The Road to Indigo (Pokemon RP (Closed): Chapter 7: Dead Living On The Radio...)

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Aeris bumped her fist against Charlie's, feeling a little silly for it, but it helped to raise her spirits from her previous stuttering. It didn't seem like she'd made things awkward by mentioning her fear of water which was good. She made no comment about whether Misty was hot or not. Even though she swung both ways, she wasn't about to give her opinion on the Water gym leader's looks. Besides, even despite the fact that Misty was a Water gym leader, she was, as far as Aeris was concerned, a bitch. And she already had a good boyfriend who was there for her. Aside from right now, but as she thought about it, he arrived and gave her a hug from behind.

Aeris and Mika traveled with the others to the Fiesta Deck, holding hands as Aeris showed Mika her new Misdreavus, Jessie, who was happily sitting on Aeris' head. She'd returned most of her other Pokemon to their Pokeballs except Blaze, naturally. On the way, Mika introduced himself to Charlie. "Nice to meet you. My name is Mika, Aeris' boyfriend. Seems you kept an eye on her for me, and so did Rochelle. Thanks for that. I was just looking around the ship and accidentally forgot myself while doing so." Aeris lightly punched his shoulder and giggled. "Silly Mika." she said to him. Mika chuckled in response.

When they arrived at the party, there were a lot of people there. No surprise, seeing as everyone on the ship was told to come there. Aeris skimmed the crowd to see if she could find Fiona. She didn't see her at the moment, but hopefully she would later on. She agreed with Rochelle. "Why couldn't they have put something good on, like the rock band 'Flare Blitz'? I swear, this is why I don't like parties much. Oh well." Maybe there would be a slow dance later on that she could participate in with Mika.

Simon stepped into the main party with all the enthusiasm of his first dance at school. He was alone, tired, annoyed at an authority member, and forced to be in charge of something. It was eerily familiar territory.

'Well...' Simon mentally apologized to the Egg he was carrying around in his backpack. He wasn't being 'forced' to watch it. But with all of these people in one place he was a bit worried about his charge. 'The last thing I need is for this Egg to hatch and my poor Pokemon to be traumatized by all of this noise' Simon regretted not asking the Day Care Couple just how long it would be before the egg hatched. Maybe he had a whole month. Or a year even! He'd have to look into a better container if that was the case.

Finding a somewhat empty section of wall Simon dropped his bigger pack onto the ground and pulled the egg's pack around so that he could check the ties. He'd automatically left enough room for Shadow even though the young Mightyena wasn't out yet. Old habits die hard.

"Now what?" Simon mumbled quietly to himself. The egg wasn't going anywhere. And based on the amount of people between him and the entrance right now it looked like he was going to have to stay for a while as well. Maybe he could find somewhere to sit properly.

After finishing up the current ear-grinding flavor of the hour track of crack-pop, the party seemed to be starting off at a tepid pitch. The trainers on the deck milled around a bit, but there wasn't much dancing to be done, and the snack table was getting the majority of the action. The DJ wasn't having that, especially ahead of the grand performance coming up.

"Hey wassup party people of the S.S. Anne!" he shouted out to the masses. He got lukewarm applause in response. "On behalf of the crew we want to thank you all for coming out to the anniversary party! It's been a blast! My name is DJ Thruster and I'll be taking you guys through to the end of the night! Let's kick things up a notch here! This is the Roselia Blossoms with 'I Luvdisc You', a DJ Thruster special remix for you guys out there!"

The generic beats wafted over the deck, progressing along as the high-pitched warbling started forcing the insipid lyrics onto the audience. The random cut edits didn't do much to help ease the suffering Jordan was feeling in his ears. "Ah dude, this sucks bro. This is like birds in a blender bad. For sure. This guy needs better music fast."

Once acknowledging Mika's introduction with one of his own, Charlie feebly managed to keep up with the rest of the troupe. His eyes were elsewhere, floating around his surroundings. His mind was focusing on other things, mostly future subjects, pertaining to how he was going to spend time with this newfound group of people he just encountered within the hour. He managed to let off a subconscious little smile, at how friendly these kids seemed to be. He silently remarked on how he usually doesn't learn names within the first few minutes of acquainting with others, and yet, he could already put a name to the five people he's met. It was fairly exhilarating, to put it lightly.

"There's Aeris, Rochelle, Jordan, Mika, and..." Okay, well, he could put a name to four of the five people he's met. He glanced towards the third girl, the one in the green tanktop, seemingly floating within Jordan's gravitational orbit. He couldn't put a name to that one. As a matter of fact, he wasn't even introduced to her as far as he was concerned. He remembered her pulling up a chair to their table in the dining hall, saying something about a Shellder she caught...

Before he was aware of it, the invasive sound of music began blurring his thoughts. It was actually a song he remembered hearing sometime awhile back, before he left Goldenrod. As he remembered, it was a bit of an earworm for him, an earworm now replaced back in his head where he didn't want it. It seemed the group had arrived on the Fiesta Deck.

"Oh man, really? My mom used to play this song all the time when we would do our weekend chores." He uttered with a groan. Once the song died down, he managed to arrive back at his previous train of thought. He edged towards Rochelle, who was closest to him.

"Hey Roche, who's that's girl that sat with us at the table? The one that wasn't you or Aeris." He queried, his questioned almost cut short as the music pumped back up, an seldom eyebrow twitching in annoyance as the DJ tried to hype up the crowd...with a song he's already played.

"Wait, what? Is this joker serious?" He let out before Rochelle could answer, unaware of the literary contradiction that came out of his mouth.

"Oh, Mother... why does this exist," Rochelle groaned. With the DJ's announcement, any faith on her part in his musical preferences had been shot straight to hell. "I mean, seriously. The name sounds like the title of a bad rom-com, for heaven's sake." She tried her best to ignore the vapid lyrics and bland noise that passed for music; it worked somewhat well.

She turned back to Charlie, who had moved to stand beside her, to answer his question. Though not before she picked up on Charlie using what sounded like a nickname, something that Rochelle was not a fan of except when talking to herself. There were four girls in the group, she knew that much. Eileen had joined them around the same time Terinth had left, and Rochelle didn't remember seeing the former at dinner. Where was Eileen, anyway? And Callum? She couldn't pick them out of the crowds milling about.

Of course, she had noticed Fary arriving at the table with Jordan; she briefly wondered if the two of them had patched things up. "That would be Fary, another member of our little group," she answered him, leaning in a little to ensure she was heard over the awful 'music'. Just the name might not be enough, though, so she expanded on it a little.

"She's from Unova... and may or may not be with Jordan, in case you were wondering," she explained, glancing over to the Trainer in question in case he overheard. "I don't know what the deal is with those two."

Tyler was never one for big parties or dances. He always found them dull, and this one was no exception. The snacks were okay at best, the music was irritating, and the rest of the crowd seemed as bored as him. The DJ's lack of charisma wasn't helping matters either. His attempt at whipping the crowd into a frenzy for the final song fell flat, causing Tyler to audibly groan. DJ Thruster was definitely not a crowd-pleaser. One would imagine that the people in charge of the S.S. Anne would be able to afford a better DJ, like DoubleEdge or G3ng4r. Apparently not.

"At least it's almost over," he said to Eileen, Callum, and Sarah as repetitive electro-garbage began to play. Having run into the three while heading back from the fishing area, Tyler had been hanging out with them ever since. If he was going to be bored at a party, he might as well not be bored alone. "And really, Roselia Blossoms?" he added while taking a sip from a cup of soda. "The only way the music could get worse is if he decided to play some Steelix!"

Charlie managed a short glance from Rochelle to Fary and Jordan and back again. He milled over his thoughts momentarily before dropping knowledge on the seemingly oblivious redhead before him.

"Looks like sexual tension to me, chief." He replied matter-of-factly, sporting a coy grin before taking another double take between parties.

"Unresolved? Belligerent? Both? No one knows but the mighty Arceus himself. But, it makes the world go 'round. Who knows? We might even get lucky and see a happy ending out of this situation." Eyeing the snack bar, Charlie began heading towards it, motioning for Rochelle to tag along.

"And you said she was from Unova right? Fary, was it? Heh. Leave it to a Unovian to take you for a ride on the emotional roller coaster. But if anything, I'm a bit more intrigued, now. From the pictures i've seen, the Unova region looks like an awesome place to take a vacay, especially Nimbasa City and Castelia City." He mused, pouring himself a drink.

"But that's just me. Heh. Drawn in by the pretty lights and big buildings. What about you? Fan of the flashing lights?" He asked playfully, in between sips of the fizzy beverage that inhabited the plastic cup he brandished.

It was apparent that the crowd shared sentiments on the current song. Bad enough on it's own, yet made so much worse by a man who didn't bother trying to improve it. Instead, he slapped a standard beat underneath it while looking for a quick boost of fame, and everyone on the deck was paying the price now. The only thing it was good for was cover. As everyone tried to drown out the noise surrounding them, no one noticed the clunk sounds of bars and chains being looped around the large doors leading back into the ship. A final yank by the nameless thugs ensured that the the doors weren't going to budged by any man any time soon.

