Diamond 50: Give me Bravery
Diamond 50: Give me Bravery
Laiki heard voices from the tunnels just outside of the medical area. She rushed out to see that Giovanni was walking down the long underground hallway of the Viridian headquarters, talking to another Rocket. It took the press long enough to let him go, "boss!" She hurried to tell him what she had found so far.
"Has Akira been found yet?" Giovanni immediately inquired, it was part of Laiki's job to be informed. She had a natural talent for it, so it might as well be put to use.
"Not yet," Laiki replied, surprised at the question. 'How does he know about that? I haven't explained my theory yet,' she thought.
"We don't need anymore publicity so she better keep a low profile. Track down Ash's location. He has something to do with this; the reporters mentioned what he said. He must be trying to play innocent. It has to be a trap, someone is pushing for a press conference and it's too suspicious," Giovanni theorized.
Laiki stood with her mouth open, unable to find something to say that the boss didn't already know. "Ketchum," she finally came up with something. She was feeling frustrated that it had taken her hours of analyzing information and going around in mental circles before she could come up with a solid theory. It wasn't fair that the boss had figured out that much while dealing with a million other things at the same time. At least she could point out one new detail and hope it was enough until she could make up for her past shortcomings.
"Delia? Yes, I need to interrogate her; I'm going to do that now. Inform me immediately if you find something, and you better find new information soon," Giovanni warned with a stern tone and continued on his way.
"No, I mean yes," Laiki rushed after him, "what I'm trying to say is that Ketchum is Ash's last name, the same as Delia." Laiki didn't know how much meaning that piece of information could have. She wasn't going to risk making Giovanni angrier by revealing that she had seen a picture were Ash looked like him. She left out that detail, even if she couldn't look at Giovanni anymore without thinking of the similarities.
Giovanni paused as if the fact put things in a whole new perspective. Delia wasn't the only Ketchum in Kanto thus in any other situation the detail could be ignored. Yet the timing suggested that this wasn't a coincidence. If Ash was Delia's relative and was anything like Delia, he wouldn't approve of the Vermilion attack. On the other hand, if he was the culprit, the fact that they were related might make Delia less likely to stand against him and more likely to believe in his act of innocence.
Giovanni didn't know how they were related, but it didn't matter. That wasn't the point, though the detail bothered him. It was as if he had subconsciously realized something that he was still consciously unaware of. He decided not to waste time trying to guess what was going on. He intended to go straight to his only available source of information, Delia. "Continue researching Ash and the traitors, find out everything."
"Yes, boss!" Laiki hurried back into the medical facilities and to her desk. She would continue examining the data and trying to find new information.
xoxox xox xoxox
On the road near Giovanni's mansion, a seemingly normal dark green car drove by next to Delia. The car accelerated and made a sharp turn in front of her. It came to a screeching halt blocking her path. A tall man stepped out of the car. He had short dark wine colored hair and cold gray eyes. He was wearing a Team Rocket uniform. Inside the car at the driver's seat, there was a woman with shoulder length pink hair and lavender eyes. She was also wearing a Team Rocket uniform, both in the classic black style with red lined white gloves and boots and black hats.
"Have you come to take me to Giovanni?" Delia glared at the man standing before her, showing no fear.
The man grinned maliciously, "yes, so please don't oppose any resistance. The boss is waiting for you."
"Fine," Delia didn't resist, "I was going to see him anyway," she got into the back of the car and the man went in sitting next to her.
The pink haired woman began to drive again. The atmosphere felt odd, as if it was distinctly wicked. Delia looked out the window of the car and wondered if she had made a grave mistake.
xoxox xox xoxox
Giovanni made his way through the streets of Viridian City, heading back to the mansion. The dark green car that took Delia away had already left the area when Giovanni drove by. Pixel stayed away from the roads, assuming Delia had taken the most hidden path. As a result Giovanni didn't see the Rocket girl searching for Delia.
