Chapter 4: Foul Wind of Mars
After days of travel, Ash, Misty, and Riley finally arrived at the mining colony of Oreburgh City. Upon arriving, Ash immediately challenged Roark. Roark was a relatively young man with reddish-brown hair who wore glasses, a red helmet with a light on the front, and a grey miners uniform. Roark gladly accepted Ash’s challenge and a fierce battle ensued. The battle had begun with Ash’s Turtwig fighting against Roark’s Geodude.
Turtwig was triumphant, but fell to Roark’s powerful rock serpent, Onix. Riolu then took up the battle against Onix and won, forcing Roark to send out his secret weapon, a small grey dinosaur-like creature that stood on two legs and had a sort of blue dome on its head. Four white spikes lined the sides of the creature’s head, and it had a blue back. This was the prehistoric Pokemon, Cranidos. Though Riolu gave the battle a good effort, in the end Cranidos was victorious. Ash had decided to send out Pikachu, and the battle was just about to begin.
“Alright Cranidos, charge at Pikachu and ram it with Headbutt!” Roark commanded.
“Quick Pikachu, dodge it and use Iron Tail!” Ash commanded as Cranidos began to charge.
Seconds before the dinosaur Pokemon rammed into Pikachu, the electric rodent used its tail to spring into the air. Pikachu’s tail then began to glow white before changing to look like a lightning bolt-shaped piece of metal. Pikachu flipped in the air and brought the metal tail down on the back of Cranidos’s head.
“Use Iron Tail again!” Ash commanded.
Pikachu landed on the ground near Cranidos and jumped back up in the air, its tail once again formed into metal. The rodent swung the tail into the side of Cranidos’s head. The dinosaur Pokemon staggered for a moment before collapsing on its side.
“Cranidos is unable to battle!” the judge on the sidelines declared. “Victory goes to Ash!”
“Wow, I didn’t think Pikachu would win so quickly.” Misty commented to Riley on the sidelines. “I guess some of Riolu’s attacks actually did some damage.”
“Well Ash, you did a good job in that battle.” Roark said after calling back Cranidos and walking up to Ash. “As promised, here’s the Coal Badge.”
“Yeah, I won the Coal Badge!” Ash enthusiastically cheered after taking the badge. Pikachu and Riolu did a little cheer in response.
“I guess I still need to do a little more training as a gym leader.” Roark assumed.
“You did quite well in that battle.” Riley said to Roark as he, Misty, and Lucario joined Ash on the battlefield. “The role of a gym leader is to test a trainer’s strength. Sometimes that means losing.”
“Yeah, but I still think that my father should’ve recommended you for the job instead of me.” Roark admitted.
“Being a gym leader isn’t my thing.” Riley told him. “Besides, from what I can see from this gym you’re doing a fine job.”
“Thanks, from you that means a lot.” Roark said to Riley.
After the battle with Roark, Ash and the others went to the town Pokemon Center so that Turtwig and Riolu could recover. Later that day, the group left the Pokemon Center and was on their way to their next destination.
“So Riley, do you know Roark’s dad?” Ash asked.
“Roark’s father, Byron, is the leader of the Canalave City Gym near my old training grounds.” Riley explained. “Back when they were looking for someone to run the gym here in Oreburgh Byron told me that he was thinking of recommending me for the job, but I wasn’t interested. And I was a little surprised that he wasn’t going to recommend his own son for the position. But in the end I was able to convince Byron otherwise.”
“You mean he recommended you over his own son?” Misty asked in a surprised tone.
“Byron and Roark have a complicated relationship.” Riley answered. “But that’s not important at the moment. Right now we should focus on our next destination, which is Eterna City.”
“Then let’s go!” Ash said enthusiastically.
* * *
Three days had passed since Ash had won his battle with Roark. During that time Ash and Riolu’s training with Riley continued. That particular day as the group walking along the road, several Pokemon suddenly floated into their path. These creatures looked like purple balloons with tiny black eyes. On the front of these balloon creatures was an X-shaped yellow bandage that looked like it was there to patch a hole. On the tops of each creature was a tuft of white hair. Hanging beneath each one were two string-like limbs, each with a small yellow hand on the end.
“What are these Pokemon?” Ash asked as he pulled out his Pokedex.
“Drifloon, the Balloon Pokemon.” The Pokedex identified in its mechanical voice. “Throughout history there have been reports of children holding onto the arms of these Pokemon vanishing without a trace.”
“There sure are a lot of them.” Misty observed. “There must be about a hundred.”
“This is odd.” Riley commented. “Drifloon don’t usually congregate out on the road like this. They usually live out by the Valley Windworks.”
“The Valley Windworks?” Ash asked.
“It’s a small power plant in the area.” Riley explained. “The Drifloon are often pulled in by the windmills that generate the power, which is why they congregate there. But the fact that they’re all here could mean some sort of problem.”
“You think there’s something wrong at the Windworks?” Ash asked.
“One way to find out.” Riley replied before closing his eyes and aiming his arm out in a certain direction. Lucario did the same thing.
“Um, Ash? What’re Riley and Lucario doing?” Misty whispered.
“I’m not sure, but I think they’re using Aura to find out what’s going on at the Windworks.” Ash whispered back.
“I see…” Riley finally spoke as he opened his eyes. “It seems there are several people down at the Windworks causing trouble. I think we should go investigate.”
In moments Riley led the others towards the Windworks. After several minutes of walking they saw several large windmills blowing in the breeze. As they approached the windmills they eventually saw the building that as the actual power plant. And in front of that building were several people dressed in uniforms identical to the ones worn by the two members of Team Galactic that Ash and Misty had encountered in Jubilife City days before. Even their hair was identical to that of Curtis and Debbie.
“What do you think Team Galactic is up to?” Ash asked.
“Let’s go in for a closer look.” Riley replied.
The group slowly came closer to the power plant. As they did they went around to the back and ducked behind a bush. Behind the power plant they saw a giant metal cylinder with the Team Galactic symbol emblazoned near the top. Several long black cables were running from the power plant into the device. Standing in the middle of all the action was a girl with short oddly shaped red hair. Her uniform was different from the others members of Team Galactic. It was mostly dark-grey, though the boots were white, as were parts of the torso. Attached to the upper part of the uniform was a white hoop skirt that ended just above the knees.
“I’m sure glad those Drifloon are gone.” Ash and the others overheard a passing female Galactic grunt say to another. “Those things give me the creeps. You know my brother knew this kid who’s cousin’s neighbor disappeared while holding onto a Drifloon.”
“Oh boy, you are gullible.” The other grunt laughed. “That’s just an urban legend.”
“Look, all I’m saying is that I’m glad Commander Mars got annoyed by those things and turned up the power on the windmills and blew them away before we started the energy collection.” The first grunt told her.
“Energy collection?” Ash repeated quietly. “Is that what that big thing with all the cables is for?”
“If I had to guess, I’d say that device is some kind of battery.” Riley theorized. “They must be charging it up with electricity from the power plant.”
“But what’s the battery for?” Misty asked.
“Whatever it’s for, it probably isn’t good.” Riley assumed.
“Then let’s put a stop to it.” Ash decided before getting up.
In moments Ash jumped out of the bush with Pikachu and Riolu. Misty, Riley, and Lucario followed close behind.
“Whatever you guys are doing, stop right now!” Ash demanded, getting the attention of Team Galactic.
“Oh, seems like we have a few spies.” The redheaded girl observed.
“I’m guessing you’re in charge here.” Riley assumed.
“That’s right.” The redhead conformed. “I’m Mars, one of the top commanders of Team Galactic.”
“What do you intend to do with that battery you’ve been charging.” Riley demanded to know.
“That’s none of your business blue.” Mars said with a smug expression. “All I’ll say is that it’s going to bring us one step closer to creating a new and better world.”
“And just what kind of world are you guys after?” Ash asked.
“People like you would never understand our great leader’s vision.” Mars told them. “But it will be a world far superior to this one.”
“Well if it’s a world where everyone has to wear bad outfits like the ones you guys are wearing, count me out!” Misty declared.
“Hey! I’ll have you know that we at Team Galactic are at the height of fashion!” Mars shouted in an offended tone.
“Oh please, that skirt you’re wearing is ridiculous!” Misty shot back. “And your hair looks like a hood ornament!”
“That’s it, you’re so dead!” Mars shouted as she threw out a Pokeball. “Go Purugly!”
Emerging from the Pokeball was a very large overweight cat with large ears and a curly tail. Much of its fur was blue-grey, though parts of its face, chest, back, and the tip of its tail were white. The tips of its large ears were purple, and the ends of the four whiskers on its face were crooked.
“I’ll end this quick!” Misty declared as she threw out her own Pokeball. “Go Suicune!”
