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Written Story Sinnoh Mature Mon Like No One - a Platinum Nuzlocke

Thread Description
Platinum Nuzlocke story set in past and present. Content contains mild swearing and battle violence; I'll add warnings for more intense chapters! Updates posted once a week - enjoy!

skyharbor6

Member
Pokédex No.
757
Caught
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
7
Hello world! Welcome to Like No One!

I'm excited to be here, even more excited that YOU'RE here, and with the new forums I'm excited to relive the tale as I upload here on a regular schedule.

Whether you remember this run from the old forums or are brand-new to Sam Huntsmann's tale, I hope you enjoy and would love to hear from you!

Like No One is based on a standard Nuzlocke run from Pokemon Platinum. The story is that of Sam Huntsmann told in two parts - his past journey as a trainer from his own point of view, and his present condition which results as-told through the eyes of a young trainer looking to draw Sam out of hiding.

One more thing - I've tagged the story as "mature" as it contains swearing and battle violence.

There's so much to share so let's get started! We begin in the present-day, following young Maxwell Linnunrata as he seeks answers in the heart of the forest, answers only Sam can provide...

Introduction

The sun had just gone down over the hills to his left when the teenage boy stumbled out of the evergreens. There were twigs and pine needles in his clothes and in his short raven hair. The twilit forest was cool and his thin windbreaker couldn’t fend off the chill. His ocean blue eyes took in his surroundings and he gave a slight shiver, wondering what kind of place this was.

The clearing, ringed by the thick forest’s trees, was large as a soccer pitch but hardly as flat or as square. Freshly mowed grass covered a hill which sloped down to the northeast; he stood at the top. The hill led into a small, glassy lake which curved out of view around a rocky ridge extending from the hill he was on, hiding the southern part of the water. Due north, the hill leveled off, as if he was at the top of a scoop taken out of the earth. A garden with freshly turned earth stood atop a low bluff, overlooking the lake from the north.

The most interesting feature of the clearing was a building which sat uphill from the lake, nestled into the trees on the northern side. With small windows in two rows reflecting the golden sunset, the mammoth log cabin looked like a small hotel – which wouldn’t surprise him, he thought, given the beauty of the property before him. Lights in the windows made him hopeful that he wouldn’t have to sleep on dead needles and knobby roots again tonight.

He slowly followed the trees around to the cabin. Crickets covered the noise he made, crinkling needles and snapping twigs. The sky darkened rapidly and the stars were out by the time he reached it, the waning moon already up high in the east. All of the windows were filled with golden lamp light and it was all he could do to keep hoping that there’d be room for him. He hadn’t actually seen anybody, but he couldn’t believe the owners would keep all of the rooms lit all the time. With nothing to do but try, he approached the grand front doors. They were more than three times his height and about half the height of the building, built from stained planks of forest wood. There were no plaques or markers. There wasn’t even a knocker. Some hotel, he thought.

He slowly raised his hand, took a deep breath and rapped on the door. Knocknockknock! It sounded more cheerful and optimistic than he felt. It did nothing to help his feelings that not a sound issued from within, as seconds turned to minutes and he tried again to no avail. He deflated as his nerves left him, losing his wariness of the mysterious residence in frustration.

He grabbed a loose stone off the ground and hurled it over the lake. The exertion was far more satisfying than the pathetic little sploosh the pebble made. Suddenly tired, he sat down with a huff and a sigh with his back to the wall of the cabin. He didn’t notice the ripples coming to shore that were a bit larger than his pebble’s. Bored, he grabbed another little rock and lazily tossed it down to the water. It fell over the garden bluff and out of sight.

Splish

All was quiet for a moment. The crickets silenced their song.

His head snapped to attention.

Sploosh

What the hell was that
, he thought. The sound was far deeper and louder than any lakeshore skipping stone could have made. Small waves came around the southern ridge and he stood, becoming tense and once again alert.

His watch was rewarded with silence. The waves eventually reached the shore, shattering the pristine mirror, the soft pulsing of the water breaking the quiet forest vigil. He looked down at the noise and quickly returned his gaze to the middle of the lake, heart pumping ice, barely containing a gasp of fear.

Three jagged fins had materialized in the lake before him. They gleamed like white beacons under the moon’s apathetic stare. The surface swelled and dipped around them, daggers moving fast in his direction. He felt like he was stuck in a nightmare, unable to scream, unable to run, unable to fight. He couldn’t even reach to his belt for defense.

The fins began to slow and rise out of the water. A large, round body followed. The creature lifted its head into the air like a cobra, poised to strike, a giant serpent towering high enough to block out the moon. The terrifying silhouette stopped only when it had reached the shore. He could smell its rotting fish breath and though he was twenty yards away from the shore, he knew the creature would easily reach him before he could scream for help. But it made no move to do so. Its tremendous head swayed and bobbed slowly, high above the ground. He saw a pair of long tentacle-like whiskers and the three fins like a crown atop the undisputed king of the sea, but with the beast out of range of the cabin lights he could see no more. It raised its head higher and froze in place. The forest held its breath.

And then it roared.

The sound was like a thousand garbage trucks crushing a thousand sheets of steel, like a freight train that had slammed into a mountain at full speed, like a plane crash-landing on a runway of nails, like pain and terror incarnate. It shattered the spell and freed the boy’s feet from the earth. The door was only a couple steps away but it felt like a mile. He reached for the handle and pulled with all his might. The massive door readily swung open and he rushed inside, slamming it shut behind him.

He shouldn’t be alive.

The creature should have been able to kill him twice before he even reached the door, and the door itself would never stand up as more than toothpicks before the sea dragon. And yet, here he was…

And the beast was quiet again. What was up with that? Wild Gyarados were notoriously bad tempered; he knew that it would destroy the entire lakeshore before it calmed down. Not to be ungrateful, he couldn’t help but be puzzled by the entire situation.

He stared at the door for a little while, waiting for any sign of an attack. Eventually, he realized it wasn’t coming, and he set his puzzlement aside, turning his attention to his new environment. He immediately understood why the windows were all lit up. The entire cabin, at least forty feet to the rafters, fifty feet wide and over a hundred yards long was one gigantic open space, lit by an array of lanterns on the walls between windows. Where he was, near the entrance, was a large living space, with a kitchen on his left and a fireside lounging area on the right. The kitchen featured a wood stove in the corner and a simple hand-carved table with a single chair to accompany it. Cabinets which presumably hosted food and dishes were mounted on the wall, away from the stove. A trap door beside them hinted at a cold-storage room below. The lounging space featured a stone fireplace and a large rug made of the skins of varied and exotic species. The colors and textures clashed terribly, but it at least appeared well-tended. A more luxurious chair than that in the kitchen, with a lamp stand and a little coffee table to accompany it, sat on the rug. The chair was ornately curved and large enough for the boy to share with a friend. It appeared to be stuffed and padded all over, most likely with some kind of wild creature’s hair or wool, and was almost entirely covered in a black and blue leather that was all stitched together using coarse, light-brown thread. A set of bookshelves were filled to bursting against the wall, with more books piled beside them and the raw materials for a new set of shelves beside those.

Both of these areas were nestled into the corners of the cabin by the doors. They weren’t particularly sprawling, but they still seemed to be lonely spaces for just a single inhabitant. Behind the lounging space, a stepladder led up about as high as the doors to a square loft which seemed about twenty feet wide. He assumed that was a sleeping quarters, which was again by no means large, but for a single person...

The remainder of the cabin was just…open space. This was the most remarkable part of the entire cabin. Although the space was indoors, it was carpeted with grass. Just like the clearing outside, it was carefully trimmed a few inches high and very healthy. A handful of tree stumps, and a couple of young saplings, were scattered across the open grass. A veritable forest rose from this little plain, obscuring the west end of the cabin, with a lone high pine in the far corner standing above the rest like a watchful sentinel.

It was absolutely beautiful. He wondered how it could be cared for – the windows certainly didn’t let in enough light and the vegetation would have to be watered somehow. But although his eyes searched for an answer, he didn’t find one and he didn’t dare venture into the place to look closer.

He felt a cool breeze behind him. With a jolt, he spun around with wide eyes to see the doors opening behind him. A strong and steady voice preceded the old man who walked inside.

“Don’t be afraid,” the voice said, “This is a safe place. Don’t mind V, her bark is worse than her bite.” The man chuckled to himself. “Although that hasn’t always been the case. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve had any visitors.” He wasn’t particularly tall, but he was clearly much stronger than the boy, no stranger to hard labor and self-reliance. His thick white hair was just past shoulder length and tied back behind his head, and his face carried a thin beard that was trimmed neatly along his jaw. Warm, dark eyes sat atop a face which crinkled like tissue paper with a cheery smile. His dirty hands matched his dirty clothes, but on the whole he seemed fairly well-groomed, which the boy found surprising for a man living alone this far into the wilderness. He didn’t appear at all concerned by the fact that a total stranger was in his house, which only made the boy even more nervous.

The boy spoke for the first time, his voice shaking as the second adrenaline rush in as many minutes wore off. “I-I’m sorry, I d-didn’t m-mean t-to-”

A deep and hearty laugh was earned from the old man, who extended a tanned arm to the boy. “My name is Sam, lad, and the Gyarados in the lake is named Vengeance, V for short. She’s been my friend for longer than I can remember – since before The Summoning, at least. You didn’t ‘break’ anything and as of this moment, you’re invited to spend the night here. I won’t send a traveler to sleep in these woods, my hospitality is rusty, not absentee!”

The boy could hardly believe his ears. He didn’t notice his mouth falling open as he took in the old man. His name is Sam? Could he be…?

He realized he was staring and quickly took Sam’s hand and shook it. His hairless arm was like a sapling to the woodsman’s trunk but his strong grip was at least respectable in Sam’s iron fist. “Max, n-nice to meet y-you. This is an in-incredible home, s-sir.”

More smiles. “Max, that’s a good name. Thank you, we worked very hard on it.”

“W-we?”

“Yes, of course! I couldn’t do this alone! I had my Pokémon help out; after all, it’s their home, too!”

A trainer…maybe he is the one, thought the boy. He’d never thought about what he’d do when he finally met the man he was searching for, if he ever even found him, and now he was at a loss. He thought he’d be angry or vengeful but he just felt…tired and sick. He must have looked it, because Sam broke the awkward silence with an invitation for some food. With a start, Max accepted. He was sent below the loft to fetch an extra chair and returned to find Sam already preparing their meal.

Dinner was quiet. Max had too many thoughts flying around inside his brain, each of them crashing into and destroying the others before he could use them to make words. Sam was too busy plowing through his meal for conversation anyways, so it seemed. It didn’t matter much. The cooked food was delicious and made Max feel a thousand times better after what had been a very stressful evening.

The night that followed the meal was simply pleasant, if nothing else. Sam did most of the talking as they cleaned up their meal together, asking questions about Max’s Pokémon and training career. The answers were short and meaningless, but his host was completely undeterred. He at least let out his Pokémon for Sam to see, which made the old man squirm with excitement. A Geodude, with sharp, stony skin and an unfortunate eagerness to cuddle, a quiet Girafarig with a surly second head on its tail and an excitable Turtwig with a mossy shell all made him beam with interest and delight, but Max’s last Pokémon elicited a strange reaction.

“This is my strongest Pokémon, Sam. I’m proud to introduce to you…Xavier.” In a flash of red, a huge bird almost five feet high appeared beside them. He had clean, dark gray feathers with a spectacular forward-pointing crest atop his head, ending in a scarlet tip. “Xavier, meet Sam, our gracious host for tonight. Sam, meet Xavier, my Staraptor.”

The bird gave a soft cry and shifted his gaze from his trainer. He opened his wings and folded one across his chest in a graceful bow to the old man, who had suddenly lost his smile for tears which sparkled in his eyes. The bird stood upright and looked back and forth between Sam, Max and the cabin itself with his sharp orange eyes, waiting for some response or direction.

It took a minute for Sam to regain his composure. With a cough, he shifted in his seat and then stood, bowing in return to the regal bird. “It is indeed an honor and a privilege, master-of-the-skies Xavier. I am grateful to welcome you to my home.” The words sounded genuine but forced, as if every word had to struggle for release from his tongue.

Finally certain, Max quietly dismissed his bird, who leapt up with powerful legs and glided over to the loft, where he perched and observed all the goings-on of the cabin. “Sam, I…I had a suspicion it might have been hard for you to meet him, but I…want to apologize, I didn’t realize it would be…”

“Like I’d seen a ghost?” Sam quietly offered, when Max was at a loss for words.

The boy didn’t respond. Sam turned away from him, hands on his hips. He sounded like he was about to cry again. “I…I once trained a bird like that, but I…” He trailed off and fell silent. Max finally found the words he’d been looking for.

“I know, Sam.” The man seemed startled, so Max went on, “I know you were once one of the strongest trainers Sinnoh had ever seen…and that you disappeared right when they needed you most.”

Sam seemed to flinch but didn’t turn around. Max continued to speak, “Nobody else was able to stop them and you didn’t even try. You disappeared and they took over, steamrolling everyone in their path. I was born into that world, where they took everything and gave nothing back. I was driven from my home, from my entire life by them. I didn’t know what I would do when I found you but I had to. Now I’ve found you and I…I don’t know what to do, now. I can’t hate you or battle you for revenge, but I…I just don’t understand why you just ran away.”

The words clearly stung a sore spot. Sam’s hands clenched into fists and he raised his head. His words were slow and quiet, shaking with anger – or pain. “Who are you to come into my home and accuse me of cowardice? I don’t need to answer to you, or anyone else. Why should I care about how little you know about the world you ran away from?”

Arms crossed, Max huffed, “You owe me as much.”

Sam whirled around with wild eyes, howling at the boy, the sudden change terrifying him. “I OWE NOTHING TO YOU, BOY! WHO ARE YOU!?”

Trying to keep his fear hidden, Max softly replied, “I am Maxwell Theodore Linnunrata and you owe me everything.”

Sam’s aggression fell and his eyes softened. He mouthed the name and softly spoke. “I thought they were all...”

“Dead? Gone? Neutralized? Somebody’s been watching the news.”

Silence.

“I want answers, Sam. You know I have nothing else. I deserve to know.”

“I’m sorry son, I really am. But I couldn’t have stopped it. We can talk about yourself later but for now I think it’s best if we just get some shuteye.” Max began to interject, but Sam cut him off, “I won’t say it again, I don’t want to talk about it. Goodnight.”

He was out of his seat and up in the loft before Max could say another word.



Max couldn’t sleep. The old man snored on the large, comfortable bed but the boy was wide awake in his cot. Max cautiously climbed out of bed and down the ladder. He was drawn to the bookshelves, obsessed with learning anything about his host, even if it was just his choice of science fiction. He lit a handheld candle lamp and started scanning the rows for anything interesting.

Surprisingly, most of it was nonfiction. Besides a number of history books, and a couple rows of notable newspapers, he had an entire unit filled with science texts and one shelf with…oh…oh, ew. Max completed his search and wondered what he could learn from it.

Ok. He’s a science nerd and a history geek. So what?

Frustrated, he kept looking but found nothing new or interesting. It was getting colder as the night grew deep and he decided it was time to give up for awhile. He turned to return the lamp and froze in place, barely remembering not to shout.

It stood on two feet and was about waist-high. It had short black fur and three six-inch claws on each hand and foot. A beautiful red feather was affixed above its left ear. Large, pale eyes reflected the light of the lamp. The ground was frosty around its feet; Max could feel his body warmth slipping away in the presence of the creature. A dark and ice-type species, Sneasal are notoriously smart and vicious, not to mention fast. But it didn’t seem to be after a fight – thank Arceus, he thought. It was cradling something in its deadly hands.

They made eye contact and, with a serious look, the Sneasal extended its arms. It was holding a book – an unmarked book, at that. Cautiously, he reached out for it. As soon as he’d grabbed hold, the creature vanished into the dark building like smoke on the wind.

What is this? Max opened the cover and nearly squealed with delight when he read the first line. “This is the story and property of Sam Huntsmann and is private until the time of his death. This is the reader’s only warning.” A journal! Immediately, he went to the great lounge chair and began to read.



Not much time had passed before he got busted.

“…I wanted to be the very best, like no one ever was or ever would be. Like no one.” Max was reading aloud to himself, quietly, to keep from falling asleep in the chair. The first chapter of the journal was an explanation of the true origins of the universe, in case the reader didn’t already know for some reason.

Sam had written his own story from the very beginning of the universe. Dramatic, but he isn’t wrong, I guess. Whatever. Just another school lesson to him, and as usual, it was cut short before it actually got interesting.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” The voice was quiet with icy undertones. It was a voice of death.

Max leapt out of his seat, nearly dropping the book and tipping the lamp. He was shocked, embarrassed and totally at a loss for words. “I was, uh, just…uh-“

“You were just, huh? Did you just ever think that maybe private means PRIVATE!?” The last word was an echoing shout and it made Max flinch.

“No, sir, it wasn’t-“

“OUT! GET OUT, NOW!”

“But I-“

“OUUT!” He was screaming now. Terrified, Max raced for the door and shoved it open. Running as fast as he could, not even thinking to call his loosed Pokémon, he didn’t hear the low rumble or the heavy sliding which preceded yet another terrifying shock.

A heavy tail swung from overhead and slammed into the ground in front of him. He ran right into the rock-hard scales and had the wind knocked out of him. The tail tossed him back to the front door, where the old man howled in the night. “V I SWEAR I WANT HIM OUTTA HERE, DON’T YOU DARE-“

The towering Gyarados growled menacingly and cut him off. Max realized she wanted him to stay for some reason but he couldn’t really tell why. Sam, on the other hand, seemed to know exactly why. He seemed to be done yelling, at least. His voice softened, practically a whimper now. “I know you want me to, but I just…it hurts, girl, you know that. I don’t know if I can take it, going through it all over again.”

Though he still couldn’t see the Gyarados in the night, he was sure he was witnessing a miracle. V appeared to be snuggling her trainer. His words were slow and filled with apprehension and resignation now. “Alright, hun, alright…I’ll tell him…but I’m doin’ it for you, got it?”

He got a soft growl in response. “Okay, okay, fine…for you and for them, V, for them too.”

She backed away from him and they both turned to Max. “Well, son, looks like you win. Even my Pokémon want me to tell you the story…come on back inside, stay outta my journal, and I’ll tell you why I ran away. I’ll tell you why things are the way they are. I’ll tell you…” He paused to sigh, “…everything.”

That's all for now; thanks again for reading! I'll be back next week with the start of Chapter 2 - Sweet 16...see you then!
 

Rhema

Well-known member
Writer
Team Delta
Pokédex No.
212
Caught
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
112
Location
Hearthome City
Nature
Careful
Pronouns
She/Her/Hers
Pokémon Type
Fire, Psychic
Pokédex Entry
She tries her best, but doesn't succeed. She gets what she wants but not what she needs.
Wow, this is quite the unique set-up. Platinum is my *favorite* game so I’m always eager to read any fics that deal with it. Sam and Max are both highly intriguing and I’m really looking forward to seeing what their deals are, particularly Sam. Your writing itself is very evocative and descriptive, which just makes Like No One a very engaging read so far!
 

skyharbor6

Member
Pokédex No.
757
Caught
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
7
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
Thank you! I was inspired to write this by "The Gauntlet" on the original forums and The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, which both had a magically vivid writing style so I'm so happy to hear that it shows!

It's going to be a lot of fun to revisit Sam as I've written him over the years, and to continue sculpting his character to bring young Sam to his pre-destined life at the cabin. Hopefully I do justice to your favorite game! The intro is sooooo long but I've really enjoyed writing it and indulging it, so I hope you will, too.

Here's a double-update! The contents of Sam's journal as Max read it has been posted as bonus material before, so I'll share it as bonus material here, too.

In the Earth-year 2011, a nuclear power plant in the nation of Japan was destroyed by an earthquake, releasing devastating amounts of radioactive material into the Pacific Ocean. Years later, evidence of the effects of the radiation began to surface. Most of the offspring of exposed creatures were stillborn. Most of the survivors were mutated in ways that made survival difficult or even impossible. Precious few were “normal”, but rarer still were the “special” ones…offspring who were mutated to be superior to their parents in some way, creatures which were more resistant to the radiation effects than their parents. It was often impossible to determine which species had birthed them without careful DNA tracking.

In 2034, it was determined that exposure to the radiation had triggered ultra-high speed evolution. The native species became extinct, leaving behind mutated offspring which could survive in the poisoned environment. Some were fit to survive and procreate themselves; most were not. It was a brutal process which devastated the wildlife population and ended fishing in the Pacific by 2040; scientists, however, rejoiced at what they were able to learn from studying the new species.

Elsewhere in the world, scientists researching deep space confirmed the existence of wormholes in the year 2035. The rich and the powerful funded extensive research for these scientists, who managed in 2039 to send a rock from a lab in Switzerland to the surface of the moon, landing it beside the American flag planted in 1969 by Neil Armstrong, using the same amount of energy as it would have taken to move the rock across a table. “Teleportation” was celebrated world-wide, with nearly endless implications. Funding was increased, with the end-goal being interstellar travel.

As time passed, science was able to send larger and more complicated objects deeper into space. They found that wormholes required great skill but little energy to control and manipulate, and passing through them meant travelling light years as quickly and as easily as walking into the next room. The only problem was that they were impossible to keep open for more than a short time; most tests consisted of sending objects which were meant to be lost, while others recalled their vessels immediately after sending them through. Very rarely, a wormhole would start to close on a retreating vessel; in these terrifying cases, it was found that the wormhole would squeeze the vessel out at enormous speed, causing disastrous crashes. The wormhole time constant was determined and they became able to predict when it would be unsafe to recall a vessel in the same wormhole; they would then open a new one directly adjacent to the old, recalling the vessel that way instead. The science was truly the most promising beacon since the first lunar landing.

In 2050, they announced that a massive vessel, the world’s first starship, named First Light, was prepared to make a jump which would send it to explore the Alpha Centauri star system. It would be the first time a human had made the jump, following successful trials with chimpanzees in ’48.

The jump was a success. A brief message was exchanged with the explorers to confirm the success and a return rendezvous was scheduled. They were expected to be self-sufficient for many years, with regular check-ins planned since communication was only feasible through opened wormholes (otherwise, the radio waves would have to cross open space, meaning messages from Alpha Centauri would take five years to reach Earth). The world erupted in applause and celebration. The powerful held private parties and kept secret conversations. Conceived now were the most terrible plots in all of human history.

Believing themselves no longer confined to a planet they knew to be damaged, the world leaders commissioned the building of a fleet of starships in the image of First Light. In 2056, the fleet was assembled. In 2057, the atomic attacks began. No longer afraid to destroy the planet, old hatreds burned with nuclear fire and nations crumbled under the horrors of the New Holocaust. Millions were killed in the three years it took to exhaust the world’s nuclear arsenals. Most of the world leaders were assassinated or deposed and exiled as the rich clambered for homes in the starship fleet. Some were destroyed by attacks even as they prepared to jump into deep space, where a new life might be found. Many made it out but, without any coordination, were never heard from again. Our explorers never found any evidence of them, either. Their universe is a huge place, though – we’ll never know for sure if man found a new home in its farthest reaches.

When the bombs stopped falling, thousands of species were already driven to extinction and billions of the poor were left to die. A few in the middle and upper class remained, mostly humanitarians and scientists dedicated to helping each other, dissolving the borders of nations and states to form the last world-wide community of their kind. The scientists holed up in their labs, vowing to search the cosmos and beyond for hope for the living.

Their resources were pooled into two areas: opening wormholes in their universe to see if a habitable planet could be found, and developing the ability to open bridges into other dimensions, other universes, where a new home might reside, hidden from view.

If anyone ever found or went to other planets in their universe, they didn’t write it down. We have no evidence that this research was ever successful. However, what they found and did with their inter-dimensional research was truly astounding and ultimately greater than anything that has ever happened in our time.

It took until 2064 for them to open a “bridge” to another dimension. These bridges were highly unstable and unpredictable compared to wormholes; it appeared that any trip between dimensions would ultimately be one-way. Opening a new bridge to connect the same two locations was all but impossible, as the connection point seemed to be random, as if the other dimensions were constantly spinning and moving relative to our own. While they studied this phenomenon, they also tested their ability to send objects across the openings. Rocks, scrap paper, cables all traveled successfully. If a bridge collapsed with an object inside, the object was lost in Limbo. There was rarely any certainty about how long a bridge would last, and so they resisted the temptation to send living creatures while they studied the behavior of the other dimensions.

In 2073 they determined that the dimensions were, indeed, spinning and moving in an ultimately predictable manner relative to each other. This knowledge was employed to successfully send and retrieve inanimate objects to and from other dimensions. While the success of the trials was celebrated, it was also met with some horror. Unlike wormholes, which simply drew two parts of space together and opened a hole between them, the bridges actually spanned some distance across Limbo and anything which crossed them was exposed. They didn’t know what, exactly, the objects were exposed to, but when a smooth, small rock came back twice as massive, black and warped as if it had boiled and exploded before re-solidifying, they knew that it would be impossible to cross without extreme levels of shielding.

They spent decades trying and failing to create a safe vehicle for passing through Limbo…as have we.

Outside of the labs, the same evolution which had occurred in the Pacific was progressing world-wide. It was estimated that by 2095, the population of all living things on Earth had decreased by 80% from 2050 but that of the living things, 95% were mutated beyond recognition as a member of a native species. Half of these were strong enough to reproduce and constitute new species of their own.

As time passed, all species which existed before the 2011 nuclear disaster faded into extinction. The grass and the trees…cats and dogs, birds, bees, snakes and frogs, the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, men and women disappeared from the lands outside of the labs. Mutations became less frequent and less extreme, though healthy offspring became stronger and stronger, becoming ever more resistant to the lethal planet. Creatures began to be born with dominion over specific elements, usually reflecting the skills and strengths of the parents. They could manipulate their environments to be more hospitable, or use their naturally imbued skills to improve their ability to hunt, to feed, to fight and to flee - to survive.

It is believed that the species had effectively stabilized by 2150, though freak mutations never ceased completely, with extremely rare and ultra-powerful species resulting when the offspring weren’t stillborn. By this mechanism, our salvation was born.

In other news, meet 16-year-old Sam, a moody small-town teenager. The main story begins with this introduction in Chapter 2.0 - Sweet Sixteen and includes a cameo from my very first Emerald game, the best I ever played.

My 16th birthday was a beautiful day in late April, everything you could ask of a mid-spring Sunday. The air was crystal clear and the bright blue sky faded to white by the horizons. Young leaves whispered in the light breeze flowing through the dew-damp branches of birch and aspen all around my little hometown. The grass was green and bright, waking up from the dark winter and drinking in as much of the youthful sun as it could. It appeared almost yellow where it was cut right down to the dirt to designate walkways. There were no cars, no factories – really, not much of anything besides a few homes, built by the residents of this secluded meadow.

I sighed and lay back on the shingled roof of my home. Basking in the warm glow of the morning sun, I wasn’t chilled by the crisp spring air. I closed my eyes and let my dark clothes heat up like an oven, let my arms and face feel the sting of exposure to the waking elements, let my closed eyes strain themselves trying to ignore the brightness which filtered through, turning my entire world the brightest hues of red and yellow and orange. My thoughts were too numerous; before I could give them coherent meaning, they all smashed into one another and disintegrated. And so, although it would not rest, my mind lay vacant, my eyes filled with the screaming colors demanding my attention.

Eventually I could ignore them no longer and turned away from the sun, lying on my stomach, head on my hands. Today is the day, I thought. Then, Dammit. I was trying not to think about it because it made me so excited. Not that to be excited is bad, but…this excited me in every way. Glee conflicted with frustration and worry and anxiety and all other kinds of nerves until all I felt was weak in the knees and sick to my stomach, and so instead of sitting downstairs, eating breakfast with Mom, I was here on the roof, letting Sunday be Sunday, trying to keep it from my mind until the time was come.

The front door opened. Oh double dammit! She was coming outside. Mom would kill me if she caught me on the roof again. I climbed over the top and lowered myself over the eaves on the other side, swinging through my open window to avoid detection. Tossing myself onto a Snorlax bean chair, I turned on my TV for a more artificial distraction than the sky.

The default station was the local news. The systems were just all set up that way, all over Sinnoh. Made it really easy to get to in case you didn’t want to miss a single second of a breaking story, I guess. Don’t ask me, wasn’t my idea.

Normally it was pointless drivel about this trainer or that trainer and whatever battles they had or berries they grew, if it wasn’t propaganda. But today there seemed to be something…legitimate. I only caught a flash of the end of a clip that seemed to feature a living firestorm. Intrigued, I stayed on the channel and raised the volume.

“…dangerously close to the raging beast but it was thrashing too much to notice us!,” said a tanned man with long, dirty blonde hair and dressed head to toe in khaki cargo gear. “As it turned out, we were just in the nick of time, as the legendary trainer Seth arrived just moments later-”

I snorted at the obvious way his little spiel was cut off by the station, as the reporter’s exaggeratedly concerned voice took over and the scene changed from the man standing by a sunny lakeshore to a nighttime warzone. The camera shook violently and there was little light besides the moon, a floating ball of lightning near the lakeshore, and the trees behind it, all of which were aflame and askew. There was a small silhouette of what was likely the heroic trainer some yards away from the fire, near the lightning. Something black flashed across the screen. “It appears that Johto region was very lucky that night, because once Seth arrived-“

While she paused for dramatic effect, the little lightning ball flew into the sky, appearing as a streak on camera. Suddenly, light from the flames seemed diminished and the sky turned white in a great flash. The silhouetted trainer, now fully visible and the primary focus of the camera, was undeniably the Hoenn regional champion, shouting a command in stark defiance of the power which had destroyed the lakeshore. A large blue dog with yellow legs and a yellow, pointed mane stood beside him, evidently the source of the lightning ball, now a full-fledged lightning bolt streaking out of the cloudless midnight sky. The wicked crack of the Thunder attack blew out the speakers on the microphone. A tremendous roar, a bellow and a shriek followed as the bright light flashed and faded away. A great splash followed and the camera shifted focus to a tremendous object which had, apparently, just fallen into the shallow water of the lake. Suddenly, the object turned red, like a giant laser beam, and disappeared into the darkness. “-it was only a matter of seconds before he neutralized the threat and saved the beaches of what will forever be remembered as the Lake…of Rage.”

The shot cut back to the reporter for her final words, which she spoke with a smirk that either said she was a prisoner forced to do the writer’s bidding or that she thought she was the smartest person alive to have thought of such a clever buzzword. The segment ended and the show moved on to cooking – boooriiiing – so I turned off the tube and leaned back, sinking into my chair with a heavy sigh when I heard Mom’s footsteps on the stairs.

“Wakey wakey mister sweet sixteen!”

16 years. It’d been good, mostly.

My mother came in the room without knocking – the door was a new thing, anyways. Built it myself, to make sure I could get some privacy when I really wanted it, y’know? I don’t think she liked that, but…all she said was she was proud of her natural-born carpenter son. That’s who she was, the woman who raised me alone, gave me everything she had and asked for nothing back.

She greeted me cheerfully and scoffed when she saw me in my chair. “Well don’t you look comfy! Didn’t think you were up yet, how ya feelin’?” She didn’t notice much, but she’d known I’d been a bigger raincloud than usual the last few weeks. Bless her – she’d always ask what was up, I’d always shrug my shoulders or grunt in response and she’d never push for more. She wanted me to know she was there for me, I guess…I knew, but it didn’t make me feel any better. If anything, it made me feel worse.

Today was a little different though. Today was special. Knowing it’d make her happy, I told her a half-truth. With a shrug of my shoulders, I said, “Excited, I guess.”

I don’t think she ever faked a smile in her life, but the one she wore now was so genuine I could feel it. It drove a little nail into my heart, knowing what I wasn’t telling her. “You guess? Well, it’s YOUR birthday, I won’t tell you how excited to be! Clean yourself up and come downstairs, I made breakfast for you!” She turned and started back down the stairs.

“M’kay, be there in a bit.” I rolled and pulled and pushed my way out of my labyrinth of a chair. I was just getting to my feet when Mom was back in the room.

“One more thing – happy birthday, Sam. I love you.” She gave me a hug, her fuzzy brown hair tickling my chin. I hugged her back.

“Thanks Mom. I love you, too.”

She had made bacon and eggs with pancakes. It was delicious, and I told her as much. I told her I was going out for the day with Josh but I’d see her for dinner. She saw me off with a hug and a kiss and a wave good-bye, asking me to please be safe. I promised I would.

I hated lying to her.
 

skyharbor6

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Pokédex No.
757
Caught
Sep 2, 2019
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  • #4
A little late because of family fun this weekend, but here's 2.1!

The sun was high in the sky when I made my way to the only road out of town. Folks flitted about here and there, nobody wanting to stay inside on such a gorgeous day. One person, surprisingly, was actually standing still. The boy had a mop of unkempt, dirty-blonde hair and wore a striped long-sleeve shirt and a green scarf, despite the changed season. “Who’s got time to change style? It’ll be winter again before we know it anyway!” I knew he’d say. Josh, my ever-impatient best friend and next-door neighbor. I bet he’d been waiting at the gate for ages while I ate with Mom.

The gate rarely made for a good meeting point. It was in full view of all of the homes of the village, primarily so that somebody would be sure to notice a stranger or a wild Pokémon wandering in to the village. But the secondary purpose was so that somebody would always be sure to notice someone else going out. This is why we chose to meet at the gate – hopefully, folks would have seen us walk over there, but would lose interest before we actually left.

“Sam! Where’ve you BEEN?! I’ve been waiting for like, 5 whole minutes! Can we friggin go yet?!”

I laughed. Of course he’d been late, too. “My birthday present to myself was pissing you off, bud, gimme a break! We gotta wait awhile if we don’t want all of Twinleaf to know we’ve gone, let’s just chill in the shade and relax.”

“Oh yeah! Your birthday! I got you a present man, but I left it in my room, hang on, I’ll go get it!”

“Josh! We’re supposed to wait here, for Mew’s sake!”

“Oh yeah! I guess we’ll have to get it later…wanna know what it is? I was watching TV and I saw a commercial for it, it’s a…um…whoa! I just remembered, did you see that news bit about the Red Gyarados!? Seth was AWESOME, dude, he just showed up with his Manectric and just, THUNDER!! And then, KABLAM! Gyarados goes down and the coolest part is, he caught it!!” I couldn’t help laughing at him, jumping around and waving his hands as he told the story I’d already heard on TV. He’d remember my present again…as soon as he got back to his room, of course. The more he went on, the funnier it got. I couldn’t breathe by the end of it.

“Stop, stop, stop!” I begged, holding my sides, choking out the words, “I know, I saw it, you’re killing me man!”

He stopped his ranting and gave me a look of disgust. “What’s wrong with you man? It wasn’t funny, it was serious business! Goldenrod coulda been wrecked, bro, where’s your compassion at?”

I wiped the tears from my eyes and slowly regained my composure as he looked on. “Oh man…you’re just a ridiculous storyteller is all.”

“Oh yeah? I’ll show you ridiculous! Double-Edge, go!” He suddenly crouched and launched at my gut, sending us tumbling over roots and rocks into the earth. Our impromptu battle raged on until I got too tired to fight him anymore and gave up. “And another victory for Champion Josh!” he crowed as we got up and brushed the dirt from our clothes. “Has it been long enough yet? Can we go?”

Realistically, I bet half the town was actually watching us because of all the noise he was making, but sometimes it just wasn’t worth it to argue with him. “Yeah, sure, let’s get outta here.”

“ALRIGHT! Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the spectacle you’ve all been waiting for, the race to Sandgem is starting in 5!”

“Keep it down! You want them to KNOW what we’re up to?”

“Right, shh, sorry bro.”

The race was his idea. Years ago, he got it in his head that it’d be cool to try to race to Sandgem Town up the road, despite the glaring issue of us not having any Pokémon to defend us on the wild route. Our whole damn lives were spent in town, with the occasional stroll onto the road and down to Lake Verity for a rare swim. Almost always we’d be accompanied by adults with Pokémon of their own, though. I was on our parents’ side for the longest time, shutting down his race idea whenever it came up, but the last couple of years I’ve gotten so sick of this place…it finally seemed worth it, just to get the adventuring out of my system, just to get the hell out of here, if only for a little while. So I told him this winter, on my 16th birthday we would do it. Run like hell to Sandgem and run like hell all the way back before anybody realized we were gone…in theory. The route was well-tamed to a point; the start and finish line were to be that point. So, trying to be some kind of stealthy to avoid wandering eyes, we walked up to the start of the tall grass and got ready to run. Surely there weren’t any wild Pokémon out there nasty enough to hurt us. We were 16 years old, as strong and as smart as we’d ever been – of course we could handle it.

What could possibly go wrong?
 

skyharbor6

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Pokédex No.
757
Caught
Sep 2, 2019
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  • #5
Sam and his buddy Josh spread their wings in 2.2, but we all know what happens when you go into the wild without a Pokemon by your side...

Josh was a fast kid, and he was always racing ahead of people to get places. Usually, I didn’t care and kept my own pace, but whenever we threw down for a race…

“Hey! No ledge-running! Get down here, cheater!”

“Like THAT’S why I’m winning!” I yelled back to him, slowing a bit to keep my breath. The route had a series of terraces, ledges and low bluffs which couldn’t be climbed but were mostly cleared of vegetation on top. Running to Sandgem, you could only access the wild woodland path, but running back to Twinleaf one could slide down the slopes and travel on the higher ground. I didn’t want to risk encountering an angry wild Pokémon if I didn’t have to, and besides – it was a lot easier than running through the bushes. Josh was always thinking too fast to be efficient, and it stung his pride every time I beat him by playing the long game that way. It also always meant he tired out before I did, so even though he was the first to the end of the route, I found myself slowing down to keep him in view behind me on the return trip.

It was over in under an hour. The sun was still high in the sky when we got back to the gate; peering through, we saw no signs of a panic, so I figured our disappearance remained unnoticed.

Josh finally stumbled out of the wild grass, looking utterly disheveled and totally exhausted. His scarf was coming undone and seemed a little torn in places. His shirt was covered in twigs and grass; maybe his attire hadn’t been a poor choice, I thought. He put his hands on his knees and stood there awhile, huffing and puffing life back into his tired limbs.

I lay down on the grass and stared up at the sky, an exhilarated smile fixed to my face. We’d never been out alone without hired trainers as escorts, and they weren’t cheap. It was terrifying and beautiful to run through the forbidden wilds without them, and I loved it.

As the adrenaline faded and my tired limbs rested, the exhilaration was replaced by happy peace. I had run through the wild and no wild beast had dared to defy me. I was no prisoner in my little hometown – I stayed by choice. That was all I ever wanted to know.

I felt a pang of guilt when I thought of home and my mother. Thank goodness I hadn’t been hurt…it would have devastated her. As it was, I was hoping to get back before anyone noticed we’d vanished, so I rolled over and told Josh as much. He was head-butting a sapling to vent his frustration. “What!? We’ve been gone, like, 5 minutes man, come on!”

“We did the race, we have to get back before they declare Marshall Law around here, let’s go!”

“No way! You cheated by taking the ledges, I want a rematch!”

“Screw that! We were lucky we didn’t get hurt, I’m outta here dude.”

“Fine then! I’ll just run alone and tell everyone you were too chicken! Later dude!”

He moved so damn fast. I don’t know where he could draw that much energy from. “Dammit Josh! Get back here!” I scrambled to my feet and started after him. I wasn’t going to let him run off again; I was going to tackle his punk ass into the dirt, but I didn’t get the chance. We were both sprinting towards the edge of the grass when we got caught.

“HOLD IT!!”, a sharp voice shrieked from behind us, “Not another step, you two!”

Scared out of our wits, we turned around to see a girl wearing a dark short-sleeve shirt, a pink skirt and a winter toque – what was with these people insisting on winter clothes in April? – with an accusing pointing finger and a scowl that could burn, destroying any ideas either of us had of getting home without getting trouble. The brat can’t have been a day over thirteen. We were too shocked to speak before another voice was heard and another stranger entered our view.

“Dawn! You scared off all the Starly, what in the name of Celebi is the meaning of this ruckus?” Words became even harder to find when the unmistakable Professor Rowan stood before us. The old man had a crisply trimmed head of arctic-white hair and a beard to match. He wore a snazzy vest and slacks unbecoming of a traveler. He looked every inch a Pokémon Professor, Sinnoh’s leading authority in all things Pokémon.

“I’m sorry Professor, it isn’t my fault – these boys were about to run into the wild without Pokémon, I had to stop them!” Her voice transformed from commanding authority to whining innocence with irritating ease.

I was chillingly reminded of Noctowl when her report caused him to snap his head our way with a look that froze our limp excuses right where they were – halfway up our throats. “Is this true? Could you really be so foolish as to enter the wild defenseless?”

I was utterly dumbstruck and could only move my mouth in silence. Josh, on the other hand, was quick on his feet. “We…we knew it was foolish, sir, but see, we wanted to go see you to see if maybe you could help us get Pokémon of our own. Nobody in town has Pokémon and…well, trainers aren’t cheap for hire…so we thought we’d, well, you know…”

“Fight the wild Pokémon with your bare hands? Idiots!”, the girl named Dawn scoffed at us.

“Run before they could hurt us! Besides, it already worked once!” Josh spilled the beans, the rice and the cake all at once, falling for the taunt. His angry face quickly paled and his eyes went wide. “Uh-oh.” Dawn looked painfully baffled by the revelation, but Rowan stepped in, reprimanding her aggressive tactics with a stern look.

“You say you’ve run through the wilds, utterly defenseless, once before?” The look he gave us was too serious for us to try to lie to him. We looked at each other, terrified of the discipline that was now sure to fall swift and heavy, and slowly nodded our heads in unison. But to our surprise, Rowan seemed amazed rather than angry. He walked up to Josh, put a hand on his shoulder and leaned in to whisper something to him. Josh’s face was a medley of fear, relief, puzzlement and excitement when Rowan stepped back to address us both.

“I assure you I will be aware, should either of you choose to run through the wild alone again. If you do, your punishment will be severe, if only for the terrible influence you will have on other children in Twinleaf. As it is, I will be contacting both of your parents to alert them of the danger you put yourselves in.” Mom. Oh god, anyone but her. I don’t think I’ve ever been so afraid. “You’ll both give me your names. I assure you that if you deceive me, you will regret it.”

“You’re…you’re gonna tell my…my Mom about this?” I still could barely speak. Josh saw the fear and the pain in my eyes; he knew as well as I did how terrible it would be.

“My name is Josh Myrsky, Professor, but…well…all this is my fault, sir, I was running off and he was just trying to stop me! It’d break his mother’s heart to know he’d run off, even though he was only trying to protect me…”

His plea rendered me speechless. The professor seemed to be mulling over the request in his head. When he spoke, it was to both of us. “So I’m to tell your mother, Josh, that you ran off, alone, into the wild, despite everything anybody has ever told you, in exchange for not telling a word to this young man’s family?”

“…Yes, sir.”

“And whose mother would I not be telling, exactly?”

“Sam Huntsmann, sir.”

“Very well, Sam. Don’t forget what I told the both of you, eh?” He gave Josh a raised eyebrow.

Josh looked puzzled for a little bit before something clicked in his brain. “Oh! Right! Yes, of course, I mean, no we won’t, no way!”

“All right. You two should get home now before anybody starts to worry. Dawn, let’s be off, we’ll have to try to study the Starly flock another day. Good day, lads.” With a nod to each of us, he was off, Dawn chasing after with a bag of gear in hand.

We watched them go, and with a look, agreed it was time to go home. The sun would reach the tree line soon, casting shadows which would crawl across our town like reaching fingers of the living night. The shadow’s claws were softening as the leaves and flowers blossomed in the trees – soon, they wouldn’t be so threatening as they were comforting, a warm blanket to cover us as we slept.

He grabbed my arm as we passed back through the gate. “Sam! I almost forgot, he told me something back there, before they left! He told me to tell you that-that-that-” He was becoming too excited to speak. I gave him a little smack on the cheek.

“Dude, spit it out!”

“He said that we had to go to Lake Verity after sundown to meet up with him! I think he’s gonna give us a Pokémon!”

And here's another bonus chapter from Sam's journal, regarding the last days of life on planet Earth:

In the year 2342, the last days of Earth were near. The last days of man, at any rate. All of the humans left in the world were living in a single massive underground facility, built before the war and greatly expanded afterwards. The facility had allowed its occupants to live their entire lives protected from the toxic planet outside, entire generations coming and going without ever seeing the sun. The facility had been constructed primarily as an enormous subterranean lab, where the most advanced and most dangerous experiments ever conceived could be carried out without disturbing the outside world. The expansions provided living quarters, agriculture, waste management, power generation, etc. but little of the creature comforts we’re accustomed to today. The sole purpose of the facility was, and remained, science – specifically, the science of interdimensional travel, the final hope for life on Earth.


The resources for interstellar travel were gone, either poisoned and destroyed or already used for the purpose centuries ago. But if the means for interdimensional travel, to an Earth-like place that could support human life, could be developed in the lab…


They had tried for centuries. They used every material known to man and even invented new ones, making discoveries which would have captured the awe and adoration of the entire species before the war. They were simply means to an end now. All that mattered was achieving the ultimate goal, safe interdimensional travel.


And it never worked out. Everything sent through the portals came back warped, melted, transformed, twisted – if it came back at all. After making so much progress in such a short time, man was finally presented with a problem it simply couldn’t solve. The resources which they had had to work and
survive with dwindled. In early 2343 they would run out, and man would stagnate, starve, and suffocate.


It was in this black time that a miracle of nature came to the rescue of all living things. The scientists and engineers had failed to develop any vehicle which could withstand the horrible nature of the crossing. They hadn’t even been able to detect a habitable location on the other side. But one day, early in the time of despair, all who lived in the station experienced a vision. Inter-dimensional coordinates. A date and time. Blueprints for a vehicle. An image of a strange creature, unlike any they had ever seen before. The entrance to the facility, and a map.


They couldn’t explain where the sudden “world-wide” epiphany had come from, but they knew it couldn’t be ignored. There was no point, anyway – perhaps this new revelation could save them? So they set to work on the vehicle they had seen designs for. Nobody needed to write the blueprints down.
None of them could ever forget what they had seen, not a single detail; it was imprinted on their brains.


Days later, the entire fleet of Surveyors returned to the facility. Surveyors were robots designed to search the planet for signs of habitability. They were able to survive, as robots do, in the wilderness thanks to their design, and for centuries had documented the evolution of all of the Earth’s living things.
The zoologists living in the facility noted that the world was quickly becoming entirely uninhabitable, not just for mankind but for all of her new children as well. The resources for survival simply weren’t there anymore. All life on Earth would go extinct in a matter of months.


This terrible conclusion is not what forced the fleet to return from their posts across the world. Instead, it was the rise of a behavior in the world’s inhabitants. The strange creatures, unrecognizable to the eyes of those who lived before the war as residents of their own planet, had for centuries been little more than powerful animals. They were what had become of dogs, birds, fish, trees or people left in the wild, in command of the elements of the universe in whichever way suited them best, but they were still dumb beasts. There were few exceptions. However, immediately following the occurrence of the Great Vision at the facility, all of the living things began to migrate. The Surveyors, entirely unprepared for this sort of activity by a programming oversight, were forced to abandon their posts and return to report this to the scientists.


Why the creatures were migrating was not known. Their destinations were even more of a puzzle; the entire surface was charred earth and toxic water, with little in between. But as days turned to weeks, reprogrammed and redeployed Surveyors around the world reported conclusions that the final destination for each and every living thing on Earth was the facility.


The conclusion struck fear into the hearts of the remnants of mankind. What was the purpose of this migration? Even the plants and creatures of the sea were moving. New beasts, lifeforms that appeared to have been born from metal and sludge, beings which appeared to be manifest forms of the ether,
made themselves known to the Surveyors by their migration. It was a terrible prospect to be besieged by this army of Earth, but reasoning that time was short either way, the people continued to build the vehicle they had dreamt of.


As weeks went by, construction progressed. New materials were discovered in the process; materials they knew they needed but had never known they could make. Synthesis of raw materials, processing, manufacturing and assembly progressed slowly with no margin for error.


Meanwhile, every day saw the arrival of more migrant beasts at the gates above ground. Surveyors returned to the facility as their charges arrived, having nothing left to survey, and so it was in this way that the population of the crowd was estimated. Thousands of living creatures from hundreds of
species…such a far fall from the trillions who had lived and the millions of species present in the days before the war. Even so, the co-existence of such fantastic creatures of air, land, sea and the unknown in one place amazed all who observed them from within their safe underground lair.


This was the way of things in the months between the Great Vision and the day it prophesied to all mankind. The interdimensional bridging machine was calibrated, targeted to the co-ordinates prescribed. The vehicle was completed but sat unoccupied and deactivated; nobody knew how to use it, despite their shared comprehensive knowledge of how to make it. It simply defied their capacity to understand. It was in this way that mankind greeted the day of their reckoning.
 

skyharbor6

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Pokédex No.
757
Caught
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
7
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  • #6
The in-game absence of a father in almost all of the games inspired a slightly different take on the mother-son relationship for me...that starts to show itself in 2.3. It's a short one again...I promise that the next one's a lot longer!

Dinner was fantastic that night. Mom really out-did herself, and that’s saying something. She’d made a roast beef that had cooked all day long and potatoes and carrots that had stewed in its juices. Green onion-and-garlic mashed potatoes were perfect with her beef gravy. She’d made her own cranberry sauce and buttermilk biscuits, fresh out of the oven when we sat down to eat. I’ll never forget how delicious everything was, despite my anxiety about sneaking out for the second time in a day.

“How was Josh’s, dear?”

“Fine.”

“Did he get you a present?”

“Yeah.”

“What was it?”

“I dunno. You know him, every time he went to get it, he got distracted and forgot again. Didn’t wanna be a pest about it, so…maybe I’ll get it later.”

She laughed at that, “That sounds like Josh. Hopefully he’ll get it to you before Winter’s Fest. Did you do anything exciting, besides get distracted from presents?”

“Nah.”

“Why not?”

“I dunno, just cuz.” I complemented the mashed potatoes to try and kill any conversation about my day, but she wouldn’t have it, Mew love her.

“Thanks! I know they’re your favorite.” They were. “Just because why? Too busy sneaking out of town?”

She dropped the bomb like a ton of bricks on the table. I almost swallowed my fork! But before I could reply, she started laughing again. “I was just kidding! Oh goodness, if you could have seen your face. You know, I actually snuck out a few times when I was young. I felt afraid but never in any real danger…I suppose we haven’t got any aggressive Pokémon in these woods to be really scared of. So even though it was forbidden, it never fussed me much, especially when your father-“

Like a switch had turned, her light-hearted reminiscing stopped on a dime. In all the years I can remember, every time she slipped up and mentioned him out loud, forcing his memory onto center-stage in her mind, it was always the same. “Mom? Sam to Mom, come in, Sam to Mom, do you copy?” I reached for her hand – she was so animated and alive when she talked, but suddenly her eyes were glassy and her hands lay on the table beside her dish. “Don’t do this forever, Mom, please, talk to me. What you were gonna say about Dad – Mom?”

She was standing up without even looking at me. “I’m going to go finish dinner in the den. Don’t worry about cleaning up, it’s your birthday, take the night off. Why don’t you go see Josh? Maybe spend the night? You should have fun. Goodnight, Sam.”

Just like that, she was gone. My mother had left me again, possessed by memories of a different world. They had her now, and there was nothing I could do. They would take her away, have their way with her, and leave her heart ravaged and weak, sobbing in the dark. The door to the den would be locked. I could stay and pound at the door, beg her to come back, to talk to me, to let me help her forgive the past that she could only forget for awhile. I’d done it when her episodes had scared me, and when I felt responsible somehow. I’d stopped when I began to resent myself for being his son, being the reason he ever came back into her mind. I grew wiser and realized it was beyond anything I could influence, the demons were in her head, and it began to break my heart. I’d pleaded, begged and cried at that locked door but she never answered. Sometimes she’d leave the room without me noticing and make breakfast like nothing had happened. She always acted like nothing had happened.

My sorrow tonight was again brought on by pity and heart-break. But as she had said, it was my birthday. My night off. There was a strawberry pie on the counter, still warm. I cut a piece, took one last look at the locked door to my mother, and acted like nothing had happened. Ten minutes later, Josh and I were running through the gate for the second time in a day, sneaking out for the last time in our lives.

Then we have another part of the origin story, about the end of all life on Earth:

When the day of the Great Vision finally arrived, in the dawn of 2343, all of the Surveyors had returned
from the field. Every living thing on earth was inside the Facility or waiting outside its gates. The last
humans awoke at their usual time, despite their anticipation. They went to their jobs but there was no
more work to do. There were no more discoveries to be made. There was no more food to eat. They
simply waited, as the minutes passed, for the time they had foreseen.


Time seemed to slow as the final seconds counted down. The clocks struck noon. Above the sound of
the daily lunchtime buzzers came three words.


“OPEN THE GATE.”


The voice resonated in the skulls of everyone alive. The speaker was unknown but it’s command was
undeniable. Though they were afraid of the wild creatures standing outside, the people could not doubt
the force that had made itself known to them. They opened the gate.


There was no charge or stampede. There was no attack from the survivors of Earth. Instead, the
creatures parted, making a path down the center, leading towards the gate. The people came too,
drawn by some unfathomable power. They waited for only a minute before they could see It.


It was a large, deer-like creature, with fur white as snow and tough black skin covering its breast. It held
its head high, with piercing red and green eyes staring straight ahead towards the gate. A stiff horn
stretched behind its head, white fur on top and black skin on the bottom, pointing straight back. Four
gold antlers grew from its sides, with prongs forming the shape of a broken wheel about its midsection.
Green jewels were set where the prongs branched out. Serenely, it marched towards the gates, its
golden-toed feet never missing a step. It emanated grace and power. It approached its captive human
audience.


“FOR YOU AND FOR ALL THOSE THAT LIVE HAVE I COME.”


An unspoken command received, the people parted and allowed the creature to enter the Facility. They
followed it into the depths of their home, where the interdimensional bridging machine and the
unoccupied vehicle were located. The creatures of Earth fell in behind them, but the people did not fear
them. Soon, all were gathered in the great laboratory, and the great white creature turned to address its
followers.


“ALL ARE PRESENT – THE LAST HUMANS AND THE LAST CHILDREN OF A SHATTERED EARTH. DIFFERENT
AS YOU ARE, YOU ARE THE SAME IN YOUR DOOM AND MADE THE SAME IN YOUR SALVATION.


“HUMANS, BY YOUR HAND THE ROAD HAS BEEN BUILT AND THE VESSEL HAS BEEN MADE. WITHOUT
THESE, ALL WOULD PERISH. LET ALL THE CHILDREN OF EARTH KNOW THAT FOR THIS THEY OWE YOU
THEIR LIVES.


“CHILDREN OF EARTH, YOU ARE MY MOTHERS AND FATHERS, MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS. BY MY
POWER I HAVE CONCEIVED THE MEANS OF OUR SALVATION. LET ALL THE HUMANS KNOW THAT FOR
THIS THEY OWE ME, AND THEREFORE MY FAMILY, THEIR LIVES.


“NOW GATHER, ALL OF YOU, IN THE VESSEL WHICH THE CHILDREN HAVE DESIGNED AND THE
HUMANS HAVE BUILT.”



The engineers opened the vehicle and activated the interdimensional bridging machine, verifying that it
was targeted correctly before boarding the vehicle themselves. The process took hours. The people
were confused; the population of humans was outnumbered a dozen times over by the creatures of
Earth. The couple thousand humans left had all but filled the vehicle; where would the creatures go?


“DO NOT FEAR, CHILDREN. ENTER AND ALL SHALL FIND ROOM.”


Hesitantly, the first creatures entered. As soon as they crossed the threshold, they froze, turning red like
a laser, and disappeared without a trace. The witnesses were shocked, but even more incredible was the
immediate sensation that several other consciousnesses were joined with their own. The human
occupants could feel as if they were one with all of the vaporized creatures, sharing their thoughts,
emotions and memories. The creatures outside experienced none of this, however, and were horrified.


“DO YOU DOUBT MY WORDS, CHILDREN? FEAR NOT! ENTER AND SEE THE SPACE THAT I HAVE SET
ASIDE FOR YOU AND YOU ALONE.”



The fearful children of Earth thus resumed their march. One by one, they entered the vessel, every one
vanishing in a bright red glow. With every entry, the humans inside felt another being fuse with
themselves, though they could not see any change in themselves. The day ended and the night began.
The people fell asleep as they became accustomed to the flood of feeling and memory. Others were
overwhelmed and passed out. It was not until sunrise that the last of the creatures had entered, and the
great white being stood alone in the Facility. It was then that it created three children of its own.


They were small, gerbil-like creatures, with soft blue bodies and crested heads. One was crested with blue
fur, another with gold, and the last with pink. A red jewel sat in the forehead of each. They all had two long,
whip-like tails, with leafy tips which were adorned with small red jewels. They floated and moved through
the air like fish in the sea.


“MY CHILDREN, OUR FRIENDS CANNOT BEAR THE BURDEN OF SHARED ONENESS ALONE. TO YOU
THREE I GRANT DOMINION OVER KNOWLEDGE, EMOTION AND WILLPOWER. ENTER THE VESSEL AND
SOOTHE THEIR WEARY SPIRITS.”



The three obliged, twirling and zipping into the vessel. Like the others, they turned red and disappeared.
Immediately, all became calm. The first creature quieted the memories of all, the second relaxed all
emotion and the third made all docile, so that there was no conflict in the collectively shared
consciousness. The human occupants all fell into peaceful slumber, no longer troubled by their shocking
experience.


The great white being leapt atop the vessel and, with a great roar, commanded it to enter the portal.
Slowly, it progressed into the space between spaces. All aboard the vessel slept, unaware of their
surroundings, shielded by their great machine and the infinite power of the beast who captained it.
 

skyharbor6

Member
Pokédex No.
757
Caught
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
7
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #7
As promised, 2.4 is longer and juicier. Escaping town, Sam and Josh stumble across the greatest villain in Sinnoh. We introduce some ideas about typing and pokeballs...and finally, FINALLY, Sam gets to choose a starter!!!

The moon was low above the trees, full and bright in the clear sky. Twinkling stars, sharp and cold, littered the midnight blue blanket that covered us all. The trees, with their leaves so young, were brightly lit and cast many shadows. The creeping fingers of darkness made the forest more frightening than when the fullness of summer blocked out the moon, turning the woods inky black, but we weren’t going in there anyway. The lake front was very close to town and a common place for folks to visit, usually for village picnics and what-not. Wild Pokémon were known to dwell near the lake, so despite the manicured route that led there, touring the Verity shoreline alone was generally prohibited. But we knew we would not be alone or unprotected.

We cautiously advanced along the tree line as we got closer to the lake, keeping an eye out for wild Pokémon and prying eyes. The night was calm, and the water was smooth as a mirror. We could see where the forest had advanced to reclaim some parts of the shoreline. It was in one of those places that a tall figure stood, facing the lake. We didn’t see him until we were close enough to hear to him speak, praying to the stars.

“Can you hear me? Arceus, will you heed my call? Your stewards have forgotten their purpose and your children stand by and watch without a care. To what purpose is their power if they will not use it? I’ll not stand by and watch the world waste away; I will not die in a darker world than that in which I was born. A world without greed, and lust, and envy…my dream is almost within reach. I will save this world from itself and begin again.” He was tall and fit. His hair was short and the color of twilight, gelled away from his hard, serious face. He was wearing a black trench coat and, from what we could tell, black military-style boots. His presence was intimidating, and his voice was strong but laced with an icy coldness. As he called to the un-answering celestial beings, he gestured to the sky and his coat swung to reveal four red-and-white balls attached to his belt.

Entranced by the man’s speech, Josh and I made no effort to hide from the man, so he saw us when he turned from the lake. His dark, angry eyes narrowed, and we froze like Sudowoodo. I thought we were doomed. He straightened up and fixed his coat; looking straight ahead, he walked towards us, his strides slow and sure, his hands clenched in fists. When he got close, he stopped and looked at the two of us. We could only stare, too afraid to run. After a brief silence, he spoke again. “Excuse me. Let me pass.”

We nodded and stepped aside. I was too scared to think about how strange it was. We weren’t exactly in his way to begin with, and we were nowhere near the beaten-path entrance to the lakeshore. Maybe he didn’t see it that way. Maybe he wanted to go through the woods, maybe he lived that way or wanted to remain unseen by late-night travelers. Maybe he simply felt the need to exercise dominance. At the time, though, none of these thoughts crossed my mind.

As the strange man disappeared into the woods, time seemed to slow down on the quiet lakeshore. Night creatures in the forest and an occasional breeze broke the silence. We kept a quiet vigil waiting for Rowan to appear. It felt like hours before we saw the gleam of the moonlight on his white hair approaching the lakeshore.

“Alright, he’s here, let’s go!” Just like that, Josh was gone, sprinting through the creeping forest scrub to greet the professor. I was only seconds behind him.

“Good evening, lads! Glad to see you made it alright!” The old man seemed very alert and excited, despite the late hour. He was carrying a plain dark briefcase with shiny metallic locks and hinges. “My apologies for my lateness, I had to convince Dawn to go home before I could come in peace. That girl is a fabulous student but sometimes…”

The ever-impatient Josh had his arms crossed. “I was gonna fine you a million dollars for being late, but if it’s her fault, I guess you’re off the hook. Dawn had better pay up, though! I’ve been waiting like, twenty whole minutes!”

Professor Rowan shot him a dark look. “It would serve you well to practice patience, young man. You’ll need it if you’re ever going to adventure with Pokémon.”

His mood changed in an instant. “So it’s true?! You’re gonna give us Pokémon!?” He actually started jumping for joy. I watched incredulously and in general awe of the professor’s presence.

“Now, now, what did I just tell you? Patience is critical when it comes to Pokémon matters. I couldn’t simply give you a Pokémon, it would be irresponsible of me. I need to be certain that you are worthy of the responsibilities entailed. I must ask you two, do you love Pokémon? Would you climb the highest mountain and brave the darkest caves to find them? Would you struggle through bitter cold and against vicious ocean currents to protect them? Would you stand up to those who would take your Pokémon away from you, and for those who couldn’t defend themselves? All these things are requirements of true Pokémon trainers, pre-requisites for competing in the Pokémon League. Do you possess these qualities? I ask again, do you love Pokémon?”

Josh didn’t even hesitate. “Yes, sir, yes we do! Right, Sam?” He looked to me with a desperate, childish plea in his eyes. As if I’d say no. I had to clear my throat to speak.

“That’s right – yes, yes we love Pokémon, yes sir.” It felt heavy to say, like even at 16 I truly understood the responsibility of it.

“Hm…good…but, I still can’t reconcile your response with your recklessness from earlier today. I’m not sure…”

“But…well, professor, like I said before,” Josh began, slowly for once, “It was all my idea to run down Route 1. Sam was only trying to help…won’t you at least give Sam a Pokémon, sir? It’s just been him and his mom his whole life, can’t he at least have a Pokémon friend? Never mind me if you’re not sure, but please, for Sam…” He almost had me brought to tears. I’d never heard him say anything so thoughtful or selfless.

Clearly, Rowan was moved as well. “You would sacrifice your own journey for your friend? That settles it. You may both have one Pokémon, which you may choose from my briefcase here. However, I have some conditions which must first be met.”

Josh’s face lit up like a lamp. He turned to me and said, “Did you hear that Sam? We’re gonna be Pokémon trainers! Woohoo!!” I smiled too – this might have been the best news I’d ever heard!

I stammered, “I- I don’t know what to say, Professor, I- thank you, sir. What do you want from us?”

“It would give me unspeakable pride and happiness to see you boys succeed with my Pokémon. They are very young, unfamiliar with the world outside of my lab, much like yourselves. They will need you to be leaders and teachers, but just as much they will need you to be students and friends. My first condition is that you both promise to me, to each other and to yourselves to always treat your Pokémon with love and respect.”

“Done.” We said it at the same time. We looked at each other, down at the briefcase and then back at Rowan. “I promise.” It was clear we had to be best friends from the way we mirrored each other. That might be the thing I miss most about him.

“Good. Never forget that you owe it to yourselves to keep that promise of respect. My second condition is as follows. These Pokémon are extremely rare, despite being native to Sinnoh. They are precious to me. I cannot simply give them away in good conscience, not even to the Champion herself. I need something of value from you boys in return.” He paused, as if expecting one of us to hazard a guess at what he’d demand of us. I suppose neither of us wanted to say that we didn’t own as valuable as a rare baby Pokémon, so Rowan was forced to continue un-prompted. “You see, my entire career has been dedicated to Pokémon research. But there is still so much to learn! I feel I must dedicate more and more of my time ensuring that my discoveries live on, and less time learning more for myself. I’m too old to be adventuring across the countryside in search of new discoveries. BUT! I am not too old to learn. This is where you come in.”

“Take these devices, Pokedexes they’re called, and travel across Sinnoh in search of every Pokémon there is. It will record basic data about anything you encounter, but it will only collect comprehensive data for Pokémon which you have captured. I am asking you to take these Pokémon, train them, grow with them, and travel with them all across Sinnoh, capturing wild Pokémon whenever you can and training them, too, to unlock their secrets. Challenge gyms, trade with fellow trainers, experiment with breeding if you must. Please complete my Pokedex, and fulfill my dream of a complete encyclopedia of Sinnoh’s Pokémon.”

“I’ve already set each Pokedex up to a unique and brand-new trainer ID. If you come by my lab, I’ll provide you with trainer identification and have my assistant give you basic training and a start-up kit. I’ll assist you however I can throughout your journey, but you must be prepared for the inevitable. You will be almost always on your own, you and your team of Pokémon friends. You will be considered adults responsible for your own care and actions. Think on this before you accept my gifts.”

He was holding two shiny red devices, small enough to fit in a pocket with ease. He had given us some heavy thoughts on short notice and after a long, long day. It was impossible to say no – but it was impossible to truly comprehend the consequences of agreeing to his terms. This time, I spoke first, unusual while Josh was around. “Professor, you’re offering us the chance of a lifetime…but…” My words ran dry. It seemed treasonous to leave home, but why shouldn’t I be free to live my own life? Why should I have to stay home with my mother for the rest of her life? I thought of my birthday breakfast…and then of the locked door. I hated that door. The sudden anger I felt cleared my doubts. Josh looked on, almost in shock, as I reached for Professor Rowan’s hand to take the Pokedex. “Consider it done, Professor. When can we start?”

He smiled and handed the first Pokedex to me. I inspected the device for a moment and slid the cover to the left. The opaque red metal became suddenly transparent, and a bright screen lit up. The uncovered face of the device had controls for scrolling, typing, you name it. It even appeared to serve as a telephone, not unlike these so-called smart-phones I’ve seen in the cities these days. Believe me when I say the technology was ahead of its time. With a little bit of searching, I found what would become my trainer identification number, and filled in some of the gaps while Josh accepted his Pokedex. “Don’t worry about filling the whole thing, Sam, just try to keep up with me. Just watch! I’ll fill up the Pokedex in a month, or you can fine me a million dollars! I’ll betcha another million that I’ll be champion by then, too! Count on it! Ready, go!”

