"This is ridiculous!" roared a man. "I already have SIXTY Raticate. Why did you bring me more of them?!"
"I'm sorry, boss, it was my partner's fault..."
"MY fault?! It was your idea to practise being a Pokemon highwayman!"
"How was I supposed to know the trainers would have such crappy Pokemon?"
"I think Raticate are pretty cool!"
"Yeah, they are cool."
"My impression's better. RrratiCATE!"
"As if that was better!"
"ENGOUGH!" roared the first man. "You're both annoying me very much! Get me a RARE Pokemon! Get me one I don't already have. Or one I don't have many of. Find me a Jynx, a Farfetch'd, Kangaskhan or Chansey or -"
"But boss, they're so rare!"
The anger of the first man intensified, if possible. "THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT!... but, do you notice something they all have in common?"
"They're all normal types?"
The first man slapped his forehead with one hand. "All normal types? Jynx is - and Farfetch'd is - oh, forget it. None of them evolve. Get me Pokemon that don't evolve."
"But Raticate don't -"
"NOT ANOTHER WORD ABOUT RATICATE!"
Chastised, the other two nodded, and promised to do better. As they left, the first man scowled in determination.
"My studies are nearly complete. I just need a few more..."
The man stood and left the room, deep in thought, and shut the door behind him, a door marked with a red letter "R"....
Everyone stared in shock and silence at the now stationary Pokeball. James stepped forward, a little hesitant, but picked up the ball and stared at it in surprise.
"I caught Mewtwo."
His voice was soft, but everyone heard it. Then the cave erupted in a cacophony of noise.
"Oh no, Team Rocket got Mewtwo!" (Ash)
"HOW did they manage to catch it?!" (Brock)
"We're still not dead...!" (Misty)
"Alright James, you did it!" (Jessie)
"Meeeowth..." (Meowth, his comment was not understood by any of the others)
"That's rightfully MY Pokemon!" (Gary)
James turned to look at Gary. "How is it YOUR Pokemon? It was the Pokeball I threw that caught it."
"You weren't even trying to capture it! You didn't throw a single Pokeball the whole time! That was MY Pokeball so it's MY Pokemon. And, I might add, I'm the one who weakened it the most."
"Excuse ME, mister big shot," interrupted Ash, "but everyone weakened it. Lickitung's screeching took down its defense. Pikachu got in a lot of strong attacks. Starmie and Geodude helped in that strategy of yours. Fearow beat it down well too."
"Why are you defending James?" whispered Brock, "you don't want Team Rocket to get such a powerful Pokemon, do you?"
Ash sweatdropped. "I forgot."
"Yeah, but you know what's wrong with that equation?" snapped Gary. "None of JAMES' Pokemon did anything!"
"But it only let itself be caught when *I* threw the Pokeball," replied James, "so it's my Pokemon."
Meowth butted in with "I don't think it's anyone's Pokemon. It's too powerful..."
Everyone looked at it strangely.
"Did you hear the way it talked?" Meowth continued, "no Pokemon I've ever heard talks like dat."
"What do you mean, Meowth?" asked Jessie.
"Ehh, I can't explain it to you guys," said Meowth, frustrated, "it's a Pokemon thing. But the way it talked was just... different."
"I can't explain how..."
"Try..." Jessie was looking annoyed now, so Meowth tried, although he knew they wouldn't get it.
"It spoke with a slur, like it was sad."
"A slur? How could you tell? All it said was 'mew, meww' all the time."
"It was sorta, it understood more... and it wasn't a normal Pokemon. It had a strong tone, but uncertain 'cos... I dunno... it was hard to understand but it kinda made you need to understand it."
Everyone had question marks dancing above their heads, so Meowth gave up.
"Enough with this," snapped Gary. "Give me the Pokeball."
"Just give me the Pokeball already!"
"Yes you will!"
"No I won't!"
James and Gary stuck their tongues out at each other. Everyone else got sweatdrops and Jessie brought them back to reality with her mallet (that thing comes in handy all the time).
"Why don't you ask Mewtwo who it'd rather go with?" suggested Ash.
"Yeah, it's nice and fair. Impartial," added Brock.
Neither James or Gary liked that idea, because James knew he wasn't a very good trainer, and Gary knew Mewtwo probably wouldn't think very much of him for trying so hard to capture it, but they couldn't find any flaws in the suggestion so James pressed the button on the Pokeball and Mewtwo appeared.
"Mew," it said, still weak from before. "Mew, ew-ew."
Meowth uncertainly translated "it said something about hating..."
Mewtwo pointed at the Pokeball.
"Oh, you hate being in a Pokeball?"
"Okay, Mewtwo," said Gary in a kind voice. "This loser person here thinks he's worthy of having you as his Pokemon. He's a bad trainer, and he's a member of Team Rocket."
"Excuse ME!" butted in James, getting a bulging vein symbol, "this doesn't sound very impartial!"
"But, I know you actually went in my Pokeball. So you're really my Pokemon, isn't that good? But misguided James, for some bizarre reason, seems to think you belong to him. Come on Mewtwo, which person would YOU rather have as a trainer? The future Pokemon Master, the brilliant and talented -"
"And modest," muttered Brock, making Ash snicker.
"trainer in the world, the rising new star, the one and only Gary Oak? Or would you actually prefer, for some bizarre, twisted reason, a sorry, pathetic Pokemon thief who can't evennn..."
Gary trailed off as he realised Mewtwo was hugging James' leg.
"EXCUSE ME, YOU DIDN'T LET ME FINISH!" shouted Gary, going big and scary. "What's so great about HIM anyway?!"
Meowth shrugged when looked to for a translation. "Something about eyes."
"Eyes..." mused James, still remembering the intense gaze.
"Mew mew mew mew mew mew."
"It only got caught 'cos James threw it."
Gary calmed down and scowled. "Fine, there's no accounting for taste. But I paid for that Pokeball out of my own cash! If you want to keep that Mewtwo, you're gonna have to earn it!"
James looked nervous. "What did you have in mind?"
"A Pokemon battle!"
What was I thinking? I've let my guard down. I've survived worse battles than that before...
Maybe I was just... sick of fighting... at least now it's all over. Whether or not my new trainer is a good one, I have no idea. But his eyes were kind. So I might have luck.
If he doesn't keep me in a Pokeball. That's the worst thing ever... you can't move, can't breathe, you're just stuck still, to be released only when your owner wants to use you for something. That's not the way to go, I reckon.
And the Meowth with him intrigued me. It isn't like any I've seen before. How can it understand me? How can it speak English, for that matter? I don't think it fully understands me, but I'm surprised it does at all.
Still, don't look a gift ponyta in the mouth, as the saying goes. Now I just have to hope my new trainer is a good one. I don't want to go with that guy with the annoying voice. He's chillingly effecient. I'm not going to be his tool.
"I can't believe you're still alive!"
The three sisters crowded around the Pokemon trainers, who were battered but, to their surprise, still intact.
"Thanks for the vote of confidence!" said Ash.
"You sound like Misty," added Brock.
Lily looked at the other trainers. "Who're, like, these guys?"
"This is James, Jessie, Meowth and... Gary."
"Why'd you sound so negative when you said my name?!"
"Slip of the tongue."
"Shut up, Ash Ketchum!"
"You shut up!"
"You shut up!"
"Why don't you BOTH shut up," snapped Jessie. "You fight worse than me and James."
"And that's saying something," added Meowth, with a grin.
"That Meowth talked!" gasped Rose.
"Hey, I recognise these guys!" said Daisy suddenly. "They went to Pokemon Tech, remember?"
"Oh yeah, that's right!"
"They're the ones who acted like they were so good and then, like, got the worst scores in the history of the school!"
"They're the ones who chose those crappy poison Pokemon, right?"
Jessie and James exchanged a troubled glance but let it pass.
"Anyway, what, like, happened?" demanded Lily, finally moving out of the doorway and letting everyone into the house.
Everyone sat down in the Hanasea living room and began the story. As a fairly impartial party, Brock told what had happened.
"And THEN, the Pokeball went still."
"Oh my gosh, that's like, unbelievable!" gasped Rose. "You CAUGHT Mewtwo?! So, like, where is it?!"
"Mew!" Mewtwo popped its head out of James backpack and scared everyone half to death.
"Woah, I can't, like, believe the loser of Pokemon Tech managed to actually capture the great Mewtwo!"
"Must've been, like, a fluke or something."
James scowled. Mewtwo mimicked his face and made everyone laugh.
Gary butted in with "Why does everyone seem to think Mewtwo is James' Pokemon?!"
"'Cos he, like, caught it," said Daisy in a dry voice.
"It was MY Pokeball!"
"Ooh, that's, like, a good point," said Lily. "So if it belongs to both of you, what're you, like, gonna do?"
"We're gonna settle it with a Pokemon battle!" said Gary smugly.
"I still don't like that idea..." muttered James.
"Anyway, the reason we came here," Misty said, "was because we wanted to get our Pokemon healed without going into a Pokemon Center."
"Why wouldn't you want to go there?"
"Nurse Joy'd be sure to ask how all our Pokemon got totalled, not to mention we're trying to keep Mewtwo a secret right now."
"Let's just say we are... at least until we decide who's going to keep it."
If Mewtwo went to James, it'd have to be a secret. If Mewtwo went to Gary, the whole world would find out within five minutes.
Mewtwo was sitting in James' lap by this stage, which lead Daisy to comment "I think Mewtwo's already decided on its master."
"We have to do things fairly," snapped Gary.
"I should warn you James, Gary's a better trainer than even Ash, and you know how many times Ash's beaten you," said Brock, aside. Ash, Misty and Brock had already decided to support James, mostly because they actually cared about the Pokemon's best interests.
"I figured," James muttered.
"Gary is NOT a better trainer," sulked Ash.
James took his two Pokemon out of their Pokeballs.
"Victreebell, Weezing," he told them seriously, "this is a super important battle, okay?"
James started explaining the situation to his Pokemon, while Gary was fiddling with his Pokedex working out which to choose. The two trainers and all the spectators were in the Cerulean Gym fighting room, the room where Ash had won his Cascadebadge the previous year.
"Okay, let's start," announced Gary. James drew his Pokemon back inside their Pokeballs.
Gary took up a position on one of the floating platforms, while James stood on another.
"We'll do a three-on-three," said Gary.
"What?! I only HAVE two Pokemon," snapped James.
"That's too bad then," smirked Gary. "Guess it'll be two-on-three then."
"I'll fight," said Meowth, with a determined expression.
"You never fight!" said James in surprise.
"I've had experience in the past," said Meowth, cooly, although it was actually nervous, "and I know a few moves."
"Okay..." said James uncertainly.
Mewtwo sat in the same room, pressed against the wall, watching the happenings with nervous eyes. It wasn't used to such a large room, or such bright light. (To its dull eyes accustomed to caves, it seemed bright.) Ash sat beside it and patted its head.
"Let's go," said Gary, and cradled a Pokeball. "Go, Magneton!"
"Go, Victreebell!" called James.
"Good," muttered Misty, "James has the advantage. And grass Pokemon are good in water. But he'd better hope Victreebell doesn't fall in."
"Why?" asked Ash.
"Water conducts electricity..."
"Magneton, tackle attack!"
"Victreebell, uhh, poison powder!"
"Go under water to tackle!"
Magneton dove under the water to avoid Victreebell's poison, then spun up, crackling with electricity, and slammed into the grass Pokemon.
Victreebell was shaken but didn't fall off the platform. It whirled around and sprayed a fine mist over Magneton. Magneton shuddered, poisoned.
"Victreebell, good! Now - uh... hey, what other attacks does Victreebell know?"
"Vine whip, razor leaf, acid, maybe slam..." called Misty. "And a bunch of powder attacks, but don't use them, they wash off in water!"
"You're a pathetic trainer," said Gary. "Anyone'd think you'd never done a proper battle before."
"I haven't..." said James, with a sweatdrop. Gary facefaulted.
"Okay, Victreebell, try a vine whip!"
"Treee!" it whistled, and shot out its vines, whipping Magneton so it fell in the water again.
"Magneton, you're charged up now! Thundershock!"
The arena filled with lightning but Victreebell remained fairly unharmed.
"That is one strong Victreebell," muttered Gary. "Alright, Magneton, screech!"
Everyone blocked their ears as Magneton let off a piercing screech.
"Least his doesn't do it without being ordered to," muttered Jessie.
"Another tackle, Magneton!"
Magneton's attack hit home and sent the leaves drifting uselessly into the pool.
"Oh great, it's totally gonna take hours to get all them out," scowled Daisy.
"I hope they don't, like, clog up the pool filter like what happened with those leaves in that battle against that Ivysaur yesterday," added Lily.
"Let Misty clean it," said Rose.
"Thanks, guys," muttered Misty.
"Again, tackle!" called Gary.
Magneton hit Victreebell again, sending it splashing into the water.
Then, something seemed to happen. Victreebell, perhaps energised by the water, suddenly spun out and took its place on the battling platform again. It leapt into the air and slammed into Magneton, again and again. The Magneton was flung back, but before it could regain its balance, it found itself the target of a vicious vine whip, then a razor leaf, and finally an intense blast of acid which left it duly fainted...
James blinked. He hadn't given a single order.
"I guess it... wanted to win," said Ash, surprised. Beside him, Mewtwo looked happy.
"Gotta take out that Victreebell," muttered Gary. "Go, Kadabra!"
The psychic Pokemon appeared, floating above the platform. "Kadabrrrra!"
Victreebell launched itself at Kadabra without waiting for the command to attack. It slammed into the Pokemon once, twice, three times...
Kadabra opened its eyes and glared at the grass Pokemon. Without Gary saying anything, it waved its spoon and from it exploded a wave of psychic energy.
"Must be picking up on Gary's thoughts," commented Misty.
Victreebell reeled as the attack crashed around it, sending it into the water again.
"Good thing it's not a rock Pokemon," muttered Brock.
"C'mon, Victreebell!" cheered James, "get back in there! Use a vine whip! Uh..."
Victreebell used razor leaf instead.
"Well, uh, that's good too!"
-slash slash slash-
The Pokemon did so.
"This isn't good," muttered James. "Alright, Victreebell, go underwater again!"
Victreebell responded by spitting acid at Kadabra.
"James doesn't have any Pokemon League badges, does he?" asked Ash.
"Nope," answered Jessie, "why?"
"His Victreebell doesn't seem to listen to him very well."
Kadabra's eyes glowed and it shot a psybeam. Victreebell looked determined but eventually, the pressure got to it and it collapsed.
"I'll go now! Weezing doesn't have a hope against Kadabra," said Meowth, jumping onto the battling platform. It gave a thumbs-up to Mewtwo, which smiled nervously.
Kadabra began with another psybeam, but Meowth dodged and jumped towards its opponent. In midair, it realised where it was.
But, there was nowhere to go but forwards, so Meowth did so.
"What're Meowth's attacks?" asked James.
"Scratch -" began Misty, but Meowth said not to worry, he'd do his own attacks.
Gary smirked, he knew he had every advantage here.
Meowth bit his lip and clenched his fists. He wasn't experienced but he was sure determined, and he was going to win this battle. He jumped at Kadabra, did a fury swipes, and then landed... in the water.
"Meowwwth, I hate water!"
He was, however, a resourceful Pokemon, and when Kadabra hovered above his head, Meowth managed to jump up and slash the spoon out of its grasp.
The Kadabra stared in shock as its spoon fell in the water and sank to the bottom.
Meowth took the opportunity of Kadabra being distracted to pull the charm off its forehead and slam it into the Kadabra. The charm gleamed and split into many, which cut into the Kadabra before rejoining into the original charm and returning to Meowth's forehead.
Kadabra didn't move. Its eyes were still fixated on the spoon at the bottom of the pool.
Suddenly it moved, diving down into the water. Everyone stared as they saw the dark shape moving around at the bottom of the pool, trying to see in the water, trying to find its spoon.
Meowth swam back to its platform to get dry and wait for his opponent to resurface.
Then it exploded back out of the water, dripping wet, but with no success.
"Kadabrrrraaaa!" it wailed, and Gary was surprised. He'd never seen his Kadabra act like this before. Kadabra burst into tears and said "Kadabububububraa... *sniff* Dabra!"
Meowth translated helpfully, "it said it ain't gonna fight no more!"
Gary scowled, then said "Kadabra, return."
Kadabra did so.
"Okay then, cat," said Gary, "try this one! Go, Dragonair!"
The dragon Pokemon was quite heavy and nearly caused the battle platform to sink.
"I don't believe it!" gasped Rose, "that's, like, a totally rare Pokemon!"
Jessie's eyes gleamed as she thought that Gary would be a very good person to steal from.
"Alright, hyper beam!"
Dragonair's eyes flashed brilliantly as it rose a few metres into the air, and a couple of seconds later, a huge funnel of light crashed towards Meowth and sent the cat Pokemon flying right out of the arena's window.
"Uh... I don't think he's coming back," James said as he saw Meowth disappear into the horizon, with a distinct fading cry of "blasting off again!"
Dragonair settled back down to recharge.
"Alright," James said nervously, "here we go. Go, Weezing!"
"Do your best!"
"Down to the last Pokemon," said Ash tensely.
"Hang on, something's wrong with Dragonair," said Misty.
Dragonair glowed, and suddenly, its form began to change.
"It's - evolving!" said Gary, looking happy. "I've been raising this dragon for months!"
"RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" said Dragonite, also looking happy. It flapped its wings and winked at Gary. Gary grinned and pointed towards Weezing.
"This won't take long, Dragonite! Sorry to give you such a terribly easy battle, but you can make short work of that Weezing! Dragon Rage!"
James cringed. His past experiences with 'dragon rage' weren't standing out in his mind as ones he wished to repeat.
As Dragonite began to spin, James shouted "Weezing, go right above Dragonite's head!"
It was fortunate that Weezing could fly too, and the poison Pokemon floated above the dragon.
A cyclone of gold energy formed around Dragonite and flew around the arena, sinking all the floating platforms and splashing water everywhere.
Everyone became absolutely drenched, particularly James and Gary, who now found themselves floating in the pool.
Weezing, however, was unharmed. The only place in the arena which was untouched was directly above and below the dragon.
"Unbelievable," said Gary, "how did you know?"
James got a sweatdrop and said "I know more about Dragon Rage than you'd think... Weezing, sludge!"
Weezing spat sludge which dripped all over Dragonite. It shuddered as it was poisoned. The sludge seemed to anger it.
Gary yelled "Dragonite, wash it off in the water!"
Dragonite would've been only too happy to comply, but it was too big and the pool was only half as full as it had been.
"It can't," said Misty, "because your Dragonite spread the water over the whole room!"
"Alright then, thunder wave!"
Dragonite growled as sparks flew from its eyes, but the attack seemed to have little effect.
"I don't believe this! Why didn't it work?!"
"Weezing's getting immune to electricity," James thought happily, then said aloud, "Tackle!"
It was only ordered to do it once, but Weezing tackled the dragon over and over. The Dragonite had a strong defense but the poison Pokemon had a doggedness that none of the spectators had ever seen before. That, coupled with the fact that the poison was taking its toll... Gary took action.
"Enough of this! Dragonite, HYPER BEAM!"
The hyper beam ripped through Weezing, and James' final Pokemon fell to the ground, singed and looking sorry for itself.
"Weeez..." it croaked, weakly, and its eyelids fluttered.
"Mew!" gasped Mewtwo, and James bit his lip nervously. "Come on," he whispered, pleadingly.
Weezing's eyes snapped open, as if it'd heard, and perhaps it had. It floated back into the air and launched itself at its enemy.
Gary was in shock. "It... survived hyper beam? No Pokemon can survive that!"
Dragonite was weak from using up so much energy. As Weezing delivered a final tackle, it couldn't resist any more, and fell, with a heavy splash, into the pool and lay there, still.
The room was silent.
"Good try," said Gary finally, to his fallen Pokemon, and drew it back into its ball. Then he waded out of the stadium without another word.
"I can't believe James won!"
Jessie ran up to James and grabbed him in a bear hug. "You did it, you did it, you won, you won!"
James grinned. "Yup."
"I didn't know James' Pokemon were so strong," said Brock.
"That's great, isn't it Mewtwo!" said Ash, temporarily forgetting that Team Rocket were the enemy, so happy was he to see Gary beaten.
"Meww!" Mewtwo ran up to James and jumped into his arms.
"That was, like, incredible!"
"How'd you get such totally cool Pokemon?"
"And to think that was the same total loser Koffing at Pokemon Tech!"
The Sensational Sisters were duly impressed. Misty was the only one who was silent, thinking.
'We'll have to step up our own Pokemon now,' she thought.
James gave Weezing a thumbs up and said "Great job, Weezing, return!"
"Meowth, what happened?"
Meowth climbed back in through the window and stared at the totalled arena in shock.
James grinned "The fabulous Team Rocket has won the day yet again!"
Meowth was sceptical, but saw that Mewtwo was still there and Gary was not, so in disbelief, he had to accept that James had actually won a battle.
The sisters stopped their congratulations suddenly.
"Team Rocket?!" squeaked Lily.
"You guys are from Team Rocket?!" squeaked Daisy.
"How do, like, you guys know people from Team Rocket?" demanded Rose of Ash, Misty and Brock.
"They keep trying to steal Pikachu," said Ash.
"So why were you cheering for them?"
"They alternative was for Gary to get Mewtwo," said Ash, making a face.
"Well *my* reason was 'cos Mewtwo wanted to go with Team Rocket."
"How DID your Pokemon win?" asked Ash, "they never win!"
"Mew, meww mew mew!" Mewtwo spoke up.
"It helped Victreebell to win," said Meowth. "I guess that's why the thundershock didn't affect it, it must've put up a barrier. And I guess that's why it went psycho at the end."
"Oh..." said James, looking a bit disappointed. For a moment, he'd thought his Pokemon were really doing well.
"Mewww meow," continued Mewtwo, with a surprised sort of expression.
"But it didn't help Weezing at all!"
Misty still didn't say anything.
"Excellent!" said Jessie, happily. "We finally caught a great new Pokemon!"
"Meowth," said Meowth, also happy.
"Mew," agreed Mewtwo.
The two cat Pokemon walked alongside Jessie and James.
"Won't the boss be happy to get Mewtwo! We'll get promotions for sure!" Jessie continued brightly, "and then we'll be able to get more cash and better missions, and we'll finally be able to rule the world!"
James stopped in his tracks.
"Give Mewtwo to the boss?"