Emerging from the ball was a creature that looked like a cross between a wolf and a leopard. It had red eyes and no visible nose on its snout. Its snout and underside were white, while the rest of its body was blue with large white diamond-shaped spots in places. It had two long white streamer-like tails that curved around towards the front of its body. On its back was a sort of cape that resembled an aurora. Adorning the creature’s forehead was a large blue diamond-shaped crest.
“What the…? A Suicune?” a stunned Mars exclaimed.
“I don’t believe it.” An equally surprised Riley said to himself. “Then could this mean that…?”
“Don’t just stand there you idiots! Get them!” Mars commanded her underlings. On command the grunts all sent out a swarm of Zubat.
“Pikachu, use Thunder Bolt!” Ash commanded.
“Pik… a… CHU!” the electric rodent cried as it sent out a blast of yellow electricity. The attack hit several Zubat and knocked them out of the sky.
“Lucario, use Dragon Pulse!” Riley commanded.
Lucario brought its paws together and a ball of blue-green energy formed in between its paws. The jackal Pokemon launched the ball into the air, knocking several Zubat out of the sky. Meanwhile, the battle between Misty and Mars was just beginning.
“Legendary Pokemon or not, I’m going to make you pay for insulting my outfit!” Mars declared. “Purugly, use Thunder Bolt!”
“Suicune, dodge and use Ice Fang!” Misty quickly commanded.
Purugly shot a bolt of yellow electricity form its body. But at the last second Suicune jumped out of the way, causing the attack to hit the ground. The legendary beast of the North Winds charged at Purugly with icy mist pouring from its mouth. It came at Purugly from behind and chomped the fat cat on its tail, causing it to cry out. Purugly’s tail suddenly became frozen in ice.
“Oh you’ll pay for that!” Mars shouted. “Purugly, use Slash!”
A very irate Purugly managed to free itself from Suicune’s jaws and whipped around, giving the beast a slash across its snout with its claws. The attack caused Suicune to roar in pain.
“Good, now use Thuder Bolt again!” Mars commanded.
Purugly shot another bolt of yellow electricity from its body, and this time the attack hit dead on. But in moments Suicune seemed to recover a bit from the attack.
“Quick Suicune, use Aurora Beam!” Misty commanded.
Before Purugly could make another move, Suicune roared and fired a beam of multicolored light from its mouth. The beam hit Purugly right in the face. Purugly staggered for a moment, meowing in a dazed stated before falling over on its side.
“Why you…!” an angry Mars said through gritted teeth with her fists balled in rage.
Suddenly the area was filled by a buzzing noise, causing a pause in the action. The black cables suddenly detached from the large Galactic Battery. In moments the air was filled by the sound of something that resembled a jet engine.
“What’s that noise?” Misty asked as she looked up at the sky.
“The battery finished charging.” Mars explained. “Which means it’s time for the pick up.”
Before long hovering in the air over the battery was a large grey airship with hovercraft wings. The bottom of the ship opened up and a large cable attached to a magnet dropped down and hooked to the battery. In that instant, Mars threw a smoke bomb, causing a cloud of white smoke to cover the area. Before the smoke cleared, the hovercraft flew away with the battery, and in that time Mars and the other members of Team Galactic and their Pokemon were gone.
“Riley, can you find where they went?” Misty asked.
“I can, but it would do no good.” Riley told her. “That craft of theirs is long gone with that battery. The only thing we can do now is clean up the mess Team Galactic left here.”
With that, the group went into the power plant and discovered the plant manager and his daughter tied up in the control room. Ash and the others quickly freed them and the other workers who were being held hostage in various parts of the building. With the Valley Windworks getting back into normal operations the group continued on their way to Eterna City.
“I wish we could’ve stopped Team Galactic from getting that battery.” Ash said as they walked away from the Windworks. “Who knows what they’re gonna do with it?”
“I’m sure this is just the beginning of their plans.” Riley assumed. “There’s something bigger coming.”
“What kind of world is Team Galactic trying to create?” Misty wondered.
“It’s hard to say. And it doesn’t look like many of the people in Team Galactic even know.” Riley answered. “You remember those two agents we encountered in Jubilife City, right? They were clueless about the ultimate goal of their organization. And it seems like they’re not the only ones. I’ve fought other members of Team Galactic and asked many of them just what it was they were trying to accomplish. It seemed like none of them knew just what they were fighting for.”
“Mars seemed to know.” Ash pointed out. “But she wasn’t willing to tell us.”
“Yes, it looks like that only the top leaders of Team Galactic know what the ultimate goal of their plan is.” Riley agreed. “But whatever this new world they plan to create is, I’m sure it isn’t good. We should be ready if we face them again in the future.”