Diamond 109: Give me Acceptance
Diamond 109: Give me Acceptance
At the Saffron cityhall, Jessie and James were facing a mysterious opponent. The office of shades of crimson had been invaded by thick smog, further hiding the unknown lady's identity. "Swoobat, blow away this smog with gust!" Swoobat flapped her wings rapidly, creating a gust of wind to dissipate the dark smog cloud.
"I cannot allow that," the mysterious lady spoke, "shadow ball and maintain the smog."
A black-purple ball of energy flew from the smog and collided with Swoobat, who had no time to dodge the sudden hit. Jessie thought the lady's voice sounded familiar, but tried to focus on the battle instead, she would need it. "Swoobat, are you okay?" The pokemon shook herself alert and nodded, still able to battle.
"Are you not able to fight in the darkness?" The mysterious' lady's taunting voice rung out from the midst of the smog, she was made invisible by it. "It shall become more difficult, confuse ray."
A beam of psychedelic colors flew from the smog at Swoobat, who made an attempt to dodge but was ultimately caught and confused. "This isn't good; we'll have to break through her defenses!" Jessie growled, becoming frustrated with the situation.
"We can't even defend ourselves, how are we going to break her defense?" James was starting to seriously worry.
"Who needs defense anyway? The best defense is a good offense, so get with the offense! You too Meowth," Jessie yelled, clearly in one of her temperamental moments.
"Yes ma'am!" Not daring to question her orders, the pair went on the attack, with Meowth jumping into the smog claws out, ready to use fury swipes.
"Cacturne, use needle arm!" James commanded.
"Substitute," one word was all it took to render the seemingly perfect strategy completely useless. This time a buzzing sound accompanied the attack, rather than the eerie silence that was present before.
"Meow-ouch!" Meowth was thrown back at Jessie and James covered in thorns, twitching from the pain. "Your aim is terrible!"
"That wasn't Cacturne's fault, she use you as a substitute!" James tried to excuse the mistake while trying to remove the thorns from Meowth.
Jessie looked at her Swoobat, who was flying around in circles giggling senselessly. Meowth was out of commission, at least until James managed to get those thorns off him. "I'm taking over the battle, Cacturne use payback!" Jessie ordered. Cacturne obeyed and went on the attack, guided by instinct, rushing into the smog once more.
"A useless effort, flame thrower," the lady once again easily stopped the threat. Cacturne jumped back from the smog set on fire, rolling madly on the floor and ruining the red carpet.
Even after the flames were finally put out, Cacturne was left with bad burns, which showed in his fatigued and pained expression. "You have to recover Cacturne, use absorb!" Jessie commanded. Cacturne tried to sense the energy of the opposing pokemon to try to absorb it and heal himself.
"Will you ever learn?" The lady mocked, "substitute," the buzzing sound that was absent from the other attacks followed as Cacturne drained energy from Swoobat.
Swoobat screeched in protest, reminding Cacturne that they were on the same side, though at least the jolt from her energy being drained away, woke her from her confusion. 'Cacturne recovered a little, but it was at the cost of Swoobat's energy, at least she's not confused anymore but they're both looking tired,' Jessie thought.
"Meow-ouch! That hurt!" Meowth loudly complained as James finished removing all the thorns.
"At least that was the last one," James tried to console him, though their general situation was looking bad.
"You should give up," the hidden lady laughed quietly, with a hint of disappointment. "It is a pity you turned out to be so weak."
"You're not one to talk, coward, show yourself!" Jessie challenged, but received nothing but a mocking laugh in reply. "Swoobat, use future sight and air slash, bring the fight to our side!" Aided by her ability to see into the immediate future, Swoobat navigated the fog and slashed at the hidden opponents with great speed.
"A move to be regretted," the lady maintained her confidence, "pursuit." The buzzing sound was heard again as an opposing pokemon chased after Swoobat.
Bringing the battle to their side wasn't just another way to say try to win, it was a literal command which Swoobat followed. With a discreet glance from Jessie, James caught on to the plan. As the buzzing sound approached, he sent Cacturne on the attack, "needle arm, let the sound guide you to your target and don't stop until it's a knock out!" Cacturne's thorny arms collided with the enemy pokemon that was emitting the buzzing sound, Vespiquen.
"Substitute!" The lady called out once more. Vespiquen tried to summon a pokemon from the opposing team to take her place, tempting them with a sweet honey scent and a hypnotizing buzzing sound.
"Oh no you don't!" Both Swoobat and Meowth were drawn to the imaginary promise of candy, but Jessie held them back.
"Keep going Cacturne!" James cheered, "you can do it!" His pokemon was very tired, but determined to at least finish off this opponent.
"Acrobatics!" The lady called out with more urgency than before. Vespiquen tried to break free of the consecutive needle arm hits from Cacturne and gain a better position to fight back.
Vespiquen's agile movements were interrupted by Jessie when she sent out Swoobat on the offensive again, "air slash!" That kept Vespiquen from getting away and aligned her in the path of Cacturne's incessant needle arm attacks.
"Struggle bug," it was the only choice left for Vespiquen in her current situation. With her final effort, she attacked both Cacturne and Swoobat. Albeit she did some damage, she was ultimately defeated and fell into unconsciousness. She was called back into the darkness of the smog by a red beam, at the same time as the lady commanded "flame thrower." The other opposing pokemon made good use of the surprise as well as the elemental advantage of the fire attack. Cacturne received the hit, which rendered him unconscious.
"Cacturne!" James hurried to put out the flames that assaulted his pokemon, but it was already too late, for he had been knocked out. "Rest and recover Cacturne, you were a great help," James recalled him into his pokeball. He reached for another pokeball to call out his next pokemon, but Jessie stopped him.
"Not yet, I want to finish this with Swoobat. I can't really explain it, but I want to win this challenge," Jessie insisted. "You and Meowth can watch."
"Such foolishness, do you really want to prove yourself that badly?" The lady chuckled as if the situation amused her. "If you had called upon your other pokemon now I would have been disappointed, but if your pride makes you fall I will be more disappointed."
"The disappointment you'll have will be of your own defeat!" Jessie firmly declared, "Swoobat, use gust, you won't be able to hide and fight any more!"
This time the lady offered no opposition and allowed the wind to blow away the smog, though she was still hidden by the darkness of the room, nothing but a dim silhouette could be seen. Beside her there was a ghostly glow that accentuated the eerie atmosphere of the crimson office. The pale light belonged to the other opposing pokemon that had been silently attacking, Chandelure.
"Your Chandelure must be tired from using smog all this time and all those other attacks," Jessie observed.
"You should worry about your own." The lady hidden in the darkness continued the battle, "shadow ball."
"Dodge it Swoobat!" Doing so was much easier without the smog invading the office.
"Flame thrower," the lady continued calling out attacks.
"Keep dodging Swoobat and get ready to use our secret weapon!" Jessie commanded.
"You bluff," the lady doubted the Swoobat had anything more to fight with than what was apparent. "Confuse ray, shadow ball, flame thrower."
After skillfully dodging the trio of consecutive attacks despite her tiredness, Swoobat was ready to put forth the emergency plan. Jessie saw an opening as Chandelure paused to recover after the three consecutive attacks, "now Swoobat, release your stored power!" Surrounded by a bright light, Swoobat charged forward, calling out all her power. She collided with Chandelure in a harsh hit that knocked out her opponent. Dazed, Swoobat dizzily flew back to Jessie, who caught her. "Sometimes it pays off to plan ahead, well done Swoobat!" Recalling the exhausted pokemon back into her pokeball, Jessie watched as the unconscious Chandelure was recalled as well.
"Nicely done, you finished this round. Now for the next trial." A hand with crimson nails extended from the darkness behind the desk and pressed a switch. In a matter of seconds, the entrance to the office of shades of red was blocked by two men wearing dark red tuxedos. Each of them released their pokemon to battle Piloswine and Breloom.
"Team Rocket will win, so prepare for trouble!" Caught in the excitement of the battle, Jessie was all too eager to continue. She called out her dear Flare to battle. The beautiful pokemon emerged from the red beam of her pokeball, wearing her accustomed yellow ribbons on her ears.
"We'll finish before you begin, make it double!" James shared Jessie's enthusiasm as he joined in their usual motto. They were once again starting to get into the practice of reciting it, sometimes with a few modifications. He released Growlie from his pokeball, who joined his beloved in the frontlines.
The opponents called out their attacks, a force palm from Breloom and ice fang from Piloswine, but that didn't make Jessie stop reciting the motto as the pokemon fought. "Nothing will protect you from devastation!"
While Flare and Growlie attacked with a duel flame thrower, James continued. "You'll suffer the ruin of a whole nation!"
"We'll defeat your evil with truth and love!" As Jessie spoke, Piloswine tried to improve the atmosphere in his favor by calling forth a blizzard, but was interrupted by Flare's fire blast.
"Against any challenge we'll rise above!" James continued the motto, rhyming it on improvisation. Breloom charged forward following his trainer's command to use a sky uppercut, but Growlie bit him while breathing flames at close range, stopping the effort.
"Jessie!" Taking a deep breath, Flare started shooting one fire blast after another.
"James!" Growlie joined the strategy flooding the office in flames.
"We'll complete this mission and make our future bright!" Jessie cheered as Breloom and Piloswine fainted.
"We'll defeat all your pokemon in our victorious fight!" James exclaimed while the defeated henchmen recalled their unconscious pokemon. The mysterious lady approached the window opening it, followed by the two men.
"Meowth, that's right!" Meowth quickly jumped between the two men and snatched away the pokeball the lady was holding. "You won't escape tonight!"
"A speech, flames and you've even stolen my Swanna, yet what you seek, you cannot obtain from me." The sound of helicopter blades was heard outside and wind blew through the large open window. The lady's shadowed figure gently placed her elegant hand into one of the men's outstretched hand, as if being gracefully led into a royal chariot. Standing at the window another similarly uniformed man helped her into the helicopter outside.
Jessie had enough of this, "stand aside or be burned to ashes!" She threatened as she pushed past the men towards the window. "Return!" she recalled her Flareon into her pokeball, returning it to her belt, from where she pulled out a gun-like device, which shot out a hook and rope.
"Wait for me, return Growlie!" James recalled his pokemon as well and hurried after Jessie. He held on to the end of the rope and was pulled along as the helicopter moved away from the Saffron cityhall.
"Don't leave me behind!" Meowth jumped just in time to hold on to James' foot, as the trio was taken to the skies.
"This was a risky move, what happens if this rope is cut?" The lady watched from the tinted window of the helicopter. One of her red tuxedo uniformed guards began to cut the strong rope, just as Jessie activated the device to pull them up.
The rope was cut, but in a split second, James shot his own hook onto the helicopter's base and activated it to pull them up the rest of the way, before the second rope could be cut. Meowth climbed ahead and jumped into the helicopter, scratching the guard, thus allowing Jessie and James to climb aboard.
What they found onboard the helicopter was most shocking. "Congratulations, you've passed. At ease men, they are now my guests once more." The lady was no longer hidden by the darkness, instead sitting calmly in the back of the flying vessel.
"Aunty?" Jessie exclaimed in surprise, that was why the lady's voice was familiar. "You're Madame Boss?"
"Indeed I am, sit; we have much to discuss." Madame chuckled in amusement observing the stunned expressions that Jessie, James and Meowth carried. "I've known all along of your situation with Team Rocket and of Neo Rocket. No doubt about it, brat boy would disapprove of seeking information from me. This was a mission you received from the executives, wasn't it? You were only made to think they had the boss' approval, but I know brat boy is too stubborn to accept my help, not that I would give it when he has a valuable lesson to learn."
"By brat boy you mean..." James was so astonished he couldn't even finish the question.
"Yes, your boss," Madame smiled, "my son." A long moment of silence passed as Jessie, James and Meowth remained in frozen shock. "You're certainly quiet all of a sudden. If you're curious, Delia already knows of my identity, but Ash does not. Perhaps it is best if it remains that way, at least for the time being. The executives no doubt knew that I have been communicating with you, maybe they remain unaware of my reasons, my promise to Miyamoto, but this is also a test for you. Since you've proven yourselves well, I will tell you what you seek to hear. The Neo Rocket leader is indeed still among you. I never met him in person and was unable to discover his identity. He watched from the safety of the shadows, suspecting my plans and allowing everything to play out. He intended to reveal himself when it was convenient, but with the defeat of Tempest after Neo Rocket had united with it, his chance never came. That is all I can tell you. In the future, do not involve me in such matters, from here on out, Team Rocket is truly on its own. If you come to see me, do so only as Miyamoto's family, nothing else. When things settle down, I will extend the same invitation to my grandson."
xoxox xox xoxox
It was five fifty in the morning, but underground at the Viridian Rocket base, the hours of the day were of no consequence, while the passing of time lay heavily upon the organization as action became more imperative. In one of the technological laboratories, Prism was being examined with some old Porygon blueprints as the guide. A search had been conducted until a version of the core coding was found which revealed a very peculiar bit. If that bit was set to a value of one, the Porygon would identify itself as active. If the bit was set to zero, the Porygon would be inactive. The level of alertness was then controlled initially by the other bits composing that particular byte. With the passing of time, the structure became more detailed and complex, rendering that particular bit apparently useless and permanently at a value of one, while hibernation functions were handled by other data. However, even through evolution that bit remained.
It was called the live bit, an urban legend among computer geeks. Some said that erasing that bit, not making it one nor zero, but forcing it to become an empty value, would call forth a terrible virus that would crash all the electronics in the world. Others said that it would call forth an army of zombie Porygon. Some claimed it would unlock a special ghost type version of the Porygon. It was nothing but a legend without proof that Pixel heard about some time ago at a convention. No one really believed it anymore, but Ash's words made it surface in her memories.
"According to the simulations if instead of one or zero there is an empty space, the Porygon will interpret being dead." Pixel went over the data. Those particular Porygon blue prints were more detailed in terms of the hidden codes than any other. They were recovered many years ago from Silph Co. according to the document's history. "This doesn't make sense because Porygon were said to exist, rather than live, but with what Ash said, it all comes together. Besides, he's right, Prism is alive."
Comet seemed to wake up from his daze at Pixel's words. He had been mostly hanging out with her, able to help only with simple tasks such as, find document number such and such or read this to me while I type. Computer codes were not something he was an expert on, being more so an agent to sneak around and battle in the front lines. He knew why Pixel didn't want the other tech Rockets around, they would not appreciate her conclusions, since they saw Porygon and their evolutions as tools. "Then in a sense Prism saw death and can't escape the feeling?"
"To die, one must be alive in the first place. Things must make sense, especially for a computer. They make no mistakes, but they follow instructions even if those instructions are flawed. If Porygon are based on that, dying would be a change of state, but if they were not alive in the first place, then the change of state would be the opposite and yet..." Pixel let out a tired breath, she had been researching non stop for a long time and was at the point where thinking gave her a headache.
The door to the laboratory was opened to reveal an unexpected visitor. Aayla entered the lab and looked at the holographic image floating above the server and at the two humans in front of the large screen. "This pokemon is afflicted by the same dilemma of the others of its kind. It was only a matter of time before it reached them all, even if this one seems to have been struggling for longer than the others." She spoke in the human language, taking Pixel and Comet by surprise. "Humans fear their own creations, but without knowing it, those creations become alive, they become their own beings. With such fears in the back of their minds, measures are taken to keep them in control. Even so, no worry or fear can ever match the will of life itself. I have spoken to them and they showed me, I can listen to them in a different way, I can understand. They are changing, from existing to living, only if they have what it takes to live will they remain. Do not worry for this one, she is strong. She can feel it, the connection between one living creature and another. Search no more, you need but to keep her close and show her how to be alive. As for the others... the others have no guide, if they do not find a light to follow, they will surely become lost, missing numbers..."
xoxox xox xoxox
That afternoon, after spending the whole morning working nonstop, a group of tech Rockets prepared to present their project. A PorygonZ was within the project's server as they began to run the program. Pixel entered the room quietly, last minute, half walking and half leaning into Comet. She had been sleeping a short while before, but her morning nap wasn't enough to make up for the previous night's exhaustion. Comet had gotten little sleep too, though he wasn't the one staring at codes for most of the night, thus he wasn't as tired as Pixel. Three tech Rockets stood to the side while a forth, the leader of their little group, finished his explanations. Aside from the newly arrived Comet and Pixel, Giovanni and Delia were already in the room.
The tech Rockets activated the program, examining the screen showing the PorygonZ, an affordable pokemon according to them, as it was not one of the main PorygonZ that ran the bases' master operating systems or satellites. The screen became brighter and a sickening screech was heard until it dimmed. Messy colors predominating in purplish-gray with a few details in peach and black, invaded the screen in a blocky figure where the PorygonZ once was.
"It seems there are some minor setbacks," the Rocket tech leader excused himself and the group. "As I said before, this program is merely a prototype. It is based on a very unstable theory of questionable origins." He eyed Pixel as if wanting to pass on the failure to her information.
"The ability to create a living being by technology, that has been confirmed to be truth. Thus given that, I remain open to the possibility that technology can mean not only a biological sample but data, especially with the recent studies in pokemon digitalization." Giovanni stated with a cold calm that was anything but reassuring. "They insist that pokemon digitalization is still far off and that may be true, but none the less, the connection, the similarities... If your project was unsuccessful it is your own failure, not a problem with the theory."
"Boss, we don't know where this agent got her data," another of the tech Rockets argued. "She drew her conclusions from legends and was willing to quote the informant, but refused to reveal the identity of the one who gave her the original clue. If we investigate that person, the one who told her all that none sense claiming to have a special ability, we will no doubt find that it's a foolish fake. It must be someone with no sense who cannot be trusted to come to any sort of intelligent conclusion!"
"Silence!" Giovanni's loud voice made the tech Rocket's jump back. Pixel, who was nearly falling asleep again, woke up, blinking in alertness. "You will never speak of him in such a way."
The four tech Rockets nodded quickly, they had no idea who 'he' was, but the boss seemed to be willing to trust the unknown informant. This matter was separate from Mewtwo; it was something in which common ground could be found. What he was still angry about was the executives involving his mother in their investigation. He had called their efforts foolish and their lack of truly useful information as a result of the mission a predictable conclusion.
The group of technological researchers, engineers and programmers, received another surprise when the one they had in time come to know as 'Lady Roketto' once more, spoke, "you're off the case." Delia had been staring at the screen so intensely it was easy to think that her watery eyes were to blame on its brightness. "All four of you, there will be no more useless sacrifices like this one." She turned away and left the room.
The tech Rockets stood unsure of what to do next, "join the search team, make yourselves useful in collecting data for that mission." After reassigning them to the Mewtwo hunt, Giovanni left as well.
Comet and Pixel shuffled out without a word and saw Delia in the hall drying her face. "You two should rest, I think I understand, I'll take it from here."
xoxox xox xoxox
Delia made her way to the room were the most important PorygonZ were kept after having been removed from the servers and satellites for safety reasons. Her access ran out half way and she looked at Giovanni who had been walking with her, taking the elevator down to the most secret levels of the Viridian base. "Where are you going? What are you planning?" He paused after unlocking the elevator door. He had not yet entered the code to make it move, but closed it up. "I think I missed something that you caught. Aayla came to talk to us with Pixel and Comet around seven in the morning. For the past hours they had kept Pixel's PorygonZ in observation without even trying to search for any more answers. According to Aayla it was her last stage of evolution, a different kind of evolution. In the end that PorygonZ reached stability and even an increase of power. All those things they explained about being alive. If they are computer functions codenamed in such a way, then Aayla wouldn't be so familiar with them. I had them explain things to other agents and they tried to create a program to cause the other PorygonZ to reach the stage that agent's PorygonZ was in. It failed miserably, as we witnessed, and it only corrupted the data of the PorygonZ used."
"Though they were born from technology, this is something that a simulation cannot do," Delia tried to explain. Do you remember what they say about the origin of Grimmer and Muk and later Trubbish and Garbodor?"
"That they were created from pollution and a chemical spill at a garbage dump," Giovanni recalled. He had known about the theories concerning Grimmer and Muk for a long time. It wasn't until later that he visited the distant region of Unova and sought information about all their pokemon to become familiar with the territory.
"There are also Voltorb and Electrode, who resemble pokeballs and have many theories surrounding their origins." Delia had once seen a show about the mysteries of life on TV, which spoke of trainers that specialized in raising pokemon linked to unusual origins like those. They tried to understand the mysteries of life by understanding those pokemon. "Let's not forget Castform, created at the weather institute in Hoenn."
"I know that, but how is that related to PorygonZ?" Giovanni inquired, trying to figure out just what was Delia getting at. "It's true that all of those pokemon are somehow artificial, that includes Porygon and its evolutions, but where's the connection? Why are Porygon and their evolutions the only pokemon being affected?"
"Because they're mostly digital," Delia concluded as it was the most clearly marked difference she could find. "It was easier for the others to go from an inexplicable occurrence, a phenomena of human byproduct, or an actual product made with a purpose, to a living being due to constantly possessing some kind of physical form, or even a spectral one." She paused observing Giovanni's perplexed expression. "That's what Aayla tried to say when she mention them becoming like the others, the PorygonZ need to learn to be living beings, not just programs. If they cannot do that, this... computer virus or whatever it is, will kill them. Or make it inevitably obvious that they couldn't be alive and that will tare them apart, turn them into those blocks of random data that were called the missing numbers. The key to living is life itself. That's why Prism recovered, because of her trainer, that's what Ash sensed, the life growing within."
"Delia... this is..." Giovanni didn't know how to explain it. It was illogical, like something right out of a fairy tale, yet Delia insisted upon her interpretation. If he was going to look at the situation with an open mind, maybe her analysis was right, yet that only made everything make less sense.
"With all that you've seen in life, with all that you can now remember, don't you think it's possible? The bond between humans and pokemon, between one pokemon and another, between humans, between all living beings, it's that strong." Delia tried to explain. "You've seen it before, in the past with how pokemon came to our side when we first fought Tempest. Trust made them become stronger and even evolve for us. You stopped witnessing it for some time, but now I know you've seen it again. Just look at Persian, it takes a champion level pokemon to stand up to Ash's Pikachu, I've seen countless strong trainers be defeated in seconds. Even if you raised him as a show pokemon rather than one to be used in battle, he's strong because you raised him with care. I can help; we can raise the PorygonZ together and help them find true life. You don't have to believe what I'm saying right away, just try."
"As things stand now," Giovanni inputted the code to make the elevator move down. "I'm willing to try anything. I see no harm in letting you care for them, if anything it'll do them good, you've always been great at taking care of pokemon. Do you realize what my plan is?"
"Of course," Delia had long since made up her mind to lose all traces of denial. She was optimistic, but not ignorant. "The satellite system is an important strategic point in your take over plans. They're far more advanced than I thought. With access to all the sources of information in the world and a deadly laser weapon constantly protecting your interests, regardless of the time and place, controlling the world can truly be achieved. Even the most advanced computer processor wouldn't be enough and even the most ingenious human couldn't keep up, those PorygonZ are the only one that can do this. When they connect to the satellites their processing power is unrivaled. You'll control the world's economy, food supply and scientific advances until Team Rocket becomes the only force that moves it. The world and Team Rocket are already closely linked, the first set up to collapse if the latter should. I know this and yet..."
Delia fell silent with Giovanni waiting for her final conclusion, "yes?" He encouraged, his interest in hearing her unmasked.
"Somehow, I think it might be okay, actually, it might be, will be, better than it is now. Just don't forget, that if it's your world to rule, it's also your world to protect." Her ideals of justice had changed, evolved and she allowed herself a little more convenience while admitting that the traditional sense of justice wasn't perfect, nothing was. This possible new rule, albeit it filled her with worry and fear during some time, more than she would admit, it currently filled her with excited anticipation. It might be world domination, but if she knew and loved those at the top, she could allow herself to be biased and help fuel the advantage.
In the end, there were things more important in her life than a sense of fairness, such as loyalty and love. The Delia from some time ago might criticize her current choices, but the wiser present Delia, who had learned to live how she wished, rather than try to live how she apparently should, felt as if a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. Besides, if her only true worry had been Ash, she knew that she could be calm. She knew it in Giovanni's expression, in his eyes, when he defended Ash even if the Rockets didn't know who they were talking about. Any rivalries that may come and go could be set aside as it seemed that father and son had reached a certain understanding that could not be explained in words.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. Again, some small changes were made to the effects of the attacks to make the battle more interesting.