Diamond 63: Give me Redemption
Diamond 63: Give me Redemption
"Don't you know who I am?" Ash demanded from the cell he was imprisoned in at the Saffron City police station. All of his and Misty's pokemon were taken away, including Pikachu. The pokemon put up a fight, which didn't help Ash's image. In the end, Ash managed to calm them down and called everyone back into their pokeballs except Pikachu. Pikachu was kept in a small cage placed across the cells. He could at least see his trainer from there, so he stopped fussing and waited to be let out.
"I know who you are," Jenny answered, clearly in a bad mood. "You won the Indigo League championship in the past. You're a great trainer with fans and admirers in many regions. That doesn't mean you're above the law." This was not the kind of world Jenny wanted her young daughter to grow up in. "I don't believe you're a bad person, but you can't just barge in and play vigilante."
Ash had never been reproached in such a way for doing a good deed. He didn't understand the level of frustration Jenny had accumulated over the years. The feeling of helplessness had been too much to put up with for so long. "I didn't do anything wrong. If you know that, why are you keeping me here? Besides, I had to defend myself. Self defense isn't illegal, they started it!"
"I believe you," Jenny raised her voice with authority. "This is our only chance to bring in those criminals. I do thank you. Without your interference we might have found ourselves without a 'good enough,' reason to apprehend these guys." There was bitterness at the phrase 'good enough.'
Misty glared at the grunts that had been stuffed in the cells at the police station with her and Ash. Her eyes screamed, 'touch me and I'll rip your head off,' no one took the risk. "That's not fair. What do you mean a good enough reason? If you were after these guys, why not just investigate, track them down and do something?"
"The higher ups tend to protect them. Don't worry, you'll get off easy. I have no intentions of pressing charges against you two. None the less, there are some very inconvenient procedures to follow and you got caught in them," Jenny tried to explain it as well as she could. Her head felt tense, she could sense a migraine starting. Her job was quite a headache lately. "I need you two as truthful witnesses that all the procedures of the law were followed and no unnecessary abuse was committed. I also need to treat you the same as all the others so no one says I bought you off."
"This is abuse!" Ash had more than he could take. "Treating innocent people as criminals is wrong!" He was pushed around in the name of the law and his precious pokemon were taken away. He finally lost his temper. "You're making up excuses because the police can't take out the gangs. Why don't you just admit you need help, there are people willing to give it. Besides, you don't need a police badge to do a good deed." Ash was frustrated by how helpless the authorities were. They appeared too proud to accept help and too concerned with technicalities, regardless of what the 'higher ups' said. "You let Tempest get out of hand. They were the ones that caused the incident in Vermilion City, not Team Rocket. If I haven't done something, nothing would have been done. Were you just going to sit and wait for Team Rocket to put Tempest in its place? It's no wander they do whatever they want! Where's the police when they're needed? At this rate, it might even be better to leave Kanto to Team Rocket. They might take better care of it than you." He spoke in bitterness and anger, not really thinking about his words.
"Silence!" Jenny snapped in rage and frustration. "I told you before; you have the right to remain silent. Should you refuse that right, anything you say can be used against you." Her eyes reflected both fury and emptiness at the same time. The other officers at the station watched her not daring to speak.
"Or you," Ash retorted. The fire in his eyes was burning brightly.
"Ash," Misty cautioned him quietly. Her expression shifted from fierce to worried, finally settling into an angry frustration. She wasn't angry at Ash. He had the right to protest about being treated so unfairly. Still, picking a fight with the police was not a good idea.
Ash's words hit a sore spot for Jenny. That was exactly what the criminals did. They twisted things around. They claimed that a little detail in the procedure wasn't followed, be it protocol or jurisdiction. They got away with many crimes that way. Did the citizens of the rest of Kanto believe that as well? Had the police become the villains in their eyes? The officer did not reply, but her frustration and distrust were evident in her glare. She had lost hope after years of fighting a losing battle.
Ash's glare didn't relent. He looked right at Jenny, as if gazing into her very soul and burning it to ashes. The officer finally had to look away. She could feel the intensity in the young man's eyes following her movements. It made her very uneasy. She had faced fierce criminals with courage and they had never made her feel so shaken. He was behind bars, helplessly trapped without his pokemon, yet he irradiated power.
"She's here!" A younger officer ran into the detainment area. "She's in the front, she's really here," he stuttered in fright.
"Who is here?" Jenny demanded to know. This young man was a rookie. He was barely old enough to be an officer. Jenny got the impression that it wasn't his best vocation. None the less, he had never been that nervous before.
The rookie tried to compose himself. He took in a short breath, exhaling quickly, "the mayor," he gasped, "the mysterious mayor of Saffron City."
A scolding yet weak voice was heard from beyond the door leading to the detainment area, "you can't go in there... please."
The warning was ignored and two men in dark red tuxedoes entered the area. They were followed by an older lady with long hair that was dyed the same color as Ash's hair. Her hair was brushed to the side, long bangs covering nearly half her face and casting shadows on the other half. Her eyes seemed to shine behind the darkness of her hair. She wore a bright red business suit. Two more men in dark red tuxedoes followed behind her as if escorting royalty.
The entire area went silent as all eyes were inevitably drawn to look at Madame. "What an interesting atmosphere," she commented calmly. She walked over to the cell where Ash, Misty and a few others were. "What a distinct presence."
Ash's gaze had gone from challenging to puzzled. "You're the mayor?" He stated to fill in the silence.
"Where has the fire gone?" Madame reached inside the cell between the bars. She extended her index finger and placed it under Ash's chin. "It came and went so quickly. Your eyes were just like his, but this look you have now is hers. What a dangerous combination. It's a sweet deception that will trap all those who dare to underestimate you."
"Huh?" Ash didn't move an inch, he merely blinked in confusion. The mayor's words sounded like some kind of riddle he couldn't solve.
Madame didn't answer the question and instead turned to look at Jenny. "Officer, I cannot forgive the imprisonment of such noble trainers. Those who are with Tempest will be kept here until the higher authorities come for them. They will stand trial for the dreadful occurrences of Vermilion City and other crimes. The truth will be known to all. You are suspended from your duties."
Jenny wanted to protest but didn't. As long as the criminals were imprisoned she didn't care. Besides, she knew that if she spoke, she might even lose her job. She was at her limit, but she forced herself to endure.
Madame's eyes shifted from looking at Jenny, to gazing at no one in particular. Yet she was focused, as if taking in all of her surroundings at once. "The rest of you will make sure none of the prisoners escape. You will guard them with your very life." The tone made it clear that their lives truly depended on this. "Release those two noble trainers and return what is theirs."
No one dared to question Madame's orders. The members of Tempest looked at each other in confusion. Seconds passed and murmurs began to emerge. They were perplexed, how could the mayor abandon them?
The officers quickly returned Ash and Misty's pokeballs. Pikachu jumped in Ash's arms when he was released from his cage, happy to be back with his trainer. "Thank you," Ash smiled at Madame, with no clue about who she really was.
"Yes, thank you very much," Misty added gratefully.
"You did not truly need my help," Madame acknowledged. "This is a situation that you could have faced on your own. I am confident you would have been fine without me, that is why I chose to help you."
Ash and Misty were confused by Madame's reply. "What?" Ash asked in puzzlement.
"I do not believe I am robbing you of any valuable lessons," Madame clarified. She smiled as if proudly admiring a secret that only she knew. "You can continue on your own from here." She turned and left with her guards. She didn't look back, not even once.
Under the uneasy gazes of all those present, Ash and Misty swiftly left the Saffron police station. "That was..." confusing, peculiar, disconcerting, "interesting," Ash finished.
"The mysterious mayor of Saffron City, they called her, she was indeed very mysterious," Misty remarked. "I couldn't make any sense about what she was saying, but it looked like she knew you."
Ash had no vivid recollections of ever seeing that person before. Their short chance meeting years ago had been long forgotten. There was no reason for it to stand out in his memories. "I don't know about that. I don't remember her from anywhere. Maybe those riddles are all part of her mysterious image. Anyway, she seemed like a good person, just a bit..."
"Intimidating?" Misty offered, unsure if that was quite the word.
"Something like that, but not in a bad way," something about the lady felt familiar, yet Ash couldn't explain it. He shrugged; maybe it was just her atmosphere that was familiar. Her presence was strong and powerful, impervious. It was a strange feeling. It was akin to being surrounded by danger, but at the same time perfectly safe. Ash knew he had felt that before, but he couldn't clearly place it. He wasn't one to remember such details.
Ash and Misty made their way through the calm streets of Saffron City. Very few people were still out. They had no destination in mind at first; they just walked away from the tension of the police station. Both soon realized the bus stop and the area where taxis usually gathered was at the other side of the park. They took a short cut through it. They were feeling tired and not in the mood to travel, but they might be needed elsewhere. Their confiscated possessions had also been returned along with their pokemon. Misty was anxious to check her cell phone after she finally got it back. Unfortunately, the battery was drained after such a long time without being charged.
Misty stopped, standing under the light of a lamp post near a bench. "I need to try calling my sisters again. Ash, does your cell still work?"
Ash was a little slow in replying. It was as if an odd feeling in the back of his mind was trying to communicate with him. He checked his cell phone, but it wouldn't turn on, "no battery."
"I can't wait," Misty handed her cell phone to Pikachu, "I'll take the risk, Pikachu, give it a little charge."
"Chu!" Pikachu nodded and focused. He tried to be as gentle as possible. Ash jumped a little when Pikachu's electricity manifested. The little yellow pokemon was still on his shoulders. The charge was small and gentle, so it wasn't too uncomfortable. Ash was used to being the target of pokemon power every now and then.
The small cell phone beeped to life and Pikachu returned it to Misty, "thanks Pikachu!" She petted his head gently and sat on the bench under the lamp post.
The scene felt familiar to Ash, but he couldn't understand why. He stood on that very spot before. It was dark, who was with him? Why was he in Saffron City? He closed his eyes and tried to remember. It was a holiday, Halloween. He was young; he was with his mother and Gary. They were collecting candy, they went to the park. There was someone sitting there, that person gave them candy. Who was that person? Ash couldn't remember; it was probably a stranger. Then they went to the other side of the park and the mayor was giving out candy there. It wasn't the mysterious lady; there was a different mayor at the time.
"You're all in Viridian City?" Ash snapped out of his daze upon hearing Misty's voice. "Ash, they're okay; Daisy, Violet and Lily are alright!" She turned her attention back to the conversation. "What happened?"
Ash let go of the memories he was looking into as nothing more than random thoughts. Instead he sat down on the bench next to Misty. He listened to her side of the conversation and watched her face light up with relief.
After a while, Misty said goodbye to her sisters. She let out a deep breath, as if she had been holding it for a long time. "They're alright," she assured herself of it. She put away her little cell phone and stretched on the bench, reaching out with her arms and legs. "They've been trying to call me for a while. They're all in Viridian City, at Kenobi's house."
"Then he's okay too?" Ash inquired with interest and relief. "What about Ackbar?"
"Kenobi returned to Viridian City safely. The problem with Ackbar was solved too. Daisy said that Lando just finished an important meeting. She didn't give me the details, but I guess that means he was talking to the board of executives on a video conference or something," Misty had no reasons to assume anything else. "He gave a message on TV officially letting everyone know that Ackbar Inc. was back in business. Everything's finally going back to normal."
"That's great, but I have a feeling I've forgotten something," Ash tried to figure out what it was. The couple sat close to each other, taking a moment to rest. Ash had one arm around Misty and petted Pikachu on his lap with his other hand.
"We should stay in the Pokemon Center tonight," Misty quietly voiced. There was no rush to go anywhere anymore.
"Yeah, I'm tired too," Ash agreed, "I don't feel like trying to make it back to... Cerulean," he suddenly realized what he had forgotten, "I just remembered, I promised to call mom."
"That's right," Misty recalled, "you shouldn't make her worry." She handed him her cell phone, "here, use mine; let's not push our luck with this method of recharging batteries."
Ash chuckled; he couldn't help it but to remember his dear deceased car. The phrase 'laugh so you won't cry,' came to mind. Except Ash had too much in his mind to worry about the details of his future means of transportation for the time being. He needed to unwind. He would just have to take a walk down memory lane and walk, like he did for years before.
The cell phone was left to ring many times, before Delia answered it, "hello." She was on her way to the world's edge with Ariana. She debated on answering or not, but realized it was best she did.
"Hi mom!" Ash was tired but overall in good spirits, despite needing to rest. "I just wanted to let you know that everything's okay. Ackbar Inc. is working again. Daisy, Lando, Violet, Kenobi and Lily are all alright. They're at Kenobi's house in Viridian City."
"That's wonderful," Delia was truly relieved. "I'm happy that everything worked out in the end. Where are you right now? Did you go all the way to Viridian too?" She wasn't sure if that would be good or bad.
"No, we're in Saffron City. We're staying at the Pokemon Center tonight. We helped in the capture of Tempest," Ash proudly declared. "They're all locked up in the Saffron police station right now." He decided to skip the part about being arrested, even if that was later cleared up. "We met the Saffron City mayor, she seemed... nice." Ash didn't know how else to word things in a way that didn't inspire confusion he couldn't explain. Nice was not the right word, but he felt it could be interpreted as fitting with the situation. The mysterious mayor did help them after all. Strangely, she claimed to do so only because they didn't need it.
"That's great," Delia smiled fondly; she really enjoyed Ash's stories about his adventures. At first her heart would pound and she couldn't help it but to worry, but she always smiled. She wanted to encourage Ash to continue telling her about his journey. She knew she couldn't rob him of his right to see the world for her own reassurance. As time passed, she felt better listening to the stories. Ash had grown up to be strong and reliable; he could take care of himself. Plus he had his friends to keep him out of trouble. "You'll have to tell me all about it in person."
"I will," Ash smiled, picturing a quiet afternoon in Pallet Town. He would relax and tell his mother the full story. He would even tell her about the mistaken arrest. He would be there in person to laugh it off and assure her it was nothing but a misunderstanding. "Are you still in Cerulean?"
She wasn't, but she didn't go back to Pallet Town either. She didn't want to lie, so instead she masked the truth and left it up to interpretation. She did that a lot. "Actually, I met up with a friend and we went to Lavender Town," Delia kept her voice casual and carefree. "Don't worry about the Cerulean gym; I made sure to lock up before leaving."
"That's good," at least his mother had a friend to keep her company while things were being resolved. "What friend was it, anyone I know?"
"Ariana," there was not much to be found out from just a name, there could be a number of Arianas in Kanto. "I don't think you've met her before," Delia left it at that.
"Oh, is she there now?" Ash didn't wait for a reply before assuming she was. "I'll leave you to talk to her then."
"Yes, we have a lot to catch up on," Delia laughed as if there was nothing out of the ordinary going on. "Thanks for calling. It must have been a long day. I want to hear the full story about your adventure later. Say hi to Misty for me." Things were far from over, no doubt about it. Ash must have battled the grunts of Tempest. The leaders were about to face Giovanni and Delia was on her way to the dueling grounds without a solid plan. She was wearing a Team Rocket uniform, it was Ariana's condition and Delia had no time to argue.
"I will, bye mom," Ash was calm, yet uneasy. He pushed the paradox of feelings away and smiled. "Mom said hi."
Misty returned the gesture, leaning closer to Ash. Neither felt like walking to the Pokemon Center just yet. The park was quiet and peaceful. "Your mom's a really good person. She doesn't deserve any worries."
"It's okay," Ash hugged Misty, "she trusts me to stay out of trouble. She still worries sometimes, but I guess it can't be helped. I know that she feels in her heart everything will be alright."
"I think you're right," Misty cuddled close to Ash. Pikachu had fallen asleep on his lap.
Ash's uneasy feelings refused to be completely quiet, "I don't think that was all of Tempest." He let his concerns be known. "The ones that attacked Vermilion were never really identified. Plus I didn't see that blond guy we saw at first in the police station."
Misty followed Ash's train of thought; she knew where he was going with the concern. "You think that guy is still out there and that we haven't even met the real leader?"
"Yeah," Ash admitted.
"Now that you mention it, you might be right." Misty wasn't sure if she should worry or not. "He's just one person. As for the leader, who knows, maybe Team Rocket took care of that." She wasn't sure how she felt about that. She only knew that she wanted the chaos to end.
"Tempest was staining their name," Ash agreed. "I think that even Team Rocket has pride. Even they have things they don't do."
"Or they keep things quiet," Misty didn't want to be pessimistic, "you're probably right, they must have some rules. I mean, they're a big organization; they have to be kept in order somehow. They don't set limits because they care; it's to keep trouble at bay, but none the less..."
With such thoughts in mind, Ash and Misty finally let their worries go. If another problem emerged, they would face it when it came.
xoxox xox xoxox
A short way south-east of Lavender Town, there was a tall cliff that overlooked the sea. It was an area far from the ports and beaches. It was also just far enough from Lavender for the town to be out of sight. Giovanni and Delia stood on that cliff many years ago, shortly after they got rid of the other gangs in Kanto. It was the true start of Team Rocket's rule. The place had no formal name, it was only a cliff. To the two who stood there ready to face the future together, that place was the edge of the world and the world was theirs for the taking. It was something that they both interpreted quite differently in the end.
Years passed and again Giovanni stood at the edge of the cliff, with the ocean far below. Persian stood next to Giovanni looking alert. Proton stood a few feet away; they were both waiting for the same thing. The night was quiet and cool, the atmosphere tense.
The sound of a car broke the silence. The gray vehicle had nothing that made it stand out, but they knew who it was. No one else would have a reason to visit such a place that night. Bollux got out of the car and it became apparent that he was alone. The full moon and the stars provided enough light for the green T on his black shirt to be clearly seen.
Both Giovanni and Proton were wearing Team Rocket uniforms. Their red Rs stood out against the black fabric. Such clothing was something that Giovanni had not used in years. Tonight he was reclaiming the true meaning of that red R, it was fitting to carry the symbol proudly.
Bollux glared angrily, "this was supposed to be a battle between the leaders," he reproached. "Why did you send your agents to our hideout?" He growled, "you coward!"
"Silence!" Bollux couldn't help it but to involuntarily take a step back at Giovanni's harsh voice. "I am no coward, that's why I'm here. It will be known to all that I cannot be defeated. I don't know what you're rambling about. I didn't send anyone to your hideout."
"What?" Bollux and Poisona had received the report from Solo. The pokemon trainers that stormed the hideout didn't identify themselves as being from Team Rocket. They were not wearing Rocket uniforms or anything that alluded to them being a part of Team Rocket. None the less, Bollux couldn't help it but to jump to conclusions and share Solo's theory. Poisona thought the same thing, that the two trainers were undercover Rockets. "I don't believe you, but I guess that doesn't matter. Your life ends now." Bollux's mission was to kill Giovanni, that was Poisona's order.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon.