The Path of the Aura: Intertwining Crossroads

Chapter V (5): Daily Life in Team Rocket (Part II (2))

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 2): Library

Date: June 14th, 2011 (06/14/11)

Time: 5:32 PM

Lucario, on another day off of Team Rocket missions and objectives, decided to gather more intelligence from the books that Team Rocket Main Headquarters offered in their respective library. One book quickly caught Lucario's eye, "The Center Point of the Sinnoh Region", a book that offers information on Sinnoh's Mt. Coronet.

Mt. Coronet is the tallest mountain range in Sinnoh, observable from any point in the entire region. It is said to contain Spear Pillar, a towering monument where the Alpha Pokémon Arceus created Dialga, Giratina, and Palkia. Their respective items were also made simultaneously: the Adamant Orb, Griseous Orb, and the Lustrous Orb. Once they were born, Arceus then fell into a deep slumber on the highest point in the mountain.

Spear Pillar is located on the tallest point in Mt. coronet, making it the tallest point in the entire Sinnoh region. It's shrouded in legend and is an ancient shrine with several of its pillars still standing erect to this day. Few people have successfully braved the frigid blizzards of Mt. Coronet and entered Spear Pillar, and those who have only see the pillars that remain stable and standing to this day. They notice a language that is currently impossible to decipher, imbued on specific pillars, some standing and some collapsed and in fragments. The language is from the Unown, Pokémon in the shape of one of twenty-eight symbols.

Lucario flipped through the remainder of the pages within the book, only to find nothing on the writings on the pillars of Spear Pillar. He closes the book and places it back in its original location on the book shelf.

"(How does Wanderer know the language of the Unown?)" Lucario thought to himself.


Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 29): Room 29-6

Date: June 14th, 2011 (06/14/11)

Time: 7:21 PM

Lucario, Mewtwo, and Wanderer were currently present in Room 29-6, with everyone else relaxing within their respective Poké Balls. The three Pokémon begin to discuss Mt. Coronet, the Spear Pillar, and the language of the Unown.

"Are you absolutely sure that you don't recall the remainder of the prophecy inscribed on one of Spear Pillar's pillars?" Mewtwo inquired Wanderer.

"I swear it with my life," Wanderer spoke truthfully.

Lucario recalled past events, back when he won his fight against an Absol and was aided in his physical recovery, and remembered Wanderer digressed from a topic about abnormal Lucario abilities and spoke of a divination.


(Lucario's Flashback)

"…There's a myth inscribed on one of Spear Pillar's…pillars." Wanderer remembered only a fraction of this. "It prophesizes a Pokémon, any Pokémon excluding Arceus, that defies normal Pokémon laws. I only wish I knew more, since I never finished deciphering the unusual pillar's Unown's language."


(End of Lucario's Flashback)

A question quickly emerged within Lucario's mind. "Why were you not able to completely decipher their language?"

"The pillar from which the prophecy was inscribed on was shattered into hundreds of pieces. I didn't possess telekinetic abilities back then, and I had little success in repairing the pillar myself. I only read what was already present on the remaining structure of the pillar."

"Is that all?" Lucario said, expecting a response where Wanderer would say something like "I only had enough time to decipher this much."

"I was not what I am presently back then," Wanderer explained.

"You are now." Mewtwo said.

"Mewtwo, what are you attempting to imply?" Lucario wondered.

"I have a mission tomorrow, involving capturing Pokémon within the caverns of Mt. Coronet. Traveling there will take a few days, back and forth, and I can discreetly search for Spear Pillar during my brief visit there. It would be helpful to me if your Wanderer accompanied me, since you've been within Spear Pillar before."

"I'll accompany you, Mewtwo," Wanderer agreed with a small smile. "It would be nostalgic to see my old place of residence once more..." The light-furred Aura Pokémon looked at the dark-furred Aura Pokémon. "if you allow me to, since humanity assumes that I'm of your possession."

"…" Lucario paused briefly to assess the situation and review.

Mewtwo would have a mission tomorrow, where it goes to capture Pokémon at Mt. Coronet. Since Spear Pillar holds questions that they desire answers to, Mewtwo wants Wanderer to accompany it and help look for it, since Wanderer has been to Spear Pillar once as it is. The time interval would consume three days at least, time which was of no means an encumbrance to Lucario.

"Of course I'll allow you to go with Mewtwo. The re-visit to Spear Pillar will benefit you."

Lucario used PSYCHIC to obtain Wanderer's Great Ball and gave it to Mewtwo. Mewtwo returned Wanderer to its respective Poké Ball and placed the Great Ball on its respective shelf.

"It's still early in the night Mewtwo. Do you want to play chess to pass the time?"

"You'll prove more formidable than everybody else, albeit I'll still win."

"…" Lucario proceeded to retrieve the chess set, having no counterargument to say to Mewtwo's fact.


Location: Mt. Coronet (Summit)

Date: June 18th, 2011 (06/18/11)

Time: 11:57 AM

As Mewtwo stated a few days earlier, it had a mission to go capture Pokémon at Mt. Coronet. It was able to bring Wanderer as well with it, without anyone knowing otherwise.

Once the cargo helicopters dropped off the Grunts, Mewtwo included, on the entrance to Mt. Coronet, the rest of the voyage proved treacherous to them. Steep rocky cliffs and frigid snowstorms higher up at the summit would deter goalless people, but not the Grunts of Team Rocket. They assumed that the stronger Pokémon were up at the summit and ventured upward to search, showing admiral determination for their criminalist cause.

Mewtwo, despite the frigid cold of the snow and little protection that its bald, mostly-gray skin and titanium-crystalline alloy armor provided for, didn't so much as shiver. Its psychic power allowed it to create a thin barrier where body temperature was better contained. Everyone else managed with the clothing they already had, although they did dress warmer before entering Mt. Coronet. They wore an under layer of insulated clothing that coated their entire bodies, as well as a scarf and earmuffs, both black in color.

While everyone else was capturing Pokémon outside in the middle of a snowstorm, Mewtwo ventured ahead, observing the other Grunts in order to make sure that they weren't observing it—not entirely necessary, since the snowstorm veiled Mewtwo from their sight. The Genetic Pokémon entered a cavern within the summit, a dim and cool area, albeit mildly warmer than the outside cold.

Before proceeding any further, from the Poké Ball bag that it had strapped to its side, Mewtwo retrieved Wanderer's Great Ball and summoned the Aura Pokémon before it.

"Are we close to Spear Pillar?" Mewtwo asked Wanderer, after it rematerialized.

"Let me check first…" Wanderer observed the cavern they were in, comparing it to past memories where it entered Spear Pillar before. It then got down on all four paws and placed one of its two ears on the floor, tapping the ground with one of its paws to hear how the earth resonated. Finally, it stood back upright on two paws, feeling the wind with its erect ears, listening to the whistling sound that the air made along its way here.

"What do you conclude, Wanderer?" Mewtwo cared less of Wanderer's actions for geographic familiarization.

"We're close. Spear Pillar is only minutes away from here."

"Lead the way and I'll follow you."

Wanderer immediately activated its Aura Vision ability, allowing the extra blood flow to its head influence its eyes and allow it to see the natural aura of the environment, as well as having its dreadlock-like appendages hover horizontal and defy gravity. It ventured forth ahead of Mewtwo within the cavern, and Mewtwo followed closely.

The cavern was by no means a straight and smooth path. The cavern was rocky, steep, and often required stalwart climbing skills. Wanderer, with incredible agility, hopped up and over each obstacle in front of it, and Mewtwo simply hovered over, following Wanderer closely. There were times where they had to shove a boulder aside, or where Wanderer had to transcend over raised ground. Mewtwo would simply move the boulder aside with PSYCHIC and Wanderer would wall-jump off of the wall, using its hand-spikes and aura abilities to hang off of the walls.

Both Pokémon eventually stopped at what appeared to be a dead end.

"Are you sure that this is the right way, Wanderer?" Mewtwo asked, looking at Wanderer.

"…" Wanderer dissipated its Aura Vision ability and simply looked despondent upon seeing the dead end.

"Wanderer…?"

"…Son of a bitch…" Wanderer cursed downheartedly.

Mewtwo, now sensing something was amiss, looked at the wall before it. It was now that it noticed that the wall wasn't made of one single rock, but many rocks, each of varying sizes. Mewtwo instantly identified the problem: a cave-in.

"Shall we begin the excavation?" Mewtwo said.

Hearing those words reinvigorated Wanderer. "Yes, of course."

Both Pokémon prepared to use PSYCHIC to remove the obstruction of rocks. Before they were about to do so however, an echo of a Team Rocket Grunt's voice reached their ears.

"Hello, Mewtwo? If you're in there, we're leaving now! We have about five minutes before the cargo helicopter gets here, and we'd rather not have any delays!"

Both Pokémon, after hearing that their time here is up, only had one thing to say.

"…Fu—"


Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 29): Room 29-6

Date: June 21st, 2011 (06/21/11)

Time: 9:44 PM

"So the voyage to Mt. Coronet was of no benefit to us, huh?" Lucario asked solemnly.

Mewtwo and Wanderer shook their heads, disappointed of the lack of progress.

"Aside from Viridian Gym, we never ventured into the same area twice for a mission." Lucario continued. "Who knows how long it'll take for us to re-visit Mt. Coronet."


11.1: Ten Months Later

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 29): Room 29-6

Date: August 14th, 2011 (08/14/11)

Time: 6:59 PM

Within Room 29-6, besides the eight Pokémon that reside within it, are dozens of Team Rocket Grunts. Scattered between the throng of Team Rocket Grunts is Lucario, Mewtwo, and their parties of Pokémon. Giovanni was present as well, and he was standing adjacent of the crowd, slightly elevated so that everyone could see him, as if on a podium. The Grunts and Pokémon observed Giovanni closely and silently, expecting a few words from him.

"May I have your attention please?" Giovanni said, tapping his held wine glass loudly in order to ensure that he had everyone's attention.

The Grunts and Pokémon observed closely.

"Good. Now, I must digress. How many of you believed that having Pokémon become a Team Rocket operative was a terrible idea?"

Only the humans in the audience were the species to raise their hands. And of them, about half of them raised their hands, having their hands answer Giovanni's question.

Lucario and Mewtwo wondered where this was going.

"And how many of you believed that I was idiotic for making Pokémon more than just our tools?"

About 95% of the humans raised their hands in agreement, not paying attention to the despondent countenances of the Pokémon.

"And finally, how many of you think, after ten months, that having Pokémon work as equals alongside humans is a benefit for Team Rocket?"

To the Pokémon's surprise, everybody raised their hands.

"That's what I thought," Giovanni smiled when everyone raised their hands. "Now, I'm about to alter Team Rocket history once more. Can both Mewtwo and Xeno stand before me?"

Lucario and Mewtwo, from within the crowd of Team Rocket Grunts, proceeded forth as ordered and made themselves clearly present before the Team Rocket Boss.

"For outstanding performance in capturing Pokémon for the benefit of our organization, as well as demonstrating Legendary Pokémon attributes, I hereby promote the both of you to Admin."

Everybody within the audience, despite their astonishment, didn't forget to applause on behalf of their promotion and good work. Lucario and Mewtwo, to a degree, didn't expect a promotion, or a powerful response from the remainder of the organization.

"Let us now celebrate this historic event, the day that not one, but two Pokémon were promoted to the title of Admin."

Immediately, the party began within Room 29-6. There was a mixture of dancing, music, and drinking of alcoholic beverages—as is the norm of these sorts of events. Perhaps the most surprising of all was the interaction between the people and the Pokémon.

Right beside the television set and the couch, Aqua somehow walked its way into a contest that five Grunts were doing. The Grunts were fed alcohol through a funnel and a tube, and would either hold it in or vomit it out. They'd constantly chant "Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug!" in unison. They were all drunk and wanted to see if Aqua could top them.

Being as large as it was, Aqua outperformed them easily, never vomiting once after drinking three gallons of alcohol in one sitting. Unfortunately, it did pass out from the intoxication, and then was treated like a piece of furniture: Grunts looking for a place to sit decided to sit down on Aqua's exterior shell.

Mewtwo was having chess matches against the sober Team Rocket Grunts. Due to the sheer noise of the entire Room, Mewtwo decided not to read while playing because it wouldn't be able to concentrate as heavily. Instead, it drank only a couple of glasses of wine, not enough to influence its dexterous mind however, and predictably, it decimated all of its opponents.

In one case, Mewtwo won in only two moves. A Grunt opened up poorly by moving two pawns on the king's side, placing them in locations f3 and g4 of the chess board. This left the Grunt's king piece completely open to a diagonal attack by Mewtwo's queen piece, which it let out by moving the pawn piece in front of the king piece earlier. Mewtwo emerged victorious through a Fool's Checkmate.

Everyone else seemed to dance, rest within their respective Poké Balls, or choose to get away from it all by further training within Floor 15's Training Room.

In the middle of it all, Giovanni approached Lucario and Mewtwo, telling them of a gift that comes with the promotion to Admin.

"Come with me," he told them both. "It's time for you both to choose your fourth Pokémon."


Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 29): Room 29-6

Date: August 15th, 2011 (08/15/11)

Time: 10:37 AM

The next day, once everyone was awake and full of morning's breakfast, Lucario and Mewtwo introduced their new fourth Pokémon to the rest of the Pokémon within their respective parties. Lucario, as his fourth Pokémon, chose an Aron. Mewtwo, for its fourth Pokémon, chose a Charmander.

(National Pokédex entry #304: Aron, the Iron Armor Pokémon. It is a Rock-Type and Steel-Type Pokémon that measures 1' 04" in height and a surprising 132.3 lbs. in weight. It usually lives deep in mountains. However, hunger may drive it to eat railroad tracks and cars. That'd be an interesting case to report to Geico: an Aron ate my car.)

(National Pokédex entry #004: Charmander, the Lizard Pokémon. It is a Fire-Type Pokémon that measures in at 2' 00" and weighs approximately 18.7 lbs. The fire on the tip of its tail is a measure of its life. If healthy, its tail burns intensely. This is likely useful for campfire or cooking purposes.)

Aside from Lucario and Mewtwo, their respective parties of Pokémon expected both Lucario's Aron and Mewtwo's Charmander to shudder in timidity for the first few days, similar to what Mewtwo's party of Pokémon did for their first moments with their new master.

