Chapter 1: Prepared for Trouble?
Disclaimer: Pokemon is property of Nintendo, Gamefreak, the WB, and whoever else actually owns the rights to it.
Like other fans, I wish they would license me to write for them for real, though!
On top of the foggy Lavender Town Tower sat a young brown-haired boy of about eleven years old. His blue eyes were so wet with tears that he could hardly see. Beside him knelt a slightly younger girl, about ten. She was also wiping tears from her green eyes.
The two children felt extreme grief about what happened to their Pokémon. Roger, the boy, was taking it the hardest; ever since he got his Pokémon trainer's license, he heard people talking about "irresponsible trainers" who "neglect their Pokémon" and "give all trainers a bad reputation." Like most people, he promised himself he would never be one of those people. As he looked at the somber surroundings of the Pokémon graveyard, though, he felt like he betrayed his Pokémon and doubted himself as a trainer.
"I can't believe Pikachu died," Roger said with a sigh. His heart felt heavy; it was like his whole world, his whole dream of becoming a successful Pokémon trainer, had collapsed around him.
"Yeah, Pikachu was one of the best Pokémon we ever had," Ruby said. Ruby, his sister, was concerned about him. She loved Pikachu and was devastated when she heard what happened, but she noticed that her brother was crushed. He regarded himself no better than a murderer, and some of her sadness was because of what guilt was doing to her brother. He wasn't eating and was barely sleeping. She hoped things would change after the memorial service. She hoped there was some way to tell her brother that it wasn't his fault and that he was a good trainer.
Roger wiped a small tear from his eye and spoke, trying to keep his voice from cracking.
"It's all my fault, Ruby...all my fault..."
"I remember when we caught it...in Viridian Forest. It was so tiny and cute and yellow..." Ruby said. She was trying to remind him of the good times.
"...and a great battler. It helped you win the Cerulean City badge! Misty didn't know what hit her!" Ruby said, trying to put on a cheerful face.
Roger just looked at her and sniffed.
"...and at home, Pikachu was such a wonderful pet," Ruby said.
Roger wiped another tear from his eye and felt warm pressure on his shoulder. Shadows of two older figures, a man and woman, appeared in the fog. It was their mom and dad. Roger grabbed onto his dad's hand.
"It's okay; we'll get you another one," Roger's dad said reassuringly.
"I..don't...know...if I even want another Pikachu!" Roger cried, fighting his agony and guilt.
"Me, either!" Ruby agreed, noticing the pain on her brother's face.
"I wasn't responsible enough with him. I let him die. I don't deserve to be a Pokémon trainer!" Roger said, his voice straining from holding back tears of anger and regret.
Ruby and Roger looked at their parents. Their mom and dad had them in a tight embrace. Tears were running down everyone's cheek.
Roger sniffed and wiped his eyes. He had a glare on his face, and his fists were clenched tightly. He was shaking with rage and sadness.
"Honey, why don't you go and get some fresh air before we go to see the memorial site?" Roger's mom asked. She noticed the way her son was treating himself and hoped that removing him from the situation would calm him down.
"Besides, I don't think Pikachu would have wanted you so sad," Roger's mom added.
"It was my fault that he...died, though," Roger said bitterly.
"Stop blaming yourself. People die; Pokémon die; it's not your fault," Roger's mom said reassuringly.
"It is our fault, though. You weren't there," Roger said.
Ruby wiped another tear from her eye. She missed Pikachu, too, but she was very worried about her brother.
"Ruby, go with your brother. Your dad and I will look for the guides who were supposed to lead us to the memorial stone."
"Where did they go, honey?"
"They said they needed to go back to their car to get supplies."
Jessie and James, professional Pokémon thieves and Team Rocket members to boot, were out doing another scam and just so happened to cross paths with Ruby and Roger's parents earlier that day. They pretended to be fellow mourners and offered to guide them to the memorial stone for Pikachu. Jessie was having second thoughts, though.
"James, I can't believe you have us back in this spooky tower!" Jessie complained as she stumbled over old Pokémon memorials that were buried in the tall grass and tried to keep her long flowing locks of blood red hair from tangling in the tall weeds.
"Well, I figured if we were taking a break from chasing our usual twerps we could get a change of scenery," James offered in a friendly tone while brushing his own purple locks out of his face to reveal a smile; he always tried to stay optimistic and encouraged people to look on the bright side. Considering his cheerful demeanor, his line of work would have probably come as a surprise to some.
"In a haunted house?" Jessie asked in an accusing tone.
"Tower, actually," James corrected.
"The last time we were in Lavender Town, we were almost made into ghosts! Why did I even let you talk me into this?" Jessie asked.
James briefly recalled the moment and rolled his eyes. Jessie was ever the pessimist.
"It's easier to steal Poké Balls in the fog," James said.
"Ooh! Even without Meowth here we're making air-brained decisions!" Jessie huffed, commenting on the absence of their usual loud-mouth Pokémon cat-burglar companion.
"I hope he's enjoying camp," James said, trying to change the subject and get Jessie to stop complaining.
"Why did he decide to go to Pokémon camp, anyway?" Jessie asked.
"I think he heard that Pikachu was going," James said.
"You know, I never thought I would say this, but if we ever get transferred, I'm going to miss that little yellow rat," Jessie said.
James sighed to himself. Finally, she was off the subject of how much she hated being out here in the fog.
The fog was very thick, though. It was like someone had dropped a couple of pounds of dry ice into a large bucket of water. It was so thick that it looked like there were clouds on the ground in some places. It was eerie, for sure, but also beautiful in a strange way. Jessie and James were certainly enjoying the amount of, eh-hem, privacy the cover of the fog provided.
"You know, when I look at you from this angle, with the moon shining on your face, you remind me of a princess..." .
Just then, Jessie and James' moment was interrupted.
"What do you want?" Jessie demanded, showing her true colors in an unannounced temper tantrum.
"Excuse me, but you are our guides. We can't see anything in this fog, and we were wondering where the tombstone of our children's beloved Pikachu is," Ruby and Roger's mother said.
"Oh, of course, follow us," James volunteered cheerfully, brushing away sweat and purple locks while discretely grabbing Jessie's hand and dragging her along.
"Control your temper; don't blow our cover," James whispered.
Jessie leaned over and whispered to James.
"Do you know where we are going?"
"I don't have a clue, but they don't know that," James said.
Jessie scowled, looked down, and kicked the ground. It was typical of James to just act on impulse. She wasn't even sure he had a plan.
"This is the plan, Jessie. We lead these poor Poké-fools in circles while picking off their Pokémon belts one-by-one," James whispered.
Jessie pulled her head back up and gave James a sudden hug. This was a doable decent plan.
"I like the way you think sometimes, James," Jessie cooed.
The two thieves decided to use an old trick that professional pick pockets use. They would bump into the couple at pre-planned times and then palm the goods while they were pretending to help them pick things up. It would be easy to pull off. The thick fog was making it difficult to see anyway.
Jessie and James quickly started moving around the couple.
Ruby's mother was the first target. Jessie pretended to stumble and caught on to the woman for support. While she was in close physical contact, she loosened the woman's belt, causing it and the Poké Balls that were attached to it to fall to the ground.
"Oh! Clumsy me!" Jessie apologized while she carefully bent down and palmed the poké-belt.
As they continued walking, James stumbled into Roger's dad, knocking him flat on his back.
"Oh! Oopsie. May I help you up?" James asked in a cheerful innocent tone.
"Yes, but please watch where you are going next time!" Roger's dad scolded.
James smiled as he offered a hand, brushed the man's clothes off, and discretely placed the poké-belt into a bag.
"Oh, of course! Not to worry," James said while patting the man on the back.
Once Jessie and James were finished collecting the poké-belts, they led the kids' parents to a clearing.
"And...here we...are," Jessie and James said in unison. They kept their tones flat and even, because this was a memorial after all. The people coming to visit probably would have suspected something off if they were too gleeful about reaching tombstones.
The fog cleared and the parents saw a tombstone in the distance.
'Oh, thank you," the parents said.
"Don't mention it," Jessie and James said in unison before disappearing into the fog and leaving their poor clients alone.
The parents looked around.
"Tom, I feel like something is missing."
"Where are our children?"
"Where are our Pokémon?"
"Where are our guides?"
Jessie was using an escape rope to leave the tower and make a clean getaway. James was somehow already on the ground.
James giggled as he heard the parents calling for the guides.
To Jessie, though, the cries seemed sadder and more desperate. She usually didn't feel this way about people she didn't know. Maybe the fog was just playing tricks on her, distorting the noises or something?
Jessie made it to the bottom of the tower and sighed, her conscience tugging ever so slightly.
"Should we go back and help them?" Jessie asked.
"No! Team Rocket are supposed to be bad guys, Jessie! We can't stop and help every poor passerby with their problems, can we? We've got what we want!" James said with a little bit of playfulness in his voice.
"Right. Right," Jessie said as she tried to ignore the pitiful cries of the couple. She couldn't seem to shake the feeling that what she was doing was really bad this time, worse than usual, but she didn't know why. She shifted on her feet uneasily and pinched the bridge of her nose, trying to push back the guilty feelings.
James pressed a remote control which summoned a getaway van. The van stopped in front of James who effortlessly tossed the two bags into the back of the van.
Jessie and James got into the van and started driving away.
"I can't believe we got away with it this time!" Jessie squealed as she pulled James into an embrace of congratulations.
"Clean get away! Were you expecting anything less from the illustrious Team Rocket?" James said with a smirk as he kissed Jessie on the forehead.
"Well, I mean, you know, usually we..." Jessie said.
"We usually what?" James asked.
"I hate to say it, but you know that we fail miserably."
"Jessie, please don't Jinx us."
Suddenly, Team Rocket's getaway van came to a screeching halt.
"What's wrong?" James asked, a hint of frustration in his voice.
"A stupid Marowak's blocking the road!" Jessie said.
"Kill it." James said nonchalantly as he tossed Jessie a rocket launcher from the backseat.
Jessie sat flabbergasted, her mouth wide open.
"Where did you? Are you out of your mind?" Jessie asked, rising frustration and anger in her tone.
"Hurry up, Jessie, I'm getting tired. I want to go back home," James said with a mock yawn.
"You really aren't acting like yourself today. You've been acting strange ever since we got to this spooky tower," Jessie said.
Ha! ha! ha! You have no idea how right your instincts are!
"James, did you...say something?" Jessie asked.
"What's the matter, Jessie, where's your killer instinct?" James taunted.
"I...don't kill people or Pokémon; it's against Team Rocket's code of conduct. I'm sure you would know that, James. You attended the same training I did! You were in my class!"
Team Rocket doesn't kill Pokemon? I guess you should have told that to the guys who slaughtered the Marowak, then?
"James, please stop doing that creepy voice!"
Suddenly, strange discordant music started playing. Jessie felt an icy chill run up her spine. This was beginning to feel like something out of a horror movie. Fear gripped her. She knew something was terribly wrong; she could just feel it.
Don't turn around and look at James!
"Okay, I'm getting really tired of these game..." Jessie said, mustering up what little boldness she had left.
Jessie turned around and immediately wished she hadn't. Instead of turning to face her partner, Jessie turned to face what looked like an other-worldly mangled corpse with sunken in holes where the eyes were supposed to be. A spider crawled through the place where James' eyes were supposed to be.
She let out a scream.
"James! James, what happened to you!" Jessie said. Jessie felt a mixture of fear, anger, and guilt.
"James! Speak to me!" Jessie yelled as she bravely tried to shake the figure. Thousands of black things resembling spiders fled out of it.
"Boo!" The figure that looked like James shouted.
Jessie screamed and covered her eyes.
"Jessie, I never knew you were squeamish!" the figure taunted.
Jessie felt a hand on her heart.
"It's okay..." the figure whispered in a discordant voice that made her shake.
She shuddered but forced herself to look. The sight made her feel sick. Standing before her was a transparent James, and his hand wasn't on her chest, it was in her chest!
"Hmm...about 120 beats per minute... don't want to give you a heart attack, or do I?"
