Diamond 100: Give me Possibilities
Diamond 100: Give me Possibilities
At the Cerulean City gym, the good health of the pokemon gradually restored the sense of hope and peace of the humans around them. Ash looked down at the pool from the diving board where Misty floated below, along with many of the pokemon who were fond of water. Her eyes were closed in relaxation, almost as if she could fall asleep on the water's surface, flowing gently on her back. She looked up, her eyes meeting his. "Come on in, the water's fine."
Ash grinned as if mentally adding 'so is the view,' before he jumped into the pool like a cannon ball with a big splash. Misty's peaceful floating was interrupted by Ash's dive, which started a playful battle of splashing each other between the couple. They kept playing until Ash's cell phone, which had been left at the edge of the pool, began to ring. Thinking that it might be his mother calling about something urgent, while hoping that it wasn't anything urgent, Ash went to answer the call. "I'll get you back, this retreat is only temporary."
"Swim away while you can," Misty teased.
The one calling Ash was not Delia, it was Gary. The young researcher had received a supply of antidote which was very welcomed, but also very suspicious. He couldn't hold his silence any longer and pretend he believed the excuses he kept hearing. He had to know the truth. "Ash, I need to talk to you in person." That way it would be easier to read Ash's expression and not so easy for him to escape.
"Is something wrong with the pokemon?" Ash asked in worry.
"No, it's not that," Gary reassured. "The pokemon are alright now, I received a sufficient supply of the antidote. None of them are in danger. There's just something I need to talk to you about," something that his grandfather seemed to be somehow aware of, but kept in stubborn silence. "It's about Team Rocket."
Ash fell silent before finally voicing as casually as he could, "what about them?"
"Come to Pallet and I'll tell you," was Gary's reply before ending the call. He knew that if Ash was hiding something, he would head for Pallet Town right away.
xoxox xox xoxox
At the Viridian Rocket headquarters, Delia was looking for Giovanni. He had gone to a meeting with the executives earlier and disappeared afterwards. He mentioned he would be busy with work, but she wondered where he could have gone. Heading in the opposite direction down the hall, she saw Luke. "Delia, everything is like going so well now, you know?"
She returned his smile, sincerely relieved that the illness problem had been solved. "I'm very relieved, but it seems Giovanni is busy again, not that I'm surprised." Her Rocket cell phone beeped, signaling the arrival of a text message. Delia curiously glanced at it and there was a warmth in her eyes.
"Is it like from Giovanni?" Luke guessed.
"Yes," Delia confirmed, "as I thought, he'll be busy today, but at least he remembered to text me. It's good to know he thought of me."
"He's like always busy, you know?" Luke agreed, "but he like loves you, we can like tell, you know?" We referred to the executives and long time elite Rockets who had known Giovanni for years.
The text message was simple, a reminder that Giovanni would see Delia that evening. At first she didn't read too deep into it, then suddenly every mental alarm in her system went off. He would see her when he returned from New Island.
xoxox xox xoxox
Giovanni had gone to a place he had not visited in many years, New Island. Pixel was managing the equipment in the large helicopter, consisting of various scanners that could create a digital image of the New Island ruins for easier navigation. Comet would go into the ruins to capture videos and explore, to hopefully find some clue of what was missing. The mission was expected to be difficult since they weren't sure what exactly they were looking for, but the suspicious sights began to appear right after landing.
"The sensors finished constructing the 3D map of the ruins. It looks like some areas will be impossible to reach without considerable excavation. This area here has a tunnel leading to it and it's pretty big, it requires minimal excavation so it might be a good place to start. Even so, the entire ruins are noticeably unstable." Pixel reported. "According to the data, this area has had seismic activity due to recently active undersea volcanoes. The pressure sensors should warn us of possible earthquakes, but only within a few seconds of them."
"No worries, I'll make sure not to get trapped down there," Comet checked that all his equipment was ready and that his earpiece was working, before exiting the helicopter. Pixel would remain there to serve as a guide with the maps and sensors.
