Diamond 81: Give me Clarity
Diamond 81: Give me Clarity
At the control room of Giovanni's mansion, Pixel was going to check the status of the security system. Strangely enough, she found a man passed out on the floor. He was wearing a standard Team Rocket uniform. She looked towards the large computer screen that glowed as the center of attention of the room. "Deactivated?"
Pixel hurried to the controls and tried to reactivate the security system. The alarms and cameras were both off. Was that man a traitor or an infiltrator? It didn't make sense that he was left on the floor, though he had no visible wounds. Maybe someone hit him with a blunt object and knocked him out. Either way he was still suspicious.
Pixel didn't know what in the world was going on, but someone locked her out of the system. Her ID and password were rejected. For all she knew, there could be any number of intruders in the mansion. She let out Prism, the Porygon, out of her lucky seven mini-laptop. "Prism, we need to activate the security system again. Actually, I'll leave you to it, there's an important guest I need to make sure is alright. I'll notify HQ just in case."
Pixel looked at the unconscious man suspiciously. She didn't want to leave him unguarded, so she released Pyro from his pokeball. "Watch this man, if he moves, incinerate him." The Charmander gave a little salute and glared at the unconscious man intensely. Pixel also released Peachy from her pokeball. "Get ready Peachy, we might have to deal with intruders!" The blue haired girl and her Pikachu rushed to find Delia.
xoxox xox xoxox
While Ash rested, Delia took a walk through the mansion. She passed by a spacious balcony overlooking a medium sized indoor pool. The one outside was much larger and had a tall diving board. On the opposite wall there hung a painting of Giovanni with his Persian. "Enjoying your stay, Delia?"
Delia turned around to face the unknown woman that stood about five feet away from her. She had long faded pink hair and olive skin. Her brown eyes seemed to carry a large amount of anger. "Who are you?"
The woman grinned, "I suppose you could call me your rival." There was nothing that truly stood out about her civilian clothing. Her boots were a bit odd, several sizes much too big for her, though they somehow stayed in place, even if she moved with a limp.
"Rival?" Delia didn't understand what she was talking about. "What do you mean by that?"
"I guess you'll never know," the unknown woman pointed a gun at Delia.
"If you're my rival I challenge you to a pokemon battle," Delia insisted.
"Fine, choose your pokemon," the unknown woman grinned wickedly. Delia released Cloyster from his pokeball. "I changed my mind, battle denied," the woman prepared to shoot; she wasn't willing to settle this in a pokemon battle. She would only be satisfied by Delia's death.
Cloyster jumped in front of Delia as a loud bang pierced the air. He had hardened his shell as much as he could. The bullet was caught in his shell, though it thankfully didn't perforate the shield to reach his vulnerable body. "Cloyster!" Delia yelled in agony, she recalled Cloyster into his pokeball for safety, "I'm sorry Cloyster, I'm so sorry!"
Down the hall, Pixel was alerted by the noise and hurried towards it. "Jump!" She called out to Delia as she threw Peachy ahead. Delia jumped off the balcony into the pool below and out of the way of Peachy's attack. "Thunderbolt!" The electric attack caught the woman off guard.
The mysterious woman was electrocuted and thrown several feet back. She dropped her gun to the floor below and banged her head against the wall with the force of the momentum. She struggled to get on her feet and release one of her own pokemon. "Fearow, razor wind!" The pokemon speedily attacked, sending a storm of cutting wind to Peachy. While the flying pokemon attacked, the woman jumped on his back to make her escape. "Flygon, Garchomp, attack!" She released two pokemon just before Fearow's attack culminated.
"Peachy!" Pixel called out to her pokemon with concern.
"Chu!" The electric pokemon was still able to battle. With Pixel's path blocked, Fearow was able to escape through a window with the mysterious woman on his back.
Delia returned to the top of the balcony and stopped Pixel before she could issue a command, "wait! Don't provoke them. Their trainer is gone and they don't look hostile."
