Disclaimer: Really? If I owned Pokémon, would I be here? XO

Hey now! The next chapter is finally up! With luck, after my finals are done, I'll be able to bring out more updates for all my stories. Keep your fingers crossed and remember to review. As corny as it sounds, reviews actually motivate me to keep writing.

Last off, Wes and Lunick managed to escape from the factory and a whole lot of serious talking is going to get started.

Enjoy!

Chapter 14:

"It's pretty hot out here," Cameron sighed as he used his white towel to wipe the sweat from his forehead. The sun was blazing against the calm lapping waters of Summerland's ocean. The ranger leader of Summerland, Cameron, was cleaning up the trash that occasionally drifted into the ocean. Of course, to the ranger, it wasn't trash, it was treasure. Sure, he's not sure what he could do with it but still, it could be something pretty awesome.

Unlike the other leaders from the other parts of Fiore, Cameron was rather laid-back and easy going. He doesn't have the same intense drive as the other rangers despite his talent. A rather chubby and short man, he had reddish brown short hair and muscular arms. Today, he had been swimming in the deep blue waters and his ragged ripped black shirt and short green waterproof pants were soaking wet. Cameron hoisted up the heavy bag onto the makeshift wooden raft.

"Okay Pelipper, let's bring these things back." The large bird pelican Pokémon gave a throaty reply before grabbing the raft's rope with its beak. It pulled the raft slowly back to shore. Cameron sighed as he enjoyed the salty breeze that felt cold to his wet skin.

"Phew, I'm so glad we managed to get so much stuff today. I think this is our biggest haul yet." It was a relaxing journey back. Cameron lay on his back as he watched the blue sky above. He must have dozed off a bit because when he woke up he realized his Pelipper had stopped moving forward and was calling out to him.

"Huh? What's wrong?" Cameron asked, getting up into sitting position. He looked at the horizon where the shore was. He could see the tropical homes that were built on top of wooden docks that extended out into the ocean. Summerland was connected to a large tropical green jungle in the back and it was there that Cameron noticed gray smoke spewing into the sky and creating an ugly smudge against the pretty sky blue color. "What the-? A fire?" Cameron's laid back attitude immediately disappeared. This was bad. True, there hasn't been rain recently, but a fire around in this area was a serious issue. It could spread through the entire jungle and engulf the town as well.

"Pelipper! Full speed ahead!" The flying Pokémon flapped its wings hard and with great effort pulled Cameron and the raft to shore. Water sprayed everywhere, creating a nice rainbow effect.

Then, Cameron got his small communicator and pulled it out. "All Summerland rangers! Report to shore! There is a fire in Olive Jungle. Repeat, report to shore. This is not a drill!"

Ring Town

"We're back!" Lunick said in a rather relieved voice. Elita's Skarmory was speeding over the grassy plains and finally reached Ring Town. "Welcome to Ring Town!" Lunick said, unable to show off the place to Wes and Rui. After all, it was their first time seeing the place for the first time.

Compared to Fall City, the place was a lot quieter and smaller. There weren't sky scrapers or paved streets, only dirt roads and small garden homes. It was already late afternoon so the place was rather peaceful and quiet at the moment though the sight of Elita's Skarmory has several of the town folks gasping in amazement.

"Hey there Mr. Tom! How are those plants of yours doing? Hey, there Emily! Did you have fun in school today?" Lunick was greeting almost every person he saw in the streets. All of them smiled and wave back, giving greetings as well. This was definitely a small community where almost everybody knew each other kind of thing.

"This place is not much at first glance," Spenser explained, "But we have one of the largest areas to look over. With the forest and the town to take care of, we have quite a few rangers stationed though most are usually part timers." Spenser's Ferrow, who was glad to see the hometown, quickly sped up and flew ahead of the group. It was obvious that the Pokémon was going to announce the arrival of the other rangers.

"Wow, it's so peaceful. Like Agate Village." Rui couldn't help but close her eyes. It was the first time since being kidnapped that she felt so much at peace.

"Where's that, in Orre?" Lunick asked, unfamiliar with the name of the place. He was curious about the place. So far, Wes had not given much description of the place.

