Diamond 70: Give me Safety
Diamond 70: Give me Safety
Ash waited impatiently for Misty to speak. He got out of bed and paced around his room with his cell phone to his ear. "Misty?"
"Secrets about the mafia," Misty confessed. "My sisters are involved with, I don't even know what." She finally broke down in tears. All the pressure and the seriousness of her sisters' insistence on her silence got to her. They didn't want to share too much new information for her protection. "Ash, Ackbar is with them, they have a lot of power. The Roketto clan, Team Rocket, they're already too involved, they can't leave now. They keep saying that everything is fine and life will continue normally. What if it doesn't? It can't be that simple!"
Ash couldn't believe what he was hearing. Misty made him see things in a whole new perspective. They were so desperate to relax, so eager to think things were okay. "Everything will be alright, because I'll make sure of it!" He didn't know what he was talking about, yet some how hearing Ash say those words made Misty feel a little better. "Are you in Cerulean City right now?"
"Yes," Misty tried to stop crying, she didn't want to worry Ash or her sisters. She had been locked in her room for a while and they might go check on her soon.
"I'll be there soon," Ash left no room for argument, as if making an unbreakable promise. "I'll be there really soon then you can tell me about it in person."
"Alright," Misty took a deep breath to calm herself, "thank you."
"I'm your fiance, you can count on me for anything," Ash assured, he couldn't help it but to smile despite the situation. "I'll see you soon."
"I love you," Misty whispered.
"I love you too," Ash replied and ended the call. He didn't have a car anymore, but he knew of a faster way to get around.
"Pikapi?" Pikachu had woken up and was looking at him with questions in his eyes.
"I'm not entirely sure what's going on, but Misty could use some cheering up," Ash explained. "Let's make sure she's alright."
Pikachu nodded, "Pikapipi!" He jumped on Ash's shoulder as Ash opened his bedroom window.
"Charizard, I choose you!" Ash threw the pokeball out the window.
The red beam from it shaped into the powerful fire flying pokemon, who let out a mighty roar. The ball bounced back towards Ash with the force of Charizard taking shape.
Ash caught the empty pokeball and reattached it to his belt. He jumped out the window on Charizard's back with Pikachu on his shoulder. "Full speed to Cerulean City!"
xoxox xox xoxox
Approaching footsteps alerted Delia and Luke that someone was coming. Queen, Prince and Pretty were relaxed. The forest not only had hidden cameras, but also pokemon guardians. Luke knew right away that it meant the bug pokemon of the forest had not detected anyone unfamiliar. Giovanni approached them with Persian following him as usual. Delia and Luke were sitting on the grass sharing stories and laughing. Their little reunion would have to be cut short; there was an emergency to take care of.
"Giovanni," Delia looked at him as he approached, "come to join us?" She didn't expect him to agree.
"Actually, I was going to take you to visit Binks, you can both come," Giovanni was going to need every scientific resource he had available working towards a new antidote. It was a great danger and a great opportunity.
Delia's expression was full of questions. Giovanni had told her about the complications of Binks' condition, she didn't expect him to take her to him so soon. "Is something the matter?" He was rushing things and there had to be a reason for that.
"Not yet," Giovanni hinted.
Delia got to her feet, giving Giovanni a critical look, "what do you mean?"
"I'll explain in the way," Giovanni began to walk back towards the secret passage in the forest. He made it clear that there was no time to waste. He opened the hidden tunnel and made his way down.
Delia looked at Luke searching for answers, but he shrugged and shook his head. She sighed, feeling as if she was being dragged around. Giovanni better keep his word and explain things on the way. She didn't even know where they were heading. "We have to go now," she addressed the pokemon, "it was very nice meeting you." The two Beedrill and Butterfree responded cheerfully. They had another human ally. Plus they got to see the leader of Team Rocket, whom they had not seen in a while.
After returning to the underground Viridian Rocket base, a grunt hurried to them with a sealed envelope. The Rocket grunt handed the black envelope to Giovanni and quickly went away. The envelope was labeled only with a red R. It gave no hint about its contents, but at the same time spoke volumes about the possible documents that could be in it.
Giovanni opened the sealed envelope, tearing off the edge. He looked at the papers inside as he walked down the long underground tunnel with Delia, Luke and Persian. Once he confirmed the documents were what he requested, he handed them to Delia. "This is information about Binks."
"First tell me why we're going to see him all of a sudden," Delia inquired with mounting concern.
Luke looked back and forth between Giovanni and Delia. He felt as if he had been caught in the middle of a soap opera lovers' spat. His gaze finally settled on Persian, he was the easiest to look at, since he was the least tense. Luke slowed his pace to walk a few steps behind them. The metallic tunnels seemed more endless than ever.
"Don't you want to see him?" Giovanni knew his fake tone of innocence wouldn't work on Delia. He didn't bother waiting for her to demand an answer before he gave it. "Nothing is certain yet," the introduction to the issue at hand was not very encouraging. Delia's gaze was focused and inquiring. Giovanni had liked those rare moments when she got that look in the past. He never thought a time would come when those looks made him feel he should be cautious. "There have been a few cases of sick pokemon. I don't know exactly what's going on, but it's best to take precautions now." It wouldn't be long before Delia or someone she knew decided to watch the news and heard about it. The illness that was going around was no secret, though it was not yet too bad. "I want Binks to research what's going on so he can come up with a cure before things get worse."
"That makes sense," Delia granted, yet she didn't lose her intense look. "Why do I feel like there's more to it than this?"
"Because there probably is," Giovanni openly admitted, "not even I know what." He met her eyes for a moment before once again looking forward. "This situation will probably reach common knowledge soon if it gets worse. It's no secret; you just haven't been keeping up with the news, have you?"
"I wasn't in the mood to watch the news," Delia felt that she needed to rest and make herself focus in the future. She didn't want to spend all her time theorizing about how anything reported on the news could possibly be linked to Team Rocket. Delia began to read the papers in silence while they boarded an elevator. Giovanni inputted a numerical code, rather than using the buttons to select the level where he wanted to go. The controls also served as an access panel, though few knew of that function.
Binks' condition had been getting worse since Delia last saw him years ago. He seemed to have suffered a severe trauma. Some of the notes mentioned he used to escape from the lab, but that stopped happening after he was assigned to work with Dr. Fuji. It seemed his work kept him busy then and he was very interested in it. After the accident which ended Dr. Fuji's life, Binks took a long time to recover from his injuries. Later, he remained in his private laboratory. The documents mentioned that Binks often lost the notion of time.
The elevator ride seemed to take an eternity. The temperature rose with the warmth of being so far underground. Finally, when the elevator doors opened, the air conditioner felt sudden and cold. That deep underground level wasn't there before Delia left. There was a long corridor up ahead. Delia's eyes went from the last sentence of the paper, to the long metallic corridor, to Giovanni. "I finished reading," she placed the papers neatly back inside the opened envelope and handed it back to Giovanni.
The Rocket leader opened the first door on the left. There were several laboratory supplies neatly stashed inside, with a paper shredder in the corner. The documents were turned into confetti after being tossed in the shredder. "Are you ready?"
Delia doubted she could ever be ready. At the same time she couldn't wait to see Binks. "Yes," her eyes spoke much more than her voice.
"I don't need to tell you again what will happen to Binks," Giovanni reminded just in case. Delia nodded, her expression going from doubtful to determined, "act natural."
The walk down the long hallway felt as if it took much more time than it did. The metal doors were closed and sound proof. Small glass windows on each one gave a brief view of the experiments being conducted inside. Delia would have lost her temper if she saw any pokemon being experimented on. Fortunately, there was nothing but unidentifiable colorful substances in vials and beakers.
The suspense piled up as Giovanni slid a keycard through the lock on the door at the very end of the hallway. He entered a numerical password on the little pad next to it and the door was unlocked. Giovanni, Delia and Luke entered and the leader locked the door behind them.
Delia was taken by surprised by the warm atmosphere she saw. Unlike Luke, she had not been there before. The cold metal walls were covered by wood. A gray stone fireplace was oddly burning in the wall to the right. Upon closer inspection, it wasn't burning at all, the fire was fake.
On the wall opposite to the fireplace there hung a painting of a pokemon. It was not expertly made. It could have been a big fuzzy Rattata or a purple Raticate. The pokemon portrayed seemed to be a combination of both. The shelves below the painting were lined with different awards and recognitions of the scientific world. With Pallet Town being the home of Samuel and Gary Oak, such awards were not alien to Delia. Some of them she had to doubt were real, despite being aware that Binks had enough knowledge to win them. She wondered if they were all part of the atmosphere created in that area.
The wooden floor made Delia's light steps sound off differently than the metal surface of the corridor. The furniture was a dark mauve color. It seemed lived in, but still in good conditions so that it was comfortable. The couch faced the fireplace, while two matching seats faced the couch. There was a little wooden coffee table with a clear glass top in the middle of the sitting area. A lighter wine colored oval shaped rug was under the coffee table, extending to the foot of the couch and seats.
The door that they came through blended in with the brown wood covered walls. On the wall opposite to that door there was another door. The inner door was made of only wood, as opposed to being metal covered in wood. Its shade of brown was noticeably lighter than the walls, closer to a shade of caramel. Somehow, the scent of hot chocolate was constantly in the air, even if Delia didn't see any. There was another caramel colored door next to the fireplace, which was open a few inches.
The atmosphere was overall relaxing until Delia realized that Binks was not allowed to leave. No matter how comfortable a cage was made, it was still a cage. She felt sorry for him being forced to live underground. She had to remember that he was in no condition to live anywhere else safely. Two voices could be heard from beyond the closed caramel colored door, one was male and the other female.
Giovanni looked at Delia, silently asking if she was ready. She nodded reassuringly and looked as natural as she could. Luke exchange another glance with Giovanni before calling, "Dude Binks, we're like here, man!"
It was at that moment that Delia further wondered why Luke was aware that Binks lived and Comet was kept in the dark. She had assumed it was because seeing Luke's son would make the passing of time too obvious for Binks. She wondered if that was the only reason, but that was not the time to ask.
The caramel colored door opened revealing a very different atmosphere beyond it. The room was completely white, the walls, the ceiling and the floor. Long counters lined the walls filled with laboratory equipment, a laptop computer and scattered papers with messy handwriting. The area was cluttered, but nothing was broken or on the floor.
Binks stepped through the door followed by Laiki. His brown eyes were mostly dull but shone with the faintest sparkle of life when he saw Delia. His blond hair was much paler than Delia remembered, almost white. Binks looked much older than he was. He was thinner than before, like a skeleton with his clothes and lab coat hanging off him. "You came to visit!"
Delia wanted to cry but showed no hints of it as she smiled. "Hi," was all she could muster to say. She didn't know how to talk to Binks in a natural way when things were anything but natural.
Delia froze on the inside when Binks' face turned sad for a moment, "I thought you didn't want to be my friend anymore." His expression changed drastically to carefree and curious. "Have you been busy taking care of Giovanni's pokemon so he can be a good gym leader?"
Delia forced herself to keep a cheerful expression and a steady voice. "That's right, I've been really busy. Of course I still want to be your friend."
Binks clapped his hands together in happiness, "how wonderful. I knew you would be my friend forever. Tell Aayla and Leah to stop by sometime too. I haven't spoken to them in a long time. I guess everyone got busy after Tempest was defeated."
So far so good, Binks looked more cheerful, coherent and focused than usual. Delia wouldn't know of the comparison, but the others noticed.
"I haven't introduced you, have I?" Binks looked back at Laiki. "I'm sure you've already heard from Giovanni and Luke. This is my sister Laiki. She's still very young but she's an aspiring Rocket. It won't be long before she can run around training pokemon." The time in which Laiki was taken in by Team Rocket was after Delia left. In that sense, Binks had the eras a little mixed up. "I'm telling you, she's growing up so fast. Pretty soon she won't be my baby sister anymore. Just look at how tall she's gotten, last week she was this small." Binks held out his hand, palm down, indicating a height that could only belong to a child.
"It's nice to meet you, Laiki," Delia played along. She felt as if she was being torn apart on the inside. On the outside she smiled sweetly, while the sour acid of a lie ate away at her heart.
"Nice to meet you too!" Laiki chirped cheerfully. She was good at lying. Her acting skills were commendable, a fact that she took advantage of.
Binks went on his knees to look at Persian and petted him gently. "Too big to ride on daddy's shoulder anymore, Meowth?" He laughed in good humor as he stood again. He looked at the partially open door next to the fireplace. "Rattata, have you woken up from your nap?" A shy Raticate watched from the slightly opened space of the door. "Come greet our guests. Laiki, Luke, Giovanni and Persian are here, plus a surprise visitor. Delia has come to visit; it's such a happy day!"
Raticate pushed the door open and entered the little living room. Behind the door there was a bedroom. The walls were covered in wood in a similar way to the living room. The floor was covered by a blue carpet. It contrasted with the wood that covered the living room floor and the white tiles of the laboratory. The carpet had soft lines and swirls in different shades of blue as if to simulate water.
The bed frame was made of wood with the bed posts shaped as palm trees. The big green plastic leaves formed a partial umbrella over the bed. The mattress was thick and soft. A purple pokemon comforter was extended on the bed with pictures of a Gengar, Haunter and Ghastly. Two pillows were in matching pillowcases. Shoes, lab coats and articles of clothing were scattered in the room. There was a rather large collection of ties hanging from the palm tree leaves. The assorted ties varied in colors and patterns.
Raticate was always fragile as a Rattata. She never lasted long in a battle before fainting. How she managed to evolved under such circumstances was nothing short of a mystery. Perhaps the inner battle of her constant worries for her trainer pushed her to become stronger that way. If she had become physically stronger was yet to be seen, but not likely. She had not battled in many years.
"Come now, don't be shy," Binks picked up the small Raticate. "You remember Delia, don't you?"
Raticate looked at Binks with curiosity. For once her trainer looked truly happy. She nodded and looked at Delia with pleading eyes. She didn't speak; the humans wouldn't be able to understand her anyway. Even without words the message reached Delia. It was as if Raticate was begging for her trainer's well being, pleading 'help him.'
Binks sat down on the couch with Raticate on his lap. "Sit, sit everyone, and have some candy." He motioned towards a Blastoise shaped bowl on the coffee table in the center of the living room. "Luke, you're quiet today," he observed.
"Me? Like quiet? No way, man! I'm like as full of energy like as ever, you know?" Luke had been quietly watching everything unfold. So far Binks had not yelled, cried or laughed insanely. That was big progress. He hopped on one of the chairs, leaning forward to the coffee table. He lifted the Blastoise jar's shell off to reveal the overflow of candy. There were yellow candies in clear wrappers and chocolates in silver wrappers. "Like yum!" He took a handful of candy and began to slowly unwrap them.
Giovanni sat down on the other seat, leaving Delia and Laiki to seat left and right of Binks. "Do you think you could start working on some research soon?" Giovanni left out any sense of urgency in his voice.
"Of course, of course!" Binks exclaimed. "I've found the motivation, I'll do it, I'll definitely do it!" He paused and looked thoughtful for a moment, almost nostalgic, "on one condition." His voiced changed from cheerful yet disconnected, to completely serious. "I want Delia to come visit now and then, because I don't want to stop being her friend. In fact, you should all keep coming to see me regularly," Binks seemed to have a quiet acceptance of his captivity.
"I'm sure we can find the time," Giovanni looked at Delia, "right?"
"Yes!" Delia was quick to reply. She didn't know how she would endure any future visits.
A soft beeping sound came from Binks' watch. He pressed a tiny button on it and ignored it once the sound stopped. "Dear brother, don't forget your medicine," Laiki reminded with gentle insistence.
Binks frowned and hugged Raticate, resting his chin on her head. "It makes me so sleepy."
"It's for your own good," Laiki got up from the couch and walked to the small refrigerator in the corner next to the award shelves. She opened it and retrieved a glass of water, which she handed to Binks. She went into the bedroom and out of sight, entering the door leading to an adjacent bathroom. The medicine cabinet was locked for safety reasons. Binks had never tried to break it open. Laiki returned to the living room with a pill which she deposited in Binks' open hand.
Binks looked at the pill as if it were something unappetizing. The refrigerator was full of appetizing dishes and snacks, but Binks ate little. "I had insomnia before, I wanted to sleep. I don't want to anymore." He rolled the little white pill from side to side in the palm of his hand.
"Dude, you should like take your medicine, man!" Luke encouraged, his mouth half full of candy and chocolate. "It's like just a pill, it like can't taste like that bad, you know? Besides, you can like totally eat something yummy like right after, you know?"
"If I go to sleep, will it all be a dream?" Binks whispered solemnly. "Delia, are you really here, or is this a dream? Has light returned? Laiki was too small, she wasn't here. Giovanni, he needed the light, but the light went away. I was without my light too. I can't be strong like Luke. I can't be strong like Giovanni. What if I'm dreaming? If I go to sleep in a dream, will I wake up in reality? Will you be gone forever? Will you be gone like her? Will you hate us of the darkness?"
A thick and tense silence invaded the room. Delia couldn't stop looking at Binks' eyes, so pained and pleading. She gently placed her arms around his thin shoulders, he looked so fragile. "It's okay, I'm really here. Take your medicine and get some rest, you really need it. When you wake up, you can call me. I'll come visit you again. I'm not going to abandon you."
Binks nodded weakly, "alright," he swallowed the little white pill with the water. He set Raticate gently down on the floor and placed the near empty glass on the coffee table. "I'll get some sleep and this time I won't have any nightmares." He walked to his bed as if in a trance muttering to himself about light and darkness.
"We should let him rest for now," Laiki voiced softly, to break the unbearable silence.
Raticate went to the bedroom and stood watching her trainer in bed under the purple covers. He was still murmuring to himself, but it was quieter and slower. He was falling asleep. As usual, Raticate would stand watching him with worry. Differently from other times, there was also a hint of hope in her eyes.
Giovanni, Persian, Delia, Luke and Laiki exited Binks' living area. The door was locked behind them leaving Binks in his own little world. Since Binks could no longer hear them in his sound proof little apartment, Luke apologized. "I'm like sorry, man!" I was like too quiet at first, you know? He like surprised me, you know?"
Laiki nodded in agreement with a real smile on her face, "I was surprised too. It's been such a long time since Binks recognized people so easily and had something that could be called a conversation. Plus he didn't have any problems with all of us being there at the same time. This is a big improvement."
Delia listened, feeling her heart becoming more pained for Binks. It seemed that everyone was impressed with Binks' apparent improvement. Delia had no real point of comparison, but if that was a big improvement, how was it before?
"I have some work to look into down here, so I'll stick around," Laiki gave Luke a meaningful look.
Luke interpreted it as a suggestion to give Delia a moment alone with Giovanni. There was only one elevator that went that far down underground. It was monitored by hidden cameras. It would have been stopped if unauthorized personal had somehow figured out the code to make it go down to the deep secret basement. "I will like go up in like a little while too, you know? So you should like totally go on ahead if you're like using the elevator, you know?"
Giovanni guessed they were leaving him alone with Delia. "Alright," he agreed and started walking towards the end of the hall. "Delia?"
Delia was lost in deep thought. Her eyes were a little watery but she hid it well. She woke up from her trance when Giovanni called her and was quick to follow him to the elevator.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. This was a sad chapter with Binks, but at least there was some pokeshipping.