Comet, Pixel and Giovanni were the only ones there, with Giovanni having piloted the helicopter himself, focusing in arriving at the destination as soon as possible. He also didn't want many agents to distract him from bringing out whatever was in the back of his mind. He kept thinking of New Island, but he didn't know why. It was as if his subconscious knew something that was fighting to appear at the surface of his thoughts.
The Rocket leader, who had exited the helicopter immediately after landing, returned and picked up some equipment. "The landscape doesn't match. The only thing left of the data of this lab are the blueprints for the building. Use that with the simulator and see if you can get a match with the landscape. Run the program both ways. If the lab was destroyed and something else was built here, I want to know what it was."
"Yes, sir!" Pixel began with her assigned task. With the advances of technology, simulations could be run to predict the state in which a structure would be left when exposed to a certain intensity of damage. It was mostly used to calculate how reinforced a structure needed to be with the expected conditions it would have to withstand. Though it was mostly used by architects, it was also useful to know how much of a mess a certain type of attack would leave behind, among other uses.
With the data collected by the sensors, the program would compare the actual ruins to how the ruins of the lab should look like. It would also use the data from the ruins to determine how the structure looked like before it was destroyed. Archeologists of all regions had rejoiced at the commercial release of the program. That particular function was rarely used in Team Rocket. The portable sensor mechanisms were released upon their arrival to New Island. They were small and had varied appearances. Some looked like miniature cylinders with helicopter-like propellers and others looked like mechanical Surskit. The strongest sensors were in the atmosphere under the command of Sapphire, a PorygonZ that resided in a powerful satellite. Sapphire was in communication with Diamond, the PorygonZ at the top of the command chain of the Rocket digital systems.
While Pixel ran the programs and Comet headed below ground, Giovanni stood outside the helicopter, contemplating the ruins of New Island for a moment longer. A strange black structure, thinner near the end, lay in shambles as if a tower had stood there before, but there shouldn't have been a tower there. Debris of violet propeller-like blades similar to pieces of a windmill lay scattered about, which didn't belong there either. After Comet disappeared into the darkness of a cramped passage to the ruins below, Giovanni went his own way underground without an earpiece. He wanted to focus by himself and see what he could uncover.
xoxox xox xoxox
To say the area Comet was exploring was cramped, dusty and dark would be an understatement. There was hardly enough room to move and the air was thin, though just enough to breathe without needing an oxygen mask. "Are you getting the video feed, Pix?"
"In high definition," Pixel's voice replied from Comet's earpiece. "The architecture programs are loading up possibilities; so far we have no matches. It looks like the boss was right. Something else was probably built here in place of the lab. I'll have the program convert the possibilities into the most likely aspect. So far it looks like some kind of tower with windmill-like propellers."
"Weird," Comet wondered why something as attention grabbing as a tower would be built in a place that as far as he knew was supposed to be secretive. It was true that ships seldom went close to that area anyway, but Giovanni seemed to have more of a liking towards hidden underground laboratories for his works of secrecy.
"That's what the simulation shows," Pixel asserted. "It's also why we're here, to find things that don't seem to make sense," it was Giovanni's order for them to watch out for such things.
Comet spotted some strange transparent pipes tinted in green and orange. They were crushed, as was everything else in the underground ruins. A control panel was near by, obviously it was completely incapable of functioning. Comet removed one of the side covers of the device and pointed his flashlight at the mass of broken wires inside.
"That looks promising," Pixel commented, "I doubt the main drive is intact, but maybe we could get something out of it."
"I'll try to get it out without damaging it more," Comet replied, pushing wires and connectors aside.
"There it is," Pixel saw what they were looking for on the screen, from the small camera attached to Comet's flashlight. "That metal box should contain the hard drive. Did you remember to bring a screwdriver?"
