Diamond 19: Give me Power
Diamond 19: Give me Power
Leah was determined to find Han wherever he may be and put extra effort into finishing her tasks in Team Rocket quickly so she could go out and search. She would tend to her duties, report back to base and hope to get some time off, though more often than not she was given a miscellaneous task to perform. This didn't really bother Leah as she was usually assigned the tasks she expressed interest in doing, which involved traveling to various places where she would take some time to search for clues.
Delia had returned to the Viridian Rocket headquarters feeling uneasy. Leah had been heartbroken once and Delia feared she would relive the pain or live with false hope, which would only hurt her more. Delia had never met Han, but everything pointed to him being dead, even Leah herself thought so before and Luke had accepted it long ago.
It wasn't that Delia believed the miraculous escape Leah theorized occurred was impossible. If the ground beneath him had indeed swallowed Han, preventing him from being crushed by the larger rocks that couldn't follow him into the deeper tunnel though the relatively small opening, then there was a chance that he did survive that day. But if that was so, where could he be? No traces of him were found, dead or alive, perhaps he had indeed fallen into a second tunnel, but maybe, instead of having escaped the falling rocks, a layer of rocks small enough to fit through the opening, but large enough to do serious damage had buried him deeper and he was yet to be found.
The sad one seemed to be the most logical explanation, but Delia dared not voice it to Leah, instead leaving her with an ambiguity about how life goes on. It could have been interpreted as hope to find Han or encouragement to move on all the same.
At headquarters, Delia once again visited the secretary and asked about Aayla, whom she was told was in New Island. Giovanni had mentioned it before; it was a secluded little island where Team Rocket's scientists could conduct their research without fearing their data being stolen. The presence of the laboratories was kept in secret and the island was believed to be deserted.
New Island was too far away to be able to visit today, but Delia could always call. She obtained the number and retired to the living quarters of the Viridian Gym in the upper floor to make the call.
The phone rang several times before someone answered it, Delia didn't recognize the voice, but it seemed that whoever was on the other side recognized the number coming from one of Giovanni's private lines and didn't question her when she asked to speak to Aayla.
"Hello?" Aayla sounded surprised and curious when her voice came through the phone. She had probably not been told who the caller was.
"Aayla, hi! It's Delia, how are you?" Delia greeted as cheerfully as she could despite her mind being occupied with so many questions regarding the changes of Team Rocket and the fate of her friends, especially Leah's situation.
"Delia, it's been ages, what's the high and mighty Lady Rocketto doing talking to a peasant?" Aayla teased, "albeit a high ranked peasant."
Delia's mood sincerely improved, laughing together with Aayla who sounded more cheerful than ever before. "I'm sorry; I know I haven't been a very good friend lately. Things have been so busy, but I'm sure you already know that. I've been so caught up in everything, taking care of the pokemon, getting used to the new Team Rocket, or at least trying to. What have you been doing?"
"Creating the ultimate power!" Aayla proudly declared. "It's what Venom tried to obtain and failed," she had always wanted more of a revenge on the man who lied to her and left her for another. This was perfect, the power he so coveted would be hers to wield for the benefit of his enemy, Team Rocket.
Delia felt a cold chill run down her spine at the mention of Venom; the name brought back horrible memories. "What do you mean?"
"You'll see, Binks has been working hard, he better be, because he knows I'll beat him to a bloody puddle if he doesn't. This will be great, you'll see it soon, everyone will!" Aayla cheered, as if her victory was certain.
"It's nothing dangerous, is it? What exactly is this power?" Delia insisted; she was very worried and also thought Aayla sounded odd, a little too loud and cheerful.
"It will be grand!" Aayla laughed, then giggled in the silliest way.
"Aayla? Are you alright?" There was a loud noise, as if the phone had been thrown and damaged, but thankfully not enough to make it stop working. "Hello? Aayla? Are you alright?"
"Hello?" A man spoke this time, "who is this?"
"It's Delia; I was talking to Aayla just now," Delia replied with worry.
"Oh, hi Delia, it's been a long time. This is Binks, do you remember?" His tone changed from disproving to glad after he realized who had called.
"Yes, of course I remember. Is everything alright? I heard a noise just now and is that Aayla laughing hysterically in the background?" Delia found the situation to be all too suspicious and very strange.
"Don't worry about it, it's just a light side effect," Binks assured with a hint of nervousness, though it only made Delia worry more.
"A side effect of what?" Delia firmly inquired.
"The power of pokemon, I'm giving her some DNA, but first some medicines to prepare her body for the process," Binks sounds very much like a child admitting to having caused mischief, with the certainty that he would get caught anyway so he might as well come clean.
Delia's eyes went wide, her expression panicked and disapproving, "it's what Venom wanted for himself?" The images of the mutated Venom returned to her mind vividly, no matter how hard she had tried to forget those moments in the past.
"Yes, but he got it all wrong, he overdid it and tried to make up for it with cybernetic components and surgery. His process was different, adapting his body to be more likely to mutate and to better receive the modifications. This is something else; it's the essence without the extreme changes. Don't worry, Aayla will look exactly the same, but she'll be stronger. I've been doing a lot of research for this." The excitement in Binks' voice overcame his nervousness.
Delia griped the phone in anger and worry; she couldn't believe they were really doing this despite what happened to Venom and the pokemon. "Stop it immediately! Don't you remember what happened? This is too dangerous!"
"It's different," Binks insisted, "everything will be okay."
"Does Giovanni even know?" Delia would be angry not only at Binks and Aayla, but also at Giovanni if he knew about this and didn't stop them, instead providing them with the resources to continue.
"Of course he knows," Binks assured, "I wouldn't go using his resources without his approval. Delia, this isn't like before, it's perfectly controlled and everything is fully calculated."
"Which is why I can hear Aayla laughing like a crazy person and throwing things in the background?" Delia snapped.
"I told you that's nothing. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must continue with the next stage of the process," Binks sounded uneasy, his excitement giving way to doubt, probably because of the destruction Aayla was causing more so than because of Delia's disapproval.
"You mean restraining Aayla before she hurts herself or someone else? Go do that, but don't do anything else," Delia ordered.
"Delia... I... you..." Binks wasn't sure what to say to such a direct command.
"You need to hear it from Giovanni, is that it? You'll hear it alright!" Delia ended the call. Feeling both furious and panic, she hurried off to find Giovanni.
xoxox xox xoxox
Delia went down to the lower levels of the gym again, to the headquarters' main conference room where she expected Giovanni to be. She heard a voice from inside saying something along the lines of "I refuse, I absolutely refuse!"
Not caring to interrupt, she opened the door, scanning the room with a deadly glare, searching for Giovanni. As soon as she had opened the door, the room fell silent, all eyes on her.
The man who had been voicing his refusal towards something unknown to Delia, shifted uncomfortably, while the Team Rocket negotiator sitting across from him took the opportunity to speak. "Ah, Lady Rocketto, I wasn't expecting you. I'm sure Mr. Calrissian was just about to accept our offer."
Mr. Calrissian, older man with gray eyes and matching hair, had been avidly refusing the deal in question, but seeing that the wife of the mafia boss, as he assumed her to be since she was called Lady Rocketto, was there, he knew better than to continue to decline so energetically. If she could not convince him, then surely Giovanni would be called to negotiate in person and present a deal that Calrissian could not refuse. Or perhaps Lady Rocketto would do that herself, her glare was certainly filled with unparalleled fury. "Yes... well... I think that if we review the specifics one more time, we can come up with something..."
With her rage unwavering, though Mr. Calrissian never knew it was not directed at him, Delia spoke, "sorry for the interruption, please carry on," and left, since Giovanni was not there.
Mr. Calrissian let out a large breath, took a white napkin from his dark gray suit pocket and dried his forehead. He knew dealing with the Rocketto would be difficult, but he didn't expect the Lady to show up personally for a relatively small deal. Furthermore, he had heard rumors that she was sweet and innocent, not the kind of woman one would expect to find standing next to a mafia lord. He should have known those rumors were false, she looked far less calm and collected than Giovanni, whom Mr. Calrissian had seen only once, surely she was dangerous and had no tolerance for disagreements.
"Mr. Calrissian," the negotiator representing Team Rocket, a man in his twenties with dark hair and eyes, dressed a black suit with a small red R on the left side of the blazer, looked more confident now, "if you please, let us finish the final review promptly." He emphasized the word 'final', watching with satisfaction as Mr. Calrissian nodded, the color still drained from his face.
xoxox xox xoxox
Her search for Giovanni led Delia to the battle arena of the Viridian Gym. She didn't storm in and drag him away as she had a mind to do if it had been a meeting. Instead she watched quiet and unseen in the shadows below the platform where Giovanni stood; there was no need to involve an innocent trainer in their argument. Giovanni's Golem had just defeated the opposing trainer's Hitmonchan, the final pokemon judging by the look of defeat on the boy's face as he recalled his fainted Hitmonchan.
