A F T E R ¤ C H R O N I C L E S
T h e ¤ R P G / S
Based on the FanFic series
T H E ¤ L U G I A ¤ C H R O N I C L E S
By Anne Ruecroft & R. A. Stott
‘TEAM ROCKET’S HAUNTED HAYRIDE’
Compiled, edited and rewritten by R. A. Stott
Contributing Authors for this chapter -
PeanutButterMewTwo, Charm, babyjigglypuff and ArkNorth
Team Rocket’s First Stand
The kids… I’ve
gotta save the brats…
It was the only thought in Charm’s mind as her Rapidash thundered into the woods. She had not noticed North holding council with the dark Pokémon-Science-Experiment-Gone-Wrong behind her, nor had she heard the yells of the other Rockets or Meowth about it. There was anger and fear in her heart – fear for the children – fear over failing the scientist again – anger over the beast in the sky that was causing all of this – and RAGE over the fact that she had been made fool of by that vile thing and allowed it to take the children.
Peanut spun about with what felt like a rock in her belly. She too had been taken advantage of by Mauvais, and she felt it churn. She tore through the encampment knowing that it would be deserted by now, but hoping that from there she would get some sort of a signal to where she could find the kids. She looked skyward and looked for anything there – Murkrows and Muumas, being the color of the night themselves, were hard to see in this inky blackness. She took a risk by making herself an easy target as she shot up high above the bonfire. From her new vantage point she quickly looked about. Over the field she could barely see the hills. Below her, the camp was easy to make out with that rip-roaring fire still lighting up everything. Nearby she could see M2 slapping freed townsfolk in energy spheres to prevent them from being re-possessed. She saw North and Jessie galloping in her direction. Behind them was…
The head on the long neck stretching down from the sky snapped a stare at her hanging in midair as she was. It felt as if her soul had just dropped on that stone that was gurgling in her stomach. She spun and started rapidly scanning the forest that Charm’s Ninetails has said the fake Meowth had taken the children.
A clearing nearly five or six hundred yards in caught her attention. Children could be seen walking in a group further into the dark void of trees.
“The children!” she exclaimed. “I see…”
Something bounced off her personal shield. She looked over her shoulder. The neck from above was missing. Then there was another flair off her force field.
“Murkrow!” she gasped as they started raining down on her. She fired off a few bolts, but they were swarming in too large a mass to get them all at once. She dove back down towards the fire. As she got closer to the ground, return fire passed by her provided by M2 and the Pikachu.
M2 reached out and grabbed her paw. She spun him around once.
“The children! I saw them!” she yelped as the spin turned into a yank of his arm.
“Hey! That was risky!” M2 told her as she dragged him along.
“It was worth it!” she exclaimed. “They were this way!”
In the forest the black ooze dropped in again and reestablished control over the corpse of the feral Meowth it had used earlier. It shook off a few flies that were starting to gather and cleared it throat. It sniffed itself.
“Ugh, I need a bath,” Mauvais grunted as he trotted off towards where he had left the children.
“Hey kiddies! ‘Sorry I had to go fer a few minutes! Y’all OK?” asked what kids thought was a very small man in a Meowth suit. Several of the children were still unhappy about being out in the dark woods, but most were glad to see what they thought was the Meowth-Man. “Now we’s gotta keep goin’ dis way…”
Mauvais laughed to himself as the children started moving again deeper into the woods. Perhaps he could not steal their souls by devouring them as before, but they would never see what killed them. He psychically sent a message to his Haunters to gather in the center of the forest and wait for the meal to come to them.
Charm burst out of the forest just in time to see PBM dragging M2 in. A combination of their speed and the Rapidash’s enthusiasm for the run between the trees had brought them in an arc that had passed around the children and brought them back to the camp.
“Damn it beast!” she barked. “What are we doing BACK HERE?!” She yanked on the bridle and began to bring the fire-horse about when she saw Jessie ride up to the edge of the hill with North seated behind her.
“Oh, NOW you decide to join us!” she yelled at him. “And riding with JESSIE as well!”
“Should I feel jealous?” James asked.
“If yer smart you would,” Meowth muttered out of the side of his mouth. His tiny Ponyta whinnied.
“Hey, I’ll let you know that I just saved his sorry butt!” Jessie yelled at the dark Rocket. “Though I have no idea from what…”
“That was our host, or what’s become of him, the Black Lugia, AKA Mauvais,” North told her.
Charm’s face nearly matched the color of her hair. “FREAKIN’ BAKA IDIOT!!” she screamed at him. “Are you TRYING to get yourself KILLED?! Where’s that ‘protection’ I left you?!”
She looked over and saw James holding it up. Now her hair was nearly standing on end.
“I needed to bait him,” North told them as he brought the scanning rod out from under the silver blanket. He tapped its grip end and read the readings it was giving him. “And if I had something like that on me at the time, he may not have come down to have our heart-to-heart chat.”
Charm scowled and released a torrent of air from her mouth that almost sounded like a raspberry. “Okay… what did you two chit-chat about?”
“Oh, life, the universe, and his terms on what he was ‘willing’ to do to stop all this,” North said.
“And those were?” Butch asked.
North drew in a breath and sat upright, or at least less
hunched over. “Well, he offered to let
the townsfolk and children go in exchange for M2, Peanut and myself.”
Charm shook her head. “Peanut? PBM? He wanted Peanut?” she asked.
North nodded. “That would be her, yup.”
“Well, don’t I feel special now… I’m not even enough of a threat to be thrown in the bargain!” Charm griped.
North gave her a cockeyed smirk. “Meanwhile, why I baited him,” he continued in his best way to skirt around Charm’s comment, “was so I could get some close-in scans and see just what he’s made up of these days. Mind you, the last time I saw him, he wasn’t a gooey slime like we’re seeing here. He was a solid Lugian-type with the capability of absorbing other’s life forces, and even gaining their powers, strengths and minds at times. But when we thought we had destroyed him, we burned his remains to ashes. I still have no idea how he managed to arrive on this dimension as an airborne oil-slick. But, I do know one thing…” He waived the rod about. “He’s lost the power of stripping life force himself. He seems totally dependant on the Haunters now, and whatever this stuff is he has as a body.”
Jessie got a cross look on her face. “Wait a minute… are you saying that this Mauvais currently can’t ‘eat’ us as you said he used to?”
North scratched his head. “Currently, I don’t know that. But he still has Haunter DNA in his system. That means just because he can’t do it personally, that his fellow Haunters could still do it for him.” Jessie turned pale at that thought.
Charm looked up at the sky. The eyes were gone.
“Well, blinky isn’t up there right now…” she grumbled. She saw North slowly look up as well.
“Yea, that worries me,” he told her. “So far, every time he’s done that, he seems to be off somewhere doing something. I’m still unsure just what his range of powers is, especially in his current viscous form.”
“So why does it need the children?” she asked him. “What
can he do to them?”
“I’m getting to that,” North told her. He then looked about. “Umm, where did PBM go to?” Charm rolled her eyes.
“She shot of over the horizon when she spotted the kids a moment ago,” she said pointing over her shoulder, “leaving the rest of us in the dust, I might add. Though M seemed to be dragging her a bit.” She twirled her gypsy’s ribbon around one finger.
“I’m almost there…” Peanut was telling herself as she raced through the upper branches of the trees with M2 in tow. “I’ll stop it from stealing their souls, if it’s the last thing I do in my life…”
“That’s a positive
way to think,” the male MewTwo told her in her mind. “Do you mind not smashing me
into the tree trunks so often though?”
She stopped in a maple tree near the edge of a clearing. Below them a few hundred yards ahead were the children. They were in a slow march following the Meowth.
“Look at that,” she verbally whispered to M. “That’s nearly a perfect impersonation of Meowth. Was he always that good a shape shifter?”
M2 held out his paw and concentrated. “He never was a shape shifter before,” he bluntly stated. “He could take on the strengths and abilities of those he absorbed, but he never became them. Mind you, this is certainly a new trick he didn’t have before either…”
She looked back at the Meowth far ahead. “What is?” she asked as she followed her partner’s lead. What she felt made her flinch and drop the sense she had taken. She spun and planted her back against the tree and heaved a heavy gulp of air. “Oh god… is that what I think I just felt?”
M2 grimaced as he released his own sense. “A corpse,” he grunted. “He must have found some way to reanimate the body after killing that Meowth. It won’t last though…”
Peanut was trying as hard as she could to hold her anxieties in check. “Why?” she asked with a quiver in her tone.
M2 gave a second quick sense of the body. “Whatever he’s doing with it, it’s sped up the decomposition process. I can’t imagine that body will hold together much longer.”
This was bad. Her mind raced to figure out a solution to this dilemma. Should she try an open attack? That might scare or even hurt the children…that was no good. There was always the ‘walk right up, throttle it and walk away’ approach… but she knew that would not work either.
“Alright then,” she muttered. M2 watched her spin around the trunk of the tree and take careful aim.
She fired! The cat took the bolt in the gut. It groaned but did not fall.
The children were screaming in terror. Something had attacked their friend Meowth! Already frayed nerves snapped and the floodgates opened as children bawled for their mothers. M2 quickly surrounded the openings in the trees with energy walls to keep them from scattering.
“Very nice Mauvais!” she taunted from the trees. “But it seems you’re physically weak when you assume a viable form!”
Mauvais snarled from the body. “Oh it’s you… as much as I knew you would be the one to come and attempt a rescue of them, I did not realize you would do something as foolish as THIS in front of your precious children!” He reached into the hole in his belly and started pulling body parts out to show the kids.
“YOU HORRIBLE…!” she shrieked and darted down from the branch she had been on to in front of the corpse to shield the children of this view.
The body grinned a maniacal smile. “You know, you’re an emotional weakling… no disrespect intended,” it taunted back at her. “I didn’t want you here… it was the agreement I made with the Muuma that brought you here. Still, you’ll serve your purpose when the game is ready to be played, my dear lady… That you certainly shall.”
What looked like black smoke erupted out of the Meowth. It then crumpled to pieces at her feet and rapidly became rank.
In the skies above, the red angry eyes returned.
Back at the forest edge, the flash of Peanut’s burst had lit up where she and M2 had flown to. Charm was getting tired of the games this creature was playing when she saw the eyes return above.
“Rob, ride my dark Rapidash over there,” she told him as she spun her mount about to head for the flashpoint.
North looked at the Pokémon, which was giving him an evil
glare. “Are you sure?” he asked her.
“Yes!” she yelled back as she bolted into the woods.
