By: Theodore Leung

            Ryna slowly regained her consciousness, blinking groggily. She moved her arm, only to hear the clank of metals as her arm slammed against the metal binds that held her down. She opened her eyes, looking down.

            "What the?!" she exclaimed, chained down at the legs and wrists to a metal table. The Pallet Town trainer struggled to break free, but expended all her energy before achieving anything.

            "Don’t bother," a voice said. Ryna looked over, seeing a well-built man. " A Snorlax couldn’t break out of those even if it wanted to."

            "Who are you?!" Ryna demanded, trying to crack her binds.

            "Commander Finn, at your service," he replied, mocking a bow. "And you are called Ryna." Ryna stopped struggling, wondering how this man knew her name. "You friend Tim is quite informative." Ryna began her struggle again.

            "What did you do with him?!" she demanded, bruising her wrists in the process. The commander grinned, walking over to the table.

            "He’s part of this organization, my lady," he told Ryna, silencing her instantly. "I suggest you get to know the environment, give you a feel for what to come." Ryna was about to protest, but the commander swiftly left, leaving the trainer bound to the table.

            "Where am I?" she asked herself, looking around as much as her bounded body could. The room was clean, with a metallic finish on the walls. The only other items in the room were a turned off light that hung over the table and a rolling platform that was attached to the table, with a large assortment of instruments. The instruments were well cleaned, and related to surgery one way or the other.

            "They can’t be thinking…" she whispered, being terrified by such a thought. "They wouldn’t open a human being, would they?" Her voice echoed throughout the room. Then, the lights went on, blinding the trainer. She couldn’t resist, only close her eyes and stop as much as the light as possible.

* * * * * *

            Tim looked onto the screen, silent, at attention. The screen projected where Ryna lay, fighting against the light. Tim could make out the details, the females fist clenched, her, muscles tense, her body reacting negatively against the brightness. Tim turned his head, facing the commander who just entered the room.

            "Are you sure this is safe?" Tim asked, concerned for the tortured trainer.

            "It’ll be okay," he replied, patting Tim’s back. "Just get some rest, kid," he said. Tim forced a smile, nodding and leaving the room. Finn exhaled, lowering his calm, cool look.

            "Man, that kid is getting more suspicious," he muttered. He looked down at the screen, getting slight pleasure out of the fact he can finally finish something he started a long time ago.

* * * * * *

            Sam knocked against the door of the room, better yet, her cell. She sighed, angrily kicking the door lightly.

            "No point in expending too much energy," she told herself, sitting down on the bed provided. All there was in the room was this bed, which was quite comfortable considering the conditions prisoners are usually held in. She sighed, wishing she knew what happened to everyone else. She was worried about Flare and Charles, and hoping that everyone else escaped the fate she was in.

            "Sam," someone said, the door opening with a hiss as air seeped in. Samantha quickly turned around, seeing Tim standing at the door.

            "Tim?!" Sam exclaimed. He shook his head, grabbing Sam’s arm and dragging her outside.

            "I rigged to cameras to make it look like you are still in there," he quickly said, rushing down the corridor. He soon approached his room, dragging the trainer in with him. The door closed, sealing with a magnetic lock. He took a pair of headsets on the table, hanging one to the other trainer. Tim put it on, Sam following his example. They could hear voices, one familiar to Sam.

            "Who is it?" Sam asked. Tim hushed her, motioning to her to only listen.

* * * * * *

            "What do you want?" Ryna hissed, keeping her eyes on Finn whom was circling the room. The commander grinned, flicking a scalpel in his hand.

            "Do you ever wonder where that pendant comes from?" Finn asked, ignoring Ryna’s question. The trainer looked down at where her diamond shaped pendant hung, glistening in the light. Ryna grew up with that item, never leaving her neck. Much like Sam and probably Tim as well now that she thought about it. "I guess not, considering you were too young back then."

            "What do you know?" Ryna asked, more calm, interested despite the predicament she was in. Again, the commander smiled, placing the scalpel back on the table.

            "We specialize in genetics around here," he answered, grasping Ryna’s pendant. "Specifically merging Pokémon DNA with Human DNA." He let go of the diamond shaped pendant.

            "That’s inhumane!" Ryna exclaimed. Again, Finn smirked.

            "You should be talking my dear," he replied. Ryna cursed, unable to figure what the man was talking about. "You’re a living example of Human-Pokémon DNA." Ryna’s heart skipped a beat for a second.

            "You’re joking," she muttered, forcing a faint laugh.

            "No joke, you were genetically altered when you were just a mere baby," Finn said, getting more serious.

            "That’s not possible," she whispered in disbelief.

            "It is," he replied, walking around the room again. "Your parents were scientists in this facility, as was Tim’s and Sam’s. They worked on the project. Their children were the first to ever properly be fused with Pokémon DNA, giving them the ability to talk and listen to Pokémon. However, the quantity of DNA infused was not great, thus not giving you the power to use Pokémon attacks."

            "You have to be joking…" Ryna answered weakly, bur was unable to ‘not believe’. Somewhere, she knew in her heart that it was true. It was there, she just didn’t want to accept it.

            "Our studies also led us to believe that all Pokémon had hidden attributes and abilities that were sealed away for some unknown reason," he continued. "In order to release them, our team concluded that a certain alloy could be used as a catalyst to reveal the powers of the Pokémon. All the Pokémon had to do was be within a certain distance of the alloy."

            "My pendant…is that alloy?" Ryna asked, bewildered. She couldn’t take much more of this. She didn’t want to believe any of it, but she knew she had to accept it.

            "Yes, it is," Finn replied, grasping the pendant again. "Unfortunately, we only had enough minerals to make four pendants," he continued, releasing the diamond. "One was lost with one of our operatives in a mission a while back. Well, it doesn’t matter, we have our remaining three pendants now."

            "But…why was I taken away from here?" the Pallet Town trainer asked, glancing over at Finn for an answer. The commander exhaled, stopping in front of the trainer.

            "Your parents saw the so called ‘error’ in their methods, and decided to escape," he continued. "Tim’s parents were stopped near the beginning, sacrificing themselves to give the other two some time to escape. Your parents as well as Sam’s never made it, but had enough time to summon their Pokémon and take you and Sam to safety. We were not able to track since they were outfitted with jamming devices. We could only hope that we found both of you one day. Strange how both of happened to be found together, despite being carried away in opposite directions."

            "Strange things happen in life…" Ryna whispered, closing her eyes. She held back the tears. "I don’t suppose you know anything about Sarpal, do you?" Ryna asked, opening her eyes. Finn gaze her a quizzical look.

            "Project Sarpal was a project from our rival in Glacier City," he answered, unafraid of giving away any secrets. "They boasted in being able to merge enough DNA into a human to give the experiment Pokémon powers, except ‘someone’ leaked out the information to Team Rocket, who got hold of the project. Of course, they slipped up, and the project was lost to all."

            "So that’s what happened…" Ryna thought to herself. "Might as well pump as much information out of this guy as possible…" Ryna looked up, her eyes fixated on Finn. "What’s the Cinnabar Special Forces?"

            "You sure know a lot, and ask a lot too, child," he replied, smiling. "The force was created to oppose Team Rocket on all levels. We never liked them, and the people wanted something to stop them, so here’s where we come in: a group of soldiers infused with Pokémon DNA to fight the enemy. Team Rocket may have already expanded to take the entire world by now it we didn’t intervene. Unfortunately, we have let to determine the location of their HQ."

            "You’re not afraid of giving away information, are you?" Ryna asked, grinning. She slowly regained her strength and composure of the course of each lecture. Finn grinned back.

            "Only because I have a proposition for you," he said. Ryna’s grin faded, wondering what the proposition was. "I’d like you to join the forces," he said bluntly.

