The Next Move
Sweat dripped from my brow, my limbs sore and my body bruised and aching.
"You're certain your search came up empty?" Giovanni looked at me sceptically. "Nothing at all?"
He came at me with a series of kicks which I barely evaded. I responded in kind with a twirling jump kick that snapped him right in the jaw. The mobster yowled and staggered back several steps.
"Good, shot." He spat on the training room floor. "You're more focused... getting quick, even for my standards."
Compliments were seldom received from my father so I had to take them as they came. Truth be known however, it was the rushing thoughts of watching the man suffer in the most grotesque and painful way that kept me on. After what he'd done to me... and thought he'd gotten away with, I would make him suffer every single bit of pain I myself experienced every day since he took my son away. He had thought I'd forgotten, that Mewtwo had erased my memory, but little did he realise that the mutant clone was, in fact, on my side.
"What can I say? It turns out Cyrus has a brother who is more than capable of taking on the Galactic clan. He has the push, the determination and more importantly the financial backing to get it on its feet again."
This was news that Giovanni didn't want to hear. "A setback, nonetheless," he grumbled. His plans to take control of the clan – and therefore Sinnoh – had been thwarted by a man who up until recently, never existed. "And what does this Darius figure wish to do with his bold new enterprise?"
I shrugged, caught off guard as my father's oversized fist went into my side. "Oof!" I keeled, tumbling backwards head over heels.
I wheezed on the ground, tasting blood – I'd bit my tongue. "He wasn't exactly forthcoming with his plans."
The mobster extended a hand of assistance but I helped myself to my feet, throwing him a filthy look. He smirked in reply.
"Don't get too distracted," he drawled. "Always be on your guard." A towel was offered him which he used to wipe his brow. "That'll do for our training session this morning. Shower and be in the lab in half an hour, I have a new assignment for you."
So this was the infamous Cyrus of Team Galactic. Still unconscious, the blue haired mastermind lay stretched out in a hospital bed. He seemed taller in life. Solid in appearance but not bulked up like Giovanni. No, this guy was obviously a thinker. An ambitious bastard... like my father. That was the last thing we needed, more of my father. I glowered at him, gritting my teeth and avoided cursing in front of the Team Rocket boss. Giovanni was questioning the medics on Cyrus' state. He was fine. In this other universe he'd created, his body had simply been frozen into a state of inactivity, though his brain functions were off the chart. Now, it would be the wait for mind and body to reunite.
"How long will it take?" Giovanni seemed to read my mind.
The medic shrugged, "As long as it takes, I'm afraid I can offer you no answers."
The Crime Lord glowered, "Let me know as soon as he awakens."
He signalled for me to follow him on his journey from the medical bay.
"So, what did you drag me down here for, anyway?" I swallowed my unease and questioned.
"Cyrus' insight is instrumental in our locating the Kami Trio."
I had to scoff and feign my own ignorance. "Unova Pokémon? That's a bit far off shore, don't you think? What do you want with them?"
"Never you mind," replied Giovanni. "You'll see when the time comes. In the meantime, I want you hanging around headquarters and keeping an eye on Cyrus. I want you around when he wakes up."
I stuck my nose up in distaste, idling was never one of my preferred activities. "Can't you get one of your admins to do it? Or even Delia, she's a nice face to wake up to."
"I don't want to offer the man tea and scones, I want information. Cyrus' mind is a renowned fort knox and I need to tap into it. With Mewtwo out of the picture, you are my next best option."
He was just getting confusing. "Father, I don't have my psychic abilities anymore. I lost them in..." I hesitated, how much should I know? How much did he expect I'd forgotten? "Unova..."
Giovanni gave me a look as though to be insulted that I'd stated the obvious. "I meant you are going to get close to him. You will get information from him and report back to me."
I was still clueless. "Again, can't you get someone else to do that? What about Ariana or Archer? Their daughter was one of his own commanders."
"Because of the nature of the information he holds!" My father practically exploded. "No one else can know what he knows, do you understand me?"
I had to stop myself from taking a couple of steps back. My father though he was, he was still intimidating at the best of times.
"Alright..." I said slowly, hesitantly, "I'll do it if it means that much to the operation. Get your men to let me know when he wakens. In the meantime, I'll be in the mountains."
When I landed back in Driftveil, the sight that greeted me was the last thing I expected. The front door to the hospital had been frozen open with large chunks of ice. Police surrounded the building, scouring the scene for clues as to what had just gone on. It had been taped off but it wasn't hard to see that the hospital foyer had been buried under a tonne of snow and ice.
"Officer!" I reeled and faced the duty nurse on the approach, her expression wide and bewildered.
"What happened?" I immediately questioned.
"It was those teenagers you dropped off - the girl and the boy. They did this. And I don't mean with their Pokémon. I... I..." She stuttered. "I don't know how, but it was as though they possessed Pokémon abilities of their own. The girl, she used ice - like a giant blizzard attack that froze everything in their path. They got away."
I felt sick to the core. These kids had Pokémon abilities just like the Shadow Triad under Team Plasma's care. Just like what both Kair and I had once. Both Teams Rocket and Plasma had delved into the same research - giving humans Pokémon abilities. I thought I'd stopped their endeavours, but it was apparent I'd failed.
I cursed beneath my breath, falling into a pace in front of the hospital. Why did I have a feeling we were only tapping the surface. I needed to find Team Plasma again, I needed to get to the bottom of this and fast.
Celestic Town was a pretty little place. Tucked away in the heart of the Sinnoh region, it seemed as ancient as the mountains that surrounded it. There was a shrine in the city square that I found myself staring at, contemplating my next move. Professor Carolina had been nice enough to offer me tea and breakfast, even despite her busy schedule for the day. I spent the morning wondering the town. There was a market on today – a festival by the looks of it, to none other than the tiny time keeper Pokémon, Celebi. Was it pure coincidence that I'd been brought here or was there a reason for it?
After my brief excursion around town, it didn't take me long to realise I'd gone back in time. If my calculations were correct, I would've only been a toddler. I was not expecting to be sent back this far and I truly hoped that Silver had been sent back to the same time. But where was he? We'd been in Unova before we left. Why did I wind up in Sinnoh, of all places? I was supposed to be looking for Wilbur, but so far all that had amounted in was the fact that he didn't want me around.
He worked for Team Galactic. They were bad guys, as far as I knew. I'd heard stories of them from Uncle Ash, though they'd been absorbed into Team Rocket when I was little. Sinnoh became a Team Rocket ruled region. And with the resources Galactic had to offer them, the organisation's power almost doubled. Powerful enough to one day destroy the world.
"Well Pikachu," I heaved a sigh, fingering the key older-Wilbur had given me. It was ancient looking and bulky. Odd in shape, the intricate design of a Pokémon of some description occupied the top. It looked as though it could have been a Sinnoh legendary like Dialga or Palkia. It also looked like it probably connected with another piece - like this wasn't the whole key that I'd been given but only half. It hung off a chain so I placed it around my neck and tucked it away under my top to keep it safe. "Where to?"
The little yellow Pokémon stared up at me from the ground and I soon realised after being accustomed to riding on Ash's shoulder his whole life, he wasn't used to being on the ground. It was a pretty depressing perspective.
"Hey, you wanna ride up top and we'll figure out our next move?" I offered him my shoulder to which he accepted with glee.
"Pika!" it didn't take him long to spot a directory out front of a shop window. It was a map of the Sinnoh region and I took a moment to examine it.
"Alright, we should probably think about getting to Unova. It looks as though the nearest port is in Veilstone City." I pulled out Charizard's Pokéball. "Let's try and get there before sunset."
Team Galactic Headquarters
Darius was a quiet man. Serious and secluded. That was all they knew of him. That was all he wanted anyone to know of him. His office was constantly dark. The darkness was the only thing that alleviated the headaches, which with every passing day seemed to come on stronger and more intense. Today was no exception. The pounding throb never seemed to cease. It was as though his head was telling him that something was very wrong. He could hardly focus let alone answer the call that came through on an encrypted line.
The shadowy figure of a slender woman dressed in black graced his screen. "We have a situation," she said with force. "My sources tell me Team Rocket have managed to re-open the portal into Cyrus' dimension. Was there no one guarding the chamber?"
Darius suppressed a growl. "There was no need. No one knew of that place."
"Well apparently someone did know, because Team Rocket now has Cyrus himself in their possession. If they find out..."
"I know," Darius cut her off. He didn't need her to spell it out. "What do you propose we do, Madame?"
"I'll keep an eye on the situation. You just make sure things stay on course. The last thing we need are any more hiccups in the plan. For this to work, Giovanni of Team Rocket must fall at the hands of the Kami Trio."