothesis when he was younger that if he waited long enough, he would eventually become a Blastoise, without evolving, and he had been encouraged in recent years by the growing features, that would have been anomolous to younger Squirtle. Standing a little over one and a half feet tall, Old Faithful had to stand on his chair to see everyone else, and had no qualms whatsoever about doing so. “Can we return to the topic at hand?" he asked softly, "Thompson and I have to give a report to Mitch and ‘Trina in just under an hour. What are our options, if Butch and Cassidy do take over Team Rocket, and decide to pursue further aggression against Johto or Kanto?”
Ruffles and Sandra glared at each other, then looked at their hands, and said nothing. “This Peters business is bad news,” Old Faithful continued quietly, looking at each of the other three intel directors in turn, “If they have returned her, it means they think they no longer need intelligence about Kanto. This has happened only once before, and that was when Engara and Neragosh tried to invade Alto.”
“We stopped them then,” Ruffles said, being his usual over-confident self, in an annoyed tone, “And we’ll stop them again!” he slapped all four of his hands onto the table, “Our military matches theirs. We’ll keep them from invading Kanto.”
“My only concern about that,” Sandra said quietly, “Is that they have probably already thought of that." the Furret looked around the table, meeting each Intelligence Head's gaze with her own, "and have already introduced a factor of which we have no awareness.”
Pallet Town was a small town, with not much going for it except for the Oak Lab, Jessie mused, as she watched the inhabitants of the town--no, it wasn't a town, more like a hamlet--scurry about their every-day lives. She was in the place's only restaurant, but she had to admit it had good food.
It was nice not having to hear Meowth complain about everything, though that would change when she took him out of his Pokeball. He had protested vehemently, and it eventually came down to forcing him inside. He would be a dead giveaway, she considered as she put another bite of lasagna into her mouth, if he were outside of his Pokeball and started talking.
Both she and James had had their hair cut, hers to shoulder-length, his, shaved almost completely off in what the barber had called a "buzz cut." Jessie had also died her hair black, with streaks of her original red remaining. Jessie shifted in her seat, and tugged on the pants she was wearing. Despite her every attempt, she couldn't get used to it. Of course, the face that she wasn't wearing her Rocket uniform that she had worn for years probably factored into it. She sighed and looked down at her shirt. It was the one thing she liked about this whole disguise. It was a simple affair, basically a T-shirt with ruffled sleeves, and "I Heart Saffron City," emblazoned in bold letters across its pinkness. Well, she didn't like the pinkness, yes, but she had to look like an average trainer.
She looked up at James, who was busy shoveling soup into her mouth. She crinkled her nose, at the fact that his soup was mainly some kind of sushi, but then, he was paying for his own meal. James had chosen to get some comfortable hiking boots, blue jeans, and a shirt made out of denim, with no designs but plenty of pockets. She stared at him. Now that he was out of his Rocket uniform, he actually looked kind of....cute.
The thought jolted her, and she shook her head and looked back down at her lasagna, and cut another piece off and put it into his mouth. Jessie wondered why she was still here, and not setting off for Johto. Team Rocket had been annihilated in Kanto. It was only a stroke of fortune that they were hadn't been captured yet. If James hadn't come up with this hare-brained plot to steal Oak's research....
Her train of thought trailed off. She would not think about what it might have been like if she had stuck around in the Game Corner. She swallowed the lasagna, and put another piece into her mouth. Why was she still planning on doing something for Team Rocket? Team Rocket was doomed, as far as anyone was concerned. No one could bring it back, in the shape it was in now.
Then she heard a familiar voice calling out a name. She stiffened, and shot a warning glance over to James, who looked ready to leap out of his seat. "Don't even think about it," Jessie said in a low tone, "You'd blow our cover."
James nodded slowly, and a little resentfully as the black-haired youth scuttled past the diner and caught up with someone out of view. It was Ash Ketchum, and James was probably itching to get his Pikachu, but they had a different job now, and she'd make sure that James stuck by it. Especially considering this whole stupid mission was his idea.
18th July 2006, 11:48 PM
Nice fic, Ash Junior!
I remember reading the first few chapters long ago - maybe three years back - when I used to read fics here. Yours was one of my favorite.
Pretty good start, I'd say, though there a couple of mistakes. But that is typical with such a long fic.
Hm, so Ash is in this to, and there seems to be a thing between Lance and Karen?
Well, I'm looking forward for more.
19th July 2006, 10:19 AM
Ash has just a cameo appearance, and'll have another one later on, along with Gary, Misty, and Brock.
but that's it.
they won't really play any part at all....of any importance.
21st July 2006, 9:28 AM
New Bark Town wasn't much of a town. It wasn't much of anything. It was the Johto equivalent of Pallet Town, in that the only thing keeping the town going at all was a Pokemon lab. The only difference, really, was that this lab belonged to Professor Elm. But soon, the town would be only a memory.
It was nearly dark. The perfect time for an attack. The diurnal Pokemon would be at the top of their game, and the nocturnal Pokemon would have energy to do the most damage. Butch narrowed his eyes. He had warned the Global Police to stop their harrassment of Team Rocket four days before, in a press release sent to the JNN studios. The Global Police had ignored it. This was their punishment for doing so.
Butch was tall, with an average build and blue hair. His dark uniform identified him as one of Team Rocket's elite. The white gloves that he normally wore had been traded in for dark gloves that wouldn't stand out in the dark.
Somewhere, he knew, Cassidy, his partner, was commanding the other half of the strike force. Slightly taller than himself, Cassidy had golden hair, a petite build, and didn't suffer fools gladly. But then, neither did he. That was, Butch mused amusedly, the result of their Engaran upbringing. These fools he was about to lead into battle had no idea that Team Rocket would eventually be destroyed, only to make way for Engaran annexation.
Kanto needed to be taken, Butch knew, before Lont would return. He felt a little guilty that he couldn't tell the Kantans or Johtans, or even his fellow Rockets about Lont, but he knew that if he was going to help his home country bring be around when Lont returned, he would not be able to tell anyone about him, yet.
Stephen the Pillar had been the first to have dreams from Lont, and told him that he needed to accomplish certain tasks, and if he could accomplish them, his power would be unmatched in all the world.
Stephen the Weakling, as he was known in Engara, had failed, but Engara carried on his legacy, and tried to accomplish Lont's tasks, so that they might be the inheritors of the power it would take to destroy the accursed Tintians, who repeatedly stopped them from spreading the knowledge of Lont, even after explanations had been given. They had, in fact, been instrumental in Stephen the Weakling's failure to accomplish Lont's tasks.
Butch's eyes narrowed, and smiled slightly. He felt honored to have been chosen as one of the first to help bring about the return of Lont, and the ultimate destruction of the accursed country Tintia.
Butch's radio clicked, and he knew that Cassidy was in position. Butch glanced down at his armament. He held two uzis, a heavy assault sub-machine gun across his back, thirty grenades, about fifty magazines of ammunition in a bandolier, and two short swords in case he had to engage anyone at short range. But that wasn't all.
At a glance and a nod from him, four shoulder-launched RPGs were given to himself and three trusted others, and the four of them aimed the missile launchers at pre-assigned targets. He and Cassidy would be targeting the lab, and the others would take out important buildings such as the Officer Corps Headquarters for the town, the Global Police Station, and other buildings of that ilk.
He had been given direct orders from Giovanni not to attack any civilians unless he were first attacked by them. Engara had given him no such orders, but he bowed to Giovanni's original orders. He had told his men, and they had all aquiesced. Butch supported the RPG with one hand, and reached down to his radio and clicked twice, counted out five beats, aiming at the specific point he had been assigned, and pulled the trigger. Just before he had pulled the trigger, he had taken a slight breath, as had the rest of the men and women in his small grouping, to prevent himself from inhaling any of the vapors.
The jet engine in the rocket caught, and roared forward, sending a blast of heat back over his unit. An explosion rocked New Bark Town. It was the Lab. Butch had been firing from up on top of a hill, slightly inside the forest, and so it would take his missile longer to reach its target. That was Cassidy's missile. She was closer, and it had taken less time. Butch got up and motioned his men forward, discarding the RPG, and taking hold of his uzis, he charged forwards. More explosions rocked New Bark Town, and screams could be heard, mixing with the sharp staccato of gunfire. Once again, that was Cassidy's team. Butch made a hand-motion with his right arm, still holding the uzi, and his Mightyena, Hitmontop, and Primeape charged forwards to take the initial blow, along with the Pokemon of the nine others in his group.
Mightyena led the pack, and let out a loud and terrifying roar. Butch heard Cassidy's Houndoom respond in kind, and even more screams began to erupt. Trainers began to pour out of Route 29, releasing their Pokemon, but as they began to enter the town, several more Pokemon and gunmen emerged from the trees near the path in a flanking maneuver, and cut them down. More trainers emerged from the Route, but more Rockets hidden in the tree sprayed bullets at them, and the trainers retreated. Butch sprayed his own rounds ahead of his charging Pokemon, eliminating as much resistance as he could.
Suddenly, there was a loud "BOOM" and one of the men charging with Butch went down. The Rocket immediately recognized it as the sound of a shotgun, and saw movement where he had guessed the sound came from. He glanced at his Pokemon, and saw that they were too close to their enemies now for him to be spraying rounds indiscriminately. He raised his uzis and began firing at the window where he had glimpsed the movement, along with several others of his troops.. Another scream joined the cacophany of noise, and the shotgun went off again, this time taking out the upper part of the window-pane. Butch was close to the building now, oh, so very close, and motioned his men onwards. Taking out a grenade, he pulled out the pin and hurled it through the broken window, then hurried to catch up with his group. With a roar, the wall blew out, and portions of the roof flew into the air, and crashed down between the groups of fighting Pokemon, who were battling furiously at the second block of New Bark Town. The Rocket Pokemon were pushing the Pokemon back quickly. Butch knew that in every direction, the same scenario was being played out.
He heard another gun belch, but it was too far off for it to be targeting his men. Four more gun uzis opened up, targeting whoever had fired. Then another explosion rocked the town, and a small house tore itself apart. Butch smirked. That grenade had been Cassidy's. They didn't have ordinary grenades. They had modified theirs to increase the explosive yield.
Rockets were peeling off to charge into houses, two per house, and in almost no time at all, there was only one Rocket by himself, and Butch quickly caught up. Another gun opened up, and the man went down, spitting up blood. Butch raised the Uzis and pulled the triggers. Four rounds spat out of the barrels before he heard them click. They were out of bullets. Throwing them away angrily, Butch rolled to his left and pulled the assault rifle to a firing position, peered through the scope, and let loose with a barrage of bullets that ripped apart the walls of the building the woman, he saw, had been firing from, and reached the woman. The last Butch saw of her was her spinning away. from the window. To make sure she wouldn't present a problem, he pulled the pin out of another grenade and threw it through the window.
He kept moving forward, and suddenly he was in the rear of the Pokemon battle. He raised his rifle, took careful aim, and pulled the trigger three times in quick succession, and a Rattata that had been preparing for an attack went down. He heard someone cry out, and someone lunge at him, forgetting, or, more likely, not caring that there was a battle of Pokemon between them, but an Ice Beam reached her first and flung her back, until she hit the railing of what looked like a grocery store. She flew through it, and through the front window. Part of the roof over what looked like a boardwalk collapsed.
Gunshots were now more sporadic, and the main sounds were the Pokemon battling, and occasional screams, and sometimes an explosion or two from a grenade. Butch continued firing whenever he had a clear shot, and the Johtan Pokemon were eventually pushed back, until they were all unconscious or dead. Those that were unconscious were very lucky to be alive, and had either gotten that way before Butch and other Rockets had arrived, or had fainted too quickly for them to target.
Finally, they had all the trainers and inhabitants of New Bark Town in what passed for a square, in the middle of town. Two wrecked buildings that had been the Telephone Company for New Bark Town and the Global Police Station were facing the square, and both were nothing more than smoldering piles of rubble. Cassidy, across the square, grinned and gave him a quick salute with both her uzis. Butch smiled faintly. She hadn't forgotten to reload. Well, that wasn't exactly fair. He hadn't had time. He gave her the same courtesy with his rifle.
The trainers and citizens of New Bark Town were gesturing screaming out at the top of their lungs that they wanted to surrender. They were hemmed in by the Pokemon, so he wasn't worried about them for the moment.
Butch checked with one of his men to make sure that all the people and Pokemon were out of the buildings, then marched the men and women from the buildings and the square to the airstrip, next to a ruined terminal that had taken no fewer than two RPG hits, and the skeleton of a plane that had taken another. The inhabitants of New Bark Town and visiting trainers that remained were no larger in number than twenty-two.
Butch waited as his men did their jobs. Some were checking them for Pokemon or weapons. Looking around, Butch saw that they were all here. His men. Except for the six that had been reported killed, and three others were doing their critical job inside the town. One of those that had died had been an explosives expert, but nothing Butch could do would fix that now.
Then the last three of his men returned to camp, one handing him his uzis. he nodded his thanks and promptly reloaded them, before putting them back into their holsters. One of the men seemed to have some kind of control device in his hand, and the village folk looked at him nervously, wondering what it was for and what he would do. With a nod from Butch, he showed them.
The remaining buildings in New Bark Town tore themselves apart in bright red fireballs that lit up the countryside as if it were as bright as day. Anything or anyone still inside the town were instantly incinerated by sheer temperature. Butch hadn't expected to feel any heat at the distance he was from the nearest of the buildings, but felt it he did. a cry from the distraught inhabitants of what had been New Bark Town could be heard from behind him, but Butch ignored it.
Instead, he reveled in the heat. This was a warning to the Global Police, and if they ignored it, then it would be repeated over and over until they got the message. But there was an entirely different reason he enjoyed the heat as it washed over him.
It was one step closer to the Lont's return, and the absolute power he had promised to whoever did his biddings. It would be Engara that accomplished his tasks. It would be Engarans that recieved the power. Including himself.
Lance looked up from his opponent's fainted Aggron, then back to his panting Dragonite, and then he looked at the trainer that had nearly defeated him. "I must be losing my touch." Lance chuckled, and the other trainer laughed along with him.
"One more Ice Beam, and that Dragonite would have fainted, and then I'd be the Champion." the trainer smirked. He reminded Lance of himself, so long ago when he was that young. The boy was about fifteen, with short, sky blue hair tied into a ponytail, and wore camouflaged clothing, though probably more for looks than for usefulness.
Lance laughed and clapped him on the shoulder. "Come on," he said, recalling his tired Dragonite so it wouldn't have to walk, "Let's go to the Pokemon Center. he turned to the trainer, who had said his name was Steven. "Nice job with the TM, there," he said, "But, just for fun, let's not say who won when the reporters ask us, okay?"
Steven chuckled. "Yeah, no problem."
Lance grinned harder, "And lets shake hands with each other as soon as we leave."
"You got something against the press?" Steven asked, trying to keep from laughing.
"Well," Lance said, "It's nothing personal against them, it's just that when you've got no privacy whatsoever because of them, you tend to get fed up."
Steven laughed, "Yeah, I imagine you would."
Lance pushed open the doors to the Indigo Plateau Pokemon Center/Pokemon Mart, and was surprised to see only three reporters there, but they weren't looking at him. In fact, they were huddled around a TV, ignoring anyone and everyone else.
Lance frowned. "That's odd." he muttered to himself.
"What is?" Steven muttered back.
"There are usually thirty or so reporters whenever someone manages to challenge me." Lance muttered in return.
Lance walked up to the desk and gave the Joy his Pokeballs. "Nurse Joy, Both me and Steven need our Pokemon healed."
Nurse Joys--the epicenter of warmth, knidness, and whacks over the head if you battled Pokemon too hard--were all cousins. There were dozens of them around many different countries. Lance wasn't exactly sure how it was possible to have so many identical relatives, but somehow the Officer Jennies did it too. Nurse Joys, standing about five feet, eleven inches had red, curly hair crowned with a nurse's hat with the Red Cross symbol on it, they usually had brown eyes, and wore smocks like you'd find in a hospital. They usually oversaw Pokemon Centers, and ran the Healing Machines. "Oh, so it's Steven, is it? How did the battle go?" Nurse Joy asked.
"Pretty well." Steven said, glancing around.
"Yeah, but I'm still the Champion," Lance said, giving Steven a punch to the shoulder. He looked around the room, then back to Joy. "Is something going on? There's usually a lot of press whenever I'm challenged." Nurse Joy opened her mouth, and Lance rolled his eyes, "And, please, Nurse Joy, I don't want to hear about how hard it is to get mud stains out of carpets again, okay?"
Steven snickered, but a glare from Nurse Joy stopped that. "I'm not sure. I heard something about Team Rocket, New Bark Town, and Professor Elm's lab."
Lance's face paled, and he darted over to the TV. What he saw sickened him. It was New Bark Town. At least, the rubble that remained. "Once again, it has been confirmed that Team Rocket is behind this attack that left twenty-two survivors out of New Bark Town's population of two hundred fifty." Fires were still smoldering in the remains of some of the buildings, providing a little light to help with the floodlights that covered the entire town. "Team Rocket has said that this is a warning to the Global Police, and that if they do not stop harassing Team Rocket, more towns will go the way of New Bark Town." the screen cut to a recorded scene of something that was obviously earlier that night. There was a man and a woman there, but he couldn't see them. All he could see were the infernos behind them. They were talking, but he couldn't hear them over the roaring in his ears.
Rage bubbled up from deep inside of him and threatened to boil over. Even though this hadn't been his country, it was still Team Rocket's fault. He had put a stop to it in Kanto, and he would help defeat them in any way he could in Johto. He wheeled around and stalked out the automatic opening doors. He didn't realize where he was going until he trotted up the steps and barged through the doors of the Indigo Mansion. He stalked down the hall down to Agatha's office and ripped the door open. Agatha was sitting in a chair with her eyeglasses on, going over something or other, and looked up to see him standing there. "You interested in helping me make a Kanto Militia?" Lance asked, the fury of seeing an entire town and most of its inhabitants gone still fresh in his mind.
There's nothing like the feel of fresh, rich dirt under your fingernails, Karen mused, especially when it was night, and the already cool air was being cooled further by a slight breeze. She was in her personal garden. Well, not exactly. It was for anyone, but very few people came out here at all, and she was the one that did the most work on it, besides the gardeners. There was something about cultivating earth that she just enjoyed.
Her Mightyena sat beside her, drinking in the many scents of the flower section of the garden, andkeeping a weather eye out for anyone that might come close. Her Sneasel, Murkrow, Houndoom, Sableye, and Tyranitar were elsewhere, and Karen knew that all but Houndooom were looking out for her safety. Houndoom was, as usual, raoming around the mansion grounds, finding out what he could find out.
Karen thought back on her past, on her childhood. She had been the same as every other little kid in Celadon City. She had bragged to her friends that she would score highest on the Pokemon knowledge tests, and that she would be one of the few to get a Pokemon from Professor Oak. She had, too. But on the first day of her journey....
She shook the memory away. But something, like a mental echo of the girl she had met that day remained. It kept repeating her name over and over. Then, Karen realized with horror that it wasn't an echo. It was a mental presence. No. She had done everything. She would not go back. They would have to kill her. She felt whatever it was drawing herself inside of herself, and something....snapped. That was the only way she could describe it. Suddenly she realized that she could erect mental guards against....her. With a slow feeling of dread in her stomach, Karen realized that SHE had come back.
She was shaking, and someone was shaking her, and she heard that awful voice calling her name. She had to get out. Get out. Get out. Must get out. Must get out. Get out now. now! NOW!!! Inexplicably, her anger rose to a level she had never before had, and her hand snaked out and grabbed the arm that was shaking her, and she heard Lorelei scream.
Whatever it was that had risen within her dropped out of her mental sight, and she couldn't think of what it could possibly have been, and couldn't find it. "Lorelei?" Karen croaked, suddenly realizing that her throat was dry.
"Yeah, it's me." she was frowning, and looked concerned. "What were you doing?"
"Gard-" she stopped, and swallowed, trying to get some saliva back into her mouth, "Gardening. Why?"
"Because your Mightyena ran and got me, and when I saw you, you were writhing on the ground. You were like that for an hour, and for the last fifteen minutes, your Mightyena was growling at you. Like....I don't know what it was like."Just promise me it won't happen again, okay?"
"It won't happen again," Karen said, rubbing her throat, and wondering exactly how long she had been out. She glanced at her watch. Two hours? That couldn't have taken two hours!
"You sure that you're are okay?" Lorelei asked concernedly.
Karen sat, staring at Lorelei, for a few seconds, recalling that touch from her past. The mental touch. Something was about to go wrong. Very, very wrong. But there was no reason to worry Lorelei. "Yes," Karen lied. "I'm fine."
Bruno growled deep in his throat and took a swing at the punching bag in front of him. Idiot idiot idiot. He jumped up and his momentum carried him around in the air to bring his leg connecting solidly with the punching bag, and landed agilely on the balls of his feet, with another fist slamming into the punching bag. He was dimly aware of his Pokemon training around him. With another roar, he launched another series of punches and kicks into the punching back. Idiot idiot idiot. He had lost again. Not just once, but five times!
Punch, punch, kick, punch. Bruno's face beaded with sweat, and he shook his head, and drops of sweat flew everywhere. He had only a pair of cut-off jeans on, and was going after the punching bag like it had killed a relative. He had lost. Another fist slammed into the punching bag. And not once or twice, either. His kick sent the punching bag flying a short distance. He had lost all five of his matches, and would have lost more if Lance hadn't cancelled the rest of the challenges for the day. He whirled around and launched another kick at the punching bag.
His arms were screaming for a rest, and so were his legs, but he kept going. He knew he was the weakest of the Elite Four. Yet another fist slammed into the punching bag, and he was gasping for breath. Yet he didn't diminish his assault. If anything, he increased it. If only there was a dark and Rock Pokemon. He'd go out in find it, and expend most of his energies to training it up to defeat those annoying Psychic types. Suddenly, the entire punching bag flew across the training area and landed next to the door, and rolled against it.
Bruno suddenly realized the door was opening, and it was blocked by the punching bag. The door closed slightly, then the door was opened harder. It still wouldn't open. Bruno hurried over and moved the punching bag away from the door, and watched as the door opened to reveal Lorelei. She was holding three Pokeballs. "Hello," she said softly. "I was just coming in to train."
Bruno nodded, and turned around sharply. "Sure." he said, picking up the chain of the punching bag and turning back across the room to put it back into its place. "I mean, you don't really need to train, do you?" he asked hotly.
"And what is that supposed to mean?" Lorelei demanded, her own temper suddenly flaring at Bruno's tone. “Are you still mad because I beat you at the Allnian Tournament all that time ago?” she demanded.
Bruno stopped, but didn't turn around. “No.” he said quiety. “That's the past, and I can't change it.”
“Then what's going on?” Lorelei demanded, pushing her hair back and putting it into a ponytail.
“You don't want to know." Bruno replied quietly. He made sure that he controlled his feelings about his being so much weaker than the others, but he didn't want to talk about anything close to it, in case his control slipped.
Lorelei stepped forward, annoyed, but not angry. "I do wan to know, Bruno. Something's been bugging you for a long time. Ever since I became an Elite, in fact. And I KNOW that you haven't told anyone what's the matter."
"I've told my barber,” Bruno muttered.
“What was that?” Lorelei asked.
“Nothing,” Bruno replied. “I thought you came here to train." Bruno remarked darkly. He did NOT want to talk. Under any circumstances.
"I did. That was before I saw how worked you were over something." Lorelei said, giving her voice a more plaintive note. "Bruno, please. Just try to talk about it."
Bruno whirled around, his face clouded. "No." he said, "I won't. This conversation is over." he said with finality, and turned around. Lorelei stepped forward to follow him, but suddenly his Machamp was a living wall between them.
