Diamond 104: Give me Security
Don't Give Me Diamonds
Diamond 104: Give me Security
At the Viridian City gym, Rune arrived most unexpectedly around mid day. He was unaware that Naberrie and Giovanni were related and only knew of her intentions of becoming his ally. The detail of them being cousins didn't truly matter to either, though if Rune knew, he would surely have something to comment about it, as he often had something to comment on everything. The topic of conversation that day was lunch, the business lunch that Giovanni had apparently arranged to have with Rune with the purpose of discussing various things related to the city and their duties as mayor and gym leader respectively. In truth, Giovanni had not arranged that lunch meeting, but he did receive a call from Naberrie asking for an update and to let him know that Rune was on his way.
By then Team Rocket had noticed that Davin was indeed being watched and sent Petrel to investigate. His mission was also to make sure nothing happened to Delia's father which could cause trouble for her, in turn for Giovanni and thus for Team Rocket. As for Naberrie sending the clueless Rune over to the Viridian Gym, it was Naberrie's way to provide some insurance of her intentions, though Giovanni had a feeling that if it came to that, she would be willing to do little for the sake of her husband's release.
The situation slowly became clearer and it looked like Naberrie's intentions for the time being were true. Yet Giovanni still didn't trust her. Even if her wish was to be his ally, her plans later down the road could be something very different, something traitorous. For the time being at least, while exercising caution, her influence could be allowed to serve as a benefit to Team Rocket. Following Giovanni's strategy, which would expose Naberrie's personnel albeit she did not protest in their name, through threats and bribery, the real police superintendent was discovered and a general assessment of his plans were made.
In truth the elite little group of officers and government officials were only opportunists that were trying to appear as heroes. Their plans were not all that complex, use Davin as a spy through Delia, then seek to discover a weakness in Team Rocket to take advantage of. If worse came to worse, come up with some accusations for Delia and use her to negotiate in a way that would hopefully lead to Giovanni's arrest, despite any use he might make of technicalities and contacts. Of course, Giovanni would not let it get to that.
There was also that third party to think about. The impression Giovanni got from the investigation was that they were in charge and the officers and government agents were only along for the ride in search of easy fame, recognition and rewards. By spying on the communications of the police and government, clues were found as to the identity of that third party.
"It's almost certain that the third party involved is Silph," Archer informed on a gloomy afternoon with gray clouds and so little light that one would think it was evening. The atmosphere seemed fitting to Delia's mood as she listened. "Either way, this strategy of theirs is weak. I think Silph Co. may be using the police and government agents involved to cover their true plans, which probably include playing heroes."
"Then all we have to do is stop them," Giovanni concluded. The meeting, which consisted of Giovanni, Delia, Archer, Ariana and Proton, then took a more defined direction in relation to the plans to stop Silph Co.
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That evening, Giovanni and Delia had an argument about her going to the Silph Co. building in Saffron City with a few other Rockets. "This is my father we're talking about; I want to personally make sure that any actions that could be taken against him are stopped." It was the dilemma of the vigilantes and the reason why they so often chose to keep their identities a secret, so that those linked to them would not have to suffer for their actions.
"That's exactly what they want, to catch you in the middle of an illegal act and take you away. Even if we have our reasons to do this, even if it is to defend Team Rocket, we're still trespassing by breaking into Silph Co. with this investigation. Besides, even if it turns out that the leader of this whole conspiracy is staying at the building as our sources indicate, who's to say our discovery of his plans will be enough to put a stop to them? We don't know what will have to be done once we're there, as things stand now we'll decide when the time comes and I don't want you in the middle of that uncertainty. Then there's also Naberrie, what if she's planning something?" Giovanni tried to reason with Delia to make her stay back at the Viridian base, but she wouldn't have it.
"Giovanni," she looked into his eyes with determination and reassurance. "We've been in more dangerous situations before and have come out on top. What we're doing is illegal, but it's done for the right reasons. We're the protectors of Kanto and we can't let anyone stop us from accomplishing our duties to the world."
If that could be translated to taking over the world, then it was indeed their duty from Giovanni's perspective. He realized that he was not going to win this argument. Though usually flexible and understanding, when Delia set her mind on something, there was simply no stopping her. "If you insist on going to Silph Co., then I will go too."