"You bet," Comet looked for the proper tool on the utility belt he had brought along. "This belt has more gadgets in it than Batman's. The only thing it doesn't have is a Zubat, Golbat and Crobat trio of sidekicks." Just as he reached for the screwdriver, Comet noticed a pokeball that was not his and looked into the semi-transparent top at the reduced pokemon inside, it was a Crobat. "Actually, it does come with a Crobat," he put it back on the belt since he didn't need any assistance from it at the moment. He had to wonder how many Rockets had used that Crobat in missions. Its pokeball seemed to be handed out to whoever was using the rest of the equipment on the set.
The exploration of the New Island ruins continued in a similar way, until Comet had gathered sufficient data from that area and headed to the surface to deliver the recovered hard drive along with another interesting thing he found. The item appeared to be similar to a pokeball, made of metal painted black, its color chipped and scratched in time. It was broken in two pieces that fit together over each other, both cracked. One piece was pure black and the other had three gray lines on top. Where the pokeball's button should be, there was a mechanism similar to it, shaped as a yellow eye with a red pupil.
xoxox xox xoxox
When Comet returned to the helicopter, Pixel had a peculiar display on the screen. It was the result of the programs that analyzed the ruins. It was only an approximation of the structure's appearance, but no matter how anyone looked at it, it was definitely different from the blueprints of what should have been there. A tower had supposedly stood at the island at some point, with a windmill at its peak and a few smaller similar towers surrounding the main structure. The underground deeper levels of the laboratory had become mostly flooded passages with the rise of the tides over time, but had been spacious in the past.
"I got a call from Ariana," Giovanni had instructed Pixel on the way, to forward the processed data to headquarters. "She was doing her own investigation and was intrigued by our findings. She mentioned that she would call for another meeting with the executives, so I've been forwarding the data to them. I didn't hear the full story, but apparently there are some strange contradictions that no one can make sense out of."
Three of the executives had been gathered in a conference room, Archer, Ariana and Proton were there trying to reconcile their contradicting theories, memories and evidence. It was as if they couldn't even trust what they remembered and if they thought too hard, things got blurry. It was something that they unconsciously ignored in the back of their minds until it was brought to their attention. Petrel was missing from the conference and claimed to be attending some important business with Delia and Luke when he was called.
"It looks like there really is some kind of hidden secret here. It all seems so suspicious," Comet voiced. "Do you think someone remodeled and used the facilities in the past before they were destroyed again?"
"Looks like it," Pixel mused, "the question is, how did they manage to get away with it? What were they trying to accomplish?" Another theory emerged, "do you think that it was related to Neo Rocket, a group of traitors covering for each other? Did they even exist back then?"
"It seems a bit early for Neo Rocket to have existed, but I wouldn't set aside any possibility right now," Comet looked at the image of the tower on the screen. It looked like a 3D model for the beta version of a video game. "Is the boss still walking around the island?"
"Yes, I've been buried to my neck in data processing and he didn't want any interruptions anyway." Pixel glanced at the time display on the bottom right of the main screen in the back of the large helicopter. The flying machine had two blades to be able to gain altitude. "He's been gone for a long time, maybe you should check on him from afar while I start working on squeezing some data out of that hard drive."
"I'll make sure he doesn't see me, I wouldn't want to break the boss' concentration when he's so focused on something." Comet left, making his way through the surface of the ruins as quietly as possible. He would go back to the helicopter, grab a snack from the supplies and get ready to explore the areas of the ruins that needed more excavation to get through.
In the mean time, Pixel continued gathering clues, which she would forward to the executives. "Ready Prism?" She dismantled the hard drive's box carefully, as her PorygonZ appeared on the screen with an affirmative answer. "This might be tricky." Pixel placed the disk part of the drive into a scanner. It was scratched and cracked, but hopefully some data could be extracted from it, even if they weren't complete files.
xoxox xox xoxox
After some time passed, Comet returned to the helicopter, where Pixel was, with no news of Giovanni. "I searched all over the island's surface and I couldn't find the boss anywhere. He might have gone underground by himself."
"That's bad, when you came back to get the digging equipment, I was going to tell you not to go down there for a while," Pixel warned in alarm. "The sensors detected an increase in pressure. The undersea volcanoes are active again. The effects will be minimal in the sea, but there can be earthquakes and that could cause a cave in at the ruins."
