Diamond 90: Give me Improvement
Diamond 90: Give me Improvement
At the Viridian Rocket base infirmary, Laiki watched as Comet slept soundlessly. "How can he sleep so calmly? I would be freaked if I found out I was a clone," she pouted. They were away from prying eyes and ears, save for the few injured pokemon occupying the other beds. Only the sleeping Comet, the fussing Laiki and the composed Pixel were there.
"Why not? He got the truth he wanted and suddenly everything from not knowing his mother to that little number seven tattoo he's had on his arm his whole life make sense," Pixel reasoned. "This is not a life changing situation in the sense that those closest to Comet knew. If they intended to treat him any differently, they already would. Plus there's no uncertainty about what's to come. I'm sure Comet would have preferred to know sooner, but this is a revelation of the past, not the coming of unknown changes in the future. I didn't believe it at first, but after I got a tour of the lab... Let's say it was one surprise after another. I was surprised that Luke talked the boss into letting us go down there, I was surprised at what was down there and..."
"Shocked, scared, horrified?" Laiki added in, "I'm just glad you didn't freak out at Comet, he doesn't need something like that. Don't worry; you get over stuff like this."
"Actually," Pixel tried to put a stop to Laiki's usual fast theories, "I wasn't scared or horrified, just surprised and kind of excited to see stuff in real life that I thought could only exist in science fiction movies. Besides, Comet has such a cool past; I'm just some no name island girl who ran away to the main land. Let me tell you, I jumped with joy back when I first saw my supposed death on a news website. It was nice, having no identity in the eyes of the law, starting over as a Rocket. Anyway, that's getting off topic, the point is that I don't see what the freak out should be. So Comet is a clone, he's healthy, he'll live as long as a human, there are no set backs, just added coolness. So what if there are two insane clones out there and one has already become an urban legend? That doesn't mean-"
"What?" Laiki's eyes went wide as she stared at Pixel, "you know about that too? About number three alias the Bloody Killer and number ten?" What they were not aware of was that the Bloody Killer was to blame for the death of Laiki's parents; that was a secret that Binks still kept from his sister. "Just how much did Binks spill out? I wish I haven't gotten sidetracked stalking that hot new guy I saw, then I could have gone with you. I can't believe Comet would go and tell you before telling me. He might have needed to get stuff out of his system and he told you instead of his 'big sis,' but then he went on and let you get the tour without me." That was something that happened because Luke had mistakenly believed them to be lovers and thus thought Pixel should be there for Comet. Laiki didn't know that and was, as always, quick to come up with her own theories. "That's it, it's a sure sign, he trusts you, he likes you and I know he just got extra attractive points from you for his sci-fi origins. Plus you're both such big fans of Team Rocket, not the rabid kind, the good kind, like me."
"Maybe he just knows I don't freak out easily," Pixel shrugged, as long as she had her precious technology, she was okay. "Anyway, you should also know Comet wouldn't fall apart over this. He seemed kind of bothered by it, as it is understandable, but he's got a very carefree nature. He's..." Pixel grinned, not completing the sentence.
Laiki pouted, "go ahead and say it, he's not like me. Excuse me, but it just bothers me to see someone I appreciate on the verge of death. He might have really, if Peachy had not..." Laiki left it at that, certainly not in the mood to finish voicing such a grim thought. "It's funny, in the rare occasions when I have field missions, I jump at the chance to shoot stuff. I guess lives only count if I care about them."
"I know what you mean, even if I'm not as trigger happy as you, which is a good thing given my aim." Pixel agreed, "priorities, loyalty over justice. I think we all understand that."
"Really though, I'm kind of worried, I mean, Comet never sleeps like this." Laiki stood hovering over the young man who opened one eye before closing it again, then turned over and burying his face in the pillow.
"Of course, no one sleeps like this, not with us talking right next to him," Pixel reasoned. "We should let him rest. The best way to get over a cold is by playing tons of video games and the best way to get over a surprise is by sleeping it off."
"Your medical knowledge astounds me," Laiki joked, "I knew he was awake, he wasn't snoring."
"I don't snore," Comet defended.
"Do too," Laiki insisted.
"Do not," Comet argued.
"Do too," Laiki continued.
"Do not, Purry cured me while I was still on sick leave," Comet recalled the event, "if someone attempts to feed you a living Gyarados in your sleep, trust me, you'll keep your mouth closed at all times when you're asleep from that point on and you won't make a single sound. That's how powerful survival instinct can be." Not a second passed before the two girls erupted into laughter. Comet took a look around, "how are some of these pokemon still asleep?" He had to wonder, given all the noise they were making.
"They're sedated, I don't want them whining and making my job more difficult than it needs to be," Laiki stated as a matter of fact.
"I should have guessed," Comet sat up on the bed, no longer really in the mood to sleep. He observed Laiki's pouting worried expression, "relax, I'm here, I'm me, that's all that matters," he assured her.
"I guess you won't be needing your feel better present..." Laiki mused aloud.
"Oh, I'm so depressed!" Comet voiced dramatically with exaggerated pain. Then his expression turned amused, "give me my present," he grinned.
"Fine, but you could have at least tried to put up a more believable act. I know your acting skills are better than that." Laiki went to retrieve the gift from a storage room attached to the infirmary. It was a pokemon egg in a container. "It's ready to hatch, just take it out and wait for the little one to wake up." The container kept the egg from hatching until it was given to its trainer, so that loyalty would be formed when the baby hatched and saw the trainer. "I just find it unusual that you're over it so quickly; don't keep anything bottled up, okay?" Laiki tried to be supportive, while Pixel and Comet exchanged knowing looks. Those looks were not missed by Laiki, "there is something going on here."
"Relax, he didn't keep things bottled up. He already ranted at me and got things out of his system, all is well in the world," Pixel assured.
"I named my pokemon," Comet had gained a new appreciation for the fact that he had a name. He wasn't simply specimen number seven, he was Comet. That motivated him to name his pokemon. "Scyther is Rykros and Gyarados is Shenron." Comet took the egg out of its container and waited for it to begin to hatch.
A short while later, a portion of something black and somewhat pointy peeked out from the broken egg shell. The appendage broke more of the egg shell and white fur came into view. Finally, a little white and black head peeked out from the opening on the egg and looked at Comet with curious eyes, recognizing him as his 'father.'
"Aw, how cute," Pixel smiled.
"What should we name him?" Comet gently petted the little Absol.
"Fluffy!" Laiki suggested.
"That's a girl's name and this one is a boy," Comet pointed out. "Not to mention it's silly, who would name their pokemon Fluffy?"
"That would be pokemon abuse," Pixel agreed.
"I think Fluffy is cute," Laiki huffed.
"How about Meteor? Since you're Comet it kind of fits," Pixel suggested.
"Good idea," Comet agreed. "Is Meteor okay for you?" The little Absol cooed happily. "He likes it," Comet smiled, petting the baby pokemon.
"That's what I'm talking about," Laiki threw her hands in the air in an exaggerated expression. "Why aren't you two together already?" There was only silence in response. A few seconds passed, then a few more, "unless, you already are?"
After a few more moments of silence there was a chorus of "no weekaversary," originating from Comet and Pixel.
Laiki let out a loud squeal before pouting and whining, "you have to let me plan your weekaversary, I've had plenty of week long relationships, I have experience!"
"We don't need to know," Comet reminded her.
"Yeah, besides, neither of us is keeping count of time anyway and we're not into overly mushy situations," Pixel added.
"So then what are you going to do for a relationship?" Laiki's voice rose in pitch as she got excited, some would say over excited, about the whole thing. "Train, study, play videogames, go on Team Rocket missions... No one even notices you're together, even if everyone notices there's a certain chemistry there. Then what? Make out where no one can see you and repeat that same schedule the next day? No public displays of affection to show off what you can have and others can't? No weekaversaries, monthaversaries or anniversaries to be spoiled with tons of presents?"
