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Kael Skye


0 · 155 views · located in Kanto Region

a character in “A Girl and Her Magikarp”, originally authored by legacy14, as played by RolePlayGateway


"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." - Mark Twain

❝What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.❞
- William Shakespeare

❝Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.❞

Full Name: Kael Skye

Nicknames: Skye | Patches (Long Story)

Age: 24

Gender: Male

Height: 6'0

Weight: 176

Hair Color: Dusky Red

Eye Color: Emerald Green/Red

Home: Cherrygrove City

Trainer Type: Solo Battle Trainer, Duo-Battle Trainer, Stand-In Gym Leader

❝Beware, so long as you live, of judging men by their outward appearance.❞
- Jean de la Fontaine

❝The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.❞

Standing at an even six feet, Kael is around average to above average height for a normal guy, but can add several inches when his hair is standing on end. The hair mentioned is a darker, dusky red that seems to adjust in brightness depending on the light he's standing in. His hair seems to have a mind of its own, regardless of how he decides to style it. Usually he just shakes it out and let's it fall as it will, but on occasion, it will stand up and spike itself save for a lock in front. Only one of his eyes is visible to anyone looking on and is a deep green in color that always has a mischievous look to it. An eye patch covers the right eye due to an incident he was involved in years ago. The eye itself is dyed completely red except for the black center containing his pupil and works well enough for sight, yet he still covers it due to its appearance. A small scar can usually be seen peeking out above the eye patch as well, another remnant of the incident. Aside from the somber-looking right eye, his face is almost always set in a smile with the corners of his mouth always upturned.

Despite the need to devour any and all food in sight, Kael is in fantastic shape and his body is a direct reflection of this fact. Sporting a lean and athletic frame, it isn't hard to tell that underneath his clothing he is easily toned and muscled from head to toe. His limbs, on the other hand, are slightly longer than average, offering him a longer reach and stride. Due to everything previously mentioned, Kael is not ashamed to shed his attire and show himself off to the world, especially if there are any women around. Couple this for his love of the outdoors, and Kael has developed a nice base skin tone for being in the sun and tanning his skin slightly. This serves nicely to compliment his hair color and causes it to stick out even further than already. There is a small silver chain that can be seen poking out of his clothes at times with the letter 'A' hanging from it.

A simple button-down shirt with jeans or comfortable pants. A black and silver jacket and comfortable shoes with an occasional scarf and bandana. Almost always wears his eye patch.

Distinct Markings:
Scarred right eye that is dyed almost completely red. It is covered by an eye patch. Scar on his lower right ankle.

❝Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.❞
- Elbert Hubbard

❝Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.❞

ImagePotential Interest: N/A

  • Apples
  • Pokémon Battles
  • The Outdoors
  • Food in General
  • Pretty Women

  • Pokémon Abusers
  • Dishonest People
  • Boredom
  • Waiting
  • Stuck-Up People

Kael can be described as up front and to the point with a hint of 'what the hell did he just say?!' He tends to do what he wants at any given moment without a care in the world of what might follow. This has often led to quite a few instances where he was forced to tap into his quick-witted side to escape obvious trouble that would quickly follow. Additionally, he seems to have absolutely no filter between his brain and his mouth, often spurting out anything and everything that comes to mind as well as a typically grim sense of humor that he finds nothing wrong with. Add this all together, and no one would be considered wrong when referring to Kael as a train wreck with a smile. These conditions tend to lead to him having a reckless and outgoing nature about him as well. Kael loves being outdoors and being actively engaged in most activities while abhorring boredom and waiting alike.

But like a coin, this is only one side of Kael. The other side of him isn't exactly the complete opposite as heads is to tails, rather it compliments the first side. Being a genuinely joyful person, he enjoys making others laugh, and sometimes, by any means possible. Whether it be a random joke, a friendly gesture, or a full blown random act of recklessness that could potentially end catastrophically for him. His closest friends know him as a confidant and a person who is able to be told anything without the danger of it getting out to the general public. He is generally a trusting person that can give a person the benefit of the doubt, no matter how bad the circumstances may look. Generally, he is seen as laid back and easy going, enjoying the simple beauties in life.

Theme Song:
Take Me As I Am - FM Static

❝A word to the wise ain't necessary - it's the stupid ones that need the advice.❞
- Bill Cosby

❝We are born believing. A man bears beliefs as a tree bears apples.❞

Strengths and Special Attributes:
Due to his body type and condition, Kael is a natural athlete. But beyond the obvious skill set of an athlete, Keal has extraordinary vision despite only using one eye. After spending years relying on his one good eye, Kael has developed a type of sharpened vision that allows him to pay a bit more attention to smaller details around him that many people might overlook. He is also extremely quick-witted and highly intellectual even though he may not seem so at first. Not really a skill per say, but Kael also has a laid back and sarcastic manner about him that others have found a bit 'disarming' and easy to deal with. More often than not, he is able to strike up a conversation or social interaction with ease, and with no lack of grace.

Kael is known as an 'Overly-Trusting' individual. He believes that an individual is nothing if they don't have their word to fall back on and breaking that is an inexcusable offense. Pretty women and Apples also cause and obstacle for him to overcome when trying to be persuaded into doing something.

Equipment and Personal Artifacts:

  • Spare Change of Clothes
  • A few snacks
  • Wallet
  • Bottled Water

  • 6 Occupied Pokéballs
  • Pokégear
  • Pokédex

  • There is a small silver chain that can be seen poking out of his clothes at times with the letter 'A' hanging from it.
  • He likes to hum random songs because he cannot sing
  • Horrible dancer when put into the spotlight
  • Incredibly stubborn when trying to sleep

❝Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.❞
- Confucius

❝In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.❞

Born the oldest of four children, Kael was born six years the elder of any of his triplet siblings. This led to him being forced to grow up fast at the age of eight and learn the ropes of the world even faster when his father took off as a stand-in trainer for the Pokémon League with a promise of being back before the year's end. So Kael waited and passed the time taking care of his younger siblings the majority of the time, and exploring the surrounding areas with the young Growlithe his father left him every free moment he was able. It was on one of these times when he was twelve that he was out enjoying the day and resting against a tree when his two sisters ran up panting about his brother being in trouble. Hurrying to help out, Kael found his brother easily enough and in an attempt to retrieve him, fell down a crevice and significantly injured his ankle. After escaping with the bum ankle and bringing his brother out as well, Kael struggled back to the house to collapse from fatigue. This led to him being bed-ridden for weeks and forced to walk with an aide when he was able.

Breaking the monotony of his seemingly dull life in his small town, Kael was introduced to a young Breeder by the name of Ameria on one of her many trips across the lands. As time passed, he began to see more and more of her as she made it a point to make a detour through Cherrygrove whenever she was able. Kael rather enjoyed these visits as it gave him more of an excuse to escape his cut and dry life. It was during one of these visits that Kael confided that on his first available chance, he would search for his father.

When he turned fifteen, Kael's father still had not yet return. Kael had always wanted to run off and become a trainer, but was unable to before this point due to his family and the absence of his father. But the constant nagging thought of where he was always pulled him to wonder. Saying goodbye to family and friends, he set off with Growlithe in tow to find out what happened for himself. The first destination was the Pokémon League, but the trip proved much longer and more difficult than he had imagined, but was made easier by an old companion he found in Ameria. Upon arriving, they found no trace that his father had ever passed through until a man approached him with a bit of knowledge that his father had passed through the Indigo Plateau and continued into the Kanto region.

Upon failing to locate his father, Kael had returned home after a long and hard journey that left his heart heavy and his mind plagued with questions. He tried to keep his mind off of the recent events and worked as a stand-in trainer for Violet City's Gym leader, testing new trainers in the leader's absence. Soon after, Kael's mother passed away and care of the triplets fell to him. Though, as the three siblings matured, they all fell into their own life and forged their own paths. This left Kael free to explore the world once again and pick up where he left off in his search for their father. This time, however, Kael abandoned the notion of finding the man and decided this would be the journey he became the greatest trainer he could be. In Kael's mind, whatever happened with his father happened, whether he finds him or not.

Preferred Type: Any

Starter Pokemon: Growlithe

Current Team:

Pokémon Species: Arcanine ♂
Pokémon Nature: Hasty
History: Growlithe: Kael's very first Pokémon and his longest ally. Growlithe was given to Kael when his father set out from home on a trip that was supposed to last only a few months. This trip was extended over the course of many years without any explanation, allowing plenty of time for kael and his Pokémon to get acquainted. Growlithe became a constant companion for Kael on his many excursions and became his escape when trying to get away from his family. The fire qualities of his puppy Pokémon gave him a distinct edge over the many bug trainers and new trainers in the area.
Arcanine: Kael's powerhouse in battle and by far, his fastest Pokémon. Arcanine evolved from Growlithe after stumbling upon a firestone inside the caves outside of Indigo Plateau. While on their way to find Kael's father at the Pokémon League. Growlithe began pawing around at the scent of something inside the rubble around them while Kael amusingly watched from behind. As the puppy emerged and excitedly pranced up with his prize, Kael spotted the firestone just in time to watch Growlithe light up and transform into an Arcanine. This new powerhouse in Kael's line-up became his clutch Pokémon in almost any situation and his primary fire-type. Arcanine is easily strong enough for Kael to ride on if needed.
-Fire Blast
-Thunder Fang

Pokémon Species: Scizor ♂
Pokémon Nature: Brave
History: Scyther: Scyther was the first Pokémon Kael caught on his own during Goldenrod city's Bug-Catching Contest. Scyther wasn't enough to win the contest, but took a close second to another trainer's Pinsir. After some time battling alongside Scyther, the Pokémon quickly became a valued part of his team.
Scizor: Around this time as well, new research was hinting at a new way to evolve the Pokémon. Soon after meeting a man who knew the secrets to the new Scyther evolution, Kael agreed to help the man out in a task he needed completed. Kael was tricked after trusting the man and his Scyther was stolen from him. Following the man to a laboratory, Kael and his other Pokémon broke into the facility and confronted the man. After a short battle, the equipment in the lab began to meltdown and become unstable. The machine that housed his Scyther exploded, sending shards of metal and glass everywhere and catching Kael in his eye as the process finished and a newly evolved Scizor broke free of the machine. The steel properties of the red Pokémon protected Kael as they rushed from the now burning building as it came down around them. Scizor is one of Kael's most tactical Pokémon as well as one of his smartest. He is completely protective of his trainer and second only to Arcanine in the line-up.
-Bug Bite
-Double Team

Pokémon Species: Carracosta ♂
Pokémon Nature: Relaxed
History: Tirtouga: Tirtouga came up to Kael during a beach day as he was relaxing taking a break from traveling. At first, he thought a joke was being played on him as the Pokémon walked up casually from the surf and knocked its head against Kael's chair. trying to find the Pokémon's trainer, Kael earned a bit of grief as every person the two walked by got a swift headbutt to the knee as the Tirtouga slid along beside him. As Kael was about to give up finding the Pokémon's trainer, Tirtouga slid up and knocked its head against one of the empty Pokéballs at his side.
Carracosta: As Kael continued on his travels, he began coming up against even stronger opponents than he had faced previously. On one such occasion, he had all but beaten his opponent except for the stubborn Gloom that was completely outclassing his little turtle. As Kael was sure his Tirtouga was done, the little Pokémon retreated into his shell and began to evolve. As the other trainer stopped their assault in awe, the little turtle he had known emerged from its shell and stood upright on its two hind legs ready for a fight. The newly evolved Carracosta easily beat the already weakened opponent and clutched victory for Kael. Carracosta is one of Kael's favorites with his relaxed and sometimes comical nature. It is the perfect size for Kael to surf on in the ocean.
-Shell Smash
-Ice Beam
-Smack Down

Pokémon Species: Exploud ♂
Pokémon Nature: Naughty
History: Exploud was an odd case when it came to acquiring him. On the trip back to his home in Cherrygrove, Kael camped out in the open air for a night and settled down to sleep in preparation for the next day's travel. As he tried to get comfortable, a rock kept nudging into his side and refused to be ignored. Digging up the rock, Kael found the old Pokéball encrusted in dirt and filth from the time it had spent under the ground's surface. Trying to brush of the dirt, the ball cracked and eventually broke completely, releasing the Exploud inside. The ill-tempered Pokémon immediately went on a destructive rampage that threatened the small town Kael had camped outside of. Exploud tore through anything in its path until Kael and his Arcanine caught up to it and engaged it in a battle. Using Arcanine's nearly unmatched speed, Kael was able to defeat and capture the frenzied attacker. Kael doesn't use his Exploud unless the situation calls for it, or there isn't another option available. While it listens to Kael's commands, the Pokémon is still extremely destructive and can be harmful to those around it. He often wonders what kind of a trainer could easily just abandon one of their Pokémon, even one such as Exploud.
-Hyper Voice
-Hammer Arm
-Sleep Talk

Pokémon Species: Medicham ♀
Pokémon Nature: Timid
History: Meditite: Meditite came to Kael in a trade with one of his friends after returning to Cherrygrove. Kael had a Makuhita that refused to fight or have any drive for Pokémon battles. The gentle soul had an intense love of food and continuously ate everything in sight when it was out, often leaving nothing left for anyone else who may need it. Upon returning home, one of Kael's long-time friends had recently acquired a Meditite that would not obey any of his demands and constantly fought with her other Pokémon. He confided in Kael that the Pokémon had nearly destroyed the new bakery she had just opened with its psychic abilities. An idea spawned in his head and, bringing out his own Makuhita, explained how the Pokémon's love of food was insatiable and its lust for battle almost non-existent. Agreeing to the trade, feeling it might be the perfect match, his friend happily accepted the new Pokémon.
Medicham: Meditite continued its stubborn streak after the initial trade, often refusing to obey Kael's commands in battles and trying to do its own thing as much as possible. Keal let the Meditite deal in its own way every time it was out, often leading to a defeat of the rebel Pokémon. After some time, Kael began training it only against his own Pokémon in an attempt to show it how strong she could be if it submitted itself to training. The tactic worked, and training increased daily until the two of them were perfectly in sync. In one session, a meditation after training turned into an evolutionary process that transformed the little rebel into a newly evolved Medicham. With the evolution came a new respect between the Pokémon and Kael and it began to frequent in more and more battles with a winning result. Medicham is probably Kael's most loyal and stubborn Pokémon. When out of its Pokéball, it will hover as it meditates and ignore all else except for Kael.
-Zen Headbutt
-Dynamic Punch
-Magic Coat
-Power Swap

Pokémon Species: Garchomp ♂
Pokémon Nature: Adamant
History: Gible: Kael became close friends with a trainer named Ameria as she made frequent stops in Cherrygrove City. Ameria was a young breeder around the same age as Kael who was the niece of Blackthorn's elder and was intrigued by Kael's story. She accompanied him from Blackthorn City to the Indigo Plateau and eventually back again. Gible was her first Pokémon and had been hatched by Ameria herself soon after Kael arrived in Blackthorn on his journey. Gible and Ameria had been Kael's constant cheerleaders as he progressed toward the Pokémon League.
Gabite: Gible evolved into Gabite during a rock slide that had threatened to trap Kael and Ameria under rock and rubble. The tiny Pokémon launched up and tried to hold the bulk of the oncoming rubble as Kael's arm and Pokéballs were pinned trying to shelter Ameria. The weight began to crush in on the small Pokémon as the rubble piled on. Just before the rubble closed in around them all, the glow from Gible lit up the area as it began to evolve. With the strength of a true Dragon-type, it hacked and slashed the rocks to dust with the two blades extending from its forearms and dug them all out to safety.
Garchomp: Ameria developed a bad cough once they all escaped the rock slide and never recovered. Her condition became increasingly worse as they made their way back home to Johto. She became so weak, Kael had carried her into Blackthorn once they finally made it back. She was bed ridden for weeks and her condition only worsened. Kael spent the majority of his time in those days by her bedside trying to cheer her up. The rest of his time was spent caring for her only Pokémon, Gabite. When she finally passed, Gabite and Kael stood at her grave and looked on over the valley outside Blackthorn. Kael doesn't remember exactly when Gabite evolved into Garchomp, but when he finally stood from laying the purple flowers on his friend's grave, the Garchomp was right beside him. As Kael was forced to leave and return home, Garchomp followed him every step of the way. Garchomp feels like more of a member of Kael's family than a Pokémon as he is reminded of his friend years ago whenever the Pokémon is near.
-Dual Chop
-Dragon Rush
-Earth Power
-Mud Shot
-Hone Claws

So begins...

Kael Skye's Story


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Kael stretched and let out a satisfied groan as he walked out of the hotel and into the warm morning air of the day. A few more minutes of sleep would have been perfect, but he was glad to be up and about nonetheless. After all, he couldn't sleep all day. It had been a long day previously as he made the last leg of his journey to the water-loving and blue-tinted city of Cerulean. And he still had an errand that needed to be completed before he was on his way to....well, wherever he felt like going.

Pulling out the letter again, Kael examined the marking that addressed the letter:

Poké Maniac Bill
Route 25, Sea Cottage
Cerulean City, Kanto

The letter had fallen into his hand's just before he left Cherrygrove on his way to Kanto as he decided where to go first. 'Start in Cerulean, and drop this off while you're at it!' Kael had sought out Mr. Pokémon for a bit of advice on where to go and what to see in his house North of Cherrygrove City before he had set out for Kanto. The man had done quite a bit of traveling in his day and Kael figured it wouldn't hurt to ask. And in doing so, he was rewarded with a task and destination with the letter. At the very least, it had given Kael the necessary push to finally get out and travel again after all these years. And happy to do so, he thought to himself as he returned the letter to his bag.

A thump on his back reminded him to get out from in front of the door to the hotel as his Carracosta gave him a stern bump with its armored head and reared back for another. Kael got a wicked thought in his head and moved quickly to the side of the door as the turtle's head came forward. Its head lurched forward in another attempt at whacking his trainer's back, but found nothing but air on this attempt. Off balance and lurching from the momentum, Carracosta toppled forward with flippers flailing and slid forward on hard shell protecting its belly with a slight grunt. Kael nearly lost it at the sight and doubled over laughing, doing as best he could to contain most of his enthusiasm.

The laughter was short-lived as a loud blast filled the air and the ground began to tremble. Kael braced himself easily enough against the hotel wall, but his Pokémon's strong suit wasn't exactly balance, and Carracosta's head shot forward as it toppled over to crack Kael's knee. Between the tremor and sudden blow to his knee, Kael went down as well and clutched at his now bruised knee. "Holy mother of.....Aagh!" Kael shouted to no one in particular as the shaking stopped. His turtle companion set its features in what Kael could only assume was a smile and laid the long flippers on its imaginary hips in triumph. "You sir, are an ass..." But the remark only caused the turtle to tilt its head in an expression that seemed to say 'No sir, I am a Pokémon.'

Returning to his feet again, Kael cast his gaze about and caught the ominous haze moving in on the city as a few lesser explosions began to erupt. The direction they seemed to be coming from just happened to be the way he needed to go. And coincidentally, near the Sea Cottage where the letter was to be dropped off. "What the...?" Something must be happening at the cape that Kael was unaware of, but whatever it was, it didn't look good. Returning Carracosta to his pokéball, Kael pulled the first one in line from his belt and released the Pokémon from inside. Arcanine let out a short howl at being released and stretched its paws out before Kael hopped up onto its back. "Let's go!" He said, pointing in the direction of the cape.

Arcanine's speed and long leaps ate up the distance as they quickly moved through Route 24 and into Route 25. The house came into sight soon through the smoke and debris in the air around the area. A woman stood with her back to him beside a Houndoom as he came up and dismounted Arcanine. People were coming and going from the house, and none of them looked to be Bill with their black clothing and the unmistakeable 'R' logo on their chests.

"Great, I bet normal mailmen don't have to deal with this kind of crap..."


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Azazel


Seeing the girl with the Houndoom and the young man with the Arcanine arrayed in front of them and seemingly looking for a fight, two Rocket Grunts quickly dropped what they were carrying and reached for the pokeballs at their belts. The angry-looking male of the pair was the first to act, throwing the orb with a sharp motion and narrowing his eyes at the two behind his spectacles. He left the talking, however, to his counterpart, a much taller, reedy-looking woman with blond hair to her shoulders. "Should have stayed out of Team Rocket's business, kids," she warned, and like her, her voice was high and thin, with something of a nasal undertone.

From the man's pokeball emerged a Diglett, and the woman's issued forth a Treecko. It was clear that they intended to act in tandem, but the advantage in speed belonged to the others, as their pokemon had been released beforehand and were ready to go.

Rocket Grunt Stefano and Rocket Grunt Alexis
Pokemon: (Stefano) Diglett, Golbat | (Alexis) Koffing, Treecko
Difficulty Level: 2

"Well," Kael said as he leapt down from his Arcanine and strode up next to the woman with the Houndoom, "these guys don't look too friendly." Two familiar 'cracks' filled the air as the two grunt trainers released their Pokemon and looked on over at Kael and the Woman. "And not too smart are they..?" His Arcanine walked forward and stood beside the Houndoom as it began to sense Kael's anticipation. Looking over at the woman beside him, Kael adressed her once again. "Looks like we're doin' this together. Shall we?" Kael's fingers snapped sharply and Arcanine leapt into the air at the command. "Fire Blast!" From the air, Arcanine's head drew back as tendrils of flame escaped its mouth, gearing up for the blast.

The fire hit with a vengeance, and though Treecko's speed let it duck out of the way of the blast with only minimal singing, the Diglett was not so lucky, needing to rely on its toughness to keep it upright. Even so, it already looked a bit woozy, and its trainer's face darkened into a scowl.

Junko cringed at the sound of the woman's voice. It sounded like something had pushed its way through her nasal passage and clogged it. Nevertheless, Junko turned to the arrival of a young man and his Arcanine. The two of them quickly approached and fell in line next to Harag and herself. The two grunts released their pokemon, a Diglett and Treeko, and prepared to challenge the two arrivals.

"Team Rocket never surprises me these days," Junko replied before turning to Harag and the two Rocket Grunts. "But I'll never pass up an opportunity to a beat down," she added with a grin. "Harag, let's show them what we're made of, use Shadow Ball on Treeko!" she ordered as Houndoom howled. A purple blob of a ball formed in his mouth before releasing it towards his target. Treeko dodged the attack and countered with a Quick Attack. Houndoom tried to move out of the attack, but was hit head on.

"Shake it off Harag! Use Flamethrower!" Junko shouted as she tried to encourage Houndoom. Harag shook of the attack and did as he was told, releasing the flames from his mouth and towards Treeko.

Kael followed up his attack against the injured Diglett while keeping an eye on the Treeko his female teammate was engaging. "Crunch!" Kael shouted the command and watched the Diglett escape under ground just as Arcanine drew close enough to attack. The Treeko dodged the Shadow Ball attempt that was launched at it and quickly countered. The speed of the Treeko would be a bit of a problem if this continued. As Kael heard the other trainer call out the Flamethrower command, the wheels inside his head sprang into motion. "Extreme Speed Arcanine!" Kael shouted and marveled at the intense speed change of his Pokemon as it slammed into the back of the Treeko, sending it flying into the direct path of the Flamethrower. Leaping back from the attack to land close by, the Diglett chose that moment to resurface and slam Arcanine with the Dig.

"Damn," Kael said aloud at the hit. There wasn't much he could do about it without being able to see the Pokemon's movements. "Got anything for ground-types?" The statement was addressed toward the woman beside him. Team battles were about teamwork and rescources, and Arcanine wasn't the best equipped to deal with this situation.

Junko watched as the Arcanine slammed the Treeko into the line of fire, smiling in amusement at the string of curses flowing from the female Grunt's mouth. Harag barked in triumph as Junko assessed the situation. The Diglett was proving to be a bit of a problem, working and attacking from underground.

"Setia, but she's too big to fit in that hole," she replied. She glanced at Harag who strode over towards the hole in a nonchalant fashion. "Ah, I know," she stated as she rummaged through her belt and pulled out a ball. She recalled Harag to his, much to his dismay and threw the ball. "Kovaa, use Earthquake," Junko stated as Haxorus emerged from his ball. Without hesitation, Kovaa obliged his trainer and struck the ground, causing it to shake in the process. Junko kept her balance as she watched for the Diglett to appear once it did, she prepared for the next attack.

"Use Dragon Claw!" she stated as Kovaa attacked the small Pokemon. The two grunts were displaying their beautiful vocabulary with a string of curses as the male grunt quickly tried to order his Diglett to evade. The woman cracked another ball open, a Koffing appearing in place of the Treeko and ordered it to attack with a Smokescreen.

"Have a flying-type by chance?" Junko asked as Kovaa missed the Diglett shrouded in smoke.

"Hm? I have Scizor, but..." Scizor could fly, but blowing away a smokescreen was something he might not be capable of. The emergence of the Koffing only complicated thigs more in the case of the Diglett. And now there was a second Pokemon they couldn't see as well? An idea popped into his head as he contemplated what to do. "Arcanine, make a circuit around that smokescreen!" Bounding off at a quick pace, Kael watched as the smokescreen at the edge of Arcanine's path moved and followed with his Pokemon's movements, getting caught in the draft behind. "Perfect. Alright, more speed Arcanine! Extremespeed again!" Arcanine took off once more at the intense speed while keeping his current circuit around the smokescreen, creating a vortex that began shifting the smokescreen. It was slow at first, but spun faster and faster with each circuit until it began to dissipate and reveal the Koffing hiding in its midst.

"Who needs a flyer anyway when your can run that fast?" Kael laughed as the rockets gaped at their strategies falling apart one after the other against the duo. The Koffing looked as panicked as its trainer and Kael wasn't about to waste an opportunnity. "Arcanine now! Thunder Fang!" Leaping at an almost dead angle to the Koffing, Arcanine lashed out with its jaws as electricity crackled around them.

"Alright Kovaa," Junko stated as she cracked her knuckles, "Let's finish this! Use Aqua Tail and finish that Diglett!" she shouted, watching as Kovaa followed through on his end. The Diglett could not see the attack from the Smokescreen and failed to dodge, sending it back to it's trainer's ball. The male Grunt threw his last pokeball, releasing a Golbat from the process. Junko glanced from the corner of her eye and spotted the Arcanine land it's Thunder Fang. The Koffing fell, eyes swirled as it lay on the ground. The woman grunt flailed her arms before leaving her partner in attempt to receive back up.

"You want to finish this alone?" she stated towards the Golbat's owner. "Kovaa," she began as the man tried to keep his tough façade as he ordered a supersonic, effectively confusing Kovaa. "Kovaa! Return," Junko stated as she returned her confused dragon. She pulled out Harag's ball and released him once more. "Alright Harag, lets finish this off with a Flamethrower!" she ordered as Harag spewed the flames from his mouth, missing the Golbat by mere inches. Harag growled and tried again, nipping the Golbat in its wings and forced it on the ground.

Kale let out a surprised whistle as the Koffing thumped on the ground and fainted after only one attack. “Really?” He said to the Rocket as she recalled her Pokemon and ran. Two on one wasn’t exactly his idea of a good time, but as the other man released his Golbat , Kael wasn’t too heartbroken remembering the explosions earlier. “A flyer, huh?” The woman brought her Houndoom back to the fight and nipped away at the Golbat in an attempt to lower it as Kael took the opportunity to give his Arcanine a rest. “Alright, you’ve done enough. Let’s finish this Carracosta!” Drawing the Pokeball and releasing it, his turtle charged the field with a mediocre roar and charged after the Golbat and Houndoom pursuer…

But the enthusiasm was a little premature as the Golbat and Houndoom easily outran the slow turtle. He heard the Rocket trainer begin to howl with laughter as Carracosta struggled to catch up to the other two. Kael waited on patiently, obviously unconcerned at his Pokemon’s horrible speed. The rocket’s Golbat was forced low and tried to skirt around the Houndoom before launching a Wing Attack at the easier and slower of the two opponents. Kael smiled as the Golbat drew close and shouted his command. “Shell Smash!” Suddenly, Carracosta’s shell fragmented and he rushed toward the foe faster than before.

The rush wasn’t nearly as significant as the Houndoom’s speed, already close on the Golbat’s tail, but it was enough to surprise the attacking foe and give Carracosta an opportunity to leap up and over it as it swooped low. “Now! Smack Down!” Turning in the air, Carracosta used his large flipper to slam the Golbat into the ground with a violent impact.

Signaling to the woman beside him, Kael stepped to the side to give her a better view. “He’s all yours.”

"It'd be my pleasure," Junko grinned as she thrusted her hand forward, "Harag, finish it off with Flamethrower," she continued as Harag howled and freed his flames. The Golbat couldn't move as fast and was hit by the flames, effectively knocking it out. The grunt let loose a fly of words before recalling his Golbat and running after his comrade. Junko bellowed a laugh and watched as Houndoom set off a few flames after the grunt before trotting back with a victorious smile. "Well, I guess we win the first round. And would you look at that, they even dropped their coins," Junko stated as she walked over towards the spot the two grunts were once standing.

"So, that's a nice Carracosta and Arcanine you got there," Junko stated as she turned her attention towards the man now that the battle was over. "Thanks for the hand," she added, dropping the coins in her pocket before shoving the rest towards the helping man. "And I suppose a little thank you is in order," she stated as she handed the coins over.

"Bill might still need help, we should go check on him," she continued as Harag snorted, pawing the ground in anticipation. She spared a glance at the red-head before jogging towards Bill's Sea Cottage.


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"So, that's a nice Carracosta and Arcanine you got there," the woman said as the remaining Rockets took off after their departing colleagues. Kael almost laughed at the way she nonchalantly threw the compliment out there. Almost like she was complimenting on the skies being clear. But as she began to shove the money the Rockets had dropped in his direction, he held his hands up in a defensive gesture to politely refuse.

"Thanks, but you keep it," he said, "I'm not a big fan of change. You can buy me a drink later or something if you want to thank me." He couldn't imagine any woman ever being upset at an offer of more money, but he still hoped he at least didn't come off rude by refusing.

At the mention of the Poké Maniac, Kael suddenly remembered the entire reason he was here. Reaching back in his bag, he found the entrance to where he stashed the letter wide open and empty. Whipping the bag around to his front where he could get at it better, Kael began digging frantically though the contents searching for the letter. "Crap! Where'd it go?!" He shouted and started whirling around to search the area in hopes of spotting it. As he turned once...twice...and a third time, he caught sight of his Carracosta standing by the edge of Bill's house looking toward the roof at something. Following his gaze, Kael spotted the envelope balancing delicately on the edge of the building.

A small sigh of relief escaped his lips and he began walking toward it slowly, wondering how to get it down. The puzzle was easily solved by his friendly turtle as it reared its head back in a familiar motion before smacking his head hard against the side of the building with a loud THWACK! As the hard head connected with the building, the letter teetered on the edge for a moment before catching the breeze and falling toward the earth where it stopped, balanced perfectly again on Carracosta's head still looking skyward. Letting out a satisfied sound at his Pokémon's actions, Kael addressed the turtle. "You know, you're alot smarter than anyone gives you cr--"

"YOU IDIOT! NOOO!!!" Just as Kael went to finish his previous statement, Carracosta opened its mouth and chomped down quickly on the letter and drew the rest into his mouth afterward. Kael sprinted up and grasped his head in both hands to shake it violently. "Spit it out!" But just as he got the sentence out, he felt a movement between his hands and heard the audible gulp. Stopping his shaking, Kael released his Pokémon from his grip and slumped over in defeat. "Just get back in your ball...." He said silently as he recalled Carracosta.

Turning back to the woman before him, he felt slightly embarrassed at the sight. He shrugged and lifted his arms to put on his best 'oh well' face. "So...let's just pretend there never was a letter if Bill happens to ask." Walking back to enter the house, he caught up to her quickly.

"Oh, and I'm Kael by the way. Kael Skye."


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Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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By this point in the operation, the two supervising administrators were busy double-checking that everything they needed was loaded into the balloon, which was carrying the most vital of their haul, with the less-important bits of machinery and so on being loaded into the truck. It was not lost on them that there was some kind of disturbance taking place, but they'd expected as much, from the Cerulean Police of nobody else. As it was, it looked like the intruders were just a bunch of trainers, which was hardly a concern when you had so many Grunts just laying around and ready to buy you time, which they were managing admirably for the moment, or so thought Annabeth. Whether they won or lost in the end was hardly important- they were Grunts, which meant they were effectively meat-shields until they proved they were worth being something else.

Xavier was looking with something she vaguley recognized as longing towards the area where the sounds of chaos were coming from, and the scientist rolled her eyes. The moron would always be a trainer first and a criminal second. She was more interested in science, but at least she didn't let it distract her from achieving the boss's ends. "Come on, Xavier. Get your head out of the clouds and let's go." This earned her a glare, but nonetheless he complied, and the two plus their immediate squad of Grunts were casting off in moments, the balloon carrying them high and away from the carnage. "What's with you, anyway?" she asked him testily, because he still seemed focused on the ground.

"Nothing," he replied flatly. "One of those interlopers just reminded me of someone I knew once, that's all." Annabeth shrugged and didn't question him further. It wasn't like she cared, after all.

Meanwhile, as the last vestiges of smoke cleared from his home, Bill was finally free to move, since those holding him in place had left with the supervisors. He was worried, not just for his stolen data, but for his pokemon, as he doubted very much they'd just left all of his pokeballs intact when they knew he researched rare ones. There was also the matter of Ravenna, who was helping him out this morning, and whoever else was out there, opposing the Rockets and causing a commotion. He sincerely hoped nobody was hurt, though they'd at least been courteous enough to leave behind his medical supplies, both for pokemon and people. He'd seen the redheaded man eyeing them, and then consciously stopping a Grunt from taking them. Why that was, Bill couldn't say, but as it was the one bright spot in his situation, he didn't consider it too much.

Picking up the box, he started outside, intent on finding his way to the people that had tried in vain to help him and doing what he could to repay the favor. Then maybe he'd be able to figure out a way to recover his life's work and his pokemon. One step at a time, for now.

Junko arrived at the front of Bill's Cottage and stood just outside. She heard the boy speaking to his Carracosta about the letter. Apparently the sea turtle decided it would make a lovely meal and ate it. Junko shook her head lightly before cracking a small smile. The turtle made her think of her mother's Wartortle. He had ate her homework once and the teacher had tried to call her bluff. Luckily Wartortle managed to spit out some of it and let her off the hook. Just as she was about to step into the house, the boy introduced himself as Kael. She in turn offered her name.

