The Path of the Aura: Intertwining Crossroads

Chapter III (3): Now Residing in Team Rocket


Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 29)

Date: October 10th, 2010 (10/10/10)

Time: 1:02 PM

Ding!

The arrival of the elevator is audible from the farthest ends of Floor 29's hallway. The elevator doors opened after a few seconds of the elevator arriving onto its intended destination. The doors, strangely enough, opened to reveal no one within the elevator.

However, someone was within the elevator. Lucario arrived into Floor 29 via elevator, but wasn't viewable inside of the elevator upon first glance.

A few objects fell from the elevator's ceiling in tandem and onto the elevator floor. To begin with, a bullet—the same one that Giovanni allowed Lucario to keep when coming out of his temporary holding cell in Floor B4. Next, three minimized Poké Balls fell after the bullet: Aqua's Net Ball, Terra's Quick Ball, and Wanderer's Great Ball. Third, a few sheets of paper floated down and landed beside the Poké Balls and the bullet—the papers listing information on Lucario's being. Finally, a key with the numbers "29-6" landed below, free from Lucario's telekinetic grasp.

What about Lucario?

Thud!

"(*Groan*)" Lucario fell from the elevator's ceiling after clinging onto it with his chest-spike. He almost fell right on top of his dropped belongings, but missed them by a few inches. Most of the fall's impact was on his back, tail, and head, not surprisingly.

Lucario eventually got back up on his feet in no time and began to retrieve all of his dropped belongings.

"(I suppose I'm not fully accustomed to this elevator yet,)" Lucario thought while first retrieving his three fallen Poké Balls, ensuring that there's no physical damage on them. "(I still jumped and clung fast to the ceiling.)"

Lucario looked up and noticed two puncture holes on the elevator's ceiling, evidence that he was here, and that Grunts should take that into account. He then proceeded with the retrieval of the other three objects.

"(However, I'm not temporarily traumatized like before, so I'm at least growing accustomed to this elevator,)" Lucario retrieved all of his belongings and walked outside of the elevator, seconds before the doors closed on him, and narrowly catching the tip of his tail between them.

Lucario looked at the hallway before him and was already noticing doors with similar numbers on them, compared to the key he had with him. As he walked further down the hallway, he noticed that doors were widely scattered across the hallway, and yet an equidistance apart. He eventually found the door that possessed the same initials as those on his key, "29-6", and knew that this was his room, the one that he'd share with the enigmatic man-made Pokémon that Giovanni mentioned earlier.

Knowing how keys and doors work together after noticing Giovanni open his room's door earlier, Lucario remembered how to unlock doors. He inserted the key's teeth into the doorknob, gave it a clockwise turn, heard the tumblers shift, and successfully unlocked the door. He removed the key and tucked it away inside the excess fur of his thighs—which act adequately as side pockets—, before gripping the doorknob and opening the door.

Immediately, he was blown away by the contents of his new room.

Before him resided many luxuries that he had no clear understanding of. He saw an elegant dining room table, with many luxurious tables to its sides and fancy china on its surface. There were a few mid-size sofas surrounding the television set on one corner of the room. The walls of the room weren't solid walls, but glass windows instead, heavily reinforced and giving a breathtaking view of the world outside. There were also many other miscellaneous items scattered around Lucario's room, decorating it with their presence. A crystal chandelier hung just above the dining table, potted Berry plants surrounded the corners of the room, and a bust of Giovanni even resided on top of the television set—something that Lucario would prefer to repress its existence.

"Whoa…" Lucario muttered in an instant after seeing the luxurious quality of the room. He stepped further inside and set all four of the items he had on his being—the three Poké Balls, the "29-6" room key, the solitary bullet, and his statistics papers—on top of the exquisite table closest to him.

For the next thirty minutes, he spent this time getting to know every bit of the furniture around him. He sat down on every chair and sofa, smelled every Berry plant—as well as devouring one of their produce—, eyeballed every technological device—television, phone, light switch, table lamp, etc.—, noticed every eating utensil, and spent the remainder of that time looking at the incredible view of being on Floor 29.

"(Where is this place located?)" Lucario thought when staring down at the immense mountain range—Mt. Moon—below him.

Looking further, he could see extremely minute signs of buildings and human civilization, a challenge for his keen eyesight. Looking perpendicular to his height, he could see that it was early in the afternoon and that the sun had just barely placed itself below the roof of this gorgeous room. There were numerous trees and forests further on the horizon, but he didn't know if they were belonging to his past residency.

After seeing the sun's current placement on the sky, Lucario began to ponder.

"(How long has it been since I was captured and brought here?)" Lucario thought a question that he didn't think he'd ever find the answer to unless he asked someone in Team Rocket who has some connection to him.

Lucario did an about-face and noticed more to the room. He saw two doors, one to his left and one to his right. Curiosity got the better of the Aura Pokémon.

"(For now, I'll just have to postpone that question,)" Lucario walked over to the door to the left and opened it.

Within the door was a bathroom, complete with a sink, a glass-enclosed shower with a platform to sit on inside, and a toilet.

The first item that Lucario decided to ogle is the sink. He looked at the nozzle of the sink and noticed that there were two cylindrical handles on the sides of the nozzle, the one on the left had a red "H" on the tip and the one on the right had a blue "C" on its tip as well. Besides that was a bar of brand-new soap, placed on an impacted slot beside the sink. Not knowing what the bar of soap was for—or what it was exactly—, he directed his attention to the sink nozzle's handles.

He put his left paw on the left handle, like a crane claw to an object, and attempted to pull on it gently, but to no avail. Instead of pulling on it harder—since he'd probably pull the handle clean off of the sink with his strength—, he used a different approach. He gave the handle a clockwise twist, and found himself unable to. Next, he attempted to give it a counterclockwise twist, and much to his surprise, water immediately began to run out of the nozzle.