Jessie felt pressure tighten around her chest.
While the figure spoke, Jessie noticed one of her Pokémon was out of its Poké Ball. Her eyes lit up when she saw her Gourgheist, a creature that resembled a giant black jack-o-lantern with glowing eyes with a long thick fleshy stem on top that resembled a bed sheet ghost with long hair, out and ready to defend her.
"Gourgheist..." the Pokémon growled.
Without another word, Jessie's Pokémon used a special attack that caused the figure to disappear. Jessie hid behind her Gourgheist.
The creepy James-like figure re-materialized in front of her.
"Hiding behind your Pokémon, so typical of a coward."
"What did you call me?" Jessie asked in a momentary burst of anger that hid her fear. Jessie walked toward the figure taunting her and tried to strike it.
The figure lifted a finger and she was immediately flung hard into a chair. She landed in it with a sickening thud. It felt like someone body slammed her.
"I'll repeat myself and go slowly so that you can understand. I said that you are a coward, c-o-w-a-r-d."
Jessie reached for another Poké Ball.
"Don't try to pick a fight, Jess, you'll lose, maybe more than the battle."
The figure disappeared briefly.
"You're not James! What's going on?" Jessie shouted to an empty van.
The figure popped back up beside her.
"How perceptive of you! It only took you about three hours to figure this out! Had I wanted to, I could have run this van off of the nearby cliff, drowned you in the frozen waters, or just let your drive yourself mad with fear."
"Gourgheist," Jessie spoke in stifled words as cold shivers of fear paralyzed her.
"Oh, you have every reason to be afraid, but imagine how the poor Cubone felt when it had to come back to the bloody and mangled corpse of its mother."
"What...is...this...about? Who are you?"
Jessie's inquiry was met by piercing self-righteous laughter.
"Oh, not who my dear... what?"
"Okay, what are you, then?"
Suddenly, Jessie felt the van shaking and moving. She looked out the window to see that it was several hundred feet in the air.
How did? I'll deal with it later. Jessie thought as she gave up on trying to rationalize all of the weird creepy things that were happening.
Just then, Mimikyu came out of its Poké Ball.
Jessie gave a look of appreciation to the little ghost Pokémon that insisted on dressing itself to look like a Pikachu doll. The head of the costume flopped down, and Mimikyu's eyes shined through the body of the costume as it prepared for an attack.
"Oh, you've decided to bring another ghost type to the party! I guess those are the only kinds a Rocket would be able to keep in her party, seeing as they are so hard to kill," the James-shaped figure taunted.
"Mimikyu!" Mimikyu shouted.
"Geist..." Jessie's Gourgheist let out a low growl. She had never seen it behave like this. It was acting like it was ready to maul the figure that looked like James.
The figure let out a laugh.
"Oh, your Pokémon want to rescue you from me; how cute; I'm sure that's more than you would ever do for them," the figure said in a mocking tone.
The figure leaned over to Jessie and whispered.
"You know, they can't rescue you, but I will give them an "A" for effort. I tell you what, Rocket. Once I'm finished with you, I'll let your Pokémon go free."
Jessie moved to slap the figure off of her, but her hand went right through him!
She stood up and growled. She suddenly felt very angry and she felt stupid for showing fear. She stood up and scowled at the figure.
"I don't know who or what you are, but you don't know who you're messing with. I'm a trained Team Rocket field agent," Jessie said.
The figure let out a menacing laugh.
"Is that a euphemism for murderer? Trust me, you don't know what you're dealing with, either, but you will soon enough."
"Mimikyu, shadow ball attack!"
"Gastly, dodge it!"
Jessie looked around with a confused look.
"You don't have any Pokémon out," Jessie said.
The figure laughed again.
"My dear, my dear...that's because, if you haven't figured it out already, I'm a Pokémon," the figure said as it faded away.
Jessie heard piercing maniacal laughter as the room filled with a pitch black haze.
"Don't blink, Jessica, dearest!"
Upon the suggestion, Jessie closed her eyes briefly. When she opened them, the haze was clear and a large menacing looking Gastly appeared. Gastly was a Pokémon that looked like a big haze-surrounded black ball with sharp teeth and piercing eyes. Jessie just scowled at it.
"Now, where was I? Oh yeah. Gastly, dodge it and use lick attack!"
"Mimikyu, dodge it!"
The words came out of Jessie's mouth just in time for her to see Mimikyu fallen to the ground with paralysis.
"Use solar beam!"
"Gastly, use Confusion!"
Before Jessie's Pokémon could attack, her Pokémon was hit with a blast of pink blinking light.
"Gourgheist..." Jessie started.
"Hit yourself repeatedly until you faint!" Gastly yelled.
Jessie watched in horror as her disoriented Pokemon did just that.
Gourgheist fainted and Jessie knelt on the ground to call it back.
"Got anything else?" the Pokemon challenged.
Jessie stayed on the ground and didn't say a word.
"Didn't think so. Gastly, use Curse on Jessie!"
"Wait! What? You can't..." Jessie said upon realizing what was about to happen. Pokémon weren't supposed to use their moves on humans.
"I usually don't, but for a Rocket murderer such as yourself, I think I'll make an exception."
The Gastly, now in its Pokémon form, gave an eerie toothy grin.
"Well, I guess this is the end," Jessie said.
"Oh, don't be so down. I've heard the afterlife is a wonderful place...if you're not a murderer, that is. Any last words?"
Jessie took out a Poké Ball she had hidden under her sleeve.
Please don't let me down, old friend. Jessie thought.
"Go, Arbok!" Jessie said as she threw out the Poké Ball. In a flash of white light, the Pokémon appeared. Arbok looked like a giant purple cobra with black and red flame markings on the front of its hood. It towered over Jessie and growled at the Gastly.
"A poison type against a ghost type? Very poor choice. If you insist, then. I'm sorry I have to do this to you, poor snake. You are a much more noble opponent than your master."
"Charbok...charbok, bok, charbok (I'm only fighting you because she's making me; please go easy on me...)" Arbok pleaded in its language.
"As you wish," Gastly, the figure that looked like James earlier, said with a bow.
"Arbok, poison sting!" Jessie commanded. The snake-like Pokémon opened its mouth and growled, immediately shooting thousands of poisoned tipped needles in the direction of the opponent.
"Gastly, fly, dodge it, counter with Nightshade!"
The ghost Pokémon swiftly flew away from the poison needles and then shot a blinding dark purple and black light at its opponent.
The cobra Pokémon quickly moved out of the way at the last minute.
"Charbok, bok (hey! you don't have to tell us everything you are going to do!)" Arbok said, trying to be a good sport about the matter.
"Just trying to be sporting, snake," the ghost Pokémon said with a laugh.
"Arbok, leer attack!" Jessie said.
The cobra Pokémon's eyes grew red as it tried to intimidate the ghost Pokémon and see through his attacks.
"Gastly, lick attack!"
A large tongue came out of the ghost Pokémon and attempted to slurp the cobra-like creature. Arbok moved erratically trying to dodge the paralyzing kiss.
"Arbok, poison sting again!" Jessie said.
This time, the needles hit their target, but, quite anti-climatically, they went right through the ghost-like creature.
"You know, you really should have chosen a better Pokémon. Poison types aren't that effective against ghost types, you know," Gastly taunted.
"Arbok, bok, charrrbok (you do realize that I'm the only Pokemon she has left, right?)"
"Gastly, ghast, ghastly (yes, just predator teasing the prey, sorry if you were offended.) How unfortunate."
"Gastly, finish it off with a Curse attack!"
Jessie paused and made a time-out signal. She had to know, especially if this was going to be her last day on Earth.
Gastly let out a chuckle.
"Droll. I must say. Well, I might as well get into character," Gastly said.
In a flash, the Pokémon re-assumed its human disguise. A transparent James was now standing where Gastly had been.
"Yes? You know you're holding up the battle," the figure said.
"Sorry, but...what exactly is a curse attack? You're the only Pokemon I've seen use it," Jessie asked carefully while scanning the room.
"Charbok, bok, bok (it's like a poison attack; it'll make me lose energy until I faint.)" Arbok attempted to answer in its language.
"Maybe it would be easier to show you than tell you?" Gastly taunted.
In a flash, the Pokémon was back in it's Pokémon form. It looked at Jessie with piercing eyes and smiled at her with a toothy grin. A giant nail appeared next to Gastly and started jabbing itself into Gastly's own head with an invisible hammer. Jessie winced, even though it was probably all just a show. it looked painful.
"It's a potentially fatal attack that will completely destroy my opponent, but I don't really think you care," Gastly replied.
"Fatal...you mean my Pokemon could...that would be..."Jessie said with a gasp.
"That is the meaning of fatal, isn't it?" Gastly asked, yawning at the end.
"Charbok? (Why are you lying to her?)"
"Quiet! Besides, who says I'm lying, snake?"
Arbok shrunk back and shuddered.
"Charbok, bok (I would do anything for her!)"
Jessie lowered the Poké Ball.
Arbok looked at it in shock.
"Bok? Chaarbok? (Jessie, what are you doing? I'm trying to save your skin here.)"
Jessie recalled Arbok in a flick of red light energy before the Pokémon could finish the move. Exhausted and afraid, she fell to her knees in front of her attacker.
"You win. Just let my Pokémon go free, and you can do whatever you want with me," Jessie said.
Jessie sat on the floor shivering in front of the Pokémon. Her tears made a puddle around her as a dark mist closed in.
Chapter 2: Then, Make it Doppel (as in doppelganger)
Jessie shuddered and waited for the inevitable. Seconds passed. Suddenly she felt someone touch her; she flinched.
"What an exilerrating plot twist! Jessie, you can open your eyes now."
Jessie felt herself pulled into an unwilling embrace.
There was pressure on her shoulder again. None of her Team Rocket training prepared her for such a sophisticated Pokemon attack. She really believed this was the end. She sat shivering, waiting for the inevitable. The floor was now covered in a small pool of tears.
Jessie felt a finger tapping her shoulder. She shuddered and winced at how her torture was being prolonged.
"Just kill me and get it over with!" She finally shouted, her voice melting into sobs.
"Kill you? Why would I ever? Oh, you still think that I'm-" a strangely soft and concerned voice replied.
James stifled a giggle.
"What is so funny you laughing ball of gas?" Jessie said angrily, her hands still firmly over her eyes and knees on the floor.
She heard James' voice again and felt a hand gently rubbing her back.
"I hate to be cliché, but you passed the test. Open your eyes now. I promise I won't tell anyone at headquarters about that little overreaction if you do,"
James voice said cheerfully.
Jessie cautiously spread her fingers apart to peek through. All of the scary stuff was gone, and standing before her was an intact James.
James handed her a tissue and held out his hand to help her off of the floor. Jessie stood shakily. James caught her in an embrace to steady her.
"Come now, dry your tears. Why would I ever hurt my partner in crime?" James said while looking into her eyes. He had such a sincere look on his face.
She quickly pinched him to see if he was solid. Jessie wasn't buying it all that easy.
"Ow!" James yelped as he jumped away from her.
"Why did you scare me like that?" Jessie inquired in an angry yell while grabbing his arm. She was scowling at James with a look fiercer than the dragon Pokémon Charizard.
James gave her a wry smile and a condescending laugh.
"No, more importantly, HOW did you scare me like that?" Jessie said, still trying to process what happened.
"Pokemon, Jessie, Pokemon. I'll explain later," James said calmly, while leaning in to kiss her forehead.
Jessie grabbed James' ear and pulled his head down.
"Ow! Hey!" James yelped.
"No, explain now, or else! Do you know how scared I was? I need answers, James!" Jessie demanded, while wiping sweat off of her forehead.
"Don't you want us to reach our destination first?" James asked with an evil grin.
Jessie looked out the window to realize that the van was still floating. She got a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. Maybe the nightmare wasn't over after all?
"James, where did you learn how to do all of this?" Jessie asked, fear or maybe simple amazement, apparent in her tone.
"It's all Pokemon, Jessie, not magic, I promise," James replied calmly.
