Summary: Ash, Misty, and Brock are sent to deliver an important photograph, but they have no idea just what they're getting into. Evil eyes watch them, and Ash will face the most all-out battle he's ever experienced.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE READING THIS STORY:
First of all, thank you for taking the time to read my story. The story is complete; however, I am open to suggestions and criticism and will try to incorporate your input into future chapters before I upload them. Second, this story is also available here: Weapon, a pokémon fanfic | FanFiction
Okay, now details:
Behind-the-Scenes: I wrote this story over the course of two years, sometimes typing obsessively, but more often forgetting about it due to my constantly changing interests (stupid ADD!). If you notice any significant change in writing style, please point it out to me. I can't promise I'll fix it, but I'll do my best :)
Setting: Takes place after the Johto saga but before the Hoenn saga. I'm pretending that Ash, Misty, and Brock went on a bunch of adventures before Ash left for Hoenn. Generation III will be referenced, but nothing major. Also, movies 6-8 (as well as the previous movies) will be referenced in one chapter, but that chapter will not be important to the plot.
Rating: T for Teen. There will be violence, though nothing too gory, and some dark themes (tragedy) sprinkled throughout. And all romantic moments will be K+.
You read the prologue! You're awesome! Now sit back in your rolling chair and enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon.
Pallet Town lay lazily in the orange glow of the setting sun. The leaves on the trees rested, occasionally stirring in the light breeze, after a long day's work of photosynthesis. A foraging Spearow turned its head toward a distant hill, where three specks had just appeared. These specks grew into young human adolescents. One, a boy, was taller and older than the others. Another, a girl, had red hair and a tomboyish appearance; she carried a Togepi in her arms. The middle human, a boy with a Pikachu on his shoulder, seemed to be annoying his companions. He marched along the path, singing some sort of improvisational tune. The Spearow cringed at the horribly off-key voice, and, with a flap of its wings, decided it would have better luck searching for food elsewhere.
Narrator: We continue following our heroes as they return home from another great adventure. Little do they know that a new one is just beginning! But right now, Ash Ketchum and his friends are thinking only of reaching their destination.
"I can see Professor Oak's lab from here!"
"I can see Ash's house from here!"
"I can smell FOOD from here!!!"
With that, Ash dashed off down the road, Pikachu jumping off his shoulder in alarm, followed by Misty and Brock, both exasperated.
* * *
"Thanks for dinner, Mrs. Ketchum!" said Misty after she had had enough of the heart-warming food.
"Mfghb?" Ash hastily swallowed and put his fork down. "Oh, yeah, thanks mom, it was great!"
Delia Ketchum smiled sweetly. "I'm glad you kids liked it! You're welcome to plenty more. I can never do enough cooking!" She sighed. "Though I suppose you'll be leaving soon enough, on another adventure?"
Ash paused. "I hadn't really thought about it... but, yeah, that sounds good!"
"Pika!" Pikachu sounded excited, too.
"Great! Where are we headed?" Brock asked.
"Uh, I don't know." Ash slumped in his seat. "I have no idea where to go!" He looked hopefully at Misty and Brock.
"Well, now that I think of it..." Misty started.
Ash sat up. "Yes?"
"I can't think of anywhere either."
Ash slumped back down, looked surprised for about two seconds, and then fell to the floor with his chair.
"Ash, what have I told you about tipping your chair! You're going to hurt yourself!" chided Delia. Mimey came out of the kitchen, wagging a finger at the groaning Ash. "Mr. Mime Mime Mime!" It helped Ash back up. Ash grinned sheepishly, while Brock, Misty, and even Pikachu sighed. Togepi chirped happily. They really were home.
* * *
Far away from Pallet Town, deep under the earth, something was stirring.
One of the guards, the only one in the corridor at this particular moment, watched the Rattata clean itself. One paw was licked, sent across fur, licked again, sent across more fur. The little creature nervously attempted to wash itself of all dirt, and when most of it was gone, the Rattata seemed satisfied. It then disappeared inside its hole in the wall.
The guard turned his attention back to his duty, but the Rattata returned in a matter of moments. Accompanying it was its mate, apparently the female, with three tiny babies clinging to it like shipwrecked innocents to a piece of driftwood. The whole family went scuttling and squeaking down the corridor until they were swallowed up by darkness. The guard yawned. Why on earth would the Rattata want to abandon their home and move deeper into the ground? Maybe a mile below wasn't enough for them. The guard was reminded of Pokémon burrowing themselves underground just before volcanic eruptions. Most would emerge after the danger had passed and continue life as if nothing had happened, but there would always be a few that seemed lost, that wouldn't just pick up the pieces and keep on living.
"I really need to stop watching nature documentaries..." the guard muttered to himself.
A soft call from the room he was guarding jolted the guard out of his thoughts. "Guard!" Quiet, and yet urgent; commanding, and yet deceptively calm. The guard hastened into the room and stood to attention.
"Hadis is en route to here from Command. Meet him and give him these details." The man behind the desk handed the guard a digital memory pad. When the guard's hand touched the screen a window popped up asking for a username and a password. The guard saluted.
"Yes, Mordred sir." He immediately left the room and headed up the corridor towards the Command Center, in the opposite direction the family of Rattata had gone.
Mordred waited until the guard's footsteps faded to move. He liked to listen to everything, to observe everything, to evaluate everything. He turned to the painting behind him. Mordred had placed the painting there for a reason: so he would not be tempted to look at it too often. Bad luck. Besides, it would distract him from his work. But now he allowed himself to gaze at the Pokémon depicted.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. The clock on the door advanced time, indifferent to all - past, present, and future.
Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon.
"See you later Mom!" "Pikachu!" "We'll be back soon!" "Toge-pi!" "Bye Mrs. Ketchum!" The group set off for Professor Oak's libratory the next day, waving goodbye to Delia and Mimey. As they turned to the road ahead, Misty complimented Brock on his idea. "This was a good idea, Brock. I don't know why we didn't think of it earlier."
"Thanks. It is pretty simple; after all, Professor Oak is a Pokémon expert. If anyone knows the place to go, it's him."
Ash increased his pace. "Plus, I get to tell him all about the Pokémon I saw!" Misty and Brock had to hurry to keep up with him.
In no time at all they had arrived at Professor Oak's laboratory, where they were greeted by Tracey.
"Hey guys! How's it going?" Tracey looked happy to see them. He had his Marill with him.
"Hi Tracey!" the friends chorused. As they headed up the hill to the lab, Misty let her Azurill out to play with its parent.
"Professor Oak has something special for you guys. I don't know what it is, don't ask me," he added before the group could ask. "All I know is that it's pretty important."
"Sounds like fun. All right! Important stuff, here I come!" "Pi-Pikachu!" Ash went into a jog, Pikachu on his shoulder. Misty called out in vain to stop him.
"Ash, be careful, don't run into - "
Ash turned his head as he ran. "I'm fine, Mis - " CRUNCH! As he and Pikachu slid slowly down the wall of the laboratory, his friends passed by without a glance. Misty did complete her sentence though.
" - that wall."
"Hmm, I wonder what it could be?" Brock mused aloud.
"Wonder what what could be, Brock?" Professor Oak stood in the doorway, a notepad and pen in one of his hands, and a cup of coffee in the other. After they whole group exchanged greetings (and after Ash and Pikachu caught up, their faces slowly returning to their normal shape), Professor Oak led them inside. Stories, both fascinating and irrelevant, were told in the Professor's living room. Finally Oak stretched and got up. "Well, if you don't mind, Ash, I'd like to get down to business. I was hoping you'd come, because I have an... errand... for you."
"For me?" Ash tried to look surprised. Misty and Brock looked about to protest, but Oak seemed to know what they were about to say.
"You two are welcome to accompany him; in fact it will be better that way," Oak added, turning to face the laboratory machines. "Yes, much better."
A brief silence followed, broken by Brock. "If you don't mind my asking, Professor, what exactly is this - errand?"
Oak turned around, surprised. "Oh deary me, I forgot to explain, didn't I? Well, you'd better follow me." He led them into the lab and sat down at his computer. Several virtual folders and subfolders and two encrypted passwords later, the computer screen went into a video taken above some sort of large building, looking down on the roof. Jungle canopy formed a sea of foliage around the building, which looked new, but... there was something strange about it that Ash couldn't identify.
"This is a live satellite video of central Guyana, South America. The building you see is called the Mew Investigation Department, or MID. The Department's mission, as you may have guessed, is to study the origin, nature, and activity of the New Species Pokémon, Mew. Recently, the scientists and researchers there have made an astonishing discovery. Unfortunately, I can't reveal that discovery to you... " Ash almost groaned, but checked it. "... but once you are there, I think it will be safe for you to find out. The researchers there will tell you all you need to know."
Ash immediately cheered up. "We're going to that place? Awesome!"
Misty was curious. "But why, Professor Oak? Is there something you need us to deliver, like we delivered the GS Ball to Professor Ivy?"
Oak smiled. "Exactly, Misty. I need you three to deliver a photograph to the Department. This photograph may contain crucial evidence as to where Mew is currently living. I can't risk sending it virtually, there's too many ways it could be detected. I'm counting on you three to get that photo to the Department safely. But enough about that now." Oak blushed. "I've gone and worried you before you even get a chance to rest. How about we take a stroll in the fields?"
Ash, who had been busy wondering what the Professor had meant by "safely", seconded the motion. "Yeah, that sounds great. I'd like to see my Pokémon, it's been a while."
* * *
Thankfully, Ash's Tauros waited until he, Misty, Brock, Tracey, and Professor Oak were well clear of the laboratory to stampede. Ash ran forward, laughing "Tauros!" A moment later, he turned and ran the other way, crying "TAUROS!" Pikachu was quick-minded enough to use Thunderbolt, and after the initial shock of reunification [*haha that's punny*], the 30 Tauros calmed down, and Ash remained in one piece.
"... for now," Misty reminded him. But Ash wasn't paying attention; a second stampede was following in the dust of the Tauros. Ash and Pikachu ran out once again to greet their friends.
"HEEEYYY GUUYYS!" Ash disappeared under a crowd of loving Pokémon. As Misty, Brock, Tracey, and Professor Oak hurried to catch up, they could hear Ash greeting his Pokémon individually.
"Bulbasaur! How's the peace-keeping going?" "Bulba-Saur!" "Hey, Totodile, still dancing?" "Totototototo!" "Noctowl, I bet you saw me coming miles from here, you can fly that high! "Brrrrrr!" "Kingler, careful with those pincers!" "Kukiikukii!" "Phanpy, how's life been treating you?" "Phanpy Phan!""Cyndaquil, you're flame's higher than ever, but try not to burn the others please!" "Quil, Cynda!" "Heracross, glad to see you're trying to get sap out of someone besides Bulbasaur!" "Herrac!" "Careful Muk, don't hurt yourself while while swallowing me!" "Muuukkk!" "Bayleef, I'm glad to see you too!" "Baayyy!" BOOM! BOOM! "SNORLAX SNOR!" Even Snorlax was there to greet its trainer. The whole mess was rather sentimental, and it was quite some time before Ash was allowed to get up. He then went off to do various activities with his Pokémon. They were having so much fun that Misty, Brock, and Tracey got tired of watching and joined in with their Pokémon. Finally Ash managed to separate himself from his Pokémon, though his efforts at retrieving Pikachu failed miserably.
* * *
The next day, Ash and his friends returned to the lab, this time accompanied by Ash's mother. They were sitting in the living room with Professor Oak and Tracey.
Professor Oak sipped his drink, this time his usual tea. "Well, down to business. I'm not trying to hurry you out of here, but the Department needs the photo sometime soon. I can arrange for a plane to take you to Guyana. You should take a full team of Pokémon with you." Ash thought again of possible reasons for all this security surrounding the errand. How important was the mission of the Mew Investigation Department that it required a maze of virtual folders and passwords simply to access a satellite view of the building? How vital was the photo that sending it virtually to the Department would be too risky? Who would want that photo so badly, and for what reasons? Well, it can't be that important, seeing as Professor Oak asked us to transport it, said the tiny under-confident voice in Ash's head. What are you talking about? Professor Oak thinks I'm great, he's told me so! said the very loud over-confident voice in Ash's head. Ash quickly snapped out of his internal argument when his mother voiced his thoughts.
"Professor, I'm not worried or anything, but why all this secrecy and security?" Delia did indeed sound worried.
"Oh, don't worry, Delia," Oak said quickly, "I'm sure these three will come to no harm. It's just protocol. We wouldn't want that photo to fall into the wrong hands."
"Who would want to steal a photo being used for scientific research?" Brock asked.
"Hobbyists or collectors?" Tracey guessed.
"I don't know," Oak replied. "For all we know, greedy collectors could be watching us." But Oak looked like he knew of other kinds of people want would want that photo.
* * *
One week later, after Ash, Misty, and Brock had each spent some time at home and relaxed, they returned to Professor Oak's lab. Ash began the difficult process of choosing which Pokémon to bring with him on the trip. Pikachu, of course, was his #1 spot. He decided to take Professor Oak's advise and bring a full party, so he needed to choose five more Pokémon. This was easier said than done. Ash sat thinking under a tree with Pikachu as Misty and Brock showed up.
"Hey, Ash," Misty said. "What're you looking so conflicted about? Trying to decide what to have for lunch?"
Ash smiled in spite of himself. "No, I'm trying to decide which Pokémon to bring. I don't want to disappoint any of them. What do you guys think?"
Brock shrugged. "We can't make the decision for you, Ash. But I wouldn't worry too much about it. It's not like we're going to be gone for long."
Ash lightened up. "Yeah, I guess you're right. Pikachu, let's go and tell them." He and Pikachu went off to meet his Pokémon, whom Bulbasaur had gathered together at one of the lakes to prevent them from surrounding Ash and begging.
When the two came back with Bayleef, Bulbasaur, Cyndaquil, Heracross, and Totodile, Ash saw that Misty and Brock had also selected their teams. Playing in a nearby pond were Staryu, Starmie, Horsea, Corsola, and Psyduck (with a water tube). Togepi sat in Misty's lap. Brock was polishing Onix, with the help of Geodude, Crobat, and Forretress. Brock looked up.
"How'd it go, Ash?"
"I thought my Pokémon that I didn't choose were going to mob me," Ash replied, "but Snorlax just shook my hand and the others followed suit. I told them I'd be back soon."
Misty giggled. "Snorlax shook your hand? I'm surprised you're still alive!" Ash blushed, and tried to adjust his hair, which had gone wild after Snorlax shook Ash like a toy (in a friendly way, of course). Bayleef looked concerned and tried to help him with her vines. Then Professor Oak came out of his lab with Tracey and Mrs. Ketchum.
"You folks ready to go? You should leave soon if you want to make it to Viridian in time for your flight. I'm sorry I can't let Tracey go, but I need him here."
"I don't know how you'll be able to manage without me, but I'm sure you guys will be okay," said Tracey jokingly.
"Toge-pi!" chirped Togepi.
Soon enough, it was time to say goodbye. Ash, Brock, and Misty departed, waving to Oak, Delia, and Tracey, along with Delia's Mr. Mime and Tracey's Marill, Scyther, and Venonat. Oak had to clear his throat before shouting to the distant group: "We're counting on you!" The three figures waved in acknowledgment and then turned back to the road ahead of them.
Delia whispered, "Be safe." Mimey patted her back.
* * *
Unbeknownst to either of the groups of parting friends and family, three pairs of eyes watched, planning. Or at least, attempting to plan.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't the twerps, off on another journey. How exciting." James grinned his best evil grin.
"Yes, how exciting indeed. The more those twerpy palls travel, the more chances we have of stealing Pikachu." Jessie smoothed her hair anxiously. "We've tried a million times and we'll try two million more. One of these day's we're bound to get lucky. It's like playing the lottery."
"What're you talking about?" Meowth's eyes shone. "Making a good capture requires more than luck an' determination. It requires skill, daring, sense, creativity, confidence , and lots more. We, as proud members of Team Rocket, just need to work harder!"
Jessie stopped watching Ash and his friends for a moment. "Yes! You're right, Meowth! We've been too lazy to even try to capture any of the twerps' Pokémon in... how many days has it been?"
James pulled out a notebook and counted. "21. That's five whole weeks!"
Jessie frowned. "Really?... I could have sworn it was more than five."
Meowth sighed. "What's a cat to do? You guys leave the countin' to Me-owth. The point is, we need to renew our energy!"
"Go green!" James suggested. Jessie and James stared.
"Maybe," continued Meowth, "but what I meant was, we need to refresh our methods. Dig deeper pits or put somethin' in them that makes it impossible to get out. Build faster machines so we can make our getaways before the twerps can blink an eye. An' maybe skip the motto once an' a while." All three paused to digest this last suggestion. "Okay, well, forget about that. But we will capture that Pikachu!"
"And stop being lazy!" Jessie shouted.
"And convert to clean energy!" James yelled.
"TEAM ROCKET!" all three chorused.
Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon.
Hadis entered Mordred's room. He looked the model second-in-command: sharp uniform (black military boots, black coat and pants, gray gloves, maroon beret), straight posture, clipped chin, fine shave, short hair, tight face, and black eyes with a flame behind them. The large yellow "M" on the front of his coat glinted in the light of the room. He stepped smartly up to the desk, the briefing pad he had received from the guard under his arm. Mordred did not need to say "At ease"; Hadis already was at ease. The man was naturally military, an officer born. Nevertheless, the top ranks of Team Mordred knew their fellow officers and superiors enough so that certain common rituals like standing to attention were dropped among them. Hadis was the only one sure enough of himself to stand at ease in front of Mordred, though.
