The Path of the Aura: Intertwining Crossroads

Chapter VII (7): Now Leaving Team Rocket

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

Date: October 16th, 2011

Time: 2:00 AM

A plan was thought over by Lucario yesterday in only a few hours. To ensure that fatigue isn't a problem, everybody fell asleep after 6:00 in the evening. They would awaken in the middle of the night, when everybody else is asleep—or at least the Team Rocket Grunts who have daily shifts—and commence with their plan.

Lucario, being the only Pokémon free of his respective Poké Ball—the black and red "Team Rocket's Poké Ball"—, slept comfortably in his bed, with the alarm clock adjacent to his bed set for 2:00 AM.

And once the set time was reached…

Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep! Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep! Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep!

…Lucario awakened with full realization of what would occur today…

Beep! Beep! Bee—!

…turned off the alarm clock with a downward smack of his paw and stood up and off of his bed, not even bothering to tend to the mattress because he would no longer use it in the future.

The package he received yesterday was left as it originally was, with the six items—the letter within an envelope, the diverse Poké Balls of Mewtwo's party of four Pokémon, and the belt for holding up to ten Poké Balls—stored within it. He retrieves the Expert Belt beside the package and straps it onto himself as if it were a sash, stretched from his right shoulder to his left thigh. The belt follows in suit, strapped—and adjusted—around his waistline. Finally, his entire party of eight Pokémon is stored within the sides of his belt—his party on his left side, and Mewtwo's party on his right side—in tandem.

As for the letter, Lucario deliberately disposed of it by grasping it with his paw and burning it away with his aura. The letter, and all that is inscribed on it, was reduced to sable ash, which Lucario blew off of his paw and wiped off afterward.

Before exiting Room 29-6 for the final time, Lucario decides to see the outside of the windows, out of nostalgia. He eyed the celestial, dotted sable sky and pondered briefly of what Mewtwo thought during this same nighttime setting, what was present in its mind prior to delivering him the package and its contents.

He speculates that Mewtwo, whether it showed interest in Team Liberator or not, did in fact consider aiding him. In doing so, Lucario believed that Mewtwo, despite its physical absence, is with him, as cliché or as tentative as it may seem when Lucario thought about it.

He chooses not to digress any further chronologically and proceeds over to the Registration Room in the one and only floor above Room 29-6.

13.1: Team Liberator's Escape (Phase One)

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 30/Roof Floor): Registration Room

Lucario, treading as silent as a ninja, traveled to the front door of the Registration Room. Utilizing his Aura Vision ability, he transcends over the physical bulwark that is the door and quickly observes the inside of the room. He doesn't have to look in detail to realize that there's no one within the room—to his hopes—and decides to dissipate his Aura Vision ability before he gripped the door knob.

The mechanisms of the door knob clicked against each other under Lucario's grip, signs that the door was clearly locked. He didn't hesitate to attempt to meddle with the lock and open the door. However, he realized—as quickly as he sensed a lack of presence inside the room—that his hand-spike was too wide to fit within the keyhole.

Before cursing at this setback, he looked at the gap between the door and the floor, and thought if it large enough for him to squeeze his way through, once he makes a few modifications to himself.

He removes all of his equipment and sets it briefly aside, in order to do what he anticipates himself of doing. He remains immobile and mentally concentrates of fitting through the gap below him. Within seconds, he finds his vision suddenly warping and appearing before him as if the entire space around him is growing.

In reality, he was utilizing a Pokémon technique called MINIMIZE, and shrinking himself to the size of a dust Buneary.

With his newfound miniature size, he makes like a Rattata and squeezes his way through the gap before him. He struggles mildly with getting the lower half of his body through—because of the fluffy fur of his blue thighs—but persists and reaches the other side of the door.

To grow back to his normal size, he inhales deeply and breaths out an odd gray gas from his two nostrils. With HAZE, he cancels any stat abnormalities—beneficial and/or harmful—and finds the room shrinking to normal before his eyes. The door is unlocked with ease and Lucario re-straps his equipment as it once was on him.

With great speed and telekinetic abilities, all eight of his Pokémon expose themselves from their individual Poké Balls in the form of red energy, under Lucario's intentions. Lucario returns all eight of his Poké Balls to their respective slots on his belt once all eight Pokémon have rematerialized fully. All eight Pokémon of his party awaited Lucario's orders.

"It's time to initiate Phase One of Team Liberator's Escape Plan," He said after they rematerialized, and they all nod before performing their premeditated tasks.

Lucario goes to Giovanni's computer/table hybrid and sits down on the Team Rocket Boss's chair. He turns on the table computer as Giovanni always does, through a switch on the underside.

Charmeleon and Lairon go to the Teleportation Terminal on the side of the room—the one that Giovanni accessed to teleport Aqua, Terra, and Wanderer over a year ago—and awaits both Aqua and Wanderer to step into the Teleportation Terminal's cylindrical Warp Zone, so that they are teleported to the Basement Floors of this building.

Charmeleon initiates, through the computer, the teleportation of Aqua and Wanderer. Lairon proceeds to the side of the Healing Machine—adjacent from the Teleportation Terminal—and locates the storage container of the Poké Balls of the Pokémon within the Basement Floors, dragging the heavy object close to the cylindrical Warp Zone.

Hundreds of assorted Poké Balls are housed in a brazenly decorated treasure chest, one that appeared to belong to a pirate of yesteryear. Once Aqua and Wanderer were teleported and the Warp Zone was traceless of their presence, Lairon easily pushes the heavy treasure chest within the cylindrical Warp Zone, utilizing the surplus of physical strength that it seldom taps into.

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor B1): Basement Cells

To their expectations, Aqua and Wanderer were teleported to the Basement Cells of Floor B1, and they found themselves within a holding cell of this room. However, Lucario having earlier explained to the both of them of this situation when comprehending Team Liberator's Plan, both Aqua and Wanderer were as calm as a pond of water in what to do about this.

Aqua immediately approached the glass bulwark and opened its mouth as wide as physically possible. A light blue sphere of frigid energy began to emerge from its mouth and once the energy built up enough, Aqua exhaled it in the form of light blue lightning.

The instant it made contact with the glass bulwark, the glass froze over gradually and entirely. Both Pokémon swapped places and Wanderer jabbed at the glass bulwark with MACH PUNCH, making sure of having the sharp point of its bone protrusion contact the glass first.

The end result of these two attacks was an utter failure of the glass to maintain its security and shatter like the material that it is. The reason was that Lucario learned that if an object is frozen at a cold enough temperature, it becomes crystalline in composition and extremely brittle.

Through Lucario's explanation, Aqua and Wanderer have successfully shattered the glass bulwark.

Both Pokémon step to the hallway—Aqua shoving the glass aside and away with its pearl white and surprisingly thick, blubbery belly—and give the signal to a surveillance camera, connected to the Teleportation Terminal's monitors, to teleport the treasure chest of Poké Balls over.

A short amount of time passes between the given signal and the arrival of the treasure chest, which resides within their previous location after a brief flash of bright white light.

As Wanderer drags it over to the hallway, Aqua commenced with freezing the glass bulwarks of the hallway. Wanderer opens the treasure chest and retrieves two dozen Poké Balls from it with PSYCHIC, and then proceeds over to the frozen glass bulwarks. It rubs both paw-spikes together, prepping itself for the impending task at hand.

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 20): Security Room

The nighttime shift of the security guards of Team Rocket always proved to be a tiresome job that reaps little in terms of excitement or progress. The security guards, only two of them, sat on chairs, facing the security camera monitors with teary eyes and gaping mouths.

They were not aware in the least when Dusknoir ominously rose from the floor, holding Luxray by the sides of the ribcage with its arms.

Then again, they wouldn't be aware in general, because they were so silent that not even the sensitive ears of a Zubat could hear them. Only their heads appeared from the floor at the moment, observing the security guards closely, both with sharpened red and rutilant eyes, each of different color schemes.

Within moments, one of the security camera monitors for Floor 1 showed an image of two Pokémon blazing across the hallway: a Garchomp and a Tyranitar. Both Dusknoir and Luxray knew well enough that it was Terra and Tyranitar whom passed by the security camera, however the security guards thought otherwise. They thought of them as wild Pokémon, which intruded into the premises.

They got up surprisingly quickly, despite their earlier quiescence. However, once they turned around 180 degrees, they briefly caught a glimpse of two things: sharp fangs and crackling electricity.

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 1): Vehicle Room

Both Terra and Tyranitar, whom were shortly observed through the security cameras as running across the hallway, were pondering the realization that there's no Team Rocket Grunts around them to stop them. They know that Dusknoir and Luxray were in charge of immobilizing all of them, so as to have minimum encumbrance as they are initiating Team Liberator's Plan.

They both pondered how both Dusknoir and Luxray were proficiently performing their task at hand.

A short run later, they arrived to the entrance of the Vehicle Room in Floor 1. Tyranitar opens the door with its hands—because Terra couldn't grip a doorknob to save its life—and both Pokémon proceed inside.

The room's dimensions were equal to those of four football fields placed together in two-by-two order. The space is required to store over fifty transportation vehicles: off-road vehicles, jets, helicopters, etc.

Terra and Tyranitar, after eyeing all of the vehicles within the vicinity, proceed to a cargo helicopter of their choosing, one which they would all make their escape in momentarily. The design of the cargo helicopter—a twin-rotary, fifty-foot-long helicopter with a pitch black paintjob and a red "R" on both sides—seemed competent to suffice their escape's needs.

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 30/Roof Floor): Registration Room

Charmeleon and Lairon are flawlessly operating the Teleportation Terminal and the Healing Machine adjacent to it. The treasure chest was teleported back recently, empty and placed to the side of the Healing Machine. Charmeleon teleported the Poké Balls that Aqua and Wanderer put its respective Pokémon within, and Lairon would place them on the Healing Machine, replacing them and storing them away within the treasure chest as needed, when more Poké Balls arrive.

During their work, Lucario accessed his battle armor—currently stored within Floor 10—from Giovanni's table computer, and then set it on standby for when he arrives there in time and puts it on. He feels as though he needs it, especially in case Team Rocket hunts him down.

Next, he accesses its memory and discards all of the data on it, except for the programs that allow it to function properly. What he does next is something that the battle armor's helmet is capable of storing in its memory: all of the files of Team Rocket—goals, history, members, objectives, Pokémon. The information would consume a few hundred gigabytes of memory in Lucario's helmet, which it had quite enough for.

However, the instant Lucario attempted to copy all of the files onto his helmet's hard drive…


…this message appeared on the table computer's broad monitor.

Before Lucario could curse the name of the Alpha Pokémon, he anticipated that his plan wouldn't be so straightforward. However, he was persistent, and did in fact have a couple of hints in bypassing this restriction.

The password isn't case sensitive and is spaced between words.

With the security guards unconscious and immobile until morning, Dusknoir and Luxray continue their search for Team Rocket Grunts to K.O.

Most of the Grunts are asleep in their bed, and only require one quick nibble of Luxray's THUNDER FANG attack in order to fall unconscious. Others however, were doing other actions—despite how late it currently was.

One Grunt was about to enter his bathroom, disturbed by the call of nature in the middle of his sleep. He was knocked out cold when Dusknoir and Luxray ethereally appeared out of the bathroom door before the Grunt approached it, not from THUNDER FANG, but by recoiling back and hitting his head onto the wall.

Another Grunt was in the shower and prior to leaving, saw both Pokémon and slipped in the tub.

Both Dusknoir and Luxray left afterwards, only thinking about Team Liberator's Plan and not of the well-being of the Grunts they knocked unconscious—not that they should as it is. For all they knew, they've already killed a few of the Grunts by stopping their hearts with Luxray's amperage.

With most of the Grunts knocked unconscious—or dead—, as both Pokémon flew across the hallway as silent and phantasm-like as the night, Dusknoir heard an odd smacking sound in front of it. It didn't take a second for the Gripper Pokémon to know just what was making the sound, but it did take longer as to why the sound was being made.

What the sound was is the licking of Luxray's chops. As for why Luxray was doing so…

"Luxray, what are you doing?" Dusknoir asked the Gleam Eyes Pokémon that it effortlessly carried by the sides of its ribcage.

"What does it sound like I'm doing? I'm licking my chops." Luxray paused briefly, thinking why Dusknoir asked its question. "Oh wait, you're wondering why, right?"

Dusknoir simply said "Yes" out of curiosity.

"Let me face you first," Luxray asked.

Dusknoir stopped traveling forward and obeyed Luxray without question. Once Luxray faced it, the Gripper Pokémon noticed a vast amount of blood on Luxray's mouth, on its teeth, and on its tongue. This didn't bother the Gripper Pokémon, compared to those with hemophobia anyway.

"I'm biting hard enough to make the Grunts bleed," Luxray said, "and apparently, they taste pretty damn good inside, which is why I'm licking the blood off of my face."

Dusknoir was mildly stunned by Luxray's enjoyment in this and turns him 180 degrees again, hovering along the hallway once more, with the Gleam Eyes Pokémon in hand.

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 1): Vehicle Room

With the cargo helicopter of their choice, both Terra and Tyranitar made the necessary preparations for setting up the vehicle for their expected escape.

The hangar door, being closed due to the current lack of use, was Terra's target. The Mach Pokémon squatted to the floor and dug its sharp claws below the door, creasing and bending it, so that they fit properly. With moderate force, the door was opened wide, allowing a cold chill to enter the room, as well as a pitch black setting beyond the walls of Team Rocket Main Headquarters. The cold air didn't bother Terra, thanks to the resistance its developing to Ice-Type attacks by Aqua.

The fuel supply of the cargo helicopter was Tyranitar's target. Because it has better "hands" to grip with than Terra, it was able to attach the gas pump to the cargo helicopter, fueling it steadily.

With the cargo helicopter fully fueled after a short time, Tyranitar removed the gas pump from the rotary machine and before setting it aside, decided to examine it, preferably the liquid dripping out of its nozzle.

"(What is in this liquid that makes these man-made metallic machines work?)" Tyranitar thought with the utmost curiosity. "(I suppose tasting it might give me the answers.)"

Tyranitar immediately lip-locked the nozzle and had a few drops fall on its tongue. In an instant, the flavor of the gasoline was processed by its brain. The flavor of the gasoline was, to Tyranitar's imagination, the equivalent of raw sewage, and equally as toxic—in large doses at least. This led to the immediate rejection of the gas pump, as well as a fair amount of dry heaving and heavy gagging.

With the hangar door open, Terra approached the sickened Tyranitar and eyed the gasoline pump. Placing it back in its original place—fumbling with it for a few moments—, Terra asked "What's up with your behavior?"

Tyranitar's answer was immediate and spiteful.

"Oh my Arceus, (*gag*) (*cough*cough*) what the hell was it that I just tasted?" Tyranitar was surprisingly able to speak despite its gagging. "How the fu—"


A sudden spiteful punch across the side of the cargo helicopter rattled across the entire Vehicle Room, needlessly shattering the shattered peace of silence—and helpfully censoring Tyranitar's expletive.

Terra only grew wide-eyed at this, but nothing more.

"—do these Arceus-damned machines function on such a disgusting substance?"

If Dusknoir and Luxray weren't actively knocking out Team Rocket Grunts at this moment, Terra would've instantly silenced the expletive-prone Pokémon by bashing its head with the broadside of its shark-like tail.

