Chapter 22: The Truth About Team RocketEdit
It turned out everyone there was dressed just like Marc Cash, so these people were probably either Goldenrod analysts or buy-side investment bankers. They sat in rows of chairs and all faced one way. There were no cameras anywhere; evidently this was a closed meeting to the end. In the far end of the conference room was a raised platform with a podium, and the CEO headed there directly. Ash came up meekly as well, wondering just why he had been thusly singled out.
Meanwhile, the CEO had begun his speech. Despite the atmosphere of the morning, he didn’t seem all that perturbed. Ash watched with awe as the audience hung on to every single sentence the man said, down to the last word. Meanwhile, no one tried to psychically extract information from the CEO’s mind. The Chimecho and the ample alarms about the place prevented that from happening.
“Ahem. Sorry to keep you all waiting, but I had to be briefed about what had happened last night. I swear on my honor that the speech I am about to present is the truth, all the truth, and nothing but the truth.
“As you all know, mere days ago we and the Saffron City police had received a warning from a certain someone that an espionage mission by Team Rocket was imminent. It turned out to be accurate down to the time of the day that it was to occur. We had made our preparations and increased the number of guards what would be protecting the place at that time.
“Shortly before the operation began and guards began to fight Team Rocket undercover agents, that certain someone came back to Silph Tower and proceeded to lay in wait for the criminals. By that time he had been okayed by the Chimecho guarding the floor. Then he proceeded to help in the fight against them. Aside from perhaps fifty Team Rocket grunts, there were also two agents that were singled out – Agent 007 and Agent 001.
“Although our guards outnumbered the enemy, most were trapped in their rooms as the card key administrator access was hacked into. Most of the guards had little to no success fighting against the Rocket grunts, and were quickly killed off. We lost forty guards in all. Six more would have died if this one person hadn’t administered potions to them in time. Of the Rockets, twenty-four were killed, of which this Agent 007 was one fatality. It was the same person who had killed him, and perhaps some of the grunts as well. Agent 001, however, escaped, as did the slight majority of the rockets, via helicopter before we could intercept them.
“I don’t know how he did it, but this person I keep constantly referring back to managed to do far more than anyone else, and he is only a teenager. Almost all the stations’ data were uploaded – with the exception of two of them. One was perhaps too unimportant to merit the Rockets’ attention. The other station was destroyed by this same youngster mere seconds before the data could be uploaded, so the entire upload from that station failed. This station contained our archives of the new algorithm for the master ball that would prevent its pokemon from being captured by another pokeball – the so-called ‘destabilization beam’. It is a key component to the master ball.
“Let us welcome this person who has been the driving force behind Silph Corporation’s resistance against Team Rocket.” He shoved Ash in front of the crowd, which gave half-hearted cheers. After all, vast sums of money were at risk. “What is your name?”
“Ash. Ash Ketchum, of Pallet Town.”
“Mr. Ash Ketchum, because of what you have done to help Silph Co, I hereby pronounce you an official Friend Emeritus of Silph Corporation.” Ash blushed as several members of the audience cheered and as the CEO himself clapped for him.
“Wow, I… I’m honored, sir—“
“Now, if you would excuse me, I must return to my speech,” he said, gently shoving Ash out of the limelight.
“Yes, the destabilization beam algorithm is a key component of the master ball. But it was not the most important component by far. That description belongs to the Keystone Algorithm, by which the master ball is able to actually capture any wild pokemon, regardless of strength, type, maturity, resistance tactics, size, or environment. The Keystone Algorithm is what you’re all here for, after all. I’m pleased to inform you that it was never at risk of being stolen.”
By the end of that sentence the vast majority of the audience had their phones almost up to their ears. None dialed, but that was because they had already dialed thirty minutes ago and nobody had hung up.
“The Keystone Algorithm was copied onto a separate server not a part of Silph Tower. The data pertaining to it have been removed from all of Silph Tower’s laboratories and work stations. This morning I had personally made a trip to the remote database and found that it has not been disturbed. So, all is well, and—“
His speech was suddenly cut off by a uniform “BUY!” from everyone there. “Buy as much as you can!” Then the entire place fell into chaos as people started passing orders to people back in Goldenrod City (the investment hub of the world).
“—And we’re now applying for a patent…” No one heard him, though.
The CEO turned to Ash. “Well, since you helped this company so much and are now a Friend Emeritus, I think it only proper to give you a gift the likes of which you’ve never seen before.” He opened up his briefcase. Inside were documents, and several unusual-looking pokeballs. These had a purple top with pink patches and a white bottom, and were the same size as all the other versions of pokeballs. They even felt the same; only their coloration and a small M in the front indicated they were somehow different.
He put one in Ash’s hand.
“This is one of your rewards. I’m sure you know what it is and alpha testing passed flawlessly, but do keep in mind that it’s just now entering beta testing. There may still be situations in which it will not work. Here’s your new Friend Emeritus badge, which doubles as a card key here at Silph Co. In case Team Rocket comes after you, remember, master balls, even the prototypes, cannot be reverse-engineered to generate the algorithms. I wish you good luck on your journey.”
Ash closed his fingers around the master ball. It was the size of a ping-pong ball and looked so puny it didn’t seem commensurate with what he had put in lately in order to obtain it, but he knew its worth.
They were just entering beta testing. This was probably the first master ball released, even if it was a prototype. It must be worth in excess of 200,000.00. Not that he would be stupid enough to sell it, of course…
He looked up at the CEO and said pathetically, “Thanks.”
The boss was resting on his easy chair, a Persian cat purring softly on his lap. Everything in his room was orderly. It had to be, if he was to keep track of things. And things had to be kept track of if he ever hoped to achieve his ultimate objective… which was far from trying to rule the world. It was way different from something that selfish. No, he was being altruistic. And he made sure that this enthusiasm exuded from his minions. It was what kept the Team going anyway, and what made him think of the name Team Rocket.
A hint: Its original name was Team Racket.
Of course, in the meantime most Team grunts had little clue what the ultimate purpose of things was. So the whole thing spread though relatives. Most people in Team Rocket knew each other, or were somehow related to each other. The Kevin Bacon thing.
As he pondered this, his attention was disturbed by the door to his room opening. The guards right next to him jumped to attention. The eleven-year-old but already quite mature Kay walked in. Oh yeah, it’s almost her birthday… Note to self, throw her a party. The boss wasn’t the unkindly kind.
“Hello, Kay,” said the boss. Months of having known each other meant that his words to her were pretty friendly.
Kay quickly got on her knees. “Yes, master?”
He never saw Kay as being his slave, but she had of her own accord gotten around to calling him ‘master’, something which practically no one else in the Team did. She was a good girl…
But her brother wasn’t. “It seems you have met your brother at the Silph Tower,” he began.
Kay gasped. “how did you know?!”
“Let’s just say I have a pokemon who knows,” the boss replied.
Kay looked around, unsure of how to respond but knowing that lying probably wouldn’t do any good. “Yes, he’s a trouble-maker, and he said he wanted to rescue me, so when I met him I told him to keep away from me or else he would put my life at risk. I don’t think he will be much of a trouble from now on.” She certainly didn’t want the boss to be suspicious and try anything that would put her brother at risk.
“Good. Though somehow I doubt it.” The boss looked at his agenda. Next item on it was indeed Kay’s report. “Your report? Ah yes, how did that espionage mission go?”
“It went pretty well, master. We managed to upload to our database almost everything of note in Silph Co.”
“Don’t think that ‘almost’ went unnoticed.”
“I understand, master. The one exception was at station I-6E. I presume you know what the data there was?”
The boss’s desk doubled as a touch-based computer screen. He flicked it on, and opened the spreadsheet that had a map of Silph Co.’s archival work stations. “Ah yes, I-6E. The one with only, and all of, the information concerning the master ball’s interception algorithm. What do you think of that?”
“I’m sorry, master. I failed in my mission. Now Team Rocket won’t be able to reconstruct the master ball.”
“Ahem… No. We can substitute that of the pokeball, or the great ball, or the ultra-ball… That makes little difference of things.”
Kay was visibly very relieved. “Well then… Is everything as you wish?”
“Hmm… Do you also know that we’re missing the Keystone Algorithm? The one that defines the master ball?”
Kay’s relief suddenly turned into utter dismay and shock. Within moments she had started quivering in fear at what the boss would do to her in punishment. Actually, he didn’t feel like doing anything to her, but just for kicks, he was going to act out the role of villain… It’ll be fun once, since he hadn’t had an opportunity to do so for years now…
“Not only that, but I also heard that you took it upon yourself to be ‘Agent 001’ for that mission in spite of the fact that you aren’t even a double-ooh agent at all.” The boss faked a snarl, and quickly reached for a remote control. The same one that activated the lights imbedded within Kay’s soft skin. Holding it in his hand, he stood up and slowly walked toward her with a fake-ominous gait…
Kay’s eyes bulged with fear as she fell to the ground, pleading, “No, oh Arceus no, don’t do that! Please!! Master, I beg you! I –Aaaaaaaaahh!” Her words were cut off as he pressed the button. The guards looked on stoically as she writhed in agony from this one type of pain that her dark-type hybridization only made worse.
But only for a moment. Because the boss wasn’t the kind who got a sadistic pleasure out of anything. He quickly returned the remote control to its drawer, not intending to use it again for as long as Kay listened to him, and sat down.
Kay continued to scream for a short while afterward. Then she looked up at him with terrified eyes. She was just so helpless against him…
“Oh, Kay, get up…” She hurriedly got back up, nearly stumbling several times while doing so, anxious not to displease the boss. The guards snickered.
“Yes, master?” she asked, her voice quavering.
“Kay… You shouldn’t be so afraid of me, not when you haven’t done anything wrong.”
“What? But master, how could I have not done anything wrong while the Keystone Algorithm is clearly missing?”
“Because,” said the boss, “replicating the master ball was never part of the plan.” This stunned Kay all right, and even the boss had to snicker at this point. “No, we don’t care much at all for the master ball. You see… Oh, no point explaining things out of order. First order of business: Since you obviously have taken a liking to the role of Agent 001, and because you did lead the mission atop Sylph Tower and you were successful, I’m making you Agent 001. Not permanently, but you’ll be shifting everyone else back through 006, since Agent 007 died.” Maybe I’m getting softened up by the way she keeps flattering me with that ‘master’ thing…
“I couldn’t accept that—“
“You really don’t want it?” That got Kay to shut up quick. “Now as I was saying. You’re now Agent 001. That makes you a member of my inner circle. I’ll now tell you about what Team Rocket is all about, something I believe you must be dying to hear. Security cameras off!”
The guards turned off the security cameras, and then at a wave from the boss, left the room. The door locked into place, acting as a soundproof barrier from any eavesdropping.
“Kay… In the last few months I’ve seen you grow a lot. You’ve matured from being a silly, resistant girl into a capable, brilliant young lady. I think you’ll only get better. So take your new position with pride. You deserve it. And now, for the initiation ceremony. Team Rocket is more accurately known as Team Racket.
“Our objective is to improve this world, and its society, in one way.
“Ever since two hundred years ago, when the industrial revolution really gained steam, people have developed ever-more lethal weaponry. And in the last few decades, the development of the pokeball by Silph Corporation has allowed people to train their own fighting machines. Yes, that’s in essence what pokemon are: Fighting machines. Police use them. Militaries use them. We used them in getting you. And it will only get worse now that medicine has the ability to fully restore someone in just a minute. It will only allow for even more fighting. As if this world wasn’t bad enough just from the invention of gunpowder!
“What I’m trying to do is to cause a dramatic, world-changing event to occur. This event was foretold to me in my childhood, and it concerns the god of all pokemon. You know what that is?”
“Yes, master, I do; it’s Arceus, the Lord of Seventeen Types.”
“Precisely.” He swiveled around in his easy chair and pressed a button. The wall behind him suddenly split and drew aside, revealing a large painting of the pokemon.
“Arceus is the only one capable of bringing about the change I’m proposing. But getting it to do so isn’t as simple as knocking on its door. There’s a very good reason why it’s all so shrouded in mythology. We have no idea where Arceus dwells, just the extent of its powers, and how it will act.”
“Then how do you know that what you are trying to do will even work, master?”
“Ah, everyone else I’ve let into my inner circle has asked the same question. Back when I was a child, I lived at Pastoria City in Sinnoh. There’s a mystical lake nearby, known as Lake Valor. I ventured there one day and came across a certain species of legendary pokemon which I’m sure you’ve never seen before. It is known as Uxie, and it is one third of the trio of fairy pokemon upon which much of Sinnoh lore is based. Many texts refer to Uxie as the all-knowing. Though it certainly can keep its secrets to itself, on that day so long ago we had a heart-to-heart talk about the situation of the world. Uxie agreed with me, and told me what I now know about Arceus. I trust that Uxie will deliver on its words.”
“You can appear before us now, Uxie!” said the boss.
Suddenly a pokemon materialized from thin air. Kay gazed in wonderment as she looked upon it for the first time. It had a floaty, cat-like appearance, with blue skin and two ruby-studded tails. It wore what appeared to be a yellow helmet, upon which was set a solitary ruby. It was definitely fantastic, to say the least.
“Uxie… the all-knowing? In your possession? No wonder you knew all about my encounter with Ash…” she muttered.
“Uxie, you want to tell her your plans?”
“All right,” it said in a floaty voice, “Team Rocket’s plan is to cause a racket – an all-out pokemon battle – of such cataclysmic proportions that Arceus will be forced to intervene. I know just how much is necessary to goad it into action, so only as little suffering as necessary will be caused in the process. Arceus will then become outraged that pokemon are being used to fight humans’ wars, and will intervene by casting a world-spell. This spell will cause much of human technology as we know it to break down, greatly reducing the lethality of weapons and attacks. It will promote the peaceful coexistence of humans with pokemon, and will wipe out all thought of serious injury from their minds. In other words, the world will turn into an utopia. This I have foreseen and will come to pass in due time.” Then the fairy pokemon disappeared, leaving Kay gasping in astonishment at the boss.
“So, you see, that is the reason for Team Rocket’s existence. In order to accomplish that goal, however, we still need more pokemon. At the current rate we will need to garner pokemon for a long time to come, and gaining the master ball will not be of much help because freshly caught, untrained pokemon aren’t capable of doing much. We have neither the resources nor the patience to train pokemon from scratch when we know many of them will die for the greater good.
“That is why we have always been preoccupied with stealing others’ pokemon – and in particular those whose pokemon are at least somewhat capable. Your brother’s Charmeleon, for example, we attempted to obtain because it was capable of resisting water, something that would put most similar pokemon into hypothermia.
“Master balls will do us no good. There are only a limited number of pokemon who are capable of much without needing a great deal of training that this master ball can catch. So, duplicating the master ball was never at the forefront of your mission atop Silph Co., much less getting the patent approved. That was merely a façade.
“But now, we have finally obtained what we need: Silph Co.’s great ball and ultra-ball destabilization algorithms. With that, we will be able to create a new type of ball, to be called the racket ball, that is capable of stealing trainers’ pokemon directly. This will be done by intercepting and reversing those balls’ destabilization beams. If this is to work – and Uxie thinks it can’t fail – then suddenly we will be very close to fulfilling our mission at long last.
“That is all.”
Kay curtsied, but didn’t know what to say. This bit of information was perhaps too much for her. She had to go think on it, because she had never known Team Rocket to actually have such a purpose before. On one hand, it made sense not to tell anyone but those in the inner circle about this goal and about the Uxie. On the other… she didn’t know what to make of it.
“And now,” continued the boss, “we have a little… game to play with your brother. I think you already know what to do.” He pressed a button, and the door re-opened. The guards walked in side by side, and between them was…