Diamond 99: Give me Importance
Diamond 99: Give me Importance
The water dripped from the ceiling all over the rocky floor of the cave behind the waterfall. Giovanni, transformed into a Charizard, was preparing to battle against Venom. The past Tempest leader had appeared in that world as a Drapion with no memories of his former human self. He could have a thunder stone hidden in his stash, which would be needed to help Ash recover. Giovanni started off the fight with a flamethrower attack. Unfortunately, he was feeling the effect of the water falling on him like a constant light, but significant rain. The attack was diminished further as the flame dissolved almost completely into smoke. What was left of the fire was easily dodged by the Drapion. Venom took the opportunity to fight back, rushing forward and spinning to try to hit Giovanni with his tail in a poison sting attack.
Giovanni jumped back avoiding the deadly tail of his Drapion opponent. The collision of Venom's tail on the rocky surface left a noticeable indentation with its force. Stumbling back and nearly tripping over his own tail in his haste, Giovanni tried to recover as fast as he could. He knew the environment had him at a disadvantage and fire attacks would not be very effective in that cave. He doubted Venom would follow him out if he tried to lead him away. If anything, he might try to use the waterfall to his advantage, but probably wouldn't leave the protection of the humid cave. If fire attacks weren't working, he would just have to do something else. Giovanni was on the attack again, this time with dragon claw. Unfortunately the Drapion's skin was like armor and hard to pierce.
"You can't win!" Venom taunted as he attacked again. The Drapion's tail collided with its target this time, inflicting poison on Giovanni. Combining the effect of the poison with the wet atmosphere was very bad for the Charizard. He felt weakened, as if he could barely stand. "You lost," Venom prepared to finish the fight with Venoshock, an attack that would be made more powerful by the fact that Giovanni was poisoned.
In a desperate attempt to defend himself, Giovanni went on a wild attack with fire blitz at point blank. Venom's attack was interrupted by the fire. Despite the humid atmosphere working against the element of fire, the attack was so close to the target that it barely had time to lose strength. Unfortunately it took a great effort and Giovanni could barely push himself to attack again. He knew he couldn't let what could be his only opportunity escape. Refusing to give up, with his competitive spirit and determination at its maximum despite the disadvantage he was in, Giovanni went all out with one final dragon rage attack.
The last attack overpowered Venom, who lost consciousness. Weakened severely, Giovanni struggled to reach the pile of evolutionary stones searching among them for a thunder stone, without which all his efforts would have been in vain. Thankfully, he found one thunder stone in the pile and with it, he set off to leave the cave. It was no easy task to exit the hide out. Giovanni made it past the waterfall hiding the entrance, but the effort proved too great. Just as he landed outside the cave at the river's shore, he collapsed.
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Meanwhile, Comet had made it to the shores of a beach. He was still confused about his location, but hoped to find some answers when he found his father, Giovanni and Ash. Seeing some pokemon gathered at the beach, he walked over to them and asked if they had met anyone by the names of Luke, Ash or Giovanni.
"Didn't that newcomer say he was called Luke?" A nearby Simipour commented, "he's a bit unusual, but a great surfer."
"Can you tell me where he is?" Comet inquired; at least he managed to find one of them. But why would his father be surfing at a time like this?
"There he comes!" A Croconaw pointed at the sea where a Floatzel was riding a wave on a rustic surfboard.
The Floatzel reached the shore after a flawless performance, to be greeted by the cheers of the onlookers. "The waves are like totally awesome, man! I like knew Heaven had to be like totally good, you know? But I like never like imagined it would like be like this great, you know?"
"Dad!" Comet made his way through the crowd of mostly water pokemon.
Hearing Comet's voice, Floatzel searched for its source among the pokemon gathered there until he spotted the Absol who had his son's voice, a voice much like his own. "Comet? Like why are you like here? You're like too young to like die, you know?"
"We're not dead!" Comet insisted. "Number ten is the one who passed away, kind of. He's here as a Gligar and he seemed happy about it. He's staying in this world, but we need to go back to our own world. We have to find Giovanni and Ash."
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During his time of partial unconsciousness, Giovanni thought he heard some voices similar to Luke and Comet. He felt as if someone was moving him with difficulty, making slow but steady progress. He wanted to get up, he wanted to open his eyes, but he didn't have the strength to do so. He fell into a deep coma for a while and once again reached a state of half consciousness some time later. He felt a bit of an electric shock, but it wasn't too harsh, just enough to make him growl in annoyance. Then there was another voice like Ash's voice. He was saying something about berries. Another electric shock came, that one stronger. He opened his eyes finally, just barely conscious being forced to wake up by the electricity.
"That always wakes me up," there was a Raichu holding some berries. "Eat these, they'll make you feel better.
With no energy to argue, Giovanni ate the berries, soon feeling their beneficial effect. The world around him became clearer as he recovered his strength. "Ash?"
The Raichu looked relieved, "are you okay now? Comet and Luke brought you here. You had a thunder stone, that's how I evolved."
"I'm fine," Giovanni observed Comet and Luke's new forms too.
"Dude, Giovanni, it's like awesome that you're like a Charizard, man! It would be like lots of fun if you could like give me a ride sometime, you know?" Luke, transformed into a Floatzel, grinned in anticipation.
"Oh yes, that would be fun," Giovanni started to reply in a light tone, then his face turned serious, "not happening."
While Luke pouted, Comet explained what had happened to number ten and what he had learned about that world.
"At least ten is taken care of," that was one less problem for Team Rocket to deal with as his plans became a reality. "The last time I was here, I was taken back by Gardevoir in a dream," it sounded strange, but that was what Giovanni's newly uncovered memories revealed. There was also something else, another locked memory that still fought to resurface.
"Gardevoir spoke to me when we came," Ash revealed. "She said that the orb was a passage between this world and our world. This world is a place of souls where people and pokemon alike wait to be reborn. Everything here is made of energy, projections coming from people's souls. She said something about a collective conscious, I couldn't really understand. The point is that this world is apparently not a physical place of existence."
"Are we like ghosts?" Luke asked, "like actual ghosts, not the pokemon type?"
"Something like that, I think," Ash nodded.
"It fits what ten said," Comet voiced. "When we came the orb was broken, we all saw it fall and shatter. I have a feeling that we should be heading back as soon as possible if we don't want to get stuck here."
"That's right, I don't know for how long the temporary portal will last," Ash agreed. "Gardevoir asked me to help her in making it, to release my energy for it. The portal won't last forever so we need to get over there."
Giovanni snapped out of his deep thoughts as the group made their way outside the hut. He looked up at the area where they had fallen from, the place where Ash released his energy. There was a light up there, shining in every color imaginable, the portal that would lead their souls back to their bodies.
"I can't say I fully understand what's going on, but good luck getting back home," Charmeleon spoke.
"If this place really is the in between of lives, maybe we'll see each other again after some more decades pass," the female Pikachu from Team Chiray commented.
"Yeah, or maybe we'll meet in the other world," Leafeon agreed.
The Raichu who was Ash, smiled hopefully as he usually did during goodbyes, "we'll see each other again one day. I don't know when, but we will."
Giovanni looked towards the portal and extended his wings feeling more confident about flying after having gotten some experience. "It looks like everyone will be getting a ride after all."
"That's like totally awesome, man!" Luke cheered, even if the detour was strange, it was very amusing to him. Ash, Comet and Luke all climbed on Giovanni's back.
Giovanni got a running start, jumping and flapping his wings. It took some extra effort to gain altitude, but he fell into a steady pace higher up. He headed for the fading portal just in time to make it through, back to the world were they belonged. As they disappeared, they saw a Gligar watching them. The Gligar flew away as if leaving behind all past ties to Team Rocket, to truly start anew.
xoxox xox xoxox
A few days later at the Viridian Rocket headquarters, Archer entered Giovanni's office with an important announcement, "the antidote is ready. Binks was able to make it with a sample of Aayla's blood cells." The top ranked executive looked at the blinking light on Giovanni's phone. "He tried to call you directly but you wouldn't answer." Though Giovanni was yet to say a word, Archer sat down across from him in front of the large polished desk. "You've been distracted lately, ever since you came back from the mission to find Aayla. I understand that it was a success. Delia convinced her to come back willingly as long as her safety and freedom were assured." He leaned back on the chair, becoming comfortable and letting out a breath. "Don't overanalyze it, that world I mean." Archer, Ariana, Proton and Petrel had heard about Giovanni's experience directly from him. "I think it's best to focus on taking over the living world."
