Project AIF1
Chapter 1: Dinner Danger

"Sir - Project AIF1 is finished."

A rare smile replaced the man's usual smirk. "Good. Let's send it for a test run."
The woman in front of him gulped. "Yes sir. Where shall I send it?"

His fingers rested over a keyboard, one hand hovered over the mouse and moved it. He browsed the pages of last year's Pokémon League Top 16 lazily, then he stopped on page 5.

"Send it after Ash Ketchum and his friends. They've foiled Jessie and James' plans a few too many times."

The woman blinked, not knowing of Jessie and James' several times failed capture attempts. Herself, she had stolen several Pokémon over the years. "Yes sir. At once." With that, she turned to leave.

"Natalia?"
The owner of that name stopped and 180'd.
"Stop calling me sir."
"Yes sir. Ooops, I mean -"
The man laughed. "Go."

Natalia left obediently, still puzzled over her boss' strange behavior. Then again, she thought, this is Giovanni we're talking about.

* * *

"Arrgh!" yawned Ash Ketchum, stetching out over a rock, and almost falling on top of Misty, who was leaning on the other side of it. Misty raised an eyebrow with an exasperated look, and shoved the boy back the other way, earning a "Pika pi." from Ash's Pikachu.
Brock took one look at the group up from his cooking and sweatdropped. "C'mon you guys, do you have to start fighting now?"
"Yes." they said together. Brock's sweatdrop grew larger.
"We've almost had a perfect day today, for once Gary didn't tease you about your Pokémon-"

"That's true," Ash agreed, smiling. They'd run into Gary that afternoon, and he didn't gloat when Ash proudly but cautiously displayed his badges. Quite the opposite, he'd congradulated Ash on his success and had actually confessed to not getting his Fog Badge yet.
Brock sighed, he could tell he was going to be interrupted with each new point. "Look, can you please not fight?"
The pair smiled sweetly, each holding their respective Pokémon over the other's head. "We're not fighting."
A collective sigh arose from Brock, Pikachu, and Togepi's mouths. Suddenly, Pikachu pricked up an ear.

"Pika pi."
"What is it, Pikachu? You hear somethin'?" Ash asked anxiously. Pikachu had been getting better and better at predicting danger lately.
"Toge, priiii!"
"Is it Team Rocket?"
Pikachu sniffed the air carefully. "Pika?" it questioned, its nose wrinkled.
"Whaja smell?"
Pikachu ran to Ash's dropped backpack, unzipped it and started rummaging through the contents. Not finding anything worthy enough, it instead darted to Brock's more-than-adequately prepared portable picnic table and removed a fork.
"Metal?"
Pikachu nodded vigorously.
"Weird." Brock commented, with a quizzical look on his face. "It's probably nothing."
Ash glanced at Pikachu, who was still looking fairly worried. "Well, we'd better check just in case." He casually selected a Poké Ball and threw it into the trees. "Noctowl! Search for danger, OKay?"
Noctowl hooted gently, and obediently flew into the bushes.

FLASH

"NOOOOC!"
"NOCTOWL!" Ash instinctively abandoned his food and did a Roadrunner.
"Pika pi!" Pikachu did likewise.
"Ash, wait up!" Naturally, Misty grabbed her bag and ran after them.
Brock looked up and blinked. "What do you know. They left without me again. Oh well, if I go too, my dinner will get cold." He shrugged and carried on eating, then remembered Togepi and shifted a few seats over to feed it.

"Noctowl.." With tears in his eyes, Ash ran to the center of the clearing and picked up Noctowl's still body. Pikachu felt the side of its wing for a pulse.
"Pika, pika pikachu."
Misty breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank Suicune."
Ash looked up. In front of him was an eerie young woman, with a cloud of red hair and unfocused blue eyes.
"Did you do this to my Noctowl?" he demanded, with angry eyes and wet cheeks. The girl stayed silent.
"Answer his question!" Misty yelled at her, for once actually sticking up for Ash. Slowly, she nodded.
Ash stood up. "Well, you're going to pay for what you did!" he shouted angrily. "Pikachu!"
"Pi, pikachu!" Pikachu replied, sliding in front of its trainer smoothly.
For the first time, the girl spoke. Hers was a cold voice, totally emotionless. "Machamp." Without a motion, one of the Poké Balls on her belt rose up and opened. Ash and Misty's eyes widened.
"PIKA!"
Effortlessly, the Machamp raised an arm and knocked Pikachu over, fainting it. All this with a fairly bored expression, a complete contrast to the shocked looks on the other trainers' faces. The shock was slowly replaced by a look of rage on Ash's face. The eleven-year-old was starting to see red. He reached for a Poké Ball -
"Ash!"
He turned with an annoyed expression. Misty looked back at him with a red face.
"You can't do this alone, especially when you're all mad like this. I'll help you."
Ash reluctantly nodded. Still, the strange trainer watched them with her emotionless, pale face.

A shadow moved over the pair. Misty yelped as Ash crumpled to the ground, Machamp towering over her. At one glance from the mysterious trainer, the Machamp 180'd and willingly went back into its ball. Misty glared at the girl angrily, tears starting to form in her eyes and looking a lot like Ash did a few minutes ago.
"Who are you?" she screamed. "Who are you? ANSWER ME!"
The girl paused. Misty continued to glare holes through her. "What is your name."
She thought about it a bit.
"Project AIF1."