Author's Notes: Sorry. I am SO SO sorry that it took me three weeks to get something up that was only supposed to take one. The first weekend, I was told my family was going on vacation at the last minute (with no Internet), and the second weekend, I had to help a friend move. It probably/maybe won't happen again if we are really lucky. But I have round 26 up now, and I hope everyone enjoys it. I can't say much without spoiling it, but let's just say that we're going to answer a few questions in the VERY first segment. I hope you are surprised, and I hope you have fun. Meet me at the bottom for more news! Later!

Une version française de cette histoire est disponible ici: Absolette.

Ship Warning: Contestshipping, Pokeshipping (kind of? Maybe?), MangaQuestshipping (if you tilt your head and squint?). Idk. This isn't really a "shippy" round.

I do not own or have any rights to any part of the Pokemon franchise whatsoever.


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Round 26: The Best Laid Plans

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'If you can hear me, send help! Hurry!'

The man looked up from the strange waterfall he had been forced to stare at for who knows how long. His unforgiving bonds held him down so perfectly that only his neck was able to move, and once his cheek hit the side of the chair, not even that could move any further. He had tried struggling. He had tried fighting it. But things worked differently in this dimension, and the knot was very well done. His captor had spared no expense on holding him down.

By this point, the man's complex thoughts had already led him everywhere in an attempt to avoid madness, but that was all interrupted when a deafening roar cut through the still air and caused his eyes to widen. Did it work? Was he free? His answer came in the form of a great white beast dropping out of the sky behind him. It was just beyond his vision, but the man knew it was there. Reshiram had found its target. It roared again.

The roar carried through the dark atmosphere until it eventually reached Black, who was also traversing through the bizarre world. The boy simply nodded his head and continued on a rocky path to the best of his abilities. Nothing was going to stop him from reaching his Pokémon. Perhaps when Black had first entered the world he was a little nervous, but those feelings faded in an instant. He was now familiar with the chill in the air, the strange floating platforms, the spastic water, and the endless dark sky. Heck! He was even learning to cope with the unpredictable gravity. And as the boy jumped from one massive rock to a floor of glowing crystals, he peered up and smiled at the sight of an upside down waterfall that led directly to another rock. The waterfall hid a massive shadow behind it that he could only assume belonged to his dragon. "RESHIRAM!" he cried.

"WRAAAAH!" it shouted back, and as it did, the shadow twitched to show a monster screaming. Black's smile doubled in size, and he ran forward to meet the beast.

The portal he had entered from was not remarkably far from where he was now, and as White came stumbling out of it, she could hear the loud roar as well. The girl immediately shot her eyes to the sky upon falling from the hole. "Woah…" she let out. "Where is this place?" The portal still sat behind her. It had a white glow on this side, and she met it with a shrug. "Hey, guys!" she called through, "I'm okay! It's completely safe in here… But it does look creepy."

Her friends acknowledged the information and began to enter the void one by one to follow Black. Emerald was the next person to come through, and his gaze immediately met with a jumping figure in the far back of the empty abyss. "Is that him?" he asked with a point of the hand.

White followed the hand with her eyes and met the same jumping figure. It looked like a human from where she stood, and it was hopping straight up as high as it could from a crystal platform. It appeared to be reaching for the stone platform above it, but it was no use. Both dex holders gasped when they saw the figure finally touch the rock above. Gravity immediately shifted around the person, allowing him to walk upside down on the surface he had jumped for.

"What was that?!" Asked N as he stepped through the hole.

"It might be Black." Emerald explained before running forward to follow the faraway shadow. "Come on!"


The man began to struggle again. He still could not turn his head from the waterfall he was facing, but the dragon appearing behind him had revived his fighting spirit, and he desperately wanted to get out of this situation.

'Why isn't it helping me?' he asked himself. 'It's just standing there like…'

His thoughts were interrupted by the pitter-patter of feet that began to pick up in the background. He stopped his struggling and listened. Someone was coming.

"Reshiram! There you are!" he heard from behind. "Don't ever run away like that again!"

"WRAAAAH!"

"What's that? What did ya find?"

The walking drew closer again. The voice was coming to save him. Thank Arceus someone had heard him! The man closed his eyes in relief.


Black stared at the strange toppled over chair as he continued to approach it. It was odd to see something so… normal in this bizarre world, but as he got closer he gasped in horror to find a man tied to the seat. Laying nearly facedown in the oncoming waterfall was a redheaded adult male dressed almost exclusively in black with ropes tightly binding him to the chair and tape covering his mouth. Black's immediate reaction was to run forward and pick the chair up so he could see him.

"Hey! Hey!" he called as he looked directly into the prisoner's face. "Are you alright?! Can you understand me?"

