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Notes: I know I'm taking a pretty big risk by posting another story, but... yeah...
This is the offical third story in my series of works involving my original trainer, Lisa Northwood, and follows the events in my story, A Coordinated Investigation.
A few of you may recognize the prologue to this as an unpublished one shot from last year. However, I've made changes to it and expanded it into a short chaptered work that further explores the issues involved.
Thanks to Haruka of Hoenn for reading over drafts and suggesting changes.
This is rated PG-13 for language, violence, and numerous references to drugs and criminal activity. It is also advised that fans of Red (from the games) use discretion due to the story line and how he is portrayed.
Once, I had it all. Fame, glory, riches beyond compare.
Then, it was all gone. Well, except for my riches. That, they couldn’t take away. But everything else was gone. I, a former Pokemon League Champion, had been cast aside like yesterday’s trash. But, you know? Revenge is a dish best served cold. In this case, on the frozen peak atop Mount Silver. Today, in this harsh setting, this girl’s gotta do what this girl’s gotta do. And someone’s gonna get what’s coming to him.
Mine is a tale of a fall from grace that happened so quickly and was so unusual that I wouldn't believe such a thing could ever happen if I didn't experience it firsthand. Something like this never, never fades from your memory. It's still as clear as if it had happened yesterday.
Five years ago, I was on top of the world. I, a young ten year old girl from Pallet Town, had risen to the occasion. Against all odds, I had made it. Becoming champion in the male-dominated world of Pokemon training. And of course I picked the wrong time to begin my journey, right when the sinister Team Rocket was beginning to put its plans for world domination into motion. But hey, I wasn’t gonna let them ruin everything I was working toward. And since the police in Kanto were, and probably still are, woefully inadequate, I took it upon myself to take care of the Rockets. And took care of them I did, breaking apart their Pokémon smuggling operation at Celadon’s Game Corner as well as freeing the Silph conglomerate’s headquarters from their clutches. And yes, that did require me to stand up to their leader. Giovanni seemed like a daunting adversary, but my Pokémon and I were able to overcome even his powerful team and break up the organization for good.
Then there was defeating the eight Gym Leaders, each with their own personality and approach to battle, forcing me to adapt to each of them in order to prevail. And though some were fairly straightforward, others - especially toward the end - proved to be quite the challenge. Sabrina and Blaine employed cunning tactics and it was difficult to match wits with them, while my old nemesis Giovanni went at me with raw, overwhelming power. But my Pokémon always managed to seize victory with their skill and power.
Once I had all eight badges in hand, there was the matter of the Elite Four. From the wily and calculating Lorelei, a trainer that I've always held in high regard, to the enigmatic caped dragon master Lance, the four of them put me and my Pokémon to a test unlike any we had experienced before. But again it was our combined determination and capability that pulled us through, and we finally surpassed the Elites and took down my long-time rival to claim the title. I've never forgotten the Pokémon that helped me reach that goal. Blastoise. Nidoking. Persian. Electrode. Exeggutor. Dragonite. Together we had conquered every hurdle thrown in front of us in Kanto.
And that was it. I was Champion. For close to two years, I successfully defended my title against all comers. So, I thought I was doing pretty well for myself. Evidently, the Pokémon League thought I was doing a bit too well.
They called me into a meeting in their administrative building. There, in that ornate conference room, they flat-out told me. After Agatha had passed away and Lorelei had resigned her position, the League had held interviews to fill the vacancies. They had three highly qualified applicants: Fuschia’s Koga, as well as two people I had only heard about in the news, Karen and Will. So, to fit three people into two slots, they wanted to promote Lance to Champion and bump me out of the League. But they had a deal, which they tried to make sound so amazing. I could live and train in this cold, isolated mountain called Mount Silver, becoming this sort of enigmatic “legendary trainer” that only a few select trainers could ever face. The truth, of course, is that they just wanted to stick me in that barren mountain and out of their way. Apparently Lance was more fitting of the image they wanted than I was, and since Lance couldn’t ever beat me, this was their way of trying to get rid of me. I bluntly told them there was no deal. Why would I give up my comfortable life and title as Champion to live essentially as a homeless person?
I stormed out of the headquarters, but little did I know the League was waiting for me to make one stupid mistake in order to put their plans into motion. And that mistake was taking a vacation to visit my good friend Lisa, herself a trainer from another region. During those two weeks that I was in America, exploring their malls, indulging in their restaurants, and relaxing in their hotels with my friend, I was completely unaware that all hell was breaking loose back in Kanto.
I returned to find that my trainer ID card no longer let me into the Pokémon League headquarters, so I couldn’t take up my usual post in the Champion’s chambers. I demanded an explanation. The League denied even knowing of my existence. And sure enough, I log onto a computer and go to the League’s web site only to find out two things. First, I wasn’t even registered as a trainer anymore! Then I looked up an article on Team Rocket and it said that, “A boy named Red was responsible for the group’s disbanding after defeating Giovanni. He later went on to become Champion.”
What?! I was the one who took down Team Rocket! And last I checked I wasn’t a boy named Red. Granted, my skirt’s red, but still…
Once again I contacted the League demanding an explanation. And once again, I was denied. I flew to Celadon City and started talking to people, and sure enough, everyone I spoke to was convinced that it was this mystery boy named Red who defeated Team Rocket. Nobody even had any recollection of the younger me, the girl from Pallet Town who did everything that was accredited to this “Red” character. Not even the local Gym Leader, Erika. Not even my old rival from all those years ago. Despite our many battles we had against each other back then, he doesn't even recognize me anymore! In fact, when I tried to talk to him outside the Department Store, all he could talk about was getting revenge on this “Red” for usurping the championship from him. But that was me who beat him for the title! What the hell was going on?!
I finally got my hands on a picture of the mystery guy and I was in for another shocker. He was the young kid from Pallet Town that I remember battling against over four years ago! Back then I wondered how he even got that far with a team as weak as his was. This idiot was even dumb enough to try and use a pathetic little Pikachu against me! I don't know of anyone with a shred of common sense who would try something so obviously doomed to failure. And then it turned out he didn’t even have any badges. Why the League even let him in to battle me was beyond my realm of understanding.
And yet despite his incompetence, the Pokémon League felt the need to drag him out of whatever drainage ditch or dark alley he was living in, and basically elevate him to elite status by attributing all of my accomplishments to him instead! Needless to say, I was livid. But I think I have an idea of how they pulled it off. The League controls all the media in the region. Pokémon like Alakazam have the ability to send their psychic waves through things like radio towers and TV antennas. I suspect that the League used some powerful Psychic-type Pokémon to mess with the minds of the citizens, and used the media to spread these waves throughout the entire region. As intelligent as Alakazam is, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if it had the ability to erase and replace specific parts of a person’s memory – in this case, replacing me with Red.
And that’s how the Pokémon League cast me aside.
But, I’m a determined girl, and I certainly wasn’t going to sit back and let things end this way. I visited other regions, adding new and powerful Pokémon to my team that you could never find in Kanto. I visited old haunts and new areas alike to train and strengthen both me and my Pokémon – I even took self-defense and martial arts classes. And over time I learned that Red eventually accepted the offer that had been made to me – now he was rumored to be based on Mount Silver while Lance was appointed the official Champion.
I had done all of this extensive training, and I was now even stronger than I was during my reign as Champion. But at the time I didn’t know for what reason. I couldn’t just walk in and re-challenge the Elite Four – I had been erased from their database. I wasn’t even a trainer in their eyes. And to re-register would mean having to start anew, which was out of the question as well. I wasn't gonna spend another year training and going through all the gyms again with brand-new Pokémon when I had powerful Pokémon at the ready right here, right now. I was trying to weigh all my options, but kept coming up with nothing. It wasn’t until I had a girl chat that a plan came into being. I needed to get away from the place where it all happened and have a talk with someone who I'd knew I could trust. And I knew exactly who would hear me out.
There I was, back in America, sitting in one of those nice fancy American hotels… this one was called a “Quality Suites,” I think. My old friend Lisa arrives – and in that big old station wagon of hers, you know when she arrives. She comes up with the suggestion that I go up there, bring a camera, and challenge Red myself. Afterward, I could make him confess as to what happened and broadcast it all over the news. Well, though the prospect of taking a hike up that imposing mountain didn’t appeal to me, at that point I was willing to go to major extremes to expose the truth. But how to get past the gate to Mount Silver, which you need special permission to bypass? I couldn't use the Fly technique with any of my Pokémon since I had never been to this place before and they wouldn't know the way there.
Lisa, always the resourceful one, had an idea. She has even more money at her disposal than I do, and unlike me, she had easy access to a private jet, complete with an expert pilot. After looking at topographical maps on Lisa’s laptop, we found a stretch of grassy area where the aircraft could safely land. Well, actually, she did. She's such a whiz at the numbers, she was able to precisely calculate the angle, speed, and altitude that was needed for a safe approach and landing. Now that I had a plan, and the means to pull it off, it was time to put my plan into motion. I thanked my friend and told her I’d be contacting her again soon.
As soon as I got back to Kanto, I got myself ready. I bought a bulky winter coat to put on and thick black tights to wear under my skirt. After all, my usual outfit wasn't suited at all for the task at hand… I'd freeze to death before making it halfway up the summit! I gathered up my strongest Pokémon, making sure I had all my bases covered as far as type advantages. I was up against an unknown foe, and I needed to be prepared for whatever he may or may not throw at me.
Then it was go time. Contacting Lisa one more time, we made the final preparations to put the plan into motion. At our pre-arranged meeting spot just outside Celadon, I boarded the plane that was to take me to my destination. After landing in the grassy field right outside Mount Silver, I entered and began my long, arduous trek. The unforgiving environment made me think – even if I had accepted the League’s offer they made way back when, I still would have been cast aside, albeit with my reputation still intact. I don’t imagine I’d be receiving many visitors at this place, and this kid I’m about to face probably hasn’t seen many, either.
So here I am, at the peak of this annoying mountain, facing down this Red character. My video camera is set up behind me on a rock, ready to capture this battle on film. The heavy snowfall and strong wind seem especially harsh up here at the peak. I glare at him angrily, ready to put this wannabe in his place. He looks silently at me, his eyes concealed by that same ugly ball cap he wore over four years ago. My hand goes for my Pokeball, and he instinctively grabs hold of his. It’s on! This time, losing is not an option!
So, he sends out his first Pokémon… and I was taken by complete surprise. It turns out he still hasn't evolved that idiot Pikachu! As tempting as it was to just crush the thing under my foot, I sent out my strongest Pokémon and blasted the little nuisance to kingdom come. Now, the rest of his team was fully evolved, but I have the feeling he took the easy way out as far as training them. My Pokémon easily dispatched the rest of his team without breaking a sweat.
Well, that was certainly a disappointing battle. Seriously, I have no idea where the hell they got this loser from. Having beaten his entire team in less than five minutes, I confronted him. “Tell me everything. How you took credit for taking down Team Rocket. And why everyone has completely forgotten about me. Tell me now!”
But he just stands there, completely silent. He doesn't utter a grunt. I ask again, “Explain yourself! What happened four years ago when I was replaced by you?!” Still he doesn't move or make a sound. This is going nowhere! So I pack up my camera and make my way back down the mountain, but not before giving him a nasty right hook to the face. He doesn't even respond to that! Right now, I'm completely frustrated that I couldn't get a confession out of him. All I could walk away with was the satisfaction that I beat the trainer that the whole of Kanto and Johto regarded as the “strongest.” I'm still an unknown castaway, and I have no proof.
So, suffice to say, I was pissed. I went through all that trouble, all that effort, and spent all that time. I ventured up a brutal and unforgiving mountain when I could've been relaxing comfortably at home. And I did all this for what? A meaningless victory against someone who was picked off the street and given a title he didn't deserve? What was the point in doing all that?
But being alone and hiking down a cold mountain sometimes gets you thinking. I thought back to my training days and everything I had overcome to reach the top. Thoughts of the corruption of the Pokémon League also came to mind. Questions began swirling in my mind. Was all this really worth it? Am I holding on to the past? How would the public react if I did drop this bombshell that their champion was a fraud? What's to keep the Pokémon League from doing this to me again down the road? And do I really want my good name to be associated with a League that brainwashes citizens?