Comet grinned, "works for me."
"Me too," Pixel agreed.
Laiki pouted at Pixel, speaking as if Comet wasn't even listening, "how could you not demand weekly presents from your man? That's so unfeminine!"
"I'm still here, in case you've forgotten," Comet pointed out.
Laiki continued her outburst, "stay out of it, this is girl talk!"
"If you'll excuse me," Pixel raised her voice to silence any further arguing. "I promised Delia I would keep her informed. She seemed worried so I need to let her know everything is okay." Pixel called Delia's Rocket cell phone, it was the only number she had for her.
As expected, as soon as Pixel called, Laiki let out of flood of 'tell her this and tell her that'. The nurse had seemingly let go of her previous relationship argument, for the time being at least.
Pixel just barely managed to say, "hi Delia, it's Pixel, I just wanted to let you know that everything is fine." Then Delia heard Laiki's voice in the background going on and on about how they should all get together and in a split second it was agreed upon.
xoxox xox xoxox
Later that day, the brown car nicked named the chocolate bar, in honor of a past car of the same color, appeared in the horizon heading towards Pallet Town. It stopped in front of the Pallet House and three people exited it, one practically bouncing with excitement with a high pitched, "Delia!"
"The visitors are here," Delia smiled.
Ash and Misty were expecting visitors from Team Rocket, but Ash was still surprised to see just who had arrived. "You!" He pointed at Comet. "Your Meowth stole my hat!"
"I'll battle you for it," Comet offered, though he no longer had the hat in his possession, as it had long since been delivered to Giovanni.
Before the battle could start, Misty interrupted, "weren't you with Tempest?"
Then another intervention followed from Delia, "just a moment, you can have your friendly pokemon battles in a minute, let me introduce everyone first." She seemed to irradiate calmness into the atmosphere. "The one who is staring at Ash as if he's a very strange pokemon is Laiki."
Upon being called, Laiki ceased her examination and smiled sweetly, "hi!"
"Here we have Pixel," Delia continued with the introductions, "and Misty's third cousin, Comet."
Both Comet and Misty were taken by surprise, while Laiki nodded energetically, "it's true! It's true!"
"This is my son Ash and his fiance Misty," Delia finished.
"We're third cousins?" Misty asked with curiosity, "and you're not with Tempest?" She added in a quieter voice.
"Infiltration," Comet grinned, "that's all it was."
"I still want to battle for my hat," Ash pouted.
"The truth is I don't have it anymore," Comet admitted, much to Ash's dismay. Before Ash's despair could evolve into an accusation, he added, "the boss should have it."
It took Ash a moment to process that piece of information. The boss, the Team Rocket boss, Giovanni, his father. "Why hasn't he returned it?" He remembered that Giovanni had not been too fond of the hat before. "Did he throw it away?"
"Aw, he wouldn't," Delia certainly hoped not, or some unfortunate rookies would find themselves on an unusual mission to recover that hat wherever it went. It didn't matter if it was unusable anymore; it was a collector's item. "He's probably keeping it somewhere and just forgot to return it," he better have kept it. It would not be good for the true start of their relationship to be scarred by the loss of a precious hat. Anything could make things difficult and Delia certainly didn't want that. "You can ask him about it this evening."
"I will," Ash made a mental note to do so. While their unusual conversation took place, the group had settled into a table at the Pallet House. The Rockets were all in civilian clothes and didn't stand out for any reason other than the fact that they were not from Pallet Town and visitors were rare. That alone was still not enough to cause any alarm.
Misty had been thinking about her distant family relation with Comet, searching for any clues in her memories. "I remembered something," she finally spoke. "My sisters were looking at an old photo album." It was part of coping with Daisy's recent marriage. "There was a picture of a toddler Daisy with someone who kind of looked like you. Violet said that was 'uncle Luke,' he wasn't really our uncle, he was dad's cousin, but my older sisters would call him uncle. I don't think I ever met him, but Daisy is the oldest so she would remember best, Violet remembers a little too. Lily, the second youngest next to me, doesn't know much about him. I remember Violet mentioning that she and Daisy picked up saying the word 'like' from Luke, and Lily picked it up from them. I don't know if that's just something they made up or not, but if by any chance your father's name is Luke..."
