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Pokemon Hazards: Chapter One
Pokemon Hazards
Chapter One

I'll try to do the other chapters in prose form.  I started this before I changed my mind about the format.  Sorry.


"What do you mean, 'They're gone'?  That's impossible!"

(Scene opens with Pokemon trainer Ash Ketchum staring, upset, at his companions, Misty and Brock, at Ash's home.  The only Pokemon present is Togepi, sitting on the nearby sofa)

Misty: What do you think it sounds like?  All the Pokemon are missing from their Pokeballs, and even Pikachu has disappeared!

Brock: (thinking) That's odd....How could they just plain DISAPPEAR from the Pokeballs?  That hasn't happened before!

Ash: I don't know.  Do you think maybe it's some scheme of Team Rocket's?  Of all people, they would probably know.

Brock: No.  If they HAD been doing it, they would've gone through their famous introduction sequence, first.  We know those people too well.

Misty: This is odd...

Ash: (frowns) I've got to get those Pokemon back, and soon!  I'm going to ask Mom if I can put an ad in the paper.  Someone's GOT to know what happened to Pikachu and the others!

Brock: While you're at it, you might want to ask Professor Oak or Officer Jenny to see what they can do about alerting the public about it.

Misty: I'll talk to Tracy.  Maybe he's seen something about this situation.

Ash: (nods) Good idea!

(As the three walk away, we see the 3 heads of Team Rocket watching them through the window.  Meowth is snickering softly.)

(Cut to the present-day Mansion of Little Tokyo.  Everything seems normal.  Cut to the main living area.  Curtis, the calico cat leader of the Super-Cats' Infinite Defense, has fallen asleep face-first in a bowl of jello.  [Okay, maybe it's not THAT normal.]  Aldonza [red-bateared fox mix] walks on by)

Aldonza: Curtis, wake up. (taps his arm) Hey, Curtis, wake up!  You're asleep in a bowl of strawberry Jello!

(Curtis lifts his head.  He has what looks like to be black spirals in front of his eyes and a tic-tac-toe board on the right side of his face.  Shaking off the spirals, he stares down at the bowl of Jello)

Curtis: (sighs) There's no place to go after you've reached the top.

Aldonza: (not noticing the impromptu facial decoration) You crack me up sometimes, Curtis.

Curtis: (sarcastic) And that's no mean feat, considering how outgoing you are.

Aldonza: (ignores him) I'm going to work my morning job at the Cats' pizza parlor.  See you later.

(As Aldonza walks away, what appears to be a ball of cream with feet and huge eyes follows her towards the door.  Abruptly, it turns around and heads into the hallway, squeaking angrily to itself the entire time.  Curtis's whiskers tingle with shock.)

Curtis: (murmurs; feels his face) I think that little guy didn't appreciate that ovation.

(Later in the day, Curtis [minus the tic-tac-toe board] is sitting in the stands of what looks to be a basketball gym and tennis court rolled into one.  He is watching Aldonza, her friend Zapana Zquor [timber wolf], Daniel Melika [bengal tabby], an older cream tabby, a long-haired tabby, and a gray fox play 3-on-3 basketball against each other.  All are wearing athletic attire)

Aldonza: (fakes out the gray fox) Hey, Zapana!  Catch!

(Aldonza passes the ball to Zapana, who then passes to Daniel.  The bengal tabby bolts around the cream tabby)

Curtis: (shouts) ALDONZA!  JUMP!

(Aldonza does so.  Daniel spots this and passes the ball to her.  The fox catches it, and promptly rams it through the hoop.  Aldonza falls back to the floor, ignoring the bouncing ball as the long-hair catches up with it and inbounds it)

(At this moment, what looks to be a yellow rodent with black-tipped ears and a jagged tail dashes quickly past Curtis's field of vision)

Curtis: (blinks) Huh?  What was that?

(However, try as he might, Curtis doesn't see it again)

Curtis: (shakes his head) Wow.  Strange is an understatement.

(A number of minutes later, the basketball game ends.  The cream tabby, the longhair, and the gray fox all walk over to Curtis, panting.  They pull themselves up onto the bleachers next to him)

Cream tabby: (gasps for breath) Curtis, I just can't take it anymore!  Aldonza, Daniel, and Zapana are just too fast for me!

Longhair: (wheezing) Ditto.

Gray fox: (panting) I second that emotion.

Curtis: (looks at the cream tabby) Sharpei, you shouldn't expect too much of yourself.  Your muscles are starting to fail on you as you start to decline into old age, human-wise.

Sharpei: (panting) I know!  I know!  I wanted to play because I thought it'd be good exercise!

Curtis: You just need to remember: Aldonza, Zapana, and Daniel are all decades younger than you.  They still have that youthful vitality, which you don't. (looks at the longhair) Marie, what about you?

Marie: (catches her breath, and sits back) I didn't expect Aldonza to be this good.

Curtis: (smirks) She's the all-time ladies scoring and blocked shots champ at UNLV.  What'd you expect, someone with less points than her?  Like say, maybe, Cheryl Miller?

Marie: Cheryl Miller's better than her.  I just don't like to say otherwise.  Since Blazejowski has a better scoring record by at least a hundred points, that's a given, too.

Curtis: (ignores her and looks at the gray fox) Dulcinea, you taught Aldonza all those moves, right?

Dulcinea: Yeah.  Why?  I'm just out of practice.

Curtis: (laughs) Yeah, right!  YOU?  Out of practice?  Give me a break! (stops laughing) Go on and take five.  Report back to me in an hour so we can get a volleyball game going. (mutters) Man, Sports Day is quite a hassle to manage....

(The 3 of them leave.  Aldonza breaks from her group and walks over to him, flying into the seats when she reaches the two-meter mark)

Curtis: Hi, Aldonza.  I'd like to ask you something.

Aldonza: (wiping her brow) Sure, kid.  What's on your mind?

Curtis: Did you happen to notice anything....unusual earlier?

Aldonza: (wrapping her tail around herself) Like what?  Empress Frieda throwing grenades at the Mansion?  I did notice a dent or two in the Ultra-Security shield earlier....

Curtis: Knowing how much she hates my attitude towards Little Tokyo royalty, that's to be expected.  I'm talking about something really STRANGE.

Aldonza: (annoyed) The line has been dropped into Lake Superior, but the rainbow trout isn't biting.

Curtis: (hisses) Probably because the bait wasn't good enough.  While I was eating Jello earlier, I saw something small and round, pinkish-white, with small feet run towards the kitchen, and then double-back out of the way long enough to sing me to sleep.  And just a minute ago, I saw a yellow animal with black-tipped ears and a jagged tail run super-quick across my line of sight.

Aldonza: I didn't see anything. (unwraps her tail) Of course, my back WAS turned.

Curtis: Still....judging from what I've seen, and from that one show you watch everyday....(eyes widen)....That's it!

Aldonza: (edges closer to him) I think you've chosen the correct bait....

Curtis: (clenches his fists) We have a Pokemon Hazard in effect.

(Aldonza's ears perk up, and her eyes narrow)

Aldonza: (draws away from him) I do NOT believe you.

Curtis: Look, I know how much you like that show, and I know that YOU believe that they are not real, but I really do think they are.  Sound confusing?  (growls) Okay, then.  Let me put in English: POKEMON EXIST.  Good enough for you, Nancy?

Aldonza: (laughs at him) It's all just a figment of your wild imagination.  

(With the brilliance of a thousand light bulbs, Curtis's vision suddenly turns bright white as he feels a loud, burning shock pulsating through him.  After about 12 seconds, it dies down, and his vision returns to normal)

(Curtis looks down at himself.  His fur is now standing out in a thousand directions, scourched black.  On top of that, he is feeling major pain.  Several of the basketball players currently on the court are looking at him, startled)

Curtis: THIS is a figment of my wild imagination?

Aldonza: (cringes) Uh....I stand corrected. (starts backing away, slowly) I think I'll head for the pool.  See you later. (snarls) And could please try not to call me by my middle name?  That really bothers me.

(Curtis stares at her as she walks away)

Curtis: Strange, I would've thought that SHE would listen to me. (shrugs) Oh, well.

(Aldonza exits through the gym doors, and enters through another door seconds later.  Sharpei is already there, relaxing her aging muscles in the pool.  The pool is not quite Olympian-size lengthwise, but getting there; and it is 8 feet deep, with water filling it up to the 5-foot mark.  On one side of the pool is a set of bleachers that stretch the length of the room.  The light reflecting off the walls gives them a blueish hue.  Aldonza sits down near the pool)

Aldonza: I thought you were going to go down to the party store for some ice cream.

Sharpei: (growls) I can't.  There's a huge blockade sitting in front of the front door.  I don't know how it got there, but I'm not all that willing to argue.

Aldonza: (puzzled) Why don't you just use your powers and blast your way through?