"How...how are you getting them to obey you like this?" Jessie asked.
"Something I learned during our latest retraining session; you didn't go. You said you had a doctor's appointment," James said dismissively.
Jessie's thoughts were still racing. She pulled "James" closer to her again.
"What did you do to my partner?" Jessie whispered frantically.
"I'm right here, Jessie," James said calmly, with a sincere smile.
"Nice try!" Jessie said as she punched James in the chest, half expecting her hand to go through it like it did earlier. Instead, the blow hit with a thud, and James was holding his shoulders.
"Ow! Stop already!" James protested.
"Sorry, but, I'm still worried that you're some kind of revenge-hungry Pokemon!" Jessie said.
"Rah!" James growled at Jessie and grabbed her playfully, pulling her close to him and kissing her forehead.
James laughed and pulled Jessie into a tighter embrace and leading her to a bench at the back of the van.
"It's me; I promise."
James sighed as he sat rubbing Jessie's hand. Both stared out at the foggy night sky.
"I guess it won't hurt to let you know what that was all about?" James asked.
Jessie looked at James and nodded. She kept a hand on a Poké Ball just in case. She still wasn't completely sure this was James.
"See, Jess, a group of Team Rocket agents, acting on their own accord, without word from headquarters, decided to harvest some Cubone skulls illegally. As you hopefully know, there is a humane way to get the Cubone to remove the skull without causing serious harm to the Pokemon, but apparently these barbarians didn't know that. Instead of simply removing the skulls, they killed the Cubone. It became a huge smuggling operation that attracted all forms of rival gang activity."
"What?" Jessie asked.
"It gets worse. A grown Marowak decided to defend a few of the Cubone...and..." James lowered his voice.
"They killed it because it got in the way?" Jessie said.
"That's not all. Killing the Marowak uncovered the whole Cubone skull smuggling operation and the dastardly deed was pinned on our organization. People have had reports of ghost Pokemon haunting Pokemon Tower ever since. Now, I'm not the superstitious type, but I am the opportunist, and I can see how others might use this scare tactic to their advantage, and I've heard that the Silph company is getting rich off of it. It seems like a very strange set of coincidences indeed."
"So...what are we supposed to do about it, James?" Jessie asked lazily.
"I was...thinking we might be able to take a break from stealing Pokemon and get to the bottom of this mystery. We could catch the real culprits and clear the name of the organization. That would be fun, wouldn't it, Jessie, darling?" James asked in a sugar-sweet tone that made her stomach feel odd.
Just then, a fist came down on James' cheek.
"Ow! What was that for?"
Jessie turned to face James and gave him one of signature cold angry death glares. She grabbed him by the collar of his shirt.
"How about almost literally scaring me to death?"
"It wasn't any worse than encounters with the real Pokémon that have taken up residence in Pokemon Tower would have been."
"Besides, I still want to know how you did it. If we pulled something like that on the twerps, we'd be unstoppable, James," Jessie said in a slightly calmer voice.
"Of course, dearest Jessie, I'll answer your questions in time, in time, but does that mean you'll help me?"
"I'm in, if you can convince me that you're you, that is," Jessie said as she let go of his collar.
Jessie felt the van land with a thud.
"So, you want to learn the trick, eh?"
"Well, duh..." Jessie said as she rolled her eyes. There was acting so confident and sassy now. She was probably trying to make up for what happened earlier.
"Later. My Pokemon need to rest. I will explain it to you, though," James said lazily. She was not going to get the upper hand this time.
James sighed and pulled out a Poké Ball.
"This is the one Pokémon in my party that I used to pull off that whole scary trick, Jessie. It's a Gastly I caught from the top of Lavender Tower while you were distracted. The fog provided a perfect distraction for me to hypnotize, not only the guests we were showing around so that stealing their Pokémon would be easier, but you, and, judging from those genuinely terrified reactions you gave me, you actually believed the whole thing! I had no idea that trick would work so well. I'm genuinely sorry I put you through that. I just needed to prove to myself that you weren't one of the desperate cretins who would stoop to killing Pokémon for profit," James explained in a matter-of-fact manner, while tossing the Poké Ball in the air and catching it like a baseball.
"I...don't know what to say...you should know me better than that!" Jessie said. Her tone was much calmer. It seemed like she was back to her old self.
"Get some sleep, Jessie; we'll talk in the morning."
Jessie put her head down on her pillow and blushed. Seconds later, she felt embarrassed for congratulating James, shook off her intimidation, and confronted him again. She pulled his head off of his pillow and screamed.
"You're lucky I don't kill YOU for that trick you pulled!"
James smiled and let out a nervous laugh. That's the Jessie he knew and loved.
"Night, Jessie," James said with a smirk.
Once the two were asleep and all seemed calm, two sets of glowing red eyes appeared from under the seat of the van.
"Charbok (we have to do something),"
"Gorgheist, gor! (we can't let him hurt Jessie!)"
Chapter 3: Ruby: the Pokémon Trainer
After an hour of crying and tearful confessions of regret, Ruby and Roger had finally composed themselves enough to go looking for their parents. The two looked over the landscape to see the whole scene engulfed by a blanket of unnaturally thick fog. It was so thick it looked like they were walking through clouds.
Ruby suggested they just stop and wait for their parents, but Roger, always the stubborn one, continued to try to push through.
"Come on!" Roger urged, as he took his sister by the arm and dragged her, "our mom and dad might be worried about us!"
Ruby was worried that part of his stubbornness was related to guilt over losing Pikachu and proving that he wasn't some irresponsible weakling. Ruby sighed and followed her brother. She wanted to support him and make him feel strong.
While they were walking, the kids caught a split-second sight of something purple and yellow in the grass.
"What's that?" Roger asked as he inched closer to whatever was making the noise. Roger wanted to prove how brave and strong he was to his little sister, so he put on his best face and tried to lead her fearlessly through the tall grass, even though he couldn't see where he was going.
"Ekans..." came a hissing sound at the children's feet. Roger stopped in his tracks and pulled on his sister's shirt.
"Just stay still, Ruby," Roger cautioned.
The snake Pokémon continued to hiss. Roger saw this as a challenge, so he reached for his belt, only to be greeted by empty air.
"My Pokémon are gone!" Roger screamed.
"Roger, remember, we gave them to our parents for safe keeping?" Ruby asked.
"Oh, yeah, I forgot about that," Roger said sheepishly as he smiled, blushed, and put his hand behind his head.
"Well, I guess we'll just have to make a run for it; maybe it won't see us?" Roger said.
Ruby nodded confidently; she wanted to show that she fully trusted her brother. The two children ran as fast as they could through the tall grass.
As Ruby ran, she felt the sharp stalks of grass scratching her. Occasionally she would run into a sharp bramble and be greeted by an unpleasant needle-like sting.
Out of the blue, something a lot more painful than a bramble hit her leg. Her body immediately felt like it was on fire, and she collapsed onto the muddy grass-covered ground.
"Ouch!" Ruby cried out in pain.
"Ekans!" growled the culprit as it slithered away.
Her leg was throbbing; she had never been in so much pain in all of her life. It felt like her bones were breaking. She sat on the ground and started crying again. Suddenly, a hand grabbed her.
"Stay close!" Roger warned.
Ruby was too frightened to tell her brother what happened. Instead, she continued to try to stand and walk. It was too painful to walk normally, so she pinched herself to cut off some of the circulation. Each step still felt like needles of fire were being pressed into her body, and she was tiring quickly. Finally, she decided to tell her brother.
"I think something bit me; will I be okay?" Ruby asked.
"I think so...we'll tell our parents when we find them. I'm sure they'll know what to do," Roger said confidently.
Ruby winced in pain. It was getting worse; it felt like her leg was on fire with acute sharp pains breaking through every few seconds. Ruby collapsed to the ground again. This time pinching the bite sight didn't ease the pain.
"I think...the poison's getting to me," Ruby said weakly.
Roger tried to lift his struggling sister back to her feet.
"Just hang on!" Roger said.
"If we could get..." Ruby suddenly started crying.
"What's wrong?" Roger asked, alarmed.
"If we had our Pokémon, none of this would have happened," Ruby said.
"I know," Roger said.
Ruby felt the firm tug of her brother's arm, urging her to stand back up. Ruby tried, but collapsed once again. She heard rustling in the grass and felt strong arms try to pick her up once more. It was her brother.
"Try to climb on my back. Put your arms around my neck. I'll try to carry you if you can't walk," Roger said.
Ruby allowed herself to collapse onto Roger's back, her arms firmly gripped around his neck and shoulders. She winced as she felt her brother shift and stand with her. It was like getting a piggyback ride when she was younger, except now she noticed he was straining. He was having trouble supporting her weight.
"Just a little bit further, Ruby..." Roger said straining to support her.
Ruby felt herself getting tired, and things would fall black for a second and then go back to normal. Tremors started shaking her tiny form, and it was hard to continue to hold on to her brother.
"Roger, I'm scared."
"Hold on, Ruby. We'll make it."
"Are you sure?" Ruby asked in a doubtful tone.
While the children were walking through the fog, Ruby felt an abrupt bump.
"Sorry, ma'am, I didn't see..." Roger began.
"You shall die for killing the Pokemon!" The woman shouted as she waved some sort of flower covered stick.
The fog cleared for a few seconds, but before the children could react, the woman dissolved in a black haze and a Haunter appeared in front of them.
"Haunter, use confuse ray!" a voice shouted.
The Pokemon obeyed its invisible trainer and aimed a confuse ray right at the two children.
"Hey! Take it easy; we...we don't even have Pokemon, and my sister's hurt!" Roger pleaded.
Roger lay his sister on the ground and tried to shield her from the attack by standing in front of her. Ruby heard her brother scream as he fell back and landed with a thud on the ground.
"Roger!" Ruby screamed as everything started to fade to black and back again.
"Hold on; I'll get help," Roger said as he attempted to crawl away from the battle scene.
"Please...hurry..." Ruby whispered as everything faded to black for a final time.
The last thing she saw was the Haunter trying to land a shadow ball attack.
She thought she could hear her felled brother screaming in the distance.
Ruby woke up in a dimly lit room with eerie music playing. The only light was coming from the far corner of the room. For some reason, she decided to walk toward it. There was no door and no windows, just a mound between two old dusty columns.
Suddenly, there was a thumping sound.
The floor under her trembled and out popped some kind of grayish whitish blob. It wasn't really visible with the dim lighting.
"I'm....trapped...and...I'm lonely...won't you join me, please?" Ruby heard a garbled distorted voice say. It almost sounded like a snake hissing.
Ruby approached cautiously; she wasn't sure what to make of it. A cold chill passed over her as she approached the source of the voice.
"I need to get some medicine..." Ruby said
"You look okay to me...to die for, actually," the creature said in the same disturbing voice.
"Besides, I don't...have...any...Pokémon..."
"Aw, that's too bad..."
Ruby turned to try to leave. Just then she heard the click of a Poké Ball open.
"Go, Gengar!" the creature hissed.
"What are you doing? I told you I don't have any Pokémon!"
Just then, a Pokémon popped out of a place on her belt.
Ruby looked at the unmistakable yellow fur and lightning bolt shaped tail. Her eyes lit up, and she felt like this nightmare was suddenly a pleasant dream.
"Pikachu! it can't be you!" Ruby squealed in delight.
"Pika, Pi!" Pikachu said as it tried to imitate her cheerful and upbeat mood.
Ruby grabbed on to Pikachu and clutched it, not wanting to let it go. She looked deep into its wide button-like coffee-colored eyes.
Her eyes suddenly flooded with tears.
"...but, you're dead. I remember what happened. The fight with Surge. You fought so hard...you exhausted yourself...you didn't make it to the Pokémon center in time..."
"Pika...chu?" the little Pokémon looked at her with a confused look, but then later, its eyes softened.
The little yellow mouse gave her a hug, its whiskers brushing her cheeks.
"Gengar, use Curse!"
The outline of a nail formed beside the ghost Pokémon and started jabbing its way through its head.
Before Gengar could finish performing the move, Pikachu zapped it with a thunder attack.
