Diamond 107: Give me Potential
Diamond 107: Give me Potential
Ash's story about his adventures with Mewtwo, detailed the feelings and conclusions he reached during that time. He told his father about all he could remember from New Island and even about the battle to recapture Mewtwo where they had both been present. Brock's Onix emerging from his pokeball just as Giovanni approached, had served as a coincidental obstacle for Giovanni and Ash not to see each other. It was a narration that Delia had heard before, but left her in deep thought every time she focused on it.
By then, both Ash and Giovanni had cleaned off the sand that once covered them and they, accompanied by Delia, talked in one of the mansion's many sitting rooms. The two Persian were also still at the mansion, with the male soaking in a bubble bath with some fancy shampoo that was perfect for his fur, while the female paced around red faced, looking for a way to spy on him in which she wouldn't get caught.
"What I'm trying to say is that Mewtwo is a living being, he thinks and feels, he's not just an experiment or a tool," Ash finished his revelations, emphasizing the vital conclusion.
Giovanni paused and closed his eyes for a moment, embracing his son's words with an open mind. "Even if I accept that, it doesn't change anything. Team Rocket has used many over time and for the sake of the ultimate goal it will continue to be done."
"That's... wrong..." Ash wasn't sure how to explain it, he was empathic, connecting with others easily as his mother did. Giovanni didn't seem to be like that at all, yet the memories of the feelings and images from that mysterious Persian filled Ash's mind once more. The world wasn't black and white; it was a mix of shades of gray, he recalled. One could care about many or few, yet that did not mean that the appreciation was any less true. There were no true heroes or villains, but people who had their own choices to make, which may not always fit together in perfect harmony with the expectations of those around them.
"Ash, I'm the leader of Team Rocket, a criminal organization with the goal of controlling the world," Giovanni spoke sincerely, his eyes locked on Ash's. "We're not a band of vigilantes or simple trouble makers. What you've seen so far is only the surface. Even if we have stopped other threats from invading Kanto and other regions, it is in protection of our own territory, our own power, not to serve as heroes. You need to understand that reality isn't always how you wish it were." After a short pause he added quietly, "sorry to disappoint you," sounding as if he really meant it.
"I see," Ash took a deep breath, releasing it slowly. "What will you do if you take over the world? Will it not be your world to protect? Be it for territory or power, won't you protect it?"
"Don't try to twist things around to sound better, I'm not asking you to justify me," Giovanni voiced in all seriousness.
Ash nodded, "I understand," he stood and prepared to leave. Delia, who had been quiet the entire time, stood as well and stopped as if trying to say something. Ash smiled reassuringly, "everyone has to follow their own path and reach out for what they believe in, you taught me that, it's good advice. Stay here, please keep father company, I'll see you later."
"Be safe," Delia finally voiced, holding back tears. She allowed herself to fall back into a sitting position as Ash approached one of the balconies situated on the back side of the mansion, facing towards the recently rearranged terrain as a result of the battle. He released his Charizard, who had since received healing items along with his other pokemon. "I know you must still want to rest, but can you make it to Pallet Town?" Charizard nodded and allowed Ash to climb on his back.
A few seconds passed in silence and Giovanni approached the balcony, standing there for a second looking into the distance until the feeling of being watched caused him to look up. There was Ash on his Charizard, perched on the edge of the roof, as if taking a moment to organize his thoughts before heading to Pallet Town. The fire pokemon jumped off the roof, gliding next to the balcony, "just one more thing... do you... really..." Ash stopped himself and shook his head, "never mind." He knew the answer, he had sense that answer, he accomplished nothing by doubting it.
"You're welcome to join me if you change your mind," Giovanni finally offered, his offer serving as an answer to Ash's unfinished question.
"No, but thank you for offering," with those final words of an indefinite farewell, Ash flew off on Charizard into the distance in direction towards Pallet Town.
xoxox xox xoxox
Sometime later, Ash made it to Pallet Town and landed at the Oak research lab. At the time, Gary was outside examining some pokemon and taking notes. He set his electronic clipboard aside and approached Ash, searching his face for any signs of something unknown.
"Hey, how are you doing?" Ash greeted Gary in a completely casual way, though Gary could still tell there was something on his mind.
The young researcher crossed his arms and donned a serious expression. "I'm not letting you go without an explanation," he warned. I know there's something secret going on, those visitors from Team Rocket, your mother being kidnapped, you calling to say she was alright and hanging up soon after. You've been busy and I know Team Rocket is involved. I think grandpa knows something too but he won't tell me. I don't want to think you're actually with Team Rocket and your mother is suffering the consequences of that, because I know it's not like you. Ash, I've known you for my whole life and I always thought you were predictable outside of battle, for once you proved me wrong."
Sighing in exhaustion, realizing just how tired he really was, Ash could do little more than apologize, "I'm sorry."
"Sorry for what?" Gary shouted in exasperation.
Samuel had overheard the argument and emerged from the laboratory to meet the two young men outside. "Ash, you seem tired, come inside, have something to eat and rest. I'm sure you'll be able to talk with us better once you've had a moment to collect your thoughts."
Frowning in disapproval, as he was tired of waiting, Gary said nothing and just followed the other two inside the house listening as Ash inquired about his pokemon and went to switch his current team.
A few refreshments later, Ash seemed to be just as quiet and distracted as before. Gary was done waiting and instead chose to resolve the matter in a way they were both familiar with, a pokemon battle.
Ash and Gary once again headed outside, with Samuel standing at a safe distance to watch the fight. The two young men were at the same place where Ash and Giovanni had fallen asleep because of Jigglypuff, thus causing them to postpone their battle. Though they did eventually battle, the circumstances were quite different. Forcing himself to focus on the present, Ash vaguely caught Gary declaring this a two on two double battle, which meant both pokemon would be sent out simultaneously.
Both trainers released their pokemon, who materialized from the red beams of their pokeballs. The battle would be Ash's Infernape and Crawdaunt versus Gary's Scizor and Electivire. Eager to get some answers, Gary made the opening move of the battle, "Scizor metal claw, Electivire thunder punch!"
With the two opposing pokemon rushing towards his on the attack, Ash quickly reacted with evasive maneuvers, "Infernape dig, Crawdaunt use bubble beam!" While Infernape disappeared below ground, Crawdaunt unleashed a powerful stream of bubbles that obstructed the path of the two opponents, slowing them down. Electivire wasn't held up for long, recovering first and continuing the attack on Crawdaunt. Just as the thunder punch was about to reach him, Infernape emerged from the ground on a surprise attack to Electivire. Scizor had followed his ally to attack Crawdaunt, while Infernape remained out of reach and was taken by surprise, thus creating an opening for Crawdaunt, which Ash took advantage of, "Crawdaunt, vice-grip on Scizor!"
Gary reacted quickly, calling out to Scizor, "Scizor, use metal claw again!" This caused the two clawed pokemon to become locked in a sort of arm wrestling match, so focused on each other that they were open for attacks from the opponent's team. However, Electivire and Infernape were also busy fighting each other, "Electivire, rolling kick!"
"Infernape, blaze kick!" As the two powerful kicks collided, ash glanced at the other part of the battle simultaneously taking place, in search of an opportunity. "Crawdaunt, use crunch!" Crawdaunt's grip on Scizor's claws tightened and he momentarily gained the advantage in their competition.
"Scizor, use iron head!" With his claws still wrestling Crawdaunt's, Scizor used his head to defend himself against the other pokemon, banging it against Crawdaunt's claw, which dissipated his recently acquired advantage. It looked like Crawdaunt and Scizor would take a while longer to show a clear advantage, but Gary knew he couldn't lower his guard in the other half of the battle either. "Electivire, use charge beam!"
As the beam of electric energy flew towards Infernape, Ash countered it, "flame thrower!" The beams of electricity and fire collided with each other, causing sparks and embers to fly in every direction.
With a look in his eyes that foretold of a strategy, Gary commanded, "Scizor, flash cannon!"
The distance was not ideal for the attack, thus Ash knew that Gary must be planning something and went on the attack to hopefully stop the strategy. "Crawdaunt use crab hammer, Infernape, flame wheel!" Infernape was covered in fire, rushing forward in a cartwheel of flames, while Crawdaunt tried to smash Scizor with his large pincers.
Gary put his plan into action, "Electivire use volt switch and thunder punch!" Surrounded by electricity, Electivire switched places with Scizor. Scizor then released his flash cannon into Infernape before the fire pokemon was close enough for the flame wheel to be truly effective. Infernape was pushed back harshly by the blast. Taken by surprise with the switch of opponents, Crawdaunt's crab hammer missed and he took the thunder punch head on. "Quickly Scizor, use X-Scissor!" Gary continued the relentless attack, determined to win. Unable to recover on time, Infernape took the hit.
Ash watched his pokemon for a moment drawing a blank, his mind focused on the possible consequences if he lost. He pushed himself to think only on the present once more and imagined it was just another occasional battle with Gary. 'I can still win,' he thought. "Crawdaunt, Infernape, don't give up!" Ash encouraged his pokemon. "Infernape, flame wheel on Scizor," before the attack was performed, Scizor was already getting ready to dodge by gaining altitude. "Crawdaunt, give him a boost and be ready!" Unexpectedly, Infernape jumped on Crawdaunt's strong pincer and was thrown into the air spinning while on fire like a boomerang of flames. He smashed right into Scizor, knocking him to the ground, where Crawdaunt received him with a continuous attack. "Crawdaunt crab hammer, Infernape, dig!"
Gary knew he couldn't use another volt switch in this situation, the attack was too relentless. "Electivire, go help Scizor, use thunder punch on Crawdaunt!" Gary knew that Infernape was waiting to attack, but if Scizor was knocked out, the battle would take a turn in Ash's favor, becoming two on one.
"Now Infernape!" The fire pokemon emerged from below ground to attack his electric adversary.
"Be careful Electivire, fight back with rolling kick!" Gary's command was effective in that Electivire could defend himself against Infernape, but it was too late for Scizor. The steel pokemon lay unconscious on the ground. Once Crawdaunt had confirmed that Scizor was knocked out, he joined his comrade to battle Electivire. "Scizor return, rest up, we'll take care of the battle."
"Infernape, Crawdaunt, let's finish this battle, attack together with crab hammer and blaze kick!" Ash commanded, almost tasting his victory.
Gary was not one to go down without a fight. "Don't give up Electivire, use a double thunder punch!" Electrivire attacked both opponents that were rushing towards him. His attack was effective on Crawdaunt, finally knocking him out. However, it was not enough to withstand the combined force of both opposing pokemon. Electrivire lost consciousness to the force of Infernape's attack, leaving the fire pokemon as the representative of the victor. "Electivire return, you put up a good fight." Gary recalled his fainted pokemon to rest in his pokeball.
"Infernape, Crawdaunt, well done, that was some great team work, you can rest now." Ash recalled his pokemon as well, further emphasizing the end of the battle.
"You won," Gary acknowledged, "does this mean that you're not going to explain things?" He inquired urgently, almost sounding reproachful. Interpreting Ash's silence, he added, "fine, don't tell me. I'll find out what's going on by myself."
"Don't!" Ash warned, "please, just let things be, it won't do any good if you get involved!"
"I think this secrecy has lasted long enough," Samuel, who had been quietly watching from the sidelines, intervened. "Ash, if it would make you feel as a traitor to speak, then don't, I won't hold it against you, but I will speak, with Gary and Gary only."
"I would feel like a traitor for speaking," Ash admitted. "I also feel like a traitor if I don't. I'm not used to having secrets to keep."
"Team Rocket is close to taking over the world," Samuel announced, "I have been conducting a quiet investigation of my own, ever since I found out about Delia's... rekindled relationship. Apparently they're in the process of setting the stage and soon all the business groups that are seemingly unrelated will reveal themselves. This doesn't mean that it will happen suddenly, I think each industry will be revealed slowly to promote a sort of inevitable acceptance of Team Rocket as the new rule. By the time the majority truly notices the change; to take down Team Rocket would be nearly impossible."
"Then what are we waiting for? We should take them out now, while we can!" Gary insisted strongly.
"The consequences are already too great," Samuel sighed in resignation. "All we can do is hope that this new rule brings innovation and prosperity."
"I can't accept that!" Gary shouted.
"Gary," Ash quietly voiced, though he was certainly heard and all eyes were on him in an instant. "When I think of what would happen if Team Rocket is defeated, I feel a terrible darkness. The way things are set up, the world is placed to fall apart in their struggle. When I think of the future, I see light and darkness mixed into one, then finally there is light." He was reminded of that boy for some unknown reason, the unusual boy who traveled to Pallet Town with a mysterious Persian and Vulpix.
"Do you expect me to trust in some vague hunch you have about the future?" Gary was not satisfied.
