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tutti
1st August 2006, 2:23 PM
1. First Encounter

Ordan had been the leader of Sonos for a long time. Too long, some might say. But he still had a lot to give. He knew he would have to give the company up to his daughter, Alya, one day, but that was not yet. He was approaching 70, but he was capable of managing Sonos for a few more years. He knew that. Everyone knew that.

Sonos was an import company. They were situated at the edge of the Orre region, and earned their money capturing pokémon from the neighbouring Nenta region and selling them to Orre trainers. Nenta, unlike Orre, was a flourishing region, filled with interesting plants and pokémon. The import industry was an enriching one, and workers in the Sonos corporation had generally higher payment and better working conditions than others. People in Orre wanted pokémon, and the few pokémon that were easily available weren't enough to satisfy most of them. Nenta had many species, and most of them were easily available. The license Sonos had was one of the two licenses Nenta had ever handed out to allow capturing of pokémon en masse, the other one had been aquired by a science team that needed the pokémon for research.

Some people regarded Sonos' services morally unfavorable, since it had a large impact on the wildlife of Nenta, while others regarded it better than having people going in to capture the pokémon themselves, something that could potentially deal an even stronger blow to the wildlife of the region. Ordan wasn't on either side. He just owned a company, and ran it the way a company should be run. Though, he wasn't without morals at all. He had before had a chance to run a highly profitable corporation that tested the effects of various chemicals on pokémon and pokéballs, but had declined.

A corporation that lived by capturing pokémon couldn't keep all its workers in a standard office environments. Most workers were out in the field most of the time, and the only time they were in the office was when they were filing their reports. The workers were divided into teams of 7, with one leader and six subordinates. The teams then went out into one of the areas of Nenta to capture pokémon. Above the groups were a few coordinators. They planned out where to send each team according to the orders and the teams' skills. They would then go with their groups to the area they were situated in and help them out from a base. There were also specialists, people who were exceptionally skilled at capturing and training. Their pokémon were much stronger than the others', and some of them had adapted their pokémon to capturing. These were sent out alone, and in the field counted as a whole team. There were nurses and other health personnel, but they were scarce and had to be dispatched with the more inexperienced teams. Above the coordinators were the office ranks. At the end of each week, the coordinators would report back to the main Sonos building, with details about every pokémon that their groups had caught. The administration would then take care of the paperwork, and the pokémon would be sent to the waiting customers.

At the top of it all were the administrators, or admins for short. To be an admin, one had to either inherit the position, or show exceptional skills in administrative work and at the same time show off strong pokémon and good trainer abilities. Critical voices had drawn parallells to the evil syndicates that had at several times bothered the various regions, and Ordan laughed every time at the truth of it. He explained that it was like that because that was an effective way of controlling a company in a world where strong pokémon were a sign of strength, intelligence and skills. At the moment there were 6 admins. Ordan was one himself, and he was the strongest of them. His daughter, Alya, was the second in command and second to Ordan in power. Rolli was the third on the list. He had started out as a regular worker, and had later gained a specialist position. He was a loyal subordinate, and eventually ended up as an admin. Satza was the fourth. Alya had known her since she was a child, and guaranteed her honesty and loyalty. That had been enough for Ordan. The fifth admin was Lorno, a man in his late thirties. He wasn't really as much an admin as a bodyguard, since his only task was protecting Ordan and his family. Finally, there was Uness. He was the only admin that didn't have strong pokémon. He didn't have any at all. However, he was the best in both regions at controlling and maintaining the electronical equipment, and could fix computers that were stuck doing something or other, or in other words, a computer genius. He had built several programs that eased the workload of the administration, and indirectly the workload of the field workers. He had even developed a new type of pokéball, that provided food for the pokémon inside for up to 7 days, so that transporting would be easier.

Ordan was currently on his way to capture a special order. Some pokémon were rarer and harder to capture than others, and some were even considered legendary. When a customer asked for one of these, provided they existed in the Nenta region, one of the Sonos admins would go and attempt to capture it. This didn't always succeed, several tries were usually needed. This time, the order was for a Jirachi. Jirachi had at one point been very common in the mountains of Nenta, but since it had never been seen in any of the other regions, it had been fetched out of Nenta at an alarming rate. As a result, very few of them existed in Nenta anymore, and even less of them outside. Ordan knew it would be hard to find a Jirachi. Still, he had to attempt, and he was certain he'd find one eventually.

He arrived at the base of one of the larger mountains in Nenta. The two capturing teams he had asked for were there, as were the three specialists. He ordered them to let their pokémon out to aid them in the hunt. This was only ever done in these legendary hunts, never in any other situations. Ordan had two specialized searching pokémon, a Crobat and a Dugtrio. Crobat would use its speed and its eyes to look for a Jirachi from the air, while Dugtrio would use its sensitivity to sense anything that moved from underground. He knew that Dugtrio wouldn't be of much help, since Jirachi hovered, but he sent Crobat out, hoping that it would find something. He would go up the mountain himself with the rest of his pokémon, and his subordinates would do the same. If Crobat found something, he'd know, and they would go and get the pokémon. If they had found nothing until the evening, which was pretty likely, they would go back to the base and call it a night.

As expected, by that evening, they had found nothing. Ordan went back to the base to find one of the teams sitting there. Each team were allowed to make their own definition of when it was time to go back to the base, this team simply happened to be a little earlier than him. All the teams were back soon, and the cook had prepared food shortly afterwards. It was a simple soup, but there was a lot of it, and after a hard day at work looking for a pokémon, the workers were starving. Ordan made no attempt at being higher than any of them. He ate with them, talked with them and had fun with them. However, in the middle of a particularly long joke by one of the workers, he noticed a shadow. His contact with pokémon had taught him to recognise their shapes and shadows, but he couldn't pin this down. He settled down, thinking that it was probably just a shape-confused Ditto, or maybe a pokémon behind another. But he still didn't get why it was inside the base. He went to check. The shadow moved quickly, but he was able to keep up, thanks to his training. It had probably stolen food, as it came from the storage room, but the shadow made it rather difficult to decide. Then, then shadow picked up speed. Ordan couldn't keep up with it, even though he tried hard. Eventually, though, he had to give up. He went back to the storage room.

It became apparent that the pokémon had stolen food, but it had stolen a lot more than Ordan had first assumed. The large food container was almost empty, there wouldn't be enough to feed the workers for another day. Ordan uttered a few bad-mouthed words, then went back to the coordinator and told him to abort the hunt. After having the situation explained to him, the coordinator passed the word on to the workers. They weren't too happy about it, but understood the situation. Ordan had the worse end of it - he was the one who had lost a good deal of money, and had to tell the customer they were unsuccessful. However, Ordan disagreed strongly. He had thought about it, and he knew that this had to be a new species of pokémon. If it wasn't, it couldn't have taken all that food so quietly. And it had stolen a lot of food, more than it would need for itself. This meant that there were more than just the one. Ordan travelled back to the headquarters in a hurry.