I considered all the consequences, and figured it's better to just bow out gracefully and let the League continue its charade. After all I've been through, maybe that's for the best. I know the truth myself, and I can take pride in the fact that I was the one who brought down a criminal organization and rose to the position of Champion. I got there through effort and determination, not by being handed the title like Red was. He will never be half the trainer I am. But the public is convinced that he's their champion, and perhaps I should just leave it at that.
Sure, I'll be a castaway for the rest of my life, but maybe that's a good thing. I have enough money from my training days to retire with. I can live out the rest of my life comfortably, and I can pamper my Pokémon as pets and loved ones instead of forcing them to battle. Maybe I'll retire to America. My friend Lisa told me of all the great beachside communities they have near her - Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Hilton Head... I can fade into obscurity and spend the rest of my days in a luxury condo overlooking the beach. That sure beats living in a cold, icy cave for the rest of my days, just to hang on to my past glory. Yeah, I'm still cast aside, but I can be comfortably and luxuriously cast aside. And that doesn't sound like too bad of a deal, now does it?
Or so I thought… until I got about halfway down the cave. I just happened to notice some crackling and squealing noises from a cave just a bit off the beaten path. Camera in hand, I went in to investigate, maneuvering over rough, rocky terrain and debris, being careful not to step on and anger the Geodude that are commonplace in these sorts of places. I took one look inside and suddenly the whole game changed. It was no longer an issue of personal pride. Now it was a matter of justice.
Hey there! It's nice to see another story from you. I rather like how this turned out, especially after all the changes you've made to the original one-shot. Nice creativity with story-expansion.
Onto the review...
I don't know if I mentioned this for the original one-shot, but I really like your portrayal of the League being a mysterious, possibly corrupt entity. With all the influence they have, it's not hard to imagine them pulling a stunt like this. I feel bad for the girl. (You haven't introduced her name yet, so I'll just go with the flow :P)
The prologue definitely looks better than before. You've made improvements in narrative flow, and I like how you let the girl's personality slip into it at times. Like here:
By the way, great work on expanding the ending. You included an expanded account of her thoughts and emotions upon descending the mountain, which was something I didn't expect you to do, but I really like how it turned out. The ending was effective too.
Well, it definitely struck me that something fishy was going on since she was all but forgotten about in HG/SS (which of course is the basis for this xD). And hey, people take the League for granted, always assuming that they've got the public's best interest in mind... it's dangerous to blindly trust an entity that big xD
I played through Yellow and found out how worthless they were in battle the hard way... as for his silence, I've actually got a story behind that - and that it's part of what totally twisted his personality
Thanks! Actually, she was going to go through with retiring to SC in the original (back when this was only a one shot), but obviously whatever was in that cave put those plans on hold...
Thanks for reading!
Motivational speech aside *ahem*. . .
The way you covered her rise to champion status was executed well. Backed by your rock solid style and a "tell it like it is" narrator, the "telling" instead of "showing" introduction was interesting and informative.
I liked your reasoning for why the "Legendary Trainer" hung out on top of a tall icy mountain in the middle of a dangerous wasteland. A good parody of one of the many logic farts that exist in the Pokemon universe.
(Sick of quoting, time for the rant!)
A pretty solid piece in my opinions, this new character of yours has a great tone but I believe that she needs interaction with other characters for me to see her true colours. I can't help but wonder, "does she talk like this to everyone?" She seems like a down to earth, realistic type of girl who is ready to demolish anyone who stands in the way of her ambition. Stripping her of everything she had worked for was a nice way of starting the story and the whole injustice of the matter has me rooting for her all the way.
It's sort of ironic for the ghost elite four member to die, isn't it?
However, this character of yours has a flaw that I can see. Is there anyone who can oppose her? This battling god who can tear even Lance a new one, who is supposed to suppress her voice? Her cry of outrage that she was stripped of her rightful status? In order to combat this powerful protagonist you're going to need to employ a cunning, violent antagonist who isn't afraid to do anything to dirty her name and put doubt on her claims of a champion title. I'm hoping that this will become more of a psychological battle between the unknown antagonist (unless it is the elite four in general) and your protagonist with each trying to out-predict the other in a winner takes all think-to-the-death.
As my wild and incoherent speculation suggests, this has plenty of potential and I hope that these words you are reading on the screen right now can convince you to continue!
What is great for you!:
What is a pain for you. . . :
Thanks for the awesome read! Have a nice day!
(Oh god, HARUKA? I must be a thousand chapters behind in ROOTS. . .)
But really, living somewhere like that doesn't make any sense to me, unless you're purposely trying to hide yourself... most people I know would go crazy over the lack of human interaction, myself included. Of course, that's not saying Red didn't go crazy...
And I always thought a "champion" would want to live in the lap of luxury... fancy house, nice cars, butlers and maids serving them.
50+ hours of me playing Leaf Green with her character (and the Pokemon party she mentions) is proof that she should be the one who holds the title.
Thanks for reading and commenting! And if all goes well, you'll see chapter 1 sometime this weekend, complete with further developments of the conspiracy, the ones behind it, and the ones trying to expose it
It was a good prologue I love to see Leaf as the narrator.
I'm a little sad for Red, after all he's a character that I pretty like, but I have to admit that it's very original to make him this way, as a trainer that is actually not strong at all and so on.
Well, I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the story. I love all that concerns conspiracy
[SIZE="a"]Wow, really interesting! I cabt wait for more! [/SIZE]
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Thanks! Though the rest of it is in third person... the first person prologue was actually because I intended it to be just one post, but it soon extended into a short story.
But he's actually... not that strong And his personality only gets worse from here on out, so... But considering how so many people like him (for reasons I'll never understand) this is a pretty unique portrayal of him.
Awesome! Hopefully the next chapter comes this weekend where the major players on both sides get their proper introductions.
Thanks, glad you liked reading it
Notes: Once again, Haruka of Hoenn provided assistance with proofreading. The language gets pretty strong in this chapter, so the PG-13 rating stands. Also, if you thought I was portraying Red in a bad light in the prologue, well, you ain't seen nothing yet
Also, free cookies to anyone who knows the inspiration for this story's title, as well as the inspiration for the name of the big company mentioned in this chapter.
Pokémon League Investigation Unit, Celadon Branch, Training Course, May 29, 3:49 PM
A black Ford Crown Victoria snaked its way through a slalom course set up on a water-soaked test track. The large sedan maneuvered past the orange cones and hit a straightaway. Two red Crown Vics approached from either side to block the black car’s path. The driver slammed on the brakes and quickly shifted the car into reverse. Performing a quick 180 degree turn with a sharp turn of the steering wheel, the black car quickly sped off before the pursuing vehicles could catch up. After once again making its way through the slalom course, the sedan was cut off by a third red car. The black car pulled up next to the other one, and slowly and deliberately tapped the red Ford‘s rear fender, sending it into a spin. After this maneuver, the car came to a stop. Out stepped what was clearly a young woman, wearing a blue floral dress, green blouse, and white pantyhose. She removed her purple driving helmet, revealing long brown hair. A man in a gray racing suit approached her.
“Excellent work out there at the track today, Lisa. You’ve really improved your slalom times and I think you might be the best of any of us at the PIT Maneuver now.”
Lisa smiled. “Thanks, Frank. But you know, I really do think I feel at home most when I’m behind the wheel. Pokémon training’s good and all, but nothing’s quite like the feeling of being in command of a 4,000 pound machine, with eight cylinders of raw power at your command.”
“Couldn’t agree more! That’s why I signed up to teach extreme driving at the League. I’ve had my training days long ago, but I’ve found driving to be a much more exhilarating experience. You should consider teaching extreme driving like I do; you’re definitely among the best five drivers in the entire League – particularly when it comes to big cars.”
“True, but I kinda like being on the front lines as well. I like the feeling that I’m actually going in and busting criminals…” The girl’s cell phone began to ring. “Sorry, hold that thought. Yes, this is Lisa…”
The voice over the phone said, “Hey, it’s me. Just got back from confronting Red, and you would not believe what I saw there! I figure since you’re a Special Agent with the League, I should tell you first.”
“Okay, gotcha… Tell you what… meet me at the TGI Friday’s in Celadon in about an hour or so. I’ve got to finish up some matters here, then I’ll head over there.”
“Okay, see you then.”
TGI Friday’s Restaurant, Celadon City, 5:13 PM
A dark blue Buick Roadmaster station wagon with wood trim on the sides pulled into an almost full parking lot and its driver exited the massive vehicle. Now wearing a white brimmed hat with purple ribbon atop her head, Lisa entered the casual dining restaurant just as business was picking up for dinner. Still, it did not take her long to find her dining companion – a girl with similar brown hair and white hat, wearing a sky-blue top, red miniskirt, and black tights. A thick coat matching the color of her top was placed on the seat behind her.
“Hey, Leaf, sorry I’m late… had a bit of paperwork to do after driving lessons. I trust that my pilots, Louis and Evan, treated you well?”
“Hey there, Lisa! And yeah, they were pretty cool about it. Ready to order?” she asked as Lisa took her seat.
“Yeah, I pretty much know what I want already.”
After the girls placed their orders, the conversation continued.
“So, tell me… what happened up there, and what is this discovery you wanted to tell me about?”
“First of all, yes, I did find Red. Yes, he was a complete pushover. But no, I didn’t learn anything from him afterward.”
“Well, that kinda sucks…”
Leaf took out her digital camera and handed it to Lisa. “As for that discovery… check out these photos.”
Examining the camera, Lisa said, “Yeah, this definitely looks suspicious.”
“And that’s what I saw. Red definitely had a drug-making lab set up in that cave, along with a makeshift apartment for himself. And a few dozen Pikachu, which I assume provide electricity to his whole operation.”
“I see,” Lisa replied, munching on a few fries that had just arrived at the table. “Somehow I’m not surprised. What other logical reason could one have for living in a place like that other than for some nefarious reason – something they wanted to keep hidden from the public? In any event, I’m sure my superior at the League Investigation Bureau would like to speak with you and review those photos you took. I’ll call her to meet us at the branch office in town.” The girl reached into her purple purse and took out her cell phone. Her companion stared at the device. Lisa noticed and said, “Yeah, I know this thing’s horribly outdated, but I really don’t need all the gadgets that those smartphones have. Anyway, let me make this call.”
Flipping open the phone, Lisa dialed the number of her superior. “Yes, Agent L, this is Agent 00479. I’m here in Celadon City with a colleague who has something she’d like to report… I see… Well, that works out perfectly. Let us finish our meal and we’ll be over there as soon as we can.”
Placing her phone back in her bag, Lisa said to her friend, “Turns out she’s already in town working on another case. But she said that she would definitely hear us out. After all, illegal drugs – for both humans and Pokémon – have become a major problem here in Kanto. And the local League and police seem to be doing little to curtail it. Some of us at the international level are looking into matters at the regional level to see if there are any under-the-table dealings going on to keep officials looking the other way.”
“And given the way that these guys essentially tossed me to the curb, I doubt that’s the only shady thing going on here in Kanto.”
Lisa nodded as she took a bite of her burger – plain, as usual. “Actually, that’s another matter my superior has been ‘unofficially’ investigating, so you definitely should bring that up with her. In fact, you’ll probably recognize her - she certainly remembers you.”
“Really? Who is it?”
Lisa let out a small chuckle. “You’ll find out soon enough. And the sooner we finish up here, the better!”
Pokémon League Investigation Unit, Celadon Branch, 6:29 PM
Leaf’s jaw dropped upon entering an office deep within the sprawling, steel-walled complex. She was face to face with a woman she recognized from her glory days… tall, wearing thin-frame glasses, and with her bright red hair tied into a bun in the back.
“Ah, hello again. Miss Elizabeth Nicole Purvis, affectionately known as ‘Leaf.’ It’s been a long time. Good to see you again. Haven’t seen you since you were the rightful Champion of this region. Ah, but we can save the reunion for later. What brings you here?”
“You remember that I was Champion? But most everyone in Kanto forgot about me!”
Lorelei stood up from her office chair. “You may recall that I resigned my Elite Four position and moved back to Four Island while you were still Champion. Apparently the Kanto League’s brainwashing and propaganda didn’t reach that far, so I still have all my memories of you intact.”
“As I thought! So, my guess was correct! What are the details of all this?”
