Diamond 30: Give me Appreciation
Diamond 30: Give me Appreciation
No one tried to stop them, though they received odd glances. Delia and Aayla, the latter covered by a big lab coat, too large for her size and a white cloth tugged into it like a hood, made their way out of the laboratory. Aayla was very quiet; the source of her calm being Delia's way of interacting with her, as if nothing was too different in her, as if the situation was the only real issue to deal with and not Aayla's current state. It made her remember who she was and keep a grasp on reality beyond her wild aggressive instincts.
Albeit Delia didn't approve of many of the things Team Rocket was doing lately, she simply could not bring herself to betray them, especially not when they were on the road to improvement with the new purpose of New Island being the study of the legendary Mew through archeology. But many changes still needed to be made for Team Rocket to be acceptable.
Even as she mused over such thoughts, Delia knew her resolve would crumble and she would stay, albeit she firmly opposed Team Rocket's crimes. It would most likely come to Giovanni making her leave if he got tired of her trying to convince him to change Team Rocket, as she intended to do. That was what the future appeared to hold, unless by some twist of fate, destiny dealt in a new card that changed everything and made her reevaluate her position.
Outside, Delia rushed to one of the boats, it would be far too reckless to go for the helicopter, as she had never attempted to pilot any sort of flying vehicle before. However, there was little to crash into out at sea, where sinking was harder than falling. She could manage with one of the little boats and she remembered the general direction of how to get to Cinnabar Island from New Island despite the darkness.
"You don't get sea sick, right?" Delia started up the boat before Aayla could reply; sea sick or not, they had to leave immediately. Besides, the truth was that Delia couldn't picture Aayla getting any kind of motion sickness and was just filling in the silence before it became too eerie.
The little boat sped away from New Island, as someone, Delia didn't have time to see who, was alerted by the noise and loudly called out "stop!" but of course, she didn't stop. She still carried her small glossy black cell phone with the red R, but the device was turned off so that Giovanni wouldn't flood it with calls asking for details about her recent revelation of the impending attack on New Island, her whereabouts and her intentions.
"Lights... lights..." Delia found the switch and the lights of the little white and red motorboat came on, "there, now how do I move faster?" She was mostly guessing at the controls and didn't want to mess up and become stranded, or worse yet, be caught by someone from Team Rocket who would take them back to New Island, preventing her from solving things once and for all in her own way.
Aayla stood from her previous position sitting in the back of the boat and turned a switch on the control panel of the tiny, but high-tech water vessel. The engine roared with more power, carrying them forward much faster than before. Aayla didn't say a word, but Delia knew she wasn't all gone and when people treated her as they normally would have, her old self would surface.
"You know how to drive a boat? If so, by all means be my guest and take us to Cinnabar Island as quickly as possible!" Delia left Aayla to drive; she did very well even in her current condition and was in control of the small vessel, despite the sea having become considerably less gentle than it had been that evening.
The boat rocked back and forth, the engine fighting against the waves, trying its best to move forward and not be overturned. Aayla growled like a wild beast sensing a storm and seconds later, the dark night sky was pierced by the ferocious crash of lightning. The electricity from the sky lit up the area all around them, revealing a larger ship up ahead. The ship had no lights, making good use of the cover of the night.
"Oh no," Delia knew right away that ship was trouble. Regular ships did not follow that route and it felt very unlikely that a cargo or passenger ship would coincidentally get lost and go that much off course precisely at the time when an attack against New Island was expected and with all its lights off no less. It had to be the enemy ship, it was the only explanation. "We're late; they came earlier than I thought. Han must be on that ship, but maybe we can still negotiate peace, tell them Team Rocket will be different... Ah!"
Aayla suddenly picked up Delia wrapping one arm around her waist and throwing her over her shoulder. Aayla jumped off the little boat before a big wave combined with the force of the much larger approaching ship caused the small vessel to overturn. The two women surfaced and Aayla let Delia go, allowing her to instead hold on to her back. Aayla jumped on the hull of the larger ship and climbed up with her claws, with Delia on her back, until they reached the dark deck of the ship. The scratches were superficial and not deep enough to perforate the hull.