Lorelei sighed, "Fine, then." she said, "Be like that." she moved off to another area of the the gym, "See if I care." she muttered, but couldn't resist taking one last glance back at Bruno, who was trying to get the punching bag reattached to the ceiling, and wondered what in the world was bothering him.
"This isn't getting anywhere!" Lance said frustratedly, and tossed a piece of paper onto Agatha's desk. "We keep running into the same problems: Where are we going to get funding? Will the people approve of this? Who will fight? Will we accept only volunteers, and, if so, how do we know anyone's going to show up?"
Lance sighed and slouched in his seat dejectedly. "I'm never going to get this done." He sighed, and looked at his hands. He had been trying to put together a charter for the Kanto Militia for the past two hours. His nerves were shot, his brain was fried, and he was annoyed with Team Rocket for having done something to necessitate his having to form a militia.
He looked up at Agatha. She was the main reason he had been a champion so long. She worked behind the scenes, doing her work, and doing a fair amount of his while explaining how everything worked. "I need a walk," he muttered.
It wasn't that Agatha's chair that he was sitting in was cramped. No, it was soft, and he sunk in quite a ways when he sat down. That was why he usually sat in it when he came to visit her. She had a rather unique office, in that it doubled as a suite. The room was high and domed, and had constellations placed on the ceiling. Other than that, it was sparsely decorated.
"At midnight?" Agatha said in an amused tone, "Are you serious? I would think that you would want to get to bed. That's where I'm off to in about five minutes. Well, the loo first, of course.”
Lance glared at her, “Too much information,” he muttered, then snorted snorted. "It's not like I'd run into anybody."
A coy grin slid across Agatha's features. "You absolutely sure about that?" she asked, letting her amusement creep into her voice.
Lance looked at her, "What are you talking about?"
Agatha chuckled, "I just mean that you seem to spend a lot of time near the garden when you're out taking walks at night, and you just “happen” to get on the same lifts that she does."
Lance looked up at her, his fingers running over the finish of her hard wood desk, "Eho you talking about, and what are you implying?" he asked, careful to keep his emotions hidden.
"Oh, come now." Agatha said wryly, "You didn't really think you could pull one over on me, did you, Lance? I've known you for twenty years, now, and I know how you are."
Lance raised an eyebrow, a feat that he'd practiced for years until he could perform it, "What do you mean?" he asked, having a feeling that he wouldn't like where this was going.
"You know what I mean," the old woman said, a crafty smile on her face. "Aren't you going to tell Karen how you feel about her?"
For one split second, Lance felt as if his insides were twisting themselves around one another as he panicked. Then he forced it down and forced himself to remain casual, "How I feel about her?" he said, suddenly wanting to look anywhere in the elderly woman's austere office except right at her. Suddenly, she reminded him of some sort of school principal or something. Someone that knew what he wanted to hide, and he had to convince her that he didn't have anything to hide, even though that wasn't true.
Agatha leaned forward, "Look, Lance, I know that this is your personal life, but we are living in dangerous times. I want your word that no matter her fate, you'll make decisions with a level head, not emotional decisions. This is the only reason I brought this up."
Lance wallowed, "Yeah, I'll make sure that I'll make objective decisions." Even as he said the words, however, he wondered if he'd be able to make good on the promise.
It figured that the Kantans would have lax security, Anne Peters thought as she held the small computer she had used to hack the security mainframe in her left hand. Their security was no match for her. Not that any security in the world would have been to keep her out, but their security was almost non-existent by her standards. It had been a simple matter to transport herself through the air vents and down to their penitentiary.
Finding it had been no trouble at all. She had simply gone on a tour of the palace, slipped away at her first chance, and returned to the tour group at the end. It had been the third such tour she had been on, to ensure that they didn't have a head count at any time during the tour. It had been a simple matter to reconnoiter the place. It might have taken others more time than it had taken her, but she was the best, and no one else was as good as she was. Even the stinking Tintians knew that.
Her gaze fixed on the Scumbag in front of her. "Giovanni." she hissed softly. He had been her mentor, her guide through the ins and outs of Engaran culture, military, and social structure. "How low the mighty have fallen." her former teacher. She had been assigned to kill her former teacher. Her father figure.
"How much have you told them?" she demanded. She needed to know exactly how much of their plans he knew of. What damage to the followers of Lont he could cause. Then, once he had told her, she would kill him. It was that simple.
"I have told them nothing." the former leader of Team Rocket glared at her, his stubble irritating her right hand, but she ignored it.
"You do not lie." she said, and she knew that Giovanni knew that she knew he was innocent of treachery. "So, therefore, I will follow the orders of my commander. You will not have a chance to betray us."
Suddenly Giovanni was ripped out of her hands, and was flung onto the lone cot in the cell, but the video recorders that others would try to view later would not be able to see the force that did it. As he lay there, convulsing in agony as one by one his internal organs burst apart, Anne Peters turned around, and walked out of the room.
A short visit to the Security Center would be in order, to erase any evidence of her being there. Then she would return to Engara, and receive another assignment.
23rd July 2006, 7:27 AM
Karen stared at the flower in front of her in awe of its simple beauty. It was of a variety that opened only at night, but she wasn’t sure exactly what kind it was. Its five petals were each a soft creamy white at the center, and were yellow, orange, and a bright pink as the two-inch petals extended from the stamen, pistils, and the rest of the reproductive organs of the plant. The flowers themselves were held aloft by at least thirty purplish-brown thin tubules that waved softly in the wind.
Chimera Duonems, she remembered they were called. She hadn’t known much about them when she had first visited the garden, and had learned that a chimera plant, or animal for that matter, was an organism created from two separate genetic identities, and were put together through grafting, genetic engineering, or transplant-in the case of animals or humans-from one genetically distinct organism to another.
The Duonems, she had learned, were from the two of the Duotremmin and the Terrestrial Anemone, a plant that had been genetically engineered from the aquatic Anemone to survive outside of the water. It had taken almost four centuries to get the cellulose structure strong enough, she had learned, to support the weight that would have been otherwise supported by water. The Terrestrial Anemones were very expensive, and were very much a collector’s item. The Duotremmin was a night-blooming plant that was common in the nation of Effeular, but were again very rare because of the civil war that had plagued the country for years.
Karen watched the fronds of the Chimera Duonems float back and forth, and thought about the contact that she had experienced, and how it could compare to the truly unique plant that someone had somehow procured from Silph Company. Who would have thought that on the first day, an event would change her life forever? She felt herself falling back into the memory, and knew that she had to face her past again if she were to be of any help to anyone in any time.
She heard footsteps behind her, and turned to ask who was there, and caught a glimpse of her past. A past that she had worked so hard to forget. Her Mightyena growled, and took a step forward.
Then the pain hit her. Pure, searing, unadulterated pain. Pain that seared through her mind, through her limbs, through her body. Pain that would not stop. It seemed to her that she would die. Her memories flashed through her mind. Yes, she would die. She heard her Mightyena howling in pain, as if it could possibly know what she was going through. And perhaps finally justice would be done to her. Despite all this, she couldn’t help but allow a hair-raising shriek to escape her lips, mixing with the cries of pain that came from her loyal Pokemon, Mightyena.
Lance shut the door to Agatha’s office, having finally completed the charter for the Kanto Militia, and having balanced the budget. He knew that he should get to sleep, so he set off down the corridor. But as he neared his quarters, he felt himself quicken his pace and walk past his rooms, and found himself heading for the garden. Could what Agatha have said be true? He wondered.
Then he heard the scream. It was coming from the gardens. He began to run. He suddenly realized it was from Karen, and instantly he was on alert. If something was hurting her, the most self-sufficient person he knew, he would have to be careful, or suffer the same fate.
As he rounded a bend in the shrubbery, he came upon a sight that would haunt him to the end of his days. A stunted, wicked-looking creature. Its fur was a dark, rich violet that almost seemed to signify royalty, as in the days of old, when purple dye was a rare commodity. It had three cranial ridges-two where ears would normally be, and another, rounded ridge that looked like some kind of head-butting tool-and hands that looked like they were used mainly in battle. Hooked, four-fingered hands with claws that were at least four inches long, and looked as solid as steel nails were attached to long, burly arms. Its body, covered in the short purple hair that covered all of it, was just as muscular, but seemed to have another, harder layer of skin that probably would function as some kind of armor underneath. Its legs were shorter versions of the arms, obviously useful for running, and their feet each had four toes. Each one had a nail on it that looked to be useful for digging, but the biggest one-the one closest to the creature’s median-had a large, six-inch claw that looked vaguely like something that came off a creature from a history book. A Velociraptor, Lance recalled. Its tail was long-at least four feet, if not longer-and thick, and looked capable of breaking bones if the creature had any mind to.
But the most frightening thing was not its appearance, but its hold that it had on Karen. She was surrounded by some kind of silver light, and almost looked like she was being held straight up by the creature by her head, if not for the good foot or so of separation between skull and hand. The silver light, energy, or whatever it was surrounded Karen’s entire body, and while he was certain she had been screaming a moment ago, she was now unconscious. Nearby, her Mightyena lay on the ground, the entire posterior half of its body simply gone.
With a yell, Lance charged forward, not sure what exactly he was planning on doing, but the creature looked at him and with a contemptuous flick of the wrist, Lance was thrown back into the wall of shrubbery, and there he stayed, the creature’s power holding him there.
And then, with a yell, four people who Lance had thought were gardeners charged the creature, each armed with some kind of low-profile cross-bow and some other device that he didn't recognize in their other hand, with at least half a dozen Pokemon to a person with each of them. Some kinds he recognized, but there were many others that he did not. Suddenly, the force that held him to the shrubbery was gone as the creature concentrated on its battle.
Suddenly, a hand was in his face, offering to help him up. Lance took it gladly, and got up. The sounds of the battle were getting louder, and, Lance saw, the gardeners had discarded their crossbows in favor of some kind of short sword. How had they gotten those in here, he wondered. “LET ‘EM HAVE IT BOYS!” he heard someone shout from behind him, and half a dozen more men and women charged past, each wearing the uniform of someone working in grounds maintenance or mechanical maintenance. Many more Pokemon charged with them, whipping past Lance and concentrating solely on the beast. Karen was on the ground, now, Lance saw, and took a staggering step towards her, and stumbled forward, his brain sluggish. He wasn’t sure what happened to him, but felt a firm hand grasp his shoulder and pull him back to his feet.
“It's good to know that those Psionic Dampeners actually work in combat!” someone laughed, and that laugh was echoed through the entire group.
He looked back to the battle, and saw the creature was losing. Then, without warning, it teleported away. “Is everyone okay?” he heard someone shout from behind him. Probably, Lance thought dimly, whoever it was that was keeping him upright.
With some difficulty, Lance turned around as affirmatives rang out from throughout the garden. “Who-who are you?” Lance asked as he got his first glimpse of a man he would get to know very well. The groundskeeper’s uniform fit his physique nicely, and he was clean-shaven, with sharp eyes, and a mop of tangled black hair.
“Mike Givven.” He said, helping Lance to a bench so that he could sit down. “I’m with Tinted Intelligence. We thought you fellows might be under fire soon, but we didn’t imagine in our wildest dreams they’d move so quickly.”
Lance’s mind raced. Whatever else the creature had done to him, it had slowed down his mind, and all this was a bit much to take in. “You’re with Tintia?” he muttered as he tried to regain his sense of balance.
“That’s right. We have a great deal to discuss with you.” He looked over at Karen, who was being attended by the others in what Lance guessed was Givven’s team. “And with her, as well. We need to know exactly why she was targeted above anyone else.”
“She’s suffered severe neurological trauma,” the doctor said, “If we hadn’t gotten to her when we had, there would not have been anything else we could have done. I guess we owe our Tintian friends a bit of gratitude. Not that raiders and bandits deserve any such thing.”
Lance was a little more aware now. He was in the Palace’s medical quarters, and the doctor had just summed up a report on Karen’s condition. The elderly man had been serving as the doctor for humans for as long as anyone could remember, but he seemed uncomfortable having eleven Tintians in his med-lab. They stood off to the side, still wearing their groundskeeper and maintenance garb. Karen was hooked up to some kind of machine that was monitoring her every move, not that she made any. She was on life support, the doctor had told him. She couldn’t live without it. She wouldn’t be able to breathe, and her heart wouldn’t be able to pump.
“She’s stable for the time being,” the doctor continued, “But I wouldn’t advise moving her any time soon.”
Just then, another man in a maintenance jumpsuit burst through the door, “Major!” he said, ignoring everyone else, apparently knowing that their cover was blown, “Giovanni’s dead.”
“You can't tell them the truth!” Givven insisted. “If the Engarans knew for one instant that Karen was out of the running, they'd be all over you like Polleen on a berry farm.” He had somehow found out about the press conference that Lacne had called, and had barged in on a meeting of Lance and the remaining Elites.
“Why?” Lorelei demanded suspiciously. “Why should we trust you? The public has a right to know!” She had never been one to give her trust easily, and she was having an even tougher time trusting Tintians.
Givven grimaced. “I can't tell you that. I'm sorry, but I can't. I can only warn you that if you tell Kanto about Karen, you will be putting yourself in GRAVE danger!”
Agatha glanced at the Tintian, then back at Lance. “I'm inclined to agree with him, Lance. I'm sorry, but all the Tintians I know have been honorable. And I've never heard them give bad advice.”
Lance's eyes narrowed. “Agatha, I'm the Champion. The people have a right to know.”
Lance looked out over the hundred or so reporters that were gathered in front of him. This wouldn’t be easy, he knew. Not under any circumstances. But these circumstances…
He took a deep breath and began his announcement. “Ladies and Gentlemen, Karen has suffred a serious injury. I'm afraid that she is in a coma. We don't know when she'll wake up. Because of this, I have decided to appoint a temporary Elite. Based in no small part on the recommendations of Lorelei, I have decided to appoint the Steel monotype specialist Steven. He will be the first Elite that trainers face, and then Bruno, Lorelei, Agatha, and eventually me.”
He took a deep breath. He hadn’t gotten any sleep the night before, and hadn’t even had a chance to freshen up. He knew that he looked like a mess, but, frankly, after the night he’d had, he didn’t care. “And then there’s the other reason I called this press conference.”
Once again, he took a deep breath. He didn’t like the press. In fact, he hated them, but they shaped people’s opinions, so he had to go through with this, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I regret to inform you that Giovanni will not stand trial.” He held a hand up before the press could shout out their questions at him, “I assure you, were he still alive, he would indeed stand trial, but I regret that he died last night.”
Thompson turned the TV off, and turned to the other three Intel heads. “Well, ladies and Gentlemen, from what we’ve heard from Givven, it appears that we now know what it is they were keeping in reserve. The Engarans have apparently decided to unleash their precious Advanced Generation Mews. We’re not sure quite yet what series it is, but this is a very dangerous threat. Both to us, and the rest of the world.”
”The last time they sent one of those against Tintia,” Old Faithful said slowly, underscoring his point, “We were barely able to defeat it. We, with the most powerful military in the world, barely won that battle. This does not bode well for Kanto.”
Ruffles looked at Sandra, and the Furret looked at the Machamp, “What can we do to help the Kantans?”
“We can do nothing to help them, until they ask for our help.” Thompson said immediately, then a wry grin appeared, “If we go by the rules, that is.”
Sandra smiled slyly, “And we’ve never really played by the rules, have we?” her grin was matched by Thompson, and was punctuated by a quick shake of his head.
It had been just over thirty hours since that attack on Karen, and she had been in shock for twenty-eight of them. For the other two hours, she had been in a coma, and she showed no signs of coming out of it. All the members of the Elite Four, including the newest member, Steven, an Elite of the Steel type, had spent time with Karen, but none spent more time than Lance, who had spent twenty-two hours at her bedside, leaving only for his managerial and administrative duties as Champion that couldn’t be dealt with in paper format. Fully five of those hours were battles, as Steven hadn’t been used to fighting battles one right after another for an extended period of time, and Lorelei and Bruno had been doing the sloppy jobs that Lance had become accustomed to lately. The reason that Agatha had been defeated as many times as she had been, was that she was preoccupied with Karen’s condition; the fact that the Indigo League Tournament was going to take place in just under a month and the trainers were training harder than usual, and that her daughter; Sabrina, was coming to the Indigo League to help prepare her fiftieth wedding anniversary.
Lance looked up from the book he was reading on Dragon Isle in Tintia. The sudden appearance of Tintians, however, had sparked his interests in the country once more. There was no change in Karen. Still asleep. He sighed and went back to reading his book. The Champion had been fascinated with Tintia for years, and had been trying to get into the country for years to visit Dragon Isle, the island that Dragon types ruled. Lance wasn’t sure how this was possible, and he was very interested in visiting Tintia to find out. However, because of their strict laws on visitors from outside the country, he hadn’t been able to get a visitor’s visa. He had been meaning to talk to Professor Oak or possibly Professor Elm to see if either of them had ever been to Tintia, since Professors were more often accepted more often than others. Lance wasn’t sure if he would ever be accepted into the country, because he had heard that Pokemon trainers were despised by most Tintians. Lance frowned. He would have to ask Givven later why they did..
Lance sighed and put down his book, and looked over at Karen. She still wasn’t awake. He sighed, and put down his book. It wasn’t like he was going to be able to concentrate, anyway. He put his hand on hers. It was cool, though on the warm side of the scale. He sighed, and looked at her face. Her raven hair fell down around her peaceful face, and reached down to the light blue hospital smock. Why do they always have those weird smocks? Lance wondered to himself. He had never been in one, but if he ever did get in one, he knew that he would feel uncomfortable.
“Hey Karen,” he said, pushing a lock of hair back behind her ear, like he had been doing at least four times an hour for the last six hours. It simply refused to stay put. “How are you doing?” he had heard that people in comas could hear people talking, so he had been talking to her off and on for the last several hours. “It’s Lance. I’m not sure what got you, but it hasn’t shown up again.”
He looked down at his book, “I’ve just been reading up on Dragon Isle, you know, in Tintia, home of the brigands and our buddies? Oh,” he said, wincing slightly, “that’s right. You haven’t met Givven yet. He’s an okay guy, and everything, but I still wouldn’t trust him with anything more than taking out the garbage.” Lance sighed, and scratched his head, “Even then, being a Tintian, he’d probably go through it to see if he could steal anything. Nothing good ever came out of that country.”
Lance sighed, and ran his fingers through Karen’s Umbreon’s fur. The midnight-colored feliniod creature gave him a cool glare. Almost like an accusation. What it was supposed to be accusing Lance of, he hadn’t a clue.
“It hasn’t been the same, Karen,” he said quietly, “Something’s been missing around here. Everyone’s a little more…depressed. Lorelei hasn’t won a single match since the accident, Bruno’s started eating large amounts of junk food, and Agatha’s up all night.” Lance sighed again, then reconsidered, “Of course, that may be because of all the tea she drinks all day, and because this Psycho-‘scuse me, Psychic,” He almost paused. Karen had always laughed when he had done that. “daughter of hers is coming to help her plan her wedding anniversary for whoever he husband was.”
“But more than anyone, I’ve missed you. I’ve been here, at your side for a long time now. I don’t know how many mandatory meetings I’ve missed, how many appointments I’ve blown off. I just want to be here, next to you, when you wake up.” Lance looked at the Dark Elite’s face, and imagined Karen laughing, or giggling at some stupid joke he had just made. Her eyes would be scrunched up, the ends of that wonderful grin turned up, and the laughter wouldn’t come just from her voice….it would be from her eyes as well.
“Karen, I want you to know that I’ve appreciated your support through the years…” he smiled slightly, basking in warm memories, “You were the champ when I came here. You gave me that smile of yours, and your eyes were the thing that took me in. They took me in, Karen. And they’ve never let me go.”
Tears began to form in Lance’s eyes, “Karen, if you can hear me, that was when….” He hesitated. Did he really? He had been denying it to everyone, including himself. “That was when I first fell in love with you.” He said quietly. “Your courage, your determination….your drive to succeed.” He took one of her hands in his, and couldn’t help but shed tears as he felt the coldness with which it was gripped. “You don’t know how many times I’ve wanted to give up, and only kept on going because you and your encouragements were right there for me.” He smiled slightly, “Sometimes your methods were a little more direct than I would have liked but they always helped me.” Lance looked at his watch and scowled, “I am REALLY sorry, Karen, but I have to use the bathroom and get out of here.” He got up, picked up her hand, and kissed it. He glanced up to make sure that his Dragonite was standing guard over Karen. He didn’t trust anybody else besides someone from his own team to guard the woman he loved.
He had never liked hospital rooms, and hospital bathrooms even less. But he had no choice. He had waited too long, and now he REALLY needed to go. With one last look at Karen, he turned towards the hospital room’s bathroom. Little did he know that that was the last time he would see Karen. Alive. He entered the bathroom quickly, and shut the door. It was the only thing that saved his life.
An instant after he locked the door, an explosion rocked the room, and something lodged against the door. Lance pounded against it, but whatever it was wouldn’t budge. Lance glanced around. No room for his big guns, but then, he didn’t need them right now. He just needed to get out there, where he had slightly more room to maneuver. His hand reached for his belt, but hesitated when it came to selection.
Draman, Arachnadrago, or Aveamon? They were the only ones small enough to trust in the close quarters combat that was sure to follow, and there was only room for one in the crowded restroom. He pulled Draman’s Pokeball from his belt and released the Psychic Dragon. It roared, glanced around, and gave Lance a look of confusion, an instant before it began screaming in agony. Its eyes glowed blue, and it shook for several seconds, before it turned a baleful blue gaze onto Lance. Why, hello. It is good to see YOU again. a Psychic’s telepathic voice echoed through his mind, with a power that was impossible for his dragon to have had. It would have had to come from a very powerful Pokemon somewhere nearby Draman. You do not know how fortunate you are. You are to be spared, for you still play a part in the forthcoming of Lont. We shall meet again.
There was a fiendish shriek from outside the door, and screams that Lance recognized as coming from his Dragonite, Karen’s Umbreon, Sneasel, Murkrow, Tyranitar, Houndoom, Sableye, and the strange Dragon she’d never let him touch. His own screams and that of his Draman echoed through the small cubicle-like room, until he finally succumbed to the darkness that had been so inviting ever since the first waves of Psychic pain struck him.
24th July 2006, 9:06 PM
When Lance awoke, the first thing he felt was a heaviness on his chest, and something sticky trickling over his body. With a shout, he jumped to his feet, and felt whatever it was slide off of him onto the floor. He lunged for the light switch, but when he flipped it, nothing happened. Then he remembered the thing outside in Karen’s room, and he swung into action. “What do you want?” he demanded in a large voice, trying to open the bathroom door. Something was blocking the door, and it simply would not open.
Lance growled deep in his throat, and pulled a Pokeball from his belt, “Go, Draman!” he said forcefully, but nothing happened. No red beam, no Psychic Pokemon, nothing.
Lance frowned into the tiny, pitch-black room. “Draman?” he asked, confused. Then he remembered that he had called out his Draman, and the sheer power that whatever it was had funneled through his dragon. “Return!” he whispered, hoping that what he suspected was not the case. The ruby red beam briefly illuminated the room, and showed him his Draman, bleeding through the orifices that passed for ears, but otherwise appeared fine.
He growled deep in his throat, the other Pokeballs on his belt forgotten, the only thing he was thinking about was getting to his Dragonite. He had left it out there with Karen. Was she okay? Had anything happened to Dragonite? He had to get to them! He slammed his body against the door, yelling something. He was never sure later what it was he was yelling, but he was just yelling. As he repeatedly slammed himself against the door, he felt the hinges begin to give, but it felt like something was wedged against the door. For a split second, he thought about simply taking the door off of its hinges, but then he remembered that the hinges on this particular door were on the outside, mixed in with its beautiful wood grain.
