A young woman fought her way through the crowded square, seeming like a fish fighting a losing battle against the current. She pushed her way to the center of the square where a large fountain stood, towering over shoppers. The fountain was sculptured marble, carved into a horsea, squirting a stream of water from its mouth. She climbed atop the small marble rim that circled the fountain, then straightened up to her full height of 5'6". With a deep breath she began.

"Team Rocket oppresses us!" she cried. "Before they came to power they were nothing but criminals. Lowlifes! What makes you think they have changed?"

Few passersby turned to stare at her, while others continued their shopping, used to the young troublemaker's rants.

She continued, oblivious to the lack of enthusiasm the crowd offered. "We have no privacy! Cameras are placed at every available location." True to her word, several cameras, some on buildings, others attached to streetlights, were turned on her right now, recording everything she said and did. She paced the rim of the fountain, her hands flying in dramatic gestures. "They tap our phones! Monitor our e-mail. We are forced to carry ID cards to keep us marked like cattle!"

Several people had stopped and were now intently listening.

"Don't you remember when we could be out past eleven and not be arrested? Don't you remember what it was like to own pokemon?"

A young man who had been standing near the back of the crowd suddenly forced his way through the people, rudely jarring them from their positions without so much as an "Excuse me." He made it to the front of the assembled crowd and without warning he violently shoved the woman.

She flailed her arms in a desperate attempt to remain balanced, but was unsuccessful and landed on her rear in knee deep water.

"Fool!" the young man cried, loud enough for the people across the square to hear. "You do not know who you are dealing with." He turned and stalked away, leaving the startled young woman sitting in the fountain, water dripping from her eyelashes.

Her face reddened with anger and embarrassment. As the crowd began to disperse she cried, "You see? They even infringe upon free speech!"

She stood up, her clothes heavy with water, weighing her down. Her red T-shirt had turned the color of rust and the dye was slowly beginning to run down her waist and turn her blue jeans a light red. Muttering under her breath, she pulled her long water-logged braid over her shoulder and wrung it out. When it was dry, the braid hung loosely, falling from the nape of her neck until it reached the small of her back. But now it simply felt like dead weight, pulling on her head. She angrily climbed from the fountain, aware of the slight laughter aimed in her direction. She stormed from view, never noticing the small nick in the marble horsea caused by a bullet, which would have hit her had she not been shoved out of the way.


A pair of gray eyes watched from the shadows as a young man strode through the ally, his face obscured by the dark. A voice spoke, but didn't startle the man, for he had already sensed the other person's presence.

"Do you think that was wise Satoshi?"

The man turned, allowing his features to become visible. Golden brown eyes scanned the alleyway, searching for the source of the voice, while a light breeze blew his slightly longish ebony hair from his handsome face.

"What else would you have me do, Shigeru? Watch her die?" the man responded as another figure appeared from the shadows, also male, but slightly older than Satoshi.

Shigeru regarded him with his gray eyes. "No, I knew you wouldn't do that," he said as he laced his fingers through his auburn hair. "I don't think the boss will be too pleased though."

Satoshi smiled suddenly at the small yellow pokemon that had appeared at Shigeru's feet. "Hey Pikachu."

The pokemon grinned then scampered to him, using his claws to climb up Satoshi's pants and shirt until he settled himself upon his shoulder. Satoshi returned his attention to Shigeru. "The boss doesn't even know that I knew about the assassination. I simply made it seem as though I was an angry Rocket, shutting up a loud mouthed girl."

After a moment of though Shigeru responded. "That's true."

They began to walk from the ally and emerged into the brightly lit square once more. Satoshi smiled.

Shigeru, noting this said, "What are you smiling about?"

Satoshi's mouth broke into a full grin. "I was just thinking. Misty hasn't changed at all," he said, referring to the redheaded girl he had pushed into the fountain. "She's still a bossy loudmouth."

"Oh, I think she's changed quite a bit, Ash," Shigeru said, using his partner's real name. A smile began to form on his lips.

"How so?" Ash asked, raising his eyebrows.

"Let's just say, she's *grown*," Shigeru said, his eyes bright as he forced himself not to laugh.

Ash's eyes widened. "Gary!" he hissed, also using his partner's real name.

At the look of horror on Ash's face, Gary broke into a fit of laughter. "Oh come on Satoshi," he said, reverting back to his code name. "You're twenty one, you're allowed to look!"


Squish, squish. Squish, squish. Her waterlogged shoes were annoying her to no end, she could feel the water in her shoes every time she took a step. She loved the water, but she loved it when she was in a bathing suit. Not fully dressed. She squished along the tiled floors until she reached a carpeted room in which a young man sat on the couch, flipping through a magazine. His dark brown hair complemented his tanned skin perfectly. He glanced up at her, bringing his hand to his square jaw. A look of confusion washed over his features.

"Is it raining?" he asked, taking in her sopping clothes and her hair, which was now dripping small droplets of water onto the carpet.

Her eyes became aquamarine daggers as she glared at him. "No," she said through gritted teeth. She began to pace the room. "Some bastard pushed me into the fountain!"

He made sure to hide the smile that threatened to form upon his lips.

"It was some goddamn Rocket!" she cried, still pacing, her shoes squishing in time with her steps. She stopped, then sat down next to the man with a dejected plop. She slumped over and rested her chin in her hands. "I don't understand why so few will listen to me, Brock."

He smiled sympathetically. "They're afraid, Misty. Team Rocket has killed many of those who stand up to them. In fact, I'm becoming quite worried about you."

Misty straightened up, her blue eyes becoming cold as ice. "As far as Team Rocket knows, I'm simply a loudmouth who can't even rile up a crowd. Why would they come after me?"


Ash and Gary walked silently through the streets of Cerulean. Civilians took one glance at them and shied away. Although neither of them were dressed in their Team Rocket uniforms, walking around with Pikachu was about the same as having red R's emblazoned on their foreheads. Civilians had been forbidden to posses pokemon for years, so it was obvious that one belonged to Team Rocket when he had a pokemon sitting on his shoulder.

Besides the general looks of terror that were thrown his way, Ash was enjoying the walk. Which was why he was caught off guard when he was tackled from behind. Gary, help that he was, stood above him, curiously watching what would happen. Pikachu had leapt to Gary's shoulder as Ash had fallen, and he too leaned over, watching as a young boy, perhaps seventeen or eighteen, straddled Ash's back. Grabbing hold of Ash's black hair, he pressed his head into the ground and said, "It's against the law for civilians to posses or train pokemon. I hereby place you under arrest."

Ash gave a muffled "Mmmph" as a response, seeing as his face was still uncomfortably forced into the ground. Meanwhile Gary and Pikachu had burst out laughing and were of no help at all in the situation. Ash struggled to free himself.

Feeling the movement, the boy threatened, "I will knock you unconscious if I have to."

Upon hearing this, Gary doubled over laughing, now completely incapable of talking. Ash, who had been growing exceedingly impatient, did a quick move that allowed him to turn over and gain control of the situation. Before the boy knew what had happened, Ash was out of his grip and had a firm hold of his neck. Ash glowered at the thoroughly surprised boy.

"Perhaps next time you should check ID before tackling a superior to the ground and declaring him under arrest," he growled, flashing his ID at the boy, who eyes widened in horror at the realization of his mistake. Ash released him from his grip and stood, brushing himself off. "Now go, before I report you," he said.

Rubbing his raw neck, the boy stood and hurried away, hoping to avoid more trouble. Ash turned to Gary who was snickering. He shook his head. "You're a big help you know that?"

"What?" Gary said, shrugging.

"Satoshi," a voice behind them said. Ash and Gary turned to see a tall man with green hair standing behind them, his head poking out the door of the building that they were in front of. "The boss wants to see you," the man said, his voice so scratchy it made nails on a chalkboard seem pleasing.

Ash nodded at him. "Okay, Butch." They walked into the building and headed to the elevator. Ash pulled the ID he had shown the boy from his pocket and used it like a credit card swiping it through a panel, where the buttons would be on normal elevators.

An electronic voice spoke. "Agent Ketchum. Codename: Satoshi." The elevator doors opened, revealing a mirror covered inside.

The headquarters of Team Rocket was large, almost as big as Silph Co. before it had closed down. There were nine floors, each one devoted to a specific purpose. The bottom floor was set up to give the impression of a political office, after all, Giovanni was the pokemon master. Although many people believed he cheated to win the title. Which, Ash thought, was most likely true. Giovanni was smart though. As soon as he was sworn in, he announced the cancellation of the Pokemon League, due to "conflicting opinions." Whose opinions, or why they conflicted, was never revealed. All that was known was without the Pokemon League, there was no one who could challenge him, or take his place. Giovanni was in full control.

The top floor was devoted to Giovanni himself. His huge office presided at the end of a long hallway, the only room on the entire floor. The elevator dinged and Ash and Gary stepped out, Pikachu once again perched atop Ash's shoulder.

Gargoyles made out of black stone lined the hallway, each face wearing a different snarl. They were placed there to intimidate. The first time Ash and Gary had been summoned to Giovanni, the foreboding hallway had scared them senseless. That had been five years ago though, and now they sauntered past the gargoyles, hardly noticing their presence.

They were silent as they walked, black leather boots making little noise on the tiled floor. Both men were dressed in civilian clothes; jeans and a T-shirt made walking through the city much easier, unless Pikachu was with them of course.

Ash rolled his eyes when they reached Giovanni's door. Giovanni loved to show off, his door being a prime example. Covering most of the door was a picture of a persian. It wasn't a normal picture though, when one looked closely he could make out millions of tiny different colored jewels. Pearls made up the tan pokemon's gleaming coat and rubies were used for his charm. Other precious jewels from diamonds to sapphires, were lavishly woven into the picture.

Ash rapped upon one of the few places on the door that the wood was bare.

A gruff voice answered the knock. "Enter."

Ash turned the solid gold doorknob and entered the room, Gary in tow. The office was as large as one's house might be, full of statues and paintings (all of Giovanni of course). The room was dimly lit, especially in the center, near the back wall, where Giovanni's desk was. A large muscular man sat behind it, thick fingers folded comfortably upon the desk. His dark black hair looked greasy, slicked back with a little to much gel. His dark eyes narrowed and he gestured for them to sit in the two chairs that sat before the desk.

They each took a seat, noting that their chairs were deliberately shorter than Giovanni's, giving the 5'9" man the appearance of being taller than the them, which was a feat, considering they were both around six feet tall. They sat in silence, staring across the desk.

A large persian leapt gracefully onto the desk, hardly making a noise as it landed. The cat pokemon laid across the desk, baring it's sharp teeth as it yawned lazily. Giovanni lovingly scratched between the persian's ears, avoiding the ruby red charm that adorned the cat's forehead. The pokemon purred contentedly and flicked his tail.

Ash and Gary were used to this, Giovanni treated his persian better than all his agents combined.

"Boys, I have a problem," the older man began, scowling slightly at the two. His voice sounded as greasy as his hair looked.

Ash and Gary remained impassive, although they both had a fairly good idea about what his problem was. Giovanni fixed his gaze on Ash. "You pushed a young woman into a fountain today."

Ash nodded. "She was badmouthing the organization."

Giovanni narrowed his eyes. "Yes. Did you know, Satoshi, that that there were orders for her to be assassinated?"

Ash feigned surprise. "What?"

"I understand you and the girl used to be close friends," Giovanni continued. "I would hate to think you deliberately ambushed the assassination."

"I didn't even know it was planned," Ash lied. "Besides, I would never betray this organization."

Giovanni continued to stare at him. "I'm glad to hear that, because I have a new assignment for you."

Ash raised his eyebrows but remained silent.

"You're a good agent, Ashton. One of the best. And because you unknowingly stopped today's assassination, I'm going to give you an opportunity to redeem yourself." Giovanni paused and gave Ash a look that would have caused chills to run up the spine of a normal man. "You are to reacquaint yourself with Ms. Waterflower. Get close to her again, find out how large her operation actually is."

Although Ash's expression remained impassive, his stomach had contorted into a large knot. He swallowed, his mouth having gone dry, then said, "What about Shigeru?"

"He will go with you. Make up your own story about why you are together."

Gary nodded. Giovanni waved his hand, dismissing them from his office. They rose and slowly headed to the door.

"Oh, and Satoshi," Giovanni said. Ash turned to look at him. "When you find all there is to know, I want you to kill her."

A/N: I was doing a homework assignment for history about the fact that some of American's rights may be slightly infringed upon to make it easier to find terrorists. Especially the right to privacy when it comes to tapping phones and monitoring email. As I read I began to think, what if it got out of control and America became something like a dictatorship. And then I thought that would be a great basis for a story. And here, almost a month later, is the beginning of that story. I'm sure you're all wondering how in the world Ash became involved with Team Rocket. I promise, it will eventually be explained. Just not yet. ;)

Please read and review, and tell me what you think. Should I even bother to continue?

Disclaimer: How many times do I have to say it? Do you honestly think I would be posting this on ff.net if I owned the characters? I would be publishing this baby and making money... (or so my bloated ego tells me). I do not own pokemon and am not making any money from this.