From: Spawn <nmvds@aol.computers> Subject: [PW!] CE: Azure Heights Break In, Success and Failure. Date: Monday, February 14, 2000 11:23 PM Standard Disclaimor: This story is a pseudo-NC. Meaning that absolutely nothing in this story will affect anyone except from Steve Fugues in typical continuity of PW!. This story has Steve traveling to an alternate dimension. As such, he will be affected. But no one else will because their existence in this dimension is completely independent of their existence in the rest of PW! Recap: Last time we were here, ("Re: [PW!] CE: Azure Heights Break In, Two Nidokings down and Ninety-eight to go.") Tom and Steve were fighting bravely against Nidoking after Nidoking. Articuno made an appearence, and Al managed to save Steve from getting frozen solid. Tom, however, was a different story entirely. ****************** In Gil Bates's life, he has learned that he usually overrates the glory he will get from accomplishing his goals. Maybe that's way he always aims higher. When he was young, he thought he would be happiness if he received the same level of success his father had. Later, he thought he'd be happy when he could start his own company. And later still, he thought he could be happy if he made his company the number one producer of pokemon products in the world. But he was wrong, even if he wouldn't admit it. All this success only caused him to aim higher. It was would never enough for him. He had trapped himself in an unending cycle of ambition. The only way he would ever be satisfied with himself would be if he reached a status so high that no one would be able to question his authority. No one would be question the fact that he was the best at what he did. He was the best, period. And so, today, while trying to pull off the greatest of all his goals, was he drinking champagne and celebrating with his friends? No. He was sitting in his office, virtually alone. Watching footage from the Azure Heights security cameras under intense scrutiny. More things to worry about. More thorns in his paw to prevent him from ever achieving his goals. Gil starred at his longtime rival who was thought to be dead for years. Buried under millions of tons of rubble. And now he was cracking through his some of the best defenses that the Pokemon League had to offer. Some of the best defenses that the *world* had to offer. It was a very unsettling sight. For weeks, he had wondered whether it could be. Whether or not Steve Fugues could actually still be alive. How was was it possible? Gil had watched him die. He orchestrated the whole thing himself. Watched as Steve was caught in an explosion that forced a cave to collapse upon itself. No one could survive such an explosion. And even if Steve were immortal like some of the other members of Team Rocket, no one could ever expect to free himself from such a prison. How was it possible? The forces of team rocket had sent only three people to infiltrate. Gil Bates had no idea how they found out about his plans. The first one was new to him, a man who was somehow capable of flight and elemental offense. He was powerful, that was for sure. But as Gil watched, he realized that the man didn't have the fighting spirit. He seemed to be more like a scholar who was equipped with weaponry that allowed him to live out adventures. And weapons could be beaten. Then there was Al. Gil was familiar with the legends. Al was a man who lived by strict discipline. What he not have to live by, however, were the laws of nature. He was a soldier destined to help lead hell's army, and as such, was given certain powers. Such as immortality. But for some reason, he was still willing to work on the side of Team Rocket and defend what he believed to be right. The camera zoomed in on Steve. Gil couldn't figure it out. On the outside, Steve didn't appear to be anything special in terms of abilities. He wasn't one of those ninja's who seemed to be everywhere now and days. He wasn't even a psychic. In a lot of ways, he seemed like a perfectly normal guy, albeit one who seemed to have more problems than other people. So why was he the one who Gil feared the most? Why was this every day mortal so threatening to him? He was a regular mortal. One who seemed to have nothing in his life going for him, who had nothing left to live for. So why was he still fighting? Why was he still risking his life despite the lack of any special abilities? Or maybe Gil was looking at it all wrong. Maybe the fact Steve had nothing left to live for made it so that he would be willing to put his life on the line if it meant he could die a hero. Maybe his awareness of his own mortality made him acknowledge the high cost of failure, and offer the respect it deserved. And so he would fight his heart out on the battle field, for whatever cause he deemed worthy while at the same time being able to acknowledge his weaknesses And maybe it was these things that made Gil fear him so much. Not so much because of what Steve was capable of, but because of what he represented. The spirit of revolution. Courage personified. A man who didn't need the martial arts or psychic powers or immortality to make him unique. No matter what Gil did to Steve, Steve would never give up. He would never stop fighting. A man who seemed like a regular guy in terms of powers but who was special in his own right in terms of heart. "Sir?" the intercom suddenly interrupted. "Yes?" Gil responded, still staring at the footage. "Sir, there are some people who are trying to stop the Articuno from apporaching." "Deal with them." "And the three intruders who broke in originally are now on the second level of the mountain where the Dugtrios are. They managed to get past the armored Nidokings." There was a pause. "Sent the troops." "The armed guards, sir?" "Yes." Was the fact that Steve had somehow managed to survive from the best laid out plans yet another failure in Gil's life that no amount of success could make up? If so, he had to think of a way to redeem himself. And it couldn't just be a simple killing. That would be far too easy. ********** Al and Steve began to start on the newest portion of their journey. It was them and them alone who would ultimately decide the fate of this particular pocket dimension. With each step they took, the ground seemed to shake more and more. "It's the Dugtrios," Al. "They dig in this mountain almost constantly." "Wow, and I though *I* had no life…" Steve sighed. Suddenly, the sound of rapid gunfire filled the air. "Guns…" Steve muttered, "now why didn't we think of bringing those?" "Because guns tend to be fairly ineffective against armored Nidokings and Dugtrios," Al answered. "Shut up," Steve replied as he searched for something to hide behind. He started calculated thinking about his options. His Starmie and Dragonaire wouldn't be much help here. Neither would Al's Blastoise and Lickitung. The Gengar was vulnerable to all the ground attacks here, where as the Rapidash would be vulnerable to bullets. That left Al's Muk, which could both handle the bullets as well as use gas attacks to smoke screen. "Hey Al--" He stopped himself. "Yes?" Al asked. "Never mind," said Steve, "bad idea." He had forgotten that when Al designated his pokemon's moves, he didn't have to worry about poisons because he didn't need to breath. Steve did. Suddenly, he got an idea and he hoped that his sword still had some energy leftover from the Articuno. Using his knowledge of physics and weather, Steve released the cold from his sword, masamune, to suddenly drop the temperature in his general area. The water vapor around him began to condense, forming a momentary fog. The colder it got, the faster he needed to expend the energy to maintain the change. Until eventually the sword ran dry. Steve took off running, trying to stay balanced on the shaking terrain, trying to figure out which parts of the mountain were stable enough for him to run across. "Stop right there and put your hands up!" Steve heard someone yell. As he turned around, he saw a gun pointed straight at him. "You're trespassing on official Pokemon League property." Steve tried his best to do what the person said, but at the same time he was trying to stay balanced. The ground was shaking more than ever. As he starred into the barrel, Steve wondered what he should try next. He could jumping out of the way and catch the guard off guard, as the Dugtrios on the mountain would make it hard for him to aim. But it would also be hard to jump. And one bullet, whether it hit by chance or skill, was all the guard really needed. "Okay," said Steve, "just don't shoot. Okay?" "Hey Adam, come here!" shouted the guard. Moments later, a second man ran down the mountain and also kept his gun pointed at Steve. Further reason for him to comply. "Pete?" the first guard said as he spoke into a radio. "I got one of them right here. Use GPS to track my current location and send backup. Now." As he spoke, the shaking grew more and more powerful. Steve knew something was happening, but he didn't know what it was. "Pete, can you hear me?" the guard on the radio continued, still keeping his weapon pointed at Steve and prepared for even the slightest movement. "It sounds like an Earthquake here. PETE?!? PEEEE--!!!!" The man screamed as the Earth suddenly exploded from underneath him, debris flying everywhere. The first guard was thrown a good twenty feet away, tossed aside as if by mere afterthought. The second, Adam, disappeared as he fell into the ground. "ADAM!!!!!!!!" the first guard yelled. A huge rumbling could be heard alongside Adam's bloodcurdling screams. From where he stood, Steve could hear flesh tearing. Bones shattering. He cringed at the thought. "Dugtrio," a voice sounded as a head suddenly popped from the ground. "OH, GOD, NO!!!" screamed the first guard. "ADAM!!! Oh, F***!!! I think I busted my ****ing leg. I can't move… You bastard, help me!!! " "Dugtrio?" the confused Pokemon said as it turned his head. "NOOOOOO!!!" the man shouted as he looked into the eyes of the approaching pokemon. "Stay back! Stay back! Help me! I gave you you the chance, god damn it. I let you live, you bastard. Why are you just standing there?!? HELP ME!!!" Steve felt a pang of guilt. He had no idea why. The guard held a gun to his head earlier, tried to arrest him on behalf of the Pokemon League. The guard was far from a decent human being in Steve's eyes, but he was a human being all the same. One who was still worthy of life. Besides, the guard wasn't a threat to him now. Not with a busted leg. Not with his gun ten feet away from him. Pokemon League guard or not, Steve felt an obligation to help those in need. And so, despite what his rationale told him, he reached in his jacket for a Pokeball. "Starmie, g--…" Steve began to shout, just before the ball slipped from his fingers and he fell to his knees. "Oh, F***!!!!!!!!!" He should have known better. He allowed himself to be so distracted by his need to save others that he forgot to take the shaking ground into account. But it was too late for that now. Too late for regrets. Especially when there was a man in front of him, about to lose his life. The ball was quickly rolling down the hill, far too fast for him to ever hope to catch up to. He had to do something. But what? "Dugtrio…" the pokemon said calmly as it prepared to feast once again. It opened it's mouth wide open and was ready to clamp down. "For the love of God, help me you lazy ***hole!" the guard shouted as he tried to claw his way forward. But it was futile. He was far too weak at this point to save himself. "Dugtrio…" the Pokemon said again taking it's first bite. "AAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!" The guard knew then that he would die soon. Eaten alive, just like his friend. What a horrible way to go. Steve held up the gun. He had never used this particular kind before. Worse yet, he had problems keeping it steady with the force of a dozen earthquakes beneath his feet. The sight he was aiming through moved far to erratically for him to control. Steve moved closer and closer towards his target, waiting until he was fairly sure he could get a clean shot, trying to get used to the ground and figuring out how to adapt. "FIRE ALREADY!!!" the guard continued to yell. By this time, the Dugtrio opened wide and was ready to devour him completely from the waist down. Steve knew he couldn't wait any longer, and squeezed the trigger. The bullets flew everywhere, most of them missing the target completely. But a few hit their mark, piercing into the body of the frail Pokemon. Realizing that the onslaught would continue for as long as it stood there, the Dugtrio retreated back underground, planning its next move and leaving its snack unfinished. "How are you holding up?" Steve asked, as he starred at a wide circle of blood soaked soil. "WHAT KIND OF QUESTION IS THAT?!?" the guard screamed, "ARE YOU A F***ING MORON OR SOMETHING?!? " "Okay, stupid question…" Steve sighed as he began to run, not sure of where to go. He needed to clear his head. "You know, I felt sorry for the man who had no feet until I met John Wayne Bobbit." Every time he thought that the Dugtrio was going to appear, he fired a spray of bullets. But it always seemed that by the time he reacted, the Dugtrio would return to the soil for protection almost instantly. Until eventually when Steve found himself out of ammunition. "Stupid gun," he said, "stuff like this *never* happens in the movies. Unless it's one of those scenes where something important is about to happen." Dugtrios. Steve thought that this would be a walk in the park. Literally. But he was wrong. The Dugtrios proved to be far more formidable than he originally suspected. "Ah crap!" Steve realized, "this is one of those scenes where something important is about to happen. Why do you taunt me like this, God? WHY?!?" Steve knew he couldn't run forever. Not on a hill. Not one that felt like it was experiencing a constant Earthquake. With one poorly aimed step on one unseen rock during one unexpected tilt, he tripped and fell. His momentum sending him rolling downhill, and from Steve's perspective, the world seemed to move in circles. Spinning round and round. Suddenly, another Dugtrio appeared from the ground ahead of him. Steve hit it as a car would hit a speed bump, and he sailed through the air. Dozens of feet forwards, dozens of feet down. He was falling in parallel to the mountains slope, and because of that he was accelerating faster and faster without stopping. Time seemed to move still for him. He was falling. Falling. "I'm going to die today," he realized. "I'm going to die having fallen off a mountain." And then he stopped. Or at least he thought he did. Something caught him in midair just then, something that was struggling with his weight and succeeded more at slowing him down than stopping him entirely. But Steve wouldn't have to worry about crashing down on the side of a mountain at 90 mph anymore, so he was happy. It was the TR-Bot, flying through the air and breaking Steve's fall. Suddenly, out from below, a giant Dugtrio appeared. Using his arm, the TR-Bot exhausted the last of his water supply on the creature and watched it retreat back to the ground. He then handed several pokeballs. "I found your Starmie on your way up here," he said. "He must've gained weight," Steve observed, "and gotten chopped up. You know I hear that star fish can regenerate from that." "A few Nidokings I captured," Tom explained. "They might come in handy for when you're at the top. You'll find a lot of electric pokemon there." "Using their own pokemon against them…" Steve smiled, "how ironic." "Yes, quite," Tom replied. "Are you coming?" Steve asked as he began to test the extent of any injuries he gained, ready to go farther up. "I can't," said Tom. "Electromagnetic disturbance. I'm only operating 45% efficiency right now, and the problem gets worse exponentially worse with distance." Steve saluted the robot and prepared once again to journey up the mountain. "I'll see you llllaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa--oomph." Steve wasn't really paying attention at that moment. If he had, he would have seen that giant hole in front of him. All around him was complete darkness, but he at least he knew that here he would be safe from gun fire. He began to journey upwards, keeping his Starmie and Nidokings handy in case any Dugtrios should come by. -TBC -Spawn To reply, remove "puters" from the e-mail address.