Lance froze. Wooden door? He felt the door again, and there was no question about it. Lance took a deep breath, and got up onto the toilet, as far back as he could go, and pulled Charizard’s Pokeball from his belt, and released the fire dragon, grabbing a breath of air and closing his eyes tightly before the searing pain of fire and light burned into his senses. Without a word, Lance pointed towards the door. There was a slight pause, as if Lance hadn’t been seen immediately, then with a roar, the sizzling sound of wood being turned into charcoal was heard, and a cry from his Charizard made Lance open his eyes.
Charizard was standing in a dark room. Where there had been a window, there was now only rubble. Where the door was, the ceiling had been collapsed. Lance pushed past his evolved Charmeleon and looked at the bed, and his lunch nearly made a guest appearance.
Karen was gone. Gone! She was gone!
But that wasn’t all. Her Pokemon had been slaughtered. Her Umbreon, horribly mutilated, lay with its head at an obscene angle over the Dark Elite’s Houndoom, who had been torn asunder. Worse things had happened to Karen’s other Pokemon, and as Lance scanned the room, his gaze settled on a corpse in the far corner of the room.
With a cry of dismay, he rushed over to his Dragonite. His friend. His starter. What was happening here? Why was Karen gone? Why would someone have done something like this? The next thought that he had chilled him to the bone. Who could possibly have been powerful enough to defeat the Pokemon? They were all elites themselves! They were the cream of the crop. The best of the best.
And they had been slaughtered, like Rapidash too old to be anything but glue.
As Lance straightened from the body of his dead dragon, a fire awoke in his eyes that had not been seen in some time. It was the fires of revenge. Whoever had done this would pay, and it would be by his hand that they were brought to justice. No matter what. As Lance reached for his belt, he vowed from that moment on that he would train until he could train no longer, and not simply his Pokemon, but with himself. No matter what it took, he would find whoever did this, and destroy them.
Whoever did this was sick. From the mental contact, he could now, in hindsight, remember the sheer maliciousness of the voice. He had no doubt that whoever contacted him mentally did this as well. But who could possibly do such a thing?
The Champion of the Indigo League of Kanto had a pretty good idea where to start looking. All he had to do was some research, into this Lont fellow, and his “forerunners”.
“I wonder what did this.” Bruno said, his muscles straining to lift yet another piece of rubble off of another section of the Indigo League Pokemon Center. He shook his head, and glanced over where the Pokemon Mart section of the building had been. Only the counter now remained.
“I saw it,” Lorelei piped up, directing her Ice types in pulverizing the larger pieces of rubble so that she, Bruno and his team could move them more easily. “It was at least six feet tall. It was purple, and had a long tail…it was shooting some kind of silver energy out of its hands. Almost looked like Mew.” She looked over Indigo Plateau, “Whatever it was, it left a mess.” The once gleaming paradise now had a hundred-meter swath slashed through it, leading from the Pokemon Center, cutting through the Colloseum, and into a portion of the Palace.
Bruno sighed, and picked up another piece of rubble, and put it onto the nearby cart that he and his team had been filling all day, over and over. The rubble would be taken to some factory or something to pound it into pulp. He wasn’t up on all the details, just what he had to do.
It was a lot, he knew, but he had to pitch in to do his little bit, just like the ordinary trainers did. They were coming from all over to help pitch in with the clean up, and help with the rebuilding. Ecruteak City, Viridian City, Fuschia City, and one person he had met had said that he had come all the way from Hoenn to help with the clean up. They all cared about the Indigo Pokemon League, and were willing to sacrifice a part of their lives to make it better.
Which was all that they would be doing, although they didn’t realize it, the moment they set foot upon the marble steps of the now-ruined Indigo Colloseum. The place was wrecked, and would likely remain so as a memento for a while, if he knew Lance, and a newer, better Colloseum would be built, in every way twice as good as the predecessor. The Pokemon Center, he was sure, and the Pokemon Mart would be built into the Colosseum as well.
Bruno looked up at Lorelei, then glanced away as her Jynx smashed another big piece of rubble with an Ice Beam. Lately, he had been more and more attracted to the young woman. Ever since the Rocket raid. She was strong, self-sufficient, and a powerful fighter. She had a great personality, if a bit abrasive, and fun to be around. Plus she was beautiful.
He forced himself to stop thinking about Lorelei, and turned back to his work. He put his hands around the larger of the newer pieces of rubble, and moved it onto the truck that was getting rather full. Other pieces were being put in as well by the rest of his team.
The sound of another Ice Beam powering up, the shrill trilling of the energy a split second before it was released, a slight wind caused by the Doppler affect, then a sound almost like a Christmas tree ball breaking amplified a hundred times was heard again as yet another piece of rubble was split into smaller pieces.
Lance had claimed he hadn’t seen the monster that had done this, and nobody had any reason to disbelieve his claims, but when Lorelei had described what she had seen to Lance, he had gone completely pale, and had rushed off to the library.
Bruno grabbed another piece of rubble, and hefted it onto the truck. The Champion had been working like a man possessed, but not in the clearing away of the rubble. He had said that he had some research to do, and had locked himself into the Indigo Library, which hadn't suffered any damage, coming out only to eat quick meals before rushing back.
“Hey Bruno!” a familiar voice fell upon his ears, and the Fighting Elite looked up to see a young man with brown, spiky hair, a pendant with a relief of an oak tree on it around his neck, and an Arcanine at his side. If Bruno remembered correctly, and he was pretty sure he was, this was Gary Oak, Professor Samuel Oak’s Grandson. Gary had been hanging around all year, ever since being beaten in the semi-finals of the Indigo League Tournament by the young trainer Richie. Gary had been sulking all year, and had left a couple of months before to train by himself.
Obviously, this had pulled him out of wherever he had been. “Where do you need me?” he asked quietly. While prone to fits of bragging over his Pokemon and their impeccable training, especially when around his arch-rival, Ash Ketchum-a nobody from Pallet Town who had risen to great heights-he was still bound by the same thing as most every Kantan was. Duty, loyalty, and patriotism. The earnestness in young Oak’s eyes reminded Bruno of himself so long ago, before he had seen what the world had to offer.
“You got fire types with you, I assume?” Bruno asked, eyeing the large dog appreciatively. Growlithe and Arcanine were rare, and Bruno rarely dealt with them, being that his specialty was the fighting and occasionally ground types. But he had learned to give them his utmost respect. He had always held a special respect for Gary's Arcanine, though, ever since that single Pokemon had wiped out half of his team.
The young trainer grinned, “I’ve got Arcanine, here, my Magmar, Espeon, Hitmonlee, and Kingler.” He plucked five Pokeballs from his belt, and displayed them for Bruno to see. “Where can you use me?”
Bruno pointed over at a giant crane at one of the worst sites, “Go over there. Last I heard they were short-handed.” The brown-haired trainer nodded appreciatively, and headed off in a jog.
Despite all the confusion in the Indigo Plateau, it was peaceful out in the surrounding forest. At least it was, until “Are we there yet?” was heard in a whining tone.
“How far is almost?”
“Almost is almost, all right?” From out of the brush, a tall, bronzed man stepped forward, glancing at a map, then at the surrounding area, the position of the sun, and back again.
“No, it’s not all right!” a short kid with black hair, jeans, and a Pokemon League T-shirt complained, “You said we’d be there in half an hour. Guess what. That was three hours ago!”
“Pika!” a short, yellow rodent with a tail like a reverse bolt of lightning added, hopping onto the boy’s shoulder, and handed him an orange Pokemon League baseball cap.
“Just shut up, both of you!” it was a feminine voice this time, and a girl that looked to be about fifteen stepped out of the brush, wearing her hair in a single red ponytail, dangling down her back. “It’s bad enough I had to buy an Electabuzz T-shirt,” the green shirt to which she was referring, adorned with the name of a Johtan baseball team, hung on her rather thin frame, “But now I have to listen to you guys complain? This is cruel and unusual punishment!” she ended in nearly a shout.
The leader rolled his eyes, “Keep your shirt on, Misty, we’re there!” he pulled aside a tree branch, and looked over Indigo Plateau. Ash and Misty came up on either side of him.
There it lay, not a mile in front of them. Indigo Plateau, home of the Indigo League, the Elite Four, and the fabled colosseum. And, of course, “Nurse Joy,” the bronzed man said in a dreamy tone, already beginning to drool slightly. “Just a few more minutes, and I’ll be giving her the opportunity to make my acquaintance.”
The girl, known as Misty, chuckled, “Yeah, and then it’ll be a few seconds before she gives you the opportunity to make the acquaintance of her palm on the side of your face, Brock. You ALWAYS have bad luck with Joys. Why don’t you switch to something else, like normal people, and not always hitting on people’s cousins?”
“Hey!” the bronzed man who had been called Brock said, “They’re not YOUR cousins…Besides, What do you care? You can’t get a date to save your life.”
The girl’s eyes narrowed, “And there’s gonna be nobody to save yours!” she leaped at Brock, and tackled him to the ground.
The boy with the black hair stood next to a tree, staring at Indigo Plateau, dumbfounded and in shock. “Hey, hey guys.” He said, standing stock-still, simply staring at the city before him, “Somethings wrong.” The yellow rodent on his shoulder stared at the city, and scratching its head. “I see smoke.”
The other two teens got up immediately and came to stand next to the boy, and as they scanned the city, they found that they couldn’t find it, either. “You’re right,” the girl said, in a worried tone, “Ash, what do you think has happened?”
The trainer shook his head, “I’m not sure, but I have a feeling that we’re going to find out.”
Ash Ketchum stepped through the great arch of the Indigo League, flanked on both sides by statues of famous men and Pokemon, and felt Butterfree fluttering around in his stomach. What had happened here? He could hear sirens, people shouting, and Pokemon attacks going off all over the place. He swallowed hard. What had happened here? There was no one in the anteroom to greet him, no one to check his badges at the inner door. With a sinking feeling in his stomach, he pushed open the inner door, and saw the horror that had befallen the Indigo Plateau.
He felt sick to his stomach, and staggered back against the Plateau’s gatehouse for support. Someone or something had moved like a bulldozer through the Plateau, mowing down everything in its path from the gatehouse to the Palace. Nothing that had stood in its way could possibly have survived.
Lance felt terrible, standing in the middle of what had been the Indigo Colosseum, talking to literally thousands of trainers, young and old, trying to convince them to join the militia he was forming. He was pretty sure it would be easier after this had happened. “This episode has proven to me that we here in Kanto are entirely unprepared for the real world. For years, we’ve been basically telling everyone that everyone is basically good.” Lance looked down at the podium, and his notes, then back up at the people gathered in front of the lectern. “I have always disagreed with this, and nothing has proved it to me better than Team Rocket’s brutal razing of New Bark Town, the Slaughter of its people and their Pokemon, and the destruction of Professor Elm’s research. Professor Elm himself died in the attack, unfortunately, and I offer his family and their country my condolences. My good friend Karen was recently kidnapped in a rather explosive attack on the Indigo Mansion as well.
“While we cannot do anything to change what happened to the late professor, we can take steps to ensure it will never happen to anyone else again.” There was some murmuring in the crowd, and Lance took a deep breath, looked at his notes to keep from staring at everyone else, then looked into the bright lights, flashes, and faces of trainers who trusted him to make good decisions, and said, “I’m proposing that we create a militia to protect Kanto. To augment the Global Police and the Officer Jennies and Jakes, and be the first line of defense in the event of any invasion.” Lance didn’t really think an invasion was likely, but the Tintian, Givven, had insisted he put that line into his speech. “I call on all good trainers of Kanto to join its militia to help protect the country. Altans are being flown in to instruct the trainers to defend themselves in areas such as martial arts, basic handgun instruction, and other areas of that sort.” Givven had wanted Tintians to do the training, but Lance, and the rest of the Elite Four, except for Agatha, for some reason, had put their feet down on that point.
From the back of the crowd, a woman with hair died blond watched Lance’s speech under the brim of her fedora pulled tight over her eyes. She smiled coldly. The dimwit Champion was giving himself a war, though he didn’t yet know it. She turned and walked back to the Pokemon Center, where “Jasmine,” was staying for the night. She didn’t especially like using an alias, but it was part of her job. Once she reached the lobby of the Center, she made straight for the vid-phone array, slid the one-time scrambler onto the mouth-piece, and dialed the number she had been given. She knew that it would be rerouted all over the globe before arriving at its final destination, yet it was picked up on the third ring. “Hi Dad,” she said, using the code system that had been set up. “Dad” was actually four times her age, and was the head of the Engaran Special Forces and Intelligence branch of the Engaran Armed Forces. “Just wanted to let you know that I’m finally in the Indigo Plateau, can you believe it?”
Actually, it hadn’t been that hard, getting from what was left of New Bark Town to the Indigo Plateau. Not for someone as adept at changing her form and personality to fit the need as Cassidy. “Really?” the Director’s voice came in, “Have you seen anything interesting yet?” She was being asked if she had any information that he could use. Even though the transmission was supposed to be secure, it didn’t hurt to have a little secrecy.
“Well, I heard that Karen of the Elite Four was kidnapped, and I just got back from Lance announcing that there’s going to be a Kanto militia now.” She glanced at her watch. She had five minutes left before the chemicals in the scrambler went dead, and her call would become unscrambled, and people would be actually ableto tell what was going on.
“Really?” the director asked, “That’s too bad about Karen. She was a very good trainer.” Cassidy frowned. That part of the code meant that Karen had been undercover for Engara. But how could she be? “Are you going to join the militia?” Okay, so he was ordering her to join. That was fine, but-
“Yeah, I’d thought about it. Hey dad, what did you say about Karen? I never thought she was that good.” Cassidy chewed on her lower lip. Had Karen really been an agent all this time, and she had never known anything about it?
There had to be some kind of mistake. There was no way-NO WAY-that that Elite could have been a sleeper. Or an agent of any kind. The history was just too airtight for that. She had checked it herself. “Oh, no.” the director said, “She was a VERY good trainer.”
Butch looked across the negotiating table, “No,” he said, shaking his head impatiently, “Team Rocket cannot afford to pay you to attack Kanto for us.” He was looking at the heads of Teams Aqua and Magma, Joan Paula Jones and Jiang Fernandez, respectively. It was actually a miracle they were in the same room and not hitting each other, let alone the miracle of their talking to one another, “After the Kantans raided us, and our losses in Johto, we simply don’t have the resources to spend on something like this.”
Jiang, a tall asian-looking individual who had red hair, of all colors, and a southern accent. A truly unique individual, he led one of the now two strongest teams in the world. “So,” he drawled, “What do you think WE should do? Excuse me for asking, but this whole thing seems a bit....off. Like you in Rocket would get the bigger end of the stick.”
Butch sighed. He missed having Cassidy with him. While he understood she had been reassigned, he had grown to like her companionship, if not her own unique personality. Besides, she was the more diplomatic of the two. His patience was beginning to wear thin, and he wasn’t sure how long he could keep up his cool.
Joan glared at her contemporary. While Jiang was tall and unique, she was short and looked roughly like any other female, and could easily dissapear into a crowd, with her brown hair and green eyes. “While I do not share his view,” she said softly, “Team Aqua simply cannot commit the resources you would need unless Magma did. The Engarans are breathing down the necks of the Aqua forces already in the region, and they’re preparing a fleet to hunt our numbers down. And besides, we can’t leave ourselves weak to an attack by the Magmans.” She glanced at Butch, “I’m sorry, I truly am, but I cannot help you.”
“But don’t you see?” Butch asked impatiently, “Divided you cannot stand alone.” He repeated the line that had been drilled into him so many times by the reading material he had been given for this assignment, “Team Rocket had been stronger than both of you combined just one short month ago. Both of you recognize this fact, yes?” they both nodded slowly, Jiang looking unsure of where he was going with this, and Joan looked like she knew where she was going, and she didn’t like it. She understood it, but she didn’t like it. “Yet it took the Johtans and Kantans, combined, less than a week to reduce us to a pitiful rabble.” Fernandez and Jones stared at Butch, both refusing to look at the other. “Apart, you cannot hope to stand against the unity of Kanto and Johto. Together, they have one of the strongest armies in the world. Especially now that Kanto is making its own militia.”
“But they captured Giovanni,” Joan riposted. “If you cut off the head of a creature, it stops living, for the most part. Team Rocket still outnumbers both Teams Aqua and Magma combined, but now they’re fighting amongst themselves for control.” She stared at Butch coolly. “And you’re the head of one of those factions.”
“How long,” Butch began, off on another tack than he’d been ordered to do, ignoring her barbs. “will it be before they come after you and leave your organizations leaderless?” he queried, “They’ve taken down Team Rocket and seen the damage removing the head can do. Who is to say that they won’t come after you two next? Lance has made it exceedingly clear that he wants to see the world rid of all gangs like you two and me are part of. Do you really think he’ll leave you alone, especially since you two would become a priority target if and when he declares war on you?”
Jiang and Joan glanced at one another for a split second, then focused back on Lance. Butch’s heart soared, but he was careful not to reveal it. He didn’t want to scare them off when they were just beginning to crack, “The Global Police are starting to hunt down the last remnants of Team Rocket Loyalists in Kanto right now,” Butch said, “And they’re close to finding our secret warehouse in Fuschia, which is where, if you remember, Joan, the documents regarding the Aquan attack against Mt. Moon last year are kept, and, Fernandez, the records on the attack against Cinnabar six months ago were also kept. They find that, you’re both going down.” Butch smiled slyly, “Which is what you’re going to be doing anyway, if you keep going on this course.”
Joan frowned, “What do you mean?” she asked, a tinge of nervousness in her tone.
Butch smirked, “Why, simply that Rocket Intel has determined that Teams Magma and Aqua will very shortly come under attack by the newly established Kantan militia, Global Police, Altan military, and independent trainers from Johto and Hoenn, with a priority on finding and taking you two out.” The leaders of Magma and Aqua looked at each other in horror. Butch smiled. This information was all true, and so was what followed next, “we have learned, however, that Kanto and the Global Police are the main instigators in this war.” He looked at the two leaders, “Destabilize them, and you will have at least a year to prepare a stronger defense.” His cool glance went from Joan to Fernandez, “My Team Rocket Loyalists are willing, and are in the process of recalling all units to Johto and destroying the Global Police.” He smiled, “That just leaves one other major instigator. Kanto. Are you two available to protect your own necks?”
Joan glanced at her counterpart, then back to Butch. Fernandez was staring straight at Butch, grinning and nodding eagerly. Joan grimaced at him. Jiang was bloodthirsty—of that there could be no doubt. If there was a battle, he joined in. If he didn’t have a reason to join in, he made one. Joan, on the other hand, was more cautious. Very cautious. Where the Magmans concentrated on large-scale attacks, the Aquans concentrated on tactics and maximizing every opportunity, which explained why they were still around, given the Magman’s vastly superior numbers. Joan looked back at Butch, and closed her eyes. “May my children forgive me,” she said, and nodded, her eyes remaining closed.
Good,” Butch said, “I’ll leave the planning to you two.” He got up from his chair and offered them both one of his hands, “This has been a very successful meeting,” he said, smiling, “Let’s do this again sometime.” And he would see them again, of that he had no doubt. Not that they would see him again—or if they did, they certainly wouldn’t enjoy it. “Now, if you’ll excuse me,” Butch said, grinning. “I have a plane to catch.”
27th July 2006, 10:24 AM
A young man peeked around the corner of the Goldenrod Pokemon Mart, towards the Global Police Headquarters. He couldn’t believe his luck! Butch, the new leader of Team Rocket, had chosen him for this special occasion! They had chosen him as the advance scout for the grand siege of Goldenrod City! This was a do-or-die event. Fail here, and Team Rocket would die. Be victorious, and the majority of the Global Police Force would be completely gone. Mark Harson sauntered past the Global Police Station, and continued on down the street. When he was maybe three blocks past the Station, he pulled out his cell phone and dialed in the “go” number. He let it ring once, then hung up. It was done. Goldenrod was now effectively under siege. No one would be able to go in or out. Any flying Pokemon trying to get into the city would be shot down, digging Pokemon intercepted and stopped, and fleeing trainers or trainers trying to get into the town would be stopped. That included Mark, but he didn’t worry. He pushed his brownish-blond hair over his head, and grinned, heading towards his favorite ice cream shop in the city, his blue eyes sparkling.
Laira Koucho smiled at the Nurse Joy, and was on her way out the door when suddenly an explosion rocked the city, shattering glass windows for blocks. She stumbled forward out the door, and sprawled onto the ground. Three Pokeballs fell off of her belt and opened, revealing her Alakazam, Gengar, and Scyther. “Alakazam,” she gasped out, trying to catch her breath. “What’s happening?”
As the Psychic closed its eyes to try to discern what was upon them, Scyther and Gengar took up defensive positions beside her. Finally able to breath again, Laira spat her dark purple ponytail out of her mouth. Glancing to her left, she reached out and put her black beanie back on, glanced down to make sure her boots were still on alright, then staggered to her feet. Scyther was immediately at her side, helping her up.
Her starter, Scyther had proved to be a very loyal Pokemon, and a terrific fighter, yet always had a heart for others, and rarely for itself. She smiled at him and he carefully removed his bladed claws. Laira pulled two of the last three Pokeballs from her belt and released the indwelt Pokemon. Her Kecleon and Venemoth sprang into existence, each instantly scanning for opponents out of habit.
Her Alakazam opened her eyes, and spoke telepathically to her trainer. Laira, they’ve destroyed the Cell terminal. Cell phones are useless. They’ve also cut all outside lines of communication to the city. Transmissions to satellite dishes are blocked by a Psionic barrier, which prevents trainers and Pokemon from leaving or entering the city. This has also cut the power to the entire city. What power’s still up is because of either Electric types, Generators, or batteries.
Laira growled, “Terrific,” she muttered, and stalked off towards the Global Police Station, to see if they knew what was going on. “I’ve beaten Whitney, and I can’t move on. Unless someone tells me what’s going on, someone’s gonna be sore tonight.” Others might have been astounded by the speed of her Alakazam’s assessment of the situation, but after six years with her, Laira wasn’t surprised one bit.
Finele Daigo frowned, staring at empty air. She tried to move forward again, but was again stopped by thin air. This shouldn’t be happening. She should have been a bit closer to Goldenrod by now. What in the world was going on? She stepped back a pace or two, and glanced at her Ninetails, “What do you make of it?” she asked. The foxy Pokemon growled in an almost whimpering way, and Finele guessed that Ruby had no idea what to make of it either.
She glanced at her Gardevoir, who was glaring at the point where the strange…barrier….was…
Finele’s gaze tightened, “Gardy, is that a Psychic Barrier?” she asked. The Pokemon nodded stiffly, its featured into a mask of hate such as none Finele could recall it ever having had before. It seemed to be straining at something. Suddenly, Gardevoir could take it no longer and was suddenly flung backwards into a tree. “GARDY!” Finele shouted, and ran over to her beloved Psychic. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she could hear her Pokemon growling, and footsteps rushing towards her. She stared at her Psychic’s face in shock. What had it been trying to do?
She heard a shout behind her and the snarls of her team. Well, snarls and a sharp hiss from her Zangoose. She whirled around, and saw six men, one of whom had a gun to Ruby’s head. The Ninetails glared at the man, growling softly, “Call off your fox,” he said darkly, “Or I’ll shoot your dog. My bullets are specially formulated, and could pass through Ho-oh’s fire itself without bothering it in the slightest. Now. Return your Pokemon.”
Finele glared at the man, and recalled her team. “I suppose,” she said, her gaze drifting to the “R” emblazoned on his chest, “That you want my Pokemon as well?” she asked harshly.
He glared at her, “That won’t be necessary. But I’m afraid,” he said, pulling another gun out of a holster he had had behind his legs, out of sight to her, “That I can’t let you go, either.” He pulled the trigger, and she barely had time to scream before the Tazer’s red-hot needles slammed into her, pumping her full of a thousand volts of electricity for four short seconds. She was unconscious before she hit the ground. “Area four secure!” the man said into a small radio, reholstering the small gun, “Outskirts of Goldenrod are secure. No one got away. Tagging the last one for Teleport,” he said, fastening a small tag onto her clothing, and stepped back as the long-range teleportation effect took its hold on the girl.
