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High above the western seas of Johto, Silver continues to hover on Honchkrow while thoughts keep running through his head. The evil organization Team Rocket that was once disbanded has apparently been resurrected again, and he has no clue as to what their intention could be. He wonders who might be the current person in charge, and the image of his father, Giovanni, instantly flashes across his mind. Yet, he quickly dismisses the idea, and decides that it doesn't matter who the culprit behind everything is. The fact that the organization's evil deeds are causing distress to people's lives is a good enough reason for him to thwart their revival at all cost.

Honchkrow turns its head around to let out a quack, and Silver looks down to see that they have arrived at the newly constructed Safari Zone, which lies in the middle of the wilderness in the west of Cianwood. The red-haired boy lets go of Honchkrow's feet to land on the footbridge outside the park's front gates, and sends out his most trusted childhood companion, Weavile.

Initially, he thought that his teacher, Lance, might know of something about Team Rocket's resurrection and thus paid him a visit at the secret chamber. However, the man was nowhere to be found, and he encountered Clair instead. According to the Blackthorn Gymleader, there is a high chance that Lance has been ambushed, and the last words that the man exchanged with Clair over the phone were 'Safari Zone', 'Plate' and 'Arceus'. Having no idea about what 'Plate' and 'Arceus' mean, Silver could only follow the trail of 'Safari Zone', where he hopes to discover something.

Stepping through the gates of the park, Silver immediately finds himself surrounded by a huge crowd of visitors and their Pokemon. Hikers and Bug Catchers eagerly await their turn to enter the frontdoor, while Youngsters and Lasses purchase all sorts of supplements and foreign Pokeballs from the marketplace. To be frank, the place suggests anything but a lair where Team Rocket is lurking, and Silver starts to question himself if he has made the wrong decision to come here.

Silver walks through the stalls in the marketplace, and comes across one that sells artwork and poetry based on Suicune. He picks up a drawing of the legendary Pokemon, and sweatdrops at the extremely unflattering art. The stall owner, a purple-attired man with a white cape seems excited that Silver also finds interest in Suicune, and fervently explains that he has spent most of his life being a Suicune Hunter. He grins that his beautiful portrayals of the beast's elegance are only sold there, but before he could go on, Silver tosses the drawing away with a snicker, which causes the man to fume with rage.

Silver strolls around some more, and just as he intends to leave for the lack of apparent useful information he could find, he gets caught up in a fanatical crowd pushing their way into the Safari Zone, and ends up being dragged along into the entrance building. Before long, he finds himself holding a sachet of Safari Balls, together with two pockets of mud and bait, the latter being sampled merrily by Weavile.

Standing on a platform overlooking the entire room, a moustached old man welcomes his visitors and introduces himself as Baoba, the warden of the Safari Zone. He explains that the Safari game only costs an entrance fee of 500 dollars, and participants will be given 30 Safari Balls to capture Pokemon within the park for as long as they wish or until the balls run out. With a roar of encouragement, Baoba opens the gate which has a Nidoking symbol on it, and the room of excited trainers instantly gush into the park.

Silver shares a look with Weavile, and decides that they might as well check out the insides of the Safari Zone to look for any traces of Lance. They leisurely walk past the gleeful young trainers who chase after all sorts of rare Pokemon, and Silver muses that the place could also serve as a good training ground. Making his way through the tall grasses, Silver enters the Marshland area, and as he waddles across the muddy ground, a pair of gleaming eyes silently watches him from a tree nearby. Silver senses the faint stir however, and as soon as the creature lashes out from the tree, revealing itself to be a wild Arbok, Weavile is already in standby mode and leaps forward to fight.

It soon becomes clear that Arbok is of no match to Weavile, and Silver quickly sees that his opponent is a relatively weak one. He decides to try out the Safari Ball, and prepares a toss. However, a booming voice suddenly yells for him to stop, and the Suicune Hunter guy he saw at the marketplace earlier rushes out with his Electrode to cease the fight between Arbok and Weavile.

Silver freezes in his motions, and the man hollers that while it is alright to walk around the park with one's Pokemon, it is absolutely forbidden to use them to fight. He states that participants in the Safari challenge must use either the bait or mud only, and accuses Silver for not paying heed to the warden's instructions at the entrance building.

The red-haired boy responds to the allegation with silence as he indeed didn't listen to what Baoba said, and the purple-attired man, seeing Silver's somewhat embarrassed look, apologizes for startling him with such a rude tone. He hopes Silver understands that they must keep order in the park, else the bad mannered guests will drive away everyone else and force the Safari to close down, something which will greatly trouble him.

Silver believes that the man means he will have nowhere to sell his Suicune art, and wonders if he is part of the staff. The man shakes his head, and says he is simply a Suicune Hunter, gathering information around to seek his goal. He starts to get enthusiastic again talking about his work, and strikes a pose to introduce himself as Eusine, calling himself a restless traveller who chases after the legendary Pokemon Suicune.

