Chapter 16: Operation Solid Snivy
Sinnoh-Kanto Border, forty miles north of Pewter City
The Hikokyu II gently touched down in a remote airport just north of Pewter City to refuel. "Airport" was a misnomer though; there was little more than a poorly illuminated dirt runway; a battered hangar that could fit one, maybe two small planes; several hydrogen tanks surrounded by a barbed wire fence and an onsite hydrogen production plant.
Four massive pipes, each as thick as a man's leg, snaked up to the underside of the airship. Each pipe transferred liquid hydrogen at a rate of hundreds of gallons per second – this rapid transfer rate allowed the refueling to take only minutes.
Several "Dragonite" cargo skiffs carrying portable energy cages flew landed near three semitrailers. Some Machoke and grunts wearing powered exoskeletons lifted the cages into the trucks.
Inside the Hikokyu II's hold, Dialga, Latias, Latios, Rayquaza, Mew, Giratina, Jirachi, Shaymin and Arceus were the only ones left. The rest of the Legendaries had been loaded onto the trucks and hauled off to the nearest base for study.
"Well, this is it; we're fucked," Rayquaza said, resting his head on his serpentine body.
Giratina finished off the bottle of Lavaridge beer that Charon had given him before the landing. He then noticed that the bars of the cage had a section that was not energized. He also noticed that the door of the hold was open and – if Rayquaza's information about the Jirarudan class airships was right – there was a fifty foot drop to the ground and he may be able to fly away under the cover of darkness. "Not so fast, Mew, see that non-energized section?"
Mew turned his head and spotted said section on the top right corner of the cage; instead of the pulsing blue corona that covered the rest of the bars, this particular section was shiny metal. "Yep!" he chirped.
"Good, I need you to squeeze through there and open the cage."
Mew flew over to the section and tried to squeeze through…only to get his gut stuck between the two non-energized bars.
"That's what happens when you eat like a Snorlax," Shaymin admonished with a grin as she watched Mew flail his arms and legs about in a desperate attempt to get free. Granted, Mew was a sucker for sweet foods and Charon was all too happy to ply him with sugary treats. As a result, Mew had gained some weight.
Suddenly, distant footsteps and the hum of the electric motors closing the heavy blast doors were heard along with the faint hum of the antigravity engines powering up.
Rayaquaza and the others immediately leapt to their feet and looked around. All they could see was the blast door steadily closing and the steady blinking red lights that warned personnel to avoid the closing doors, lest they be crushed by them.
"Hurry up!" Mew cried, still trying to wriggle free.
Thinking quickly, Arceus used her psychic powers to push Mew free. He shot from the gap and collided with one of the shields that protected the priceless artworks in the hold from damage. "Oww!" he exclaimed, rubbing his sore rear end. "Did you have to push so hard?"
"Mew! The cage!" the other Legends shouted in unison.
"Oh, right." Mew hovered to the lever than controlled the energy cage but to his surprise, it refused to budge – even when he used all his psychic power to pull it.
"It won't work!" Mew shouted.
Arceus looked around. The blast door was almost closed and the whine of the antigravity engines got louder. In fact, she felt the ship jitter slightly as it began to gain altitude. "Forget the cage! Get out and get help!"
Mew immediately turned towards the blast door and sped forward. He made the gap just as the multi-ton doors slammed shut with a mighty thud.
"Good luck, Mew," Arceus whispered. "We're all counting on you."
Mew flitted around the massive superstructure of the mighty airship and found a place to perch on one of the many point-defense gatling autocannons that dotted the underside of the massive craft. The air was starting get cooler as the airship climbed into the night sky, reminding him of the fact that he was not Rayquaza – the Guardian of the Jet Stream – who could survive even in the thin air sixty two miles above the earth. He looked down and saw the "airport" slowly receding into the darkness. He gulped; he was going to have to time this right. Too early and he would be spotted by the ground crew before he got away. Too late and the thin air would render him unconscious.
Minutes ticked by as the airship climbed higher and higher. Soon, he could see the lights of Cerulean City in the distance. That – and the fact that he could feel his chest start to tighten with the thinning air – was his cue to get ready.
"All right, let's do this!" he thought as he let go of his handhold. He quickly spread out his arms, legs and tail as he entered freefall and the cool night air rushed past him. Even as he sped towards the ground, he dared not engage in high-speed psychic flight until he was sure that the Hikokyu II was way out of range; he was fairly certain that the airship's radar system could not pick up such a small target but if he lit his "psychic booster", then all bets were off.
After a few more minutes of freefall, Mew was sure the Hikokyu II was out of range and he could safely engage in high-speed psychic flight. Unfortunately, he was a little forgetful so Mewtwo had to teach him a little ditty to help him remember the proper ignition sequence. Now how did it go again?
Mew gulped as he desperately racked his brain and saw the ground rapidly approaching. His normal psychic flight was quite slow and he needed to cover large amounts of distance (it was approximately four hundred miles to Hoenn's Lilycove City).
Suddenly, he remembered the ditty.
Ground control to Major Mew
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on
Ground control to Major Mew
Commencing countdown, check ignition
He played the ditty a few times in his head and the launch sequence began to form in his mind.
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on.
He focused his psychic energy and the pink shield began to form around him, starting at his head.
Commencing countdown, check ignition.
The psychic bubble began to take the rough form of a dart and Mew's body tingled as the psychic power coursed through his veins. A "tail" of pink energy began to form at the rear of the dart.
The "energy tail" at the rear of the psychic bubble elongated even further and Mew shot forward in a burst of psychic energy. His psychic abilities dampened the g-forces somewhat but it still felt like his stomach had been left behind.
Unfortunately, he had initiated his flight sequence at such a low altitude that he barely skimmed the tops of some of the taller trees. Luckily everyone was asleep as he flew over Pewter City, so no one noticed the speeding pink dart that was Mew. As he skimmed the treetops and tried to gain altitude, sky, land and trees around him blurred into a hypnotic pink haze. He closed his eyes to keep from vomiting thanks to the pink swirl. Before he could turn on his psychic vision, he collided with something hard and blacked out.
Outskirts of Pewter City, sixty miles south of the Sinnoh-Kanto border
"What is this?"
"Not what, who."
"Can it be?"
Some muffled whispers then one sentence.
"It is Mew."
Mew groaned as he began to regain consciousness.
"He's waking up."
"But how'd he get here?"
Mew forced his eyes open and he found that he was cradled in the arms of young green-haired woman. "Who are you?" he asked with a groan. His entire body ached like he had been trapped under Groudon for the past few hours.
"My name's Cheryl," the woman replied.
"Yeah, I got to get-"
Mew's words died on his lips as he took in his surroundings. Directly behind Cheryl was large black pyramid. Several banks of spotlights lit up the pyramid, showing off the highly polished surface – and the giant crack where he had collided with it. Behind him, some men appeared to be filing into the building. Speaking of which, his head still ached. "Uh, where am I?" he asked.
"Outside of Pewter City and by the Battle Pyramid," Cheryl replied.
Suddenly, Mew remembered that he had a mission. "Dialga, Latios, Latias, Rayquaza, Giratina, Jirachi, Shaymin and Arceus have been kidnapped and are aboard the Hikokyu II!" he blurted out. He then fell back into her arms.
Cheryl sighed. "Oh dear, what has Latias done this time?"
"No! They've been kidnapped and they told me to get help!"
Cheryl gasped and ran into Battle Pyramid, being careful not to jostle her passenger.
When Cheryl arrived at the atrium of the Battle Pyramid, she was greeted by a young man wearing a blue bandana. The man ran a greasy hand across his face, brushing back some locks of reddish-brown hair. The atrium was sparsely decorated with faux Egyptian carvings and some potted palm plants. The walls were covered in glossy black paint that reflected the track lighting installed to spotlight the Egyptian carvings.
"Sam," she ordered, "Take Mew to the infirmary!"
"Can't you see that I just came from the engine room?" he said, sighing with exasperation.
Those words did it. Sam gently accepted Mew and headed to the infirmary. His footsteps echoed in the metal corridors.
Cheryl then pressed the call button next to the elevator's door. She waited for elevator to arrive and then she stepped in. As the doors slid shut with a hiss, she pressed the button labeled "FD" (flight deck). The elevator lurched and soon sped upwards to the flight deck – ninety feet above her.
When the door opened, she was treated to an enormous console with vast array of lights, buttons and switches along with a plush captain's chair with its back facing her.
"Brandon," she said, "I got word from Mew that several Legends have been kidnapped and held aboard the Hikokyu II."
The chair swiveled towards her, revealing a brown haired man dressed in a green shirt and khaki pants. A pair of binoculars dangled from his neck. This was Brandon, Frontier Brain of the Battle Pyramid (and owner/captain of said battle arena/airship) and career adventurer.
"I see. Then it is settled. We must find the Hikokyu II and rescue them," he said. He then swiveled the chair back to the console.
