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Laugh Like You've Won Always



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Hello. Welcome to the world of pokémon. I am ████████. People call me ███████████████████████████████████. This world is inhabited by creatures called pokémon. For some people, pokémon are pets. Others use them for fights. I wonder... what will they become to you?


Laugh Like You've Won Always

The man shielded his eyes to look up. There was something dark falling from the sky, but the sun was too bright to tell what it was. It grew as it got closer, until he could almost make out its shape. Was that a- A blinding flash of toxic orange light filled the stadium.

Blue's heart was racing as his eyes flew open. It was the same dream, the same one from every night. He got out of bed and walked to the window for some fresh air. It was the middle of the night, so there weren't many lights on down below. The stars up in the sky were shining brightly. He shivered from the cool night air of the desert.

Is everything alright?

"It was just a dream. You should really get some sleep yourself."

I will remain awake.

He returned to the bed. "Suit yourself," he muttered into the dark room as he lay back down. If tonight was like the other nights, he doubted he'd get much sleep.

Episode 1 : An Unfair War

3 Weeks Ago

"Sir, the target has just moved outside of the city. What are your orders?" The Nova soldier continued watching the target's movement away from the city as he waited for an update. The voice on the other end of the communicator was silent. It was hard to tell if he was even still there. But he did receive an answer eventually.

"Your men are not to engage the target themselves. An Admin will be dispatched to deal with this. You are to observe from a distance and surround the target once he's distracted. Should the Admin fail, have your men open fire on the target."

"Yes sir."

When he was far enough from the city that it was unlikely anyone would be watching him he let Rara out of her pokeball. He kept the Gardevoir out whenever he could. It was just good practice. If he was attacked she would sense it coming first and teleport him away. "Sorry for keeping you in your pokeball for so long Rara, I was stuck in that city longer than I'd hoped. Nova grunts everywhere. I must be something impressive to have not been spotted." He stopped when he realized Rara wasn't walking beside him. "Rara?" He turned to see her still standing exactly where she'd materialized out of her pokeball. But something was wrong. She was looking towards him with a pained look on her face but otherwise she was completely motionless.

"Ruby of the Pokemon League?"

The person who'd addressed him walked out from between the trees. So this was why Rara looked so scared. The person was wearing the telltale white Team Nova uniform, but it was the exploding star symbol on the jacket that really mattered. The detail and amount of points of the star indicated the wearer's rank. This one was a Team Nova Admin's jacket, making the one wearing it an Admin. Two others were with him. One was a Gardevoir, eyes glowing red as it kept Rara from moving. Disable? No, Imprison was the most likely bet. So long as that Gardevoir was around he wouldn't be able to make a clean escape. The other one was a person, a woman with bright pink hair. If that was who he thought it was, then he was definitely in trouble. This could be very bad.

"Hehe, Rayne ole buddy ole pal! I don't suppose you'll let me off with just a warning this time? What if I told you it was my birthday? Oh I know, I'll give you this great coupon I happened to get. It'll get you an insane 100% discount on a Miracle Cycle bicycle. Free! It's the truth I swear!"

Jay stared coldly at the person before him. "Send out the rest of your pokemon. Good battles are so hard to find nowadays. I don't want this opportunity to go to waste."


Blue sat at his desk sipping his morning tea while reading over the latest wave of reports. He really wished he was drinking coffee, but according to some people around him he'd started to develop an addiction. Now that he'd forced himself to stop drinking coffee he had to agree with them. He really wanted that mug to magically fill with coffee between sips.

His communicator rang. Never a moment of rest. Wait, this was coming in on his personal communicator. Only a handful of people were able to contact him directly without being checked by the League's own communication monitoring, and the only one of those people that would do so without a good reason was Green. But the number displaying didn't belong to her. It was coming from house Berlitz. Platinum. He answered the call.

"What's the situation Plats?"

The voice on the other end did not belong to Platinum. Apologies Sir Oak, I am not Lady Platinum. I am merely her butler.

"Sebastian, right?"

Yes sir. I apologize for contacting you like this. The Lady had told me how to contact you directly should something ever happen to her.

Blue grew cold. "Sebastian. What. Happened. To Platinum." At some instant since he'd last blinked Mewtwo had teleported into the room, likely in response to Blue's sudden shift in mood.

Nothing yet I don't think, but I fear she's put herself in too much danger this time. Tell me truthfully, did you approve a mission for Lady Birch to infiltrate Goldenrod City?

Everything clicked together. "No. I did not." Sapphire had begged him to rescue Ruby, but he simply couldn't put that many people in danger for one person, even if it was a friend. He'd been forced to tell her to stand down. So she'd gone to Platinum. The two were good friends, it made sense. Platinum was strong, probably as strong as him or Green at least, but she was also reckless enough to risk everything to help a friend. Why hadn't he considered any of this before? Sapphire loved Ruby, of course she would do anything to get him back from Nova. Arceus, he'd been so stupid. "Sebastian, do you know where they are right now?"

