Diamond 54: Give Me Honor
Diamond 54: Give Me Honor
At the Viridian Rocket base, Pixel read over the list Jessie had given her. "Are these all of them?" Pixel, Jessie, James, Meowth and a pair of Rocket grunts made their way to the weapons supply room.
"There might be more, these are only the ones we know of, that is the first page," Jessie explained running down the long underground halls. "The second half of the list is something else entirely; I got it in the mail. It was the strangest thing, but strange things had been happening ever since we moved to Saffron City."
"I thought we were just lucky," James commented.
"When have we ever been lucky?" Jessie had been driven to stop believing in luck a long time ago. "It's clear that someone in Saffron is controlling things from the shadows. If I had to take a guess, that person is using this whole thing to weaken Team Rocket. But they can't allow someone else to take control either. The competition must be eliminated. This is just a theory, but I think the answer is in Saffron City."
"Then it's convenient for that mysterious person that Team Rocket wins this time? The media coverage is making things difficult and business will be terribly affected. With Team Rocket left like that, it would be the perfect time for the true enemy to move in," Pixel reasoned.
"The one behind this doesn't want any competition when it comes to taking over Team Rocket," Jessie theorized. "The Neo Rockets probably have no idea they're being manipulated. In fact," Jessie added bitterly, "we're probably dancing to the tune they're playing for us right now, but we don't have a choice. We need to take care of things here, then get the rest of them. Whatever conspiracy is going on, I think it will be revealed soon, but first we need to clean the base."
"Agreed, one thing at a time if we're going to win," Pixel looked left and right down the long underground metal halls. Confirming that the coast was clear, she entered a number on the little keypad on the wall. "When Laiki and I left the weapons storage room I entered a secret number that switched all the access codes. Not everyone knows the second set of access codes, but I'm sure they're figuring that out right now. Let's hurry, take as much as you can, they must have detected this room being opened."
Jessie grinned and picked up a bazooka. She realized it felt heavier and deadlier than any other bazookas she had held. "This is different from the equipment we used in the past. Someone could get killed with this."
Pixel grinned, "welcome to the dark side." In her mind she was an invincible super villain, or at least an almost invincible minion of an almost invincible mafia lord. Ironically she had never actually had the need to injure anyone, at least not yet.
"Watch yourself rookie," despite her warning, Jessie's confidence didn't fail. "Don't worry too much though; you're with experienced agents now."
James kept giving Jessie a knowing grin and he couldn't help it but to comment, "I knew you missed being a Rocket as much as I did, if not more." The remark earned James a smack on the back of the head from Jessie.
"I just hope we get the chance to do something heroic," Meowth's eyes shone with anticipation. "Then the boss will give us a big reward and say, 'for saving Team Rocket and my life I'll hire you again and give you the biggest raise you can imagine. From now on it's going to be only the best for Meowth and his friends."
"This is no time for your fantasies. We have traitors to catch!" Jessie was well armed with a pair of guns on her belt and a bazooka on her back. She carried a lot of extra ammunition as well. "I really hope it doesn't come to this, real Rockets fight with the power of pokemon."
"Then we'll just have to restore Team Rocket to how it should be!" James cheered; he was similarly armed to Jessie, just in case. "Our pokemon are strong, we can do it. By the way, speaking of pokemon, what did you do with the egg Flareon laid before we came? You ran off with it and returned without it. Then you drove over here taking weird shortcuts like a maniac. I was too busy fearing for my life to ask."
"Don't worry about it," Jessie assured, "the egg is with auntie, she'll take care of it."
"I have a question, if someone else gave you the second page of the list and you compiled the first yourselves, how did you do it?" Pixel inquired.
"It's because Neo Rocket offered us to join them, but we refused. They thought we would join in since we weren't in the best terms with the boss before. I think they just wanted to use James to access his family's money and use it for their cause," Jessie explained bitterly. The thought of someone taking advantage of James bothered her. Either way, his parents kept the fortune and were not keen on sharing since he married Jessie.
"Or they could have thought we're awesome and tried to get us to join," James added with a more pleasant tone. "They didn't understand that part of being awesome is being loyal."
"Save any other questions for later, let's focus on the battle now," Jessie urged. "The Neo Rockets were planning to gather in Kanto and this is the main base of the region. The majority of Team Rocket is actually still loyal, but there are enough traitors to make a noticeable difference. I think their ultimate goal is to get rid of the boss to establish their power over Team Rocket. They must assume that the loyal Rockets will change their minds and follow them if they take out the boss." Jessie explained, she was ready to head into battle. The Rocket grunts followed quietly, hoping that they wouldn't regret remaining loyal to Giovanni.
xoxox xox xoxox
Things had taken a complicated turn at Rock On in Pewter City. Yolanda backed away to the wall. Four members of Team Rocket had snuck in and detained her. The blond woman who led them was currently interrogating her. Yolanda didn't know what they were talking about.
"Don't play dumb, I know this place is a secret base for Team Rocket's enemies!" Laiki insisted, aiming her gun at the frightened girl.
"I really don't know what you're talking about," Yolanda cried. "This is a pokemon breeding center. It belongs to my brother. I'm taking care of the pokemon while he's out. He doesn't have any connections with you people or your enemies, I'm sure of it!"
The three Rocket grunts returned to the living room where Laiki was holding Yolanda hostage. "We didn't find anything suspicious at all," one of the grunts informed, "this isn't an enemy base."
"That's weird," Laiki mused with worry, "here I am with an elite squadron," she motioned towards her weapons rather than the grunts, "ready to storm the enemy base and take over with sheer power. Then what do I find? A girl who honestly doesn't seem to know about the situation and no incriminating evidence."
Laiki gave it some thought, the order she received came from the boss. His cell phone had since been rendered useless. Pixel was sure the geeks on the traitors' side would collapse the communication system eventually and her guess was right. The enemy would rather have no method of spying if it meant risking false information and giving their opponents a chance to slip encoded messages past them.
A thought occurred to Laiki. The password was so that she would know the order was from the boss, even if his voice was not heard. But why didn't he just give her a quick call? Messages were useful when sneaking around quietly. What was making him hide the message? Maybe he was in trouble.
That couldn't be it, if the enemy had Giovanni, then the battle should have been over. "This doesn't make sense, but I have a bad feeling." The three grunts looked at Laiki with puzzlement, 'the boss is still a human being. Even if he seems like so much more to us most of the time. It must have been a mistake,' she mused. 'Giovanni is a stubborn person,' Laiki thought, 'I can't imagine anyone being able to force the password out of him by any means. He could have been tricked or someone could have obtained the code in some other way. Perhaps the boss just sent the wrong information by mistake. Maybe the mistake was mine and my true mission was to investigate and be ready for the worse. The worse case scenario wasn't confirmed as I assumed.'
Laiki took one last look at Yolanda, who was still frightened. "Sorry about that. Well boys, it seems there was a mistake. The Rock On enemy hide out was nothing but a false alarm. Let's head back to HQ, that's where we're really needed."
"Wait! What's going on?" Yolanda suddenly demanded to know. She wanted those people gone, but she couldn't stop herself from asking.
"I can't tell you that. If you knew, then I would have a real reason to storm this place," Laiki smiled innocently. "Oh and by the way, Team Rocket doesn't go around attacking people at random. Don't get the wrong impression. You're perfectly safe as long as you don't pick a fight with us, don't hinder our business and don't try to keep a strong pokemon to yourself. We would also appreciate it if you kept this whole misunderstanding a secret. Do it for the sake of everyone's safety, if you know what I mean."
Yolanda nodded slowly; she felt that she had no choice. The Rockets left Rock On without any casualties. Yolanda watched from the window as the seemingly normal car with tinted glass drove away.
xoxox xox xoxox
In the little underground room of the old Team Rocket hideout, Delia remained quiet. She was waiting for Giovanni to say something. She wished there was some light so she could see his expression. "I'm sorry," she cried, speaking hurriedly and breaking the thick silence. "So many things happened and it looked like Team Rocket was getting worse. So many of our friends were hurt and even died. I didn't know for how long that would continue or if it would ever end. I thought the only way Ash could live in peace was if I left. Despite our disagreements, I was prepared to stay if it was just me. I don't regret having Ash, he's our son and I love him so much. He reminds me of you a lot sometimes. You both want to be the best, you're both stubborn, you both like powerful pokemon, you both never give up and so many other things."
"Ash looks a lot like you when he brushes his hair back. His hair is just as stubborn as yours when it comes to staying in place without putting a million things in it. Most of the time he wears a hat. Oh, and you both like chocolate cake, I guess a lot of people do, but yeah, you still like it, right?" Delia stopped herself, she was rambling. It must already be a lot to take in, she didn't want to make the overload worse. "Um... Giovanni... are you mad at me?"