"But Brandon, don't you know that it could be dangerous? Please, you can't risk the lives of Sam, Mira, Tobias, Noland, Riley and me like that!" Cheryl pleaded.
"Nonsense! Life is boring without a little danger! When I was…"
Cheryl sighed and entered the elevator. Brandon was a serious adrenaline junkie and adventurer who could give the fictional Indiana Jones a run for his money. But Brandon tended to forget that not everyone got high off death-defying escapades like he did.
When Cheryl had left, he pressed a button that activated the ship's PA system.
"Attention please, the Battle Pyramid will be lifting off in one minute. All crew head to stations and secure any loose items!"
Cheryl headed to the infirmary. There, Mew was lying on a cot and one of the onboard nurses was spraying some hyper potion on him. She sniffed the air; the infirmary had a distinct but not unpleasant medicinal odor. She then sat on another cot. Luckily, Mew was the only patient.
"Feeling better?" she asked.
Mew nodded and levitated a glass of water to his lips as the nurse sprayed the potion on him. "Yep," he replied.
"So exactly how did you all get kidnapped?"
Mew said nothing but sped into the bathroom and closed the door. The sound of retching could be heard from within.
Cheryl scratched her head. "I didn't think Legendaries had bodily functions," she muttered.
Meanwhile, Sam was inside the fourth floor engine room of the Battle Pyramid and running through the pre-takeoff list. He had to run through the checklist before each and every takeoff. Of course, being the Battle Pyramid's chief engineer, this was only one of his many responsibilities. In fact, he spent so much time there that it was practically his home. Even though a mass of pipes and wires of all sizes connected the equipment, it was very well organized; each pipe was labeled with its contents and the direction of its flow and each wire was color coded.
He closed the hatch that allowed him to physically examine the condenser. The power source for the Battle Pyramid was not a palladium-hydrogen fusion reactor but instead a hybrid powerplant that combined three hydrogen burning gas turbines made by Ketchum Heavy Industries with steam turbine that used the waste heat from the gas turbines' exhaust to generate steam. In total, the system generated 114 megawatts (ninety from the three gas turbines and twenty four from the steam turbine). Of course, gas and steam turbines did not power the Battle Pyramid's flight; antigravity engines did. And consequently, each turbine was hooked up to an electrical generator. All combined, this produced about 68.4 megawatts of electrical energy – enough to run all the engines and other electrical systems at cruising speed. An additional turbine and generator assembly produced fourteen megawatts in case one of the main turbines failed or if the Battle Pyramid needed an additional boost of speed.
Sam retreated to the soundproofed control room and shut the heavy door. A control panel with assorted lights and other technological paraphernalia was directly underneath a thick glass window. He then took a seat in front of the panel and grabbed the intercom hooked up to the control panel. "Flight deck, this is engine room. Maintenance checks have been completed and no problems have been reported. Over."
A few seconds later, Brandon's voice came back through the intercom. "Roger that. Initiate power on sequence and disconnect utility lines. Flight deck out."
Sam cracked his knuckles and flipped up the safety cover on a red button labeled "turbine one ignition". He pressed down the button and held it. Even through the thick walls, he could hear the cough and hiss of the compressed air starter spooling up the turbine and then the steadily rising whine of the engine coming to speed.
He shivered. Even though he had heard that sound many times before, it still sent a tingle down his spine. The raw power that he controlled inside the Battle Pyramid's engine room was intoxicating to him. A green light labeled "turbine one" blinked on, indicating that the engine was at its operating speed (35,000 rpm).
He repeated the steps for the two other turbines. A few minutes later, all the engines (except for the steam turbine) were running at their operating speed (as indicated by the green indicator lights on the control panel). Anyone outside the soundproofed room without hearing protection would have been deafened from the shriek of three large gas turbines running at full power.
Luckily for Sam, he was inside his soundproofed control room and a set of earmuff style hearing protectors dangled from a nearby hook in case he needed to venture into the engine room. But even with the room's soundproofing, the gas turbines provided a steady background cacophony. And of course, the room was air conditioned as well – a blessing considering that the engine room's temperatures can soar over 115 degrees with all engines at full power.
Sam cracked his knuckles and flipped up the safety cover on a red switch labeled "utility line disconnect. Powerful hydraulic rams disconnected the power and water lines. The only indication that showed the process was successful were two blue indicator lights – labeled "outside power" and "outside water" – that winked out. He then dialed the flight deck again.
"Flight deck, this is Engine room. Engines are up to operating speed and power and water lines disconnected. Engine room out."
A dedicated elevator as well as a sealed stairwell that led to the main deck of the Battle Pyramid was at the rear of the room.
Sam leaned back in the surprisingly plush chair in front of the control console, pulled his hard hat over his face and fell asleep.
The Battle Pyramid had five antigravity engines – each corner of the pyramid concealed an engine housed inside an armored nacelle mounted on retractable spars. A large engine was located underneath the building.
The corner engines were currently hidden but they began to extend with creak of powerful servomotors.
A low hum that emanated from the engines grew to a penetrating whine as the engines powered up. Interestingly, the engines looked like turbine blades and even rotated. But the rotation was intended to circulate air around the field emitters to keep them from overheating; it had no bearing on the Battle Pyramid's flight. This unusual cooling mechanism required less maintenance than a liquid cooling system. The weight savings were an additional bonus.
Slowly but steadily, the massive craft climbed into the night sky.
40,000 feet above the wilds of southern Sinnoh, sixty miles north of the Sinnoh-Kanto border
Inside the Hikokyu II's hold, the other Legendaries were waiting for their hopeful rescue.
"Come Mew, you can do it," Rayquaza said. He paid no attention to the Lati twins' furious make-out session that was occurring right behind him.
Giratina was too busy admiring a heroic nude statue of himself to notice the Lati twins. The statue in question had been stolen from the Sinjoh Ruins Historical Park. This incident led to the closure of said park which upset him because that was where he preferred to meet his worshippers, most of whom were Johtoinians but he had a substantial Sinnohese following as well.
Jirachi was also admiring the heroic nude statue of Giratina. Granted, he constantly made jokes about how it portrayed Giratina as being rather obese.
Finally, Giratina snapped. "Damn it, Jirachi! I am not a 'Fatty Ghost Dragon'!" he shouted.
Shaymin yawned from her position against Rayquaza's tail. "Will you shut the fuck up so I can sleep?"
"GO EAT A DICK!" Dialga shouted.
"Enough!" Arceus roared, levitating as much as she could in the cramped cell. Everyone grew quiet at her wrath. She then calmed down. "Fighting amongst ourselves will not get Mew and his rescue party back faster. The best we can do is wait things out and not entertain our captors by fighting amongst ourselves."
Meanwhile, inside a small room near the hold that contained the Legendaries, several grunts and a certain dirty minded chief engineer were crowded around a console that controlled the security cameras inside the hold and contained four screens that showed the visual feed from the camera.
"'Fatty Ghost Dragon', damn, that's a good one!" a grunt said as he sipped from his bottle of cola.
"Man, this is way better than anything that the entertainment center has," another grunt said as he put his feet on the console.
The grunt who was on security cam duty was also watching the drama when she noticed the grunt with his feet on the console. "Hey! Read the damn signs!" she shouted, pointing to a black plaque bolted onto the bare metal wall behind her.
The sign read: "Attention! Body parts other than hands and arms are permitted not on the control console!"
The previous sign had just banned feet on the control console but this new sign was added after a rather sticky and gross "incident" that involved the chief engineer and a security cam zoomed in on the Lati siblings.
Charon said nothing as he hungrily watched a monitor that showed a close up of the Lati sibling's make out session. "Oh, yeah. Come on," he muttered as he watched Latias give her brother a rather sensual backrub.
He was too engrossed in his voyeurism to notice that Mew was missing.
40,000 feet above the center of Pewter City, 165 miles to the Sinnoh-Kanto border.
The Battle Pyramid was now flying through the night skies at its cruising speed of one hundred knots – 115 miles per hour. Several red running lights mounted on the outriggers and top of the pyramid steadily blinked.
The lights were dimmed in the hallways to save power, seeing as most of the crew were relaxing or sleeping in their cabins.
Brandon returned to the flight deck with a cup of coffee. He took a seat in the captain's chair and took a sip of the steaming liquid. The bridge was well lit so Brandon could safely pilot the airship. Even though the instruments and buttons were lit with LEDs or electroluminescent light strips, he still needed to read navigational charts. Speaking of which, a navigational chart that had several notes on it lay on a small table. This chart in question had been used to plot the rough course of the Battle Pyramid. Normally, he would have at least two other crewmembers assisting him but since it was late; he decided to take on their duties himself.
Noland, the Frontier Brain of the Battle Factory entered the flight deck. In terms of the Battle Frontier, he was equal in rank to Brandon but onboard the Battle Pyramid, he was just another mechanic, albeit one who maintained the small hover skiff fleet and Brandon's "air car".
"Captain," Noland said, taking off his signature red beret. "I suggest that someone fly out from the Battle Pyramid to locate this airship."
"There is no need; the Battle Pyramid is equipped with a state of the art radar system," Brandon replied. He looked at the radar readout, which was displayed on rather large touchscreen to his right and sighed.
"Any luck, Captain?" Noland asked.
"No. The targeted ship is out of range," Brandon replied. He suddenly noticed that the light reading "Emergency Power" was not lit. An idea flashed into his head as he activated the intercom and spoke. "Engine room! This is the captain speaking! Activate emergency power!"
Sam was leaning back in the chair and sleeping when Brandon's voice came over the intercom.
The sudden shock of his captain's voice caused him to lean back too far and fall out of the chair. After picked himself up, he reseated himself and looked over the control panel. He quickly flipped a red switch labeled "Emergency Power Engage". He was rewarded with a satisfying click of the contacts engaging and the cough-hiss of the turbine starting up. Soon, the maximum power output was reached.
"Bridge, this is Engineer Sam, emergency power is online!" he said into the intercom. He then leaned back in the chair, put his hardhat over his face and fell asleep.
Brandon looked on the console and as soon as the emergency power indicator light was lit, he pushed another button that was labeled, "Emergency Power Activation". As soon as he did so, a chime sounded and the blue emergency power indicator light began to flash.
The airspeed indicator (currently reading one hundred knots) and the temperature gauges slowly began rise as more power was fed to the antigravity engines. While operating the engines under this increased load for short periods of time was perfectly safe, sustained operation was capable of raising the operating temperatures of antigravity engines beyond the safe limits, causing them to shut down prematurely or even catch on fire. After several minutes, the airspeed indicator topped out at 132 knots – about 151.90 miles per hour.
Brandon leaned back in his chair and took a sip of his now cold coffee. "Well, all we can do is wait until that ship comes into radar range."
Noland silently nodded and headed back to his post at the Battle Pyramid's hangar.
Inside Cheryl's cabin, laughter could be heard from within. Cheryl had graciously allowed Mew to share her room. But now he had decided to take advantage of Cheryl's absence and proceeded to joyfully bounce on her bed.
The room's walls had the same glossy black paint as the rest of the Battle Pyramid and the carpet was a deep black that blended perfectly with the walls. There was also a small desk – bolted to the floor of course. A sliding door with a built-in full length mirror concealed a small closet.
After many minutes of bouncing, he finally wore himself out and fell asleep on her bed.
At the same time, the Battle Pyramid got close enough to pick up Hikokyu II on radar. Granted, it was pretty damn hard to hide an airship that was nearly three times larger than a Zorroark class aircraft carrier.
Brandon shut off the emergency power, picked up the intercom and spoke: "Attention, Mew. Please head to the flight deck."
He grinned; he gambled that Mew had flown in a straight line at high speed (judging from the large crack he had left in the Battle Pyramid's facade) and he decided to try and reconstruct Mew's route.
And his gamble paid off; it had led him right to the airship.
Mew was jolted out of his slumber by Brandon's announcement. The shock caused him to tumble out of bed. He then hovered out of the room and headed to the elevator that took him to the flight deck. Even though he had no idea what a flight deck was, the elevator was helpfully labeled.
After an elevator ride that left his stomach on the ground floor, Mew exited the elevator and traversed a short hallway that split off into a fork – the right fork was the flight deck, the left was the captain's quarters. He followed the labels helpfully attached onto the wall and soon found himself in the flight deck.
"Wow," he muttered. He was treated to a dizzying array of buttons, lights, switches and dials. A large man with his back to him sat on a plush chair. He assumed that this man was the captain.
"Erm, excuse me," Mew said timidly. "I'm Mew and I'm supposed to speak to someone in the flight deck."
"Yes, that would be me," the man said without turning around.
"Now what did you want to ask me about? And what's your name?"
"Sorry, that was rude of me not to introduce myself. I'm Brandon, captain of this airship." Brandon's back was still turned to Mew; it was quite clear that the conversation was not a very high priority – at least compared to piloting the airship.
"Erm, Captain Brandon, you wanted to ask me something?" Mew stated.
Brandon pressed a button on the console and a projector mounted on a rotating turret aimed at one of the many windows on the bridge and the radar display appeared on the window. A green line scanned over the window and a grid pattern with coordinates appeared. The Battle Pyramid (represented by a red dot) and several green blobs appeared on the display. He then used the touchscreen to zoom in on the biggest blob – the Hikokyu II. The projection mirrored the action on the touchscreen. And soon, the amorphous blob began to coalesce into a disk with the stalked, spherical weapons pod clearly visible on the bottom.
"That's it! I recognize that bulb thingy on the bottom!" Mew blurted out, anticipating Brandon's question.
"You read my mind," Brandon said calmly.
"No, I didn't!" Mew teased.
"In any case, meet me at the atrium."
Mew saluted and then headed out of the flight deck to the elevator. Brandon then pressed the intercom button. "Attention! Everyone report to the atrium for a meeting!"
He then activated the Battle Pyramid's autopilot and followed Mew. As much as he hated the thing, he had to admit, it was useful.
Sam, Mira, Tobias, Noland, Riley and Cheryl were all gathered in the atrium. Most of them – save for Noland – appeared to have been sleeping when the announcement came.
"This better be important," Mira said with a yawn. She sat on one of the plush couches around a small marble table as she waited for Brandon to appear.
"It is; Brandon wouldn't wake us up if it weren't," Sam said as he stretched his arms.
Riley telekinetically nudged Tobias. This telekinetic power came not from psychic powers but his aura manipulation abilities. While psychic humans were found all over the Pokémon Continent, aura users were found only in a certain region of Sinnoh, which Riley happened to be from. "Wake up!"
Tobias snorted and shot up from the couch he was napping on. "I'm awake!"
The sound of the elevator arriving made their heads turn.
"Ah, that's Captain Brandon," Noland said.
The elevator doors parted to reveal Mew, who floated out of the elevator.
"He was behind me," Mew said with a shrug. He then floated over to the marble table and sat on it.
A few minutes later, the elevator returned, this time with Brandon in it.
"Mew! You're supposed to wait for me!" he exclaimed.
Mew sheepishly giggled. "Sorry."
Brandon then took a deep breath and composed himself. "All right, we have located the target airship; it is approximately twenty five miles due north of us. The goal is to enter the airship, find the Legendaries and free them. I will need two volunteers."
Riley raised his hand. "I will go with Lucario."
"Good. Now I recommend we have someone mechanically inclined, like say, Noland."
"But Captain I need to-"
Brandon silenced him with a wave of his hand. "The air car and hover skiffs will wait for you. And besides, your record with the Battle Pyramid's engines is…poor to put it mildly."
Noland sighed; Brandon had a point. Any time he touched anything not related to a hover skiff or the air car, it almost always malfunctioned. His most memorable incident was when somehow he managed to cause turbine #1 to shut down, accidentally disable the battle arena's shields and break the toilet in his room. All in one day. "All right; I will do it."
"Can I come?" Mew piped up.
Riley turned to Mew. "No. We cannot risk you being recaptured in the event this mission goes wrong."
Mew sighed but nodded. "All right. So what shall I do?"
"You can help send them off," Brandon replied. "All right, get moving!"
The others returned to their bedrooms except for Noland, who headed towards the elevator.
The elevator opened at the hangar, which was the lowest level of the airship (along with the sewage processing plant). The hangar itself was dimly lit but once it detected his presence, powerful LEDs lit up the hangar in a bright blue-white glow. Brandon's famous air car occupied the middle of hangar. Several hover skiffs were lined up against the hangar's left and right walls and plugged into the power grid. Several crates, carts and lockers containing assorted supplies and tools were lined up and secured against the front wall where the elevator was located. In the middle of the rear wall were the heavy doors that opened to the outside air.
As Noland stepped out of the elevator, his footsteps clattered against the slightly grimy metal floors. A stairwell was next to the elevator. The hangar had two stairwells in case the elevator malfunctioned; one was located next to the elevator and the other was at the far rightof the hangar.
He shivered slightly; the hangar was kept unheated to save energy. Although the entrances to the hangar were rigged to trigger heaters that would raise the air temperature above freezing, it took a while thanks to the hangar's large size.
He then stepped over to his locker and opened its lock. Inside was his black flight suit. He took it out and seeing as he was the only one present, he decided to change in the hangar instead of using the small bathroom near the elevator.
Unfortunately as soon as Noland's pants came off, Riley stepped out of the elevator with Lucario's poké ball in hand. Riley was then treated to the sight of the chief engineer clad only in Porygon print boxer shorts.
"Sorry," Riley said as he turned his back to give Noland some privacy.
Noland was too cold to care and he soon zipped up his suit and stuck his clothing into the locker. He draped the oxygen hose and power coupling over his shoulder and picked up his helmet/oxygen mask. A small oxygen bottle was attached to his hip. He then headed for the back of the hangar.
Riley grabbed a "loaner suit" in his size and headed to the bathroom to change. Several minutes later, Riley emerged in a black flight suit much like the one that Noland was wearing. His clothing was stuffed into a locker and the loaner helmet/oxygen mask was tucked under his arm.
He then stood by the hover skiffs in the right of the hangar. At the same time, the elevator opened and Mew sped out towards the two. "Sorry I'm late, but I got lost," he said.
"No matter. All you have to do is push the red button next to the elevator," Noland replied as he donned the helmet but left the mask dangling from his chin.
"You mean this one?" Mew asked, pointing to the large red button with red warning stripes around it.
Mew then headed over to the button and awaited the signal to push the button.
"So which skiff?" Riley asked.
Noland gestured to two midnight black skiffs that capped each of the two rows of hover skiffs. The top of the skiff's running board was the only flat part. The control column and the sides of the running board had the characteristic odd angular shape of a stealth aircraft. The two skiffs in question were CS-117 "Noctowl" stealth skiffs. While hover skiffs did show up on radar, they had the same signature as large Swellow or Pidgeot – thus they were usually ignored but they couldn't take any chances at 40,000 feet (few, if any pokémon were found at this altitude). In addition, their antigravity engines produced distinct gravitational fluctuations that were easily tracked.
"Noctowl" stealth skiffs – thanks to the use of radar absorbent material and their odd shape – had a radar signature of a Wingull, assuming that the radar could even detect such a small target. They were also equipped with dampeners that used electromagnetic fields to try and disguise the gravitational fluctuations of the engine. Finally, the engines were designed to run as cool and as quiet as possible to detection by heat or sound emissions.
While "Noctowl" stealth skiffs were not illegal (except in Johto and Isshu where they were legally restricted to military and law enforcement); their manufacturer – Kyuujux Aviation – refused to sell them to civilians. Brandon got his two skiffs by purchasing them used from a police department in Orre.
Noland mounted the skiff and strapped himself in using the integrated harness on his flight suit. Two clamps also held onto his boots. He quickly plugged himself in and donned the oxygen mask.
Riley followed Noland's lead and soon, the two were suited up and ready to go.
"Radio check," Noland said.
"Copy that," Riley replied.
Noland and Riley then started their engines. Unlike the loud whine of a "Pidgeot" skiff, the two skiffs produced a barely audible hum. Noland gave a thumbs-up to Mew, who nodded and pressed the red button. A klaxon sounded and red lights flashed as the heavy doors at the rear of the hangar slid open. A loud hiss was heard as the pressurized air flowed out into the colder, thinner air of 40,000 feet.
Mew saluted the two as they sped out into the night sky. Fifteen seconds after Riley cleared the threshold, the door creaked as it slowly slid shut.
"Good luck," Mew said as he summoned the elevator and waited for it to take him back to the atrium.
Brandon returned to the flight deck. He set the autopilot to hover in place and retired to his quarters to sleep.
The lights dimmed as he exited the flight deck.
Mew flitted around the atrium. As pretty much everyone was asleep, the lights in the atrium were dimmed to conserve power.
He yawned and headed back to Cheryl's room where he could sleep.
The two "Noctowl" skiffs sped through the starry night sky. While the air at 40,000 feet was too cold and thin to support most forms of life, this was no problem for Riley and Noland thanks to their oxygen masks and heated flight suits.
"Say, aren't the stars bright?" Riley said via radio.
"Yeah," Noland replied as he looked around. The moon gleamed overhead, bathing everything in a surrealistic white light. Bright pinpricks of stars twinkled in the ink-black sky. Fluffy, grey clouds served as the "ground" to their flight. The air was silent save for the calming drone of the two hover skiffs' engines.
"So what did you bring?"
"Just some small tools and a poké ball."
Riley was bewildered by Noland's decision not to bring a pokémon. However, he wasn't aware that Noland's pokémon were back in Hoenn. He decided not to press the issue and let the drone of the skiffs' engines take the place of conversation.
Soon the distinct shape of the Hikokyu II began to materialize in the distance.
"All right, now how do we get in?" Riley asked.
Noland said nothing but examined the superstructure of the great ship. He soon noticed a maintenance catwalk near one of the spars that held the ship's antigravity pods. The catwalk itself had some safety railings as well as a docking station for a single hover skiff. Each spar that held one of the antigravity pods had one of these catwalks so engineers could examine the engine or repair damage in case the built-in nanite repair system malfunctioned.
"Follow my lead," Noland said as he maneuvered his skiff into position and landed on the docking station. Two clamps locked onto the skiff, holding it in place. Noland took another length of rope from a pocket in his flight suit and attached one end to his harness and the other end to the railing. He then detached himself from the skiff and stepped off onto the metal catwalk, which was slick with ice thanks to the cold air. He grabbed onto the railing which was equally slick. Thankfully, the gloves and boots gave him exceptional traction.
Riley maneuvered his skiff to the spar that was to the right of Noland. He rejected it when he saw that it was occupied by another hover skiff. He used his aura abilities and noticed that there was someone doing some repair work on the antigravity pod. He quickly chose another spar to dock.
He followed the same procedure as Noland to secure himself to the catwalk.
Noland had already made it to the small door at the end of the catwalk. After he brushed away a thin layer of ice, he found a small latch. He gave it a quick pull and the door slid open with a gentle hiss of air escaping into the atmosphere. For safety reasons, these doors can always be opened from the outside (no one wants to be locked out of a building, let alone one flying at 40,000 feet).
He then stepped into the antechamber as the door slid shut behind him. The antechamber's lights slowly flickered on, revealing a dull metal room containing two metal benches bolted to the floor. Two sets of airlock doors – one opposite the other – were the only distinguishing features of the room. He got up and headed to the opposite door and pressed the button next to it. The motors groaned as it slowly opened the large door.
As soon as the doors were opened, Noland exited the antechamber into a rather bland looking metal hallway. This was quite clearly the mechanical area of the ship as dozens of cables and pipes lined the ceiling. Most of the cables were sheathed inside armored conduits but there were a few that were exposed. A plaque on the wall read "Maintenance Area 5".
Noland made sure to commit that to memory. He then took off his oxygen mask, leaving it hanging from his neck.
He sniffed the air; it was heavy with the scent of grease, solvent and heated metal. Nevertheless, he ignored it and headed up a nearby stairwell.
Riley had entered a hallway that was an exact copy of the one that Noland had entered. Well, exactly the same except the plaque read "Maintenance Area 8".
Instead of heading up a nearby stairwell, he decided to investigate this floor. Suddenly, a distinct odor assailed his nostrils: the odor of ganja.
He headed towards the odor and soon saw two grunts along with a Leafeon inside a small closet. But this Leafeon was different; the "head-leaf" looked exactly like a ganja leaf and several flower buds grew on its back. He saw one of the men pluck a few buds from the Leafon's back and roll them into a joint, which he then lit and took a deep draw. Riley was careful to stay out of their line of sight.
"Man, this new 'Dream World Munna' is the shit," the man said as he took a deep draw.
"Don't thank me," the other man said. "Thank her. Without her and similar 'Reefeon', lots of marijuana breeds wouldn't exist." He pointed to the Leafeon lying at his feet.
"Thanks, girl," he said, scratching the Leafeon behind her ears. The Leafeon nuzzled his hand in reply.
"Glad you liked it," she said. Of course, her words were not understandable to anyone nearby. Except Riley, thanks to his aura abilities granting him the ability to understand pokémon.
Riley had heard about Reefeon; these mutants were usually created by exposing mature Leafeon to marijuana plants – usually by ingestion. They would then merge with the plant and if female, produce buds on their backs that can be painlessly removed and smoked. Owing to the fact that Reefeon were also animals, all types of unusual crossbreeds – even with other grass-type pokémon - were possible. However, he also knew that Reefeon were illegal everywhere (penalties for possession ran from confiscation to loss of one's trainer's license to a stiff fine and prison time). Of course, Hoenn made personal possession of marijuana and Reefeon legal; it was still illegal – and carried stiff penalties – to sell marijuana and Reefeon if not licensed.
Suddenly, the sting fresh of marijuana smoke made his nose itch. He tried to suppress a sneeze but failed miserably. Thankfully, the two grunts were too high to care about it. He quickly bolted away from the two in case they decided to pursue him.
Meanwhile, Noland sprinted past a plaque that read "Maintenance Area 4". The shouting of men could be heard behind him. He had stumbled upon a group of mechanics doing some repair work on the lights. Unfortunately for him, they noticed him before he could sneak away. Immediately pegging him as a stowaway – thanks to his black flight suit – they gave chase, armed with their tools.
As he was sprinting, he noticed a pile of cardboard boxes in the wide hallway. Thinking quickly, he grabbed one of the boxes and covered himself with it. Soon, he was indistinguishable from the other cardboard boxes in the area.
When the mechanics arrived on the scene, all they saw was a pile of cardboard boxes.
"He must be here somewhere," the lead mechanic said. He then turned to the others. "Search the area!"
The mechanics fanned out and did as they were told. Some of them headed out further into the hallway while the others stood guard.
Noland was watching from within his box. Seeing as those standing guard had their backs turned and that those searching further also had their backs turned, he decided to cautiously creep forward.
Unfortunately for him, one of the mechanics noticed one of the boxes moving. Curiosity aroused, he went over to the moving box and picked it up, revealing Noland.
"Hey! I've-" The man was quickly cut off when Noland kneed him in the groin and sprinted down the hall.
"Get him!" the lead mechanic shouted. The rest of the mechanics joined the pursuit.
Riley was slightly better off than Noland. He stood in front of a sliding steel door that was labeled as a hangar entrance. A plaque behind him read "Maintenance Area 7". After looking around and seeing that the area was deserted, he decided that the fastest way to enter was to use Lucario's Aura Sphere to destroy the door.
He quickly deployed Lucario and ordered him to use Aura Sphere on the door. The powerful blast rattled Riley's bones; if it were not for the fact that his own aura abilities dampened those of Lucario's, the shockwave could have killed him. The door buckled inward on its frame but still held strong. Another Aura Sphere finally took the door off its tracks, sending it inwards with a mighty crash as the door landed on the steel hangar floor. He then recalled Lucario.
Riley looked around the hangar. All he saw were rows of assorted hover skiffs and no Legendaries.
"Great," he muttered. He turned around and headed down the hallway, totally unaware that a silent alarm had been triggered and he was about to run into an armed response squad.
Noland had temporarily lost his pursuers by ducking inside a closet.
"I gotta get rid of them somehow or else they'll keep chasing me," he thought.
As he leaned against the wall inside the dark closet, he felt the round form of the poké ball press against his side. He had forgotten that the red recall beam of a poké ball, when directed at a human target, was capable of causing someone enough pain to grab their attention – or knocking someone unconscious at point blank range (great ball recall beams can instantly knock a human unconscious at range and ultra ball recall beams could actually kill if used at point blank range on a human target).
He grabbed the poké ball and expanded it to full size just as the closet door opened, revealing a mechanic. This mechanic just happened to be working here but he knew that Noland was an intruder thanks to his lack of uniform.
Noland reacted as quickly as he could, directing the red beam at the mechanic's chest – to no effect. Unfortunately for Noland, he was not aware that the uniform of the Hikokyu II's crewmembers contained conductive fibers that blocked the effect of stun grenades, pokémon stunners, electrical stun weapons and recall beams. Head coverings with that same material were available.
Before Noland could get off a second shot, the mechanic seized his arm and tried to wrench the poké ball away from him. He then struck the mechanic in the groin with his knee – to seemingly no effect.
Noland spied a stick out of the corner of his eye. He grabbed the stick and thrust it as hard as possible into the mechanic's face. Much to the humiliation of the mechanic, said stick was actually the handle of a toilet plunger and Noland actually applied so much force to the thrust that the plunger managed to get stuck to the man's face! The mechanic dropped the poké ball and seized the stick with both hands, trying to remove the offending object from his face.
Noland took advantage of the mechanic's incapacitation, grabbed his poké ball and sprinted down the hallway.
The other mechanics arrived on scene seconds after Noland sprinted away. They found a rather bizarre scene – one of their comrades with a plumbing implement stuck to his face along with a closet door that was ajar. After pondering this scene for a moment, they burst out into laughter.
The hapless mechanic gave a series of muffled yells and pointed to the plunger stuck to his face. The lead mechanic stopped his laughter and tried to pull the plunger off the man. When several tugs failed to budge the instrument, the lead mechanic drew his pocketknife and cut the plunger's flange from the handle. He then easily removed the flange from the mechanic's face.
The mechanic took several deep breaths as the offending instrument was removed. "Who the fuck uses a plunger as a weapon!"
"Never mind that, where did the stowaway go?" the lead mechanic asked.
The mechanic pointed down the hallway with the plunger's handle.
"All right! Move out!"
The mechanic who Noland attacked picked up the plunger's handle and joined the group.
Riley jogged past a plaque mounted on the metal walls that read "Maintenance Area 6" as he tried to search for an area that he reasonably expected to hold the Legendaries. As he jogged, he noticed a placard on a heavy steel sliding door that was labeled "Main Hold – Authorized Personnel Only".
"This has to be it," Riley thought as he drew Lucario's poké ball.
"You! Drop the poké ball!" a voice shouted from behind him.
Riley turned around and spotted a group of grunts, all pointing pistols at him. These grunts wore the same uniform as everyone else except that they also wore helmets with reflective faceplates. "What can I do for you?" he asked.
"Can it!" a grunt shouted. He then noticed that Riley still had his poké ball in hand. "Drop the ball or I put a bullet in your head!" His finger twitched on the trigger of his 9 mm Beretta (this was not standard issue, which was a Veekun Arms Close Combat .45 caliber pistol).
Riley sighed and seeing as he was outnumbered and outgunned, complied, letting the poké ball fall to the ground with a clatter.
Noland bolted up a nearby stairwell. His heart pounded from the run as he stopped on the top landing to take a short breather. He soon heard a door below him click open and the steps and voices of the pursuing men coming from the lower level of the stairwell. He quickly opened the door on the landing he was at. Spying a couple of crates nearby, Noland quickly pushed them to barricade the stairwell. The crates were quite heavy but his long hours as a hover skiff mechanic meant that he was also fairly strong.
"That should hold 'em," he said as he admired his handiwork.
Suddenly, the door shook and the crates jittered as someone rammed the door.
Noland shook his head and immediately fled the scene. After running what seemed like miles, he rounded a corner and saw Riley surrounded by several armed guards. Rather foolishly, he stepped out from behind the corner and made several obscene gestures.
The guards were stunned by the sudden appearance of a man in a black flight suit. Two of the guards gave chase. Taking advantage of the temporary distraction, Riley seized the dropped poké ball and flung it at the nearest guard's face. Thanks to Riley's aura powered throw, the metal sphere actually cracked the faceplate on the helmet. The men immediately trained their pistols at Riley and fired. Several of the bullets narrowly missed Riley, striking the metal bulkheads and disintegrating into metal dust.
Lucario appeared in a bright flash of light; almost immediately, the men focused their attention on him. Several of the bullets struck him but they were unable to penetrate the subcutaneous steel layer that served as an internal suit of armor. He held his hands together in preparation for an Aura Sphere attack. A bullet struck his chest but he ignored that. He fired off the blue energy sphere at a main trying to draw a bead on his trainer. The sphere struck home, completely disintegrating the man's upper body and showering blood and tissue everywhere. The concussive shockwave knocked down and possibly killed two other grunts near him. A red beam lanced through the air, narrowly missing his head, as a grunt fired a Thunder Wave stun pistol.
Seeing as Aura Sphere's charge time would make him vulnerable to a stun pistol – the red energy beam of which could knock him out instantly – he decided to switch to melee combat. He rushed one man, slamming his iron-plated fist into his jaw, shattering it and snapping his head back. He then followed it up with another equally devastating punch, making the man recoil. He then finished off the combo with a roundhouse kick to the man's chest, shattering his sternum and sending him flying into a wall, where he slid down, unconscious or dead, to the ground. He then rushed another grunt as another stun beam struck the floor behind him. The man was taken off guard and neutralized with a Force Palm to the head. The shockwave that the attack produced was powerful enough to actually crack the man's skull, even through a helmet. Lucario got up and looked for more targets.
One desperate grunt tried to shoot Lucario in the neck – one of the only two areas that did not have the subcutaneous steel armor. Lucario dodged just in time and the stray bullet caught another grunt just below the base of the neck, fatally wounding him.
He then rushed the nearest grunt and the two were soon locked in a clinch. The man directed a knee strike to his abdomen. The blow was so powerful that Lucario actually felt the impact through his steel armor. Surprisingly, the hulking man didn't flinch even though he had just kneed solid metal. Lucario countered with a knee of his own to the man's chest and heard the crack of at least one of the man's ribs breaking. Suddenly, Lucario was knocked off his feet and slammed to the steel floor rather forcefully by the man. This immediately tipped him off that said grunt was a psychic. Granted, Lucario was aware of the fact that psychic humans tended to be slightly stronger than normal humans and they were capable of augmenting their strength with psychic powers but it was a whole 'nother story to feel it first hand. Lucario tried to recover, but the man was on top of him in an instant, trying to choke him out. He then wriggled out from the man's chokehold just before be blacked out and then pinned the man down and placed him in a chokehold.
