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In The Army Now
By Mega Raichu
Part 4

What starts as a simple argument between two people from two countries can lead to thousands of deaths on the battlefield. Two armies, facing each other in a large area, the stench of blood filling the air, and the sound of the clashing of bone and sinew. These are the mental pictures brought about from one single word : war. War, the destroyer of men and the creator of heroes. The great equalizer. War not only decides the fate of countries, but it also changes men. How will this war affect Surge?

Surge had his things packed and was ready to go. It would be another ten hours before he would board the boat to head to the Southern Islands to face The Rockets. He had just walked out of the briefing room where the Company's General just gave a speech outlining their strategy.

"Men, as you know, we are going to war with The Rockets. They have inhabited the Southern Islands, here." The General pointed to a small group of islands to the south of Sea Foam.

"All one hundred of you have been carefully selected for this particular mission : infiltrate the northern most island. This island is home to the HQ of The Rockets and is by far the most dangerous. You all have been through some pretty rigorous training, so I believe you will be prepared for this." The northern most island on the map glowed a bright red.

The northern most island was enlarged and four red triangles appeared on the northern end and a large bullseye appeared in the center of the island.

"You will be split into four teams of twenty-five. Sargent Clancy will take his men around the island and come up to the HQ from the south. Lt. Freedmon will take his men and follow Clancy, but will turn off at the west side of the HQ and approach from there. Lt. Oscar will take his men the opposite way and approach the HQ from the east. Corporal Surge, upon recommendation of my associates, will take probably the most dangerous route by taking his men and go directly from the L. Z. to the northern part of the HQ, basically knocking on their front door." The triangles moved as the General explained the strategy. "This will not be easy, but we have to take this HQ as quickly as possible. Our other soldiers will be invading the other islands, but this one is the most important. This is the most important one. We have soldiers down there fighting already, but they need reinforcements and you guys are it. You will take as many soldiers as possible that are already there and take them to you designated areas and take that HQ. Failure is not an option! Dismissed."

Surge had acquired a pass and was walking around town trying to find Sophie. It wasn't long before he found her. She was chatting on a pay phone. He didn't surprise her this time though. She was facing him when he turned the corner. She quickly ended her conversation and looked up at him.

"Well, how'd it go?" She asked, with a hopeful look on her face.

"Let's go for a walk." He said.

"That bad huh?" She said as they began to walk out of town.

As they walked, he explained the strategy, and his part in it.

"So they're sending you straight into the throat of the monster." She said.

"Yup." He said.

"Aren't you scared?" She asked.

"Dunno."

"You will come back, won't you?"

"I hope so."

"No. I won't take that as an answer. You have to come back!"

"But..."

"No buts! Promise me you'll come back!"

"Okay. I promise I'll come back."

"Good. I have something for you."

They had already made it to the clearing. She planted herself on the fallen log and began to rifle through her sack. He sat down next to her, curious as to what she was looking for. Her eyes widened as she pulled something out of her sack. She was covering it with her hands.

"It's actually for your pikachu." She said.

He raised an eyebrow.

"Oh come on. Let him out." She said.

He shrugged and tossed his Pokéball to the ground. It popped open and Pikachu appeared.

"Pi pikachu."

"I don't want you to get hurt. So, to make sure you don't get hurt, I'm going to power up Pikachu." She said.

"How?" He asked.

"By using this." She opened her hands to reveal a yellow stone with a lightning bolt etched in it.

"What is it?"

"It's a thunder stone. It'll make Pikachu evolve."

"But..."

"Pikachu's evolved form is much stronger than that of a regular Pikachu. When you have him as an evolved Pokémon, you two will be unstoppable."

Surge sat in thought for a minute. Pikachu also sat in thought. Then a look of determination crossed Surge's face. He stood and took the stone from Sophie.

"If anyone's going to evolve him, it has to be me." He said.

Sophie smiled.

"I know I can't help you in the battlefield, but I can do this much." She said.

"Are you ready Pikachu?" He asked.

"Pika!" Pikachu nodded.

Pikachu approached Surge and stopped a pace away from him. Surge knelt down and placed the stone on Pikachu's head. Pikachu almost instantly began to glow. Surge and Sophie stepped back and watched as Pikachu evolved. Pikachu grew bigger. His arms grew thicker, his tail elongated as did his feet. His ears then took on a new shape. When the glowing died down, a new Pokémon stood before them. It was a larger mouse than that of Pikachu. It was tan in color, had a long tail with a lighting bolt on its end, larger ears with a curled hair on the bottom tip, and longer feet than that of Pikachu. The pokémon that stood before them was

"It's a raichu!" Sophie exclaimed. "He's much stronger than a Pikachu, so he'll be a big help in your battles. He can hold almost twice the electricity that a Pikachu can, so he'll be able to battle many more times than a Pikachu can."

"Raiiichu!"

"Alright! I got a Raichu!" Surge exclaimed as he embraced his new partner.

The large transport ship was a tight fit to hold all one hundred men being sent to the Southern Islands. Surge looked down at the black coffee in his hand. It was bitter, but it warmed him. It would probably be the last time he would get something this hot for some time. The Southern Islands were cold this time of year. No snow would fall, but it would be cold. With Raichu safely in his Pokéball, attached to Surge's belt, and a fully loaded magnum .45 pistol strapped to his hip, and a backpack full of supplies strapped to his back, Surge was more than ready to take on The Rockets. The other soldiers were geared up in a similar fashion, pokéball on the belt, gun on the hip, fully loaded pack on their backs. Most of the soldiers were getting mentally prepared for the battle. Some were meditating, others were bragging about how many Rockets they were planning on taking down. A young man, a few years younger than Surge sat next to him. Only a PFC, and he was in Surge's team. What was his name? Oh yeah, PFC Gentleman. Strange name for a soldier, Surge thought. This PFC always seemed to be getting the worst from Drill Sargents, but Surge could see that this young man had real talent as a soldier and as a Pokémon trainer. Surge and Gentleman had become fast friends, but now it was soldier and superior, and Surge had to be strict with these guys to keep them in line. Some of them were looking at the ground, not seeming to be ready for this, not seeming to want to do this. Surge stood up. Clancy, Oscar, and Freedmon looked up at him as he stood. There was plenty of walking space between the rows of soldiers. 'What should I tell them?' Surge thought.

"Alright, my team, listen up!" The entire area became quiet as some soldiers turned to face Surge. "We are going right down the throat of the monster here! You've all gotten some pretty hard training, but now is where it counts! We are going in there! Not all of you may make it back alive. Heck, I may not make it back alive. But I want all of you to fight with everything you've got!" More heads lifted and turned to him. "I want you all to not stop fighting unless you are dead! I want you all to fight as if everything is on the line! You have to go in there and give one hundred and ten percent and then some!" Now all the soldiers were looking at him and listening intently. "We have to show them that we are not going to take their crap! We will fight them to the last man!"

"Yeah! We will fight to the last man! We will take them down! We will be victorious!" Clancy chimed in.

"We are going to kick some Rocket butt!" Oscar shouted.

"We're gonna rip off their heads and spit down their necks!" Freedmon shouted.

All of the soldiers began to shout, applaud, hoop and holler. Surge looked around as all the soldiers cheered. A smile crossed his face. We just might win this, he thought.