Sorry for the months of hiatus.
Chapter 12 – Alpha and Omega – Part 1
"I win b*tches!" yelled Toxicroak, slamming down his cards. He hugged a large pile of coins and cash from the middle of the table towards him.
"God damn it!" cried Bibarel, flinging his cards away. He rubbed his head in defeat and then took a hit of a cigarette from an ashtray.
"One simply can't be so lucky as to win ten straight rounds of Poke Poker," Electivire complained dryly, shaking his head in disappointment and going back to writing in his journal.
Toxicroak giggled and began to count his winnings, an evil smirk on his face; "I'm just that good."
The three were in a pub, taking some time off from their duties to relax with a rather one-sided game of Poke Poker. Earth troops filled up half of the pub, leaving the Argos a whole section to themselves. The stench of alcohol and cigarette smoke permeated the air.
Suddenly the door slammed open, scaring a few of the people in the pub, and Ditto walked inside, heading straight for the bar. His armor was covered in scorch marks, dents, and was falling apart in places. He plopped himself down heavily on one of the stools in front of the bartender, an ugly and rather mean looking frown on his face; he was clearly not himself.
"Give me the strongest hits you got," He yelled, slapping his hand down on the counter and leaving a stack of money, "I honestly don't give a flying f*ck what happens to me, 'cause I can't die!" He lay his head down on the grimy counter, covering it with his arms.
The other three Argos simply stared at Ditto's back, confused by his strange behavior. The bartender arrived with a bottle of vodka and a shot glass, and after shaking his head, he tapped Ditto's hand with the bottle, placing it beside it. Ditto groped blindly for the bottle, barely lifting his head and chugging the whole bottle in a few seconds.
"More!" he coughed out, his voice rough from the burning vodka.
"Wow..." Bibarel murmured, stretching out the word; "What happened this time?"
Pinsir chose that moment to burst through the door; Sudowoodo, Garchomp, and Mazda behind him. "We fell! From space!" Pinsir yelled cheerfully, giving a 'thumbs up'.
The bartender returned with more vodka and placed the bottles beside Ditto. "If I go through one more death defying sh*t storm and live, I will kick Sudowoodo right in the nuts. Multiple times," He growled, uncapping a bottle and quickly chugging it down.
"Why mine?" Sudowoodo complained with a frown.
Mazda, instead of plopping down on a stool as he was going to, turned around and kicked Sudowoodo in the groin, hard. "Because you don't have any," He commented dryly when the other Argo didn't even flinch. Point proven, Mazda continued to his stool, a few down from Ditto, and signaled the bartender; "Sand shots please."
Pinsir and Sudowoodo followed suit, seating themselves near Mazda and away from Ditto. Garchomp however, headed straight for the biggest table with food and began eating like a monster. Everything was quiet for a while, besides the sound of Garchomp's eating, and slightly awkward. At least until the top half of Gengar phased through the ceiling, upside down.
"I'm still waiting for an answer," he hissed, breaking the silence.
Bibarel made a sound somewhere between a yelp and a meep and looked up at Gengar; "Jeez! I forgot you were up there."
"It's dark in the attic. I was meditating."
"If you have some voodoo herbs to smoke, send me some!" Bibarel was completely ignored, the team instead focusing their attention to the group on the stools.
Pinsir took a deep breath and sighed as though preparing himself. He turned around, all hunched over, a serious expression across his face. He coughed to clear his throat, and when he spoke it was with a deep British accent. "It was the time of the day when the crescent moon hits Fortune, and the goblins and the goons came through. When Fortune was trembling in the year 10,470 BC, and my body was stone cold, like Frosty-"
"Oh my God!" shouted Ditto, throwing his hands up into the air and turning around, "I'll explain it, since I went through most of the sh*t." He took a quick hit of the bottle in his hand and then wiped his mouth.
"We had just had a successful mission in space and were finally able to go home, but that all changed when the Magma Nation attacked..."
Flashback, to a few hours ago.
A drop ship cut through space, completely consumed by flames and quickly tearing apart, as it fell down towards the planet Fortune. Inside, despite all the chaos, Mazda managed to spot the fire through a window. He ripped off his seat belt and pulled himself towards the pilot.
"This sucks! This sucks! This sucks!" Ditto screamed at the top of his lungs helpfully, a death grip on both his belt and seat.
Sudowoodo wasn't much better off, his eyes were bulging, he was drooling and he was shaking violently; all signs he was having a nervous breakdown.
"You two; get your belts off, grab the body bags, and get ready to jump ship," ordered Mazda, still struggling towards the pilot.
"What the f*ck did he say!?" Ditto screeched disbelievingly, while Sudowoodo began thrashing in his seat.
"Mazda, please don't tell me you're improvising!"
"I said don't tell me!"
Mazda finally reached the front and was able to speak to the pilot, who was struggling just to keep control of the joystick. "How high are we?" He asked.
"We've passed through the Planet's atmosphere," Was the pilot's response, "The air is breathable, but only barely."
"Alright, clench up!" Mazda yanked the belt off of the pilot and pressed a small yellow button, causing a slider to open and reveal a second button, this one large and red with white stripes. He took a deep breath and then punched it. A door at the back of the ship ejected outwards and air quickly rushed into the cabin of the ship, sucking Mazda and the pilot, whom he dragged with him, out.
"Is he f*cking serious!" Ditto exclaimed, still hanging onto the interior of the ship, Politoed's body bag in hand. Sudowoodo was doing the same with Sunflora's.
The two stayed like that until a female voice sounded from the ships coms' system, faint and full of static; "Warning, the ship will explode in thirty five seconds."
At that, the two shared a glance before quickly letting go of the ship and allowing themselves to be sucked outside, the body bags still tightly gripped. They free-fell through the sky for a few moments, Ditto staying somewhat calm, while Sudowoodo was preoccupied with a total panic attack, yelling something about Mazda having seen this coming.
Of course, Ditto had to open his mouth; "That's it?"
The ship then exploded; flinging pieces of shrapnel, both of the large and small, towards the falling Argos.
One of the bigger pieces flew straight towards Ditto, and he was only able to turn around before a solid chunk of metal smashed him upside the head and knocked him out cold.
The other two were having a much easier time of it. Mazda was far enough below that he was able to avoid the majority of the debris, and Sudowoodo was capable of simply smashing through it with his hammer. Once it was mostly cleared, he was even able to grab onto Ditto and the body bag he'd been carrying, although the former with his feet-
"Hang on," Bibarel interrupted, "How can you tell me what happened if you were knocked out?"
Ditto looked up from his bottle; "Oh, right. Sudowoodo, take it away."
"Mazda! What's step two!?" Sudowoodo yelled downwards.
"Step two is currently out cold. Ditto was supposed to transform into something big enough to carry us all."
Just as they finished talking, a plane blew past them, trailing fire behind it as it fell. The force tossed the two of them into rough turbulence.
"Who the-?" Mazda hissed in confusion.
"Was that Pinsir's plane!?" Sudowoodo shouted, fruitlessly trying to be heard over the deafening sound of the wind.
A long, brown-colored, blurry figure fell past them a moment later with even more force, throwing the two Argos around violently.
"And what was that!?"
Arrows began flying past them, a number of which struck the pilot in the back, killing him instantly. Now understanding that they were being shot at by Magma star fighters, Mazda forced himself to let go of the pilot, taking Ditto from Sudowoodo instead. His hard-shell shield strapped to his back, protected them both from the arrows raining down on them, while Sudowoodo took his rock and vibrainum-coated shield off of his back and hid behind it.
All while still free-falling to Fortune of course.
Out of the blue, fire suddenly engulfed to two Magma star fighters, blowing them to smithereens. Garchomp and Zoroark, in the form of Salamence, dove out of the explosion, catching the still-falling Argos.
Sudowoodo was shaking, terrified beyond belief, and completely at a loss for words. Garchomp, feeling the vibration on his back, began laughing hard. "Stick Man alright?" He managed to get out before he took a breath and continued on laughing.
Sudowoodo's shivering didn't let up as he glanced down at Fortune; "Just drop me. Kill me, end my life already!"
"Okay!" Garchomp smiled toothily and bounced in the air, causing Sudowoodo to lose his balance and begin tumbling downwards once more.
Sudowoodo looked over to Pinsir, who was spinning on a bar-stool. "Pinsir, it's your turn."
"Finally!" Pinsir cried excitedly, coming to a stop. "It was the time of the day when the crescent moon hit Fortune and the goblins and the goons came through-"
"It's getting hot in here lady!" Pinsir yelled, thrusting his horns at the glass in an attempt to break it.
His desperation earlier had caused him to pull the eject button so hard it had malfunctioned, leaving him trapped. Glancing out the window as the plane continued to fall; he found the clouds had cleared up enough to see Fortune much closer than before. Giving up on breaking the glass, he instead braced himself for the crash.
"Bring it Fortune! I'mma win this fight!"
Instead of the plane crashing into the ground, something else crashed into the plane. Something with a beak capable of pecking multiple holes in it, and claws capable of ripping the glass cockpit right off.
"Hey mate!" Pidgeot greeted, one of his feet imbedded in the side of the plane, the other having just tossed the cockpit away.
Pinsir thought he looked god-like, all decked out in beautiful leather and shiny steel armor, with a stiff body and fine feathers. "Are you an angel, or are you dead as well?" Pinsir asked, reaching out to touch him.
The bird just sighed; "Eh, close enough," and grabbed Pinsir by the back of his collar, soaring away from the plane and up into the sky.
Pinsir's attention remained on the falling aircraft however, pointing to it and crying out, "Oh no! My plane! Please, someone, catch my plane!"
Meters from hitting the ground, the plane was suddenly coated in a purple fluorescent light that stopped it dead in its tracks, leaving it levitating just above the ground. The fire then drew away from the craft, sucking up into Infernape's hand and vanishing.
Infernape was standing on a rock beside Sceptile and Alakazam, with Machamp and Zangoose sitting nearby on the edge of a cliff, looking up at the explosions still going off in the sky. Alakazam stretched and sighed, "All this work, over a crappy little plane."
Garchomp, Pidgeot, and Zoroark all flew back down to Fortune, Pinsir leaping to the ground to hug and kiss it the moment he could. That was followed by him rushing over to his plane to do the same, crying in joy.
Ditto had apparently awoken by then, and he jumped off Zoroark as well. "Magma Nation have to come and ruin our sh*t," Ditto growled, waiting for Zoroark to transform back into himself before helping set the body bags and the pilot (whom they'd caught at some point) on the ground.
Infernape nodded at the other Argos, and pressed his hand to his ear radio as he watched the fierce war rage above Fortune. "Commander, you seeing this?"
The reply was full of static and sounded rough; "Yes, from live satellite footage. I'm on The Mother of God; she warped out a few light years away. We're heading towards nearest friendly space."
"You're not coming back?"
"Ship's damaged and need of repair, we-" The static overwhelmed Poliwrath's voice and then completely cut off shortly after.
"Looks like we got jammed. Not really surprising," Sighed Sceptile. "So what now?"
"Back to Foxway, just as planned," Replied Infernape.
"Yeah, and before this area gets swarmed," Mazda added, still looking up at the drop ships.
As the team set out to leave, they were interrupted by a loud scream that echoed throughout the area. They all glanced back up to find a small figure plummeting towards the ground.
"Five he'll sh*t himself," Said Ditto.
"Fifty he'll piss himself," Added Machamp.
"Hundred Stickman will cry," Put in Garchomp.
"Five grand he'll do all three and be in total shock," Zoroark smirked.
"Alakazam," Infernape sighed, heaving the body bags onto his shoulders and leaving.
The team cleared out of the landing zone before stopping again to watch the object fall, their heads following its decent as it broke through the clouds in an inferno. Despite it moving at a couple hundred miles per hour, Alakazam was still able to stop it just a few inches from the ground, a purple illuminating light surrounding it. The flames then dissipated, leaving a stiff and rather crispy Sudowoodo.
Even after being set back on solid ground, Sudowoodo did nothing other than lie flat on the ground, his face completely blank as though he'd seen a ghost. After a moment he began shaking as though going through a seizure, and laughing hysterically, probably from shock. That quickly changed to crying as he stood up and walked past the team towards the truck, leaving trails of yellow sand and brown hard rocks behind him. Once seated in the vehicle, he strapped his seat belt on tightly and began rocking back and forth.
The rest of the team didn't say a word, instead looking silently to Alakazam for an explanation.
"This was not of my doing," Alakazam said quietly, "It was a freak accident last time, a sudden change in fate, life..."
When everyone continued to stare, he stalked off towards a vehicle; "Shut up, all of you. Gengar did it this time, not me!" He slammed the door shut and rolled up the window, leaving the team standing around confused.
Zoroark took it upon himself to break the spell by holding out his hand with a grin; "So...where's my five grand?"
The team ignored him, some making faces, as they all headed off to the trucks. "Oh shut up Rookie, the bet was off a while ago," Ditto huffed.
"Since when!?" Zoroark demanded, following after him.
"When you got your prediction right," Was Machamp's reply.
"Wolf man cheated," Laughed Garchomp.
Zoroark stopped, slamming his scimitar into the ground; "How!?"
"Simple," Ditto replied, shaking his head in disappointment at him, "You used steroids."
Machamp snapped his fingers and pointed, laughing, "Look, he's in denial!"
"We all have some in us," Zoroark deadpanned, followed by Infernape shooting a small pocket of fire into the air to grab everyone's attention.
"Can you all shut the f*ck up, and get on the truck?!"
Obediently, the team quickly climbed into the truck, although some of them were smirking.
"Not you rookie."
Zoroark glared at Infernape's back, continuing towards the truck anyway, "Are you serious?"
"I'm dead serious!" Infernape snapped, spitting fire down in front of Zoroark's feet and stopping him in his tracks. "No flying or teleporting, and that's an order!"
Infernape took his seat and demanded that Pinsir drive, leaving a very shocked and confused Zoroark standing behind with his jaw dropped.
Mazda nodded his head towards him; "Looks like you're walking, Captain."
Ditto smirked meanly, giving Zoroark both a lazy salute and then the middle finger, leaving the latter to watch the truck roll off and growl in anger.
"Now I see why they're the biggest *ssholes in the galaxy."
"Yes, but they're our biggest *ssholes in the galaxy. They make our team unique from the rest."
Zoroark glanced in the direction he'd heard the voice, spotting Sceptile and Pinsir. Pinsir smiled and waved cheerfully, while Zoroark blinked, pointing towards the departing truck.
"If you're here, who's driving the truck?"
The truck swerved left and right a number of times before driving straight off the cliff, Loyal team's yells echoing as they dropped. They were silenced a moment later by a swooshing sound; Alakazam having teleported them all, including the truck, back to Foxway.
"Oops," Pinsir said quietly, "I did not think that through."
Zoroark wandered over to Sceptile, stopping in the middle of the road to look down it. "So, what was that all about?"
"Don't take it seriously, they were just giving you a hard time," Sceptile replied.
"Because you're the Noobie!" Pinsir put in helpfully, complete with a thumbs up.
Sceptile chuckled; "They'll stop picking on you in a few years."
"A few years?" Zoroark repeated dryly, "I don't think I have a few years."
Sceptile laughed for a moment, before replying semi-seriously; "You do, you're on Loyal Team now. Relax."
Zoroark scratched his head in frustration and smiled wryly; "They're gonna make me lose my cool one day sir, I swear."
"You will. Just like me, and plenty of the others who act cool and calm all the time. Most of us really would like to kill each other, the only reason we don't is because we just can't afford to," Sceptile said in all seriousness. "We can't live without each other."
Sceptile began to walk, the other two trailing along behind him. "All these years of fighting alongside each other, watching each other's backs, filling in for the families we've all left behind. We motivate each other to fight harder, to live through even the hardest and most gruesome battles, give each other hope that one day we'll win the war and get to go home to our actual families."
Zoroark was silent, thinking over what Sceptile had said. The three continued along the lone road, thick forest along either side, for a good fifteen or so minutes until Pinsir decided to break the silence.
"So Zoroark, do you have family? A wife? Kids?"
"Now now, Pinsir. Can't you tell he was thinking?" Sceptile lectured.
"No, I can't tell, because I'm not a mind reader, stupid!" Pinsir retorted, "I don't know what he's thinking of, which is why I ask questions." An idea seemed to come to mind and he closed his eyes, appearing to think really hard; "Unless I have the power in me."
Zoroark blinked; "I have six wolf pups. But did he really just-?"
"Make me look stupid? Yes, somehow he's really good at that," Sceptile muttered, stopping walking and looking as though he was concentrating on something as well. "Speaking of mind-reading; Alakazam, you there? If so, can you please come?"
"Huh? What's going on?" Zoroark asked, confused.
"Pinsir and I stayed just to calm you down, get to know you a bit better, and get your hopes up for not walking alone," Sceptile replied, "You still have to follow Major Infernape's orders."
"Are you serious!?"
"Failing to follow me and the Major's orders will result in court martial for insubordination."
Zoroark aimed the very best glare he could at them both; "You've got to be kidding me!"
Just as he finished speaking, Alakazam appeared between Sceptile and Pinsir. He rested a hand on each of the two, getting ready to teleport them away.
"So I'm guessing I'm the adopted kid in this 'family', aren't I?" Zoroark mumbled.
"That statement of yours is extremely accurate." Clarified Alakazam.
Zoroark muttered something about them being the biggest *******s in the galaxy once more, causing Sceptile to laugh and slap him on the back. "Give it time; you'll be one as well!"
"See you at base Noobie!"
The three teleported out, leaving Zoroark behind.
"Sounded fun," Gengar commented with a shrug, not really paying much attention. He slowly went back up into the attic.
Pinsir, finished with his story, continued to drink with the others, strangely quiet for some reason.
Minutes passed, during which the team didn't say a word to one another, until Machamp stepped through the door and spotted Ditto and Mazda's backsides.
"Mazda, Ditto, it's time."
Ditto took a final shot, slamming the glass down on the counter and giving a mighty 'uh oh' as he headed out of the pub, Machamp and Mazda following after him.
"Yeah, uh oh," Echoed Machamp.
Pinsir, now by himself, shrugged and headed over to Toxicroak's group, taking his bottle of vodka with him. "So what're you guys doing?" He asked, taking a seat.
"Well we were playing cards, but this douchebag keeps winning!" Bibarel hissed, jabbing a thumb in Toxicroak's direction.
The four were silent for a long, very awkward moment, Pinsir staring at everyone's bored faces. He then suddenly yelled, slamming his hands down on the table and grabbing everyone's attention; "Who-ever-holds-their-breath-longest-to-the-death?!"
"All in!" Came Toxicroak's enthusiastic reply, as he pushed the pile of coins, chips, and cash back to the middle of the table.
"Bring it!" Bibarel added, taking a shot of vodka and getting ready for the game.
Electivire simply shook his head and continued to write into his journal, leaving the others to their fun.
Next…Chapter 12 –Part 2