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The gloomy weather that dominated Kanto that day with gray skies and light rain, had taken a turn for the worse in the shape of an all out downpour in Saffron City that night. Delia and Giovanni were there to infiltrate the Silph Co. building with a small elite team consisting of Proton, Luke, Ben and themselves.
Archer, Ariana, Aayla, Leah and a few others would be secretly keeping an eye on Nabberie's movements as well as entertaining Rune, who wisely decided not to listen to his curiosity and suspicions, instead playing along as he was told. Petrel was still in Pallet Town, at the Oak laboratory where Davin was instructed to stay. Thankfully, he was no longer in disguise and instead wore his customized version of the Team Rocket uniform, with shiny golden details to accentuate the black fabric.
Binks was immersed in his scientific research. The New Island facilities were not yet built and he instead was beginning to work with Ackbar Inc. It was Delia who convinced Giovanni to do business with Bane Ackbar, subsequent to hearing of his son's delicate health condition. After humoring Delia's compassion, Giovanni saw that the deal was indeed a good opportunity and a long term secret business relation began between Ackbar Inc. and Team Rocket. While the future was full of possibilities, it still needed to be protected and ensured.
"This is like, not like cool, you know?" Luke whispered in the darkness of the night. He was cold and wet, as was almost everyone else, as they stood in the darkness outside of the Silph Co. building.
"No, it's freezing; this is a fine night you picked to sneak around, Giovanni." Proton was hard at work picking the back door's lock with only his black hat to protect him from the rain. Big umbrellas didn't exactly scream sneaky.
Delia was the only one with enough sense to bring a raincoat. It had been difficult to find a black one, but when she did, she purchased it immediately, earning an amused chuckle from Giovanni, who was sure she would never need it. She proved that it was best to be prepared when she dug it out of the closet and took it along for the mission.
Ben finished cutting some wires from a previously sealed box on the wall and joined the group as the back door was opened, leading into a small storage room. Their footsteps were accentuated with dripping sounds and the 'splash, squish' sound of their boots. "I can almost hear Petrel saying I told you so," Ben quietly voiced.
"Okay, so maybe buying discount boots wasn't such a good idea. Things were just getting started, the newbies needed uniforms and I had more important investments to make. It was before the budget was adjusted with the antidote revenues." Giovanni removed his boots, as did everyone else to prevent being noisy. The floor was very cold beneath their bare feet. "Remind me to put Petrel in charge of buying the uniforms from now on, he's picky, but maybe that's not so bad after all."
"I should tell him about the ninja gear shop where I bought this rain coat." Delia removed it to reveal her dry and cozy Team Rocket uniform which was not freezing cold with rain water nor sticking to her skin uncomfortably as everyone else's clothes were.
"Requesting permission to strip, sir." Proton did a mock salute and began to pull his shirt over his head, only to have Giovanni stop him.
"We're Team Rocket; we need to wear our uniforms with our symbol," the leader argued. "Besides, no one will take you seriously if you go around in your underwear." Pouting, Proton left his clothes on.
Remembering a past event, Ben commented, "I seriously thought Aayla was going to cough out a lung that time." He had removed the covers over some wires on the wall and proceeded to cut several of them. Studying the stolen blueprints of the structure of Silph Co.'s building was of great benefit.
"What happened?" Delia curiously and quietly inquired. "Was Proton running around the hideout drunk in his underwear?"
"Once, I did that only once," Proton grumbled, remembering vaguely how he tried to flirt with Leah and got slapped for it. She was petite, but she could be strong when she tried, his face hurt for hours.
"Nah, I was like going out to like surf in a storm, you know? I like talked Giovanni and Ben into like coming with me, you know?" Luke explained, with a fond smile as if the entire ordeal had been amusing to him. "The beach was like closed and like off limits, you know? But the waves were like totally awesome, man! Dudette, I like knew I like had to try them, you know? Then the police like totally like ruined our fun, you know? They like chased us out and were like trying to arrest us, you know? We were all like in swimming shorts and like didn't have time to like grab the bag with our clothes when we like ran away, you know? It was like hilarious, dudette."
