(Disclaimer: Pokémon and its characters are the property of Satoshi Tajiri, 4kids productions, and Nintendo. I do not own any of the rights. This Disclaimer goes for not only this chapter, but the ones to follow.)

Blessed Defiance - Chapter 1: Rebirth

Swallowed into a dark abyss. An abyss accommodated by the mind. A dream filled with memories, visions, and illusions. A dream among others that had already sustained... and others yet to dwell. But this dream seemed different from the others. This dream...foreshadowed destiny. And suddenly, the darkness seemed anew. Unfamiliar. Untouchable.

On the brink of seventeen years old, a young man stepped forth into the shadow realm, sporting short, auburn brown hair. He had intimidating eyes of burning red, and a competent physical build beneath a white undershirt and black baggy shorts, with soft pale skin and a fiercely gaze fixed upon the vast nothingness before him.

He called out to the darkness, "Where are you?"

"You seem to be growing more comfortable with me.", The low but soothing voice answered back from nowhere in particulate. "You can now distinguish your dreams from reality. Very good."

But even within his dreams, Gio could sense something new about this place. "This dream feels different somehow. Is it all just in my mind?"

"Most likely.", The voice reasoned. "After all, we are IN your mind."

The teen chuckled. "Yeah . . . but you don't belong here. I'm not shunning you away or anything; I'm just saying that you aren't someone made up in my mind. I can feel it now." Giovanni had known the voice's identity for months now, despite it's denial, but didn't realize that . . . it was actually real. "Dad, I need more guidance. Things have been tough lately."

"Why do you insist on calling me 'dad'", The voice snapped back. "I am merely a figment in your conscience."

"The wise should never lie.", Gio warned with a smile. "Especially if it's to your son."

The dark realm fell quaintly silent when the voice hesitated to respond. But eventually, it returned. "Gio, we are at an impasse. Now please, tell me what might be bothering you."

The words he had been eagerly awaiting. "Dad, I'm . . . lost.", Gio confessed. "I feel disconnected from my old self and I don't know if that's even a bad thing."

"Disconnected? Or regretful?"

Gio shrugged. "I guess both. A year ago, I was like a hero to everyone. But now I feel forgotten."

"Because you have ceased your life of adventure.", The voice explained. "You were wise to settle down for the sake of the one's you love; friends and Pokemon alike. But now, you are conflicted because the past is haunting you. Because the future is taunting you."

"Everyone I know wants me to go out on another journey.", Gio moaned with concern. "But I think it might be to get rid of me. This past year, I finally made new friends. But just because they have a bad reputation, I'm suddenly a troublemaker. I'm suddenly one of them."

"Do you deny these accusations?"

Gio knew he was being duped, in his own mind - his own territory. But he couldn't help but give in to the truth. "Maybe . . . but I'm living life to the fullest. I'm being ME!"

"And resenting Delia and your Pokemon in the process." Harsh words, even for a voice. "Gio, I can't help but feel you've lost your way in life. You have drifted away from the path set before you. And that path leads to your destiny."

Gio rolled his eyes in anger. "Damn it, I know that! I've heard it all before."

"Then why haven't you accepted it as truth?", The voice began to scold. "You are a Pokemon Trainer, Giovanni. Not a town criminal! It is time that your true ego be reborn."

"Hayley and the Professor . . . ", Gio pondered on painful thoughts. He was responsible. And he knew it. "My life became miserable when I realized I was responsible for the death of innocent people. That's part of why I'm misguided right now. I'm confused, alright? You don't understand the risks of this so-called 'path set before me.'"

"Your miserable life is apart of the Beautiful life itself.", The voice riddled, trying to enlighten important facts. "But don't be afraid. Destiny is not to be feared. And the past is the past. It cannot be changed. Life is about risks."

The teen turned his head away, remembering all the harm he had put to his loved ones by journeying his first time. "But I've made so many mistakes. I don't want to relive those."

"Mistakes are nothing but choices beyond your control. Life is full of them. And as I said before, life is also about risks."

Gio knew that term 'risk' so well. One that he had vowed to face no matter what the circumstances, with his girlfriend at his side. But he felt comfortable around this familiar entity. The voice could relate to his issues and acknowledge him in the simple ways that Agatha could not. And now, he had to respect the advice stowed upon him. Advice about risks. "I know. I'm sorry.", He sorrowed as he bowed his head in shame.

"You must learn to face your purpose and accept it as your life's main priority.", The voice advised. "Please don't take the wrong path. Ensure that your destiny is where your heart tells you. And you and I both know where that is."

"A Pokemon Trainer.", Gio whispered in answer. "But what if-"

"No more refusal.", The voice calmed, cutting off Gio. "Believe in yourself, as I had when I was your age. We're Ketchums. Opposing destiny is not our style. And it's time that your former reputation resurface from the dark."

But Gio became excited upon hearing the earlier words of his adviser. "'We're Ketchums?' You are my father! All these times I've talked to you, I knew it!"

The voice just chuckled lightly. "I think I've spoken to you enough. I'm afraid we wont be encountering each other anymore. I've given all the consultation I could."

"Wait, you're leaving for good?", Gio interrogated with panic. "But Dad, I still need you! I can't handle things on my own!"

"Don't worry.", Clint Ketchum appeased. "I'll always be with you. But now . . . you must wake up. Wake up, Gio! Wake up!"

…...

"Gio! Wake up, man!", Called a croaky voiced from below.

Gio opened his eyes, completely startled by the rude awakening. He look around in a daze. It was the dead of night. He had fallen asleep on the roof the Rezumi Residence. On his lap, rested the head of his sleeping girlfriend, 15 Year Old Delia Rezumi. Her autumn brown hair brushed against his fingers as a late night breeze passed through the abrupt silence. His other hand lightly stoked her glowing cheeks. Her skin felt so refreshing; smooth, tender, and filled with life.

He smirked, as Delia began to mumble in her sleep. "Yep, just as I left her.", He thought. As with every night, the two would make their way to the rooftop of the house after Delia's parents had fallen asleep, and just talk for hours under the moonlight until they fell asleep.

"Gio, are you there?"

Gio suddenly remembered the voices calling to him from below. He carefully maneuvered Delia's head from upon him and leaned over the spotless gutters to see who was at the doorstep. It was dark so he had to squint. "Who's there?"

It was a female voice with a Brooklyn like Accent. "Who do you think, Genius? Get the hell down here!"

Gio rolled his eyes with an evil grin. "Ariana."

"She isn't the only one, man.", A smooth male voice joined in.

Gio recognized this voice as well. "Petrel.", He whispered.

Another voice called from the dark. This voice was smaller but a lot more quiet and serious. "Gio, we're hitting up the town tonight. You want in?"

"Proton.", Gio whispered to himself. "Sorry guys but not tonight."

"What's the matter, man?", Petrel taunted. "You getting busy with your girlfriend or something?" The trio below laughed.

Oh, that was more than enough to throw Gio in a rage. "Shut up!", Gio snapped, trying to quiet them down. "Alright . . . I'll be down in a second."

Ariana sighed. "Well hurry it up!"

"And bring a Pokemon.", Proton added.

Gio turned around and knelt down to lift Delia into his arms. He then slowly carried her from the roof and into her room window before lightly placing her sleeping body upon her bed, next to Faith. He kissed her forehead, and pulled the blankets over her and the little Pichu. After silently closing the window behind him, he grabbed his jacket and snapped his fingers at the corner of the room, where a sleeping cat Pokemon slept peacefully. "Meowth. C'mon."

The feline lazily opened it's eyes. "Meow . . . "

"I said let's go!", Gio instructed. "We're heading out for the night." Despite it being almost midnight.

The Cat Pokemon took his time to stretch and yawn, before following his master out of the room.

…...

Gio patrolled the streets of Pallet Town in search for temptation, with Meowth and his friends at his side.

To his right, 16 Year Old Ariana, or Ari for short, was coincidentally an old girlfriend of Gio's past pal Archer. She had moved to Pallet 8 Months ago from the Johto Regoin, and instantly hit it off with Gio when they realized they had a friend in common. But unfortunately, Ariana was the show off of their group; Constantly complaining, talking out of impatience, and using sarcasm as the weapon of conversation. She never cared to be a polite one But she always cared to be the correct one, or rather, 'above everyone else.'

Despite her personality, she was definitely a fairly attractive young woman with silky red hair that swerved over her shoulders, blushing florid eyes of intimidation matching her eye brows, and lips of pink that trailed through her smile of aspersion. Along with her makeup and jewelry, she wore a black and white mini-skirt, and white boots to match such. Too top all that off, her Brooklyn accent was what entertained everyone the most.

To his left, the orphan 12 Year Old Proton, or 'Proto' for short, was by far the youngest of the group. But ironically, he was far from childish and in Gio's eyes and probably the most mature of the four. He was very intelligent, which was why he managed to skip all the way to Gio's class last year during school at Professor Oak's laboratory. He was already a local resident of Pallet Town, whom Gio had never paid mind to until they had met in class on the first day last year and realized that both of their single parents shared something in common; they both worked for the Briskomy Corporation. And since then, they had formed a mutual friendship.

