Diamond 58: Give me Resolve
Diamond 58: Give me Resolve
The next day, Ash made his way through the Cerulean gym around ten in the morning. He was still sleepy, but he got up anyway. He didn't know why, it was as if something was about to happen. He didn't know if it concerned him or not. He found Misty feeding the pokemon. "Morning," the greeting was accentuated with a yawn.
"Good morning sleepy head," Misty teased as Ash gave her a kiss. He wrapped his arms around her waist from behind and rested his head sleepily on her shoulder.
"I think Goldeen will be happier here." Goldeen shyly observed the other pokemon. Another Goldeen and a pair of Seaking approached her curiously. Soon, she was swimming around with the other water pokemon. It was the Goldeen that was given to Ash at the Viridian tournament.
"It looks like she's already making friends," Misty smiled. "Your mom volunteered to make breakfast." The scent of pancakes from the kitchen confirmed that she must be almost done.
"Then what are we waiting for?" Ash cheered, he was feeling a little more awake at the thought of breakfast.
In the kitchen, they found Delia setting the table and greeted her with "good morning" and "pika pika." Pikachu jumped off Ash's shoulders and gave Delia the sweetest smile.
"Good morning," Delia replied, "and yes, Pikachu, you can have pancakes soon."
Misty sat down next to Ash. She tried to brush his hair with her hands; it was sticking out in every direction. "Did you sleep well?" She gave him a small kiss.
"After all the excitement I could hardly sleep," Ash admitted. "Wait a minute," he realized that someone was missing, "where's Giovanni? Is he still sleeping?"
"He had to leave," Delia gave Ash a weak smile, but forced her tone of voice to remain somewhat cheerful. She woke up before Ash and Misty did, by then Giovanni was already gone. "You two were sleeping, he asked me to say goodbye. Someone came to pick him up from Viridian City," it was a lie and Delia didn't feel good about it. She didn't know what else to say to avoid suspicion. She wondered what Giovanni could be doing. She knew it had to be related to Team Rocket and he didn't want to involve Delia.
"What about our battle?" Ash pouted. He had been looking forward to battling Giovanni. That wasn't the only situation in his mind, "what about my hat?"
"Ash, please be patient, everything will work out," though it wasn't her intention, Delia wondered if she was accidentally lying again.
xoxox xox xoxox
At the Viridian Rocket headquarters, Jessie rested her back against the cold metal underground tunnel and slid down to the floor. James repeated the motion next to her. Their exhausted pokemon were resting in their pokeballs, except Meowth. He snuck into Giovanni's office and was napping on his chair. "We did it, we've searched this place upside down and caught every traitor that was here. I heard they did some really tough searches in the other bases just in case too. The rest of them are hiding somewhere else." Jessie closed her eyes. The cold hard floor wasn't comfortable at all, but she was so tired she was about to fall asleep.
"We helped Team Rocket," James tilted his head towards Jessie and closed his eyes. He wondered what would happen to them after the boss heard what they did. Would they truly return to Team Rocket? Was it worth it? They were too tired to think about that at the moment.
"Hey you two, get up!" Ariana commanded, she crossed her arms and tapped her foot impatiently. "I give you points for being loyal despite your situation, but I can't blame Giovanni for thinking you're incompetent. Why are you sleeping here? That makes you look weak!"
Jessie and James jumped to their feet, "yes, ma'am!"
Ariana laughed, revealing that she was only pretending to be angry at them. "You've done well, but it's not up to me to allow you to return to Team Rocket or not. For now, you should go home so you're not in the path of Giovanni's rage when he returns. Unless you really want to stay for the rest of the battle," she challenged.
Jessie and James looked at Ariana's serious expression, at each other's confused faces, then back at Ariana. "It's not over?" Jessie finally voiced.
"Of course not, we just got the traitors and infiltrators. The rest of the enemy gang is still out there, who knows what they'll do. We need to be prepared to defend the base, just in case." Ariana wasn't expecting a confrontation to occur too soon, unless Giovanni provoked it to get things over with. If not, then the enemy would probably lay low for a while. It was an opportunity to be sneaky and put an end to their plans.
