Diamond 101: Give me Harmony
Diamond 101: Give me Harmony
At New Island, Giovanni, Delia, Petrel, Luke, Comet and Pixel, stood in silent suspense as they waited for Ash to answer Giovanni's question. A hard drive was found in the ruins of New Island in bad conditions. However, a relatively small amount of data could be retrieved from it. The processed files revealed screen shots of Ash from an incomplete video file taken over ten years ago. It was a very suspicious finding, which the Team Rocket leader was set on unraveling.
Ash stared at the images on the screen. He guessed that the images must have been recorded by Mewtwo, maybe before he made the choice to invite him to New Island. He had no idea such files existed and it was even more shocking that they would be found after so many years. The past was something that could never truly be left behind and had to be faced. Ash's memories had been unlocked faster after his trip to that other world, thanks to his aura abilities. He could remember everything from New Island with the clarity that the events would have if his memories had not been locked.
Ash tried to say something, but found himself unable to find the words. He thought that after the problems with the virus were solved, things would be calm. He would get to know his father as someone more than just the leader of Team Rocket. He would be optimistic and look at the positive side of each situation, the side his mother noticed. He didn't want a conflict to arise, he didn't want to be placed against his father, he didn't want to think of Giovanni in that light. He wanted to see him as the gym leader, as a skilled trainer, not as the man who used pokemon for power.
The large screen displaying the images suddenly went black. Taken by surprise, Pixel tried to make the computer system respond, but the keyboard was dead. "What's happening, Prism are you okay?"
The words 'intruder alert' flashed red on the screen and the machine screeched as the main CPU began to overheat.
"Prism, what's happening, respond! Sapphire, come in Sapphire," Pixel's voice was cut off by the sound of the computer short circuiting. The electric shockwave pushed those gathered there away, towards the front of the spacious helicopter. An unconscious PorygonZ, Prism, was thrown out of the computer and materialized outside of the cyber space.
When the unexpected technological problems quieted, the computer system was surrounded by a stream of smoke, completely fried beyond functioning. All the portable sensors that had been released outside were deactivated and unresponsive. "The data!" Giovanni knew that Ash had more answers than what he could obtain from the scraps found at the New Island ruins, but he still wanted that data to have another perspective to look at.
"I was transmitting it to headquarters, it should have been saved there," Pixel made a quick call on her cell phone directed at Ariana, who wondered why the stream of data had suddenly become disconnected. At least she could confirm that the data which had been recovered thus far was safely delivered to the Viridian headquarters databases. The strange incident that caused the malfunction and the apparent invasion of an unknown hacker was being investigated.
"Looks like there's even more things than we thought going on," Petrel commented on the unexpected occurrence.
"Let the executives take care of this mystery, I have another mystery to solve," Giovanni decided. "You can all return on this helicopter. Even if the computer server is clearly out of order, it's separate from the flight controls, so this won't be a problem for transportation. Ash, Delia and I will return on the smaller helicopter." It was a final choice that left no room for argument. The three of them exited the large helicopter and headed towards the small one. Both flying machines were painted black; the big one had a red R on its side, while the smaller one had a green leaf, the symbol of the Earth badge of Viridian.
xoxox xox xoxox
Though Giovanni had begun to ask his questions in the air, Delia insisted that they should talk calmly when they landed. Even if he was impatient to know, Giovanni took Delia's advice, given that he was currently piloting the helicopter. Besides, Ash didn't look like he could say anything at the moment even if he tried.
The helicopter landed not at the Viridian gym, but instead at Giovanni's mansion near Victory Road. The trip went by in silence, save for a small sound from Ash's cell phone when he received a text message from Gary pressuring him to hurry to Pallet Town. Ash replied with a simple 'not now' text message that conveyed a world of emotion. He knew that somehow, Gary would understand that he had a lot to deal with and he would be there as soon as he could.
When Rex received the three arrivals to the mansion he couldn't help it but to wonder if someone had died, since their expressions seemed so solemn. There was also an underlying frustration in Giovanni's eyes, worry in Delia and an intense look in Ash's eyes that went from sad, to frightened to completely lost, depending on which thought currently ran through his head.
