IC - Goldhawk/Silvermind/Blackskull - The Alamo: ALERT. ALERT. ALERT.
The automated voice repeated this word over and over again, accompanied by a frantic beeping. The three Liberty Leaders hurried through the door to the command center, none of them quite sure what to expect. In the past year they had witnessed everything from a direct attack on the Alamo to a near-total invasion of Hoenn and Sinnoh by a group of beings long thought to be nothing more than a myth. As such, their imaginations were free to run wild with what might be happening.
"What's going on?" Goldhawk asked Head-Technician Rodia.
"It's an emergency call from Cianwood, sir," Rodia said, pulling up a map on the main screen at the front of the room. "It appears to have been sent by Jennifer Lorn. There's no other information attached to it, but cross-referencing it with Team Rocket's current reports brings up . . . this."
The screen flared to life with a video feed, showing a group of three bloodied and crazed trainers stumbling through the streets--one woman, two men. Each was followed by a Pokémon, who blindly lashed out at their surroundings on what appeared to be random orders. Before long, one of the men turned toward the, pointing at it as his Muk descended upon it.
The feed went dead.
"Koga?" Goldhawk looked back at the entrance to the Command Center. Jayron Aaron stood in the doorway, Lucario at his side, the two having entered just as the feed came on. The normally-contained Jayron now bore an expression of shock and horror at the sight of the carnage building up in Cianwood. The Executive looked at his leader, face pale. "Sir, we have to do something."
"Of course," Silvermind said. "We'll organize a strike team and see if we can't--"
"Wait--there's more," Rodia interrupted, bringing up another map. This one was a schematic of the Alamo itself. Goldhawk and Blackskull both felt a chill in their stomachs as a section of the map glowed with a red highlight, dreading the Head-Technician's next words. "We just found a breach in security down at R&D. For whatever reason, the alarms didn't go off down there when it happened--some sort of electrical interference, I think." He looked at the Executives behind him. "Vert's not responding, either, so we have no idea what is happening down there."
Goldhawk nodded. "Selene and Executive Aaron, get to Cianwood and see what you can do to help." Silvermind nodded, turning and exiting. With a worried glance at the screen, Jayron followed. "Kane, you mind keeping an eye on things up here while I check in on Vert and R&D?"
"Not at all," Blackskull said, taking a seat at the head chair. "You sure you don't want me to go with you?"
"If this is anything like last time, no," Goldhawk answered, stopping at the door. "We can't afford to lose you again." Blackskull nodded, allowing Goldhawk to exit, headed in the direction of Research and Development.
IC - Rocket Triad/??? - Cianwood City: "Alright--that's enough."
Through the veil of red that coated their vision, it was difficult to see the new arrival. She leaned against a tall brick building, hands in her coat pockets and face obscured by the hood over her head. She appeared unarmed.
"I don't know what your problem is," the woman said, moving to the edge of the sidewalk. "But this ends. Now."
In response, Sabrina pulled her arm back, before throwing it forward. A psychic blast hurtled towards the woman, rippling the air around it. She watched it hurtle towards her, still as stone. With a loud caw, a Pokémon flew between the woman and the attack, taking it straight on. It dissipated as it came into contact with the Honchkrow's chest, ineffective against the Dark-Type.
"Thank you, Krow," the woman said gently to her Pokémon. Less gently, she addressed the Gym Leaders again. "If that's how you want to play . . ." She pulled her hand from her pocket. "Have at it."
With a snap of her fingers, Honchkrow took flight again, shooting towards Alakazam with Brave Bird. From above, a Gliscor and Swoobat shot downward, the former aiming a Guillotine attack at Surge's Raichu and the latter launching a Psychic attack at Koga's Muk.
IC - Ethan Worth/Gavin Braner - Celadon Department Store: The group came to a stop at the end of the hall. "Oh, hey," Ethan said. "Look at that, Jamie--you found the door! Great job!"
Gavin frowned. The place was deserted, just like the rest of the store, albeit much less of a mess--the only out-of-place decor was an overturned trash can. "Should we try the door?" he asked. "It doesn't look like they're here."
"That's an a-door-able idea, Mr. Braner," Ethan said. Gavin rolled his eyes, but otherwise ignored him. The younger agent walked forward, gripping the door handle and pulling. It didn't budge. The deadbolts on the top and bottom of the door rattled against their sockets. Ethan tilted his head. "Huh. Wonder if they barricaded it?"
"Doubt it," Gavin replied. "It looks like it hasn't even been opened. Still, best to make sure--Dothe, come out." He held out the Dusknoir's Poké Ball, releasing the Ghost-Type in a flash of light. After receiving quick instructions, Dothe phased through the door, disappearing through the shadows. He returned several moments later, shaking his head. Gavin frowned. "So they aren't up there--not yet, anyway. Where could they be?"
Ethan shrugged. "You know," he said slowly, grinning. "I think I might know how to find them."
"Jamie." Ethan looked at his fellow Rocket Agent. "You've got a Metagross. Break the door down."
IC - Meghan Vert - R&D Test Area: “Oh no… My mighty and unbeatable Ninjask, beaten by a single attack… As if that wasn’t obvious.”
Vert furrowed her brow. Greed sounded oddly unperturbed by the loss of her Pokémon, considering the circumstances. The Executive pulled back for a moment to observe Eelektross's entrance, watching the glowing glob of acid fly toward her Pokémon. It landed with a splash, instantly negating Malamar's Contrary ability.
No matter. Vert held up an Ultra Ball. "Malamar, return," she called, much to the Overturning Pokémon's surprise. As the Psychic-Dark-Type disappeared into her container, the Trick Room she had set up earlier dissipated, its reversal effects deactivating. Vert selected another Ultra Ball from her belt, hurling it into the air without a word. A flash of light accompanied the appearance of a Galvantula, whose hairs bristled with electricity and agitation towards her opponents.
"As they say," Vert said, closing her eyes and cleaning her glasses again. "An eye for an eye. Galvantula, use Gastro Acid." The Electric-Bug-Type complied, launching its own ability-neutralizing acid at Eelektross.
Mr. Arthur, I suggest we switch opponents, Vert said to her fellow Executive through their mental link. My Pokémon are better equipped to handle Dark-Types, after all. She paused. On an unrelated note, I highly suggest exercising caution from here on out. This whole ordeal is beginning to feel more and more suspect as time goes on . . .
-==IC: Amanda Zarth==-
As the battle raged, a beam of pink light appeared behind Kyle, Ray, and Jupiter, materializing in a flash into a young woman with frosted black hair and an Elgyem at her side. She extends a hand to the Galactic Commander.
"Come with me if you want to not die."
==Ten Minutes Earlier, Humilau City==
At the port of Humilau City, a young woman stood in line for the ferry. Few passers-by would notice her, with her silver briefcase, buttoned black vest, matching black skirt, and white collared blouse telling them at a glance all they needed to know: boring corporate functionary, nothing of importance here. Even her medium-length hair, black with frosted tips, passed for normal here in Unova. What none of them knew--not even the woman herself--was just how important she'd soon be.
Of course, none of this made the wait for the ship go by any quicker. Not that she minded. Simple and orderly, the queue was a paragon of her ideals--something her employers seemed to agree with her on. While sea travel was not the quickest means of transit, it was important for her and her company's image that she arrive in Johto in as ordinary a manner as possible--to say nothing of its effect on the odds of success of her mission.
That was about to change, however. A young man bearing the telltale signs of a messenger--formal dress a size too large and a face too young to suit it--was approaching the rear of the line, craning his neck to look past the people in front of him. As she (and several curious bystanders) continued to surreptitiously watch him, he withdrew a small badge and began moving up the line, interrupting certain people and looking at their faces as he went. Calculating the odds he was looking for her and deciding there was no reason to let him continue to disrupt the other waiting passengers, she stepped out of line and made eye contact.
The young man's relief--when he at last noticed her--was obvious. "Amanda Zarth?" he asked tentatively. She inclined her head to let him know this was the case. "Follow me, please."
She waited until the messenger led her through a door labeled 'Authorized Personnel Only' before speaking. "I assume a new detail has arisen regarding my mission?"
The man nodded, extracting his badge and scanning it at another security checkpoint. "Consider it postponed, indefinitely. We're suspending those operations until we have a handle on what's going on here at home." Glancing back at Amanda, he removed a small chip from his C-Gear and handed it to her. "We recently received this footage from Opelucid. Take a look."
Slotting the memory card into her C-Gear, Amanda soon saw video of what appeared to be a group of Team Liberty agents opening fire on a group of civilians, only for a Darkrai to rise to protect them. To her trained eye, something appeared off, but it would take further analysis to figure out what. "This is bad, but it's not my normal field. Why are you showing me this?" Without waiting for a response, she rewound the footage and began watching it again, this time paying closer attention to the identities of the people present.
"Take a closer look. There are a couple of extremely valuable assets there..." Just as the man mentioned them, one of the identities clicked in Amanda's mind.
"Is that Jupiter of Team Galactic? And...wait a moment..."
The man nodded. "It's hard to make out, but it looks like at least two of ours."
Rather than looking shocked, Amanda frowned. Shock was an emotion for weaker people. "That makes no sense," she said, increasing her pace and using her own badge to open the doors now that her companion was too slow for her. "Why would Team Plasma be involved with this situation at all?"
The man shrugged, hanging back as Amanda approached the final door. "That's a problem for someone else to solve. You're being called in for an extraction."
The door opened, revealing a room full of monitors with four agents in black suits and sunglasses standing in the center, holding various briefcases and equipment. Amanda stepped forward to one of the men, letting him help her put on an Assault Vest. "Got it. Her companions?"
"Your call. If they want out, fine, but don't waste time. In and out."
"Understood. And our people?"
"Not your problem."
Strapping a tracer to her wrist and squeezing the jewel of her pendant to activate the tiny camera inside, she nods. "Ready to go then." She removes a Pokéball from its padded compartment in her briefcase and releases its occupant, minimizing the other two and holding them in her right hand for easy access. "Elgyem, to Opelucid on his mark," she commands, pointing at the Team Plasma messenger who'd escorted her here. The man looked to one of the technicians at the monitors, waiting for confirmation; spotting an opening on the live feed, the technician gave a thumbs-up to the messenger, who in turn nodded to the Elgyem. A moment later, the Pokémon and its Trainer were gone.
Though she stood still as a statue, her demeanor unchanged and her left arm still outstretched, Amanda Zarth's mind was racing, calculating possible angles of attack and potential vectors by which they might be ambushed. Her thumb hovered over the activation buttons of the Pokéballs in her right hand, ready to send out backup if her objective took too long to understand. Still, she hoped it wouldn't come to that--she had trained to offer excellence in all fields, including those she disliked, but that didn't change the fact that Pokémon battling was as distasteful to her as an overseasoned dish, so many flavors colliding and overpowering each other that the taste of the meal itself was completely lost. Hopefully, the Team Galactic Commander would recognize the necessity of her safety and accept her offer quickly.
IC - Kyle Eston/Jupiter - Opelucid City: Between the appearance of three more Darkrai, the sudden death of Feral, and the general chaos of what was happening in Opelucid, Jupiter found herself at a loss for words as yet another person arrived, this one a female who apparently had the Galactic Admin's best interests at heart.
"You expect me to abandon a battle like this without any sort of explanation, and at the behest of a total stranger?" she said. "What kind of fool do you take me for?"
Three of them . . .? How . . . what?
Kyle was not so shocked with Amanda's appearance--he was too busy trying to register the presence of Seven, Three, and Five. More accurately, he was attempting to rationalize the former two's presence. Five, he remembered, had changed sides during the fight against Sombra, at the behest of Nine; the others, however, had remained staunch allies of the Tenth Ancient. Why, then, were they here? Surely they could not have switched sides, too . . .?
It didn't make sense. Nothing about this situation made any sense. How had the world gone without incident for six months, only for everything to converge on such a random, unrelated location out of nowhere? It was frustrating, and the fire burning in his chest seemed to agree.
Just what is going ON here!?
He took a deep breath, feeling a familiar mental sensation wash over him as Suicune touched his mind. The Liberty Agent breathed slowly, allowing his confusion and anger to subside. As a further distraction, he recalled the injured Lyxek, rubbing the bridge of his nose.
Right . . . Relax. Keep calm . . . I'm sure this'll all make sense soon.
OOC: Amanda Zarth IC courtesy of Flipz. Sorry for the wait!