Sniper's Nest

By: Theodore 'Blitz' Leung

* * * * * *

"Spark, Flamethrower!!" Samantha ordered. The Growlithe quickly acknowledged, unleashing the flame power from his mouth. The opposing Tauros fainted from the flames, previously weakened by onslaughts of attacks from the duel Pokémon combination Sam has been famous for since she took command of the Start City Gym.

The opposing trainer recalled his Tauros, saddened by the defeat, but knew he fought well. He shrunk the Pokémon and clipped it to his belt.

"Well battled," Sam complimented, kneeling down and patting Spark on the head. Hydra stood nearby, both Pokémon quite battered, but didn't go down in the battle. The opposing trainer nodded.

"I'll be back for that badge!" he shouted, smiling and heading out to get his Pokémon rejuvenated. Sam smiled back, though it wasn't seen by the leaving trainer. She looked down at the ground, then to the scarred battleground, then to her two Pokémon.

"You guys battled well," she spoke, hugging both of them.

"It's still so strange to be back fighting here…" Hydra commented, retracting from Sam's grip and looking at the battlefield. The Squirtle surveyed the roof top arena, a sense of nostalgia falling over him, despite the also bad memories that were followed. Spark joined him, the Growlithe standing beside his Squirtle companion.

The wind howled across the arena built on the tower. Very few buildings in Star City could match this height, yet there was one building, one that housed a trainer…a trainer spying on the Gym Leader.

* * * * * *

The scope of the sniper rifle zoomed in, the user rotating the scope to focus his view. In the distance, he could see the Star City Gym leader. She remained still, unsuspecting of these events.

A Fearow stood on the edge of the building, keeping an eye out for anyone who might interfere with their business. A large pack was strapped to the bird Pokémon, a carrying case for this weapon. He flapped his wings, annoyed with the waiting.

"You're hesitating," he told his sniper companion. There was a young boy at the helm of the gun. He wore a pair of black jeans and a military issue vest with a red T-shirt underneath. He remained quite, taking aim at the leader of the gym through the scope his emerald eyes gazed through. His finger lay on the trigger, though he refused to pull it.

"Vyren…pull it…" the Fearow persisted. The brown haired boy blinked once, his finger twitching. He remembered his briefing for this mission, and regretted it the day he was assigned to it.

* * * * * *

Vyren sat down at the table. He was in the briefing room of the facility, where he was assigned missions before and completed them with success. He never doubted his orders before, but with this one, he began to change.

"This is the Star City Gym leader…" his commanding officer told him, tossing Vyren a photo. The sniper looked down at the piece of flimsy paper tossed to him and scanned his target. She was probably no older then he was, somewhere within the 15 or 16 range. "You know what to do." Then Vyren asked what he was told never to do.

"Why?" the sniper questioned. There was a sense of shock in the commanding officer, unexpected from a boy that was supposedly loyal.

"You have your orders, carry it out," the officered answered.

"Why?" Vyren repeated, afraid. The eyes of his commanding officer narrowed, obviously annoyed now.

"The information is classified, now go!" the officer barked, slamming his fist into the tabletop. Vyren winced and quickly took the picture and left the room.

* * * * * *

The question continued to haunt the trainer/sniper.

"Why?" he thought, looking back at his Fearow. "Why…Kystel?" he asked aloud to his Fearow.

"You can never question orders!" Kystel hissed. Vyren slowly turned his head back to the scope, following the now moving leader with his rifle.

"Vyren is known for his 95% success rate on his missions," Vyren recited in his mind, remembering what he overheard from his commanding officer. "He'll get the mission done. He's one of the best, if not the best sniper around." Vyren closed his eyes again, but continued to follow despite the temporary blindness.

"I'm so sorry…" he spoke softly, pulling the trigger.

* * * * * *

Sam wasn't sure what happened, the last thing she remembered was walking towards the exit, her two Pokémon by her side.

The next thing she knew, she was on the ground, knocked down by some unknown force. She thought she heard a rifle firing, but she wasn't so sure.

Quickly, the Gym Leader turned around, seeing Pidgeot flying above her. Both her Pokémon were combat ready, going to take down the Pidgeot on the order of their trainer.

However, there was no time, as the Pidgeot quickly flew off with unprecedented speed.

"Did it just use Agility?" Sam thought, also seeing the confused look on her Pokémon.

"Why would a Pidgeot just attack and then leave as fast as it came?" Hydra asked. None of the trio knew an answer.

* * * * * *

"What the hell?!" Vyren exclaimed, yet somehow relieved that he didn't kill the Star City Gym leader. Kystel also was surprised, wondering just how fast that Pidgeot moved in to knock the Gym Leader away from that bullet. It wasn't long before that Pidgeot found out who fired the shot, and went headlong towards them.

The Pidgeot stopped just a few feet away from them, staring at Pokémon and Human alike. A sense of fear entered the Human and Fearow, just seeing those eyes was enough to frighten them.

"Leave while you can," she spoke plainly, yet with malice in her tone. She left quickly, diving down towards the city below. Vyren fell backwards, shaken by that experience.

"The mission was a failure…" Kystel spoke, noticing that the Gym Leader wasn't on the rooftop arena anymore. Vyren nodded slowly, unlocking the sniper rifle from the tripod and placing it back into the carry case his Fearow carried. In thirty seconds, he had the whole set of equipment packed up, about the same amount of time it takes for him to set up.

