Tintia-The very name of the country is cause enough to make
normally loud-mouthed trainers be silent for hours on end-it was murmured in
hushed, respectful tones at night-it has caused the Elite Four to shiver-for
gym leaders to want to close for the rest of the day-and to cause Pokemon
Professors to drool.
The very word has inspired fear in many hearts, though many outside of Kanto and Johto couldn’t point it out on a map if their lives depended on it. It became an independent country very early on in history, and has fought on numerous occasions to keep it against all odds. Tintia has been a country shrouded in mythology, legend, secrecy, and regarded as a country of thieves and ruffians.
But, in actuality, nothing could be further from the truth. Together with its friendlier, northern neighbor Alto, they are commonly referred to as the Rainbow League countries, which is ludicrous, since only Alto has a league, and the Tintian gyms are little more than schools, but schools that require months and months of training and hard work.
Tintia is a small country, but rich in both rare flora and fauna. It is regarded as the Elite of the Elite for Pokemon Trainers, second only to those such as the Jewel League, since the trainers that came out of the country could usually defeat almost any trainer in Pokemon battles, especially in melee fighting, although the "League" specializes in strategy, not brute strength. To complete all of the gyms, you must be an officer in the Tintian Army, which is mandatory for all citizens, but is impossible for all but the most trusted outsiders.
Indeed, the Tintians have gained a reputation for their fighting, and it is said, though never to a Tintian’s face, that Tintia is run by thieves and gangs, which is pure nonsense. Another interesting characteristic of Tintia is that Pokemon and men live as equals, not as owner and pet or trainer and battler, and that the Pokemon are actually given a vote in elections.. Because of this, Tintia has become a refuge for many Pokemon, who in many other countries are nearly extinct, and became a haven, protecting entire species from annihilation, though it may have been incidental.
Tintia was ruled by a republic, but a republic careful to preserve its heritage, and, as such, has allowed only a limited number people into the country each year, of which a large number are Professors. The fact that few outsiders travel to the country each year is the reason that the rumors of Tintia's mob government began.
Elections are held every five years, and every President rules for five years, but is accompanied by a Legislative branch of the government. This lower house, consisting of Pokemon affixed with translators, who were elected by the Pokemon from around the country, and an upper house, consisting of human beings who are elected by the citizens of Tintia, and another, mid-house, which consists of a mix of human and Pokemon representatives.
The Justice system in Tintia does not differ much from the rest of the world, although the Officer Jessicas and Jakes are largely show, because police Pokemon such as Growlithes and Vulithes-a beautiful, yet deadly cross between Arcanines and Ninetails-are in charge of keeping the peace. The main difference between justice in Tintia and everywhere else in the world is that there are no juries, and each case has four judges. These four judges are all Psychic types, and can tell instantly who is at fault, or who is guilty. This elegant, yet simple plan has saved Tintia hundreds of hours of time, and allows one of the oldest laws of the country, a ban on lawyers visiting the country, to remain standing.
Tintia is also home to the famous Beech laboratory-of which Silph Company is a subsidiary, and has researched many things, including the famous Pokemon Storage System. The famous inventor Bill Dugan actually lived in Tintia for several years, but has a summer cottage in Kanto.
Geographically, it is settled over the northern borders of both Kanto and Johto, and is the closest country on the planet to the island country of Alto. It has two major islands-the Dark and Dragon Isles.
Dark Isle is an extinct volcano that had frothed forth in a fiery fountain of death hundreds of years before, leaving a barren, volcanic plain that very few plants can live in. The flowers that spring up in the spring were either choked out by the brambles that seemed to thrive on Dark Isle, or die because of a lack of soil. Dark Pokemon have flourished here for centuries, eating the massive fish populations that live just off-shore, taking advantage of few trainers being in the area, and the natural warmth of the water because of the volcano. The few early, hardy settlers that set out to colonize the island were found ripped to shreds—massacred.
In modern times, only powerful trainers go to the island, and then only for a short time, and always live in fear of the legend of the Lokrye-The Dark Titan that sought to conquer the world. The legend is whispered fearfully from one to another in dark alleyways, the storyteller and the listener alike glancing around fearfully. It is one thing to scoff at the legend of the Titans sitting at home or in a restaurant somewhere, where the very temperature of the air can be adjusted, but it is much harder to disbelieve the legend while you were on the island, solidified lava under your feet, a perpetual darkness brought on by ash still in the air from the volcano’s many eruptions, and dark Pokemon jumping out from on all sides.
To the south of Dark Isle looms an overgrown forest that few dare to enter. On a map, it looks like some kind of Pokemon’s head opening its mouth wide to swallow Dragon Isle, and at what would be, if you thought of it as a head, its neck appeared to be a thin collar on a map. What looks like a collar on the map is actually an extremely tall wall that prevents any of the extremely dangerous grass Pokemon that resided in the forest to escape. Armed sentries, along with their Pokemon, are posted at half-mile increments along the whole of the wall, which stretches a full ten miles.
The sentries often report wild scrabblings on the other side of the wall, and strange wailings that very often have brought stout sentries to their knees, sobbing in fear. Many thought that these scrabblings were because of the legend of Gratomere, the Legendary Grass Type. Very few people or Pokemon have passed the gate, and fewer have returned alive. Most of the travelers through the forest were found washed up, torn to pieces, along Dragon Isle’s eastern shoreline.
Situated due south of the distant island country Alto, Dragon Isle is one of the last hideaways of the noble Dragon-kind. Mankind and dragons have lived side by side, as a mutual agreement of don’t-catch-don’t-kill. Majestic spires and eyries abound on Dragon Isle, and it was there that the dragons prefer to make their home, though some actually began to live in the town. Some Dragons, such as the tiny Wenhirs, the wind type Dragons, live there, but are extinct everywhere else.
There is always a glorious celebration whenever a new dragon was born, whether in the city or miles away atop some lonely peak. Some dragons have volunteered to leave the island, but no dragon has ever been forced to leave the island with a trainer without there being swift and terrible retribution on the citizens of Dragon Town, as the city on the island was called. There was actually a war when the young Team Rocket attempted to do such a thing, and it took three hundred years to rebuild the town to its former glory-such was the wrath of the dragon-kind.
The countryside is studded with mountains, of which, the small mountain chain in the Northwest is the most prominent example. It is said that beyond that point, Pokemon stronger than imagination roam, and from there, powerful Pokemon such as Auroura and Borealis first appeared. In legend that was too far back to be fully remembered, it is said that there was a portal to another world somewhere in the middle of that landmass, which, if one had an imagination, looks rather like Mew.
The River Rainbow flows through the country like a ribbon, nearly cutting the country in half with its shimmering flow. The main waterway for the country, it runs from Rubyville, a town that is situated on Ruby Mountain, all the way to the Dark Sea. Both Dragon and Dark Isles are in the dark sea, and, beyond Dark Isle, the Dread Sea begins.
The Dread Sea was named in ages past, when mankind and Pokemon lived harmoniously side by side, yet both were too afraid of venturing through the sea. It is said that some travelers actually did cross the sea, and return back to the mainland telling of the marvels of Alto Island. Most were laughed into silence, and never brought the subject up again. Yet others left the mainland after being laughed at, and never returned. Everyone hushed this up as much as possible; After all, no one wanted to hear about people disappearing all the time, though some latter day historians believed that those travelers went back to Alto.
Children in Tintia, unlike most Leagues are not allowed to get Pokemon licenses. Instead, they are drafted into the Tintian Army. They then go around the country, studying at the assorted gyms, and gathering the certificates of completion that are received after every gym is complete, and grants them a promotion. Once an army grunt has completed every gym, they are promoted to officer-ship. Only officers are allowed to have Pokemon as travelling companions. Unlike many leagues, the Tinted Army founders decided that they wanted children to remember information, rather than rely on technology to have information on Pokemon. Potential officers, unless they had completed another league, are required to study under Professor Beech for a year before they could have their officer apprenticeship. In the country, there are seven gyms.
Very few people knew what lived in the long, mountainous stretch between Pewter City and Stratatown. Only two trainers have ever successfully made the entire journey on foot, though dozens had set out. Those two trainers were the current President and Vice President of the Tintia-Mitchell and Katrina Jordan. They married just after they graduated from the Tinted League, in a record nine months.
The Tintian Army Headquarters on Dragon Isle, where the mainstay type of the army is largely based on its name-sake island, are a collection of buildings that consisted largely of arches and porticos, with a small plaza-like opening in the center of each building. In these plazas, type specific training takes place. In the largest plaza in the central building, Tintians are trained as commanders of armies in strategic exercises, and, sometimes, paint-ball matches. Sometimes Pokemon are promoted over humans, and sometimes it is the other way around. Tintians have no qualms about using guns, unlike the majority of the world.
In this headquarters, in the Western sector, Intelligence division, there lies the offices of Major Redd Thompson. He is in charge of Tinted Army Intelligence, and has a fair amount of say in the military itself.
A military man at heart, Thompson thrived on rigidity and discipline, as evidenced by his immaculate desk, and tidy office. A few pictures of his family were all the comforts he allowed himself. The walls of his office were bare, and he often criticized others for having things on their walls that “distracted them from their work.”
Thompson never quite fit into the computer age, and still used hard copies, paper, and copier machines to do all his work. He decried computers as “a worthless waste of money that is evidenced when the electricity goes out,” and that he’d “rather have something that can be read after an EM pulse hits.” As a result, it is often assumed that he has a messy desk, but he keeps up with the paperwork easily, and is often finished with his scheduled work before his workday is over. But then, there was usually more than scheduled paperwork to do on any average day.
Thompson wasn’t happy. Things in Kanto were coming to a head. The Indigo League couldn’t possibly know that. They couldn’t possible know how many Engaran agents had been implanted into the league, and into the populace in general. They couldn’t know that with Giovanni gone, the responsibilities of the entire team would fall to Engaran agents, who went by the aliases of Butch and Cassidy.
His phone rang, and his finger punched the speaker button instantly, “Yes?” he demanded abruptly. He was never one to not answer calls, and he didn’t take well to trivial calls. Everyone in the Intelligence sector, probably a major portion of the military knew that.
“Sir, I thought you’d want to know that the Engarans pulled an agent out. Agent Peters, we believe.” Came the voice of his Jynx receptionist. There was some slight crackling, but Thompson, as always, attributed that to the translator.
“Where was the extraction point?” he demanded instantly.
“Celadon City.” Was the crisp, immediate response.
Thompson sat, considering that for a moment. “Very well. I expect a report on my desk in half an hour.”
“The Intel team thought you’d say that, and they’ve got one prepared for you, sir.”
Thompson chuckled. Seven years of playing hardball finally paid off. People were starting to anticipate him. “Very well, bring it in, and the meeting of the intelligence heads is still on, correct?”
His door opened, and the Jynx who preferred to be called Darya waded through, “That’s right, sir,” she said, plopping a thick report down on his desk. “Is there anything else?”
Thompson looked at the report hungrily. He wasn’t sure what the Engarans were up to, pulling Peters out just now. She was their best agent, and had the best cover. He was going to make sure he found out. “That’ll be all for now, Darya.” He attacked the report before the Jynx even had a chance to turn and leave.
“I still say it doesn’t make any sense!” Thompson insisted, rubbing the bridge of his nose. He had been arguing with the other Intelligence chiefs for half an hour, and they had all seemed to agree to disagree.
“Why doesn’t it make any sense?” Ruffles, a heavy-set man, he was the director of Tinted Army, Special Operations Training, but was required to attend the meeting in case one of the others were eliminated. His three yellow crests usually became inflamed when he was annoyed or angry, and they were inflamed to about the average point that they usually got to. Ruffles was standing up, waving his four arms about as he argued again and again over this issue. Ruffles was a Machamp, but a Machamp who was very sensitive about his name, and his hobby, raising goldfish. He placed his lower right hand on the back of his chair and demanded, “They’ve had her in Kanto for a couple of years, now. Surely she’s gathered some good intel by now!”
“I agree with Thompson,” Sandra, a petite, woman, with a sharp tongue countered. Her long body, short feet, and long tail may have made her out of place in other countries, but right here, the Furret fit right in. “They’d have a shot at even more intel now that Giovanni is captured.” she said, her light brown fur ringed with dark brown rippling.
“Not if Butch and Cassidy succeed him,” Ruffles shot back, waving his upper two arms in the air as his lower two grasped the back of his chair, “They’re trained Engaran agents. If they’re in charge of Team Rocket, they’ll have the Rocket spy net as well as the Engaran Spy net. It makes sense to bring her back.”
"Yes, but the Engaran Spy Net is far superior to Team Rocket's Spy Net!" Thompson retorted shortly. Mentally he sighed. Why did meetings always have to become shooting matches like this, he wondered.
“Please,” Old Faithful, one of the oldest Intelligence Chiefs at the table said quietly. Old Faithful was the smallest at the table, and had a turquoise skin that was beginning to turn dark blue. a large shell over his back, combined with his baby-like features gave away his species. He was a Squirtle, but at the same time, he was beginning to form Wartortle-like features. Small ears were beginning to form on the sides of its face, and his tail was beginning to lengthen. It had been his hypothesis when he was younger that if he waited long enough, he would eventually become a Blastoise, without evolving, and he had been encouraged in recent years by the growing features, that would have been anomolous to younger Squirtle. Standing a little over one and a half feet tall, Old Faithful had to stand on his chair to see everyone else, and had no qualms whatsoever about doing so. “Can we return to the topic at hand?" he asked softly, "Thompson and I have to give a report to Mitch and ‘Trina in just under an hour. What are our options, if Butch and Cassidy do take over Team Rocket, and decide to pursue further aggression against Johto or Kanto?”
Ruffles and Sandra glared at each other, then looked at their hands, and said nothing. “This Peters business is bad news,” Old Faithful continued quietly, looking at each of the other three intel directors in turn, “If they have returned her, it means they think they no longer need intelligence about Kanto. This has happened only once before, and that was when Engara and Neragosh tried to invade Alto.”
“We stopped them then,” Ruffles said, being his usual over-confident self, in an annoyed tone, “And we’ll stop them again!” he slapped all four of his hands onto the table, “Our military matches theirs. We’ll keep them from invading Kanto.”
“My only concern about that,” Sandra said quietly, “Is that they have probably already thought of that." the Furret looked around the table, meeting each Intelligence Head's gaze with her own, "and have already introduced a factor of which we have no awareness.”
Pallet Town was a small town, with not much going for it except for the Oak Lab, Jessie mused, as she watched the inhabitants of the town--no, it wasn't a town, more like a hamlet--scurry about their every-day lives. She was in the place's only restaurant, but she had to admit it had good food.
It was nice not having to hear Meowth complain about everything, though that would change when she took him out of his Pokeball. He had protested vehemently, and it eventually came down to forcing him inside. He would be a dead giveaway, she considered as she put another bite of lasagna into her mouth, if he were outside of his Pokeball and started talking.
Both she and James had had their hair cut, hers to shoulder-length, his, shaved almost completely off in what the barber had called a "buzz cut." Jessie had also died her hair black, with streaks of her original red remaining. Jessie shifted in her seat, and tugged on the pants she was wearing. Despite her every attempt, she couldn't get used to it. Of course, the face that she wasn't wearing her Rocket uniform that she had worn for years probably factored into it. She sighed and looked down at her shirt. It was the one thing she liked about this whole disguise. It was a simple affair, basically a T-shirt with ruffled sleeves, and "I Heart Saffron City," emblazoned in bold letters across its pinkness. Well, she didn't like the pinkness, yes, but she had to look like an average trainer.
She looked up at James, who was busy shoveling soup into her mouth. She crinkled her nose, at the fact that his soup was mainly some kind of sushi, but then, he was paying for his own meal. James had chosen to get some comfortable hiking boots, blue jeans, and a shirt made out of denim, with no designs but plenty of pockets. She stared at him. Now that he was out of his Rocket uniform, he actually looked kind of....cute.
The thought jolted her, and she shook her head and looked back down at her lasagna, and cut another piece off and put it into his mouth. Jessie wondered why she was still here, and not setting off for Johto. Team Rocket had been annihilated in Kanto. It was only a stroke of fortune that they were hadn't been captured yet. If James hadn't come up with this hare-brained plot to steal Oak's research....
Her train of thought trailed off. She would not think about what it might have been like if she had stuck around in the Game Corner. She swallowed the lasagna, and put another piece into her mouth. Why was she still planning on doing something for Team Rocket? Team Rocket was doomed, as far as anyone was concerned. No one could bring it back, in the shape it was in now.
Then she heard a familiar voice calling out a name. She stiffened, and shot a warning glance over to James, who looked ready to leap out of his seat. "Don't even think about it," Jessie said in a low tone, "You'd blow our cover."
James nodded slowly, and a little resentfully as the black-haired youth scuttled past the diner and caught up with someone out of view. It was Ash Ketchum, and James was probably itching to get his Pikachu, but they had a different job now, and she'd make sure that James stuck by it. Especially considering this whole stupid mission was his idea.
New Bark Town wasn't much of a town. It wasn't much of anything. It was the Johto equivalent of Pallet Town, in that the only thing keeping the town going at all was a Pokemon lab. The only difference, really, was that this lab belonged to Professor Elm. But soon, the town would be only a memory.
It was nearly dark. The perfect time for an attack. The diurnal Pokemon would be at the top of their game, and the nocturnal Pokemon would have energy to do the most damage. Butch narrowed his eyes. He had warned the Global Police to stop their harrassment of Team Rocket four days before, in a press release sent to the JNN studios. The Global Police had ignored it. This was their punishment for doing so.
Butch was tall, with an average build and blue hair. His dark uniform identified him as one of Team Rocket's elite. The white gloves that he normally wore had been traded in for dark gloves that wouldn't stand out in the dark.
Somewhere, he knew, Cassidy, his partner, was commanding the other half of the strike force. Slightly taller than himself, Cassidy had golden hair, a petite build, and didn't suffer fools gladly. But then, neither did he. That was, Butch mused amusedly, the result of their Engaran upbringing. These fools he was about to lead into battle had no idea that Team Rocket would eventually be destroyed, only to make way for Engaran annexation.
Kanto needed to be taken, Butch knew, before Lont would return. He felt a little guilty that he couldn't tell the Kantans or Johtans, or even his fellow Rockets about Lont, but he knew that if he was going to help his home country bring be around when Lont returned, he would not be able to tell anyone about him, yet.
Stephen the Pillar had been the first to have dreams from Lont, and told him that he needed to accomplish certain tasks, and if he could accomplish them, his power would be unmatched in all the world.
Stephen the Weakling, as he was known in Engara, had failed, but Engara carried on his legacy, and tried to accomplish Lont's tasks, so that they might be the inheritors of the power it would take to destroy the accursed Tintians, who repeatedly stopped them from spreading the knowledge of Lont, even after explanations had been given. They had, in fact, been instrumental in Stephen the Weakling's failure to accomplish Lont's tasks.