Steven thanked the cook, shook his hand, and continued on his way. There were so many people to know, and not enough time for him to get to know them. So far he had met the Security Crew, the Maintenance Crew, the Gardeners, and now the cooks. He smiled, then frowned as his cell phone beeped. He pulled the chrome silver device out of his pocket and flipped it open, “Yeah?” he asked, putting it to his ear, taking the required hair net off, and putting the fire red Indigo League baseball cap back onto his head, backwards, of course.
“We’ve got trouble,” it was Lance’s voice. “Saffron Town just reported an attack by a creature that resembles Mew. Ring any bells?” Steven grabbed his light brown trenchcoat from where he had put it to avoid it getting into the various foods, and put it on hurriedly. Lance didn’t give him a chance to answer the question he had posed, “Apparently we have an Altan nearby, and he’s letting us use his team to fly on on our way there.”
Steven nodded. The Altans, undisputed Masters of the Sky in every way, shape, and form, would be the perfect way to get to Saffron quickly and as safely as possible, “Thanks, but I’ve got Skarmory. I’m on my way now,” he replied.
He was about to hang up when Lance’s voice cut in, “Skarmory’s a Steel type, and will be useful in the fighting, but too slow to make it there in time. Hang on,” he said, and Steven could hear Lance talking with someone, sounded like Agatha, off to one side, then came back to the phone, “Change of plans, Agatha’s daughter just arrived. She’ll teleport us to Saffron. She’s the gym leader there, after all. One of Sabrina’s Pokemon will be there shortly,” Lance said, and the phone went dead.
Shortly was an understatement. In seconds, an Alakaam appeared next to him, and before Steven could put his cell phone in his pocket, he was in Saffron City, the Psychic already teleporting elsewhere. The other Elites were on either side of him, both busy releasing their Pokemon as fast as they could. Steven could only stare in awe at the creature in front of him. It was just as Lance had described it-lush, purple fur matted with fur, not of its own, but its victims; the trio of cranial lobes; the muscular body; the four-fingered hands-but it was even more terrifying in person.
For an instant, he couldn’t move, then the other Elites charged. Swallowing hard, he released his Pokemon, and followed his peers. He could dully hear the sound of a woman yelling orders, and a quick glance upwards revealed Sabrina barking orders from on top of a balcony, a Hypno and an Alakazam flanking her, firing as fast as they could at the creature, which hardly seemed affected by the combined attacks of what had to be a couple baker’s dozen trainers attacking it.
With a mere flick of its wrist-almost casual-a bolt of Psychic energy leveled a three-story mall, decimated within moments. Steven’s mind raced. There had to be something he could do. From somewhere, a gunshot went off, then another, and another. Each bullet was flicked away easily by the towering creature, and a bolt of Psychic energy traveling back at the shooter.
Steven stared as it paused for a moment, made a cup with one hand, then seemed to casually blow at a building that had many trainers crowded on its balcony, cheering on their Pokemon. From a quickly grown ball of pure white energy in the creature’s hand, a flurry of psionic beams flew towards the building, each targeting a different trainer or Pokemon perched on the building, and each one collapsed.
Steven stared in shock. That attack was one known as Psy Storm, and required tremendous energy. It normally fainted the user, but this Pokemon didn’t. Maybe it had something to do with the ball of energy. That wasn’t a normal part of the attack. In any event, the creature kept using Psy Storm. In came his Skarmory, and more and more Psionic beams began moving towards it, but it moved its metallic wings in the way each time and reflected each one. Steven suddenly became aware of a man with a heavy-duty machine gun that started firing at the Mew-like creature, only to receive a psionic beam to the head from the ball. Quickly, Steven picked it up, ducked behind cover, and aimed carefully. With the ball in one hand, the creature seemed unable to block bullets with the other. But the free hand could still do damage.
A wave of that hand, and his Skarmory was sent to crash into a building, making a yard-deep impression before disappearing from sight. Steven saw his other Pokemon scattered around the battlefield, all fainted. Growling softly to himself, he took aim with the rifle on the glowing sphere, and pulled the trigger.
What happened next was difficult to comprehend. Suddenly the ball seemed to fizzle, and implode in on itself. The creature looked at the suddenly very tiny sphere, which had become- to anyone close enough to tell-in the shape of the bullet, stopped at the heart of the sphere. A look of horror appeared, then suddenly the white shape exploded outward violently. A careening shine of pure white energy flew outwards in a perfect sphere, hammering into the ground, crushing window-sided walls, throwing cars, and sometimes leveling buildings.
Steven coughed, and looked up. Aside from the destruction left in the wake of the blast, there was no trace of the creature. Hurrying forward, Steven began recalling his Pokemon, wincing at the sharp pains in his legs. He wiped his forehead, and his fingers came away sticky. He looked at his hand, and, to his horror, saw blood on them. He was losing blood. He was losing blood! Suddenly he felt faint, and collapsed to the ground.
“It’s good to see you again, Mom,” Sabrina said, hugging Agatha, “I’m glad I didn’t inherit that accent of yours,” she grinned, and looked to the others, “Steven’s gonna be fine. From the blood on his fingers, I’d say he’s a bit, shall we say, squeamish when it comes to seeing blood. Well, at least his blood, for certain. He’ll be up and around, same old Steven you guys don’t know, in about an hour or so. He hit his head hard when he fell onto his Aggron.”
Lance snickered, then glanced out the window of the Saffron Community Hospital, and the humor faded. Twelve buildings leveled, over six hundred cars totaled, three thousand homeless-due either to the direct damage from the creature, or the wave of energy Steven caused-and over four hundred fifty dead. Humans, anyway. The death count for Pokemon was much, much higher. And both counts would only increase as the damage was excavated. The hospital was full, and they were actually standing in the lobby, with Steven sprawled over a bench.
Lance glanced up at the corridor. They’d have to move out of the lobby, soon, if the cots in the hall with patients on them was any indication. Lance nodded, “All right, I’ve got some people to meet about the new militia.” He said, “I’m sure it’ll get approval now. Sabrina, do you mind?” he asked.
The Psychic grinned, “Not at all,” she said, and released a Mr. Mime. Within seconds, Lance was in a board room in the Indigo Palace, where the waiting Altan military leaders were waiting for him.
Thompson sighed, and rubbed his eyes, “I don’t like this,” he muttered loud enough for the other three to hear, “The Engarans are going to invade, or maybe just flatten the whole country, whichever’s easier.” He was facing away from the table, looking out the window, longing to be young and innocent like the Kantans had been, before all this started.
“What makes you think that?” Ruffles shot back, in a bad mood of his own. A young Psychic had bested him easily in the Tinted Army’s gym, and he was still nursing his pride.
Thompson wasn’t in a good mood, and whilred around, his face incredulous, “What makes me think that?” he demanded, “I’ll tell you what! An Advanced Generation Mew shows up in the Indigo Plateau, nearly kills the Dark Elite, then kidnaps her, talking about LONT, then it shows up again in Saffron City, with a bloody psionic accelerator!” his eyes burned with frustration at not being able to do anything, “It’s just lucky for the Kantans that Steven destroyed the infernal thing.”
“Who knows what damage it may otherwise have caused,” Old Faithful said quietly, peeking up over the edge of the desk. The sight was humorous, and might have elicited a smile if not for the fact that the other three saw it all the time, and the mood the attack had put them in. “But there is another factor that we had not forseen. Johto.”
Sandra nodded, “Yeah, what’s with Team Rocket bottling up Goldenrod, then getting the Aqua and Magma leaders together deep in Ilex Forest?” she wondered aloud, waving her tail almost airily.
Ruffles sighed, “Look, it’s nothing, okay? They’re just trying to distract us, and, what do you know, they’re doing a pretty good job of it! Let’s stay focused on us, okay?”
Thompson shot to his feet, as did the Machamp, “We are not just talking about us anymore, Ruffles,” Thompson practically shouted, “We are talking about the protection of all the ideals that we hold dear. And the Kantans have some of those ideals in spades, as well as the Johtans, and we are going to do everything in our power to make sure they stay safe. Am I making myself clear?” he was shouting now, as loud as he could get.
“Gentlemen!” Old Faithful said, shooting Thompson and Ruffles each a disapproving look, “We are here to help Kanto, not hurt each other. We are adjourned for the day.”
Sandra raised a paw, “But-“
“ADJOURNED!” Old Faithful said, more forcefully this time, and slammed his paws down on the table. Hard. The other three glanced at one another, though Redd and Ruffles tried not to glance at each other. They all knew the meeting was now over.
Bugsy sighed, and looked at Falkner, “What are we going to do?” he asked. “Goldenrod’s been bottled up by Team Rocket, Kanto was attacked by that weird Pokemon again, and the Global Police have proved useless in helping us bring in the Rockets! This has gone too far!” They were in Ecruteak, planning, or trying to plan, an attack on the Rockets to free Goldenrod, and wipe out the Rockets once and for all.
“What do you want us to do?” Chuck demanded, “We don’t have the manpower to drive off the Rockets.” He looked at his hands, and muttered, “My gym’s already tried, anyway.”
“As have mine,” Falkner said, “Their air defense is too strong. I’ve asked the Altans to back us up.”
“It’s no use,” Claire said, “My trainers tried too. The ones that got out said that they’ve got Sudowoodo in there as perimeter guards.”
“My Ghosts got in okay, although a Mightyena patrol gave them quite a scare,” Morty, the Gym leader of the Ghost types offered. All heads swiveled down to Morty, who smiled. “Got some good recon too. They have at least a hundred fifty trainers there, all armed with at least sidearms and at least three Pokemon. There’s no way that we could do this on our own. They’ve taken up all the defensible positions, and set up a Psychic barrier around Goldenrod, and they’ve cut all power and communication lines, including satellite, to the town.”
The other gym leaders stared at him, some with mouths open. Morty leaned forward, “Sometimes stealth pays. My ghosts said that they could hear you guys coming ten minutes before you actually appeared.”
Falkner frowned, “You heard my birds coming?”
Morty laughed, “No, but you were so high up it was easy to spot you almost right away. What you need to do is come in low and fast, then pop up just before you strike.” Blank looks came his way, then the looks were turned on each other, then back to him. “I trained in military strategy in Alto during my last vacation period, okay? Those guys SPECIALIZE in Flying types, so they know what they’re talking about. And they’ve been through at least three wars.”
The other seven sighed, and exchanged glances. Morty was single, and wasn’t still a kid. He was the only one who made trips that were educational, and not purely for rest and relaxation. “We’re going to need to be planning this assault more carefully,” he said, and he pulled a rolled up sheet of paper out of his backpack.
“Here’s the basic layout of the city and surrounding area.” As the gym leaders crowded around the map, Falkner’s palm pilot beeped. He pulled out the pointer and tapped the screen, then grinned and put it back in his pocket, “We’re getting Altan support. They’re sending their First Farfetch’d Division, the Sevententh Dodrio division, and the Fortieth Fearow Division to help us out.”
Morty nodded, “Good. Those are their elite divisions. I’m sure they’ll send a military planner as well, but it wouldn’t hurt to map out the obvious points.” He pulled out a red marker, and placed X’s on several points on the map, “Here are their anti-flyer Pokemon,” he placed several O’s on the map, “Here are their major staging points,” he carefully made a large circle around Goldenrod, “And here’s the limit of the barrier.”
Morty picked up the map and put it into clips on the wall, “All right. Let’s see how much we can plan out, with us knowing this much.”
The other gym leaders all started speaking at once, and Morty covered his ears. “QUIET!” he shouted, “ONE AT A TIME!”
Sabrina choked back tears as she pulled another man out of the rubble of what had been the Fighting Dojo. How many people had died here today? How many people hadn’t needed to? If it wasn’t for Steven…she trailed off, shaking her head. She would NOT think like that. Where had that…thing gotten a Psionic Accelerator. As far as she knew, there were only five that had ever been made. One in the Kantan museum of science and history on Indigo Plateau, two were destroyed, one was in an Altan museum, and the fifth-Sabrina paled, and ran towards her gym. Oh no, oh please no!
She burst through the doors, startling a nurse Jennie, who was putting the finishing touches on dressing an arm fracture. Sabrina ignored them, and jumped onto the teleporter pad that would take her to her private sanctum. It took a few seconds for the mechanics to recognize her, and then she was in her private apartment. She jumped off the pad, slapped the hidden button, and tapped her foot impatiently as the hidden door slid ponderously open.
When she could barely slip through, she did so, and stopped short. Her face paled. It was gone. Her Psionic Accelerator was gone. Everything else was untouched, but her Psionic Acclerator was gone. It was gone. It was gone! Steven had destroyed HER Psionic Accelerator!
Sabrina’s eyes darkened. She wasn’t even supposed to be here! She was supposed to be on the Plateau, helping her mother plan her Wedding Anniversary Party! She was going to find that thing, though, and she would kill it. If it was the last thing she did. But she needed to get to the Indigo Plateau. If that thing had wanted hers, it would definitely want another close to Kanto. It was odd that it hadn’t attacked any other country yet. Sabrina grumbled and went back in her room. After the secret door was closed, she began throwing clothes into a bag. She would go to the Indigo Plateau, all right, and she’d make sure no one got the Psionic Accelerator.
Agatha sighed, and put her pen down into the pencil holder softly, but what she wanted to do was slam it down hard. All she had wanted was for Sabrina to help her plan her fiftieth wedding anniversary. Then the attack on Saffron happened, and now Sabrina wasn’t on the Plateau anymore. She rubbed her eyes and looked at Bruno, who stared back, “Um,” he began, “somehow I feel like my talents are being wasted here. If you have appetizers or something for me to try, I’m your man. But anything else…”
Agatha nodded, and smiled, “Ah, yes, I understand, Bruno. You may go.” The man stood up eagerly, and tried not to let Agatha see that he was hurrying out of the room. He did a very bad job of it. She put her head in her hands. She needed Sabrina. She was good at this type of thing.
A knock on her door made her look up. She smiled broadly. Sabrina smiled back. “Need some help?” she asked.
Lance walked out to the airfield, Steven trailing behind him. He was glad he was out here today. The sun was shining, not too warm, but not cold either. The sharp, tangy smell of petroleum products was in the air, along with the smell of warm concrete. Lance could never explain it to anyone, but it just had a certain…feel about it. Almost like a smell.
It wasn’t too far from the cargo plane that had just landed, and was just now shutting off its propellers. The jets roared by overhead, peeling apart, revealing missiles carried on the undercarriage for all to see. They were sleek, sharp fighting machines made for aerial domination, and had the blue and white emblem of Alto emblazoned on the top and bottom. The dual-engined aircraft swung around for a landing, revealing two small machine guns in the nose, each capable of firing a thousand rounds apiece in the space of a minute.
The lower ramp of the cargo transport lowered, and what resembled a small tank rolled down the ramp. It was called an Armored Personell Carrier, if Lance remembered correctly, and had treads, thick armor, three machine guns, and a grenade launcher, in addition to the fully automatic rifles the troops inside it carried.
Another Personell Carrier rolled down the ramp, and as the first one neared Lance, it stopped. The second carrier continued to roll forward, and when they were on opposite sides of Lance, both doors opened, and a man in the light blue Altan military uniform stepped out. “Champion Lance Dracamoda?” the man asked. Lance nodded, and the man extended his hand, “Colonel Jack Daniels of the Altan Air Force. I was told you needed some help training your new militia.”
Lance grinned, “Yes sir, Colonel. They’re green, and, to be honest, no one in Kanto knows much about military warfare. The Elites and I would be obliged if you could give us a course on military strategies?”
The Colonel nodded, “Yes sir, we’d be happy to. We’re under orders to give you anything you ask for, within limits. This is certainly within the limits. Where are we going to stay?” he asked.
Lance smiled, “I thought you might wanna stay by your birds. I’ve assigned you a section of the airport. Do with it what you will.”
Colonel Daniels nodded, “Thank you sir, we will.”
Lance, feeling dismissed, nodded, turned, and left, with Steven trailing behind him.
Steven kept glancing back over his shoulder at the A-26 Warbirds as the fighters taxied in and took up positions next to the cargo plane.
Jiang Fernandez and Joan Paula Jones stood in front of the podium together, in front of a packed crowd in Hoenn. Just the mention that these two would appear together had drawn in reporters from all over the country. The possibility that they would stand together brought them in from all over the world.
Joan was dressed in her finest sea blue dress, one with the Horsea and Goldeen all over it that she had gotten just for the occasion, with Corsola earrings, and medium red high heels. Jiang was dressed in a fiery hot red suit, with a yellow vest inside the suit coat, and light red pants.
Jiang glanced at his watch, having second thoughts for the upteemth time. But there was no backing out now. The room was packed, and reporters were elbowing each other fiercely for room for anything. Jiang wondered again if they shouldn’t have gotten a bigger room for this, despite Joan’s assurances that this room would be fine. Fat lot she knew, stinking Aquan.
As if reading his mind, she glanced at him, and her expression tightened just slightly. Obviously she liked working with him as much as he liked working with her. Not that it mattered. They’d lose most of their funding if they didn’t do this. Jiang stepped up to the podium and took a deep breath. “Good morning.” He said, “Thank you for coming. I apologize for having each of you searched on your way here, but we had to maintain security.”
Jiang took a deep breath and dove into the accusations like a Cyndaquil into lava. “Ladies and Gentlemen, We are here today to accuse Lance Jonas Carter of murder on two counts. First, the murder of Giovanni, whom he captured on his raid on the Celadon Game Corner. The Second is the murder of Karen Williams, the Dark Elite. Although the Elite Four is saying that Karen is simply out of contact, my sources say that she is nowhere to be found. That can only mean that she is dead. We, Team Aqua and Team Magma, hereby present these charges against Lance, who was acting in his own cowboy-type style justice in murdering these two people. I’m not saying that Giovanni was innocent, but he was denied a fair trial. By Lance. Kanto, you have twelve hours to remove Lance as Champion, or provide proof to the contrary. That is all we have to say.” He said, and he and the woman leader of Team Aqua left the platform amid the hail of questions.
The director of Engaran Intelligence watched the Press Conference. Everything was proceeding according to plan. He looked down at the raven-haired prisoner in the highest security cell on the globe. Soon, Karen would remember everything that she was meant to do. Soon, Karen would be back on his side. The former Dark Elite shifted slightly as he watched her. Soon, the world would be his, and with it, the power of Lont.
The director of Engaran Intelligence smiled.
31st July 2006, 7:20 AM
4 Days, 6 Hours, 42 Minutes, and 13 Seconds until Zero Hour
Jiang Fernandez and Joan Paula Jones stood once again side by side in front of dozens of reporters, this time in an Olivine Hotel. It was exactly twelve hours since their last press conference. They glanced at each other, then Joan spoke. “The twelve hours have passed, and proof of Lance’s innocence has not been brought forward. Therefore, we are announcing that Team Aqua and Magma will be merging into one team, Team Maqua, to remove the blight of the Indigo League from the face of the earth, and avenge Giovanni’s death. That is all.” She nodded into the various cameras and the reporters leaping up to ask questions. “We won't be answering any questions. Everything that needs to be said has been said.” With a polite smile, the two turned, and walked away from the podium and the press, leaving a scene of mass confusion in their wake.”
“Ma'am, could you please come with us?” The young woman looked up at the Altan Security Force officer, and sighed. Getting into the Indigo Plateau was getting much harder now that Teams Magma and Aqua—Maqua, she reminded herself—had declared war on Kanto three days before. Of course, since then, nothing more than a skirmish or two had happened, but the Kantans were still a bit touchy. And with the Altans boosting their security...what had been one of the most pleasant countries to visit was now like visiting somewhere a few miles behind a front line in a war. Of course, for all the Kantans knew, they were. “Ma'am?” the ASF man asked.
“I'm comin',” she said, her usual jubilance quickly reasserting itself. She got up from her seat, and walked towards the front of the Indigo Airlines plane, ignoring the stares of the other passengers. Come and see Kanto, the travel agent had told her. See the Cinnabar Volcano up close! See the legendary Pokemon Tower! See Indigo Plateau! Right. There was no way that she'd be able to see any of those places now.
She followed the ASF officer off the plane, across the short walk through the terminal, and up to a Global Police squad car with tinted windows. The ASF man nodded to her, pulled open the rear door open, and gestured for her to get inside. The young woman frowned. “G'day mate. Whatever they told you, it wasn't me,” she said casually as she sat down, keeping both eyes on the officer. “It's all some kind of mistake.” The officer shut the door, and moved around the car to the driver's door.
“Sorry, but it's no mistake, Pockets.” for the first time, the young woman turned to see the other person in the backseat of the Global Police car. “That is what they call you right, Delacy?” she was of average height; long, light brown hair held back by a series of leather straps; brown eyes; and more muscle than Joan “Pockets” Delacy had ever seen on a woman.
Pockets nodded uncertainly. “Yeah, so what?” she absently fingered her own black hair, and swallowed nervously.
“So my employers want to see you. Your luggage is being picked up right now,” the woman grunted. “If you survive this, we may just use you.” Pockets stared at the woman in shock, who glanced at her face and grinned. “That was a joke, Delacy.” Pockets smiled hesitantly and chuckled nervously. “Come on, laugh.” the woman rolled her eyes and extended her hand. “I'm Aife. Lieutenant General Morrigan Aife. I'm in charge of planning offensives and the defensives against Team Maqua. The Elites wanted to see you.”
Pockets stared at Morrigan. “Any idea why?”
the general grinned. “I have a few, but they told me to keep my mouth shut. Don't worry, you'll be able to ask them when we get to the Indigo Mansion in a few minutes.”
Lance glanced over at Lorelei and raised an eyebrow. “What do you think?” Sabrina and Agatha had just finished reviewing the facts about the latest candidate for officership in the Kantan Militia. The young woman in question was actually a Metonian, but she had the experience, the know-how, and the skill to be head of the Kanto Militia Special Forces branch.
“Well, to me she looks like a very good candidate. She's been training Pokemon for fifteen years, Altan Intelligence tells us that she's excellent at changing her appearance, and her team is at its evolutionary peak.” Lorelei responded.
“But what about this Emily Almquist?” Sabrina asked curiously, studying a folder in front of her. “She's served a tour of duty with the United League Federation's anti-poacher task force, trained with the Altan Air Force, and has been serving as a gym leader in AJ's unofficial gym in Hoenn for the last twenty years.”
“She's too old,” Lorelei said dismissively, waving her hand to back up her tone. “I want someone younger.”
Sabrina rolled her eyes and retorted. “Look, the youngest Altan General out there is in his mid-forties! I don't think it's a good decision to be promoting people to generalship willy-nilly! Besides, you don't really think that—” Her mother made a quick motion, and Sabrina closed her mouth. Lance turned to look at Sabrina curiously. He had never seen her back down from anyone like that before. That was very interesting.
“Sabrina, I understand your concern, and I know that you and the other gym leaders want us to promote all of you to be Generals.” Lance sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Believe me,” he muttered. “I know.”
“Surge bothering you again, Lance?” Steven grinned across the table, rubbing a hand through his hair in a decidedly annoying fashion, Lance decided.
Lance stared at the younger Elite, dead-pan. “Steven, I've had about five hours of sleep in the past three days, I've had one of my prisoners, a very valuable prisoner at that, die, Karen kidnapped or worse, an attack on Saffron City, and Teams Magma and Aqua joining forces and declaring that I killed Giovanni, and THEN declaring war on Katno. Plus I've had to organize the Kanto Militia in a remarkably short amount of time. Do you REALLY think it's the best time for your smart-alec comments?”
Steven glanced down at his hands. “Sorry, Lance.”