The man responded with a muffled cry for help and his eyes shooting toward the tape on his mouth the best they could.

Black sweat dropped in response. "Oh… right. Sorry. I should probably take the tape off first." He positioned his hand on the right side of the prisoner's face and slowly peeled one end of sticky material. It was just enough to allow communication. "So, do you want me to peel it off bit by bit or just rip it all off at once?"

"D- y-r w-rs-." He mumbled in a muffled, nearly incoherent voice. 'Do your worst.'

Black obliged by peeling the rest of the tape in one swift yank of the hand, and he was honestly surprised when the man did not respond with even the slightest scream. He just sat there with an irritated look on his face and began pursing his lips and making similar faces in order to spit out a dirty cloth that had apparently been stuck in his mouth all this time. He gasped for breath when it finally came out. He was breathing deeply. Black could not tell if he was hurt or scared… Probably both.

"What are you doing here?" the boy finally asked. "Where did you come from? Who are you? Are you the reason that Reshiram led me in here?"

Lance's breathing started to die down a little, and he spoke between gasps. "I'm here because I was captured… I came from a different dimension… I think… Can I see one… of your pokéballs?" Black produced the ball containing his Emboar, and when Lance casted a gaze across the device, he noticed the Pokémon staring back at him from its clear shell. "Yep… We're definitely from different dimensions… My name is Lance Grayson… I'm a dragon trainer… And yes, I led your dragon here…"

Black put the pokéball back where it belonged and kneeled down a little more to see Lance at eye level. "Lance Grayson, huh? …I …I think I've heard that name before."

"Full disclosure." He gasped again. "I think I'm kind of a jerk in your world…"

"Hey, Black!" someone yelled from the distance. The young trainer thought he recognized the voice, so he momentarily left Lance to walk toward the nearby waterfall and peak his head through the upside down stream to see where it had come from.

White, N, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald were running toward his location from a few floating stones in the distance. He smiled. They had decided to come after all!

"There you are!" White called again, "We thought the thing behind the waterfall might be you!"

"What's going on?" N also called. "Did you find the thing Reshiram was looking for?"

"Uh… Yeah… I found it!" he cried back.

"Well, what was it?" Emerald asked. None of the trainers had broken their stride.

"It's… um… a spiky haired guy from another dimension…"

Sapphire face-palmed. "Not this again!"

"Again?" Ruby asked.

"Hey!" she yelled back toward Black. "Tell that guy for the hundredth time that I have NO IDEA what a dragon ball is!"

"No! Not dragon balls, dragon trainer!" he corrected, "He says his name is Lance Grayson!"

"WHAT?!" Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald all stopped in their tracks, prompting N and White to slow to a stop as well before casting a plethora of confused glances toward the trio.

"Did you just say Lance Grayson?" Emerald asked.

"Yeah… Why?"

"Look, you guys may not know this because you're from Unova," Ruby began, "But on our side of the world, Lance Grayson is the name of the leader of the Elite Four, a deadly organization of Pokéterrorists.

Black did a double take to see the poor man tied to a chair behind him. He was beaten, bruised, and his outfit was charred with scorch marks. He certainly did not look like a threat, especially with Reshiram staring so intently at him.

He looked back toward his friends. "Pokéterrorists? Are you sure?"

They nodded in unison.

He did another double take. "He's beaten and tied to a chair!"

Emerald only crossed his arms and huffed. "The guy probably deserved it."

"I dunno..." Sapphire came. "I think he's helped our seniors out before."

"Just because someone has done bad things does not mean that they don't deserve mercy." N explained.

"Let's just… wait until we can at least see him before we do anything…" Ruby offered. Everyone seemed to agree with that, and the small group continued to work their way up to the strange situation.

Black simply meandered back to the captive and looked at him on eye level again. "My friends say you're a terrorist." He explained.

The man was still catching his breath. "I've been called worse things…" he admitted with a quiet laugh.

Black's determined face did not waver. "Is it true?"

The man stopped laughing and looked at Black again with a completely serious face. "I'm not the Lance your friends are familiar with. I'm from another dimension."

There was silence. The two engaged in a staring contest, Lance only breaking to breathe every now and then.

"Why should I believe you?" Black asked.

Lance's eyes did a once over of the surrounding atmosphere. The dark world, shining crystals, upside down water, and strange floating rocks stared him back. "You're in a different dimension." He challenged, "Why should it be strange that I'm claiming to have come from another dimension?"

"Well, even if that is true, how do I know you aren't evil? Should I just randomly trust the mysterious stranger from another dimension?"

Lance's gasps finally stopped, and his breathing pattern settled back to normal. He was silent for a few seconds.

"…Well?"