Butch's eyes narrowed, and smiled slightly. He felt honored to have been chosen as one of the first to help bring about the return of Lont, and the ultimate destruction of the accursed country Tintia.
Butch's radio clicked, and he knew that Cassidy was in position. Butch glanced down at his armament. He held two uzis, a heavy assault sub-machine gun across his back, thirty grenades, about fifty magazines of ammunition in a bandolier, and two short swords in case he had to engage anyone at short range. But that wasn't all.
At a glance and a nod from him, four shoulder-launched RPGs were given to himself and three trusted others, and the four of them aimed the missile launchers at pre-assigned targets. He and Cassidy would be targeting the lab, and the others would take out important buildings such as the Officer Corps Headquarters for the town, the Global Police Station, and other buildings of that ilk.
He had been given direct orders from Giovanni not to attack any civilians unless he were first attacked by them. Engara had given him no such orders, but he bowed to Giovanni's original orders. He had told his men, and they had all aquiesced. Butch supported the RPG with one hand, and reached down to his radio and clicked twice, counted out five beats, aiming at the specific point he had been assigned, and pulled the trigger. Just before he had pulled the trigger, he had taken a slight breath, as had the rest of the men and women in his small grouping, to prevent himself from inhaling any of the vapors.
The jet engine in the rocket caught, and roared forward, sending a blast of heat back over his unit. An explosion rocked New Bark Town. It was the Lab. Butch had been firing from up on top of a hill, slightly inside the forest, and so it would take his missile longer to reach its target. That was Cassidy's missile. She was closer, and it had taken less time. Butch got up and motioned his men forward, discarding the RPG, and taking hold of his uzis, he charged forwards. More explosions rocked New Bark Town, and screams could be heard, mixing with the sharp staccato of gunfire. Once again, that was Cassidy's team. Butch made a hand-motion with his right arm, still holding the uzi, and his Mightyena, Hitmontop, and Primeape charged forwards to take the initial blow, along with the Pokemon of the nine others in his group.
Mightyena led the pack, and let out a loud and terrifying roar. Butch heard Cassidy's Houndoom respond in kind, and even more screams began to erupt. Trainers began to pour out of Route 29, releasing their Pokemon, but as they began to enter the town, several more Pokemon and gunmen emerged from the trees near the path in a flanking maneuver, and cut them down. More trainers emerged from the Route, but more Rockets hidden in the tree sprayed bullets at them, and the trainers retreated. Butch sprayed his own rounds ahead of his charging Pokemon, eliminating as much resistance as he could.
Suddenly, there was a loud "BOOM" and one of the men charging with Butch went down. The Rocket immediately recognized it as the sound of a shotgun, and saw movement where he had guessed the sound came from. He glanced at his Pokemon, and saw that they were too close to their enemies now for him to be spraying rounds indiscriminately. He raised his uzis and began firing at the window where he had glimpsed the movement, along with several others of his troops.. Another scream joined the cacophany of noise, and the shotgun went off again, this time taking out the upper part of the window-pane. Butch was close to the building now, oh, so very close, and motioned his men onwards. Taking out a grenade, he pulled out the pin and hurled it through the broken window, then hurried to catch up with his group. With a roar, the wall blew out, and portions of the roof flew into the air, and crashed down between the groups of fighting Pokemon, who were battling furiously at the second block of New Bark Town. The Rocket Pokemon were pushing the Pokemon back quickly. Butch knew that in every direction, the same scenario was being played out.
He heard another gun belch, but it was too far off for it to be targeting his men. Four more gun uzis opened up, targeting whoever had fired. Then another explosion rocked the town, and a small house tore itself apart. Butch smirked. That grenade had been Cassidy's. They didn't have ordinary grenades. They had modified theirs to increase the explosive yield.
Rockets were peeling off to charge into houses, two per house, and in almost no time at all, there was only one Rocket by himself, and Butch quickly caught up. Another gun opened up, and the man went down, spitting up blood. Butch raised the Uzis and pulled the triggers. Four rounds spat out of the barrels before he heard them click. They were out of bullets. Throwing them away angrily, Butch rolled to his left and pulled the assault rifle to a firing position, peered through the scope, and let loose with a barrage of bullets that ripped apart the walls of the building the woman, he saw, had been firing from, and reached the woman. The last Butch saw of her was her spinning away. from the window. To make sure she wouldn't present a problem, he pulled the pin out of another grenade and threw it through the window.
He kept moving forward, and suddenly he was in the rear of the Pokemon battle. He raised his rifle, took careful aim, and pulled the trigger three times in quick succession, and a Rattata that had been preparing for an attack went down. He heard someone cry out, and someone lunge at him, forgetting, or, more likely, not caring that there was a battle of Pokemon between them, but an Ice Beam reached her first and flung her back, until she hit the railing of what looked like a grocery store. She flew through it, and through the front window. Part of the roof over what looked like a boardwalk collapsed.
Gunshots were now more sporadic, and the main sounds were the Pokemon battling, and occasional screams, and sometimes an explosion or two from a grenade. Butch continued firing whenever he had a clear shot, and the Johtan Pokemon were eventually pushed back, until they were all unconscious or dead. Those that were unconscious were very lucky to be alive, and had either gotten that way before Butch and other Rockets had arrived, or had fainted too quickly for them to target.
Finally, they had all the trainers and inhabitants of New Bark
Town in what passed for a square, in the middle of town. Two wrecked buildings
that had been the Telephone Company for New Bark Town and the Global Police
Station were facing the square, and both were nothing more than smoldering
piles of rubble. Cassidy, across the square, grinned and gave him a quick salute
with both her uzis. Butch smiled faintly. She hadn't forgotten to reload. Well,
that wasn't exactly fair. He hadn't had time. He gave her the same courtesy
with his rifle.
The trainers and citizens of New Bark Town were gesturing screaming out at the top of their lungs that they wanted to surrender. They were hemmed in by the Pokemon, so he wasn't worried about them for the moment.
Butch checked with one of his men to make sure that all the people and Pokemon were out of the buildings, then marched the men and women from the buildings and the square to the airstrip, next to a ruined terminal that had taken no fewer than two RPG hits, and the skeleton of a plane that had taken another. The inhabitants of New Bark Town and visiting trainers that remained were no larger in number than twenty-two.
Butch waited as his men did their jobs. Some were checking them for Pokemon or weapons. Looking around, Butch saw that they were all here. His men. Except for the six that had been reported killed, and three others were doing their critical job inside the town. One of those that had died had been an explosives expert, but nothing Butch could do would fix that now.
Then the last three of his men returned to camp, one handing him his uzis. he nodded his thanks and promptly reloaded them, before putting them back into their holsters. One of the men seemed to have some kind of control device in his hand, and the village folk looked at him nervously, wondering what it was for and what he would do. With a nod from Butch, he showed them.
The remaining buildings in New Bark Town tore themselves apart in bright red fireballs that lit up the countryside as if it were as bright as day. Anything or anyone still inside the town were instantly incinerated by sheer temperature. Butch hadn't expected to feel any heat at the distance he was from the nearest of the buildings, but felt it he did. a cry from the distraught inhabitants of what had been New Bark Town could be heard from behind him, but Butch ignored it.
Instead, he reveled in the heat. This was a warning to the Global Police, and if they ignored it, then it would be repeated over and over until they got the message. But there was an entirely different reason he enjoyed the heat as it washed over him.
It was one step closer to the Lont's return, and the absolute power he had promised to whoever did his biddings. It would be Engara that accomplished his tasks. It would be Engarans that recieved the power. Including himself.
Lance looked up from his opponent's fainted Aggron, then back to his panting Dragonite, and then he looked at the trainer that had nearly defeated him. "I must be losing my touch." Lance chuckled, and the other trainer laughed along with him.
"One more Ice Beam, and that Dragonite would have fainted, and then I'd be the Champion." the trainer smirked. He reminded Lance of himself, so long ago when he was that young. The boy was about fifteen, with short, sky blue hair tied into a ponytail, and wore camouflaged clothing, though probably more for looks than for usefulness.
Lance laughed and clapped him on the shoulder. "Come on," he said, recalling his tired Dragonite so it wouldn't have to walk, "Let's go to the Pokemon Center. he turned to the trainer, who had said his name was Steven. "Nice job with the TM, there," he said, "But, just for fun, let's not say who won when the reporters ask us, okay?"
Steven chuckled. "Yeah, no problem."
Lance grinned harder, "And lets shake hands with each other as soon as we leave."
"You got something against the press?" Steven asked, trying to keep from laughing.
"Well," Lance said, "It's nothing personal against them, it's just that when you've got no privacy whatsoever because of them, you tend to get fed up."
Steven laughed, "Yeah, I imagine you would."
Lance pushed open the doors to the Indigo Plateau Pokemon Center/Pokemon Mart, and was surprised to see only three reporters there, but they weren't looking at him. In fact, they were huddled around a TV, ignoring anyone and everyone else.
Lance frowned. "That's odd." he muttered to himself.
"What is?" Steven muttered back.
"There are usually thirty or so reporters whenever someone manages to challenge me." Lance muttered in return.
Lance walked up to the desk and gave the Joy his Pokeballs. "Nurse Joy, Both me and Steven need our Pokemon healed."
Nurse Joys--the epicenter of warmth, knidness, and whacks over the head if you battled Pokemon too hard--were all cousins. There were dozens of them around many different countries. Lance wasn't exactly sure how it was possible to have so many identical relatives, but somehow the Officer Jennies did it too. Nurse Joys, standing about five feet, eleven inches had red, curly hair crowned with a nurse's hat with the Red Cross symbol on it, they usually had brown eyes, and wore smocks like you'd find in a hospital. They usually oversaw Pokemon Centers, and ran the Healing Machines. "Oh, so it's Steven, is it? How did the battle go?" Nurse Joy asked.
"Pretty well." Steven said, glancing around.
"Yeah, but I'm still the Champion," Lance said, giving Steven a punch to the shoulder. He looked around the room, then back to Joy. "Is something going on? There's usually a lot of press whenever I'm challenged." Nurse Joy opened her mouth, and Lance rolled his eyes, "And, please, Nurse Joy, I don't want to hear about how hard it is to get mud stains out of carpets again, okay?"
Steven snickered, but a glare from Nurse Joy stopped that. "I'm not sure. I heard something about Team Rocket, New Bark Town, and Professor Elm's lab."
Lance's face paled, and he darted over to the TV. What he saw sickened him. It was New Bark Town. At least, the rubble that remained. "Once again, it has been confirmed that Team Rocket is behind this attack that left twenty-two survivors out of New Bark Town's population of two hundred fifty." Fires were still smoldering in the remains of some of the buildings, providing a little light to help with the floodlights that covered the entire town. "Team Rocket has said that this is a warning to the Global Police, and that if they do not stop harassing Team Rocket, more towns will go the way of New Bark Town." the screen cut to a recorded scene of something that was obviously earlier that night. There was a man and a woman there, but he couldn't see them. All he could see were the infernos behind them. They were talking, but he couldn't hear them over the roaring in his ears.
Rage bubbled up from deep inside of him and threatened to boil over. Even though this hadn't been his country, it was still Team Rocket's fault. He had put a stop to it in Kanto, and he would help defeat them in any way he could in Johto. He wheeled around and stalked out the automatic opening doors. He didn't realize where he was going until he trotted up the steps and barged through the doors of the Indigo Mansion. He stalked down the hall down to Agatha's office and ripped the door open. Agatha was sitting in a chair with her eyeglasses on, going over something or other, and looked up to see him standing there. "You interested in helping me make a Kanto Militia?" Lance asked, the fury of seeing an entire town and most of its inhabitants gone still fresh in his mind.
There's nothing like the feel of fresh, rich dirt under your fingernails, Karen mused, especially when it was night, and the already cool air was being cooled further by a slight breeze. She was in her personal garden. Well, not exactly. It was for anyone, but very few people came out here at all, and she was the one that did the most work on it, besides the gardeners. There was something about cultivating earth that she just enjoyed.
Her Mightyena sat beside her, drinking in the many scents of the flower section of the garden, andkeeping a weather eye out for anyone that might come close. Her Sneasel, Murkrow, Houndoom, Sableye, and Tyranitar were elsewhere, and Karen knew that all but Houndooom were looking out for her safety. Houndoom was, as usual, raoming around the mansion grounds, finding out what he could find out.
Karen thought back on her past, on her childhood. She had been the same as every other little kid in Celadon City. She had bragged to her friends that she would score highest on the Pokemon knowledge tests, and that she would be one of the few to get a Pokemon from Professor Oak. She had, too. But on the first day of her journey....
She shook the memory away. But something, like a mental echo of the girl she had met that day remained. It kept repeating her name over and over. Then, Karen realized with horror that it wasn't an echo. It was a mental presence. No. She had done everything. She would not go back. They would have to kill her. She felt whatever it was drawing herself inside of herself, and something....snapped. That was the only way she could describe it. Suddenly she realized that she could erect mental guards against....her. With a slow feeling of dread in her stomach, Karen realized that SHE had come back.
She was shaking, and someone was shaking her, and she heard that awful voice calling her name. She had to get out. Get out. Get out. Must get out. Must get out. Get out now. now! NOW!!! Inexplicably, her anger rose to a level she had never before had, and her hand snaked out and grabbed the arm that was shaking her, and she heard Lorelei scream.
Whatever it was that had risen within her dropped out of her mental sight, and she couldn't think of what it could possibly have been, and couldn't find it. "Lorelei?" Karen croaked, suddenly realizing that her throat was dry.
"Yeah, it's me." she was frowning, and looked concerned. "What were you doing?"
"Gard-" she stopped, and swallowed, trying to get some saliva back into her mouth, "Gardening. Why?"
"Because your Mightyena ran and got me, and when I saw you, you were writhing on the ground. You were like that for an hour, and for the last fifteen minutes, your Mightena was growling at you. Like....I don't know what it was like."Just promise me it won't happen again, okay?"
"It won't happen again," Karen said, rubbing her throat, and wondering exactly how long she had been out. She glanced at her watch. Two hours? That couldn't have taken two hours!
"You sure y'all are okay?" Lorelei asked.
Karen sat, staring at Lorelei, for a split second, recalling that touch from her past. The mental touch. Something was about to go wrong. Very, very wrong. But there was no reason to worry Lorelei. "Yes," Karen lied, "I'm fine."
Bruno growled deep in his throat and took a swing at the punching bag in front of him. Idiot idiot idiot. He jumped up and his momentum carried him around in the air to bring his leg connecting solidly with the punching bag, and landed agilely on the balls of his feet, with another fist slamming into the punching bag. He was dimly aware of his Pokemon training around him. With another roar, he launched another series of punches and kicks into the punching back. Idiot idiot idiot. He had lost again. Not just once, but five times!
Punch, punch, kick, punch. Bruno's face beaded with sweat, and he shook his head, and drops of sweat flew everywhere. He had only a pair of cut-off jeans on, and was going after the punching bag like it had killed a relative. He had lost. Another fist slammed into the punching bag. And not once or twice, either. His kick sent the punching bag flying a short distance. He had lost all five of his matches, and would have lost more if Lance hadn't cancelled the rest of the challenges for the day. He whirled around and launched another kick at the punching bag.
His arms were screaming for a rest, and so were his legs, but he kept going. He knew he was the weakest of the Elite Four. Yet another fist slammed into the punching bag, and he was gasping for breath. Yet he didn't diminish his assault. If anything, he increased it. If only there was a dark and Rock Pokemon. He'd go out in find it, and expend most of his energies to training it up to defeat those annoying Psychic types. Suddenly, the entire punching bag flew across the training area and landed next to the door, and rolled against it.
Bruno suddenly realized the door was opening, and it was blocked by the punching bag. The door closed slightly, then the door was opened harder. It still wouldn't open. Bruno hurried over and moved the punching bag away from the door, and watched as the door opened to reveal Lorelei. She was holding three Pokeballs. "Hello," she said softly, "I was just comin’ in to train."
Bruno nodded, and turned around sharply. "Sure." he said, picking up the chain of the punching bag and turning back across the room to put it back into its place. "I mean, you don't really need to train, do you?" he asked hotly.
"And what is that supposed to mean?" Lorelei demanded.
Bruno stopped, but didn't turn around, "You don't want to know." he said quietly. He made sure that he controlled his feelings about his being so much weaker than the others, but he didn't want to talk about anything close to it, in case his control slipped.
Lorelei stepped forward, annoyed, but not angry. "I do wan’ t’ know, Bruno. Something's been bugging y’all for a while, and y’all haven't told anyone what's the matter."
"I thought you came here to train." Bruno said darkly. He did NOT want to talk. Under any circumstances.
"I did. That was b’fore I saw how worked you were over something." Lorelei said, giving her voice a more plaintive note. "Bruno, please. Just try to talk about it."
Bruno whirled around, his face clouded. "No." he said, "I won't. This conversation is over." he said with finality, and turned around. Lorelei stepped forward to follow him, but suddenly his Machamp was a living wall between them.
Lorelei sighed, "Fine, then." she said, "Be like that." she moved off to another area of the the gym, "See if’n I care." she muttered, but couldn't resist taking one last glance back at Bruno, who was trying to get the punching bag reattached to the ceiling, and wondered what in the world was bothering him.
"This isn't getting anywhere!" Lance said frustratedly, and tossed a piece of paper onto Agatha's desk. "We keep running into the same problems: Where are we going to get funding? Will the people approve of this? Who will fight? Will we accept only volunteers, and, if so, how do we know anyone's going to show up?"
Lance sighed and slouched in his seat dejectedly. "I'm never going to get this done." He sighed, and looked at his hands. He had been trying to put together a charter for the Kanto Militia for the past two hours. His nerves were shot, his brain was fried, and he was annoyed with Team Rocket for having done something to necessitate his having to form a militia.
He looked up at Agatha. She was the main reason he had been a champion so long. She worked behind the scenes, doing her work, and doing a fair amount of his while explaining how everything worked. "I need a walk," he muttered.
It wasn't that Agatha's chair that he was sitting in was cramped. No, it was soft, and hesunk in quite a ways when he sat down. That was why he usually sat in it when he came to visit her. She had a rather unique office, in that it doubled as a suite. The room was high and domed, and had constellations placed on the ceiling. Other than that, it was sparsely decorated.
"At midnight?" Agatha said in an amused tone, "Are you serious? I would think that you would want to get to bed. That's where I'm off to in about five minutes. Well, the loo first, of course.”
Lance glared at her, “Too much information,” he muttered, then snorted snorted. "It's not like I'd run into anybody."
A coy grin slid across Agatha's features. "You absolutely sure about that?" she asked, letting her amusement creep into her voice.
Lance looked at her, "What are you talking about?"
Agatha chuckled, "I just mean that you seem to spend a lot of time near the garden when you're out taking walks at night, and you just “happen” to get on the same lifts that she does."
Lance looked up at her, his fingers running over the finish of her hard wood desk, "What are you implying?" he asked, careful to keep his emotions hidden.
"Oh, come now." Agatha said wryly, "You didn't really think you could pull one over on me, did you, Lance? I've known you for twenty years, now, and I know how you are."
Lance raised an eyebrow, a feat that he'd practiced for years until he could perform it, "What do you mean?" he asked, having a feeling that he wouldn't like where this was going.
"You know what I mean," the old woman said, a crafty smile on her face. "Aren't you going to tell Karen how you feel about her?"
For one split second, Lance felt as if his insides were twisting themselves around one another as he panicked. Then he forced it down and forced himself to remain casual, "How I feel about her?" he said, suddenly wanting to look anywhere in the elderly woman's austere office except right at her. Suddenly, she reminded him of some sort of school principal or something. Someone that knew what he wanted to hide, and he had to convince her that he didn't have anything to hide, even though that wasn't true.
Agatha leaned forward, "Look, Lance, I know that this is your personal life, but we are living in dangerous times. I want your word that no matter her fate, you'll make decisions with a level head, not emotional decisions. This is the only reason I brought this up."
Lance wallowed, "Yeah, I'll make sure that I'll make objective decisions." Even as he said the words, however, he wondered if he'd be able to make good on the promise.
It figured that the Kantans would have lax security, Anne Peters thought as she held the thing in her hands. Their security was no match for her. Not that any security in the world would have been to keep her out, but their security was almost non-existent by her standards. It had been a simple matter to transport herself through the air vents and down to their penitentiary.
Finding it had been no trouble at all. She had simply gone on a tour of the palace, slipped away at her first chance, and returned to the tour group at the end. It had been the third such tour she had been on, to ensure that they didn't have a head count at any time during the tour. It had been a simple matter to reconnoiter the palace. It might have taken others more time than it had taken her, but she was the best, and no one else was as good as she was. Even the stinking Tintians knew that.
Her gaze fixed on the Scumbag in front of her. "Giovanni." she hissed softly. He had been her mentor, her guide through the ins and outs of Engaran culture, military, and social structure. "How low the mighty have fallen." her former teacher. She had been assigned to kill her former teacher. Her father figure.
"How much have you told them?" she demanded. She needed to know exactly how much of their plans he knew of. What damage to the followers of Lont he could cause. Then, once he had told her, she would kill him. It was that simple.
"I have told them nothing." the former leader of Team Rocket glared at her, his stubble from not having had a shave in several days irritating her hand, but she ignored it.
"You do not lie." she said, and she knew that Giovanni knew that she knew he was innocent of treachery. "So, therefore, I will follow the orders of my commander. You will not have a chance to betray us."
Suddenly Giovanni was ripped out of her hands, and was flung onto the lone cot in the cell, but the video recorders that others would try to view later would not be able to see the force that did it. As he lay there, convulsing in agony as one by one his internal organs burst apart, Anne Peters turned around, and walked out of the room.
A short visit to the Security Center would be in order, to erase any evidence of her being there. Then she would return to Engara, and receive another assignment.
Karen stared at the flower in front of her. It was of a variety that opened only at night, but she wasn’t sure exactly what kind it was. Its five petals were each a soft creamy white at the center, and were yellow, orange, and a bright pink as the two-inch petals extended from the stamen, pistils, and the rest of the reproductive organs of the plant. The flowers themselves were held aloft by at least thirty purplish-brown thin tubules that waved softly in the wind.
Chimera Duonems, she remembered they were called. She hadn’t known much about them when she had first visited the garden, and had learned that a chimera plant, or animal for that matter, was an organism created from two separate genetic identities, and were put together through grafting, genetic engineering, or transplant-in the case of animals or humans-from one genetically distinct organism to another.
The Duonems, she had learned, were from the two of the Duotremmin and the Terrestrial Anemone, a plant that had been genetically engineered from the aquatic Anemone to survive outside of the water. It had taken almost four centuries to get the cellulose structure strong enough, she had learned, to support the weight that would have been otherwise supported by water. The Terrestrial Anemones were very expensive, and were very much a collector’s item. The Duotremmin was a night-blooming plant that was common in the nation of Effeular, but were again very rare because of the civil war that had plagued the country for years.
Karen watched the fronds of the Chimera Duonems float back and forth, and thought about the contact that she had experienced, and how it could compare to the truly unique plant that someone had somehow procured from Silph Company. Who would have thought that on the first day, an event would change her life forever? She felt herself falling back into the memory, and knew that she had to face her past again if she were to be of any help to anyone in any time.
She heard footsteps behind her, and turned to ask who was there, and caught a glimpse of her past. A past that she had worked so hard to forget. Her Mightyena growled, and took a step forward.
Then the pain hit her. Pure, searing, unadulterated pain. Pain that seared through her mind, through her limbs, through her body. Pain that would not stop. It seemed to her that she would die. Her memories flashed through her mind. Yes, she would die. She heard her Mightyena howling in pain, as if it could possibly know what she was going through. And perhaps finally justice would be done to her. Despite all this, she couldn’t help but allow a hair-raising shriek to escape her lips, mixing with the cries of pain that came from her loyal Pokemon, Mightyena.
Lance shut the door to Agatha’s office, having finally completed the charter for the Kanto Militia, and having balanced the budget. He knew that he should get to sleep, so he set off down the corridor. But as he neared his quarters, he felt himself quicken his pace and walk past his rooms, and found himself heading for the garden. Could what Agatha have said be true? He wondered.
Then he heard the scream, and it was coming from the gardens. He began to run. Then, he realized it was from Karen, and instantly he was on alert. If something was hurting her, the most self-sufficient person he knew, he would have to be careful, or suffer the same fate.
As he rounded a bend in the shrubbery, he came upon a sight that would haunt him to the end of his days. A stunted, wicked-looking creature. Its fur was a dark, rich violet that almost seemed to signify royalty, as in the days of old, when purple dye was a rare commodity. It had three cranial ridges-two where ears would normally be, and another, rounded ridge that looked like some kind of head-butting tool-and hands that looked like they were used mainly in battle. Hooked, four-fingered hands with claws that were at least four inches long, and looked as solid as steel nails were attached to long, burly arms. Its body, covered in the short purple hair that covered all of it, was just as muscular, but seemed to have another, harder layer of skin that probably would function as some kind of armor underneath. Its legs were shorter versions of the arms, obviously useful for running, and their feet each had four toes. Each one had a nail on it that looked to be useful for digging, but the biggest one-the one closest to the creature’s median-had a large, six-inch claw that looked vaguely like something that came off a creature from a history book. A Velociraptor, Lance recalled. Its tail was long-at least four feet, if not longer-and thick, and looked capable of breaking bones if the creature had any mind to.
But the most frightening thing was not its appearance, but its hold that it had on Karen. She was surrounded by some kind of silver light, and almost looked like she was being held straight up by the creature by her head, if not for the good foot or so of separation between skull and hand. The silver light, energy, or whatever it was surrounded Karen’s entire body, and while he was certain she had been screaming a moment ago, she was now unconscious. Nearby, her Mightyena lay on the ground, the entire posterior half of its body gone.
With a yell, Lance charged forward, not sure what exactly he was planning on doing, but the creature looked at him and with a contemptuous flick of the wrist, Lance was thrown back into the wall of shrubbery, and there he stayed, the creature’s power holding him there.
And then, with a yell, four people who Lance had thought were gardeners charged the creature, each armed with some kind of low-profile cross-bow, with at least half a dozen Pokemon to a person with each of them. Some kinds he recognized, but there were many others that he did not. Suddenly, the force that held him to the shrubbery was gone as the creature concentrated on its battle.
Suddenly, a hand was in his face, offering to help him up. Lance took it gladly, and got up. The sounds of the battle were getting louder, and, Lance saw, the gardeners had discarded their crossbows in favor of some kind of short sword. How had they gotten those in here, he wondered. “LET ‘EM HAVE IT BOYS!” he heard someone shout from behind him, and half a dozen more men and women charged past, each wearing the uniform of someone working in grounds maintenance or mechanical maintenance. Many more Pokemon charged with them, whipping past Lance and concentrating solely on the beast. Karen was on the ground, now, Lance saw, and took a staggering step towards her, and stumbled forward, his brain sluggish. He wasn’t sure what happened to him, but felt a firm hand grasp his shoulder and pull him back to his feet.
He looked back to the battle, and saw the creature was losing. Then, without warning, it teleported away. “Is everyone okay?” he heard someone shout from behind him. Probably, Lance thought dimly, whoever it was that was keeping him upright.
With some difficulty, Lance turned around as affirmatives rang out from throughout the garden. “Who-who are you?” Lance asked as he got his first glimpse of a man he would get to know very well. The groundskeeper’s uniform fit his physique nicely, and he was clean-shaven, with sharp eyes, and a mop of tangled black hair.
“Mike Givven.” He said, helping Lance to a bench so that he could sit down. “I’m with Tinted Intelligence. We thought you fellows might be under fire soon, but we didn’t imagine in our wildest dreams they’d move so quickly.”
Lance’s mind raced. Whatever else the creature had done to him, it had slowed down his mind, and all this was a bit much to take in. “You’re with Tintia?” he muttered as he tried to regain his sense of balance.
“That’s right. We have a great deal to discuss with you.” He looked over at Karen, who was being attended by the others in what Lance guessed was Givven’s team. “And with her, as well. We need to know exactly why she was targeted above anyone else.”
“She’s suffered severe neurological trauma,” the doctor said, “If we hadn’t gotten to her when we had, there would not have been anything else we could have done. I guess we owe our Tintian friends a bit of gratitude. Not that raiders and bandits deserve any such thing.”
Lance was a little more aware now. He was in the Palace’s medical quarters, and the doctor had just summed up a report on Karen’s condition. The elderly man had been serving as the doctor for humans for as long as anyone could remember, but he seemed uncomfortable having eleven Tintians in his med-lab. They stood off to the side, still wearing their groundskeeper and maintenance garb. Karen was hooked up to some kind of machine that was monitoring her every move, not that she made any. She was on life support, the doctor had told him. She couldn’t live without it. She wouldn’t be able to breathe, and her heart wouldn’t be able to pump.
“She’s stable for the time being,” the doctor continued, “But I wouldn’t advise moving her any time soon.”
Just then, another man in a maintenance jumpsuit burst through the door, “Major!” he said, ignoring everyone else, apparently knowing that their cover was blown, “Giovanni’s dead.”
Lance looked out over the hundred or so reporters that were
gathered in front of him. This wouldn’t be easy, he knew. Not under any
circumstances. But these circumstances…
He took a deep breath and began his announcement. “Ladies and Gentlemen, Karen has decided to resign her position as an Elite. She cites personal reasons, and regrets not being able to share her decision in person. She is unavailable for comment. The next trainer in line, Steven, will become the Fourth Elite, and will major in Steel types.”
He took a deep breath. He hadn’t gotten any sleep the night before, and hadn’t even had a chance to freshen up. He knew that he looked like a mess, but, frankly, after the night he’d had, he didn’t care. “And then there’s the other reason I called this press conference.”
Once again, he took a deep breath. He didn’t like the press. In fact, he hated them, but they shaped people’s opinions, so he had to go through with this, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I regret to inform you that Giovanni will not stand trial.” He held a hand up before the press could shout out their questions at him, “I assure you, were he still alive, he would indeed stand trial, but I regret that he died last night.”
Thompson turned the TV off, and turned to the other three Intel heads. “Well, ladies and Gentlemen, from what we’ve heard from Givven, it appears that we now know what it is they were keeping in reserve. The Engarans have apparently decided to unleash their precious Advanced Generation Mews. We’re not sure quite yet what series it is, but this is a very dangerous threat. Both to us, and the rest of the world.”
”The last time they sent one of those against Tintia,” Old Faithful said slowly, underscoring his point, “We were barely able to defeat it. We, with the most powerful military in the world, barely won that battle. This does not bode well for Kanto.”
Ruffles looked at Sandra, and the Furret looked at the Machamp,
“What can we do to help the Kantans?”
“We can do nothing to help them, until they ask for our help.” Thompson said immediately, then a wry grin appeared, “If we go by the rules, that is.”
Sandra smiled slyly, “And we’ve never really played by the rules,
have we?” her grin was matched by Thompson, and was punctuated by a quick shake
of his head.
TO BE CONTINUED
wahoo! Chapter 2 is done!
now I'm going to take a break from writing for at least half a week. Realistically speaking, you should have the next chapter in about a month. I hope to have it up sooner, however.
a big thank you to whoever has read all 41 pages (MS word) worth of Operation: Celebi so far.
as always, let me know on stuff that I can improve on, and I'll revise this as I can.