-----

This is also posted on fanfiction.net, under the same title but a different name (but it's still me). I didn't find any rules against that, and I hope there aren't any. [Link (http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3006177/1/)]

Anyway, I'd be happy to get people's opinions on this, particularly any way I can improve. Chapters 2 to 7 will follow, in separate posts as dictated by the rules. Yes, I did read them.

Also note that I use the same rating as I did on FF. Correct me if it's wrong.

tutti
1st August 2006, 2:24 PM
2. Unoppressable Evil

Alya's father had just left to go catch a pokémon. She knew the story. Some customer would come to his office and order a special pokémon, he'd leave for a few days, and then come back, with or without the pokémon. In the meantime, she was responsible for watching the company and making sure everything went smoothly. But this time, she had indications that everything might not be running as smoothly as she might desire. Uness had called her down to the tech room to have a look at something. He rarely did that, and then only when there was a problem. And this time, it sounded serious. She picked up a chocolate bar on the way down.

She was right to have been worried. Uness' Shadow Detector program had been activated. The Shadow Detector was a program Uness had been using during the last Cipher plan, to help find the Shadow pokémon. Its job was to react every time it found a Shadow pokémon and pinpoint its location. After Cipher had been taken down again, it had simply been left running. But now it had roared up again. That could mean one of two things, either that Cipher was creating Shadow pokémon, or that one had entered the program's detection field. Since all the pokémon were purified, only the former was possible. Cipher was moving again. And, being such a large company, Sonos would be targeted first. Alya thought for a while. She had to alert Lorno and the police. She decided it was best to talk to Lorno first.

Lorno usually acted as the top admins' bodyguard, but he also guarded the building. That was why she hadn't taken him with her down, and why she still thought she was safe inside the building. Lorno had a bunch of tough pokémon, among them a Walrein and a Charizard. The Charizard had been one of Cipher's Shadow pokémon in their last plot, and had ended up being snagged by Lorno in a raid in one of their headquarters. He had managed to purify it after 2 days, which was still the record in the Orre region, and a remarkable feat. Lorno was probably the only Sonos admin with an old Cipher pokémon. The Walrein had been with him since he was a child and it was a Spheal, and was a formidable foe to take down after training with Lorno for all those years. He could not be easily taken down. Yet, when she arrived upstairs, both had fainted, along with the Umbreon and Gardevoir he had. His Salamence was fighting still, but didn't have much left. She could see the problem. The Cipher peon had brought a Kyogre, which he used to pound on Lorno's pokémon. Alya knew he wouldn't win, and tried to think up a plan. She couldn't think of anything else than trying to succeed where Lorno failed, though she knew that if Lorno lost, that wasn't likely. She still had to try.

Once the Kyogre had Icebeamed Salamence out, the trainer turned to Alya. To her surprise, he didn't attack, but simply told her to come with him obediently. She was not being attacked, she was being kidnapped. She refused. He shrugged, then ordered the Kyogre to take her. She sent out her Raichu.

"Raichu! Thunderbolt!" she cried, knowing it would listen and obey. She just hoped that Kyogre wasn't faster. It was. Before Raichu had charged its attack up, it had shot an ice beam at it. To her surprise, the ice beam fainted Raichu in a single hit. Her next pokémon was a Sceptile. Immediately after sending it out, she ordered it to use Leaf Blade, hoping that it would be faster than the Kyogre. This time, it worked. The Kyogre was knocked back, but after struggling for a short while, it came back up. It then hit Sceptile with another ice beam. Just like Raichu, Sceptile was knocked out in a single hit. She knew, however, that another strong hit would knock out Kyogre. Knowing that it would be her final chance, she sent out her Aerodactyl. It wouldn't deal a very strong blow, but it would be strong enough, and Aerodactyl was her last pokémon to have the speed to pull it off. She had to take a chance. She sent it out.

She had very little time to decide on a move. After thinking for half a second, she decided Take Down would be her best bet. Aerodactyl heard her order and immediately rammed into Kyogre, knocking it out. The trainer was shocked. Alya walked toward him. Then he changed his expression into a smile. "Oh well. I can't do anything about that. I'll just hope that the next one does better." Alya stopped. She wasn't prepared to face another one. Least of all a Groudon, which would be the most likely companion to Kyogre. Even though they were mortal enemies, people tended to prefer using them together, for reasons unknown. She thought for a while. A Groudon would be slower than a Kyogre, and it was a Ground type... she wondered if her Dewgong could pull something like that off. She decided to try.

Sure enough, Groudon was the next pokémon. She ordered Aerodactyl to use another Take Down. Groudon was, however, more of a physical pokémon than Kyogre. The attack had much less of an effect, and Groudon simply used fire blast. Aerodactyl, also being a physical type, wasn't very well prepared for a fire attack. One of this magnitude easily fainted it. Alya sent out Dewgong. She knew that speed was of the essence, also on her part. She had to order quickly. She ended up ordering an ice beam. Her Dewgong was fairly fast. Even though it wasn't as fast as Aerodactyl or Raichu, it was faster than Groudon. And that helped. Dewgong shot its ice beam at Groudon before it could react or even attempt to defend itself. Groudon's flinching made it obvious that Dewgong had scored a critical hit. However, it wasn't enough. Groudon was still conscious, and used another fire blast. It wasn't supereffective, and even though Dewgong's thick fat cut the damage in half, it was still enough to knock Dewgong out in one move. "Well," she thought, "I took most of its health." She sent out her Alakazam. She didn't know if it could withstand an attack from Groudon, but she hoped it could. Groudon was too fast, though. The moment Alakazam came out of the pokéball, it was hit by a fire blast. And, contrary to what she had hoped, it fainted immediately. She had one more pokémon. She had to rely on her Typhlosion.

She hesitated a bit. She knew this was her last chance, and if she could knock out Groudon, she could be able to escape unharmed. She considered her next action. She had four moves to choose from; sunny day, toxic, flamethrower and blast burn. She had acquired this pokémon from the previous Mt. Battle champion before he retired, the last pokémon he ever gave away. She knew that Typhlosion was resistant to fire, and that Groudon apparently acted on its own. If she was lucky, it'd use fire blast again, which she was sure Typhlosion could survive once, given the power she had seen so far. But she would only be able to move once, since Groudon was faster than Typhlosion. Toxic wouldn't have time to work, and she couldn't take advantage of sunny day. All in all, blast burn was her best option. She sent Typhlosion out, and ordered a blast burn.

