Symbiosis

In a different life Ash Ketchum looks upon his world from an unique perspective.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/7917071/1/Symbiosis

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6. 6

Misty's world was filled with darkness and pain. There was the occasional flash of light that was either accompanied by cries, or followed by the rumble of thunder.

She hurt all over; there was no other way to describe her condition. It was simple pain, in every part of her body that her fading consciousness was aware of.

There was a boy, she realized in her most lucid moments, carrying her through the ordeal. And there was a Pikachu, she thought. She could not remember much about their flight, only that the wicked beaks and cruel talons had bothered her no more when he appeared.

She could vaguely recall the confrontation with the fearow. The sudden burst of pain caused by her rough landing had awakened her into a vague sort of awareness. Although she couldn't understand the words, she saw the boy send his Pikachu to safety.

And then he had planted himself between her and the evil shadow of that was the fearow. Like a knight from the tales of old he stood, forbidding the murderous bird from going forth to harm her.

Misty couldn't comprehend what happened next; the pain from her injuries were too great. The Pikachu returned and then there was light against the onrushing darkness and everything went white and there was this horrible noise.

Afterwards the boy picked her up again. She thought she heard him say something, but whatever he said was lost as she fell back into unconsciousness.

High above in the sky, Ho-oh watched the valiant trainer and his pokémon head to safety. He let loose a caw as he flew off, towards the storm's rainbow, but the trainer below did not look up.

The Officer Jenny in the police outpost on the edge of Viridian City was worried. Earlier during the day she had gotten reports that members of Team Rocket might be in the area.

Viridian City was near the heart of the Kanto League territory, there was no way that any members of Team Rocket should be preforming open operations anywhere near here. Metaphorically speaking, they were within spitting distance of the Elite Four themselves, and one the major bases of operations for the Pokémon Rangers, as well as close to the League HQ, where high grade pokémon trainers volunteered to undertake League missions.

The report had to be mistaken. The only other possibility was that Team Rocket was starting to regain its old strength, the strength they had in the days when they could carry out their plans in broad daylight and had tried to take Saffron City. Ever since the League had broken their power on that day, Team Rocket had been forced into hiding, only carrying out covert operations. If any agents were moving openly again, they had to be elite agents with a large number of powerful pokémon.

All of the Viridian Police force was hoping that it was just some pokémon thief that someone assumed belonged to Team Rocket unit. In fact that was what they had told the populace, both because to avoid starting a panic and because they wanted to believe it themselves. Nobody wanted to envision returning to those dark days.

She glanced out the window and saw a strange sight.

A boy was carrying a red haired girl, her bare, pale legs dangling over his arms as she curled into his chest, and there was a pikachu laying onto of his head. What was even more surprising was the state of the three of them. The boy was in the best condition of the group, but he was covered in dried and cracking mud, and his exhaustion was betrayed by his every stumbling step. But the raven haired boy did his best to keep his head level for the comfort of the pikachu and he kept his upper body level, trying to give the girl a smooth journey.

The pikachu was singed all over, bits of his fur were a smoky gray color instead of the normal bright yellow, there were scrapes and scratches scattered all over him, and anytime he moved too much at once, a wince of pain cam over his face. But for some reason he looked like a cat who had gotten into the cream, or he at least looked that way at least when he was not looking at the girl. When he looked at the girl, the small electric mouse's expression grew worried.

And the girl was in the worst shape of all three. Red splotches of dried blood spotted her limbs, there were cuts and bruises everywhere, her clothes were torn, and even her backpack looked beaten up. She was clearly unconscious and in very bad shape.

This was a group clearly in need of assistance.

Officer Jenny rushed out of the small police outpost and skidded to a stop in front of the group. The boy did not notice her at first, in his exhausted haze, nearly bumped into her. But his pikachu made a noise and he jerked to attention, his eyes going from hazy to a panicked clear in an instant.

"What the hell happened here?" Officer Jenny demanded of the boy.

The boy's eyes glanced down at the girl in his arms and then up at the battered pikachu (who sighed and said "Pika").

"It's a long story."

Officer Jenny had weighed the pro and cons of calling an ambulance for the girl (Misty, as the League ID in her backpack revealed her to be) and sending her to a human hospital, or shoving the group into the pod of her motorcycle and hightailing them to the Viridian City pokémon center.

She included in in the decision making process: her assessment of the girl's condition, the time it would take an ambulance, the hospital's current load, the state of the boy and his Pikachu, the fact that the boy had not filled out the registration on his pokédex yet (She found a note inside reminding the trainers to do so, and to check in with Oak at Viridian City) and thus she needed Oak to confirm his identity, the damage to Misty's pokéballs, and the threat of either pokémon thieves or Team Rocket in the area.

In the end she decided the best course of action was to put them in her motorcycle, shatter the speed limits, and rush to the pokémon center. Her driving skills, combined with the boy's assistance, kept the ride smooth for the wounded passengers, despite the high speed and the crazy stunts.

Night had begun to fall when the Viridian City pokémon center came into sight, a greenish gray structure that cupped a gigantic red ball in the center of the roof.

"Hang on", Officer Jenny shouted over the roar of the motorcycle engine, "We're almost there!"

When she started to accelerate, the boy yelped and clutched his charges tighter.

She crested the rise, turned her motorcycle, and began a sliding stop that decelerated the vehicle enough to get through the open doors and ended up stopped before the front desk of the center.

Nurse Joy looked up and sighed.

"We have a driveway for a reason you know" she told the member of the Jenny clan.

"Driveways are people who don't know how to drive properly indoors. Besides, I've got an emergency here. The girl's a League member who needs medical attention, the boy's Pikachu needs attention as well, and I need to borrow your video phone to check the boy's identity with Professor Oak. Evidently Aaron here hasn't filled out the registration information on his pokédex yet. "

"Right" responded the member of the Joy clan, nodding. "I need two stretchers here, a stretcher for a female adolescent trainer, and one for a small electric pokémon!"

Two pairs of chanseys carrying two different sized stretchers, and a pair of machops came out of a door to the left of the front desk. The machops loaded Misty onto the stretchers, and then aided by the chanseys, carried her through a door to the front desk. The other pair of chanseys took Pikachu through a door on the right side of the center. He cheerily waved to Ash just before the doors closed.

Nurse Joy pulled on a pair of medical gloves, and pressed a button on the desk.

"Cissy, I've got a human patient coming your way. Adolescent, female, numerous abrasions and contusions. I've got a pikachu who seems to be suffering moderate to severe battle damage, so I can't help you over there."

"Acknowledged" came the reply over the intercom. Nurse Joy then turned to Ash.

"Right, what's your name?"

"Aaron Autumns" replied Ash Ketchum automatically.

"Aaron, normally I'd tell you not to let your pokémon battle to the point where they get in the condition that yours is in, but I think there's a long story involved here. The damage doesn't look too bad right now, it's certainly manageable. Don't worry, he's in the best of hands right now. I'm going to need you to wait patiently and cooperate with Officer Jenny now, okay?"

"Alright" replied Ash, nodding. Nurse Joy then turned and followed Pikachu to the ER.

Officer Jenny then led him behind the desk and used the pokémon center's main video phone to call Professor Oak.

There was a mural depicting four legendary pokémon behind the desk. The picture of the bottom left legendary slid down, reviling a screen. On the screen there was the back of someone's head.

"This is Professor Oak speaking. Might I ask who this is?"

"Wrong camera Professor" Officer Jenny told the former Pokémon Champion. Oak jumped in his seat, and turned around in his swivel chair, flustered.

"Sorry Officer" the pokémon professor said, rubbing the back of his head. "What seems to be the trouble?"

"Not much" replied Jenny, "just a trainer who didn't finish filling out his pokedex registration information before arriving in Viridian City. There's a long story involved, but I just need you to confirm that this is Aaron Autumns."

Oak peered at Ash again, who simply looked back. Once more, upon seeing the boy's eyes, the professor got that haunting feeling.

"Yes, that is Aaron Autumns" the pokemon professor told the police woman.

"Thank you Professor, I'm sorry to have bothered you, but there's been reports of pokémon thieves in the area and I needed to be sure. His pikachu wasn't in a pokéball, so..."

"Quite understandable Officer," Oak reassured the woman. Don't worry. But I left instructions in all the trainer's pokédexs to contact me once they reached Viridian, so this call should have happened anyway. By the way, where is Pikachu?"

"He's being treated by Nurse Joy right now" answered Ash.

"Ran into some trouble on the way I see. Catch any pokémon? Gary bet me a million yen that he would catch the most pokémon, but I told him that there was always someone better."

"Ummm... we really didn't have time to catch any pokémon..."

Oak hung his head in despair.

"Well, money isn't everything. But does this trouble have anything to do with why Officer Jenny brought you in herself?"

"He arrived in town carrying a wounded girl, with a damaged pikachu riding on his head" Jenny told Oak, "it was an unusual sight."

"This should be quite a story Aaron," the professor turned to the boy. "What happened?"

"Well, me and Pikachu were traveling down the path to here" began Ash, "when out of nowhere a bike and a girl come flying out of the woods!"

"Don't you mean a girl on a bike?" asked Oak.

"No. The bike landed somewhere else. Then I rush over to her and she tells me to run away. I pick her up, she faints, and then a flock of spearows explode from the forest and try to attack us. But I start running-"

"You ran? You ran from a flock of spearows while carrying another trainer?" Oak looked at Ash with an appraising eye. "You don't look that athletic."

"She was very light" replied Ash, shrugging. He was actually worried that the girl was not eating enough or something. She didn't seem malnourished though. Or were humans supposed to be that light? Yet another thing he had to add to his list of human related questions. Nurse Joy probably knew. Maybe she could also answer his question about Gary's team of cheerleaders...

"What happened next?" Oak inquired.

"Well, they didn't attack all at once, so we had to shock them a bit at a time. Since it was obvious that they were waiting for us to tire, Pikachu pretended to exhaust himself. Then they all tried to get us and Pikachu zapped them all at once and then it started to rain and a fearow tried to kill us and eat her eyes-"

"Wait, the fearow was trying to eat her eyes. How do you know this?"

Ash almost said, because that what's the fearow had said, but he caught himself just in time.

"Just in the way it tried to peck at them. Then I had Pikachu use Thunder -"

"That Pikachu knows Thunder?" Oak tapped his chin. "I won't have thought that it would, I caught it rather easily. But I suppose that's the weakness of pikachus. They're fast, and can deal some major damage, but they don't take hits very well. So you had Pikachu use Thunder on the Fearow and then what?"

"Well, Fearow used Mirror Move and hit Pikachu's Thunder with another Thunder and they blew up," Ash continued.

"I still have yet to discover why all pokémon attacks can blow up" muttered Professor Oak.

"Well, we were hurt by that and Fearow wasn't, so I told Pikachu to run away and get help. Then I tried to stop the fearow myself, but Pikachu came back and caught it by surprise and -"

Ash debated for a moment on the wisdom of telling people that he taught his Pikachu to control lightning. Everything considered it might worry people. And it would bring up questions about how he had taught the pokémon to do so. Professor Oak would investigate, and he might up discovering Ash's past, and then bad things could happen. So Ash decided to fudge the truth a bit.

"-and then" Aaron (Ash) continued "Pikachu surprised it by again with a Thunder attack and we knocked it out. Pikachu didn't use it quite right and ended up hurting himself. Then I had to carry them all to Viridian City and then Officer Jenny spotted me and then she brought me here and then we called you" Ash finished.

"Well that's certainly a valid reason for not catching any pokémon. Thought it would've been more fitting if it had been had been a dragon type." Oak muttered the last sentence.

"What?" Ash asked the pokémon professor, confused.

"Nothing kid, nothing at all," Oak shook his head. "Well I can't wait to tell Gary about this. Is it true that he declared you two rivals?" Ash nodded. "Well I can't wait to tell him what his rival's been up to. I'm glad I took his recommendation and gave you a pokémon! And good work with that pikachu! I thought it would be extraordinarily difficult to work with it, but you've shown some talent. Remember to fill out the registration on your pokédex. And can you keep me informed as to your progress. I don't ask this of every trainer anymore, but you seem like you're going to have an interesting journey."

"I'll try" Ash told the former Champion warily. That could be troublesome, but he could always pretend to forget. It wasn't like he was going to be traveling with any humans that would remind him to call the professor regularly.