As they made their way into the mansion to find a quiet place to sit and talk, they didn't even hear Rex mentioning that the Viridian mayor had stopped by and was still at the mansion. Rune was about to leave when he found Giovanni, Delia and Ash on his way out. "You're back! I was just talking to your staff about a party. We could have it at the gym. It will be a celebration of the antidote and the health and peace that it will bring, an oath to prosperity and an excellent campaign closing! I know Kenobi is the official new candidate, but you know I can't seem to stay away from these things. Between your home staff and mine, all the food can be easily prepared. Some delicious custom made recipes would really stand out. I'm sure we can also find a way to integrate a forest theme to it, what do you think? It will be grand!"
"Rune," Giovanni growled with unparalleled fury. For a moment, mayor Antilles thought the Rocket boss would hit him again and that time he wouldn't live to tell the tale. Thankfully, no physical violence occurred, as Giovanni finished with his usual, "shut up!"
"Yes, sir!" Fearing for his life, mayor Antilles ran out in a panic. He concluded that this was not a good day to talk to Giovanni about parties.
xoxox xox xoxox
Meanwhile, at the Viridian Rocket headquarters, the unexpected technological difficulties experienced at New Island were interpreted. Archer, Ariana and Proton were joined by Petrel at a conference room. The agents who were present at the time of the event on New Island were there as well, which included Luke, Comet and Pixel.
"It has been determined that what happened to the equipment on New Island was no accident, nor was it directly caused by an enemy. It was our own Sapphire who, with the help of Diamond, rendered the equipment useless," Archer seriously explained. Sapphire was the satellite inhabiting PorygonZ in charge of the sensors and espionage equipment, while Diamond was on top of the digital command chain and supported the security of each individual PorygonZ in the digital domain of Team Rocket. "The PorygonZ acted in such a way due to an intruder trying to take control of Sapphire. The intruder was traced back to New Island, to the Team Rocket equipment. Agent Pixel, what do you have to say about this?"
"The intruder was obviously using some kind of cover up, it wasn't me," Pixel was annoyed not to have noticed such a thing.
"The hacking did indeed have its origin elsewhere," Ariana confirmed. "However, we have no solid proof of this or a way to pin point where it started. The only reason we know this is because, given the speed at which you were sending us processed data, you must have been pushing the equipment's CPU to its limits, running various instances of the architectural simulation programs in high precision mode. For the data to arrive here at HQ at such a rate, it is the only explanation. Taking that into consideration, you would not have enough system resources left to do the hacking. Make sure such things don't slip by in the future."
"Yes, ma'am..." Pixel's mind was elsewhere, thinking of what could have happened and why neither the system's security, nor Prism, nor she, noticed it.
"Luke, it's time for you to be integrated to your new duties," Proton had a hint of annoyance in his voice, though it was directed at the situation rather than Luke. "While you're training pokemon and playing war general with an army of rookies, I'll be buried in this investigation. You're probably too nice to really mess with the rookies, what a waste," Proton made an exaggerated annoyed face, which far from proving a point, only served to amuse all those present.
"That's like totally awesome, man!" Luke didn't even try to feel sorry for Proton and his participation in a long and arduous investigation. He was too focused on looking forward to his new assignments.
"That's all for now, you may return to your duties," Archer announced, which prompted Luke, Comet and Pixel to leave the conference room.
After they were gone, Petrel observed Archer's pensive state and inquired, "what is it?"
"That girl is friends with Delia. If it turns out she's a traitor, it will make things difficult. She is also close to Comet, who is among our best agents. He's Luke's son and Luke just regained Giovanni's trust after pursuing that goal for a long time," Archer voiced seriously, his face stern with concern in his eyes. "I believe in Luke's loyalty and his son has been raised on the principal of loyalty to Team Rocket. However, Pixel is an outsider, recruited from an entirely different environment, an environment from which one would not guess a Rocket agent would come."
Following her husband's train of thought, Ariana continued, "Comet is young and has the same carefree attitude of his father. Though he was raised to be a loyal Rocket, I wonder if his optimism will be his betrayal. Would he take her side if she's a traitor, believing things will somehow work out and she'll change into a loyal Rocket? They are a couple after all. If Comet joins her, then what will Luke do? He's loyal to Giovanni, but is clearly very attached to his son."
"Aren't we going too far?" Petrel voiced. "Pixel could be innocent; the set up might have really just slipped by. With the earthquakes, finding those files at the ruins and worrying about Giovanni being trapped underground, it was a pretty distracting atmosphere. She probably didn't notice she was being used as a cover up. We at least know that she wasn't the one doing the hacking on Sapphire's satellite, right? Besides, who would be stupid enough to do something traitorous when Giovanni is so close by? One would think a computer geek is smarter than that."
