No copyright infringement intended.
After using her telekinetic powers to talk too much, Cat suddenly collapsed asleep. Sam had carried her the rest of the way to Vermilion City. Now he was dropping her off at the Pokémon Center.
"Welcome to our Pokémon Center! We heal your Pokémon back to perfect health!"
"Ah, yes. My cat, I mean, Abra needs to be healed," Sam said as he handed Cat over. All that talking in his head was messing with how he talked. After a quick wait, the nurse returned.
"Thank you! Your Pokémon is fighting fit!" she quipped as she handed the now wide-awake Cat back to him. "We hope to see you again!" As they left, Cat started up her steady stream of words. Once the door behind them closed Sam turned left and walked all the way over to the beach where no one could hear him talking to his Pokémon.
"Cat, listen to me. Listen!" Cat finally stopped talking in his head, "I need you to stop talking to me. Its nothing personal, if you want to tell me something that's okay. I just can't think like this! This non-stop stream of thoughts is too distracting. Think to yourself or you can talk to Bulbasaur. But I can't take this anymore!"
Cat stared at him innocently and put a paw up to her mouth, then she replied, "Aye, I unnerstain naow, maester Samuel. Nay moar talkin'." The cheerful air in her voice indicated that there were no hard feelings. Sam nodded and hugged her gratefully.
"Now, to make a little money!" Sam chuckled as he sent a devious glance at the SS Anne in the harbor.
Getting there wasn't as tough as one would imagine. Sam dove underwater and swam past the sailor/guard before hauling himself silently out of the water. Ditto used a quick gust to dry him off before they went inside.
The ship's lavish inside hinted greatly at the riches here just waiting to be taken. Shining oak floors, white walls, and blue steel doors. There were sailors here and there patrolling the hallways. Sam had to be careful that they didn't notice him too much. Ditto had transformed into a smaller version of the sailors, Cat skipped along, and Bulbasaur followed slowly. Sam strolled down to the first door on the right like it was his. It wasn't like any of the crew would ever notice or care. They were used to the flimsy ways of the rich. The passengers, once they came aboard, could pick any available room. Sam was one of the first few 'passengers' aboard so one could assume he was looking for the room he wanted.
In the first room, a very nice silver pocket watch was laying the table. The second room was fruitless. By this time, Cat had caught on to the scheme and was trying to figure out where to hide the piece of paper it had 'stolen' from the trash. In the end, she shoved it down Bulbasaur's bulb. This freaked out Bulbasaur but there was no way for him to get it back out so he just put up with it.
The third had a couple very small pearls. The fifth and the sixth were empty and the seventh had two big mushrooms in a display box. All the aforementioned treasures found homes in the many pockets Sam had. He casually ambled out of the seventh room and waved at one of the sailors with a polite smile. Behind him, more real passengers started filing in and it got a little busier aboard the cruise liner.
The kitchen turned out to be a bit of a gold mine. Pearls for decorating, Bottles of expensive calcium and protein supplements, shards... And the occasional piece of expertly grilled lobster made its way to Sam's mouth.
Outside the kitchens was an ornate staircase and it seemed the most logical place to go next. It led to a hallway with three more rooms with some more beautiful treasures in them. He waltzed right in the first one and found a very expensive looking chest with a solid gold lock. Sam circled it like a vulture, sizing it up. It likely held some trophy wife's clothes, but it was always fun to liberate those. Sam grabbed the lock and turned it over in his hand.A Pin Tumbler? With four pins? Made of gold? Ha! These people were asking to be robbed!
He pulled out his pick and torque, the basic tools of all lock picking. He stuck the tools it the lock and started lifting the pins, listening intently. If he lifted one pin too far or not far enough, then the lock wouldn't turn. Cat and Ditto watched as he worked at it. Just a little more torque and... The lock fell open and undamaged into his hands. He put it in his pocket. Gold is gold, even if its shaped like a lock.
The chest was filled to the brim with fancy dresses, hats, scarves, and ribbons. Apparently, jewelry was kept elsewhere. As tempting as it was, he resisted the urge to pull any sort of pranks with the clothes. He put them all back as they were before and left the room.
The second was filled with ornate furniture, priceless books and silk sheets. Nothing there was small enough to carry out with him except for a silver ring. He did see a mannequin in the corner. The prankster streak in him won out. He took sheets from the head and a hat from the closet and made it look like that classical bed sheet ghost. Childish, yes, but at first glance, it could make most people double-take.
