Slaves and Soldiers
Chapter 19: Silhouette
"How much farther until we hit Cerulean City?"
"Stop asking me, Lyra!"
Things weren't going very well for our hero Ethan as he ran as quickly as he could to Cerulean, holding a Typhlosion. Finding Raikou was a big enough deal as it was, but being 'commanded' by a Typhlosion that was a cyborg? Reflecting upon what had happened minutes before, it all did seem too crazy to even be remotely believable. Maybe it was all just an insane dream caused by too much Berry Juice the night before?
"Then again," he thought to himself. "I do live in a universe where monsters control time and space. A Cyborg Pokémon probably isn't too much of a stretch."
Suicune closely followed behind Ethan, also trying to take in the events that transpired as she ran by Raikou's side.
"It's so… odd." Suicune thought. "Seeing Raikou like… this. And not complaining or moaning and groaning."
She looked at him, running diligently with a pale, emotionless expression on his face under the helmet.
"…It's just not right." she said aloud. "There must be some way to change him back to normal."
"Suicune, can we discuss this later?" asked Ethan. "We're approaching Cerulean City and I need to get this Typhlosion to the Pokémon Center A.S.A.P.!"
"…All right." she muttered.
Buddy also couldn't help but ponder what had happened as they entered the city.
"Was that… inhuman beast actually telling the truth?" he briefly mused. "Maybe… no. That can't be. I saw him robbing Pewter Museum in the security footage. Something tells me that he's part of that demented cult, and he's gonna have some questions to answer when he wakes up… that is, IF he wakes up."
The entire group ran into the Pokémon Center. They had caught the attention of everyone there, including the Nurse Joy, who immediately took notice of Typhlosion's critical condition. His eyes had rolled over, the natural one to white and the robotic one to the grayish metal. Copious amounts of blood ran out of Typhlosion's open mouth, as well as even larger amounts of the substance from deep, long gashes in his skin. She was initially very surprised by his cyborg parts, but she quickly put it aside, knowing that he needed aid IMMEDIATELY. She took the large Typhlosion from Ethan, who was inwardly impressed with her strength, and the ease she had in quickly carting him off to the emergency room.
All that was left to do was wait.
The quintet of Ethan, Lyra, Buddy, Raikou and Suicune were all left waiting to hear on Typhlosion's condition.
Buddy said meekly to himself, "Maybe I went a little too far."
Ethan talked back to him. "Really? You attacked him and might have even killed him without my command. Buddy, you realize that if he dies… you could be put to death for murder."
Buddy's eyes widened at this realization. When fighting, Pokémon are supposed to hold back a portion of their power. All tamed Pokémon are taught this when they are captured or hatched. However, when the Feraligatr had confronted the Typhlosion, Buddy had been furious. He had not held any of his tremendous power back. And if Typhlosion died as a result, he could be put to death himself for murdering a Pokémon. Now more than ever before, Buddy sincerely hoped that Typhlosion would live to tell his tale.
The minutes ticked by slowly, with every second seeming like an hour. Buddy bit his lips as time passed, while Raikou showed genuine concern for his 'master'.
"Oh, PLeAsE MaSTeR." he whispered. "bE oK. PLeAsE, PLeAsE, PLeAsE, PLeAsE…"
Suicune studied Raikou as he whispered in worry to himself. "Why? Why is he so worried about this Typhlosion? …It has to be the brainwashing, right?" she thought. "Unless he's more than just a master to him…"
The concern in his voice, despite being robotic in tone, truly sounded in worry about Typhlosion. It sounded as if he was scared of not losing a 'master'… but losing a friend.
Suicune also found herself hoping that the Typhlosion would wake up, so that he could provide an explanation to all of this.
"Excuse me, Mr. Ethan?"
One of the Nurse Joys came back through the same double doors Typhlosion had been rushed through a few hours earlier. Ethan stood up to speak up her.
"Yes, Nurse Joy?"
"…It was not easy, since we were not familiar with his… parts. However, he has been bandaged up, and he made it out OK after we treated the severe scars and cleaned up the excess blood."
Buddy breathed a sigh of relief, thankful that he wouldn't be convicted of murder.
"Where is he right now?" Ethan asked.
"He's in his room resting. I'll take you back to him, just don't be too loud."
The Nurse Joy walked back through the double doors as the quintet followed. She led them to a door in the back of the Pokémon Center, presumably the patient's room.