"Let's go before we're caught," he told his Fearow, hopping onto the back of him. The Fearow cawed, then flew off the rooftop, unhindered despite all the weight.

* * * * * *

Sam was visibly shaken by the events. It was only 3 hours after that experience, but it was quite clear that there was a rifle shot fired. There were multiple witnesses who heard the rifle fire, but none who actually saw the event transpire.

Samantha wasn't sure if that shot was directed at her or not, but she didn't want to relive the events of death again. She wasn't even sure how she came 'back', after taking a full on Nova Arc. It even confused her how, when she was resurrected, her ability to now use Flamethrower on her own will.

She shuddered at the thought, remembering the Nova Arc once again, and wondered if Spark still regretted what he did on that day. The Growlithe looked up at her trainer, as if reading her mind and mentally apologizing for those events that have long passed.

"The past is behind us," Sam mouthed. Spark read her words enough to understand and nodded slowly, though doubt still lingered in his mind. Sam unlocked and opened the door to her house, tired after a long day's work at the Gym.

* * * * * *

The Pidgeot sat in one of the trees planted around Samantha's house. Her form was covered under the guise of darkness as well as camouflaged by the leaves and branches on the tree. The flying Pokémon spied into Samantha's room, silently, and searching for something unknown.

"They are so much alike…yet so different…" the Pidgeot commented. She looked up at the night sky, remembering the other…the one she flew away with so long ago.

"She isn't in danger…" the Pidgeot spoke softly, turning back to Samantha's room. "This is the one who is in danger now." Quickly and silently, the Pidgeot flew off.

* * * * * *

Hydra quickly looked out the window in Sam's room, thinking he heard something. His gaze slowly fell onto a tree directly outside.

"Something wrong?" Sam asked her Squirtle. The turtle Pokémon continued to stare out the window, before turning back to his trainer and fire type friend.

"No…it's nothing…" he answered. "Just my imagination, that's all." Sam blinked once, but accepted the answer given by her Pokémon.

* * * * * *

Kystel looked down at his trainer from his position high above in the tree. Vyren held his sniper rifle in his arms, polishing the barrel for the fiftieth time.

"You hesitated," the Fearow spoke, obviously annoyed with the failure.

"Thanks for stating the obvious," Vyren muttered. He slowly put his sniper rifle back into its case, locking the case up. He sighed, leaning back against the tree. The two were camping out at the outskirts of Start City, rethinking their battle plan to eliminate their target. Or at least, that's what Vyren wanted to believe.

"Why…?" Vyren asked once again, taking the picture out of his target. "She has to be my age…" Vyren thought, staring at the picture. "Do I have to be this ruthless? What did she do?"

Vyren, for once in his life, started to doubt the path he choose to take. Never has he felt this much guilt about trying to eliminate someone he didn't even know.

"What's wrong with me?" Vyren asked himself out loud, placing his head in his arms. "Why am I feeling this way?" He shook his head, trying to find a part of himself that he lost when starting this mission.

"Nothing is wrong with you," Kystel spoke softly, landing onto the ground beside his trainer. Vyren looked up at the Fearow. "You can't fight for them anymore…because you know it's wrong…"

"Kystel…you aren't going to tell them…are you?" Vyren asked. The Fearow shook his head.

"They already know," he answered. "If they don't know, then they'll figure it out sooner or later. It's what you can expect when working with them."

Vyren also realized he never knew who 'they' were. He was always working with a group he knew nothing about.

"It was Team Rocket who we were working for…" Kystel explained. Vyren was about to reject the idea, but Kystel pleaded for his understanding. The trainer fell silent, beckoning his Pokémon to go on.

"They wanted some people that would follow orders without doubt," he continued. "So, they recruit young and trained them."

"B-but why are you telling me this now?" Vyren asked, surprised at the information his Pokémon was giving. Despite that, he knew that the Fearow was telling the truth.

"If I told you anytime sooner…you might not have believed me…" he replied softly, looking away. "Now…now that you begin to doubt…I hope I can clean away all that corruption in your heart. This was the best situation to tell you…even if it hurts to know what you have been collaborating with."

Vyren looked up, swallowing the information as best as he could.

"And now you're all nice and happy…" Vyren muttered, seeing the complete attitude change in his companion. Again, the Fearow looked away, saddened.

"I guess…I was angry with they had done to you…" Kystel answered. "But now…you can redeem yourself…"

"Once in, always in…" Vyren spoke, repeating what he has been told all the time.

"That is not true," Kystel spoke strongly. "It may be difficult, but I think we can break from the bonds that keep us with this organization."

"Yeah…and get every assassin and hunter of Team Rocket after us…" Vyren spoke harshly. "How do you think they would react when they find out they lost their best sniper?" Kystel remained silent, unable to answer, but knew they had to try.

"If you continue like this, they'll will notice it," Kystel spoke.

"They will see your weakness, and then see how useless you have become. They will eliminate you as soon as you become useless."

"I'd rather you have a chance to escape now then never to escape at all," the Fearow told his trainer and close friend. The sapphire eyes of the trainer regarded his Fearow, seeing the seriousness of his suggestion. There was this hopeful look in the bird Pokémon's eyes about all this.

"Even against all odds?" Vyren asked his companion. The Fearow nodded.

"First thing tomorrow, we get some supplies, then we run as best we can from the most notorious organization possible," Kystel suggested. Vyren exhaled, nodding his agreement.

"Even against all odds, there's the glisten of light in the distant," Vyren spoke. "Let's shoot for that light…"