Mayu had been surprised by the slap in her face, and it had really HURT! She had tears welling in her eyes, but she did her best to hold them back. A Rocket didn't cry! When he stood in front of her and told her to lose the cute she really didn't understand what he had meant by that, but her confusion only seemed to set him off as he picked the young child up and shook her. She had only let out an initial squeak of surprise from that, but once she was let down and asked who she was, she gathered up all the courage in her little body and said. "My name is Mayu and I'm here to serve you as your bestest tool Alex!" She hoped that she would be able to live up to that claim, but she really did want to make this scary person see her as someone who he could count on.
Alex seemed placated by the little girl's response.
"Work on losing the cute or I'll be forced to do it for you." he said. He turned and stopped in his tracks.
"What is that?" he said, pointing at a glimmer behind a potted plant. The other grunts didn't react but Max glanced spotting what appeared to be a Pokemon. Alex jumped over and picked it up. Holding the cat thing in a way that it couldn't claw at him, he hoisted it above his face and examined it.
"Who's Pokemon is this? What is it even?"
A few of the grunts in the back muttered.
"Isn't that the boss's cat thing? What was it called again?"
"Hell if I know. All I know is I ain't getting near it."
"SHUT UP!" shouted Alex, holding the cat Pokemon by the neck. "If no one claims this Pokemon right now I'm going to take it downstairs."
"I have an idea. Ditto, turn up the volume of the radio, I'll talk to them."
Ditto did what Dylan told him.
"Showtime." Dylan coughed once while checking his voice.
He attached his voice changer to the mic, setting it to a deep husky voice.
"Testing testing, can anyone hear me?"
Back in the room, everyone was shocked at the talking meowth.
"A cat that can talk? Its a miracle" Exclaimed one of the grunts.
"Fool! This is me talking, not the meowth! Now Alex, put my meowth down"
Alex was surprised that someone would order him just like that.
"What makes you think I will put your cat down?"
"Well one thing is because... I have direct orders from Giovanni to secretly record this meeting to check for rocket members that stand out from the rest. Now put me down."
Inside his room, Dylan was just smiling. At least he's being entertained for a while.
"That's funny, I don't recall making such orders." said a voice from around the corner. The entire room was instantly filled with an icy silence. Grunts were visibly shaken by the sound of his voice and Max adjusted his cap yet again. A bead of sweat traveled down the back of his neck.
Giovanni walked around the corner in the hall of the hideout slowly and purposely. Donned in his infamous orange suit and carrying a briefcase he stopped a few feet away from Alex. Alex dropped the Pokemon and swung into a salute.
"Who's Meowth is that?"
"That was what I was finding out sir!"
Giovanni shrugged. "It seems even common Rockets are using my pet Pokemon now. I think I'll have to get something more powerful..." Giovanni's eyes swept past Alex as if he was nothing and he turned to look at the assembled Rockets. Pitiful though they are, they are mine...
Every single Rocket Grunt felt the icy gaze examine them one by one, the sharp brown eyes betraying a brutal intelligence and burning ambition. No word was ever said but Max already knew he was disappointed. The Boss never betrayed emotions to the lower ranks but you could almost feel the disgust radiating from his face. If only he could some day become an executive...
His eyes halted at Mayu. Turning to Alex he pointed at the girl.
"Who made this girl a Rocket?"
Alex jumped and turned to Max.
"You heard him, who made her a Rocket?"
Max felt the eyes turn to him and his legs felt like Jello with the Boss looking into him.
"Rocket Terry of Blue Team, I think sir..." said Max, trying to meet the gaze.
"I see." said Giovanni, turning back to Alex. "I am leaving for the Sevii Islands. You know your mission. Do not fail me commander."
A Rocket in the back suddenly vomited loudly into one of the potted plants. Giovanni stared at the man. Without a word the grunts beside the drunken Rocket began kicking him. His face was that of utter terror when they brought him to the front. Giovanni merely nodded and Alex pointed at the stairs to the lower levels. The grunt was silently taken away from the Boss's sight. Nobody moved.