Their presence had not gone unnoticed by the crew of the ship that had once been commanded by Captain Adoy and currently followed Han's orders. They were immediately surrounded. Han was indeed there, as the leader of the movement that hoped to take down Team Rocket, he appeared before the two uninvited invaders looking defiant and victorious. "Have you come to surrender yourselves?"
"We came to talk," Delia felt the first few drops of water fall from the heavens as the gray clouds shifted unseen in the endless blackness of the skies. It was as if the world itself feared a terrible outcome was inevitable and had already begun to mourn. "Reconsider what you intend to do, let's not fight. Mistakes were made on both sides and if this goes on there will be a lot of unnecessary sacrifices!"
Han would not listen to reason at this point and it was questionable if he was ever truly willing to listen even when he humored Luke by meeting Delia. All Han wanted now was to annihilate Team Rocket. "Take them prisoner, though I don't think they will be useful as hostages. I have come to understand that Team Rocket would take down one of their own without a second thought."
"This is hopeless..." harsh rain began to pour as Delia felt herself sink back into the despair she had been fighting.
Aayla growled at one of the men that tried to take her prisoner and the man backed away; frightened by her appearance. The look in his face angered Aayla who wildly grabbed his throat, sinking her claws into it and shaking him strongly.
"Aayla, no!" Delia wasn't sure if she should be trying to stop Aayla or those around them. Deciding that she could not deal with everything herself, she let out her pokemon; it was all she could do. She hoped for a miracle like in the past, but this time, there would be none. "Cloyster, Kingler," the heavy rain mixed with her tears, "attack," her voice was barely audible at first, then finally loud and agonized, "blizzard!" The two pokemon made use of the weather, taking advantage of their type. The enemies let out their pokemon as well, but Delia didn't stay long enough to battle beyond a distraction, "Aayla, we're leaving!"
It was hopeless; Aayla was consumed by rage, wildly fighting anyone who approached her, pokemon and human alike. Delia knew she had been foolish to take Aayla along, but she couldn't leave her at the laboratory like a caged beast.
"Aayla!" Delia's pokemon would not be able to battle for much longer being so outnumbered, "I'm sorry, I have to go but I won't abandon you, I'll come back for you. Kingler, Cloyster, follow me!" Delia jumped overboard, followed by her pokemon, who helped her stay afloat in the angry ocean. "Underwater and under the ship, to the other side," Delia took a deep breath and held on to her pokemon. She closed her eyes tightly and focused on holding on to them, until they surfaced on the other side of the ship after what felt like an eternity.
Han ordered his troops to chase after Delia, some reluctantly sending their pokemon out to sea despite the raging storm that became stronger by the second. However, they lost track of her when she went underwater. The crew on deck focused on trying to restrain Aayla, who went even madder with rage when anyone attacked her.
With the chaos and thus the crew, focused mostly on the right side of the ship, the left was relatively unprotected. "Cloyster aurora beam, Kingler vice-grip, we're going to sink this ship!" Storm or not, it was better than having them fight a losing battle with Team Rocket, it was for their own good, to stop the fighting, Delia was desperate.
Cloyster shot out his beam towards the hull of the ship and Kingler hit the weakened area hard with his strong claws, the action was continuously repeated until the hull was penetrated and water began to flow inside the ship below deck. This was dangerous, but as things stood, what awaited the crew of the ship in New Island was even more dangerous; Delia had to keep reminding herself of that. Besides, she couldn't leave New Island and those on it exposed to an attack.
"There she is!" One of the enemies called from the deck, right above Delia. The tremor caused by Cloyster and Kingler's attacks did not go unnoticed and they were soon discovered. Unexpectedly a new attack shook the large sinking ship; a strong beam hit it from the front.
In the bright light created by the shining streams of energy and electricity, Delia could clearly see three black ships with red Rs painted on the side approaching to meet the sinking enemy vessel. The ships were slightly smaller then the enemy ship, which served as an additional advantage in speed, though they were still relatively large. The Team Rocket ships were also better armed, with canons powered by pokemon encased in machines that amplified their power for long range attacks, as well as regular weaponry.