By appearance, the younger boy was smaller, always dressed in black, and bared eyes and spiky hair of blooming green. Though he had no accent, no one would notice even if he did. They kid was always so quiet, unless it involved plotting a scheme for his own satisfaction. What Gio admired about Proton was that even though he was a brainiac, he was no geek. He was a ruthless manipulator and could take matters seriously while using his brain at the key to unravel a plan.

To the left of Proton, an 18 Year Old boy was dancing around like a bored fool. This buffoon was the useless doof of the group. His name was Petrel, and was not exactly the brightest guy around. Though he did know how to Make Gio and the others laugh with his ridiculous impersonations and jokes. Not to mention he was the class clown of Professor Oak's Senior Class last year. But that didn't make up for his stupidity.

Looking at him, he was tall and skinny with a purple mullet on his head. Above his black eyes were wavy eyebrows that could mislead any expression to counter. Never did he frown, always smiling with a droopy but relaxed vibe. He never had a casual attire. Dressing in random cloths of random colors was his thing. Occasionally he would cross dress . . . and those weren't good days. But other times, he would show up in disguises and trick everyone as if it were a Halloween costume party. Any information on is past was unknown. Every time Gio would ask, Petrel would imitate the question from his own perspective and annoy the hell out of him. Oh, how Gio loathed his annoying croaky voice.

"So what were you and Delia up to?", Ariana barked in question as they marched toward the Pokemon Center a few blocks away. "Makin' out?"

"No.", Gio grumbled. "Just talking."

Petrel chuckled. "Just talking? Man, you got some action!"

"We just talked and fell asleep. Why would we do anything else?", Gio replied simply. "Besides, I got more important things on my mind than . . . that."

Proton smiled, trying to flip his own reverse psychology. "How do you figure?"

"I've just been thinking lately about my future.", Gio admitted, more comfortable with the situation now. "I think I might skip school this year and go on another journey."

"Hell no!", Ariana exclaimed. "Those days are over, my friend. You belong here with us! You cant just ditch us? What would Archer think?"

"Probably for you to shut up already.", Gio thought jokingly.

"Enough about this Archer person.", Proton intervened. "Gio, you're free to make your own decisions. But keep your friends in mind."

"Oh, I bet he had another dream about daddy!", Petrel whined like a baby, impersonating while wrapping his arm around Gio.

"Why do I even talk to you guys?", Gio sighed, shoving Petrel off of him.

"Oh, c'mon Gio.", Sympathized Ariana, pulling out a cigarette. "We were only joking around. You're the most important guy we know. We wouldn't even have the gang if it weren't for you. Archer would be proud."

"She's right.", Proton acknowledged silently as Ariana handed him a smoke. "We care about what you feel. Just not on a daily basis. We're not therapists."

"Whatever." Gio shrugged and turned his head into the direction of the Pokemon Center. He could see Officer Jenny was riding down the street on her motorbike with a Growlithe at her side. "Damn!" He rolled his eyes. "Just what we need." He backed away before he could be spotted and led Meowth and his friend behind a layer of bushes.

"She's got that dumb mut with her again.", Ariana noticed the Growlithe barking at the bushes. "We're gonna get caught."

"Oh, we're not doing anything wrong . . . yet.", Petrel assured. "What could she possibly be suspicions of?"

"Maybe because we're hiding for no apparent reason, you idiot!", Gio pointed out, whispering as Officer Jenny approached to inspect the bush.

But Petrel was completely in another state of mind, staring at his cigarette. "You know, I always wondered if a Pokemon would like to smoke? It would be pretty funny, right man?"

"Meow . . .", Meowth grumbled out of boredom, having been in this situation many times in the last year.

"Not to worry.", Proton whispered calmly though not referring to Petrel. He hauled a Pokeball from his Pocket and quietly released it. "Lets see Jenny try and outwit us this time."

Zubat appeared.

"Zubat, fly away from here until I say otherwise!"

The nocturnal flyer shot from the bush and into the sky.

Jenny switched off her flashlight and returned to her motorbike. "Don't worry, Growlithe. It was just a Zubat." In an instant, Jenny dashed off down the street.

"Smart thinking.", Gio complimented Proton as they all jumped out from the bush.

"That's why I said we bring our Pokemon.", The 12 Year Old explained. "Now let's go. The Pokemon Center is only one block away."

Ariana practically tripped, getting back on her balance as they began to walk on. "Good because my feet are killing me."

Petrel couldn't help but remark. "Alas Ari, those feet never end up finishing the job."

She kicked him harshly. "I'd shut it if I were you, moron."

Upon reaching the Pokemon Center, Gio noticed Security Cameras surveying the outside perimeter. Gio looked down at Meowth. "Meowth, take the attention of the cameras away from us."