"I was tossed in here after I lost a fight against the Lance from your dimension." He explained, "He, along with a man named Giovanni and a group of children named Red, Blue, and Green, was sent to my dimension. I had him and his Pokémon on the ropes, but at the last minute, he used some sort of psychic ability to mind control my Pokémon into attacking me. That inevitably led to me losing the fight and allowed him to steal my identity and carry out whatever nefarious plot he had in mind. I was then sent here in case he should need me later, but my mind kept lamenting on that loss and the many terrible things that he might be doing now, so I focused all of my energy and every ounce of willpower I had to try to mimic the psychic trick he had used on my dragons. I figured that if he could do it, there was a chance that I could do it as well and just didn't know about it. I tried to send out a psychic call for help to any and all dragons that could hear me. Apparently, it worked."

Black looked back at Reshiram. "Wow… That's… impressive…"

"You wouldn't believe how much concentration it took." Lance continued, "It was really a shot in the dark, and I didn't know what to expect, but it was also my only option. There is no sure way out of here. Even if I managed to get out of this chair, I'm sure there are thousands of portals spanning throughout this dimension, leading to a variety of different places."

"Well, why did only my dragon come?" Black questioned, "Why didn't a herd of dragons come?"

Lance looked the beast up and down. "That's Reshiram? The legendary dragon of Unova?"

He nodded slowly.

"I'm not entirely sure…" the man admitted, "But I'm new to the whole psychic thing. I'm not very good at it, and I'm not technically even in your dimension. My psychic shout was probably so quiet that it took a dragon with enhanced senses to even hear me. Maybe the Toa Duo just fit the bill."

Black nodded again. It was not a solid answer, but it was decent. Things were starting to add up. There were still a few missing pieces, though. His eyes narrowed on the dragon tamer again. "That story is great and all, but I still have two questions."

"…."

"How do I know you aren't lying, and how do I know you aren't evil?"

Lance leaned in as much as his binds would allow him, nearly coming face-to-face with Black in a stare down. "If I'm evil… Then why haven't I ordered your dragon to set me free and strand you here?"


"Buizel's down!"

"Have Ratty cover his slack!"

"Ash! Your stupid Snorlax won't wake up!"

"Tell me something I don't know!"

"PI-PIKA!" Pikachu screamed as he let loose a massive Thunderbolt to drive his opponents into the wall.

Ash, Misty, and Yellow were now huddled up in a small circle in the hallway. Ash was facing the oncoming rockets from the West, and Yellow was facing the rockets from the East. Misty stood in between the two without any Pokémon of her own, but she would alternate between commanding some of Ash's Pokémon and some of Yellow's Pokémon. Neither trainer possessed a Pokémon stupid enough to refuse Misty's orders when they were clearly under brutal assault.

Both mobs first appeared with a set number of rockets, but the group seemed to be increasing in size. No doubt those that fell in battle were calling for back up. This was not a good situation for the heroes to be in, and their energy was waning.

"Ash, I'm not sure I'm gonna last much longer without Buizel's help!" Yellow admitted, "The level cap is killing my team over here!"

"Do that thing you did earlier where you healed the Pokémon by yourself!" Ash offered.

"I… I can't! I need time and concentration to do that!"

"Try hiding behind Snorlax!" Misty suggested, "That Pokémon will not wake up, and you might be able to have some of your team duck behind him as a kind of defensive wall!"

"Hey! Leave Snorlax alone!" Ash came again, "You could seriously hurt him if you do that!"

"What other option do we have, Ash?!" Misty's tone was getting harsh. "If anything, maybe it'll wake him up so that he can actually get in the fight!"

"Dody's down!" Yellow announced.

"Sceptile's down!" Ash came back.

"Seriously!" Misty said again, "Ash! We need to-"

"Misty, just get a hold of a water Pokémon or something!" he commanded.

The girl cast a quick glance at Yellow's Omastar. "Yellow, can I borrow your water type?"

"Why?" she shot back, "I'm having trouble holding this side down with Omny!"

"I'll… I'll trade you Gliscor!" She offered.

"No you won't!" Ash returned, "I need Gliscor over here! What use is Omny gonna be anyway?"

"Hey!" Yellow shouted.

"No offense…" he muttered, "But… level cap. Remember?"

Misty sighed. "I haven't forgotten about the level cap, Ash. But we need a way to slow down these attacks! We're getting slaughtered!"

"And what are you suggesting?" Ash was barely paying attention at this point. Most of his concentration was on the three Golbat that were tag teaming Pikachu.

"I was thinking… Rolling Cyclone?" she asked with a pause.

Ash's concentration was broken for a moment. He did not quite look towards Misty, but he stalled for a second. "Rolling Cyclone? Ugh. No, I hate that one. How about Watering Pail?"