This round went as she had predicted. Groudon, being the faster of the two, started out with a fire blast. It hit Typhlosion, and took most of its health. She had to rely on the next attack. Typhlosion charged up an enormous amount of fire, like it always did when it was about to use blast burn, then released it all on Groudon. Groudon was a ground type, so it wasn't resistant to the attack. The fire knocked it out, but Alya saw it was just barely. She took a deep breath, and calmed down. She had survived, and defeated the two legends. But the Cipher peon just kept smiling. This alarmed her, and she realized that he had one more. She had been too busy to check this far, but now she checked. Yes, he had one more. He took out the last pokéball and threw it. When she saw the great green serpent that came out, she knew it was over. She could defeat an overpowered Kyogre and an equally overpowered Groudon, but taking on a Rayquaza after that was simply impossible. She withdrew Typhlosion, and gave in.

A few days later, Ordan came back. Lorno, who was heartbroken over having failed the task of protecting the boss' daughter, told him everything that happened, and handed in his resignation. Ordan tried to talk him out of it, but Lorno had made up his mind. He left his Charizard for whoever would take over after him, and left. Ordan had a problem. Not only had his daughter been kidnapped, but the company had lost two vital admins.

tutti
1st August 2006, 2:25 PM
3. Shadow Relaunch

Alya had been kept in the Cipher base for a few days. She had talked to a lot of Cipher members, and she was being treated much better than she had feared. Many Cipher members would come by and greet her, and most of them treated her with respect. She was being well fed, and she had been given a lot of books she could read. The downside was that she couldn't leave her room. But she got news from outside from many of her new aquaintances. One of them, Lipen, a Cipher peon, came by each day to talk to her and make sure she had what she needed. She figured that was his job, but she was happy about it. He had told her that her father had set up a largescale search for her, and that pretty much every trainer in Orre not involved with Cipher was helping out. He had also told her a little about their plans. They were the same as usual. Steal and capture some pokémon, turn them into Shadow pokémon, use the Shadow pokémon to gain money and steal more pokémon. She wondered why they kept trying. She knew that someone would come and thwart their plans, or that the government would get it done.

Then Lipen came into the room. He had a more serious expression on his face this time. "What's wrong?", she asked. "You have to come with me." he replied. She wondered what was going on, but didn't get to think too much about it, as Lipen hurried her out of the room. They were walking to their destination, and it was apparently a fairly long way, to be inside a building. She couldn't get Lipen to say a word to her as they walked. She decided to take a look around instead, to see if there was an exit.

She was in a bright grey hallway, the usual Cipher ornament. The walls had several weird shapes; instead of being straight walls, they seemed to be thicker at some parts than at others. There were no windows, and nothing to look at. A peon walked past them in a hurry. Alya and Lipen kept walking. Since there was nothing worth noticing along their route, Alya attempted memorizing the turns they had taken, to see where she'd end up in relation to her room. It was a long walk, however, and she eventually lost track. Another peon walked past them. Alya shifted her thoughts over to why she was being taken to wherever she was being taken. She couldn't think of a reason they'd need her, and if she had inadvertently picked up something, they'd have taken it earlier. She didn't have much more time to think, though. Lipen stopped, and put a hand on her shoulder. To her right was a door, like many they'd passed. They were apparently going into this one, though. Lipen didn't say a word, but stood still. The door opened up. He told her to walk, the first thing he had said to her since they left her room. She entered the room. Cautiously at first, but she realized that there was nothing dangerous, and picked up her pace a bit. Eventually, they reached a man in a white coat standing by a computer, apparently a standard Cipher scientist.

"Ah, there you are. Well done, Lipen. You may leave now." he said. Lipen didn't say a word, but left the room. This man appeared to have a lot of authority in Cipher. He started talking. "Hello, ms. Alya. You probably don't know me, so I'll introduce myself first. My name is Onjah, and I work here." "What is it you need me for?" Alya asked. "I was getting to that. To cut right to the case, I want you to work with us." Alya wasn't surprised. This had happened to many leading researchers and scientists during earlier Cipher plans. Like all the others, she would refuse, she thought. Onjah kept talking. "Knowing you, simply asking won't do us any good. So, let me just tell you that you will be working here with us from now on." This was a new one. It didn't matter. She wouldn't cooperate anyway. They couldn't force her. She knew that. Except she was wrong.

Onjah kept talking. "I suppose I'd better tell you about our plan. You see, we've improved the Shadow Change routine." "So, now you can make another Shadow pokémon per hour?" she asked sarcastically. He looked at her, then smiled. "I don't have a very good sense of humor, Alya, so I'd just keep those jokes to myself if I were you. Well, making more is only part of it. We can now make them better. They've gained a lot of new abilities I think will come in handy. First of all, they can now turn another pokémon into a Shadow pokémon without the aid of a machine. Let's just take a break there." This was bad news for the world. If she couldn't tell her father or Lorno... but she had to hear the rest too. "Go on." she said. Onjah smiled. "Nice girl. Well, unfortunately, this process takes time and concentration. It can't be done during a battle. Which is a shame. Anyway, in addition to this, the strength of a Shadow pokémon is increased many times. The pokémon you fought are good examples of this. This also makes them almost impossible to snag by normal means. I'll stop for a moment... you can let this sink in now."

Alya had seen Kyogre and Groudon. She knew how strong Shadow pokémon were. If they couldn't snag these pokémon from Cipher, they might not have even a slight chance. She sorted this out in her mind, and asked him to keep talking.

"Right. Sadly, there are a few downsides to these new Shadow pokémon. These Shadow pokémon don't get the old Shadow attacks the old ones got. They only get their original attacks. And to add to that, once they start using a move, they can't use another until they've been withdrawn. This is obviously bad. And, since you're an expert on pokémon moves, this is your job to fix. Your first task will be to allow them access to all moves at all times, and when you're done with that you'll find a way to give them Shadow attacks. Is that clear?" She attempted to sort the vulnerabilities of Shadow pokémon out in her mind. He seemed to understand that, and gave her a few minutes. After thinking it over carefully, he repeated his enquiry. "No.", she simply replied. "I suspected as much. Well, you see, I know something you don't. The Shadow pokémon have another advantage I didn't tell you about yet." This was obviously the biggest, worst part.

