Zephyr Base - Sootopolis City
Forrest glanced back at Samantha and barely registered that she was a stranger. He was simply just following where he was being led at this point. Everything was moving far faster than he was able to successfully understand quickly, and so simply resigned himself to act when Tristan ordered him to.
The Grand Conserve looked and felt - calm. Strangely calm considering their own states of mind. Suspiciously calm. She was focused and diligent with the top secret report she was authoring regarding the Ranger Summit she had just attended with the other Grands and Master General. She glanced over at the two, unaware that there were actually three, and gave a polite smile and greeted the two briefly.
"It's a pleasure to have you here, Investigator. Welcome to the Zephyr Base. And it is good to see you again, Mr. Johnson," she said with a delicate nod. "Just give me one moment. Please, take a seat," she said calmly and mostly to Forrest who stood there stupidly.
A Dragonair coiled itself in the air behind the Grand Conserve as if it were sleeping. It snaked around quite similarly to Forrest's Syressa due to their similar physiology, but this Dragonair was notably smaller than the Milotic - less than half her size and much slimmer. Its scales shimmered faintly in the late-afternoon sun through the windows the Dragonair hovered in front of. It didn't seem to take any notice of the visitors.
"I do hope your Xatu is doing better," she said as she continued to type quickly.
She looked just as thin as she did during the summit. Her uniform was just as pristine as it was yesterday, as well. Her hair was pulled back into a tight bun as was likely standard dress code.
"I wonder if Dick told them. Hopefully they can use what little I've gathered."
The image of Pisces appeared in her mind. He was in her office. He stood closer to the door than where she sat at her desk. The memory of the conversation was silent and the two were perfectly still in the picture of the memory.
It was hard to decide for some whether a moving and active memory with sound but less vivid visual details were better than a still and silent image with crystalline clarity. But everyone's mind worked differently, and hers appeared as the latter.
"Now, what might I be able to do for you two gentlemen?" she asked as she turned and weaved her fingers together and put them in front of her on the desk to appear as attentive as possible. Her casual smile was uncharacteristic despite having only been in her presence once before. The sternness with which she held herself during the Summit was entirely gone, somehow.
Rangers Headquarters - Rustboro City
Veritas stood still in the corner of the room. Her mind stretched out far - through every corridor and hallway and into each room she could reach. The emotions ranged from stressed to intrigued, but nothing particularly sinister exuded from those she was able to mentally and emotionally reach. Still, she kept still and silent as Leon and Deirdre chatted with Percival and puttered around. They were provided a light meal soon after their arrival and had been notified that their scheduled dinner would be 6:30PM in the mess hall. It may not have been ideal, but Deirdre was intrigued with being able to eat among the Rangers, if only because she was curious to personally witness how they behaved in a less-professional space. Leon didn't seem to care much, but Veritas knew this was only because his mind raced with concerned thought for his wife and his son.
Before dinner, Percival was called to report to the Zephyr Base in Sootopolis per the commands of the General Master and Grand Conserve. He was briefed by the Master General, himself, since there were few others that knew the situation in its entirety. Percival agreed somewhat begrudgingly since he wanted to stay with Tristan's parents, which the Master General sympathized with. But he thought about it for a moment and knew other Gym Leaders would be arriving at the Headquarters soon enough and learn about what was happening soon enough. He was also told that Tristan was likely there and hoped to be able to catch him for a quick chat, though understood that that wasn't likely. So he felt confident enough to leave Leon and Deirdre, though not without leaving his Grumpig with them to aid Veritas should she require assistance.
Rangers with Psychic Pokemon that were adept at Teleportation were swiftly mobilized. Box Row quickly filled over its capacity with suspects related to the Mauville Attack. The overflow was kept in cells that were also quickly growing full. It was initially rather surprising and unexpected, but they all fell into an efficient rhythm of shuffling the suspects from cells into Boxes and back into cells. The best Interrogative Rangers worked quickly to learn all they could from these suspects. They were able to further verify the majority of these suspects were under Jonton's "employment" through vicious extortion. There were few that were as deranged and dangerous as Jonton, himself, that were given the full extent of the punishments they were able to place upon them. The others were worked with on a more personal level to see them rehabilitated and return to normal civilian life as quickly and as safely as they could.
"Thank you for arriving on such short notice, Amelia," the Master General said as she entered and sat at a chair in front of his desk.
"I have a team working to transport Mauville citizens back to their homes. The repairs are going much faster than anticipated," she reported mechanically as she shifted the files she had brought onto her lap.
The Master General sighed deeply. "That's good," he said with exhausted relief. "But I brought you here for an entirely different purpose. You won't be able to work on Refugee Management anymore."
The Grand Watcher looked up to the Master General and cocked her head. Her face remained still, but this was the extent to which she would visibly show confusion.
"We have a bigger issue that I need your help with..."
