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Old 06-01-2017, 01:03 PM   #15
EpicSquirtle
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Join Date: Sep 2012
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The Truth of Team Catalyst: Hagane Labs Assault!

(Note: This is an archive of both mine, and Missingno. Master's posts in his base. As such, the format of this story is a bit different from the others in this Visionary Glade, in order to keep everything as authentic as possible.)
Credit to Missingno. Master for all posts in this colour.

Part 1:
Spoiler: show
Though he had been to Keith's base yesterday, Jake couldn't help but feel a bit nervous as he approached the three story house. Unlike last time, his arrival wasn't for a cause of celebration.
Yesterday, Keith had managed to persuade Jake into letting him join his investigation with Sophie. According to Sophie, there was a possible lead concerning Team Catalyst in Hagane City, a city well known for it's research regarding Pokemon.
"I'm sure it will be fine." Sophie spoke up, noticing how anxious her friend looked. Beside Sophie was her Lucario, who nodded in agreement of his trainers words.
"Umm..thanks." Jake said as he approached the door, giving it a light knock.

----
As Jake made to knock on the front doors, they slid open automatically. Considering the ground floor was now a Pokémon Center, it seemed more fitting, at least in Keith's opinion. And as the doors slid open, both Jake and Sophie would see the man of the house himself standing at the counter, while a blue-eyed Banette put a small variety of Poké Balls onto the tire-shaped healing machine. One familiar-sounding jingle later, and she handed them back to the Trainer. "Aaaand, they're all fighting fit," smiled Helena. "And not a moment too soon, either," she added, waving to the guests. "Hi, Jake," she called. "This must be Sophie, right? I'm Helena, it's nice to meet you!"

At Helena's words, Keith Masters wheeled around, as he affixed the last ball to his belt. Said ball split open at that point, and Meowth emerged, landing in his usual spot on Keith's shoulder. "Hey," Keith greeted the guests. "Alright, I'm as ready as I'm ever gonna be," he stated. "If either of you need to heal up, Helena here will be more than happy to help," he added, the Banette nodding to confirm this.

----
Once Jake had knocked on the door, they slid open automatically. Inside, the pair noticed Keith, who had just finished healing up his Pokemon. Helena waved at the pair, asking if the girl with Jake was Sophie, before introducing herself to her.
"Yep, that's me." Sophie said with a smile. "It's nice to meet you Helena."
Upon noticing them, Keith greeted Jake and Sophie, saying that he was as ready as he could be. Keith then offered them the use of the healing machine, in case they needed to heal up.
"I'm all good." Sophie said. "I made sure to heal up before I got here."
"Umm...yeah I...kinda forgot...sorry." Jake said as he made his way to the counter. He rummaged through his bag, before pulling out three Pokeballs.
"I-I just need these three healed." Jake said as he placed them on the counter for Helena to take. "Uhh...please."

As Jake went to get his Pokemon healed, Sophie turned her attention to Keith.
"So, long time no see. I'm glad that you'll be joining us, we need all the help we can get." Sophie paused briefly, before continuing. "So, if you don't mind me asking, what kind of Pokemon are you bringing?"
----
"Certainly," Helena smiled, accepting the Poké Balls from Jake. She put them on the healing machine while Sophie talked to Keith.

Keith nodded. "It's no trouble," he responded. Then, Sophie asked him what Pokémon he was bringing. "It was hard to pick just six," Keith stated. "But, first and foremost, Meowth has so generously elected to stay behind and keep an eye on the house," he said, rolling his eyes as Meowth hopped down off his shoulder.

"Well, yeah, someone's gotta," Meowth shrugged.

"Yeah," Keith nodded. "And I'm sure this wasn't at all influenced by fear of Team Catalyst or the desire for some alone time with Ruby," he added with a smirk.

Meowth shrugged. "I ain't sayin' dere weren't no contributin' factors," he said, before dashing off upstairs.

Keith chuckled as he put Meowth's Poké Ball away. "Meowth doesn't know I know this, but he'd already planned to spend the day with my Houndoom today, and it's getting pretty serious between those two. So yeah, I didn't really put up much of an argument when he asked to stay behind. Now then, there's these," Keith added, gesturing to the other five balls on his belt- a Ground Ball, a Level Ball, a Violet Cyber Ball, a regular Poké Ball, and an Ultra Ball. "My Stunfisk, my Heatmor, my Ditto, my Dusknoir, and my Beedrill. And I have a sixth one all picked out, too, now that Meowth's staying behind," he added, leading the way over to the nearby PC as he spoke. He accessed his storage system, and swapped Meowth's empty ball for another Poké Ball. "...And my Scrafty makes six," Keith grinned, affixing Bart's Poké Ball to his belt. "What about you, Sophie, what are you and Jake bringing?" he asked.

----
Jake continued to wait at the counter as Helena grabbed the Pokeballs, placing them into the strangely shaped healing machine.

Keith explained that it was hard for him to pick just six, causing Sophie to nod in agreement.
"I can see that being a problem, that's why I like keeping a smaller team. It's a lot less of a hassle too."
Keith went on, saying that Meowth was going to stay home and keep an eye on the house, teasing the scratch cat Pokemon on just what had influenced him to do so.
With Meowth gone, Keith told Sophie what Pokemon he was planning to bring. A Stunfisk, Beedrill, Dusknoir, Heatmor and a Ditto. Shortly after, he confirmed his sixth to be his Scrafty, once he had withdrawn it from the PC.
"That seems like a well rounded group. I'm sure those Team Catalyst goons won't know what hit them!" Sophie exclaimed. "Uh...that is if our lead turns out to be anything."
Keith then asked Sophie what she and Jake had brought for the journey.
"Well...I brought my Combusken, Medicham, Mienfoo, Poliwhirl, Scrafty, and of course my Lucario." She said, gesturing to the aura Pokemon.
"As for Jake? I'm not entirely sure.....I know he's bringing his Vibrava and Torkoal though. I saw him training with them before we left." Sophie explained. "I'll go ask him, if you want."

----
After just a minute, Helena handed the Poké Balls back to Jake. "And that should do it," she smiled. "You're all set, Jake."

Keith nodded. "I see what you're saying," he said. "I mean, I still wouldn't give up any of my Pokémon, though- I like having such a huge variety, even if it makes it tough to narrow down a team of six sometimes." He nodded once more as Sophie listed what she was bringing, up to and including the Lucario what accompanied her. She then mentioned that Jake was bringing his Vibrava and Torkoal, but she didn't know what else, before offering to ask. "Sure," nodded Keith.

----
"...uh...thanks." Jake thanked the Banette once she had handed back the Pokeballs. He quickly put two of them into his bag, before making his way over to Keith and Sophie.

"Yeah I guess having a large variety can be a good thing." Sophie agreed. "I try and make up for my lack of variety in types with all sorts of different moves."
"Uhhh....sorry about the wait..." Jake apologized as he approached the group. "I-I think I'm already to go now..."
"That's good." Sophie said with a nod. "By the way...Keith was wondering what kind of Pokemon you were bringing."
"R-really?" Jake asked in disbelief. "Umm...well ok. I'm bringing my Vibrava, and my umm...Corphish..as well as my Oddish, Torkoal and uhh my Tauros."
"Oh umm...I nearly forgot, I'm bringing my Abra as well." Jake added as he sent out the psi Pokemon. Once in the room, the Abra gave a brief wave to the pair, before speaking to them.
"Keith, Sophie...it's nice to see you both again." Telpo's voice chimed in the trainer's minds. "And thank you once again for agreeing to join us." The Abra addressed Keith. "Though I know Jake might not admit it, I'm sure he's grateful for your help here."
"It's nice to see you again as well Telpo." Sophie replied. "Alright, it looks like everyone's ready...should we head out?"

----
Keith nodded. "I know what you mean," he said. "I mean, I got Pokémon of almost every type, but Poison-types are my main thing. And my Poison-types know a lot of different moves." At that point, Jake approached them, and at Sophie's question, explained he was bringing his Vibrava, Corphish, Oddish, Torkoal, Abra, and his Tauros. Keith grinned as Jake mentioned the Tauros. "Oh, cool, you're bringing Vernon," he said. "Haven't seen him in a while." Jake then sent out Telpo, who greeted Keith and Sophie, and explained that Jake was undoubtedly grateful for their help, even if he might not admit to it. Keith nodded. "Good to see you too, Telpo," he said. And at Sophie's words, he nodded once more, adjusting the brim of his Mega Hat. "I'm all set," he grinned. "Let's roll."
----
"Umm...yeah." Jake replied in response to Keith mentioning Vernon. "H-hopefully he'll be able to h-help against Team Catalyst...."
"O-or maybe not." Jake added a moment later. "I'd rather we not run into them...t-truth be told."
"Uhh..y-yeah...I'm all ready as well." Jake said, once Keith had confirmed he was ready.
"Alright then...no use in wasting precious daylight." Sophie said as she exited the base, Jake and Telpo following close behind.
----
Once outside, the group began to walk down the ramp, Jake and Telpo turning to the left once they had gotten off of it.
"Where do you think you two are going?" Sophie asked as she saw the pair begin to wander off.
"Umm walking to Hagane city?" Telpo responded, confused on just what she had meant.
"Did I really not tell you? My apologies." Sophie said as she reached into her bag, before pulling out three mysterious devices, handing one to Keith and Jake.
"These are called ride pagers. The people in Alola use them a lot in order to summon ride Pokemon. We're going to use them in order to get to Hagane City." Sophie explained.
"These ones are fashioned for use here in Fizzytopia..though they're not available to most of the public at the moment."
----
"If I know Vernon, I'm sure he'll be able to," Keith nodded. He also nodded as Jake admitted he'd rather not encounter them if he could help it. "I know the feeling," he agreed. "I was checking out this alleged Team Rocket hideout, going off of a tip I got from Vinny, and while I was all for taking them out, at the same time, part of me wished I wouldn't find anything, y'know? But, of course, I end up getting chased by a bunch of Rockets, then taken out with a Vileplume's Sleep Powder, one thing leads to another, I team up with an old rival to take down Rocket Executive Remy- it was a whole thing."

As they exited the Secret Base, Jake and Telpo started walking to the left. Sophie asked where they were going, and upon their confused responses, she gave Jake and Keith an odd device- a Ride Pager, she called these machines. "Oh, cool," Keith grinned. "Thanks, Sophie. Now, how do we work these?" he asked, examining his Ride Pager.

----
"Oh sorry! I nearly forgot to show you." Sophie said in response to Keith's question.
"Here, you press these buttons right here....and a list of available ride Pokemon should pop up." Sophie said, showing the pair what she was doing on her device.
"Now let's see here....we click this to select Pokemon that can fly....and then you click this to select the Pokemon you want to fly with...and there." Sophie finished as a strange ball appeared in the slot at the top of the device.
Upon clicking the ball, the ride Pokemon Sophie had picked emerged. A mighty Charizard, which turned to Sophie, letting out a mighty roar, as if to say it was ready whenever she was.
"See? It's easy...and makes traveling a breeze." Sophie said as she returned her Lucario to it's ball.

Following his friends instructions, Jake began to press the various buttons on the ride pager, before eventually summoning a Dragonite. The dragon Pokemon appeared to be just as ready to take off as the Charizard Sophie had summoned.

"Wow...t-these ride pagers are pretty cool...but...where do the Pokemon come from?" Jake asked.
"And how did you get your hands on these? I thought you said these weren't available to the general public?" Telpo questioned.
"Where do the Pokemon come from? That's not really important at the moment. As for where I got the ride pagers? That's also not really important at the moment." Sophie replied.
"I know you're Jake's friend and all....and I know you mean no harm...but you're acting kind of suspicious right about now." Telpo said.
"Am I? That wasn't my intention. Look if you want to know, I'll tell you when we get to our destination. Now, any more questions before we take off?"
----
Sophie demonstrated how to use the Ride Pager, by summoning a Charizard with it. Jake followed these instructions, summoning from his own Ride Pager a Dragonite. Keith found it odd and more than a little suspicious that Sophie wasn't willing to talk about where the Ride Pokémon came from, or how she was able to get the Ride Pagers in the first place, though she was Jake's friend, so he couldn't be too suspicious of her. Though he was quite glad his Pawniard wasn't within earshot- Ginny was far more paranoid, and would likely be more suspicious of Sophie's words than anyone else. Choosing to not get involved in the matter, Keith pressed the buttons, perused the list of Ride Pokémon, specifically the ones that were used for flying. There was Charizard and Dragonite, like Jake and Sophie were riding, and there were many more as well. Keith grinned as he saw one option. Unable to resist, he made the selection, and from the Ride Pager Ball emerged a Golurk. He climbed the clay colossus and sat atop it, ready for takeoff, the Golurk also ready to take flight. As Sophie asked if there were any more questions, Keith shook his head. Any questions he had were already raised and subsequently dodged. He'd ask his questions when they got to their destination.
----
Keith didn't seem to have any more questions, and neither did Jake and Telpo.
Seeing that Keith and Sophie were ready to go, Jake helped Telpo onto the back of the Dragonite, before climbing up onto it himself.
"Alright then...to Hagane City!" Sophie exclaimed, before signaling for the Charizard to take flight. With another roar, the flame Pokemon took to the skies, the others following shortly after.
----
Thanks to the help of Charizard, Dragonite and Golurk, it wasn't long before the group could see their destination. With massive skyscrapers and countless busy streets, it seemed that their destination was a textbook example of a busy urban city.
"Oh wow....i-it looks so cool up here." Jake said to Telpo. With none of his Pokemon able to carry him into the skies, it was quite rare for Jake to see things from such an angle.
"I agree master. We should get Dusty to take us places like this, once she evolves." Telpo replied.

"That right there, is where we'll be going!" Sophie yelled, in order for everyone to hear her. She was pointing at a large, domed building. It appeared to be quite busy, with many people entering and exiting. On the front it seemed to have a large sign, but Jake couldn't quite read out what it said.
"That's Hagane Labs, it's a research facility specialized in Pokemon studies." Sophie explained. "Apparently there's been some suspicious activity as of recent, activity that might link them to Team Catalyst." Sophie finished, before Charizard started to descend towards the lab.
Realizing that Keith might not have heard anything over the sound of the Golurk, Telpo relayed the messages to Keith via telepathy.
Seeing that Sophie had started to descend, Jake signaled to the Dragonite, who began to follow it's fellow ride Pokemon.
----
Sophie and Charizard led the way, with Jake, Dragonite, Keith, and Golurk not far behind. And soon, they could see the bustling urban city below them that was their destination. Sophie pointed out the large domed building in particular- Hagane Labs, which had allegedly been undergoing illicit activity as of late, which could potentially link them to Team Catalyst. Keith nodded as Telpo telepathically relayed this info to him- indeed, the sound of the Golurk propelling itself across the sky like some sort of rocket-propelled giant fighting robot was rather loud, and it made it hard to hear Sophie. As Jake and Sophie started to descend Keith knocked on his Ride Pokémon's large shoulder to grab its attention. "Golurk, descend!" Keith shouted, trying to make himself heard to Golurk over itself. Thankfully, Golurk got the message, and followed Charizard and Dragonite.
----
The group continued to descend, before stopping their flight not too far from Hagane Labs entrance. Wasting no time, Sophie hopped off the Charizard, before returning it to the ball. She then placed the ball back into the slot of the ride pager, clicking a single button to make it disappear into thin air.
"See, to return the ride Pokemon to where it came from, you just tap this button here." Sophie said, pointing to a red button on the bottom of her device.
"Return where? You still haven't told us that." Telpo replied, his voice ringing in everyone's heads.
"Calm down Telpo, I'll tell you in a second. For now, just follow me." Sophie said, before beginning to walk off in the opposite direction of the research facility.
"U-umm....aren't we supposed to....be going there?" Jake questioned, pointing to the domed building before them.
"Of course we are. We just need to make a quick stop first." Sophie explained. "Trust me..we'll be in and out before you even know it."
Jake quickly returned the Dragonite back to it's home...wherever that was, before turning to Keith, giving him a shrug.
"I-I guess there's no point in splitting up....l-let's just see what we need to stop for..."

----

As they came in for a landing, Sophie demonstrated how to withdraw Ride Pokémon. Telpo asked where exactly they had come from in the first place as Keith withdrew Golurk. Once more, Sophie dodged the question, before walking in the exact opposite direction Keith figured they'd be going. And Jake figured this as well, judging by how he asked about it. Keith raised an eyebrow- Sophie was acting more and more suspicious by the minute. "Yeah," Keith nodded as Jake suggested they follow her. "Might as well." As he followed the others, Keith brushed his fingers up against his Poké Balls. He hoped there was a perfectly reasonable explanation for Sophie's suspicious behavior, but he decided he wanted to be ready just in case.
----
Deciding to follow Sophie, the group made their way through the busy streets, occasionally stopping to cross a street. Eventually Sophie turned and walked into a nearby alleyway.
"Master I don't mean to alarm you, but your friend here is being rather suspicious." Telpo said aloud, insuring that only Jake could understand him.
"Is it possible that this is a trap perhaps? I'm not trying to-"
"Here we are!" Sophie exclaimed, cutting off Telpo's words.

But wait, why had Sophie said this was the location? It seemed to just be another part of the long stretching brick wall...a dead end in fact! Did the alleyway lead them to nowhere?
"Ummm t-this is just a dead end though...." Jake said.
"It won't be for long, I just need to get....this!" Sophie exclaimed as pulled out a small red key card. She then took the card and inserted it into a small crack in the wall. Jake wouldn't have even noticed the crack had he not just witnessed what he had.
"Authorization granted. Welcome back Sophie." A robotic voice spoke aloud.
Suddenly the wall in front of them began to tremble, before opening, revealing that the brick wall in front of them was actually a door. Beyond the door were stairs, descending down to the unknown.
"Sophie.....that was amazing." Jake said, any suspicions he had were replaced by a sense of curiosity and wonder.
"That was pretty neat I admit, but what is this place?" Telpo questioned.
"You'll find out once we get down there." Sophie said, dodging yet another question.
"Now we don't have all day, so we better get going." Sophie said, before she began to walk down the mysterious staircase.
Jake was eager to follow, wondering just what would greet them at the end.
"I guess we have no choice. Even if this is highly suspicious, we mine as well see what this is about." Telpo's voice chimed in Keith's head.

----
Keith was baffled by all this. Sophie was acting more and more suspicious. Indeed, the only thing stopping Keith from outright distrusting Sophie was the knowledge that she was Jake's friend- Keith trusted Jake, after all, and he felt it wouldn't do to mistrust anyone that Jake trusted.

Sophie had stopped them at seemingly a dead end, further baffling Keith. That is, until Sophie produced a card key and inserted it in an inconspicuous crack in the wall. A mechanical voice welcomed Sophie back, and the wall opened up, revealing a very well-hidden door. Keith was also rather impressed by this, but couldn't help but notice that Sophie was dodging yet another question. Telpo was right, however- as suspicious as this all was, they did at least have to see what was going on. Keith nodded at Telpo's words, and followed. He had taken a precaution while following Jake and Sophie- he only hoped it would be necessary against Team Catalyst, and not against Sophie. Staying alert and wary, he followed Jake and Sophie.

----
As the group made their way down the stair case they eventually reached the end, revealing what appeared to be a waiting room at the bottom.
The room seemed oddly calm, and Telpo couldn't help but feel slightly more at ease upon entering it. The walls and floor of the room were both a sparkling white.
It seemed that this room was cleaned quite frequently...

"Wait what? A-a waiting room?" Jake questioned. "What's a waiting room doing down here?"
"You'll see. Now come this way, you need to sign in." Sophie said as she beckoned the group over to a nearby counter.
Once Jake had arrived, she handed him a clipboard and pen, attached to the clipboard appeared to be a sign in sheet. Hesitating for a few seconds, Jake eventually wrote his name on the sheet, before handing it over to Keith.

"So why is there a waiting room here? And where are we for that matter?" Telpo asked. "You said you'd tell us once we were here."
"Yes well..there's a lot of things I need to tell you, so I figured I'll tell you all at once." Sophie explained. "Once everyone's done signing in, I'll be happy to tell you everything."

----
Sophie explained everything- the place they were at was known as the CPA- the Catalyst Prevention Agency. A group that dedicated themselves to eliminating Team Catalyst. And Sophie herself was a part of the group. The ride pagers were made by the CPA, and the Ride Pokémon they summoned were ones that were rescued from Team Catalyst and rehabilitated. Keith had to admit, he was right to not act on his suspicions regarding Sophie- as he had hoped, she had a perfectly reasonable explanation for withholding answers and acting all secretive about the Ride Pagers.

"I only got one question now," Keith said in response to Sophie, a grin on his face. "How can we help?"

----
"How can you guys help? Well...I guess you can keep your eyes peeled for any activity regarding Team Catalyst. If you notice anything you can call this number here." Sophie said, digging a CPA business card out of her pocket, before handing it to Keith.
"Besides that...well, you're already helping by joining us as we investigate Hagane Labs, right?"
"I-I guess so... I just wish there was a better way to help." Jake said.
"Don't worry about it. You guys are already helping plenty." Sophie replied.
"Now..Telpo you wanted to know what I meant by urgent, right? Truth be told even I'm not exactly sure. My boss said he'd brief us all on exactly what we're doing in Hagane Labs, so I'm sure he'll tell me then." Sophie explained.
"Wait, are you sure we're allowed to?" Telpo asked. "I mean, I don't think your boss would want to have us sit in on an important meeting, right?"
"Of course you're allowed. My boss did say he wanted to meet you guys, especially you Jake."
"W-what? Why me?" Jake asked. "I mean...I'm nothing special."
"Beats me, but I have told him a lot about you...so maybe that's it. Regardless we shouldn't keep him waiting. Follow me, I'll bring you guys to his office." Sophie said as she walked to the back of the room, grabbing onto the door and holding it open for the group.

----
Keith nodded and accepted the business card. He entered the number on it into his Xtransceiver, then pocketed the card. "Thanks," he said to Sophie.

Sophie then went on to explain that her boss was to brief them on what exactly they would be doing in Hagane Labs. Jake was a bit surprised to know that Sophie's boss had wanted to meet them, claiming he was nothing special. Apparently Sophie had told her boss much about Jake, which she speculated to be the reasoning behind aforementioned interest in him. In any case, there was little time to speculate on this for Sophie had no desire to keep the man waiting, and urged them to follow her to his office.