"They have a limited ability to add a little Shadow to people." he said. She had been right. This was the worst part. He didn't stop talking this time. "It is rather limited, though. Unlike Shadow pokémon, the darkness will eventually wear off, unless we renew it. And as you obviously know, 'closing the door to its heart' is just an expression. It's all in the brain. And like Shadow pokémon, Shadow humans can't learn anything new while it's closed. That's why I told you the plan - Because the job you're going to do requires knowledge about it. Lipen, get it done." Lipen took out a pokéball and released the pokémon inside. A Marill came out. It had to be a Shadow Marill. "Oh, one more thing." Onjah had more to add. "Remember the Kyogre, Groudon and Rayquaza that defeated your entire team? They are the prime subjects of Cipher, the strongest Shadow pokémon we have. Please don't use them as test subjects." Onjah turned his back to her, and kept working. Lipen ordered Marill to "do it". She knew what he meant. There was no sign of any emotion in his voice. She looked at Marill. It was approaching slowly. That was the last thing she knew.

tutti
1st August 2006, 2:26 PM
4. Good and bad news

Five weeks had passed since Alya had been taken away. Ordan had realized that if Cipher had her, their best bet would not be to try to find her, but to prepare for a fight. And from what Lorno had told him, it wouldn't be easy. He had given all his admins permission to do whatever they thought was best to prepare for a fight against Cipher. Rolli had decided to improve his team as much as possible. Ordan had placed trained spies around in every town, city and attraction he could find, as well as in the larger companies. He had also ordered out workers to capture the strongest pokémon they could find in Nenta. Satza and Uness had cooperated on a building right outside the main Sonos headquarters. What they would use it for, he didn't know, but imost likely, they had just found out that both needed a building and decided to cooperate to raise efficiency. Ordan didn't want to interrogate them, and let them go on in peace. If they wanted to tell him, they would. Three weeks ago, Uness had managed to snag a Shadow pokémon by using a Master Ball - an incredibly rare item that took years to make. Ordan didn't know which pokémon that was, but he suspected it might have something to do with the building.

Then one day, both Satza and Uness came to talk to him. Uness appeared to be very uneasy, a rare trait for him. Satza, whose emotions were generally strong, was on the verge of crying. Ordan let them in. "Hey, what is it, Uness?" he asked. "I, uh... I need to talk to you. I have some valuable information for you." Ordan nodded to Satza to signalize that he had seen her, but he believed it would be best for them all to hear out Uness first. "Sit down, Uness. So, what is it?" "You remember the Shadow Psyduck I snagged a few weeks ago, right?" So it was a Psyduck. Ordan nodded. "Well, I have been researching its Shadow properties since then. I found out a lot of interesting stuff." "Like what?" "There is something else I need to tell you first. I discovered that the new Shadow pokémon have had their general traits strengthened. For Psyduck, this meant not only an increase in Strength, but stronger psychic powers. After running some tests, I managed to plug into its conscience for a moment. It noticed, and managed to shut me out after a few seconds, but it had picked up a very interesting signal." Uness had a CD player in his hands, and put it on the table. He started the sound.

There was a man talking. But the sound was apparently jumping back and forth in the conversation, since only a few words at a time fit together. "...add a little Shadow to... ...can't learn anything new... ...Shadow pokémon, Shadow humans... ...one more thing... do it." The last two words were said with another, deeper voice. Ordan was quiet for a moment. Then he opened his mouth. "Shadow humans?" he asked. "It seems like it, sir. And the last part we heard actually goes on for a while, showing that it's etched deeper into Psyduck's memory than the rest. There were also a few mental images, apparently from the same moment. The first is of a man in a white coat, presumably a Cipher scientist. The second one is definitely a Cipher peon. The third has the same peon and a Marill. The last one in a Marill very close up. And if you listen to that part of the CD, you can hear the cry of a Marill, though very faintly. You can also hear a person, a female, wince. I analyzed the voice, and, you probably know this now, but it was Alya."

Ordan had known from the moment he saw Uness' expression that this was about Alya. Uness was one of the few persons in Orre that Ordan would trust his life to. He knew Uness very well. Looking at Uness, he knew that there might be something they could do. He tried to say something, but Uness was faster than him. "I had the process for making Shadow pokémon stored on my computer, from last time Cipher was active. Using this data, I could see how the Shadow process had changed, and by studying Psyduck, I found several flaws in it." Ordan looked at him. Whenever he thought Uness was as smart as a human being could be, he managed to prove himself even smarter. He nodded. "Go on, please." "First of all, the Shadow wears off over time. For pokémon, this time is so long that you'll never see a noticeable effect, especially since the life of a Shadow pokémon is significantly shorter than for normal pokémon, but when the same process is used on people, the Shadow is very limited, and will wear off after a short time. The fact that the Shadow process is specialized for pokémon cuts this time further. The result is that to keep their Shadow, humans have to be... re-Shadowed every day. If they're not, they will regain consciousness." "So, if we get Alya back, she'll turn normal by herself?" "That is what I hope. The problem is that the Shadow process has been cut down to a single step... a Shadow pokémon can now add a Shadow to another pokémon, or a human being, just as efficiently as a machine." "So, bottom line is, get her out fast?" "Yes." "Is that all?" "Not quite, but the rest can wait until after you've talked to Satza."

Ordan turned to Satza. He knew from experience that her crying had nothing to do with her news, but rather with what she had just learned about Alya. The initial shock had apparently died down while Uness was talking, and she seemed calm and stable. "So, Satza, You have something to talk to me about?" "I do. You know about the building I and Uness have been cooperating on for the last few weks, right? Well, it's up now. Uness has built a huge basement, I guess it's for electric things and stuff, but I've built a training school on the ground floor. I wish to take in as many students with pokémon as I can, and train them to prepare for a Cipher attack." Ordan thought about this for a while. "Normally, I wouldn't trust people I don't know with helping us, but since our enemy is of this magnitude, this is actually a rather good idea. Just make sure they know they're not permanently hired." Satza seemed relieved. "Of course, sir." Ordan then turned back to Uness. He knew that whatever Uness was going to tell him, it would be worth his time.

"Now, Uness, I believe you have something interesting to talk about?" He looked at him, with a slightly surprised expression. He got over it, and told him what it was. "Sir, I've built an upgraded version of the purification chambers." Ordan looked at him, now it was he who was surprised. "An upgraded version?" "Yes, sir. I call it the Shadow Complex. It's the electric things and stuff I use the huge basement for." Ordan smiled slightly at Uness' attempt at a joke, and got ready to leave the office. "I want to see this. Now, Uness." he said, and left.

tutti
1st August 2006, 2:27 PM
5. The Complex

The building was nothing out of the ordinary. It was about the same size as any training center, and had little decorations. It had been painted purple; a rather unusual color for a training center, but even that didn't make it stand out too much. Ordan followed Uness and Satza inside.

The inside was no different from the outside - just the same as a regular gym. Knowing Uness, there should be a hidden elevator somewhere, accessible only if you could find the controls. Ordan looked at Satza. She pointed to a pillar in the other end of the large room, and smiled. Uness raised his eyebrows, then looked at Satza, who smiled back at him. He sighed, and follower Ordan to the pillar.

Uness put his fingers to one of the round shapes in the pillar. The middle of the stadium rose up, and revealed an elevator. The typical underground base setup. Uness ran over to the elevator, waving for Ordan to hurry. Ordan, who was not less curious that Uness was proud, did his best to shorten the timespan he'd have to wait to see the Complex. As he entered the elevator, Uness closed the doors, and the elevator started moving.

The elevator hit the bottom. The doors opened. The outside wasn't nearly as exciting as he had hoped - there were only a few machines there, and they didn't look like they were large enough to contain more than a couple of pokémon. Uness could see the disappointment in Ordan's face, as he explained. "Most of the machinery is below us, and the chambers are behind the walls. What you see is mostly just interfaces." Uness pointed to what Ordan had thought was the chamber. "That's the entrance", he said. "If the chamber needs maintenance, we go in here." "So, tell me about the Shadow Complex, Uness." "Yes, sir."

Uness pointed to a small pokéball slot, like those used in healing machines. "This is the Complex Shadow ball slot. You put the pokémon here, and it's uploaded to the Complex data system, much like the old version. Once you've got some pokémon inside, you can organize them, like the old chambers. Basically, the interface is the way Krane made it. What's new is the way it purifies. The Shadow pokémon should still face something that's weak to it, but the types of the other pokémon don't matter. The purification flows faster under the same conditions, and the chambers can now hold up to 5 pokémon in each set, plus the Shadow pokémon. All in all, the purification speed has been tripled. Also, Shadow pokémon receive experience points in the Complex chamber - even more than they would regularly. They still can't level or evolve, though. But there's more to the Complex than purification. The Complex produces a few items that will help us. First of all, the Master Ball."

The Master Ball was originally produced by Silph, a company in the remote Kanto region. They had only made a few, though, before a sinister organization from the same region had broken in and taken everyone in the company hostage in an attempt to seize the Master Ball. They barely failed, thanks to a young boy and a lot of luck. After this incident, Silph decided that it was best if Master Balls weren't available to the general public, and stopped all production. They destroyed all the information and gave the rest of the prototypes to the government, hoping that they could be put to good use. However, some Master Balls had been shipped, most of them to rich trainers who wanted an easy catch. These trainers used their newly acquired Master Balls to capture some pokémon noone else had succeeded in capturing, like Zapdos or Lugia. Few of these legendary pokémon stayed with their original trainers, though. Since Orre had very few wild pokémon, people in the region preferred battling each other. This drew other trainers to the region, including the owners of these legendary pokémon. People's love for battling drove wealthy opportunists to build colosseums for the battlers, which attracted even more battlers. At about this point, Cipher discovered how to make Shadow pokémon. They didn't have many pokémon to work with, though. This was why they teamed up with team Snagem. Team Snagem were nothing more than petty thieves, stealing pokémon from unattentive trainers. They didn't get a lot of them, and most were weak. Nonetheless, they were the only group in Orre that stole pokémon. After a few years, though, they had completed their Snag machine, a device that turned regular pokéballs into special balls that could capture a pokémon from another trainer in battle. With this, they were able to get many more pokémon for Cipher. Cipher grew from a small group to a large organization. Some of the peons they recruited were among those who had purchased Master Balls from Silph. At this point, Snagem made the portable Snag machine. Trusted Cipher members could use this machine to Snag any pokémon they wished. Those who had Master Balls, used these to capture the legendary pokémon from those who had them. After they were handed over to Cipher, they were turned into Shadow pokémon and given to the admins of Cipher. After this, most of the remaining Master Balls had been used. Ordan estimated that there were about 20 to 25 left in the world. Unless Uness had come up with something good.

"Are you saying... you've made Master Balls?" "Well, yes. I couldn't get them quite like the originals, though. Making one takes a few days, and it can't be used in its current state... you have to turn it into a Snag Ball to use it. I don't know why. So it can only be used against Cipher, basically." "Well, I suppose that's good... it won't change pokémon capturing completely. What other things did you say you'd made?" "Well, this machine produces scents... different kinds of scents, for people who prefer to purify that way. The one over there makes Purify Bands, another thing I've created. A Shadow pokémon holding one will not go into reverse mode, it will be able to use some of its old attacks, and it'll be purified faster in battle and in the chambers." "This is impressive, Uness. With these, I thinkwe can take Cipher out again." "Be careful. All signs indicate that they've made massive progress. Even though we have this, I think they have the upper hand."

Alya was regaining her senses. After a few minutes, she realized she was back in her room in the Cipher headquarters. She noticed a shadow on the floor, cast by something behind her. She turned around. The shadow came from a tall man in a white coat, like most of the scientists in the lab. He opened his mouth. "I don't feel like talking to you", Alya said before he could say anything. The man closed his mouth and smiled. He walked to the door and left her room, all without saying a word.

tutti
1st August 2006, 2:30 PM
6. Another One Appears

Khot had been a field worker in the Sonos corporation for 26 years. After a while, his potential was noted as strong, and soon after, he was promoted to a specialist. He suspected that the process might have been speeded by his sub-par social skills - even though his battle abilities had made him popular among the workers who didn't know him, those who did tended to avoid him. He couldn't blame them. He had always spent his free time training himself and his pokémon, even as a kid, while the others were outside playing. His father had caught him a Jigglypuff when he was 2, expecting him to play with it and keep it as a pet, like all other children. He did for a while, but the games gradually turned into training and battles. The day Khot started school, Jigglypuff was stronger than all the pokémon in the school, even the teachers', only beaten by the principal's Arcanine. Khot didn't abuse it, however, but kept training it. A few years later, at the age of 11, he challenged the principal to a battle and won. Not because he didn't like the principal or wanted to beat him, but because he wanted a battle with someone at his own level.

A regular specialist stayed in Orre until he or she was called to travel to Nenta and capture a specific pokémon. Khot, however, was one of the few specialists whose job it was to stay there and capture certain popular pokémon. He would stay there for two weeks, and go home for four, then repeat. There were six specialists who had this schedule, so there were always two of them in Nenta at any given time. Usually, they would be located far from each other, wandering around the region looking for pokémon. Then, approximately two hours before, Koht had been called by the other specialist, Darys. She had told him her location and requested his presence. It was apparently urgent. Of course, the location was pretty far away, so Koht had to abandon the hunt for a rather large Sunflora to make it.

When he arrived, he didn't spot Darys right away. Which wasn't too strange, considering she was hiding in a particularly dense bush. When he got closer to her, she made a tiny sound, to alert him to her presence without alerting the rest of the world. He crouched down behind her, and asked why she had called. He could see that she was hiding from something, but he couldn't see what. He knew Darys, though, and he knew that it was something serious for her to have called him, even more so since she had waited for him for nearly three hours. She didn't make a sound to reply, but moved her arm to point at something. She was pointing at her hover bike. Confused, he looked at her for a moment, then he realized. He looked closer. A tiny, grey pokémon was sitting on her bike, eating her supplies. She had apparently left it for a moment, and noticed the pokémon when she was about to go on. It hadn't noticed her, though. But why did it take so long to eat some food? He decided it was probably storing it, for some reason, perhaps to eat later. He had seen Pelippers doing that many times. That wasn't important, though. This was a previously unknown pokémon. He whispered to Darys, "Should we try to capture it?" She nodded.

Darys sent out her Parasect. It had been trained specifically for catching pokémon, or so she claimed. Among the specialists, Darys' Parasect was the best pokémon at this, closely followed by the admin Ordan's Smeargle. Khot himself sent out his Golbat. The surprised pokémon jumped off the bike and started running away. Golbat, being the faster of the two, ran after the little thief. Khot didn't have to say anything to it, it knew what to do. After catching up to it, it used its mean look. Parasect and the two trainers quickly caught up. The pokémon seemed to be afraid. Darys ordered her Parasect to use its spores. Parasect approached the pokémon, and released a cloud of tiny spores, and thopened. To the surprise of both trainers, the pokémon was awake. It started running away. Khot looked at it, unable to realize what happened. How could it wake up... and escape from Golbat's stare? He ordered Golbat to go after the pokémon again. Golbat didn't respond. Neither did Parasect, when Darys ordered it to follow. They looked at the two pokémon. Both were asleep.

After withdrawing both pokémon from battle, Darys and Khot looked at each other for a while. Khot was the first to speak. "We need to report this." Darys nodded.

Ordan and Satza had gone back to their offices. Uness had stayed behind to work on the complex, trying to think of new ways to improve it. Ordan had told Satza to call all field workers back from Nenta, while he himself tried to put together rescue and infiltration teams for the attack on the Cipher base. Satza knocked on his door. He knew it was Satza. Even when it was a visitor, Satza would be the one knocking on the door. He told her to come in. "Sir, the field specialists have something to report. Apparently, they've spotted a new pokémon species with... interesting abilities." Satza always knew how to get Ordan's attention. "Very well. Let me speak to them." "Yes, sir." Satza went back into her office, and put the call over to Ordan's phone. A male voice was heard.

"Is this Ordan of the Sonos corporation?" "Yes, it is. So, Khot, I hear you have something to report? I trust you know that my daughter's been kidnapped, then?" "Yes, sir. I do. I'll be brief. Darys saw a pokémon today, stealing supplies from her hover bike. It's a species of pokémon not seen before, but it matched the description you gave of the shape and behaviour of the pokémon you saw. We had a Golbat use its mean look, and a Parasect use spore, in an attempt to capture it. However, it escaped the pokéball, and somehow woke up while putting our pokémon to sleep. It then escaped." "It... put your pokémon to sleep when it escaped? That could be useful against those Cipher snaggers... anyway, is that all?" "Yes, sir. Thank you for your time, sir. I'll return to the base now, sir." Khot hung up.

Ordan considered the new pokémon for a while. He decided that he'd try to find it after rescuing Alya, since it'd take time. Time that they didn't have now. He resumed setting up teams.

Alya regained her senses again. She was quite used to that by now, after having gone through the process countless times. She noticed the tall scientist again. She decided to hear him out this time, maybe he knew something interesting. He spoke. "May I speak now?" She nodded. He spoke. "My name is Ein. I'm a Cipher admin, and I'm the one responsible for this laboratory." She knew the name, but she couldn't quite remember from where. "I've been with Cipher from the beginning. You probably know that, though. Either way, it doesn't matter. I just came to offer you a unique chance." He paused again. When Alya didn't say anything, he continued. "We've completed the Shadow process on your pokémon. Though, since they're rather strong, they have a certain level of resistance. They won't listen to anyone but their original trainer. That happens to be you. So, would you like to keep your pokémon with you while you work?" Alya had expected her pokémon to be turned into Shadow pokémon. As sad as it was, she couldn't do anything about that. What she had not expected was to get them back. She raised her head slowly, then replied. "I accept."

tutti
1st August 2006, 2:30 PM
7. The Rescue

Satza had gathered every available field worker in the training center. Despite its massive size, it was filled with workers. Ordan told everyone about the plan.

"We will all enter the Cipher laboratory at once, using force if we have to. Once inside, we will most likely meet resistance. With our numbers, we should be able to beat them easily, no matter what their pokémon are. We will continue on, and beat down anyone who tries to stop us. We will get to the center, and the leader. Or leaders. We will beat them down, like everyone else. We will capture everyone, and take them back. After a day or so, we will free those who were turned into Shadows. It will be obvious at that point who they are. I realize that there's more to Cipher than the lab, but if we can take it down, we should be able to deal a major blow to Cipher. Even though large parts of Cipher will remain, they won't be able to produce more Shadow pokémon. Or people. Any questions?"

Khot listened carefully to what Ordan said. He knew that if something would happen, he would have to lead the group. If Darys had been here, that would fall on her, but she had decided to stay in Nenta. Someone would have to be there to capture pokémon, she had said, and he knew she was right. Ordan had finished his speech. There were no questions. Sonos workers were good at gathering information.

After noting there were no questions, Ordan continued. "Our transport will be our pokémon. Many of you have pokémon that are able to fly you to the destination, those of you who don't, may take a pokémon from the table back there." Khot thought about his current team. He had his Jigglypuff, he always did. He also had Golbat, Machoke and Nidoqueen. Nothing that could fly him anywhere. Ordan explained how everyone were to follow him, and Khot went to get a pokémon. He obviously couldn't know what was in any pokéball, and he suspected that someone had simply captured a lot of flying pokémon in Nenta and put them on a table. He shrugged, and grabbed a ball. Many other trainers did the same. Everyone went outside.

Ordan let out his flying pokémon. It was a large, bright blue Altaria. He got on the pokémon. Others released their pokémon. Khot's flying pokémon was a Pidgeotto. He didn't seem too happy about it, but he got on nonetheless. Ordan and his Altaria took off. The rest followed. Everything was very well organized, and it didn't take them long to reach the Cipher base.

Inside the base, Ein was looking out of a window. Shadow Alya had just reported to him that she had completed the Mass beam. He hadn't even heard about it, but was quite pleased when she explained its properties. He chuckled as he watched hundreds of trainers approach the lab on their pokémon.

Like Ordan had expected, there were plenty of guards outside the lab. When the first trainers landed, they attacked them right away. Though, even with Shadow pokémon, they were badly outnumbered, and beaten. Some of the workers' pokémon were defeated, and those with only a few left were to take the guards back to the Sonos base. The rest had their pokémon destroy the doors. Behind all the rubble, they could see a tall man in a lab coat. He waved at them. When most of the smoke cleared, they recognized it as a hologram. He started talking. "Welcome, Ordan. I must admit, you're disappointing me." As the man talked, the trainers kept entering the building. " I mean, I expected you to come, but to destroy the doors... I was going to open them, too." Almost all the trainers were inside. "Well, if you're going to be that way, I will have to close them again." Ordan realized what was going on a moment too late. Behind them, the doors were closing. The real doors. By the color, he judged they were made of a material that couldn't be broken down by pokémon attacks. "Oh, you were already inside?" The lab man kept talking. "Well, in that case, I guess you can come further in." Ordan sneered at the hologram. "Now now, don't be angry. Oh, and by the way, let me warn you. In here, we have a powerful beam called the Mass beam. Anyone hit by it will turn Shadow. And it can hit all of you at once, so be careful, hm? If you come too far, we'll have to use it against you. On the other hand, perhaps staying where you are isn't a good idea either." The hologram faded.

The Sonos team was in a large room with one door, not counting the one they came in through. Why wouldn't it be a good idea to stay? Then the answer came. The walls on their sides started to move towards them very, very slowly. If they didn't go through the door, they'd be crushed. At least they had gotten time to do that. He rushed everyone through. Then he saw Uness. He knew that Uness didn't have any pokémon apart from Psyduck and whatever he had used to get to the lab, but it was apparently important. He made his way to Uness, then took him aside. With the speed the walls were keeping, they'd have plenty of time.

"Uness, why are you here? I don't think you can help much here." "Never mind that, we have more important things to talk about. I brought the Psyduck. It looked at the hologram guy, and he was telling the truth. Apparently, it knows the guy. But that's not important. Anyway, it also noticed the hole in one of the walls." "Hole? Where?" Uness pointed to a corner on one of the moving walls. Although there wasn't a hole there, once the wall moved a little further, part of the other wall wouldn't be there, making a hole. "A small person can get through. That's me." "Uness, is that so smart? How do we know there's something behind that wall?" "For that wall to move, the space that opens must be filled with air. That air has to come from somewhere. And since there were no holes on the outside, the air comes from the inside. Probably from the ventilation system. And as you know, small people fit in ventilation systems." Ordan thought about it, then nodded. "It's probably a better idea than having everyone continue into their doom. Maybe you can stop that beam." Uness nodded. Ordan and the rest of the Sonos team went through the door, while Uness waited. When the walls were close enough for him to get through, he went on his knees and crawled. As he had suspected, the air was coming from the ventilation system. Not only that, but the air ducts were larger than usual. Uness would easily fit.

Ordan was curious as to how they would be forced further. The team was still pretty much intact, and they were a few hundred trainers in a small but long hallway, wondering what to do next. Suddenly, the floor began to move. Some tried to turn back, but noticed that the wall, along with the door they had entered through, was moving along with the floor. Ordan estimated that it would take the floor 5 to 10 minutes to force them to the end of the hallway. He hoped Uness would be faster.

Uness had discovered that the air ducts weren't really built to be navigated. The layout was very confusing, like a maze. After a few minutes, he had been to every single offshoot "hallway", but none of them had proven to be the right way further. The main "road" was also blocked. He realized that to get further, he'd have to get through a room. He sighed, and tried to open the shutter. The time it took was frustrating, though he eventually managed to get it open. Now he'd have to do the same thing to get back in on the other side.

By then, the hallway had forced the team to the end, and into another large room. This room was even larger than the last one, with a door directly across from where Ordan was standing. In front of that door, there was a person. Getting closer, Ordan recognized his daughter. He knew that she had turned into a Shadow, and that she wouldn't help them. As if she wanted to confirm that, she sent out her pokémon. Not one by one, like a normal battle. She sent out all at a time. Ordan told the entire team to go take her.

Uness had managed to open the shutter on the other side of the room, and was climbing into the duct. He made his way a bit further, when he noticed a major problem. The duct got a little smaller, and there was a shutter every few meters. He could still get through, but the shutters would take time. He started on the first one.

Alya's pokémon were putting up a good fight.Ordan hadn't sent out any pokémon yet, he wanted to wait until he'd face the Cipher admin in charge of the lab. He did pay attention to the battle, though, and noticed another flaw in the Shadow pokémon. They could only use one attack. Four of Alya's pokémon had already been knocked out, the ones remaining were Sceptile and Alakazam. Thinking quickly, he ordered everyone to withdraw their pokémon, and those who had a Shedinja to send them out. Seeing what he was thinking, all the trainers followed up. About 30 Shedinjas came out, ready to attack. Alya's pokémon kept trying to fight, but the Wonder Guards kept the Shedinjas safe. It took them some time, but both Shadow pokémon were eventually defeated. After withdrawing them, Alya went through the door behind her without saying a word. There was a large sound, and Ordan looked up. This time the roof was moving. Ordan sighed over Cipher's lack of originality, and ordered the antire team through the door. The next hallway was very short, barely long enough to fit the team. As usual, the door closed behind them. Alya had already gone through the door in front of them.

Uness was slowly proceeding through the air ducts. Each shutter took a couple of minutes to remove, and when there were about thirty of them, that amounted to a great deal of time. He could see the end in front of him, though. He only had two more to get through. And he could see the power cords that were connected to the beam machine behind them.

The floor started moving again. Like the last time, the door followed. Ordan, being in front of the group, was first through the door. The team entered another large room. This appeared to be the center laboratory. In the middle of the room, the tall scientist was sitting in a chair. Many people were working on computers in the room. Other doors in the back probably connected the room to other rooms, where they kept pokémon and equipment. Also, hanging in the ceiling, was a giant beam. Ordan had seen such devices before, Uness always had some in his labs. Once the entire team was inside, the door closed behind them. The man in the chair got up. "Welcome. My name is Ein, and I'm in charge of this laboratory. I see that you decided to challenge the beam, not the walls and ceilings. I'm happy to see that. So is the beam. Now, give it a couple of minutes, please. It takes some time to charge." Ein smiled even wider. The beam started charging. Ordan looked at it. If Uness didn't stop it, it would hit every single person on the team. Looking closer, he could see glass walls in front of them and to their sides. They were trapped.

Uness had opened up the last shutter, and was approaching the power wires. He knew that neither he or Psyduck would be able to cut them, but his flying pokémon was a Pidgey that knew Cut. He sent it out, hoping that it wouldn't make a sound. Luckily, it didn't. He whispered to it that he wanted it to go and cut the wires, the duct was too small for him to get close enough. The Pidgey understood.

"One minute left", Ein said calmly. Ordan glared at him, but he knew that he was powerless. He had to rely on Uness.

The Pidgey moved towards the wires. Suddenly, a shutter fell down in front of it. It panicked and tried to turn around. Another shutter fell down behind it. It was trapped. Uness couldn't get to it, and there wouldn't be enough time anyway. A third shutter fell down about Uness.

"Half a minute left", Ein said. Ordan tried to look for a weakness in the glass wall, or anything that could get them out. He could find nothing. "Fifteen seconds." Perhaps he could do something about the roof. No, there was a glass roof above them too. "Ten."

Uness looked in awe as the Pidgey picked away at the locks of the shutter. The bird had to be strong to do that... perhaps there was hope after all. It hurried over to the wires, and started to cut them.

"Five seconds. Three." Ordan sent a resigned look at Ein. Uness had failed them. No, they had all failed.

Pidgey was almost through the wires. Only a couple more seconds, and the wires would be cut.

The beam fired.

katiekitten
1st August 2006, 11:37 PM
...Tutti? Perhaps only post one chapter a week? It stops you from overloading us, gives us a chance to read it AND gives you a free bump. =D

tutti
3rd August 2006, 12:49 AM
Ah. Okay, sorry... I was already pretty far into the story before I decided to post it here, though =/ Meh. I prefer to post a little more whenever I feel like it, usually every few days. Chapter 8 follows.
EDIT: Something's wrong with the automated line breaks in Notepad. I need to disable them before copypasting, but I tend to forget... =/

8. Alliance

Darys always followed the same schedule whenever she was in Nenta. She would get up at seven, cook breakfast, eat, take a shower, and head out at nine. She came back around five, sat down and relaxed until seven, then she cooked dinner. While she ate, she watched the 7:30 news on the television. The exception was Sundays. Specialists always arrived on Sundays. Then they'd work for a week, until another specialist came and replaced the other. Then another week of work, until yet another specialist replaced them. That moment, on each Sunday, when one specialist came and another left, was the only time there ever were three specialists in Nenta. Except for particularly large or difficult captures, something that occurred about once a year. Darys shrugged. Khot had left on Tuesday, leaving her alone in Nenta for the rest of the week. It was now Saturday. The following day, Rashah would arrive. Usually, she replaced Khot, but this time there was no Khot to replace. Darys shrugged, and turned on the news. The regular news reporter face appeared on the screen. He was about to start announcing the news, as usual.

"Earlier today, the head of the Sonos corporation, Ordan Kachia, announced their plans for the company. Apparently, they have made an agreement with Cipher." Darys smiled. The rescue attempt was apparently successful, if Cipher had agreed to anything Sonos had offered them. "The following is an authentic recording of the announcement." Ordan's face appeared on the screen. Darys put her plate down, and paid attention. Ordan started talking.

"Dear people. Dear villagers, citizens and communities. I have an important announcement to make." Ordan paused for a moment, to build suspense. It worked. "Both Cipher and Sonos are very happy to have come to this agreement, and I think it will change the futures of both companies to the better." He took another pause. "Dear ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce that from this day forward, Sonos is a department of Cipher." Darys dropped her glass to the floor. She had to get back to the base.

Sarter, the owner of Minun's Meeting Place, had done the same. At the moment, there was only one customer in the café, and he seemed as surprised and shocked as Sarter. The man eventually spoke up. "How could that have happened?" Sarter shook his head in disbelief, and replied. "I don't know. Sonos has always been reliable and fair. I can't understand why they would turn around for the worse now. They've got a working business and all." The man looked outside, through the glass door of the Meeting Place. "I imagine there are many families sitting at home now, saying the same things as we are." The owner nodded. "They have a lot more to think about, though. The two of us, we can watch ourselves. Kids, not so much. This region won't be safe again for a long time." He shook his head. "Well, that's the end of buying pokémon, at least at affordable prices." The guest suddenly got up. "I need to go", he exclaimed, with no explanation. He put some money on the counter, enough to cover the bill and quite a bit more, and hurried out. He had suddenly recalled that he forgot to leave his admin keycard when he resigned.

Uness had somehow managed to open the shutter that had trapped him. He figured it was computer controlled, and that nobody had actually discovered him. Either way, he had told Pidgey to catch up once it got through the shutter separating them, which he knew it could do pretty fast, and started leaving. He was about halfway through the air ducts, and this time, he knew what way to take. He just hoped the rooms were still empty. He had waited until nightfall before trying to escape, so he assumed they were. Or, at least he thought it was night now, judging from the lack of activity in the rooms and hallways. His thoughts kept jumping to the rest of the team, even though he tried to avoid that. Ordan had been taken. They could do whatever they wanted to him, and worse, they could make him do whatever they wanted. Satza had been taken, meaning that he had to close the training center. If he hadn't gone through the hole in the wall, or somehow not been able to, he would have been taken too, and most likely forced to destroy the Complex. Not that they wouldn't make Ordan do that anyway, but he would still be able to use it for a while. He kept going.

Once he made it to the end of the ventilation system, he noticed that the doors had been opened, and the walls were back in place. Lucky for him, he thought. He looked around, trying to spot any security cameras or other equipment, but couldn't find any. Smiling at his freedom, he went outside. Pidgey came after a few minutes. It hadn't been through the system before, and didn't know which way to take. Still, getting out was easier than getting in, and they soon flew over the skies back to the Sonos headquarters.

In addition to the regular airplane that came once a week with new specialists and supplies, the Nenta base had an emergency airplane. All the field specialists were trained to use it, and this had to be the right time. Getting back to the Sonos headquarters was vital. She estimated the trip would take about half an hour.

Once she arrived, she saw a small figure standing outside the door. She carefully approached it, trying not to alert it in case it was a Cipher peon or other enemy. Once she identified Uness, she showed herself. Talking to each other, they quickly determined that the other was fine, but neither had a key. Then they saw a dark figure walking slowly up the hill to the headquarters. They realized that it had seen them long before they had seen it, and that there was no point in hiding. Luckily, there was nothing to hide from, either. The shadow entered the light.

"Lorno!" Uness exclaimed happily. "I thought you left for good." Lorno looked at him, and smiled. "I was going to. Then the situation changed. Radically." Uness nodded, and looked at Darys. "Um, this is Darys, a field specialist. She saw the announcement on TV, and came here. She arrived a couple of minutes after I did." Darys lifted her hand. The man greeted her back. Then he walked over to the door. "So, shall we go in?" He opened the door using his key card. "We have a lot to discuss. Oh, and I think you should lock the door."

The three made their way to Ordan's office, and sat down around a table. Lorno was the first to talk. "So, do we know of anyone else that could help us?" He looked at Darys, then at Uness. "I don't think so", Uness responded after a while. "You know, every field specialist except for Darys was involved. All the admins were there, but I was the only one that got out. I'll explain that later. All the field workers were there. Basically, every single Sonos employee was present. A few went back to the base, either because they didn't have any pokémon left or because they didn't make it in before the doors closed. I don't think they'd come, though." Lorno thought about this for a while, then finally nodded. "I see." he said simply. "So, that makes us three all that's left of Sonos?" "Pretty much." Lorno got up. "Well, in that case, I think we need to cooperate. Do you both agree?" Uness nodded. Darys considered it, then did the same. "So," Lorno went on, "we have a lot to do. Let's go."