"(What the hell?)" Lucario never saw anything like this and began to think that fiddling further with the handle did something to the sink. He alternated between clockwise and counterclockwise twists of the handle, of varying intensity, and noticed that the water poured out more quickly or stopped altogether, depending on how the nozzle is turned.

Eventually, seeing the water made him realize that he was thirsty. Completely absent-minded of proper etiquette and hygiene, Lucario turned the left handle as far as it could go, having the sink pouring water at full blast, kept his left paw there, bent over to the sink, and positioned his head oddly to take a drink of the running water.

Despite the water being at full blast and extremely hot, Lucario paid no mind to it—especially if you recall Lucario developing resilience to extreme heat.

Once Lucario finished drinking scalding tap-water, he reformed his posture and turned off the water. Immediately, he looked in front of him, and stepped back in shock at what he saw before him.

He saw himself…on a mirror above the sink.

"(What the…? Who let this Lucario here?)" He thought upon seeing his reflection in the mirror, clueless that it was his own and thinking that it was someone else altogether.

Instinctively, he formed a battle stance, and noted that his reflection did the same. Lucario's fighting instinct peaked upon seeing this from his reflection.

"(Oh hell no…)" He immediately withdrew his posture, conjured an AURA SPHERE in his paws, and fired it directly at his reflection.

The explosive force from the AURA SPHERE was more than enough to shatter the mirror and leave no sign of it, as well as blow a hole in the wall behind it. Thankfully, no one resided in the room adjacent to his…well, at the moment anyway.

Lucario crossed his arms smugly and then looked to his right, noticing the toilet below him. He looked at it for a few seconds and then looked away, thinking "(It's probably only for the humans to utilize,)" before walking out of the bathroom, clueless and naïve about his refection.

Lucario closed the door behind him without paying further thought to his new bathroom. Along the way to the door to his right, he retrieved his statistics papers, and proceeded promptly to his intended location. He opened the door and encountered a bedroom of upscale proportions.

The bed is both large and strong enough to support a Snorlax. The mattress and pillows are made out of resilient memory foam and not uncomfortable springs, and the blankets are of the highest commercial quality—although Lucario might not need them due to his fur providing all of the warmth and insulation that he requires. All of it was perfectly organized and free of signs of use, until Lucario decided to use it.

He was on his back and he rested his head on the plush pillow that the bed had to offer. He manually maneuvered his tail to his left side so that he wouldn't sleep on top of it. Lucario took his time and accustomed himself to how the bed felt when juxtaposed to the bed he had at his forest home.

"(*Sigh*) (I miss my forest home so much…)" Lucario's eyes and eyelids leveled when he remembered the bed he once had. "(…and the stress-relieving comfort of this mattress isn't helping my nostalgia.)"

He recalled the statistics papers he was holding onto with his left paw and decided to look over them. He moved his upper body upright and immediately, his tail sprung back to its normal position: perpendicular to his body. He crossed his legs and began to skim through the papers.

Name: Lucario (Xeno).

Species: Aura Pokémon.

Pokémon Type: Fighting/Steel.

Gender: None.

Mental Gender: Male.

"(What in the…?)" Lucario pondered at the last two topics he read. "(What the hell is "Mental Gender"? Is that what gender I feel I am, even though I've got nothing to show for it?)"

Lucario paused for a moment and stared blankly at the wall before him, before coming upon this realization.

"(You know what, that's probably what it is, and I should just not care enough about it.)" Lucario thought as he continued reading.

Most of what followed was information that Lucario already knew about, such as his newly-known and named Pokémon ability—Inheritance—and massive move set repertoire. When he scanned information relating to his date of birth and age, he was stumped to realize that there was a date to when he was born.

Date of Birth: May 2nd, 1993.

Lucario now knew his date of birth, but had no Idea how time is measured.

"(When I'm able to, I should probably ask how time is measured.)" Lucario thought before resuming his reading.

Habitat: Celadon Forest.

He paused when he read that, since it was information relating to his home.

"(Is that the name of the place where I live? I wonder how far it is from here.)"

More stale information was given as he read further, including his height and weight, which are both higher than average for his species. Lucario read the entire paper and set it aside on the bed that he sat on top of.

Overall, he learned a few new topics about himself: Mental Gender, his Pokémon ability "Inheritance", Date of Birth, Age, and Habitat.

Immediately, Lucario knew what to do next, and without the need for thought. He took the papers with him outside of the room and set them aside on the table where his other belongings were present, and as he was about to retrieve the three Poké Balls and release the Pokémon within them.

…However.

Ring-Ring! Ring-Ring! Ring-Ring!

The hotel's telephone rang within the bedroom, beckoning Lucario to answer it. Lucario immediately proceeded over to this siren sound, as if drawn to it. Once in the bedroom again, he pinpointed the phone's location with his ears: on a table next to his bed.

He approached it and looked at it with a dumbfounded countenance, clueless on what to do about its repetitive ringing. And so, using the same approach as with the sink handles, he placed his left paw on the top of the telephone—right on its receiver handle—, gripped it, and pulled it upward. Instantly, the receiver handle of the telephone popped off of the telephone and was in Lucario's paw, the ringing ceased as well. Lucario could hear a voice coming from the receiver handle of the telephone and placed it next to his left ear properly.

"Xeno, is this you on the phone?" A familiar voice spoke via telephone.

Lucario immediately rolled his eyes, stifled a sigh, and responded back.

"Giovanni, is this you on the phone?" He said with a groaning tone.

"Apparently, you've learned how to use the telephone properly," Giovanni said with mild astonishment.

"(This is a…'telephone'?)" Lucario thought while optically following the cord of the receiver handle to the telephone base.

"And it seems that your telepathy is carried over the receiver and over to me. How queer and convenient…"

"(I suppose…)" Lucario thought before resuming. "You called for a specific reason?"

"Yes," Giovanni confirmed Lucario's intuition. "I didn't explain to you how to use a Poké Ball."

"(My Arceus, what's with all of the coincidences lately?)" Lucario pondered before sitting down on the bed once more, with his legs on the carpet floor this time.

