Diamond 16: Give me Cunning
Diamond 16: Give me Cunning
Giovanni wanted Team Rocket to be feared, but now was not the time to provoke the police. He had been trying to think of a why to make sure the police stayed away from them for the time being and the answer finally came to him.
While Delia was occupied treating the injured pokemon, Giovanni had a scene arranged at the gym's arena. The way it would be interpreted, Venom killed Amethyst before anyone could stop him and battled Team Rocket. However, his mutations backfired and he died. It was close to the truth, but slightly modified.
There was no need for the police to know about the connection between Amethyst and Venom or the existence of the sub-terrain laboratory and the pokemon that were there. Aayla's previous position with Tempest had involved arranging false scenes so she was familiar with doing things like this and Binks was good with science so he could come up with a way to modify the details so that the tests would give the results they wanted.
According to the information Leah discreetly gathered in the city, noises were heard from the gym at night often so the neighbors thought nothing of it, assuming it was another late night pokemon training session.
The plan was inspired by Delia and her idea of Team Rocket as a force of justice. Though Team Rocket would soon be feared, for the time being, they would have to operate in the shadows and pretend to be heroic vigilantes until they were ready to face the world.
Ditto was the key to making this work, "the hostage act might be a problem, so I'll have to clear my name of that for now." Though his link to Madame Boss was well known, the police still didn't have sufficient evidence against him or the means to stop her. He was focused, running over the possibilities in his head, with a little added pressure and the right background situation, this plan would work.
"That's were Professor Oak comes in, right? But how is it going to work? The police saw you," Delia couldn't think of a way around it, though surely Professor Oak's testimony was key. She ran her fingers through her long brown hair unconsciously and tiredly, she was still very puzzled by the unknown extent of Professor Oak information about the general situation concerning Team Rocket and her place in it.
"You can tell the police that the one holding you hostage was Venom. They'll come here and find his body; we'll say we came to stop the Tempest Gang and Team Rocket will be the heroes this time. They'll believe it because of the ditto DNA in Venom; we'll have them think he managed to copy the pokemon's abilities. As for Professor Oak, he needs to support your story. He denied you were the hostage that time so he'll have to take it back, he could say that the Tempest Gang was threatening him with you as a hostage and testify about Venom's abilities," Giovanni explained, he knew it was a long shot, but this sort of situation wasn't always about proving something, but rather creating a scene where a story was good enough to be accepted and to motivate that acceptance with the situation.
"I understand," it was all for the best, Delia continued to constantly remind herself, "I hope Professor Oak doesn't mind lying again, but it is for a good reason, to help a band of vigilantes, I'm sure he'll do it." She had learned to look on the bright side of every situation however grim, she was exhausted and the pokemon were in bad shape, as were some of the Team Rocket members who were injured and would have to stay out of the action for a while. Even so the battle had been won, the Viridian Gym was their new home and the Team Rocket was on the road to recovery and perhaps on the right path to becoming heroes. "I'll call Professor Oak right away and explain the situation."
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Delia called Professor Oak and told him the vital parts of the story, explaining she needed his help, while leaving out all the unnecessary details. She didn't want him to be too involved more than necessary. "So you see, that's why we need your help. I also wanted to ask, why did you cover for me?" Delia's voice and expression carried both gratitude and guilt.
"Because I trust you, I did some research after I heard of your disappearance from Cerulean City during your internship," Professor Oak replied on the video phone his expression a mixture of uncertainty for the future and relief for the present. He had been worried and disappointed when he realized Delia had hidden the truth from him, but concluded that she just didn't want to cause trouble; her secrecy was for protection, rather than lack of trust. "I knew you must have your reasons for being with Giovanni, you two seemed happy together when you were here so when I heard about the hostage situation, I knew it couldn't be real, that's why I tried to protect your identity and throw the police off your trail. So Team Rocket are vigilantes now?" Oak clearly didn't believe it, even if he wanted to protect his student who was like a daughter to him and wished that for her sake, the unlikely situation of Team Rocket as heroes came true.
"We have vital information that could lead to the discovery of a cure for the epidemic," Giovanni's revelation immediately captured Oak's attention, he had been standing quietly beside Delia, as not much more than part of the background thus far. His face had gone from unreadable to confident, knowing he had the information that Professor Oak and so many others wanted. "I can send you this information and since you were already researching the cure and have experience on your side, you might find it faster than us. There's just one condition, as soon as you have the cure, you have to give it us. You can submit it for official review right away, but I don't want to wait for it to be approved to have it."
"Agreed," Professor Oak opposed no argument to the condition, "there's no time to wait for the bureaucracy anyway." He knew there had to be another motive mixed in aside from helping the pokemon fast, perhaps an advantage against other gangs by being the first to obtain the cure, but that was nothing in comparison to the actual discovery of the cure. He didn't want Delia to get into trouble, she was like family to him, but she was also an adult, free to make her own choices. For now, Professor Oak would have to trust her and hope for the best. "I will also give my testimony as you ask." At least a cure could come out of all of this and in time perhaps all the pieces would align to form a better picture than he expected. For the time being, what was asked of him, in comparison to what would be given, was not an extraordinary request.
xoxox xox xoxox
Things went surprisingly smooth. The Tempest Gang were the villains and Team Rocket the heroic outlaws, suspicious of various crimes, but without sufficient proof against them. For the most part, the police believed everything. Professor Oak's testimony played as much of a key role as the ditto DNA confirmed to be in Venom.
