Target Practice

By: Theodore 'Blitz' Leung

Tim stroked the brush lightly against the canvas, concentrating deeply on the painting before him, then back towards his subject. Ryna sat motionless, waiting for Tim to continue his painting. After a brief scan, Tim stroked his brush a few more times, taking into account everything about Ryna. He was doing this painting since his 'revival', and admired Ryna for her patience towards his art.

A soft rapping on the door interrupted his thought, as he withdrew the brush from the canvas. Both trainers turned their gaze towards the door, wondering who it was. The pair were in the attic of Ryna's house in Pallet. Tim's painting room now, and they spent their day and time up here. The ex-soldier was spending his time enjoying the company of his girl.

"Dinner," came the voice of Ryna's 'mother', though they knew otherwise. Ryna's past, Tim's past, the pair grew up together, sort of. They were separated, and now reunited again.

"Coming," Ryna responded, standing up and brushing her pants down. Tim placed his brush on the stand, standing up as well and stepping away from the painting, admiring it.

"Almost done…" he commented, analyzing his work. Ryna was by his side now, arms around his neck, head tilted against his shoulder, as she also admired the work. She nodded in agreement silently, before beckoning towards the door. Tim acknowledged, the pair leaving the chambers.

* * * * * *

Slasher threw his clawed fist into Rocky's tough stone hide, doing little but scraping the surface again. In retaliation, the Graveler rolled forward, initiating a Rollout attack. A Double Team distracted Rocky enough for the Sandslash to burrow deep into the ground, hiding from his opponent. The Graveler levelled back, stopping the attack and waiting for Slasher's attack from underground.

Six images ripped through the ground, leaping up and then diving back down towards the Graveler. Rocky panicked momentarily, before withdrawing back into his rock hard skin, the claws doing nothing to hurt his outer shell. Slasher retreated once he 'collected' himself, and then leaped backwards, Rocky's massive fist swinging over where he was last standing. The Rock type was about to give chase until he was ordered not too. The pair turned their gaze to Tim, who was standing by the door, arms crossed, leaning against the frame.

"Dinner," he told the pair training right on Ryna's front lawn. He beckoned for them to return back inside which they did, both starving after about an hour or two of training. Tim had to admit, the front lawn looked okay despite the havoc that pair must have been throwing at each other. They quickly headed in, the sun setting in the distance. Tim sighed softly, watching it set, before heading back in, something lingering at the back of his mind.

* * * * * *

The day proceeded like it usually did, Ryna on her stool, Tim painting her portrait slowly and delicately, trying to capture all of her in body and soul. Once more, his pair of Pokémon were outside, training. Ryna had no more Pokémon now, Charles and Flare departing on their own, and Lin…getting knocked off that cliff so long ago. Both trainers had hope that Pikachu was still alive, but it was dwindling fast.

Another interruption. Ryna's guardian knocked on the door, softly as not to shatter Tim's concentration, as per requested by Tim before they embarked on this project so long ago. Once more, he set the brush down, opening the door as Ryna watched with curiosity. Tim was handed a package, a box wrapped up in brown paper. It was heavy in his hands, though he took it and sat down by the desk by the far corner. Ryna joined him, curious. He slowly undid the wrapping, revealing a plain white box amidst a mess of paper. Tim blinked, flipping the cover of the box open. Ryna gasped in surprise, Tim staring dumbfounded.

Inside the package was a pistol, large, sleek silver. Tim recognized the model instantly, it was his favourite small fire arm back in the forces. He lifted the weapon, twirling it around in his hand once, uncomfortable with it since the last time he used a firearm.

"The Fryn DE Alpha 'Heartbeat' .50 Cal pistol…" Tim recited, remembering such a pistol in the days. He glanced at the package, seeing another two clips, a shoulder holster, and a belt with a pair of holsters as well. There was a note as well. He took the note, reading it aloud. "It's your favourite pistol, I know. Use it well, you'll need it soon. From: a friend." Tim stared at the note for a minute, before depositing the gun back into the box. He hooked up the shoulder holster to his left arm, then clipped the belt. Next, he placed the pair of clips onto the belt, feeling like he was back in the military. Ryna watched without making a sound, but it was clear she was slightly opposed to the idea.