The Master General took the time to thoroughly go over all the notes he received from Tristan with the Grand Watcher. He hadn't the time to go over it all before she arrived, so they went through the finer points together for a time. He also recalled what he remembered Regita had learned when Pisces met with her. He hadn't remembered when he spoke with Tristan, which plucked at his heart. But at least he could share this with the Grand Watcher.
"Because I thought it was a single radical individual. I had no idea of their level of power and, thus, didn't consider it a threat that needed to be looked into."
"Unfortunate but understandable," she said and started to write on the back of the papers within the files she had.
"I'm just concerned that the plans for the Rangers weren't in the files Tristan was able to gather."
"It could be that they have no intention of going after the Rangers," she said as she tapped a piece of paper with her pen. "And being philosophical radicals doesn't mean they're purely murderous or destructive. That philosophy doesn't necessarily call for the end of the world," she said, though mostly to herself as she continued to think aloud.
"I think it's just as dangerous to presume that they will kill all of these people and destroy all of these locations. It's just as well that they wish to 'convert' them for purposes that align with their philosophy. Of course we can't assume they won't just destroy and kill all these people, but overreacting will lead to rash decisions which leads to poorly-considered courses of actions that would put even more people at risk. Of course we need more information to make the 'right' decision, but we don't have that and we shouldn't operate as if we are going to. We need to consider all of our options and the risks associated with them.
"So first let's assume that they had plans to take out the Ranger Organization and it simply wasn't in the files Aeros was able to acquire. Let's also overestimate their capabilities per Aeros' and Johnson's account. We can also confirm that there are at least 12 of them. Given all this, they will destroy all the Bases and this Headquarters in but a few moments and kill everyone therein. If they were as dangerous and radical as the Mauville Attack suggests, we'd all already be dead. Soon after that, the other locations on that list would be destroyed and the people on the list would be killed. That would be their most efficient course of action when they learn that we were able to get this information.
"So why haven't they? What could they be waiting for if they have the amount of power we believe them to have? Why not take us out while we're scrambling and panicking? This would be the best time to strike the Rangers.
"This, alone, leads me to believe what's been plainly presented in the evidence you have - Team Zodiac was not involved in the Mauville Attack. Yes, I understand they are strongly implicated, but it will lead us down the wrong path if we simply believe the coincidence to be the truth as that would lead us down a path of actions taken and decisions made that would prove ineffectual at best and wholly detrimental due to the expenditure of resources at worst should we be wrong.
"But if that implication is correct, simply adding security to those locations and people would be a waste of time, anyway. There's no group of Rangers that I can think of that could take on even one of these Team Zodiac members other than an entire branch per member, which leaves them with 6 other members to do as they please. The entirety of the Pokemon League would be able to handle the other six at my first impression, though. I think it's safe to assume that, if we throw absolutely all of our resources at them, that we might be able to hold them back. And though we don't know their current location or locations, we do have definitive list that we could certainly begin with.
"However, this leaves us to poking around in places we know have direct links with Team Zodiac. If they are heavily protected, the scouting missions will fail. The bases and safehouses are presumed destroyed, so investigating those locations will be fruitless. Sending crews to each of the other locations to then stand guard falls back to the original issue of wasting resources we don't have.
"Speaking of which, what is the status of the scouting parties sent to the bases and safehouses?"
"Oh, uh, I haven't heard back," Dick said rather meekly.
"And this was about a half hour ago. They're MIA. So they're presumed dead," she continued coldly. "So this verifies that engaging them blindly is the worst course of action. Luckily, we're not so blind anymore," she said and gestured to Tristan and Forrest's account of their engagement with Taurus.
"Given the above, all resources need to be focused into evacuation and defense. We can only reliably work to be reactionary. Unless we can find a specialized team as powerful and skilled as Aeros and Johnson, they will need to be our investigative force and all our information will need to come from them."
"So, we need to start practicing evacuation drills?"
"That's too conspicuous and suspicious. Assign the best Transport and Teleporation teams to spread out across the country and prepare them to evacuate everyone they can in a worst-case scenario."
Dick nodded and scribbled something down onto a scrap of paper.
"They're meeting with Kline. Get me all of their planned actions as well as each action they take as they take them."
Dick hesitated a moment at this command, but eventually nodded and scribbled onto the paper.
"All we know is that they are interested in these Pokemon, though of course it's not a stretch to say they are seeking to obtain them or otherwise control them. There are historians in Rustboro, correct? The best historian in Hoenn. Get Madam Inderasa here ASAP."
Privately, this dynamic between the two of them was normal. Dick often sought Amelia's advice for most everything. But even the other Grands were unaware of how authoritative she was, especially when she needed to be. Luckily, Dick relied on this. But they both knew the other Grands would resent her for her assuredness since she hardly ever explained herself thoroughly and, instead, would make decisions and commands. This made her keep quiet during meetings with others and would only speak to ask questions. Furthermore, it was lucky for everyone involved that she held no significant level of pride. She cared only to serve and protect the people of Hoenn. Whoever was the face for those actions mattered little to Amelia. As long the citizens were safe, her job was performed satisfactorily.