Addle's Fortnight (Rated R)
This story is a work in progress. It is meant to be seamless (from one person's perspective), and so if I do ever get to finish it it should be very long and run at a snail's pace. I hope you folks enjoy it anyway. Here's how it begins:
The first shot had missed.
For a second, Addle had stalled. So had Giovanni, but afterwards it certainly looked as if he had noticed the new bullet-hole which marked his own bench.
This was indeed Giovanni's bench. Maize City - the capital city of Maize Island - was also the "capital city" for Rocket activity, filled to the brim with corruption. Politicians were figureheads for their Team Rocket advisors; if they so wanted to, they could give Giovanni that bench for him to take home.
All the more reason why Giovanni seems pissed off, Addle supposed. A bullet wouldn't be much of a souvenir.
For the next few seconds Addle tried to keep cool, because as things were Giovanni wasn't breaking off into a run. He took aim again once Giovanni stood up, putting down his drink on the seat. At the sight of his subject, Addle gradually felt his confidence return to him. The casual way Giovanni was acting led Addle to believe that he was really opening himself up for the shot, but a voice at the back of Addle's head told him otherwise.
Addle had already received the money for this job; it was right behind him, in the suitcase along with the picture that he had used to identify Giovanni with. Thoughts of cash ate away at Addle's grip on the trigger, but the hold he had was ultimately steadied by all those lingering memories of the orders given to Addle as he was sent off into the fray. Those "orders" were in fact more like threats. If Addle was to stray away from killing Giovanni for more than a fortnight after taking the suitcase full of money, Addle would find someone with a suitcase in one hand and a gun in the other looking for both of them.
Addle wasn't the kind of person who would usually let such a sorry infraction of his contract occur under these conditions, though. After all he had only taken the suitcase earlier that morning, so it was in fact still only the first day of that vital fortnight given to him. But as Giovanni moved from his position to converse with an odd-looking man with a heavy black coat, Addle quickly found his one-day plan talked away before his very own eyes.
Addle's concentration on the task at hand was compromised by an anxiety that he had not felt since rougher days that he would have preferred to forget. The taste of the cool air gifted to Addle by his position on the top of the building was soon replaced by that of his own sweat.
Giovanni pointed at a building, or more accurately at Addle's face. Everything Addle had learned from his past achievements at once entered his thoughts, but of course so too did everything else. Suddenly Addle's mind was in a complete mess. He had to do something.
Without any other option in sight, Addle fired again. It hit the suited character rather than Giovanni, hammering him to the ground in a possibly dead heap. Once the suit crumpled on the sidewalk, a second shot tore straight through his body and into the cement. Three shots, three misses, and three curses under Addle's breath.
Addle didn't expect the return fire to come from Giovanni's pistol. He also didn't expect to nearly get hit in the face by it, either; Addle had reckoned that aiming from below was awkward at best.
Giovanni's pistol was clearly silenced, like Addle's rifle. That, like everything else in his surroundings, was making Addle suspicious. Giovanni had been picking everything up too quickly. He was too prepared. Had he known...
Addle tensed up. More tension, more of Murphy's Law, and more curses under Addle's breath. Everything came back to him, yet again, in a flood of convoluted thoughts. Addle needed more release.
Addle aimed for Giovanni's head. The laser point was at his nose; Addle reckoned that he had to have a hit there even with his own haste. But even the shots that appeared to be perfectly executed were failing to reach the target. It took Addle the use of his own entire clip to realise what was happening.
The bullets that impacted were being absorbed by an invisible barrier; they held position just beside his face. So much for the clip.
A Hypno materialised behind the Boss Rocket; quickly Addle gathered that it had set up the barrier (and, on reflection, probably the basis of the entire counterattack as well). With that Giovanni and Hypno both looked blankly up at him, waiting for the next shot that would never come.
Addle threw the sniper rifle over the rooftop with a mixture of disgust and the false hope that Giovanni would believe that Addle had been hit. Once he heard the dull clanging noise of the rifle impacting with the sidewalk, Addle broke away from the fray with his conscience hesitating but his legs making much haste.
The rooftop elevator was only a few paces away. It looked more welcoming than ever to Addle, who against all his principles felt more than ready to suddenly keep his distance from a man who he would have to eventually confront again sooner or later within the next fortnight.
Addle furiously punched the down button on the rooftop elevator and the resulting wait for the doors to open felt far too long for his comfort. However, the automatic doors opened to reveal an apparently empty elevator.
