//The following story is a Pokemon fan fiction that serves as a spin-off to my original project: Professor Ginkgo Chronicles. The story is told through the eyes of Aurelie and serves to expand on what happened to Shuichi’s friend Nathan after he joined Team Rocket. I haven’t decided if I will continue the story yet. Enjoy the read.
Rating: Young Adult
Criminals. Thugs. Poachers. The Lost Cause. This is how media all across Kanto and Johto used to portray Team Rocket before it was disbanded. In the aftermath, some of the infamous organization’s members would return to normal lives. Others would continue going about their crimes to other capacities. But for the rest of us, life would never be the same.
The world will always remember Team Rocket as a notorious gang who sported some of the most criminal acts against pokemon for profit. But to me, they were my family.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Psst. Aurelie, wake up. We have to get moving.”
My eyes squinted in anticipation of the bright, sunny sky that would await me. But all I could see were the walls of the dark caves of Mt. Mortar, with only the flicker of a small campfire to see anything. We weren’t too far from the cave’s opening, so there should have been some noticeable twilight would indicate daybreak.
But as I packed away our supplies, I knew that there was another reason to get moving under the cover of a starry sky. After all, I am part of Team Rocket’s Legendary Capture Division now.
“You’re finally awake, sleepyhead,” said my partner Nathan. “I never thought you were the kind to take such long naps.”
“I was really tired, okay?” I snapped back. “Besides, you were supposed to wake me up two hours ago to be on lookout! Some squad leader you turned out to be, novice.”
“I can’t help it if the executives think more highly of me,” he shrugged.
“I’ve been part of Team Rocket since I was 12! You barely joined just last year, and all of a sudden you think you’re better than everyone else out of a fluke!”
“What can I say?” Nathan continued. “I was born to be the strongest. And I will only settle for the strongest pokemon.”
We continued to scale the mountain in silence on our way back from our survey. Nathan and I have been staking out this location for three days in hopes that we might find the elusive Entei rushing through the forest below. Intel was convinced that the legendary beast would appear here at some time during our mission. But alas, Entei was nowhere to be found, and we were running low on supplies. We had to go back.
Nathan and I have only been on the same squad for two months. When I first heard of him, I thought he was one of those burly guys with scars from street fights across his face. I never imagined that he would be some slender 18-year-old with brown, windswept hair. Well, at least I would notice the hair had he not worn his Rocket beret so proudly upon every mission we’ve ever been on. He really is just a Rocket fanboy who lucked out to be part of the most coveted division of our organization.
As for me, I have been a part of Team Rocket for a lot longer than him, even if he is still one year my senior in age. But unlike him, I didn’t have much of a choice to join. My family owed a lot to Team Rocket in support of their small business. As a result, my brother Ken and I were recruited early on to pay our debts. But at the time, leaving my family wasn’t so bad. Other trainers in the world would travel across regions at that age to challenge gyms under the certified Pokemon League. But for the longest time, Team Rocket has always been my family. I would have joined them in a heartbeat.
So at the time, I was happy to join Team Rocket’s Artillery Division along with my brother. Having raised Voltorbs when he was younger, Ken was perfect for causing all kinds of commotion with explosions to get into heavily guarded compounds. As for me, I was still small at the time, so I was often used to crawl into tiny spaces to plant and occasionally diffuse bombs when necessary. Of course, when things got tough, I always had Houndour by my side.
Together with our technician Paul, our scout Vicky, and our leader Benjamin, we were known as Team Rocket’s Renegade Five, because we were all teenagers who successfully carried out many dangerous missions to take treasures and pokemon. My family had grown from just Ken and me to the five of us, and we were very closely knit. But recently, our last mission went terribly wrong, and I was the lone survivor.
“Is something on your mind?” asked Nathan, surprisingly concerned. “You haven’t said anything to me for like, ten minutes. Normally you would have snapped back at me by now.”
“I’m sorry,” I said sarcastically. “Maybe I actually liked the silence coming from you for once! Ugh, it was a mistake for the executives to pair me up with you!”
That was a lie, or at least, part of it was. I never took kindly to Nathan, not because he was annoying or rude or anything. I guess you might say that I actually feared him. Nathan joined us only recently, but unlike other Rocket grunts, he has contended in two Pokemon League championships. Sure, he didn’t win either one of them, but that never stopped him from being ruthlessly strong. I watched in fear when I observed his initiation battle with some of our strongest elites. It seemed like no one could compare to him and his Hitmonchan, his most prized pokemon. But even after that evaluation, he didn’t hesitate to give it away to the executives in exchange for a more powerful Feraligatr, all for the promise that he would use it to help capture a legendary pokemon. The Hitmonchan, of course, was used to some other capacity within the organization.
Nathan reminds me of one of those powerful superheroes you see on TV, but deep down he’s still just a novice about Team Rocket and all of its inner works. And that, to me, is a very dangerous combination. But even so, I wasn’t in any position to complain. Four of my closest brothers and sister were killed before my very eyes. If Nathan was going to be their replacement, then so be it. It would be much better than being left alone.
“Squad 64, come in, Squad 64,” I heard our radio device pick up.
Nathan adjusted his headpiece and responded back.
“This is Squad 64, reporting. Three days and no signs of Entei yet. Returning to HQ in about–”
Nathan stopped. The ground below us shook. The cool, clear night quickly turned to a hot, thick haze. Nathan and I peered over the cliff as we saw something brush through the trees below us. Some Noctowls and Pidgeottos scattered from the blurred anomaly before us. And when I turned to my partner, all I could see was a huge grin on his face.
“Scratch that,” he said. “The target is now in sight. Squad 64 is going to intercept the beast.”
“Sending backup as soon as possible,” replied our base.
“That won’t be necessary, HQ,” said Nathan confidently. “I will capture Entei myself.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Nathan and I rushed to the forest where we spotted the explosion that followed. As a former member of the Artillery Division, Nathan asked me to set up a trap for Entei had he entered the forest. Using my Honchkrow to fly over the forest, I had the night bird pursue the pokemon in question and drop a bomb big enough to slow him down. With any luck, Entei would have stopped in place and we would be the first people there to capture him.
According to rumors, Entei doesn’t reveal himself to just anyone when he stops in his tracks. Many trainers who thought they spotted him would scratch their heads when there was no fire pokemon to be found beyond the raised heat level in the area. Perhaps this illusion was Entei’s response in order to survive, but Nathan is convinced that the beast will only reveal himself to strong trainers like him. And once we got to where Honchkrow had dropped the bomb, Nathan couldn’t have been more pleased.
The fiery glow of the path behind him. The smoke that rose from the trap that we just laid. The beast stood proudly, as if nothing could have stopped him. And yet, he stared us down with vigilant eyes, knowing that we were the ones who interrupted his stride.
I trembled as I looked deep into Entei’s eyes. Very few people ever get the chance to meet a pokemon like Entei. I can imagine he was angry at us for stopping him. But surprisingly, what I felt from his presence was not aggression, but rather a sense of judgment. It felt like Entei was staring deep into my soul, exposing every fiber of my being.
“At last, I have found you, Entei,” said Nathan, undeterred. “Now we will see who’s the strongest!”
Nathan reached at his belt for two pokemon: his Feraligatr and Golem. But before he could release them, I felt something else. Someone else was here, besides, Entei, Nathan, or me. I should have known.
Without another thought, I pushed Nathan from behind and forced him on the ground. Entei still stood before us without flinching.
“What the hell, Aurelie,” complained Nathan. “I was just about ready to–”
I pressed my index finger to his lips to keep his mouth shut. With my other hand, I subtly pointed over to shift Nathan’s gaze. It was barely visible, but Nathan noticed it too: a small bullet cap hit the ground.
“Well, if it isn’t the ambitious recruit and the Renegade Five coward,” said another Rocket from behind us. “I’m surprised you two lasted this long.”
“Brandon from Security Division?” Nathan smirked. “I thought I wiped the floor with you and your pokemon at initiation already. Don’t worry, we got it covered.”
“Shut up,” I said, elbowing Nathan in his side. “This is not the time.”
There was a reason that Nathan and I were paired together specifically. Nathan was expected to believe that he was part of our duo, but I was given special orders from the executives that excluded him.
“I don’t think you understand your situation,” said Brandon. “You weren’t expected to find Entei at all. You were expected to be eliminated. Isn’t that right, Aurelie?”
I trembled nervously as Nathan and Brandon looked at me. Both of them looked disappointed in me, but Nathan even more so. He was betrayed by his only partner, and he didn’t even know it. But even so, he still seemed confused. And in a snap, he grew angry.
“Is that true, Aurelie?” he said. “Were you supposed to eliminate me, too?”
I gulped. I had to tell him.
“I was asked to gain your trust only to deceive you. It was the only way to lower your guard. I didn’t mean to hurt you, because I–”
“I’ve heard enough of this!” he said enraged. “I am the strongest! And I will catch Entei myself!”
But turned to focus on Entei again, but the elusive pokemon was nowhere to be found. It was as if nothing happened, just as the rumors said.
“You have been fooled, Nathan,” said Brandon. “Entei wasn’t here at all, and neither were you. And that goes for you too, Aurelie.”
No. It couldn’t be. I knew Nathan was to be eliminated, but me too? Why would Team Rocket betray me? My family?
“Sneasel!” shouted Nathan.
Brandon raised his right hand to give a signal, but all we could hear was the scream of another person from a distance. Nathan had already known that other Rockets might have tracked us, so he already released Sneasel to survey the forest. Nathan may have been recruited recently, but he always seemed one step ahead of the others.
I knew Nathan was a very strong trainer before he became part of Team Rocket. But what scared me most about him was the command he had over his pokemon. He only recently caught that Sneasel, and he obeyed his every command flawlessly. It’s as if they had the same mind.
“I didn’t think it would have to come to this,” said Brandon. “Attack at will!”
Just then, six more rocket members appeared with their pokemon. All of them were part of the Security or Legendary Capture Division, no doubt. I released Houndoom and Honchkrow to defend us. Nathan would have released his pokemon by now, but he just stood there lifelessly.
“Nathan, we have to go,” I said. “We have to get out of–”
I slapped him on the shoulder, but I pulled back immediately. Nathan’s body looked fine, but it felt like his skin was burning. What was going on with Nathan? When I looked from behind us, it became more clear.
Entei never left us. He was very much real. And I don’t know how else to explain it, but at that moment, he was possessing Nathan.
Nathan let out a roar that shook the ground. The air around us heated up faster. With his searing hands, he handed me the rest of his pokeballs and stepped toward everyone else.
Stop, Nathan. Don’t do this!
Six of Team Rockets’ pokemon attacked Nathan, but it was no use. Each one burned on contact with him, and he retaliated with a powerful punch of his own. The Golbat of the group tried to get away, but Nathan dashed with extreme speed and slammed it into the ground. It seemed fortunate that all six of the pokemon were still alive, but their wounds were in critical condition. They needed care immediately.
But the Rockets didn’t stop to return them. All six of them came at Nathan with knives in order to subdue him, but Nathan fought all of them back, giving each of them severe burns. The Rockets screamed in pain from their wounds, but miraculously they were also not dead. For a legendary pokemon, it seemed like Entei’s power was limited when it possessed Nathan’s body. But then I remembered its judgmental gaze. Like Nathan, Entei wasn’t interested in fighting just any of his attackers. He was focused on one the entire time.
Nathan grabbed both of Brandon’s arms and seared his flesh. Brandon screamed from the pain, but Nathan didn’t budge. This was the man he intended to kill.
But then, the closest Rocket to them dashed in from behind and stabbed Nathan. Noticing the wound, Nathan, roared loudly again like an Entei as the ground shook. Nathan let go of Brandon and turned around. With one last strike, Nathan grabbed the assailant’s neck and strangled him. With more than just burns, the Rocket stopped breathing. Nathan threw the corpse to the ground and collapsed.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
When the battle was over, the remaining Rockets and their pokemon slowly recovered from their wounds. All of them needed to be hospitalized, but Brandon was stubborn and reached for his knife, intending on finishing the job. But before I could react, Houndoom leaped forward and stood between Nathan’s body on the ground and Brandon. Without hesitation, I grabbed the gun that I was supposed to use to kill Nathan and aimed it at Brandon instead.
“You don’t want to do this, little girl,” he said to me.
“Stay away from him,” I said. “Get out of this damned place!”
Some distorted voices came from the radios that Brandon and Nathan were using, that I couldn’t understand what they were saying. Brandon gave a heavy sigh.
“A team of ambulances is coming to pick up our men and their pokemon,” he said. “They will most likely be arrested upon recovery. I don’t have time for this, and neither do you two.”
Houndoom inched away in relief and let Brandon step away. I dropped the gun and took a deep breath as well. With that, Brandon endured his wounds and left the scene and all the Rockets with it. With what little strength I had, I carried Nathan’s body over to a deeper part of the forest so that the paramedics and police couldn’t find us. The elusive Entei had already fled the scene.
When I felt we were far enough, I laid Nathan in my arms.
“Aurelie, you saved me,” I heard Nathan croak. “Weren’t you supposed to kill me?”
“I’m sorry, Nathan,” I said. “I just couldn’t do it.”
“And why not?”
I didn’t know how else to express how I truly felt about him. So I told him as bluntly as I could.
“You were never meant to be a Rocket.”
And with that, Nathan gave me a genuine smile.
“That’s funny,” he said with one last breath. “Neither were you.”