"We're staying," Jessie decided without giving it too much thought. Her determination was unbreakable.
"Yeah, we're Rockets. This is who we are and we're not going to run away!" James added with the same determination.
"Good, but you're not in any shape to battle right now, if it comes to that. Your pokemon are exhausted as well," Ariana reasoned, "go to the infirmary, the others are resting with their pokemon there. I suggest, no, I order you to do the same."
"Yes, ma'am!" Jessie and James eagerly saluted and did as they were told. The order to rest was very welcomed.
xoxox xox xoxox
At the Cerulean City gym, the atmosphere was full of uncertainty. "What are we going to do now?" Ash asked between big bites of food. He was devouring his pancakes almost as fast as Pikachu. The yellow electric pokemon could eat a lot when it came to pancakes. Though the humans found it odd, no one stopped Pikachu from putting ketchup on the pancakes.
"I don't know," Misty's words carried a deeper meaning than simply not having a plan for the day. "I'm going to call my sisters." She went to use the phone in the living room, which left Ash in the kitchen with Delia. Misty purposely went away in case they wanted a little mother-son moment.
"Are you going back to Pallet Town?" Ash inquired curiously.
"Yes," Delia didn't know what else she could possibly do. The question caught her off guard. She remembered that Ash's car was no more, its remains having been left behind the previous night. Replacing the engine would be more expensive than what the car was worth anyway. "I'll take a few buses until I get there, don't worry about me."
The memory of Ash's car invaded his mind at the mention of transportation. His expression turned grim. "I guess I'll be taking a few buses and walking in the near future too." He used to walk everywhere. After getting used to moving from one city to another in a matter of hours rather than days, he really missed his car. All her sisters had their own cars, but Misty never felt the necessity to get one despite having a license. She always traveled with Ash anyway.
"It's not so bad," Delia smiled trying to lighten the mood. The weight of uncertainty was still upon her. She wondered when and if Giovanni would contact her. He left without saying anything, she woke up and he was already gone. She understood Team Rocket's situation kept him busy, but that only worried her more.
"I suppose..." Ash let out a breath. He remembered why he had initially asked his mother if she was going back to Pallet Town. The question wasn't originally about transportation, "I thought you might go to Viridian City. I guess the less people are involved the better. Is it safe in Pallet Town?"
Delia didn't want Ash to worry about her. Yet there wasn't anything solid she could ascertain to provide reassurance. "I'm sure I'll be fine. They were after Giovanni more so than me. He'll lead them away and I'm sure he'll be okay too. He's a strong pokemon trainer. Everything will work out."
"I hope so," Ash still felt gloomy. He had no direct part in the Team Rocket situation and didn't fully understand it. It made him more uneasy to think about Tempest. He wanted to do something but didn't know what. To top it all up, he didn't have a hat. People would probably give him weird looks on the street due to his hair being nearly impossible to be kept in place. He brushed his hands against it helplessly, it wasn't cooperating.
Watching her son, Delia actually considered asking Giovanni about what he used to keep his hair in place without ending up with a built in helmet. That had happened to Ash once, due to excessive hair gel. Then she told herself to stop thinking of such little details. She couldn't run away from the big picture and the fact that she and Ash might not see Giovanni again any time soon if ever. He was supposed to take her to meet certain people, but Delia didn't know if she should believe him. She wondered if she should just stay away, but couldn't leave things as they were.
"What does that mean? Daisy! Don't hang up!" Misty's voice came from the living room sounding very upset. Ash and Delia left the kitchen and rushed to her.
They found Misty still sitting in front of the video phone. Her expression was distressed. She was trying to call Daisy again, but the call didn't go through. "What happened?" Ash asked.
"Daisy didn't explain it clearly. She said something about the mafia, but she wasn't making any sense. She told me not to worry if Ackbar Inc. was on the news. I don't know what's going on, but it looks bad. She sounded as if she didn't understand it either. Team Rocket, the mafia, Ackbar Inc., it's all connected somehow," Misty's worries grew by the second. "I'm calling Violet, maybe she can explain things. It seems they've all gone their separate ways for now."