"Ugh… my whole body is throbbing in pain…"
Typhlosion slowly drifted back into consciousness. He tried to open his eyes to analyze his surroundings, but his eyelids were the weight of two Snorlaxes at that moment. He tried to get up, but the weight of his body along with his weakened condition prevented that. He could move both his paw and claw just fine, though. He had heard Nurse Joy clearly and was able to articulate speech.
"You have visitors."
He seemed surprised at this. "How would I have visitors?" he thought. "Did Victor take me back to the base? But… that was a Nurse Joy, and they don't have them at HQ."
He paused for a moment. "Wait… if I'm not at HQ, and if there's a Nurse Joy here… then I must be at a Pokémon Center, right? Who took me in?"
"Mr. Typhlosion?" the nurse said again.
"…Let them come in." he said. He wanted to see these visitors for himself… once his eyes decided to start working, that is. As soon as he said that, he heard footsteps walked in and surround his bed. Typhlosion tried to open his heavy eyes again, and this time managed to get his robotic one open, with the natural one still shut. For Ethan and company, it was a rather awkward and unnatural sight. But that needed to be pushed to the side at the moment.
"This room…" Typhlosion muttered. "I…I-I'm in a Pokémon Center, right?"
He looked over the room with his one eye open. Everyone in the room was looking at him, making him feel a bit uncomfortable. He recognized the Feraligatr in the room as the one who had beat him up before. Looking at him now, when he was calm and staring at him… it was arguably worse than when he was getting pummeled by the crocodile. The Feraligatr's look in his eyes seemed to fear retribution for what he had done. It was almost as if the Feraligatr expected him to whip out some sort of laser cannon from his pack and fry him at any second. He feared him. And the one thing Typhlosion didn't like was people fearing him.
"Uh, yes." Ethan said, uneasily breaking the silence. "After… Mr. Chompy over there decided to beat up rather violently on you; I and my party took you to the nearest Pokémon Center in Cerulean City."
"…Oh." was all Typhlosion said.
"…I have a few questions I'd like to ask you." said Suicune with a dissatisfied tone in her voice.
Typhlosion sighed. "It only figures you'd have questions, given the state you saw Raikou in. Fire away."
Suicune seemed somewhat surprised by the cyborg's calm demeanor, but went ahead with her question.
"…What exactly did you do to Raikou?" she asked with contempt in her voice. Raikou's expression was soulless as she motioned to him.
"…It's not something I did. I-I was trying to explain that before I collapsed."
"…Raikou… did tell me something about that before Buddy attacked you." Suicune admitted.
"He did?" muttered Typhlosion. "Well… he's right. I didn't do that to him. I didn't WANT that to happen to him."
"Then just who did?" Suicune further interrogated.
"…He told me some of it, after I… pummeled him." Buddy confessed.
Everyone looked over at Buddy. "We know THAT." Ethan said. "But is it true? This cult you were talking about… they truly did do it?"
"…Yes. They did. They think I'm their God. Supposedly, I'm destined to be the 'Cyber Creator' or something like that and help them take over the world. But I want no part in it."
"How could something like this even be possible?" Suicune wondered. "How could they even do it?"
"…I can tell you what I know so far about it. I probably owe you guys for saving my life."
"Then let's hear it." Buddy ordered him, finally speaking up.
"Well, for starters, I work for Team Rocket. Raikou, Victor, and I…"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa. Back up a minute there." Ethan said. "You work for Team Rocket?"
"Then why should we trust you?" Buddy asked suspiciously.
"…Because I don't willingly work for them. I don't WANT to work for them. They captured me as a Cyndaquil and took me from a trainer starting on his journey. I can't remember who he was."
Ethan thought about this for a moment. He recalled having a Cyndaquil before it disappeared on him one day. In fact, he had talked about it with Buddy back at Viridian City just a few days ago.
"But that's irrelevant right now." Typhlosion continued. "I was brought up by Team Rocket since I was young. Raikou was just the most recent addition to the 'team'. We are routinely given assignments, whether it be to capture Pokémon for the team, or…assassinate someone."
No one was surprised at this revelation. All of them knew that Team Rocket was evil, and sinking low was nothing new for them.
"…But that still doesn't explain how you found out about this cult or how you became… this. Did that cult do this to you too?" Lyra wondered.
"No. Team Rocket did this to me. But it was actually to save my life after I suffered from a… rather unfortunate accident as a Quilava. I've had to learn to accept this as part of me, because there's nothing I can do about it now."
"And as for Raikou?" Suicune asked again, still wanting her answer.
"Well, Raikou, Victor and I had received a mission to investigate the Ruins of Alph. Apparently, Team Rocket had received reports from intel that they had perfected a brainwashing technology. And Team Rocket wanted us to retrieve the blueprints."
"So… that's where they're hiding." Ethan noted mentally.
"We went in to get the blueprints, and we eventually came across a 3-way path. We all decided to head in different directions to cover more ground. On my path, I found these creepy hieroglyphics featuring… this monster that looked like me. One of them… showed this monster brainwashing an Infernape… Victor… my best friend…"
Buddy spoke up again awkwardly. "Would you actually…"
"Never." Typhlosion answered immediately. "I'd never do something that horrendous to my best friend… nevertheless, I cut out the hieroglyphic and put it in my pack. Soon after doing that, I heard a scream come from where Victor went. I found him being roasted by a horrifically powerful Fire attack from… Reshiram."
Everyone gasped. They now realized that this threat was much more serious than ever if they could successfully brainwash a Legendary Pokémon as powerful as Reshiram.
Typhlosion resumed his tale. "I was thankfully able to put the fire out. Shortly after, the rest of the cult found me and… worshipped me. They presented me with a grand dinner. And then they casually mentioned that they were brainwashing Raikou so that I'd have… a personal… s-slave."
Everyone remained deathly silent, except for Raikou's cybernetic parts which were still humming with life.
"…When I learned about that, Victor and I ran out and tried to find Raikou as quickly as we could. We followed his screams of torture and discovered him hooked up this… awful, horrible, and evil machine. It was grafting those parts onto him and brainwashing him to obey me. We pulled the machine off of him as fast as we could, but the parts were already screwed into his flesh, and we couldn't pull them off. When he did wake up, he… truly did become my personal slave. I had this awful feeling, and I puked my guts out and I…" he blubbered starting to tear up thinking about it again. "…I didn't want this for him."
Suicune looked about ready to burst into tears. "Please tell me this isn't permanent. Please tell me that there's a way to bring back the Raikou I know and love."
Suicune had expected a 'no' to come from Typhlosion's mouth. Instead, he said the opposite.
"We discovered him before the brainwashing was 'locked' so it IS reversible, but not easy. I've been trying to break through his brainwashing piece by piece, and I've brought by a little bit of him. And now that you're here, we might be able to break the barrier little by little until all of his memories are restored." said Typhlosion, with determination in his voice.
Suicune, overflowing with happiness at this realization, hugged Raikou passionately. Raikou flinched a bit at first, but then returned the hug.
"WhY?" he asked. "dO YoU sEEm sO… FaMiLiAr? I kNoW YoU… dOn'T I?"
Suicune smiled for the first time in a very long while. "Yes, Raikou. Yes, you do."
Ethan and Lyra had decided to give the Pokémon space, and opted to leave the room. Ethan trusted Buddy enough to leave him with the Typhlosion now that everything was sorted out.
"Hey… Typhlosion." Buddy muttered awkwardly.
"Yeah?" he answered tiredly.
"…This… isn't easy for me to say, but… um…" Buddy sighed. "I'm sorry. Ethan was talking to me about this earlier, and… my anger got the better of me. I…"
"Don't worry about it." Typhlosion muttered. "You were trying to protect your trainer. And you thought that I really did brainwash Raikou. That's plenty reason to be angry."
"I still should have at least let you explain yourself before I attacked you. I'm a 'Mon of action, and I act before I think."
"…Let's just forget about it. It's over now." Typhlosion muttered. "Uhh… what time is it?"
"About 4' o clock." Buddy answered. "Why?"
"That's not good." Typhlosion said to himself. "I need to be back at Rocket HQ by midnight."
Buddy seemed perplexed by this. "Why would you want to go back?"
"I still work for them, Buddy. Do you see that metal anklet attached to my foot?"
Buddy looked down at his feet. Indeed, a metal gray anklet was on his right foot.
"Yeah. There's one on Raikou, too." Buddy noted. "What about it?"
Typhlosion sighed. "That anklet is filled with a poison, Buddy. Every Pokémon recruit gets one of these strapped onto them. If I'm not back at the base by midnight, the poison will be injected into my body. It's a slow, painful killer, taking the victim's life within 24 hours. And Team Rocket has the only antidote."
Buddy was startled by this. "So that's how they keep you guys in line… isn't there any way to take it off?"
Typhlosion shook his head. "The only way to take it off is with an override code known only by the higher-ups at Team Rocket."
Buddy looked at the anklet again. He grabbed the anklet and tried to tear it off with his bare claws. He chomped on it, he clawed at it, and he yanked at it with all of his might. But it refused to come off.
"My word, that thing is stuck on you."
Typhlosion nodded. "I need to get back as soon as possible… or if someone could hack it to get the code, they could take it off. Both mine and Raikou's. But even the tech genius Pokémon that Team Rocket captured couldn't hack it. And you'd have to find someone before the poison activates…"
Buddy thought about this. "Well… I'm no tech wizard… but I know someone who is."
"Who's Bill?" Ty asked.
"Bill is the tech genius who designed the Pokémon Storage System. He lives in Goldenrod City in Johto, but we're very close to Saffron City. There's a train transit from Saffron City, which we can use to get to Goldenrod." the Feraligatr explained. "He might be able to get that thing off."
"What makes you so sure? Even Zekrom couldn't crack it, and he's a tech genius."
"Well… wait… Team Rocket actually captured Zekrom? How did I miss that memo?"
"It happened around 6 years ago. Team Rocket's been getting better about being discreet ever since you and Ethan first defeated them."
Buddy recalled the memory. 8 years ago, he and Ethan had stopped Team Rocket's sinister plot to control all of the Pokémon in Johto. But the crocodile hadn't heard anything from Team Rocket since he and Ethan defeated Giovanni at Tohjo Falls.
"So… Giovanni's back then, isn't he?"
"So he DID survive… Looks like we'll have to thwart him again then, huh?"
"Good luck. Giovanni has come back to Team Rocket stronger than ever."
"And I'm back." Buddy smirked. "Stronger than ever. But first thing's first, we'll try to get you guys to Bill's as quickly as possible. I'll go tell Ethan."
The Feraligatr left the room, leaving Typhlosion to rest and Raikou and Suicune by themselves.
"Raikou…" Suicune said to him. "What do you remember?"
"…UhH… UmM… I kNoW tHAt… yOu aRe SuiCUnE."
"Yes." Suicune said.
"YoU… ArE my… SiSTeR. I hAvE a BroTHeR nAmED… EnTEi?"
"Yes, you're doing great. Keep going, there must be more you remember." Suicune persisted.
Raikou's robotic voice stuttered. "I-I… uMm… I C-caN'T rEmEmBEr aNYtHiNG eLSe." Despite the robotic tone, Raikou's voice was audibly cracking up in sadness. And Raikou himself cried for the first time since his conversion, finally showing sorrow at his fate.
"I-I'M sO SoRRy… SuiCUnE… I-I cAn'T rEmEmBeR. aT aLL."
Suicune hugged Raikou and brought him closer to her. She found herself crying into his shoulder, covered with the cyber armor. "It's… It's OK, Raikou. It's not your fault. We'll… figure something out. There-there must be some way to make you remember."
"…I dOn'T kNOw. I dOn'T kNOw hOw I cAn rEmEmBeR iF I aM JuST… a SiLhoUeTTe oF wHaT I oNCe WaS… I'M a StRaNGeR tO tHiS HeARTaCHe aNd PaiN I fEEL."
Typhlosion sighed as he watched the sad scene play in front of him. "This is my fault." he thought. "…If only I had gotten there sooner… I just… how will I make him remember? Zekrom said it's possible… but I don't know how."
"I'd give up my life if it meant that I could fix you. But-" Typhlosion said out aloud.
Suicune turned back to the Typhlosion, still lying in the bed weakened.
"-You just don't know what to do?" Suicune said, finishing Typhlosion's thoughts.
"…Yes." Typhlosion uttered.
"I don't know what to do, either." Suicune sighed. "I mean, part of me is still furious at you for having him as a slave… but at the same time, it wasn't you that did this."
"…To be honest Suicune, I don't even know everything that's going on. I don't know if those memories are still buried within him, or… if they were permanently erased. Zekrom told me we could possibly bring him out of this state… but we don't know what memories he'll have left. All we can do is support him. YOU have the memories with him. Maybe if you could remind him of the good times, it'll come back to him."
"…You're right." Suicune admitted. "We both- no… we ALL need to be there for him. I just want the brother I love back."
"…You're not the only one, Suicune…"
Pokémon © Nintendo / Game Freak
Yes. Another chapter done. I realize that I have a horrible schedule slip, and I'm sorry to do that to you guys. Senior Project has kept getting in the way, along with just life in general. But, here's to hoping that you all enjoyed this chapter. As usual, Read and Review.
P.S. – Once again, the chapter title is taken from a song (I have a habit of doing that, don't I?). See if you can't figure it out.