"So it would seem," Archer accepted the point. "There are too many questions related to this incident. The PorygonZ satellite project is a key step towards world domination, one that must be firmly established and tested beyond a doubt. There might be someone out to ruin everything and we need to make sure that doesn't happen. To top it all up, there's also the matter concerning New Island, which is Giovanni's main focus right now."
"So it's up to us to hunt down the culprit for the Sapphire incident and defend the satellites. At least we know Sapphire and Diamond's security is working, even if the programs haven't been fully integrated. Such an important step..." Proton's face turned serious. "We'll have to be extra careful. Whoever gets in our way will regret it. Giovanni made it pretty clear, he's got his own battle, this is our fight."
xoxox xox xoxox
In one of the top security underground laboratories, Binks was working on a few experiments. He had become far more active, focused and capable since Aayla returned to headquarters. In a sea of shades of gray, the fluorescent colored liquids in the small glass vials stood out. Binks added green and blue liquids from glass vials into a clear beaker and set it aside for the moment, allowing the colors to mix oddly and become a metallic silvery substance. He looked over at the lab's corner where Aayla was curled up sleeping. He had tried to find a more comfortable place for her to rest, but she ignored him and stayed there. "You're grieving, aren't you? You don't fully remember, but somehow you know." Binks looked at her sadly and let out a hollow breath. "At least Secura can rest in peace and her curse didn't overtake the world. We can have some time of peace now."
Aayla had in truth been awake and listening. Her ears moved slightly as she looked at Binks and shook her head. "Do not assume what you do not know and doubt what you do." For the first time Aayla spoke the human language, proving that she did still have the ability to do so, even if she had been out of practice. "There are those who are created by nature and those who originated as a consequence of humans. Be it by consequence or nature, they exist within the mysteries of life. However, those who were made by the hands of humans with a purpose and not as a consequence or natural phenomena are different, for now. They will have to join us, they will have to live with us, or else they will not live at all, merely existing."
Binks felt as if he was frozen. He didn't understand what Aayla was talking about, but it sounded both significant and cryptic. "What does that mean?" Binks managed to push out the words.
"Time will tell, it is not something that science can heal. To grant life, that is something that we may ask for, it is something that we may attempt to trigger, but in the end, the choice of granting such a wish belongs to another." Aayla once again closed her eyes and rested her head on her paws. "I am only here to see how the unfinished business will end," she muttered quietly before drifting off into a heavy slumber.
"Please explain!" No matter how much Binks urgently insisted, Aayla did not speak of her strange interpretation any more. However, it was a confirmed fact that Akira had indeed passed away. Perhaps her words were a reference to the existence of an immortal soul, or maybe they weren't directed at Secura at all. What if she was denying his assessment that a time of piece would come? Binks tried to turn his attention to the experiments again, but found himself overwhelmed with worry and confusion. His hands trembled as he tried to set the vial he picked up back on its holder, but his reflexes were terribly clumsy. "I don't want to lose sight of reality... I don't want this..." He finally managed to place the vial where it belonged and stumbled away from the table.
His loyal Raticate was by his side as usual, looking up at him with worry. Binks picked her up and held her in his trembling arms. He approached the resting Aayla and sat down on the floor next to her to wait for the inexplicable shadows that his mind conjured to leave the room and let him be. In the end, though he had improved, he had no hope for a real cure, no hope for medication to free him completely. Frightened beyond reason, despite knowing there was nothing to be afraid of, he waited for the worse to pass. He looked at Aayla and his sadness surpassed fear. "Why must I do what you say, even if it hurts me so much to think it will hurt you? I don't want you to carry this pain."
With the removal of so many blood cells to conjure the main ingredient of the antidote that brought forth Pokerus, Aayla was left weak. It was at her insistence that her blood was taken, as she did not possess the energy to heal all the affected pokemon faster than the terrible epidemic could spread. However, mass-producing the antidote with just a tiny sample of her blood cells, a few drops deluded in a bottle of chemicals, was enough to end the epidemic. As her healing blood was removed, when her body recovered, the essence of Pokerus would weaken and more blood cells would be required for the next batch of antidote to be made. The antidote was not infinite, but Pokerus could spread from one pokemon to another after the antidote was administrated, hence a relatively small amount of antidote could make a big difference by its side effects of spreading its healing.
