Chapter 19: Makua’s Mission

Mewtwo once said that people are like Pokémon, except that they do a lot more in between surviving and reproducing in order to survive and reproduce. It came from his Sayings of a Creation by Man. Often, Makua wondered what this particular quote meant. Animal behavior ensured that humans and Pokémon, both being sort of animals themselves, seek out ways to fulfill two things in life: survival and reproduction. What will humans do that Pokémon won’t?1

People kill. But Pokémon do too. Even Mewtwo himself did that. So what are these in between things? Makua wondered.

They left the forest in a blaze of light and arrived in Fuchsia City the same day. It was burning. All the trees cried out for water. The scent of death and destruction lingered in his nostrils. Apparently, the Safari Zone had been attacked and the Pokémon went crazy and struck back. Many of them escaped. A rather lively bunch made it to the forest and began causing trouble. According to Yumin, someone set fire to it in order to draw the Pokémon out again. They would do whatever was necessary in order to survive. And the humans were doing some in between stuff there that wasn’t survival or reproduction.1

Why? Why were the Viterals corralling Pokémon? Through all their talks and arguments neither Yumin nor Lyres seemed to know.

Makua stared out across the blending hues of purples and oranges throughout Fuchsia city. His brother would be here. Hopefully Kulow made it on his own, made it to the safety spot he and Makua had decided on. Each of the baby Eevee breathed silently in unclosed backpacks on the three members.

“They were trying to smoke us out.” Yumin began his early morning argument, most times with no remorse.

“Oh get over yourself,” Lyres replied. “No one gives two Hoothoots about us. Stop thinking that they do.”

“No one gives a Crabby about you,” Yumin said. “That part is right.”

They had been fighting like this since they met, or since Makua had the pleasure of traveling with them and he wondered when it would stop. He had surmised at least this much: Lyres was part of Team Rocket and Yumin was part of Team Crimson. These two organizations were at odds and in some eternal new dance, the Viterals chose both of them as their dance partners. Whenever it suited their fancy. Makua wondered if Bambi knew about her older brother. It would be a great blow to take something like that.

“Even here, in a big city like Fuchsia the Pokémon roam wildly, like they don’t know what to do.”

“They’ve been mostly bred in captivity,” Yumin replied as though the answer to this were easy. “They don’t know what to do. They’re probably doing all they can just to avoid the Clamp Balls being thrown at them.”

In the past few days, Clamp Balls were mentioned a lot. Perhaps in the off chance that Lyres might feel bad for accepting what Yumin had given him in order to get his sister’s necklace back and return it to the man who had first scooped it up.

They had arrived under the cover of night after getting Skarmory and Braviary ready for flight again. They ran into some battles and some wild swarms of Beedrill and herds of Tauros, but they’d finally made it out. About half their total team could still fight.

“We can at least try the Pokémon Center,” Lyres suggested. “If the Viterals have it on lockdown they might allow normal citizens to use it.”

Makua looked around to study this new scene. Men in black clothes, cloaks, and suits walked about from one building to the next, their hands stiffly at their sides. Makua couldn’t see any Pokémon. They were either captured or had escaped at this point. No one seemed to be outside which made Makua, Yumin and Lyres stand out even more.

“No. We’re going to the Safari Zone entrance to see what’s going on and to see if Makua’s brother has gone there. If Bambi knows about the meeting spot—” Yumin stopped suddenly.

Makua nodded, considering his own mission. “She knows about it.”

“Then hopefully we can meet up with her and the others.”

It was agreeable for Lyres. Not healing the exhausted Pokémon in your team was better than having them caught by Clamp Balls never to be found again.

So they walked, somewhat conspicuously. Lyres and Yumin in back and Makua leading, as though he were their new ten year old student taken out for a = Safari Zone excursion.

The sounds coming from that place were otherworldly. When Makua approached the Safari Zone, it was like another planet. One thing moaned while another thing cried and in between millions of little beeps, chirps, croaks, and caws. Was there a fire in there too? Makua couldn’t see any smoke. Gates as tall as Onix served as an entrance to, as all the adverts said, the greatest place in all of Kanto to catch wild Pokémon. It was very commercial with the great big sculpture of Kangaskhan (which is just a few Pokeballs away from extinction by the way) on the one side and a rotund Chansey on the other side, its loopy things hanging down its head like vines. One was carnage and mystery while the other was health and good fortune. All four things that the Safari Zone wanted to embody.1

Men stood beyond the gates talking to each other. Two metal stakes sticking from the ground had electricity passing from one to the other.

“They’ve blocked the entrance.” Yumin said. “Where exactly would your brother be?”

“In the Main Entrance.”

They all looked to the side of the gate and found the building that was a ticketing office, souvenir shop, and mini Pokémon Center all in one. It wasn’t the main Pokémon Center but it had nurses and healing stations.

“Maybe its worth a try,” Lyres said, and Makua knew that he was talking about healing.

“Fine.” Yumin breathed air through his nose. “Don’t send out any Pokémon no matter what. Its likely we’ve already been marked, if not by our appearance, then by our Pokémon as well.”

The reasons Yumin had to be paranoid were this: he had been captured along with his uncle by the Viterals weeks before and they tried to beat him to a pulp. Luckily, he was good at jumping out of windows while being unguarded. This was something he confided in Makua but Lyres didn’t know.

They entered the Main Building of the Safari Zone and encountered one thing immediately: Silence. People, women and men alike, stood at stations in their black getups, and typed things on computers. No one looked at them except the two men standing guard at the door. Yumin walked in like it was nothing. He whispered to Makua. “Have a quick look around and see if your brother is here.” Then he walked up to the nurse’s counter, set his Pokémon down and smiled.

No nurses or Chansey smiled back, only a thin-faced woman with poorly applied make-up. “How can I help you?”

“I need to have my party healed.” Yumin said. He did not break eye contact with her. “And my friends too.”

“Are you aware that the Safari Zone has been closed indefinitely?”

This was the last thing Makua heard before he slipped out of sight to investigate further. Would Kulow just be waiting in the main area? Or would he be in one of the game rooms? They hadn’t discussed the meeting that thoroughly.

Makua heard shouting. This place felt wrong and changed. Not that he had been here before, but there was no way his brother, someone good and pure was staying at a place like this. He stopped dead in his tracks, looked down a cold, white hallway, black specks of men standing outside every door, and turned around. He ran and did not look back, which, if Yumin were there, would scold him for, but he didn’t care. His brother wasn’t here. They needed to get out.

The scene Makua arrived at had changed dramatically. Yumin shouted while Lyres kept him from jumping over the counter at the nurse. Three men stood at attention, Pikachu by their sides, as though a shock to the system might sway things in their favor.

“Sir, the systems are down. We cannot heal your Pokémon, I’m sorry.”

Even though Yumin’s cap was pulled down, he would be recognizable if everything he said was true about him being tracked. So why was he acting like this? Makua felt it his place to step in.

“He’s not here. Let’s go.”

Yumin turned, his face hot enough to cook Torchic eggs. He glared.

Beside them, two of the men looked at each other and a true moment of comprehension passed between them.

“Sir. Please step outside so we can talk about it out there.”

Yumin fumed but said nothing. The thunderbolts were forthcoming. Makua saw the sacs in Pikachu’s cheeks light up with excitement. They’d be fried in about three seconds unless someone did something.

Just then the door burst open and in a flash of golden hair, a girl emerged. Everyone turned to face her.

“There you are!” she said, desperate to catch her breath. “C’mon. Mom and Dad are worried sick about you!”

Makua’s heart pumped as he looked at the girl that had saved him in the forest. The bug gym leader, Farore, stood there bouncing from foot to foot. Her eyes pleaded with Yumin to get moving.

The men looked from Farore to Makua. “Mam, you’ll have to leave as well.”

“Of course. I was just going.”

The nurse’s voice rang out. “Stop them! This is not what it looks like!” She above all seemed to know.

It looked like a painfully awkward family reunion to Makua, so if it didn’t look like that, then the lady behind the counter was right.1

Farore moved into the circle and released her Scizor from its Pokeball. “Scizor, protect!”

Dazzling lights came up around the four of them, and when the lightning came, it did not strike them.

“Hold your fire!” said a voice.

Makua bit his own tongue. He knew the voice, though he hadn’t heard it in over six months. Was it possible?

From some unseen place, a man walked into the main lobby. His hair was buzzed, and the collar from his pea coat had been popped up. Makua felt relief when he saw him, but also waves of nausea and confusion. It was certainly his brother, though ironically not the one he had planned to meet. It wasn’t Kulow at all.

“Who are these bandits and why are they causing such a ruckus?”

Lyres, Yumin and Farore tightened, the three of them all hamstringed together like a harmonious sinew. The men and the nurse who been attacking with words and with Pokémon relaxed. Makua didn’t understand. He couldn’t find words.

His brother—wait what . . .?

And as everyone understood the situation in his or her own way, Makua was caught up to speed in a matter of moments.

The young man of 18 years old was someone different to everyone.

To Makua, eldest brother.1

To Lyres, ex Rocket member gone rogue.

To Yumin, bitter rival.

To Farore, ex boyfriend.

To everyone else in the room, the newest underling and Junior Leader in the organization known as the Viterals. A man-boy with many stories and many secrets walked through—his name was Hawk.