"The police confiscated the bag with the clothes and we ended up running all the way back to the hideout in shorts, in the middle of a storm," Giovanni glared at Luke upon remembering the event. "I promised myself never to let Luke convince me to go to the beach in a storm ever again no matter how many 'dude, you're like our like awesome like fearless leader, you know?' speeches he gave me."
"Dude, you like never like got around to like try the stormy waves, man!" Luke complained, "you would like totally like know that they're like totally worth the risk if you did, you know? At least we like saved my surf board, you know?"
"Yeah, Luke wouldn't leave his surf board behind and we ended up using it to shield ourselves from the rain," Ben added as he made a pause in his wire work, then started to plug in a small device. "If anything we looked more ridiculous. We had to return on foot because we had taken a bus and later they cancelled the busses because of the storm."
"It was like our only choice, because the chocolate bar was like not feeling like well, you know?" Luke recalled. "The poor car like died like tragically like a week later, you know?"
"I think it might be better to stay indoors during a storm," Delia giggled at the imaginary image of three young men in beach shorts, running to shelter while carrying a surf board, all three trying to use it to protect themselves from the harsh weather.
"I ordered Aayla to clean the entire hideout for laughing at us, but I always suspected she made Binks do it for her," Giovanni mused. "Remind me to send her on some annoying mission some time."
"I'm glad I stayed at the hideout that time," Proton voiced, "even if Archer, Petrel and I lost miserably playing strip poker with Ariana. All three of us ganged up against her and ended up losing anyway. Either she's incredibly lucky, or far better than us at cheating."
"That's karma," Delia stated with an amused grin. It was nice being with her fellow vigilantes, she once again felt invincible. The atmosphere was emphasized by the fact that they all wore masks to hide their identities. Far from thinking that they looked like burglars, Delia was certain that they looked like a band of noble super heroes.
"Is everyone ready?" Ben asked. "When I cause the main power to short circuit, we'll only have a few minutes to get to the stairs before the auxiliary power comes on. Then a few more minutes before the main power resets." The young man with light brown hair and hazel eyes tapped the small device attached to the fuse box on the wall.
The inquiry brought everyone back to the present; they were ready to continue with their mission after having occupied themselves in talking quietly and squeezing the water out of their uniforms. Everyone nodded in agreement and voiced their eagerness to continue with the infiltration mission.
Ben released his Magnemite from its pokeball, "alright Magnemite, give it a charge." The device attached to the fuse box directed the electricity from Magnemite to certain key points that would cause the main power to shut down interpreting a short circuit that was not truly there. Quickly recalling the pokemon back into his pokeball, Ben joined the others in a race through dark corridors.
Giovanni had a flashlight and led the way to the stairs. The auxiliary power went on with a few faint lights, but the security cameras wouldn't reboot for a few more seconds when the auxiliary power adjusted in full. They hurried into the shaft containing the emergency stairs and closed the door behind them. The auxiliary power came on completely and bright light once again illuminated the corridors and stairs. Light had been seen from the building almost twenty four hours a day, even when the employees were supposed to have long since finished their shift. Most people assumed there were employees staying late to work on special projects or that Silph Co. had added another shift. They were all perfectly logical explanations, but most likely just a cover up.
No longer in need of the flashlight, Giovanni, Delia, Luke, Proton and Ben headed up to the eleventh floor where they theorized the Silph Co. president could still be. During the past days' investigations he seldom left the building and often stayed over night. "You know the plan," Giovanni faced the door leading out of the stairs and to the hallway of the eleventh floor. "Delia, Luke and I will go ahead; Proton and Ben will stay here and provide backup if needed and assistance in our escape if it comes to that." He checked the radios that the two smaller teams would carry. "Maintain radio silence unless there's an emergency."
Everyone accented their readiness and the next part of the mission was put into action. Luke released his Seadra from her pokeball and held her as they prepared to run to their final destination of the mission. "Just like I like told you, dudette, smoke screen, you know? Like nice and thick, but like not too long lasting, you know?" The door to the hallway was opened simultaneously with Seadra's attack and the three agents assigned to that part of the mission ran through the smoke. The other two remained behind as backup. They would be ready to create a distraction if it was needed.