"It is, and that sounds like something that would happen with him," Comet confirmed. He came close to picking up his father's style of speech when he was younger, until Laiki was assigned to the task of making sure he didn't. If he was going to grow up to be a Rocket agent, he needed to be able to write reports that didn't need to be 'translated' before the boss could stand to read them. "I guess we are related after all."
"Were there ever any doubts about my information?" Laiki pouted.
Ash observed Comet and Misty, "your hair color is a lot alike." After another moment of thought, he added, "we should commemorate this discovery with a pokemon battle!"
"You're on!" Comet was quick to agree, "two on two, you better not lower your guard. This won't be an act to make Tempest look bad."
"It's good to know that your real battle style isn't cheating," Ash grinned with anticipation, "I choose-"
"Not so close to the house!" Delia cut in, "why don't we go over to Professor Oak's place, there's plenty of space to battle there."
Excited for the battle, Ash was no longer worried about facing Professor Oak, someone who knew the truth. Besides, even if he did see him, the questions that floated in Ash's head could at least wait until that evening, since the time of his reunion with his father had been set. Ash recalled his pokemon to their pokeballs temporarily, all except Pikachu. Delia's baby Swablu and Comet's baby Absol were also left out of their pokeballs.
At the Oak research lab, Gary was surprised to see such a crowd coming to visit. "I have a battle!" Ash proudly declared, though it was nothing new. "Can we use your yard?"
Gary blinked, "sure," and he watched as Ash led the crowd in. Laiki paused, looked at Gary up and down, then winked before following along. It reminded him of when he used to travel with his cheering squad, except this young woman had something about her that screamed, 'I'm dangerous, therefore irrationally irresistible.'
Delia smiled sweetly and followed the group, "Laiki, you'll be a good girl and behave, won't you?" She whispered discretely.
"Off limits? Aw..." Laiki looked somewhat disappointed, but let it go.
The walk to find a spacious spot outside was filled with casual conversation about Ash and Misty's friends from Viridian City who had come to visit. A convenient mention of Comet being a relative of Misty was added in for extra reassurance. Gary was also curious about the newborn Swablu that Delia had acquired and the newborn Absol, who was confirmed to have hatched on that same day as well.
The specific place were Ash and Comet would be battling was the same place were Ash and Giovanni had attempted to battle before, until a mischievous Jigglypuff interfered. Fortunately, the little troublemaker didn't seem to be around today. Ash was curious about where she went. Wherever she was, he hoped that it wasn't too close by, as she seemed to have regained the ability to pop out when he least expected it.
The two opponents exchanged confident looks as the audience gathered around to watch. "Shenron, I choose you!"
"I choose-" Ash was cut off by one of his pokemon jumping in front of him. "Sceptile?" He occasionally switched pokemon and had been recently traveling with his Kanto pokemon while the others stayed with Professor Oak. "I guess you want to battle?" Why not? To send out a grass type against a water type seemed logical enough. "Alright, I choose Sceptile!"
"A grass type," Comet observed, "Shenron, don't hold back!"
"Let's see how well you've really trained your pokemon, Sceptile, leaf blade!" Ash sent his pokemon on the attack. Eager to battle, Sceptile quickly closed the distance between himself and the Gyarados. The leaf on his right arm was already glowing, ready for a powerful strike. Just a little closer, "Sceptile, stop! Jump back and use leaf storm!" Ash called out at the last moment.
Sceptile was confused by the sudden change in plans; he hesitated for a moment before retreating. Not wanting to lose the opportunity, Comet sent Shenron on the attack, "fire blast, twice!"
