Chapter sixty-six: Train to Verdigris, Part 1

Hours prior, not long after Anthony Preston's train left Saffron City…

The green military train arrived and picked up more members of Preston's group, using the latest technology to evade the authorities in the process. By now it was on its way to Viridian City at speeds unmatched for a locomotive.

Jennifer and I were oblivious that it wouldn't be long until we were in enemy territory once again. We were both now inside the train, wondering what the heck we were doing here…until I saw…

*Beep*

Jen had placed some sort of very small device on the side of the entrance to the tail section of the train…which is where Rk's men had put all their cargo in. For now, it was just the two of us, but I didn't like this one bit. Jennifer tied her natural red hair into a bun and took off her red jacket, tying it against her waist. The young adult unholstered her Pokéball containing Eev (the Eevee) in case a battle would commence shortly while I held onto her shoulder…holding onto my blue goggles.

"That should let the others know where we're going" Jen sighed.

"Hopefully…" I muttered.

I had wanted to stay put if this was the case, but Jennifer wanted to see if we could somehow sabotage the train and make it easier for the authorities to catch up.

I rolled my eyes…classic Jennifer Jenson: it seems like everyone I know likes to thrust headfirst into battle without any forethought. Even so, we began making our way through the cargo section. We had run into a grunt holding a tranquilizer gun and an idea formed in Jen's mind (a smirk soon creeped up her white face.) She whispered in my ear before I nodded, the human aimed her Pokéball at a spot behind the grunt and released her partner.

The grunt quickly looks back and aims their gun at the noise to see Eev (Eevee) growling at her. Just as the female is about to pull the trigger, I had jumped in…stunning them before the Normal-type finished with a headbutt to the stomach. The grunt groans, clutching her stomach before passing out and dropping the "gun."

Jen walks by and grabs it: making sure it's loaded before gesturing to Eev and I, "come on." The brown "fox" and I look at each other before I shrug.

"It seems like you've done this before…" Eev stated.

"I have, Orion and I am tired of it."

She giggled before running off to join her trainer once again.

We make it to the end of the car, and we see a steel door that is locked…so much for that. There seems to be a panel on the wall we can bypass. So, Jennifer tries to hack it but ends up getting shocked a few times from her failed attempts, "dang it!"

Finally, however, she inputs the correct wire, and the door finally opens before we quickly rush in…hiding behind some crates. There is a stationary Scannerbot above us in the middle of the room…trying to find intruders.

"Oh boy…" Jen mutters across from us, looking at us: Eev and I are hiding on the opposite side…waiting for her next command.

Jen can see the yellow light beams bouncing from one end of the car to the other. It's a predictable set of motions we can get through if we time it right. In front of us are numerous other crates we can run to if we're quick enough.

And so, Jen turns toward us again and nods softly, "not yet…"

Once the opportunity rises, she motions us to go, "now!" She whispered loudly. Eev and I sprang into action, scurrying across the floor and ending up at another set of crates not too far away. Jen does the same by the time the next cycle is reset, but she can't get to us…instead opting to hide on the other side of the train car. Now we can't see Jennifer, so we'll have to move forward on our own.

The Eevee looked to me for guidance and I sighed, the Scannerbot would be right above us the next time we would make a run for cover again. Then, an idea formed in my head and a slight grin creeped up my face, "let's use Quick-Attack."

She nodded, I knew she had that Move like me and we could bypass the machine and get to Jen much easier. And so, we got ourselves ready. I fall on all fours and focus forward as Eev joins in. On my signal we both use our moves and time slows around us with the exception of us both. We hastily made our way through just before the beams could touch us and alert the Grunts on the train. Once we're by the door, Jennifer is in our sight, just behind us. The twenty-three-year-old had an excited expression on her face and she soon joined our side after carefully sidestepping the Scannerbot's lasers. We should, in theory, be alright…it doesn't look like the machine can spot us by the door, which is good. And so, the girl trainer tries to decipher the codes again; however, it takes a while…a VERY long time in fact.