“Well, I don’t know specifically if any sort of Pokémon was used for this, but it wouldn’t surprise me if a Psychic type was somehow used. From what I gathered, memory-altering waves were broadcast, either through radio or television broadcasts, or perhaps both. Since one entity – the League – is in charge of both, no doubt they were the ones who broadcast it. Now why they did this is still speculation, but my hypothesis would be that some powerful individual with a lot of influence – or money, or both – somehow convinced the League to do this. Bribes and extortion may be involved. The signals obviously haven’t been broadcast for some time; otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now.”
“What sort of powerful person would have the motivation to replace me with Red, though? Seems a bit extreme to do that, and who would want to replace me so badly with him that they would go to these lengths?”
“I have an idea, but first things first. 00479 – that is, Lisa – informed me that you have something that you wanted to share with me.”
Leaf was shaking slightly, as the tall, bespectacled Lorelei gave off an imposing aura of authority. “Well, I ventured up Mount Silver to confront Red and get him to talk, but he wouldn’t. On my way down from the mountain, I happened to notice squealing sounds coming from one of the caves in the mountain. And what I saw… well, I’ll let you see the photos for yourself.” Leaf handed the former Elite Four her digital camera.
Lorelei sat back down and began to examine the pictures on the camera. “Hmmm… I see… Very interesting. Well, I can say that this is almost certainly a lab for manufacturing methamphetamines.
Based on these photos, I have enough evidence to issue a search warrant for Mount Silver immediately. I’ll have some of my agents raid the mountain and execute the warrant. If Red’s still there, we’ll also take him in for questioning. Meanwhile, it seems as if this development actually ties in with the reason I was in Kanto in the first place.”
“Really?” asked Lisa.
“Yes. My current assignment involves investigating the company, Omni Trainer Products. They’re a huge deal here and elsewhere. In Kanto, they operate all of the Pokémon Centers, Pokémon Marts, as well as other businesses like the Bike Shop, Safari Zone, and Game Corner. They have exclusive contracts with Kanto’s regional league to run the Centers and Marts, and receive funding from them to do so. That’s why the Centers offer services free of charge.
“However, as I’m sure Leaf is well aware, OTP is cutting corners everywhere. Pokémon Centers here are poorly maintained, the Marts are equally neglected and charge exorbitant prices for merchandise, and the whole Safari Zone policy of not allowing trainers to use their Pokémon within the facility is suspect in and of itself.”
“I know!” Leaf shouted. “You wouldn’t believe how long I had to spend in that blasted Safari Zone just to catch a Chansey! And those Centers are just crawling with stray Weedle and Pikachu, and half of those rats seemed like they had rabies…”
Lorelei continued, “Even manufacturers and suppliers like Silph have complained. OTP is forcing them to keep old, outdated technology in production when superior products are readily available, and only making the higher-grade supplies available in select markets. This obviously forces trainers to waste money on ineffective and obsolete products. Now normally, the regional League is tasked with inspecting these facilities to ensure they’re being operated up to code, but obviously these inspections are not taking place in Kanto. We suspect that OTP is keeping operating costs to a bare minimum, bribing League officials to look the other way, and pocketing the rest of the cash.”
“Well,” said Leaf as she adjusted her hat, “the shady behavior is right in line with how I was replaced with Red, but how is this case and my discovery in the cave related? And how does it tie in to the brainwashing scheme?”
“Excellent question. The president and CEO of OTP is a man named Tobias Peter Bartles. Regarding Red, after the whole debacle with him becoming Champion, I did a little digging into his past. Red’s last name, according to official records… is Bartles.”
Leaf’s jaw dropped. “But… I’d been by his place in Pallet Town when we were kids… he definitely didn’t live in a mansion, or anything else that made the family seem rich!”
“Exactly. When Red expressed interest in becoming a Pokémon Master, his father didn’t want people to think that Red’s rise to the top was paid for by his rich family. So he feigned a separation from his wife, the mother and son moved to Pallet Town, and Tobias remained in the family estate, to give the illusion that Red was from a normal, working-class family. Of course, the irony of it all is, that when Red turned out to be a complete failure as a trainer, he had to have his family pay for his rise to the top anyway. At least that’s the only logical conclusion I could come to.”
Leaf sulked. “Well, he would have the motivation to establish Red as Champion – and the means to influence the League to carry it out. Looks like he’s the culprit.”
Lisa rubbed her chin. “This whole matter involving Red… seems very strange to me…”
“Indeed, it’s strange. Someone who suffered thirty-four consecutive losses to Brock, and did not even challenge the other seven gyms according to their records… how someone like that could suddenly become Champion made no sense at all. At least, not without something dishonest going on behind the scenes. And it’s a good thing I made copies of these old Gym records before I left the Elite Four… When I did some research during this current investigation, I found that the records had been altered to replace Leaf’s name with Red’s, and had erased all of his losses to Brock.”
“So, what do we do now?” asked Leaf, with an angry frown.
Lorelei leaned back in her office chair. “Now, we need to wait for our evidence recovery team to return from Mount Silver. Hopefully we’ll get enough evidence to issue a search warrant for OTP headquarters and the residence of Mr. Bartles.”
Omni Trainer Products, Kanto Division, Saffron City, 8:26 PM
The day was beginning to fade in the central metropolis of Saffron, where the fading sun’s light reflected off the many high-rise office buildings that housed many of Kanto’s biggest corporations. But even among the numerous skyscrapers, one company’s building rose above the rest – eighty-four stories of sleek, smooth glass and steel that dwarfed every other building in town. It was fitting that this largest building was home to Kanto’s largest company – Omni Trainer Products, a business with operations worldwide.
Despite the company’s multi-billion dollar profits, tonight was not a good night for the company’s leading man. His office was located on the top floor, with floor-to-ceiling windows providing a panoramic view of the city – almost if looking down on the other companies in town. The office was decorated in a manner befitting a CEO – thick red curtains, granite flooring, elaborate chandelier, expensive glass sculptures of Pikachu, a huge portrait of the company’s founder on the wall, and a wall-mounted large-size monitor fitted across from the massive steel desk.
“WHAT! League agents have begun to scale Mount Silver?” A well dressed, red-haired man rose from his large leather chair, looking pale and very worried.
“That’s what I’m seeing on my surveillance cameras,” came a monotone, mechanical voice.
“Son, then we don’t have much time. Take the computer, get to the top of that mountain, and fly the hell off that mountain! Meet at the estate; I’m on my way there now. We can’t let the authorities get their hands on the records on that computer!” Hanging up the phone, the man yelled out, “Shit! There goes one very lucrative side project!” Grabbing his briefcase, he locked his office and dashed to the elevator, past startled employees. The man made his way to the attached parking garage, looking for his reserved spot. In a space marked “Reserved for Omni CEO T. Bartles,” he got into his bright red Lamborghini roadster and sped out of the garage and onto the streets of Saffron as the sun was beginning to set. Picking up his smartphone, he dialed.
“Red, are you off that mountain yet?”
The same mechanical voice from before replied, “Yes, I’m flying on Charizard but it’s tough carrying this computer while hanging on.”
“Okay, I don’t think that hard drive will survive a fall from that height, especially if it sinks in water. Once you fly over a large lake, you can let that thing go.”
“Roger. I’ll meet you at the estate as soon as I can. And I’m going to make the bitch that ratted us out pay.”
“You know who it is?”
“Yes. I’ll tell you when I get back home. Hold on… this looks like a good place to dump this cargo. I’m out…”
Tobias switched off his phone, face twisted into an angry scowl. “Those drugs brought in millions a year… I’ve had dealers from as far away as Unova buy that stuff from me and Red… I don’t give a shit who it was that snitched… they will pay!”
Pokémon League Investigation Unit, Celadon Branch, 9:07 PM
“Okay, thank you very much. I look forward to seeing the evidence tomorrow.” With those words, Lorelei hung up her phone. She turned to Leaf and Lisa.
“That was one of our agents dispatched to Mount Silver. The bad news is that the computer – which likely contained detailed records of their dealings – was nowhere to be found. The good news is that the agents were able to recover pretty much everything involved in the making of the drugs, as well as proof that Red was the one inhabiting the space… apparently in his haste, he left behind an old Trainer ID card of his, back when he was in the Championship spotlight. It’s not enough for a search warrant, but nonetheless I think we’ll pay a visit to OTP headquarters in Saffron tomorrow. See what Tobias has to say, and if Red’s with him.”
“Excellent plan,” said Lisa. “Even though I doubt he’ll say anything outright to us, we’ll be able to tell by his actions and demeanor if he’s hiding something.”
Lorelei nodded. “Indeed. Anyway, at the crime scene, they also recovered thirty four Pikachu, which we’ll have to put to sleep. Really, Kanto has enough of a Pikachu overpopulation problem as it is. While Red was Champion, he carried out this stupid idea to introduce Pikachu to every single rural route in Kanto. Simply amazing that they didn’t upset the region’s ecosystem too badly, though more than a few once common species are now on the endangered list because of them.”
“I know!” scoffed Leaf. “Seems like nowadays you can’t walk ten steps into a patch of grass without seeing one of those things!”
“Anyway, Leaf,” said Lorelei, “for the intents and purposes of this investigation, I am officially deputizing you as a League Special Agent. You will be partnered with Agent 00479 for the duration of the operation.” She handed Leaf a black leather case. Opening the case, Leaf took a look at the shining badge inside.
“Thank you, Lorelei.”
“I figured that as the former and rightful champion, that meant two things. One, that you have a personal vested interest in this investigation; and two, that you have the necessary skills with Pokémon so that you can hold your own. However, I do ask that you leave use of firearms and driving to 00479, as she has the extensive training and skills needed in such situations. As for hand-to-hand combat, I leave that to your own discretion, based on your confidence level and training with martial arts or self-defense classes.”
“Yes, ma’am. I understand.”
“And 00479, since Leaf is a deputized civilian operative, you are tasked with protecting her, using deadly force if necessary.”
Lisa nodded. “Understood, Commander.”
“Now, get some rest. I believe 00479 has a hotel room booked in the city, am I correct?”
“Leaf, if you don’t mind, I’d like you to share a room with her. It would make a good location for you to review evidence in case you don’t get a chance to return here to do so. Now, we’ll meet up here at 7:30 in the morning and head over to OTP headquarters. Get some rest.”
The girls nodded and headed out of the office. Once they were gone, Lorelei leaned back in her chair and let out a sigh.
“Three long years… hopefully with this drug lab discovery, we’ll finally be able to close this investigation. And give that girl back the title that she rightfully deserves.”
Quality Suites Celadon City, Room 159, 10:25 PM
“The discovery of this meth lab on Mount Silver will hopefully put a major dent in the flow of illegal drugs throughout Kanto and Johto. Officials believe that the lab’s isolated location helped keep it hidden for over two years until it was discovered by an individual hiking through the mountain. League agents are not saying if they have any speculation as to who may be responsible for its operation.
“It is believed that the current influx of illegal drugs began in early 2010. Since then, it has become an epidemic that has plagued the inner city streets, small towns, and schools across both Kanto and Johto, and even beyond them. There have already been over a hundred gang and drug-related murders in Kanto alone this year, and we’re not even halfway through 2012 yet. We will keep you updated on any unfolding details regarding this discovery. For News 5, this is Rick Lansing.”
With a button press on the remote, the news report abruptly came to an end. “Okay, that’s enough news; after all we’ll be living and breathing this investigation for a while now.”
Lisa and Leaf both let out sighs. The two girls relaxed in the living room of a spacious two-room suite, sitting on the room’s purple-colored sofa. Now with an anime show playing on the flat-panel television, Leaf and Lisa finally had time for a girl-to-girl chat. Both girls had changed into nightgowns. Leaf’s was green while Lisa’s was purple.
“Lisa, I want to thank you again for helping me out. And I have to thank Lorelei again, too.”
“Well, don’t thank me just yet. We don’t know if this investigation will even lead anywhere, or if it’ll result in the truth about Red being exposed. All we can do is collect whatever evidence we can and hopefully have a witness come forward.”
“Yeah, I know, but thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt. Most people wouldn’t even take my story seriously. I mean, I wouldn’t believe it myself except that it actually happened to me.”
“It’s definitely not something you would ever expect to happen. Shows you the power of Pokémon and how bad things can get if their power is misused. But don’t worry; I know you’re Champion material – you wouldn’t have been able to beat me in the nationals five years ago if you weren’t.”