He arrived at the mansion and spotted a suspicious shred of fabric still stuck to the top of the fence's bars. He knew right away that something was amiss, especially when he caught sight of the open window to the room where Delia had been. There were no tell-tale sheets anywhere to be seen, but the scene was suspicious enough. Giovanni hurried to get out of the car and rushed into the mansion where someone was about to get an earful.
xoxox xox xoxox
Meanwhile, Delia watched as the scenery outside the car changed, they passed the Viridian Gym and left Viridian City. The Rockets, which Delia suspected to be false, kept going towards Pewter City. She still hoped that they were real Rockets and that Giovanni was simply not at Viridian.
Seeing her discomfort, the tall man on the seat next to her spoke, "the boss has left Viridian, for safety reasons," he assured, though he didn't sound sincere.
"I see," Delia tried to hide her discomfort, getting into the car had been a bad idea, but what could she had done? If she didn't willingly go with them, they would have taken her by force. At least this way she still had the element of surprise in her favor. They might not expect her to try to escape. She would wait until she saw an opportunity to make a run for it.
The dark green car stopped at a traffic light. Its windows were tinted and the cars next to it didn't see the black uniforms with red Rs of two of its three occupants. The streets were not particularly crowded, but there were enough people around. Delia observed the tall man from the corner of her eyes. He was watching her, his arms tense as if waiting to grab her if she tried to run away.
The red traffic light would only last a few seconds so Delia had to act fast. She unlocked the door and pushed it open, but the man grabbed her arm, "you're not going anywhere!"
Delia screamed at the top of her lungs, which caught the attention of the passer-bys. The woman driving the car stomped on the gas pedal and made a hasty get away. The force of the sudden motion threw Delia and the man back. She took the opportunity to slip away just enough to reach out and grab a handful of the woman's pink hair. She pulled it with all her might.
The woman screamed and lost control of the car. It slid into the sidewalk as panicked people jumped out of the way. The car crashed into a store front, Delia recognized the store. It was the same one that did business with Team Rocket in the past. It was the store where she had gone to find Leah before they went to a cafe, where Leah told Delia about her hopes of finding Han alive.
The impact of the car crash made Delia fall to the floor on the back of the car. She was at a perfect angle to kick the man's face and scramble out. She hoped that the store was still in good terms with the real Team Rocket.
The echo of a gunshot was heard and Delia realized her kidnappers were armed. She had been lucky to have the opportunity to trick them into lowering their guard by pretending she believed they were taking her to Giovanni.
Instead of stopping to get help from the people in the store, Delia ran away across the street. Cars screeched as they stopped in her path. The angry man's bullets missed her by a hair. "Idiot, stop shooting, we need her alive!" The pink haired woman yelled, chasing after Delia along with the wine haired man. The furious man didn't stop shooting until his gun ran out of bullets. Catching Delia wasn't made any easier by the fact that she ran across the street from one side to another. The cars kept getting in the way of her pursuers as they came to narrow stops before hitting them.
"Stop right there!" Jenny's voice resonated above the panicked screams of the people of Pewter City. She chased after the group, speeding in her motorcycle. When she was close enough, she sent out her loyal Arcanine. That man had opened fire on a street full of innocent people in broad daylight, so she felt she had the right to be a little rougher than she usually would be. "Arcanine, flame thrower on the man in the Team Rocket uniform!"
The pokemon obeyed, sending a well aimed blast of fire to collide with the tall man. He yelled in pain and dropped rolling on the street, trying to put out the flames. Jenny caught up to him and handcuffed him before he could recover from his pained daze. Back up soon arrived as well.
"Captain Jenny!" A younger office ran towards her. He and his partner had just arrived on the scene in a police car.
"Take this man to the station," she addressed the rookies. "As for the rest of you," there were two other police cars and another motorcycle, "don't let the others get away! Arrest the woman in the Team Rocket uniform and bring the other woman to the station for questioning." The officers, led by Jenny continued the pursuit.
