Volcanic Ash(Advanceshipping, PG-13 overall)
A little something I had been working on for several months, until Hurricane Katrina drowned all of my hard work. Now, seven months after I got a new computer, my first completed chapter of *any* of my anime-related fanfics is ready---for the second time, with more than a little retooling---for its public debut. Will this reach the heights of the great works around here? I don't know. (anime-faint) So without further ado, here I go! (Morphs into hyper-zoanoid form and begins roaring at the screen, MGM-lion style.)
I don't know about you, but I've always wondered how things might have turned out had there been long-lasting reprecussions from the end of "A Scare to Remember". Here's one way it could have gone...
Gryphon Turboclaw Presents:
Prologue(Alternate Ending to Episode #365/AG089):
A Scare to Remember!
(Rated PG for fantasy violence and severe endangerment of an adolescent)
"" represent normal speech, including untranslated pokemon speech
** represent emphasized speech
Italics represent thoughts
Underline represents translated pokemon speech
Character Ages: Ash-13(early middle); May-11(late middle), Max-6(late early); Brock-18(middle); Jessie-24(early late); James-24(early middle);
Disclaimer: Pokemon and its characters are the property of Satoshi Tajiri and Gamefreak Entertainment. I'm just borrowing them for the purposes of my fanfic.
-----It's a beautiful evening in the northern woodlands of central Hoenn, where we find a hiker travelling along one of its many trails.
Nothing like the smell of flowers in the air, or the sounds of Beautifly flitting about and Linoone foraging for food to help you relax. At least it helps to take some of the edge off.
-----However, there is more to this unassuming man than meets the eye...
Got to admit, though, that it can get pretty boring sometimes. Enough that I could go for another run-in with Isabel over this blasted disguised perimeter patrol duty.
-----...for under the plaid flannel shirt, denim jeans, and steel-toed hiking boots is Field Commander Harlan of the infamous Team Magma!
I just hope that when the time comes for us to execute our mission, the troops won't be so numbed down from sitting on our tails all this time to accomplish their duty.
-----Little does he realize that his day is about to become *very* exciting indeed...and that the dedicated forces of Team Magma are about to have company.
As soon the sound from the massive electrical explosion reached his ears, Harlan instinctively ducked to the opposite side of the nearest large tree. "What on earth was that about!" he spat in shock, his right hand reaching for the hidden communicator in his shirt collar. "Flame One calling Lavadome, Flame One to Lavadome, respond." he tersely whispered into the device, eyes scanning the immediate vicinity for possible threats, "I'm calling in a large explosion approximately two and a half kilometers northwest from my current position. What is base status, over." That blast didn't sound like it came from the camp, but it *could* be a prelude to an Aqua attack for all I know...
"Acknowledged, Flame One," answered the startled voice of the communications officer, "Be advised, we've also got a detonation report from Flame Three, and Flame Six called in a few minutes ago with a report of some sort of...robot wreckage in her area."
Since when did either Team Aqua *or* our organization use mechs? "Robot wreckage?" he quizzed the young woman over the line, "Are you certain about that one, Lavadome?"
"Uh, affirmative on that." came the confused reply, "She said there was something really unusual about it, too, as if it had been scrounged together or something."
There's something not right about any of this... "Requesting authorization to investigate the explosion," Harlan urgently bit out.
"Permission granted, Field Commander," spoke a second woman's voice, this one gruff and hard, "And good hunting, Flame One."
A smile finally came to the commander's face. Thank you, Administrator Tabitha. "Roger that, Lavadome," Harlan replied, "and will report back in thirty minutes." Now to get down to business, the Flame Squad CO smirked to no one in particular, there should be a river a just a few hundred meters from here. Then all I have to do is to head upstream to the cliff trail, and once I get to the top, I should be relatively close to the blast zone...and to the bottom of this little mystery. With that, he took off in a sprint for the river.
(Meanwhile, at the edge of a waterfall)
"Okay, guys," Max shouted over the din of rushing water, too busy to notice the cliff just ahead, "if I'm reading the Pokenav right, then there should be a waterfall right around heeerrreee!!!" Just as the boy felt himself start to fall, a strong hand grabbed him by the back of his shirt and quickly pulled him back to solid ground.
"Careful, Max," Brock yelled, more from the adrenaline still pumping through him than anything else, as he pulled the boy back from the precipice by his shirt-collar, "We don't want to lose you, too!"
Max's face became flush with embarrassment right after the breeder lowered him back onto solid ground. "Whoops," he sheepishly chuckled upon peeking over the cliff, "I guess I should have been watching the road a bit more instead of the Pokenav map, huh?" In an instant, the boy was caught up in the worried embrace of his big sister, who hurriedly pulled him still further from the precipice.
"You need to be more careful, Max," she sternly warned, "And you really shouldn't have wandered so far ahead like that." Not to mention that I don't want to lose *two* people I care about, especially on the same day...
Slipping out of his sibling's nervous grasp, a startled, but chagrined, Max turned about to face her. "Sorry about that." Finally taking a look around, he was taken aback by the relative sparseness of the area. "But wait, shouldn't we have stumbled across Ash and Pikachu by now? You'd think that we'd have found them washed up *somewhere* on the riverbank."
Getting up and taking a closer look at the raging falls, May was quickly awestruck by their sheer power. "Whoa, guys," she shakily sputtered, a fearful chill running down her spine as she backed away, "You don't think that they might have gone *over* the falls, do you?"
The expression on Brock's face turned grimmer than it already had been. "Now that's a distinct possibility..."
"Uh...maybe they washed up around here after all and got turned around?" Max theorized out loud, not wanting to think about May's scenario. "I mean, it probably *would* be just like Ash to get his directions mixed up after getting dragged down the river---now that I think about it---and he isn't exactly the world's greatest pathfinder, either. Besides, according to the Pokenav, there's a footpath running down the cliff on either side of falls." Max gestured with his free hand towards a sign several meters away that pointed to the top end of the rock-hewn path that he'd just mentioned. "Ash and Pikachu might be somewhere along it, for all we know."
"Oh yeah," May retorted, trembling at the image of a drowned Ash and Pikachu still swimming about in her mind's eye, "Or maybe he's unconcious or worse after having been dashed against the rocks at the bottom of the waterfall! Have you thought about that possibility, genius?"
"Don't you worry, kids," Brock reassured, breaking up the siblings' argument before it could get going, "Ash and Pikachu have been through a lot worse than this." Though I can only hope that they're both alright when we find them. "But there's only one way to find out for sure...now let's get down that cliff!" And with that, the trio headed for the cliffside path.
Ash and Pikachu had washed ashore quite a ways from the bottom of the falls. As the trembling youth finally woke up, the first thing to greet his vision was a certain yellow pokemon slowly walking toward his face on all fours. "Unh...Pikachu? Are you alright, buddy?" Did...did we get away from them?
Much to his surprise, Pikachu reared up on his hind legs and apologetically licked Ash's cheek with a sorrowful, "Chaaa...(Sorry...)"
Kneeling up in the water, the teenager began laughing in relief as he happily clutched his pokemon in a hug. "Don't worry about a thing, Pikachu, everything will be...owww!!!" What the...? Ash's eyes suddenly bugged out as a dagger-sharp spike of pain shot through his skull, then rolled back and slammed shut as the youth's world went black once more.
"Pikapi!!!(Ash!!!)" exclaimed the mouse in horror as the trainer collapsed face-first on top of him. Oh no, what have I done? Pikachu's worrying was soon interrupted, however, as the sound of hard-soled boots hitting even harder ground reached the rattled rodent's ears. "Pikapika?!(Now what's going on?!) Franctically squirming out of the unconcious boy's embrace, Pikachu took up a defensive posture to Ash's right.
As his eyes scanned the area ahead, Harlan caught sight of Ash's prone form laying half-in, half-out of the flowing water, and quickly came to a halt just a couple of yards away. What the blazes is *he* doing here? Even as he went for his communicator, however, both his gaze and Pikachu's were briefly drawn skyward as something literally screamed its way into the opposite riverbank. And to think, Harlan sarcastically growled to himself, that this started off as such a peaceful day, too! Keeping his eyes on the lightly submerged heap while pulling two pokeballs off of his belt, he was soon rewarded by the sight of someone breaking though the water's surface in the knee-deep water, who then turned to glower at one of the shadows about her knees.
"Great going, James," the red-headed woman chewed out the shadow at her feet with all the contempt she could muster, "Leave it to you to blast *us* off after we finally get Pikachu on *our* side for once."
Another person, this time a blue-haired man, meekly lifted his head out of the water in response to the woman's tirade. "But...but, Jessie," he sadly protested, "I was aiming for the twerp! How could I have known that Pikachu's Thunderbolt would hit us as well?"
A third shadow soon revealed itself to be a Meowth as it pulled itself onto the riverbank adjacent to the two arguing humans, a forlorn expression on its face as it turned towards them with shoulders slumped. "Looks like we're back to the same old, same old..." As the scratchcat's eyes caught sight of Pikachu, however, its demeanor brightened considerably. "Ahhh! Guys, look, Pikachu's here, too! He's right over dere!!!
Looking over towards the other side, Meowth's human accomplices spotted the mouse pokemon and his unconcious trainer, but they blithely ignored the man standing in the pair's immediate vicinity.
"Well, I'll be..." James voiced his confusion, "...so it is Pikachu, after all. But how could he have wound up in the same place as we did?"
Jessie's mouth turned upwards into a cruel smile. "They must have blasted off along with us. Maybe this day won't be such a waste after all!" With that, the three Rockets leapt out of the water and into a series of poses.
"Hah!" Jessie began, "Prepare for thunderous trouble!"
"And make it an electric double!" James merrily added.
"To protect the world from seperation!"
"To invite little Pikachu back in our nation!"
"To denounce the evils of truth and love!"
"To thunder off to the stars above!"
"Team Rocket, blasting off at the speed of light!!!"
"Come back with us Pikachu, and circle the earth all day and night!"
Meowth finally jumped back in between his two cohorts, now back on solid ground. "Meowth, that's right!"
As if on cue, one of Jessie's pokeballs opened up, and a blue blob of a pokemon materialized just in front of Meowth. "Wobbuffett!(So it is!)"
Immediately afterward, one James's pokeballs opened up too, admitting what appeared to be a floating wind chime with a face above the two pokemon. "Chime, chime!(Hi, there!)"
From behind Wobbuffet, Meowth groaned in disbelief. "Okay, this is getting annoying..."
These are no friends of mine, Pikachu seethed, they were just using me to hurt Pikapi! "Pika...(You're though...)" he bit out, electricity arcing about the mouse as he prepared to launch a Thunderbolt at the ruffians that, just a few moments ago, he had mistakenly believed to be his best friends.
"Somehow," Harlan sneered at the trio, while from the corner of his eye watching Pikachu power up for what had to be one of its more powerful attacks, "I find that quite hard to believe. Houndoom, Mightyena, it's go time!!!" With that, he sent out his pair of canine pokemon, both of which materialized in the river shallows snarling and ready to pounce at whatever their trainer commanded. "Now why don't you three just turn around and walk away, before I have to get rough on you punks."
Pikachu let out a startled, "Pika...?!?!(What the...?!?!)" at this latest turn of events, breaking off his attack from sheer surprise.
Finally taking notice of the 'hiker', Jessie dismissed him with a wave of her hand. "Oh, *please* spare us the macho-man routine," she sardonically mocked, "Like we're going away just because you tell us to! Don't you even know who we are?"
"That's right, tough guy!" James put in, defiantly puffing out his chest, "We're the infamous Team Rocket, bucko, so if you know what's good for you, then you'll am-scray! Buzz off! Git!"
As if to tell the Rocket duo to shut up, Houndoom and Mightyena let out a barking Roar, sending the psychic portion of Jessie and James' rosters back to their pokeballs with terrified yelps.
"Don't you dare bark at *me* that way!" raged Jessie, "Go, Seviper!!!"
"Just where do you get off talking to my precious Chimecho that way?!" James fumed, "Go, Cacnea!!!"
Harlan was hardly impressed when the pair's pokemon materialized, and almost broke out laughing when Cacnea promptly turned around and affectionately leapt onto James's neck. "Am I supposed to be intimidated by *that*?" the agent guffawed, his pokemon joining in, "You have to be pulling my leg!"
"Let's see you laugh *this* off!" roared Jessie, flames practically bursting from her mouth, "Seviper, get those hounds out of our way with your Poison Tail!!!"
"Serrviper!(With great pleasure!)" hissed the serpent, before lunging across the river at Houndoom with his tail sheathed in a purple glow.
"Yeow! Cacnea, the enemy's over *there*!!!" James yelped in pain, finally getting his cactus pokemon to stop hugging him and start listening, "Use Needle Arm *on them*, not me!"
"Cacnea!!!(No problem, dear!)" the cactus happily crooned, arm-spikes flashing an eerie green as she jumped off James's chest at Mightyena.
Why am I *not* surprised by their brute force... "Stop them in their tracks with Bite attack!!!" Harlan commanded his pokemon, eyes locked onto the Rockets and theirs.
Houndoom immediately dropped to her haunches, storing up energy to lunge at her target. "Heru...(Get ready...)"
Mightyena followed suit, his teeth bared and ready to strike. "Gure...(Get set...)"
Right as the attackers swung their appendages, the dark pokemon leapt forwards and up with a fierce "GAR!!!/NA!!!(NOW!!!)" In an instant, Mightyena snatched Cacnea out of the air by the business end of her arm, while Houndoom chomped into Seviper's tail just above the glowing blade and yanked the snake down *hard* before landing, causing Jessie's pokemon to gracelessly crash across the river.
"Now send them right back where they came from!" bellowed the Magma agent, the sensation of battle taking firm hold of him. With a simple flick of his head, Mightyena casually tossed the struggling cactus back over the river. Houndoom, on the other hand, whipped Seviper around like a lasso before letting go, sending the stunned snake crashing head-first into the water at Jessie's feet like a comet. "I warned you clods, didn't I?" the 'hiker' barked, "Now get lost!"
"Real cute," spat Jessie, "But that won't get you the Pikachu! Seviper, Haze!"
"Viper!(On it!)" Rearing up, the poison pokemon spewed forth a thick, cloud of ice particles from his mouth that shifted from white to black as it thickened, slowly reducing visibility over the river to nothing.
"Cacnea, get back up and blast them with your Pin Missle!" James urgently shouted, then cast his gaze at Meowth, "Go, on, Meowth, get over there and bring Pikachu over here where he belongs!"
"Not to worry," the scratchcat confidently smiled, "I'll have our little buddy back here in 1-2-3." Meowth jumped into the river and started swimming for where Pikachu stood by the side of the still-unmoving youth .
That trick's not going to help you, Harlan contemptously glared at the rapidly forming cloud, my pokemon and I have *trained* in much thicker smokescreens than this, you fools! "Houndoom, neutralize those attacks with Fire Spin!" he shouted, "Mightyena, counterattack with Shadow Ball!"
This exchange wasn't much shorter than the previous one. Even as Seviper's mini-cloud finished covering the river between the two sides, Cacnea leapt up and launched a stream of needles across it in an attempt to perforate the opposition while their vision was obscured. At almost the same time, Houndoom blasted a spiraling stream of fire into the center of the river. Between the power behind the attack and that of the river, the Fire Spin was deflected directly upwards and spread outwards, forming a tornado of flame that both evaporated the Haze cloud and incinerated the cactus pokemon's pins. What it *didn't* do, however, was to block the Shadow Ball hurled from Mightyena's jaws. The pulsing sphere of gravitational energy and radiation crashed full-on into an unsuspecting Cacnea, launching the grass-type over James's shoulder and rendering her unconcious even before she hit the ground.
"Oh, my poor Cacnea," moaned James, who recalled his crumpled cactus pokemon to her ball. As he turned back towards the river and looked down in shame, a certain scratchcat pulled himself out of the water at his feet. "Wait a minute," he pondered out loud, "Meowth, where's Pikachu?"
"What the...?!" yelped a surprised Meowth, not noticing that the fur on his head and back had been scorched black by the now-collapsing firestorm. "How'd I wind up back over here so soon? I thought that Pikachu was..."the feline looked over his shoulder, only to turn pale as he discovered to his horror that he and the mouse were *still* in opposite sides of the river, "...over...there. Oh boy."
"Time to finish this," snarled Harlan, "Houndoom, use Solarbeam! Mightyena, Hyper Beam!"
As the two dark-types began collecting energy between their jaws to launch their attacks, Pikachu finally jumped in between the dogs and rapidly stored up raw electrical power for a massive assault of his own. "Pikachu Pikapi!!!(This one's for Ash!!!)" shouted the mouse, as all three pokemon fired simultaneously at Team Rocket. Before the crooks could react, the pair of energy beams and Pikachu's Thunder attack slammed into Jessie, James, Meowth, and Seviper at full force, cratering the ground and igniting the suddenly-airborne dirt and dust about the quartet. The ensuing fireball that briefly engulfed them would have cooked the crooks alive, had the blast wave generated by the dust-air explosion not sent them violently hurtling for the stratosphere just as quickly.
"This is absolutely humilating!!!" Jessie howled at the top of her lungs, "Even when everything goes right, it still ends up going all wrong for us!!!"
"Just how many times have we blasted off today," moaned James, "Between the robot, Pikachu's Thunderbolt, and now this..."
"And to think," sobbed Meowth, "We even had Pikachu helping us out for a day, too...."
"How did we mess this one up???" they chorused as they sailed over the horizon.
Over on the foot trail, the sound of the explosion reached the ears of May, Max, and Brock in short order, pulling their attention to the river below.
"*Another* explosion?" yelled a startled Max to the others, "Haven't we had enough of those in one day!!!"
"How much do you want to bet that Ash and Pikachu are involved in that one, too?" replied Brock, concern etched on his brow.
"Then what are we waiting for,"May shouted back, her face showing the strain of the day's worries, "We've got to get down there and help them out!" And with that, the threesome quickened their pace towards the foot of the cliff.
Back at the river, Harlan was now mulling over the situation at hand as he knelt over the still-unconcious boy. Just what was that whole mess about, anyway, he asked himself, trying to puzzle out an explaination for the recent events. First, this kid who's been getting mixed up in our operations lately turns up out cold *here* of all places, then those two Team Rocket agents and their Meowth show up to grab his pokemon? As the thought crossed the commander's mind, the realization hit him like a direct blow from a sledgehammer. Hold on, those grunts were after the kid's Pikachu! But why? What would be so important about a simple electric mouse that three members of an international crime syndicate would attack him over *that*? It just doesn't make any sense! "There's only one good choice left now," the agent muttered in frustration, "I'm going to have to take them with me to the camp and interrogate the boy there." Pausing only to pull Ash the rest of the way from the water, he shot a glance over his shoulder at his two pokemon. "Mightyena, take point. Houndoom, cover the rear and bring the mouse along." As he picked Ash up in a fireman's carry, Pikachu grabbed the edge of the man's pants leg in a effort to slow him down. That proved to be a doomed venture, as Houndoom roughly yanked the rodent off by the tail and firmly planted him a couple of feet away while Harlan got up and started sprinting through the underbrush, away from the river.
"Pi, pika pikachu pichupi!(Please, you have to help me find our friends!)" Pikachu pleaded to the canine pokemon, desperately hoping that Houndoom would help him to change her trainer's mind.
The devil-dog's face was impassive as she looked over Pikachu. "Herugar, heru garru herugar!(Come with us, for his sake if not your own!)" she sharply barked, crouching onto her forelegs and motioning with her tail for the smaller pokemon to get aboard.
Finally realizing that he wasn't going to win this one, the electric mouse let out a frustrated "Pika...(All right...)", before jumping onto the nape of Houndoom's neck and grabbing onto the ends of her horns to keep himself steady. In a flash, the hellhound had turned about and broken into a brisk run after her trainer, leaving only a short-lived cloud of dust and rustling leaves in her wake.
Not one of them had noticed the small object that had fallen off of Ash's belt right after Harlan had picked the boy up...a red-and white sphere about the size of a golf ball that rolled underneath the brush nearby.
(An hour later)
As the sun began to set, Ash's companions finally came running up to the now-silent battlefield, breathing heavily from the exertion of their hurried trip down the cliff behind them and their sprint along the river.
"Hurry up, you two," Brock urged on his charges, "I think we're almost to where that last explosion happened!" Come on, please still be there when we show up!
"Finally," May panted, "maybe this insane day can finally come to an end!" Please, you guys, just be alright...
Before he could chime in, Max's attention was drawn to a miniscule glimmer of light in the bushes, prompting him to slow his pace to a stop next where he thought it was coming from. Now what could that be, he wondered as he dropped to his knees to try and grab the source of the reflected light. Reaching underneath the flora proved more difficult than he expected, however, as the stiff branches blocked him from reaching far enough with his hand to even touch the thing. Well, if I can't get to it that way, Max concluded to himself, maybe I can still get a better look. Getting back up and pushing aside the branches with all the strength his small body could muster, his eyes widened as he was rewarded with a clear view of the suspicious object. No way...
A few steps onward, May and Brock had stopped as well, and were scanning the area for any signs of their missing friend as they caught their breath. "Looks like I was right about that explosion," Brock observed, worry hardening his voice as he wearily pointed out the damage inflicted to the ground on the opposite side of the river, "You see those blast marks? I'll wager that they were made by one of Pikachu's Thunder attacks."
"Okay, then," May shot back, clearly agitated, "If that's the case, then where's Pikachu? Or Ash, for that matter?"
"Hey, guys," Max excitedly shouted from behind them, attracting the trainers' attention, "I think I found something over here!"
"Huh?" May tiredly replied, "Well, what is it?"
"I'm not *totally* sure," Max answered, "but it looks like a pokeball."
"Say what?" Brock almost shouted, "Hold on there, Max, we're coming!"
As they came closer, Max gestured toward his find with a nod. "You two see it?" he asked, "I couldn't get at it myself."
Brock peered through the opening. "Uh-huh." Reaching down into the bush, Brock picked up the round object and examined it closely as Max finally let go of the bush. "Well, I'll be!" he effused, "Max, I think you've found one of Ash's pokeballs!"
"Wait a minute," May blinked, confusion painted all over her face, "How can you be so sure that it's one of Ash's pokemon?"
"Well, think about it," her little brother shrugged, a sudden burst of hope bringing a small smile to his face, "If he was here not too long ago, and there's a loose pokeball here *now*, then it stands to reason that it would most likely belong to him, wouldn't it?"
"And besides," added Brock, displaying the almost-immaculate metalliceramic ball for all to see, "Do you know anyone else who's *this* fastidious about cleaning his pokeballs?" Before either sibling could answer, he activated the pokeball...
...depositing a dizzy Corphish back-first onto the ground. "Corphish cor...(Let me off...)" moaned the punch-drunk pokemon.
"Corphish," Brock asked, "Did you see if anything happened to Ash?"
At the mention of his trainer, the crustacean pokemon started confusedly looking about. "Cor?(What?)" he squawked, practically spinning like a top as he tried to locate Ash among the small group gathered about him, "Cor, corphish corphish cor?(Hey, where's he gone off to?)"
"I guess Corphish doesn't know, either," Max sadly groaned as he watched Brock morosely recall the ruffian pokemon, "Now it looks like we're back to square one!" Don't tell me that Team Rocket's somehow made off with Ash, too...this day just keeps getting worse!
"It's worse than that," Brock grimly corrected the boy, "Because before, we were only missing Pikachu. Now, both Pikachu *and* Ash are nowhere to be found, and I have no idea anymore as to how to track them down." Oh, boy, Mrs. Ketchum's going to absolutely *kill* me if she ever finds out about this mess! the breeder agonized, Come on, Ash...Pikachu, at least give us a sign as where you might be!
"But...if Ash and Pikachu were here before," May shuddered from renewed worry, "Then...where are they *now*?" Please Ash, you simply can't leave us like this, you just can't!
-----And so, while Team Rocket was unable to maintain their hold on Pikachu, neither he nor Ash are out of the woods just yet. Will their friends ever find them in time? What could be in store for Ash and Pikachu if they don't? Stay tuned!
I'd be more than a little grateful if you guys would point out the good, the bad, the funny(be it ha-ha funny or just plain weird), and the ugly in my chaps. Criticisms are welcome, so long as they are constructive. Flames will be donated to needy Charmander, Cyndaquil, and Torchic, and their senders will be shipped off to the nearest Chronos facility for processing. Expect things to get rather interesting...
"Your taunts are ill-advised, Templar...do not provoke me to violence! You can no more evade my wrath, than you could your own shadow!"
-----Enraged Dark Templar, Starcraft
"En Taro Adun! All for the empire! Doom to all who threaten homeworld!!!"
-----Random Protoss Zealot, Starcraft
"You have persecuted us for generations, and now you beg us to aid you? We will do as we must...but we do it for Aiur, not you!"
-----Annoyed Zeratul, Starcraft