Sceptile's leaf storm was scorched to nothing by the flames, but it at least served to shield the pokemon a little from its vulnerable element's first attack. Still surprised, Sceptile struggled to dodge the second blast of fire and came out with a few burns. "Sceptile, are you okay?" The grass pokemon shook away his surprise and nodded; he took some damage but could still fight.
"You knew," Comet observed, "you called Sceptile back just in time. How did you guess what I was going to do?"
"I didn't guess it exactly," Ash admitted, "but I knew you were going to do something. I can't really explain it, I could almost feel it coming. Fire blast being used by a Gyarados, there's something you don't see every day. Twice in a row too, you catch your opponents off guard like this a lot, don't you?"
"That's right," Comet confirmed with a grin, as if remembering one of his missions where the element of surprise was in his favor. "People tend to associate water type pokemon with water moves, but they can learn more than that with the right technical machines."
It occurred to Ash that Team Rocket must have access to a large number of evolutionary items and technical machine discs. His eyes shone at the prospect of a real challenge. Not knowing what to expect beyond the awareness of facing a strong opponent could make a battle more interesting. "I'll just have to give it my all, another leaf storm Sceptile and get ready to use solar beam!"
"Get those leaves out of the way with thunder and charge in!" Comet quickly urged, saving the next fire blast for when Shenron was closer. Shenron didn't waste a second in unleashing the attack. Most of the leaves fell harmlessly with static around them, only a few reached the Gyarados, certainly not enough to stop him.
"Solar beam!" "Fire blast!" Ash and Comet called out in unison. The two powerful attacks collided in a bright light. The spectators and trainers had to look away from the extreme brightness. Neither pokemon wanted to give in, each trying their best to withstand the attack and take down the opponent.
Finally, when the light faded and everyone was able to look at the results, the two pokemon lay unconscious next to each other. The mix of withstanding the attacks and pushing themselves to fight back had exhausted them. The attacks got through their defenses simultaneously, knocking out both combatants.
"Both pokemon are unable to battle," Gary formally announced, "the first round is a tie."
"Shenron return, you did very well," Comet recalled his pokemon.
"You too Sceptile, good job, return," Ash paused, realizing he didn't have Sceptile's pokeball with him.
"Catch!" Gary threw a pokeball at Ash, which he caught.
"Sceptile's pokeball?" With that on hand, Ash recalled his unconscious pokemon. He then noticed a little green Bulbasaur next to Gary.
Gary petted the small green Bulbasaur, "I asked him to fetch the pokeball from the lab at the start of the match when you decided to use Sceptile. He's been here for a while so he's familiar with the lab. I told grandpa to give him to a trainer, but his past trainer couldn't keep him, so he ended up back here. Maybe I'll keep him around, I think he likes helping around the lab."
"Thanks," Ash voiced automatically, before he had a few seconds to process the implications, "hey! How come you assumed I would be needing the pokeball?"
"Lucky guess?" Gary laughed, "besides, Comet didn't seem at all bothered by the type disadvantage, so I thought something was up. It's still unusual for people to use these type of technical machines on Gyarados and for the pokemon to adapt so well."
"I've only really kept these two with me, so I've had time to train them," Comet explained, though it wasn't entirely true, since he was sometimes so busy with missions that his pokemon had to learn on the job. "Now I have Meteor too," the little Absol would be trained to track scents, as well as used his special ability to sense possible disasters. He would be another reliable partner to have during missions and another pokemon friend. "There's also a Meowth that's Pixel's pokemon too, but she comes and goes how she pleases."
"Sounds like a mischievous one," Ash knew exactly what Meowth Comet was talking about, but pretended he could only imagine.
Comet released his other pokemon, "go Rykros!"
"He looks strong, but I won't lose," Ash's resolve grew; this would be the decisive match. "Pikachu, I choose you!"
With a determined, "pika!" the small and powerful yellow pokemon entered the designated battle area.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. Rykros is a planet from the Phantasy Star video game series. Shenron is a dragon from Dragon Ball Z.