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Chapter 20: Interception Atop Silph Co Part 2Edit

He had looked into the soul-stealing gem eyes of the Sableye.

Terrible images began to swirl through Ash’s mind. Kay, his dear sister, was at the center of them all.

Kay, waking up all alone in a little cell, with an Ekans tied around her waist, binding her hands together. Screaming helplessly as the serpent appeared to coil up to strike… The door then opened, revealing that this was but a small fraction of a much larger installation. A researcher in a white lab coat walked up, clipboard in hand, and proceeded to drag his dear Kay off against her will to somewhere down the corridor where a giant machine had been set up…

Then the vision faded, to be replaced by something else.

Kay, now in a set of clothes that Ash was sure never existed in the family wardrobe, was on the ground kneeling, tears flowing freely as two guards stood tall over her, whipping her emotionlessly with barbed leather, each strike tearing at her skin... She was pleading mutely to someone he couldn’t see, begging to be allowed to live…

Then the vision faded, to be replaced by something else.

Kay, unconscious, lay sprawled on the ground, as a pokemon he had never seen presided over the entire affair. It held a pokeball the likes of which he had never seen, for it was both black and fluorescent purple, and had an evil-eye marked on it. The pokemon, which was mysteriously in the shape of a human and had three fingers on each hand, levitated the pokeball into the air. A beam of purple light shot out; purple light enveloped his dear Kay, and she vanished into the pokeball.

Then the vision faded, to be replaced by something else.

Kay, her hair terribly frayed, with horrified eyes as she looked at something that Ash couldn’t see. She was surrounded by guards, held by chains, and totally helpless before whomever controlled her fate. Nevertheless she shook her hands wildly in a definitive ‘no’, as if that would do any good. The expression on her face showed the futility of it all; something horrible was bound to happen to her. Something menacing came into his dream-like view, but was a mere silhouette. It approached ever-closer…

“NO!!” screamed Ash through the artificially inflicted nightmare. Suddenly the soul-energies that were being siphoned off from the Dream Eater attack were stilled. The presence in his mind reared back in surprise, and Ash held on with his own mind—and was summarily pulled out of his surreal slumber. He was lying sprawled on the stairwell; his Kirlia was only now applying potion to him, which meant that all the visions he had seen had taken barely any time at all in the real world.

The Sableye was right in front of him. Ash accidentally stared into its eyes yet again… But this time nothing happened.

Ash was practically burning with an aura of incredible anger. “NO!!” he repeated so loudly he was sure everyone else on the floor could hear. “I will not give up hope! I refuse to believe that Kay is doomed! You are just a pathetic lie, Sableye! You can do nothing to me! Watch!”

The next moment he simply walked through the Sableye, which, being a ghost pokemon after all, could do nothing to halt his progress. Heartened by this show of resolve, his three pokemon took off after him, passing right through the Sableye like it was nothing.

Up the stairwell they went, two floors up until they reached the 206th. The card key reader here had been disabled too, but Charmeleon burned off the wood and plaster in an inferno, and Cloyster simply smashed into it with its powerful shell, shattering the girders holding up the wall. They went through, Ash with his gun in hand and his Kirlia on his shoulder.

“Stop him!” someone shouted from further up the passageway. Cloyster immediately responded by strafing spikes down the hallway. Several pokemon ran directly into the path of death and were instantly taken down. “My pokemon!” someone screamed. Ash smiled wryly. Evidently another couple of grunts.

((Charmeleon, flamethrower, now!))

The Rocket grunt himself came into view, a Feraligatr (finally a pokemon that could withstand a volley of spikes!, thought Ash) beside him. The Rocket saw his gun suddenly crack into two. Thereafter his body began shaking uncontrollably – that is, until Kirlia entered his already frightened mind and briefly wrestled within it for control of his body.

“Return, Feraligatr!” said the grunt like a total fool, extending out his pokeball. The Feraligatr, which had just prepared some attack or other, was sucked back in, not given the chance to do fair battle.

“Out of my way, everyone,” Ash demanded of the three grunts standing before him. They bolted in separate directions, two going to left and right and the other backing up. Ash peered into this third one’s mind. Shit, this guy’s a juggernaut! I’ve got to inform Agent 001! She’ll be able to handle this! Then he’ll definitely be out of the way!

“Don’t be so sure,” said Ash sternly, telekinetically levitating an empty cup to bash into the man’s head. He passed out immediately. Ash walked right over him, the locked door in his way unlocking seemingly of its own accord as Ash moved its tumblers.

Agent 007 was at work trying to hack into data another grunt had been unable to hack into, and from the smile on his face he seemed to be succeeding. Without turning to set his eyes on his enemy, he muttered to the grunt, “get rid of them for me.” The grunt nodded and turned to face Ash and his pokemon, tossing a normal pokeball into the air.

It flash-vaporized as Charmeleon’s inferno disintegrated it.

“That’s why you Rockets use ultra balls,” said Ash wryly. Generics were just too low-quality to be of much use. The pokemon within was released – a Hitmontop – but the fighting pokemon was already out cold, severe burns etched all over its skin. Ash leered at the quivering grunt and threateningly raised his gun. “Shall we end this?”

“No, please, no!” The grunt turned on his heels and fled out the next door. Ash spared him.

“Shit,” cursed the agent, releasing his ultra-ball, which passed through Charmeleon’s flames unscathed. Spiritomb materialized. “Night Shade!” It immediately generated a cloudy, dark veil around its trainer. As it rapidly expanded to immerse Ash in total darkness, he groped around to regain his bearings. Instead, he bumped into a wall. The entire place, now in darkness, prevented his pokemon from stopping the agent. For a while, the agent would be able to work in relative safety.

((Ignore the Spiritomb,)) Ash communicated to his team. As Kirlia conspired to confound the agent into pressing the wrong buttons, Cloyster and Charmeleon joined together to release a string of explosive spike-cannon blasts at the computer, violently shredding it to pieces. Though the agent was entirely unharmed, he looked at the burnt wreckage of the computer and shouted a string of expletives. The night shade had now partially cleared, and the agent turned to look at the child who had now finally thwarted him.

“All right, twerp, you’re going down!”

“Oh, I’d like to see you try,” Ash taunted back, now sure that he had succeeded in preventing at least one part of the company secrets from being hacked into.

“Go Gengar! Spiritomb, use… Gengar!?” the agent looked on in surprise as the Gengar came out of its pokeball but held onto it so that it did not return to him, then shot a dark-tinted attack at the Spiritomb. Enraged, the two began trading attacks. Each volley that struck the Spiritomb caused the dark sphere protecting the agent to wane.

“Go Typhlosion! Finish them off!” The dead pokemon materialized, causing its trainer to back up, stricken and aghast. Agent 007 looked up to face Ash. “What have you done!?”

“Only to exact my revenge for what Team Rocket did to my sister,” Ash snarled back as he flicked off the safety of his gun.

The agent reached for his holster, but then discovered that his gone was missing. He put up his hands, terrified. All thoughts of doing his duty left his mind when he saw that the Night Shade was gone entirely. Everyone there regained their vision, and Ash raised his gun at the criminal. The man began shouting in defense of himself. “I didn’t have anything to do with whatever might have befallen your sister! Honest I didn’t!”

Ash smiled at that. “You should be ashamed of yourself. At least you had the opportunity to, if not honorably, die courageously. You’ve lost that too.”

The agent toppled over backward, blood spots painting the ceiling.

The two warring pokemon took one look at their dead trainer, smiled at Ash, and flew out through the ceiling, exhilarated that they were liberated at last.

((We did it!)) exclaimed Ash to his team, and they cheered back. ((Now let’s see… there’s also an Agent 001, but too much time has already elapsed… They ought to be leaving this place by now. It’s been about four minutes since the espionage operation began, so the police should be just about here. Where would they be going?))

“Ceiling,” said Charmeleon.

“I agree, the roof is right above us. I’m guessing they will be free to teleport from there.”

“Then that’s where we will head to next.”

“Hold it right there.” Ash recognized the voice; it was the grunt who had been a failure in trying to support Agent 007 just moments earlier.

“Who do you think you are?” demanded Ash. “I let you get away once. I won’t be so generous this time.”

“I won’t need you to be. Guess who I brought along.”

Ash thought quickly. Oh yeah, he probably brought Agent 001… Oh no… My job here is done, I don’t want another fight…

“Prepare for trouble,” said Ash, his brow furrowed. His hands flew to the gun.

“Make that double!” shouted the grunt as he strutted into the room, looking mightily pleased with himself. An Exeggutor blocked Ash from getting a direct shot at him; the coconut-tree pokemon would be next to oblivious to gunshot wounds even if Ash did manage to peel off half the bark. Immediately, the Cloyster rolled in front of Ash, obscuring him as well.

“That’s right,” said a familiar, sweet girl’s voice from right behind the Rocket grunt with a hint of sarcasm. There was a rapport, and suddenly the grunt gasped, before teetering to the ground. The Exeggutor opened its four mouths in surprise but was sucked into a pokeball that same second. Finally, Ash could see who this Agent 001 was.

“Ash! Do you remember me?”

Though the agent was entirely cloaked in black there was no mistaking that this was indeed his sister Kay. For an eleven-year-old, she was incredibly mature already, doubtless because of all the trials that she had to undergo at the hands of Team Rocket. But just to be sure he psychically scanned her mind before answering. Once he was sure this was Kay and not another instance of someone with a voice changer (he couldn’t see behind the black cloak she wore), Ash decided not to intrude in her mind any more. It just wasn’t right to do it to a family member.

“Of course I do, sis!” he said, tossing aside the gun to his Charmeleon before embracing her. Kay’s familiar warmth was refreshingly soothing to him; her sobs and tears just as touching. Ash decided to weep openly as well. “It’s… been… so long,” he managed at last. “And you’ve grown far more than I expected possible.” His three pokemon watched on, astonished; the Charmeleon then proceeded to join in on the hugging.

“Yes, and you have too… But… Ash! What on earth are you doing here, of all places?” Kay asked, as they continued to hang on to each other.

“Why, taking my revenge on Team Rocket for your abduction,” replied Ash matter-of-factly.

“You shouldn’t…” Kay tried to stifle a sob, but it didn’t work.

“Come on, I’m here to spirit you off to safety,” Ash began.

“You can’t.”

“What?”

“Sorry, but I can’t go.”

“You can’t be serious! Just come with me—“

“Ash! I have to stay with Team Rocket!” Kay burst out unexpectedly.

“And why is that?” the Charmeleon gave her an awkward face.

Kay sighed. “It’s a long story,” she said at last, changing the mood into one of somber reflections.

“Now that my task is accomplished, I have time to listen to it all,” Ash prompted.

“You do. But I… I might only have a minute with you before I must go.”

“Why must you go?”

Kay sighed again, not knowing how to begin. “After I was abducted…”

“Did they do anything to you?” Ash interrupted worriedly.

“Yes, they did – they put me inside this large machine and – and...”

“And what?” asked Ash.

“And somehow it made me half-pokemon.”

Ash laughed. “Oh, this is hilarious! You, a pokemon?!”

“A dark type. Here, let me demonstrate.” Kay shot Ash a glare without even moving the cloak aside, and suddenly a powerful torrent of pain struck at his mind, knocking him down onto the floor. Immediately the Charmeleon and the Cloyster took up aggressive positions to protect their trainer, while the Kirlia landed gracefully, as she evidently knew what was going on quite clearly.

“Aaaaa! Quit it, Kay, quit it!” Ash screamed in panic and shock. Immediately the pain went away.

“You see what I mean?” asked Kay in a forlorn voice. “I’ve become a dark-pokemon hybrid.”

“Well, what’s that to prevent you from coming with me to safety? Isn’t it better than staying with these Rocket bastards?” Ash asked quizzically.

“It means that I’ll be under my master’s control,” she replied gloomly.

“You’re a slave?” asked Ash incredulously. It’s weird for even an organization notorious for abducting pokemon to turn their so-called ‘Agent 001’ into a slave… Because it’s kind of hard to have just one master for so many slaves…

“Not much better than that,” Kay replied, nearly whimpering.

“Well, if you come with me—“

“I’ll die,” Kay finished the sentence with striking finality.

Ash hung his mouth open. “But why?”

“Because my master has implanted a series of light-bulbs within my chest. And, you know, even though a dark-type can withstand direct sunlight for a short while, being lit up from within is equivalent to a death sentence,” Kay intoned.

“I never thought it would be this serious,” Ask remarked, perhaps a bit pathetically. “Does this mean there’s nothing we can do about it? Can’t we rush you to the nearest hospital operating room and have them do surgery to extract it?”

“My master has already thought of that. The implant isn’t as simple as you think. He’s got it all planned out ere I got abducted. Long before it can be extracted I’ll be dead.”

“Then—“

“Don’t you forget about mom, brother! Her life is in their hands! Even if the operation goes successfully, do you never want to see her alive again?”

“Where is she?”

“I’ve no clue. But it’s clear that you can’t rescue me, remove the implant, and rescue mom all at the same time. So in the future, don’t even try. You can’t succeed. And all you’ll accomplish is to put my life further at risk. If my master finds out--”

“But—“

Kay put a finger on his lips. “No buts, brother.” Then she seemed to stare off at the ceiling, speaking ever so mournfully: “Oh, how I long to be able to frolic in the sunlight! But now even that is permanently off-limits. I have to stay hidden in the shadows all the bright day, only to venture out at night, I have to do whatever my master tells me to do, and in constant fear for my life… Oh, Ash! This life of mine I surrender to Team Rocket. But I want you to promise me one thing.”

“Anything!”

Kay came right up to Ash and cuddled closely in his arms. “It has always been my wish to become a pokemon master, to win badges from all sixteen gym leaders across the mainland and battle the Elite Four. I guess that dream’s forever out of reach now. So I should like you to do that for me. Live the life that I won’t be able to. For me.” She looked up into his eyes so sweetly. “Will you do that, brother?”

“Count on it,” Ash whispered back as they caressed each other.

“Thank you. And now, I must go…” She disentangled herself from Ash and proceeded to the exit.

“Wait, Kay! There’s so much I need to know! Where’s your dwelling? Where’s the headquarters? Who’s your master?”

“Shush. I really have to go now, and even if I had the time, I wouldn’t tell you. Promise me you won’t come chasing after me again. My life with the Team isn’t as bad as you may think.” Kay began moving away.

“No, Kay! I can’t promise that! I saw horrible visions of dreadful things happen to you! I’ll keep trying to RESCUE YOU!” he shouted in her direction, but by then she had already gone out of sight. In the silence of the room he could hear the whirring of a flight of helicopters landing on the roof just above. But he knew that he couldn’t go stop Team Rocket then. It would be like the Team Rocket pair who fought practically everyone else at the Saffron City Tournament – they were doomed from the beginning. And he would put Kay’s life at risk, as if he hadn’t already by compromising the mission which she, as Agent 001, must be responsible for…

Ash sighed. He had gone so far, had done so much, had come so close, yet he couldn’t do anything to help either his sister or mother.

Ash then collapsed on the ground, crying his heart out in utter sorrow.

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