Lieutenant Colonel William Frye glanced at the map yet again. It was a map of the place known as Cinnabar Island. The place where he would have his first of many victories. The plans were already in motion—he WOULD take the island. He had already positioned a goodly number of his men, primarily Aquans, although there were a few Magmans scattered here and there throughout his unit, aboard the SS Aqua, one of the fastest commercial ships in operation. Its retrofit, once captured, would be swift and effective. Of course, stealing a ship was made much harder with the advent of satellite technology, but he was pretty sure that the technology that they had would allow them to actually steal the ship and make it the first feasible Maquan warship—none of the actual warships could be spared, as the Hoenni government was currently instituting a crackdown on Team Maqua, similar to the Johtan/Indigan crackdown on Team Rocket, which had sparked this whole affair.
There was no way that all of Kanto was behind the Indigo League, Frye was sure. The Indigo League had committed a horrible atrocity, and they had to be brought to justice. He was sure that a large number of Kantans, while not on the Indigan's side, would probably fight him on principle, because he and the other Maquans were invading Kanto.
Frye himself had no problems with the Indigo League, except for Lance murdering Giovanni once he had him in his grasp. True, Giovanni was a monster who had committed horrible atrocities, but he at least deserved a fair trial. For Lance to have cold-bloodedly killed him, then made some pathetic excuse in a press release that he had died in his sleep...
Both of the former teams had had spies in the Indigo Mansion, and they had gotten back pictures of the autopsy to their respective masters, blowing both of their covers in the process. The horrible mutilation of Giovanni had sparked both of their tempers, and when the Rocket had arrived with that proposal...it was as if someone had touched a spark to an explosive.
And now, after all the preparations were done, it was time to show Lance that Team Maqua could back up its promises of retribution. Frye glanced around at his crew. They were the finest that the former Team Aqua had to offer. They would handle the initial landing, while the former Magmans were either already undercover on the island, or undercover on the SS Aqua. Frye's small patrol boat was one of five, both heavily armed, and all that the Aquan navy could spare. But when the SS Aqua could be captured, they would have a much more powerful ship in Indigan waters. Of course, there were rumors that the Indigans had bought the SS Anne and were retrofitting it, under supervision of the Altans, into a warship. The SS Anne was much larger than the SS Aqua, and would undoubtedly be much more powerful.
Frye glanced at his watch, and grinned. They would be reaching the neutral Orange Islands within minutes, and they'd be putting into the secret Maquan base for final resupply, planning, and picking up additional Maquans. Only one more day, and he would be setting off for Kanto. And two more days until the cowboy Lance would be paid back.
The Director looked up as his communications device pinged. He glanced at the chronometer built into his desk and grinned. This would be “Butch”. He punched a button, and instantly a hologram of the Team Rocket Special Agent popped up. “Report, Agent 2157.” he said calmly.
“Sir, Goldenrod has been completely quarantined, and the surrounding areas are secure. Ecrutreak Gym Leader Morty's ghosts got through our nets, as you instructed, sir, and they did some recon within the city. They didn't see the Gengars following them, nor the Alakazam that was shielding the Gengars from them. We can expect a Johto Gym Leader counter-attack within the next forty-eight hours, as you predicted, sir. We'll be more than ready for them. They'll break upon our ranks.”
Laira closed her eyes, and felt her Alakazam carefully reach into her mind. It was getting more and more common, she had heard, for trainers to connect with a Psychic to be able to coordinate their team better. Kecleon, Scyther, and Gengar were out patrolling the outer reaches of the barrier with a bunch of other Pokemon, and Alakazam, Dewgong, and Venemoth were in with her, resting from their patrols. So far, all that the people of Goldenrod had been able to tell was that even with all of them focusing their Pokemon to attack a single spot, they were still not able to bring down the Psychic barrier, although Dark and Ghost types COULD pass through the barrier.
After an initial panic, Whitney had done an excellent job of organizing the food supplies, which she had simply confiscated from wherever she could. She had been selected due to her record of hard work and consistent results to help Whitney as a personal adviser. Plus she was twenty, older than the average trainer, so that always helped. Despite the large number of people in the city, Whitney had figured out that there was enough food for two months. Fortunately, the pipes that brought water into the city weren't affected by the Psychic barrier, as they'd been treated before they'd been put in to prevent any Psychic tampering.
Suddenly something within Alakazam's mind shifted, and he turned to Laira, his eyes glittering. He sent what he had come up with from Laira's rambling to her, and her eyes widened. It was so obvious. Why hadn't anyone thought of that before?
“Thanks, Ally,” She whispered, and hugged Alakazam. “Find Whitney, and teleport me to her now.”
Finele groaned and rubbed her forehead. “Queenie, if you were playing football in the house and hit me in the head while I was sleeping again, I am seriously going to kill you.” She heard someone chuckle, and shout something to somebody else.
Finele frowned and opened her eyes. And stared right into the fangs of a Mightyena. “What the-” she bit off a curse, and rolled to her right, bringing her right foot up and smashing into the Mightyena's jaw. It yelped, then roared, and came for her. Finele dove over the attacking canine, and reached for her belt, but there were no Pokeballs. “Oh crap.” she muttered. Then the Mightyena slammed into her back, its teeth tearing into her left shoulder, sending her into a wall, screaming.
The pain was more intense than anything she had ever felt before, and the Mightyena wouldn't stop. It was shaking her shoulder. Finele gritted her teeth, balled her right hand into a fist, and slammed it into the Mightyena's face, right between the eyes. The Mightyena reeled backwards, and Finele staggered to her feet, touching her left shoulder gingerly. The Mightyena crouched, and Finele braced herself and readied her fist.
“Spike, heel!” a commanding voice shouted, and the Mightyena sat down instantly, but didn't stop staring or growling at her. Finele looked up, and saw a young man with blue hair and the standard black and red Rocket uniform. He sighed. “Why did you have to do that?” he asked. “Spike's trained not to attack prisoners unless they attack him first. Come on, let's get you fixed up.” He moved towards her, and Finele for the first time looked around the room. It was actually just a dirt cube with a metal door in one side. But it had felt like a real wall—She reached behind her, and the unmistakable feel of a Psychic Barrier met her outstretched hand.
The Rocket grabbed her arm roughly, sending waves of pain shooting through her shoulder, and half-dragged her through the open door. Finele looked as they passed through, and saw more dirt walls, leading to more metal doors that looked exactly like the one that had sealed her in her cell. “What's going on?” she asked. “I mean, I know that you've cordoned off Goldenrod,” she looked around some more, “And you've taken a lot of prisoners, but what exactly is going on?”
The Rocket stopped, and turned around, a thin, menacing smile on his face. “How stupid do you think I am?” he asked, grabbing her left arm and jerking her closer to him, eliciting a sudden wave of pain, so that her face was mere inches from hers, ignoring the blood that coated his hand from her wound. “Look, in all the books, when someone has a prisoner, and it looks like there's no way out, they blab all their plans to their prisoner, who gets out, rats them out, and hangs them out to dry. Not that there's any way out, but that's not happening here. Now let's go!” he said roughly, and shoved her forward using her left arm as leverage, sending another numbing wave of pain roaring through her brain.
Maybe it was the pain, or maybe it was the blood loss. Whichever the case, Finele could stand no more, and collapsed to the ground, unconscious. The Rocket sighed, picked her up, threw her over his shoulder, and kept walking down the corridor, undeterred but a little annoyed.
Sabrina sat in her private sanctum, sulking. True, in the Indigo Mansion it was a deluxe suite with the works, but it was still a sanctum. She should probably be out there, helping her mother put the finishing touches on her anniversary party, or helping the Elites decide on the final members of the mandatory officers for the Militia...but she wasn't in the mood to do so.
She had spent literally her life savings buying that Psionic Accelerator. She had even used it a time or two, and had nearly died both times. A Psionic Accelerator, as almost every Psychic knew, took a person's Psionic potential, and multiplied it by itself many times per second. But it didn't come without a price. It drained the user's energy very quickly. And once that person's energy was exhausted, it replenished that energy, but at the expense of some other source of energy in the body, usually bones, muscle, or a person's very essence. It took a lot of stamina, not to mention courage, to use a Psionic accelerator.
And yet that...creature had been using a Psionic Accelerator as if it were a child's toy. How had it done that? It must be an extremely powerful creature indeed. She shuddered. What would it be like to go up against such a creature in a fight, Sabrina wondered. It would be a terrifying prospect.
Sabrina sighed and sank down a little deeper into the plush chair that had been in her room, and felt guilty. She should be out there, helping her mother plan her anniversary party for her scumbag of a husband. It was common knowledge that Carl Slate, the famed Archeologist, Paleontologist, and Pokeologist had been engaged to Agatha Fraley, but had left several months before their planned wedding day, never again to return.
Some people said that he was running away from Agatha, who had already had Sabrina from a previous marriage, and who had been five and just beginning to get her Psychic powers at that point. Some said that he did love Agatha, but didn't want to get married, and would return someday. Others thought that he had died somewhere, or had found a gigantic scientific discovery. Whatever the case, he had never come back, and Sabrina had never forgiven him.
Her mother, however, had been stoic in her dedication to Slate, even keeping the memory of the failed wedding alive by having an anniversary bash every year on that day. Sabrina didn't think that she had ever heard her mother speak ill of her former fiance, and had often punished Sabrina when she had spoken ill of him.
Sabrina sighed. Why her mother kept going through with all of this, she had no clue, despite being Psychic.
She smiled when she remembered how she had first reacted when she had gotten the news that she was Psychic. She had looked at her mother strangely, who had merely shrugged and mentioned that it was quite a coincidence. Her budding empathic abilities had picked up something that to this day she couldn't quite identify, but had never even had a hint of it since then.
This was made even more curious by the fact that her mother had never had a physical examination since before Sabrina was born. It was odd, but not uncommon, but Sabrina suspected that there was more than a coincidence between her Psychic abilities and her mother's neglected physicals.
She'd just have to find out what it was, once and for all. She'd done a lot of research, but so far, she wasn't having any luck. If only she had her Psionic Accelerator! Then she would have been able to...
And so it continued, until far into the night
Champion Lance leaned over towards Elite Lorelei and whispered something. Laira wasn't very good at reading lips, but she thought that she caught the word Sabrina. He was probably asking Lorelei where the Gym Leader was. Pockets glanced around the Water Boardroom, at the Gyrados reliefs, the water tanks where multitudes of water types swam around, and the paintings of water types on the walls. Whoever had designed this room was definitely a psycho, probably a Water Monotype trainer.
They were meeting in here for the final decision over who would be in charge of Special Operations for the Kanto Militia. Of course, the Reps would have to approve the final pick, but that would probably be little more than a formality. The Elites were conferring among themselves, deciding who to pick.
Pockets, bored sighed and looked up at the ceiling, and began counting the number of knots in the ceiling. Boring quickly of that, she glanced to her right, at one of her rivals, Emily Almquist. Emily had apparently served in the Altan military for several years, and was pretty good at organizing things. She was very strict, and wouldn't tolerate even the slightest variation in her daily routine, as Pockets had found out pretty quickly.
She glanced to her right, at Lieutenant Surge, the other competitor for the position. Temperamentally, he wasn't that much different from Almquist. They both were very strict, but Surge wasn't as strict as Almquist. Of course, Surge had had more experience with the military in general, because he'd been running his gym as a mini-military for years.
Pockets herself wasn't worried one way or the other. If she got the job, great. It would be a new challenge for her to take on and whip into what she thought it should be. If she didn't, she didn't really care. Not like the other two, anyway. It was nice just to be considered.
Lance suddenly looked up at the trio, and the other Elites with him. So they'd come to a decision. What would it be? “Well, thanks to all of you for coming down here,” he said, grinning. “But Delacy, we've chosen you to be head of Special Operations.”
Pockets stared at Lance, not really hearing anything else. She had heard what Lance had said, of course, but she couldn't quite comprehend it. Sure, she had thought that it would be nice to be chosen, but now that she actually was chosen. She felt a heavy weight descend upon her, and she swallowed. She tried to speak, but realized that her lips were dry. She licked her lips and started again. “Th-thank you sir,” she said, speechless.'
She stood up, snapped the straps of her blue-jean overalls, and, having composed herself, turned to Surge and Almquist, and extended her hands. “Nice to meet ya,” she said, grinning. “I'll probably look you guys up sometime soon. But as for now, I'm sure I've got a ton of paperwork to do.”
Lance stared into the fireplace of his suite, not really seeing the flames. How many times had he sat here, with his Dragonite looming comfortably to one side? That would never happen again. Whatever had gotten Karen had seen to that. Dragonite was dead. His starter was dead.
Lance closed his eyes and lowered his chin to his chest. This was a war. It wasn't likely to be the last close friend that he would lose. He'd have to get used to this, if such a thing were possible. Lance opened his eyes and stared at the Pokeball that he was fiddling with in his hands. It had been Dragonite's Pokeball.
Lance could still remember the first time that he had seen Dragonite in the Safari Zone. That had been shortly before he had gone off to find Sabrina about his memory. Lance smiled when he remembered the adventure he had gone through to try to regain his memory from his amnesia. He had no idea what had caused it, or even what had caused it. Sabrina had said that no Pokemon, and that no human had caused it.
When he had accepted that he would probably never remember, he had gone out on his journey, determined to be the best that he could possibly be. And here he was, Champion of the Elite Four. Who would have thought that this would happen?
He had had it all for almost all of the ten years he had served as the Champion, but now it was going straight to the Grimers. He had captured Giovanni, and ended Team Rocket's rule—then Giovanni had been killed, and Team Rocket had razed New Bark Town. Then Karen had been hurt by that—thing, Tintians had shown up, then Karen was taken to who-knew-where, her entire team was killed as well as Dragonite, and now Teams Magma and Aqua had united and declared war on Kanto, the Indigo League, and him.
Never before had Lance so keenly felt the burden of command as he did at that moment. And it was crushing him under its weight. Lance jumped as someone knocked on the door. Lance sighed and turned back to the flames, ignoring whoever it was. The knock repeated itself, a little harder this time. Lance pursed his lips and pertinently ignored whoever it was.
Suddenly, he heard his door creak open. He sighed, and stared intently into the fire. “Hey, Lance,” he heard Lorelei's voice say quietly. “How are you doing?” she asked tentatively.
Lance's eyes narrowed. “How do you think I'm feeling? I have no idea if Karen is still alive, and if she is, where she is. I have a very powerful gang coming for my head, and I have Tintians crawling all over Kanto and the Indigo Plateau. How do you THINK I feel?” he demanded, his expression hardening, but not moving his gaze one inch.
“Okay,” Lorelei said quietly. “So that was a stupid question. Look, Lance, you don't have to deal with this all yourself. Let somebody else handle something. At least let me take care of Karen's memorial service.”
At that, Lance shot to his feet, so fast that the chair he was sitting in flew over backwards. He whirled to face Lorelei, his face a mask of rage. “Lorelei, I can handle it, all right? We're all going to be very busy. I've assigned each of the Elites an army of the Kanto Militia to command. You and your army will be marching for Fuschia tomorrow, to shore up its defenses in case Maqua tries a sea invasion.”
Lorelei closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. “That's it,” she said quietly. “I tried doing this Agatha's way, but now it's time for my way.” She opened her eyes again, her eyes burning with the rage that she had been holding back. “She was my friend too!” she shouted at Lance. “And you're just trying to get rid of me because we were best friends. Lance, you're under too much pressure to stay here by yourself! That's what the Elite Four was made for! Mutual help! If we split up, how are we helping each other? United we stand, divided we fall, remember?”
Lance narrowed his eyes. “Lorelei, the discussion is closed,” he said in a low, dark tone. You ARE shipping out tomorrow, I WILL be handling Karen's memorial service, and that's final!”
Lorelei rolled her eyes, and grinned to herself. “It's about time,” she said, grinning crookedly. “I've been waiting for four years to do this.” Before Lance had any time to think, she hauled her fist back, and punched Lance across the face, dropping him to one knee. Lance shook his head to clear the cobwebs, and looked up at Lorelei, fear in his eyes. “Get a grip, Lance!” she shouted. “For the past four years, you have been so distracted by Karen that Agatha's had to take up your slack! In the last year, she couldn't handle it all, and the REST of us had to help her! Yeah, Karen loved you too, but at least she could keep her work life and her personal life separated!” Lorelei glared down at the suddenly very small man kneeling on the carpet in front of her. “Frankly,” she hissed. “I'm sick of it. I'm challenging you to a Battle of Succession. High Noon tomorrow. Be there, or I'll have to come after you.”
With that, she turned and stormed out the door, slamming it behind her on her way out.
Lance remained where he was, stunned by Lorelei's sudden outburst. For nearly as long as he had known her, she had been a softspoken, gentle person who wouldn't hurt a fly. For her to talk to him like this took quite a bit of getting used to. And what had she said—Karen had loved him? Lance swallowed. He had a lot of thinking to do, and then he had to get ready for the Battle of Succession, where he would fight Lorelei for the right to continue to be the Champion of the Indigo League.
2nd August 2006, 7:55 PM
Lorelei glared across the arena at Lance. Lance stared back at her dumbly. Just a week before, she had been a soft, sniveling coward. Now, she was the very image of feminine fury. Deep in his heart, Lance felt fear. There was no way that he would be able to stand against her, he knew.
Lance swallowed and looked around. They were in what was left of Indigo Stadium. Thousands of trainers sat and stood where they could, eager to watch this fight. Never in the last hundred years had a Battle of Succession occurred. Rarely had an Elite directly challenged the Champion for control of the Elite Four. And never, in the entire history of the Indigo League, had the Third Elite—the second worst Elite—challenged the Champion for control of the Elite Four.
Lance swallowed hard. He was down Dragonite, and that would hurt him. And Lorelei had Ice types, which gave her an immediate advantage over him. There was no way that he could win.
Lorelei glared at him and started moving forward. Lance numbly moved forward as well, and they met in the middle of the shattered arena, where Gary Oak—next in line to be an Elite if a position opened up—stood with a microphone. “Ladies and Gentlemen,” Gary said gravely, looking around the stadium. “We’re here to witness a Battle of Succession. Lorelei Belle Winters has challenged Lance Williams Dracamoda for the title of Champion of the Indigo League. Lorelei, as the challenger, decided upon the place. Lance, as the challengee, decided upon the rules, and they are as follows…”
Lance tuned Gary out, and looked at Lorelei. She was mad, he could tell. Every fiber in her being spoke of a power just waiting to be turned loose. She was itching to fight. Lance looked down at his feet. How had it come to this?
Lance suddenly realized that there was a pause. He looked up at Gary, who sighed, rolled his eyes, and repeated. “Shake hands, and go to your booths.” Lance reached out and grasped Lorelei’s hand. He forced himself not to gasp or grimace at her grip. She was strong. A lot stronger than he had thought. For the first time in a long time, Lance was afraid.
Lorelei kept staring at him, and grinned slowly. Lance had agreed upon two Pokemon being used at the same time for both Lorelei and himself. Hopefully that would help to make up for Lorelei’s Ice-type advantage. Or maybe he had just screwed himself over royally.
Lance swallowed, and looked down at his belt. Who would he use? He carefully selected two Pokemon. She would be expecting him to use Charizard, he was sure, but it wasn’t like he had much of a choice. “Charizard, Gyrados, go!” he shouted, and threw the Pokeballs forward.
Lorelei nodded at him, a bemused expression upon her face, and waited until the applause had died down before she chose her Pokemon. With an evil grin on her face, she reached to her belt and plucked out two Pokemon. She was going to start with her Sneasels. She always did. Or maybe her Jynx. She also had a Delibird, a Glalie, and a Piloswine, if he remembered correctly. “Frocarin,” she yelled, “Cloyster, go!” Lance paled. He didn’t know what Frocarin was—maybe that was just a nickname or something—but that Cloyster would put Charizard down quickly, and then it would be all over.
The two Pokemon appeared. The Cloyster quickly fired a Hydro Pump directly beneath it, creating a pool of water for it to inhabit. Lance watched the second Pokemon nervously. It was a Pokemon that he had never seen before. Vaguely lupine, the vast majority of its coat was light blue, but there were bits of purple, dark blue, and white scattered throughout its coat. As soon as it had come out, it had taken a quick, commanding look around, and stared right at Lance. It was very intelligent, Lance was sure.
Lance fumbled with his Pokedex, finally glad that he hadn’t stopped carrying the thing around, and turned it in the dog’s direction. So it was a pure ice type? Well, that would be easy enough to take down. Then he would be able to take on Lorelei’s standard team.
Lance turned to Gary, who was looking at him expectantly, and nodded. Gary grinned. “Let the match begin!”
“Spikes!” Lorelei yelled out. “Blizzard!”
“Fire Blast the Frocarin, Hyper Beam the Cloyster!” Lance yelled.
The Pokemon leaped into action. The Frocarin charged forward several steps, and stood firm. The wind began to pick up, and the temperature began to drop. Lance winced as sharp spikes flew from the Cloyster, and landed all around him. He’d have to keep his Pokemon airborne now. That would mean less accuracy. But at least the first shots had good accuracy. The Hyper Beam bowled Cloyster over, sending spikes spraying over Lorelei’s territory as well. The Fire Blast hit the Frocarin, and staggered it, but it didn’t go down. Not yet. Then all was lost to view as the snow began to billow.
“Flamethrower the Frocarin!” Lance yelled, knowing that Gyrados was heading behind him to try to stay out of the way. There would be no way, in this wind, that he’d be able to hear Lorelei’s commands, so he braced himself for the worst. From out of nowhere, an Ice Beam shot out over his head, and Lance ducked instinctively. From somewhere in front of him, he could hear Charizard roaring. Whether from pain or from happiness, Lance couldn’t tell. Then the Blizzard cleared, and Lance could see Charizard standing over the unconscious body of Frocarin. Both Charizard and Frocarin were covered in blood, and Lance knew that they had fought in ways other than the Flamethrower and the Blizzard.
Lorelei, undeterred, returned Frocarin and Cloyster. Lance frowned. She now only had four Pokemon that she would be able to use now. What was she thinking? She looked up at him, and alarm bells began to ring in the back of his mind. “Gengar,” she yelled in a loud, clear voice. “Golem, go!”
Lance paled. Where in the world had she gotten those? Lorelei smirked at him, and Lance realized that he had been underestimating her, just as Karen had said before they had first moved against the Rockets. By Mew’s tail—how had she gotten her hands on a Gengar and a Golem?
“Flamethrower the Gengar!” he yelled. “Hydro Pump the Golem!”
“Hypnosis!” he heard Lorelei yell, then she turned and looked directly at him. Lance felt his blood run cold. “Hidden power!” she yelled.
Lance’s Pokemon rushed to do their master’s bidding, but the Gengar’s eyes flashed red, and both Pokemon fell to the ground, impacting on the spikes and fast asleep, before they could get their attacks off. Around the Golem, several orbs appeared, and began rotating faster and faster. Lance stared at them, all but hypnotized by them. Then, startling Lance out of his stupor, they flung outwards, homing in on and impacting on Lance’s Pokemon. They both screamed—the pain awaking them from their slumber, but there was nothing Lance could do. They both shook on the ground, convulsing, and continued to scream. It was a loud and eery scream, and in the stands beyond Lorelei, she could see the spectators were shifting in their seats uncomfortably. They didn’t like this any more than he did.
With a deep-seated feeling of dread, Lance looked up from his Pokemon and back at the Golem. There was only one thing that could hurt both of them that much. Lance paled. The Golem’s hidden power was electric-based.
Lance watched as his Pokemon writhed on the ground in front of him, then looked up at Lorelei. Her smirk said that she had even more tricks up her sleeves. Lance inwardly closed down, and accepted the inevitable.
Lorelei shook her head. “What a wimp,” she muttered. “He stopped fighting after I fainted his first two Pokemon.” She had been proclaimed the Indigo League Champion after the battle, and was still reveling in her new-found power. Of course, she was disappointed with the battle that had gotten her this position.
