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Draconic_Espeon
02-03-2008, 12:28 AM
This is for a story deal that I actually made about a month or two ago and only now started writing. =X Sorry Jackson! Anyway, a lot of the stuff in here about how Team Rocket is organized and how grunts become grunts is made up and used for my own purposes. If there's stuff from the anime that contradicts any of this (and there probably is)... Well, sorry, I didn't watch the episode. ^^;

Unlikely Allies


Silver stars studded the dark navy sky, their light combined with the sliver of moon only barely lighting the earth below. The Hoenn town of Petalburg lay sleeping on this chilly night, save one person in its outskirts. A lone figure watched the gently rolling of waves as they hit the sandy beach, carrying away bits of rock and sand. The sight was lost on this young woman, caught up so deeply in her own thoughts.

There were plenty of other places that Reeah would rather be than the beach, especially on a cold January night. Granted, it never got especially cold in Petalburg, not like in her old home of Goldenrod in Johto, but it was enough to make her uncomfortable, and to force her to wear her dark denim jacket. Still, she didn’t have a choice in the matter. The activities she was to partake in were a part of her job, and definitely not the fun part.

The twenty-three year old absently flicked a lock of her long black hair out of her steely gray eyes. She watched the water, waiting for the appearance of a boat. A boat that had better come soon, she thought crossly to herself.

She felt something touch the pant leg of her black jeans, and glanced down. A bubblegum pink feline sat beside her, its face and belly a light tan color. It looked up at her, eyes squinted but still cute, and waved the thick tail that had nudged her. Briefly, the woman’s agitation subsided, and she smiled down at her partner. The Skitty was getting on in age now, but she was still as adorable as ever. They’d been together for what felt like forever.

When Reeah looked upward once more, something in the far distance caught her eye. It was a gray speck on the horizon, shooting a beam of light out in front of it. Her smile subsided somewhat as she remembered, again, why she was there.

The boat drew closer, and Reeah could see plain as day that it was the one she had been expecting. The large red R on the side of the small ship was enough to tell her that it belonged to Team Rocket.

Reeah was, in fact, a member of Team Rocket, one of a small group of operatives based in Hoenn. Having gotten all they could from Kanto and Johto, the organization had turned instead to new places that they hadn’t targeted before, namely Hoenn and Sinnoh. They were only testing the waters as of yet, and had yet to launch anything big, but they were working towards it.

As one of the elite agents, one of Reeah’s jobs was simply to look for places that looked promising for a base, and where the rare Pokemon were in the region. Now, though, she had another job dropped onto her plate. She was supposed to train a ‘promising grunt’ as a mentor, show her the ropes. Except, this kid was thirteen. To her, it sounded more like babysitting than anything else. She’d said as much when the job had been dropped on her, but the higher ups weren’t changing their minds, so she’d just have to grin and bear it.

The boat was escorting the girl from Kanto, where the Team Rocket training facilities were based. Her time without having to deal with a partner was swiftly coming to an end.

Ever since that time when she was still at the academy when they had tried to pair her up with a guy and he’d left the base crying, it had been generally accepted that giving Reeah a partner was not a good idea. She had little patience with other people, and felt that they only slowed her down. She was great at what she did, and she didn’t need someone else getting in her way.

Still, she’d known that this was bound to happen some time. Every member of Team Rocket took on a grunt as an apprentice at some time or another. It was tradition, or so she’d heard. It didn’t mean she had to like it.

The ship drew closer, and Reeah steeled herself. What would this teenager, who had passed through the academy even younger than she had, be like? Hell on wheels, if she was anything like Reeah had been. The woman had exited the academy bursting with confidence, sure she could take on anything and anyone with ease. She’d graduated with a Seviper, after all.

Upon graduating from the academy, each new Grunt was given a Pokemon according to how well they did. Simple Pokemon were handed out to those who did poorly, better basics to the average, and finally, the best in the class received an evolved Pokemon, or one that didn’t evolve at all. That Reeah had been given a Seviper was no mean feat.

But then she’d met her mentor, a grouchy codger named Daisuke. He’d beaten into her that a little humility was needed when you were in the ranks of Team Rocket, and that the fact that she was among the best at the academy meant little out in the real world. She’d had to work, hard, to get to the spot where she was today. And she’d show this young girl who thought that she could be in Team Rocket the same thing.

Finally, the ship stopped, still several yards away from shore. Any closer and the boat would beach itself. There was a bright flash of light as a Pokemon was released from its Pokeball into the water. Reeah could just make out a small blue and brown shape that looked like a small turtle of some kind. A person from on the deck, clothed in black with a shock of short blonde hair, swung themself easily over the railing of the side and dropped down into the sea with a soft splash. The boat began to pull away as the two shapes came together and began swimming towards shore.

Reeah recognized the turtle as a Wartortle, easily identifiable from a Squirtle thanks to its large triangular ears. It pulled its trainer, a young girl with soaked blonde hair and bright blue eyes, along through the water. Reeah strode into the surf, saltwater sloshing around her thick-soled black boots as they made deep indentions in the soft sand.

The girl in the water finally reached the point where she could stand and pulled herself up. Her black uniform was soaked through, and so was her hair, but the girl still smiled brightly. Her Wartortle stood loyally at her side. Reeah looked her over, trying to keep the disdain off of her face. Though eager, the girl looked almost fragile. Her build was slight, and her long arms and legs seemed gangly and uncoordinated. And that smile… It was already getting on her nerves.

“Ms. McCallahan?” She asked questioningly, causing Reeah’s eyebrow to twitch. She hadn’t heard that name in a long time, not since she had first been stationed in Hoenn and some idiot had thought it would be funny to refer to her by her real name, rather than her code name. He’d quickly changed his mind.

“Yes,” she said finally, “but you will refer to me as Reeah or Miss Reeah. Nothing else. Understand?” Her tone made it evident that there was no room for question. The girl nodded.

“I’m Aryn Leesa, Miss Reeah,” the girl said, bowing her head. “Your-“

“Apprentice, yes, I figured as much.” The older woman turned and briskly stepped out of the water to where her partner waited. Kit, like most cat-like Pokemon, greatly disliked water. It was a few seconds before she heard hurried footsteps behind her, meaning the girl had finally realized she was supposed to follow her. Reeah sighed. It was going to be a long night.

---

Aryn returned Cillin, her Wartortle partner, before she followed after Miss Reeah. The woman set a grueling pace, but she wasn’t about to fall behind. She’d already made a bad enough impression as it was, soaking wet and calling her new mentor by a name that she obviously didn’t like.

But how would she have known? All she’d been told was that her name was Jennin McCallahan, with the codename Reeah. They hadn’t been specific about what she liked to be referred to as. In truth, they probably hadn’t known. Sighing inwardly, she decided that there was no point in worrying about what had already happened. She’d just have to try extra hard to get on her good side. And, judging by how prickly the woman seemed, Aryn knew that would be a job in and of itself. She’d just have to be on her toes from now on.

They quickly came to the edge of Petalburg Woods. Aryn wondered for a second where they would go from there, until Miss Reeah ducked in past the trees. The young girl followed as quickly as she could, but soon realized that she was completely out of her element. The older Rocket was clearly very good at ducking in and around foliage, but Aryn wasn’t. Most of the training in stealth she had acquired at the Academy was for walking through buildings and disappearing into crowded streets, though she was coming to see that they were very different from walking through a forest. While Miss Reeah slithered through like an Ekans, silent and quick, Aryn felt like a lumbering Hippopotas.

At one point, she looked up to keep following, when she noticed that Miss Reeah had disappeared completely. Panic welled up in her. She’d never be able to find her way to the base, not without a guide. Coming from Cerulean, where everything was mountainous, woods were as unfamiliar as a desert. She could find her way out of a mountain with relative ease, but not a forest. She had no idea what to look for.

Just as she decided to trudge off in the general direction they had been going before, she felt something soft and warm rub against her ankle. The touch was comforting, especially when Aryn noticed that she had started shivering from her dip in the ocean. Looking down, she caught sight of the strange pink Pokemon that Miss Reeah had with her as a partner. It was surprising that someone in Team Rocket would chose such an adorable Pokemon as a Skitty, but as it looked up cutely at her, she couldn’t exactly blame her mentor. It took a few steps forward, then gestured with its tail, asking her to follow. She suppressed another shiver and nodded, hoping it wouldn’t be much farther to the base.

The Skitty was slower, and much easier to keep up with. She didn’t blend into the dark forest quite so well as her trainer had, with her bright pink fur. Aryn was glad for the slower pace. Fatigue was beginning to get to her, from a combination of weaving through the undergrowth and taking a dip in the sea. Just when she was beginning to wonder if they’d ever make it to the base, a small, nondescript building appeared in her line of sight. It was hidden by a grove of large trees, surrounding it on three sides, with many leafy plants out in front to obscure the entrance. Long vines clung to the window-less walls, giving it the look of an abandoned building. The door appeared to be hammered closed, with wooden boards blocking the front.

In front of it stood Miss Reeah, looking at her critically. Aryn couldn’t help but cower slightly under the older woman’s scrutinizing gaze. Their eyes locked for just a second, blue meeting icy gray, before Aryn looked away. Miss Reeah sighed, sounding disappointed. It took just a second for the girl to realize that this had all been some kind of test, and she was almost positive she’d failed.

“C’mon,” the woman said finally, wading through the bushes to reach the seemingly impassable door. She flicked open a panel on the wood that Aryn hadn’t noticed before, it blended so easily with the pattern of the grain. It revealed a simple number pad. She typed in a long string of numbers, longer than Aryn could remember, then pressed a small button that read ‘Enter’. The door swung open on its hinges, the wooden planks coming away from the front of the building effortlessly. Miss Reeah stepped through, and Aryn followed, almost hesitantly.

---

It was even worse than Reeah had thought. The girl was determined, but shy. She would have much preferred haughty and full of herself. She knew how to deal with cocky idiots; show them who was boss, and bring them down a few notches. But a shy girl… Aryn’d have no chance keeping up. What did the higher ups think they were doing?!

She just kept her cool as she passed the short, dark halls of the simple Hoenn HQ. It was small, but the operation here was just beginning. There were only six operatives working, anyway. Seven if you counted Aryn.

The Hoenn HQ itself was little more than a collection of small rooms, most of which were underground in rooms excavated silently by some of the smaller ground and rock type Pokemon. Team Rocket had to keep their operations here as quite as possible, and that meant keeping a small and disguised base. Too many similar plans had been ruined from poor planning on the construction of a headquarters.

Kit kept to the girl’s side, trying to be a comforting presence. Reeah was glad, not for the first time, that her partner was kinder and more empathetic than she. Reeah, as a whole, was awkward around others. Her nature was to lash out with harsh words and sarcasm, which certainly didn’t help her make any friends. Not that she really wanted any. Her Pokemon were good enough company for her.

“So,” Reeah said as they began walking down stairs to the lower portion of the building, not noticing Aryn start from the sudden break in silence, “what Pokemon did you get?” Reeah didn’t doubt that the girl would know what she was talking about. She meant the Pokemon she had received upon graduation. For Aryn to be sent to her, of all people, the Rocket guessed that she’d have at least an Ekans or a Sandshrew. Yeah, the latter seemed to fit the girl. She was a bit mousey.

She waited in silence for the girl to answer, carefully descending through darkness. The quiet lengthened, and she began to lose her temper. She was about to say something when the girl finally did speak.

“I got a Rattata.” Reeah stopped abruptly. A Rattata? It was the absolute worst thing to get. Only those barely able to pass, doomed to a life as the lowest of grunts, got a Rattata.

“A Rattata?” She said quietly, incredulous. “And they sent you to me?” She sat back on the stairs, covering her face with their hands. Why? Why her? Why in heck did they think they could send this useless girl to her?

“I-I’m sorry,” Aryn said quickly. Reeah could practically hear her quivering. For just a second, she regretted being harsh, but the unfamiliar feeling was quickly replaced by fury.

“Mind telling me why?” She asked, barely keeping a scathing tone out of her voice. She uncovered her eyes in time to see the girl flinch, then look down, almost ashamed.

“The, they said I was a shy little mouse,” she squeaked. “And that the Rattata fit.” Her fists clenched, and Reeah saw something she instantly liked in that girl’s eyes—angry indignation. She smiled slightly, and waited for Aryn to go on. She didn’t have to wait long.

“I was one of the best in my class,” she said quietly, the beginning of a hiss replacing her frightened tone. “I’ve always been good at battling. I was getting good at stealth, too, staying quiet and slipping in and out. I just wasn’t ruthless. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t beat that defenseless Pidgey, and they never forgot it. I just couldn’t do it.” Reeah found herself nodding sympathetically. She remembered that particular part of training. Cruelty was coveted among Team Rocket. All the would-be grunts had to beat a weak Pokemon senseless. Reeah hadn’t been able to do it, either, but she was able to hide her caring nature towards Pokemon behind a façade of sarcasm and disdain. Aryn, it seemed, didn’t have that luxury.

“Well, kid,” she said, standing, “you might wanna start thinking about another job, then. Team Rocket isn’t for the weak of heart. You’re probably too kind hearted for this kind of work.” She paused briefly, a question crossing her mind. She glanced back over her shoulder at the blond. “What made ya wanna join, anyway? You don’t seem the type.” The girl’s blue eyes turned frigid.

“Why do you care?” She shot back. Reeah turned forward again, grinning. Ooh, she’d struck a nerve. She wouldn’t press it now, but later, maybe.

“No reason,” Reeah answered nonchalantly, waving a hand dismissively. “Everyone has their secrets. Anyway, we should get to the rooms, before you catch a cold. A sick apprentice is useless to me.” They both remained silent for the rest of the trip.

Draconic_Espeon
03-01-2008, 10:10 PM
The room that Aryn was to spend the next several months in was surprisingly large. In fact, it was meant for someone of a higher rank than she, but it was the only empty one close to Reeah’s. It was practically heaven compared to the cramped dorms shared by two students back at the academy. A twin size bed dominated the space, looking soft and comforting with a long headboard. Tucked into a corner was a dark chest of drawers, and upon further inspection, she found it to have clothes in her size. Apparently, someone had sent information on her to Miss Reeah, and her mentor had gotten her clothes. All she had had at the academy was school clothes, and they gave her the uniform she had arrived in on graduation. Other than that, it was fairly empty, with white wall and cheap brown carpet. After thoroughly drying herself with a towel provided by Miss Reeah and changing into pajamas, she released two of her Pokemon.

In truth, she only had three. There was Cillin, her constant partner, and the Pokemon she had begun her life as a trainer with. The two were close, as could be expected. The other two she’d had for a considerably shorter amount of time.

The first was a small Taillow, whom she dubbed Tono. The little creature was surprisingly sweet, but not much of a fighter. He simply had no gumption to fight, unlike many of his species, which were known for their gutsy natures. Tono was content to simply sit on her shoulder and watch the world pass by. He’d been a gift from Aryn’s father, a trainer as well, though he traveled a lot, so she rarely saw him.

Finally, she had her Rattata. She hadn’t named the creature yet, and was reluctant to do so. The Pokemon was a sign of her failure, that she had all but flunked the academy. Looking at it made her remember everything that had happened, brought home the fact that those years spent training may have been for nothing. She couldn’t settle being a grunt. It was high up or nothing.

Her reasons for joining in the first place were trivial, but driving for the girl nonetheless. It was the one thing her sister, Katinia, hadn’t done. The older girl was perfect in her parents’ eyes, and always had been. She was smart, a great battler, and an even better coordinator, while Aryn had always been just average. She wanted to do something different, something that would shock her parents’, and her sister, out of their little world of perfection. So she joined Team Rocket.

The leap was uncharacteristic for the shy girl, but even she could only take so much. She’d show them. She was going to be the best at something, even if it meant being a criminal. Anything to escape her sister’s shadow.

She flopped down onto the clean, crisp bed, sighing with pleasure at the softness. As she began to wriggle under the white covers, Cillin joined her, his smooth shell comforting under her fingers. Tono fluttered to the top of the headboard and perched there, eyes drooping. Her companions quickly fell asleep, but, despite her exhaustion, Aryn couldn’t drift off as well. It was her feelings of apprehension towards the day to come that wouldn’t let her.

Maybe Miss Reeah was right. Maybe she wasn’t cut out to be a Rocket. Maybe she should just give up now, and slink back home. But how could she face her family? She could never tell them what she’d done, that she’d tried to join Team Rocket. There wasn’t anything else left for her to do, anyway. Regardless of what anyone else said, she’d just have to keep going. There was no turning back.

With that thought, she finally drifted into the soothing darkness of sleep.

---

All of the rooms in the Rocket HQ were set up with a speaker system, where announcements from the central room at the HQ’s middle could reach the ears of everyone. These speakers could also be private, in that the system operator, a grunt named Boro, could easily get a hold of anyone in the HQ with them.

What Reeah really hated about them was that you couldn’t turn them off, and you couldn’t keep someone from waking you up by screaming through a speaker and into your room.

“Hey, Reeah!” The high and obnoxious, but masculine, voice of Boro cut through Reeah’s slumber. She sat up quickly, instantly alert and half expecting to be attacked. Kit, who wasn’t bothered by loud noises, hardly reacted from her spot curled up next to her trainer. A large ear twitched slightly, but that was all. Realizing what had happened, the Reeah’s expression went from one of mild surprise to seething fury.

“Dammit, Boro, you know I was out late last night on a mission!” She half yelled, half screamed. “Do you have to have to wake me up like that?!”

“I do when you’ve got another one,” he said with amusement. “The Execs at the Academy want you to test out that newbie you brought in, see if she’s worth the time. So, you get to go on a little trip, all the way to Dewford.” Reeah frowned. The ‘Execs’ were executive members, the very top of the organization, right under Giovanni. There were Execs for every branch of Team Rocket, including the Academy. They must have been undecided on whether or not to pass the girl, if they wanted her to test her.

“What we looking into?” Reeah asked thoughtfully, her rage from before forgotten. “Last time I checked, there was nothing in Dewford but a gym.”

“They want you two to check into Granite Cave,” Boro replied. ”Rare Pokemon and rare stones, with few visitors.” Reeah grinned.

“Sounds good. I’ll be out with the girl in an hour. How we getting there?”

“We can’t spare any boats.” His voice sounded flat. ”You’ve got that Dragonair, don’t you? Fly it.” The speaker turned off as soon as he was done speaking, and Reeah glared up at the wooden box with the mesh front. Everyone was jealous of her Dragonair, and kept saying she should offer it up to Giovanni. Like heck she was going to hand over Ralu to him. She’d had him since before she’d become a Rocket, same as Kit, but while Kit had been her first Pokemon, Ralu had been her first stolen Pokemon, and the only one she had actually kept.

Leaving Kit to continue to sleep, she dressed quickly into her mission clothing. Her room wasn’t much different from Aryn’s, if bigger. The walls were a more soothing color than sterile white; a warm grey. Bare feet sank into plush crimson carpeting as she walked over to her walk-in closet. The door swung open on oiled hinges, revealing the rack that held her clothes. Most were leisure clothes, and she only had one actual Rocket uniform that she only wore on momentous occasions. She was the highest ranking operative here in Hoenn, technically, and she could pretty much do what she wanted. She ignored most of these clothes, and pushed to the back. She smiled as she caught sight of what she was looking for. A skin-tight black suit, the front embroidered with a dark red R. She pulled it out and easily put it on. She slipped on boots and black gloves as well, and tied up her hair. It was almost a calming exercise, she’d done it so many times. She loved setting off for field missions. It was the reason she’d joined Team Rocket, and her element. There was something exhilarating about it all, sneaking and stealing. Finishing the look, she took a dark denim jacket off its hanger and slipped it on over top.

When she was ready, she gently nudged Kit. The pink feline lifted her head and yawned, then climbed to her feet and followed Reeah out the door.

---

“Hey, kid! Er, Aryn! Time to get up!” Blue eyes fluttered open, and Aryn stifled a yawn. She sat up sleepily, and Cillin shifted next to her.

“Aryn! C’mon, hurry, we’ve got places to be!”

“C-coming!” She called sleepily, and crawled out of the bed. She rifled through the clothes when she pulled out what appeared to be a latex black suit. She raised an eyebrow at it before exchanging it for a black tee and plain jeans. Once dressed, she pulled her brown trainer’s belt on, and returned both Cillin and Tono. Feeling ready at last, she pulled open the door, where her mentor stood impatiently. To the girl’s surprise, the woman wore a suit similar to the one she had pulled out by accident, with a denim jacket over top. Miss Reeah gave her an irate glare before her face split into an almost frightening smile.

“We’ve got a mission,” she said. “Are you sure you want to go like that?” Aryn nodded hesitantly, and Reeah shrugged, turning to walk down the hall. “Suit yourself. Let’s go, then.”

The walk was quick, and Aryn was glad for what sleep she had gotten. She felt better, in spite of the late night. She wondered what exactly their mission was, and why they were going out on it so soon after she had arrived. She had a sneaking suspicion that it had something to do with her.

They stopped briefly for Reeah to get some information from a red-haired, tall man sitting at a desk with a computer and electrical equipment piled onto it. Miss Reeah left her out in the hall while they spoke, so she didn’t get a good look at him until he stepped out with the older woman. The man was in his early twenties, and was thin, with little muscle, as though he spent a majority of his time at a desk. That wasn’t to say that he wasn’t attractive, though. He smiled brightly at her when he stepped through the door, which was considerably more than anyone else in Team Rocket had done since she had made her decision to join. His eyes were bright blue green, a great contrast to his short but messy hair. He wore regular clothing, rather than a uniform; a red long sleeve shirt with black slacks.

“So, this is your new apprentice, eh?” He asked Reeah, then stuck out a hand to Aryn. Gingerly, she shook it. “I feel sorry for ya, kid,” he continued, mock sympathy in his voice. “I know I wouldn’t want to be around her twenty-four seven. She’s bad enough the few times I have to see her during the day.”

“Shuddup, Boro,” Miss Reeah growled as Aryn withdrew her hand. “Quit trying to seduce her, she’s only thirteen. We’ve gotta go, anyway.” He waved as they set back off down the hall, then disappeared back into his little office.

They walked down the hall in relative silence, the only sound being their footsteps. Finally, Aryn gathered up the courage to speak.

“Ah, Miss Reeah?” She asked hesitantly. “Where are we going?”

“Dewford,” she replied flatly. “We’re going to Granite Cave.” Aryn nodded.

After climbing the stairs they had descended the night before, they passed through the upper floor of the HQ, and back out the front.

---

Petalburg Woods didn’t seem quite so foreboding in the sunshine. It was easier for Aryn to see where she stepped, and where she was going. They made their way through considerably faster than they had the night before.

Aryn couldn’t suppress a grin at the sight of the sun glittering on the open sea. It was stunningly beautiful, like a giant, facetted gem set into the golden sand.

“C’mon, kid, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.” She tore her eyes away, and turned to her black-clad mentor. In the older woman’s hand was a Pokeball, and the front of her jacket was zipped up, with her ever-loyal Skitty tucked into it. She grinned, and looked almost comical. “Ever ridden a dragon before?” Slowly, Aryn shook her head. Miss Reeah shrugged, then tossed the ball into the air.

The sphere split in two, releasing a steady stream of bright white light. It solidified into a long, lithe shape. Luminous eyes shone playfully, and the long serpentine body, half sapphire and half pearly white, floated effortlessly in the air. Aryn’s eyes grew wide.

“You… You have a Dragonair?” Said dragon happily glided up, then around his trainer in a loose circle. Reeah smiled genuinely at the playful creature, and patted his head with a gloved hand.

“Yeah,” Miss Reeah replied. “Ralu and I have been together for quite a while. He’s going to be our ride to Dewford.” The dragon nodded, then floated low, low enough that the two of them could climb on his back. Reeah straddled Ralu first, easily wrapping her arms around his thick neck to hold on. Aryn sat behind her more gingerly.

“You might wanna grab on, kid,” the older woman advised. “When Ralu flies, he flies fast.” Gulping audibly, Aryn got a firm hold on her mentor’s lower torso, just before Ralu took off in a blast of air.

Wind rushed past the blonde girl’s face as the ground and the sea grew farther and farther away below them. For a few seconds, Aryn dwelled on the fact that, technically, there was no way they could be flying—Dragonair, after all, had no wings. The thought began to make her think about plummeting though the air, and she quickly dismissed it. The truth was, they were flying, and Ralu wasn’t about to fall any time soon.

The sea moved below them far faster than Aryn thought possible. No matter how far away Dewford was, Aryn could hardly believe that it would take long to get there. She looked up and past Reeah’s dark hair, to what lay before them. They kept to the coast, passing islands and rocky cliffs on their trip. Gradually, it gave way to sandy beaches. They passed a small cluster of buildings, among them the red roof of a Pokemon Center.

“Is that Dewford?” Aryn tried to say above the rushing wind, but her words were ripped away before she even heard them herself. She closed her mouth again as the town disappeared below them. It was quickly replaced by the shadow of a cliff face. Reeah leaned closer to Ralu’s head and whispered into a feathery ear. The dragon nodded once, then began to descend.

They came to the ground gently, and Aryn was all too eager to climb off. She had never really been scared of heights, but there was just something about riding a dragon that really shouldn’t be able to fly that made her glad to be on the ground again.

Reeah patted Ralu’s head almost motherly before returning him in a stream of red to his Pokeball. Then, she turned to look at the cliff face they had landed near.

The rock was a dark brownish gray, jagged like teeth that tore at the blue sky above. There weren’t many caves that Aryn could see, only a black opening here and there, aside from the one near the bottom. It was like an enormous mouth at least fifteen feet long, with stony fangs bared. Beyond, she could see a few stalagmites and stalactites, their wet tips glinting in the sunlight.

“This is the place!” Reeah said, sounding enthusiastic. “Looks kinda creepy, huh?” Aryn only nodded, still taking in the spectacle. “Well, let’s go!” The older woman set off eagerly, making her way past the rocks that littered the outside of the cave, her pink shadow, who she’d let down after landing, close behind. Aryn blinked, then, realizing she was being left behind, hurried to catch up.

---

The interior of the cave was as scary as the outside. The constant drip of water echoed all around them, and the walls seemed to be made of as much shadow as rock. Aryn kept close to Reeah, her mind going through all the various things that could be hiding in that darkness. Spinarak, Sandshrew, Zubat…

“Here.” Aryn started as something was shoved into her hand. It was almost too dark to see what the item was, but when the scant light did reflect on its lenses, she discovered that she held a pair of goggles.

“They’re for night vision,” Reeah explained, seeing Aryn’s confusion. “It’ll make it easier for us to navigate.” Aryn looked up at her mentor, to see her with similar goggles already pushed over her eyes. She slipped them on, and was surprised by how the world around her was suddenly lit up in an eerie green. She could see every rock and crevasse with surprising detail.

As she had marveled at how well the goggles worked, Reeah had already moved up ahead, into the darkness. She was about to follow when she heard a voice echo behind her, deep and booming.

“Hey, kiddo!” She started and whirled. A ways back in the cavern, where the light filtered in much better, she could a broad shouldered man. A pang of fear went through her for just a second, but she quickly shoved it back. She wasn’t going to be afraid. Acting as though she hadn’t heard him, she walked forward with sure steps.

“Wait, I just wanted to warn you—“

The man’s calls went on ignored as she followed Reeah deeper into the bowels of the cave.

---

For some time, the two of them didn’t see much of anything. Only rocks, rocks, and more rocks, none of them of any value. Reeah was quickly becoming cross.

“Where’s all the freaking Pokemon and rare stones?” Aryn heard her growl lowly at one point. The girl stifled a giggle. It was around that time that they came upon the first inhabitants of the cave.

Zubat, what seemed like hundreds of them. They hung from the ceiling in large groups, silent and with their wings wrapped around them. Aryn was practically shaking in fear. One Pokemon she hated were Zubat. With their lack of eyes, sharp teeth, and thirst for blood, they were some of the weirdest and scariest Pokemon she’d ever happened upon.

“They’re sleeping,” Reeah hissed in her ear. “Stay absolutely quiet.” She nodded, swallowing nervously. She couldn’t take her eyes off of the bat Pokemon above.

They moved as silently as possible, taking care not to knock any pebbles or rocks out of place. Gradually, though, the Pokemon began to diminish, leaving them again on their own.

As they walked deeper, a faint glow began to light up the cave around them. It finally became bright enough that they could take off the goggles. Reeah’s eyes practically grew round at the sight of what was creating the light.

It was a stone. Pure white light radiated off of it in waves, lighting the space as if it was day. Slowly, a greedy grin crossed Reeah’s face.

“Pretty, pretty sunstone…” She said quietly, stepping forward.

“Wait! Miss Reeah!” Aryn hissed urgently, grabbing her mentor’s arm. “It could be trapped, or—!” The older woman broke through away from her grip.

“Don’t be stupid, girl,” she snapped, apparently jolting out of her trance. “We’re not in some kind of guarded tomb. That stone is natural—and very valuable.” Not waiting for Aryn to reply, Reeah stepped carefully through the smaller rocks around the sunstone. Aryn watched with apprehension. She wasn’t sure why, but she knew that taking the sunstone wasn’t a good idea…

Finally, Reeah reached out to grab the stone. Carefully, she put her hands around it, and grinned. She had it. But, when she lifted it, the light grew dim. Both women stopped cold, a feeling of foreboding washing over them both.

Then, the sound of leathery wings beating the air echoed from behind them.

“Crap, crap, crap!” Reeah all but yelled as she jumped around the jagged rocks, making her way back to Aryn and Kit.

“You woke up the Zubat!” Aryn squeaked, a hand going to Cillin’s Pokeball.

“Really, ya think?” Reeah growled, as the Zubat swarm reached them. “Ice beam, Kit!” The pink feline opened her mouth wide, loosing a beam of blue as she did. Several of the Zubat were hit, falling with high-pitched cries. Aryn unclipped a Pokeball from her belt with a shaky hand, and tossed it. It split in two, spilling forth white light that solidified into Cillin.

“Hurry, Water Gun!” Aryn cried quickly. The water type bared its teeth in a smirk, then spat a steady stream of foam. Several Zubat were struck by it, hitting the cavern walls, but for every one the two of them took out, three more took its place. Several bypassed the attacks of their Pokemon and began swooping around Reeah’s head.

Draconic_Espeon
04-12-2008, 06:47 PM
“Dammit! Where are these things coming from?” The woman yelled angrily, waving one arm to fend them off while the sunstone was held tight with the other. Aryn bit her lip. There was no way they could beat all of them and get out. But what had made them attack? Then it hit her.

“Miss Reeah! They aren’t going to let us escape with the sunstone! You’ve gotta put it back!”

“Well, that’s not an option!” She growled back stubbornly. “Think of something else!” At that moment, the Zubat divided into two groups. One stayed back to fight the combined efforts of Cillin and Kit, while the rest formed a swarm, aimed at Reeah.

“Miss Reeah!” Aryn cried in warning. Reeah looked up just in time to see the Zubat coming at her. With a startled yelp, she covered her head with her arms, dropping the sunstone in the process. Rather than attacking her, the Zubat dove for the stone, and one nabbed it in its mouth before it dropped to the ground.

“Hey!” Reeah yelled indignantly as it flew away, disappearing among the throng of other Zubat. “You sorry excuse for a winged rat! Gimme back my stone!” Without a thought, Reeah was off, following the faint light of the stone.

“Miss Reeah!” Aryn called, until she realized her mentor wasn’t going to stop. With an exasperated sigh, she took off after her, the two Pokemon doing their best to keep up as well.

The Zubat flock squeezed into a side tunnel that the two Rockets hadn’t noticed on their first walk through, seeing as it was tucked into a corner and hidden from sight. As it was, Reeah almost missed it. The farther in they went, the narrower it grew, zigzagging back and forth through the rock. Before long, Aryn’s lungs began to burn from breathing the stagnant cave air and a stitch was forming in her side. She could only just see Reeah now, flitting between rocks. She was in such better shape, the girl noted wistfully. She wasn’t sure how much longer she could keep up this pace.

At long last, the tunnel opened up into a dark cavern, lit by the stone. The Zubat settled in clumps on the ceiling, huddling together near the back. The only one that didn’t join them was the one with the sunstone. Instead, it fluttered low to the ground, dropping off its load next to another creature, one Aryn recognized immediately.

The weak-looking Pokemon had closed eyes, a rectangular face, and a long tail, all golden brown. It sat on the rocky ground, its two legs with their three-toed feet stuck out in a very relaxed pose, looking for all the world like it was asleep. And, Aryn thought to herself, it probably was; she’d heard before that Abra slept at least eighteen hours a day, but that they could still use their psychic powers when they were.

Aryn gulped involuntarily. Abra were strange creatures, with even stranger powers. They weren’t on the list of Pokemon she particularly liked. She would have much rather met a Ralts.

With a slow movement, the Abra reached a hand forward and grasped the stone. It wasn’t going to let them take it.

“Good, an Abra,” Reeah said. When Aryn glanced at her, she could see the woman’s grin. “Something to bring back with us besides these Zubat.” She glanced backward, glad to see that Kit was still with them. “Alright, Kit, time to rock and roll. Hit it with an Ice Beam!”

“Nyah,” the kitten Pokemon replied eagerly, then loosed a beam of bright blue light. It was aimed perfectly; there was no way it could miss the target. Except, well, just when it was about to hit, the Abra brought up what looked like some kind of psychic force field. The beam of energy exploded harmlessly against it, freezing a few nearby rocks. Reeah gritted her teeth, but before she could call out another demand, the Abra’s eyes began to glow a luminous purple. The same purple hue illuminated many of the Zubat around the cavern, bringing them out of their slumber. With high-pitched cries, they dove for the pink feline.

“Dodge and Tail Whip, Kit!” Reeah commanded. The first of the bats swooped down on Kit, trying to hit her with a Wing Attack, but she neatly ducked out of the way. With a quick spin, she whirled her heavy tail up, and smacked the Pokemon’s back. It cried out and crumpled to the floor.

“Help her, Cillin!” Aryn urged. “Use Bubble on the ones still in the air!” The Wartortle, having followed Kit, albeit at a slower pace, blew a steady stream of bubbles at the approaching Zubat. They popped against wings and bodies, exploding and sticking to the bats. The Pokemon crashed into one another, sticking together and falling to the floor in writhing mounds. But, once again, the two Pokemon were overwhelmed by the numbers. More and more of the creatures joined the fray, urged and controlled by the Abra’s psychic powers.

“We need to target the Abra,” Reeah hissed to her apprentice. “We need a small Pokemon to scamper over and deliver a blow while it is distracted. None of my Pokemon are good for that.” She looked at her directly, gray eyes meeting blue. “That Rattata would be perfect, though.” Aryn nodded slowly, but didn’t reply immediately. She still didn’t want to use the Rattata; it was a symbol of her failure. But, if it could get them out of there in one piece…

“Okay,” she said finally, reaching for the unused Pokeball. With a quick intake of breath, she released it in a brief flash of white light. The white and purple mouse blinked up at her, large eyes wide. It was small, even for a Rattata; but, for their purposes, that might be a good thing.

“Go, under the Zubat,” she told it. “Attack the Abra with Bite, as many times as you can.” The tiny creature stared at her for a minute, then nodded in understanding. As it crept away, Aryn almost thought she saw it smirk, like it was eager to do something besides sit in a Pokeball.

The Rattata did well, keeping away from all the Zubat, scampering through the room. The Abra didn’t even notice it approaching. Finally, then it was close enough, it lunged, and latched its teeth onto the psychic type’s arm with a strong Bite. The Abra’s concentration snapped, and it lurched in pain. It tried to feebly shake the rat off, but its arms were too weak. Instead, it pushed it away with another force field, growing out from its body. The Rattata squeaked from the attack, and fell on its side. With weak movements, it climbed to its feet.

The moment of freedom was enough. Startled, those Zubat still able to fled back through the tunnel they had come in from. The Abra was on its own.

“Pound it, guys!” Reeah crowed, victory now in sight. “Ice Beam and Water Gun!” Cillin shot his trainer a questioning look, and when she nodded, joined the Skitty in the assault. The Abra brought up its shield again, and it held, even from the steady barrage. Reeah grimaced, and, in desperation, released a third Pokemon. This one was a snake, black, purple, and red, with venomous yellow eyes. It hissed and lashed its bladelike tail, every inch the terrifying Seviper.

“Hit that force field with a good Poison Tail, Vipe! Crack it open like an egg!” Not hesitating, Vipe lashed out with his wicked tail. As the older Rocket had predicted, it was enough to smash the field, letting in the Ice Beam and Water Gun Cillin and Kit were loosing. Hit with both the attacks, and already weakened by controlling so many Zubat, and the Bite from the Rattata, the Abra fell back in a dead faint. Reeah grinned, and the three fighting Pokemon backed away. She snapped a ball off her belt, and made it bigger it by pressing a button.

“You’re going to catch it?” Aryn asked, surprised.

“Of course!” Reeah replied. “We’re here for rare Pokemon and stones, right? Between the Abra and the sunstone, I’d say we pretty well met our goal, didn’t we?” She tossed it with well-practiced ease, and the red and white sphere bounced against the Abra’s still form. It split in two, red light pouring forth to wrap around the psychic type and pull it inside. With a dull thud, it fell to the stone floor, and gently rocked back and forth, once, twice…

---

Status: Finished, at long last!
Going For: Abra
Length Needed: 20-30k
Actual Length: 43,233 w/ spaces, 35,539 w/out

Phantom Kat
04-26-2008, 04:09 AM
Aha, my turn to grade this time. =)

Plot: Reeah is a top-notch agent for Team Rocket, a sarcastic and cunning woman who likes to work alone with her Pokemon. However, she is sent Aryn, a thirteen-year-old graduate from the academy who is the grunt Reeah is supposed to mentor. Not exactly meeting eye-to-eye, they go to Granite Cave early the next morning and get harass by an Abra when they attempt to steal a sunstone. After a battle that involves Aryn’s new Rattata, they attempt to capture the Abra.

I really liked this plot mainly because I like it when the main characters are full of themselves, yet they get stuck with people who are the complete opposites. I also like this plot because it had a lot of things that made it really different from most URPG stories: the main character was a sarcastic, top-notch agent for Team Rocket who loves her line of work. At the same time, however, one Team Rocket member, Aryn, isn’t really what you expect a stealthy thief to be with her motivation being to get out of her sister’s shadow. Overall, it was just enjoyable to read and it made me chuckle from time to time because of Reeah’s sarcastic attitude.

Really, all I could see for improvement is elaboration on some parts. For example: the reason why the Zubats and the Abra did not want the Sunstone to be taken. Was it some kind of shrine to them or something along those lines? Also, maybe some information as to why Reeah decided to join Team Rocket. The plot was just awesome for Abra but elaborating on small things like these could would just make the story better.

And you get extra points for using the name Daisuke. ;) [Coming from a big D.N.Angel fan]

Introduction: I really liked it, you started this story off really well. The setting was described really well and it smoothly transitioned to the Reeah. The thing I liked the most was that I really got to know Reeah which, seeing as she is the main character, is very important. We get to know why she doesn’t want to have a partner, how and why is an experience agent, and what she expects from this new grunt. I really got to know her which made the story easy to follow instead of me being left thinking, “Why did she do that?”

Maybe to make your introduction better, you can add just a tin more of description to your surroundings. Perhaps describe Petalburg City a little bit more, the quiet atmosphere and how Reeah could imagine the sleeping occupants in each, well kept house. A little more could make the introduction more realistic and it will be stick more into the minds of the readers. =)

Grammar/Spelling: This section was virtually spotless, I only saw a handful of mistakes and they were very minor and didn’t hinder you. Just so this spot won’t be empty, I’ll show them:

The Hoenn HQ itself was little more than a collection of small rooms, most of which were underground in rooms excavated silently by some of the smaller ground and rock type Pokemon. Team Rocket had to keep their operations here as quite as possible, and that meant keeping a small and disguised base.

You meant “quiet”. xP

Realizing what had happened, the Reeah’s expression went from one of mild surprise to seething fury.

Hehe, ironic that this mistake was in both of our stories; the “the” isn’t needed.

Length: Let me think about this one…

Description/Detail: Everything was so vibrant and well described but at the same time, it wasn’t overkill. One of the things that struck at me were the adjectives you used. They weren’t repetitive but the same time, they weren’t bland. Really, I have no qualms about this section, it was top-notch and it made this story a nice read.

The only advice I can give would be to add a tinge more description to the Pokemon and the surroundings. Both of those sections were described beautifully but maybe a bit more can be done, more visual for the readers.

Battle: Like all the other sections, this was well done. It wasn’t just Pokemon A crashing into Pokemon B, lather, rinse, repeat. Abra controlling the Zubat was a nice twist, especially since Abra can only learn Teleport but he can still use some psychic manipulation. It was all staged very well with Rattata being used to sneak in close and Bite the opponent. Like I said above, a bit more description can be used. Add some color to the attack and I, for one, like to really make the battles come to life by describing the attack as it is launched, when it hits, an the after effects. Just take your time, like when you describe the setting in the introduction.

Outcome: You know, I should have just put this in the beginning of the grade and save myself all the typing. xP Abra captured! I hope Jackson enjoys the Abra and you enjoy whatever Pokemon you’re getting, and it better be a cute Pokemon and not ugly like Garchomp. XD Other than that, keep writing those stories. ^^

- Kat

Draconic_Espeon
04-26-2008, 04:30 AM
Thank you very much. ^^

Yeah, I like Reeah quite a bit. I use her in roleplaying a lot, and I've been wanting to put her into a URPG fic for a while. I'm glad you like her too. xD

I actually do know why she joined (it has to do with her father dying, and then she lived on the streets for a while, started stealing, and was eventually drafted into Team Rocket, so to speak) but I forgot to add it in to her little history section. I keep telling people to make sure to add in history, I think I need to practice what I preach...

As for the part with the Zubat and Abra, I honestly didn't think about it. I suppose it could have been something along the lines of maybe it was a psychic power amplifier, and the Abra was using it to help control the inhabitants of the cave. (Again, something I should have added in, but I'm telling you anyway.)

I didn't really go into describing Petalburg much because the shore was kinda far away. You couldn't really see much of it, and plus, Reeah didn't want to be seen by someone who couldn't sleep or something. Sorry I didn't make that clearer. I will try to work on adding a bit more to the scenery.

Haha, yes, because Reeah is just so awesome that she has to be called 'the Reeah'. xD I tend to look over my stories pretty well, so I'm glad I only had two typos in there.

Ah, thank you, I'll try to work a bit more on my description in battle. I tend to go a little quickly over that to keep the battle moving, but I'll take a bit more time on each attack to really get what's happening across. And I rushed that one a bit, because I wanted to get done. ^^;

Thank you again for the grade, I really appreciate it. And yes, I'm getting a cute little Mudkip. A lot cuter than a Garchomp. xD