Though still tired, Meowth obliged and began to wander away carelessly. "Meow . . ." The two Cameras' focused, then pinpointed Meowth, following his every move.

Gio, Ariana, Proton, and Petrel immediately seized the opportunity and rushed behind the building. "We made it.", Gio panted, turning to the wall behind them. "Who's got the paint?"

Proton faced Ariana. "Do you have it, Ari?"

"No!", She scolded as if being accused. "Petrel said he'd bring it."

The tall 18 Year Old just shrugged with a guilty grin. "Whoops. Guess I forgot."

"Thanks for wasting our time, idiot.", Gio bellowed. "This is the most pathetic night we've had yet."

Petrel smiled deviously, revealing a Pokeball from his belt. "Don't be too sure, my friends." He let his minion free, ready to give commands.

Koffing appeared. "Koffffffffing!"

"Koffing, get to work.", He began. "I want you to Spraypaint the walls with your Sludge attack and say-" But he couldn't finish his sentence. He turned to Gio. "What should we say, man?"

Proton snickered with his arms crossed. "I say we pain a Giant 'T' on the wall. Everyone will believe Torino is back in town. It'll be pretty hilarious."

Ariana nodded. "I was gonna say repaint this whole ugly structure for the hell of it, but yeah, Proto's idea is more appealing."

Gio grinned with malevolence. "It's the perfect prank for this town. Lets do it."

As Koffing began to splatter the wall, the group found themselves ambushed by the ray of a flash light.

"Hold it right there, all of you!" It was Officer Jenny. "You thought you could fool me? Well think again! The four of you are under arrest for adverse vandalism on Public Property!"

Gio noticed Meowth being conveyed into the passenger seat of Jenny's motorbike. "Oh . . . no."

"And you four should be ashamed!", She continued on, ignoring the cat. "Using your Pokemon for your own destructive purposes!"

"Ruff! Ruff! Ruff!", Her Growlithe barked aggressively.

The four waved their hands in the air, ready to be escorted to the Police Station. "Man, I hate the cops.", Petrel whispered.

"Me to.", Gio felt himself forced to say. "Did I really just say that?" He knew why he said it, being reminded of his mishap with the authorities in Cerulean City a while back on his first journey. "Maybe dad is right. Maybe I'm a rebel.", He pondered while being cuffed. "Maybe I have lost my way."

…...

Pallet's 27 Year Old Professor, Samuel Oak, strode furiously in the the town Police Station. He had left his son Tucker home with his aid Spencer Hale so that he may liberate Gio from his captivity. But . . . not like the old days. He marched up the counter, seeking his minor. "Excuse me? I'm here to relieve you of the child you have here?"

The officer examined him. "The Giovanni kid?"

Samuel nodded. "That is correct."

"The other three menaces were picked up by their guardians an hour ago. Once again, Giovanni admitted to being the mastermind behind the attempted vandalism." Jenny began to lead the professor into another hall, continuing her lecture. "That kid has been a real troublemaker lately, professor. As his guardian, I do advise you keep a better eye on him."

"I'll be sure to do so.", Assured Sammy, though not to enthusiastically. "If only I knew how to control that boy." He continued to follow her into the cell corridor where Giovanni sat behind bars in complete silence.

"Listen, Giovanni.", Jenny began to scold. "I understand you think you're a hero for what you did a year ago, but that doesn't excuse you inability to follow the laws we try to maintain around here. I expected better of you. You used to be an icon to this town."

Gio gave no response. Only an expressionless face.

…...

The ride home was even more awkward. Samuel Oak never cared to ride his father's jeep through town unless the circumstances were crucial. Now, he was picking up his favorite student from the Police Station. No, he was picking up his most trusted friend from the police station.

"Meow . . . ", Meowth yawned, drifting to sleep in the back seat.

Gio turned over the seat to pet his Pokemon, delicately. "Sorry Meowth. You must be tired." He then returned his focus to Sammy. "You're not going to tell Delia or her parents about this are you? Because they'll kick me out if you do."

"Well perhaps it's time you start learning from your 'mistakes.'", Sammy shot back angrily. "Gio . . . whats happened to you?"

The 17 Year old chuckled. "What do you mean? I'm fine."

The older boy sighed. "Oh, I wish that were so. But we both know you've been drifting away from reality ever since the end of your last journey. Look at yourself. You resent your elders, you rarely ever train with your Pokemon anymore, and you're bonding with a group of adolescents that aren't right for you. You've become a small town criminal."

"I'm just living life to the fullest!", Gio shouted back. "I deserve to have a little fun after what I went through to save this town."