The ghost Pokémon fainted on the spot.
"Go special Pokémon number one!" the hissing voice screamed.
A giant something emerged from the Poké Ball. Ruby squinted to try to see the details. It looked like either a giant white bird Pokémon with long appendages, or a giant gloved hand? it was hard to tell in the dimly lit room. Whatever it was, though, it gave her the creeps. Another chill washed over her.
Just then, Ruby felt her hair tickling her as it stood up from static electricity. Her fear was briefly replaced by happiness as she recalled the familiar feeling. She looked at the mouse Pokémon on her shoulder and saw little sparks coming off of its red cheeks. Pikachu was charging for another attack.
"Thanks, buddy," Ruby said, "but I'm to blame for this mess."
"Pikachu, you don't have to do this if you don't want to!" Ruby explained.
"Pika!" Pikachu said as it leaped off of her shoulders and into the path of the incoming Pokémon.
"Okay, Pikachu, use volt tackle!" Ruby said.
A giant ball of electricity formed in the air and flew toward the strange opponent. The ball closed around the opponent and fried it. The light from the Pokémon attack allowed her to see the figure more clearly; it looked like a giant gloved hand. It was laying on the ground groaning, too weak to attack.
"How can this be?" the blob screamed in the same eerie snake-like hiss as before.
"Great job, Pikachu! Got anymore for us?" Ruby taunted. She suddenly felt safe and confident with her buddy by her side.
"Go, special Pokémon number two!" the blob said.
The Poké Ball clicked as it hit the ground, a white light came out of it, and a bunch of swirling dots shot out of the light and formed into the shape of a creature. It was another one of those weird giant glove things.
"Pikachu, thunder attack!" Ruby said.
"Sky attack!" the blob said.
The giant white figure glowed an eerie white as it charged for an attack. Once it was finished, it made a swift sweeping motion.
"Use agility to dodge it!" Ruby said.
Pikachu dodged the attack by moving swiftly in a zig-zag pattern. The little Pokémon was moving so fast that it was almost just a yellow blur.
Instead of hitting Pikachu, the "special Pokémon" slammed hard into the ground. It quickly tried to shake itself off and prepare for another attack, though.
"Quick! Paralyze it with a thunder wave!" Ruby said.
Pikachu balanced on its tail. Its little red cheeks crackled as it charged for another attack. When the electricity was discharged, almost the whole room flashed white with the glow of several hundred thousand volts of crackling electricity. Ruby saw a giant yellow flash in the direction of her attacker, followed by what looked like wafting smoke.
Suddenly she heard a loud thud and more groaning.
"No! I shall have my revenge if I have to defeat you myself!" the hissing voice said. Ruby and Pikachu suddenly felt the ground moving. They tried to run, but to was too dark to see.
Ruby braced herself as the thundering footsteps of the massive slimy creature approached.
They could feel the monster closing in. Ruby could feel its breath and hear its terrible shrieking.
Ruby's eyes flew open, and she threw the blankets off of her.
Ruby's eyes slowly adjusted to her surroundings. She noticed there was a massive purple Haunter floating right next to her bed.
Ruby looked the Haunter in the eye. She was too tired and disoriented to run, so she hoped this one was friendly.
"It was...just a dream, wasn't it?"
"Haunter...haunter." The Pokémon did a motion that looked like a nod.
Ruby lay back on the bed. The events of earlier came flooding back. Ruby winced as she remembered the pain of the Ekans bite.
"Where are my mom, dad, and brother?" Ruby asked.
"Haunter..." The Pokemon shrugged and shook its head.
The Haunter just looked at her with a blank expression.
"I have to find my family. Do you know a way out?"
The Pokémon motioned for Ruby to follow and then took off down a corridor.
Ruby ran as fast as she could to keep up, but eventually found herself at a dead end, or so she thought.
Haunter passed right through what looked like a thick gray stone wall. Ruby was sure she wouldn't be able to follow but decided to at least try to touch the wall. Her hand went right though it. She then noticed that it wasn't a wall at all but a collection of thickly matted cobwebs. She wasn't sure she wanted to know what was on the other side.
I have to find Roger. Ruby thought as she resolved to go in.
Ruby swallowed hard and walked through to follow the Haunter. She hoped this wasn't another mistake.
Chapter 4: Mysterious Miya
On the other side, the room was very well lit. It looked like a child's play room. There were pictures of some strange woman dressed in an all black uniform with white trim. In her arms, she held a small girl, maybe around five or six.
Ruby inspected the picture. There was something about the woman's posture and gaze that made her feel uneasy. She was standing and posing like, like some kind of comic book super villain. Her eyes had a sharp dangerous gleam to them, like maybe she was proud of herself for getting away with some heinous crime. There was no innocence in the woman's eyes; they were just cold and piercing. Ruby inspected the picture more closely and saw that the middle of the woman's shirt had been filled in with magic marker.
Ruby felt an uneasiness as she continued looking at the picture. Even though the child in her arms looked happy, she didn't know if it was her child or if this was a photo op taken during a kidnapping. The daughter, if that's who she was, was a lot different, much more innocent, she lacked the gleaming snake eyes and condescending scowl of her mother, if that's even who this was.
Haunter nudged her while she was studying the picture.
The girl reached up to pet the Pokémon, as she did, she only felt a very slight pressure. It felt like stroking a cobweb covered in smoke. There was almost nothing to actually feel. The Pokemon seemed to appreciate the gesture anyway, though.
"Thank you," the little girl whispered.
"You're welcome," came an unexpected reply.
Ruby whipped around.
Standing in front of her was an old woman with white hair, a slender build, and almond shaped eyes. She looked like an older version of the woman in the picture, but her eyes lacked that snake-like gleam.
"Welcome to my haunt; pardon the pun," the older woman quipped.
Ruby stared wide-eyed without saying anything. She started putting pieces together, the woman who attacked her brother, the Pokémon she used, this picture.
"What's the matter? You look like you've seen a ghost Pokemon!"
Haunter looked at the woman with a confused look.
Ruby pointed to the picture; her eyes started welling up with tears.
"That's you, isn't it?"
The little girl paused for a minute.
The old woman sighed and didn't answer.
"Let's not talk about me."
Ruby sighed. She thought she would get the biggest worries off of her chest.
"You kidnapped me, didn't you? What did you do with my brother?" Ruby asked while looking straight at the woman and almost staring her down.
The woman looked back at Ruby; her eyes gave off sort of a kind sparkle as she explained.
"Goodness, no! You passed out. The Pokémon found you, and I gave you some herbs to heal your poisoning. That was a nasty poisoning, though. not to alarm you, but a few more minutes and you might have been seeing the world from Haunter's point of view," the old woman explained.
Ruby sighed. She decided to try to stay calm and not jump to conclusions. The woman didn't seem to have malicious intentions. It wasn't right for her to accuse her of being the attacker, was it?
"I...need to get back to my parents. Do you know how to get out of this tower?" Ruby asked.
"Right now, I would advise that you not leave, at least not until the Pokémon residents of this tower are calmer."
"What's going on?" Ruby asked.
"Well, I'm sure you heard about what happened..."
Ruby gave her a blank stare.
The old woman sighed and shifted in her chair.
"Some very bad people did some very bad things, and many of the ghost Pokemon are out for revenge. From what I've heard, they aren't too choosy about who they take prisoner, either. You're lucky you found us."
"I need to check on my brother and my parents."
"If they know what's good for them, they'll leave Pokémon Tower."
"...but what if they don't?" Ruby said.
"Young lady, it's too dangerous. Please stay here. I...I tell you what. I'll go out and look for your family, but promise me that you will stay right here, okay?"
Ruby nodded her head, all the while not really trusting the woman.
"How do you know what they look like?" Ruby asked.
"Do you have any pictures of them?" the woman asked.
Ruby shook her head.
"Haunter, did you see this little girl come to the tower with her family?"
The Pokemon nodded its head.
The woman turned to her Pokémon, the giant Haunter.
"Do you think you could help me find them?"
The old woman turned back to the little girl and handed her two Poké Balls.
"Stay here and rest. Use these only in extreme emergencies."
Chapter 5: To Project the World with Devastation?
Jessie couldn't sleep. James was out on a mysterious errand, and something was very wrong. She could believe almost everything James told her, enhanced training making it easier to teach Pokémon powerful new moves to aid them in stealing things. She could also buy the idea that he was staying in Lavender Town because he wanted to clear the name of Team Rocket, and she could also accept that his new bossiness came from his enhanced ability to control his Pokémon, but some things still just weren't adding up.
A few nights prior, she was feeding her Pokémon in front of James, and Arbok and Mimikyu tried to attack him. She immediately had to call them back, and he ordered her to feed them only when he was away from now on. He made some kind of excuse about the Pokémon in the area being hypnotized, but that didn't account for why the so-called hypnosis apparently had no effect on James' Gastly. Plus, her Pokémon were fine when James wasn't around.
Oddly of all, Gastly was the only Pokémon Jessie saw James use since the Lavender Tower scheme. She couldn't even find his other Pokémon. She even asked him to show them to her, and he just flatly refused. James had been making up excuse after excuse for his odd behavior, and now Jessie was on edge.
After mentally reviewing her "evidence," she took Arbok out to feed him and try to calm her nerves. Maybe seeing someone familiar would give her some inspiration for what to do.
"James has been acting very weird lately, wouldn't you agree?"
"Charbok, bok, bok (Agreed. I feel like you may still be in danger.)" the large purple and red cobra-shaped Pokemon trilled as it moved around erratically and tried to do shapes and made faces.
Jessie studied Arbok's face; he looked extremely worried.
"What's wrong with you? I wish the smallest member of our team were here; he could translate what you were telling me," Jessie said, referring to Meowth.
"Charbok (Jessie, please listen!)"
She tried to listen intently, but she just couldn't understand. She knew something was wrong, but that was all.
"Anyway, get some rest. I'm sure we have a busy day in the morning."
"Bok, bok (I'll be here if you need me.)"
Jessie recalled the Pokemon, yawned, reclined, and patted the Poké Ball containing her friend. Thoughts and fears from everything she noticed the days prior flooded her mind, but she was able to push them back.
"I know you'll keep me safe if need be," Jessie said, staring at Arbok's Poké Ball.
Soon after, Jessie was fast asleep.
A little flash of light blinked as Arbok exited his Poké Ball, followed by Jessie's other Pokémon.
Arbok called an emergency meeting.
"Charbok, bok (Jessie may not see what's going on, but we do)"
"Mimikyu! (he better not come near Jessie again!)"
"Gheist, gor (isn't there something we can do?)"
"Char, bok, char (I just wish she could see she was in danger)"
"Ku, Mimic (Why did he decide to let her go?)"
"Arbok (it must be some kind of trick)"
Just then, the group heard other Pokémon moving.
Arbok investigated; it looked like the stolen Pokémon had left their Poké Balls, too.
"Charmeleon! (come out and face me, coward!)"
"Venusaur! (you don't know who you're dealing with!)"
"Wartortle! (game on!)"
"Pigeot! (I'm ready to blow you away!)"
"Charmeleon! (I'll burn that Jessie and James)"
Arbok lunged at the free Pokemon that threatened his master.
Charmeleon, the red dragon-shaped Pokémon with a lit flame on its tail, opened its mouth and let out a huge blast of fire in the cobra Pokémon's direction. Arbok dodged it and had the creature tied in his coils before the Charmeleon knew what was going on.
"Charbok! bok, bok (stop attacking! we don't have time for this! can't you see that our master is in danger?)"
"Meleon! (what's that to us?)"
"Wartortle. (you don't care about our masters; why should we care about yours?)"
"Mimkyu, ku, (what makes you think he'll stop at us?)"
"Gheist, gor (for all you know, you might end up being ghost Pokemon if we don't stop this plot.)"
"Geot, Pidgey (it's not that we don't care about you; we're just concerned for our masters)"
"Venusaur (if we leave them alone, who is going to protect them from the ghost Pokemon?)"
"Pidgey (if there were any kindness in you, you would let us go.)"
"Charbok (that's not my decision)"
"Ku, ku...mimikyu (but leave without our master's permission...and you will regret it)"
"Geist, gor, gor (especially when we all may need you)"
"Mimikyu (Don't forget that Pokémon have been disappearing; you're free to leave, but you might be next.)"
Arbok loosened his coils and let go of Charmeleon. Charmeleon made a bee line for the rear hatch of the van, opened it with his claws, and tentatively stepped out. His ears were immediately assaulted with a terrible sounding funeral song that made him shiver and freeze in his tracks. When he regained his footing, he stepped back into the safety of the van.
"Meleon, char (we'll trust you for the time being.)"
"Bok, charbok (good; keep an eye out for that Ghastly; I feel like he's up to no good.)"
"Geist, gor (I've heard that the gas Pokemon are waging a campaign to destroy everyone they consider a criminal.)"
"Ku, ku (that explains why Ghastly behaved so hostile toward Jessie earlier.)"
"Bok, char (but it doesn't explain why he's being so nice to her now.)"
"Gorgheist, gorm (it has to be some kind of trick.")
"Bok, arbok (I agree; he's probably waiting to strike again when our guard is down)"
"Pidgeot, ott, pidge (maybe we need to get her away from Ghastly so that she'll be safe)"
"Charabok, char (she won't be safe until she's away from the action at Lavender Town)"
"Ku, ku (she may not even be safe then)"
"Wartortle, war (we have to warn our masters)"
"Arbok, ar..bok (trust us, you're better off with us for the time being)"
"Pidgeot, pidge (so...you just want us to lay low and wait until he figures out his next move?)"
Arbok nodded his head.
"Bok, charbok (what other choice do you have?)"
"Pidgey (what if it's too late by then?)"
Just then, the van creaked.
"Gorgheist (shh! I hear noises)"
"Arbok (let's get back into our Poké Balls )"
"Mimiku (you all go on; I'll catch up later.)"
"Arbok (same here)"
The other Pokemon returned to their Poké Balls, but Arbok and Mimiku stayed out and tried to stay hidden.
The hidden Pokemon communicated with each other via telekinesis.
I can't believe Jessie is falling for this! Doesn't she realize that the real James never acts like this? Mimikyu asked.
Doesn't she remember that the real James is away at training camp? Arbok thought.
She must be under some kind of mind control; you could be affected, too, seeing as you are not a ghost Pokemon, yet. Mimikyu thought.
I'll never be a ghost Pokemon. Arbok thought as it shuddered.
Oh, but everyone dies at some point, some sooner than others. Mimikyu thought.
Stop scaring me! Arbok thought.
Mind if I join the conversation? a strange voice whispered.
Who...is this? Arbok asked.
Who else? I see you two are out of your Poké Balls...naughty naughty, but I didn't expect you to fall for it anyway. Pokémon are far more perceptive than people; we are the superior species, really.
Gastly, show yourself! Mimikyu demanded.
Not interested, but if we're finished at the Pokémon salon, I've got work to do, hatchlings.
It's just raw curiosity, seeing as we could never defeat you, but what is the plan? Arbok asked.
I'm actually happy you asked, my dear snake.
A creepy cold chill passed through the air, and the hazy gray form of Gastly entered the van. Another quick flash burst the Pokemon's form into an array of scattered dots that reassembled themselves into the shape of a person's shadow.
"Honey...I'm home," the figure whispered with a chilling laugh.
Gastly, disguised as James, threw all of the stolen Poké Balls on the floor of the van and released the Pokémon. They cowered before him. He then did the same with Jessie's Pokémon and motioned to Arbok and Mimikyu to join the group.
"I guess there's no need to keep up this charade. For those of you who haven't figured it out, though, if there's anyone like that in attendance, I'm not James, Jessie's partner, I'm Gastly, one of the Gastlies that haunt the very top of Pokemon Tower, to be more precise. I am a peace-loving Pokemon, my friends, but I also have an appetite for justice. Some people live in harmony with Pokémon, but others destroy them. The ones who destroy them deserve to be destroyed themselves. By the end of the Pokemon memorial celebration, I plan to bring every person who uses Pokemon for ill-gotten gains who has dared cross the threshold of Lavender Tower to a most satisfying end, and you are all welcome to watch."
"Arbok! (what if we try to stop you?)"
"I would say you and what Pokemon army, snake? All of the citizens of Lavender Town are being hypnotized, people and Pokémon. In a few days, they'll be seeing only what we want them to see and only doing what we want them to do."
"Bok, bok (you can't do that!)"
"Shouldn't perhaps, but oh, I and my comrades certainly can! We've already started, in fact! It's amazing how far a little hypnosis will go! We defeat trainers, plant one of our operatives in their team of Pokemon, and force them to battle other trainers. When those trainers lose, they're hypnotized; it's a perfect plan!"
"Arbok (what about when they win?)"
"It's unlikely, seeing as their Pokemon are usually so terrified that they can't battle. Remember? We can make anyone see anything we want. That's why Jessie still thinks that I'm James, tee-hee."
"Bok, char bok...(What are you planning to do with her?)"
"Seeing as she's a criminal low-life from an organization that thinks nothing of murdering Pokemon, I plan to trick her into helping us with our plan. Then I plan to give her...her just desserts when she's outlived her usefulness."
The figure took his finger and wiped it across his neck while making a "slizcht" sound.
Arbok growled at Gastly and was quickly thrown across the room, no fingers or claws touching him. The Pokémon hit the wall with a crack and a thud and then slid, nearly unconscious, to the ground.
"Mimiku (we will stop you!)"
"You're welcome to try, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you fancy waking up and finding out you fatally attacked your own master! For shame!"
"Bok, char (some of us are immune to hypnosis)"
"Maybe. When it's at normal strength, but we'll be spreading waves across the city strong enough to mind control each other in a few days..."
Arbok, Mimikyu, and the other Pokémon just stared in surprise.
The figure that looked like James took advantage of the situation to call all of the Pokémon back into their Poké Balls and put them into their hiding places.
"Sweet dreams," Gastly taunted.
That monster. Mimikyu thought through the Poké Ball
I can't believe Pokemon are planning something like this. Arbok answered.
We have to do something to stop Gastly and his friends from taking over. Arbok continued.
"Hey, I can hear you in there, you know, and, besides, I would like to see you try it! I really would," Gastly yelled to the group.
Ghastly heard the sound of someone yawning.
"James, keep it down. I'm...trying to rest," Jessie said sleepily, unaware of the commotion that just happened.
"What's gotten into you these past few days?" Jessie asked.
"What do you mean?" the figure asked.
"You...just seem like you aren't yourself," Jessie said.
"Do you not like the new and improved me?"
"It's just...really different...a little too different," Jessie said while grabbing him and pulling him into an embrace.
Jessie woke up in a hazy room with the sound of loud groaning.
A little creature shrouded in black, about the size of a Pikachu, walked up to her and let out an eerie sounding growl. She recognized it.
"Mimikyu, what are you doing outside of your Poké Ball , and...and...why don't you have your Pikachu constume on?"
A garbled and distorted voice came from the figure.
Jessie shivered at the garbled eerie sounding distortions. The more she listened, though, the easier it was to understand them.
"Warn me? About what?"
"What do you mean he isn't--you mean, he's? Oh no. That explains a lot, but how?"
"I can't say anymore; he might hear us! It was a risk to try to deliver this message to you."
Jessie searched for the weird distorted shadow. She closed her eyes and tried to give it a hug. It felt like holding a cobweb but the outer shell was stung a little, like a poisonous plant.
"So this is what you feel like without your blanket?"
"Don't look directly at me! You'll become like me if you do!" the Pokémon warned.
Jessie opened her eyes to find Mimikyu and the dark surroundings had vanished. Instead, she was back in the van, and her head was covered with her sleeping bag. She heard Mimikyu growling outside. She shifted her blankets slowly to try to get a glimpse of what was going on. Her eyes fell on Mimikyu's costume.
"Mimikyu, what are you doing out of your Poké Ball?"
Jessie moved the costume, only for it to hang limp in her hands.
Oh no. I have to...
She shut her eyes tightly and carefully felt around, trying not to make contact with the black fuzzy figure of the unclothed ghost fairy Pokémon and cause it to give her bad dreams. She heard growling coming from under one of the seats.
"Mimikyu? I'm going to just...just leave this here for you, okay?"
Jessie sat the costume down by the chair and briefly glimpsed a shadowy appendage grab it up out of sight.
A few seconds later, her Pokemon emerged, fully clothed in its Pikachu costume.
"Mimic, yu!" the Pokémon trilled as the head of the obviously fake Pikachu costume flopped to one side, like a Pikachu with a broken neck.
"Adorable." Jessie said dismissively with a sigh.
"So...James isn't who he says he is, huh?"
Mimikyu shook the floppy head of the Pikachu costume.
"Of course, I already knew that, you know. I just don't know what to do about it. I mean...how are we supposed to beat that overgrown puff of smoke?" Jessie asked.
Her Pokémon was frantically trilling and pulling at her sleeve.
"Hmm...maybe stop talking about him behind his back; that would be a good start," James' copy said.
Jessie felt a cold chill and suddenly jumped back.
She looked at James' figure and realized she could see right through it.
"I suppose you would rather me be a little more transparent about things, eh Jessie?" the figure said coldly.
Chapter 6: To Destroy the People Caught in the Invasion
Jessie closed her eyes and tried to stop herself from fainting. Instead, she took a moment to process the new information. In a few seconds, her eyes shot open, and she gave the creature a sharp angry gaze.
"Look you---" Jessie growled before trying to land a punch. The figure dodged it with ease.
"Ah, Jess, you are adorable when you're angry."
The transparent figure reached for Jessie's hand and closed its hand around it.
"May I have this dance?" the figure asked.
Afraid of being punished if she resisted, Jessie got out of her seat and carefully made her way toward the transparent figure. The figure pulled her close to his face and whispered.
"Perhaps congratulations are in order. You are not the coward I thought you were."
Jessie carefully put her arms around the figure and planted a kiss on his cheek. She was hoping she could find some way to appease him.
I can't believe I just did that. Jessie thought as she was surprised with a bitter taste.
"I'm not a coward at all," Jessie said shakily.
She moved her hands across his chest playfully and took a deep breath, trying not to make eye contact.
"In fact, I'm curious about your plans. How do I fit? What are you planning to get out of this?" Jessie asked.
"If you could speak Pokémon, you would have understood it days ago. Your little friends are more than aware of what I plan to do. I'm not in the mood to talk about it with you," the figure said dismissively.
The figure grabbed her chin and pulled her face closer to his.
"Just know that you will play a very special role."
Jessie felt her chin shoved away, hard. It was almost like a slap.
"Hey! What was that for?" Jessie said angrily as she grabbed at his form.
"What was what?" the figure asked innocently.
Jessie tried to return the slap automatically; her hand went right through, though.
"Ha ha! You can't hit me; at least not yet..." the figure teased.
She felt strangely at ease, maybe because this was going a lot better than the night she met the Pokémon; she cautiously moved closer to the figure and rested her head on its chest.
To her surprise, it supported her.
"Now...that's better...I think you're catching on to this," the figure said with a smile.
"Maybe," Jessie replied.
As they moved, Jessie constantly got a whiff of a very strong chemical odor. She couldn't exactly place what it was, but it was making her dizzy. She didn't complain but instead tried to ignore it.
Jessie was managing to stay on her feet, but this whole experience left her feeling exhausted. The strange chemicals were obviously getting to her.
"I think I need...to sit down and catch my breath, or lie down..." Jessie finally said. She was half expecting to have to endure another punishment for the suggestion.
"Of course. These kinds of encounters can be a little...what's the word?" the figure said politely.
"Draining?" Jessie asked cautiously.
"Perhaps...yes, I think that's an accurate way of putting it," the figure said.
The figure pried Jessie off of his chest, bandaged a small cut on her arm, and led her back to her sleeping bag. She collapsed on the spot; her face was colored with a pale tinge of purple, and the figure held the sharp end of a modified rose pendent behind his back.
"Sweet dreams, Jess," the figure said coldly.
Chapter 7: Curious Channelers
"Haunter, have you found any signs of the boy or his parents?"
They disappeared in the fog shortly before the girl showed up. I think they might be on the top floor.
"Fly us up there!"
You're...too heavy, Miya. Plus, all of the other Pokemon are probably too young to remember, but some of the ghost Pokemon may still remember that you were once a Team Rocket agent.
Miya, also known as Agent M, the wrinkled old woman from earlier, paused at the corridor on the bottom floor of the tower.
"If you think I'm just going to cause trouble...go without me. If you find them, stay with them until help arrives. I'll look for another way to the top of the tower," Miya said.
It's too dangerous! You may wind up floating...like me!
"Risks make life worth living," Miya said.
Please don't say I didn't warn you.
"Go to the top of the tower. I can take care of myself," Miya said with a dismissive wave.
Without further argument, Haunter disappeared, and M was left alone.
She cautiously made her way through the fog. It was too thick to really see what was going on. Her foot caught on something hard. She hit and broke a Pokémon memorial by accident.
She suddenly heard loud shrieking, not coming from her. Suddenly the fog cleared as if someone sucked it up with a vacuum and standing before her was...another Pokémon trainer dressed in flowing garments with a crown of flowers on her head.
"What hippy flower children raised you?" Miya taunted.
"Who dares disturb my peace?"
Without further conversation, the weirdly dressed woman threw a Poké Ball and out popped a ghastly.
"Say your prayers, Rocket!" the woman said as she waved her staff, also covered in flower garlands.
"I think I would rather battle you, instead, but thanks," Miya said as she took out the only remaining Poké Ball in her arsenal, enlarged it, and got ready to throw it into the battle.
"I hope you don't mind assisting me just this once, old friend," Miya said to the Poké Ball. Suddenly, she was interrupted by something.
Stop blubbering and start battling! We know you'll lose and become our slave, but we'll let you try anyway.
"You know, I have a Pokémon in this master ball so powerful that it wouldn't even be worth it to waste it on you, so I don't think I will," Miya said as she retracted the Poké Ball and put it back in her belt.
"Stop stalling!" the woman yelled.
"Make me..." Miya taunted.
"Grrr...Gastly, she refuses to call out her Pokemon; maybe she doesn't have any!" the woman with the flowers said.
This should be fun, although disappointingly easy.
"Yeah, that's what I was thinking when I thought about pulling out this Pokemon to fight a level seven Lavender Tower ball of hot air," Miya quipped.
You can hear me? Level seven...how dare you!
Miya nodded and smiled a faint sarcastic smile.
"What are you going to do about it?" Miya said, her body language challenging whoever or whatever was in the room.
Shhh. You'll call attention to yourself.
"Haunter, you're supposed to be at the top of the tower!"
I checked the top of the tower and found out what I needed to know. I'm back to help you now.
"Did you find her parents?" Miya asked.
Yes...and no. Her parents are in a state of rest, eternal rest.
"You mean they're...dead? How?" Miya asked.
Let's finish this battle first, and then I'll try to give you the all the gory details.
"Thanks for offering to win this as a fair battle, but I think we should try a different strategy on this one," Miya said with a wicked smile as she pointed to the trainer.
With that, Haunter turned and attacked the "trainer."
The woman fell on her face and coughed a few times. Then, she looked at Haunter and panicked.
"Where am I? What's going on?" the flowery woman asked.
"That's what we would like you to tell us," Miya snapped.
What? Stop? That's not fair! Keeping fighting!
"Oh, and Haunter, psychic attack for the windbag who won't keep his mouth shut."
Aye Aye mon capitain!
"...and the last thing I remembered was holding hands with a family during a candle light memorial for their Pokémon...then, I woke up here, in pain, staring down a huge Haunter."
"...and you don't remember challenging me to a Pokémon battle with a Gastly?"
"You might find this odd considering my line of work, but I don't even carry ghost Pokémon."
While Miya and the strange woman were talking, Haunter let out a blast of confuse ray in the background, finally knocking out the Gastly that was his opponent.
Miya heard a small clanging sound after the Pokémon faded out of view. It was terribly faint sound, like a pin dropping.
"You don't say?" Miya answered absentmindedly as she walked over to investigate.
On the ground was a tiny metal object, about the size of a fingernail. Miya discretely picked it up and put it in her purse.
"Well, let us know if you see anything suspicious," Miya said absentmindedly.
Aren't you going to tell her to get out while she still can?
"'Get out while you still can?' I hate to be cliché," Miya retorted in a playful whisper to her Pokémon friend.
She looked at the woman just standing there and let out a sigh.
"Oh yeah, and you might want to stay away from Pokémon Tower for a while until we get this all sorted out. Unless you like the idea of getting into Pokémon battles you won't remember."
"Should we notify the police?" the flower clad woman asked, still visibly confused.
The woman's last question was spoken to dead air. Miya had vanished like a ghost Pokémon.
Chapter 8: Stun Spore Bore
Miya returns to Ruby to find her frantically searching for a way out. Miya decides to help in the only way she can.
Miya returned to her hideout in the basement of Pokémon Tower.
Ruby was standing next to the Machop and the Chikorita she was given to defend herself in case of emergencies.
Miya slowly walked toward Ruby. The weight of what she had to say was making it difficult to look her in the eye. The Machop and Chikorita moved out of the way. She gently put her hand on Ruby's shoulder.
Ruby, there's something we need to talk about..." Miya began.
She tried to put on the most sincere voice possible, but she wasn't used to giving people bad news. Her impulse was to make a joke, but she was warned to try to avoid that in this situation if possible.
Ruby looked up, displaying her large tearful emerald eyes.
Miya squinted. A feeling of revulsion rose in the pit of her stomach. The girl looked so sickeningly innocent, like a freshly hatched puppy Pokémon. Part of her wanted to punish that innocence, but she tried to ignore the feeling and just deliver the news.
"Haunter found your parents," Miya began.
"He did?" Ruby asked. Her eyes suddenly lit up.
"Where are they? Can you take me to them?" Ruby asked.
Miya sighed and hung her head.
"Not unless you want to travel to the ghost world, unfortunately," Miya said, sighing at the end.
"You mean they're--no!" Ruby's voice lowered to a whisper. Fear could be heard in her voice.
"Yes, dead," Miya said flatly.
Ruby looked at Miya with her big round eyes. Miya averted her gaze and turned her head. This was getting very uncomfortable for her.
"You're lying!" Ruby protested.
There was no answer.
"What about my brother?" Ruby asked.
"We couldn't locate him," Miya said.
Ruby tensed up in a flash of anger.
"You're lying! I'm going to look for them!" Ruby shouted.
Miya frowned at the child's stubbornness. She walked in front of Ruby, crossed her arms, and scowled at her.
"I'm trying to keep you safe! Do you want to wind up like them?" Miya asked.
"I think they're still alive!" Ruby protested.
Miya scowled and put her hand on her hip.
"Think what you want. I'm done with this. If you want to go exploring Pokémon Tower in the middle of a crisis, be my guest. Just don't come running back to me when you find yourself victim of the ghost Pokémon!" Miya said as she flung open the door to the stairwell leading to Pokémon Tower.
Ruby started crying. Fog began to fill the room. Ruby slowly backed away from it.
"What's the matter, kid? I thought you wanted to go exploring?" Miya spat. She was exhausted and frustrated with the situation. She nearly lost her life trying to defend the ungrateful little brat.
Ruby just stood looking at the door. Shapes started to emerge out of the fog.
"Ekans! Koffing! Bulbasaur! Charmander! Pika!"
Pokémon with red glowing eyes started appearing out of the fog. The fog continued spreading throughout the room.
Miya's Machop and Chikorita breathed the fog, and their eyes started to glow. They slowly marched into the fog to join the other group of Pokémon.
"Where are you going?" Ruby shouted as she ran to the door.
"Ruby--don't," Miya warned, as she ran after her.
Ruby ran out the door and down the long corridor, chasing the monsters and the fog.
Miya fought feelings of anger as she forced herself to chase the child once more. She ran down the dimly lit corridor breathlessly chasing the child. Before Ruby could reach the fog, Miya dove for her, grabbed her, and held on to her arms.
Ruby's emerald eyes were watery with tears. She jerked her arm away from Miya.
"Why won't you just let me go?" the child asked.
Suddenly, Miya heard a door slam. She looked around to see hundreds of glowing red eyes.
"Ekans! Koffing! Bulbasaur!" the sound of Pokémon mechanically chanting their names could also be heard.
"What's going on?" Ruby asked, her voice cracking with fear.
"Bulbasaur!" one of the Pokémon yelled as it extended its vines toward them. The vine wrapped around Ruby's arm. She yelped in response and tried to pull away.
Miya ran to the extended vine and cut it with a knife she had in her pocket.
The Pokémon screamed in pain and then retreated.
Miya pulled Ruby behind her. The calls of angry Pokémon could be heard in the distance.
"Charmander! Pikachu! Raichu!" the Pokémon continued to chant mechanically.
"Listen to me. Do you have any ghost of psychic type Pokémon with you?"
Ruby shook her head.
"I don't even have my Pokémon trainer's license yet. Pikachu was the only Pokémon I ever raised," Ruby explained through tears of fear and worry.
Miya sighed and angrily grabbed the Poké Ball in her belt.
"This legendary is going to make one heck of a starter Pokémon, then, but I---I have to do something," Miya said with a sigh.
Miya took out the Poké Ball, kissed it, and said, "take care of her, old friend; listen to what she says, and please keep her out of trouble," before gently placing it in Ruby's hand.
"Take very good care of her. I have never loaned this Pokémon to anyone before," Miya said sternly.
Ruby took out the Poké Ball, enlarged it, and threw it on the ground. In a flash the pink flesh of the elusive cat-shaped mirage Pokémon appeared.
"Mew!" the Pokémon yelled as it looked around its surroundings and tilted its head with a confused look.
"Use teleport and get her out of here! We'll try to hold off the Pokémon!" Miya yelled.
"Mew!" the Pokémon shouted as it engulfed Ruby in a blue aura. Ruby and the pink Pokémon slowly faded away out of sight, leaving Miya to deal with the rogue Pokémon.
Soon, she was surrounded.
Do you have any bright ideas? Haunter asked.
"Yeah, use your confuse ray and try to snap them out of it!" Miya said.
Haunter shot a beam of pink light in all four directions of the growling Pokémon. The eyes of the Pokémon that were hit stopped glowing.
"Ekans? Ekans? (where are we, and how did we get here?)"
"Bul-ba-saur? (beats me?)"
That should hold them off long enough for us to make a run for it! Haunter warned.
Miya nodded her head and looked at her friend.
"Let's go...make it rocket fast, Haunter!"
ixnay on the ocketsray!
"Sorry!" Miya quipped with a grin as she ran passed several groups of dazed and confused Pokémon and carefully made her way to the exit.
I'm kind of wondering why we didn't do this in the first place.
"I didn't know it would work!"
Just then, a group of angry brainwashed Pokémon met her. They were around the corner and blocking the exits. The grass Pokémon quickly tangled her in vines.
"I'm still not sure this is going to work," Miya quipped.
"Say your prayers, Rocket!" someone hissed.
Suddenly, a cloud of brown spores were released in her direction.
"Stun spore!" Miya shouted as she fell to the ground. Her body was seizing up, and it was almost impossible to move without feeling very sick.
A Gastly materialized, flashed her an evil grin, and laughed.
"We do not forgive, and we do not forget!" the Pokémon growled.
Miya was coughing and struggling to stand. Hundreds of angry creatures with glowing red eyes surrounded her.
"It looks like the predator has become the prey..." the ghost Pokémon taunted.
The Pokémon surrounding her growled as they readied their attacks.
"So...Rocket, let's see how you like being beaten to a bloody pulp..."
Miya could barely move, let alone out run them. Defeated, she sank to the ground and braced herself.
Ruby found herself floating through the air with the most beautiful Pokémon she had ever seen.
"So, your name's Mew, huh?"
"Mew!" the Pokémon responded.
Ruby reached out to pet it. Its soft downy fur felt like smooth silk.
They quickly rose to the top of Pokémon Tower.
"Mew, help me look for my parents and my brother!" Ruby commanded. She didn't bother describing what they looked like to the Pokémon, as she forgot to.
"Mew? Mew?" the Pokémon nodded as it teleported her to a site on the top of Pokémon Tower.
As the fog cleared, faces came into view.
It was her mom, dad, and brother. She quickly jumped out of Mew's energy field and ran over to them.
Mew floated behind her.
She put her hand on their chests; they were still breathing. She shook them and called to them, but they didn't wake up.
"Mew, please, take them to a hospital, please."
The little pink Pokémon nodded its head. Ruby got back into the energy field, and Mew surrounded her new sleeping cargo with a blue aura. In a few minutes, they disappeared out of sight.
Miya woke up with a splitting headache. Haunter was floating right next to her, and the Pokémon mob that tried to attack her earlier was gone.
Drink this. Haunter said as he pointed to some kind of purple liquid.
"Super potion?" Miya said weakly.
The Pokémon nodded.
Miya held it up to her lips, trying not to smell it. She accidentally took a breath and started gagging before taking a few deep breaths and trying again. Her stomach was churning.
She winced as the first few drops of bitter liquid hit her tongue. She licked her lips trying to get rid of the bad flavor. Then, when sufficient time passed, she repeated the process, slowly taking sip after sip until most of the vile tasting medicine was gone.
Miya stuck her tongue out and made a face as she drained the last few drops of the bottle.
Once the ordeal was over, Miya took a deep breath and starting coughing like mad. She felt nauseous. She knew her stomach was trying to reject the medicine, so she tried to lie still to keep herself from throwing up.
"I'm getting that way..." Miya answered before passing out again.
Chapter 9: Meanwhile, at Pokémon Camp
She came to with Haunter staring at her.
Pardon my rudeness, but I don't think this is the place for a nap. This cleanse tag will only hold off the other ghost Pokémon for so long.
Haunter held out one of his detached hands to reveal a cleanse tag he was holding.
"So that's why I'm not surrounded by angry Pokémon?" Miya asked.
That and about twenty confusion attacks. I have a headache. I think I need to go to a Pokémon center.
"You and me both..." Miya said while rubbing her head.
"You wouldn't by any chance know a shortcut out of here, would you?"
As Miya followed her friend down the long fog-filled corridor, she tried not to trip over the fainted Pokémon lining the hall. It was impressive. There must have hundreds of Pokémon just lying unconscious.
"Wow. I didn't know you were on of my secret weapons," Miya congratulated.
Haunter reached an underground exit, and the two fled into Lavender Town proper.
The first stop was a Pokémon center to heal up Haunter.
Meanwhile, on an island far enough away from Kanto, a Meowth and a Pikachu were playing checkers.
Meowth picked up a red checker and jumped two of Pikachu's pieces.
"Your move!" Meowth said with a smile.
"Pika!" Pikachu said as he picked up a black checker and jumped three of Meowth's pieces and landed it on the other side of the board.
"Pika-chu (king me!)"
Meowth sighed as he picked up one of the black checkers he captured earlier and put it on top of Pikachu's checker.
"Don't mention it, buddy," Meowth said as he reclined on his lounger and pulled down his sun glasses.
"Dis is da life!"
"Pika pikachu! (you can say that again!)"
Meowth stretched and yawned.
"Pika, pika, pichu (don't forget about our game!)"
"Let's just call it a draw..." Meowth said lazily.
Pikachu looked at the board and quickly captured the rest of Meowth's pieces.
"Pi-ka (I win)."
"Dat's nice," Meowth said absentmindedly.
Suddenly, Pikachu's ears started twitching.
"Pika, chu, chu (is that my trainer calling?)" Pikachu asked.
"I don't know. I don't care. Do you even think they came here? It's a Pokémon camp, after all."
"Pika, pika chu (Ash never lets me go too far away from him)"
"Great. Just when I thought I was going to get a relaxing vacation, the twerps have to show up."
"Pika-chu, pika, pika, chu (Ash is harmless; at least your friends aren't here to ruin it for us)"
Meowth jumped up and scowled at Pikachu. The cat Pokémon extended his sharp claws and glared at the mouse Pokémon.
"Why I ought a..."
Pikachu smiled and shot tiny sparks of electricity out of its cheeks in warning.
"Pika pika (now, now, I thought you said we had a truce)"
Meowth retracted his claws and put on a nervous smile.
"We do, but that doesn't mean you have to go out and insult my friends."
"Pika (they're criminals, and you know it)"
"It doesn't matter what they do to other people; they treat me and their Pokémon like royalty. I couldn't ask for anyone better, except maybe the boss, maybe."
"Pika-chu (have it your way)"
Pikachu stopped chattering in Pokémon language and scurried to a nearby hill. Meowth decided to follow.
"Pikachu (I think I heard my trainer)."
Meowth rolled his eyes.
"Well, this was all nice while it lasted," Meowth said with a huff as he turned to walk back to his game of checkers.
"(that was fun; let's do it again, sometimes.)"
"You know, I usually don't see you without getting electrocuted," Meowth said while wiping away a little tear.
"Pika pika chu pika (we can still play, you know, as long as you don't try to steal me. it's not like we're going to fight you just because you're here!)"
"Why would I want to hang out with a bunch of twerpy kids?"
"pika, chu, chu, chu (suit yourself; you look lonely)."
Pikachu ran ahead, and Meowth tried to follow.
"Hey, slow down. I'm walking on two legs here!"
"Pika, pi, pi (why don't you use all four, then?)"
"I haven't done that since I was a kitten Pokémon."
"Pika pi (race you!)" Pikachu said with a smile.
Meowth couldn't keep up. He followed Pikachu to another hill and then collapsed, out of breath.
Pikachu's ears twitched. Smiling, he let out a "chaa" sound as he scampered full force down the hill. As he joyfully leaped into mid air, though, he was caught by something that surprised him. It looked almost like he landed in a huge periwinkle bird's nest. It was actually someone's hair.
"Hey, there's something on my head!" James yelled.
"Pika!" Pikachu said as he peeped over James' hair and made eye contact. Uh-oh; this is not where he wanted to be.
"Huh?" James looked up with surprise. A feeling of elation swept over him.
It's a Pikachu. I can finally catch it and get rich!
"Come here!" James said as he attempted to catch the little rabbit-like Pokémon with his bare hands. Pikachu decided to try its agility attacks rather than its electric attacks, maybe as a courtesy to Meowth this time.
"Pika!" Pikachu yelled as he jumped around James' shoulders. The plan was to tire James out and then run back to Ash. Pikachu used double team to make copies of itself and confuse James.
James' head was spinning. At one point, he thought he saw a hundred Pikachu, all jumping around his shoulder, narrowly avoiding being touched but tickling him with paws and whiskers. He would have used his other Pokémon, but they were all out playing at different stations at the Pokémon camp, and he didn't want to bother them.
Just when James thought he was going to catch the little rat, the shrill voice of its trainer called.
"Pikachu! Thunder!" Ash yelled.
Pikachu jumped down in front of Ash and turned and looked at James. James' eyes grew wide, and he tried to run.
"Pika chu...(sorry, I have to do this)" Pikachu apologized in Pokémon language.
Before James could run or really do anything to get away, Pikachu unleashed a massive electric attack that left his clothes fried. James plopped headfirst into the white sand with a groan.
"That'll teach you to try to go after Pikachu!" Ash yelled.
"Pika pika (sorry Meowth!)" Pikachu trilled.
James rubbed his head, lifted himself out of the sand, and looked around. Just when he thought the coast was clear, Meowth arrived.
"I thought I told you we weren't going to be swiping anything during the vacation!" Meowth said as he slapped James' face with his claws.
"Ow! Will you stop it!" James yelled as he picked up Meowth by the scruff of his neck and dropped him on the ground.
Just then, the two heard someone call in the distance.
"Pikachu, it's Meowth; give them another thundershock!" Ash ordered.
"PIKA (sorry, Meowth!)" Pikachu yelled as it began charging for another electric attack.
Before James and Meowth could fully process the situation, they were again being fried by another one of Pikachu's powerful electric attacks.
The cat Pokémon and the purple haired man collapsed onto the sand.
Suddenly, a shadow appeared over them. They looked up to see a very blurry Ash Ketchum.
"That should teach you to try to steal Pikachu!" Ash yelled.
The two very sore Team Rocket members groaned in response.
Ash was back at his camp site with all of his Pokémon friends. James and Meowth of Team Rocket had been defeated, and all was right with the world, or so he thought.
Suddenly, an announcement came on over the loud speaker.
"Attention all Pokémon trainers. Attention all Pokémon trainers. The camp is closing early due to an emergency in the Kanto region. Again, the camp is closing early due to an emergency in the Kanto region. If you are from the Kanto region, please take your Pokémon and go home! This is not a drill. Repeat. This is not a drill."
"What about the tournament?" Ash asked no one imparticular, a look of frustration on his face.
"Attention all Pokémon trainers. Attention all Pokémon trainers. The trainer tournament is cancelled. I repeat. The trainer tournament is cancelled. A return ferry will be available in two hours. I repeat, a return ferry will be available in two hours."
Ash put his hand behind his head and made a face.
"Well, that answers that question."
Ash turned to his yellow furred companion.
"Pikachu, round up the others. We have to leave and go check on Mom!" Ash said, a look of worry and frustration on his face.
Ruby was waiting in the waiting room of the Viridian City hospital. She explained what had happened to one of the nurses, and they admitted her parents and brother right away.
A nurse walked into the room and pulled her aside.
"The people you brought in here are in stable condition, but they haven't woken up yet. We've given them everything they need to recover, if that's going to happen, but we're just going to have to wait and let nature take its course. Do you have any other family you could stay with in the meantime?" the nurse asked.
Ruby nervously played with the Poké Ball on her belt.
"I think I have options," Ruby said calmly.
The child quietly left the hospital to explore outside.
Back in Lavender Town, Miya was still in disguise patiently waiting for her injured Pokemon to recover at the Pokemon center. She had picked up a newspaper and lazily scanned it for current events. The local crime and business section was always interesting. Plus, she wondered if there were any more leads on what was happening in Pokemon Tower.
Miya finished scanning. The paper was disappointing, as there wasn't a lot of information about the Lavender Town incident, yet, anyway. She proceeded to fold the paper down, and that's when she caught someone's gaze.
There was a man in a brown trench coat with graying hair. Miya quickly put the paper back up to her face, hoping she hadn't been recognized.
Looker! she thought.
The last thing she needed right now was interference from the secret police and private investigators. Or did she need that kind of interference?
They might be able to help me find our culprits? But, what if I get caught? Before I faked my death, I was a top ranking Team Rocket agent. Even now, my arrest would probably bring them a very large bounty. Plus, if Giovanni ever finds out I'm alive...
Miya swallowed hard; she would rather not think about that. She knew almost all of Team Rocket's secrets, and she highly doubted the organization would take chances on those secrets leaking out to the public. If they figured out she was anywhere but the ghost world, they could, and probably would, come after her.
Just then, a news report caught her attention.
"Local authorities continue to be baffled over recent incidents involving Pokemon and their trainers..." the news reporter on TV said.
"...and then, just like that, Charmander reached out, scratched me, used flamethrower, and disappeared into the night! I tried to call him back, but he just wouldn't listen," a distraught little girl said to the camera through tears.
"we think it might all be related to the restless spirits in Pokemon Tower. I'm a medium, and, shortly after I attended a memorial service with a family, I heard a voice telling me 'get out,' 'get out,' 'the spirits of the dead Pokemon must be avenged, the spirits of the dead Pokemon must be avenged," the wrinkled old woman wearing a flower crown said.
"...so there you have it folks..." the stunned news reporter said to the camera.
Miya rolled her eyes. There was nothing in the news report about plans to investigate and no mention of real precautions people could take to keep themselves safe.
Well, I see they're still afraid to face the truth.
She let out a sigh and gently took the newspaper away from her face. She was hoping she wouldn't regret this, but the regular police weren't really doing an investigation. The news report she just watched proved it. It took on the same ominous tone that allowed Team Rocket to run Kanto.
"Lock up your people and your Pokemon; these are dangerous criminals. I repeat, lock up your people and your Pokemon, these are dangerous criminals," Miya repeated in her head.
Yet, you allowed Team Rocket grunts to openly threaten trainers, loot stores, rob innocent people, and use Pokemon in unorthodox manners for nearly 20 years after you started making those reports? With a track record like that, I wouldn't trust you guys to rescue a trapped Skitty, let alone protect my family's safety.
Miya shook her head. She didn't trust the Kanto police to do anything, and the media was just interested in fear mongering. Maybe letting the secret police in on this wasn't such a bad idea if she wanted to see it change.
Sometimes, the risks are what make life worth living... Miya heard her own words echo.
Quickly and quietly, she took a piece of paper and discretely wrote a note to the detective. She then placed it and the little metal piece that she found in Pokemon Tower in a tiny envelope about the size of a playing card.
Hopefully I'm making the right decision. Miya thought.
Shakily, she stood up, crossed over to the area where the detective was sitting, and handed off the evidence.
"I thought this might be of interest to you..." Miya said calmly in a whisper.
Looker stopped, took the evidence, and said, "the weather is clearing isn't it? I'll let you know if I see any clouds."
Miya sighed. The transaction went more smoothly than she thought it might. "I thought this might be of interest to you" and "the weather is clearing isn't it?" were both code phrases Looker's agents used. The former meant "I have important news to share" and the latter meant "thank you agent; I'll let you know if I find any leads." Unlike Team Rocket, though, the secret police was a much smaller organization, and agents knew each other by name and face. She doubted Looker was being that absentminded; he knew she wasn't part of the organization, she just hoped he didn't find out who she really was.
"Mari Soto! Mari Soto! Please come to the front desk!"
Miya jumped at the mention of her fake name.
What do they want now? She asked herself.
Cautiously, she pulled her sun glasses on, tightened her scarf, pulled her coat tightly around her, and made her way to the front desk. She nervously placed her gloved hands on the counter to keep them from shaking.
She stood at the counter, a look of surprise and trepidation on her face. She stood counting the seconds. Nurse Joy appeared with a tray containing one Poké Ball.
"Your Haunter should be feeling much better now!" Nurse Joy said cheerfully.
"Oh, thank you," Miya said with a weak smile.
Miya took a look around the Pokémon center waiting room; Looker was gone. There was an Officer Jenny standing by the door, but that wasn't unusual.
The former Team Rocket member tucked her Poké Ball into her jacket and prepared to leave.
Just as she made her way to the front of the building, an announcement interrupted her.
"Attention all Pokémon trainers! Attention all Pokémon trainers! No one is allowed to leave the Pokémon center at this time. I repeat, no one is allowed to leave the Pokémon center at this time!"
Miya rolled her eyes and continued toward the exit. She didn't have time for this. Officer Jenny stopped her.
"I'm sorry, but didn't you hear the announcement? No one is allowed to leave! It's too dangerous!" Officer Jenny yelled in a stern voice.
Miya let out a huff, crossed her arms, and rolled her eyes.
I'm really not in the mood for this today. Miya thought to herself.
"Look, I realize you're just trying to do your job, but I'll take my chances, okay?" Miya said, a tone of disinterest in her voice.
"You really shouldn't go out there. People and Pokémon are attacking for no reason. It's pure chaos out there. I can't guarantee your safety if you leave these premises," Jenny said.
"I appreciate your concern, but I can take care of myself," Miya said sternly as she gently tried to nudged Officer Jenny out of the way and push her way out the door.
Jenny stepped aside, and Miya exited
incomplete prologue to the story
The phone rang. Butch shakily answered it.
Dr. Namba was in a very bad mood after hearing about their latest failed mission to capture the legendary Pokemon Lugia.
"H...hello?" Butch stammered, silently cursing himself for being so nervous.
"Yes, this is Pinkerton, from SILPH Co. I need to speak to Dr. Nambla,"
He's busy right now!" Butch replied roughly, not wanting to disturb the doctor and face his unhinged wrath.
Just then, a call beeped in.
"It's very important," Pinkerton said.
"Hold on. I've got another call," Butch said, switching.
"Hello. It's Namba--N-A-M-B-A! Dr. Namba, and I would be happy to talk to Dr. Pinkerton!" Dr. Namba's voice shouted over the phone.
Just then, Namba walked out from his office.
The scientist glared at Butch.
"Is he still on the line?" Namba asked.
"Yes. Yes sir!" Butch said, offering Namba the phone. "
You're lucky I don't try more of my experimental free forms on you..." Namba growled to Butch as he took the phone out of his hands.
"No, sir, please don't!" Butch said, shuddering in spite of himself.
"I don't want any more pain," Butch whimpered. A few injections of whatever Namba was working on rendered him and his partner Cassidy afraid to look him in the eye.
How could anything on Earth cause that much pain? Butch wondered. Seconds ago, it felt like all of his bones were breaking and like his skin was on fire. It was supposed to be synthesized from Houndour toxins. Butch rubbed his hand in memory and winced; it was still tender and stung, nothing like how it felt earlier but still very uncomfortable, to the point of inducing fear.
"You have information on how to enhance shadow Pokemon?" Namba asked his phone.
Butch kept his head down, trying not to let Namba know he was listening to their conversation. Sometimes it was like the guy had eyes in the back of his head and ears everywhere. Butch wondered how he did it.
"Ha! Ha! Sure, we've got the money right here. All you have to do is prove to me that it works! Say, you wouldn't have any ghost Pokemon, would you?" Namba asked.
What is he up to now? Butch thought as he heard the receiver click.
"Cassidy, Botch, I've got an assignment for you two!" Namba yelled.
Cassidy appeared from where she was napping, and Butch sat up at attention. Sheepishly, Butch raised his hand.
"Yes?" Namba asked.
"Um, sir..." Butch began, as he nervously rubbed his aqua marine hair.
Am I really going to tell him he called me the wrong name, or should I just let it slide this time? Oh my Pokemon I don't want to get burned again. Butch said to himself.
"His name's Butch. I think that's what he wanted to say..." Cassidy interrupted as she took a seat beside the aqua marine haired man.
Namba looked at Butch and gave a sigh of disinterest.
"Regardless...I need you two to go to Pokemon Tower and catch a Gastly,"
Cassidy's face fell.
"Is that all?" she asked.
"No, let me finish," Namba said.
Butch and Cassidy sat back in their seats.
"Once you've caught this Gastly, I want you to implant a special microchip and then release it. There's a contact who is supposed to meet you in Saffron City," Dr. Namba said.
"I didn't know we were in the catch and release business," Cassidy quipped.
"Go to SILPH Co., and meet with Dr. Pinkerton; he'll give you more details....and hurry. My shadow Pokemon machine is almost complete!" Dr. Namba said with an evil laugh that made Butch and Cassidy shiver a little.
Butch and Cassidy readied the helicopter.
"We'll need something called a SILPH Scope. It cuts through ghost Pokemon hypnosis attacks," Cassidy said.
"Way ahead a you, doll," Butch said as he produced what looked like an odd pair of binoculars with weird red lenses.
Cassidy looked at it and tilted her head.
"I guess we'll pick you one up at SILPH if they have extras," Butch replied.
Butch and Cassidy landed the helicopter in a base landing right outside of Saffron City, changed into civilian clothes, and headed to SILPH Co.
"State your business," an unfriendly receptionist greeted.
"We're here to see a Dr. Pinkerton concerning project R9926," Butch stated confidently.
"Oh, you must be the research assistants..." the receptionist replied, this time in a slightly friendlier tone.
"Yes, ma'am, and here are our I.D.'s," Butch replied as he presented the fake I.D.'s.
Five minutes later, Butch and Cassidy had temporary card keys and were on their way to the research lab.
The two stopped to congratulate themselves.
"That was easy. I would like ta see Messy and Lames pull something that off..." Butch said.
"They would have blown their cover at the entrance, if they had gotten that far..." Cassidy said.
"I can see it all now...um, where can I find parking for a Team Rocket helicopter?" Butch said, mocking them.
"I could see Officer Jenny and jail time in their futures..."
Butch laughed at the inside joke. James was utterly hilarious in that ridiculous Moltres costume.
"Yeah, and a talking Meowth; that's pretty much a dead give-away," Butch said, "they might as well just wear a sign that says 'Team Rocket, please arrest me,"
"Well, if nothing else, I guess Jessie-Jess and her clown crew are good for a laugh," Cassidy said.
"...buncha pathetic freaks if you ask me..." Butch said.
The two continued laughing and chatting all the way to Dr. Pinkerton's lab.
"Ah, Cassidy and Biff, great to finally meet you," Dr. Pinkerton greeted.
"Uh, it's Butch, sir," Butch corrected.
"Sorry, anyway, as I'm sure you were informed, I have a mission for you,"
The man in the white lab coat suddenly got very quiet, drew a curtain, and pulled the two Rockets inside.
"This is top secret. As I'm sure you know, SILPH Co. is the leading innovator in Pokemon control technology. We manufacture everything from Poke Balls to Poke flutes. We pride ourselves in being able to control Pokemon behavior," the man began.
"Cut to the chase," Cassidy said.
"I hold here in my hand a piece of experimental technology, a hypnosis machine so powerful that it could change the world of Pokemon as we know it," Pinkerton said.
"Go on..." Cassidy said, her eyes lighting up with greedy anticipation.
"I want to test it on the Pokemon that inhabit Pokemon Tower, but it's too dangerous to disturb the ghost Pokemon," Pinkerton said.
"So you want to send us because you think we're expendable?" Butch asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Dr. Namba said this was something he couldn't pass up," Pinkerton said.
Cassidy looked at Butch with suspicion.
"Just think about it...armies of Pokemon, under Team Rocket's complete control," Pinkerton said.
"Been there, done that," Butch said.
"Believe it or not, Team Rocket already possesses that technology..." Cassidy said.
"...but even you can't mind control ghost Pokemon..." Pinkerton said.
"I'm phoning Dr. Namba and letting him know this mission was a bust," Cassidy said flatly.
Chapter 12: James and Gastly
As Jessie slept, James crept out of their hiding place.
Mimikyu was out of its Poke Ball and decided to follow him. As it walked, it sensed the energy "James" was giving off and decided to ditch the Pikachu costume so that it could further avoid detection. It took its costume and carefully hid it under the seat before continuing its pursuit.
I hope nothing happens to it. Mimikyu thought before it returned to the task at hand. It only took a little work to find what it was looking for. There, sat "James" next to a tree.
James sensed something and turned around.
"Hmm...maybe it was just my imagination?" James asked no one.
There was a little black book in his hand. James took a pen, flipped the book open, and started writing. Mimikyu, in its invisible form, sat next to James and read.
I decided as my first act of vengeance to take out a rather haughty Team Rocket agent who came to the graveyard to rob trainers of their Pokemon. I thought it would be an easy kill, as she didn't look very strong. I was right about her not being very strong; many of her Pokemon were pathetically weak and much too driven by emotions and instinct to really be effective in a battle.
Something about our encounter, however, surprised me. Not only did she appear to be madly in love with her partner, the man I convinced her I was, but she had this strange level of compassion that I would not expect someone in her line of work to possess. It's not making me rethink my goal of purging the region of its murderers and irresponsible trainers, but I think it might be interesting to leave her alive, at least for the time being. Perhaps I could learn a lot about the dark human mind from this odd young woman who seems to prefer my company.
I will get tired of our game eventually, though, and then I'll end our relationship and any relationship she could ever have again! Soon, I'll send her to the ghost world, because the only good Rockets after all, are dead ones!
Mimikyu swallowed hard at what it read. It quickly scurried back to camp to warn Jessie.
"James" meanwhile sensed something.