Finally something happens in Pokémon SS. Well, something aside from plot-building. We get a full-fledged fight people, while Jessie and James get verbally owned by a certain sleepy Executive. SLIGHT shounen-ai in this chapter, but it's really just an awkward situation more than anything. Nothing I wouldn't hesitate to show a six-year old (now that's not to say a six-year old would like SS or understand the plot, but... you know what I mean). ----------------------------- Juliet’s nails were biting into the palms of her hands. She wasn’t so much angry as annoyed. Jessie and James, two of the most humiliating members of Team Rocket, assigned to her base. She had been given them strict orders to keep them in the field, too. It was all she could muster to keep herself from slapping Jessie as she walked up to her for their formal introduction. In this case it meant heading them off right before they got to the cafeteria. “You’re Jessie,” Juliet said to the magenta-haired woman. It wasn’t a question, it was a statement. “And you’re James.” “Yes,” Jessie said. “And you are?” Juliet ignored her question. “I’ll be straightforward with you two. You’re a laughingstock. How you two got assigned to my base I’ll never know. However, I won’t give you any bad assignments right away. You’ll get assignments that you earn.” “Hey,” James whispered to Jessie as Juliet was talking, as if Juliet couldn’t hear, “You think she’ll give us resources so we can get the twerp’s Pikachu?” Meowth, determined to remain unnoticed, attempted to sneak into the mess. He stopped when he saw Juliet glance in his direction, but continued when she gave him a subtle “go ahead” wave. “No,” Juliet said flatly. “You will receive no further assistance for the capture of Ash Ketchum’s Pikachu. In fact, having failed three years running, you will not even attempt to capture it ever again. Is this understood?” Jessie and James stood there, dumbstruck. “That was a simple question,” Juliet said. “You can answer with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’, whichever suits how well you comprehend the statement.” Jessie and James nodded quickly, unused to being given such harsh treatment. “Your new assignment,” Juliet paused, ostensibly for dramatic effect but in reality to actually think it up, “is to assist our operations in Lilycove City. Go there, you’ll meet a man named Stein. He’ll be your boss for this operation.” Jessie and James continued to stand there. “You’re dismissed!” Juliet barked. Jessie and James leaped about three feet into the air and scrambled into the cafeteria. “At least they’ll be out of my hair for the next while,” Juliet thought to herself as she turned to go to the operations room. “Stein likes taking three times longer than necessary and blaming it on perfectionism. Now then, to business.” Juliet turned into the operations room, where two other Rocket members lounged in two of the chairs. Both were dressed in white uniforms similar to those of Jessie and James, except the woman’s was black around the midsection instead of bare, and Ryan’s white shirt was open like Buson’s. “Yo, boss” Ryan said as Juliet entered the room. “Taken care of Jessie and James?” Juliet scowled. She’d tried to instill a sense of order into the base since she’d taken charge, but it hadn’t worked very well. People kept on telling her she worked too hard and took her job too seriously. She’d ignored them. Melanie slid the enveloped file across the conference table towards Juliet. “That’s really our assignment? Not much there, just a short bio on Tschel—which we already knew back and front—and photos of him and that blonde girl he’s with. Lack of information and all.” “Blonde boy,” Juliet said absentmindedly. “Eh?” “That’s a guy, even if it’s kind of hard to tell.” Melanie quickly retrieved the envelope, opened it, and looked at the picture. “You’re not serious.” Juliet smirked. “I am. Intel is still working on his identity, their search bots are down, remember, but we have confirmed he is indeed a guy.” “Hard to believe,” Melanie said. “Yeah,” replied Juliet, staring off into space, “How hard can it be to identify a guy that looks like that, is roughly 5’ 10” or so based on how he measures to Tschel, and carries around a Marril. Must be dozens of such guys.” Melanie blinked. Ryan twiddled his thumbs and continued to look at the ceiling. “Intel not being able to find out who he is?” Juliet asked, as if the two people she was in the room with were idiots. “Jeez.” “Another mission to go after Tschel?” Ryan asked after a short pause. “Those are fun. We’ve lost like, what was it, four agents so far to him? He’s good at giving agents over to the various Jennies, you know.” “We’re not looking at grabbing his Eevee evolutions this time,” Juliet said. “Giovanni’s had too much trouble with him so far that his entering the Neo League and possibly finding out about Project Orthan is too much of a risk. So, hospitalize him.” “And the other, uh, guy?” Melanie asked. “Oh, him too. Yeah, hospital.” It was several days later when Alex and Tschel arrived at Rueni City. Being nighttime, the city’s hotel was almost completely booked. The only room available had a single double bed, unfortunately. They’d taken it but there was the unavoidable conversation of bedding. “Well,” Alex said, “it’s not like there’s anything wrong with two guys sharing a double bed. It beats having to decide who takes sleeping bag.” Tschel hesitated on his answer, but Alex couldn’t figure out why. Tschel didn’t seem like the kind of guy who was that close-minded. “Yeah, I guess. Marril sleeps between us though.” “Well that was… interesting,” Tschel thought to himself after Alex went off to shower. “Gonna be awkward though, wonder if Alex… nah I’m getting ahead of myself, he probably… or he might, I dunno, just… ‘Marril sleeps between us’, what the heck was THAT?” “There,” Tschel heard Alex say before he was even aware Alex had finished showering. “Shower’s yours. Man, you look tense.” Tschel stood up suddenly. “I was not having an internal conversation with myself on a touchy subject.” He quickly sidestepped Alex’s reply, literally, by going and showering immediately thereafter. Massive sweatdrops were shared by both Alex and Marril following that. “Do you have any idea what that was about?” Alex asked cautiously. “Mar-ril,” Marril said, which was a clear no. It was much later, after Alex, Marril, and Tschel were almost asleep, that anything was really said. “Alex,” Tschel asked randomly. He waited for Alex’s mmph mumbled into his pillow, letting Tschel know that he was awake, before continuing, “If you think of me like your sister does by now, I won’t hold it against you.” “I don’t,” Alex mumbled into his pillow, which was almost unintelligible to Tschel seeing as Alex was talking directly into a pillow, “unless you don’t let me sleep. In that case Marril ice beams you.” A shrill ringing woke everyone up. It continued despite a pathetic whimper of “let me sleeeeeeeep” from Alex, who tossed and turned to lessen the shrillness of the ringing before being woken up. “Alex,” Tschel said slightly groggily, “that’s the fire alarm.” “Oh,” Alex muttered, lying back down again. “Well I’m a water trainer, let me know if the fire tries to get in here.” Tschel groaned an “I don’t know why I bother” groan, then grabbed Alex’s arm and tugged. Alex was surprisingly light and flopped forwards, where Tschel caught him, suddenly decided things looked very compromising, and just led Alex out of the room by his arm, all to a furiously laughing Marril. “You take forever to wake up,” Tschel said as Alex stumbled down the corridors, at least not falling, which was good, as they had to go down stairs. Actually getting outside, it was ironically Marril who first noticed the two Rocket members lounging on the top of the cover of the walkway into the hotel. They stood up as the noticed Tschel, and jumped down. “We’d begun to think you weren’t coming,” Ryan said, the flaps of his open shirt fluttering in the breeze causing a real dramatic effect combined with the fact that you couldn’t see his chest at all in the darkness for the black undershirt. “Nah,” Melanie said. “Tschel’s not the sort to just skip out of a trap.” Tschel didn’t say anything; he just grabbed a pokéball and threw it. Flareon appeared out of the ball. Alex, still partly asleep but awake enough to know what was going on, called out his Wartortle. “Flareon, Swift attack!” Tschel shouted. Dozens of little stars swept at Ryan, who threw out a Hitmonchan just in time so he didn’t have to get hit. Melanie called out a Hitmontop. Ryan smirked. “Hitmonchan, Mega Punch the Wartortle!” Melanie, seeing Ryan’s strategy, followed suit. “Hitmontop, Triple Kick it!” Tschel, not one to follow League rules in a battle against Team Rocket, threw a pokéball between the two Pokémon and Alex. “Umbreon, take the hit!” Umbreon staggered, but Alex called out Gyarados in the time Umbreon bought him. “Gyarados, Hyper Beam!” Alex shouted, now fully awake. The multicolour torrent of energy swept over Hitmonchan and Hitmontop, knocking them backwards and preventing their advance. At that moment, at least five bursts of fire leapt out of the darkness and at Melanie and Ryan, who both faltered before seeing the source: five Growlithes, accompanied by Officer Jenny. A malicious smirk appeared on Tschel’s face. “Now’s my chance,” he thought to himself. He then called out an order, “Flareon, Fire Spin those two Rocket members!” Flareon opened its mouth and spewed a large cyclone of fire at the two. Sparks caught Ryan’s uniform, and he slapped furiously at it to prevent the fire from spreading. Melanie wasn’t so fortunate, and was rolling on the ground, trying to put out the flames that were spreading over her uniform. Jenny walked over and slapped Tschel hard. “Young man, I should arrest you too. You had no right to attack another trainer directly, regardless of who they work for.” Tschel looked angry enough to slap back. He wisely chose not to. He replied with barely restrained sarcasm, “Yes, ma’am, Officer Jenny, ma’am.” Jenny glared at Tschel, who faltered for a second, but she then decided there were other things she needed to do. She went over to Melanie and Ryan, handcuffs in hand, but Ryan was already back up. Jenny blocked a punch aimed at the bridge of her nose, although a kick to her midsection sent her to the ground. “Come on,” Ryan said, grabbing Melanie’s arm and throwing a smoke bomb. “We’re getting out of here.” The two vanished, and Officer Jenny turned to Tschel. “You know what,” she said, holding her stomach where Ryan had kicked it, “just go. I’ll conveniently forget about what you did.” After everyone had recalled their Pokémon, the crowd dispersed. Marril was discovered to have already gone back to its trainer’s room and was fast asleep when the two got there. ----------------------------- So it looks like Team Rocket's tried stuff with Tschel before and gotten beaten. It also looks like Ryan means business, beating up a Jenny and all. Plus we finally get protagonists who are unafraid to break the rules (calling out multiple Pokémon against TR...). Next chapter goes up when it goes up. Edit: Whoops. Had Juliet in that TR trap there, saying one line and then mysteriously vanishing. Now says Melanie like it should.