Machop sighed. The Red Robin rescue team base was quiet. Charmander, his partner, had stormed off, muttering something about "never got around to helping that Sentret", and took a Farfetch'd and a Nidoran♂ into the Sinister Woods.
The original plan for the day, as Machop had planned it, was to go to the Great Canyon, get to the Hill of the Ancients, and talk to Xatu to figure out how Charmander became a Charmander (for, you see, Charmander had once been human). However, that plan had been tossed out the window almost as soon as they began to set off.
They had had a small argument. Charmander wasn't sure why Machop was so willing to help him uncover his past. Machop simply tried to tell him it was out of the goodness of his heart, but something in Charmander's eyes told Machop he wasn't sure of that. They started down the path to the dungeons, but Charmander had turned around, grabbed 2 job offers out of the mailbox, and told Machop to hold down the fort while he took Farfetch'd and Nidoran♂ on their first rescue mission since their respective dungeons.
His thinking was stopped by a familiar flapping of wings. Machop froze. Pelipper had already delivered the mail. What could the problem be?
Pelipper flew down to the door. "Anybody home?"
Machop, worried, answered the call. "Yes? What's going on?"
Pelipper simply entered and dropped a familiar-looking badge at Machop's feet. He gawked. It was their rescue badge! "Charmander's in trouble in the Sinister Woods. He needs help."
Machop was worried. Their first mission apart and Charmander had already gotten himself in serious trouble. He sighed. "Where?"
Pelipper shrugged. "Didn't say. Just said to go rescue him."
Machop picked up the badge and headed towards the camps. He would need a rescue team to save his friends.
Charmander was upset, and not entirely there. His first mission apart from Machop, and he was already in need of saving.
Of course, the mission had been a diversion, an excuse to get away from Machop. He didn't understand why his friend cared so much about his past. He didn't even care that much about his past, truth be told.
What little of his humanity he could remember was spent being a coward. Always wanting to help others, but never willing to get himself hurt to help them. Now that he was a Pokemon, he had felt almost invincible. He was helping others, actually doing what he had failed to do in his human life.
The mission was also an excuse to get his mind off of the Zapdos encounter from the previous day. Charmander shuddered even thinking about it now. It had been an unmitigated disaster. The only Pokemon to leave the encounter unfainted was himself, along with the Nidoran♂ he now had in his party. Every other Pokemon, including his 2 party members, Machop and Poochyena, and the other 4 Pokemon that had followed him into battle, had succumbed to the electric bird's attacks, and Charmander himself hadn't been too far behind. He managed to hit hard with a Flame Burst, catching the electric bird off guard and winning the battle.
He had lots of things on his mind. For instance, why hadn't Alakazam shown up for the battle? The Psychic-type rescue team leader was the one who wanted to do the mission in the first place; Charmander and Machop had simply wanted to tag along, partially feeling responsible for the disappearance of Shiftry, and also out of their general spirit of helping others.
Either way, he shook those thoughts off. He had a mission, 2 in fact, to do. He didn't remember what they both were (he often forgot, simply helping any Pokemon he met on his journeys until the Rescue Badge told him he could escape), but he knew the one that had given him an excuse to go. The day they had left to rescue Shiftry, a Sentret had submitted a call for help. Charmander had felt bad about not taking that request that day, but had shaken it off then to meet up with Alakazam and beat Zapdos. (Of course, Alakazam had failed to show until after the battle, leading to the aforementioned disaster, but he didn't know that at the time.)
So, here he was, going through the motions in the Sinister Woods to rescue a Sentret and help any other Pokemon he met along the way, when he suddenly ran into an Ampharos. Of course, now that the Ampharos saw them, it wasn't about to let them leave without a fight. Charmander, Farfetch'd, and Nidoran♂ fought valiantly, but the Ampharos was just too much for them to handle. Before he knew it, they were all on the ground, almost fainted.
He had felt almost invincible, but now Charmander was being faced with his mortality, head-on. With the last of his strength, Charmander grabbed the rescue badge. He felt something click, and then the badge was gone.
Before he could question it, he was unconscious.
Pelipper was used to these sorts of things happening. The rescue badge appeared on the desk at the Post Office, with some rudimentary information. It was Charmander, the newest arrival to Pokemon Square, the badge belonged to his rescue team, Red Robin, and he was in the Sinister Woods in need of saving. Another Pelipper delivered the badge to their base and came back reporting that Machop, Charmander's partner in the team, had gone off to rescue him. Another job offer delivered, and hopefully, another job offer succeeded.
After some deliberation, Machop had his team. Poochyena, their third from the day prior, and Magnemite, their usual third, were gearing up to save Charmander. However, before the trio could leave, the other Nidoran♂ stopped them. "Please, please, let me go! He's like a brother to me, I need to help him!"
At first, Machop was confused as to what he meant, but then it dawned on him. That morning, Charmander had went with a Farfetch'd and a Nidoran♂. This Nidoran♂ clearly wanted to help rescue his friend. Still, he couldn't. "Sorry, I can only take 2 Pokemon."
