Pokémon 2099 : A Space Opera
Mission 002 : Higher
By Mega Raichu
"Don't look at me like that." I said wearily. "Now help me up."
Raichu took my arm and tugged on it. I sat up, and rested my head on the hull of my ship. The landing gear of my ship caught my eye. It was nice and shiny and was reflective like a mirror. I moved over for a better look at myself. My black hair, normally finely combed back was now all messed up, akin to a rattatas nest. My blue-green eyes were now cracked with red lines. My black denim coat stunk of cigarettes and cheap liquor. I looked down at myself. My white tee-shirt and blue slacks were covered in liquor stains. The only clean thing on my body was my gray shoes. I looked over at Raichu. His expression hadn't changed.
"How did I get here?" I asked.
Raichu pointed to a large freighter ship. The ship looked oddly familiar. But the thought got lost in the monster headache that was my hangover. I pulled out a cigarette, placed into my mouth and lit it. I approached the ship and found an entrance to an air lock. Next to it was a keypad with a red button underneath it and a speaker above the keypad. I pressed the red button.
"Alright, alright. I'm comin'!" A voice crackled through the speaker.
The airlock door slid open. Recognition hit me in the face like a lead weight as I stared at the man in the doorway. He was a good foot taller than me. His dark brown hair was graying at the sides, and surrounded a balding spot. He had a full beard that orbited a large mouth. He had dark brown eyes that seemed to stare right through me. He was dressed in an engineer's uniform, blue coveralls over an orange shirt. His right arm was obviously artificial, completely made of flesh colored metal. It seemed as though there had been no attempt to hide it. I stood there stupefied, with my mouth hanging open. My cigarette dropped to the ground.
"Thought you weren't gonna wake up for a minute there." The man said.
I couldn't find any words. He ushered me and Raichu into the freighter. He led us into a shabby looking living area, complete with a couch in tatters, a few wooden chairs and a couple of crates that seemed to serve as some kind of makeshift table. I sat down on the couch and reached for my mouth, expecting the cigarette I had dropped. I finally noticed the cigarette was missing, and instead, rubbed my chin. The stubble on my face scratched my palm roughly. I pulled out and lit another cigarette. Finally some words made it to my mouth.
"You know, you're supposed to be dead." I said.
Raichu looked over at me with a look of surprise on his face.
"Oh no. I'm very much alive. He's dead, not me." He said.
"He? Oh. So you've changed your identity huh?" I asked.
"Exactly. Now I'm Marcus Chang."
"Marcus huh?" I asked with a puff of smoke. "They'll eventually find you. No matter how many times you change your name."
"They haven't found me yet."
"Chu?" Raichu said inquisitively.
I looked over at Raichu and saw the confusion in his eyes. I turned my attention to the table in front of me. I lowered my head and closed my eyes.
"How many years has it been?" I asked.
"Too many." Marcus replied.
I motioned towards Raichu.
"He has no idea what we're talking about."
"You haven't told him anything have you?"
"So why don't you explain? He's your pokemon."
I stared at him. He always did this to me. He always liked putting me in a spot. I looked over at Raichu. His face showed signs of both confusion and extreme curiosity.
"Marcus and I used to be in Team Rocket."
Raichu was taken aback.
"We both retired a long time ago though. I was so involved in Team Rocket, that I was slated to be the one of the heirs of the organization. The other person who would be the heir was a young man named Brendon. Brendon Ketchum." I continued.
I sat back in the couch and lifted my head to stare off at the ceiling.
"Come on Lee! I know you can do better than that!" Brendon taunted as he threw a punch.
We had been sparring all that morning, but now we were getting serious. This had turned into a fight. Many other Rockets had gathered around us to watch and were cheering for their favorite competitor. I caught Brendon's punch and spun around him and put him in a full nelson. He struggled to get out of my grip, but my grip was too tight for him. I lifted him up, and using his weight to my advantage, tossed him over my head. He landed square on his back. I got up quickly, but he was slow to rise. I waited for him. He finally got to his feet and turned to face me. We were both covered in sweat and were panting heavily. Brendon smiled.
"That's more like it Lee." He said.
We fought for several more minutes until both of us could not fight any more. We called it a draw. A few of the other Rockets were disappointed, but we didn't care.
"You're going to do what with that old junker?" I asked.
"You heard. I'm going to fix it up! And when I do, I'll really be able to do some heavy Merc work." He replied.
"You think you can get bounties with this thing?"
"Sure. Why not? Why don't you sell your hunk of junk and help me with the financing?"
"Hah! My ship may be old, but she's a classic. They don't make ships like her anymore."
Pretty soon, he decided that being in the organization just wasn't good anymore. So he decided to get out, but in a way that would allow him to leave and not be followed. We had been put on patrols between Phobos and Deimos. It was him, myself, and Brendon. We had just flown around Phobos and were about to head towards Deimos when the trouble started. Several League ships came out of warp and noticed us immediately. Brendon cursed and called for backup. We pulled into a standard formation. My heart was racing, but Marcus seemed oddly at ease.
"Damn! They aren't gonna send backup! We're on our own!" Brendon shouted.
"You guys head to the surface!" Marcus yelled.
"But what about you!?" I replied.
"Someone has to distract them." Marcus said.
Before I could reply, he shut down his comm link and shot towards the oncoming fighters at full speed.
"Forget him! Let's go!" Brendon said in a cold voice.
I turned my ship and followed. I had my rear view camera on and I watched as Marcus' ship entered the range of the other fighters. Weapons began to fire and Marcus' ship blew up.
"You set that up didn't you? You faked your own death." I said.
"Yep." He replied.
"So then what? You cut off your arm so they wouldn't recognize you?"
"Oh this?" He rapped his knuckles on his artificial wrist. "I never said I got out of that in one piece."
He smiled warmly. I closed my eyes and rubbed them.
Marcus stood and left the room. I looked over at Raichu. He smiled at me, seeming uncaring about my past. I nodded, not saying anything, but completely understanding. I crushed the remains of my cigarette into a nearby ashtray. Marcus returned and handed me a mug of coffee. He put a plate of food in front of Raichu. Raichu accepted the food gratefully and began eating. I took a sip of the coffee. It was bitter, but it warmed me.
"So what are you doing in this end of the universe?" I asked.
"I'm going after a bounty." He replied.
"Is that so? Why bother me?"
"I think it's obvious. I'm getting old and I need a young set of legs to chase down the people I have to catch."
"And that's where I come in, right?"
"I'll give you fifty percent."
I rubbed my chin.
"I'm not out to make friends right now Marcus."
He raised an eyebrow and looked over at Raichu.
"That's a long story." I said.
"Come on. Not even you could turn down a fifty percent cut. Especially with the kind of missions I have lined up." He said.
I sat in thought for a few minutes.
"What kind of missions are we talking about here?" I asked.
He touched a button on a nearby computer. A screen popped up. The face of a young man appeared. He had long, stringy light brown hair and red eyes. The expression on his face told me that he had been experimenting with substances of a narcotic nature.
"Li Chet. One of the main distributors of the substance known as 'High'." Marcus said.
"High? I've never heard of that before." I said.
"That's because the only drugs you use are alcohol and nicotine. This 'High' is some pretty potent stuff. It puts the user into a state of ecstasy. But it's not a normal kind of ecstasy. It also causes an extreme rush of adrenaline. Basically they will most likely go into a rage. The adrenaline produces a drive that pretty much nullifies pain and boosts physical strength, and the ecstacy pretty much removes all feelings of guilt and remorse. Everything and anything the user does is a complete and total pleasure."
"And this guy is one of the main distributors?"
"One of the few left. These guys are being hunted down left and right. He is the toughest to find so its no mystery why he has the highest bounty right now. One million credits, alive."
"A million! No wonder he's hard to find. He's gotta be constantly moving."
"But I have an ace up my sleeve."
"I know exactly where this stuff is produced."
"And where's that?"
"This is the place." Marcus said.
"This? But it's a textile factory." I said.
"Sure it is. But it's really one of the main producers of High."
"So what do we do? Wait for our boy to come around?"
"Of course. Or you could just do the stupid thing and walk right in and ask for him."
I looked around and saw a hotel across the street.
"I guess we could stake out over there." I said.
"Good idea. Lets go." Marcus said.
"What the hell are you doing here? Get away from here!" He said.
"Oops. Clumsy me. Heh heh." I said, faking a clumsy voice.
He let go of me and I walked back across the street.
"Well? Did you plant it?" Marcus asked as I walked into the hotel.
"Sure thing." I said calmly.
"Great. Let's jet."
"You're following me." He said in a low, calm voice.
"Now why do you say that?" I asked in an equally calm voice.
"Not just everyone carries a camera into a bar. You're here to kill me." He said.
"Not quite. You're worth more alive." I said.
He got up and walked out the door. I followed him.
"Then lets get this over with." He said and struck a pose, with a big grin on his face. "You'll be the fifth one in the past three months to track me down."
I pulled out my camera and took a snap shot.
"That picture should turn out quite nice." He said.
He leapt back and threw out threw out three Pokéballs. One was a Koffing, the other two were Grimers. I shook my head.
"What? The fumes are great stuff!" He said.
Raichu leapt at the three Pokémon, determined to take them all down. I leapt at Li. He tried to reach for his gun, but I was already on top of him. I tried to get around him and put him in a strangle hold, but he kicked my feet out from under me and I fell over. He whipped out his gun and fired, but I had already relocated to a new position to his left. I kicked his gun out of his hand. It landed in the middle of the busy street behind us. He threw a punch and I avoided it. I kicked, but he blocked. We were matching each other, blow for blow. Raichu was faring much better than I was. He was having no trouble at all with Li's Pokémon. The Koffing opened up with a tackle attack, which Raichu swiftly dodged. But the Koffing quickly fell under a well placed thunderbolt attack. The Grimers tried to throw their acid at Raichu, but Raichu, being much quicker than those two, was able to dodge them with great ease and landed another electric attack to the backside of one of the Grimers. The final Grimer had no chance. Raichu quickly took it out with a well aimed thunderbolt attack.
"Interesting. I've never seen a merc who raised a Pokémon before." He said.
"And I suppose you're a Pokémon master eh?" I asked.
"I am a master of something more potent." He said as he reached into his pocket and produced a small clear capsule filled with white powder.
"High." I thought to myself.
He popped the pill into his mouth. Within moments his expression changed to that of pure euphoria. Then his eyes became bloodshot. He looked at me with a vacant stare. I don't know what he saw when he looked at me like that, but it would have been frightening to anyone else. He let out a primal cry as he leapt at me. I quickly dodged as he slammed into a light post. I shook my head. He then turned and leapt again. I wasn't ready and got clocked. He was trying to push my head into the cement. But I pushed my feet into his stomach and shoved him off. He leapt up and charged at me. This time, I clocked him with a powerful roundhouse that spun him around like a top. He fell to the ground, but quickly got back to his feet. I cursed under my breath as he charged me again. He bull rushed me right into the street. Cars screeched to a halt and a few smashed into each other. Li stood over me with his foolish looking grin pasted on his face. Something was jamming me in my back. I reached behind me and found the handle of Li's gun. Then it hit me. He may not be able to feel pain, but even so, he could still lose his balance, and I needed to bring him in alive anyway. I scrambled to my feet and jumped over a car. He jumped on top of the car. I whipped the gun around and plugged a few bullets into his knee caps. He collapsed, but then tried to stand again. I popped a few more rounds into his ankles as well. Suddenly a shadow descended upon the scene. I looked up and saw Marcus' ship. A door opened on the side and Marcus stood there with a harness in his hand. I loaded Li into the harness, scooped up Raichu, waved goodbye to the angry people at the accident scene, and Marcus reeled us in.
"Couldn't you have made a little bit of a smaller scene?" Marcus asked after he had patched up Li and put him in the hold.
"Well, you can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs." I said.
Raichu gave me another 'Your hopeless' look.
"That reminds me. I'm hungry." I said.
"Well we don't get any groceries until we get paid." Marcus said.
"Fine then. Let's get going." I said.
"Chu!" Raichu said.
Marcus then set a course for Earth.