Go ahead. Dance away you drones, the DJ thought under the headphones, though no one was heeding the orders. It's about time for you to learn your place in this world.

As the song mercifully neared its finale, the vocals having ceased their assault on the partygoers, the platform below the deck whirred to life. Jean-Simon was braced as he rose up ready to properly get the party started.


The blaring beats were fading away, but something else was noticeable on the dance floor. A faint vibration could be felt, quickly growing in magnitude. "Ladies and gentlemen," the DJ announced, "we're going to crank this party up right now, so please turn your attention to the stage up front!" As the vibrations reached a fever pitch, the stage in front opened up and tossed the fireworks setup aside. Slowly, the gaunt Frenchman emerged from underneath, not flinching as the platform ground to a halt.

"Oh my god! It's Team Rocket!" Someone shouted from near the buffet.

"No shit, Sherlock!" came the callous reply.

"Oui, ladies and gentlemen, I believe zat dreadful song brings us to ze main event of ze evening. Allow me to explain before anyone gets any ideas 'ere. Ze doors have been locked behind you, and zere is a seven story drop into ze waters below. Around you," he motioned to the crew members who were previously stationed around the deck. They now were all armed with various amounts of weapons plucked straight from the Johto National Guard. "Ze rest of ze Rocket crew have retrieved zeir assortment of guns and rifles, and I 'ave told zem not to be afraid to use zem if necessary. Now, we do not need much, just all ze valuables and Pokemon of every trainer on board."

"Screw that!" shouted a large man near the front. "Try it you bastards!" He foolishly charged forward, fists clenched in the air, intending to stop the Rocket threat himself. If he had stopped to consider exactly what he was embarking on, he would have noticed that Jean-Simon had matched his grunts in firepower.

Jean-Simon drew the rather large pistol and with the same amount of calmness one might strike a match with, he fired at point blank range into his challenger. The large man's run was halted immediately and he was sent sprawling backward, a large red splotch now coloring his white wifebeater shirt. "I regret 'aving to do zat before I even finished speaking, but I was left wit no other option." A couple of grunts surrounded the body. "Strip 'im of 'is valuables and toss the body overboard. I do not need dead weight cluttering ze deck." The two dragged the body off to a corner behind the stage. "As for ze rest of you, as you can see, your efforts are futile. If you try to escape on any flying Pokemon or anything, we will not 'esitate to fill you and your Pokemon so full of lead you fall like a Moon Stone, comprendon?" There was nothing but a nervous silence from the crowd. "Bien. Now we will begin rounding up your contributions to ze Rocket cause now. Cooperate, and we will return you to ze shore. Refuse, and we can do much worse tings zen simply putting a bullet troogh you."

The Rocket Grunts started to circulate through the crowd, with giant bags in tow to hold their supposed haul.

"Hmm... I don't know, really. If that were the case I might have stayed home," Rochelle answered with a light laugh. "Though I have seen a little bit of what Unova has to offer, on TV and the 'net and suchlike. Dunno if I'd take a vacation out there. It is a long way from here."

But then, Rochelle was already a fair distance away from home. It had taken her a while to get to Kanto; she had chosen not to take the Magnet Train to Saffron City, instead taking the long way round. By doing so, she had hoped to gain an insight into the Trainers and Pokémon between Goldenrod and Olivine, and by extension between Vermilion and Pallet. It had worked to some extent.

Rochelle's musing was interrupted by the DJ's announcement. She looked up to the center stage... and there it was. The R symbol. The Team Rocket emblem. The cause of her nightmares. Was it just Rochelle, or did the temperature on the deck take a sharp dive, even with her jacket on? She could feel goosebumps on her skin, and her stomach lurched in an unhealthy way... she felt sick. It was a trap. The whole party had probably been designed to let the Rockets capture the guests. She was caught again, and this time everyone else had been baited alongside her.

BLAM.

Gunshot.

Rochelle screamed a high-pitched, slightly wavering scream of terror and grabbed Charlie's arm. She clung tightly to him as the man who had dared charge the Rocket leader fell backwards... he didn't get up again. "No... no, no, no... this can't be happening. Not now, not again," she whimpered, now afraid for her life for the second time in three days. What if the two from Mount Moon were here? What if they recognised her and locked her up again, taking her things and her Pokémon?

In a bizarre moment, she briefly considered letting her Pokémon out to protect her. Iskra had helped her in the past; he could do so again. But the Rockets had guns. They would probably use them if faced with a Pokémon who stood up to them. Already Rochelle could feel cold wetness trickling down her face as memories she had tried to suppress came flooding back to her.

Shit! Aeris thought as she saw a man with the Rocket's symbol on his shirt. Why do they have to come and ruin our fun? As the man kept talking, she had Jessie hide behind her and turn invisible. Hopefully it wouldn't be noticed. Though, getting Blaze into her Pokeball without it being noticed was a no go. She'd have to stay out.

When another man charged up to the French Rocket, he got shot. Aeris covered her mouth so she wouldn't scream, though a silent one could be heard if you stood near her. Mika held his arms around her to try and keep her calm, which worked a little, but she was still shocked about the man getting shot. What was worse is that he didn't get up, meaning they were in serious trouble. Tears started to form in her eyes, and she looked towards Rochelle because she'd screamed, who she knew had encountered the Rockets in Mt. Moon. Seeing Rochelle clinging tightly to Charlie made her see just how bad the memories of that time did to her. She couldn't go over to try and help her, though, in fear that the Rockets might do something. One thing was for sure, though. She was not about to hand over her Pokemon. Especially not Blaze.

Charlie laughed his own quaint laugh as Rochelle mentioned their hometown. "Yeah, i'm sure it's pretty far from here, but I'd just figured, hey, if that Fary chick can make her way to Kanto, then what's stopping us Johtoians from going to Unova?" He added, doing his best to ignore the DJ. Only once a yell in the crowd was emitted, did Charlie decide to turn his attention to the stage rising from the ground. At the sight of the operative's emblazoned uniform and his thick accent, the young trainer couldn't help but grimace in confusion.

"What-? Is this some sort of act or something?" He thought as the man talked. The innocence of this situation flushed from Charlie as one defiant man rushed towards the stage, only to be promptly cut down by gunshot. The loud bang accompanied by the young trainer's slumping body and Rochelle's scream made Charlie lurch back in disturbance. With a naive optimism, he began to half-heartedly think that this was all still just some act. Then Rochelle began to cling to him. He looked down at her, saw the tears roll down her face, the sheer glance of terror in her eyes. Almost like a link, the fear instilled in her began to flow into Charlie.

"S-shit...This is...this is really happening..." He thought once more, his hands beginning to tremble, his heart began to race at a haphazard pace. He had no intentions of dying tonight, but he didn't want his Pokémon confiscated. Especially not Quinn...

"Wait...Quinn!" A spark shot through his head. An idea. It took him back to an earlier encounter, where he used the Cyndaquil's Smokescreen attack to get away from a trainer with Pokémon much stronger than his own. He began to wonder if he could use that same attack in this situation, maybe try and wrestle a gun from one the Rockets as he did so. But would he risk it? What if they were prepared for these types of situations? He didn't want to see anyone else die tonight, especially none of the people he managed to befriend. He looked back at Rochelle, then back towards the crowd, the team of Rockets seemingly everywhere amongst them. He took a inhale, and exhaled that breath as quietly as he could.

"Rochelle...I have a plan. But I need to know if you're okay..." He whispered as quietly as he could, trying his best to make no sudden movements.

Eileen had stayed silent as Callum and Sarah joined up with Tyler and proceeded to the Fiesta Deck. She was slightly groggy from her short nap, but was having an easier time walking on her own (though she still leaned on any of the other three in the group when she needed to). As she followed a few feet behind them, she spotted a beer bottle that someone had left behind on a table. Sneakily she went over and grabbed it, practically falling onto the table in her hurry.

She was a bit cheerier now that she had the drink, but soon realized that the cap was still on. No amount of pulling with her hands or teeth could get it off, so she put it into her pocket as they got out onto the Fiesta Deck with the rest of the party goers.

The song that was playing caught her attention, and after a few seconds of thought she remembered what it was. "Oh my goodness, I love this song!" Eileen exclaimed loudly, singing along horribly to the tune. There were a few weird odd looks given to her enthusiastic singing of such a horrible song, but Eileen didn't even notice. She quieted down when the song ended, only to do an odd sort of dance to the remix version that came on after it.

That quickly ended after the song was halted and the stage lifted up to reveal the Rockets. "Damn! I liked thats ong," Eileen muttered angrily, only half-listening to what Jean-Simon was saying. Between the accent and her own drunkenness she couldn't really make out what he was saying, but she did know that it was bad. 'And worse...he cut off the song!' she told herself, a new rush of anger taking over her.

"Booo! Turn tha song back on!" Eileen yelled, taking out the beer bottle and throwing it at Jean-Simon.

As the bottle flew through the air, Jean-Simon did not move. He stood surveying the crowd, until the projectile reached the apex of it's flight. He brought his gun back out and defended himself, shooting the bottle. It instantly shattered, showering glass all over the partiers.

