Chapter 19: Interception Atop Silph Co Part 1Edit

Klaxons wailed throughout the building.

((I notice that several walls have been removed once again, and strings of doors are being opened and closed. Team Rocket operatives are seemingly everywhere, either hacking, fleeing from the guards, or actively engaging in battle against them,)) noted Kirlia. ((Most of them were undercover as the guards themselves.))

This infiltration has gotten a lot of inroads… Oh well, even that won’t be enough if I have a say in these matters…

((Well then, let’s go!)) Ash swiped the card key and swung open the bathroom door to find himself in an enclosed room of a hallway – much as he expected. “That way!” He called, pointing in the direction of a door that stood ajar. His Charmeleon and Cloyster followed as they went through the door, then the next…

((Sounds like fighting up ahead,)) mentioned Kirlia.

((Then let’s skip it. A Rocket fighting a guard is a Rocket that can’t be stealing things. I’m pretty sure that their plan is to keep the guards pinned down at several key locations – they probably have the entire place mapped out – and then have their other agents do the hacking. Remember, it only takes uploading files onto the Internet for secrets to be revealed.))

Immediately the team dashed down the hallway. The Cloyster, too large and round to fit through the doorways, stayed inside his pokeball. Ash as knew very well, they were in a race against time to shut down as many Team Rocket operatives as they could and prevent them from getting to what mattered.

((There! I can sense a member of Team Rocket right that way.))

((No,)) warning a Chimecho floating overhead.

Ash looked up. ((What are you doing here?))

The Chimecho ignored his question. ((That’s no ordinary Team Rocket operative over there. Although most of the espionage workers are grunts, that’s Agent 007 right there. I suggest you don’t take them on. We don’t want you to get hurt.))

((Baloney! I don’t have time for this!)) said Ash proudly as he dashed into the next room, and the next, swiping the card keys as he went through. Meanwhile, the Chimecho had rapidly floated off in the other direction, evidently afraid to join in the confrontation. Just as he was one wall away from where the Chimecho said (and Kirlia affirmed) the Team Rocket special agent was, the card key suddenly refused to work.

((Strange, I was sure that agent had come through this way,)) noted Kirlia.

((Then they must somehow have gotten access to the card key administrator’s rights,)) realized Ash. ((This is bad. Come on, we have no time to waste!)) “Go Cloyster!” The large shell-pokemon materialized. Ash silently pointed to the wall, and the Cloyster obediently fired a barrage of spikes at it, quickly tearing down the wall panes holding it in place. The wood and plaster were blasted off quickly, but the girders remained, separating them.

He could see a stunned Team Rocket agent right through the opening, wearing the traditional black cloak. Suddenly a Gengar materialized. It was a ghost pokemon with the slight appearance of a fat person, and it stared at him with its red eyes and wide smile.

Agent 007 turned around and, without bothering to utter a single line from the motto, immediately fired bullets his way. Ash ducked behind a part of the wall that hadn’t been obliterated, then backed away from that too as a Forretress bashed into it. The shell-covered, flying pokemon had taken down the wooden panels, and now flew into Ash’s room between the metal girders.

“You’ve overstayed your welcome,” said Agent 007 menacingly. Several more shots rang out in quick succession as Ash hurriedly sought a new safe location. The Gengar then swept right through him, delivering an intensely otherworldly and chilly vibe that felt as if it could scar his soul. Holes appeared all over the far wall.

Ash turned to his Kirlia. “Barrier, now!” Obediently the psychic pokemon raised an invisible wall that replaced the part of the room that had been broken down. “Charmeleon, flamethrower through the barrier!” The Charmeleon fearlessly stepped up to the rubble remains of the wall. The Team Rocket agent fired another barrage of bullets directly at the Charmeleon, only to disintegrate into yellowish-cyan vortexes as they impacted the barrier. With perfect coordination, Kirlia temporarily removed the barrier, just long enough for Charmeleon to blast a torrent of high-powered flame through the gap, partially melting the steel. Cloyster joined in with a volley of spikes fired with the velocity of a cannon. Booms echoed through the adjoining rooms as the room that Agent 007 was in became filled with orange-hot spikes. They exploded on impact, scattering debris everywhere. The agent then countered with a Spiritomb. The swirling spirit immediately launched a dark pulse that rippled through the psychic barrier, shattering it, before continuing on to place the Charmeleon in sudden pain.

It would be wrong to say that Ash wasn’t terribly frightened at this point. He was. But he was also definitely the determined sort by now – he had after all vowed to fight a war on Team Rocket – all by himself if need be – and what better idea to start doing just that than by fighting on home territory with many allies besides?

Yet all of a sudden his confrontation with this agent left him wondering if that was simply a really bad idea.

Ash and his team were pinned down in their room for several more minutes as the Gengar continued to distract him and his pokemon, to be joined in by the Spiritomb and its dark-type attacks. Charmeleon and Kirlia were both reduced to traumatized wrecks under the onslaught, and there was little that he or they could do to right the situation.

Agent 007 then suddenly dashed out of the room through another passageway (a wall had suddenly raised itself), and the two ghost pokemon he used swiftly followed. Ash was relieved that he had been spared this time, for he certainly did not know if he would be able to come out on top. But at least he was alive, and he spent the next minute administering potions to his ailed pokemon – opting to remove the sprayer altogether and simply dump the medicinal contents all over them.

“Darn, we were too slow,” he said, mentally hitting himself on the head as he looked at the computer display. It read ‘file uploaded successfully’. To the internet, of course. Which meant that that one particular piece of the company secrets was secret no more. The Agent had been in such a hurry that he evidently didn’t care whether that message displayed on the computer. This node was hacked. “Come on, after him!” urged Ash, and Charmeleon followed. Kirlia sat atop his shoulder as they dashed from room to former hallway to room in maze-like fashion. In his rush the special agent hadn’t cleared up his tracks. Which made sense, since probably the entire operation would only have a few minutes to clear.

“Darn, too bad for those guards,” muttered Ash as he came into the next room where there had evidently been a hard-fought battle. Tables and machines were upturned, scattered glass was everywhere, and several walls had been dented in by what must have been rock or steel pokemon. There weren’t any defeated Team Rocket members in the group. Sparing only a moment to spray a few excess potions on the guards to resuscitate them, he dashed off, eager to confront the agent once again.

((Okay, this time we need to have a better plan,)) said Ash to his pokemon telepathically. He didn’t have the time.

“It’s you again,” cursed the agent whom he had fought earlier, turning to look at them, hands on his holster. “You are such a fool to be challenging me, kiddo.” Kirlia fired an invisible beam of psychic energy at the agent, hitting him square on but apparently doing nothing. He pulled out the gun and pressed the trigger, taking Ash completely by surprise.

Click click click.

The Kirlia had confused the agent into thinking both that he had already fired the gun and that it was empty. Ash felt beads of sweat pop out of his forehead while the agent looked at his gun with immense distaste.

“Go Cloyster!” Ash said instinctively. The pokemon materialized right before him and his Charmeleon just as the agent pulled out his reserve pistol and shot in their direction. “Shoot away, double-ooh-seven,” Ash taunted, even though he knew that Cloyster’s shell was being chipped away by each hit.

Ash turned to his own telekinetic abilities and twisted the front part of the pistol upward. The agent gave one surprised look at the gun and tossed it away disgustedly, before tossing out a trio of pokeballs. They materialized into a Typhlosion, and the Gengar and Spiritomb from earlier.

“Uh-oh,” muttered Ash as the first, a blue-and-white-skinned overgrown rodent, charged up the flames around its neck. It suddenly let loose a column of flame even larger than Ash’s Charmeleon could have mustered. Cloyster knew better than to try to attack the pure-ghost Gengar, but fired at the partially vulnerable Spiritomb. Each spike went through the pokemon, rending it into parts, yet it soon recovered to its previous form and swooped down on Ash’s Kirlia, dark sphere attack ready. Kirlia tried (and failed) to teleport them all to safety, and was immediately struck with a head-splitting sphere of conjured dark mental energies. It flopped over Ash’s shoulder and onto the ground, comatose.

“No!” shouted Ash. He was of the mind to get out a potion, then realized that the two would attack him the next moment. The next moment the Typhlosion let out a massive explosion that sent them all crashing into the far wall, not to mention getting incredibly painful third-degree-burns across half of their bodies. Meanwhile the agent, not to be disturbed, sat at the computer, typing away at several hundred words a minute and loading the DOS, internet browser, and several of his own hacking programs simultaneously…

“Aargh!” Ash screamed in fear and pain as he attempted to get up. He stared at the Typhlosion right in its face – and it was mad. The Gengar and Spiritomb then materialized on either side of him, forming a formidable-looking, and as Ash knew, deadly trio.

((Heated smokescreen!)) Ash commanded, remembering an ability that Team Rocket had helped Charmeleon discover and which he had turned into a combo move. The Charmeleon immediately opened its mouth to spit out dense clouds of pitch-black soot, then followed up with a flamethrower that immediately raised the temperature of the smokescreen. Ash sweated profusely, but months of training were paying off – he didn’t flinch at all from the intense heat, while the Gengar and Spiritomb, both of cool temperament, backed away uncertainly.

((All right Cloyster, finish off that Typhlosion with a Rollout!)) Since Ash had first seen this move being used back at the Saffron Tournament, he had learned that its real name was Rollout, and had perfected its technique to Cloyster. Cloyster immediately started spinning, rolling like a massive bowling ball toward a single pin. And because he had communicated this psychically and the place was half shrouded in smoking air, the enemy pokemon were in for a surprise.

The Cloyster launched upward at the last moment and bashed the Typhlosion on its skull, smashing it with such force that the Typhlosion was sent toppling backward, instantly dead (or near-dead by modern medical definitions) as rivers of red spilled forth from its head. The two ghost pokemon, who were just recovering from the smokescreen, were startled by the sudden fall of their ally.

Then Ash commanded, ((Explosive Spikes!)) Cloyster and Charmeleon teamed up with their Spike Cannon and Flamethrower attacks, respectively, to suddenly super-heat the spikes to the point that they exploded – right through the Spiritomb.

The incredible cacophony caused Agent 007 to turn his attention to the battlefield on the other side of the room, where Typhlosion lay dead. He hurriedly typed in the last few commands. Suddenly the data was being uploaded. “Return!” he shouted, and suddenly all three pokemon had vanished inside their pokeballs. The agent dashed out of the room, almost colliding into another Team Rocket member. This one, however, had been wearing the Silph Co. guard uniform as an undercover agent and so was clearly a grunt.

Upload 25 percent complete…

Ash meanwhile had managed to spray potion on all of his pokemon. Kirlia was very rapidly improving. ((All right now, destroy that computer before it can finish!)) Ash shouted. Cloyster and Charmeleon burst forth into the second part of the room, close to the computer, before they stopped in their tracks, warded off by the Rocket grunt’s bullets.

Upload 50 percent complete… Time continued to pass by as the Cloyster and the grunt traded their deadly projectiles. ((Drat, if only I had Kirlia fully recovered,)) thought Ash. He attempted to simply bend the grunt’s guns, and succeeded, but then out from a pokeball popped the grunt’s Beedrill. The oversized hornet pokemon then replaced the grunt, launching pin missiles left and right, but mostly at the bend in the wall, pinning down Ash’s pokemon.

Upload 75 percent complete… Nearly a minute had passed since the agent had dashed out of the room. His psychic mental field was registering about fifty Team Rocket operatives on the Silph Co. floor. Kirlia had recovered. ((Get me that gun,)) Ash ordered. Soon the bent gun that the agent had so carelessly discarded had levitated over to him. With a bit more mental effort he had bent it back into shape, and Kirlia helped remove most of the unnatural creases that were now in it.

Ash suddenly felt an upswelling of power from holding this weapon in his hands.

“Even your vaunted double-ooh agent couldn’t stop me; you won’t either,” he shouted boldly through the room.

But he couldn’t let himself be carried away. “All right, Kirlia, Confusion!” This was the same ability that Ash knew Sabrina had used against the Team Rocket who had dared fight on her turf. Also an ability which he had honed in his Kirlia in the intervening months.

Kirlia’s powerful mind burst into the Beedrill, and within a split second had it utterly confounded. It turned around at its horrified owner and shot a single volley of pin missiles at him. The grunt fell onto the ground, already passed out, the Beedrill’s poison taking a toll on its master's body already.

Ash turned to the computer. ((Here’s our chance! Attack that computer!))

Charmeleon sent a scorching blaze of flame straight at the computer, frying its motherboard. Right before the blue-screen appeared, the internet browser page had updated with an ‘Upload 100 percent complete’ message.

((Damn it!!)) cursed Ash, not believing his eyes. The bastard agent had managed to evade him twice already… In no time he was dashing down the corridors, running into and shooting another Team Rocket grunt at point-blank before the latter even registered what was happening. Along the way he came across a trio of fallen guards, all comatose or worse, and spared a moment to pour concentrated potion over them. But he kept on running. With Kirlia by his side, tracking down the agent was no difficulty at all, and soon he was once again only one wall away.

((All right, let’s get it done right this time,)) goaded Ash, as he sensed the agent summoning his pokemon back out to face Ash’s. At the moment they couldn’t fight each other directly, seeing as how the locked door in his way somehow didn’t respond to Ash’s card key. ((Kirlia, Psychic!)) Through the opaque wall Kirlia wove its psychic spell, locking up the agent’s mind.

The very next moment the Gengar had done something strange, and to Ash, seemingly hypnotic. And then the agent was back to work as if nothing had happened. What the!? thought Ash, taken aback by this failure. It was like the scene with Daisy’s Machoke all over again.

((The Gengar had used Hypnosis…)) answered Kirlia.

((Try it again, if we can keep on delaying the agent sooner or later he won’t be able to finish his tasks in time,)) Ash told it. Suddenly there was a shrill beeping noise emanating from none other than the Gengar.

((I don’t know how, but suddenly I can’t use Psychic any more,)) replied Kirlia despondently.

Ash wondered why for a second, and then it hit him. ((That Gengar must have used Disable! Well, if you can’t use that use Confusion!))

Kirlia complied, while Ash used his knowledge of locks and telekinetic ability to turn the tumblers of the door. Soon he swung it open, just to see the agent dash off again, recalling back his pokemon in the process.

((Did you get the Gengar?)) queried Ash as he dashed right after the agent, up the stairwell, with Charmeleon right behind. Since the elevators were turned off the moment the alarm had gone off, this was the only way to change floors short of blasting a hole through the ceiling.

The agent gave a single look behind him and saw that Ash was still chasing him, and in fury tossed another three pokeballs down the stairwell. Just as Ash came up, they materalized into a Vileplume, a Muk, and a Sableye. The first, a massive walking Rafflesia plant, immediately spewed out the stench of rotten meat.

Humph! Like that would deter me, thought Ash in disgust. But any pokemon standing in my way won’t stand for long; I have a task to do. ((Charmeleon, burn it to a crisp!)) It was very clear that Ash had little to no respect whatsoever for a plant that smelled so bad.

A second later the Vileplume was hopping about and waving its petite hands helplessly, flames billowing from all over its massive petals and turning it into an ashy white.

The Muk – a pokemon that was made literally out of muck and other garbage - then prowled toward them, sliding down the stairwell. It soon proved a non-issue when Kirlia’s telekinesis directed the junk attached to its skin off the side of the stairwell (to the lower floor), pulling the rest of the pokemon’s body along with it. It roared angrily and haplessly as it found itself unable to even reach its enemies.

The ghost-type Sableye however was not to be underestimated. The twin gems composing its eyes started to glow…

((Quick, look away!)) said Kirlia mentally in what must be akin to a shout.

But it was too late. Ash had already looked into its eyes for too long.

And they were such beautiful eyes.

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