"The oldest trick in the book." Sammy could only shake his head with dissatisfaction. "You cant continue to take advantage of this town's vulnerability as a debt for what you did a year ago. True heroes honor their actions and continue to cultivate the peace, not channel it into fear."

Gio rolled his eyes. "Well maybe I don't want to be a hero. Maybe . . . I just want to be me."

Sammy smiled. "And who would that be? A Pokemon Trainer or a crook?"

"I don't know. A Pokemon Trainer I guess?"

The Professor could only nod. "You need to figure that out for yourself."

"I already know in my heart that I belong a Pokemon Trainer.", Gio explained in a calmer manner, eying his sleeping Meowth. "I know because I feel disconnected from how I used to be. The Pokemon Trainer that everyone loved. But, is it bad that I don't feel guilty about this?"

"Sometimes our minds just adapt with new environments, and as a result, our minds will play tricks on us.", Explained Sammy. "You need to look into your heart to find the real answers. Now, I cannot condone the actions you have and may continue to commit relating to tonight's events. But it's not my place to make your decisions. Take me for example. I didn't just become a Pokemon Professor to carry on my father's work. I did it because my heart knows so well that I love Pokemon. And I always will."

Gio felt like he understood. But no decision was final. At least not this quickly. "If I were to leave again on another journey, I'd be leaving behind. School, my friends, you and Tucker. And . . . Delia. She'll go crazy if I decide to leave her for another journey. And since I know she wont come, she wont let me go either." Though he wouldn't completely mind this if it meant preventing any more danger to his loved ones. But abandoning them still felt wrong.

"Sometimes we need to make sacrifices for the sake of destiny." Of course Sammy could identify this logic. The logic that his wife Hayley had played by one year ago. The young professor moved his foot from the pedal below when he realized that they had arrived at the Rezumi Residence. "Well, here we are. Try to be quiet. Delia's parents can be a bit on the grumpy side when woken up."

Gio nodded before clutching his sleeping Meowth over his shoulder. "Thanks, Professor."

"Gio, outside of class, you may call me Sammy. After all, we're still friends."

"Alright then, Sammy. I'll stop by for a visit at the laboratory tomorrow."

"Tucker will be pleased to know you'll be coming. He's looking forward to another play date with you.", Samuel joked as Gio exited the vehicle. "Now please try and get some rest. School starts in two days and you need to get into a better sleep schedule for the sake of your well being."

"Actually it's 2 in the morning.", Gio pointed out. "So technically school starts tomorrow."

"Which reminds me. Happy Birthday, Gio." The young professor then drove away.

The teen was left to ponder. "My Birthday. Oh, yay . . ."

…...

Torino; an organization of criminals, bent on stealing Pokemon and corrupting the s of Kanto and Johto. But what was truly behind their motives? Was it merely for their voices to be heard, or was it truly apart of an anticipated conspiracy. Neither option could be investigated. Torino was a clan of secrecy. And their Canter Of Operations was the main factor of their secrecy. It was hidden from the public and even Briskomy, its alter-ego.

Within the colossal facility's Military departure sector, Torino General Crissela paced up and down the balcony of the dim vault, looking down upon the hundreds of Torino Troops standing orderly below in dozens of columns. She was a tall yet gorgeous 21 Year Old woman, with long coral pink hair that extended down to her thighs. She had been the most feared leader of Torino ever since her promotion to General Ranking. "You are all about to embark into the Johto Regoin!", She hollered at her forces in her German accent. "Once instructed by your commanding officers, you will divulge into smaller divisions so that you may scatter the domain with the utmost care. If we are to be feared by Johto as we are by Kanto, then we must submit our finest efforts into finalizing our goal!"

"Mame, yes mame!"

"I'm sorry, what was that?"

"MAME, YES MAME!"

She grinned with amusement and waved her hand into the air. "Very good then. Prepare for departure! Gathering dismissed!"

With the briefing over, Crissela turned around to rejoin Metsuma Rocket, standing hidden in the shadows. He was somewhat shorter than her but just as attractive as far as standards, with back wavy hair, facial hair growing around his lips, and dressed in the tuxedo of any fashionable crime lord. Another fashion of his was to keep his identity secret to the lesser troops. "Well, how was that?", She asked casually.

"Well spoken.", His emotionless voice complimented. "Well spoken indeed."

After a moment of seductive glances between each other, Crissela's lips clasped into his with her fingers pulling on his collar. She groaned furiously as Metsuma locked her into a tight grasp, refusing to set her free from his arms that coiled around her waist. Their tongues brawled passionately as the heated moment of lust continued.

He momentarily separated. "I think maybe I should lose the dimwit and find a new fiancée. Like . . . you?"

"Shut up and kiss me.", She berated, pulling him back in. She didn't care anymore if he was her superior. As secret lovers, they couldn't waste any opportunity to be alone. She had a right be strict. And he knew this.

"Sir? Sir? Are you here, sir?", Called a voice from afar to the right.

Metsuma shoved Crissela away and turned to find his most trusted corporal, 20 Year Old Viper approaching. "Viper, what can I do for you?"

Viper halted and saluted. "Sir, Commissioner Sorhagen has arrived."

Metsuma's crossed his arms in pity. "How did a Briskomy Executive locate us? I gave no such information away. Especially not to Rita." Like that would turn out well.

"His helicopter just landed, sir."

"Well this is an unexpected visit." Crissela began rubbing her lips. "A risky one at that."

"Escort the commissioner to the tarriance sector.", The Crime lord grumbled in an upset tone. "I'll be with him shortly."

…...

Kade Sorhagen; Government Commissioner, Briskomy Executive, and . . . alcoholic. That pretty much summed up what he did best. As far as traits, he was black, bald, with a feminine but elegant attitude. He was also very professional in his political career and very persuasive in general affairs. He stood waiting patiently in Torino's visitor corridors, dressed in a pink tuxedo, awaiting Metsuma rocket while drinking a glass of cold Chablis. "Oh, I Wonder where that crime lord could be?"

But just then, Metsuma entered the room with General Crissela and Torino guards securing behind him. These guards wore a new attire; Black Jumpsuits and caps, both marked with a giant Red 'T'. "My apologies for the wait.", Metsuma spoke."It's not everyday a Briskomy executive pays a visit and risks the fate of Torino's conquest."

Kade only waved his glass in a toast. "I suppose I'm just that daring."

"How did you find this place?", Asked Crissela harshly.

He chuckled. "Oh please, dear. When your lessers deliver Pokemon to Briskomy HQ, I'm more than capable of retrieving coordinates."

"Then allow me another question.", Continued the crime lord. "Why are you here?"

Kade remained silent, until finally, he knew he had to speak the truth. "I've just returned from a special session of congress. It would seem that the senate has decided upon an immediate inspection of Briskomy HQ at the demanding request of the Pokemon League Council."

Metsuma became hysterical. "Are you mad? Or just drunk? The press never gave any any word-"

Kade instantly cut him off but calmly. "The press has yet to receive this information until the senate finalizes the commission."

"And the date?", Questioned Crissela.

"4 months according to the Corporate Bureaucracy.", He informed, downing the last of his glass. "The Briskomy representatives and I tried to oppose the commission but the fools would not appease to our bidding. Just goes to show how desperate the Pokemon League Council is to protect those annoying creatures we are meant to call 'friends.' Looks like Briskomy and Torino will have to unite much quicker than expected."

"Impossible.", Metsuma uttered. "We are not yet prepared. We have not yet gained enough resources to fully support the union. The final stages of Project Rocket cannot betide this soon."

Kade couldn't help but wonder. "Resources?"

Metsuma nodded. "Funding for Military appliances, authority over more property, further collaborations with other corporations, and more criminal allies to aid the conspiracy."

Kade just shrugged. "Well, I'm afraid I cant help you there."

"Briskomy and Torino were counting on you to maintain our political authority, commissioner.", Metsuma harassed more aggressively. "And you've failed us. You actually had me deluded into believing that you were on top of things."

"I'm no longer your suck up, Metsuma.", The confident commissioner raised his voice. "I don't fear you."

Crissela took a step forward, holding her Pokeball forward in a threatening pose. "One more outburst, and my Jynx will finish you quicker than she Difo! Put that on Briskomy's account and let fear eat away at their soul."

"No need for threats, general. We're all friends here.", Metsuma waved off Crissela, his eyes again honing in on Kade. "But I think you understand the situation."

Kade just laughed uncontrollably. "You're going to kill me? Then do it. But you'll have no one at your disposal try and make amends with those political heads."

Metsuma gently backed Crissela away, and glared directly into Kade's eyes. "You're saying you're going to try and fix this."

"Well I am after all, the only one who can do so.", Kade sighed. "I've worked miracles before. Besides, Project Rocket must be glorified. For Rita of course. She came up with it. You're just trying to perfect it."

The Torino Leader laughed. "You should know I'm engaged to Rita. What's hers will soon be mine as well."

"What was that supposed to mean?", Thought Kade. "Anyway, I suggest we hold another meeting so we can work everything out more . . . delicately. Under the circumstances that these new allies of Torino's are trustworthy."

"I assure you, our affiliation with the Mafia Lords is strictly mutual.", He cinched. "But I suggest you keep your business in politics where it belongs."

