The Middle Ground
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August 16th, 2012 (4:23 AM).
Researcher of Orange Lore
I know it's totally unprofessional but I've switch the third person for now as it is just easier to write as I have gotten myself into a rut. Sorry if this isn't too great of a chapter, I'm fairly rusty after... Well, let's just say quite a few months.
Chapter 30 – A Common Enemy (Part 1)
As the group gathered around the stone statue bearing the Silph co. logo, there was a short silence as they each pondered the situation that they had found themselves in.
“I don’t get it. What is this place?” Naoko asked, confused by the daunting feeling the others seemed to be sharing.
“Are you kidding?” Alex retorted. “This is pretty much one of the biggest corporations around; they manufacture everything from pokeballs to chocolate and run all of the Pokemarts in Kanto just from this building.”
Naoko nodded and quickly made a connection in her head. “I see. In Hoenn we have something similar called the Devon Corporation.”
“They’re actually partner companies.” Erika clarified, sitting on a small brick wall beside April. “But if what we think is true, then the Rockets are somewhere inside. It’s just that this isn’t the first time that they have tried to infiltrate the building. Around two years ago, Silph announced that they had had a major breakthrough in their capsule technologies; a pokeball that could capture any pokemon without fail. Such an invention would make billions if sold to the mass population but Team Rocket had other ideas. They infiltrated the company and took everyone hostage, attempting to take the patent only for themselves to use. Noone knows quite just what happened but a few people inside managed to turn the tide against the Rocket leader and took back the plans for the device and the police took care of the rest. When the capsule was made public after that incident, there were pokemon rights protests against what they had dubbed the “Master Ball” and so Silph decided that it would only cause future trouble and discontinued production immediately.”
“So what, are the Rockets going after the plans for the Master Ball?” Naoko mused.
Erika shook her head. “Impossible. They destroyed the plans soon after and only a few prototypes were ever made; no one knows where they are now. Although, Silph and Devon are always looking into new technologies; who knows what they’ve got up there…”
“None of that matters.” April said, standing up. “We’re here to find Adam, not to be vigilantes.”
The pale-faced girl began walking towards the entrance but was stopped by Alex. “Wait a sec, what you said is true but… just look.” He said, turning April around to face the inside of the building.
As they looked through the glass walls, past their reflections, they could see the reception area where a few people were sat in their business suits enjoying coffee before a meeting, others between departments and some standing around aimlessly.
“What am I… looking for?” April asked, pausing briefly to try and block out the Voice.
“That’s the thing. If the Rockets have infiltrated then how will we know who to look for? I mean, it doesn’t exactly look like they’ve walked through the doors with guns blazing like they did a couple of years ago. What can we really do?”
“We can warn them!” She said, pulling away from her friend. “And if that doesn’t work then we can just follow the Voice. It called out to me for a reason; I need to know what that is.”
With that, the foursome headed up a set of concrete steps to the entrance of the large building with Slowking in tow, already standing out from the crowd in their informal attire. Upon reaching the doorway, the path was abruptly blocked by four bald, bulky men in tightly-fitted black suits. It was clear to everyone that that was by design as the men in front of them were obviously the security.
“Do you have an appointment?” The first guard asked, approaching Naoko.
“No.” She said firmly, despite the guard’s hostility.
“No entry without an appointment or Employee Identification. Please move along.”
“Wait, we just need to warn someone. This place is in danger!” Alex cried, attempting to reason with them.
“Silph is one of the most secure companies around here, nothing slips through us. Now I will ask you again, please move along.”
Having no choice but to do as they were told, the group turned around, headed back down the set of steps and back to the statue.
“So what’s Plan B?” Naoko huffed, leaning against the statue and folding her arms.
“I would suggest following Erika.”
Slowking replied, pointing to a colourless alley that ran alongside the building, briefly being lit up by the orange of Erika’s blouse.
As they gave chase, they could see that Erika was following someone herself. The pair stopped once they could no longer be seen by those inside the building and began talking just before the rest of the group caught up with them.
In front of them was a shady looking man wearing a black trenchcoat and sunglasses which contrasted against his light blonde hair.
“Is that-“ The man began to ask.
“Yes. But that doesn’t matter right now.” Erika replied.
“How can you say that doesn’t matter?”
“Because we need to be more worried about that.” Erika said, pointing to Silph Co.
The man sighed, looking April, Alex and Naoko up and down. “…I don’t like this.”
“Everyone, this is Crowe. He’s going to help us.”
“…Why?” April asked, curious of the new reluctant stranger.
“That can wait until later.” Erika said, turning back to Crowe. “How are you getting inside?”
“Shadow Sneak; Gallade can take one other person besides me.”
“Well, what about the rest of us?” Alex asked.
“Erika is a Gym Leader so she has automatic clearance for her and one other person which just leaves the other one of you out here. Unless that is, you have any other way of getting inside.”
The foursome looked at each other as if to try and decide who was to be the one left behind. Desperate to think of another way in, Alex then looked himself over and caught sight of his pokeballs latched onto his belt. Suddenly he had remembered something he had seen many days before in this city’s Pokemon Centre and began to concoct an idea. Releasing Ditto from his pokeball, he told the others of his plan and they set it into motion.
Upon approaching the entrance of the building with all of her usual graces and elegance, Erika was confronted by security.
“Good day Miss. Do you have an appointment?” One of the guards asked.
“No, I’m afraid I do not. However, my name is Erika, Gym Leader of Celadon City and I am here to see the Chairman of Public Affairs. He and I have some business to discuss and I’d rather not be here all day.” She replied with a clear confidence in her own authority.
Spotting two people standing directly behind her, the security guard nodded in their direction. “What of your two companions?”
Erika gestured the two forwards and introduced them, one was a man wearing a shirt with slicked back hair and a pen in his hand and the other was a ginger-haired girl who looked in her mid-twenties. “This is my Assistant, Alex.” She said, nudging the man forwards. “My clearance entitles me to bring in one other associate; I trust this will be fine.”
“And the girl?”
“Her name is Misty, one of the Cerulean City Gym Leaders.” Erika said as the girl slowly approached the guards, not daring to venture any further than where Erika was standing. Head bowed, the girl’s face was partially hidden from view.
Seeming vaguely satisfied, the guard turned toward the door and said, “Hmph, one minute we need to verify this with upstairs.”
A surge of panic rushed through Erika’s body. “-Wait!” She cried.
The guard turned around, inquisitively. Curious of the seemingly collected woman’s outburst.
“D-did you not hear that I am in a hurry? Surely you are able to verify us from our faces alone, or do I have to take the matter up with your superiors?” Erika said firmly, placing a hand on her hip.
Exchanging looks the guards seemed to make a unanimous decision then and there. “Very well, our apologies miss.”
The guards parted and allowed the three people to pass through the doors and enter the building. The group passed through the lobby, heading for the east stairwell exactly as planned. Reaching the door, Erika heard a whisper of “Ow, watch my foot, clown-feet.” From behind her, just as a man in a business suit seemingly bumped into nothing and fell to the floor, the paper from his briefcase scattering all over the lobby.
“Quickly!” Erika sighed, holding the door open as people rushed to help the fallen man before going through it herself.
As soon as the door shut, seeing they were in an empty stairwell Naoko suddenly appeared as if from nowhere and fell to the ground, Crowe and a Gallade appearing seconds after behind her, standing upright and staring at her inquisitively. “I think I’m gonna throw up.” Naoko mumbled, holding her stomach.
Alex, posing as Erika’s assistant, scruffled his hair, reached into his pocket and put on a pair of glasses so he could see again and was met with a sight he didn’t expect that made him jump back in fright. ‘Misty’ was writhing around pulling at her face which in its full form looked quite bizarre. The girl had flowing ginger hair, freckles on her cheeks and a pair of recognisably beady, black eyes above an eerily long mouth. After recovering from the shock, Alex quickly rushed to the girl’s side and began peeling a gooey mask off of her until he held a gooey pink blob in his hand – It was Ditto! The girl who was now recognisable as April again, gasped for air. “That was… the most disgusting thing… I’ve EVER done.” She panted, clinging to a stair rail.
All of a sudden the group felt a small tremor flow through the structure and a loud, siren-like alarm began ringing shortly after. Holding Ditto in his arms, Alex peered through the small window of the stairwell door and saw the occupants of the reception are staring at the entrances as they were quickly sealed off by large metal doors allowing no one in or out of the building.
At that point the alarm subsided and a voice began speaking through the building’s intercom:
‘Attention. This is a safety procedure, please do not be alarmed. Silph is doing its best to rectify the situation and urges you to continue your business as usual. Unfortunately at this time we cannot allow anyone to leave the building and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Attention. This is a safety...’
Alex felt a lump form in his throat and turned to the others as they looked to him for an update. “Well, I think it’s safe to say that we’re in the right place…”
Catch 'em, catch 'em, gotta catch 'em all; gotta catch 'em all - Pokemon!
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