“Are you sure Professor?” Jessie asked him. “I mean, I certainly don’t mind…”
North dismounted Jessie’s Rapidash. “No, she’s right about this,” he told her. “Two riding on the back of one only slows all three down.” He looked back at her for a moment as she blinked at him. “I heard that from someone somewhere at some time in the past, but I’m not sure when. Anyway, get going. And thanks.”
He looked up at dark Rapidash.
It looked down at him. This was one big Rapidash.
“You’re not going to eat me, right?”
Charm thundered through the woods. A light blue glow told her that what she was seeking should be ahead. She drew her sword and slashed it ahead of herself, opening the barrier.
Some of the panicked children saw the momentary opening and started for it. But the white Gypsy Rapidash and its rider burst into the opening and nearly trampled them.
“HEY! WATCH IT!” M2 yelled as he restored his barrier. “What were you thinking opening that like that?”
Charm stared down at the angry look she was getting from the male MewTwo. She could see PBM over by a pile of some dead creature. When she looked up and saw the red eyes, she knew it was not the maniacal beast that was making this a night she would hate forever.
Around her Rapidash were small pockets of huddled children, all not knowing which area in this protective pen M2 had created was the safe place to be – they had two strange Pokémon there, one of which seemed to have ‘killed’ Mr. Meowth, and now the wild dark Goth-Girl with the flames and fireballs had shown up. A few even passed out from the anxiety of it all.
“I came here to save the brats!” she shouted at M2.
“By bursting in and frightening the children AGAIN?!”
Charm sat shocked in her seat. That had come not from the large MewTwo, but from Peanut, her friend. She stared at the wet dripping face of what usually was a happy, bubbly lady – so cheerful in fact that she sometimes had to keep from getting ill over all the sweetness this ball of energy had. But now she was bent over, seemingly crying over something dead on the ground in front of her.
“Umm…” M2 switched gears from angry psychic creature to guy-stuck-in-the-middle-of-trouble, especially since the scared kids had been initially panicked by Peanut and her loose cannon approach.
“But… but I came… I came because you were in need of help…” Charm trailed off.
“Well you’re NOT HELPING!” Peanut cried with a torrent of tears streaming down her face now.
“HEY!!” M shouted at her. Her eyes flew wide as she suddenly realized what she had just blurted.
“FINE!” she heard as she turned and saw the Rapidash being yanked around and sent away towards the far end of the break in the trees. Charm slashed at the wall of energy again with the katana, this time not only dropping the field, but also slicing the two trees that were making up the edge of that barrier.
“How does she keep doing that?” M2 asked himself as he restored the wall. His attention then was drawn to the wall over his left shoulder which was flashing.
“May we come in?” North asked from the back of the dark Rapidash. He was tapping the field with a stick causing it to blink. M2 dropped the barrier and allowed the others in to take charge of the children. He then went over to consol Peanut.
“What have I done? What have I done?” she was whimpering as North brought his ride beside them.
“What’s going on?” he asked. “Charm should have been here already… and what is THAT?” He pointed at the pile of festering and rotting bones nearby.
“It seems that our mutual friend has a few new tricks up his sleeves,” M2 told him. “It looks like he doesn’t need the Muumas to control bodies, though when he takes it on himself, he kills the victim and turns their bodies into some sort of zombie-puppet.”
North pointed the end of his scanning rod at the mass. “I take it that was the Meowth that lured the children here?” He looked at the reading the device was giving him and shook his head. “It’s a new trick, but it certainly seems limited.”
“Yes, we noticed it seemed to have increased the speed of decomposition,” M2 stated as he soothed Peanut. North took notice and looked at the two severed trees across the field from them.
“Okay… what happened to Charm?” he asked again with a gesture towards the stumps. “I know the cut of the ShadowFlare when I see one.”
Charm’s mad dash into the woods had slowed to a discouraged trot. The gypsy ribbon fell out of her hair after a bit. She stopped her steed and looked back at the cloth as it draped itself over a bush. She slowly dismounted the white Rapidash and tossed its reigns over a branch of a tree near the path they were on. She walked a few yards away to a small opening between some pines.
“YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAA!” she flared. She pulled the katana out and began slashing it about. Branches, limbs and tops of trees began to be severed and diced. She held the palm of her hand out and set a dried dead tree ablaze, then chopped the burning stump into small fiery embers. As the inferno blazed, she spun the blade about and silently sheathed it.
“They don’t need me so why should I stay?” she said to no one in particular. She stepped over to a fallen log and sat down to admire her handy-work.
She stared at the flames as she flicked her fingers about, which caused the fires to dance and jump, but also made them remain in a tight circle of about twenty yards round.
Beyond her entertainment something plopped to the ground in a wet splat. It did not seem to bother her – she kind of knew he would be coming anyway.
“Hello Charm,” Mauvais said. His Lugian body started to
form from the black pool of goo.
“What do you want?” she grumbled. She made her fingers act like they were walking, which made the embers rush in the monster’s direction.
He seemed amused by her skill. “I know this might sound a bit silly, but how would you like to have power?”
“I already have power,” replied Charm hostilely. She held her hands up, palms out in his direction, which caused the embers to flare and jump in front of him.
“I’m talking about real power,” the evil one said as he cast water on the offending flames near himself and doused them. His eyes glowed. “The power to control men’s minds - To destroy cities - The power you can only dream about, but always wanted.”
“I’m not interested,” she snorted. “Besides, you’re water and I’m fire. We’d tend to be a bad match!”
“Oh, but I know you,” he continued. “I know what you want. You’re more like me than them.”
Charm stopped and thought about it for a moment. Mauvais grinned. He knew he had her.
“If you join me you can have that power,” said the specter. “Augmenting what you already have!”
Charm sat back and crossed her legs. “And what would I have to do?” asked the red head.
The children seemed to have settled finally now that humans were around them again. That was until…
“Hey kids!” Meowth yelled as he rode his tiny Ponyta into the center of them, having finally broken it of its bucking ways. “Look who’s back!”
For a brief moment there was only silence. Then there was nearly a riot.
North had dismounted the dark Rapidash and was with M2 beside Peanut.
“It’s my fault!” she cried. “Charm wouldn’t have run off if I hadn’t yelled at her.”
“She has always been a hot head,” North admitted, having heard about how she had burst into the area scaring the children as she had. He looked up and noticed the sky. “Umm… he’s already on the move…”
They watched North step away towards the center of the opening in the trees. “Who?” Peanut asked and looked skywards as well.
The eyes were gone.
“Mauvais!” she gasped. “He’s going after Charm?!”
“Without a doubt,” North told them. He looked back at them with a weary expression. “I’m not sure if you’ve sensed it – I’m sure he has. There is very much more to our Miss Charm than just her brusque and dark nature. She commented earlier that she wasn’t worth Mauvais’ time. I think more he didn’t want to tip his hand.”
“We have to go find Charm!” exclaimed PBM. “But… but the children…”
“With the Rockets and the Gypsies here, the children will be safe,” North commented loudly enough to get the others attention. There were nods from all the adults and a few odd grunts from Jessie and Butch, who were having their hands full keeping the kids calm.
A spark flashed in M2’s mind. He shot North a look. He was fiddling with yet another of his gadgets.
But this one the MewTwo knew. The last time the scientist had used it was the
previous year during the first war with the Black Lugia.
The device had been part of North’s belt buckle that few had noticed had a golden R on it. When he pressed the letter in its center, a pair of small pads popped out of either side.
“Rob?” M2 asked from across the clearing. “ROB, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! YOU’RE NOT STRONG ENOUGH!”
PBM tuned to see what M2 was yelling about, as did most of the other Gypsies, Rockets and the children being herded into a group.
“I’m not about to loose Charm to Mauvais!” he said, holding his hand out to stop his friend from coming closer. He had moved clear of the animals and people, much to their confusion. The silver blanket he had worn dropped to the ground and rolled away in the breeze.
“I t’ink da doc has blown his beanie!” Meowth said.
North placed the device on the back of his neck. Something beneath the skin started to glow.
“Whoa!” James said. “There’s more to the old professor!”
“Yea, he’s out of his mind!” Jessie added.
M2 ignored the grumbling from the Rockets. “Is the crystal okay?” he asked the scientist. North only nodded.
“What is he doing?” PBM asked. She felt a hand grab her and hold her back. M2 shook his head for her to stop.
“Transforming,” he told her. “That is a matter-inducer. A while ago, North discovered that he had a crystal beneath the skin of his neck, much like another friend of his who can also transform himself. But, while this person can change at will, North needs that device… and it takes its toll on him when he does use it…”
“Toll?” PBM Asked.
“What sort of toll?”
North tapped the inducer, activating it. He snapped his head back and shook as if being electrocuted. Then, a calm look fell on his face, and he smiled.
He held out his hands and a small ball of fire fizzled to life in his palms. He spread his arms apart and watched the flames pop and snap. The children oohed. At least they were getting a magic show…
The fire then flared and started a fiery orbit of his body. At the point where it had started from, it segmented into a second ring of flame that held a forty-five degree angle to the first. Then a third ring formed opposite the last ring. When a forth one formed, North’s feet left the ground as it spun at a ninety degree angle to the first. He hovered within these rings as if a nucleus within an atom.
The flames grew in intensity, finally flaring and rolling over and enclosing the man inside.
“ROB!” PBM yelled, struggling to break free of M2’s grasp.
Then the ball burst! From the top of the fiery plume shot…
“…A Moltres?!” PBM yelped as she jumped back.
“KEYAAAAA!” Charm’s Black Moltres cried at the sight of this other firebird.
“YEEEEHAWW!” the new one yelled.
“Yeehaw?” James asked.
“Dat ain’t right,” Butch added.
“Is dat North?” Meowth questioned, gawking at the fiery bird, as it pulled a fast somersault over everyone’s head. It then turned in the direction it felt a familiar tug from.
Everyone just stood and watched the bird fly into the woods, its fire flashing among the branches and leaves of the forest, until it was gone.
PBM turned back to the group, just in time to see Muumas flash by, following the Moltres.
“Enough of this,” she heard beside her. She looked at M2. He had his eyes closed, and he was taking in a deep breath.
“I will…” he said. PBM saw what he was doing, but stood back, knowing that attempting to stop him would be wrong. She decided to join in.
“Great… now da two psycho-kitties are actin’ weird!” Meowth said, watching the MewTwos take in deep breaths.
“I will…” M2 said again.
“I will…” PBM said with him.
M2 peeked at PBM, and reached over and took her paw. “We will…” he said.
“Aww, ain’t dat cute!” Meowth shot sarcastically. “YEOW!!”
Suddenly, the clearing lit up like an arc lamp. Both MewTwos stood in the center of an aura of energy that flowed into themselves. Streaks of light and power in all colors fell on them. The children watched, now more curious than frightened.
M2 turned to the group, his eyes glowing. For some reason, Jessie and James thought they had seen this image before, and felt a wave of fear sweep though them.
Then, M2 smiled. “Pokémon of the Dark, Pokémon of the light… protect these, your charges…” he said with an echo in his voice.
The Rapidashes and Ponytas neighed and whinnied. The dark Pokémon of Charm’s nodded.
“And this time,” M2 said, addressing the humans, “STAY!”
“Yes sir!” Jessie said.
“Wouldn’t think about it!” James added.
“Be my guest!” Cassidy smiled.
“Go get’um!” Butch said with enthusiasm.
M2 and PBM shook their heads and smiled at each other. Then PBM felt a tug on her arm. She looked down and saw a pair of young blue eyes looking back at her.
“Take care of yourself,” Emirie said. She smiled as she reached down and mussed up the young girl’s hair.
“No harm will come to her,” M2 said. PBM looked up at him.
“I swear,” he added.
“Dis is gettin’ mushy!” came the continuing commentary from Meowth.
The two MewTwos lifted off the ground. They then zipped into the woods, leaving the bewildered mob behind.
The Rockets turned around, and saw some of the orbed people floating into the woods with them.
“Would someone please tell me why I’m floating in this bubble?” Ash Ketchum asked.
“Look! It’s Team Rocket!” another orb said, looking much like an enraged Misty.
“Team Rocket?!” another yelled. “Stop in the name of the law!” the Jenny orb barked. “You’re under arrest for Pokémon theft!”
Jessie just leaned back against a tree and smiled.
“What are YOU grinning at?” James asked his partner.
Jessie just giggled slightly. “For once, we’re not to blame! As a matter of fact, we’re the good guys in this! She can’t do anything to us, and WE have them all in energy orbs!”
“What do you mean you’re the good guys?” another orb asked.
“B - b - b - Boss?”
Charm sat on the log while examining her katana and observing the large black mass that had formed before her. She had heard of the Black Lugia, even fought another version of it elsewhere in some sort of maze-world she once found herself in. But this one seemed more maniacal, wily… even manipulative…
The shape was different too. The head was that of the Lugia, as was the tail. But the body was strange – not that of the water god. It had arms rather than the wings of a Lugia. In this form, it looked more dragon than bird.
“I’m waiting for your answer, my dear…” it growled.
She smiled. “You really don’t understand the powers of the ShadowFlare, do you, critter?”
The beast looked skywards and snorted. “I guess you’re about to spout that you already have the powers I offered… I understand it, I certainly do. But I’m offering you deeper powers. Darker than the shadow energy that you now use. Powers that would allow you to rule with an iron will. Powers to relieve you of those that would scorn you, mock you, torment you… yessss I feel your pain… you and I were destine to unite!”
Charm glared at the monster over top the edge of her sword. “‘You sure your name isn’t Grendel?” she asked. “I don’t need your powers to do that! My powers are enough to handle my enemies, and those who would mock me dare not do it to my face! Your offer is empty, beast!”
Mauvais smiled. “But not without its reasons… like obscuring the real reason for this talk…”
The beast vanished, and Charm noticed a reddish glow from behind her. She did a quick tumble roll, and jumped to her feet.
A pair of massive Haunters loomed out of the trees. They glared down on the small dark warrior, as she took a defensive position to them.
“FLARE!” she yelled, sending a wall of flame at the ghosts. But the flames seemed to do nothing to them, and they continued to approach.
“Oh, I guess you missed that staff meeting…” Mauvais chortled from above. “When Haunters gather into colonies like these two, they become immune to heat!”
“Only from the outside!” a voice interrupted. Charm only had a glimpse to see the streak of a Moltres flash into view, before it bore through the first Mega Haunter, and out its backside. Then a pair of energy orbs entered the hole in the side of the thing, and it began a bursting and popping sound much like an expanding tin of popcorn.
Finally, it detonated as Charm dove for cover. She looked up from behind the stump she had squat behind at the pair of MewTwos that had joined the fray.
“Hey! What are ya trying ta do! Nuke me like North?!” she shouted.
“I was ‘nuked’ by the power pack of my droid going terminal,” she heard. She looked back, and saw the Moltres.
“Rob?!” she asked with eyes as small as pin points.
“Hello!” the bird said. It had a pair of small glasses still on its beak as a vestige of the scientist it had come from.
“What are you doing here?” she snarled, reverting to her friendly self.
“Hey, I’m not about to let Mauvais have my favorite empress of the night! We need you!” he said, heading for the second Haunter.
Charm shook her head. “Idiot!” She quickly pulled her bow. She set the arrow.
“Fire Strike!” she yelled, and let the now flaming arrow fly. As it traveled, it grew in size until it looked more like a torpedo than an arrow. It blew past the Moltres and bore into the ghost.
“RED HAUNTERS! TO MEEEE!” bellowed from above.
The breached colony exploded into it component parts. Thousands of red Haunters flew into the woods, some absorbing life force energy from the trees they passed through. The trees died instantly, turning black as charcoal, and brittle as balsa wood.
North flared his fires, dusting any ghost foolish enough to get within range of his flames. Then he looked behind himself.
Four Haunters had passed through a tree behind Charm. It shriveled into a blackened husk. It snapped free at its base.
“CHARM!” he yelled.
She looked behind her, seeing the massive dead tree slowly tipping in her direction.
Orbs struck the tree in three locations. Instantly, the tree turned into black dust that covered her.
She turned to see PBM, her paws pointing at where the tree once stood. She too was covered in the ash. She coughed a black cloud.
“Pblaa!” Charm said.
“Sorry… I thought you didn’t want to be squished,” the MewTwo said as she held her pose.
Charm looked up at where the tree once was and saw Haunters heading for the red eyes in the sky.
“What does it matter?” she grumbled.
“It matters to me,” PBM said. “We need you.” Charm shook her head, a cloud of black soot landing all around.”
“Look,” PBM continued, “I’m sorry for yelling at you… I was just dealing with a rather gross moment at the time I guess… and all this weirdness…”
Charm glared at the MewTwo. “Got THAT right sister!”
The Moltres landed nearby and reverted back into the form of the scientist. He removed the device from his neck and put it back on his belt buckle. M2 stepped up to him, seeing his slight wooziness.
“I’m all right,” North lied.
M2 looked at him with a wary eye. “Right… What’s that, twenty?”
“Fifteen… but worth it, just like the last times…” North said with a slightly bent smile.
M2 shook his head, as North went over to Charm.
“You okay kid?”
She slugged him in the shoulder, which was probably not such a good idea. “What was all that about, Rob?” Charm said, changing the subject as best she could.
North shook his head. “I asked first,” he said bluntly returning to his question.
Charm saw she couldn’t avoid it. Her answer was a simple nod yes.
“Good. You’ve got a bunch of Pokémon waiting for their master.” North put an arm around her shoulder, and they slowly walked back into the wood towards the Rapidash she had dismounted earlier.
PBM watched them disappear into the woods. When they were out of sight, she looked at M2.
“Fifteen?” she asked.
M2 nodded. “It is estimated by the Golden R labs that every time he uses that power, he looses roughly five years of life. Adding the radiation he just took, he’s going to be mighty ill when this is done.”
PBM looked concerned at M2. “But we cured him of the radiation…”
“We did, M2 said. “But the damage was probably done all ready. Humans can’t handle radiation like we can. You and I are children of radiation. The cloning process required a heavy dose to activate the DNA that was used… but in humans, the first thing that it attacks internally is things like bone marrow… the source for fresh blood in their bodies. Kill enough of that, and they will simply die of lack of fresh blood.”
PBM held M2’s arm tightly. She thought they had saved the scientist… now she’d have to wait and see if they had or had not.
The MewTwos heard scientist’s call and quickly floated into the woods in the direction North and Charm had taken.
It was not far, just around a few trees. Charm was down on the ground looking at the beast. North stood over her, his hand resting on her head, trying to comfort her.
The Gypsy Rapidash lay on the ground, a black husk, the white gone from its hide, its flames extinguished forever by a strip wave from the scarlet ghosts.
PBM’s eyes flew wide. This is what a Red Haunter’s attack does. M2 sighed. He had seen it before.
“This is what Mauvais had… HAS planned for the children, for the townsfolk, the Gypsies…”
“…Us…” PBM added.
North shook his head in agreement. He looked skywards at the red eyes that looked down on him.
“Happy Halloween…” it chortled. Its laughter rumbled through the forest.
North tapped Charm. She got up, taking the discarded
scarf that lay nearby the Rapidash. They trudged back towards the children -
Towards their charges.
PBM was unsure of what to do next. She had been so
worried about the kids she had not even given a thought to the others. Now
Charm was going to be bitter… even more, that Rapidash had not needed to die.
“Charm?” she asked quietly. The girl didn’t answer. “I… I’m sorry about your Rapidash… and about yelling at you… For jumping at you…” She trailed off. Apologies were so hard.
Charm kept going without turning to look back at PBM.
“‘Wasn’t your fault,” she said shortly. “Would’a gotten… drained anyway. ‘Couldn’t stop it… I wish I didn’t have to explain what happened to it to the Gypsy Chief though.”
She still had not turned to face her. It was not making
PBM feel any better. Suddenly there was a noise in the trees behind them.
“Now what?” asked North groggily.
“Pika!” came the reply. Peanut’s Pikachu came darting out of the trees to land on her shoulder again.
“Pikachu! Where have you been?” she asked. The Pikachu got a nasty look on its face and let loose a stream of high pitched chattering. North laughed, M2 looked surprised and PBM went a little bit red.
“Where did you learn THAT?” she asked, giving it a light swat. Charm looked at the rest of the group.
“All right, I’ll bite. What did it say?” she asked at last. PBM’s blush went a little deeper.
“It was bad-mouthing Mauvais,” she said. “And I sure didn’t teach it those words.”
Charm snorted. A cursing Pikachu? You don’t get one of those everyday.
The clearing where they had found the children was empty, so they headed back towards the Gypsy Camp.
“What the…” Charm griped. “Where’s the camp?”
Where it had been at the edge of the trees was now empty of everything. They made a slow climb to the top of the berm that had been the end facing the field and saw that it had moved out into the open field. North sighed. “I guess they were looking for a more open space…” he surmised as he pulled out his folding binoculars.
He could see the children were all being checked over and cleaned up, while the townsfolk continued to bob about in their spheres, being that no one knew how to burst them.
Meanwhile, PBM’s mind was boiling over with a thousand
questions at the moment. But she knew this wasn’t the right time to ask about
the Moltres, and whatever it was Rob has used to transform. It was definitely
something she’d never seen in this world. She thought it was weird – in fact,
it took the top on her weirdness list, where last her own birth had been the
weirdest. Her eyes must have seemed far away as she wandered in thought,
because M2 tapped her shoulder. She
jumped, causing the Pikachu to hang on for dear life.
“Penny for your thoughts?” he asked her. She smiled.
“Have a couple hundred thousand of them?” she kidded him. “I was just wondering about that Moltres thing Rob did. And about how something like Mauvais could be… M2, WHY does it try to steal souls? I could understand if it just needed to eat, but it seems downright evil. I mean, WHY is it the way it is?” she asked, genuinely wanting to know. M2 had no answer for her question.
“I don’t know,” he said finally. “You do ask all the hard questions, don’t you?”
She blushed slightly.
M2 and Peanut looked at North, who was looking a bit pale and trying to find a place to sit down.
“Rob?” M2 asked. “I thought we came to this level to get away from that stuff…”
The scientist looked back at the MewTwo. “A bit late for that, isn’t it? I think it followed us.”
M2 nodded, looking at the ground.
“Besides… I need to sit down…” North and Charm settled on a fallen log. M2 found another across from them and did the same. PBM sat beside him, watching his face.
“It all began on my home dimensional level… Rob’s group call it Level 14… approximately two years ago, I was responsible for the death of that level’s Giovanni…”
“AN EXPERIMENT?! IS THAT ALL I AM TO YOU?! A MERE TOY FOR YOU TO PROD AND POKE WITH YOUR SCIENTIFIC APPARATUS? A MERE CLONE OF AN ORIGINAL THAT CAN BE DISCARDED ON THE MEREST WHIM? I THINK NOT!”
An island in the ocean off the coast of the mainland was the site of a massive explosion. A shock wave rushed away from the epicenter, expanding 20 mile away from the nucleus in all directions. A helicopter en-route shattered and splintered, its remains scattering across the ocean surface below.
“I stood within the flotsam of my wrath, a fire scorching the remains of the buildings I had been created in. I felt… remorse…”
“Remorse?” PBM asked. M2 nodded.
“I overreacted…” he said. “I found some computers still working in a sub basement of the lab…”
“Project MewTwo… day 249… The primary and side experiments are nearly complete. MewTwo’s progress has been prefect, well worth the failures of the twenty prior attempts.”
“Twenty prior attempts? Your twenty-first just killed you, fool…”
“Erin, my dear, I fear what Giovanni plans on using MewTwo for… with all the powers he should have, the MewTwo will need proper guidance, and Giovanni is the last one I would trust with this… fortunately, the twentieth project still lives. When he arrives today, I will show him that one… The Golden R has all ready offered to care for my twenty-first creation… I trust them to bring it up properly, more than Giovanni’s bunch. I do not want the sacrifice of the side projects to have been in vain.”
“I sat back. I had just killed the man that would have saved me from the torment I feared.” M2 dropped his head.
Charm leaned towards him. “What were these side projects? I mean, I’ve heard of the MewTwo Projects we’ve had – they were supposed to be mission important jobs. Any side projects would have meant bringing the wrath of Gio down on anyone risking anything that could hinder a primary.”
M2 nodded. “The scientist
leading the cloning experiments, I think his name was Fuji,
had become obsessed with creating a duplicate of his lost daughter. While I was still maturing in my tube, I
discovered that I wasn’t alone – there were others being created at the same time
as I was, and that as they grew, we could communicate telepathically. One of these was his child, while the others
were other type of enhanced Pokémon. But
soon, they were gone, unable to mature as I was in my soup. And as I discovered my meaning and purpose, I
grew angry and resentful to those who put my life before my friends I had only
met in my mind.”
“A year later,” North continued, “with Team Rocket under the new leadership of Giovanni’s daughter, they started the clone experiments again. This time, they wanted to copy and enhance the Legendary Birds, Moltres, Articuno, and Zapdos.”
“The Legendary Birds?” Peanut asked. “If they had such a disastrous outcome with making a MewTwo, why try for something like that?”
North tapped his head.
“Strength over psychic. Having
something capable of zapping you long range obviously was a bit
troublesome. So they sent that level’s
James and Meowth to collect the material.”
“Those two bunglers?” Charm sniped.
North laughed. “On that level, those two bunglers were Team Rocket’s best agents, and damn good too.”
“Where was Jessie?” PBM asked.
“On that level,” M2 answered, “Jesse Musashi WAS Giovanni’s daughter…”
“Eew…” Charm grumbled. “‘Didn’t need to know that…”
M2 smiled. “Anyhow, they managed to get the samples needed. But, as they were getting ready to return, a fourth Legendary Bird appeared – the Water God Lugia.”
Charm sat back and eyed the MewTwo. “And James managed to get THAT bird’s samples?” M2 nodded yes. “Man, he IS better than our James!”
“What were you doing during this time?” PBM asked M2.
M2 snapped the Pikachu a stern look. “No, I was NOT hiding. I felt a presence to the south of me after I saw that computer file and went to find it. I found that it was my Mew.
“Your Mew?” PBM asked. “You mentioned that earlier…”
“On most levels, especially ones where the total number of MewTwos is ONE,” North pointed out, “there tends also to be only ONE Mew. These two, being the strongest psychics on their respective worlds, seek each other out. In most cases, it is a friendly meeting. There have been exceptions though, but not in M2’s case.”
He nodded in agreement.
“She lived in the Andes. She taught me to control
my rage and anger. I found peace with myself and the world. But one day, one cold day, I awoke and felt a
presence other than my Mew. It was full of rage and hatred. My Mew felt it too.
The last I saw her then was when she took off in the direction of the OrangeIslands. From there, I found the
remaining information from Rob’s friends…”
The scientist nodded. “I work with a number of groups, most of which are affiliated with each other in one form or the other. The primary group that I deal with while in this universe is known as the Stratus League – which is kind of a local observing group… but not ‘Big Brother’. Their motto is simply ‘for the betterment of man and Pokémon’. They, in turn, work with another group who’s job it is to record the histories of all these dimensional levels known as The Observers. They reported the following to us… Team Rocket was using a sped-up process to stimulate DNA growth of the clones they were working on. They had managed to make up enough soup to create the Lugia clone they wanted, and were about to infuse it with energy to stimulate its reaction. During this process, a Haunter strayed into the electrodes, and was sent into the mix. The scientist thought that the dark skin that was forming was only a slight maladjustment of a DNA skew, and thought that it would be harmless. And at first, we thought so as well, as Lugias that appear on other levels vary in color, including ones with dark feathers. But it didn’t take us long to know that this wasn’t the case here.”
M2 shook his head. He looked at PBM with sorrow filled eyes. “My Mew felt the consciousness of the creature as it formed. She went to the islands to see what she could do.”
“Where… where am
I?” The black mass turned in its broth. “I’m… alive, yet… I belong elsewhere…”
“You are correct creature…”
“Who?! Who said that?”
“I did… I am called Mew… I am here to help…”
“Mew, ea? Hummm… psychic Pokémon… Listed as number 151… Power levels, high…”
“You… you know of me? How?”
“I can tap into something… it seems vaguely un-natural… but it tells me anything I need to know… except what I am…”
“I can see you… You are a huge dark creature, though you don’t seem whole yet…”
“Dark? I am… dark? That’s not right… I see… I see myself… I see myself in the waters… the cool free waters…”
“You are within a vessel, my friend. A tank of immense size, suspended between cables that are feeding you… I have never seen such things before…”
“I am? I am? Trapped… I now feel trapped… my vision… mocking me? I am trapped and it is free? No… NO! This can NOT BE!!”
“Settle! Settle my friend… you’re only splashing the fluid out of the tank. Settle! Please!”
“Ahh… ah… thank you…”
“It came from room 12, ma’am!”
“Someone’s coming… I must hide…”
“Mew? Mew? Are you still there?”
“Yes, but I’m hiding… please hang on…”
“Aw, would you look at this mess!”
“How did this splash out of the tank? Do you think the Lugia did this?”
“Don’t know… Maintenance, clean up in room 12.”
“Look at these readings, Boss… the absorption rate this creature is using… It’ll be a danger to us all if it continues this…”
“Sigh… You’re right… the Lugia didn’t show signs of absorbing anything… this one seems to have mutated… Just in case, be ready for termination…”
“It’s already beyond normal termination procedures, Boss. How should we proceed?”
“I want four security officers in Mech-suits waiting outside this lab.”
“They’ve gone… Lugia?”
“I heard… termination… my fate is termination…”
“I won’t let it happen… I promise…”
PBM blinked. “What was that?”
“It was almost like I was there,” Charm said as she held her hands to her head.
North smiled. He was holding another of those doohickeys he had been pulling from his pocket. This one looked like a CD player.
“Sorry… I used a scanning disc reader with a direct feed unit… feeds the information right to you.”
“Next time warn us, will ya?” Charm griped, giving North an elbow.
M2 nearly jumped up from his seat, but North waved him down. North probably was not in any shape to take even a slight jolt like that, and that was the second one Charm had given him.
“Anyway…” North continued, “Black Lugia at this point knew that it was different, and that it would be terminated if the absorption levels didn’t drop.”
“And my Mew had agreed to save it, not knowing what would happen when she did,” M2 added.
“Enter Rose…” North said.
“Rose?” Charm asked.
“Rose Musashi-Kojiro, daughter of Jessie and James Kojiro of Level 6.4,” explained the scientist. “She ‘borrowed’ a spacecraft from The Observers while it was at the Status. This craft allowed her to pass through time and space… The teenager flew back in time and down to the 14th level to prevent the Black Lugia from escaping, and eventually killing her father. But before she could find the Lugia, she was found by the security.”
“NO! NO! YOU MUST LISTEN TO ME!”
“What is all that noise out there?” the creature in the tank asked.
“I don’t know… I’ll find out…” Mew exited the room, and followed two guards that were dragging a young woman behind them.
“So, you’re the one who got past all but the final security markers,” the Boss asked.
“It was the only one not on my level,” the girl said coldly. “Mother, why?”
“For the last time, young lady, I am NOT your Mother! Granted, the resemblance is striking…”
“Still, why?” the girl persisted as the Mew peeked in.
“Team Rocket WILL have the strongest, most powerful Pokémon on this planet. If that means brewing them up, so be it!”
“This one is lethal. It will destroy this world, and eventually MY world. It is beyond evil, and MUST be stopped.”
Mew sensed the girl. She was telling the truth, or at least, it felt that way. As she floated away, she could hear the Boss asking something about “proof” behind her.
“Well?” the creature in the tank asked as Mew entered the room again.
“What are you intending to do once free?” the Mew asked.
“Get away from this place as fast as I can… why?”
Mew concentrated. Hard.
“What… what are you doing?” the beast asked, feeling something diving into its soul.
Mew felt and probed. She then found something she had not expected - The face of a Haunter laughing back at her.
“What is this?” she asked herself.
“This is what I am,” the Haunter said in the beast’s voice. Part Legendary Bird, mixed in with a dash of ghoul. I am the Black Lugia! I will absorb you!”
Mew retreated from the creature’s mind. “You are wholly evil. The girl is right, you will only bring destruction and death… I must stop you…”
The Mew proceeded to attack the controls of the tank, dropping the cables that held the beast suspended within the tank. Sparks flew from the panels, and a smell of ozone filled the room.
“Didn’t you hear them earlier? I’ve gone beyond the point of simple termination…” the beast said, rising from the ooze of the tank.
Mew fired multiple orbs of energy at the creature. The first struck with conviction. But the second and third were absorbed.
“You have released me! You kept your promise, small one!” the evil beast said, laughing out loud.
“No! NO!!” Mew psychically yelled. Black Lugia reached down and snagged the cat.
The security entered the room in large mech-suits. The large dark creature lunged at the first trooper and bit it in two. The second unit started to fire from a machine gun it held. Black Lugia simply swatted the suit with the back of its left wing, sending the security guard smashing into a wall.
Rose and the Boss entered the room. Rose was holding some strange gun and wearing goggles.
“Cover your eyes!” she yelled, and let fly a pair of photon charges. They sent the Lugia crashing into the wall, and releasing the Mew, which flopped to the floor in front of Rose.
“What the…” she said, grabbing the shivering creature. She bundled it under her arm and backed out of the room, watching the monster across from her remove itself from the wall.
“THAT wasn’t very nice, human!” it snarled.
“Now what?!” the Boss yelled, watching the beast stand up.
“Evacuate the base!” Rose called out while running down the hallway.
“Rose returned to the ship that had brought her there,”
North continued as he shut the playback down. “She put the injured Mew in it,
and took a satchel of PokéBalls she brought with her. She then sent the ship
back to the Stratus with a distress signal.”
M2 nodded. “During all this, I suddenly felt a new wave of evil… ghosts Pokémon from all over the planet were heading in the direction of the OrangeIslands. And they were turning red - an evil garish red.”
“The Black Lugia had powers over them I take it?” PBM asked.
M2 sighed. “Yes… the ghost within itself allowed it to control the ghosts of the world. Soon, it began to send them out to start the absorption of all life. Its ultimate goal was the planet’s own Lugia. I attempted to contact it but was unable to do so as I was one of the first targets the black monster sent its minions after.”
PBM looked at the sorrow on M2’s face, the memories of the destruction of his world racking him. She rubbed his shoulder, and he smiled.
“It was at this point that I was rescued…” he said.
“The cavalry came?” Charm bemused.
“You could say that, yes…” M2 said through a laugh. “For some time, I knew that I was being observed. A non-malevolent force had taken station over the planet, and was watching.”
“Rob’s friends?” PBM asked.
North nodded. “The United Nations Starship Exeter, part of The Observers group, was on duty to monitor the history of that world. Her captain broke the rules and offered to take the MewTwo onboard. She had found him less threatening than the MewTwos she had seen in other worlds.”
M2 laughed. “Well, I had found peace…” he grimaced.
North smirked. “She even gave him his name.”
M2 laughed again. “It suited me… anyway, you know pretty much the rest… Black Lugia continued his rampage, searching out the Lugias on other levels. He almost got them all too… and I lost my Mew in the final battle…”
They all sat in silence for a moment.
“Well… I’m rested up… let’s get going…” North said, stumbling to his feet. Charm helped him down the steep incline that lead to the camp below.
M2 and PBM watched them. The information helped PBM, but she still had many more questions than answers. She looked at M2. He smiled and kissed her.
PBM turned the Pikachu around.
“What’s going on back…” Charm said.
“Don’t look…” North interrupted her with a smirk. “It’s probably not a pleasant sight.”
The two MewTwos glided down the hill locked in their embrace. As they slid to the bottom they broke apart. Peanut sighed and placed her head against his again.
“M…” she said to him, “I have to admit… I… I nearly killed this, my level’s Giovanni as well.” She looked up at his eyes and found them calm and unfazed. In fact, he was smiling to her.
“That is a common theme between dimensional levels,” he told her. “And, as Rob noted, considering the number of MewTwos on this one, it’s kind of amazing that this level’s Gio is still with us!”
She blinked. “You’re… you’re not surprised?” she asked him.
He shrugged. “It surprises me that someone as concerned for others as you are, someone who has the compassion you’ve shown, would be capable of anger like that. But tell me… I know so very little about you. I’d like to know.”
She smiled. “Well, what happened was that several Mew fossils were uncovered in the Amazon basin of South America. That was the big breakthrough… I think on this level that they had one successful project at first who had a story that sounds just like what happened with you.”
M2 drew in a long breath and sighed. “Umm, we’ve met – the MewTwo Prime of this level. He complains about all the other MewTwos out there, and how it keeps him from having a good night’s rest with all that psychic chatter about.”
Peanut almost laughed thinking of that grumpy fussbudget of a MewTwo she knew in the Orange Isles decked out in pajamas and a night cap trying to sleep with all the racket of the psychic network rattling in his head. She shook her head to vacate such a thought.
“Anyway, from what I found out, they scattered the fossils about between the many Team Rocket labs around the world after the failure of the first attempt. In my group, they decided to try a number of tests all at once. Since they had the data from the first experiment, they could make basic clones easily. What they needed to do was fine tune them better so that we wouldn’t be as angry as… Prime you called him?”
M2 gave a half-nod. “It’s what the Stratus calls the first MewTwo of a level that has more than one.”
She blinked. “And what do they call me?”
M2 thought for a moment. “Well, since we just met, I wouldn’t know that. We’ll just have to find out when this is all over.” He took her paws in his and they settled in the grass. “So where were you?”
“Oh, yes… They were making a group of us… seven in all.” She shivered at the memory. “Right from the start I was lonely though… right from when my own consciousness began. Only once did I brush minds with one of the others in the lab. We were both very young at the time… maybe… five or six, mentally.”
M2 tried to picture what she must have looked like as a
young clone child. What he came up with made him grin. Being so close to
Peanut, she was able to tap into the image in his mind of a purple MewTwo child
with huge bunny feet. She swatted his shoulder and continued with her story.
“So something went very wrong in the last three months of the experiments. I was able to see and hear around the lab a great deal more as I grew. None of the shadows I could see outside my tube thought I could though. I saw that awful things were happening to the others. I saw their hearts just stop. The first was number two… then number six… soon there were none left but me.” Her voice trembled as the memory swept her. “One of them… number three… she was right next to me. She… she just… dissolved. It was awful… I watched her die. There was nothing I could do.”
M2 moved over to her log. He wrapped his arm over her shoulder and held her close. She laid her head against his paw and sighed. He really was special.
“It scared me,” she continued. “Somehow, I broke the glass of my vessel. I was way too young too be out. They were sure that if I didn’t die from whatever had killed the others, I would contract some other disease from overexposure. They sedated me something awful. They first tried gas, and when they thought that hadn’t worked, they started in with the needles.” She shuddered as she moved some of her fur on her shoulder aside to show the scar left by their messy approach to anesthesia.
M2 reached over to his left shoulder and moved his own fur aside. There was a welt on his shoulder. “Mine was from the fact that they didn’t think that a clone could use the same anti-viral agents used on normal Pokémon. That shot nearly killed me.”
She thought back at what was injected in herself as she looked back at her own scar. “I don’t remember them trying anything like that on me,” she whispered.
“Perhaps it was because in your world, they already had the results from their first MewTwo,” M suggested. “Yours wasn’t the first crew to attempt making an advanced Mew clone.”
She nodded. “That’s true. And I did survive. They though that my exposure had helped me somehow. Dr. Tsunami was furious when he found out what they had done. He ordered me back into a tube of goo because of my ‘underdeveloped lungs’ he said.”
“Tsunami?” M2 thought about the name. “I seem to remember someone named that in my research crew… short guy, scruffy hair, was fond of mocha-cappuccinos, had glasses that could start fires if left out in the sun too long?”
Peanut nearly broke out laughing at the description. “That’s him exactly!” she exclaimed. “He was from the Dr. Fuji Memorial Institute!”
M2 sat back. “The what?” he asked her.
She was about to repeat herself when she realized what she had said. “Umm… oh dear…”
M2 waved her off about it. “Just because they named a research facility after the man who created me… well, I guess in this case, the Prime MewTwo of this level, is okay… at least it is to me. I’m not sure what old grumpy from here would think.”
“Did your Dr. Tsunami have a daughter as well?” she asked him.
M2 grimaced. “I certainly hope not. As far as I knew, there were no other family members allowed on the island where they made me. And since I left little of the surface standing when I went ballistic…”
PBM blinked. “You… you killed your Dr. Tsunami?”
M scratched his cheek. “Honestly, I don’t know… If he was still on the island, or within that twenty mile blast zone I created, he would have been. But even if he wasn’t, my planet was extinguished by the Black Lugia… so he would be dead now anyway.”
Peanut huffed as she thought about that. “We have warped histories, don’t we?” she said.
“Can’t argue about that,” M2 agreed. “Why did you wonder if he had a daughter?”
She snickered a little. “He would bring her around to the lab from time to time. She was the one who named me.”
M stared at her briefly. “Oh, that’s right, you did mention that she was the one who named you Peanut Butter.”
Peanut blushed slightly. “Umm, I reminded her of her favorite thing to go with peanut butter,” she explained while waving her paws over her lavender purple fur. “Mind you, it gets darker when in the clone juice.”
He nodded. “Well, she could have always called you GrapeJellyMewTwo.”
She thought about that for a moment and shivered. “No,” she flatly stated to M2’s laugh. “Anyway, during the final month of their experiment, they were afraid that something was wrong. I seemed to have stopped developing. As you can see, I’m not the largest of MewTwos.”
M2 shrugged. “You aren’t the tallest, that is for sure,” he agreed. “But there were the MewTwo of Level 6.2… they wound up simply being Mews with augmented powers, so they remained Mew size. They also were absolute IMPS!”
He saw the look she was giving him. He cleared his throat. “I like bunny feet,” he quickly added in a cough. “You were saying?”
“At that time, Giovanni showed up,” she growled. “He demanded to see the results of his funding, and that he didn’t want any further screw-ups. He was furious when he found that the others had died, which the others had ‘neglected’ to inform him about. He made me so mad… he was standing there talking about me while I could hear him and… ooh I didn’t like him. ‘It’s the only one left?’ I remember him bellowing. ‘Is it at least stable, doctor? What? Another month? I assume it will grow out of those atrocious bunny feet. I wanted a rare and powerful Pokémon, not a baby!’”
M2 leaned over and looked at Peanut’s legs. “Gio isn’t known for liking ‘cute’,” he stated. “Poo on him!”
Peanut giggled. “Well, I didn’t like him. And that HORRIBLE suit he wore! The man has no taste! And he went on for hours, all about running constant tests and blood samples and all sorts of nasty things on me. And his constant berating, degrading and overall hostile way he was treating Dr. Tsunami got me really mad.”
“Uh oh,” M said. “You started a power build up?”
She nodded. “I saw the look on Giovanni’s face. It was the look of someone who had seen this before. At first he stood back and shielded himself. Then… then he grinned and stepped closer to my tube. He ran his finger along a crack I had created in it. ‘You’re mine’ he told me. I think I would have killed him right there and then if there hadn’t been something wrong with me. As it was, I settled for escaping.
“Dr. Tsunami was so shocked when he found out I could speak to him. He had thought I was barely sentient. He never thought to ask his daughter about all the times we chatted when she visited before I broke my glass that second time. When I detonated my tube the third time, he shouted at me as I ran that I’d die within a few days. I didn’t listen to him – I just ran… ran for my life.
“For a long while afterwards I was sick. I had found an abandoned cabin up in the mountains with a stockpile of food. But I knew that there was something wrong with me. I knew that I was created from the Mew, so I tried finding them. I thought maybe I’d get some answers with them… but… but I never found any. I’m not sure if they just were hiding from me, or there aren’t any left. I just got the feeling they didn’t want anything to do with me.” Her eyes were downcast and her voice shook slightly. M2 held her close and rubbed her shoulder. “Anyway… I haven’t been sick for a while now.”
M2 squeezed her. “Just as well then,” he told her. She looked up at him. “I wouldn’t have ever met you if you were still sick, now would I?” He kissed her on the nose.
“Now then, if you have any questions about yourself,” he added as they rested foreheads together, “Rob is certainly the man to ask.”
“You certainly trust him a great deal,” she said.
“With my life,” he bluntly replied. “And visa versa, if it wasn’t obvious.”
She shook her head against his. “You certainly are an odd MewTwo,” she smiled.
“Look who’s talking Usagi Feet!” he kidded her. “Come on, we need to catch up before Mauvais does something else.”
The new camp had settled in the open field beyond where Jessie and James’ hay wagon had been. Charm kicked over a smoldering box that had been on it and sat down with a huff.
“Why the hell did you do all that, Rob?” she bitterly snarked at the scientist. “You look like crap, and you go and do some sort of half-assed transformation and damn near kill yourself in the process!”
“We need you, that’s why,” he told her as he trudged on a step or two before turning back to look at her. “We need you more than you’re willing to admit.”
“Doesn’t seem so to me,” she snorted. “Peanut seems to think she knows everything,
and that she can do my stuff! You don’t
North sighed and sat beside her. “That’s not true,” he told her. “She feels awful for what she did.”
“Yeah… right…” Charm snarled. She laid back across the box and studied the black sky. Her voice didn’t sound like it was directed towards anyone in particular. “You shouldn’t have come to get me. She should have let that stupid tree crush me.” She sounded angry and frustrated. “I could’ve taken care of myself.”
North nodded. “You’re probably right…”
She raised herself up by her elbows and glared at him. “So why didn’t you?” she snapped.
He looked back at her. “In this situation, we can not be sure of that. And like it or not, I will protect you if need be, if anything, to prevent that creature from getting at you, or getting what you carry.”
“Oh, so THAT’S it!” she now barked. “You’re more worried about that beast getting the ShadowFlare than me!”
“HEY!” North shouted at her, causing her to fall back on
one elbow in shock. He had never yelled
in anger at her before. “NEVER!” he
added with a scowl. “As much as I would
not want to battle with a Mauvais that had the ShadowFlare, or worse, the fact that he would have
got that power by destroying you is not an option in my opinion, PERIOD!”
She dropped back down onto her back and glared up at nothing. “You just did damage to yourself… and for something you didn’t need… I can tell you’re in pain…”
“I told you, we need you… who cares if I’m in pain?” North said.
“Who do you think cares? I’m sure M2 does… I know I do, you’re my friend, what do ya expect? You’re older!”
“Oh, thank you!” he laughed.
“Well you are, you old fart! You should’ve let it alone… you shouldn’t have hurt yourself,” the red-haired Rocket said.
North stood up and looked down at her. He poked her in the belly making her flinch.
“I hurt myself to protect my friends and those around me unable to defend themselves,” he told her. “Remember, I fought this Black Lugia before – you haven’t. The one you dealt with was a simulated copy that I contrived for that tournament.”
“And it ATE YOU,” she reminded him.
He stood tall, which he had not been doing for most of this night. “And you didn’t notice the difference?” he noted to her. “This one hasn’t done so yet, even with numerous chances to do so. Think about it.” He started down through the tall grass towards the tents that were being set up.
“Damn him,” Charm growled to herself. He had never told her that the Black Lugia in the so-called ‘Paint Wars’ was a fake. And she had always thought that it had truly eaten him – of course, when he showed up the next day uninjured and covered in paintball splatter, she thought it had been one of his droid copies she knew he had that had been devoured.
Then again, no one had ever told her just how that Black Lugia had been finished off, seeing that Giovanni had sent her off on another ‘suicide’ mission the next day. Now she realized that it was probably just some mechanical contraption somewhere in storage in Tech Lab One.
“NORTH YOU BASTARD!!” she cried to the sky.
“Ah, the cry of the warrior!” she heard. She looked back from her prone position and saw a pair of legs. It was the Chief of the Gypsies. She quickly sat upright.
“Oh! Ah! Sir!” she stammered. “I’m… I’m… ah…”
He held up his hand to calm her. “I understand that you lost my Rapidash,” he gently told her.
“Er, ah… I’m sorry!” she yelped. Inside, she was cursing the fact that she was sounding so much like a whelping little rookie!
He shook his head. Why was he smiling?
“It is not to be worried about, small one,” he told her. “Did he die well?”
She shook her head trying to fathom the question. What was he, some sort of Klingon?
“Die well?” she asked. “Umm, I wasn’t on him at the time… Those damn Red Haunters got him while I was fighting… it was all my fault! I want you to take my Rapidash!”
The Gypsy King shook his head sadly seeing that the gypsy sprit had left the girl. “That is quite alright… I do not wish to take what is yours.”
“Take it!” she now yelled stubbornly.
The chief placed his large hand on her shoulder and sighed. “I have to deal with the wives of the six men we lost tonight, not to mention the dozen or so animals taken as well by this evil. This is a time to keep those of yours close, and not to send them off to die alone. Keep your Rapidash, and keep it well.”
Charm stood up she spoke with anger. “Your Rapidash didn’t have to die! It was my fault!”
He stood away from her. “Being ridden or on its own, it died a warrior. Never forget that spirit, young fighter.” He turned and left her for the camp. It was then she noticed that he was carrying his own saddle, minus his charger that he had been riding.
She glared up at the eyes that were returning to the sky. She then darted off into the field.
“How’s Charm doing?” PBM asked North as she and M2
arrived in the camp.
The scientist shrugged as he looked back up the hill towards the wreckage of the wagon. “I don’t know… she’s all mixed up right now. For some reason she believes that you think you know everything, and that you can do what she does.”
M2 blinked. “She thinks Peanut can do a ShadowFlare?”
“Not the last I saw,” he said as he sat down on a barrel.
“I was so stupid” the female MewTwo said.
“She’s in full-blame-herself mode right now,” he
added. “She’s saying she wasn’t any good
and that we don’t need her.” North panted
a bit, trying to catch his breath, which caught M2’s attention.
“Speaking of full-blame-mode, you need rest” M2 told him.
The scientist shook his head. “No,” he flatly said.
“Yes,” Peanut replied with a gesture of her paw. Her eyes flashed, and North found himself being levitated into a tent nearby and dropped into some soft sheets.
“Get some SLEEP!” she rattled through his head.
“Yes mommy,” he grunted from his back.
In the field beyond the camp, what nearly looked like a red-haired wolf was marking a mile-and-a-half-wide circle in the tall grass at incredible speed. It then leapt a half-mile inwards and made a second ring within the first. Charm stood up after completing her task and looked around.
“Hey you,” she harped at a scared Rattata. “Tell all your buddies out here to vamoose, understand? Get the hell out of here, unless you want to be sucked up in hell’s fury!"
The rodent Pokémon ran off leaving Charm between her creations awaiting the arrival of Mauvais.
“Do not taunt me with red eyes, show yourself!” Charm
said coldly to the sky.
The eyes vanished, and slowly Mauvais descended. For something so large, it landed in front of her without shaking or thumping the ground. It made more of a splat, and then formed into the shape of the dragon-Lugia mix it had appeared in earlier.
North peeked out of the tent. Peanut and M2 had moved to the center of the camp. He pulled out his scanning rod and waved it about.
“High energy buildup southeast of here…” he pondered. He slipped out and moved to the outside of the area of tents.
“I should go find Charm,” he heard PBM say sadly from the
other side of the last tent.
“I think you should stay here,” he heard M2 advise her. “We are the only defense these people have strong enough if Mauvais decides to attack here directly. We can’t divide our strengths right now.”
“I’m a strength?” she asked.
“More than you know,” North noted to himself as he slipped out of the camp.
North stopped at the sound of Team Rocket’s chatty cat. He saw him off to his left talking to some stray Pokémon that had just exited the field in the direction his scanner was showing the power build up.
“Hey fuzzball,” he greeted Meowth. “What’s up?”
“Yo, Doc,” he replied. “Dees two Rattata said dat Goth Girl’s out in da field out d’ere, an’ dat she told ‘em ta get all da Pokémon out’a d’ere pronto!”
He looked at the rod in his hands. “Tell me, did she say how far you had to get?” he asked the two critters.
The two chittered a reply. Meowth seemed puzzled.
“A mile-and-a-half circle?” he asked. “Wot da heck is dat all about?”
North tapped the scanner in his hand. “Did she make a circle inside the first?” he asked.
The two Rattata nodded a yes. When Meowth looked up at the scientist, he was pinching his eyes.
“Oh, dat don’t look good, Doc,” he mumbled. “What’s up?”
“Meowth, I want you to get everyone to the far side of the camp,” he told him. “Make sure all the towns-folks in their spheres are gathered up that way as well. If Charm’s about to do what I think she’s about to do, there might be a bigger bang here than what I took earlier.”
“Geeze Doc, didn’t we just move to dis spot to get away from da dangers of dat forest?” Meowth complained.
North sighed as he looked out into the black field. “And in our current situation, where exactly is safe?”
“Ya gotta point,” the cat remarked as he headed into the camp. North started out into the field.
“So, have you made your decision?” he heard Mauvais ask.
“Maybe,” the Gothic girl answered from the dark. North rummaged through the pocket of the tattered lab coat he had appropriated from his droid earlier. He pulled out three long red sticks which had strings on one end. He yanked on the first and held it out pointing at the sky.
The end of the stick sputtered and sparked. It then fired off a strange flair that shot skywards to a level that a normal flair should not have obtained. He then followed it with the second one to the left and the third one down the center. The three orbs lit up the field below them like a boxing ring. In the center were the two opponents – a large dragon-like creature, and a small girl with glowing red eyes.
North sighed as he approached the outer ring. “You’re serious about this, aren’t you?” he called to Charm.
“Stay out of this North!” Mauvais roared.
“Shut up, gooey! I’m talking to the lady!” North barked back.
“Who’s a lady?” Charm snarked. “Besides, you do not know what I’m doing, so go!”
North laughed and shook his head. “Honestly, why do you always underestimate me?”
“Very true, human,” Mauvais actually agreed with him. “Do you really not know this man’s reputation?”
Charm’s red stare switched back and forth between the two of them. “Hey! Which side are you on?!” she shouted to North.
North saw her dark Rapidash nearby and gestured it to come over. “Yours, of course! And I do know what you’re about to do. But I wouldn’t DARE come any closer when you’re getting ready to do what you’re about to do. I’m just giving you a choice to come with me before doing something so risky!”
She gave him an angry blank red-eyed stare. “I made my circles,” she bluntly stated.
North held his hands up and started to back away. “Come on, kiddo,” he told the Rapidash. “We don’t want to be at ground zero.”
The Rapidash whinnied and followed him out of the circle. North then pulled a miniature megaphone out of his pocket.
“Okay you two,” he called. “I’ll play referee over here! Have fun!”
Mauvais stared at the human. “Seriously?” he asked. “You have no problems with me devouring her in front of you?”
“Go crazy, baby!” North replied. “As she said, she made her rings. Are you man-up enough to get in them?”
Mauvais sneered. “Then I will assume you have made your decision!” the dragon stated. It looked at North it grinned “you’ll be easy to get.”
“Rep – u – TATION?” North called back. “Didn’t you just mention something about
that? Give him the rules of this battle,
Charm, if you please!”
Charm put her attention back on Mauvais. “We shall battle… If you win, I join you. If I win, I don’t.”
North scratched his head. “Well now, that’s not the normal rules… Hey Charm! Are you crazy?!” North yelled. The Rapidash seemed pretty much to agree with the scientist’s question as it whinnied again and pawed the ground with its hooves.
“Not that I know of…” she answered.
“Okay… just checking!”
“And so, we shall battle!” Mauvais said.
Charm held up a hand.
“Not so fast blobby,” she called out.
“I haven’t stated the rules of this engagement yet! Both of us must stay in this inner mile
radius circle. Attacks can go no farther than the outer circle. If you are
knocked out of the inner circle by your opponent, and it wasn’t your own
action, you must return to this inner ring before you may attack again,
otherwise, you lose. If you are sent
beyond the outer ring, you lose as well.”
Mauvais grinned. “That is fine with me.”
Charm was standing in the EXACT center of the circle, glaring at Mauvais.
Mauvais looked to North. “When you’re ready, human!”
North peeked at his scanning rod. “No problem,” he said as he pulled a starter’s pistol out of his pocket. He looked out into the field and saw Charm’s glowing eyes staring at him.
The rod beeped. He pulled the trigger to begin and instantly leaped aboard the Rapidash.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Mauvais asked as he saw the Rapidash and scientist racing away at high speed.
“DARK FLARE APOCALYPSE!” Charm announced. A sphere of ShadowFlare energy surrounded her and began to grow in size. Above them dark gray clouds could be seen forming below the inky black skies, illuminated by North’s flairs.
The sphere was suddenly launched upwards. The burning orb gained energy from lightning generated by the dark clouds.
North kept watch over his shoulder, as he brought the Rapidash around in a turn that matched the outer ring. “Oh, that’s going to drain her quickly,” he mumbled. “Be ready Rapidash.”
“FEEL MY PAIN YOU BASTARD!” Charm yelled. She crossed her arms and then dropped them to
The ShadowFlare energy fell back down to the ground, engulfing the mile radius area of the inner circle. As if in the eye of a storm, Charm stood unscathed as all around her was vaporized. Outside the inner ring, the overburst flattened everything. Most of the tents and a few of the caravans in the south end of the gypsy camp were knocked down by the blast.
The Rapidash tried to hold its ground as North took readings and tried his best to watch what was going on within the devastation. But seeing that his flairs were being spun about by the tornado of wind Charm had generated, it was the least he could do to just keep his eyes open. As he saw the maelstrom start to lift, he urged the fire-horse to head towards the center of it all. The first thing they encountered was that the edge of the inner circle now dropped at least ten feet at the outer rim. Fortunately it rose as they headed inwards.
As they made it into the central zone of the blast he saw
Charm lying on the ground, and Mauvais nowhere to be seen. North slid off the
Rapidash and limped over to her, to find her hardly conscious, and as he
expected, drained of energy. She looked up at him through weepy eyes that were
“Mauvais… that bugger fled…” she said weakly, and then fell into blackness.
The red eyes appeared again. North glared up at them.
“You didn’t win, you know,” he yelled. “You flew! Vamoosed! You lost… And you don’t get her… EVER! You left the circle!”
Mauvais laughed. “Oh yes, I know. And I would not have liked to be hit by that attack, but I’m sure I’ll have more chances… now that I know what her true power is!” With that the red eyes disappeared.
North snorted. “That’s what you think,” he chuckled to himself. “That was only her maximum output using ShadowFlare… which is hardly her full potential.” He reached down and pulled her katana, bow and quill off her back. He latched them to the saddle on the Rapidash. He examined the sword’s scabbard.
“When will you be truly called upon I wonder?” He coughed and returned to the girl on the ground behind them.
He lifted her up to a seated position. He then attempted to do a fireman’s lift. In his condition, it was just a struggle to get the light but limp body over his shoulder. He managed three gimpy steps to the Rapidash’s side and looked up at the saddle that was at his head’s height.
“You… you couldn’t kneel, could you?” he asked it, the sweat pouring off his brow.
The horse snorted. To his surprise, it did just that.
“Good boy,” he told it as he slung Charm over the saddle and patted it on the neck.
It snorted again with the sound of displeasure. North looked around, then leaned over and looked under the Rapidash.
“Oh… sorry… Good girl! You’re a big one!” They headed for the camp.
A mile walk for someone in the scientist’s condition was bad enough. Climbing the ten foot drop halfway nearly collapsed him. The Rapidash hauled him up using its bridal to clear its edge.
“What the hell was all that about?” M2 asked. North found him grabbing his jacket’s shoulder to assist him to his feet.
North patted the red mop that was hanging over the side of the Rapidash. “Our little lady here tried to take on Mauvais on her own.”
“I would have won…” the head mumbled under his hand. “…Used up too much… energy…”
North lifted her slightly. She had passed out again.
“Can you…?” he asked M2 with a gesture to a tent nearby that was being re-staked up. The MewTwo pointed at the body draped over the Rapidash and lifted her off and over to the opening.
PBM dashed over to them as she saw M2 moving Charm into the tent. “What did she do?” she asked with a worried tone. “Is she okay?”
North slowly stumbled in with her. “She’ll be okay. She just depleted all of her natural reserves. It was a very powerful attack. Had Mauvais not taken flight from her ‘arena’ when he did, she would have probably given him a pretty good dent.”
M2 noticed the inflection in North’s voice. “Dent? She wouldn’t have beaten him?”
North sat down beside the girl and moved her red hair off her face. He shook his head. “Probably not using that technique alone,” he said. “The current shape he’s in, I wouldn’t be surprised that he could separate himself into small replicas of himself and be multiple places. He probably was never fully there.”
“Why did she even try?” asked PBM.
North sighed and looked down at the girl beside him. “I think she just wanted to prove herself to us… to you…”
Peanut blinked. “Me?” she asked. “Why me?”
North folded his glasses and pinched his eyes. “She doesn’t have many friends, you might guess,” he explained. “You’ve worked with her before, and I believe she sees you as the closest thing to being one.”
PBM’s lip quivered. “Are… you saying that she did that because… of me?”
“Us,” North corrected her. “Charm doesn’t take being told things that are contrary to her thoughts and feelings. We both yelled at her in one form or another. We both drove her to prove to us that she is indeed needed here and now.”
Mauvais looked down into the camp. It had never wanted
the girl. It just wanted to get her out of the way. Its plan was coming along
well. Now the only one who wasn’t hurt or sick was a bunch of gypsies, four
scared members of Team Rocket, and the female MewTwo. He knew that the she was
a problem and had to be taken care of next. It had to exploit her weakness,
like loyalty and friendship, just like he had exploited Charm’s pride and
courage. It was a simple plan: take advantage of their weakness, pin them
against each other, and then pick them off one by one.
He could see them all. Charm was asleep, while North tried to help her, even though he needed to rest himself. The female MewTwo talked while the male listened and tried to calm her. They were off their guard, but now was not the time to attack. It had to plan carefully, and first he had to get rid of the female MewTwo.
North sat on a mat across from Charm watching her sleep
while feeling ill himself. There was a lull in the action. He fell over.
“Ah Rob… good to see you here…”
North opened his eyes. Charm was gone. The tent was gone. Umm… everything was gone… As a matter of fact, everything was white… a white he knew and was not pleased to see.
Then a face looked down on him.
“Aww nuts…” North grumbled. “What am I doing up on the Stratus League?”
The Nurse Joy that looked at him smiled sweetly and flipped her clipboard. She quickly checked some vitals stats. “Oh yes… you laid down while experiencing a mild fluctuation of your heart… you hit the ground hard enough to shatter that crystal in your neck. A piece went straight for your brain…”
“Malarkey!” North growled and threw off the bed sheets covering him. He swung his legs out and stood up from the bed.
Now he was standing outdoors in the courtyard of the Stratus League, in only his bed clothes. He looked up and saw Black Lugia fly by, chasing an airborne Meowth, who was wearing a ceramic armor suit and cackling gleefully.
North felt someone tapping on his shoulder. He turned to see Sabrina Natsumi and Jesse looking at him oddly, James and Jazzy were in the background laughing hysterically and pointing at him.
“Excuse me Robert, but is there a reason why you’re standing in the courtyard of the Stratus in your PJs?” Sabrina asked.
North turned away from the ladies. When he looked again, he was standing in the Office of the President of the League. A large Pikachu in battle armor and golden white wings was standing on the desk shaking his head while glaring at him.
“PK?” North asked, moving a step closer, but feeling a breeze in doing so. “Aw nuts…”
“Some people say clothes make the man…” the Pikachu said.
North looked down, and saw… pants?
He looked around. He was in his apartment over his lab. He looked down at the friendly confines of what he knew as home, and breathed a sigh of relief. Ziggy the Persian was asleep on his favorite spot on the top of the large refrigerator below him. He looked across the room and saw a bank of monitors that he would normally have stored away when he wasn’t using them. They were secret, only to be seen by fellow members of the Golden R. He took a few steps down the stairs from his apartment and saw someone working at his console.
“Gio?” he asked the man.
The Boss looked up at North. “Rob…”
“What’s going on?”
He tapped a button on the controls and brought up a picture of his own office. “Isn’t that what I should be asking you?”
North looked at the monitors. Many of the others were showing views of assorted locations within Team Rocket Headquarters.
“So… YOU are the leader of the Golden R…” Giovanni concluded.
North glared at him. He didn’t need to say a thing. It would have been foolish to try.
“And?” he asked.
Giovanni leaned back in North’s favorite chair. “You know I’ve been trying to find the Golden R’s leader… Kind of a hobby of mine… but you would have known that, wouldn’t you?”
North crossed his arms. “So?”
“My grandfather may have insisted on forming the Golden
R,” the Boss continued, “but I’m not inclined to see it continue.” He reached
over and flicked a switch on the console, and a massive vault door next to the
end of the monitors began to swing open.
“It’s amazing what you have stashed around here…” he smiled. “It’s going to be fun rummaging about this place.”
North nodded his head at the refrigerator. “Just don’t open any of those bottles in the ‘fridge… unless you want to vaporize the planet.”
Gio looked at North. “I’ll make a note of that…” he said. “We’ve know each other for a long time Rob. Clear back to when I took over Team Rocket. I always trusted you. When did you start stabbing me in the back?”
North gave Giovanni a calm look. “When you stole my first attempt to get home… All you managed to do was wreck it anyway…”
Giovanni nodded. “So you knew…”
“I always suspected. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered the actual truth.”
“And how many of my plans have you foiled?” the Boss asked, closely examining a blinking light on the console.
“A few… Actually, I spent most of my time saving your agents when they were ‘blasting off’ - what goes up, usually has to come down.”
Giovanni laughed at that thought. “Well, they’ll just have to learn how to fly, now shan’t they?”
North cocked his head. “That’ll drive up mortality rates.”
“I’m interested in only the best. You saving teams like Jessie and James only hinders Team Rocket.”
North looked over his glasses at Giovanni. “Like what you did to Myamoto?”
Giovanni snapped a glare at the scientist. “You know, that was the only other time I stole from you.”
North smirked and shook his head. “If I believed that, I would run for president. I take it you take me for a fool…”
“You obviously took me for one,” Giovanni said as he reached into his jacket. “One that I’ll make sure never happens again!”
He saw the barrel only briefly. A streak of light ran up it as it exited the inner pocket of Giovanni’s blazer. Then there was a flash. Then there was darkness.
As he fell into the dark, North noticed Ziggy. The Persian had not flinched.
“Is he breathing yet?”
“Has anyone found the Nurse Joy orb yet?”
“The Boss is here, let him in!”
North could feel someone pressing on him. And this person was saying “Idiot! Idiot! Idiot!” each time they pressed on his chest.
“Standby, let the Pikachu in there!”
‘What?’ ran through North’s mind.
North sat upright, then fell back down ON THE PIKACHU, and got another zap!
North opened his eyes, and saw Charm looking down on him. “Idiot! Why did you do it?!”
“Never give up! Never surrender!” North replied.
The scientist looked up at the Boss.
“Hey… you’re looking better,” North said seeing the Boss no longer looking like a zombie.
“And you look like someone who’s been run down by a herd of Toros!” he told him.
North snickered. “Yea… I must be a mess…”
Giovanni bent over. Charm glared at him as she held North’s head in her lap. “I’ve been told a number of stories all ready,” the Boss told him. “We must discuss some of these later…”
North looked up at him startled. He then settled down. “Oh yea… wrong d-level…” he mumbled. He closed his eyes again.
Charm gave him a shot to the shoulder. “Oh no you don’t… You’re gonna tell me what happened!”
North grimaced. “What?”
“What happened when I zapped Mauvais?”
North shook his head. “You cleared a mile of timber, but the bird flew the coop before it hit…”
“DAMN!” she said, pounding her hip with her fist.
North took Charm’s other hand and patted it. “Thanks kid. You did good…”
Charm blew her hair out of her face. “Phaa! I didn’t get the turkey!”
“Chicken…” North corrected. “He ran, you didn’t. And earlier, he attempted his version of stabbing you in the back. You stood your ground. Well done…”
M2 walked into the tent, carrying an orb with a Nurse Joy, and he popped it.
“Your patient, Nurse Joy!” he said, helping the care giver up from the blankets she fell into.
“M2, you shouldn’t have…” North mumbled.
“Now Mr. North, your Pokémon is doing the right thing,” the nurse told her patient.
There was silence in the tent as North looked at Joy and M2.
“Ah, Nurse… M2 is not mine…” North warned her. “He’s a friend.”
“A common mistake,” the MewTwo said with a shrug.
North then looked at the expression that Giovanni was
giving M2. This was going to be hard to
PBM stood outside the tent. With so many bodies inside for the emergency, she knew it would be best just to wait.
“Yo, PBM,” Meowth called to her. “Yer kid friend was lookin’ for ya.”
PBM looked at the little PokéCat, as he pointed over towards a tent to the left.
“Are you sure? We’ve been lead about today like we were on leashes…” she sighed.
“Hey, it’s me! Da real t’ing!” Meowth yelped, pulling on his fur. “’Sides, didn’t dat fake fall apart in da woods back dere?”
PBM shrugged. Same smug intolerable Meowth… She walked over to the tent.
“Emi? Are you here?” she asked.
“Ha ha ha ha ha!” she heard, as someone pushed her into the tent. She turned to see the chatty cat, but with a pair of red eyes. A Muuma appeared over his head. It grinned and vanished. Meowth fell over in a daze.
“Welcome, my dear, said the spider to the fly!” a deep booming voice said. Then the flaps to the tent vanished, and she felt the sudden acceleration of being lifted skywards.
M2 burst from North’s tent and looked up sensing that something was very wrong.
The moon was back. Why had the Murkrows left?
In its glare he saw the tent, which now was more a net,
flying up out of the camp.
“PEANUUUUUUT!” he yelled, as he ran after her. “Peanut!”
He stood alone in the grass outside the camp looking skywards. Her presence vanished to him, even though the net was still visible.
An aura of energy wrapped the MewTwo. He launched himself in pursuit of the trap.
And the Roll Play Rolls On…
 PAINT WARS was a Dungeon Quest type RPG on the TRHQ-NEXT and TRHQ2 BBS forums that included a visit by a Black Lugia at the conclusion – it ‘ATE’ North. The results are still available here on TRHQ2 in the RPG Archives list.
©2000 – 2014 The Lugia Project/Denivan Media Services
Edit – 1404.13N lP?rmal>
“Oh bravo... Bravo! I must say, you do put on quite a show!”
“Mauvais!” PBM growled. She turned to look at where the eyes were before, but got a face full of the Misdreavus instead.
“Really!” the specter said in the voice of Mauvais. “The ring of fire energized by an Earthly power source, inspired! I applaud you!”
“You - YOU'RE Mauvais?” PBM asked, startled by the sight.
“What, this? No... I only use the Misdreavus from time to time as a vessel for my conscience. It helps me get around with the little people!” cackled Mauvais.
North semi-ignored the ghost. “Interesting choices of name there, BL... Mauvais? French for evil, isn't it?”
“Ah, you know your French, ea?”
“I have my dictionaries... I also have THIS!”
North pointed the wound healer at the Misdreavus.
“YAAAAH! WHAT - WHAT ARE YOU DOING!” Mauvais yelled.
“Stimulation of the energy of the being you're in,” North said rather matter-of-fact. “This device won't work on clones, but it works on any other life forms or energy... and the Misdreavus is mostly gas and energy... You don't belong in it, therefore, my guess is that it won't mind if I get you out of it!”
“RRRRRRRAHHHH! I WILL DESTROY YOU SCIENTIST!” Mauvais bellowed, until it shot from the Misdreavus into the sky. Once again, the eyes burned the night, and the Murkrows covered the stars. But then they seemed to morph into clouds, and lightning crackled across the skies.
M2 reached up to North. “You've done it now. He'll be coming after you next...”
North smiled, while continuing with his work on the wound. “Better me than you, boss.”
PBM looked at North. “Boss?”
“Figure of speech,” M2 said.
“Respect,” North added.
Meowth stuck his head into the conversation. “Listen you's guy, I don't wanna interrupt dis mutual admiration society, but I've got news! I've found da kids!”
“Probably found food too... I can smell garlic on your breath...” North said. “Where?”
“Over da hill - burp! - About a quarter mile dat way!” the cat Pokémon pointed.
North looked at his work. “James, Butch, Charm... start off. I've got to finish here. We'll follow when we can.”
North looked at PBM. “You too, ma’am,” he told her.
“But...” she started then found M2's hand tingling in hers.
“They'll need your help... go... please...” he told her.
“Will you two let go of each other?” the scientist complained. “I need to work, and I don’t need to get fried again!”
“Pika...” The Pikachu had come over, and had climbed onto PBM's shoulder. She looked at the human beside her with a worried expression.
“Get going...” North told her. “We'll be fine. Save the children.”
She nodded, stood up, and followed the group as they headed over the hill.
Once out of range, North looked over at the droid.
“Droid, what's your power pack like?”
“Int-t-t-tact sir... Auto r-r-r-r-rrrrr-restore on power systems. Fully charged.”
North nodded. “Set your auto destruct... just in case...”
“Acknowledged...” the droid said. “When?”
“On my command.” North continued with his work.
And the Roll Play Rolls On...
 – See “Fate's Game” by TiredGamer – FFN story #640818
 – See “The Myamoto Project” by Shadsie – FFN story #15431
©2000 – 2014 The Lugia Project/Denivan Media Services
Edit – 1404.11