Delia looked back to see that she was no longer being chased. After the man was caught by Jenny and her Arcanine, the pink haired woman gave up on chasing her. The false Rocket instead focused on trying to escape from the police. Delia saw Brock's pokemon breeding center ahead and dashed towards it.
xoxox xox xoxox
While the chase was occurring in Pewter City, Pixel arrived at Pallet Town. She was exhausted from all the running. "I have to find her," she paused after every step to take in big breaths. She walked slowly into the town, wondering how to go about her search.
Not too far from where Pixel stood, there was a little grocery store. It was the only one in Pallet Town. A young man with brown hair and a white lab coat exited the shop carrying two white plastic grocery bags. The generic bags had the words 'thank you' written in blue. He saw the girl in the black uniform with the red R and recognized her as a member of Team Rocket. "Are you here to steal the pokemon from the research lab?" He accused.
"No," Pixel tried to sound natural, "I'm just visiting a friend. Do you happen to know where Delia lives?"
"I don't think she would ever be friends with anyone from Team Rocket," Gary Oak, former pokemon trainer turned pokemon researcher glared suspiciously. He really wished he hadn't left all his pokemon back at the lab while he went to get some groceries.
Pixel didn't like where this was going, she was supposed to be keeping a low profile. "Oh well, I'll just come back another day," she began to run away.
"Come back here, I'm turning you in to the police!" Gary dropped his grocery bags and chased after her.
Pixel was not a very fast runner, plus she was tired. She knew she would be caught easily. Instead of uselessly continuing her efforts to run away, she turned to face her opponent and sent out her Charmander, "go Pyro, ember!" She wanted to make the man stop chasing her, not seriously hurt him.
Pyro obeyed, having no complaints about attacking another male, be it human or pokemon. He would have his doubts if it were a pretty girl.
Gary's lab coat caught on fire, but he was quick to take it off and stomp out the flames. The distraction was enough for the girl to run away along with her Charmander.
"If you chase me I'll have to hurt you, just leave me alone!" Pixel yelled as she breathlessly dashed away.
Gary knew he wouldn't be able to take on her pokemon, without pokemon of his own. Instead of uselessly chasing after the Rocket girl, he ran back to the lab to get his pokeballs. He would track her down from the air on one of his flying pokemon and capture her for the police. He wouldn't allow anything like what happened in Vermilion City to be repeated in Pallet Town.
xoxox xox xoxox
At Pewter City, Brock sat in front of the TV watching Akira sing and dance. He had been busy taking care of the pokemon at first and later went inside to watch the music channel. He occasionally changed the channel to a random sitcom when a video came on that didn't interest him. He would check back after a couple of minutes to see if the next music video featured a pretty girl. He was blissfully unaware of the events that took place on the other side of Kanto. Suddenly, he heard a panicked voice calling his name at the door that led to his living area.
Brock rushed to open the door and found Ash's mother. Her breathing was heavy and fast, her face was red from all the running and her dress was torn. She had shallow cuts and darkening bruises all over her body and she looked like she was ready to collapse. Shocked into silence, Brock led her inside. He made sure to lock the door.
The appearance of the living room was simple with white walls and gray furniture. It contrasted with the bright colors of the posters and framed pictures of Brock's various crushes. A poster of Akira was prominently featured. By the time Delia managed to catch her breath, Brock had brought her a cool glass of water, which she accepted, drinking it slowly, "thank you."
"What happened to you?" Brock was seriously worried. Delia was not only his best friend's mother, but also a mother figure to him. His own mother had often been absent and Delia had always been supportive. Seeing her like that was very difficult for him. He remembered his worries about the Viridian gym leader's resemblance to the man who had tried to capture Mewtwo. If Delia had lost contact with Giovanni many years ago, there was no telling how much he could have changed during that time. "Did he hurt you?" Brock asked softly but seriously, "was it Giovanni?"
"Of course not!" Delia slammed the glass hard on the coffee table, causing it to crack. She continued in a defensive tone, "he wouldn't hurt me." 'Other people maybe, pokemon yes, but not me, not physically at least,' she thought.
"Sorry!" Brock jumped back, "I meant no offense."
Delia calmed down, examining the cracked glass on the stone coffee table, "I'm sorry I snapped at you. Giovanni might be in danger, I'm worried about him." The traitors must have seen her with Giovanni and tried to use her as a hostage.