"Should I teach you then?" Giovanni inquired. "I will say this though, you need to pay attention because I'll be telling you a surplus of information relating to the Poké Ball, and I don't intend on repeating myself. I am a busy man, after all."

"Go ahead," Lucario responded instantly. "(I am a spiteful Aura Pokémon, after all…)"

"Alright then," Giovanni began. "To capture a wild Pokémon with a Poké Ball, you press the button on their center to increase their size. They only have two sizes to switch between."

Lucario, from across the room, quickly retrieved all three of the Poké Balls telekinetically and rested them beside him on top of the bed. With his free right paw, he pressed the center button on Aqua's Net Ball and it instantly grew from the size of a ping-pong ball to the size of a baseball. He pressed the button repeatedly and consistently, making the Net Ball grow and shrink just as quickly as he pressed the button. He stopped after a few seconds, when Giovanni continued.

"Once at full-size, you throw the Poké Ball at the wild Pokémon and if it makes contact with the target, the wild Pokémon will immediately be turned into red energy that the Poké Ball assimilates and stores by opening up and drawing in. The Poké Ball will close and then shake, with its center button flashing red as it attempts to stabilize the red energy that is the wild Pokémon. If the capture is successful, the Poké Ball stops shaking and flashing before making a warped lock sound. If the capture is a failure, the Poké Ball quickly expels the red energy before it reconverts back into the wild Pokémon of your intended target."

Lucario listened attentively and memorized what Giovanni said, despite every fiber of his being telling him otherwise.

"As a general tip, you want to subdue the wild Pokémon to the best of your ability before capturing it. Some Pokémon might be more submissive and not put up any struggle, while others will fight with all of their might to evade capture."

Lucario listened attentively as he stared into Aqua's Net Ball, visualizing Giovanni's instructions in his head, and repressing his first-hand experience with capture—even though he was unconscious when it occurred.

"To remove the captured Pokémon from the Poké Ball, make sure that the Poké Ball is at full-size. Next, you simply throw the Poké Ball into the air and say any word that you wish that connects with the Pokémon coming out of the Poké Ball, such as 'come on out!' or 'I choose you!'. The Poké Ball will remove the Pokémon and the Pokémon will rematerialize from the red energy. They'll be in your command as long as you show enough experience in controlling them."

"Alright," Lucario said.

"If you want to expel a Pokémon and release it back into the wild, you simply repeat the same process for expelling a Pokémon from the Poké Ball, but state a command relating to its release, such as 'be gone!' or 'leave!'. You'll know that the Pokémon is permanently released from its Poké Ball when it rematerializes from blue energy instead of red energy."

"(I'll only consider that when it matters,)" Lucario thought, believing that releasing a Pokémon will be something that he'll seldom do as long as he's a member of Team Rocket.

"Finally, to return a Pokémon to its Poké Ball, you point the center button of the full-sized Poké Ball at the Pokémon and say a command relating to the return of a Pokémon. You can simply say 'return' and that'll suffice."

"(How do these spheres recognize voice commands?)" Lucario wondered.

"Be warned through: only one Pokémon can belong in one Poké Ball. No Poké Ball can hold two Pokémon at one time, or hold onto a different Pokémon that has already been captured by a different Poké Ball."

"Uh-huh," Lucario paid sufficient attention.

"Were you paying attention?"

"Yes." Lucario said, easily understanding what Giovanni explained to him.

"Good," Giovanni concluded. "Thank you for your time."

"You're welcome," Lucario said with a serene tone of voice and rolling his eyes in the process.

Giovanni hung up and Lucario now heard a constant low beep from the receiver handle. Not knowing what to do about that, Lucario simply put the telephone's receiver back on its original spot, hearing that the sound stopped.

Before Lucario decided to release Aqua, Terra and Wanderer from their respective Poké Balls, he pondered for a moment.

"(On my free time, I should educate myself about human ways and items. I don't think I'll go far in my plans with Team Liberator if I don't grow more sagacious about my surroundings and these man-made devices,)" Lucario thought before seeing Aqua's Net Ball once more.

Using PSYCHIC, Lucario had all three Poké Balls place themselves on each of his left paw's individual digits. With his right paw, he pressed the center button of each Poké Ball with each of his paw's digits, all three of them. The Poké Balls quickly enlarged to full-size and almost fell off of his paw.

Once more with PSYCHIC, Lucario launched all three Poké Balls in the air and said "Come on out, everyone," with a tone that seemed reluctant and withdrawn, as if he felt embarrassed just saying something at the top of his mental tone without any logical reason.

On cue, each of the three Poké Balls opened up in tandem, and instantly released the red energy that is the imprisoned Pokémon. The Poké Balls closed and homed in on Lucario's left paw, landing there as if trained to do so. Lucario, almost flinching when they came back to him, pressed the buttons on their centers in the same manner as earlier and the three Poké Balls shrunk down to their portable, miniscule size. Lucario set the three compacted capsule spheres aside in order to watch his three Pokémon friends rematerialize into their familiar forms.

Once Aqua, Terra, and Wanderer were themselves again, Lucario had this to say:

"Oh, what the…?"

All three Pokémon—Aqua the Lapras, Terra the Garchomp, and Wanderer the light-furred Lucario—were unconscious and on the floor, drooling mildly onto the carpet.

Seeing this easily puzzled the Aura Pokémon and made him hypothesize what made the three Pokémon become how they were presently.

"(Wanderer, I can plainly understand how you're unconscious…)" Lucario pondered, knowing well enough that Team Rocket forced it into unconsciousness through physical force.

Lucario briefly looked at Wanderer before looking at Aqua, its forehead in particular. He noticed a coagulated scab of blood encompassing the center of Aqua's forehead.

"(…as well as Aqua. However…)"

Lucario looked at Terra and couldn't figure out why it was unconscious in the first place, based on external appearances at least.

"(…how did you become unconscious? Did you hit your head when you lost your balance when you were hand-standing on your fins?)"