It seemed that they were in the clear until Jenny of Viridian requested to speak with the leader of Team Rocket, away from the investigation team crowded in the arena. It was done discreetly, so the other officers, absorbed in their work, barely noticed Jenny was gone as they continue their grim yet excited discussion about their findings.
In what would later become Giovanni's office, away from prying eyes and ears; Giovanni and Delia listened to Jenny's deliberation. "Everything fits perfectly, save for maybe the odd timing here and there, but the forensic data so far is on your side and the timing is still within the margin of error; I trust it will continue to be regardless of how deep we dig. You also have a powerful testimony from a well know pokemon researcher on your side. Still, to think that a human could so accurately copy the ability of a pokemon..."
Giovanni and Delia remained silent; he had a well practiced look of calm indifference, with just enough alertness, hiding his true exhaustion perfectly. Delia was trying hard to look calm and though it was with effort, she succeeded, pushing away all worries and tiredness.
Jenny continued, "things are more complicated than just the law, sometimes there are more gray areas then black and white. Such as certain organizations being too dangerous to take them head on, because when they were small, enough proof could never be found, connections got in the way and the organizations grew large and unstoppable. I also know that sometimes following the law is not enough, but I am not one to break it to make my own justice, over the years I've learned to accept the limitation of what the police can do, of what I can do. But the question still remains, how can you possibly be trusted and why are you still here in the Viridian Gym?" The experienced officer had a focus critical look and sharp glare, predicting that she would not like any explanation she may receive.
"Don't trust me if you don't want to, didn't you just say it makes no difference?" At least that much was established, which saved Giovanni a lot of pointless arguing. "I'm here because I intend to become the new leader of this gym. I can win by the votes of the city if need be," Giovanni assured, his revelation being received more calmly then he expected. Taking over any given place was never as difficult as maintaining control. The larger the territory to command, the more complex it became to keep in under control, it would be a slow process and a learning experience, something that Giovanni looked forward to, but at the same time knew it would take time to adapt to it.
"I see..." Jenny bitterly accepted reality, "I take it you must already have a plan and a couple of backup plans to have the city elect you as the new gym leader. Fear, bribery, blackmail, political influence; without solid proof and amidst the current crisis, there's not much that can be done to stop you and you're already well aware of that. The police will be busy enough covering this up, for which you already know your cooperation will be needed," Jenny knew she was trapped in a corner by the situation, there was no point in pretending to be in control when the facts were so clear to her opponent and he knew exactly were he stood.
"All the evidence blames the Tempest Gang, evidence of which everyone in Team Rocket is aware of that should not be known to the world. The wrong people might start to get ideas about human and pokemon modifications, and the innocent citizens will live in fear. I can understand why the mayor would order the police to cover it. However, you can rest assured that what you've been told is truthful," albeit not the whole truth. "As for the soon to be ended epidemic, I can also honestly say it was Tempest's fault," Giovanni revealed, having a few real truths among the bent and twisted versions of the truth was always useful to have the story seen as a whole, supported by those real truths within it. "Such counterproductive measures are of no interest to me."
Jenny gasped, "you're... you're not lying. That is dangerous information, to create a virus of such power... it's best if people don't know it's possible. But can you really be trusted not to repeat history? What about the cure? What about Professor Oak?"
"Only a fool would create a power that could not be controlled," the virus was the downfall of Tempest and Giovanni would not make such a costly mistake.
"Professor Oak doesn't know anything," Delia insisted, suddenly speaking after her long silence, her expression going from neutral to defensive and back in a split second. "These... negotiations are between Team Rocket and the police," she wasn't sure where the line of justice fueled deception was blurred into a sort of indirect threat, but she tried to focus on the end result, realizing that at times the methods were inevitably messy. Jenny seemed to know that as well.
"Fine, Professor Oak is well trusted and given the expected end result of the situation, his testimony was for the best. It seems we have no choice but to let you do this. Go ahead, win over the city, bribe them with the cure to the epidemic if that's what you're planning to do." Jenny's many years as a police investigator filled her mind with theories, knowing that in the end it was not the explanation or even the truth that mattered, but the consequences and Team Rocket's retaliation if they were pushed to that, would be devastating.
Jenny wished she had more control over the situation, but it was out of hand and letting the new power settle in quietly was the most peaceful option in the end. She hoped that when it was time for her daughter to take over as the new officer Jenny, things would have settled down and Viridian City would have gotten used to coexisting with the dark secrets that could not be disclosed or dissolved.
"There is one thing I must ask of you," Jenny looked at Giovanni seriously and determined. "With this I'll either forever regret my lack of power or find some consolation. If you are to become the leader of this gym, I want to test your skills in a pokemon battle, one on one."
"I assure you I'll win, why don't you pick a spot outside where the battle won't get in the way of the officers that are still looking around, I'll be right there," Giovanni accepted the challenge, his confidence ever present, though on the inside, he knew he had reasons to worry given the state of his pokemon.
Though she found it a little suspicious, Jenny knew she would gain nothing by being stubborn and arguing. For all she knew, the delay might not have a meaning at all, Giovanni could just be annoying her, knowing he held all the cards this time. "Fine, don't take too long," Jenny left.
After Jenny was gone, Giovanni faced the dilemma of what pokemon to use for the battle. "Their wounds will open," Delia expressed her worries, her face filled with deep concern, "except for Graveler, but he..."
Giovanni knew the state Graveler was in, but he was the only pokemon not at risk of falling over and bleeding to death due to reopened injuries during the battle. Aside from the battle scars and lost limbs, Graveler was ready to fight. "I don't have a choice."
The pair went to get the rock pokemon in another room; understandably, Graveler looked depressed in his state. Delia patted his head gently and smiled reassuringly, "Graveler, we need your help defending this gym so that Giovanni can become the new gym leader. All our comrades are still recovering, it's all up to you; please try your best."
"Does a pep talk really make a difference?" Giovanni didn't think so, he kept trying to think of a strategy to se that would make up for this disadvantage and was beginning to regret his hasty acceptance of Jenny's challenge. Perhaps seeing the officer admit his advantage in the situation made him a little too confident.
"I'm sure it helps, you should encourage Graveler too!" Delia insisted, with certainty. She had always believed pokemon's morale and emotions were vital to battling and every other aspect of their lives.
"Fine, we're counting on you Graveler, win this," though Giovanni was only humoring Delia, it was enough for Graveler.
The rock pokemon looked much happier now, seeing that despite the state he was in, the humans who had captured him in such an unforgettable battle were not abandoning him. Surrounded by light, Graveler felt his form change and seconds later, a perfectly healthy Golem stood before them, filled with the confidence he was given.
"You evolved!" Delia cheered, "you see, Giovanni? A few words of encouragement go a long way." The feeling of victory and the optimism of invincibility were returning to Delia.
"Wasn't that a coincidence?" Giovanni never expected something like this to happen, but it changed everything for the better. "Either way the timing couldn't be more perfect, I'll be sure to win this battle." Giovanni recalled Golem to his pokemon and went out to meet his opponent.
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Officer Jenny stood outside the gym waiting for Giovanni to arrive. "Ready?" She was becoming impatient and wanted to get this battle done.
"I'm always ready," Giovanni called out Golem, he wasn't worried about the battle anymore, now he couldn't wait to get started and win.
"A Golem, you must be expecting me to call out Growlithe, right? That's not my only pokemon." Jenny called out her chosen pokemon, Golduck.
"Don't think the type advantage will help you!" Giovanni started with a direct attack, "Golem, tackle!" The rock pokemon charged in fearlessly.
"Golduck, water gun!" The blue duck shot a strong blast of water from his mouth, which hit the target but did not stop Golem, who rammed right into Golduck. "Taking an attack head on like that, strong but careless, tail whip!" Golduck tried to defend himself, though he was close to his limit from Golem's impressive initial attack.
"Mega punch!" The command brought memories to Golem, from when he was caught and from the battle against his trainer's enemy, Venom. With a loud roar, Golem punched Golduck hard enough to send him flying several feet, landing bruised and unconscious on the ground.
Golem looked satisfied and Delia cheered, but Jenny's expression as she recalled Golduck with a few words of gratitude for his attempt, was not the defeated look Giovanni thought she would have. "I'll have to think of this battle and let it ease my mind a little."
Giovanni thought he understood what she meant, "because Viridian City will have a strong gym leader?"
Jenny shook her head, "I knew you would win, even with the type advantage, you couldn't have come this far without being capable of winning against all odds. I wanted to see your pokemon in action; this Golem is very proud to be your pokemon. I don't know what the future will bring, and I still don't like the situation, but I suppose I can accept it for the time being," not that there was any other choice.
xoxox xox xoxox
Later, Jenny and the other officers left, taking away all the evidence and bodies from the scene at the arena, having finished their examination. The arena could now be cleaned and the gym revitalized, of course all the surviving Tempest members had been arrested.
Binks was sent on his way to Pallet Town with information for Professor Oak, he was to stay in the laboratory and help with the research. While some members of Team Rocket tiredly carried out miscellaneous tasks to get the gym ready for pokemon battles and to be their new base, others rested where they found a quiet spot to do so. This was the start of a new era for Team Rocket.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. So Team Rocket is at the Viridian Gym and Giovanni is confident about his transition to gym leader going smoothly. The end of the epidemic is in sight and the story of the beginnings of Team Rocket has almost come full circle, but there are still several chapters left and more things to resolve. :)