"They're here..." Delia had thought Giovanni would prepare New Island to defend against the approaching invasion, but she should have known he would meet the attack head on. "Cloyster, Kingler, let's go towards those ships."
xoxox xox xoxox
"There's someone coming, a person swimming with two pokemon," Petrel, who was in charge of watching the look-out cameras on Team Rocket's leader ship, announced. He had caught sight of two pokemon and a human battling against the rain, wind and waves to get close to the ships.
"What should we do?" Archer asked Giovanni, who was in the control cabin of the ship heading the assault. "Should we attack them?" He held his hands over the controls, ready to target the suspected enemies. Archer was assigned to captain the leader ship, taking orders directly from Giovanni. The other two ships, directed by Proton and Ariana respectively, were to follow the leader ship's strategy.
"No, it's not likely for one of them to approach alone, confirm this person's identity first." Delia was missing, when she was upset she could do crazy things and he knew she was very upset. Giovanni wouldn't put it past her to try to negotiate with the enemy one last time and end up having to make an emergency get away.
"Boss, identity confirmed," Petrel announced, "the person approaching is Delia, with a Cloyster and Kingler."
"Just as I thought, get her on board," Giovanni ordered, not sure if he should be angry at her recklessness or glad that she was alive.
"That's not all," Petrel noticed something unexpected on the monitors; "the enemy ship is sinking! But I don't think it was us."
Archer glanced at the monitor Petrel was pointing out, in a wall filled with many monitors next to the vessel's direction and weaponry controls, behind a large glass window. "The way its tilting is odd, it's as if it has an opening on the lower part of the hull on the left side. I know we didn't hit it in that area, all our attacks have hit the front and deck."
"Delia, it must have been her," Giovanni could think of no other explanation and for a moment his surprise was evident, soon fading into a look of victory. "This battle is as good as won, with their ship sinking, the enemy will try to slip away even in the storm. Don't let them escape this time, capture every last one of them and keep a close watch on their leader."
xoxox xox xoxox
"Cloyster, Kingler, thank you, you can rest now," Delia returned her pokemon to their pokeballs and tried to catch her breath as she was led inside the Rocket leader ship's deck and saw Giovanni. "Their ship is sinking, Aayla is there, she was helping me, we have to get her out, we have to..."
"It's alright," he hugged her tightly, taking her by surprise.
"Giovanni, the ship, the battle," Delia cried, but held on to him, "I'm getting you all wet..."
"It's alright, we won; this battle will end now. You sunk their ship and Team Rocket won." Giovanni led her away from the chaos of the battle to the relative calm of a private cabin below deck. This was the potential he saw in her, he remembered beyond all doubts why it was worth it to be patient with her all that time. She was resourceful and loyal, too emotional sometimes, but none the less he could count on her. "That was... amazing. I don't know how you found out about the attack, the traitors, everything, but it was a big help."
It was a victory for Team Rocket, for the heroes, Delia would like to think, but in truth the present and future were full of uncertainties. Despite it all, a part of her wanted to be proud of the victory and happy to be acknowledged, to be seen as someone amazing and to be appreciated. "You're not disappointed anymore?"
"I should have trusted you more, in the end you were able to do more than I thought any one person could accomplish," Giovanni admitted. "Rest here, I need to keep an eye on things above deck."
"Giovanni, don't forget Aayla, it would be my fault for asking her to go with me if anything happened to her. I promised to go back for her, so please make sure she's safe." Delia insisted, it was for this reason that she had left Luke and Leah in New Island, she didn't want to involve them. Aayla had no relation to Han and she had always been so strong that Delia thought she would be alright. "She looks different, but she's still Aayla, don't show fear or anger, she gets upset when people do."
Giovanni nodded, deciding that the request was easy enough to fulfill, despite the unusual condition. "Alright, I'll tell them to send Aayla to this ship, now dry yourself and get some rest, I'll see you soon." He kissed her quickly and left, he wasn't wrong to think she could go far, he wasn't wrong to expect great potential from the woman who had surprised him so many times.
Delia was turning into who Giovanni pictured her becoming; he thought that victory was proof of it. With the approaching changes to restructure Team Rocket, he needed her to be ready to play a bigger role. When they first landed in New Island earlier that night, he was starting to doubt she would ever be prepared, but perhaps if he believed in her, she would prove to be ready after all.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon.