From: Bandraptor <bandraptor@aol.com> Subject: [PW!] Trysts and Turns Date: Friday, August 27, 1999 4:58 AM Nori was lying face down in a gutter. Which really wasn't unusual for her. With a slight groan, she rolled over, and flopped on her back, gazing up at the sky. "What a dark sky," she mumbled, absently, "oh, wait...that's not the sky." She'd rolled over onto her stomach, and was now lying in a pool of mud. "damn," she muttered, before falling back to sleep. * * * "Watashi wa dare da? Koko wa doko nanda?" "No." "Watashi no Zenigame ageru kara, anata no Kabigon choudai?" "No." "Watashi no nozomi wa, Hi no Kami demo nai. Kaminari no Kami demo, Koori no Kami demo nai. Umi no Kami da." "Shaddup!" The girl and the Wartortle were walking side by side, down a narrow, unpaved road. They didn't know where they were headed, and they didn't know where they had come from, but that was the least of their concerns. "So seriously, ya can't remember anything?" Rubix coughed, feigning disinterest. "Nothing," Nori replied, quietly. She rubbed her head, absently brushing some of the caked mud out of her hair. "Why, do you?" "Who asked you?" the Wartortle snorted, turning back towards the road. Rubix had awoken but a few minutes after Nori, and freed himself from his confining Pokéball, as was his tendency. He knew that things had happened, over the course of the past few weeks... but now he couldn't remember any of it. This concerned him greatly, to the point, where he had resisted the urge to escape; instead remaining with his "master", in hopes that she had a better idea of what had happened. She didn't. The girl was disconcerted, every bit as much as he was, if not more so. Neither had any clear memory of the previous weeks. Rubix remembered certain things: Blue aliens. Red sky. Rockets. Monsters. No details. If he tried to focus on any one of those things for more than a few minutes, he lost the image completely. "We went through a hole in time..." Nori began tiredly. "There were three of us... I don't know where the others went. A lot of people died..." She trailed off. "I hope the others are all right..." The girl was wearing a tattered Team Rocket uniform. She had no recollection of why she was wearing it, or how it had gotten so mangled. For that matter, how had anyone gotten her into the skanky female version of the uniform? Nori let out a heavy sigh, and pausing behind some bushes, quickly changed into her normal clothes. She sat down in the grass, and thought hard. What had happened? The time hole... Car'tos had called it a Chronoshift. They had left from Pallet, so it seemed reasonable, that she had been returned to Pallet. Which meant, that if she was walking away from Pallet, she was probably heading towards Viridian. "Viridian..." Nori mused, sucking the distracted Rubix back into his Pokéball, "Viridian..." there was something she wanted to do there. * * * The translucent Porygon slid through the air, and touched down in the cold, wet grass. Of course, it, being a Porygon, had no sense of touch, and was unable to appreciate the soft carpet. Likewise for Nori, whose heavy boots tromped across the field, crushing tender bladelettes. "Nemesis, return." As the Porygon disintegrated into a wave of red energy, Nori wondered where the name had come from. "Nemesis" was the name of a warship, the flagship of an ancient battle fleet. Nori often rode her Porygon into battle, and for that reason, it was almost like her personal warship. "Nemesis," she repeated. She decided that she liked the name. It fit. It was dark out. Nori couldn't remember what time it had been when she'd awoken, but the trip had taken some time, and the sun had long since set. Fortunately, she had a pretty good idea of where she was going. A short distance away, Nori could make out the silhouette of a large bottle. A Coke bottle. A Diet Coke Bottle From Hell... She'd be hard pressed to crack the bottle's entry code, but she didn't plan on doing so. Nori had always been good at sneaking around...she simply waited for someone to open the door themselves, then quietly followed them inside. Nori boggled at the interior...the inside of the bottle was far more vast than she remembered. She'd have a difficult time finding anything in here. The girl paused, considering her next move... there were probably surveillance cameras, laced throughout the complex. She'd have to think carefully, to make her way through this maze. Nori flattened her body against a wall, as she heard footsteps approaching. Two men, scientists, judging by their labcoats, were walking down an adjacent hallway, gabbing loudly. "So, Frank, about this new teleporter..." "No way, Doc. No more teleporters." "We have orders, to install a receiver in Cinnabar. I'm just asking that you--" "I am NOT going to test it. Remember what happened last time?" "With the Persian? Frank, that was a fluke." "I don't care." "Look, I got scratched up too!" Nori shrugged, and slunk off after the bickering pair. They were researchers...perhaps they were heading for a lab now. That would mean, that the bottom floor was a research facility. Offices would be on the upper levels. She grinned, as she spotted something, to her immediate left--a staircase. Checking over her shoulder, Nori ran up the flight of stairs, stopping just below the landing. There were hallways on every side. This meant that the staircase was centrally located. There were three guards, dressed in black Rocket uniforms, standing at the top of the stairs... none seemed especially attentive. "This oughta shake things up..." Nori mumbled, withdrawing an empty Pokéball from her backpack, and hurling it down one of the hallways. There was a great clatter, as the ball ricocheted off wall after wall, bouncing against heavy doors with a thunking noise. Two of the guards drew their pistols, and took off in the direction the noise was coming from. The third guard broke away, running down a different hallway. "That's the one," Nori thought, following the lone guard at a distance. She had a hunch, that the third guard was a relayman, assigned to warn their Boss, should a situation arise. The guard swung around a corner, and stopped in front of a door, reaching to open it. "Hoy!" one of the other guards called, from down the hall. The third guard leaned back around the corner, hopefully. If his partners had captured the perpetrator, there would be no need to inform the Boss. He raced back down the hall, to where his partners were examining the dented Pokéball. Nori waited until the guards had returned to their post, then carefully crept towards the door. She placed a tentative hand on the doorknob, took a deep breath, and walked inside. And ducked, as a round of bullets came flying towards her. "What the smeg was that for?!?" Nori cried, starting to get up, but stopping as another bullet flew over her head. A man in a red suit marched towards her, revolver still trained on her body. His movements were followed closely by a Persian, who was grooming itself, as if oblivious to the gunfire. "Stupid little brat. Did you think you could just waltz in here, and challenge me? You won't live to see the light of day." Nori gulped, afraid to look at the gun. "Giovanni, I presume?" Giovanni paused, surprised. His name was a closely guarded secret, and he wanted to know where the girl had heard it. For the moment Nori didn't know. There were so many things that she couldn't remember... "Talk." Giovanni growled, pulling the girl roughly to her feet, and throwing her back against a wall. "I'm here..." Nori swallowed her fear, and looked him hard in the eye. "I'm here, because I want to join Team Rocket." "And destroy it from the inside, I'm sure," Giovanni dismissed her with a laugh. He was suspicious of most children, and with good reason. Some years ago, a boy named Ash Ketchem had lain havoc to his organization... this was because Giovanni had let his guard down, had refused to believe that a child could pose such a threat. Now, he gave no such quarters. Nori ignored Giovanni's comment, the irony in his voice eluding her. "There's another reason..." Giovanni looked the girl over, with aversion. She seemed oddly familiar...where could he have seen her? Giovanni nodded in sudden recognition, then walked back towards his desk, and rummaged through one of his drawers, coming up with a sheet of paper. "Endangered runaway," he read aloud. "Nori Mizuke...10-11 years old, black hair, green eyes...missing since... hmm...seems that you've been away for a while now. Finally realized that you can't make it on your own, and now you're turning to us for help?" Nori said nothing. Giovanni took a seat behind his desk, confident that his Persian would keep the girl from coming any closer than he wanted her. If she was, in fact, a runaway, that changed his entire opinion of her. Runaways were a delinquent group, hardly the type to pose a threat to him, or his organization. Much the opposite, he preyed on runaways. They were young, with no ties, and no future. Because they were desperate, it was easy to bend them to his whim, and mold them as he saw fit. Once he took them in, they invariably felt indebted to him, making them incredibly loyal soldiers. Best of all, if they were killed, no one would miss them. "Very well," he growled, trying to make it sound, as if he was relenting. "You may join. Give me your Pokédex." He took great amusement, in the look of fear on the child's face, as she attempted to creep past his hissing Persian. Finally, she made it to his desk, and lay down the tiny, red computer. Wordlessly, Giovanni opened it, typing several buttons in succession; before snapping off a small piece of plastic, that resembled the write-protect tab from a video tape, and passing it back to her. Nori looked at the Pokédex blankly, expecting some sort of an explanation. Seeing that he wasn't about to give one, unsolicited, she shrugged, and spoke up. "What did you do?" "When you have more than six Pokémon on you at a time, your Pokédex is programmed to send the newest capture to a specified holding place." Giovanni explained, with disinterest, "I simply reprogrammed it. Now it sends them to me." "Oh..." Nori frowned, getting a pretty good idea of what the broken tab might have done. "May I go now?" "Yes, yes," Giovanni waved her off, and returned to his work. Persian followed Nori closely, to see that she found the door. "Oh, and Nori?" Giovanni added, as she opened the door, "When should I expect to see Blizzard?" Nori cringed. "Soon, Sir..." she whispered. TBC... -Beth "Ii kanji!" http://members.aol.com/bandraptor