Aayla's power would still be weakened as a consequence of the lack of Pokerus concentration in her system, which her body had become accustomed and even dependant to. She could no longer teleport and the illusions that she created were easier to break. Her movements, though still relatively agile, were also not as fast as they were before. She slept more often, surrendering to an exhaustion that seemed to remain with her even after hours of sleep. It was her choice none the less to spread the cure as quickly as possible; it was her personal mission which she convinced Binks to help her with in taking the sample from her.
xoxox xox xoxox
At the mansion, Delia, Ash and Giovanni were in one of the many sitting rooms. This particular one had a circular couch as the centerpiece with a round gold plated table in the middle. The area where the black leather circle opened to allow people to sit within it, was adorned with a pair of statues on either side, both also covered in gold. The statues were detailed, though their similarities to the pokemon they represented, Lugia and Hooh, were left in theory in many ways. The carpet was a neutral gray, which made the gold stand out further.
Triangle shaped topazes lined with golden frames formed a majestic chandelier overhead. All in all, the room seemed far too fancy for a simple place to talk. The round table could be used to host a fancy dinner and most other activities seemed out of place there. However, the three current occupants of the room had other things to think about. Giovanni faced Delia and Ash, which made the atmosphere of an interrogation invade the room even before the first words were spoken.
"Let him go..." Ash whispered so softly that his voiced seemed to be lost into nothingness. "Please, just let him go."
"You do know where Mewtwo is," with every passing moment, Giovanni felt as if his memories became clearer. He saw himself in control of Mewtwo, then fighting to recapture him.
"Not exactly," Ash truthfully replied. He didn't know, and wouldn't say even if he did, what Mewtwo's exact location was, but he had an idea.
Seeing that Ash had falling into a long silence, face downcast, Giovanni addressed Delia. "What do you know about Mewtwo?"
"You used him to battle, but that wasn't the whole of your plan, it couldn't have been." Delia spoke softly, trying to keep her voice even and calm. "He escaped and you tracked him down. You tried to catch him by force. You should just let him go, he's a living being!"
"Mom..." Ash's soft whisper interrupted as Delia's voice had become upset. "Let me... You should... I really think you should stay here. You've done a lot of good, more than you might realize, I can feel it. Please stay here. I'll be the one to go."
Delia's eyes widened as she perceived the hidden meaning of her son's words. Ash knew that this argument would run deep; he knew that he might end up having to separate from his father for some time. He was asking her to stay by Giovanni's side. He could feel her influence on him, even if it was a slow and gentle process that would take a life time to fully take effect. Even so, it was significant and it was something only she could do. "I can't, I..." Delia closed her eyes and breathed, her heart was already racing. She had always chosen Giovanni, she chose him over herself, over justice and over her own family with the exception of her son. Now her son was asking her to stand by his father's side even if he couldn't.
"Please," Ash insisted, lifting his gaze for the first time since his arrival, to meet his mother's eyes. "This is what's best, so please." Pikachu remained quiet by Ash's side the whole time.
With tears starting to form in her eyes, Delia accepted Ash's request. "I trust you."
"Thank you," Ash stood and looked at his father in all seriousness. "I know what will happen if I tell you about Mewtwo and you know I'll try to stop you if you pursue him. We'll decide in a battle. Show me your full power, if I can't win, then I'll tell you everything I know about Mewtwo."
From that point on, everything became a blur to Delia. She followed them outside to witness their battle, but was sent back. It wouldn't be safe to get too close. She would watch from the window while they battled behind the mansion. The structure was equipped with a state of the art security system to protect it from pokemon attacks. The system recently underwent considerable upgrades. As she watched from the window, she recognized the pain in her heart. It was the pain that came when people dear to her stood against each other. She had felt it before, but this time it was more intense than ever. It reminded her of another occasion when she also felt as if she was caught in the middle and at the same time wasn't there at all.
xoxox xox xoxox
Years earlier, when Giovanni had just recently become the gym leader... At the police station, Jenny let out a defeated breath as she gathered her things. It was time for her to retire though she was still of age to keep working. She felt as if she had done enough, let her cousins do the rest until it was time for her daughter and nieces to step forward and keep up the family tradition of working towards upholding law and order. She might wear a law enforcement uniform again, but only as a privately hired guard, since she was still too young to retire completely.