The boy was off like a shot, to the blank-stare surprise of Rowan and I. “I wonder if he’ll remember that he needs to get his Pokémon before he can beat the champion,” I said, “I guess that means I can pick first?”

Rowan shook off his surprise at Josh’s sudden departure and nodded. “There’s three pokeballs here. They contain a Turtwig, a Piplup and a Chimchar, respectively. Are you familiar with these rare Pokémon?” As he said it, he unlocked and opened the suitcase. He turned it so that it faced me, revealing the three pokeballs, in flawless condition and stored securely in a foam insert.

It was my turn to nod. “Which one is which?”

He smiled and said, “Have you never held an occupied pokeball? Go ahead, pick them up, but don’t drop them, or touch the button on the front there. Without letting them out, you tell me which one is which.”

I gave him a puzzled look, but I was certainly curious. I reached out for the ball on the right. Almost as soon as my fingers grabbed hold, I released the ball with a start. “Ow! Hot! What the…” Realization hit home – Chimchar, the fire monkey, must be in that one. “Chimchar! But…how?”

Rowan was chuckling, “They do say fire types are hard to handle, though I’m not sure that’s what the saying means. Any ideas?”

“Well, it’s a fire type, so it could just be that the ball is holding something hot, so it gets heated up.”

“Good thinking. Would you like to try another?”

“Will it hurt?”

More laughter. “No, lad, no it won’t, that was just bad luck on your part!”

“Okay…” This time, I moved for the ball on the left. It was cool to the touch, as I’d expected the first to be. I lifted it from the briefcase. The ball was perfectly smooth to the eye, but to my hand it felt almost feathery, tickling my palm. “This one’s just…weird…ow!” I yelled in shock more than pain and hastily replaced the ball. My finger had a paper cut! “What the hell!? You said it wouldn’t hurt!”

I looked at Rowan, hoping for some help. He just laughed, shook his head and smiled. “Why’d it feel like that? It didn’t feel smooth, it felt, like…weird…and then I cut my finger on it! How?”

“Why don’t we sit down for a moment?” And just like that, the old man was cross-legged in the grass, holding the briefcase in his lap. I was getting a little annoyed with his mysterious teacher crap, but I took the bait and got down to my knees. I used my hands to steady myself as I too sat cross-legged in the grass.

“Alright, we’re sitting, now will you tell me what”- I cut myself off and stared at my palm, where the grass had already made faint imprints on my skin. Slowly, I reached for the ground again and moved my palm across the top of the grass. I pushed lower, and lower, until – “aha! That one was Turtwig! But…”

“Go on,” the professor said, prompting me to spit out whatever crazy thoughts were rushing through my brain.

“If Chimchar’s ball was hot because it’s a fire type, this one should feel normal. But it has texture – it feels like the grass we’re sitting on. So it can’t be that Chimchar’s ball was just heating up. But now I’m totally stumped. You can buy these things in the store. They’re metal, or plastic, or something – cool to the touch and perfectly smooth. The inside just has these pads, which I guess might be covering up some kind of crazy tech stuff, but…doesn’t it just zap up the Pokémon and keep it inside? Put it to sleep or something? I don’t get it at all. This ball felt like grass and I managed to cut myself…how…?”

“You might be on to something, Sam. Why don’t you pick up Piplup’s pokeball and see what ideas you have?”

“If this one hurts me too, I’m throwing it at your chest.” Rowan laughed out loud. I ignored him and moved for the middle ball. This ball felt smooth as polished glass, but…softer. Even though I watched my hand and saw that the surface remained unchanged, I felt the ball caress my fingers, as if the surface was molding to my hand. It was very cool to the touch. I replaced the ball in the briefcase and noticed my palm was damp. “That was…probably the strangest one of the three. It didn’t hurt me, so that’s nice. Professor…it felt…it didn’t feel like a ball, you know? Like…like it was changing.”

“You’ve come quite close to the truth, Sam. The ball wasn’t changing. What you must understand is that your perception of what happens when a Pokémon is captured by a pokeball is inaccurate. They are not shrunk, nor put to sleep. What the technology has achieved sounds less realistic, but is far more feasible. Are you familiar with relativity and the concepts behind nuclear energy?”

“Do you mean that E=mc2 stuff?”

“Yes! That is precisely the physics which is applied by a pokeball. I cannot even begin to understand how the technology works, but I can tell you what it does. When a pokeball is thrown at a ‘wild’ Pokémon and strikes it on the button, it opens up and identifies the creature. It fires a laser at the Pokémon, which breaks down the creature into data and energy. This is what turns the Pokémon that uniform red color you’re surely familiar with. The data and energy is pulled into the pokeball, which closes and attempts to effectively unite itself with the Pokémon, so that no other pokeball may ever ‘catch’ that Pokémon as long as the ball remains intact and functional. During this stage, the Pokémon usually attempts to break free. Particularly strong Pokémon can break out of their pokeballs after being captured, but the bond can never be severed unless the ball is destroyed. Once the pokeball is closed and the Pokémon captured, the Pokémon exists as pure energy woven into the pokeball at a sub-atomic level. Its form is preserved as computer data.”

It sounded three shades of insane past absolutely ludicrous, I told him. “But let’s say that I believe you – which I can’t really say I do – how does that explain why my hand got wet?”

He seemed to get really excited by that, almost quivering with anticipation of his big reveal. “Pokémon are such wonderful, fascinating creatures, aren’t they? They are living creatures, a part of the real, scientifically explainable universe and subject to its physical laws. And yet, when we break them down to nothing but data and laser light, something remains. Something we have never understood – something we call a Pokémon’s type, or element.”

“Somehow, this part of a Pokémon’s makeup isn’t written into the code of its DNA. Two incredible discoveries have been made from studying the pokeball phenomena. The first is that the ‘type’ is not written into the data, but rather is a result of what the data says. A Chimchar is a fire type, having control over heat and flame in the universe, not as a genetic, physical trait but as a result, as an output of the data contained in its genes. A pokeball takes that genetic code and stores it internally. The ball becomes fire type, as long as the fire type Pokémon is stored inside. This causes it to be warm to the touch, a trait associated with all fire Pokémon.”

I was all out of snappy comebacks or apathetic cynicisms. My eyes were growing wider and my mouth was starting to hang open. I actually bought this crap – not like it mattered, and really, I wanted to believe it, it sounded so damn cool. But I couldn’t let it go yet; there was one more thing I didn’t understand. “Professor, you said warm. But when I picked up the ball, it burned me. The grass-type cut me. What am I missing?”

“The one thing that man has struggled to reconcile himself with for all of time, Sam,” he said with a serious tone, “Decades ago, scientists spent an age and a fortune to answer the question. No concrete answers came of it – no scientific answers, anyways.”

“So…what answers did they find?”

“They captured numerous Ratatta, the purple rat-type Pokémon of ‘normal’ element from Kanto. Some were treated very harshly by their trainers – the scientists – and others were pampered. Some were pets, some were trained to work, some to battle, some to steal. All kinds of upbringings were applied by all kinds of people – mean, kind, ambitious, considerate, you name it. As the study continued, data was collected to study the reaction the different participants would get from their own pokeballs, and from those belonging to others. The data was basically a subjective description of the experience – was the ball soft and gentle to the touch, or was it prickly? Did the trainer experience a scratch or bite?”

“What they found was astounding. Balls held by inexperienced trainers, or with Ratatta which were recently captured, were prickly to the touch and scratched trainers. Trainers who mistreated their Pokémon almost always experienced a biting sensation with redness and bruising, and many balls with abused Pokémon would ‘bite’ almost any trainer. Likewise, balls with well-trained Ratatta or held by experienced trainers, or balls with Pokémon that were well-treated tended to be gentle to the touch. The strangest results may have been that balls which almost always ‘bit’ trainers would never hurt a few very specific trainers, while other trainers could hardly handle any pokeball without getting ‘bit’. In the end, the scientists could only conclude one thing – the captured Pokémon were interacting directly with the trainers, responding with fear, aggression, complacence or compassion just as they would if they were out of their pokeballs. It has long been understood that Pokémon are very skilled at reading a trainer’s personality and respond accordingly, given their own personality. What was happening was well understood. But no matter how long the study continued, no scientific evidence was ever presented to explain how. So far I have presented you with facts – although you may not understand and do not need to believe them, you should not try to refute them. But now you have a choice, a true choice, about what to believe. Science can explain why my Chimchar and Turtwig don’t like you (and it probably isn’t anything you can or should try to change or ‘fix’) but science cannot explain how they knew that, and were able to communicate that, from their pokeballs. Some believe we just don’t have the means to understand the science yet. Others believe it’s imaginary and entirely dependent on the trainer – they would say you imagined the ball was hotter than it was, because you realized the Chimchar was a bad match for you.”

“Bullshit!”

“Of course! Of course it is, such people are few, radical and honestly probably dangerous. The widely accepted answers are the first - that we simply don’t have the means to decipher the code just yet - or that the phenomenon is irrefutable evidence of a soul, tied in life to a body but exempt from the known laws of tangible science. Believers claim that the soul is tied to the body, even broken down as it is in the ball, as long as the body is alive. Since the soul is what drives the body in life, why should it not drive the energy that makes up the body? I like to believe this theory.”

“I will not tell you what to believe about the pokeball phenomenon, but I will ask you to at all times remember to treat a Pokémon in a pokeball as if it was the Pokémon itself. They are not magically protected from any mistreatment the ball experiences while they are inside. They cannot defend themselves from you – by capturing them, you force them into complete dependence as long as they are in the ball. To allow itself to be carried is the greatest display of trust a Pokémon can show. This briefcase ensures that these Pokémon are sheltered from accidents and is common for less adventurous people such as myself. Trainers typically wear a belt which holds the Pokémon securely and exposes the trainer and Pokémon to the same experiences and environments. I recommend this for you; for now, either allow your Pokémon to walk on its own, or ensure you carry it with great care, in your hand rather than a pocket or bag. Sam, I’ve told you much tonight, a lot of information to digest and respect. I will always be happy to talk about Pokémon with you in any capacity if you have doubts or questions, so don’t worry about remembering everything.”

“My Piplup likes you, Sam. He’s a funny little fellow, very stubborn, but he’s got a lot of heart. Why don’t you take him with you?”

If I was dumbstruck before, I’m at a loss for words to describe my loss for words now. I had to shake my head, close my mouth and blink my eyes to snap out of the reverie he’d pulled me in to. I looked the old professor right in the eyes – gray and warm like drizzling summer rainclouds – and nodded a confirmation. I reached back into the suitcase for the ball in the middle. I picked it up and pointed it at the ground to my left. I pushed the button and said the only words I had left. “Piplup…I choose you.”
 

skyharbor6

Member
Pokédex No.
757
Caught
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
7
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8
Double-feature this week. Meet the first two non-human actors in this drama, Timmy the Piplup and Taylor the Turtwig!

There was a blinding flash of red light, so even after it faded, it took time before I could see the little Pokémon I’d released from the ball. It was a bird only about a foot tall, about a third of which was its huge, round head. A large, short, rounded yellow beak sat in the middle of its face, which was covered in short white feathers framed by a royal blue covering the rest of its head. Light blue feathers coated its body and wings – flippers? - mixed with white to create a surprising resemblance to a suit-and-tie. The light blue was barely distinguishable from the white in the moonlight. A pair of dark, gleaming eyes were looking back at me, its expression one of curiosity, surely mirroring my own. I was stunned, having never seen one alive, by the gorgeous and adorable creature standing next to me.