Professor Oak nodded and then said his farewells to Ash and Jenny. The screen went blank, and Ash went to go change clothes. He pulled his spare set out of his backpack, changed into them and then went to look for the pokémon center's washing machines. Poison Lance had told him about everything that pokémon centers had to offer and had Ash practice using laundry machines a couple of times, when the weedle thought it was safe.

Ash put his clothes in the wash, poured in the detergent, started the cycle and then went to the waiting room to wait for Pikachu.

As he was sitting there, twiddling his thumbs, a sudden realization struck him. He would be staying at the pokémon center that night. From the looks of the place, it was deserted that night. That meant he would get a room for sure. And that meant-

It would be the first time in seven years that Ash slept with a roof over his head.

Pikachu's operation didn't take very long, and Ash joyfully reclaimed his pokémon from a smiling Nurse Joy. Ash then inquired about Misty's condition. Nurse Joy told him that the nurses who handled trainer care had determined that there had been no internal injuries, stitched up the cuts, and were currently examining the girl for any hairline fractures. Evidently she would be back on her feet in a couple of days.

Nurse Joy also informed Ash, that if it hadn't been for him, the spearows and the fearow would have done a great deal more damage. From looking at Misty's injuries it was evident that the spearow were toying with her, the bird pokémon had been playing a game of cat and mouse with the girl and if they had decided to end it before Ash had arrived, then there would have been little possibility of Misty recovering.

"That girl owes you a lot. Maybe even her life" Nurse Joy told the boy, "and I have to say, it was an incredibly brave thing to do. Somewhat stupid, most trainers would've tried to get help, instead of trying to carry someone to safety while being attacked by a flock of murderous spearows, but still incredibly brave. You're a good kid Aaron Autumns, and from the looks of your pikachu, you'll do fine as a trainer."

Aaron (Ash) blushed, lowered his gaze to the floor, and rubbed the back of his head.

He laughed nervously and then said, "It's not like I could've not helped there. It was nothing."

Nurse Joy smiled, and then looked at the clock. It was getting rather late in the evening. She told Aaron that he should think about turning in, and then went back to the front desk to finish up her shift.

Ash took Pikachu to the trainer bunks. All the rooms were empty; evidently most trainers who were in the area had alternative lodgings.

So he grabbed a bottom bunk (avoiding the top bunks due to a childhood incident that involved sleeping in a tree), changed into some sleeping clothes, shoved his stuff under his bed, and then lay back in the bed.

It was an odd sensation.

Unlike the ground the mattress actually gave a bit under his weight, giving Ash a tiny scare at first. The give was very mild, and for the most part the mattress was soft without letting Ash sink into it. Softness was not something Ash usually slept on, and the gentle feel of the fabric of the sheet beneath him was also unusual.

The boy then pulled the covers up; at least here he had something to compare it to; Poison Lance had made him blankets. But pokémon silk blankets felt way different than the comforter provided by the pokémon center.

The warm gentle pressure felt so right, and Ash nearly fell asleep right then and there. But he shook his head, and turned to Pikachu, who was munching on some berries that he had procured from somewhere.

You know, I didn't realize this before, but it's unusual for a wild Pikachu to know Thunder. How'd you learn it? Ash asked the electric mouse.

Pikachu looked up at the human boy.

My dad showed me the basics, Pikachu explained he had learned it off a trained electric pokemon somewhere. I practiced for a long time and I finally got it by observing lightning. It was awesome, 'specially the first time I used it. That Raticate had it coming. But it doesn't seem as awesome now that I can hurl lightning bolts at my enemies now. Thanks for teaching me to do that again.

I'm not letting you do that again until we've done a lot of training, Ash said, wagging a finger at the pokémon. You're going to need practice directing electricity you don't produce. I don't want to think about what would've happened if that lightning bolt had hit you.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, replied Pikachu, waving away Ash's concerns, but it's still cool. I can't wait to use it again! Say, do you know if there's any Flying Types that look like goats? Or where one could find a chariot?

...I don't want to know what's going through your brain right now...

Electricity, replied Pikachu, his cheeks sparking.

That was horrible, Ash groaned.

It's alright human. I'll forgive your lack of taste in humor, since you helped me defeat a flock of spearows and an overpowered fearow. So anyway, when is the girl going to wake up?

The nurses didn't say, Ash said.

I hope she gets up in time for us to meet her, so she can thank us, said Pikachu.

Why do you want that, Ash asked his pokémon warily?

Cause human girls usually find me cute and adorable, Pikachu explained cheekily. And I find them to be cute and adorable in the same sorta way.

Wait, we humans find you cute because you're small, cheerful looking, a bit chubby, and I don't actually know why else, Ash scratched his head. I really need to find a way to ask people about these things.

And certain pokemon find certain human cute and adorable because either you're so tall, helpless, and curious, or so small, helpless, and curious. Mostly helpless.

Helpless! I'll show you helpless, rodent! Ash grabbed his Pokémon.

STOP! STOP,STOP,STOP,STOP! Pikachu screeched. THAT TICKLES!

That's the point!

I demand that you release me human, this is a most undignified- OH THAT TICKLES!

Pikachu let out a small electric shock to make his trainer stop tickling him. Ash dropped him on the bed and fell back, his frazzled hair squishing weirdly against the pillow. As he felt Pikachu scamper up to his chest, Ash noticed that the air felt unusual. Not only did it smell and taste funny, but it felt cooler than it should have been. He assumed it was the air conditioning thing Poison Lance had told him about. Something that his school had lacked.

Pikach stood on his trainer's chest, staring smugly down at Ash.

See, helpless, Pikachu said smugly.

Fine, I'm helpless. That means you're obligated to help me. The human grabbed the Pikachu and cuddled him close, turning on the bed to go to sleep.

What's this supposed to help you with? Pikachu asked as he smuggled into Ash.

My nightmares, Ash told him. They haven't been as bad in recent years, but Poison Lance told me that they might start up again during the beginning of my journey. This sorta things worked in the past.

Oh, I guess you would have some. Don't worry, if you have any tonight I'll shock them away!

... you could just pinch me awake. It would be less painful.

Yeah, actually that's a good idea, Pikachu admitted. Probably should've gone with that first. Night Ash.

Night Pikachu.

Ash's dreams never had been very lucid, especially his nightmares. For the most part they consisted of confusing flashes of smoke, fire, burning houses, barking, that horrible persistent barking that hounded one through the evil forest and they're coming and coming and get away, GO AWAY,GO AWAY!

Sometimes there was a woman's scream. Other times he heard a man shouting. Occasionally he hard Marp's terrified bleating. Very rarily would he seem some unusual incidents, an oddly dressed man with an irregularly shaped red monocle, a white beam of energy removing a raven haired man's arm and shoulder. A woman carrying him hit by a blast of fire and then dark shapes descending on her.

They always ended in the same way. A multicolored beam of light shone from somewhere, and then Poison Lance or a pokémon that had been watching Ash, woke him up.

Tonight's nightmare brought some new additions. There was a shadow that blotted out the stars, and it was crashing through the trees, going to get him, joining the dark bounding shapes in the chase,

no escape,

no espcape,

no

no no no no no no

mamma dadda momma dadda fire smoke death

blood

oh no no no no, why, twisted trees reaching for him, and Arceus why and-

Multicolored light shone and something was shaking him.

Wake up! Oh, finally.

Ash sat up, rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and blinked. He could make out the small shape of his Pikachu standing on the bed beside him.

Thanks, Ash yawned.

No problem, Pikachu replied. It sounded pretty bad. Wanna talk about it?

I can't remember enough of it to talk about.

Oh. The two were silent for a moment. Going back to sleep now? Pikachu asked his trainer.

Ash looked up to check the position of the moon and stars to gauge the time, but then he remembered were he was. He tried to remember how humans told time indoors and then remember learning about clocks. Ash glanced around and saw a digital clock on the wall opposite the door. It told him that it was 5:30 am.

I think I'll get an early start, Ash said, stretching a little. I can't remember if pokémon centers provide food. We'll have to go check it out.

They better have some food for me, said Pikachu, jumping off the bed. Ash got dressed in the dark, and then remembered the light switch. He packed his things and went looking for a bathroom. Ash washed up a bit, deciding to try the showers after breakfast.

As he and Pikachu were heading back to the lobby to start looking around for any place in the center that had food, an alarm went off.

"ATTENTION! ATTENTION! CITIZENS OF VIRIDIAN CITY, THE RADAR NETWORK HAS SPOTTED AN AIRCRAFT BELONGING TO THE ORGANIZATION KNOWN AS TEAM ROCKET IN THE CITY'S AIRSPACE! PLEASE REMAIN CALM, STAY INDOORS, AND KEEP YOUR POKEMON CLOSE! REPEAT: AN AIRCRAFT BELONGING TO TEAM ROCKET HAS BEEN SPOTTED IN THE AIR SPACE!"

The trio had kept their balloon in a narrow band of air space that the radar systems of most cities neglected. Their chosen craft moved too slowly for any motion sensing devices to register, as they were all tuned to search for much speedier aircraft. They had waited until nightfall to begin their operation so that nobody would look up and spot them. It wasn't until they had to descend that the radar spotted them, and by then it was too late. The two humans had thrown their pokéballs through the pokémon center's glass roof before the emergency lock down had begun, and the Meowth followed the balls.

With a shatter of broken glass an ekans and a koffing appeared, Meowth following right behind them.

Ash and Pikachu skidded into the lobby, just in time to see the ekans use Acid on the front desk, forcing Nurse Joy to jump away, and destroying the security controls.

Two ropes descended through the broken skylight. Two people dressed in white uniforms with giant red Rs on them slid down the ropes and landed behind the two pokémon. One was an effeminate looking purple haired man, currently holding a rose to his face. The other was a red haired woman with a face that somehow seemed naturally haughty.

"Who are you guys?" Ash asked, as he ran between them and Nurse Joy.

Careful Ash, warned his Pikachu, this doesn't look good, and I don't feel up to battling again yet.

"So the twerp wants to know who we are" said the red haired woman condescendingly. "Shall we enlighten him?"

"Yes, lets" replied the man haughtily, taking a sniff of his rose.

"Prepare for trouble!" Called out the red haired woman.

"Make it double!" Cried out the man.

"To protect the world from devastation!"

"To unite all peoples within our nation!"

"To denounce the evils of truth and love!"

"To extend our reach to the stars above!"

"Jessie!" said the red haired woman with blue eyes.

"James!" said the grayish-green eyed man with purple hair.

"Team Rocket blasts off at the speed of light!"

"Surrender now or prepare to fight!"

The Meowth opened its mouth, but Jessie said. "Not this time Meowth. Remember the plan."

The cat pokemon nodded and closed its mouth.

"Team Rocket" growled Ash, remembering Poison Lance's stories. "I've only got one thing to - PIKACHU THUNDERSHOCK!" Tendrils of electric energy slammed into the ground between Ash and Team Rocket, destroying the floor and kicking up dust. Ash turned around and ran to Nurse Joy.

"Hurry!" he said, grabbing her hand and starting to dash off.

"No, this way", she said, taking them through the door to the left of the desk. When they were both through, Ash turned to close the door behind them, but as he did so, it fell to pieces. Standing in the wreckage was the meowth, a smug expression on his face.

Ash grabbed Joy's hand and dashed off again.

"We've got to get to the safe room" Nurse Joy told Ash as they dashed down the hallway. Pikachu let loose a Thunderbolt that crackled behind them, forcing the Rocket pokémon to abandon the pursuit in favor of dodging.

I can't keep this up, he told his trainer, so you better think of something fast idiot.

Thanks for the encouragement, Ash thought to himself.

"Turn right here" Nurse Joy told Ash when they reached an intersection. They rounded the corner and then Joy led them through an automatic steel door. It closed behind them.

"Lockdown mode! Now! Authorization Code metapod-snaffy-forty-three!"

"Code accepted. Lockdown Mode initiating" spoke a synthesized female voice. Sirens began to wail throughout the center, and metal blast doors began to close in different hallways.

Ash looked at the room they were currently in. There was a computer in an alcove in the back, and some sort of weird conveyor belt thing next to it. But what caught his eye were the rows of long shelves, each shelf holding a neat row of pokeballs.

Nurse Joy ran to the back of the room, and sat down at the computer. She typed a bit, and then spoke into a microphone.

"Attention Pewter City pokémon center. This is the Viridian City pokémon center. We are currently under assault by Team Rocket. Preparing to send the pokémon over to you."

"Acknowledged. Preparing to receive pokémon."

A whir filled the room as the conveyor belt started to send a stream of pokéballs to the weird contraption in back. A mechanical arm reached out to the conveyor belt and grabbed a pokéball. The weird dome shaped contraption opened up and the arm dropped the pokéball in. There was a burst of white energy from an emitter dish above the contraption and then the strange device opened up to reveal that it was empty.

"Pokémon received" came the message from Pewter City.

For half a minute this continued, and then there was a window rattling boom, and the pokémon center shuddered. Some pokéballs fell off the shelves, and the room went dark.

"They've killed the generator" said Joy, "but we've got a backup system. Behold Pika-power!"

The lights came back on and Nurse Joy gestured towards a window to the right of the computer. Ash looked through it and saw a circle of pikachus, forelegs on each other's backs, trotting on a circular treadmill.

Power! Power! Power! Pika-Power! The electric mice chanted, and streams of yellow electricity flowed into the column in the center.

"How'd you get them to do that?" Ash asked Joy.

"You'd be surprised what a Pikachu will do for its favorite food," Joy said, gently smiling. "The only downside is that we have to keep a bunch of weird food stocked all the time."

Yes my brethren! Use your power to confound those knaves! Give them a taste of the power of Pikachu! Ash's Pikachu cheered, thrusting a foreleg into the air.

But another explosion rocked the center, momentarily stopping the pikachus who struggled to regain their balance. The synthesized female voice spoke again.

"Pokémon transport system offline. Lockdown procedures interrupted. Emergency Override invoked. Unable to secure Human Wing, Transport room, and Trainer's Quarters. Looking for solution..."

"Prioritize Pokémon Transport system" Nurse Joy shouted at the computer, "and then Transport Room security."

"Acknowledged. Estimated Time to Completion: 10 minutes."

"Show me the security feeds" Joy requested.

Her computer blinked for a second and then an image of Team Rocket appeared. The two humans and their pokémon were running down an unfamiliar hallway.

"Crap, they're in the Human Wing" the Nurse said worried. "They're looking to steal pokémon from the wounded trainers first. But why not come here first... Of course. They've shown they've either got the blueprints or good technical skills. They figure they can get in here at any time, but they want to get the wounded trainers before they escape. "

Joy clicked a bit, causing the display to change, selected an icon, typed something in the program that appeared, and a single bit of data popped up.

"We've only got one trainer there right now, Misty. Crap, and the staff in that part of the Center is in the Staff Quarters and that's still in Lockdown. She's defenseless."

Ash started moving immediately. He grabbed two pokéballs from off the ground, put them in his belt, and gently lowered Pikachu from his shoulders.

"Does the Pika-generator have any battery" Aaron (Ash) asked of Nurse Joy.

"Yes, Aaron, but what does that have to do with-"

"Pikachu, when that battery's filled up enough I want you to take those pikachus and find me" Ash ordered his pokémon. "I'm going to go mess with Team Rocket and keep them away from the girl."

Aye, aye captain! Pikachu replied saluting.

Ash nodded, turned, and ran down the room, pausing only to slam into the steel door.

"Sorry about that" Joy said sheepishly, "but you should have asked me to unlock it first"

Ash's response was too muffled to understand.

The sirens had woken her up, but some of the gentle haze from the pain killers remained.

She was in a bed. There was an unfamiliar ceiling above her. Misty stared at it for a moment, and then some memories started to trickle through the drugs.

Flapping wings, tearing beaks, ripping talons, winged shadows, and lightning. And a boy and a Pikachu.

A sudden realization hit her, and the icy hand of fear hollowed her insides, leaving only a tight coldness.

Her pokémon! Where were her pokémon!

She sat up as fast as she could, and glanced around the room. It was some sort of medical ward. She wasn't hooked up to an IV or any monitoring machines, which meant that her injuries couldn't be too bad.

But she only cared about the backpack that was in the chair by the bed. Her vision was somewhat blurry from the drugs, but she could tell that it was full. Her pokémon were fine.

Misty breathed a sigh of relief and lay back down. Before she could surrender herself to the painkillers once more, her door burst open with a loud bang.

As far as she could tell, with the current state of her vision, two men walked in, one with purple hair, and one with red hair. They didn't seem like nurses.

"Well, well, well" said the purple haired one. There was something red near his face. Was he bleeding? "I almost thought this entire section would be empty. But it seems there's one recuperating little girl with her pokémon unguarded."

Two more purple shapes appeared in the door, a long one, and a hovering sphere. A brown shape scampered under them.

"Yes indeed, just one helpless little brat, and her backpack. I'm betting that this is where all your pokémon are" said the red haired one mockingly.

"Well, we'll just be taking these! Hope you get better- OH SWEET ARCEUS WHY!"

Misty had kicked him between the legs. Hard. The purple haired man fell to the ground twitching.

The red haired one turned to Misty. Before he could do anything Misty also kicked him between the legs. The man grunted in pain, but stayed on his feet.

"Why the hell would you try that on me!" Shouted the red haired one.

Misty peered closely at the person for a second.

"Though you were a man" she mumbled apologetically.

"YOU WHAT!" Jessie shouted as James stood up. Before either of them could do anything, both of them had flying paper weights applied to the back of their heads.

Heads throbbing, the due turned around to see the twerp from earlier. The stupid little boy stuck his tongue out at them.

"Losers! Bet you can't get me!" The boy taunted them.

"Ekans!"

"Koffing!"

"BEAT HIM TO WITHIN AN INCH OF HIS MISERABLE LITTLE LIFE!" The Rocket humans cried out in unison. Koffing bobbed and Ekans nodded. The two Poison Types lunged at the boy, who turned tail and ran.

During the commotion Meowth grabbed Misty's backpack, threw it to James, and then followed the other pokémon. He wanted to watch this.

Ash ducked a spray of Acid, and then rounded a corner. When he had found out that the pokémon in the two pokéballs he grabbed were a pidgey and a rattata, it didn't take him long to think of a plan to deal with the two Rocket pokémon.

Purple pokémon poked around the corner and spewed Acid and Smog at him. He ran to another intersection and jumped to the left. Koffing and Ekans followed him, spewing Acids and Smogs indiscriminately. When they reached the intersection, Ash only had one thing to say.

Now! Ash shouted.

A miniture tornado formed, courtesy of Pidgey's Gust, and it sucked up all Koffing's Smog, turning the color of a particularly nasty looking bruise. Like a deranged figure skater it wobbled and spun into poisonous pair, not only hitting them with a Gust, but with their own poison as well, and blinding them.

Guys now! Quick Attacks!

Rattata and Pidgey nodded, and blurred off into the haze. There was the sound of impacts, and Rattata and Pidgey came rushing out the other side. As soon as they landed they repeated the process. The effect was something like a pair of sentient bouncing balls, speeding in and out of the haze.

Repeated Quick Attacks soon cleared the smokescreen, revealing a pair of beaten poison types.

What do ya know? It worked! Good job Ash, praised Rattata.

I thought it was a stupid plan too. Boy was I surprised Pidgey told Ash.

Why does everyone think I'm an idiot? Ash sighed.

Hey! A voice shouted from down the hallway. Meowth had caught up with the group. You did this you brat! I'm going to tear you shreds for this! No one messes with Team Rocket!

Hey! You guys attacked us first! Ash retorted. Of course since he was talking in the manner of pokémon, it caused a small reaction in the Rocket pokémon. It was a small reaction because the cat pokémon's head failed to go through the ceiling when he jumped in surprise.

Did you just understand me? And talk pokémon like?

Nope. You're imagining things Ash told the cat.

There you did it again! The meowth pointed one claw. I'm not going crazy here at the top! Why don't you come with me little boy, and we can tell Jessie and James all about this. I'm sure they'll be very interested.

How bout - QUICK ATTACK!

Pidgey and Rattata both sped towards Meowth. But there was a flash of silver and the two pokémon were sent flying back the way they came, with angry red scratches all over them.

Ash caught the two small pokémon.

Are you two okay? He asked.

Yeah, sure. I just think that I'll be takin a nap right bout now... Rattata sighed.

I'm definitely out of the fight, Pidgey admitted.

Ash returned the pair to their pokéballs. He looked at Meowth.

Shouldn't had a songbird and a rat attack a cat kid. Now... Meowth raised his paws and silver claws popped out. Are you going to do this- GET BACK HERE YOU LITTLE BRAT!

Out of pokémon, Ash did the only sensible thing.

He ran away, looking for a long blunt heavy object.

Ash ran into an office and glance around. There against the wall! Some sort of flat metal thing. They looked familiar, right, he recalled them from school. A metal folding chair. He grabbed it by its legs and then hid by the open door.

You can't hide twerp! Meowth shouted, getting nearer. I can smell you wherever you go. You can't escape from-

Ash politely disagreed and communicated his disagreement.

Meowth had entered the office mid-sentence and was interrupted by Ash's counterpoint. Ash's language skills may have been lacking, but he could still hold his own in a spirited debate.

Ash's counterpoint sent Meowth flying into the far wall. Meowth's rebuttal left an indent in the chair, but it failed to do much else.

Ash took the opportunity to politely exit.

Pikachu and his new set of minions found Ash trying to get back to the safe room. The group of pikachus had been hurtling through the pokémon center on a medical cart. Four pikachus pushed it from the back, while the other huddled together in a pile on the top. At the very front of the cart stood Ash's Pikachu, calling out directions with great enthusiasm and gusto.

Hi Ash! His pokémon called out to him.

Watch it! Ash shouted.

Oh, right. Guys BRAKE!

They skidded to a halt in front of the spot Ash had vacated. The human boy had pressed himself up against the wall in an attempt to get out of the way of the vehicle.

So how'd it go? Pikachu asked Ash, while his brethren chattered among themselves excitedly.

They were in the girl's room already, Ash answered. I managed to knock out their pokemon though.

Did you retrieve Misty's pokemon?

Crap! I left the Rocket humans in there with her pokemon! Ash slapped his forehead. I didn't realize that they didn't follow me. Arceus damnit!

Hey, watch the language, Pikachu chided. They're too young to hear that crap.

Sorry, Ash apologized. But come on, we have to find them. They'll probably be heading towards the saferoom. We'll need to cut them off!

Perfect. Follow us. Helmspikachus! Pikachu ordered. Turn us around and then full speed ahead! The four Pikachus in back saluted and proceeded to turn the cart around and start pushing it back the way it came. When it got up to speed, they hopped on the bottom. Ash ran alongside the commandeered medical equipment.

We're going to need a plan. Pikachu, you feeling up to a fight yet? Or at least a Thunder?

Sorry, no can do, responded Ash's Pikachu. I'm still tapped.

What about your friends then? Ash inquired. If they all used Thunderbolt together-

No can do, they don't know it yet. One of the pokecenter pikachus popped his head out of the pile and piped up. But we've been practicing it said. But it's hard. The best we can do is a Thundershock that's a bit more powerful than usual.

The problem is Ash, his pokémon told him, that the difference between Thundershock and Thunderbolt is how strongly we can, ummm, what did you call it? How we target things again?

Don't know the technical words. Let's just call it an electric lock-on, Ash suggested. You know, I'm going to need some more books on electricity soon. Hey now that I'm a trainer-

Ash, focus, Pikachu chided. Evil pokémon thieves remember? Thundershock relies on us making a single weak electric lock-on to our target so that some of the electricity we unleash will hit them. But there are usually several other naturally occurring lock-on points as well, so some of the electricity goes there. When we're good enough we can make sure it doesn't hit any allies, or at least make sure it only hits things in front of us. When we're really good we can lock on to multiple targets with Thundershock, or hit a target at several different points. Thunderbolt on the other hand, requires a strong electric lock-on, to control all that energy. It's essentially a stronger Thundershock, but with all the strikes combined into a single bolt. These guys here can't make a strong enough lock on to use Thunderbolt. In fact we can't risk them using Thundershock either, they're not good enough to avoid friendly fire.

Ash's mind raced faster than his body, furiously searching for ideas. He didn't know what other pokémon the Rocket's had, and the plan he had used with Rattata and Pidgey probably wouldn't work again. The group of pikachus could not help, and his own was too tired to fight...

Of course!

Pikachu, what's the difference between Thunder and Thunderbolt? Ash asked.

Mainly discharge size, Pikachu answered. But you also have to be able to manage some control over the entire path for the electricity with Thunder. That's why we generally arc it and why it's less accurate. Why?

Cause I just had an idea, Ash grinned.

Your last one allowed me to hurl lightning bolts. I'm all ears.

Can you make an electric lock-on strong enough to control their Thundershocks?

I could probably do that, if we all shared the same body, Pikachu snarked. Ya know, if we could do other impossible things. It's nearly impossible to target for someone else, ya know.

But what if you didn't just do that, but you used the whole path controlling thing from Thunder to gather their electricity as well. Would that work?

Pikachu thought about it for a moment, while the group reached a flight of stairs. The pikachus hurled over the top step, and flew down to the landing. Using quick changes in their arrangement, they managed to keep the cart level, so that it hit ground on all four wheels. The four pikachus in on the bottom kicked off the wall to turn the cart around and repeat the acrobatics on the second flight of stairs.

Ash followed in slack jawed amazement.

How'd they-

They do cart races for fun when they're bored, Ash's pokemon informed him, but more importantly I think your idea could work. But we'll need some set up time.

That's good, cause I have another idea.

Jessie and James followed the trail of Acid and Smog to find their pokémon, taking Misty's backpack with them. They roused Koffing and Ekans, muttering soothing nothings to their injured pokémon as they woke them up and returned them to their pokéballs. Then the Rocket humans went looking for Meowth. It took them a bit longer, there was no trail of Special Attacks to follow, but they managed to locate the felonious feline nonetheless. They found him slumped against a wall and there was a metal chair with an imprint of his face nearby to tell them what had happened.

James knelt down and gently shook Meowth. The cat pokemon muttered something. Jessie put her hand on Jame's shoulder and shook her head. She pulled James back, knelt down, then picked Meowth up by the scruff of his neck and began to slap him.

"WAKE UP! This is no time for a cat nap!" The red head yelled at the pokemon. Meowth woke up with a yelp. He tried to Scratch Jessie, but she dropped him instantly.

"What happened Meowth? How did that twerp managed to take you out, let alone Ekans and Koffing?" James asked.

"That little brat used a sneak attack! He had Pidgey ambush your guy's pokemon with Gust, blinded them with Koffing's own Smog, and then spammed Quick Attacks. Then he tried to take me by surprise, in mid banter! But that little twerp forgot that I'm the top cat!" Meowth said in the manner of humans.

"Looks like he got you in the end. You didn't reveal that you can talk, did you." observed James.

"Twerp really likes his sneak attacks. And no, I remembered the plan" said Meowth, rubbing his head.

"It seems like we've run into an excellent trainer" said Jessie thoughtfully, "and he's just starting..."

"We probably should try and recruit him to our evil cause" James stated, rubbing his chin. "Whose turn is it to get the presentation equipment?"

"Oh, and another thing" interjected Meowth. "There's something special about this one, I'll tell you guys later when things are calmer. But Rocket HR would probably give us a bonus if we recruited this guy."

"Interesting" said Jessie, "but you're right. We still need to steal all the center's pokemon before the teleporter comes back online. Let's get going."

The Rocket Trio found the saferoom door locked once more. Evidently the repairs for that section took less time than estimated. But it was of no matter, they had packed enough explosives to deal with this eventuality.

"Ya know" said Meowth, "we should probably give da Nurse a chance to open up."

"But then she'll know what we're up to and try to prepare" Jessie retorted.

"But if she doesn't know, she might get caught in the explosion" said James, "and I shouldn't need to tell you that it's rude to hit someone with an exploding metal door."

"Oh, I guess you're right" sighed Jessie, "it's more evil to be polite." She slammed her fist against the door a few times, and then shouted, "You've got one chance to open this door before we blow it up!"

They heard a gasp from inside, and some panicked noises followed by a synthesized female voice. The Rocket Trio waited a moment, and then shrugged.

"She heard us, good enough" said Meowth, turning back to work on planting the explosives.

"Hey!" A voice shouted from down the hallway "Wait you guys!" Jessie, James, and Meowth looked back to see the twerp from before rush down the hallway.

"What do you want?" Asked Jessie haughtily, putting down the explosives for a moment.

"I want to see about joining Team Rocket."

The thought that went through Jessie, James, and Meowth's head at the same time was: That was easy.

"Well, of course who wouldn't" said Jessie, preening her hair, "we're the best Team in the world."

"Stylish uniforms" said James.

"Adventurous lifestyle"

"Great food!"

"You get to go to exotic places!"

"Plenty of career opportunities!"

"Actually" Ash interrupted, "it's because you lot seem like good guys."

The Rocket Trio went deathly still at this.

"What" growled Jessie.

"Did" growled James.

"YOU CALL US!" They finished in furious unison.

"Good guys" replied Ash. "Real noble folk. I can see myself doing good around the world with you guys, righting wrongs, helping orphans, feeding the hungry, you know, that sort of thing."

With inarticulate screams of rage the Rocket Trio abandoned their work with the explosives, as well as Misty's backpack, and rushed the boy. Once more, Ash turned tail and ran away. He raced towards the lobby, making sure to stay just the right distance ahead of the terrible trio.

When he reached the lobby he found the cart full of pikachus waiting, all of their faces scrunched up in concentration. Small ribbons of electricity crackled about them. Pikachu still stood at the very front of the group.

As Ash ran behind them there were two flashes of white light.

Not him again, moaned Koffing.

This probably isn't going to be good, said Ekans taking in the sight of the lobby full of pikachus. Jessie, James, and Meowth slid to a halt behind the two poison pokémon.

"What do you think you can do with all those puny pokémon twerp?" Jessie taunted him, "They're not going to save you from having the stuffing beaten out of you."

"Yeah! How dare you sully our terrible reputations with such talk" James huffed, "the very nerve!"

"You know, you guys are probably want to go to a nerve specialist after this" Ash replied, "as well as several other medical professionals."

"After what?" asked James warily. Koffing hid behind him, and Ekans curled up into a ball.

"Just this. PIKACHU! MULTI MEGAVOLT PIKA CANNON!"

You need to work on your naming skills, Pikachu said, briefly looking sideways at his trainer. NOW MY BRETHREN! LET THEM TASTE OUR ELECTRIC VENGENCE!

A bright yellow light filled the room and the Pika-power was pumped to Pikachu. He gathered it around himself like a robe, occasional streamers of electric power popping off to scorch the floor. Red checks scrunched in concentration as Pikachu targeted the Rocket trio.

"Oh crap" stated Jessie.

"I think" said James.

"That."

"Team Rocket"

"Is about to"

"BLAST OFF!"

Pikachu let loose a long and loud cry. A giant bolt of electric energy issued forth from him. It crossed the room like a speeding striking snake and struck the Rockets. Coruscating yellow power flowed through the group, sparking and dancing from body to body in deranged circuits. Helpless within the grasp of the attack, Team Rocket writhed and groaned in pain. Koffing let out an involuntary burst of poisonous gas and the crackling power ignited it.

With a boom and in a column of smoke mixed with flames, Team Rocket was sent through the roof. Bits of plaster rained down on the pikachus and Ash.

Shit, are they still alive! The human boy rushed into the smoke as it cleared, looking for their bodies. But they were nowhere to be found. He looked around in a panic, desperately looking for either their bodies, or some signs of life. But it became a moot point when he heard a voice above him.

"We'll get you for that, you twerp!" Jessie called down, dangling on a rope hanging from their balloon. James and Meowth held on for dear life below her. The Rocket Trio scrambled up the rope and into their balloon, and then set off as fast as they could. Ash sighed in relief. He hadn't killed them after all. He would have to be more careful of that sort of thing in the future though.

Ash heard sirens in the distance.

It would figure that help would arrive too late. That sort of thing was responsible for the story of his life.

Well said Pikachu running up to his trainer, and then leaping on his shoulder, that was fun. Now I don't think we've had breakfast yet...

"It was lucky that Aaron was there this morning" said Officer Jenny to Nurse Joy. It was dawn, and the mixed colors of the early sun painted the scene in their vibrant colors. Streams of of deeply golden light fell upon the two woman, through the hole in the ceiling, as they stood talking by Joy's computer.

Various crews of humans and pokémon were working throughout the Viridian City pokémon center, fixing the damage caused by the early morning assault. Machokes and golems sifted through the rubble, technicians and electric pokémon fixed the wiring, and various officers and psychic pokémon searched for evidence that could be used to find Team Rocket.

"Indeed. He managed to drive off Team Rocket on his own. It was thanks to him that we managed to get all the pokémon to Pewter City" responded Nurse Joy, smiling in the dawn's light.

"And he saved Misty's pokémon. The girl will more to thank him for when she wakes up. Where is he by the way? I want to congratulate him."

"Oh, he took off right after breakfast. Something about his pokémon journey not waiting."

"That's too bad. Bet the girl will be disappointed about that."

"Yes, it is a shame. Of course before he left, I asked him about his plans and which Pokemon Center he plans to go to next. You know, as is procedure. Turns out Aaron wants to spend a few days training in the Viridian Forest before heading off to the Pewter City Pokemon Center."

"What does that have to do with this?" asked Jenny suspiciously.

"Oh, nothing. By the way could you go get someone to find a bike between here and Pallet Town?"

Elsewhere in Viridan City, a red haired woman dressed in black, with small black sunglasses and a black beanie, sat sipping coffee in a cafe. Next to her, a similarly attired man with purple/blue hair sat reading a newspaper.

"Terrible Trio of Rockets Repelled by Lone Trainer" he read out loud. "Well at least they got their adjectives right."

"Kid's clever" replied Jessie "taunting us like that. He'd go far in Team Rocket."

"That's right" said Meowth from under the table. "I never told you that thing."

"What thing?" questioned James.

"You know that thing that would get us all bonus from Rocket HR if we recruited him" Meowth told the humans. "It's amazing! You know how I can talk human and all. Well this kid can understand pokemon and talk like us too!"

Jessie and James looked at each other.

"Just imagine the things he could do in Team Rocket" Jessie said, steepleing her hands.

"All that wonderful evil he could do" James said in awe.

They both broke out in evil grins.

"We must recruit him" James stated.

"Just think of the reward we'll get" said Jessie still grinning.

"We should probably keep this a secret" Meowth interrupted "until we actually get him to join. We don't want someone else poaching this opportunity."

"Of course, you're right Meowth" Jessie agreed, "but we'll have to start working on the presentation."

"I'll do the PowerPoint" James offered cheerfully, doing a closed eye smile.

"And I'll make the refreshments!" said Jessie cheerfully, also doing a closed eye smile.

"And I'll steal the projector this time" said Meowth grinning.

"And pamphlets" the trio said in unison, "we have to make pamphlets. Never forget the pamphlets!"

Why didn't you stick around? Pikachu asked his trainer as the duo walked through Viridian Forest. They probably would've given you a medal back there.

Why? I did what any trainer would've done back there.

Are you sure you're not getting Pokemon Trainers and Pokemon Masters mixed up? Cause, you know, most trainers wouldn't be expected to defend a pokemon center from assault by their lonesome. Especially on their second day.

Hey, I had lots of help, Ash replied. You and all those other Pikachus are the ones who really saved the day.

I'd blush, but my cheeks are always red. Still, why didn't you hang around till Misty woke up?

How do you remember her name so easily?Ash asked.

Pikachu graced his trainer with a haughty look. Some of us take that little bit of extra effort to be polite. Not that an idiot like you would understand.

Hey! Quite calling me an idiot. You've liked my ideas so far, haven't you?

Well, you've gotten lucky twice, Pikachu grinned. Anyway, she probably would've wanted to thank us.

Again, it's not like I did anything special. You did all of the work.

I told you that flattery will get you nowhere. But you carried her, while running, saving her from a murderous flock of Spearows, and then tried to stand up to an overpowered Fearow alone to protect her. You really don't consider that to be anything special? Pikachu asked, giving Ash a suspicious look.

... Is this a trick question?

Dammit Ash. Pikachu's face met his palms.

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