After the trainer had left without the badge he came for, and Golem had been called back into his pokeball, Giovanni stepped down from the platform to find Delia waiting and she looked furious. "If you glare like that all the time, Team Rocket will really be feared."
Delia was not amused, she placed her left hand on her hip and pointed at Giovanni with her right index finger, "Giovanni Rocketto," she paused, feeling her face become red with anger as she changed her preplanned speech for a scolding of "stop grinning at me!" She felt like stomping her feet, "this isn't funny!"
"Yes is it!" He laughed in amusement before putting his arm around her waist and leading her away from the now empty arena, down the halls of the Viridian Gym. "What's bothering you? You look like," he searched for an accurate comparison, "a Voltorb about to explode."
"Did you know that-" Delia began to explain but was interrupted.
"Sir! Great news, we got the deal!" The young man who had been negotiating with Mr. Calrissian before ran down the hall catch up with Giovanni.
Giovanni looked pleased with the news, "excellent, I didn't think you could pull that off."
"The credit goes to Lady Rocketto I must admit. It was only because she was there that the negotiations' atmosphere became favorable. Everything is expected to flow on schedule with no complications. I was just on my way down to the office to finish submitting the paper work."
"Good, go take care of that then, things will be easier now."
"Yes sir!" The negotiator left, looking quite cheerful.
"Well done," Giovanni complimented Delia, "I knew you would eventually understand. It seems you're ready to participate in Team Rocket's business more directly after all."
Delia sighted hopelessly, not fully certain of what she had done. Her fury had dissolved into a feeling of helpless confusion, but she still remembered her important mission. "Did you know that Binks is experimenting with Aayla?"
"That's no surprise," Giovanni replied with no hint of alarm, "he always liked her, but he didn't have the guts to say it. If I had to take a guess, I think the outcome will be that Binks ends up with a black eye and a few broken bones if he's lucky, from what I've heard Aayla is not gentle when rejecting a man."
"I don't mean he's flirting, he's doing genetic experiments with her, I mean on her, she's the subject, the guinea-pig!" Delia stressed urgently.
Giovanni paused, as if remembering some scene in the past when he learned of intentions and his own reply that communicated the message that he wasn't really interested, but would not be bothered if it was done. He decided to leave it to the scientific probabilities to make the final choice, depending on the likeliness of success. "So they went through with it. I told Binks I doubted it would work, but left the final choice to the test results."
"So you really did know!" Delia's fury returned full force. "You knew and you didn't stop them?"
"I'm not their babysitter," Giovanni began to sound annoyed, his previous good mood fading fast.
"You know what happened to Venom and to all those modified pokemon and you let one of your friends," she made a small oddly placed pause then continued; "best team members throw her life away? I thought you were a good leader, is it that now you have so many resources that you don't mind throwing a few away for the greater purpose? Is that what they are, resources? What happened to the leader that made sure everyone had a pokemon to defend themselves with, even if it meant keeping only one to himself during the shortage? What happened to the leader who knew his team, their strengths and weaknesses and could value each member in a strategy? Giovanni, what happened to you? Was this where you wanted to stand all along? They're doing this with your resources and that makes you responsible, it makes you able to stop them, it makes it so that they wouldn't dare do anything without your approval. How could you give it?"
"You don't need to get attached to people like them. I thought you were ready to take your place."
"My place?" Delia closed her eyes in silent wrath, her body trembling with rage. Was she supposed to be a high and mighty queen too proud to see her subjects were living beings? Did Giovanni expect her to stand by his side looking down on pokemon and humans alike as nothing but tools?
"Delia, don't you understand?" He pulled her close, held her tightly and for just a moment, the illusion was back.
He had dreams of power and he wasn't willing to stop for anything, but somehow, he wanted her to follow him to the top. To support his dream, to justify his methods; perhaps to see only him, disregarding other beings; she understood on that moment. Just as she saw him for what he could be, more so that for what he was, he saw her in the same way, he saw what she could become, what he could turn her into.
Was it the challenge? Was it because people want what is hard to obtain? Was it that image of what could be, but would not be? Were the traces of those other versions of themselves reflected in their current selves enough to keep them together? Was it the feeling of obtaining what conscious or strategy deemed as forbidden?