The grunt, having absolutely no qualms about fighting dirty, grabbed hold of Lucario's genitalia – the other unarmored part – and squeezed as hard possible, making matters worse, he used his psychic powers to augment his strength.
Lucario gritted his teeth as tears of pain ran down his face. He would not let this man win, even though he felt like a freight train ran over his crotch.
He was totally unaware that the last grunt had taken aim at Lucario's neck with his pistol (his Thunder Wave stunner had gotten lost in the battle) and was moments away from pulling the trigger.
Riley had managed to take cover behind a large steel crate. Even though several of the bullets had struck the crate, none had penetrated as the bullets that the grunts were using were special rounds made from sintered metal. These so-called "frangible" rounds were designed to break apart upon impact with hard metal surfaces – like what made up the majority of the Hikokyu II. For obvious reasons, non-frangible ammunition was not allowed onboard the airship.
He stuck his head over the crate and spotted the last grunt. Thinking quickly, a gold corona formed on his right hand as he prepared to launch his own Aura Sphere. He pointed at the gunman and a golden elongated "dart" of aura leapt from his finger and sped towards its target. While Riley's Aura "Sphere" traveled slightly faster than Lucario's version of said attack, it was weaker and was non-explosive. Even then, the bolts were still capable of causing deep bruises, breaking bones or even killing.
Just before the man pulled the trigger, something clipped his pistol, sending it skittering on the metal floor. He quickly scanned the area and found Riley poking his head over a crate. He dove out of the way of another golden bolt, seized his pistol and rolled into a kneeling position in one smooth motion.
Riley was forced to keep his head down as the bullets struck the crate and bulkhead, showering him with metal dust. As soon as he heard the gun click empty, he launched another aura bolt, striking the man in the head and instantly knocking him out. He then got out from behind cover and spotted Lucario awkwardly waddling towards him.
"What happened?" he asked.
Lucario frowned. "Do the words 'nut crusher' mean anything to you?"
That told Riley all he needed to know; he recalled Lucario so he could recover from his painful injury.
At this point, another grunt came on the scene. Riley immediately charged an aura bolt but he stopped once the "grunt" removed his helmet, revealing Factory Head Noland.
"Noland?" he asked.
Noland nodded. "Yeah and-" He noticed the enormous fan shaped spray of blood on the wall next to the hallway he just entered along with a piece of a human skull next to his foot. He looked up and noticed that there was blood covering the lights on the ceiling – along with everything else near the "blast zone". He was speechless at the carnage wreaked.
"Aura Sphere," Riley replied without skipping a beat.
Noland looked somewhat queasy as he swiped the stolen ID card in the reader next to the door. The reader beeped and the door slowly slid open with the creak of powerful motors. "Now let's examine this and get out of here," he said. "Before I puke my guts out," he added.
Soon, the massive doors were fully opened and the two entered the hold. They were astonished by what lay in front of them. Several priceless statues, carvings and other artifacts were scattered throughout the hold. Riley recognized several of them: a genuine time flower, the cape of Sir Aaron and a heroic nude of Sir Aaron's Lucario.
Noland immediately spotted the Legendaries in the rear of the hold. "Come on! Let's just free the Legendaries and get out of here!"
"Going somewhere?" Charon asked. Unbeknownst to the two, the group inside the security room overlooking the hold had seen everything. At the same time, two completely nude grunts walked in through the open door. These two grunts were the ones who had their clothes stolen by Noland.
Charon smiled. "Didn't think so! Take them down!"
The group inside the security room did not carry firearms but they were very talented hand-to-hand fighters. They then charged the two, intending to pummel them to bloody pulp.
"I suppose you have a plan?" Riley asked as he assumed a fighting stance.
"I'd like to say-" Noland was cut off as he took a punch to the jaw. He shook his head to clear it and blocked another blow from the grunt as he delivered a right hook to his abdomen. Before he could follow up, another grunt grabbed him from behind in a chokehold. The first grunt seized the opportunity and wasted no time in using Noland's head as a speedbag.
"Hold on! I'm-" Riley grabbed the leg of a grunt as she tried to kick him and shoved her to the ground. He then prepared to deliver the finishing blow – a stomp to the chest – but the woman knocked him down with a leg sweep. Unfortunately, this was the cue for several of the grunts to start stomping and kicking him.
Noland was on the verge of consciousness from the rain of blows and blood streamed down his face but the grunt showed no sign of letting him go. Luckily for him, the grunt who applied the chokehold was one who had his clothes stolen by Noland. This allowed Noland to grab his genitals and pull as hard as possible. This provoked a yell of pain as the naked fighter let go of him. Unfortunately, this now meant that there were two fighters who were intent on beating him bloody. He awkwardly blocked a punch from the nude fighter and threw a drunken right hook that somehow connected and managed to have enough power to knock him out.
Meanwhile, the noise of the brawl reached the ears of the Legendaries inside the hold. They all rushed to the front of the cell and stared at the fight that was going on.
"You can do it!" Jirachi shouted.
"Go Noland!" Rayquaza cried.
"Beat their asses!" Shaymin shouted.
"BEAT THEM!" Dialga added.
"You can do it, Riley!" Latias shouted
Soon the entire hold was a cacophony of shouting, blows landing, and cheering from the Legendaries.
Riley crawled out from beneath the hail of stomps and kicks. He spat out a broken tooth and staggered back to his feet. He threw a punch at one of the grunts, who grabbed his arm and placed him in a painful armbar. Riley then painfully stretched his body and pointed his free hand at the grunt's head. He fired his aura dart, instantly knocking out – or killing – the man. Unfortunately, the flash of gold light had attracted the attention of the other grunts. Realizing that he was an aura user – the biggest threat – the other grunts swarmed him in an attempt to bring him down as quickly and as violently as possible.
Noland was wrestling with the only grunt who did not go after Riley. This grunt also had his clothes stolen by Noland and was currently fighting in the nude. Both the combatants were exhausted from the protracted wrestling match and each was desperate to finish the other off. The grunt quickly got atop Noland and drew his arm back in preparation to punch him. Noland groped for his poké ball and shot the man in the face with the return beam. The man instantly became limp and Noland shoved him off.
Meanwhile, Riley was surrounded by five grunts, all of whom were currently beating him. Noland looked at the fight; if he joined in, he would probably end up severely injured. He then remembered that the Legendaries were nearby. He smiled as he limped over to the cell in the rear of the hold.
The Legendaries were stunned by the horrific shape Noland was in. Blood dripped from his mouth and nose; he had two black eyes and to top it off, he had lost several teeth.
"Dude, Noland, you okay?" Rayquaza asked.
Noland ignored him as he looked around for a way to disable the shield generator on the cell. He then noticed a locked cabinet near the cell. He rummaged in his pockets for the appropriate tool and found a pocket prybar. He then quickly pried the hinges off and removed the door. Luckily for him, the cabinet held the switchgear for the shield generators in this area. Unfortunately, the switchgear ran at thirty kilovolts and over 500 amperes; contact with it would be invariably fatal. He looked around for something to protect him before he undertook his next step. He settled on a nearby heroic nude statue of Giratina and ducked behind it. He grabbed his poké ball and lobbed it with an overhand toss at the electrified switchgear. As soon as he did so, he ducked behind the statue and covered his ears.
As soon as the metal sphere touched the electrified equipment, it instantly short-circuited it, triggering a devastating blast. A flash as blinding as the sun issued from the cabinet as the metal instantly vaporized and the air expanded with a roar like thunder. The shockwave blasted searing hot metal vapor and droplets of molten metal from the cabinet.
As soon as it started; it was over. Noland peered out from behind the statue. The area around the cabinet was blackened and scorched and the nearest parts had been ablated by the intense heat. Small metal spheres – all that was left of the poké ball and the copper wiring – littered the floor. The air reeked of ozone and heated metal.
"Well that was quite a spectacle," Rayquaza said. Luckily, Arceus had used Barrier to protect them all from the blast.
"Dialga, get us out with Stone Edge!" Arceus ordered as soon as she noticed that the bars were no longer charged.
The God of Time had another idea; his backfin expanded as he took in energy and an indigo orb formed in front of his open mouth.
Everyone's eyes widened. "No! Don't use that!" they all cried.
It was too late; Dialga unleashed the devastating indigo beam, instantly reducing the metal bars to a cloud of metal vapor. Unfortunately, the beam rebounded off one of the few intact shields – ironically, the one that protected a heroic nude of Giratina. Everyone tried to get out of the way but at such close range, it was too fast to dodge and the beam struck Dialga. Soon, the God of Time was enveloped in a white glow. After a few seconds, the white glow disappeared revealing… Baby Dialga!
"WHAT HAPPENED TO ME?" Dialga demanded; shocked by his much smaller body and much higher voice.
"Serves you right," Shaymin replied.
"I HATE YOU!"
Noland emerged from behind the statue. He did a double take as he saw Dialga. Normally, Dialga was over seventeen feet tall but could shrink down to seven feet. Somehow, Dialga had shrunk down to two feet! "Is that Dialga?" he asked.
"OF COURSE IT'S ME!" Dialga squeaked.
"Okay, yeah, uh Riley's getting the crap beaten out of him. Could you please give him some help?"
Latios and Latias both glowed blue as they simultaneously combined their Psychic attack. All the grunts pounding on Riley were picked up and slammed into walls until they were dead or unconscious.
Noland ran over to Riley. Much to his horror, Riley had been beaten so badly that he was totally unconscious. "Guys! Riley's hurt, bad!"
"Leave him behind and let's get out of here!" Shaymin said.
"Shaymin, do you have any sense of decency?" Latias asked.
Arceus, quickly looking around the hold, formulated a plan. "All right, we don't have much time so do as I say; don't ask questions," she said. "Noland, you find a way to open the exterior door. Jirachi, you heal Riley. Latias, you watch Dialga. Latios, Shaymin, you two watch the interior door. Rayquaza, you help Noland. Giratina and I will grab our treasures. Get moving!"
By this time, Dialga started crying because no one was paying attention to him. Latias picked him up and gently rocked him to sleep. At the same time, everyone else took their positions.
Jirachi floated over to Riley and used Wish. A white sphere emerged from his body and entered Riley's unconscious form. He then stood watch over him.
Noland donned his oxygen mask and ran over to the rear door. He found a card reader at the back of the room by the door. He swiped the stolen ID card and the card was summarily rejected. He tried again only to get the same result.
He was about to try again but Rayquaza stopped him. "Do that too many times and you'll set off an alarm."
Noland swore until he noticed that the low hum of a shield generator was not present on this door. "Hey, Rayquaza, the door's not shielded!"
Rayquaza opened his mouth in preparation for a Hyper Beam.
Meanwhile, Giratina and Arceus were busy ransacking the hold. Even though they used attacks like Stone Edge and Outrage, they were careful not to damage the other priceless artifacts in the hold.
Arceus smashed a display case holding her Jewel of Life. She telekinetically picked it up and it sunk into her body.
Suddenly, a tremendous explosion ripped through the hold, a sign that Rayquaza had blasted open the rear door. At the same time, klaxons rang throughout the hold and air started rushing out the gaping hole, sucking pieces of glass and other debris out.
"Go! Go! Go!" Arceus shouted.
Giratina smashed a display case containing his griseous orb. He levitated it over his body and sprinted to the gaping hole in the rear of the hold. Noland and the now perfectly healed Riley were running towards the other door.
"Where are you going?"
"To our hover skiffs! Our emergency oxygen supply doesn't last long enough to come with you!" Riley shouted over the roaring wind.
Noland struggled to walk to the front entrance. Riley used his aura powers to help him move faster.
Soon, the two made it out of the room just before an emergency blast door sealed off the hold to prevent the whole area from being depressurized.
The sealed door meant that the Legendaries didn't have to contend with bothersome grunts.
"Come on, hurry up!" Rayquaza shouted. He was the first one out of the hold and already levitating in the cold air at 40,000 feet.
"All right, let's do this!" Latios said, speeding out into the night sky.
Latias picked up Shaymin in one arm and a crying Dialga in the other and followed her brother. Jirachi was next.
Giratina took a deep breath as he sprinted out the gaping hole. He then closed his eyes and leapt with all the power he could muster in his six legs. As he entered freefall, he felt the cold air rushing past him. "Griseous orb, activate!" he shouted. Almost immediately, the griseous orb glowed white and sunk into his body, instantly causing all his legs to shrink and his body to assume the serpentine shape of his Origin Forme. Suddenly, he stopped falling as his transformation was complete.
Arceus was the next to fly down from the hole.
"So where do we go?" Rayquaza asked.
"I'M HUNGRY!" Dialga whined.
"Shut up!" Shaymin snapped.
This caused Dialga to start crying. In response, Latias hummed Oracion, and the baby Legendary soon fell asleep in her arms.
"I'll get Riley and Noland," Jirachi said. As childish as he was, he could be just as brave as any of the others if he felt like it.
"It's too dangerous," Rayquaza said, shaking his head.
Jirachi ignored him and flew towards one of spars holding the antigravity pod. There, he spotted a man in a black flight suit heading towards a black hover skiff. The man turned to Jirachi and "spoke".
"Jirachi, Noland's not coming. He ran into some trouble. I'll take you to the Battle Pyramid," Rileysaid telepathically. Anticipating Jirachi's response, he telepathed: "Don't go looking for him."
Riley then connected himself to his skiff and flew next to Jirachi. After a short flight, they were with the other Legendaries. Some of the Legendaries stared at Riley's hover skiff, while most knew what a hover skiff was; they had never seen a "Noctowl" skiff before.
"Everyone," Riley said telepathically, "follow me."
Not wanting to get noticed by the Hikokyu II's captain and crew, they followed him as the skiff sped off into the distance.
Mew was sleeping in the hangar. Suddenly, he was jolted awake by a klaxon as the rear doors slowly slid open. He immediately recognized the man riding the Noctowl hover skiff as Riley. But much to his surprise, Arceus and several other Legendaries followed.
Fifteen seconds after Rayquaza cleared the door's threshold, it slowly slid shut. As soon as it did so, Riley dismounted his skiff and connected it to its charger. He then headed to the bathroom to change.
"Arceus! Rayquaza! Jirachi! You're all safe!" Mew exclaimed as he sped towards them.
"It's all thanks to you," Giratina said. "If you hadn't escaped the Hikokyu II, we would never have been rescued by the Frontier Brains."
Mew then noticed the tiny Dialga next to Shaymin. "What happened to him?"
"Roar of Time accident," Arceus said with a sigh.
"Hey, wanna play tag?" Jirachi asked.
"Sure!" Mew chirped. He then levitated into the air and sped towards the elevator with Jirachi in chase.
Rayquaza sighed. "Come on, let's go meet the captain."
Arceus shrunk herself down to a more manageable six feet and the other outsize Legendaries did so as well. They then headed up the stairs. She then turned around and noticed that Jirachi and Mew were not coming with them. "That means you two as well!" she ordered.
Mew and Jirachi sighed and followed Arceus.
As soon as the Legendaries headed up the stairs, Riley emerged from the bathroom in his usual clothing. He looked around and noticed that the Legendaries were gone. He shrugged and entered the elevator, figuring that they wanted to meet the captain.
The Legendaries found themselves in the deserted atrium of the Battle Pyramid.
"Where is everyone?" Latios asked.
He got no reply except for the crying of baby Dialga, who was on one of the couches.
The elevator arrived and the door opened, revealing Riley. "Ah, so that's where you all went. Could you please stay here while I fetch Captain Brandon?"
The elevator door closed and carried him to the flight deck.
Latios and Latias looked at each other.
"Did he say, 'Captain Brandon'?" Latios asked.
Latias nodded as she tickled baby Dialga, causing him to laugh.
"You know, this would be great to blackmail him with," Shaymin said, climbing onto another couch. "And I need a smoke after that stressful journey."
Giratina sighed and telekinetically tossed her a marijuana joint, which he lit with Will-O-Wisp. He had pilfered the joint from a dead grunt aboard the Hikokyu II. She took the joint and took a deep draw.
"Hey anybody wanna a toke?" she asked, levitating the joint around. Everyone stared at her; it was very uncharacteristic of her to share anything.
"Sure," Latios said, taking the joint and taking a puff.
Latias gave a dirty look to her brother. "And you're always telling me that I can't smoke those."
Latios blew some smoke into the air. "Do as I say, not as I do."
Giratina was the next to partake of the joint. He coughed as he inhaled. "Too harsh," he said, passing the joint to Arceus, who politely refused.
Rayquaza also refused the joint. The joint then went back to Shaymin who passed it to Latios again.
Jirachi and Mew had no interest in smoking and they were chasing each other in the dimly lit atrium.
Soon, the elevator door opened, revealing Riley and Brandon.
Brandon sniffed the air and wrinkled his nose as the scent of marijuana permeated the atrium. He spotted Latios with the smoldering joint hanging from the corner of his mouth. "I regret to inform you all that Noland did not make it back," he said solemnly, bowing his head.
Riley followed as did the Legendaries. After a few seconds of silence, Brandon spoke. "Welcome aboard the Battle Pyramid. Your rooms are all on the second floor. Please enjoy our amenities, including a regulation sized battle arena." He then turned to Latios with a frown on his face. "The Battle Pyramid is a drug free zone, get rid of that joint."
Latios sighed and extinguished the joint by grinding it out in a potted plant. "Killjoy," he muttered.
"On a side note, I am in need of a copilot," Brandon said.
"I'll volunteer," Rayquaza said. He had always wanted to be a pilot but his duties at Sky Pillar ate most of his time. Of course, being the Guardian of the Jet Stream, he had plenty of flight hours. Unfortunately, very little was with large airships (most of it was with his own body and the remainder was with spaceplanes).
"What are your credentials?"
Rayquaza facepalmed. "I'm the Spirit of the Sky! And I have piloted several spaceplanes from Mossdeep Space Center."
"Question," Giratina said. "Are there any other open positions?"
"You can assist in the galley, help maintain the fleet of hover skiffs and my air car or help maintain the greenhouse below the flight deck."
Suddenly, the elevator leading to the hangar opened and out stepped a severely battered Noland.
"Noland! You're alive!" Riley cried.
Noland nodded. "Is there a medic?" he weakly asked, wiping some blood away from his mouth.
Jirachi raised his hand and used Wish on the battered Frontier Brain. "Head to your room and clean up. The wish will work its fastest when you are asleep or unconscious." Such maturity was uncharacteristic of him but it has been known to occur.
"One question, how did you escape?" Rayquaza asked.
"If this were a movie; I would say plot device but since this is real life, I will just say that I found my skiff and hauled ass out of there," Noland replied. He then headed back to his room to sleep.
"Decide amongst yourselves which rooms you want to sleep in and what how you want to assist. I'll be in the flight deck if you need me," Brandon said.
He and Rayquaza entered the main elevator and rode it to the flight deck. Riley bade the Legendaries goodnight and headed back to his cabin for a much needed rest.
"Well, who wants another smoke?" Shaymin asked, telekinetically picking the joint from the plant pot.
The joint was blasted out of the air by Arceus's Charge Beam and reduced to a pile of ash. Luckily, the electric beam hadn't struck anything else but the joint. "Shaymin, if Captain Brandon says there is no smoking on his ship, there will be no smoking," Arceus scolded, glaring at Shaymin.
"Why? He's just an ordinary human. We shouldn't have to take orders from him."
"There's something called 'respect'; humans give it to us and we give it back to them. Learn about it; it'll really help you," Giratina spat.
Giratina's words explained why some of the Legendaries were content to travel with pokémon trainers and take commands from them. Of course this benefited the Legendaries as well; either in the form of monetary compensation, unusual moves that they couldn't learn themselves, glory or sometimes romantic interaction.
Rayquaza and Brandon entered the flight deck. Brandon motioned to a seat that was placed in the far corner of the flight deck. Another console was placed in front of the seat.
"Brandon, I can't sit down because I have no legs!" Rayquaza said.
"Right, sorry," Brandon said absentmindedly as he shut down the autopilot and set the engines to "forward". "Give me our location."
Rayquaza nodded as he hovered in the air and scanned over the console. A map of the world showed up on a monitor. He quickly tapped into the GPS satellites and locked onto the airship's position. "We are over Mt. Quena and a little over one hundred klicks from the Sinnoh border," he said. He also provided their longitude and latitude.
"Thank you. We must put as much distance between us and the opposing airship as fast as possible," Brandon replied.
Rayquaza scratched his chin. "If I may, Captain, I suggest we go to the Hoenn region," he said, examining the coordinates. "But the nearest airport in that region that can accommodate such a large airship is over 643 kilometers away."
Brandon shrugged. "No matter. We have enough fuel to get there." He then changed the ship's heading.
Rayquaza examined the airspeed indicator and made calculations on a nearby notepad. "Our airspeed is currently seventy knots. I estimate that our cruising speed should be reached in about six minutes. But even then, we are looking at a flight of over three hours."
Suddenly, a large blast rocked the airship.
Brandon swore and activated the emergency power switch; luckily, Sam hadn't turned off the turbine.
Rayquaza watched as the airspeed indicator climbed past one hundred knots. "Captain, does this airship have any weapons?"
"No, but we do have a shield generator to protect against pokémon attacks," Brandon replied as he activated the ship's shield generator.
The Legendaries in the atrium got to see what caused the explosion – an AIM-12 Spearow radar guided air-to-air missile with an annular blast-fragmentation warhead. The AIM-12 was a Kantoian copy of the American made AIM-7 Sparrow – which explained their similar names.
Arceus immediately took the initiative and ordered the Lati siblings and Jirachi to reinforce the area with Protect. Shaymin had been assigned to wake up the crew, which was not necessary since Brandon had already done so with the intercom. Riley added his own aura powered barriers to reinforce the area.
The Legendaries were treated to the sight of two more AIM-12 missiles heading their way and detonating about ten meters away with a blinding flash. The sound of shrapnel bombarding the corundum windows of the Battle Pyramid echoed throughout the area. Luckily, these missiles relied on fragmentation to do damage – something that the Battle Pyramid's corundum windows and armored engine nacelles could easily shrug off.
"They don't give up, do they?" Latias said.
"Way to state the obvious," Riley replied.
Back in the flight deck, Rayquaza and Brandon were busy sizing up the situation. The twin blasts of the missiles sprayed shrapnel against the flight deck windows but the transparent corundum easily withstood the metal shards.
"No pokémon are detected. Missiles launched from approximately 15.5 kilometers away." Rayquaza said examining the radar screen. The only thing visible on the radar screen was the large green blob that represented the Hikoyu II.
Brandon ignored him as he fiddled with the control panel.
The shield generators mounted on the Battle Pyramid were designed to absorb pokémon attacks and other energy based weapons such as laser cannons; in addition, they also provided protection against heat and radiation. They were completely useless against solid projectiles such as bullets or rockets.
Obviously in such a situation as this; the shield generators were worse than useless – they consumed so much power that the airship's speed and acceleration was negatively affected. This was shown by the airspeed indicator ticking down from one hundred knots. By the time the shields were fully shut down, the airspeed indicator had bottomed out at sixty-five knots. Luckily, as soon as the shields were shut down, the airspeed indicator's numbers began to climb at a steady rate until it reached 132 knots – and began to climb even higher.
The Hikokyu II continued to give chase to the Battle Pyramid for several minutes. Even though using the "Altaria" gravity seeker missile would have been a smarter choice (the missile carried an impact fuse and a payload of explosives nearly double that of the "Spearow" – it was intended for attacking heavily armored airships), Bosch – the Hikokyu II's AI – decided that a volley of three "Spearow" missiles would be enough to destroy the airship. Lapses in judgment like this were not common but they were the reason that militaries rarely gave shipboard AIs command over weapons systems.
Thankfully, the Battle Pyramid easily outran the Hikokyu II.
"Rayquaza, status on the pursuing ship!" Noland barked.
Rayquaza examined the radar screen. "No longer visible. Possibly out of range or pursuit has been broken off."
"Excellent, I'm going to sleep. I trust that the Battle Pyramid is in capable hands?"
Rayquaza saluted. "You can count on me Captain."
Brandon then returned the salute and headed back to his quarters to sleep.
Rayquaza turned his head and noticed that a red light was blinking on the main console. He hovered over to the main console. To his horror, the temperature gauges for all five of the engines showed that they were at dangerous levels - thanks to Brandon shutting off every nonessential system and shunting the spare power to the engines and of course, running the turbines at 100 percent capacity. He immediately shut down the emergency power, dialed back power to the antigravity engines and radioed the engine room. He was able to accomplish this in under a minute thanks to his telekinetic abilities.
"Engine room, this is Captain Rayquaza, set all turbines to fifty percent output and shut down the emergency power!"
Inside the fourth floor engine control room, Sam was jolted awake by Rayquaza's voice. To say he was surprised to hear Rayquaza's voice was an understatement.
He picked up the intercom. "Where is Captain Brandon?" he asked sleepily.
"Shut off the fucking turbines!" Rayquaza shouted through the intercom.
"Just do it!"
Not wanting to have his sleep disturbed by Rayquaza's constant shouting, he put his shoes on and took a seat in front of the console as shut down the emergency turbine and throttled back the rest.
"All right! It's done. And I'm going to sleep," Sam said. "Wake me up when I'm in my room and you'll regret it," he thought.
He yawned, summoned the elevator and rode it to the second floor where he headed to his room to sleep.
Back at the flight deck, Rayquaza held his breath as the blue indicator light for emergency power winked out. The airspeed began to drop from 160 knots at a steady rate but the temperature gauges still remained well in the danger zone.
"Come on," Rayquaza said, staring at the temperature gauges. Seconds ticked by with no change. He began to grow nervous; at these high temperatures, it was only a matter of time before one of the engines burst into flame.
After an agonizing minute of staring at the digital displays, the temperature gauges gradually began to fall back into the normal ranges. Of course, the airspeed was a pitiful forty knots but it was not possible to run the engines at such a high power when they were overheating.
Rayquaza let out a sigh of relief as the temperature gauges began to slowly fall back into the normal ranges.
He levitated and looked at the night sky through the flight deck's corundum windows as he calculated the time it would take to reach their destination.
He let out a sigh as the results came on the screen: 7.42 hours. All he could do was enjoy the night sky, which now showed the barest trace of gold on the horizon as the sun began to rise.