            "Me?" Ryna asked, again in a state of disbelief.

            "Yes, with your abilities, it would be much easier to fight Team Rocket," he said. Ryna silenced, looking away.

            "I wouldn’t want to join your organization," she replied a straightforward tone.

            "Why not?" Finn asked, taking a step towards her.

            "It’s because of what you do," she said, still looking away. "You fight Team Rocket, fine I can live with that. Genetically alter your own troops for your own purposes? Sorry…I don’t think I can stand that…" Finn was silent, thinking of another way to persuade her.

            "The alternative is to stay locked up in the facility for the rest of your life, being a test subject for all the scientists around," he said, in a somewhat menacing voice. Ryna quieted down, examining her options. Well, the options weren’t too good on her part.

            "I’d rather be an experiment then fight with such an inhumane group," she replied bitterly. Finn sighed, looking away.

            "Suit yourself child," he replied, leaving the room. Ryna sighed now, wondering if she did the right thing.

* * * * * *

            Samantha took off her headset, confused about everything. She rubbed her head, her mind aching with all the facts.

            "Did I hear that properly?" she asked Tim, unable to comprehend the depth of the situation. Tim exhaled, nodding. ‘Maybe it wasn’t a good thing to slip that device into Finn’s pocket,’ Tim thought.

            "We need to get out of here," he said, standing up. Sam nodded, also standing up.

            "I need my Pokémon first," she said, placing the headset on the table.

            "Already done," Slasher replied, who was now out in the open. Sam looked down, seeing the Sandslash standing beside an open vent, Flare, Charles, Lin, Spark, and Hydra crawling out of it. Tim grinned, happy that his Pokémon succeeded in the task at hand.

            "Everything else set?" Tim asked, kneeling down.

            "Rocky is installing the last of the explosives in the vents," Slasher reported. As if on cue, Rocky rolled right into the room, saluting and giving his report.

            "Explosives set and armed!" he replied sharply. Tim nodded, happy to see all tasks are done.

            "Man, you have something with using vents in your strategies," Sam commented, making Tim fluster a bit. The Pokémon giggled.

            "I guess it’s because it is the best way to surprise the enemy," he answered. "But enough with that, time to brief you all on the plan."

            "Yeah, let’s get to it," Sam replied, sitting down at the table. Tim sat down as well, the Pokémon clustering around.

            "Like before, the map is laid out on these headsets," Tim started, handing everyone a set similar to the one used at Celestial City. "Our main objective is to free Ryna from her prison. Afterwards, it’s a simple matter of making a bee-line for the exit, following the trail marked on the map."

            "Why this path though?" Lin asked, studying the map thoroughly. Despite the images whirling by, she was able to comprehend the map.

            "Rocky and Slasher have set up explosive charges through out the path we are taking," Tim answered. "Each red dot on the path is an impact point. After we pass the point, and explosion will rock the corridor and seal it to prevent pursuit."

            "And if they appear in front of us?" Spark questioned, hoping this plan was as fool proof as the one in Celestial City.

            "Try to brush past them, disable as many as possible, and blow the corridor behind us as fast as possible," Tim answered like he recited the passage a million times over.

            "Fun…" Hydra muttered sarcastically.

            "Once outside, we get Burner to fly us off the island," Tim concluded. "He has been outfitted with jamming technology, so we can not be caught on radar."

            "Sounds simple enough," Sam replied, browsing through the map. The maze of corridors was scary. "What happens if we get lost?"

            "The map is auto programmed to give you the best way to get back on track if we are separated," Tim answered, turning off his map and setting the headset down. "It’s really simple," he added. "And dangerous," Tim thought to himself.

            "No time to think about that Flare…" Flare told herself, thinking about the consequences of comrades falling in combat. "When do we leave?"

            "In about 3 hours, once everyone is rested up and rea-…" Tim stated, but was interrupted by a loud banging against the door.

            "Open the door Tim!" someone shouted. "We know you have prisoners in there!"