Giovanni gestured at a grunt around the corner. The grunt walked forward calmly and everyone could tell she was a beautiful woman. She had red hair hanging from behind her cap. A male grunt with blue hair followed her. Then, without a word, Giovanni climbed the stairs to the main floor with the two grunts following. When he emerged from the passage he completely ignored the Grunt standing at attention by the top of the stairs. The blue haired grunt hissed at him as he passed.
"Shouldn't you be down there, boy?"
Alex stood at attention for about thirty more seconds after the leader had left. Then, turning, he shouted to the Rockets.
All the grunts rang out to the call, each one relieved that he wasn't the one to make a mess in front of the boss.
Dylan looks back at the blue haired grunt.
"Shouldn't you be minding your own business?"
"Why you little punk..."
The two of them exchanged sharp stares before the grunt was called back by Giovanni.
"I have a feeling that this won't be the last time that I'll see him.... Now where was I?"
Dylan turned on the mic and and talked
"If you don't believe me because he doesn't recognize the meowth, its because my pokemon is actually a ditto."
The meowth that Alex was holding suddenly turned into a pink goo which he throws to the ground.
"Thank you. I'll be on my way now." The ditto crawled out the door and nobody stopped it.
"You there." Alex pinted to a grunt beside.
"After this meeting, give me a list of all grunts who have dittos."
"Sir yes sir!" said the grunt nervously.
Mayu had been greatly relieved when her statement seemed to get the attention off of her. She still didn't understand what he meant by losing her cute, but she would work hard to learn what it meant! Her cheerfulness would have returned, had it not been for the Head of Team Rocket making an entrance towards the group. Recognizing him instantly as Giovanni, she stiffened up greatly at attention.
Even a kid like her knew the face of the leader, and she knew that he could do unspeakable things without fear of repercussions. Her heart practically skipped a beat when he asked about her, but she was thankful that Max had taken care of it. When Giovanni made his exit, she let out a sigh and said in a whisper to herself, though those to her immediate sides might hear as well. "That was scary. I thought I would wet myself when he came in. Good thing I didn't, that would be embarrassing."
After overcoming his fear of Alex, Zane had barely felt anything at Giovanni's presence. If anything he had felt... Pain. The pain that comes from knowing that you are a nameless faceless piece on someone else game board.
He had a sudden realization. Alex was nothing. Alex inspired fear. Giovanni, he inspired awe. Zane was nothing to the man, and would continue to be nothing if he let himself. He would change that. He wasn't going to let himself be held back by Alex. He could swore he saw Max thinking the same thoughts...
Zane was very familiar with betrayal. He had beaten a number of punks whom he had thought were allies but had tried to take him down. If Max wanted help besting Alex, Zane would be the one to help. If Max could replace Alex then Zane could replace Max... A step up the board.
He looked at Mayu ahead of him. She was a child... An annoying one at that. But she had guts. She also clearly didn't know what she was doing. But if he trained her she might eventually become a powerful ally...
He waited till Alex was looking elsewhere, then leaned down and whispered. "Hey kid, you want help losing the cute? I can help you. I can train you. Your first lesson? Don't ever talk about fucking wetting yourself in front of the others, or they will know you are weak."
Leela reached out and tapped the back of Zane's knee with her boot as he leaned over to talk to the kid. Enough to just begin to overbalance him, but not much more than make him stand out amongst the crowd of grunts.
She cleared her throat and stood back at attention. Whatever he was saying to that kid, Mayu? Yeah, Mayu, wasn't something very smart. He was going to be useful, whenever he got his chance to do what he did best, which was probably brute force by the look of him.
Well, it's nice to know I'm not the only one that keeps their pokemon out of their balls. Rainy's going to be a bit mad if I don't let him out again in the rain today. Machoke is just as overprotective as ever, bless her. Zane really can't be that smart, probably gutter trash, if anything, but the Rockets doesn't really care about quality, that's for sure. But at least there's still good people like Max, though he is a bit of a tight-ass, rules,rules,rules. Ironic that an organization based on crime has stricter rules than most private police.
She couldn't help but smirk at her little joke in her head, and continued to, more or less, zone out of the current world.
Scott walked quickly through the rain, his Growlithe stomped confidently beside him despite the rain. Lighting a cigarette Scott continued to a familiar place in the city, he knew the way like the back of his hand.
