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The Rise of Team Neos: Chapter 14: Truth Revealed

by Psycho Monkey

Psycho Monkey It's been a long day for Brian and Axel, but before it can end there is one more thing they have to do.
Chapter 14: Truth Revealed

Ow! That stings!” whined Axel as I sprayed his wounds with a Super Potion.

“Stop your whining! Be glad you’re still alive.” I reminded. We were currently in the Trainer’s lounge in the stadium resting up from our last match. I had slipped Espeon and Riolu a Revive each, but they both will still need medical attention.

“Are you Brian Nosurname?” asked a man walking in the room. He had styled back brown hair with four strands hanging over his eyes which were hidden behind red tinted sunglasses. He had an uninterested look on his face like he had something better to do. The noticeable scar on his left cheek was a direct contrast from his outfit consisting of a black suit and tie with a red dress shirt underneath the jacket.

“I am.” I answered warily. “But who are you and what do you want with me?”

“I am Arthias. My boss, Mr. Strife Maxwell, would like to see you.” he answered remaining stoic.

“What for?” I questioned.

“I’m not sure, but I believe he’s taken an interest in you. Now come with me.” Arthias said beckoning me forward.

“Sorry, but not tonight. My Pokémon and I are tired. All we want is to go to bed.” I responded. I didn’t know who this Strife guy was, nor did I feel like dealing with him at the moment.

“Mr. Maxwell doesn’t like being made to wait. If you don’t like what he has to say you may leave.” Arthias persisted.

“Fine! I’ll go with you only to tell this boss of yours to shove whatever he has to say up his smug ass. I am not some item to be chosen and bought.” I spat. “Come along Axel.”

And I was looking forward to going to bed too.” the Infernape complained.

“Follow me then.” Arthias said forcefully.

Arthias led us out of the Trainer’s lounge to the nearest elevator. Once we got inside he pressed four. The entire walk and elevator ride were silent. Not that I was complaining, anything Arthias said would have probably pissed my off. I just wanted to meet Strife Maxwell to find out what he wanted with me.

I’m getting a bad feeling about this.” Axel mentioned breaking the silence as well as practically reading my mind. Something about this situation had put me on edge.

When the elevator opened, we walked out on a very fancy level, obviously the suites. We turned a corner where the wall was replaced by a railing. Below us was the club level where the spectators were still clearing out after today’s matches. When we arrived at Room number 465, Arthias knocked on the door. I heard someone on the other side call out “Enter.”

“I’ve brought him Sir.” Arthias said bowing after walking inside. Directly across from the door was a desk in front of a tall leather chair with its occupant facing away from us looking out at the field through wall sized windows.

“Welcome Brian.” a voice in the chair addressed me. “I am glad you could make it. I am Strife Maxwell.” As that last sentence was spoken the chair turned around to face me and Axel. I was only slightly stunned. It was the political… er, politician from the other day. He even had on the same white pimp suit and blue dress shirt as before. Then again, he could be like me and own multiples of the same outfit.

“I remember you.” I recalled.

“Well that is nice to hear. I would hate to have made so little of an impression on you that you would not remember me only a few days later.” Strife said coolly.

“So what did you want with me Strife?” I asked hastily.

“That’s Mr. Maxwell to you!” interrupted Arthias. Strife waved his hand up and down at Arthias to ease him.

“That’s enough Arthias. Our guest has no etiquette, how is he supposed to know common courtesy or formalities.” said Strife softly. The guy defends me by talking down about me? What the hell? Arthias grumbled and leaned against the wall by the door crossing his arms.

“I apologize on behalf of Arthias. Your question was perfectly justified, and to be honest, hearing my name out of your mouth in such a manner was not unusual to me.” He reached under the desk, pulled out a manila folder, and threw it on the table. “This should answer all of your questions Brian. Open it.”

I actually hesitated for moment before reaching for the folder. Axel stood over my shoulder as I opened the file. My hands began trembling when I saw what was inside. It was a picture of me! At least it looked like me. The man in the picture looked older with shades of grey in his black hair and a few other differing characteristics.

Holy shit!” cried Axel in disbelief.

“Wh-who… who is this man?” I stammered in a shaken voice with the folder vibrating in my hand with how much I was trembling. I felt very pale.

“That is Nathan Xelbu. By the difference in your ages and the uncanny resemblance between the two of you, I can only surmise that Xelbu is your father.” Strife said calmly. I, on the other hand, nearly fainted from those words. Luckily Axel was still behind me to catch me.

“Arthias, could you fetch our guest a chair and some water? He looks like he is about to pass out.” I felt a chair pushed into me as Axel helped lower me down. Then Arthias gave me a glass of water which I took a few sips from.

“This can’t be right.” I said. “I know my father. I’ve known him and my mom for almost twenty years.” I told them.

“Is it possible that your parents were married after you were born?” asked Strife unconvinced.

“I… I’ve seen the wedding certificate. They were married at least a year before I was born.” I protested.

“Then could your mother have committed adultery?” Strife continued. I jumped out of the chair and grabbed Strife by his tie and pulled him close to my face. There was a thump behind me.

“You don’t know them! Neither one would cheat on the other. Don’t ever make a comment like that again!” I yelled angrily. “I would sooner believe I was adopted.”

“You have my sincerest apologies Brian. I did not mean to insult you or your family.” Strife said apologetically. I pushed him back into his chair as I let go of his tie. Strife readjusted his tie making it strait and neat again. I turned around to pick up my chair which had fallen only to see Axel on top of Arthias.

He was about to attack you.” said the monkey defensively. I put my hand on his shoulder silently telling him to get up as I sat back in my chair. Axel rose, followed by Arthias who gave us both an unforgiving glare as he went back to the door.

“This is why you recognized me isn’t it?” I realized as I started to regain myself.

“Indeed. Xelbu was twenty years my senior, but he and I knew each other well. We both had ties to an organization known as the Non Existent Ones. Xelbu was the organization’s chief scientist while I was the son of its leader, Animus Maxwell. When I turned eighteen I was made head captain and heir to the Non Existent Ones, but that is beside the point. The point is Xelbu was a friend and mentor to me as I grew up.” explained Strife.

“Based on what you said earlier, you probably don’t know who my biological mother is.” I suspected. Strife’s face turned grim as he lowered his head closing his eyes.

“Unfortunately I do not. Although Xelbu had numerous honorable traits, he was still human and had his share of disreputable ones as well. One of which was… well… he liked to bring women to his bed and… fornicate.” Strife said distastefully.

“So he was a sex fiend.” I said bluntly. Strife sighed and shook his head.

“To put it so callously, yes, Xelbu was a… sex fiend.” My words he said with even more dislike as if he were choking on them.

“You keep saying his name in the past tense. You mean he’s…” I was almost afraid to ask the question.

“Yes. I regret to say, Nathan Xelbu is deceased.” Strife lamented. “I already mentioned that Xelbu was a brilliant scientist. About ten years ago, he was involved in an experiment on Cinnabar Island with a freelance research team titled ‘Project Myu2’. Unfortunately, the experiment went horribly wrong. The mansion the research was conducted in was utterly destroyed along with the lives of everyone inside at the time. Nathan Xelbu died at the age of 41. Fate had been especially cruel that terrible day as my father, Animus Maxwell, had gone to the mansion to get a progress report on the experiment. He too died. That fateful day I had to assume the role as leader of the Non Existent Ones as its heir at the age of 21.”

“You brought me here to say all of that? I think I would have been happier not knowing the truth.” I confessed. My mind was in complete disarray. If dealing with Eve’s mind games earlier hadn’t been bad enough, now I have all this on my mind too! I don’t think I can handle anymore.

“Sometimes ignorance truly is bliss.” Strife empathized. “I am sorry I called you here for this. I believed you deserved to know the truth, but I see now I was mistaken.”

Are you ok?” asked Axel worriedly.

“I’m fine.” I said despite everything that happened. “I have one more question before I go. You’ve mentioned this a few times, so who are the Non Existent Ones?” I inquired. It was only for a brief second, but I could have sworn I saw Strife flash an evil grin as if he had hoped I would ask. Then again it has been a long night. Must have just been my imagination.

“If you must know, make an acronym of the first letter in each word in Non Existent One.” told Strife.

“Sir, no!” shouted Arthias desperately extending his hand.

“N-E-O.” I spelled out. “Neo.” Then I felt like a ton of bricks had been smashed into my face. “Neos. Team Neos.” I said in an almost whispered voice.

“Allow me to formally introduce myself. I am Strife Maxwell, Leader of Team Neos.” Strife said calmly as he practically stared through me.

Time felt like it had completely stopped. I think my heart missed a beat or two when he said those words. A cold sweat ran down my forehead. Why would he reveal himself like that? Especially to someone like me and… Oh no! Arthias! He must be a member, a high ranking one no doubt. And he’s been standing at the door this whole time. I have no way out! I am completely surrounded by the enemy. Arthias looked about as nervous as I did. He must not have known his boss would out himself either. He reached into the side of his suit jacket and never took his eyes off of me.

“Why? Why would you tell me all that?” I asked nervously. “You could have just lied!” I shouted jumping out of my chair and slamming my hands on Strife’s desk. At that very second Arthias pulled an Ultra Ball from his jacket and pointed it at me. I was completely frozen solid. I didn’t know what was in that sphere, but something told me I didn’t want to find out. Not with my Pokémon still so exhausted. Axel was staring daggers at the two men. He was just as anxious as I was and knew he was just as vulnerable.

“Put you ball away my Captain.” said Strife standing up. “You do not want to frighten our guest now or give him the wrong impression of us.”

“Frightened?” I said in a low voice. “I’m fucking terrified right now! What the hell is with you!?” I yelled slamming my hands on the desk again. This whole situation had me completely freaked out. Strife began pacing around the room.

“Brian, to answer your first questioned ‘Why did I not lie?’ the answer is quite simple. I wanted you to know. You are correct; I could have completely left out all traces of the Non Existent Ones when I spoke of Xelbu. Better yet, I could have never invited you in the first place. But I did call upon you, and I told the truth. The other day when we met, you told me you were participating in the White City Tournament. I made sure to watch your matches to see how you performed in battle. I was most impressed, particularly your most recent one with Eve Illuminati. Though you lost, you demonstrated finesse and good judgment. You recognized that you would lose, so you did the honorable thing by cutting your losses before it was too late. You are just the kind of Trainer Team Neos needs.” he explained.

“No way!” I shouted when I realized what he had just asked. “I will never join a criminal organization like Team Neos!” With that Strife stopped walking, never taking his eyes off of me for a second.

“Criminals? What an ugly word.” he said hurtfully. “The Neos are visionary activists. The world is in a deplorable state of chaos and decadence. Teams Rocket, Galactic, Aqua, and Magma have been terrorizing the world for years. Someone needed to step up to the task. I have a vision of a utopia where people and Pokémon live in peace. No more will there be war or discord. Team Neos acts on this goal by any means necessary. Now I will admit, I have heard stories of members who take things too far, but can you really chastise an entire organization based on the sins of a few? Is the police force evil because of the actions of a few dirty cops? Can the student body of a school be called irredeemable because one delinquent always makes trouble for others? They say that it takes one hundred good deeds to make up for one bad. You see Brian; the media takes that one instance of misjudgment, blows it out of proportion, and slanders us relentlessly for it. Never do they so much as mention all the positive things Neos does for the world.” Strife continued, making hand gestures when appropriate and never losing his cool for a second.

“If what you say is true, then you owe me 200 good deeds for when I saw your people kill a man, then attempt to kill me.” I said vehemently.

“Then join us Brian. You can be the one who makes up those 200 actions.” Strife encouraged holding out his hand bidding me to accept.

“The answer is no!” I rejected fiercely. I took a deep breath. “This may just be me being naïve, but I won’t tell anyone who you really are. They probably wouldn’t believe me anyway, but it may be enough to start an investigation. But I won’t say anything.” I said more calmly.

Are you sure?” Axel asked nervously.

“Yeah, let’s go.” I said turning to the door.

“I would appreciate that Brian. Team Neos is still in its infancy. The world is not ready to know my identity yet. When order is restored to this corrupt society I will come forward, but not yet.” said Strife thankfully. He reached into his jacket and pulled out a Pokéball. “Here. A gift for all of your troubles so that there is no ill will between us.” he said throwing the ball to me. “It is a Beldum, a very rare breed that evolves into one of the most powerful known Pokémon, Metagross. Train it well. Good night Brian and Axel.”

I slowly staggered with Beldum’s Pokéball in hand and Axel at my side holding me steady. As I neared the door, Arthias slammed his arm against it blocking my exit.

“Sir, with all due respect, what are you thinking letting him go like this?” he asked angrily. For the first time I saw a change in Strife’s demeanor. He looked aggressive.

“Be quiet!” he roared angrily. After everything that happened tonight, this was by far the most terrifying moment. “I need not explain myself to the likes of you my Captain! Now kindly remove your hand from the door so that Brian and Axel may leave. They have had a long night.” His tone subsided to its usual calm as he spoke. Arthias reluctantly did as instructed and even opened the door for me.

“My apologies, Sir.” Arthias said as I walked out. “I just wanted to know the purpose of this meeting.” Strife gave no answer, at least none while I was still within hearing range. The door closed behind me as I walked back to the elevator. The only life remaining in the stadium were employees cleaning up after today’s events.

I was both physically and mentally drained. So much had happened in such a short time. Eve, Strife, Neos, Beldum… It’s just too much! Axel must have sensed my torment as he didn’t say a word the whole time. Once we were outside I couldn’t contain myself any longer. I let out a sad scream of defeat.
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