"He didn't even take an earpiece along," Comet recalled.
"I'll try calling his cell phone," Pixel attempted to do so, but the result was a sound originating from a compartment at the cockpit which contained Giovanni's cell phone. "One thing is trying to disconnect himself so he can focus better, but this is not a good time to do that. The boss can take care of himself, yet somehow, I feel as if we should have kept a better eye on him." She checked the sensor's volcanic pressure reading again. "The pressure is increasing; at this rate it's almost certain there will be an earthquake soon. If I change the scanners settings I might be able to track the boss' heat signature, but the undersea volcanoes are giving me a lot of interference."
"I'll go have a quick look around," Comet decided, "if you get the sensors to work and find him, you can guide me there."
"I'm working on it," Pixel agreed, "be careful down there."
"I will," just as Comet was heading out of the large helicopter again, another helicopter landed nearby.
The newly arrived flying vessel was smaller than the first, possessing only one blade. It was clearly made for quick transportation for a few passengers rather than to carry heavy equipment. Delia, Luke and Petrel exited the smaller helicopter and quickly made their way to the larger one. "Comet, is Giovanni here?" Delia asked.
"Here as in on the island, yes," Comet replied.
"Where is he?" Delia looked towards the large helicopter, theorizing that Giovanni was inside.
"Somewhere on the island, in fact, I was just on my way to get him," Comet grinned as if trying to lighten the atmosphere before the discovery of news that those present didn't want to hear.
"Dude, is he like down at the ruins, or like something?" Luke correctly guessed, to which Comet nodded just as there was a light earthquake.
"Did you feel that? This is no time to be under a pile of unstable ruins!" Delia worried. "Where's the radio? I have to tell Giovanni to get out of there. I'll tell him about the ruins if it'll keep him out of danger."
"Wait a minute, you know about the strange mystery we're trying to solve?" Petrel dramatized. He didn't expect Delia to be so well informed when she literally ran into him at the hall while Luke hurried after her due to her running off so suddenly. He wasn't there during the time when the executives lost their memories as they directed squadrons of Rocket agents to capture the clone pokemon, providing background support to Giovanni's operation. Instead, he was caught up with plenty of work at the Orange Islands. "I'm not going to miss out on things this time; I want to go underground too!"
"No one should be underground right now!" Delia firmly insisted, while Comet attempted to sneak away. "Stop right there young man! Giovanni doesn't have a means of communication on him, does he?" It would explained why she had not seen or heard anyone making an effort to call him so far and instead Comet was sneaking off to get him. "I'll have to go get him."
"Maybe I should go get him," Comet offered.
"I want to come too!" Petrel pouted, feeling left out.
"We could like all go, you know?" Luke suggested unsure.
"I don't want anyone to be in any unnecessary danger," Delia argued.
"It's coming!" Announced Pixel's voice from inside the large helicopter. Not even five seconds later, an earthquake, much more noticeable than the last, was felt. The shaking didn't last long, but it was strong. The ruins shifted and some of the debris on the surface collapse on itself, blocking the tunnels to the areas below, where the damage was probably far worse.
"Giovanni!" Delia ran towards the center of the island, where a large pile of ruined material was, as the shaking stopped. She looked around it for a way in, but found only a tiny tunnel, far too small for a human to fit in. Then the ground shook again, it was a gentle movement, but it was almost constant.
"What's going on?" Petrel shouted, as if upset that the ground was shaking without Team Rocket's permission, at such an inconvenient time for them. He rushed to the large helicopter in search of an explanation, "who said there could be an earthquake now?"
Pixel adjusted the settings of the programs on screen, "one of the undersea volcanoes is erupting. If it doesn't stop, it might trigger the others to erupt too."
Comet received the update via his earpiece and ran to shore. "I'm not sure how much of a difference this will make, but try to cool off that volcano Shenron, use blizzard!" He released his Gyarados into the sea. The pokemon immediately noticed the water's hot temperature. It was uncomfortable, but not bad enough to burn. "Come back if it gets too hot."