Lucario began his attempt at waking everyone up, starting off with Terra. He thought of only one method in waking them up, a method that might unintentionally draw blood. Without caring if he does draw blood, he first sharpened his left paw-spike—his right paw-spike was fragmented by Giovanni's armed body guards earlier—with his teeth in a grinding motion, removing uneven edging from it in the process. He then stepped behind Terra, and lightly poked the Mach Pokémon on the back of its neck.

"Ah! Oh Arceus! What? Who? Huh?" Terra quickly jerked up on its two feet after being prodded in the back of the neck and then noticed that it was now somewhere else altogether. "Where am I? Whose room is this?"

Lucario retracted his left arm before speaking. "Terra, you're in my new room."

Terra realize his presence after hearing Lucario's telepathic voice and looked back to speak to him. "This is your room? How'd you get a room?"

Lucario looked away from his Mach Pokémon colleague and spitefully said "Surprisingly, I'm now a member of Team Rocket, under Giovanni's orders actually. You, Aqua, and Wanderer are now my three chosen Pokémon."

"How odd," Terra said before placing a claw on the tip of its head and massaging the area gently, as if the targeted area was bothersome.

"Do you have a headache?" Lucario noticed Terra's action.

"I think so," Terra put his clawed appendage to his side. "It probably happened when my fins gave out and I hit my head on the floor."

Lucario was somewhat confused at what Terra said just now. "What floor? I never saw you lose your balance and fall on your head."

"I meant the floor inside my Poké Ball," Terra added. "You see, a Poké Ball creates a world where our minds can wander when our bodies are temporarily in the state of pure energy. The world depends on what we're feeling or what we prefer. And any action that we do with our minds translates to our bodies when we reemerge from our spherical prisons and rematerialize."

"I didn't know that," Lucario admitted. "Then again, how would I when I was unconscious prior to my capture."

"Well now you know, my naïve little friend. You'll learn something new every day in Team Rocket, which is probably what we'll all need if we plan on escaping together and with as many Pokémon as possible, right."

"Right, for our sake," Lucario nodded. "By the way, there's something that I need to say before I proceed."

"What is it?" Terra became curious.

"I've been nicknamed by Giovanni," Lucario said concisely.

"He's the one who captured you, right?" Terra assumed.

"You're assuming that Giovanni captured me, right?" Lucario said, never telling Terra about who captured him.

Terra nodded, feeling quite sure of its hypothesis.

"Lucky guess… Anyway, I'm now named 'Xeno', and I believe that I should start being addressed as such. It would help me lose my unfamiliarity to my new name."

"'Xeno', huh…" Terra put the point of one of its claws on its chin. "Just like 'Aqua', 'Terra' and 'Wanderer', there's meaning to those nicknames, right?"

Lucario nodded slowly in response. "From what I remember, Giovanni told me that 'Xeno' means unknown or enigmatic."

"Well that makes sense," Terra removed the claw from his chin. "I know next to nothing about you."

Lucario looked back at Aqua and Wanderer with concern, knowing that they needed to be awakened. "We shouldn't waste anymore time talking. Aqua and Wanderer should be up on their feet now."

"Right," Terra said before moving over to Wanderer.

Lucario moved over to Aqua after Terra approached Wanderer. Both of them began to gently shake their respective targets until they woke up. However, after a few seconds, the only result came from Aqua, and that result was downright pitiful.

"No... No more...apologizing..." Aqua mumbled while mentally asleep.

"..." Wanderer was just silent and unmoved, especially since it temporarily weighs 2000% more than average at the moment.

"It's like trying to tip over a Snorlax..." Terra stopped nudging the unconscious Aura Pokémon and was showing mild fatigue. "When did Wanderer suddenly weigh so much?"

"Wanderer once told me that all Steel-Type Pokémon have some sort of defensive biological mechanism implanted into them," Lucario continued to nudge Aqua and attempt to revive it, in vain unfortunately. "If a Steel-Type Pokémon faints and becomes unconscious, its body quickly becomes extremely dense and multiplies its overall body weight exponentially."

"What's the point of it?" Terra was somewhat naive.

"It's a defensive biological mechanism," Lucario's telepathic voice elevated briefly in mild annoyance, and in helping Terra comprehend his explanation. "If it makes your body denser, then that makes it harder for anything to harm you, assuming you've already been injured by something."

"Well I'm not a Steel-Type Pokémon. I'm a Dragon-Type and Ground-Type Pokémon. I wouldn't know about this phenomenon."

"I don't blame you." Lucario stepped over to Wanderer and looked down on its stagnant face. "It would save us more trouble if we wake up Wanderer first, because I'm beginning to hear the floor creak under its weight."

"Good point," Terra said. "But don't you think we should resort to these?" Terra lifted its arms and eyed the claws on them before setting them aside.

Lucario lifted his paws and briefly eyed his hand-spikes before setting them down. "I was actually considering using these. I used my intact one when I woke you up just now."

"(That explains why I woke up so suddenly...)" Terra thought, before realizing something off about Lucario's paw-spikes. "Hey, what happened to your right paw?"

"You remember that 'bang' sound when we were temporarily imprisoned?"

"Yes."

"The Rocket Grunt's rifles shattered it instantly when I tried to attack Giovanni out of blind anger," Lucario recalled. "I don't think that I was ever closer to death than right there, and I've had quite a few near-death experiences to support that claim."

"Let's hope that that never happens again."

"(Who knows?)" Lucario thought, unsure of the future ahead of him.

Both of them began to wake up Wanderer with sharp prodding of their claws and hand-spikes. Through a few seconds of this, Wanderer did react. However, Wanderer reacted in a way that was bizarre enough to leave both Lucario and Terra perplexed.

"No mom... I couldn't possibly eat any more of your crap..." Wanderer muttered in its sleep.

Both Pokémon were silent after hearing Wanderer's muttering, but for simplicity's sake, they just decided to forget about it.