By the time Jen figured out how to open the metallic door, the train had stopped in Celadon City, but only for a few minutes. And, unknown to us, some of its new passengers were people we knew very well…

Even so, the door opened, and our group was welcomed by a long corridor: a red ceiling and red-carpet floor with wooden walls. We surveyed the landscape, but it was cut short when we heard murmuring down the hall! In haste, we looked for a room to hide in and we found an empty one. It was a stateroom/roomette with a view of the outside world. Jen decided to lock the door, brandishing her tranquilizer gun as we spread out inside the cabin.

From the other side we could hear the grunts passing through, ignoring us entirely before Jen sighed. She turned to us and said, "anyone opposed to us resting for a minute?"

Eev and I looked at each other and didn't object.

And so, we lay on the blue cushion seats and looked out at the fast-changing landscape outside the train. Sure enough, my curiosity got the better of me and I walked up and placed my paws against the windowsill.

From the small rectangular window, we could see the rapidly changing environment in the night sky. The snow that fell looked like bullets flying…it was pretty unsettling to see since if we have to evacuate, we'll end up in a snowstorm for sure. At that moment I wondered if we really were on our way to Verdigris…it must at least be a wintry desert by now from how much snow is outside. With how fast this locomotive is going, it won't be long 'till we reach the abandoned resort town (if that is, in fact, our destination.)

"Lucas…" I soon heard Eev say before I turn to her, "yeah?"

"Look at Jennifer."

I do, but I soon look back with a bit of confusion on my yellow-furred face.

The Eevee looked toward her trainer, who had her face pointed toward the door, "she might not show it, but she's terrified right now…about everything. You can talk to her."

I immediately understood what Eev was hinting I should do. I silently nodded and hopped off…heading to the red-jacket girl. She had tied her red hair into a ponytail again…I guess to pass the time or to fix it from the skirmishes we had earlier. We haven't exactly had a respite up until now.

She sensed me next to her and she looked down. I began, "how are you…holding up?" I asked in human speak, but she appeared a bit tense, "I'm fine."

"Jen…" I pressured her further until she finally realized what I was trying to do. The girl sighed and crouched a bit to be more eye level to me, "okay…you got me. I…I'm just wondering if…somehow…my decisions today won't somehow make everything worse, you know?"

"You're doing fine." I reassured. Soon, I gave my own piece to her, "listen…I made mistakes too…maybe not the same ones you have, but I believe you're doing the right thing. I trust you; you have my faith."

"I'm reckless, impulsive…I'm a rebel rouser…"

"Over the past few weeks, I've known people far more impulsive than you could ever be. Be that as it may…it doesn't matter. I'm here with you." I scoffed at myself as she eyed me silently in response, "you want to know why I haven't stopped you from doing all these crazy things to get back at Team Rocket? I realized that it's because I see the fire in your eyes…that I love to see, the passion…the drive…it's the Jennifer I know from Sinnoh. She came all this way from there to Kanto to rescue me, and to help me bring an end to all this. Being with you…with Eev…Rigel and Orion…all of us together…despite all the crazy stuff. I've realized that that is what makes me truly happy. And I want you to be happy, Jen…" I finished.

Eev watched, curled up in the seat across from us. She had the faintest smile on her face. The brown foxlike creature knew I had gotten through to Jennifer. The latter placed a hand against my cheek as I felt the warmth coming from it. I just had to smile back at her in the most wholesome way possible.

"We'll be alright" she had said.

Our moment, of course, had to be interrupted when we heard an alarm begin to blare above us and we all jumped out of our seats in quick response!

Team 6, report to car 27. There was an explosion. Repeat, Team 6 report to car 27.

Explosion? I thought to myself.

Unknown to all of us, the cause of the explosion was Cy's Arcanine, which had blown a hole in the train's hull so his group could escape. That's right, the same train Cy and his group had boarded was the same one we were on. Of course, we didn't know this, so we assumed it was the police attacking the military train thanks to Jennifer's beacon at the tail section.

Still, we had to think strategically. Jen and I began looking for a way out of the room via above or under the train to escape…just in case.

"They might go searching every room…damn it!" Jen cursed softly.

"Come on, let's get out of here" I suggested to the human.

Sure enough, plenty of voices can be heard passing through the other side of the door. We definitely shouldn't stay here.

There's a vent above big enough for Jennifer and us to fit through, so she went through the process of opening it with her tools. Shortly after, she ushered Eev in first and then she went in. After slipping through she called for me before I joined.

Inside the duct, there's enough space for us to move about; Jen figured I could cover our backs as Eev would guide us with her superior nose. The human re-sealed the vent, so no one would become suspicious if they came in.

And so, we slowly but surely made our way through. It was a painfully slow process. We stopped every now and then to look below some vents to see what was below us. Most of the places here are staterooms and nothing else. Soon, we decided to rest for a few minutes.

"Everyone alright?" Jennifer whispered before Eev and I nodded.

"This kind of…takes me back to the days when we tried skipping lines in the auditorium…back in Sinnoh" I mused.

"This is a bit extreme compared to that, Lucas" she rolls her eyes a bit playfully.

"You and I remember it differently I guess" I shrugged in response before she scoffed.

Soon, the Eevee across from us yipped to get our attention and we stopped speaking. It's a good thing we did, for down below the vent we are nearby there are two grunts that entered the room. Our hearts stopped for a brief second before curiosity took over. It seems as though they haven't noticed us, and it would be difficult to give away our position unless we made noise.

"They blew a hole into the hull!" A male grunt had said.

"It doesn't matter, the train is still operational." The female explained.

"Nk, they got away…they'll know where we are going!"

"You think they'll be able to stop us…" she walked closer to him, in a threatening pose. I didn't know it, but this girl was partners with Rk (or Jeremy.) "It's too late for them."

"Enough!" We all heard as a man with a rasping voice rang out by the door. They walked in and I immediately recognized them. I had to stop myself from gasping loudly.

It's Anthony Preston…

Jen soon recognized them as the man from the television screen at the train station and she looked to see the dread on my face.

He fixed his loose tie and walked toward Nk in a non-threatening manner. He placed a cold, frail, hand on her shoulder and said, "we underestimated Ansel and Leila too many times. They WILL return and we must be ready to eliminate them."

Ansel…Cy…he was here!? You-you mean to tell me he was on the train and caused that explosion? My mind was filled with thoughts surrounding Cy and his partner: I thought they would have escaped Kanto by now or have been arrested…and yet they were here? Why?

"I shot R-7-3 at one of them, they retreated like the weak cowards they are" Sara/Nk stated before Preston stopped her in a cold fashion.

"A man once said, if you think tough men are dangerous…you don't know what weak men are capable of." He quoted before continuing, "Double security, lock all access points. You and your men will attack on sight if you find something…no hesitation, understood?"

She and her Gruntling both saluted before Preston limped off.

"Well, come on, let's fucking go!" Nk commanded as the pair walked out the door…leaving us in the air duct alone.

My mind was flooded: who did they inject the formula with? More importantly, how are we going to stay hidden now!?

"He scares you…doesn't he?" I heard Jennifer whisper in my long rabbit-like ear. I turn to face her and silently nod, "he's…like Bartoli…a total creep." I explained.

"Ansel…I remember you telling me who they were back in Cerulean…" Jen scratched her chin before I nodded again, "he's an ex-grunt…he has a lot of beef with these guys…and I do mean a lot. Somehow, he was here…but that doesn't matter, we need to get out of here guys" I suggested before Jen and Eev agreed.

And so, we started making our way through the air ducts…not knowing what might come next once we finally leave this confined space.

By now, the train was more than half-way to Verdigris.

Hey everyone! I hope you enjoyed this recent chapter. Take care and see you next time!