The BGM Saga
The BGM Saga, Part 1
James looked out from the branch he was sitting on for the object of their pursuit. It was hard to see through the rain, but he thought he could spy a flash of yellow coming down the road towards them.
“I think they’re coming, Jesse,” he whispered.
“About time,” came the answer from his redheaded partner. She was in an especially foul mood today, but James couldn’t quite fathom why. He had never understood girls that much. It did not help that the girl he had been engaged to, the girl he now worked with and the girl that traveled with his target all seemed to be psychopathic. He just put up with Jesse’s occasional bad temper (well, more extreme bad temper), which luckily seemed to occur only once a month. Dropping down, he took his position behind a rock and waited. Jesse and Meowth moved to the other side of the road and took up their own positions.
“Help me!” James heard a faint cry to his left. Coming to a decision, he decided that Jesse and Meowth could try to capture Pikachu alone today. He ran towards the sound of the voice, and soon found the source. A figure in a large hood and cape was being menaced by a group of Mankeys, who were advancing slowly.
“Weezing, Smokescreen!” James leapt into the group and grabbed the figure, then ran into the forest, returning Weezing to his pokéball. When he judged they had escaped, he stopped running and lowered the figure to the ground.
“Thank you,” the figure said, dropping her hood to reveal an attractive young woman of about James’ age. She had short brown hair and dark brown eyes. “I am called Rose. May I ask for your name?
Jesse stepped out from behind the boulder and looked into the pit.
“Hahahahaa! Prepare for trouble.”
“And make it double.”
“To protect the world from devastation.”
“To unite all peoples within our nation.”
“To extend our reach to the stars above.”
“To defend the evils of truth and love.”
“Team Rocket blast off at the speed of light.”
“Surrender now or prepare to fight.”
“Meowth that’s right. Hey, where’s James?” Meowth asked. “He was here a minute ago.
“No time for that loser now, we’ve finally caught the twerps,” Jesse exclaimed. “Now, hand over Pikachu or else!”
“Never,” shouted Ash. “Go, Bulbasaur, use Razor Leaf”
“Arbok, Poison Sting!”
“Onix, form a staircase so we can get out of here,” said Brock, as the pair called for their pokémon to help them yet again. As the Ash, Misty and Brock climbed Onix to escape the pit, Bulbasaur and Arbok engaged in a fierce battle. The two had fought often in the past, and the outcome was the same as ever. As Jesse, Meowth and Arbok blasted off, again, Jesse let out a wail of anguish.
“James! Where were you?”
“OK, that was weird,” said Rose, “I only asked for your name, not a poem. But, you did save me from those wild Mankey, so you should at least come to my house and have dinner.”
“Um, OK,” said James, thinking that she might have something valuable in her house he could steal. Besides, he couldn’t resist a decent home-cooked meal. Eat, plunder and escape, that was the way to do it. They set off through the forest towards her home, with Rose leading the way.
“So, James, what were you doing in this forest. Not many people come by here.”
“Well, I was, uh, just passing by, on my way to the next city.”
“You were travelling alone, then?”
“Uh, yeah. Heh…that’s right. All alone. No-one but me.”
“That’s quite gutsy. But what’s with the uniform? You look like you’re part of some organisation.”
“Well, I didn’t want to say, but actually I’m a member of Team Rocket.”
“Why not? Are they some kind of hentai club or something?”
“What? No, we’re a multinational crim… er, criminal rehab service.”
“Impressive. I’ll bet you lead an exciting life. Well, here we are at my house.” They entered a clearing that was occupied by a small wooden hut. The rain was dying off, and the sun shone down through the forest, providing mottled illumination.”
“Wow,” gasped James, “This place is beautiful”
“Heehee. Thanks James, that’s kind of you. I wish I had a little more money though, it needs a new coat of waterproof. In addition, the garden could do with a weeding, and the roof could fall in any day now. Well, complaining won’t get dinner ready. I hope you like curry!” They entered the hut and James scanned the place, although it was a little half-hearted. All he could make out was a ratty futon, a small wooden stove, a basket with some clothes in and a kitchen cupboard. “James, could you do me a favour and chop some wood for the stove. The axe is in the back. Thanks a lot.” James went to the back of the hut, those final words ringing in his ears.
