Breaking the Mold
Saturn was in the TV room, flipping through the channels when he saw a familiar face. Archie was speaking seriously to the camera. An inset of Giovanni's scowling face was to his right.
"...one week since the capture of Team Rocket boss Giovanni. His trial will be held on March fourth at the Sinnoh Pokemon League Stadium. Team Rocket's presence has always been weak in Sinnoh, so the trial will be fair and just."
"Again, I'd like to remind all former Team Rocket members to report to the nearest Pokemon Center. The member database has been recovered, and anyone who does not submit to questioning will be subject to fines and jail time. If you have any information, or questions, please dial the number at the bottom of the screen. Operators are standing by to take your call."
The camera switched to Maxie. He was sweating in the high lights, and his stare was a bit more fixed and less friendly than Archie's. "Reports of an extremely rare pokemon have come to the attention of AMEP and other organizations around the world." A rough sketch of Mewtwo appeared behind him. "It is known to be very secretive and intelligent, as well as potentially deadly. It is a psychic type, and has been seen in parts of Kanto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh. There may be more than one. Anyone encountering this creature is urged to keep their distance. Any trainer found to be in possession of one will have it immediately freed, and will be fined 5,000,000 pokedollars."
"I'd leave it alone!" Archie commented. "So now we'll turn to Courtney, with the weather."
"...But the pokemon wanted to avoid humans," Tethys said. Saturn turned to find his entire staff behind him. "Won't that just make people look for it?"
"Yes, but they'll think twice before throwing a pokeball," Saturn said. "Is anyone watching the front desk?"
"Got it on surveillance," piped up Dione the receptionist. "Why didn't they mention what you did, sir?"
"Two reasons," explained Saturn. "One, for protection. I don't want a bunch of angry thugs showing up on our doorstep. And also, if I ever need to do anything like that again, it'll be easier if every hacker on the planet doesn't know who I am. I talked to Archie, he's not saying anything."
Dione sighed. "I guess that's smart. But it'd be nice to get some recognition for a change."
"I know. We'll get it for something else, though. You'll see!"
"But sir, won't our emblem be recognized on their computers?" Rhea, the recently promoted second in command pointed out.
"True. But I don't know anything about that, do you?" Saturn asked, grinning.
Rhea just raised her eyebrows.
Roth's head jerked up, and he looked around. Leon's eyes rotated. They hung in the branches of a large tree in the middle of the safari zone's central grove. Both had lost weight and were no longer glowing with health.
'Hey!' the voice came again.
Leon looked up, and almost fell out of the tree. 'Knot!'
'What? Knot?' Roth scrambled up out of his hanging position. He swung up closer to the larger pokemon, a little awkwardly.
'What are you doing here?' asked Knot, perched on a higher branch. 'It feels like a home for insane pokemon!'
'Is,' Roth moaned. 'Can't get out! Only if humans catch. Not want!' He unconsciously rubbed at a bald spot on his stomach. It was red with constant friction.
'Of course you don't,' Knot said. 'But there are better ways to get out. Come on.'
The three of them vanished. They reappeared inside the dripping riverside cave.
Three Linoone looked up at their arrival.
'Out,' Knot ordered. 'Find your own place to live. Not here.'
They took one look and scuttled out, tails between their legs.
Roth gave a happy shriek and began racing around the cave, touching every inch of it, even rolling through the water. Leon turned slowly to take it all in, then toppled over on his back with a deep sigh of relief.
'How you do that?' he asked.
'I learned a lot since we parted ways,' Knot said with a grin. 'I've been all over Sinnoh and Kanto, met pokemon and humans, found and freed my brothers, saw the humans responsible got what was coming to them...'
Roth swung down from a ledge with a whoop, long arms wrapping around Knot and licking the taller pokemon with careless abandon. He heard a startled squeak, and dropped to lick the Abra on Knot's tail in the face. She grimaced and shivered in disgust, but he had already somersaulted off to one of the deeper pools. He began cleaning himself thoroughly, almost hair-by-hair. The Vigoroth still trembled with excitement, and might have even been crying.
'Thanks,' Leon said. 'For coming back. Missed you.'
'Stay?' asked Roth, glancing up from his task.
'No... not right now, anyway,' Knot said slowly. 'My brothers still need me. But later, I might. I haven't decided what I'll do yet.'
'Be good if you did,' Leon said.
Knot looked around and nodded. 'I agree. I've missed this place.'
'You brothers okay?'
'Yes... they're getting used to living outside, like I did. Their bodies are more ready, but their minds have far more adjusting to do. My little brothers are progressing well, but my big brother sometimes gets stuck. He is more set in his ways. I think Mewtwo likes him best. I'm not really sure why.'
'Mewtwo?' Leon asked. 'Like, real, first Mewtwo? He scary?'
Knot paused. 'No... not really. I don't always like him, but he's not scary.'
'Hm,' Leon grunted reflectively. 'But you strong like him. So not scary to you.'
'I guess you're right.'
The Kecleon shrugged. 'I need wash before Roth finish and do for me. You come back later?' he asked, and Roth looked up hopefully.
'I will,' Knot promised. 'For now, here's something so you can rest for the time being.' He vanished, and reappeared a minute later with a bucket of berries and two bagged lunches. Roth growled happily.
Leon laughed, a dry clicking sound, all K's. 'You know, that why we bring you here first? So you can get us things.'
'And you could sit here waiting for me?' Knot grinned. 'I don't know about that. But it does make things easier. You eat and rest, I'll be back in a day or so. ...You both look awful.'
'Hmph,' the Kecleon grumbled. 'You try live for... Not know how long, no safe place, no relax, just run and hide every minute. Not look so good, either.'
'Well take some time to recover. I'll see you later!' He waved cheerfully, and was gone.
Roth came over and splashed water gently over Leon. He began to rub his friend's dulled scales.
'Hey. Hey! Quit, I do myself,' the chameleon pokemon protested.
'Then do! Gray.' The Vigoroth pointed at Leon's skin. 'Bad. Be green.'
'I know, I know,' said the Kecleon, heaving himself back to his feet. 'I going.'
Roth watched to make sure, then turned back to cleaning his own ragged fur.
Police officers swarmed all over Viridian and Saffron City. They used x-ray scanners, metal detectors, and heat seekers to search through Team Rocket's network of tunnels. A few Rockets who had turned themselves in were there, guiding them through the labyrinth. Among them were Doctors Langes and Celac, and Wendy the grunt. Professors Sebastian and Hern were sitting in holding cells with minor injuries, and Sabrina was still unconscious in the hospital. Nelson had turned himself in. Capone hadn't been found. And Dan, who had led the world on a tour on international television, begged for a life-sentence in the highest security prison on the planet. He requested a cell with no windows. He jumped at small noises.
Giovanni stood at the back of his own cell, and indignant scowl on his face. Dan would have trembled to know how close together they were. The interfering foreigners had done their piece. But the continent still answered to him, and it would take more than the past week's events to change that. The Leagues of Kanto and Johto wouldn't stand for this treatment. The Boss had every faith that they would demand the Viridian Gym Leader's release. It was just a matter of time...
In a bunker in Mahogany Town, Johto, Giovanni's face was still on the TV screen. The imposing man watching fingered a heavy, crystalline mask. His mouth twisted into a cruel smile. He picked up a phone.
"Just lay low for now," he said in a shadowy voice. "We can ride this out, and profit from it."
In their explorations, the Mewtwo occasionally encountered a human or two. The pokemon kept their distance, and most humans seemed to respect that. Those who did not found themselves lost in a forest, with no recollection of the last month or two of their lives.
The clones had moved north, to the continent's wild mountains. It was the perfect place to hone their skills and be alone. Knot visited often, and sometimes they visited him. They toyed with the idea of names, but decided it wasn't worth the trouble.
Mewtwo stopped by when he could. He also popped in on Giovanni, but always invisibly. The powerful man was soon moved to his permanent residence at an isolated, high-security prison in the Orange Islands.
Knot was flying over Hoenn one day when a Crobat zipped up to him.
'Master says thanks,' it informed him.
The psychic pokemon stopped short. 'Who? I remember you, but who's your master?'
'Master Archie. Thanks. You,' the smaller one repeated. Knot remembered it had said that before, but this time an image of a human appeared on the tip of the poison pokemon's mind, surrounded by warm feelings.
'Oh... that's right, he was in Team Rocket's dungeon. Did all the humans get out?'
'Yes. Saw, me. All happy.'
'I'm glad to hear that.'
'Master Archie, Maxie... mm... other human, smaller human, far away, all fight Rockets,' the Crobat struggled to articulate. 'Now, yes! You help. So, master, friends, good you.'
'Oh. Er... good,' said Knot, trying to keep up. Non-psychic pokemon could be difficult to understand sometimes. 'I'm glad they succeeded.'
Crobat nodded, having no such troubles with Knot's clear communication. 'Master say, you need, they help, too. They in Lilycove. Or...' it tried to remember. 'Veilrock? Maybe, in Sinnoh, far away.'
'Hm... I doubt I'll need it, but you can thank them for the offer. I expect you be wanting to get back to them now.'
Crobat shrieked quietly in agreement, and turned to float down on the breeze.
Meanwhile in the Sevii Islands, Mewtwo was smashing, tearing, and pounding. The whole Rocket warehouse and lab were becoming a huge ball of twisted metal and concrete. When all the debris was packed together, a blue sphere flickered to life around it, and the ball began to shrink.
At last, Mewtwo was satisfied. He rose in the air with his house-sized ball. His hands glowed with psychic energy. Without ever touching it, he swung the globe of rubble in a circle, curving around in multiple rings, picking up speed upon each revolution. Finally, he flung it straight up.
The ball whistled as it flew. Startled flying pokemon fled from it. It passed the clouds, and Mewtwo followed in its wake. Both picked up more and more speed the higher they went.
The sky around them began to fade to a darker blue. Stars appeared, faint at first, but growing ever stronger. The ball began to burn as they shot through the atmosphere.
With a clang, the ball hit something, but never slowed down. Mewtwo looked guiltily at the falling satellite, then saw a large red R on it. He nodded in satisfaction.
At last, he and the steaming ball of rock and fused metal stopped. Again, he swung his arm. The ball made a U-turn around his back and was hurled out into the blackest depths of space. Mewtwo watched it disappear from view.
'That should break the mold for a while,' he said to himself. Then he turned back to the world, his world, and disappeared.
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Notes: Thanks for reading and reviewing! :)