Satisfied, Tim took the pistol and levelled it towards the window of the attic. He didn't fire, and he couldn't fire anyway, as the safety was still on. He glanced down at the weapon in his hand, remembering.

"The 'Heartbeat', ten round clip, high powered, supposedly named because if had the same rate of fire as your heartbeat," he recited, twirling the weapon once and then placing it into his shoulder holster. Ryna was still opposed to the idea, but didn't talk about it. Instead, she took her seat on the stool again, waiting for Tim to continue his art. Without a sound, he agreed, directing himself back towards his canvas and his art. Nevertheless, both were occupied by the delivery of a weapon, let alone an anonymous one.

* * * * * *

"You wish you use my field? What for?" Professor asked his current guest: Tim. He was wearing a jacket, though the ex-soldier revealed the left side of inside his jacket, the shoulder holster with its firearm in clear view of the professor. He wasn't surprised, only nodded, and didn't ask a question. "There's a small firing range within that I use to test a Pokémon's accuracy and research the power of their attacks. You may use that."

"Thank you, professor," Tim replied, bowing his head as he walked around back towards the firing range. He held the butt of the pistol tightly in his right hand, mind wandering. It wasn't very long until he hit the range, keeping the weapon hidden though. He had thirty rounds of this one pistol, after a little math of course. He kept the handle of the gun in his hand, thinking.

"A friend…who…" he thought, tightening his grip around the handle, trying to determine who. A pair of names occurred in his mind, though he really doubt either of them could be the sender. He didn't entirely rule out the possibilities, though.

The trained sighed, turning around and facing back towards the bulk of the town, surprised and distressed when he saw smoke pouring out from the small town he currently resided in. He took no time to draw conclusions, referring back to the note he received and rushed back.

* * * * * *

Before the pair of Pokémon lay a bunch of unconscious and battle beaten Pokémon. Rocky and Slasher admired their work, though behind a stone wall, thankfully thick enough to stop bullets. A Team Rocket attack surprised them, but they dispatched of the Pokémon easily, though handling three or four operative armed with semi-auto pistols proved to be a bit more difficult.

"Is the sniper still out there?" Slasher asked, pressing his quills against the wall, listening for the advancements of the Rockets. The Graveler remained still, also pressing his back against the wall.

"You want ME to check?!" he exclaimed softly, finally realizing what the Sandslash was implying by the comment. The Ground type shrugged.

"You ARE the one with the rock hard skin," the Sandslash answered sarcastically, peering around the corner only to get the rock chipped into his eye from the sniper bullet. The Sandslash was glad that this sniper didn't have the best of reflexes.

"Come out with your claws and hands up, and we'll promise not to kill you," one the operatives threatened. The pair behind them snickered softly, not even close to believing a lie like that.

"By the way, that's MY Pokémon your threatening!" Tim shouted out, rushing in from a flank. He had the 'Heartbeat' in his hands, firing two rounds into the closest Rocket, one in the arm, another in the leg. He directed it towards the second Rocket, one round, to the head. By this time, Tim noticed the gleam of the sniper's scope reflecting into his eye. "Crap!" he thought mentally, leaping over the stone wall and snapping a fourth round off with the pistol, though it strayed wide. The sniper round hit the wall that Tim leaped over, though it gave Rocky enough time to leap up and knock out another Rocket with a Rock Throw attack. He quickly ducked behind cover before the sniper could react, as did Tim. The soldier was on his back now, gun held up against his chest, breathing harshly, eyes closed.

"One left," the soldier mouthed, opening his eyes and looking up at the pair of Pokémon on the other side of the gap in the wall. Both of them motioned towards the sniper as well, leaving two Rockets left. Tim drew himself a mental map, trying to figure where the sniper was from memory and what he already knew. Feeling he had adequate knowledge, he motioned towards his pair, giving a series of short hand signals, before tapping the stone wall lightly with his knuckles. Closing his eyes, he prepared himself, mentally, clutching the weapon tightly. He then knocked the wall one more time.

The rubbles blasted outwards as the force of Tim's knuckles exploded the wall, creating dust and rock shrapnel - a technique he picked up recently. The soldier quickly leaped out from his explosion, taking aim with the pistol to his best estimated guess of the sniper. Detecting the gleam once more, he fired, and prayed his aim was true.

The sniper fell from his position, on the roof of one of the houses in Pallet. He rolled down the side and fell to the ground with a resound thump. At this time, the pair of Pokémon had leaped from their cover and restrained the lone remaining Rocket before he could even react to Tim's reappearance. Satisfied, though not completely, the ex-Cinnabar Island SF approached the restrained Rocket.

"What the hell are you doing here?!" Tim questioned, pulling the Rocket to his feet by the collar of his suit, obviously royally pissed off at the Rocket. The Rocket returned the stare with defiant silence, before Tim threw him onto the ground, glancing towards the house. A loud scream followed by shattering echoed from the house.

"Ryna!" Tim exclaimed, lunging back for the house, blasting the lock off the door and kicking the door open. He scanned around, before heading into the kitchen, seeing Ryna's weeping mother as well as another Rocket trying to escape through the window. Tim raised his pistol and fired the remaining four rounds in his clip into the back of the Rocket, who didn't even cry out, just limped and fell out the window. Tim glanced towards Ryna's mother, ignored her for now, ejected his clip while heading straight for the window. He took another clip and loaded the pistol again, leaping out the window and taking aim towards the fleeing trio of Rockets, Ryna slung over the leaders shoulder. She lay limp, obviously drugged with something. The soldier took aim, preparing to do away with the remaining three. Or he would've, unless the gun was ripped out of his hands, throwing him forward. The soldier quickly looked up.

"I wouldn't try that if I were you," the female voice told the sniper, echoing into his mind. He saw the gun levitating in the air, held by an invisible force. Tim quickly got to his feet and collected the gun without resistance, following the voice to its source: a female, dressed black like her Rocket counterparts. She wore an emerald screen visor over her eyes, a communication mic to her mouth. The ebony hair of this female was tied back into a ponytail. She smirked. Angered, Tim fired the pistol at the female.

The shot blazed through the air as she suddenly dematerialized, causing Tim to gasp. He heard the laughing of the same female to his right side, in which he reacted and fired, also hitting air. The voice was now behind him, and Tim quickly turned around and fired.

The bullet stopped in mid air, held back by some unknown force. The female had her right hand up, as though erecting an invisible shield to prevent the bullet's pass. After a second, it fell harmlessly to the ground.

"Like I said, I wouldn't try that," she answered softly, the smirk still on her face. Tim dropped his hands helplessly, unable to comprehend how she was doing that, reading his every moves, stopping his rounds. After a moment, it dawned.

"Yes, I am Psychic," she answered in his mind, laughing manically. She disappeared from existence once again, this time not meaning to reappear. She did leave Tim one message: "Thank you for being distracted. Well make sure to take care of your girlfriend."

"Ryna!" Tim gasped out, redirecting his attention back towards were the trio of Rockets were running, though they were long out of his reach now. They eluded him, thanks to the help of that girl. "Ryna!" Tim yelled out again, kicking himself for his incompetence. He fell to his knees, the pistol trembling in his hands, as he failed Ryna.

"Aww…the Chimera wants his girl back? Why not head west, we'll be waiting," the female psychically told him, jerking his head up towards the sky. Rocky and Slasher finally caught up with Tim, after making sure the last Rocket was sufficiently restrained, though it was useless now. The Rockets got what they came for.

"West…west…west…" Tim repeated, taking a hand off the weapon and looking at it, still trembling. Somehow, he managed to replace the pistol into his shoulder holster, placing his hands on his knees, looking back down at the ground, silently. "West…"