He opened the third door and slipped inside as he heard a lot of people milling around downstairs. A quick glance of the room revealed a gold pocket watch, a golden picture frame, and a black fedora hat with a purple ribbon.
"Ooh! Score!" he went for the thing that caught his eye the most, the hat. His brown stocking hat was taken off and he put the fedora on slightly crooked. Sam grinned at himself in the mirror.
"Maester lookes verry good!" Cat said happily as she clapped her hands.
"I do, don't I," Sam laughed. Ditto adjusted his transformation to look like a mini Sam with the hat and grinned at Sam.
Bulbasaur had started rocking back and forth and staring at the door imploringly. Clearly, he was starting to feel a little uncomfortable with the whole stealing thing. Sam could hear people arguing downstairs, somebody would be coming soon. He quickly pocketed the watch and looked at the picture frame. There was no way he'd be able to walk out with it but there were little round gold plates in the corners that could be easily removed. Sam took out some grease and a knife from his belt. He put the grease into the corners of the gold plates so they would part with the frame quicker. Using the knife, he wiggled and pulled at each one till it came out in his hand. With all of them in his hands, he just wiped off the grease with a rag from his pocket and threw it away when he was done.
Sam began to leave the room, but his reflection in the mirror caught his eye. He took the hat off and spun it around his fingers and pulled various different hat tricks with it. Then the door opened.
"Prepare to fight, trainer!" Blue yelled as he leapt dramatically in the room. Sam stared at him blankly. He did a hat trick and smiled at Blue, "Like my new hat?"
"Sam? What are you doing here?" Blue asked, though he should have known.
"Me? Well, I'm just you know... Wandering about. Not breaking any laws, of course. I bought this hat," Sam lied with an innocent smile.
Blue raised his eyebrows and smirked knowingly. "Oh? Where'd you buy it from?"
"From that table, right there. It was on clearance and on sale. Actually, it was free!" Sam replied with a devious smile.
"You're terrible!" Blue laughed.
"A man's gotta make his living somehow," Sam shrugged. Ditto, still as Sam, and Cat crossed their arms and nodded at Blue. Bulbasaur had decided he was just going to sit and pretend that he didn't know anything.
Sam and Blue walked out of the room just in time to not get caught. The passengers had just started walking up the stairs.
"So, Sam... How did you manage to get aboard?" Blue asked.
Sam stopped and looked up at the ceiling for a moment. Then he looked at Blue with a completely serious expression and stated, "A magician never reveals his secrets."
"Of course not," Blue said sarcastically. "You stole somebody's pass. Didn't you."
"No. I didn't steal anyone's pass. That's ridiculous! Would I rob someone of their chance to go on a luxury cruise liner that they rightfully paid for?"
"I'm thinking yes. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you just slipped past the guard," Blue sent a mock accusing glance at Sam, who was whistling as he looked away. "So where were you planning on 'visiting' next?"
"The Captain's cabin. Wanna help? Come on, you and me... Partners in crime?" Sam said as he put a friendly arm around Blue's shoulders.
Blue pushed Sam away and laughed. "You're terrible! No, I won't be your accomplice!" Sam made a face at him as they approached the stairs and proceeded to go up them to the captain's cabin. They were welcomed with a most unpleasant and ironic surprise; the captain was seasick. Sam immediately turned on his heel and went straight back down the stairs.
"Hey! Sam where are you going now?" Blue called after him.
"I have a weak stomach. Seeing other people vomit make me want to. He's your problem. Maybe he'll give you something nice for your trouble." Sam waved goodbye and hurried down the hallway. As he reached the stairs to go back down he heard someone coming up that he recognized; Red. Sam turned around and ran to the stairs that went up on the other end of the hall.
Just as Sam disappeared at the top and out of sight, Red walked up the stairs. Sam started to creep back down the stairs as Red walked past him. The second Red opened the first door and went in, Sam shot back down the stairs and over to the flight Red had just come out of. He took the stairs two at a time.
When he reached the bottom he sat on the floor wearily. "Well, that was close. Red would turn me in to the police in a heartbeat," he sighed as he pet Ditto, now an Eevee. He stood up and looked around. He knew there was one last hallway and he wasn't going to let those treasures go to waste if he could get to them. He heard the battle of Blue vs. Red above him. Sam vaguely wondered who was winning, but it didn't concern him much.
Sam went down the stairs at on the other side of the ship. He could hear people inside each room. He was too late. Then he saw a nugget of gold on the floor. As he bent to pick it up, he saw another one. There was a small trail of them. Thinking it likely a trap, he took three of the five and left the other two where they lay. He strolled back up the stairs in time to hear Blue storm out.
"Looks like Blue lost, huh?" Ditto nodded and Cat clapped happily to show her amusement. Bulbasaur didn't take joy out of other people's negative emotions and generally frowned on the whole thing. Knowing that Red would be coming soon, Sam decided to wait for him to go first. Soon enough Red came down and walked out the door. Sam got up to follow when the ship started moving.
Wasting no time, he ran up to the top deck where the sailors were. He slipped past them and dove skillfully off the railing and into the sea. Ditto followed as a Staryu and Cat teleported herself and Bulbasaur to the Pokémon Center to wait for their master.
Sam and Ditto resurfaced on the south side of town by the Vermilion gym. Sam pulled himself out of the water and lay on his back in the warm sand. Ditto shook itself off and laid beside him. "Well, that was fun, huh? Jump off a luxury cruise liner into the sea?" Sam laughed as Ditto gave him a 'not-fun' look. He caught a glimpse of the gym and sighed. "Oh yes... Back to work then. Dry me off a little, please."
Ditto transformed into a Pidgeotto and obliged with a gust of wind. Sam put his fedora back on and Ditto perched on his shoulder as a Pidgey, "Let's go."
To a stranger walking into the gym for the first time, they might think that it was the easiest gym they'd ever walked into. These people always found that they were dead wrong. Those three rows of trashcans were a nightmare and a half. You either had to be extremely lucky or have a third eye to get through on the first try. Luckily for Sam, he had a much faster way. He walked over to the wall on the right side of the doors and slipped his Thief ID card into the secret slot in the wall. The steel doors opened instantly. Ditto started preening its feathers trying to regain its dignity after letting that scare him.
"Ten-hut! Sam! What happened to that pint-sized bandit I used to know? How've ya been?" Lt. Surge greeted warmly as he grabbed Sam in a bone-crushing bear hug.
"I'd be better if you let me go," Sam managed.
Lt. Surge put him down with a laugh, "Now, what brings you out here? Don't you live... Far away?"
"Yes, I live far away. But even way out there, rumors of a very nice luxury cruise liner being docked at Vermilion City reached my very sharp ears," Sam lied with a devious smile.
Lt. Surge folded his brawny arms across his wide chest, "So you came all this way just to cause me trouble, eh? Ya little weasel," he said.
"Would I do that? ...Okay, yes. I would," Sam shrugged and then paused, choosing his words carefully, "Speaking of troublemakers, have you had any trouble with Team Rocket?"
"Team Rocket," Sam repeated giving him an 'are-you-serious-look,' "black uniforms, giant red R's, steal peoples Pokémon... Nothing? You've never heard of them," he asked incredulously.
"Hmm... Red R's... Oh! I heard that some guy mugged somebody out at Cerulean City... Took that TM, Dig? They say he was from a Team of sorts," Lt. Surge said with a shrug. "I haven't seen them at all. I bet they're scared of me! I fought in the war, you know. Electric Pokémon saved my life-"
"Yes, yes. I know," Sam cut him off quickly, "Look, I'm just going to go now."
"Okay. I'll see you later," Lt. Surge shrugged.
"Yeah... Maybe," Sam smiled and left the Gym. Once the doors closed behind him, Lt. Surge leaned against the wall silently. His old war-buddy came in.
"You lied to him. Why? He's seemed like a nice boy to me," the gentleman asked.
"Thief Lord hasn't said anything yet but... I know that there's something going on. Sam lied to me about the SS Anne. And he's supposed to be back home or in Johto... We were never told that he here... Which means he's disobeying orders."
"What do you think is happening?"
"I think that there's a mole among the thieves and they're leaking information to Team Rocket," Lt. Surge said as he clenched his hands into fists.
"A serious allegation," then suddenly the gentleman looked startled, "and you think it's that boy, Sam?"
"Giovanni called me the other day and told me that if I saw Sam to have him followed. I think Giovanni thinks that Sam is the mole. And who would know better? Giovanni's clever and he's the one that's closest to the Thief Lord. If somebody would be sent out to search for a mole, it'd be Giovanni," Lt. Surge stared hard at the doors.
"So you intend to send someone to follow him..." the gentleman inferred.
"No. Sam might be young and small... But he's way too good at being a thief to let someone follow him. He would know, and if he is the mole, I can't let him know that we're on to him."
Sam picked up Cat and Bulbasaur from the Pokémon Center. Both Pokémon had expressed concern about Sam's extended absence. There were only three thief safe houses in Vermilion City, but Sam was partial to the fancier ones.
He went inside the Pokémon Fan club, the head master and his band of thieves all nodded knowingly at each other. The statue of Nidoking, the thief standard, was the centerpiece of the room. Sam slid his ID card into the hidden slot in the Fearow's beak and the secret door shot down into the floor. As soon as Sam had crossed the threshold, the door snapped back into place. Ditto jumped when the door opened and when it shut.
The room was exactly like the one under the museum in Pewter City. Sam hung his hat on the rack next to him and shrugged off his vest. Cat and Bulbasaur went over to the couch and fell asleep.
Sam smiled at them. "Is worrying about me that tiring?"
He sat down on the edge of the bed, Ditto curled up beside him in its natural squishy form. He stared at the ceiling awhile thinking over his conversation with Lt. Surge. The question now was, 'Was he playing dumb or did he actually not know? And was that even possible as infamous as Team Rocket is?' Seeing the telephone on the table beside the bed, he decided that the Thief Lord would know.
He picked up the phone and started to dial the number then he hung up and called Misty instead.
"Hi... Oh, hi there! Sam? What's up? I've gotten stronger since we last spoke-"
"Misty... What do you know about Team Rocket? Tell me everything."
"Okay... They're a band of cut-throat thieves that steal other people's Pokémon for black market and experiments?" She responded obviously confused. "I guess that's it. Is that all you wanted?"
"Yeah... Thanks, Misty."
"Oh, sure? Hey, call more often, Kay? And not for some random business whatever it is you're doing. You don't come see me enough!" Misty then proceeded to make him promise to call more often. After he hung up, he called Brock.
"Dude, Sam... Its too late for phone calls."
"I know. Just tell me everything you know about Team Rocket."
"... They're a group of nut-jobs that need to be eliminated from the world. They hurt Pokémon and blah, blah, blah. You know the rest. Can I go back to sleep now?"
Sam laughed, "Yes, you can." He hung up. He considered calling Giovanni, but even with just those two, the chances that Lt. Surge didn't know anything about Team Rocket was non-existent. He picked up the phone again and called the Thief Lord this time.
"Sam... It's been awhile since you've updated me."
"I'm sorry, sir."
"Well, never mind. Let's start where you left off. Tell everything, starting with Brock."
"I spoke with him. Brock wouldn't do anything to aid Team Rocket. After that, I went through Mt. Moon. There I encountered Team Rocket trying to take fossils so they could resurrect rare Pokémon and sell them. Between Blue, Red, and myself we stopped them and sent them on their way. I spoke with Misty when I got to Cerulean and she was her usual cheerful self. She wouldn't help Team Rocket either. After that I paid the SS Anne a 'visit' before going to Lt. Surge."
"Was this visit to the SS Anne profitable?" There was a hint of amusement in his boss's voice.
"Ah... Yes, very."
"Hmm. Well, go on."
"Anyway, I asked him if he'd had any brushes with Team Rocket lately. He said he'd never heard of them. After I looked at him in disbelief he changed his tune to say that he'd heard of one incident up by Cerulean. That's it."
"Never heard of Team Rocket? I don't know that that's even possible."
"I called Brock and Misty before this and asked them to tell me everything they knew about Team Rocket. They told me essentially everything I know. There's no way he can be that ignorant."
"So he played dumb... I wonder why... Thank you, Sam. I'll find out what he's been up to lately." click
Sam put the phone down.
"Ditto?" the little blob asked from the bed.
"Everything's fine, I guess. We've got a long day ahead of us tomorrow. We'll have to go out to Lavender Town. That's through a giant dark tunnel... Well, goodnight."
"Ditto..." was all the little creature said before falling asleep. Sam smiled to himself. Who said Pokémon couldn't talk back?
Thanks to my Beta DarkAngelTorchic!
* Sam being Sam... He stole all the good stuff from the SS Anne before you could get there. D: He does that a lot.
But seriously, that always annoyed me in the game. A bunch of rich people should have had a lot more gold! There were not near enough Nuggets on that ship.