“Damn it, where is he?” said Jesse. “He just ran off in the middle of our well planned trap. When I find him I’m going to kill him. We could have won if he was there.”
I dunno about that, thought Meowth, we do have a tendency to lose even when he is around. “You want we should go look for him, Jess?” he asked her.
“I guess we need him for our plans to work. Besides, I can’t recite the motto by myself. Get the balloon ready, Meowth.”
“What? All by myself?”
“You don’t expect a beautiful young thing such as myself to do it, do you? So get to work!”
“Thanks James!” exclaimed Rose as he came back in carrying a bundle of firewood. “Now I can get the fire lit. Just make yourself at home and soon we’ll have some nice hot food. We can even dry out next to the fire.”
“So what do you do for money, Miss Rose?” asked James
“Oh, just Rose, please,” said Rose, “I’m not big on formalities. I don’t actually make any money, I simply grow what I need to eat and live off the forest. I would move, but without money I can’t afford a house, and no one would want to hire me for a job. However, I do go on, and dinner is nearly ready. I’ll just get some plates and chopsticks.”
James sat in silent thought during the meal. He knew this was quite a cliched sob story, but nothing affected him more than a cliched sob story. Finally he spoke.
“Would it be OK if I stayed here for a little while. I may not look it, but I’m good at manual labour, and I can help out around the place. Besides, I don’t really have anything else to do with my life.”
Rose sat in amazement for a few seconds, then grinned up at him.
“Of course! I would welcome your company and assistance. But are you sure you want to give up your job with Team Rocket? It sounds as though you’re doing good in the world.”
“No, that job’s going nowhere. Anyway, they probably won’t notice that I’ve gone.”
“Sounds like we fit together quite well, James. But anyway, its getting dark, we should sleep. Here, you can take the futon.”
“No, you have it. I’m used to sleeping on the ground. Goodnight, Rose.”
The next morning, James was awoken by the sounds of the birds in the forest. Looking around, he saw that Rose was gone, but there was a note on her futon. Picking it up he read
Have gone to fetch water. If you wake up, could you chop some more wood for tonight?
Smiling, James went out back and picked up the axe.
“Hey Jess. Look over there. Isn’t that James by that hut?”
“It had better be, it’s been 4 days since we lost him. Oh, get in closer, Meowth. I can’t see properly.”
James looked up as the door opened and Jesse and Meowth fell into the hut.
“What are you doing here, James? Come on, we need to go and capture Pikachu!”
“I’m staying right here,” James said, “I’m sick of being bossed about the entire time.”
“What do you mean, Jim?”
“I’m leaving Team Rocket. Don’t try to talk me out of it.”
“Oh no you’re not.”
“Oh yes I am. Now, get out of here. I don’t want you two disturbing our peace. I’m happy now.”
“Ohhh, Fine! But don’t expect us to take you back later,” shouted Jesse, “Come on Meowth, we’re leaving.” The door slammed as they left the hut, and James went back to organising his bottle-cap collection. Outside, hidden behind a tree, a figure shrouded in shadows smiled.
A Week later…
James awoke. There were no birds’ calls, although there was a rushing noise. There was no sunlight, although there was an orange glow. There was no smell of dew, although there was the smell of smoke. Fire! Instantly, James came to full consciousness and started panicking.
“Ohh noo! What should I do?” he screamed, while running in circles. “Aha!” he said, stopping, “I should rescue Rose and escape, like a true man. Rose! ROSE!”
“James! I’m outside. Hurry!” My plan to look good failed, he thought, in that case I’d best escape. He dived through the flames, thanking the flame-retardant material that all Team Rocket uniforms were made out of.