To their surprise however, both the Aron and Charmander were as mentally calm as a gentle breeze, as if they were already part of the entire group for months. Their personalities were clearly known as well, due to their ease of minds.

Lucario's Aron was by far the most nonchalant Pokémon that they all knew of, apparently lacking in any emotion that could trigger any form of stress. Aside from its incredible coolness of attitude, it was also the most grammatically concise of Pokémon, speaking only a few words in a conversation, or none at all. It tends to mumble its words softly, with an unusually deep and kindhearted voice. The Iron Armor Pokémon also seems to have an unusual habit of having its eyes appear nonexistent to those who look upon it. In battle, it always relies on its stalwart defense and calculated counterattacks. It rarely attacks first against an opponent unless its attack is guaranteed to strike and influence.

Mewtwo's Charmander is a gentle pacifist of a Pokémon. It will fight when needed, despite its dislike to violence, but will prefer not to. It holds a lot of firepower in battle and knows of this quite well. It attacks conservatively and prefers long-range combat, although it is adept at close-range combat as well. Deep down, it can't help but feel as if it's either a tool, or is simply needed and relied on for specific tasks. One could say that it feels as if it is a prop, and is on occasion treated as such.

"Both Mewtwo and I have already inaugurated them through the Team Liberator Oath," Lucario explained to the Pokémon.

"(As redundant as it was…)" Mewtwo thought to itself.

"During that party yesterday, Giovanni gave us each a fourth Pokémon of our choosing, as part of our promotion to Admin. We should all train today and bring both Aron and Charmander to our level."

Everyone agrees to Lucario's choice of action and is promptly returned to their Poké Balls. Lucario can add Aron's Heavy Ball to his existing three, while Mewtwo can add Charmander's Level Ball to its existing three.


Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor B4): Basement Cells

Date: August 15th, 2011 (08/15/11)

Time: 8:21 PM

Perhaps through some reason of nostalgia, Lucario decided to stroll across the basement floors of Team Rocket Main Headquarters. Lucario observed the Pokémon within the holding cells, noticing that some cells now held within them more than one Pokémon.

Often, the Pokémon within the holding cells snarled and appeared to despise the Aura Pokémon, as he passed by them. These were the Pokémon that Lucario personally captured for Team Rocket. The basement floors that Lucario passed above held newly-captured Pokémon in the same manner: more than one within each holding cell. Virtually all holding cells have at least two Pokémon within them, while some were now housing three.

Lucario saw that this was why he was promoted to Admin.

"(I'm being rewarded for enslaving and murdering innocent bystanders of my race…)" Lucario thought and stopped in the middle of Floor B4's Basement Cells. He could hear the growls, shrieks, and hateful spites of the Pokémon surrounding him seep through the thick glass bulwark. In standing in the center of the room, he appeared to embrace the hate.

His head sagged low, with eyes pointed at the floor, not in use.

"(Will we ever escape from the iron hand of Team Rocket, or will we all work as tools for Team Rocket until we break?)" Lucario thought logically. "(What will happen when I break? Will Team Rocket repair me or dispose of me? Am I important enough to protect over? What about Mewtwo? Is it just as beneficial to Team Rocket as I appear to be, or just as disposable? What about our friends? What about them? Are they tools for us tools, Mewtwo and me?)"

The hate of the Pokémon grew in intensity, almost submerging Lucario's questions with their sounds.

"(No, I'm not thinking the important questions. I need to think of my role here, and how I found myself here. Why does Team Rocket use us? Why have Mewtwo and I been genuinely admitted as members of Team Rocket, when we're simply Pokémon, when we're simply fighting machines to them? What does Team Rocket want from us? What does Giovanni want from Mewtwo and me? What do other Pokémon lack that we appear to have? Is it power that they crave? Do they desire money? What about world domination? What about—)"

The sound of the surrounding Pokémon gradually overwhelmed Lucario's proficient sense of hearing and began to enter his brain, where the sound rattled and resonated against his skull. Lucario's eyes shut tightly as he clutched the bases of his ears and clenched his teeth, exposing his canine-like fangs, his head aching with growing questions that needed answers.

Eventually, the pain of it all caused him to rush outside of the basement floors and climbed back up the stairs.

"(Perhaps in time, I'll have answers to my questions. I've lasted for ten months now, so I'm regarded by Team Rocket and valuable to them. I'll survive long enough in this hellhole, long enough to possibly have my answers come to me, when I finally act against Team Rocket and escape, along with each and every captive Pokémon that I've reluctantly captured.)"

11.2: Twelve Months Later

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 29): Room 29-6

Date: October 14th, 2011 (10/14/11)

Time: 11:18 AM

As expected by now, both Lucario's and Mewtwo's newest Pokémon have evolved through arduous training. Lucario's Aron is now a Lairon and Mewtwo's Charmander is now a Charmeleon.

(National Pokédex entry #305: Lairon, the Iron Armor Pokémon. It is a Rock-Type and Steel-Type Pokémon that measures in at 2' 11" and weighs a surprising 264.6 lbs. For food, it digs up iron ore. It smashes its steely body against others to fight over territory. Lucario's Lairon, however, would rather sit still and receive each hit, calmly and with necessary retaliation.)

(National Pokédex entry #005: Charmeleon, the Flame Pokémon. It is a Fire-Type Pokémon that measures in at 3' 07" and weighs in at a lightweight 41.9 lbs. In the rocky mountains where Charmeleon live, their fiery tails shine at night like stars. However, people would likely see entire galaxies if a Charmeleon inhabited a forest, if you know what I mean.)

Mewtwo, as well as the four Pokémon in its party, are away on training at the Viridian Gym. During this time, Lucario and his party of four Pokémon decide to have a session, where they recollect their pasts and share them to the group.

Aqua decided to go first in the group and recall its past. It first spoke of its age, making clear the fact that it is ten years old—date of birth unknown. It made clear the fact that it was once in a herd of Lapras, swimming across the world's oceans. It also made clear the fact that Terra, under the silhouette of Team Rocket, helped capture it.

Immediately expecting more apologies from Terra, Aqua silenced the Mach Pokémon by freezing its mouth shut with ICE BEAM.

Wanderer was second in discussing its past. As it was well known by now, Wanderer was born in Snowpoint City and cooperative to popular belief, nicknamed itself "Wanderer" because of its preference to roaming across the landscape. It is good friends with Lucario, as well as the deceased Sceptile and Tiny, having met Sceptile one time when it was only a Grovyle. It fought Ho-oh and had the match end up as a stalemate. It was drawn to the forest above Celadon City, primarily because it heard of a fight between an Absol and a dark-furred Lucario. Wanderer never expected to see its old friend again, and decided to permanently reside within the forest. It wasn't long before both Sceptile and Tiny perished under Team Rocket, and both Aura Pokémon were captured and taken to Team Rocket Main Headquarters.

Lucario, following Wanderer, began with when he was born. Lucario, as a Riolu, was born in Celadon Forest, naïve and searching for food. A genocidal Absol fought with him, mistaking him for Tiny, and was defeated by his AURA SPHERE. Tiny and Grovyle brought them both home to recuperate, where Tiny and Grovyle agree to train Riolu. Absol left for thirty months to train in solitude. When it returned, Riolu and Grovyle evolved into Lucario and Sceptile. The fight between Absol and Lucario attracted the attention of many Pokémon, Wanderer especially. Lucario, through a difficult fight, defeated Absol the same way as last time, by destroying its face with an AURA SPHERE punch. Lucario, being told this and not recalling it, passed out and almost fell off of the cliff. Sceptile, Tiny, and Wanderer retrieved him before Lucario fell, and took him to recover. Lucario learns more techniques between that day and before being captured by Team Rocket.

Terra, once the ice on its mouth thawed and it was able to feel its lips, spoke of its past. As it was already known, it has worked for Team Rocket for twenty-one years—an entire year has passed now—, having done numerous unspeakable deeds before meeting Lucario. It had spent the majority of its life under the control of Team Rocket Grunts. It was rarely treated with kindness and respect, which was predictably expected from a malevolent organization such as Team Rocket. Part of it wonders how it has remained alive for so long.

"…My turn?" Lairon concisely mumbled.

Terra nodded, preferring not to make eye contact to Lairon because it was mildly frightened of Lairon's apparent optical nothingness.

"…Okay…" Lairon began. "…I was hatched and raised here…fifteen months ago…like Mewtwo's Pokémon gamut. I was adequately cared for…and given enough substance to get by…"

An unusually long amount of silence past before Aqua finally spoke up. "And…what happened next?"

"…" Lairon was silent, with shadowed eyes and a quiescent posture.

"Isn't there anything more you have to say? Perhaps you could recall a memorable day, or a disparaging moment in your life?"

Lairon pivoted its head to its left and right side, slowly and rhythmically, with the silence of the cosmos.

"(Why is there something therapeutic about watching Lairon shake its head like that?)" Wanderer thought.

"Don't you have anything more to say about your past?" Aqua questioned, with a slight amount of irritation in its voice.

"…Immaterial…" Lairon said, once it stopped shaking its head.

"Hmph!" Aqua felt disappointed at Lairon's closed-book disposition.

"(Sorry if my disposition disappoints you…)" Lairon thought privately.

"(So Lairon and Mewtwo's entire party of Pokémon are approximately fifteen months old…)" Lucario thought, always alert to the age of others.


Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 29): Room 29-6

Date: October 15th, 2011 (10/15/11)

Time: 12:10 AM (Ten past Midnight)

Within the barriers of Room 29-6, Lucario and his party of Pokémon were sound asleep. The sable night masked the view of the outside through the windows. No activity, other than daily rest, was in action at the moment.

It's what occurred outside that mattered.

Outside of the window, under the black cloak of dusk, resided a hovering object, looking within the room. The object, if clearly visible from the radiant patina of dawn, was easily identifiable as Mewtwo. The Genetic Pokémon held in its arms a sealed cardboard box, large enough to contain a pair of shoes. It only had its helmet on, coming from the battle armor that it often wears. The helmet provided night vision, which guided Mewtwo across the night sky.

Mewtwo, eyeing the empty coffee table within Room 29-6, used TELEPORT to transport the package it held and placed it on top of the coffee table.

"(Farwell…Xeno. We'll meet again, once I find my purpose in life.)" Mewtwo thought before looking up into the starry night sky.

Once all was said and done, it flew away at extremely high speeds, apparently abandoning all that it had around it.

In only a few hours, it was already away from Kanto, flying high above the sea, which was only visible to Mewtwo through the helmet that it had on. The helmet, aside from its application to Mewtwo's eyes, also protected its eyes from the wind resistance. Its ears however, were protected with a thin psychic barrier, to prevent aural discomfort.

Mewtwo, to pass the time, kept its adroit mind occupied with the topics of purpose and destiny. The way the Genetic Pokémon saw it, Lucario had a purpose in his life, and Mewtwo has yet to find one.

Since the moment it first had consciousness within the sea base laboratory from which it was grown and developed within, it has denied the purpose that anyone around it has told it, destroying the sea base laboratory, along with all of its human scientists, in the process. It strongly believes that purpose has to be self-found, not manipulated by others.

Mewtwo can still clearly recall the events that led to Mewtwo finally leaving Team Rocket. It rested a bit within the backstage of the Viridian Gym, allowing time for its armor to recharge and upload into Team Rocket's database. The topic of destiny rose within its mind and was made audible through telepathy. Giovanni, hearing Mewtwo question its purpose in life, vilifies Mewtwo by saying its purpose in life is to serve him, because that's what it was created for. Mewtwo, refusing to accept that truth, denies Giovanni's view of its destiny, and vindictively obliterates the entire Viridian Gym. Not caring at all if Giovanni was alive or not, it fled away from Viridian City, carrying its party of Pokémon, and losing all of its armor to the wind, except for its helmet.

In finally escaping from Team Rocket, Mewtwo believes that it has opened the path to its destiny. What Giovanni said about it, that it was created only to serve and be enslaved by him, held more meaning once Mewtwo viewed it in greater detail: Giovanni, a human, controls Mewtwo, a Pokémon.

When zoomed out and enveloping a greater perspective, humanity controls Pokémon. Pokémon Trainers use Pokémon in battles. The human world uses and relies on Pokémon for much of their daily life.

Mewtwo only wondered why Giovanni had Pokémon control other Pokémon, which is why Mewtwo passed by Team Rocket Main Headquarters to deliver a package to Lucario. The cardboard box holds what Mewtwo has decided to abandon, knowing that they'll be better off with him than with it.

"(If Pokémon are controlled by humans, then what would happen if I swapped those two roles?)" Mewtwo thought, over the shallow hissing of the mountain wind across the helmet on its face. "(What would occur to the planet if Pokémon controlled humanity? Where would I begin if I desired to commence this idea?)"

Mewtwo instantaneously answered this question within its mind.

"(My mind is superior to any human mind, thank Arceus for that. I'll figure out where to begin and I'll get results, quickly rather than slowly.)"

As Mewtwo traveled across this massive ocean at ludicrous speeds, it never bothered to sense what was hovering within the area.

About a thousand feet above Mewtwo's general location, two entities hovered stagnantly above the body of water. These two individuals were in no ways Pokémon, and neither were they human.

They weren't even of this planet.

To describe their appearance concisely, they appeared to be disembodied hands, one left-handed and the other right-handed, white and gloved. The right-handed hand appeared calm and composed, while the left-handed glove appeared erratic and spontaneous.

Their telepathic dialogue further supported their nature.

"What about that Pokémon?" The left-handed white glove spoke with an eerily maniacal tone of voice, waving each and every one of its five fingers with an irregular relationship. "How do you think it'd perform with the others?"

"Based on what I've seen," The right-handed white glove spoke with much thought in its words. "It'd perform admirably if we decided to take it with us now."

All of a sudden, the left-handed hand curled up into a fist and shook uncontrollably. "So what are we waiting for? Let's go recruit that Pokémon right now!"

The left-handed glove suddenly decided to rocket forward, following where Mewtwo decided to travel. It moved with surprising speed as it soared through the air, while unexplainably shooting rocket exhaust from its wrist.

However, its right-handed counterpart was quick to respond to this. It shaped its digits to emulate the appearance—as well as the aerodynamics—of an arrowhead, and followed after the left-handed glove.

Before the left-handed glove knew it, it was caught by its counterpart. The right-handed glove had all five of its fingers wrapped around the fist that was its mirror image, similar to a ball thrown and caught by its receiver.

"Settle down, my crazy doppelganger." The right handed glove said before releasing its grip on the left-handed glove. "Now is not yet appropriate for us to do so. Mewtwo has yet to unwind the convoluted threads that plague its mind. If we decide to take it with us, it won't fight as creditably as it should."

"So what should we do about it?" the left-handed glove inquired, unwinding from its coiled state of being.

"We wait for it to settle its conflicts." The right-handed glove spoke sagaciously. "And then we'll return and present ourselves before the Genetic Pokémon."

"Aw man…" The left-handed glove moaned childishly. "Just because you're the master to this galactic tournament you're holding, doesn't mean that you can boss me around and keep me locked onto your metaphorical handcuffs."

"I must," The right-handed glove admitted. "You'd get the both of us in a surplus of trouble if I let you roam around, performing all sorts of mischief without my restrictive supervision."

Both hands, once their conversation ended, clasped themselves together and formed the shape of a rocket. Pointing the tips of their fingers upward at the night sky, they launched themselves away from this planet and off into the cosmos.


11.3: Sudden Departure

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 29): Room 29-6

Date: October 15th, 2011 (10/15/11)

Time: 8:10 AM

The package on top of the coffee table was immediately noticed by the Aura Pokémon, once he awakened from his slumber.

"(How queer…)" Lucario thought upon realization of the package.

Once he retrieved the package with his paws and sat down on the living room's sofa, he examined the box in greater detail.

"(No sender address…)" Lucario noticed, eyeing only the brownness of the cardboard that the box was shaped from. "(Who sent me this?)"

With his left hand-spike, Lucario rends the taped ends of the package and exposes the contents of the box before his heightened sanguine eyes. Within the box existed three main items: an envelope, four Poké Balls of varying designs and functions, and an adjustable belt with slots on the side for inserting up to ten Poké Balls, five on the left side and five on the right side.

The four Poké Balls, with their familiar designs, sharp as ever despite their compacted ping-pong ball size, instantly struck Lucario psychosomatically.

"(These Poké Balls… They can't possibly be…)" Lucario, before speculating on an extremely likely conjecture, decided to examine the envelope in greater detail.

Lucario retrieved the envelope and set the package beside him. The envelope was as blank and anonymous as the package that it was stored within. He opened the envelope in much the same way as he did with the package, with his hand-spike.

With one quick swipe, Lucario gashed the corner of the letter and gutted the folded sheet of paper within it. The paper, once Lucario unfolded it, was typed and compacted almost to the point of flooding over the margins. He began to read it slowly and carefully, so as to not miss anything important.

To the enigmatic Aura Pokémon that I've worked alongside with under Team Rocket:

"(Mewtwo,)" Lucario thought, already knowing whom the letter was written by. "(Who else writes with this much sophistication?)"

He continued reading.

Within the contents of this box exists four Poké Balls: Charmeleon's Level Ball, Dusknoir's Dusk Ball, Luxray's Nest Ball, and Tyranitar's Premier Ball. Alongside my Pokémon party and their respective storage capsules, you'll encounter this letter, encased within a blank envelope, as well as an adjustable utility belt that can hold up to ten Poké Balls.

Knowing you and your impeccable sense of curiosity, you'll wonder why I bestowed upon you the four Pokémon of my party. I have two reasons for doing so. My first reason is one that you have already comprehended: I chose my party primarily to satisfy your need to escape with as many Pokémon as physically possible. My second reason is beneficial to your eventual escape. Simply put, there's strength in numbers, and you'll require their assistance in whatever tactic you have pondered.

I've left you this letter because this is the final time that you and I can remain in contact. Within the Viridian Gym, I finally took it upon myself to defy Giovanni. Once he vilified my purpose in life—which he believes is for me to serve him as a weapon of war that he had created for his personal use—, I decided to fly away. In doing so, I vehemently obliterated the Viridian Gym in my wake. I can no longer return to Team Rocket after my actions, nor do I desire doing so.

What purpose would I have in serving under him anyway?

However, despite Giovanni's uncanny ability to have all Pokémon despise him, I must give credit to him where credit is due. You have Giovanni to thank for my creation, and in a sense, you have us both to thank for burying him under his own Gym. Whether Giovanni survived the destruction of the Viridian Gym or not is a topic that I have no answer to.

Now on my own, I plan on searching for what I've never found and wish to acquire: my destiny in life.

I believe that destiny is self-earned and self-realized, and that no one can degrade it or manipulate it, as Giovanni did with my personal destiny. However, I do believe that it can be realized by others selflessly, which is why I've fully realized your destiny, as you have exposed it clearly with your plans for your future.

"(My destiny…?)" Lucario was somewhat puzzled by this.

I can concur that your purpose in life is to liberate Pokémon from oppressive malice. Your goal, to evacuate Team Rocket with as many Pokémon as possible, has made your destiny acknowledged by me.

If only my purpose was as clear as yours…

Despite my apparent inattention to your "Team Liberator" concept, I still hope that your plan to eventually escape from Team Rocket comes into action. You possess a surplus of intelligence, enough for me to regard, that can easily guide you in your goal. As long as you remain calm across your decisive moments, your escape is guaranteed.

…And as for me and my future.

I plan on changing the world. I wish to see the roles of humanity and Pokémon swap places. The effects of this should prove interesting. The time for this to occur should be brief. And when I've successfully done so, I'll find you. For your sake, I hope that you've escaped by then.

P.S.:

Despite my proficient intellect and adept sophistication, my actual age tells a different story about my experience in life. As of the first day of October, approximately two weeks ago, I've had a second year added to my life. In my first year of life, I was under scientific development, albeit I gained consciousness before my second year in life, when Giovanni assimilated me into Team Rocket.

I'm only 744 days of age, when I informed you through this missive, and I already possess the intellect of a supercomputer, which you know already. What a shame then, that human infants at my age are only capable of existing, and nothing more.

What a lackluster species, the human race is. How they reign supreme as the dominant species over this planet is beyond my comprehension.

"…" Lucario had a surplus of information to assimilate in one sitting, so he began to process Mewtwo's letter and dissect the most important facts.

Mewtwo bestowed its party of Pokémon to Lucario in order for them to aid him in his eventual escape. Out of spite, it decimated the Viridian Gym, apparently burying Giovanni underneath the detritus rubble. It fled from the scene and wisely abandoned Team Rocket, knowing no mercy will come if it accepts its actions. Lacking purpose in life, Mewtwo attempted to find its destiny, as Lucario has already done. Mewtwo believes that to find its purpose in life, it must flip the world's order of humanity and Pokémon on its head. Once this is in effect, Mewtwo will find Lucario, hoping that it has escaped by then.

Also, Mewtwo is somehow only two years and two weeks of age, and would effortlessly outmode a supercomputer.

It's quite a shock to Lucario, whom always believed Mewtwo's age to reflect its wisdom.

"(Everyone else should know of this,)" Lucario pondered before setting the letter temporarily aside. He retrieved the shrunken quartet of delivered Poké Balls, and retrieved his quartet of Poké Balls through telekinetic abilities. In one swift throw upward with psychic abilities, all eight Pokémon was released from their particular Poké Balls.

Once everyone was rematerialized outside, Lucario stood up from his comfortable sofa and explained to them the contents of Mewtwo's letter, not abandoning any important details. He even included mentioning Mewtwo's age, which came as a shock to everybody, as it was equally shocking to him.

Overall, the reactions to Mewtwo's bon voyage were varied. Mewtwo's former party of Pokémon reacted with more stalwart outbursts of emotion than Lucario's party of Pokémon. Mewtwo's former Charmeleon reacted negatively with more vigor, since it was Mewtwo's newest Pokémon. Lucario, as if his purpose in life guided him, mollified their feelings and assured them of the fact that they weren't abandoned by Mewtwo, but merely passed on to a trustworthy Pokémon that was knowingly inherited four powerful Pokémon. This tactic helped significantly, however the true effects of emotional recovery are apparent in time.

Lucario, once his attempt at emotional mollification proved helpful, began to ponder and question—of all possible things—, the constitution of Giovanni. Based on the information provided on Mewtwo's letter, Lucario knows that Giovanni was present inside of the Viridian Gym during the exact moment Mewtwo turned vindictive and reduced the building to rubble. The only missing piece of the incident was the condition of Giovanni, whether he was alive or—as Lucario hoped—dead.

"(If Giovanni is dead, then…)" Lucario sat down on the sofa and rested his chin on the knuckles of both of his paws, "(…the resulting echo of the news reaching the Team Rocket organization would prove chaotic.)"

Lucario could already imagine the chaos erupting within Team Rocket. He could imagine the Grunts clawing for a vacant slot in power, machinery mutilating confused workers, and captured Pokémon slaughtering their "masters" before escaping from the insanity. This mental picture caused him to grin, with his paws masking the grin and keeping it out of the view of the other Pokémon, whom were talking amongst themselves as to where Mewtwo could've possibly gone.

Lucario's grin disappeared once he realized the second side of this metaphorical coin.

"(However, if Giovanni is still alive, then Team Rocket will still operate normally… Or would it?)" Lucario pondered a possible outcome.

If Giovanni is still alive despite the premature burial from the Viridian Gym's collapse, then he would most likely come back on a stretcher, transported via helicopter to the Infirmary Ward of Team Rocket Main Headquarters. He's almost guaranteed in succumbing to some sort of injury, be it a broken bone, collapsed lung, or significant hemorrhaging. If this is the case, then Team Rocket would enter a brief state of hibernation, with their leader recovering under close observation.

"(Whether Giovanni is still alive or not, Team Rocket will retard. However, will I be able to use that gateway to actually formulate my escape?)"

Before Lucario could continue pondering, his ears twitched with the sensing of a familiar sound. The same sound that he heard before leaving the forest above Celadon City, as well as the same sound that he hears every time he travels under Team Rocket. The same whirring sound that rotating propellers fueled by a powerful motor make. The same gyrating sound made upon lift-off and landing…

These are the sounds of a helicopter.

Everyone, whether sitting down and relaxing or talking amongst each other as to where Mewtwo could've gone to, proceeded to the windows of Room 29-6. Through the looking glass, they were all able to notice a descending helicopter, one of a different color. Aside from the helicopters painted "stealth black", with a big red capital "R" on the right side, this helicopter was white, with an equally large and red "+" on the right side. This helicopter was the equivalent of an ambulance.

The ambulance helicopter, once it descended and parked itself on the parking area—marked with a capital "H" within a circle—, was immediately awaited by a dozen nurses and Team Rocket Grunts. The gale-causing gyratory of the propellers quelled and subsided in seconds, before the side doors of the ambulance helicopter opened.

Carefully, the Grunts within the ambulance helicopter passed a stretcher, with someone strapped onto it, to the impending Grunts and nurses below.

Both Lucario and Wanderer, with their intrinsic Aura Vision ability, activated it and zoomed in onto the person on the stretcher. As the stretcher's wheels touched the concrete below them, both Lucario and Wanderer identified the victim in need of medical attention.

The victim is Giovanni.

"He's still alive?" Wanderer spoke inadvertently, receiving the attention and disappointment of the Pokémon beside it. "How did Giovanni survive the rubble burial that Mewtwo bestowed upon him as a departing gift?"

"(So you're still alive, then?)" Lucario thought, before disabling his Aura Vision ability, and then walking away from the window and towards the entrance door.

Wanderer sensed this action through Aura Vision. It turned its ability off, pivoted its body to face Lucario and said to him "Where are you going?" with a higher tone of volume.

The Aura Pokémon paused when his paw was coiled around the doorknob. "Where do you think?" Lucario didn't look back to his speaker and simply opened the door and left the room.

"…" Wanderer turned back to the window and looked down, noticing that Giovanni was nowhere to be seen below. Knowing where Giovanni is heading towards albeit, it didn't bother re-activating its Aura Vision ability to scan for his location. It also realized that Lucario was heading to Giovanni's location, for his own imperative reasons.

"Do you believe that today marks the day of our breakout?" Dusknoir, whom was adjacent to Wanderer, spoke to it.

"I have a deep feeling in my stomach that we'll all escape soon." Wanderer, as if the feeling that it spoke of was actually physical and existent in its heart, placed its right paw onto its chest-spike, being careful not to poke itself.


Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 10): Infirmary Ward

Date: October 15th, 2011 (10/15/11)

Time: 9:02 AM

Lucario, as he was running down the stairs using EXTREMESPEED, couldn't help but wonder if anyone else was visiting Giovanni for other reasons distant to his own. He wondered if there was an immense collection of other Team Rocket Grunts, flooding Giovanni's quarters to the point of overflowing out of the hallways.

He stopped in front of the door that separated the stairway from the hallway of Floor 10, never losing the mental image that he might have to postpone his visit to Giovanni.

"(*Gulp*)"

To his surprise, Lucario was actually growing anxious before facing Giovanni. The reason for this was clear to him: he was beginning to defy him, after over a year of accustoming himself to listening and obeying his constant orders. He never thought that he'd feel this way. He found himself astonished at the fact that he had grown used to Giovanni keeping him on a leash.

His heartbeat pounded away at his eardrums, but he paid little thought to this. He set this aside in order to open the door before him, and to his surprise, there was only one person present within the hallway. A nurse whom was leaving the room previously entered.

Lucario approached the person and asked if this was Giovanni's room. The nurse calmly responds by saying that Giovanni is resting and shouldn't be disturbed now.

"It's important that I speak to him. I have my reasons for doing so." Lucario seemed unaware that a small amount of his existent anxiety was amplifying the tone of his telepathic voice.

"The Boss needs his rest. You'll just have to wait 'till later." The nurse was as solid as a rock, unmoving and fortified.

"I must speak to him! As Admin of Team Rocket, I won't accept—"

Both the offensive Aura Pokémon and the defending nurse were suddenly silenced by the sounds of the door opening alongside them both. Giovanni, the only resident of the room he was staying in to recover, pulled the door towards him and to his side, eyeing both Lucario and the nurse.

Lucario now noticed the full extent of Giovanni's injuries. Aside from the light blue patient uniform—marked with a red "R" on the left shoulder area—that all recovering patients wore within the Infirmary Ward of this HQ building, Giovanni also had signs of considerable injury all around his body. Giovanni wore a cast on his left arm, as well as his right leg—although he didn't wish to use a crutch to walk. He had bandages wrapped all around his torso, as well as on the top of his head, noticeable signs of moderate bruising of the abdomen and cranium. Giovanni also had patches of cloth taped onto his left cheek and right shoulder, to cover the more significant lacerations.

Physically, he felt like crap, however he didn't feel this way emotionally.

"'The Boss needs his rest,' you say. 'You'll just have to wait 'till later,' you say…" Giovanni spoke with a tone that vilified the nurse. "If that's the case, then why am I standing on my feet before the both of you?"

"…" The nurse, wanting to say "Sir, you need your rest", remained silent and subservient, not having the gallantness to speak out of term.

"(Respect my authority,)" Lucario trailed off, briefly imagining how Giovanni's mind works.

"No one else knows how my body works but me. Just because my right leg's broken, that doesn't mean that it's completely useless. You may go on with your occupation now. That's an order."

The nurse walked away and down the stairs, with a metaphorical tail between the legs, as if severely demoralized.

Lucario began to speak with hollow concern. "Are you able to walk back to your bed?"

"I've still got my left leg unmarred, don't I?" Giovanni spoke with leader-like authority.

Lucario shrugged his shoulders, and then they both walked—or limped, in Giovanni's case—to the recovery bed. Lucario, for no reason that he could ponder, asked to help Giovanni get back on his bed. Giovanni instinctively said no, preferring not to be in a position of weakness.

"Your mood seems rather stable, despite your current constitution," Lucario said, well aware of Giovanni's injuries.

"I recently escaped death. I should be content that I'm still breathing." He said before strapping his casted right leg to the harness above his feet.

Lucario was about to say what he primarily wanted to say to Giovanni, however…

"You're here to ask about Mewtwo, right? Where it is and why it isn't here with me?" The Team Rocket Boss suspected.

"(Impressive speculation for a human with no extrasensory perception,)" Lucario thought briefly before saying "Yes, that's correct."

Giovanni, instead of answering Lucario's question firstly, decided to ask him a question.

"Tell me this: what do you know about chess?" Giovanni slowly bent his bruised abdomen to his right side, reaching his unmarred right hand to the side drawer of his recovery bed.

"(There's purpose in this…)" Lucario chose not to read his mind and answered his question in detail. "The game of chess originated in the year—"

"I meant the basics of the game, not its origin." Giovanni growled in correcting him.

"Chess is only playable with two players. Each player commands an army of 16 pieces that are placed on an eight-by-eight grid of adjacent black and white spaces. The pieces consist of eight pawns, two bishops, two knights, two rooks, one queen, and one king. One player commands white pieces and the other player commands black pieces. The object of the game is to defeat your opponent by successfully performing an inexorable checkmate on their respective king piece." Lucario recalls well what he learned from his frequent matches with Mewtwo while playing chess. "What purpose does this topic serve?"

Giovanni, during Lucario's explanation, retrieved the chess set that he had within the drawer and had the chess pieces set up in their normal positions. The chess set was placed on top of a moveable table, and was properly suited for the hospital bed that Giovanni was resting on.

"Why don't you relax and play one quick game of chess with me. I would like to see how you compare to Mewtwo in terms of dexterity. I'll allow you to go first." Giovanni suggested.

Lucario didn't question Giovanni's reasons for choosing to play chess with him. He agreed to play one round, primarily because Giovanni said that he played against Mewtwo. Part of him wanted to see how he compared to Mewtwo in terms of technique, and this chance to know what an opponent's opinion on the both of them was proved alluring enough to distract Lucario.

"I have all day, I suppose," he submitted himself to Giovanni's game.

Ten Minutes Later…

Lucario was much more used to individual rounds of chess to last no more than a few minutes because Mewtwo would always defeat him by then. Against a human opponent however, who had a reduced, yet adaptive intellect, he spent more time playing one round than four rounds against Mewtwo.

Time, however, was of no concern for the Aura Pokémon, because he patiently subjugated all of Giovanni's black pieces and left only one black king piece to face the stalwart force of ten of Lucario's remaining white chess pieces.

"How predictable," Giovanni said once the match ended, beginning to stockpile all of the chess pieces away within the chess set's compact drawer. "You defeat me in chess because of your greater skill."

"How do I compare to Mewtwo?" Lucario seemed uninterested in his victory over Giovanni.

"Mewtwo can leave a few more pieces on the board. Ten pieces seems to be your limit, on intermediate players anyway."

Lucario shrugged with a half-opened eye countenance, somewhat satisfied with Giovanni's compliment, but not forgetting about his primary purpose for being here.

"Now, about Mewtwo…" Lucario began.

Giovanni was left with six chess pieces remaining on top of the chess board, all of them different from each other.

"You should know this already, but would rather have it confirmed to you, right?"

Lucario simply nodded.

"I see," Giovanni understood. "It's as clear as your recent victory that Mewtwo has gone with the wind."

"(I knew it,)" Lucario thought without surprise.

"It left after hearing my remark 'your purpose is to serve me' and soon eradicated my Viridian Gym. Mewtwo chose to leave me for dead apparently, underneath the rubble burial that the building once was."

"(I knew it,)" Lucario repeated this phrase mentally.

"However, like chess, there are pieces in the game that are necessary to sacrifice in order to achieve your objective."

"(What did you just say?)" Lucario fumed a bit within his mind, clearly concerned over the importance of Mewtwo. With an elevated tone Lucario said "So to Team Rocket, Mewtwo was merely a pawn?"

"Not necessarily."

Giovanni looked at the six chess pieces remaining on the chess board and noticed Lucario did the same. He retrieved all six of the unique pieces and clutched them within his right hand.

"Chess and Team Rocket have enough similarities for me to juxtapose them to you. For example:"

Giovanni placed the pawn piece down on the board, on the second row in front of him.

"The Grunts of Team Rocket are the pawns in chess. Both you and Mewtwo were once Grunts."

He then began to move the pawn piece forward along the board, hopping it across each black and white square in front of it, stopping it once it has reached the end of the board.

"Through enough experience and progress, the pawn can be promoted to a higher level. In Team Rocket's case, the Grunts become Administrators—or Admins for short. Both of you have reached this level of progress and have been promoted."

Giovanni put the pawn away within the drawer of the chess set, not needing it again, and then placed four pieces on the board, excluding the king for now.

"In chess, the pawn is promoted to any one of these four pieces: the bishop, knight, queen, or rook. However, not all pawns reach this authority, nor are they all supposed to, as it is in chess with the number of each piece."

Lucario listened onward, knowing that Giovanni is establishing a connection.

"The knight of chess is like the technology of Team Rocket. Our technology supports us and transcends us, allowing us all to perform beyond our normal limitations."

Giovanni demonstrated how the knight moves in an "L" shape and how it can hop over other pieces. He then put the knight piece away within the drawer, and then separated the queen piece from the bishop piece and the rook piece.

"Where does Mewtwo fall under this juxtaposition? What about me?" Lucario asked.

"Do you still recall my previous words: 'The Grunts of Team Rocket are the pawns in chess' and 'both you and Mewtwo were once Grunts.'?"

"Yes."

"I was getting there," Giovanni eyed the bishop piece. "Mewtwo is the bishop in chess, while you are the rook."

Giovanni moved both pieces according to the chess rules permitting them to do so. He moved the bishop piece diagonally in its four possible directions, only across the colors of the square that it stood on. He then moved the rook piece horizontally across its four directions, moving it across all four corners of the board.

"Is it because of our different fighting styles?" Lucario said what was on his mind. "Mewtwo prefers stagnant long-range combat and I favor rigorous close-range combat?"

"It's nice to know that we're both on the same page." Giovanni was told what he was about to say and then put the three pieces away within the drawer.

Including the queen piece.

The king piece, the last and most important piece of the six, was released from his hand and placed in the center of the chess board, demonstrating how the king pieces can only move, in every direction, one space.

"Can you tell me what, in Team Rocket, the king piece represents?"

"I'm looking at him," Lucario's response was instantaneous when he eyed Giovanni.

"Good. Good." Giovanni put the king piece away within the drawer of the chess set and moved the table to his side.

Lucario noticed that Giovanni was forgetting something. "You neglected the queen piece."

"I don't believe I did. I have no wife." Giovanni, this time, responded instantaneously and bogusly.

"…" Part of Lucario thought that Giovanni was lying and purposely neglecting to compare the chess game's queen piece to something of Team Rocket. However, Lucario had one question in his mind that he had to ask Giovanni, and he wouldn't allow for any further topical digressions to happen.

"Is there anything more on your mind?"

"Only one last topic," Lucario briefly lifted one finger in the air. "In chess, the player's goal is to declare checkmate on their opponent, effectively winning the game. How does the goal in chess compare to the goal of Team Rocket? I've been working here for over a year and know for a fact that world domination is the goal of Team Rocket, however I've never known how Team Rocket—you—plan on achieving that goal."

"You mean you haven't figured it out yet?" Giovanni said.

Lucario was suddenly made slightly confused. "What do you mean?"

"Let me start with what makes Team Rocket exist," Giovanni paused briefly to think his words over. "Pokémon are the main reason why we, as a criminal organization, exist and prosper. Pokémon—you for exampleprovide us with a surplus of labor and wealth that keeps Team Rocket running stably. With one Pokémon, we can capture many more, doing with them as we wish, which is something that you have some experience with."

"(Don't go there…)" Lucario thought, still recovering from the sessions where he had to kill the surplus of Team Rocket's captured Pokémon.

"Did you know that both you and Mewtwo, throughout your entire career in Team Rocket, have captured more Pokémon combined than the rest of the organization has in five years? Because of this, we've now actually had to resort to storing three Pokémon within a single holding cell."

"(No wonder the holding cells are practically overflowing with Pokémon,)" Lucario thought.

"All of the Pokémon in Team Rocket, once at a sufficient level of strength, will be used as an army for Team Rocket's Master Plan," Giovanni's lips curled upward to form a stiff smile. "The Master Plan is to take over the world, by overthrowing each and every region's Elite Four and eight Gym Leaders, the political powerhouses of the region's respective Pokémon League."

The Elite Four? Pokémon League? Lucario has never heard of these topics, and has entirely no idea what they are. The only thing Lucario knows is that Giovanni is the leader of the Viridian Gym. However, he knows nothing of how it works outside the field of battling. All he assumed that it was is a building for he and Mewtwo to spar against other Pokémon Trainer's Pokémon.

"Once overthrown, the world will kneel before me, the boss of the new ubiquitous power of Team Rocket!" Giovanni spoke with sudden drama and triumph. "No one will be stronger than or greater than me, because I'll be as omnipotent as a god!"

Lucario stood mildly uneasy, hearing Giovanni suddenly shout in the recovery room. His hyper-perceptive ears were ringing slightly with Giovanni's bold and confident tone of voice. Lucario resisted the urge to rub the inside of his ears, hoping that eases the unpleasant ringing.

"Anything else you want to know? I'm all ears right now." Giovanni's tone of voice reverted back to an easy and nonchalant state. "Or maybe you'd like to play another round of chess with me."

Lucario, almost as if some part of him was out of his control, agreed to play another round of chess with the recovering boss of Team Rocket. Without him knowing, one extra game became two, then four, and then eight. Lucario found himself playing until the clock read 11:15 in the morning. Once done, Lucario said his farewell to Giovanni, and returned up to his own room, pondering deeply about escaping or not.

Giovanni decided to get some rest, knowing that the sooner he recovers, the quicker he can get back on his occupation. Before actually falling asleep, however, he had this to think.

"(Knowing Xeno's curiosity, I would've expected it to show more interest in what the queen piece of chess represents for Team Rocket. Oh well… It'll know soon enough anyway, especially since it'll likely follow the path that Mewtwo left behind for it to follow.)"

Giovanni decided to trail off a bit in thought, a combination of words forming within his mind.

"(The path of the aura, one that Mewtwo left behind from its choice of actions, one that Xeno Lucario will likely pick up on.)"

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 29): Room 29-6

Date: October 15th, 2011 (10/15/11)

Time: 11:22 AM

"So how was he?" Terra asked.

"Was he in a full body cast?" Luxray wondered.

"Did he break any bones?" Wanderer questioned.

"Or did they perform surgical treatment on him." Dusknoir inquired.

"Was he inflicted with third-degree burns?" Aqua asked.

"Did they patch his face with the skin off of his ass?" Tyranitar chuckled under its words.

"What did Mewtwo do to him?" Charmander spoke.

"Did Mewtwo…kill him?" Lairon spoke ultimately.

Lucario was immediately swarmed by his fellow Pokémon and bombarded with their questions, all of which wondered about Giovanni's current circumstance. "He's very much alive, but not kicking heartily." Lucario began to explain. "He had a cast on his left arm and right leg. He was bandaged around the top of his head and his abdomen due to moderate bruising. He only had a couple of bandages for the lacerations on his left cheek and right shoulder as well."

"…" The Pokémon were suddenly made silent. Their hopes of finally escaping team Rocket seemed to drain out of them faster than their stamina when training.

All except for Lairon, who imperturbably had this to say: "How long…until he's fully recovered?"

Lucario faced his fellow Pokémon and knelt down closer to the Iron Armor Pokémon's level of height "We have long enough, for us all to escape."

The hopes that Lucario had unwillingly drained earlier surged back to the Pokémon once more. The looks on their faces shows clear signs of excitement or satisfaction.

"When will we escape then?" Wanderer approached Lucario and stood to his right side.

Lucario stood upright once more and stalwartly said "Tonight. We'll escape under the cover of night, and with every Pokémon within the basement floors."

The surrounding Pokémon were left almost agape at Lucario's sky high hopes.

"And does the dark-furred Aura Pokémon have a plan?" Tyranitar spoke with crossed arms and with a tone as serious as its skin is dry.

"No, but it won't take me long to formulate a plan prior to our nighttime escape."


"When you wish to have someone commit treason, it's best to look first among known traitors." —Orson Scott Card (373) ("Xenocide")

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