Lance had fled the Indigo Plateau as soon as his last Pokemon had fainted. She had tried to talk to him, but he hadn’t talked to anyone. Where he was was anyone’s guess. Since he had left, Gary Oak had taken his place on the Elite Four.
Lorelei rounded the corner to her office and grinned. “Get me all the paperwork that Lance hadn’t done,” she ordered an aide who had been following her. “And get those Tintians off the Plateau! We don’t need their kind here. They’re nothing but bandits and robbers.” The aide nodded at her, and scurried off to do her bidding.
She walked around her desk—a beautiful wooden desk carved from the finest wood in Alto—and sat in her high-backed chair and put her feet up on her desk. She had a nice office, and she wasn’t leaving it, even if Lance’s was bigger. Hers was just fine. Besides, it would take weeks to organize the paintings of Nuschantz, Sheer Cliff, that annoying Legendary Allnian, Alto, and Kanto on the new office. This office was plenty big.
She had beaten Lance because he hadn’t known about her Altan team, who she had had transferred to the Indigo Plateau for the battle. Plus Frocarin, and Moyferar whom she had gotten while she had been in Nuschantz back then. Lorelei shuddered. It was still painful to think about, but at least it was better than it could have been.
Lorelei put her feet down and opened up her laptop. It was on and plugged in, as usual, so all she had to do was lift the cover. What were the Maquans up to? She began reading through the old files, when something new popped up. Lorelei narrowed her eyes. “No,” she said quietly. “They are not.” She got to her feet and stabbed her finger to the intercom button. “I want all Elites and Gym Leaders on the Plateau in my office now!” she yelled.
They’d have to react quickly to this. She lifted up the phone and put a call in to Vermillion City.
Lorelei looked around. All in all, she had a good group in her office. Sabrina, Agatha, Gary, Steven, and Bruno. “All right guys, here’s what’s going down,” she said, and spun her laptop around so that they could see the screen. “Team Maqua is moving in on Pallet Town and Cinnabar. The strike force against Pallet is mainly Aquans, and is the stronger force. The strike force against Cinnabar is mainly Magmans. I think that they’re trying to get a foothold and staging area on Cinnabar for an invasion of the mainland, which has already begun at Pallet. We can’t let them get a foothold at either place. The Militia has already engaged them, but they need reinforcements. We’re putting out all-points-bulletins on all Kanto and Johto radio stations, calling for help from trainers, but we’ve got to get there as soon as possible. The Altans will have birds and fighters in the air down there in two hours. I figure that we can get there in half an hour.”
The others stared at her, and some nodded their heads. “Gary,” she said, looking at him. “You know the lay of the land, so it’s imperative that you meet up with the trainers from the Indigo Militia here.” She handed him a piece of paper. “You’ll be in charge of planning this operation once we’re there.”
She looked at Sabrina. “Sabrina, you go there too, but send several of your Pokemon on ahead. You’ll be in charge of coordinating the battle and relaying orders.”
Lorelei glanced down at the notes that she had made, then up at Bruno. “Bruno, you’ll lead the main task force into the battle from the Plateau along with me and Steven. We’ve got to hit them hard and fast. I’m coming in from the Northwest, Steven from the Northeast. You’re the hammer.”
Another glance at her notes, then it was Agatha’s turn. “Agatha, you’re taking a smaller force, consisting mainly of water, dark, and ghost types, and you’ll be making a flank attack from the Southwest, while another strike force under Surge will hit them on the Southeast at hopefully the same time if I’ve got the numbers right.” Agatha nodded, and Lorelei looked down at her notes.
“The militia is forming up in the arena and will be ready to go in five minutes,” she said. “I recommend you do a quick healing of your Pokemon, and grab as many healing supplies as you can in three minutes, then get out there.”
“Why don’t we all just go right now?” Gary demanded. “If Pallet Town is under attack, we need to help them now!”
Lorelei sighed, and rubbed the bridge of her nose. “Because, Gary, if we all went right now, we wouldn’t be organized. The Maquans are organized, and they’d crush us. We need to be organized, or we won’t do the Pallet people any good.”
She looked around. “Any other stupid questions?” nobody said anything or raised their hand. “Good.” She said. “I’ll see you at the arena in four minutes.”
As the others left the room, she heard Gary mutter to Sabrina. “I’ll say this for her…she certainly knows her stuff.” Lorelei just grinned as she jabbed keys on her keyboard. She’d want every Pokemon she had on this one. Not just the six that she had used in the battle less than an hour before.
Gary glanced down at the keyboard in front of him, then back up at the screen. One of the militia had shoved this laptop into his hands and sat him down at a table. From what he had understood, it was an overall view of the battle from the air. It was compiled from satellites, and from Psychic links, thanks to Sabrina and her Pokemon, from Flying types flying up above the battle. Gary took a deep breath and watched the battle unfolding. “I’ve never been good at real-time strategy games,” he murmured softly. “I guess that this is a good a time as any to get good.” He examined the map.
The Maquans had landed somewhere near Tohjo falls, and had come in from the East. Agatha had reported as she was preparing for her flank attack that they were all past—that the Maquans had all the men they would have for this assault. Which was good, considering that even now they were vastly out-numbered.
Gary felt a hand on his shoulder. “Numbers don’t win battles, Gary.” Sabrina’s voice said softly.
Gary swiped at his forehead to get rid of the sweat, and grinned. “Yeah,” he said, grinning nervously. “But I bet they help.”
James looked over in Jessie’s direction and asked. “Are we in trouble?” He shifted uncomfortably in the cabinet.
Jessie glared at where she thought James was, and hissed. “Shut up, you moron! Do you want them to hear us?” They had been planning their raid on Professor Oak’s Pokemon Laboratory for a little over two weeks, and the day that they launched it, the Maquans just had to attack Pallet Town. Instantly, the Lab had become a hotspot, and Jessie and James had been forced to hide to keep from being captured by the trainers, and being thrown into jail.
So here they were, stuck in a cabinet with strange chemicals all around them. Jessie’s mind raced frantically. There had to be some way to get out of this one. There had to be. Suddenly, there was a loud noise, and screaming. And the sound of Pokemon fighting. Then something smashed into the cabinet. Jessie nevner did find out what it was, but she certainly felt its effects. Whatever it was crushed many of the test tubes and beakers in the cabinets. Jessie’s skin felt like it was on fire, and then there was fire all around her. Just before she blacked out, she thought Looks like Team Rocket is blasting off one last time.
Gary grimaced. “We’ve got an explosion in the lab,” he said quietly. “I’m sending another unit in there.” He glanced up at Sabrina. “We need that counter-attack now. How long until Agatha and Surge are in position?”
Sabrina closed her eyes, and paled. “Another ten minutes.” She said quietly. She glanced over Gary’s shoulder. “No,” she said quietly. “Tell your men not to let them take Oak’s lab.”
Gary frowned, and kept punching commands into the laptop. “Are you kidding? There’s no way I’m letting Gramps down while he’s in New Bark, helping to rebuild.” He glanced up at the screen and watched an additional two units from the reserves start hurrying towards the lab.
“You don’t understand, Gary,” Sabrina said quietly. “Oak’s latest project for the Global Police. It’s still in there, and one of his aides is watching it.” She stared at the screen, her face getting paler and paler by the second.
“Yeah?” Gary asked, not really paying attention. “So?” he glanced up at the screen, spotted another Maquan advance, and assigned units to cut them off.
Sabrina closed her eyes. She felt sicker than she had ever felt in her life. “Gary, he was working on genetic engineering of a Pikachu, mixing it with a water type to make it more powerful.”
Gary nodded. “Yeah, yeah,” he muttered. “That doesn’t sound so bad. Gramps does that all the time. He doesn’t let the general public know about it, but he still does it.” He reached for a cup of coffee that one of the militia men had brought for him several minutes before.
Sabrina turned to Gary and her eyes narrowed. “Gary,” she said quietly. “it’s ten times stronger than a Raichu.” Gary spewed his coffee out, fortunately over the screen.
James shook his head and looked around. Last thing that he remembered was something crashing into the cabinet, then a bunch of heat, and then….he frowned, and looked around. Jessie was pinned under a Nidoking. “Jessie?” he asked, and leaped forward towards her. She was still alive, but her breathing was shallow.
Then he remembered where he was. He was in the middle of a battle in Oak’s lab. He muttered. He glanced around the room that he was in. At least no one was in here. Then the lights went out. James’ lower lip quivered.
“Pika?” he heard, and instantly he was on high alert. The twerp was here! Now he could finally steal the Pikachu! He looked around. Where was it? He had to find it! He had to have it! It didn’t matter that Giovanni wasn’t around anymore to see him get that Pikachu, but he HAD TO GET IT!!!
James looked around, settling himself into his “cool” stance. He bent his knees and began walking around, his entire body limp. To everyone else, it looked like he was either stoned or drunk or both, but to him, he thought it made him look cool. He would find that Pikachu, if it was the last thing he did. And when he found it, it would wish that it had stayed far away from him. He would show it who its boss was. He would—
Something brushed against his leg. James screamed and fell to the floor, assuming the fetal position. “Don’t hurt me!” he screamed, beginning to cry. “Don’t hurt me!”
“Pika?” came the voice. Oh, it was right next to him! What was he gonna do? It was gonna kill him! “Pika pika pikablu?”
James frowned. That wasn’t right. Something was wrong with this Pikachu. “Pika pikablu blu blue pikablupi?” came the voice again. Slowly, James began to uncurl himself. He moved his voice around, and came face to face with a creature unlike anything he had ever seen before. It looked like a Pikachu, but it was entirely blue. Dark blue and light blue, to be sure, but blue nonetheless.
Then James heard the door crash down, and people wearing Maquan uniforms began pouring into the room., flashlights waving around and attacks flying every which way. “My Nidoking was right over there!” James heard someone yell.
“There’s someone here, boss!” James heard someone yell, and glanced up to see a kid with a Blissey. “Get ‘im!” the kid yelled, pointing at James.
There was nowhere to go, and nowhere to hide. Time seemed to slow down for several seconds. James started bawling again as the Blissey started for him. Then, out of nowhere, it was thrown back by a powerful Hydro Pump. James stopped crying and looked up. The kid and the Blissey were both leaning up against the far wall, unconscious. James looked around and saw the weird, blue Pikachu standing on top of a cabinet, grinning to itself. “Get down!” James said plaintively, but the creature ignored him.
“PIKA—BLU!” it shouted, and jumped up and out of James’ sight-line. James heard the sounds of intense battling, and began crying again. That Pikachu wouldn’t stand a chance against all of those Maquans. It was gonna die.
Then, abruptly, the sounds of the battle stopped. James frowned and got to his feet cautiously. There, on the counter in front of him, was the Pikachu, grinning to itself, apparently satisfied. Past it were the unconscious bodies of no fewer than five trainers, and each of their Pokemon. James looked back at the Pikachu. What in the world was this thing?
It waddled forward to James and hugged him. “Pikablu,” it said affectionately, and smiled up at him. James heard the sounds of more battling, and looked up, scared once more. He and Jessie had left Meowth and the rest of their Pokemon back at their Pokemon Center room, so they could be more quiet. Now James was regretting that decision. “Pika pika blupi pika!” the Pikachu said, grinning, and tugging on his shirt. It wanted to fight more? What was wrong with it.
“It’s too dangerous!” James tried to explain. The Pikachu rolled its eyes and ran for the open door. “Hey!” James called after it. “Come back here!” he ran after it. He had to protect it.
Gary frowned at his screen. “I don’t understand this,” he muttered, and punched in several commands. He looked at Sabrina, who now had to sit down because of the fatigue of correlating all of the embedded Psychics into something that was useful for the Porygon hooked up to the network mainframe that the milita was using. “Have Alpha Team confirm that they’re seeing the Maquans retreating from the lab. And have Agatha and Surge begin their flanking attacks.”
Sabrina nodded, and paused for several seconds, then looked back up at Gary. “It’s true, Gary. Alpha team confirms, and I just did a quick scan myself. There are only our men and two other conscious beings in there now. One human, one Pokemon, and they’re the ones driving out the Maquans.”
Gary frowned up at her. “What could be so powerful that it could take on fifty Maquans?” he asked, somewhat nervously.
Sabrina closed her eyes and concentrated, then grinned. “Your grandfather’s project, Gary. Pikablu.”
Lorelei strode across the battlefield, watching her men loading up on whatever boats and water-type Pokemon that could carry them they could find. The battle for Pallet Town had been a lot faster than she could ever have expected. If that Rocket hadn’t somehow gotten the Pikablu before the Maquans had, she would probably be defending the Indigo Plateau in a losing battle against them now.
She had had Agatha look up his file, and that particular Rocket and his partners hadn’t done anything criminally wrong that was worse than a misdemeanor. When this was all over, she was going to pardon him and make him a hero.
But the battle wasn’t over. Cinnabar was still under attack. She grinned as she watched her Lapras load up more men. It was doubtful that this group would make it to the island in time to make any difference in the battle, but they’d be able to retake the island if they needed to. Besides, the SS Anne was going to be backing them up if they had any difficulties.
Butch glanced over at Cassidy and grinned. “Nothing like being at sea, eh?” Cassidy was leaning over the rail of the Battleship, looking back at the small armada of two hundred ships that were out in Engaran waters performing training maneuvers to prepare for the assault.
Cassidy turned to Butch and returned the smirk. “Nothing at all.” She glanced back once more, and headed for a door in the ship. “Can’t wait. One more week and we’ll be able to use ‘em in combat. I’m hungry.”
Butch hurried to her side and grinned. “Yeah,” he said quietly as he opened the door for Cassidy. “It’s about time that we get to invade Kanto. I’ve been itching to invade something for years. Although razing New Bark did help a little.”
Cassidy flashed a grin at Butch, and walked through the door. “Can’t wait for it.”
Butch glanced out to port as one of the ships in his armada fired at a dummy target, and watched it explode brilliantly. He grinned. “I can’t wait.”
Infinite Master Sceptile
3rd August 2006, 12:47 AM
Wow. This is exciting. I'm confused about Lorelei though. Her motives for battling lance seem suspect. And methinks she is going to be the reason Kanto is defeated. Nice set up you have here. These Engarans are truly psychotic. But why attack Kanto? Are they trying to pick off the countries one by one so that Tintia doesn't have any allies left? Or is it something else?
And will we see Will? Who gets the open position on the E4?
3rd August 2006, 5:54 AM
heh heh heh.....
all will be revealed in the course of the final 3 chapters....as for why they're attacking, the general reason is that their religion demands it....as for the specifics....:D
you'll have to wait just a little bit longer for that.
Thompson looked around the room, his hair messed up, his clothes rumpled. No one had gotten much sleep in the past several days. Engara had been prepping literally hundreds of ships in one of their forward staging areas. Even with the strength of the Tintian military, and their techologies, the sheer numbers of ships would be difficult to fend off.
“I still say that they're getting ready to invade Kanto!” Sandra said, the Furret's tail twitching annoyedly. “Teams Aqua and Magma, who are both on Engaran payrolls, I might add, come together to form an incredibly strong military force, and unleash it against Kanto, who have barely managed to fend them off, coupled with their pulling out Peters...” she trailed off, and one paw rubbed her muzzle. “It would be just too many coincidences.”
“Gentlemen,” Old Faithful's quiet voice cut through Ruffles' sharp response. “There can be no doubt that they are coming for us.” Sandra opened her mouth, but a quick glance from the short chairman made her close it. “How can I be sure? Recent intelligence has showed that Neragosh is preparing its navy for combat action. Also, from our satellite network, I learned just before I came in that the Engarans that we have codenamed the 'Sundance team' have been spotted on an Engaran Naval task force heading out for maneuvers.”
The other three members of the Tintian Defense Committee glanced at each other, their faces suddenly solemn. “The Sundancers?” Ruffles asked hesitantly, rubing his yellow head ridges with one of his four arms.
“Oh crap.” Thompson said quietly, closing his eyes. This was not good news. The Sundance team were the Engaran's best special forces team. If they had been recalled, then thigns were going exactly as Engara wanted them.
“Crap indeed,” Sandra murmured, her ears flat against the side of her head, and her tail, now still, wrapped around her body.
Blaine sat on top of his gym with binoculars, turning occasionally to the equipment that had been hastily arranged on the card table in front of him. He was watching the battle as best he could, and coordinating things. The Maquans had taken Cinnabar by surprise. They had gotten more than one hundred trainers onto the island, and had perfectly timed their attack from the sea. They controlled the Pokemon Center, but Blaine and his men had quickly responded by that to cutting the power, and when the Maquans brought in electric types, they had been forced to destroy the Pokemon Center. Fortunately, the Cinnabarrians had been able to empty out msot of the supplies from the Pokemon Mart before the Maquans had captured it.
Things had been looking up at one point when Blaine had received a transmission from a trainer comign in that the SS Aqua was coming in to port, but that hope had been shortlived. The SS Aqua had been commandeered by Maquans, and had managed to take the entire port area with the forces they had gotten onboard the Aqua. That attack had flanked Blaine's men, and they had taken heavy difficulties.
It was becoming obvious to Blaine that he wouldn't be able to hold onto Cinnabar, and he was trying to organize a slow retreat. He also knew that if he abandoned Cinnabar Island to the Maquans, then Kanto would have an extremely hard time defending against the invasion, because the Maquans would have a staging area.
He had taken steps to keep the Maquans from taking Cinnabar, but first he had to get everyone off of the island. He had been planning to do the action himself, but one of his Gym trainers had insisted that it would not be a good thing if Blaine did it. So his most senior Gym trainer had taken his team—all of which had volunteered for the assignment—and had left.
Blaine glanced around, and realized that he had to leave even his place now. The orderly retreat had somehow turned into a full-blown panic. Indigo Militia trainers were running for their lives, and the first of them were beginning to pass the Gym. Blaine took one last, wistful look around the island, then ran for the fire escape. His team was guarding a boat for him. He just had to get to it now. He glanced at his watch. Ten minutes for everyone to get off the island, now. He had to hurry.
Kyle Mustafar blinked through the searing heat, and realized that he had come to the right place. Even through the heat-shielding clothing, the heat was intense, here in the heart of the island. Kyle knew that Maquans were coming down after him. He and his team of Arcanine had exchanged fire with them several times—quite literally, because only fire types or heavily padded people could survive at this heat. They were, at most, two minutes behind him. He had known the path, but they hadn't. But that wouldn't hold them for long.
He looked around at his team, and smiled sadly. “It was nice knowing you boys,” he said softly. “Wish that it didn't have to end this way. Keep me covered. I don't know how long it will take me, but I need you to keep me safe until it's done.” Kyle turned to the box that Blaine had put deep down in the cave and shuddered as he thought about what he was going to do. This wasn't right, and deep down he knew it. But what choice did they have?
Team Maqua had declared war on Kanto, stating that they wouldn't stop attacking them until Lance was found and killed. And now that Lance had gone missing...Kyle closed his eyes, forcing himself not to cry. Tears at this temperature would instantly turn to steam, and that would blind him. If he went blind, he wouldn't be able to perform his task.
Blaine watched worriedly as the boats and water types began pulling away from the shoreline, and the Maquans that were now charging from the treeline towards the beach. Blaine shook his head. This was it. He glanced around. Two more boats, and more than fifty trainers left on the island. No more water types left. Each boat could only hold ten trainers...Blaine closed his eyes. This couldn't be happening. He turned to his team. “We stay and help cover the others,” he said quietly. He watched as the last of the trainers piled into the boats. One of them looked up at him. “Aren't you coming, Blaine?” it was one of the scientists from the Pokemon Mansion that had stayed behind to help fight the Maquans.
Blaine shook his head. “No. I'm going to stay with Cinnabar. My fate will be the same as hers.” He turned back to the Maquans crossing the rather large beach, and steeled himself.
“Sorry, Blaine, but I can't let that happen.” Something hit him over the head, and he went down. Dimly, he felt someone snatching his Pokeballs from his belt and heard them being recalled. Then several hands were dragging him into one of the boats, and dropping his Pokeballs in after him. “Kanto needs you. They don't need me.” From somewhere, Blaine recognized the voice as that of the scientist that had asked him if he were coming.
Then the boat started up and roared away from the beach. The scientist stared after Blaine. “Good luck, Blaine,” he said quietly. “you better make this worth it.” with a apprehensive glance up at the volcano, he turned to his team of Porygon and gestured at the Maquans. “Let's go boys,” he said quietly. “We're all dead men now, anyway.”
Kyle ducked as yet another Fire Blast roared over his head. The Maquans were after him full force. They had managed to take down four of his Arcanine, and one of his last two was starting to fade. His hands burned. He had had to take off the protective gloves for the last few parts, and his skin had literally burned away in front of his eyes.
He forced himself not to vomit as the bloody remains of his fingers worked on the panel, hurriedly typing in the last few commands. There was a roar from behind him, and Kyle glanced back to see that now only his starter Arcanine was still standing, but not for very long.
Kyle turned back to the oblong shape in front of him. He glanced at the heat-resistant chrono that was mounted on his clothing. He was over time already. He had to get this going. Kyle hurriedly punched in the last few combinations, and he was done. There was no stopping it now.
Kyle turned and got to his feet, watching his starter Arcanine fall to the ground over the other five. This was it, he knew. One way or another, he would be dying now. He had armed the warhead that Blaine had put down here when this whole shebang had started. It was situated right over the rock that had solidified over Cinnabar volcano's magma vent. When the bomb went off, it would take the plug, as well as a good deal of the rock above it, with it, and the volcano would erupt while the rest of the mountain collapsed in on itself.
Kyle stared straight into one of his attacker's eyes—this one a Magmar. It shook its head sadly, and raised one paw. Then there was nothing.
Lorelei stood in the front of the lead boat, watching for Cinnabar eagerly. The lookouts had reported that the people of Cinnabar were fleeing the island, but hopefully they would go back now that they were reinforced. If not, then this counter-attack would be for nothing, especially because of the Maquan attack on Fuschia City that she had heard about.
She had sent the SS Anne, who had just finished retrofitting, and had been on its way to Cinnabar, to Fuschia to cut off any possibility of a sea retreat, and to defeat the Maquans with the trainers that had gotten onboard, getting ready to go to Cinnabar.
Lorelei turned her attention back to the island in front of her, and turned to look over her shoulder to ask how logn it would be before they got there. Before she could, she heard a rumble. She turned backto the front, and, to her horror, saw a wall of water rising up in front of her. There was nowhere to go, so Lorelei grabbed ahold of the railing.
Then the water hit, and her fingers were wrenched from the railing. Her entire world was water. Water above her, water below her, water inside her lungs. She thrashed furiously, and after what seemed like an eternity, broke through the surface of the water. As she gasped for air, she looked around to find the rest of the task force, and see what shape they were in.
She was stopped by the cloud of black smoke and red-hot lava that was rising up above Cinnabar Island. She paled, and didn't even notice the strong hands grabbing her out of the water, and putting her onto a Lapras. How in the world could this have happened?
Joan Paula Jones stood in the reception room of the Safari Zone, glaring at her partner, Jiang Fernandez. The designers of the Safari Zone had done a good job decorating the place, she noted. Wood paneling with large fireplaces and old muskets over that. That was what had made her choose this as her Forward Advance headquarters in Kanto.
“Don't tell me that this wasn't a coincidence, Jiang,” Joan said quietly. “You and I both know that it was a set-up.” Jiang frowned, a hand going through his hair. “I barely got a hundred men out of Pallet, while you managed to have nearly six hundred of your men safe from Cinnabar because they hadn’t been committed yet.” She narrowed her eyes. “The only conceivable reason against your committing those men is that you KNEW that this would happen. You set me up so that you could take over Team Maqua.”
Jiang's eyes narrowed. “I did nothing of the kind!” he shot back. “I don't think we'll ever know WHAT happened in Cinnabar, but I was keeping those men in reserve until they were needed.”
Joan forced herself not to jump on the insult that popped into her mind—the insult that said that her men were better than his because hers actually completed their objective. “I doubt that,” Joan said slowly. “Isn't it curious that after your forces were stalemated in Cinnabar Town, you still refused to commit those men? Why, I wonder, did you do that? And after the defeat at Cinnabar, you came back with your tail between your legs and said that you were out-maneuvered, and now you have more men here than I do. Both of our jointly-planned operations were defeats. However, this attack, which I didn't tell you about, went off without a hitch.” It had been nearly five hours since the twin defeats, and Joan was still hot under the collar about it. Cinnabar had been a coward's win on the part of Kanto. They had cheated. They were supposed to fight straight battles, like Pallet Town. At least she could stomach that defeat. She had been genuinely outgunned and out-maneuvered. At least the SS Aqua had managed to get out of Cinnabar Harbor in time with minimal damage, aside from a big hole burned in her aft decking.
“They were distracted,” Jiang snapped defensiveley. “They--”
“They wouldn't have defeated us if you had launched a simultaneous attack on Vermillion City like I had wanted in the beginning! They would have had to split their forces differently to defend Cinnabar and Vermillion, and we may have gotten the SS Anne!” Joan snapped, and leaped to her feet, and Jiang leaped to his. “It's become increasingly obvious to me that you only care about whether your men come out of this better than mine. You knew that there would be more casualties at Vermillion, even though it would be a more strategic victory instead of getting justice against Lance, so you sent your men solely to Cinnabar.” Jiang opened his mouth to say something, but the Aquan cut him off. “That's why I had all the former Magmans rounded up and those that wouldn't be loyal to me were stripped of their Pokemon. You'll be joining them shortly, Fernandez. I'm taking my men to Lavender Town, and we're taking your Pokemon with us. I hope the Indigans treat you better than I would if I had time to dispose of you properly.”
Jiang reached for his Pokeballs, but a small pistol instantly appeared in Joan's hands, and the Aquan guards aimed their rifles at Jiang. Jiang glared at her, and unfastened his belt, letting his Pokeballs fall to the floor. Several Aquans moved in towards him, and grabbed him.
As soon as he was out of the room and the room and the door closed, Joan let out the breath that she had been holding. She had been worried about that. It was obvious now that he was an Engaran agent. She had heard of their forces massing, and was more than just a little nervous. Jiang had always the one sympathetic to both the Rockets and the Engarans, while she was more independent. They would have had her killed for that, she knew.
And they probably still would.
But first they'd have to catch her. Now that the traitor was out of the way, she'd be able to march on Lavender, where her spies had told her that quisling Lance was hiding. And when she got through with him, he would regret ever being born.
And then she would leave Kanto from her western shores, peacefully, never to return.
well, I hope you like it....
the final two chapters are even MORE explosive, if you can believe it.
Kanto's subjugation is not as....peaceful as many other authors would put it. This is war. People die in war.
MANY will die in the next few chapters, including those whom you have grown fond of.
4th August 2006, 6:20 PM
Second to last Chapter.....
Lance stared into the bottom of his glass glumly. How long had it been since Lorelei had defeated him and taken over control of the Elite Four? A few days? A week? A month? He had lost all track of time since he had left the Plateau. It had been at least a couple days, however.
Lance sighed, and looked around. He had released all of his Pokemon. He had decided that he wasn’t worthy to train Pokemon if he had made such bad decisions that Lorelei had usurped his position. Only Charizard had stayed with him. The rest had gone back to whatever lives they had led before he had captured them.
Lance looked around the top of the Pokemon Tower. It was a place of mourning those who were dead. Pokemon trainers came from around the world to bury their Pokemon in and around the famous tower. Lance thought it only fitting that he live out his days with the dead. He was, after all, dead to the world.
Lance heard many wings fluttering behind him, and he turned around to see all of his team standing there behind Charizard. Draman, his short, golden feathers puffed up against the chill wind. Aveamon, the Flying and Dragon type’s marvelous blue wings and black tail belying its strength as a warrior. Draqua, the magnificent flying type, who long wings now lying on her sides, waiting for an order, despite her species notorious weakness in battle. Tundramon, the brown-footed outcast from its own species, its light blue scales clinked softly against its silver-white wings. Arachnadrago, the tiny Bug-type dragon whose indigo scales and purple head made it look like something out of a circus, but fought like something that belonged in an arena. This was his team. Despite the fact that he had released them, they refused to leave his side. Lance smiled. It was a kind gesture, but ultimately a futile one. He had told them already that he was giving up Pokemon training.
From far below, he could hear the familiar alert siren. That meant that the town was soon to be under attack. Lance didn’t care. He just didn’t care about anything anymore. He had lived his life, and that—and Lorelei had taken his life away from him.
He stared at his team, and they stared back vindictively. Trainers began running up the stairs to the top floor, releasing their long-ranged Pokemon, and sending them to man positions. Lance shook his head at them. They were all going to die anyway. Why did they feel that they had to prolong their suffering? They were fools.
Lance’s team looked at him, waiting for orders. Lance stared at them. They wanted to fight. After all that had happened to them, they wanted to fight. Lance shook his head at them. They were fools too. Never again would he give an order to any Pokemon. Ever. Lance got up slowly, and shambled towards the door, ignoring the questions and stares from the other trainers. Over his dead body was he going to throw his life away. He was going to get out of town while he still could.
Draman watched as Lance walked down the stairs. Charizard took a step to follow him, but Draman lifted one wing up to stop him. Do not. Draman said telepathically. He does not want to live anymore. Losing the Champion’s seat has damaged him far more than you will ever know. He will never fight again. He does not have the will. We are dead to him.
The others in Lance’s former team looked around. So what do we do? said Charizard, his words instantly telepathically translated and transmitted to all the others in the team that couldn’t understand him. If Lance has abandoned us, it must surely be the end.
Never! Arachnadrago spat out. Arachnadrago spoke a dialect of Pokese that was much different than that of most of the others. He was the only one from Lance's team that couldn't understand the others on the team without Draman's help. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that it’s never too late. If I had given in to that kind of thinking, I would be in the stomach of a Mightyena right now! When you’re left with no other option, you have to fight!
The sounds of battle began drifting up from below, and Charizard leaped into the air. Oh crap .he muttered. It’s Team Maqua. Mainly Aquans, from the looks of the attacks.
They’re here for Lance! Draqua exclaimed. They want to kill him! I heard him say so!
Let ‘em kill Lance! Tundramon grumbled. Abandoning us like that after us coming back to him. It’s the mother of all insults!
He was our master, once. Charizard said, dropping back to the floor as a Hydro Pump shot by, barely inches from him. I don’t know about you, but I will always consider him my master.
Our master, Tundramon mimicked Charizard. My master. Sheesh. Get over it, Charizard. He was a monster. I was minding my own business, looking for my lost children, when all of a sudden YOU attacked me without provocation. He took me prisoner and forced me to fight. I hope they catch him. I’m not defending him. I need to get home. I don’t know how you convinced me to come back to that monster. Anyone who feels the same way, come with me.
The others watched Tundramon lift off, and fly away from the tower and the battle. Draman looked around. Anyone want to go with him? he asked. He looked around at each Pokemon in turn. Anyone? Nobody so much as twitched. Draman nodded. So we’re agreed, then. We need to give Lance time to escape. He got nods from each of his teammates. Very well, then. Draman said slowly. Lance trained me in human tactics while he was still Champion. It has been a long time, but I think that I remember enough. We don’t go in against their main force. We travel around and hit their rear. Generally, that is not very well defended. I believe that is what Lance called a flank attack.
Draman looked around. We ARE going to die doing this, he said quietly. Does anyone want to back out, knowing that? Once again, nobody moved. Very well, then. he said quietly. Follow me.
Lance ran through the cave. He could hear the Maquans running after him. They had made extremely good time. How in the world had they found him so fast? Fortunately, no Pokemon had challenged him yet. He had left his entire team back in Lavender Town. Fortunately, he had spent a lot of time in Rock Cave, and knew its twists and turns intimately. He just had to stay ahead of them for a few more minutes, and he was home free. He was grateful that it wasn't just Aquans chasing him down, because he knew he couldn't have done it without the light of the fire types lighting his way ahead of him.
An Ice Beam impacted into the ceiling above his head, and a Flamethrower slammed into the ground just behind him, spurring him on. Maybe he had overestimated the time he had. He rounded a corner and there, waiting for him, were no fewer than eighteen Maquans, their teams fully deployed in front of them. Lance skidded to a stop. This was it, he knew. They had caught him in a pincer, and there was no way that he was going to escape.
From behind him, the Maquans who had been chasing him came around the corner, and he was trapped. One of the humans stepped forward and grinned. “Good work, boys!” he called to the group that had stopped Lance. “Let's get him back to Lavender.”
Lance's heart sunk. This was it. They had him now. How was he going to get out of this one?
Karen looked at the map that she had found in the backpack that had been with her when she had woken up. All she remembered was going out that night to tend the chimera duonems, and then waking up. But in the backpack there had been a map of Kanto with Lavender Town circled and several Kanto Daily newspapers, detailing what had been happening. It all confused her.
She had...died? What in the world was going on? But the main thing that she remembered from the newspaper articles was that Team Maqua was after Lance. More than she had before, she felt her heart flutter when she merely thought his name. She had been wondering about it before, but now she knew it for certain—she loved Lance. And it would be over her dead body that they would kill him.
Of course, if newspapers were to believed, she already was dead, so that analogy wouldn't really be accurate.
All she really knew was that she had to get to Lavender Town within four hours, or everything would be lost. She wasn't sure why there was such a sense of urgency, but there was. She had already checked, and she didn't have any Pokemon. Hopefully nothing would challenge her.
Joan Paula Jones stood at the top of the Pokemon Tower, looking out over Lavender Town and the countryside surrounding it. She could see the Indigo League armies marching for her. From the east, the Cerulean City Brigade, a new division led by one of Misty's gym trainers. From the south, Lorelei, Steven, and the bulk of the army. From the southeast came General Surge and the mercenary army he had been training for decades. Joan lowered her head to her chest.
This was it. This was the end of the line.
Joan closed her eyes and let the wind sweep over her. She smiled. The salty tang of the sea still hung in the air, at least this high up. If she didn't know any better, she would think that she was on the top of one of her ships.
Joan shook her head, and tears formed in her eyes. She hadn't meant to lead her men to their deaths—or life imprisonment, either. She had just wanted to avenge Giovanni. As she had seen him then, he had been the bold voice of one who spoke out against the evils of the Indigo League.
But now, after coming to Kanto, and seeing first-hand what his Rockets had done—Joan dropped to her knees. How could she have been so blind? There had been the attack on New Bark Town, and that hadn't opened her eyes. She had been so enraged at Lance that she had assumed that Giovanni stood for the same principles that she did, albeit not the same end.
It had turned out that he had been little better than Fernandez. And now the men were beginning to turn against her, she could see that.
And it was a costly mistake to make. The thousands on Cinnabar who hadn't made it off in time, the hundreds who had given their lives in this war—Jones cried harder than she had ever cried before.
Then a thought occurred to her, and the rage once again raged up within her. It had been Butch that had gotten her to invade Kanto. That no-good Rocket! And nobody knew where he was, now. What had he been up to?
The door to the roof of the tower banged open behind her. “Admiral!” one of her lieutenants shouted. “We found him! He was running away in Rock Cave!” Joan swiped at her eyes and turned around. They had Lance.
Joan felt a chill run through her. Lance had been right to kill Giovanni. And she had sworn to kill Lance. What was she going to do?
While Joan had been sending her attention towards the South and East, something important had been happening to the West and North. If she had merely looked in those directions, what happened next might have turned out differently. For the Western sky was beginning to darken.
There was no rain, no clouds that would make it dark. There was no reason that it should have turned dark. But if someone were to look at it, they would see why the sky was dark. Like hornets, the first of the Pokemon began to appear. They were small, but they were vicious. No person from Kanto has ever seen their like—few in the world have. To those that do, they are simply known as Pacifiers.
Stream-lined, utterly smooth creatures, they zoomed towards Kanto's western beaches, and roared into the forest with a noise sounding like a freight train. Any Pokemon or trainers unfortunate to get in their way was quickly cut down by a Fury Cutter. Within minutes of their arrival, the Pacifiers had neutralized all life within a mile of their assigned patch of Kanto's Western beach.
Then the cloud in the sky dropped to the ground, and it was too late for Kanto. If the cloud had been seen, then maybe the peoples of Kanto could have stopped what happened next, but it was too late.
Within ten minutes, Kanto's Western beaches were coverred by a thousand or more Pokemon, even as the Pacifiers moved further inland. Dragons, flying Pokemon, even some terrestrial water Pokemon. But there was no Pokemon that would have had to rely on another to get to Kanto. And they were all vicious, and obviously bred for war. From metal plating to sharp spikes, they all moved confidently, and knew exactly what they were doing. Within ten minutes of the landing, they were all under the cover of the trees, and no trace of the landing could be found—those that could had cleared their tracks using Whirlwind.
The Pacifiers, satisfied that their job was done, roared out of the forest, and across the sea, back to Engara. They had been bred for this day, and now that they had completed their assignments, the day of Lont would be here that much sooner.
Thompson pounded the table. “I TOLD you!” he exploded. “Engara is invading Kanto!” He jabbed a finger at the satelliet photo, showing nearly half of the Engaran fleet departing their home harbors, undoubtedly for war. “If that's not enough, I just received word that the Engarans landed a division of the Guerilla Ops Pokemon into Kanto!”
There was quiet around the room. “You were right, Thompson,” Sandra said quietly, the Furret preening her tail distractedly. “You were right. We should have stepped in long ago.”
“What's the big deal?” Ruffles demanded, his four hands pounding the table. “We can take them!”
Old Faithful, looking more like a Wartortle rather than a Squirtle every day, looked at a Machamp and smiled amusedly. “My dear friend,” he said. “Given the recent intel, do you really think that the Engarans hadn't figured us into the equation?” He looked down at his paws sadly. “No, they thought of us. We've stopped enough invasions to know that.”
Thompson nodded. “He's right. We couldn't get a satellite snapshot of it for this meeting, and the Engaran fleet is splitting up.” All eyes were on him, and Thompson took a breath. “Two thirds of that fleet is splitting off and heading for our borders. The others are still headed towards Kanto.”
There was silence in the room, then Old Faithful spoke up. “To clarify, people, or perhaps to restate—we have a choice. We cannot repel that many ships and troops. If they had all attacked us, we could easily, but if we split our forces, we will not be able to stand.” he lowered his head. “Here comes the grisly choice, then,” he said quietly. “whom do we save? Kanto or Tintia?”
Butch leaned over the rail of the Battleship, and watched the ship cut through the surf as if it were nothing. And it was nothing. Butch smiled and looked ahead of him. Despite his depleted fleet, he would still be able to take Kanto. He didn't care if most of his fleet had gone up to Tintia to distract them. He knew how the Tintians would respond. They would defend themselves, then try to help Kanto. But by then, it would be too late.
He grinned. It had been so easy setting everyone up for this. The Engaran Agent within the Global Police had asked the Elite Four to take the Team Rocket bases. Butch had known that Giovanni would have been at one of them. Butch and Cassidy, of course, had left to help take care of the Global Police crackdown on Team Rocket—once again, Engaran orchestrated. From there, the rest had been orchestrated by Peters or himself and Cassidy.
It had been ridiculously easy to get Teams Magma and Aqua to invade Kanto, weakening the militia that would otherwise have cost Engara many lives. Magma and Aqua had also been a concern. If they had ever realized that they were working for those whose ideals they were fighting against, they might have posed a very serious problem. But now, his two major problems had battered themselves against each other, wearing each other thin.
Now both problems could be dealt with in a single day.
Butch turned around, and to the mess of wires that covered his flagship. “They sure that it's going to work?” he asked Cassidy, grinning.
She laughed. “It'll work. When have the Science division ever let us down?” Butch nodded gravely. “Of course,” Cassidy added. “Teleportation has never been attempted on this scale.”
Butch grinned. “The ability to teleport the fleet to within a mile of Kanto's shores from our home waters--” he shook his head, grinning. “What will the Science division think up next?”
“There is still a lot of work to be done,” Cassidy said abruptly, and moved forward, but Butch caught her arm and pulled her close.
“Let the other worry about the work,” he said, his face inches from hers. “We must have time to celebrate. Do not forget,” he said breathlessly. “that today,” he said quietly, reaching over and tenderly tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear. “We begin the decade of Lont. Today is the day that we have been working towards for centuries.” He turned forward, towards the land mass that would appear on the horizon in a matter of hours, ripe for the taking—assuming the teleportation worked, of course. “Today we invade Kanto.”
Lorelei charged forward with her men, pouring over into Lavender Town. As was now usual, she led the charge. Somewhere back there, Sabrina and Gary were directing the battle. In front of her was the Lavender Town Plaza and the Maquans lined up to meet them.
Lorelei gestured to her men, and they began forming their ranks just inside the plaza. The two sides watched each other carefully, even suspiciously. Lorelei reached up to her radio headset. “Anything yet?” she asked Sabrina.
“Nope,” came Sabrina's reply. “A group just came in from the North. They headed up to the Tower.”
“Hang on,” Gary said. “We intercepted a transmission from them. We just ran it through the decoder. I'll play it for you.”
Lorelei watched as her men formed up, facing the Maquans, and listened to the voice. It was a young man's voice, and he was obviously excited. “We've got him!”the voice yelled. “We've got Lance!” Lorelei whirled around, her eyes wide, staring up at the top of the Pokemon Tower where a figure stared back down at her.
“So it has come to this,” Joan said, turning away from the Indigo Militia forming up ranks. She turned to Lance. “I'm very sorry that it has come to this.” She lowered her head. “I'm ashamed to say that I didn't realize that Giovanni was so...unreputable.” she smiled. “I can see why you killed him.”
Lance bristled, and took a step forward, only to be stopped by a Maquan slamming the butt of his rifle into the former leader's chest. “I-” he coughed, and blood came out of his mouth. “I didn't kill him!” he insisted. “Someone else did!”
Joan laughed. “Really?” she asked. Her eyes narowed, then she smiled. “You are simply trying to hide the truth.” Joan stared at Lance thoughtfully. “Lance, there's something I've always wodnered. When you became Champion of the Indigo League, I looked through your file. It didn't have much of a backstory on you. I did some investigation, and they couldn't find anything out about you.” she paused. “Who ARE you?” she asked.
Lance smiled and shook his head. “I don't know,” he said. “I know who I've become, but who I was before...” he trailed off and shook his head. “All I know is that I woke up in the Safari Zone.”
Joan nodded. “That's what my contacts said you claimed.” With two quick steps, she crossed the seven yards between them, and grabbed Lance by his chin. “Now tell me,” she hissed. “Who do you work for? Is it Engara, Neragosh, or Tintia?” she demanded.
Lance frowned. “What-” Joan glared at him, her entire frame trembling. “What are you talking about?” he asked.
“There are only THREE Intelligence agencies that insert agents by wiping their memories to prevent them from compromising their home state.” She nodded at the guard who had been holding up Lance. “Now tell me,” she said kindly. “Whom do you work for?”
Lance shook his head. “I don't know.” he responded.
Joan's face twisted in rage., and slammed her fist into his stomach. Lance doubled over, and Joan brought her arm down on his neck. “WHO?” she demanded.
Lance shook his head. “I don't—I'm not—”
Joan shook her head. “Get him out of my sight!” she ordered the guard who had been previously holding Lance up.
When he was gone, Joan walked back to edge of the Tower and looked down at the Indigo League troops. “Either he doesn't know, or he's very well trained.” she glanced at one of her assistants. “Prepare a Psyduck for a mental probe.” the Lieutenant nodded and quickly withdrew.
Joan lowered her head. “What am I doing?” she asked. “I shouldn't be fighting them. I should be fighting the Engarans. That's why I formed this gang, after all.” Joan shook her head. “And then they formed Magma just to spite me.”
She got up slowly, and urned to one of her Lieutenants. “Send a message to the Kantans, asking for a meeting in a neutral place.”
For some reason, Karen felt an inexplicable draw towards the Pokemon Tower. There was something important about it. It was crawling with Maquans. The only way for her to get inside was to get captured. Something—a memory?—seemed to speak to her, telling her to let herself to get captured, so she could get inside, and—what?
The memory was gone, but she knew that whatever it was was real. And it had been a voice. She had to get inside. She had to be captured, and then she could complete her objective. Karen took a deep breath and walked forward, revealing herself to the Maquan sentries.
“Hold it right there!” one of them shouted. Karen closed her eyes, and hoped that this was the right thing to do.
Lance touched his arm gingerly, then retracted his finger as the pain shot to his brain. He sighed, and got up. He had looked around this room five times, and he had reached the conclusion that he wouldn't be able to attack. At least two Psychic Barriers surrounded the cell, so he wouldn't be able to break out, despite being able to look through the window. The Barriers were translucent, but he was still able to see out.
Lance heard footsteps. Not again. It had been an hour since he had been on the roof, and he had had two other people besides the Jones woman interrogate him. Not for very long, but...
The Barrier over the door went down, and it opened. Lance turned, his mouth forming to make a sarcastic remark. But there, in the doorway, was Karen. That was impossible. Karen was dead. Karen was—there was something different about Karen. But Lance didn't care.
The Maquans shoved Karen into the room and slammed the door shut. The Barriers reformed, and there was no way out. “Karen...” Lance trailed off. Tears formed in his eyes. “You're alive?” he asked. Smiled. “I'm going to do something I should have done a long time ago,” he said softly. He crossed the room, took her in his arms, and kissed her.
And they both remembered.
Lorelei stared across the table at Joan. The two were so similar, Lorelei realized. What would her life have been if Lorelei had met up with Joan and the two had gone into business together? They probably would have been nigh unstoppable. She was sure the other woman had realized the same thing.
“Let me get this straight,” Lorelei said, shifting in her seat. “You want safe passage to the Western shore, and you'll leave and never come back.”
Joan nodded. “There's been enough spilt in the last several weeks,” she replied quietly. “I don't want to add to that.”
Lorelei nodded. “But you have a blood feud against Lance.” Joan was Sintaurian, Lorelei had learned from Agatha, and had learned that Joan had declared a blood feud against Lance, which was a Sintaurian tradition that basically said that Joan was going to kill Lance and everyone related to him.
Joan smiled. “In response to his killing of Giovanni.” Lorelei opened her mouth to protest, but Joan held up a hand. “Please, I've heard your position from him, but I, frankly, disbelieve him. But since I have come to Kanto, I have heard stories of what Giovanni has done.” Joan lowered her eyes. “In our communiques, Giovanni said that the stories were propaganda spread by the Pokemon Leagues. I believed him. But now I have seen for myself what sort of man he was.”
Lorelei nodded. “I assume you've got a solution?” she asked cautiously.
Joan nodded. “Yes. Instead of a long battle that would undoubtedly kill many more than is necessary. I propose that we battle each other. Whoever wins the battle keeps Lance. Either way, I leave Kanto.”
Lorelei narrowed her eyes. “You're not going to kill him?” she asked.
Joan smiled and shook her head. “No,” she said quietly. “But he will remain in prison for the remainder of his lifetime.”
“And if I refuse?” Lorelei asked, staring straight at Joan.
The leader of Team Maqua smiled. “Then we fight with our armies, and hundreds will die.” Lorelei looked down at the floor and sighed. “It is one life for hundreds,” Joan said quietly. “Please, take my offer.”
Lorelei shook her head. “I can't believe I'm doing this,” she said quietly. “But the Indigo League accepts your challenge and your offer.”
prepare for an EXPLOSIVE finish.
what, exactly, do Karen and Lance remember?
Find out next time in the conclusion of Operation: Celebi.
6th August 2006, 6:10 PM
Lorelei stared across the top of Lavender Town’s Pokemon Tower at her opponent. Joan Paula Jones, leader of Team Maqua. Despite the fact that they opposed each other, Lorelei had to admit that she had developed a grudging respect for the woman. Joan was a strong leader, and, by all accounts, a strong battler. And Joan never gave up. Even when she was faced with force three times the size of her own, she had been ready to fight to the last, as had most of her men.
But now all things had to come to an end. A young man in a Maquan uniform stepped forward, and stood in the exact center of the tower’s roof, while two other young men draw a large, white circle around him. “As it was centuries ago,” the Maquan began, “When two armies gathered together to fight, a single battle shall commence to decide the fate of both armies. A challenger from the defender, and a challenger from the aggressors have met today to decide the fate of Lance Dracamoda, former Champion of the Indigo League. Will the two champions please step forward?”
“Think they could have done it less theatrically?” Lorelei muttered over her shoulder as she took several paces forward, away from the Indigo Militia arrayed behind her. In front of her, Joan Paula Jones, dressed in her traditional Aquan uniform with a commodore’s hat sitting atop her auburn curls, matched her, step for step.
“The challengers have agreed that this will be a one-on-one Pokemon battle, with a three minute time limit. Only one Pokemon is allowed, no substitutions, items, or any other equipment may be used. Only the Pokemon as it would be found in the wild may be used.” The Maquan turned to Jones and opened his mouth, but a quick shake of the woman’s head cut him off. She gestured to Lorelei.
That was unusual. Joan was a Sintaurian, and in their traditions, whoever was announced first was generally the most respected of the two or more parties being introduced. Lorelei frowned. Did the Maquan general really think that much of her?
“The Agressor,” The Maquan announced loudly, pointing with both arms at Lorelei. “four-time winner of the Allnian National Tournament, Winner of every badge in Johto, Kanto, and the Orange Islands, former Indigo Elite, and now Indigo League Champion Lorelei Belle Winters!” Instantly, Lorelei’s men erupted into cheers, as did a few of the Maquans, Lorelei noted.
After several seconds, the Maquan raised his hand, and began to speak. “The Challenger,” he pointed with both arms at Joan in a similar fashion to what he had done earlier. “Founder of Team Aqua, scourge of Engara, co-founder of Team Maqua, and current leader of Team Maqua, Joan Paula Jones!” Instantly, the Maquans burst into cheers and applause. Lorelei looked around at her men, and they were all stonily silent, glaring at the Maquans.
Then, a clap from the Indigo Militia’s side of the tower rang out like a shot, and there was silence. No one could quite believe it. Even the spirited cheers of the Maquans died down. Then there was another clap. And another. Lorelei turned around and glared at her men. “They clapped for me,” she growled quietly, continuing to clap. “So you better clap for her.” Grudgingly, her men began to clap, and the stunned Maquans restarted their own cheers.
After several more seconds of this, the Maquan once more raised his hand. “Challengers!” he announced loudly. “Enter the ring!”
Lance stared at Karen, his memories rushing back to him. Was that who he had been? Could he possibly have been that way? Lance shook his head. No way had he been that weak. The Director had gone too far this time, making him a weak fool, even if that fool was the Champion of the Indigo League for a time.
He looked down at Karen, and she was grinning up at him. “Do you remember now, Lance? I know that that brought my memories back.”
Lance grinned. “Indeed I do. It’s fortunate that our memory-deprived selves didn’t get romantically involved at the Indigo Mansion, or this mission may have taken a turn for the worse.” Lance remembered fully now. He had been planted by the Engaran Intelligence Agency to wait for this day. As per Standard Operating Procedure, he had had his memory suppressed. The trigger had been kissing Karen. And they had been in love, both at the Mansion and before they had both been planted, him nearly fifteen years ago, and her about ten. An ordinary person wouldn’t know it to look at him, but he had been artificially aged backwards to look younger. In point of fact, he was nearly forty-seven, although he looked twenty years younger—or more.
Karen nodded. “Indeed.” She smiled. “It would have changed things irreparably.” She glanced around the small room. “Double Barrier?” she asked, raising an eyebrow and gesturing at the door.
Lance grinned. “I don’t know, you tell me. I haven’t been to Headquarters for quite a while now. What’s the standard Aquan imprisoning technique?”
Karen nodded. “Double Barrier with a double Light Screen,” she said quietly.
Lance sighed. “All right. How are we going to do this? We don’t have any of our tools, and—“
Karen put a finger to his lips. “Shh,” she whispered. “Let me take care of it.” She walked up to the door, raised up her foot, and slammed it against the door. The door careened off its hinges, knocking the guards on either side of the door to the ground. “Be right back!” she said coyly, and darted through the door.
Lance’s eyes twinkled. “They must be down,” he muttered, and ran for the door, only to be thrown back by the Barrier. Lance blinked in confusion. “What in Lont’s name?” he said.
Butch glanced at his watch, then at the communication’s officer, then back to his watch. Still no word about the Dracamoda team.“Are the Psychics ready for teleport?” he demanded, glancing at the head of Psyops sitting at his console.
The Psyops commander grinned at him. “Teleportation coils are ready. We can teleport on your command.” Butch nodded, and started to turn away. “Just to remind you sir, we’ll only be able to teleport once, with a fleet this size. They were designed, after all, for only twenty beings at a time.”
Butch turned back to the man and grinned. “But they were designed to be long-range.”
The Communications Officer grunted, and Butch turned to him. “Anyhting?” he demanded. The communications Officer turned to Butch, revealing himself to be some kind of smooth-skinned Pokemon. “Karen’s reporting in from the Pokemon Tower. Everything is ready. Winters and Jones are about to duel up top, and she’s just about to get Lance out of the cell.”
Butch grinned and patted the Psychic on his shoulder. “Tell her to standby, and be ready to set the charges.” The Psychic grinned up at him, then closed his eyes, relaying the message psionically to the Engaran undercover agent.
Lorelei looked across the ring at Joan. She hadn’t released her Pokemon yet, and Lorelei wasn’t sure if she wanted to release hers first. It wasn’t like she had much choice in the matter, though. Sneasel was the only one who stood a chance around here, being the only Ice type that she had that could move quickly and strike hard while on land. Joan grinned at Lorelei, and pulled a Pokeball off her belt.
Lorelei ran the possibilities through her mind. A Kabutops, maybe, a Politoed, a Vaporeon, a Feraligatr, a Quagsire, a Slowking, A Swampert, a—Lorelei stared in awe at the Pokemon that stood before her. She should have known, Joan being a Sintaurian, after all.
Joan’s equine Pokemon stood defiantly against Lorelei, its soft, blue mane rolling down itsneck, and its lithe, writhing tail whipping about, as if looking for a target. The horse was colored a light blue, with shades of green mixed in here and there. Lorelei stared at it in awe. She had known that Sintaurians were the horse masters, and she knew that there were water horses, but she had never expected to see one. Lorelei swallowed hard. She didn’t even know what attacks that thing could use.
Joan grinned at Lorelei, probably seeing the uncertainty that crossed her face. “Would you like a few minutes to confer with your staff?” She asked mockingly.
Lorelei gritted her teeth. If there was one thing she couldn’t stand, it was condescension. “No!” she yelled. “Sneasel, Ice Beam!” And with that, the three minutes had begun, and the fate of Kanto was sealed.
Celebi watched the goings-on of the humans intently. It was fascinating, these humans. They would go for long periods of time of relative peace, and then, in a period of a few of their earth years, they would start a war or a series of war that would seriously devastate their populations. If it weren't for Pokemon, humanity surely would have killed themselves off long ago.
Celebi let the thread of the Engaran ships fade away, and he turned to another thread. The Ice Elite was battling a powerful trainer. She was the head of....what was it the humans called it? Celebi wasn't sure, but he knew what it was to its Pokemon members. It was Hydreo, the group of Pokemon that had been commissioned by Lugia to safeguard the waves from the Coruscans, the Ho-oh backed group of Pokemon.
It was fascinating, watching the Pokemon and humans form groups and counter-groups. It made him wish that he could see the future. He could see and travel to the past, yes, but he was not able to travel to the future. He had tried explaining it to a human once, but the human didn't understand. Perhaps their minds weren't yet capable of understanding.
Celebi grew bored of watching the Hydreo woman and the Ice Elite battle, and switched to another view. The Tintians were once again fighting the Engarans. Another match-up of nemeses. Well, not another, since the Coruscans had been defeated by the Hydreo Woman several of the temporal world's “days” before. It was fascinating, watching the technological marvels batter themselves to pieces against each other. Such waste.
Celebi shook his tiny head and switched to another view. Except....there was nothing to view. Celebi's wings beat slower as Celebi's head dipped. It was only a reception problem. He would have it fixed in....his antennae quivered. There was no problem. That could mean only one thing.
Somehow, someone had discovered him, and was jamming him. That meant—Celebi spun around, and began weaving the elemental energies around him, allowing himself to pass through the fabric of space and time. He had to get away. No one else could use his cave but him, no matter how hard they tried. He had been promised that by Colleon himself.
But if they were to capture him...Celebi's wings beat faster and faster. He had to get away! He had to—he felt it before he saw it. He was jarred forwards, knocking his delicate body into the wall. Celebi's battered wings fluttered and he rose up slowly, turning around to face his aggressor.
It was a dark beast, with glowing, pure-white crescent under each eye. The rest of his body was obscured by the darkness of his now-defunct cave. Celebi felt a wave of terror flow through him.
He was not a fighter. He fled whenever he could from a battle, and that was why the humans considered him a legendary. He had no great powers. Especially not against The Hunter. Celebi stared at the hulking figure in front of him, body literally quivering with fright. What was he going to do?
The creature began moving forward, and Celebi knew that his time had come. Celebi smiled at the irony of that statement. The “Guardian of Time”'s time had come. Celebi felt the creature's mouth close around his neck, and braced himself. But instead of snapping it, Celebi felt himself picked up by his neck, and was carried by The Hunter. Celebi's wings beat faster. What was happening????
Butch opened his eyes as the bright light of the teleportation dissipated. There it was in front of him—The coastline of Kanto. He turned and began jogging for the bridge. He reached down to his radio. “All groups, report in.” A minute later, the ships were still calling in, but the troop carriers had been given permission to land their cargo.
Butch eyed the massive Lentaderon carriers. The Kantans were used to Pokemon six feet tall. He wondered how they would deal with a Pokemon Sixty feet tall. He grinned wryly. These Kantans would never survive if they chose to stand against him.
He looked across the forest that stretched between him and Lavender Town, and could just see the Pokemon Tower. He grinned as he thought about what would transpire there in the next several minutes. He turned to his lieutenant. “Inform the battleships that they should prepare to fire on Lavender Town.” he turned back to the window, and grinned. Most of Kanto's military strength was in Lavender Town, just as the war planners had predicted. Between the bombardment and the attack, Kanto would be brought to its knees.
Karen stalked forward, her form transformed from her attractive-looking self to a decidedly more feral-looking body. She didn't look even remotely human now. In fact, to the Kantans that were unfortunate to get in her way, she looked a lot like the creature that had attacked the Indigo Plateau, albeit with some minor differences. Lance strolled along behind her, looking amused.
After his initial shock, her report of the genetic engineering that she gone through had been taken in stride. In fact, it explained many things. Apparently it had been a passive trait, but had been activated by Peters when she had come to the Indigo Plateau to take care of Giovanni.
Lance watched as she turned down a side hallway, and he continued going straight. They both had their assignments. His was to start the timer on the crate of plastic explosives that a Maquan had smuggled into the tower. He smiled. It would not be long now. He and Karen just had to set the timers and then get out.
Gary was back in the forward command post when he first had any hint that something was wrong. “Psychic twelve, I'm picking up a strong Psychic coming from inside the tower. It just appeared. Is the equipment malfunctioning, or....” he trailed off. If they had a powerful Psychic in there, the battle would probably shift against them. Before the commander of the Psychic squad had a chance to respond, an explosion ripped through the air. Gary froze and looked up at the Pokemon Tower. Flames were roaring out of the side of the building. What was going on?
The flames withdrew back into the tower, revealing a gaping hole midway up the tower. For a split second, nothing happened. Gary turned to his radio, and gestured to Sabrina. “Get out of there!” he screamed into his headset. “Get out of there!”
Then the disaster that he had foreseen came to pass. Slowly, the top half of the Pokemon Tower began to sag over the empty space the explosion had provided, and debris began to fall among the battlers in the Lavender Square. “Get out of there!” Gary kept screaming into his radio. “Get out of there!”
The sagging tower was bending the metal on the other side, and was ripping the tower itself apart. “Get out of there!” Gary watched helplessly as the better part of the tower collapsed onto the Lavender Town Plaza, and fell onto hundreds of trainers and Pokemon, killing them instantly. “Get out of there!” he yelled, raising an arm in front of his face to protect him from the wall of dust and dirt that flew outwards from the Plaza.
“Get out of there!” he yelled again as the dust and dirt began to disperse around of and in front of him, thanks to the Pokemon around him, particularly the Psychic and Water Pokemon. Then he watched helplessly as another explosion rippled through the ground, this one far more powerful.
From somewhere beneath the Pokemon Tower, fire belched upwards, physically lifting what was left up into the air before crashing back down in a giant noise and another wall of dust. The force of the shock, moving through the earth, knocked everything in the forward command post over, and dumped Gary to the ground.
Gary felt sick.
What had just happened?
Butch watched the horizon expectantly through his binoculars. And...there it was. The Pokemon Tower had toppled. And....there was the secondary explosion to finish off any nearby survivors. He turned to his gunnery officer. “Open fire.” he said, grinning.
The massive warships of the Engaran Fleet had been training their guns against the Kantan coastline ever since they had coalesced from the long-range teleportation. Now the largest of the guns began to fire. Their rain of death began to pour down on Lavender Town.
Gary opened his mouth to ask for survivors when the first of the shells landed. The force of the explosion was too much to handle. It was somewhere near. He heard screams, and felt heat sear into him. He wasn't sure how long it lasted, but after what seemed like an eternity, it finally ended.
He didn't look up, but just stayed on the ground. He wasn't sure how long he stayed there, but when he finally looked up, he forced himself to look away. But the sight stayed with him, and he began to vomit. All around him, dead and dying bodies lay, some at odd angles. What had been one of the foremost cities in Kanto was now nothing morethan a cratered, destroyed cityscape.
The sounds of the dying could still be heard, but there was something else that he could hear that rose above them. The steady thump-thump-thump that Gary had grown to dread recently. The sound of an approaching army.
Slowly, Gary got to his feet, his fingers feeling up towards his ear and discarding his obviously broken earpiece. He turned to the east, and stared. There, in front of him was a massive army marching out of the forest towards Lavender Town, stretching as far as he could see both North and South. On the front line were a line of black Pokemon that looked like they were bred for war. Behind them were a collection of Pokemon that could have been gathered from any section of Kanto, Johto, or any of the other Pokemon League Countries. And behind those—Gary staggered back, whether because of being unable to catch his balance or because of the sheer surprise of seeing it, he would never know.
Just coming out of the forest now, but by no means the rear of the line was a quadripedal creature. Their slender necks stretched forward, and their bony face swung from side to side, as if looking for a battle. And just now, coming out of the forest were their tails. At least forty feet long if they were a yard, they were massive, and thick. Who were these people?
A Pokemon on the front line spotted him just then, and raised its hand. A beam of darkness shot out, and caught him on his right shoulder. He felt himself jerked back by the blow, but his feet were caught up in what had been his desk. He felt his body twist around, and suddenly he was face down on the remains of a lamp. He cried out as the glass bit into his skin. Gary looked down at his leg. It was obviously broken—it was lying there, twisted at an odd angle.
Gary stared up at the sky through the rips and tears of the tarp that had been over the forward command center, and felt a tear forming. How had it come to this? Were any of his friends alive? If so, for how long?
He felt more than heard the tramping of the feet coming steadily towards him. Gary closed his eyes. It seemed impossible, but it was true. Kanto was defeated. How had this happened?
Lorelei crawled out of the rubble, and somehow made it to the eastern forest without being seen. She glanced around for her saviour, and spotted her several seconds later. Joan Paula Jones was staring west, towards the now-burning Lavender Town. “It's them,” Joan said quietly. “There can be no standing against them. They will take control of Kanto. And they won't let it go.”
Lorelei looked to the west, towards the army marching steadily closer. “I can't stand by and watch them invade my home!” she said, shaking her head. “I have to fight them!”
Joan looked at her, amused. “With what?” she said, keeping half an eye on the army that was pausing in Lavender Town to make sure that they found everyone. “Your entire team was killed when the tower came down. So were mine.”
Lorelei shook her head. “Not all of them. There are still two more Pokemon left in the Indigo Plateau.”
Joan nodded. “If you're going to go, go quickly! They'll be sure to launch a second invasion from the south. Once you've got your Pokemon, get out of the country, and start forming an army to drive them out.”
Lorelei stared at her, then grinned. “I can't believe this,” she said, grinning. “An hour ago, I would have killed you had I the chance, but now you're giving orders to me.” She shook her head. “It's not possible, you know,” she said quietly. “They're just too strong.”
Joan grinned. “Not if you have help.”
Lorelei looked up at Joan. “What do you mean?” she asked.
“I'm heading to the Orange Islands to get the rest of Aqua back together, then forming an army to come back to free this country.”
Lorelei grinned. “Looks like we both have the same agenda. I'll meet you there in two weeks.”
Joan grinned back. “Hopefully we'll be able to get Kanto back inside a month.” She glanced over her shoulder. “Now we have to go!” she announced, pushing Lorelei forward. “We've got a long way to go to get to the Johto border before we're cut off by Engarans. We better get going.”
Butch, Cassidy, Karen, Lance, and Peters stood in front of The Director. “You all put up a fabulous performance out there,” The Director said, examining his victory cigar thoughtfully. “Very good. Thanks to you, we have Celebi.” He grinned. “That was a great victory.”
He looked up at them from the cigar, and grinned. “But it's not over yet.”
TO BE CONTINUED....
dun dun dun....
did ANYBODY expect that?
I hope not....:D
in my fics I always like to have at least one major plot twist.....the Karen/Lance was the big one on this one.....:D
and now, a preview for Retribution:
[The screen is black, and suddenly a flash of brilliant white light appears, and when it fades, words in blood-red gaelic lettering appears: “Ash_Junior Labs Present.” and then the words fade out. A small, thin strain of classical music begins, weaving its way through the following scenes. The blackness opens up to a young man, talking outside with a young woman with long, brown hair.] “My parents always told us that Pokemon trainers were never content with what they had, so they had to leave it all in an attempt to find what was already in front of them.” [A slight scene change, then back to the boy.] “I studied for two years under Oak to become his aide.”
Another scene change. This time it's a close-up on the afore-mentioned girl. She's leaning forward slightly. “But Then?”she asks.
[The boy looks down at his feet and is quiet for a moment. Then, quietly, he speaks.] “But then the invasion came.” [he says, and the scene cuts abruptly to black. In the background, a hard rock song begins to play, and scenes of a burning landscape appear, and the camera pans to show that a line of soldiers is marching steadily towards the camera from all directions. Then a voice-over begins
“The Engarans, who supplied funding to the Rockets covertly for years, took over Kanto in a little over a day.” [the young woman, now sitting down at a table, eating a meal, says. Her voice is tight, and it's easy to tell that this is a touchy subject with her. The young woman looks down, then back up.] “After they were done with Kanto, they handed control over to what was left of Team Rocket, after the Elite Four had gotten through with them nearly a month before.”
[The scene shifts, and the scene is cut to the boy, sitting around the same table as the young woman.] “I don’t have anything in Kanto left worth living for.” [he says, and looks down at his plate sadly. At this point, the music changes, speeding up. It's still classical music, but it has a decidedly harder edge to it.]
[the young woman slams down her fists onto the table, and demands loudly.] “Tyco, grow up and smell the roses! Where will it end? If the Engarans have taken over one country, what’s to prevent them from taking over another?”
[the scene shifts to an outdoor scene in a garden. It's night, and the moonlight gently illuminates the scene.] “You said that you had friends. Could you give me their names?” the boy says.
[The girl grins at him.] “I can do better than that. I can take you to 'em.”
[the next shot is a giant pan shot of a cavern that had to be ten miles across, with a giant lake in the middle. The lake is surrounded by a city and has a pillar sticking up in the exact center, and the light that illuminates the entire chamber came from the top of the pillar. The lake glitters like a sea of crystals that has been smashed up and thrown together. There isn't so much as a ripple on the lake, and there never is any. A river flows from the other side of the lake, and has several waterfalls as it makes its way down to the lake. The camera ends up on the boy and the girl, who have just come out of some sot of structure inset in the cave's walls. The boy is staring at all of it in wonder.] “Wow.” [he says] “Your friends live here?”
[The girl grins at him.] “Nope,” she says. “I live here. Welcome, Tyco, to your future. And to the future of Kanto. Welcome to Rocket-Bane.”
Narrator: In the face of unbelievable danger, there are a few who resist. Tyco, the intrepid boy scientist. [a shot of the boy appears, and he is looking from one monitor to another] Erin, the undauntable Valkyrie. [a shot of the girl appears, in which she is fighting her way through a mess of Fighting-type Pokemon, and winning handily]
[The screen goes to black, and then a single word appears, seemingly written in blood, with drips falling from the word. The word is...Retribution]
Narrator: Coming soon to an internet near you.
7th August 2006, 6:37 AM
okay, I hate to double-post, but seriously, who gave me a 1 star rating?
I have been working on this for (literally) years, it's 110 pages long )approx, I think. Not sure on the exact length, but at least 100+), and it's chock full of plot.
there is NO WAY that this is a 1 star fic.
sorry again for double-posting, but I'm a little annoyed.
7th August 2006, 6:57 AM
your right it isn't 1 star work!
i think its five!
anyway i read this a little bit ago and don't remember much cept that i might've notice spelling errors one or twice
Infinite Master Sceptile
10th August 2006, 9:49 AM
Excellent. I never saw that last plot twist coming. So Lance and Karen were the Engaran agents all along, but had their memories blocked. Hah!
Why would they want Celebi? Do they want to mess with time? That's hardly likely, since they are not stupid. Why, then?
So there still doesn't seem to be any logical reason behind the invasion of Kanto besides an itch for expansion. But that doesn't make much sense, either. So, I get that they're religious fanatics. But what in their religion requires them to be butchers?
Does this mean Lorelei will be leader of the resistance in Part Two?
And was it just her Elite Team of Pokemon that was mostly killed? Are her other Pokemon still okay?
I suppose the whole thing won't be over for the Engarans until they've killed or conquered anyone who isn't them.
And when will you start posting Part Two?
10th August 2006, 7:42 PM
Part 2, Retribution, shoyuld be posted in about a week, since I'm trying to finish up some loose ends with my Siege of Goldenrod short-fic. I'd call it a short, but it's chaptered (not as long as this...2-3 pages/chapter, ~5 chapters total, I'm guessing....
I thought that I had explained why they wanted Celebi, but I guess not... Oh well....that's somethign for the chapter.
and as for why their religion requires them to be butchers, I guess I didn't explin it well enough:
But that was not the end of Lokrye. He had grown too powerful for that. Somehow, from wherever he was, he reached back to this world, and talked to a young man by the name of Tadorae while he was sleeping. Lokrye told him that his name was Lont, and that he had been unfairly imprisoned. He gave Tadorae instructions, and gave him specific tasks to complete. He told Tadorae that once the tasks were complete, he would be free, and that Tadorae and his followers would have power beyond their wildest imaginings.
They're following Tadorae's footsteps, trying to get that power, but first they have to free Lokrye, or Lont as he called himself.
btw, the link to the "Siege of Goldenrod" (the thing I'm doing to wrap up THAT loose end) is here:
sometime I'm going to come back and do some of the Kanto/Maqua battles, just for fun....and to show some of the Gym Leaders/Elites/Pockets (who never realy did much after I put her in that one time in Chapter 9) in action.
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