"If he returned, would you not want to stand by his side no matter what?" Ash whispered in a barely audible voice. "If your father returned after you thought of him as dead for so long, would you not welcome him even if you had your differences?" Both Gary and Samuel remained silent for a moment, eyes downcast. "I'm sorry," Ash apologized, "I shouldn't have said that."
"He's your father?" Gary finally spoke after a moment of silence.
Ash nodded, "the leader of Team Rocket is my father, mom and I are both involved in this, Misty and her family too."
What Samuel had mentioned about Delia's relationship along with Ash's confirmation of a close involvement with Team Rocket, made Gary's expression show realization. "The Viridian City gym leader," Ash nodded quietly while many thoughts ran through Gary's head, "the antidote..."
"All thanks to Team Rocket," Ash quietly replied, "they're not all good and they do want to take over the world, by force if needed. They're not all bad either; I think that, in time, the world will be... alright. It's not worth all the pain; if people don't wish to fight..."
"It will all be in vain," Gary let out a hopeless breath. "Well, you know what they say," Gary looked unsure, yet determined, "if you can't beat them, join them."
"You don't mean to try to take them out from the inside?!" Ash's worried inquiry was further emphasized by Samuel's distressed expression.
"No, I'll just make sure that good things like the antidote and other scientific advancements outnumber the bad," Gary assured. "I won't take Team Rocket down, but I... everyone, can do their part in a process of change. You too Ash, don't slack off."
Ash smiled, feeling as if part of the weight he carried had been lifted off his shoulders. "Thank you."
The moment of trust, friendship and hope for the future was interrupted by a loud "bel!" Ash's unwillingly inherited Bellsprout rushed to him and wrapped her leaves around his leg in a tight hug, refusing to let go.
"Ouch, Belle, you're cutting my circulation!" Try as he did, Belle just wouldn't let him go until Gary and Samuel helped him pry her off between much needed laughs.
After a few more words of secrecy, hope and reassurance were spoken, Ash left towards Cerulean City riding on Unfezant.
xoxox xox xoxox
Late that night at Cerulean City, Ash and Misty had gone out, leaving the family to assume what they pleased about their possible reasons to stay out so late. Though she was teased in good humor by her sisters about going on a romantic midnight stroll along the beach, Misty knew that there would be no opportunity for that for some time.
At the roof of a tall apartment building in Cerulean City, its inhabitants unaware, Ash projected his aura ability, surrounded by a soft pale blue glow. He reasoned that if Mewtwo was in Kanto, being such a powerful psychic, he would sense the aura and investigate. Then perhaps, seeing Ash, he would understand he was being purposely called, then Ash could warn him of the dangers that were searching for him. Ash's plan was to repeat the action in different places, both in cities and the wilderness, until Mewtwo was found, hopefully before Team Rocket got to him.
xoxox xox xoxox
At Pallet Town, Samuel was fighting with his insomnia, a product of his worries. As he finally drifted off to sleep, he saw a somewhat familiar silhouette at the window next to his bed, but he was too close to slumber land to know if it was real or a dream. A small green being with big blue eyes and thin wings looked at him curiously before smiling and disappearing once more.
xoxox xox xoxox
Meanwhile, the Team Rocket executives, Archer, Ariana, Proton and Petrel, had been discussing the recent happenings in a private conference room at the Viridian Rocket base. "Ruby and Quartz have both reported errors upon examination that should be well below the performance of a PorygonZ. PorygonZ from other regions, specifically those connected to the larger servers have been having trouble as well and so far we can't point out the culprit," Archer reviewed.
"It's clear that whoever is behind this knows the vitality of a stable communication system to monitor all of Team Rocket's transactions throughout the world," Ariana added. "Furthermore, the report from the diagnosis of Pixel's PorygonZ is troubling. We can now confirm that she is another victim rather than the culprit, but that is still not a lot of progress to be made."
"Let me see if I understand this," Proton went over the details once more. "That girl's PorygonZ wasn't involved in any hacking and she wasn't used as a cover-up after all, that was all a misinterpretation. What really happened was that, due to her open communication link with Sapphire for sensor support to scan New Island, when Sapphire was suddenly attack, the girl's PorygonZ used the communication channel as a portal to serve as Sapphire's shield, taking the hit."
"That's right," Archer confirmed. "The fact that the attack would have reached Sapphire is worrisome as it is, but to think that those consequences could have befallen Sapphire, or worse yet, Diamond."
"It's not going to be good if the big guns go off for no reason, especially if they're aimed at us," Petrel nodded. "It was a good thing that the PorygonZ, Prism was it? Was loyal enough to sacrifice herself."
"Does Pixel know of Prism's fate?" Ariana inquired.
"No," Petrel replied. "Prism was acting weird so Pixel took her to the nurse. Not sure of what to do, Laiki recommended sending Prism into a maintenance server and running a few scan programs. That's when the abnormalities were found. I sent her and Comet to train; I told them they would probably have a mission soon so they had to be ready. She looked like she didn't want to leave Prism in the server, but didn't refuse since it's a high ranked order and all. I don't think she knows anything anyway."
"I agree, if she knew, she would have spoken by now. Either way, I don't think there's a reason to hide this from her," Ariana expressed, then moved on to a general theory in relation to the situation. "I still keep thinking that this is internal."
Archer nodded, half closing his eyes in thought and determination. "The clean up was not completely effective after all. Perhaps Madame's list was incomplete. Who was the leader of Neo Rocket before they started working with Tempest? Was it really Madame or is that person still among us?"
"Maybe we should go ask her," Proton suggested.
xoxox xox xoxox
Later, Pixel finished her training session with Comet, which had led to the evolution of Pyro from a Charmeleon into a Charizard. Pleased with the progress of her training, she went off to check on Prism and see if her condition had improved. The laboratory was dim in the corners with a bright holographic display lighting its center. The server at the base of the hologram had a few blinking lights, while on one side, a large screen displayed codes, which a few Rockets were examining.
Pixel walked around the hologram after looking at the pained Prism with concern. Comet stood in front of the hologram watching the pokemon, while Pixel examined the screen. "What's wrong with her?" Pixel demanded to know.
The tech Rockets were ordered by the executives to study that PorygonZ and to allow her trainer to take part in the investigation, thus they felt the obligation to answer. "Her code is coming undone with untraceable errors. Something vital has changed in her and it's causing a massive chain reaction. We don't even know how she hasn't disintegrated into packets of random data yet."
Pixel was no longer listening to the tech Rockets, instead staring intensely at the hologram of Prism. The PorygonZ emerged from the server uncalled and floated towards her trainer. This wasn't just a small error generated by strain; this was an unknown life threatening situation. If a PorygonZ or any of their previous evolutions could be called alive was questioned by some, but to Pixel, Prism was a precious friend. She extended her arms to the pokemon as if hugging her, but her fingers got lost in the translucent light touching nothing but static.
"Prism!" The PorygonZ fought with all her might and once again became semi-stable. Her transparent frame became more solidly visible and she let out a stream of electronic sounds. "There's nothing you can do for her here," Pixel realized. "I'll take Prism with me and take care of her myself."
"You can't do that!" One of the tech Rockets protested. "The executives ordered the sample to be kept here for further study!"
"That's enough," Archer, who had been quietly standing at the door unnoticed for a few seconds, finally revealed his presence, addressing the Rocket techs. "When this PorygonZ was restored to her trainer, she gained stability, we all witnessed it. I cannot explain it, but if we are to discover what the problem with the PorygonZ is on time to take effective action, this one cannot be lost." He then looked at Pixel, "keep her stable and report anything you learn."
xoxox xox xoxox
Meanwhile, At Cerulean City, the sun was beginning to rise as Ash and Misty made their way back to the Cerulean Gym. It would be more precise to say that a tired Misty was dragging an exhausted Ash along, while he leaned on her and muttered, "have to... find him..."
"We're almost there," Misty stopped in front of the main door to the Cerulean Gym. Even the avid partiers of the city were sleeping at the time. All alone in the deserted street, Misty shifted Ash's weight leaning on her and readjusted his arm around her shoulders. Their pokemon had stayed up all night and were sleeping in their pokeballs, except Pikachu who was slumbering on Ash's head.
Before Misty could make the motion to get her keys from her bag, a shadow was casted on the wall from behind them. The next thing they knew, they were gone.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. I know it may seem unusual for Team Rocket to name pokemon save for a few members. In this case naming the PorygonZ was a necessity because it would be difficult to remember which one is where if they were just numbered and they had to be differentiated somehow, hence they were given codenames. As a review, Diamond is in the main defense satellite, Ruby in the Viridian HQ, Sapphire in the communication and spying satellite and Quartz at Giovanni's mansion. There are also many others codenamed after jewels in the other regions.