"It's my hometown," Rui said, smiling, "Most people who live there are retired trainers. Well, it doesn't look exactly like Agate Village but the place feels the same."

"You live there too?" Lunick questioned Wes. The guy shrugged his shoulders, not giving a sound reply. "I'll take that as a no then." Lunick was frustrated at Wes' lack of speaking. Would it kill the guy to talk?

"You know," Rui whispered to Lunick, "Wes doesn't really have a hometown. He's been on his own for a while. Truthfully, I think he always wanted to just settle down and live in a place like here." Lunick glanced at Wes who was sitting back as though enjoying the peace around the area. The hard look that was always on his face had softened up a bit and he looked more at peace.

"All right you guys, enough chit chat," Elita announced, "Get ready to descend." Skarmory slowly lowered in altitude as it landed next to the largest and most up-to-date building of the entire place. It was a smooth landing for the most part. Spenser quickly jumped down expertly from Skarmory and Lunick, Wes, and Rui did the same though Rui was a bit clumsier in the attempt.

"Thanks for the ride, Elita." Spenser said to the female ranger. "I owe you one."

"Hmph, well, just don't do something stupid again," Elita said. "I got to go over to that factory and see what I can find. All of you get some rest… And give my regards to Solana. I hope she gets better soon." With that, Skarmory flew back up into the sky and sped away as quickly as it came.

As soon as Elita left, Wes took a look around of the place. He noticed that the ranger base looked exactly like the one in Fall City. It seemed out of place in this area with its rugged and more community look. Well, at least there was one familiar building he recognized. The glass doors slid open, revealing a worried chubby brown hair Murph and… that curly blond hair girl back in Fall City who called Wes a pervert. What was her name again?

"Ranger Spenser," the girl gasped in relief, "Thank goodness you're here!"

"Spenser!" Murph said, sounding relieved as well.

"Aria?" Spenser looked surprise to see the girl, "You're already here? Is Hastings with you as well?"

"Yes," Aria said, bobbing her head up and down, "He is still doing some sort of experiment and wish to be left alone for the moment."

"Can we see Solana now?" Lunick asked anxiously. Solana's health had been on Lunick's mind for quite some time despite the threatening issue that they were now facing.

"Oh it's you," Aria said, sounding annoyed at the sight of Lunick.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Lunick shot back.

"H-hey guys," Murph said, sounding flustered, "Let's not fight already." Aria didn't reply back because she suddenly noticed a familiar white hair person.

"YOU!" Aria gasped and pointed rudely at Wes. "What are you doing here?"

"I could ask you the same." Aria glared at the annoyed Wes who was determined to not make eye contact. He acted as though he was way more interested with anything besides the angry female ranger.

Well, at least the two of us agree that we don't like Aria, Lunick thought as he watched this interaction.

"Ummm, am I missing something here?" Rui asked, popping out from behind Wes. "Do you know her?" Aria blinked in surprise at this new girl. Who was she and why did she know this… this pervert like they were friends? Doesn't she know that this guy was dangerous?

"Her?" Wes gave a glance at Aria before turning back to Rui, "Not really."

Aria immediately flared up at Wes' tone. "How dare you!" Aria sputtered, "I'm Aria – the top ranger from Fall City!"

"And the most annoying," Lunick muttered to himself.

"Enough," Spenser sighed, wondering how he managed to deal with so many teenager drama every day. "Can we discuss this inside? We're attracting quite a crowd." Sure enough, most of the locals were staring. They seemed to be particular curious at Wes and Rui since the two obviously looked like they were not locals or even from Fiore.

"No problem," Wes said, walking inside and not giving the furious Aria a second glance. But then he suddenly stopped as though he remembered something. "Oh yes. There is something I need to give you." Wes took out a Poke ball. It opened but instead of giving off a white light, it revealed a blue light which means that Wes was releasing the Pokémon back to the wild. Dodrio popped out and gave three squawks.

"Hey! That's Joel's!" Aria exclaimed, recognizing the Pokémon. Then she realized what was wrong with this picture. "Hey, wait a minute! Why do you have his Pokémon?"

"Now that I'm done traveling, you can give Dodrio back to your leader." With that, Wes left without another word. Dodrio looked slightly hurt at the sudden and abrupt release and the cold attitude Wes was giving off now that Dodrio had nothing to do with him. Wes didn't even say goodbye.

"Hey what's your problem? Trying to act all cool and all!" Aria said furiously before she turned to Rui. "He is such a cold guy. How can you stand him?" Rui gave an uneasy smile at the girl but didn't respond. Rui had a feeling that this was someone she didn't want to mess with. Instead, Rui quickly followed after Wes.

"Well, this is not off to a good start," Spenser sighed as he looked at Dodrio. "Anyways, I'm going to talk with Professor Hastings. Take a short break. We'll need to meet up to discuss everything."

"Yes sir!" Lunick and Murph nodded before leaving.

"And Aria," Spenser added, "I need you to do a mission for me."

"Of course," Aria said, ready for duty. She was excited to finally contribute something to this dangerous mission.

"First off, is Joel okay?"

"Yes, he's recovering quickly. The injuries were less serious than we thought," Aria said. "I just got off the phone from him and he really wants an updated status report."

"Hmph, that's Joel all right. Always ready to get back to work… Okay, Elita has left to go and check out the forest. I need you to go back to Fall City with Dodrio. Joel is going to need his Pokémon. And then, tell him I'll give a full report."

"Wait, shouldn't I stay here?" Aria asked, surprised at the trivial mission she was given. "I did come here to help."

"Fall City needs you," Spenser said, "I'm grateful for you watching over the base while I was gone, but it is best if you help out Joel as well." Aria knew Spenser was right but she didn't feel too happy with the idea. She swallowed her pride for the moment.

"Very well." Aria turned to Dodrio. "Come on Dodrio. Let's go. Joel is waiting for you." Aria tried to climb on the Pokémon's back but the Dodrio squawked in anger and pushed Aria off, making her land on her behind. "OW! What was that for?" Then, without hesitation, Dodrio ran off down the road, clearly deciding to get back to Fall City without having to carry anyone, let alone Aria.

"HEY! Get back here!" The female ranger ran and tried to catch up with the fast Pokémon.

Poor Aria, Spenser thought watching the two disappear into the sunset. Hopefully, Dodrio would be kind enough to slow down a bit for Aria at least.

Solana woke up to the sound of someone calling out her name. She slowly opened her eyes and after realizing she was lying on a bed, turned to see someone very familiar in front of her.

"Luncik?"

"Hey, Solana." The black hair ranger sighed in relief. "Thank goodness. I was really worried." Solana noticed that Lunick looked worn out. He had scratches, a couple of bruises, and an exhausted and hungry look on his face. Nevertheless, he was trying hard to keep a smile on his face.

"That should be my line," Solana replied back. "You almost got yourself killed again."

"Well, I'm still in one piece and for the record, I had to save you this time," Lunick retorted back, sounding hurt, "So how about a 'thank you' to your savior?" Solana rolled her eyes up to the ceiling before realizing something.

"Hey, where is Minun?" Usually, Minun would be resting on Lunick's shoulder but the little mouse Pokémon was nowhere to be seen.

"Ah, it got injured and it's being treated."

"Will it be okay?" Solana asked, sounding genuinely worried now.

"Yeah, just need a lot of rest," Lunick said though his reassurance had a hint of concern. "Like you should be doing."

"I was until someone woke me up," Solana said.

"Hey, you didn't have to wake up if you didn't want to."

"Lunick?" The two bickering rangers turned to see a red hair girl poking her head into the room. She looked a bit uneasy.

"Rui, you're okay," Solana said, sounding relieved.

"Yes. I'm glad to see you're doing well as well." Rui then turned to Lunick. "Lunick, there is food prepared in the kitchen if you want to get something to eat."

"FOOD?" Lunick quickly jumped to his feet. "Great, I'm starved!" Quickly, Lunick passed Rui and left the room.

"Boys," Rui said, rolling her eyes, "food is always on their minds." Solana couldn't help but laugh in agreement. "Though, he really was genuinely worried about you," Rui continued.

"I know," Solana sighed as she looked out the window to see the reddish glow fill in the room. "I guess I still see him as an rookie that needs to be babysit a lot."

"How long until they consider you fully recover?"

"A few days at the most."

"That's good," Rui said and then her stomach started growling. Embarrassed, Rui said, "Well… I hate to leave you here but I definitely need to get something to eat."

"Go ahead," Solana said, laughing slightly, "I'll be fine on my own. Just make sure to eat before Lunick is at the table. Or else you won't be able to eat at all."

Lunick was gobbling his meal faster than he could swallow. Besides the 'poisonous' mushrooms that Wes had cooked earlier, Lunick haven't eaten all entire day and was famished. Wes ate as well though he didn't consume his food like a ravaging hungry Snorlax. Rui was eating fast as well. Being held hostage in a factory worked up quite an appetite. They were in the base's cafeteria though it was rather small and could only hold about fifteen to twenty people. Right now, they were all by themselves and had an all-you-can-eat buffet.

"So rangers only have one partner and they don't keep them in Poke balls?" Wes asked Murph. He seemed to be much more interested in learning about Fiore's ranger system rather than the food.

"Yes," Murph said. He was the only one not eating but that was because he had already eaten before. "Mine is a Slowpoke and Lunick's is Minun."

"So you borrow Pokémon's powers to help out but it's a one time use before you send them back to the wild?"

"Yes. Usually, we only need to use the Pokémon's power just to help out a certain situations. Or when a person's Pokémon is going out of control, we handle it. Mostly, we do community services but sometimes a serious situation like a natural disaster comes up and everybody comes together to help."

"Everybody?" Wes said, sounding bewildered at the word. "Exactly how many rangers are out here?"

"More than forty," Lunick interrupted through a full mouth of mash potatoes. "There are four ranger bases in the four cities here. Ring Town (where we are), Fall City (that's where we were earlier), and Elita (whom you have met earlier with the Skarmory) is from Wintown which is up north, and Summerland which is an island down south."

"That's a lot of rangers for such a small island," Rui had to interrupt though she didn't talk with her mouth full.

"Well, most of us are part timers or only work during the holidays. We are one of the few places that have rangers focused solely in one region. Most other ranger bases travel around and merely stay long enough to help out important and probably dangerous missions." Lunick gave a satisfying sigh as he rubbed his stomach. "That sure hit the spot."

At that moment, the door slid open and in stepped in Professor Hastings and Spenser. Spenser had a grim look on his face as though he was being troubled by quite a few things in his mind.

"Professor Hastings!" Lunick exclaimed. "Hello there."

"Hello there Lunick. I see that you made it out in one piece. You must tell me of your adventure," Hastings sounded jolly despite the situation though he did seem to be trying to liven up the atmosphere. "Wes," Hastings added, directing the conversation now to the white hair teenager, "it is good to see you again." Hastings was acting rather nice considering how the last time they had met Wes had slipped sleeping pills into the professor's coffee cup.

"And you too professor," Wes said, sounding polite for once.

"We need to have a group meeting now," Spenser said, rather tensely. Lunick and Murph immediately got up but Spenser held up his hand. "Here will be okay. I want Wes and Rui need to stay here as well to explain some things." Lunick and Murph glanced at the two Orre citizens before nodding and clearing the table.

"Well then," Spenser said after he and Hastings sat down in two empty chairs provided by Murph. "As we all know, there is a group called Team Cipher running around in Fiore. This team is not from here and are actually from a region called Orre." Lunick glanced at Wes who remained calm of the situation. He didn't seem to react to this piece of information.

"From what is gathered, they are here with a certain mission. However, we are not sure of their objective of coming here. However, we do have a clue which what Professor Hastings is here to explain."

"Allow me to show you all what I have discovered," Professor Hastings said as he stood up.

The professor took out a normal white spinning top with a purple dome shape glass in the center – the standard issue that every ranger was given. "The Capture Styler is used by rangers in order for wild Pokemon to help out with our daily lives. To do this, the device creates a trail of beam as I'm sure all the rangers here know. This beam transmits the wave energy of friendship, allowing wild Pokemon become more incline to help out."