Giovanni, who had been staring off into space, closed his eyes and nodded. "If that place really is a sort of collective consciousness then it would be impossible to overtake it, no matter how strong one's own will may be. Besides, when I was there I had no big ambitions; I suppose it's the nature of that place. I wasn't thinking about that, it's this world that I was thinking of. It's been bothering me since I was there. My memories of my first visit to that mysterious world were locked away for some time. During my second visit they were unlocked. There was also something else, another memory that I can't quite reach yet. There's something hidden in the back of my mind that I feel I should know, but I don't. New Island, the failed Mewtwo project, there's something that doesn't fit."
"The island laboratories were destroyed, the project was determined to be a failure because all the clones died." Archer repeated what was known to them, what they thought had happened. Luke's clones were being kept here at Viridian at the time, thus were spared from when the laboratory was destroyed. Binks spent a long time in recovery. The project was declared as a waste of resources, not something worth pursuing again." Archer paused and allowed those thoughts to sink in. "Are you thinking that with the recent technological advances it might be worth to try again? Unfortunately, we don't have a sample to work with."
Giovanni had been going in circles around the issue for some time. He decided to take different approaches to the dilemma and see if he found any clues that would explain that nagging feeling in the back of his mind. It was as if something came loose, and an avalanche of information was imminent. "I want to meet with all the executives, Binks should be there too."
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The meeting was swiftly organized as per Giovanni's orders. It was convenient that all the executives and the requested scientist were currently at Viridian. The meeting took place in a more private conference room, one equipped with secured data ports to the most precious secrets of Team Rocket. Each person invited passed their keycard in front of the door's sensor as they went in.
The polished metallic table had a black mirror-like surface and silver legs, the pipes twisted into decorative shapes akin to abstract modern art. The carpet was plush and thick, in the darkest shade of crimson. The chairs matched the table in colors and style, with a specially design kind of wheels that ran smoothly on the deep carpet. The walls were not adorned with art, but instead with charts and diagrams bringing to light the current biggest issues and victories of Team Rocket, as well as serving as a reminder of future plans.
Donuts and coffee were already set in front of each space as the invited shuffled to their seats, setting laptops and agendas on the table in front of them. When there were snacks available from the start, it meant Giovanni wasn't sure how long the meeting would be. It would last until a solution was reached, however long it may take, the issue at hand would not be postponed. However, no specific topic was mentioned to the executives or Binks, in what could be catalogued as the most mysterious and random reunion Giovanni was yet to appoint.
"First of all, I want you all to doubt what you know," Giovanni began in a rather unusual way, once everyone was seated. He was at the end of the oval shaped table. To Giovanni's right sat Archer and next to him Ariana; to his left were Proton, Petrel and Binks. The scientist was recovering his focus at an amazing rate, no longer running away from reality, though he was not without occasional complications. "The first topic of our meeting will be New Island," the Rocket leader revealed. "I want each of you to speak of it one by one; the others will try to find contradictions. Even if you believe that you must have misunderstood something if your version contradicts someone else's I want you to say what you know as you know it." He looked at Binks as if searching for any signs that he should leave the meeting.
"I'm okay," Binks spoke as if reading Giovanni's expression. "I can talk about this. I have no intentions of denying myself the truth. Should I go first?" Giovanni nodded and Binks continued, "Dr. Fuji always spoke of reviving his daughter, Amber, it was his personal project alongside the Mewtwo project. The boys would help provide extra data," he referred to the clones of Luke. "Forgive me, my memories are fuzzy, but this is what I know, Fuji had great hopes. After the accident I was surprised that the project was cancelled. Without such a brilliant colleague as Fuji to constantly reassure me that this was all for the right cause, my views began to change and I started feeling guilty. The destruction of the lab was a sad event, but maybe one full of karma. I spent a long time recovering, but even so I was surprised that the project had been cancelled when I heard about it after being released from intensive care. I concluded that what led to the cancellation was the destruction of the original Mew sample."
