Diamond 68: Give me Companions
Diamond 68: Give me Companions
Giovanni's orange sports car moved away from Pallet Town. "What's my mission?" Delia interrupted the silence. She had been expecting Giovanni to mention it on the way, but he had been quiet and plotting so far.
"Your mission?" Giovanni knew that Delia was aware that he would ask her to do something. He didn't expect her to address the matter so directly and business-like.
"What is it that you want me to do? You were patient today and I know Ash enjoyed your visit," Delia voiced sincerely. "I know he's looking forward to your return. Since you were nice to him today, I'll do something for you. I don't mind if it's for Ash's sake. Go ahead, say it directly."
"Since you asked," she was still the same Delia. She was still thinking of others before herself. Yet there was something different in the way she spoke to him, so bluntly. She appeared to have become less idealistic in his presence. Giovanni wasn't sure he liked it. Her new direct attitude would at least make things flow easier and faster. "Binks has not been himself lately. He's quite a genius; his true ability began to show after he was able to work with other scientists. I could tell his skill had increased after his antidote project with Professor Oak. Then he had a chance to work with other knowledgeable scientists on New Island and learn from them. The New Island Laboratory was ultimately destroyed in an accident."
The headquarters Mewtwo built for himself were later destroyed by the clone himself. He didn't want to leave any clues about his existence. The records of the experiment were kept on New Island, thus they were destroyed when Mewtwo initially broke out of the lab.
Giovanni went over Binks' story. They had briefly spoken about it when they were in the ruins of the old Team Rocket hideout. "By then Binks had gathered a lot of knowledge from his experiences working with various well known scientists. The problem is that for all those years he had been suffering from periodic attacks of schizophrenia. He was usually not violent, but he couldn't be trusted to stay in control of delicate experiments. Most of the time he just rambled and didn't react when someone tried to talk to him. Sometimes he would cry, others he would yell. He never quite got over Aayla's disappearance and presumed death." It was a lot of information to take in. Giovanni needed to know if Delia could truly handle it.
During the past few days, Delia had become mentally prepared. She nodded silently and paused. She would have to speak steadily if Giovanni was going to continue trusting her to handle such revelations. "Go on, this happened long ago, I... understand." That was not the proper word at all. Delia simply wanted to communicate that she could handle it. There were questions that would probably remain unanswered forever. The most logical answers she could guess were not pleasant. Her voice came out very formal and serious. She held her emotions back so strongly she almost sounded cold. She didn't mean for it to come out that way.
Giovanni noticed that Delia was trying hard to stay in control of her emotions. The passing of time must have made that possible. "What I want you to do is talk to Binks. He's been helpful over the years," Giovanni admitted. He had no use in denying the reason for his interest in Binks' condition. Delia would guess the truth anyway. "Lately, his condition has been worse than ever. He has trouble recognizing people. When too many people are with him at once he hyperventilates. He can't work with a team of scientists anymore, but he's been making some interesting discoveries on his own."
Delia felt sorry for Binks, but she didn't voice it. "What can I do for him? Will he even know who I am?"
"He might," Giovanni considered, "the one who's easiest for him to remember is his sister Laiki. From what I was told, Binks' mother had passed away when he was very young. His father later remarried and Laiki was born. Then both her parents passed away in an accident when she was young. Binks was the primary candidate to assume her custody. That's how she ended up in Team Rocket. She became a pokemon nurse mostly learning on the job. Most of the time, his sister is the only one Binks can remember. Even so, there are times when he can recognize other people. During those times he makes his best discoveries. The peculiar thing about those times is that he speaks as if it was the past. He talks about the epidemic as if it only recently ended. He talks about Aayla and Leah as if they were alive. He thinks Luke and I are the same as in that time. He has asked about you too. He's wondering why you won't visit."
The realization overcame Delia. She was prepared to do something illegal, but not something that went against her human values. "He's not going to get any better if we lie to him!"
"Delia, don't you think I've tried to make him better?" Giovanni sounded truthful. It was a real truthfulness rather than an acted one and Delia could tell the difference. "I've had several doctors try to help him, but it's not working. He's one step away from permanently losing his mind. The only time he's conscious is when he's living in the past. I know it's a lie, but he has nothing more left. I can show you his medical papers. You can even speak to the psychologist who treats him. You don't have to take my word for it."
"I believe you," Delia stated. Her mind was racing. Her voice didn't come out neutral that time. She was truly pained for Binks. "It's merciful cruelty."
"I won't deny that," Giovanni admitted. "It's better than having him go crazy. He can at least be a little happy this way. Laiki is aware of the situation and agrees." His expression was serious, "Delia, this is a very delicate situation. If you're not absolutely certain you can handle it, don't try. If you break down in front of Binks he could be lost forever. He has lost consciousness in the past after looking at the truth too directly. If he doesn't go insane, he might end up in a coma."
The weight of the responsibility felt very heavy on Delia's shoulders. "If I can't put up a good enough act, I could basically kill him?" Not kill but close enough. Binks could be doomed to never again be himself or to sleep without waking up.
"That's a possibility," Giovanni was completely serious about it. "It's vital to play along with what he says."
Delia had to take a moment to let it all sink in. She didn't expect the situation to be that serious. She thought she was prepared but it was all too intense. "It's been so many years. Can he really believe the past is now?" Delia feared that Binks would take one look at her and just drop unconscious. She couldn't forgive herself if that happened.
"Don't worry, you haven't changed," it could be seen as a compliment, but in the current situation, neither cared to notice. "Laiki used to be a little girl in the time period Binks relives. She's a little older than Ash now and Binks doesn't have any problems with that."
Delia sighed deeply, "I admit I wasn't prepared for this, but I will help. I'll be careful and I'll need to be well informed. I'm doing this for Binks, not so you can use him." She made sure to specify.
"I know," Giovanni expected as much. "There's something else you should know. Remember how you used to phrase things in a certain way to get me to agree?"
Delia didn't like the sound of that. Was her position worse than she thought? Was it about Binks? "Blackmail?" She questioned suddenly, with a more aggressive tone than Giovanni could ever expect from her. "It's not going to work, if worse comes to worse I'll tell Ash the truth myself. I don't fear Team Rocket."
Giovanni was taken aback; he would never imagine Delia would speak to him like that. "That's not what I meant," he quickly amended. "I only intended to explain why this is in your best interest and in Kanto's." He couldn't give her a full explanation because he didn't know it himself. He reanalyzed his decision to trust her. It was foolish to still believe in Delia like that. He held all the cards, he had Team Rocket, he had power and influence. Yet somehow, Delia had always managed to come out on top of seemingly impossible situations. Despite her normally forgiving nature, sweet demeanor and gentle attitude, she was not someone to be taken lightly.
Delia stopped the motions of her hands petting Persian. Her eyes were focused on Giovanni while he looked at the road ahead. "Yes I know; Kanto is your hostage. Actually, not just Kanto, I'm aware of that. It still won't work, Ash is more important to me." She paused in silent reflection before continuing. "It's ironic; in the past I could never understand how you were willing to sacrifice everything for your goals. I thought it was selfish, I wondered where your conscious had gone. Yet here I am, saying that I'll let Kanto fall if it's to keep Ash safe. I guess I can understand extreme priorities after all. Of course, I would rather not allow that to happen." Since the night of the battle against the Tempest leaders Delia had been preparing herself to deal with Giovanni. If he wanted something from her, he would have to earn it.
Giovanni let a moment of silence pass before speaking again. He decided not to go back to the subject at hand just yet. Instead he admitted, "you took me by surprise. I have no intentions of blackmailing you, but I see you've become more cautious." She made no comment and he continued, "can I at least trust your secrecy given that I keep my word about Ash?"
"Of course!" Delia energetically assured. "I'm not going to ask for the impossible." Many thoughts were conjured on her last sentence. There were things that Giovanni would do and things he wasn't willing to give up. She understood that far better than ever.
Giovanni decided to continue with what he was going to say, though he spoke in secrecy. "We believe Poisona's true plan was put in motion before our battle. Bollux and Solo will be handed over to the police; Poisona is being kept for interrogation. I can't tell you much else, because I don't know." There were several details that he skipped over. "Let's just say that we have acquired a strange substance that we think is related to Poisona's true plans. Our clues are few right now, but if the substance is analyzed, maybe we can find a lead. For all we know Kanto could be sinking further into danger as we speak. We need a clue as to what exactly has been set in motion."
"Binks is good at that sort of thing," Delia finished, catching on to where Giovanni was going with his explanation. "I remember Professor Oak mentioning what an amazing researcher Binks had been when they worked on the antidote. It seems he has the ability to absorb the knowledge used by others very quickly."
"Exactly," Giovanni confirmed. "Even if his mind frame is in the past, his later knowledge somehow remains. I can't really explain it, that's just the way he is. If it's for the sake of both Binks and Kanto, will you help?"
"Alright," Delia agreed. "I will not risk Binks' health," she firmly assured. "You'll have to hear me out; I'll have questions and opinions for everything. You'll have to at least listen. Don't assume I'll help with something without first discussing it with me in detail. You can't count on me that much anymore." This wasn't like her and Delia felt a little guilty being so harsh. She told herself that she was entitled to it and stayed firm.
"Fair enough," it was all that Giovanni could realistically expect. He noticed then that his trust and expectations for Delia had not been truly logical. Maybe she wised up and stopped being an idealist, or perhaps a small part of him could be a little idealistic about certain things at times.
The rest of the drive to Viridian City went by in silence. Tension seemed to once more build up between Giovanni and Delia. It was a different tension than before. This time the atmosphere was more than resentment and wariness, it carried guarded thoughts and defensive looks.
When they arrived at Viridian City, a multitude of panicked voices greeted them. Bollux and Solo had been handed to the police as soon as a rookie came by. He had been instructed to wait for Jenny and the others before proceeding. His only real mission was to assure the mayor that the police was on their way. Rune was serving as a sort of mediator between the mafia and the police, it was best not to question the arrangement.
Jenny had another situation to take care of due to a catastrophic car accident. The event was completely coincidental and unrelated to Team Rocket. Archer wanted to get rid of them as soon as possible so as to not raise the suspicions of the citizens.
Bollux and Solo had been pushed into the back of the police car. The windows were dark enough so that they couldn't be seen. The nervous rookie didn't know how good they were at emergency escapes. It wasn't long before he realized that he failed to properly lock one of the doors in the back. It was a grave mistake.
Bollux and Solo jumped out of the moving car with their hand still cuffed behind their backs. Jenny's motorcycle zoomed past Giovanni's car. The orange sports car had just reentered the main street from one of the smaller streets he took to avoid the traffic jam on the main street. The officer's rush and the people's yelling made it obvious there was something going on.
Seconds after Jenny hurried past them, three police cars followed, zooming by in the lane next to Giovanni. With the way his luck was going that day, Giovanni could only assume that it would get worse. He hurried after the police cars that parked ahead blocking the road. With no way to get past them, Giovanni parked his car on the side of the street and got off.
Delia was quick to follow him, observing their location. The store where the car of her kidnappers crashed was almost fully repaired very quickly. She didn't bother asking Giovanni about what was going on, he didn't seem to know. She followed him towards the panic where people couldn't decide if they wanted to run for cover or stay and watch. The two handcuffed men made their get away while the rookie chased after them on foot. It was impossible to move in the police car with all those curious people in the way.
The chase was joined by Jenny and the other officers as they tried to hurry after the two men. Giovanni and Delia made their way through the crowds hastily. Solo got lost in the multitude; he was quite a speedy runner. Bollux was a tad slower and took off in a different direction, desperate to get away. Bollux was confused and panicked in his rush to escape. People jumped aside, afraid to get too close to the criminal. They opened a path for him then stood watching him run, while gossiping about the event. They were inadvertently helping him get away.
Jenny and her Arcanine were in pursuit of Solo, while Bollux had the unfortunate luck to find Giovanni in his path. That was all he could take, Giovanni could not hold down his anger any longer. Before Bollux had time to panic and change course, Giovanni delivered a solid punch to his face. Bollux fell several feet back with the momentum he carried. He lay motionless but alive on the street with a broken nose.
The officers were quick to reach Bollux. They pulled him to his feet and took him away to a police car. They didn't dare to question the fierce looking gym leader. The curious people who had stopped to watch began to clap. In their eyes, their good gym leader was a hero.
Delia wasn't sure what to say about the entire event. It all happened very quickly. "Let's go," Giovanni placed his arm around her shoulders, leading her away from the multitude. She decided not to make a scene and allowed him to walk with her like that until they returned to his car. Persian closely followed them back.
xoxox xox xoxox
At the Viridian Rocket Headquarters, Laiki and Pixel were putting the finishing touches on their report about Mirta's journal. They had received a call from Archer telling them to have it ready immediately. Laiki read over it one last time. "It looks like its ready. Figuring this out was like a riddle, you have a good eye for logic and word games," Laiki commended.
"So do you," Pixel smiled, "at first I thought it would be lame, but it was actually kind of fun," she admitted. "Shall we send it in?"
"Yeah, this is good to go," Laiki emailed the report to Archer. She stretched and leaned back in her chair. "It feels like the calm before the storm all over again," she commented.
"Maybe," Pixel would rather not go through the exhausting chaos of a traitor hunt again any time soon. She wanted to continue her technological studies and hacking training in peace until she was ready to take on important missions. "Whatever's going on, it shouldn't affect Team Rocket like before," she hoped not.
"I don't think so. The executives seem concerned. The boss has a lot on his mind, I imagine. Anyway, whatever this is, I'm pretty sure we can handle it." Laiki let out a relaxed breath and watched what Pixel's pokemon were doing around the medical facility.
Peachy, the Pikachu, was taking a nap on one of the beds after having devoured a large meal. Her table matters were surprisingly good, except for the part about her disregard for portions. She could eat more than one would expect a Pikachu to consume. She slumbered peacefully, her right ear twitching slightly in her sleep. She had a blue bow on her left ear.
Pyro, the Charmander, was sitting on Laiki's lap, his head resting on her chest. He loved being held, petted and cuddled by girls. Be it pokemon or human, Pyro had a very Brock-like personality. He was a happy pokemon since he had a female trainer to battle with him and a female nurse to take care of him. Plus he was currently the only male pokemon on Pixel's team. His only complaint was that Pixel never let him sleep on her bed because she feared his tail would set the sheets on fire. Every night he was put in his pokeball, even if Peachy and Purry were allowed to sleep on Pixel's bed. Peachy, similar to her trainer, slept like a rock. Even if she was tossed around and unconsciously used as a pillow, she wouldn't wake up. Purry preferred to sleep on a pillow on the floor or with Comet, since Pixel moved around too much and kept waking her up. Both Pixel and Purry had grown used to Peachy's soft, "chu" snores.
While Peachy napped and Pyro cuddled Laiki, Purry occupied herself with a book. She didn't know how to read the human language. It didn't matter; she was only looking at the pictures anyway. She had tried to tell herself that the boss' Persian was out of her reach. She had not even exchanged a single word with him. She wanted to evolve into a beautiful Persian. She was strong enough, but her fear that the evolution wouldn't make her pretty enough, stopped it from happening. If evolution didn't turn her into a refined creature that could fit into his world, all her hopes would be lost. It was a lot to face. She didn't want to stress about it so she distracted herself looking at one of Laiki's pokemon medical books.
"I just thought of something," Laiki mischievously voiced. "What is to you and me just a normal pokemon anatomy medical book, must be something else to Purry. She's a pokemon; there are pictures of male pokemon in that book. It must all be a lot of high rated eye candy from her point of view," she laughed.
Purry could feel her cheeks turning almost as red as Peachy's. The supposedly sleeping pokemon giggled with an amused, "pi pi pi." It was then that Purry realized her sleeping "chu" sounds had ceased a short while ago. Peachy was awake and listening.
Pyro pouted with a whiny, "char." He did not need to hear about his teammate's reasons to look at that book. It further offended him that Purry had never taken an interest in him and would rather look at a book than him. Peachy insisted on treating him like a sibling and ignoring all his advances. As for the humans, he knew his chances of romance were null, humans only like other humans. Laiki had two humans whom she liked. Pixel didn't have a boyfriend, but it was clear her tastes gravitated towards human males only. Regardless of that, if it was up to Pyro, no one would ever lay a finger on her.
"I think Comet might be right, sometimes it's best not to know what goes on in your head," Pixel teased. "Speaking of Comet, where did he disappear to? I thought he had some overdue time off to reclaim. Did he go on another mission?"
"He's still here," she referred to the Viridian Rocket base. Laiki's eyes flashed with a hint of worry. She quickly hid the negative emotion and smiled. "With all the work he's been doing he's been short on sleep. He's in his room getting some rest. I bet you could hack the keycard lock. I'm sure he wouldn't mind your company," Laiki winked. "If you don't, I might go keep him company myself."
"I thought he was like a brother to you," Pixel reminded.
Laiki laughed, "he is, I just wanted to see you get jealous."
"I'm not jealous," Pixel pouted stubbornly. "There's nothing going on, he's like a brother to me too," she insisted.
"Yeah right," Laiki didn't believe it for a second. "Only if the word brother means secret crush in another language. That would be a weird translation so let's stick to our language, okay?"
Pixel rolled her eyes, "you're delusional. Besides, I only like older men. Comet is too young."
"I happen to know you're a big fan of sci-fi," Laiki stated with a grin, the mischievous look in her eyes never left. "There are less years between you and Comet than between Padme and Anakin."
"It's my favorite movie series, but that's not enough to convince me," Pixel stood her ground. If she admitted to occasionally having a liking for Comet, Laiki would stretch the truth and assume they were secret lovers.
The nurse laughed and teased her friend. Through all of it she couldn't help it but to worry about Comet. She really did care about him like a brother. He had always been energetic and cheerful. Laiki wondered if what she feared was truly happening. She hoped the time never came. Still, she couldn't discard the possibility. When it happened, no real warning was expected, she knew it could all be very sudden. She hoped Comet's exhaustion was all the result of his lack of rest and nothing more.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. Tension is building up, secrets are hinted at... more to come!