This plot bunny had been swarming around in my head for two weeks now. I just had to put it down on paper. Yeah, I know I'm not done with My Best Friend, but this is just a one shot. As for the weird title name, it has something to do with my weird obsession of military jargon. You'll discover why I named this story when you read.
If you can, nominate me for something on the Christmas Awards please!
Synopsis: Disaster strikes the northeastern regions of Kanto. Misty, as a result, turns missing and it's up to Ash to find her. (One shot)
Rated PG-13 for graphic descriptions.
It was considered devastation to the nth degree. That’s what the mayor had said in his press release describing the situation in Cerulean City. On the way to the Cerulean Gym, Ash could see that he wasn’t kidding. Everywhere he looked, nothing looked right. When he looked to his left, he saw a broken window or a smashed up automobile. When he looked to his right, he saw a fallen tree or a fallen lamppost. When he looked in front of him, he saw soldiers patrolling the streets.
The flash storm that struck Cerulean City offered no warning when it made landfall. It was a weather system that came out of the middle of nowhere, seemingly created by magic. By the time the Kanto Confederate government had realized the storm had even existed, it was unable to issue the evacuation order in time. Ash and the party were in Lavender Town when the disaster struck. Upon hearing the news, Ash immediately changed the party’s destination from Celadon to Cerulean.
Although the bus took the four travelers to Saffron, they were unable to make a connection to the bus route that headed north to Misty’s hometown. The vehicle route to Cerulean City was cut off so that both sides of the intercity highway could be used by the military to transport supplies into the city while evacuating people out. That didn’t matter to Ash. The gang had walked to the city instead, not resting or sleeping until they got to the Cerulean Gym.
Ash had busted the double doors open when they had gotten to the Waterflower residence. He was greeted with bustling activity inside. The Waterflowers had offered their gym to be used by the Red Cross as a victim collection point. Everywhere Ash looked, he saw victims of the flash storm sitting on the bleachers recuperating while the more injured were lying on stretchers set up near the Olympic sized swimming pool. Red Cross volunteers could be seen running around, assisting those who needed to be assisted.
Ash tried to penetrate his gaze through the flurry of people that populated the gym. He tried scanning the set of visible people, looking for anyone who happened to have red hair. He was unsuccessful the first time so he decided to try again. He was unsuccessful the second time as well. He was about to try scan the area for a third time until he was interrupted by a voice that sounded like Misty’s, but was older and had a different dialect.
Behind him was Daisy, Misty’s oldest sister.
“Daisy! Where’s Misty!?”
Max was prepared to keep Brock away from Daisy, indicating how attractive Misty’s older sister was. However, he had noticed that Brock had not acted on his girl crazy instincts. Max assumed that even Brock felt that the situation at this moment was too serious to let his own vices get in the way. It had appeared that Ash’s demand for Daisy’s sibling’s location was delivered with an extreme sort of desperation that not even Brock had seen before.
May, Max, and Brock wanted Daisy to say that Misty was in her room resting or helping out the Red Cross volunteers with their work. It would be not only for the sake of Misty’s safety, but also for the sake of Ash’s sanity. The four were anxiously waiting for a positive answer to come out of the blonde girl’s mouth.
Daisy had instead looked down to her side and folded her arms so that her hands were holding her elbows. She began biting her lip, unsure what to say about the current whereabouts of her baby sister.
“She’s missing, isn’t she,” Ash sullenly said, “She disappeared once the storm hit, didn’t she?”
Daisy sadly nodded, trying to hold back the tears.
Ash moved his hand to his forehead, looking like he was having a splitting headache. May could see his breathing become more laborious as anxiety and fear began to pervade his nervous system. May couldn’t help but look worried, both for Misty and Ash.
“When…” Ash began, “When was the last time you seen her?”
Daisy raised her head and oriented her eyes to Ash.
“Eighteen hours ago,” she slowly said.
The Pokemon trainer stared at the clock mounted on the wall opposite of them. He could see that it was now nine twenty five PM.
“Have you tried calling her PokeGear?”
Daisy slowly nodded yes.
Another slow nod was given to confirm the dreaded question.
Ash began to inhale and exhale deeper breaths. He looked like he was having a panic attack. May and Max thought that Ash was going to faint when all of a sudden he began to walk out of the building with Pikachu.
Daisy widened her sad eyes at Ash while Max, May, and Brock followed him out trying to remind him that a curfew had been instituted by the Kanto National Guard. Ash didn’t care. He ignored their warnings that pled for his own safety while running down the concrete path that lead into the streets and boulevards of Cerulean City.
He was going to find Misty no matter what it took.
Two hours had passed. Ash had checked various places where he suspected Misty would be. He had tried the local hospitals and the Pokemon Centers with no luck. It was getting late and Ash was getting drowsy. As Ash and Pikachu walked down the empty and broken streets of Cerulean City, Pikachu maintained a worried air over the current state of his master. He looked exhausted and tired. Ash, no doubt, was pushing himself to the limits by traversing across Cerulean in such little time.
Ash, not familiar with the city as much as a Cerulean native would, took out his city map and placed a small flashlight in his mouth. He pointed the light to his current location on the map so that he could identify his and Pikachu’s next destination.
“Hold it right there,” a commanding voice said.
Ash turned around and took the flashlight out of his mouth. In front of him was a soldier, dressed fully in an urban camouflaged battle dress uniform while holding an assault rifle in his two hands. Ash could see that the soldier’s rifle wasn’t loaded, evident by its lack of an ammunition magazine.
“Son, what are you doing at this hour?” the Kanto National Guardsman asked.
“It’s none of your business,” Ash defensively said as he understood that the soldier had no desire in helping him find Misty.
The gruff twenty eight year old man sighed as if he heard that phrase for the fourteenth time already.
“I need to see your identification. You have a driver’s license or a Pokemon trainer’s license on you?”
Ash silently slung his backpack on one shoulder and flipped it around so that he could have better access to the small pouch which contained his wallet. After some digging, he took out the plastic card and handed it to the soldier. The soldier, unable to read the card in the low visibility of the night, pulled out his flashlight.
“Pokemon trainer,” he indicated, “You’re from…”
He looked up at Ash.
Ash didn’t say a word.
“What’s a kid all the way from Pallet Town doing here in a city during a state of emergency?”
Ash was silent for a bit. He then spoke meekly:
“I’m here to find a friend.”
The soldier pointed his flashlight at Ash’s face. He could see that Ash was not happy and he looked like as if he didn’t want to be here.
“Look…Uh… Ash? Is that right?”
Ash confirmed that the guardsman had gotten his name right.
“A lot of people are out looking for their own friends and family as well,” he pointed out, “But, your safety comes first and we need to keep you indoors until morning.”
Ash looked down at his shoes, becoming even more unhappy with his situation.
“You… You won’t help me?” Ash tearfully asked.
“Ash, it won’t be fair if I only let you go while arresting other people doing the same thing,” the soldier reasoned.
The soldier handed Ash’s Pokemon trainer’s license back to him and packed his flashlight back into one of the pockets of his tactical vest. He then offered out his hand, expecting Ash to shake it.
“Ash, my name is Sergeant Spencer Amhart,” he proclaimed.
“Nice you meet you, Sergeant,” Ash weakly said.
Sergeant Amhart smiled at Ash.
“C’mon, Ash. Let’s go find your friend.”
Ash showed no response in the first few seconds after hearing the soldier’s command. However, once the statement was fully registered in his mind, he then looked up at Spencer with eyes filled with incredulity.
Ash’s body language changed from incredulousness to gratitude as he issued a big smile of relief to Amhart.
The trainer, the soldier, and the Pikachu silently ambled on a slick sidewalk. The street lights which survived the recent category five storm were still working surprisingly. Their emitted beams of light could be seen reflecting off the small surface moisture of the city streets, giving the entire vicinity an ambient orange-yellow tint. Having Sergeant Amhart on his side made things a lot easier for Ash. Ash no longer had to evade the military patrols and checkpoints that were strewn all across the city. The Sergeant would vouch for the young trainer to the military police, facilitating Ash’s access.
Sergeant Amhart was uncomfortable that Ash would only speak whenever he needed to. He felt it was the time to start a little smalltalk with his new friend.
“So, Ash,” started Amhart, “How many years have you been training?”
“Four years,” Ash chillingly said.
“Do you train competitively?” the Sergeant continued, “Or do you specialize in any specific types?”
“I train competitively,” Ash responded.
“Oh wow,” Amhart said, “What leagues have you participated in, Ash?”
“Indigo, Orange, The Whirl Cup, Johto, Hoenn, Battle Frontier” Ash listed monotonously.
“You’re got quite a resume there, Ash.”
Ash didn’t respond. Amhart could see that his attempt at a prolonged conversation had failed.
“Well, so, you’re probably sick of talking about yourself,” Amhart deduced.
Ash half-heartedly confirmed. It was apparent that Ash was preoccupied thinking about the current unknown whereabouts of his best friend. Amhart decided to try a different approach that would lift Ash’s spirits up.
“Have you ever heard of the Astranian Territory Crisis, Ash?”
“Not really,” Ash admitted.
Amhart released a light chuckle. He didn’t realize until now that Ash would have been four years old when he joined the military.
“Of course. You were only a small kid when Astrania invaded Orre,” Amhart concluded, “But my unit was sent to Orre to drive out the Astranian Marine expeditionary battalion that landed there.”
Amhart paused so that he could give Ash some time to garner some interest in his story. However, the boy still kept his same level of lackluster interest to the story. Nevertheless, Amhart continued.
“My commanding officer was captured during a major firefight over there. She… She was a good soldier…”
Ash looked up at the national guardsman, surprised that Amhart’s former superior was a woman and not a man. He could hear Amhart’s voice trailing off, almost reminiscing the time he knew her.
“What was her name?” Ash asked.
Amhart grinned at that. He was glad that Ash was finally taking some interest in side talk.
“Her name was 2nd Lieutenant Meredith Ryle. I was her executive officer, her ‘XO.’”
“What happened to her?” Ash said.
“I led my squad to go on an unauthorized rescue mission,” Amhart answered, “We ended up disobeying direct orders going out to save her.”
The Sergeant grinned, “Kinda like what you’re doing right now.”
Ash looked up at Amhart and smiled back:
“I know… I… I can’t thank you enough for helping me out.”
“No problem, Ash. I’m glad to be of…”
All of a sudden, Ash had cut Amhart off. He had noticed that Pikachu heard something around the corner. Without warning, Pikachu began running ahead of the trainer and the soldier leaving the two playing catch up with the yellow mouse.
“Pikachu!” Ash exclaimed, “Where’re you going?!”
“I think your Pikachu picked up something,” observed Amhart.
The two followed Pikachu into an alley littered with garbage, originating most likely from a fallen trash can or dumpster. Pieces of newspaper could be seen whisking across, propelled by the little wind that was being produced by the low pressure weather system Cerulean was experiencing.
Amhart pulled his flashlight out of his tactical vest and began pointing it around the dark alley. A circle of illumination converted the black into color as it traveled steadily between the two walls surrounding Ash, Amhart, and Pikachu. It stopped once it unveiled a glimpse of yellow. Upon further discernment, a glimpse of light blue could be seen as well. Ash and Amhart ran towards the two noticible colors.
It appeared that Pikachu had heard a crying Pokemon in the distance. Upon further investigation, Pikachu had discovered it to be an Azurill, hiding in a ramshackle cardboard box which had contributed a false sense of security to it.
Ash hoped that he knew the owner of this Azurill. Pikachu began spouting a batch of “Pika”s and “Chu”s at Ash. Amhart didn’t understand a word of it, however, he found it to be a good sign when Ash went “It’s Misty’s Azurill!”
Ash went ahead and picked up the Azurill. He was comforting and hugging it, trying to ensure it was now it good hands. He promptly wiped the tears off of its eyes, notably traumatized by its recent experiences.
“It’s okay,” he assured, “It’s going to be alright.”
Azurill began meekly talking again. Pikachu showed he was intent on listening to whatever it had to say with his rabbit like ears becoming much firmer than usual. When Azurill was done with its transmission, Pikachu let out a huge burst of:
Amhart again didn’t understand what Pikachu had just said. However, it had certainly gotten Ash’s attention. He could see that Ash’s breathing had increased its frequency and that Ash’s eyes had become more dilated. Amhart’s experience on the battlefield told him that Ash was experiencing a fight or flight response. The soldier could almost see the adrenaline being pumped into Ash’s bloodstream.
Without warning, Ash ran out of the alley with Azurill in his arms. Pikachu followed him. Amhart decided he had no choice but to follow Ash to wherever he was going as well.
Following Pikachu’s directions, Ash and Amhart reached the cape where the Port of Cerulean’s lighthouse was located. Or, at least, was located. In front of Ash was a collapsed house, a pile of splinters and bent metal. It was part of the lighthouse, evident by the big gaping hole the small lighthouse now had.
Looking at the pile of rubble in front of him, Ash hoped that what he was thinking about right now wasn’t true.
“So, where is she?” Amhart asked.
“Uh… Hold on…” Ash distraughtly said.
Ash flipped his backpack around and pulled out a PokeGear. He dialed several numbers into it and pressed the SEND button. Amhart noticed that Ash didn’t put the phone up to his ear.
As the outgoing call tried to connect, Ash and Amhart slowly walked to the pile of rubble. Amhart still was confused as to what was Ash was doing. However, things started to make sense when he closed the distance to the razed building.
He started to hear a faint cell phone ringing from within the rubble.
“Oh shi-,” Amhart realized.
Ash immediately dove his hands into the pile of wood, concrete, and metal. Amhart took out his radio.
“Amhart to HQ! Amhart to HQ!”
“HQ to Amhart. We copy. Over.”
“HQ! Request immediate SAR dispatch to our location! Civilian in need of medical attention! Location, the Port of Cerulean lighthouse, sector Juliet Five Niner! Do you copy?”
“Command to Amhart, we copy. Scrambling rescue helo at your location. ETA, fifteen minutes. Over and out.”
Amhart packed his radio away and turned his attention to Ash, who was digging like crazy. Every five seconds, Ash would call out Misty’s name or asked her if he could hear him.
“Ash! We’re going to have company in fifteen minutes!” Amhart informed.
Amhart took off his PASGT helmet and began digging as well. Generous amounts of wood, glass, and metal were quickly removed when they finally gotten to the treasure they were looking for. When the final board of wood was put aside, Amhart’s heart broke.
In front of him was a young beautiful girl, her bloody body broken and her breathing laborious and sporadic. Beside him was a speechless young man, his mind obviously unprepared for the sight he was seeing right now.
“M… M… Misty…” Ash whispered solemnly.
Amhart’s military training came into power. First things came first and he checked Misty’s pulse.
“She’s alive!” he affirmed, “Let’s get her out of here!”
Amhart scooped Ash’s best friend into his arms and laid her down on the more level asphalt for first aid treatment. The two had brought their flashlights out to get a better assessment of the damage done to her.
“Oh God,” Ash cried, “She’s… She’s bleeding!”
Ash pointed towards the pool of red was forming underneath her. When she was lying in the rubble, a piece of glass or metal was inserted in her side. That sharp object was most likely preventing any loss of blood until it was removed with Amhart’s moving of Misty’s body.
Amhart immediately placed his hands on Misty’s abdomen, trying to prevent any more blood loss with the applied pressure. Ash, panicking, took off his jumper and removed his black T-shirt. After putting his jumper back on, Ash replaced Amhart’s hands with his shirt, stanching Misty’s blood flow more efficiently than before.
“Ash! She’s also bleeding a lot from her arm! I need another piece of cloth or something!”
“Look in my bag!” Ash ordered.
Sergeant Amhart, not wanting to waste time by rummaging through the bag, had completely emptied it instead.
Amhart displayed a pink handkerchief to Ash. Ash nodded, confirming that it was okay to use.
Amhart picked up one of Ash’s pencils in his pile of items available to him. He tied the handkerchief around Misty’s arm while keeping the pencil in the knot. He twisted the handkerchief by using the pencil as a handle, creating a makeshift tourniquet around Misty’s right arm.
For good measure, Amhart placed two fingers on Misty’s neck again.
“She,” Amhart stuttered, “She has no pulse.”
Ash lifted his face up at Amhart, contorted and scrunched up from the overwhelming emotions that pressed down on him. The Sergeant could clearly see the sad anger in his tear-filled eyes that most soldiers exhibited on the battlefield whenever a close comrade had been killed in action. Amhart got up on his feet, knowing that it was time to give up. He offered his condolences.
“I’m… I’m sorry.”
Ash kept his hands on Misty’s side, while looking up at Amhart.
“No!” Ash asserted, “It’s not too late!”
Ash turned his head to Pikachu and Azurill.
“Pikachu!” he commanded, “Thundershock!”
“No, Ash, don’t!”
“I don’t care! Just do it!”
A flash of blinding yellow illuminated the vicinity around them as Amhart tried to cover his eyes. It lasted for several seconds. Upon termination of the attack, Amhart could see that Ash’s hands were still placed on Misty’s side. Albeit, Ash looked like he was in pain, the electricity making his muscles involuntarily twitch.
Amhart placed his fingers on Misty’s neck again.
“She… She has a pulse.”
He looked at Ash who had his eyes closed and gritting his teeth from the pain. His composure switched from tense to relieved once he heard the status report of his best friend from Amhart. Ash hung his head low, sucking up as much oxygen as he can to reduce the pain in his aching muscles.
A low rumbling noise in the distance became greater and greater. A bright blue-tinted white light emerged over the trees, temporarily blinding Ash, Pikachu, Amhart, and Azurill. The light was shown on the three people and two Pokemon, giving the entire vicinity an ambient tint of white. The Huey helicopter that owned the light moved itself above and began to slowly set itself down onto the ground.
Ash was sitting on a hospital chair hunched over. The activity in front of him was hard to dismiss with the hospital having received an endless amount of patients due to the damage the storm had caused. However, upon observing Ash’s eyes, one could see that Ash was completely zoned out at the moment, completely out of tune with the present.
Nothing could interrupt Ash’s train of thought. That is, until a soldier dressed in urban camo sat next to him.
It was Amhart. He had gotten back from his debriefing. Ash turned to face him and gave a sullen smile of gratitude.
“HQ was going to chew me out for not arresting you,” he said, “But they changed their minds when they figured out that I saved a teenage girl in the process.”
“I’m so sorry about that,” Ash apologized.
“Puh. Don’t be,” Amhart said, “Saving your friend was worth it.”
“You… You didn’t finish your little war story before we found Misty’s Azurill,” Ash reminded him.
Amhart gave Ash a frown of uncertainty.
“What’s wrong?” Ash asked.
“You didn’t cut me off, Ash,” he responded, “I was already done with the story.”
Ash and Amhart returned their gazes to the hospital traffic consisting of stretchers, patients, doctors, and nurses in front of them. Ash felt like he had a question to ask still.
“So, what happened to Lieutenant Ryle?”
Ash turned to face Amhart again. However, Amhart didn’t.
“She was killed in action”
Again, the dialogue between the soldier and the trainer was silent again until Amhart elaborated on the nature of Ryle’s death.
“If you want to know how she died, it happens to be that we got to her too late.”
Ash closed his eyes. He discovered that asking Amhart about his former commanding officer was a mistake.
“I never got to tell her how I felt,” Amhart added.
Amhart looked at Ash and placed his left hand on his friend's shoulder. He knew that that phrase could have been also applied to Ash’s situation four hours ago. Using his other hand, he pulled out a pink handkerchief, now dyed with blotches of red blood, and placed it in Ash’s hand.
“You better wash this,” Amhart recommended.
With that, Amhart got up from his seat and said goodbye to Ash. As Ash’s eyes trailed him as he went down the hallway, he noticed that Amhart turned around before he entered the elevator.
“Hey Ash!” he called out, “It’s Sunday! We have a whole brand new week ahead of us!”
With that, Amhart entered the elevator. Once the doors had closed, Ash buried his face into his hands, the bloody handkerchief being placed between his right eye and his right hand. It wasn’t long before Ash started crying, realizing what he could have lost four hours ago.
Once Misty was finally out of intensive care, Ash was allowed to see her. He entered her room to find her sleeping peacefully, her chest slowly rising up and down to the rhythm of the waveform monitor. The fourteen year old Pokemon trainer pulled up a seat next to her bedside. Ash’s Pikachu hopped onto his master’s lap while Azurill made itself comfortable on Misty’s hospital bed. Ash stared at Misty’s peaceful face. The terrible weight of anxiety and fear was finally gone from him. All he had now was a staggering burden of relief and security.
Ash would sit there, watching over Misty. He would be at her bedside all morning, all afternoon, and all night.