Chapter 31 - Question Time
“Armed police, Jenny division – put your hands where we can see them!”
Appearing from the nearby stairwell, the group were surrounded by armed police offers pointing their guns in their direction, each with a Growlithe at their side. The group all raised their hands but Naoko instead felt her arm being pulled upwards from the floor until she was upright and a hand clasped over her face.
She began to panic and struggled frantically until a voice gently hushed her; it was Crowe. “Be quiet, they can’t see us.” He whispered.
Naoko quickly scanned the room as the Jennys moved in to arrest the group and realised that they were once again hidden by Gallade’s Shadow Sneak. Crowe slowly loosened his grip on the dark-skinned girl and she took in a deep breath.
“What about the others? We can’t just let them -”
“-That’s not important right now. We need to get out of here.” Crowe said as he dragged Naoko toward the door, slipping past the group of agents and into the stairwell.
After descending one flight Crowe suddenly turned to Naoko and pushed her against the wall, pinning her with his hand around her neck. Naoko was shocked and confused, again struggling against a man who was much stronger than she was.
“That necklace – where did you get it?” Crowe asked, surprisingly calmly, loosening his grip slightly.
Naoko gasped for air, questioning why he was asking between breaths. Crowe tightened his grip briefly to extend his point, “You didn’t answer the question.”
“It was a gift… From a friend in Hoenn!”
“Her name… Her name is Lanette!”
Crowe suddenly released his grip and helped Naoko keep her balance as she regained her breath.
“What the hell is wrong with you?!” The dark-skinned girl cried, glaring at Crowe who now looked deep in thought. He gently rested against the hand railing and fixated his gaze toward Naoko; more specifically, her necklace; not uttering a word for several seconds. “Hello?! What was that about?” Naoko persisted.
“Things are starting to add up.” He mumbled before the police officers began to bring people out of the lab and into the stairwell. Taking initiative once again, Crowe grabbed Naoko by the hand and disappeared into the shadows.
The Jennys began to lead the group, one by one down the stairwell in handcuffs. Alex and April being the first, followed by Erika and then several minutes later, Adam and Sabrina who were supported by a team of medics.
A senior Jenny by the name of Harrison personally escorted the group out of the building via the employee car park at the rear as a crowd had begun to form outside the main entrance. He was a tall man, a good few inches above Sabrina, the tallest in the group and had short, greying hair underneath his azure cap, making him appear older than his age. The group were split between two unmarked police vehicles and then taken to the station where they were processed and then sent to a cell where they would await questioning, away from the prying eyes and cameras of the media.
I was sat on the floor, isolated in my cell. It was dark and the smell of mass produced floor cleaner rose from the chipped concrete below me. Unlike the rest of Saffron, the police station looked old and dilapidated, much like how the rest of Kanto seemed; technologically un-advanced compared to the rest of the world. Rather than being in a solitary room with a solid door, I was in a cubicle of sorts in a corridor with metal bars caging me inside a small area.
Alone with my thoughts, I didn’t know who was around, where anyone was or how deeply I was screwed. As soon as I’d arrived from Silph Co, I’d been shoved straight into a cell at the Saffron police department, completely unaware where any of my friends were.
Come to think of it, I hadn’t actually tried calling out to anyone. Surely they weren’t naïve enough to lock me in the same place as the others? I crawled to the bars and called out, not too loud as to attract outside attention but loud enough so that someone in the room could hear me.
So I tried again, a little louder.
Sighing, I turned my back to the bars and rested my head in one of the small spaces between them. There was no way I could talk about anything that has happened recently without sounding like a mad man but, then again, I had no other alternative.
Suddenly, I heard a whisper; a whisper that sounded vaguely like my name. My head jolted forward and turned to face what I could see of the corridor, which was not much. It could have just been the wind and I was about to turn back around when, as if from nowhere, the faces of Naoko and that guy Crowe appeared, half camouflaged by the veil of his Gallade’s Shadow Sneak.
“Naoko!” I cried in relief.
“-We don’t have time.” Crowe interrupted. “Listen carefully…” He began, telling me that we could not mention the Diamond the Rockets took and were simply there to look for Adam.
“But why? And why should I trust you? We’ve only just met.” I whispered, asking what I thought were justifiable questions.
Naoko spoke before Crowe was able, with a genuine look of fear and concern in her eyes. “Alex, please – just do it for now. It’s important.” And with that, they once again disappeared into the shadows.
Before I could call out to them, I heard footsteps approaching the room and seconds later Harrison appeared from around the corner. He opened the cell and led me to a small room for my formal interview. The was simply a small table in the centre of the room with another officer already seated, just like on the crime shows on TV. I was sat down and Harrison took his place at the other officer’s side, who introduced himself as Detective Shards, a rather rounded man if I ever did see one.
I could feel the nerves tugging at my insides. What was he going to say? What was I going to say? I looked down at my hands and I was shaking. I took a few deep breaths to calm myself and I knew that this was not going to be easy.
I had to lie.
“Team Rocket is gone – they are history. There’s been no criminal activity under that name for over a year, why would they suddenly choose now to make a reappearance?” Shards asked, condescendingly.
“But they haven’t! You just don’t see it do you?” Alex cried, slamming his fist onto the table.
“They’ve been here, right under your noses the entire time. The same thing happened at Cerulean and you didn’t see it then until it was too late!”
“Testimony from a Mr…” Shards paused to scan through his notes. “Mr Bill Dyer, claims the criminals involved were in-fact part of the Rocket Gang but, since there was no formal arrest, there was no evidence to substantiate his story.”
“There, you see? If more people are saying it, surely that means there is some grounding to the theory.”
“Miss Moon, in your own words, please describe to us the events of yesterday’s incident.”
April sighed and ran her hands through her messy brown bonnet. Her hat had been taken from her as she entered the building leaving her with quite persistent hat-hair. “You’re never going to believe me.”
“I was trying to look for my brother; we’d been separated for a while now and I could just sense that something was wrong, really wrong.”
“And so you just happened to come upon his location?”
“No… My Slowking helped me find him.”
The detectives’ brows furrowed and they exchanged a quick glance at each other.
“He’s an incredibly strong psychic pokemon who can communicate with me. I don’t know… he somehow locked-on to Adam and he led us straight to him. It was the only lead I had to find him.”
“And you say you found him… working with the perpetrators?”
“No! No, that’s not what I’m saying at all. He was there with them but he wasn’t with them. I… Well, I don’t know what happened exactly, but he had no part in this.”
“Without a doubt. I know him - he’s my brother.”
“I’ve already told you, I don’t know.” Adam sighed with his head in his hands.
“Being in that situation for as long as you say, you are honestly telling me that you had no idea of why you were there? Why would your abductors not kill you and be done with it at Lavender Tower? It’s quicker, cleaner and less hassle.”
“What can I say? I suppose they just needed me for some reason.”
“And that reason was?” Harrison piped up, seemingly intrigued.
Adam looked around the room in frustration. “I don’t know… Maybe they wanted me to take the fall; maybe they needed someone to blame the whole thing on.”
Shards raised an eyebrow, seeming less than impressed. “And what, the best culprit they could come up with was a teenage boy?”
Adam sat back on his chair and folded his arms. “Well, it’s worked so far, hasn’t it?”
Erika paced up and down the foyer as Sabrina sat in a chair patiently, her head resting on her right hand. After a while, Erika decided to join her friend and sat down opposite her, looking her over with concern. “Are you sure you’re okay? You’re usually quiet but you’re never this quiet.”
Sabrina simply let out a small smile; a smile that would simply look like a small facial twitch to anyone else. “Yes, thank you. I’m fine. Today has taken a lot out of me.” The psychic girl paused and closed her eyes, frustrated about mixing up her words - not something she would usually do. “Well, however long those criminals had me controlled for. The doctor said it could have been anything up to a week, judging from my reactions. ”
Erika stroked her friend’s hand. “Well, the worst part is over at least.”
Sabrina sighed. “I’m just trying to piece together my memories; it’s all a bit of a blur. I was useless to the detectives in my interview.”
“Well, if it helps, I can’t imagine any of ours making much sense to anyone else at the moment…”
Erika looked up at the door to the interview rooms. “They’re taking their time with the other interviews, aren’t they? I think I’ll go and see if I can find out what’s happening.”
Sabrina gave a nod of acknowledgement as Erika approached the front desk. A man sat at the counter filling out some paperwork and seemed unaware of the girl’s presence until she started speaking.
“Hello, I was just wondering about my friends who are being questioned, they’ve been in there quite a while.”
“I’m afraid they are to remain in custody until we can establish the facts about what really happened, miss.”
This didn’t sit well with Erika. “’The facts?’ We’ve given you the facts. You have no right to keep them here.”
“On the contrary. We have every right to keep them here.”
“On what grounds?”
“They have been apprehended at the scene of a crime and must be questioned Not to mention they have been placed at the scenes of multiple terrorist attacks.”
“But that doesn’t mean they committed any crime! That evidence is circumstantial, it proves nothing. You’d better release them or so help me I’ll-!”
“-May I remind you Miss Erika, that your authority as Gym Leader may exempt you from prolonged detainment but your power does not supersede that of any police officer.”
The Gym Leader began to speak again but was quickly silenced by the officer’s overbearing voice. “Especially when they are involved in a criminal investigation. You would do well to remember that.”
Erika paused and grit her teeth. She knew she was powerless to do anything and she hated it. The CCTV was cut; it was just their word and that was it, nothing else. There must be some way of proving something, something they had missed. And, at that moment as if planned from the get-go, a figure walked through the door, escorted by an additional officer.
It was Pluto, who walked up to the desk and presented a disc to the officer.
“I believe this might shed some light on the current situation.”