The butler hesitated. Lady Platinum is in Olivine City at the moment.

Blue took a mental note that Platinum's butler had his own way of tracking her whereabouts. "Do you have any other information that could help me help them?"

Only that when they left there were two others with them. I didn't recognize either though and they never gave their names.

So it wasn't just Sapphire and Platinum then. Blue wasn't sure if he should be relieved that they weren't taking on Nova as just the two of them, or angry that they'd involved others in what was likely to be the same as handing themselves over to Nova. "Thank you for telling me about this, Sebastian. Platinum needs others to keep herself in check. You've done your part, now I'll do everything in my power to get her back to you in one piece. If you think of anything else, anything at all, don't hesitate to contact me."

The butler's voice sounded muffled, like the receiver was further from his mouth. Thank you. Thank you sir.

When the call ended the room suddenly felt much emptier than it had a minute ago. Never a moment of rest. He dialed Green's number.

Hey big boss, what's up? You finally man up enough to confess your undying love for me? I will warn you, I've had to shoot down three, no five, guys already today, so your odds aren't good. If I were you I'd consider waiting until I'm in a better mood.

"Green," he ignored all of her usual banter.

What is it? Green's voice had suddenly grown completely serious. She could tell from his tone that this wasn't the time for jokes.

"Sapphire and Plat are in Johto right now."

Why would Plat be in...

"They intend to start a fight with Nova to get Ruby back."

... Arceus, I told her to let me know before she did anything stupid.

"You knew this would happen?"

No shit Blue, what did you think would happen? You told Sapphire you couldn't help save him. Of course she was going to go behind your back and do whatever she could to get him back. We both know that Nova's using Ruby as bait, they do too, but if you seriously expected her to not try and save him despite that, then you're an idiot Blue Oak. He heard her take a breath and reset. Okay, so Sapphire and Platinum are storming Nova HQ. What do you want to do about that?

Blue wasted no time in responding. Green's words, as usual, had put the answer already in his mind. "I'm putting your current assignment on pause. Get to the Unova League and gather as many people as you can that are willing to fight. Make it clear that this mission is voluntary and highly dangerous. Bring all who are willing to go to the Mistralton Airstrip. I'll meet up with you there with a jet ready to take off. As for the attack itself I'll go over the details on the way. Our primary goal will be to locate and protect Platinum and Sapphire. If we are able, locating and recovering Ruby is also a secondary goal. I want to see him safe as much as anyone else, but I stand by that I won't throw away others to maybe save one person."

Green clicked her tongue. Now that's more like it. You should get bossy more often, it suits you. I'll be waiting on the runway before the hour's up. Do not make me wait, or I will leave without you whether I know how to fly the plane or not.

His next call was to Yellow. While he was gone someone needed to watch over the heart of the resistance. The tower was important sure, but it was the city built up by League supporters around it that really needed protecting. If it was left unprotected he had no doubt in his mind that Nova would not hesitate to wipe it all off the map. No survivors and no evidence, the way Nova liked dealing with its problems.

Blue would have liked to not put such a responsibility on Yellow's shoulders, but no one else capable was around right now. Besides, she was the only person that Mewtwo completely trusted aside from Red and himself. She could keep everyone safe even if Nova tried something.

I can do that, no problem-o. Yellow didn't hesitate to accept the duty he was placing on her. Would it be a good idea to have Zinnia keep watch as well?

Blue hadn't even realized Zinnia was back. He was receiving so much information every single day but the things he thought important to know he was neglecting. "Yes, have her watching for any movement from Nova. If they try anything let me know immediately, but if there isn't time I trust your judgement to keep everyone safe."

I won't let anything happen while you're gone, so you just worry about yourself and get him back.

The call ended. "I never said why I was leaving."

Blue spoke to the room, but of course it was Mewtwo who answered. She isn't someone who needs to be told something in order to know it.

"Sorry about not consulting you first, I assume leaving Yellow in charge is acceptable with you?"

I do not like you fighting Team Nova directly without me there, but I also agree that without my presence this location would be vulnerable to attack. The dragon and the blessed child would not be strong enough a defense if that monster used you attacking their base as an opening to strike our own. However, I have sworn to protect you. If you are in peril I will come to drag you away whether you like it or not, regardless of what happens to this place because I leave.

"You do what you need to." Blue finished the last of his tea in one gulp. "Unova, Mistralton." Mewtwo's eyes glowed for an instant and Blue disappeared from the room. Then it too disappeared, teleporting off to wherever Yellow was to be found. It wasn't often it got to spend an entire day with its favorite human.


White Masquerade's Blue Oni
Kugasa Karasuna
Arms folded, Kugasa listened the report issued by the spherical drone hovering beside her without a word. Alan’s voice was monotone, almost bored, as he detailed the orders sent directly from Headquarters, though Kugasa detected the hint of worry mixed with excitement in the young man’s tone as well. An attack on Goldenrod? At the current time of day? Without much preparation? Kugasa couldn’t fathom what Blue was thinking. Was he even thinking at all? Ruby captured. Saphire and Platinum going after him. Blue and the resistance going after them. It all smelled like a trap to her. A bad trap, such that it set the kunoichi on edge. However, Kugasa wasn’t one to disobey orders either.

The risk of the leader of the resistance dying was too great given the current circumstances…and losing Saphire as well as Platinum would make things tricky as well.

“Are you going?” Janine’s voice asked behind her. The voluptuous woman also had her arms crossed over her chest.

Kugasa nodded, unfurling her arms as she checked her weapons. Her pokeballs as well. There wasn’t a need to bring all of them and she normally liked to plan which of her ninja team she brought with her depending on the requirements of the mission, but the current one didn’t seem to have very many details. At all. Kugasa made her choice quickly.

“Then I’m going too! It’ll be much safer if we go together.”

“It’s better that you didn’t,”
Kugasa replied bluntly, glancing at the Edelweiss trio meditating with their pokemon in the cavern. Well, two anyway. One seemed to be sleeping.

Janine sighed loudly. “Fine. But at least let Venomoth take you there. It’ll be much faster that way…” The former Fuchsia city gym leader looked to the 1.5 meter moth pokemon that fluttered above her. “Mistralton Airport, right? Think you can handle that distance, Vennie?”

The poison bug let out a high pitched buzzing sound that Kuga assumed was an affirmative and she lifted her forearm so that the moth pokemon could land. As soon as it touched her, its large eyes glowed, causing both human and pokemon to vanish.

A blink later, the scenery changed and Kugasa found herself standing in the middle of what appeared to be a runway. She gave a quick, brief scan of her surroundings for any signs of danger before glancing down at the venomoth resting on her arm and speaking softly through the mask she wore. “Thank you,”

It teleported away, likely returning to Janine’s side.

Others arrived as well. Some by teleport. Some with Green. And some were already there. Regardless of how they arrived, Kugasa wordlessly observed them all. She didn’t make much conversation though. Kugasa spoke when she had to. Otherwise, she preferred not to. Her steps were silent, light as a feather, as she approached Blue. There was no need for a lengthy conversation between them. He knew why she was here. When she joined the resistance with Janine, she had implicitly given her loyalty to its leader. Therefore, whether it was a suicidal mission or not, regardless of the difficulty, Kugasa had no intention of backing down.

She simply waited silently, hand rested casually on hilt of her blade, and a comforting chill at her side. North of the runway should be the flying-type gym, ran by the Unova Gym Leader Skylar if she remembered correctly. She wondered if dropping by the Unova airport had any deeper meaning. A debrief before the attack, perhaps? Even if they couldn't teleport directly into Nova HQ, Goldenrod city shouldn't be all that difficult for Mewtwo.
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It's the finer things
Benji Sato
Location: Mistralton Airport
Interactions: None

Tired eyes slid over the pages of an old novel. Benji had been up all night, once again, re-reading the book his father had given him years ago about a dedicated trainer and his Pokemon. It was a touching story and although he wasn't typically much of a reader, this book always made him feel safe and strong, like he was back in control. It was certainly a feeling most people needed right now, what with Team Nova on the lose and taken over. Not much scared Benji, but the whole situation between the resistance and Nova definitely did. As a kid he had never wanted to go into the war when he was older. His father and grandfather had, and probably even his great grandfather too! But not him. He didn't see the need for war. Perhaps that was just his ignorance in politics, but either way him and his Slugma certainly weren't going to be the two to head into battle. Well... that was until Nova showed up.

"Slugma?" At the call of his Pokemon, Benji spun in his seat until he was facing him. Slugma had been sleeping at the foot of his unused bed all night, but it seemed it was probably almost morning now that he was up. The assumption was backed up when his cellphone lit up and began to relay a message seemingly from HQ itself. As he listened his eyes grew wide.

"Wh-what? Blue, man, what the hell are you thinkin'?" His whispered chastising only reached his and Slugma's ears unfortunately. Benji had always admired Blue for his cautiousness in situations with Nova. That's why most of them were still alive. It wasn't that he didn't want to save everyone, but the fact that this whole mission was being set up with hardly any plan seemed too dangerous. Would it even be worth going to try and talk him out of it?

"Alright Slugma let's head out to Mistralton Airport."

"Slug!" The fire Pokemon reached out to him to be picked up, to which he happily obliged. Reaching for his phone he sent a quick message to a member at HQ, asking hurriedly if they could get him to Mistralton airport.

Not only ten seconds later the two were suddenly on the airstrip at the airport with many other trainers. He had to block his eyes until they were adjusted, but looking around now it was clear he wouldn't find Blue easily in the crowd. Gritting his teeth, he pinched the bridge of his nose. Well there was no way he was going back home now, but he would have to try and speak to someone about what the hell was happening. Maybe, just maybe he could get Blue to think a little before heading straight in.
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Fanfic Kitty
The buzz of the lab lights was starting to get to her.
The snoring of the Bayleef in the corner was starting to get kind of grating. And the squeaking and gnawing noises coming from the Espeon’s orange, bone-shaped chew toy was really about to set her off. Just the constant squeaksqueaksqueksqueaksqueak- AHHhhhHhH!

But even worse, was the frustration of sitting under the lights, staring into a microscope at a sliver of black crystal, trying desperately to identify what it was but having NO luck. It could be an onyx, or sliver of obsidian, but this crystal was translucent, not opaque. And she could see other colors swirling around in the crystal, depending on the angle of the light- sometimes it was was red, sometimes it was blue, sometimes it was purple- what the hell was this thing?! And she just KNEW, JUST KNEW, it was the last piece of this goddamn puzzle, but she can't figure it out, none of her geology books contain anything like it, and all she could was buzzing, and-

“OOHHHhhkay, I need to get out of here!” The young woman said, slamming her hands on the counter with a shout, startling the Espeon into dropping the chew toy off the edge of the table she was laid on.

“Cherry I’m going out, stay in the lab, don't cause any trouble.”
The Espeon heard this and immediately got a devilish look on her face.
“No! No, no! I am not fucking around Cherry! Do not cause trouble!”
The Espeon pouted.
The young woman sighed, rubbing her temples before walking over and idly running her fingers through the fine hair on the petite Pokémon’s head, which earned a purr.
“What the hell am I gonna do with you, huh? You get into trouble any time I leave but I can’t take you with me. You’re frustrating, ya know?”
"Yeah yeah, you lil shit. Stay here."
The woman then walked over to the sleeping Grass-Type and smiled tenderly, gently holding up a hand and cradling the Bayleef's head.
"I'm heading out, sweetie. Don't wait up for me, kay?" She whispered, watching the sleepy Grass-type's eyes roll open and look at her. The sweet smile of her long-time friend and most trusted partner could have brought a tear to Laurel's eyes, if only it would stay for longer. Poor thing was so tired...

With that, the young woman turned and left the lab, making sure the door closed as she did. Some meandering and wandering and a cup of coffee later, the young woman passed the room where people were being teleported out of the the HQ, briefly stopping to watch as a couple people pop in and out with the help of various teleporting Pokemon. Just then a MASSIVE alert went out. Some idiots- oh boy, Sapphire and Platinum?- had decided to run headlong into Goldenrod to rescue Ruby. Oh, god, what? Why would they do something so stupid? That was a death sentence! That was Nova Headquarters, much to Laurel's chagrin. How dare they take over her home. How-
And an idea formed in her mind. Something that would at least help her mood.


She stood outside the Mistralton Gym, checking her guns for function. The pistol was fine, she didn't really care too much, but the tranq gun? That needed maintenance. It needed to be constantly cleaned so that there would be no trouble firing, because that could mean life or death when it came to a starbursted Pokemon killing her, or having to be killed. Which would be sad.

"Alright, got my darts, bullets... Camera. Flashdrive... lets get this shitshow on the road."


Laugh Like You've Won Always
Mistralton Airport, Unova

Blue had already finished fueling and preparing the jet for takeoff and was waiting on the runway when Green finally showed up along with the handful of brave and stupid Resistance members that had volunteered to take on this suicide mission. Green was yelling for people to pile in and buckle up without Blue having to say anything. She knew they didn't have time to waste. Whatever plan Blue had thought up would have to be shared after they'd gotten into the air. That meant no one here would have a chance to change their mind, but they'd signed up for a suicide mission before there was a plan, so odds were they wouldn't try to jump ship from hearing there was one. And she trusted that Blue had come up with something in the short time since they'd spoken. He'd probably finished planning everything out before she'd even finished scolding him. Blue had been talking with someone on his pokegear but hung up as soon as his second-in-command made her way to his side.

"So what's the plan, big boss man?"

"Since we have no way of contacting Sapphire and Platinum to let them know we're coming or to change their plans, we're taking on the role of distraction to keep Nova's attention away from whatever their infiltration plan involves."

"Kinda a shit plan," Green crossed her arms behind her head. "I don't have a problem with putting my neck on the chopping block for a friend, but it's shitty to ask others to do the same."

"The Resistance can't afford to lose the support of the House Berlitz."

"Is what you'll say to justify sacrificing them to save our friend?" Green finished his sentence. She wasn't admonishing him by saying the silent part aloud. She just sounded tired. If she was in Blue's position, she would have disappeared the second she got the call and gone to storm Nova HQ alone to save her friends. And she knew she'd probably die trying without helping anyone. Blue valued his friends just as much as she did, but he had also chosen to carry the role as leader of the Resistance. Abandoning his role to run off and save a friend wasn't his style, but he would use everything his role afforded him to do what he could. "So what's the rest of the plan?"

Blue addressed the Resistance members aboard the jet as Green piloted it off the ground and pointed it towards the diseased heart of Johto. "First of all, I thank each of you for volunteering for this dangerous mission on such short notice." Blue's forest green eyes met each of theirs in turn. "I will now go over the goals and plan of attack for this mission. Two high-profile Resistance members are currently in Goldenrod City involved in a mission of vital importance. We will be instigating a fight with Team Nova on their own doorstep in order to keep their attention away from those other Resistance members and boost their mission's chance of success."

Blue wished he'd had Green say all this. She didn't have any trouble lying even to her own friends if it was for their sake. As the leader of the Resistance, sometimes he had to bend the truth to protect the Resistance. He'd been able to sneak a few spies inside Team Nova, so it was all but guaranteed that Nova had spies of their own, if they even needed to rely on people to gather information. The technology Team Nova wad at their disposal wasn't something he could afford to underestimate, even as he struggled to wrap his head around each new invention that spewed out of that accursed group's labs.

"We will land just outside the city and immediately push towards Nova HQ. Our target will be the front door of Nova HQ. If we can breach those, the other team can rush in and do what they need to. As tempting as taking over the place might sound, we can't afford to stick around long. While we've got the element of surprise and are inside the city, that Admin Celene won't be able to immediately deploy any of her high-power weaponry. The chance she finds a workaround or decides to attack anyway shoots up the longer we stick around, so we need to get in and get out before she makes that decision for us. So long as it doesn't come to that worst-case scenario, most of our fight will be against Team Nova's grunts. You should all be painfully aware of this already, but don't underestimate anyone once they're wearing that team's symbol and weapon." Blue couldn't entirely keep himself rom wincing thinking about what that orange light had already taken from him. "If you don't want to risk your pokemon in this attack, you are free to use the PC onboard to deposit them into the Resistance's Pokemon Storage System. What you're willing to risk in this fight is something you have to decide for yourself." Blue said this often. He wouldn't be the kind of leader that demanded sacrifices from others. He'd sacrifice everything he had before forcing anyone else into that position.

"I can also provide some basic weapons - batons, stun guns, smoke bombs... handguns - as well as body armor. Take what you think you'll need. The plan is to draw as many Nova ants from the anthill as possible and keep them busy dealing with us until the other mission is complete. Admin Celene joining the fighting is the worst-case scenario, but we should expect Admin Jay to make an appearance. When he does, try to avoid dealing with him directly and notify either myself or Green. I don't know if today is the day we'll finally knock that smirk off his face, but at the very least we can keep him occupied. Once the retreat order goes out, I want everyone to disengage from whatever fight they're in immediately and get to the location sent. This mission is dangerous enough that we can't afford to stick around. Get in, cause a disturbance, and get out before the situation gets really bad. Any questions?"


White Masquerade's Blue Oni
Kugasa Karasuna

Kugasa buckled her seat belt as she listened to the Resistance Leader, Blue of the Pokemon League, speak. In short, they were the decoys for a more important mission. That was fine. A ninja like her was better at stealth operations, but it wasn’t as if she couldn’t create chaos when she had to. Though “high-profile resistance members” was an amusing way of describing Sapphire and Platinum as they undertook the their “vital mission”, Kugasa didn’t question Blue’s choice of words. It wasn’t easy being a leader.

Glancing out the window of jet to the blue skies, Kugasa could make out tiny flying pokemon in the distance and watched them while she still could. Once they reached Johto’s airspace, she doubted she would find very many—ones that weren’t aggressive and under the influence of Starburst at least. It was a stark reminder as to why she still fought the war against Nova. So that future generations of pokemon and humans could still coexist in harmony. So that pokemon wouldn’t be driven from their homes by the threat that Team Nova and Starburst technology posed.

So that Master Koga could rest in peace.

Her eyes flickered back as Blue offered use of the Resistance’s pokemon storage system. It was an odd thing to ask. Her decision? Kugasa didn’t take along pokemon that weren’t willing to fight. She was going to war. She knew the risks of war as did all the pokemon that joined her. As a soldier and trainer who fought side by side with her pokemon, she would risk her life for her companions just as they would do the same for her. That was the bond they shared. To question it was to insult the pokemon that came with her. However, Kugasa didn’t voice any of that. She simply closed her eyes and spoke to the empty seat beside her. “It’ll be a dangerous mission this time. Do you want to back out, Gengar?”

“Geeengar, gar.”
A sinister, shadowy pokemon phased through the seat and shook its head, its typical toothy grin still stretched across its face, before sinking back into the shadows.

When Kugasa opened her eyes, she was looking straight at Blue. She wasn't a normally talkative person, but when it came a mission silence and lack of communication could lead to a failure of the operation. At worst, death. “Do we have an escape plan? One a bit more detailed than retreat on signal, I mean. I doubt Team Nova would let us leave the city very easily after causing a ruckus at their headquarters. Goldenrod is their turf, after all, and I don’t doubt they’ve got the place rigged with bugs and traps against people like us. What’s the contingency plan if Nova Admin Celene does show? How long do you expect the second team will take before they can complete their mission?”

Whenever Kugasa made plans she liked to be thorough, consider all possibilities, and create backups. Assassin Crow and her team didn’t survive as long as they did by being careless. If Blue didn’t have any ideas, then she’d work out one on her own. She had had an entire plane ride to sit and think, after all. Her eyes flitted briefly to the other resistance members in the plane, mostly to gauge their reactions, before returning to Blue. “Finally, from a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the least and 10 being most, how important would you say the success of the second team’s mission is?”
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It's the finer things

Benji Sato
Location: Airplane
Mentions: QuirkyAngel QuirkyAngel OverconfidentMagi OverconfidentMagi

It took Benji about ten more minutes to finally see Blue's head bobbing around in the crowd, but by then it was a tad too late. Everyone was called onto the airplane and he began to realize he didn't have a choice but to head on board as well. Sulking behind a few of the other resistance members he took a seat next to one of the windows, setting Slugma onto his lap. As Green and Blue exchanged a few hushed words, the red headed member glanced around to see who else had decided to join this fight. A few faces he recognized and wasn't particularly surprised to see here. One of them, the ninja girl who's name he couldn't quite place, sat just a few rows ahead on the opposite side. She was certainly a skilled fighter- her training and practical intelligence giving them just another small advantage albeit still not an overly safe one. How many of these people felt the same way he did anyways? Would he only be slowing them down with his concerns? It wasn't like he hadn't been helpful in battle before- He knew what he was doing. His time with the Magma Jrs. gave him the street smarts needed in dire situations, but it also gave him his anxiety about things like this too. Both Benji and Slugma had seen the worst things in people and what the human race was capable of. This fight didn't sound like one worth seeing all of that again.

Blue's voice rang out over the small chatter between others, snapping Benji from his thoughts. As he explained the plan, Benji tightened his grip on the armrest of his chair. He knew this plan had to have been made not that long ago, and although Blue knew how to twist his words to get everyone into the fighting spirit (Even he himself began feeling a bit fired up) it was clear that this plan could've- No, SHOULD have been thought out a bit more. This was Nova's headquarters they were talking about here, not just some everyday store robbery. He glanced down at his Pokemon, making sure this was something he was ready for. Slugma didn't look back at him, but Benji could tell he was in this. They had been partners for years, and neither of them went into a dangerous situation alone. After their leader's speech was finished, ninja girl was the first to break the ever growing tension. She had some really good points, and he began to realize maybe he wasn't the only one with similar concerns about leaping into this.

"I don't even think you could reach past three on your scale." Finally he spoke up. The time to talk to them was now or never.

"Not that I don't admire your leadership abilities Blue, but we all know this is a death trap. Your friends, I'm sure, are really cool and all, but as you can see most of the resistance is here for this fight. Are we really gonna go in head first and risk everyone and their Pokemon's life for three people? I mean we have a freakin' ninja with us, maybe she could use her ninja skills to get in and get out without risking all of this?" He knew this was a pathetic argument. It was clear most had already made up their minds, but it was still worth a shot. Benji was usually good at keeping his anxiety under wraps, but between his fight with sleep and the plan, he couldn't stop his hands from shaking. He was on edge and the fact that he couldn't hide that made him all the more irritable.


Laugh Like You've Won Always
Approaching Johto Airspace

Blue's sharp eyes met the Resistance members' criticism without looking away. If no one had spoken up against such a high-risk and questionable plan, if it could even be considered solid enough to be a real plan, he'd have wondered what sort of everstones the Resistance recruiters were filling these peoples' heads with. His fingers brushed against a pokeball on his belt before he spoke. The ball was empty.

"If infiltrating Goldenrod and extracting what we need could be done covertly, we would do just that. Team Nova has eyes covering the entirety of the city and then some, and this may come as an uncomfortable truth to some of you, but if there's an area of tech that Nova's Admin Celene excels in more than weapons of mass death, it's surveillance. The second you step inside the city, they will know your face, name, and everything else about you if they care to." Blue avoided saying anything about the few successful infiltrations into Team Nova. Those plants were too valuable to risk exposing right now. One of them had been the only reason the Resistance knew that Ruby had been captured and where he was likely being kept inside the sprawling underground labyrinth that was Nova HQ. "I don't doubt that the Assassin Crow could get in and out of Goldenrod, but while carrying or dragging another person, likely being slowed down enough to give Nova a chance to respond with force, I have my doubts. Such a plan might reduce the risk for the Resistance as a whole, but if I do become the type of leader willing to place the entirety of a burden on one person's shoulders, they will be my own. Until such a time, I can only ask for all of your help in supporting my foolishness." Blue lowered his head to the brave and stupid Resistance members present.