The main power was reset and the failure was attributed to a need for maintenance and possible damage to the outside cables because of the bad weather. The assumption was proven false when one of the monitors in the security camera room was obscured by a black fog. The guards were unsure if it was a malfunction or not, but decided not to take any chances. Either way it was too late, Giovanni, Delia and Luke were already at the president's office by the time he got a call from security telling him about what they had seen in the monitor and asking if he was alright. Seeing the three threatening figures trapping him in his office, it was obvious for the president what he was expected to say. "I'm fine, nothing is wrong, what you saw must have been a malfunction."
"The hallway is clear," one of the guards' voice replied. By the time he arrived at the scene, the smoke screen had already dissipated.
"The faulty camera is working now too," the guard stationed at the monitor room added via their internal communications system.
"Continue at your normal posts," president Silph instructed, not taking his eyes off the three intruders. After the voice-only communication ended he stated, "I know why you're here. It's for the masterball isn't it? Well you're out of luck because the masterball is nothing but a failed prototype." For confidentiality reasons the eleventh floor was devoid of cameras, the president had always thought that having them in the halls was enough.
"What is a failure is your act," Giovanni made a mental note of that masterball just in case he might need to investigate it later. For the time being, he had something else to focus on. "I want the whole truth. I know you're working with the police and government against Team Rocket."
"I see..." the president let out a breath and leaned back on his chair. He kept his hands motionless on top of the desk where they were easily visible, so as to not provoke any violence from the masked Team Rocket invaders. Barefoot and dripping wet as they were, though at least one was dry, they all still managed to look quite threatening. "The government as well as the police have given up. Due to the discovery of the antidote and the benefits in both health, economy and other areas that it brought, the government seems to be aiming for a peaceful coexistence with Team Rocket. Perhaps they even see it as positive economical stimulation. The police was corrupted and those that were left after the clean-up seemed pleased to start anew. Despite some of them, many of them, knowing about Team Rocket, they seem all too willing to forget. They want to let this go as an act by a band of vigilantes and look at it in a positive light. If this goes on, in la few years Team Rocket's leader will be officially forgotten, his criminal record conveniently misplaced along with several others. From then on, it would be a new start."
"You seem to understand," Delia spoke for the first time since their arrival at the office. "Then why are you doing this? Everyone else is okay with Team Rocket, why do you stand against us?"
"Because too much power leads to corruption," President Silph replied in a tired voice that made him sound even older than his gray hair made him look. "I fear for the future, if a being is given power, if an organization is made different, then they will become corrupted. It's all the same principal, such power, such abilities; humans can create wonderful and terrible things that must not be left to run rampant. I'm afraid there's been a miscalculation, my allies from the government and police seemed to have slipped up and attracted unwanted attention. They were rash in wishing for glory, in wanting to take the gym leader's place as a hero. Does it matter? The way things are going, he is destined to be forgotten as a hero to become a secret villain until the day his true plans are revealed."
"Enough!" Delia's exclamation startled president Silph into silence. "Don't speak as if you knew him, you don't know anything!" She felt as if Giovanni was being terribly insulted by the accusations. "You understand that your plans will fail, don't you? Then you should stop this."
"It's already out of my hands," president Silph admitted. "The others are too rash, as I said. I was supposed to lead them, but they don't listen to me. In the end, my plan failed before it began because I was not wise in choosing my allies. I admit defeat." The president's eyes were downcast in fear and disappointment.
"I hope you like don't like really think we'll like fall for that, you know?" It was a good thing that Mr. Silph and Luke had never met before, otherwise mask or not, he would be easily identifiable by his speech alone. It was one of the internal jokes of Team Rocket that Luke would never be allowed to write a secret threat or ransom note because he wrote as he spoke.
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That night, the Silph president played his cards carefully in hopes of being given another chance to prepare. Yet the hasty actions of the real police superintendent did indeed throw all their chances of success out the window when Naberrie discovered them while fishing for blackmail and similar useful information. Silph Co. was allowed and even encouraged to continue the development of the masterball. The project was monitored by Team Rocket, which led to a confrontation upon its later completion several years after that night, when Silph Co. refused to turn over the finished product to Team Rocket.
The president's office was searched and several things, mostly confidential data, were confiscated. Among the data that was taken, there was the core coding for Porygon, which came as no surprise given that this was Silph Co. They were developing a device called an Upgrade, which would cause the human created pokemon, Porygon, to evolve into Porygon2. The development was also continued with Team Rocket overseeing the process. Ben had always liked tinkering with machines, but despite having a talent with electronics, circuitry was more so his field and not so much software. As he watched over the development of the Upgrade he realized he needed help from experts in the field, which led to the creation of a technological department in Team Rocket and the addition of software experts and hackers to the members.
Overall, the Silph Co. operation was a success. The president was secretly detained for several hours until the Rockets left the building. Their exit was rushed, yet it was not due to anything troublesome happening at Silph Co., but rather something that occurred at the Saffron City police station where the real superintendent was having a secret meeting with some police officers and government agents. Wishing to obtain a position of power in Team Rocket, Naberrie set out to solve the problem by removing its roots, the superintendent, the police officers and the government agents involved in the conspiracy against Team Rocket. The actions she took to make Giovanni believe she was his ally would inevitably lead to a confrontation.
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Meanwhile, at the Viridian City gym, "this is Leah, reporting," Leah's soft voice was transmitted to Ariana's cell phone as she made her scheduled call. She had snuck away for a moment while Rune admired the gym's arena, going on and on about what pokemon was the proudest in the forest. She had been playing tour guide and public relations agent for him for quite some time and was bored with the task, but made no complaints.
"How are things with the mayor?" Ariana inquired. While Leah and rune were at the Viridian Gym, Ariana, Archer and Aayla were stationed at Saffron City with a few Rocket agents, watching over Naberrie's actions. She had returned to her home city after leaving her husband in Team Rocket's custody, while her young son presumably remained at their Viridian residence under the protection of several bodyguards. Given the fact that Silph Co. was located in Saffron City, Naberrie's movement was seen as suspicious.
"Everything is fine, there is nothing to report," Leah informed. "From what I can perceive, the mayor is a carefree person who sincerely wishes to improve Viridian City. He also seems to be eager to follow instructions. I believe it would be beneficial for Giovanni to guide him." It was a nicer way to say that Rune would make a good pawn.
"That's good news, I can't say the same about the puppet master over here," Ariana referred to Naberrie, who had clearly been controlling Rune. "She hasn't made a move yet, but we'll keep watching her. Let us know if you find out anything."
"Understood," Leah's reply was as sweet and quiet as usual, "I wish you luck." After the call had ended, Leah returned to stand beside the rambling mayor.
"Wouldn't you agree?" Rune finished his cheerful speech and looked at Leah for approval.
Realizing that he was so absorbed in his speech that he didn't even notice she had slipped away, Leah nodded. Her reaction caused Rune's smile to grow and he continued rambling something about forest pride.
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At Saffron City, Ariana finished her conversation with Leah and turned to look at her beloved Archer, who sat at the driver's seat of their tinted window black car. The car was parked in a shaded spot away from the street lights in front of Naberrie's residence. Archer glanced at Ariana, both bored from sitting there waiting for something to happen. Their faces became closer until their lips met, then Aayla spoke from the back seat, "I feel like a third wheel!"
The sudden statement in its tone and timing, cause Ariana to laugh unexpectedly and accidentally bite Archer's lower lip. He made a sound of protest as she had bitten him rather hard and he felt a cut starting to bleed. "Sorry about that," Ariana apologized with a wink and turned in the passenger seat to look at Aayla. "Are you wishing you had dragged Binks along so that we could make this a double date?"
"There's nothing going on with me and the stickfigure geek," Aayla defended, "he only wishes." It was something she often took advantage of, making him do her chores in the past, before they had rookies to take care of cleaning up the base and so on.
"They're on the move," Archer announced, interrupting the conversation between the two women before Ariana could further tease Aayla about her supposedly nonexistent relationship with Binks. Two cars left the long driveway of Naberrie's luxurious Saffron City home and judging by the shadows inside them, both were full with as many passengers as they could carry, though they were at the moment unidentifiable. Ordering a few Rocket agents in the premises to stay behind and guard the house, Archer drove off silently into the darkness, in secret pursuit of the cars that went out of Naberrie's property.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. This story is based mostly on the anime, albeit creative license is used in some parts. I also included a few references to the mangas, novels and games, such as Silph Co. and the masterball.