Silver gets a little taken aback at the man's weird actions, and tries to rationalize in his mind whether he is a friend of foe as they make their way to a bridge that hangs between two cliffs. Indeed, the man's actions are beyond eccentric, and he is on the hunt for a legendary Pokemon. However, there is really no telling if he has other intentions, or if he knows of any important information. The boy decides to test the man, and reaches into his pocket to take out the red-coloured plate. He deliberately flashes it in front of Eusine to catch his attention, but the Suicune Hunter simply puts on a baffled look.

High up on the cliff behind them, someone else fixes his eyes on the Plate in a completely different manner. Spying on the two with a pair of specs, the purple haired Team Rocket General, Petrel, now knows for sure that Silver was the one who knocked out his pack of Koffings at Lance's secret chamber and snatched away the Plate they obtained there. The battered Koffings, now gathered close to their trainer, put on angry looks and Petrel pats one on the head, promising them that he will seek revenge on the boy.

Back on the bridge, Silver sees that Eusine has no peculiar reaction to the Plate at all, and believes that he probably has no connection to Team Rocket. Suddenly, tears start to well up in Eusine's eyes, and he begins to get a running nose. Within seconds, the mucus from his nose oozes heavily out of control, and the man breaks into a big bad sneeze, startling Silver and causing Weavile to run in fear. Eusine panics as his face is gradually glued up by tears and mucus, and he desperately wants to know what is wrong with him. Silver notices a cloud of smoke slowly surroundind them, and quickly flips out his Pokedex to identify it as gas released from Koffing's body, capable of causing constant sniffles, coughs and teary eyes.

Silver hurriedly covers his nose with his handkerchief, and wonders if he is facing the same enemy at Lance's secret chamber as it is Koffings he is dealing with again. His query is immediately answered, and Petrel steps out from his hiding place to greet the boy with a grin. He is sure that Silver must wonder why this gas strategy wasn't used back in the chamber, and says he would have if his Pokemon weren't carrying out their mission alone at that time. Now that he is there to give command, he hopes Silver will not be stupid enough to think that he could gain victory the same way twice.

Silver notices the 'R' symbol on the man's uniform, and demands to know who he is. Petrel introduces himself with a cocky smirk, and says he is one of the Four Generals currently in command of Team Rocket. The answer causes Silver to squint his eyes, and with a snicker, the boy calls Weavile forward, who delivers a powerful Icy Wind on the Koffings, freezing up the pores on their bodies.

Petrel grunts that the frozen pores have stopped the outflow of gas, but soon decides that it is of no big deal because there is already enough smoke in the area to give one bad sniffles and teary eyes, which Eusine and his Electrode are currently suffering from. He smirks that there is in fact more than just the gas, and as soon as he says that, something fast moving ambushes Weavile, inflicting a sharp pain on its right arm. The dark weasel instantly falls on its back and shrieks in agony, and Silver quickly checks on it to find a severely bitten wound, characteristic of a Raticate's Hyper Fang.

The culprit in question then leaps towards Silver from behind, and the boy angles his body aside to evade, but still sustains a cut on his right cheek from Raticate's tail. He looks around to trace the tracks of its opponent, but the cloud of smoke around them has gotten so thick that it is impossible to see through. Petrel grins that they are trapped now, and Silver soon hears a loud gnawing noise followed by sounds of ropes being ripped apart. Before he realizes what is going on, the wooden bridge they are standing on crumbles into pieces, and everything starts to plummet. Acting out of reflex, Silver reaches out to grab onto one end of the torn rope, which hangs from what is remained of the bridge, and fastens his other hand around the wrist of Eusine to keep the man from falling. On his leg, Weavile clutches tight with its arms, and the three sway back and forth on the single rope, staying suspended right above a perilous stream that runs torrentially at the bottom of the cliff side.

The TR General compliments Silver for his extremely good reflex, even in situations of limited vision, but giggles that there is no way he can fight back now. Raticate picks up the rope which Silver is holding onto, and gets ready to snap it. Petrel asks Silver to hand over his Plate, and wonders if its red hue points to its identity as the Draco, Flame or Fist Plate. However, he decides that it doesn't matter anyhow, for together with his Toxic and Earth Plates, he will have three pieces, bringing them another step closer to completion.

Silver's eyes widen with surprise when he hears that there are more than one Plates, and demands to know if there are multiple ones out there. Petrel sticks out his tongue, and blames himself for letting information slip from his mouth again. Yet, seeing how Silver is about to meet his end anyway, he decides to let him die with clarity, and states that there are indeed more than one, and to gather them all is the aim of Team Rocket.

Having his query answered, Silver puts on a smirk, and says he shall have three Plates after snatching those of Petrel in that case. The statement both startles and confuses the TR General, and in the next instant, Silver lets go of the rope he is holding on, and plummets into the water below with Eusine and Weavile. Their fall causes a big splash, much bigger than Petrel expected, and the water that washes up causes him to tumble backwards with Raticate.

Before Petrel could figure out what is going on, he feels the sharp claws of Weavile on his neck, and is forced to put his hands up as Silver rises out from the waters on his Red Gyarados. Towering over the TR General, the boy demands him to hand over his two Plates, and wants to know exactly how many Plates there are in total…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us



002: VS Raticate!

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