"To properly answer your question," Blue raised his eyes to the ninja in question, "Three." He let the low number hang in the air. "As painful as it is to say, losing Ruby would not be a deathblow for the Resistance. But losing Lady Platinum would cripple us. On such a scale, eight. So we have no choice but to prioritize her mission, or at the very least ensure her successful extraction from the city should her mission fail." He didn't say anything about Sapphire because he knew she wouldn't stand for his heartless assignment of value to people's lives. She would most likely fight to the death against anyone that tried to stop her from rescuing Ruby, whether that be Nova or her allies in the Resistance. So he had no choice but to emphasize the recovery of Platinum as the priority. Because he might not be able to convince Sapphire to come back if it came down to a choice. Too much thinking about bad endings of this mission was giving rise to a headache.

"As for the rest, we don't know how long the second team will need, but we can't afford to spend more than twenty minutes inside the city. We will be retreating at that point no matter what, to avoid having to face Admin Celene if at all possible. If she does appear, we immediately abandon the mission and retreat, or as most of you should know by now: we switch to plan Cel. That being 'Admin Celene is here, get away by any means.' Any means is precisely why I can't tell you the extraction plans at this time. Just know there are multiple, and when the retreat order goes out it will include directions to which means of exit we've decided is most viable. This plane is merely one means of getting away should Team Nova try to trap us in the city by expanding the anti-teleport field, also why we cannot simply teleport to enter the city."

"If the worst case situation is upon us and all of the prepared escape plans are blocked, I will personally order the use of more extreme measures to get as many of you out as possible, but I hope it won't come to that. This is a foolish, dangerous mission I've asked of you all. All I can do is my part to support the Resistance so long as you all choose to support me."

"Hey Blue, sorry to interrupt you in the middle of your cringey morale speech, but we've entered Johto airspace," Green yelled from the cockpit instead of just using the intercom. "I'm gonna drop and stop this thing real fast, so unless you want to be sent flying up front to sit with me I suggest you sit down and fasten your seatbelt."

Blue knew from having been in other vehicles with Green that while she was a highly capable driver, on land or sea or in the sky, capable didn't always translate to safe. He took his seat immediately. "If I focus too much on Green's flying I'll lose my stomach, so feel free to keep me distracted with more questions and concerns as we descend." He tried to crack a joke to break up some of the tension in the air, but his stomach was saying the joke wasn't very funny, or much of a joke.
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Team of Conflict
Meanwhile, in an apartment near Goldenrod Department Store (room 347, to be exact), Hubert had just finished his breakfast when the first several beats of Megalovania rang out of the blue. Both of his Pokegears shared the same ringtone, yes, but this particular one came from his Porygon-themed one -- the one for contacting the Resistance. Seems like there was a message from the Resistance HQ itself about (at least) two of their people storming Team Nova HQ right here in Goldenrod. Hubert, in his light blue and black striped shirt and black capri pants, frowned upon hearing the news. Seriously? I mean, y'know the admins here gonna give y'all a bad time for that, right? he thought. He did remember texting Blake about it three weeks ago, but to think someone would just storm into the danger zone head-first...

"Bad news: Nova got Ruby. I bet he'll be taken to the restricted area in the basement."

And then a Porygon-Z patted their trainer's shoulder, thus snapping him back to reality. "Oh, Gaster!" Hubert cooed. "Wanna come with me? Or no?" he asked only for the now-named Gaster to teleport into his Porygon Pokegear... followed by a message from "WDG". Really, that's how Gaster "talks" with their human all this time.

"I'm off to the net. Text me when you need me, okay?"

The young man then texted back with a light chuckle:

"Got it."

As last preparations, he wore his black bandanna like a mask as well as his Nova cloak from that hanger over there. He also took his Hydreigon bow and arrows with him. "Aight Mewt, let's get back to work." That said and done, Hubert/Mewt locked his apartment room and made his way to Goldenrod Radio Tower.
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White Masquerade's Blue Oni
Kugasa Karasuna + Alan Rickman
Kuga’s eyes flickered over to the red-haired young man in fancy black clothing that spoke after her, noting the shaking hand even as the resistance member voiced his doubts. She could see signs of sleep deprivation as well. Was it his first mission? She’d put in points for bravery—both him and his slugma. Her eyes returned to Blue as he answered both their questions. His answers, at the very least, seemed honest. Not that Kuga would’ve said anything if he had lied. She would’ve simply noted it down an observation that he wasn’t someone that could be entirely trusted.

She’d heard that rumors that her master and the Pokemon Champion didn’t entirely get along, but that was to be expected given their allegiances.

Ninjas existed in the shadows and served a lord they deemed worthy. If Team Rocket hadn’t been taken down, Janine would have likely served Giovanni as well. That was how their world operated. Kuga decided to protect Janine. In truth, she would much rather be by her friend’s side, helping to run their new hidden gym, than taking on missions as Assassin Crow…but Janine was firmly on the side of the Resistance...and Kugasa couldn’t blame the younger girl.

Master Koga’s death was a bitter pill to swallow…but so was the destruction of their former school when pokemon went rampaging in Fuchsia City.

Nodding silently at Blue, Kugasa glanced over to the young man with the Slugma. “I appreciate your assessment of my skills. While I believe you are overestimating my capabilities, I will do what I can to ensure everyone here lives to see another day.”

Platnium of House Berlitz being her main objective…along with Blue Oak from Pallet Town and Laurel Douglas-Elm from Newbark. Money was important, but brilliant minds were also hard to come by…and their scientists were the key to unraveling the mystery of Starburst.

There was also a chanced that Ruby might’ve discovered something while acting as a spy so she wanted to confirm whether Blue thought that might’ve been the case. Infiltrating Goldenrod wouldn’t be easy, but it wasn’t impossible either. Technology was just technology in the end. Alan might not compare to Nova Admin Celene, but even he could disable a couple of cameras…and it wasn’t like they could work if the city’s lights went down. Both Admin Jay and Admin Celene were names she heard in passing, but neither have reached her hit list…yet. Kugasa figured it was only a matter of time. To defeat a great beast like Nova, one first had to remove its limbs—and no matter dangerous the limbs were, they were still human.

All humans could be killed.

Finger tapping the hilt of her katana, Kugasa frowned in her seat. The problem with Admin Celene being as good at surveillance as Blue claimed was that it made it all the more likely that they were already aware of Sapphire and Platinum’s presence in Goldenrod. Little wonder Blue was racing. Were they already too late? “It’d be easier if we had a map of Goldenrod…Are you listening to this, Alan?”

The spherical drone, which had slid itself into the pocket of her coat when Venomoth teleported her, came to life with Alan’s voice. “I see you’re as social as ever, Kuga.”

Kuga ignored the dry tone of her assigned partner who supported on many of her resistance-related assassinations. “I need you to pull up a map of Goldenrod City so I can plan the most efficient route to Nova Headquarters.”

The orb floated out of her pocket, its eyes glowing as a holographic image projected from it. “This is based on our current information about Goldenrod. Keep in mind, there’s a possibility that city’s layout has been changed somewhat since Nova’s takeover. It’s not like we have that many spies in the Goldenrod to give us completely detailed information…and the one of the ones we did have is currently enjoying prison life in Nova’s cells, I think.”

“Assuming he’s still alive,”
Kuga replied bluntly. “I wouldn’t expect the ones involved in the annihilation of Kalos to have much in the sense of war ethics.”

From the way Blue described Celene, she wouldn’t hesitate to deploy her high-powered weaponry within the city, regardless of civilian casualties. Weaponry that had even given Mewtwo some trouble during the battle for Kalos. Pity she hadn't seen the battle herself, but she heard it was quite the spectacle - enough for the resistance to have an entire plan revolved around avoiding her on sight.

“Regardless of whether he’s still alive or not, this mission is still a good opportunity for us to get a sense of the current state of Goldenrod. If you could breech Nova Headquarters along with the girls to assist them in their mission that’s even better. Link this hacker drone directly into whatever system they have and I’ll take things from there. The more information we obtain about the enemy the better equipped we’d be to deal with them; Even an anti-teleportation field’s got to have an off switch.”

“Aren’t you jumping the gun a bit?”
A privilege of the youth.

“Calculated risks are necessary to get the results we want. Even failure is a learning experience.”

“Or it could lead to death and your own data being compromised. Do you actually think you can hack into Nova’s security-tight servers?”

“I won’t know until I try…”


“But what if I—"

“No. We follow the mission as designed by Blue, with the primary objective being to secure Lady Berlitz’s safety and minimizing our loses.”
She knew of Alan’s desire to test his skills against Nova’s infamous tech expert, but there was a time and place for such things. “I’ll be counting on your support as always.”

Kugasa could hear Alan’s voice sigh from the orb and looked out the window towards Johto’s skies. As expected, she didn’t see any signs of flying pokemon. Or pokemon in general. For pokemon trainer like herself, it was a disorienting thing to see—a world without pokemon that is. She returned her gaze to the map and studied it. There were many routes Sapphire and Platinum could’ve taken to Nova Headquarters and it was impossible to tell which one they would’ve chosen. No guarantee they were together either. An attack from multiple angles made the most sense to her. Yet 20 minutes was the cutoff time.

Kugasa didn’t know how skilled the other two resistance members were, but she doubted 20 minutes would be enough time to free Ruby.

Unperturbed by Green’s flying skills, she looked to the red-haired young man that had spoken up before. “Yours as well, Slugma Trainer.” Caution was a good trait to have when it came to survival and despite the fact that he was very clearly on edge, he seemed to have a good head on his shoulders—enough to question questionable, arguably foolhardy, decisions made by figures in authority, at least. Then again, going against Team Nova was already arguably foolhardy. Yet here they all were. “It’s been a while since I last stepped foot in the Johto region.”

The last time she did, she’d been training at the Pokemon Jujitsu Academy taught by Mistress Aya. This time, she’d be coming in as a Resistance “terrorist”. Life was full of surprises.

Pipsqueak Pipsqueak OverconfidentMagi OverconfidentMagi
(mentioned: explosiveKitten explosiveKitten )
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