Pixel looked at the Flygon and Garchomp. Delia was right, they were just standing there. "Why would she run away if she had these pokemon to fight for her? Why would she leave them behind?"
"She's not their trainer," Delia concluded, "they don't know her. It looks like they've been taught not to listen to strangers." She noticed them looking at the painting on the wall. "Could it be? Is he your trainer?"
The two pokemon nodded. They had been trained by both Giovanni and Luke, when Giovanni was busy. Luke taught them to recognize Giovanni as their main trainer and not to follow orders from anyone else, unless Giovanni told them to.
"Delia is the boss' lady, listen to her and I'm sure you'll see your trainer again soon," Pixel told the two pokemon. They were very strong, but relatively docile as long as they were not provoked or ordered to attack.
In a few seconds, the mansion was flooded with an army of black uniforms with red Rs. Delia was dripping wet from head to toe, but there was no time to waste. She had to make sure Ash was alright. The Rocket girl and the two pokemon followed Delia down the long elegant halls of the mansion. They reached Ash's room and Delia rushed inside.
A smile of relief formed on Delia's face as she realized that Ash slept through the whole thing. He was laying in bed in the same clothes, though he was missing his hat and shoes. He was stretched out it every direction, as if his arms and legs were reaching for the edge of the bed, which was still far from his reach. Ash had enough to think about already and didn't need any extra stress. The rooms must be sound proof. Delia turned back and left her son to rest.
xoxox xox xoxox
The area around the mansion outside was also flooded with Rockets. "I found someone!" One of the Rocket grunts spotted a figure laying on the ground. She was someone from Team Rocket and she was injured. They assumed the intruder must have attacked her.
The Rocket woman lay motionless on the ground, face down. There was blood on the back of her head, sticking to her ebony hair and a blood stained rock nearby. It had been removed from the decorative circle of stones around the tree that currently shaded the unconscious woman from the sun. She was wearing a more business-like version of the Team Rocket uniform and her left leg was in a brace. A disk was on the ground near her.
xoxox xox xoxox
Inside the mansion, after checking on Ash, Delia closely examined Cloyster. "Oh no," her voice was full of concern and worry. "Stay still, I'll get it out," She reached into his shell with one arm and held her other hand on the other side. She pushed the bullet out and it landed on her palm. She examined the hole on Cloyster's shell. "I'm so sorry. I should have thought of the consequences before calling you out. I thought she would battle, I thought she agreed to that. I didn't expect her to shoot."
Pixel quietly watched Delia tend to her pokemon. "You had to call him out. Cloyster survived that, but you wouldn't have."
Delia looked up for a moment, from checking for any unnoticed injuries inside Cloyster's shell. He was alright on the inside at least. "You remind me of when I used to feel invincible with Team Rocket. It's an amazing feeling, but you shouldn't lose track of reality."
"I know the risks, but I'm not afraid to face them. I've found what I really want to do and I've been training for it. Team Rocket isn't just my escape anymore," Pixel smiled.
"If you keep looking at me like that, your adventurous mood might get contagious," it was dangerous. Delia didn't want to fall into the excitement as she had in the past. She might get carried away and lose sight of herself. Lately she wondered just who her true self was. Pixel only continued to smile at the prospect. Thankfully, Cloyster's shell could be repaired. He would be all better soon, as if that hole was never there. He knew that Delia was telling the truth about not intentionally using him as a shield. When it came down to it, the bullet was aimed at Delia, not him. It was Cloyster who willingly jumped in its path.
xoxox xox xoxox
Later, Ash yawned and stretched. It took him a moment to realize where he was. The bed was too big and soft to be part of the accommodations of a Pokemon Center. He sat up and allowed all his newly acquired information to resurface. He was in Giovanni's mansion. Giovanni was the leader of Team Rocket, he was... his father.
Ash was completely at a loss of what to say to him when he saw him again. His mother didn't seem to blame him. She didn't hold Team Rocket against him. Team Rocket was a criminal organization. Was it truly capable of affecting Kanto in ways that were not always negative? The advancements fueled by Team Rocket came at a heavy price. Was it alright to be accepting of that? Would the good outweigh the bad if he was better informed?
His mother's values were something he was familiar with. He had been raised that way after all. She set that aside and made an exception for his father. Ash didn't fully understand that. He would keep the secret, for the time being, he wouldn't speak of Team Rocket. Until he sorted things out in his head, he wouldn't even tell Misty. He didn't want to drag her into an uncomfortable situation or danger. Nonetheless, he had a feeling that he would eventually end up telling her anyway.
Ash allowed himself to fall back into bed, turning his head to the side. "Pikachu, what are we going to do?"
The little yellow pokemon sat beside him, looking as puzzled as his trainer for a moment. "Pikapi..." Pikachu's expression changed and he smiled, "pika chu!" It was as if he was trying to tell Ash he was thinking too much and worrying too much.
"Pokemon are pretty carefree," Ash couldn't help it but to smile back. "I guess I won't rush things." He examined the fancy clock on the wall with golden numbers on blue glass. He had slept for longer than he thought. "Let's have an afternoon snack."
Pikachu agreed and hopped on Ash's shoulder. The young man put his shoes on, which he had removed for his nap, and grabbed his hat. His hair was a little more rebellious after being rubbed against the pillow. Ash adjusted his hat on his head and opened the large door of his room. There were two Rockets standing left and right of the door. Ash came close to calling out for a Thunderbolt from Pikachu, but stopped himself from falling into the habit.
He proceeded to walk down the hall in search of his mother, without saying a word. One of the Rocket grunts stayed next to the door, while the other followed him. "Why are you following me?" Ash finally questioned, with a slight edge to his tone.
"The lady ordered that you be kept safe," the Rocket following Ash replied.
Before Ash could say anything, another Rocket approached from down the hall. "The security system has been repaired and the mansion is clear. We can lessen the guard now."
Ash listened to the exchange, "does that mean I can walk around on my own?"
"Yes, sir," the two Rockets chorused.
"Um... thanks..." Ash hurried away as fast as he could. 'That was weird,' he thought.
xoxox xox xoxox
When Ash found his mother, she was in the company of another woman, who was being tended to by a doctor. They seemed to be in the middle of a conversation. Delia had since changed out of her wet clothes and Pixel had returned to the Viridian headquarters. Delia managed to talk Flygon and Garchomp into following Pixel, promising that she would take them to Giovanni.
"It's just not my day," Iblis sighed as the doctor finished bandaging her head. "First I get my ankle broken and then I get knocked out." She held an icepack to her forehead. She could feel her head pounding with frustration. "None the less, we should get to work. It's a good thing that strange woman who attacked me didn't seem to care about stealing anything." If she lost the disk with information about the investigation, it would have been quite troublesome.
Delia shook her head, "you need to rest. I'll look at the files and type up any information I can come up with," Delia paused, noticing Ash had entered the living room. "You should think about your health, not just work," Delia finished naturally, as if they were discussing some non-urgent business report. She smiled at Ash, as if calling him over, "this is my son, Ash. Ash, this is Iblis, she's..." someone who worked for Team Rocket and was injured on the job, "a friend," Delia finished, although she didn't really know Iblis well enough to truly be her friend.
"Ah yes, the Indigo League Champion," Iblis smiled, as if she didn't notice her own injuries at all. "It's a pleasure to meet someone so talented. You're an inspiration to all of Kanto and beyond. You will be participating in the next Indigo League championship, right?"
Ash was feeling uneasy because of his encounter with the Rockets, but his mood took a sharp turn upon receiving the compliments. He smiled from ear to ear, "I'll be there and I won't let you down!"
"You truly deserve all your success, best of luck," seeing Iblis being so nice to Ash, Delia felt better. She remembered her friends from Team Rocket, that was the Team Rocket she wanted Ash to know about. There was much more to them than a band of criminals.
Ash's ego trip was rather short. Just as quickly as he set aside his thoughts about Team Rocket, he picked them up again. The doctor silently left. He had a red R on the right top corner of his white lab coat. Ash's mind had focused so much on that little detailed that if someone asked him what the doctor looked like, he wouldn't really know. All that he would be able to say would be that the doctor was a person with a small red R on a white lab coat.
He wanted to have a nice conversation with his mother and her friend. He wanted to put aside his thoughts and confusion. He wanted to live in the moment and get lost in the feelings of accomplishment that came with thinking of his achievements. He knew he couldn't do that. It was only a matter of time before Giovanni returned and Ash was in no way ready to face him. As things stood at that very moment, Ash had no idea what he would say or how he would react if he saw Giovanni face to face again.
It was a strange feeling unlike anything he had ever felt before. Ash never had a father; he never had a man to look at and think 'one day I might be like him.' He had his mother and Professor Oak was very supportive as well, but it wasn't the same. When he was younger, he focused more so on what he had then on what he never knew. He was alright, though curious.
Finally, Giovanni entered the picture. Ash's buried curiosity and the feeling of missing something resurfaced without him even realizing it. Not knowing what he was doing, he unconsciously looked to the man he thought was only his mother's boyfriend for a paternal figure. Unconsciously he wondered if having Giovanni around was like having a father. He wondered if admiring his achievements was like looking up to a father. He wondered about many things.
How did Giovanni speak to him so calmly knowing who he was? How did he keep his questions quiet? Did he have questions? Ash would assume he should. The young man felt overwhelmed with a look of desperation suddenly invading his face. He simply couldn't keep up with his racing thoughts. He wanted some sort of resolution, a closure that would bring stability. He wanted to once again think he understood his life, knew where he came from and where he was going.
"Ash?" Delia's soft voice rung out full of motherly concern.
Ash searched for something to focus on, "you're hurt," he finally pointed out, referring to Iblis. It was obvious; it was the thing that stood out the most at that moment.
"There's no need to worry," Iblis smiled as she took in Ash's expression. "You have a kind heart, I can tell. Well, I'm sure you must have things to talk to your mother about." Iblis got up, "I'll speak to you later, Delia. It was nice meeting you, Ash." She left the room as swiftly as she could, aided by a crutch. She was a proud woman, who would much rather get around herself, instead of accepting help from anyone.
As soon as Iblis was out of the room, Ash let himself fall on the couch next to his mother. After allowing things to sink in, he was ready for another long talk, which Delia was expecting.
xoxox xox xoxox
Meanwhile, Giovanni was in his above ground office at the Viridian gym. He was informed about the situation at the mansion, but it looked like everything was under control. He decided to wait a little longer before going back, so that Delia would have enough time to talk to Ash after things settled down.
He had given her a quick call and was informed about what happened. Iblis had apparently gotten caught in the chaos, but recovered and intended to discuss the attempted murder investigation with Delia to build a better suspect profile. Building profiles to predict behavior was something Iblis did often, thus adding her to the investigation was only natural.
While Giovanni kept up with his work, Luke emptied his pockets, setting their contents on Giovanni's desk as he searched for something. A black wallet, a Seaking keychain with several silver keys and a pack of seasalt flavored gum, no pokeballs. Luke's only pokeballs were on his belt and those contained his own pokemon. "Dude, I'm like totally sure I like delivered them, you know? They're like not on my pokeball belt, they're like not in my pockets, they're like gone, you know?"
"I don't need to tell you how much it will bother me if you lost them," Giovanni was in a very bad mood. The only reason he didn't explode was because he knew Luke was usually careful with pokemon. He wouldn't just lose them, thus Giovanni gave him the benefit of the doubt. "Are you sure you left the pokeballs on my desk? I didn't see anyone come in here and I was only gone for a few minutes." The boy who dared to challenge him for an Earth badge was far below being a worthy opponent. There was nothing of importance in that office in comparison to the other one. It hid no real secrets, hence why the security wasn't as tight. Sometimes guests had to come in and he didn't want the office to look suspicious.
"I'm like totally sure Flygon and Garchomp like won't listen to like anyone else, you know?" Luke insisted. "If someone like took them, they'll be like totally sorry, man!"
A knock on the door interrupted the conversation. "I'm busy," Giovanni replied, his mood worsening.
Giovanni was about to express his disapproval to Luke when a voice from outside his door insisted upon the interruption. "Boss? I have your pokemon with me and they're getting impatient to see you. They won't go into pokeballs unless you tell them to."
"Come in," Giovanni finally agreed. He watched as a blue haired girl opened the door and entered the office followed by Flygon and Garchomp.
"Pixel, you found them!" Luke recognized her as one of Comet's friends. He was glad the two missing pokemon had been returned.
"Actually, I didn't really need to look for them," Pixel voiced.
"Explain," Giovanni insisted impatiently.
"I'm sure you must already be informed about the incident in your mansion," Pixel began. Giovanni nodded and she continued, "when the intruder escaped, she used these two pokemon to block my path and create a diversion. At first I thought they were her pokemon and prepared for a battle. Then Delia noticed they weren't hostile. They recognized you from a painting, that's how we knew they were yours. Delia talked them into following me here; they wanted to be returned to you."
"You see, dude? I like totally told you they would like not listen to like anyone else, you know?" Luke smiled proudly. He tried to take Giovanni's attention off his little slip off leaving the pokeballs alone on his desk and towards the job he did training the pokemon. "They're like Queen, like loyal."
Giovanni allowed the happenings to sink in, "it seems you did a good job training them after all," he gave Luke some credit, then looked at Pixel, "and you helped Delia, even though in the end the attacker escaped. I was unsure if Archer's suggestion to give you another chance would work out, but it seems you've become more dedicated. I understand that it was your Porygon which restored the mansion's software." Against the odds, she had faced an armed opponent to protect Delia. The would-be murderer escaped, but Delia came out of it unharmed.
"Yes..." Pixel was taken by surprise; she didn't expect to receive any special acknowledgement for what she did. Maybe the fact that it concerned Delia was the key factor. "I'm a Rocket, that's what I do. My specialty is more about technology, but I'm not afraid to face danger."
"Pixel's like a good girl, I mean like a good rocket, you know?" Luke added in his recommendation. Pixel was currently in a relatively low rank, but she had potential. Luke knew because of how Comet spoke of her.
"Make sure you don't lose that determination," Giovanni retrieved an upgrade from his desk drawer and gave the disk to Pixel. "Continue your training and don't disappoint me." Reading between the lines, this signified a promotion.
"Yes, sir!" Pixel chirped, pleasantly surprised.
"This mystery is about to be solved," Giovanni declared, "as soon as we know who stole Flygon and Garchomp, we'll know more about who's been after Delia." Whoever it was must have some kind of inside connection that was about to be discovered. In the end, the theft might have been a blessing in disguise. It was odd that the killer would make such a bold move to steal his pokemon; it would be a costly action. "Luke, we'll speak of your promotion later, for now just stay with your usual duties."
While Giovanni spoke to Pixel, Luke had unwrapped a piece of gum and put it in his mouth. He accidentally swallowed it upon hearing Giovanni's words. "My like what?"
"You've made up for the past; I'm moving you up in rank. I know you don't like executive positions and prefer training pokemon. That's your specialty, so your new position will be related to that." He would guide the Rockets to become stronger while at the same time keeping an eye on them and assessing their loyalty. The new internal training program was still under development. "That will have to wait until things calm down; everything is too busy right now."
"That's like awesome, thanks man!" Luke cheered.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon.