Hello fellow readers and writers of fanfiction. The Soldier of the Future is here again to bring you a new oneshot release as a way to kick off the summer. I hope all of you who have the patience to read my fics are having a great holiday, unless you have to work (in that case I wish that you'll still get some time to enjoy the wonderful weather). With writer's block in the way, there's no better time to attempt to get back on track with yet another new story for release.
This release also sheds a little light into the main conflict of my current in-progress fic, Pokémon Heroes: Uprising. Consider this to be a prequel, if you may (the first few chapters aren't that good but that's because I was a returning writer back then so this should make up for it)
I don't own the cover art, the characters, or the Pokémon themselves. They all belong to their original creators and designers. The cover art for the story is by Puli-wind on Deviantart and I have asked for permission from her to use it. In addition, she was kind enough to help me design the cover for this oneshot.
Note: IT'S UP! HOORAY!
This fic is also dedicated to one of my closest friends and supporters on this site, MegaAuthor. His birthday passed a while ago so if you're reading this dude, I wish(ed) you a happy birthday. Even if it's a bit late, well, better late than never, right? Without any further doubts, enjoy the first release of a prequel dedicated to one of my fics!
Pokémon Ranger: Arcanines of War
"Better to fight for something than live for nothing." -George S. Patton
"We are the Arcanines of War. When our allies fall, we take the last stand against our enemies with courage, discipline, and might. And we don't stop marching on until we either win or are outright destroyed." -Anonymous Pokémon Ranger Commander
"BUCKLE UP AND DISMANTLE THEM, SOLDIERS! Make 'em taste autocannon lead!" -KDF/Ranger Mech Pilot's motto
"Push the button. Write down history with the blood and body of your enemies. Go on, my friend…the world will embrace my-I mean, your actions." -Giovanni
"In peace, sons bury their fathers. In war, fathers bury their sons." -Anonymous
The early morning sun was slowly beginning its routine trip across the Earth's sky as a small glow of orange-reddish light leisurely emerged on the crack of the horizon against a slightly overcast sky. The weather was mild, with the ocean being relatively calm-which was strange, as the Pacific Ocean was known to be extremely violent and brutish in terms of weather and ocean currents. Small curtains of fog introduced relatively reduced visibility but it wasn't enough to transform navigation into a living nightmare. Within a few hours, the moderately acceptable weather would transform into a beautiful scene of sunshine and tropical weather that would be any vacationer's dream come true. The Seafoam Islands was, after all, a prime vacation spot for tourists and Pokémon Trainers alike, with its resorts and beaches highly valued mainly because it was one of the best surfing spots available in Kanto.
On this day though, the beaches were silent. No early morning-goers were strolling across the usually clean and peaceful beaches. The buildings of the resort were dead silent and not a single human was seen, as if the entire island had been abandoned and reduced to nothing more than a ghost town. The only signs of life present were flocks of Wingulls flying overhead or the common Krabby skittering across the beaches, evading the incoming surfs of water that curled in like miniature tidal waves. Without the intrusion of human presence, the tranquility of the two small islands off the coast of Fuchsia seemed to be more serene than it normally seemed.
All this was just the prelude for a large-scale battle that would soon take place and potentially ravage the entire island in an extremely bloody and brutal battle that would remain as a dark memory in many of the combatant's hearts-that is, if they were going to leave the battlefield alive and in one piece.
Team Rocket was going to be placed to the test against a formal and organized military alliance for the first time, for their activities have finally managed to catch on the eyes of armed forces that served in the Kanto and Johto region. Hoenn and Sinnoh were rather distant and as such, did not participate.
An entire naval armada carrying multiple battalions of troops, vehicles, and Pokémon steamed full speed towards the islands, with the commanders in charge of the operation confident in their skills in organization, strategies and their forces' training to carry the battle through for them.
"Sir," an officer greeted his superior on the bridge of the RCS Fiore aircraft carrier with utmost respect. "The fleet is in position and all troops and vehicles have been accounted for. The amphibious strike team is standing by, awaiting your orders."
"Thank you Lieutenant," Captain Perrin Ellingham, the authority figure in charge of the battle and the decorated Admiral of the RCS Fiore aircraft carrier of the Pokémon Ranger Corps, expressed in response with equal respect. "Give me Lieutenant Havoc's status."
The Lieutenant cleared his throat lightly before answering with, "Havoc and his squad made landfall at 0400 hours. They're performing reconnaissance duty on the northwestern side of the island as we speak and are ready for your orders."
"Good," Captain Ellingham, who many referred him as the "Old Arcanine" given his gruff and straightforward method of commanding his forces and his heavy-handed tactics, responded with a dignified and professional tone of formality. "I want him to move towards the facility and out of the eyes of any prying guards there. As his side of the mission is a covert one, remind him that I forbid the usage of ultra-violence unless necessary. Begin the amphibious landings as planned."
"Yes sir," Perrin's aide quickly turned his attention to one of the communication officers to have the captain's request delivered.
This was the primary reason why the island was evacuated and devoid of all life with the exception of the native Pokémon that have made the islands their home for their entire life. What was previously unknown to the tourists and those who lived on the island was that the peaceful vacation resort was located on the same piece of rock that happened to be the location of a Team Rocket military and research facility. Though most of the public saw them as nothing more than a petty criminal ring that participated in small-time illegal acts such as Pokémon theft and money laundering, the real picture of Giovanni's criminal group was radically different.
Intelligence from the Kanto Defense Force and Pokémon Ranger Corps revealed what was formerly thought to be an incompetent organization that avoided conflict and attempted to stay out of high-profile crimes were nothing more than false speculations. Team Rocket was discovered to be an enterprise that possessed its own private military with cutting-edge hardware that easily rivaled the conventional military force of Kanto. It would be disastrous if Team Rocket had a chance to deploy weapons of mass destruction-from its location in the Seafoam Islands, missiles fired from the island could easily strike most inland targets in Kanto and Johto.
The military alliance's fear came to fruition after the discovery of several missile launch sites installed on the relatively abandoned islands.
"It is time for the people of Kanto and Johto to become aware of our true power. Prepare the missiles for launch and send an ultimatum to the governments of both regions!" was the intercepted radio transmission that proved Giovanni was more than willing to use nuclear arms to gain his ways.
In response, the KDF and Pokémon Ranger Corps immediately carried out a covert and preemptive strike codenamed "Operation Black Spear" with a naval and amphibious force consisting of an aircraft carrier, one battleship, several destroyers, patrol boats, and dozens of armored vehicles supported by several thousand troops and a handful of commandos. The goal of the military alliance was simple-neutralize the potential nuclear threat.
But it was clear that Giovanni was not here on the island today. Team Rocket's spy network was equally informed and should the diabolical man be here on the island, it was clear that he would have fled the isle hours before the naval fleet even left their home bases-the Vermillion City Naval Port and the Alto Mare Ranger Naval Reserve.
"It is imperative that we prevent those missiles from being launched. At all costs. Move out, soldiers!"
Seafoam Islands, Northwestern Sector, 0700 Hours, Standard Kanto time
On a watchtower and guard post concealed under thick tufts of tropical palm trees, two Team Rocket soldiers scanned the horizon with their binoculars, watching the empty ocean that stretched on for endless miles for any potential enemies that may be approaching the facility.
"Our spies said they would be here anytime now, but today, nothing," the guard muttered with boredom. Guard duty wasn't exactly the most exciting job but to the soldier, it was better than being a test subject for the shadowy scientists in employ for the organization. "How long until our shift is over?"
"An hour," his partner responded as he occasionally aimed the mounted heavy machine gun in multiple directions in case there were sudden hostilities. "After that, another pair of suckers will take the post for the next five hours and become cocktails for the mosquitoes and insects that inhabit this steaming hellhole."
While a tropical island was a dream come true for any tourist wishing to get away from a city life or the freezing climates of the northern regions, it was possibly the last destination any soldier would want to be sent to. They would have to endure hot summer days in a stuffy uniform while being menaced by the insects that shared the same location as them and such days were daunting.
Suddenly, the sight of something glistening in the distance caught the attention of the scout with the binoculars. "Hey, I think there's something out there…"
The guard was about to say something again when a sudden force propelled him backwards and forced him to fly out of the nest in the sentry tower as if he was struck by a battering ram made of concrete-looking on wide-eyed, the partner peered over the tower and discovered that his teammate was dead, as evident by a bullet hole positioned dead-center in his chest.
He knew that there was a sniper nearby-the mention of the word would easily bring fear to infantrymen of any class. They were known to be stereotypically cold and ruthless in their trade, and this was no exception when a victim was in their field of vision.
Reaching for his radio, he was just about to utter a message when he met the same fate as his partnering guard as the same unseen assassin finished him off with a bullet directed straight at his upper chest.
In the distance, the sniper stared through his scope emotionlessly to make confirmation of his kill. "That's the last of them," 2nd Lieutenant Nick Seymour Parker, codenamed "Havoc" of the Pokémon Ranger Corps informed his squad mates as he peeled his eye off the advanced telescopic sight. As a part of Arcanine Squad, his team's goal was to get to the backdoor of the facility to sabotage the missile launch sites.
"Good shot, Havoc. No more targets in sight," his spotter spoke steadily, sweat sliding down his face like rivers.
Lowering his sniper rifle, Havoc breathed deeply before congratulating his teammates for maintaining their stealth up till now. "Excellent. That'll make our approach easier."
"I personally hope they know what they're doing. Team Rocket may be seen as dimwitted in the media's coverage but this is something completely different," Sergeant Frank Weems muttered, hugging his G36 rifle with a grenade launcher attachment close to his chest. "We're not positive if Team Rocket is hiding anything for us, and even if they are, they may be holding potential prisoners of war here. If that's the case, we have to be careful of what to fire at."
"Taking prisoners? I'm not sure, considering how fanatic Team Rocket members are towards their organization," a younger Ranger questioned, wondering if there was ever a time such agents were willing to surrender peacefully. "Giovanni isn't known for taking prisoners to begin with!"
"We'll do what we can. Surely, not all of them can be mad enough to charge at our positions with vests full of explosives." Havoc wiped a stream of sweat that was worming down his weathered and partially scarred face, testaments of the previous battles that the experienced Lieutenant had fought in during his past. "We'll take heed then as those were direct orders from Ellingham. Since staying hidden until the fight breaks out is our primary objective, it's better off if we avoid patrols and whatnot. Understand? I can't afford to be in court again for being reckless."
All the fellow soldiers that followed the orders of Havoc nodded without saying a word, with the sounds of sea waves gently rolling over the beach and retracting back into the crystal-clear blue ocean.
The Lieutenant flipped the protective lens cap back down on his anti-materiel rifle's scope before scrambling on his feet. "Good. Let's move. They'll definitely suspect why those sentries we eliminated fell silent all of a sudden."
"What's our goal again? Is it another grunt hunt? Or is it a Pidgey shoot?" a younger Corporal quipped, eagerly hefting his XM25 grenade launcher, an experimental weapon that was recently stolen from the Team Rocket ranks and integrated into the PRC Special Forces Division.
Lieutenant Parker smirked in a sarcastic fashion before responding to his subordinate's question. "You can say that, but we're the ones that might be delivering the killing blow to the defenders on the island. There's no telling what Giovanni is willing to do if he can erase a city off the face of the Earth with a simple click of a button, so it is vitally important we don't let that megalomaniac continue to possess the capability to fire nuclear weapons just because he woke up pissed off."
"They seriously don't pay us enough for this…" Sergeant Weems hissed, flicking a large-sized mosquito the size of a fingernail off his left arm that was about to jab its proboscis into his exposed skin. "They better have some good treatment if I get infected with malaria here."
"Get used to it, Sergeant. I'd rather come here than risk frostbite while patrolling the peaks of Mt. Silver," Havoc answered dully, running a hand through his short but messy brown-colored hair. "We should seek cover so they would have a harder time trying to locate us."
The squad of six Pokémon Rangers proceeded to slink through the jungle and like specters drifting with dead silence throughout the battlefield environment, the Special Forces soldiers slipped deep into enemy lines using nothing but the foliage and the jungle terrain to keep themselves hidden from any potential prying eyes of Team Rocket patrols. This was especially crucial, as Pokémon such as Houndooms, Mightyenas and Arcanines were known to easily sniff out infiltrators and subdue them rather messily. The weather didn't help either as it made the soldiers sweat all the much more, generating body scents that could easily be detected by the keen senses of smell that the aforementioned Pokémon had.
"Status, Weems?" Havoc whispered, noticing a small squad of Team Rocket patrols approaching. An Arcanine and a Houndoom sniffed the air with a sense of caution as if they were suspecting that something alien was close by.
"Six guards, one Arcanine, one Houndoom. Guards are moderately equipped with automatic rifles and flashbangs," the Sergeant answered as he scanned the area with his binoculars. Being the spotter for Havoc (who played the role as a sniper) it was his mission to identify and track out targets while providing backup protection. "We can take them out but it's not a good idea now, for we may raise general alarms in this sector."
Hesitant, the other Rangers sunk back into the foliage while remaining dead silent. Only the chirping noises of Pidgeys and common bird-like Pokémon were heard, along with the rustling of leaves in the gentle humid breeze.
True to the 2nd Lieutenant's words, the Rocket patrol was well on their way again although it took the grunt that handled the two Pokémon to forcefully yank the leash of the Arcanine and Houndoom to get them to move once again. Havoc sighed with relief. The man did not give a second care of pinning the grunts with a powerful .50 caliber bullet from his sniper rifle, but he had doubts of killing Pokémon-he was a Pokémon Ranger after all. They were here to save lives of Pokémon, not take them even if they happened to be loyally aligned with their enemies.
"Let's move. Stay low, and keep the safeties on for your guns," he reminded, hugging his M29 infantry automatic rifle close to his chest. His troops did as they were told as they took a second to adjust their guns' safety locks. "Weems, see anything else?"
"Negative. There is a machine gun nest on the hill that overlooks the area but I wouldn't give too much of a worry about it-the guard's asleep and in a rather hilarious too," the fellow Ranger whispered, pointing to a nearby hill. True to his words, the guard was snoozing away with an empty bottle of beer in his hands.
"That makes our task easier," Havoc affirmed, hefting his Barrett M82 over his back before bringing his assault rifle to bear. "The silos shouldn't be hard to reach if we lay low."
Although the 2nd Lieutenant hoped that the higher-ups would have assigned him to be one of the boys charging the beaches and bringing the real hurt on the front lines, Captain Perrin Ellingham believed that his specialties and tactics would be suited for stealthy infiltration and reconnaissance. Havoc accepted the assignment humbly, always keeping in mind that there would be another day where Team Rocket would feel his wrath without the complement of stealth.
Things were quiet and tranquil enough for the Pokémon Ranger Commandos, at least for now. On the other side of the island, however, the battle was completely different.
Seafoam Islands, Southeastern Sector
"I did not sign up for this. Seriously, I should consider myself lucky that I even managed to make it to the beach alive," Pokémon Ranger Kellyn thought anxiously as he positioned himself inside a captured bunker, hugging his M16 assault rifle close to his chest.
He did not expect to be sent out to the front lines, but nevertheless had to suck it up otherwise he'd risk losing his job. Gritting his teeth, he advanced slowly, taking small amounts of ground with every kill and push he accomplished.
"Kellyn, have you reached the bunker yet?" a voice, presumably from one of the officers on the bridge of the Sinnoh-class battleship in the offshore areas, asked calmly.
"I'm there, sir," the seventeen-year old answered in the same tone that the official used to speak to him with. "Unfortunately, I'm on my own at the moment. My whole team was scattered during the initial landings."
"Hold your position there, kid. I'm sure your squad will catch up. Stay put until then. If they don't show up, move out and join up with a nearby KDF company. We'll be standing by on your signals for airstrike and offshore artillery requests."
The lone teenage infantry soldier leaned against the wall of the concrete-coated building, accompanied by nothing more than his partner Pokémon, a female Typhlosion that he affectionately referred to as Julia. His uniform was messy with dirt and sweat as a result of charging through what was practically living hell-being forced to watch his fellow soldiers being cut to pieces by machine gun and artillery fire, with some Pokémon being shot down in the pandemonium. Only the experienced were granted Pokémon, namely, most of the Pokémon Rangers. The KDF troops usually had nothing more than various small arms to fend off against enemy threats. Taking off his military helmet and running a hand through his messy hair, the Pokémon Ranger at the Warrant Officer rank heaved a heavy sigh before re-securing the piece of protective headwear back on his head.
His Typhlosion placed a hand around his back before comforting him with a hugging gesture, and Kellyn smiled in response. "I'm fine, Julia. It's exhausting to run through this mess while carrying and wearing relatively heavily gear."
"I thought you were about to fall unconscious here. We're deep behind enemy lines so the last thing I need is escorting a barely living partner out of the battlefield," the female Volcano Pokémon answered gruffly. Because Kellyn had a specialized communication earpiece that doubled as a translator for Pokespeech, he was able to understand each and every word that his (temporary) partnering Pokémon was speaking. For extra protection, Julia donned a specially-designed Kevlar vest that protected her torso and abdomen. Since Typhlosions did not possess tough natural defenses like other Pokémon, they were still vulnerable to small arms fire that could be potentially deadly to them.
The young Pokémon Ranger checked his surroundings. He was inside a bunker at the top of a hill overlooking the beachhead that provided a panoramic view of the carnage that was unfolding before he and his Pokémon's eyes. Various amphibious transport vehicles were delivering freshly-equipped soldiers and vehicles to the beach, replacing the fallen ones that had failed to achieve the objective. In the distance were the capital ships of the combined alliance, with the guns of the battleship and destroyers constantly firing and shelling the compound. Small dots were visible on the deck of the RCS Fiore Aircraft Carrier, periodically taking off from the flight deck and leaving white contrails in the sky.
The KDF and Pokémon Ranger Corps had organized their order of battle to the point where the drill and training procedures were hammered into the head of all their subordinates. This was mainly because the nature of the mission was far too extreme-failure was not an option, given how Team Rocket had missiles capable of mass devastation armed and prepared in their launch facilities. It was imperative for the invaders to mark the missile silos as a number one priority to eliminate before turning their attention to anything else that might pose a moderate threat. The first order of business for the attacking military alliance was, of course, destroy the Team Rocket missile silos and any nuclear stockpiles that may be supplying the launch systems.
It was easier said than done, even for an organized military that fielded aircraft, warships, and highly trained Pokémon.
Team Rocket possessed a nonexistent air force, as the fact they had to conceal their military and research facility meant they were not able to construct an airfield or any military ports in the area. Although the KDF/Pokémon Ranger alliance meant they didn't have to worry about being shot at by rivaling aircraft, it meant they had to deal with hundreds of anti-aircraft emplacements ready to shoot them out of the sky. If that wasn't bad enough for the aviators, the anti-air hardware were concealed within the thick foliage of the jungle, meaning there was little time for the approaching military aircraft to react and perform any evasive maneuvers before their vehicles were damaged. This resulted in various aircraft, with many of them being piloted by experienced pilots with years of active service, being shot down by anti-air fire before they were able to reach the inner sectors of the island.
"I've got the missile silo in sight, preparing for attack-" an F-18 pilot radioed to the aircraft carrier before the message was cut short, followed by static.
Two more F-22s flew up and replaced their downed compatriot, but they too were quickly taken out by more anti-aircraft missile sites that were concealed deep within the jungle. The pilots, however, managed to bail but their chances of surviving in a ravaged battlefield was slim to none. Nevertheless, the two pilots quickly linked up with a few Rangers and aided in reconnaissance duties.
"We've lost another one, sir. Two more just went down. They're dropping like flies. Team Rocket expected us to come and definitely armed themselves up for the threat," the commanding officer informed Captain Perrin Ellingham. "What are your orders? Should we pull the birds back?"
The Captain of the naval strike force bit his lips, a heavy dilemma on his shoulders. He knew if he continued to press on, the mission would definitely succeed-with superior air support and a full armored fist consisting of the finest men, women and Pokémon the alliance had to offer, Team Rocket wouldn't stand a chance. The casualties, on the other hand, would be staggering as a price of victory. But if he pulled back, it would mean they would delay the inevitable of a missile launch or even worse, Team Rocket reinforcements that would easily encircle and destroy his taskforce.
"Order a search-and-destroy mission to take out as much anti-air ordnance as possible while calling any unit back that is dedicated to pure air-to-air combat," the experienced Captain commanded. "I want the battleship and destroyers to lay down suppressive fire and if possible, take out anything that might pose a threat to our air and ground forces." While his naval artillery units were originally meant to clear the beaches, they were indispensable assets when it came to indirect fire, if somewhat inaccurate.
"Confirmed," the same officer answered.
Team Rocket's usage of Pokémon also proved to be difficult for the attacking force. Psychic-types would complicate the battle by casting protective barriers over the organization's troops and hardware thus reducing the damage dealt while their telekinetic powers could waste a soldier rather speedily. Powerful fire and ground-types proved to be the bane of armored forces as the fire-types would easily cook tanks and vehicles with their deadly fire, whilst ground-types would use deadly earthquakes to induce shock to the drivers and the soldiers that marched alongside them. Then, poison-types were deadly against unprotected infantry, as their toxins were detrimental to the well-being of the foot soldiers that lacked decent protection.
The Pokémon Ranger Corps employed their own Pokémon too. While they were useful in ground engagements, in aerial battles they were equally ineffective as their aircraft and helicopter compatriots. On the other hand, they proved to be more than a match for most of the island's air corps, as Team Rocket had a few gunships and patrol helicopters that were poorly suited for air-to-air battles or any experienced Pokémon capable of flight.
"Keep them off our tail!" a Team Rocket reconnaissance chopper pilot yelled as the two gunners that were inside the vehicle flew evasively to avoid a pair of Pidgeots rapidly closing in. While the first one was wounded with its rider killed by a rapid burst of machine gun fire, the second one proved to be too fast to track with the reflexes of the shooters.
"I'm trying, I'm trying!" a gunner screamed back over the droning sounds of helicopter blades beating, and before he knew it, he was toasted by a brilliant bright flash of light-the one Pidgeot, manned by an air cavalry Ranger, commanded his Pokémon to use a Hyper Beam on the patrol chopper, causing it to explode into a billion fragments.
"Good job, Pidgeot," the Ranger rider complemented. "Let's see if my partner's alright."
The Bird Pokémon nodded her head quietly before slowly diving towards the approximate location from where their partner had crashed after being shot down. Kellyn kept his eyesight on the fireworks display of the now doomed chopper, Pokémon remained on guard, using her sharp senses to pick up any potential hostilities that might be trying to sneak up on them. "The sooner this battle is over, the sooner we can all go home and put this all behind us and pretend it never happened."
The only reason he was expected to lead a small platoon into battle was his experience with the Pokémon Rangers. Chances were, if he was higher ranked, they'd put him in charge of a tank battalion but given his young age, this was not allowed. Young Pokémon Rangers that had managed to achieve outstanding feats and accomplishments were heralded for their dedication and heroism on the job but due to laws and restrictions by the government, those who were younger than twenty-three were not allowed to command large scores of troops into battle. Kellyn was renowned for his contributions in Almia, bringing Team Dim Sun into complete disarray and befriending the Darkrai that inhabited the region in the process.
"Kellyn, now's not the time to reminiscent about the past," Julia reminded with a comforting voice, something that was rare for her species of Pokémon. She knew her master always thought of the past as a means of preventing mistakes in the future. "You have a mission to accomplish and people to save."
"Thanks for reminding me. But I just can't keep my mind off the fact this mission is rapidly falling out of hand," Kellyn responded grimly. His body ached with all the fighting he had to endure just to gain several hundred meters of dirt and sand. But at what cost? Most of his platoon was already cut down to bloody ribbons or blown into pieces of molten scrap metal. He wouldn't be surprised if both he and Julia were the last members of his assigned platoon, the group being responsible for pointing out air and naval artillery strikes. Reloading a fresh grenade into his automatic weapon's underbarrel attachment, he spoke, "Most of the combatants are young adults straight out of high school. Is there one fight where they can all emerge alive?"
"War is messy business. There are few battles where everyone actually receives a chance to all get out alive," the Typhlosion answered in reply to Kellyn's statement. "Let's not allow our doubts and insecurities get in our way of the mission."
The Warrant Officer-ranked Pokémon Ranger gave a quick nod. Being a cool-headed individual that paid little attention on dwelling in the past, he would not let his past defeats and failures get in his way. Even if it meant he was the last man in his platoon, at the very least, he was still alive and available to direct attacks for his superiors in the water and air. "You're right. Let's go."
Julia winked at her partner with a small blush in her cheeks before complimenting, "Now that's the man I know. Shame that this is the only mission where I'll be serving with you."
"I'm sure they'll let you continue serving with me with a justified reason," Kellyn responded, his body's muscles aching from the constant movement. "Let's get a head on!"
The duo, after waiting for ten minutes or so, estimated that their entire platoon was dead. There was no point in waiting-their team had all perished while charging towards the beach, where Team Rocket relentlessly saturated them with gunfire and sent Pokémon squads to pick them off one by one. No ways of communication occurred between Kellyn and his squad mates, let it be radio messages or signal flares being shot into the air. Disposing of the past memories he had with his partners, Kellyn buried it all mentally before abandoning his bunker shelter and heading into the tropical forest. If he was able to remain alive, it would provide a moral boost for any surviving troops left astray. Having an experienced and famous figure at your side of battle was perhaps something every KDF or Pokémon Ranger soldier wished to have at their side where the next step you take could mean certain death.
Coming to a clearing of a Team Rocket outpost, Kellyn overlooked a skirmish currently occurring, with explosions and gunfire coming from both sides of the conflict. A team of KDF infantrymen, supported by a Humvee and two M1 Abrams tanks were currently dueling with a Team Rocket garrison of three Ursaring tanks, five jeeps, and several grunts in black uniforms that had the distinctive and unmistakable red "R" displayed on the left chest section of their body armor vests. Deceased bodies and burning carcasses of armored vehicles on both sides meant that the battle must have been going on for a while.
"At least their tanks are nothing more than immobile turrets," the youth analyzed as he noticed the three Team Rocket tanks perfectly still, probably due to damage dealt to their tread drives.
The main focal point of the battle was an anti-armor cannon that was fairly large-sized, standing in the middle of the Rocket company. It became clear to Kellyn that this one cannon, given its thick armor and well-protected nature, was devastating the forces. Since air strikes couldn't get through and naval artillery had its difficulties of targeting the defensive turret, it would prove disastrous to the KDF if they were not able to eliminate the threat.
Without thinking, both Kellyn and Julia charged towards the KDF group of combatants where they were soon greeted by a communications specialist. The relatively unarmed man, who was responsible for receiving orders from their commanders, was equipped with nothing more than a pistol and radio hardware. Upon seeing the prominent Ranger approach the group, he immediately gestured the soldier to come over.
"Dear Arceus, are we glad to see you here!" the KDF soldier, at the rank of Private First Class, greeted over the whining sounds of shells and missiles flying coupled with the whizzing of bullets soaring through every conceivable angle in the area. "Listen sir, can you handle an assignment that my company leader needs you to do, considering you're a part of Delta platoon? He's wounded and we can't seem to push through without proper orders!"
"Disorganization, the nightmare for any combined armor and infantry battalion," Kellyn thought as he slung his rifle over his shoulder before taking cover behind a vehicle, with Julia covering his flank. "I'll carry your request through. What does he need?"
The communications specialist poked his head towards the battle, just enough to get a good view of the fight. "See that cannon?" he asked as he pointed at the one structure that was giving them so much trouble. It was a high-caliber piece of anti-tank artillery that was extremely well-armored and knowing Team Rocket, they were an organization that just loved to employ the biggest guns possible to defeat their foes. "We need it destroyed on the double. Our tanks can't pierce it with their cannons and anyone who gets close will be shot down in seconds. That's why we need you to sneak over there, plant a beacon, and let hell rain from the sky. Once that is done, our company can easily cleanup any of the resistance here and seize the outpost."
Kellyn blinked blankly. Who did they think he was? A war hero? He was nowhere near that status. Did they honestly believe him to be an invincible soldier of steel that could shrug off every bullet, missile, and claw thrown at him? But then, he was the only KDF/Pokémon Ranger unit who had a Pokémon with him at the moment-to him, that must've delivered some form of morale boost. Team Rocket did have some Pokémon too, but they were rapidly killed off by the KDF-the military organization, unlike the Pokémon Ranger Corps, had no mercy for enemy combatants. They were a formal fighting force as they were authorized to kill.
"I'll get it done," Kellyn agreed to the plan. If he wasn't going to take the risk, then it was likely his fellow soldiers would have to take the consequences. "Julia, are you with-"
The fire-type Pokémon nodded without even waiting for her trainer to respond. "Always. I'll cover you. How do you plan to deal with that cannon?"
"Either a support strike via flares or C4 demolitions," the experienced Ranger spoke coolly. "No time for any chitchat. If we don't take action now, Team Rocket will overwhelm us." He overheard the voices of soldiers yelling orders as a fresh team of Rocket-aligned soldiers entered the fray to reinforce the base. The KDF Humvee unleashed a barrage of .50 cal machine gun fire at the oncoming hordes, cutting down the criminal soldiers with deadly ease.
"Come and get some! That's right, EAT IT! I got plenty for you Rocket scum!" the KDF gunner taunted in the most enraging voice possible over the roaring sounds of his machine gun.
He was so preoccupied with the battle that he didn't notice a Team Rocket-aligned Charizard take aim at the vehicle from the air before unleashing a gigantic ball of fire at the armored utility vehicle. Kellyn was the first to take notice due to the flapping noises of gigantic wings in the air, and he attempted to warn the vehicle to pull out of the path. He was, unfortunately, far too late to do anything to help the doomed crew of the Humvee.
The Humvee was instantly engulfed with a sea of fire that burned the driver and gunner alive as the intense heat generated by the Flamethrower caused the vehicle to glow spectacularly and explode, the resulting blast taking out several nearby KDF troops that were far too close to the radius of the shockwave and incapacitating several more in the area. Julia immediately grabbed her partner and shielded the more fragile human with her body, protecting Kellyn from a potential wave of deadly shrapnel that flew through the area like razor-sharp shards of ice.
"Take cover!" a KDF soldier cried, assisting one of his squadmates who had a piece of shrapnel embedded in his right leg. " I need a medic here, pronto!"
"Thanks Julia," he expressed with gratitude. The Typhlosion nodded with a warm smile before she helped two more soldiers on their feet after they were knocked down by the explosion.
"Someone take that Charizard out!" a KDF heavy gunner yelled, aiming his machine gun into the air as he popped off several shots from his automatic weapon. Like most fully evolved Pokémon, Charizards were relatively immune to small-arms weapons, with the exception of high-caliber bullets. It took something such as a tank or jet fighter for the human forces to stand a chance against such a Pokémon alone.
The Charizard was about to continue its carnage against the grounded KDF division but fortunately for the alliance attackers, a carrier-based F-22 quickly took out the Flame Pokémon with a barrage of missiles, knocking it out of the sky with a pair of laser-guided explosives. The hulking fire/flying-type, wounded severely, fell out of the sky before crashing itself into the barracks of the base, wrecking the lightly armored structures upon impact.
"We got incoming! Stay frosty, everyone!" the last surviving sniper of the company called out, spotting several hostilities charging towards their position like an avalanche of death. He quickly shot down two charging grunts with RPGs using his long-ranged anti-personnel weapon without delay.
A Kabutops charged forward from the Team Rocket lines, drawing its razor-sharp scythe-like limbs in preparation to butcher and slice the traumatized KDF troops into bloody pieces. It didn't get a mere chance as an armored vehicle delivered a high-explosive round and transformed the Shellfish Pokémon into a billion pieces of bone fragments. Two Electzbuzzes also rushed forward to short-circuit the vehicles in a similar fashion of an EMP weapon with a Thunderbolt generated from their bodies, but they too met their miserable ends to a hail of gunfire from the tanks' machine gunners.
"That's another one down," the tank pilot voiced over the radio. "Bastards never know when to call it quits."
The other tank's pilot immediately responded with, "Keep a head up. That cannon may fire at any time, but we've lost treads here and we'll be sitting here until the engineers can get us running again. Nevertheless, we'll hold the position for as long as possible."
"…they don't pay me enough to slog through this shit. And where's our air and artillery support, for Mew's sake?" was the gunner's response.
Kellyn wasted no more time into asking for any more instructions from his allies. Acting quickly and without haste, he charged rapidly through the chaos-ridden battlefield, periodically taking cover behind whatever he could find, mostly in the form of destroyed vehicles and trees. Whenever the opportunity presented itself, the young Ranger would sweep the Rocket formations with his assault rifle.
It wasn't long before he came across a wounded Team Rocket soldier attempting to reach for his rifle-the Pokémon Ranger didn't even give him a chance to try anything before the Warrant Officer dispatched him with a quick burst of gunfire. "He could be booby-trapped for all I know," he reminded himself spiritually.
"FOR GIOVANNI!" was something that Kellyn heard come from Julia's direction. Twisting his head towards the source of the noise, he noticed the Volcano Pokémon snatch an assault rifle out of the hands of a Team Rocket soldier that had tried to ambush the Typhlosion and before he could do anything, the fire-type smashed the unfortunate grunt right in the gut with a Rock Smash. True to its name, it was probable that the jarring punch broke several bones within the ambusher. If that wasn't enough, the result caused the hapless soldier to fly back as if it was struck straight-on by an automobile.
"Just be grateful that my master has ordered me to restrain from killing," Julia warned. As the Pokémon Ranger had told her to avoid any unnecessary casualties, she promised herself to not take any lives if possible. Then, most of her nonlethal moves might as very well make those who came across her wish they were dead, as the female Typhlosion often left her victims in extreme pain.
She glanced at the weapon that the fanatical grunt had carried previously and loosed a small laugh. "An AK47? Giovanni must be running out of funds if he equips a defender of such an important site with an old relic over fifty years old." She snatched the weapon in her claws and assisted in beating back the charging squads, periodically discharging her stolen firearm.
Julia never intended to fight with human weapons but after feeling tired of constantly using her physical strength for the duration of the battle, she had to defend herself via other means. The fire-type definitely had to thank fate for her ability to utilize firearms in the case of an emergency.
Kellyn didn't waste any time in mourning in the lives he had taken. Whatever came across his path was rapidly taken out with deadly accuracy and quick reflexes. This was war to the youth-you either fight with the prime reflexes and strength you gained during training and actual combat, or get killed. A Hypno that attempted to influence him with its psychic powers was taken out with one shot from his M203 grenade launcher before it could mind-control the Warrant Officer with its telekinesis powers, the resulting explosion from the hot grenade knocking the psychic-type into a critical state of health.
The defense turret fired its behemoth-sized cannon once again and this time, the result claimed one of the M1 Abrams in the battle. Its composite armor and advanced protection systems meant nothing as the heavy-caliber shell pierced through the tough defenses of the advanced battle tank before reaching its ammunition compartments and detonating, causing the stored rounds to cook off and add even more explosive carnage to the destruction of the tank. With a mighty blast, the tank detonated into a million pieces, leaving the pinned down KDF company with one last tank to work with.
"Someone take out of that cannon before it murders us all! We also need an AMS detachment down here to reinforce the position too!" one of the soldiers yelled, as bullets periodically perforated and drilled holes into the sandbags he and his squad of infantry units were sheltered behind. Air support was impossible now, as they were in one of the most heavily defended zones of the island complex.
"Hold in there soldier. Just give me some time to get to it," Kellyn wondered, thinking if his luck and skills would run out. Sure, he was getting far, but sooner or later some damned lucky grunt, if given a chance, would draw a bead on him with a rifle and take him out with one swift shot.
Unfortunately, his approach to the relatively undefended cannon, if left unattended, was more difficult than he expected. Two machine gun nests, with their mounted weapons spraying hundreds of rounds worth of lead at the suppressed alliance soldiers, were not relenting their act of keeping the KDF troops pinned down at their current position. Any soldier that would have the unfortunate fate of ending up in the sights of a machine gunner would be quickly shot down or in the worst case scenario, lose a limb or two from the impact force of the rounds.
Kellyn checked his equipment. He didn't exactly have effective weapons to take on a MG nest. While his grenade launcher was potentially effective in disposing of defensive positions, he needed to get dangerously close and risk himself to being shot. But with every moment he took to decide, more KDF troops were losing their lives. He had to think of a viable strategy for this dilemma, and fast…
"Kellyn, I'll handle this! Let me take out those MG nests and I'll give you an easier time with accomplishing the mission objective," Julia recommended.
"…no! I can't let you get hurt!" Kellyn shouted in retort, never willing to let his Pokémon get harmed by pulling off an act that could potentially get her killed. "I don't want to lose any more Pokémon partners!"
The Typhlosion remained silent before muttering, "Forget it. I'm not letting two mere gun nests ruin our chances. Stay here, cover me, and I'll clear those positions. Once they're out of commission, hightail it up here and do what you need in order to take out that cannon. Hear me, Kellyn?"
"No, there are better options," Kellyn rejected her plan without any second thoughts. "I can get back to the team's supply crates, salvage a sniper rifle, and take out the gunners. Or maybe, fire a rocket launcher and take them out from a safe distance. Now listen-"
His confident female Pokémon wasn't one to stick around to argue for an alternative solution. While Julia was an obedient and loyal towards her trainer, she had a tendency to undertake missions her own way and without listening, especially when it came to high-risk missions. Kellyn wasn't given any opportunities to reason with the confident Volcano Pokémon as she charged towards the gun nests, yelling in fury at the distracted shooters.
Knowing that hiding and simply getting his Pokémon killed just because it disobeyed her wouldn't do him any good, Kellyn abandoned his position and hotfooted after his speedy partner, spraying random gunfire at anything that posed a threat to him. Along the way, he utterly destroyed an Ekans that slithered at him with his grenade launcher, the end result causing the poison-type to explode into several burnt chunks of flesh. Unfortunately, this caused him to be caught off guard by a Marowak, who attempted to pummel him with its bone weapon.
Kellyn possessed a styler for taming and warding off hostilities, as it doubled as a whip-like weapon that acted as a last line of defense. He didn't have any time to reach for it, though, and he was forced to use his rifle as a melee weapon as he warded off the clubbing attacks with parries and melee strikes with his M16 as a battering and charging weapon. With one thrust from his right leg, he managed to force the Bonekeeper Pokémon back before drawing the rifle and prepared to shred the hostile creature with several rounds worth of ammunition.
The M16 he carried fired, but to his dismay, the rounds were unable to pierce through the tough hide of the ground-type Pokémon. The bullets simply bounced off the hide of the Marowak, causing the Pokémon laughing in a taunting manner. Its skull-like head was already well-protected and armored enough, and its body was even stronger-Kellyn probably assumed that Team Rocket's biological and sciences division had enhanced the Pokémon with their experiments, making it even deadlier and survivable in the heat of battle.
"This isn't good." Kellyn knew Marowaks were potentially deadly at close-ranged brawls, and he was stuck in one. He feared the worst, especially if his rifle was damaged or destroyed in the melee scuffle.
The Marowak growled angrily at the Pokémon Ranger, ready to smash the Warrant Officer into a bloody pulp with one overwhelming blow from its bone club. Unable to unleash the firepower of his grenade launcher at such a close range, Kellyn was once again, forced to find another alternative. He'd have to overpower it with melee attacks, get to a safe distance, and quickly finish it off with one grenade. "If only Julia was here at my side…"
Julia's charge of the machine gun nests was a profound shock to the Team Rocket recruits that manned them. The grunts, with little to no training aside from knowing how to shoot a firearm and command a Pokémon effectively, were outright panicking at the charging Typhlosion that was roaring and screaming with complete bloodlust. One of the gunners reached for his belt's holster before drawing out a pistol, but he too was far too frightened to shoot at the approaching fire-type.
Julia screamed an almost feral-like screech from her lips before leaping into the first machine gun nest and brutalizing the helpless soldiers with various punches and kicks. She adhered to her promise of not fighting with her fire-type attacks unless the battle turned tremendously ugly, but she believed that it would be a waste anyways-using precious energy in channeling her Flamethrowers for Team Rocket grunts that could be easily defeated without raw force was unnecessary. After dispatching the crews that manned the first machine gun nest, she smashed the gun with a single Brick Break and the end result caused the weapon to be inoperable.
The second MG nest was also promptly taken out-the gunners had abandoned their position to prevent themselves from being brutalized by the Typhlosion and fled the scene. This finally allowed some stress to be brought off from the KDF soldiers.
It wasn't over yet. To Julia, the defense cannon still posed as a viable threat, and it was only a matter of time before the gun was ready to fire again. But it was the sight of witnessing her partner being attacked by the Marowak that caused her to finally tap into her killing instinct. Cracking her knuckles, she rushed over and readied herself to aid Kellyn in the melee struggle.
As Kellyn continued to ward off as much attacks as possible using his rifle as a fencing weapon, he was met with a howling roar as he witnessed a third combatant enter the battle-to his shock and awe, his Typhlosion partner had used a Brick Break move to deliver a karate chop straight into the skull of the Bonekeeper Pokémon. Dazed and unable to orient itself properly, the Warrant Officer-ranked individual immediately kicked the ground-type away from him, sending the fainted Pokémon stumbling across the ground. Kellyn was about to finish it off with a shot from his grenade launcher as he raised his rifle and aimed it at the now helpless Pokémon.
The moment he was about to pull the trigger, he stopped, and lowered the rifle. He was a Pokémon Ranger, not a killer. Even if the Marowak did try to kill him, it was probably just following orders from its masters, who were probably now dead or sprinting for their lives in the opposite direction. Breathing heavily and lost in a train of thoughts, he was interrupted when Julia placed her right arm on his shoulder.
"You still have a mission to accomplish. Let's not allow your senses to falter here now, should we?" she reminded him with a smile. "I did what I could and restrained myself from cooking everyone alive, but like I said earlier, I don't want to carry you off the battlefield in a body bag just because you were distracted."
Kellyn didn't waste any time to reply. He immediately backed himself against the wall of the gigantic turret, popped a signal flare and relayed his position to his allies that had the big guns in the water via radio.
Looking on into the distance further behind the relatively ruined outpost, he witnessed Team Rocket reinforcements in the form of infantry, tanks and a mixed assortment of Pokémon approaching. He knew it wasn't going to end well for them, as they were marching straight towards a zone that would soon be absolutely pulverized by the biggest guns possible in the alliance's arsenal.
"Run," he whispered to Julia before repeating himself in a much louder tone. "RUN!"
The pair fell back to their allies' position without delay as the sounds of cannons firing in the distance were heard, coupled with the supersonic noises of jet fighters approaching from the southwestern coast of the island. Whatever the Team Rocket soldiers hollered from behind them in the form of various commands, curse words, threats, and whatnot, Kellyn ignored it all.
He was going to get out of here alive today with Julia and nothing was going to change that.
"AMS squads incoming! All units fall back to defensive positions!" a voice called out on a megaphone, later identified to be a KDF Corporal hunkered down behind one of the sandbagged positions.
As the lead walker approached forward and brought its automatic cannons to bear, the pilot onboard watched the scattered and tired KDF soldiers as if she was about to pity them for what they had to undergo. "Well, time to serve them a small slice of Judgment Day, shouldn't we? Open fire!"
As he rushed back to friendly lines, the KDF soldiers raised their assault rifles and sent forth a hailstorm of lead on the advancing Team Rocket troops, cutting them down faster than they could be replaced. A newly arrived detachment of Armored Mobility Suits, essentially mech walkers equipped with heavy weapons piloted by a single soldier, added more touch to the destruction as their automatic cannons ripped Giovanni's fanatical soldiers to bloody ribbons by the hundreds while puncturing the light armor plates of the vehicles foolish enough to charge into the fiery barrage of 20mm rounds.
"Good fucking gory hell" was the only words that the squad leader leading the AMS squad could utter at the massacre. A Team Rocket shock trooper with a minigun that was responsible for leading the second wave was pulverized into a heap of smoking meat as the lead pilot perforated him into unrecognizable shapes with her vehicle's cannons, his multi-barreled weapon dropping uselessly to the ground while its wielder was wiped out before he could even curse at the technologically-armed and equipped crusaders.
It was the ultimate wrath of the combined KDF and Pokémon Ranger Corps alliance-while their naval and air power was impressive, it was their combined might on land that made Team Rocket shiver. The sights of armored mech walkers, joined by tanks, Pokémon and well-equipped infantry, would make even the most hardened Team Rocket soldier brown his pants in frozen fear and sheer horror.
Moments later, it was crushed by one of the mechs that moved forward to clean up what was left of the defenders, like an irate legendary Pokémon crushing a foolish bandit that had attempted to steal its sacred treasure.
"Area secure," the same AMS pilot muttered, her shoulder-length brown-colored hair cascading down on her sweat-drenched face. "We'll take it from here."
The remaining KDF personnel, along with Kellyn and Julia, quickly performed cleanup operations by tending to the wounded and making reparations to anything that could be salvaged.
Team Rocket Island Headquarters
"My, my, these military hounds are really pesky, aren't they? I'm surprised that they're rather putting up such a fight and slaughtering all our defense forces. But that's to be expected, as they brought two big warships and a whole detachment of Armored Mobility Suits to the fray."
"Sir, might I suggest you to evacuate the island right now. You are an important figure in the Team Rocket science division, and it is imperative that you remain out of the hands of the Kanto Defense Forces and Pokémon Ranger Corps. We may lose a foothold of the island but we cannot afford to lose someone with vital information and have it all spilled out by their interrogators."
"I'll think about it…it's too early to decide. We still have to save as much of our research as possible, especially our progresses on Project Alpha Corruption."
"If anything, it's imperative for us to all evacuate on the Leviathan-class submarine. We should escape before their naval fleets are able to chase and pin us down."
"Domino's right. The submarine is a sitting duck for those Orre-class destroyers and water-types specializing in hunting subs and divers."
Although Giovanni was not on the island during the raid, four of his more dangerous figures were, as one of them was one of his top scientists that went by the name of Dr. Sebastian. Being the mastermind behind Team Rocket's research and development in the military sector, he was possibly second to Dr. Namba in terms of rank in the Team Rocket Science Division. Attila and Hun, two experienced and peerless agents of the organization, were present as they were direct bodyguards of Dr. Sebastian and of course, they served directly under his order. Last was Domino, one of the youngest elites in the organization. However, she was also one of the most dangerous and skilled, especially when it came to infiltration. Entrusted by Giovanni to oversee Project Rebirth, she was rather surprised that such a nice and peaceful day was interrupted by the KDF/PRC military raid on the islands.
As the Team Rocket garrison was rapidly losing ground as the invaders pushed towards the armored complex, the commanders of the operation immediately commenced a full-scale evacuation for the top brass of the island and all of its irreplaceable assets. Attila, Hun, Domino and Dr. Sebastian attempted to save as much assets as they possibly could, mostly in the form of computer data, weapon prototypes and blueprints, and folders with important documents. All of these were just far too valuable to either be lost or fall into enemy hands.
"How could we possibly lose this fight? The Seafoam Islands garrison is considered one of the most important ones, yet Giovanni never thought of building an airfield here?" Attila complained as he hefted an entire box of documents which were promptly transferred to a Team Rocket soldier. "Take this to the submarine pen and load it onboard, pronto."
"As you requested," the man responded before hurrying off with the container and carried out the order without making any haste.
"We never expected KDF and Pokémon Ranger surveillance to be so effective. The main reason we never placed a heavy presence here is that we don't want to draw attention," Domino corrected her compatriot-in-arms. "If anything, building an airfield here is just asking them to come investigate, even more so if the hangars were loaded with military ordnance. That and there is not enough land to field heavy aircraft here."
"This also means we'll lose one of our most vital research facilities and outposts too," Hun speculated. "We'll be forced to either hide back in the mainland or the Orange Islands, but most of the pieces of rock in the archipelago are far too small to be of any use." She grabbed her pistol off the table, made sure it was loaded, and tucked it into her holster. It became aware to her that they might have to fight their way out of this one.
"Giovanni's going to complain more than Yamba whenever someone gets that mad scientist's name wrong," Dr. Sebastian groaned, totally unaware of the fact he had actually gotten the name of the smartest mind in Team Rocket incorrect. Of course, with the rapidly deteriorating situation, no one bothered to correct him. "Domino, can we launch the missiles in our silos? Let's annihilate the naval fleet while we're at it." The sadistic scientist was looking forward to launching a missile straight at the RCS Fiore and annihilating the second largest ship in the Pokémon Ranger Corps Navy in a massive nuclear fireball.
Domino shook her head in disagreement. "We can't do that. The power plants providing power for the missile silos were sabotaged and since it was caused by an elite squad of highly trained Rangers, it was impossible to even catch them on our radars to begin with."
"So they're dormant in our silos, helpless? Like a row of sitting Psyducks?" Attila questioned with a small sense of outrage.
"…pretty much," Domino answered, a tone of displease present in her usually sophisticated voice. "As disappointing and pathetic as it sounds, the missiles are not able to launch. Even if we do, the potential blast damage from the missiles can endanger not just our forces currently in combat, but ourselves also. Think before you act with that thick skull of yours!"
"Hey, shut it kid!" the blonde-haired agent with the stature of a soldier barked. "If I was in the field commanding those troops, not a single one of those hounds would have managed to step on dry land when they attempted to land! I would've fried their fleets by destroying the Alto Mare base with them!"
"Thank Mew you aren't in charge here," Domino mused at the agent's rather reckless personality.
Given his relatively aggressive nature, Hun's partner wanted to see the destruction of the military forces currently laying waste to the island. "Shouldn't we try to get the silos back online? We can't let them capture the missiles! Having UAAF technology that our boss and his commanders have worked so hard to bargain for fall into the hands of those Ranger scumbags is unspeakable!"
"We don't have time, Attila!" Hun reprimanded her partner fiercely. "It's either the missiles or us! If a single Ranger squad managed to penetrate our defensive perimeters and reach the energy reactors, then it's clear we underestimate their threat level. I advise we withdraw for now and bite back once we recover."
Domino withdrew the last computer hard drive in the now abandoned command centre before dropping the metallic disk into her back pocket. "I don't know about you, but I'm off to catch a first-class seat in the Leviathan-class sub. If you want to stay and fight, that's your choice. But I'm not going to waste my time fighting a battle that our side has already clearly lost."
Before anyone could say anything, she was already out of the chamber and en route to the submarine pen that was located approximately ten stories below the ground level of the complex. Once the act of securing all valuable assets and evacuation of important personnel was complete, the nuclear-powered submarine/aircraft carrier hybrid would quietly sail away from the island from beneath the waves.
"Doctor, it's time to go," Hun urged as the last of the other officers had left the room. She then noticed that Dr. Sebastian had remained silent throughout the discussion about what to do. "Doctor?"
While Dr. Sebastian knew there was no point in staying behind and resisting the advancing KDF/Ranger forces, there was one thing that he did not wish to let go of. The Seafoam Islands facilities housed not just Team Rocket's military research branch, but also the genetics division. Ever since Team Rocket made a recovery after its repeated defeats in Kanto, Giovanni had once showed an interest in the advance of genetics-the most successful accomplishment was the creation of Mewtwo that ultimately failed, but his apparent escape, destruction of his birthplace and slaughter of almost all of Team Rocket's top scientists didn't prevent the megalomaniac from returning his interest in resurrecting his defunct branch. Dr. Sebastian was in charge and under his command and supervision yielded one of the most renowned cloning successes-they were able to create a perfect human clone that would never age, possessed an immunity to most diseases that would be lethal to the regular human being, and perform advanced combat calculations that would far surpass even some of the most famous military generals and tacticians that had ever lived.
Unfortunately, all of that would be lost here today-the only live and successful subject on the Seafoam Islands had escaped, and there was no time for his personnel to retrieve the vats that contained the other dormant prototypes. The facility's power was faltering, and the clones would wither and perish without the thermal energy keeping them alive in their life support tubes.
"Doctor! They're here!" Hun snapped, picking up distant noises of gunfire over the evacuation alarm that blared endlessly through every speaker in the compound. "We're getting out of here now!"
Biting his lips, Dr. Sebastian realized there was nothing he could do-perhaps he could explain to Giovanni, and given his expertise and position, the boss would let him proceed. It wasn't his fault that security on the island failed to deter the assault.
As much as he wanted the Rangers dead, or perhaps imprisoned to become guinea pigs for his experiments, the cool-headed doctor knew better than to go up against someone skilled with the trade of battle, both against humans and Pokémon.
Havoc's rampage through the facility easily made him a feared figure in the eyes of all of the Team Rocket soldiers. He was practically unmatched in battle as he gunned down everyone in his path with deadly precision while Sergeant Frank Weems covered his rear. The duo fought their way via the rear door of the facility after his objective of disabling the power plants was accomplished. With a little explosive handiwork and carnage with the help of his own and his teammates' Pokémon, the buildings providing much-needed energy to fuel the launch systems were taken out, the end result leaving the missiles to be nothing more than explosive warheads sitting helplessly and uselessly in their silos. With the KDF and Pokémon Ranger military unable to disable the missile launch sites after repeated tries, Havoc and his six-man squad made the impossible a reality, neutralizing the threat-for now. Now the Commando and his most trusted partner was inside the facility, prowling through the metallic and futuristic corridors of the hidden Team Rocket complex.
"This is nothing compared to the elite soldiers and their experimental mutant infantry units Red Falcon cooked up when I was back in the Marines, but I'm positive that it's only a matter of time before that bastard Giovanni starts pumping out genetic freaks out of his filthy cloning facilities," Havoc mused quietly in the back of his mind.
It was also the time the duo first encountered a Team Rocket elite operative in the complex-however, it was assumed he was the commanding officer of some sort, but Havoc didn't spare his adversary as he quickly gunned him to the ground.
"And stay dead!" Weems yelled, stabbing the same Team Rocket elite to death with his gun's bayonet as the latter attempted to reach for his gun after being shot down by Havoc.
Now his goal was to apprehend those in charge of the island's defense force. But knowing Team Rocket, the hardened soldier of the PRC knew they were probably miles away by now. It was basically a game of Persian and Rattata, with the exception that the Rattata had the capability to kill the Persian.
"Havoc, why did you think it was a good idea to leave the rest of the squad outside?" Sergeant Weems asked as he followed his superior closely, occasionally checking the rear for any potential pursuers.
Havoc rounded a corner as he brought his rifle to full bear, with nothing to greet him. He quickly answered his partner's question with, "Because I don't want to endanger the youngsters, Weems. You're the only one that I can trust with enough experience that you won't snap at something horrifying. Those raw meats would probably flip and faint if they came face-to-face with one of Team Rocket's experiments. They're kids. We're old Arcanines with plenty of bang and bite."
"Understandable, sir," the fellow Ranger voiced. He perfectly understood the 2nd Lieutenant's thoughts. Not every Ranger was capable of fighting in the field even though many were ordered to undergo military training. The Pokémon Ranger Corps was, after all, a Special Forces/peacekeeping branch established to fight threats that Kanto Defense Force was not able to handle. "So now that we've disabled the missile silos, what are we going to do with this place? Secure it?"
"I'm sure Captain Ellingham will want it sunk. Doubt he'd want it to be held by a security force here only for it to be stolen back by Team Rocket or a rogue faction like Bahamut's Red Falcon or Team Magma. Then, I don't think anyone would want to come here for vacation anymore if they realized they were swimming in a potential toxic dump," Lieutenant Parker deduced while slapping a fresh magazine into his assault rifle.
There was little resistance to stop the two commandos from reaching their assumed destination, mainly because just about all Team Rocket forces were ordered to retreat once it became clear the island's security was compromised. Those who remained were promptly gunned down with bullets that perforated the unfortunate grunts like spears stabbing into their targets, as no grunt that encountered Havoc or Weems wanted to surrender. Both soldiers came to a sealed door leading to the command chamber that was locked shut.
"Weems, try to get through the door with that panel over there," Havoc directed, pointing at a security terminal with a keyboard, keycard slot and fingerprint scanner.
"On it, sir," the Sergeant lowered his assault rifle before attempting to crack the door open without spending more explosives. Rapidly typing into the keyboard, it seemed that no trick would work, even with the hacking console that allowed Ranger operatives to bypass security without alerting the enemy to their presence. "Nothing's working. It looks like they permanently locked the place down."
"Did you try to override the security lock?" Havoc questioned.
Weems nodded. "Did, sir. Access denied."
"Damn. Hacking was never my thing, but I should try and conserve as much explosives as possible," Havoc thought before mouthing, "Is the lock powered? When it fails, it's impossible to crack."
"It is powered, sir. If it wasn't, it wouldn't be active right now," the Sergeant quickly answered.
"Fuck it," the commando cursed, his patience wearing thin. He was never a fan of cracking security and most of the time, outright destroying it with pure violence always worked even though his superiors frowned upon him for such aggressive doctrines. "Forget cracking the door. Let's do what we were trained for and excel at."
His partner abandoned the security terminal as he took cover behind some metallic crates while Havoc got down to work. Wiring two blocks of remotely detonated C4 charges at the intersection where the door and the walls met, he quickly dove back for cover before detonating the explosives, causing a wave of fire to explode in the hallway and blasting the door in half.
Both Havoc and Weems hurled themselves into the chamber, covered by the choking smoke that was generated by the demolition charges as they expected to be met with an entire squad of Team Rocket elites-what they really saw was an empty chamber that was strewn with papers, spent ammunition, and whatever that wasn't valuable. From the eyes of both Ranger Commandos, the entire room looked like as if it was ransacked by raiders-every computer in the room had its hard drive missing, only documents containing unimportant information was left behind, and each gun magazine they discovered was empty.
"Bullshit! And to think we'd be able to take Dr. Sebastian in today…" Weems cursed, who looked forward to taking in the man responsible for overseeing the development of Team Rocket's nuclear arsenal.
"Chill. In a game against Team Rocket, it's a match of chess…it's only a matter of playing the pieces correctly," Havoc advised, reflecting his superior tactical brilliance. He loved his brute force as much as the veterans he worked alongside with, but if it wasn't for strategies, it was likely he wouldn't be here and alive today. "We slowly work our way up until the queen piece is within our line of sight and from there, we go in for the kill. We can say at least we eliminated the rook and bishop pieces," he finished, remembering how he had sniped several high-ranking Team Rocket officers in the field.
Weems collected himself together before speaking to his superior calmly once more with, "Yeah, but we can't let that slippery Ekans keep evading us. With every chance he continues to live, the more danger he poses to the world."
"That's exactly what he wants us to do. Continue chasing him with conventional tactics. If you've served for more than five years, you know that normal ones they teach from the textbooks don't work. You understand why I undertake these highly dangerous and risky missions?" Havoc asked, throwing away his empty gun magazines to lessen the load he had to carry.
"Why?" his partner asked rather cluelessly.
"Because they don't anticipate them," Havoc answered with a slick grin. "They think all Pokémon Rangers follow the same doctrine in their missions…well, I, for one, hit them where they least expects it. They sure didn't expect us to raid their silos from the back door, didn't they? Who else would carry a rifle that has enough force to perforate a light tank?"
Havoc's right-hand man laughed. "Only someone with an itchy trigger finger such as you would do that! Now at this rate, what's your plan? We failed to get Sebastian and the rest of his lab thugs so at this rate, I think we screwed up the mission."
Weems didn't have to wait too long for an answer as Havoc was already at the door that led out of the command chamber. "Let's hightail it out of here, get the rest of our boys, and make ourselves scarce. Maybe we can snipe some targets while we're at it. And you didn't exactly screw up-you prevented a potential nuclear apocalypse. Ironic, don't you think? I was starting to think you'd actually love to see those missiles explode."
The Lieutenant looked at him with a scrunched-up eyebrow before answering dryly with, "Yeah, that's funny. Just because I destroy things doesn't mean I do so mindlessly. Now let's bail."
Both men moved rapidly as they prepared to depart from the facility, making themselves disappear as if a ghost had caused all this destruction and left no traces for anyone to identify. The only evidence they left were the dead bodies and hundreds of bullet casings strewn across the cold, steely hallways.
Seafoam Islands, Jungle
She didn't want any of this, to be honest. Yet here she was, running for her life when her designers claimed her to be the next human variation of Mewtwo.
Her life, her purpose, her fate, her tasks…all of these was forced upon her. She didn't want any of this. She just wanted to be away from the pandemonium and chaos that was exploding all around her like uncontrolled firecrackers. With each battle she avoided, she narrowly stumbled into another one and nearly fell into the line of crossfire.
Donning a Hoenn-themed Pokémon Trainer outfit, the youthful girl sprinted through the jungle as far as her legs could take her. Both her feet were killing her with exhaustion as a result of continuous running from her pursuers but the individual knew that if she even took a minute to catch her breath, it could potentially mean death. She wasn't sure about the liberators that were here attacking her creators either, as they too were known to fight with ruthlessness, shooting any Team Rocket personnel that refused to stand down peacefully.
They were not going to take her alive. If they were to drag her back to the creators, they'd have to work for it. For one thing, she had to thank those who designed her to have provided her body with advanced stamina and muscles, which allowed the human clone to outrun most humans at above-average speeds.
"Why did they have to give me life and abuse me? What did I ever do to them? Am I a product of some sick man's ambitions?" She looked down at her gloved hands, which were caked with mud and sweat. At the very least, she had a pistol at her side to protect herself from any oncoming threats, but it wasn't going to last.
She could remember all the events prior to the raid by those who were referred to as "Ranger hounds" by the security guards and military personnel that worked on the island. After she awoke from the liquid-filled vat, they'd put her under intense exercises and harsh training procedures that would leave her body dead exhausted and aching by the end of the day. They would never answer her questions: where she came from, who she really is, what her role in the organization was, or where she was currently located. The only information they provided her was the fact she was called Raine of Project Rebirth.
They provided her with all the training that resulted in her almost supersoldier-like status, but this didn't come without heavy abuses and mistreatment from her superiors. They would beat, ridicule, and taunt her should the red-haired girl fail to meet their expectations. But surprisingly, they'd never drive themselves to the point of killing her-this was probably because the scientists, whom she believed were the ones responsible for breathing life into her, had forbade that for starters. Even then, they weren't willing to protect her from the constant sexual harassment she had to face from the other Team Rocket grunts and soldiers.
But what could she do? Run. Run like she was being chased by Giratina, the Goddess of Death herself. If she was cornered, she would bite back. It became evident that she wasn't as "super" as her creators had claimed her to be, as those who were hunting her were successful in drawing blood from her body. With a little medical knowledge, she quickly healed herself before her wounds worsened.
"At least I can rest assured knowing that no infection can harm me," Raine thought, looking at the bloodied bandages that were patched on various sections of her body. "I'll have to keep running, but at this rate, will I be able to survive?"
And now, she was getting all the chances she had thirsted for in terms of killing them. When the facility was under attack and security fell into disarray, she took her chances to escape and took as many lives that belonged to the organization as much as possible. Those whom she remembered to have harassed her extensively with every single piece of her memory were often met with brutal ends that even Raine would shiver at.
There was one of them standing in front of her right now. Without even thinking, she drew her stolen pistol and targeted the man in the spine.
With a single shot, the unwary Team Rocket sniper was down. As he screamed in agony, Raine approached forward, remembering the face of the very same man who had attempted to sexually assault her during one of the nights when he was posted at her cell.
And here he was, helpless like a sick Pokémon that was no longer able to continue surviving without the help of outside assistance.
"No…no…it can't be…" the man huffed with fright as he tried to scramble away, but found himself too weak and injured to do so. "…you…no…I'm seeing things…"
"Deny what you want, but your day ends here. Perhaps if you didn't attempt to scar my life that night, I'd have some mercy," Raine whispered vengefully as she pointed her handgun at the man's head and finished him off with a single bullet. After the distinctive bang, all was quiet save for the noises of battles occurring in the vicinity.
As she reloaded her handgun, her highly sensitive ears and heightened hearing heard shouting voices in the distance. They were here again and hot on her trail.
"I think the bitch that Sebastian wants is this way!"
"Well, let's secure her! That toilet-haired egghead wants her back and now's our chance before she flees into the KDF's battle lines!"
"Won't those alliance troops shoot her on sight?"
"Doubt it. Let's not take any chances."
Raine heard the voices and recognized them immediately. They were going to take her back again, and Arceus knows what they would do to her due to her escape that resulted in the deaths of dozens of Team Rocket soldiers and personnel.
She ran. As far as her legs could take her. No matter what terrain got in her way, she attempted to conquer it with every last drop of adrenaline that was rushing through her blood veins. If they were able to get their hands around her again, there would be no more chances for the human clone that had desired for freedom and safety from the criminal organization that made her for the sole purpose of achieving their sick and twisted fantasy desires.
A lone Scyther kept his field of vision on the fleeing girl from his perch in the trees and with his telepathic abilities, it became clear to him that she was panicking and trying every conceivable method in fleeing from her pursuers. A short distance behind here was four Team Rocket soldiers, each armed with an assault rifle as they closed in on Raine. Narrowing his eyes, he knew he had to intercept the group somehow and keep the girl unharmed. Having observed her for months, it was evident that she wasn't normal when compared to the other Team Rocket recruits that would be sent here to the island to train in the top secret training facilities.
"For starters I thought they'd have Pokémon with them, but that doesn't seem to be a case. Perhaps Giovanni has finally abandoned the prospect of equipping idiots with advanced artillery granted by Mew herself."
The Scyther, whom called himself Blade, was among one of the few remaining inhabitants of the Seafoam Islands jungle when Team Rocket first pushed into their island with an iron fist of domination. When Giovanni's henchmen first landed on the isles, they drove all the Pokémon out with armed infantry units and Pokémon of their own, but the stronger and older ones withheld their ground and waged a guerrilla war of some sorts against the "colonists" after construction of the primary buildings of the facility such as the missile silos and submarine base were completed. Blade was one of them, possibly the last remaining member of a renegade group of Pokémon that managed to continue his evasion from Team Rocket given his deadly skills in combat and stealthy approaches when it came to dealing with foes who were far superior to him.
Unlike the other members of his species, he was special in his own way for being able to use limited psychic powers, such as telepathy. While the reason why he managed to gain such a sense remained unknown, the Mantis Pokémon believed that it was the prolonged exposure to the toxic chemicals that the scientists had ordered to be dumped carelessly around the tropical rain forests of the islands. Prolonged exposure to the mysterious byproducts resulted in potential mutations, but the bug/flying-type was just glad he was actually enhanced in a positive way as opposed to falling victim to malicious tumors, viruses and another anomalies that would breed and devastate in one's body.
Like Raine, the combined KDF and Pokémon Ranger Corps assault meant that he would be able to escape back to the mainland. Although the KDF soldiers usually weren't too kind to potential hostile Pokémon, the Rangers that fought alongside them were often extremely compassionate and friendly towards prisoners of war, regardless of allegiance.
"This is my chance to get back to the mainland. I hate to leave my home after all these years, but nothing can be done. It's hard to say goodbye but there comes a moment where you just have to release what you love." Heaving in deep depression at the thought of leaving his birthplace, Blade knew his duty as he prepared to ambush the Team Rocket quartet from his perch, ready to finish them and leave the island in one piece.
His sights were lined up on the oldest Team Rocket soldier as he silently moved in for the kill. However, he wasn't the only one who had the soon-to-be unfortunate squad who had the squad in their sights. Two commandos in the distance had also tracked down the ragtag Rocket squad and were prepared to deliver the kills.
"Give me status and confirmation."
"A human, presumably a civilian. Pursued by four Team Rockets, each is heavily armed. There's also a Scyther nearby but I'm not sure if it's a hostile or not. Make your shots count. Unless you can gun down all four of them at once, I fear for the worst for that girl."
"Roger that. Watch my six." Havoc smiled smugly before lining up his scope on the most heavily armed grunt's nether regions. "We don't need this scum's offspring polluting the planet in the future."
Raine continued to flee with all her energy, but it became clear that she could go no further. She was just too wounded and exhausted to even raise her pistol to fire at her attackers. This was it. Her life would end here today, her so-desired dream to escape into a normal life crushed, just like the unfortunate KDF soldiers and Pokémon Rangers that met their ends here today.
A bullet grazed her shoulder, ripping away a portion of fabric on her clothing. Yelping in pain, she stumbled over and fell towards the moist, wet vegetation of the jungle. Gasping in great pain and terror, she knew her life might as well be over for her right now.
"Killed by a squad of trigger-happy grunts. Some way to end a life…" she thought desperately. "If I had a grenade then maybe I'd have a fighting chance, but I don't…"
The squad of four grunts moved in cautiously with their weapons raised, each individual discussing with each other for the next best course of action.
"There's the bitch. Should we wound all her limbs and make sure that she can't slip away from us anymore?"
"Nah, I suggest we tie her down. Take away all her armaments. That's my recommendation."
"Come on, where's your spirit? We can have some fun with her while we're at it, if you catch my drift."
The last Team Rocket soldier hefted his assault rifle before taking the suggestion of his teammate's recommendation. "I'm going first. You guys can have seconds, otherwise I'll be forced to kick your asses."
The other combatants remained quiet as the grunt grabbed Raine and dragged her to her feet, a sick smile plastered across his face. "Sebastian was right. Your good looks and perfect body means double bonus for us! HAHAHA-"
The would-be shooter was about to finish his sentence and begin his assault when a gunshot interrupted the words he was about to utter and in addition, were replaced by the most agonizing screams audible to the ears of any human being.
"AAHHHHHH!" the trooper yelled before looking down at the lower section of his body and was met with a terrifying sight. "OH DEAR GROUDON, SOMEBODY HELP ME!"
His crotch had been shot off by a round capable of searing through light armor, leaving nothing but mangled flesh and a bloody waterfall spewing from his wound. His other teammates, being just as in shock as the unfortunate victim, could only watch their comrade scream in utter misery-it didn't last long, though, as Blade quickly swooped down from the trees and finished the man off with one swift slash to the head.
The first grunt attempted to fight back with rather clumsy melee strikes using his rifle, but they proved to be nothing more than a futile gesture as Blade skillfully disarmed the man by slashing his gun into two perfect pieces-they were now nothing more than hunks of metal that was of relatively little use. Utterly terrified, the disarmed soldier was quickly taken out as the Scyther delivered a blunt strike using the non-sharp edges of his blade-like arms.
"Amateurs," was Blade's only thought and opinion of his opponents.
The second grunt was quick enough to unload his assault rifle on the Pokémon assailant, but he too, was terrified at how the Scyther was able to block the bullets using the steel-hard blades that protruded from his arms. Once the magazine supplying the much-needed ammo for the assault rifle ran dry, Blade finished off this rather foolish man from his eyes with one powerful Vacuum Wave. The resulting vortex of air that Blade generated with one swipe from his scythes sent the soldier flying before he was humorously stuck in the vines of a palm tree, dangling helplessly.
"Get me out of here!" the grunt cried, his motivation to continue fighting lost. However, his pleas were not responded to.
Blade was about to deal with the last surviving Rocket when he was met with the sight of the very same soldier placing his boot on Raine's back, with his assault rifle drawn at her head.
"Don't move an inch or I'll shoot!" he threatened with an almost psychotic voice, the tone frightening even a hardened Pokémon like Blade. "You hear me, you overgrown insect freak? Back down or I'll splatter this girl's brains!"
"Please…help me…" Raine whimpered, the human clone clearly in pain due to the fact the Rocket grunt holding her hostage was pressing down on her back with the heavy boot.
Blade immediately backed off as he lowered his arms and sighed. Unless he was a psychic-type who had the ability to crush this man's mind, weapon, and body without warning, it was highly unlikely he was going to be able to save Raine.
"Good. Now you will do exactly as I say, otherwise the girl gets it. Do you understand what I'm saying?" the low-ranked soldier asked in a mocking voice. "Disobey me, and you'll wish you never met me to begin with."
Blade nodded apprehensively without moving a muscle.
"I thought so. Now how about-"
He didn't have any chance to finish his sentence as his head blossomed into a brilliant explosion of broken bone and brains, caused by a round the size and length of a lead pencil.
From his vantage point, Havoc stared on through his scope as both the Scyther and Raine looked on in surprise as the man toppled over and crashed to the jungle floor, joining the first teammate of his that also happened to have his head shot off. In the distance, the sniper simply breathed quietly from the perfect kill.
"Looks like he's headed directly to hell," Havoc snickered at his own pun before continuing with, "Tack another headshot to the list; the seventh one for today. Any more hostilities?"
Lieutenant Parker's spotter scouted the area with his binoculars before shaking his head. "Doesn't seem like it, Lieutenant. Excellent shooting as always. But what was up with that crotch-shot?"
"Thought I'd teach these brats to stop picking on girls-or guys for that matter-that way or there will be consequences. Let's move our asses because time isn't on our side," was Havoc's only vague response before they slipped out of their covering, an undergrowth-covered hill, to check up on the two that nearly got themselves potentially killed by the criminals.
"Perhaps that's why he never gets any girlfriends…but then, I wouldn't want to mess with him either" was Weems' only logical hypothesis regarding his partner's odd philosophies. He wasn't exactly the kindest human out there, but he certainly was one of the best when it came to covering his comrades.
"Are you okay?" Blade gently laid his arms around Raine's body, taking careful consideration not to injure her with the sharp ends of his naturally-grown weapons.
Raine slowly rose to her feet as she pressed her hand against her head. She surely believed that she would be dead by now, but no, she was still alive, somehow. Attempting to gain re-consciousness of what was going on, she surveyed her environments before catching the menacing eyes of a Scyther. She gasped softly, but was far too tired to even elicit a scream. Not that she would to begin with, for she could feel a strong vibe of kinship within this one Mantis Pokémon.
"There, there. I'm not here to hurt you. First of all, are you okay? Do you need medical attention?" Blade asked via telepathy.
The human clone heard voices inside her head, but she was far too exhausted to even think what was going on. "…are you able to speak? Is that you speaking to me inside my head?"
Blade nodded with an honest posture before answering and introducing himself with thought transference. "Yes. It is telepathy but at the same time, I'm mute. I can't talk, presumably because exposure to the toxic chemicals in the region has changed how my body functions. Regardless, we are able to communicate, so that means at least we can understand each other, if anything. Allow me to introduce myself," he spoke mentally before bowing respectfully to the girl. "My name is Blade, and I am a native of these jungles here. I've been always living here, even after Team Rocket threatened to drive us all out with brute force. What's your name?"
"They called me Raine," the redheaded girl replied shyly, feeling greatly afraid. To Blade, this was understandable. A quick scan of her mind revealed all her backgrounds, and some of the mental sights caused the bug/flying-type to shiver. "But I-that's all I know, I'm afraid to say. I don't want to think of the more sensitive things that have happened to me."
"That's fine. You're better off not dwelling too much into your history," Blade checked the four Rocket grunts that were chasing Raine earlier. Two were dead, while one was knocked unconscious while another was hanging from a tree. "Persistent, aren't they? Little did they know that a Scyther would brutalize them and an unknown assassin would snipe them from the shadows." He looked into the distance and saw two figures in Pokémon Ranger Commando uniforms approach the pair. "Non-hostiles. We'll be fine."
At this point, Raine just hoped that she wouldn't see any more harm. She only wanted to be somewhere safe, a place where Team Rocket would no longer be able to get their diabolical hands around her. "You…you won't hurt me, right?" she asked, her body trembling in the hot tropical heat.
The Scyther shook his head again before comforting her with, "No. I do not see you as one of your creators or their subordinates, not to mention you've endured more torture than I possibly can. I admire your bravery for coming this far. You deserve a better life and I'll make sure that happens. Hey, how about this? How about you be my trainer, and I'll be your starter Pokémon? I've been observing you for years while trying to plan an escape for the prisoners that you lived with. I like your style-you're powerful while kind at the same time. How about we train alongside each other? It's perhaps the finest way I can repay you as a means of healing those emotional scars."
Raine smiled through her tears with an eager nod-for the first time in many years, she nodded with a smile.
Blade grinned toothily as he chuckled. He had to admit, this girl was exceptionally charming and cute with the youthful expression she harbored within a body developed by the best minds of science-too bad it was all for the wrongful purposes.
It was only two minutes later that Havoc and Weems met the two. The Lieutenant lowered his M29 rifle and approached the duo, with Weems covering his back. In a calm voice he asked, "You two alright?"
Both Raine and Blade stared at the muscular, well-built man that could easily give Lieutenant Surge, the well-known American war hero that ran the Vermillion City Gym as its gym leader, a run for his money with his physical strength. The man was recognizable anywhere, and his fame made him a feared and respected legend in both the books of his allies and enemies. And here he was, having rescued them from the jaws of certain death.
"Lie-Lieutenant Havoc of the Pokémon Ranger Corps?" Blade stuttered, not believing his eyes. For one thing, he couldn't keep his vision off the sniper rifle that the commando carried on his back.
"That's me, the one and only. Never knew my fame would reach this far to the corners of the Earth," Havoc joked before focusing on more serious matters, not paying any attention to the Scyther's telepathic means of communication. "What are you two doing out here?"
Raine took the liberty to speak on her own behalf after she managed to regain a partial amount of her energy. "Long story short, I'm a Team Rocket prisoner. Tried to escape recently, but I have to thank this Scyther here for his rescue. Oh, and you too."
"Don't mention it. I'm happy that you're fine in the end," Havoc dismissed sincerely.
"And you survived?" Weems asked with a slight amount of surprise in his voice. "That's amazing on your part. We've seen plenty of dead prisoners on our way to your location. Anyways, perhaps you should come with us to the evacuation point."
Both Raine and Blade glanced at each other for a second or two before nodding in unison.
"I guess that's a yes then," Havoc finalized. "Come with us and stay close by. There are still some scattered hostilities around the island and you're both inadequately equipped to fight them off. We'll lead the way." He turned to his partner before ordering, "Watch the rear and cover our asses."
Weems nodded, and the group made their way towards the evacuation point where all surviving combatants and prisoners would be taken for extraction from the island, but not before they took the two surviving Team Rocket personnel prisoner.
"Get up, you slime bag," Weems taunted as knocked-out grunt came to his senses, only to awaken and stare straight down the barrel of his assault rifle. "Good, you're still conscious. I like that in a soldier. We'll treat you fairly but try anything funny and you'll have to speak with my superior. He isn't exactly kind to rebellious kids."
The grunt bobbed his head up and down the moment he saw the Sergeant gesture over to Havoc, who was busy treating Raine's wounds. At the same time, Blade rescued the trapped grunt stuck in the tree, once again making sure not to injure the surrendered soldier with his scythes.
"…I surrender, just take my armaments and equipment! I-"
Blade groaned the moment he heard the whining voice of the pathetic, disarmed combatant. "Be quiet already, you're giving me a headache. Remain peaceful and silent, and you can assure you'll be treated better than your superiors did so towards you."
As Havoc tore off the bloody bandages on Raine's wounds and replaced them with fresh ones, the girl couldn't help but question how the Lieutenant was so knowledgeable in many fields.
"Simple. I'm a thirty year old fart that's probably cheated death many times over. That alone should speak for itself," was Havoc's vague and rather difficult-to-understand answer. "Strange. Her wounds aren't developing infections and that's rare, especially in a jungle environment."
"But how do you know all of this? You know, Team Rocket and their operations, how they fight, you know…" Raine asked, her mind still feeling rather lost and numb after the near-death shaves she had experienced.
The Lieutenant smiled at her. "I just do. Experience helps you gain more than your enemy may know." His smile then faded before he continued his statement with, "You don't need to repay me with anything. Just be grateful I was there to save you and your newfound bud. Regardless, I'm always happy to have lent a helping hand, even if you happen to be of a Team Rocket origin. They made you, but it doesn't mean you should be treated like them. Now come on now, the boys and girls back on the RCS Fiore will feed and treat you well. I'm sure something can be done about your situation."
Raine blinked her eyes blankly. Just how could this man possibly know so much?
"Coordinates received; stand by for offshore bombing run," a weapons officer onboard the Sinnoh-class battleship spoke via Kellyn's radio earpiece.
On the other side of the island, Kellyn and Julia fell back to their allies' positions as the last of the advancing Team Rocket forces descended upon them like a tidal wave of death, only to be all scattered and wiped out by a barrage of naval artillery fired from the distance-and just in time too, as the KDF defenders were rapidly running out of ammunition. Radio reports from his superiors revealed that Team Rocket had lost their nuclear launch capabilities, much to the relief of the KDF troops and Pokémon Rangers that successfully managed to survive the battle. Any Team Rockets that somehow managed to survive the hailstorm of 16-inch cannon fire-arguably the divine wrath of the pride of the alliance's fleet-immediately fell back on all fronts, abandoning the battle while attempting to escape off the island with whatever means possible.
It became clear to the young Pokémon Ranger that they had emerged triumphant from the battle. It was over. Within a half hour or so, the KDF and Pokémon Ranger naval fleet would clean up the rest of the island with airstrikes and more naval artillery.
Both Kellyn and his Typhlosion partner exhaled a heavy sigh of relief. Exhausted and deprived of all thoughts, both beings leaned against the wreckage of the destroyed M1 Abrams tank before comforting each other, wondering if they were just that lucky to have survived the chaotic battle that took place here today on the Seafoam Islands.
"It's…it's over…" Kellyn gasped as he felt his lungs were going to explode. Adrenaline continued to flood through his veins as he cautiously surveyed his surroundings by constantly whirling his head left and right, his combat senses telling him that he wasn't truly safe yet.
"Calm down, Kellyn. The fight's finished. Moments from now, they'll take us out of this disaster and we can put this behind us." Julia was easily just as exhausted and could use an ice-cold lemonade to cool herself down, but she kept to her instincts and focused on her main objective, which was to keep her partner safe until they were truly out of the warzone.
A KDF medic wandered over to the duo before setting down his portable medical kit and checked the two. "You two need any medical attention?"
Kellyn nodded his head up and down with a weak expression displayed on his youthful face. "No, we're just dead tired. Could use some water right now though."
The field medic quickly reached into his backpack before pulling out two bottles of water before handing them to the Pokémon Ranger and the Typhlosion that accompanied him. "It isn't exactly ice-cold, but we don't lug refrigerators into battle with us. Anyways, gulp it down, take a minute or so to rest, and prepare to pull out. I have to tend to the other guys, but give me a shout if you need anything else."
Kellyn gave a thumb up to the field doctor with his dirt-caked right hand before popping the cap off the water bottle and gulped down the mildly warm contents from within. Although he wished for something colder, he relaxed at the fact he no longer faced dehydration, something that could potentially turn deadly in a tropical environment.
He remained silent for a moment or so until Julia broke it as she pointed out KDF troops taking various Team Rocket grunts prisoner, with many standing down while the alliance soldiers disarmed and made sure they were no longer able to pose any threats. "Well, I don't know if I should feel sorry or lucky for those guys. Heard that Giovanni's officers don't particularly treat their lower ranks well, but considering they're disposable cannon fodder…why treat trash like treasure?"
"Tell me about it," Kellyn muttered with a tired voice before finishing the last gulps of water he had from the bottle. "I could seriously use a hot shower right now."
As dusk fell over the pair of islands, transport helicopters flew in to extract the stranded troops all over the island-the injured were taken off the battlefield first, with the able-bodied trudging their way back to the landing zones for pickup. Kellyn and Julia were lucky enough to be able to hitch a ride on the still functional M1 Abrams tank as they secured themselves on the rear of the turret. It wasn't exactly the safest method of travel, but to the pair, it was better than walking.
They were taken out to sea by air transport and later found themselves on the flight deck of the RCS Fiore. With many of the fighter planes shot down and the remaining ones forced to fly inland to other air bases as the aircraft carrier became a pseudo-hospital ship, the floating airfield became relatively crowded on deck. Havoc, Weems, Raine and Blade soon joined the two as a helicopter shuttled them to the carrier, and Kellyn greeted the two Pokémon Ranger Commandos with a friendly handshake after catching up with them.
"Mission accomplished. Team Rocket has fled like a Poochyena with its tail between its legs, and we've neutralized their nuclear launch capabilities," Havoc recited Captain Ellingham's words during the debriefing process. "Aren't we a fine team of magnificent bastards?"
Kellyn grinned from ear to ear. "Certainly, Lieutenant. Couldn't have said it better myself."
"Glad to see you're still in one piece, Kellyn," Weems joked as he slapped the back of the younger Ranger in a friendly manner. "I knew that inner soldier of yours was no fable."
"Hey, you can thank my Pokémon for backing me up whenever necessary," Kellyn hugged Julia close from the shoulder and the Typhlosion blushed lightly. He turned to the two newcomers that joined the two veterans. "Who are they?"
The girl moved forward before extending her hand out as an offer for a handshake. "The name's Raine. This is my newly befriended Pokémon, Blade. He's mute but he can talk to you via telepathy."
"Nice to meet you, Raine. I'm Warrant Officer Kellyn of the Almia Special Forces Unit," Kellyn replied wearily, shaking her hand. "Pardon me, I'm just…exhausted after what happened today."
"That's understandable considering what you underwent today!" she giggled childishly. This caused the brown-haired Pokémon Ranger to widen his eyes in surprise. How can someone possibly be that cheerful after they slogged their way through living hell?
An equally tired Sergeant Frank Weems sat down on some metallic crates before lighting a cigarette and taking a puff into it. "Think she'll fit into society, sir?"
Havoc nodded. "Yes. If not…I can always take care of her until she knows the basics of Ranger survival tactics. After all, I did train my niece in the art of hunting and outdoor survival."
"You never told me about your family," the spotter added. "So who's your niece?"
"That is a story that I'll save for another day."
"…different people, different personalities," Kellyn spoke to himself in his mind as he observed his allies chat among themselves. His mind took a moment to remember about the platoon he led-sure, most of them were KDF soldiers and he didn't even get a chance to know many of them, but he knew he was going to have a hard time explaining their deaths to the deceased combatants' family and loved ones. "When will I actually get a chance to resign, or at least be reassigned to a more less violent job and get a chance to escape all this madness? When will I cease to watch brave men and women killed mercilessly by other humans and their enslaved Pokémon? I am no Arcanine of War and never will be."
As midnight began to set in, the entire fleet departed for its home base after the cleanup operations were complete: the Alto Mare Ranger Naval Reserve. The young Ranger kept his stare into the eastern direction and out towards the Pacific Ocean, dreaming of the day where humanity would stop ravaging each other in their quest of jockeying for glory and power, with their actions making the innocents pay for their dark desires.
All the survivors of the battle received a well-earned dinner and shower before settling in for the night on the RCS Fiore's living quarters, catching some much-needed sleep before moving again once they arrived in Alto Mare.
For one thing, both Havoc and Kellyn hoped they'd get some shore leave before being thrown back into the fray of warfare like Arcanines being cornered by their natural predators and forced into battling for their lives.
Team Rocket Leviathan-class Submarine, en route to a Submarine Base in Hoenn
"Giovanni's not going to like this, if anything. We lost the biotech research division, not to mention an entire complex located in Kanto," Attila complained, sitting in the bridge section of the submarine. Domino, Hun, and Dr. Sebastian were also with him, mainly remaining quiet over the electronic sounds of navigation instruments and their fellow officers conversing quietly. The submarine was returning to the primary HQ of the newly resurrected Team Rocket and once they arrived, the quartet along with the rest of their crew was likely to expect a long interrogation from Giovanni and his superiors.
"You never stop complaining, Attila," Hun shot back sarcastically. "I'd like some peace and quiet, thank you very much."
"Pfft" was Attila's only response before he attempted to fall asleep for the lengthy trip, which was going to be around two or so days given the distance between Kanto and Hoenn.
Dr. Sebastian wasn't worried in the least. He may have lost one of the most strategically valuable labs in Kanto, but he managed to save most, if not all, of his research. "Team Rocket's future operations will not be hindered. This is only a setback, and the Ranger hounds' actions are only making the Arbok in its den even angrier with their meddling in our activities and affairs. Although the loss of the three nuclear silos just dealt a strong blow to our arsenal…perhaps expanding to Orre would have been suitable but that would mean having to bargain with Cipher and Red Falcon."
However, unknown to the rest of the Team Rocket crew, including Dr. Sebastian himself, a dormant program, left behind by mistake when the retreating soldiers were ransacking the command centre on the Seafoam Islands facility, a single entity came online and functional. While the alliance's air strikes and naval bombardment devastated the surface levels of the compound, the lower levels remained undamaged, undiscovered and unscathed.
Resembling an protoplasmic lifeform with a pair of devious-looking eyes and a sick, twisted grin, the entity, being one of Team Rocket's earliest genetic experiments after Project Mewtwo's downfall, uttered a single phrase as it finally became fully operational.
"Missingno. online…" was the haunting words it uttered before it fell dormant again. It would have to find a way to seek out power sources if it was to remain fully functional-and a threat-to any outside forces it felt was endangering its survival.
Several days after the clash at the Seafoam Islands, the RCS Fiore's strike force and her crew remained in Alto Mare for a week as a part of their well-earned rest and leave for the battle they participated in. Rangers like Havoc and Kellyn were able to relax peacefully and away from any types of conflict as they enjoyed the ocean air and crystal-clean environment with a calm mentality and mind.
Kellyn was able to see his younger brother once again, and the pair went on patrol around the city while chatting about their lives. Despite their presence as police officers in the city, it remained unknown to the two that hidden danger lurked in the city.
In the bustling streets of the Water Capital, two suspicious human subjects inconspicuously blended themselves into the crowds of Alto Mare, acting as sleeper agents until their superiors would commence to give them further orders.
"Stay cool, Khan. Security is tight here with cops everywhere. Giovanni wishes us to remain quiet until the time to act comes."
"Not to worry Genghis. They won't suspect a thing until the entire city is filled with the bodies of all these spoiled and wretched inhabitants."
"Isn't the RCS Fiore and her escorts staying in the city for a week or so?"
"Yes. We will survey them from the shadows. Gather as much intelligence as possible and if the opportunity presents itself, acquire knowledge on how the guardians of this city are so easily able to disguise themselves. The game hasn't begun…yet. Speaking of which, let's scram. We've got cops here."
The pair of Team Rocket mercenaries noticed two Pokémon Rangers donning the Almia Divsion uniforms heading towards their direction. Hoping to avoid the law entirely, the duo picked up the briefcases they carried with them before returning to the hotel they were staying, waiting, watching, and preparing with great content and patience. Both agents were not able to notice a pair of brownish red-colored eyes, originating from a young-looking girl who looked no older than twenty years old surveying them with suspicion.
"Annie and Oakley's employers didn't learn their lesson, it seems…reasoning with them is pointless," she thought, turning around and heading off-only to bump directly into a pair of Pokémon Rangers who were on patrol, causing the one with black hair to fall flat on his behind on the cobblestone pavement. To her, the two seemed almost alike as if they were twins.
"Oh, pardon me!" she apologized, bowing to the law enforcement officials with embarrassment. "Are you two okay? I'm so terribly sorry!"
"Well, I should have been paying attention myself," Leon muttered before picking himself up only to be met with the vision of his older brother gazing directly at the girl who knocked him down by accident earlier. He was promptly pulled up to his feet by Kellyn, who was just as equally surprised at the sudden encounter like his brother.
He took a glance at the girl and widened his eyes slightly. There was something about her that seemed to make her…different, for some inexplicable and odd reason.
"Hey brother, what's gotten into ya?" Leon asked, taking note of his sibling's vague expression.
As if someone was manipulating the two, their minds were instantly frozen by an external force-while they were still alive and breathing, their consciences were nonexistent for a moment or two-at this time, the one person that accidentally barreled into them quickly disappeared mysteriously. As soon as she was no longer in sight, both Rangers returned to reality, wondering what on Earth just happened.
"The successor of the one who drove my brother's desire to seize the entire planet for himself several hundred years ago. If that's him…he may be the one that Arceus seeks after all. Kellyn."
She just wished that there was an easier method of revealing the Almian Hero's links with history itself.
"It appears our Team Rocket allies have lost the nuclear weapons we provided them," an informative voice reported to her superior, who was seated in a vast command chamber that had little to no illumination save for a tactical combat map displayed via a holographic projector. "Should the KDF realize who provided them with the assets, the position and status of our company may be endangered."
The man seated at the other end of the room simply chuckled amusingly. "Most unfortunate but nuclear assets can always be acquired again with the right contacts and price." He took a delightful sip from a glass of wine before resuming with, "I thought Giovanni would have the right mind to hide them somewhere else and not so close to the mainland. No matter. Proceed with the plans for the future campaigns of Dragon Dawn and Rising Tide, and I want the connections with our Red Falcon and Cipher allies to be closely monitored. They are important partners that hold positions in the Orre and Unova region in the United States, and thus, it is imperative we keep a close eye of surveillance on them. I do not trust them fully for they clearly have their own motives and I have my own plans of expansion for the western regions."
While Team Rocket possessed a strong sphere of influence in Kanto an Johto albeit in an underground fashion, the mysterious organizations allied with them focused its attention to Hoenn and Sinnoh. Team Rocket paid little heed to expanding to the distant regions given their remote locations halfway around the world, but the corporation responsible for their rearmament displayed great interest in expanding to Orre and Unova-to this end, they provided bargains and deals with the already prominent criminal organizations over there.
Although Red Falcon met its demise at the hands of Havoc and the legendary pair of siblings that watched over the region, they were not truly defeated. Colonel Bahamut, the presumed leader was dead, but another man only known as Ghetsis by the media, picked up the remains and immediately began to rebuild the shattered organization from scrap.
Without interference from the outside world, Red Falcon's resurrection was occurring quietly, secretly, and uninterrupted, the paramilitary group resurrecting itself alongside Cipher, its partnering branch.
"Sir, might I ask why it is a good idea to expand to Orre and Unova?" the assistant asked skeptically. "One is a desert wasteland while the other is home to perhaps the best fighting force in the US, the Unova Military Corps and its Marines division, the Unova State Marines."
"Expanding to the United States can potentially yield some nice new Pokémon to add to our arsenal, such as the elusive Zoroark, the mighty Beartic, and of course the fabled Hydreigon. That and Orre is a lawless wasteland, meaning we can perform our activities without any intrusion from the law. No matter. The UMC will be wiped off the face of the Earth once our full might is unleashed upon them in the fashion of an irate legendary with wanton tendencies of destruction." The silhouetted man then suddenly remembered about the newest program for warfare and quickly asked his aide about the status. "In addition…is the subject C-445, or more appropriately, Cynthia and her strongest Pokémon, in confinement?"
The aide nodded. "Affirmative. She is currently held in cellblock area five and awaiting transfer."
"Begin the merging process," the individual demanded coldly and without haste, tapping his fingers on the office table patiently. "It will be her punishment for not agreeing to our company's demands."
"It will be carried out as you requested sir," the female aide answered without any objections before departing, leaving the man alone in the room once more.
The game was about to begin and the loss that Team Rocket incurred was the first move order on the chessboard.
In the faraway regions of Orre and Unova, a man that stood roughly two meters tall donning an ominous cloak of pure blackness simply smiled, with the rest of his subordinates mimicking his actions. He was looking forward to succeeding at what Red Falcon utterly failed at over a decade ago and with the UAAF's help, reaching their goal became nothing more than but an assured reality as they would be guaranteed protection from the governments and law that would attempt to uncover their dark plots.
The leading figure chuckled darkly as he focused his eyes greedily on the tactical map display of Orre and Unova. If his estimates would go smoothly as hypothesized, resistance from both regions would be crushed in less than a year. But first, he'd have to eliminate the man known as Nick Seymour Parker and everyone associated with him…
"He is connected with the one that firmly defends and supports the philosophy of ideals. I seek that power too and that middle-aged Marine must not regain his link with the legendary."
A Secluded Mountain Peak in Unova…
"It seems like the first shot between Kanto's defenders and the cancerous Team Rocket has been fired…I never expected humanity to fight in such a brutish manner, especially after Red Falcon's downfall."
"It's hard to say, sis…but if anything, perhaps Lord Arceus should know about this."
"No, not yet. We cannot make hasty assumptions and raise general warnings for nothing. You know that he and his generals absolutely loathe false alarms. Perhaps we should remain observant. It isn't the first time we've witnessed humanity attempt to butcher themselves just for a small acre of farmland."
"…whatever you say, sis. But I'd stay on alert. Team Rocket might be hiding something more and beyond in their other hideouts. I don't know-my senses tell me something is hiding there. We should be prepared since Arceus relies on us as the first line of defense, next to Lugia, Ho-Oh, Rayquaza and his two other Lieutenants."
"I'm pretty sure we can survey the area while remaining stealthy. It's probably nothing too major-perhaps failed copies of Mewtwo. Since Team Rocket has small dealings with the now defunct Red Falcon, it shouldn't be breaking news should they toy with biological entities in attempts to manufacture them for their own fighting forces."
"So what should be our best course of action? We did assist Nick Seymour Parker in the Red Falcon Crisis about a decade ago, so…"
"I disapprove of any reckless maneuvers. Staying dormant and waiting is the best course of action. We can't afford to jump in out of speculations and be labeled as the antagonists. It's the worst that can possibly happen for us. In addition, humanity is often responsible for its acts of warfare, and it's about time we stop fighting their battles unless a side targets us or the human commanders that serve Lord Arceus, such as Lady Oichi. I am absolutely sick of cleaning up messes just because some power-hungry fool became obsessed with either me or my sisters."
"Oichi…wasn't she the closest ally and friend of the Chosen One that foiled Nobunaga's insurrection around the same time Alto Mare was invaded by the one we only know as Zetta?"
"Yes. Time flies, doesn't it? That was several centuries ago."
"Being the sister of the person that tried to claim most of Asia during Entity Three's invasion, I don't really know what to say about that."
The Lieutenants of Arceus and the deities that represented truth and ideals, respectively, kept a close eye on the distant horizon, analyzing the battle they had just observed in a clandestine fashion.
Many Years Later after the Uprising War, Inside the Historical Archives of the Arceans
"What a read!" a nineteen-year-old Ash Ketchum wondered with amazement as he finished reading the entry. "I never knew Pokémon Ranger Kellyn served in this battle!"
With no one to interrupt him save for an Aggron (probably a librarian on duty) and a Magnezone out at the front desk, the Pokémon Trainer flipped towards the biography section of the combatants and those who participated in the battle. Stopping at Kellyn's section, he took his time to study the medals, awards, and distinctions that the young Ranger from Almia had earned.
What caught his eyes was the Kanto General's Honor, the highest level of distinction that any soldier that served in the Kanto Theater could possibly earn. It had the Kanto Pokémon League's coat of arms emblazoned on it, surrounded by a circle made of pure gold while a gold star hung from beneath it through a small circle of metal-like wire.
Ash had just finished reading the book when Latios greeted him with a warm smile. "Hey Ash, this place is closing soon. Perhaps we should leave now since my sis is waiting outside and anxious to go home. That and I don't want to be forcefully kicked out again and scolded by Dialga herself, haha."
The Pokémon Trainer grinned in a friendly fashion at the Eon Pokémon before holding up the relatively heavy book that documented most of humanity's conflicts throughout history. "Oh, sorry, I must've lost track of time. I was just checking out this book, and it's a really good read. Here, have a look at this particular chapter! It's on page 240 and entitled "Arcanines of War" if I'm not mistaken."
Latios accepted the hardcover book before leafing through the manuscript with his claws while rapidly scanning his blood-red colored eyes across the text. "Ah, the infamous Seafoam Islands raid, codenamed Operation Black Spear. The first major battle between the Kanto Defense Force/Pokémon Ranger Corps alliance against the Team Rocket garrison holed up in the islands off the coast of Fuchsia City. It was also the first mission where more than one Pokémon Ranger received the Kanto General's Honor at the same time-Nicholas Parker and Kellyn, respectively. I suppose it caught your attention?"
Ash nodded. "Yep, definitely. You can say the talks I had with Havoc had brightened my interest in history, if anything. That old Arcanine never likes to talk about it."
"Well…warfare isn't something that always ends with a happy conclusion. Events like that cause families to be torn apart, friends sent to their graves, and connections severed," the Eon dragon explained. "It's also a reason why most veterans are forgotten-the next generation takes their freedom of liberty and life for granted, and thus, they forget about those who fought with every inch of their lives to achieve that. Just ask Laia or her human companion, Oichi. Now Selene if your memory doesn't jog you well."
Ash didn't feel so excited anymore, although he remained inquisitive about the subject of history of warfare. "Still, it's an interesting topic! It's a good way to distract yourself from Pokémon battling. So why do the Rangers and KDF soldiers call themselves the Arcanines of War?"
Latios wasn't exactly too positively sure of how to answer Ash's statement, so he replied with "It's hard to come up with a clear answer, but…I guess it can be a phrase applied to them. Many of them thrive on the thrill of battle in the warzone as much as I'd hate to admit it."
What surprised the trainer even more was that humans from centuries past were already fighting a struggle amongst the greatest evils before his generation was even born. It definitely caused Ash to lose his composure that there were humans almost as old as Latias and Latios willing to lend their powers on the battlefield against Team Rocket and their military allies. The Pokémon Rangers were also notable for their unwavering bravery and support, even in the face of seemingly impossible odds.
"…perhaps it'll help you improve your brainpower and expand your knowledge," Latios joked, holding his claws to his lips and trying not to stifle back a laugh.
"Hey! What's that supposed to mean?" Ash yelled back in protest. He quickly rose to his feet while Latios fled the scene, the two running out of the library. Before he left, however, Ash carefully placed the book back in its original spot from where he took it from, and realizing he shouldn't keep his crush and her overprotective brother waiting, quickly departed from the library. He didn't do this before he turned his vision back at the panoramic-like and prestigiously-built library before mentally thanking those who had sacrificed everything to keep his former homeland safe and secure.
Kellyn and Havoc were still alive and healthy, so he made a note to himself to thank the two sometime in person. Meeting them surely changed his life forever and the way he viewed it previously.
With that, he left, laughing all the way as he was embraced by the hug of his dear Latias the moment he exited the library archives, with Latios smiling affectionately at the lovely scene.
"What took you so long, Ash?" Latias asked, her claws placed on her hips. "You know it's rude to keep a lady waiting."
"Well, you can say I was sort of caught up learning a bit about our friends' pasts," he apologized, shrugging with an innocent expression on his young face. "History can teach you a lot of things you've never seen."
Latias sighed with a rather downtrodden tone of breath as if the subject made her sad. "There are some stories that should just remain untold."
"Perhaps so," was Ash's only response. He didn't really know what to say-Latias was right, in some sense. His friends who were in the Rangers never really liked to talk about some of the operations they participated in. "So, where to?"
"How does dinner at my mother's place sound? I think she'd be delighted to see us all, not to mention Kellyn, Leon and Selene will be there too!" Latias recommended, looking forward to seeing her dear mother again while having Ash spend time with her. Seeing the Rangers and the human who was bonded with the ascended Latias was an added bonus for her, as she loved company of all kinds.
Ash chuckled nervously as he rubbed his stomach while it growled with the sound levels of a snoring Salamence.
"I guess that's a yes then," Latios laughed. "Come on, let's not be late!" With that, the three headed off as the sun began to sink over the horizon, looking forward to a delightful dinner with the ascended parent of the Eon twins from Alto Mare.
Back in the library, the book remained completely silent and still on the shelf, its content left undisturbed and ready to teach the next reader about the long-forgotten and controversial battle that took place in Kanto several years ago.
"May Arceus bless our future with peace and prosperity."
Finished. Thank Arceus, I thought this was going to take me forever. If I didn't plan this and lacked the spirit to write this, it would have probably taken at least several months to finish. The first finished product was around 18,000 words, and the end result…over 5000 more.
And that's that. My oneshot dedicated to MegaAuthor's birthday (sorry if it was late, but I had to wait for the artist to finish up the cover artwork for this =P). I hope you enjoyed this-it was hard to write up, but not as hard as my primary fic that's currently in production. This took me two weeks or so at most and with my schedule relatively free, finishing and polishing this up wasn't too terribly difficult.
Consider this a prequel to Pokémon Heroes: Uprising from a different perspective. Also, if you enjoyed this and want to see more, check out Uprising. I would greatly appreciate feedback if you can provide some.
Red Falcon can be seen as a predecessor of Team Plasma, from my fictional perspective. More will be revealed as Uprising goes along. Yes, Ghetsis will run it. Have you seen his Black and White 2 design? That just SCREAMS evil badassery.
This is also a war fic, so while Pokémon will play a significant role, prepare to see plenty of military action and mature content that I'm sure many would wish to see.
Although Kellyn hasn't really developed far in terms of a character in my view, I personally LOVE Havoc. Seeing him mow down entire squads of Team Rocket soldiers and excelling in Pokémon battles (it will happen in the future) plasters a smile on my face. Kellyn will be a prominent face in Uprising-it just hasn't happened yet. But he will appear. You can thank my beta reader, Tendou Souji, for making that happen.
In addition, you'll know that there's a few Pokémon Conquest references here-more will be explained in the author's notes in my next update for Uprising.
Above all else, catch you next mission.
-Soldier of the Future