With a smile of amusement, Terra said "You're such a neophyte, Tyranitar", chuckling a little after its words.

"Oh, you can just go and—" Tyranitar spews forth more than a spiteful remark. Its dinner was soon on the floor, which smelled heavily of gourmet steak and Berries.

"Whatever," Terra, with its eyes closed and its smile still present, smugly shrugged its shoulders without Tyranitar seeing, not caring if it did or not.

As of now, Terra thought of Tyranitar as a neophyte whom recklessly acted on its curiosity rather than its common sense. However, in doing so, Terra almost forgot about its past experiences, back when it was a Gible freshly captured and belonging to Team Rocket. It recalled actions similar to those Tyranitar did just now.

During its first few months of working for Team Rocket, it remembered countless times of its curiosity overpowering its naive mind, causing it to clamp its mouth onto practically everything in its sight. In one case, it clamped onto the nozzle of a gas pump and was forcefully engorged with gasoline. Were it not for the medical care that Team Rocket surprisingly possessed for Pokémon, as well of the fact that they saw the potential in it for their criminal needs, it would've indubitably died of the gasoline's toxicity.

"(Perhaps I shouldn't be so hypocritical about this…)" Terra thought solemnly to itself, briefly trailing off into Memory Lane.

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor B1): Basement Cells

The process of recovering all of the Pokémon within the basement cells was rather quick, despite the quantity of both Pokémon and Poké Balls that Aqua and Wanderer had to work with. Aqua's Ice-Type attributes and Wanderer's telekinetic abilities proved invaluable in maximizing work while simultaneously minimizing time.

All of the Pokémon were teleported and accounted for by Lairon, back at the Registration Room in Floor 30. Their part in Team Liberator's Plan is complete.

As they await their turns at teleportation, Wanderer notices Aqua's mouth is opened suspiciously, as if it were holding something within its jaws. The light-furred Aura Pokémon showed curiosity to this.

"Aqua, are you holding something?"

Aqua simply nodded and angled its mouth to allow Wanderer to see the item it held inside of its mouth. Aqua held a black sphere with a gold band around its center, and a red band on its top. To Wanderer, the item's identity was quickly identified.

Aqua was holding a Luxury Ball in its mouth.

"May I hold it please?" Wanderer held out one paw underneath Aqua's mouth.

Aqua handed over the Luxury Ball to Wanderer. The ball is surprisingly dry, despite being in the mouth of the Transport Pokémon.

"Why didn't you place it back with the other Poké Balls?" It said with its eyes on the Luxury Ball.

"It's empty," Aqua simply said. "I think we got an extra Poké Ball in that treasure chest."

"Or perhaps a Pokémon fled from the Basement Floors and escaped on its own."

"Do you think so?" Aqua accepted the possibility in a heartbeat.

"It's entirely possible, although I find it improbable." Wanderer stopped looking at the Luxury Ball and awaited teleportation.

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 30/Roof Floor): Registration Room

Giovanni is the boss


Giovanni is the man


Giovanni for president


Respect my authority


The table was pounded by Lucario's fists, out of frustration at the lack of the correct password. Before cursing at Arceus in high heaven, Lucario decides to rethink his strategy. He considers the fact that passwords are often something that no one would expect, or expect last.

A password that is unknown to all but the user and the primary keyword is "unknown".

The word "unknown" causes Lucario to think of an unknown of Team Rocket. The first thought he regards as an unknown for Team Rocket is its name.

"(What is the origin of the name 'Team Rocket'?)" Lucario thought.

He ponders firstly the possibility that the word 'Rocket' is an acronym.

"(If it is an acronym, then what are the words that give 'Rocket' its existence?)"

Feeling the need to concentrate on this matter, Lucario reclines back on Giovanni's chair, with closed eyes and his elongated snout pointed at the ceiling. All this did for the Aura Pokémon was cause mucus to trail down his throat.

He opens his eyes, and in an instant, they're locked on something specific.

"(How long has that plaque been up there?)" Lucario thought. He eyed the plaque in curiosity and noticed that it was inscribed with these words.

Raid On the City, Knock out, Evil Tusks

"(Queer words for a plaque to display…)" Lucario thought moments before his eyes widened in realization. "(…Wait a minute!)"

In a hurry, Lucario typed in the words inscribed on the plaque onto the table computer's keyboard, noticing that the capital letters on the phrase represent the six letters in 'Rocket', and as he hoped…


…the password was correct. The copying of the files was immediately started and in progress. The helmet of his battle armor would have all of Team Rocket's files copied over before he could reach it.

"(*Sigh*)" Lucario put his elbows on the table computer and rubbed the back of his neck, an action of relief after having transcended the password. He smiled with his head pointed down, and almost chuckled to himself. "(I'm glad that's over.)"

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 10): Recovery Room

Both Dusknoir and Luxray agreed in making Giovanni the last of the humans to knock out unconscious. Once everybody else was accounted for and rendered immobile, both Pokémon traveled over to the Recovery Room in Floor 10 that Giovanni currently resided in.

They both emerged from the ground, as they did in the Security Room of Floor 20, a few feet away from Giovanni's bed. Once they were able to see above the bed, they were both stunned to notice Giovanni's utter lack of presence.

With this weighing heavily in their minds, they both decide to continue to hover, back to the Registration Room in Floor 20, to regroup with Lucario.

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 30/Roof Floor): Registration Room

Once Aqua, Charmeleon, Lairon, Wanderer, and the treasure chest of Poké Balls were back in the Registration Room of Floor 30, Lucario approached them.

"So we're all done here, right?" Lucario asked them.

The four Pokémon that Lucario addressed to nodded their heads briefly.

"Now we simply wait for Dusknoir and Luxray. By the time they return, my battle armor will have finished assimilating all of Team Rocket's files and then we can go commence Phase Two of Team Liberator's Plan."

Another brief nod was made by the four Pokémon.

"Might I interject, Xeno?" Wanderer spoke up.

It was Lucario's turn to nod briefly and he awaited Wanderer's actions.

"Aqua recovered a spare Luxury Ball at the Basement Floors," Wanderer passed it over to Lucario, whom examined it briefly before looking back at the light-furred Aura Pokémon. "I believe that it belonged to a Pokémon within the Basement Floors. I improbably speculate that a Pokémon belongs within here."

Lucario immediately opens the Luxury Ball and examines its interior. "No Pokémon harbors this Luxury Ball. The inner circuitry shows no signs of use yet." Lucario closed the Luxury Ball, pressed its center button to shrink it, and tucked it away within the last slot of left side of his belt, leaving only one slot remaining on the right side.

"Alright then," Wanderer simply said.

With no warning, Dusknoir and Luxray return to them from below. Dusknoir sets Luxray down on the floor, and Luxray doesn't cease to lick its mouth clean of human blood, a sign that it enjoyed its assigned task.

"What news do you bring us, Dusknoir?" Lucario inquires the Gripper Pokémon, automatically assuming that it and Luxray finished their tasks.

"I can inform us all that all of the Team Rocket Grunts have been subdued and rendered immobile, all but one at least."

"Is it Giovanni?" Aqua asks.

"Unfortunately, yes." Dusknoir's words were heavy with disappointment. "He's missing, and neither of us can sense his presence."

"I should assume as much," Lucario said. "However, he is only one person now, whom will not abate our escape plans. We will now initiate Phase Two of Team Liberator's Plan, and if we see Giovanni before escaping, we tear him apart. It doesn't matter who does so or in what manner, so long as it's done."

Everybody nodded, including Luxray, whom finished licking its chops for scraps of human blood that clung tightly into his fur.

Dusknoir then gripped Lucario by the sides of his torso and dragged him down to Floor 10, where his armor is, and it would then inform Terra and Tyranitar to commence Phase Two of Team Liberator's Plan before retrieving the Poké Balls from Floor 1 and upward. Everybody else, with the treasure chest in their possession, proceeded to retrieve the Poké Balls from Floor 30 and downward. When they all meet once more, they would reunite with Terra and Tyranitar and escape together.

13:2: Team Liberator's Escape (Phase Two)

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 1): Vehicle Room

Time: 3:00 AM

Terra and Tyranitar, once they finished preparing the cargo helicopter for their departure, simply spent their spare time examining the other cargo helicopters out of boredom. They stopped the instant that they noticed Dusknoir's signal of the initiation of Phase Two of Team Liberator's Plan: a flickering ghostly blue WILL-O-WISP flame that hovered in the air.

With a smirk, they began their patiently-waited part of the plan: the part where they destroy every other vehicle within the Vehicle Room.

The sounds of mashing metal and explosive conflagrations were audible across the building, and fell upon deaf ears to all of the human Team Rocket Grunts—thanks to Dusknoir's and Luxray's previous actions.

Both Pokémon, being the powerhouses that they were, utilized severely stalwart attacks in their disposal. Terra utilized DRAGON CLAW to shred the metal hulls of the various vehicles, EARTH POWER to uproot the lighter vehicles, and OUTRAGE to send vehicles colliding into each other. Tyranitar utilized CRUNCH to mutilate the smaller vehicles, GIGA IMPACT to pierce the larger vehicles with its body, and STONE EDGE to penetrate the fuel tanks of the other vehicles, instantly exploding them and engulfing them in flames.

They made themselves presently euphoric for decimation, one which they will recall happily if they all manage to escape in one piece.

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 10)

Time flew by, like Butterfree in the wind, when Phase Two of Team Liberator's Plan was initiated by Lucario and his party of Pokémon. During that time, the other seven Pokémon—excluding Terra's and Tyranitar's metal-mashing destruction orgy—proceeded with their current objectives.

Lucario was quick in assimilating his battle armor onto his being and met up shortly with all of the other Pokémon on the floors above. Dusknoir was as equally quick in gathering the Poké Balls from the first floor and upward.

The omni-present thought that Giovanni was nowhere to be seen gave each and every Pokémon—except for the trash-happy desert beasts in the Vehicle Room—the necessary alertness for each of them to progress steadily and not falter. The mild xenophobia that they all had of what Giovanni can possibly be doing beyond their field of vision kept them moving forward. It made them dexterous in their judgment, focused in their teamwork, and razor sharp in their actions.

The seven Pokémon are reunited in the hallways of Floor 10. The treasure chest already contained the salvaged Poké Balls from the thirtieth floor downward, but has yet to contain those that Dusknoir has salvaged.

Speaking of which, where are the Poké Balls that Dusknoir has collected? None of them were present on its arms.

Dusknoir opens the treasure chest, and then opens the mouth on its torso. The throat located behind that mouth is a vortex that leads to unknown whereabouts, where Dusknoir's salvaged Poké Balls temporarily resided in. All of them emerged from Dusknoir and were stored away within the treasure chest. All of the Grunt's captured Pokémon were safely stored away once the lid closed.

Everyone gave odd looks to Dusknoir's recent action.

"What's the matter with you guys?" Dusknoir closed the mouth on its belly. "You all act like you've seen me or something."

It wanted to say "a Ghost" in place of "me", but that would be cliché, especially coming from a Ghost-Type Pokémon.

"…" The other Pokémon remained silent, never seeing what Dusknoir did before with their respective eyes, despite the fact that they've learned of a Dusknoir's abilities in doing so.

"Let's just disregard this for now," Lucario said. "We still have Terra and Tyranitar to rendezvous with."

All of the Pokémon agree with him and carry the treasure chest amongst themselves to the first floor of Team Rocket Main Headquarters. They all still ponder of Giovanni's current whereabouts—Lucario especially—and never cease to think of their plan failing because of him, possibly planning to counter-plot against their precariously seditious plotting.

13.3: Divided Departure

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 1): Vehicle Room

Time: 4:45 AM

To douse the fires of their carnage, Terra and Tyranitar simultaneously utilize a brutal SANDSTORM, one that covers the entire Vehicle Room and escapes partially from the opened cargo hatch door.

With the fires starved of their oxygen food supply, they died off, moments before Tyranitar "breathes in" the sand with the gaping black holes that were present on its torso and outer thighs.

All of the other Pokémon entered the Vehicle Room, once Terra's and Tyranitar's SANDSTORM disappeared. They all ogled the Mach Pokémon and the Armor Pokémon, whom were standing upright and back-to-back of each other.

Tyranitar chuckled wickedly at the destruction they caused in such a satisfyingly adequate amount of time.

"(You're such an emotional neophyte,)" Terra thought to itself, calming itself immediately after the frenzy.

All of the Pokémon—Aqua (Lapras), Charmeleon, Dusknoir, Lairon, Lucario (Xeno), Luxray, Terra (Garchomp), Tyranitar, and Wanderer—reunited once the sand dissipated.

Lucario, being the overall leader of this group, was the first to speak.

"For the finale of Phase Two of Team Liberator's Plan," Lucario said. "We all make our escape on the last remaining vehicle of Team Rocket Main Headquarters…"

Lucario looked over at both Terra and Tyranitar, smiling at their success.

"…The only one spared by the both of you."

Terra and Tyranitar high-fived each other's clawed "hands", congratulating each other on a job well done. Everybody else applauded them. Even Aqua, Lairon, and Lapras clapped, despite being the quadrupeds that they presently were.

"Once we depart Team Rocket Main Headquarters, we'll initiate Phase Three of Team Liberator's Plan. We should leave now, and quickly. I can't help but think that Giovanni is watching us, beyond our reach." Lucario's voice showed concern, and then his dreadlock-like appendages hovered horizontally and vibrated, only temporarily. "I can't even sense him around us."

Everybody nodded in agreement.

The only cargo helicopter that Terra and Tyranitar spared was fully fueled and braced for takeoff. The first Pokémon to enter the twin-rotary machine is Dusknoir, being the designated pilot for the vehicle. Everybody else began to enter, their combined weight not straining the cargo helicopter, since it was intentionally designed to lift tens of tons of weight in one sitting. There was more than enough room within the cargo helicopter for everybody to fit inside of as well, without the need for Lucario to assimilate them back into their respective Poké Balls to conserve space and weight.

Both of the Aura Pokémon and the treasure chest of Poké Balls are the only ones outside of the cargo helicopter. Dusknoir starts the engine, and the familiar high-pitched sound of rotating blades fills the ears of the Pokémon.

This particular gyrating sound resonates more within the minds and memories of both Aura Pokémon, since this was the sound that they heard before their lives permanently changes.

Was it for better or for worse? This question suddenly appeared within their minds.


This was their immediate mental response to that question.

They both miss Sceptile and Tiny with all their heart, embracing the bitter truth that they won't be seen again. However, being a part of Team Rocket has allowed them to meet new Pokémon, new lifelong friends, and have a new purpose in their lives. Whether this is a gift or a curse is determined primarily by their actions.

They all agreed to rebel against Team Rocket—against Giovanni—and escape. They knew well enough that, whether successfully escaping or not, they were now enemies of Team Rocket. They would be hunted down until the day that they die, running across the planet with Team Rocket hunting them down like a relentless Mightyena pack. They were all strong, and would be together through whatever the future holds for them.

They all hoped.

Wanderer loads itself in first as Lucario hoists the treasure chest with its arms and commences to pass the enclosed trunk to it. Wanderer receives the treasure chest and pushes it to the back of the cargo helicopter, the Poké Ball cargo safe and sound.

Dusknoir begins to take off the vehicle, as Lucario clings onto the outside rails of it with his right paw. Wanderer, before it could lend out its paw for assistance, suddenly notices a missile fired towards them. This missile came at them fast, tearing past the sound barrier in the process.

There's no time for Wanderer to alert Lucario of this approaching threat, however it doesn't need to.

Lucario immediately senses the hostile projectile and raises its other paw in defense. With a flash of extrasensory abilities, a prism-like cubic barrier—LIGHT SCREEN—conceals the entire cargo helicopter, fortifying it against the ballistic attack that is the fired missile.

Unfortunately, Lucario's LIGHT SCREEN technique isn't entirely needed for defending against the missile, because the missile misses the hovering cargo helicopter, entirely in fact. Lucario's LIGHT SCREEN dissipates and the missile leaves through the cargo hatch door, flying onward in the night sky. A small flash of light emanates briefly in the sable setting outside, before a rather loud shockwave reaches the Pokémon on the cargo helicopter.

The next audible sound comes from a familiar enemy.

"Damn Arceus in high Heaven. I missed?"

Every Pokémon on the cargo helicopter knew the identity of the voice. It was none other than Giovanni, whom decided to expose himself to them, showing that he was still here and against their escape. However, there was something considerably different about him, primarily his external appearance.

He had a weapon on his being: battle armor, far more sophisticated than the battle armor that either Lucario or Mewtwo had ever equipped on them. It covered Giovanni's entire body, including his head, which was exposed momentarily. The armor appeared to be a futuristic version of knight armor, complete with metallic plating that is easily capable of compacting and expanding within its metallic structure.

"They never put in a targeting system on this battle armor yet," Giovanni talked loudly, audible to every Pokémon in front of him. "I pay them tens of millions—no, hundreds of millions—to build this, and they slack off on me." He said this before the missile launcher on his right shoulder folded inside of itself and sunk into the shoulder plate of his battle armor.

All of the Pokémon were astounded at this battle armor, at how sleek and functional it appeared to be. However, they remembered the attempted missile shot, and were downgraded a few notches at how impressed they were at the battle armor, primarily because they were targeted by it.

Lucario, with his battle armor, thinks that some of the Team Rocket files that he uploaded into his helmet reference Giovanni's battle armor. Inconspicuously, he accesses those files and has them appear immediately in his visor's advanced LCD screen.

To put it concisely, Giovanni's battle suit was in development for as long as Giovanni was Team Rocket's Boss. It transcended the battle armor of Lucario's and Mewtwo's. The main objective of this armor is to replicate the power of Pokémon, utilizing the martial data obtained from both Lucario and Mewtwo, and supplement it with the firing weaponry that it already has equipped to it—such as its missile launcher. Due to this data, it is capable of replicating the abilities of Lucario and Mewtwo to a promising degree. However, it is in critical need of extensive testing and calibration, especially since it is only a prototype.

"…" Lucario comprehended the information provided to him by his battle armor. "(So this is your queen in your game of chess...)" He thought before letting go of the cargo helicopter, dropping only a few feet to the floor. "(What is that battle armor capable of?)"

"Mewtwo failed to kill me back at Viridian Gym, only burying me in rubble!" Giovanni spoke to them in obvious frustration. "And injured or not, as long as I'm still breathing—" Giovanni inhales deeply, ignoring the dreadful soreness of his abdomen in doing so, "—you conspirators won't!"

Lucario, with little time to ponder or reason, decided on his next action.

"Wanderer, do you recall Phase Three of Team Liberator's Plan?" Lucario said, never looking away from Giovanni.

"You mean the part of the plan where we release all of the Pokémon imprisoned by Team Rocket, in their respective locations?" Wanderer recalled flawlessly. "How can I forget?"

Giovanni stood devilishly still, like a predator waiting for the prey to die of a mortal wound, waiting patiently for Lucario to finish conversing with his friends.

"" Lucario looked at Giovanni's stagnant state of being. "I have a new order for you, Wanderer. I want you to initiate Phase Three of Team Liberator's Plan without me and leave this place immediately. I'll stop Giovanni solitarily…or die trying."

Aqua and Terra immediately recalled the first time that they met Lucario, and recalled their first conversation in flawless detail.

(Aqua's and Terra's Flashback)

"After all, you both aren't the only ones who've suffered from Team Rocket's malice." Lucario said this and had immediately rendered both Terra and Aqua surprised.

"What do you mean?" Aqua was surprised by this unexpected piece of truth.

"They've killed two of my three closest friends… and my third friend is somewhere amongst Team Rocket as well…" Lucario shed a couple of tears before wiping them away. "(I can sense it… Wanderer's around here in this room…somewhere…and unconscious…)"

"…" Both Terra and Aqua were stunned by Lucario's back story.

"Because of this, I despise Team Rocket and wish to decimate it and leave no record of its existence," Lucario gritted his teeth with hate. "I hate their leader—Giovanni—the most and would love to see him tortured alive before dying the worst way possible…through my power."

The feelings of suffering, as well as the dark yellow aura surrounding them, began to lift away from both Terra and Aqua as Lucario continued inspiring them with his powerful words.

"I'll fight to the death if I have to, in order to save all of the Pokémon within Team Rocket's shackles and then crush Giovanni with my bare paws." Lucario lifted both of his paws to his face, looked at them, and flexed them a few times before setting them aside.

"It would be near impossible to do this, alone especially," Terra exposed an important hindrance about Lucario's future goals.

"I know…" Lucario said with ease, admitting the difficulty of the enormous task in front of him.

"You may die in failure," Aqua exposed another hindrance about Lucario's future goals.

"As long as I accomplish something that continues beyond my life, I'll die fighting," Lucario spoke once more, fearlessly about death and failure.

(End of Aqua's and Terra's Flashback)

"I won't guarantee that we'll meet again after this—"

"No," Wanderer began to sob. "I won't allow it. I won't allow you to—"

"Dusknoir!" Lucario boomed his telepathic voice. "I order you to steer this metal monstrosity out of here! Get everybody far away from here and to safety! Initiate Phase Three without me!"

Lucario reaches for his belt and quickly removes their respective Poké Balls, leaving the unoccupied Luxury Ball alone, and deposits them on the floor of the airborne cargo helicopter.

"(In case we don't see each other again…)"

The common reaction of Lucario's fellow Pokémon was sadness—except Tyranitar, who was just impatient—at how noble he was at choosing to stay behind and fight Giovanni. Some just shed a few tears, but Wanderer was surprisingly sorrowful. They have never seen this side of it before, not even Lucario, whom has known it for most of his life.

"I can't lose you like we did with Sceptile and Tiny, Lucario! They meant a lot to us and they died under his hands! Do you know what kind of a person Giovanni is? He had you murder other Pokémon, because they were inferior! He will murder you, like he did with Sceptile and Tiny!"

"…" Lucario never looked away from Giovanni, not wanting to expose himself to a surprise attack, and not wanting to show Wanderer that it was getting to him emotionally.

A few of Lucario's tears dribbled down the visor, and took shelter in his fur collar. He recalled painfully how Giovanni and his Team Rocket Grunts murdered their friends, captured them both, and had him "dispose" of feeble Pokémon and capture stronger Pokémon. All of it was true and the emotional pain of it was detrimentally real.

The fact that Lucario didn't so much as give Wanderer a sideways glance further marred the light-furred Aura Pokémon. "We both loved them like family! You, Sceptile, Tiny, and me! We were inseparable, us four! You and I are the only ones left, and yet you're willing to sacrifice yourself—"

"Shut up and think for once!" Lucario snarled out of impatience.

Wanderer temporarily stopped breathing when Lucario barked at it.

"One of us has to stay behind in order to stall Giovanni, so that everyone else can escape without interruption! I'm blessing you with vital time, time which you're squandering over by bawling!"

"(*Sniff*)" Wanderer was unsympathetically silenced because Lucario struck a critical point in this imperative situation.

"…" Underneath the visor of his battle armor, Lucario's eyes glowed briefly before the cargo helicopter's side door closed telekinetically. Lucario chose not to say another word to Wanderer, knowing that he had unrestrictedly wounded the light-furred Aura Pokémon's emotions.

And with that, Dusknoir immediately punched the engine of the cargo helicopter, having the twin-rotary blades revolve harder, lifting it higher. Lucario, standing directly beneath the cargo helicopter, was unmoved—except for his shuffling fur—by the gale produced. Dusknoir dexterously steered the massive vehicle out of the exit and away from Team Rocket Main Headquarters.

Lucario discreetly activated his Aura Vision ability to observe the after effects of his "conversation" with Wanderer. He notices quite clearly that Wanderer was no longer physically present within the helicopter, and how everybody else appeared to understand Lucario's outburst. One Pokémon, Lairon, was calmly storing everyone else's Poké Balls in a safe location, while patting Wanderer's Great Ball before setting it aside as well. Lucario immediately confirmed that Wanderer retreated into its Great Ball, too emotionally shattered to remain outside.

Or perhaps Wanderer wanted some private time to ponder what it misunderstood? Or perhaps Wanderer simply decided to sulk in solemn peace? Lucario doesn't know. He's not psychic—or at least not able to peer within Poké Balls—and therefore knows nothing of its current actions.

"(If I survive past today, I'll be sure to comfort you by apologizing for my time-restricted actions,)" Lucario thought to himself. "(I just hope that you've understood this critical situation better by then.)"

"I don't need the battle armor's sensitive microphones to listen to what you had to say to your friend…Xeno," Giovanni spoke.

"Speaking to me with my 'pet' name, I see…" Lucario briefly removed his helmet and scrubbed his eyes dry in the process when he said this quick remark.

"For someone who's compassionate with friends, you acted rather harshly to one of your own."

"Not that it concerns you, but I'll apologize to Wanderer once we meet again."

"You'll apologize to it. I'll see to that, when I send you both to Hell." Giovanni formed a battle stance, eager for a fight. The shapeless metal of his battle armor extended outward from his collar and completely covered his face in the form of a helmet, visor and all.

"A possibility…" Lucario formed his natural battle stance. "…that I'll fight to prevent."

"There are times where you have to defend yourself or someone else against relentless evil. And some of those times the only defense that has any hope of succeeding is a one-time use of brutal, devastating force. At such times good people act brutally." —Orson Scott Card (342) ("Children of the Mind")

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