"There is no way Watering Pail will clear enough people in time, Ash. And don't we need a grass type for that?"

"…Lightning Post?"

"No! Think, Ketchum! Think! We need an advantage here!"

"WHAT ON EARTH are you two talking about?!" Yellow shouted.

Both companions paused in their thoughts again before they smiled and spoke at the same time. "STEAMING SHOWER!"

"What?!" Yellow was completely lost now.

"Gliscor! Trade positions with Omny!" Ash ordered.

"Omny! Do whatever Ash and Misty tell you!" Yellow added.

The two Pokémon switched places in no time, Gliscor's speed giving Yellow even more coverage than she had to begin with. The girl would have taken full advantage of it, but Ash and Misty launched their attack before she could really do much. Steaming Shower was apparently a team strategy that the duo had perfected at some point during practice battles in order to deal with multiple opponents at once. When executing the attack, one of Misty's Pokémon (in this case, Omny) would rapid fire as many Water Guns as it could at the opponents while Ash's Charizard followed up with a rapid fire of Flamethrowers. The combonation naturally resulted in a huge steamscreen blinding the opposition and providing a defensive cover for the duo. The only disadvantage to this tactic was that neither Ash nor Misty could see the opponents either, but in this case, they didn't need to. They were just buying time.

"Perfect." Misty chirped as the trio was enveloped in a billowing cloud of evaporated water.

"How is this going to help us?" Yellow asked.

"The rockets and their Pokémon can't see us now." Ash explained, drawing his team back into the cloud. "Their attacks will be less accurate... Maybe even less frequent. It means we can hold them off easier."

"I still don't see how it's an advantage if we can't see." The girl protested.

"We've bought time and concentration." Misty offered before tossing Yellow a couple of Ash's pokéballs. "Get to healing."

Yellow looked down at the orbs in her hands and smiled. Maybe they had a chance after all… Maybe…


Meanwhile, Red and Blue were discussing their own strategy as they overlooked the colossal battle that was still taking place in front of Team Rocket's base. Brock's Steelix and Dr. Zager's robot were still going at it, but it appeared to be a stalemate. Red was worried that they may have merely changed the rules by putting Brock on the field. Now none of the Pokémon were fighting to get to the base; they were just fighting to get to Steelix. Team Rocket's Pokémon, of course, wanted to knock Steelix over while the dex holders' Pokémon wanted to help Steelix push. Had anything really changed? They were still in a deadlock. The rockets were still gaining numbers by the minute. Ash was still inside the base. This was bad.

The one real advantage they had going for them was that Green had stolen Giratina, but even that advantage had its limits. Lance was chasing after her now, and she could not actually risk using the Pokémon as long as Lance was still a problem. Without its level cap, Giratina would be universally stronger than Mewtwo. Even if someone managed to get that pokéball back to Professor Oak's lab and strip it of its levels, said individual would have to release the dragon immediately. It was not worth the risk to keep such a powerful being bottled up inside of a pokéball when someone like Lance was on the loose.

"You know he's staring us down." Blue interrupted.

Red shook the surplus of thoughts from his mind as he snapped back to the present. Blue was looking straight ahead, through the battle. His eyes were pressed forward. "I guess he likes the drama of this sort of thing."

"I'm sorry… What were we talking about?" Red asked.

Blue chuckled a little bit at his best friend's reaction. "Who'd of thought it? It comes down to the wire like this, Giovanni is giving you his full concentration, and you wave it off in favor of some daydream."

"Believe me, I'm not daydreaming." Red assured. "I'm running the scenarios through my head…" He took a pause. "I think we're beat."

That caused Blue to turn his attention away from the field. "No…" he began in an almost sarcastic tone. "Are you really telling me that RED is giving up?"

"Not giving up." He defended. A small smile let out. "I never give up. I'm just saying I think we're beat. The odds are definitely not on our side right now."

Blue nodded solemnly. "I think you might be right… But what about Ash?"

Red's eyes narrowed across the field at the raging war. He didn't respond.

"Weren't you doing everything you could to protect that kid?"

"I am." He answered.

"…So, what now?"

"If he's going down… I'm going down first."

Blue was right. Giovanni was staring them down. Red could see it. Right at the front of the base, the crime boss stood in a completely professional stance with a crooked grin. He stared right back.


"Well, at least I finally got his attention." Giovanni muttered as he continued to oversee his opposition from the entrance of his lair. His hands were clasped behind his back in a daunting display of satisfaction.

"Sir, should we clear the entrance in case Steelix breaks through?" a grunt offered.

"No, no." the crime boss calmly answered. "This is almost over. Just give it a moment. Steelix has neither the strength nor the durability to go on much longer, but I do want-"

"Hello! Hello!" a radio cackled to life. Giovanni's interest was again taken as he heard his counterpart speaking. "This is Commander 2 requesting an audience with Commander 1. Over!"

He glared at the radio strapped to his belt with intense fury. "That little coward!"

"Um… Does there seem to be a problem, sir?" the grunt next to him spoke again.

"I'll say there is!" he came back as he lifted the radio from his side, preparing to scream into it. "That's your old boss on the other end! I asked for his assistance out here ages ago, but I couldn't get a response from him! I assumed his radio was destroyed or something, but obviously this-"

"I repeat! This is Commander 2 requesting an audience with Commander 1. It's an emergency! Over!"

He clenched the small box in his hand and pressed the 'Talk' button. "It had better be an emergency, you ungrateful buffoon! I have been waiting here, trying to contact you for-"

"Hello, Father." The voice changed this time, and it changed to perhaps the one thing that could throw the crime boss off for a moment.

"S… Silver?"

"That's right. How kind of you to recognize the voice of the boy whose friends you are trying to murder."

"Silver! Wha… What are you doing here?" A cold sweat began on Giovanni's forehead. "How… How on Earth did you get… Wait! Are you the-"

"No. Before you ask, I'm not the Silver from this dimension. I'm your son. We need to talk."

Normally, Giovanni would ask for proof. Normally, he might not believe the stranger speaking on the other end of a pictureless radio, but this was not a normal caller. By the gravity in the boy's voice and the seriousness of his tone, either Giovanni knew that he was telling the truth or Giovanni could not slow his brain down enough to question whether or not he was telling the truth. "Ho… How did you get here?"

"That's not important." The caller assured, "But I spoke to plenty of grunts on my way over here. I know what you're doing. I know who you're fighting. And I won't stand for it."

The boss now had enough time to regroup his thoughts. He straightened up and started again with his casual demeanor. "Silver. I know we haven't always seen eye-to-eye on this kind of thing, but I know who you are. Surely, there is some part of you that-"

"There is no part of me that wants this, Giovanni! You need to make a decision right now! The multiverse or your son!"

"Silver, think of what we could accomplish!"

"I've heard this spill before, Dad! Nothing is going to change my mind! I am not the heir to Team Rocket!"

"YES YOU ARE!"

"NO I'M NOT!"

There was silence. The men around Giovanni were no longer paying attention to the battle. They were all staring at the strange conversation intently.

In Silver's room, the other Giovanni was staring at his counterpart's son with the same kind of perplexity.

Father and son both held their respective radios in the same position: right ear, same grip, same angle. Both had the same scared and disappointed looks on their faces.

That was when the vent above Silver's head began to chime. May, Drew, and Max had wandered into Giovanni's office after overhearing the tense conversation, and although none of them knew Silver very well, they all gasped at the scene that unfolded below them. They saw Silver standing in a closed room with a big man in an orange suit, talking on the radio with a loaded gun in his hand.

"Dad…" Silver began again slowly, "I know there is good in you… You've saved my life before. Now you have an opportunity to save the whole multiverse… from yourself…"

The man sighed. "Silver, you don't understand… This… This is for the best…"


Steelix screamed in pain as he pushed toward his foe. Everything seemed to slow down around him. Time itself stopped for a moment as he lost his footing and slid back a bit. That was the first movement that had happened for minutes in the struggle.

"Come on, Steelix!" Brock cried, "We can do this!"

Red and Blue cheered from the other side of the field as well, worry dropping like a rock to the pit of their stomachs.

"Steelix! You've got this!"

"You're gonna make it! Come on!"


"Don't you understand how pitiful the world is?" Giovanni continued.


Green was still running through the thick trees and bushes, ducking, rolling, and breathing heavily. A Dragonite emerged from behind her with its master atop, screaming, "Get her!"

Fire blanketed the entire area.


"You and your 'friends' team up with such misfit trainers and gym leaders for what?"


Charizard's flames had been reduced to nothing more than a small stream. His surroundings were getting blurry.

Yellow was healing another Pokémon as the steam began to condense again.

"ASH!" Misty screamed, "If Charizard goes out we can't heal anymore!"

The trainer's eyes doubled in size as he took his attention off of Sceptile and turned to see Charizard fall to the floor. "NO!"

Yellow jumped up from her current project and ran to heal the fire type, but a Raticate suddenly slammed down in front of her and blocked the way with a Hyper Fang.


"Do you hope to preserve the pitiful existence that we are prone to every day? A world where people compete in Pokémon battles just to flex their muscles? A world where every day the question must be asked 'Who is strongest?' 'Who is wealthiest?' 'Who has the most power?'"


Gary returned his fallen Scizor to its pokéball, and Tobias did the same for his Heatran. Both trainers exchanged worried glances at each other.

"Move your Nidoking over to the Metagross on the left!" Tobias ordered, "I'll send Gyarados to face the Golem on the right!"

"Got it!" Gary assured.


"In my multiverse, I'll do away with all that. There will be a clear ultimate. A clear ruler. People call my methods 'evil.' Silver, what is so 'evil' about assuring that those who work to be the most powerful are the most powerful? Me and my team?" He beat his chest. "We've been working our butts off here. Surely you understand."

Silver looked down at the floor in dread. "You don't work. You cheat. You kill. You lie. You break every rule and then believe that no one will break any of your own rules when you establish an empire…" He eyed the gun in his other hand suspiciously, almost playfully. He twirled it around slowly without ever letting off of the 'Talk' button. "Maybe I should show you what you do…"

May, Drew, and Max were still watching this all from above with complete blankness on their faces. They did not know what was going on. They only knew that this was bad. It was about to get worse.

"Silver?" Giovanni spoke again. "Silver? Are you still there? What are you doing?"

"I'm handing the radio over to your double." He answered as he began toward a very confused Giovanni. "He's going to describe the situation to you while I do a little presentation. Here's a hint: I think it's gonna take two hands."

"Silver?!" he shouted again. "Silver! Stop this right now! What's going on?!"

He handed the radio off to his father's counterpart before screaming one last thing into it. "Just let your doppelganger know when you would like me to stop!"

"SILVER?!"

His counterpart answered. "No… It's me again…"

"Commander 2! What… What is he doing?!"

"…He's got a gun…"

"WHAT?!"

"He just cocked it back."

"Giovanni! Who is he aiming at?!"

Silence followed.

"Giovanni?!"

"He's not doing anything yet… He's just standing still. He's breathing…"

"Well, why does he-"

"ARCEUS! OH! ARCEUS! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?!"

"What?! What?! What happened?!"

"HE'S POINTING THE GUN AT HIS HEAD!"

"HE'S WHAT?!"

Silver's entire body was shaking as the cold barrel of the loaded gun sat against his skull. He was right. It was taking two hands. One to hold the gun. One to steady it. "ALRIGHT, DAD!" he called out, "TIME TO PLAY THIS YOU'RE WAY!" His breathing sped up to such a level that he could hardly speak. "CALL THIS WHOLE THING OFF RIGHT NOW… OR I SHOOT IN… I SHOOT IN 5!"

"FIVE WHAT?!" Giovanni asked his counterpart, "FIVE WHAT?!"

"Listen, kid!" the other Giovanni coaxed. "Don't do this! You don't know what you're doing! It's not worth this!"

"Tell him five seconds!"

"Silver!"

"TELL HIM FIVE SECONDS!"

"FOR THE LOVE OF LUGIA! DO YOU REALLY THINK I WANT TO SEE A MIROR IMAGE OF MY SON SPLATTER HIS BRAINS ALL OVER THE WALL?!"

"TELL HIM FIVE SECONDS OR MEW HELP ME, I'LL SHOOT YOU!"

He took a deep breath. The crime boss was sweating over every inch of the radio. "Five seconds."

"I… I need more time!" Giovanni cried, "I can't just-"

"Five!"

"COMMANDER 2! TELL MY SON TO STOP THIS RIGHT NOW!"

"I CAN'T! HE WON'T LISTEN TO ME!"

"Four!"

"WELL, STOP HIM YOURSELF!"

"THE KID HAS A GUN!"

"Three!"

May looked down in horror. She was no longer hiding her voice. "We have to do something!"

"Is… Is it really our place?" Drew asked, "I mean, I don't think he should do it any more than you do, but we can't just intervene like that, can we?!"

"Two!"

"Well, someone better do something quick!" Max added, "Otherwise, the world is gonna end and we'll all need therapy!"

"ONE!"

A loud 'CRASH!' interrupted Team Hoenn's discussion as the vent below Max opened up and spilt him onto the floor only to be scooped up by Giovanni in a millisecond.

May and Drew were too startled by the sudden change in circumstances to do anything, but Silver immediately turned his suicide gun on his father's counterpart. "What are you doing?" he asked, "Let the kid go, and put my father back on!"

Giovanni had Max in a chokehold and was squeezing him in front of his body to negate any bullet threats. "Put your father back on?" he asked, "Weren't you paying any attention? I just threw my radio against that vent to open up the latch. That thing is busted!"

"MAX!" May finally found her voice. She and Drew leapt from the vent to try to get a hold of the situation.

"What are you three doing here?!" Silver asked, "You're interrupting everything!"

"Someone help!" Max chocked out.

"On the contrary. They just helped me save your life." Giovanni pointed out, "Now, put the gun down before you shoot somebody."

"I didn't want anybody to save my life!" he countered, "I wanted to give my father an honest choice!"

"Well, now it's over." The crime boss explained. "Now, I'm in charge here. All three of you, stand down!"


"HELLO?! HELLO?!" Giovanni cried into his radio, "Commander 2! What's going on in there?! What happened?! Is Silver dead?! Did you stop him?! HELLO?!"

From Giovanni's perspective, the world may have indeed stopped for a moment there, but for everyone else, it kept on spinning. The nearby rockets were still awestruck and confused but could not gather the courage to say anything. The Pokémon were still outside fighting for their lives. Steelix was still pushing against the Rocketbot. Nothing had changed, and Giovanni could tell.

He walked further out onto the battlefield after the radio cut off. He saw what was happening around him, but it did not fully register. His body was on the field, but his mind was with his son. And for a few brief moments, he was only a ghost.

"HELLO!" he cried again, "Commander 2, do you hear me?! Commander 2?!"

"Giovanni!" another voice boomed from the sky. The crime boss looked up to find one of his own helicopters hovering toward the clearing with a big, red 'R' on it, but the voice was not that of a rocket. Gold smiled through the window from the pilot seat next to Crystal, "Quit talking to yourself!"

A flurry of bullets all the sudden emerged from the torrent on the chopper, causing Giovanni to duck in cover as the vessel made a dive toward the battlefield. And like that, he was back in the present again.

"This was SUCH a bad idea!" Crystal screamed from her seat, but that didn't stop Gold from buckling out laughs as he scattered the Pokémon on the battlefield by firing near them. They ran away like Stantler in the woods.

"See?! I told you stealing a helicopter would be awesome!"


Those on the ground either screamed or stared in awe at the new player in the game, leading many rockets to return their Pokémon once they realized that the bird was firing at them.

"Is… Is that thing firing at the rockets?" Gary asked, clearly thrown off by the black chopper actually helping them.

Tobias had a hearty laugh at the many troops that were retreating at the sight of the magnificent machine. "It appears so! A friend of yours, I suppose?"

"I… I don't know…" he admitted.


But Red and Blue knew. They could recognize the style and voice that was shouting out a bunch of corny one-liners as it barreled down on the opposition.

"There's no way…" Blue muttered.

But Red's smile perked up to a goofy grin as he saw the copter ease down and scare more troops from the battlefield. The window was facing him at just the right angle to allow visibility, and he noticed a bright yellow cap in the cockpit. "How does Gold do it?"


"Woo-hoo! Get along little doggies!" he screamed again as the machine took another dive down and scattered a small scuffle going on near the base. A Golbat swooped up toward the chopper to try to crash the rogue vehicle, but Gold only smirked at his on-coming opponent and turned the blades toward the poison type to scare it away. "You've gotta be kiddin' me!"

"Gold! Calm down!" Crystal cautioned, "You're going to actually hurt someone!"

"Come on…" the boy drawled out, "I'm just having a little fun and scaring the living heck out of everything! I'm not gonna actually put a bullet through anyone unless I have to!"

Another dive.

They lifted up facing the Steelix/robot battle. "Well, the least you could do is get the biggest target on the field!" she continued, pointing towards the lumbering machine that had Steelix on the ropes.

"Awww... But I wanted to save it for last!"

"Gold! Now!" She insisted with a stern point, one hand on her hip.

"Fine…"

The chopper moved toward the deadlock with a kind of ominous speed before Gold sat, hovering above the whole mess.

Brock looked up at the boy from atop his starter's head. They were both worn out. He was sweating to no end with his heart beating a thousand times a minute, and Steelix's stamina was about to collapse entirely. "WELL?!" he asked.

Gold was just sitting at the cockpit, looking off into the distance.

"Gold!" Crystal whined, shaking his right arm. "I think he wants us to attack now."

"Yeah, yeah. Hold on. I'm tryin' to think of a good one-liner for this one."

She face-palmed. "You have got to be kidding me."

"I know, right? This never happens to me. Why can't I think of anything?"

This time she grabbed him by the collar. "GOLD! FIRE NOW!"

"Okay! Okay!"

By this point, Dr. Zager had found out what was going on, and he began to let up on Steelix to run the other way, but he was not fast enough. In a matter of seconds, Gold unloaded a barrage of bullets into the machine, knocking it over, and making it completely inoperational.

This of course, led to Steelix storming inside the base and finally breaching Rocket security. They were going to do this! They were going to make it!


"ALL ROCKETS REPORT TO THE ENTRANCE! I REPEAT! ALL ROCKETS REPORT TO THE ENTRANCE! THIS IS A CODE RED!"

The alarms were getting monotonous at this point, and Jessie merely rolled her eyes as this one began to speak up in her office. She and her two companions had been ignoring every one of them, doing their part in stopping this madness by being completely incompetent.

"Weren't we already supposed to report to the entrance?" James asked as he sat at his desk and twirled one of Misty's pokéballs in his hand.

"I don't even care anymore." Jessie explained.

"Ya think any progress is gettin' made?" Meowth asked from the floor.

The door suddenly burst open with their boss at the other end, causing each rocket to jump to attention at the terrifying entrance. "BOSS!" They screamed in unison.

"We- we were just-"

"Spare me!" Giovanni insisted as he walked into the room with four kids in front of him and a gun pointed at the youngest one's head.

May and Max gasped as they saw the trio. "YOU?!"

"YOU?!" they asked back.

"Oh, so you know each other?" Silver sighed. "This just keeps getting better and better."

"Those are the two twerps that used to travel with the other twerp!" James sputtered.

"And you're the creeps that were always following us through the woods!" May shot back.

"Kinda makes sense they'd be involved in this.,." Max admitted, "I mean… They are part of Team Rocket…"

"I'm sorry…" Drew began. His eyes darted from May to the trio a couple times. "How do you two know these three?"

"You're kidding, right?" Jessie asked, drawing closer to the boy, "We've met you before."

"He's humiliated us before." Meowth added.

Drew looked really closely at them and then paused for a second before flipping his hair. "Nope. Don't remember them."

The trio was enraged. "WHAT?!"

"ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!" James screamed, "We followed the main twerp and your girlfriend around the world for months, and you don't remember our names?!"

His eyes narrowed on them a second time to be sure. "Hmm… Nope. Not even a little."

Jessie was almost ready to slap him. "Why you-"

"Okay!" Giovanni interrupted, "While I hate to break up this little 'reunion', I actually have a job for you three today."

The trio regained their composures and stood at attention again, albeit with slightly confused expressions. Giovanni never had a job for them if he could help it.

He smiled and gave a quick nod. "You see, this here is my son, Silver." He placed his hand on Silver's shoulder, much to the boy's displeasure. "He has been causing some… trouble with our mission, so I'm going to see what I can do about that."

They nodded in an understanding manner.

"These three are not my sons." He continued, motioning to May, Max, and Drew. "They have also been causing some trouble, so I'm going to deal with them in a less comfortable manner."

That caused the three kids to sweat drop, but Silver's angry expression only intensified. Giovanni noticed that and continued on appropriately. "Unfortunately, certain… bargains… prevent me from killing these three, and the prison break from our cells prevents me from locking them there, so I need your help to tie them up and throw them in your closet, since your room is the closest and most convenient."

Now the villainous trio looked even more confused.


Giovanni was running now. Okay… Steelix and its trainer had entered the base. Most of the rockets had retreated. Red and his friends had completely destroyed the front lines. Silver and/or the other Giovanni might be dead. The only way that things could get worse now is if-

"HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!" a voice echoed. Giovanni paused in fear as a bead of sweat dripped down his face. "WE'VE GOT YOU SURROUNDED!"

"No we don't, Gold. He just can't run fast enough to escape us."

"I know, but I've always wanted to say that."

The helicopter was right behind him. Giovanni fell to his knees. This was over.

.

.

.

That's when Mewtwo returned.


More AN: So, today I decided to taunt you with the cliffhanger of all cliffhangers just to be a jerk. Most people can probably guess that things get pretty bad when Mewtwo enters on the scene, again making this thing FAR from over. I've always found it amusing how in a story like this one small line can change the entire game so easily. In other news, I have gotten to the point where I sigh every time after I put out a new round because it never QUITE ends up how I picture it. It ends up much longer. I think this fic is going to be drug out longer than I like because of how long it takes me to write my ideas down. So, tell me what you think. Is it too long? Is each round entertaining? Too many action/battle scenes? I really want to know what YOU think. Even if you hate what's going on, let me know so I can fix it (just be kind, please). I love reading comments, speculation, etc. in the reviews. And I hope I always keep you guessing with my curve balls. I'm kind of big on trying to be unpredictable. ;) Oh! That reminds me! We have a tvtropes page now! Someone messaged me saying "Pokemon Adventures: Ash Gray Chapter" is now officially on that website, so Yeeeeaaaahhh! I'm popular-ish! If tvtropes is your thing, look us up there. But aside from that, I'll try to see you guys next week!

P.S. Be on the lookout for a preview to one of my upcoming fics, "Of Fire and Ashes." I'll try to put it up sometime this week.