Diamond 65: Give me Life
Diamond 65: Give me Life
Poisona, Bollux and Solo were captured by Team Rocket and kept in the Viridian Headquarters for interrogation. Slowly, the truth came to light. It had been three days since the battle at the world's edge. Giovanni and his four main executives were discussing the recent happenings. The meeting room located at the Viridian gym was large and comfortable. Its walls were a basic white, with a few paintings.
The paintings were simpler and smaller than the ones in other parts of the gym and in Giovanni's mansion. They mostly featured ground type pokemon in their natural environment. The picture frames were made of exquisitely carved wood, coated in glossy clear paint, but it was nothing too extravagant. Giovanni sometimes had legal meetings in that room, so there was no need to make it stand out excessively.
The polished surface of the light brown wood table shone reflecting the overhead lights. The chairs were made of a darker brown leather. They were comfortable and of good quality. The round table was large enough to fit a dozen people, though it was never occupied by that many at a time. On the wall opposite to the door there was a large screen that was currently off.
"I think we can all agree that this was too easy," Proton voiced. "It's true that the damage could have been far greater and we also need to take into consideration that Team Rocket is very powerful. Even so, their operation was doomed to fail and they should have known that. What puzzles me the most is how they agreed to a duel between the leaders. I know that's what they wanted because they thought they had a chance if the rest of the team wasn't involved. I know they tried some tricks out there and were defeated, but something's not right."
Archer nodded his agreement," we've already concluded that Venom's sister, Poisona, was the true leader of Tempest. The way Poisona managed things before Neo Rocket and Tempest made their presence known was different. Why was she so secretive up to that point? Why did she attack? At first glance it looked like she wanted to take the chance, but when I think about it she must have suspected Madame's interference." Archer knew that particular topic was not to Giovanni's liking, but it had to be discussed.
"Basically," Ariana reviewed, "she gave us a little, non-vital but rather helpful push. Perhaps more helpful than she realized," she admitted.
"She was just meddling," Giovanni disagreed with a stern expression. His mother had kept an eye on the new Tempest and watched their moves carefully. She pretended to protect them so she could keep them close. She had spies in Team Rocket; that was an old and likely suspicion that was confirmed. Those spies informed her of the inner happenings of the team. She involved herself with Neo Rocket so that she could keep an eye on them too. She knew all about Jessie and James, though they were unaware of who she was in relation to Giovanni.
"Tempest traded Kenobi for Akira, that's strange," Petrel pointed out the main mystery they were discussing. The shift in the conversation was welcomed by all, though Madame was still a part of it. Comet had reported what he learned while infiltrating Tempest. That, combined with Laiki's report about Akira, created more questions then answers.
"We assumed that they wanted Akira to get the press' attention so that the police was forced to act against Team Rocket," Giovanni mused. "What if that wasn't it?" He theorized, his expression analytical. "There were other ways to make a scene without Akira. She would have sped things along, but she wasn't vital to such a plan. Kenobi could have been used in the same way, plus he would be more valuable as a hostage. Furthermore, after the hostage trade occurred, everything was resolved. Tempest became less active, they took bigger risks, they apparently gave up."
Archer caught on to the meaning of Giovanni's statement, "apparently being the key word. I see where you're going with this; they might have wanted us to think it's over. Tempest and Neo Rocket might not mean anything to Poisona after all. It was Akira's blood she was after."
"About that, have the results from the lab arrived yet?" Proton inquired.
"I haven't received any word," Petrel commented.
"Thankfully, Laiki had enough sense to take an additional bigger blood sample before the transfusion so that Akira's blood can be analyzed pure," Ariana recalled. The executives and leader had already read through all the reports. "Everything makes sense if we think that Akira was Poisona's goal. Laiki's rather detailed report mentioned that Akira was originally known as Secura. She grew up in an orphanage in Vermilion, thus why that specific event was targeted makes sense. With Bane Ackbar there, he was the perfect distraction to cover Poisona's real goal."
"We were tricked..." Petrel frowned.
"To top it all up we didn't act fast enough and our investigation was delayed," Proton sounded frustrated. "The labs haven't been able to make heads or tails of the blood sample. Akira is in a barely alive coma. Our answers are slipping away. I just hope Luke brings us something."
After Akira's closeness to Mirta came to light, Giovanni called for an investigation. It was already too late. Mirta's few belongings had been reclaimed by her relatives. Any clues that she might have left behind in her possessions were in the hands of her relatives in Cianwood, Johto. At least until Luke found them and investigated if there was anything worth confiscating. That is confiscating without their knowledge.
"Mirta had to know something," Petrel reminded, trying to look at the positive side. All of the involved agents were interrogated beyond what they wrote in their initial reports in case they missed any important details that needed to be added. "That's why Akira was so angry; she missed out on the answers Mirta had."
"Which is another reason why the donation ceremony was targeted," Ariana concluded. "Poisona was not only getting Akira out in the open, she was also erasing valuable information. We don't know if Mirta left any records about Akira. The information search on her original name of Secura came up empty beyond what we already knew."
"Whatever is happening, Poisona knows it all too well," Archer emphasized. "We have another clue," his face was deep in thought as he brought the piece of information to their attention.
"About her mother being a rocket?" Proton caught on, "that's leading us nowhere. We have no clue who she was. It looks like we'll have to wait for Luke and connect the dots later."
"We don't have that much time," Giovanni finally spoke after a long silence, listening to the four executives. "Poisona took a big risk by going to battle. She could have just left Bollux to serve as a distraction while she went about her business." Giovanni was the leader of Team Rocket. He had his pride and he would leave no doubts that he did not fear them. He was more than just a leader who hid behind Team Rocket. He could face things on his own. It might have been reckless, but he simply decided he wanted to do it. Poisona was another story; she should have known she didn't stand a chance. Her plan seemed flawed because it wasn't her true plan. "Whatever Poisona wanted to do, she had already done it."
The four executives looked at their leader. Archer was the first to speak, "I agree, the reason she's so quiet in captivity isn't because she has accepted defeat. It's because she thinks she already won and is basking in it. The key is Akira's blood. That's what she was after. What did she do with it? She must have set things in motion before going to battle."
"We're just going in circles," Proton let out a frustrated breath. "At least things with Ackbar have settled down."
"Yes, about that," Archer elaborated, "most of the Waterflower sisters are aware of Ackbar's position with Team Rocket. As requested, I made sure it was clear to them that this was to remain a secret. Since the Waterflowers are associated with the Cerulean City gym, they would make a nice addition to our connections. Only the three oldest Waterflowers were present at our meeting. They were also made aware of Kenobi's position. I believe they took it well. They seem to be prepared to keep secrets, especially since they are already so involved."
"What about the youngest Waterflower, Misty?" Giovanni inquired. Whenever gym leaders had any kind of reunion or participated in special activities, the oldest Waterflowers represented Cerulean. Giovanni knew they had a younger sister, but paid the detail no mind. Though the youngest Waterflower was said to be the best gym leader of the four, she was rarely at the gym in the recent years and was never too involved in the league's social events. Things were complicated because of who the youngest Waterflower was, Misty, Ash's fiance.
"She already knew about Ackbar's involvement with Team Rocket due to Lando's big mouth," Archer looked annoyed. "It is fortunate you only ever met in person with Bane, or else your identity might have been in danger. Her sisters were instructed to pass on the message that her silence about the situation is required. I don't think Misty will talk, her sisters are too involved. She also doesn't know about Kenobi, though I think it's just a matter of time before she finds out."
There was a long pause until Ariana brought up the subject they were all walking circles around. Misty came into the conversation because of Ash. A few Rocket agents, including Luke, Laiki, Comet and Pixel, knew who Ash was. For the most part his identity was kept from spreading through Team Rocket. Jessie and James had no idea. All four executives were fully informed about who Ash was and wanted to know what Giovanni would do about it. "About Ash..."
Another long silence passed. Finally, Giovanni spoke, "that is not something related to Team Rocket. For the time being it will have to stay that way. It will complicate things unnecessarily to give him too much information. For this same reason we need to be extra careful with the Waterflowers and all those connected to them."
"You ask for a lot," Archer admitted. "The truth of the matter is that the Waterflowers are connected to too many important resources. Daisy will marry Lando soon and Violet is still dating Kenobi. From what Rune said, the only thing keeping Kenobi from proposing is that he wants to wait a while after Daisy's wedding has passed, so Violet can fully focus on her own."
"At least Violet will have a more solid connection to Team Rocket and information shouldn't spread too far beyond what it already has," Ariana offered.
"Speaking of weddings, didn't you need to go?" Petrel glanced at Giovanni.
"Yes, all the gym leaders of Kanto must attend Daisy's wedding," Giovanni confirmed. "It's customary to attend such celebrations related to other gym leaders. It's nothing official, but it would look bad if I'm not there." That meant that all of Daisy's sisters and friends would be present. That included Misty, which would mean Ash must be going too. No doubt Delia must have been invited as well. "It's alright; they don't know who I am. I don't want to make a scene, so it's imperative that Ash doesn't find out about Team Rocket until all these occasions have passed. My image was slightly damaged. There are those who dared to think that the good gym leader is actually allied to the evil Team Rocket. Going to events like that will be helpful and even necessary."
"Yeah, the tension's under control, but it's not good to push our luck," Petrel rocked back and forth in his chair.
"So," Proton began to ask the question that was on all the executives' minds. "After the weddings and stuff are over, are you going to tell Ash everything?"
The four executives watched Giovanni, waiting for his answer. He took a moment to reply, thinking it through. "I don't know," he admitted. "Delia said she would leave the choice to me, so I know she won't tell him. She said she wanted to prepare him first if I decided to tell him the truth. I know she wants to tell him at least a portion of it. I can't include him in Team Rocket," Giovanni knew that was the executives' true question. "Not unless you want this place to turn into the hideout of a band of vigilantes."
A knowing look was shared by the four executives. They remembered how Delia used to be. "Speaking of vigilantes," Ariana spoke in a light tone, trying to soothe the tension in the air. "What about Delia?"
"She'll be around," Giovanni wasn't too specific, which left the executives requesting more information with their eyes. "She won't be too involved. I was thinking about taking her to Binks, maybe she can help him. It might not work, but there's not much to lose. Other than that, she might help give me a good image."
"The press will be all over you two if you're seen together," Petrel laughed, "I bet the rumors will fly."
"It would be a good diversion tactic," Proton admitted. "It might also complicate things," he warned.
"Things are already complicated," Giovanni emphasized, "it's best to keep Delia around. She won't be too involved, but she can be of assistance."
"Not to be pessimistic, but what if she speaks. It's true that she has kept her silence for a long time, but her reasons..." Archer didn't finish the sentence. "Her testimony would be much more believable if you are known to have been involved with her recently."
Giovanni understood what Archer was trying to communicate. The reason Delia left was Ash. Even if it wasn't directly revealed to the executives, it was rather obvious when everything else was taken into consideration, the timing, the secrecy... It was for her son that Delia left. Ash was Delia's first priority and Giovanni knew it. "Let's take this one step at a time." The way things were set up, Ash might eventually find out the truth. "There's no need to rush. For now, we'll make sure those who shouldn't be in delicate situations are kept out of them."
The executives glanced at each other before giving a collective nod. They decided that it was best to drop the subject for the time being and trust Giovanni's decision. Ariana brought up the next topic of conversation for the meeting, "about Jessie and James..."
Giovanni's face changed from hidden stress to hidden frustration. The change was so subtle in his forced neutrality that only those who knew him well would notice it. All four of his main executives knew him very well. "They'll be troublesome if we keep them and troublesome if we let them go. I was informed that they are running a pokemon day care center in Saffron City. Are there any connections I should know of?" Giovanni was asking about Madame, a sour topic for him.
"I investigated and it looks like the Saffron City mayor helped them a lot when they were trying to establish the day care center," Petrel informed. "The strange thing is that she didn't get rid of them like the others she used. I guess that could be because unlike the others, those two were not really Team Rocket's enemies."
Giovanni gained a look of disapproval; he had been dealing with a lot in the past few days. "Let them keep running their day care center. We'll take them back as part time agents in the information gathering department. They will give us information but receive none. They will remain in a need to know basis. That way it will be easier to keep an eye on them without putting up with their antics. They won't have to go out of their way for this, so they shouldn't cause any trouble. I heard that pokemon day care centers tend to attract rumors like a magnet, since so many people visit them. They can probably gain a decent amount of information just by listening to their customers. Plus we can monitor her activities through them if necessary," again Giovanni was referring to Madame Boss.
Another silent agreement passed through the meeting room. "The legal process against Tempest is going according to plan," Archer paused as if going through a mental check list. "That's all we have for now," he concluded.
"Keep trying to get information from Poisona and the others. Especially Poisona, it looks like Bollux and Solo really don't know anything. We'll have to keep trying to use pokemon to hypnotize her into talking. She must have a limit," Giovanni decided it was time to check on Delia. After the battle, she returned to Pallet Town. Giovanni had not spoken to her since that night.
The executives had taken care of the prisoners while Giovanni took Delia to Pallet Town. He had intended to talk to her on the way, but they were simply too tired and in need of time to organize their thoughts. The journey was long and silent. Giovanni thought it was best if Delia didn't stay in Viridian, given the situation. He returned to Viridian City after dropping her off in Pallet Town.
"If that's everything, then the meeting is over," Giovanni officially declared. The executives went their separate ways, off to take care of various tasks. Giovanni had caught up with things for the most part, thanks to the administration work the executives did while he was gone.
xoxox xox xoxox
In Saffron City, Jessie and James were at their pokemon day care center. It had reopened and customers came and went on occasion to drop off or pick up their pokemon. Flareon and Growlie where cuddled up with their egg. The blue cushion where they were resting on had yellow stars. It was large enough to fit them both, three counting the egg. Meowth sat comfortably, resting on a purple and yellow checkered cushion near by. All their other pokemon were there as well, resting contently.
The day care center's walls were painted with colorful sceneries. They were adorned with green grass, blue skies, blooming flowers and fluffy happy-faced clouds. Big comfy pillows and pokemon toys were scattered around. The day care center gave off a cheerful atmosphere that the pokemon really liked.
The center was off limits for stealing, since it was considered Team Rocket territory as of Jessie and James' return. In the past, there was always the danger of Butch and Cassidy trying to steal the pokemon. The backyard was fenced in. Some of Jessie and James' pokemon were always guarding the day care center pokemon when they went out to play. Many trainers became regular customers because their pokemon had such a good time playing with Jessie and James' pokemon. The day care center's services also included training. The place was rather pricey, but well worth it according to the customer reviews.
"I wonder why aunty was so insistent about giving the egg such a detailed medical examination," Jessie thought aloud. The egg had turned out to be perfectly healthy. The visit to the Saffron City Pokemon Center after picking up the egg had gone without incident.
"I don't know; I've never heard about an egg being sick," James shrugged, "your aunt is nice though, she took us to dinner." Both Jessie and James were exhausted when they returned to Saffron City. Who knew interrogations could be so long and tedious? They understood why they would appear suspicious to Team Rocket, given the circumstances, but it was still an unpleasant experience. The food was very welcomed after a long drive; they had not even stopped to eat on the way. "How come you never mentioned her before?"
"Aunty is a very busy woman; I didn't want to bother her," Jessie admitted. "She's not my biological aunt. She was good friends with my mother. It's funny; she always says that she's helping me because I don't need it. She said that otherwise she would be robbing me of the chance to become stronger." Jessie adopted a thoughtful expression. "Remember when she went on about opportunities and second chances during dinner? I almost thought she knew about Team Rocket and was encouraging us to stay in it. The mysterious traitor list still confuses me. Who sent it? During my interrogation, I got the impression that the executives knew all about it."
"I know what that feels like," James recalled his own interrogation experience. Both of them were asked a multitude of questions separately. "Maybe it's just because they're so high ranked. The executives make me feel like they can see right through me. It's almost as if they know more than I do about myself," James shuddered at the thought.
"Yes, that's exactly how it feels!" Jessie agreed. "This may sound odd, but I felt as if aunty knew a lot more than she was telling us too." Her face turned thoughtful for a while, before she disregarded the possibility. "There's no sense in worrying about crazy theories. Let's just make sure to keep Team Rocket a secret from aunty. It's not going to look good if anyone hears the Saffron City mayor is somehow involved with criminals." Jessie laughed it off.
James smiled, "I can keep a secret!" He went over Jessie's words in his head again. "It feels strange to say criminals. I know Team Rocket is illegal and all, but we're not really stealing anymore. We just need to report information and we can still run the day care center as usual."
Jessie considered the point, "to say we're secret agents fits better. We're spies or maybe even vigilantes," they both laughed at the last option. Jessie looked at Flareon and Growlie peacefully napping with their egg. Meowth had already picked out the story books that he would read to the baby when it hatched. Reading was something he learned to do while practicing his speech. A smiled formed on Jessie's lips, "Remember how you used to get kidnapped?"
"I knew you would never let me live it down," James recalled his last kidnapping.
xoxox xox xoxox
That time, James was tied up on the roof of Jessiebelle's mansion. Jessie had been held back by a group of hired pokemon trainers working for Jessiebelle. Those unfortunate trainers found out the hard way that they were not paid nearly enough to deal with Jessie when she was enraged. She had enough of the constant kidnappings. She was always rushing off to rescue James. If he didn't do something to lose the stalker soon, Jessie would lose her mind.
She went up the floors of the mansion one by one, fighting alongside her pokemon and Meowth. James' own pokemon had been left behind at the day care center and they aided Jessie in the rescue mission. Even the pokemon from the day care center battled alongside Jessie as she forced her way up to the roof of the mansion.
The duel of Jessie versus Jessiebelle ended with Jessiebelle being sent blasting off again for the last time. "Why did you go out on your own? You didn't even take your pokemon!" Jessie had reproached as she untied James.
"They looked like they were having fun playing with the other pokemon at the day care center. I was going to come back soon. I just needed to go buy something," James tried to excuse his mistake. It was difficult to live thinking that he could be kidnapped any time. Jessiebelle had grown more impatient and forceful over the years.
"I'm tired of having to rescue you," Jessie crossed her arms with an angry expression. "Next time I might leave you with Jessiebelle." She would never admit that she was jealous. James was her boyfriend, but Jessiebelle refused to understand that. Jessie walked over to the edge of the roof, looking at the horizon, her back to James.
"Don't do that!" James felt a cold chill run down his spine at the thought of being left in Jessiebelle's captivity. "I really do appreciate you and everyone coming to my rescue."
"What was so important that you had to go out to get anyway?" Jessie still sounded annoyed. She turned around and gasped in surprise when she realized that James was holding a ring. That was what he had gone out to buy.
James smiled, "will you marry me?"
They got married soon after that day. It was a small and simple, but elegant wedding. Ash, Misty, Brock, Delia, Professor Oak and their friends from Pallet Town were all there. Jessie smiled at the memory. James had caught her by surprise with his proposal, but she didn't doubt it for a second before accepting it.
xoxox xox xoxox
Jessie looked at the resting Flareon and Growlie once more. Flareon opened one eye, then closed it again. It was as if the pokemon were waiting for something. "Flareon, you told them, didn't you?" Jessie's tone was somewhat amused. She knew what they were all waiting for, to see James' reaction. James gave Jessie a puzzled look. Jessie's mysteriously long trip to the grocery store the previous day had secretly included a detour to the doctor's office, "I'm pregnant."
James' expression was priceless. His face had frozen as he was about to ask Jessie what she was talking about. A red tint invaded his cheeks. "You're going to lay an egg? I'm going to be a mother? You're having a father! I'm going to be a baby!"
The amused sounds of the pokemon proved that they had not been sleeping at all. Jessie laughed along with them, "something like that."
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. Remember Akira's conversation with Pixel in Diamond 51? The loose ends will be tied soon.