Shenron swam deep under the sea, approaching the affected area as much as possible. The water was black, the thick smoke refused to dissolve even in the liquid. The powerful Gyarados released a blizzard with all his strength, trying to cool the area and calm the volcanoes.
As Comet stood at the shore watching the water and the light smoke rising from it, a Charizard landed near by with an unexpected arrival. "Ash?"
"What's going on?" Ash asked as he jumped off Charizard and recalled him into his pokeball, thanking him for the ride.
"Right now I'm trying to cool off some undersea volcanoes," Comet explained, "Shenron is using blizzard to cool the water."
"I'll help, go Glalie!" It was one of the pokemon Ash had switched into his team from a PC at Cerulean City. "Ice beam!" The pokemon promptly froze Ash in a block of ice. The ice twitched until it broke, to release a shivering Ash. "Not on me, on the volcanoes under water!" After being given a specific target, the mischievous Glalie dove into the water to help cool off the volcanoes.
Delia and Luke had joined Pixel in the large helicopter where the equipment was. As of yet they were unaware of Ash's arrival at the island. "We have to dig him out!" Delia worried.
"It might be dangerous to dig before things stabilize, it could cause another cave in and make things worse," Pixel warned.
"So like what can we like do?" Luke inquired with urgency.
Before anything else could be said, a loud noise was heard from outside. Giovanni emerged from the ruins with three of his main team of pokemon. Persian had stayed at the Viridian headquarters for the time being. Rhyperior, Golem and Machamp opened the way for the Rocket boss to escape the ruins unharmed. He was received on the surface by Delia, who hugged him tightly in relief. "Let's go home," though she said that, Delia herself wasn't sure where home was to her anymore. Was it her beloved town of Pallet? The Viridian gym, or Giovanni's personal residence at the edge of Kanto near Victory Road? "I'll tell you about the ruins, just be careful in the future and don't do anything rash or..."
Giovanni looked at Delia with puzzlement; he was close to uncovering the secret that was bothering him, the memories that were buried deep inside. He saw something like a dream, an image of an unknown pokemon that he felt he should know. The being had white and purple fur, but the details were blurry. It was akin to looking at a painting that had been submerged in water before the paint was dry. "You know about this?"
Delia nodded, "I thought there were certain things best left forgotten. This is something I haven't really thought about for a long time. I should have realized it before, when you told me about your experience in that mysterious world and what it made you begin to remember. I should have known it was this."
Still shocked by the revelation and the certainty that there really was something going on, Giovanni recalled his pokemon and went to the large helicopter with Delia. The shaking had stopped, as detected by the sensors. Ash and Comet called back their pokemon, thanking them for their help in suppressing the undersea volcanic activities, at least temporarily. They returned to the large helicopter and it was then that Ash saw that his parents were there and they saw him.
Simultaneously, the broken pieces of files that the system was analyzing were finally processed. The program popped up to the surface of the screen above the other applications. What was contained in the recovered hard drive, among other things, were video files taken years ago. The full files could not be restored from the damaged storage device, but a few scenes could be saved. The screen was flooded with a collection of screen shots of different people that were at present over a decade older than in the images. A boy with black hair wearing red, a slightly older boy with brown hair wearing blue, a girl with brown hair and a pokeball necklace.
There were also pictures of many different pokemon, but the one thing that caught everyone's attention were the pictures of a boy who looked a lot like Ash. He was in the company of two others, identifiable as Misty and Brock. Giovanni looked at the pictures in puzzlement, "those pictures."
"They were... in a hard drive from the ruins," Pixel quietly replied, feeling the tension building up in the air.
After looking at the pictures for a moment longer, Giovanni looked at Delia, who seemed worried. Then he looked at Ash, "why are your pictures here? What was here? What do you know about..." The blurry image of the white and purple pokemon resurfaced in his mind, becoming slightly clearer. "What do you know about Mewtwo?"
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. The semi-transparent pokeballs are from a manga. The video files found at New Island are from the start of the Mewtwo Strikes Back movie.