Leaf laughed. “Yeah, I remember that! You were fresh off your own journey, and you put up one heck of a fight there. Wasn’t that tournament at the college where you graduated?”
“Yeah, it was! Talk about irony! That journey was also where I first met Lorelei, and she’s been my mentor ever since then.” Lisa let out a yawn.
“Hmmm… yeah, I do recall Lorelei resigning from the Elite Four not long after I became Champion. I helped her out with some criminal activity taking place in her hometown, and I think that’s what pushed her to pursue the criminal investigations.” Now it was Leaf’s turn to yawn.
“Wow, okay, maybe that’s a sign that we both need to turn in for the night,” Lisa said as she switched off the TV. “We have a big day tomorrow, after all. Hopefully we’ll get some answers.”
“I’m wanting to see what kind of guy this Bartles character is. Being Red’s father, I’m not really expecting that he’s going to be a fine upstanding citizen.”
“Somehow, I doubt that as well.” Both girls got up from the sofa and headed to the bedroom, where two queen beds with gold duvet covers awaited them.
Bartles Estate, Route 16, May 30, 12:35 AM
The massive, gated residence of the Bartles family was shrouded in the darkness of night. Armed sentries made their security rounds, accompanied by several Arcanine, each of them growling and snarling viciously. Inside the huge, lavish mansion, an executive and his son were engaged in a tense discussion. They were seated in a large living room with black leather furniture. The extravagant crystal chandelier overhead was not lit; instead a fireplace crackled and provided light and heat to the room. The stuffed head of a Nidoking hung over the mantle, its long purple horn giving off a polished shine.
“You sure it was her?” asked the father, Tobias, now wearing a black nightrobe.
“I don’t see who else it could be. She hunts me down on that mountain, battles me and leaves, and later that day the feds come snooping around. I’m absolutely certain it was her. Stupid bitch beat up my prized Pokémon – even had the audacity to insult my Pikachu.”
“Damn. I knew we should’ve killed her as soon as she returned to Kanto… or at least kept broadcasting those brainwashing radio broadcasts so she would’ve forgotten, too. I should’ve guessed that she’d someday want answers. Nothing we can do about it now. It’d take too long now to gather the necessary Pokémon, train them, and get the signals back on the air.”
“No, there is one thing,” Red said through his electronic voice box, a wicked smirk forming on his face. “Remember what we did to the Pokémon that left me like this?” he asked, pointing at a long scar across his throat.
“Ah, yes,” Tobias answered as the pair looked up toward the stuffed Nidoking head. “We stabbed it, decapitated it alive, then burned the body to a crisp and mounted the head. Are you suggesting we mount her head on our mantle, as well?”
“No, I couldn’t stand to look at something that ugly. But the rest of the plan sounds like an excellent idea, although let’s burn her while she’s alive and then hack off the skull if it’s still there. Maybe we can slaughter her Pokémon and mount their heads on the wall.”
“It’s because of that stupid Nidoking that you couldn’t bask in the limelight for very long. After you lost your voice, you really had no choice but to relinquish the title of Champion to Lance and go into hiding.”
“Well, at least it worked out well. I became revered as a legend of sorts in Kanto, and it provided the perfect cover for our drug operation… until she came along.”
Tobias stood up. “Back to our current concerns, I’m sure those League pigs will be by my office tomorrow. They’ll probably also be searching the estate and your mom’s place in Pallet Town. I do have a concealed closet behind a bookcase in my office. I’ll have you come to work with me, and when those pigs come around, I’ll just hide you in there until they leave. Only thing is, we’ll have to come in early so you’re not spotted by any of my employees. Your face is too well-known across Kanto – it’s hard keeping someone secret when they’re a celebrity.”
“Yeah, I’m definitely going to have to lay low for awhile. Maybe dye my hair and grow a beard. But until I do, I suppose I’ll have to remain in hiding.”
The father replied, “After the league questions us, I’ll hole you up here. I’m sure it’s got to be better than that makeshift apartment we set up in that cave.”
“And a hell of a lot warmer, as well. Amazing that you were even able to set up wi-fi and satellite TV in that place.”
“Red, never underestimate the power of technology. Of course, we’ll have to rely on more low-tech measures,” Tobias said as he took a .38 revolver from a drawer on the end table, “should the League give us too much trouble.”
Red smiled. “Nothing wrong with that. Though I’d prefer to do the job with my Pokémon, I suppose your method is faster and more efficient.”
“Alright, I’m off to bed. Gotta get to the office early tomorrow in order to greet our visitors.”
Red grabbed the TV remote. “I think I’ll stay up a little while longer. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to relax here.”
So Lisa makes another comeback... I like how you chose to introduce her into the story, with showing her as she would be on any normal day. It’s sort of like how it would be done in a movie. (So the Pokemon League has extreme driving units, eh? I guess it makes sense. They already have special agents, so they might as well :P)
I also think it would be better if you say who spoke that first time. I was a bit confused at the transition, and putting a 'Leaf said' or 'Lisa said' would at least tell me who's there.
As always, looking forward to the next chapter! You've set up the characters with varying personalities and Pikachu-preferences... so now I'm eager to see how things will heat up. See you next time!
I suppose I can see what I can do about the dialogue and stuff. But actually, either one could've said it... I don't think I even remember, lol.
I don't think the incident was what started him down the wrong path... he had this aspiration to usurp the championship long before then. But it could've helped turn him into the sort of psychotic nutjob who, you know, wants to burn someone alive and have her Pokemon's heads mounted on his wall... I dunno, I might be all ambigious and stuff and leave it to the reader to speculate what exactly made him like this.
Thanks for stopping by and posting!
Well done again. Here is your review and constructive critisism you asked for.
I like the way that you have portrayed Red as an evil guy... Nice reasoning for him saying "... ... ... ..." at you in the games. Im interested in the incedent with the face. Leaf being kicked out was quite a real world view on the Pokemon world so always enjoyable. And Lisa makes another return . The Pokemon league does car stuff? Oh well, amazing and funny side effect by the(amazing) author being obsessed with Buicks. Right lets attempt to find a typo...
Near the end of the last chapter Reds dad says stuff then a break then "should the league give..." etc Im sure it should be a capital S as in "Should the league..." Nothing else I noticed. Just make sure Lisa wears some pink dresses. And that they use Pokemon. So no sneaky chapters only with cars while Im gone? Right? (put a Buick in it)
PS which game is Leaf in
Proud owner of *Splash* the Magikarp and Gyarados fan club! Proud writer of Grey's Journey, The Hoenn Dragons and Pokemon Diamond Dead fan fictions. Life, don't talk to me aout life.
Perhaps not quite as evil as his father, though... however both definitely have issues. And I like the horrible accident scenario, too His silence finally revealed! Wouldn't be one of my stories without Lisa The League's become more modern... their law enforcement agents can't get by with Pokemon alone...
Well, actually with that... he stops mid-sentence as he retrieves his gun, then continues, so technically, it's all part of the same sentence.
She appears in the Fire Red/Leaf Green remake games for GBA.
so thats where Leaf was! Strangely, when I was hacking an Emerald rom, Red and Leaf were there! Can't wait to hack her Pokemon to lvl100 (I have all gym leaders with lvl 100) only 3 gyms through though... Hurry up with a new chapter. (and an old Buick)
Proud owner of *Splash* the Magikarp and Gyarados fan club! Proud writer of Grey's Journey, The Hoenn Dragons and Pokemon Diamond Dead fan fictions. Life, don't talk to me aout life.
You know, I actually think this is a pretty interesting idea. The canon discrepancy between the player being able to play as Leaf in FR/LG and the champion always being Red in HG/SS, while understandable from the developers' point of view, is a neat concept to run with in a fanfic, especially since G/S/C arguably wanted us to feel a bit jarred and alienated when a character we'd been thinking of as ourselves had suddenly isolated himself from society and stopped speaking. So I really enjoy the idea of Leaf coming back from a trip abroad only to discover all her achievements are suddenly being attributed to some kid named Red who is now living as a hermit somewhere in the mountains (though I found it a shame to hear about all this only through a summarized prologue, since portraying Leaf's confusion and existential crisis as everyone tells her she doesn't exist would have been very interesting).
But I'm afraid I'm not really a fan of where you ran with it. I was all for Red being portrayed in a morally dubious light, but you seem to have just stripped away everything that was potentially interesting about Red in the process. Canonically, Red is intriguing because his silence and self-inflicted isolation suggest something abnormal in his psychology. This could be interpreted charitably or uncharitably, positively or negatively - I honestly don't favor any particular interpretation of Red, and if anything I find the darker ones more interesting. But the thing is you went and removed psychology from the equation altogether by giving these puzzling facts simple, practical explanations: he went to Mt. Silver to hide his drug operation, and he doesn't speak because he physically can't. And then you just pile on cartoonish atrocities instead, in an overzealous attempt to make us hate him as much as you do - Red isn't only not the rightful champion and instated through a conspiracy against Leaf (which I'd have had no objection to in itself), but he is also a comically incompetent trainer and a drug dealer and misogynistic and indirectly responsible for the destruction of ecosystems thanks to Pikachu overpopulation and a violent psychopath. Ultimately, you've taken a character with a perfect canonical basis for dark or sinister interpretations and ditched that to make him into a generic over-the-top villain who does evil things because he's evil. That was a massive disappointment to me given all the potential the basic concept had for exploring what on earth could really be going through the head of someone who pulls off such a crazy stunt and then retreats into a cave where he can't even enjoy his success.
Your portrayal of Red, though exaggerated by your personal hatred for him, is part of a wider pattern that was bugging me all throughout Lurking in the Shadows and seems to be repeating itself here, namely that you tend to write things as being very black and white. The world is split into good guys, who are nice, friendly, righteous, competent, polite, always agree with one another, and think Pikachu is annoying; and bad guys, who are stupid, rude, incompetent, completely morally bankrupt, and think Pikachu is great. There is no such thing as someone who has a real character flaw but isn't rotten scum made to be hated, or an antagonistic character who has genuinely sympathetic motives, or any other position on the spectrum of character morality than the two extremes. This simplistic portrayal of the characters makes not just the characters themselves but also the plot of the story less interesting: it's obvious to the point of inanity who we're supposed to root for, agree with, and generally like, not just in the main conflict but at every step of the way.
Obviously you've got this story going already with Red as a straightforward villain, so going on complaining about that would just be complaining that you're not writing the story I wanted to read, which is not what I'm shooting for here. But I would like to encourage you, since you're writing a new fic, to try to get a bit out of your comfort zone with regards to the other characters. Let the good guys disagree passionately on something that matters, or some villains have motivations that aren't obviously and straightforwardly evil. Try some characters who are morally righteous but bad-tempered and arrogant, or a murderer who genuinely believes and can argue that he is doing the right thing. Let a villain be genuinely more competent at something than Lisa, or someone be well-meaning but misguided. There are so many more nuanced ways for a character to be than just generally good or generally bad, and more of that nuance could do wonders for your fic.
A couple of other brief comments:
I don't think the thing with the mass hypnosis holds water if it was really only mainland Kanto that was affected. The Sevii Islands have plenty of contact with the rest of Kanto; surely somebody would have noticed that suddenly the champion was supposed to be someone else, especially since Leaf herself had a role in stopping Team Rocket in the Sevii Islands so they'd be pretty familiar with her. And what about Johto, which shares a league with Kanto? The sudden champion switch shouldn't have gone unnoticed among Johtoan trainers. The rest of the world should have noticed too, to a somewhat lesser extent. Your fics are pretty tech-heavy, and a tech-heavy world is a communication-heavy world where what happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas very long if it was any combination of significant and public - which the champion of a league definitely would be.
I really balked at the bit where apparently Lisa can land a plane with math. At the absolute least, any math Lisa can do, the plane's navigational equipment should be able to do more precisely and with more ease - that's the point of navigational equipment. The mention seems to serve little purpose other than to make Lisa look cool.
I was somewhat confused by how resigned Leaf was to apparently being an outcast for good near the end of the prologue. She brought a camera, and as far as I can tell from the text, it recorded the battle where she creamed him just fine. So why can't she go and show that around as proof that Red is a lousy trainer and couldn't possibly be the real champion?
There is more stuff I could comment on, but this is getting way long enough already. Good luck, anyway.
~Butterfree/Dragonfree/antialiasis of The Cave of Dragonflies
Still not going to sprite for your fangame. Sorry, but I don't really sprite or give out permission for people to use my fake Pokémon anymore.
Well, it's still good That's an inventive plot you imagined about Red's story, I would have never thought about that. This is very twisted, all that story about drugs and so on!
The way you depicted Red still disturbs me, I couldn't imagine him this way, but at least that changes from the story that depict him as a heroe, as the best of the bests.
Yep, my portrayal of him here isn't like anything seen before... then again, my opinion of him isn't like anyone else's so that probably explains it And hey, someone needed to expose him for the type of person he really is, and not the facade of respectability he hides behind
Thanks for reading!
Thanks to Haruka of Hoenn for proofreading drafts of this chapter.
The PG-13 rating stands due to violence, drug use, and language.
Omni Trainer Products, Kanto Division, Saffron City, May 30, 9:04 AM
Tobias Bartles was watching the computer monitor on his desk intently, with Red and two well-dressed men looking on. The bookcase was moved out of position, revealing a door. The CEO noticed three women enter the lobby of the building on the surveillance image on his screen. “Quick! Get in the closet!” Red and one of the men entered the passageway, while the other man shoved the heavy bookcase back into place after them.
A few minutes later his secretary buzzed in to the office through the intercom. “Mr. Bartles, three women from the League Investigation Bureau are here to see you.”
“Send them in.”
As Lisa, Leaf, and Lorelei entered the lavish top-floor office, the boss greeted them with a smile. “Well, what can I do for you today?”
Lorelei flashed her badge. “Pokémon League, Investigation Bureau. I am Lorelei, and I’m here with agents Lisa Northwood and Elizabeth Purvis. Mr. Bartles, I trust you are aware of the League’s discovery of a meth lab deep within Mount Silver that was found yesterday?”
“Why yes, it’s been all over the news. Why do you ask?”
“Is it not true that your son, Red, was last seen on Mount Silver?”
Tobias’ smile disappeared as he stood up at his desk. “Agent Lorelei, are you trying to imply that my son is involved in the manufacture of illegal drugs? I know my own son far better than you. I know that he is a fine, upstanding citizen who once served as Champion and is still highly regarded throughout both Kanto and Johto. I am quite insulted that you would make such a bold accusation against my own flesh and blood, especially to my face. Or are you just jealous that you could never beat him as an Elite Four member?” The executive’s smile returned, only this time it was a sly smirk.
“First of all, Mr. Bartles,” Lorelei said with a hint of irritation in her voice as she crossed her arms across her chest, “I am quite insulted that you would think that I, as a professional, would harbor a grudge against something as trivial as losing to someone during their official League challenge. Second, I never recall battling your son at all. I do recall, however, battling and losing to the young lady to my right,” she continued as she motioned to Leaf.
Leaf added, “And I remember quite vividly that I held the title of Champion for two years – from mid-2006 to mid-2008. I even have documentation to prove it.”
“Well, it is sad to see that your memory has failed the both of you. And that the young lady has seen fit to forge official League paperwork. If you check official League records, you’ll discover that Red has been listed as Champion from mid 2006 to late 2009, when he decided to step out of the spotlight. Moreover, there is no record at all of Kanto ever having a female Champion. And even if your story – which I find quite unbelievable – was true, why would you wait four years after your alleged “replacement” to investigate?”
Leaf hesitated. Mr. Bartles continued, “As I thought. You have no reason. And I don’t know why you’re telling me all this in the first place, other than trying to discredit my son. I am a business executive. I have no sway in the League’s selection of Champion.”
“With all due respect, Mr. Bartles,” Lisa said, “you are the Indigo League’s official operator of Pokémon Centers and Marts. To say that you have no influence in the League is, quite frankly, unbelievable.”
“I will repeat myself. While I and my organization do have say in some of the League’s policies, the selection of Champion, Elite Four members, Gym Leaders, and the like are not among them. And we have strayed off topic. Even if these allegations against my son are true – which I can assure you that they are not – it doesn’t change the fact that I have not had contact with my son since 2009. Whatever activities he may or may not have been involved in, I have no knowledge of them. Will that be all, ladies?”
“For today,” Lorelei answered.
“Then please, leave my office. I am quite a busy man, you know. And have a nice day.”
The three investigators made their way to the elevator. Lisa said, “We don’t even have probable cause to seize his computer or check his cell phone records. And he’ll probably replace both by the time we do find enough evidence. We have enough to charge Red for the drugs based on finding his old ID card in the cave with the lab, but since nobody’s seen him…”
Leaf sulked. “So, we’re out of luck?”
Lorelei answered, “Not by a long shot. We just need one witness who’s willing to testify. Then we can go about seizing more concrete evidence.”
“And I think I know how we can find one.”
“All right, 00479. Let’s head back to headquarters. I’ll issue surveillance to trail Bartles and to recover any computers that are discarded by the company or at his estate.”
Meanwhile, back in the office, Tobias watched as the three agents left the building. As soon as they left, Red emerged from his hiding spot.
“No doubt they’re gonna order their agents to watch me. Sorry, son, but you’ll have to bear with this – we need to sneak you out. Tripp and Mercer, go down to the storeroom and get our largest shipping box and a hand truck. Quickly, now! Before they start surveillance on us!”
“Yes, sir!” The two men quickly left the office.
Red’s artificial voice started up. “So you’re sneaking me out inside a shipping box? Clever, but I hope they don’t catch on.”
“I hope not either. And by the time you get back, I hope they’re done snooping around the estate – otherwise I would’ve just left you there.”
“So, what do we do with your computers, Dad?”
“We hang onto them, for now, but we start wiping records. They don’t have probable cause so they can’t barge in and take them. But if we throw them out – or even just the hard drives, they can just take them from the dumpsters. It’s technically public property as soon as we toss them.”
“I see. But how do we know they won’t get their probable cause?”
“At this point, they need a witness to testify. This morning I ordered Tripp to have his men watch those that I think might turn on me. If they do try to snitch, they’ll kill them. We already made Franklin an example; hopefully that’ll scare them stiff.”
“What about the others?”
“Don’t worry about them. I know them well enough to know that greed alone will keep them in our corner. But that girl in the blue dress… Northwood… I’ve heard that name somewhere… Wait, I know exactly who she is! I was trying to establish OTP in some region way off somewhere, but some company called Northwood beat me to the punch. Later, I began funding some ‘brotherhood’ cult that was researching mind control and Shadow Pokémon, in the hopes that they would take over that region and would allow OTP to kick Northwood out and start operations there. But that group was dismantled…”
Tobias went to his computer and began typing furiously. After looking at several sites, he yelled out, “I knew it! The executives’ bio page on the Northwood company website says that their CEO’s daughter is named Lisa… and news reports about the defeat of that brotherhood group mentions the Northwood girl as one of the principal figures involved in their downfall! Well, Red, you want to kill that Leaf girl badly, but now I want to kill that Northwood girl just as much. I invested millions into that brotherhood cult and because of her, that investment was a total loss!”
Pokémon League Investigation Unit, Celadon Branch, 10:35 AM
Lorelei hung up the phone and placed the receiver back on the base. “Okay, I’ve got agents keeping an eye on the Bartles residence and the OTP headquarters. Fortunately Bartles drives a bright red Lamborghini so I don’t think it’ll be too hard to track him. And that car’s his pride and joy; if he suddenly starts driving something like a Hyundai instead, we’ll know something’s up. Now, 00479, did you say you might have a way to get us a witness?”
“Yes. You don’t suppose Bartles would be above tax evasion and misreporting, do you?”
“No, we’ve already been investigating OTP’s finances and trying to build a case. We’ve compiled enough evidence to charge the company’s accountant, but we haven’t acted on it since we’re still trying to link CEO Bartles directly to the fraud.”
“Okay, do you know who this accountant is?”
“I believe his name is Dirk Turner, who lives in Vermilion. OTP lists Turner as their CPA on their website.”
Lisa began to scratch her chin. “This Turner… has he been in trouble with the law before regarding tax fraud?”
Lorelei turned to her computer. After a few keystrokes, she shook her head. “Aside from two speeding tickets and a parking violation, he hasn’t been in any trouble with the law.”
Fidgeting with her dress, Lisa said, “Well, that’s good. The fact that OTP is probably his only client that is involved in tax fraud probably means he isn’t a Bernie Madoff-type and he just got himself in over his head. He could be our witness. Let’s go ahead and issue that warrant and I’ll confront him about it…”
Lorelei held up her hand. “Wait. Agents 00158 and 00236 have just wrapped up a mission in Sinnoh and are returning to Vermilion Port this afternoon. I’ll have them remain there and then they can confront Turner.”
“Oh, I haven’t worked together with them in a long time! Think they’ll become part of the investigation?”
“Quite possibly. But back to business. I’ll go ahead and prepare a warrant for Turner. I need you and Leaf to check out the Deuces Wild Bar downtown. We’ve collected evidence that it’s being used as a front for money laundering, and OTP might be involved. We might get more witnesses from that operation. Stop and see Agent E in R&D first; see if he has any gadgets for you.”
“Yes, Commander. Let’s go and check this place out.”
Leaf and Lisa left Lorelei to do her research. After making a stop by the R&D department to pick up some equipment, both girls made their way out of the facility. In the parking lot, Lisa led her companion to a dark blue Buick Roadmaster Estate wagon. Unlocking the door, she said, “No, this isn’t my personal car, but it is my designated vehicle when I’m doing official business in Kanto.”
Leaf got into the front passenger seat and settled in. “I know I’ve ridden in here already, but I just gotta say : Ooh, these seats are nice and comfy!”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way! I’m all about the luxury in my cars! Wait until I get out on the road and you see how smooth and quietly this rides!” After Lisa turned on the air conditioning and connected her MP3 player to the Buick's stereo, she was ready to go. Firing up the V-8 engine, she carefully maneuvered the big wood-trimmed station wagon onto Celadon's main highway.
Once on the road, and talking over the sound of an 80’s pop ballad on the stereo, Leaf asked, “Those two agents Lorelei mentioned coming into Vermilion… you know them?”
“Yup! Their actual names are Alexis Howard and Shannon Fisher. I actually met them while on my journey, and they convinced me to do crime investigation for the League… they actually quit badge collecting to enlist. It’s been months since I’ve seen them and I hope I can work with them on this mission. Oh, here we are.”
The girls looked at the building in front of them. It looked worse for wear, with big neon signs displaying “Deuces Wild” and names of various brands of beer – “Miller,” “Bud Light,” and “Coors” the most prominent among them. A half dozen Harley Davidson motorcycles were parked outside, along with a beat-up black Chevy Camaro with flames sloppily painted on the sides.
Lisa picked up the microphone for her in-car police radio. “Yes, this is League Bureau Special Agent 00479. I am requesting a backup officer be sent to the Deuces Wild Bar in Celadon. We are preparing to question a subject within and may be taking him into custody.” Placing the mike back on its holder, she turned to Leaf.
“Well, don’t this place look inviting?” Leaf asked, rolling her eyes in disgust.
Her companion scoffed. “Sure does. Okay, the guy we’re looking for is Bradley Johnson, but he goes by ‘Big Dog.’ I don’t have a picture of the guy, but I’d say we’re looking for someone big.”
“Naturally.” The girls exited the car and walked into the bar, where the smell of smoke and alcohol hit them instantly. It was a dark, smoky place, with minimal lighting, trash and cigarette butts all over the wooden floor and tables, and plenty of empty beer bottles everywhere. The pool table in the corner seemed to be the center of activity. The pair walked up to the bar, where a bald, muscular bartender greeted them.
“Aren’t you ladies a bit young to be in a place like this? Ah, who cares? What can I get you?”
“Information,” Lisa answered. “What do you know about Bradley ‘Big Dog’ Johnson?”
“Who wants to know?” asked the bartender, as several of the other patrons by the pool table looked toward where the girls were.
“League Investigation Bureau, Special Agent 00479,” Lisa said, showing the man her badge. “Now, are you going to give us the answers we want?”
A customer stepped between Leaf and Lisa. The hulking, bearded man made a hand motion in the direction of the exit. “Get the hell out of here.”
Lisa looked at the man and frowned. “Not the answer we were looking for.” Both girls removed their hats and set them on the bar before facing the patron.
“Well, maybe if we snap your pretty little head off, then you’ll get your answer!” the man yelled as he raised a pool stick in the air.
Lisa quickly jabbed the irate patron in the gut and shoved him to the ground, prompting four of his friends to approach the girls. One took a swing at Leaf, who ducked under the fist and tripped him with a leg sweep. Another came at Lisa with a pool stick. She knocked him upside the head, causing him to stagger backward and drop his weapon, then she followed up with a roundhouse kick, sending him falling into several bar stools.
One of the men smashed a glass beer bottle on a table and charged at Leaf. She jumped on top of another table and kicked the man in the head, sending him reeling and crashing through the pool table. Seeing this, another friend picked up the pool balls and heaved them at the girls. After dodging, blocking, and batting down several of the projectiles, the pair went on the attack. Dodging several more punches, Leaf dealt a hard punch to the man’s stomach, causing him to lose balance. Lisa followed up with a leg sweep, knocking him onto the floor.
Leaf sidestepped to avoid several kicks from another assailant. When he threw a punch, the girl blocked it with her hand and followed up with a knee to the groin. With him screaming and hobbling, Lisa delivered a punch to his head, leaving him sprawled out on a table. One of the men struggled to his feet, but another whack upside the head sent him crashing through some chairs and a table.
One thug picked up a chair and took several swings at Leaf. She ducked underneath each attack and jabbed her elbow into his gut. The man fell down, the chair smashing into pieces after hitting the floor. Lisa had her hands full with a particularly muscular bar patron. She jumped on top of the bar, while the man grabbed a bar stool and heaved it at her. The girl jumped up to avoid the incoming attack while Leaf snuck up on him from behind and smashed another chair over his head. As he turned to face his other attacker, Lisa executed a spinning kick that left him dazed. Another kick, and he was down for the count.
After the brawl, both girls dusted off their clothes and placed their hats back on their heads. “A little bit testy, aren’t they?” asked Leaf as the bartender looked on in stunned shock.
“You know, we come in here to ask one simple question, and all hell breaks loose,” said Lisa as they surveyed the damage and the men lying on the ground. As both girls turned to the stunned bartender, he took a step backward. “No, no, you’re not going anywhere. Now, are you going to talk?”
But Leaf noticed a heavy-set man open the door and taking a quick glance at the mess inside before taking off running. “Lisa, I think that’s our guy trying to flee!”
Both girls left the bar and followed their out-of shape suspect down the sidewalk. Catching up to him wasn’t hard, but it took several swift kicks to subdue him.
As Lisa handcuffed the man, she asked, “Why’d you run?”
“Shut up. I ain’t saying nothin’!”
“Have it your way,” Leaf told the man as a police cruiser rolled up. “Ah, perfect timing, officer.” Both girls shoved the suspect into the back and told the officer, “Take him to League Investigation Bureau headquarters.”
“Roger.” The officer drove off with the overweight man in the back of his cruiser.
“Glad that’s over,” Lisa scoffed as she dusted off her dress. “I hate going to these shady type of bars to question people. And I use the term ‘people’ loosely.”
“Ugh, even being in that place made me feel dirty… Kanto didn’t have all these shady places in operation back when I journeyed… just the Rocket-controlled Game Corner back then.”
Lisa asked, “I know I’ve had training, but… damn, where’d you learn those sweet moves?”
Leaf smiled. “Self-defense classes. And lots and lots of Walker, Texas Ranger!”
Vermilion City, 2:49 PM
A black Ford Crown Victoria sedan pulled up in front of a two-story beige house. Out of the car stepped two girls – one with long black hair, the other with blond hair. Both were wearing identical outfits – a green button-up top, blue denim skirts, and black leggings.
The black haired girl said, “Looks like this the address. 2794 Tiger Run Court, home of Dirk Turner, CPA. Let’s see him.” The pair approached the front door and knocked.
“League Investigation Bureau, open up, Mr. Turner!”
A thin, well-dressed man with balding brown hair and a goatee opened the door. Both girls presented their badges. The man sighed. “I can probably guess why you’re here. It’s about OTP, isn’t it?”
“Yes. League Investigation Bureau, my name is Agent Shannon Fisher,” said the black haired girl, “and this is my partner, Alexis Howard. Mr. Turner, we at the League have evidence of tax fraud involving OTP, and your name is listed as the individual who assumes responsibility of the firm’s taxes.”
“You do realize that, as the responsible individual, you could face twenty years in prison? The Kanto Department of Taxation has been cracking down especially hard on tax fraud in recent years.”
Dirk Turner began sweating nervously. “Yes, I understand that, but…”
“Mr. Turner,” said Alexis, “we’ve also investigated other firms and people you handle finances for. There’s no evidence of fraud with any of them. Now come on, you don’t strike us as a bad guy. Certainly not one who deserves two decades in federal lockup. Won’t you tell us what’s up?”
“Ma’am, I’d love to, but… Tobias Bartles is not a man to underestimate…”
Shannon crossed her arms across her chest. “We League Agents aren’t people to be underestimated either.”
“Okay, listen… Dennis Franklin. He used to work as an attorney for OTP. We used to work in the same office. We’ d eat lunch together almost every day. We both knew about OTP’s corruption and had known for awhile. About five months ago, he tells me that he’s planning to go to the authorities to file a report about the company. I told him not to, because of previous threats Bartles made against me, but he was adamant about doing it. Two days after that conversation, he’s found dead in his home. Shotgun blast to the back of the head. No suspects were ever charged with the murder, but I knew he was killed because Bartles found out. I don’t want to be the next murder victim.”
Alexis said, “As my partner said, we League Agents are not to be underestimated. That goes for Mr. Bartles, too – he better not underestimate us, either. If you agree to testify, we will protect you until the trial. We haven’t lost a single witness yet, and we’re certainly not going to end our undefeated record because of that thug.”
“Fine. I’ll testify. But you two better make sure me and my family remain safe. Let me gather what evidence I have, and what Dennis gave me right before he died. But I have a wife and daughter. We need to stop by her work and the elementary school before we leave. And I want to get going as soon as possible.”
“Don’t worry, Mr. Turner, you’re in safe hands with us. And we’ll pick up the rest of your family.”
“All right.” The flustered accountant removed his suit jacket and hung it on a chair, then removed his tie. “I’ve handled taxes and accounting for OTP for years… long before Bartles became CEO. And even after, it wasn’t until 2006 when we started skirting the law. That’s when OTP really started expanding, buying up companies and getting into the business of running League operations – he would take over Kanto’s in mid-2007. Bartles never liked paying taxes, and of course, with more profits you pay more taxes. He told me, ‘I don’t care how you do it, but make it so we don’t pay more than $1,000 in taxes. And if you don’t or you try to alert the Kanto Securities Commission, I’ll kill you.’
“Now, keep in mind our actual tax liability would have been many times the $1,000 amount he named. He created ‘shell’ charities which were nothing more than front operations. The company ‘donated’ millions to these groups. Some of that money was funneled right back into the company, but much of it went directly to Bartles himself. He told me to destroy our official records and only keep the doctored ones, but I secretly kept both.”
Alexis rubbed her chin. “Well, we’re aware of the fraud end of it. That’s what led us to you. Did he mention anything about other criminal activity?”
“Yes. Beginning in 2010, I asked him about millions in income that wasn’t in company records. He revealed he had a side operation in Mount Silver, but wouldn’t divulge any more details except that his son was involved and they were in regular contact. At first, I thought it was some secret mining or oil-drilling operation, with Red’s Pokémon providing assistance to the workers, but after hearing about the meth lab bust there, I got that sinking feeling that those drugs were the source of that money. I also saw significant outflows of money that weren’t connected with any company operations. Bartles called them donations to Kanto League officials, but I really think they were bribes.”
“And you’re willing to testify these statements, under oath, in a court of law when we try Mr. Bartles for these crimes?”
“All right then. Let’s pick up your family and get to Celadon.”
As the three of them left the house, a black Ford cargo van parked across the street caught Alexis’ attention.
All three hit the ground as automatic gunfire erupted from the driver’s seat of the van. Bullets whizzed over their heads and struck the house behind them and shattered lawn ornaments. Remaining low to the ground, the three crawled slowly to where a car parked on the street provided cover. Knowing he could not get a clean shot at his targets, the driver exited the van while another man emerged from the passenger side. Dressed completely in black, the pair made their way across the street, guns trained on the gray Volvo that their targets were hiding behind.
The two agents, crouched behind the car, removed their guns from their holsters. Shannon turned to Alexis and whispered, “Ready?” Her partner’s silent nod was all that she needed. Both girls stood up and instantly began firing their pistols directly at the men, taking them down before they could get off another shot at them.
The girls led a shaken Dirk Turner to their own car. Alexis radioed to the local police. “Attention Vermilion Police units in the vicinity of the 2700 block of Tiger Run Court. This is a League Investigation Bureau Special Agent. We have just been involved in a shootout at house number 2794. Two suspects involved; both are down with wounds. We need backup to secure the scene and an ambulance to tend to the injured suspects.”
In the back seat of the Crown Vic, Dirk was finally catching his breath again. “Wh…wh…wh… Are you sure we’re going to be safe? Those guys were waiting for us!”
“Well, we took care of them, didn’t we? Trust us, we won’t let anything happen to you. Come on, let’s get your family and get out of town.”
Meanwhile, Shannon was just finishing up a call on her cell phone. In a low whisper, so that their witness couldn’t hear, she told her partner, “Okay, Lexy, that was Lorelei. She said that Lisa left to meet us a couple hours ago and we’ll probably rendezvous somewhere between Saffron and Vermilion. Lorelei said that we’d probably need extra help in protecting our witness, so she had Lisa and a partner assist us.”
“Well, considering this ambush, it would appear that she’s right, as usual. Did she mention who Lisa’s partner was?”
“Nope, guess we’ll find out soon enough.”
The sounds of police sirens were becoming steadily louder. Alexis turned to face Turner and said, “As soon as backup takes over securing the scene, we’ll be off.”
Bartles Estate, Route 16, 3:15 PM
Tobias Bartles, in a black business suit, paced back and forth in his living room, hands on a cell phone. His son Red, in a black T-shirt, red ball cap, and blue jeans, lounged on the leather sofa, smoking a crack pipe.
“Dammit! Why haven’t Clark and Weston gotten back to me? They said they saw two League agents enter Turner’s house and were going to kill them on the way out and phone me back, but…”
This brought Red to attention. “You don’t suppose that those agents took them down?”
“Shit!” the father yelled, crushing the cell phone in his hand. “At least I used a prepaid phone to communicate; I don’t think they could trace that directly to me. Especially since I paid cash for it.” Two men entered the room. “Mercer!” Tobias yelled, pointing to the shorter man with spiked, bleached hair. “Take Jones and Rader, and take the copter to Route 6. Look for a black unmarked cop car traveling north. Shoot the hell out of it and make sure everyone in it is dead!”
“Yes, sir!” Mercer ran out of the room. Tobias faced the other man, a brown-haired man of medium build. “Tripp, I’ll have you stay here for now. Clark and Weston have failed. I hope that your right hand man Mercer fares better.”
“Don’t worry, sir; Mercer will get the job done.”
“For your sake, let us hope that he does. We’ve worked too long and hard for all of this to lose it now just because some bitch from the past started poking her nose where it didn’t belong.”
“I know,” agreed Red. “It had to be done. I mean, the idea of a girl Champion is completely absurd. She needed to be removed in order for our region to save face. Still wish I was Champion, though. One Pokémon - one goddamn Pokémon took it away from me.”
“Really, I never thought a wild Nidoking would’ve made it into the estate in the first place. And then to just attack while we were doing nothing more than sunbathing? It’s just a good thing I was having work done on our patio; I just grabbed a knife from the workers’ toolbox and stabbed the thing before it did anything worse to you. Even if having your throat slashed, losing your voice, and losing the Championship aren’t exactly pleasant.”
“Don’t remind me of that thing. Yeah, I know it indirectly helped us to make money hand over fist making and selling dope, but it’s because of it that I can’t trust any Pokémon other than my own. And the ones we have guarding the compound. Pokémon not of my own do not deserve to live… they could attack me at any moment just like that Nidoking. My Pokémon must reign supreme, for my own protection! And that is what drives me to keep battling and give my Pokémon more power – to eliminate the competition! Speaking of my own Pokémon and giving them more power, do we still have any of those Rare Candies or those Poke-steroids left? I need to pump my Pokémon up even more since I lost to that bitch Leaf.”
“Sorry, I’m out. I need to get back in touch with Fast Eddie and see if he can get us some more on the black market. But let’s save that until after we’re done with Turner and these League pigs. If she wants another battle, we’ll be playing by our rules.”
Let's get straight to it...
A shipping box? I find it funny in a sadistic sort of way that Tobias would put his own son in a shipping box. It makes sense in the given situation, but still. I was expecting something more high-class from a guy like Tobias...
Speaking of Tobias & Son, this pair takes some pretty extreme measures... Now they want to kill Lisa too? Sounds like our investigators have quite a case on their hands...
By the way, I liked the little connection you made to Lurking in the Shadows. I enjoy it when authors make references to their other works, especially if the connection is consequential.
And ah, the classic bar fight scene. I haven't read this too many times in a fic before, but it seems that no mystery can be solved without throwing a punch or two. But the men in the bar were strangely hostile... I wonder if they're working for Tobias and are somehow in on the fact that Lisa and Leaf are part of an investigation against them. Being (as far as you've revealed) bystanders, though, it's unlikely... but whenever I read mysteries I have a habit of automatically suspecting anyone and everyone.
Bad jokes aside, I liked the last scene a lot. The story with the Nidoking is a pretty interesting backstory to Red, and it explains a lot of his eccentricities. But I think it would have been more interesting if you revealed that information gradually using actions and emotions as well as direct revelation, instead of just having Red and his father do a narrative run-through of what happened. Still, I'm left sort of sympathizing with Red... he's beginning to seem more like a victim of circumstance than an innately evil character. Perhaps it was a combination of his father pushing him to become Champion and the unexpected mauling that took that dream away, that made Red the twisted person he is right now. I hope you go into greater detail about this later on, because it definitely has me interested.
I'll be waiting for more!
Well, don't feel too much for Red; he's still a greedy, narcissistic psychopath. His thirst for power and glory was always there; the Nidoking incident just gave him a new, twisted justification for wanting to be the best. But actually, I wasn't planning on doing much with it past that... perhaps we can talk about that by PM so as not to spoil any ideas I might come up with...
Thanks for reading, and glad you enjoyed the chapter! Next one will hopefully be coming up soon!
Yay, I love when there's action The battle between Leaf, Lisa and the guys from the bar part was awesome. They should had never underestimated cute girls.
Poor Red and his throat, he saddens me in this story. It's all because of his father, I'm sure he wouldn't be like that otherwise This is a good theory this Nidoking's story about Red's dumbness.
Well, that chap was good.
Well, once again, I wouldn't feel too sorry for him... besides the whole thing with him replacing Leaf happened years before the Nidoking attack, so that incident alone isn't the only reason for his actions.
Still awaiting for proofreading of the next chapter, then it should be posted. Be looking out for it
Notes: Well, here it is, chapter 3! Past the halfway point now!
Thanks to Haruka of Hoenn for proofreading the chapter!
It's rated PG-13 once again for language, violence, and excessive alcohol use by a Pokemon.
Yeah, not much else to say, so let's get to it! Enjoy!
Pokémon League Investigation Unit, Celadon Branch, 3:29 PM
In Interrogation Room D, Lorelei was growing frustrated as she sat facing the large man that had been arrested outside the bar a few hours ago.
“Mr. Johnson, are you trying to tell me you are not connected in any way to Tobias Bartles?”
“Yes! He’s a rich and powerful CEO! What in the hell would someone like him have to do with a street thug like me?”
“We believe that he’s got a hand in criminal activities across the region. Why wouldn’t he approach street thugs to do his dirty work?”
“Look, lady, whether he does or not, all I know is that the guy’s never approached me in person. Ever. Okay, I admit I do some money laundering for a couple of guys – actually, quite a bit for them – in exchange for cheap prices on meth.”
Lorelei’s eyes widened upon hearing this last statement. “Are you willing to give me their names?”
Bradley Johnson said, “Okay, you didn’t hear this from me, but their names are Nick Tripp and Jeff Mercer.”
“All right, I believe that’s all the questions I have for today. Guards, you may escort Mr. Johnson back to the city jail.”
The two officers standing in the corner of the room stood Johnson up and walked him out of the interrogation room. Lorelei followed them out and headed back to her office.
“Nick Tripp and Jeff Mercer… let me look these guys up…”
Route 6, 4:08 PM
The large black sedan made its way north from Vermilion, following a two-lane road snaking its way through grassy fields. The highway was surprisingly devoid of other vehicles. Inside the car, an eerie silence was broken up suddenly.
“So, Mr. Turner, how about you introduce us to your family here?” asked Alexis.
“Alright, this is my wife Kitty and my daughter Irene. Irene’s in fifth grade now and…” The accountant suddenly became flustered. “Oh, dear God, I never wanted to involve my family in all this…”
“Relax, honey,” said the wife as she put her arm around her husband. “You know, you’re doing the right thing here.”
“She’s right,” added Shannon. “These are dangerous criminals we’re dealing with, and the sooner we can get them off the streets, the better. Your testimony is going to help make all of Kanto a safer place.”
“I know that, but… I’m just worried, that’s all.”
As the car made its way toward Saffron, its occupants were unaware of a helicopter off in the distance. Three men were inside the aircraft, one of them closely watching the black Ford through a pair of binoculars.
“Sir, five occupants in the car, one of them’s a kid. Does the boss want us to finish her off, too?”
At the controls, Mercer replied, “He told me everybody needed to die. He doesn’t want anybody alive who could testify against us later. ‘Not even a Weedle,’ were his exact words, I believe.”
Mercer changed direction and headed toward the roadway as the other two men grabbed M16 assault rifles. As the copter took position behind the agents’ sedan, the men carefully made their way out onto the craft’s skids, one on each side.
Inside the car, Alexis began to hear the whirring of the helicopter’s propellers and spotted the craft in her rear view mirror.
All three Turner family members ducked as gunfire ripped through the rear window, shattering it into thousands of pieces. They screamed as their backs were pelted with the debris. More gunshots put huge bullet holes in the car’s trunk lid and bumper, and shattered both taillights.
“You try to throw them off balance, I’ll try to get a few shots off at them!” Shannon shouted as she pulled out her service pistol and returned fire. The sedan began weaving from side to side on the narrow road, causing both parties to miss their targets with their bullets. As the pursuit continued, young Irene Turner in the back seat began yelling and crying.
“Calm down, sweetie,” said the girl’s mother. “We’ll get out of this… I hope…”
“Ma’am, don’t worry, we fully intend to protect all of you.”
Meanwhile, Shannon had ducked back into the car to reload. “Damn, I can’t seem to get a clear shot at these guys. I’ve been hitting nothing but helicopter this whole time!”
“I know, and this road’s too narrow,” Alexis said. “I can only keep dodging those bullets for so long.”
Meanwhile, both of the shooters had also retreated back inside. One of the men shouted, “Mr. Mercer, we can’t get a clean hit on those back tires; they’re swerving way too much!”
“Fine, I’ll get in front of that thing and you aim for the hood. If we disable that engine, it’ll be all over for them!”
The helicopter veered off to make a wide arc, ending up back over the roadway, now facing the agents.
The men reappeared on the skids and began blasting bullets into the front of the car. It only took a few shots to disable the engine, as it exploded in a burst of fire and a cloud of smoke. The ruined car began drifting off into a ditch.
Still inside the vehicle, Alexis yelled to the family, “Get your hands on those door releases, and when I say so, RUN!” Mr. and Mrs. Turner did as instructed, as both agents did the same.
As the car came to a stop, the two assailants watched as the aircraft hovered in place, waiting to see the next move that would be made. But the constant whirring of the helicopter allowed a large blue station wagon to pull up behind them undetected. With the gunmen still trained on the destroyed Ford, they never noticed as two girls got out of their car. Both had white hats with wide brims, one with red trim and the other with purple.
One of the girls, in a blue top and red skirt, whispered. “Are you sure these special hats are gonna work?”
The other girl, in a blue dress and green blouse said, “Of course, I’ve used these dozens of times before. Now, let’s hurry before they spot us!”
Both girls took off their hats and threw them at the aircraft. The brims of both hats sliced the skids on either side directly in the center in a shower of sparks, causing both men to lose their balance and fall to the pavement.
The girl in the dress winked. “See, what’d I tell you? Our custom hats worked like a charm!”
Before the men had a chance to recover their wits or their guns, the four girls were upon them. Two of them kicked the rifles out of reach while the other two gave the men a couple of roundhouse kicks to the head right as they were struggling to their feet. Alexis and Shannon quickly finished off the job with choking control holds that rendered the gunmen unconscious. Meanwhile the Turner family had gotten out of the destroyed Crown Vic, and looked on as the four female agents finished off the would-be assassins.
As soon as his partners hit the pavement, the pilot, Jeff Mercer, beat a hasty retreat. Slamming his hands on the control panel in frustration, he shouted, “Oh, ****, Mr. Bartles sure ain’t gonna be happy about this… and how am I gonna land this thing with damaged skids?” He quickly took flight back toward Saffron City.
Alexis shouted, “Hey, Lisa! Great timing, as usual! But the commander was right when she said we’d need all the help we could get! These guys mean business!”
“Always glad to be of service. Oh, here’s that partner I told you about. You can call her Leaf – she’s supposed to be the Champion around these parts, but right now she’s working with us.”
“And you must be Alexis and Shannon. Lisa’s told me quite a bit about you two. You’ve done some pretty impressive work, I’ve heard.”
“Well, yeah,” Shannon replied as she rubbed the back of her head, “but Lisa’s done some really impressive stuff too – she just likes to downplay it.”
“Anyway, back to business,” said Lisa as she cleared her throat, “why don’t you three check on the witnesses – I’ve got an idea to throw Bartles off their trail. But I need to make a call or two.” But before Lisa could make that call, she received an incoming message from Lorelei.
“00479, I interviewed Johnson, that suspect you and Agent Purvis arrested outside the bar earlier today. He gave up the names Nick Tripp and Jeff Mercer as the guys who he did money laundering for. Turns out both of them have gang connections and they both work as office assistants for OTP. And the file photo of Mr. Tripp looks nearly identical to that guy who was in Bartles’ office when we went and interviewed him. It’s enough to get warrants on those two, but not the big fish. How goes the transport of Mr. Turner?”
“He and his family are safe, but it looks like Bartles is pulling out all the stops to keep them from testifying. His men destroyed the Crown Vic that 00158 and 00236 were driving. I do have an idea, but I’ll need you to send a helicopter and two or three more agents to our current location.”
“All right, I’ll get that taken care of as soon as I can.”
Turning off the phone, Lisa turned to Leaf. “So, how do you like the new hats our research expert, E, came up with?”
“Man, these things are awesome!” she replied as she recovered both girls’ hats from where they lay on the roadway. Cute and deadly all at once! I mean, putting a slicer ring into the brims… that’s pure genius!”
Lisa smiled. “I like to call these the ‘Oddjob Special,’ myself!”
Bartles Estate, Route 16, 5:17 PM
Clicking off his phone, Tobias Bartles had a furious look on his face. “TRIPP!”
“Yes, sir?” The brown-haired businessman entered the lavish living room, shaking nervously.
“Mercer has failed; he’s coming back here now, so I hope you have another plan for keeping Turner from testifying!”
“Um… okay, sir, are they still in the same car?”
“No, Mercer said a blue station wagon with wood on the sides showed up, and since those idiots did manage to kill the other car’s engine, I’d imagine they’d be in that blue wagon now.”
“Okay, then I do have an idea. It’s getting late, so I’d imagine they’re going to be staying at a hotel in Saffron tonight. So I’ll have more of my men patrol all the hotel parking lots looking for that car. If they find it, they’ll wait to ambush them when they leave the hotel the next morning.”
Bartles frowned. “One big flaw with that, Tripp. What if they just decide to pass right by town tonight and keep going?”
“Impossible, sir. Road crews are doing a nighttime construction project on Route 7, and they’re at the stage now where they close down the entire roadway from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM. They can’t make it to their Celadon headquarters till morning unless they detour back to Vermilion, down Silence Bridge, through Fuchsia and back up Route 17, and that detour would take longer than waiting the night out in Saffron.”
“I see, then. All right, Tripp, send your men out to all the area hotels, from the Motel 6 to the Ritz-Carlton. This time, your idea had better work. Or else you sleep with the Goldeen off Silence Bridge!”
As Tripp left the room, Red sauntered in, drinking from a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey. “Trouble, Dad?”
The father sighed. “Only the regret of hiring complete incompetents as employees. Let me have some of that stuff; I could use a little intoxication right about now. After all, I had to give your friend the rest of my booze earlier today.”
“All right, here you go. So, I take it that the accountant is still alive?”
As he took a swig from the bottle, Tobias replied, “Yeah. And by the sounds of it, now Northwood and that Leaf girl have joined those other two agents in protecting him. Tripp says they’ll be stuck in Saffron tonight; I told him he better check every damn hotel in town and make sure he finishes all of them.”
Red opened a bag of chips that were sitting on the coffee table. He had to chew them thoroughly and swallow them in a particular way because of his previous throat injury. Also on the coffee table were about ten small empty cups and Red’s Pikachu, passed out and reeking of alcohol.
Red frowned. “I still can’t believe that Leaf is pursuing this matter so aggressively after being silent about it for four years! Now she’s teaming up with the feds to bring not only me, but you down as well! What the hell do you think got into her?”
“It’s probably that bitch Northwood. Her entire family’s been trouble for me for years, and no doubt her working with the feds and being all pals with Leaf sparked all this. How is it that our enemies somehow end up working with each other?”
“I wish I knew. But I’ll admit that we probably took Leaf too lightly after we brainwashed the populace. I guess it was because she kept leaving the region for months at a time and when she was here, seemed more content on training than anything else.”
“Yeah, son, that’s probably it. She didn’t poke her nose into our affairs for so long, I guess we just let her slip under the radar. Well fortunately, all the Pokémon training in the world ain’t gonna mean a single thing when she ends up with a few rounds in her head!”
The father and son both laughed loudly, with Red’s mechanical laughter sounding odd and menacing at the same time. “Yeah, it’s too bad we can’t do it ourselves, but I don’t want to get my hands dirty. Imagine, me, a legendary Pokémon Master, resorting to such tactics! The shit would hit the ceiling if the public heard something like that!” Red’s Pikachu came to and joined in with their laughter, its squealing sounding strangely slurred.
Harris Teeter Supermarket, Saffron City, 6:38 PM
Lisa pulled the Buick into the parking lot of a large supermarket located just south of the Saffron City limits.
“Now what?” asked Alexis.
“Well, I know we can’t get out to Route 7 tonight, so we’ll have to stay somewhere in Saffron. Only problem is, the helicopter pilot escaped and he knows what car we’re in – I have little doubt his men will be scouring every hotel parking lot for us. Unfortunately, we stick out like a sore thumb… sadly, there aren’t too many classic station wagons like this beauty still around.”
Shannon said, “Well, let’s head in the store for right now… Maybe we can think of a plan while shopping for snacks and stuff to tide us over for tonight.”
“All right. Leaf and I will go in; you two keep an eye on things out here.” Lisa and Leaf made their way into the store.
Sitting in a café area just inside the entrance, a woman was observing customers as they walked in. When the two agents walked past, the woman ‘s eyebrows raised upon noticing Lisa’s white pantyhose. “She must be the one I need to talk to,” she whispered to herself.
She got up out of her seat and approached Lisa from behind, tapping her on the shoulder. Instinctively, Lisa spun around and assumed a fighting stance. But the person who had tapped her did not attack; instead the tall, black-haired woman said, “Come, I need to talk with you.”
Lisa still eyed the woman suspiciously, until Leaf said, “I know her, she’s okay. Let’s hear her out.”
The three of them made their way to the café area within the supermarket. The young woman took her seat across from Lisa and Leaf. Leaf said, “Lisa, I would like to introduce you to Sabrina, Gym Leader of Saffron City.”
“Hello, my name is Lisa Northwood, Special Agent with the Pokémon League. What is it that you needed to discuss with us?”
Sabrina said, “As Leaf knows, I am a master of Psychic Pokémon, and I myself have potent psychic abilities. This morning I had a curious vision. The first part of it was masked, armed men patrolling several area hotels. Then it shifted to a vision of this supermarket and then legs covered with white pantyhose. That’s what led me here, and when I saw you walk in, I knew you were the one I needed to speak with. I’ve been here since noon and you’re the first person to walk in wearing white pantyhose.”
Lisa said, “I see. Well, it’s not like they’re a popular fashion item, except at church on Sunday. Anyway, my colleagues and I are being pursued by criminals, so I was having the same thoughts about them watching over the hotels here.”
Sabrina said, “And I see that Leaf is with you. Come, I have much I would like to discuss with you. I can provide you lodging at my house for the night. We’ll take a back route there that avoids all the hotels, and we can park your car in my garage for the night.”
“All right, that sounds like a plan. So, we just follow you?”
“Yes, look for a dark green Chrysler LeBaron at the entrance to the parking lot. I’ll lead you to my place.”
Lisa and Leaf returned to the Buick. “Okay girls, looks like we have a place to stay tonight. We just have to play a game of follow the leader. And when I say ‘leader,’ I mean it.” Pulling up behind Sabrina’s car, Lisa looked at it in awe. “Wow, that is one sweet ride! Looks like a ’78 or ’79 model, in great shape!”
Leaf looked on confused, but Alexis and Shannon merely shrugged. “There she goes again…”
Sabrina’s Residence, Saffron City, 8:03 PM
Sabrina and the four League agents were now seated in the Gym Leader’s living room, which was sparsely decorated, but clean. Both the walls and carpets were beige, but there were no pictures on the walls or on any tables. The bookshelf was filled with books and academic journals all dealing with psychic abilities and research into them. Sabrina’s television set was older, as were the VCR and DVD player that rested below it. About the most striking thing about her living room, aside from the huge bookshelf, were the number of candles arranged in specific patterns throughout.
“Now Leaf, I have been aware of your plight for years now,” started Sabrina. “Having lived and trained with Psychic Pokémon all my life, I’ve developed certain ‘sensitivities,’ if you will, to the waves emitted by Psychic Pokémon. So, I immediately knew when certain psychic waves were being broadcast over television and radio broadcasts, and I was also mostly unaffected by them. However, it was only afterward that I was able to ascertain what exactly was contained in those waves, and that they were created to erase Leaf from the memories of the Kanto populace.”
“But Sabrina, if you knew, why didn’t you report it to police?” Leaf asked with an annoyed tone.
Sabrina sighed. “I apologize. I contemplated reporting what I knew to the local Saffron police force, but then I had two visions – the first was of the police chief of Saffron opening a briefcase filled with money, and the second was of blood. Just blood, splattered everywhere. I interpreted the visions to mean that the local police had accepted a bribe, and that I would be murdered if word got out that I tried to contact anybody. I did try to track you down, but you were moving around so much that every time I got close to finding you, you had taken off for another region.”
“I know,” said Leaf. “During those years I was confused as to what I was to do, so I began moving around, training and catching Pokémon in a variety of places.”
Lisa said, “Well, the international League Investigation Bureau is involved, and I can assure you we haven’t been brainwashed or accepted any bribes. I’m not sure how a psychic vision would be accepted at a trial, but would you be willing to testify now that we’re involved, Sabrina?”
“Yes, anything to set things straight. Again, Leaf, I’m sorry. I knew all along the truth and yet I couldn’t come forward with the facts.”
“No, don’t worry about it. I was the same way. I knew that I was Champion, but there I was no way I could pursue the matter by myself. If I went around claiming that I was Champion while everyone was brainwashed, I’d probably be in a mental hospital now. And Lorelei told me that she’s been investigating the whole matter on and off over the past four years trying to set things straight. And finally, we might be close to doing exactly that.”
“Okay, thank you.”
Lisa spoke up. “Now, right now the conspirators have no idea that you know the truth. Otherwise they would have come after you already. We’re going to try to keep it that way, so keep it a secret for a little while longer – at least until we get these guys into custody.”
“Yes, that makes sense.”
Leaf spoke up. “Well, onto a lighter topic, I noticed that people in the grocery store really didn’t pay you much attention, despite you being a local celebrity.”
“Probably because I shop there all the time – at least twice a week. I like the store; it’s cleaner than the discount food stores in Saffron. Miss Northwood…”
“Please, call me Lisa.”
“Alright, Lisa, I believe that you also prefer shopping at Harris Teeter… In fact, I sense that your current home may not be far from their headquarters.”
“Guilty as charged! I’m only about a half hour or so away…”
Sabrina continued, “And to answer another question you’ve got for me, my car was handed down to me by my parents – much like your first car. And like you, my parents were very meticulous with maintaining their car. I’m not nearly as skilled with that, so I actually take it to my father whenever I need it serviced.”
Lisa laughed nervously. “Boy, when Leaf told me your powers were impressive, she wasn’t kidding!”
“Don’t worry,” Sabrina said as she smirked. “I just felt like messing with you a little bit. Just because I’m a psychic doesn’t mean I’m cold and serious all the time… I like to have a bit of fun sometimes. But, my mind seems to be fatigued from all those readings. Well, I guess I should be heading off to bed. Please make yourselves at home.”
Lisa told her, “All right, but we’ll probably leave early in the morning so nobody sees our car leave your house. If someone spots it, it could blow our cover. Hopefully nobody saw us arrive. All right, good night, Sabrina.”
Alexis said, “Well, we’ve had a pretty rough day, too, with being shot at not once but twice. I think we’ll turn in too.” She and Shannon headed toward the spare bedroom.
Leaf added, “Well heck, we’ve been in a bar-room brawl today… I think that’s a good excuse to go to bed!” All the girls laughed as they headed off to separate bedrooms within Sabrina’s large house.
I was very afraid for this poor Turner and his family, during the fusillade :O I really thought it was over for them. It was close !
The part where Pikachu was was creepy. Seriously, it scared me. Both Red and Pika are the exact contrary of how I could imagine them.
And I'm glad you introduced Sabrina :D I would have thought that she would have been in the bad-side, but it looks that she isn't, that's fine.
A pretty action-packed chapter... exactly the kind I was waiting for since pretty much the beginning.
I like how you included Sabrina in the play of things. I don't see too much of her in stories, so it's interesting how you handle her. Of course, being a Psychic type master, she would be able to resist the brainwashing-waves being sent out. (Come to think of it, Leaf and company have to get rid of those, too. I wonder if they'll stumble upon a map of some sort and locate the source. Or will Sabrina be able to lead them to it? If she has the ability to sense the signals and block them, maybe she'll be able to rewire her senses into being able to locate their origin. Either way, I sense many more intense action-sequences in the future... and possibly a hideout-raid. Hehe.)
The personality you've given Sabrina is nice, too. She appears distant, but can still crack a joke.
Well, now things have heated up significantly, though we get a nice break from the tension later on in the chapter. It looks like the crew has a save haven, but for how long it will remain 'safe', no one knows... I'm getting the feeling that they'll have to be making another move sometime soon.
Can't wait for more!
That's what I do, take characters you think you know and present them in a whole different light. Especially if, like those two, they deserve to be knocked off their pedestal and brought back down to reality.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you're looking forward to the next chapter! Rest assured the final stretch from Saffron to Celadon will not be an easy one. But it will be packed with plenty of action
Lisa and Leaf: Always there when you need them xD
Thanks for stopping by! Glad you enjoyed this installment!
Wow, this story is so amazing so far. You had me sitting here reading it all morning. I enjoy it; it is very well written, and I love how you included old familiar characters like Lorelei and Sabrina! :]
Also, I love how Red is portrayed as the bad guy. I never cared for Ash/Red, so it's humorous to see him in that state. Also, his "accident" just adds a whole new level of darkness to Pokemon in general. And I love how you tied in the actual plot from the games with your story. [Red being at Mt. Silver, Red living at home with just his mom---not knowing who his dad is, and stuff like that].
I'd love to see more Blue/Gary though. He's badass, you know. Leaf and Lisa make a wonderful duo, and are too cute together!
So how old is Red if he is smoking a crack pipe and drinking Jack Daniels? If you went by the real time, he'd be what? 23-ish now? I just can't help but laugh that Red is a crack head. Wow...how does he smoke that with his injured throat?