"Alright," Keith nodded, standing up and heading towards the door. "Let's get going."

----
With everyone ready to go, Sophie lead the group through the door, revealing a rather long hallway to be behind it.
"You know, I never understood why we have so many offices." Sophie said as she continued to guide the group to their destination. "Despite the size of the place, we actually aren't that large of an organization."
"R-really? How many people work here?" Jake asked.
"About thirty or forty I guess...most work in the rehabilitation branch though." Sophie explained.
"I wonder why that is?" Telpo pondered aloud.
"Zack is very picky when it comes to hiring people and Pokemon. He says he likes not having too many employees... I don't know why though."
Before anymore could be said, Sophie stopped in front of a large black door. A small sign with a name on it was plastered onto the door.
"Zack Esprit? What kind of a name is that?" Jake asked himself as Sophie gave a firm knock on the door.
A moment later the door swung open, and a man poked his head out. He appeared to be slightly taller then Keith, and was dressed in a formal suit and tie. At a glance he appeared to be in his late twenties.
"Come on in, I've been expecting you." The man greeted.
Indeed, from what any of them could see of the office, it appeared to be made just for their arrival. Three large chairs could be seen on the sparkling white floor, and one small one that appeared to be Telpo's size.
"Feel free to take a seat as well." Zack added.
----
Sophie led the way, remarking on the strangeness of their excess of offices, considering her boss didn't hire especially many people. And soon, they came to the office of that very boss- one Zack Esprit, who greeted them and invited them to enter. Oddly, there were chairs for all of them. Even Telpo. Keith found that a bit odd, but didn't press the matter. He nodded in response to Zack and entered the room, taking a seat in one of the large chairs.
----
Jake, Sophie and Telpo also entered, taking the remaining three seats. Once inside, it was clear that the floor wasn't the only thing neat and tidy.
The entire room seemed like it had just been washed, the black desk in front of them sparkling under the light of the chandelier hanging above. The room seemed bare otherwise, Zack's laptop and a Duosion were the only other things of note.
The Duosion hid in the corner of the room, eyeing the group, but not interacting with them at all...
"Don't mind Duosion..he can be a little shy around new people." Zack explained as he took a seat behind his desk.
"Well before we begin, I'd like to introduce myself. If you didn't see on the door, I'm Zack Esprit, head of CPA, it's a pleasure to meet you both." Zack said.
"I'm especially happy to finally meet you in the flesh Jake. From what Sophie's told me, you seem like a pretty special trainer."

"H-huh? Me? I-I'm not special...I don't no what she's been telling you, b-but it's not true." Jake said.
"I-if you're looking for a special trainer...w-well I mean you have Sophie...and Keith here as well."

"Nonsense." Zack said, shaking his head. "Placing second in the tournament at Rayo town? Fighting off Team Catalyst in Rayo woods? Or how about you saving Ryuu town from Team Catalyst, while helping Sophie destroy the Ebony flute? I can assure it takes a special kind of trainer to do those sort of things."

"U-umm I-I guess." Jake replied, amazed at just how much Sophie had told him.
"B-but umm...didn't you say Team Catalyst broke the flute?" Jake asked Sophie.
"Nope." Sophie replied. "That was actually the whole reason I brought you there in the first place. The CPA learned that Team Catalyst were planning to use the flute, so Zack sent me to destroy it." Sophie explained.

"Indeed." Zack said with a nod. "But enough about that, though I certainly know a lot about you, Jake and Sophie, I don't know a whole lot about you." Zack said, turning his attention to Keith.
"Obviously you've got to be at least decently skilled in order for Sophie to have allowed you to come. But I want to know a little bit more, just to know what we're working with ok? So....tell me a bit about yourself."
----
As Keith entered the office, he was once more struck by just how amazingly clean it was. It was also rather barren- aside from the oddly specific seating, there was a desk, a laptop, a Duosion, and not much else. Zack introduced himself after explaining how shy his Duosion was around newcomers, before telling Jake in no uncertain terms why he was considered to be such a special Trainer. Keith could only nod his agreement to this sentiment- Even back when he first met Jake, back when he was still a rookie Trainer who hadn't yet made his decision to specialize in Electric-types, Keith had immediately gotten the feeling that Jake had potential. Between the three-on-three battle he had with Jake some time ago and all the incredible deeds Zack was citing as evidence, Keith was of the opinion that Jake very much lived up to the hype.

Zack then turned his attention to Keith- unlike with Jake, Zack did not know very much about the Poison-type Trainer. He reasoned that if Sophie had allowed him to come that he must be at least somewhat skilled, but he wanted to get to know Keith a bit more. "Well, I come from Lavaridge Town in Hoenn," Keith began. "I caught my first Pokémon, a baby Koffing, in the Fiery Path in order to rescue it from a pair of Machop, and when I set out to Fizzytopia, I made it my goal to become a Poison Pokémon Master. Most of my Pokémon are Poison-types, though I've been more than glad to work with virtually any Pokémon I get the chance to. Now, all this about Team Catalyst is pretty new to me, though I've been doing my part going up against Team Rocket. I also love a good Pokémon battle, and I've taken part in several tournaments. The Shiny Battle Tournament in Greenmuk City, I took first place in that. There was also the Stunfisk Spelling Standoff in Static Town- it was kinda cancelled due to Team Rocket activity, but I'd been doing very well in it. And I took first place in Springreen Town's annual Grass-type tournament, too. And, well, I kinda also saved Aduro Island from a giant tyrannical Heatran, and in doing so, ensured the continued survival of Mt. Aduro's Heatmor population," he added, trying to sound modest- he was never much of a braggart, not by any means, but to claim to have essentially slaughtered a volcano god, it's quite hard to make such a claim without sounding boastful to some degree.

----
The group listened intently as Keith began to explain a little about himself. From fighting team Rocket, to placing first in multiple tournaments, Zack seemed rather impressed as Keith continued to tell his tale.
"Wait wait, you were the one who saved Aduro Island? That's amazing!" Zack exclaimed. "I can definitely see why Sophie brought you here."
"Now, you said you didn't know much about Team Catalyst, I'm assuming you don't either, Jake and Telpo?" Zack questioned the pair.
That was weird. The Abra didn't remember telling Zack his name, and yet? Maybe Sophie had told Zack about him as well, that must have been it. With that conclusion reached, Telpo gave a nod, along with his trainer.

"I see...well then maybe I should tell you a bit more about them first. Just so you know who we're truly up against." Zack said.
"It all started many years back....there was a pair of scientists, best friends in fact, with a goal. Their goal was to create the most powerful Pokemon in existence." Zack began.

"Wait, you mean like Mewtwo?" Telpo asked, his voice ringing in everyone's heads.

"No not Mewtwo, something even stronger." Zack explained. "A Ditto...but with the ability to perfectly copy and harness the full might of any and all Pokemon, even legendary ones.
With it, they strove to make the world a better place using the creature.
They dubbed it Project: X. With the help of a group of other scientists, and after many years, they succeeded in it's creation. But Project: X didn't take kindly to being trapped in a lab. Predictably, the creature broke out, never to be seen again."

"The two friends were heart broken. All their life's work had been for nothing. One of the friends began to hunt and kill Pokemon, selling the scraps on the black market, he hoped he could raise enough funds for them to retry the experiment, a new Project: X so to speak.
But in doing so, he completely lost sight of his original goal, of making the world a better place. Sadly he never learned the error of his ways, as he was eventually killed by his child, in a certain bar downtown." Zack finished.

Though Zack didn't exactly spell it out, it didn't take a genius to realize who the man was talking about.

"A-about that....l-look I can explain..." Jake stammered.

"No need to. I already understand the situation, you were merely acting in self defense. Anyway, back to the story.
The other friend, desperate to find the original Project: X, formed a small group in an attempt to find it. This group mostly consisted of the scientists that worked on the project, all desperate to find Project: X.
However, much like Jake's father, they too began to forget what the entire thing was originally about. The group resorted to stealing Pokemon, brainwashing them, trying to steal elusive artifacts, anything that could help them recapture Project: X.
This group is now known as Team Catalyst, as you've probably guessed by now."

"W-wow......I never realized...t-that's kind of tragic in a way. A-are you sure we c-can't try and reason with them?" Jake asked.
"Absolutely not. They're too far gone by now. Blinded by their goal of reaching Project: X, I shudder to think what they'll do with it should they find it." Zack replied.

"So, any more questions before I continue?"

----
Zack was very much impressed by Keith, especially as he revealed his involvement in saving Aduro Island. He then went on to explain about Team Catalyst- their origins could be traced back to a pair of scientists, seeking to create a Ditto with ultimate power, that could copy and harness the full extent of another Pokémon's power, no matter how strong. The idea was to make the world a better place, but once they had succeeded, this Ditto decided it didn't really like being trapped in a lab, and so it broke out, and was never seen again. This was very hard on the scientists, considering the culmination of their life's work had vanished without a trace. One of them took to hunting down and killing Pokémon, selling on the black market, all in the name of funding a repeat attempt at the experiment. Ironically, in doing so, he lost sight of the whole point of Project X in the first place, but before learning the error of his ways, he was killed... by his child... in a bar... downtown... why was this story starting to seem familiar to Keith?

And then, just as Keith pieced it together, Jake spoke up, confirming what Keith had just realized for himself- Jake's father had been one of these two scientists. Jake started to speak up to try and defend what he did, but Zack forestalled this, already knowing the incident to have been motivated purely by self-defense, before resuming the story. The other scientist had a different approach- namely, gathering a team of scientists who had all helped work on Project X, with the intention of finding their escaped creation. And not unlike Jake's father, they too lost sight of the whole point of Project X, and started resorting to theft and brainwashing to try and achieve their goal. This group became known as Team Catalyst.

Keith was in shock. The group had such tragic beginnings, but according to Zack, they were too far gone to listen to reason. Zack asked if there were any questions before he continued. In response to this, a flash of light emerged from the Violet Cyber Ball on Keith's belt. The Ditto that appeared quickly Transformed into a copy of his Trainer. "So, this Project X," Jack said. "This Ditto... whatever happened to it?" he asked. "Do we know? I mean, it and I, we're both Ditto, ain't we? I can't help but wonder, y'know, is it OK?"

"This is Jack, my Ditto," Keith said to Zack. "Jack, this is Zack."

----
In response to his question, Keith's Ditto emerged from it's ball, before transforming into a copy of Keith. The Keith clone seemed rather concerned about Project X, asking what had happened to it, and if it was ok.
Meanwhile, Keith introduced Zack to the Ditto, explaining that his name was Jack.

"Well, it's very nice to meet you Jack. As for your question..according to my sources...Project X is still very much alive and well." Zack replied.
"Which makes this situation all the more dire. You see, it's come to CPA's attention that Team Catalyst has recently developed a way to track down Project X's exact location." Zack explained.

"What?! That's terrible." Sophie said. "We need to destroy that thing as soon as possible!"

"Indeed we do. Which is what takes us to our plan at Hagane Labs. I've been informed that the tracking device may very well be there. My sources say that it's not just the tracker, apparently Team Catalyst is using the entire lab to develop their technology."

"So what do we do then?" Telpo asked.

"Well if Team Catalyst is truly using Hagane Labs to develop their technology, it won't be easy to get in. I do have an idea for you guys, though you might not like it." Zack explained.

"W-what is it?" Jake asked.

"Well...I was thinking that you guys could disguise yourselves as employees, that way it'd be easier to find the tracking device. Of course, you'd probably be found out pretty quickly, so you'd have to work quick." Zack continued.
"Unless you guys have any other ideas. In no way is my suggestion set in stone, so feel free to offer any other ideas."
Jake thought for a moment, before shaking his head. It seemed Telpo and Sophie didn't have an ideas either, the room turned to Keith and Jack, wondering if they had anything to say.

----
Zack revealed that Project X was apparently still alive and well. While this in and of itself did not seem a cause for concern, the fact nevertheless remained that Team Catalyst had developed a means to track Project X's location. This tracker was supposedly at Hagane Labs, and the facility itself was apparently being used to help develop Team Catalyst's technology. Understandably, this was a troubling notion all around, though Zack's initial idea was not exactly the most brilliant of plans- the idea was for Keith, Jake, and Sophie to infiltrate the lab, posing as employees while searching for the tracking device. The flaws in such a plan were obvious- they wouldn't have long before being found out, and they also didn't really know where they'd even begin to look, or indeed, what the tracker even looked like.

Though Zack welcomed any and all potential alternatives, neither Jake nor Sophie seemed to have any to provide. Keith and Jack looked at each other. "What do you think?" Keith asked the Ditto.

"I think it ain't the best idea," stated Jack. "We don't know what it looks like or where in the lab it'd be kept, and from the sound of things, we wouldn't have much time to work any of that out."

"Yeah, I was thinking the same thing," Keith nodded. "I mean, that can't be the best option, though, can it?"

"Maybe we don't need to go in blind," Jack murmured thoughtfully. "Suppose one of us goes in there, takes all the time he needs to get some serious spy work done?"

Keith raised an eyebrow. "And how would we do that?" he inquired.

"OK, my thinking is, I Transform into a Rotom, right?" said Jack. "I go into Hagane Labs through the power lines, I scope the place out, find out what goes on, what you gotta do to pass as a real employee, things of that nature. Then I come back, report to you guys, tell you how to pass as employees, and where to find the tracker, yeah?"

"I dunno," Keith shook his head. "Are we sure infiltrating the lab with a Rotom would work? Besides which, Project X is a Ditto, and the tracker is meant to detect it. I'm worried there might be a risk of the tracker detecting you," he said to Jack.

"...Yeesh. Hadn't thought of that," Jack admitted.

"Yeah," Keith nodded. "I mean, I do like the idea of sending in a spy beforehand," he conceded. "Zack, what if I have my Dusknoir do the spying? He can float right through the walls, go invisible if he needs to. He can get a feel for what we'd need to do in there, report back to us, and kinda steer us in the right direction, how's that sound?"

----
Though previously silent, Duosion couldn't help but laugh at Jack's words in regards to his trainers plans. The Ditto suggested that he could transform into a Rotom, scoping the place out, before returning to the group and helping them with sneaking in.
Keith didn't seem to sure of that plan, stating that the tracker could very well detect him.
"Very true. There would be a good possibility of that." Zack nodded. "Besides, even without the tracker, Hagane Labs is wired to prevent Rotom interference, we'd have an easier time breaking in through the front door."

Keith then suggested that they send his Dusknoir in as a spy instead. The ghost could phase through walls, and even turn invisible.
"Now that sounds like a good plan." Zack said. "As long as your Dusknoir is careful going about it, I think we can make it work."
"It does sound like a good idea." Sophie agreed. "Smart thinking Keith."
"Yeah. This sounds like it will have a high probability of working." Telpo chimed in.

"It seems everyone's in favor of it. So let's see this Dusknoir of yours." Zack said. "We need to brief it on what exactly it needs to be doing."

----
Jack rolled his borrowed eyes as Duosion laughed at him, but winced as Zack explained that the lab was wired against Rotom intruson. "OK, OK, I get it- not my best idea," the Ditto grumbled.

Keith's version of the plan was better received. Keith nodded at Zack's words and tossed a Poké Ball in the air. "Alright- go, Peeves!" Keith exclaimed as the Dusknoir appeared before them. "Peeves, we need you to spy on Hagane Labs for us," Keith explained. "Zack here will fill you in on what you need to know."

Peeves nodded, then turned to Zack. "Alright," he said. "What exactly am I looking for?"

----
"You'll be looking for a tracking device...it's key that you find that." Zack began as he grabbed his laptop.
"But you're going to need to be sneaky about it. If Team Catalyst truly is in Hagane Labs, they're going to be on high alert for any intruders. If they catch even a glimpse of you, it could very well be game over for us." Zack said as he continued to fiddle with his laptop.
"As for what the device looks like? My sources say it looks something like...this." Zack said as he turned the laptop around, showing the group a rough sketch of the device. It seemed to look like a massive..computer, with two antennae on the top left and right of the frame.

"That's.....gotta be the weirdest tracker I've ever seen." Telpo said in bewilderment. "Are we sure that's the thing we're looking for?"
"Positive." Zack replied.
"Well...how's Peeves going to find it for us anyway? I'm sure there's a lot of computers in there..." Telpo responded.

"I doubt there's that many with those strange antennae, dummy!" Duosion exclaimed, being the first words that he had spoke since the group had arrived.

"Oh.....I-I guess you're right." Telpo replied weakly.
"So, if you have any more questions, now would be the time to ask." Zack said.

----
Peeves nodded as he took in the information. Tracking device. Needed to be sneaky. "No problem," Peeves replied. "I can turn invisible, I can melt into the shadows if need be, and if all else fails, I can create illusions. I'm not bad at it if I say so myself- learned from the best." He raised his singular eyebrow at the sight of the tracker. "That... looks weird," he agreed. As Zack asked if there were any more questions, Keith and Jack simply shrugged. Peeves spoke up again, however. "Question," he said. "If I get a clear shot to destroy this tracker, you want me to try for it, or is it too risky?"
----
Peeves seemed rather confident in his abilities, explaining that he could melt into shadows and create illusions, among other things.
"Good. You may very well have to use all of those skills." Zack replied.
When it came time to ask questions, Peeves spoke up, asking if Zack wanted him to try destroying the machine, if he had a clear shot of it.

"Hmm...I didn't even think of that..." Zack began.
"Well...it might be too risky..but..well, as long as you don't let your presence be known, it might very well be worth it. But don't be afraid to pass it up if the risk is too great."

"Master, this Dusknoir probably has no idea where Hagane Labs is. May I suggest I teleport them close to it?" Duosion asked.
"Otherwise, this nitwit may very well be wandering around the city for who knows how long."
It was becoming more and more clear with each sentence that the Duosion wasn't as shy, as he was rude.

"Good idea Duosion. Yes, I think we should leave Duosion here to Peeves transportation." Zack nodded. "That is, if you wish to, Peeves."

"Well, when you're ready, just grab on to me and we'll be there in a flash. It won't hurt...that much." Duosion said to the Dusknoir, ready to Teleport them in front of Hagane Labs as soon as Peeves grabbed onto him.

----
Peeves nodded as Zack conceded that taking a shot at destroying the tracker could very well be worth it, and made certain to emphasize that there was no shame in passing it up if it was indeed too risky. He didn't seem especially thrilled by the Duosion's words. "Hey, watch who you're calling a nitwit," the Ghost-type snapped. "I may be dead but I'm not stupid." He sighed and rolled his eye as he realized that he'd have to depend on this rude Duosion for actually getting to Hagane Labs. "Fine," he grumbled.

"Oh, cheer up, Peeves, you've dealt with ruder," Keith said.

"And I've shown them even more disdain than I'm showing Jell-O boy here," retorted Peeves.

"Yeah, well, just bear in mind that it'll be a lot harder for him to call you a nitwit if you save the world, huh?" Jack pointed out.

"Yeah, there's something to that," conceded Peeves. He floated over to Duosion and grabbed hold. "OK, man- Hagane Labs. Let's do this," stated the Dusknoir.

----
Duosion glared at Peeves as the Dusknoir called him names, but said nothing. Once Peeves had grabbed onto him, the mitosis Pokemon began to gather up psychic energy. In a flash of light, the pair disappeared from the room entirely.

Part 2:
Spoiler: show
In an instant, Duosion and Peeves appeared outside, in front of them was a familiar domed building.

"Here's your stop. One Hagane Labs. You should be glad I didn't teleport you into the sewers after your last comment." Duosion quipped.
"And really? Jell-O boy? I've heard newborns come up with better insults. But enough about your incompetence, get going on your job already. Oh, and don't expect me to come save you if you get yourself caught."

----
"Hey, you're the one who called me a nitwit," Peeves retorted. "I'd love to stay and argue with you, but one, I got a world to save, and two, I don't really enjoy a battle of wits against an unarmed opponent." With that, Peeves turned invisible and sank into the ground before floating off towards the laboratory. He could not be seen or felt in this state, and as he infiltrated the building, he would cast his Foresight in every direction, trying to locate this tracker.
----
Not willing to stick around and fight with Duosion, Peeves sank into the ground, making his way to the laboratory. Once inside, the Dusknoir began to look around using his foresight.
With his new sight, Peeves would be able to make out numerous rooms, all filled with people and Pokemon. One of the rooms appeared to be a testing facility. Inside, a man in a lab coat appeared to be injecting an Eevee with some strange medicine.
In another room, it appeared that they were testing some kind of Pokemon gear. A Machoke inside the room could be seen wearing some type of armor. The person accompanying the Machoke seemed to be administering some electric shocks to it...
There was no sight of the tracker though. Could it be further to the back of the lab? Or maybe it was on another floor...
----
CPA Head Quarters
----
"So I have an idea." Telpo spoke up. "If Team Catalyst is after this Project X...what if CPA found it first? You could maybe reason with it, try and have it come to a safe spot until this whole Team Catalyst thing is dealt with."

"Sadly that won't work. You see....from what I know of Project X, it would be a very bad idea to approach it. You see...Project X also has the ability to alter your memories...so to speak.
If we were to approach it without the proper tools, Project X could make us forget everything about it." Zack explained. "But at the same time, we can't just wait around doing nothing, as my sources tell me that Team Catalyst has the means to prevent such mind altering. "

"Oh...yeah I guess that's a bad idea then." Telpo replied.

"Hmm...well, while we're waiting, feel free to ask any questions." Zack said.
"Not just about the mission either, if you want to know more about Team Catalyst, or even about us, go ahead. We could be waiting for a bit for Duosion and Peeves to come back."

----
Peeves silently surveyed his surroundings. He resisted the urge to exclaim in disgust as he witnessed the armored Machoke receiving electric shocks, or the Eevee being injected with Arceus only knows what. But what he couldn't see was the tracker. So far, anyway- clearly it was elsewhere in the building. Silently the Dusknoir moved further towards the back of the building- he'd see if it was anywhere on the ground floor. He'd take this search one floor at a time for simplicity's sake.