Delia's cell phone rang all of a sudden, it had been deactivated before, but it was working again. Giovanni had to be calling her, she was sure it must be him, "Giovanni?"
"You shouldn't have run away," Giovanni was driving towards Pewter City, following the tracking device on Delia's cell phone.
Delia froze and tears started running down her face. A lot was going on and on top of everything Giovanni said the same thing she heard him saying in dreams long ago. When Ash was still small, she would dream that Giovanni went to find her at Pallet Town. "I'm sorry," she sobbed, "I had to," she wasn't only talking about leaving the mansion.
"Delia?" Was she with the enemy? Did she know what happened in Vermilion City? Giovanni was full of questions. "What's happening?"
"Nothing, I'm alright now," Delia didn't want to say too much; she didn't want to get Brock involved. From the corner of her eyes, she watched Brock leave the living room, as if to respect her privacy. He was a nice man and she truly hoped that he would one day achieve his dream of finding someone to share his life with. If only he could learn to control his flirty tendencies maybe it wouldn't be so difficult. "I'm at Rock On, the pokemon breeding center at Pewter City. It's right next to the gym. The owner is a friend, he doesn't know any secrets, so please don't get him involved," she whispered quietly.
"Stay there, I'm on my way. Turn your cell phone off; don't use it unless it's an emergency." Communication was necessary even at a risk, but Giovanni would no longer need to track Delia if she waited for him. He had many things to ask, but he had to do that in person. He would make sure not to leave her alone to run off again, he had to get to the bottom of everything. Giovanni turned and took an alternate route on his way to Rock On. He moved away from the main streets to avoid a traffic jam ahead. The police had closed a road and was redirecting traffic due to an accident. Giovanni didn't suspect Delia's involvement in it. He did notice that the affected store was one of the places that did business with Team Rocket.
"Okay, I'll see you soon," after tuning off her cell phone, Delia sat in silence until Brock returned.
Brock had noticed the red R on Delia's little black cell phone. He wanted to ask about it, but he didn't want her to get defensive again. "These clothes are from my sister, I asked her to bring some," he voiced quietly, not sure how to handle the situation. "The bathroom is down the hall and to the right, if you want to get cleaned up and changed."
Delia stood up and took the clothes, "thank you." She made herself look calm, though she still felt guilty at Brock's worried expression.
After Delia disappeared down the hall, Brock decided to call Ash. He had thought about tagging along with him and Misty so he could see Misty's sisters, but decided against it in the end. His excuse was that he had to return to the breeding center. His siblings took turns taking care of it when Brock was away. In truth, he just didn't want to be reminded that Misty's sisters were not single. Lily had recently come out of a painful break up, but Brock was unaware of that. Had he known, he would have immediately gone to Cerulean City and offered to comfort her.
Before he made the call, Brock paused seeing his best friend's image on the TV screen. Ash's picture floated on the upper right corner of the screen, next to a woman who sat behind a desk giving a report. Brock had lowered the volume when he went to get the door, but the images and quiet murmurs still remained in the background. He quickly turned the volume up as the news anchor, Ameda, finished speaking. The screen changed to a video of Ash defending the Viridian City gym leader. He knew Delia might take some time to compose herself, but he had to call Ash before she returned. He didn't want to hear any objections about it, so he quickly made the call, focusing on that rather than the TV.
"Hi Brock," Ash greeted, having seen his name on the caller ID of his cell phone. "You're not going to believe all the things that are going on. Did you hear about Vermilion City?"
Brock wasn't sure what Ash was talking about, but he had an important message to communicate. "Ash," Brock sounded worried. Ash knew right away this wasn't simply one of his random calls to vent about his latest rejection. "Stay calm, don't panic," such serious words were sure to have the opposite effect. "I think there's something bad going on with your mom. I think Team Rocket is involved." He wouldn't throw another accusation at Giovanni, not after seeing that news bulletin about Ash. If both Ash and his mother defended him so much, Brock would just have to believe them.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon.