Diamond 62: Give me Reunions
Diamond 62: Give me Reunions
The dark blue limousine moved through blackness of the forest, away from the line of lamp posts provided by Pewter City. It felt as if the evening had become the middle of the night. That was the illusion caused by the sky being completely blocked by the lush trees.
The video conference system received an incoming connection. It was encrypted, as the previous one had been. It took a moment for the hardware to interpret the signal. Several seconds passed and the screen lit up. A Rocket grunt covered in shadows appeared on the screen with instructions. The directions were passed on to the driver as the screen went blank again.
"Stop here," Lando nervously instructed. "It's so dark, maybe we should move closer to the city," he debated on what to do. His violet eyes looked clouded with doubt and worry.
"That's alright," Daisy decided. "Let's not make them angrier," she looked concerned as she opened the door and got off along with Lily.
"My darling, I can't abandon you in this wilderness!" Lando protested, even if the Waterflowers had been ordered to get off there. He knew he had to go to the Rocket base alone. Yet the forest was too dark, as if it hid a wicked secret.
"You're the one who's like going into the really dangerous place," Daisy quietly voiced. "If you're not back in an hour, I'll go save you!"
"My love, you mustn't!" Lando gasped dramatically. "Fear not my sweet. I will surely return one way or another, because I know you'll be waiting."
The couple was all sweetness and love, even in the face of danger. Lily didn't know if she should sigh happily or get jealous. She was truly happy for her sisters, but it was finally starting to sink in that she felt left out. Besides, she still wasn't fully over her ex. Daisy and Lando shared a kiss before they finally parted ways.
The two Waterflower sisters started walking through the forest. They stayed on the side of the road to avoid getting lost. After a few minutes, the lights of an approaching limousine were seen. The vehicle was green; it was the Viridian mayor's official transport. The forest green limousine stopped next to Daisy and Lily. They were not worried since they recognized it. They expected mayor Antilles to have identified them as Violet's sisters and offer to give them a ride. He would probably ask why they were walking through the dark forest in the first place. They would have to come up with an excuse to avoid suspicion.
The door to the back of the limousine was opened by the one riding in it. It was not Rune Antilles. "Violet?" Lily was happily surprised to see her.
"Get in," Violet invited softly, not directly looking at Daisy. Seeing her sisters' doubt she elaborated, "Team Rocket knows I'm coming to pick you up."
Daisy and Lily got in with shocked expressions and the driver turned back towards the city. "I'm so sorry," Daisy voiced.
"I'm sorry too, we shouldn't have argued like that. I was worried about Kenobi and you were worried about Lando," Violet acknowledged sadly. She looked at Daisy's regretful eyes.
"I should have put your feelings first. I should have told, no, I should have like demanded that Lando didn't go through with his plans. He's in trouble for it now. It was up to me to stop him, but I like couldn't, I foolishly encouraged him instead," a few tears escaped Daisy.
"It's okay," Violet hugged her older sister, "it's going to be okay. Everything will work out, I'm sure."
"What about Kenobi? How do you know about Team Rocket?" Daisy asked with real concern. Lily listened with attention, hoping that he had been found safely.
Violet looked calmer upon hearing the name, "he's fine. He's on his way here right now. I'll wait for him at his house and welcome him. That's where we're going now, the mayor is there too. We'll explain everything there."
xoxox xox xoxox
The Antilles' house was more so a mansion, but still much smaller than Giovanni's. Green was everywhere, since Rune loved the color so much. He would always say it was forest pride. Entering the residence was similar to entering an enchanted forest. Fake trees were on each corner with their branches extending over the ceiling. Shiny glass leaves hung from them reflecting the overhead lights. As a result, the leafy green carpet on the floor was filled with pale green dots of light.
The first time Violet visited, she almost expected a miniature glowing Clefairy to pop out like in the story books. The green got old quickly, it was an overload, yet that first impression was memorable.
The butler led the sisters to a large room with a 3D TV. Mayor Antilles was waiting there, watching the news. They shared a quiet greeting; their attention was mostly on the TV. The image projected Lando, giving a message about Ackbar Inc. He apologized for his behavior and assured that the company would continue functioning normally the next day. Daisy felt relief wash over her seeing the image. She took it as a sign that his meeting with the mafia was going as well as it could.
After the message ended, the image changed back to the news station. Commentaries about the message were made, but that didn't hold the spectators' attention. "I'm glad you're all in good health," Rune smiled calmly. His son was safe and on his way. As far as he was concerned, the storm had passed. Giovanni would take care of the rest; he always found a way to make things work.
"You too," Daisy replied, returning the expression. "We like heard about Kenobi."
Lily nodded, "it must have been so hard, but he's like safe now, so the worse is over." She tried to look encouraging.
"Yes," Rune sighed in relieved exhaustion. "I've had a long last few days. I think it's finally alright to breathe calmly. Kenobi should be here soon. Then we can talk for a while and finish getting all the stress out of our system. I have already prepared rooms for everyone. I can't allow you to go on your way so late. You must spend the night over. Violet has already agreed."
Daisy didn't know how long Lando would take to negotiate. She had no intentions of leaving Viridian City until he was finished with his meeting. "Thank you for your hospitality. To be honest, I don't think I like have the energy to travel anymore tonight."
"Me either," Lily agreed.
"With all the recent happenings it's been quite stressful," Rune was glad that he at least had the Waterflowers' willing presence in Viridian until the next day. They were to remain until someone from the Rocket headquarters came to speak to them. Until then, Rune would try his best to clarify things. They could be on their way only after Archer said it was alright. Giovanni still had not returned and Archer was running things in his absence.
Daisy frowned, almost ashamed, "about that..." She wasn't sure how to phrase it.
"There's no need to worry," Rune assured. "I was afraid I would lose my son. My stress and fear nearly killed me, but I had to keep a calm face for the city. That made it even more stressful, it's a miracle I'm still here now. What I'm trying to say is that a bond between a father and son can be a very strong thing. I don't know what I would have done if I had lost Kenobi. I don't blame the young Mr. Ackbar for any of the things he did in his time of pain."
Daisy nodded with her eyes watery, "I hope everyone is that understanding."
"I'm sure they will be," Rune encouraged, though he had no way to ascertain his words.
"Dad, I'm back!" A familiar voice called out. Kenobi entered the large room as Violet stood up and ran to him. "Violet, you're here too and your sisters. I'm so happy to see you. I worried you, didn't I? I'm sorry; I wanted to take the time to talk to you. I wasn't sure if this was public."
"The fact that you were missing?" She hugged Kenobi who returned the embrace. "Of course I knew. It wasn't made public right away, but I was worried because you didn't call me." She was happy that he had returned in good health. "Don't disappear on me like that again."
"I won't," Kenobi smiled. Being kidnapped and held captive was a hard experience to forget. On top of everything, the details about Madame's intentions were still uncertain. He didn't know what would happen next; apparently he had missed a lot. For the time being that didn't matter, he was home and everything was alright. He pushed the worries and uncertainty away to focus on the bittersweet present. He was hiding so much from Violet.
"Kenobi," Rune smiled seeing his son in good health.
"Dad, sorry to have worried you. Are you alright? How's your health?" Kenobi shared a hug with his father.
"You're the one who was in danger and you're asking me?" Rune laughed to lighten the mood. He recognized the danger that being stressed presented to him and he didn't want to cause additional grief. "I'm fine now that you're back. Let's all take some time to talk; we have a lot to discuss."
xoxox xox xoxox
Comet arrived at the Viridian Rocket Headquarters. He drove in through a secret entrance where he was expected. Akira was still out like a light. Comet had a bad feeling and checked her vital signs several times along the way. She was breathing, her heart was beating at a normal rhythm and there was nothing unusual about her temperature. The only problem was that she wasn't waking up.
Akira was immediately taken to the medical facilities. Laiki treated humans on occasion, despite her lack of formal training for it, so she had some experience. Comet went along and saw Laiki apparently hard at work reading from her computer along with Pixel, who had her own laptop open too. They were researching all kinds of things about Ash. He was the son of Delia Ketchum, the boss' ex. Curiously, after they checked out the birth registry with some hacking help from Prism, they found that his father was a mystery. Everything pointed towards the same conclusion, all the more reason to continue feeding their curiosity.
"Duty calls," Laiki got up from her desk after Akira was set down on a bed. Her legs were still tied, but Comet untied her hands from behind her to set her down on her back. The entire time he kept his guard up. He expected Akira to jump to life any second. Yet she was so still that if he had not checked her vital signs himself, Comet would think she was dead.
There were no surprised greetings, because somehow they knew Comet would be back alright, they believe that. "Guess what? I got Prism back!" Pixel proudly declared. "Archer, you know, the executive, offered to put me back on the tech team. I said I liked my current job better, but that I would keep it in mind for the future. I want to train more to become more skilled with technology and go on missions instead of staying here all the time. He said that as long as I was useful and loyal it was okay. Then he offered me a Porygon for my training, to become a better hacker. Imagine my surprise when the Porygon I got was Prism. I missed her."
"That's awesome!" Comet congratulated. He caught sight of the image on Laiki's computer and his expression changed to discomfort. "I didn't need to see that," The computer displayed a rather revealing picture of Ash.
"It's a fake," Pixel pointed out. "I've seen that body with at least three different heads. If you look closely, you can tell they didn't completely blend in the neck properly. The actor's head is perfectly handsome. I don't know why they had to decapitate him for fake fan service. Ever since some paparazzi ambushed Ash at the beach, there have been plenty of real shirtless pictures floating around the net anyway."
Comet walked over to Laiki's computer and clicked to close the image. "Hey!" Laiki looked up from her work of examining Akira's condition. "I wanted to save that. When the word gets out that the boss has a son, everyone will come to me to ask me about him. What will I show them?"
"It was a fake anyway," Comet reminded, pouting in annoyance. "Besides, wouldn't that get you into trouble? What do you mean he has a son? It's been officially confirmed?"
"Who cares if it's fake, it's hot," Laiki argued, while she listened to Akira's heartbeats. "As for official confirmation, close enough. It's basically a sure thing with all the connecting dots that have been found. Back on the topic of fake pictures, the other day I found a picture of the boss-"
"I don't want to know," Comet insisted.
"Well, I heard he works out a lot but that's not what I was going to say." Laiki argued with a pout.
"Really Laiki, you're starting to remind me of Purry," as far as Pixel knew, the Meowth was in love with the Rocket boss. In truth the one she liked was his Persian.
"I'm not sure what that's about, but let's get back on topic," Laiki continued, "it was a picture of the boss in his orange suit. Remember that suit? It was colored pink and had little red hearts all over it. That would get me into trouble, but it was hilarious!"
"Don't tell anyone," Pixel warned Comet, "if the boss gets mad and blows up the internet I'll die of boredom without it. Then my ghost will haunt you for the rest of eternity." She paused and turned her laptop around. "Look, I found the original picture with its original head."
"I didn't need to see that again." Comet decided not to try to continue the argument.
"I also found some of those beach pictures of Ash," Pixel's finger were on the tiny analog stub, moving the little red R cursor on the screen.
"You should see if that fan service picture of the boss," Laiki suggested, "the one from when some paparazzi snuck into his private gym and caught him boxing."
"I haven't seen that. You're kidding, right? Honestly, this is the boss you're talking about!" Pixel protested.
"I know," Laiki laughed, "the picture was probably disintegrated from the face of the internet. I have a copy on a password protected USB, I'll show you later," Laiki offered with a giggle. "Oh man, if the boss finds out, he'll have my head. I trust you guys to keep this all a secret. I don't want to end up like that paparazzi, rest in pieces."
Comet was about to ask if she meant rest in peace but instead requested. "I would appreciate it if you'd stop corrupting Pixel," Comet pouted, he happened to like Pixel. "I prefer the innocent Pixel who is only attracted to computers."
"I still find computers to be attractive," Pixel chimed.
"If she's only attracted to computers then she wouldn't be attracted to you," Laiki pointed out. She watched for Comet's reaction from the corner of her eyes. He didn't make a reply. Laiki didn't understand them. She certainly wasn't shy with any of her multiple boyfriends. She supposed that having Pixel deny her interest in Comet would discourage him to pursue her, at least until she got over her denial.
Instead of continuing the previous conversation, Comet warned, "you should be careful with Akira."
"I know," Laiki responded quietly, "but she can't escape when she's on the verge of death." She had gotten to work with a needle taking a small drop of black blood from Akira. She had analyzed it with her high tech equipment. She usually used it for pokemon samples, but it worked for humans too.
Laiki's statement caught the attention of both Comet and Pixel. "What do you mean? She's unconscious but she's still breathing."
The advanced medical technology had worked quickly on the small blood sample bringing the results of the test to light. "The test results are as I feared," Laiki announced. The previous momentary cheerful atmosphere had dissolved into a gloomy cloud more befitting of the situation.
"Her blood is black?" Comet was puzzled by that detail. "Is that the problem?"
"That's not the biggest problem," Laiki informed, "this substance is black, but it is indeed blood. It has all its components and who knows what else. I can't analyze it beyond that without taking a bigger sample," Laiki spoke solemnly.
"Why don't you?" Pixel inquired. "It's needed for a cure, right? I don't care what she might have done to others; she was nice to me because we're both Rockets."
"I understand and I suppose I have no choice," Laiki spoke sadly, "she has so little blood to give, her heartbeats are empty... There's mostly air in her veins, that's the only explanation. She can't move because only her brain is being fed oxygen, being kept alive. I don't know how it's possible for her to be alive with so little blood and for her heart to still beat regularly. Her body is dying, if that happens, her brain will not receive what it needs to function, then she'll be really gone."
"Can't we give her some blood?" Comet urged, "what's her blood type? She should have enough left to figure out that much." Akira was his friend too.
"That's not the problem; I got that information from my analysis just now. The truth is she never got an initial medical examination when she joined Team Rocket," Laiki recalled. "I found it odd, but thought little of it. I let it pass since she looked healthy enough. Maybe she was hiding this back then. That doesn't explain why she's so lacking in blood right now. According to the news she was injured when she was arrested. Then she escaped, she was well enough to run away. Then there's this," Laiki pointed to Akira's arms. There was a series of swollen dots, as if many needles had been there. "It doesn't look like her loss of blood was accidental. This may sound crazy, but it looks like someone stole her blood. If that's the case, then there had to be something different about it. I don't know what kind of blood to give her. I don't know what normal blood will do to her."
"If she doesn't get it, then..." Pixel didn't need to finish. What she was hinting at was obvious.
"She can't last long. I just hope that giving her blood won't kill her faster," Laiki was at a loss for what to do. "I'm calling a few people from the labs; maybe they'll have some ideas. In the mean time there's no choice but to take the risk, she needs blood. First, I'll take another sample before adding in the normal blood."
Comet and Pixel looked at the comatose Akira while Laiki got things ready for the blood transfer process. Akira was so white. That was her normal color, she had always been pale. If she had some color in her skin to begin with, then the change would have been more noticeable.
"Okay, she's ready, now I just need to get some human blood," Laiki voiced with concern. "There's only pokemon blood in the reserves. According to the machine she's supposed to be AB positive, or an approximate of that, I can't be sure."
"Take mine," Comet offered, "I'm O negative, its supposed to be good for almost everyone."
"That's..." Laiki paused as if looking for the right words, or the right excuse. "It's not a good idea, you're tired, you look pale and exhausted," it was a lie. Pixel didn't agree with Laiki's perception, but she knew nothing about medicine, so she didn't voice any disagreements. "You need your rest and your blood. Finding some extra for you will be difficult if you run low. I'm AB positive and I take my vitamins every day, I can spare some blood." Laiki hoped it was alright, but she couldn't be sure.
xoxox xox xoxox
At the Saffron City police station, Ash and Misty were having a hard time making Jenny listen. "We were trying to stop Tempest, we're not with them. It should be obvious that we were fighting against them!" Ash had been taken into police custody along with Misty and the members of Tempest. Solo had escaped and his location remained unknown. Poisona and Bollux never returned to the hide out.
"That's enough out of you, be quiet!" Jenny ordered in frustration. She had all she could take with the way things were working in Saffron City. When the police tried to make justice, someone would complain that they were abusing their power. The mayor would interfere and criminals would run free.
The city was calm on the surface. Robberies and street fights were rather rare. For the most part, the citizens were relatively safe. None the less, Saffron City had become a safe haven for illegal traders, loan sharks and others such criminals. As long as they took their murders and attacks out of the city, the mayor didn't care. Jenny had her hands tied with the limits of her jurisdiction and she was just about ready to snap.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. More mysteries emerge...