“Hurry James!” called Rose from the other side of the clearing. He ran over to her, and followed as she sped off through the woods. “Quick! I keep some buckets by the lake. Lets use them to dampen the ground and stop the fire spreading.”
“Good idea. Let’s do it!” Running back and forth, they eventually managed to get the ground to be too damp to burn, and James used Victreebell to pull down any trees which were too close to the fire. Once they were sure the fire was contained, they lay down and slept until dawn.
“So, Rose, what happened last night?” asked James as they salvaged some vegetables for breakfast.
“I’m afraid I’m not sure. I went out for a walk about an hour after you went to sleep. When I came back, the house was on fire. I must have left the stove on or something.”
“That can’t be right. I remember you putting it out.”
“Well, maybe it was a wild fire pokémon or something. Or maybe the stove wasn’t quite out.”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“The problem is, what can I do now for a place to live? This house is completely destroyed, and I have no money. Oh James!” she sobbed, “What can I do?” She grabbed his shirt and started to cry into his chest.
“Er, there there,” James said, unsure what to do with an upset woman. Then he remembered. “Oh yeah! I’m rich. I’ll just go back home to try to get money for you somehow, hopefully without my parents or that…Jessebelle…noticing”
“James, what are you talking about?”
“Don’t worry Rose. Leave It To Me!” He ran off, dragging her along by the arm. As they ran through the forest, Rose’s face split into a grin.
“Quick Meowth, he’s leaving. Follow him!”
A hooded figure watched from a branch as James and Rose ran by, and kept watching as Jesse and Meowth followed at a distance. After a brief pause to make sure they wouldn’t notice him (or her), the figure jumped down and ran off in the same direction.
After a time, James and Rose found themselves near James’s estate.
“Quickly,” said James, “through here is a tunnel that leads under the security systems. I used it to escape with Growlithe when I was little.”
“I’m a little confused,” remarked Rose, “I hadn’t pegged you for a rich person. You seemed more like an ordinary guy.”
“I know. I hated the life of the upper class. There are so many rules for everything. That’s part of the reason I ran away.”
“What’s the other reason?” James winced at this.
“I’d rather not talk about that. I’ve escaped it twice now. I just hope I can avoid it again this time. Aha, here it is.” James moved aside a small bush to reveal a hole in the ground. “Let’s hurry on.” He jumped into the hole and turned to help Rose down. When she was in the tunnel with him, they went on down the tunnel, not noticing the figures climbing down behind them.
When they reached the other end of the tunnel, They emerged to find themselves outside a huge building.
“My God,” Rose breathed, “This house is huge!”
“Yeah, uh, people say that a lot. Actually its, well, never mind, that’s not important right now. This way.” They sneaked around the back of the building, and headed towards the main building on the compound. James began muttering to himself. “Mumble, mumble…Three along, up two, head west six paces…mumble, mumble. Aha, there it is.” He pressed a brick below a window, and the window opened up. James climbed through, then helped Rose inside. “We have to be careful,” he whispered, “Step only where I step. The security is quite tight in this part of the mansion.”
“This is the way to our family vaults. Once we’re in, we can get some money and sneak out again.”
“What if we get caught?”
“Don’t worry, nothing will happen to you. I’ll make sure of it.”
“Oh James, I can’t thank you enough.” They headed on along various passageways, and down several flights of stairs, until they came to a gigantic vault door. James moved to the key-panel on the front, and started entering codes and pushing buttons.
“There,” he said, “step back so it doesn’t hit you.” They moved towards the back of the room, away from the door, as it started to open. Once it was open, they looked inside, and James’s face contorted into one of pure terror. “No,” he said, “it’s not possible.”
“But it is, my darlin’ James,” came a thick South USA accent, “Ah knew you would return to me one day. But my, who is this pretty young thing you’ve brought this time? She doesn’t look as nice as the last one you came here with, but she’s still a real beaut.”
“Weezing, Smokescreen!” James shouted, throwing his pokéball.
“Oh no you don’t darlin’. Stun Spore, Vileplume!” Jessebelle replied, and a cloud of pollen settled over Weezing, paralysing him.