Ash and Delia watched silently as Misty dialed the number of Violet's cell phone. It rang several times until finally Violet's voice was heard, "Lily?" She had not been paying attention to the name on the cell phone's screen.
"It's Misty," The device was set to voice only, though cell phones with video phone capabilities were no longer rare. Misty didn't like the way Violet sounded and she wished she could see her expression. "Do you know what's happening with Daisy?"
"Ask her yourself, I'm like not talking to her!" Violet yelled. The sound of screeching tires, a horn and angry words indicated that she was driving recklessly.
"Violet, are you driving? Pull over for a second and explain what's going on, please!" Misty nearly begged. As if the recent attack on Vermilion City wasn't enough, Daisy had started going on about the mafia. She was making no sense and on top of everything, something was clearly wrong with Violet.
"I don't have time for this. I'll have to like save Kenobi myself," the sound of police sirens was heard. Violet's reckless driving didn't go unnoticed. "I have to go, don't call me, I'll be busy."
The call was ended. With Violet's cell phone turned off, Misty could no longer reach her. "What in the world is going on?" The youngest Waterflower yelled out in frustration.
Ash hugged her, supportive, "maybe Lily knows, let's try to call her."
Misty nodded and dialed the number. She waited holding her breath until Lily's face came on the screen. What little of the background that could be perceived indicated that she was in a fancy room with predominant sandy colors. Her eyes were red, she had been crying. "Misty?" She didn't expect her youngest sister to call.
"Lily, what's happening? Please tell me!" Misty insisted desperately.
Lily nodded; she could see Ash and Delia behind her sister. It was alright, they were trust worthy people. "Misty, I'm scared. I like didn't know what to do so I just tried not to think about it. This can't be happening." Tears flooded Lily's face as her denial gave out.
"Lily!" Misty wanted to jump into the screen and appear on the other side. The hardships that her sisters were enduring hurt her, even more so because the situation was in many ways unknown to her.
Lily shook her head and evened her breathing, "Lando is... No, Mr. Ackbar, his father, was like involved with the mafia, with Team Rocket. Years ago, when Lando was very young, he was like sick and his father was able to save him thanks to some business deals he made with Team Rocket. It was like the only way to get the money he needed for his son's surgery. Ackbar became a mafia clan, they like served the Roketto, Team Rocket."
Ash stared at the screen with his anger and frustration building up. Team Rocket's name kept coming up in bad situations lately. Even if that other gang, Tempest, was apparently worse, Team Rocket was still bad.
"You're saying that Team Rocket and this Roketto clan from the mafia are the same?" Misty watched as her sister nodded, giving it some time to sink in. "The Ackbar family is involved with them, in debt?" Misty's voice gave out. She pushed it to work again seconds later, "Lando, Daisy's fiance is involved with the mafia, with Team Rocket, because he's part of the Ackbar clan..."
"I don't know a lot, but they can't just like break away," Lily replied with hushed sobs. Delia bit her lip and remained silent. The connections Team Rocket had ran far and deep. She wasn't expecting another of their connections to come out so close. "Team Rocket betrayed Ackbar, they attacked."
"Wasn't that Tempest?" Misty's question confused Lily. "Team Rocket's rival has been causing trouble in Team Rocket's name to gain more enemies for them."
Lily's eyes widened as she considered the possibility of everything being a big misunderstanding or a setup. "Then Ackbar going to war with Team Rocket might be like a really big mistake."
"This just keeps getting more complicated," Misty was feeling helpless with the situation.
"Lily, you should tell Daisy and Lando about Tempest," Ash suggested, he didn't know what other course of action to take beyond clarifying things. "Team Rocket is bad, but fighting with them is probably what Tempest wants Ackbar to do. Tempest is worse than Team Rocket; we can't let them get their way."
The pieces fell into place perfectly when Misty thought about it, "Tempest is using Ackbar to weaken Team Rocket." In that situation Ackbar would become a sacrifice for Tempest's purpose. "You have to warn Daisy and Lando!"
"I'll tell them, right away!" Lily exclaimed.
"What about Violet?" Misty quickly asked before Lily hung up. "I called her and she was driving somewhere, recklessly by the sound of it."
Lily's expression darkened further, "Kenobi is missing, that's why he like didn't call Violet. She thought he was like helping his father, the Viridian mayor. The mayor called Violet asking if Kenobi was with her. No one knows what happened to him. Daisy and Violet argued because of the Antilles family being like suspected of supporting Team Rocket."
Delia had a bad feeling about Kenobi's disappearance. His father, Rune Antilles, was involved with Team Rocket and had a relatively important position. Kenobi might have been taken prisoner by the Rocket traitors or even by Tempest. "For now, you should tell Daisy to convince Lando not to challenge Team Rocket," Delia suggested. "Tempest is the main enemy. I'm sure information about Kenobi will turn up."
"Alright, I'll do that," Lily nodded; her expression was stressed and worried.
xoxox xox xoxox
In Saffron City, the sun was obstructed by tall buildings that created a shadowy darkness in the alley. The entrance to the secret battle arena was closed and would not open for business until noon. Regardless, Proton knocked on the door. His face was shrouded in additional darkness by the shade of his black hat. The red R on his chest was clearly visible. He made no attempt to hide the symbol of Team Rocket, carrying it with real pride.
"We're closed, come back later," a gruff voice replied from beyond the locked door.
Proton grinned and glanced at the rope that extended from the roof of the neighboring building. "I think not. You see, I have an urgent message from the boss of Team Rocket."
The shuffling of feet was heard from beyond the wooden door. Hushed voices echoed in the basement and a few clangs of metal were heard. The muffled words were angry but indistinguishable.
Proton held a small explosive; he retrieved a lighter from his pocket and lit the fuse attached to the black dynamite stick with a red R. Without a second to waste, he hurried to climb up the rope to the roof of the building and pulled the rope up.
A tall figure burst through the door with a crowbar in hand. The guard was immediately thrown back by the force of the explosion. He fell into his allies behind him, knocking them down like dominos.
A man and woman pushed past the dazed guards despite their warnings to stay back. "Up here," Proton threw a black enveloped down. The paper fell slowly; it swayed from side to side above the glare of the couple below. The woman outstretched her hand and caught the black envelope, noticing the red R on it.
The guards had recovered and intended to pursue the Rocket. The man raised his hand in a signal for them to stop. His female companion seemed to be glaring a hole through the black paper with shiny red ink. "It seems he wants a showdown." She looked up at Proton, "tell your boss that we accept his challenge!" They would get their revenge on Giovanni for putting them in jail years ago when they took over the Viridian gym.
Proton grinned and did a mock salute. He tossed down another small explosive and watched in amusement as the enemies scrambled inside. "They're like cowardly Diglett." With a low chuckle he dashed away and jumped to the roof of another building near by. Behind that building, he made it to the emergency stairs. The thin metal staircase screeched with each hasty step he took.
He made it down to a much wider alleyway that led towards the main road. An orange sports car was waiting for him there. Proton got in and the car sped away. "They accepted the challenge. I guess we can expect them to prepare an ambush in the meeting place."
"You know what to do," Giovanni was planning to end the problem with the same strategy as the enemy. They wanted to take over Team Rocket by getting rid of the leader, so it would be a battle between the leaders.
"I've got your back," Proton ascertained. "This plan is risky, I like it." Proton's voice didn't lack in confidence.
"It will work," Giovanni affirmed, "the others better do their job. Ackbar is being troublesome." He felt frustrated that he didn't act faster. The situation with Ackbar was most likely a misunderstanding. Giovanni assumed that Bane's son had taken over command of the company. Apparently, Lando didn't realize what was going on. He must have the wrong idea thinking that Team Rocket attacked for no reason. None the less, he would be punished for his troublesome mistaken conclusion.
Giovanni also received word that Kenobi was missing. That issue had to be solved before his battle to avoid a troublesome hostage situation. Kenobi had more loyalty to Team Rocket than Rune. It was true loyalty based on something more than fear. Perhaps Giovanni would push Rune to retire after the next office term ended. Then Kenobi could take his place as a more competent Viridian mayor.
xoxox xox xoxox
On that same morning, Comet reported to the mysterious Saffron City mayor. Her office was dimly lit, covered in red. The same Ninetales sat regally beside the lady. The unidentified lady carried an elegant royal air and looked menacing in the shadows. "The operation last night at the Cerulean City Pokemon Center was a terrible failure."
Comet shifted uncomfortably and fingered Gyarados' pokeball on his belt, all part of his act. "I apologize for that, ma'am," he gave her a remorseful look, keeping his head low.
"Not only did you fail to steal any pokemon, but most of the agents involved were arrested. I find it odd that you could escape," the lady had a mocking grin. "You didn't seem to be the cowardly type who runs away at the first sign of danger."
Comet tried to remain focus on his act, "the situation was... overwhelming." He made a few hurried nervous sounding excuses, as if he was truly regretful of how things went. "They called for help, some strong trainers arrived and-"
"The Viridian City gym leader," the lady interrupted. She leaned back on her large red leather chair. She sunk deeper into the shadows and her expression was nearly impossible to perceive. She was satisfied, "I have seen the news. That wasn't the only thing mentioned on the news though. The production of medical supplies in Kanto seems to have been paralyzed. The hospitals and clinics will be alright for a while, but by next week the difference will become noticeable."
Far from sounding concerned, the lady sounded proud, "Ackbar Inc. didn't control each and every medicine and medical tool on the market, but they control a piece of each so it's all the same. Even if another company tried to produce something, they cannot if one key material is missing. The medical industry is dependant on Ackbar. At the same time Ackbar is dependant on the transport of cargo handled by Antilles. The cargo company is run by a board of executives, but the mayor of Viridian City is the owner." More so Giovanni was the owner; Rune was only there to help hide the monopoly the Rocket leader administrated.
The lady chuckled fondly, "the take over was easy. The previous cargo company was left weakened after an incident that resulted in lawsuits and boycott. The event involved one of their ships being hijacked by terrorists. The S.S. Lapras, I believe that was the ship's name, if memory serves. Antilles' cargo company, Antilles Oceanus, is also the main source of imported food in Kanto. As for the local produce, I'm sure Team Rocket has ties to that area of business too. Team Rocket also holds many shares in the stock market and has vastly influential representatives in several boards of executives in many areas. Plus they have the big guns, but their weapons manufacturing is top secret," she grinned mischievously.
"You're well informed..." Comet commented suspiciously. He didn't expect the mysterious Saffron City mayor to reveal so much or to know it in the first place.
The lady laughed as if she had heard something very amusing. "Team Rocket is not trying to take over Kanto, they already have! The same goes for the Orange Islands and Johto. As for the other regions, their market control of food and medicines is at least eighty percent. Only a few products can be made without some Team Rocket involvement. Soon their control will reach the same level as Kanto. Until that control extends throughout the world, it must remain a secret. There will be minimal rebellions and resistance when the time comes."
"By the time they realize what is happening, they will be under Team Rocket's firm rule! Furthermore, if they try to fight back, they'll only hurt themselves. The world will depend on Team Rocket. Any hopes of ending their rule, will be suicide," the lady's laughter echoed. "I thought it was impossible to take over the whole world. If he plays his cards right, he might just do it!"
After more laughter, her expression turned serious. "Things like our current situation with Neo Rocket and Tempest will get in the way. Giovanni needs to pay attention to those details. He needs to learn, it's for his own good. Dear boy, you've done exactly what I wanted you to do. Now it's time for your final mission..."
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. The Goldeen Ash lets Misty keep at the Cerulean gym was given to him on Diamond 37. The story about the S.S. Lapras was elaborated on Diamond 32. I haven't officially revealed the Saffron City mayor's identity, but I think it's pretty easy to guess by now... As a random note, I'll give you some recommendations, Nafatali's Team Rocket series is awesome, The Inheritance and all the following volumes, read them all! I also recommend the Giovanni Chronicles and its sequel! There are links in my favorites.