Hadis made his report. "The last munitions we ordered have arrived, sir. Armory is now fully equipped for the entire force. Our emissaries have left HQ, and Tech reports all good. The cohorts are currently performing extra training sessions in mobile combat."
"Good." Mordred had expected as much, but he was glad nonetheless. He liked efficiency. "Anything to report on MID?"
"Yes, sir. The Department expects to receive 'Exhibit A' from Professor Oak. Intel says three of Oak's trainers are flying to Guyana to deliver it."
"Ah, I thought so." Mordred smiled. "Of course they would think that transporting that photograph in person is safer than sending a virtual copy."
Hadis allowed himself a guess. "The three trainers are young. It appears Oak and MID still don't know about us. Shall we intercept the photo?"
Mordred had thought long and hard about this. "No. Not on the plane at least. Send our best stealth operatives to steal it. Make sure that they keep their identity a secret. We don't want to reveal ourselves just yet, Hadis. That is all."
Hadis saluted and left, already mentally choosing which agents to send on the stealth mission. Mordred sighed. Was it worth it, to stay hidden this long? Yes, he decided. He soothed himself into a light doze with the thought that had kept him alive all his life.
* * *
Ash had only once been on an airplane before. He and Pikachu were very excited.
The group stood in the security checkpoint line of Viridian International Airport. All of them were rather nervous, but the line progressed smoothly, and the security personnel (including the sniffing Growlithe) seemed very nice.
"Please take off your backpacks and shoes, take out any valuables you're carrying, and place them all on the conveyor belt," Officer Jenny announced. Ash, Misty, Brock, Pikachu, and Togepi all cleared the metal detector; the group's backpacks (one of which, Ash's, contained the photo), their Poké Balls, and other items all passed safely through the X-ray machine. Ash had been worried that the X-rays would damage the photo.
"Or worse," he whispered to the others after they had left the checkpoint and headed towards the food court, "they might've shown the security people what the photo looks like!"
"Ash," Misty sighed," X-rays don't do that."
"But they can damage photos," Brock murmured. "I'm not sure about developed photos, like ours, but... we better check anyway."
While the group sat in a terminal lounge and ate lunch, they had a quick peep at the photo. In the foreground, a man in safari clothing was walking towards a point to the left of the camera, apparently talking to someone. Only his top half was visible. Next to him, on the very bottom of the photo, the ends of several blue tentacles could be seen. Behind him was a dense-looking jungle. Two or three Mankey could be spotted swinging from the branches of the trees. Above the jungle was a light blue sky, with clouds here and there.
"Well, no blotches or other signs of damage," Brock said. He and Ash now turned their full attention to their double cheeseburgers.
"Mmmarrghhm, vfese pcheezeburgers freally hit the marnk," exclaimed Ash with a mouthful of food. "Of cbourse, vthey're nont nealerly as goond as yours, Brock."
Brock was too busy balancing his food intake rate with soda rate to answer.
Misty ignored them both. She had spotted something the others had not: a miniscule pink dot in the upper left-hand corner of the photo.
"Pika, Pikachu," said Pikachu, pointing to the dot.
"You see it too, eh, Pikachu," Misty replied. "Hey guys, when you're done stuffing yourself, come look at this." Once Ash and Brock had finished, they too stared at the pink dot.
After a while, Ash asked the inevitable. "... what is it? Ouch!" Misty had slapped him.
"Thanks, Captain Obvious. We're all wondering the same thing."
Brock suddenly looked around nervously. "Well, let's put it away and leave that question to the scientists at MID."
About half an hour later, the airline terminal opened the plane for boarding, and the group started for the portable walkway that was connected to the plane. Ash accidently spilled the last of his drink as he tossed it towards the trash can. In the momentary confusion, nobody noticed a pink ball-shaped Pokémon with a microphone slipping into the walkway and onto the plane.
* * *
"Chhhsht. Viridian International to All Nippoké Airways Flight 151 to Georgetown, Guyana, cleared for takeoff. Chhhsht. Roger that. Chhhsht. ZzzsscchhheeeeaaAAAAAOOOOOOO!" Ash imitated the sounds of the jet taking off. In real life, it was still on the runway, awaiting clearance from the control tower. Misty covered her face.
"Ash Ketchum, do you really have to be so childish?"
Ash laughed. "I'm only kidding, Misty. Right, Pikachu?"
Pikachu looked less sure than Ash of that. "Pika, Pika, Pika...." it muttered.
While Misty and Brock laughed, Ash pouted. "Huh, how's that for loyalty."
Pikachu wasn't paying attention. "PikachuPi, Pika!" It pointed to the runway, which was sliding beneath them now.
"All right, we're moving!" Ash exclaimed. He and Pikachu, having the window seat, watched as the plane accelerated, whipping past the terminal, the lounge where they had eaten, and all the other parts of the airport. Misty, Togepi, and Brock watched too, but they tried not to show their excitement to Ash. All of them had been on an airplane before, but that was a seaplane. This commercial jet was different. As the plane tilted up and left the runway, the G-forces thrust the passengers lightly against their seats. Pikachu watched as the people, cars, houses, and eventually the airport itself shrank from view.
Pikachu let out a squeal of delight. "Chaaaa!"
Togepi chirped with surprise as clouds suddenly obscured their view. "Toge!"
Ash was glued to the window. "Wow." Misty watched his completely amazed expression. And Brock had to stifle a chuckle at Misty's expression.
A/N: Did you get the All Nippon Airways reference?
Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon.
About midway through the flight, the group lay slumped in their chairs, sleeping soundly. The Pacific Ocean sparkled from the small gaps here and there in the sea of clouds. Two flight attendants were making their way through the aisle, rolling a beverage cart and handing out various drinks. When they got to Ash's row, one of the attendants asked Ash and his friends in a sweet voice, "Would you folks like some refreshing drinks?"
Snores were all she got for a reply. But the girl was persistent. "Surely after all these hours you must be thirsty? Just tell us what you want." But none of the companions showed any signs of waking up.
"Perhaps we should try on the way back," whispered the other attendant.
"No way, we have to take our opportunity now!" Jessie, the first girl, replied impatiently. "Come on now," she addressed the sleeping group, "Just a little sip?" She started to push Brock gently.
"Excuse me," interrupted a passenger across the aisle in the same row, "but while you're waiting for them to wake up you can serve us." James, disguised as the second girl, turned to him. The man began to request his favorite drink.
"You don't happen to ha - " He was interrupted by James.
"I'm sorry, but we're a little busy right now," said James as sweetly and with as much femininity as he could. He then turned back to Jessie, who was now poking Misty and Ash with an increasingly short temper.
"Ma'am? Ma'am? Ma'am? Ma'am? Sir? Sir? Sir Sirsirsirsirsirsirsir?!" Ash and Misty appeared oblivious to both the poking and Jessie's rising anger. As her face turned red with suppressed rage, the man across the aisle tried again.
"Ma'am, if you don't mind, I'm really thir - "
"Now, now, don't you worry," James cut in soothingly. "You'll get your drink very soon!" He turned to his companion urgently. "That parched passenger will start poking me soon if we don't give up! Or worse," his face blanched with fear, "he'll submit a formal complaint! That'll stay on our record, you know!"
"Quit that yappin', youse two," Meowth whispered from the beverage cart. "We gotta steal Pikachu and Togepi as soon as we can, and we gotta make it look like we're investigatin' a security threat."
Jessie decided to use more forceful methods to awaken Ash and his friends. "Okay, twerps, you asked for it! WAKEY WAKEY!" She battered them mercilessly with a large flight guide that came in the seats.
The sleeping unfortunates came awake suddenly and painfully under the barrage. "Yooowwwwch!" They turned to see two flight attendants smiling sweetly at them. One, with long reddish-purple hair, greeted them.
"Good morning, sleepyheads! Would you like a complimentary beverage?"
"Whaa?" Ash was still half asleep.
Brock stared at them strangely. "I swear I've seen those two attendants before."
Misty rubbed sleep from her eyes. "Maybe they were the ones poking me in my dream."
The other girl, with purple-blue hair, pretended not to hear. "We've got soda, milk, coffee, tea, seltzer, hot chocolate, smoothies, or just plain water! Anything you want! What'll you have, hmm?"
"I'll have soda, uh... ma'am," Ash finally spoke up.
"Wonderful!" Jessie quickly filled a tall glass with soda and shoved it into Ash's hands. James filled another two glasses with milk and coffee and gave them to Misty and Brock.
"Hey, I didn't wan - "
"Oh my!" cried Jessie suddenly. "Is that a Pikachu you have?"
"And a Togepi?" James tried to look surprised.
"Yes," Misty replied, narrowing her eyes suspiciously. "What are you two so interested in?"
Jessie and James turned to each other, nodded, and turned back to Ash and Misty grimly. "I'm afraid," said Jessie, as though she didn't want to get involved," that we are obligated by new safety protocols to confiscate your Pokémon."
"Confiscate them?" Ash, Misty, and Brock all looked outraged.
"Yes. Pikachu can be quite dangerous, you know! Mmph!" Jessie silenced James.
"We'll have to take your Pokémon for now, until the threat is gone. You'll get them back, don't worry!" She smiled reassuringly as she quickly grabbed Pikachu and Togepi and threw them into the beverage cart. Then she and James prepared to fly down the aisle towards their quarters at the back of the plane.
"Hey, come back here!" Ash unbuckled his seatbelt and stood up.
"What's going on here?" Another flight attendant, a girl with long, wavy, golden hair, hurried down the aisle to the cart. "What seems to be the trouble?"
Jessie froze. "Trouble?"
James seemed to struggle with himself. "Did she say... trouble?"
Inside the cart, Meowth groaned. "Oh no!"
Jessie and James each leaped onto a row of seats, standing on the backs of chairs.
"Prepare for trouble, we're on a jet liner!"
"Make it double, no service is finer!"
"To protect flight meals from plague infection!"
"To unite all passengers within our section!"
"To make the plane feel as light as a dove!"
"To ensure that we land smoothly from above!"
"Team Rocket serves drinks at the speed of light!"
"Surrender to our refreshing cocktails or prepare to fight!"
"Meowth, that's right!" Meowth's voice was somewhat muted by the cart.
"Team Rocket!" Ash, Misty, and Brock groaned.
"How'd you guys manage to sneak aboard?" Ash asked incredulously.
"Easy! We told the crew we're KBI!" James proudly showed his faked Kanto Bureau of Investigation badge.
"So you're not KBI, eh?" The other attendant looked pretty angry. "I should have known!"
Brock suddenly leaped out of the row and landed next to her. "Iiiiiiiiiiiii should have known I was in heaven by all the clouds, but now I know because you're here, my darling! Shall I call you angel, or shall you call me angel?"
Misty pulled him back by the ear. "She'll call you, don’t call her.”
Team Rocket seemed annoyed that they were no longer the center of attention. Jessie swaggered importantly. "So if you'll excuse us, twerps, we have to escape with Pikachu and Togepi now! Have a nice flight!" As she and James turned the cart around and bowled the flight attendant over, James voiced a second thought.
"Jessie, are you sure this thing has escape pods?"
"Of course it doesn't, nimrod, it’s a jet, not a rocket!"
"It's a good thing we brought parachutes and oxygen masks!" Meowth cackled from inside the cart. Pikachu and Togepi called to their trainers anxiously.
"Pikaaa!" "Toge Toge Toge!"
Ash started running after Team Rocket. "Pikachu, try a Thunderbolt!" Misty and Brock started to say, "Ash, no!" but Pikachu had already obeyed.
"Piiiiika-chuuuuuuu!" The door of the cart, though it stayed closed, started smoking. James grinned.
"Haha, twerps, our beverage cart is electricity-proof!" He paused, and looked at Jessie. "Wait, it is?"
Meowth opened the door of the cart and staggered out, smoke pouring from his fur, closing the door behind him. "It is for those on the outside. Those on the inside aren't so lucky, uunnnnhhh," he mumbled.
"Pikachu, don't hurt Togepi!" Misty called.
The flight attendant suddenly looked very worried. "If that smoke gets anywhere important, like the engines, we're done for!"
Ash was already thinking fast for a way to stop Team Rocket without harming the Togepi, the plane, or its other occupants. He gave directions to Misty and Brock. "Misty, let's use our Water Pokémon to put out that smoking cart! Brock, you try and use your Pokémon to get Pikachu and Togepi! I'll take care of Team Rocket!"
The three friends sprang into action. Ash sent out Totodile, Bayleef, and Heracross; Misty sent out Horsea; and Brock sent out Geodude.
"Totodile!" "Horsea!" Ash and Misty gave their orders together. "Wash out that smoke!" Totodile and Horsea Water Gun-ed the smoking cart (and Meowth), eliminating the threat of fire or damage done by the smoke.
"Heracross," Ash yelled over the chaos (for the passengers had gone completely crazy), "fly to the front exit of the plane! Bayleef, tie Team Rocket up!"
"Oh no you don't, twerps! Go, Arbok!" "Weezing, you too!" Arbok headed for Heracross, while Weezing started to spread smoke everywhere, providing a cover for Team Rocket's exit.
"Totodile!" "Horsea!" "Water Gun!" Arbok was about to bite Heracross when the double Water Gun sent it flying into the first-class seats. "Chaaaaaaaa!" Crash!
"Oh, those rich first-class people won't be happy," moaned James.
"Geodude!" Brock shouted. "Tackle Weezing!" Geodude sent Weezing flying in Arbok's wake. "Wheeeeeeeeeezzzzz!" Crash!
"Bayleef!" Ash yelled. "Bind Team Rocket and throw them to Heracross!" Bayleef wound its Vine Whip around Team Rocket and threw the struggling bundle across tens of rows to Heracross, who knew what to do. It caught the villains, opened the exit hatch, threw them out, grabbed Arbok and Weezing, threw them out too, and closed the hatch, all in a matter of seconds. Team Rocket barely managed to inflate their parachutes and put on oxygen masks before disappearing through the cloud layers.
James was indignant. “I told you we should have waited. Maybe if we had tried later, we wouldn’t be over the Pacific Ocean!”
Jessie saw James trying to communicate with her. “It’s no use trying to tell me how brilliantly close we were to victory due to my skills, because I can’t understand you with these oxygen masks covering our mouths.”
Meowth shouted so loud that neither Jessie nor James had any trouble understanding him. “Will you two stop arguing for one minute?! Let’s worry about that huge splash we’re going to make in a minute!” All three clung to each other as they plummeted towards the Pacific. "Team Rocket's blasting off agaaaaain!"
Meanwhile, Ash had sent out Bulbasaur, who joined Bayleef. The two Grass Pokémon summoned all the power they had to produce enough oxygen to pressurize the plane. Geodude opened the door of the cart and retrieved Togepi and Pikachu, the latter carrying a ketchup bottle happily.
"Nice work, guys!" Ash cried. "Pikachu, you okay?"
Pikachu licked the ketchup bottle. "Pika!"
Brock turned to Ash and Misty. "Guys, we've still got the crazy passengers to deal with. How are we ever going to get them to calm down?"
The group turned slowly towards the pink puffball that stood at the front of the plane. It was too far away to stop. It began singing.
Fortunately, the cockpit was soundproof, and Jigglypuff saved the day instead of ruining it. The passengers stopped panicking. In fact, everyone in the fuselage of the plane (minus those in the cockpit) stopped panicking.
The man across the aisle from Ash, Brock, and Misty sighed as he drifted off to sleep. “I don’t suppose I’ll be getting my drink for a while now… zzzzzzzzzz...”
A/N: Sorry if it's a little unrealistic. This was one of my favorite chapters to write :)
Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon.
"... touching down in a few minutes. Thank you." The voice of the pilot over the intercom woke Ash up. The pretty attendant, whose name was Cindy, had woken up earlier and helped everyone to mop up the drawings on their faces. Jigglypuff was pouting in the bathroom and would not come out, much to the passengers’ discomfort. Ash looked sleepily out the window to see the Atlantic Ocean. A few minutes later, a coastline hove into view, and soon enough the plane landed in Guyana's capital, Georgetown. The passengers disembarked and went their separate ways through the airport. Much to the group's relief, the main language in the country appeared to be English.
"Hmm," said Brock, after he had gotten over having to leave Cindy. "According to Professor Oak's instructions, we should meet a man named Sahil. He'll take us to MID." But after an hour of fruitless searching, no Sahil could be found.
"Maybe he went looking for us on the runway," Ash suggested half-heartedly.
"Ash, honestly, I don't know where you get these ideas," Misty replied tiredly.
"Actually, I thought about it, but if I was to be swept into a jet engine, I would be of little use to anybody, let alone you." The group turned around to see the speaker, an tanned man in a shirt and trousers. His accent sounded Indian. He extended his hand. "My name is Sahil. I presume you are Ash Ketchum?"
All three humans, plus Pikachu and Togepi, shook hands/paws with Sahil and greeted him. "Yep, that's me!" "And I'm Misty, nice to meet you!" "Pleasure to meet you. My name's Brock." "Pika Pikachu!" "Toge-pi!"