Sharpei: (shakes her head) No can do.  My sonic effects and persuasion powers have no effect on that thing.  I even tried the old-fashioned method of pushing it out of the way, but it won't budge.  As if I had enough strength left, anyway...

Aldonza: (staring at the water) I don't why, but don't you think the water level seems higher than usual?

Sharpei: No, I----(pauses, and stares at the water) Come to think of it, it does seem a foot or two higher than it was before.  It's usually at about 5 feet deep, but now it looks more like 7 feet deep. (shrugs) I'm not going to worry about it.  I've got things to do.

(Sharpei climbs out of the pool and shakes the water out of her fur)

Sharpei: I'm going to head upstairs and see if I can convince Wildcat to let me use the teleportation system to get me out of here.  See you in a bit.

(Exit Sharpei.  Just before Aldonza is able to climb into the water, though, she is interrupted.  The voice of Mu 2, the Mansion's supercomputer, erupts over a speaker behind the bleachers.)

Mu 2: Hey, Aldonza!  Your show starts in 5 minutes!  Stop lolli-gagging and get up here!

Aldonza: (barks) What would YOU know about my favorite show, you hunk of microchips?

Mu 2: (chuckles) I know that your favorite show is called "Pokemon"!  Don't think I've been monitoring everyone else since I was built, Aldonza.  I have cameras all over the place!  I know everything that goes on inside the Mansion, and even a little outside the place, too!  Get up here, Vader Tail, or you'll miss the intro!

Aldonza: (groans) Oh, all right.  I'll be there, but don't criticize me on the way out.  And STOP calling me "Vader Tail". (mutters) This has not been my day.

(There is a brief flash of light as Aldonza jumps to lightspeed.  Cut over to the other end of the pool.  Ash's Totodile is staring at the spot where Aldonza just was, looking thoughtful....or, rather, as thoughtful as a dancing Totodile can get.)

(An hour passes.  Sharpei is seen heading up the stairs towards the third floor.  She reaches the top----and nearly stumbles into Curtis, his paws full with a box of doughnuts.)

Sharpei: (staring at the doughnuts; grins) Hey, Curtis, guess who I found wandering around! (snaps her fingers)

(At that moment, Ash's Pikachu jumps out of nowhere and begins charging a Thundershock attack)

Pikachu: Pika......

(Curtis, thinking quickly, quick-draws his iceinator and fires.  The blast freezes both Pikachu and Sharpei.  The electric charge causes the ice to explode, but chars them both to a medium-crisp.)

Pikachu: (dazed) ....chu?

Sharpei: (snarls) Now I know why you keep that iceinator around.

Curtis: (nods; smug) My thanks to Jason McCallough.  Keep in mind, Sharpei: these doughnuts are MINE, and nothing, not even an electric rodent, will keep me from having them.

(Pikachu, suddenly sensing where he is, shakes his head to clear his mind.  That done, he fires off a quick Thunderbolt attack at Sharpei and dashes off.)

Sharpei: (fur standing on end; charred black) Thunder-blast it.

Curtis: Bye. (walks away)

Pikachu: (from the far end of the floor) <---THAT was rather pointless.--->

(Cut to that night.  Everything seems peaceful.  Aldonza is sitting on the edge of the balcony on the second floor with her tail hanging down below, a glass of fruit juice in one hand and a cell phone in the other.)

Aldonza: (speaking into cell phone) Yes, Mom, I'm perfectly aware of what I'm doing. (pauses) Look.  I'm a grown fox.  I can take care of myself, okay? (pauses) I understand that you're worried, but still....(pauses) Please, Mom.  I know what I'm doing, and I always watch my tail....**RRRGGHH**....and I will always be sure to....***RRRGH***...

(Aldonza glances downward with a pained expression on her face.  Directly below her is Ash's Kingler, and it has her tail shut in one of its huge pincers)

Aldonza: (laughs nervously) Nothing, Mom.  A Kingler had a hold on my tail, that's all. (pauses) It's basically a really, really, REALLY huge crab with very huge claws....(pauses)....Are you saying that just to stop talking to me? (pauses) Oh, okay.  I understand.  G'night, mom. Call you tomorrow. (switches off the cell phone)

(Aldonza sets the cellphone down, gulps down the fruit juice, and glares down at the Kingler)

Aldonza: (angrily) Let go of my tail.

Kingler: (clicks) <---You said you always watched your tail, didn't you?--->

Aldonza: (angrily) That was NOT what I meant!  Let go, or----(pauses; stops to think) Hey, wait a second.  What am I doing talking to you?  I mean, I actually understand what you're saying!

Kingler: (clicks; releases her tail) <---Not very many do.  Probably something to do with that show you like that Bayleef told me about.--->

(Aldonza is about to retort, but she then pauses to reflect on what Kingler just said.)

Aldonza: Wait a second.  There's a Bayleef here, too?

Kingler: (clicks) <---Basically all the Pokemon that belong to my trainer.--->

Aldonza: (looks out the corners of her eyes, then refocuses on Kingler) You'd better hide somewhere, Kingler.  Curtis and the others might get suspicious if they see you.  One of my friends already tried to use Pikachu to get something to eat.

Kingler: (clicks) <---Whatever.---> (walks sideways into the bushes and disappears)

Aldonza: (calls after it) You have a mean sense of humor, you know that?

(No response.  Aldonza yawns and stretches, then takes her cell phone and empty glass and walks back inside.  She walks downstairs and into the living room, hoping to catch something good on television.  She takes the remote and flicks on the television, then collapses against one of the five sofas in the massive living room.)

TV: ....this is Channel 8 news, reporting.  This morning, the friends of one Ash Ketchum and his companions were reported to have disappeared.  They were last seen with three people by the names of Jessie, James, and Meowth.  If you have information on their whereabouts, please contact the Channel 8 news desk or the Viridian City police department.  Back to you, Larry.....This afternoon, the Little Tokyo baseball team beat the Prisoner Island Extras in an exhibition match----

(The tv clicks back off.  Camera refocuses on Aldonza.  Her eyes are glowing softly, and she has a snarl on her face.  Getting up off the sofa, she heads into the foyer adjacent to the living room, and stops in front of an elevator.  Stepping in, she goes down into the sub-sub-basement several hundred feet below the surface of the earth: the Super-Cats' battle arena, which is the size of a standard suburban block.  Leaning against a wall, she takes out her cell phone and dials a number.)

(Cut to a giant laboratory.  A silver tabby cat in a black flannel shirt, jeans, and jacket is sitting at a microscope, looking rather dreary.  A nearby phone rings.  The cat gets up and answers it.)

Cat: Hello?

(We get a split-screen effect of the two talking to each other)

Aldonza: (surprised) Atom Cat!  Don't you ever sleep?

Atom Cat: (growls) I was about to ask you the same question.  Guru Lou fell asleep a few hours ago and left me in charge of the lab.  What about you?

Aldonza: Well, I was talking to my mom like I've been doing since Chaos Kitten struck the city, then went downstairs to watch the news.  Of course, in-between the two, my tail got caught in a pinch, but that's not important.

Atom Cat: Well, then, what is?

Aldonza: I've just heard a news report.  A little over a dozen Pokemon were stolen over in the town of Pallet, and they somehow materialized over here.  I may need your help figuring out how to transport them back.

(There is a 5-second pause.  Suddenly, Aldonza yanks the phone away from her ear as Atom Cat bursts out laughing)

Atom Cat: (laughs) POKEMON?!  Aldonza, that show's gone to your head!  The next thing you know, you'll be getting swatted by Vine Whips! (breaks in hysterics)

Aldonza: (barks) I'm gonna swat YOU with my tail if you don't shut up, you natural geek!

Atom Cat: (laughing) Pi-pikachu! (snickers) Thundershock, now! (laughs)

(Snarling, Aldonza jumps to lightspeed.  15 seconds later, she materializes in the laboratory and belts Atom Cat upside the head with her tail, successfully shutting him up)

Atom Cat: (rubbing his head; clears his throat)  So, what is it you need again?

Aldonza: Like I said: something to put them in.  For one, they're too numerous.  Secondly, a couple of them I can't carry myself.

Atom Cat: (an eyebrow raises) Basically, you need Pokeballs.

Aldonza: (shrugs) Um....yeah.  Whatever.  I'm assuming you and Lou have that technology.

Atom Cat: (growls to himself) Alright.  I'll see what I can come up with.  In the meantime, try to make sure that as few of the guys at the Mansion as possible see them, ok?

Aldonza: Too late.  Sharpei convinced Pikachu to help her attempt to steal one of Curtis's countless snacks.  The attempt didn't work, but she knows who to go to if she wants free food.

Atom Cat: (thinks) Hmm....she could be a problem.  

Aldonza: Well, she WAS evil before she joined us.  This would be a very bad time for her to suffer a relapse. (yawns) I'm heading on back.  You work on that stuff for me, 'kay?

Atom Cat: (yawns) Night, Aldonza.  I'll get cracking on this first thing in the morning.  I promise.

(Aldonza again jumps to lightspeed, this time reappearing in her quarters inside the Mansion.  She puts her cell phone away and throws herself on her bed, exhausted.)

(Cut to the next day, in the late morning.  Gray clouds have appeared overhead and are dousing Little Tokyo with a light shower.  Cut to inside the Mansion.  Aldonza is on the cell phone again.  After she starts speaking, we get a split-screen effect of her talking to Francine, manager of the Pizza Cats pizzeria.)

Aldonza: Hi, Fran.  It's me.

Francine: (snaps) Aldonza, why aren't you at work yet?

Aldonza: (sighs) See, Francine, it's like this----

Francine: (interrupts) This had better not have anything to do with your so-called "archaeological dig" that you went to while Curtis was trapped on Robotnik's Satellite!  If it is, (yells) I'LL DOCK YOUR PAY SO HARD THAT YOUR GREAT-GRANDKIDS WON'T BE GOING TO COLLEGE!

Aldonza: (nervously) For crying out loud, Francine, calm down!  First off, that was so my former crime-fighting partner Socwrath could net the Tornado Gems and throw Doc Ivy E-Mash in the slammer.  Secondly, you're worse than Polly!  Just give me a few minutes so I can explain, okay?

(Francine takes a few moments to get her temper under control)

Aldonza: It's like this.  I am going on a HUGE trip right after Lou and Atom Cat finish up a few things for me.  In the meantime, I'm packing up.  I'm not really too sure when I'm going to be back, so maybe you can ask Carlos or Salty to pick up the slack.

Francine: (nods) Carlos is a no-go because of his busy schedule, but Salty I can contact.  Where are you going?

Aldonza: (whispers inaudibly) Pallet Town.

Francine: (perks up) Huh?  Forgive me for asking this if you dare, but what's over there?

Aldonza: Something big happened a few nights ago.  I'm not sure exactly what, but now I've got my paws full with a package full of Pokemon.  I've been asked to deliver them back to their rightful owners.

Francine: (snickers) Better than a freight train full of Persians, huh?  Okay, I'll accept your excuse THIS time, but you better be prepared to handle a 30% pay cut.

Aldonza: Just as well; Curtis is paying me too, anyway.  I'm surprised that you even believe that Pallet Town is real.

Francine: (laughs) You'd be surprised.  While you were at that so-called "dig", I attended a seminar in Celadon City for business managers.

Aldonza: Cool.  I'll be back in Little Tokyo as soon as my mission is complete.

Francine: (chuckling) Don't you really worry about all of that.  If you decided to leave a while longer, I wouldn't be surprised if you went on a journey of your own!  Go on, Aldonza!  Get lost, and catch me a Meowth while you're at it!

Aldonza: See you. (hangs up)

(The split-screen disappears.  Aldonza turns to a duffel bag, which is half-full of supplies already.  Pikachu's head abruptly pops out of it)

Pikachu: <---Your boss must like money a lot; I could hear her screaming.--->

Aldonza: Honestly, you have no idea.  You better stay hidden until we can leave, Pikachu.

Pikachu: <---I'm not worried about myself.  It's Ash I'm worried about.--->

Aldonza: (nods her head sadly) Yes.  I'll be ready to go as soon as my scientist finishes those Pokeballs he told me about.

(Just then, Ash's Totodile and Cyndaquil run on by.  Totodile has a TV Guide in his mouth, and Cyndaquil is trying to get ahead of Totodile.  Giving chase is Shila, a gray tabby cat.)


Aldonza: (nervous; sweatdrops) On second thought, Pikachu, forget what I just said about being hidden.

Pikachu: (ears twitch) <---Who was THAT?--->

Aldonza: (sighs) That was Shila Jameson.  She disliked Pokemon often enough as a television show; she hates them even more now that their existence has been proven true.

Pikachu: (nods) <---I see.  So, what do you want us to do?--->

Aldonza: (thinks) As soon as we're ready to go, grab everyone else, find Muk and Kingler, and meet me underneath the Mansion's balcony.

Pikachu: (nods, and smiles) <---Any chance you could bring me a cheeseburger for lunch?--->

Aldonza: For the ketchup value, right?

Pikachu: (thinks) <---Um...yes.  How'd you know?--->

(Aldonza grins, and points a paw behind her at her television)

Pikachu: (to himself) <---Dumb question.--->

(Curtis walks into Aldonza's quarters, a puzzled expression on his reddened face.  He glances warily at Pikachu, then faces Aldonza)

Curtis: Aldonza, something happened to the bananas I was storing on top of one of the refrigerators.

Aldonza: (feigning innocence) Please explain.

Curtis: (holds up a few tan and red feathers) I found these scattered around.  Did one of these new friends of yours steal my food?

Aldonza: (giggles nervously) I warned you this morning that Noctowl was crafty enough to take what he wants to eat.

Curtis: (growls) On top of that, a few minutes ago, I got smacked with a vine by a plant-look-alike hiding in the bushes outside.  I usually don't say stuff like this, but that hurt.

Aldonza: (embarassed) condolences?

Curtis: (raises an eyebrow) Right now, I feel like taking somebody's thunder. (glances at Pikachu) No pun intended. (faces Aldonza) Do you mind if I rifle through your duffel bag and take some oranges?

Aldonza: (flatly) Yes, I do mind.

(Curtis ignores her and reaches into the bag next to Pikachu.  He pulls out 3 oranges, goes into supersonic mode and shreds the skin, and then devours what's inside)

Curtis: Thanks.  That ought to hold me until lunch.  

Aldonza: (shakes her head) Now I know how Misty feels whenever Psyduck gets on her nerves.

(As Curtis walks away....)

Pikachu: <---You never told me you guys could do that.--->

Aldonza: You never asked.

(Pikachu sighs, annoyed.)

Pikachu: <---Just thought I'd make something clear: I don't plan on getting into your so-called Temp Balls, as your scientific friend calls it.--->

Aldonza: You're going to have to, Pikachu.

Pikachu: (angry) <---I should say not!  Why should I?  You're certainly not my trainer!--->

Aldonza: The whole city and the surrounding area heard about that theft.  If they see you walking alongside me or sitting on my head, they'll think that I stole you.  That wouldn't look too good for my track record either way.

Pikachu: (still mad, but slightly calmer) <---Fine, but you let me out the INSTANT you see Ash.  If you don't, I'll break out and show you what a Thunder attack feels like.--->

Aldonza: (nervously) There's no need for threats, Pikachu.  You have my word.

Pikachu: (snarls) <---As if your word held any value.--->

Aldonza: (growls) Look.  You want that ketchup, or not?

(Pikachu abruptly stops chattering, sits up straight, and stares at her)

Aldonza: (nods) I'll be cooking up lunch downstairs in the kitchen.  You know where to go if you need me, but stay away from Sharpei.

(Aldonza walks out the door.  Pikachu stares after her.)

Pikachu: (thoughtful) <---What kind of creature are you, anyway?--->

(Some time passes.  Aldonza, Wildcat, and Shila are sitting in front of the television in Aldonza's quarters, watching Cartoon Network's "Toonami" programs.  Pikachu is asleep on top of Aldonza's duffel bag, with Noctowl and Bulbasaur half-asleep right behind him.)

(Zero in on Aldonza's cell phone, which is sitting directly behind Pikachu.  It rings unexpectedly, startling the rodent awake.  Looking about him, he finally eyes the phone, then turns towards Aldonza)

Pikachu: <---Hey, Aldonza, your phone's rin----->

Wildcat: (yells at the TV) YEAH!  BLAST HIM, VEGETA!


(Greatly annoyed, Pikachu fires off a Thundershock, which jolts Aldonza away from the loud interruptions.  The phone's still ringing.)

Pikachu: (annoyed) <---Get over here, Aldonza!  Your phone's ringing!--->

(Aldonza walks to the phone, stumbling a little from the Thundershock attack, and presses a button)

Aldonza: Hello?

(Atom Cat's voice can be heard faintly)

Aldonza: You got the Temp Balls done?  Good.  Can you send them over, or should I drop by and pick them up?

(Noctowl and Bulbasaur's eyes open.  Atom Cat can be heard once more)

Aldonza: Alright, here's a quick run-down of all the Pokemon I need transported: Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Bayleef, Totodile, Cyndaquil, Noctowl, Snorlax----



Aldonza: (turns around and yells) Phone conversation in progress!  (howls) PLEASE BE QUIET!!!

(Curtis and Shila glance at her nervously, then continue watching the program.  Both of them are noticeably quieter than before)

Aldonza: (sighs; annoyed) Nothing.  That was just Curtis and Shila watching DBZ.  Anyways, you got that written down?  Good.  Here's the rest.....

(Aldonza names off the Pokemon that were teleported to the Mansion, then pauses)

Aldonza: All right.  I'll be there at 8:00 tonight, and I'll be leaving first thing in the morning.  Okay?  Bye. (turns off the phone)

Curtis: (nervously) Are you done on the phone, Aldonza?

Aldonza: (nods) Yeah, I'm done.  Sorry about that outburst.


(Aldonza turns away from them and sits down on the bed, staring seemingly at nothing)

Pikachu: <---Something wrong?--->

Aldonza: Nothing.  I'm just a little nervous.

Noctowl: <---What is there to be nervous about?--->

Aldonza: (sighs) Up until yesterday, I had believed that Pokemon only existed in television shows and video games.  The fact that I've actually met some is a major turning point in my life for me.  I'm not actually sure what to do from now on.

Pikachu: <---You seem to have the qualities that a Pokemon trainer would possess.  You should consider becoming one.--->

Aldonza: (laughs halfheartedly) Thanks, but I doubt I'd be able to become one due to my schedule.  I cook food, I dig up relics, I fight crime around the planet, I sing----how am I supposed to juggle all that and a half-dozen Pokemon at the same time?  I'm 10 years too old to start, anyway.

(Pikachu's ears twitch.  The trio of Pokemon turn their heads towards a shadow on the far wall)

Voice: Make room on your schedule, and don't let age get in your way.

(Aldonza jumps up, then settles back down)

Aldonza: (perturbed) Ambush Cat, I wish you wouldn't do that.

(The Black Maine Coon prowler seemingly fades out of the wall and strolls calmly up to the 3 Pokemon)

A.C.: This is something you're going to have to accept, Aldonza.

Aldonza: (growls) Why?

A.C.: I just got done watching the news a half-hour ago.  While you were showering, I borrowed your cell phone and placed a call to the Viridian City police department.  I told them in no uncertain terms that you would be delivering Ash's Pokemon to him personally.....(scratches his back with a hind foot) Blasted fleas....

Aldonza: (irritated) Your point being, shadow cat?

A.C.: After that, I placed a direct call to....get ready....Professor Oak of Pallet Town.  I asked him to construct a quick personality test so that he could prepare your first Pokemon.

Aldonza: (barks) YOU WHAT?

A.C.: (grins) I knew you'd appreciate the idea.

Aldonza: (snaps, turning Curtis's head) What I do with my life is none of your business, you rotten fleabag!  I'll do what I need to do, and nothing else!

(Curtis gets up as his program ends and shuts off the television.  Shila gets up with him and joins him as they walk towards them)

A.C.: (chuckles) Au contraire, Aldonza Karate.  Your life IS my business, and so is everyone else's in this town.  Besides, if I remember your conversation with Frannie correctly, she wants you to catch her a Meowth.  How else do you propose to do that....(grin becomes wider)....if you don't become a trainer?

Aldonza: (groans) I didn't think she was serious.

A.C.: (laughs) Whatever Francine says goes.

Curtis: Yeah.  Francine will do anything for money except kill.  You really should comply with this request.

A.C.: Besides, with Team Rocket involved, anything is due to happen.

Aldonza: (wary) Hold on a sec.  You KNOW about Team Rocket?

Shila: While you were on that archaeological assignment, the Rad-Cats and I had a run-in with a group of Rocket grunts and a no-nonsense fatale codenamed "The Black Tulip" out on the southwestern coast of this island; they were doing some inspecting before establishing a major base.  We carved each other up pretty good before reinforcements forced them to flee.

A.C.: Put simply, these guys are not to be underestimated.  With all due respect to S.I.D.'s moral code, I think that obtaining some Pokemon might be the key to T.R.'s downfall.  They've given S.I.D. some trouble over the last few years, and I've actually been Hyper Fanged on more than one occasion.  That reminds me: the Rocket trio that you know as Jessie, James, and...... (emphasizing the next word)...MEOWTH were the ones that misdirected Ash's Pokemon over here. (snickers)

Aldonza: (to herself) Everyone knows about it now....

Curtis: (smiles; pats her shoulder) Come on, Aldonza.  My stomach's protesting, and this'll be the last meal I'll be getting out of your culinary skills for a while.

Aldonza: (snarls; half-chuckles) Always thinking with your hunger instead of your head. (gets up and walks away, with Curtis and Shila following)

A.C.: (to Pikachu) And I thought YOUR trainer was touched in the head.

(The shadow cat turns tail and dashes away)

Bulbasaur: <---We have ourselves some strange people over here.--->

Noctowl: <---Tell us something we don't already know!--->

(Cut to that evening.  Cut to HQ's courtyard.  It is a large, rectangular room set within Headquarters itself.  The half meter-thick glass ceiling gives the patrons a clear view of the sky above.  The courtyard is one-quarter grass, two-quarters ceramic tile, and one-quarter pond.  A glass table and 4 lawn and beach chairs are arranged on the tile.  Aldonza is sitting on one of the beach chairs, turning a gray-shaded Temp Ball in her paw)

Aldonza: (to herself) "These can carry a Pokemon for up to 2 weeks at a time.  When that time period is up, they expel the Pokemon and shut themselves down.  They can't be used for up to 5 days after that."  I hope Atom Cat and Lou knew what they were doing when they built these things....

(A door opens on the far side of the courtyard, three stories up.  Aldonza's friend, Zapana, walks through and descends the stairs to the courtyard, whistling a tune.  She sits down next to Aldonza, catching her attention)

Zapana: Hey.  What's up?

Aldonza: (stares at the Temp Ball) Zapana.....

Zapana: (cringes) There's something I don't like about your tone of voice.

Aldonza: I know.  I have the feeling I'll be gone for a while, so I'm going to have to ask you to keep everyone else away from my anime collection.

Zapana: That bad, huh?  How long do you think I'll be gone?

Aldonza: I haven't totally made up my mind about this whole "Pokemon trainer" deal.  If I can get Ash's Pokemon delivered, I'll only be gone a week or two.  If I DO become a trainer, I could be gone for years at a time.

Zapana: (chuckles) Francine's not going to be too happy.

Aldonza: Well, I've already talked to her.  She said I could go as long as I accept a 30% cut in my paycheck when I return.

Zapana: (laughs) I believe you.  Trust me; no one will lay a hand on your tapes as long as I'M around.

Aldonza: The point is that this whole Team Rocket thing is dangerous, even for us; Ambush Cat should know.  Even if I DO get Ash's friends back in his hands, I fear what TR's going to think once they find out.  I may have to stay even longer if I-------

Zapana: (sighs) Point, shmoint; it's already been made, Aldonza.  Listen to me: I know it's a lot coming out of me, but I'm really going to miss you.

Aldonza: (smiles) Ditto. (winks) Don't worry; I'll be back.  Count on it.

(Aldonza gets up to go)

Zapana: If you do become a trainer, could you do me a favor?

Aldonza: Sure.  What is it?

Zapana: If you happen to find an Eevee, could you use a Fire Stone on it and send him over to me?

Aldonza: (laughs) I have the feeling I'll be doing a lot of that....thanks.  I'll try.  See you in the future.

(Aldonza goes up the stairs and walks through the door.  Zapana, meanwhile, leans back in the other beach chair and stares at the sky.  A solitary tear rolls down her face.)

Zapana: (sadly) Saying good-bye is never this easy.....

(Cut to the next morning, outside the HQ's front door.  Aldonza is holding the same Temp Ball in her hand.  When she activates it, Ash's Cyndaquil disappears inside of it in a flash of red light)

Aldonza: (to herself) There.  That's the last one.  Hang on, Ash; here I come!

(Aldonza turns to a nearby duffel bag, opens it up, and sets the Ball inside with all the others.  Closing the bag, she reaches into a hip pouch and pulls out a CD Player with headphones and slips the 'phones over her ears.  As she adjusts the duffel bag on her shoulders and attaches the CD Player to a sleeve, a wild grin appears on her face.  That done, her long tail starts spinning rapidly, lifting her into the air.  With a final howl, the fox shoots over the horizon and disappears.)

(Cut to inside HQ.  Curtis and Ambush Cat are watching Aldonza leave.  The calico cat turns to A.C.)

Curtis: (strict) I've given you the path that Aldonza is taking to reach the Johto-Kanto island continent.  All you have to do is trail her and make sure no one tries to take her down.

A.C.: (snickers) Trust me, kid.  Trailing is one of the things I'm GOOD at.

(Ambush Cat dashes out the door at full speed, following Aldonza as fast as his four paws can carry him.  The stocky feline barrels past several Little Tokyo citizens as he runs, then begins picking up speed until he seemingly dematerializes and disappears from view)

Curtis: (to no one in particular) And so it begins.  Return safely, you two.....

(As he turns around and leaves the window, he fails to see the round, squeaky ball that is Jigglypuff strolling back towards home)

(Slow fade to black)



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