Title: Command of the King
Author: Stormy1x2 (travelingstorm)
Word Count: 3420
Spoilers/Warnings: hints of sexuality between consenting adults (but nothing detailed or explicit), spoilers for various Pokemon movies.
Summary: A Team Rocket meeting reveals some long-term plans finally coming to fruition. Takes place in the 'RaiS' arc, after Sailing His Ship, and after the Summer School episodes.
Notes: Domino was 16 in the movie she appeared in (Mewtwo Strikes Back), which was nearly four years ago in this fic, making her approximately twenty years old. She's been Giovanni's personal assistant for the last two years. For the 'RaiS' arc, Giovanni is in his fifties.
He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command.
- Niccolo Machiavelli
At precisely 9:00am, a meeting was underway inside of Team Rocket's headquarters. Outside of the meeting room, Rocket Grunts bearing high-powered weaponry patrolled the hallway with various Pokemon raised in the labs, trained to attack anyone not authorized. Unlike other organizations and their signature 'themed' pokemon, Team Rocket did not limit themselves in that way, and so it was not uncommon to see a Houndour patrolling with a Rhydon, or a Ratticate performing its duties alongside a Machoke. Any Pokemon of suitable strength and power was utilized in the day-to-day functions of Team Rocket.
Domino checked off the guards on her clipboard as she stepped into the conference room. As the personal assistant to the boss – the very head of the criminal organization – she was responsible for ensuring everything went perfectly smoothly. The boss did not tolerate incompetence – which had always made her wonder about certain employees, but that was neither here nor there – and his wrath would fall upon her head if things did not go according to plan. Raising her eyes, she surveyed the room critically.
The room was fairly large, easily able to accommodate the large group gathered at the long, glossy conference table. They filled the chairs that lined the table. Along the right was Dr Namba with his subordinates, Butch and Cassidy, two assistants carrying reams of file folders and charts, and at the end, Vicious rested with his feet on the table. Domino merely looked at him; the hunter flinched and quickly put his feet back down. Smart man.
Along the left was Professor Sebastian and his proteges, Attilla and Hun. Giovanni's Head of Training, Viper, sat next to them, ramrod straight in his chair; ever the perfect soldier. His arms hung straight by his sides – discipline at all costs. Domino watched him with approval. If only more agents acted with his professionalism, she thought darkly, casting a look over at the squabbling duo of Bitch and Cassidy. A tap on the door redirected her thoughts, and the door was opened, held in place by one of the patrol grunts. She was pleased to see her subordinates eyes were respectfully lowered as Giovanni entered the room.
He was an imposing man. Tall, just over six feet, and Domino was well-aware of the hard and trim body that lay hidden beneath the perfectly fitted navy suit that cost more than what the average grunt earned in a year. His hair, despite his age, was still dark as night, and Domino alone was granted privilege to the sight of the head of Team Rocket getting his hair done by an exclusive stylist retrieved directly from Saffron City, every three weeks on the nose. His eyes were cold, ice chips set into a face that could have been chiseled out of polished granite. Domino's heart beat faster at their impressive leader, but she'd had lots of practice at schooling her features into the cool and neutral expression she wore during these particular meetings. Any sign of emotion could be seen as a weakness, and Domino did not claw her way up through the ranks of Team Rocket to be thought of as weak.
Giovanni turned his chair from his window view out over the canyon that housed the base and sat down, surveying the group that had responded to his earlier summons. At his feet as always, Persian gave them its own look-over with obvious disdain. Domino stared back blandly as Persian gave her a particularly contemptuous look; the feline had always been the jealous type.
Domino took her position at Giovanni's side, one step behind his shoulder, at attention while waiting for his word. With all of his players in position, it was nearly time to get things underway. With his signal, and indeed only then, would she begin. All things by his command, naturally.
And there it was. "Sir." She stepped forward, a clipboard in her hand. "We will begin by reviewing the reconstruction efforts by Dr Namba's secondary team." She lifted her head and zeroed in on Doctor Namba.
The doctor rose to his feet, nodding his head respectfully. "Team Zeta has successfully retrieved ninety-one percent of the data lost three and a half years ago when Project M destroyed the facility in Viridian City," Dr Namba began. " The data on Mew itself, as well as the original DNA strands from Mewtwo remains incomplete, but the chips containing the information regarding Mew's psychic powers and how they affect Legendaries were repaired." At a wave of his hand, the two assistants immediately began handing out file folders to everyone present.
Giovanni didn't even acknowledge the blue folder set in front of him. Domino took it from him with a short bow, slipping it under her clipboard, before raising cold eyes back to Namba. "Continue."
"I've made some remarkable progress using the data and the C-team," Namba continued. His eyes lit up with enthusiasm as he began to describe his current work project. "Using the Kadabra on the Kirlia to enhance their psychic powers of prediction in conjunction with the C-team has been most fruitful. We've unlocked three more sections of the ancient tablets found under the ruins near Sootopolis City in Hoenn, and in Solaceon Town in Sinnoh. We now have a fairly good idea of where the target is."
"How good?" Giovanni raised an eyebrow.
"Eighty-three percent," Namba said, checking his own papers. "It would be higher except C-O is operating at less than peak efficiency."
"A fancy way of saying the critter's nearly dead," Vicious scowled. His huge, ham-like fists clenched on the polished table top. "And after all the work I had to do to get the damn thing too."
Domino glared at Vicious for his breach in protocol, but lucky for her, Giovanni ignored his outburst. "How dependent are we still on C-O?"
Namba shrugged. "We aren't. The C-team has proven most efficient and reliable, and don't require sedatives, restraining collars and psychic guards to keep them under control. Personally, I recommend disposal."
Giovanni waved his hand with a nod, giving his approval. "Very well."
Domino made a note on her paper, acknowledging his order. There was no hesitation, no matter how cruel the order sounded. All things by his command, of course. And naturally, she would have a personal talk with Vicious about his choice of language and temperament in the boss's presence later. She flicked through her papers. "Stage One Ball review," Domino read out loud. Raising her eyes, she stared down at Butch and Cassidy. "Report."
Cassidy stood up, saluting her boss automatically, and Domino by association. "Sir. As was reported, the Stage One balls were built up from the New Island designs we picked up soon after we cleared subject M's old base. The technology was based off regular pokeballs, but were infused with psychic energy, capable of capturing regular Pokemon without needing to weaken them first. Vicious - " She nodded to the hunter. "--first used them on Tyrannitar, and then Celebi during our attempt to capture Suicune. The hunt was only partially successful – and only after Butch and I retrieved Vicious from the custody of Officer Jenny." She couldn't resist the jab at the hunter, and she smirked at the growl she could hear coming from his end of the table.
Domino hid her own smirk. The hatred between the team of Butch and Cassidy, and the Hunter was well known. She'd allow the comment to go unchallenged – Vicious deserved to be taken down a peg or two. "Stage 2 Balls."
Cassidy sat down, and Butch stood up. "Cassidy and I led Team Delta near the Johto region where we were successful in capturing Kyogure with the Stage 2 Balls. The increased size of the pokeball with the extra infusion of psychic energy worked on Kyogure after Delta used electro-shock nets to both wear it down and drag it on to the Arctic Empoleon ice shelf. After five hours of futile struggling as it slowly froze on the ledge, it went into the ball almost docilely."
"Team Aqua?" Giovanni steepled his fingers together.
"Put down permanently," Vicious sneered, pumping his arm victoriously. "Those wimps didn't stand a chance against me and my Gammas."
"Excellent." Giovanni looked at Domino, motioning for her to continue. She nearly shivered under his intense gaze but controlled herself, reading the next heading on her clipboard.
"Stage Three Balls."
Professor Sebastion took over, handing out his own folders. "Our original problem of having to increase the size of the pokeballs to increase the capture power has been solved. The ball itself is made of adamantium, an unbreakable agent, as is the other ones, but we actually infused the DNA of a Kadabra into the metal. I won't bore you with the details of how we did it – suffice it to say it required precision timing and the intense heat of our Dragon teams." The professor smirked, obviously proud of himself. "Needless to say, with the psychic DNA built into it, the psychic power was raised to an incredible level."
"Field test report," Domino ordered crisply.
Sebastion looked at his subordinates. Attilla stood first. "Team Beta successfully captured Groudon three days ago. Like Kyogure, it required weakening, but not as much. We set off an explosion that trapped it in the ocean, and used adamantium-laced nets to drag it out to sea. After nearly three hours submerged in the icy water, it was child's play to capture it. It was shipped to headquarters and arrived yesterday. Currently, Groudon is in stasis like Kyogure, until we need them for the final tests."
"And what of Team Magma?"
Viper snorted. "Those punks wouldn't last ten minutes on one of my training courses," he said with disdain. "Team Alpha captured their headquarters easily, and took the whole group down in less than three hours."
Giovanni let a smirk cross his face. "Just what I wanted to hear." He turned back to Professor Namba. "Namba, where is the target?"
Namba grabbed a laser pointer, and shone it on the map projected on the far wall. "Mount Moon, believe it or not," he told them. "The archeology department finished the last of the translations of the tablets and confirmed the landmarks described to match those surrounding Mount Moon. The ritual itself is seventy-five percent translated – I anticipate its completion within the next few days."
"Thirty years of planning, of researching, all of it coming to a head in mere days," Giovanni murmured. His eyes flashed with anticipation. "What details of the ritual have been confirmed?"
"The blood ritual was one," Namba said, checking his list. "The chosen one's blood will spill over the tablet and provide the life energy needed to open the Heaven's Gate, or so the prophecy states. But if we fail to open the gate, the 'target' will no doubt sense what is happening, and use the powers of creation to change the location. Then we'd be back at square one."
"So we only get one shot," Domino murmured, despite her self-control. "Those aren't great odds."
"Read the words that were translated from the tablet in Sootopolis," Giovanni commanded.
Sebastion picked up another paper. "Only the blood of the Guardian of Legends will open the door between dimensions," he read aloud. "Confirmation."
"Indeed." The head of Team Rocket had a satisfied look on his face, as though something he'd already known had just been proven. Domino was curious, but not enough to question him.
Though apparently Cassidy had no such restraint. She had a strange look on her face. "Are we really going to do this?" she murmured absently. "Are we really going to capture a God?"
Domino was horrified by Cassidy's breach of professionalism and took another step forward, intending to reprimand her right then and there. She was cut off, however, by Giovanni's arctic-cold voice rolling over them like thunder. "It's not a god. It's an incredible, insanely powerful Pokemon that resides in another dimension, and we are going to catch it. And with it's creation powers at my disposal, there will be absolutely no force on earth that can stop team Rocket." He glowered at Cassidy who shrunk back into her seat, her eyes firmly fastened on her glossy Rocket boots. Butch was still frozen next to her, unwilling to be singled out for his partner's errant comment. "Do you understand?"
Two heads snapped up instantly, hands saluting at whiplash speed before anyone could blink. "Sir, yes sir!"
"See that you do," Giovanni said warningly. He placed his hands down on the table, looking each one of his subordinates in the eye. "I will not tolerate any foul-ups. You all have work to do. Get back to it."
"Yes sir." Every officer at the table stood up, saluting their leader, before marching out of the conference room. Well, Cassidy scurried, still cowed by her error. Despite Giovanni's personal reprimand, Domino made another notation on her clipboard to do her own follow-up. Cassidy should have known better – perhaps she was getting soft. Viper certainly wouldn't mind doing some personal 'training' to toughen her up.
As they left the room, Domino stayed in her spot next to her boss's shoulder, getting his permission via a curt nod to begin gathering the papers left for him to review in order. When he finished them, she'd file them away in his office. "Domino." Her bosses voice flowed over her and she snapped to attention. "I want you to contact Hunter J and have her pick up a very important package for me."
This was new. She paused in writing the order down. "Package sir?"
"Our Chosen One," Giovanni said with a dark chuckle. "I already know who it is."
Definitely new. Domino's mouth dropped open, a rare breach of etiquette for her. "S-Sir?" She had thought the search for the Chosen One was still underway. "May I ask who, sir?"
"You may find him familiar," Giovanni said, smirking. He pressed a button on his desk, and a flat screen monitor rose out of his desk. He turned it around, and Domino took a good look at the picture on the screen.
Giovanni chuckled again. "I've known for years," he said. "The prophecies stated the heir of the dark forces would be the chosen one of the Legendaries. For a long time, I thought it was myself. But I never had the run-ins with the Legendaries that were told would happen. Then, that changed."
Domino approached her boss's desk, still staring at the photograph. "What happened?"
"The prophecies stated that the true Chosen One would be tested," Giovanni said, tapping his desk with his fingers. He gave her an intense look, arching his head to the side. "Do you recall what happened three years ago regarding the prophecies we found?"
She nodded, moving closer. Three of the known Legendary birds were at war, and a fourth Legendary Pokemon had been sent to calm them. "Yes sir." Biting her lip, she gave the picture another look. "But sir, are you really su--"
"Are you questioning me, Domino?" Giovanni walked over to her, placing a finger under her chin and tilting her head up. She gulped, feeling the iron strength in that single digit. His eyes bore into hers, freezing her into place. "Would you do that to me?"