There was a silent pause as all those present took in Binks' words. Then began the questioning, the way to the hidden truth was to read between the lines. "All the data was kept in New Island along with the sample. Backups should have been made, though it was uncomfortable because of the constant renovations the Kanto area was undergoing. The data was more protected there, so it remained only there. Even so, such a precious sample... Something might have been left, if only a small hint of the sample. Why didn't I order the lab ruins to be explored in search of it? I had other business in Kanto, but that's not enough. What was I concentrating on so much that I didn't order the ruins to be explored?"
No one had a definite answer to that question, but they were beginning to see what Giovanni meant by doubting what they knew. In an effort to add something, Archer looked up some information in the archives. "Team Rocket's business at the time immediately after the lab's destruction was focused on expanding to other regions that we were barely beginning to reach. Commerce with the Orange Islands increased significantly. Later, there was the development of a machine to capture exceptionally strong pokemon, though it was never successfully put to use."
"Why not?" Giovanni questioned.
"The technology and power was effective, but there was no target that required such machines to be caught. I believe the goal were the legendary birds, but that hunt never really took off." Archer paused looking at the screen of his laptop connected to a data port. His gaze traveled to the Rocket leader meeting his eyes. Giovanni wasn't one to leave things half done.
"Wasn't there a failure in the power supply of that device?" Proton inquired. "I'm not sure if it's the one I'm thinking of, but didn't it blow up?"
"If it did, why wasn't it fixed?" Giovanni continued to inquire.
"Because it was experimental, being tested to see if it was worth it?" Ariana took a moment to go over her own words as well as everything else that was spoken so far. "We're just making up excuses and concluding what is logical to conclude, while contradicting ourselves in the process. In the end, it seems all our memories about certain things from that time are blurry. There was another project before the capturing device, some armor of sorts that I'm also having trouble remembering. Strangely, I remember everything else from that period as clearly as it is normal given the time that has passed."
"That's exactly what I'm talking about," Giovanni was glad that the executives were at least seeing his point.
"I don't see anything strange about that time," Petrel mused aloud. "I remember all of you being busy and hearing rumors about the Mewtwo project being a success. I was busy with business at the Orange Islands at the time and wasn't exactly in constant contact with headquarters. The rumors were false, a pity, I would have designed a grand costume for Mewtwo if it were real. I know you won't let me dress your pokemon, but I thought you'd make an exception for that one."
"Rumors?" The feeling of uneasiness increased in Giovanni, along with a sense of anticipation. "This was top secret, how could you have heard rumors?"
Petrel shrugged, "Proton told me, probably as a joke."
"No, I didn't, I never said anything like that," Proton defended.
"The reason why the ruined laboratory wasn't explored, the purpose of the armor and the machine to catch powerful pokemon, the reason why those projects were dropped..." Giovanni could come up with explanations for them, but he felt as if he was only filling in the blanks as Ariana said. His mind came up with all sorts of logical explanations that didn't quite fit his determination. Why did he give up? "What destroyed the lab in the first place? Was it really a chain reaction caused by the power reactor? Why did we conclude that without a detailed investigation?" Giovanni wanted to find answers and he had gone into that conference room determined not to go out without them. However, there was a faster way to come up with those answers, a more precise way. "Meeting postponed," he finally announced. "Take some time to think about what was said here. Question everything; we'll talk again after I gather some facts from New Island." Giovanni left the conference room to assemble an investigation team.
The four executives and Binks sat at the table for a few moments longer. Proton took a big bite of his donut, "Giovanni's worrying me."
"I'm more worried about the fact that you still haven't learned not to talk with your mouth full," Ariana commented, receiving a roll of the eyes from Proton. "In all seriousness," she continued, "Giovanni's recent experience has really affected him, but he has a point. It's odd that there seems to be something that doesn't fit. I'll check the data and put some information together with what we have. If anything, we might discover some past misinformation, maybe even sabotage. It would be a bit late, but we could still learn from it."
"If you ask me, you all need a vacation," Petrel suggested. "Giovanni's having a stressful time. It happens now and then. Remember when he lost his temper and nearly killed Rune, which led to his heart problems? Remember when he did those training exercises in the mountains on a whim? It's just one of those times."
"Training exercises?" Proton tried to remember what Petrel was talking about.
Archer looked up some extra data in the system, "it was close to the time when the machine to capture powerful pokemon was declared a failure. We weren't training. We were following a vague clue that Moltres had been spotted near that mountain area."
"Zapdos," Ariana corrected.
"There were no legendaries, we were trying out the guns, training the rookies, you know," Proton insisted. "We were playing war, it was a training exercise.
"I was at the Orange Islands so I didn't get to play general that time," Petrel frowned. "I would have come up with some amazing special edition uniforms for the occasion."
"We weren't playing generals, we were hunting legendaries," Ariana insisted.
"Actually, the system says nothing about Moltres, Zapdos or Articuno being spotted near that area. We always keep tabs on them to figure out the patterns of their migrations in hopes of capturing them, though so far there had been no real patterns. None the less, that data should be in the system," Archer massaged his temples, feeling a headache coming on with all the contradictions.
"Let's just continue with our usual duties for now," Ariana suggested. "I'll take care of organizing the data we have in the archives and make sure it's ready for our next meeting."
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Meanwhile, at Cerulean City, Ash, Misty and her sisters were all rejoicing about the discovery of the antidote. Lando and Daisy were there as well, with Violet, Lily and Brock; Kenobi had gone to visit too. He had hidden Giovanni's identity from them before and lied to do so. It was something for which Violet became upset when he confessed after Giovanni's identity was revealed to Misty and thus would be difficult to keep from her sisters. After several apologies, Violet forgave Kenobi and they stayed together.
"To think the gym leader was the Rocket boss all along. This will be our secret to guard," Lando concluded, he knew he would be busy with business related to the production of the antidote. "I'm just glad an antidote was discovered, even if it won't be officially on the shelves for a few more days."
"But darling, the pokemon need it!" Daisy insisted.
"I know, beloved, yet it is outside of my control. Until the Pokemon League approves, we cannot distribute the antidote. We were only able to heal our pokemon right away because of our connections," Lando admitted.
Ash pouted in frustration hearing this, "I don't like bureaucracy," he declared, though he wouldn't let it ruin the relief that finally overcame him when he was given the antidote to protect his pokemon from possible future infections and to heal the pokemon that were infected. He offered to deliver the antidote to Cerulean City right away and flew out on Charizard soon after.
The cure was a virus in itself that mutated the bad one into something good. It was called Pokerus, a virus that only pokemon could contract and made their bodies stronger. It boosted their immune system to a point where no known illnesses could even begin to affect them, save for poison and such conditions originating from another pokemon.
For most of Ash's journey, he focused on pokemon training and left his aura abilities to develop on their own without seeking training. They grew in time and sometimes manifested themselves. Ash could also call upon his abilities, somehow becoming more used to them by instinct with the passing of the years. His experience in that mysterious world where he evolved from the image of a Pikachu into Raichu were not without effect. Evolution aside, it was being exposed to that world which made him more aware of his own aura, thus more able to control it. He felt uneasiness in the air despite the situation looking as if it was steadily heading towards a significant improvement. He catalogued the odd feeling as stress from an exhausting ordeal and tried to remain positive. After things settled down, he would return to Viridian City and stay for a while to try to further get to know his father. They would battle, they would talk and things would work out somehow.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. I know it's a bit late, but I finally got around to opening a forum here at FFnet and posted topics for this story and another story I'm working on. You're all welcome to post there.
I started posting a Slayers story titled "To Live Another Day" which I intend to complete before I start posting my next Pokemon story "Loyalty". A certain monster (Xellos) ends up with a deadly curse that can only be broken by the willing kiss of a golden dragon (and Filia happens to be one). But monsters and dragons hate each other and most of all Filia hates Xellos. So the cursed trickster drags the main cast into a romantic vacation resort with the use of some cunning and a few well placed excuses. Now he's following Filia's well intended matchmaking quest for his own observational purposes. However, there is a hidden conspiracy among the monsters that won't make things easy for anyone...