"Yes," he replied after a moment, though he didn't sound angry. He sounded surprised and confused. For once his voice completely lacked his usual mask of neutrality. He told himself this didn't change anything. Ash had existed for years and nothing had changed. The only difference was that he didn't know. He wanted to know just who was Ash beyond what little he knew about him. The need to battle him resurfaced again, much stronger then it had been during the tournament. Giovanni couldn't explain it.
"Alright, that's okay, you can be mad at me. I guess I did kind of cheat you out of a lot of visits by keeping the secret," Delia breathed deeply. "You do understand that I thought it was for the best, don't you? Ash is... well, you should meet him for yourself and see. He doesn't know about you. He knows you as the Viridian gym leader and I'm pretty sure he admires you. He doesn't know anything about your connection to Team Rocket. If you want to tell him, I'll leave that up to you. Please wait until things calm down if you decide to tell him the whole truth and let me prepare him first."
Giovanni closed his eyes in thought; everything was darkness in the little underground room anyway. "I'll get things under control first, then we'll talk." It was a strange overwhelming feeling, too many things were happening at once.
Delia breathed in relief, "I'll help out in any way I can. Please count me as an ally," she paused. She felt that Giovanni would probably want to have some time to let things sink in before more questions started to surface. "Should we wait here until tomorrow?"
"No, that's not necessary," Giovanni had too much to think about as it was. He made himself focus on his problems with Team Rocket; there would be time for everything else later. Still, thoughts of Delia kept resurfacing. Why would she still want to help? What about Ash? He couldn't deny he wanted to know more. "We've waited long enough. Let's walk the rest of the way to Cerulean City. We can get communication and transportation there."
Quietly and with a heavy atmosphere, Giovanni, Delia and Persian made their way out of the little underground room. They walked in silence, which made Delia feel uncomfortable. She thought about what to say, but was interrupted by an explosion near by.
A familiar voice called out, "Pikachu, no!"
"That was Ash!" Delia started running towards a source of light up ahead, where the voice had come from.
The light was a fire on Ash's little indigo car, "I'm on it!" Misty called out her Starmie. "Water gun, put out that fire!" The solution was effective as Starmie's water successfully extinguished the flames in the car.
"Misty," Ash frowned, "you drowned the engine."
"It's better than letting the fire reach the fuel tank and the whole car exploding. Besides, there's not much left of the engine anyway," Misty waved away the smoke coming from the little car. It had been rendered useless.
"My poor car, it was my first car, it was my only car. It took me such a long time to save up for it and now it's gone," Ash gave his dear car a moment of silence.
"Pikapi," Pikachu looked at Ash with sadness and guilt.
Ash hugged the little yellow electric pokemon, "it's alright Pikachu, it's not your fault. I was the one who told you to keep recharging the battery instead of changing it like I should have."
Delia and Giovanni arrived and witness the scene. It reminded Giovanni of something that happened before he met Delia. At the time, Aayla had just recently joined Team Rocket.
That night long ago, Giovanni, Luke, Leah, Aayla and Binks were all in Giovanni's car, which he intended to replace soon. "Dude Giovanni, like tell me again like why you're getting rid of this car. I like still don't totally get it, you know?" Luke happened to like the car. It was brown and he thought it looked like a giant chocolate bar.
"Because it won't last much longer," Giovanni tried to explain it again, "the battery keeps giving out and the newbie has to recharge it with Electabuzz."
"When will I have a name other then newbie?" Aayla grumbled from the back of the car. She was sandwiched uncomfortably between Leah and Binks. She sometimes forgot Leah was there until she tried to move and bumped into her. As for Binks, she elbowed him on occasion, simply because she felt like it.
"When you earn it," Giovanni answered, "it doesn't look like Electabuzz will last too long either. Lately there have been less pokemon around. There's a rumor that some kind of epidemic is starting. It's only a rumor but it could be true."
"But dude, can't you like change the battery? I'll like miss this car, you know?" Luke insisted upon his argument that the car should be kept.
"You can have it after I get a new one," Giovanni offered, knowing very well that Luke would love the idea.
"Thanks dude! You're like totally awesome, man!" Luke's cheering was interrupted when the engine failed and the car shut down.
"I think it's more than the battery that's wrong with it," Giovanni theorized. He wasn't in the mood to tinker with the car. He felt like getting a new car, maybe he could find an orange one to steal, though the color wasn't too common. He tried to turn the car back on, but it didn't work.
"Time for another recharge?" Aayla didn't even wait for an answer before shoving Binks aside and exiting the car. She opened it up, frowning at the smoke that came from the engine. "Are you sure this is a good idea?"
"It worked fine before, just give it a quick recharge," Giovanni needed to get to Pewter City. Once he was there he would have a new car and the old one would be Luke's problem.
"If you say so," Aayla sent out Electabuzz. The large yellow pokemon looked as if he had no energy left. It was a side effect of the illegal power-ups he had been given before. Ever since Aayla joined Team Rocket she stopped giving Electabuzz any of those substances. The gang leader, Giovanni, forbade it. He claimed it was more of a liability than a help in the long run. Electabuzz was still suffering from the symptoms of withdrawal. "Electabuzz, give the battery another electric charge."
With a lot of effort, the weakened Electabuzz obeyed. The electricity wasn't much, but the car's battery had all the mistreatment it could take. The result was a chain reaction that set the engine aflame.
"My car!" Luke cried out at the top of his lungs. He jumped out of the front passenger seat and hurried to put out the fire. It was technically still Giovanni's car, but it was close enough to becoming his. "Like put out the fire Poliwag, water gun, man!" The car that Luke affectionately referred to as a giant chocolate bar met a grim fate that night.
Years later, Ash's car suffered a similar tragedy. "Ash!" Delia called out to her son as she, Giovanni and Persian approached.
"Mom!" Ash rushed to her and hugged her, noticing Giovanni's presence as well. "The Viridian gym leader is here too!" He observed them as well as he could in the light of the full moon and stars. "Were you two in a battle, did Team Rocket attack you? I've heard the accusations, but I don't believe a word of them. Team Rocket attacked you, didn't they?"
Delia was at a loss for words, "something like that?" She looked at Giovanni, hoping that he would have some kind of believable excuse. Their bruised appearance was in truth the result of being kidnapped and falling off a cliff respectively.
Giovanni had been looking at Ash curiously. Ash was more focused on his mother and didn't really notice. Giovanni snapped into attention upon hearing Delia's cue for him to come up with an excuse. "I think they might have only been pretending to be Team Rocket. There have been rumors about a battle between gangs. Something about Team Rocket's rivals trying to get the police to go after the Rockets."
Ash gave this new possibility some thought as did Misty. "That makes a lot of sense," she commented.
"Yeah," Ash agreed, "what happened at Vermilion City, you've heard about it, right? It's not Team Rocket's usual style. There was nothing to gain for them. Then the really bad gang isn't Team Rocket, it's their rivals. The police will figure it out eventually if they stop Team Rocket and the crimes don't stop, but a lot of things could happen before then."
Giovanni found that Ash's logic was easier to guide than he expected. Maybe keeping the secret of Team Rocket from him to avoid further complications would not be difficult after all. Besides, he was telling the truth about Team Rocket and their enemies. "It's more serious than that. Team Rocket and their enemies cancel each other out, so to speak. If one was left alone, it could be very dangerous," he bent the truth, Giovanni didn't think any other gang was strong enough to truly stand up against Team Rocket.
Misty gasped as the gym leader's theory became clear to her, "that means that the police is being used. If they spend all their resources taking out Team Rocket, they'll be left exposed for when that other gang openly emerges."
"This is just a theory," Giovanni voiced with fake concern, "but if it's true, it may happen that way."
"That's how it seems to be, the gangs keep each other at bay. The police would have to stop them all at once to get anywhere and that would be next to impossible. It's dangerous to allow the balance of power to shift too suddenly," Delia added, she always knew a lot more than she let on. She was secretive in many ways and most people tended to assume she knew little.
"Wow, I guess I never thought about it that way," Ash was surprised at his mother's conclusion. He understood the logic in it. "Then that other gang must be stopped. Team Rocket wasn't so bad by comparison, so the other group should be stopped first. Anyway, I'm just glad you're both safe. We'll figure out the rest as we go along, right Misty?"
Misty thought she shouldn't encourage Ash's tendency to rush in without a plan too much, "yeah, but we need to be careful."
Ash nodded in agreement and looked at Giovanni. The gym leader couldn't help it but to wonder if Ash knew who he was. It was soon proven he didn't, "can we still have our pokemon battle?"
"Is that all you think about?" Misty face palmed.
"Of course we can battle," hearing Giovanni's reply, Delia decided it was good. Maybe a pokemon battle was just what they needed to understand each other in their own way, as long as it remained friendly. "Not here and now," Giovanni clarified.
"Right," Delia continued, "and since we're all here together talking I might as well formally introduce everyone," she tried to make it sound as natural as she could, with Giovanni putting up a very good act despite his curiosity. It reminded her of the past, when he put up an act for Professor Oak. Things were different and at the same time similar.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon.