Diamond 72: Give me Discoveries
Diamond 72: Give me Discoveries
In the Viridian Rocket headquarters dungeon, Poisona was finally revealing new information. After many tries, it was finally possible to put her in a hypnotic trance without triggering her secondary personality to surface. It took a lot of mental tricks and high level psychic and ghost pokemon, but it was done. "Humans are poison, they shall cleanse the world," Poisona's voice was soft and quiet, barely above a whisper in the dim cell. "They'll all die!" She suddenly screamed at the top of her lungs.
Iblis Raymus stood perfectly still and unfazed. She was a tall woman in her mid thirties. Her attire consisted of a black business suit with a small red R on the top right of the blazer. Her hair was long straight and black, parted at the side and tugged behind her ears. She wore glasses with a black frame, behind which cold blue eyes stared. She held an overflowing clip board with many white papers full of illegible yet elegant black ink cursive. The back of the black clipboard had a big red R on it.
Iblis observed Poisona become wilder. She pulled at her chains so harshly, the cold metal bruised and nearly cut her wrists. To the display before her, Iblis only reacted with a quiet, "I see..." Her loyal Gengar and Alakazam stood left and right of Poisona.
Iblis flipped through the papers in her clipboard. She ignored the growls Poisona was making as if she couldn't hear them. "Well Patricia, I've researched your past." More so other Rockets had done the database hacking and investigating, then handed in the report. "I've found that your family was a group of outcasts in Lavender Town to the bitter end. Your parents died in a fire that the police found no public culprit for. They did have a suspect, but that suspect was never prosecuted. They expected the case to fall due to its particularities."
"Charmander!" Poisona wailed so loud that her throat gave out and her voice turned fragmented. "He did it, it was Charmander!"
"That has been investigated," Iblis informed with a tone of superiority. "It turned out Charmander died in its pokeball. A pity isn't it? Who could the culprit be?" She looked from the clipboard to Poisona, eyes cold and piercing.
"Fire, burn, they all burn, fire!" Poisona screeched. The psychic and ghost pokemon exchanged glances with their trainer. The human they were forcing into a trance with their combined powers was nearing her limit.
Iblis did not give the order for the pokemon to stop, so they did not. Instead she continued calm and indifferent, almost mocking. "Let us look at the source of the problem. Why was your family rejected? The parents were nice people, they got along with everyone. The boy was a little mischievous, but nothing out of the ordinary. Then there was the girl. The girl had a split personality and was prone to acts of violence. Oh yes Patricia, I dug out your old files."
Poisona's throat was scratched from all the screaming. She could say nothing more, so instead she let out a raspy growl.
"The parents were reluctant to abandon their little girl in treatment. That is to say, they wouldn't just give her up to an insane asylum," Iblis' glance back at her clipboard and took a moment to read from it. She gave the distinct impression that Poisona simply wasn't important enough to remember. The indifference somehow amplified her image of mocking cruelty.
Poisona had stopped growling. The pokemon's hypnotic powers had put her in a hyper sensitive state. All her deepest memories were hers to reach out for. She would not bring out a memory she hated, she had to be forced to do so. Rubbing the truth in her face should work well to that end.
"That's the reason why they were outcasts; they had a dangerous little girl. Guess what she did next?" Iblis grinned in amusement, "she burned them. Well, her other personality did. I wonder which one is the real you, Patricia?"
Poisona growled loudly, her voice fractured. During the trance she unconsciously tried to confirm that Iblis was lying. She tried to call upon her false memories. However, with all her mental defenses rendered to near extinction, she saw the truth. The memories returned to her mind and tears flowed from her eyes.
Iblis took a few more notes on her clipboard. "You turned your pain to hatred and blamed Charmander. The arsonist was really you, but you couldn't live with that. You wanted revenge because it would convince you of your lie. The more you chased after your lie, the more truthful it felt, but it was still a lie." A breakthrough was near, Iblis could almost feel it. "Humans are poison you say?"
"Virus, pokemon, kill, humans will kill them..." Poisona gasped and sobbed before finally losing consciousness.
"It is the end of the session," Iblis acknowledge, letting out an apathetic breath. "Alakazam, Gengar, return," she called her two pokemon companions back into their pokeballs and turned away from Poisona. "None the less, this information may be useful." The scientists might want to look into the possibilities about how the virus affected humans.
xoxox xox xoxox
In Saffron City, James, Ash, Misty and the pokemon didn't stay in the park for long. There was a feeling of unrest in the air and they all wanted to know what Jessie's private calls were about. "Don't worry, she won't tell on you," James reassured on the way.
When they returned to the pokemon day care center, Jessie was waiting. She put on a grave expression and spoke in all seriousness, "The truth of the matter is..." The others held their breath, "you were worried over nothing!" Jessie laughed.
Misty pouted, "don't scare me like that!" Then Jessie's words truly sank in and she immediately asked, "what do you mean by that? Who did you call? What did they say?"
Ash and James were very curious as well. They once again sat around the same table from before. "Tell us the whole story, I want to know too," Meowth tended to be curious by nature.
"I called headquarters and talked to some higher ups. Actually, since this is an important issue, they put me through much higher than I thought," Jessie wondered just what was so important about that particular situation. "Anyway, the point is you're considered Team Rocket's allies. I was asked to pass along the warning that you shouldn't search for more information."
"I thought you wouldn't tell on me!" Misty reproached.
"I didn't!" Jessie defended. "I simply asked why we couldn't steal from the Cerulean gym. Apparently they were already aware that I knew you, almost as if they expected me to ask about that at some point. I didn't mention you were here. I was simply told that the Waterflower sisters were considered Team Rocket's allies due to some connections. He didn't specify what connections. He said that I should not bring up the topic, but if you did, I should warn you to keep quiet. You haven't signed for your secrecy, have you?"
Calmer after hearing the explanation Misty replied, "no, I haven't."
"You can expect that to happen at some point, probably sooner than later," Jessie guessed, the other Waterflowers have already done so. "What I still don't know is what business is so important with the Waterflowers that the higher ups are so highly aware of it."
Misty sighed helplessly, "I don't think I know the full extent of it either."
xoxox xox xoxox
Meanwhile, at the Viridian Rocket headquarters, Delia was occupied in taking care of the pokemon. Archer had contacted Giovanni about the call Jessie made. As expected, there was restlessness among the Waterflowers, especially the youngest. Due to her proximity to Ash, she was to be treated with caution.
Delia was about to quietly enter Giovanni's office without knocking. It was not his gym office, but another underground office. The security was heavier, but since she was around him so often, he granted her a keycard that would let her in. She unlocked the door and stopped with the doorknob in her hand. The door was only open a mere inch. It was enough for the sound of voices to filter out of the office.
Giovanni was in the middle of a conversation with Archer, "so what do you suggest? We can't just tell her. She'll tell Ash, he'll complain to Delia and who knows where that will lead."
"Yes, I know, it would ruin your conquest," Archer bravely replied.
"I'm serious," Giovanni reproached him.
"This isn't how you usually deal with the threat of bad publicity," Archer reminded. "You can easily arrange it so that none of them will speak of anything that can affect you, ever," the possibility Archer hinted at was obvious to Giovanni. "You don't seem to have intentions of doing that."
"Because of Binks," Giovanni reminded defensively. "That venture proved to be profitable in the past. It can be again."
Delia clenched her teeth and almost burned a hole through the door with her glare. She gripped the doorknob until her knuckles turned pale white. She didn't make a single sound, instead choosing to listen in silence.
"If that's the truth I'll take your word for it. If it's not then good for you," Archer sounded like he was speaking in riddles.
Giovanni gave the executive a questioning look, "what do you mean? Are you saying Delia is that much of an inconvenience?"
"No," Archer denied with a knowing grin, "I'm saying that she's good for you and that I'm glad you're keeping her around." Before Giovanni could comment on that, Archer continued, "for the sake of getting Binks to work, or simply because you feel like having her around."
Giovanni realized what Archer was getting at, "Delia is... troublesome," it sounded more as if he was convincing himself rather than Archer. The headlines painted him in a good light. The press was all over the incident in which he heroically stopped a run away criminal, then dramatically drove off with his lady. He had been very secretive about his personal life, mostly because it was a life of crime. Allowing the public to see another side of him beyond that of the gym leader did wonders for his image.
All the rumors, tension and suspicions from the Vermillion massacre were left in the past. People had something new and more interesting to gossip about. It was not too comfortable that the new topic happened to be his personal life, but at least the effect was beneficial. The role of the lady of the story didn't necessary had to be played by Delia, she just happened to be there and they had already been seen together. It was only convenient. Besides, she could be unpredictable and keeping her close was the only sure way to keep her under control.
"I really don't know what you're getting at," Giovanni finally spoke. The image of Delia standing at the world's edge in a Team Rocket uniform reemerged in his mind. He pushed it away; he couldn't allow her to become a distraction. If Archer was making any assumptions, he was wrong.
Archer shrugged and decided not to push the matter further, "you've been working really hard," he commented ambiguously, then returned to the topic at hand. "Maybe it's best if I speak to Misty and assure her that her family isn't in any danger as long as they don't mess up. I guess I should also mention that messing up by accident isn't likely unless they're careless."
"Those who are new to working under Team Rocket are always restless at first. They either rebel and are crushed, or they realize that doing their job right is the best strategy and behave. It'll be the second option with this. Their restlessness will pass," Giovanni predicted. "A warning will suffice this time."
Archer shifted as he sat across the desk from Giovanni. It looked as if he was about to get up, "alright."
Archer paused and remained seated as Giovanni added, "why Jessie? Why would they ask her? Is it because she was on Team Rocket before or is it because they know she's back."
Archer shook his head, "I couldn't say. Anyway, I'll make sure Misty gets the warning."
"I'll tell her," Delia suddenly opened the door, taking the two men by surprise. She entered the office, closing the door behind her. "I don't want Misty and Ash to be stressed. I'll reassure them myself, Misty's sisters too."
"How much sneaking around have you been doing?" Giovanni demanded to know with disapproval.
"None," that was her first time intentionally listening in on a conversation like that. "My keycard only lets me into the common areas and your office." The common areas were accessible to all the Rockets; the cafeteria and the workout gym where among such areas.
"I see you've taken the time to test it," Giovanni observed, though he had already been aware of that.
Delia ignored his remark and stepped forward. She placed several pokeballs on his desk. "Your pokemon have been fed, exercised and bathed."
Archer felt that he was where he should not be. "If you'll excuse me, I should get back to work now." He had a feeling the discussion had taken a turn down a more personal alley.
"Yes, go ahead," with Giovanni's confirmation, Archer left the office. He closed the door behind him, once again locking the voices in the office within its walls.
Delia took up the empty seat across from Giovanni's desk. Persian watched them with attention. He could feel that they were tense. "It's the best choice," Delia began, "if I'm the one to tell Ash and Misty that everything is okay, they'll believe it. I'll tell them it's possible to live in peace with the mafia." Peace was not the right word and Delia realized that. She didn't know how to rephrase it to sound truthful yet optimistic.
Delia's thoughts were elsewhere. Archer hinted that he thought Giovanni was keeping her around for a reason other than Binks. She couldn't help it but to wonder. She told herself not to get her hopes up. Practicing that decision was difficult; her sense of hope was very stubborn.
"That would require revealing your position," Giovanni reminded. He felt as if he was fighting a losing battle from the second Delia entered the office.
"Not necessarily," she concocted a possible scenario. She could say that she had a friend or distant relative in the mafia with good connections. That allowed her to take a look around and be assured that everything would work out. No, that wouldn't work. She could admit to having been in Team Rocket in the past. She could say she had a friend in a high place. That seemed closer to the truth, yet it was still partially a lie.
Furthermore, how did she come across such a friend in the first place? How would she explain that? Maybe she could be truthful yet ambiguous. She felt terrible about it, but she had become an expert at that. It wasn't enough; the truth had to be told. "I know I told you that I would leave it up to you to tell Ash the entire truth or not. I take it back; he has the right to know. It might break his heart, but these lies are worse. It'll be better that way; you don't need to be so avoidant of the facts anymore."
Giovanni thought of many things he could say. Abundant arguments and reasoning floated in his mind. Yet the only words he voiced were, "I won't try to stop you. Just don't say more than necessary."
"I promise," Delia assured, "besides, I don't know any real secrets anymore. The things I'll be discussing with Ash and later Ash and Misty are more related to us than Team Rocket."
Giovanni wasn't sure how to take that, "if you deem it necessary," the atmosphere felt heavy, as if the world came to a halt.
Delia got up and petted Persian before looking back at Giovanni, "I'll let you know how it goes." It was clear she intended to take action immediately.
Giovanni remembered something and was quick to stop her from leaving the office, "wait, the wedding."
Delia thought for a moment, remembering Daisy's wedding. She didn't want to cause unnecessary tension right before it.
"All the gym leaders are expected to be there," Giovanni pointed out.
"That would complicate things," there wouldn't be enough time for everything to settle down. Delia really didn't want to ruin the special occasion.
"I'll send Kenobi to talk to them," Giovanni decided. Kenobi was high ranked in the organization. It had been decided this term would be Rune's last. The elections were close, but Kenobi was always involved in the city's activities. As a result he easily stepped into his role as mayor candidate taking his father's place. Overall, the city received him well. They were convinced that Rune retired to take care of his health, which was in many ways close to the truth. "They should trust him and he can reassure them. That will be enough."
Delia nodded; it was the best course of action for the time being. However, she wouldn't let her determination crumble so easily. She wouldn't take the excuse to run away. "After the wedding, I still want to tell Ash the truth."
Giovanni knew that was coming. Things should have settled down sufficiently by then. He would be ready to deal with the possible and likely troublesome reactions. "Alright, just give me a warning first."
xoxox xox xoxox
The next day seemed to drag on forever at the Cerulean gym. The Waterflowers and Lando had been informed that someone would be visiting them to further discuss their adaptation to their new situation in alliance to Team Rocket. Ash was still there. Lando had left his Ackbar duties and hurried to Cerulean City. There was tension in the air as the four Waterflower sisters, Lando and Ash sat in the living room waiting. They didn't know who to expect or when exactly. They only knew someone from the mafia would pay them a visit on that day.
The pokemon were let out of their pokeballs to play and rest in the pool area. They sense the tension and weren't in the mood to play. Most of them just sat there discussing the complex situation their trainers were in and wondering about it. Pokemon were generally more optimistic than humans.
It was the late morning when the door bell rang and the group got up at once. "I'll go," Daisy insisted. She felt it was her duty as the oldest Waterflower, to let the guest into their home. She walked to the main door, took a deep breath and opened it. She released the accumulated air in her lungs upon seeing who was at the door. "Kenobi, it's you. I like thought it was... you know," he was aware of their connections, "come in." Despite feeling relieved for a moment, the tension was quick to build up stronger. Daisy wanted to get everything over with.
"Sorry I'm a little late," Kenobi apologized as he followed Daisy back to the living room. "There was some heavy traffic on the roads today."
"It's okay, Violet will be happy to see you and I'm like glad you came too," Daisy tried to keep the stress out of her voice.
Kenobi arrived at the living room full of fidgeting people. All their eyes focused on him as he came in, then on the empty space behind him. No one else had arrived. Violet was the first to greet him with a hug. "I'm like really glad you could make it. I wonder when that person who's like supposed to be coming today will arrive."
Misty immediately caught what Violet was referring to openly. "He knows?" The word mafia was scarce in their conversation but to say 'them' and such words, was enough to communicate the message.
"Yes," Violet confessed. "Kenobi is in this too, since you're like about to get more information soon, it's okay to tell you now." She felt a bit guilty hiding that detail from her youngest sister, even if she thought it was for her own good.
"How many more surprises will I get?" Misty sounded too exhausted to be upset. Kenobi was the primary candidate to be Viridian City's mayor. Ash gave Misty's hand a soft squeeze, which she returned.
"There will be at least one more surprise," Kenobi announced, taking a seat in the living room next to Violet. "I hope this helps you relax rather than create more tension. The one who was to come to answer your questions and let you know what can and can't be done is me."
Everyone was visibly surprised. They had assumed Kenobi's involvement in the mafia was not quite high ranked enough for that. "Wait," Misty took a moment to process everything, "you're the Viridian mayor's son and the next candidate for mayor. Does that mean the mayor really supports Team Rocket?" Her eyes widened with a sea of possibilities forming, "the gym leader too?"
"What?" Ash exclaimed suddenly.
"Please don't jump to conclusions," Kenobi tried to keep the situation calm. "The Viridian gym leader is indeed our friend, but he is not aware of our connections," Kenobi felt guilty about lying, but it was necessary for Giovanni's identity to remain a secret until the tensions settled completely. "It's not impossible to have friends even if we are with the mafia. You're not forfeiting your lives. You just need to keep the business and your personal lives separate. This is a lot easier than it looks."
Kenobi continued, "take Ackbar Inc. for example, the business functioned normally for many years. Several things were happening behind the scenes, but it wasn't a real obstacle. You can continue with your lives as if nothing has changed. Just remember not to say too much, remember what side you're on. As long as you don't cause any negative effects, everything is alright. It's not so different from before, from when you didn't even have this information."
"Pretending I don't know isn't so easy, but if it's the only safe way," Misty felt defeated.
"It will get better," Kenobi promised, "you have my word that it will."
A good portion of the day went by discussing business and proper social practices. It was as if the mafia had their own code of ethics where loyalty reigned supreme and justice had a new definition. From a certain point of view and embraced with an open mind, it didn't sound so bad. There were two sides of the coin; they would be fine as long as they remained in the good side. It felt constraining. The temptation to do things they wouldn't have done before, by lack of information or lack of provocation, was great.
Forgetting about the nameless consequences as long as their dearest ones were safe was not an easy task for Ash. He connected with others easily; he was quick to help and quick to make friends. He wondered if he could handle it, he knew he had to. All in all, the tension did decrease after they listened to Kenobi and asked a few questions. Not all the questions came with a full answer, but Kenobi still had something reassuring to say.
xoxox xox xoxox
The Team Rocket laboratories continued with their tests and analysis of the blood sample from Akira. They arrived at several conclusions. The virus was a slow killer, unless the substance containing it, the black blood, was directly ingested. Madame's Ninetales Nien was one of the victims. Even if the poisonous blood was diluted by water, it was still potent enough to work fast. The quick deaths in the area near the stream between Pewter and Cerulean had ceased, the essence of death spilled into the stream was consumed. However, the sickness still spread, slowly being passed from one living being to another.
What was left of the virus was much less severe. It would take time for it to become a serious problem. When passed from one living being to another, rather than being consumed or injected, the virus weakened considerably. Unfortunately it wasn't eliminated and would eventually begin to strengthen and present symptoms.
Poisona's words had been confirmed. The virus had no negative or even noticeable effects on humans. However, they could carry it, passing it to pokemon, becoming as poison to them. The scientists had to find, not only a way to cure the virus from pokemon, but also to remove it from humans. The way they reacted to it was different, thus there were many routes to explore. It was discovered that Akira's blood was black not due to the virus, but due to a strange substance that contained it, preventing it from spreading. That way, the initial infection would develop over time becoming harder to cure. No one would be prepared for it.
When Secura, alias Akira, received the virus through her mother as an unborn child, it was harmless. Aayla's body eliminated the substance, but in the fragile unborn Secura it remained. It developed over the years contained within her, unable to be contagious. Then it was finally released after the virus had developed into something deadly. She was the vessel for death to be born. No records of such experimentations existed as far as Giovanni knew. He theorized that Poisona or even Venom years ago, destroyed any remaining records.
Secura's potential would not be awakened for many years. Venom intended to keep her by his side and train her as a valuable ally. Yet in a moment of guilt Aayla decided to lie. She insisted that she would be fine giving birth alone. A crowd of suspicious people in the hospital would not be good. She left her child in Mirta's care after faking the baby's records. The child was thought to have been stillborn and Aayla returned to her life with the gangs. She believed it was all she could do, she believe it was best that way.
Perhaps that hidden secret was another aspect that influenced Aayla's thirst for vengeance on Venom, alongside being betrayed. Maybe that was why she was fearless with experimentation, if her daughter had to endure it, she could endure it too. Power would make everything alright. It would make her strong enough to avenge everyone she thought was lost and protect those that remained. That was what Aayla had believed.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon.