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Team Rocket Blasts Off!

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This novel follows the basic plot of ''[[EP063|The Battle of the Badge]]'' but expands the story to include flashbacks from Team Rocket's past.
 
When Team Rocket steals [[Misty's Togetic|Misty's Togepi]] and presents it to [[Giovanni]], he is upset because the baby Pokémon is not useful to him. But before Giovanni can scold the trio, he receives an urgent call about trouble with his [[{{an|Mewtwo (anime)|ultimate Pokémon]]}}. He hurries out of the room, reluctantly putting [[Jessie]], [[James]], and {{MTR}} in charge of the [[Viridian Gym]]. In their excitement, Togepi wanders away.
 
While searching for Togepi in the basement of the Gym, the trio stumble upon a computer database of Team Rocket's members. While reading their files, the trio reminisce about [[EP003|one of their first battles with Ash]], [[EP028|their fashion salon scam]], and [[EP055|their encounter with Todd Snap]]. Frustrated by their failures, the trio decide to disband.
As the three Rockets storm away from each other, they realize that their experiences with Team Rocket may have given them many hardships, but they have also had good times with each other and become close friends. Reunited, the trio decide to go back upstairs and run the Gym.
 
Meanwhile, {{Ash}} and {{ashfr|his friends}} continue their search for Togepi. When they finally find it, they run into {{Gary}}, who has been beaten by an unknown, incredibly powerful Pokémon of Giovanni's. As they ponder what kind of Pokémon it must be, the reunited Team Rocket trio reappear.
 
Team Rocket explain to Ash that they are currently the [[Gym Leader]]s, much to his shock. They challenge Ash to a battle with Pokémon owned by the Gym, but there is a twist: every time one of Ash's Pokémon takes damage, Ash is inflicted with pain too. At first the battle is looking good for Team Rocket, but when [[Ash's Squirtle]] attacks and Jessie is shocked, they realize that they accidentally left the pain shocker on their side too. Eventually, Team Rocket loses the battle and are forced to award Ash the {{Badge|Earth}}. The story ends with Team Rocket blasting off again, vowing to one day capture Pikachu.
 
==Major Events==
* [[Jessie]], [[James]], and {{MTR}} become the temporary leaders of [[Viridian Gym]].
* {{Ash}} gets the {{Badge|Earth}}.
* Jessie, James, and Meowth disband, but come back together.
 
==Debuts==
 
===Humans===
* {{Ash}}
* {{an|Misty}}
* {{an|Brock}}
* [[Jessie]]
* [[James]]
* [[Giovanni]]
* {{Gary}}
* [[Gary's cheerleaders]]
 
===Pokémon===
* {{p|Pikachu}} ({{Ash}}'s)
* {{p|Meowth}} ({{TRM}})
* {{p|Togepi}} ({{an|Misty}}'s)
* {{p|Machamp}} ([[Giovanni]]'s)
* {{p|Rhydon}} ([[Giovanni]]'s)
 
==Trivia==
* The page numbers on this book have a picture of {{p|Meowth}} next to them instead of the usual image of {{p|Pikachu}}. This is likely due to the book focusing on Team Rocket and not Ash and his friends. However, in ''[[Prepare for Trouble]]'', the next book focusing on Team Rocket, the Meowth images are not used.
 
===Errors===
* On page 77, the image displays a {{p|Pidgeot}} and a {{p|Nidoking}}. Neither of these Pokémon appear in the book otherwise; the Pokémon displayed should have been a {{p|Pidgeotto}} and a {{p|Rhydon}} instead.
** Similarly, a {{p|Krabby}} appears on page 63, though Krabby does not make an appearance in the book. Instead, the image should have been of a {{p|Kingler}}.
 
==In other languages==
* Canadian French: '''{{tt|Team Rocket à l'attaque|Team Rocket attacks!}}'''
* Polish: '''{{tt|Zespół R w akcji|Team R in action}}'''
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