Zack's revelation about Project X was a rather unexpected one, though Keith seemed to be rather disturbed by it in particular. He visibly shuddered as he sat, the mention of memory modification prompting some... less than pleasant memories. Memories that made him see it as a necessity to produce his Chespin doll from his backpack and hold it close to him.

Jack sighed as he watched this, then turned to the others. "Altering memories- kind of a sore subject with him," he explained. "Question, though- the proper tools, I'm guessing that's something to counter the memory altering thingy, but... is it something you guys can make happen, or is it just these Catalyst goons what got that sort of technology?"

----
As Peeves continued his search for the radar, things got more and more disturbing. One of the new rooms contained a large amount of cages, all crammed full with various Pokemon! One of the Pokemon was shaking on the cage door, begging to be let out.
The begging soon stopped as the woman inside the room opened one of the cages, dragging a small Lillipup out of it. She then slammed it onto a nearby table, causing it to yelp in pain....

The next room appeared to be used as a transportation room. Various Pokemon were crammed into cages, just like the ones in the previous room. A small door lead outside to a large dumpster.
Many hallways could also be seen as Peeves continued his search, various employee's walking back and forth between them.

Yet the radar still wasn't in sight. The ground level still seemed to have a few more rooms left, would the Dusknoir find the tracker there?
----
Keith didn't seem to take word of Project X's mind altering abilities too well. The Poison type trainer took out a Chespin doll from his bag, before holding it close to him.
"Sorry, didn't realize that." Zack apologized once Jack had explained the situation.
Jake, Telpo and Sophie said nothing, but all gave Keith a sympathetic look.

"As for your question, the "proper tools" are indeed able to counter Project X's mind altering abilities. While we at the CPA have the means to make such a thing, I can't, in good conscience, allow the development of such technology." Zack said firmly.
"In order to make the machine, one must first slaughter countless Dark Type Pokemon, in order to harvest their essence. With this dark essence, the machine can create a field of energy, blocking out any and all psychic influence." Zack explained.
"However, if this machine weren't horrific enough, it also runs out of fuel rather quickly. In order to keep fueling it, you must constantly murder the Pokemon that it requires."

----
Was it possible for a Dusknoir to vomit from rage? Peeves didn't know, but he felt as though he wasn't too far from finding out firsthand. The further he got into the building, the more disturbing and sickening the scenes became. Peeves shook his head- he had to keep focused on the mission. Had to find the tracker. Had to keep moving. Though he dreaded what he might see, he continued onward to the few remaining rooms on the ground floor.


"...It's OK, it's cool," Keith murmured as Zack apologized. "You didn't know. I just... I-it's not right," he mumbled.

Zack then went on to give the answer to Jack's question- yes,the CPA had the capacity to make such items to counter Project X's memory-altering abilities. And that's where the good news ended abruptly. The equipment required a very specific kind of fuel- the essence of slaughtered Dark-types. And as if that wasn't bad enough, this stuff did not get a lot of mileage out of a single load of fuel, meaning that Dark-types needed to be slaughtered on a nauseatingly constant basis. "...That is disgusting," Jack said to break the horrified silence that followed Zack's explanation. "And they're seriously OK with doing that... Holy shit...

"Yeah, we need to stop Team Catalyst," Keith stated. He stowed his Chespin doll back in his backpack, in the special compartment set aside for it alone. "And I thought Team Rocket was bad... I hope Peeves finds something soon," he added.

----
As Peeves continued on his way, the Dusknoir came across some less unsettling rooms. One seemed to be a break room, a few people could be seen enjoying their meals inside. The next room appeared to be a storage room.
Various boxes containing unknown materials could be seen crammed into the back of the room. Several of the boxes looked as if they'd been there a while, some of them oozing strange, black liquid.
It seemed the rest of the ground floor was devoid of the radar.... Wait..way off to the side of the building was another room. Inside it, a man and a woman appeared to be having a conversation.
Unlike the rest of the employees, these two were wearing gray lab coats, a black x was stitched on the back and side of them. If Peeves was to approach the room, he would be able to hear their conversation...

On the other hand, the radar was still no where to be seen. Would Peeves investigate the strangely garbed employees, or continue his search for the radar?
----
Jack seemed horrified at the explanation of Team Catalyst's machine, as did the others.
"Sadly they do seem to be ok with this." Zack replied to Jack. "I said it before, they've completely lost touch of what they wanted to do with Project X in the first place. They've become everything they originally despised."

"Yeah, we definitely need those scumbags eradicated." Sophie nodded. "They make my blood boil just thinking about them."
"Indeed....just your explanation of that machine has left me sick." Telpo added.

"That is the plan. We just need an opportunity to strike...when Team Catalyst is at it's weakest. Unfortunately today is not that day." Zack stated.
"We just got to take it one step at a time. Destroying their Project X tracker will surely help weaken them."

----
Peeves paused as he saw the man and the woman. The ground floor offered no answers, so going up was clearly the way forward. But... just what were they saying? Would it be useful information? Peeves had to find out. Silently he moved towards the room, so as to eavesdrop on them.


"Despicable," spat the Ditto. "Just... Gah! You should've brought your Banette," he said to Keith. "Both of 'em. These Catalyst fuckwads deserve the nastiest Curses any Ghost has ever dished up."

"They'd tire themselves out before Cursing even half of them," Keith retorted. "Though it must be said, your idea does have a certain appeal to it," he added fairly.

Zack went on to state that they were to strike when Team Catalyst was at its weakest. This wasn't gonna be today, though their efforts to destroy the tracker would surely lead them closer to that day. Keith and Jack nodded in agreement with Zack's words. "It'll certainly set them back," Keith agreed.

"Gah... Y'know, it's too bad Project X'll just wipe our memories if we get too close," sighed Jack. "I'd like to be able to talk to the guy, y'know, one-on-one. One Ditto to another. I mean... Any other Ditto in the world, they're kinda like family to me. You know what I'm talking about, yeah?" he added to Keith.

Keith nodded. "I do indeed," he said.

Just then, Jack's eyes lit up. "Saaaaaay," he murmured. "Zack- you said that the anti-memory wipe stuffs, that's powered by the essense of Dark-types?"

"Oh, jeez, Jack, don't remind us-" groaned Keith.

"No, no, no, hear me out here," said Jack. "I mean, think about that- if they gotta have Dark-types powering this shit, think about what that means- maybe Dark-types themselves are immune to the memory wipe effect," he said. "What if we track down Project X, right? And I turn myself into an Umbreon or a Mandibuzz or something, yeah? I get my Ditto-to-Ditto chat with the guy, I try to convince him to trust us, and he can't wipe my memories. What do you think- any chance this'll work?" he asked Zack.

----
As Peeves made his way over to the pair, parts of their conversation began to become more and more clear to the ghost.

"-and that's why I think we should quit while we're ahead. I mean, I don't plan on working in this dump forever." The man said.
"Same. I just wish the boss would hurry up and find that stupid Ditto already. Speaking of, did you hear about the radar?" The woman asked her colleague. "Apparently Steven was saying that our target has been sited nearby."

"Really? Hey, maybe we can catch X for ourselves? I'm sure we could become the new admins of Catalyst once we turn that baby in." The man replied.
"Are you stupid? Of course we can't do that! Haven't you heard? Apparently X has some memory erasing powers." The woman explained.

"Oh yeah..I remember hearing about that, I guess you're right then. Oh well, so much for that promotion. I was looking forward to it to, just seeing Ryan's face after I kick his smug face down from admin, to a regular employee."
"Okkkkk then....I'm just going to go." The woman said, turning to exit the room.

"Hold up. Where's the radar again? I mean I kinda want to check it out for myself." The man said. "You know, since it's being so hyped up by Steven.
"I'm afraid you can't. Remember? The fifth floor is closed off to us low level employees..."

It seemed that listening to the pair had payed off! If the woman was correct, the tracker was on the fifth floor! Would Peeves go off in search of the tracker, or listen to the pair ramble some more?
----
Sophie couldn't help but smile as Jack expressed that he really wanted to talk to Project X, them being family and all. It seemed the Ditto was quite determined to come up with a way for the two to meet, something that Sophie admired.
Jack's idea was that he could transform into a dark type, before meeting with Project X. With his memory protected, Jack could try and convince the follow Ditto to trust them.
"Though I respect your resolve to meet Project X, I don't think it'll work." Sophie spoke up. "I mean, even if your memories can't be wiped, I'm sure that Project X has other ways of dealing with you. Besides, I doubt one Ditto would be able to get Project X to change it's heart, after all that it's had to endure.
"Sophie makes a point." Zack added. "Even without memory altering effects, Project X is something you probably wouldn't want to face in a battle. That's without considering the fact that we don't know it's exact location."

----
Peeves's eye widened. He had hit the eavesdropping jackpot! The two employees were discussing the tracker. On the fifth floor! The low-level Catalyst Grunts weren't even permitted access, but like such things mattered to a Ghost-type. Peeves decided- the fifth floor was his destination. But not just yet- he kept listening, for the grunts kept talking. Suppose they spill any more valuable tidbits? Every little bit helps, after all.


Jack did not look dissuaded by Sophie and Zack. "I... I still want to try, at the very least," he said adamantly. "I mean, yeah, we can't track it, obviously, so I'm probably not gonna get the chance, but... I mean, what, it was born in some lab, knowing nothing but the jerks who made it, probably treated more like a means to an end than a living being? If there is any Ditto on the face of the planet that can relate, you're looking at him," stated Jack. "You know why I consider every other Ditto in the world to be like family? Because technically they are. Every Ditto in existence is, however distantly, descended from yours truly." Jack sighed. "You probably know the story- Team Rocket makes Mewtwo, Cinnabar Labs burns down, yadda yadda yadda... Point is, Mewtwo wasn't their first end result. It was their second. I was considered their failed attempt at cloning Mew. Were it not for that Dr. Fuji, I probably would've thought all humans were assholes. I... I just... Project X sounds like what I'd be like if I didn't know Dr. Fuji, I guess," said Jack. "I just..." He trailed off, deep in thought.

----
Instead of going off in search of the tracker, Peeves decided to listen to the pair a bit more...

"-Bet that Ryan is allowed to go up there!" The man exclaimed.

"Dude, what's your problem with Ryan anyway?" The woman asked. "Of course he can go up there, he's an admin. All four of the admins are allowed access." She explained.

"I don't know...that guy just rubs me the wrong way. All smug because of that stupid tournament thing he has going." The man replied.

"Really? I think Steven's worse. Thinks he's all special cause his family started this whole facility."

It seemed that the pair's conversation had shifted to talk of their higher ups. Would Peeves take the opportunity to find the radar? Or would he continue to listen to what the grunts had to say....
----
Jack still seemed insistent on meeting Project X, stating that if anyone could relate, it would be him. Jack explained that the reason he considered every Ditto family, was because they were. Apparently Jack was the very first Ditto, making every other one his descendants. He went on to explain his origins.
Everyone in the room had heard about the story of Mewtwo's creation, but what they didn't know, was what came before it.
Apparently Mewtwo wasn't the first result of their experiment, Jack was. If it wasn't for a certain Dr. Fuji, Jack speculated that he would have been just like Project X.

"Wow...I never knew..." Sophie murmured. "I'm so sorry that you had to go through something like that..."

"Y-yeah." Jake added. "That must h-have been terrifying."

"Indeed, it is unfortunate how much suffering these groups have caused." Zack said with a nod.

"Hey wait, I get why you want to meet Project X now! You just want to meet your long lost child." Sophie teased Jack.
"Like some sort of father-child bonding time." She continued, hoping that this would be enough to cheer the Ditto up...

----
Peeves listened- the topic of conversation had shifted to that of Catalyst's higher-ups. He already had two of the four admins' names, as well as the knowledge that there were four admins to begin with. He decided to keep listening- maybe they would spill the other two names. He knew he had to find the tracker, but he also knew that would be just the tip of the Bergmite. Peeves intended to gather as much intel as he could.


Jack nodded, giving a small, appreciative smile as Sophie, Jake, and Zack all started to understand his desire to get through to Project X. He even chuckled at Sophie's teasing comment. "Yeah... I just feel like, if I could be to Project X what Dr. Fuji was to me... I mean, I never really got to repay the man for his kindness, this feels like it'd be a good start, y'know?" Keith nodded- Jack had told him this whole story once before, so none of this came as a surprise to him.

----
"-she's at least nicer then the rest." The woman finished.

"Yeah, I agree she is the nicest of the four." The man said with a nod.

"So....I never did get to ask you...what type do you specialize in again?" The woman asked.

"Ground types of course." The man replied. "That way I can easily crush Ryan and his dumb Electric types, should the need arise."

"I should of figured." The woman said with a sigh, before checking her xtransceiver.
"Well....I've gotta get going. Wouldn't want to be late. Umm....good luck with that whole, defeating Ryan thing though." The woman said as she exited the room.

With one of them gone, it was highly unlikely that Peeves would hear any more information by staying here. Still, if the Dusknoir wanted, he could continue eaves dropping, in hopes that the man would say anything else.
----
Much to Sophie's delight, Jack seemed to chuckle at her comment. He then explained that he never got to repay Dr. Fuji for his kindness, the Ditto felt like talking to Project X would be a good start.

"Hey well...though the probability isn't especially high, you could always meet Dr. Fuji again." Telpo chimed. "I mean you never know, stranger things have happened before."
"Yeah." Jake added. "I-I mean...you c-could try finding him again....r-right?"
----
After the woman left, Peeves started to move onward and upward, literally. Unless the guy was going to start a highly incriminating conversation with himself, the Dusknoir had very likely heard everything he'd be able to hear. Now, on to the fifth floor.


"Yeah, I guess," Jack shrugged. "I... I mean, I hope he's still alive. Dude's gotta be old by now if he's still alive. And... well, I mean, you know the story- Mewtwo blew up the lab and everyone in it. If Fuji was at work that day..." He trailed off, shuddering at the prospect. "But yeah... I could definitely still try and see if I can find out."

"I'll help, too," Keith nodded. "I'd like to meet this Dr. Fuji myself, honestly."

"Thanks, dude," Jack smiled.

----
As Peeves moved up towards the fifth floor, he would be able to catch brief glimpses of the other floors. The second floor looked to be much like the first, various horrifying experiments could be seen within many of the rooms. The third floor appeared to be much nicer then the ones below.
Instead of questionable experiments, this floor seemed to be focused on developing technology. The only thing weird about it...was that all the technology seemed to be the same. From what could be seen, it appeared the machines were some sort of capturing devices...
As the floors got higher, less and less employees could be seen, until finally the Dusknoir reached the fifth floor. Unlike the last couple floors, the fifth one seemed mysteriously empty. The radar's home was apparently somewhere in one of the many rooms, the question was where.
----
Jack explained that, while he hoped Dr. Fuji was alive, he very well could have passed. With Mewtwo blowing up the entire lab, if Dr. Fuji had been at work at the time, he surely wouldn't be among the living.

"O-oh yeah...I-I didn't even think of that." Jake murmured.
Jack continued, saying that he could definitely try and find out what happened, something that Keith agreed to help him on.
"I could help you look into it." Sophie piped up. "I mean, if that's ok with you. I'm sure I can find something on Dr. Fuji, provided that he's still around."

----
Peeves felt sick as he ascended through the building. More horrible experiments were taking place on the second floor. The third floor seemed more focused on developing technology. It all seemed to be capturing devices of some sort, though... Another thing Peeves noticed was that the higher he went, the fewer people he saw. Indeed, the fifth floor seemed devoid of people altogether, though this did not prompt the Dusknoir to reveal himself- all it took was the mental image of what Ginny would say if she knew he'd let down his guard like that in enemy territory. Peeves was often one to question the wisdom of what the paranoid Pawniard would teach anyone who listened (and several who didn't), but right now, he figured a little paranoia couldn't hurt. He started to move about the fifth floor through the floors and walls, still invisible, still intangible, in search of that tracker.


"Thanks," Jack nodded to Sophie. "I'd appreciate that. The guy wasn't like the other scientists... maybe he got himself out of Team Rocket," he speculated. He was the first living being I ever Transformed into, I still remember... he always had his doubts about whether joining them was the right thing for him to do."

----
Even with no one in sight, Peeves still opted to remain invisible. This proved to be a good idea, for shortly after continuing his investigation, a Mawile could be seen patrolling the hallways....
Unlike the last several floors, this one seemed to have nothing of importance. Many rooms were entirely empty, while others looked as if they hadn't been used in ages. Besides that one Mawile, there wasn't a sign of any life at all.
This floor also seemed quite dirty. While the ones below seemed to be kept in good shape, this one hadn't seen any sort of mop in years. It was hard to believe that it was even part of the same building.

Still, the radar was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps it was deeper within the fifth floor?
----
Jack thanked Sophie for her offer, before explaining that Fuji wasn't like the other scientists, and that he had doubts that joining Team Rocket was the right thing for him.

"No problem, I'm always happy to help." Sophie replied. "But yeah...Dr. Fuji does sound like he's an ok guy."

"Indeed. I too would like to meet him, if I got the chance." Zack said.
"I mean..even if Team Rocket is a terrible organization, their technology has always intrigued me. He would probably know a thing or two about it, having worked for them as a scientist..."

----
Peeves couldn't help but feel a bit of smug satisfaction as his decision to remain hidden proved to be the right one- a Mawile was patrolling the fifth floor hallways. However, it seemed that the Mawile was the only one up there- nobody else, human or otherwise. And guess what else Peeves couldn't find? Yep- the tracker. He kept moving, however- he hadn't seen the entirety of the fifth floor yet, and he wouldn't stop until he found that tracker.


Jack and Keith both nodded as Zack confessed an interest in Team Rocket's technology. "I get it, yeah," Keith nodded. "They're horrible people, but if their technology could possibly be used for good..."

"Yeah, can't argue with that logic," Jack agreed. "And he was one of the guys who brought my kind into existence, so yeah, I'd say he knows his stuff."

"I hope he got out, though," Keith stated. "I mean, three of their four executives are either dead or in jail by this point," he pointed out, for this took place prior to Keith's encounter with Rocket Executive Elmer. "If he's even just half as good a guy as Jack says he is, I hope he knew to get out at the first opportunity."

----
As Peeves continued his search, the Dusknoir passed by more and more empty rooms. It was hard to imagine that the floor had ever served a purpose.
As he continued, a Bisharp could be seen guarding the entrance to a room. If Peeves were to peer inside the room, he would notice that the room was packed with many sort of strange electronics.
At the very back of the room appeared to be a large computer, with two antennae on the top left and right of the frame.
There was no doubt about, the strange machine was in fact, the tracker that Peeves had been looking for. With the tracker in sight, would Peeves take the risk and try destroying it?
----
Keith seemed to get what Zack meant, stating that if their technology could be used of good..
"It could mean a lot of good for the world." Zack nodded. "Unfortunately I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Keith then stated that he hoped that Fuji had gotten out, explaining that three of their four admins were dead or in jail at the time.
"Well that's good." Telpo said. "About the admins, I mean. It's nice to see that Team Rocket's power is waning, however slowly."

"Yeah, Team Catalyst is already a pain as is." Sophie added. "I'd hate to have both of them running around at their true potential..."

----
Peeves was puzzled as he passed more and more empty rooms. Was there any point to this fifth floor at all?

The answer, as it turned out, was yes. Peeves soon came across a Bisharp guarding the entrance to a room, which was packed with odd electronics. And at the very back of the room... there it was, there was the tracker! But now Peeves faced a difficult decision- destroy it immediately, or report back to Keith and the others? The fifth floor was devoid of humans completely, with the only signs of life being the Mawile roaming the corridors... and the Bisharp right outside the room. Peeves narrowed his eye as he looked back at the Bisharp. Could he destroy the machine without attracting the Bisharp's attention? And if not, could he take on the Bisharp if need be? Bisharp was a Dark and Steel-type, which gave it the type advantage. The evolved form of Pawniard, a species Peeves know better than to underestimate. He had a lot of Fighting-type moves which would give him a, ahem, fighting chance. But... could he avoid attracting the Bisharp's attention altogether? Peeves considered his options... what if he spat a Toxic at the machine? The horribly poisonous liquid would eat away at the tracker, destroying it, surely. Or maybe a Will-O-Wisp would fry the circuits. Or... Ice Beam. He could coat the machine in ice. Not only would it very likely not function when encased in ice, but when the ice melted, it would become water. Water being, of course, detrimental to the functionality of any machine. That was looking like his best option thus far, but he kept thinking. Shadow Punch, maybe? Perhaps he could manipulate the shadowy fist so it passed clean through the outside of the machine and only destroyed its innards. Truly a slap in the face- the tracker would appear normal from outside, but would be naught but a pile of useless scrap metal on the inside. And Peeves realized something else- if he moved to the part of the floor directly under the machine, he could use Shadow Punch without giving away his position, couldn't he?

This new plan in mind, Peeves floated into position, double and triple checking that he was still invisible, before going into a carefully controlled Shadow Punch, trying to mash up and destroy the machine's innards- and only the innards, ideally, so it would take a while for Team Catalyst to realize something was wrong.


Keith nodded in agreement with Telpo. "Yeah, they're about all but done for. My Camerupt has connections who are able to give him inside info about Team Rocket. Mainly he uses this info to warn me if they're planning an attack on my Secret Base, or if they're cooking up a world-endangering scheme of some sort. According to him, ever since the death of Rocket Executive Remy McPhione, the organization's been in a kind of panic. Apparently they're relocating their bases of operation to remote, uninhabited islands for the time being. My Swoobat actually suggested to me that I go for a voyage on my boat sometime in the next few weeks- maybe I'll be able to find and take down the final executive," he grinned. "But yeah- right now, Team Catalyst is our main concern," he nodded.

----
While Peeves came up with multiple ways to take care of the tracker, he finally decided on mashing the insides of it with Shadow Punch. With this in mind, Peeves got into position under the floor, before sending a a shadow fist directly into the machines interior.

As soon as the attack hit it's intended target, an incredibly loud alarm sounded.
"Tracker #2 is under attack! Tracker #2 is under attack! Back up is requested!" A loud robotic voice shrieked.
At the sound of the alarm, the Bisharp rushed into the room, the Mawile from before soon followed.