Despite his best instincts Addle entered with some haste, and went for the second floor button with a ferocity similar to that he had used with the down button. The doors shut, and finally Addle could say goodbye to his rooftop.
Addle relaxed a little, even under the realisation that he had left one threatening scene on the verge of entering another. If he could set this situation back in his favour, Addle was sure that nobody would question him and his abilities ever again.
Addle couldn't help but consider that perhaps his employer had personal interests at hand. Indeed, Wilfred Idlewood was one to make such judgements at times. These judgements certainly didn't justify anything, but then again with Addle they didn't have to.
Addle could sympathise with those that were nihilistic. In theory violence had no kind of justification to it; no reason involved, and certainly no argument. But in practice, the barrel of a gun stood above all arguments. No thin pieces of rhetoric would ever get in his way.
But Addle didn't even have a gun with him to use, having disposed of his own sniper rifle; he had to have his Pokémon protecting him instead. It was pointless to him having only one out in front, just to stand by virtually unenforceable League customs; all six of his Pokémon covered him by the time he got off the elevator on floor two.
Inevitably Addle and his six Pokémon crowded up the single hallway that lead out from the elevator, but he didn't mind. He remembered the layout of the floor he was on, and imagined that he and his Pokémon didn't have to be together in one place for very much longer. Addle began by halting in his place halfway through the hallway, as his six assistants kept moving onwards.
The one in front was Tangela, so it was the first to turn away the first chance it got in its scouting for more Rockets. The second chance was taken by Kangaskhan, while Hitmonlee, Magmar, Magneton, and Addle's most trusted Pokémon - Marowak - also eventually split off to leave their trainer on his own.
Addle was now unarmed and with no professional efficiency in any melee combat to show off. That was a big reason why he felt that he needed his Pokémon so much, after all they were stronger than he was. Or, for that matter, any of the Rockets that would be tracking him.
Addle heard a man scream from a room across the hallway, which led him to presume that the Tangela had found its target as usual. Addle began to head in the direction of the scream but soon found himself running, as if exciting at the prospect of seeing Tangela finish off its prey.
The Rocket had screamed his last; by the time Addle had got there, he was already dead. Usually Rockets tried to battle first, but apparently Tangela was too quick for him to do so much as chuck a pokéball to the floor.
When Addle had arrived at the scene, the Rocket's dead body was only the second thing he had noticed. The first thing he had noticed was that the lights were on; it was an empty office floor, so either the Rocket or his Pokémon had flicked them on. Addle somehow doubted that Tangela was that stupid. To keep from demonstrating his antics to everyone outside, Addle flicked the lights back off with little hesitation.
With the room in a calm darkness again, the only thing that was left to sap away Addle's concentration was the sickening whine of bones being ground to pieces. As the Tangela continued to strengthen its grip for its own satisfaction, the Rocket's blood oozed out from each available orifice. Tangela had far more practice in battling strong Pokémon than in crushing weak humans, so it didn't really know when to stop.
Usually Rockets attacked in pairs, unless they were Executives. This one, being crushed so easily, was clearly not an Executive so Addle kept his wits about him. Since the second of the probable pair was probably the only other aggressor on the floor, to Addle Tangela had done more than enough to play its part and deserved a rest. Addle recalled his Tangela to the calm of its pokéball, leaving the remains of the Rocket to fall to the floor.
Addle stood completely still, hoping to hear any activity on his floor. All Addle could hear was the uniform march of his own Pokémon, leading him to believe that the other Rocket must either have been killed or otherwise brought to a rather quiet state. Addle's Pokémon were dutifully returning to their master, having heard the sound of Tangela being withdrawn.
The march stopped. Addle at once looked to his right and there he could see all of his other Pokémon gazing rather awkwardly at him. Even though Addle would never doubt their absolute loyalty, he could sense that they would all prefer to return to their Pokéballs along with their friend Tangela. Their gaze was curious, if not pleading.
Addle returned each Pokémon one by one, finishing with Marowak. It was only after another careful listen for activity elsewhere on the floor that he turned back to the Rocket's body.
Taking a deep breath, Addle reached into the darkened room and felt around for the Rocket's weapon. Addle preferred not to see every aspect of a dead man at once - after all if the light had been turned on, the little mystery of each foreign crevice or fracture would have been ruined.
Addle at once brushed over and then snatched away a seemingly intact handgun. He turned away from the body and flicked the light switch on with his other hand. Checking the clip, Addle sighed with relief to find that it was in fact full.
Once he loaded the magazine back into the pistol, Addle could suddenly hear the sounds of more footsteps. Human footsteps. Addle stopped, poising his gun in front of him to face the next turn in the hallway.
Addle’s breath seemed to draw the Rocket to him. Upon sight, Addle drew the pistol out. The fact that this other Rocket was caught off-guard meant that a relieved Addle required only one shot to finish him, with an abrupt "bang".
The body landed with a crash that came almost too soon, and only then did Addle start breathing again. It was just his luck that the police had only just managed to arrive next to the building now, their loud car sirens entering earshot within seconds of the second Rocket's quick death.
With the pokéballs now securely fitted on Addle's pokébelt and the gun back in his pants, he took a quick and yet somewhat daring escape route. After a hasty dash to a window at the back of the building, Addle grabbed the top of the frame and swung right out.
The fall to the ground in the empty alleyway was a bit too long for Addle's comfort, but he still landed on his feet. With a grunt Addle acknowledged that nothing was broken (among the pokéballs or otherwise). Predictably, the resulting commotion was outside the entrance rather than in the back alleyway, giving Addle a chance to evade the Rockets and police.
However, as foolish as the idea of approaching Giovanni on the surface was Addle still felt drawn to the chance. Cautiously he slunk across the inside wall, all the while trying to catch particular voices out in the commotion.
Even though he nearly went around the corner in order to hear him, Addle eventually recognised Giovanni's voice from Mr. Idlewood's tape recordings. This gave Addle a second chance that he usually wouldn't have had; luck was suddenly back with him again, and he felt in the mood to use it before it ran out.
Addle popped his head around that corner, and confirmed that indeed Giovanni was there with yet another Officer Jenny. They seemed to be talking, but not in the well-known way that Giovanni usually dealt with the police. The fact that Addle could tell this by Giovanni's use of body language confirmed his theory that he was probably too close by now.
The sight of Giovanni was one that Addle felt he may not see again. Addle desperately tried to keep his right hand steady as he withdrew his new pistol. With the police around, the risks involved were far greater. Addle tried to avoid considering such risks as he steadied his grip and aimed for Giovanni's head.
Addle was suddenly at odds as to whether it would be prudent of him to just squeeze the trigger right there. But now was suddenly too late, as
"Hey!" Addle had deduced that Officer Jenny's voice was directed at him; close to a panic, Addle slipped behind the corner having lost his intention to fire his weapon.
Addle felt his heart thumping inside his chest. Everything could have fallen apart, right there. Killed, or worse, arrested. He listened with intent at Officer Jenny's next words, to discover his fate.
"...Sorry." And right at that moment, Addle let out his tight breath.
"What was that for?" Giovanni asked with a hint of curiosity that ground at Addle's insides.
"Sorry, it was just nothing. I've had a hard day at work."
"...No problem. I understand. You can't be too careful these days." Giovanni didn't appear to be the least bit shocked from Addle's attempt on his life.
Suddenly Addle thought about all the failed assassination attempts that must have taken place to harden Giovanni's personality, and what must have happened to all the people who tried and failed. But that didn't change his new decision to keep his gun safely tucked in his pants. Peering around the corner again, Addle noticed Giovanni mounted on his own Fearow.
"Going so soon?" Jenny inquired.
"Of course," Giovanni replied proudly, "I have other business to attend to."
And with that Giovanni let his Fearow fly off into the distance with him, apparently towards Kanto. That didn't surprise Addle; Giovanni's had other strongholds there in a few cities. Giovanni was gone, as was Addle's first chance to finish the hit. Suddenly Addle wished that he had a flying-type Pokémon, no matter how likely it was to just get shot down on this island.
In response to the sound of sirens Addle's gaze shot back in the opposite direction, deep into the alleyway. It was merely a straight path that cut across between two buildings, and at the other end he could see two police cars speed away from the scene. Addle was in awe at their lack of concern, but also quite relieved.
Addle caught out the last of his tighter breaths with a swallow, and proceeded to look down at himself. He didn't have a scratch, but still appeared to have only fourteen days to live. This contract Addle had with Mr. Idlewood suddenly looked an awful lot more threatening, so his first impulse was to do whatever he could to leave the island.
Addle knew of a private plane in the area; it was the same one that had brought him in, but the journey over had been paid for by Mr. Idlewood before Addle had left for the island and there was no return ticket. Hence this time Addle would need to use his own suitcase money, but he didn't mind the sacrifice.
Addle swallowed again, and after making one last assessment of his surroundings he sped off down the alleyway and past the buildings. Addle felt as if he had to make a good chase. After all, the chase was his mission and the mission was his life.