"Not long now Red." Scott spoke out loud to his companion.
He had finally arrived, Scott tossed his cigarette and banged on the door while muttering: "Steal Pokemon for profit, Exploit Pokemon for profit.
All Pokemon exist for the glory of Team Rocket."
"What?!" The Grunt at the door exclaimed
"Com'on Jerry, let me in, it's pouring out here!" Scott replied.
The door swung open, Scott walked in with his Growlithe close behind. The door slammed shut. Growlithe shook the water from his fur.
"What are you doing her tonight Scott?" The grunt asked while the two shook hands.
"I've ben placed on a Team... uh... Yellow-"
"YOUR LATE! You have to wait in the back room. Alex is going to tear you a new one"
"Late?! Really? Ugh fuck me... I'm really not in the mood to get my ass kicked, Whats the team look like Jer?"
"Good... But Scott... you better go wait in the back room, and put him away. The lieutenant doesn't like Pokemon out before battle.
"I will, I will." Scott nodded to the door grunt and headed towards the back room. "Lets go Red." He said to his Growlithe, who quickly followed.
As Scott was walking to the back room a Ditto seemed to squeeze its way out of a crack in the wall and slide into the room where he was headed. When Scott entered the room he saw the Ditto standing next to a skinny grunt with sliver hair and glasses. Scott shrugged and went and sat down in the corner of the room. His Growlithe followed and laid down in front of him.
Mayu was definitely interesting in learning how to lose the cute in some way, but she had a sneaking suspicion that she would be getting in over her head if she asked him for help. She also didn't like his use of 'naughty language'. Despite now being a Rocket, she still had a childish innocence that made her not like using 'bad words' or trying to stay away from people who used such language. She didn't move when it came to answering him, and she didn't even let out a sound since she didn't want to get in trouble with Alex. Who knew what would happen to her if he spotted her talking. She would be his bestest, most obedient tool no matter what!
"You were late for the meeting too huh? Don't worry, you didn't miss much... Well, except for giovanni coming here to check up on things... The name is Dylan, I specialize on reconnaissance and intelligence gathering. You?"
Dylan reached his hand out to scott, but he wasn't expecting that he would shake his hand. From the stature of the person he was talking to, it seems he's not the friendly type. But Dylan figured that he might as well make contact with the grunt, since they were going to be stuck in the room for a while.
Growlithe snapped to attention and began to growl at Dylan. Scott then stood up sharply and waved hand in front of the pokemon signalling him to stop. He stood almost half a foot taller than the Grunt called Dylan, and probably weight almost twice as much. The growlithe stopped almost instantly.
"I specialize in being late.." Scott met Dylan's hand a gave it a shake, a small friendly smirk crept from his mouth. "My name is Scott, and this is Red." The Growlithe sitting at Scott's side gave out an excited Yip. "Giovanni eh?" Dylan nodded "That's heavy, we must be doing something pretty deep."
When Giovanni left the room Alex waited until he was sure the boss and his entourage was gone. Walking over to his bat he twirled it and giggled a little.
"The boss gave me special orders you see! We're going to make sure the folks in the East fear the Rocket name for the rest of time!"
He patted a knife on his belt.
"Now then my precious tools we're going to be doing this right by the numbers. We're going down to the armory, picking up new Pokemon and potions for our trip. We're going to be invading a cozy little town near the coast. Rumor has it that Green Team got their asses handed to them. I guess us real Rockets are going to have to show them how to do Giovanni's will."
He pointed his bat at Max.
"You know what to do. One ball each. Standard procedure right? HAHAHAHAHAHA."
He stopped and looked at the grunts.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING, MOVE MOVE MOVE!!!"
Max led the row behind him, running down the flight of stairs.
"Come on, move your asses. Alex wants to get going."
All the Rockets followed, some stumbling onto each other.
Scott let out a short whistle, Growlithe tapped his nose against the front of the two pokeballs on Scott's belt. With a flash of light Growlithe disappeared.
"Come on, I'll buy us a drink, we'll need one or two in us when we meet this Alex, well if he's is as bad as Jerry says he is."
Scott motioned to the door back into the games room.
Mayu had just ignored him. The little runt. He had offered to help and she had looked at him and ignored him.
And Leels had tried to... Trip him? What was her issue anyway?
Of all the members on yellow team right now though they seemed the only ones with... A spark. Some talent. Something that he could match himself against or match himself with. All the rest of the grunts looked like trash. Which was really embarrassing for them when you considered a seven year old kid looked better.
The problem was he didn't like Mayu, and he definitely didn't like Leels. One was a child in every sense of the word and the other was... An arrogant prick. And he couldn't get too close to Max, not yet; he didn't seem the kind of person to be fooled by flattery and sucking up, and Zane had always stank at that stuff anyway. The only way to get Max to notice him was to prove himself.
He thought for a second, and decided to give Leels a second chance. She was next to him in the marching line, he turned to her: "They're giving us Pokemon? What the hell is up with this? My team works just fine, I don't need any crappy Rocket issue Pokemon to help out neh?"
"Say what you will about standard-issue, Zane, right? Yeah, your name's Zane. But my little Asmodeus has kept me safe more times than most other Pokemon I've seen," she patted the pouch she kept her pokeball with her Ekans inside of.
"Don't know what you've done with your pokemon, but I've found that mine work just as well, if not better because they can trust me. And I found Assy just crawling around down in one of the bases around here. And he's so cute and cuddly at night... nevermind. I wouldn't mind getting a Meowth, they are very nice to pet from time to time. Even if a bit hairy"
Mayu hurried along with the rest of the Rockets as soon as they were told to retrieve one more Pokemon. This was why she had joined Team Rocket! Slowly but surely her team of Pokemon was growing and soon enough she would definitely be a force to be reckoned with. Even the older trainers wouldn't stand a chance against her! She giggled a little bit as she thought about how humiliated the trainers would be to be defeated by someone as young as her.
While moving with the others, she overheard Zane and Leela talking about their Pokemon. Smiling a little bit, she said. "My Vulpix and I have been together since I was in diapers! We're a great team, and I'm working hard with my new Ratatta so the two of them are able to work together perfectly! Another Pokemon on the team is going to make us much stronger!"
Leela let two ranks move past her and started walking with the kid and she tousled her hair.
"Cute kid, I've had my Machoke since I was about your age, and I watched her evolve from a Machop. That sense of accomplishment doesn't go away. If you want, I'm sure she wouldn't mind carrying you once, she seems to have a thing for kids.Mayu's your name, right?"
Max chuckled at the newer Rockets. Some of them thought they were getting an extra Pokemon... That was far from the truth. It was like playing the slots except you always los- Actually it was exactly like playing the slots. It didn't matter how many times he did it, he feared this would be the time he would lose his Nidorino.
He lined up the grunts in front of a chute leading further down into the basement. There was a conveyor belt mounted along the wall. Alex came up the rear, his bat running against the wall making a clatter.
"Did you want to do the speech Max?"
Max looked at him plainly, disguising his hatred of the man with a slight grin.
"I thought you enjoyed doing it boss."
"Right you are!"
The grunts turned to face Alex after they had finished forming the queue to the chute.
"I am not attached to you. I do not form a bond with any of you. You are my tools."
He pointed at a Pokeball on his belt.
"I am a commander, one of the best I may add. I have earned the right to play favorites with my Pokemon. These Pokemon remain my tools and are completely disposable for the glory of Giovanni. If he were to ask I would throw them into the ocean without a moments hesitation."
He looked at the new recruits. The more veteran grunts clearly weren't listening as they had heard it all before.
"Some of you are very attached to your Pokemon. This can distract you from performing my will. This I cannot abide by. It is Giovanni's will that we show you how to treat Pokemon. As tools, not as friends. As weapons, not as comforts."
He gestured at the chute and a grunt walked up. From behind him a second grunt grabbed a Pokeball at random and tossed it down the chute. The first grunt stood by the conveyor and waited for a moment. A new Pokeball appeared and he picked it up.
"You must realize that your Pokemon are more disposable than you are as I must realize you are more disposable than I am and the executives above must realize I am more disposable than they are."
He stopped for a second.
"Did I get that right? Anyway, with my blessing you can go around and do as much damage as you can but you must realize you are completely expendable. We must show the world that love will not protect them. Only Giovanni, master of Pokemon can! AHAHAHAHAHAHAA!"
He began swinging his bat furiously, laughing while more grunts picked Pokeballs from the man in front of him and threw it down the shaft. Most moved with resignation, knowing nothing could save their favorites. Some fidgeted and others tried to sneak more swigs of booze before it was their turn.
The line of Rockets began to move forward. Max, who was in front of the recruits, put his fingers over the ball containing Kakuna, pretending to pat it nervously. He hoped the twerp behind him would pick that one instead of his Nidorino. He had lucked out so far...
Alex made the announcement and Zane's heart stopped.
What? This isn't that bad. Sure these are the tools you like the most. But surely the Rocket Pokemon are better Pokemon... This will help...
He could lose Mankey. He could lose Mankey. He couldn't lose Mankey.
It was just a tool though. It was the best tool he had, yes, but it was just a tool. Good at fighting, good at helping him with thieving jobs, nothing else.
But Leels and Mayu's conversation... They had something more. And all he could see was Mankey in the moonlight outside his prison window, a set of lockpicks in its hand... He had never trained it to do that.
Let it be Rattata or Zubat. Let it be Rattata or Zubat. They aren't nearly as useful. I can get rid of them. Mankey is too good a tool.
Dylan didn't reply. He just starred blankly before looking down and away, he returned to his seat silent.
"Suit yourself, I'm going to want to be a little numb when I meet this Alex."
Scott left the room and walked past the slot machines to the bar. He sat down and ordered two beers, his clothes were still damp from the rain and a cold shiver crept up his spine.
"This is going to be a long night..."
Dylan removed his earphones. " did you say somethi-"
He looked around, but he didn't see scott.
"I wonder where that guy went off to..." He looked at his wristwatch to check the time.
"*sigh* I wonder how much longer we're going to stay down here..."
He grabs a bag of potato chips from his bag and started to eat while waiting for the others.
Mayu's eyes were wide when she was told that she would be losing one of her pokemon, and it wasn't even her choice! She had worked hard to get close with her Ratatta and she was even closer to her Vulpix. Taking a step back, she said. "N-no way. There's no way I could do something like that! E-even if Pokemon are tools, there are tools made for each person that suits them best! You can't give a plumber a pair of scissors and expect him to be able to fix a crack in the pipe!" She looked to Alex with a fire in her eyes before saying. "I wasn't joking about wanting to be your best tool, but to be YOUR best tool, I have to have MY best tools with me!"
Leela was taken aback by the announcement, but knew that to continue on with this line of work, she'd have to give up one of her precious pokemon, for a limited time, she didn't intend to allow the Rockets keep ahold of Machoke, Dratini, or Ekans. If she didn't lose one, there was a serious chance that she'd lose all of them, no matter how powerful and how much she trusted them. There was simply too many sheep, and as safe as sheep are most of the time, anything that would spook them would enough will kill anything. At least, that's how she thought it went, she'd never really paid as much attention to her philosophy tutor.
Mayu was obviously grief-stricken by this proclamation, and had tears just aching to travel down her face. Leela knelt next to the kid, put her arm around her shoulder, and hugged the kid close to her, whispering in her ear, too quietly to be heard by anyone but the two of them.
"Hey, it's ok, you can always get a new pokemon, but don't worry, I'll be here for you, these grunts here may not know what we'll be going through, but you've got me here. You do want to be a Rocket, right? This is just one of the things you've gotta do. I promise you that if there is a way to get them back, I will help you."
Whatever takes my pokemon will not keep them, I promise that.
The line continued to move forward, and she began stroking each of her pokeballs, silently saying goodbye to each of them, whoever was to leave, she would continue to love them. They were hers, she wasn't about to let them go without saying goodbye, but she knew she couldn't say goodbye to them in person, so she said goodbye in spirit. She had learned to keep her tears at bay after her parents sent her off to the PokeBoarding School, at least she got something of value from that damnable place.
"If you want to be a Rocket, you'll have to do this. If you don't want to go through with it... Well, we could just take both of your Pokemon away and leave you in the streets for the cops to pick up. You've picked this life cutie cakes and nothing is going to save you now!"
He laughed as the line inched closer. Max snickered a little to himself. Finally the brat will know what it means to be a part of the system. If he had to deal with it, so would she and every other Rocket under his command. And once he replaced Alex he could really become an officer.
Mayu knew that they would go through with taking away both of her Pokemon, and then she started to think things through. She only had two actual pokemon, and one empty Pokeball, so there was only a one out of three chance that her Vulpix would get taken from her. If luck was on her side, she would just lose her Ratatta. She had started to get attached to it, but she also knew that she had to grow up and be a Rocket as well. She couldn't lose her Vulpix though! Gulping, she said. "I-I won't leave. I'll go through with this, and I'll become a Commander just like you. That seems to be the only way to make my Pokemon safe, so I'll work my hardest to go through the ranks!" Her eyes were filled with a fire to keep going.
Max picked a ball from the grunt ahead of him. The man squirmed as if it was the one he was hoping would be spared. Max knew what he was going through but went ahead anyway, tossing the Pokeball down the shaft to the basement below. As the grunt moved over to the belt to get a newly issued Pokemon Max stood in front of the conveyor belt.
The girl seemed to wait, looking at each one. She picked the one in the middle and Max internally sighed with relief. So long Kakuna, I hated you anyway. The ball disappeared into the darkness of the shaft and he walked over to the conveyor belt. Picking up a new Pokeball, he clipped it to his belt and looked at the others.
"Let's keep this line moving. Come on, pick up the pace!" he said, looking at Leels who seemed to be hesitating.
Thank god. Nidorino we're going to take over this joint together, I just know it.
Just another exchange. Gotta get promoted before the next one. He surveyed the line of thugs, taking off his cap and fanning himself with it.
Scott sat at the bar and finished off his third beer, He was buzzing pretty hard.
"Man they're taking a long time down there."
He ordered another and with beer in hand her walked over to the closest slot machine and began to play.
Leela took the first ball she saw at Mayu's belt and tossed it onto the conveyor belt. It didn't feel... right, in a way, giving her the idea that flitted through her mind.
Does she have more pokeballs than pokemon on her belt? No, that couldn't be it, it'd be silly to have unused balls on your belt. Must just be a newer model, it's been a few years since I looked up the new ones. I should probably get around to that sometime. When I get my next paycheck, I'll do that, if it isn't eaten up by rent, food, and Rocket wages, that is.
"Zane, whatever one you take, just tell me which and I'll show you how to open the pouches."
She pointed at one of them the four, only three showing the bulges of pokeballs.
"It's just an extra precaution to make sure I don't lose them in a river or something.They're waterproof and secured, so I don't want you groping around back there. And quit scowling kid, you think I'd swindle you? I'll let you watch if that's ok. And did I mention to ask you to lighten up? We aren't all about intimidation here you know, honey and flies and all that. It's kinda funny how people just overlook rotting corpses when they spout that line, don'cha think?"
Mayu let out a sigh of relief when the ball that was taken from her was the empty one. She knew that it was unusual to be carrying around an empty Pokeball in addition to the others, but she liked the feeling of having all three Pokeballs. Going over to the conveyor belt, she took the Pokeball that came out and clipped it to her waist. Now she had three Pokemon! Giggling a little bit at her good fortune, she returned to her spot. She hoped that the Pokemon she had thrown in for Max wasn't one that he cared about. That would be the worst!
Scott sat at the bar and finished off his third beer, He was buzzing pretty hard.
"Man they're taking a long time down there."
He ordered another and with beer in hand her walked over to the closest slot machine and began to play.
"Slot machines? They have slot machines here?" Asked Dylan
"yeah... It isn't called a game corner for nothing you know." Replied Scott, focusing on the slot machine.
Dylan put his face in his palm for a while, after which he started playing in one of the slot machines too.
"What did you say?"
Asked Dylan He wasn't able to hear scott through the sounds of the coins falling down.
"Call it whatever you want" Said Dylan, with a smirk on his face
"C'mon, try it!"