Really? Energy of 'friendship'? That sounded pretty stupid in Wes' head though he didn't say it out loud.

"However, this device Wes has given to me is incredible. I've never seen anything like this. It is like a normal Capture Styler," Professor Hasting explained while taking out and laying the broken dark purple and black colored object on the table for everyone to see. "Besides the different color schemes, it has an extra feature in it." He held his hand in the air and for a moment Lunick didn't see anything.

"Professor Hastings," Spenser said upon closer inspection, "It's a microchip." Sure enough it was. It was so small that it was almost invisible to the naked eye if one wasn't looking hard enough.

"Not just any chip," Professor Hastings said, with his thick eyebrows raised. "This chip's memory data consists of dark energy's wavelengths. When this Capture Styler is used, the chip, instead of using friendship wavelengths, amplifies the darkness in a Pokémon's heart and then diminishes all other emotions from it." Professor Hastings looked extremely grim now.

"Wait," Murph said. He was still trying to absorb all the information given to him. "You mean…?"

"That chip is what shuts the door to Pokémon's hearts," Rui spoke up. "It leaves the Pokémon nothing but the instinct to mercilessly attack and kill. It sees everyone and anything as an enemy." That was unpleasant information to digest.

"Y-you're… You're joking." Lunick finally choked out.

"I hardly think this is a good time to joke Lunick," Wes said quietly.

"But this is crazy!" Lunick continued, refusing to believe such a thing. "What in the world would they gain by making Pokémon become… killing machines? Why would anyone do something that-that inhumane?"

"You don't get it," Wes said angrily, "We don't have tea parties in Orre like you do. The law of the land is that the strongest one will survive. And this means the one with the strongest Pokémon. However, training is an incredibly slow process and most people hate wasting their time like that. Feelings limit the effectiveness and the strength of a Pokémon. Think it from Team Cipher's perspective, what better way to increase your Pokémon's power than to remove emotions and give it the belief that the only one sole reason to live is to kill?"

"Is that why you know them?" Lunick snapped, standing up and causing his chair to crash to the ground. He was furious that Wes didn't seem to take this as an important issue but rather seemed to act complacent. "Because you agree with these… these… monstrous idea?"

"L-lunick!" Murph said uneasily. But before Murph could try to calm the situation…

"Don't talk to Wes like that!" Rui shot back. "He would never side with those jerks!" Although she was friendlier compare to Wes, Rui definitely wouldn't stand down to a horrible comment about him like that. Wes, on the other hand, didn't bat an eye to Lunick's comment.

"Then why in the world did he worked for them? How can we trust someone who is in a group like that?" Lunick didn't care now that he was yelling at a girl which was totally against his style.

"Lunick!" Spenser barked, "You've gone too far. There is no need to place anger on others. Sit down now!" The reluctant ranger sat back down and Rui, though glaring still, calmed down a bit. She was shaking with anger but she didn't say another word.

"I'm not part of Team Cipher," Wes said. There was an icy tone in his voice. He was definitely mad this time.

"Then why in the world did that Gonzap asked you to come and rejoin them?" Spenser asked carefully. He wasn't fazed by Wes' outburst and was approaching this calmly.

"That's different."

"How so?" Lunick shot back before Spenser could continue to interrogate. "I was there. I heard that guy. How is it different? That mustache man is part of Team Cipher."

"He isn't," Wes said, sounding even angrier, "Gonzap may be working with Team Cipher but the man certainly isn't a member."

"Sorry my boy," Professor Hastings interrupted, "But I'm afraid I'm not following with what you're saying. Perhaps you can enlighten us with a bit more information." There was a moment of stillness. Rui looked anxiously at Wes' silent figure. He was a private guy and didn't like to share his history. It took Rui months to learn a bit about Wes' past though not all of it. Who knew how much he would reveal and whether or not he would reveal anything important. Finally, Spenser spoke up again.

"Wes," Spenser said in a serious but tired tone, "We're getting more confused with these facts. I think you better give us a bit of history background. I know this means I'm asking for your personal history with this group of people but we're not here to judge you because of that. We need to know who our enemy is and what exactly we're dealing with."

Wes rubbed the temple of his head and was in deep thought as he mulled over Spenser's words. The slowly and quietly, he spoke. "Where to begin…?"

"The beginning," Spenser stated logically. "Perhaps best to start with how you knew these people." Wes was quiet again though the silence didn't last as long as before.

"I was part of a small group called Team Snagem headed by the man you guys know as Gonzap," Wes started slowly as though still deciding whether or not to start at this point of his history. "To keep it simple, the main goal was to usually steal Pokémon."

"I can already guess why you guys are called Snagem. Very creative name."

"SHH!" Rui and Murph hissed at Lunick.

"While this group wasn't doing what you might call legal work," Wes continued as though he wasn't interrupted, "I'll admit that back then, Team Snagem was a bunch of petty thieves. They had caused trouble but not enough to have the authority try to crack us down hard. Until that day…" Now Wes stopped talking as though bringing up an unpleasant memory.

"That day?" Professor Hasting repeated the word to remind to Wes to continue.

"The day when Cipher requested for our… services. They offered "partnership" if they could pull off their biggest project yet. It would've benefited greatly to the team which is why Gonzap took the offer." Wes sounded really bitter at this point.

"How so?"

"Gonzap was planning to expand the group into a fully operational organization," Wes said, "But to do that, he needed money and technology. Team Cipher had both. So it was an easy arrangement. Team Snagem provides the grunt work and steal Pokémon for experiments, and Team Cipher gives us the technology to steal Pokémon more efficiently."

"Steal? How in the world do you do that?" Murph asked. "I mean, trainers have a pact with their Pokémon or something like that right? And what about the Poke balls?" Wes, this time, took out his PDA and after pressing a couple of buttons, showed the screen to everyone. There was a picture of what appeared to be a large rectangular machine with mechanical arms protruding and wheels.

"Are you telling us that Team Cipher invented vending machines to take over the world?" Lunick asked, sounding incredulous.

"This is the first generation of the Snag machine," Wes explained, slightly impatient, "It converts Poke balls into Snag balls. They are regular Poke balls but have been charged up. They will break bond that trainers' Pokemon have with their Poke ball. As a result, these Pokemon are stolen and become Snagem's properties. Officials can't do much if trainers can't give factual proof that the Pokémon was stolen. In our region, the Poke ball is what determines ownership."

"You're kidding me," Hastings whispered in horror as he stared at the screen. "With all that technology power, they make stuff like this?"

"However, there were problems…"

"Like what?" Murph didn't understand the situation as quickly as everybody else was.

"It was too big," Spenser said wisely, noticing the dimensions of the box on the screen. "Not a good thing if you're trying to steal people's Pokémon. I'm guessing transporting it is also a hassle."

"Precisely," Wes nodded, "which is why Team Cipher had to come up with something lighter and more portable if they wanted Team Snagem to steal Pokémon. It took a while but they finally did it. They have succeeded in making a prototype."

"How does this new machine work?" Spenser asked, looking very grim.

"You simply have to attach it on your arm and provide a Poke ball and the machine will do the rest. It doesn't have as much power so battling and weakening the Pokémon is required. But it works pretty well."

"Wait…" Lunick said slowly as he eyed Wes' left arm. Realization dawned on the ranger's face. "You mean…"

"Yes," Wes said, pointing to the device on his arm. "Everyone, you are looking at the first portable prototype of the Snag Machine."

Author's Notes

I figure we should have some serious background information even though some of you guys probably already know all this stuff.

Things don't look too good at the moment. Hopefully, nothing bad will happen to our protagonists.

Anyways, other random news. Black 2 and White 2 have been officially announced and new stuff has been shown. Opinions? Thoughts?

Anyways, let's thank my reviewers before I go.

Shiny Kirby

741852AuthorNicolaStarlaLili

ZXCVBNMEM

WildCroconaw

littlmiget123

Trainer-Ken

That's it from me. Thanks for reading and I'll see you in the next chapter.

-JapanDreamer