"Takashi, Junko Takashi," she replied and returned her attention to the half destroyed cottage. It was a shame really. The Cottage was so beautifully decorated and placed that it almost made Junko sad. Almost. She cautiously approached the door, peeking through the door frame to inspect further. Most of Bill's equipment was either destroyed or taken, leaving nothing but a pile of papers scattered around the floor. Junko sighed as she knelt down, picking up some of the papers and rummaging through them. There was nothing of importance left behind, just a few messages from fans and the likes. A click caught her attention as Zeki popped out of her ball. The Meowth yawned and allowed herself to stretch.

"Zeki," Junko started before watching Zeki disappear. The Meowth decided to a little investigation of her own and wandered through the damaged home. A noise caught her attention and she found herself staring up at another human. She tilted her head and let out a mewling sound before hissing and readied herself to attack the human. Before she could, Junko swept up the Meowth and turned towards Bill, who seemed to be carrying boxes of things. Probably equipment that he managed to save.

"Good evening Bill," Junko stated as if nothing happened, a smile lingering on her face as she quieted the hissing Meowth.

"Ah, hello Junko," Bill said morosely, shifting the box in his hands. "I suppose you saw everything that happened, then?"

"We were sort of a part of it," Kael announced, walking up behind Junko to peer around at Bill. "Sorry about your yard by the way. The burn marks are probably from us, but the holes definitely were not!" Looking back around at the front of Bill's cottage, Kael took in a few of the singes and a particular spot where Golbat had slammed into the ground, creating a small crater. "Well, that one might have been us....."

Kael took in the sights around the inside of Bill's house as well, computers destroyed or missing, various equipment scattered everywhere, the house was a complete wreck...."Mr. Pokemon sends his regards, and there was a letter too, but it is kind of unreachable now...." Scrubbing a hand through his red hair, Kael felt a little more guilty about letting the letter get eaten now.

"What exactly were they after?" It seemed like a pretty useless question seeing as how almost everything was gone, but Kael still had to ask.

Bill seemed numb to the news of his destroyed yard and whatever Mr. Pokemon had to say to him. This morning, he'd wanted nothing more than to put in a new berry garden, but now, he supposed he should count himself lucky that his house was mostly intact. "They took basically everything," he replied. "All my research data and equipment, my notes... but most of all I'm just worried about my pokemon. Glaceon's egg had just hatched, and the pup was in the bunch they stole. They were all young ones, actually, but..." he trailed off, shaking his head. "Even if I could do anything about it, I have no idea where they went. Team Rocket is much more secretive lately; trying to find their bases would be like looking for a couple of Cacturne needles in a haystack."

Junko listened to the conversation, taking in every word Bill said as he mentioned his pokemon. It was a shame that they stole his pokemon, and it caused Junko's eyes to narrow a bit. Team Rocket had tried to steal Cerah from her when he was still a Shinx, only because of his color. She turned back to Bill, placed Zeki on her shoulder and smiled.

"We can retrieve them for you. Team Rocket couldn't have gotten that far yet and besides," she paused, pulling out Fiamma's pokeball and pushed the button to expand it, "Fiamma here is a champion at playing catch up," she stated as she mentioned Rapidash. "And I believe his Arcanine, with it's extreme speed, shouldn't be a problem at playing keep up," she finished and glanced towards Kael.

Kael felt a sharp pang at hearing Pokemon were taken as well as all of Bill's work and research. To be perfectly honest, it really didn't surprise him. He had never personally had a run-in with the Rockets before now, but their deeds were common knowledge these days. Just a buch of thugs and criminals that used Pokemon to hurt others and get what they wanted.

He was a little happy at hearing Junko's voice speak up so quickly. She sounded more than ready for another battle with the Rockets, and determined to get Bill's prized posessions back for him. Another one of her pokeballs burst open to admit a Rapidash to their sight and she mentioned his Arcanine before glancing back to look at himself. "He sure can." Pulling Arcanine's pokeball from the first slot on his belt again, he released the large firepup beside him and gave him a reassuring pat. Arcanine let out an enthusiastic bark at being called again so quickly.

Pulling another pokeball from his belt, Kael looked at Bill and Junko with a smile. "Let's just make sure we don't lose them." Releasing the Pokemon inside, a red flash whizzed into the air as the pokeball burst open. Scizor flew a circle around himself and the others before hovering slightly in front of them. "I saw a balloon heading away from here as our battle wrapped up. Figure out which way it went Scizor, but keep your distance." Scizor nodded and shot straight up into the sky and peered about. After a moment, his claw shot out to point in the distance and buzzed off in the same direction.

"Shall we?" Kael said as he leapt onto Arcanine once more. "Wouldn't want the Rockets getting bored without us to entertain them."

It was during this time that Kenji poked his head into the house, surveying the rest of the people congregating there. None of them wore the obnoxious red R inherent to Team Rocket, so that was a good sign. He paused for a moment, trying to find the words before dashing all that against the wall and barging into conversation head on. "Does anyone have some potions and an antidote? I could really use them," He said, stepping the rest of the way into the door and revealing the pair of injured Pokemon in his arms. "Ran into a bit of trouble outside, does this happen often?" Kenji quipped, but a smile didn't find it's way to his lips just yet. He'd laugh as soon as his friends were safe.

Bill looked a little overwhelmed, but at least the newest visitor had asked for something he could certainly do. "Oh, yes, of course, here you are." Fishing in the box, he retrieved a dose of antidote and three potions and handed them all off to Kenji. Turning back to the other two, he was about to comment when the next person peered inside the house, and a brief look of relief crossed his face. "Ah, Ravenna, it's you. Thank goodness; I wasn't sure what had happened."

The girl in question needed only a cursory glance around the house and a brush against Bill's obvious distress to understand what had happened, and her mouth turned down into a frown. "I'm sorry, Bill. There were many, and I..." The researcher shook his head. "There was little that could be done. I'm just glad nothing bad happened to you, to any of you. Thank you for your help, very much. If you really do intend to go after them," and this was directed primarily at Junko and Kael, "Then I suggest you head down to Vermilion first. I think the police department down there is running a special investigation on Team Rocket's reappearance; they might know more. That balloon's probably too fast to follow... It's a risk, and I don't want you to harm yourselves, but... if you did find them, I'd really appreciate it. My work, I can replace, but my pokemon..." He trailed off, looking haggard and distressed.

At this, Ravenna turned her attention to the two new strangers. "You're going after them to retrieve the Eevee? I'd like to come, too, if I may." Bill fished out a few additional potions and handed them to her, which she gratefully accepted. She could probably wait until the Cerulean Pokemon Center, but if they really were pursuing Team Rocket, she doubted the extra medicine would go to waste.

Kenji quietly listened, too busy as he was applying the potions and antidote. He had let Sabre back out of his ball, and let him have one of the potions as well, using the antidote and other potions on Flower and Light. His pokemon slowly came back around to their senses, but just to be safe he still wanted to visit a Pokecenter. He didn't want to eyeball their health and leave them to their devices, he'd done that before and it didn't turn out well. It never did. Finally sure that the items were working, he allowed his pokemon to slip back into the balls, though he still carried Light. She was always with him, no matter what, and he wouldn't tuck her away in a Pokeball for anything

He looked up just in time to catch the rest of the conversation. "So we're chasin' the bastards down now, is that it? Hm," He said, biting his lip. He looked down at Light who in turn looked back up at Kenji. Surprisingly, it was her who nodded first. She didn't want to leave the man while they could help, and Kenji couldn't say that he didn't feel the same. He just wished he could do that without putting any of them in any more danger. Still, they had to find the man's Pokemon. He already did this much, and he never half-assed anything. "Why not? We're game. Sounds like fun," he quipped, though the tone a bit more serious this time around. He'd have to remember to slug the jackass who planned all this.

"I'm Kenji Akihiko," He said, standing and bringing his full six foot three frame to bare. "And this is Light," He added, pointing at the Pikachu in his hand. She gave a shy wave to people and then pushed back against his chest. "If we're gonna do this, then figured ya might want to know our name," He explained.

"Ravenna Fiori, or Fio if that's nicer," the pastel-pated woman offered mildly, before glancing at the two large fire pokemon standing in the yard and figuring that they must be in need of fast transport. As she had an Arcanine of her own, she released him, and for the moment he remained patiently standing on the grass with the others.

As Junko made to respond, a trainer with equally bright red hair appeared followed by a woman with pink locks. Junko raised an eyebrow as they approached, staring at the man who barged into the conversation asking for potions. Bill answered the man and gave him what he wanted. So I suppose Bill knows them, she thought as he addressed the pink haired girl. Junko stayed silent for a minute or two, listening as they conversed until Bill addressed Kael and herself. She contemplated the course of action. If she followed after the balloon, she'd probably be lead towards the Rocket Hideout, but on the other hand; if she went to Vermillion, perhaps Officer Jenny might have had word about her brother. She pushed the thought aside and shook her head.

"Vermillion City would be our best bet. We can stock up on supplies if we plan on making a journey," she began as she rummaged through her pack and pulled out her Xtransceiver. She opened it up and glanced at the two. "If we plan on splitting up, it would be wise to have each other's numbers just in case something happens. It's always a good thing to be prepared y'know," she continued and glanced at the two in front of her.

"And it is a pleasure to meet you, Kenji and Fio," she replied as the two introduced themselves. "I am Junko Takashi, and this little beast here," she stated as she grabbed the Meowth from her shoulders and thrust her out towards the two, "is Zeki, my Meowth," she finished as Zeki just stared at the two, hissing at Kenji before mewling towards Ravenna. She watched as the woman named Ravenna released her own Arcanine and glanced at Kenji.

"Do you have a pokemon you can ride? It'll make traveling a bit faster. If not, you can share Fiamma with me," Junko stated as she patted Fiamma's neck, earning a pleasant neigh from the fire horse.

Unfortunately for the group, their options were soon to be rendered moot. High in the air, the balloon they were piloting kicked in a specially-developed technological advance: a thruster. In this case, the scientist aboard deployed a few Pidgeot to scout ahead and behind for possible pursuit, and a combustion engine to move the ship faster once it was clear of any possible collisions. Unknowingly, they were escaping Scizor's ability to follow, sailing ever higher and faster into the atmosphere.

Kael waited atop Arcanine with a little impatience as the two newcomers appeared suddenly and joined the conversation. It wasn't their appearance so much as his Scizor slowly getting smaller to his sight as it sped in pursuit of the Rocket's balloon. Recalling Scizor might mean letting the Rocket's get away altogether with no hope of reclaiming Bill's stolen Pokemon. And the mention of detouring to Vermilion seemed like a decent enough plan at first until Kael thought about it. What if the Police Department doesn't have information on their whereabouts? It could mean a wasted trip if the Police department only brought up more questions than answers.

Bill mentioned the balloon being a risk and possibility of injury to the trainers present if they followed that course of action, but even while saying the words, Kael could hear the sorrow in his voice. If it was any of my Pokemon being taken away... Kael thought silently before finally adding his voice to the discussion. "We are all Pokemon trainers Bill, whether we battle them, breed them, or just study and research them as a whole. We opened ourselves up to risk and harm the moment we stepped out the front door with our first Pokemon."

As he was in the middle of his speech, Kael heard a familiar buzzing and turned to find Scizor nearing their group on its way back. Looking past the bug Pokemon and to where the balloon had been shrinking in the distance, Kael saw absolutely no trace of the retreating blimp. "No good?" he asked as his Pokemon came within earshot and received only a shake of the head, indicating the balloon was either too fast, or too far gone for his Scizor to follow. Kael recalled the red steel companion of his and turned back to face the small group again. "Well, I guess my speech a moment ago is a little null now, isn't it? I guess we're going to Vermilion then..."


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Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Ion

The group had elected to take the most direct route to Vermillion City, which was southward through Saffron and then on to the coastal town of sunshine. Since there was less urgency now, as the information would not be going anywhere, they’d stopped at the Pokemon Center in Cerulean, where everyone was still talking about the obvious explosion and speculating wildly on what could possibly have occurred. Ravenna answered all queries of this sort directed at her with a glassy-eyed look that seemed to vaguely reprimand the asker, and so it wasn’t long before nobody else was inquiring of her, focusing their attentions fully on the other three.

After everyone’s friends had been healed up to full health, there was a short stop at the mart for any necessary purchases. She’d picked up a few things and tucked them away in her bag, but hadn’t really needed much. She’d been fully-stocked before coming into Cerulean the day before, and so nothing else was particularly needed.

With that, they were at last on their way, turning southward along Route 5 with a sort of shared determination that make Fio a little bit happy, even despite everything. Of course, she didn’t really give much indication of this. She’d elected to recall Prometheus to his pokeball, letting Castor out since it was his turn to walk outside with her. She’d always preferred walking to alternative means of transportation, even the bike folded up into small parts in her bag. She felt more… connected to her surroundings, that way.

The day, it turned out, was as stiflingly-hot as the morning sun had promised, the sun beating down on their heads without mercy. It had clearly been a few weeks since the last rain, and the dirt beneath their feet puffed up into dry clouds as their shoes landed. It was at times like this that she rather wished she had garments in another color, as black was truly unfortunate under such direct light. Honestly, she was used to travelling at odder hours, and didn’t often have to worry about such direct contact with the sun.

Half an hour into the trip, she was rummaging through her bag, pulling out a tube of sunblock and applying it liberally to her face, hands, and knees—the only parts of her that were at all exposed to the direct force of the flaming orb over her head. Her scalp would probably burn anyway, and she was regretting the loss of her borrowed straw hat from early that morning.

Drawing up next to Junko, Ravenna offered the tube in case the similarly light girl didn’t have any of her own. Maybe she didn’t burn that easily, but Ravenna certainly did. “Need any?” she asked of the group at large, blinking as she passed out from under a tree and was hit full in the face with light again. Castor seemed to be handling it much better than she was, but then, he was tougher generally. She could hardly count herself surprised.

“Tell me about yourselves?” she offered tentatively, glancing between the other faces present, including the pokemon. After all, she could understand them just as well, and sometimes better, truly. They might as well converse a bit; they had the time, and it wasn’t like it would do them any good to walk in silence, all the more aware of the oppressive heat in the air.


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Kael retrieved the poke balls for his Arcanine and Carracosta after they were seen to by Nurse Joy as their group of four made a quick stop at the Cerulean Pokemon Center. His mood never seemed to change, and he kept the quick smile planted on his face, even after his attempts at flirting with the Cerulean's Joy were met with almost complete rejection. Trainers and townspeople alike seemed intent on getting to the bottom of what happened at the cape and the causes of the explosions. With these questions, Kael played up Junko and his battle against the Rockets, claiming the explosions were a result of the ferocity and domination of their side over the opposing trainers. Gesturing wildly as he painted the slightly exaggerated, and in some cases untrue, recollection of what had actually happened. He left the part about a highly terrifying criminal organization in their very town out for the sake of trying to suppress as much uproar as possible.

Upon leaving the Pokemon Center, Kael followed along after the others as they progressed through the mart, and then onto the start of their journey on Route 5. He took in everything they came across and gestured toward certain landmarks or surroundings that stood out. Kanto was almost a completely new experience to him. He had traveled nearly everywhere there was to go in the Johto region where his home lay, but aside from the Indigo Plateau that was jointly shared by the two regions, Kanto was full of new sights and lands to be seen.

Kael packed his jacket away almost immediately after leaving the Pokemon Center and found himself rolling up the sleeves on the white button-down he was wearing. The sunshine itself was delicious, casting light and illuminating everything for Kael to see as they proceeded, but the heat was a bit stifling for a trip South. Still, he found himself humming the tune to an old song he knew but would never sing. Traveling again brought back so many memories to mind. Even though there had been some of his worst memories of his life the last time he was on the trek, some of his best were a part of that journey as well. His hand reached up and grazed the 'A' hanging from the silver chain around his neck. The movement brought a pang of sadness at first, but remembering the woman still kept his smile in place.

The pink-haired woman named Ravenna was the first to really kick up the conversation within the group as they proceeded forward in the heat of the sun. A drop of sweat had worked its way under the black eyepatch and started bugging Kael enough that he was forced to wipe a finger under it to relieve the itch-like sensation and make sure the patch stayed in place, covering the damaged eye.

"Any specific requests?" Rummaging through his backpack as he walked, he found that he coincidentally had four individual bottles of water and tossed one to each of the other three trainers around him. He left the last one in his pack for himself later if he wanted it and searched a second longer for what he really wanted. "I guess the basics are quite obvious already. I'm a trainer from Cherrygrove City in Johto. I help out the Gym staff in Violet City with whatever they need and stand in to ref or participate in a few matches every now and then. While my brother and sisters are out exploring the world for themselves, I get to chase down bad guys with you lot. And I love these!" He finished off the sentence as he pulled his arm from his bag to reveal the bright red apple.

Spinning the glistening fruit on his finger for a second, he tossed it slightly to catch it and take a rather large, crisp bite from the red surface. "What about you Hulk? Any particular food you fancy?" He turned his eye on the leather worn beast of a human walking along with them. "Seriously though Kenji, what the hell do they feed you?!"


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Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Azazel


Junko clicked the mouse to the PC, searching through any mail before the ding of Nurse Joy signaled her pokemon's return. She thanked the pink haired lady and took her pokeballs from Nurse Joy and hooked them on her belt, Zeki's pokeball left in her hands. She released her Meowth, allowing the feline to cling to her shoulder with a bright smile. She pat Zeki on her head, eliciting an approved purr from the Meowth and turned towards the four she was traveling with to Vermilion. It seemed that they had two things in common; one was their drive to find and return Bill's pokemon.

She glanced at the three, noticing the way their heads would tilt ever so slightly to the left. They all had, except herself, a form of auburn colored hair. Although Ravenna had pink hair, it was still a shade of red. Junko pulled at her black strands, combing her fingers through them before smiling and falling in stride slightly behind the group. A question popped into the air, or rather a statement as Kael was the first to answer. Junko chuckled to herself at his question to Kenji and had to wonder the same thing. The guy was rather large, but she figured he must have either trained with his pokemon as a youth, or had a rather interesting childhood.

"Ah, well," Junko began as she began rummaging for the right words. "I am a pokemon breeder hailing from Cerulean," she began, stroking Zeki as she stared at the Meowth, "I own my own daycare which is in the hands of a trustworthy trainer. I," she paused. Her gaze fell to the floor as she found her feet interesting.

"I am hoping to find information about my brother. He is missing," she stated, twirling Zeki's paw with her hand. The Meowth patted her back and cried out it's name in a soothing tone. This caused Junko to smile and shake her head.

"But you don't need to hear that," Junko stated as she waved her hand in front of her to dismiss the thought. Zeki sighed at her trainers sudden change and allowed herself to fall slightly off of her shoulder. She clawed her trainer's shoulder, earning a wince from the girl as Junko turned to stare at Zeki. They held a staring contest for a good five minutes before Junko succumbed and glanced away. They don't need to be dragged into my problem, she thought while stroking the Meowth, ignoring the group as they continued to walk.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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At some point during the trip, Kenji had managed to find a shirt tucked away in his seemingly bottomless rucksack. He donned the white button up shirt and rolled the sleeves up, leaving the buttons unbuttoned as he did, giving his barrel chest free range. Hell, even if he did button up, all it would take was one wrong flex and the entire thing would have been ripped to shreds. Just as well, Kenji really didn't care what he looked like. He had taken Junko's offer of riding her Rapidash with her, seeing how his current team was too small to carry his beefy self. Silas was still a ways a way from a Pidgeot after all.

At the pokecenter and pokemart, he went through the checklist, had his team healed, picked up some necessary items from the mart, a couple of pokeballs, and some food as well, and before long they were off on their adventure once again. It was a hot day, sure, but then again Kenji was more bereft of clothing than the others. Indeed, the heat didn't even seem to bother the man, him just throwing it off like it was any other day. It hadn't been the hottest day he'd experiences, but then again it wasn't the coolest either. Light on the other hand wasn't so lucky, as she was tucked away in his rucksack with a bottle of water. Kenji could feel her rustling on his back, taking drinks from the battle. Meanwhile, Flower seemed to have made her a nest in Kenji's hair, enjoying the sun shining down on her. She also managed to block some of the violent rays beating down his neck.

"Heh, it takes a lot more than this to fry leather, sweetheart," Kenji replied to Fio's offer of sunblock. As to prove his point, he lifted one of his arms and pinched a bit of the rough skin. "The perils of not wearing a shirt," he said with a wink. "Anythin' and everythin'," Kenji replied to Kael, "What can I say? I'm a growin' boy." he chuckled. After Junko offered her own answer, Kenji figured it was his turn to offer up his.

"I'm a simple man from simple beginnin's. I was born in Castelia City, in Unnova, to a family of six. Bein' said, I spent most of my time on the streets-- like all good hoodrats do. Once I was old enough, I got the hell out of that city and began to travel," At this point, he began to scratch the back of his neck. He never told his story all that often, if ever. He couldn't remember if he's even spoken of it before. Not even to Light. That being said, he was sure to pick his words carefully, and didn't reveal too much information about himself. "I wasn't a happy child, some kind of outcast-- if the steel mill in face didn't give it away,"

"So I trained pokemon. Actually made it to Unnova's Elite Four. Got shut down on the first round, consistantly. Wasn't strong enough. So I retired for a bit, let all my pokemon go, and settled down in Goldenrod for a bit."
That was an uncomfortable time in his life. A hint of melancholy hung in the air as he spoke about that, but other than that, his face was impassive. Then as he spoke about Goldenrod, the mood brightened considerably. "That's when I met this bundle of joy," He said, hooking a thumb back toward Light, whose head poked out of the rucksack for a moment before ducking back in. "It was recent, very recent. After that, I hitched a ride on a boat to Cerulean, and then traveled all the way to Pallet Town before making my way back. So this is my third time on this route," He said, regarding the landscape around him. As his head tilted around, so did the Butterfree on his head shift.

Then he turned his attentions back to Kael, "Yeah, I gots a request. What's goin' on here, Cap'n?" He said, pointing at his eye to indicate Kael's eyepatch. That was a curiosity. He didn't think there were pirates. All the kid was missing was a peg leg and a bird perched on his shoulder.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Ion

The simple query produced a myriad of other questions and several answers as well, something that it had been designed to do. The conversation was lively, and for the most part, Ravenna was content to walk beside them all and let it eddy and flow over her, listening without really participating all that much. She wasn’t usually too skillful with talking, so the fact that her inquiry had gone so well was more than enough to satisfy her. She caught the water bottle tossed in her direction with a grateful nod, pressing it briefly to her forehead before storing it in her bag, away from the oppressive heat.

There was, of course, an extra dimension to this as well, and that was the feelings that the others experienced while they spoke. There were moments of amusement, of nostalgia, good-natured frustration, but also an undercurrent of sadness beneath many of the words, playing a melancholy harmony to the more playful trebles, blue intertwining with silver and gold. As the rose-pated girl stowed her sunblock back in her bag (apparently nobody else needed any, which she supposed must be nice), she rubbed absently at the bridge of her nose, leaving behind a white streak of the stuff across it and over her left cheekbone.

She might have noticed it, except she was distracted by something. One particular string of words had caught her attention, though they were spoken softly, and she felt the need to respond. ”Missing?” she echoed quietly, clasping her hands behind her back. They tugged at a familiar place in her soul, one where she’d gently enclosed all the memories of her best friend, her sister-at-heart, the woman who’d taught her what little she understood of sharing your life and dreams with others.

Grief was oblong, distended; a warped version of love’s friendly circle. “What… happened?” If there was another, better way to phrase that question, it was not available to someone of so few social resources. Still, she didn’t press, and if Junko didn’t want to answer, she didn’t have to.

Kenji wasn’t the only one who’d traveled this route before, and Ravenna judged that they were about halfway to Saffron, the halfway point between Cerulean and Vermillion. Her own hometown wasn’t too far away, either; no more than a day or so walking after they hit the city, but of course nobody had any reason to want to go there. Few people ever visited the town of spirits and mourning, and if they did, it was usually only because it was the first settlement with a Pokemon Center after Mt. Moon.

She was a little envious of the others, especially Kenji, who could brush off the heat as though they’d been living on Cinnabar their entire lives. She’d spent most of her early days inside the uncanny coolness of the tower, or else in the shadow of the mysterious mountain, at least until she’d undertaken her journey. Funny, how that seemed so long ago now, and yet she could remember the details perfectly.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Kael listened on to the others talk a bit more and was more than content to have a few minutes to relish the delicious taste of his apple. The sweet red treat was made even more enjoyable by the fact that it was such a hot day and the sweet, yet sour, bites were like a splash of amazing as they continued on their new journey.

Kael was a little intrigued as Kenji continued on with his story, the man certainly had a similar sense of humor to Kael at the short quips he directed at himself about his 'leather-based' skin and 'steelmill face'. But he couldn't help but feel a bit envious of the man as the story went on. Kenji had made it to the Elite Four and, despite losing in the first round, that was still a feat worth noting as a Pokemon trainer. And the man had traveled quite a bit from what it sounded like to Kael. He had always wanted to travel, but never really had the chance to leave the Johto region up until now.

Kael shrugged off the thoughts as he finished his apple and threw the core out into the taller grass alongside their route. He knew by the end of the day, the core would be completely devoured by insects or some Pokemon wandering by. Wiping his hands clean of the juices, he peered over with his good eye as Kenji addressed him, indicating his eye patch. "Hm? Don't you know me?" Kael decided to play up the "cap'n" remark as much as possible. "Patches the Red! The most feared brigand on the high seas! We roamed the waters in our fearsome Gyarados ship pillaging and looting any who got in our way!" As Kael went on, he wildly slashed and hacked the air with an imaginary sword to stress the points of his story. Looking around to see the face of his companions, he dropped the farce with a laugh. "Or maybe I was tricked a few years ago. My Pokemon was taken from me and I got it back. In the course of all this, the machinery around us exploded and a large piece of shrapnel decided my face looked like home." Shrugging off the statement like it was nothing, Kael pointed to the patch. "It still works for the most part, my eyesight and all. Not as well as it should though. But the damage is a bit....ugly I guess would be the word. Who knows? If the shrapnel was any smaller, I'd probably be dead."

As Ravenna's soft words were spoken, he glanced over to see what was going on. There was clearly something he had missed, but he chose to focus on something the woman herself had missed. " have a little something, ALOT of something..." He scribbled a finger around his own face to indicate the sunscreen on hers. "I think you're supposed to run it in..."


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Azazel


Junko stared at the ground in front of her as Zeki played with the strands of her hair. She smiled at Kael's display of a pirate and allowed a laugh to escape the confines of her lips. The thought lingered a bit longer than it should have as she placed her hands in her pockets, fingering the small I.D. that held her brother's picture. She turned to Ravenna as the question fluttered through the air. She hadn't meant to tell them of her brother, and she silently cursed herself before sighing.

"A few days ago, his trainer badge and a few of his pokemon were found with no sign of him," she spoke in a hushed voice, almost as if she were still trying to grasp the concept that he was gone. She forced a smile before continuing, "So, my team and I are out on a search for him. Although we still have our mission first, I am hopeful that I'll find something about him along the way," she finished, rolling her hand over Zeki's head, eliciting a purr from the cat pokemon. She glanced in Ravenna's direction and noticed the cream Kael had mentioned all over her face.

She smiled, walked beside Ravenna and grabbed some of it off of her. She walked next to Kael, the cream still in hand and smeared it all over his cheek. "There, now you have something all over your face," she stated while smiling. She rubbed the rest of the cream on her arms, trying to get the rest off of her hands. She would keep a smile on her face. She didn't want to be depressed over her brother's disappearance, and she didn't want it to radiate from her body, causing an vibe that would affect the others. Although the group she is with is rather interesting. The Pirate, the boy who reminded her of a Primeape without the anger issues, and the small, quiet girl.

An interesting group indeed.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Cassandra Thorne Character Portrait: Kojiro Takashi (WIP:Poke History) Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori
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#, as written by Ion

The young woman listened as the other relayed her trouble, and frowned. It wasn’t quite the same, but… she could certainly sympathize. Her best friend, the only one she’d had, and the closest thing to a sibling she’d ever known, had gone similarly missing, only… she had dreamed Mykeisha’s death, felt with the uncanny reality of nightmare the sensation of a heart ceasing to beat, before she was startled awake by a crack of thunder. She hadn’t been able to sleep that night, nor any of several after, too afraid that the dream would revisit her in all its terror. She could imagine how Junko must feel, not knowing.

It wasn’t that she had anything to say; any soothing words that she could offer would be just that. But… she could do something, surely. ”When we’ve helped Bill… if you still haven’t found him by then, I will help you look.” Maybe if Junko took her to some significant location or another, she or one of her pokemon would be able to read a clue off an object or something of the like. It wasn’t the strongest of her powers by any means, but she was willing to give it a shot if it could help somehow. It was not as though she had any urgent business of her own to attend to, after all—she was just a wandering Trainer without much of a goal.

Their conversation was playfully interrupted at this point. For a moment, Ravenna just looked blankly at Kael, clearly uncertain as to what exactly he was talking about. She was just reaching up to mirror his gesture when Junko seemed to catch on much more quickly and reached up to Fio’s face, swiping an index finger over her cheekbone. The rose-haired girl repeated this, and blinked when her digit came away with sunscreen still on it. ”Oh,” she observed mildly, then tilted her head sideways at the antics of the other two. A tiny smile played at the edges of her mouth, but she offered no further comment than this.

By late afternoon, they were in Saffron, the city with buildings tall enough to scrape the sky. She supposed that somewhere around here, her father was cloistered away in his office, but she felt no particular need to go locate him; they had lived entirely separate lives for as long as Ravenna could remember. Her mother had given her a name, and her father had provided her with everything she needed to live, but she couldn’t say that either had ever been able to provide her with much else. It wasn’t so bad—she’d just found the rest elsewhere.

Glancing around at the three people about herself, she wondered if maybe she’d be finding something else soon… something wonderful and important. But, the elderly mediums had always reminded her, it never did to get ahead of oneself. So she scanned the buildings and the people around her, enjoying the way their surface-level thoughts buzzed at the edges of her consciousness without really registering, like radio static or something of the sort. Everyone was a slightly-different color, too, though none so vivid as Junko, Kael, and Kenji. It made her happy, that she was next to the brightest, most brilliant colors of all.

It was at precisely this moment that her musings were interrupted by a loud crash, and a shift in the wind, coming from some distance away. Castor, ever the brave pokemon that he was, immediately turned towards the sound, looking troubled and taking off in the direction it had issued from. ”Castor?” she questioned quietly, both with her mind and her voice, but his only response was to send her an impression of great urgency, and with some reluctance, she took off after him, boots surprisingly light on the pavement. ”Wait, Castor!”

But he didn’t relent, and the few times he moved out of her visibility, he sent mental images her way, guiding her after him with obvious intent. For what, he refused to say, and she could do little else but trust him and follow. Eventually, she could see what looked to be a large sandstorm ahead, battering the buildings on this side of town within a rather impressive radius. Basically everything inside it was of course impossible to see from this distance, but she had the feeling it was dying off.

At last, her Lucario stopped, right at the edges of the storm. Ravenna drew up beside him, and even as the swirling sand tugged furiously at her hair and clothes, it began to die down. Her arm went up to shield her face; she hadn’t thought to don her go-goggles in her haste to follow him. Still, she caught the roar of an engine, and a motorcycle passed her by, what looked to be two people aboard it. She didn’t think much of this, too absorbed in examining what the flying sand left behind: scorch marks, rivets in the ground, and three flabbergasted-looking Rocket Grunts.

”Oh dear.”


Cassandra had scooted forward from her perch on the back of the motorbike and now sat straddle with her elbows propped on the handlebars, hands cradling her chin, watching the goings-on with some interest. She hadn’t been aware that Kojiro used code with his Lucario, but that was probably to be expected. Why turn down an advantage? Unless of course you didn’t need it, but there was nobody who could say that all the time, and frankly, this bunch looked considerably tougher than your average lot of peons.

They were well-coordinated, too, from the looks of things. Scanning their body language carefully, she decided that the leader was the blond one with glasses. He looked the most satisfied with how things were going, as though he’d expected as much. The girl just looked impatient—she probably relied on speed for most of her fights. The other guy was durable, brawny, and had the pokemon to match. It was funny, how things like that worked out, wasn’t it?

Kojiro glanced over; well, perhaps the more accurate term was glared, but Cass just raised a brow, entirely nonplussed. She waited for him to detect the trap, and she wasn’t disappointed. She really would have to challenge him some day, just to see which of them was really the stronger. She currently sat at a comfortable number two in the organization, and frankly, she didn’t want to lead, nor even hold the more contentious top spot, but it would be fun. Not yet, though; the entire team was still too fledgling, and needed some stability for a bit. Besides, he’d started the whole thing; she was just along for the ride.

The rest of the battle was interesting if not particularly surprising in the end, and she watched with the cool eye of a professional as Kojiro went for demonstration rather than total humiliation. Huh. she frowned slightly, a thoughtful rather than angry expression. She wondered why- oh. His words explained well enough. “Well well well,” she replied with all the languid ease of a smug Persian. ”Lucky them.” She couldn’t say she was all that thrilled with the idea, but if she refused to work with former Rockets, she’d have excluded half of Team Cataclysm.

So she shrugged, using the time that Kojiro needed to conclude the show to dig a few business cards out of her pocket. They contained little more than some contact information for an alias of hers—Astrid Valentine—and a number through which she could be reached. More accurately, a screening program would be reached, and run several identity checks before patching someone through to a low-level employee with further instructions, but you couldn’t be too careful when building an empire, even if most of them just thought they existed to destroy things. With a sharp flick of her wrist, Cass tossed a card at each Rocket’s feet, glancing up at Kojiro’s bloody eyebrow with a sly smile.

“Got a little enthusiastic with the sandstorm, did we? They make eye protection for that, you know.” Nevertheless, she remained in the driver’s position on the bike, the engine already on since she’d needed to move it out of the way just a few minutes earlier. Tossing the three Rockets a mock salute, she revved the engine. “You heard the man, kids. It’s been fun, but places to be, you know.” Starting forward, she’d already picked up a blurring speed by the time the first civilians—a group of four people probably averaging a little under her own age—arrived on the scene, and she paid them no mind as she passed by.

They were back at the base much more surreptitiously than they’d entered town, and Cass pulled the bike into the underground parking garage, hopping off and killing the ignition in a smooth movement. Glancing behind her, she shrugged. “Come on then; let’s see if pretty boy and the ghost made it back while you had fun. And find the first aid kit while we’re at it; you look like you could use it.”


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Kojiro Takashi (WIP:Poke History) Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait:
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"I would," Junko paused as she glanced towards the sky, a small smile creeping onto her face. Zeki pushed her head back down, urging Junko to accept the help. "appreciate that," she continued. It wasn't long before they reached Saffron City, a place Junko remembered a bit too well. She had challenged Sabrina to a gym battle and lost...ten times. It was an embarrassment for her and she couldn't help but lightly laugh at the memory.

A loud crash and the sudden disappearance of Ravenna's Lucario caused Junko to stare in the direction they both ran off towards. She quickly recalled Zeki into her pokeball and ran after Ravenna. She caught up to the pink haired girl, and as a motorcycle sped by, it felt as if time had stopped the moment she was beside it. Locks of unkempt black hair, eyes closed, but the couldn't be?

The motorcycle sped past, leaving Fio and the others standing in a heavily-damaged clearing with a trio of windswept-looking individuals wearing the uniform of Team Rocket, though the one with the blue hair was eying his speculatively, as though something new had just occurred to him. Ravenna wasn't exactly sure what to do, but she figured that maybe one of them might have some indication as to where Bill's pokemon had been taken. She could try to mentally intrude and find the infromation, but minds were complex things, and unless they were thinking about it anyway, she probably wouldn't have any luck. Plus... they looked kind of grey, and she felt a bit sorry for them because of that. She turned to glance behind her, to see if any of the others had followed, or if she might maybe have to find them again. They did all have the respective XTranciever or Pokegear numbers by now, she supposed.

"Kojiro," Junko whispered as her head snapped in the direction the bike took off in. She ignored the devastated area and zoned in on the three flabbergasted grunts, the bright red R staining their shirts. Quickly, she made her way towards the three and her hands shot out to the first one in reach, grabbing him by the collar of his shirt and pulling him up to meet her crimson gaze.

"Who was that!?" she demanded, hands situated firmly on the collar. "Where are they going!?" by now her eyes were on the brink of malice. Her mind seemed to close off towards any danger she might be in. All she cared about was getting the information she needed. If there was a slight possibility that had been Kojiro, she wanted to find out. Before he could answer though, a lumbering figure came from behind her and took the goon's collar's from the lady's hands. "Please. Allow me, lovely," Kenji said, wrapping a branch like arm around the neck of the Rocket grunt. Meanwhile, Light bounded off of Kenji's trouble watched the other two goons intently for any sign of trouble.

"Now listen carefully buddy. I expect you'd better answer the nice lady, else I'll have to twist your head off like a toothpaste cap," Kenji warned, tightening his grip. Sure, the information might have been gleaned better by negotiation and subtlety, but Kenji was neither in a negotiating mood, nor was he any shade of subtle. Junko didn't seem too fond of negotiating either-- thus why he lent a helping hand (or arm, considering). Sure they could be in danger, Light was awefully small to be guarding two Rocket goons, but then again, danger never did phase Kenji. Rather, he basked in it, wallowing like a newborn in it's crib. The information Junko wanted seemed to be important-- to her-- and that's all that mattered right now.

Kael strode up behind the others and put on an unusal slight frown for his face. Junko's demeanor had completely changed in a matter of a few moments between the bike they had all seen speed by, and seeing the Rockets as she inquired into the identity of the riders. "Easy," he said coming up and pulling her away from the Rocket as Kenji stepped in to take over the slightly more agressive interrogation. "They'll talk."

In his statement, he was fairly confident. Rockets weren't exactly known for their courage and undying loyalty. Still, he had no idea how Junko was feeling, he could only imagine one of his own siblings missing and staring down someone with a chance of finding out where they were. These Rockets might be in a lot worse shape if that were the case.

Kenji had the Rocket in his grasp well under control and Kael couldn't help but call a little counter-productive encouragement to the big man. "Maybe popping his head off will put these other two in a more talkative mood?" Leaving Junko for the moment, Kael stepped up and brought his face close to the helpless Rockets' in Kenji's grasp and pushed his eyepatch up to reveal his eye. " could always just start talking. You see, this guy has a temper when he doesn't get what he wants." Kael pointed a finger at his damaged eye. "He did this because I wouldn't give him an apple, and he likes me, imagine what he'll do to you..."

Kael figured he had enough fun with his scare tactics and stepped back over to Junko to give her a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder as he replaced the patch. He joined Ravenna and watched the other two Rockets along with Kenji's Pokemon. "You alright?" He asked the pale girl.

Ravenna's mouth was set into a thin line, her lips compressed tightly, and she was surveying the scene through half-lidded eyes. This wasn't nice; not at all, and she didn't like the yellowness of it. She could feel the fear of the Rocket in the headlock, and the anger and wariness of his companions. She was opening her mouth to say something, though whether in response to Kael's question or to make the suggestion that they ask nicely before assuming that the people before them would be hostile to sharing what they knew. It was understandable, in a way-- Junko was clearly in distress, but... that didn't justify acting like the bullies in the situation. This was why people didn't like Team Rocket, after all.

Perhaps fortunately, she was cut off by the other Rockets. "Dammit, chill out, man. We've got no idea who those people were," the blue-haired male said quickly, glancing down at his bespectacled friend under the violent one's arm. His companion, the dark-eyed female, nodded vigorously, flinching a bit and shifting from foot to foot repeatedly. She seemed to be constantly in motion, that one, and her color was a nervous yellow-green. "Not before today's operation, and we don't have a name or anything. Just--"

"--Team Cataclysm," the man with glasses finished, looking a little bit purplish over the cheekbones. "Gave us... business cards. Wanted to... recruit us." He seemed to know better than to struggle, and Ravenna placed her hands on her hips and fixed Kenji with a mild look that was supposed to be stern but succeeded only in looking a bit like a slightly-irritated Skitty or Emolga or something. Still, the message was clear enough, if perhaps not very strongly-worded: please let him go now. Kenji shrugged and acquiesced, dropping the goon to the ground before dusting his hands off. "Glad we didn't have to get too violent," He said before holding his hand out. "The card, if you please? Else pop goes the Buizel," Ravenna sighed slightly, but said nothing.

"Here ya go!" Fujiko said, flinching again when Finn hit the ground with an obvious oomph, signifying that the wind had more or less been knocked out of him. Handing over the card, which really didn't say much, she shrugged and helped Eric get Finn to his feet. "Can we go now?" the latter asked, getting his feet under him and using his hand to push his glasses up his nose. "It's not like we had a prolonged chat; he and a bunch of wackos attacked our base this morning, then left. We battled, end of story." The card itself was a simple affair, black in color and inked in gold. Astrid Valentine, Consultant, it read, though exactly what kind of consultant this person was wasn't clear. There was a number below the name, but nothing else at all.

Junko was slightly startled when Kenji took the grunt from her hands, locking him inbetween his biceps and squeezing slightly. It didn't take long for the Rocket members to spill the information that Junko wanted, and when the card was handed over, she quickly scanned it for any recognizable names. There were none that she had seen, only a Astrid Valentine and the name: Team Cataclysm. She rose an eyebrow at the name, slightly confused. There was a new group? Her head snapped towards Kael as he gave her a reassuring squeeze on her shoulder, eliciting a sigh from her before she dropped her shoulders.

"I don't know if we should let them go, or let Officer Jenny deal with them," she stated, shoving her hands down her pockets and trying not to kick one of the grunts. She was still angry at the fact that she didn't recognize the man on the motorcylce and the fact that these rockets hardly knew anything. It really wasn't their fault, but Junko didn't feel like letting them off so easily. "Ugh, this is leading us no where!" she shouted in frustration, combing her hands through her hair. She glanced between her companions and then towards the grunts. Something seemed a bit off; she couldn't quite tell and she sighed in defeat.

"Well, we still need to find out where Bill's pokemon are at," she stated, calming herself as she thought about any hope of finding Kojiro. She made a promise to Bill, although second, and she was going to follow it through. She'll call the number later and find out where the base was located. If the man she spotted was part of Team Cataclysm, then perhaps they might be holding him somewhere. Or maybe that was him?

Kael looked from Ravenna, to the Rockets, and back to Ravenna again. Lifting his shoulders slightly, he let out a slightly audible sigh. She was clearly unhappy at how the situation was being handled, and he could see why, but they were Rockets. They had chosen a path of crime in their own right and any consequences that followed.

At seeing Junko calming down slightly, Kael smiled approvingly. She's handling it better than I would... he thought to himself. Still eyeing the Rockets as she spoke of handing them over to the authorities, an idea sprang to his head when the mention of Bill's Pokemon were mentioned. "I dunno," he said as he crouched down to the eye level of the Rocket on the ground, "maybe we should just hand them over to Officer Jenny. Doesn't seem like they have anything useful to say after all. Unless..." He let his gaze wander up to the woman who had spoken out before, clearly a bit more intelligent than her counterparts. "My friend here is referring to a Rocket incident earlier at the Cape of Cerulean. You wouldn't happen to know anything about it would you? It's okay if you don't, I'm sure the lovely Miss Officer Jenny will have other questions for you to answer at the police station."

Resuming his standing position, he let the Rockets think it over and stepped back near the others once more. Looking to the frowns on Ravenna and Junko's faces, he let a grin spread across his face once more. "C'mon, cheer up! Let's not let some Rocket's ruin our day!"

"Cerulean Cape?" Finn replied, looking faintly perplexed. "I don't know about any operation near Cerulean. The boss doesn't always tell the left hand what the right hand is doing, you know? In case something like this happens." He shrugged, glancing back and forth between the others and the group of youths in front of them. It looked like these people would be calling the cops; fortunately, they didn't know that he and possibly Fujiko still had pokemon to use. For now, though, he gave no indication of this, instead choosing to cast his eyes about this way and that, looking for any features of the environment that might be helpful. If worst came to worst, Eric could probably just release Hippowdon and cook up another sandstorm...

"Easy there Sketch, don't go gettin' any funny ideas," Kenji told the Rocket Goon. Kenji had seen Finn's shifty eyes scan the area, and he knew what they usually entailed-- he'd been the proud owner of those particular eyes once upon a time. However, Kenji seemed nonplussed about the whole ordeal, and in fact seemed more like a dissappointed parent than anything else. Crossed arms and toe-tapping included. Light had wandered her way back to Kenji and leapt to her perch on his shoulder, also staring down at the Rocket, though much less seriously than her trainer. In fact, she seemed a bit bored about everything. "Sounds like a magnificent job you got here, chief. Always worried about the cops, leaders keepin' stuff from you, those tacky-ass outfits they make you wear... The pay's got to be killer." Kenji rattled off.

"Are we stayin' or are we goin'? Bill's stuff isn't gettin' any closer," Kenji called back to the trio behind him. They had bigger things to worry about than these small fry.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kouji Ichigaara Character Portrait: Mykeisha Bruma Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Atomsk Walker Character Portrait: Kael Skye
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#, as written by Azazel

"I agree, they obviously are not the ones we need...probably too ignorant to have information entrusted to them," Junko stated flatly to Kenji's question. As she made to turn around towards the city, the call of her name stopped her in her tracks and she turned towards the source. Messy black hair and familiar blue eyes caused Junko's own eyes to widen a bit before narrowing dangerously thin. She stampered towards the male, her finger pointed towards him in what was supposed to be an intimidating appearance.

"You!" she shouted, as she poked the male in his chest, "You left me there without a word! Do you know how long I stayed at that clearing waiting for you!" her voice growing a decibel with each word. She resisted the urge to slap Atomsk as her hand flew up. She placed it down at her side before sighing. Turning towards her group, she shook her head before returning her attention towards Atomsk.

"You and I have a lot to catch up on, but we have other pressing matters at hand. Our business will have to wait," she spoke, her tone in a flat, monotonous style. In all honesty she was seething. He had told her to meet him the day before Kojiro disappeared at a small clearing. It was one of her favorite spots as a child as the three of them used to stare at the stars, counting them, naming them, silly things like that. She waited for hours and he never showed. Kovaa had woken her up the next day as she had fallen asleep in the clearing, waiting for Atomsk to appear. It seemed important, at least to him and she was furious when he never showed.

Atomsk smiled. Strangly enough, he enjoyed the scolding. Just like old times. She turned away and put her attention on the Rocket Grunts once more. He looked forward to talking to her. He walked up behind her and wrapped a single arm around her shoulders. He gave her a tight hug. "It's good to see you again." He said, leaning down so he could whisper it to her.

He let go, and walked over to a nearby building. He leaned up against it, observing from a distance. He made sure he was in sight, that way Junko knew he wasn't going to run. It was then that Nano began yelling at him. He looked down to the Pokémon. She looked upset. He leaned his head to the side, a signal to jump onto his shoulder. Nano complied, and began playfully chewing on his ear once she was a top her perch, She growled angrily. Atomsk could tell she was jealous. He raised his hand to pet the small Eevee. She ceased her chewing and enjoyed Atomsk's affection, although it was clear on her face that she was still unhappy.

Atomsk looked intently at the group. He knew what he had been ordered to do. Saving the grunts. But he had no such plans. He was going to let them be captured. This was a small act of defiance. All he would allow himself. He wondered what Junko and her companions would do to them. He pushed the thought from his mind. Not really caring in all honesty. They were Team Rocket. Scum as far as he was concerned. Although he was no better. He smiled to himself. He couldn't be sad now. Junko was here. He looked forward to catching up.

A woman stood among the trees, off of the clearing, and grinned, a Beautifly fluttering around her, despite such a Pokemon not being native to Kanto. Clearly Atomsk had some kind of connection with Mystery Woman. Mykeisha always felt as if she needed to 'know things' about mysterious people, probably out of, and her Boss was first on that list, and if she was bored again, she'd find stuff about her seemingly not-as-interesting teammates. She'd gotten a clue Atomsk was involved with him in some way. Of course, she wasn't a direct person, and Atomsk wasn't the most open of people either. So, she got most information by eavesdropping all the time, and the fact she was a ghost really helped with that, which is why she could simply stand in semi-clear view and simply observe behind people, or even in front of them, though the latter wasn't the case. She was only interested in Atomsk's peculiar decisions and the identity of the mystery woman, whom of which Mykeisha knew little else than her existence. Of course she had yet to notice somebody else whom of which would have been much more important to her.

Kael eyed the man as he walked into view with a little more caution than he normally would have when dealing with strangers. The man's whole demeanor seemed to scream shady to Kael. The fact that the guy didn't seem at all at odds with the fact that there were three members of the most notorious criminal band in the region was a clear warning indicator in his eyes. Or eye rather... He thought ruefully.

Junko seemed to know the man though as she stalked over and, less than subtly, began greeting the newcomer. Even with her obvious knowledge of the man, Kael frowned. He wondered if it might be her brother she spoke of finding, but dismissed the fact based on the way she was dealing with the appearance of the new guy. Kael leaned a little closer to Ravenna to see what her thoughts were regarding this new development. "Who do you suppose he is?" Even though the man didn't appear all that hostile, Kael still kept a hand close to his belt, ready to call on his own Pokemon in a moment's notice.

Ravenna looked a bit distracted, though her eyes were fixed on what was quite obviously an emotional reunion. She didn't need empathy to tell her that. But that man... he was such a dull shade of blue-grey, as though he'd once been brighter, but all the color had bled right out of him. She almost didn't notice, though, because something pinged on the edge of her awareness, the sensation of another's presence. It would have gone unnoticed in a city as large as this, with a population so dense, but it was too familiar for her not to notice. And yet... it couldn't be. Surely, her mind was playing tricks on her. Kei was dead. She'd dreamed her friend's demise as though she'd lived it, and the end had felt so final. Kei had known she was going to die, and then there had been only blackness. It was a nightmare that still gave her shudders, and unconsciously, Ravenna brought her hands up to wrap around her biceps, as though trying to ward off the cold.

She might have even turned around, but Kael spoke then, and the question let her focus on something much less worrisome than old memories. Tilting her head to one side owlishly, she blinked as he walked away, taking up residence against the side of a building. "A Minun to a Plusle," she said softly. A friend, perhaps even a counterpart; it was too muddled to tell. Feelings weren't things she always understood, even if she could detect them, and in the end, Junko's irritation overpowered nearly everything but the affection anyway. The depth of that, she couldn't gauge, but it seemed important.

It was all a few too many developments for her, perhaps, and with the niggling sensation of being watched in the back of her mind, she chewed absently on her lip and turned back to the Rocket Grunts. By now, though, they weren't alone. Of course not; the events had caused major structural damage, and people were beginning to gather. In the distance, she could hear police sirens-- in all likelihood, someone had called in the officers. The Grunts were by now looking very uncomfortable, but clearly too frightened of Kenji to risk running away. The blond one felt resigned, if irritated, and the other two weren't even thinking clearly enough to read, probably as overwhelemed by the goings-on as she was. The milieu of emotion and thought here was making her feel faintly nauseous, and she swallowed thickly.

"The police will be here soon," she announced, seemingly to everyone and no one simultaneously. "Maybe we should..." she stopped, truly unsure as to how to continue the thought. Press on to Vermillion? Would Junko's friend want to come? Would the others prefer to stay? She found herself unable to ask the questions, her brain addled by the intensity of what was occurring.

"Yeah, I suggest we book it. The fuzz gives me the jitters and I don't like the look we're paintin'. The last thing I want is to be affliated with these fools," Kenji suggested, backing away from the trio of Rocket's and back toward his own group. The first thing he noted was the arrival of a stranger pairing off with Junko. This earned an arched eyebrow from Kenji and a look to Light. Both shrugged at each other in unison. "Yappin' isn't gettin' us anywhere quick, so let's get this show on the road, yeah? I say we leave these stiffs to their own devices." Kenji posited. He really didn't want to have anything to do with the police. "Dunno, but we can find out later," Kenji answered Kael.

"We still got a job to do, and we can't do it if we're bein' questioned."

"Yeah, because everyone loves talking about everything and nothing all at once," Junko replied to Kenji. She turned her attention towards Ravenna as she spoke up. Taking a final glance towards Atomsk through the corners of her eyes, she returned her attention towards Ravenna and smiled. "We should press on towards Vermilion. We should leave these guys," Junko stated, jabbing her thumb in the direction of the grunts, "to Officer Jenny," she finished, crossing her arms against her chest. She tossed a glance over her shoulder towards Atomsk.

"If you are coming with us, I suggest you come introduce yourself to the group. I am not doing that for you," she shouted over her shoulder and smiled back to the group. "Shall we?" she asked as she began walking away from the group. She didn't want to waste any more time by standing around doing absolutely nothing to help further her goal. And to find Bill's Pokemon of course.

Kouji departed the Mart a few supplies wealthier, and Croqua gaining a berry to hold onto. Croc was especially vulnerable to to status infections, so Kouji figured that a Chesto Berry would help his developing immune system some. As he began to reunite with Atomsk, however, he noticed that the pair of them had suddenly become quite a handful!

Not really attempting to stay out of sight, himself and Croc stood at the outskirts of the Mart. Kouji was a fair distance away, but still close enough to make out significant features in each of the new faces. Closest to Atomsk was a female trainer whose posture signified a persona of confidence. He heard her say something in an irritated tone towards his companion, though he couldn't decipher anything coherent.

"That's gotta be the chick Atomsk was ordered to tail..." Kouji reasoned, seeing only one other girl present.

Other girl? Kouji's eyes were immediately drawn to the trainer farther back, closer to the red-haired trainer. Her stance seemed withdrawn, indicating that she felt withdrawn, or at least introverted from the rest of her companions.

Before he could indulge in this girls beauty, however, Kouji was drawn to the other two trainers present. He wasn't so much interested in the brawny guy, but rather the crimson-haired trainer who stood comforting this beauty. He seemed familiar, though he couldn't put his finger on why exactly...

There was a lot to think about- it didn't help that the group appeared to be moving. Police sirens could be heard in the distance, and as the group pressed onward, the apprehended Rocket Grunts came into sight. It was here that Kouji needed orders- should he stay behind and be Atomsk's backup, or head back to HQ? He stayed within eyesight- if the other members saw him, then so be it, but he needed confirmation from his "leader" now on what his priorities should be. As curious as Kouji was now about these 'friends' of Atomsk, Kouji's task was complete.

"Wait, what?!"

He blurted out the statement without thinking as Junko called out to the 'scruffy' newcomer leaning against a building. Kael had been, rather enthusiastically, nodding along as Kenji suggested leaving the site and the grunts behind to continue on their own 'errand' while dodging the, arduously long, questions of the local police; but his nodding was interrupted as the new individual was invited over and, even more so, to accompany them. Junko seemed to know him, but still....

His arrival seemed to be all too convenient in Kael's mind. Perhaps the appearance of the Rockets and the days' events were starting to get to him and he was possibly becoming paranoid, or maybe Ravenna's '...Minun to a Plusle..." comment was still lingering in his head as well. But the nagging feeling persisted in the back of his mind when he looked over the man once more. "Hmph..." Kael let out the sound without warning as he gave up on trying to rationalize everything. "Let's just go, this waiting around is starting to grate on..."

He left his sentance trail off as he caught the sight of someone standing out from the scenery. The wiry, black-haired youth stood staring at their group from a distance, not showing any signs of coming closer or retreating. At first, Kael thought the guy was curious about three Rockets in the middle of the streets, but his eyes seemed to be locked on to where Ravenna and Kael stood, a bit away from the Rockets.

Not remembering a time anyone had stared at Kael for more than a few seconds before averting their eyes, he surmised the man must be staring at the pink-haired woman next to him. Kael lifted his eye again as he realized he had just been 'checking her out' himself as he mulled the question over in his head. "Uh..." he tapped Ravenna lightly on the shoulder and pointed in the direction of the man, "I think you have an admirer..."

"You sure he ain't yours champ? You're quite the handsome catch," Kenji teased as he followed Junko away from the center of trouble they've found themselves in. In his eyes, the further away from the fuzz, the better.

"Eh?" Ravenna emerged from her distracted thought process at the statement, following the direction Kael was indicating, trying to decide if she recognized the person there. But she didn't, and she shook her head. "I don't think so," she replied simply, if with a small amout of residual puzzlement. It wasn't like she'd never been stared at before; people had done so all the time back home, largely because they thought her weird. Folk were naturally curious, and she didn't let that sort of thing bother her.

That said, this situation was hardly the most comfortable overall, and her shoulders slumped in visible relief when the group started moving again by consensus. The man Junko had spoken to hadn't moved yet, but she knew, in that strange way she sometimes knew things, that the faded fellow would not be leaving them quite yet. Being a relatively trusting sort, she shared none of Kael's reservations about this. Junko, despite her words, did not seem uneasy to have him around, and that was enough for her, at least for the moment. Maybe, when they were further away from the crowd and all the distraction, she'd put her more unique talents to use, but they were all but pointless with so many people in such close proximity, all of them feeling one thing or another with strength: anxiety, suspicion, curiosity... it was a heady mix, certainly.

Eager to be away from this place, Ravenna spared one last look for the Rockets and followed in the wake of Junko and Kenji, already anticipating the relative peace and quiet of the road. She'd not quite expected this much excitement when she'd awoken this morning, that was for sure.

To Mykeisha's disappointment, she could hardly hear a word of what any of these people were saying. Not to mention that nothing hugely interesting was going on, the most intriguing thing was probably the tied up Rocket grunts (and perhaps one of the girls had some of the most beautiful pink hair she'd ever seen). She contemplated letting them escape, but decided against it. Mykeisha decided it was best to return to the base, so she could eat, and hopefully something interesting was going on. That was how Mykeisha operated, to her own amusement, which came in the form of curiosity. However, witnessing a fellow spy, she decided there was one more thing she could do, and hid behind a tree.

"Hello, Mister Stalker." the ghost woman's voice greeted behind Kouji, in a similar matter as she did to Atomsk, being rather close to him like the creeper she was. How she ended up there as if she appeared out of thin air was unexplainable beyond the Pokémon universe.

Mykeisha's sudden appearance quite startled the usually un-flappable Kouji, though her meddlesome demeanor hardly surprised him. Croc was even more startled, to the point that he began angrily chattering at her, bearing his fearsome teeth with hopes of intimidating her. "Oh my," she responded to the pokemon in false astonishment, bringing fan up to her face.

"You're lucky I didn't bring my sword- with my reflexes the way they are, I might've cut you in two..." Kouji retorted, quickly withdrawing Croc to avoid drawing further attention to himself, "And I'm not stalking anybody. Atomsk is in charge of the op- I'm waiting for his word while observing these other guys. They look friendly enough, but you can't be too sure."

" And again I am asked the question of why a Psyduck gets a headache when another one already has, I've already taken care of it." she responded.

Kouji scratched his head, "And I had been doing so well avoiding this crazy chick...oh well, may as well indulge her and be done with it..."

He was in no way interested in anything this bizarre officer had to say- still, if Atomsk was simply going to send the two back to HQ, it may be good to get in cozily with another officer should things turn sour. Kouji's recent conversation with Atomsk left him with the impression that not all was what he thought Team Cataclysm would be. Not that he didn't have his suspicions before- he simply needed to hear it from a fellow member.

Mustering all of the patience and mock interest he could, Kouji spoke, "So, Mykeisha, what brings you here? Atomsk was pretty deadset on doing this op alone- I imagine curiosity got the better of you?" He made sure to take a few steps back, being understandably uncomfortable next to the woman who believed she was dead.

"Well, I could ask the same question, but as I said about the Psyducks..." she faltered a bit and gazed at Atomsk. "A servant like yourself wouldn't mind doing one task for me, call it a dying will, if you may." she played with her fan and glanced at him. "After all, we had so much fun this morning without you, right? You must be becoming like me to do something new and exciting, right?"

Kouji went from confused to irritated in a matter of milliseconds. He had learned to simply go with the flow when she started spouting off nonsense like the bizarre Psyduck analogy, but he wasn't too keen on being referred to as a servant. It was bad enough that he was technically supposed to take orders from her, but being belittled at her expense was where he drew the line. Especially when he was fairly sure that he was every bit her equal in a fight.

"Let's get something clear- I can't do anything about you pulling rank, but nowhere in my contract did it say I had to put up with being called your servant. I'm getting paid to fight Rockets and run ops for you guys, not put up with your bullshit." Kouji paused to let himself cool down- he was usually good about keeping his emotions in check, but something about this bizarre woman rubbed him the wrong way.

Composing himself, he calmly replied, " any case, it sounds like this 'task' of yours is gonna be more of an order. If that's the case, I'm all ears."

Mykeisha frowned under her blue and pink 'mask', but then went back to smiling, as if never offended at all. "Ever hear the expression, 'ghosts have no mouths'? Anyway, I was hoping you'd follow Atomsk, if you please, for the Boss's sake, perhaps? He's not in trouble, but I want you to report his actions to me whenever possible, alright?" she ended with a light smile, but then she turned to face away from Kouji.

Kouji put both of his hands into the pockets of his black dress pants, putting the weight on his hind leg. Was Mykeisha serious? Why would she be interested in the happenings of Atomsk? Even more curious still was why she was asking him to do it, when she was more than capable of spying herself. Either way, Kouji wasn't having any of it, and he had justification to refuse this order.

"Sorry, but maybe you missed the part where I mentioned my contract. Spying on my colleagues has nothing to do with overthrowing the Rockets." He paused a moment to reflect on the fact that she mentioned Kojiro, "If Kojiro's got suspicions that Atomsk might be a Rocket, then I'll go and hear it from his own mouth."

He had no delusions that Atomsk was an enemy, as it contradicted all of his observations- this was simply to get Mykeisha off of his case. Still, he grounded himself a bit more- he wasn't sure how Mykeisha would react. She always seemed to have her own agenda, and he wouldn't put it past her to react a little more violently. Calmly standing a bit taller, he would put the ball in Mykeisha's court, "I think we're done here, unless you've got something else for me?" He sincerely hoped that the former was not the case.

"Do you honestly think I signed any contracts to become this?!" she shouted, not daring to turn around or make a move. She went silent for a few seconds, but then spoke up again, her voice wavering slightly, "N-no, It's okay... I can do it myself..." She paused again, standing like a statue facing the crowd she was watching before, at Atomsk, the mystery woman, the pink-hair, the big guy and the cyclops. She turned her head slightly and looked back at Kouji. "I only ask you this; Do you want to become stronger?"

Kouji was once again taken very much off guard, even jumping a little at her sudden outburst. Kouji was used to seeing Mykeisha engaging in her own idiosyncratic devices, but now she seemed almost vulnerable. Kouji retraced his words, trying in vain to figure out what the catalyst was for her abrupt distress. He could tell that something was genuinely troubling her, but he hadn't enough information (nor enough motivation) to decipher what.

He only became more puzzled as the question about becoming stronger escaped her lips. Kouji caressed Bignacious's Pokeball, fearing that anything he responded with might send her down a more violent outburst. Rational wordplay was all but lost on this one, so it seemed.

Kouji decided that it would be prudent to be frank with her on this answer, fearing that antagonizing her any more would draw unwanted attention.

"Stronger, huh? There's a loaded question. I guess I could warn you that curiosity killed the cat, but apparently death has no real hold over you these days..." The quip was intended to give him some time to ponder the surprisingly deep question, "I guess my quest for strength started with Dad. I never cared much for any sort of confrontation- Pokemon battles, arguments, debates, they were all kind've a drag. I only took up battling as a way to get Dad's attention. At least, that's how it started. Our Pokeball shop got hit by some Rocket Thugs back when I was just getting started. Nobody was hurt- nobody that mattered anyway. But watching my Dad fight them- I guess that's when I knew my purpose. All my life, I kinda stood by the sidelines, never picking a side or standing for anything for fear of stepping on someones toes. Dad fights to be the worlds best Dragon Trainer- I guess I fight for myself."

He paused for a moment, "Well, I guess I can give myself a little more credit than that. I guess Pokemon training was sort've my way of making a stand. If I could battle, I could protect what was most important to me. At the time it was my family, but now that I'm here, I guess I have some crazy notion that I'm gonna make some sort of noble contribution to getting rid of an evil syndicate. I'm not looking for glory- I'm just tired of standing on the sidelines."

He made eye-contact with his superior, "So I guess the answer to your question is 'yes.' I do, in fact, wanna become stronger. Why do you ask?"

Mykeisha was close to being teary-eyed from Kouji's story. Listening to the life story of a living man was not too different from listening to that of a dead one, but rather, instead of ending in eternal regret or peace, the story had a continuance. It also caused Mykeisha to remember she had not spoken with real ghosts in a very long time.

She rotated her head more so her eyes would meet his. "As long as you have the resolve to get stronger, you're good enough for this Team. If you do it to protect someone, that is true honor." If only she had another protecting her that time, not just another Pokemon, but another human, then just maybe...

Mykeisha was a paragon of unpredictability this day! Kouji was astonishingly at a loss for words, simply because he had no idea how to read this woman!

"Geez, one minute she's talking down to me like I'm some sort of puppet, then the next, she's trying to build me up as some sort of hero...what in the world is her angle in all of this?"

Sensing no malice or ulterior motives to her words, Kouji responded in kind, "Um...well, thank you Mykeisha." He wasn't used to talking about himself at this length, so he wasn't really sure how to react to someone's judge of his character. Still, as grudging as it was considering the source, he was a little relieved to hear some genuine words of encouragement.

He would've felt bad not returning her sentiments, but given the nature of their relationship, he didn't feel he had a lot to say. The girl believed that she was dead- for all he knew, she may interpret a compliment as an insult! Still, ever preferring forgiveness afterwards in favor of permission beforehand, he would try his luck.

"Look, I know we aren't exactly the best of friends, and I can't really sympathize with you. But empathy is something I've gotten good at over the, uh, I hope things start looking up for you." Kouji decided that this whole encouragement thing was something he dreadfully needed work on.

Atomsk smiled at the invitation. The perfect excuse to tag along. He planned on doing a little sweet talking, but it turned out to be unneccesary. Atomsk looked to Junko and her group of companions. "Hey give me one second to tell my friends! I'll be right back." Atomsk turned tail, and briskly jogged over to Kouji and Mykeisha. The two were talking, and Atomsk didn't particularly care what it was about. He looked to the two of them, speaking up as to grab their attention. "Hey you two! I'm going a ways farther with these guys. Why don't you head back? All three of us missing would leave us vulnerable. Especially an officer. I'll head on alone." How I wanted it in the first place, he thought to himself.

Mykeisha frowned. Them going elsewhere meant it was about impossible to track them. Not to mention Kouji refused to take on her task, of which she'd issued precisely for this type of situation. However, Mykeisha was never, ever, the one at lost, as she did have another plan. "But what of your task?"

"I'm performing my task. I'm following the girl. I never planned on saving the grunts. It is far too risky, and the information I'm likely to obtain is invaluable. I'm not going to give up this oportunity for just three grunts." He paused to think. Maybe these guys coming along had some use. "Since I'm going this part alone, you guys can make yourselves useful, and we can fulfill both parts of this mission with some bonus to boot. Considering the size of Saffron City and the previously huge occupation that Team Rocket had here, I'm sure that there are more then just those three Grunts that you will find locked up. I know it's risky, but if you two could stage a jail break, we would not only be releasing potentially hundreds of Grunts, we'd also be giving them a reason to come over to the side of Cataclysm. You think you two are up for the challenge?"

"Ask the Boss for large scale things, but I'm not up to that sort of thing..." Mykeisha responded. At that, she simply started walking in the direction of the base. Her appetite at that time as equal to that of the human energy consumption rate.

Kouji couldn't help but feel that Atomsk was simply saying "Piss off" in a very candycoated manner. Even more ineresting was Atomsk, no higher up on the chain of command than Kouji himself, was giving orders to an officer. It was a day of strange occurrences, and as curious as Kouji was about the emergence of this new group and their relation to everything, he decided that today was not the day to solve this mystery.

Instead, he decided that it may be prudent to take advantage of this offer presented to him. All this time he had waited for someone to ask him to do his job- with Atomsk's proposal, he would do one better in that he could make a significant splash without having been "officially" told.

As soon as Mykeisha brushed aside the proposal, Kouji chimed in, "I'll do it. This op isn't an official order, right? I'm low man on the totem pole, so I've got less to lose than Mykeisha does. She can go back to HQ and relay all that's happened here. I'll stage the jailbreak- one man will be easier to breach the prison with, or if worse comes to worse, it'll be easier for just me to escape."

Not that he was particularly interested in making any friends, (or for that matter, springing Rockets from prison,) but this act of unsolicited servitude might grant him the loyalty and trust of some of the higher-ups. Kouji didn't care to be in the dark, and to that end, would do anything to find the truth.

"Well then by all mean Kouji. In the meantime..." He turned around and began walking back towards the group. He paused, before he was out of earshot, and turned back. "Thanks for earlier Kouji. It was......nice!" Atomsk turned away, and walked back to Junko's group. "Since I'm tagging along, I'm Atomsk." He said without looking at anyone in particular. He was far too nervous. At this point, he didn't care if Junko knew. He stuck a cigarette in his mouth and lit it up, calming himself greatly.


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It didn't take the group long to leave the bounds of Saffron after that, and as far as Ravenna was concerned, this was just as well. The sheer amount of psychic interference around the battle-zone had been more than she was honestly capable of handling, and even now, her nausea was only just fading. She was focused, for the most part, on taking deep, steady breaths, centering herself and calming her mind. It was one of the first things the crones had taught her, and still one of the trickiest. For all that, though, she was bolstered by the comforting presences of the people beside her, and it was nice to not be dealing with problems like this on her own for once. Truth be told, she rarely ventured into such populous areas alone, as even the assistance of her pokemon wasn't always enough.

Castor still walked close to her feet, and she could feel the guilt rolling off him in waves. He was a little impulsive and very courageous, her Lucario, and sometimes that landed them in interesting situations. She smiled down at him and shook her head. Not your fault, my friend. He was a bit skeptical of this, so she reached down and scratched behind his ear, an action which tended to soothe the both of them.

The road southward was just as sunny and hot as the one they'd taken to get this far, though she would readily admit she was looking forward to seeing the sea, and maybe there would be time to go stand on the docks in Vermillion and watch the ships come in. She'd never been on a ship, but it sounded nice. Peach-pink, in fact. Glancing around, she noted that the majority of the group was for the moment walking in silence, something that she could already tell was a bit unusual. She wondered if she should say something to somone, but as usual, she knew not what would work here. It seemed that she was doomed to be one of those people who knew when to speak, but never what to say.

Leaving Saffron was bittersweet in Kael's eyes, or rather eye. Even in Johto there had been rumors about the city that left an odd sensation in Kael. The gym was supposed to be one of the best in Kanto and toughest for newer trainers as well as there being a dojo for fighting types that was renowned even in other regions outside Kanto. He would have at least liked to check the city out a little more as well, but leaving the Rockets behind them was something he was more than willing to do. Even with a new companion he still didn't know he was comfortable with...

But now they found themselves, once again, on their way toward Vermilion City and in search for more information on Bill's stolen Pokemon. Despite the heat, the scene they had just left behind in the city, and their new ash-smelling travel mate, Kael refused to let it all bother him and once again resumed the tune he had been humming when they left Cerulean City. To him, silence was as unsettling as anything else he could possibly imagine. And the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other was beginning to grate on his nerves more than his humming was able to compensate for. Thus, he found his mind wandering back to Bill's Pokemon.

When he and Junko had arrived, Bill looked at them like total strangers but had seemed to know the pink-hared woman now walking next to Kael. Stopping his tune, he turned his head toward her as they continued on their way. "So how well do you know Bill?" He asked, trying to strike up a bit of conversation.

She was more than a little relived that someone had taken up the unseen burden of being the first to talk, and she'd happily answer. The question even made actual sense, in a green-organic sort of way. She pondered it for a second-- how well did anyone know anyone?-- but found the words she was after in the end. "Mm... he's a family friend. My first two pokemon were his, at first, but he let me adopt them. Sometimes, I help him out with chores or something like that, just to say thanks. It seems like the right thing to do, you know?" She'd be completely lost without Artemis and Orion, they were the driving force behind so much of the person she'd become over the years. It was next to impossible to imagine life without them, and if Bill had been a little less kind, she'd be living that life, whatever sort it would be.

"Who was your first pokemon?" she asked curiously. It was actually kind of funny, how much that initial choice (or selection, as the case may be), tended to shape the experiences that came after. The answer to the question invariably said a lot about a person, though how to interpret those sayings was a separate issue all its own.

Kael smiled as Ravenna eagerly grasped at the opportunity for conversation. It was a relief that he wasn't the only person feeling the itch...

"My first?" Kael pulled out the Pokeball at his waist containing his beloved Arcanine. "Growlithe was," he said with a grin. Remembering all the fun he had with the puppy and the memories, it was hard not to. He would never admit it, but the Pokemon was more than just the evolution to his starting Pokemon Growlithe; Arcanine was his favorite, his strongest, and his most dependable. "My father gave me my Growlithe when he left, before....well..." He thought back to the last time he saw his father and the burden that was put on Kael due to the absence.

"Ah...nevermind. The Arcanine you saw a bit of before was that same Growlithe once upon a time. It's amazing how far we've both come when I think about it."

Ravenna caught the slightly-awkward drop off in conversation, but chose to let it be. She was of the opinion that if someone really wanted her to know something, they would tell her in their own time. She nodded along after the last statement though, finding that she could certainly sympathize. "That's true... it's the pokemon that evolve, but I think the people grow just as much." It didn't always end well, though; sometimes, despite her desire to believe otherwise, she was forced to remember that the world was a dangerous place, and not always kind to the innocent... it hadn't been kind to Kei, after all.

Maybe the danger was just an inherent part of what made the journey worthwhile though. Did one not need adversity to overcome? Was it worth it? Ravenna found that she couldn't say, but maybe that was all right.

"You said you're from Cherrygrove, right? I've never been to Johto. I grew up in Lavender Town, and I've visited Sinnoh and Hoenn as well. What's Johto like?"

"Johto is amazing!" Kael said with more than mild enthusiasm. Even though his memories were mixed with good and bad alike, he still had more than a healthy dose of love for his home. "There's so much to do and see." He continued. "From fishing around Cianwood or watching the waves break against the shore atop Olivine's Lighthouse to the Bug-Catching Contest outside Goldenrod. There's pretty much something for everyone."

"But, to be honest, this is the first time I've really traveled outside of Johto. Mr. Pokemon told me a few stories about places he's visited when I was younger." He paused trying to remember if there were any of Lavender Town. "There's a tower Lavender Town I mean, right? Where people pay their respects to departed Pokemon." He stopped for a moment as he tried to find a way to word the question on his mind. "I heard there are ghosts there. Ghosts of Pokemon I mean, that the tower is where they go in the afterlife..."

Suddenly realizing he was venturing into a little less upbeat topic of conversation, Kael quickly waved his hands in a sort of cancelling gesture. "That's what I hear anyway." Looking over at the Lucario walking easily beside Ravenna Kael gestured toward it. "A breeder I knew a while ago told me Lucario are very rare Pokemon and are terribly difficult to train due to their pride. You must be one talented trainer to have one as well behaved as this one."

Ravenna, picking up on the fact that Kael was slightly uncomfortable with the topic of deceased pokemon, blinked slowly and limited her reply to a simple confirmation, and a smidge of reassurance. "Yes; the tower contains the gravesites of many pokemon, and quite a few ghosts as well. It can be a morose place, and there is much sadness there, but... also much love." Who that didn't love their pokemon would go to visit the graves, after all? It was the lonely, cold ones that had always made the place seem desolate. As a child, unaware of her powers, she'd felt this loneliness keenly and thought it her, own, so real had it seemed. Compelled to visit the abandoned graves, she'd laid flowers on them, and this had soothed the sense of abandonment. Whether that was because the ghosts had felt less of it and thus passed less to her, or perhaps having something to do had made her feel less alone in her empty house was something she didn't really know for sure. Either way, that tower was a place of warmth and remembrance for her, at least.

Castor straightened at the comment, puffing out his chest a little and smiling in a lupine way, his lips stratching back from his triangular, pointed teeth. Hmph, he thought to Ravenna, this one knows what he's talking about. Ravenna snickered, hiding her smile behind a hand. "Don't say that," she told Kael in a falsely-chiding voice. "He doesn't need anymore reason to be proud of his species. Though he likes you now, I think. He says you 'know what you're talking about.'" It took her a second to register that this comment had also been a compliment towards herself, and she shook her head a bit.

"Actually, I met him by complete accident. I was camping in a cave, and all of a sudden there was this rumbling, from underneath the ground. I think only I'm so oblivious that a Steelix could sneak up on me. This guy," she nudged Castor with good humor, buffeting him gently in the back of the head, "was redder than he was blue... erm, I mean, he had more courage than sense." She caught herself using one of her odd metaphors and corrected it, this time. "He tried to rescue us all on his own, which didn't work out so well for him. I took him to a Pokemon Center, but I think what really convinced him to come along was the fact that Artemis was teasing him, and there was no way he could beat her at the time. I had relatively little to do with it."

Turning the conversation back around (albeit perhaps a tad abruptly), she continued. "It sounds lovely then, Johto. We'll have to visit sometime, won't we, Castor?" The Lucario nodded sagely. "Maybe we could even take one of those nice cruise boats..."

Kael listened intently at her explanation of how the tower really was. But couldn't supress the small laugh that followed at Ravenna as she warned him about inflating her Pokemon's ego any further. Leaning passed her, he smiled and winked at the Lucario at hearing he liked Kael now. No one could ever have too many friends, he thought. Not in his opinion anyway.

"Sure you could," he said to her expressing her interest in the cruise ships. "Johto would be lucky to have you, even if just for a visit. Who knows? Maybe after all this business with the Rockets is wrapped up, I could show you around myself." Spreading his arms wide, he made an over elaborate flourish and an awkward bow as they walked. "You know, if you aren't too bored of me by then." Returning to his upright position, he threw his hands behind his head and glanced at her out of the corner of his good eye. "Be careful though," he warned, "Johto might want to keep someone as pretty as you."

She huffed quietly through her nose in response. "I don't think any of you could ever be boring; you're too bright for that," she replied honestly. Whether the comment about being pretty was ignored or just flew right over her head was kind of difficult to determine, but the educated would have placed their guesses on the latter. She put it down to simple dramatic flourish, the flaring of gold at the edges of all that red. It was fitting that he'd known a growlithe first-- the coloration was just so, and the edges of his aura flickered like little dancing tongues of flame. It wasn't something she'd seen before; none of them were. Still, the thought of the trip was nice, and she tucked away somewhere in the back of her mind. A rainy day dream, then, to remember when the time between got difficult. She always liked to have a few of those.


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Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Atomsk Walker Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Ion


The following morning, the group rose and broke camp, Ravenna at least pleased to find that she woke quite warm, as the fire had not died overnight. Yawning and stretching her arms towards the dawning sun, she recalled all of her pokemon except Artemis, who was quite insistent that it was her turn to be out and about. Normally, she probably just would have walked with all her pokemon, but given the volume of people around her lately, she didn't want to block the entire route or anything. It was actually a funny thought, what they'd all look like with all their pokemon released and walking down the street, but she shelved it for the moment and kicked a bit of ash over the flames to bank them to nothing, throwing her bag over her shoulder.

Her hair, she'd just brush on the road, and everything else could wait until they hit Vermilion. The Pokemon Center there was bound to have rooms they could occupy for the night, not being nearly as large as Cerulean in terms of trainer population. Most of the denizens of Vermillion were artists or retirees, or at least they had been last time she was there. That was only a couple of years ago, though, so she had no reason to believe it would have changed much.

Indeed, when they at last arrived, it was to a scene quite lovely: the temperature was quite moderate today, a light summer breeze toying with their hair and the fabric of their clothing. Beyond the low-lying buildings, one could easily spot the docks and the glimmering sapphire expanse of the ocean's pristine waters. Off to the west lay the Gym, and she smiled fondly at her recollection of her battle there quite some time ago. It had been a real growing experience for her pokemon and herself both. But most of all, she had missed that ocean.

Bill had told them to seek out the police here for further information on Team Rocket, and they didn't have to look far. One of the many sisters, cousins, and aunts named Officer Jenny dashed by them even as they entered the main part of the city, holding a sheaf of document in one hand and shouting into a communicator of some kind, held in the other. Beside her, her Growlithe ran apace, looking intently in the direction she assumed the police station must be. "Well," Ravenna said airily, blinking slowly, "I suppose that must be the direction we want."

"No use standing around then," Kael said as he watched the little Growlithe running along beside Officer Jenny. It looked as if her tiny puppy was much smaller than his had been so long ago, but it could have just been him getting used to the increased size of his Arcanine. Stretching a kink out of his neck that had arisen from waking up frequently the previous night to tend to their fire, he began the steady trot after the policewoman. "Let's catch up!" He was unsure whether his enthusiasm stemmed from getting more information on their current 'mission', or the fact that he was now chasing an attractive woman...

Panting as the group reached the Police Station, Kael was amazed at how fast a woman could run in heels. "Holy crap..." he said between breaths. Reaching for the door handle, he forced himself back upright as he tugged the door open and stepped into a scene of complete and utter chaos. People ran about in every direction, papers were flying on and off desks, and it looked as if a Pidgeot had just finished whipping up a hurricane inside the building.

Eying the officer at the front desk, Kael let out a groan at seeing that it was someone other than one of the many Jenny's that littered the Police Forces. Any hope of using his charms to get the show on the road were hopelessly dashed at seeing the man. Lacking the subtle tact necessary in any situation so close after chasing a woman, Kael walked straight up to the man's desk and smacked a hand down. "Yo, Buddy! Who do we speak to around here for information on the Rockets?"

"... 'Yo buddy'[i] he says, like he owns the place. You sir, have a pair," Kenji muttered behind Kael. Never in all of his run-ins with the cops, had he ever called one buddy. It was always [i]"yes sir" or "no ma'am" or "please don't throw my ass in jail, I don't have bail money." Once over that threshold between police station and not police station, Kenji visible became more anxious. True, he hadn't done nothing wrong this time, but last time he was in a police station, he had a nice shiny pair of bracelets to go with the trip. Sure, he should have known this was going to happen, considering Bill told them, but it didn't make him any more comfortable. To his credit though, he presented himself very well. He even had a shirt on.

Even so, he tried to hide his goliath frame behind the rest of the party-- to no avail. Light saw what he was trying to do, and laughed at his plight. "If his ass gets put in jail, I vote we disown him. 'No officer, we don't know this heathen.' What do you think?" Kenji whispered to Ravenna. It was a funny joke, and maybe it helped him with the anxiety he felt. Or maybe he wasn't joking. His facial expression and tone certainly didn't do him any favors.

Ravenna fought to keep a straight face, clearing her throat a tad awkwardly. "Probably the only thing they'd arrest him for is being too... friendly?" She wasn't exactly sure what to call the demeanor Kael was going for here, and apparently neither was the officer at whom it was directed. Looking up at the hand and then following the trajectory to the face of the man with an eyepatch, he raised a single dark brow.

"That would be nobody, unless you have something more specific. We don't give out information on active investigations," he said simply, glancing the entire group over. He looked a smidge suspicious of Kenji and Atomsk, but the fact that they were in a group with two women as nonthreatening in appearance as Junko and Ravenna and a guy as... straightforward as Kael apparently eased any concern he may have had. Ravenna, for her part, felt the shifts in his emotions as he looked upon all of them in turn, and decided to press what little advantage she had in a situation like this, which was to say her slightly vacant-looking naivete.

"Please excuse us, sir," she said demurely, "but we're friends of Bill's, and his pokemon were recently kidnapped by Team Rocket. He sent us here for more information." She adjusted her own emotional barometer somewhat, sending subtle wavelengths of reassurance throughout the room, which resulted in the occasional easing of tensed shoulders or the smoothing of a creased brow, but not much more than that. Her goal wasn't to force anyone to do anything, just to help a bit.

Being a bit closer than the rest, the officer at the desk picked up on it quickly, and the slight frown he was wearing disappeared. "Look, I'm not in charge of who gets that information. I'll talk to the boss, but I can't guarantee anything. Wait here." Standing from his desk, he disappeared into an office in the back of the station, and didn't reemerge for a good ten minutes. When he did, he looked vaguely nonplussed. "The boss is really interested in meeting you," he said, tone echoing his mild surprise. "Please follow me." He led them to one end of the building, opening a meeting room for the lot of them. At the center of the room was an oval-shaped table, with black swivel chairs arranged around it. It was as yet empty; presumably, they would have to wait on this 'boss' person a bit longer yet.


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Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Atomsk Walker Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Azazel


Junko woke to Harag nudging her face, trying to get his trainer up. She pushed his head away and glanced around, noticing a majority of the group was already awake. She yawned, stretching slightly as Zeki rolled to her side, purring still as she slept. Junko poked the pokemon's side, earning an annoyed meow before picking up the Meowth that lay limp in her hands. Junko laughed as she placed Zeki onto her shoulder and recalled all of her pokemon back into their balls. She didn't do much with her appearance, just throwing her hair into a ponytail as the group made their way.

Before she knew it, they had arrived at Vermilion City. It wasn't exactly as she remembered it, but it had been awhile since she had been there. Things change over the years, and it was nice to see that the City was still somewhat familiar at least. Officer Jenny ran passed the group, her Growlithe in tow as Ravenna took the opportunity to point out the direction they needed to go in. Junko remained silent as they followed suit. Her mind was still too preoccupied with other things than to join the conversation. Although she did have to chuckle slightly at Kael's approach to the station and Kenji's response to it.

"You forget, he's a pirate remember" she whispered to Kenji as he spoke about disowning him. "When did you adopt him?" she countered. The group was led away to a room. She took a seat in one of the chairs as the others did and waited for whomever was to appear. Her interest was peaked a bit at the rather unusual reply the officer stated. They were expected.

Atomsk opened his eyes to the rest of the group getting up to continue their little venture. Atomsk took no time in waking up his friends, returning Sumo to her ball. and following the rest of the group He had missed morning training. Normally Rai and Thai would have woken him up, but they slept through it as well. It was rare, but a day off was deserved every now and then. He remained silent, not particularly concerned with many of the others. He lagged behind the group very deliberatly, popping a cigarette into his mouth every 30 minutes or so, leaving a tail of smoke to follow behind the group. His friends began to scatter as they approached Vermillion City. They almost always did this, none of his Pokémon were particularly fond of cities or people other than himself. Only Nano remained, sticking to her shoulder perch as she always did.

As they approached the police station, Atomsk made sure he was taking in his surroundings. Any information that could be gained would be useful for Kojiro. He took the cigarette from his mouth and laid it on a ledge above the door. He had just started smoking it, and he had no intention of wasting it, regardless of how long they were going to remain in there. He walked in with the rest of the group, following an officer to the back of the building. He was unaware of the situation before, but now it seemed that Bill, a genius in the world of Pokémon, had his companions stolen from him. By Team Rocket none the less. Useful information already. If Atomsk could find a way to get these Pokémon into Cataclysm's hands, they could make for some nice bargining chips for some future endeavor. At the same time, they might draw unneccesary heat onto Cataclysm. Atomsk decided to see what the best option would be. For now he sat back listening for the information he desired.

Following the others into the room, Kael chose to remain standing and took a position at the far end of the room. His 'up front' approach with the desk clerk wasn't an entirely successful venture, but had gotten the ball rolling at least. He was beginning to think he would be better suited to listening and observing while the others explained their situation as he crossed his arms and leaned his shoulder against the wall. Having only one mouth and one, useable, eye, perhaps it was better using the ears he was gifted with. At least he had two of those. 'Why couldn't everything be as straight-forward as a Pokemon battle?' he thought. 'See and act.'

Suddenly becoming consciously aware of a rock lodged inside his shoe, he decided to claim one of the chairs and sat down, trying to dislodge the small stone. Leaning in the chair further, and further, and even further still.... There was a sudden blur of movement as a wheel on the chair broke off and Kael plummeted to the floor while the chair shot from under him. He tossed the miniscule pebble away from his new position on the floor and sprawled out with his arms spread to either side of him. "Let's say that chair was broken when we got here..." He said, pushing the toppled and wheel deprived chair away from him.

"This is kind of comfortable..." Crossing his arms behind his head, Kael was content at trading his embarassment for comfort. He could always listen in from the floor he supposed. 'Enjoy the simple things....' "See? ... Heathen," Kenji repeated beneath a mask of his fingers.

Naturally, it was at that moment that the man the desk clerk had termed 'boss' decided to walk in. He didn't really look like what one would expect of such a person, maybe, though Ravenna recognized him as having the color she'd been supposing he would: steely grey, metallic and resilient. To more conventional perception, he was young, perhaps in his early thirties, and lacked the uniform stiffness of the majority of the other officers, helped along by his slightly-shaggy dark hair and the glint of precipitous intelligence in his sea-colored eyes. In short, it was a simple matter to discern that he was far from the normal cop.

Spotting Kael on the ground, he arched a black brow but said nothing, choosing instead to scan over the rest of the faces, expression unreadable. "You're the ones Bill sent? He told me to expect you." He fixated for very brief seconds on the color of Ravenna's hair, then Junko's eyes and Kael's eyepatch. Kenji's tattoos produced a nearly-impreceptible nod, but he stopped short at Atomsk. "You're not one of them." It wasn't a question.

Atosmk looked at the man with an unwavering gaze. He didn't take particularly well to this man. He didn't like him the moment he walked into the door. He gave off this air of superiority that bugged Atomsk. He had no idea if this supposed observation was dead on or completely off, but he stuck with it for now, and it meant that Atomsk didn't like the man. He had to seem like he wasn't suspicious though. He needed to be firm, but not defensive. Atomsk hated these balancing acts. Facial expretions went a long way. So did tone of voice, posture, manarisms. A lot could put Atomsk in a position where he was being suspected of something.

He responded snarkily. "I wasn't aware it was invite only. But I'm sure Junko would put me down as her plus one." Atomsk made sure to look at the officer some, and then have his eyes trail off, as if he had lost interest. He assumed that it would piss the officer off, but he also assumed that it would get and suspicion and heat off his back at the same time. Better to be hated than suspected.

"Right, now that the pissin' contest is out of the way," Kenji broke in, almost tiredly. The last thing he needed was another one of his team to get in the face of an officer. Hell, if he was going to jail, then it'd be on his terms, not because of this mouthy Atomsk or Kael's shenanigans. Light couldn't help herself but chuckle at both Kael's misfortune and Atomsk's snark. "We're here because we can help. The faster you tell us what we can do, the faster we can do it, and then the faster we can get Bill's pokemon home. I don't know about any of you, but I'd be worried about them if they were any of mine." This garnered an approving nod from Light who had migrated from his shoulder to the top of his head. It gave her a better view of the room.

"So if you'd please, officer?" Kenji said, taking a seat in his chair and motioning for the detective to do the same.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Atomsk Walker Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait:
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"Hm." If anything, the man seemed entirely bored by the whole situation, though it didn't stop him from narrowing his eyes just a bit at the attitude Atomsk had assumed. He was above such childish levels of deception, but for the moment, he didn't particularly care what the man's issue was; it was bound to be less pressing than what he was dealing with now. He turned instead to Kenji, who had spoken next, and blinked owlishly, a bit amused to be offered a seat in his own building. Still, he took it, crossing his legs underneath him, and set the manila file folder he was carrying on the glass surface of the meeting table. "For reference, I'm Steele. Ian, that is, if you prefer." He shrugged as if to say it didn't matter much to him, then flipped open the file.

"Currently, I'm head of the ARTF- the Anti-Rocket Task Force. Don't ask me who named it that-- I have no idea or I would have fired them." It was hard to tell, since he was so deadpan, but Ravenna picked up on the hint of humor and smiled, something echoed in just the barest twitch of Steele's own lips. "At any rate, we've been operational for about a year now, and our moles in the organization have been feeding us a steady diet of information. Perhaps bad for the digestion. Regardless, when Bill referred you to me, I think he may have had more in mind than helping him retrieve his own pokemon. He realizes, as I do, that Team Rocket is a menace that will not be eliminated through the usual method. So, I find myself in need of the unusual."

He paused, steepling his hands and leaning backwards in his chair to glance over the group with half-lidded eyes. "This would be entirely voluntary of course, and if you are anything less than perfectly certain of your desire to assist in this matter, you will be encouraged not to participate, but there is something you could do to help bring down Team Rocket, and in the process return Bill's pokemon to him. I will say no more unless you're interested, of course." Another small pause, then a sly half-smile. "You should know that it would be quite dangerous."

Kael listened on from his, quite comfortable, position lying on the ground as the man known as 'boss' entered the room and began rattling on with the others. In his opinion, he would have figured anyone labeled as the boss in a place like this would have at least had a slight problem with a broken chair and man lying on the ground. This man didn't seem to have a care in the world and was a little more serious than Kael would have normally liked, but he smiled nonetheless as Atomsk was pointed out as an outsider. Hell yeah he is, Kael thought. He's creepy and smells like ash.

Kael kept silent about the matter and stayed out of everything to listen as the conversation continued. That is, until the man spoke his own name. Something in the back of his mind buzzed a warning suddenly and Kael lifted his head off his hand to listen closer. He knew him from somewhere. His name sounded so familiar, but Kael couldn't quite put his finger on it. The man's last sentance seemed to trigger the connection for no apparent reason and Kael rose from his position on the floor to really look at the man.

"We can't exactly say whether we're in or not until we hear what it all entails," Kael said to the man. "Regardless, we've already started this trip, and I don't think any of us are ready to throw in the towel just yet." With the exception of Atomsk, the four of them had already dealt with Team Rocket more than most people would over the course of their lives.

Returning his gaze to the man, Kael looked him right in the eye and was sure of his thought. "But what exactly can we do that a trainer such as yourself cannot? I would think it a simple task for the former Champion of Johto's Elite Four to deal with a few Rockets."

"Well said, Cap'n," Kenji remarked, agreeing with Kael. They had come too far to just walk out the door right now. Of course, Kenji had gone further on less, but still. He wasn't the one to give up quite so easily, especially when words like "danger" are being tossed around. In fact, that was the metaphorical hook to his magikarp-like mouth-- Also metaphorical. Kenji leaned back in his own chair (careful not to smack Kael with the back of it, of course) and rested his hands on the back of his head, and by extension, behind Light. While his hands dangled back there, he went ahead and scratched her gently.

Kenji shrugged and propped a leg on top of another leg, giving off an air of nonchalance-- a stark contrast only a few moments ago. He decided he wasn't worth getting worked up over. He'd been in jail once, he could survive another night in a cage if it came to that. It wouldn't come to that, hopefully, but he was prepared for that possibility. "Right. You've got me like a Rattata with a piece of cheese. Whatcha got for us?" Kenji asked, raising a crimson eyebrow of his own. He wasn't one to shy away from danger. He enjoyed it, willing to throw himself headfirst into the first notion that he might get hurt.

"If the matter were as simple as an application of brute force, you can rest assured I would have taken care of it already," Steele replied, apparently unfazed at having been recognized. "As it is, a more impulsive trainer of a similar reputation tried that, and wound up nearly fatally wounded and missing all of her pokemon afterwards. You can see why I advise caution." He turned to the other three present, awaiting their confirmation before he continued. What was to follow was somewhat confidential, and though he was taking an enormous risk by passing it on to these people, he was willing to trust Bill's recommendation and take the risk. The other youth though-- he'd be doing some research on him.

"Oh, I'm going," Ravenna remarked with a distant smile. There was something to this, and though she was rarely blessed with bona fide visions of the future, she had a good feeling about it. There was trial coming, she knew that, but hadn't somebody once told her that it was only by doing the tough things that you accomplished the great ones? Besides, she owed Bill more than she could ever repay, and if this was a way to make a dent in that debt of gratitude, she'd jump in headfirst, no questions asked. She was curious what the iron-sphere man had for them, anyway.

Junko listened intently as the group spoke. She listened as the man named Ian, began speaking about another possible mission: the downfall of Team Rocket. Junko would have scoffed if she didn't respect the man, however; she wasn't here to help deal with what seemed to be his problem. She had other things to do, like save Bill's pokemon and find her brother. Those were her priorities at the moment and she didn't particularly care if there was a chance to finish off Team Rocket once and for all. A sudden thought appeared in her head as she leaned onto the table, folding her hands underneath her chin as she stared at the inspector.

"Is there any news of another group, possibly a sub-group, forming?" she asked in an authoritive tone. Of course, she might have just been a trainer, however; she was in need of certain information at the moment and if playing nice would help her get this information, then she would. "I don't think it was your group to say the least that caused that explosion in Saffron. I don't think you'd risk exposure," she continued. If one were to have walked in, they would have that Junko was the inspector, not the other way around. If there was a possiblity of finding out information, especially if it led to Kojiro, then she would perhaps join the group in this side-quest of sorts. Of course her main priority would always be Kojiro, she needed to find out where he was first.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kenji Akihiko Character Portrait: Junko Takashi Character Portrait: Atomsk Walker Character Portrait: Kael Skye Character Portrait: Ravenna Fiori Character Portrait:
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Atomsk continued his casual observation from the back of the room. They were going even farther. Atomsk needed to continue along. He had to play this carefully if he wanted Bill's Pokémon to be his. He was prepared to keep up the ruse, but he wasn't prepared with betraying Junko. This was a trying dilemma for him. He would have to make some difficult decisions.

When Atomsk heard Junko bring up something about a sub-group of Team Rocket, Atomsk worried some. Junko was always quick, but she had already picked up on Cataclysm's trail. Granted they weren't a sub group of Team Rocket, but her idea was close enough to get her on the fast track to finding them. His cover would hold as long as they knew he was associated with them.

Atomsk thought for a second, and decided that it might be a good idea to use this situation to his advantage. He had legitimate information on Cataclysm. He just had to seed some false information in with whatever he decided to leak to these guys. This would help get him in good with the police cheif as well. He raised an eyebrow, as if he had been suprised at Junko's statement.

"I think you may be onto something Junko." He paused, and walked over to the nearby table, putting his hands down firmly as he got there. "Some mysterious characters have been popping up all over the region. They hand out flyers, they act like recruiters, and they are trying to get people to join their team. They call themselves Cataclysm." Atomsk raised his arms up and crossed them, taking the brief few seconds to fake a story. "I've tailed more then one of them, but I can never seem to find where they are based. They hide well, they certainly make sure to cover their tracks. I don't know if this has anything to do with Bill's Pokémon, but I can certainly tell you they are up to no good. They are incredibly destructive for seemingly no reason. Their battles always leave a mess, and even some casualties."

"That explains the warzone we found the rocket goons in," Kenji noted. He nodded, "They did mention a team Cataclysm thoroughly stompin' a mudhole in 'em come to think of it. Rules out them bein' on friendly terms," he added. Light pulled a lock of his hair, trying to get his attention, and when she had garnered his eyeballs, she pointed at his pockets. His eyes lit up and rememberance and began to fish out something from his pocket. "They.. Gave.. Us.. Dammit, where is-- Oh, found it! They gave us their card," he said, tossing the card with one miss Astrid Valentine, Consultant and her number on it on to the table.

He scoffed at the thought and shook his head. "Bunch of idiots, if you ask me. Goin' to tear up a road just to recruit a bunch of rocket scum. Stupid is what it is," he said, throwing his gaze to Atomsk. "Tailed them? You're not very good at that, are you chief? If they are as destructive as you say, then followin' them should've been easy. How do you lose track of a path of destruction?" he chuckled. Not to mention that one fellow was riding a bloody loud motorcycle. Not only that, but if they were actively recruiting (with flyers no less) then finding them shouldn't be hard-- hell they had their consultant's number, and they got it by accident. Atomsk's story was fishier than a Magikarp. Kenji wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but he could add things up. His story didn't. Either way, the man didn't win a friend in Kenji.

"But, we aren't here for those jackasses, we're here for Bill and his pokemon-- Maybe we can stay on task?"

"Probably couldn't see their trail through the cloud of smoke...." Kael muttered about Atomsk losing his way when tailing the other group, a little louder than he intended to. It was becoming quite apparent Kael wasn't a fan of the man, there was something that had nagged at him since the moment Kael saw Atomsk. If only he could put his finger on it...

"I have to agree with muscles here." Kael gestured in Kenji's direction. "While I love a good, random discussion every now and then, spending my day stuck in a dreary police room isn't exactly my idea of a good time." He paused to let out an over exaggerated yawn and looked over to Atomsk. "You can go have fun with team Cataracts and friends, if you can find them of course, but the Rockets were the ones who took Bill's Pokemon. Who cares about some wannabe gang members right now?"

Addressing the detective once more, Kael was starting to get annoyed at the cliffhanger of finding out what they needed to do. "So what do you have for us Champ? Er...chief....or whatever the hell your title is..."

Ian would have sighed if such gestures weren't beneath him. Still, he decided to address what he saw as the relevancies in order. "He speaks more or less truly about Cataclysm," he replied, "and they will eventually be a problem. Right now, they're a much smaller problem than Team Rocket, however, as they are poorly-organized at best and their leader as far as anyone can tell has a head for little more than senseless distruction. If your goal is truly to retrieve Bill's pokemon, however, you will need to confront the Rockets, and to do that, you'll need to know more about them. That is why I offer the mission I do," he continued, answering Junko's unvoiced but obvious implication that his suggestion was irrelevant to their cause. It was anything but.

The standing man with the dark hair, he now certainly distrusted, but the others seemed honest enough in their intentions, and a few of them likewise suspicious. It was enough to tip the scales in favor of revealing some small part of his hand. "You may well run into Cataclysm where I intend to send you, as at the very least, their intelligence and technical resources are somewhat competent." He half-smiled at Kael's confusion over how to address him, and shrugged. As he'd indicated earlier, either of his actual names would suffice-- he preferred not to stand on formality.

"My mole informs me that there is an upcoming... event. A gathering of sorts, for the big fish in the criminal underworld. Such events are held only infrequently, and their places and dates kept quite secret. It is a way for the elements of regional and national crime to keep in contact with one another, and to gauge the relative strength of one another. Essentially, quite a lot of showboating that occasionally leads to new business arrangements. Team Rocket is sure to be in attendance in force: administrators, technicians, perhaps even the boss. If Cataclysm knows, they'd be fools not to crash the party, as it would be the easiest way for them to secure a financial windfall-- assuming they can usurp someone else's place in the pecking order to get it."

There was a small pause, and then the strange girl with the rosy hair spoke. "You're suggesting that we sneak into such an event. Surely not as participants?" She looked from herself to the other members of her little band, and he had to smile at that. No, they did not look like the right kind of criminal at all, though admittedly the suspicious one was shady and the tattooed one vaguely thuggish. That could be for any reason, though, and he wasn't going to speculate at present.

"Perceptive, and correct. There are more than simply criminals at this event, after all. Usually, the host hires a number of entertainers, and of course it's hard to keep track of which members of security are really supposed to be where..." Opening his folder, he removed two small objects from it and slid them across a table. From the looks of them, they were ID badges, with a scanner code running along the bottom. "My mole procured these-- they can be programmed with the image of the person they're intended for. The rest of you will have to go as an act of some sort, which he can enter into the systems from Rocket's computers. It is, after all, a Rocket-hosted event this year. What exactly you can do, I'll leave to you to decide, but you should know that time is short. You have three days."

"... I can juggle?"