The Middle Ground
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March 10th, 2012 (3:27 AM).
Researcher of Orange Lore
Chapter 29 – Plan of Attack
Every inch of the ground floor’s tiles gleamed so brightly that it almost obscured our reflections. The room was practically like a vision of how the perfect workplace should look with business men and women coming to and fro, friendly staff answering phones in a corporate tone and of course, an oversized statue of the company logo used as the centrepiece for the room – Who doesn’t need one of them? It was either through the industrial air fresheners and disinfectants or the various plants dotted about the room that filled the air with a floral aroma which, in the moment, reminded me of home, smelling vaguely of Orange Grass.
However, that moment was cut short when we suddenly found ourselves surrounded by a set of three armed security guards asking what our business was at the company. For a moment, we exchanged glances before an elevator chimed open behind us.
“It’s okay fellows, I can vouch for these people. We’re old acquaintances.” A small, elderly, yet youthful man said, stepping out of the lift and pushing aside the set of guards. “Go on, be on your way.” He continued, shooing them off.
The man walked across the pristine tiled-floor of the reception area with a warm grin across his face and extended his right arm out towards the smartly-dressed, green haired businessman in front of him. “Lance, it’s certainly been a while.”
“That it has, Dennis – too long.” Lance replied, shaking hands fondly. “I’d like you to meet my assistant and her R&D team.”
To his left stood a woman with striking red hair tied up neatly in a bun, dressed smartly in a white blazer and a deep ruby skirt with the Devon Co. logo subtly stitched into the pattern.
“And you are?” Dennis inquired, approaching the somewhat middle-aged woman.
“Athena, Mr President. I speak on behalf of my three team members and I when I say it’s an honour to meet you.” She responded, bowing her head slightly out of respect.
“Please my dear, the pleasure is all mine, it’s lovely to meet you all. Now - to business, if you’d all like to follow me I’ll get you cleared through security.” Dennis said leading the way back inside the large elevator.
I felt the cold prongs of a Taser press sharply at my back from one of the other scientists, even through the thick lab coat I was wearing, signalling me to follow. As the doors of the elevator closed the atmosphere changed completely.
“That was almost too easy.” Lance chuckled. “You never fail to create a convincing guise, Petrel.”
“Well it’s nice to know I’m still good for something.” Petrel, the man under the rouse of Dennis answered.
“-Be quiet you two.” The assistant hushed sharply. “There are cameras in here.”
“Relax, I’ve had a sweep through security – it’s only video feed in the elevators.”
From what I could gather, Petrel was a Rocket in disguise too, the man everyone was referring to as “Lance” was in fact Commander Proton who I’d had the great dis-pleasure of sharing a boat with for the past few weeks; but on the up-side, in a suit he could actually pass as a decent human being.
The red-head I felt like I recognised somehow but I couldn’t put my finger on it, nonetheless she was in league with the Rockets and that was all I needed to know. The member of the R&D team who stood directly behind me holding a Taser to my back was another Rocket who didn’t seem to have much of a ranking among the people we were with but it was his job to keep me in line.
The third person in a lab coat (besides me and Mr Taser behind) was a woman with long, dark hair. She hadn’t said a single word since we met; she just clutched at a clipboard with a glazed-over look on her face and followed wherever we went.
Trench had been feeding me information on the boat to keep me updated but as soon as we arrived the information stopped coming. Using his Gallade to hide himself in the shadows, no one could see him – even me. I had no idea where or why the Rockets were taking me along but I just hoped Trench was somewhere close by. As for the Hobbling Hoodie, where he went is anyone’s guess.
“What of the real President?” Proton asked, glancing toward Petrel.
“He won’t be any bother. I really thought they would have done more to up their security, but yes, he saw exactly who was coming.”
The three commanding officers each shared a smirk with the redhead glancing back at me as she let out a small chuckle.
“Almost there now.” Proton said, straightening his tie as the elevator doors opened. “Finally we’ll see some results.”
I could just feel that something bad was about to happen and, as it was, I was powerless to stop it. Wherever Trench was, he didn’t have much time to get here.
Last night was an eye opener to say the least; we’d decided to go back to Saffron City on what was basically a hunch from April, and a pretty freaky hunch at that, that her brother was being held captive somewhere inside. It’s a humungous place and I wouldn’t have known where to start looking but we’d decided to use April as a kind of radar to The Voice that had been following us around; the louder The Voice became in April’s head, the closer we would be to its source, and hopefully, Adam.
April seemed to have gotten over her initial cattiness with Erika who seemed determined to tag along whatever the cost. Apparently her and Adam went back a long time and couldn’t stand still whilst he was in danger. She managed to talk someone from her Gym into giving us a lift in their car to Saffron, which didn’t really take long at all, but as soon as the city limits came into view, sure enough April began to feel the dull thud in her head, gradually getting louder and louder.
As soon as we’d passed the suburbs we got out of the car and continued on foot, sending Slowking out from within his pokeball to share the burden of The Voice.
“Are you okay?” Erika asked, as April began to clutch her head in the middle of the street.
“Yeah, it’s a lot more manageable now with both of us.” She smiled, just beginning to cross a busy road. “We’re definitely heading in the right direction.”
The pair of them, accompanied by Slowking, led the way in front of Naoko and I, deeper into the heart of the city. I hadn’t noticed on our first way through how nice it actually was; I hadn’t seen a single piece of litter on the ground, the air was clear and refreshing and for some reason the skyscrapers didn’t spoil the skyline, the unique architecture added to it.
As we dawdled along behind the two girls, Naoko didn’t seem very much up for conversation, I didn’t know about her but I felt quite redundant in this situation. I couldn’t really help in any way, just making sure April didn’t keel over was probably my main priority as Erika could provide transport and seemed to know her way around.
“Y’know Naoko, you don’t have to come with us. There’s no reason to drag you into whatever this is too.” I said, trying to engage her.
Naoko clutched her necklace as she walked along, the silver chain reflecting the midday sun and shining into the ocean-blue jewel set in the centre. “No, I want to. I need to repay April somehow for saving my life on the SS Anne and besides; you said the Rockets are probably behind this. If they are, I’m going to make them pay for what they did to Dillan.”
Suddenly images flashed through my head of Cerulean City, the explosion… Sandshrew. It wasn’t as if I had forgotten about him, I guess I’d just pushed it to the back of my mind so I couldn’t think about it. The situation suddenly became very real for me – it was personal, I wanted revenge or justice or whatever you call it, but how could I get that when the last battle I had I lost… to the people I’m hoping to fight.
It’d really been that long. If I hadn’t had a pokemon battle since I’d been to Cerulean City, how could I possibly hope to beat them? Maybe after what had happened, a part of me didn’t want to send my pokemon into battle anymore; after all, I’d had a few opportunities to battle and hadn’t taken them.
Then, I took a moment to think about all of the matches I had won and how we did it, not by having the advantage – by learning how the opponent moves. Now that we had lost, I knew exactly what not to do and realised something that I had been naïve to before; bad guys do not fight fairly.
After half an hour of walking, we arrived in the business district of the city and The Voice seemed to be bothering April and Slowking more and more, signalling that we must be close by. We all began looking around for a sign, hoping something would lead us to where we were supposed to go, but I couldn’t see anything remotely useful.
“What exactly are we looking for?!” Naoko asked, trying to raise her voice over the crowds of the increasingly busy streets.
“I’m not… ugh, I’m not sure!” April replied, a bit frazzled.
Erika had gotten to the point of guiding April and Slowking around obstacles like lampposts, just so she could stay focused. “April, think about what you heard before – what did the Voice say?”
“Erm… follow, voice. I-It’s hard to concentrate.”
“There was, Adam, Silph, hel-“ Slowking began reciting.
“-Wait, did you just say Silph?!” Erika asked, surprised.
“That’s right ove-“
“-Hey guys!” Naoko bellowed from across the street. “I think I found what you’re looking for!”
We rushed over the tarmacked road to see the dark-skinned girl standing beside a stone block at the base of a skyscraper with walls made entirely of glass. A seven-foot tall stylised capital S was etched in stone beside the company name of
Erika sighed and ran her hand through her hair. “Well this isn’t good.”
Catch 'em, catch 'em, gotta catch 'em all; gotta catch 'em all - Pokemon!
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