"Way to go nitwit, I don't know what you did, but I can hear the alarm from out here." A telepathic voice sounded in the Dusknoir's head. "Regardless of what you did, I don't recommend sticking around. Just come to the entrance so I can teleport you out."
With the sound of the alarm, it wouldn't be long before others showed up. Still, it was unclear if the tracker was fully destroyed or not. The question was, was it worth making sure?
----
"Indeed, Team Catalyst is definitely our main concern." Zack nodded. "And the sooner Peeves and Duosion return, the easier it will be to plan for the future."
"I-I wonder if Peeves h-has found what he needed." Jake said. "I-I mean...I'd rather not.....i-infiltrate anywhere Team Ctalyst might c-call home."
"There's no use in pondering it though, I'm sure the two will be back soon." Telpo added. "There's a pretty good chance Peeves will have taken care of things for us though, so you don't need to worry."

----
Peeves felt like exclaiming in frustration as an incredibly loud alarm sounded, but he resisted- he was still invisible. Even as the Bisharp and Mawile entered, he knew they couldn't spot him. Even so, though, it would likely not be prudent to remain in the building for much longer. What troubled him in particular is that the alarm referred to this as tracker #2. As in, there was more than one tracker. Oh, yeah, that boded real well. He rolled his eye at the sound of Duosion's telepathic snark, but knew he still had a point. He decided to land one more Shadow Punch on the machine's innards for good measure, then get the hell outta there as fast (and as stealthily) as he possibly could. That he couldn't stick around to be more certain of the machine's destruction irked him, but he reasoned that a couple of Shadow Punches to the inner workings of a machine, the parts that the outer shell was meant to protect, couldn't possibly have left it still in perfect working order. He had to content himself with this for the time being.


Meanwhile, Jake wondered if Peeves found what he needed. "I know Peeves well," Keith stated. "He's good at getting things done when he needs to. He'll probably get that tracker destroyed and even score some information for us as well. Heh, I remember when I first hatched him," he added, smiling slightly. "The guy's really come a long way."

----
After hitting the machine with one more Shadow Punch for good measure, Peeves fled from the scene. As the Dusknoir descended closer towards the entrance, he could see just what madness he had caused.
Many Pokemon could be seen scrambling towards the fifth floor, while some scientists opted to run for the nearest exit. Yet, a large portion of scientists remained at their stations, as if nothing was happening at all...
Over all of this, the alarm blared on, though it seemed to get a bit quieter as Peeves neared the exit.

Once outside, it seemed most of the chaos had stopped. The obnoxious sound of the siren could still be heard though, confirming Duosion's earlier words.
Speaking of which, the mitosis Pokemon could be seen just ahead. From the look on his face, he appeared to not be too pleased with the latest turn of events. Despite this, he appeared to be patiently waiting for Peeves to return.
Perhaps he was thinking of a few choice words for the Dusknoir upon his arrival.....
----
Keith seemed quite confident in Peeves, saying that he would probably destroy the tracker, as well as get some information. Keith added that the Dusknoir had come a long way from when he had hatched him.

"W-well if you believe in him...I-I guess I will as well." Jake replied.
"Me too." Sophie added. "But, what do you mean that he's come a long way? What was he like before?"

----
Peeves saw as he descended that a lot of Pokémon were headed up to the fifth floor, while some of the scientists were making for the exit. But for the most part, the scientists were acting like nothing was happening at all. Perhaps they thought the Pokémon that were rushing to the scene would be sufficient to deal with the problem?

Peeves rolled his eye as he saw Duosion looking displeased. At least he was waiting for the Dusknoir. Peeves rose up out of the ground next to Duosion. "Whatever you're thinking of saying to me, it can wait until we get back," he muttered to the Psychic-type.


Keith nodded, smiling appreciatively as Jake stated that if Keith could believe in the Dusknoir, so could he. He then turned to Sophie at her question. "Right, I never really told you about Peeves's past, did I?" he said.

"Yeah, I never Transformed into him, so I'd kinda like to hear this as well," said Jack.

"Alright, well, it all starts with my Weezing," said Keith. "You know the story, right? I'm wandering near the volcano near Lavaridge, I go into the Fiery Path, and I save a baby Koffing from a pair of Machop? One of those Machop? That was Peeves when he was alive. Apparently, both Machop were killed the day after that by a murderous Camerupt, and years later, one of them came back as a Duskull, which hatched from an Egg I was taking care of. Initially, Peeves had no memory of his past life, but he still had a mischievous streak- always loved playing pranks and getting reactions out of people. Heh, but he was still a good guy underneath, I could tell," Keith nodded. "Never disobeyed me in battle, never really tried to take things too far... and knowing Liliana helped, too, I think," he added. "This female Duskull belonging to a good friend of mine," he explained. "She and Peeves became good friends almost right away, and ended up falling in love. Then, they both remembered their respective pasts at one point, and Peeves was so overcome with remorse for what he'd been like- for by this point he'd kinda dialed it back with the pranks and the mischief. But yeah- we all forgave him. Even Gemini could forgive him. He ended up a better Duskull for the experience. Y'know, being there while Peeves grew up and matured, it really was a cool experience," he smiled. "One of the awesome things about being a Pokémon Trainer is getting to watch your Pokémon grow up, seeing how far they can go, and helping them realize their full potential."

----
"Oh good, you're here." Dusion said upon Peeves rising up from the ground.
"But yeah, I'll certainly save embarrassing you until we get back, so let's get going." The Duosion added upon the Dusknoir's request.
----
Keith explained that Peeves had been one of the Machop that attacked Gemini, back when the Dusknoir was alive.
When he had hatched, Peeves had no recollection of his past life, though he was still just as mischievous as before. At one point Peeves remembered his past, he felt remorseful, but all his teammates forgave him for his earlier actions.
Keith then added that a great part of being a trainer was watching your Pokemon grow and achieve their full potential.

"Unlocking the true potential of a Pokemon...that is indeed, a wonderful thing." Zack nodded.

"Y-yeah." Jake added, thinking back to his various Pokemon. He had been with some of them for a long time, and some had certainly shown a lot of improvement.
Like Bubbles, she had previously been quite hostile, but eventually mellowed out. Or Sparky! He was extremely shy when Jake and him had first set foot on Fizzytopia, but over time Sparky had transformed into a much more courageous Pokemon...
In contrast Telpo had mostly remained the same...always calm...always caring...always there for him....

"I-I can't wait...umm...to see how the future turns out for us." Jake said, specifically addressing the Abra beside him. "To see how much we can improve."
"Me too master" Telpo replied. "But with Team Catalyst around...I do fear what it will be. Having them out of the picture would definitely put my mind at ease."

----
Peeves nodded. "Let's do that," he agreed, ready for Duosion to Teleport them back.


Keith nodded in agreement as Zack and Jake agreed with his sentiment about helping one's Pokémon achieve their full potential. "I don't think I'll ever get tired of being a Trainer," he smiled. "It's not just Peeves, either- one time I traded for a Makuhita that had been getting traded from Trainer to Trainer, always for rock-bottom prices. Nobody seemed to want her, and it did a number on her self-esteem. But I had no intention of trading her. It just took a while to get this through to her, but it was well worth it- Helga's no longer worried about getting traded away again," he smiled. "She's now a Hariyama, and probably one of my most dependable Pokémon. She's actually the one who landed the finishing blow on Heatran in Mt. Aduro," he smiled. "Had to fire a Focus Blast between swirling pillars of magma, with no time to really properly aim it, and she pulled it off beautifully." There was a hint of pride in Keith's voice as he spoke.

----
With Peeves ready to go the mitosis Pokemon once again began to gather up psychic energy. In a flash of light, the pair disappeared from outside Hagane Labs...
----
Keith began to talk about another Pokemon of his, a Hariyama named Helga. Keith got her after she had been traded from trainer to trainer, all for a very low price.
This had effected her self esteem quite a bit, and it took Keith a while to convince her that he had no intention of trading her away. After that, she became very dependable, having landed the final blow on the Heatran in Mt. Aduro.

"Wow, your Pokemon are really something Keith." Zack smiled. "You seem like a really capable trainer. I'm very glad that you're on our side, and not Team Catalyst's."

Before much more could be said, Duosion and Peeves suddenly appeared in the corner of the room.
"We're back! You wouldn't believe what this idiot did though, he set off the alarm system!" Duosion exclaimed.

"What? You can't be serious!" Sophie exclaimed. "Please tell me you at least managed to detroy the tracker.

"Now now let's calm down. I want to hear what Peeves has to say first." Zack said, before turning his attention to the Dusknoir.
"So, tell us what happened, from the top. Did you learn any vital information? Did you find the tracker, and if did, were you able to destroy it?"

Part 3:
Spoiler: show
Keith smiled at the praise, though before he could respond to any of it, Peeves and Duosion returned. The Dusknoir facepalmed as Duosion informed them all that Peeves set off the alarm system. "Oh, yes, that's exactly the detail I wanted you to open with," he said sarcastically. He turned to Zack, for he at least was willing to hear the Dusknoir's tale. "OK. First off, yes, I got some info. More on that later- the tracker. Yes, I found it, and yes, I tried to destroy it. Had a clear shot, but unfortunately, my attempt was what set off the alarm. I tried working my way past the outside of the machine, land a Shadow Punch on the inside stuff, y'know?"

"Makes sense," Keith shrugged. "The outer shell's meant to protect the stuff inside. Bypass that, should make it easier to break."

Peeves nodded, gesturing to Keith. "This guy gets it," he said. "Now... I don't know whether I managed to destroy the tracker completely. The innards took two full-force Shadow Punches, but I didn't exactly have time to inspect the damage, yeah? Now... that's where the good news ends."

"That was good news?" Jack asked, earning him a glare from Peeves. "Just saying," the Ditto said, shrugging his borrowed shoulders.

"As I was saying," said Peeves. "First off, the alarm. What really troubled me was what it said- that tracker #2 was under attack."

"Tracker number two?" Keith repeated. "As in-"

"As in there's probably a tracker number one in there somewhere, that'd be my guess, yeah," nodded Peeves. "Also- managed to overhear bits of a conversation between two of the grunts. Four Catalyst admins in total. One of them's named Steven, and his family apparently started Hagane Labs in the first place. Another one's named Ryan, and he apparently specializes in Electric-types, and has something to do with a tournament of some sort. Didn't get any other names, but at least one of the other two admins is a woman, and apparently the nicest of the four. Any of this new info?" he asked Zack.

----
Peeves explained that he had gotten some info, and that he'd also found the tracker. Upon trying to destroy the tracker, he had managed to set the alarms off, but not before delivering two solid attacks to the device.
That was where the good news ended, as Peeves revealed that the alarm had implied there was a second tracker, the one he had attacked being labeled tracker two.

"What?! So they have two of them...and you only managed to get one at best?" Sophie questioned. "That means we've gotta go back in there! If they still have another tracker, then this entire mission will have been for naught!"

"While I do agree that this isn't looking good, we should wait to hear what else Peeves has to say." Zack replied.

The Dusknoir continued, explaining that he had overheard that there were four Catalyst admins. The first was named Steven, his family had apparently been the ones to start Hagane Labs.
The second went by the name of Ryan. He was an Electric specialist, and had something to do with a tournament. Why did that sound so familiar to Jake?

"Steven? As in Steven Hagane? Yes I know of him...he's the current owner of Hagane labs. His grandfather, Adam Hagane founded the research facility." Zack explained.
"Sadly, this does line up with our knowledge of Catalyst and Hagane labs. I say sadly, because Steven is a truly brilliant man. If he's with Team Catalyst, that makes this situation only more dire."

"What about this Ryan fellow? Does he ring any bells?" Telpo asked.

"Jake, didn't you say the guy that beat you at that Electric Type tournament was named Ryan?" Sophie questioned.
"U-umm...yeah. But...it couldn't be him. H-he was the one that saved me and a f-friend from Team Catalyst." Jake explained.
"Hmm..I see. Well there isn't any use speculating for now. Peeves, did you happen to get any more info?" Zack questioned.

----
Peeves's news went over about as well as he could've expected bad news to go. Zack confirmed that Steven Hagane was indeed the grandson of the founder of Hagane Labs, as well as the current owner. However, Jake did indeed recall somebody named Ryan... in an Electric-type tournament... but he saved Jake from Team Catalyst? Peeves raised his one and only eyebrow at this- Zack was right, there was no real use speculating, but all the same, that was a lot of coincidences lining up right there... He turned to Zack upon being asked if he got any more info. "Not a lot, and you probably don't want to know most of it anyway," stated Peeves. "They... yeesh... they perform experiments on Pokémon, and... yeah, let's just say I wanted to vomit from rage and leave it at that," he shuddered.

"Bastards," Keith stated, shaking his head. "The sooner we take out Team Catalyst, the better."

"Amen to that," Jack nodded.

"Also, there's apparently a grunt that specializes in Ground-type, with the specific intent of crushing Ryan and his Electric-types," Peeves added, shrugging to indicate that even he doubted the usefulness of that tidbit. "And... OH!" he exclaimed. "Should've mentioned this sooner, honestly- those blabbermouth grunts I eavesdropped on? They mentioned that the tracker had confirmed that Project X was sighted nearby."

"Wh- for serious?" Jack stated, his borrowed eyes widening.

"Yeah, but apparently it's got memory-erasi- I mean, uh," Peeves hastily stammered, realizing Keith was within earshot.

"Peeves, relax, I already know what it's capable of," Keith stated. "There's been some discussion going on in your absence. And Jack, don't forget- it's made to track a Ditto, and guess what you are."

"...Right. Right," Jack nodded. "Yeesh... Of all the freakin'..."

"I'm guessing you wanna meet this Project X?" Peeves questioned.

"Hell yeah, I do," Jack nodded.

----
"I-I won't let them get away with this!" Jake exclaimed. "Even if I have to charge into their headquarters and destroy them myself!"
"O-oh...umm..s-sorry..I don't know what came o-over me there." Jake apologized a moment later.
"It's ok master, I don't think any of us here blames you." Telpo replied. "For what it's worth, I too long for them to be punished for their actions. This is inexcusable."

Peeves continued, explaining that he had learned a grunt specialized in Ground types. But one of biggest tidbits, was the fact that Project X had been sighted nearby.
Jack seemed to like the sound of that, but Keith quickly reminded him that he was also a Ditto, and would probably show up on the tracker.

"That settles it then! We need to go back in there and destroy that other tracker, right now." Sophie said.
"What? Are you crazy? Peeves just set off the alarm, they're going to be on high alert now." Telpo replied.
"I know. I don't like it either, but we don't have a choice. If Project x was far away, we could wait it out a little bit. But if Project X truly is close by, then they may be preparing to snatch it as we speak." Sophie explained.
"If we don't deal with those trackers soon, then we may not be able to stop Team Catalyst in time."

"You do make a good point Sophie, we do need to take out those trackers, and quick." Zack replied.
"We may very well have to sneak in, even with the stakes as high as they are. I very much doubt that Peeves would have the luxury of going back in for us..."
----
Jake's outburst was met with nods of approval from Keith, Peeves, and Jack. The group began talking about going into Hagane Labs to destroy the tracker once and for all. "Well, count me in," Keith stated.

"Yeah, same," Peeves stated. "Though if our target is basically a Ditto tracker, I'm thinking Jack-"

"Yeah, I know, back in the ball," Jack nodded, rolling his borrowed eyes. "Just promise I can get in on the action if your cover gets blown, huh?"

"Hoping that won't happen, but you got a deal," Keith stated. "Now, then," he added, turning back to the group. "What are we thinking we'll do?"

----
"Well I was thinking...you'd probably have to disguise as employees, in order to get in." Zack suggested.
"That idea again? I'm not liking the sound of it. There's just too much that can go wrong with it." Telpo replied. "Besides, how are we even going to get employee outfits?"
"I know it's risky, but unless Peeves knows how to teleport, I'm coming up short on ideas. The good news is, if that's our best way in, we have plenty of outfits that could allow you to sneak in." Zack explained.
"Of course this isn't set in stone yet. I realize this isn't one of my better plans, so if any of you guys can think of a better idea, I'd be glad to hear it."

----
"Can confirm, no Teleport," Peeves stated. "So unless Keith has his Slowbro, Smeargle, Venomoth, or Qwilfish with him..."

"Nope," Keith shook his head. "None of those. But yeah... disguising ourselves as employees, I'm not loving the idea," he stated. "Telpo's right, there's so much that can go wrong..."

"Hey, wait," Peeves said suddenly. "What if... what if we can lure some of them out of the lab? We lure them into a trap, ambush and overpower them, then go back disguised as them? If we look like established members of Catalyst that were known to have left and were expected to return, I don't think we'd raise a lot of suspicion, would we?" he asked.

"I see what you're saying," Keith nodded. "But... How would we pull off such perfect disguises?"

"Heh, did you forget?" smirked Peeves. "I learned illusions from the best. I could make the disguises happen, no sweat. I'm the one who taught Helena how to create that illusion of what she looked like when she was alive."

Keith blinked, visibly impressed by this statement. "Hard to argue with that," he nodded. "But that still leaves the question of how we'd lure them into a trap in the first place," he added. "Only thing I can think of that'd get their attention is Project X, and somehow I don't think that's an option at the moment," he shrugged. He turned to Zack. "Any idea what might attract their attention, get them to send a few members out to check things out?" he asked.

----
Peeves confirmed that he wasn't capable of teleportation, and with that, plans of teleporting into the base were officially scrapped.
Peeves then suggested they lure some employees out of the lab, and right into a trap. The idea being, they could overpower the grunts, before going back in, disguised as them.
Keith questioned how they would be able to perfectly disguise as them, but Peeves explained that he could create illusions. With these illusions, he could easily disguise the group.

"Now this sounds much better." Telpo chimed. "We'll have a much lower chance of getting caught this way."

Keith then asked Zack if there was any way to attract Team Catalyst's attention, anyway to lure a few employees into their trap.

"Not that I can think of." Zack replied. "As you said, the only thing I can think of is Project X."

"There's no need to worry about that, I have a perfect way to bait them out!" Sophie exclaimed.
"Really? What's that?" Zack questioned.
"Just trust me, I've got it under control." Sophie replied. "What you should be worrying about, is what kind of trap you're going to set for them."

"Hmm...ok then, I trust that you've got it all covered." Zack nodded, before turning to the rest of the group.
"So...what kind of trap were we thinking? Besides a straight up ambush, not much else is coming to mind."

----
Peeves's idea went over quite well. The one problem was with the notion of luring them out in the first place, but Sophie stated that she had it covered. While this confused Keith, Sophie had proven to be quite trustworthy the last few times she told them to just trust her, and so he raised no questions.

The subject then turned to what exactly they could do for a trap, save for an ambush. Peeves raised a hand. "Just throwing this out there, I do know how to use Mean Look."

"And I could have my Stunfisk hide in the ground," Keith volunteered. "First Catalyst grunt to step on Rubeus gets a good, healthy dose of Thunder Shock," he grinned, plucking the Ground Ball off his belt.

----
As the group began to brainstorm ideas on just what trap they were going to set, Peeves brought up that he knew Mean Look.
Keith then suggested having his Stunfisk hide on the ground, shocking the first grunt that stepped on him.

"I-I've got an idea." Jake said, before turning to Sophie. "Y-you said you can l-lure them out...w-would this put you in the path of...of any traps?"
"Nope." Sophie shook her head. "So feel free to do whatever you want."
"O-ok..good. Well..how about w-we lure them into an alley, and have Keith's Stunfisk shock them."
"T-then Peeves..he can prevent them from escaping with Mean Look. F-finally, I'll have my Oddish use S-sleep Powder...in order to knock them out." Jake explained.

"Sounds good to me." Telpo replied.
"Indeed, I think it's our best shot at the moment." Zack nodded. "What do the rest of you think?"

----
Jake added his own input to the idea, though only after ensuring that Sophie's way of luring them out would not put her in harm's way. Keith, Jack, and Peeves nodded their satisfaction at this knowledge, before Jake suggested that they lure the Catalyst members into an alley, whereupon Rubeus would shock them, Peeves would trap them, and then Jake's Oddish would incapacitate them with Sleep Powder.

Keith nodded. "I like it," he stated. "I'm in."

"Same here," agreed Peeves. "Sleep Powder- I like that."

"Am I gonna get to help here?" Jack asked, not expecting a good answer.

"Possibly," Keith said fairly. "If Peeves's Mean Look doesn't trap them all at once, maybe you could help him out with that."

"I could do that, yeah," Jack shrugged.

----
"Alright, it seems that our plan is decided then." Zack said. "I'd love to come with you, but I'm afraid I have some things that need to be done first."

"Alright, instead of you fools bumbling around the streets, I'll Teleport you guys to where you need." Duosion chimed, before turning his attention to Telpo.
"You've been to the front of Hagane Labs before? If so, can you help me Teleport them there? Or are you also a dead weight, like the rest?"
"I can do it." Telpo nodded. "I'm not sure if I can carry more then two though."

"Two is all we need, you grab those two." Duosion said, pointing to Jake and Sophie with his head.
"As for the rest of you, I'm going to have to request no more then two at a time." The mitosis Pokemon explained, turning to Keith's group.
"Preferably not Peeves though. He may just be stupid enough to set off the alarm again, just by being near the entrance."

----
With the plan agreed upon, Duosion offered to help Telpo Teleport the group to Hagane Labs. While Telpo would Teleport Jake and Sophie, Duosion offered to Teleport Keith and one of his Pokémon- he wouldn't take more than two passengers, and specifically requested "not Peeves", which left the Dusknoir decidedly less than amused. "OK, listen, you-" began Peeves.

"Peeves, take it easy," stated Keith. "Duosion, considering how crucial Peeves is to the plan, I'm gonna have to insist he accompany us." He and the Dusknoir exchanged a high-five as he spoke. "Give him more credit than that, he's more careful than that."

"Besides which," added Jack. "I don't want to set off the tracker, so I'm thinking I wait in my ball until I need to get involved, yeah?"

"You're cool with that, right?" Keith asked Jack.

"No sweat," Jack assured him. "I want the plan to succeed. Besides, unlike Meowth, I'm cool with being in my ball," he shrugged.

----
Duosion couldn't help but roll his eyes as Keith stuck up for Peeves, saying that he was crucial to the plan.
"Yeah, but he was also crucial to the last plan, and look how well that went." Duosion retorted.
"Well whatever, I guess we do need him. So once Jack's in his ball, just grab on and I'll get us to where you need to go."

"Alright Sophie, Master, are you ready?" Telpo questioned, his attitude a complete contrast to Duosion's snarkiness.

"R-ready as I'll ever be." Jake replied.
"You bet I am! It's time to knock some Catalyst scum down a few pegs!" Sophie exclaimed.
With both trainers consent, Telpo grabbed onto the pair, before the three of them vanished in a flash of light.

----
"Oh, you mean how he got us information, and damaged one of the trackers, possibly beyond repair?" retorted Keith. "Like any of us would've known that Shadow Punching the inside of that thing would've set off an alarm."

"THANK you!" Peeves nodded.

Duosion then conceded that they did in fact need Peeves, so Keith turned to his doppelganger, holding out a Violet Cyber Ball. "Jack, return," he said, as the recall beam pulled the Ditto back into the ball's spherical confines. With that done, both Keith and Peeves grabbed onto Duosion, ready whenever he was.

----
In a flash of light, Duosion, Peeves, and Keith vanished from the room, before reappearing in front of Hagane Labs. Though it had been a site of panic only a few minutes ago, from outside everything seemed calm.

"Alright there you go. The greatest, most amazing Dusknoir to ever grace this earth has arrived at his destination." Duosion said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
"Oh, and don't come crying to me if Peeves sets off the alarm again, I warned you." Dusion added.

Having just noticed them, Telpo, Sophie and Jake made their way over to the rest of the group.

"Alright, so you needed to find an alleyway to set up your trap right? In that case....hmm...how about that one?" Sophie asked, pointing to the east of Hagane Labs.
There, two large buildings could be seen, in between them was a narrow walkway. Though it seemed to be cluttered with all sorts of garbage, it was just what the group was looking for!

"I guess it'll work. I mean, we don't really need to get picky, do we?" Telpo questioned.
"I-I don't think so." Jake murmured.
"Perfect, then you guys get going. I need all of you to be gone in order for me to lure them out." Sophie explained. "If even one of you is around it won't work."

"Alright, this way then." Telpo chimed, ready to guide the group whenever they were ready.

----
Keith and Peeves arrived at Hagane Labs, thanks to Duosion. Of course, said Psychic-type wasn't letting things go without a healthy dose of sarcasm. Peeves rolled his eye, seemingly resisting the urge to shut Duosion up with an attack of some sort. "OK, seriously, Duosion, can you ease up on Peeves?" Keith asked.

Before Duosion could answer, however, Telpo, Jake, and Sophie approached. Sophie pointed out a nearby alley that would suit their purposes perfectly, and insisted that the others get going- whatever her plan was, it apparently required her to do this completely solo. Keith and Peeves exchanged glances, both of them wondering what Sophie's plan even was, but they both followed Telpo without question.

----
With most of the group behind him, Telpo lead the bunch through the streets of the city. Swerving through the crowds, the group eventually arrived at the alleyway Sophie had pointed out.
Unlike the streets, it appeared that no one was here. The stench of rotten garbage filled the area, causing Jake to plug his nose.

"Alright, we should probably get everything set up quickly. I'm not sure how quickly Sophie will get the grunts over here, but we've only got one shot. Let's make it count." Telpo chimed.

"Umm..right." Jake murmured, before pulling a regular Pokeball out of his bag. From the ball emerged an Oddish....who appeared to be having a nice nap.
"Neku..come on...wake up." Jake said as he lightly shook the weed Pokemon.
"Huh-what? What's....what's going on?" Neku asked as he slowly came to.
"Now's...not the time f-for sleep Neku." Jake replied. "L-long story short...there's...g-going to be some people coming..this way. I-I need you to use Sleep Powder o-on them, after Keith's Dusknoir uses...mean look." Jake explained.

"It'd probably be wise to hide though." Telpo chimed. "No matter how good Sophie is at luring them to us, they're not going fall for a trap with we're right in their line of vision. May I suggest hiding behind one of these garbage cans?"
----
While Jake sent out Neku and briefed him on the situation, Keith likewise took a Ground Ball off his belt and tossed it into the air, unleashing a white-finned Stunfisk onto the ground before him. "Rubeus," said Keith. "Before long, there's gonna be a group of bad guys coming through here. First one of them to step on you, I want you to give 'em a taste of your Thunder Shock, alright?"

"Stunfisk fisk," nodded Rubeus.

"Oh- and I don't know if this'll happen, but it's possible that Jake's friend Sophie will be coming this way as well," Keith added. "Needless to say, if she's the first to step on you, no Thunder Shock for her, got it?"

"Fisk," Rubeus nodded.

"Good," Keith nodded. "Now hide yourself, alright?"

"Stun!" Rubeus replied, attempting to conceal himself on the ground- something Stunfisk as a species were naturally good at.

Keith nodded as Telpo suggested that they all hide as well. "Let's do it," he agreed. Peeves, however, pulled him off to the side by his arm, and created a very convincing illusion of a garbage can around the both of them. From the outside, nobody would suspect a thing. Keith smirked, hoping Duosion saw this- saw that Peeves really was capable of not screwing up.

----
With Rubeus hiding on the ground, Peeves grabbed Keith, and the pair were soon replaced by a garbage can.

"Wow...t-that's pretty i-impressive." Jake murmured. He then grabbed Neku, and the pair made their way behind a nearby garbage can.
Though his way of hiding wasn't nearly as good as Keith and Peeve's, Jake reasoned that it would work well enough for the task at hand. With Telpo hiding behind a second garbage can, the group could only wait for their targets to arrive...

It had only been a few minutes, but soon a loud commotion could be heard nearby. Jake almost peaked out from behind his hiding place, but opted not to. He didn't want to risk whoever was nearby from noticing them.
Suddenly the sound of loud footsteps could be heard, and a pair of people could be seen headed straight towards Rubeus. Though the pair was foreign to most of the group, Peeves might recognize them as the two he had been eavesdropping on before!
"I swear, I saw it! It went right this way!" The man exclaimed, before stepping right on Rubeus....

----
It wasn't long before a commotion could be heard. Peeves's eye widened as he recognized the two Catalyst Grunts headed their way. "Son of a-" he whispered to Keith. "Those are the two I eavesdropped on in Hagane Labs!" he hissed to Keith almost silently. Keith nodded, though said nothing in response, watching intently as the man stepped right where Rubeus had hid...

"Stuuuun... FIIIIIIIIISK!" Rubeus bellowed, lighting the man up with his Thunder Shock attack.

"NOW!" Keith exclaimed. Peeves dropped the illusion, and fixed both Catalyst Grunts with a fierce Mean Look. Keith stood beside Peeves, and one could almost swear he too was using Mean Look, the way he was glaring at them. In fact, maybe he actually was. And now it was Neku's turn to act- they were waiting on the Oddish's Sleep Powder now.

----
The man let out a cry as Rubeus's attack sent lightning throughout his body! To make matters worse for the pair, Peeves dropped his illusion, before locking the two in place with his mean look.
"W-what the hell is this?!" The woman stammered, clearly frightened by the look Keith and Peeves were giving her. To answer the woman, Neku leaped out from his hiding spot, before spraying her and the man with a cloud of spores, knocking the pair unconscious.

"Alright...w-we did it. That was....actually k-kind of easy." Jake remarked.
"That it was. Whatever Sophie's plan was, it seemed to have worked brilliantly." Telpo chimed.
"See? I told you I had it under control." Sophie said upon entering the groups line of vision.
"I knew right from the start that it would go off without a hitch, those Catalyst scum can be so very dumb."

"I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we still have a problem." Telpo said, glancing at the sleeping grunts.
"There's only two of them. We're going to have to lure in another grunt if we all want to be disguised."

"No it's fine." Sophie shook her head. "I'll stay here while the rest of you go in. Someone has to make sure these grunts don't wake up, right? Besides I don't think I can attract anymore grunts with out getting caught."

"I-I guess so..yeah." Jake replied. "I think t-that makes sense."
"That still leaves another problem." Telpo chimed. "If you stay here Sophie, that means either Jake or Keith is going to have to be disguised as a girl."

"Umm...I-I'll do it." Jake replied. "I-I mean...it's...not like I w-want to...but..if it's our o-only way in..."
"I doubt you could pull it off master. It'll be far easier to have you stay here, while Sophie and Keith go." Telpo replied.

"Actually, I'm not supposed to go in. Zack told me as much." Sophie explained.
"Of course he did. Look, I can't be the only one that sees this isn't going to work, right?" Telpo questioned, turning his attention to Peeves and Keith.

----
The plan succeeded beautifully- Rubeus blasted the man with Thunder Shock, Peeves held them still with Mean Look, and Neku's Sleep Powder put them both to sleep. Keith nodded as Sophie reappeared, reiterating that she had it under control. "For sure," he agreed.

Telpo, however, was not so optimistic, considering there were only two grunts to impersonate, and three people to impersonate them, but Sophie solved that by volunteering to stay behind, guard the grunts, and make sure they didn't wake up, though the Abra pointed out the new problem this created in its place- namely, the fact that one of the guys was going to have to cross-dress. This time, it was Jake who solved that, volunteering to disguise himself as the female grunt for the sake of getting in. But Telpo still had his doubts, and upon learning that Zack didn't want Sophie going in at all, he appealed to Keith and Peeves to take his side, to agree that the plan wouldn't work.

"I dunno," shrugged Keith. "It's a crazy plan, but then, so is taking on a volcano god to save the lives of a volcanic island's dwindling Heatmor population."

"Telpo, lemme let you in on a little secret," Peeves said. "You spend enough time being trained by Keith Masters, you start to get that nothing's really impossible, and sometimes the crazy ideas are what work. Besides, if Jake's disguise ends up needing work, I can do some work on it with my illusions," he offered. "Yeah, I say we wait and see what the final disguises look like before we make any calls as to whether it'll work."

"I'm with Peeves on this," agreed Keith.

----
While Keith seemed to think it was crazy, he pointed out that his plan at Mt. Aduro had been crazy as well.
Peeves then explained that his time with Keith had taught him nothing was really impossible, and that he could fix Jake's disguise with his illusions if it needed work.

"Ok I guess you're right, we should probably see how the disguises turn out first." Telpo conceded.
"I can say that your illusions need to be pretty good for it to work though, I mean..these Catalyst costumes don't appear to have anything covering their faces." Telpo said, glancing at the grunts.

"I'm sure we can figure something out, Telpo." Sophie replied as she grabbed the female grunt. She quickly pulled the gray lab coat off the woman, revealing her regular street clothes underneath.
"So...I guess this all they really wear." Sophie said, before handing the coat to Jake. "Here slip this on. It might be a bit too big though."

Sophie's words were confirmed as Jake slipped the lab coat over his sweater. With his small frame, the coat was just barely hanging off the ground.

"Yeah...we're definitely going to need at least a few touch ups Peeves." Telpo remarked.
"At this rate I wonder if we should just create the illusions from scratch. I think the coat is hurting Jake's disguise, more then helping." Sophie added.

"Would you really be able to create such illusions though?" Telpo questioned, turning his attention to the Dusknoir.

While Telpo addressed Peeves, Sophie took the time to slip the gray lab coat off the male grunt, before handing it to Keith.
"I'm not sure if this is the right size for you either, but..well we should probably at least try, right?"
Indeed, from a glance, the costume the male grunt had been wearing seemed to be much closer to Keith's build, then the female grunts had been to Jake's.
Still, there was always a chance it wouldn't fit either...there was really only one way to find out.

----
Telpo conceded that they could see how the disguises actually looked before making any calls about their plausibility, though as they started to go to work, it became clear that Telpo had a point- the disguises consisted pretty much of the lab coats. Nothing to conceal the face whatsoever.

Peeves nodded as Telpo asked if he could create illusions the likes of which they'd need. "I learned illusions from the best," he replied. "And Keith can back me up on that- he knows who I mean by that- better, perhaps, than most. Keith," he said.

"Yeah, Peeves?" asked Keith.

"Bearing in mind who I learned about illusions from, and what you know that individual to be capable of," said Peeves. "Telpo wants to know if I can create sufficient illusions to disguise you and Jake as these Catalyst grunts."

"He's got this, Telpo," Keith stated with neither hesitance nor uncertainty, while trying on the lab coat Sophie had taken off the male grunt. It did look to be at least close to his size, if not an exact match, so he was rather confident it would be a comfortable fit.

----
In response to Telpo's question, Peeves once again explained that he had learned from the best, something that Keith agreed with.

"Well ok, if you say it'll work, then I'm confident that it will." Telpo chimed. "Because yeah..I think it's going to take a lot of work to make my master look anything like a girl."

Were her eyes playing tricks on her, or had Jake winced slightly just then? Sophie wondered.
Chalking it up to her imagination, she quickly turned her attention back towards Keith.

"Alright, I think it'll work." Sophie said once Keith had put the coat on.
"I mean, it does look a tiny bit short on you, but it shouldn't be too noticeable. What do you think Jake?"

"H-huh what? S-sorry...I k-kind of blanked out for a s-second." Jake murmured.
"I asked if you think the lab coat will work on Keith." Sophie replied.
"Umm...y-yeah I guess. I-I don't really know..."
"Well ok then...I guess it's time for Peeves to work his magic. Unless I'm forgetting something?" Sophie questioned.

----
Telpo conceded that if Peeves was so confident in his abilities, than the Abra was as well, adding that it would take a lot of work to make Jake look like a girl. What struck Peeves as interesting, however, was Jake's reaction to this statement- Jake had winced slightly at Telpo's words, almost as if insulted by them somewhat. Keith noticed this as well, but neither Trainer nor Dusknoir mentioned this- they both had other matters at hand at the moment. Namely, the disguises. Keith had tried on the lab coat, and it did fit him well. It looked a bit short on him, according to Sophie, but not by very much. Jake very distractedly half agreed with this, at which point Sophie indicated that Peeves should try working his magic.

"Alright, let's do this," Peeves stated, cracking his knuckles. "Now, the general gist here is that the illusions will be psychically linked to each of you, and will also be solid due to the psychic power I'm gonna infuse them with. Not indestructible, though- that'd be pretty much impossible- but as far as being able to pick stuff up and interact with door handles or whatever, you'll be able to do it without a problem. Now then... Lemme focus..." Peeves murmured, closing his eye and concentrating intently... and seconds later, Keith and Jake were made to look exactly like the snoozing Catalyst Grunts.

----
Peeves quickly explained how the illusions worked, before beginning to concentrate. Suddenly Jake and Keith were gone, their appearances replaced by the ones of the Catalyst Grunts.

"Wow, that's amazing Peeves...I can't even tell the difference." Telpo chimed as he circled the Catalyst doppelgangers.
"Umm y-yeah...wow." Jake murmured, catching Telpo and Sophie off guard. The voice was very clearly Jake's, but coming from what appeared to be the female Catalyst grunts lips..

"Yep. I guess it doesn't really help with voices though." Sophie shook her head. "Oh well, I guess that was obvious in hindsight."
"I hadn't even thought of that." Telpo added. "But yeah, as long as you both keep quiet, it should be good."
"I imagine you won't really need to talk anyway. You're not having a staff meeting or something." Sophie explained. "Just get in and get out, as fast as you can. That was the plan."

----
The illusions were flawless, save for one minor detail- Jake still sounded like Jake, and nowhere near anything like Team Catalyst Grunt #2. Keith said nothing, but supposed that if he spoke up, he too would sound like himself, and not like the man he was masquerading as.

"Yeah, voices I can't really do," Peeves replied sheepishly. "I mean, you want a voice match, normally I'd recommend Jack, but Keith makes a good point about not wanting to trigger that Ditto radar. Now then- the tracker," he added. "Fifth floor tracker, implied to be one of two, but it's probably the backup, meaning the main one is probably not as well-protected. It's not on the first or fifth floors, the latter being fortunate since grunts aren't allowed up there anyways. Narrows it down to floors two through four. And whatever they might have in the way of a basement," he added. "Didn't really see what's what in that regard... But yeah- we go in, we destroy the tracker, we go out. Hopefully it'll go as simply as I say it," he stated. "We ready?"

"As I'll ever be," Keith responded (sure enough, sounding like himself)

----
Peeves explained that he couldn't do voices, that being something Jack was better with. The Dusknoir then began to tell the group what he knew about the tracker. The fifth floor one was implied to be a back up, meaning the main one was more vulnerable.
The main tracker also couldn't be on the first or fifth floors, leaving floors two through four, as well as a potential basement.

"I'm not liking the sound of that.." Sophie said. "I mean, that's a total of four different possible floors to explore, I'm not sure how you guys will be able to find it in time."
"Fear not, for that's where I come in!" A familiar voice rang in the groups heads as a Duosion floated up to them.

"You see, my trainer and I happen to have a map of the entire laboratory. If I remember correctly, the floor with most of the labs computers is..the fourth one." The mitosis Pokemon explained. "I'm not saying it is there but, well there's a good chance."

"Of course, my trainer told me to tell you guys when Peeves first went in..but well...it sort of slipped my mind until now."
"Slipped your mind? You say that like it was nothing! We really could have used that information earlier." Telpo chimed.
"Yes yes, and I'm deeply sorry for that. I hope I didn't hurt your little adventure too much Peeves. If so I'm so very sorry."

----
Sophie voiced her dislike of the situation- ruling out the first and fifth floors didn't rule out all that much. Then Duosion spoke up, voicing a solution which, while admittedly brilliant, also really should've been mentioned sooner. "Wh- you- a map of- what?!" Peeves spluttered. "OK, you just lost all right to give me crap about tripping the alarm- that map of the laboratory, that's the kind of information you open with on a mission like this!" he said.

"Forget it, Peeves," said Keith. "What's done is done. The important thing is, now me and Jake know where to go, right?"

"Yeah, I guess so," grumbled Peeves. "Alright, then- fourth floor's our destination, it seems. Should we get moving?"

----
Peeves seemed less then impressed as Duosion revealed this information, stating that the mitosis Pokemon had lost his right to give the Dusknoir crap after forgetting about the map.

"I'll do whatever I please. My little mistake didn't alert the enemy that they were under attack...unlike someone's." Duosion retorted.
"That's enough Duosion. You need to stop giving Peeves such a hard time." Sophie said. "We're on the same team, right? There's no need to fight, that won't get us anywhere."
"R-right...sorry Sophie" Duosion murmured.

"Apology accepted. Now, how about you help me guard these grunts while the others go to Hagane Labs?" Sophie suggested.
"That sounds great!" Duosion chirped, before floating over to Sophie's side.
"Well now that that's taken care of...I think we're ready to go!" Telpo chimed.

"B-but umm..we should p-probably have you return to your..P-Pokeball." Jake stammered. "I-I mean...we don't if the grunt...I-I'm disguising as....if she e-even has an Abra."

"Good point." Telpo chimed. "But if you do get caught, well...I can always teleport us out in a pinch."

"I-I'll keep that in mind." Jake nodded, before reaching into his bag and grabbing Telpo's Pokeball. Upon returning the Abra to his ball, Jake began to rummage through his bag, before withdrawing the rest of the Pokeballs he had brought.
The grunt he was impersonating was wearing a belt..and Peeves had said the illusions could interact with various objects thanks to psychic power. With this in mind, Jake clipped each of the Pokeball's to what appeared to be the grunt's belt. Sure enough they remained there, as if the belt was real.

"I can't r-really wear this in, huh?" Jake said as he slipped his bag off his back, before handing it to Sophie.
"S-sorry about that. But yes...I-I think we're all ready now."

----
Peeves glared at Duosion, and was about to retort when Sophie told the Psychic-type to stop, reminding him they were all on the same side. And thankfully, Duosion was far more responsive to her words than to Peeves's.

As Jake made his preparations, Keith did likewise. He took off his Mega Hat and put it in his backpack, and he transferred his Poké Balls onto the illusory belt.

"Give it here," Peeves offered. "Your stuff's safe in the First National Bank of Peeves."

"Right," Keith nodded, handing his backpack over to his Dusknoir, who promptly popped the pack into the mouth on his stomach. Keith knew better than to mistake this for eating the backpack- it was being very safely stored within the Dusknoir's ghostly body, and it would be an easy matter for Peeves to retrieve it later on. Peeves than sank into the ground, ready to accompany Keith and Jake without being detected by anyone else. "Ready," he reported.

Part 4:
Spoiler: show
"A-alright..then let's head out." Jake said, before leading the way out of the alley. The streets seemed just as busy as before for the group, Jake being extra cautious of not banging into anyone.
The last thing they needed was to draw attention to themselves, even if they weren't in the laboratory yet.
As the group continued towards their destination, Jake couldn't help but notice that the crowd reacted no differently in his catalyst disguise, as they had in his regular attire.
Were people too busy to care about his appearance, or was his unusual garb not that big of a deal?
He didn't have too much time to ponder that question, as he soon found himself in front of Hagane Labs for the third time that day.

Jake was about to ask if Keith and Peeves were all set to enter, in case they had forgotten something, but quickly realized how terrible of an idea this was.
With his voice not matching his disguise, he would only be drawing attention to himself. Instead, he gestured to the entrance, hoping that they would get the message.

----
Jake led the way, and Keith followed, with Peeves quite literally underfoot. The Catalyst Grunt uniforms didn't seem to attract much attention, but then again, they did pretty much just consist of lab coats. With a prominent Pokémon lab right there in town, Keith reasoned, lab coats surely wouldn't look especially out of place, would they?

Soon they arrived at their destination. Jake said nothing, remembering that the illusion did not change his voice, and simply gestured to the entrance. Keith got the message and nodded wordlessly in response. He was ready, and judging by the fact that Peeves wasn't doing anything to impede them, he could only assume that the Dusknoir was also ready.

----
With everyone ready, Jake pushed open one of the massive doors and entered the building. Once inside, Jake couldn't help but compare the building to the inside of the CPA.
From the sparkling white tiles, to the pristine condition everything seemed to be in, the two buildings looked almost identical. As he admired his surroundings, Jake quickly realized that he shouldn't be looking around too much.
After all, a regular grunt wouldn't stop to check everything out, right? Luckily there seemed to be no one at the front counter to notice his mistake.
Reminding himself that they had to move quickly, Jake swiftly walked down the first corridor he spotted. As he passed by various rooms, Jake couldn't stomach more then a quick glance at each of them.
Peeves had said that Hagane Labs had been conducting some rage inducing experiments, and Jake wasn't all too eager to see what the Dusknoir meant....

----
And so they entered, Jake leading the way. Keith's first impression was that the interior of Hagane Labs bore something of a similarity to the interior of the CPA, it was all white and sparkling and pristine. So clean that if a Minccino wandered in it'd end up bored out of its skull.

And along they went, down the nearest corridor. Keith decided to try peeking in each room, but very quickly decided against this, recalling what Peeves said about the horrible experiments what went down in this place. Besides, their destination was the fourth floor, and so he kept his eyes peeled for any sign of stairs or an elevator. Peeves, thinking along the same lines, used Foresight to try and pinpoint any sign of stairs or an elevator, with the intent of giving Keith and Jake a gentle Psychic prod in the right direction. Not nearly enough to disrupt or break the illusion, but just enough for them to get the idea.

----
As Jake continued to walk through the maze of hallways, one thing stood out to him.
There wasn't a single person or Pokemon they had passed. Besides the few scientists in the rooms he had briefly glanced at, there was no sign of life at all.
Jake couldn't help but consider this very odd, this was the laboratory of a major city, after all.

With his use of Foresight, Peeves would be able to see that the stairs was only two right turns away.
Continuing his investigation, Jake suddenly felt an urge to turn right..as if he was being influenced to do so.
Following this strange feeling, he forked to the right at the presence of another hallway, doing so again once the strange feeling resurfaced. Sure enough, just ahead was the stairs the group were looking for.
Before progressing further, Jake turned back to make sure Keith was ready.

----
Keith followed Jake, noting as he did so just how empty the place seemed. No other people or Pokémon, save for whatever scientists were in the few rooms they peeked into. Just like Jake, he too felt the psychic pull, compelling him to turn right. Getting the feeling that this was Peeves's doing, Keith made the turns he felt compelled to, and soon they arrived at the stairs. Jake turned back to ensure Keith was ready, at which the Poison-type Trainer nodded wordlessly. He was as ready as he'd ever be.
----
With Keith ready, Jake began to ascend the stairs before arriving on the second floor. There, he quickly noticed another set of stairs, this one going even further up.
Jake couldn't help but smile, it seemed luck was on his side today. Climbing higher up, he soon discovered the same thing applied on the third floor. Upon reaching the fourth level, the first thing Jake noticed was how different it looked compared to the others.
Unlike the first three floors, this one looked very messy, as if the place hadn't received a proper cleaning in years. Another difference was that this floor seemed to have one large hallway stretching from one side of the building to the other, instead of the maze of smaller ones on the lower levels.
Jake couldn't complain though, this layout made it easier to find what they were looking for, after all. Making his way deeper into the building, Jake decided to take a gamble and peek at the various rooms to each side of him.
Much to his relief, he spotted no Pokemon of any kind, instead the scientists seemed to be tinkering with some kind of capture device. Much like the disguises the group was wearing, these scientist's lab coats were a light shade of gray, unlike the ones downstairs.
With no sign of the tracker, Jake pressed onwards down the hallway, unsure of just what he would find.

----
Keith followed Jake up the stairs. Conveniently enough, the stairs leading up to the third floor were right there as they reached the second floor, and upon reaching the third floor, once again they immediately saw the steps they sought. Keith smiled as well- he wasn't sure they were out of the woods just yet, but for the time being, luck seemed to favor them. And so they proceeded down the hallway. Peeves, still underfoot and out of sight, used Foresight once more, trying to locate the tracker they were searching for.
----
With his use of Foresight, Peeves would be able to spot what they were looking for. The tracker was at the very end of the hall!
Jake wouldn't need any sort of Psychic influence for this though, as there seemed to be no other way to go. Stepping over broken test tubes and strange liquids, Jake continued towards the end of the hall, before stopping in front of a rather large doorway.
With both doors stuck open, Jake could see the room contained all sorts of computers and electronics. But what really caught his eye was the machine in the center. It was a large computer, with two antennae on the top left and right of the frame.
There was no mistaking it, the strange machine was none other then the Project X tracker. It seemed Duosion was right about the tracker's location after all! Still, Jake couldn't help but feel it was slightly odd that the device had no one protecting it.
After Peeves managed to set off an alarm, he figured Team Catalyst's security would have been tighter.
With no one in sight, Jake walked through the doors and into the room. Once inside, he turned to Keith, wondering if his friend had a plan on how to proceed.

----
Peeves spotted the tracker fairly quickly, but this time, he wasn't gonna need to steer Keith or Jake in the right direction, for they were already headed that way. And indeed, Keith and Jake arrived at their destination, and were standing before the tracker in the center of the room. That was easy... entirely too easy, in fact, Keith realized. Shouldn't security be a bit tighter than this following the alarm Peeves set off? Then again, maybe the fact that they couldn't see any evidence that Peeves had infiltrated the building, maybe they simply chalked it up to a false alarm?

Keith eyed the tracker warily. It had to be disabled somehow, he knew. But directly attacking it would likely set off an alarm, just like with the other one. Was stealing it an option? Not especially likely- the thing was huge. There didn't seem to be some sort of way to get it out of here, or at least not without being noticed. But how to do this, then? It's not like they could just set something up, make their getaway, and be too far away to raise suspicion whenever the setup went off-

...Of course. Keith felt stupid for not having thought of it right away. He knelt down, pretending to tie his shoe just in case any actual Catalyst Grunts were looking in, when in reality, he was whispering to the floor. "Peeves, Future Sight," he whispered.

Peeves poked his face out of the floor ever so slightly, gaze fixed on the tracker as his eye glowed blue. "Alright- we got five minutes to haul ass," he whispered to Keith and Jake. "Let's try to be out of this building when the attack hits, yeah?"

----
It seemed Keith had come up with the perfect plan. Using Peeves Future Sight attack, they'd be able to flee from the scene before any alarm could sound.
With the Dusknoir warning them that they had five minutes to get out, Jake gave a brief nod before turning towards the exit, intent on heeding Peeves words.
Before he could take a single step however, a man walked into the room. Much like the others, he too was wearing a lab coat, this one being mostly black.
The man appeared to be in his early twenties, and Jake couldn't help but notice he looked somewhat similar to Zack. Beside him was a vicious looking Lucario.

"Ahh, Trevor, Charlotte, I didn't realize you two were here." The man said upon approaching the pair.
"How would I? I could have sworn I told everyone not to enter this room after the destruction of our other tracker." The man continued.
"Though I imagine you have your reasons, just like I have mine. You see..our systems report that you aren't wearing your trackers. Well actually, it says someone is wearing your trackers, it's just not you two. Maybe you can explain why that is."
Once the man had finished, his Lucario let out a menacing growl, as if ready to lunge at the pair at any moment.
"Now now Lucario, I'm sure these two have a perfectly good explanation. Let's wait to hear it, yes?"

----
Keith mentally cursed out this man, his Lucario, and their horrible, horrible timing. Just when they were getting ready to leave, this man approached. His lab coat was primarily black- did this mean this was one of Team Catalyst's higher-ups? Either way, it looked as though their cover was about to be thoroughly blown, if it wasn't already- one detail that managed to escape their notice was that apparently all Catalyst Grunts wore trackers of some sort, presumably to prevent exactly this sort of intrusion. According to this man, the trackers were not being worn by anyone present in the room. Oh, and apparently all Catalyst personnel had been told to not enter this room, following the destruction of the previous tracker. This piece of info, in spite of the dire situation, gave Peeves a small sense of satisfaction- his efforts had succeeded. But he had to focus- if either Keith or Jake spoke up, their already thin disguises were as good as busted, as neither of them knew how the grunts they were impersonating sounded.

But Peeves did. He'd eavesdropped on a whole conversation between Trevor and Charlotte. Thinking quickly, the Dusknoir passed up out of the floor and into Keith's body, invisible as he did so. Keith was a bit startled as Peeves possessed him, but he didn't argue with it, assuming that the Dusknoir had a plan. Which was better than what he had, which was to say absolutely nothing.

Peeves cleared Keith's throat before speaking up, in his best impersonation of Trevor's voice. "Of course we have a good explanation," he said, making sure to sound mildly indignant. "I'm insulted. Charlotte and I misplaced our trackers. As soon as we realized this, we saw a couple of Rattata running away. We thought they might have stolen our trackers, so we followed them. They're somewhere in here, we haven't been able to find them, though I'm guessing they don't actually have our trackers, considering you already know we don't." As Keith heard these words come out of his mouth, he was mildly impressed with Peeves for coming up with this cover story on the spur of the moment. It still felt funny that his Dusknoir was possessing him like this, but he certainly couldn't argue with his reasoning for doing so.

----
"So you...lost your trackers...which you believed some Rattata stole...before chasing them in here..." The man repeated, sounding very skeptical.
To this Jake gave a brief nod, impressed that Keith's voice had been convincing enough.

"Right..ok well, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and believe you here. But that doesn't mean you're clear to leave." The man said, before removing a remote from his pocket.
At the press of a button, the doors behind him slammed shut, before making a sound which suggested it had been locked.

Jake seemed quite surprised at this turn of events, though he kept his silence all the same.
"Now now, there's no need for alarm. I'm just going to be administering a little test, it's our policy, as you know." The man said, noticing what appeared to be Charlotte's reaction.
"As was explained when your trackers were first administered, whenever a member of our team loses their trackers, they must perform a test before receiving a new one."
"Don't worry, the tests should be easy. We just have to make sure you're not a Ditto or some sort of an illusion, as well as if you're in your right mind." The man explained.
"You're up first, Trevor. Given your consent, Lucario here will use Foresight to make sure everything is okay. Of course, if you're not okay with this, just let me know."

----
The man sounded highly skeptical of Peeves's cover story, but stated he would give them the benefit of the doubt. Keith was about to breathe a sigh of relief, when the man then pressed a button on a remote control, closing and apparently locking the doors behind him. Keith started to sweat under his illusion- they were trapped like the Rattata Peeves had fabricated for his cover story. Moreover, the man made clear Team Catalyst's policy regarding misplaced trackers- before getting new trackers, any employee who lost their tracker had to undergo a test- Lucario had to use Foresight to ensure they were who they claimed to be.

Peeves hastily exited Keith's body and resumed his position beneath the floor. They were fucked. Foresight would rip his illusions apart like tissue paper. He silently rose up out of the floor behind the man and his Lucario, shaking his head, trying to convey that his illusions wouldn't hold up against Foresight.

Whether Jake got the message remained to be seen, but for now, Keith at least got it. Remembering how Peeves sounded, he made an effort to disguise his voice likewise. "Of course. Naturally," he said to the man. "Policy is policy, we understand. With that being said, I guess there's only one thing for me to say now... Peeves! Fire Punch!" At this, the Dusknoir's right fist ignited, and he threw a powerful punch at Lucario.

----
Jake's heart fell as Peeves revealed himself from behind the man and his Lucario, revealing that his illusions wouldn't hold up to their test. Though he continued to say nothing, his hand immediately drifted towards his illusionary belt.
Much to his surprise though Keith seemed to agree with Lucario performing the test. This lasted for only a moment however, for Keith then called for Peeves to use Fire Punch.
Unable to react in time, Lucario let out a cry as the Dusknoir's flame covered fist scored a direct hit!
"Lucario, reveal these imposters at once!" The man bellowed.
Heeding his trainer's instructions, Lucario used it's Foresight to shoot a red laser directly at the pair. Upon making contact with the laser, the illusions shattered, revealing Keith and Jake's true identities.

With the illusions gone, nothing was left to hold Jake's Pokeballs up, and all six scattered upon the floor. Wasting no time, Jake knelt down, tossing the first Pokeball he managed to get his hands on.
From the ball emerged a rather angry looking Tauros, who seemed eager to destroy anything in his path.

"You dare take up arms against me? Pathetic." The man said, shaking his head.
"My grandfather put much of his life into this lab, so people and Pokemon had a better future. I won't have you two spit on his legacy. As one of the owners of this place, this I can assure you."

"Grandfather? Owner of Hagane Labs? Jake questioned. Then the man they were facing...it was Steven, one of the four Catalyst admins!
As Jake was lost in thought, Steven took the time to grab a Pokeball from his belt, before chucking it at the floor. In a flash of light, a Mawile appeared, the large mouth on it's head snapping at it's opponents.

"Y-your grandfather's legacy? I-I think you've..you've damaged it enough..by siding with Team Catalyst." Jake said.
"A-alright Vernon, use Flamethrower on Mawile, t-then go for..Rock Smash!" Jake ordered.

"Mawile, use Crunch on Dusknoir, Lucario go with Close Combat on Tauros!" Steven barked.

Starting the first round off, Mawile lunged at Peeves head first, intent on trapping the Dusknoir within it's large jaws!

----
The disguises had failed completely. Keith hastened to grab his Poké Balls before Lucario's Foresight landed, and was able to stop them from clattering to the floor like Jake's. He hastened to replace them upon his actual belt, just as Jake sent out a very familiar face- in spite of the situation, Keith couldn't help but smile as he saw his old Tauros. That smile, however, was short-lived as the man spoke up. He spoke of his family founding the lab, cluing the Trainers into the fact that this was Steven, a Team Catalyst admin. Keith scowled as Steven accused them of spitting on his grandfather's legacy. "The only thing we spit on is the heinous abomination you already twisted your grandfather's legacy into," Keith retorted. "A better future will be one where Team Catalyst falls!" He then whipped out his Pokédex and pointed it at the Pokémon Steven had sent out.

"Mawile, the Deceiver Pokémon. A Steel and Fairy-type," said the Pokédex. "Mawile's gigantic jaws are actually steel horns that have transformed. It uses its cute real face to lure in prey before snapping at them with its large mouth."

While Vernon was targeting Mawile, Mawile was targeting Peeves with a devastating Crunch, while Lucario was going for the Close Combat on the Tauros. "Peeves! Disable!" Keith commanded. "Hold Mawile still, give Vernon an easy target and stop that Crunch! Then intercept that Close Combat with your Dynamic Punch!" Peeves nodded and started to go for Disable, pausing only to quickly pull Keith's backpack and Mega Hat out of himself, and hand them back to their rightful owner. Keith replaced both items on his back and head respectively, while Peeves proceeded to attack.

----
With quick thinking on Keith's part, Peeves managed to stop Mawile in it's tracks, disabling it's movements entirely!
Taking advantage of his opponents petrified state, Vernon began to amass fire energy in his mouth, before unleashing a stream of flames at Mawile! With the deceiver Pokemon still incapable of movement, Mawile was forced to take the full power of the Tauros attack!

Eager to contribute to the battle, Lucario charged towards Vernon, ready to lash out at the Tauros. But Peeves was prepared for this too. With the Lucario's guard already down, the Dusknoir delivered a powerful blow to it, sending the aura Pokemon flying backwards!
As the Lucario slowly rose to it's feet, it was clear to see it's health level was critically low. One good hit would surely be enough to end the aura Pokemon. What's more, Lucario seemed to be quite confused after being hit by Peeves last attack.

Vernon gave a grunt of approval towards his former teammate, before turning his attention to Mawile once more. His horns glowing white, Vernon charged towards the deceiver Pokemon, before slamming into it with great force!
The power of the attack left Mawile's defenses damaged, allowing for Vernon and Peeve's physical attacks to be more effective.

"Vernon go for another Flamethrower on Mawile. T-then...use Stone Edge on Lucario!" Jake ordered, before glancing at Keith, wondering just what the Poison-type specialist had planned.

----
Keith grinned as the battle started going their way. Mawile and Lucario were both weakened, while neither Peeves nor Vernon had taken any damage. Jake had given Vernon more orders, and from the looks of Lucario, it wasn't standing up to much more... though, being both Fighting and Steel, it could in fact stand up to Rock moves, even one as powerful as Stone Edge. Could it stand up to Stone Edge when this weakened, though? Keith wasn't sure. For now, though, he decided to put most of the focus on Mawile, though he'd have Peeves jump in if Lucario threatened to be a problem.

"Alright, Peeves, use Fire Punch on Mawile!" he ordered. "And if Lucario withstands that Stone Edge, finish it with Seismic Toss!"

----
After Keith had called out his orders, it fell to Steven to issue some to his Pokemon.
"Mawile use Sucker Punch on Dusknoir. Lucario go with Reversal on Tauros!" Steven ordered.

This time it was Lucario who started the round! But in it's confused state, just what the aura Pokemon would do was anyone's guess! Charging it's entire body in an aura of fighting energy, Lucario rushed towards what it perceived to be the enemy in an act of desperation.
Vernon let out a loud cry as the aura Pokemon smashed into the Tauros, effectively cutting his health levels in half!

Though Lucario's attack had done quite the number to Vernon, the Tauros was still determined as ever! Once again he began to gather fire energy in his mouth, before roasting Mawile with a steady stream of flames.

Next it was Peeves turn to attack! The Dusknoir was ready to deliver a flaming fist to Mawile, when the deceiver managed to get in a sneak attack! The attack managed to deal some good damage to Peeves, before the Dusknoir did the same to Mawile!

Angered by Lucario's earlier assault, Vernon let out a cry as he summoned several sharp stones around himself. The pointy rocks hovered around the Tauros, before flying straight towards Lucario. As it was pelted with stone after stone, Lucario let out one final cry, before toppling over in defeat.
"Lucario return." The Steven said as he withdrew the aura Pokemon, before placing it's Pokeball on his belt.
"I admit, you two are rather impressive. It's a shame you're using your skills in order to destroy this world." Steven said, shaking his head as he grabbed another Pokeball from his belt.

"No matter. I'll make sure to stop you here and now, before you can cause any more damage. Bisharp go!" Chris bellowed as he tossed the Pokeball into the air.
From the ball materialized the sword blade Pokemon. Much like Lucario, it gave the group a rather menacing look, as if it was ready to cut them all down.

"Bisharp use Night Slash on Dusknoir, then Brick Break on Tauros! Mawile go for a Bite on Dusknoir and Iron Head on Tauros." Steven barked.

"Vernon use Rock Smash on Bisharp. T-then go with a Tackle on Mawile." Jake ordered.

Determined to end it's opponents, Bisharp began to make it's way towards Peeves, one of it's arm blades cloaked in a veil of dark energy!

----
Now Peeves and Venron started to take damage, the former from Mawile's Sucker Punch, and the latter from Lucario's Reversal. Nevertheless, Vernon's Stone Edge did the trick, knocking out Lucario. Keith grinned, impressed- Vernon was as strong as ever, if not stronger.

Keith scowled at Steven's claim. "You couldn't have it more backwards if you were an Inkay," he retorted. "We're trying to save the world here. From you clowns. Team Catalyst might have had good intentions once, but that's long since changed about you all, that much is clear." He then pointed his Pokédex at the Pokémon Steven then sent out.

"Bisharp, the Sword Blade Pokémon, and the evolved form of Pawniard. A Dark and Steel-type," said the Pokédex. "Bisharp commands a pack of Pawniard to fight in its stead, but will always insist on landing the finishing blow. It battles to become the boss of its group, but if it loses, it is cast out."

"The evolved form of Pawniard..." Keith murmured with interest, unaware of Ginny's distinct lack of interest in evolving. Not that he could exactly focus on that at the moment- a battle was taking place! "Alright, Peeves, intercept that Night Slash with Bind, and hold Bisharp still- give Vernon an easy target!" Keith stated. "Then keep hold of it and use your Seismic Toss attack- throw it straight into Mawile if you can!"

----
"I could say the same about you two here." Steven scoffed in regards to Keith's Inkay comment.
"But it seems talk will get us nowhere." The man added, before turning his full attention to the battle at hand.

Bisharp continued it's charge at Peeves, before slashing at the Dusknoir for a super effective blow! In the process of doing so however, the sword blade Pokemon fell into Peeves grasp, unable to escape.
Taking advantage of the bind his opponent was in, Vernon charged towards the Bisharp, his horns glowing a bright white! Bisharp let out a loud cry as Vernon slammed into him, delivering a great deal of damage to him, as well as lowering his defense!
Eager to help their teammate out, Mawile lunged at Peeves, ready to bite down on the Ghost-type. What the deceiver didn't expect was for her teammate to come flying back at her. But that's exactly what happened as Peeves tossed Bisharp right into Mawile, dealing damage to the both of them!

Ready to perform his next attack, Vernon charged towards Mawile. At the same time, Mawile lunged into the air, before swinging her large, iron clad jaws at the Tauros. The two attacks clashed, but Mawile's proved to be more powerful, sending Vernon skidding backwards.
Following Mawile's attack, Bisharp made his way towards Vernon, before delivering a powerful chop to the Tauros skull! All in all, things weren't looking to good for the Tauros. It was quite clear that if things kept up the way they had, Vernon would fall quite quickly.

"H-hang in there Vernon! Use Rock Smash on Bisharp once more. Then g-go for a Strength attack." Jake ordered.

Once again it fell to Keith to make his orders. Just what did he have in mind this time?

----
Peeves's Bind/Seismic Toss maneuver went off without a hitch, though both Mawile and Bisharp were still standing when all was said and done. Moreover, Vernon was taking lots of damage- it was very quickly falling to Peeves to get this battle over and done with. "Peeves, use Power-Up Punch on Bisharp!" Keith ordered. "Then hold Mawile with Disable and hit it with Focus Punch!"
----
"Bisharp go with Slash, then Revenge, both on Tauros! Mawile, use Iron Defense!" Steven bellowed.

This time it was Mawile who started the round off! Concentrating hard, the deciever Pokemon began to surround herself in a silver aura, patching her defense, as well as boosting it past what it ordinarily was.

Meanwhile, Bisharp charged towards Vernon, the blade on it's right arm glowing with energy! At the same time, Vernon made his way towards Bisharp, his horns also glowing with power. The two attacks clashed, though Vernon proved stronger, sending Bisharp stumbling backwards!
To make matters worse for the sword blade Pokemon, Peeves swung his fist at Bisharp, landing a highly effective attack, as well as boosting the Dusknoir's attack power!

But Bisharp wasn't ready to give up yet! In an act of revenge for the Tauros earlier actions, Bisharp lunged at Vernon, his body surrounded in fighting energy!
As the sword blade Pokemon slammed into him, Vernon let out a sharp cry, before falling to the floor. It seemed that last attack had been too much for the Tauros.

Back with Peeves and Mawile, the Dusknoir had successfully managed to lock the deciever Pokemon into place. Unable to move, Mawile could only watch as Peeves began to focus an extreme amount of energy into his fist, before delivering a powerful punch to her!
Even with Mawile's extra defense and Peeve's extra attack countering each other out, it seemed the attack had still done some hefty damage!

"Vernon, return." Jake said as he returned the Tauros to his Pokeball. With Vernon off the field, Jake now had the tough decision of which Pokemon he was to pick next.
From how the battle had been going, it was clear to see that Steven specialized in Steel-types. Knowing this, Vermillion or Dusty would be his best picks.

"Dusty..y-you're on!" Jake called as he tossed another Pokeball in front of him. From the ball emerged a Vibrava, who seemed very eager to battle, if the look she was giving Steven was anything to go by.

With another round about to begin, Jake began to quickly survey the Pokemon in battle. With both Bisharp and Mawile sustaining some powerful blows last round, neither of them seemed like they'd last much longer.
At the same time, the long use of Disable in turn with Focus Punch was sure to leave Peeves a bit tired at the least.

"Dusty, use Dragon Breath on Bisharp. T-then Mud Slap on Mawile!" Jake ordered.
"Bisharp, Night Slash and Payback on Dusknoir! Mawile go with Crunch and Payback on Dusknoir!" Zack barked.

Both eager to get their revenge on Peeves, Mawile and Bisharp charged towards the Dusknoir, ready for an all out assault!

----
The battle was heating up, and Bisharp knocked Vernon clean out with a Revenge attack. Peeves was still in the air, but Keith saw how the Dusknoir was moving- everything he's been doing thus far had been very tiring on him, and as Keith and Peeves exchanged glances and brief nods, they were in complete understanding- the Dusknoir knew he wouldn't withstand this next onslaught of attacks, but he at least wanted to go down fighting.

And Keith was willing to help make that happen. "Peeves! Hyper Beam!" he commanded. The Dusknoir responded with a devastating purple-black beam of pure destructive force, aimed right at Mawile, though this would leave him wide open to the Dark-type moves that would undoubtedly KO him.

----

Realizing that Peeves wouldn't be able to take the incoming flurry of attacks, Keith ordered the Dusknoir to use Hyper Beam. Following his trainer's orders, Peeves blasted the oncoming Mawile with a powerful beam of energy!
In doing so, Peeves left himself wide open to Bisharp's powerful Night Slash!

Eager to get in on the action, Dusty sent out a stream of blue flames from her mouth, which managed to envelop Bisharp, though it seemed to have little effect.

What happened next was an all out assault on Peeves. With Bisharp hitting him with a Payback attack, and Mawile with both Crunch and Payback, Peeves had no hope of surviving so many super effective attacks!

Once Mawile was done attacking the Dusknoir, she decided to take a small break, leaving herself wide open to Dusty's attack.
Taking advantage of this, Dusty spat out a small amount of mud at the deciever Pokemon! Unaware of the flying projectile, Mawile let out a loud shriek at the surprise attack, before toppling over in defeat.

"Mawile. Return." Steven said as he returned the deciever Pokemon to her Pokeball. By now, it was clear to Steven that he was in a tight spot.
Both his opponents had only lost one Pokemon, while he had already lost two, with Bisharp being dangerously close to fainting as well.

"I will not be bested by some rouges such as yourselves. I can not lose..I mustn't..." Steven said, before tossing another Pokeball in front of him.
Emerging from the ball was an Aggron, who let out a mighty roar as he sized up his opponents. What was curious however, was the arm band the iron armor Pokemon was wearing. From the looks of it, a strange stone was set inside of it...

"Aggron! These two terrible people mean to threaten the future we strive to achieve!" Steven exclaimed, producing a strange badge from his pocket as he did so.
"We can not allow them to steal our future...one of a better world. As such..I call on you to..Mega Evolve!" Chris exclaimed, before pressing the rainbow stone within the center of the badge.
Upon doing so, tendrils of energy shot out of the badge, linking to Aggron's band. It was then that the iron armor Pokemon began to transform! It began to grow bulkier, and a third horn began to grow on the center of it's head. Spikes poked out from each of it's arms, and it's tail grew even thicker.

"Steven...so h-he's also capable of mega evolution." Jake murmured as he watched the Aggron complete it's transformation.

"I suggest you two give up now, for Aggron shares the same determination I do, one for a better future for all." Chris explained.
"Together, we'll do anything in our power to stop a bunch of lowlifes such as you from ruining our goal."

----

The end result was no surprise- though Peeves had landed a massive hit with Hyper Beam, the resulting Dark moves knocked him clean out. However, his efforts were not in vain, for Dusty was able to finish off Mawile, the Mud-Slap being the straw that broke the Numel's back.

Keith held out the Poké Ball. "Come back now, Peeves!" he declared, withdrawing the defeated Dusknoir. "Take a rest- you did good, man," he grinned, replacing the ball on his belt.

Steven then sent out his next Pokémon- an Aggron. However, something about this Aggron caught Keith's eye, and not in a good way. "...Oh, crap," he groaned, seeing the stone set into Aggron's arm band. And sure enough, it was an Aggronite, and Steven knew how to use it- before they knew it, the formidable form of Mega Aggron stood before them, a formidable presence indeed. But, Keith knew, Mega Evolution did not make a Pokémon invincible. He briefly considered responding in kind, but Melittin would be more often than not striking Aggron's nigh-impenetrable physical Defense. No, he needed to hit where it would hurt. Special attacks. Super effective special attacks.

With this in mind, Keith plucked the Level Ball off his belt, enlarged it, and threw it into the fray. "Here's the next one- Kyle!" he exclaimed, as the ball split open, unleashing a Heatmor, who warily eyed the Mega Evolved Steel-type before them.

"Mor..." Kyle murmured, glancing back at Keith.

Keith nodded. "We're counting on you, Kyle- let's stop this fiend!"

"Heatmor!" Kyle nodded emphatically, turning back to face Mega Aggron.

"OK, then!" grinned Keith. "Kyle, Flamethrower, let's go! Then hit it with a Focus Blast, and follow up with Fire Spin!"

----
With Keith's Heatmor focusing on Aggron, Jake turned his attention to Bisharp.
"Dusty, use Bug Buzz and Mud Slap on Bisharp." Jake ordered.
"Bisharp, go with Stone Edge on Heatmor. Follow with Night Slash on Vibrava! Aggron use Head Smash on Heatmor and Dragon Claw on Vibrava!" Steven barked.

Dusty flew towards Bisharp at a great speed, before beating her wings towards her opponent! From her wings green sound waves shot out, striking the sword blade Pokemon and dealing a decent amount of damage.
But Bisharp didn't seem too focused on the vibration Pokemon, instead turning his attention to Kyle.
With a cry, Bisharp summoned several sharp stones around itself! The rocks floated around Bisharp for only a moment, before flying towards Kyle, striking the Heatmor with a super effective blow!

Next it was Kyle's turn to attack! The Heatmor was quick to unleash a jet of fire towards Aggron, scorching the iron armor Pokemon. Despite this, the Aggron looked as if it hadn't taken as much damage as it should have.
It seemed Aggron's thick armor had Filtered out some of the attacks power! Letting out a loud roar, Aggron charged towards Kyle, it's head surrounded in a large amount of rock energy!
The iron armor Pokemon then slammed into the Heatmor, dealing an extraordinary amount of damage! But in it's reckless charge, Aggron hadn't considering it's only safety, and had ended up suffering some considerable damage in the process!

As Kyle continued to launch powerful attacks at Aggron, Bisharp took the chance to attack Dusty! Coating it's arm in a dark aura, Bisharp ran towards Dusty, striking the vibration Pokemon with it's energy infused blade!
In retaliation, Dusty spat out a small amount of mud at Bisharp.

With Kyle's assault over, Aggron turned it's attention to Dusty. Surrounding it's claw in draconic energy, Aggron slashed at the vibration Pokemon, causing her to cry out in pain.

With the round over, Jake could clearly see that Bisharp was left barely standing. At the same time, Kyle's onslaught of attacks had left Aggron looking tired, though it seemed the iron armor Pokemon still had some energy left in it.
But after being hit with a super effective Stone Edge and Head Smash, Jake couldn't help but worry about the condition Kyle was in. Most of Dusty's ground type attacks were unusable indoors, so Kyle was currently their main source of damage to Aggron...

"Aggron Stone Edge and Headbutt on Heatmor! Bisharp go with Shadow Claw and Slash on Vibrava!" Steven shouted.

"Dusty, use Bide." Jake ordered.
With everyone else ready to go, it now fell on Keith to call out his orders.

----
Keith didn't look worried as Kyle was hit by some powerful Rock moves. It'd take more than that, much more than that, to take out this Heatmor, he knew. Indeed, the fact that Kyle was still standing served to prove Keith's confidence to have basis in fact. But even so, Keith knew, it would be a decent idea to play things a bit more defensively as well. And with Dusty poised to deal with Bisharp, Keith knew this left Mega Aggron up to him and Kyle. The two shared another knowing nod, both in agreement on how to proceed.

"Alright, Kyle, Double Team! Evade that Stone Edge!" Keith ordered. "When it comes in for Headbutt, hit it with Inferno at point-blank range, and if it's still standing after that, let it taste your Fire Blast!"

----
Starting off the round, Dusty began to fly in place, bracing herself for Bisharp's incoming attacks. As she did so, a aura of energy began to surround her, ready to absorb the power of any attack that struck!

Bisharp didn't seem to bothered by this, instead the sword blade Pokemon surrounded one of it's arms in a spectral aura, before swinging it at Dusty!

Next it was Aggron's turn to strike! The iron armor Pokemon let out another roar, before summoning several sharp stones, which began to float around it. The rocks then flew towards Kyle, ready to stab into the Heatmor's flesh!
But Kyle had other ideas, and began moving back and forth to several locations. Eventually there wasn't just one Heatmor, but three instead!
As this happened, the sharp stones drew ever closer, before pelting Kyle with it's sharp ends. In doing so, Kyle disappeared entirely...wait no, the Stone Edge had hit a clone!

Completely distraught at Kyle's antics, Aggron charged towards the anteater Pokemon, head first! However, Aggron wasn't able to hit his target, for as he approached Kyle, the Heatmor let loose a cyclone of flames!
Unable to react in time, Aggron ran directly into the powerful fire attack, causing it to let out a mighty shriek, before toppling to the ground.
Upon doing so Steven's Aggron began to glow, before returning to it's original form.

Meanwhile, having just sustained a powerful Slash from Bisharp, Dusty fired off a beam from the energy she'd been gathering! The beam of energy blasted into Bisharp, knocking the swordblade Pokemon backwards onto the floor.

"Bisharp! Aggron!!!" Steven shouted as both his Pokemon remained on the floor.

"N-no..this can't be...I-I've been...defeated?" Steven murmured as he returned his Pokemon to their Pokeballs.

"It's over Steven. N-now.. let us go..o-or I'll have Dusty make you." Jake stammered.

Steven said nothing to the young trainers threat, instead looking to his feet. Was he considering it? Jake couldn't really tell. Suddenly Steven's attention turned to the tracker, as if he had just noticed something.
It was strange..but Jake noticed it as well. It was the sound of the wind...and it was growing in power. Before Jake or Steven could question the source of the noise, a pink ball of energy appeared from no where, smashing into the tracker!

"Main tracker unit down! Main tracker unit down!" A robotic voice shrieked.
It seemed Peeve's Future Sight had landed..destroying the tracker entirely. The only problem, was that Jake and Keith were still trapped inside the building.

"The tracker!" Steven exclaimed. "No..no...no no no no! This can't be happening! Both trackers...they're gone!"
"You! Do you two have any idea what you've done?!" Steven hollered.
"I'd been going easy on you two before..hoping that you two would realize the errors of your ways. But I see now that I've been nothing but a fool." Steven continued, pulling out another remote as he did so.
As he began to fiddle with the device, Dusty suddenly let out a harsh cry, turning Jake's attention to the vibration Pokemon.

"Dusty? What's wrong?" Jake questioned.
In response, Dusty spat out a small amount of mud at her trainer, the projectile narrowly flying over his head! The vibration Pokemon the began to violently flail
around, as if she had completely lost control of her own body. Jake had seen this before, twice actually. Pom and his friends Eelektrik had behaved like this. But both times, they were under some kind of mind control, which meant...

"Isn't this beautiful?" Steven questioned. "Bare witness to all my years of research. With this little machine, all of your Pokemon are now under my control, Jake."
"But I really must thank you. Without your kind donation of Pokemon, this wouldn't have been possible. Your Pokemon were such good test subjects while under my care." Steven cackled.

"I-I'll kill you!" Jake spat.

"Really? More threats? There's no need to be so upset." Steven said, letting out a small sigh. "Just sit back and relax as your Pokemon help Catalyst secure our victory."
"Now Vibrava, use Dragon Breath and Mud Slap on Heatmor!" Steven barked.

----
Keith grinned- Kyle's Inferno had finished off Aggron, and Dusty's Bide blew away Bisharp. And to top it all off, Peeves's Future Sight landed, completely destroying the tracker. Steven didn't take any of this very well, to put it mildly. "Yeah, we know what we did," Keith retorted. "Just like we know you'll let us out of here, whether you want to or not."

But Steven didn't seem to plan on that. He claimed to have been going easy on them, in the hopes that they would see the error of their ways (cue derisive snort from Keith at this point), before producing another remote control and fiddling with it. This wiped the grin right off of Keith's face, for in response to the device, Dusty started acting weird, the Vibrava turning on her Trainer and firing a Mud-Slap at him! Keith looked at Steven, looking outraged and appalled as the Catalyst Admin explained that he had just put all of Jake's Pokémon under his control. Moreover, his next words implied that he was behind the kidnapping of Jake's Pokémon several years back.

At that exact moment, back at Keith's Secret Base, Cyanide felt an inexplicable stab of rage. She couldn't say why, but she had the strangest feeling it had to do with whoever had kidnapped Pom that one time.

Keith had some serious problems on his hands- now Kyle had Dusty to worry about, about to be on the receiving end of his ally's attacks! "Kyle, quick, Protect!" Keith ordered.

"Heatmor!" Kyle exclaimed, casting a protective barrier around himself to deflect the Dragon Breath.

"Now use Substitute!" Keith added. "Keep her occupied until we can fix this. And Kyle- don't hurt Dusty," he urged the Heatmor.

"Mor," Kyle nodded.

Keith then turned to Steven, a look of pure rage on his face. "You kidnapped my friend's Pokémon," he said. "You use them to conduct research into this Pokémon mind control and you decide you're going to up and control Jake's Pokémon to get your insane goals accomplished? And you call us the bad guys?" He said all of this with a somehow frightening sort of calmness. "You. You Team Catalyst scumbags, you preach this 'making the world better' thing, and maybe there was a time when you honestly believed it, but nothing you're doing here is going to lead to a better world. What you're doing here goes way past criminal- it's reprehensible. You are the one spitting on your grandfather's legacy, twisting it, mangling it into this horror show to accomplish your own ends, and not giving a Raticate's ass who you step on in the process!" He clutched another Poké Ball as he spoke. "And I won't let you do it!" he declared. "Bart, let's go!" he exclaimed, throwing the ball.

A flash of light erupted from the ball, and Keith's Scrafty materialized, wearing his usual Black Glasses. Notably, he stood five feet tall, decidedly taller than the average Scrafty. "Scrrrrafty!" he exclaimed, glaring at Steven.

"Bart, grab the remote from that guy," Keith stated, pointing at Steven.

"Scrrrrraft," growled Bart, the Scrafty slowly approaching Steven, putting on a particularly Scary Face as he did so. Of course, if he was having trouble, he'd simply exercise his superior Strength to forcefully take the remote, and if necessary, he figured a nice Low Kick might make this thug more compliant. Only if necessary, of course.

----
Jake was completely off guard as Keith ordered his Heatmor not to attack Dusty. He was glad Keith was looking out for the Vibrava, and yet..he couldn't help but worry that this would only make things more difficult.

Meanwhile, Steven seemed somewhat annoyed as Keith began to berate the Catalyst admin in a chillingly calm voice.
"Yeah yeah, we're the evil ones..sure buddy." Steven scoffed. "The way I see it, you two broke in to my facility, before trashing the place. For a couple of heroes, you sure seem intent on destroying other people's property."
"I'm simply defending this laboratory from two vandals who think breaking and entering is no big deal." Steven explained. "

Upon Keith commanding Bart to snatch Steven's remote, two of Jake's Pokeballs suddenly burst open. From them, Bubbles and Vermillion appeared, the Corphish and Torkoal quickly taking Steven's side.
"Corphish, Torkoal..keep that Scrafty at bay, no matter the cost! Vibrava keep that Heatmor occupied!" Steven barked.

In response, Bubbles sent a Beam of Bubbles from one of her claws, straight towards Bart! In contrast, Vermillion stayed next to Steven, ready to attack Bart with a Skull Bash should he come too close.

Meanwhile, Dusty let loose another Dragon Breath attack, scorching Kyle's substitute but leaving the Heatmor unharmed. She then prepared to unleash yet another Mud Slap at the Heatmor dummy....

With Jake's Pokemon having heard their orders, Steven turned his attention back to Keith.
"Though I admit that kidnapping Pokemon may be a bit unethical..I can assure you we have our reasons. Once this little experiment is finished, we'll be able to freely control and stop any Pokemon that may cause people trouble." Steven explained.
"It's a short term sacrifice for the greater good of all. Of course..you fiends would rather leave these trouble making Pokemon to run amok if i had to guess."

Jake was forced to watch as his Pokemon turned against him, fighting their former allies in the process. What else could he do? Three of his Pokemon were already in Steven's grasp, and Jake reasoned it wouldn't be long before Telpo and Neku followed.
Wait...that was it! Last time one of his Pokemon was in a frenzy, Neku's Sweet Scent had managed to snap them out of it! The only problem was that now Neku was also completely brainwashed. And yet..Pom had managed to resist the mind control back them..if only for a brief moment.
If Jake could get the Oddish to hit himself with the attack...it just might work.

It was definitely a long shot, but with little choice Jake tossed the Oddish's Pokeball into the air.
Just as Steven had said, as soon as Neku appeared, he immediately attacked his trainer, following the Catalyst admin's will.

"Neku! L-listen to me. You....you need to snap out of it!" Jake called to the Oddish.

In response, Neku sent a ball of acid towards his trainer, the attack flying just over Jake's head. It seemed his plan wasn't working quite as well as he had hoped...

----
Keith gritted his teeth- now Vermilion and Bubbles were added to the fray, also under Steven's control! He didn't even deign to listen to Steven's Tauros shit speech about how they were the bad guys, instead focusing on the poblem at hand. Bart was able to pull up his "pants" to deflect the Bubble Beam. "Scrrraaaaft-" he began, as he started to charge up a retaliatory Poison Jab.

"No, Bart!" said Keith. "You and Kyle use Double Team!" As this happened, Keith watched as Jake sent out Neku, with predictable results. And then he remembered- Neku had snapped Pom out of it last time... Keith knew what to do. "I'm counting on you!" he declared, tossing a Violet Cyber Ball into the air.

In a flash of light, the ball's gelatinous occupant appeared. "Ditto Ditto!" exclaimed Jack.

Keith pointed at Neku. "Jack! Transform!"

"Dittooooooo!" Jack squealed, glowing and changing shape. And soon... "Oddish odd!" exclaimed Jack.

"Now!" Keith grinned. "Use Sweet Scent!"

----
Jake was mildly impressed as Keith sent out Jack, the Ditto transforming into Neku's likeness. Having every move at Neku's disposal, Jack let out a Sweet Scented powder towards Jake's Pokemon.

"Oh no you don't! Vibrava, blow that powder right back!" Steven exclaimed.

Heeding the admins words, Dusty began to rapidly beat her wings, sending out a small amount of wind. The wind blew back the powder into Jack's face, protecting Dusty, Bubbles, and Vermillion from it's effects.

But Jack's attempts at curing the Pokemon were not wasted. Despite the Vibrava's actions, she could not protect Neku from the sweet scented powder, the Oddish accidentally inhaling a mouthful of the pink powder.

Immediately, Neku began to shake, the sound of crackling electricity could be heard.
"Huh? W-where am I? Was I sleeping again?" Neku murmured as he glanced at his surroundings.
"Neku! I-I'm glad you're ok." Jake smiled, too distracted to notice that Telpo had just exited his pokeball.

"I don't h-have time to explain so...hit everyone with Sweet Scent!" Jake ordered.
Neku gave a brief nod, preparing to release a cloud of sweet scented power. Before the Oddish could send the powder to his teammates, a Psychic wave slammed into the weed Pokemon, sending him flying back.
"Telpo.." Jake murmured as he finally noticed the psi Pokemon. It pained him to see Telpo in such a state. Mindlessly attacking others without thought or care, a sharp contrast to the Abra's usual self.

As Jake was hopelessly lost in thought, Telpo coated one of his fists in Fire, before swinging a Punch at his trainer!
Snapping back to reality, Jake could only watch as Telpo's flame covered fist drew closer towards him.
Just before the attack was about to land, Neku lunged in front of his trainer, shielding him from the powerful fire attack.

"Neku..you saved me." Jake murmured as the Oddish slowly rose to his feet.
"No...no problem...." Neku replied weakly.
After withstanding two super effective attacks, Neku seemed a little tuckered out.
But now wasn't the time to give up, Neku realized. His trainer was counting on him...and his teammates too. He wasn't going to be sleeping on the job today!
At this thought, Neku felt a burst of energy fill his body, and a strange light began to surround him. The weed Pokemon began to grow taller, and each of his leaves began to grow outward.
A small flower bud emerged from the top of his head as well. When the light faded a stood where the former Oddish had been.

"Neku..you've evolved! C-congratulations." Jake murmured, before turning his attention back to the battle.
"Alright Neku, use Sweet Scent...one more time!" Jake ordered.

"Vibrava, blow Gloom's attack back at it! Corphish, Torkoal..keep that Scrafty away! And Abra, make sure that Ditto is kept occupied!" Steven barked.

Following the man's orders, Bubbles lunged at who she guessed to be Bart, her X-Scissor attack at the ready! Vermillion continued to guard Steven, waiting to attack anyone with a Skull Bash should they come too close.

Meanwhile, Telpo floated towards Jack, ready to Punch him with an Ice covered fist.

As Neku sent a cloud of sweet scented powder towards his teammates, Dusty began to flap her wings rapidly, blowing the powder back into the Gloom's face.
However, with Dusty focused on Neku, she was leaving her teammates defenseless from Jack's interference....

----
Keith grinned as his Ditto unleashed Sweet Scent, though said grin faded as Steven saw it coming and forced Dusty to blow it away. However, some of it managed to reach Neko, snapping the Oddish out of it. But before the real Oddish could use Sweet Scent, it became clear that Telpo had emerged from his ball, and that his psychic power did not allow him to effortlessly fight off the mind control as Keith had kinda hoped. Neku, however, was able to save Jake from Telpo's Fire Punch, and then to make that moment even more moment-y, he then evolved into a Gloom before their very eyes!

Keith grinned. "Alright, let's do this!" he said to Jake and Neku.

Steven started giving more orders. Bart grinned as Bubbles moved in with X-Scissor... hitting only a Double Team copy with the Bug move. He could've landed a nice Thunder Punch in response, but he recalled Keith's orders to not attack, and instead opted to use Iron Defense, preparing himself in case the Corphish lucked out and hit the real deal.

Keith chuckled as Telpo moved in on Jack. "Occupy this! Sweet Scent!" he ordered.

"Oddiiiish!" exclaimed Jack, spraying a pleasantly-scented mist at the oncoming Abra. After which the Ditto-turned-Oddish planned to do likewise to the unguarded Corphish and Torkoal, and hopefully Dusty as well.

----
As Telpo made his way closer to Jack, the transformed Ditto sprayed the psi Pokemon with sweetly scented powder. As Telpo inhaled the powder, he began to shake as the sound of crackling electricity could once again be heard.

"...Huh? Where am I?" Telpo questioned as he came to his senses.
"I-I'll explain later. For now..use Psychic on Dusty...h-hold her in place with it. And Neku, u-use Sweet Scent on Dusty!" Jake ordered.
Despite the dire circumstances they were in, Jake couldn't help but smile. Not just because of Telpo's recovery, but also that things were slowly turning in their favor.

"Corphish, stop that Abra!" Steven bellowed.

As Telpo began to concentrate on Dusty, Bubbles charged towards the Abra, ready to preform another X-Scissor.
Fortunately for Telpo and Neku, Jack had sent out another blast of sweet scented powder around the room. With both Pokemon inhaling the powder, they both quickly came to their senses.

"What? What happened?" Bubbles questioned.
"One's thing for sure...I'm hungry!" Vermillion added.

Without worrying about Bubble's interference, Telpo was able to create a firm Psychic grasp on Dusty, ensuring that the Vibrava remained in place.

Knowing that Dusty was unable to stop his attacks, Neku once again sent a wave of sweetly scented powder at the Vibration Pokemon. Unable to move, Dusty was forced to inhale the powder as it washed over her. Much like the others, Dusty soon returned to her senses.

"...Did..did I black out or something?" Dusty asked, blinking in surprise.

"Team Catalyst..they've..they've been controlling you." Jake said, slowly approaching Steven as he did so.

"No! This isn't fair! How could I be bested....by the likes of you?!" Steven bellowed.

"I'll ask again. Release us now..o-or I'll have my Pokemon make you. And I-I don't think they'll...take too kindly to b-being controlled by you." Jake said.
"Never. I'll never surrender to a bunch of thugs like you." Steven replied. "One's that have no empathy for the future of this world. One's that would attack us to further their selfish goals."

Receiving a nod from her trainer, Bubbles lunged at Steven, ripping the controller out of his hand. With a smirk, the Corphish snapped her claw shut, crushing the remote as she did so.

"No!" Steven exclaimed as he watched his life's work crumble away in seconds.
"I...the..no....my past five years of work....i-it's all been for nothing..." Steven stammered, tears beginning to flow down his face.

"I-I'll remember this! Next time...I will stop you!" Steven exclaimed, pulling out a second remote as he did so. At this point, it seemed no words would sway him.
Upon pressing the remote, the doors to the room swung open once again, the Catalyst admin promptly exiting.

With Steven gone, Jake turned his attention to Keith.
"Keith..umm...t-thank you." Jake murmured. "I...couldn't have done it w-without you. Especially at the end."

"Though I'm sure everyone's been through a lot, would I be correct in assuming this is Hagane Labs?" Telpo questioned.
"If so, we'd best make our way out, and quick. I could probably afford to Teleport two people out...but everyone else would need to stay in their Pokeballs."

----
Keith grinned- Telpo was advancing on Jack, but the Ditto merely unleashed Sweet Scent, and the mind control was broken. And before Bubbles could stop Telpo from holding Dusty still, Jack intervened with more Sweet Scent, bringing the Corphish and Torkoal to their senses. And finally, Neku was able to snap Dusty out of it with Sweet Scent as well.

Keith turned to glare at Steven as he complained about being bested. Jake threatened the Catalyst Admin, demanding that he release them. Keith nodded. "What he said," he agreed. "And you might not have been controlling my Pokémon, but don't think for a second that buys you any mercy from them.

"Scraaaft," growled Bart, cracking his knuckles threateningly.

"Heatmor!" added Kyle, glaring at Steven with levels of disdain previously reserved exclusively for a certain giant tyrannical Heatran.

"Oddish!" squeaked Jack. Then, upon realizing just how non-threatening he sounded, he hastened to Transform into a copy of the five-foot Scrafty instead. "Scraaafty," he smirked.

But Steven adamantly refused to surrender to them, referring to them as a bunch of thugs, calling them out on their lack of empathy for the future of the world. At this, Keith scoffed. "You want someone to fling those accusations at, your time would be better spent taking a long, hard look in the mirror," he spat. "At least Team Rocket doesn't deny their wrongdoing. You, on the other hand, you have the audacity to defend the heinous crap you pull, claiming it to be for a better world, when the fact of the matter is that you've lost all sight of what it means to make the world a better place to begin with. Pokémon poaching, morally reprehensible experiments that hurt Pokémon, Pokémon mind control- if you care even just a fraction as much about the world as you claim to, somewhere deep inside you gotta know how wrong all of that is."

Whether Keith's words had any impact on Steven, they might never know, for at that moment, Bubbles lunged, swiping the remote and crushing it with a well-placed Vice Grip. Steven started to cry as the culmination of the past five years of his work was shattered into pieces. He had no choice but to retreat, and so he did, opening the doors to the room and fleeing.

Keith smiled as Jake thanked him. "It's no problem," he replied. "That's what friends are for. You did pretty good yourself, though," he added. "Vernon's definitely gotten tougher since I last saw him, and it looks like Dusty's really grown as of late." At that moment, Telpo spoke up, pointing out that it'd be in their best interests to exit Hagane Labs as quickly as possible. Keith nodded his agreement. "Yeah, true- Steven might be back with reinforcements if we keep hanging around here," he said, as he held up a Poké Ball, a Level Ball, and a Violet Cyber Ball. "Bart, Kyle, Jack, return," he stated. It took him two tries- the Ditto still looked like a Scrafty, so Keith had guessed which one was which, and wound up guessing wrong. Once all three Pokémon were withdrawn, he nodded to Telpo. "Ready," he stated.

----
Jake smiled, but said nothing as Keith complimented him and his Pokemon.
But with Telpo's warning in mind, Jake quickly turned to his other Pokemon, taking out four Pokeballs as he did so. Though Bubbles and Dusty returned without hassle, Vermillion didn't seem nearly as keen to do so.

"Wait hold on....you know...being controlled like that...it was pretty traumatic." Vermillion began. "Watching myself attack everyone...it was horrifying. I think I should get at least a couple pies...to help cope with these memories."
"...I-I'll figure something out...ok?" Jake replied. Though he didn't truly believe the Torkoal's story, he knew better to argue with him.
Satisfied with his trainer's answer, Vermillion returned to his ball, leaving only Neku remaining.
"Neku...y-you were amazing out there. Thanks." Jake said turning his attention to the Gloom. Much to his amusement, Neku was already fast asleep, unaware of his trainer's praise.
"Never change Neku." Jake murmured as he returned the Gloom to his Pokeball. Finished with his task, Jake turned back to Telpo, confirming that he was done.

With both Keith and Jake ready to go, Telpo grabbed onto the both of them. The trio then disappeared in a flash of light, leaving Hagane Labs behind.
----
In another flash of light, the trio reappeared in a familiar alleyway.
"Jake! Keith! Good to see you two are back." Sophie greeted upon noticing them. "So, how'd it go?"

"I'm guessing it went better then a certain Dusknoir's attempt, yes?" Duosion snickered.
"Sorry." Duosion added a second later, upon receiving a glare from Sophie.

"We managed to destroy the tracker." Jake replied. "I-it's a pretty long story though.."

"Then it might be best to save it till we get back to Zack. It would save you from having to repeat yourself, master." Telpo explained.
"More importantly, where did those Catalyst grunts go?"

Indeed, the spot where Charlotte and Trevor were was now vacant.

"I'm embarrassed to admit it...but they managed to get away." Sophie replied. "I don't know how, me and Duosion only turned our backs for a second, before they disappeared."
"Yes yes very tragic..but an honest mistake. It could have happened to anyone." Duosion added.
"But enough about that minor error, were we heading back to my trainer or not? Or did you have somewhere to be?"

----
Telpo wasted no time in getting them the hell out of Hagane Labs, whereupon they reunited with Sophie and Duosion in the alley from before. Keith gave a small chuckle as Duosion couldn't resist the chance to get in another jab at Peeves. "As a matter of fact, Duosion," Keith retorted, "Peeves was instrumental in our success, so if I were you, I'd be thanking him." Telpo then pointed out the minor issue of the Catalyst Grunts no longer being present- apparently, Sophie and Duosion had turned their backs on them for only a moment, and that moment was all they needed to make good their getaway. Keith rolled his eyes as Duosion played his own mistake off as an extremely minor error, remembering how the Psychic-type constantly got on Peeves's case for tripping an alarm he couldn't possibly have known about, but elected not to bring it up- really, really wasn't the time for that. Rather, he nodded as Duosion asked if they were headed back to Zack. "Naturally we're heading back," he said. "I'm ready when everyone else is."
----
"Crucial? I somehow do-umm..I mean..that's good...great even." Duosion murmured. It seemed that the mitosis Pokemon was struggling to keep his mouth shut about Peeves, given the glare Keith received upon his eyes rolling.
"...Enough about that. Let's get going then. Telpo, you grab Keith and Jake, alright?" Duosion questioned, floating closer to Sophie as he did so.
"Sounds good." Telpo chimed.

In another flash of light, the group vanished from the alleyway, thanks to both Telpo and Duosion's Teleport ability.
----
A second later, the group appeared in the room that was Zack's office. The owner of the office seemed to be typing something on his laptop, but stopped as he realized he had company once more.
"Ah! It's good to see everyone back." Zack smiled. "I trust everything went ok?"
"Apparently it did..according to Jake anyway." Sophie replied. "But..yeah I'd like to hear what happened to..if you don't mind telling us, Jake."

"Umm...ok..s-sure." Jake murmured. Taking a seat on one of the available chairs, Jake began to explain what happened.
He started with their plan to get in, and how Peeves had used his illusions to disguise Keith and him as Catalyst grunts. He continued with their search of the building, and how barren it had been.
Next was finding the tracker itself, and Keith and Jake's encounter with Steven Hagane. He talked about the weird things the Catalyst admin had said..as well as how Steven had used mind control to take over his Pokemon.
"T-that should..be everything." Jake murmured once he was finished.
"Unless...a-am I forgetting something?" Jake questioned, turning his attention to Keith.

----
With everyone in agreement on returning to Zack, Duosion and Telpo worked together to Teleport the lot of them back to him. Jake started to tell the story, and as he finished, he turned to Keith, asking if he'd forgotten anything.

"I think you got most of it," Keith replied. "One thing, though- the reason they'd found us out? Turns out Catalyst Grunts are equipped with trackers of some sort, probably to prevent exactly what we were doing. Something to bear in mind if we ever end up needing to infiltrate Hagane Labs again. And the tracker- Peeves was able to destroy it with a picture-perfect Future Sight. Our plan was to get out of there after setting off the Future Sight, so we'd hopefully be out of the building before any alarms went off, but as Jake mentioned, Steven kinda sunk that plan. All things considered, though, this was pretty successful- we still destroyed the tracker, and in the process, we also destroyed their mind control device- apparently the culmination of five years of hard work- so yeah, that's gonna be more than a little setback for those guys," Keith grinned.

----
Jake nodded as Keith filled in the details he had failed to mention, namingly the fact that the Catalyst grunts wore trackers, in order to prevent what Jake and Keith had attempted.

"Hmm...that is something we should keep in mind from now on." Zack replied. "But besides that, well done you two, it seems thanks to your efforts, we were able to knock Team Catalyst down a few pegs."
"Yeah, it sounds like you guys really cleaned up!" Sophie exclaimed.
"Oh, I almost forgot. Jake, you mentioned Steven's words..how that you two were in the wrong? I don't think I need to tell you this, but just in case..please disregard anything he told you. He's clearly got a few screws loose." Zack said.

"O-of course." Jake replied. "I didn't believe him f-for a moment."

"Good call master. Anyone who acts like he did..he's clearly in the wrong." Telpo added.

"Well, I must thank you all for your hard work out there..I think it's safe to say our mission of investigating Hagane Labs is officially complete. Jake, Keith..you're free to go." Zack smiled.
"Oh but first! I have to request you return your ride pagers. You can do what you wish with the lab coat though." Zack added, turning attention to the fact that Keith still had the Catalyst lab coat in his possession.
"I doubt you'd really want some Team Catalyst memorabilia, but stranger things have happened."

----
The trackers for each Catalyst Grunt, that was clearly news to Zack. Keith grinned proudly as Zack praised him and Jake for taking Team Catalyst down a few pegs, then made sure to emphasize that Steven was clearly in the wrong. Keith nodded gravely, having tried his best to talk some sense into the man. "It's kind of a shame," he admitted. "I think he really believes he's working towards a better world. I wish there was a way to make them see sense and realize what they're doing won't achieve that at all." Zack then told them that they were free to go, though did request the Ride Pagers back. Keith relinquished his with no fuss- it was a cool little device, for sure, but by no means did he intend to steal it.

Then, Keith's attention was called to the lab coat he still wore. "Oh, yeah," he remarked- he'd never taken off the lab coat following the application of Peeves's illusory disguises. "Well, you're not wrong, I'm most certainly not in the market for Team Catalyst memorabilia," he chuckled. "That said, it's still a perfectly good lab coat," he added fairly. "Could come in handy. Who knows? Maybe this is one piece of Team Catalyst equipment that could end up actually doing some real good in the world somehow," he said with a grin as he took off the lab coat and tucked it away in his backpack. "So, Zack, any way I could access my PC Storage System in here?" he asked. "I'm gonna want to make a quick change to my team now that I've handed in the Ride Pager."

----
"I too wish there was some way to help them see the light." Zack replied, taking the Ride Pager from Keith.
"Trust me when I say I've tried. There isn't anyway that we can."

After putting the lab coat away, Keith asked Zack if there was a PC he could use. With the ride pager gone, Keith need to switch around his team.

"Umm..y-yeah me too." Jake added, handing over his ride pager as he did so. "I need to s-switch my team....for the journey ahead."

"Oh that's right. You were going to head to that tournament thing. Sure, I'll show you guys where the PC is." Sophie said, rising from her seat.

"After you're done showing them the PC, can you head to the meeting room? There's something I need to discuss with you and the others." Zack said.

"Alright. Well, let's get going then." Sophie said, guiding the group outside of Zack's office. Zack gave one last wave to them, before resuming with his business on his laptop.
----
"I know you've been getting this a lot, but thanks again for all your help." Sophie said as they made their way through the CPAs long hallway once again.
"I was really disappointed when I had to stay behind. I really wanted to destroy every last part of those piles of scum..for all that they did. But I can't really be too mad, considering the way things turned out."
Once she had finished talking, Sophie pointed to two PC terminals, both attached to an otherwise bare wall.

"There you go, just what you were looking for. Once your done proceed to the end of the hall and turn left. Then go up the stairs and press the button on your right to open the door." Sophie said.
"Of course...you can always teleport out if that's your style."

----
Keith followed Sophie down the hallway. "It was no problem," he said in response to Sophie's thanks. He nodded as she lamented her having to stay behind, citing her desire to destroy Team Catalyst thoroughly for all the crap they've pulled. Keith thought something sounded a bit off about that- he saw no fault with her desire to destroy Team Catalyst, of course, but the way she said it was what got Keith pondering it. As someone who had raised two Banette, Keith could tell, it sounded as though Sophie's beef with Team Catalyst was a bit more personal than she let on. He didn't press the matter, however. He simply nodded again as Sophie conceded that she couldn't complain, considering all that had been accomplished. "Just happy I could help," he stated. "In fact, if you guys ever need my help with Team Catalyst again, I can give you my Xtransceiver number," he offered, for this took place before Keith got his Z-Ring, and therefore, before he swapped out said Xtransceiver for a PokéGear, though the number to contact him would remain the same.

As Keith got to the PC, he set right to work, swapping out his Dusknoir for his Scolipede. "Alright," he grinned, clutching the Scolipede's ball in his hand. "Aaaand, all set," he stated. "Hey, Jake, you need a ride?" he asked. "Salazar's always cool with extra passengers, and I got nowhere to be today."

----
"Sure, sounds good to me." Sophie replied, taking out her Pokégear.
"Here..I'll give you my number first." Sophie said, flipping the Pokégear over for Keith to see. On the top screen was a string of digits, presumably Sophie's number.

As Keith took one PC, Jake took the other. Thinking for a moment, he swapped out Neku, Vernon, Dusty and Bubbles, replacing them with Kage, Sprout, Sparky and Milo.
Once he was finished, Jake turned his attention to Keith.

"I'm ok...t-thanks though." Jake replied to Keith's offer. "Me and Telpo...w-we're actually going a bit of a ways."

"Master is right on this one. We're actually headed to a place called Amperet City." Telpo chimed. "It's a bit out of the way, but I'm sure we'll manage."

"Right." Jake nodded. "But..I-I'll trade numbers..if you want."

----
Keith registered Sophie's PokéGear number, and gave her his own number in return. "Alright, cool," he grinned. After that, Jake thanked Keith, though declined his offer. He and Telpo explained they were headed a fair distance, to Amperet City, but that they'd manage. "Alright, then," Keith nodded. He then agreed to trading numbers, part of him wondering why he never already exchanged phone numbers with Jake. "Alright, then, I'll see you around," nodded Keith. "I might actually take the Banette's Revenge out for a little voyage later on," he added. "Luna's been suggesting it all morning before you arrived, and I can't imagine why." He started to head for the exit, though paused for a moment. "By the way," he added to Jake. "You were pretty awesome back there, against Steven.
----
"Alright. Then I guess that's all." Sophie said once she had finished trading numbers.
"I'd love to stay and chat, but I've got a meeting to attend to. Farewell for now." Sophie added, giving the group a small wave, before heading back in the direction of Zack's office.

As Jake gave Keith his number, he also couldn't help but wonder why they hadn't done this earlier. But now wasn't the time for that. Once Jake had registered Keith's number, he rummaged through his bags side pocket, pulling out a folded map.

"Would I be right..i-in assuming you'd want this?" Jake questioned, handing the map to Telpo.

"You read my mind master. May I suggest we stop at a Pokemon Center? Just so I can properly plan out our route." Telpo chimed, grabbing the map as he did so.

"Sure. I-I need to heal Vermillion anyway." Jake nodded

As the pair turned to leave, they noticed that Keith had already made his way towards the exit.

"T-thanks...you were...great out there a-as well." Jake replied as Keith praised him. He didn't entirely believe what Keith was saying, but he figured there was no point in denying it at that moment.
"Umm..good luck on your voyage as well...I mean i-if you decide to go." Jake added.
"Can you tell Millicent that I'm ok as well?" Telpo chimed. "I realized after I left yesterday that she might be worried with me joining this investigation."

----
Keith waved back as Sophie exited. He nodded appreciatively at Jake's words. "Thanks, man," he replied. He then gave Telpo a reassuring smile. "You bet," he agreed. "She and Willow did seem a bit worried this mornijng, so I know they'll be happy to know everything went well." With that, he took his leave, and once outside, he climbed onto his dark grey Scolipede, ready for the ride back home. That Ride Pager was good stuff, and very convenient, no denying that, but Keith felt most comfortable on the back of the Scolipede he trained himself.
----
Telpo smiled as Keith let him know that he'd inform Millicent and Willow.
"Thank you, I can rest easy now." The Abra chimed.

Once Keith had left, Jake turned his attention to Telpo. "Ok..r-ready to head out?"

"You bet master." Telpo replied.

With that, the pair made their way out of the building. Though their time in Hagane City had certainly been exciting, both Telpo and Jake couldn't wait to leave the city and continue their journey.
Little did the two know their day had only started, and yet another adventure was about to unfold!
----
CPA - Meeting Room
----
"Sophie, come on in." Zack greeted as Sophie opened the door to the meeting room.
Giving a nod, Sophie entered the room, before noticing that it was only Zack and her.
"Huh? Where are the others? I thought you said some other members were also going to be here." Sophie said.

"They'll be here shortly, but while you're here..mine as brief you on what's happening." Zack replied.
"It's recently come to our attention that Team Catalyst has set their eyes on a certain device, one that is able to capture any and every Pokemon."

"Let me guess, they want to use it to capture Project X?" Sophie questioned.

"That's my best guess, yes. Now, you and another group of agents are going to go to the location of this device, and prevent it from falling into Team Catalyst's hands, simple enough, right?"
"Yeah, sounds pretty simple." Sophie nodded. "So, where is this device?"

To this, Zack gave a small smile, before speaking up. "Tell me, have you heard of the Amperet Museum?"

Last edited by EpicSquirtle; 06-23-2017 at 06:56 PM.
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