She didn't feel right about handing in her badge, but she didn't feel wrong about it either. She knew the truth about the new Viridian gym leader, Giovanni. After losing a battle to him, her own battles felt insignificant by comparison. She hoped that the facet of his persona who believed in his pokemon would overpower the side of him that was too ambitious. At the time, from her perspective, it looked as if he was just barely balanced.
Jenny heard some quiet but firm footsteps approaching and instinctively looked up in mild curiosity. She didn't expect to see anyone procuring her, let alone him. "Is it true?" A man noticeably older than Jenny, with graying brown hair inquired. "Is it true that you're leaving us?"
"Superintendent..." she breathed, "yes, I'm afraid so. It seems my heart just isn't in it lately."
"Our battle is far from over," the police superintendent spoke sternly, his voice a mix of disappointment and grief.
"I feel as if I'm only a bystander," Jenny admitted. "If that's what I am, then I might as well stand back and watch."
"I'm going to expose him," the superintendent's voice was determined and unbreakable. "Everyone is opposed to the idea; they speak of the consequences of picking a fight. Some even see Team Rocket in a positive light because they defeated the other gangs that used to plague Kanto. That was something that the police force couldn't do. I was overwhelmed just trying to clean the force of double agents and small gangs. They even did that for me. During their operation the corrupt officers stepped into the war and were ultimately processed thanks to their involvement against Team Rocket. They were ironically finally doing their job in a sense when they were at last exposed and arrested."
"Then maybe Kanto really is better off in his hands," Jenny quietly spoke.
"Never!" The superintendent slammed his fist into the desk with a loud noise that made all eyes in the station land on him. He cleared his throat as if telling everyone to mind their own business. The officers continued working, pretending they were unaware of the superintendent's conversation. "If we leave justice in the hands of someone who is more so a villain than a vigilante we will regret it."
"So you'd leave it up to a vigilante then?" Jenny challenged, knowing all too well what the answer would be.
"Absolutely not," the superintendent frowned sternly.
Jenny sighed, she was younger than the superintendent and thus in theory less experienced, but it looked to her that he was throwing a tantrum because someone did his job more effectively than him. The superintendent was usually an understanding and kind person, albeit today he was clearly frustrated. He was an honorable man who would do anything for justice, to defend the innocent and protect the good. None the less, he was only human, a human who commanded little power despite his position.
The superintendent was expected to clean out the corruption from the police and rid Kanto of its dangerous era of gangs. The era had seemingly ended, though by someone else's hand and at a price that would truly be revealed in the future. "It's time to reclaim Kanto."
Jenny set the box she was holding with her belongings back on the desk. "Maybe I should stay for a while longer, if you don't mind."
"All honest officers are welcomed and appreciated," the superintendent excused himself with those words, leaving Jenny to reorganize her desk.
Jenny still didn't feel as if her authority could do much, but she wanted to see what was to come up close and maybe act if the opportunity came. She stood not for the law or the police; she would stand for what she thought was best for Kanto, regardless of what that entailed.
"Jenny, is it true you're leaving?" A male officer, slightly younger than her, though certainly not a rookie, inquired.
Jenny smiled as if the thought of quitting had never crossed her mind. She tugged away the envelope with her resignation letter in her pocket. "Of course not, I'm just cleaning my desk."
As her coworker left, she noticed that a name plate had been placed on the desk that used to belong to the chief of the station. The chief had been put into trial after conspiring with some of the gangs which Team Rocket later disbanded. At least the police force could start anew; thinking about that, Jenny became a little more optimistic. She read over the name plate that sat on the chief's desk, it looked like the superintendent would act as the Viridian police chief himself.
Then a thought occurred to Jenny, the superintendent had been very busy with the internal affairs of the police, it was only natural that he had no time to keep up with the news. He only knew the basics about what had happened, he only knew about Giovanni. He had not heard about the lady that stood by his side. Jenny bit her lip and shook her head. She finished organizing her desk and sat down to go over some reports. Before immersing herself completely in the written works, she glanced at the name plate on the chief's desk one last time, but chose to remain silent.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. We are in the last saga, so after the (short) flashback we'll be heading into the final chapters. Don't worry, I won't skip the battle. I'll go into the details of Ash and Gio's battle after this flashback is done. I'll also explain what's up with the PorygonZ. The superintendent's identity will be revealed in the next chapter. For all the Slayers fans out there, I'm writing a story called "To Live Another Day" and the first few chapters are already posted!