"Giovanni, this is a mistake, you said yourself that you don't even believe it will work. Tell them to stop, whatever curiosity you may have isn't worth this." Delia was crying but she couldn't feel the tears, though she knew she they were there because his image was blurry. She tried to keep her voice even, she wouldn't give up yet and she didn't want to push him to give up on her.
He listened without a word, though he looked impatient and displeased.
"The only way to wield a pokemon's power is to train that pokemon. Humans and pokemon complement each other, the power and the strategy. Why else would creatures with such power let themselves be trained by humans? A single being can't have everything; it would be unrealistic to believe it's possible. I thought you were able to understand what's possible and what's not, and that's why you can use what's available successfully. I know you have your dream and I know you won't give up but this is..."
She trailed into silence, her voice's volume decreasing to nothing, then he finally spoke sounding a little calmer than he looked but still annoyed, "a useless effort?"
Delia took a deep breath and tried to find the correct way to present the situation, "this time, I won't be an advocate of justice. This time I speak as your ally and tell you that this kind of experiment will only result in negative consequences for Team Rocket."
"I don't intend to dedicate New Island to this, it's nothing but research. I do believe what you said, about wielding the power of pokemon. This is only data for the true purpose of New Island," Giovanni finally revealed.
"What do you mean?" Delia wasn't sure she would like his explanation any better than what she knew so far.
"The legendary, that's what I want; I want to capture legendary pokemon, a pokemon thought to be extinct. I want to bring it back, I want Mew," the traces of anger and annoyed in Giovanni's voice gave way to excitement. "I'll be invincible with such power, the very best, like no one ever was."
"Then go study Mew's ruins or something!" Delia had gotten so used to justifying Giovanni in her mind, in part to make her own attachment to him feel like less of a contradiction to her principals, that she was already beginning to do so. To save an extinct race, to give the lost legendary another chance to live; from a certain point of view, when sugar coated and properly phrased, it almost sounded noble.
"Ruins?" Though it was a hasty argument by Delia, Giovanni was curious as to why she would mention ruins. His expression changed to a mix of puzzlement and interest.
"Pokemon archeology, Professor Oak used to be interested in that, he has a lot of old drawings from when he was young. He told me his interest began after seeing a legendary when he was a young pokemon trainer, but no one really believed him and after a while he had a few doubts. I think he really did see something; he had that look as if he held on to some unfinished mystery that he would one day solve. Either way, he said he decided to study pokemon in general instead, it seemed more reachable."
"Do you think he would give you a copy if his legendary pokemon research?" Giovanni's interest had been captured; he was fascinated by legendary pokemon.
"The research is old, but I'm pretty sure he still has a copy and wouldn't mind giving it to me." This was true, if anything, Professor Oak would be happy that someone expressed interest in his old research. Albeit he had not worked in that specific area in years, Oak's interest in Celebi and later Mew had been strong long ago. It was from his files that Delia had read about Mew and the last places where it was seen. "You should have told me you were interested in Mew. You should get the New Island facilities ready for an all out research project right away."
Giovanni nodded, as wishing he had told her, then she would have shared her information sooner, but overall he was pleased with the possibility of finding clues about Mew and his general mood improved once more. "If it is as good as you make it sound..."
"It is," Delia had calmed down. From her point of view, archeology seemed like a much safer interest for Giovanni to have in comparison to genetics. Giovanni's scientists could experiment on rocks, minerals and fossils as much as they wanted and Delia would be okay with it. She would do her best to keep Giovanni interested in the subject and hopefully give New Island a clearer purpose with better methods.
Furthermore, if Binks was busy studying archeological findings and Aayla was needed on the field to keep the research team organized and make sure the data was safely delivered to headquarters, it would lead Giovanni to cancel their dangerous project in favor of something that interested him more.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. This turned out to be a super long chapter. XD The next one will have more interaction between Delia and Giovanni.
Congratulations if you caught the references to the Celebi movie and the first opening theme song. That last one was to point out the similarities between Giovanni and Ash. You could say that Ash has Giovanni's ambition (and stubbornness), with Delia's kindness.
To all those who asked about it, yes, the quote from Giovanni about the virus, "only a fool would create a power that could not be controlled," was an ironic reference to Mewtwo. Mewtwo will not actually be in the story, as that is a later timeframe, but the research was started pretty early before they found any DNA so I'm integrating that aspect to the story.