Kade was examining the wine glass for no apparent reason, yet still paying attention. "You needn't worry about me. I'll have Rita make the arrangements for a special assembly to be held at Briskomy headquarters in a couple of days." The guards then escorted him out of the room, leaving Metsuma and Crissela to converse.

"Things just became a whole lot worse.", Crissela noted, now thinking hard on a solution. "What can be done?"

Metsuma was quiet. He was upset. More upset than he had been in a long time. Project Rocket was in its final stages and . . . it was about to collapse. He needed his new criminal empire to surface so that it may play it's part in his . . . other plan.

…...

The next morning in Pallet Town, Gio barged through the doors of the Pallet House, a restaurant owned by Delia's parents. It was a busy morning for sure, everyone gathering for breakfast. Which meant Delia would probably do well in tips.

"Meow!", Meowth squealed, pointing to a table where Delia was waitressing at. Her pigtails, her uniform, and her smile made her look beautiful.

"Good work, Meowth." Gio nodded and quietly approached her from behind, ready to scare her on surprise. But before he could-

"Hi, Gio.", She spoke unprovoked, cleaning off the empty table as the customers departed.

He laughed. "How did you know it was me?"

"I heard Meowth squeal."

The feline shrugged with embarrassment before hiding under the table. "Meowthy . . . "

She turned around to place a quick gentle kiss on his lips. "Happy Birthday."

"Thanks." He grabbed her by the arm before she could head back into the kitchen. "Going somewhere?"

"Gio, I need to get back to work.", She giggled. "We'll celebrate after my shift is over."

But Gio was a persistent one. "But I wanted to talk to you about something important."

She sighed with disapproval. "Gio, I know you snuck out last night."

"Oh . . . yeah, uhh sorry. But that's not what I wanted to talk about."

She pulled away from him. "Gio, like I said, I've got work to do. I'll see you in a couple of hours."

But he just continued to follow her into the back room. "What am I supposed to do until then?"

"Well, maybe train with your Pokemon?", She suggested, still aiming to avoid him. "You haven't done any training this summer. Besides, it's more constructive for you than vandalizing the town with those three punks."

He shook his head, grabbing her by the wrist again. "They're not punks, Delia. They just like to have fun. Besides, you hang out with them sometimes to."

"I'm your girlfriend, Gio. And if it means spending time with those three just be with you, then I'll do it. But I want you to know that I don't think that's the crowd you should be falling into. Honestly, I don't approve." AKA, she would never smoke another cigarette again.

"She sounds exactly like Sammy and my dad!" Gio found himself becoming a bit angrier. "I started that gang, okay? Blame me if you have to blame anyone!"

"Shhhh!", She hushed him. "Please, don't be so loud. My mom might kick you out."

"Then let her!", He yelled. "Here I am, looking for help on an important decision, and you're just trying to shun me away! And to make it worse-"

She placed her finger on his lips to silence him, and stared deeply into his raging eyes. "Gio, calm down. Please?"

He turned away. It was useless. He needed to leave. "I'll be at Sammy's.", He said simply as he and Meowth withdrew from the kitchen and outside the restaurant.

Delia just paused in her steps, concerned. "What could be so important that he wants to talk to me about?"

…...

At the Pallet Town laboratory Lobby Room, Professor Oak sunk relaxed in his sofa chair, with a notepad in his hand, while rubbing his chin. "Hmmmm, what rhymes with Articuno?"

From the corner of room, 16 Year Old Spencer Hale was sorting through the bookshelf, dressed in another one of his green button vests. "Actually, I just put away a book on Articuno. I hope it's okay that I keep the books of Legendary Pokemon down here rather than in the study room so I can keep track."

Samuel chuckled. "Not at all, Spencer. Like I always say, knowledge is nothing to fret over." His attention then glided over to the room's entrance where a young boy with blond curly hair, rosy cheeks, and Pokemon Pajamas came rushing in.

"Daddy, Gio is here!", 7 Year Old Tucker chanted, jumping up and down.

Gio entered to room and lifted Tucker over his shoulders. "Alright, Tucker. Hold on! We're gonna go super fast!" He than began to make hawking noises.

"Daddy, Gio is being a Fearow and I'm the Trainer!", The 7-year-old cheered as her steered Gio around the room.

Samuel laughed. It was a pleasure that Gio and Tucker got along so well. Obviously, Gio still did keep in touch with his playful side considering his relationship with Tucker was greater than ever. "Be careful, Tucker! Hold on tight."

Spencer became worried. "And try not to knock into those books that I stacked and-"

Too late. Gio and Tucker found themselves on the floor with a bunch of scattered text books. "Whoa, sorry Spence.", Gio laughed.

Spencer scratched his head. "I kind of saw it coming."

Tucker laughed, happily.

Gio stood up, and faced Sammy. "Professor . . .err . . . I mean, Sammy. I'm here because I wanted to talk to you about something."

The young professor was intrigued as he put his notepad into his lab coat. "Oh? And what might that be?"

Gio wanted to just talk to Sammy personally . . . but what he was about to say was nothing to be kept secret any longer. He had to just say it and be done with it so that he wouldn't go back on his word and that his confidence would prevent him from changing his mind. He let out a deep breath and spoke. "Everyone, Instead of sticking around here for another year, I've decided to travel to the Johto Region and compete in the League again." He said it. The decision was final. No more worries.

"What!", Shouted a furious voice from the entrance.

Astonished, Gio slowly turned his head to see Delia at the door with a red face filled with both shock and fury. "Okay . . . maybe one more worry."

…...

'August 1st: After a whole year of rushed labor, the replication sequence of my latest experiment has reached its end. Now all that remains is to await the awakening of the experiment itself. The sedatives should ware off soon. Hopefully all goes well. My colleges and I have come so far. If we loose our hold on the project now, then Torino will surely have our heads. But if we are successful, I expect a higher wage in my payment. Hopefully Metsuma Rocket will keep to his word like Difo hadn't. My wife doesn't show much appreciation for these criminal applicants of mine. But if it means gaining the wealth to finally establish a better life for the two of us, then I shall do everything in my power to make sure Torino is satisfied with my work. After so many years of testing my research and experimenting with genetic manipulation, I feel that I am finally experienced enough to further my work into the employment of the highest bidder. Even if it means serving Torino. Though obtaining money is a crucial task at this point in my life, my true purpose as a scientist will never go unfulfilled. I vow to put my skills to the test one day by seeking out the world's greatest Pokemon, and successfully cloning it without any flaws. But for now, I must-'

In the New Island Torino Laboratory, Dr. Fuji ceased his journalism when he was interrupted by the hollering of his assistant chemist, sprinting down the hallway corridor outside of the main cloning precinct. Fuji put down his journal. "Oh, Winston. I was just about see if you ran those tests I asked of you earlier-"

"Sir, It's happened!"

Fuji stood up in total alarm. "What's happened? . . . Do you mean?"

The younger man nodded. "The experiment is awakening, Doctor!"

"Well don't just stand there!", Fuji ordered, hastily following Winston into the Lab's cloning room. "Have the team ready life support encase he isn't able to adapt to the fresh oxygen!"

"Yes, doctor!"

The eager scientist barged into the dark room, tilting his glasses for a batter look. "Oh my goodness." The sight was one he thought he'd never see. His first human experiment was actually waking up, squirming around in the cloning tube, yearning for release. Fuji continued to look around, as half of his colleges surrounded the cloning tank while everyone else began to scan the experiment's condition from their stations. He approached the tank, with his palm pressed up against the glass.

The human inside was just a boy, about 17 Years Old. He had curly black hair, burning red eyes, strapping physical form, tall height, and a face that resembled that of . . . Torino's greatest enemy. He was clotheless, delirious, and panicked. The new reality was too much to handle, apparently. The boy inside finally started to tear off the oxygen tube from his mouth with his other fist pounding against the glass chamber.

"Set him free immediately!", Fuji instructed, unwilling to lose such a worthy prize.

One of the Team's newcomers rushed over to the tank and turned the dial above the radiation pump. The Tank then began to drain the fluids contained within the chamber.

The boy found himself shaking, as if engaging a seizure. He quickly ripped off the IV test tube lines from his body. But the pain made him scream beyond toleration.

Winston took the opportunity to activate the release switch.

The human clone slumped to the bottom of the cloning chamber, beneath the glass, and through the portal below. The new-found Oxygen made him gasp hysterically, as he continued to cry out in pain. Many of the Team's staff attempted life support and medical aid, but he only shoved them away as if trying to escape. But he was going nowhere. All he could to was flop around on the cold laboratory floor like a Magikarp.

Fuji stepped forward, hoping to calm his experiment down. "You must control yourself, young man. If you don't, you may fall into a coma."

"No!", He roared. "Get away from me!" The boy was hanging on for dear life, refusing all help offered. He would live though. But for now, he would have to adapt to this new world, and drift back to a calming state of unconsciousness.

Fuji backed away, but still managed to maintain a smile. He turned around to face Winston and began instructions. " Radio Metsuma's helicopter. Inform him that Giovannitwo has finally awakened." But truth be told . . . Giovanni had been reborn.

TO BE CONTINUED . . . . . .