"Never," she whispered, mesmerized. She couldn't quite keep a gasp from escaping. "Sir..."
He stepped back. "I knew it couldn't be me years ago. But I fully believed the 'dark forces' foretold of was Team Rocket. And if I wasn't the heir, then it could only mean the next generation would be." Giovanni smiled. "I took the necessary steps to secure that avenue years ago."
Domino blinked in confusion, her eyes darting back and forth from the photo on the screen, to her boss and back. "Does that mean...Are you saying...?"
"Not quite the chip off the old block one would expect, hmm?" Giovanni chuckled darkly. "Not that it matters. He was sired for one purpose in life, and finally, we are coming to the time when Team Rocket will finally be recognized for its power."
Domino was still trying to wrap her mind around these revelations. "But sir... if he is the Chosen One, why wasn't he indoctrinated years ago?" Giovanni gave her a Look and she had flushed, abashed at her own stupidity. The prophecies stated that the Chosen One would be a Guardian – and no Guardian would ever be chosen if he or she were a part of the dark forces. Still... "Security, sir. Protection. What if he'd been killed?"
"It is the reason why I've had our elite team follow him all these years." He turned back to his desk and sat down, crossing one leg over the other, pressing his fingertips together.
She was still frozen in place, but her eyes widened in confusion. "Elite team... you can't mean..." Her brow furrowed. "Sir, if I may, they're complete idiots!"
Giovanni waved his hand at her dismissively. "They're under orders to act as bumbling fools," he said coolly. "Orders they aren't even aware of. They accepted a high-level undercover assignment five years ago and underwent hypnosis to forget all I had revealed to them. Initially, they were to act as bodyguards when I discovered the boy existed in Oak's trainer files. His mother had gone to great lengths to hide herself and the child from me. I personally checked all the trainers in the Kanto region when the time came for him to be starting his own journey. My agents were dispatched at that time, but I changed the body guard order to challenge him instead; make him stronger, and left instructions for them to foul up in a natural way, so as to keep their cover."
Domino was sure her system couldn't take much more of a shock. "But sir, they... they..."
"Did you really think I would truly keep on agents as bumbling as they appear to be?" Giovanni questioned her, cutting her off with an even look. "That I would fund a band of fools, or pay the bills forwarded on to the Rocket Accounts department?"
"N-no, but--" Domino blinked. "All those times you've yelled at them, berated them... you have commendable acting skills, sir."
"Naturally. I'm rather surprised you didn't pick up on this before, Domino," Giovanni purred. "Butch and Cassidy claim to be the top Rocket agents, and they are certainly worthy of praise. But they get arrested on a regular basis, while my 'idiot agents' never fail to prevent their own arrest, or make a relatively clean getaway, even after presenting themselves to every Officer between here and Sinnoh."
Domino blinked. That much was true. The two buffoons had been ID'd by every police branch in four regions and remained free from capture. That took a fair amount of skill, particularly when factoring the considerable talents of the Jenny police squad. "I-I hadn't considered that, sir."
"Obviously." Giovanni's statement was blunt, and she cringed. "Have you never inspected their records for yourself and found any inconsistencies?"
"I assumed they were slipping," Domino admitted slowly. To be sure, the agents in question had had nearly impeccable records with Team Rocket before they began tagging after a idiotic little Kanto trainer. In retrospect, it was very strange to see two such brilliant Rocket agents fall victim to their own traps time after time.
"Perhaps you're the one who is slipping." Giovanni shook his head slowly, still eying her with a smirk. "Perhaps it's time I found a new assistant. One who will keep... on top of things."
She quirked an eyebrow at him, reading the subtle undercurrents of his desire. "But what of Hunter J, sir?" Work before play, of course.
Giovanni's eyes were dark with desire. "She can wait. Your training comes first."
Unless the boss stated otherwise. Domino saluted him. "I understand sir," she said calmly, almost shaking with repressed excitement. "I obviously need to work on that." With that, she walked over to the door and pressed the button that initiated the locking sequence. Then she turned and went back to her boss without hesitation, smiling inwardly as she allowed him to access what only he had the right to. As he said, Hunter J could wait until later.
After all, all things by his command.
I always did wonder why JJ&M weren't ever thrown out of Team Rocket for their incompetence. This serves as good a reason as any. :D Also, I like Gio/Dom for some reason. Can't really tell you why. ;;
Edited Sept 18 Corrected two minor spelling errors, and changed 'Johto' to 'Hoenn' for the location of Sootopolis City. Thanks for the heads up!