"…Anyway, I don't think that prodding Wanderer is going to wake him up." Terra changed the topic.

"Hmm... What now?" Lucario crossed his arms, not sure of what to do next. "I'm at a loss..."

"Do you all desire my support?" A deep and powerful voice came from the room's entrance.

The eyes of both Lucario and Terra widened upon hearing the voice of whatever was behind them. They both turned around in unison and were greeted with an unexpected surprise.

Before their eyes, an unusual bipedal feline-like Pokémon stood. This Pokémon has purple eyes, pale gray skin, thick fingertips, rabbit-like feet, and a purple underbelly that ends into a long purple tail.

(National Pokédex entry #150: Mewtwo, the Genetic Pokémon. It is a Psychic-Type Pokémon that is 6' 07" tall and weighs 269 lbs. A Pokémon created by recombining Mew's genes. It's said to have the most savage heart among Pokémon. So if you ever battle it, you should consider yourself a walking dead.)

Both Lucario and Terra were surprised at how this Pokémon entered without a sound. They knew that the entire room was quiet enough for them to hear even the slightest sounds.

"How did you get in here?" Terra spoke to the Genetic Pokémon, not knowing what to make of it.

"…Through the entrance door," It spoke concisely.

"(Telepathy...)" Lucario thought. "And you didn't make a sound when you entered?"

"I simply utilized my innate psychic abilities to open the door. Perhaps my method in entering is what's considered abnormal to you both. I maneuvered the doorknob's mechanisms to the point where a simple push is sufficient in opening the door."

"Oh..." Terra had its question answered.

"Who are you exactly?" Lucario asked out of curiosity.

"Mewtwo, the Genetic Pokémon." It said before stepping forward, across both conscious Pokémon, and kneeling down to see both Aqua and Wanderer better. He looked at them both, one after the other, before stepping back up and facing Lucario and Terra. "Do either one of you recall what I stated earlier?"

"You mean if we desire your support?" Terra recalled.

Mewtwo nodded after Terra spoke.

"If you can, go ahead then." Lucario gave the Genetic Pokémon permission.

Mewtwo faced Aqua and Wanderer and then it extended out both of its stubby hands towards them. In an instant, Mewtwo's entire eyes flashed blue before Aqua and Wanderer were succumbed to Mewtwo's telekinetic abilities. They hovered over to Mewtwo's hands and stopped inches from it. Mewtwo simply placed one hand on each of their foreheads and concentrated for mere moments before both Aqua's and Wanderer's eyes opened, becoming awake and alert.

"Who the hell are you?" Wanderer eyes opened, ogling the Genetic Pokémon first.

"Were we unconscious?" Aqua questioned the Pokémon before its presence.

"My name is Mewtwo, and I simply revived you both from unconsciousness." Mewtwo answered their questions before gently setting them down and removing the telekinetic grip that it had on them.

"I should explain all of this before you begin your questions," Lucario talked to Aqua and Wanderer.

They paid close attention. Terra as well, since it was mostly uninformed about this as they both were.

"Team Rocket has made me a genuine member of their organization instead of a mere Pokémon pawn."

"I myself included," Mewtwo added.

"All three of you are Pokémon that I was requested to use for whatever Team Rocket has assigned for me. Mewtwo and I were given this room to inhabit."

Mewtwo eyed Lucario temporarily. "(So you're the roommate that Giovanni described…)"

"Finally, since Giovanni 'owns' me," Lucario said that possessive word sourly. "He nicknamed me 'Xeno', due to my unknown nature and potential. I truly don't care if you choose to refer to me as 'Xeno', 'Lucario', or both. I figure that I should grow accustomed to it, whether I like the nickname or not."

"Hmm..." Wanderer pondered the information told to it.

"..." Aqua looked at the alien items in the room that it was in. It had never seen items such as these, especially since the ocean is where Aqua calls home.

Lucario eyed Mewtwo this time.

"So you're the first Pokémon recruited into Team Rocket, the one that Giovanni told me about." Lucario said.

"I am," Mewtwo said, looking at the Aura Pokémon.

After more introductions, all five Pokémon in the room decided to examine the room and its luxurious contents. When Aqua noticed the gaping hole on the wall in the bathroom, Lucario explained how there was an intruder in the room and how he scared it off with AURA SPHERE. Mewtwo explained that what Lucario truly saw was his own reflection in a mirror. Lucario didn't seem to feel any signs of embarrassment or stupidity once mirrors were known to him. He simply thought of them as similar to the reflections that he sees of himself in water, only far less distorted.

Terra succeeded in utilizing the television and Wanderer succeeded in utilizing room service via telephone. For a few hours, everyone watched television and enjoyed gourmet food that was delivered to them by a Team Rocket gourmet chef.

Before sleeping, Lucario eventually asked if Mewtwo was tasked with any Pokémon, just as was with Aqua, Terra, and Wanderer. Mewtwo said that it passed on the opportunity given to it by Giovanni, preferring to only strengthen its overall being, as Giovanni promised it that it would when they first met.

"For what reason do you want me to choose Pokémon to possess?" Mewtwo asked.

"It's for Team Liberator," Lucario stated.

"Team Liberator…?"

"Aqua, Terra, Wanderer and I have plans for escaping Team Rocket with as many Pokémon within this building as possible. We want you to join us and escape when the time is right, and we also want you to do what I did and have a few Pokémon on your being. With more Pokémon joining our cause, our chances at success improve."

"…" Mewtwo's facial countenance was lacking interest and remained stagnant.

"We all have our own reasons for escape," Lucario responded. "Aqua was captured here reluctantly from her ocean home, Terra has served Team Rocket its whole life, Wanderer and I have had our friends murdered by Team Rocket before they captured us both."

"..." Mewtwo seemed to show absolutely no emotion whatsoever, something that its face properly reflected.

Lucario noticed Mewtwo's emotionally stagnant state and apprehensively thought "(This isn't good... I'm not getting to you.)"