The Nidoran♂ wasn't having it. "Please? I promise I won't tell the Rescue Organization."
"Sorry, dude. Them's the rules."
Suddenly, Magnemite spoke up. "It's okay. You can go in my place."
Machop was stunned. "Really? You'd miss out on a rescue mission?"
While he lacked the ability to literally shrug, it was as if Magnemite had shrugged. "The only connection I have to this is wanting to save Charmander because he's important to you. Nidoran♂ wants to help the other Nidoran♂, personally. I can sit this one out. Good luck, you three!"
Magnemite shuffled off to the Power Plant camp, while Nidoran♂ got ready to head out. Soon, they were packed, and their rescue team rescue team was ready to go.
They had reached the third floor, and through the corridor, they could see a familiar face. Machop rushed over and saw someone he knew. "Fletcher! Are you okay?"
Fletcher, the Farfetch'd who had left with Charmander, suddenly woke up. "Huh? Oh, hi Machop!"
Machop facepalmed. "Fletcher, what happened? Is everybody okay?"
Fletcher looked around. "We got in a fight with an Ampharos, and we lost. Badly. Truth be told, Machop, I don't even know how I got here. I don't know where the others are."
Machop sighed. "Whatever. Go heal up." He flashed the badge to Fletcher, and Fletcher teleported away. The badge tried to tell Machop there were no missions left in the jungle, but he couldn't believe it. He had to find Charmander.
He looked around, everywhere he could, but Charmander was nowhere to be found. He had resigned himself to hoping Charmander had gotten away safely (and was heading back to the stairs) when he heard a familiar cry.
He reluctantly turned around, and there, standing behind him, was an Ampharos. Of course, now that he had passed on his chance to teleport away, he was going to get knocked out by an Ampharos and left in the Sinister Woods. Regardless, he readied himself for battle.
The Ampharos struck first, hitting him with a Zap Cannon and paralyzing him, freezing him where he stood. This left Poochyena and Nidoran♂, as well as 2 Sunflora and an Oddish they met along the way, to fight the Ampharos. Machop couldn't move much, but he could still hand out Oran Berries to his teammates.
Imagine his surprise when, instead of Poochyena and Nidoran♂ stepping up, one of the Sunflora and the Oddish stepped up to fight the Ampharos. The Sunflora hit the Ampharos with Pound and was paralyzed by Ampharos's Static ability. Meanwhile, Oddish kept hitting Ampharos with Acid and the occasional Absorb. Oddish almost fainted once, Sunflora almost fainted once, and Machop himself almost fainted several times, but they had enough Oran Berries on them to survive. Oddish delivered one final Acid, and the Ampharos fell unconscious.
Where the Ampharos once stood, a red treasure chest now sat. Machop bent over to pick up the treasure chest when he noticed a familiar-looking red body in the bushes, with a pinkish-purple body not too far away.
He immediately ran over to the bushes and pulled out the half-conscious bodies of Charmander and Nidoran♂, respectively. He fed them Tiny Revival Seeds and sighed when they finally woke up.
Charmander was the first to react to being awake. He looked around, almost fearfully. "What? Where did it go?"
He shrunk back towards the bushes, but Machop grabbed him. "It's okay. We beat the Ampharos. It's safe now."
Charmander finally looked at Machop, and a look of realization flashed across Charmander's face. He suddenly grabbed the side of his head. "Wow... how long was I out?"
Machop shrugged. "Probably around an hour. It took a while for Pelipper to come get us, and for us to get to you."
Charmander suddenly looked at Machop with alarm. "Are you okay?"
Machop smiled. "Yep. Unlike you, we remembered our healing items."
Charmander groaned. "Of all the times to run out of Oran Berries, I decide to run out just before facing an Ampharos. Yikes." He suddenly looked downwards. "Hey, about this morning..."
Machop smiled. "It's okay. I get it. You're still a little on edge-"
Charmander interrupted him. "About that... I've actually got several problems." He talked through his issues from before with Machop.
The fighting-type pondered the questions Charmander posed. It was weird how Alakazam had failed to show up for the battle he clearly knew was going to take place. And it had cost them most of their supporting cast from the Mount Thunder mission. He understood why Charmander was still a little shaken from the whole thing. "It's alright. When you're ready to go see Xatu, we'll go, but I won't push the issue anymore."
Charmander smiled. "Honestly? Getting that all off of my chest really helped. I think we'll go see Xatu tomorrow."
Machop smiled back and hugged his friend. "Alright then, we'll go tomorrow. But right now, you need to heal up-"
Charmander sighed. "And then, I guess, I need to go save that Sentret." He looked to Machop. "Unfortunately, I don't think the Rescue Organization will let me swap out a member on my team."
Machop shrugged. "It's fine. I'll be back at the base if you need saving again."
Machop flashed the badge, and they all teleported back to the base, ready to heal up and get back to work.