“Piplup, this is Sam. I am giving Sam your pokeball so that he may be your trainer. You will be his first Pokémon; I’ll be counting on you to look out for him. Is this acceptable to you?” Professor Rowan addressed the little bird as if it was a young boy being charged with a new set of chores. It looked away from me when he called its name. When he finished, Piplup waddled closer to the professor and raised its wings as if to give him a hug. Professor Rowan placed the briefcase aside and lifted the bird into his lap. He reached into his pocket and produced a small candy; Piplup flapped its wings and trilled with glee. Rowan gave it the candy; its beak got a little stuck together by the sticky treat, but it was thrilled to have it. “He likes sweets like this, Sam, a little tidbit for you to keep in mind when you’re getting food for him. I’ve always used it as a reward or incentive, he responds quite well to it.”

“He?”

“Of course! Most Piplup are male, this one is no exception.” He turned Piplup in his lap to face me. He looked straight up at Rowan’s chin, happily chewing away, and then back to me, as if he knew we were talking but was ignoring our words to enjoy his candy. “So, you’ve met the little fellow, and in a minute I’ll let you bring him home. You should come by my lab tomorrow so I can officially complete the trade and register him to your ID. You may do whatever you wish between now and then, just be careful. Only one question remains – would you like to give him a nickname? I’ve never thought of myself as creative with names, but by no means must you continue to call him by his wild name!”

I was totally caught off-guard. I hadn’t thought of a nickname for a single second. “I…um…sure, I guess, but…what do you think?” I wasn’t sure if I was asking Rowan or Piplup. The bird just looked at me, done chewing, leaning his head forward like he was anticipating another treat. Rowan just chuckled and shook his head.

“Here, Sam, why don’t you hold him while you think?” He lifted the bird again and held him towards me.

Again taken by surprise, I stared for a moment before nodding my head and reaching out. Rowan let go once I had a sure grip of him. He was heavy – my arms almost fell to the ground under the sudden load – but I pulled him in to my lap, where he sat comfortably on my leg, looking back and forth between the professor and myself. “I like the idea of a nickname, but…I don’t know…what should I call you?” I asked the bird again to no avail. I sat on the thought for a couple of minutes, my hmms and hrms the only sound breaking the silence. Eventually I found it, and scared both Pokémon and professor when I shouted out, “Timmy! How’s that sound?!”

Rowan jumped; Piplup squawked and flapped his wings as if to fly away. He only succeeded in falling face-first into the grass in front of me. He clambered to his feet and looked like he might cry. He started to run away but fell again before he was even out of reach. I reached out and grabbed him without thinking, to pull him back to my lap where he couldn’t hurt himself again. To my surprise, as soon as I sat him down a spurt of tiny bubbles began popping in my face. “Hey! Ow! Stop it, OW! That stings! What the hell, Timmy, stop it!”

To my relief, he actually did stop. He started rocking back and forth on my leg, clapping his wings together. The little bugger was laughing at me! I looked at it with surprise and a bit of hurt. He stopped laughing but the look on his face was obviously joy at my discomfort. Then he made a strange noise, a short trill followed by a low hum, capped off with a sharp, short screech. Confused, I only stared until he did it again, and it hit me that he might be trying to say his new nickname. I was totally astounded at how smart he was. “Professor…is he…is he saying his name?”

“He certainly is! Did you think they could only make the noises for which most of them were named? Pokémon are extremely smart creatures – some of them might be descendants of humans, somehow, and many are believed to be far smarter than we are. Don’t be surprised if you ever meet a Pokémon that’s able to converse with you! But, I digress. I think Timmy is a fine name, and it sounds like he agrees, don’t you Timmy?”

Timmy almost jumped up and down on my leg in confirmation. “Timmy! Timmy! Timmy!” he said, although the sound was more like an aging machine operating underwater than an actual voice. It was one of the most incredible moments of my life – I had a Pokémon, a rare water type no less, and his name was Timmy.

It was just then that the three of us looked to the lakeshore entrance – something loud was coming our way. I began to make out words: “-minute, don’t leave yet, I’m coming back, I have to pick my Pokémon, professor, hold up, waaaaaait!” Josh came wheeling into view before he stopped yelling. He waved as he ran up to us and came skidding to a stop next to the professor.

“Professor! I ran off to start my journey but when I got into the tall grass I realized I forgot my Pokémon, sir, so I came back and I was-hey, is that a Piplup!?” He finally noticed the Pokémon sitting on my leg, who was observing the new arrival as if Josh had just fallen out of the sky, which, effectively, he had.

I told him the Piplup’s name and that Rowan had given him to me. He almost did a back flip on the spot! “No way! Sam, that’s so cool, does it know any moves? Wait, what are THOSE? Is one of those for me? Awesome! Thanks Prof!” He’d seen the briefcase on the ground. He practically leapt over the professor to get to it, but it was pulled away before he could grab one. “Hey! What gives?” he protested, standing upright and putting his hands on his hips.

The professor gave him a stern look from his position on the ground. “You will not always get away with such haste unharmed, young man. If you rush into the unknown unprepared, you will get yourself or your Pokémon gravely injured, even killed. This is not a game. There are no checkpoints and precautions don’t always work. If your Pokémon are killed in battle you could very well end up stranded in the middle of nowhere. I won’t give away Pokémon to reckless hooligans. Do you understand me?”

The speech stunned us both. I spoke first. “They…they can die?” Of course they could, I knew that, but he made it sound a lot easier to get a Pokémon killed by accident than I thought. “Just…just like that, I mean.”

Rowan turned to address me. “Of course they can, just as you and I. If Pokémon are mismatched in battle, if poison goes untreated, if an opponent is out-of-control or has type advantage, if your instructions leave them vulnerable, if they’re simply unlucky – anything can go wrong at any time. You can try your utmost to be cautious and wise, beyond even my reproach, and lose your friends anyway. It takes an exceptional amount of extremely cautious training to ensure that your Pokémon will not be on the receiving end of fatal blows. But you also have to care for them in between battles, and train them even more to control their powers, to protect their opponents. You do not want a reputation as a brute any more than one as a fool.” He turned back to Josh. “I’ve promised you a Pokémon and I won’t go back on my word. But I’m going to keep a close eye on you, Mr. Myrsky. Keep that in mind. Now go ahead – one ball contains a Turtwig, and the other a Chimchar. You may give your pokemon a nickname once you’ve chosen-“

“A Chimchar?! Awesome! I’ll call it Blaze! Lemme see!”

Cut off, Professor Rowan stared haughtily for just a moment before sighing, bringing the briefcase back within reach and opening the lid for Josh. “Chimchar is on the right side, if this is indeed your choice.”

“Of course it is! What newb wouldn’t want a-YOWCH!” He had grabbed the ball as soon as the case was opened. Apparently, his experience was similar to mine, except he had held on for much, much longer. “My hand! Ow!” he exclaimed as he danced about, trying to shake off the pain.

I laughed at my impatient friend, wringing his hand and stamping his feet. His attention piqued, Timmy waddled towards Josh to see what was going on. Josh stopped as the little penguin approached. “Look at this, you! What’s up with that?! Are you all like that??” He held out his hand, as if we could see the burn in the moonlight. Timmy looked curiously at the hand, and then held his head back and puffed his cheeks out. I think Rowan expected what happened next; I know I didn’t.

Flinging his little flippers back and propelling his head forward, Timmy blew a stream of bubbles from his beak with all his might. It looked sort of like a child blowing bubbles using soapy water and a wand – entirely harmless, and even adorable. Josh and I stared, incredulous, as the bubbles drifted to the scorched palm. Then the first one touched Josh’s skin, bursting into a fine mist coating his skin.

Maybe a dozen bubbles followed suit. Rowan started to laugh while Josh and I both stared. “Joshua Myrsky, you’ve just survived a vicious assault from a rare Piplup – how do you feel?”

“Vicious assault? More like a feathery tickle…ow!” The indignant bird had smacked his shin at the perceived insult. He huffed and waddled away, plopping down to sit by my side. Josh looked at his hand, “Doesn’t hurt anymore, though…thanks, little guy!” Timmy, placated by the thanks, trilled a happy reply. Turning to the chuckling professor, Josh asked, “But what the heck happened to my hand?”

“Well, Mr. Myrsky, just because a Pokémon is captured doesn’t mean it will serve any trainer, especially if it is being given as a gift. A Pokémon captured in battle will usually serve the victorious trainer out of respect if nothing else. But this Chimchar hasn’t been exposed to you, in battle or in play, and so it can only judge you based on a very limited impression. Apparently, it didn’t like that impression. Don’t feel bad, fire types can be extremely temperamental and hard to train. See how Turtwig feels about you, that species is usually much more easy-going.”

Josh muttered an agreement and reached for the other ball with utmost caution. He picked it up and held it in his palm with a look of amazement. “Do you guys smell something? Like…a freshly mowed lawn and…and…I dunno but it’s nice, do you?”

Rowan and I shook our heads. I spoke up, “When I picked up that ball, I didn’t smell a thing. I felt grass in my palm and then I felt it try to cut me – I think it actually likes you.”

“Awesome! Can I let it out? Can I name it?” Rowan nodded his approval. There was a flash of red and suddenly, a small green tortoise was before us. It didn’t have much of a neck to speak of, and leathery pale green skin covered its stubby legs and large, round head. Its wide, short lower jaw was yellow and gave the Turtwig a beak-like overbite. Two small nostrils were perched on the front of the beak, near the top, higher up than even its eyes. There was a patch of dirt on top of his head, looking like a spot of fuzzy dark brown fur, with a little bulge from which an infantile sapling was growing. The odd little creature regarded the four of us with patient, relaxed curiosity emanating from its bright, large yellow eyes. I got the sense that the creature, despite its slow movement, was very intelligent and was absorbing everything there was to know about its surroundings through those passive orbs. I looked up at Josh, whose mouth was hanging open in awe. “You…you’re gonna go with me?” he asked the little grass-type. It turned its head to look right at him and seemed to be digesting the words while it manufactured a reply. It blinked once and gave a sure, slow nod – it might have even been smiling, but you can never really tell with reptiles. Josh whooped with excitement. “Yahoo! Alright then, you’re my first Pokémon! My name is Josh, and yours…hm…I’m gonna call you Taylor, how does that sound?”

The large round eye flicked around a bit. Turtwig tilted his head left, then right, then held it upright. He opened and closed his mouth a couple of times and began to make a low sound. His mouth opened again with a click, and a satisfied sigh escaped his throat. He closed his mouth again and growled a bit. I don’t think Josh knew what his Pokémon was doing, but after it made the same noises a couple of times – to me it sounded more like “Kaahrr” than anything else - it closed its eyes in contentment and walked over to Josh, where it rubbed its head against his leg. Clearly, that nickname would stick. “Hey buddy, nice to meet you too!” Josh bent down and lifted the turtle by the shell up to eye level. “You and me are gonna be good friends, eh?”

Taylor seemed to like the sound of that. His cries became a little higher pitched and I could hear a little more clearly as it called out, “Kayrr, Kayrr!” Josh clued in and almost dropped his partner as he gaped at me in amazement. “He...he knows his name!? Like, he can say it!? This is the best day ever!!” Laughing, he lifted Taylor above his head and started turning in a circle. Timmy chirped with glee and clapped his flippers together, while Rowan and I just laughed. For a moment, all we were was five boys making new friends on the happiest night of our lives.
 

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