Sahil had a warm, friendly disposition. "Welcome to Guyana! I am sure you kids want to get to your destination - " he winked, implying that they should keep quiet about exactly where they were going, " - as soon as possible. Allow me." He led them out of the airport and into the large parking lot, where he located a jeep. In the passenger's seat of the jeep sat an Electabuzz, who greeted the group as they got in. With Ash, Misty, and Brock in the back seat, Sahil drove the jeep out of Georgetown. Once they were clear of the city, Sahil pulled over and got out.
"What are we stopping for, Sahil?" Ash asked.
"Oh, I could not let Vidyut drive in the city, it is technically illegal. But out here I think we will be okay."
Not elaborating any further, Sahil got into the passenger seat, while his Electabuzz, apparently nicknamed Vidyut, hopped into to the driver's seat. Before Ash, Misty, or Brock could protest, Vidyut slammed on the gas. "Elllblblblblblblblblbl!" the Pokémon hollered enthusiastically. The marshy landscape flew past as the little jeep sped along the road, kicking up dust.
"Isn't it talented?" shouted Sahil proudly over the roar of the engine. Ash was too frightened to reply. Misty's continual scream prevented her from hearing Sahil. All Brock could do was moan.
"Kind of you, Brock," the guide yelled, oblivious to his passengers' discomfort.
"Toge... piiiiiiiiiii!" squealed Togepi as Misty temporarily lost her grip on the Spike Ball Pokémon. Pikachu dived and caught it before it flew out of the open-air vehicle. Togepi thought it was all great fun, and despite the perilous situation, Pikachu had to smile inwardly.
* * *
To Ash, the ride felt like hours, and he realized later that he was right. After the initial shock had worn off, Ash chanced a glance to his right and left. He saw quite a few Pokémon, mainly Wooper and Quagsire, Hoothoot, and the occasional Murkrow. Brock once tried to ask Sahil how much longer the journey would be, but he had avoided giving an answer.
"It will not be much longer, friends! Do not worry. The jeep will run out of gas soon anyway!"
Ash had to admit that as fast as Vidyut the Electabuzz liked to drive, it certainly was a good driver. Never once did they go off the road or crash. When the marshes gave way to desert and then trees, Sahil finally had Vidyut slow down. Finally, the road narrowed to a walking path up ahead, and Vidyut stopped the jeep.
All of the passengers in the back seat flopped to the ground and hugged it, taking in its wonderful earthy scent and observing with relish its stability. After they had recovered enough so they could sit up, Sahil gave them water.
"Drink it slowly," he advised. "Your stomachs will return to normal soon. When you are ready we will proceed through the jungle.
Brock looked around. "Hey, this place looks familiar."
Misty looked, too. "You're right, Brock. It reminds me of the background of the photo." Misty quickly stopped talking and glanced at Sahil with the others. Sahil seemed interested.
Brock made a quick decision and changed the subject. "Hey look, I forgot about the food I packed! Why don't we take a little break?"
Pikachu agreed heartily. "Pi-ka, Pika-Chu!"
To the relief of the others, Sahil agreed.
The group decided to wait until morning to enter the jungle. Sahil said they needed to find shelter rather than sleep out in the open, so he led them to a small cave he knew of. Actually, the "cave" was more of a hole in the ground that slanted horizontally, like a tunnel. After Ash, Misty, and Brock had gotten settled, Sahil went back to Vidyut, who was waiting with the jeep. They both returned pushing the jeep into the cave. Then they brushed away the jeep's tracks leading to the cave and covered the entrance with a netting that contained layers of dirt stuck to one side. From the outside, no one would suspect that the ground was not solid. Sahil guessed what the others were thinking.
"Extra security, that's all. Do not worry, I do not think anyone knows we are here." Soon he and Vidyut were fast asleep. Ash and the others exhanged whispered good-nights.
"G'night, Misty. 'night, Brock. G'night, Pikachu." "Pika, Pikapi." "Goodnight, Ash. G'night, Brock. 'night, Togepi." "Pi!" "Goodnight everyone."
* * *
Outside the cave, two people lay behind a rock, concealed by camouflage clothing. One of them, a man, shifted ever so slightly.
"They should be asleep by now. D'you think we should try?"
"No," the other, a woman, replied, not moving her gaze from the space where she knew the cave to be. "It's too risky. If they did wake up, we'd have a hard time getting out. We need to find a way to sneak that photo out of their bags, whichever one is carrying it, and look at it without them noticing. But that has to happen somewhere where we have a clear escape path. If they captured us, the entire mission could be at risk, especially with that guide they've got. His radar is going to be tough to slip under."
Her companion nodded. "All right. We'll continue to follow them tomorrow."
The task ahead of them was formidable, but Team Mordred stealth agents had faced harder challenges. The two agents crept slowly and patiently back to their camp.
* * *
In the morning, the travelers left the cave and set out into the jungle, leaving the jeep hidden. Vidyut walked slightly ahead of the rest, guiding them on a path that seemed familiar to it; both it and Sahil glanced around every once and a while, looking for anything suspicious. Ash, Misty, and Brock followed behind, with problems of their own to deal with.
"B-b-b-b-bugs! Eeeeeeek!" Misty cowered behind Ash as a Spinarak appeared, dangling from a nearby tree.
"Misty, calm down, it's just a tiny Spinarak," Ash said, getting embarrassed (both by the fact that Sahil was within hearing range and that Misty was almost clinging to him).
"Just a tiny Spinarak?! I don't care! Make it go away!" But Ash wasn't thinking about making it go away. Pikachu had climbed up the tree and was talking to the String Spit Pokémon.
"Pika Pikachu," Pikachu greeted.
"Spina, Spinarak." The Spinarak seemed friendly. Its abdominal spots shifted to resemble a smiley-face.
Pikachu grinned. "Pika, Pikapik - piiiiiii!" It lost its grip on the tree trunk and tottered with one paw waving in the air. Ash jumped forward, but Spinarak formed a web next to Pikachu at lightning speed. Pikachu grabbed the web and stuck there. Spinarak's abdominal "face" laughed. The Pokémon began bouncing the little web. Pikachu was worried for a moment, but soon caught on. Now both Pokémon were bouncing on the durable web, giggling happily. Ash and Brock laughed, but Misty was absolutely rigid with fright and disgust.
"Pikachu, get down from there, it'll eat you!"
Ash turned to her. "Aw, no it won't, Misty, look. They're making friends. Can't you forget your fear of bugs for just long enough to see how happy they are?"
Misty grimaced, but looked at the pair of happy Pokémon. Seeing Pikachu so happy softened her expression at ounce, but before she could admit it (and she had no wish to admit it, anyway), Sahil called back to them. He and Vidyut were already a considerable distance ahead.
"Hurry up, you three. We cannot afford to be separated. Besides, the sooner we get to where we are going, the sooner we can eat!" That prospect sent Ash, Misty, and Brock scuttling through the jungle to catch up. Pikachu waved goodbye sadly to its friend, then moved to catch up with Ash. But its paws were stuck on the web. Spinarak helped Pikachu loose, and then Pikachu ran up the jungle path, calling back to Spinarak tearfully:
A/N: I forgot to mention a few things. Vulpix is part of Brock's party; even though this takes place after he gave it back to Suzy, let's just pretend he got to keep it a while longer. Also, "Sahil" is a word in Hindi that means messenger. "Vidyut" means electricity or lightning. Finally, I've tried to mix the Pokémon world with the real world, but there are a few discrepencies. I put Kanto in Japan (hence the long oversea flight to Guyana, South America), but the language Ash is used to speaking is... English? Sorry about that :?
Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon.
It was hard work trekking through the jungle. After three days, Ash and his friends were totally exhausted. He, Pikachu, Misty, and Brock trudged along the path, bent double, breathing heavily, and trying to keep their eyes open. It got so bad that Vidyut had to jolt them with a ThunderShock.
Sahil finally allowed the group a rest. "Take a break, friends. Do not despair, we are almost there."
The news did not sink in for the others until well after they had collapsed and regained their breath. "Oh, that's good," Ash breathed. "I think I'll let my Pokémon out for a little exercise."
"All right, just make sure they are quiet." Sahil looked mildly nervous, but Ash wasn't paying attention. Out came Bayleef, Bulbasaur, Totodile, Cyndaquil, and Heracross. Cyndaquil and Totodile played catch with Pikachu, while Bulbasaur chased Bayleef around the area Sahil had chosen for a rest spot. Soon, though, Bulbasaur became the hunted; Heracross flew after it mercilessly, hungry for sap.
Ash leapt up. "Ah, Heracross, give Bulbasaur a rest! Come on, you guys have to be quiet!"
"Chu!" Pikachu whispered, imitating Ash exactly. While Misty laughed at Pikachu's antics, Brock searched for a bottle of tree sap in his bag.
"Come on, I know I brought some with me for Heracross..."
Sahil got up. "Never mind that, Brock. I have some." He squirted a large portion of tree sap into a small bowl and held it out to Heracross, who immediately stopped chasing Bulbasaur. Ash sighed.
"Phew, glad that's over with."
"Chaa, Pika Pikachu-pi," Pikachu imitated.
"Hey, that's not nice! Some friend you are." Ash stomped back to his seat in mock resentment. Pikachu followed him, doing its best to look resentful, but Misty's laughter proved infectious, and soon everybody was laughing, even Ash. That was, until an explosion nearby sent smoke everywhere, blinding everyone.
Sahil shouted in surprise. "What was that? Vidyut!"
"Elblblbl!" Vidyut responded.
"See if you can find the baseball!"
Coughing and wiping his eyes, Ash heard Vidyut stumble nearby. He didn't know what Vidyut would want with a baseball, but he acted quickly anyway.
"Heracross, ack, [cough], use your wings to blow the smoke away!" Heracross obeyed, and soon the group had a clear view of what, or rather, who, had caused the explosion.
Team Rocket stood high up in the trees, on top of one of their weirdest contraptions yet. It consisted of an extremely large bucket with a cage in one corner. The bucket was attached to the trees on either side of it by ropes and pulleys.
Ash groaned. "Oh no, not you again!"
"I thought you guys were still swimming in the Pacific Ocean!" Brock yelled.
"Well," James replied, "during our rather sudden descent, we spotted a cruise ship headed in this direction, so we decided to drop in."
"And look who we found!" Jessie stretched out her arms. "It's been too long."
Meowth held up a control panel. "To celebrate our return, we've invited your Pokémon to join us on a liddle tour o' da jungle. A good Pokémon ought ta know how to navigate a jungle successfully, so we'll show youse guys the ropes." He pressed a button on the panel, and ropes shot out of the bucket towards each of Ash's Pokémon, Togepi, and Vidyut.
Sahil cried out: "Vidyut, use Thunderbolt!"
"Ellllllbblblblblblblbl!" Vidyut tried to fry the rope that was clutching it, but nothing happened. Meowth cackled.
"Ha, Electric attacks ain't no good against these premium insulated alternative-material ropes!"
"I knew going green would come in handy!" James cried triumphantly.
"Now, don't be shy, come right up," Meowth continued. The ropes hauled the eight Pokémon in and crammed them in the cage. Space was extremely limited in the cage, and all the Pokémon cried in pain and distress.
"All aboard? Good. Let's be off!" Jessie hopped into the barrel.
James and Meowth followed her. "Ta-ta, twerps!" James called as Meowth pushed a button. The bucket moved along the rope and pulley system. Each time the bucket reached a tree, the rope it had moved on was shot out and attached itself to a new tree. The entire process reminded Ash of a mechanical ape. It was surprisingly speedy; the only downside for Team Rocket was the bumpy ride.
"Owoowowooow, Meowth, caaan't you maaake this thiiing stop gooooing uuup and dooowwn?" Jessie shouted, clutching her stomach.
"Noooo, we speeent all our moooney on this enviiiironmeeeentally friiieendly Taaarzan 2000!" Meowth shouted back, keeping his eyes on the progress of the contraption.
Ash and the others started running to catch up with the swinging bucket. Suddenly Ash had a risky idea. "Cyndquil, use Flamethrower on the bars of the cage!"
Luckily, Cyndaquil happened to be right next to the side of the cage. It struggled painfully to face the iron bars. "Cyndaaaaquiiiiiillll!"
James jumped up, fanning at his flaming bottom. "Yowch, stop it, you piping-hot pipsqueak!"
"Totodile, use Water Gun!" Ash called. But Totodile was squirming the most of all the Pokémon; Cyndaquil's Flamethrower had caught its tail. Cyndaquil managed to reach out and pat Totodile, encouraging it.
Finally, Totodile bent backward and squirted water at the red-hot cage bars. "Tototo-psssshhhhhhhhhhht!" Although some of the water hit Cyndaquil, almost dousing the little Pokémon, the bars were cooled and started steaming. Now Misty and Brock realized what Ash was up to.
Even if Jessie hadn't been busy with her soaking-wet hair, she probably wouldn't have realized what was happening to the cage. "Aggh, the stupid chomping alligator just ruined my hair!"
Totodile and Cyndaquil were worn out and cringing in pain from the cramped space and smarting injuries, but Ash wasn't thinking of them. He was only thinking of getting the Pokémon out of the cage. After all, if Team Rocket got away, it wouldn't matter if Totodile and Cyndaquil were injured, would it?
"Bulbasaur, use Razor Leaf!" Ash shouted to the bucket, which was steadily losing the pursuing group with its speed. Bulbasaur struggled to get a good position, and the other Pokémon moved out of the way as best they could, but Cyndquil and Totodile, the closest to the weakened iron bars, received some painful blows from the Razor Leaf attack. The other leaves hit the bars, breaking them. Despite Team Rocket's attempts to collect the escaping Pokémon, all of them hopped one by one out of the cage and down towards the ground. In a moment, Ash and the others had reached them.
"Pikachu! Are you all right?" Ash picked up Pikachu.
Misty picked up the sobbing Togepi. "Sh, sh, Togepi, it's all right. I've got you."
Sahil helped Vidyut up. "Vidyut, are you okay?"
"All right. Use Thunder on those thieving villains."
Vidyut turned to Team Rocket, who were now trying to escape in their bucket. "Ellllll... Blblblblblblblblblbl!" The arc of electricity hit Team Rocket's bucket, which, unlike the ropes, was not made of premium insulated alternative material. The explosion was almost as big as the one Team Rocket had caused back at the rest stop.
As Jessie flew through the sky with the others, she turned to James. "James, I forget what clever lines we were going to say once this scheme failed."
James looked perplexed. "I don't think we came up with any this time, Jess."
Meowth tried to swipe at them with his claws, but missed. "You idiots, we didn't make any because we expected to succeed!"
"Oh. Well, that makes sense. Shall we cut to the basic?" Jessie asked.
James closed his eyes, preparing to take a nap. "I think so."
Meowth sighed. "Here goes."
"Looks like Team Rocket's blasting off again!"
Back below the jungle canopy, the group turned back towards their camp and their bags, which had been left behind in the confusion. Ash checked on his Pokémon. "Bulbasaur, you okay? How about you, Bayleef? Heracross? Totodile? Cyndaquil?" He noticed the last two limping. "What's wrong, guys?"
Cyndaquil was crying. Ash was startled; he had not seen Cyndaquil weep since the first days after he had met it. At a loss for words, he turned to Totodile, and received an even bigger shock. Totodile was not crying, but instead looking right at Ash with an emotion in its eyes that Ash never knew Totodile possessed: not resentment, nor confusion, but doubt.
A/N: I'm going to college soon, so my updates may be less common :( I promise that if I go too long without updating, I will post an explanation/excuse on my blog.
Before Ash could attempt to comfort his Pokémon, another emergency intervened. Sahil suddenly began running and shouting towards the camp where they had left their bags. "Stop! You there! What are you doing?"
Up ahead, two people, a man and a woman dressed in camouflage clothing, appeared to be examining an object. They stood right over Ash's bag. With a jolt of alarm, Ash realized what they were examining.
"Hey, that's the photo Professor Oak gave us!"
The woman put the photo in her pocket, and they both ran back into the jungle, pursued by Sahil and Vidyut. Sahil yelled over his shoulder to the kids. "Whoever they are, we've got to stop them! Hurry!"
Brock began picking up their belongings at lightning speed. "You guys go ahead with Sahil and capture those guys. I'll follow with our stuff. Don't stop to argue, move!"
Ash was already running in the trail of the unknown villains when he remembered his Pokémon. Quickly he recalled each of them, and he, Pikachu, and Misty (with Togepi in her arms) galloped after Sahil.
The villains were no ordinary thieves. They wove between and ducked under trees like only expert runners could. As strong as Sahil and Vidyut were, they began to tire, and the two lithe criminals began to distance themselves from their pursuers. Abruptly, the trees ended, and the chase entered a large clearing. A river blocked the way ahead. Seeing they would have to stand and fight, the villains turned and, without wasting any breath, drew two Poké Balls each from their belt. Just as Sahil, Vidyut, Ash, Pikachu, and Misty emerged from the jungle, they threw the balls without a word.
Ash was exhausted, but he pulled out Dexter and had a quick look at each of the four Pokémon before him.
"Ninjask, the Ninja Pokémon. Ninjask is said to be so fast it's able to evade any attack." "Shedinja, the Shed Pokémon. Shedinja possesses a hard, powerful body, giving it strong defenses." "Meditite, the Meditate Pokémon. Meditite meditates in order to build up its mental energy. It is said that it eats only one berry a day." "Medicham, the Meditate Pokémon. Medicham is able to harness psychic powers through yoga. Being at one with nature, it can make itself vanish completely."
Sahil grinned humorlessly. "Oh, so you steal our belongings and challenge us to fight? You have made a sorry mistake, fools. You would have been better off in the river!"
Vidyut seconded that thought. "Blblblblbl!"
The girl in the camouflage finally spoke. "You are the fools. You expect to beat us? I would surrender now; we'll let you go without a scrape. All we'll be taking is this photo."
Ash stepped forward. "You're not going anywhere with that photo, unless you're with us as prisoners! Who are you? Give us that photo, it's important!"
The man sneered. "Sorry. If I were you, I would send out my Pokémon now. We don't usually play fair, and we're getting a little impatient with your stalling."
Ash ground his teeth as he reached for his belt. But then he remembered that his Pokémon were still tired from dealing with Team Rocket. He looked at Pikachu. It was tired as well, especially after the run through the jungle, but it stood up and charged its cheeks. "Pika Pika!"
Misty threw out Starmie and Corsola; thankfully, the only Pokémon of hers that Team Rocket captured was Togepi. Vidyut stepped forward as well, making it four-on-four. The two thieves seemed to be waiting for their pursuers to make the first move, so Ash obliged them. "Pikachu, Thunderbolt on Ninjask!"
"Piiiiiikachuuu!" The attack appeared to miss completely, striking the ground to Ninjask's right. Then Ash realized that Ninjask had dodged; it had moved so fast that Ash hadn't noticed.
"Ninjask, Shadow Ball!" Before the man had finished speaking, Ninjask had struck.
"Niiinnjask!" The black orb hit Pikachu, sending it flying. Vidyut caught it and set it down, turning back to face Shedinja with remarkable speed for such a heavy Pokémon.
"Vidyut, Thunderwave on Shedinja!"
"Ellllllblblblbl!" The attack almost hit Shedinja, but at the last second it used Protect. A sphere of energy surrounded Shedinja until the paralyzing Thunderwave had been blocked.
"Shedinja, SolarBeam." said the man calmly.
"Sheeedinja!" The beam of light hit Vidyut, sending it crashing into Pikachu.
Meanwhile, the girl was conducting her battle against Misty with just as much success as her partner.
"Starmie, Water Gun at Meditite!"
"Hoh!" Starmie's jet of water would have hit Meditite squarely in the chest had the latter not jumped up a second before it hit.
"Meditite, Hi Jump Kick!" said the girl.
"Meditite!" Slam! Starmie rocketed backward, but soon was spinning back like a boomerang. Before Starmie could get back in the fight, though, the girl was targeting Corsola.
"Medicham!" Suddenly Corsola was lifted from the ground and began rising rapidly. It struggled vainly. Thinking quickly, Misty called to Starmie.
"Starmie, hit Medicham!" Starmie was blocked by Meditite, but it had the desired effect; Medicham lost its concentration, and Corsola returned to earth.
"Corsola, Spike Cannon!"
"Corcorcorcorcorcor!" Medicham was peppered with tiny spikes, but it soon recovered. Both it and Meditite closed their eyes, using Confusion to stop the Spike Cannon and sent it flying towards Misty's Pokémon.
Ash knew the battle was going badly. Pikachu was almost completely exhausted, and Vidyut, Starmie, and Corsola were slowing down. Meanwhile, the mystery thieves' Pokémon had hardly broken sweat! How much longer could they last?
Pikachu went in for a Quick Attack, managing to hit Ninjask. Then Shedinja dropped in from above and pinned Pikachu down. The man grinned as Shedinja warmed up for a SolarBeam. "We told you you were the fools. This will end it!"
Suddenly a beam of flame hit Shedinja. When the fire cleared, Shedinja was black with burnt shell. It collapsed with a grunt. Turning angrily to see the source of the Flamethrower attack, the man was hit in the face by several small objects in quick succession. Ash looked up and saw a boy and a Bulbasaur on a Charizard, flying directly for the clearing. The battlers all glanced at the three newcomers before diving for cover, as the Charizard showed no sign of stopping. It swooped right through the line of fire, blasting the thieves and their Pokémon with flames. The Bulbasaur continued its Bullet Seed. If Ash hadn't seen the boy and his Pokémon coming, he would have thought a warplane had just flown past.
While the thieves and their Pokémon staggered upright, the Charizard landed. The boy and his Bulbasaur hopped off.
Realizing that they had received much-needed reinforcements, Ash, Misty, and Sahil urged their Pokémon on with renewed vigor. The two thieves exchanged quick looks of defeat, then turned tail and ran for the river, recalling their Pokémon as they went. Before they made it, however, Brock's Crobat shot out of the jungle and grabbed the girl, wrestling the photo from her pocket with one pair of its large wings. The girl struggled with rage, but the man pulled her along, shouting, "No time!" They dived into the river.
As Brock joined the group, the boy threw a Poké Ball into the river after them, yelling, "Muddy, get them!" Ash and the rest tensed, but after a minute the Pokémon which the boy had summoned jumped out of the water, shaking its head.
"No sign of 'em, Muddy?" The boy asked.
"Swampert!" replied the Pokémon.
Ash got out his Pokédex again. "Swampert, the Mud Fish Pokémon. Swampert is the evolved form of Marshtomp. It is able to easily drag large stone weighing over 1 ton. It is also able to see through cloudy waters and detect approaching storms with its fin."
Sahil accepted the photo from Crobat. "Well, it would have been nice to find out more about those two, but at least we have the baseball." Then Ash realized that "the baseball" must have been a codename for the photo.
Sahil turned to the boy. "May I ask your name, young man?"
"My name's Justin." The boy was wearing a T-shirt and shorts and was rather skinny, and looked laid-back, like this was just another fun thing he did all the time. "I was a few miles away when Muddy sensed the fighting." He indicated the Pokémon that had searched the river for the thieves.
Ash was about to introduce himself when Misty stepped forward. "Hi, Justin, my name's Misty. It sure was nice of you to come and save us."
"Ya, well, our rescues aren't free," said Justin straight-faced. Then he laughed, and everyone else did too. Except Ash. Ash was indignant at Misty for saying that he needed saving, despite the fact that it was true. He was also slightly jealous of the attention she was giving to this new kid.
The group chatted for a while. Then Sahil decided it was time to go. "Justin, if you want to accompany us to our destination, we'd be happy to accommodate you. Your skills at handling Pokémon are amazing." This praise almost made Ash choke with bitterness.
"All right, sure," replied Justin. "But where are we going?"
"You'll see," said Sahil. "Let us go; it is getting late."
So Ash, Misty, Brock, Sahil, ad Justin headed in the direction of MID, the Mew Investigation Department. Along the way, Ash thought again about the problem with Cyndaquil and Totodile. What had Ash done that merited that look of doubt in Totodile's eyes? Had Cyndaquil been crying because of its injuries, or because of something Ash had done?
Maybe I pushed them too hard, he thought. Maybe they think I only care about Pikachu. What if... what if I do only care about Pikachu? Will I start to mistreat my other Pokémon?
Only Pikachu noticed Ash's despairing mood. "Pi-ka-chu?" it asked.
"I'm fine, Pikachu, thanks," replied Ash without looking, fearing he would do something wrong.
A/N: Sorry if Justin's entrance was a bit unrealistic, and if the comparison with the warplane didn't make sense.
Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon.
"We managed to get a look at 'Exhibit A' before those kids and their guide saw us," the male stealth agent was reporting. "They chased us to a river, where we were forced to do battle."
His companion continued. "We were much stronger than them and would have escaped, but another one with strong Pokémon took us by surprise and disabled our Pokémon. We had to flee."
Mordred watched the agents' faces on the screen closely. "I see. And how did they manage to take the photo from you?"
The man gulped. "One of their Pokémon, a Crobat, tackled Agent Night and took the photo. It was too fast for us. We couldn't risk letting them capture us."
After a moment, Mordred questioned them further. "What did you see of the photo?"
Agent Night, the girl, spoke up confidently. "There was a man, probably a jungle explorer, with a Tangela. They were in front of this jungle, probably from the north side. The man seemed to be talking to someone. In the trees were a few Mankey. We also noticed a small pink speck in the sky above the trees. It seemed to be something floating in the distance. Whatever it was, the man in the photo didn't seem to notice it."
Mordred smiled inwardly. "You have done well, Agents Night and Shade." The two agents relaxed slightly. "Report back to base."
The two agents saluted smartly, then the screen went blank. Mordred sat in his chair for a moment, pondering his next move. Then an officer's voice reached him from the paging system speaker. "Mordred, sir, the emissaries to Team Magma and Team Aqua have arrived back with Maxie and Archie."
Mordred pressed the button on the pager. "Escort them to my personal dining room. I will be there shortly."
As he walked to the dining room, Mordred's thoughts returned to the recent report by his stealth agents. He had no doubt what the "pink speck" in the photo was. Still, it would have been nice to have that photo, to scan it in order to make absolutely sure. He could not blame the agents; they did the right thing. Not that Mordred admired them or valued them particularly. He had been careful to avoid attachment of the slightest degree since the age of eight.
When Mordred walked into the dining room, the Team Mordred officer who had escorted the leaders of Team Aqua and Team Magma saluted. Mordred nodded to him, and he left. Only Mordred, Maxie, and Archie were in the room. At first, nobody spoke a word, each busy examining the others. Then Mordred inclined his head in welcome.
"Gentlemen, welcome to Team Mordred Headquarters. I hope you have been treated with courtesy thus far." He paused. "Before we get down to business, let us eat. My chefs not only exceed at cooking, but also at guessing the favorite food of guests."
As the three men ate, they exchanged information about their respective organizations - that is, information that was not a secret. For the most part, Maxie and Archie ignored each other; they fought for conversation with Mordred, whose organization they were secretly impressed with.
When they had finished eating and waiters had taken their plates away, the men began negotiating. Mordred spoke first. "Gentlemen, as I have said before, I founded Team Mordred as a teenager. It consisted of a dozen young accomplices of mine. We were not a traditional street gang; our meetings took place in basements and were few in number, as we seldom had much time on our hands. However, our first Pokémon thefts were successful, and we grew over the years. With more people and resources at my disposal, I set my sights higher and higher." This was not entirely true; though he had never admitted it to anyone else, Mordred had always had one goal. "Today, thousands of men and women make up Team Mordred, and I have many billions of dollars and countless Pokémon in my possession. I only bother with the rarest and most powerful Pokémon."
Archie cut in. "And you want our help?"
Mordred didn't blink. "Yes, I do. If we're all searching for rare and powerful Pokémon, we're bound to run into each other. Conflicts between us would be useless; we're each too powerful to be completely defeated. If we work together, though, we'd be more efficient and we'd all get something out of it."
Maxie voiced his thoughts. "But do you really think we'd be able to trust each other?"
Mordred had thought of this. "No, and we don't have to. We'd be keeping an eye on each other." He paused and addressed them both. "So what do you think?"
Maxie spoke first. "There's something particular you're after, I just know it. What would be our primary objective?"
Mordred smiled humorlessly. "Why, to capture Mew, of course."
* * *
"This is it. The Mew Investigation Department."
Ash looked up and saw a building standing in the middle of the jungle. It was made out of stone and was almost as tall as the trees surrounding it. The building was roughly rectangular, with vegetation growing on its walls. Ash was reminded of the satellite video of the building he had seen back at Professor Oak's lab; the building was definitely new, but it had the air of something ancient. He could see people watching him and his friends from one particularly large window.
The door facing them opened and Officer Jenny walked out, accompanied by two Growlithe. She shook hands with Sahil. "Glad to see you made it back. So you must be Professor Oak's trainers, is that right?"
They all shook Jenny's hand. Brock didn't let go though. "That's right, Office Jenny! Wow, you're so smart, I bet you can tell me why my heart's beating so fast! Yowch!" He yelped as Misty pulled him back.
"She's a police officer, not a doctor. You'll have a chance to bother Nurse Joy another time."
Justin was staring at Brock in slight disbelief, but Ash didn't bother telling him about his love-sick friend. He was still a bit jealous.
Jenny turned to Justin. "Are you with them? Professor Oak told me that he had sent three trainers."
Justin grinned embarrassedly. "Well, I happened to meet these guys and decided to tag along."
Justin's Bulbasaur, which traveled outside its ball in a similar way to Ash's Pikachu, voiced its agreement. "Saur!"
Jenny looked suspicious, but Sahil gave her a small nod and motioned at the doors. Jenny took the hint and led them inside without further inquiry.
With Growlithe covering their rear, Ash looked around. They were in a large atrium, with the sky-light ceiling being part of the roof of the building. To his right was a cafeteria. To his left was a large pool with a stone structure in the middle. The far side of the pool had trees and bushes apparently planted in the ground. From the top of the stone structure a waterfall ran. Straight in front of Ash was a wall that separated the atrium from the rest of the rooms. At its bottom, level with the group, was a long corridor with many doors on either side. Jenny gave them a very brief tour.
"To our right is the cafeteria, where all the researchers, staff, security personnel, and sanitary workers eat. You're welcome to eat there too while you're here. To our left is the play pool."
"Play pool? Are there really little kids here?" asked Misty, perplexed.
"The people who work usually live here for a time, and they bring their Pokémon with them. Some Pokémon like to help with the research, but the more restless ones can spend the day here. There are also wild Pokémon that come in through tunnels to play."
Brock spoke up eagerly. "You put the tunnels in there for a reason, didn't you?"
Jenny looked surprised. "Why yes, Brock, we do. When you're this isolated in the wilderness, it's always a good idea to make the wild Pokémon nearby feel at ease. These Pokémon are very shy and easily frightened, so naturally they wouldn't come in through the front doors. They enter through the tunnels, attracted by the scent of food, and emerge in the back of the pool, behind the rock. Newcomers will likely stay in the foliage, but the more they visit the braver they become."
As she spoke a head popped out of the water. "Golduck!" said the Golduck.
"Golduck!" Misty crooned. "Aw, isn't it a cutey?"
Officer Jenny checked her watch. "Professor Katt should be on break in a minute or so. Sahil, if you'll come with me?"
Sahil nodded, and he and Vidyut accompanied Jenny out of the atrium. Ash, Misty, Brock, and Justin made to follow, but Jenny called back to them. "You kids stay here for a little while. We'll be back."
Slightly disappointed, Ash walked over to the play pool, where the Golduck was swimming. "I wonder why they didn't take the photo with them."
Brock thought Ash might have been making fun of Jenny. He came readily to her defense. "Well, obviously, Ash, she didn't want to examine the photo as soon as we arrived. She's probably talking to Sahil about our journey. Sahil would want to tell her about those two robbers."
As Ash watched the two Growlithe, who were patrolling the door, watching for movement, Ash's thoughts turned to the robbers whom Brock had mentioned, and he started wondering aloud who they might be. "Hmm. I wonder if they were some kind of collectors or something, you know, interested in Mew."
Justin shook his head. "Naw, they're too well trained, at least to be private collectors. They've gotta be part of a group effort."
Brock nodded. "Yeah, I've been thinking that, too. They abandoned the photo rather than have us capture them. Why would they do that?... unless they were afraid of being identified?"
Ash was nonplussed. "But how does that make a difference if they were alone or working with others?"
Justin explained. "Well, if we were to identify them, we might be able to trace them to the others. And if indeed they are part of a group, that could risk a lot more than letting go of that photo."
Misty wasn't listening to the boys' discussion; she had let all her Pokémon out at the edge of the pond and was playing with them and the Golduck, who seemed very friendly.
"Oh, I wish I had a Golduck just like you," she said wistfully, watching as the Golduck swam with Staryu, Starmie, Corsola, and Horsie. Psyduck was content with sitting on the edge of the pool with its webbed footpaws dangling in the water. In fact, it seemed pretty happy, that is , until it lost its balance and plummeted into the water.
"PsyYyYyYyYyYyY!" the poor Pokémon cried, splashing helplessly without its inner tube. Golduck, keeping a cool head, waded over the struggling Psyduck, grabbed its arms so that they stopped waving, and lowered it gently until Psyduck's feet touched the bottom. Its bill was a comfortable ten inches above the surface.
Misty groaned. "You silly duck, you'll never learn to swim if you can't even tell how shallow the water is!"
Psyduck grinned, blushing slightly, until Golduck clapped its back soundly with a strong forepaw.
"Golduck, duck duck!" It said encouragingly, before swimming off to join the other Pokémon in the deep end, leaving Psyduck to paddle harmlessly in the shallows, nursing a reddened back.
Ash, who had been watching amusedly, remembered his own Pokémon. But before he could call them out to let them play, he remembered that some of them were hurt. He leapt up and started in the direction that Sahil and Jenny had disappeared in.
Brock sensed urgency in Ash's sudden movement. "Ash, where're you going? Officer Jenny told us to stay here."
Ash responded over his shoulder as he went. "Yeah, well, I've got injured Pokémon to take care of, so I can't wait. I bet there's a Nurse Joy here. Come on, Pik - " He walked straight into Nurse Joy, who had entered the atrium with Jenny, Sahil, Vidyut, and a man in a white lab coat.
"You need me?" she asked matter-of-fact-ly, while Ash hurriedly apologized.
"Sorry, Nurse Joy, didn't see you there. Two of my Pokémon are hurt and I was going to see if ..." he trailed off awkwardly. Then Joy smiled.
"I'll be happy to treat your Pokémon. In the meantime, all of you should go with Professor Katt and Sahil. They have some important things to discuss with you."
Ash handed the Poké Balls containing Cyndaquil and Totodile to Joy joined Sahil and the man with the lab coat, apparently Professor Katt. Officer Jenny went to check on the Growlithe sentries. Brock tried to follow Joy, but Misty pulled him along before he could even get a word out.
"But you said I would have a chance later! This is later!" Brock bawled, trying to release her grip on his ear.
Misty sighed. "So whiny, Brock. You wouldn't want to give Nurse Joy the impression that you always whine, would you?"
Justin chuckled, and Ash could have sworn he saw the mighty Vidyut suppress a grin.
Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon.
Professor Katt introduced himself. "I specialize in Pokémon mythology and archeology. I've never met Professor Oak, but I greatly admire his work. It's an honor to meet people he holds in high esteem." The professor struck Ash as an energetic person, devoted to his study; he enjoyed talking about Mew and the research MID had been doing. His lab uniform had various stains on them, and every once and a while he seemed to notice them and attempted to diminish them slightly with a handkerchief. His overall appearance reminded Ash of Seymour the Scientist, the man he, Misty, and Brock had met at Mt. Moon long ago, though Professor Katt was slightly tidier and less eccentric, to Ash's relief.
"Well, basically, Mew is one of the oldest Pokémon species we know about. It may have existed in plentiful numbers hundreds of millions of years ago. More recently, the Mew population dwindled, and very, very few humans have seen it. In fact, it has not been seen in centuries. Now, there are many reasons why Mew is so important. Yes, it is incredibly rare, but that's only one of them." Professor Katt's eyes shone. "Mew has been the subject of research for countless scientists. Just being able to see it up close would be a breakthrough!"
He stood gazing off into the distance, dreaming of that impossible encounter, until Sahil gently brought him back to earth. "Uh, Professor, you were saying?"
"What? Oh, yes," Katt turned back to his guests. "Have any of you ever heard of the Pokémon known as Mewtwo?"
Ash, Misty, and Brock all said "Yes." Katt looked surprised.
"Really? Hmm, I guess more people read the National Pokégraphic than I thought. Well, doubtlessly you know then that Mewtwo was created by the evil organization Team Rocket but escaped and was never heard of since?"
Ash, Misty, and Brock exchanged glances, but Ash replied, "Yes." His confidence bolstered, he added, "In fact, I read the National Pokégraphic on a weekly basis!"
Misty slapped her forehead, and Brock suppressed a groan, but Professor Katt laughed. "I like you, Ash. That was a good joke."
"Uh, joke, yeah," Ash replied sheepishly.
"But I assure you," the professor said seriously, "that only I am capable of reading National Pokégraphic at that speed."
As Katt took a moment to mime reading an issue of the magazine at the speed of one issue per week, Sahil whispered to the others. "Whatever you do, do not ask him how he manages to read a monthly magazine weekly." There was, however, no need; no one even thought of asking the professor to explain further his reading skills.
When Katt had finished his pantomime, he returned to what he had been saying about Mewtwo. "Anyway, Mewtwo was created from DNA from a fossilized Mew hair. That hair was discovered... you guessed it... here, in Guyana!" Katt spread his arms wide. "Actually, it was found very close to where this building lies. In that hair's DNA, the DNA of almost all the Pokémon we know today can be found! Do you know what this means?" He was almost jumping up and down now.
"It means that Mew may be an ancestor of all other Pokémon," said Justin.
"That's right!" Professor Katt seemed jubilant. "You kids are pretty smart. Of course, I shouldn't be surprised, considering Professor Oak sent you."
Justin was about to correct Katt regarding his non-existent relationship with Professor Oak when Sahil gave a look which said: "Don't bother."
Professor Katt started walking again. "So you know that Mew is important because it is rare and scientifically significant. But I doubt any of you know about Mew's special powers."
Sahil tensed. "Professor, maybe we should discuss in the lab. One can never be too careful..."
"Ah, yes. Of course, Sahil. The lab would be much safer. Speaking of which," he added, approaching a door with no doorknob to speak of, "we are here." He stood in front of what looked like a camera lense, and after a second, the door clicked open. Ash followed Professor Katt, looking confused, but then Sahil cleared things up.
"Eye-recognition technology," he explained quietly.
"Oh, wow," mumbled Ash as he tried to imagine how eye-recognition technology worked. He was so busy imagining such technology (which, in Ash's minded, consisted of a few microscopic particles in a person's eye waving colored flags to catch the attention of the camera lens) that he walked right into the backs of Misty, Brock, and Justin. The three, along with Pikachu and Bulbasaur, were staring at something in the lab with incredulous expressions on their faces.
"What is it, guys, what's so fascin - " He too halted and stared.
Professor Katt coughed. "Kids, I'd like you to meet my colleague, Professor Chu."
* * *
Perched on a stool in front of a computer was a Pikachu with a white lab coat like Katt's. When it turned around, its pointy gray beard became fully visible. The Pikachu stared back at Ash and the others through its glasses, and for a few seconds no one spoke. Finally, Sahil broke the silence.
"Professor, good to see you again. I hope you are well."
Professor Chu recognized Sahil, uttered a cry of delight, and hopped off the stool, walking two-legged over to Sahil and Vidyut. It shook their hands/paws with its tail (a common greeting with Pikachu) and started talking to them in a thin, squeaky voice.
"Ka-Pik! Pikachu! Chu pika-chu, chu pika pika?"
"I'm fine, thank you. As you can see, Professor Oak's deliverers have made it safely, despite being attacked."
Professor Chu didn't turn his attention back to Ash and the others until it had finished exchanging light electric currents with Vidyut. When it did re-examine them, it was with the scrutiny of a wise old professor, though not without politeness. When Ash's Pikachu offered its tail, Chu gladly shook.
"Pika Chu. Chu pika-chu."
"Pika Pikachu. Pika!"
Ash cleared his throat. "Uh, ehem, uh, hi there, Professor Chu. My name's Ash."
Encouraged by Ash, the others added their greetings. "Hello, I'm Misty." "Howdy, I'm Brock." "And I'm Justin. Nice to meet you."
Chu greeted them somewhat less cordially than he had Pikachu, but again the Pokémon didn't seem impolite. He shook Justin's Bulbasaur's vine almost as heartily as Pikachu's.
"I have worked with Professor Chu for years. He is one of the leading experts in Pokémon genetics."
Chu acknowledged the compliment, then went back to his computer.
"Should we step out, or are you fine with us talking here, Professor?" Katt asked of Chu.
Apparently, this meant yes, because Katt didn't motion to return to the corridor. He began where he had left off. "Through our combined research, we have discovered that Mew is one of the most powerful Pokémon on earth!"
Justin looked confused. "Is? I thought you said that Mew hasn't been seen in centuries."
Ash, Misty, and Brock were as confused as Justin. They had encountered a Mew before, but their memoires of that occasion had been erased. They had reacted to Professor Katt's mention of Mewtwo, whom they met on the same occasion, because they had later met Mewtwo again, this time leaving with their memories intact.
Katt replied to Justin. "Yes, well, friends, that's where that photograph comes in."
Ash, feeling his excitement mount, opened his bag and retrieved the precious photo. Katt took it and examined it. Chu also took a look at it.
It was a minute before they reacted. Katt suddenly jumped, pointed to a part of the photo, and exclaimed. "There!"
Chu took the photo and put it on a machine, which scanned it and pulled up the image on his computer.
Misty pointed. "Hey, I knew I had seen you somewhere before, Professor Katt! That's you in the photo!"
It was true. The man in safari clothing was undoubtedly Katt. The real Katt pointed out the other notable points of the photo.
"Yes. And this is my Tangela." He pointed to the blue tentacles barely visible at the bottom. "I should have introduced it to you earlier." He took out a Poké Ball. "Meet my jungle companion and life-long friend, Tangela!"
Ash recognized the blue tentacles . Tangela waved its body in a friendly manner. "Whcht whcht!"
Professor Katt continued to identify parts of the photo to the others. "We're outside the jungle. The person taking the photo is a young student of mine, who went to Kanto soon after this was taken and happened to show Professor Oak this photo. It wasn't long before Oak caught this little baby, heh-heh." He pointed to the miniscule pink dot in the upper left corner which Misty had pondered at the airport in Viridian City.
Both Misty and Justin gasped. "Is that Mew?"
Professor Chu rolled his eyes. "Pi," he sighed, as if saying, "Obviously."
Now Brock was getting excited. "So this means that Mew isn't totally extinct?"
"We should make sure that that is indeed Mew before making assumptions," Sahil cut in.
"Of course, Sahil, well spoken." Katt turned to Chu. "Professor, will you do the honors?"
Chu clicked an icon in the computer screen, and the screen zoomed in on the pink spec. Soon, a definite shape emerged, although it was very fuzzy. Ash could barely make out what looked like a tail on the thing. Then Chu clicked another icon, and the high-tech computer redefined the image, replacing the blurry screen with a crystal-clear one.
The Pokémon (for clearly it could be nothing else) hovered in the air, seemingly standing on an invisible floor in the sky. It had a long tail, long back legs, comparatively short front paws, and a wide, feline head, its nose and ears making it appear roughly triangular. One blue eye was visible from the angle of the photo. The computer program pulled up a virtual Pokédex and identified the pink Pokémon as "Mew, the New Species Pokémon."
Everyone was speechless; even Chu couldn't find words to express himself (whether in Pika-language or in any language). Mew still existed. And one was seen right near there.
A/N: I considered ending the chapter at Professor Chu's entrance, but that would have been too short. I hope you liked it anyway!
Also, I felt giving Professor Chu a gender was appropriate. Not consistent, I know :(
Finally, National Pokégraphic was actually mentioned in the episode "Don't Touch that 'dile!"
Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon.
At that moment, one of the few people who knew that Mew was still around was not thinking about it. Mordred was instead focusing his thoughts on the man who would soon appear on his telescreen. Giovanni, the leader of Team Rocket, had responded rather briefly to Mordred's request for a meeting.
"Well, this certainly is a surprise. I propose we have a talk, but not a personal meeting. You will find that I am not as trusting as your terrain- and water-loving friends from the Hoenn region. I will contact you tomorrow night. Have a secure line ready, and do not try to play me false; believe me, I will know."
Mordred checked the clock absently. He had an idea that Giovanni was right, in spite of his high-mannered, almost careless reply. He would be much harder to recruit than Maxie or Archie. Just then, the telescreen beeped. Mordred sat up pressed a button on his desk. On the screen appeared a figure in a dark room. Half his face was obscured by the darkness.
Mordred took on the conversational tone he had used with Maxie and Archie. "Giovanni. Thank you for agreeing to talk. I hope you are w - "
Giovanni cut in. "Sorry to interrupt, I know you must have been looking forward to exchanging pleasantries, but I have other matters to attend to. So let's talk business."
Mordred continued without batting an eyelid. "As you may or may not know, Team Mordred has grown from being a tiny underground gang of robbers to a mighty crime syndicate and military force. We've always prided ourselves in our missions, our objectives, our targets, as you can imagine, I'm sure." He paused here, ever so slightly. In that brief pause he noted that Giovanni made no move to interrupt, even though Mordred was obviously stalling. Mordred noted that, having moved to the topic of the mission, he had Giovanni's attention. So whatever Giovanni had learned through Team Rocket's intelligence from the meeting with Team Magma and Team Aqua, he had not learned what had sealed the deal between the three crime organizations.
"These days," Mordred continued, "we no longer have need to steal ordinary Pokémon, or even uncommonly strong ones. We already have plenty of those. Instead we focus our energy on catching those mysterious Legendary Pokémon... one in particular." Mordred knew that pausing here for effect would likely get the better of Giovanni's temper, so he elaborated immediately. "Mew."
Though Giovanni did not stir, Mordred could tell he had surprised the confident Team Rocket boss. He took a moment before responding. "Mew? Are you aware that Mew is one of the rarest Pokémon on earth?"
"Yes. And also one of the most powerful, which would make capturing it extremely beneficial."
"Do you think you can find one?" Mordred sensed a smirk on Giovanni's obscured face.
"As a matter of fact, I already have found one."
This time Giovanni showed his surprise. He breathed deeply for a moment. Then: "Well, that is an accomplishment. Where? Ah, but... I should have guessed. You won't tell me unless I sign some sort of agreement, is that it?"
Mordred had to work hard to keep the smile off his face. "I require no signature from you, Giovanni, since it would mean nothing to you or me."
Giovanni chuckled softly. "You are more like me than I thought, Mordred." He spoke the name with special emphasis, as if talking to a young one or a subordinate. "Very well. I will send some of my best agents to you to work out the details. Good day." The screen went blank.
Mordred sat back in his chair slowly. His muscles relaxed, but the smile which had been working for so long to reach his surface had faded, to be replaced by a scowl. Why am I angry? I just convinced a worthy rival to join my alliance. But Mordred knew perfectly well why he was angry: Giovanni. The no-time-for-manners leader of Team Rocket had bugged him, and not with his rudeness, but with the way he had talked to him. He gave off a sense of superiority, jeering, and cruelty. Mordred shuddered. Giovanni reminded him of... those people...
"Hey kid, keep running, unless you want to end up like them..."
Mordred shook himself. It was unlike him to lose control of his thoughts like that. He attached his mind to the recent diplomatic victory he had achieved in order to distract himself.
* * *
Ash and his friends, meanwhile, were distracting themselves by watching their Pokémon play at the play pool.
The wild Golduck loved its new friends. It organized a race between the Water Pokémon around the pool in laps. The competition took place in pairs, with Corsola versus Horsea being the opening event. Horsea streaked far ahead of Corsola, but its energy soon ran out and Corsola pulled ahead towards the end. Next, Staryu dueled Starmie in a race so closely contested that a Gloom who had been watching at the finish line had to be coaxed into telling everyone what it saw (Starmie won, but just barely). Everyone was surprised when Psyduck expressed interest in racing, but Golduck wasted no time in challenging it in a friendly manner. Needless to say, Golduck won, but Psyduck paddled away in its inner tube, laughing its bill off.
Misty was laughing as hard as Psyduck. "Wow, hehe," she giggled to Ash without turning, "I've never seen Psyduck like this, it looks so happy and care-free!"
Ash had noticed, but all he could say at the moment was, "Uh-huh."
Justin and his Bulbasaur had just returned from eating lunch, and he was watching the happy Pokémon delightedly. Justin was about to call out the rest of his Pokémon when he noticed Ash's expression. "Hey Brock, why is Ash looking at Misty like that?"
Brock had noticed, too. "They sometimes do that. It's best not to interrupt them." He grinned at Justin, who chuckled.
A few minutes later, Nurse Joy showed up with two Poké Balls. "Here you go, Ash, good as new! Though I wouldn't battle with them for a while, just to be safe."
Ash leapt up, tearing his eyes away from Misty, to meet Joy. "All right! Thanks a bunch, Nurse Joy!"
Joy smiled. "Don't mention it. It's my job to treat patients with loving care!" She was about to return to the nurse's office when Brock stopped her.
"Nurse Joy, I'm sick... sick at heart! Won't you please treat me with loving care?"
Joy seemed to know what Brock was getting at. "Sorry, I only treat sick Pokémon."
Brock sigh almost made him seem old. "I could see that coming... Hey wait, why am I not being pulled by the ear?"
Misty had been paying too much attention to the Pokémon playing to drag Brock from Joy. Psyduck was approaching the finish line, with the other Pokémon calling encouragement. When it finally crossed, they lifted it up (inner tube and all) and tossed it in the air several times. This frightened Psyduck slightly, but it still had enough exhilaration in it to keep it from wailing.
Now that Ash had Totodile and Cyndaquil back, he decided to let his full party out to play. "Come on out, guys! Time to have some fun!"
Bayleef, Bulbasaur, and Heracross headed for the pool, but Ash stopped Cyndaquil and Totodile. "Look, guys, it was really wrong of me to push you like that when Team Rocket had you in that cage. I'm really sorry." Ash had tears in his eyes. He didn't think he would ever forget Totodile's look of doubt or Cyndaquil's tears. "I... I hope I can make it up to you."
To his immense relief his two loyal Pokémon seemed to have forgiven him. They both tackled him in a hug, which he returned joyfully.
Misty sat watching them, smiling. That Ash. He could be dense and annoying, but he always put his friends first, and cared more about his Pokémon than any other trainer she had met.
So Ash and his friends spent the next few hours relaxing. Professors Katt and Chu, along with Katt's Tangela, were busy in the lab with research on Mew, and Sahil had gone with Vidyut on a walk in the nearby forest. Ash's, Brock's, and Misty's Pokémon got along well with Justin's. Justin had introduced his Wingull (nicknamed "Seagull"), Scyther, and Mudkip.
Ash's Pokédex was certainly getting a workout that day, informing Ash about the Hoenn region Pokémon. "Wingull, the Seagull Pokémon. Wingull will fly through the sky as though surfing waves. It normally carries food and other valuable items, then hides them here and there." "Mudkip, the Mud Fish Pokémon. Mudkip uses the sensitive fin on its head to take radar readings off its surroundings."
The two Bulbasaur, Ash's Bayleef and Heracross, and Justin's Scyther took naps in the foliage. All the Water Pokémon swam lazily in the pool. Ash's Cyndaquil and Justin's Charizard were napping on the rocks, while Brock's Pokémon were playing catch with Ash's Pikachu and Seagull (Justin's Wingull). Meanwhile, Ash, Misty, Brock, and Justin sat talking about Guyana. All was well.
Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon.
Team Mordred was, at that moment, moving out.
The negotiations between Giovanni's representatives and Mordred's had resulted in a cooperation agreement; now Teams Mordred, Aqua, Magma, and Rocket were united under the name "Coeus", a reference to the Greek Titan of wisdom. Mordred wasn't concerned with the name of the alliance. The plan didn't depend upon names.
Mordred stood on a plateau overlooking his army. The last of Team Mordred's fighting force had just emerged from the hidden cave leading to the Team's underground headquarters, and now Mordred could see the full strength of his command. Three hundred Team Mordred soldiers, a mass of black with spots of gray (their gloves), marched forward confidently. Each had bright yellow "M"s on the front of their uniforms and a maroon beret atop their heads. Each of the soldiers possessed various Pokémon of all types and most species, each trained for a different purpose, be it dive bombing or close combat. Some of the soldiers would be traveling in vehicles, but most would be marching (for intimidation of the enemy). They were more than capable of marching this distance. Two hundred soldiers had been left to guard the HQ. Team Rocket's helicopters, Team Magma's tanks, and Team Aqua's ships would be supplementing Team Mordred's arsenal, in addition to the one hundred troops they would each be supplying. The allies would meet in Guyana. Mordred watched as his great army began to split up. Being so large, the army had to make themselves as inconspicuous as possible, and that meant taking separate routes to the jungles of Guyana. Even with those measures it had taken a lot of bribing and sabotage to ensure that the huge combined fighting forces would not be noticed by governmental or international authorities. But, of course, it was all worth it. Soon the MID would be in Mordred's hands, and Mew would be ever closer to being in his possession.
Mordred reflected idly that most any other man of power would take this moment to laugh evilly. But Mordred never laughed; he only smiled a smile which would chill the coldest Ice Pokémon. For never was there a person more dedicated to his goal than Mordred.
* * *
(Written like a script)
Scene in a dark room.
Camera rolls slowly to right. We see a picture with a family (music - violins fade in with very high, happy note); the father's face is covered in the shadows (basses fade in with discordant notes, constant and thrumming).
Camera changes direction slightly, showing a paper on the desk. Somebody is writing on it. The music gets louder, the violins go down and the basses go up as we can see what's being written: it's a check to somebody from the Treasury of Guyana. As soon as the pen stops, the music cuts off.
Camera switches to front view of the man at the desk, also covered in shadows. He places the check in a pile; a distant thumping, a boom, like a giant drum, is heard.
The man doesn't hear it.
He writes another check, places it in the pile. Another boom.
Another check - this time the man hesitates, looking at the picture on his desk. Then he continues; we see the check land in the pile as the third boom comes - no louder, no softer...
Just another day at the government.
* * *
The next day dawned brightly. Ash opened his eyes and for a second thought he was still dreaming, because everything was silent. No Murkrow cawed, no Pidgey cried, no Hoothoot hooted. Ash craned his neck and saw Misty and Brock breathing, but he couldn't hear them. That's odd, he thought, they usually make at least some noise when they're asleep. Unlike me! I never snore! his egotistic voice (which, by chance, was the same voice as his over-confident voice) added in.
Ash's thoughts echoed in his head, as if waiting for some sort of reply, a sound to break the silence. But none came. Ash wondered sleepily if he had become deaf. Then he shifted slightly in his sleeping bag, causing an explosion of ruff-ruff-ling sounds that momentarily gave some nourishment to Ash's ears; but then that too died away, and silence returned, intact. It was then that Ash noticed that Pikachu was not beside him.
Now fully awake, Ash dressed quietly and crept out into the hall, closing the door of the room on the uppermost floor they had been granted by the MID to sleep in. He jumped and almost yelled when the neighboring door opened and Justin emerged.
"It's just me," Justin whispered as he closed his door. "Bulbasaur's missing. Why are you up?"
Ash looked down the hall, where the early sunlight shone through the huge windows. Ash was reminded strangely of seeing apple juice through a bottle. "Pikachu's missing too... hey, there they are!" He pointed towards the windows. Ash's Pikachu and Justin's Bulbasaur sat near them, viewing the jungle.
When their trainers reached them, neither Pikachu nor Bulbasaur moved. Intrigued, Ash sat down next to them. "Hey, Pikachu, what's up? Why are you and Bulbasaur here? It's still pretty early."
Pikachu turned briefly to Ash. Its eyes were full of worry. "Pika, Pikapi" it replied in a sad voice, before turning back to the window.
Justin's Bulbasaur also turned to its trainer. "Bulba, Bulbasaur. Bulb..."
Justin looked back into Bulbasaur's eyes. Like Ash, he didn't need a Pokémon translator to know what his Pokémon was saying. "They're worried. They think something's going to happen."
Ash recalled a dream he had had last night of all the Pokémon in the jungle behaving strangely - hiding themselves, flying away in groves, running away. Maybe it wasn't a dream. He recalled Professor Oak telling him one time that Pokémon are much more in tune with nature than humans. He and Justin looked on with Pikachu and Bulbasaur as the rising sun's peak emerged over the trees.
Then several things happened in succession.
Something bright, something fast, something on fire appeared in the distance, rising up over the trees. It sped like a comet, cutting through the air like a zipper on a giant coat, shedding light on anything that had not yet been penetrated by the sun. The flaming object grew larger as it rose higher, finally reaching a peak in the sky, then slowly descended, becoming larger ever still; Ash and Justin realized simultaneously that it was heading directly for the building.
Down in the basement of the MID, Officer Jenny was reaching for her coffee mug when the alarm went off. The building's satellite defense system had detected something heading towards the area from the south at high speed. Jenny instantly glanced to the southern camera screens, all of which depicted from various angles a bright, flaming object rocketing towards them. The missile, whatever it was, had been fired too close to the MID for the defense system to counter-attack in time. All Jenny could do was rap out orders to her hurriedly-awakened policemen and watch in horror as the object drew closer by the second.
Ash, Justin, and their Pokémon ran from the window as far as they could before the massive object, a flaming boulder, crashed into the ground outside the MID - not two hundred feet from its walls - and disintegrated. The entire building shook, and several windows shattered. Shouts and screams followed the incredible noise of the explosion as the occupants of the Mew Investigation Department awoke amid panic and confusion. Ash found himself on the floor of the hallway next to Pikachu. Justin hauled him up as Misty and Brock ran out of their room half-dressed. Togepi cried in Misty's arms. Security police dashed everywhere, yelling orders and herding dazed scientists and Pokémon downstairs.
Far, far away from this turmoil, Pokémon across the world stopped and listened. And one particular Pokémon, flying high above the earth, turned in an arc of fire and rainbows and headed for the country of Guyana.
A/N: How did you like the "script" scene? I got the idea for it right before bed one night and begged my mom to let me on the computer really quickly before going to sleep. Was it unclear what the man was doing? If so, he is illegally promising money from the Guyanan Treasury to... someone. You can probably guess who, given who was recalling bribing government officials just before this scene. I understand that the check thing may not make sense - it's the best idea I had that wouldn't change the scene too much. Exactly what the man is doing is irrelevant. The point is that he is betraying his people, including his family.
Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon.
Ash and Pikachu, Misty and Togepi, Brock, and Justin and Bulbasaur were among those herded downstairs by Jenny's security personnel. Other policemen were setting up positions at the windows; others helped researchers carry the more important pieces of work, artifacts, and equipment downstairs; still others were in the process of reinforcing defenses on the walls and windows of the building. If anybody knew what was going on, they didn't share it. Ash noticed that even the policemen seemed bewildered, though they remained calm as they executed their duties. Misty looked terrified; Brock and Justin and his Bulbasaur looked shocked but calm. Pikachu was shaking on Ash's shoulder; it was just as scared as he was.
While Ash wondered what in the world could have caused a huge burning rock to fly through the sky and hit the ground near the building, the policemen hurried him and the others down the stairs to the first floor and then towards another set of stairs hidden behind a large potted plant and protected by steel doors. Brock suddenly turned and ran in the direction of the play pool in the lobby.
"The wild Pokémon! We can't leave them!"
But a policeman grabbed him and held him back. "They're gone, sir! Back to the jungle. They'll be fine!"
The stairway was long and led to a large room that looked like a fallout shelter. After everyone in the building except most of the security force had been moved to the shelter, several security personnel closed and locked another set of big steel doors at the bottom of the stairs. Oxygen tanks pumped clean, fresh air into the room, and the policemen encouraged everyone to settle down and wait for the rest of the security force to bring things under control and identify the threat. The atmosphere was nevertheless tense. Some researchers sat down with their friends, co-workers and Pokémon to discuss what had happened. Others tried to get some rest on the cots provided. Sahil and Vidyut came over to talk; Sahil gave Togepi a candy of some sort, which stopped its crying.
Ash suddenly jumped up. "My Pokémon!" He had forgotten all about them in the rush. He tried to get past the security personnel, feeling very ashamed of himself.
Brock held up three bags. "I'm way ahead of you, Ash. I brought all our Pokémon, don't worry."
Ash retrieved his bag with relief, though he had still not forgiven himself for forgetting his Pokémon.
Justin looked less relieved. He had forgotten his Pokémon too, but he had been sleeping alone. He sat down hard and his normally up-beat face began to stream with tears. "I can't believe I forgot about my friends. Bulbasaur, they're all still up there... Muddy... Scyther... "
Bulbasaur patted his back. "Bulbasaur. Saur bulba bulba."
Then the policemen opened the steel doors. Nurse Joy entered, followed by a Blissey and several Chansey. All of them were either pushing stretchers or carrying medical equipment. Only two of the stretchers contained patients: a white-coated researcher and an Tangela.
"Professor Katt!" Ash, Misty, Brock, Justin, and Sahil shouted. They ran to the unconscious professor's side. He had several bruises but looked okay. As for Tangela, it was hard to see a bruise with all the vines on its body, but scratches were evident.
Nurse Joy put them at ease. "These two will be fine. As to why there were so very close to that boulder when it impacted the ground... " She shook her head. "Quite foolish of them. They're lucky they're alive." Chansey wheeled the stretchers to a corner of the shelter, where the Blissey was directing the set-up of a make-shift medical center.
"Pikachu pika, pikachu." Professor Chu spoke from next to Joy, but Ash and the others hadn't noticed him. He looked worn out.
"Yes, Professor," Joy replied, "that's just what I was saying. Very foolish of them." As if suddenly remembering something, she took out a bag. "Oh, and I've got some Poké Balls from the rooms upstairs, if anybody left them up there."
Justin received his five other Pokémon with a similar expression of relief to Ash's.
"Nurse Joy," asked Sahil, "do you know who or what attacked us?"
Joy looked around and lowered her voice. "Not exactly, but we'll find out pretty soon. I don't want to get everyone worried, but that boulder attack wasn't a simple warning shot. We can see clouds of dust and smoke in every direction, heading towards the building. I'm talking the size that armies can make."
Sahil cursed in Hindi. "Armies? I never thought governments would attempt to take over a scientific project by force."
"Neither did I," agreed Joy. "But we don't know if this is a government force or a criminal force we're dealing with. All we know is that they're certainly not friendly. Now, if you'll excuse me." She went to the medical corner to check on her patients, leaving the others to wonder why in the world this was happening to them.
* * *
Mordred watched as the MID became clearly visible through the window of his helicopter. The flames and smoke from the boulder were dying down, allowing his army and the people inside the MID to see each other. The flaming boulder had really been a fine idea. Mordred's idea, of course. He had shared his idea for the giant, burning missile with Hadis. The capable second-in-command had suggested using several Rhydon to transport the boulder, having Magmar and Charizard set it aflame, and building an old-fashioned catapult to launch it. Such a seemingly complex and unnecessary operation turned out to be an easy enough one for Team Mordred, and it had the desired effect on the weak little researchers in the MID. No doubt they were terrified, cowering in their little shelter below the ground.
Not that they'll be easy to beat, Mordred thought to himself. They may be small and inexperienced, but their defenses are highly sophisticated. Penetrating those defenses will take some time, even with the intelligence I have on the building.
As Mordred reflected on the situation, his helicopter slowed and started to descend. Soldiers slid down a rope to the ground to inspect the chosen landing site. Soon Mordred was on the ground again, sitting in a tent in front of several computer screens and maps. He watched his army, represented by a large red mass on the biggest screen, advance slowly on the MID under Hadis' command. When the front line came within 1,000 feet of the southern entrance, Hadis called a halt. Mordred turned his attention to a live video streaming from somewhere behind Hadis. The young commander looked confident as he mounted an Armored Personnel Carrier and spoke through a megaphone to the people visible in the windows.
"Hear me, researchers! Your work has come to the attention of Team Coeus, an alliance of powerful Pokémon-gathering syndicates. We have decided that the Mew Investigation Department would be more efficient and more productive under our control. You have the option of coming out in surrender; none of you would be harmed. You would be free to live your lives away from the Department. We do not wish to hurt you, for you are peaceful scientists. Yet we will use force if you refuse our generous offer. On that note, I suggest you contemplate the odds of successful resistance." He lowered the megaphone briefly - the signal. One hundred Team Magma soldiers and tens of tanks emerged from the dense jungle to the east, not more than 1,000 feet from the MID building, like Team Mordred. To the west, one hundred Team Rocket soldiers made themselves visible in a similar fashion, followed by a few of their helicopters. To the north, one hundred Team Aqua soldiers emerged. They may not have looked as impressive as their allies without tanks or helicopters, but Team Aqua's real weapons - submarines and destroyers - lay northward off the South American coast.
Hadis raised his megaphone again. "You have until sunset tonight to make a decision." He wasn't smiling; Hadis never smiled or laughed. Yet Mordred could tell that the man was in a good mood.
As Hadis dismounted the APC he had been standing on, Mordred turned away from the broadcasting screen and faced the officers awaiting orders. "Make sure everyone in the MID knows just how much of an advantage we have. Parade the soldiers. Tell Maxie to aim all his tanks' guns at the windows. Advise Giovanni to keep at least one of his helicopters flying around the building. Remember, this stage of the attack is all about show of force. And keep me updated on any activities of those researchers. You are dismissed."
The officers saluted and left to perform their duties. Mordred, however, remained where he stood for a moment, collecting his thoughts. Then he sat down and began waiting.
* * *
Down in the safety bunker bellow the MID building, Ash and his friends were also waiting. No updates had reached them yet, so no one knew what to do. Sending out their Pokémon would be pointless, since all they could do was worry, and the bunker didn't look like it could hold too many parties of Pokémon in addition to tens of human beings. Misty rocked Togepi back and forth, trying to get it to go to sleep. Upset by all the ruckus, Togepi refused to quiet; its crying echoed in the bunker.
Seeing Misty's worried frustration, Pikachu tried desperately to make Togepi laugh with imitations. First it imitated Jessie from Team Rocket by sweeping its ears back like Jessie's long hair. Pikachu struck a comically confident pose. "Pika pi-chu pika!" it declared, using Jessie's opening line from Team Rocket's motto. Then Pikachu bent its ears like James' hair, struck an even more comical pose, and drawled in a deep, over-dramatic tone: "Chu pika pika!"
Togepi stopped crying a little, but tears still filled its eyes. Not to worry, though. Pikachu widened its eyes and stood like Meowth would stand, with its front paws in the air and back paws away from eachother. The yellow Meowth skipped to the end of the motto: "Pika, chu Pik!" It was about to imitate Wobbuffet's usual appearance at the end of the motto when it noticed that Togepi had begun to sniffle, preparing for another wail. Perhaps Togepi's memory of Team Rocket had been too scary to amuse it. Changing tactics at light speed, Pikachu got on all fours, laid back its ears, and stretched out its eyes and mouth. "Pikachu-pika!" it cried in imitation of Ash's Bulbasaur. But Togepi unexpectedly began crying again!
Pikachu wondered why Togepi would cry at the thought of Bulbasaur, but then it seemed to remember something. It turned to Ash. "Pikapi, pika pika chu Pikachu-pika!" After Pikachu repeated "Pikachu-pika" a couple of times, Ash got the message. He got out Bulbasaur's Poké Ball and let the Seed Pokémon out.
Bulbasaur exchanged a glance with Pikachu, took one look at Togepi - who had suddenly stopped wailing - and went to work. Slowly, gently, it cradled Togepi with its vines, then lifted it slightly and began to rock it back and forth. Togepi chirped its approval. "Toge Toge Toge!"
As Bulbasaur began singing its "Bulba-by" to Togepi, Misty and the rest looked on in amazement. Some of Ash's Pokémon had witnessed this spectacle of tenderness before, when Pikachu and the others took a day off at a Pokémon Vacation center. Ash, however, had never seen it before.
Pikachu sighed in relief, then gave Misty a look that said: "Oh, so the baby likes Bulbasaur's convenient vines but not my talented imitations?"
Misty giggled. "Aw, Pikachu, I thought your imitations of Team Rocket were hilarious."
Brock agreed, grinning. "Yeah. I liked James' voice the best!" (A/N: *giggles*)
Misty turned to Ash. "Didn't you enjoy Pikachu's imitations, A-" She broke off. Ash was watching his Bulbasaur with tears in his eyes. "Ash, what's wrong?"
"Nothing," he said quickly, blushing and rubbing his eyes. "Just... I just think it's so beautiful." He said it quietly so as not to disturb Togepi.
Misty felt suddenly very warm inside. "Ash, that's... that's sweet." Their eyes met for a second, then both of them turned away, blushing. Brock watched them both with his hand over his mouth to stifle his knowing smile. As for Justin and his Bulbasaur, they continued to observe the Bulba-by.
"Bulba..." whispered the amazed Bulbasaur after a while.
Justin patted its back. "I'm sure you could do the same thing, Bulbasaur..." Then he caught sight of Ash and Misty blushing. "Hmm... maybe lullabies are a way to pick up chicks..."
He and his Bulbasaur looked at each other. Then they each pointed a finger/vine at the other. "Bulba-saur!" "No, you're doing the singing!" "Bulba!" "No, you!"
Just as Togepi had fallen asleep, two security officers unlatched the big steel doors and admitted Officer Jenny and the rest of the security force. Immediately Joy and Jenny conversed privately, then came over to Ash's group.
"We're afraid we've got some bad news," said Jenny gravely. "The MID is completely surrounded by a hostile gang. We're under siege."
A/N: I just realized I never explained why Sahil and Vidyut (and their nams) are Indian (as in the country, not Native Americans). Indians are a major ethnic group in Guyana. (Anyone from Guayana? Sorry if I'm completely butchering your country's feel. :banghead:)
Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon.
"Oh, dear." Professor Katt studied his reflection in a mirror. "That bump on my head won't look good on my yearly profile picture. I'll be the laughing stock at the online scientific convention next week!"
"Wcht." Tangela patted its owner's back sympathetically.
Nurse Joy turned to Katt with the slightest look of impatience. "Professor Katt, even if that bump lasts a week, you can worry about it later. We need your full attention in this crisis committee."
Katt put down the mirror hastily, his face red. "Quite right. I'm sorry, Officer Jenny, please continue."
Ash, Misty, Brock, Justin, Joy, Katt, Professor Chu, and two of Jenny's security officers watched carefully as Jenny explained the makeshift map she had set up on the table. "Right," she said, "here's the situation. We're here." She pointed to a large green marker at the center of the map. "And here," she said, sweeping her finger in a circle around the green marker, "is the enemy, the so-called 'Team Coeus.' Apparently they're an alliance of four different criminal organizations. They have tanks, helicopters, and ground units. At this time, we do not know the enemy's numbers, but estimates put the total amount of soldiers at well over four hundred."
Brock asked the first question. "Officer Jenny, do we know who these people are or what they want?"
"We believe we know who most of them are," Jenny replied, taking out her laptop and opening it on the table. After opening a few windows, she showed the rest of the make-shift situation committee a satellite image of the MID. At first, Ash thought that it was the same image Professor Oak had shown him, but then he saw the difference: the clearing to the south was occupied by a mass of black. Armored vehicles and soldiers were clearly visible. The trees to the north, west, and east concealed any enemy units, but smoke and shaking trees gave away the presence of more armies.
"These units to the east," Jenny continued, clicking on the right-hand side of the image, "appear to be tanks and soldiers from a crime syndicate in the Hoenn region known as Team Magma." Another window popped up, showing the army in the east from the perspective of the eastern wall of the building. The tanks, oddly-shaped with rounded edges, displayed red-and-black paint schemes. The turret on each tank was located on the tank's right side instead of in the middle. As the camera zoomed in, individual men and women in red hoodies and black boots became visible. Most of them held Poké Balls; some had let their Pokémon out. Rhyhorn and Rhydon, Houndour and Houndoom, and Lairon and Aggron were clearly visible. None of the Pokémon looked friendly.
Justin gasped. "Look!" He pointed to a group of soldiers. "Some of them have guns!" Indeed, a few of the Magma troopers carried AK-47 assault rifles and AKS-74u submachine guns instead of Poké Balls.
Jenny's face went even grimmer. "Yes. This is a surprising move. Even hardened criminal organizations like Team Magma rarely use firearms."
Then Jenny showed the rest pictures of the other armies, with her two officers providing details on Pokémon and weapons. To the north, blue-and-white-coated Team Aqua soldiers sat with Crawdawnt and Mightyena at their side. Like Team Magma, a few of the soldiers carried guns, in this case, AK-47s and FN P90 submachine guns. However, Team Aqua had fewer soldiers and no tanks in sight.
To the west, soldiers in black uniforms and caps stood at the ready. Venusaur, Charizard, Blastoise, Electrode, and Ariados mingled with the humans. Some of the soldiers carried AK-47s and Mini-Uzi submachine guns. At the top of the screen could be seen the bottoms of a few helicopters hovering and circling above the treetops.
Ash ground his teeth. "I recognize those guys. It's Team Rocket!"
"Yes indeed," said Nurse Joy, looking very worried. "They're worse than any other villains when it comes to treating Pokémon!"
Finally, to the south, soldiers in uniforms similar to those of Team Rocket's stood amidst a convoy of trucks and tracked vehicles. They stood out due to the bright yellow "M"s on their shirts. Pokémon visible included Medicham, Banette, Fearow, and Magmar. A few of the soldiers held StG-44 assault rifles and MP40 submachine guns.
"This," said Jenny, indicating the screen, "is Team Mordred. We know that they've been active all around the world, but other than that intelligence is very thin."
Ash's mind whirled with images of men and women with guns and powerful Pokémon. Despite all the security measures and the attempted theft of the Mew photograph by two mysterious people, he had never expected something like this to happen. He, Ash Ketchum, and his friends were trapped in a research building, surrounded by hundreds of enemies!
Misty apparently felt the same confusion and fear. "What do these people want, Officer Jenny?"
In response, Jenny opened a video of a Team Mordred officer yelling in a megaphone.
"... We have decided that the Mew Investigation Department would be more efficient and more productive under our control..."
Brock shrugged. "That could mean anything. It's already obvious they want to take over the place."
"Maybe they want to make money off the research," posited Justin.
"No," said Professor Katt, shaking his head, "the MID doesn't make much money. As with all true scientific projects, we're committed to learning, not profiting."
Nurse Joy offered a guess. "Perhaps they intend on taking us hostage and selling us for ransom? I wouldn't at all be surprised if that man with the megaphone were lying to us about freedom upon surrender."
Ash spoke up in reply. "If they wanted us hostage, why didn't they just say so? And you don't need hundreds of soldiers and tanks and stuff just to herd people out of the building." He blushed and added hastily, "That is, I suppose you don't. Never tried it myself." Misty giggled.
One of Jenny's officers, younger than the other, started to speak. "Maybe th-" he stopped short, seeming to realize that his opinion hadn't been asked for.
But Jenny nodded. "Go on, Lieutenant."
The young officer continued shyly. "Uh - I was just thinking that maybe these hostiles are interested in the research itself."
"Is the research valuable enough to drive this 'Team Coeus' to take it by force?" Brock asked incredulously.
Joy and Jenny turned to Professors Katt and Chu. Chu nodded and said simply, "Pi."
Ash remembered something then. "Uh, Professor Katt, weren't you telling us something about Mew's special powers yesterday?"
"Ah, yes." Katt's face darkened. "The professor and I better explain. Tangela, would you mind getting the ancient script?"
Tangela waddled toward the large collection of important devices, manuscripts, and artifacts that the security personnel had carried to the safety bunker. It came back carefully holding in its vines a heavy glass case with a stone tablet inside. Seeing Tangela was dangerously close to tipping over with the weight, Ash's Pikachu and Justin's Bulbasaur hurried to help the poor Vine Pokémon. When the case finally reached the table, Katt pointed to the strange shapes on the tablet.
"This script is written in the language of the native Carib people," he said. "Until recently, they were thought to possess no written language, but other tablets like this one have not only proved that theory wrong but have also yielded the key to translating the language."
Ash looked closely at the ancient script. It was a combination of circles and straight lines, with some wiggly lines every now and then. In the center of the tablet was a carving of Mew.
Katt began to translate, reading from the top down instead of left to right. "Beware. Power unimaginable sits in it. Wonderfully it gave to us what it possessed, which we will use against the pale invaders. They know it naught. O rare creature!"
* * *
Silence followed Katt's translation until Ash asked the obvious. "What's all that mean?"
Katt explained. "This tablet dates back to 1498, when European explorer Christopher Columbus 'discovered' South America. Given the timeframe, the 'pale invaders' in the script probably refer to the Europeans. As you may know, the explorers rarely got off to a good start with the Native Americans. Though many of the Caribs converted to the explorers' Catholicism, few admired the attitude Columbus and his contemporaries directed towards natives."
Joy agreed with a sad look in her eyes. "At best, the Europeans saw the natives as trading partners. At worst, they saw them as animals unworthy of humane treatment. Entire peoples died from violent conquests, disease, and slavery. I don't blame the Caribs at all for wanting to fight back." Brock was moved to tears at the sight of Joy but didn't even think of commenting on her looks at that moment.
"But what about that 'power unimaginable' in the tablet?" Justin asked. "Does it mean a weapon or something?"
"You've hit the nail on the head, Justin." Katt nodded. "In all likelihoods this power of Mew's was supposed to be a weapon, though I can't imagine what it might be. Whatever it was, either the Caribs had it wrong about Mew or they didn't use it in time to stop the complete dominance of the Europeans in South America."
Ash shook his head. All this history stuff was great, but it didn't answer any questions. "Professor Katt, I don't mean to be rude, but what does a stone from the age of the dinosaurs have to do with us?"
Jenny looked sharply at Katt, who slowly nodded. Then she straightened with a sigh. "These villains surrounding us probably know something about this tablet. They want their hands on the weapon of Mew."
The table stood in the same large shelter room as the rest of the MID's staff. No walls separated Ash, Jenny, Katt, and the others from the nervously chatting scientists or the restless police officers. Yet somehow, the noises of the others seemed to hit an invisible barrier surrounding the party at the table. Silence echoed in that small pocket of the room. The movements of those blissfully unaware of the truth of the situation blurred.
Then Ash cleared his throat.
That's all he said.
Misty burst into a fit of giggles, breaking the barrier and relaxing the atmosphere somewhat. Even Tangela seemed to smile, and Tangela didn't have a visible mouth.
Disclaimer: I do own neither Pokémon nor A Very Potter Musical (*high-pitched shriek*).
The meeting at the table had adjourned. Nobody knew where to find a Mew, which, as Brock pointed out, was actually a good thing. "We're not the ones looking for Mew," he explained to the others sitting near the wall. "This Team Coeus is. If they manage to get to us down here, they won't be able to use us to find Mew."
"Right you are, Brock," said Professor Katt. "If there was information about the whereabouts of a Mew stored in our extensive records, besides the fact that one was seen in this jungle relatively recently, I'd know about it. However, there are very delicate and valuable artifacts and observations contained in this research facility. If those jewels of science fell into the wrong hands..." The professor shuddered.
Nurse Joy sighed. "Oh this doesn't look good. I don't even want to think what might happen to all the Pokémon here if those villains capture us. I wish there was some way to stop them!"
Brock was about to think up a comforting reply to Joy, who looked particularly beautiful when she was vulnerable, when Vulpix burst out of its Poké Ball. "Vol, vol!" it cried, looking directly at Brock.
"What's up, Vulpix?" Brock patted the Pokémon's luxurious fur. "Want another brushing?" But Vulpix kept crying out, pacing in an urgent sort of manner.
Misty sat up from where she had been dozing against the wall. "Brock, maybe Vulpix is trying to tell you something!"
Vulpix nodded, turned around, and pointed with its nose at the wall to the right of where the friends sat.
Now Ash sat up, suddenly becoming conscious of how close he sat to Misty. "Uh, Mis- I mean, uh - Brock, what's the matter with Vulpix?"
Sahil, Vidyut, and Professors Katt and Chu ambled over. "Nothing, Ash," said Sahil. "Vulpix is trying to tell Brock something about that wall. Perhaps it senses movement behind it?..."
Brock shook his head. "I don't think so... it looks like Vulpix is pointing in the direction of the wall, not the wall itself..."
Chu approached Vulpix, exchanging a few words with the Fox Pokémon. After a reply from Vulpix, Chu stiffened. It turned to its colleague with wide eyes. "Chu-pik pikachu... chu," it uttered in a stunned voice.
After staring at Chu for several seconds, Katt turned, also looking stunned. "Professor Chu informs me that Vulpix is... pointing towards... the location of Mew."
Misty was so shocked that she didn't even giggle when Ash commented, "Uh, Professor, can Mew be invisible? Because I just see a wall."
Officer Jenny had joined the group. "He means that a Mew is located somewhere in that direction - the east. But Professors, how can this be? How could a Vulpix - inside its Poké Ball - suddenly sense one of the rarest Pokémon in existence?"
Katt scratched his head. "I... I don't know." He turned back to Chu, this time engaging in a lengthy conversation consisting of much pantomime. Finally, he faced Brock. "Chu says that your Vulpix has a strong feeling that something important lies to the east. It's hard to tell, but that something may be related to Mew. That's what Vulpix thinks anyway."
"Well, I don't know if or how Vulpix is right, but I say we go east and find Mew before Team Coeus does!" proclaimed Ash, jumping up and striking what he imagined to be a heroic pose. After realizing that everyone was staring at him, he rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. "I mean, it's not like we have anything else to do."
"But Ash," Misty objected, "how are we going to go east in the first place? We're surrounded and trapped in this bunker!"
By the look on Jenny's face, Ash could tell that the Officer's mind was working furiously. She hurried to the older of the two officers who had attended the meeting. "Bring me a map of the building and the surrounding area." The officer soon returned with a map. Jenny spread it out on the floor and took out a pencil.
"If I'm correct," Katt thought aloud in an almost amused tone, "you have a plan to get us out of here, Officer."
"You are correct, Professor," responded, grinning in a giddy sort of way. "Before our communication system went down, we managed to send out a small distress signal. It probably didn't reach very many of our contacts - only the first one or two on the priority list. Professor Oak would have been the first person to receive the signal. If he did, then he'll have contacted others by now. Hopefully, the first responders are heading towards Guyana right now."
Justin sighed in relief. "Oh, good. Reinforcements!"
"Don't think we're out of this mess by far," replied Jenny grimly. "The first responders will likely be individuals and their Pokémon. Government forces will take a while, and that's assuming they've been informed and are willing to help."
Sahil smashed his fist angrily on the wall. "I wouldn't be surprised if our government allies have been infiltrated. How else would an army like Team Coeus have gotten here without being spotted?"
"Well," Jenny continued, "we'll just have to hope that's not the case. Anyway, when the first responders get here, we might be able to use their appearance as a distraction, which would allow a few of us to escape and head east into the trees."
Professor Katt looked doubtful. "But, Officer, how would we do that? There's a bunch of black-and-red-striped hooligans in that area, remember? I'd sooner try to teach paleontology to a bunch of Slowpoke! No offense," he added as a nearby Slowpoke glanced in their direction.
Jenny looked at Brock, who answered smartly, "We'll use the tunnels from the play pool!"
Sahil slapped his forehead. "Of course! The tunnels that lead to the east should be long enough so that we can walk past Team Magma, literally right under their noses! But there are bigger problems, Officer Jenny. How will we know if and when our initial 'reinforcements' arrive? And won't those crooks just blast them out of the sky?"
"I'm afraid there's a possibility that the first responders will be attacked, yes," admitted Jenny. "But I'm guessing that they'll be a small enough force to avoid being detected. With luck, their appearance will be a surprise to Team Coeus. It's a big risk, but if Professor Oak has talked to them, our friends will know the danger they're facing. As for knowing if and when they get here, my team will take care of that. We just need to be ready."
"But who will go to find Mew?" asked Nurse Joy anxiously.
Jenny thought for a while, then turned to Ash, Misty, and Brock. All three backed away slightly without realizing it. "Professor Oak sent these kids for a reason," said Jenny. "He must trust them. I can't send my security forces anyway, since I need them here."
Nurse Joy objected loudly. "Officer, you can't send these three on a dangerous mission like this!" Brock lit up like a bonfire, delighted that Joy seemed concerned for his safety. But then she continued, "Ash here has two Pokémon recovering from injuries! Oh, uh, and they're just kids, after all," she added apologetically as Brock performed a face-plant.
Jenny looked conflicted, but she shook her head. "We have no choice. Kids, I won't force you to go, but we really need your help. What do you think?"
Ash gulped, then looked at Misty and Brock. They looked the same as him: scared, but determined. So Ash turned back to Jenny and said, "We're your people, Officer Jenny!"
"Pikachu!" added Pikachu excitedly.
Jenny smiled and thanked the trio, but Joy frowned. "Oh, all right. But as a Pokémon doctor I advise you to leave your Cyndaquil and Totodile here."
"What?!" Ash cried, alarmed. "Why can't I bring them? You said you healed them!"
Brock took offense at that remark. "Ash, Nurse Joy healed your Pokémon, but that doesn't mean they're ready to battle again! You have to give them time to recover and rest up."
Ash was about to protest when he remembered the last time he had expected too much of his Pokémon. Cyndaquil wailing, Totodile with the doubt on its face... Finally Ash nodded glumly.
Justin, meanwhile, seemed disappointed to be left out of the Mew search party. Seeing this, Sahil patted him on the shoulder. "As for you, Justin, we will be needing you here to defend the MID! If you and your Pokémon can repeat the performance you put on when those thieves tried to steal the photograph of Mew, we will be sitting in chairs eating curry over rice and chick peas by the time these three get back!"
GRRRRRROWL. Everyone jumped at the noise, but then they realized that it had been Vidyut's stomach rumbling. "Sorry," Sahil chuckled, "I just made Vidyut very hungry." Indeed, the poor Electric Pokémon was holding its stomach and groaning softly. At that point, Officer Jenny thought it might be a good idea to ask the cooks to start making brunch.
* * *
About 5 hours earlier, back in Kanto, Professor Oak had just completed his final round for the day at the laboratory. The setting sun bathed the walls in orange. Oak sat down at the dinner table.
"Ah, Tracey, these eggs look delicious! Delia has taught you well, hasn't she?"
Tracey half-grinned and half-grimaced. "Yeah, Mrs. Ketchum's cooking lessons sure are working. Of course, I'd love to be able to go outside and draw instead -"
The telescreen beeped. Sighing, Oak got up and went to the screen in the next room. "Now who could be emailing me at dinner?" He sat down at the screen and was still for a few seconds.
Tracey, who was lumping salsa on his eggs, noticed the silence from the other room. "What is it, Professor? Is something wr-"
Oak stumbled back into the kitchen. "Tracey," he said, his voice shaking slightly, "Tracey, run and go get Mrs. Ketchum. I would call her, but I'm going to be using the phone for the next several hours."
Tracey stood up, bewildered and concerned. "Professor, you look like you've seen a ghost!"
Oak's face was white. "Tracey, do what I've asked. Please. There's no time!"
Without another word, Tracey dashed out. Meanwhile, Oak hastily dialed a number. "... Professor Rumbleroar? Yes, it's Oak. It's happening... Yes... No, this is not a drill... Okay." Oak dialed another number immediately. "Hello, Kanto Security Administration? This is Professor Oak..."
A/N: Couple things. 1: For those clever souls who figured out that having Vulpix in this doesn't make sense, since Brock returned it during the Johto saga and this takes place after Johto, I would like to remind you of something I said in the prologue. Hmm, what was it now? Oh, right. Ahem. Uhhh... wait for it... uh, okay, so it wasn't in the prologue. Surely Chapter 1... no? OH COME ON! Hmph. Okay, I had meant to explain that I wanted Vulpix in the story, so I pretended that Brock got to keep Vulpix for a while longer.
Oh. It was in the A/N for Chapter 5. Oh well. What you already know won't hurt you. For those clever souls who realize I'm making a big point out of nothing, IMA FIRIN MAH LAZAR!!! or something like that.
Another note: Sorry if the reason Ash and co. decide to leave and search for Mew wasn't clear or seemed weak. I really struggled writing this part.
Third note: Professor Rumbleroar is a character from the hilarious musical A Very Potter Musical by StarKid Productions. I couldn't resist :P
One final note, the MOST IMPORTANT one: I often refer to the "reinforcements" that Jenny brings up as "first responders." I use this term because I didn't want to keep saying "reinforcements", and I couldn't think of another name. Also, these "first responders" are heroic, like the real first responders (those who immediately began helping people out of the World Trade Center on 9/11). In no way do I mean to imply that the heroicness of fictional characters compare with the heroes of 9/11. If I seem irreverent, I'm very sorry. Please tell me if that's the case. Does anyone know another term I can use?
A/N:You may have to look up some of the characters in this chapter so you know who I'm talking about.
Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon, the Marx Brothers, or Peanuts.
It was getting dark in the jungles of Guyana. Ash, Misty, and Brock sat near the iron doors of the underground bunker. Well, Misty was sitting at least; Ash and Brock paced restlessly. Officer Jenny walked up.
"Are you kids ready?" she asked. "My officers above us will radio me when they see anything."
"We're ready, Officer," responded Ash. As he spoke he looked around him at Brock, Misty (who happened to be staring right at him; Ash blushed and turned away), Jenny, Joy, Professors Katt and Chu, Sahil and Vidyut, Justin and his Bulbasaur, and finally Pikachu. With Totodile and Cyndaquil staying with Joy to rest up, Ash felt less than 100% confident, but Pikachu sparked from its cheeks encouragingly.
Vidyut said something which made Sahil laugh. Brock asked, "What did it say?"
"He said," Sahil obliged between chuckles, "that you guys should not worry. If you can survive his driving, you can survive this mission!"
Everyone laughed, somewhat nervously, before Jenny's walky-talky gave a crackle. Everyone froze. Jenny put the radio to her ear for a few moments, then motioned to some of her men to open the door. "Something's flying toward the building from the north. My men aren't sure, but they think they're friends; Team Coeus is scrambling to identify them. This is it, guys! Go! Go!"
Without a backward glance, Ash, Misty, and Brock charged through the open doors and mounted the stairs leading toward the ground level of the MID.
* * *
The Team Aqua officer in charge of reconnaissance had been enjoying a nice nap when his subordinate woke him. "Lieutenant, sir-?"
"What? What is it, Private?" muttered the lieutenant angrily.
"Sir, I just noticed, sir," the young and skinny private mumbled, "these... things." He pointed to the group of icons on the sonar and radar screens slowly making their way south.
The lieutenant grumbled and peered at the screen. Those little icons reminded him of a flock of birds. "These things, Private?" he asked sarcastically, still not fully awake. "These things are called birds - winged, feathered animals that fly in flocks. You should see one," he continued, slowly getting up from his seat and advancing on the young recruit. "Now, ya see, normally birds would show up smaller on these screens, but -" He stopped, rubbed his eyes, and took another look at the screen. After a moment, he whispered, "Holy Miltank!" Within a minute, all four entities of the Team Coeus alliance were being informed of the unidentified intruders approaching from the north. Sirens began to wind up and soldiers scurried here and there.
Liza heard the sirens and yelled to the others in the flying formation. "Looks like they've seen us! Prepare to dive, everybody!"
Holding their breaths, the motley group of trainers and Pokémon began their hasty descent. Liza's Charla lit up its tale flame, which until now had been kept as low as possible to avoid being seen, and led the other Flying Pokémon and their passengers in a dive directly onto the roof of the MID. As startled and disoriented Team Coeus members aimed their sights and directed their Pokémon towards the party on the roof, that party disappeared as quickly as it had come through doors leading downstairs. Over the next few minutes, it looked as if the daring first responders to the MID's distress call would surely be killed. A Team Magma tank fired at the building, creating a hole in its east side. Soldiers fired and Pokémon attacked. When the smoke cleared a minute later, though, no sign of the party could be sign.
Just as the reinforcements had landed on the roof, Jenny's security personnel had given Ash, Misty, and Brock the signal to run for the lobby. The bright flashes and noise of gunfire and shattering glass didn't make them slow down. As they neared the play pool, Ash noticed a group of familiar-looking people and Pokémon running past in the opposite direction, heading for the doors which Ash and the others had just come through. In the flashes of light, Ash was startled to see that the first responders were all people he knew. He was about to ask why Liza was here when she asked him a question of her own.
"Ash! Where are young going? Never mind, no time! Just take Charizard!" Ash's Charizard roared with delight at seeing its trainer.
Before Ash could respond, the Officer Jenny in charge of the Squirtle Squad also reunited him with one of his old Pokémon. "Take Squirtle too! The Squirtle Squad will be fine without it!" Squirtle skidded to a halt and happily joined Charizard.
As the groups separated, Ash heard many encouraging shouts from his old friends.
"Don't let them get even one hit, Ash! Take 'em down Electabuzz-style!"
"Good luck, Ashy-boy! Good luck, Brock and Misty! My Ditto and I will give these freaks a show to remember!"
"Don't worry, Ash, me an' Sparky’ll teach them a lesson!"
"Ash! Remember me, Macy?! Bye sweetie!"
"Misty, sis, I have no idea where you're going, but, like, try to not to get lost, okay?"
Ash, Misty, Brock, Pikachu, Charizard, and Squirtle dived into the hidden tunnels near the back of the artificial waterfall. After ensuring that they had all gotten in safe, they continued down the tunnel. While they ran, recent events seem to register with them. Ash grinned as he realized that he had Charizard and Squirtle back, two of his oldest Pokémon. Misty didn't look nearly as happy. "'Sweetie'?" she muttered.
Meanwhile, the party of first responders hurried down the stairs to the safety of the underground bunker, Jenny's police closing and locking all doors behind them. The scientists and Pokémon in the bunker gave them a hearty round of applause.
Justin was almost overwhelmed by the new faces that made up the MID's reinforcements. Each person briefly introduced themselves before heading to either the make-shift cafeteria or the place allotted them to sleep. Altogether, there were 17 humans and 32 Pokémon, all of whom apparently knew Ash Ketchum. Justin listened to Sahil count them off. "We've got Casey and her Meganium, Elekid, and Beedrill; Duplica and her two Ditto; Macy and her Vulpix, Macgargo, Quilava, and Electabuzz; Ritchie and his Pikachu, Charmeleon, Butterfree, Fearow, and Pupitar; Liza and three of her Charizard; the Kimono sisters and their Flareon, Jolteon, Umbreon, Vaporeon, and Espeon; Harrison and his Houndoom, Blaziken, Flygon, Skarmory, and Sneasel; Danny and his Nidoqueen, Scyther, Electrode, Machoke, Pidgeot, and Geodude; the Officer Jenny from Kanto and her four Squirtle; and the Cerulean sisters and their Luvdisc and Dewgong. In addition, we have two people, Professor Seymour and Dr. Quackenpoker, without Pokémon." (A/N: I made up some of the Pokémon, specifically Ritchie’s Fearow, Harrison’s Flygon and Skarmory, and Danny’s Pidgeot, for the purposes of the story. In order to have the reinforcements get to the MID by flying, I had to have a certain number of Flying and Dragon Pokémon. Liza’s two extra Charizard are also kind of made up, but they probably appeared in the anime when Ash visited the Charicific Valley. Also – obviously they didn’t fly here from across the Pacific – let’s assume they boarded flights to Guyana, met up, and then flew with their Pokémon.)
Officer Jenny nodded. "Right. Compared to those criminals outside, they're not much, but they'll sure be a big help. Thank you for risking your lives to come here," she said with a salute to Harrison, who had just come back from the cafeteria with a plate full of meatballs.
Harrison blushed. "It was nothing, Officer."
"How did you guys know to get here?" asked Justin.
"Professor Oak told us," replied Liza while feeding Charla. "He sent us emails with the info he got from the MID just before its communications went down. We each came as soon as we got the message."
Officer Jenny explained some more. "Professor Oak and I had established an emergency response network a long time ago. If anything went wrong here, I would alert Professor Oak, who would then alert everyone else on the network."
Lily walked over to a chair and sat down with a cup of water. "Wait a sec. Who choose us to be in this network thing, anyway? Like, I'm honored and everything, but... why me?"
Jenny smiled. "The Professor chose each individual; I don't know what his criteria for inclusion were. It seems that most of you here are good friends of Ash, Misty, and Brock - I'd say that's probably how he decided."
"Then why did I get picked?" asked Dr. Quackenpoker. (A/N: Groucho Marx voice <333333) "I barely know those kids. In fact, I've never even met that tall fella with the girl problem you mentioned."
Seymour the Scientist startled everyone by popping out from behind Sahil. "Ah, Doctor! How excruciatingly exciting to meet you! I too only met Ash and his friends briefly. If I may hazard a hypothesis, though, I think that Professor Oak may have wanted some experts mixed in with the friends. That's why he called you and me!"
Danny tried not to grin. "Maybe. But what's important is that we're here now. What can we do, Officer?"
Jenny motioned to some of her officers. "That's a good question, Danny. Let's figure that out now - unless you want to rest a bit."
Casey stifled a yawn and jumped up. "No way! The Electabuzz never take a break in the middle of a game, and neither should we! I say we pound those weirdoes with the guns into the dirt!"
With that, plans got underway.
* * *
Mordred didn't even move a muscle. His officers tried not to either, but eventually they were forced to inhale deeply, out of breath. Their boss didn't seem to need air.
Finally Mordred spoke. "So, can I assume, gentlemen, from what you have just told me, that no progress has been made in capturing the information we need?" The officers tried to look at each other out of the corners of their eyes. Mordred continued. "To the contrary, it seems that all we have done is damage the building and waste some of our ammunition." One or two of the men standing at attention gulped audibly. "And, to top it all, we have let a small, relatively indefensible group of those snobby scientists' allies to join with the main body in a very well-fortified bunker. The good news never ends." As he paused, the officers went into full panic mode internally. It was impossible to tell what Mordred would do to people who had disappointed him. He could lock them up for weeks, let them go with a formal reprimand, or just make them disappear. His face betrayed no hint of his decision-making progress. It was precisely this uncertainty, even more than his seemingly infinite power, that caused people to fear Mordred.
This time, the officers were lucky. Mordred dismissed them, advising them to exercise more control over their men as an example for Teams Rocket, Magma, and Aqua. Hadis, who had not been made to stand accused before the leader of Team Mordred, gave his report and received his orders, following the officers out of the tent. Mordred, now alone again, still barely moved. He was angry. Angry about the fiasco earlier that evening, yes. But that wasn't such a big problem. All it would do would delay his access to the information on Mew. There was something else, though. Something about the sudden gunfire, the shouts, the exploding shells... the fire. The fire was the worst. It stood tall, devouring his house, mocking his tears with a continuous roar. The shouts and jeers got louder. “Hey, kid – “
Mordred jolted back to reality. One of his officers was making a report. "Sir, our intelligence indicates that three people escaped the MID through tunnels meant for wild Pokémon. They emerged from the tunnels just east of Team Magma and kept going east. Team Rocket also noticed them and has already sent two agents on an intercept mission. Shall I insist that our men go, sir?"
"No,” replied Mordred, calm again. "That would only increase tensions in this uneasy alliance. Monitor their progress. We can't afford to go running after three individuals when we've got the MID surrounded. That will be all."
As Mordred retired for the night, he made a mental note to ask his personal doctor about unwanted flashbacks.
* * *
The next morning, Ash's party was up early, mostly due to Brock. "Wake up, sleepyheads! We have to move fast if we want to find Mew before Team Coeus does."
Ash groaned and turned over in his sleeping bag. The three of them had gotten very little sleep since Team Coeus attacked the MID. After much pestering from Brock, Ash finally got up and rubbed his eyes. They both turned to Misty, still sound asleep in her bag. "How are we going to wake her up?" asked Brock. "She didn't even respond to my promises of breakfast."
Ash grinned mischievously. "I'll get her to respond." He knelt and whispered in Misty's ear: "There's a bug on you."
Misty screamed and unexpectedly flung her arms around him. Ash did the natural thing boys do when girls throw their arms around them: he yelped and fell over. After it dawned on Misty that no bug was in fact invading her personal space, she started berating the blushing Ash. "You meanie! That was uncalled for, Ash Ketchum! If I had died of fright before you repaid me for my bike, I would kill - " She stopped and realized why Ash was blushing. "Oh. Ahh... heh...?" she trailed off as her skin color approached that of a Charmeleon.
"Uh," said Ash.
Pikachu, which had just crawled out from its sleeping bag, sighed pityingly. Togepi, as always, chirped happily.
After an awkward, hurried, breakfast, the gang set off, with Ash and Misty trying very hard not to look at each other. The jungle echoed with the sound of heavy guns being fired way back at the MID. They passed a particularly murky poll with all manner of green stuff floating on the surface. A minute after they had passed, the water bubbled and Team Rocket, covered in pond life and mud, emerged slowly and painfully.
"That's the last time I try taking a nap in a swamp," James complained as he picked leaves out of his hair.
Jessie just squealed in fury and disgust, staying still for fear of becoming more soaked and dirty.
Meowth frowned. "We wasn't takin' a nap, Jimmy, we landed here when those twerps sent us blastin' off again, remember? Hey wait! Wasn't that just them that passed?" They all looked in the direction of Ash's party.
"So what?" Jessie whined. "I don't want to chase the twerps until I'm clean and dry again! Uggghh!"
"Well, we can't wait around here," replied Meowth. "The Boss ain't too far away. If he finds out we're here..."
"Woooobbufett!" Wobbuffet suddenly popped out of its ball. "There you are!" Jessie exclaimed sarcastically as she recalled it. "I was beginning to get worried you were sick or something. You haven't come out and shared your blobby wisdom with us for a while."
James gulped. "Meowth, you're right. We need to get away from here as fast as we can!"
Meowth grinned. "Why not follow the twerps? They don't have that guide or his Electabuzz to protect 'em no more. We could catch Pikachu easy!"
Jessie brightened up. "And we can see if we can find a river or a lake to take a nice bath in! Arbok," she called, sending out the Cobra Pokémon, "get us out of this horrible muck!" Arbok pulled them the rest of the way out of the swamp, but in an effort to brush off the brown and green stuff clinging to its body, it sped through the jungle, dragging Team Rocket after it. The sight somewhat resembled Snoopy running around with Linus' blanket, Linus clinging on for dear life.
A/N: Again, sorry if it's not believable.