Jean-Simon looked over the deck to see where specifically it had come from, but there was no need. Two grunts had already converged on Eileen's position, and were restraining the drunken scientist. "Not bad, girlie," one said. "The Boss will be interested in you. You should make a fine hostage."

Sarah watched as Eileen threw the full bottle at the Rocket leader. She was startled at how close it actually came to hitting the strong accented leader of the thugs and almost giggled at the blast of an almost slapstick comedy routine in front of her. However the giggling soon stopped when she realized the man meant to abduct her new intoxicated friend.

Not thinking about the ramifications of her actions, Sarah grabbed the closest grunt that had latched onto Eileen and attempted to pull him off, "Get off of her you petty thugs," she said tugging at his arm futilely. Realizing that she had no hope of budging him, the grunt jerked his arm away with no trouble and laughed. Terrified but resolved, she took a deep breath and kicked the Rocket between the legs as hard as she could.

Callum had lost track of Eileen's actions earlier and now regretted it. The outside party looked bleak when team rocket appeared and Eileen's chucking of the beer at a man who just killed another was far from favourable. Damn. Team Rocket shows up and she picks a fight. And her taste in music is terrible!

Suddenly two Rocket members were trying to drag Eileen away and Sarah had moved to try and get one of them off of her. It didn't work and she ended up kicking him in his jewels. The Rocket looked pissed and was about to raise his gun to but end Sarah. Quickly Callum pulled out a Pokéball and released his Ledyba. "Mach Punch that man!" Callum yelled as he crouched down and the compressed air running shoes on his feet activated. In an instant he launched himself into the grunt still holding Eileen, knocking him into the ground. Ledyba took off at the same time and landed a strike on the guard.

Both guards fell over as Callum instinctively grabbed one of each girls' arms. He pulled them under a nearby table before up ending it. His Ledyba had quickly followed him under the table and was promptly returned to its ball so that it wasn't a potential target. He didn't know how powerful the guns were but this was always what the hero did in rare few action moves that he had seen.

A bead of sweat began trickle down Charlie's brow. Rochelle failed to give him any sort of response, and it gave him thought to just how stricken she was to the situation. He let out another low sigh, his hand wandering towards a table that stood behind him. The snack bar he'd almost forgot about. With that one variable, his initial plan expanded (hopefully) for the better. The hand on the table began to slowly edge towards a pokéball clipped on his belt...

"Mach Punch that man!"

A yell went out from the far right of Charlie, causing him to look in the direction. He caught a glance of a boy and his Ledyba, taking defense against one of the gang members. Seeing the attack as a distraction, Charlie began to act, hastily grabbing hold of Quinn's pokéball and dropping it to the ground.

"Quinn, use Smokescreen! Do not stop until I tell you!" He said as quietly as he could. She responded obediently, thick black smoke forcefully billowing from her mouth. The smoke and the hindering smell of ash quickly began spreading into the air, visibility beginning to decrease along the dark of night. He began leading Rochelle under the snack table, lifting the long cloth draped over it, with the smokescreen leaving their actions fairly unseen. Once he was insured that he was successfully hidden under the table, he tried to get Rochelle's attention, loudly snapping his fingers inches away from her face.

"H-hey! Earth to Rochelle! If ya don't want your Pokémon to get taken, I'd suggest you get into gear! There's a war going on out there soldier, and we need some help on the front lines." He said with a low sharpness, positioning his bag to his front. Rustling through it, he pulled out his multi-tool, testing the springing mechanism in the knife of the tool before putting in his pocket. Zipping up the bag, he took another pokéball from his belt within the same motion, this one being the Spinarak, Parker. The bug began it's usual lofty surveying of the newfound surroundings, until Charlie got it's attention.

"Alright Parker, it's game time. I need you to pay attention. Comprendé, young'un?" He tried to say clearly, the situation calling for a quieter tone. Parker gave a another slow look of the area before looking back up towards his master.

"...Spin." It replied simply before tensing up, it's guise furrowing with determination. Charlie grinned as he replied.

"Good boy."

"Oh my god! It's Team Rocket!"

'It's what?' Simon shouldered his way past an angry man in a tuxedo and tried to see above the crowd. He hadn't gotten far when the Rocket member's speech ended with a gunshot. Two ladies next to Simon, already agitated by the presence of Team Rocket, began to scream and threw up their hands in terror. The trainer ducked instinctively to avoid their flailing. He got smacked in the face anyway, by something heavy that hurt. Simon raised a hand to his stinging his face and ducked again this time trying to move past the hysterical women.

'Why is Team Rocket here?' he wondered as he wiped his face with one sleeve. Specifically why here? 'No more parties. Ever again.' Simon decided while he tried to moved forward. Despite the gravity of the situation Simon's apologies were constant and silent. He had no idea where any of his training group members were but more importantly he didn't have any of his team with him. That needed to be fixed. There was no way he was giving up his Pokemon to these monsters. Hiding behind a rather large man who stank of whiskey Simon yanked Shadow's Pokeball off of his bandolier. He shifted hands on his backpack before thumbing open the catch. Someone's elbow dug into Simon's back but he remained silent. 'Come 'on bud. Glancing away from the coalescing form Simon noticed a bit of smoke drifting up into the air. 'I hope that's not a fire...'

The crowd was already starting to grow restless. It seemed that total cooperation was too much to expect form an large group of people, even with an example already made. There was a commotion in the back, bottles were starting to fly, it wouldn't be long before the situation got out of hand. Jean-Simon had seen enough. "A shame people can not behave like Pokemon."

He leaned over and spoke into the communicator hanging from his ear. "On my mark grunts, I want you to open fire on ze crowd. Do not stop until you hear me give ze order. We will capture any survivors and transport zem to ze islands. We will strip the dead of all possessions. Am I clear?"

Jean Simon waited to hear a response from his team but all he got was a very static "Yes" before the channel was completely overtaken by the white noise. "What ze hell? The frequency..."

He couldn't figure out what was going on until his gun started to shake in his hand. It was slow at first but then the tugs became more forceful. All the guards had to stop what they were doing as their firearms rebelled against them. Above the deck, the source could be seen. A pair of Magneton were hovering around each other, sparks flying in between them, as the magnetic force they were generating grew stronger.

Suddenly Jean-Simon's handgun was ripped from his hand, flying up as it stuck to a Magneton. Joining it were a couple of assault rifles as they continued to spin. As a few Magnemites drifted alongside them adding to the power, all the Rocket's guns flew up into the mass of metal, along with one unfortunate grunt who earned a Shock Wave for his troubles. As he fell back down to the deck, the Magnetons took their haul and deposited it into the ocean.

From the front of the ship, another figure could be seen emerging out of the night sky. Seemingly suspended in air, and surrounded by another four Magnetons, a large, muscular man was being carried onto the ship, in a super hero-esque pose.

"So, you think you can come inta my country, commandeer my city's ships and attack my fellow trainers? You gotta lotta nerve there, bud!" The Magneton severed their links with the bracelets around the man's limbs and he dropped onto the deck, landing on bended knee. "I don't appreciate it when some punk like you tries to oppress the freedom I fought so hard to keep intact. You stepped inta a world of hurt with your little stunt, and now you're gonna havta deal with me!"

Jordan looked at the mountainous man who joined the Rocket leader on stage. He turned to one of the awestruck trainers beside him. "Uh...who's that guy?"

The trainer just looked at him like he had asked what color the sky was. "You kidding me? That's Lt. Surge! The Vermillion Gym Leader! He came out here to save us! He's the man!"

Jean-Simon looked increasingly agitated with all these interruptions to his grand plan. "I do not 'ave ze time for this! I shall have to beat you myself! Grunts! Release your Pokemon! Zere is more zan one way to skin some trainers!"

Jean-Simon tossed a Pokeball from his belt. The flash of light revealed the Rocket Leader's Pokemon, a large skunk-like creature with it's tail partially covering its face. Jordan couldn't place it. "Skunnnnnnn," it growled deeply.

"You just dunno when to quit, do ya? I thought that was basic training where you're from! Come on, Raichu! Let's show'em what we do ta scumbags!" Surge released his oldest and most trusted partner, an older looking Raichu that had cheeks bursting with sparks. "Raiiiraiiiii!" it cried, almost as if it was revving up it's engine for this fight.

Meanwhile, one of the elder Grunts finally got the rest of the Rockets moving. "Come on grunts! Let's beat some sense into these trainers!" The rest of the Rockets grabbed their own Pokeballs and got ready for a fight.

A lot of commotion happened. Smoke appeared, Aeris heard Callum order his Pokemon to attack and a lot of people panicked. Then after the main Rocket ordered the other ones to shoot, their guns were magnetically pulled away. Aeris looked as the guns flew to the Magnetons and who was responsible for them. She heard from someone that it was Lt. Surge, the Gym leader of Vermilion City. Aeris got pepped up as he stepped on board and joined the fight. She still hadn't returned Jessie and Blaze to their Pokeballs due to the risk it would have been earlier.

She grabbed a hold of two others of her Pokeballs, the ones containing Xal and Ekans, releasing them both. She'd leave Tristan and Felina out of this for the moment. Any Rocket getting in her way would get a swift asskicking.

She didn't have to wait long seeing as it was crowded with Rockets. "You think you look tough with your little rattlesnake, hunk of rock and fire lizard? You'll get a taste of something entirely different!" One Rocket appeared before her, and another one right beside him. "A double battle. Us two versus you alone. Afraid you can't handle it?" A sneaky smirk appeared on Aeris' lips. "I think it's you who don't know what you're getting yourselves into." Mika stepped up beside Aeris. "I'll help you!" She put a hand onto his chest and looked at him firmly. "I'll be alright. Just step back and enjoy the show. Or find another Rocket to pick off. I can handle these two." Mika hesitated at first, but then nodded and found other Rockets to fight.

"What? Too afraid that we'll hurt your boyfriend?" One of the Rockets chuckled. "Doesn't matter. We would have won anyway. Now it's just easier!" Both of them sent out a Pokemon at once. One of them sent out a Drowzee while the other one sent out a Murkrow. "Go Jessie and Xal!" Jessie reappeared in front of Aeris and surprised the Rockets. "Y-you had a fourth one out as well?! Grrr, what a cheap trick! Murkrow, Pursuit!" The Murkrow went at a critical speed towards Jessie before a rock hit it. "What?!" the Rocket yelled in surprise. Aeris chuckled. "You should have looked before you made your attack. While you were busy getting your bird to attack, I had Xal attack it with Rock Throw, aiming at where it could possibly be when the rock would arrive there. Allow me to return the favor. Jessie, Astonish!" Jessie rushed towards the other one's Drowzee, shouting as she did so, startling the Drowzee as she hit it, taking it down. Unfortunately, not for the count as it got right back up. "Drowzee, Confusion on her rock!" Drowzee sent a wave of psychic energy towards Xal, but he evaded it and used another Rock Throw against the Murkrow that was heading towards Jessie again. She made herself invisible and went to the Drowzee, hitting it with another Astonish. The Rockets saw that they weren't about to beat those two of her Pokemon, and they would be right because it ended shortly thereafter with another Rock Throw from Xal and another Astonish from Jessie. The Rockets returned their Pokemon.

"This isn't over yet!" they both yelled as they reached for another of their Pokeballs and sent out a Koffing and a Gastly. The Gastly instantly caught Aeris' sight. "A Gastly!" she yelled in a high pitched voice, hurting the Rockets' ears. "If you like it so much, you can have it." She was so glad to hear that. "R-really?!" she asked, surprised and excited. "Psh, no! Of course not! Who do you think we are, a charity?! Gastly, Night Shade!" The other Rocket ordered his Pokemon as well. "Koffing, Clear Smog!" Aeris barely had time to order her Pokemon to switch out, so Blaze and Ekans entered the fight as Jessie and Xal got behind Aeris. "Blaze, Ember on the Koffing! Ekans, Bite that Gastly!" Both Pokemon nodded and used their attacks, even if they both got hit. Blaze took the Clear Smog attack, thankfully avoiding getting poisoned, and used an Ember attack, setting the smokeball on fire. Meanwhile, Night Shade had hit Ekans, but he went forth with his Bite attack, somehow hitting the ghost. "Get back and Bite it again! Blaze, use Dragon Rage on Koffing!" Blaze and Ekans followed through with their attacks, the Koffing and Gastly unable to shake them off until they were defeated. The Rockets weren't ready to give up as they returned their Pokemon to their Pokeballs.

"One more from each of us! We can't lose with these!" They sent out a Venonat and a Houndour. Aeris chuckled again. "Fine by me. Blaze, stay. Xal, come back." Ekans slithered behind Aeris to where Jessie was and Xal stepped in. Immediately the Rockets attacked. "Venonat, Poisonpowder!" "Houndour, Bite!" Venonat's attack went for Xal while the Houndour went for Blaze. Blaze couldn't avoid it and got bitten by the hound, answering it with Dragon Rage. The flames from it hurt it more than a normal fire attack would, making it release its fangs off her. Meanwhile, Xal had been unfortunate enough to get poisoned, but went ahead with a Rock Throw attack anyway. Aeris couldn't get near him just yet because of the attacks that were going on, so she'd have to wait with using an Antidote. Blaze went ahead and used Scary Face, frightening the Houndour into slowly pacing backwards. While it was like that, she went ahead and used another Dragon Rage, taking care of the Houndour. Xal defeated the Venonat with another Rock Throw and returned to Aeris immediately afterwards. "You did well." she said as she took her backpack off and reached for an Antidote in there. She sprayed it over Xal who felt much better.

The Rockets returned their Pokemon back to their Pokeballs, obviously disgruntled over their loss. "If we can't beat you with our Pokemon, we'll do so with our fists!" They both raised their fists and charged at her. She would have been scared except she had a Geodude, a Charmeleon , an Ekans and a Misdreavus to protect her. The outcome was obvious. Xal punched one of them in the gut while Blaze spew fire on the other one. They didn't take long to flee from her after that. She gave a hearty laugh afterwards. "Ain't no Rocket gonna stomp over me!"

It was all happening so fast. One moment Rochelle was clinging to Charlie for support; the next, he was dragging her under the table and getting his Pokémon out in case of a battle. Then he made her jump by snapping his fingers at her. "H-hey! Earth to Rochelle! If ya don't want your Pokémon to get taken, I'd suggest you get into gear! There's a war going on out there soldier, and we need some help on the front lines."

As Charlie spoke, Rochelle could hear loud clangs of metal on metal, a series of splashes and another voice speaking up. This voice, too, sounded foreign... but it was one that she recognised from TV and radio. Lieutenant Surge, the Gym Leader of Vermilion City. His challenging tone, aimed at the leader of the Rockets, gave Rochelle hope. All was not lost.

"You... you hear that?" she mumbled to Charlie, indicating the direction of Surge's voice. The Rocket clearly had other plans, though.

"Grunts! Release your Pokemon! Zere is more zan one way to skin some trainers!"

Were the guns gone? Was it safe to come out? Rochelle didn't know... but she wanted to help if Trainers were battling the Rocket hijackers and beating them. So she lifted the cloth covering the table and peeked out. Instead of guns, Rocket Grunts were now holding Poké Balls. A much safer threat, but a threat nonetheless. Still, Rochelle had her own Pokémon to battle. She could stand up to this problem... it was just like dealing with bullies in school, she told herself.

With that, she crawled out from under the table and stood up. One of the nearby Rockets turned to her and released one of the two Pokémon he carried: a small purple rat. Rochelle let out a laugh of derision. It was tough to have a worse opening to a battle. Her fear of Team Rocket abated a bit at the sight of such a small and weak-looking Pokémon opposing her.

"Really? A Rattata. That's all you've got?" she mocked as she wiped her eyes on the back of her hand. This Rocket would be easy to beat. "I've seen better from Brock, of all people. And he was a pushover."

"Gym Leaders got nothing on us, you little brat," the Rocket shot back. "Let's see you do better."

His taunt only steeled Rochelle's resolve. She could beat him, it was all about setting aside her fear for now. So she took the third ball on her belt and popped it open. Iskra materialised out of the white light. Upon catching sight of the familiar red R, the Flaaffy's eyes narrowed and electricity began to jump between patches of wool.

"Take him out, Iskra," Rochelle told her companion. Iskra promptly released a ThunderShock from his tail at the Rocket's Rattata, who performed an unintended backflip as the lightning coursed through its body. The little rat was tougher than it looked, though, and it got back up, baring its fangs before moving in for what looked like a bite.

"Move! Hyper Fang!" the Rocket commanded. The Rattata latched onto the wool of Iskra's head and bit down hard, scratching at his face with its limbs. Iskra began flailing about in a similar manner to when Spike, Jordan's Mankey, had jumped on him in their practice battle. After a few seconds he ended up accidentally punching the Rattata and knocking it off of him. Iskra promptly shocked the Rattata a second time for its trouble, and then a third to ensure it didn't get up.

"What?! I thought you were supposed to be the best I could get!" the Rocket cursed, delivering a kick to the Rattata with his boot. Rochelle was taken aback by this. Who in their right mind would deliberately hurt their own Pokémon?

"Fine. Never mind. I have a backup plan anyway," the Rocket snarled as he released his second Pokémon. "Drain that fucker dry, Zubat." The blue and purple bat Pokémon made to swoop down on Iskra, but Rochelle had other plans. The stupid criminal was clearly out of his element, sending a Flying-type against one of its natural weaknesses.

"Iskra, Thunder Wave. Knock him out of the air." Iskra immediately released a new barrage of electric energy at the Flying-type, causing it to freeze up in mid-air and fall to the ground. The bat began twitching and jerking as it flopped around, trying to get up. Rochelle seized the advantage she had gained. "Another ThunderShock, Iskra, if you wouldn't mind," she told her pink friend. Iskra complied, causing the Zubat to stop moving with another quick burst of electricity.

"You bitch! I'll make sure your whore mother's crying at your funeral!" Leaving his unconscious Pokémon where they lay, the Rocket reached down to his boot and pulled a knife from its sheath. He only managed one pace towards Rochelle before Iskra stepped up and put a blast of lightning into his chest. The criminal dropped the blade and fell to the floor, convulsing under the electric shock. Rochelle kicked the knife away and stood over the Team Rocket member.

"Don't you dare hit your Pokémon again. They need to be treated with respect," she admonished the man, who laughed at her.

"Nice try, brat, but it doesn't work that way. I'm committed. Team Rocket forever!" And he spat upwards at her. Rochelle recoiled and looked to Iskra, who shocked him into silence. Battles were still going on around her, but she had a moment's reprieve now that he was dealt with. She pulled out a handkerchief and wiped the Rocket's spit from the hem of her top.

"Disgusting habit..." she tutted before turning to Iskra. A quick scratch behind his ear was his reward for winning the battle. "Good job, buddy. Let's see if we can help anyone else to beat these guys."

"Flaaf," Iskra agreed. The black and red clad Rockets weren't going to disappear on their own.

It was only after the throw of the bottle that Eileen seemed to start figuring out exactly what was going happening. 'Maybe I shouldn't have done that,' she thought, concluding that it was a horrible idea once two Rocket grunts grabbed a hold of her. Thankfully she had two friends to fight them off, though Eileen felt a pang of guilt that she might have had them hurt from her moment of drunken idiocy.

That was forgotten as Callum dragged herself and Sarah under a drink table before flipping it over, with Eileen somewhat in awe of that. "That was so cool!" she yelled excitedly, looking at the two of them as they hid behind the table. More commotion could be heard from the other side, and soon enough it seemed like Pokemon were being called out to battle against the grunts. 'We sure got brave all of a sudden,' she told herself, finally noticing all the Magnemites in the air taking the grunt's weapons away. She even spotted the tall Trainer of the Magnemites yelling at the Rocket leader that she had thrown the bottle at.

With battles underway, Eileen decided to take out her own Pokemon to fight against the Rockets. "Go-! Uh...Hughes, and muh cat. And th' pillwo. When did I ca'ch a pillow?" she asked herself as he Pokemon came out of their Pokeballs. The Pokemon were confused with the situation, but once Eileen kinda explained the situation they formed up ready for battle. "Just go and fight or summthin'," she ordered, Hughes giving her a disappointed look before attacking a nearby Rocket that came up upon them.

"Hah! You're little red runt can't do anything agai- AIIIIIEE!" the grunt yelled as Hughes Flame Wheeled him off and over the deck, the splash of the grunt hitting the water being heard down below after a few seconds. Another grunt had seen what just happened to his cohort and brought out a Drowzee and Zubat. "Both of you attack!" the Rocket yelled quickly, letting his Pokemon choose their own attacks. He quickly regretted his decision as both Pokemon fell to the onslaught that Hughes was dishing out; the grunt himself soon suffering the wrath of the fire Pokemon.

While Hughes continued his rampage through Pokemon and Rocket grunt alike, Cleo was keeping off to the side where the rails were. She attacked at Rocket Pokemon in battles from the side, before slipping away once she felt enough damage was done. A few Rocket grunts soon had scratch marks all over their bodies as well, the deep cuts causing a nice distraction.

Dalton, meanwhile, was busy trying to get out from underneath his new Trainer's grasp as she held him down to use as a pillow. "You'r so soft," she told him, relinquishing her grip slightly. It was enough for him to escape, much to the disappointment of Eileen. "Fine then. We'll sleep lat'r! For now, go attack that Sandscrew! Use...uh, an attack! I don't...uh, just fight it!" Eileen commanded from behind the table, watching as Dalton seemed to give her a look before attacking the Sandshrew with a Powder Snow attack.

"Good boy! Keep doin' what you'r doing!" Eileen called out cheerfully from the safety of the table.

Callum sat with his back against the table waiting for the gunfire to start. Should I have given Ledyba that attack order. That isn't my style. Ugh! I'm about to die so why am I worrying about that? Several loud clanks broke Callum from his thoughts as several Magneton floated over top of him and released a bunch of guns into the water.

"Grunts! Release your Pokémon! Zere is more zan one way to skin some trainers!"

Callum turned around and looked over the table. A Meowth on the other side pounced at him and he opened the Pokéball in his hand. Instantly his Ledyba launched into a Mach Punch, catching the Meowth in the air, sending the Scratch Cat Pokémon back towards the Grunt who released it.

The Meowth flipped backwards and landed on its feet, only to be hit again with another Mach Punch as it tried hit the Ledyba with a Scratch attack. The feline was sent sailing backwards again, this time hitting the Rocket Grunt and passing out. "You fucking son of a bitch!" The Grunt yelled out, as he got hit by his Pokémon.

The Ledyba circled back into the air and started to glow. Callum knew exactly what was happening and pulled out his Pokédex, as his Ledyba evolved into a Ledian.

image
166 Ledian
Five Star Pokémon
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HT 4' 07"
WT 78.5 lbs.
It uses starlight as energy. When more stars appear at night, the patterns on its back grow larger.

The Grunt didn't waste the short break in which Ledian was immobilized due to its evolving and he released a Zubat. Just as the evolution finished the Zubat hit the Ledian with a Wing Attack. The Five Star Pokémon got caught on the Zubat's wing, and used a point blank Supersonic attack to confuse the Bat Pokémon.

Ledyba's done enough for me today. "Ledyba return." Callum said as a red beam hit his Pokémon and withdrew it back into the Pokéball. There was a slight pause as Callum looked through the Pokéballs in his bag. "Go Butterfree!" Callum announced as he released the Pokémon before getting hit by some stray bullet seeds from another trainer's battle.

The Butterfly Pokémon appeared in midflight and immediately unleashed a wave of silver waves at a wildly flying Zubat. All of them missed as the Zubat snapped out of its confusion, and dived under them, before darting at the Butterfree while screaming. Just before the Bat Pokémon made contact with it, Butterfree did a barrel role and turned to the back of the Zubat as it missed its Astonish attack. Before the Zubat could recover the Butterfly Pokémon send a psychic wave at the Zubat in the form of a Confusion attack.

It made contact and the Zubat faltered before being hit by two more consecutive psychic waves. The Pokémon collapsed to the floor and was returned. "Don't think you've won yet, you chode sucking punk," the Grunt yelled as he released a Sandshrew. Callum shrugged off the comment as he returned his Butterfree and released his Oddish.

The Sandshrew was quickly ordered to use Poison Sting. The Mouse Pokémon launched itself forward, with its claw at the forefront. The Oddish managed to produce a small field of Poison Powder before being hit. Both Pokémon started to look feverish as Oddish quickly shot out a stream of Acid onto the Sandshrew which became clogged down in it.

Instantly noticing that his Pokémon was poisoned, Callum pulled out a Pecha Berry and tossed it over to his Oddish. The Oddish quickly ate the pink fruit and the feverish signs disappeared from it. The Sandshrew had proceeded to shake the acid off of itself and was now sluggishly charging at the Oddish with glowing red claws. It made to connecting swipes against the Oddish before it missed one and almost collapsed over. Taking its chance, Oddish quickly fired a red Absorb attack at the Sandshrew and absorbed the last of its energy.

"Damnit!" Yelled the grunt as he quickly called back his Sandshrew and released a Drowzee. Before Callum could do anything his Oddish was hit by a Confusion attack and was knocked out. "You did well," Callum whispered to Oddish's Pokéball after he returned it. "Try your luck Paras," Callum said as the Mushroom Pokémon appeared on the deck.

A Yellow Powder filled the air and flowed towards the Drowzee. The Hypnosis Pokémon tried to charge the Paras but was stopped by the electrical charge of the Spores that now covered it. Before it had a chance to start moving again, Paras quickly moved behind and climbed up the back of the Drowzee. Its mandibles quickly penetrated the Drowzee's back as it started to use Leech Life. Slowly the Drowzee was starting to move again, only to have its arms hit by Scratch attacks when it tried to knock the Paras from its back. Finally the Drowzee collapsed to the ground and both Pokémon were returned.

That attack still disgusts me a little. An Ekans was released by the Grunt, and Callum pulled out the only filled Netball in his current party. Pineco quickly materialized on the deck and the Ekans was ordered to use Wrap and then Bite. The Snake Pokémon slithered over to the Pineco and wrapped itself around it and squeezed. When it tried to use Bite on it, the Pineco produced a green mist; stopping the Ekans' attack. Suddenly the Pineco was spinning in the opposite direction that the Ekans was wrapped in. Slowly the Pokémon came undone from around the Pineco, and was launched at its trainer.

"You ass ramming shit eater! I'll gut you like a fish!" The grunt yelled as it pushed the Ekans off of him and pulled out a knife. "PIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNNEEEEEEEE!" was all the Grunt heard as the Pineco started to glow before it completed its Selfdestruct move. Both the Ekans and the Grunt were launched into the water, while a hole in the deck appeared. Callum ran to the black charred edge and looked down to see his passed out Pineco. With nothing else to do Callum returned his Pokémon to its Netball and looked to check to see if any of his new acquaintances' Pokémon needed any help.

"You... you hear that?" Charlie breathed a short sigh of relief as Rochelle questioned him. It seemed she wasn't too freaked out over the attacks. Though, her query did raise curiosity in what occurred from beyond the cloth of the snack table. As Rochelle began to crawl from under the table, Charlie motioned for Parker to follow him before leaving behind her. Poking his head from beyond the cloth, he noted on how the smoke that once inhabited the air had dissipated, a result of an exhausted Quinn. She slowly crawled towards him as he fully breached the table's cloth, resting her head on his knee. Guilt jolted through Charlie as he pulled out her pokéball.

"Sorry about that, girl. I shouldn't of made you hold that attack for so long. You deserve some rest." He apologized as he gently stroked her. He looked up momentarily, seeing Rochelle off to his left, involved in her own battles. Ahead of him, a Rocket member rushed up to him, a hand reaching for a pokéball. Parker jumped to Charlie's front, ready to defend his master. The grunt slowed as he noticed the Cyndaquil, and showed an excited grin.

"Your Cyndaquil...I want it!" He said erratically, taking further steps towards Charlie. Quinn began to bury her face in fear, causing Charlie to furrow his brow in aggravation.

"Parker, Constrict!" He commanded the Spinarak, who in return shot thick webbing at the grunt. The web quickly wrapped and fully enveloped the grunt's face, rendering him blind. The grunt let out muffled yells as he began ripping the webbing from his face. Charlie quickly returned Quinn to her ball before springing to his feet, complementing on Parker's aim. Eventually, freeing himself from the attack, the Rocket let out a heavy gasp.

"Motherfucker...I could've...suffocated!" He yelled in between fevered breaths, sharply glaring at his adversary. Charlie showed a glare of his own.

"Huh. You're lucky my fire-type was tired. I probably would've reduced yo' ass to ash!" He replied venomously, his fists balling with malice. The grunt clenched his teeth before releasing his own Pokémon, a Exeggcute. Charlie wasted no time in his onslaught, realizing that a battle was something he was looking for this whole time.

"Night Shade, Parker! Let's get to it!" He said, the Spinarak hurriedly skittering towards the grunt's Exeggcute, the horn on his head quickly darkening before shooting a blast of energy at the group of egg-like entities. The attack was quickly shrugged off by the Exeggcute, who retaliated with an attack of it's own. The eyes of each egg glowed in unison, using their psychic ability to cause small chunks of wood to break away from the floor of the ship. The wood hovered momentarily around the Exeggcute before flying toward Parker in a haphazard fashion. The small Spinarak tried his best to dodge the barrage, but was inevitably caught off guard and struck by the attack. Charlie winced as he watched his Pokémon took damage, giving words of encouragement in hopes to keep it motivated. Parker replied positively, springing back into its defensive stance.

"Okay Parker, use Constrict!" The Spinarak did at it was told, launching another thick stream of webbing towards his opponent. This time, the attack brought the group of eggs closer together, tightly wrapping them within thick silk casing. The Rocket grunt growled as he watched his Exeggcute struggle under the influence of the web, and cursed under his breath.

"I'm tired of you using that move!" The grunt grunted with annoyance towards Charlie, then turning his gaze towards his immobilized Pokémon.

"And you! I'm tired of your weak bullshit! Every fight we've been in...you can never handle it! And it's always your fault! And i'm sick of it! You're going overboard if you can't finish this battle!" He berated harshly, showing more anger towards his Pokémon than he did towards his opponent. Charlie couldn't contain his anger towards the man, and was eager to tell him his opinion on the matter.

"It's not their fault...you're just a shitty trainer! Maybe if you stopped threatening them, and started actually started training them, then maybe they'd win some battles! In the end, It's actually your fault!" He exclaimed, pointing at the grunt vigorously. Before the grunt could properly reply, Charlie resumed his attack on the Exeggcute, Parker beginning to shoot a series of poisonous barbs towards it. With nowhere to go, and no way to move, it received the attack head on. With the twinge of poison surging through it, along with the ever-tightening grip of the web, the Exeggcute was completely overwhelmed. It made one last stifled cry before slouching forward, a sign of defeat. The grunt did nothing more than clench his teeth and furrow his brow.

"Fuck you...FUCK YOU!!" He rushed towards Charlie, brandishing a knife he pulled from his boot. Charlie raised his hands, and brought his fists closer to his face.

"Parker, Poison Sting 'im!" The Spinarak complied, shooting its barbs at the grunt's knife holding hand, the grunt in turn dropping the weapon. The poison acted rapidly, reducing the grunt's run to a steadily declining meander. He still approached Charlie with means to attack, hands balled into fists. Charlie replied with a sharp left hook, quickly bringing the grunt's face in contact with the ground. He looked down at the grunt, frowning a very angry frown.

"Bastards like you...don't even deserve Pokémon." He spat, stepping over the Rocket. He aimed to thin out the number of Rockets that inhabited the ship, and began looking for another grunt to take out. But not before diving for cover, as an explosion occurred just a few dozen feet to his right, a grunt and his Ekans sailing overboard as the result. Charlie looked on as a boy retrieved his Pokémon from the smoldering crater it left. Charlie couldn't help but grin at the absurdity of the scene.

"Seems kinda reckless to do an attack like that in a place like this...but badass nonetheless!" He thought before moving on, Parker scurrying attentively at his feet.

The deck was slowly descending into a free for all. Rockets and trainers alike were dispatching Pokemon and things were starting to get crowded. Jordan was looking around, trying to get out of the way, but the Rockets were all over the place and one of them had his sights solely set on the lanky trainer.

"All right, kid! Hand over the Pokemon or I'll have to take them from ya by force!" he commanded.

"Well, dude, I'm not going to give them to you. That'd be like, stupid."

"Fine then! Let's battle for them! Whadda ya got?"

"Um, all right then. Go bros!" Jordan released Spike, Vince and Vicky, and the three appeared on the deck in full glory, the night light kind enough to Vicky to allow her to immediately take her place along side her teammates.

"Hah, you're in trouble then! Go, minions!" The Rocket started chucking out balls with both hands. When the energy cleared, four Pokemon stood in front of Jordan's team. A couple of Koffing hovered in the air, above a Machop and a Grimer. The smell instantly impacted Spike's nose, as well as his trainer.

Mankeeeeeee! WHAT THE HELL! THAT STINKS! I HATE IT!

"Dude, isn't that like against the rules? Like you've got four bros out!" Jordan complained through his t-shirt, as he tried to filter the Grimer's stench.

"Haha! I'm from Team Rocket! Rules are meaningless to us! Now, minions! Attack!"

"Wait for me there!" A stranger emerged from out of the throng of people alongside Jordan and tossed his own Pokeballs into the fray. As they emerged, the man tilted the brim of his hat and said, "Can't leave a fellow trainer hanging against these poor excuses for humans."

Eventually on the deck appeared a collection of starters. Charmeleon, Ivysaur, Wartortle. They looked imposing and the Rocket knew it, especially now that his numbers advantage was gone. "Hey, that's not fair! You can't be ganging up two on one!"

"Dude, you like, just said the rules didn't matter!" Jordan pointed out. "So yeah, screw you. Attack bros!"

"Charmeleon, Fire Fang! Ivysaur, Vine Whip! Wartortle, Water Pulse!"

The stranger's Pokemon followed the commands and Jordan's Pokemon seemed to tag along. The Water Pulse slammed into one of the Koffing, while Vince flew and smashed the other one with a Quick Attack. Ivysaur's Vine Whip wrapped around Machop's limbs as Spike flew in for some Fury Swipes. Vicky's Supersonic waves baffled the Grimer, as Charmeleon sunk it's teeth into it, not giving a damn about the smell or the poison. The poor training the Rocket had done was evident as all four of his Pokemon fell quickly.

"Fine! I'll just beat you for them! Literally!" The Rocket paid his knocked out Pokemon no mind as he charged at Jordan. However, the stranger came forward and caught the Grunt right in the chops with a solid punch, putting him into the same state as his Pokemon.

"Uh, thanks there, stranger dude!" Jordan offered.

"No problem," the man replied, tipping his cap. "We all have to work together to try and get out of this situation." With that he moved back into the crowd.

With Surge's timely entrance, the Rockets were disarmed and the deck fell into chaos. Pokemon were loosed and battles raged all around him. Tyler ran, hoping to use the melee to make his escape.

"You ain't going anywhere, punk!"

A burly Team Rocket grunt stepped into his path and shoved him backwards. The man then punched Tyler in the face, which filled his vision with stars as he stumbled back and fell onto the deck. Flanked by an Arbok, the grunt approached the fallen Trainer.

"Your Pokemon," he said. "Cough 'em up, or I'll take them from you." The Arbok bared its fangs and hissed. Venom oozed from its sharp teeth and dripped onto the deck. "Do you know what Arbok venom does to a human? I'll spare you the details, but I'll assure you that it's quite painful."

Tyler wiped his face and saw blood. Defiant anger surged through him. 'Nuh uh. I'm not going out like this.' There was no way in hell he was going to let some meathead take his friends. Not without a fight. He made a move to grab Geist's Pokeball from its holster.

The Arbok hissed loudly and unfurled its hood. "Don't try that again," the grunt warned.

"Stop. Hey. Slow down!" After several more complaints Simon gave up commanding his small, quietly chattering Pokemon and simply followed Brynn to wherever it was she was determined to go. *Shrra....* The Sandshrew paused long enough to gesture quickly with one paw. The intent was clear. 'Come this way'

"Okay, okay." Simon trusted that she could see better than he could at the moment. He'd called Shadow first but switched for Brynn thinking that her smaller size would be better in the crowded mess. Which was true, she could definitely maneuver a lot better than her trainer who still carried both his backpack and his wrapped egg. Something was bothering Brynn enough to keep her moving though. She'd stop and tilt her head every few feet. Simon hoped she was moving to a less populated area. Less populated with Rocket members. The trainer stepped over a smashed table and what looked like remnants of a chair. His shoelace caught on one of the exposed nails, forcing Simon to stop and shake his foot free. "Brynn?" he called softly when he was mobile again.

*Sh-shrra!* Simon got a glimpse of a tan blur and then empty space as Brynn went hurtling towards- *Hsss!* "Chaaar!" 'What is that? Wait, that's-' "Hey!" Simon yelled loudly, waving his arm at a hefty Team Rocket member who was straining the seams of his uniform and standing over Tyler.

"Hey!"

That voice. It was familiar. 'Simon?'

The Rocket grunt turned around. Simon's Sandshrew jumped and latched itself to the man's face. It began scratching at him with its claws. "Gaah! Fuck!" he shouted as he stumbled around. "Get off me, you stupid fucking rat!" Despite the man's strength, the defiant creature held its grip.

With the Arbok distracted, Simon ran over to Tyler and offered his hand. With his help, Tyler rose to his feet. "Thanks, man," he said. "I owe you one." He grabbed Geist's Pokeball from his belt. "I need your help right about now," he said as he released the Kadabra from the device. By the time Geist materialized, the Rocket goon managed to pull Simon's Sandshrew off his face and hurled the small Pokemon back at the Trainer. The man was absolutely livid. Blood flowed openly from several cuts along the sides of his face.

"You kids think you're so fuckin' funny." He withdrew a second Pokeball. "Raticate, show them what we think of comedians!" Out of the white energy appeared the vicious rat Pokemon. It dug itself in, eager to attack.

Tyler looked at Simon. "We can do this," he said.

"Raticate, Hyper Fang the Sandshrew!" barked the grunt. "And Arbok, use Crunch on that Kadabra!"

'I hope so.' Simon thought before focusing on the battle. He watched Brynn nimbly drop to the ground and slid away from the grunt's angrily flailing hand. "Rapid Spin!", Simon called as he retrieved his Pokedex. He waved the device at the Raticate quickly but pocketed the Pokedex without reading the results. Sharp teeth snapping together, Raticate tried to connect with Brynn's now spinning form. The two Pokemon clashed several times but neither yielded fully. Sharp, angry cries sounded until the uniformed man lost his patience.

"Pursuit, now!" The grunt snapped. Raticate hissed but obeyed his master.

"Move!" Simon yelled. He wasn't sure what that particular attack did but he wanted Brynn closer to his 'side' of the battle. "Sand-attack." he added. 'That should help.'

The air between the two Pokemon shimmered oddly as thrown dirt and debris mixed with a weird dark shimmering wave that briefly covered Brynn's body. The effect was quick Simon thought at first it was simply a shadow.

"Quick attack." With a smirk the Team Rocket man took his attention away from Simon's fight. Simon hesitated, watching Raticate's body flash white. "Poison Sting." he called. He wasn't sure if Brynn could dodge the attack. And if she couldn't...'at least she'll do some damage.'. With luck the Pokemon's own momentum would add to the stinging blow.

Fur and flecks of blood flew as the two Pokemon attacked one another again. Simon winced as Brynn's smaller form disappeared behind the Raticate's bulk. He could hear the higher pitched cries of anger. "Brynn, get out of there!" Ignoring his command Brynn lashed out at her opponent. Claws went against teeth and the brawl continued. Simon made a frustrated grunt and tried to move closer to the fight.

An angry snarl proceeded the Pokemon separating. Both looked wounded and winded. The Raticate was missing patches of fur but there were gashes along Brynn's side that worried Simon. He dropped his pack to the ground and began to shift quickly through its contents. 'Come on...I know it's in here...'

*Shrra!* Brynn made a sudden leap towards Raticate, curling into a ball at the height of the jump. Bright stars made of light and blurred with speed rushed from the Sandshew's body and slammed into Raticate. The Pokemon flew backwards nose over tail until the wooden deck of the ship brought the flight to a crashing halt. Simon froze, still half-kneeling with a fresh potion bottle in his hand. 'What was -that-?'

"Brynn?" Simon questioned quietly. He brought his Pokedex out to check the newest entry.

image
020 Raticate
Mouse Pokémon
image
HT 2'04"
WT 40.8 lbs
Gnaws on anything with its tough fangs. It can even topple concrete buildings by gnawing on them.

He flipped quickly to the Sandshrew's information. 'Swift - This attack never misses. Woah.' "Brynn use Swift again."

*Shrr...* Sounding pleased with herself Brynn shot another series of stars at Raticate. Utilizing its Quick Attack Raticate tried to dodge the attack. All but the last few projectiles hit their mark. "Raaaaat" Raticate slid to a slow stop a few feet away from the Rocket member. Patches of fur were now blackened, and the Pokemon's eyes were closed.

"Ha." Simon laughed quietly in disbelief. "Well done." he said, just as quietly, to the small Sandshrew spinning in place next to his foot.

"Chaaa-bock!"

The Arbok lunged forward with its mouth wide open.

"Teleport!" Tyler commanded.

With a flash of light and a faint woosh, Geist vanished, leaving his foe to bite at empty air. He reappeared an instant later, now behind the Arbok.

"Now use Confusion!"

Geist aimed his spoon at the Arbok. He began to glow with white psychic energy and his eyes turned a faint shade of red. His spoon bent forward of its own accord, and the Arbok suddenly and violently seized up.

"Chaaaaaaaaaa!"

After a moment of stiffness, the Arbok slumped over and tried to lift itself back up. It faced Geist, but it was visibly disoriented, teetering precariously as it kept itself upright.

"Crunch again!" barked the Rocket grunt. He was in trouble and he knew it.

"Chaaa..."

The Arbok's gaze was unfocused. It seemed to have difficulty processing its Trainer's commands. It tried to lunge forward, but it fell short and crashed into the deck.

"...bock."

There was no way it was going to get back up. At the same time, the grunt's Raticate came rolling to a stop at his feet. Tyler smirked a bit.

"Well, that was surprisingly easy," he said to Simon. "And good job, Gei-"

"Oh no, you don't!" the grunt shouted. He reached into his boot, pulled out a knife, and charged at Tyler and Simon. "Nobody makes a bitch outta me! I'll kill you fir-GAAAAAAAH!"

The grunt dropped to the floor like a sack of bricks and clutched at his head. His knife clattered off to the side. Next to Tyler, Geist's white glow faded and his eyes returned to their normal color.

Tyler sighed in relief. "Geist, remind me to buy you a steak dinner after this is done," he said.

Geist grinned. "Kadabra!" he replied affirmatively.

"C'mon, Simon, we gotta get out of here."

It appeared that with the weapons yanked out of the Rocket's hands that there would be problems in keeping the trainers on board subdued, and indeed when it came down to pure Pokemon, Team Rocket was simply no match. Jean-Simon was no exception as his Skuntank was unable to slow down Surge's assault.

"Raichu! Finishim with a Mega Kick!"

"Raiiiiiiiichu!" The mouse Pokemon came flying in with a boot square to the face of the Poison/Dark type. Skuntank lurched back and fell at the feet of it's master.

"Worthless creature," Jean-Simon scolded as he returned Skuntank to it's ball.

"Now you gonna getda hell outta my country willingly, or do I hafta fly you outta here?" Surge's threat was punctuated by the sparks still flying from Raichu's cheeks.

Jean-Simon scoffed at the Lightning American. "It appears tings 'ave run zeir course on zis dinghy, but I am not done. Mark my words." The Rocket Leader produced something from his pocket and hurled it at the Vermillion Gym Leader. Surge jumped back as the projectile exploded in a cloud of smoke that covered the platform area. By the time the air had cleared, Jean-Simon was already gone.

"Dammit," Surge cursed as he moved back into the center of the platform. Raichu coughed up a little smoke but it was fine.

Surge looked over the deck, the trainers had taken control of the ship back. Rockets were laid out across the floor, some unconscious, some getting wrestling moves practised on them by some of the more overzealous trainers. The DJ was getting his just desserts as a few partygoers took turn smashing records over the hapless man's head.

"All right, listen up!" Surge boomed over the audience. "I'm prouda you guys for standing up to these thugs! So now, we're gonna get this ship firing, and we'll get you guys back inta Vermillion! Sound good?!?" The trainers let out a cheer and moved to the back of the deck, trying to get the doors open.


As the platform zoomed all the way down into the depths of the hull, Jean-Simon was more frustrated than anything else. The way the situation on the deck deteriorated, it was clear that someone didn't do their job properly. There was no way Surge should have known about the plan until they were already off to the Sevii Islands with the loot. The Boss would not be pleased. For that, every other rocket on the ship could pay the price.

The platform ground to a halt as it hit bottom. Jean-Simon jumped off and moved towards his backup plan. He had an escape pod rigged to blow a hole in the ship's hull to allow for a small submersible to slip out while the ship slowly took on water and sank. What he didn't plan on was having company.

"I take it that you're little soiree didn't go to well?" Katrina remarked as she leaned against Jean-Simon's submersible, skinny red dress showing off more than the average amount of leg.

"Obviously not. Someone did not do zeir job properly, and ze Vermillion leader got wind. Where were you, anyway?"

"I got locked out. I was getting all dolled up and it turned out to be for nothing. I had to punish those two grunts for locking it early, but I suppose it's because of them I'm not getting my ass handed to me right now. Their souls can take solace in that."

"Well zen, I supposed you wish to join me on ze way out?"

"Of course. I don't take up that much room, do I?"

"No, I suppose not. Very well. Get in and let us leave zis ship."

Jean Simon pressed a button and popped the cockpit open before settling in. Katrina sat in on top of him. It was a tight fit, but the controls could still be worked. Another button was pressed and the sealed lid blew out into the water, the ocean moving to fill the space in the ship. The submersible launched and Jean-Simon and Katrina were out on their way back to their base to regroup.

"My one regret is zat I do not get to take swift vengence on zat inscrutable American," Jean-Simon complained.

"Well, Frenchie, I did use my free time during the party for something else, just in case something did go wrong," Katrina informed him. "Being a good little subordinate and all." Katrina struggled but fished a remote of her own out of her handbag. "Something to help you sink that overgrown tugboat a little faster." She pressed the red button on her own device as the two sped away.


"Come on Machoke! Break the door down buddy!" One of the party goers tried to encourage his partner.

"Maaaaaaa-choke!" That slam did the trick as finally one set of doors was forced open.

"Attaboy, Machoke!"

"All right, let's get to da engine room an-" Surge's orders were cut off as a powerful blast deafened the air in the vicinity. A towering plume exploded from the middle of the ship, shooting smoke skyward as more bursts rang out. Creaking noises could be heard as the compromised hull began to give in on itself.

"Sons of bitches! New plan!" Surge shouted. "Abandon da ship! You got any Flyers, use 'em! You got any Water Pokemon, use 'em too! This ain't no drill! Move it to the life boats! Move it! Move it!"

Aeris celebrated with everyone else once Team Rocket was defeated. However, not long after that, another disaster struck. An explosion in the middle of the ship, which meant it was now beginning to sink into the ocean. Aeris' worst nightmare was close by. She put her hands on her head and fell to her knees, feeling the fear taking over her. This can't be happening... I don't want to go into the ocean... She didn't hear Surge mention the lifeboats due to being too sunk into her own fear driven thoughts.

However, she didn't get much time to be stuck there like that since Mika came towards her and helped her up. She didn't really help much in escaping, merely following Mika and trusting in whatever he would do. Mika held her hand, moving it towards the lifeboats. All their Pokemon except Blaze, Jessie and Bones were out of their Pokéballs, and since Aeris was in no condition to return hers, Mika asked Blaze and Jessie if it was alright that he returned them to their Pokéballs for her. Both of them were alright with it, though Jessie needed to be convinced by Blaze to let him do that. Once they were back to their Pokéballs, Mika put them onto her belt and returned Bones back, then headed where everyone else was going, towards the lifeboats.

The tide of the battle had turned towards the trainer's favour and the rockets were on the retreat. Soon enough Lt. Surge was taking command and the other trainers and their Pokémon were following his orders. Callum turned back and returned his Oddish that he had rereleased to assist another trainer who was battling off a Rocket Grunt. Suddenly an explosion could be heard and felt throughout the ship.

"Abandon da ship! You got any Flyers, use 'em! You got any Water Pokémon, use 'em too! This ain't no drill! Move it to the life boats! Move it! Move it!"

Callum heard the shouts and immediately darted back to the flipped table that he had last seen Eileen and Sarah at. Eileen was the first person for him to find. Apparently she had passed out on the ground and was pinning her Swinub hostage as a pillow. Feeling pity for the Pokémon, Callum took the three balls off of Eileen's belt and tried each one on him before finding the correct ball to be the last one. Quickly Callum scanned the area and tried each ball on Hughes, forcing him to return into one. Finally Cleo was spotted on her return and Callum quickly returned her as well for Eileen.

With the drunken woman was still asleep on the ground, Callum returned her Poké Balls to her and slung her bag across his shoulder. Quickly he draped her arms over his shoulders and hoisted her up on his back, so that he was carrying in a piggy back. With Eileen settle Callum still need to see if Sarah was okay. Callum found her a few seconds later exactly where she had been after he upended the table. The girl seemed almost as if she was frozen and seemed to be staring off as if she wasn't completely there.

A bit nervous for her wellbeing, Callum knelt down beside her, accidently putting down his right knee causing a bit of a shooting pain, and removed his left hand from holding up Eileen's leg and put it on Sarah's shoulder. "Are you alright? We've got to get to the lifeboats before this ship sinks. If you're hurt I'm pretty sure that I can carry you as well." No I'm not. With Eileen, Eileen's heavy bag, and my sore knee I'm not sure that it would be possible. Still if she got hurt I'm not sure that I'd have a choice in the matter.

The Team Rocket leader vanished in a cloud of smoke, and Rochelle breathed a sigh of relief and visibly sagged, the tension in her shoulders vanishing. Was that it? Was it over? Seeing all the Rocket grunts either collapsed on the floor or cornered and restrained, she felt her spirits lift a little. They could be beaten. But it didn't change the sick feeling in her stomach, knowing that they had taken advantage of the party... or even set it up for their plan to steal the Pokémon.

A loud explosion jolted Rochelle out of her thoughts, and the ship shuddered underfoot. The next voice she heard was that of Lieutenant Surge. "Sons of bitches! New plan! Abandon da ship! You got any Flyers, use 'em! You got any Water Pokemon, use 'em too! This ain't no drill! Move it to the life boats! Move it! Move it!"

The ship might be going down... oh no, oh no no no no no...

Panicking, Rochelle returned Iskra to his Poké Ball and attached the ball to her belt. She began to follow the crowd heading for the lifeboats, unsure if she should let Kirsten out since Surge had called for Water-types. What had he meant by 'using' them? To help escape the ship? She didn't know for sure. The fear of being trapped on the sinking ship was too great. As she hurried along, she recognised the faces of Simon and Tyler. Pushing through the crowd, she got closer to the two of them.

"Come on, we gotta get out of here!" she cried as she pressed on.

"Yeahhh!" Charlie cheered extravagantly, once realizing the tide was turned. The master of ceremonies has disappeared in a puff of smoke, and his lackeys all laid to waste. Charlie couldn't help but show praise towards a victory he eagerly contributed to. He began to kneel, to congratulate his Spinarak on a job well done. However, a dull sound was heard underneath, accompanied with a violent rumble that caused the trainer to lose his balance. Apparently, a part of the ship had capsized, causing a sinking feeling in both Charlie's chest, and the ship's underbelly. Charlie's thoughts began contrasting from outwards appearance.

"Geez, these guys just have to get the last laugh, huh?" He said to no one, making sure to safely place Parker back in his ball.

"Ohfuckohgeezohmanohmanfuckfuckfuckfuckshitshitshitshitnononononono..." Was the constant stream that flowed through his thoughts. It was safe to assume that it was becoming progressively harder to think straight for Charles. He began to make his way towards the crowd, in hopes to get to the lifeboats. He paused however, noticing a trio of folk in the corner of his eye. From first glance, It seemed like one guy was trying (and progressively failing) to carry himself, two other girls, and a bag to safety.

"It's that guy that made the explosion earlier..." Charlie muttered in some wonder, now feeling compelled to provide some assistance. He pushed out of the crowd and back towards the three.

"Looks like you can use a hand, bro. No need to have all this baggage when london bridge is falling down, yaknowutumsayin'?" He offered a hand to the kneeling trainer, quite sure the guy had no idea what he was talking about.

After Sarah was pulled behind the table by Callum she went into shock. The screams around her of people and Pokemon being attacked overwhelmed her and she tried to block it out. One Rocket had attempted to grab the Pokemon she had with her but a random passerby had electrocuted him with some mouse Pokemon.

She closed her eyes and covered her ears but a fresh wave of screams and the shuddering motions of the ship caused a lurch that sent her onto her hands and knees where Callum found her. She looked up as he was shouting at her, something about carrying her if she was hurt. She blinked a few times and shook her head, "N-no I'm okay," he was favouring one of his knees and was still somehow supporting the girl he was hanging out with when they met, "Are you okay?"

Luckily it seemed she wouldn't have to try and support those larger frames of the people around as someone who seemed to know the group arrived to help.

Standing up, using the table to steady herself she looked where others were running, "Actually, do we even have a way out of here?"

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