“Ahahaha,” laughed Jessebelle, covering her mouth, “looks like I win, James.”
“Fine, but let me speak to my parents.”
“As you wish darlin’, but you ain’t leaving my sight from now on.”
James entered the room where his parents were sitting, followed by Jessebelle.
“Why hello, James,” his mother said, “It seems you’ve finally seen sense and returned to marry your fiancé. She’s been waiting all this time, the poor thing.”
“OK Mother, I will marry Jessebelle on one condition.”
“And what might that be, son?”
“I want Rose here to be given enough money to be set up nicely. She recently lost all her possessions, and has no place to live.”
“Rose? Ah, the common girl you came here with. As you wish, James, if that’s all. But not until the wedding, just to make sure you don’t try to take the money and run, as it were. It’s not the money itself, that’s pocket change. It just guarantees you’ll stay. The wedding will be one week from today. Your guest will be assigned a suite to stay in until then. You may stay in your old rooms, and you may not see Growly until the wedding either. Now, we have a wedding to prepare, and we will see you at dinner tonight.” James’s parents left the room, leaving the three of them alone.
“Oh, I’m so happy darlin’. We can finally be married. Darlin’? What’s the matter sugar?”
James was in shock from what he had just done.
There was a knock on the door of James’s room.
“Who is it?” he called out.
“It’s me,” came a voice.
“Me, Rose. You, James. Come on, stop messing about and let me in.” James went over to the door and unlocked it. He quickly opened the door, ushered Rose inside, and then closed and locked it again. Then he went back to his bed and lay on it, face down.
“Well?” asked Rose, “aren’t you going to explain the situation to me? Who’s Jessebelle? Why did you run away? Come on, I want to know.”
James rolled over and looked at her. “Please?”
“OK then. Jessebelle and I have been engaged since we were children. She’s the main reason I ran away. Remember how I said I hated the upper classes’ rules for everything? Well, Jessebelle is obsessed with getting them all correct. She enforces them on everyone. She was always telling me how to walk properly, how to eat properly, even how to play properly. She drove me insane. My parents were little better, except they have a streak of insanity. Not too long ago they faked their deaths to try to get me to come home. Now I’ve convinced them to give you some money, but I have to marry Jessebelle. The wedding’s in one week. Until then, I’m trying to stay away from Jessebelle as much as possible.”
“Ah. Well, that explains why you’ve been keeping to yourself since that meeting with your parents.” A silence settled into the room. “So, um, marriage? Well, Jessebelle seems like a, ah, nice girl.”
“Oh come on. You know as much as anyone I don’t want to marry her. The only ones who do want me to marry her are my parents and Jessebelle.” The silence returned.
“Well, I don’t need the money that badly. I could always build a new house. It would only take a week or so. I’ve managed before, I’m sure I can do it again.”
“No! I never go back on my word. Well, maybe that’s not quite true, but I’m turning over a new leaf. From now on I will never go back on my word. And that includes what I said to my parents.”
Rose walked out and headed towards her own room. When she got there she found Jesse and Meowth sitting on her bed, awaiting her return.
“Who are you?” she asked innocently. “You don’t look like staff here.”
“The question,” said Jesse, “is who you are. We had a look around while you chatted with James, and we found this.” She produced what looked like a small scroll, and extended it to reveal a blank screen and a speaker. Rose gasped and grabbed her pocket, then realised what she was doing and simply scowled. “We know that this is a communication device, and it looks a tad expensive for a poor little girl that lives in the woods, don’t you think? So, Rose, who are you talking to on this?”
“What makes you think I’ll tell you that?” Rose said in a completely different voice, losing all trace of accent. “And even if I did, what would you do?” she asked, smiling. “You can’t stop us, and telling James won’t help. He’d do anything for poor, sweet Rose. So, I suggest you leave before I have to hurt you.”
“Fine,” said Jesse, “but this isn’t over yet. We’ll return for James, and spoil your little scheme.” Jesse and Meowth went to the window and jumped out into the garden.
James looked out at the night sky. Well, he thought, I had better enjoy it. This is the last week I have left as a bachelor. He was still in this contemplative mood (read: depressed) when Jesse and Meowth dropped in on him, literally.
“Ouch.” Said Jesse. “James! Why don’t you have softer bones? I could have injured myself hitting them like that.”
“Well, you wouldn’t have if you hadn’t landed on me at all!” retorted James, before he realised what had just happened. “Jesse! What are you doing here? I’m not joining team Rocket again if that’s what you’re after.”
“Shut up James. We’ve got something important to tell you.”
“Yeah, Jimmy boy. Listen up, ‘cos here’s how it goes. That girl ya like, Rose. She’s lying to ya. She ain’t no poor girl. She’s a scam artist, and you fell for it big time.”
“I don’t believe you. This is just some trick to get me to come and join Team Rocket. Well it’s not going to happen, OK. I’ve made up my mind. That poor girl needs my help, and I’m going to give it to her however I can.”
“Since when did you give out charity, James?”
“Yeah, we could’a used some of that money ourselves from time to time. You never married Jessebelle for us.”
“This is different.”
“Aha, it’s all about Rose. She’s really got you going if you think she’s worth this much. We should try to learn some tricks from her, we could use them to get Pikachu.”
“Right, that’s it. Get out of here right now. Go and hunt the twerps or something.”
“Fine, but don’t come crying to us when you find out the truth about Rose. We gave you fair warning. Goodbye, James.”
“Yeah, see ya Jim.” Jesse and Meowth leapt from the balcony into the night, seeming to vanish beneath the canopy of the trees in the garden.
James pushed a mirror on a stick underneath his door to check if the corridor was clear. When he was satisfied that Jessebelle wasn’t going to jump him, he left the room and headed towards Rose’s room, using his mirror to look round corners and up and down stairwells. When he got there, he paused outside her room. He could hear faint voices coming from inside. One of the voices belonged to Rose, and, putting his head close to the door, he made out what she was saying.
“Yes, master. Everything is going according to plan. Soon we will have all the money we need to finance our plans.”
“Excellent,” came a husky voice, distorted by a computer so that James wasn’t sure if it belonged to a man or a woman. “Son, agent Rose Thorn. Soon we will be able to undertake our final mission.”
“Yes. But not until you have completed your tasks. We need access to that family’s finances. Report back when you have succeeded.”
“As you wish, master. Rose Thorn out.” James realised that he was holding his breath, then released it in a sigh. “Who’s there?” called Rose from inside, and he heard footsteps heading towards the door. James quickly ducked around a nearby corner and sped silently back to his room.
Rose, seeing no-one when she opened the door, assumed she was simply hearing things, and shut her door again, secure in thinking that her secret was safe.
On the way back to his room, James was too busy thinking about what he had heard that evening to remember to use his mirror. He had just made up his mind to leave the house tonight when Jessebelle jumped him.
“Now I’ve found you, darlin’,” said Jessebelle, “You wouldn’t be thinking of avoiding me now, would you? After all, we’re gonna be together forever.”
“Aagh!” exclaimed James. However, the Stun Spore of Jessebelle’s Vileplume cut his expression of extreme displeasure short.
“Now I have your full attention, we can go over a few details about how to act at a wedding. I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long!” James was dragged to another room, and watched in horror as a huge blackboard was unveiled. “This is all we need to go over before the wedding, but I might need to go over a few more general points about how to act. Let’s get started, dear.”
The week before the wedding proceeded smoothly. It may not have been pleasant for all concerned, but it was smooth, nonetheless. Rose continued acting like a sweet peasant girl, awed by the sheer concept of such a huge place. Jessebelle kept James on a short leash, instructing him in the manners appropriate for someone of his station at a wedding. James hated what was happening, especially now he knew about Rose. Unfortunately, it was too late for him to escape now. But what of Jesse and Meowth, you ask? Well, despite what they had said to James, they were determined to rescue him. Having met Jessebelle, they didn’t think their companion deserved such a fate. Plus, they needed him to perform the motto, and the sooner they got him back the sooner they could go and try to capture Pikachu again. They were currently sat in a tree on the estate, watching through a pair of binoculars. However, anything that involves these members of Team Rocket never quite goes as planned.
“Ow! Hey Meowth, watch what you’re doing! Those binoculars happen to be around my neck!”
“Oh yeah? Well you should be worrying more about how we’re gonna get the gold when we rescue James from Bridezilla over there.”
“Don’t worry about that, I have an foolproof plan.”
“That’s what you always say.”
“What was that?”
“You heard me” And so on. As the fight erupted into physical violence, A mysterious cloaked figure watched the proceedings from another tree. The features on this figure’s face transformed into a bewildered grin.
Jesse entered the chapel, and rushed up the stairs to the viewing gallery above the main room. She looked down to see the wedding in progress, and Rose sitting in the front row. Jesse began to pound desperately on the window of the viewing gallery.
“JAMES!” she shouted, “JAMES! JAAAMES! Right, that’s it. Arbok, Headbutt!” Calling on her Pokémon to help, she smashed the glass for the viewing gallery and shouted again. “JAMES!” The gathered masses looked around and stared up towards her.
“Jesse,” murmured Jessebelle, angrily.
“Jesse,” murmured James’s parents, even angrier.
“Jesse,” murmured Rose, quietest and angriest of all.
“JESSE!” shouted James, and he ran towards the entrance of the church.
“Arbok, Glare!” ordered Jesse, and her Pokémon obeyed, glaring at the assembled masses and stopping them in their tracks. Jesse and Arbok fled down the stairs to meet James, and then they all exited via the front door. They jumped into the balloon that Meowth had waiting outside, and took off just as the horde of people came rushing out, the effect of Arbok’s Glare having worn off.
“So James. Why did you come? I thought you had made your decision,” said Jesse.
“Mumble mumble,” said James
“Sorry? I didn’t quite catch that,” said Jesse.
“I said you were right about Rose,” muttered James. “I’m sorry for shouting at you. Anyway, I want to join Team Rocket again. Can I?”
“Well,” said Jesse, “I want to see a bit more groveling before I let you back in.”
“I’m really really really sorry,” said James, prostrating himself and bowing deeply, “Please can I join again? Pretty please?”
“Well, OK,” said Jesse, “but only because I’m taking pity on you. Now, we’ve gotta catch the twerps again, so it’s gonna be all night travelling for a couple of days.” Meowth maneuvered the balloon onto the correct heading and they set off westward, into the setting sun.
Suddenly, a mysterious cloaked figure jumped into the basket from the forest below. This was no easy feat, considering they were cruising about 40ft above the trees.
“Ack!” said Meowth. “What do you want, you grasshopper?”
“Hahahaha!” laughed the figure, then his features turned grave and serious. Not that they could see most of his face, but he emanated grave seriousness all the same. “I am here to warn and congratulate you, especially young James here. You have done well in escaping the fiendish machinations of Rose Thorn and the nefarious group who call themselves…” here he paused for the optimum effect. “The Botanical Garden Mob!!!” Here he threw his arm out for emphasis, and allowed his cloak to billow in the wind.
This drew blank stares from Team Rocket, and giant sweatdrops appeared on the back of their heads.
“And now, I must leave you with this cryptic warning, for The BGM will return. They have plans for you, and these plans will go into action when cherry blossoms fall in December. Adieu!” With this he somersaulted backwards and left the balloon, plunging into the foliage below and vanishing from sight.
“Well, that was a little more freaky than usual,” remarked Meowth.
“Still, I wonder what he was on about,” said James.
“Oh forget it,” said Jesse, “he was just some crackpot. If he shows up again I’ll just smack him.”
Team Rocket set sail for the sunset. But who are The Botanical Garden Mob? And what about this mysterious cloaked stranger? Tune in next time, same Poké-time, same Poké-channel.
To Be Continued