"No, you're not. Try harder, especially if you want me to join your 'Team Liberator'." Mewtwo read Lucario's mind.

Lucario couldn't think of a critical reason among its friends, however it did think of something different and personal.

"Do you desire escape?" He said.

"…Unfortunately, I don't desire escape. The plain reason that Giovanni can help me control my power is sufficient for me to remain here. I should count myself fortunate that I can partially control my psychic abilities earlier, especially after reviving Aqua and Wanderer earlier today."

"What do you mean?" Lucario showed concern.

"If I failed to control my psychic abilities when reviving your friends, the possibility of severe damage, or even death, might have been critical."

"And you revived them anyway, despite the fact that you lack complete control over yourself?" Lucario began to feel anger, which wasn't apparent in his voice, only in his mind.

"My abilities have the greatest chance to fail me when I lose control of my emotions. The only time that my abilities have run rampant was when I obliterated the laboratory from where I was born in. Beyond that day, I knew that I needed a more refined character, in order to control my abilities."

"(No wonder you act so stable and serene,)" Lucario thought.

"I'll say this to you," Mewtwo prepared to conclude. "I respect your desire to escape, along with all of your friends. And because of this, I'll ask for Pokémon as soon as I possibly can, in order to benefit your thoughtful ambitions. Albeit, I won't guarantee you that I'll join you when you all finally decide to escape…and if you succeed in escaping."

Mewtwo looked out for the massive windows and noticed that it was as sable as can be. It couldn't observe the outside horizon if it wanted to.

"Nighttime is present. We should both get some rest while we're able to. Giovanni has something prepared for us tomorrow, you in particular."

"Did he tell you before you were transferred into Room 29-6?" Lucario assumed.

"No, he never told me," Mewtwo looked up at Room 29-6's roof. "I'm currently reading his thoughts as he's sleeping in his bed. We reside directly below him."

Lucario looked up and activated his Aura Vision ability to sense Giovanni's aura. Looking with golden eyes, he pinpointed Giovanni's location and tuned his ears to hear Giovanni's thoughts. He could hear Giovanni thinking, in his sleep, how he would have something important in store for Lucario.

What exactly it was however, wasn't made known.

Mewtwo sensed how Lucario's aura output increased significantly. It also noticed how Lucario's eyes changed color from their previous blood red to a luminous gold, how bloodshot Lucario's eyes became, how veins began to protrude and swell around Lucario's eyes, and how Lucario's dreadlock-like appendages hovered horizontally.

"(Interesting...)" Mewtwo thought while observing the aura proficiency of a Lucario first-hand.


9.1: Now Working for Team Rocket

Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Floor 10)

Date: October 11th, 2010 (10/11/10)

Time: 11:14 AM

Upon waking up on the next day, Lucario and Mewtwo were awakened by Giovanni via telephone. They were both ordered to report to Floor 10 of Team Rocket Main Headquarters at 1100 hours—11:00 AM. Both Pokémon retrieved breakfast before then, because they were awakened at 9:00 AM and had plenty of time.

Before arriving on Floor 10 of Team Rocket Main Headquarters, Lucario had with him his Expert Belt, strapped across his torso instead of his waistline, as well as his three party Pokémon—Aqua, Terra, and Wanderer—inside their respective Poke Balls and tucked away within the excess fur of his thighs.

Upon arriving to Floor 10, both Pokémon instantly noticed the contents of the room. Floor 10 was the most technologically heavy room in the entire headquarters, filled with numerous prototype machines, vehicles, and weaponry. Giovanni was already within the room, expecting them both.

"Come with me," Giovanni said upon noticing them.

Both Pokémon followed him without hesitation or second thoughts. They looked further into detail on what was around them. Lucario noticed prototype weaponry. Mewtwo noticed the complexity of manufacturing vehicles, which involved welding, steel, and a Spinarak's web of electronic circuitry. They looked back at Giovanni every few seconds, only to make sure that they were close behind him.

Giovanni stopped them when they reached the destination point within Floor 10. Both Mewtwo and Lucario noticed two sets of machinery, each holding onto various battle armor pieces that was exactly their size and matched their physical figure. Both sets of battle armor were connected in almost every point with wires, and were recharging and gaining power.

Mewtwo knew well what this was, however Lucario was clueless of what to make of the machinery.

"I've taken the liberty of having battle armor manufactured for you as well, Xeno. You are required to wear it when you train or go on missions," Giovanni explained.

Lucario noticed the differences in the two sets of battle armor. Both sets of armor—the helmets in particular—had differences in their structure that suited each Pokémon. Mewtwo's helmet had a flattened face and Lucario's helmet had an elongated snout, for Lucario's snout to fit properly in. Both helmets also took into account their ears and the back of their heads—Lucario with his dreadlock-like appendages and Mewtwo with his secondary spinal cord.

Mewtwo was already familiar with this battle armor, while Lucario was examining it and gradually familiarizing himself with each individual component.

"Stand on these platforms," Giovanni pointed at platforms that resided in front of the battle armor. "And hold still as the battle armor is equipped onto your bodies."

Both Pokémon proceeded as ordered, and stood on their respective platforms. Lucario removed his Expert Belt, along with his three Poke Balls, and set it all aside onto a nearby table, in case they would press on him as the armor is placed.

Intelligent robotic arms and hydraulics removed each individual part of the battle armor with precision. Each set consisted of nine main parts, with differences to suit their respective Pokémon: the helmet—with high-tech visor installed—, two shoulder plates, two gauntlets—with holes on Lucario's pair, to incorporate his paw-spikes—, a chest plate—with a hole in its center to incorporate Lucario's chest-spike—, a groin plate, and two anklets.

In only one minute, both Lucario and Mewtwo had all nine pieces of the battle armor placed on them. The shoulder plates, chest plate, and groin plate linked together, while the remaining five pieces resided separately.

Mewtwo remained stagnant, knowing well enough how this battle armor worked. Lucario however, quickly began to adapt to how the armor worked.

Lucario adapted to the LCD display of the visor within the helmet. He estimated how heavy the battle armor was—which was surprisingly lighter than it appeared—and even attempted to move with the equipment on his body. He didn't proceed further than the platform that he and Mewtwo were standing upon, since dozens of wires attached on specific jacks on the back of his battle armor—as well as Mewtwo's battle armor—prevented it.

Through the visors that they both had, they noticed a loading bar on the screen. The loading bar, along with the plugged wires on their armor, removed themselves after another minute and this message appeared on the screen for a few moments:

COPIED DATA TRANSFERRED

"'Copied data transferred'? What does that mean?" Lucario asked.

"The data that we have for your battle armor to possess has been duplicated and transferred onto its memory database," Giovanni said. "The necessities are placed inside it, including a GPS program, a Pokedex, and a telephone. They are all activated with either mental or voice commands, since there's no external method in accessing these functions."

Lucario only understood half of what Giovanni said. He only truly understood when Giovanni mentioned a telephone—since he had used a telephone yesterday—and either mental or voice commands.

Mewtwo, on the other hand, understood everything and was already searching through the functions of the armor, in order to know what was exactly programmed onto it.

"You should find your aura and psychic abilities increase immediately upon using this battle armor for battle."

"What makes this armor improve our abilities?" Lucario said.

"The materials utilized in manufacturing the armor are of a titanium-crystalline alloy that responds to your innate power and amplifies it by 25%. Your powers will gradually grow more focused and amplified with the progression of wearing the armor over time."

"(A 25% increase in power...)" Lucario thought to himself, before moving more with the armor on, and could feel a mild hindrance of some of his movements. "You said that this armor amplifies our powers, however it also hinders some of my movement."

"(That's what I said when I first had this battle armor on me,)" Mewtwo thought to Lucario's statement.

"That's only temporary, as you grow accustomed to this armor." Giovanni assured the Aura Pokémon. "And now to put your new armor to its first test, to see what you're truly capable of..."

Giovanni paused on order to ponder what he should do to test Lucario. He remained paused briefly before continuing.

"Follow me." Giovanni began to walk away and exit Floor 10.

Mewtwo followed him, discreetly reading his mind in order to know what Giovanni had planned for him. Lucario retrieved his items, placed them back onto his being, and followed behind Mewtwo.


Location: Team Rocket Main Headquarters (Outside)

Date: October 11th, 2010 (10/11/10)

Time: 11:49 AM

Upon exiting Team Rocket Main Headquarters, Giovanni, Lucario, and Mewtwo noticed two cargo helicopters awaiting them. Team Rocket Grunts were already boarding them, and awaiting them as the final passengers. The engines of the cargo helicopters began to start and the helicopter blades began to revolve, slowly at first, and then with gradually increasing centripetal velocity and stalwart gales.

"Here are the basics of your first assignments!" Giovanni had to speak up in order to overcome the aural power of the helicopter blades.

Both Lucario and Mewtwo had no problem in listening to him, despite the noise of the helicopters or the gale that they generated.

"Xeno, you are to enter the cargo helicopter to my right!" Giovanni pointed at the cargo helicopter to his right. "Join them in capturing more Pokémon for our organization! Do you recall how to use a Poké Ball?"

"Yes sir!" Lucario responded back concisely and loudly.

"Good!" Giovanni reached into the inner pockets of his orange suit and retrieved a bag, filled with thirty assorted Poke Balls—consisting of ten Great Balls, ten Quick Balls, and ten Ultra Balls. "Don't disappoint me!" He threw the bag of assorted Poke Balls to Lucario, whom caught it effortlessly.

Lucario quickly boarded the cargo helicopter that Giovanni directed him to and sat down on one of the empty seats, keeping hateful and reluctant thoughts to a minimum and falsifying optimism. He disregarded the presence of the other Team Rocket Grunts as well, especially their gossip as to how Giovanni allowed another Pokémon to join their ranks. He peered into the bag given to him, and noticed the vast quantity of Poke Balls within it.

"(I hope I can sleep soundly tonight and call myself a Pokémon after today...)" Lucario thought mournfully before the cargo helicopter's door closed and the vehicle began to rise and travel over to wherever they were going.

With Lucario out of the equation, Giovanni conversed with Mewtwo, the other Pokémon before him.

"Mewtwo, I need you to come with me to Viridian City's Gym! I need to further test your power and witness your potential firsthand against other Pokémon."

Mewtwo nodded once without saying one word or showing any emotion. They both entered and boarded the remaining helicopter, moments before it too began to elevate and travel over to Viridian Gym.


Location: Kanto (Route 28)

Date: October 12th, 2010 (10/12/10)

Time: 12:05 PM (Five Past Noon)

The cargo helicopter that Lucario boarded traveled for an entire day to reach Route 28, a grassland route in the Kanto region that connects Mt. Silver to the Indigo Plateau. Once the cargo helicopter descended and touched down, all of the Grunts—including Lucario—quickly unloaded from the cargo helicopter and noticed a herd of Ponyta and Rapidash, with their numbers in the hundreds.

Armed with their Pokémon, all of the Grunts went into action in order to capture as many—if not all—Pokémon as possible.

Lucario, utilizing EXTREMESPEED and wielding Wanderer's Great Ball in one paw and Terra's Quick Ball on the other paw, charged over to the front of the running herd of the Fire Horse Pokémon. He stopped when he was approximately twenty seconds in front of them all, meaning he ran at triple-digit speed in order to overtake them.

He threw both Poke Balls in front of him and out appeared Terra and Wanderer through red energy. The empty Poke Balls returned to Lucario, and he ordered both Pokémon to attack the oncoming herd with whatever means necessary, as long as they don't kill them in the process.

Terra quickly ran towards the center of the herd, evading all oncoming Ponyta and Rapidash in the process. Upon reaching the center of the herd to the best of its ability, Terra quickly jumped three stories into the air and landed with both arms slamming onto the earth, creating an earth-shattering EARTHQUAKE that stopped the second half of the herd from approaching by toppling them over form their galloping strides.

Wanderer, whom covered the first half of the herd, quickly utilized DOUBLE TEAM to duplicate itself twelve-fold. Afterwards, all twelve Lucario utilized AURA SPHERE and SHADOW BALL in tandem, and with precise accuracy. All of the projectiles struck cold with the faces of the Fire Horse Pokémon, quickly causing them to collapse upon fainting from the shock of impact.


Location: Viridian City (Viridian Gym)

Date: October 12th, 2010 (10/12/10)

Time: 12:07 PM (Seven Past Noon)

Mewtwo, already within the battlefield of the Viridian Gym, faced the first Pokémon of an anonymous Pokémon Trainer. Giovanni, sitting atop of an opera theater-style balcony, hidden by the light and given the appearance of a silhouette, snapped his fingers and simultaneously pointed at the anonymous trainer's Magneton.

The anonymous Pokémon Trainer made the first move and ordered the Magneton to use THUNDER. The Magneton quickly sparked vast quantities of yellow light and fired a precise bolt of lightning towards Mewtwo.

The lightning quickly struck Mewtwo with all of its force and completely veiled it with its light. So to the Pokémon Trainer, it would appear to be a direct hit.

…Unfortunately.

Mewtwo, within the light, was never even stunned by THUNDER. Its eyes began to emanate blue light, and they were visible from outside the THUNDER attack.

Utilizing PSYCHIC, and with one of its hands held outward, it controlled THUNDER and redirected all of the escaping electricity right back at the opponent's Magneton, shocking it with its own power.

The Magneton quickly collapsed onto the floor, with its own electricity stunning it to the point where it's unable to continue the battle.


Location: Kanto (Route 28)

Date: October 12th, 2010 (10/12/10)

Time: 12:09 PM (Nine Past Noon)

About 20% of the Fire Horse Pokémon herd continued to gallop, and Lucario was in front of them. Lucario wasn't prepared to step aside, and the Ponyta and Rapidash aren't willing to move out of the way either.

"(You shall not pass...)" Lucario thought before channeling his entire aura in the form of surrounding green light.

The green light that surrounded Lucario's entire body was immediately channeled into his left paw. The end result of the power accumulation is a dense orb of green light, the first signs of Lucario's FRENZY PLANT attack. What Lucario did with that light is slam it into the earth below, burying his paw and the sphere of green light under the dirt.

Instantly, Lucario's FRENZY PLANT attack took effect. Dozens of spiked vines, as thick as telephone poles and just as tall, erupted from the earth and began to seize all oncoming Ponyta and Rapidash with ease.

The FRENZY PLANT vines wrapped and held all of the oncoming Fire Horse Pokémon and restricted their actions by holding them high in the air.

With all of the wild Fire Horse Pokémon subdued. Lucario returned his Pokémon back into their Poké Balls, stored them away, and exposed the Poké Ball bag given to him by Giovanni earlier.


Location: Viridian City (Viridian Gym)

Date: October 12th, 2010 (10/12/10)

Time: 12:14 PM (Fourteen Past Noon)

Another anonymous trainer, one with spiky hair, a purple sweater, and a yellow-green yin-yang necklace, decided to fight Mewtwo, albeit never knowing the identity of the Pokémon.

The anonymous trainer released an Arcanine and Nidoking, both of which were eager for battle against the unknown Genetic Pokémon.

Not even giving a chance to attack, Mewtwo immediately utilized PSYCHIC and rendered both Pokémon immobile in mid-air.

"(But why am I here…?)" Mewtwo, never caring about the battle's outcome, pondered its purpose in life, a topic that consistently plagues its thoughts.


Location: Kanto (Route 28)

Date: October 12th, 2010 (10/12/10)

Time: 12:15 PM (Fifteen Past Noon)

Every Grunt on Route 28 armed themselves with the Poké Balls on them and began to capture the immobile Pokémon as quickly as possible. Every human Grunt threw their Poké Balls and would seldom miss. Lucario on the other hand, he would control them with PSYCHIC and would redirect them if he and they ever missed, so as to utilize every Poké Ball with 100% efficiency.

Slowly but surely, every Ponyta and Rapidash was captured. Escape was impossible for all of the Fire Horse Pokémon.

Once all of the Pokémon were caught, every Grunt returned to the cargo helicopter, deposited the captured Pokémon in the cargo hold of it, and proceeded to return home after a day's work.

The engines and propellers of the cargo helicopter began to revolve and roar. The cargo helicopter slowly hovered into the air, before pointing towards Team Rocket Main Headquarters and heading home.

Lucario couldn't help but fell hypocritical after his actions today. Not too long ago, he hated the thought of Pokémon slavery. Now, he finds himself playing a role in it, and he couldn't help but sigh in anguish of his actions.


Location: Viridian City (Viridian Gym)

Date: October 12th, 2010 (10/12/10)

Time: 12:19 PM (Nineteen Past Noon)

Mewtwo's final opponent for the day was an anonymous Pokémon Trainer's Alakazam.

The Trainer's Alakazam armed itself with spoons, one on each hand, which amplify its incredible psychic power.

Mewtwo's PSYCHIC power proved overwhelming to the opponent Pokémon's psychic power. With ease, it bent Alakazam's spoons, stunning it, and then sent the Pokémon flying towards the wall, knocking it out cold with minimal effort.

Mewtwo, with no more opponents to fight for the day, was ordered by Giovanni to return to the back rooms of the Viridian Gym, where machinery there would connect to Mewtwo's armor and collect battle data on its abilities.

Mewtwo was in that back room, meditating to himself about his purpose in life, as the machinery did what it was manufactured to do for its battle armor.


"The soldier must fear his officers more than he fears the bullets of the enemy. You could not rule without the naked exercise of power. The followers must bow their heads to the leader. They must surrender their heads, using only the mind and will of the leader to rule them." —Orson Scott Card (376) ("Ender's Shadow")

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